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The Bighouse Papers


10th NOVEMBER, 1898.

A paper, entitled " Bighouse Papers— No. III.," a further contribution by Captain Wimberley of the series of papers on this subject, was read.

These letters are from the Barcaldine correspondence of the early 1750s. They concern the assisination of Colin Campbell of Glenure and the subsequent execution of James of the Glens. Alan Breac Stewart was suspected of involvement. James Mor MacGregor also featured - I have selected only the letters which concern James Mor and Robin Oig.


Letter from John Campbell of Achalader to his brother-in-law, John Campbell of Barcaldine, docqueted "Achmore, 5th May, 1753. Letter, Achalader."

" Achmore, 5th May, 1753.

" Dear Brother, — I daresay you will have heard before now that Fassfern, Glenevis and Chs. Stuart were taken up this day eight days on suspicion of holding treasonable correspondence with persons attainted or excepted. If I remember the first and last told me the warrands against them did run in these terms, Fassfern had not seen the warrand against him, I suppose it will be in the same style : I dined with them at Tynluib on Wednesday ; they were escorted by a Capt. two subalterns and 50 or 60 men. The conjectures on this occasion are various. Some say that Fass. is taken up on some secret intelligence given of him by Glenevis, and that the taking up Glenevis and Chs. Stuart is only in order to their being evidence against him; and what supports this suspicion is that he is much more closely lookt to than they are by the Party. Others say they are all tak'n up in consequence of some discoverys made by Dr Cameron when examined before the Privy Council.

"Chs. Stuart was the only one who seem'd to be most concern'd for his situation. It will be well for all these Cashiers, who have been taken up, if they are only compell’d to make accounts of their intromissions. Fass. is positive nothing criminal can be made out against him, I wish it may be so.

" We hear from Ballquidder that Robin Og is returned in good plight to that country well mounted. It looks as if he had been plying on the Highway in England. He gives out, at least 'tis given out in his name, that he saw Breck in France, who got there in March, and who says 'twas Allan beg that actually committed the murder; and that Breck is to publish a vindication of himself.

" 'Tis scarce worth noticing what is said since a grip is not got of him, but 'tis worth enquiring if Break. has got to France.

"" We have now really summer weather. Your sister joins in compliments to Lady Barcaldine and to you, and I am, Dr. Br., yours, &c J. Campbell."

Notes. — The Fassfern here mentioned seems to be John Cameron of Fassafern, brother of Donald of Lochiel and of Dr Archibald : the latter, however, is frequently spoken of as " of Fassafern," though younger than John. Fassfern, Glenevis, and Charles Stuart were probably all really arrested on suspicion of being connected with a proposed enterprise in favour of the exiled Stuarts, and had probably been receiving rents from LochieTs tenants to transmit to France.

They had been denounced in an information given to the Government dated " Decr. 1752." Dr Cameron had been arrested near Inversnaid on 20th March, 1753, probably on information given by "Pickle" the Spy. He was condemned to suffer death upon his former sentence passed after the '45. According to a Memorandum, dated 11th Novr., 1753, apparently also furnished by "Pickle" — but James Mor Drummond perhaps on that occasion posed as "Pickle" — it was at the house of Duncan Stewart of Glenbuckie that Dr Cameron was arrested.

Allan beg, I presume, means Allan, son of James Stewart of Acharn. It is probable enough that Allan Breck thought it safe to accuse him. ,

The Sheriff may perhaps be Duncan Campbell, Barcaldine's brother.


Letter from John Campbell, Achalder, to John Campbell of Barcaldine, docqueted, "Letter, Achalader." It has no date except "Thursday night," but was probably written in May, 1753.

" Thursday Night.
" Dr. Br., — I'm glad to hear you have once more the use of your feet, I believe you are but seldom attacked in the summer season, so that you have at least a good half-year's reprieve.

" The madman from Balwhidder was this day sent from Killen to Perth, he begins to recover his senses again.

