His apologist makes out a strong case for him, if half his allegations are true. In any case it is but fair to state them. Neil was in prison, according to the "Information," when the ejection proceedings were carried out against him. He was ignorant of the legal steps taken against him until it was too late, and, in consequence of his great distance from Edinburgh, he was unable to correspond with his legal advisers there in time for his defence. His messengers, carrying his correspondence, were more than once seized, on their way south, and imprisoned at Chanonry. When in the south, the contributions of his friends towards his support and the expenses of his defence were intercepted, and his people at home were put to great hardships by their new master, the Hon. John Mackenzie, "for any inclination to succour him in his distress." "By all these means, the unfortunate gentleman was reduced to great poverty and misery, and was disabled from procuring the interest or affording the expense needful in order to obtain justice against such potent adversaries." And "it was easy for them (the Mackenzies), being now possessed of his estate, to get in old unjust patched claims from such as had them, and being possessed of his charter chest and the retired vouchers of debts therein contained, by all these means, to make additional titles to the estate of Assynt, while he, poor gentleman, besides his other misfortunes, was deprived of his writs and of all his evidences needful to be produced in his defence against the claims of his adversaries." If a tithe of all this is true poor Neil deserves to be pitied indeed. But after giving such a long catalogue of charges, involving the most cruel and deceitful acts against the Mackenzies, the author of them is himself doubtful about their accuracy, for he says that, although the Mackenzies, after possessing the estates, had all the advantages and means for doing the unjust things which he alleges against them of inventing new claims and additional titles, "it is not pretended to be now told what additional titles they made" - an admission which largely discounts and disposes of the other charges made by Macleod's apologist. And, notwithstanding all his disadvantages and difficulties, Neil made another effort "towards obtaining justice to himself and his family"; and to that end, in 1679 and 1680, he commenced a new process against Seaforth and all others "whom he knew to have or pretended to have" claims against him or his estate. It was, however, objected (1) that he had no title in his own person to the lands of Assynt, and (2) that he was at the horn and had no personam standi in judices. Neil made "very pertinent" answers to these objections in 1682, but he was wisely advised to stop the proceedings of reduction, and to commence a Process of Spulzie against the Earl Sinclair, of Mey, the Laird of Dunbeath, and others. Seaforth having died while these proceedings were pending, there appears in process an Oath by his successor, "who swears that he not then nor formerly had the charter chest, nor knew what was become of it; and as he was not charged with having a hand in the Spulzie he was freed thereof and of the consequences of it, by their Lordships. Neil having given in an inventory of the writs contained in his chest, his oath in litem was taken thereanent, and he referred his expenses and damages to the judgment of the Lords," with the result that, in 1692, they decerned in his favour for the sum of two thousand pounds Scots, in name of damages and expenses, to be paid to him by the defenders, and at the same time superseding his further claim until he should give in more particulars regarding it. He assigned this decree to his nephew, Captain Donald Macleod of Geanies, and it remained as the basis of the process which was raised by Norman Macleod, XIX. of Macleod, in 1738, already referred to "for what thereof is unpaid." But Neil, "being unable by unparalleled bad usage, trouble, and poverty, and at length by old age, it does not appear that lie went any further towards obtaining of justice for himself than what is above narrated in relation to the process of reduction and Spulzie"; and that his friends failed in their subsequent efforts to punish Mackenzie or re-possess themselves of the Assynt estates is sufficiently well-known. [For Neil's connection with the Betrayal of Montrose see Mackenzie's "History of the Macleods," pp. 410-419.]
In 1648 Seaforth again raised a body of 4000 men in the Western Islands and Ross-shire, whom he led south, to aid the King's cause, but after joining in a few skirmishes under Lanark, they returned home to "cut their corn which was now ready for their sickles." During the whole of this period Seaforth's fidelity to the Royal cause was open to considerable suspicion, and when Charles I. threw himself into the hands of the Scots at Newark, and ordered Montrose to disband his forces, Earl George, always trying to be on the winning side, came in to Middleton, and made terms with the Committee of Estates; but the Church, by whom he had previously been excommunicated, continued implacable, and would only agree to be satisfied by a public penance in sackcloth within the High Church of Edinburgh. The proud Earl consented, underwent this ignominious and degrading ceremonial, and his sentence of excommunication was then removed. Notwithstanding this public humiliation, after the death of the ill-fated and despotic Charles I., Seaforth, in 1649, went over to Holland, and joined Charles II., by whom he was made Principal Secretary of State for Scotland, the duties of which, however, he never had the opportunity of performing.
Charles was proclaimed King on the 5th of February, 1649, in Edinburgh, and it was decided by him and his friends in exile that Montrose should make a second attempt to recover Scotland; for, on the advice of his friends, Charles declined the humiliating terms offered him by the Scottish faction, and, in connection with the plans of Montrose, a rising took place in the North, under Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine, brother to the Earl of Seaforth, Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty, Colonel John Munro of Lemlair, and Colonel Hugh Fraser. On the 22d February they entered Inverness, expelled the troops from the garrison, and afterwards demolished the walls and fortifications. On the 26th of February a Council of War was held, present - Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine, Preses, Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty, H. Fraser of Belladrum, Jo. Cuthbert of Castlehill, R. Mackenzie, of Davochmaluak; Kenneth Mackenzie of Gairloch, R. Mackenzie of Redcastle, John Munro of Lumlair, Simon Fraser of Craighouse, and Alex. Mackenzie of Suddie.
This Committee made certain enactments, by which they took the customs and excise of the six northern counties entirely into their own hands. The Provost of Inverness was made accountable "for all the money which, under the name of excise, has been taken up in any of the foresaid shires since his intromissions with the office of excise taking." Another item is that Duncan Forbes be pleased to advance money "upon the security which the Committee will grant to him," to be repaid out of the readiest of the "maintaince and excise." Cromarty House was ordered to be put in a position of defence, for which it was "requisite that some faill be cast and led," and all Sir James Fraser's tenants within the parishes of Cromarty and Cullicudden, together with those of the laird of Findrassie, within the parish of Rosemarkie, were ordered "to afford from six hours in the morning to six hours at night, and one horse out of every oxengait daily for the space of four days, to lead the same faill to the House of Cromarty." By the tenth enactment the Committee find it expedient for their safety that the works and forts of Inverness be demolished and levelled to the ground, and they ordain that each person appointed to this work shall complete his proportion thereof before the 4th day of March following "under pain of being quartered upon, aud until the said task be performed." They further enact that a garrison be placed in Culloden House, "which the Committee is not desirous of for any intention of harm towards the disturbance of the owner, but merely because of the security of the garrison of Calder, which, if not kept in good order, is like to infest all the well-affected of the country circumjacent." [For these minutes see "Antiquarian Notes," pp. 157-8.] General Leslie having been sent against them, they retired to the mountains of Ross, when Leslie advanced to Fortrose and placed a garrison in the castle. He made terms with all the other leaders except Pluscardine, who would not listen to any accommodation, and who, immediately on Leslie's return south, descended from his mountain fastnesses, attacked and re-took the Castle of Chanonry.
Pluscardine was then joined by his nephew, Lord Reay, at the head of three hundred men, which increased his force to eight or nine hundred. General Middleton and Lord Ogilvie, having brought up their forces, Mackenzie advanced into Badenoch, with the view of raising the people in that and the neighbouring districts, where he was joined by the Marquis of Huntly, formerly Lord Lewis Gordon, and they at once attacked and took the Castle of Ruthven. After this they were pressed closely by Leslie, and fell down from Badenoch to Balvenny Castle, whence they sent General Middleton and Mackenzie to treat with Leslie, but before they reached their destination, Carr, Halket, and Strachan, who had been in the North, made a rapid march from Fortrose, and on the 8th of May surprised Lord Reay with his nine hundred followers at Balvenny, with considerable loss on both sides. Eighty Royalists fell in the defence of the castle. Carr at once dismissed the Highlanders to their homes on giving their oath never again to take up arms against the Parliament, but he detained Lord Reay and some of his kinsmen, Mackenzie of Redcastle, and a few leaders of that name, and sent them prisoners to Edinburgh. Having there given security to keep the peace in future, Lord Reay, Ogilvy, Huntly, and Middleton were forgiven, and allowed to return home, Roderick Mackenzie of Redcastle, being the only one kept in prison, until he was some time after released, through the influence of Argyll, on payment of a fine of seven thousand merks Scots.
Carr now returned to Ross and laid siege to Redcastle, the only stronghold in the North which still held out for the Royal cause. The officer in charge recklessly exposed himself on the ramparts, and was pulled down by a well-directed shot from the enemy. The castle was set on fire by the exasperated soldiers. Leslie then placed a garrison in Brahan and Chanonry Castles, and returned south. The garrisons were then expelled, some of the men hanged, the walls demolished, and the fortifications razed to the ground. Thus ended an insurrection which probably would have had a very different result had it been delayed until the arrival of Montrose. The same year General Leslie himself came to Fortrose with nine troops of horse, and forwarded detachments to Cromarty and "Seaforth's strongest hold" of Ellandonnan Castle.
