In bold and avowed insubordination to the Government of George the First, Mackenzie's tenants continued for ten years to pay their rents to Donald Murchison, setting at nought all fear of ever being compelled to repeat the payment to the commissioners.
In 1720 his Majesty's representatives made a movement for asserting their claims upon the property. In William Ross of Easterfearn and Robert Ross, a bailie of Tain, they found two men bold enough to undertake the duty of stewardship in their behalf over the Seaforth property, the estates of Grant or Glenmoriston, and or Chisholm of Strathglass. Little, however, was done that year beyond sending out notices to the tenants, and preparing for more strenuous measures for next year. The stir they made only produced excitement, not dismay. Some of the duine-uasals from about Lochcarron, coming down with their cattle to the south-country fairs, were heard to declare that the two factors would never get anything but leaden coin from the Seaforth tenantry. Donald went over the whole country showing a letter he had got from the Earl, encouraging the people to stand out at the same time telling them that the old Countess was about to come north with a factory for the estate, when she would allow as paid for any rents which they might hand to him. The very first use to be made of this money was to bring both the old and the young Countesses home immediately to Brahan Castle, where they were to live as they used to do. Part of the funds thus acquired, Murchison used in keeping on foot a party of some sixty armed Highlanders, who, in virtue of his commission as colonel, he proposed to employ in resisting any troops of George the First which might be sent to Kintail. Nor did he wait to be attacked, but in June, 1720, hearing of a party of excisemen passing near Dingwall with a large quantity of aqua vitae, he fell upon them and rescued their prize. The collector of the district reported this transaction to the Board of Excise, but no notice was taken of it.
In February, 1721, the two factors sent officers of their own into the western districts, to assure the tenants of good usage, if they would make a peaceable submission but the men were seized, robbed of their papers, money, and arms, and quietly sent across the Frith of Attadale, though only after giving their solemn assurance that they would never attempt to renew their mission. Resenting this procedure the two factors caused a constable to take a military party from Bernera Barracks, Glenelg, into Lochalsh, and, if possible, capture those who had been guilty. They made a stealthy night-march, and took two men; but the alarm was given, the two men escaped, and began to fire down upon their captors from a hillside; then they set fire to the bothy as a signal, and such a coronach went over all Kintail and Lochalsh as made the soldiers glad to beat a quick retreat.
After some further proceedings, all ineffectual, the two factors were enabled, on the 13th day of September, to set forth from Inverness with a party of thirty soldiers and some armed servants of their own, with the design of enforcing submission to their claims. Let it be remembered that in those days there were no roads in the Highlands, nothing but a few horse-tracks along the principal lines in the country, where not the slightest effort had ever been made to smooth away the natural difficulties of the ground. In two days the factors reached Invermoriston; but here they were stopped for three days, waiting for their heavy luggage, which was storm-stayed in Castle Urquhart, and there nearly taken in a night attack by a partisan warrior bearing the name of Evan Roy Macgillivray. The tenantry of Glenmoriston at first fled with their cattle, but afterwards a number of them came in and made the appearance of submission. The party then moved on towards Strathglass, while Evan Roy respectfully followed, to pick up any man or piece of baggage that might be left behind. At Erchless Castle, and at Invercannich, seats of the Chisholm, they held courts, and received the submission of a number of the tenants, whom, however, they subsequently found to be "very deceitful."
There were now forty or fifty miles of the wildest Highland country before them, where they had reason to believe they should meet groups of murderous Camerons and Glengarry Macdonalds, and also encounter the redoubtable Donald Murchison himself, with his guard of Mackenzies, unless their military force should be sufficiently strong to render all such opposition hopeless. An arrangement having been made that they should receive an addition of fifty soldiers from Bernera, with whom to pass through the most difficult part of their journey, it seemed likely that they would appear too strong for resistance and, indeed, intelligence was already coming to them, that "the people of Kintail, being a judicious opulent people, would not expose themselves to the punishments of law," and that the Camerons were absolutely determined to give no further provocation to the Government. Thus assured, they set out in cheerful mood along the valley of Strathglass, and, soon after passing a place called Knockfin, they were reinforced by Lieutenant Brymer with the expected fifty men from Bernera. There were now about a hundred well armed men in the invading body. They spent the next day (Sunday) together in rest, to gather strength for the ensuing day's march of about thirty arduous miles, by which they hoped to reach Kintail.
At four in the morning of Monday, the 2d of October, the party went forward, the Bernera men first, and the factors in the rear. They were as yet far from the height of the country, and from its more difficult passes; but they soon found that all the flattering tales of non-resistance were groundless, and that the Kintail men had come a good way out from that district in order to defend it. The truth was, that Donald Murchison had assembled not only his stated band of Mackenzies, but a levy of the Lewis men under Seaforth's cousin, Mackenzie of Kildun; also an auxiliary corps of Camerons, Glengarry and Glenmoriston men, and some of those very Strathglass men who had been making appearances of submission. Altogether he had, if the factors were rightly informed, three hundred and fifty men with long Spanish firelocks, under his command, and all posted in the way most likely to give them an advantage over the invading force.
The rear-guard, with the factors, had scarcely gone a mile when they received a platoon of seven shots from a rising ground near them to the right, which, however, had only the effect of piercing a soldier's hat. The Bernera company left the party at eight o'clock, as they were passing Lochanachlee, and from this time is heard of no more; how it made its way out of the country does not appear. The remainder still advancing, Easterfearn, as he rode a little before his men, had eight shots levelled at him from a rude breast-work near by, and was wounded in two places, but was able to appear as if he had not been touched. Then calling out some Highlanders in his service, he desired them to go before the soldiers and do their best, according to their own mode of warfare, to clear the ground of such lurking parties, so that the troops might advance in safety. They performed this service pretty effectually, skirmishing as they went on, and the main body advanced safely about six miles. They were here arrived at a place called Ath-na-Mullach, where the waters, descending from the Cralich and the lofty mountains of Kintail, issue eastwards through a narrow gorge into Loch Affric. It was a place remarkably well adapted for the purpose of a resisting party. A rocky boss, called Torr-a-Bheathaich, then densely covered with birch, closes up the glen as with a gate. The black mountain stream, "spear-deep," sweeps round it. A narrow path wound up the rock, admitting of passengers in single file. Here lay Murchison with the best of his people, while inferior adherents were ready to make demonstrations at a little distance. As the invading party approached, they received a platoon from a wood on the left, but nevertheless went on. When, however, they were all engaged in toiling up the pass, forty men concealed in the heather close by fired with deadly effect, inflicting a mortal wound on Walter Ross, Easterfearn's son while Bailie Ross's son was wounded by a bullet which swept across his breast. The Bailie called to his son to retire, and the order was obeyed; but the two wounded youths and Bailie Ross's servant were taken prisoners, and carried up the hill, where they were quickly divested of clothes, arms, money, and papers. Easterfearn's son died next morning. The troops faced the ambuscade manfully and are said to have given their fire thrice, and to have beaten the Highlanders from the bushes near them; but, observing at this juncture several parties of the enemy on the neighbouring heights, and being informed of a party of sixty in their rear, Easterfearn deemed it best to temporise.
He thereupon sent forward a messenger to ask who they were that opposed the King's troops, and what they wanted. The answer was that, in the first place, they required to have Ross of Easterfearn delivered up to them. This was pointedly refused; but it was at length arranged that Easterfearn should go forward and converse with the leader of the opposing party. The meeting took place at Beul-ath-na-Mullach, and Easterfearn found himself confronted with Donald Murchison. It ended with Easterfearn giving up his papers, and covenanting, under a penalty of five hundred pounds, not to officiate in his factory any more; after which he gladly departed homewards with his associates, under favour of a guard of Donald's men to conduct them safely past the sixty men who were lurking in the rear. It was alleged afterwards that the commander was much blamed by his own people for letting the factors off with their lives and baggage, particularly by the Camerons, who had been five days at their post with hardly anything to eat; and Murchison only pacified them by sending them a good supply of meat and drink. He had in reality given a very effective check to the two gentlemen-factors, to one of whom he imparted in conversation that any scheme of Government stewartship in Kintail was hopeless, for he and sixteen others had sworn that, if any person calling himself a factor came there, they would take his life, whether at kirk or at market, and deem it a meritorious action, though they should be cut to pieces for it the next minute.
A bloody grave for young Easterfearn in Beauly Cathedral concluded this abortive attempt to take the Seaforth estates within the scope of a law sanctioned by statesmen, but against which the natural feelings of nearly a whole people revolted.
A second attempt was then made to obtain possession of the forfeited Seaforth estates for the Government. It was calculated that what the two factors and their attendants with a small military force had failed to accomplish in the preceding October, when they were beaten back with fatal loss at Ath-na-Mullach, might now be effected by a military party alone, if they should make their approach through a less critical passage. A hundred and sixty of Colonel Kirk's regiment left Inverness under Captain M'Neill, who had at one time been Commander of the Highland Watch. They proceeded by Dingwall, Strathgarve, and Loch Carron, an easier, though a longer way. Donald Murchison, nothing daunted, got together his followers, and advanced to the top of Mam Attadale, by a high pass from Loch Carron to the bead of Loch Long, separating Lochalsh from Kintail. Here a gallant relative, Kenneth Murchison, and a few others, volunteered to go forward and plant themselves in ambush in the defiles of the Coille Bhan (White Wood), while the bulk of the party should remain where they were. It would appear that this ambush party consisted of thirteen men, all peculiarly well armed.