" I believe I can tell you but little about Fassfern but what you know already. He is charged with accession to forging a claim in the name of the present Stron on the Estate of Lochiel. In which he avers to have no other hand than tne carrying it from Alex. More (who it seems was then Factor or Sutor to Stron) to his agent at Edinr. But he is accused of advising and directing John McCuil vic Cuil to adhibite Stron’s subscription to it : this 'tis said John has declar'd in the Precognition. I saw Alex., John's brother, who it seems is to be conductor of the evidence against Fassfern: he says his brother made no such declaration in the Precognition, he only confest that if he remembered well that 'twas Fassfern or Alex. More that advised him, but he thinks 'twas the last.

" Whether he has had any concern in this unhallowed affair or not, he has drawn I may say forced his present misfortune upon himself, but as I want not to aggravat but to clear him if I could, there is one circumstance which you, who knew him, will allow to be very favourable for him; it is that he never choosed to have an active hand or give himself much trouble in anything that did not visibly tend to promote his Interest. Now it does not appear that the event of this claim affected him, whatever it was.

" Glenuir went for Argyllshire yesterday : he had had great joy in a late promotion of Commissary James Campbell's, which is a commission to survey the D. of A.'s woods in Mull, &c, and to report the state of them. He said a gentleman who has had some concern in this is much alarm'd and is apprehensive that he shall follow his quondam brethren.

" I fear we shall not be able to get Mr Douglass a better living at this bout. The D. of Ath. chooses rather to run the race of Popularity by falling in with the humour of the people than gratify his neighbour. I offer my kind Compts. to Mrs Campbell and am, Dr. Br., yours, " J. Campbell."

Notes. — Robin Og was apprehended by a party of soldiers sent from Inversnaid, at the foot of Gartmore, and conveyed to Edinburgh, 26th May, 1753.

Cameron of Strone's property was on the Lochy, not far from Erracht.

Glenure fell to Duncan Campbell, as Colin left no son.


Letter from Colonel John Crawfurd, apparently to 'John Campbell of Barcaldine, docqueted " Berwick, 20th May, 1753. Letter Coll. John Crawfurd."

" Dear Sir, — I wrote you a few lines by last Post to acknowledge the receipt of your Letter and to tell you what I knew of Sandie's affair. As I imagine Mungo will call upon you in his way to Lochaber, I beg you will recommend circumspection, as there will be people enough ready to take hold of any wrong steps. He writes me from London that McVicar is desirous of having more farms than that of Corpach, and seems to alledge that I had promised my assistance for that purpose. . You know very well the motives that induced me to give McVicar a footing on the North side of Lochy, as I knew nothing would more effectually lessen Fassifern's influence, besides that I thought the man's services deserv'd some favour from the Government, but he ought not to risque the loosing of everything by the grasping at too much, for nothing can be more contrary to the Intentions of Government, than that any one person shou'd engross too much of the forfeited Lands, for which reason the powers of subsetting is taken away, and the valuation any one person may enjoy limited. Therefor it would be wrong to do anything that won't have the aprobation of the Commissioners when they come to act.

He astonishes me with Fassiforn's plea for not removing, and more in saying that it puzzles Baron Maule : can it be sustained as a good defence that he is willing to give as much or more than another person, and therefor won't remove. If I have a mind to let my lands at half the value what is that to any one, at this rate the King will be on a worse footing than any private gentleman, and every one keep possession that pleases. Sure the Factor while he has the power of acting cannot be found fault with if he does not give the lands but for one year, and adheres to the Rental that is established.

" I hope that Donald Ban Lean's exit in Ranoch will do no harm : I did not know before your telling me that his associates were in the braes of Monteith. I am told it is intended to try Sergt. More as a Deserter, if the Desertion can be prov’d. We imagine him a Deserter from our Regt betwixt 13 and 14 years ago, when we lay in this very town. I sent a Sergt. and private man a few days ago to Perth to look at him. I have just now receiv'd a line from the Sergt. who says he is certainly the man, tho' he denies his knowing anything of us. You may believe we will be very sure before we try him, but it will be singular enough, if he is brought back at such a distance of time to the very place from whence he deserted, and that this should be the only time of our being here since he deserted.

