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Amelia Volume 1 Chapter 25

Letters and Charges following Glenfruin

[page 299}
FROM the “Chartulary” :-

“1603. Feb. Messengers sent with letters charging the Sheriffs of Perth and Stirling and their deputes, the Steward of Monteith, and the Laird of Glenurquhay to convocate, and assemble the haill inhabitants within their bounds and commandment, in arms, and to keep thair saidis bounds from the invasion of the ClanGregor under the pain to be repute as airt and pairt takers with them in all thair wicked deeds.

“Letters also to charge Mr. George Lindsay minister at Kilmahew, James (Dennistoun) of Cowgrane, William Nobill of Ardardane, &a. and Johne Bunteine appeirand of Ardoch to compeir before the Council the 8. day of March next to testify what they knew anent the slaying of such as were commanded to resist the MacGregors.

“Letters also to charge the Lairds of Glenurquhy, Tullibardin, Lords Drummond, Incheafray, Lawers, Strowane, Wemye, Glenlyoun, Glennageis, Garnetullie, Abercainy, baroun of Bordland, barroun of Combrie, John Stewart of Fossa, and Murray of Auchtertyre, to compeir personally before the Council the 19, day of March next, And to bring, present and enter certain particular persons of the MacGregors, their men, and tenants, to answer for the late barbarous and horrible murder committed by them, in the Lennox, And with letters to be published at the market crosses of Perth charging the Laird of MacGregor, and the remanent of his race, to compeir personally before the Council the 29. day of March next to come; To answer for the late horrible and monstrous barbarity used by them in the Lennox And with Lettres to be published at the said market cross, inhibiting all our sovereign lord’s lieges, that none of them resett, supply, nor show comfort to any of the MacGregors, or resett their goods, and to inhibit the transporting of any of them to the Isles.

“Letters also to charge the Duke of Lennox, the Earls of Argyle, Mar, Glencarne, Linlithgow, the Lairds of Buchannane, Luss, Ardkinglas, Glenageis, Keir, Merchinstoun, Kirkhill, Cambusmoir, Sir James Chisholme, and David Grahame, as [page 300}
masters and landlords to certain particular persons of the MacGregors, to enter and presew them before the Council the 29. day of Marche next to answer for their barbarity under the pain of rebellion. And with letters to be published at the market crosses of Dumbarton, Stirling, and Inverara, charging the Laird of MacGregor and the Remanent of his clan to compeir the said day to answer for their said barbarity under the pain of rebellion And with Letters to be published at the said market crosses inhibiting the resett of the said persons of their goods.

“1603. Feb. 10. Protection in favour of Robert Campbell ‘son of Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurquhy Knicht’ prosecuted by Donald Menteith of Carquhine as having charge in his father’s absence of his men tenants &a to produce Gregour Ammonach in Glenlednoch to answer for stealing 3 cows and 2 oxen, aucht zeir syne. Pursuer not appearing Campbell protests that lie is not answerable and Protest admitted.

“March. Letters to charge John Earll of Atholl to enter his person in ward within the castle of Blackness within four days after the charge, under the pain of rebellion, And with letters to charge all and sundry our sovereign Lords lieges dwelling in bounds of the Earldom of Atholl and Braes of Angus That they address themselves with one months provision to convene and meet at the head of Loch Rannoch upon the 6. of April next And there concur with the remanent forces appointed for pursuit of the barbarous ClanGregor or else that they send out three score men well provided with a Captain and commander over them; under pain of tinsail of life, lands, &a. Also Letters to the Duke of Lennox the Earl of Argyll and Laird of Glenurchy.

“1603. March 17. At Edinburgh. Aulay Mcaulay of Ardincaple and his sureties were ordered to compear to answer for ‘ressett, supplie, and intercowmoning,’ with Glenstray and his brother and for not ‘rising ye fray’ and following the MacGregors ‘in yair incoming in ye cuntrey of ye Lennox.’ The same day the said Aulay McCuallay caution for relief of Allaster McGregor of Lagarie.”

The volumes of the Register of the Privy Council belonging to this period have unfortunately been lost for many years, but the following entry from the published edition of the Register explains best all that is known about an Act against the ClanGregor which was now formulated.