On approaching this dangerous place the Captain of the invading party went forward with a sergeant and eighteen men to clear the wood, while the main body came on slowly in the rear. At a place called Altanbadubh, in the Coille Bhan, he encountered Kenneth and his associates, whose fire wounded himself severely, killed one of his grenadiers, and wounded several others of the party. He persisted in advancing, and attacking the handful of natives with sufficient resolution they slowly withdrew, as unable to resist; but the Captain now obtained intelligence that a large body of Mackenzies was posted in the mountain pass of Attadale. It seemed to him as if there was a design to draw him into a fatal ambuscade. His own wounded condition probably warned him that a better opportunity might occur afterwards. He turned his forces about, and made the best of his way back to Inverness. Kenneth Murchison quickly rejoined Colonel Donald on Mam Attadale, with the cheering intelligence that one salvo of thirteen guns had repelled the hundred and sixty red-coats. After this we hear of no more attempts to comprise the Seaforth property.
Strange as it may seem, Donald Murchison, two years after this a second time resisting the Government troops, came down to Edinburgh with eight hundred pounds of the Earl's rents, that he might get the money sent abroad for Seaforth's use. He remained a fortnight in the city unmolested. He on this occasion appeared in the garb of a Lowland gentleman; he mingled with old acquaintances, "doers" and writers; and appeared at the Cross amongst the crowd of gentlemen who assembled there every day at noon. Scores knew all about his doings at Ath-na-Mullach and the Coille Bhan; but thousands might have known without the chance of one of them betraying him to the Government.
General Wade, in his report to the King in 1725, stated that the Seaforth tenants, formerly reputed the richest of any in the Highlands, were now become poor, by neglecting their business, and applying themselves to the use of arms. "The rents" he says, "continue to be collected by one Donald Murchison, a servant of the late Earl's, who annually remits or carries the same to his master in France. The tenants, when in a condition, are said to have sent him free gifts in proportion to their circumstances, but are now a year and a-half in arrear of rent. The receipts he gives to the tenants are as deputy-factor to the Commissioners of the Forfeited Estates, which pretended power he extorted from the factor (appointed by the said Commissioners to collect those rents for the use of the public), whom he attacked with above four hundred armed men, as he was going to enter upon the said estate, having with him a party of thirty of your Majesty's troops. The last year this Murchison marched in a public manner to Edinburgh, to remit eight hundred pounds to France for his master's use, and remained fourteen days there unmolested. I cannot omit observing to your Majesty that this national tenderness the subjects of North Britain have one for the other is a great encouragement for rebels and attainted persons to return home from their banishment."
Donald went again to Edinburgh about the end of August, 1725. On the 2d of September, George Lockhart of Carnwath, writing from that city to the Chevalier St George, states, amongst other information regarding his party in Scotland, that Daniel Murchison (as he calls him) "is come to Edinburgh, on his way to France" - doubtless charged with a sum of rents for Seaforth. "He's been in quest of me, and I of him," says Lockhart, "these two days, and missed each other; but in a day or two he's to be at my country house, where I'll get time to talk fully with him. In the meantime, I know from one that saw him that he has taken up and secured all the arms of value on Seaforth's estate, which he thought better than to trust them to the care and prudence of the several owners; and the other chieftains, I hear, have done the same."
The Commissioners on the forfeited estates concluded their final report in 1725, by stating that they had not sold the estate of William, Earl of Seaforth, "not having been able to obtain possession and consequently to give the same to a purchaser." [In a Whig poem on the Highland Roads, written in 1737, Donald is characteristically spoken of as a sort of cateran, while, in reality, as every generous person can now well understand, he was a high-minded gentleman. The verses, nevertheless, as well as the appended note, are curious -
Keppoch, Rob Roy, and Daniel Murchison, Cadets are servants to some chief of clan, From theft and robberies scarce did ever cease, Yet 'scaped the halter each, and died in peace. This last his exiled master's rents collected, Nor unto king or law would be subjected. Though veteran troops upon the confines lay, Sufficient to make lord and tribe a prey, Yet passes strong through which no roads were cut, Safe-guarded Seaforth's clan, each in his hu', Thus in strongholds the rogue securely lay, Neither could they by force be driven away, Till his attainted lord and chief of late By ways and means repurchased his estate.
"Donald Murchison, a kinsman and servant to the Earl of Seaforth, bred a writer, a man of small stature, but full of spirit and resolution, fought at Dunblane against the Government, anno 1715, but continued thereafter to collect Seaforth's rents for his lord's use, and had some bickerings with the King's forces on that account, till, about five years ago, the Government was so tender as to allow Seaforth to repurchase his estate, when the said Murchison had a principal band in striking the bargain for his master. How he fell under Seaforth's displeasure, and died thereafter, is not to the purpose here to mention."]
The end of Donald's career can scarcely now be passed over in a slighting manner. The story is most painful. The Seaforth of that day - very unlike some of his successors - proved unworthy of the devotion which this heroic man had shown to him. When his lordship took possession of the estates which Donald had in a manner preserved for him, he discountenanced and neglected him. Murchison's noble spirit pined away under this treatment, and he died in the very prime of his days of a broken heart. He lies in a remote little church-yard in the parish of Urray, where his worthy relative, the late Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, raised a suitable monument over his grave. The traditional account of Donald Murchison, communicated to Chambers by the late Finlay Macdonald, Druidaig, states that the heroic commissioner had been promised a handsome reward for his services; but Seaforth proved ungrateful. "He was offered only a small farm called Bun-Da-Loch, which pays at this day to Mr Matheson, the proprietor, no more than L60 a year; or another place opposite to Inverinate House, of about the same value. It is no wonder he refused these paltry offers. He shortly afterwards left this country, and died in the prime of life near Conon. On his death-bed, Seaforth went to see him, and asked how he was, when he said, 'Just as you will be in a short time,' and then turned his back. They never met again."
The death of George I. in 1726, suggested to the Chevalier a favourable opportunity for attempting a second Rising, and of again stirring up his adherents in Scotland, whither he was actually on his way, until strongly remonstrated with on the folly and hoplessness of such an undertaking. It was pointed out to him that it could only end in the ruin of his family pretentions, and in that of many of his friends who might be tempted to enter on the rash scheme more through personal attachment to himself than from any reasonable prospect they might see of success. He therefore retraced his steps to Boulogne; and the Earl of Seaforth having been pardoned in the same year, [By letters dated 12th July, 1726, King George I. was pleased to discharge him from imprisonment or the execution of his person on his attainder, and King George II. made him a grant of the arrears of feu-duties due to the Crown out of his forfeited estate. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1733, to enable William Mackenzie, late Earl of Seaforth, to sue or maintain any action or suit notwithstanding his attainder, and to remove any disability in him, by reason of his said attainder, to take or inherit any real or personal estate that may or shall hereafter descend to him. - "Wood's Douglas' Peerage."] felt free once more to return to his native land, where, according to Captain Matheson, he spent the remainder of his life in retirement, and "with few objects to occupy him or to interest us beyond the due regard of his personal friends and the uninterrupted loyalty of his old vassals." He must, however, have been in tightened circumstances, for, on the 27th of June, 1728, he writes a letter to the Lord Advocate, in which he refers to a request he had made to Sir Robert Walpole, who advised him to put his claim in writing that it might be submitted to the King. This was done, but "the King would neither allow anything of the kind or give orders to be granted what his Royal father had granted before. On hearing this, I could not forbear making appear how ill I was used. The Government in possession of the estate, and I in the interim allowed to starve, though they were conscious of my complying with whatever I promised to see put in execution." He makes a strong appeal to his friend to contribute to an arrangement that would tend to the mutual satisfaction of all concerned, "for the way I am now in is most disagreeable, consequently, if not rectified, will choose rather to seek my bread elsewhere than continue longer in so unworthy a situation." ["Culloden Papers," pp. 103-4] Notwithstanding the personal remission granted in his favour for the part he had taken in the Rising of 1715, the title of Earl of Seaforth, under which alone he was proscribed, passed under attainder, while the older and original dignity of Kintail, which only became subordinate by a future elevation, remained unnoticed, and, consequently unvitiated in the male descent of Kenneth, first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, granted by patent on the 19th of November, 1609, and it has accordingly been claimed. [This Act (of Attainder) omits all mention of the subordinate though older title of "Lord Kintail," which he and all the collateral branches descended of George, the second Earl, had taken up and assumed in all their deeds and transactions, though there was no occasion to use it in Parliament, as they appeared there as "Earls of Seaforth." It is questionable therefore, if the Act of Attainder of "William, Earl of Seaforth," by that designation only could affect the "barony of Kintail;" and as the designation to the patentee of it, "Suisque heredibus maxulis," seems to render the grant an entailed fee agreeable to the 7th of Queen Anne, c. 21, and the protecting clause of 26th Henry VIII. c. 13, the claimant George Falconer Mackenzie, is entitled to the benefit of such remainder, and in fact such remainder was given effect to by the succession of Earl George to his brother Colin's titles as his heir male collateral. - "Allangrange Service."]