" I am sorry to hear that villain Breck is got out of the country, and really his escaping has lessen'd my opinion of those that call'd themselves our friends. As to the people's opinion about James Stewart's trial you may be sure that differed according to the Prejudices they had received about that affair: sensible People, who had no prejudices saw guilt very strong, among others Ld. Willoughby of Brook's observation was no bad one, viz., That he saw plainly by the Tryal above Twenty Five people must have known of the murder, and that only one had been hang'd. Indeed if you ask my opinion about the Printed tryal, I can't help finding fault with many things. In the first place, I think there has not been due attention to correcting some of the speeches, wch. M’intoshes speech shows plainly enough, 2nd, I don't think it was published in the order it ought to have been, and in which the man was tryd, I mean the proof ought to have followed the libel and debates upon it, which would have given strangers a much clearer idea than by bringing in the proof by way of apendix, 3rd, I don't aprove of Mr Brown's getting the Advocates speech for two months to study, he ought to have had no assistances but what occurr'd from the Proof, 4th, It was monstrous to insert or allow to be inserted a speech for Stewart which he never made.

We all know who were present that the previous knowledge was what he mention'd, and that he never said any such thing as his being ignorant of the murder as the child unborn, but all those things are calculated to mislead. . In short there does not seem to have been that caution to guard against their artifices, which ought to have been.

" I have long wish'd and expected an opportunity of seeing you, but whether it will take place this summer is more than I can tell. If I go to see my brother at Errol, you may be sure I will take Crief in my way. I am. sorry Ld. Breadalbane went through this town without giving me an opportunity of waiting upon him. I very little think or trouble myself about Highland affairs at this time, but a thought struck me on hearing of Dr Cameron's being taken up, which I don't know whether I am well founded in or not, viz. — That they cou'd never have manag'd that affair in Balquidder without the engineership of James or some of his friends to make court on his acct. You can probably tell me, whether I am right.

" I endeavour'd when in London to get John of Achnaba made an Ensign in Ld. Home's, but I cou'd not stay long enough to see it ended : I have just seen Ld. Home, since his coming to this country, he tells me it could not be got done before he left London, and I'm afraid will not be done till he goes himself to Ireland in the latter end of the summer, I shall, however, soon know what can be done, as I have promis'd his Losp. to go out and stay a few days with him, I shall then write Mr Campbell the particulars, and in the meantime must beg you'll write him a few lines letting him know what I have wrote on this subject. I have almost wrote myself blind, and how you will make out this scrawl I know not.

" My compts. and good wishes attends Mrs Campbell and all your family. — I am, with great truth, Dear Sir, your very faithful and obedt. hum. servant, " John Crawfxtrd. " Berwick, 20th May, 1753.

" What I know of the late measures about taking up certain people is all guess work, as I have heard nothing from London about Highland affairs since I left it. I met the Doctor on the Road, who thanked me for the care of Duncan."

Notes. — (1). Col. John Craufurd was Lieut-Col. of General Pulteney's Regiment of Foot, the 13th, and in command of the Fort and Garrison at Fort-William at the time of Glenure's murder. He witnessed some of the depositions taken there before the trial of James Stewart, and was one of the witnesses at his trial to identify a letter produced.

(2). McVicar, probably Duncan Mc Vicar, Collector of Customs at Fort-William in 1752.

(3). Mungo : See Letter No. lix. I presume this is the Mungo Campbell, writer in Edinburgh, who accompanied Glenure, his uncle, in his expedition to Lochaber and return journey homewards, during which he was murdered : Mungo afterwards got a Commission, and in time became Lieut. -Col. 52nd Regiment, and was killed in action at Fort Montgomerie.

(4). The Sergt. More here mentioned is evidently John Dhu Cameron, who in later life became a noted freebooter, and was apprehended by a party of Lieut. Hector Munro's detachment in Rannoch in 1753, and executed at Perth for the slaughter of a man who had been killed in a creagh under his leadership at Braemar some time before, and for various acts of theft and cattle lifting. General Stewart of Garth says that he had been a sergeant in the French service, and came over to Scotland in 1745, and tells an interesting story showing his generosity to an officer of the army, escorting treasure, who trusted him.

