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Note 1.--HOLYROOD.

The reader may be gratified with Hector Boece's narrative of the
original foundation of the famous abbey of Holyrood, or the Holy
Cross, as given in Bellenden's translation:--

"Eftir death of Alexander the first, his brothir David come out
of Ingland, and wes crownit at Scone, the yeir of God MCXXIV
yeiris, and did gret justice, eftir his coronation, in all partis
of his realme. He had na weris during the time of King Hary; and
wes so pietuous, that he sat daylie in judgement, to caus his
pure commonis to have justice; and causit the actionis of his
noblis to be decidit be his othir jugis. He gart ilk juge redres
the skaithis that come to the party be his wrang sentence; throw
quhilk, he decorit his realm with mony nobil actis, and ejeckit
the vennomus custome of riotus cheir, quhilk wes inducit afore be
Inglismen, quhen thay com with Quene Margaret; for the samin wes
noisum to al gud maneris, makand his pepil tender and effeminat.

"In the fourt yeir of his regne, this nobill prince come to visie
the madin Castell of Edinburgh. At this time, all the boundis of
Scotland were ful of woddis, lesouris, and medois; for the
countre wes more gevin to store of bestiall, than ony productioun
of cornis; and about this castell was ane gret forest, full of
haris, hindis, toddis, and siclike maner of beistis. Now was the
Rude Day cumin, called the Exaltation of the Croce; and, becaus
the samin wes ane hie solempne day, the king past to his
contemplation. Eftir the messis wer done with maist solempnitie
and reverence, comperit afore him mony young and insolent baronis
of Scotland, richt desirus to haif sum plesur and solace, be
chace of hundis in the said forest. At this time wes with the
king ane man of singulare and devoit life, namit Alkwine, channon
eftir the ordour of Sanct Augustine, quhilk well lang time
confessoure, afore, to King David in Ingland, the time that he
wes Erle of Huntingtoun and Northumbirland. This religious man
dissuadit the king, be mony reasonis, to pas to this huntis; and
allegit the day wes so solempne, be reverence of the haly croce,
that he suld gif him erar, for that day, to contemplation, than
ony othir exersition. Nochtheles, his dissuasion is litill
avalit; for the king wes finallie so provokit, be inoportune
solicitatioun of his baronis, that he past, nochtwithstanding the
solempnite of this day, to his hountis. At last, quhen he wes
cumin throw the vail that lyis to the gret eist fra the said
castell, quhare now lyis the Canongait, the staik past throw the
wod with sic noyis and din of rachis and bugillis, that all the
bestis were rasit fra thair dennis. Now wes the king cumin to
the fute of the crag, and all his nobilis severit, heir and
thair, fra him, at thair game and solace; quhen suddenlie apperit
to his sicht the fairist hart that evir wes sene afore with
levand creature. The noyis and din of this hart rinnand, as
apperit, with awful and braid tindis, maid the kingis hors so
effrayit, that na renzeis micht hald him, bot ran, perforce, ouir
mire and mossis, away with the king. Nochtheles, the hart
followit so fast, that he dang baith the king and his hors to the
ground. Than the king kest abak his handis betwix the tindis of
this hart, to haif savit him fra the strak thairof; and the haly
croce slaid, incontinent, in his handis. The hart fled away with
gret violence, and evanist in the same place quhare now springis
the Rude Well. The pepil richt affrayitly, returnit to him out
of all partis of the wod, to comfort him efter his trubill; and
fell on kneis, devotly adoring the haly croce; for it was not
cumin but sum hevinly providence, as weill apperis; for thair is
na man can schaw of quhat mater it is of, metal or tre. Sone
eftir, the king returnit to his castell; and in the nicht
following, he was admonist, be ane vision in his sleip, to big
ane abbay of channonis regular in the same place quhare he gat
the croce. Als sone as he was awalkinnit, he schew his visione
to Alkwine, his confessoure; and he na thing suspended his gud
mind, bot erar inflammit him with maist fervent devotion thairto.
The king, incontinent, send his traist servandis in France and
Flanderis, and brocht richt crafty masonis to big this abbay;
syne dedicat it in the honour of this haly croce. The croce
remanit continewally in the said abbay, to the time of King David
Bruce; quhilk was unhappily tane with it at Durame, quhare it is
haldin yit in gret veneration."--BOECE, BOOK 12, CH. 16.

