“The mountains look on Marathon,
And Marathon looks on the sea.”
But as regards
“The Isles of Greece, the Isles of Greece,The same remarks might not, inaptly, be applied to the Hebridean Archipelago, on the extreme west of Britain. There we also find an Archipelago and promontories, and mountains, and lochs, and straths; but, judging from the number of crumbling ruins of castles and ramparts with which every island and headland bristled in ages gone by, the present history of these remote parts of Britain must be very different from what it was a thousand years ago. Compared with what they were when those islands and headlands bristled with strongly fortified castles; when those seas were swept by well-manned and well-equipped fleets; and when all that was mortal of kings and chieftains was, with regal pomp, conveyed over seas and innumerable bays, to mingle with the kindred dust of departed kings and chieftains, within the sacred precincts of “Colum’skille,”
Where grew the arts of war and peace;
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.”
“The sacred storehouses of their predecessorscompared, I say, with what they once were, those islands, and sounds, and lochs, and bays would appear to-day very tame and unromantic to the ordinary traveller, while, to the reflecting mind, they are not void of interest. Even one day’s excursion would be sufficient to awaken and stir up in the mind of an ordinary tourist a curiosity to learn something of the by-gone history and traditions of those remote places.
And guardian of their bones,”
By making the small town of Oban, in Argyleshire, your basis of operations, you can, during the summer season, on any day except Sunday, take your choice of two beautiful excursion steamers, going in different directions. Take, for instance, the steamer that is starting on an excursion trip through the Sound of Mull, about half-past six in the morning, until after touching at Staffa, Iona, and some other places, on her trip round the island of Mull will land you safely and comfortably at Oban about half-past six the same evening. On leaving Oban, the first grand object that attracts your attention are the stately ruins of Dunolly Castle, situated about a mile from Oban, on a promontory overhanging the bay, and which was, at one time, the great stonghold of the MacDougalls. Three miles or so, to the north of this, on a bold promontory at the confluence of Lochs Etive and Lynne, the imposing ruins of Royal Dunstaffnage appear to good advantage, the ancient residence of the Pictish and Caledonian kings. The steamer now making for the Sound of Mull, you leave on your right the beautiful island of Lismore, which means the big garden, once the venerable residence of the bishops of Argyle and the Isles, while the crumbling castle of Duart, on the coast of Mull, looms up to your left. The classic coast of Morvern now appears on your right, in all its majestic grandeur, revealing, at the same time, the placid surface of Loch Aluin, and the grand outlines of Artornish Castle, the opening scene of Sir Walter Scott’s “Lord of the Isles,”
“Wake, Maid of Lorne!” the minstrels sung,Further on to your left, are seen the ruins of Arros Castle, and still further on is the cozy little town or village of Tobermorry, the principal village of Mull, where the steamer makes a short stay. Tobermorry means, in plain English, the Blessed Virgin’s Well, and is only one of the Holy wells of the olden Catholic times. Leaving Tobermorry, you continue on through the remaining part of the Sound, when Loch Suanart opens up on your right, and beyond it, the bold promontory of Ardnamurchan, shewing off, to great advantage, the grand old castle of Mingary, with the classic Cuchullin Hills of Skye still further in the distance. The steamer, now emerging from the Sound, turns more to the southward, and you find yourself sailing over the now placid waters of Bloody Bay, so called from a bloody naval battle fought there, between contending clans, about the close of the fifteenth century. The next headland on your left is Rhu nan Callach, or Callach Point. From the name, we can infer that there was a nunnery there in the olden times. Having rounded Callach Point, you find yourself again on the broad Atlantic; and yet -
Thy rugged halls, Artornish! rung.
“The shores of Mull on the eastward lay,The steamer comes under the shelter of Staffa without coming to anchor, where there is a sufficient number of well-manned and elegantly equipped boats ready to convey the tourists to the shore. Staffa, with its counterpart, the Giant’s Causeway, on the north coast of Ireland, form one of the greatest natural curiosities in the world. From Staffa a sail of eight or nine miles will bring you to
And Ulva dark and Colonsay,
And all the groups of islets gay
That guard famed Staffa round.”
where there are boats ready to land the passengers, the same as at Staffa. This tiny little island, scarcely three miles in length by one in breadth, contains, at present, a population of about 300 souls, all presbyterians. They form two separate congregations, and have two churches, the one an Established, the other a Free Church. One thing struck me as indicating good taste on their part: that in building their modern churches and private residences, they have not encroached on, or intruded within the sacred precincts of the ancient and venerable establishments of Columkille. Were I to dwell, at any length, on the venerable relics of Iona, I would leave myself no room for what I intended as the principal subject of this paper. I shall merely observe that the principal ruins now visited by tourists are the nunnery, St. Oran’s Chapel, the tombs of kings and chieftains, and the cathedral church in connection with the grand Abbey. Among the ruins of the nunnery a monumental slab was pointed out to me bearing the name, in Latin, of Ann McDonald, the last lady superior of the establishment. The year of her death is marked 1543. During the short time I had to revel among the tombs of the mighty dead, in another part of the ruins, my attention was drawn to the inscription on the weather-beaten tomb of Angus Og MacDonald, also in Latin: “Angus, the son of Angus McDonald, Lord of the Isles.” Angus Og, or young Angus, was Sir Walter Scott’s “Lord of the Isles,” but the gifted writer adopted the more euphonious name of Ronald.
“The heir of mighty Somerled,Leaving Iona, the steamer keeps close to the southern shore of Mull, which is very rocky, and indented by bays, which they call lochs in that country. At the head of Loch Buy, near the ruins of the old May Castle, is the stately residence of McLean, of Loch Buy, where Dr. Johnson and Boswell spent a very pleasant evening on their return from the Hebrides in October, 1772. While sailing along the coast you have a good view of the islands of Colonsay, Jura, Isla, and others of lesser note. The small island of Rathlin and Dunluce Castle, on the north coast of Ireland, are too far off to be taken in by the naked eye. From Loch Buy, now, it is only a short distance across to Oban, where you arrive about half past six p.m., well pleased, and indeed delighted with the day’s excursion, having made a complete circuit of over one hundred miles. After having enjoyed your seven o’clock dinner, and the interesting after-dinner conversation of your fellow tourists, you retire to your private apartments; but the desire uppermost in your mind is to learn the history of those crumbled castles and ramparts, those rocks and promontories, those abbeys and nunneries, all of which must have had a conspicious place in the history of the last thousand years. You sit down with the scanty records at your disposal, and in groping your way through the unpronounceable names of men and places, you light upon a name that, conspicuous above all others, looms up through the mist of ages and that name is
Ronald, from many a hero sprung,
The fair, the valiant and the young;
Lord of the Isles, whose lofty name
A thousand bards have given to fame.”
or in ordinary Gaelic, Somhairle, which corresponds to the English, Samuel. Whether Somerled was of purely Celtic origin, as some contend, or of purely Scandinavian origin, as others maintain, and as the name would almost seem to indicate, or whether he was partly Celtic and partly Scandinavian, which is most likely, it is a question which cannot be now fully decided. But that Somerled was the progenitor of the MacDonald clan, in all their different branches, admits of no doubt. And if, in tracing the race of Somerled, I shall be obliged to confine myself principally to the MacDonald clan, I trust that my doing so will not be attributed to any spirit of clannishness for I have to do so from necessity. I am free to admit that the princely clans of Cameron, McLeod, McNeill, McLean, Fraser, McIntosh, and many others, would be equally important and interesting; but that is not the question before us this evening. I have only promised to treat, this evening, of the race of “Mighty Somerled,” and to redeem that promise I must devote my paper principally to the MacDonald clan, his immediate descendants.