The following account of this period by a contemporary writer is very interesting: "Immediately after the battle of Auldearn Seaforth met and communed with Montrose, the result of which was that Seaforth should join Montrose, for the King against the Parliament and States, whom they now discovered not to be for the King as they professed; but in the meantime that Seaforth should not appear, till he had called upon and prevailed with his neighbours about him, namely, My Lord Reay, Balnagown, Lovat, Sir James Macdonald of Sleat, Macleod of Dunvegan, and others, to join him and follow him as their leader. Accordingly, Seaforth having called them together, pointed out to them the condition the King was in, and how it was their interest to rise and join together immediately for his Majesty's service and relief. All of them consented and approved of the motion, only some of them desired that the Parliament who professed to be for the King as well as they, and desired to be rid of Montrose and his bloody Irish, should first be made acquainted with their resolution. Seaforth, being unwilling to lose any of them, condescended, and drew up a declaration, which was known as Seaforth's Remonstrance, as separate from Montrose, whereof a double was sent them; but the Parliament was so far from being pleased therewith that they threatened to proclaim Seaforth and all who should join him as rebels. Now, after the battle of Alford and Kilsyth, wherein Montrose was victorious, and all in the south professing to submit to him as the King's Lieutenant, he was by the treachery of Traquair and others of the Covenanters, surprised and defeated at Philiphaugh. In the beginning of the next year, 1646, he came north to recruit his army. Seaforth raised his men and advertised his foresaid neighbours to come, but none came except Sir James Macdonald, who, with Seaforth, joined Montrose at Inverness, which they besieged, but Middleton, who then served in the Scots armies in England, being sent with nearly 1000 horse and 800 foot, coming suddenly the length of Inverness, stopped Montrose's progress. Montrose was forced to raise the siege and quit the campaign, and retired with Seaforth and Sir James Macdonald to the hills of Strathglass, to await the arrival of the rest of their confederates, Lord Reay, Glengarry, Maclean, and several others, who, with such as were ready to join him south, were likely to make a formidable army for the King but, in the meantime, the King having come to the Scots army, the first thing they extorted from him was to send a herald to Montrose, commanding him to disband his forces, and to pass over to France till his Majesty's further pleasure. The herald came to him in the last of May, 1646, while he was at Strathglass waiting the rest of the King's faithful friends who were to join him. For this Montrose was vexed, not only for the King's condition, but for those of his faithful subjects who declared themselves for him and before he would disband he wrote several times to the King, but received no answer, except some articles from the Parliament and Covenanters, which after much reluctance, he was forced to accept, by which he was to depart the Kingdom against the first of September following, and the Covenanters were obliged to provide a ship for his transportation, but finding that they neglected to do so, meeting with a Murray ship in the harbour of Montrose, he went aboard of her with several of his friends, namely, Sir John Hurry, who served the States the year before, John Drummond, Henry Brechin, George Wishart, and several others, leaving Seaforth and the rest of his friends to the mercy of these implacable enemies; for the States and Parliament threatened to forfeit him for acting contrary to their orders, and the Kirk excommunicated him for joining with the excommunicated traitor, as they called him, James Graham; for now the Kirk began to rule with a high hand, becoming more guilty than the bishops, of that of which they charged him with as great a fault for meddling with civil and secular affairs; for they not only looked upon them to form the army and to purge it of such as whom, in their idiom, they called Malignants, but really such as were loyal to the King; and also would have no Acts of Parliament to pass without their consent and approbation. Their proselytes in the laity were also heavy upon and uneasy to such as they found or conceived to have found with a tincture of Malignancy, whereof many instances might be given." But to return to Seaforth. "After he was excommunicated by the Kirk he was obliged to go to Edinburgh, where he was made prisoner and detained two years, till in the end he was, with much ado, released from the sentence of excommunication, and the process of forfeiture against him discharged; for that time he returned home in the end of the year, 1648, but King Charles I. being before that time murdered, and King Charles II. being in France, finding that he would not be for any time on fair terms with the States and Kirk, he proposed to remove his family to the Island of Lewis, and dwell there remote from public affairs, and to allocate his rents on the mainland to pay his most pressing debts, in order to which, having sent his lady in December to Lochcarron, where boats were attending to transport himself and children to the Lewis by way of Lochbroom, wherein his affairs called him, he, without acquainting his kinsmen and friends, went aboard a ship which he had provided for that purpose, and sailed to France, where the King was, who received him most graciously and made him one of his secretaries. This did incense the States against him, so that they placed a garrison in his principal house at Brahan, under the command of Captain Scott, who (afterwards) broke his neck from a fall from his horse in the Craigwood of Chanonry, as also another garrison in the Castle of Ellandonnan, under the command of one William Johnston, which remained to the great hurt and oppression of the people till, in the year 1650, some of the Kintail men, not bearing the insolence of the garrison soldiers, discorded with them, and in harvest that year killed John Campbell, a leading person among them, with others, for having wounded several at little Inverinate, without one drop of blood drawn out of the Kintail men, who were only 10 in number, while the soldiers numbered 30. After this the garrison was very uneasy and greatly afraid of the Kintail men, who threatened them so, that shortly thereafter they removed to Ross, being commanded then by one James Chambers; but Argyll, to keep up the face of a garrison there, sent ten men under the command of John Muir, who lived there civilly without molesting the people, the States were so incensed against the Kintail men for this brush and their usage of the garrison, that they resolved to send a strong party next spring to destroy Kintail and the inhabitants thereof. But King Charles II., after the defeat of Dunbar, being at Stirling recruiting his army against Cromwell, to which Seaforth's men were called, it proved an act of oblivion and indemnity to them, so that the Kintail men were never challenged for their usage of the garrison soldiers. Though the Earl of Seaforth was out of the kingdom, he gave orders to his brother Pluscardine to raise men for the King's service whenever he saw the King's affairs required it; and so, in the year 1649, Pluscardine did raise Seaforth's men and my Lord Reay joining him with his men, marched through Inverness, went through Moray, and crossed the Spey, being resolved to join the Gordons, Atholes, and several others who were ready to rise, and appeared for the King. Lesley, who was sent from the Parliament to stop their progress, called Pluscardine to treat with him, while Seaforth's and my Lord Reay's men encamped at Balveny, promising a cessation of hostilities. For some days Colonel Carr and Strachan, with a strong body of horse, surprised them in their camp, when they lay secure, and taking my Lord Reay, Rory Mackenzie of Redcastle, Rory Mackenzie of Fairburn, John Mackenzie of Ord, and others, prisoners, threatening to kill them unless the men surrendered and disbanded; and the under officers fearing they would kill them whom they had taken prisoners, did their utmost to hinder the Highlanders from fighting, cutting their bowstrings, etc., so they were forced to disband and dissipate. Pluscardine, in the meantime, being absent from them, and fearing to fall into their hands, turned back to Spey with Kenneth of Coul, William Mackenzie of Multavie, and Captain Alexander Bain, and swam the river, being then high by reason of the rainy weather, and so escaped from their implacable enemies. My Lord Reay, Red-castle, and others were sent to Edinburgh as prisoners, as it were to make a triumph, where a solemn day of thanksgiving was kept for that glorious victory. My Lord Reay and the rest were set at liberty, but Redcastle was still kept prisoner, because when he came from home he garrisoned his house of Redcastle, giving strict commands to those he placed in his house not to render or give it until they had seen an order under his hand, whereupon Colonel Carr and Strachan coming to Ross, after the defeat of Balvenny, summoned the garrison to come forth, but all in vain; for they obstinately defended the house against the besiegers until, on a certain day, a cousin of Carr's advancing in the ruff of his pride, with his cocked carbine in his hand, to the very gates of the castle, bantering and threatening those within to give up the castle under all highest pain and danger, he was shot from within and killed outright. This did so grieve and incense Colonel Carr, that he began fairly to capitulate with them within, and made use of Redcastle's own friends to mediate and persuade them, till in the end, upon promise and assurance of fair terms, and an indemnity of what passed, they came out, and then Carr and his party kept not touches with them, but, apprehending several of them, and finding who it was that killed his cousin, caused him to be killed, and thereafter, contrary to the promise and articles of capitulation, rifled the house, taking away what he found useful, and then burnt the house and all that was within it. In the meantime Redcastle was kept prisoner at Edinburgh, none of his friends being in a condition to plead for him, till Ross of Bridly, his uncle by his mother, went south, and being in great favour with Argyll, obtained Redcastle's liberation upon payment of 7000 merks fine." [Ardintoul MS.]