“1603. April 3. To . . . . Sunday has been ascribed, . . . . . . the famous Act of Council proscribing the Clan Macgregor and abolishing their very name, Though from the loss of the volumes of the Register of Council carrying affairs from Feb. 1603 to August 1606, the official copy of this famous Act has not been preserved, there can be no doubt as to its date, inasmuch as it is cited thus in the preamble to a subsequent Act of Parliament relating to the MacGregors in 1617 :- Oure Soverane [page 301} Lord and Esttaittis of this present parliament remembering how that his sacred Majestye being verie justlie moved with a haterent and detestatioun of the barbarous murtheris and insolencies committit be ther Clangregoure upoun his Majestiyes peciable and goode subjectis of the Lennox at Glenfrone in the moneth of Feb. 1603. and how that the bair and simple name of MacGregour maid that haill Clane to presume of their power, force, and strengthe, and did encourage thame, without reverence of the law or fear of punischement, to go fordward in thair iniquities : Upoune the consideratioun quhairof his Majestie with advyse of the Lordis of his Secreit Counsall, maid dyvers actis and ordinances aganis thame speciallie one Act upoun the 3. day of Aprill 1603, whereby it wes ordainit that the name of McGregoure sulde be altogidder abolisched, and that the haill persounes of that Clan suld renunce thair name and tak thame sum uther name, and that they nor nane of thair posteritie suld call thame selffis Gregour or McGregoure thair efter, under the payne of deade’ &a. - Acts of Parl. Of Scot. iv. 550. It is clear, therefore, that on that same Sunday on which King James took his farewell, of the Edinburgh people, in the Church of St. Giles, there must have been a Council meeting at which he left this parting thunderbolt, against the unfortunate MacGregors.”

“1603. April. Item paid by command of his Highness to Robert Lyle servitor to the Earl of Argyle for inbringing of three notorious thieves of the name of the barbarous ClanGregor £333. 6 . 8. - Treasurer’s books.

“Item to George Mathow messenger passing from Edinburgh to the market cross of Perth charging Allaster MacGregor of Glenstra and the remanent of that unhappy Clan to compeir personally before the Council the 19. day of April instant to be answerable to the laws and to renounce their names under the pain of rebellion. - Ibid.

“The Chronicle of Perth 9. April 1603, states that the proclamation was read there and then. - MS., Advocates’ Lib. Edin.

“Letters to be proclaimed at the market crosses of Stirling and Dumbarton.

“Item to the officer of Justiciary for summoning an assize to four MacGregors who were justified to the deid.

“April 29. Extract from a letter from the Lord Fyvie to the King (shewing the feelings in regard to all Highlanders) Zour Majestie will onderstand be zour Counsalls letter the estait and proceedings with Macgregors Gif all the greate hieland Clannes war at the like point, I wald (think?) it ane great ease and weill to this common weill and to zour Majesties guid subjects heir. - Balfour’s Collections, Advocates’ Lib. Edin.

“April 13. Sasine John McGregor of Innerzaldie son of Gregor McGregor of Innerzaldie, 4 merkland of Innerzaldie on precept from chancery. Sasine Barbara Drummond spouse to the said John in the said lands. - Register of Sasines Particular, Perth.

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“April 28. In the Court of the justiciary of our supreme Lord the King held in the Pretorium of Edinburgh by Mr. William Hairt entered ‘Allaster McKie Gilchrist Kittoch alias Makilmoylie, Meinroyer, Fynlaw dow Mcolean, delaitit of certane poyntis of thift, and for coming to ye Lairdis of Lussis boundis in companie with the Laird of McGregour and airt and pairt of the murthour and reif committit thairon in Feb. last’ Allaster McKie for stealing sheep &a the others for being art and part ‘with the Laird of McGregour and his complices in the crewal murthour and slauchter of diverss of the Laird of Lusses freindis in the monethe of Feb. last to the number of seven scoir persones,’ are all convicted and sentenced to be hanged on the Burrow muire. - Record of Justiciary.

“May. Item paid by command and direction of the Lords of Council to Robert and Colene Campbells for inbringing and presenting of three MacGregors who were thereafter executed to the deid for their demerits. £200.

“Item to the officers of Justiciary for summoning of an assize to Three MacGregors that were execute to the deid.

“Also close Letters to the Lairds of Bachananne, Luss, Glenurchy, and Tullibardin. - Treasurer’s Books.

“May 20. Court of Justiciary &a Enter Gillespie Mcdonald McInnes Dow, Donald McClerich alias Stewart, Johnne McConneil McCondochie servants to the said Gillespie. Dilaitit of certain poyntis of thift and soirning and of airt and pairt of the slauchter of the Laird of Lusses friendis and assisters to ye number of 140 persones. Sentenced to be hanged on the Castle Hill.

“1603. May 18. Letter, Secret Council to the King in England.

“According to that commissioun quhilk was direct anent the taking ordour with the ClanGregour We haif ressavit alreddie aucht pledges And the uther four ar expectit for within thrie or four dayis, To remane heir in waird, upone the perell of thair awin lyfis, To ansuer for the dew performance of all offeris; zour hienes salbe assuirit that the qualitie of the pledgeis thameselflis will procure ane necessitie of the forderance of that wark, the prosequting quhairof is nocht to ressave ony Lang Delay seing be theise gentlemene quha ar commowneris, thair is allenarlie aucht owlkis crawit (weeks craved) betuix and the Ischew quhairof it is undertakin that all that is promessit salbe performit. We mentionat of befoir to zour Maiestie Anent the transporting of sa mony of that Clan that ar appointit for banischment, that ane schip micht be sent hither, We mon maist humblie renew our swite seing all theise quha ar to depart In quhilk numer the Laird himself is ane, Ar to be in redines heir, reddy to embark [page 303} agane witsontide, Being onable of thameselffis to defray thair chargis, furness thameselffis of victualle, or pay thair fraucht. Siclyke it will pleis zour Majestie to knaw &a &a (about others) zour Majesties humble and obedient subjectis and servitouris

- Original in General Register House, Edinburgh.”