(5). James Stewart in Acharn was said to be a natural son of John Stewart of Ardshiel, whose lawful son, lately of Ardshiel, was now under forfeiture; and apparently Alex. Stewart of Invernahyle was another son; of John's daughters, Helen was married to Allan Cameron of Callart, who was also attainted, and Isobel was the second wife of Alex. Macdonald of Glencoe.

James Stewart seems to have been at first tacksman in Auchindarroch, in Duror, and also of Lettermore, on the estate of Ardshiel (Lettermore was the scene of Glenure's murder), but to have removed at the request of Glenure in 1751, about two years after the latter's appointment as factor on 23rd Feb., 1749 : at the same time, Alex. Stewart of Invernahyle, brother of Ardshiel and James's half-brother, was removed from Glenduror, and the whole Glen let to John Campbell of Baleveolan, though Glenure aided in stocking the half of it.

James then became tacksman of Auoharn under Donald Campbell of Airds. He was allowed for a time to continue as sub-factor under (xlenure on the Ardshiel estate, and to collect the rents from the tenants, accounting for such sums as had been fixed as valuation by the Barons of Exchequer, and handing over any excess paid by the tenants to the children of his brother, Charles, until the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury stopped this, and Glenure, under instructions, had to remove James Stewart from his farm. This was alleged at James' trial to be the motive for his being art and part in Glenures murder.

After a careful perusal of the whole of the printed Report of Acharn's Trial, I think the evidence was sufficient to convict Allan Breck as the murderer, had he been put on his trial, but only warranted a verdict of " Not proven " against James Stewart. The speech of Mr George Brown was a sufficient answer to the Lord Advocate, whose speech throughout assumed Stewart to be guilty, and on that supposition made out that certain portions of evidence told -against him ; but Mr Brown showed that, assuming Stewart was not privy to the murder, the same evidence was quite consistent with his innocence. Again, the Lord Advocate, wherever evidence had been adduced in favour of Stewart, tried to discredit the witnesses, and, with a jury consisting of 11 Campbells out of 15, and the whole chosen according to the custom of the time by the Judges, and the Duke of Argyll presiding as Justice-General, he secured a conviction. Thirty-four persons were summoned to serve on the jury from Argyllshire (of whom 25 were Campbells and 9 of other surnames), and 11 from Bute (none of whom were Campbells). The jurors selected were all from Argyll, and the names other than Campbell were Duncanson, Gillespie, Macdougal, and Macneil. It was certainly quite clear and admitted that Stewart helped Allan Breck to effect his escape after the murder, though he suspected him of that crime, by arranging to send him money, and Stewart's wife sent Allan clothes he had left at Acharn, but there is no proof either of Stewart's knowing anything of the murder until after it was committed, or of arranging to send Breck money until 36 hours after it, on receipt of a message from him. He was not charged with being accessory after the muruer to Breck' s escape.

(6). Mr George Brown of Colstoun and Mr Robert Mackintosh were Counsel for James Stewart. Mr William Grant of Preston Grange was H.M.'s Advocate. Mr Brown complained of the prisoner having only 15 days to prepare his defence.

(7). James Mor or Drummond, having escaped from prison in Edinburgh Castle in November, was probably in hiding in Ireland up to about the time of Dr Cameron's arrest. It is more likely that a communication from "Pickle " brought about that arrest, but was "Pickle" James Mor? James may have usurped that name occasionally, though adopted by another spy.

[Letter_LVIII] .

Letter, docqueted on wrapper, " Dunkirk, 12 June, 1753, an anonymous letter anent Breck Stewart." There is hardly room for any doubt that the writer was James Mor Drummond or Macgregor, and the letter addressed to John Campbell of Barcaldine.