While these proceedings were taking place in the Highlands, Seaforth was in Holland at the exiled Court of Charles II., and when Montrose arrived there Seaforth earnestly supported him in urging on the King the bold and desperate policy of throwing himself on the loyalty of his Scottish subjects, and in strongly protesting against the acceptance by his Majesty and his friends of the arrogant and humiliating demand made by the commissioners sent over to treat with him by the Scottish faction. It is difficult to say whether Seaforth's zeal for his Royal master or the safety of his own person influenced him most during the remainder of his life, but whatever the cause, he adhered steadfastly to the exiled monarch to the end of a life which, in whatever light it may be viewed, cannot be commended as a good example to others. Such vacillating and time-serving conduct ended in the only manner which it deserved. He might have been admired for taking a consistent part on either side, but with Earl George self-preservation and interest appear to have been the only governing principles throughout the whole of this trying period of his country's history. The Earl of Cromarty thought differently, and says that "this George, being a nobleman of excellent qualifications, shared the fortune of his Prince, King Charles I., for whom he suffered all the calamities in his estate that envious or malicious enemies could inflict. He was made secretary to King Charles II. in Holland, but died in that banishment before he saw an end of his King and his country's calamities or of his own injuries." We have seen that his conduct was by no means steadfast in support of Charles, and it may now be safely asserted that his calamities were due more to his own indecision and accommodating character than to any other cause.
Earl George married early in life, Barbara, daughter of Arthur Lord Forbes (sasine to her in 1637) with issue -
I. Kenneth Mor, his heir and successor.
II. Colin, who has a sasine in 1648, but died young and unmarried.
III. George of Kildun, who married, first, Mary daughter of Skene of Skene, with issue - (1) Kenneth, who went abroad and was no more heard of; (2) Isobel; and several others who died young. He married, secondly, Margaret, daughter of Urquhart of Craighouse, with issue - Colin of Kildun and several other children of whom no trace can be found. All his descendants are said to be extinct.
IV. Colin, who has a sasine of Kinachulladrum in 1721, as "only child now in life, and heir of his brother Roderick." He married Jean, daughter of Robert Laurie, Dean of Edinburgh, with issue - (1) Captain Robert Mackenzie, killed in Flanders, without issue, Colin married, secondly, Lady Herbertshire, with issue, (2) Dr George Mackenzie, who, in 1708, wrote a manuscript "History of the Fitzgeralds and Mackenzies," frequently quoted in this work, and "Lives of Eminent Scotsmen." He, with his father sold the estate of Kinachulladrum to Roderick Mackenzie, IV. of Applecross, in 1721, and died without issue. (3) Barbara, who married Patrick Oliphant.
V. Roderick, I. of Kinachulladrum, who married, first, Anna, daughter of Ogilvie of Glencairn, in 1668 (sasine 1670), with issue - (1) Alexander, II. of Kinachulladrum, who married Anne, daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, III. of Applecross (marriage contract 1707), with issue - Anne, his only child alive in 1766; (2) Kenneth, who died without issue; and two daughters. Roderick married, secondly, Catherine Scougall, daughter of the Bishop of Aberdeen, with issue, all of whom died young.
VI. Jean, who married, first, John Earl of Mar, with issue; and, secondly, Lord Fraser.
VII. Margaret, who married Sir William Sinclair of Mey, with issue.
VIII. Barbara, who married Sir John Urquhart of Cromarty.
IX. John, first of Gruinard, a natural son whose illegitimacy is fully established in the chapter dealing with the Chiefship of the clan. When his Lordship received the news of the disastrous defeat of the King's forces at Worcester he fell into a profound melancholy and died in 1651, at Schiedam in Holland - where he had lived in exile since the beginning of January, 1649 - in the forty-third year of his age. He was succeeded by his eldest son,
XV. KENNETH MOR, THIRD EARL OF SEAFORTH,
Kenneth was born at Brahan Castle in 1635, and when he was five or six years old his father placed him under the care of the Rev. Farquhar Macrae, minister of Kintail, and constable of Ellandonnan Castle, who had a seminary in his house which was attended by the sons of the neighbouring gentry, who kept young Kintail company. One of the manuscript historians of the family, referring to this practical early training of his Lordship, says - "This might be thought a preposterous and wrong way to educate a nobleman, but they who would consider where the most of his interest lay, and how he was among his people, followers, and dependants, on which the family was still valued, perhaps will not think so, for by this the young lord had several advantages; first, by the wholesome, though not delicate or too palatable diet he prescribed to him and used him with, he began to have a wholesome complexion, so nimble and strong, that he was able to endure Stress and fatigue, labour and travel, which proved very useful to him in his after life; secondly, he did not only learn the language but became thoroughly acquainted with and learned the genius of his several tribes or clans of his Highlanders, so that afterwards he was reputed to be the fittest chief or chieftain of all superiors in the Highlands and Isles of Scotland; and thirdly, the early impressions of being among them, and acquaint with the bounds, made him delight and take pleasure to be often among them and to know their circumstances, which indeed was his interest and part of their happiness, so that it was better to give him that first step of education than that which would make him a stranger at home, both as to his people, estate, and condition but when he was taken from Mr Farquhar to a public school, he gave great evidence of his abilities and inclination for learning, and being sent in the year 1651 to the King's College at Aberdeen, under the discipline of Mr Patrick Sandylands, before he was well settled or made any progress in his studies King Charles II., after his army had been defeated at Dunbar the year before, being then at Stirling recruiting and making up his army, with which he was resolved to march into England, the young laird was called home in his father's absence, who was left in Holland (as already described), to raise his men for the King's service, and so went straight to Kintail with the particular persons of his name, viz., the Lairds of Pluscardine and Lochslinn, his uncles; young Tarbat, Rory of Davochmaluag, Kenneth of Coul, Hector of Fairburn, and several others, but the Kintail men, when called upon, made a demur and declined to rise with him, because he was but a child, and that his father, their master, was in life, without whom they would not move, since the King, if he had use for him and for his followers, might easily bring him home." [Ardintoul MS.]
Kenneth, like his father in later years, became identified with the fate of Charles II., and devoted himself unremittingly to the services of that monarch during his exile. From his great stature he was known among the Highlanders as "Coinneach Mor." On the arrival of the King at Garmouth, in June, 1650, his reception throughout all Scotland was of a most cheering character, but the Highlanders, who always favoured the Stuarts, were specially joyous on the return of their exiled king. After the defeat by Oliver Cromwell of the Scottish army at Dunbar - a defeat brought about by the interference of the Committee of Estates and the Kirk with the duties of those in charge of the forces, and whose plans, were they allowed to carry them out, would have saved Scotland from the first great defeat it had ever received at the hands of an enemy - the King resolved to come north and throw himself upon the patriotism and loyalty or his Highland subjects. He was, however, captured and taken back to Perth, and afterwards to Edinburgh, by the Committee of Estates, on whom, it is said, his attempted escape to the Highlands "produced a salutary effect;" and they began to treat him with some respect, going the length even of admitting him to their deliberations. A large number of the Highlanders were already in arms to support him; but the Committee, having the King in their power, induced him to write to the Highland chiefs requesting them to lay down their arms. This they refused, and to enforce the King's orders a regiment, under Sir John Drown, was despatched to the North, but it was surprised and defeated on the night of the 21st of October by Sir David Ogilvy of Airley. On receiving this intelligence, General Leslie hastened north with a force of 3000 cavalry. General Middleton, who supported the King's friends in the Highlands, and who was then at Forfar, hearing of Leslie's advance, forwarded him a letter containing a copy of a bond and oath of engagement which had been entered into by Huntly, Athole, the Earl of Seaforth, and other leading Highland chiefs, by which they had pledged themselves on oath to join firmly and faithfully together, and "neither for fear, threatening, allurement, nor advantage, to relinquish the cause of religion, of the king, and of the kingdom, nor to lay down their arms without a general consent; and as the best undertakings did not escape censure and malice, they promised and swore, for the satisfaction of all reasonable persons, that they would maintain the true religion, as then established in Scotland, the National Covenant and the Solemn League and Covenant, and defend the person of the King, his prerogative, greatness, and authority, and the privileges of parliament, and the freedom of the subject." Middleton pointed out that the only object of himself and friends was to unite the Scots in the defence of their common rights, and that, as would be seen from this bond, the grounds on which they entered into association were exactly the same as those professed by Leslie himself. Considering this, and seeing that the independence of Scotland was at stake, he urged that all Scotsmen should join for the preservation of their common liberties. Middleton proposed to join Leslie, to place himself under his command, and expressed a hope that he would not shed the blood of his countrymen nor force them to shed the blood of their bethren in self-defence. These communications ended in a treaty between Leslie and the leading Royalists at Strathbogie, dated 4th November, by which Middleton and his followers received an indemnity, and laid down their arms. ["Balfour," vol, iv., p. 129. "Highland Clans," p. 285]
Immediately after the battle of Worcester, at which Charles was defeated by Cromwell in 1651 - where we find among those present Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine as one of the Colonels of foot for Inverness and Ross, and Alexander Cam Mackenzie, fourth son of Alexander, fifth of Gairloch - Charles fled to the Continent, and, after many severe hardships and narrow escapes, he found refuge in Flanders, where he continued to reside, often in great want and distress, until the Restoration, when in May, 1660, he returned to England "indolent, selfish, unfeeling, faithless, ungrateful, and insensible to shame or reproach." The Earl of Cromarty says that subsequent to the treaty agreed upon between Middleton and Leslie at Strathbogie, "Seaforth joined the King at Stirling. After the fatal battle of Worcester he continued a close prisoner until the Restoration of Charles." He was excepted from Oliver Cromwell's Act of Grace and Pardon in 1654, and his estates were forfeited, without any provision being allowed out of it for his wife and family. He supported the King's cause as long as there was an opportunity of fighting for it in the field, and when forced to submit to the opposing forces of Cromwell and the Commonwealth, he was committed to prison, where, with "much firmness of mind and nobility of soul," he endured a tedious captivity for many years, until Charles II. was recalled, when he ordered his old and faithful friend Seaforth to be released, after which he became a great favourite at his licentious and profligate Court.
