Alexander Mackenzie.

History of the Frasers of Lovat, with genealogies of the principal families of the name: to which is added those of Dunballoch and Phopachy (Volume pt.2) online

. (page 1 of 36)
Online LibraryAlexander MackenzieHistory of the Frasers of Lovat, with genealogies of the principal families of the name: to which is added those of Dunballoch and Phopachy (Volume pt.2) → online text (page 1 of 36)
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chiefs, otherwise the social jealousies and personal irritations
which then prevailed throughout the whole Higlilands,
fanned by this incident, would probably have produced a
lasting feud between the Frascrs and Mackenzies.* It now
turns out that Lovat and his Fraser friends were altogether
in the wrong, and that Lord Simon had to make a complete
apology to the Mackenzie chief and at the same time to
put his more aggressive friends on the occasion of the Iracas
through a somewhat humih'ating process. In one of the
series of interesting Lovat letters referred to, Mr John
Fraser, writing to Cluny for his Lordship from Beaufort, on
the 3Jst of May, 1745, after the usual formalities, says—

"As my Lord has been indisposed for two or three days past, and
is not fit or capable to undergo much fatigue, his Loidsliip has dc-
siied me to give you a true account of what passed bclwixl Lord Sca-
forlh and his Lordship after they left Inverness, since you was known
yourself to ail that happened before that time.

"Upon Saturday, the iSlh of this month, my Lord Lovat and the
Laird of ISIacleod came from Inverness to Lunchrew, in my Lord's
chariot, to dine with the President, and as they talked over what
passed the day before at Inverness, the President said that my Lord
Lovat had put such an affront upon Seaforth, first giving him the lie
and then the cane, that, by the laws of honour, nothing but blood or
fighting could atone for it, and that if Seaforth could be pleased with
any other satisfaction my Lord Lovat should not at all refuse it. And
the President and IVlacleod entreated and importuned him to wrue a
civil letter to Seaforth acknowledging his concern for what had hap-
pened. Lord Lovat came home that night, and ne.xt day sent
Byrcfield, with a couple of horses and his groom, with a letter to
Lord Seaforth, of which I send you a copy, as also of the letter that
Seaforth wrote back by Byrcfield. My Lord Lovat first sent a copy
of his own letter and thereafter Lord Seaforth's letter to the President
and Macleod, and they approved very much of both.

"Two days thereafter Seaforth sent Davochmaluag with Lord
Lovat's letter to the President and Major Grant, Governor of Inver-
ness, and they both told Davochmaluag that it was their opinion that
my Lord's letter was full and complete satisfaction for the aflVont Sea-
forth received, and that there should be no more disturbance about it,
but that both the Lords should live togclher like neighbours in the
same friendly manner as formerly.

" My Lord Lovat has since, by Macleod's advice, and the Presi-

* The History of the j)/,j,iai:h-s, second ctlition, pp. 31S-319.


dent's, sent tlie man that gave Seaforth the strokes on the streets of
Inverness prisoner to Brahan, with a guard of four armed men, con-
ducted by two gentlemen, Ledckme, and Simon in Achnacloich.

" Davochmaluag, who was the only gentleman there at the time,
and who is Lord Seaforth's great Tutor, used the two gentlemen very
civilly, and said that he was very glad that the affair was taken away
for the good of both the kindred, and Lord Seaforth sent the man that
struck him a crown to drink his health, and relieved him and his
guard without doing them the least harm. So this affair is now fully
ended \\ithout a drop of blood. And if no cross accident interfere, I
hope both the peers and their clans will live together amicably with-
out any variance or bloodshed."*