" Dunkirk, 12th June, 1753.
" Dr. Sir,— I presume to give you this trouble as its vary necessary for me to let you know of Mr Breack Stewart who landed in this country in March last and went to Lyle [Lisle] to Ogelvie's Regiment with whom he was formerly, but now I understand they give him no countenance unless in a private manner, yet as he staves about Lyle I suspect he may be supported privitely. ,

" I was awctwaly inform'd that he was sent over to murder your Brother and money given him for that purpose. You may judge I’11 endeavour to be at the bottom of this, and shall let you know about it.

" It's my opinion if you applay and procur a warrant proper to apprehend him I shall fall upon a method! of bringing him within the bounds of Holland, and as there are some English Campbells in Holland they are the onely people to be applayed too you may depend I shall go any lenth to serve you in this affair, but as I am but poor it cannot be suposed I con go throw with this unless I get some cash or a Bill to suport the carrying on of this affair. I have no manner of doubt of geting the affair done to your satisfaction, if anything, is sent me let it be sent as if it were from my Brother-in-law, Nicol, by the hands of Capt. Duncan Campbell of the City Guard, Edinburgh, who knows my direction. You may belive that I have the gretist dificulty on earth to stand my ground here as our friends the Stewarts was at the pains to send a misrepresentation of me to the Court of France and to both this place and Lyle.

" I was obliged latly to draw my sourd in my own defence and in defence of your Brother's caracter and with a countryman, who I belive will give no further trouble for some time comming. I firmly declair to the gentlemen who are here of the Scots that no advantage was taken at Jas. Stewart's tryall and at the same time my own opinion which has alter'd the [?] ffenesses of maney here, and now begins to consider and read Stewart's trail and explain it after ane other method which they did not formerly but conform'd to the sentiments of factions.

" I beg the favour of you how soon this comes to your hands yt. you'll be so kind as to write to my Brother-in-law to take proper care of my poor wife and children, for I left her nothing but at the mercy of her friends and at the same time left her big with child, which no doubt was a very chocking affair to me or any Christian. I hope you'll let me here of your friendship in this as I know it's of the outmost consequence to her and her poor baby.

I beg, if you are to do anything in the affair mention'd, let it be done with precaution, so as I may correspond with the English Campbell to whom you are to applay with certain Directions and credit by them so as they may know me, a Divided Card with a Seal upon each half of the same kind is needfull, the one half sent me and the other sent to the English Campbell with orders to send me a party when the card is sent them with Directions where to come. I hope in God to get this managed with security if its soon gone about the Regiment is to move from Lyle in September. I do not know but they may be removed further from the fruntears of Holland, which will make it more difficult unless its done sooner than that time.

" I am informd that poor Rob is taken up. I am much affraid unless your friends will interpose they will endeavour to Roach at his life. Its hard unless you write to Breadalbine to Interpose in his favours. If he cou'd procure Banishment for him it wou'd bo a grate favour done one and all of us, for he has nothing to support his Tryall, and this wou'd save the Court the Expense of a Tryall — this can be done by some interest which we have not but that we have to expect from your own ffamily. I have no further to say but leave it Intirely to yourself, but that I am and ever shall continue, Dr. Sir, Yours to Command.

" Excuse my not subscribing."

Notes. — Below the words " Yours to Command " there is a scrawl bearing some resemblance to a Capital letter C with a curl at bottom, having a smaller Capital C within it; but this had probably no signification, and the scrawl may not denote any letters.

James Mor Campbell or Drummond or Macgregor was the 2nd son of Robert Macgregor (Rob Roy) : along with his cousin, Macgregor of Glengyle, and 12 men, he took the fort of Inversnaid in 1745, making prisoners 9 soldiers who were in the fort and a large working party employed in making roads, and marched 89 prisoners to Doune Castle. He commanded a Company of the Macgregor Regiment at Preston, where he was severely woundjed, and is said to have been also at Culloden. Being attainted in 1746 he made his escape to France. Much has been written lately as to his extraordinary career as a spy, his communications with the English Government, and his share in the abduction of Jean Kay. Having been arrested in consequence, he made his escape from Edinburgh Castle, 16th Nov., 1752, and got over to Ireland and thence to France, probably not till some months afterwards: on 22 May, 1753, he appears to have written a letter to Edgar, craving assistance. At the time the above letter was written, 12 June, 1753, he is believed to have been emploved by some one in an attempt to inveigle Allan Breck to the sea coast and bring him over to England, a view confirmed by this curious letter, where he tried to induce Barcaldine to send him money. He died in great poverty in Paris early in October, 1754.