From the death of Suibhne to the accession of Gilbride, Somerled’s father, we find very little in ancient records. Gilbride was expelled from his possessions in the Scottish Highlands by the Danes and Fiongalls, and it is only after this that Somerled first comes into notice. At first he appears to have lived in retirement, musing in silent solitude over the ruined fortunes of his family; but a favorable opportunity presenting itself, he placed himself at the head of the people of Morvern, attacked the Norwegians whom, after a long and desperate struggle, he expelled from the district, and ultimately made himself master, in addition to Morvern, of Lochaber and Argyle. When David I., of Scotland, expelled the Norwegians from Man, Arran and Bute, Somerled obtained a grant of these islands from the King; but finding himself unable successfully to contend with the Norwegians of the Isles, whose power remained still unbroken, he resolved to gain by policy what he despaired of acquiring by force of arms. With this view he succeeded in obtaining, in the year 1140, the hand of Elfrica, daughter of Olave, surnamed the Red, at that time the Norwegian King of the Isles. It appears that Olave, the King of the Isles, was also naturally desirous of securing the alliance and support of the powerful Lord of Argyle. The issue of this marriage were three sons, Ronald, Dougald, and Angus. A few years pass away and we find Malcolm IV. seated on the throne of Scotland, but occupied with a civil war. By this time, however, Somerled had acquired great power. The King of Scotland, convinced that the existence of an independent chief, like Somerled, was incompatible with the interests of the central government, and the maintenance of public order, requested the Island chief to resign his possessions into His Majesty’s hands, and to hold them in future as a vassal from the crown. This Somerled declined to do, and boldly declared war against Malcolm himself. Emboldened by previous successes, Somerled determined to meet the King with a numerous army from Argyle, Ireland and the Isles; and having collected all his forces together, he sailed up the Clyde with a fleet of 160 galleys, landing his followers near Renfrew, the territory of the High Steward, threatening, as the ancient chronicles inform us, to subdue the whole of Scotland. He there met the royal army under the command of the High Steward of Scotland, by whom he was defeated and Somerled himself slain. King Malcolm, however, paid great respect to the body of his fallen foe, which he had solemnly conveyed to Iona, there to mingle with the dust of kindred chieftains. Somerled was succeeded in his territories of Isla, Cantyre, and a part of Lorn, by his son Ronald, who assumed the title of Lord of the Isles, or received it from his followers. From this Ronald sprang two great families, that of Isla, descended from his son Donald, and therefore patronymically styled MacDonald; and that of Bute, descended from his son Ruari, and therefore patronymically styled MacRuari. Most of the descendants of Somerled had for a century after his death a divided allegiance, holding part of their lands, those in the Isles, from the King of Norway, their mainland domains, at the same time, being held of the King of Scotland. Ronald married Fonia, a sister of Randolph, Earl of Moray, and by this marriage had issue, Donald of Islay, his heir, from whom the MacDonalds derive their name, and Ruari of Bute, whose issue terminated in Amie, who married John of Isla. Ronald died in the 54th year of his age, and was succeeded by his eldest son.
Hugh McDonald, the Seanachie, informs us that Donald succeeded his father in the lordship of the Isles and thaneship of Argyle, that he went to Denmark and took with him many of the ancient Danes of the Isles; and that his own rights and the peculiar rights he had to the Isles through his grandmother, the daughter of Olave the Red, were then and there renewed to him by Magnus, King of Denmark. On this account he would not come under vassalage to the King of Scotland. Donald died after a turbulent reign, and was buried at Columkill. He left two sons, Angus Mor, his heir, and Alastar.
was chief at the time of Haco’s expedition to the Western Highlands, in 1266, and with his fleet immediately joined Haco on his arrival, and assisted him throughout the war; though it appears in consequence of the treaty afterwards arranged between the Kings of Scotland and Norway, that he did not suffer for his conduct either in person or property. In 1284 he appeared at the great convention at which the Maid of Norway was declared heiress to the crown of Scotland. He confirmed his father’s and grandfather’s grants to the Abbey of Saddel, and other religious instititions. He resided for the most part of his life in his great castle at Artornish. He married a daughter of Sir Colin Campbell, of Glenorchy, with issue - Alexander, his heir, Angus Og, who succeeded his brother Alexander. He died in the year 1300, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
Of the Isles, who married a daughter of Ewen of Ergadia, the last of the descendants of Dougald of Lorn, by whom he received a considerable acquisition to his already extensive territories, but having joined the Lord of Lorne in his opposition to Robert Bruce, he naturally became a partner in the consequent collapse and ruin of that great family. The final result of his unfortunate alliance with the House of Lorne was that he was compelled to surrender to the king, who imprisoned him in Dundonald castle, where he ultimately died. His possessions were forfeited to the Crown, but were afterwards granted to his brother, Angus Og. He died in 1303, and was succeeded by his brother,
who fortunately for himself and his clan, sided with Bruce from the outset of his bold attempt to free his native land from the English Edwards. As the relations between the Lord of the Isles and Robert Bruce are familiar to most of you, I shall pass them over, merely observing that, after the disastrous defeat of Methven and the subsequent skirmish with the Lord of Lorn at Tyndrum, the valiant Bruce was obliged to fly with his life, whereupon Angus Og received and sheltered him, first, in the Castle of Saddel, in Cantyre, and in August, 1306, in his more secure Castle of Dunaverty, until, with McDonald’s aid, he retired some time after for safer refuge to the little island of Rathlin, on the north coast of Ireland, at that time possessed by the MacDonalds of the Isles. From this period Angus Og attached himself firmly to the party of Bruce, and took an important part in all the subsequent enterprises. At the decisive battle of Bannochburn Angus commanded the reserve, composed of 5000 Highlanders, led on under his own chief command, by sixteen of their own subordinate chiefs. At the age of 22 he was proclaimed Lord of the Isles, and Thane of Argyle and Lochaber. He married Margaret, daughter of Guy O’Cathan (O’Kane) of Ulster, Ireland, and by this marriage he had an only son, John. He died at his residence of Isla, was buried at Icolumkill, and was succeeded by his son,
who played a most important part in the turbulent age in which he lived. He is admitted by all to have been one of the most able and sagacious chiefs of his time. Of course it is known to the interlligent reader that John is called the first Lord of the Isles from the fact that the government of Scotland now acknowledged him as such. In his time Scotland was again divided and harrassed by various claimants to the crown, the principal of whom were David Bruce and Edward Balliol. The High Steward of Scotland, desirous of strengthening himself by means of alliances with the most powerful barons of the country, managed to bring about the marriage of the Lord of the Isles with his own daughter; and by the accession of Robert Steward to the throne of Scotland shortly after, as Robert II., the Lord of the Isles was brought into immediate connection with the crown. And as John remained during the whole reign of Robert II. in a state of as great tranquility as his father, Angus Og, had done during that of Robert I., the policy of thus connecting those turbulent chiefs with the government by the ties of friendship and alliances, rather than attempting to reduce them to obedience by force, became very manifest. The haughty temper of the western chief is well illustrated by an anecdote told in Hugh McDonald’s MSS. When John of the Isles was to be married, some of his followers and familiars advised him to behave courteously in the king’s presence, and above all to uncover himself as others did. McDonald said that he did not know well how the king should be revered by him, for all those whom he had ever met were obliged to reverence himself, and to get over the difficulty, he threw away his head gear, saying he would wear none and thus there would be no necessity of humiliating himself by taking it off before the king. The good John of Isla, as he is known by tradition, was twice married, first to Amie, the heiress of the McRuari family, with issue - John, who died before his father, Godfrey, of Uist and Garmoran, descendants said to be extinct, Ronald, progenitor of the Clanranalds, and Mary, married to McLean of Duart. He married secondly Lady Margaret, daughter of Robert Stewart, afterward King Robert II. of Scotland, and first of the Stewart dynasty. By this marriage he had Donald, who succeeded as second Lord of the Isles; John Mor, of Isla, ancestor of the McDonalds, the Earls of Antrim, Ireland; Alexander, Lord of Lochaber, commonly known as Alastair Carrach, progenitor of the Keppoch and other families in Lochaber. Gregory says that John died in 1380, while Skene places his death at 1386. He died in the great Castle of Artornish, in Morvern, and was buried in the sacred precincts of Iona. He was succeeded in his possessions and in the Lordship of the Isles by his eldest son, by his second marriage,
Better known in history as Donald of Harlaw, from the battle fought by him against the king’s troops near the village of Harlaw. He married Lady Mary Leslie, only daughter of the Countess of Ross, and thus, after the demise of all the nearer heirs, he justly claimed the Earldom of Ross in his wife’s right. The Governor, the Duke of Albany, actuated more by what would conduce to the security of the Government than by any question as to the justice of the claim, endeavored for the time to put him off. Donald, however, was not the man who would patiently brook the unjust refusal of his rights, and no sooner did he receive an unfavorable answer to his demands than he had recourse to the ultima ratio of kings and chieftains. He collected an army of ten thousand men, with which he invaded the Earldom. He appears to have met with no resistance from the people of Ross, and he soon obtained possession of the whole country. But on his arrival at Dingwall he was met by Angus Dubh McKay, in command of a large body of men from Sutherland who, after a severe attack, were completely routed, and Angus Dubh himself taken prisoner. Donald then leaving Ross, swept through Moray, and penetrated into Aberdeenshire at the head of his whole army. Near the village of Harlaw he was met by the Earl of Mar at the head of a large army, composed of Lowland gentry, who were better armed and better disciplined than the Highland followers of Donald. On the 24th of July, 1411, was fought the celebrated battle of Harlaw, upon the issue of which seemed to depend the question of whether the Gaelic or Teutonic part of the population of Scotland were in future to have the supremacy. The engagement might indeed be considered a drawn battle, but Donald, from the loss he had sustained in this battle, finding that he had not sufficient forces to follow up the campaign, was obliged to retire and take up his winter quarters in the Islands. The following year, however, he was forced to come to terms and become a vassal to the Scottish crown. Donald, as we have seen, married Lady Mary Leslie, who in the course of time became Countess of Ross in her own right. By this marriage he had issue - Alexander, who succeeded him as Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross; Angus who became bishop of the Isles, besides a daughter. He died, according to Findon, in 1423, according to Gregory about 1420. while Hugh McDonald, the Seanachie, though not mentioning the year of his death, says that he died in the Castle of Artornish, in Morvern, in the 45th year of his age, and was buried at Columkill. He was succeeded in the Lordship of the Isles, and, a few years later in the Earldom of Ross, by his eldest son,
After the death of his mother, who was Countess of Ross in her own right, he became Earl of Ross, and the title was acknowledged by the crown in 1430. He was a man of great spirit and marked ability, and, like his father and grandfather, became ambitious to found a Celtic Kingdom of the Isles, the sovereignity of which should remain in his family. At this time, however, Scotland was ruled by James I., exhibiting kingly talents of a high order, and a resolution to bring his vassals, however powerful, to abject submission. With this view, the king, in 1427, collected a large force, marched to Inverness accompanied by his principal nobles, with an army that made resistance on the part of the Highlanders appear quite out of the question. On his arrival in Inverness he summoned his barons, including the Highland chiefs, to attend a parliament, which even the Lord of the Isles thought it prudent to obey. But as the chiefs entered the hall in which parliament was assembled, each of the haughty nobles was immediately arrested, and placed in irons in different parts of the building, no one being permitted to communicate with any of the others. The majority of them were afterwards condemned to different sorts of deaths, while a few were set at liberty, after terms of imprisonment, and among these was Alexander of the Isles. It is impossible to defend this mean and treacherous conduct of the king, however brave or distinguished he may, in other respects, have been. Alexander married Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Seaton, Lord of Gordon and Huntley, and by her he had issue - John, his heir and successor; Archibald, or Gilespie, Lord of Lochalsh and Loch Carron; Hugh or Uistean, who was styled Lord of Sleat, and the founder of the family of Lord McDonald, of Sleat. Alexander had also several daughters. He died at his castle of Dingwall, in Ross-shire, on the 8th of May, 1448, and was succeeded by his eldest son.