It is by no means clear what Scottish prince first built a
palace, properly so called, in the precincts of this renowned
seat of sanctity. The abbey, endowed by successive sovereigns
and many powerful nobles with munificent gifts of lands and
tithes, came, in process of time, to be one of the most important
of the ecclesiastical corporations of Scotland; and as early as
the days of Robert Bruce, parliaments were held occasionally
within its buildings. We have evidence that James IV. had a
royal lodging adjoining to the cloister; but it is generally
agreed that the first considerable edifice for the accommodation
of the royal family erected here was that of James V., anno 1525,
great part of which still remains, and forms the north-western
side of the existing palace. The more modern buildings which
complete the quadrangle were erected by King Charles II. The
name of the old conventual church was used as the parish church
of the Canongate from the period of the Reformation, until James
II. claimed it for his chapel royal, and had it fitted up
accordingly in a style of splendour which grievously outraged the
feelings of his Presbyterian subjects. The roof of this fragment
of a once magnificent church fell in in the year 1768, and it has
remained ever since in a state of desolation. For fuller
particulars, see the PROVINCIAL ANTIQUITIES OF SCOTLAND, or the

The greater part of this ancient palace is now again occupied by
his Majesty Charles the Tenth of France, and the rest of that
illustrious family, which, in former ages so closely connected by
marriage and alliance with the house of Stewart, seems to have
been destined to run a similar career of misfortune. REQUIESCANT


The following extract from Swift's Life of Creichton gives the
particulars of the bloody scene alluded to in the text:--

"Having drank hard one night, I (Creichton) dreamed that I had
found Captain David Steele, a notorious rebel, in one of the five
farmers' houses on a mountain in the shire of Clydesdale, and
parish of Lismahago, within eight miles of Hamilton, a place that
I was well acquainted with. This man was head of the rebels
since the affair of Airs-Moss, having succeeded to Hackston, who
had been there taken, and afterward hanged, as the reader has
already heard; for, as to Robert Hamilton, who was then
Commander-in-chief at Bothwell Bridge, he appeared no more among
them, but fled, as it was believed, to Holland.

"Steele, and his father before him, held a farm in the estate of
Hamilton, within two or three miles of that town. When he betook
himself to arms, the farm lay waste, and the Duke could find no
other person who would venture to take it; whereupon his Grace
sent several messages to Steele, to know the reason why he kept
the farm waste. The Duke received no other answer than that he
would keep it waste, in spite of him and the king too; whereupon
his Grace, at whose table I had always the honour to be a welcome
guest, desired I would use my endeavours to destroy that rogue,
and I would oblige him for ever.


"I return to my story. When I awaked out of my dream, as I had
done before in the affair of Wilson (and I desire the same
apology I made in the introduction to these Memoirs may serve for
both), I presently rose, and ordered thirty-six dragoons to be at
the place appointed by break of day. When we arrived thither, I
sent a party to each of the five farmers' houses. This villain
Steele had murdered above forty of the king's subjects in cold
blood, and, as I was informed, had often laid snares to entrap
me; but it happened that, although he usually kept a gang to
attend him, yet at this time he had none, when he stood in the
greatest need. One of the party found him in one of the farmers'
houses, just as I happened to dream. The dragoons first searched
all the rooms below without success, till two of them hearing
somebody stirring over their heads, went up a pair of turnpike
stairs. Steele had put on his clothes while the search was
making below; the chamber where he lay was called the Chamber of
Deese, [Or chamber of state; so called from the DAIS, or canopy
and elevation of floor, which distinguished the part of old halls
which was occupied by those of high rank. Hence the phrase was
obliquely used to signify state in general.] which is the name
given to a room where the laird lies when he comes to a tenant's
house. Steele suddenly opening the door, fired a blunderbuss
down at the two dragoons, as they were coming up the stairs; but
the bullets grazing against the side of the turnpike, only
wounded, and did not kill them. Then Steele violently threw
himself down the stairs among them, and made towards the door to
save his life, but lost it upon the spot; for the dragoons who
guarded the house dispatched him with their broadswords. I was
not with the party when he was killed, being at that time
employed in searching one of the other houses, but I soon found
what had happened, by hearing the noise of the shot made with the
blunderbuss; from whence I returned straight to Lanark, and
immediately sent one of the dragoons express to General Drummond
CREICHTON), pages 57-59, Edit. Edinb. 1824.

Woodrow gives a different account of this exploit:--"In December
this year, (1686), David Steil, in the parish of Lismahagow, was
surprised in the fields by Lieutenant Creichton, and after his
surrender of himself on quarters, he was in a very little time
most barbarously shot, and lies buried in the churchyard there."

Note 3.--IRON RASP.