During the remainder of his life little or nothing of any importance is known of him, except that he lived in the favour and merited smiles of his sovereign, in the undisputed possession and enjoyment of the extensive estates and honours of his noble ancestors, which, through his faithful adherence to the House of Stuart, had been nearly lost during the exile of the second Charles and his own captivity. Referring to the position of affairs at this period, the Laird of Applecross says that the "rebels, possessing the authority, oppressed all the loyal subjects, and him with the first; his estate was over-burthened to its destruction, but nothing could deter him so as to bring him to forsake his King or his duty. Whenever any was in the field for him, he was one, seconding that falling cause with all his power, and when he was not in the field against the enemy, he was in the prison by him until the restoration of the King." Restored to liberty, he, on the 23d of April, 1662, received a Commission of the Sheriffship of Ross, which was afterwards renewed to him and to his eldest son Kenneth, jointly, on 31st of July, 1675; and when he had set his affairs in order at Brahan, he re-visited Paris, leaving his Countess Isobel, daughter of Sir John Mackenzie of Tarbat, and sister to the first Earl of Cromarty, in charge of his interests in the North.
Kenneth married early in life Isobel, daughter of Sir John Mackenzie of Tarbat, father of George, first Earl of Cromarty, with issue -
I. Kenneth Og, his heir and successor.
II. John Mackenzie of Assynt, who married Sibella, daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, III. of Applecross (marriage contract 1697). He has a sasine in 1695 and 1696. They had issue, an only son, Kenneth, who married his cousin Frances, daughter of Alexander Mackenzie of Assynt and Conansbay, and died in 1723, without issue.
III. Hugh, who died young and unmarried. There is a sasine to him as third son in 1667.
IV. Colonel Alexander, also designated of Assynt and Conansbay. He has a sasine as "third lawful son now in life" of the lands of Kildin, dated October, 1694. He married Elizabeth, daughter of John Paterson, Bishop of Ross (marriage contract 1700), with issue - Major William Mackenzie, who married Mary, daughter and co-heiress of Mathew Humberston, county Lincoln, whose two sons - Colonel Thomas Francis Mackenzie, and Francis Humberston Mackenzie, created Lord Seaforth in 1797, and who died without surviving male issue, the last of his line in 1815 - succeeded to the family estates.
V. Margaret, who married James, second Lord Duffus, with issue.
VI. Anne, who died unmarried.
VII. Isabel, who married, first, in February, 1694, Roderick Macleod, XVI I. of Macleod, without issue; and, secondly, Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochnell, with issue.
VIII. Mary, who, as his second wife, married Alexander Macdonald, XI. of Glengarry, with issue - John, who carried on the succession, and others. She has a life-rent sasine in 1696. Kenneth Mor died in December, 1678, when he was succeeded by his eldest son,
XVI. KENNETH OG, FOURTH EARL OF SEAFORTH,
So described by the Highlanders to distinguish him from his father. At an early age he began to reap the benefits of his predecessor's faithful adherence to the fortunes of Charles II. In 1678, before his father died, his name is found among the chiefs, who, by a proclamation dated 10th of October in that year, were called upon to give their bond and caution for the security of the peace and quiet of the Highlands, which the leaders were to give, not only for themselves but for all the members of their respective Clans. In spite of all the enactments and orders hitherto passed, the inhabitants and broken men in the Highlands were "inured and accustomed to liberty and licentiousness" during the late troubles, and "still presumed to sorn, steal, oppress, and commit other violences and disorders." The great chiefs were commanded to appear in Edinburgh on the last Tuesday of February, 1679, and yearly thereafter on the second Thursday of July, to give security and receive instructions as to the peace of the Highlands. To prevent any excuse for non-attendance, they were declared free from caption for debt or otherwise while journeying to and from Edinburgh, and other means were to be taken, which might be thought necessary or expedient until the Highlands were finally quieted, and "all these wicked, broken, and disorderly men utterly rooted out and extirpated." A second proclamation was issued, in which the lesser barons - heads of the branches of clans - whose names are given, were to go to Inverlochy by the 20th of November following, as they were "by reason of their mean condition," not able to come in to Edinburgh and find caution, and there to give in bonds and securities for themselves, their men, tenants, servants, and indwellers upon their lands, and all of their name descended of their families, to the Earl of Caithness, Sir James Campbell of Lawers, James Menzies of Culdarers, or any two of them. These lists are interesting, showing, as they do, those who were considered the greater and lesser barons at the time. We find four Mackenzies in the former but not one in the latter. [For the full lists see "Antiquarian Notes," pp. 184 and 187.]
On the 1st of March, 1681, Kenneth was served heir male to his great-grandfather, Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, in his lands in the Lordship of Ardmeanach and in the Earldom of Ross; was made a member of the Privy Council by James II. on his accession to the throne in 1685, and chosen a Knight Companion of the Thistle, on the revival of that ancient Order in 1687. The year after the Revolution Seaforth accompanied his Royal master to France, but when that Prince returned to Ireland in the following year to make a final effort for the recovery of his kingdom, he was accompanied thither by the Earl. There he took part in the siege of Londonderry and in other engagements, and as an expression of gratitude James created him Marquis of Seaforth, under which title he repeatedly appears in various legal documents. This well-meant and deserved honour, however, came too late in the falling fortunes and declining powers of the ex-King, and does little more than mark his Royal confirmation of the steady adherence of the chiefs of Kintail to the cause of the unfortunate Stuarts.
Viscount Dundee in a letter to the "Laird of Macleod," dated "Moy, June 23, 1689" [About this time Viscount Tarbat boasted to General Mackay of his great influence with his countrymen, especially the Clan Mackenzie, and assured him "that though Seaforth should come to his own country and among his friends, he (Tarbat) would overturn in eight days more than the Earl could advance in six weeks yet be proved as backward as Seaforth or any other of the Clan. And though Redcastle, Coul, and others of the name of Mackenzie came, they fell not on final methods, but protested a great deal of affection for the cause." - "Mackay's Memoirs."] in which he details his own and the King's prospects, gives a list of those who are to join him. "My Lord Seaforth," he says, "will be in a few days from Ireland to raise his men for the King's service;" but the fatal shot which closed the career of that brilliant star and champion of the Stuart dynasty at Killiecrankie, arrested the progress of the family of Seaforth in the fair course to all the honours which a grateful dynasty could bestow; nor was the family of Kintail singular in this respect - seeing its flattering prospects withered at, perhaps, a fortunate moment for the prosperity of the Empire. Jealousies have now passed away on that subject, and it is not our business to discuss or in any way confound the principles of contending loyalties.
To check the proceedings of the Mackenzies, Mackay placed a garrison of a hundred Mackays in Brahan Castle, the principal seat of the Earl, and an equal number of Rosses in Castle Leod, the mansion of Viscount Tarbat, both places of strength, and advantageously situated for watching the movements of the Jacobite Mackenzies. ["Life of General Mackay," by John Mackay of Rockfield, pp. 36-37.]