Earl William married in early life, Mary, the only daughter and co-heir of Nicholas Kenet of Coxhow, Northumberland, with issue, three sons -
I. Kenneth, who succeeded his father.
II. Ronald, who died unmarried.
III. Nicholas, who was drowned at Douay, without issue.
IV. Frances, who married the Hon. John Gordon of Kenmure, whose father was beheaded in 1715.
He died in 1740 in the Island of Lewis, was buried there in the Chapel of Ui, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
XVIII. KENNETH, LORD FORTROSE,
Which courtesy title he continued to bear as the subordinate title of his father; and under this designation he is named as a freeholder of Ross in 1741. In the same year be was elected as member of Parliament for the Burgh of Inverness, for his own County of Ross in 1747, and again in 1754. In 1741, the year after Earl William's death, the Crown sold the Seaforth estates, including the lands of Kintail, the barony of Ellandonnan, and others, for L25,109 8s 31/2d, under burden of an annuity of L1000 to Frances, Countess Dowager of Seaforth. The purchase was for the benefit of Kenneth, Lord Fortrose. [Fraser's "Earls of Cromartie."] He does not appear to have passed much of his time in the Highlands, but about a year after his succession, he seems, from a warrant issued by his authority to have been in the North. It is signed by Colin Mackenzie, Baillie," and addressed to Roderick Mackenzie, officer of Locks, commanding him to summon and warn Donald Mackenzie, tacksman of Lainbest, and others, to compear before "Kenneth, Lord Fortrose, heritable proprietor of the Estate of Seaforth, at Braan Castle, or before his Lordship's Baron Baillies, or other judges appointed by him there, upon the 10th day of October next, to come to answer several unwarrantable and illegal things to be laid to their charge:" Dated at "Stornoway, 29th September, 1741." There is no doubt that in early life Lord Fortrose, during the exile of his father, held communications with the representative of the Stuarts. It is a common tradition in Kintail to this day that he and Sir Alexander Macdonald of Sleat were school companions of the Prince in France, and were among those who first imbued his mind with the idea of attempting to regain possession of his ancient Kingdom of Scotland, promising him that they would use their influence with the other northern chiefs to rise in his favour, although when the time for action came neither of them joined him.
The unfortunate position in which Kenneth found himself by the Jacobite proclivities of his ancestors, and especially those of his father, appears to have made a deep impression upon his mind, and to have induced him to be more cautious in supporting a cause which seemed certain to land him in final and utter ruin. But though he personally held aloof, several of the clan joined the Prince, mostly under George, third Earl of Cromarty, and a few under John Mackenzie, III. of Torridon. Several young and powerful Macraes, who strongly sympathised with the Prince, though unaccompanied by any of their natural leaders, left Kintail never again to return and, it is said, that several others had to be bound with ropes by their friends, to keep them at home. The influence of Lord President Forbes weighed strongly with Mackenzie in deciding him to support the Government, and, in return for his loyalty, the honours of the house of Seaforth were, in part, afterwards restored to his son.
In 1744 an exciting incident occurred in Inverness in which his Lordship played a conspicuous part, and which exemplifies the impetuous character of the Highland chiefs of the day. A court of the Freeholders of the county was being held there at Michaelmas to elect a collector of the land tax, at which were present, among others, Lord President Forbes, Norman Macleod of Macleod, Lord Fortrose, Lord Lovat, and many leading members of the Clan Fraser. A warm debate upon some burning business arose between Lords Lovat and Fortrose, when the former gave the latter the lie direct. To this Mackenzie replied by giving Lovat a smart blow in the face. Mutual friends at once intervened between the fiery antagonists. But the Fraser blood was up, and Fraser of Foyers, who was present, interfered in the interest of the chief of his clan, but more, however, it is said, in that capacity than from any personal esteem in which he held him. He felt that in his chief's person the whole clan had been insulted as if it had actually been a personal blow to every man of the name, and he instantly sprung down from the gallery and presented a loaded and cocked pistol at Mackenzie's head, to whom it would undoubtedly have proved fatal had not one of the gentlemen present, with great presence of mind, thrown his plaid over the muzzle, and thus arrested and diverted its contents. In another moment swords and dirks were drawn on both sides, but the Lord President and Macleod laid hold of Mackenzie and hurried him from the Court. Yet he no sooner gained the outside than one of the Frasers levelled him to the ground with a blow from a heavy bludgeon, notwithstanding the efforts of his friends to protect him. The matter was, however, afterwards, with great difficulty, arranged by mutual friends, between the great clans and their respective chiefs, otherwise the social jealousies and personal irritations which then prevailed throughout the whole Highlands, fanned by this incident, would have produced a lasting and bloody feud between the Frasers and the Mackenzies.
In the following year, shortly after the Lord President arrived at Culloden from the south, he wrote a letter to Mackenzie dated the 11th of October 1745, in which he tells him that the Earl of Loudon had come the day before to Cromarty, and brought some "credit" with him, which "will enable us to put the Independent Companies together for the service of the Government and for our mutual protection." He requested Fortrose to give immediate orders to pick out those who are first to form one of the companies, that they might receive their commissions and arms. Alexander Mackenzie of Fairburn was to command. There was, the President said, a report that Barrisdale had gone to Assynt to raise the men of that country, to be joined to those of Coigeach, who were said to have orders to be in readiness to join Macdonald, and with instructions to march through Mackenzie's territories in order to find out how many of his Lordship's vassals could be persuaded, by fair means or foul, to join the standard of the Prince. "I hope this is not true," writes the President; "if it is, it is of the greatest consequence to prevent it. I wish Fairburn were at home; your Lordship will let me know when he arrives, as the Lord Cromarty has refused the company I intended for his son. Your Lordship will deliberate to whom you would have it given." ["Culloden Papers," pp. 421-2.]
Exasperated at this time by the exertions made by President Forbes to obstruct the designs of the disaffected, a plan was formed to seize him by some of the Frasers, a party of whom, amounting to about 200, attacked Culloden House during the night of the 15th of October, but the President being on his guard they were repulsed. [Fraser's "Earls of Cromartie."]
On the 13th of October Mackenzie had written to Forbes that he surmised some young fellows of his name attempted to raise men for the Prince, but that he sent expresses to the suspected parts, with orders to the tenants not to stir under pain of death without his leave, though their respective masters should be imprudent enough to desire them to do so. The messengers returned with the people's blessings for his protection, and with assurances that they would do nothing without his orders, "so that henceforward your Lordship need not be concerned about any idle report from benorth Kessock." In a letter dated "Brahan Castle, 19th October 1745," Lord Fortrose refers to the attempt on the President's house, which, he says, surprised him extremely, and "is as dirty an action as I ever heard of," and he did not think any gentleman would be capable of doing such a thing. He adds, "as I understand your cattle are taken away, I beg you will order your steward to write to Colin, or anybody else here, for provisions, as I can be supplied from the Highlands. I am preparing to act upon the defensive, and I suppose will soon be provoked to act on the offensive. I have sent for a strong party to protect my house and overawe the country. None of my Kintail men will be down till Tuesday, but as the river is high, and I have parties at all boats, nothing can be attempted. Besides, I shall have reinforcements every day. I have ordered my servants to get, at Inverness, twelve or twenty pounds of powder with a proportionable quantity of shot. If that cannot be bought at Inverness, I must beg you will write a line to Governor Grant to give my servant the powder, as I can do without the shot ... Barrisdale has come down from Assynt, and was collared by one of the Maclauchlans there for offering to force the people to rise, and he has met with no success there. I had a message from the Mackenzies in Argyllshire to know what they should do. Thirty are gone from Lochiel; the rest, being about sixty, are at home. I advised them to stay at home and mind their own business."
On the 28th of the same month his Lordship writes to inform the President that the Earl of Cromarty and his son, Macculloch of Glastullich, and Ardloch's brother, came to Brahan Castle on the previous Friday; that it was the most unexpected visit he had received for some time, that he did not like to turn them out, that Cromarty was pensive and dull; but that if he had known what he knew at the date of writing he would have made them prisoners, for Lord Macleod went since to Lochbroom and Assynt to raise men. He enclosed for the President's use the names of the officers appointed to the two Mackenzie companies, and intimated that he offered the commission to both Coul and Redcastle, but that both refused it. It was from Coul's house, he says, that Lord Macleod started for the North, and that vexed him. On the same day Forbes acknowledges receipt of this letter, and requests that the officers in the two companies should be appointed according to Mackenzie's recommedations, "without any further consideration than that you judge it right," and he desires to see Sir Alexander of Fairburn for an hour next day to carry a proposal to his Lordship for future operations. "I think," he adds, "it would be right to assemble still more men about Brahan than you now have; the expense shall be made good and it will tend to make Caberfey respectable, and to discourage folly among your neighbours." In a letter of 6th November the President says, "I supposed that your Lordship was to have marched Hilton's company into town (Inverness) on Monday or Tuesday; but I dare say there is a good reason why it has not been done."