As we find the race of the “Mighty Somerled” already spreading out into the different branches of Sleat, Glengarry, Keppoch, Clanranald, and other minor septs, and as it would be unwieldy to treat of them all in one mass, I deem it more satisfactory to treat of each family separately. To begin with the family of Sleat, you will remember that Hugh, third son of Alexander of the Isles and Earl of Ross, was styled Lord of Sleat. The ancestor of the present Lord McDonald was therefore this
In 1460 he made a raid into the Orkney Islands, accompanied by William McLeod of Harris, and returned with considerable booty. Thirty-five years later, in his boisterous reign, we find him receiving a Royal Charter under the Great Seal, a long Latin document dated 10th November, 1495, confirming to himself and his wife, Finvola of Ardnamurchan, and their heirs, the territory of Sleat, with some islands and other tracts of country. Hugh McDonald of Sleat died in 1498, the same year in which his eldest brother John, fourth Lord of the Isles, died, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
Although we can trace, without a missing link, the history and succession of the family for the next three hundred years, still it would be impossible to compress it within the limits of a lecture; and what I say of this family I may say, once for all, of all the other branches of the clan. Were I to continue the succession in detail, you would only find an array of Donalds and Ronalds which, to many of you, would appear monotonous; for after John II. of Sleat we have six Donalds in succession, then a Sir James, immediately followed by three more Sir Donalds, in one breath. Passing therefore over 300 years of equally interesting history, we come down, in 1745, to
Although Sir Alexander managed to keep out of the unfortunate troubles of 1745, it was more, no doubt, from motives of prudence than from any want of sympathy with the Jacobite cause. Chivalry may be all very fine in theory, but in practice, and in the stern reality, it often costs too dear, as many a poor Highlander of that epoch experienced to his cost. Sir Alexander, however, was not of a cringing nature; and, as a proof of this, I might refer to his interview with the Duke of Cumberland at Fort Augustus shortly after the battle of Culloden. On presenting himself, the Duke half jocularly exclaimed: “Oh! Is this the great rebel of the Isles?” when McDonald, drawing himself up, tartly replied: “My Lord Duke, had I been the rebel of the Isles, your Royal Highness would never have crossed the Spey.” His Royal Highness afterwards corresponded with him, and complemented him on his loyalty, at the same time assuring him of his friendly regard. He married first, on the 5th of April, 1733, Anne, daughter of David Easkin, of Dun, in the county of Forfar, and by her had one son, Donald, born 10th of January, 1734, who died young. He married, secondly, Lady Margaret Montgomery, daughter of the Earl of Eglington, with issue, James, Alexander and Archibald. Sir Alexander died of pleurisy, in the 36th year of his age, at Bernera, Glenelg, on the 25th November, 1746, while on his way to London to wait on the Duke of Cumberland, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
who was a distinguished scholar. A contemporary describes him as one of the most extraordinary young men he ever knew. He had great and noble schemes for the civilization and improvement of his country. Being of a very delicate constitution, it was thought a warmer climate would suit him better. He therefore went to Italy in 1765, and after a lingering illness died in Rome, on the 26th of July, 1766. Dying unmarried, he was succeeded by his next brother,
who, on the 17th of July, 1766, was, by Royal patent, created a Peer of Ireland by the title of Baron McDonald of Sleat, County Antrim, to himself and the heirs male of his body. On the 3d of May, 1768, he married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Godfrey Boswille of Gunthwaile, Yorkshire. He was distinguished from the other barons of the family by the appelation of An Morair Ban, or the Fair-haired Lord. He had issue, Alexander Wentworth, who succeeded him, and four other sons, who greatly distinguished themselves in the Napoleonic war, besides three daughters. He died on the 12th of September, 1795 and was succeeded by his eldest son,
who was born on the 9th of December, 1773. He expended about £35,000 sterling on the improvement of his estate. Among others was the erection of the princely modern family residence, Armadale Castle, in the parish of Sleat. His Lordship died unmarried on the 9th of June, 1824, and was succeeded by his next eldest brother,
who was born on the 14th of October, 1775, and on the 15th October, 1803, he married Louisa Maria, daughter of Farley Edsir. By her he had issue, Alexander William Robert Boswille, who succeeded, in terms of a special Act of Parliament, to the English estates of Thorpe - Godfrey William Wentworth, who succeeded, in terms of the same Act, to the titles of McDonald and the Scotch estates. His other sons held the highest rank in the army. He had also eight daughters, all of whom were married to naval and military officers of high rank and distinction. His Lordship died on the 18th October, 1832, and was succeeded in his Scottish titles and estates by his second son,
who was born on the 16th of March, 1809, and married, on the 21st of August, 1845, Maria Anne, daughter of Thos. Wyndam of Crown Hall, Norfolk, with issue, Somerled James Brudenell, who succeeded his father, besides several other sons and daughters. His Lordship died on the 25th of July, 1863, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
who was born on the 2d of October, 1849, and died unmarried on the 25th of December, 1874. He was living when I visited the Highlands of Scotland in the summer of 1874. He was succeeded by his next and only surviving brother,
Thirtieth in succession from Somerled, Twenty-first Baron, 14th Baronet and 6th Lord McDonald of Sleat. He was born on the 9th of June, 1853, and married, on the 1st October, 1875, Louisa Jane Hamilton, second daughter of Colonel George Hamilton Holmes Ross, of Cromarty, with issue, Somerled Godfrey James, his heir, born 21st July, 1876; Godfrey Evan Hugh, born 1879; Archibald Ronald Armadale, born 20th May, 1880. There were also four cadet families of Sleat, namely, the McDonalds of Balranald, Kingsburg, Castleton, and Vallay, but want of space will permit me to make only the merest reference to them.
are descended from Donald McDonald, known among Highlanders as Donald Herach. He was a son of Hugh, first of Sleat, by a daughter of McLeod of Harris. The present representative of the Balranalds is Alexander McDonald of Edenwood, in the county of Fife.
were descended from James McDonald, second son of Donald Gruamach, fourth Baron of Sleat. They took a prominent part in the various disputes between the family of Sleat and the McLeods, during the reigns of James V. and Queen Mary. Alexander McDonald was the sixth chief of the family in 1745, but did not join the followers of Prince Charles. He was, however, imprisoned in 1746, for twelve months in the Castle of Edinburgh, for having given a night’s shelter to Prince Charles. Indeed, he got a whole year’s safe lodging for having afforded that of one night. He died at the advanced age of 83, on the 13th February, 1772, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Allan, who, on the 6th November, 1750, married the celebrated Flora MacDonald, of History. They left a fine family of five sons, all distinguished, without exception, as naval and military officers. Their daughters were all married to officers of high rank, who left large families who also distinguished themselves in the service of their country. While Allan and Flora were in America, a boy and girl, aged, respectively 11 and 13, died of typhus fever, at their father’s residence, on the borders of Richmond and Montgomery counties. The present proprietor of the property where they are buried, has, much to his honor, carefully enclosed the graves of those children, to preserve the spot sacred to Flora MacDonald’s offspring. I have seen it stated somewhere lately that Flora MacDonald was a native of Skye; but this is incorrect. Flora was the daughter of Mr. MacDonald, of Milton, nian Fer ar mhuilin, in South Uist. After MacDonald of Milton’s death, Mrs. MacDonald, Flora’s mother, married MacDonald of Kingsburgh, in Skye. After this Flora made her principal home with her mother, in Skye; but she also spent a good part of her time with her brother, and other highly respected friends in Uist. The condition of Uist at that time was very different from its present wretched condition. She happened to be on a visit among her friends in Uist when she was singled out, on account of her extraordinary tact and cleverness, to effect the escape of Prince Charles. After her return from America she went to reside with her brother at Ar Mhuilin, in South Uist, and remained there until, on the treaty of peace, at the conclusion of the American war, 1783, her husband was liberated from prison and returned to Scotland. From this time Flora and her husband took up their residence at Kingsburg, in Skye, where they both died.