The ingenious Mr. R. CHAMBERS'S Traditions of Edinburgh give the
following account of the forgotten rasp or risp:--

"This house had a PIN or RISP at the door, instead of the more
modern convenience--a knocker. The pin, rendered interesting by
the figure which it makes in Scottish song, was formed of a small
rod of iron, twisted or notched, which was placed
perpendicularly, starting out a little from the door, and bore a
small ring of the same metal, which an applicant for admittance
drew rapidly up and down the NICKS, so as to produce a grating
sound. Sometimes the rod was simply stretched across the
VIZZYING hole, a convenient aperture through which the porter
could take cognisance of the person applying; in which case it
acted also as a stanchion. These were almost all disused about
sixty years ago, when knockers were generally substituted as more
genteel. But knockers at that time did not long remain in
repute, though they have never been altogether superseded, even
by bells, in the Old Town. The comparative merit of knockers and
pins was for a long time a subject of doubt, and many knockers
got their heads twisted off in the course of the dispute."--


Susannah Kennedy, daughter of Sir Archibald Kennedy of Cullean,
Bart., by Elizabeth Lesly, daughter of David Lord Newark, third
wife of Alexander 9th Earl of Eglinton, and mother of the 10th
and 11th Earls. She survived her husband, who died 1729, no less
than fifty-seven years, and died March 1780, in her ninety-first
year. Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd, published 1726, is
dedicated to her, in verse, by Hamilton of Bangour.

The following account of this distinguished lady is taken from
Boswell's Life of Johnson by Mr. Croker:--

"Lady Margaret Dalrymple, only daughter of John, Earl of Stair,
married in 1700, to Hugh, third Earl of Loudoun. She died in
1777, aged ONE HUNDRED. Of this venerable lady, and of the
Countess of Eglintoune, whom Johnson visited next day, he thus
speaks in his JOURNEY:--'Length of life is distributed
impartially to very different modes of life, in very different
climates; and the mountains have no greater examples of age than
the Lowlands, where I was introduced to two ladies of high
quality, one of whom (Lady Loudoun) in her ninety-fourth year,
presided at her table with the full exercise of all her powers,
and the other (Lady Eglintoun) had attained her eighty-fourth
year, without any diminution of her vivacity, and little reason
to accuse time of depredations on her beauty.'"


"Lady Eglintoune, though she was now in her eighty-fifth year,
and had lived in the retirement of the country for almost half a
century, was still a very agreeable woman. She was of the noble
house of Kennedy, and had all the elevation which the
consciousness of such birth inspires. Her figure was majestic,
her manners high-bred, her reading extensive, and her
conversation elegant. She had been the admiration of the gay
circles of life, and the patroness of poets. Dr. Johnson was
delighted with his reception here. Her principles in church and
state were congenial with his. She knew all his merit, and had
heard much of him from her son, Earl Alexander, who loved to
cultivate the acquaintance of men of talents in every


"In the course of our conversation this day, it came out that
Lady Eglintoune was married the year before Dr. Johnson was born;
upon which she graciously said to him, that she might have been
his mother, and that she now adopted him, and when we were going
away, she embraced him, saying, 'My dear son, farewell!' My
friend was much pleased with this day's entertainment, and owned
that I had done well to force him out."


"At Sir Alexander Dick's, from that absence of mind to which
every man is at times subject, I told, in a blundering manner,
Lady Eglintoune's complimentary adoption of Dr. Johnson as her
son; for I unfortunately stated that her ladyship adopted him as
her son, in consequence of her having been married the year AFTER
he was born. Dr. Johnson instantly corrected me. 'Sir, don't
you perceive that you are defaming the Countess? For, supposing
me to be her son, and that she was not married till the year
after my birth, I must have been her NATURAL son.' A young lady
of quality who was present very handsomely said, 'Might not the
son have justified the fault?' My friend was much flattered by
this compliment, which he never forgot. When in more than
ordinary spirits, and talking of his journey in Scotland, he has
called to me, 'Boswell, what was it that the young lady of
quality said of me at Sir Alexander Dick's?' Nobody will doubt
that I was happy in repeating it."


The incident here alluded to is thus narrated in Nichols'
Progresses of James I., Vol.III. p.306:--

"The family" (of Winton) "owed its first elevation to the union
of Sir Christopher Seton with a sister of King Robert Bruce.
With King James VI. they acquired great favour, who, having
created his brother Earl of Dunfermline in 1599, made Robert,
seventh Lord Seton, Earl of Winton in 1600. Before the King's
accession to the English throne, his Majesty and the Queen were
frequently at Seton, where the Earl kept a very hospitable table,
at which all foreigners of quality were entertained on their
visits to Scotland. His Lordship died in 1603, and was buried on
the 5th of April, on the very day the King left Edinburgh for
England. His Majesty, we are told, was pleased to rest himself
at the south-west round of the orchard of Seton, on the highway,
till the funeral was over, that he might not withdraw the noble
company; and he said that he had lost a good, faithful, and loyal