Lord Lovat at this period while writing to his friend.
Lord President Forbes of Culloden, letters brimful of the
most loyal sentiments towards the reigning family was
actively plotting their destruction with the friends of Prince
Charles and his house. On this point xMr Anderson says
that while "his Lordship, willing to keep up appearances
with the Government, made the most solemn assurances of
fidelity to President P'orbes, secretly, however, sending for
his son from St. Andrews and appointing him Colonel of
the clan ; arms, money, and provisions were collected ; the
clan rendezvoused, and the fiery cross circulated. It
was impossible to veil such proceedings in secrecy, and the
Lord President, to whom he owed much, candidly v.rote
him of the reports abroad, and besought him by every
sacred consideration to weigh well what he owed to the
established power. His Lordship had even to complain of
an attack by the Stratherrick Erasers upon his house. To
the sincere and often repeated solicitations of the President
Lovat returned evasive replies, opposing subtle subterfuges
and deceitful pretexts to sound argument and solid advicc."t
F'or instance, Mr Robert Craigie, at the time Lord Advo-
cate, received a letter from Lovat, dated the 23rd of August,
1745, in reply to one from the former dated the 15th ot
the same month, in which Lord Simon says —

"Your Lordship judges right when you believe that no hardship or
ill-usage that I meet with can alter or diminish my zeal and

* TranSiHtions of the Gaelic Society 0/ Inverness, vol. xix., pp. 207 209.
t Historical Account of the Family of Fraser, p. 1 50.



attachment for his Majesty's person and Government. I am as ready
this day (as far as I am able) to serve the Kini; and Government as I
was in the year 17 15, when I had the good fortune to serve the King-
in suppressing the great rebeUion more than any of my rank in
the Island of Britain. But my clan and I have been so neglected
these many years past that I have not twelve stands of arms in
my country, though I thank God I could bring twelve hundred men to
the field for the King's service if I had arms and other accoutrements
for them. Therefore, my good Lord, I earnestly entreat that, as you
wish I would do good service to the Government, on this critical
occasion, you may order a thousand stand of arms to be delivered
to me and my clan at Inverness, and then your Lordship shall see
that I will exert myself for the King's service."

What he intended to do with these arms, had he been
successful in getting them, may be gathered from the
following lettej^ written to his friend Lochiel in September,
only a few days later —

" Dear Lochiel, — I fear you have been over rash in going ere
affairs are ripe. You are in a dangerous state. The Elector's
General, Cope, is in your rear, hanging at your tail, with 3000 men,
such as have not been here since Dundee's affair, and we have no
force to meet him. If the Macphersons would take the field I would
bring out my lads to help you, and 'twixt the two we might cause Cope
keep his Christmas here, but only Cluny is earnest in the cause, and
my Lord Advocate plays at cat and mouse with me ; but times
may change and I may bring him to the Saint Johnstone's tippet.
Meantime look to yourselves, for you may expect many a sour face
and sharp weajion in the South. I'll aid when I can, but my prayers
are all I can give at present. My service to the Prince, but I wish he
had not come so empty handed. Siller would go far in the Highlands.
I send this by Ewan Eraser, whom I have charged to give it to
yourself; for \\ere Duncan to find it, it would be my head to an
onion. Farewell.- ^'our faithful friend, Lov.XT."

Several letters passed between Lord Lovat and President
Forbes, between the dates of the one addressed by Simon
to the Lord Advocate and the one written by him to
Lochiel. In the first of these he says of Prince Charles —
" I hear that mad and unaccountable gentleman has set up
a standard at a place called Glenfinnan Monday last," and
of Lochiel in a letter to the Lord President, dated the 27th.
of August, he says —