are descended from Donald, second son of Donald, eighth Baron of Sleat. John, the second son of Castleton, fought under Viscount Dundee, at Killiecrankie. They were connected by marriage with the families of Kingsburg, McLeod and McLean. The hospitable and noble-hearted mother-in-law of Flora McDonald was a daughter of John McDonald, second of Castleton. One of the most original and interesting characters that I find in the family was Ruari MacIan, Roderick, son of John II. of Castleton. He was one of the last links in the chain which connected the ideas and customs of the past with the altered habits and civilization of the present. He delighted in great displays of hospitality at funerals, marriages, christenings, and other social gatherings, and judged the social position ot those immediately concerned by the quantity of whiskey consumed, and the number of fights that took place on such occasions. Whenever he heard of anything unusually exciting, or even sanguinary, as having taken place on such occasions, he would exclaim, “Oh, yes, yes, that was to be looked for and expected. You know they have come of a respectable people?” On the other hand, when he was informed that a social gathering had passed off soberly and peacebly, and, as we would say decently, he would exclaim, “Oh cha rodhiad riamh ach spiachach.” “They were never but stingy and penurious. It is just like them. What else could you expect from such a low bred set?” In his early days the national beverage was freely manufactured without interference of the Board of Excise; but in his latter days he was much concerned and annoyed to hear that an excise officer, one of a class then looked upon in the Highlands as the natural enemies of society, was on his way to the Isle of Skye, and actually crossed the Caolas, or Strait. Old Rory was , at the time, confined to his bed by some ailment, and being unable personally to give such a welcome to the stranger as he desired, he sent for a powerful vassal upon whom he could fully depend to carry out any orders, if sufficiently rewarded. The hero having arrived, was ushered into Rory’s presence, who, pointing to an old garment hanging against the wall of his room, said, “ Do you see that coat with the silver buttons?” “I do.” “Well, then, it shall be yours if you go and meet the coming exciseman, set upon him, and give him such a pounding as will keep him from coming to molest us in future.” The order was soon carried into effect; the man returned to tell his patron that he had executed his commission to the letter. Before, however, receiving the promised reward, he had to undergo a series if cross questioning, in the following style: “Na phronn thu a mionach beag aige?” “Did you pound his small guts for him?” “I did.” “S’math sin! S’math sin!” “That’s right, that’s right.” “Now take your reward and you have well deserved it.” Having recovered from his temporary indisposition, Rory was one day taking his usual walk, when he met a man on the highway, and asking him in the usual manner for his news, the wayfarer informed him, among other things, that they were getting large catches of herring at Loch Eishort, and that an excise officer was seen on his way across the Island. Rory became quite startled, and believing that his old enemy had risen almost from the dead, exclaimed: “S’math a bha fios aige fhein gu de dhearnadh feum dha; a sheachd leor du a caddan ur.” “It’s well we knew himself what would do him good; a right royal bellyfull of fresh herring;” as if this would have cured him from the terrible pounding which otherwise must have proved fatal. The family of Castleton is at present represented by the Rev. James Alexander McDonald, who also succeeded to his father as claimant to the Annandale peerage.
are descended from William, son of Donald, third Baronet of Sleat. He obtained the property of Duntulm, in Skye, free for life, and a perpetual fee of the Island of Vallay, in North Uist, for one shilling a year, in return for his services to the family of Sleat during the forfeiture, after 1715. He was at the battle at Sheriffmuir and, with his brother James, commanded the McDonalds of Sleat, who opened the battle. He married Catherine, daughter of Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, by whom he had a numerous family. The House is now represented by the family of Alexander McDonald, Fourth of Vallay born 14th July, 1788, and married on 2d February, 1826, to Flora, daughter of Captain Duncan McRae, Royal York Rangers, with issue, Alexander Ewen, married with issue in Australia - William John, Senator for Victoria, Vancouver’s Island, British Columbia, married, with issue three sons and three daughters - Duncan Alexander, unmarried in Australia - Colin Hector, married in Australia, with issue - Duncan, unmarried in Australia, besides three daughters, Christina Maria, Harriet Margaret, and Mary Isabella, who are also all married.
are descended from Ronald, third son of Lord John of the Isles, by his first wife, Amie McRuari. He is therefore designated the eighth chief of the race of Somerled, progenitor of the McDonalds of Glengarry, and of all the McDonalds known as Clann Raonhuil, that is, a descendant of Ronald. Passing over a space of nearly 400 years, we come to Alexander Ronaldson McDonell, twenty-second in succession from the “Mighty Somerled,” and fifteenth chief of Glengarry. He is said to have been, in the most favorable feature of his character, Scott’s original for Fergus McIvor. It would be impossible here to chronicle, in detail, the various incidents of his remarkable career. He married on the 28th January, 1802, Rebecca, second daughter of Sir William Forbes, of Pitsligo, Bart, by whom he had issue, besides six sons who died young, Æneas Ronaldson, his heir, - Elizabeth, who married Paymaster Roderick C. McDonald, Prince Edward Island, of the 30th Regiment, with issue John Alastar, now a priest of the Society of Jesus, Canada - Emma, who died young and Elizabeth, a nun at Birkenhead, England. Glengarry had also several other daughters, two of whom were residing in Rothsay, Island of Bute, when I visited that country in 1874. A younger brother of Glengarry, Sir James McDonell, is also well known in the military annals of England. He highly distinguished himself at Maida, Egypt, and Waterloo. After the battle of Waterloo he was designated the “Hero of Hougomont”. Later in life he served in Canada in putting down the rebellion of 1837. Some of you may also remember his visit to this island when, accompanied by the late Paymaster Roderick McDonald, of the 30th Regiment and lady, who was Sir James’ niece, they paid a family visit to the late Rev. John McDonald, at St. Margaret’s, King’s County, where Father John was parish priest at the time. Sir James died unmarried in 1857. Alexander Ranaldson McDonell, fifteenth chief of Glengarry, was accidentally killed on the 14th of January, 1828, while attempting to land from the ship Stirling Castle, wrecked at Corran, near Fort William, Scotland, when he was succeeded by his only surviving son,
Sixteenth of Glengarry. He was born on 19th of July, 1818, and married Josephine, eldest daughter of William Bennett, and grand niece of the Right Rev. William Bennett, Bishop of Cloyne, with issue - Alastar Ronaldson, his heir, Æneas Robert, drowned in the Medway, in the 20th year of his age; Charles Ronaldson who, on the death of his eldest brother, became representative of the family. There were also three daughters, Marsalie, Eliza, and Helen Rebecca. This chief, who emigrated with his family to Australia, sold the greater part of the property, which was heavily mortgaged when it came into his possession, to the Marquis of Huntley, who, in 1840, sold it to Lord Ward, (afterward Earl of Dudley) for £91,000. His Lordship, in 1860, resold it to the late Edward Ellice, of Glenquaick for the sum of £120,000. Knoydart, the only remaining portion, was afterwards sold by trustees, when the vast territories of the race of Glengarry passed from them forever, except the site and ruins of the old Castle of Glengarry, burned in 1746, and the family burying ground, the keys of which are held by his daughter Marcelie, the present owner, now Mrs. Hector McLean of Edinburgh. Æneas Ronaldson, who thus sold the property so long inherited by his distinguisher ancestors, was succeeded, as representative of the family by his eldest son,
seventeeth of Glengarry, born in 1834. He died unmarried in New Zealand in 1862, when he was succeeded as representative, by his second brother,
eighteenth of Glengarry, born in 1838. He was succeeded by
seventeenth of Scothouse, and nineteenth of Glengarry. He died on the 24th of October of the same year, whereupon his eldest son, Æneas Ronald, having predeceased him, he was succeeded by his grandson,
born on the 5th of December, 1847, as twentieth representative and present chief of Glengarry. He married in 1874, Catherine Frances, only daughter of Henry Herries Creed, with issue - Æneas Ronald, his heir, Alastar Somerled, Marion Lindsay.