- The above shows that the King was not so incensed against the Clan and the Chief as to be unwilling to consent to their banishment from the realm instead of their death, and to this alternative Glenstray alludes in his last declaration. Those whose signatures appear were apparently not enemical to the Clan, but other counsels must have prevailed later with the King.

“June. Letters to charge Johnne McNauchtane of Dundarrow, Colene Campbell of Straquhir, Neill Campbell of Drumyn, Johnne Campbell of Ardkinlas, Duncane Campbell Capitane of Carrick, John Robert and Dougal Campbells, sons to the Baillie of Rossneth, Campbell Auchinwilling, Arthour, and Dowgall Campbells, brothers to Straquhir, Evin Dow Campbell of Corry, Johnne McEdward, Donald oig, and Duncane McNeill in Blythegolsyde, To compeir personally before the Council the 5. day of July next to answer upon the ‘aird’ [1]   and the assistance given by them to the Laird of MacGregor and his villanous race, under the pain of rebellion and to charge certain witnesses to verify this their fact and deid. - Treasurer’s Books.

“Item to the officers of Justiciary for summoning of an assize to one MacGregor who slew the constabill of Dundees man.

“July 5. Court of Justiciary &a enter ‘Gillemichel Mchischok’ servant to umquhile John dow McGregor, Nicoll McPharie Roy McGregour Dilaitit of being at the Field of Lennox. &a. To be hanged on the Castle hill.

“July 7. The Secret Council offered besides pardon of offences, 500 merks to any of the ClanGregor who should kill a denounced rebell.

“Benefits of the proclamation granted to ane Mackgregor for slaughter of ane rebell.
“1603. July 7. John dow McEwin McGregor for the slaughter of David Ross McWilliam and William Ross McWilliam his brother, sought the benefit of the proclamation made against the said David and William, to wit remissioun of all his [page 304} bypast crimes and 500 merks which was granted to him by act of Council.”

It is difficult to decide which act was the most criminal - the purchase of life and liberty at the cost of blood or the offer dangled out as a bait by the Government.

“July. Item paid by special command and ordinance of the Secret Council to Archibald Cunninghame, Mr. Porter of the Castle of Edinburgh for the entertainment of certain pledges of the Clangregor. As the warrant of the Lords of Council with the particular compt bears £99 . 13. 4. - Lord High Treasurer’s books.

“July. 12. At Edinburgh. The quhilk day Johnne Boyll of Kelburne and Normand Innes of Knockdarrie Became plegeis and souerties conjunctlie and severallie for Duncane Campbell capitane of Carrick, and Ewin Campbell of Dargache That they sall compeir &a the 3 day of the next justice air of the sheriffdom of Ergyle or soner upoun xv dayis warning To underly the law for the wilfull and contemptuous resetting, suppleing, and furneissing with meit, drink, and lierbrie of Allaster McGregor of Glenstra or ony utheris of his unhappie raise and associattis quha wer Laitlie within the Lennox committit upoun the aucht day of Feb. last and fostering of the said Alexander and ye persones foirsaid, diverss and sindrie tymes, within thair houses efter ye said barbarous murther; And namely in the monethis of Feb, Marche, Apryll, May, and Junij, respective or sum dayis yrof. and furneissing of ye said persounis in yr necessetees and keiping with thame frequent trysting and meitingis Alswell be nicht as day and ressauving of ye guidis and gear within thair landis that war reft, and away tane be ye saidis thevis, furth of the Lennox, the tyme foirsaid, under the paines following, That is to say For the said Duncane Campbell capitane of Carrick under the pane of thre thousand merkis, And for the said Ewin Campbell twa thousand merkis.

“And siclyke That yai nor nane of thame sall ressett, supplie, furneiss, or keip trysting wilfullie or contemptuouslie (with the saide persones nor ressett the guidis nor gear quhilkis war reft or away taen &a This caution taken out at command of the Lords of Secreit Council.

“July. Item paid by ordinance of the said Lords to Andro Ross for inbringing and presenting to the Council Duncane (name of Johne Dow scored out) MacGregor of Angrie; as the warrant of Council with the said Androis acquittance, upon the resset thereof produced upon compt bears.

“Letters to charge George MacGregor burgess of Perth, George McPatrik, Archibald, George and John MacGregors and Dougall MacGregor dwelling in Perth to compeir personallie before the Council the 26. of this instant resolved to change [page 305} and alter their surnames of MacGregor and to take then to another famous and honest surname. - Treasurer’s Books.