On the 8th of November Mackenzie informs the Lord President that the Earl of Cromarty had crossed the river at Contin, with about a hundred men on his way to Beauly, "owing to the neglect of my spies, as there's rogues of all professions." Lord Macleod, Cromarty's son came from Assynt and Lochbroom the same day, and followed his father to the rendezvous, but after traversing the whole of that northern district he did not get a single volunteer. "Not a man started from Ross-shire, except William, Kilcoy's brother, with seven men, and a tenant of Redcastle with a few more and if Lentran and Torridon did go off last night, they did not carry between them a score of men. I took a ride yesterday to the westward with two hundred men, but find the bounds so rugged that it's impossible to keep a single man from going by if he has a mind. However, I threatened to burn their cornyards if anybody was from home this day, and I turned one house into the river for not finding its master at home. It's hard the Government gives nobody in the North power to keep people in order. I don't choose to send a company to Inverness until I hear what they are determined to do at Lord Lovat's."
The Earl of Loudon writes to Marshal Wade, then Commander-in-Chief in the North, under date of 16th November, saying that 150 or 160 Mackenzies, seduced by the Earl of Cromarty, marched in the beginning of that week up the north side of Loch-Ness, expecting to be followed by 500 or 600 Frasers, under command of the Master of Lovat, but the Mackenzies had not on that date passed the mountains. On the 16th of December Fortrose writes asking for L400 expended by him during two months on his men going to and coming from the Highlands, for which he would not trouble him only that he bad a very "melancholy appearance" of getting his Martinmas rent, as the people would be glad of any excuse for non-payment, and the last severe winter, and their having to leave home, would afford them a very good one. He was told by the President in reply, that his letter had been submitted to Lord Loudon, that both of them agreed that his Lordship's expenses must have been far greater than what he claimed, "but as cash is very low with us at present, all we can possibly do is to let your Lordship have the pay of the two companies from the date of the letter signifying that they were ordered to remain at Brahan for the service of the Government. The further expense, which we are both satisfied it must have cost your Lordship, shall be made good as soon as any money to be applied to contingencies, which we expect, shall come to hand, and if it should not come so soon as we wish, the account shall be made up and solicited, in the same manner with what we lay out of our own purses, which is no inconsiderable sums." This correspondence will show the confidence which then existed between the Government and Lord Fortrose.
On the 9th of December the two Mackenzie companies were marched into Inverness. Next day, accompanied by a detachment from Fort-Augustus, they proceeded to Castle Dounie for the purpose of bringing Lord Lovat to account. The crafty old Simon agreed to come in to Inverness and to deliver up his arms on the 14th of the month, but instead of doing so he of course made good his escape.
After the battle of Prestonpans, the Government, on the recommendation of the Earl of Stair, forwarded twenty blank commissions to President Forbes, with orders to raise as many companies of 100 men each, among the Highlanders. Eighteen of the twenty were sent to the Earls of Sutherland and Cromarty, Lords Fortrose and Reay, the Lairds of Grant and Macleod, and Sir Alexander Macdonald of Sleat, with instructions to raise the Highland companies in their respective districts. The Earl of Cromarty, while pretending to comply with the instructions of the Lord President, offered the command of one of the companies to a neighbouring gentleman, whom he well knew to be a strong Jacobite, and at the same time made some plausible excuse for his son's refusal of another of the commissions.
When Lord John Drummond landed with a body of Irish and Scotch troops, in the service of the French, to aid Prince Charles, he wrote to Mackenzie announcing his arrival and earnestly requesting him to declare at once for the Stuart cause, as the only means by which he could "now expect to retrieve his character." All the means at Drummond's disposal proved futile, and the Mackenzies were thus kept out of the Rising of 1745.
That Prince Charles fully appreciated the importance of having the Mackenzies led by their natural chief, for or against him, will be seen from Lord Macleod's Narrative of the Rebellion. [Printed at length in Fraser's "Earls of Cromartie."] "We set out," his Lordship says, "from Dunblain on the 12th of January, and arrived the same evening at Glasgow. I immediately went to pay my respects to the Prince, and found that he was already set down to supper. Dr Cameron told Lord George Murray, who sat by the Prince, who I was, on which the Lord Murray introduced me to the Prince, whose hand I had the honour to kiss, after which the Prince ordered me to take my place at the table. After supper I followed the Prince to his apartment to give him an account of his affairs in the North, and of what had passed in these parts during the time of his expedition to England. I found that nothing surprised the Prince so much as to hear that the Earl of Seaforth had declared against him, for he heard without emotion the names of the other people who had joined the Earl of Loudon at Inverness; but when I told him that Seaforth had likewise sent two hundred men to Inverness for the service of the Government, and that he had likewise hindered many gentlemen of his clan from joining my father (the Earl of Cromarty) for the service of the Stuarts, he turned to the French Minister and said to him, with some warmth, "Hc! mon Dieu! et Seaforth est aussi contre moi!""
At this stage a hero named Mackenzie, who had done good service to the Prince in his wanderings through the Highlands after the battle of Culloden, may be mentioned. Such a small tribute is due to the gallant Roderick Mackenzie, whose intrepidity and presence of mind in the last agonies of death, saved his Prince from pursuit at the time, and was consequently the means of his ultimate escape in safety to France. Charles had been pursued with the most persevering assiduity, but Roderick's ruse proved so successful on this occasion that further search was for a time considered unnecessary. Mackenzie was a young man, of respectable family, who joined the Prince at Edinburgh, and served as one of his life-guards. Being about the same age as his Royal Highness, and, like him, tall, somewhat slender, and with features in some degree resembling his, he might, by ordinary observers not accustomed to see the two together, have passed for the Prince himself. As Roderick could not venture with safety to return to Edinburgh, where still lived his two maiden sisters, he after the battle of Culloden fled to the Highlands and lurked among the hills of Glenmoriston, where, about the middle of July, he was surprised by a party of Government soldiers. Mackenzie endeavoured to escape, but, being overtaken, he turned on his pursuers, and, drawing his sword, bravely defended himself. He was ultimately shot by one of the red-coats, but as he fell, mortally wounded, he exclaimed, "You have killed your Prince! You have killed your Prince!" whereupon he immediately expired. The soldiers, overjoyed at their supposed good fortune, cut off his head, and hurried off to Fort-Augustus with their prize. The Duke of Cumberland, quite convinced that he had now obtained the head of his Royal relative, packed it up carefully, ordered a post-chaise, and at once went off to London, taking the head along with him. After his arrival the deception was discovered, but meanwhile it proved of great assistance to Prince Charles in his ultimately successful efforts to escape.
Shortly after the battle of Culloden a fleet of ships appeared off the coast of Lochbroom, under the command of Captain Fergusson. They dropped anchor at Loch-Ceannard, when a large party went ashore and proceeded up the Strath to the residence of Mr Mackenzie of Langwell, connected by marriage with the Earl of Cromarty. Langwell having supported the Prince, fled out of the hated Fergusson's way; but his lady was obliged to remain at home to attend to a large family of young children, who were at the time laid up with smallpox. The house was ransacked. A large chest containing the family and other valuable papers, including a wadset of Langwell and Inchvannie from her relative, George, Earl of Cromarty, was burnt before her eyes; and about fifty head of fine Highland cattle were mangled by the swords and driven to the ships of the spoilers. Nor did this satisfy them. They committed similar depredations, without any discrimination between friend or foe, for eight days during which they remained in the neighbourhood. ["New Statistical Account of Lochbroom."]
It is well known that Mackenzie had strong Jacobite feelings although his own prudence and the influence of Lord President Forbes secured his support for the Government. "Though many respectable individuals of the Clan Mackenzie had warmly espoused the cause of Charles, Lord Fortrose seems at no time to have proclaimed openly for him, whatever hopes he might have countenanced when in personal communication with the expatriated Sovereign, as indeed there is cause to infer something of the kind from a letter which, towards the end of November, 1745, was addressed by Lord John Drummond to Kenneth, pressing him instantly to join the Prince, then successfully penetrating the West of England, and qualifying the invitation by observing that it was the only mode for his Lordship to retrieve his character. Yet so little did Fortrose or his immediate followers affect the cause, that when Lord Lovat blockaded Fort-Augustus, two companies of Mackenzies, which bad been stationed at Brahan, were withdrawn, and posted by Lord Loudon, the commander-in-chief of the Government forces, at Castle Dounie, the stronghold of Fraser and, with the exception of these, the Royal party received no other support from the family of Seaforth, though many gentlemen of the clan served in the King's army. Yet it appears that a still greater number, with others whose ancestors identified themselves with the fortunes of the House of Kintail, were inclined to espouse the more venturous steps of the last of the Stuarts. George, the last Earl of Cromarty, being then paramount in power, and, probably so, in influence, even to the chief himself, having been, for certain reasons, liable to suspicions as to their disinterested nature, declared for Charles, and under his standard his own levy, with all the Jacobite adherents of the clan, ranged themselves, and were mainly instrumental in neutralizing Lord Loudon's and the Laird of Macleod's forces in the subsequent operations of 1746, driving them with the Lord President Forbes, to take shelter in the Isle of Skye." [Bennetsfield MS.]