or Scothouse, are descended from Donald, the second son of Domhnul MacAonghais mhic Alastair, Donald, the son of Angus, son of Alastar, who was the eighteenth chief of Glengarry. I remember when hearing the old folks speak of the head of this family they called him Fer Scotaish. This Donald then, was the first of Scothouse. He married Mary, daughter of Sir Donald of Sleat, with issue - Ronald, his heir, and four other sons. This Ronald would have been the second of Scothouse, but his nephew Angus, ninth chief of Glengarry, having died without issue, Ronald inherited Glengarry. He had married a daughter of McLeod of McLeod, with issue - Alastair Dubh, Angus, and three other sons. Thus, Ronald, on becoming the chief of Glengarry, settled the lands and Barony of Scothouse on his second son Angus, and after his own death, he was of course succeeded in the chieftainship of Glengarry by his eldest son, Alastair Dubh, famous in the history of the Highlands. Angus, third of Scothouse, married a daughter of Sir Norman McLeod, with issue - Donald, his heir, and three others all of whose descendants came to America.
married, first, Helen Meldrum, of Meldrum, with issue, an only daughter Margaret, who married Alexander McDonald VII. of Glenaladale. He married, secondly, Elizabeth Cumming of Conter, with issue - Ronald, his heir. Donald was killed at Culloden, and was succeeded by his eldest son, and heir,
who married, first, Helen Grant, of Glenmoriston, with issue - Æneas, his heir. He married, secondly, Helen, daughter of John McDonell XII. of Glengarry, with issue Charles, a Major in the 76th regiment - Donald a Colonel in the H. E. I. C. S., (Honorable East India Company’s Service). John, a captain killed in battle, unmarried. He had also six daughters. Donald, third son of this family, Col. In the H. E. I. C. S., as already observed, married Anne, daughter of Archibald McDonald of Rhu and Loch Shiel, Anna nian Fear an Rhu, with issue - Æneas Ronald, Advocate, now of Morar, who married Catherine, only daughter of James Sidgreaves, of Inglewhite Hall, Lancashire, with issue - Ronald Talbot, James Sidgreaves, Alastair Crinan, and an only daughter, Catherine. Donald had also a second son, Donald, Captain N. I. of the H. E. I. C. S., who married Francis Eyre, with issue, an only daughter who died young. He had two daughters, Anne, who married Capt. Stott, of the 92nd regiment, with issue, and Catherine unmarried. Æneas of Morar, mentioned above, and his eldest son, Ronald, paid a visit to their friends in this Island in the summer of 1880. I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Capt. and Mrs. Stott and family in Edinburgh, in 1874, and Mrs. Scott’s unmarried sister, Miss Catherine McDonell, who also resides in Edinburgh. Æneas Ronald VII. of Scothouse entered the Madras Civil Service, and afterwards settled at Cheltenham. He married Juliana Charlotte Wade of Bombay, with issue - Æneas Ronald, who eventually succeeded his grandfather as the present chief of Glengarry, William V. C., a Judge of the High Court of Calcutta, Thomas Munro, died without issue, Alexander Kyle, besides two daughters, Annie and Julia Charlotte, both married.
Of course you would not expect that I should forget the
That the family of Clanranald is descended from Ranald, the eighth in succession from Somerled of the Isles, and Thane of Argyle, is admitted on all hands; the only question is: was Allan the immediate progenitor of the clann vich ich Aillen, or Clanranald, the first or second son of Ranald? His descendants stoutly maintain that he was the first, and in that case his immediate successors were the chiefs of the whole clan McDonald. But we shall let all that pass. Ranald was undoubtedly succeeded in a large portion of his princely estates by
Second of Moydart, and other extensive territories in the Western Highlands and Islands too numerous to define at present. Allan fought in the famous battle of Harlaw in 1411, when he greatly distinguished himself, together with his two brothers, Donald and Dugald, the latter of whom was slain. From the battle of Harlaw, on the 24th July, 1411, we may now make a long stride over 334 years of Clanranald history, and land at Glenfinnan, where the Royal Standard of the Stuarts was unfurled to the breeze, on Clanranald territory, in the month of August, 1745.
the 23d in succession from Somerled, and 15th of Clanranald, was born in 1692, and was therefore in the 53d year of his age when Prince Charles landed on the west coast of Scotland. He refused absolutely to take any part in the rising of 1745, although earnestly pressed to do so by the prince; but he offered no resistance to his son’s joining the unfortunate enterprise. He had married Margaret, daughter of William McLeod of Bernera, by whom he had issue - Ronald, his heir, Donald, afterwards an officer in the British army, who greatly distinguished himself in the service, and was killed with General Wolfe at the taking of Quebec - Margaret, who died unmarried. He was succeeded by his son,
the sixteenth of Clanranald, who was called the Young Clanranald, to distinguish him from his father, who bore the same name. It has been already observed that old Clanranald absolutely declined taking any part in the unfortunate enterprise, though he left his son at liberty to do as he thought proper; and we accordingly find that Young Clanranald, McDonald of Kinlochmoydart and his brother, together with Young Glenaladale, were the very first to join the prince on board the Doutelle, as she lay at anchor off Borrodale. The noble-hearted young men allowed themselves to be too easily imposed upon by the courtly young prince; and indeed the prince himself had been imposed upon by the politicians of the day. The mere politician is the same all over. The French were then at war with the English, and they thought it would be an excellent stroke of policy if they succeeded in creating a diversion which would give employment to the English troops at home. Hence it was that they whispered into the too willing ear of the enthusiastic young prince the very tempting idea of striking for the throne of his royal ancestors. No doubt the glorious career they described, as opening before him, was pictured in the most glowing colors, and many promises made which were never fulfilled. Indeed, the expedition itself was got up principally at the expense of private individuals, and for which the wily politicians sacrificied little or nothing. Until the crushing defeat at Culloden, the Highlanders never abandoned the cause of the old, and what to them appeared, the lawful dynasty. They had bravely fought the battles of the first and second Charles, as well as the second and third, or, in their language, the seventh and eighth James under Mar, Montrose, and Dundee, in many of which they proved victorious. At the epoch of 1745 therefore, they looked upon the actual state of things in Britain as a mere usurpation that would pass away with a little time. So far from thinking that it was rebellion to espouse the cause of their prince, they looked upon those who opposed him as the real rebels; and even many of those who, through mere prudence, refused to join him, considered, nevertheless, his cause a just and righteous one, if it could only be sustained. And besides, the manner in which the prince threw himself into their hands, and appeared to place himself absolutely under their protection, awakened their sympathy, and naturally stirred up feelings of pride and chivalry. Again, the Clanranalds especially considered themselves flattered by the fact that their prince had actually landed on their own territory; and this very circumstance was artfully woven into the popular Scotch and Gaelic songs specially got up for the occasion, as for instance:
“The news from Moydart came yestreen,The Gaelic Poet, Alexander McDonald, of Dalilea, Alastair Mac Mhaistir Alastair, contributed more in this respect towards rousing his clansmen than any others of the day. He had graduated, with honors at the University of Edinburgh; and therefore even his Gaelic songs and poems, which form a goodly octavo, are much above the ballad style. On the landing of the prince on Clanranald soil, and the rallying of his clansmen, he sings:-
That will ? many fairly,
For ships of war had just come in,
And landed Royal Charlie.”
“Moch’sa mhadain’s mi dusgadh,Which, without regard to style or metre, might be rendered as follows;-
‘S mor mo shunnd’s mo cheol-gaire;
O’ n a chuala mi ‘m prionnsa,
Thigh’n do dhuthaich chlann Ra’ill.”
“’S na ‘n caraicht an crun ort,
Bu mhuirneach do chairdean;
‘S bhiodh Loch-lal mar bu choir dha,
Cur an ordugh nan Gael.”
“’S bhiodh Loch-lal mar bu choir dha,
Cuir an ordugh nan Gael;
A’s Chlann-Domhnuill a chruadail;
Choisinn buaidh anns na blariabh.”
How great my joy and spirits, sinceIn this song there are sixteen stanzas, with a rousing chorus at the end of each. I am only sorry I cannot give you an idea of either its force or beauty. From the day that Youg Clanranald joined the prince, at the head of his men, he followed the campaign all through. After the defeat at Culloden, he succeeded in making his escape to France, and was immediately placed, aide-camp on the staff of Marshal Saxe, and remained in that capacity until the great Marshal’s death. Many of the chiefs who were engaged in the unfortunate rebellion, refusing to give themselves up, a bill of attainder was brought against them, which received the Royal assent, on the 4th of June, 1746. In this bill were included the names of Donald McDonald, younger of Clanranald, Donald McDonald of Loch Garry, Alexander McDonald of Keppoch, Archibald McDonald of Barrisdale, Alexander McDonald of Glencoe, and others. The most of these suffered the penalty of the law; and, amongst others, McDonald of Kinlochmoydart, who was executed at Carlisle on the 18th October of the same year. As to Clanranald, he was, by mistake, named Donald, instead of Ronald, in the Act of attainder. His friends took advantage of this and, after some years’ delay, he succeeded in recovering his estates, to which he retired, and became, for the rest of his life a, steady and loyal subject of King George. He married first, Mary, daughter of Basil Hamilton, afterwards Earl of Selkirk, and by her had issue - Charles James Somerled, who died in his fifth year in Edinburgh, on the 25th of May, 1755, and was buried at Holyrood. He married, secondly, Flora, daughter of McKinnon of McKinnon, with issue - John, his heir - James a Colonel in the army, besides three daughters Margaret, Mary, and Penelope. He was succeeded by
Awaking from my morning snore,
To hear that our darling prince
Had landed on Clanranald’s shore.