"The 2 of Octr: (1603) Allaster MacGregor of Glenstrae tane be
the laird Arkynles, bot escapit againe; bot after taken be the
Earle of Argyll the 4 of Januarii, and brought to Edr: the 9 of
Januar: 1604, wt: 18 mae of hes friendes MacGregors. He wes
convoyit to Berwick be the gaird, conform to the Earle's promes;
for he promesit to put him out of Scottis grund: Sua, he keipit
an Hielandman's promes, in respect he sent the gaird to convoy
him out of Scottis grund; bot yai wer not directit to pairt wt:
him, bot to fetche him bak againe. The 18 of Januar, he came at
evin againe to Edinburghe; and upone the 20 day, he was hangit at
the crosse, and ij of his freindes and name, upon ane gallows:
himself being chieff, he was hangit his awin hight above the rest


Note 7.--LOCH AWE.

"Loch Awe, upon the banks of which the scene of action took
place, is thirty-four miles in length. The north side is bounded
by wide muirs and inconsiderable hills, which occupy an extent of
country from twelve to twenty miles in breadth, and the whole of
this space is enclosed as by circumvallation. Upon the north it
is barred by Loch Eitive, on the south by Loch Awe, and on the
east by the dreadful pass of Brandir, through which an arm of the
latter lake opens, at about four miles from its eastern
extremity, and discharges the river Awe into the former. The
pass is about three miles in length; its east side is bounded by
the almost inaccessible steeps which form the base of the vast
and rugged mountain of Cruachan. The crags rise in some places
almost perpendicularly from the water, and for their chief extent
show no space nor level at their feet, but a rough and narrow
edge of stony beach. Upon the whole of these cliffs grows a
thick and interwoven wood of all kinds of trees, both timber,
dwarf, and coppice; no track existed through the wilderness, but
a winding path, which sometimes crept along the precipitous
height, and sometimes descended in a straight pass along the
margin of the water. Near the extremity of the defile, a narrow
level opened between the water and the crag; but a great part of
this, as well as of the preceding steeps, was formerly enveloped
in a thicket, which showed little facility to the feet of any but
the martens and wild cats. Along the west side of the pass lies
a wall of sheer and barren crags. From behind they rise in
rough, uneven, and heathy declivities, out of the wide muir
before mentioned, between Loch Eitive and Loch Awe; but in front
they terminate abruptly in the most frightful precipices, which
form the whole side of the pass, and descend at one fall into the
water which fills its trough. At the north end of the barrier,
and at the termination of the pass, lies that part of the cliff
which is called Craiganuni; at its foot the arm of the lake
gradually contracts its water to a very narrow space, and at
length terminates at two rocks (called the Rocks of Brandir),
which form a strait channel, something resembling the lock of a
canal. From this outlet there is a continual descent towards
Loch Eitive, and from hence the river Awe pours out its current
in a furious stream, foaming over a bed broken with holes, and
cumbered with masses of granite and whinstone.

"If ever there was a bridge near Craiganuni in ancient times, it
must have been at the Rocks of Brandir. From the days of Wallace
to those of General Wade, there were never passages of this kind
but in places of great necessity, too narrow for a boat, and too
wide for a leap; even then they were but an unsafe footway formed
of the trunks of trees placed transversely from rock to rock,
unstripped of their bark, and destitute of either plank or rail.
For such a structure there is no place in the neighbourhood of
Craiganuni but at the rocks above mentioned. In the lake and on
the river the water is far too wide; but at the strait the space
is not greater than might be crossed by a tall mountain pine, and
the rocks on either side are formed by nature like a pier. That
this point was always a place of passage is rendered probable by
its facility and the use of recent times. It is not long since
it was the common gate of the country on either side the river
and the pass: the mode of crossing is yet in the memory of
people living, and was performed by a little currach moored on
either side the water, and a stout cable fixed across the stream
from bank to bank, by which the passengers drew themselves across
in the manner still practised in places of the same nature. It
is no argument against the existence of a bridge in former times
that the above method only existed in ours, rather than a passage
of that kind, which would seem the more improved expedient. The
contradiction is sufficiently accounted for by the decay of
timber in the neighbourhood. Of old, both oaks and firs of an
immense size abounded within a very inconsiderable distance; but
it is now many years since the destruction of the forests of Glen
Eitive and Glen Urcha has deprived the country of all the trees
of sufficient size to cross the strait of Brandir; and it is
probable that the currach was not introduced till the want of
timber had disenabled the inhabitants of the country from
maintaining a bridge. It only further remains to be noticed that
at some distance below the Rocks of Brandir there was formerly a
ford, which was used for cattle in the memory of people living;
from the narrowness of the passage, the force of the stream, and
the broken bed of the river, it was, however, a dangerous pass,
and could only be attempted with safety at leisure and by