Kenneth married on the 11th of September, 1741, Lady Mary, eldest daughter of Alexander Stewart, sixth Earl of Galloway, with issue -
I. Kenneth, his heir and successor.
II. Margaret, who on the 4th of June, married William Webb.
III. Mary, who married Henry Howard, of Effingham, with issue.
IV. Agnes, who married J. Douglas.
V. Catherine, who on the 1st of March, 1773, married Thomas Griffin Tarpley, student of medicine.
VI. Frances, who married General Joseph Wald.
VII. Euphemia, who, on the 2nd of April, 1771, married William Stewart of Castle Stewart, M.P. for the County of Wigton.
His wife died in London on the 18th of April, 1751, and was buried at Kensington, where a monument was raised to her memory. Kenneth died, also in London, on the 19th of October, 1761, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, when he was succeeded by his only son,
XIX. KENNETH, SIXTH EARL OF SEAFORTH,
Viscount Fortrose, and Baron Ardelve, in the Peerage of Ireland. From his small stature, he was generally known among the Highlanders as the "Little Lord." He was born in Edinburgh on the 15th of January, 1744, and at an early age entered the army. As a return for his father's loyalty to the House of Hanovar in 1745, and his own steady support of the reigning family, George III., in 1764, raised him to the peerage by the title of Baron Ardelve. He was created Viscount Fortrose in 1766, and in 1771, Earl of Seaforth, all in the peerage of Ireland. To evince his gratitude for this magnanimous act, he, in 1778, offered to raise a regiment for general service. The offer was accepted by his Majesty, and a fine body of 1130 men were in a very short time raised by his Lordship, principally on his own estates in the north and by gentlemen of his own name. Of these, five hundred were enlisted among his immediate vassals, and about four hundred from the estates of the Mackenzies of Scatwell, Kilcoy, Redcastle, and Applecross. The officers from the south to whom he gave commissions in the regiment brought about two hundred men, of whom forty-three were English and Irish. The Macraes of Kintail, always such faithful followers and able supporters of the House of Seaforth, were so numerous in the new regiment that it was known more by their name than by that of Seaforth's own kinsmen, and so much was this the case that the well-known mutiny which took place in Edinburgh, on the arrival of the regiment there, is still known as "the affair of the Macraes." [The Seaforth Highlanders were marched to Leith, where they were quartered for a short interval, though long enough to produce complaints about the infringement of their engagements, and some pay and bounty which they said were due them. Their disaffection was greatly increased by the activity of emissaries from Edinburgh, like those just mentioned as having gone down front London to Portsmouth. The regiment refused to embark, and marching out of Leith, with pipes playing and two plaids fixed on poles instead of colours, took a position on Arthur's Seat, of which they kept possession for several days, during which time the inhabitants of Edinburgh amply supplied them with provisions and ammunition. After much negotiation, a proper understanding respecting the cause of their complaint was brought about, and they marched down the hill in the same manner in which they had gone up, with pipes playing; and "with the Earls of Seaforth and Dunmore, and General Skene, at their head, they entered Leith, and went on board the transports with the greatest readiness, and cheerfulness." In this case, as in that of the Athole Highlanders, none of he men were brought to trial, or even put into confinement for these acts of open resistance. - "Stewart's Sketches - Appendix" p. lxvviv.] The regiment was embodied at Elgin in May, 1778, and inspected there by General Skene, when it was so effective that not a single man was rejected. Seaforth, appointed Colonel on the 29th of December, 1777, was now promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel-Commandant, and the regiment was called the 78th (afterwards the 72nd), or Ross-shire Regiment of Highlanders.
The grievances complained of at Leith being removed, the regiment embarked at that port, accompanied by their Colonel, and the intention of sending them to India having been abandoned, one half of the corps was sent to Guernsey and the other half to Jersey. Towards the end of April, 1781, the two divisions assembled at Portsmouth, whence they embarked for India on the 12th of June following, being then 973 strong, rank and file. Though in excellent health, the men suffered so much from scurvy, in consequence of the change of food, that before their arrival at Madras, on the 2d of April, 1782, no fewer than 247 of them died. and out of those who landed alive only 369 were fit for service. Their Chief and Colonel died in August, 1781, before they arrived at St Helena, to the great grief and dismay of his faithful followers, who looked up to him as their principal source of encouragement and support. His loss was naturally associated in their minds with recollections of home, with melancholy remembrances of their absent kindred, and with forebodings of their own future destiny and so strong was this feeling impressed upon them that it materially contributed to that prostration of mind which made them all the more readily become the victims of disease. They well knew that it was on their account alone that he had determined to forego the comforts of a splendid fortune and high rank to encounter the privations and inconveniences of a long voyage and the dangers and other fatigues of military service in a tropical climate. ["Stewart's Sketches," and Fullarton's "History of the Highland Clans and Highland Regiments."]
His Lordship married on the 7th of October, 1765, Lady Caroline Stanhope, eldest daughter of William, second Earl of Harrington, and by her - who died in London from consumption, from which she suffered for nearly two years, on the 9th of February, 1767, at the early age of twenty, ["Scots' Magazine" for 1767, p. 533.] and was buried at Kensington - he had issue, an only daughter, Lady Caroline, who was born in London on the 7th of July, 1766. She formed an irregular union with Lewis Malcolm Drummond, Count Melfort, a nobleman of the Kingdom of France, originally of Scottish extraction, and died in 1547. She is buried under a flat stone inscribed with her name in the St Pancras (Old) Burial Ground, London.
Thus the line of George, second Earl of Seaforth, who died in 1633, became extinct; and the reader must therefore now accompany us back to Kenneth Mor, the third Earl, to pick up the chain of legitimate succession. It has been already shown that the lineal descent of the original line of Kintail was diverted from heirs male in the person of Anna, Countess of Balcarres, daughter of Colin, first Earl of Seaforth.
Kenneth Mor, the third Earl, had four sons - (1) Kenneth Og, his heir and successor, whose line terminated in Lady Caroline, as above; (2) John of Assynt, whose only son, Alexander, had an only son Kenneth, who died in 1723 without issue; (3) Hugh, who died young; and (4) Colonel Alexander, afterwards designated of Assynt and Conansbay, who, as his second wife, married Elizabeth, daughter of John Paterson, Bishop of Ross, and sister of John Paterson, Archbishop of Glasgow. Colonel Alexander had no issue by his first wife, but by the second he had an only son and six daughters. The daughters were (1) Isabella, who married Basil Hamilton of Baldoon, became the mother of Dunbar, fourth Earl of Selkirk, and died in 1725; (2) Frances, who married her cousin, Kenneth Mackenzie of Assynt, without issue; (3) Jane, who married Dr Mackenzie, a cadet of Coul, and died at New Tarbat, on the 18th of September, 1776; (4) Mary, who married Captain Dougall Stuart of Blairhall, a Lord of Session and Justiciary, and brother of the first Earl of Bute, with issue; (5) Elizabeth, who died unmarried at Kirkcudbright, on the 12th of March, 1796, aged 81; and (6) Maria, who married Nicholas Price of Saintfield, County Down, Ireland, with issue. She was maid of honour to Queen Caroline, and died in 1732. Colonel Alexander's only son was,
Major William Mackenzie, who died on the 12th of March, 1770. He married Mary, daughter and co-heir of Matthew Humberston, Lincoln, with issue, two sons - (1) Thomas Frederick Mackenzie, Colonel of the 100th Regiment of foot, who assumed the name of Humberston in addition to his own on succeeding to his mother's property; and (2) Francis Humberston Mackenzie. Both of Major William's sons ultimately succeeded to the Seaforth estates. He had also four daughters - (1) Frances Cerjat, who married Sir Vicary Gibbs, M.P., his Majesty's Attorney-General, with issue; (2) Maria Rebecca, who married Alexander Mackenzie of Breda, younger son of James Mackenzie, III. of Highfield, with issue, six sons - William, a Lieutenant in the 78th Highlanders, who died at Breda, in Holland, from a wound which he received on the previous day at the taking of Merxein, in 1814 Thomas, a Midshipman, R.N., drowned at sea; Frederick, R.N., murdered at Calcutta in 1820; Francis, R.N., drowned at sea in 1828; and Colin, all without issue; also Captain Alexander, of the 25th Regiment, subsequently Adjutant of the Ross-shire Militia, who married Lilias Dunbar, daughter of James Fowler of Raddery, with issue - James Evan Fowler, who died unmarried; Alexander, now residing at Fortrose, and three daughters who died unmarried; (3) Elizabeth, who died without issue; and (4) Helen, who married Major-General Alexander Mackenzie-Fraser of Inverallochy, fourth son of Colin Mackenzie, VI. of Kilcoy, Colonel of the 78th Regiment, and M.P. for the County of Ross, with issue.
Major William died on the 12th of March, 1770, at Stafford, Lincolnshire. His wife died on the 19th of February, 1813, at Hartley, Herts. His eldest son,
Colonel Thomas Frederick Mackenzie-Humberston, it will be seen, thus became male heir to his cousin, Earl Kenneth, who died, without male issue, in 1781. The Earl, finding his property heavily encumbered with debts from which he could not extricate himself, conveyed the estates to his cousin and heir male, Colonel Thomas, in 1779, on payment of L100,000. Earl Kenneth died, as already stated, in 1781, and was succeeded by his cousin,
XX. COLONEL THOMAS FREDERICK MACKENZIE-HUMBERSTON,
In all his estates, and in the command of the 78th Ross-shire Highland Regiment, but not in the titles and dignities, which terminated with his predecessor. When the 78th was raised, in 1778, Thomas Frederick Mackenzie-Humberston was a captain in the 1st Regiment of Dragoon Guards, but he gave this up and accepted a captaincy in Seaforth's regiment of Ross-shire Highlanders. He was afterwards quartered with the latter in Jersey, and took a prominent share in repelling the attack made on that island by the French. On the 2nd of September, 1780, he was appointed from the 78th as Lieutenant-Colonel-Commandant of the 100th Foot.