Proud woud all our clansmen feel
To see the crown placed on your brow;
The gallant chieftain, young Lochiel,
Will nobly do his duty now.
Lochiel, as erst, will marshall all
His Highland clans, in proud array;
You’ll see the MacDonalds at your call,
Rush fearlessly into the fray.
Seventeenth of Clanranald, who was young at his father’s death. He married first, Catherine, daughter of the Right Hon. Robert McQueen of Braxfield, Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland, with issue - Ronald George his heir, born in Edinburgh on the 29th August, 1788 - Robert Johnston - and Donald. He died in 1794 and was succeeded by his eldest son,
Eighteenth of Clanranald. He was born in Edinburgh on the 29th August, 1788, and a minor at the time of his father’s death. He represented the Borough of Plympton in the British Parliament from 1812 to 1824. According to the statistical account, the rental of the Clanranald estate, in 1837, was about £4500 sterling per annum; but shortly after that date the property was sold by this chief for a large sum to Colonel Gordon of Cluny, Aberdeenshire. He reserved the ruins of Castle Tyrim, merely for the title. He married, on the 1st April, 1812, Lady Caroline Anne Edgecomb, second daughter of Richard, second Earl of Mount Edgecomb, by whom he had issue - Ronald John James George, his heir now of Clanranald - Carolina Sophia - Emma Hamilla - Louisa Emily, all married - Flora, Maid of Honor to the Queen - and Sarah Anne, married in 1848 to Baron Porcelli, a Sicilian nobleman, with issue. Clanranald died at his residence, Clarendon Road, London, on the 11th March, 1873, in the 85th year of his age, and was succeeded, as representative of the family, by his eldest son,
Nineteenth and present chief of Clanranald, Vice-Admiral R. N., K. C. S. I. He married on the 11th June, 1855, the Hon. Adelaide Louisa, second daughter of George, fifth Lord Vernon, with issue - Allan Douglas, his heir, born April, 1856, Angus Roderick, born in April, 1858, now in Calcutta, and Adelaide Elfrida.
There are also four cadet families of Clanranalds, the McEachen McDonalds, the McDonalds of Glenaladale, of Kinlochmoydart and Boisdale, to whom I can devote but a short space.
are descended from Eachan, or Hector, second son of Roderick McDonald, third chief of Moydart and Clanranald. This Eachan, or Hector, obtained lands in Morvern, Argyleshire. The great majority of those descended from Eachen, and called themselves after him, have in later times resumed the more general name of McDonald. We still, however, meet with the patronymic name. McEachan in various forms, principally in Argyleshire, such as McEachen, McEachan, McEachern, McEachran, and McKechnie, all of which are but corruptions of the original name MacEachen, or son of Hector. Charles McEachan, or McDonald, who held the property of Kinloid, in Arisaig, under Clanranald, figured in the rising of 1745. He was chosen by Clanranald to muster his mainland retainers, and he marched at the head of 120 Arisaig McDonalds to the standard of Prince Charles, at Glenfinan. Some time after the battle of Culloden, in which he took part, he married Marceli, daughter of McDonald of Dalilea, with issue - John, who became a priest, Alexander, who became a doctor of medicine, and well known professionally in his day, in Arisaig, Lewis, Uist and Skye, as an Doctear Ruadh, or Red Doctor. He left a large family of five sons and six daughters. The late Charles McDonald, of Ord, Isle of Skye, was the fifth son of Doctear Ruadh. He married Annie, daughter of Capt. Neil McLeod, of Gesto, in the Isle of Skye, with issue - Alexander McDonald, now of Ord, who is married to Maria McDonell of Keppoch, Lauchlan McDonald, now of Scaebost, well known among the Highlanders of the present day for the lively interest he takes in the welfare of his poor countrymen. There are also in this family two more sons and three daughters, all married. As you may perceive, the Doctear Ruadh and his descendants dropped the McEachen and resumed the original name of McDonald, as soon as they found themselves to be somebody. Indeed, we find in the records of the old seminary of Boorblack, in Moydart, where the doctor received his early education, that he entered it as a McEachen and left it as a McDonald. Neil McEachen, who accompanied Prince Charles to France, did the same, and his son is known in history as Marshal McDonald. There are not a few McEachens, and McEacherns also in this Island, a most respectable class who, wherever they arrive at a certain high degree of eminence, will, no doubt, also drop the McEachen, and resume the name of their original ancestors. (laughter).
or Clann mhic Iain oig are the descendants of Iain Og, or Young John, second son of the famous John Moydartach, seventh chief of Clanranald, by his first wife, Mariatte McDonald of Ardnamurchan. He took a distinguished part, with his father, in the wars and feuds of the turbulent times in which he lived, and was distinguished for his reckless bravery. He married Sheelah, or Julia McDonald, of Clanranald, and by her had one son,
Alexander was a young man of more than usually restless disposition, and not finding sufficiently attractive work at home, and, as it would appear, spoiling for a fight, he proceeded in quest of more stirring adventure to Ireland, where he joined the army, and fought in several engagements. He returned, however, from Ireland after his father’s death; and in addition to Glenaladale, he also got Glenfinan, in return for valuable services rendered in ridding the latter country of certain troublesome intruders. He married Letitia, of the Clanranald family, with issue - Ruari, his heir - and Alastar. He was succeeded by his eldest son. We shall now pass down to the time of
who, together with young Clanranald, and the two McDonalds of Kinlochmoydart, as already stated, were the first to join Prince Charles, when he landed on the west coast of Scotland in 1745. He accompanied Prince Charles throughout, in the Clanranald contingent, holding the rank of Major, and fought at Preston Pans and Falkirk. He accompanied the army into England, and afterwards took part in the fatal battle of Culloden. The old pipes which his piper played on that disastrous occasion are still preserved in the family, at Glenfinan. He married Margaret, only daughter of Donald McDonald, fourth of Scothouse, with issue - John, well known as Fer a Ghlinne in this Island, in its early history as a British colony - Augustine, well known in this Island also in the early part of the present century, as Maistir Uistean. Donald, who also came to this Island, but returned home, joined the English army, and was shortly after killed in battle during the French wars. The two daughters also came to this Island, Margaret and Helen; the former was the mother of the late Hon. John Small McDonald, the latter is still known, by tradition, here as “Miss Nelly.” Alastar was succeeded by his eldest son,
In a lecture delivered here a few years ago, I stated the circumstances that induced John McDonald, eighth of Glenaladale, to emigrate to this Island, and therefore need not repeat them here. He married first Miss Gordon, of Baldornic (now Wardhouse) aunt of the late distinguished Admiral Sir James Gordon, by whom he had an only child, who survived its mother only a few months. He married, secondly, Marjory McDonald, of Ghernish, known here as the old queen of Tracadie - with issue - Donald, who died in Quebec, July, 1854 - William, drowned off the coast of Ireland in 1810, while on his way, with his brother Donald, to Stonyhurst College, England - John, the Rev. John McDonald, who died at Brighton, England, 1874 - Roderick C. McDonald, Paymaster of the 30th Regiment, died in the Ionian Islands, Greece - and Flora, the late Mrs. McDonnell, who died at Charlottetown, 4th November, 1864. All these are too well, and too favorably known in this community to require any further detail. John of Glenaladale died in this Island, in 1811, and was buried in the old French Cemetery, at Scotch Fort, where all the other members of the family, who died in this Island,. are also interred. He was, in 1772, succeeded in the estates of Glenaladale and Glenfinan in Scotland, by purchase and as next heir male, by his cousin, Alexander McDonald, of Borodale, the son of Angus, second of John, fifth of Glenaladale, Alastair, Mac Aonghais vic Iain, or more commonly known as Alastair an oir, as Alexander IX. of Glenaladale. He married Miss McGregor, by whom he had three sons - John, Alexander and Angus. The eldest and youngest died in infancy, and he was succeeded by his only surviving son,
It was this chief of Glenaladale who, at his own private expense, erected the grand monument to Prince Charles, at Glenfinan. He died unmarried in 1814, at the age of 28, and was succeeded in terms of his father’s settlement, and as heir at law, by his first cousin.