" I own I must regret my. dear cousin, Lochiel, who, contrary

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to his promise to me, engaged in this mad enterprise ; but if Sir John
Cope is beat (which I think next to impossible) this desperate Prince
will be the occasion of much bloodshed, which I pr.iy Cod m;iy avert ;
for to have bloodshed in our bowels is a horrible thing to any man
that loves Scotland. Therefore, I pray God that we may not have a
Civil War in Scotland ; this has been my constant wish since ever I
had the use of my reason ; and it shall be the same while there is
breath in me ; so that they must be damnably ignorant of the prin-
ciple of my heart and soul who can imagine that I would endeavour
to promote a Civil War in my country. I do assure you, my dear
Lord, that if the King had taken my house and a part of my estate
without any just ground, as he did my company, that I would go and
live, though most miserable, in any country on earth rather than make
a Civil War in my own country. I hope this will convince your Lord-
ship that I have always been a declared enemy of this mad project.
Now, my dear Lord, as to what you desire me, of acquainting all my
people to be in readiness, I do assure you I did so immediately after
coming from Inverness ; but, to obey your commands, I have sent my
officers this day with orders to them to be ready when I should call
for them ; and I ordered them to make short coals and hose, and to
put aside the long coats, and to get as many swords and dirks as they
could find out. As to the article of arms, it's needless to talk of it ; for
my men have no arms, and I never will present them to King or
General without arms. And your Lordship may remember that when
you spoke to me of that article at Inverness, you said at last that I
could not show my men without arms, and without sufificient orders
from the Government ; to which opinion I told your Lordship I would
adhere. As to my zeal for the Government, I can assure your Lord-
ship that 1 have as much as any lord or laird in Scotland except your
Lordship, whose constant, uncommon, and fiery zeal for this Govern-
ment, to my certain knowledge, is and has always been without
example. But I hope, my Lord, since you have this day the same
power over your old corporal that you had in the year 171 5, you will
make my Court to Sir John Cope. If I be able to step into my
chariot I will pay my duty to him at Inverness or Culloden, and will
beg of your Lordship to introduce me to him."

The short coats were to be exchanged for the long ones,
and the arms which Lord Simon pressed for, were, as has
been already premised and will soon appear, intended for a
very different purpose to that set forth in his letters to the
Lord President, who writes to his Lordship of Lovat on the
19th of September, offering him a commission for his
second .son, " as your eldest was destined to another course

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of life."* He at the same time says that he was informed
that the " Stratherrick men were immediately to join Glen-
bucket ; and that as your own (Lord Simon's) health was
bad and the Master of Lcvat but young, you had sent your
cousin Inverallochy to command these and raise your other
men. If such silly stories pass upon any body, it must be
upon those who do not know what you have done for the
present Government, and the value you have for your
honour and for the estate of Lovat." Simon replies next
day, the 20th, in a letter from which it appears that he
declined the commission for his second son, though he does
not say so in as many words, but states that he had re-
quested his cousin Macleod to explain his resolutions
regarding it and his reasons for them. He admits that
Inverallochy is already at Beaufort, but says that the
statement made regarding him is "grossly false," adding
— "the reason I sent for him is that I resolved to put
my estate in trust in his hand, my Lord Strichen's, and
Macleod's, being determined as soon as I can, as I have
been all this season, to go south, and from that to England,
and from that to France (if I get leave) for the benefit of
my health ; and I sent for Inverallochy to be witness to
Evan Baillie's drawing up the papers concerning my estate,
because its ten to one if ever I come back to this country
after going out of it. This is the true matter of fact." This
was written on the 20th of September, 1745.

On the 15th, only five days before, he had written a letter
to Ewen Macpherson of Cluny, who was married to his
daughter, the Hon. Janet Eraser, in which he says, referring

* John Grant, factor for Urciuhart, writing from Balmacaan, on the I2th
of September, 1745, to Liulovick Grant of Grant, after describing the move-
ments and preparations of certain leading men in Glenurquhart and their
tenants, says — " Lord Lovat is making ready to march. He has given orders
to all his men to be in readiness, and has a good many smiths and tinkers
preparing their arms and targes." On the 17th he writes that "last Friday,
upon llie night sixty of his men went through this country to join the High-
landers, and I am told that all the Stratherrick Erasers join them this week."
On the Sth of October he writes — " Lord Lovat has not appointed a day for
his marching as yet, for 1 am told that he has the meal to make that he car-
ries along with him for his men's subsistence."

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to her husband's decision to join Prince Charles — "The
account that you and my dear Sibbie give me of my dear
daug-hter Lady Ckiny's extraordinary melancholy situation
grieves me to the heart and soul," and again — "As to her
apprehensions with regard to your resolutions, I hope in
God these gloomy appreiiensions will soon wear off, for she
cannot but observe that there are numbers of the best
women in the Kingdom in the same situation with herself."
Messengers with letters, on the subject of joining the Prince,
were at this time constantly passing between his Lordship
and his son-in-law.