In 1781 he embarked with this regiment to the East Indies, and was at Port Preya when the outward bound East India fleet under Commodore Johnston was attacked by the French. He happened at the time to be ashore, but such was his ardour to share in the action that he swam to one of the ships engaged with the enemy. Immediately on his arrival in India he obtained a separate command on the Malabar Coast, but in its exercise he met with every possible discouragement from the Council of Bombay. This, however, only gave a man of his spirit greater opportunity of distinguishing himself, for, under all the disadvantages of having funds, stores, and reinforcements withheld from him, he undertook, with 1000 Europeans and 2500 Sepoys to wage an offensive war against Calicut. He was conscious of great personal resources, and harmony, confidence, and attachment on the part of his officers and men. He finally drove the enemy out of the country, defeated them in three different engagements, took the city of Calicut, and every other place of strength in the kingdom. He concluded a treaty with the King of Travancore, who was reinforced by a body of 1200 men. Tippoo then proceeded against him with an army of 30,000, more than one-third of them cavalry; Colonel Mackenzie-Humberston repelled their attack, and by a rapid march regained the Fort of Panami, which the enemy attempted to carry, but he defeated them with great loss. He served under General Matthews against Hyder Ali in 1782; but during the operations of that campaign, Matthews gave such proofs of incapacity and injustice, that Colonels Macleod and Humberston carried their complaints to the Council of Bombay, where they arrived on the 26th of February, 1783. The Council ordered General Matthews to be superseded, appointed Colonel Macleod to succeed him in command of the army, and desired Colonel Humberston to join him. They both sailed from Bombay on the 5th of April, 1783, in the "Ranger" sloop of war; but, notwithstanding that peace had been concluded with the Mahrattas, their ship was attacked on the 8th of that month by the Mahratta fleet, and after a desperate resistance of four hours, captured. All the officers on board were either killed or wounded, among them the young and gallant Colonel Mackenzie-Humberston, who was shot through the body with a four pound ball, and he died of the wound at Geriah, on the 30th April, 1783, in the 28th year of his age. A fine monument is erected to his memory in Fortrose Cathedral. He had only been Chief of the Clan for two years, and, dying unmarried, he was succeeded as head of the house and in the family estates by his next and only lawful brother, ["Douglas' Peerage." He had a natural son, Captain Humberston Mackenzie, of the 78th, killed at the storming of Ahmadnugger, on the 8th of August, 1803.]
XXI. FRANCIS HUMBERSTON MACKENZIE,
Raised to the peerage of the United Kingdom as Lord Seaforth and Baron Mackenzie of Kintail, in 1797. This nobleman was in many respects an able and remarkable man, was born in 1754, in full possession of all his faculties but a severe attack of scarlet fever, from which he suffered when about twelve years of age, deprived him of hearing and almost of speech. As he advanced in years he again nearly recovered the use of his tongue, but during the last two years of his life, grieving over the loss of his four promising sons, all of whom predeceased him, he became unable, or rather never made the attempt to articulate. In his youth he was intended to follow the naval profession, but his physical misfortunes made such a career impossible.
Little or nothing is known of the history of his early life. In 1784, and again in 1790, he was elected M.P. for the County of Ross. In 1787, in the thirty-third year of his age, he offered to raise a regiment on his own estates for the King's service, to be commanded by himself. In the same year the 74th, 75th, 76th, and 77th Regiments were raised, and the Government declined his patriotic offer, but agreed to accept his services in procuring recruits for the 74th and 75th. This did not satisify him, and he did not then come prominently to the front. On the 19th of May 1790, he renewed his offer, but the Government informed him that the strength of the army had been finally fixed at 77 Regiments, and his services were again declined. He was still anxious to be of service to his country, and when the war broke out in 1793, he for the third time renewed his offer, and placed his great influence at the service of the Crown. On this occasion a letter of service is granted in his favour, dated the 7th of March, 1793, empowering him, as Lieutenant-Colonel-Commandant, to raise a Highland battalion, which, being the first embodied during the war, was to be numbered the 78th, the original Mackenzie regiment having had its number previously reduced to the 72d. The battalion was to consist of one company of grenadiers, one of light infantry, and eight battalion companies. The Mackenzie chief at once appointed as his Major his own brother-in-law, Alexander Mackenzie, at that time of Belmaduthy but afterwards of Inverallochy and Castle Fraser, fourth and younger son of Colin Mackenzie, VI. of Kilcoy, then a captain in the 73d Regiment, and a man who proved himself on all future occasions well fitted for the post. The following notice, headed by the Royal arms, was immediately posted throughout the counties of Ross and Cromarty, on the mainland, and in the Island of Lewis:
"SEAFORTH'S HIGHLANDERS to be forthwith raised for the defence of his Glorious Majesty, King George the Third, and the preservation of our happy constitution in Church and State.
"All lads of true Highland blood willing to show their loyalty and spirit, may repair to Seaforth, or the Major, Alexander Mackenzie of Belmaduthy or the other commanding officers at headquarters at , where they will receive high bounties and soldier-like entertainment.
"The lads of this regiment will live and die together, as they cannot be draughted into other regiments, and must be reduced in a body, in their own country.
"Now for a stroke at the Monsieurs, my boys! King George for ever! Huzza!"
The machinery once set agoing, applications poured in upon Seaforth for commissions in the corps from among his more immediate relatives, and from others who were but slightly acquainted with him. [Besides Seaforth himself, and his Major mentioned in the text, the following, of the name of Mackenzie, appear among the first list of officers:
Major. - Alexander Mackenzie of Fairburn, General in 1809.
Captains. - John Mackenzie of Gairloch, "Fighting Jack," Major in 1794. Lieutenant-Colonel the same year and Lieutenant-General in 1814; died the father of the British Army in 1860; and John Randoll Mackenzie of Suddie, Major-General in 1804, killed at Talavera in 1809.
Lieutenant. - Colin Mackenzie, Lieutenant-Colonel 91st Regiment.
Ensigns. - Charles Mackenzie, Kilcoy; and J. Mackenzie Scott, Captain 57th Regiment; killed at Albuera.]
The martial spirit of the people soon became thoroughly roused, and recruits came in so rapidly that on the 10th of July, 1793, only four months after the letter of service to Seaforth, the Regiment was marched to Fort-George, inspected and passed by Lieutenant-General Sir Hector Munro, when five companies were immediately embarked for Guernsey and the other five companies were landed in Jersey in September, 1793, and afterwards sent to Holland.
On the 13th of October, the same year, Mackenzie offered to raise a second battalion for the 78th, and on the 30th of the same month the King gave him permission to raise five hundred additional men on the original letters of service. But this was not what he wanted, and on the 28th of December following he submitted to the Government three alternative proposals for raising a second battalion. On the 7th of February, 1794, one of these was agreed to. The battalion was to be formed of eight battalion and two flank companies, each to consist of 100 men, with the usual number of officers and noncommissioned officers. He was, however, disappointed by the Government; for while he intended to have raised a second battalion for his own regiment, an order was issued signed by Lord Amherst, that it was to be considered a separate corps, whereupon the Lieutenant-Colonel-Commandant addressed the following protest to Mr Dundas, one of the Secretaries of State:
St Alban Street, 8th February, 1794.
Sir, - I had sincerely hoped I should not be obliged to trouble you again; but on my going to-day to the War Office about my letter of service (having yesterday, as I thought, finally agreed with Lord Amherst), I was, to my amazement, told that Lord Amherst had ordered that the 1000 men I am to raise were not to be a second battalion of the 78th, but a separate corps. It will, I am sure, occur to you that should I undertake such a thing, it would destroy my influence among the people of my country entirely and instead of appearing as a loyal honest chieftain calling out his friends to support their King and country, I should be gibbeted as a jobber of the attachment my neighbours bear to me. Recollecting what passed between you and me, I barely state the circumstance; and I am, with great respect and attachment, sir, your most obliged and obedient servant,
F. H. MACKENZIE.
This had the desired effect the order for a separate corps was rescinded, and a letter of service was issued in his favour on the 10th of February, 1794, authorising him, as Lieutenant-Colonel- Commandant, to add the new battalion, the strength of which was to be one company of grenadiers, one of light infantry, and eight battalion companies, to his own regiment. The regiment was soon raised, inspected and passed at Fort-George in June of the same year by Lieutenant-General Sir Hector Munro; and in July following the King gave permission to have it named, as a distinctive title, "The Ross-shire Buffs." The two battalions were amalgamated in June, 1796. Another battalion was raised in 1804 - letter of service, dated 17th April. These were again amalgamated in July, 1817.