"But the King, whose dear-bought experience in war had taught him
extreme caution, remained in the Braes of Balquhidder till he had
acquired by his spies and outskirries a perfect knowledge of the
disposition of the army of Lorn, and the intention of its leader.
He then divided his force into two columns, entrusting the
command of the first, in which he placed his archers and lightest
armed troops, to Sir James Douglas, whilst he himself took the
leading of the other, which consisted principally of his knights
and barons. On approaching the defile, Bruce dispatched Sir
James Douglas by a pathway which the enemy had neglected to
occupy, with directions to advance silently, and gain the heights
above and in front of the hilly ground where the men of Lorn were
concealed; and having ascertained that this movement had been
executed with success, he put himself at the head of his own
division, and fearlessly led his men into the defile. Here,
prepared as he was for what was to take place, it was difficult
to prevent a temporary panic when the yell which, to this day,
invariably precedes the assault of the mountaineer, burst from
the rugged bosom of Ben Cruachan; and the woods which, the moment
before, had waved in silence and solitude, gave forth their birth
of steel-clad warriors, and, in an instant, became instinct with
the dreadful vitality of war. But although appalled and checked
for a brief space by the suddenness of the assault, and the
masses of rock which the enemy rolled down from the precipices,
Bruce, at the head of his division, pressed up the side of the
mountain. Whilst this party assaulted the men of Lorn with the
utmost fury, Sir James Douglas and his party shouted suddenly
upon the heights in their front, showering down their arrows upon
them; and, when these missiles were exhausted, attacking them
with their swords and battle-axes. The consequence of such an
attack, both in front and rear, was the total discomfiture of the
army of Lorn; and the circumstances to which this chief had so
confidently looked forward, as rendering the destruction of Bruce
almost inevitable, were now turned with fatal effect against
himself. His great superiority of numbers cumbered and impeded
his movements. Thrust by the double assault, and by the peculiar
nature of the ground, into such narrow room as the pass afforded,
and driven to fury by finding themselves cut to pieces in detail,
without power of resistance, the men of Lorn fled towards Loch
Eitive, where a bridge thrown over the Awe, and supported upon
two immense rocks, known by the name of the Rocks of Brandir,
formed the solitary communication between the side of the river
where the battle took place and the country of Lorn. Their
object was to gain the bridge, which was composed entirely of
wood, and having availed themselves of it in their retreat, to
destroy it, and thus throw the impassable torrent of the Awe
between them and their enemies. But their intention was
instantly detected by Douglas, who, rushing down from the high
grounds at the head of his archers and light-armed foresters,
attacked the body of the mountaineers, which had occupied the
bridge, and drove them from it with great slaughter, so that
Bruce and his division, on coming up, passed it without
molestation; and this last resource being taken from them, the
army of Lorn were, in a few hours, literally cut to pieces,
whilst their chief, who occupied Loch Eitive with his fleet, saw,
from his ships, the discomfiture of his men, and found it
impossible to give them the least assistance."--TYTLER'S LIFE OF


The following succinct account of this too celebrated event, may
be sufficient for this place:--