“Letters to the Market crosses of Stirling and Dumbarton And thereat charging all our Sovereign Lord’s lieges within the bounds foirsaid to be in readiness to resist all invasion that may be expected at the hands of the MacGregors and for that cause that good watches be kept at all places convenient.

“1603. July. Same letters to be proclaimed at the market cross of Perth.
“Letters to charge Sir Johnne Murray of Tullibardin Knight to compeir and present with him Neill McAllaster . . . . . MacGregor personally before the Council the 4, of August next To the effect he may be made answerable to justice conform to the Law of this realme.

“July 14. Court of Justiciary &a ‘John McGregor at the kirk of Comrie’ Dilaitit for being in company with Allaster McGregour of Glenstra and his complices at the Field of Lennox aganis the Laird of Luse and his freindis and airt and pairt of the slauchteris, thiftis and robberies committit be thame &a Item for the slauchter of John McArber committit in Junij last. The assyse in ane voce fyles John McGregour of the crymes foirsaidis; Called in the Indictment Johnne dow Mceane valich Mcgregour, ‘To be tane to the Castlehill, and thair, his heid to be stricken fra his body.’

“August 4. Archibald Dalzell son lawful to Robert Dalzell of that Ilk presents to the Secret Council a petition stating that owing to some ‘misreports maid be Nicoll Dalzell of Dalzell Milne’ &a for not compeiring before the Council, the petitioner had been put to the Horn, and to obtene the King’s benevolence had adventured his person and ‘apprehendit ane of the speciall of the name of McGregor callit Neill Makgregor pudrenois, [2]   quha wes delyuerit in roll, to my Lord Chancellor be his men’ and was ready to deliver the said Neill McGregor to the justice to be executed, and to do further acts ‘aganis the name of McGregor and rest of that Clan &a He was disabled by being in the situation of ‘his Hienes rebell’ and therefore praying that he might be allowed to appear before the Council to produce the said McGregor. Petition granted. Original in General Register House.”

Thus, by the base but ingenious device of the Executive, every man who was himself a felon, had the strongest inducement to serve the Government as executioner of the MacGregors, whose faults, whatever they might be, had now incurred the penalty of every man’s hand being stirred up against them. And yet, seeing the numerous instances of ressett and kindness nobly shewn to them in spite of the imminent risk of so doing; it is evident that they must have had qualities which secured the strong attachment of their friends.

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“August 12. Court of Justiciary. Dougall McGregour, Neill McGregour pudrach, Dilaitit of airt and pairt of the slauchter of four men that assistit the Laird of Luise at the field of ye Lennox committit in the moneth of Feb. last. Neill is dilaitit of airt and pairt of the slauchteris of umqle Patrik Layng and John Reid wobster (weaver) servants to Luss, and of the stealing of ‘tuelf scoir of guidis furth of Lussis boundis in Lennox committit in Dec. last. Both are sentenced to be hanged on the Burrow muir.’

“August 20. Ane (royal) Letter maid to David Grahame servitour to the erle of Montrois his aires &a of the gift of the eschete of all guidis geir &a quhilkis pertenit of before to Duncane McGregour alias McInvalliche and now Drummond and now pertening to our soverane Lord throw being of the said Duncane ordourlie denuncit rebell and put to the horne at the instance of David Grahame, vicar of Comrie for not payment to him of £200. - Reg. of Privy Seal, vol. lxxiv. fol. 81.

“1603. August 25. Intromissioun with the MacGregors goods that were at Glenfrune.
“Act in favour of the Gentlemen of the Lennox being a supersedere to them for all pursuit criminal or civil for any of their intromission with the goods and gear of the ClanGregor who are guilty of the murder of Glenfrune. (MSS. notes taken by the first Earl of Haddington from the missing volume of the Record of the Privy Council, in Advocates’ Library, Edin.) On the application of the ‘gentlemen 'of the Lennox’ the secret Council ‘grantis thame ane supercedere fra all persute criminal or civill moved or to be moved aganis thame for thair intromissioune with the clangregouris geir, quha ar culpabill, and guiltie of the attempt cometit within the Lennox, during the tyme, that the commissioune grantit aganis the said ClanGregor. And licentiatis the saidis complenaris to adjoyne to thame selffis sum brokene men for persyte of that wicked Race for quhome the saidis complenaris sal be ansuerable.’ - Luss Coll.