Seaforth seems to have left Ireland immediately after the battle of the Boyne, and to have returned to the Highlands. The greater part of the North was at the time hostile to the Government, and General Mackay was obliged to march north, with all haste, before a general rising could take place under Buchan, who now commanded the Highlanders who stood out for King James. Mackay was within four hours march of Inverness before Buchan, who was then at that place "waiting for the Earl of Seaforth's and the other Highlanders whom he expected to join him in attacking the town," knew of his approach. Hearing of the proximity of the enemy, Buchan at once retreated, crossed the River Ness, and retired along the north side of the Beauly Firth, eastward through the Black Isle. In this emergency, Seaforth, fearing the personal consequences of the part be had acted throughout, sent two of his friends to General Mackay, offering terms of submission and whatever securities might be required for his future good behaviour, informing him at the same time that, although he had been forced to appear on the side of James, he never entertained any design of molesting the Government forces or of joining Buchan in his attack on the town of Inverness. Mackay replied that he could accept no security other than the surrender of his Lordship's person, at the same time conjuring him to comply, as he valued his own safety and the preservation of his family and people, and assuring him that in the case of surrender he should be detained in civil custody in Inverness, and treated with the respect due to his rank, until the will of the Government should become known. Next day the Earl's mother, the Countess Dowager of Seaforth, and Sir Alexander Mackenzie of Coul proceeded to Inverness, to plead with Mackay for a mitigation of the terms proposed, but finding him inflexible, they told him that Seaforth would accede to any conditions agreed to by them in his behalf. It was thereupon stipulated that he should deliver himself up at once and be kept a prisoner in Inverness until the Privy Council decided as to his ultimate disposal. With the view of concealing his voluntary submission from his own clan and his other Jacobite friends, it was agreed that the Earl should allow himself to be siezed at one of his seats by a party of horse under Major Mackay, as if he were taken by surprise. He, however, disappointed those sent to take him, in excuse of which, his mother and he, in letters to General Mackay, pleaded the delicate state of his health, which, it was urged, would suffer from imprisonment; and indeed few can blame him for any unwillingness to place himself absolutely at the disposal of such a body as the Privy Council of Scotland then was - many of whom would not hesitate in the slightest to sacrifice him, if by so doing they could only see any chance of obtaining a share, however small, of his extensive estates.
General Mackay became so irritated at the deception thus practised upon him that he resolved to treat Seaforth's vassals "with all the rigour of military execution," and he sent his Lordship a message that if he did not surrender forthwith according to his promise, he should at once carry out his instructions from the Privy Council by entering his country with fire and sword, and seizing all the property belonging to himself or to his clan as lawful prize; and, lest the Earl should have any doubt as to his intention of executing this terrible treat, he immediately ordered three Dutch regiments from Aberdeen to Inverness, and decided on leading a competent body of horse and foot in person from the garrison at the latter place, to take possession of Brahan Castle. The General, at the same time wrote instructing the Earl of Sutherland, Lord Reay, and Ross of Balnagown, to send a thousand of their men, under Major Wishart an experienced officer acquainted with the country, to take up their quarters in the more remote districts of the Seaforth estates, should that extreme step, as he much feared, become necessary. Having, however, a friendly disposition towards the followers of Seaforth, on account of their being "all Protestants and none of the most dangerous enemies," and being more anxious to get hold of his Lordship's person than to ruin his friends, he caused information of his intentions to be sent to Seaforth's camp by some of his own party, as if from a feeling of friendship for him the result being that, contrary to Mackay's expectations, Seaforth surrendered - thus relieving him from a most disagreeable duty, [Though the General "was not immediately connected with the Seaforth family himself, some of his near relatives were, both by the ties of kindred and of ancient friendship. For these, and other reasons it may be conceived what joy and thankfulness to Providence he felt for the result of ibis affair, which at once relieved him from a distressing dilemma, and promised to put a speedy period to his labours in Scotland." - Mackay's "Life of General Mackay."] - and he was at once committed a prisoner to the Castle of Inverness.
Writing to the Privy Council about the disaffected chiefs at the time, General Mackay says - "I believe it shall fare so with the Earl of Seaforth, that is, that he shall haply submit when his country is ruined and spoyled, which is the character of a true Scotsman, wyse behinde the hand." [Letters to the Privy Council, dated 1st September, 1690.] By warrant, dated 7th October, 1690, the Privy Council directs Mackay "to transport the person of Kenneth, Earl of Seaforth, with safety from Inverness to Edinburgh, in such way and manner as he should think fit." This done, he was on the 6th November following confined within the Castle of Edinburgh, but, little more than a year afterwards, he was liberated, on the 7th January, 1692, having found caution to appear when called upon, and on condition that he should not go ten miles beyond the walls of Edinburgh. He appears not to have implemented these conditions for any length of time, for shortly after he is again in prison almost immediately makes his escape is apprehended on the 7th of May, the same year, at Pencaitland and again kept confined in the Castle of Inverness, from which he is ultimately and finally liberated on giving sufficient security for his peaceable behaviour, ["Records of the Privy Council," and "Mackay's Memoirs."] the following being the order for his release:
"William R., Right trusty and right-well-beloved Councillors, &c., we greet you well. Whereas we are informed that Kenneth, Earl of Seaforth, did surrender himself prisoner to the commander of our garrison at Inverness, and has thrown himself on our Royal mercy; it is our will and pleasure, and we hereby authorise and require you to set the said Earl of Seaforth at liberty, upon his finding bail and security to live peaceably under our Government and to compear before you when called. And that you order our Advocate not to insist in the process of treason waged against him until our further pleasure be known therein. For doing whereof this shall be your warrant, so we bid you heartily farewell. Given at our Court at Kensington, the first day of March, 1696-7, and of our reign the eighth year. By his Majesty's command. (Signed) "TULLIBARDINE."
During the remaining years of his life, Seaforth appears to have lived mainly in France. Apart from his necessary absence from his own country during the long-continued period of political irritation, the exhausted state of his paternal revenues would have rendered his residence abroad highly expedient. We accordingly find several discharges for feu-duties granted by others in his absence, such as the following:
"I, Maister Alexander Mackenzie, lawful brother to the Marquis of Seaforth, grants me to have received from John Mathesone, all and hail the somme of seaven hundred and twentie merks Scots money and that in complete payment of his duties and or the lands of both the Fernacks and Achnakerich, payable Martimass ninety (1690), dated 22d November, 1694."
There is another by "Isobel, Countess Dowager of Seaforth, in 1696, tested by 'Rorie Mackenzie, servitor to the Marquis of Seaforth,'" and an original discharge by "me, Isobell, Countess Dowager of Seaforth, Lady Superior of the grounds, lands, and oyes under-written," to Kenneth Mackenzie of Dundonnel, dated at Fortrose, 15th November, 1697, signed, "Isobell Seaforth." [Allangrange Service, on which occasion thc originals were produced.] It may fairly be presumed that, during the whole of this period, Earl Kenneth was in retirement, and that be took no personal part in the management of his estates for the remainder of his life.
His clansmen, however, seem to have been determined to protect his interest as much as they could. A certain Sir John Dempster of Pitliver had advanced Seaforth and his mother, the Countess Dowager, a large sum of money and obtained a decree of Parliament to have the amount refunded to him. The cash was not forthcoming, and Sir John secured letters of horning and arrestment against them, and employed several officers to serve them, but they returned the letters unexecuted, not finding notum accessum in the Earl's country, and they refused altogether to undertake the duty again without the assistance of the King's forces in the district. Sir John petitioned for this aid, and humbly craved the Privy Council to allow him "a competent assistance of his Majesty's forces at Fort-William, Inverness, or where they are lying adjacent to the places where the said dilligence is to be put in execution, to support and protect the messengers" in the due enforcement of the legal dilligence against the Earl and his mother, "by horning, poinding, arrestment, or otherways," and to recommend to the Governor at Fort-William, or the commander of the forces at Inverness, to grant a suitable force for the purpose. Their Lordships having considered the petition, recommended Sir Thomas Livingstone, commander-in-chief of his Majesty's forces, to order some of the officers already mentioned to furnish the petitioner "with competent parties of his Majesty's forces" to support and protect the messengers in the due execution of the "legal dilligence upon the said decreet of Parliament." [For this document see "Antiquarian Notes," pp 118-119.]
The Earl married Lady Frances Herbert, second daughter of William, Marquis of Powis, an English nobleman, by Lady Elizabeth Somerset, daughter of Edward, Marquis of Worcester, with issue -
I. William, his heir and successor.
II. Mary, who married John Careyl, with issue.
He died at Paris,in 1701, and was succeeded by his only son,
XVII. WILLIAM, FIFTH EARL OF SEAFORTH,
Generally known among the Highlanders as "Uilleam Dubh." He succeeded at a most critical period in the history of Scotland, just when the country was divided on the great question of Union with England, which in spite of the fears of most of the Highland chiefs and nobles of Scotland, ultimately turned out so beneficial to both. He would, no doubt, have imbibed strong Jacobite feelings during his residence with his exiled parents in France. But little information of William's proceedings during the first few years of his rule is obtainable. He seems to have continued abroad, for on the 23d of May, 1709, an order is found addressed to the forester at Letterewe signed by his mother the Dowager, "Frances Seaforth." But on the 22d of June, 1713, she addresses a letter to Colin Mackenzie of Kincraig, in which she says - "I find my son William is fully inclined to do justice to all. Within fifteen days he will be at Brahan." [Original produced at Allangrange Service in 1829.]