Although the regiment was not accompanied abroad by its Lieutenant-Colonel-Commandant, he continued most solicitous for its reputation and welfare, as we find from the various communications addressed to him regarding it and the conduct of the men by Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Mackenzie of Fairburn, appointed its Lieutenant-Colonel from the first battalion, [John Randoll Mackenzie, also from the first battalion, was appointed senior Major.] and then in actual command; but as the history of the 78th Highlanders is not our present object, we must here part company with it and follow the future career of Francis Humberston Mackenzie.
As a reward for his eminent services to the Government he was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Ross, and, on the 26th of October, 1797, raised to the dignity of a peer of the United Kingdom, by the titles of Lord Seaforth and Baron Mackenzie of Kintail, the ancient dignities of his house, with limitation to the heirs male of his body. His Lordship, having resigned the command of the 78th, was, in 1798, appointed Colonel of the Ross-shire Regiment of Militia. In 1800 he was appointed Governor of Barbadoes, an office which he retained for six years, after which he held high office in Demerara and Berbice. While Governor of Barbadoes he was for a time extremely popular, and was distinguished for his firmness and even-handed justice. He succeeded in putting an end to slavery, and to the practice of slave-killing in the island, which at that time was of very common occurrence, and deemed by the planters a venal offence punishable only by a small fine of 15. In consequence of his humane proceedings in this matter he became obnoxious to many of the colonists, and, in 1806, he finally left the island. In 1808 he was made a Lieutenant-General.
These were singular incidents in the life of a man who may be said to have been deaf and dumb from his youth but who, in spite of these physical defects - sufficient to crush any ordinary man - had been able, by the force of his natural abilities and the favour of fortune, to overcome them sufficiently to raise himself to such a high and important position in the world. He took a lively interest in all questions of art and science, especially in natural history, and displayed at once his liberality and his love of art by his munificence to Sir Thomas Lawrence, in the youth and struggles of that great artist and famous painter, and by his patronage of others. On this point a recent writer says - "The last baron of Kintail, Francis. Lord Seaforth, was, as Sir Walter Scott has said, 'a nobleman of extraordinary talents, who must have made for himself a lasting reputation had not his political exertions been checked by painful natural infirmities.' Though deaf from his sixteenth year and though labouring under a partial impediment of speech, he held high and important appointments, and was distinguished for his intellectual activities and attainments ... His case seems to contradict the opinion held by Kitto and others, that in all that relates to the culture of the mind, and the cheerful exercise of the mental faculties, the blind have the advantage of the deaf. The loss of the ear, that 'vestibule of the soul,' was to him compensated by gifts and endowments rarely united in the same individual. One instance of the chief's liberality and love of art may be mentioned. In 1796 he advanced a sum of L1000 to Sir Thomas Lawrence to relieve him from pecuniary difficulties. Lawrence was then a young man of twenty-seven. His career from a boy upwards was one of brilliant success, but he was careless and generous as to money matters, and some speculations by his father embarassed and distressed the young artist. In his trouble he applied to the Chief of Kintail. 'Will you,' he said in that theatrical style common to Lawrence, 'will you be the Antonio to a Bassanio?' He promised to pay the L1000 in four years, but the money was given on terms the most agreeable to the feelings and complimentary to the talents of the artist. He was to repay it with his pencil, and the chief sat to him for his portrait. Lord Seaforth also commissioned from West one of those immense sheets of canvas on which the old Academician delighted to work in his latter years. The subject of the picture was the traditionary story of the Royal hunt, in which Alexander the Third was saved from the assault of a fierce stag by Colin Fitzgerald, a wandering knight unknown to authentic history. West considered it one of his best productions, charged L800 for it, and was willing some years afterwards, with a view to the exhibition of his works, to purchase back the picture at its original cost. In one instance Lord Seaforth did not evince artistic taste. He dismantled Brahan Castle removing its castellated features and completely modernising its general appearance. The house, with its large modern additions, is a tall, massive pile of building, the older portion covered to the roof with ivy. It occupies a commanding site on a bank midway between the river Conon and a range of picturesque rocks. This bank extends for miles, sloping in successive terraces, all richly wooded or cultivated, and commanding a magnificent view that terminates with the Moray Firth." ["The Seaforth Papers," in the "North British Review," 1863, by Robert Carruthers, LL.D.]
The remarkable prediction of the extinction of this highly distinguished and ancient family is so well known that it need not be recapitulated here, and its literal fulfilment is one of the most curious instances of the kind on record. There is no doubt that the "prophecy" was widely known throughout the Highlands generations before it was fulfilled. Lockhart, in his "Life of Sir Walter Scott," says that "it connected the fall of the house of Seaforth not only with the appearance of a deaf 'Cabarfeidh,' but with the contemporaneous appearance of various different physical misfortunes in several of the other Highland chiefs, all of which are said to have actually occurred within the memory of the generation that has not yet passed away. Mr Morrit can testify thus far, that he heard the prophecy quoted in the Highlands at a time when Lord Seaforth had two sons alive, and in good health, and that it certainly was not made after the event," and then he proceeds to say that Scott and Sir Humphrey Davy were most certainly convinced of its truth, as also many others who had watched the latter days of Seaforth in the light of those wonderful predictions. [Every Highland family has its store of traditionary and romantic beliefs. Centuries ago a seer of the Clan Mackenzie, known as Kenneth Oag (Odhar), predicted that when there should be a deaf Caberfae the gift land of the estate would be sold, and the male line become extinct. The prophecy was well known in the North, and it was not, like many similar vaticinations, made after the event. At least three unimpeachable Sassenach writers, Sir Humphrey Davy, Sir Walter Scott, and Mr Morritt of Rokeby, had all heard the prediction when Lord Seaforth had two sons alive, both in good health. The tenantry were, of course, strongly impressed with the truth of the prophecy, and when their Chief proposed to sell part of Kintail, they offered to buy in the land for him, that it might not pass from the family. One son was then living, and there was no immediate prospect of the succession expiring; but, in deference to their clannish prejudice or affection, the sale of any portion of the estate was deferred for about two years. The blow came at last. Lord Seaforth was involved in West India plantations, which were mismanaged, and he was forced to dispose of part of the "gift land." About the same time the last of his four sons, a young man of talent and eloquence, and then representing his native county in Parliament, died suddenly, and thus the prophecy of Kenneth Oag was fulfilled. -
"Of the name of Fitzgerald remained not a male To bear the proud name of the Chief of Kintail."
—Robert Carruthers, LL.D., in the "North British Review."]
His Lordship outlived all his four sons, as predicted by the Brahan Seer. His name became extinct, and his vast possessions were inherited by a stranger, James Alexander Stewart, who married his eldest daughter, Lady Hood. The sign by which it would be known that the prediction was about to be fulfilled was also foretold in the same remarkable manner, namely, that in the day's of the last Seaforth there should be four great contemporary lairds, distinguished by certain physical defects described by the Seer. Sir Hector Mackenzie, Bart. of Gairloch, was buck-toothed, and is to this day spoken of among the Gairloch tenantry as "An Tighearna storach," or the buck-toothed laird. Chisholm of Chisholm was hair-lipped, Grant of Grant half-witted, and Macleod of Raasay a stammerer. [For full details of this remarkable instance of family fate, see "The Prophecies of the Brahan Seer." - A. & W. Mackenzie, Inverness.]
To the testimony of those whose names have been already given we shall add the evidence of a living witness when the first edition of this work was in preparation. Duncan Davidson of Tulloch, Lord-Lieutenant of the county of Ross, in a letter addressed to the author, dated May 21, 1878, says - "Many of these prophecies I heard of upwards of 70 years ago, and when many of them were not fulfilled, such as the late Lord Seaforth surviving his sons, and Mrs Stewart Mackenzie's accident, near Brahan, by which Miss Caroline Mackenzie was killed."
It is impossible not to sympathise with the magnificent old Chief as he mourned over the premature death of his four promising sons, and saw the honours of his house for ever extinguished in his own person.
Many instances are related of his magnificent extravagance at home, while sailing round the West Coast, visiting the great principality of the Lewis, and calling on his way hither and thither on the other great chiefs of the West and Western Islands. Sir Walter Scott, in his "Lament for the Last of the Seaforths," adds his tribute -
In vain the bright course of thy talents to wrong. Fate deadened thine ear and imprisoned thy tongue, For brighter o'er all her obstructions arose The glow of thy genius they could not oppose; And who, in the land of the Saxon or Gael Could match with Mackenzie, High Chief of Kintail?
Thy sons rose around thee in light and in love, All a father could hope, all a friend cou'd approve; What 'vails it the tale of thy sorrows to tell? In the spring time of youth and of promise they fell! Of the line of MacKenneth remains not a male, To bear the proud name of the Chief of Kintail.