This John McDonald, of Borodale, when a young man, spent a year in this island, among his friends at Allisary and Maple Hill; but not liking the country he returned home, and eventually inherited the Glenaladale property, as already stated. He married Jane, daughter of McNab of Inish-Ewen, with issue - Angus, his heir, besides five other sons, and five daughters. He died in 1830, and was succeeded by his eldest son.
born in 1793, and married in 1836, to Mary, youngest daughter of Hugh Watson, of Torsonce, W. S., Midlothian, with issue - John Andrew, his heir - Hugh Joseph, now the Very Rev. the Superior of the Redemptorist Fathers, in England, Ireland and Scotland - Angus (B. A., London) now the Right Rev. Lord Bishop of Argyle and the Isles - Mary Margaret, a nun - and Jane Veronica, unmarried. Angus died in 1870, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
and present Laird of Glenaladale, who married Helen, eldest daughter of Edward Chaloner, of Hermiston Hall, Nottinghamshire, without issue. She died some twelve years ago; and John Andrew, contrary to what I fondly hoped when I saw him, is still a widower. Queen Victoria visited Glenfinan in Sept., 1873. In her last book - “More Leaves from the Journal of a Life in the Highlands,” she says of Mr. McDonald of Glenaladale:
“He is a stout, robust looking Highlander of about 30, and a widower. He is a Catholic, as are all the people in this district. The priest is his uncle, and lives with him. He shewed me some curious relics of Charles Edward, an old fashioned strange snuff mull, which had been given by him to McDonald’s ancestor, with the dates 1745 and 1746 engraved on it; for at Borodale Prince Charlie slept for the last time in Scotland; a watch which had belonged to him, and a ring into which some of his fair hair had been put, were also shewn. * * * * * * * * *After fancying to herself the gathering of the Clans, and the unfurling of the standard of King James, by the old Tuilibardine, at Glenfinan in 1745, she continues:
The family used to live at Borodale, near Arisaig, but acquired Glenaladale from the former McDonalds of Glenaladale, who emigrated to Prince Edward Island after the Forty-five.”
“What a scene it must have been in 1745! And here was I, the descendant of the Stuarts and of the very King whom Prince Charles sought to overthrow, sitting and walking about quite privalely and peacebly.”The McDonalds of Kinlochmoydart are the descendants of John, fourth son of Allan, fourth chief of Clanranald. He is known among Highlanders as Ian Mac Alein. His grandson, Ronald, third of Kinlochmoydart, fought in the battles of Killicrankie and Sheriffmuir, together with his two sons, Ronald and John, where they greatly distinguished themselves. He married the only daughter of John Cameron of Lochiel, son of the great Sir Ewen, and by her had only twenty-three children, among whom we may mention Donald, the eldest, and Ronald, who married a daughter of McDonald of Dalilia, by whom he had twenty-one children. This Ronald was really the first to join the Prince on board the Doutelle, when his eldest brother and young Clanranald and Glenaladale followed suit.
after the battle of Culloden, was executed at Carlisle on the 18th of Oct., 1746, his estates were confiscated, and his house burned to the ground by the king’s troops, when he was succeeded as representative of the family by his eldest son,
who became a Captain in the 42nd regiment, and afterwards a Colonel in the 71st Highlanders. He and another brother named Charles, were educated in Paris. While Alexander rose to a high position in the British army, Charles, who had entered the French service, rose still higher in France, and during the American war the two brothers found themselves fighting on opposite sides. Curiously enough it happened on a certain occasion, that these two brothers were the officers chosen to make arrangements for the exchange of prisoners. Charles remained steadfast and loyal to his adopted king and country during the French revolution, and for his loyalty died under the guillotine. Alexander was several times seriously wounded during the American war. In 1765, he married Susanna, daughter of Donald Campbell of Aird, with issue - John, his heir, Donald and Margaret. John, who was a captain in the 21st regiment, was killed in 1794, leading the storming party at the taking of Guadaloupe. He died unmarried and was succeeded by his brother Donald. Donald, after having served with marked distinction at Toulouse, Egypt, and the West Indies, was appointed Governor of Tobago, and Commandant of the military forces stationed there. He died unmarried from the effects of wounds received during his long and active service, and was succeeded by his sister Margaret. Margaret, on the 2nd of October, 1799, married Lieut. Colonel William Robertson of Strowan, who, at his marriage, assumed the name of McDonald in addition to his own. They had six sons and five daughters, and were succeeded by their eldest son,
whose numerous family occupy the property of Kinlochmoydart at the present day. Jessie, the late Mrs. Alexander McDonald, and mother of Major Allan McDonald, of Jessie’s Grove, Lower Montague, was of the Kinlochmoydart family.
would deserve a fuller notice than my space will permit. The founder of this warlike family was Alastair, third son of John of the Isles, by his second wife, Lady Margaret, daughter of King Robert II. of Scotland. From the time of Robert II. to the time of Prince Charles Stuart, a space of nearly 500 years, the McDonalds of Keppoch were always distinguished. Alexander, the Chief of Keppoch in 1745, was killed at Culloden. He had married Jessie, daughter of Robert Stewart of Appin, by whom he had a large family of sons and daughters. He was succeeded, as representative of the family, by his eldest son,
Ronald Og of Keppoch fought all through the American war, and became a colonel in the British army. The McDonalds of Keppoch supplied over 300 men to the 78th Cameron Highlanders when first raised by Sir Allan Cameron in 1793. In 1752, Ronald petitioned the English Government for the restitution of the family estate, and compensation for losses sustained, alleging that his father had died at Culloden before the Act of Attainder but without success. Notwithstanding this refusal, in 1752, he joined the Fraser Highlanders, raised in that year, as Lieutenant, and greatly distinguished himself under General Wolfe, and was severely wounded at the taking of Quebec. He married Sarah, daughter of Thomas Cargill of Jamaica, with issue - Alexander, his heir besides another son and two daughters. He died in 1788, and was succeeded as representative of the family by his eldest son,
known amongst the Highlanders as An Maidsear Mor, or Big Major of the First Royals. He married Sarah, fourth daughter of Major Donald McDonald, of Tir na Drish, who was executed in Carlisle in 1746. The Maidsear Mor afterwards emigrated to America where he died, leaving issue - Chichester, whose descendants, if any still survive in Canada, would be the legitimate heads of this warlike and heroic family. Some of the Keppoch family were on this Island sometime in the early part of this century, but I have no documents in my possession to shew what became of them; neither have I time nor opportunity at present, to make any enquiry. - John, who was married in Baltimore, U. S., on the 4th July, 1813, by the Right Rev. Dr. Fenwick, to Margaret, daughter of Alexander Coulter of the County Down, Ireland. He died at Baltimore on the 17th of March, 1824, where, in the Catholic Cemetery, a monument is erected to his memory, leaving issue an only child,
Alexander Angus was born in Baltimore the 11th of November, 1816, and married on the 5th of April, 1840, at Baltimore, Anne, daughter and heiress of Thomas Walsh, County Cork, Ireland, with issue - Ferdinando, who died without issue - Annie Alexis, married on the 8th September, 1868, in the Cathedral of Baltimore, U. S., by His Grace, the late Archbishop Spalding, to John, Marquis D’Oyley of Paris, France, with issue - Reginald Donald, Gilbert Raoul, and Alastair Ladislas. Alexander Angus died on the 6th of June, 1858, and was buried in St. Patrick’s cemetery, Baltimore, U. S. The McDonell family who occupied the modern Keppoch House, when I visited them, the old mansion being burned in 1746, were descended from Keppoch by the female line. The late Angus McDonell of Inch, and his wife, Christina McNab, of Badenoch, who is still living, were both the great grandchildren of McDonald of Keppoch, who was killed at Culloden, being descended from two daughters of old Keppoch. Mrs. McDonell, a most gifted and accomplished lady, was then living at Keppoch, and had in family one son, Donald, then in India and, I think, eight daughters living, all married except the two youngest. Although they were on the old Keppoch estate, they were paying rent to McIntosh of McIntosh, the present proprietor. Mrs. McDonell has since removed to London, where I believe she still resides. I also met another fine specimen of the Inch family in London, Dr. Ewen McDonell, who served for many years in India. He was married to an English lady, Amiee Hill, and had a family of three sons, Archibald, Alastair and Cuthbert, and one daughter, Henrietta, since married to one of the McDonalds of Antrim, Ireland. Dr. McDonell’s eldest son, the Rev. Archibald McDonell, is now a priest in the diocese of Argyle and the Isles. There are also the McDonells of Leek and Greenfield, besides the McDonalds of Tulloch, Dalchosnie and Glencoe. John McDonald of Leek was on the staff of Prince Charles at Culloden, and a few years later we find him on the staff of Gen. Wolfe at Quebec. He stood beside Wolfe when he fell. He remained on the staff after Wolfe’s death, a general favorite with his brother officers. On a certain occasion, however, he and a Hessian officer had some angry words, when the Hessian called him a d---ed rebel Highlander. McDonell resented the insult, and a challenge was the unfortunate result. A duel with swords ensued, in which the Hessian was killed. The McDonells of Greenfield emigrated to Canada shortly after the Forty-five. John McDonnell of Greenfield, then Attorney-General of Upper Canada was, in the American war of 1812, appointed aide-camp to Major