"In the beginning of the year 1692 an action of unexampled
barbarity disgraced the government of King William III. in
Scotland. In the August preceding, a proclamation had been
issued, offering an indemnity to such insurgents as should take
the oaths to the King and Queen, on or before the last day of
December; and the chiefs of such tribes, as had been in arms for
James, soon after took advantage of the proclamation. But
Macdonald of Glencoe was prevented by accident, rather than
design, from tendering his submission within the limited time.
In the end of December he went to Colonel Hill, who commanded the
garrison in Fort William, to take the oaths of allegiance to the
government; and the latter having furnished him with a letter to
Sir Colin Campbell, Sheriff of the county of Argyll, directed him
to repair immediately to Inverary, to make his submission in a
legal manner before that magistrate. But the way to Inverary lay
through almost impassable mountains, the season was extremely
rigorous, and the whole country was covered with a deep snow. So
eager, however, was Macdonald to take the oaths before the
limited time should expire, that, though the road lay within half
a mile of his own house, he stopped not to visit his family, and,
after various obstructions, arrived at Inverary. The time had
elapsed, and the sheriff hesitated to receive his submission; but
Macdonald prevailed by his importunities, and even tears, in
inducing that functionary to administer to him the oath of
allegiance, and to certify the cause of his delay. At this time
Sir John Dalrymple, afterwards Earl of Stair, being in attendance
upon William as Secretary of State for Scotland, took advantage
of Macdonald's neglecting to take the oath within the time
prescribed, and procured from the King a warrant of military
execution against that chief and his whole clan. This was done
at the instigation of the Earl of Breadalbane, whose lands the
Glencoe men had plundered, and whose treachery to government in
negotiating with the Highland clans Macdonald himself had
exposed. The King was accordingly persuaded that Glencoe was the
main obstacle to the pacification of the Highlands; and the fact
of the unfortunate chief's submission having been concealed, the
sanguinary orders for proceeding to military execution against
his clan were in consequence obtained. The warrant was both
signed and countersigned by the King's own hand, and the
Secretary urged the officers who commanded in the Highlands to
execute their orders with the utmost rigour. Campbell of
Glenlyon, a captain in Argyll's regiment, and two subalterns,
were ordered to repair to Glencoe on the first of February with a
hundred and twenty men. Campbell being uncle to young
Macdonald's wife, was received by the father with all manner of
friendship and hospitality. The men were lodged at free quarters
in the houses of his tenants, and received the kindest
entertainment. Till the 13th of the month the troops lived in
the utmost harmony and familiarity with the people, and on the
very night of the massacre the officers passed the evening at
cards in Macdonald's house. In the night Lieutenant Lindsay,
with a party of soldiers, called in a friendly manner at his
door, and was instantly admitted. Macdonald, while in the act of
rising to receive his guest, was shot dead through the back with
two bullets. His wife had already dressed; but she was stripped
naked by the soldiers, who tore the rings off her fingers with
their teeth. The slaughter now became general, and neither age
nor infirmity was spared. Some women, in defending their
children, were killed; boys, imploring mercy, were shot dead by
officers on whose knees they hung. In one place nine persons, as
they sat enjoying themselves at table, were butchered by the
soldiers. In Inverriggon, Campbell's own quarters, nine men were
first bound by the soldiers, and then shot at intervals, one by
one. Nearly forty persons were massacred by the troops, and
several who fled to the mountains perished by famine and the
inclemency of the season. Those who escaped owed their lives to
a tempestuous night. Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton, who had
received the charge of the execution from Dalrymple, was on his
march with four hundred men, to guard all the passes from the
valley of Glencoe; but he was obliged to stop by the severity of
the weather, which proved the safety of the unfortunate clan.
Next day he entered the valley, laid the houses in ashes, and
carried away the cattle and spoil, which were divided among the
officers and soldiers."--ARTICLE "BRITAIN;" ENCYC. BRITANNICA--


Of the strong, undeviating attachment of the Highlanders to the
person, and their deference to the will or commands of their
chiefs and superiors--their rigid adherence to duty and
principle--and their chivalrous acts of self-devotion to these in
the face of danger and death, there are many instances recorded
in General Stewart of Garth's interesting Sketches of the
Highlanders and Highland Regiments, which might not inaptly
supply parallels to the deeds of the Romans themselves, at the
era when Rome was in her glory. The following instances of such
are worthy of being here quoted:--

"In the year 1795 a serious disturbance broke out in Glasgow
among the Breadalbane Fencibles. Several men having been
confined and threatened with corporal punishment, considerable
discontent and irritation were excited among their comrades,
which increased to such violence, that, when some men were
confined in the guard-house, a great proportion of the regiment
rushed out and forcibly released the prisoners. This violation
of military discipline was not to be passed over, and accordingly
measures were immediately taken to secure the ringleaders. But
so many were equally concerned, that it was difficult, if not
impossible, to fix the crime on any, as being more prominently
guilty. And here was shown a trait of character worthy of a
better cause, and which originated from a feeling alive to the
disgrace of a degrading punishment. The soldiers being made
sensible of the nature of their misconduct, and the consequent
necessity of public example, SEVERAL MEN VOLUNTARILY OFFERED
THEMSELVES TO STAND TRIAL, and suffer the sentence of the law as
an atonement for the whole. These men were accordingly marched
to Edinburgh Castle, tried, and four condemned to be shot. Three
of them were afterwards reprieved, and the fourth, Alexander
Sutherland, was shot on Musselburgh Sands.

"The following semi-official account of this unfortunate
misunderstanding was published at the time:--

"'During the afternoon of Monday, when a private of the light
company of the Breadalbane Fencibles, who had been confined for a
MILITARY offence, was released by that company, and some other
companies, who had assembled in a tumultuous manner before the
guard-house, no person whatever was hurt, and no violence
offered; and however unjustifiable the proceedings, it originated
not from any disrespect or ill-will to their officers, but from a
mistaken point of honour, in a particular set of men in the
battalion, who thought themselves disgraced by the impending
punishment of one of their number. The men have, in every
respect, since that period conducted themselves with the greatest
regularity, and strict subordination. The whole of the battalion
seemed extremely sensible of the improper conduct of such as were
concerned, whatever regret they might feel for the fate of the
few individuals who had so readily given themselves up as
prisoners, to be tried for their own and others' misconduct.'