“Sep. 14. Letter from the Presbytery of Stirling addressed To our speciall gude Lordis The Lordis of his Majesteis secret Counsell.
“. . . . . It may pleis zour llo. That the miserablle esteat of this province, and pairt of the cuntree within the bounds qrof we bear the charge, in the ministrie, hes movit and constrainit us in conscience to mak humblie sute to yr Lops : for present remeid for the cryis of the oppressit aboundis daylie, for raising of fyr, slauchter, Taking of men captives, Murthering of thame being tane captive without pitie makand yair pastyme yrof, Reaffis, heirschippis, spulzeis and uther manifest enormities and oppressionis, Committit within thir bounds be the broken men in the hielands especiallie be the ClanGregour, and sic uthers Clanes of thair inbringing, qrthrow the gentillmen of the cuntrie quha ar not able to withstand thair powar ar compellit for feir of thair tirany to laive thair duellings and flee to burghis for refuge and saiftie : and the pure ar exponit [page 307} as ane pray to yr crueltie; Sua that of our deutie, we cannot be silent in sua great a desolatione. In consideration qrof, We have tane occasione, to direct thir presents, to your llordschippis, To quhome, the cair of the defenss of the innocent, and oppressit, belangis now in the absence of his Majestie : our Soverane. Requesting and exhorting zour LLs : in ye name of the eternall God, to quhome zr lls : man give a rekoning ane day to tak su spedy order, for repressing of sic manifest enormities and oppressionis that God’s pepill may leive peciablie, and quyetlie at zour handis and as ye will be answerable to his Divine Maiestie, and have zour Lo: awin soullis fre frome the giltines of the inocent blud that is sua neidleslie shed. The particular Complentis that has cui and ar to cui in befor zour llo : Will mak this matter mair manifest. Thus expecting redres of the miseries from zor llo. We commend zr lo. to the blessing and protectioun of ye eternall. From our Presbytrie ef Stirling 14. Sep. 1603. zr lo. maist humble &a, The Brethren of the Presbyterie of Stirling.
A. Levingstone moderator.
James Duncansone clerk.
- (Original of Letter in General Register House Edinburgh.)

“1603. September. Letters to charge George Marquis of Huntlie, Johnne Earl of Atholl, Patrik Lord Drummond, Sir Duncane Campbell of Glenurquhy Knight, Sir John Murray of Tullibardin, Mr. John Moncreiff Sheriff depute of Perth, Lauchlane McIntosch of Dunnachtane, Angus McIntosche of Tarvat, James McIntosche of Gask, Johne Grant of Freuchie Alexander McRonald of Glengarray and Allane McConneill duy, to compeir personally before the Council the 20. day of this instant; To underly such order and direction as shall be prescribed and enjoined to them anent the pursuit of the ClanGregor conforme to first inclusion (conclusion) had thereanent under the pain of rebellion.

“Letters also to charge Archibald Earl of Argyle, Hary Stewart commendator of St Colme, ______ Campbell of Lundy, Alexander Colquhoun of Luss, Aulay McAulay of Ardincabill and Robert Galbraith of Kilchreuch to compeir before the Council the 20. day of this instant to the effect and for the cause above specified.

“October. Letters to be proclaimed at the market crosses of Stirling and Dumbarton charging all his Highness’s lieges dwelling nearest (ewest) and subject to the incursions of the Clangregor that they live on their own guard, keep watch and be ready at all occasions to defend themselves from their pursuit.

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“Letters also to charge the Lairds of Tullibardin, Grant, and Strowane to exhibite and produce before the council the 25. of this instant each of them that . . . son of umqle John Dow McGregor, which they have in keeping, respectively, to be taken order with as shall seem most expedient to the Council under the pain of rebellion. - Treasurer’s Books.”

The following is from the “Annals” written by Sir James Balfour, Lyon King of Arms, who lived in this reign, and died in 1657:-

“The 2. of October this zeire the notorious thief and rebell Allaster McGregor Laird of Glenstrae quho had escaped the Laird of Arkinlesse handes was taken by Archibald Earle of Argyle, quho (befor he would zeild) had promised to him to conevoy him saue out of Scotts ground; to performe which promise, he caused some servants conwey him to Berwicke, and besouthe it some myelles, and bring him back againe to Edinburgh quhair he was hangit with maney of his kinred the 20 day of January in the following zeire, 1604.”

In a Diary written by Robert Birrel, quoted with Pitcairne’s observations in next chapter, the 2nd Oct. was the day of the capture by Ardkinlas; and the 4th Jan., the following year, the date of the recapture, &a, it seems probable, from the minuteness of Birrel’s Diary, that the dates he gives may be the most correct. Returning to the “Chiefs of Colquhoun,” [3]   we find much useful information and instructive commentary :-
“The melancholy fate of the Colquhouns excited very general commiseration. But the results were more disastrous to the victors than to the vanquished. The resentment of the Government was intensely inflamed against the ClanGregor, whose lawless deeds, ruthless as they may have been before, had culminated in the terrific scenes enacted at Glenfruin. The measures of the Government against them were very severe, contemplating nothing less than the extermination of the clan.