At this period the great majority of the southern nobles were ready to break out into open rebellion, while the Highland chiefs were almost to a man prepared to rise in favour of the Stuarts. This soon became known to the Government. Bodies of armed Highlanders were seen moving about in several districts in the North. A party appeared in the neighbourhood of Inverness which was, however, soon dispersed by the local garrison. The Government became alarmed, and the Lords Justices sent a large number of half-pay officers, chiefly from the Scottish regiments, to officer the militia, under command of Major General Whitham, commander-in-chief at the time in Scotland. These proceedings alarmed the Jacobites, most of whom returned to their homes. The Duke of Gordon was confined in Edinburgh Castle, and the Marquis of Huntly and Lord Drummond in their respective residences. The latter fled to the Highlands and offered bail for his good behaviour. Captain Campbell of Glendaruel, who had obtained a commission from the late Administration to raise an independent company of Highlanders, was apprehended at Inverlochy and sent prisoner to Edinburgh. Sir Donald Macdonald, XI. of Sleat, was also seized and committed to the same place, and a proclamation was issued offering a reward of L100,000 sterling for the apprehension of the Chevalier, should he land or attempt to land in Great Britain. King George, on his arrival, threw himself entirely into the arms of the Whigs, who alone shared his favours. A spirit of the most violent discontent was excited throughout the whole kingdom, and the populace, led on by the Jacobite leaders, raised tumults in different parts of the King's dominions. The Chevalier, taking advantage of this excitement, issued a manifesto to the chief nobility, especially to the Dukes of Shrewsbury, Marlborough, and Argyll, who at once handed them to the Secretaries of State.
The King dissolved Parliament in January, 1715, and issued an extraordinary proclamation calling together a new one. The Whigs were successful both in England and Scotland, but particularly in the latter, where a majority of the peers, and forty out of the forty-five members then returned to the Commons, were in favour of his Majesty's Government. The principal Parliamentary struggle was in the county of Inverness between Mackenzie of Prestonhall, strongly supported by Glengarry and the other Jacobite chiefs, and Forbes of Culloden, brother of the celebrated President, who carried the election through the influence of Brigadier-General Grant and the friends of Lord Lovat.
The Earl of Mar, who had rendered himself extremely unpopular among the Jacobite chiefs, afterwards rewarded some of his former favourites by advocating the repeal of the Union. He was again made Secretary of State for Scotland in 1713, but was unceremoniously dismissed from office by George I., and he vowed revenge. He afterwards found his way to Fife, and subsequently to the Braes of Mar. On the 19th of August, 1715, he despatched letters to the principal Jacobites, among whom was Lord Seaforth, inviting them to attend a grand hunting match at Braemar on the 27th of the same month. This was a ruse meant to cover his intention to raise the standard of rebellion and that the Jacobites were let into the secret is evident from the fact that as early as the 6th of August those of them in Edinburgh and its neighbourhood were aware of his intentions to come to Scotland. Under pretence of attending this grand match, a considerable number of noblemen and gentlemen arrived at Aboyne at the appointed time. Among them were the Marquis of Huntly, eldest son of the Duke of Gordon the Marquis of Tullibardine, eldest son of the Duke of Athole; the Earls of Nithsdale, Marischal, Traquair, Errol, Southesk, Carnwarth, Seaforth, and Linlithgow; the Viscounts Kilsyth, Kenmure, Kingston, and Stormont Lords Rollo, Duffus, Drummond, Strathallan, Ogilvie, and Nairne; and about twenty-six other gentlemen of influence in the Highlands, among whom were Generals Hamilton and Gordon, Glengarry, Campbell of Glendaruel, and the lairds of Aucterhouse and Auldbar. ["Rae," p 189; "Annals of King George," pp. 15-16.] Mar delivered a stirring address, in which he expressed regret for his past conduct in favouring the Union, and, now that his eyes were opened, promising to do all in his power to retrieve the past and help to make his countrymen again a free people. He produced a commission from James appointing him Lieutenant-General and Commander of all the Jacobite forces in Scotland, and at the same time informed the meeting that he was supplied with money, and that an arrangement had been made by which he would be able to pay regularly any forces that might be raised, so that no gentleman who with his followers should join his standard would be put to any expense, and that the country would be entirely relieved of the cost of conducting the war; after which the meeting unanimously resolved to take up arms for the purpose of establishing the Chevalier on the Scottish throne. They then took the oath of fidelity to Mar as the representative of James VIII. and to each other, and separated, each going home after promising to raise his vassals and to be in readiness to join the Earl whenever summoned to do so. They had scarcely arrived at their respective destinations when they were called upon to meet him at Aboyne on the 3d of September following, where, with only sixty followers, Mar proclaimed the Chevalier at Castletown in Braemar, after which he proceeded to Kirkmichael, and on the 6th of September, raised his standard in presence of a force of 2000, mostly consisting of cavalry. When in course of erection, the ball on the top of the flag-staff fell off. This was regarded by the Highlanders as a bad omen, and it cast a gloom over the proceedings of the day.
Meanwhile Colonel Sir Hector Munro, who bad served as Captain in the Earl of Orkney's Regiment with reputation in the wars of Queen Anne, raised his followers, who, along with a body of Rosses, numbered about 600 men. With these, in November, 1715, he encamped at Alness and on the 6th of October following he was joined by the Earl of Sutherland, accompanied by his son, Lord Strathnaver, and by Lord Reay, with an additional force of 600, in the interest of the Whig Government, and to cover their own districts and check the movements of the Western clans in effecting a junction with the Earl of Mar, whom Earl William and Sir Donald Macdonald had publicly espoused, as already stated, at the pretended hunting match in Braemar. The meeting at Alness was instrumental in keeping Seaforth in the North. If the Earl and his mother's clans had advanced a month earlier the Duke of Argyll would not have dared to advance against Mar's united forces, who might have pushed an army across the Forth sufficient to have paralyzed any exertion that might have been made to preserve a shadow of the Government. It may be said that if Dundee had lived to hold the commission of Mar, such a junction would not have been necessary, which amounts to no more than saying that the life of Dundee would have been tantamount to a restoration of the Stuarts Mar was not trained in camp, nor did he possess the military genius of Dundee. Had Montrose a moiety of his force things would have been otherwise. Mar, trusting to Seaforth's reinforcement, was inactive, and Seaforth was for a time kept in by the collocation of Sutherland's levies, till he was joined by 700 Macdonalds and detachments from other clans, amounting, with his own followers, to 3000 men, with which he promptly attacked the Earl of Sutherland, who fled with his mixed army precipitately to Bonar-Bridge, where they dispersed. A party of Grants on their way to join them, on being informed of Sutherland's retreat, thought it prudent to retrace their steps. Seaforth, thus relieved, levied considerable fines on Munro's territories, which were fully retaliated for during his absence with the Jacobite army, to join which he now set out; and Sir John Mackenzie of Coul, whom he had ordered to occupy Inverness, was, after a gallant resistance, forced by Lord Lovat, at the head of a mixed body of Frasers and Grants, to retire with his garrison to Ross-shire. "Whether he followed his chief to Perth does not appear; but on Seaforth's arrival that Mar seems for the first time to have resolved on the passage of the Firth - a movement which led to the Battle of Sheriffmuir - is evident and conclusive as to the different features given to the whole campaign by the Whig camp at Alness, however creditable to the noble Earl and his mother's confederates. But it is not our present province to enter on a military review of the conduct of either army preceding this consequential conflict, or to decide to which party the victory, claimed by both parties, properly belonged suffice it to say that above 3000 of Seaforth's men formed a considerable part of the second line, and seem from the general account on that subject to have done their duty." [Bennetsfield MS.] A great many of Seaforth's followers were slain, among whom were four Highlanders who appear to have signally distinguished themselves. They were John Mackenzie of Hilton, who commanded a company of the Mackenzies, John Mackenzie of Applecross, John Mac Rae of Conchra, and John Murchison of Achtertyre. Their prowess on the field had been commemorated by one of their followers, John MacRae, who escaped and returned home, in an excellent Gaelie poem, known as "Latha Blar an t-Siorra," the " Day of Sheriffmuir." The fate of these renowned warriors was keenly regretted by their Highland countrymen, and they are still remembered and distinguished amongst them as "Ceithear Ianan na h-Alba," or The four Johns of Scotland.