"On the march to Edinburgh a circumstance occurred, the more
worthy of notice, as it shows a strong principle of honour and
fidelity to his word and to his officer in a common Highland
soldier. One of the men stated to the officer commanding the
party, that he knew what his fate would be, but that he had left
business of the utmost importance to a friend in Glasgow, which
he wished to transact before his death; that, as to himself, he
was fully prepared to meet his fate; but with regard to his
friend, he could not die in peace unless the business was
settled, and that, if the officer would suffer him to return to
Glasgow, a few hours there would be sufficient, and he would join
him before he reached Edinburgh, and march as a prisoner with the
party. The soldier added, 'You have known me since I was a
child; you know my country and kindred; and you may believe I
shall never bring you to any blame by a breach of the promise I
now make, to be with you in full time to be delivered up in the
Castle.' This was a startling proposal to the officer, who was a
judicious, humane man, and knew perfectly his risk and
responsibility in yielding to such an extraordinary application.
However, his confidence was such, that he complied with the
request of the prisoner, who returned to Glasgow at night,
settled his business, and left the town before daylight to redeem
his pledge. He took a long circuit to avoid being seen,
apprehended as a deserter, and sent back to Glasgow, as probably
his account of his officer's indulgence would not have been
credited. In consequence of this caution, and the lengthened
march through woods and over hills by an unfrequented route,
there was no appearance of him at the hour appointed. The
perplexity of the officer when he reached the neighbourhood of
Edinburgh may be easily imagined. He moved forward slowly
indeed, but no soldier appeared; and unable to delay any longer,
he marched up to the Castle, and as he was delivering over the
prisoners, but before any report was given in, Macmartin, the
absent soldier, rushed in among his fellow prisoners, all pale
with anxiety and fatigue, and breathless with apprehension of the
consequences in which his delay might have involved his

"In whatever light the conduct of the officer (my respectable
friend, Major Colin Campbell) may be considered, either by
military men or others, in this memorable exemplification of the
characteristic principle of his countrymen, fidelity to their
word, it cannot but be wished that the soldier's magnanimous
self-devotion had been taken as an atonement for his own
misconduct and that of the whole, who also had made a high
sacrifice, in the voluntary offer of their lives for the conduct
of their brother soldiers. Are these a people to be treated as
malefactors, without regard to their feelings and principles?
and might not a discipline, somewhat different from the usual
mode, be, with advantage, applied to them?"--Vol.II. pp.413-15.
3rd Edit.

"A soldier of this regiment, (The Argyllshire Highlanders)
deserted, and emigrated to America, where he settled. Several
years after his desertion, a letter was received from him, with a
sum of money, for the purpose of procuring one or two men to
supply his place in the regiment, as the only recompense he could
make for 'breaking his oath to his God and his allegiance to his
King, which preyed on his conscience in such a manner, that he
had no rest night nor day.'

"This man had had good principles early instilled into his mind,
and the disgrace which he had been originally taught to believe
would attach to a breach of faith now operated with full effect.
The soldier who deserted from the 42nd Regiment at Gibraltar, in
1797, exhibited the same remorse of conscience after he had
violated his allegiance. In countries where such principles
prevail, and regulate the character of a people, the mass of the
population may, on occasions of trial, be reckoned on as sound
and trustworthy."--Vol.II., p.218. 3rd Edit.

"The late James Menzies of Culdares, having engaged in the
rebellion of 1715, and been taken at Preston, in Lancashire, was
carried to London, where he was tried and condemned, but
afterwards reprieved. Grateful for this clemency, he remained at
home in 1745, but, retaining a predilection for the old cause, he
sent a handsome charger as a present to Prince Charles, when
advancing through England. The servant who led and delivered the
horse was taken prisoner, and carried to Carlisle, where he was
tried and condemned. To extort a discovery of the person who
sent the horse, threats of immediate execution in case of
refusal, and offers of pardon on his giving information, were
held out ineffectually to the faithful messenger. He knew, he
said, what the consequence of a disclosure would be to his
master, and his own life was nothing in the comparison. When
brought out for execution, he was again pressed to inform on his
master. He asked if they were serious in supposing him such a
villain. If he did what they desired, and forgot his master and
his trust, he could not return to his native country, for
Glenlyon would be no home or country for him, as he would be
despised and hunted out of the glen. Accordingly he kept steady
to his trust, and was executed. This trusty servant's name was
John Macnaughton, from Glenlyon, in Perthshire. He deserves to
be mentioned, both on account of his incorruptible fidelity, and
of his testimony to the honourable principles of the people, and
to their detestation of a breach of trust to a kind and
honourable master, however great might be the risk, or however
fatal the consequences, to the individual himself."--Vol.1., pp.
52,53, 3rd Edit.