“To the Earl of Argyle, who was the King’s Lieutenant in the part of the country inhabited by the Macgregors, chiefly was committed the task of executing the severe enactments made against them. Indignant complaints were made against Aulay Macaulay of Ardincaple, who though he had formally joined with the Laird of Luss against Galbraith of Culcreugh, was charged with having reset and intercommuned with the MacGregors at Glenfruin, which would certainly have been only to act in conformity with the bond of clanship, into which he had entered with Allaster [page 309} Macgregor. [4]   Against Macaulay the Earl of Argyle now directed the weight of his official authority.

“On 17. March 1603. [5]   John Stewart of Ardmolice, Sheriff of Bute, became surety for Aulay Macaulay of Ardincaple, that he would compear before his Majesty’s justice, or his deputies, in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, on the 17 day of May following, to underlie the law for reset and intercommuning with Ewin Macgregour, (Allaster) Macgregour of Glenstra, the deceased John Dow Macgregour his brother, and others of the Macgregours, and for ‘not rysing the fray and following the thre saidis Macgregours commoun thevis and soirnaris, in thair incumming in the cuntrey of the Lennox, and steilling of leill menis guidis, and for inbringing of the saidis thevis and rebells, and also for airt and pairt with them in the incumming vpoune the Laird of Lussis lands, and for airt and part with the saidis Macgregouris in steiling fra the Laird of Luss, and his kyn and friendis and tennentis, of certane nolt, scheip,’ etc.

“But Mcaulay escaped by a summary suppression of all investigation. Shielded by the Duke of Lennox, and being - in the Duke’s train, which was to accompany King James VI. on his way to England, to take possession of the English Throne vacant by the death of Queen Elizabeth, his Majesty issued a warrant at Berwick, 7. April 1603. to the Justice General and his deputies, commanding them to desert the dyet ‘against Macaulay, as he was altogedder frie and innocent of the allegit crymes laid to his charge.’ The justice, accordingly, on the 17. of May 1603, when this warrant was presented in the Justiciary Court by a servant of the Duke of Lennox, deserted the diet. Many others were less mercifully dealt with.”

After the Conflict of Glenfruin. (Chiefs of Colquhoun, continued).
“Before any judicial inquiry had been made on the 3. of April 1603, only two days before King James VI. left Scotland for England . . . . . . an Act of Privy Council was passed by which the name of Gregor or MacGregor was for ever abolished. All of this surname were commanded under the penalty of death to change it for another, and the same penalty was denounced against those who should give food or shelter to any of the clan. All who had been at the conflict of Glenfruin, and at the spoliation and burning of the Lands of the Laird of Luss and other lands, were also prohibited under the penalty of death from carrying any weapon except a pointless knife to eat their meat. Such a commencement did not augur well for the impartial administration of justice, much less for the exercise of clemency to this clan. This was followed by the execution of many of those who had taken part in the sanguinary conflict of Glenfruin, some at the Burrowmure of Edinburgh, others at the castle Hill, and others [page 310} at the public Cross; and by other measures which bore the impress rather of vengeance than of calm judicial procedure . . . . . . . . . Thus cast beyond the pale of the Royal mercy, except on the most dishonourable conditions, the clan were driven to desperation, and thinking only of retaliation, broke forth into new outrages. After the conflict at Glenfruin, the MacGregors lost no time in selling and distributing the plunder which they had carried off, and this they did chiefly in Argyllshire. Some facts in reference to this subject we learn from the depositions made 20 July before Alexander Colquhoun of Luss, in the presence of a notary, by Donald Makglaschane in Baichybaine, officer, tenant, and servant to Sir John Campbell of Ardkinglass. He confessed that he himself had bought three cows, at the head of Lochfyne, from two of the most noted actors in these deeds of spoliation, and slaughter, three or four days, after they were perpetrated. He also confessed that he knew many of the tenants of the Laird of Ardkinglas, for whom that laird was responsible, who had bought from other of Allaster Macgregor’s men, cows, horses, and other spoil and who had entertained some of the same party.

“Some of the Campbells who were said to have been the secret allies of the Macgregors having reset them after the battle of Glenfruin, and having been receivers of their stolen property, the Government now resolved to proceed against them . . . . . . ‘Commissions had been given by the Government to the gentlemen of the Lennox empowering them to seize the property as well as to pursue the persons of the ClanGregor. But this clan as ‘the gentlemen of Lennox’ describe them being ‘in all their wicked actiounes maist subtil and craftie’ with the view of defeating the object of these commissions distributed their goods among some of their friends, and moved them to take action before the Lords of secret Council against those invested with such commissions for their wrongous intromissiones with the said goods, . . . . ”

This was the object of the “supercedere” granted to the petitioners as mentioned on page 306.

“Towards the end of 1603. Alexander Colquhoun and his men apprehended three of the ClanGregour, - Gregor Cruiginche Macgregor, John dow Macrob Macgregour, and Allaster Macewne Macgregor. On 24. Nov. he compeared before the Lords of the Secret Council at Stirling, presented these prisoners before them, and craved that he might be exonered and relieved of them. Their Lordships granted the prayer of his petition and having taken them off his hands, delivered them to the magistrates of the Burgh of Stirling.