On the 23rd of the same month, just three days after he
had written to the Lord President so indignantly denying
the stories circulated regarding his attitude, he wrote Cluny
another letter in reply to one brought to him at Beaufort by
Macpherson of Druminard, in which he says — " I shall send
an express to you when any extraordinary thing happens,
till 1 have the honour to see you, which I hope will be in a
very little time. I send you enclosed the glorious news of
this day, which, if it is confirmed, I truly think P. C. (Prince
Charles) Master of all Scotland, but he will not be the worse
of what Druminard will tell you from me." And further,
"I beg as you love your own honour and interest and the
good of your family, do not fail to observe strictly the
advice and instructions that I send you by our friend Drum-
inard. If you do, remember I tell you that you will repent
it. I have the agreeable news to tell you that I bless God
I am better in health than I have been these two years past,
and have more the use of my limbs. It's a sort of miracle,
considering how ill I have been these two or three months
past. I hope it's to enable me to serve my country."
There can be no possible doubt as to the country and cause
which he intended to serve, and if there could it is made
perfectly clear in his next communication. The "glorious
news" referred to by his Lordship must have been the
capture by Prince Charles of the City of Edinburgh, six
days before the date of the letter quoted, on the 17th of
September, 1745.

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On the same day, the 23rd of September, 1745, a warrant
by Prince Charles, signed and sealed by Secretary Murray
at Holyrood House, is issued in favour of James Fraser
of Foyers to apprehend Lord President Forbes of Cul-
loden. The original is in possession of Mr Charles Fraser-
Mackintosh of Drummond, who kindly allowed us to take a
copy of it. It will be observed that a similar warrant had
previously been issued in favour of Simon Lord Lovat,
although he denies any knowledge of Foyers' proceedings
in attempting to execute his, which is in the following
terms —

"Charles Prince of Wales, etc., Regent of Scotland, England,
France, and Ireland, with the Dominions thereunto belonging :

To James Fraser of Foyers

Whereas we gave a warrand some time ago to the Lord Lovat
to apprehend and secure the person of Duncan Forbes of Culloden,
which warrand for sufficient reasons he could not put in execution,
We now judge it necessary hereby to empower you to seise upon the
person of the above-named Duncan Forbes, and when you have
so seised and apprehended him, to convey him prisoner to us at
Edinburgh, or where we shall happen to be for the time ; for the doing
of which this shall be your warrand. Given at his Majestie's Palace
of Holyrood house, the 23rd day of September, 1745. By his
Highness' Command. (Signed) Jo. Murray."

On the 7th of October, several weeks after the date of
his letter to Lochiel, already given at length, and only a
fortnight after the foregoing letter to Cluny, his Lordship
sends again to the Lord President a communication bristling
with the most fulsome adulation, in the course of which, in
characteristic fashion, he says —

" There has been several villainous, malicious, and ridiculous re-
ports that vexed me very much ; but as there was nothing out of hell
more false, I despise them and the scoundrels that invented them ;
and since the whole business, trade, and conversation of many in
Inverness is to invent and tell lies I hope your Lordship will believe
no mean thing of me till you have a real and infallible proof of it, as I
am resolved that this shall be my conduct towards your Lordship."

In a like spirit of double dealing he forwards to the same
gentleman on the nth, four days later, a communication in
which, after giving the names of prominent men who are

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joining- Prince Charles and stating the spirit towards him by
which they were actuated, he says —

" I am very sorry that this spirit is come to so great a hei^'ht in
this country, for the Clancbattan's rendezvousing to go and join the
Highlanders has so intoxicated my people that I find it morally im-
possible for me to stop them. The oldest men, that are substantial
tenants, say that they will not stay behind to be upbraided with
cowardice by their neighbours. Your Lordship may remember that I
had a vast deal of trouble in keeping my men from rising at the
beginning of this affair, but now the contagion is so universal by the
late success of the Highlanders that they laugh at any man that would
dissuade them from going ; so that I really know not how to behave."