I cannot dismiss this story without resting attention for a
moment on the light which has been thrown on the character of the
Highland Drover since the time of its first appearance, by the
account of a drover poet, by name Robert Mackay, or, as he was
commonly called, Rob Donn--that is, Brown Robert--and certain
specimens of his talents, published in the ninetieth number of
the Quarterly Review. The picture which that paper gives of the
habits and feelings of a class of persons with which the general
reader would be apt to associate no ideas but those of wild
superstition and rude manners, is in the highest degree
interesting, and I cannot resist the temptation of quoting two of
the songs of this hitherto unheard-of poet of humble life. They
are thus introduced by the reviewer:--

"Upon one occasion, it seems, Rob's attendance upon his master's
cattle business detained him a whole year from home, and at his
return he found that a fair maiden to whom his troth had been
plighted of yore had lost sight of her vows, and was on the eve
of being married to a rival (a carpenter by trade), who had
profited by the young drover's absence. The following song was
composed during a sleepless night, in the neighbourhood of
Creiff, in Perthshire, and the home sickness which it expresses
appears to be almost as much that of the deer-hunter as of the
loving swain.

More pleasant were it to be with thee
In the little glen of calves,
Than to be counting of droves
In the enclosures of Creiff.

'Great is my esteem of the maiden
Towards whose dwelling the north wind blows;
She is ever cheerful, sportive, kindly,
Without folly, without vanity, without pride.
True is her heart--were I under hiding,
And fifty men in pursuit of my footsteps,
I should find protection, when they surrounded me most
In the secret recess of that shieling.

'Oh for the day for turning my face homeward,
That I may see the maiden of beauty--
Joyful will it be to me to be with thee,
Fair girl with the long heavy locks!
Choice of all places for deer-hunting
Are the brindled rock and the ridge!
How sweet at evening to be dragging the slain deer
Downwards along the piper's cairn!

'Great is my esteem for the maiden
Who parted from me by the west side of the enclosed field;
Late yet again will she linger in that fold,
Long after the kine are assembled.
It is I myself who have taken no dislike to thee,
Though far away from thee am I now.
It is for the thought of thee that sleep flies from me;
Great is the profit to me of thy parting kiss!

'Dear to me are the boundaries of the forest;
Far from Creiff is my heart;
My remembrance is of the hillocks of sheep,
And the heath of many knolls.
Oh for the red-streaked fissures of the rock,
Where in spring time the fawns leap;
Oh for the crags towards which the wind is blowing--
Cheap would be my bed to be there!

"The following describes Rob's feelings on the first discovery
of his damsel's infidelity. The airs of both these pieces
are his own, and, the Highland ladies say, very beautiful.

'Heavy to me is the shieling, and the hum that is in it,
Since the ear that was wont to listen is now no more on the
Where is Isabel, the courteous, the conversable, a sister in
Where is Anne, the slender-browed, the turret-breasted, whose
glossy hair pleased me when yet a boy?

'I traversed the fold, and upward among the trees--
Each place, far and near, wherein I was wont to salute my
When I looked down from the crag, and beheld the fair-haired
stranger dallying with his bride,
I wished I had never revisited the glen of my dreams.

'Since it has been heard that the carpenter had persuaded thee,
My sleep is disturbed--busy is foolishness within me at
The kindness that has been between us, I cannot shake off that
memory in visions;
Thou callest me not to thy side; but love is to me for a

'Anne, yellow-haired daughter of Donald, surely thou knowest
not how it is with me--
That it is old love, unrepaid, which has worn down from me my
That when far from thee, beyond many mountains, the wound in
my heart was throbbing,
Stirring, and searching for ever, as when I sat beside thee on
the turf.

'Haughtily and scornfully the maid looked upon me:--
Never will it be work for thy fingers to unloose the band from
my curls.
Thou hast been absent a twelvemonth, and six were seeking me
Was thy superiority so high that there should be no end of
abiding for thee?

'But how shall I hate thee, even though towards me thou hast
become cold?
When my discourse is most angry concerning thy name in thine
Of sudden thine image, with its old dearness, comes visibly
into my mind,
And a secret voice whispers that love will yet prevail!

"Rude and bald as these things appear in a verbal translation,
and rough as they might possibly appear, even were the originals
intelligible, we confess we are disposed to think they would of
themselves justify Dr. Mackay (their Editor) in placing this
herdsman-lover among the true sons of song."--QUARTERLY REVIEW,
NO. XC., JULY 1831.

Sir Walter Scott

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