During the preceding troubles Ellandonnan Castle got into the hands of the King's troops, but shortly before Sheriffmuir it was again secured by the following clever stratagem: A neighbouring tenant applied to the Governor for some of the garrison to cut his corn, as he feared from the appearance of the sky and the croaking of ravens that a heavy storm was impending, and that nothing but a sudden separation of his crop from the ground could save his family from starvation. The Governor readily yielded to his solicitations, and sent the garrison of Government soldiers then in the castle to his aid, who, on their return, discovered the ruse too late for the Kintail men were by this time reaping the spoils, and had possession of the castle. "The oldest inhabitant of the parish remembers to have seen the Kintail men under arms, dancing on the leaden roof, just as they were setting out for the Battle of Sheriffmuir, where this resolute band was cut to pieces." ["Old Statistical Account of Kintail," 1792.]
Inverness continued meanwhile in possession of the Mackenzies, under command of the Governor, Sir John Mackenzie of Coul, and George Mackenzie of Gruinard. Macdonald of Keppoch was on the march to support Sir John at Inverness, and Lord Lovat, learning this, gathered his men together, and on the 7th of November decided to throw himself across the river Ness and place his forces directly between Keppoch and the Governor. Sir John, on discovering Lovat's movement, resolved to make a sally out of the garrison and place the enemy between him and the advancing Keppoch, where he could attack him with advantage, but Macdonald became alarmed and returned home through Glen-Urquhart, whereupon Lord Lovat marched straight upon Inverness, and took up a position about a mile to the west of the town. The authorities were summoned to send out the garrison and the Governor, or the town would be burnt and the inhabitants put to the sword. Preparations were made for the attack, but Sir John Mackenzie, considering that any further defence was hopeless, on the 10th of November collected together all the boats he could find and at high water safely effected his escape from the town, when Lovat marched in without opposition. His Lordship advised the Earl of Sutherland that he had secured possession of Inverness, and on the 15th of November the latter, leaving Colonel Robert Munro of Fowlis as Governor of Inverness, went with his followers, accompanied by Lord Lovat with some of his men, to Brahan Castle, and compelled the responsible men of the Clan Mackenzie who were not in the South with the Earl of Seaforth to come under an obligation for their peaceable behaviour, and to return the arms previously taken from the Munros by Lord Seaforth at Alness; to release the prisoners in their possession, and promise not to assist Lord Seaforth directly or indirectly in his efforts against the Government; that they would grant to the Earl of Sutherland any sum of money he might require from them upon due notice for the use of the Government; and, finally, that Brahan Castle, the principal residence of the Earl of Seaforth, should be turned into a garrison for King George.
Seaforth returned from Sheriffmuir, and again collected his men near Brahan, but the Earl of Sutherland with a large number of his own men, Lord Reay's, the Munros, Rosses, Culloden's men, and the Frasers, marched to meet him and encamped at Beauly, within a few miles of Mackenzie's camp, and prepared to give him battle, which, when my Lord Seaforth saw, he thought it convenient to capitulate, own the King's authority, disperse his men, and propose the mediation of these Government friends for his pardon. Upon his submission the King was graciously pleased to send down orders that upon giving up his arms and coming into Inverness, he might expect his pardon; yet upon the Pretender's Anvil at Perth and my Lord Huntly's suggestions to him that now was the time for them to appear for their King and country, and that what honour they lost at Dunblane might yet be regained; but while he thus insinuated to my Lord Seaforth, he privately found that my Lord Seaforth had by being an early suitor for the King's pardon, by promising to lay down his arms, and owning the King's authority, claimed in a great measure to an assurance of his life and fortune, which he thought proper for himself to purchase at the rate of disappointing Seaforth, with hopes of standing by the good old cause, till Seaforth, with that vain hope, lost the King's favour that was promised him; which Huntly embraced by taking the very first opportunity of deserting the Chevalier's cause, and surrendering himself upon terms made with him of safety to his life and fortune. This sounded so sweet to him that he sleeped so secure as never to dream of any preservation for a great many good gentlemen that made choice to stand by him and serve under him that many other worthy nobles who would die or banish rather that not show their personal bravery, and all other friendly offices to their adherents." [Lord Lovat's Account of the taking of Inverness. "Patten's Rebellion."]
In February, 1716, hopeless of attaining his object, the unfortunate son of James II. left Scotland, the land of his forefathers, never to visit it again, and Earl William followed him to the common resort of the exiled Jacobites of the time. On the 7th of the following May an Act of attainder was passed against the Earl and the other chiefs of the Jacobite party. Their estates were forfeited, though practically in many cases, and especially in that of Seaforth, it was found extremely difficult to carry the forfeiture into effect. The Master of Sinclair is responsible for the base and unfounded allegation that the Earl of Seaforth, the Marquis of Huntly, and other Jacobites, were in treaty with the Government to deliver up the Chevalier to the Duke of Argyll, that they might procure better terms for themselves than they could otherwise expect. This odious charge, which is not corroborated by any other writer, must be looked upon as highly improbable." [Fullarton's "Highland Clans," p 471.] If any proof of the untruthfulness of this charge be required it will be found in the fact that the Earl returned afterwards to the Island of Lewis, and re-embodied his vassals there under an experienced officer, Campbell of Ormundel, who had served with distinction in the Russian army; and it was not until a large Government force was sent over against him, which he found it impossible successfully to oppose, that he recrossed to the mainland and escaped to France.
Among the "gentlemen prisoners" taken to the Castle of Stirling on the day following the Battle of Sheriffmuir the following are found in a list published in Patten's Rebellion - Kenneth Mackenzie, nephew to Sir Alexander Mackenzie of Coul Joh Maclean, adjutant to Colonel Mackenzie's Regiment Colonel Mackenzie of Kildin, Captain of Fairburn's Regiment; Hugh MacRae, Donald MacRae, and Christopher MacRae.
The war declared against Spain in December, 1718, again revived the hopes of the Jacobites, who, in accordance with a stipulation between the British Government and the Duke of Orleans, then Regent of France, had previously, with the Chevalier and the Duke of Ormont at their head, been ordered out of France. They repaired to Madrid, where they held conferences with Cardinal Alberoni, and concerted an invasion of Great Britain. On the 10th of March, 1719, a fleet, consisting of ten men-of-war and twenty-one transports, having on board five thousand men, a large quantity of ammunition, and thirty thousand muskets, sailed from Cadiz under the command of the Duke of Ormond, with instructions to join the rest of the expedition at Corunna, and to make a descent at once upon England, Scotland, and Ireland. The sorry fate of this expedition is well known. Only two frigates reached their destination, the rest having been dispersed and disabled off Cape Finisterre by a violent storm which lasted about twelve days. The two ships which survived the storm and reached Scotland had on board the Earl of Seaforth and Earl Marischal, the Marquis of Tullibardine, some field officers, three hundred Spaniards, and arms and ammunition for two thousand men. They entered Lochalsh about the middle of May; effected a landing in Kintail and were there joined by a body of Seaforth's vassals, and a party of Macgregors under command of the famous Rob Roy; but the other Jacobite chiefs, remembering their previous disappointments and misfortunes, stood aloof until the whole of Ormond's forces should arrive. General Wightman, who was stationed at Inverness, hearing of their arrival, marched to meet them with 2000 Dutch troops and a detachment of the garrison at Inverness. Seaforth's forces and their allies took possession of the pass of Glenshiel, but on the approach of the Government forces they retired to the pass of Strachell, which they decided to defend at all hazards. They were there engaged by General Wightman, who, after a smart skirmish of about three hours duration, and after inflicting some loss upon the Jacobites, drove them from one eminence to another, till night came on, when the Highlanders, their chief having been seriously wounded, and giving up all hopes of a successful resistance, retired during the night to the mountains, carrying Seaforth along with them and the Spaniards next morning surrendered themselves prisoners of war. [The Spaniards kept their powder magazine and ball behind the manse, but after the battle of Glenshiel they set fire to it lest it should fall into the hands of the King's troops. These balls are still gathered up by sportsmen, and are found in great abundance upon the glebe. - "Old Statistical Account of Kintail."] Seaforth, Marischal, and Tullibardine, with the other principal officers, managed to effect their escape to the Western Isles, from which they afterwards found their way to the Continent. Rob Roy was placed in ambush with the view of attacking the Royal troops in the rear and it is said of him that having more zeal than prudence he attacked the rear of the enemy's column before they had become engaged in front his small party was routed, and the intention of placing the King's troops between two fires was thus defeated. [" New Statistical Account of Glenshiel," by the Rev. John Macrae, who gives a minute description of the scenes of the battle, and informs us that in constructing the parliamentary road which runs through the Glen a few years before he wrote, several bullets and pieces of musket barrels were found and the green mounds which covered the graves of the slain, and the ruins of a rude breast-work which the Highlanders constructed on the crest of the hill to cover their position still marked the scene of the conflict.] General Wightman sent a detachment to Ellandonnan Castle, which he ordered to be blown up and demolished.