General Sir Isaac Brock, and they were both killed at the battle of Queenstown Heights, on the 13th of October, 1812. McDonnell was only in the 25th year of his age. John A. McDonnell, Barrister-at-Law, Toronto, Canada, is the present representative of this family. The family of McDonald, of Boisdale, are now extinct. The estate of Boisdale, from which the family took its title, is situated in the southern part of Souith Uist. In 1770, Alastair Mor, or Big Sandy of Boisdale, of the yellow cudgell, had over two hundred families tenants and crofters on his estate. For three or four generations all his male descendants took to the army. Hugh McDonald, the great grandson of Big Sandy, is the last of the family of whom I can get any tidings. The rental of his estate in 1837, was about £900 stg., at which time he was a non resident or absentee proprietor. The property, soon after this time, was sold by his trustees to the present proprietor of Uist and Barra, and he himself remained in England, where he appears to have got lost in the crowd. The property is at present occupied as one large farm by a Mr. Ferguson, for which he pays a yearly rent of £250. The family of Bornish is also extinct in the old country. The last of them, Ronald, and his sister Christine, both died unmarried at Bornish, South Uist, over thirty-five years ago, and the property passed into the hands of the present proprietor of Uist and Barra. A brother of Mr. Ferguson of Boisdale now occupies Bornish, for which he pays a yearly rent of £200. Ormaelad, one of Clanranald’s residences, is occupied by a Mr. McLellan; and Ghernish is held by a Mr. Chisholm. These were the principal and large estates in the island of South Uist. There were besides, many smaller estates in the olden times, such as Milton (Ara Mhullin), the birth place of Flora McDonald; Ho Beg, and Ho Mor, where the ancestors of Marshal McDonald lived, together with Killbanan, Drimsdale, Dalibrog, Askernish, &c., &c., now nearly altogether under sheep and cattle. The Boisdales were of the Clanranald family. The Bornishes were of the Keppoch branch. The Rev. Roderick McDonald, Presbyterian Minister of Drimsdale, and a very worthy gentleman, was the only McDonald I met in my visit, and I travelled it from end to end. As regards the McDonalds of Glencoe, apart from the sad interest attached to the name of Glencoe, its scenery is grand beyond description, and well worthy of notice. To quote again from the Queen’s book, after passing through the little village of Ballachulish, she says:
“Emerging from the village we entered the Pass of Glencoe which, at the opening, is beautifully green, with trees and cottages dotted about along the valley, with green ‘haughs,’ where a few cattle are to be seen, and sheep, which graze up some of the wildest parts of this glorious glen. A sharp turn in the rough, very winding, and, in some parts, precipitous road, brings you to the finest, wildest, and grandest part of the pass. Stern, rugged, precipitous mountains, with beautiful peaks and rocks, piled high, one above the other, two and three thousand feet high, tower and rise up to the heavens on either side, without any signs of habitation, except where, half way up the pass, there are some trees, and near them, heaps of stone on either side of the road, remains of what once were homes, which tell the bloody, fearful tale of woe. The place itself is one which adds to the horror of the thought that such a thing could have been conceived and committed on innocent sleeping people. How and whither could they fly? Let me hope that William III. Knew nothing of it.”I have no definite idea of the opinion entertained in this community of the Queen’s book. I presume, however, that the opinion is favorable, and on this reasonable presumption, I have taken the liberty of quoting it. Some there are, I am well aware, in the world of gossip who turn up their nose at it, affect to be disedified at its general tone, and pronounce the whole thing the merest drivel. They single out her alleged forgetfulness, and utter disregard of queenly dignity, by honoring, with her gracious presence, funerals and christenings, and even partaking of the simple hospitality of those rude barbarians. But, above all, they are scandalized, forsooth, at the manner in which she lamented the loss of her ever-faithful and devoted servant, the noble-hearted Brown. Now, as regards the general tone of her book, we should not look for anything elaborate or highly wrought. We should bear in mind that her book is but a journal of her life in the Highlands. She was not writing a sensational novel. She simply describes the scenery of those places through which she travelled, with sometimes, a casual remark. I have myself passed over nearly all the places and scenes described in her book, and although I do not pose as authority in æsthetics, still I cannot help thinking that her descriptions are charming. They are chaste, simple, and true to nature. The correct manner in which she invariably gives those unpronounceable names of places which you meet in the Highlands, as well as their true signification, is remarkable. And if she condescended so far, on certain rare and exceptional occasions, as to honor by her presence the funerals and christenings of those denizens of the mountain, and even to partake of their rude cheer, we should remember that her mission to the Highlands was not to canvass for the Scott Act, or to preach a temperance crusade. (Loud applause.) And if she sincerely deplored the premature loss of her loyal and faithful servant, and respected his memory, it only shews the honest sincerity and generosity of her noble, queenly, and motherly heart. (Applause.) Let us never forget that it was to be the noble, generous, and self-sacrificing spirit of such men as Brown, her less fortunate cousin “Bonnie Prince Charlie” owed his very life at a time when his head or his betrayal would have secured to the traitor, or mercenary, his £30,000 stg., as readily as if he had in his wallet a deposit receipt for that amount from the Bank of England. All such fastidiousness and squeamishness, which after all are but a mask to cover hypocrisy, should be frowned down in the very bud by all honest and rightly balanced minds. (Applause.) Honi soit qui mal y pense, is inscribed on her sacred escutcheon, and should have a meaning. I only hope she may live to write many more such sweet little books. Even a queen might have a less edifying pastime. In a word, let us ever remember, with honest pride, that our own peerless Victoria was always charming and virtuous as a daughter, affectionate as a wife, she is prudent as a mother, exemplary as a widow, and GLORIOUS AS A QUEEN. (Loud applause.)
To sum up, we find that the children of the present Lord McDonald of Sleat, in the Isle of Skye, are now in the 31st degree in direct lawful succession from the “Mighty Somerled.” The children of Æneas Ronald Westrop McDonell, the present representative of the Glengarry family are in the 28th degree. The children of Sir Ronald John James George of Clanranald, now Vice Admiral, &c., &c., are in the 27th. The grandchildren of Alexander Angus McDonald of Keppoch, who died in Baltimore, U. S., on the 6th of June, 1858, are in the 29th. The McDonalds at present occupying old Glenaladale, in Scotland, are in the 27th. The Robertson McDonalds of Kinlochmoydart are in the 26th degree. The descendants of the late Capt. John McDonald, the direct lineal descendants of Glenaladale, in this Island, are only down to the 25th degree. Other collateral branches of the Clan vic Ian oig, in this Island are now down to the 27th degree from Somerled. The Highlanders, in general, stood by the old Stuart dynasty as long as they saw any hope of success, but after the crushing defeat at Culloden, and seeing that their’s was a hopeless cause, the readiness with which they espoused, and have ever since adhered to, the House of Hanover is remarkable. Taking the Highland clans in the aggregate, they have since that time supplied to the British Government more men, distinguished as Generals, Admirals, Colonels, Governors of provinces, and other important professional positions, in proportion to their numbers (for in numbers they are but a handful), in proportion to their numbers, I say, they have supplied more men distinguished in the higher and nobler walks of life than any other people known in ancient or modern history. (Applause.) It is, however, deplorable to see in those straths and glens where, during the Napoleonic wars, you could raise whole regiments of the best fighting material that ever faced a foe, by merely beckoning at them, you will this day travel a distance of 20 or 30 miles where there used to be a teeming population, without meeting a human being, except, perchance, an humble solitary shepherd or gamekeper. You might, like Glendower, boast that you could
“Call spirits from the vasty deep,
But will they come?”
An Ossian, indeed, might see, in imagination, their spirits still lingering in the mountain mist over solitary glens and desolated homes, but he would not find to-day the literal bone and sinew of war in those glens, as in the day when
“Rose the Slogan of McDonald, flashed the broadsword of Lochiel.”But will they no longer come at the sound of the pibroch.
“All belted and plumed in their tartan array.”
No, they are not there. Their once happy homes have become the exclusive home of deer and sheep. Their land was once, in their own mountain language,
“Tir nanbean, ‘s nanglean, ‘s nan gaischeach.”
“The land of mountain, glen, and heroes.”
But if the present blind and unpatriotic policy of too many of the landlords be not checked in time, it will soon be made a land of mountain, glen, deer and sheep. The day, however, may come when it will be found - and perhaps when too late - that deer and sheep, however profitable, are but a poor substitute for the vigorous arms and generous hearts that, on the world’s great battlefields for the last century and a half, have largely and nobly assisted in fighting the battles of Old England, and in upholding and vindicating the laws and institutions, the glory and prestige of the greatest empire that has ever figured on the broad page of history. (Loud and continued applause.)
Copyright © 2003 Basil Campbell.