That this letter was written by James Mor Macgregor is confirmed both by information I have received from Mr , W.S., Edinburgh, and by a letter signed Jas. Drummond, which is to be found among the Newcastle Papers, Addl. MSS., in the British Museum., of which a copy will be given below, the hand-writing of which I hold to be unquestionably the same as that of the unsigned letter dated D unkir k, 12 June, 1753.

My friend Mr wrote me from Edinr. as to James Mor.

" He escaped from Edinr. on 16 Nov. 1752. He dates letters from Dunkirk in 1754, in one of which, dated 1 May, 1754, he refers to his 14 children, and says 'Captain Duncan Campbell, who is nephew to Glengyle, and my near relation, wrote me in June last about Allan Breck Stewart, and begged therein, if there was any possibility of getting him delivered in any part of England/ &c. Doubtless this is the same Capt. Duncan Campbell referred* to in the letter of which you sent me a tracing.

James Mor married Annabel M'Nicoll, and you will observe the writer refers to his brother-in-law Nicol. At the trial of Rob Oig a letter dated at Dunkirk, 30 June, 1753 (18 davs after the present one, viz., that of 12 June, unsigned), is said to be from James Mor. I have not been able to ascertain the exact date of Rob Oig's arrest, but he was brought to trial on 24 Decr., 1753."

The date of his arrest was on or about 26 May, 1753 — see note at end of Letter No. liv. James Mor's letters of 6 Apr. and 6 May, 1754, are given in Blackwood's Mag. for December, 1817.

The following is a copy of the letter signed Jas. Drummond to be found among the Newcastle Papers, Addl. MSS. 32753, fo.55, and said to have been addressed to Lord Albemarle, and a copy thereof sent to Lord Holderness : —

"Paris, 12th October, 1753.
" My Lord, — Though I have not the honour to be much acquainted with your Losp. I presume to give you the trouble of this to acquaint your Losp. that by a false information I was taken prisoner in Scotland in November, 1751, and by the speat [spite] that a certain ffaction in Scotland had at me was betrayed by the Justiciary Court at Edinburgh when I had brought plenty of exculpation which might free any person whatever of what was alleged against me, yet such a Jurie as was given me thought proper to give me a special verdict finding some parts of the layable proven, and in other parts not proven.

"It was thought by my friends that I would undergo the sentence of Banishment, which made me make my escape from Edinr. Castle in November, 1752, and since was forced to come to France for my safty. I always had in my view, if possible, to be concern'd in Government's Service, and for that purpose; thought it neoessar ever since I came to France to be as much as possible in company with the pretenders' friends so far as now that I think I can be ane useful subject to my king and country upon giving me proper Incouragement. In the first place I think it's in my power to bring Allan, Breck Stewart, the supposed murderer of Colin Campbell of Gleneuir, late factor of the forfit estate of Ardsheal, to England and to deliver hirm in safe custody so as he may be brought to Justice, and in that event I think the Delivering of the said murderer merits the getting of a Remission from his Majesty the King, especially as I was. not guilty of any Acts of Treason since the year 1746, and providing your Losp. procures my Remission upon Delivering the said murderer, I hereby promise to Discover a very grand plott on footing against the government, which is more effectually carried on than ever since the ffamely of Stewart was put off the Throne of Britain, and besides do all the Services that lays in my power to the government.