General Wightman advanced from the Highland Capital by Loch-Ness and a recent writer pertinently asks, "Why he was allowed to pass by such a route without opposition? It is alleged that Marischal and Tullibardine had interrupted the movements of the invaders by ill timed altercations about command, but we are provoked to observe that some extraordinary interposition seems evident to frustrate every scheme towards forwarding the cause of the ill-fated house of Stuart. Had the Chevalier St George arrived earlier, as he might have done; had William Earl of Seaforth joined the Earl of Mar some time before, as he ought to have done; and strengthened as Mar would then have been, had he boldly advanced on Stirling, as it appears he would have done, Argyll's force would have been annihilated, and James VIII. proclaimed at the Cross of Edinburgh. Well did the brave Highlanders indignantly demand, 'What did you call us to arms for? Was it to run away? What did our own King come for? Was it to see us butchered by hangmen?' There was a fatuity that accompanied all their undertakings which neutralised intrepidity, devotedness, and bravery which the annals of no other people can exhibit, and paltry jealousies which stultified exertions, which, independently of political results, astonished Europe at large." [Bennetsfield MS.]
An Act of Parliament for disarming the Highlanders was passed in 1716, but in some cases to very little purpose for some of the most disaffected clans were better armed than ever, although by the Act the collectors of taxes were allowed to pay for the arms given in, in no case were any delivered except those which were broken, old, and unfit for use, and these were valued at prices far above what they were really worth. Not only so, but a lively trade in old arms was carried on with Holland and other Continental countries, and these arms were sold to the commissioners as Highland weapons, at exorbitant prices. General Wade afterwards found in the possession of the Highlanders a large quantity of arms which they obtained from the Spaniards who took part in the battle of Glenshiel, and he computed that the Highlanders opposed to the Government possessed at this time no less than five or six thousand arms of various kinds.
Wade arrived in Inverness on the 10th of August, 1723, and in virtue of another Act passed the same year, he was empowered to proceed to the Highlands and to summon the clans to deliver up their arms, and to carry several other recommendations of his own into effect. On his arrival he immediately proceeded to business, went to Brahan Castle, and called on the Mackenzies to deliver up their weapons. He took those presented to him on the word of Murchison, factor on the estate and by the representation of Sir John Mackenzie Lord Tarbat, Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Cromarty, and Sir Colin Mackenzie of Coul, at the head of a large deputation of the clan, he compromised his more rigid instructions and accepted a selection of worn-out and worthless arms, and at the same time promised that if the clan exhibited a willing disposition to comply with the orders of the Government he would use his influence in the next Parliament to procure a remission for their chief and his followers; and we find, that "through his means, and the action of other minions of Court (Tarbat was then in power), Seaforth received a simple pardon by letters patent in 1726, for himself and his clan, whose submission was recognised in the sham form of delivering their arms, a matter of the less consequence as few of that generation were to have an opportunity of wielding them again in the same cause."
General Wade made a report to the Government, from which we take the following extract: "The Laird of the Mackenzies, and other chiefs of the clans and tribes, tenants to the late Earl of Seaforth, came to me in a body, to the number of about fifty, and assured me that both they and their followers were ready to pay a dutiful obedience to your Majesty's commands, by a peaceable surrender of their arms; and if your Majesty would be graciously pleased to procure them an indemnity for the rents that had been misplaced for the time past, they would for the future become faithful subjects to your Majesty, and pay them to your Majesty's receiver for the use of the public. I assured them of your Majesty's gracious intentions towards them, and that they might rely on your Majesty's bounty and clemency, provided they would merit it by their future good conduct and peaceable behaviour; that I had your Majesty's commands to send the first summons to the country they inhabited; which would soon give them an opportunity of showing the sincerity of their promises, and of having the merit to set the example to the rest of the Highlands, who in their turns were to be summoned to deliver up their arms, pursuant to the Disarming Act; that they might choose the place they themselves thought most convenient to surrender their arms; and that I would answer that neither their persons nor their property should be molested by your Majesty's troops. They desired they might be permitted to deliver up their arms at the Castle of Brahan, the principal seat of their late superior. who, they said, had promoted and encouraged them to this their submission; but begged that none of the Highland companies might be present; for, as they had always been reputed the bravest, as well as the most numerous of the northern clans, they thought it more consistent with their honour to resign their arms to your Majesty's veteran troops; to which I readily consented. Summonses were accordingly sent to the several clans and tribes, the inhabitants of 18 parishes, who were vassals or tenants of the late Earl of Seaforth, to bring or send in all their arms and warlike weapons to the Castle of Brahan, on or before the 28th of August. On the 25th of August I went to the Castle of Brahan with a detachment of 200 of the regular troops, and was met there by the chiefs of the several clans and tribes, who assured me they had used their utmost diligence in collecting all the arms they were possessed of, which should be brought thither on the Saturday following, pursuant to the summons they had received; and telling me they were apprehensive of insults or depredations from the neighbouring clans of the Camerons and others, who still continued in possession of their arms. Parties of the Highland companies were ordered to guard the passes leading to their country; which parties continued there for their protection, till the clans in that neighbourhood were summoned and had surrendered their arms. On the day appointed the several clans and tribes assembled in the adjacent villages, and marched in good order through the great avenue that leads to the Castle; and one after the other laid down their arms in the court-yard in great quiet and decency, amounting to 784 of the several species mentioned in the Act of Parliament. The solemnity with which this was performed had undoubtedly a great influence over the rest of the Highland clans; and disposed them to pay that obedience to your Majesty's commands, by a peaceable surrender of their arms, which they had never done to any of your Royal predecessors, or in compliance with any law either before or since the Union."
The following account of Donald Murchison's proceedings and of Seaforth's vassals during his exile in France is abridged from an interesting and valuable work. [Chambers's "Domestic Annals of Scotland."] It brings out in a prominent light the state of the Highlands and the futility of the power of the Government during that period in the North. As regards several of the forfeited estates which lay in inaccessible situations in the Highlands, the commissioners had up to this time been entirely baffled, never having been able even to get them surveyed. This was so in a very special manner in the case of the immense territory of the Earl of Seaforth, extending from Brahan Castle, near Dingwall in the east, across to Kintail in the west, as well as in the large island of the Lewis. The districts of Lochalsh and Kintail, on the west coast, the scene of the Spanish invasion of 1719, were peculiarly difficult of access, there being no approach from the south, east, or north, except by narrow and difficult paths, while the western access was only assailable by a naval force. To all appearance this tract of ground, the seat of many comparatively opulent tacksmen and cattle farmers, was as much beyond the control of the six commissioners assembled at their office in Edinburgh, as if it had been amongst the mountains of Tibet or upon the shores of Madagascar.
For several years after the insurrection, the rents of this district were collected, without the slightest difficulty, for the benefit of the exiled Earl, and regularly transmitted to him. At one time a large sum was sent to him in Spain. The chief agent in the business was Donald Murchison, descendant of a line of faithful adherents of the "High Chief of Kintail." Some of the later generations of the family had been entrusted with the keeping of Ellandonnan Castle, a stronghold dear to the modern artist as a picturesque ruin, but formerly of serious importance as commanding a central point from which radiate Loch Alsh and Loch Duich, in the midst of the best part of the Mackenzie country. Donald was a man worthy of a more prominent place in his country's annals than he has yet attained; he acted under a sense of right which, though unfortunately defiant of Acts of Parliament, was still a very pure sense of right; and in the remarkable actions which he performed he looked solely to the good of those towards whom he had a feeling of duty. A more disinterested hero - and he was one - neverlived.
When Lord Seaforth brought his clan to fight for King James in 1715, Donald Murchison and an elder brother, John, accompanied him as field officers of the regiment - Donald as Lieutenant-Colonel, and John as Major. The late Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, the distinguished Geologist, great-grandson of John, possessed a large ivory and silver "mill," which once contained the commission sent from France to Donald, as Colonel, bearing the inscription: "James Rex: forward and spare not." John fell at Sheriffmuir, in the prime of life; Donald returning with the remains of the clan, was entrusted by the banished Earl with the management or estates no longer legally but still virtually his. And for this task Donald was in various respects well qualified, for, strange to say, the son or the castellan of Ellandonnan - the Sheriffmuir Colonel - had been "bred a writer" in Edinburgh, and was as expert at the business of a factor or estate-agent as in wielding the claymore. [For a short time before the insurrection, he had acted as factor to Sir John Preston of Preston Hall, in Mid-Lothian, then also a forfeited estate, but of minor value.]