“In the trials which took place from the 20. May 1603. to 2. March 1604. thirty-five of the Macgregors were convicted, and only one acquitted. In most or all of these instances the sentence of death, as we learn from Birrel’s Diary, was carried into effect.

“Allaster MacGregor, the Chief of the Clan, did not fall into the hands of the [page 311} Government till nearly a year after the battle of Glenfruin. He had been almost entrapped by Campbell of Arkinglas, Sheriff of Argyllshire, who, with the intention of arresting him, and sending him to the Earl of Argyll, had invited him to a friendly banquet in his house, which was situated on a small island in a loch, and who there made him a prisoner, and put him in a boat, guarded by five men; but Macgregor seeing that he was betrayed, made his escape by a deed of romantic daring, having leapt out of the boat into the water, and swam to the shore in safety. He was less successful in eluding Archibald Earl of Argyll.”

After relating the circumstances regarding Argyll’s treatment of Glenstray as given from several authorities in Pitcairne’s “Criminal Trials,” Sir William Fraser continues:-
“He arrived in Edinburgh on the evening of the 18. Jan. 1604. Only two days after his trial, and that of four of his clan, Patrik Aldoche Macgregour, William Macneill his servant, Duncan Pudrache Macgregour, and Allaster Macgregour Macean, took place before the High Court of Justiciary for the crime of treason, in their having attacked the Laird of Luss whilst armed with a royal commission to resist the ‘cruel enterprises’ of the ClanGregor.’ . . . . . . ‘Having been found guilty Allaster MacGregor and his four accomplices were sentenced to be hanged at the Cross of Edinburgh, on the same day . . . . . . .’ Effect was also given to the forfeiture of their lands, heritages &a.
“The heads of Allaster and of his associate, Patrick Aldoch Macgregor, were by order of the Government, sent to Dumbarton to be placed on the tolbooth of that burgh, the chief town of the district where the crimes for which they were executed had been committed. On 13. Feb. 1604. the Town Council of Dumbarton concludit and ordainit that the Laird of Macgregor’s heid, with Patrik Auldochy his heid, be put up on the Tolbuith, on the maist convenient place the Baillies and Counsall thinkis guid. - Dumbarton Town Council Records.

“On the 19. of Jan. the day before his execution, Allaster Macgregor made a declaration or confession, which if entitled to credit, would throw light on the causes which led to the conflict of Glenfruin, as well as explain other matters connected with the family feuds of that period. In this confession he distinctly throws the whole blame of the outrages committed by the Macgregors against the Colquhouns upon the Earll of Argyll, and accuses that Earll of having instigated him to commit other slaughters and depredations. But as observed before, declarations which so seriously criminated the Earll of Argyll are not entitled, in the circumstances, to implicit credit for Allaster was doubtless much exasperated against the Earl, by whom he had been captured and delivered as a prisoner to the Government.”

Reverting to an earlier page of “The Chiefs of Colquhoun,” the following passage relates to the same subject.

[page 312}
“If the declaration or confession made by Allaster MacGregor before his execution is true, Argyll, instead of repressing the ClanGregor, made use of the power which, as the King’s Lieutenant, he had acquired over them to stimulate them to various acts of aggression against Colquhoun of Luss and others, who were his personal enemies. Founding mainly on the dying declaration of the Laird of Macgregor, Pitcairn, in his ‘Criminal Trials,’ says, ‘It is to this crafty and perfidious system of the Earl therefore, that we must solely trace the feud between the Colquhouns and the Macgregors, which proved in the end so hurtful to both, a result no doubt all along contemplated by this powerful nobleman.’

“We do not however agree with Pitcairne in founding so much on Macgregor’s dying declaration. The feeling of Macgregor against Argyll must in the circumstances have been intensely strong, as his words plainly indicate, and though in the presence of death, the motive to speak only the truth was powerful, yet our knowledge of human nature suggests caution in giving implicit credit even to his dying declaration; and its main features are certainly not confirmed, as Pitcairne asserts, by the Records of Privy Council. The Laird of Macgregor’s testimony, therefore, in the circumstances, unsupported by that of other credible witnesses, is not a sufficient ground on which to impeach Argyll.”

Another passage has also to be here quoted.
“The statement made by Mr. Pitcairne in his ‘Criminal Trials,’ that the Macgregors and the Colquhouns at Glenfruin ‘were in a manner equally armed with the royal authority’ is quite unfounded. The Laird of Luss was indeed then acting under commission from the King to apprehend the ClanGregor, but to speak of the ‘Laird of Macgregor as marching to invade the Lennox under the paramount authority of the King’s Lieutenant,’ Argyll, is a gratuitous assertion. Whatever the friends of the Macgregors may say as to Argyll’s secretly encouraging the Macgregors to attack the Colquhouns, it is certain that he had no power to arm them with authority for that purpose, and there is no evidence that he formally did so. To place the two parties nearly on a footing of equality as to the right of meeting in hostile array for trial of strength, is a view entirely erroneous. The Macgregors were rebels, and the Colquhouns were armed with royal authority to suppress their outrages.”