" Onely with this provision that I shall be received into the government's service, and that I shall have such reward as my services shall meritt. I am willing if your Losp. shall think it agreeable to go to England privitly and carry the murderer alongst with me and dfcliver him at Dover to the Military, and after waite on such of the King's friends as your Losp. shall appoint. If your losp. think this agreeable I should wish General Campbell wou'd (be on of those present as he knows me and my famely, and besides that I think to have some credit with the Oeneral which I cannot expect with those whom I never had the honour to know, either the General or Lieutt. Coll. John Crawfurd of Poulteny's Regiment wou'd be very agreeable to me, as I know both of these wou'd trust me much, and at the same time I could be more free to them than to any others there your losp, my [sic] Depend the motive that Induces me to make this offer at present to you in the government's name is both Honourable and Just, so that I hope no other constructions will be put on it, and for your Losps. satisfaction I say nothing in this letter but what I am determined to perform and as much more as in my power layes with that and that all I have said is Trweth as I shall answer to God.
" Jas. Drummond."

Notes. — In the original of the above letter, the word "Lordship" is contracted into Losp., the old-fashioned long "s" being used: Col. Crawfurd uses the same contraction. In two places where the words "a certain faction" and "such a jurie as was given me" occurs, the original has the said words underlined, and written above (apparently by the receiver of the letter) the name "Dundas."

Some months before the date of this letter James Mor wrote, on 22nd May, 1753, from Boulogne to Mr Edgar, Secy. to the Chevr. de St George, craving assistance for the support of a man who had always shown the strongest attachment to his Majesty's person and cause, and enclosing a certificate of same date from Lord StrathaUan and others as to his bravery and his wounds, but Lord S., writing on 6th Septr. following to Mr Edgar, points out that he attested only his courage and personal bravery, for "as to anything else he would be very sorry to answer for him, as he has but an indifferent character as to real honesty" The authority for this, which I find in "Pickle the Spy," seems to be the "Stuart Papers." On 20th of same month James Mor sent a Petition to Prince Charles Edward pleading his services in the cause of the Stuarts, ascribing his exile to the persecution of the Hanoverian Government, but making no reference to the affairs of Jean Key, or his outlawry by the Court of Justiciary. Nothing seems to have come of this, and by October we find him making the same offer to the British Government that he had made in June to Barcaldine to endeavour to get hold of Allan Breck and convey him to England, and also to enter their service and "discover a very grand plott."

Allan Breck evidently got forewarned, and escaped, and it was presumably on the failure of this project that James Mor came to England. It is evident from Lord Breadalbane's letters of 15 Dec., 1753, and 19 Jan., 1754, that James did come over to England, and must have had some interviews with some one on behalf of the British Government, and that they placed no confidence in him : he was apparently received by Lord Holderness and distrusted; he made a long statement in London on 6th Novr., 1753 (apparently the "Discovery of the very grand plott on footing against the Government"), and Lord Breadalbane accepted advice to refuse him an interview. James returned to Prance early in 1754, was accused by Lochgarry at Dunkirk of being a spy, and had to quit that town and make his way to Paris, where he remained in great poverty till his death in the following October.


Letter from Lord Breadalbane to John Campbell of Barcaldine, Esq., docqueted, " London, 15th Deer., 1753. Letter Lord Breadalbane."

"London, 15th Dec., 1753.
" Sir, — I've received your letter of the 29th past with the papers enclosed in it, and yours of the 6th came to hand yesterday.

" I've heard nothing farther about Js. More, except that he sent me a second letter expressing a desire to see me, which I shew'd to those to whom I communicated the first, and was advis'd by them not to see him : the reasons they gave were the same as before, that as he is a very worthless and a false artful fellow, 'tis impossible to guess what he may pretend afterwards to have pass'd in that Interview. Tho' I have no apprehensions of any consequences of that kind, yet I thought it right to follow their advice and I sent no answer to him. I don't know if he has been examined or not, but I will collect out of your hints some questions which I will mention to be put to him if they examine him.

" What you say about Mungo's affair is very extraordinary ; and if the Clan carries it any further either by officiously picking new quarrels or by challenging again upon the former quarrel, he will be blamed by everybody if he takes any other notice of them than by putting them in prison as disturbers of him in his office, for I take that to be the real grudge. I think Mungo was imprudent in going to Lochaber, he might have caused, Glendeshery to meet him halfway, but allowances are to be made to young blood, who are afraid to venture to do anything that may seem cool when their honour is concerned. Tm glad Mungo came off so well, and I hope he will not set himself up to be the Don Quixote of that countrey to fight all the windmills. Now that he has shew'd he can fight and is not afraid of them he should act as one in a public post employ'd by the Government.