This sketch of the great chief cannot better be closed than in the words of one already repeatedly quoted: "It was said of him by an acute observer and a leading wit of the age, the late Honourable Henry Erskine, the Scotch Dean of Faculty, that 'Lord Seaforth's deafness was a merciful interposition to lower him to the ordinary rate of capacity in society,' insinuating that otherwise his perception and intelligence would have been oppressive. And the aptness of the remark was duly appreciated by all those who had the good fortune to be able to form an estimate from personal observation, while, as a man of the world, none was more capable of generalizing. Yet, as a countryman, he never affected to disregard those local predilections which identified him with the County of Ross, as the genuine representative of Kintail, possessing an influence which, being freely ceded and supported, became paramount and permanent in the county which he represented in the Commons House of Parliament, till he was called to the peerage on the 26th October, 1797, by the title of Lord Seaforth and Baron of Kintail, with limitation to heirs male of his body, and which he presided over as his Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant. He was commissioned, in 1793, to reorganise the 78th or Ross-shire Regiment of Highlanders, which, for so many years, continued to be almost exclusively composed of his countrymen. Nor did his extraordinary qualifications and varied exertions escape the wide ranging eye of the master genius of the age, who has also contributed, by a tributary effusion, to transmit the unqualified veneration of our age to many that are to follow. He has been duly recognised by Sir Walter Scott, nor was he passed over in the earlier buddings of Mr Colin Mackenzie; but while the annalist is indebted to their just encomiums, he may be allowed to respond to praise worthy of enthusiasm by a splendid fact which at once exhibits a specimen of reckless imprudence joined to those qualities which, by their popularity, attest their genuineness. Lord Seaforth for a time became emulous of the society of the most accomplished Prince of his age. The recreation of the Court was play; the springs of this indulgence then were not of the most delicate texture; his faculties, penetrating as they were, had not the facility of detection which qualified him for cautious circumspection; he heedlessly ventured and lost. It was then to cover his delinquencies elsewhere, he exposed to sale the estate of Lochalsh; and it was then he was bitterly taught to feel, when his people, without an exception, addressed his Lordship this pithy remonstrance - 'Reside amongst us and we shall pay your debts.' A variety of feelings and facts, unconnected with a difference, might have interposed to counteract this display of devotedness besides ingratitude, but these habits, or his Lordship's reluctance, rendered this expedient so hopeless that certain of the descendants of the original proprietors of that valuable locality were combining their respective finances to buy it in, when a sudden announcement that it was sold under value, smothered their amiable endeavours. Kintail followed, with the fairest portion of Glenshiel, and the Barony of Callan Fitzgerald ceased to exist, to the mortification, though not to the unpopularity of this still patriarchal nobleman among his faithful tenantry and the old friends of his family." [Bennetsfield MS.]
He married on the 22d of April, 1782, Mary, daughter of the Rev. Baptist Proby, D.D., Dean of Lichfield, and brother of John, first Lord Carysfort, by whom he had issue -
I. William Frederick, who died young, at Killearnan.
II. George Leveson Boucherat, who died young at Urquhart.
III. William Frederick, who represented the County of Ross in Parliament, in 1812, and died unmarried at Warriston, near Edinburgh, in 1814.
IV. Francis John, a midshipman in the Royal Navy, who died unmarried at Brahan, in 1813.
V. Mary Frederica Elizabeth, who succeeded her father and of whom presently.
VI. Frances Catherine, who died without issue.
VII. Caroline, who was accidentally killed at Brahan, unmarried.
VIII. Charlotte Elizabeth, who died unmarried.
IX. Augusta Anne, who died unmarried.
X. Helen Ann, who married the Right Hon. Joshua Henry Mackenzie of the Inverlael family, anciently descended from the Barons of Kintail, a Lord of Session and Justiciary by the title of Lord Mackenzie, with issue - two daughters, Frances Mary and Penuel Augusta.
Lord Seaforth, having survived all his male issue, died on the 11th of January, 1815, at Warriston, near Edinburgh, the last male representative of his race. His lady outlived him, and died at Edinburgh on the 27th of February, 1829. The estates, in virtue of an entail executed by Lord Seaforth, with all their honours, duties, and embarrassments, devolved upon his eldest daughter, then a young widowed lady,
XXII. MARY ELIZABETH FREDERICA MACKENZIE, LADY HOOD,
Whom Scott commemorated in the well-known lines -
And thou, gentle dame, who must bear to thy grief, For thy clan and thy country the cares of a Chief, Whom brief rolling moons in six changes have left Of thy husband, and father, and brethren bereft; To thine ear of affection how sad is the hail That salutes thee the heir of the line of Kintail.
She was born at Tarradale, Ross-shire, on the 27th of March, 1783, and married, first, at Barbadoes on the 6th of November, 1804, Sir Samuel Hood, K.B., Vice-Admiral of the White, and afterwards, in 1806, M.P. for Westminster. Sir Samuel died at Madras, on the 24th of December, 1814, without issue. Lady Hood then returned home, and, in 1815, entered into possession of the family estates, which had devolved upon her by the death of her father without male issue, when the titles became extinct.
She married secondly, on the 21st of May, 1817, the Right Hon. James Alexander Stewart of Glasserton, nephew of the seventh Earl of Galloway, who assumed the name of Mackenzie, was returned M.P. for the County of Ross, held office under Earl Grey, and was successively Governor of Ceylon, and Lord High Commissioner to the Ionian Islands. He died on the 24th of September, 1843. Mrs Sewart-Mackenzie died at Brahan Castle on the 28th of November, 1862, and was buried in the family vault in the Cathedral of Fortrose. Her funeral was one of the largest ever witnessed in the Highlands, many thousands being present on foot, while the vehicles that followed numbered more than 150. By her second marriage she had issue -
I. Keith William Stewart, her heir and successor.
II. Francis Pelham Proby, Lieutenant 71st Highlanders. He died unmarried in 1844.
III. George Augustus Frederick Wellington, who, born in 1824, married in November, 1850, Maria Louisa, daughter of General Thomas Marriot, H.E.IC.S., and died, without issue, in 1852.
IV. Mary Frances, who married, in 1838, the Hon. Philip Anstruther, Colonial Secretary of Ceylon, with issue.
V. Caroline Susan, who, in 1844, married John Berney Petre, and died in 1867.
VI. Louisa Caroline, who, on the 17th of November, 1858, married, as his second wife, William Bingham second Lord Ashburton, who died on the 23rd of March, 1864, with issue, an only daughter, Mary Florence, who, in 1884, married the Hon. William George Spencer Scott, Earl Compton, M.P., eldest surviving son and heir of William Douglas Compton, fourth Marquis of Northampton, born in 1851, with issue - William Bingham Lord Wilmington, born in 1885; and Lady Margaret Louisa Lizzie.
Mrs Stewart Mackenzie and her husband, on her death on the 28th of November, 1862, were succeeded in the estates by their eldest son,
XXIII. KEITH WIILLIAM STEWART MACKENZIE,
Born on the 9th of May, 1818. He was an officer in the 90th Regiment and subsequently Colonel-Commandant of the Ross-shire Highland Rifle Volunteers. He sold what remained of Kintail in 1869. He married first, on the 17th of May, 1844, Hannah Charlotte, daughter of James Joseph Hope Vere of Craigie Hall and Blackwood, Midlothian, with issue -
I. James Alexander Francis Humberston, his heir.
II. Susan Mary Elizabeth, who on the 15th of August, 1871, married, first, the Hon. John Constantine Stanley, Colonel Grenadier Guards, second son of the Right Hon. Edward Lord Stanley of Alderley. He was born on the 30th of September, 1837, and died on the 27th of April, 1878, leaving issue - two daughters. She married, secondly, the Right Hon. Sir Francis Henry Jeune, Q.C., President of the Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice, with issue - one son.
III. Julia Charlotte Sophia, who on the 8th of October, 1873, married, as his second wife, the Right Hon. Arthur, ninth Marquis of Tweeddale, who died in 1878, without issue. In 1887 she married, secondly, as his second wife, the Right Hon. Sir John Rose, Baronet, G.C.M.G., of Queensgate, London, who died in 1888, without issue. In 1892 she married, thirdly, Captain William Evans Gordon, without issue.
IV. Georgina Henrietta, who died young, on the 15th of October, 1868.
His first wife died in June, 1868. He married, secondly, on the 2nd of June, 1871, Alicia Almeira Bell, with issue - one daughter.
Keith Stewart Mackenzie died in June, 1881, when he was succeeded by his only son,
XXIV. JAMES ALEXANDER FRANCIS HUMBERSTON STEWART MACKENZIE,
Who was born on the 9th of October, 1847, Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding the 9th Lancers, and now of Seaforth. He is still unmarried.
It has been shown at p. 343 that the male line of Colonel Alexander Mackenzie of Assynt, fourth son of Kenneth Mor, third Earl of Seaforth, became extinct on the death, in 1815, of Francis Humberston Mackenzie, who survived all his male issue. It has also been proved that the male line of George, second Earl of Seaforth, who died in 1651, terminated in Kenneth, XIX. of Kintail and sixth Earl of Seaforth, whose only child, Lady Caroline Mackenzie, formed an irregular union with Lewis Drummond, Count Melfort, a French nobleman. It was shown earlier, at p. 246, that the lineal representation of the original line of Kintail was diverted from heirs male in the person of Anna, Countess of Balcarres, eldest daughter of Colin, first Earl of Seaforth, who had no surviving male issue; and the male line of Colonel Mackenzie of Assynt having terminated in "The Last of the Seaforths," who died in 1815, we must go back beyond all these to an earlier collateral branch to pick up the legitimate male succession, and for ever dispose of the various unfounded claims hitherto made to the Chiefship of the clan.