A few remarks on the preceding observations must here be made. In the next chapter, Pitcairne’s article on the trial of Allaster MacGregor of Glenstray and of the conflict of Glenfruin are given in full, where the points to which Sir William Fraser raises objections can be studied carefully.

The opinion that the Colquhouns had the Royal sanction for taking up [page 313} arms, and that their adversaries had not this authority, may be willingly conceded. In fairness to the Colquhouns, it may be noticed that there is no evidence that they purchased letters of fire and sword against their foes, as was so often the case, legalising violence and bloodshed by money. Their claim was, therefore, all the stronger, and consisted of two grants of authority : the first a Royal letter, sanctioning their opposing the MacGregors “without any crime,” date Sep. 1602; the other a formal Commission of Lieutenancy, given to Alexander Colquhoun of Luss, in Dec. 1602. We may consider that this Commission was obtained by an artifice in regard to the parade of shirts, but this does not affect the fact of the Royal authority, on which much stress is laid in the subsequent trials. The view taken by Mr. Pitcairne, however, can be understood if its grounds are analyzed.

The Commission given by the King to the Earl of Argyle against the ClanGregor, March 3, 1601, expressly annulled the Sovereign’s own power to forgive any MacGregor, or to make terms with one of the name. This Commission was thus such a complete and absolute delegation of the Royal authority that if Argyle, as the King’s Lieutenant in special charge of the MacGregors, had openly convened them to invade the Colquhouns, the curious anomaly of both opponents being armed with the Royal authority, as Mr. Pitcairne conceived, might have actually occurred. But such overt acts were no part of Argyle’s policy.

With regard to the last Declaration of Glenstray, it is impossible for one of the ClanGregor to feel strictly impartial. To us it is a legacy, the truth of which is a matter of painfully deep, and we may believe inherited, conviction. However presumptuous it may be to attempt to break a lance with the learned and courteous knight who has adopted the side of the Chiefs of Colquhoun, but who has evinced much delicacy and forbearance in treating of our combats with them, loyal duty to our heroic Chief must disregard any “skaith” risked in his defence.

Endeavouring to unravel the arguments advanced in the attempt to vindicate Archibald, second Earl of Argyle, by discrediting Glenstray’s testimony, it must be remarked that Pitcairne, who had made criminal trials his special study and is recognised as a most competent authority on the subject, [page 314} has collected excellent illustrations from nearly contemporary histories which relate the manner in which Glenstray was conveyed across the Border and brought back again. [6]   This act of treachery is in conformity with the dying Chief’s accusations against Argyle. Glenstray was no ordinary culprit, whose word was known to be unreliable; he had been befriended by the Laird of Tullibardine and the Commendator of Inchaffray, two landlords who appear to have borne a high character - there is no special bitterness in the Chief’s last Declaration; it reads sad, sober, and earnest. But in so hurried a trial, with several of the jury personally incensed against Glenstray, and warned beforehand to bring in a true bill, his Declaration apparently received no attention. It is highly improbable that he could have been acquitted after the events of Glenfruin, especially as the fact of Luss having had a Royal Commission was fully recognised as adding to the offence, but, the circumstances of the Declaration having been disregarded and hushed up by his adversaries is no argument against its truth. Nor was any contemporary refutation made, so far as is known.

Against Argyle there are certain suspicious probabilities. It is true that, whilst suffering from the ill-will and greed of their Glenurchay neighbour, the MacGregors had received some protection from the Earls of Argyle, but the enormous power with which this very young man was invested enabled him most easily to force those dependent on him, to carry out his behests whatever they might be, and Argyle had enemies who it was to his interest either to put out of the way or reduce to submission. The same complaint of double-dealing and of stirring up the Clans against each other was repeated a few years later, in the case of the MacDonalds and others. [7]   We cannot hold Argyle guiltless of the charges brought against him by Glenstray.

[1] Oath

[2] Pudrach.

[3] “Chiefs of Colquhoun,” vol i., page 203.

[4] 27th May 1591. see page 231. volume 1 chapter 19

[5] Full transcript of these transactions relating to Aulay MacAulay given in “Chartulary” but note quoted in these Memoirs, because the do not relate to MacGregors.

[6] J. Hill Burton, in his “Narrative from Criminal Trials in Scotland,” referring to Glenstray’s trial, simply states that he does not believe the narrative of Glenstray having been taken across the Border, &c. His disbelief in the last Declaration naturally corresponds with this summary judgement.

[7] Gregory’s “History of the Islands and Isles,” &c.