Alexander Grant of Corrimony writing to Ludovick Grant
of Grant on the 15th of October, 1745, 'says, "I came last
night from my Lord Lovat's, with whom I was pretty big,
could I credit him. I advertise you that for certain his whole
clan and the Master of Lovat are next week to march and
join the Prince. My Lord proposed, as I meant that wa}-,
to join him and come under his colours. I told his Lord-
ship that my own chief had very good colours, and though I
was so rash as go without him, that I could not but observe
the difference 'twi.xt loyalty and family quarrels, and that I
never would bring such a task on my chief or the clan as
join a person who was thought to be in direct opposition to
his interest. My Lord got in a passion and ordered I
should be silent in his house, and till the hour of his death
he could not forgive me, and that he would cause my chief
revenge it. I also advertise you that the ALaster of Lovat
comes 'twixt (this) and this day se'enight to force your
tenants, with 300 men, to join him, in order to be under his
banner; to prevent which design I run this express, and do
think you should immediately send a judicious gentleman or
two to spirit the people to go over to Castle Grant, where
they should continue in a body with the rest of the name,
till any who would dare to insult them would go off."*

On the 1 6th of October, Lovat writes again to Clun)' a
letter which places his duplicity, and his intrigue for Prince
Charles beyond any dispute, and which had it been known
* Ch'u'fs of Grant y vol. 2, p, 174.

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and produced at his trial would by itself have been con-
clusive regarding- his guilt. The original is in the Cluny
charter chest, as are also those addressed to that chief already
quoted, and they were read by Provost Alexander Mac-
pherson of Kingussie, before the Gaelic Society of Inverness,
on the 22nd of February, 1894., and published in Vol. XIX.
of that Society's Transactions, pp. 209-212. His Lordship
writes to his son-in-law as follows —

"I received by the bearer the honour of your kind letter, for which
I return you my sincere tlianks. I am exceeding glad that you ha\e
marched your men accoidiny to my earnest request, since my son
could not join you, he waiting every day for Macleod and Sir Alex-
ander (Macdonald). I hope you will let the great people above know
my extraordinary zeal in that affair and how I pressed you to go
immediately South and not wait for my son and people. The letter
that you sent me from his Grace, the 13uke of Atholl, is most civil and
obliging, and I earnestly entreat if you see his Grace that you assure
him of my most humble duty and best respects, and that he has no
friends or relation that has a greater esteem and affection for his
Grace tlian I have, and I will instruct my son in a particular manner
to have always a great regard and attachment for the Duke of Atholl.
I beg you may not fail to let his Grace know this when you see him,
and if Macleod and Sir Alexander do not do right things God knows
it is not my fault, for I have used my endeavours with them as much as
if it was to save niy life, and I hope they will give the lie to all those
that cry out against them ... I hope when my son comes up
with his legiment, which I believe will be two battalions, you will live
with him as a brother ought to do to another, and stand by one
another upon all occasions, and I think you should have >our
regiment near his that you may be always close to one another
and might assist each other in time of need or in case of accidents.
I beg- you may seriously consider of this, and it will be your interest
to grant my request on this subject. I will earnestly and in
most particular manner recommend it to my son, and I am sure
it will not be his fault if you and your following do not live with
him and his like brothers, for he will enjoin every man he to look
upon every Macpherson as a brother."

About the same dale as Lord Loval's letter to Cluny
Macpherson — the middle of October, 1745 — an attack was
made upon Cullodcn House, with the object of capturing
the Lord President, under James Fraser of Foyers, in terms
of the warrant from Prince Charles already given, but


it is arg-ued by some of Lord Simon's friends that this was
done without his authority, and that he knew nothing about
it. He no doubt says so himself, but the reader has
already gauofed the value of his most solemn averments, and
it is feared that few will accept his statements as conclusive
evidence in such a case in his own favour, especially when it
is knov»^n that a similar warrant was previously issued to
himself, which at the time he did not find convenient to put
in execution against his unsuspecting friend. Lord Presi-
dent Forbes, writing to him from Culloden on the i8th of
October, says —

" I would Iiave acquainted your Lordship sooner of the idle attempt

Online LibraryAlexander MackenzieHistory of the Frasers of Lovat, with genealogies of the principal families of the name: to which is added those of Dunballoch and Phopachy (Volume pt.2) → online text (page 1 of 36)