" In consequence of what you mention relating to the Post-master of Crief, I know no way of applying about him, as he depends upon the Postmaster General of Scotland, Mr Hamilton, but I've writt to Ly. Breadalbane to speak about it to Ly. Mary Hamilton to tell her husband that I had heard of such a design, but hoped he would not turn him out of his office, because I know him to be well affected to the Government and hated by the Jacobites : and as my family is the principal one whose letters come by the Crief bag, I think I may expect to have some share in recommending the person thro whose hands they pass. I remember a few years agro an attempt of this kind was madle, and thru Ld. Menzie got him kept in. — Adieu, yrs., " B."

Note. — The appointment held by Mungo, which is here referred to, is, no doubt, that of a Government factor in Lochaber : see also Letter No. lvi. from Col. Crawfurd.


Letter from Lord Breadalbane to John Campbell of Barcaldine, Esq., docqueted ' London, 19 Janr., 1754. Letter Lord Breadalbane."

" Sir, — I'm sorry to find by your letter of the 8th that you have been confined with, the goute, but since the fit was over, I hope it will be the means of keeping you free from any more of it for a considerable time.

" I can say nothing about J(ames) M(or), having heard no further concerning him. I know upon the whole that he has discover'd nothing which can entitle him to a pardon, but on the contrary the bad opinion which the Min'y had of him is increased by a letter which appeared at Robt.'s trial proved to have been writt by Ja(mes) after he went abroad, threatening a man that he should be murder'd if he appeared as an evidence against Robt. They seem here at a loss what to do with him, and I believe wish he had not come over.

" I can give you no satisfactory account yet from the Treasury, Mr Pelham is entirely recover'd now and Business begins to go on as usual. I'll take the first opportunity of speaking again about the money.

" I'm very glad to hear Carwhin is in a way of being soon well again, he did wisely in staying at Achmore so long. The weather here has been very uncertain, sometimes hard frost, then snow, then rain, but I fear it has been worse in our country and I am extremely sorry the price of meal keep up so high, the people must have been greatly distress'd, if it were not for the great price they got for their cattle

" 'Tis an unfortunate situation of a country, climate and many other things are against us. — Adieu, yrs., " B."


Letter from John Campbell of Achalader v to John Campbell of Barcaldine, Esq., at Crieff/' so addressed, and dooqueted "Achmore 3 Feby. 1748" [mistake for 1758] "letter Achalader."

" Aohmore, 3rd Febry., 1758.
" Dr. Br., — I was yesterday informed from pretty good authority that Allan Breck the villain and his companion John Dow Greshich are now at Bohallie's, I immediately gave nottice of this to Glenure, all that was thought fit to be done till you should foe acquainted was to send a man, a sly fellow, who is acquainted wt. Breck and that part of the country to go under some other pretext and hover thereabouts till he could learn if there are any strangers lurking yrabouts : if there are I think it may be safely concluded he is there. You will judge whether on the intelligence already received it may be proper to advise the Justice Clerk of this that directions may be given for warning the Ours, of the Customs at the several ports to observe if any one of Brock's appearance attempts to ship himself for Holland &ca. I think the villain might be described to these officers without letting them know the person intended to be seiz'd. You will have heard that several of the fugitives in 1746 are lurking among their friends in the Highlands.

" I was much diverted with the story that happened in the Parliament House, 'twas describ'd so much in the character of the persons that I thought I was present to it.

" The two youngest bairns here are recovering from a fevere. I am with kind compts. to Lady Barcaldine and Miss Nansy, Dr. Br., yours, " J. Campbell." "

Note. — William Macgregor Drummond of Bochaldie or Bohallie was regarded by Rob Roy's family as the Chief of their branch of the Macgregors: he was one of those excepted from the Act of Indemnity passed in 1747. It seems hardly probable that Allan Breck, if he had come over, would have trusted himself at Bohallie.