Angus Macdonald.

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The principle of heredity is becoming more and
more accepted as one of the great secondary causes
in the evolution of the race, and, whether the
Gaelic bards were philosopers or not, they certainly
were keenly alive to the existence and operation of
this law. John MacCodrum, the Uist bard, in a
poem composed to Allan of Kingsburgh about 1770,
eulogises Flora as the natural j^roduct of the race
from which she sprang —

Cha b'ioghnadh learn a h-iiaisle
Thoirt dh' i gluasad aims a' chas ;
Bha stoc na craoibh o'n d' bhuaineadh i
Gun ghrod gun ruaidh gun sraal ;
Sliochd Aonghais Oig nam brataichean
'Us Raonaill Mhor nam feachdana :
B' e 'm fortain coir 'nan tachaireadh
Do 'r n-eascairdibh bhi slan.

In 1750 Flora married Allan Macdonald, tacksman
of Flodigarry, where they spent many happy years.
On the death of old Kingsburgh, her father-in-law,
in 1772, she and her husband and family went to
live at Kingsburgh, Allan having succeeded his
father as chamberlain of Troternish seven years
earlier, and the following year they entertained
Dr Samuel Johnson, the great lexicographer, and
Bos well, his biographer. Flora's life was not
destined to become commonplace in its incidents
and surroundings, even after the thrilling episode
of the '45 had become a somewhat remote memory.
She and her husband were not many years at
Kingsburgh when the increasing stringency of
money matters constrained them — like many
others dependent upon the cultivation of the soil
— to seek their fortune in the New World. In
1774 they sailed from Campbelltown, Kintyre, for
North Carolina, in the United States of America,


where in due time they arrived. In the course of
the voyage, the ship in which Flora sailed was
attacked by a French privateer. True to the
courage of her youth, she declined to take shelter ;
but, remaining on deck during the engagement,
inspired the men by her words and example,
until the foe was beaten off. Her arm was
broken in the course of the fight. Her fame had
preceded her, and many evidences met her on the
other side that the events of thirty years before
had not grown dim among her compatriots in the
American Colonies. Not long after their arrival the
American War of Independence broke out, and Allan
of Kingsburgh and his six sons received commissions
in the royalist forces, one of them being in the
navy. Allan himself was Brigadier in the Highland
emigrant regiment. Thus, by an historic irony, did
Flora dedicate her most precious treasures to the
service of the cause whose representatives had once
regarded her as a foe. Her husband was taken
prisoner early in the war at Moore's Creek, but
on his being liberated in 1777, he was stationed for
some time in New York. He afterwards served
with his regiment in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton
during the remaining years of the war. In 1779,
Flora and her husband returned to Scotland, and took
up their abode for some time with Flora's brother at
Milton, removing afterwards to Daliburgh, where
they lived for a while. Shortly after this, they took
up their residence once more at Kingsburgh, Allan
drawing the pension of a retired captain. On 5th
March, 1790, Flora departed this life, not in her
own home at Kingsburgh, but in the house of
Peinduin, three miles away, whither she had gone
on a friendly visit and where she contracted the


fatal illness. As the crown of all her qualities she
possessed the grace of piety, and died as she liad
lived in the hope of eternal life. She was buried
with the dust of her husband's kindred in the
Church-yard of Kilmuir. There has been a fatality
about the monuments erected to her memory — one
put up by her son, Colonel John Macdonald of
Exeter, in 1842, got cracked in process of erection,
and in a few months the tourist — in every age a
being without reverence — carried away every chip
and fragment. Many years after that, a costly
moDument in the form of a Celtic cross 28 feet high
was erected — by public subscription — over her grave;
but a hurricane that swept over the isles snapped it
in two, though it was afterwards, to some extent,
restored. It seemed as if destiny would not permit
any memorial of her peerless worth, save that which
her own beautiful and noble nature has created in
the hearts of her countrymen.




Jacques - Etienne - Joseph - Alexandre Mac-
DONALD was born at Sedan on November l7th,
1765. The family afterwards took up their abode
at Sancerre, from which the futm-e marshal was
sent to Paris to be educated in an academy for
young gentlemen under the charge of Chevalier
Pawlet. His family intended him for the Church,
but his military spirit prevailed, and early in 1785
he obtained a commission in Maillebois' regiment,
recruited for service in Holland against Austria.
He accompanied his regiment to Holland, where he
took up the duties of his profession with great
enthusiasm, but peace was concluded without strik-
ing a blow, and the regiment was disbanded. He
returned to Sancerre to wear out his uniform, as he
himself puts it, by showing it oif at Mass on Sundays
and to the country people on market days. He was
not long idle, and through the influence of friends of
his father he obtained a cadetship in Dillon's Regi-
ment, in which he worked his way up gradually to
a lieutenancy in 1791. The Revolution now broke
out, and war followed in the beginning of 1792.
His promotion v/as rapid. On his appointment as
aide-de-camp to General Beurnonville he was pro-
moted to the rank of captain. In less than five
months he was promoted to lieut. -colonel for his
bravery at the battle of Jemmappes, fought on

620 ^SE CLAN DON ALB. .: ^. :::.:;

November 6th, 1792. Early in 1793, he was
appointed to the colonelcy of the Picardy regiment,
the first regiment of French infantry. He was
promoted general of brigade in August, 1793.
Under Pichegru, he took jDart in the conquest of
Belgium and Holland, and in November, 1794, he
w^as promoted to the brevet rank of general of
division. He inaugurated his new rank by a
brilliant piece of work. The Waal was frozen over,
and on the right bank lay the Anglo-Hanoverian
army. He led the divisions under his command
across the river on the ice. A severe combat
followed, and the enemy, who offered a stubborn
resistance, was compelled to retire. Naarden sur-
rendered to the victorious general without a blow.

In September, 1796, Macdonald was ordered to
the Rhine to cover the retreat of the army of the
Sambre and Meuse. He went thither again in the
following year, when the peace of Campo-Formio
put a stop to the progress of the French armies in
Germany. In the spring of 1798 he served under
General Brune, commander-in-chief of the army of
Italy, by whom he was sent to Rome to take com-
mand of a division. At the head of this division,
consisting of 12,000 troops, he entered Rome, which
was in a state of insurrection, but he marched out
the following morning on the approach of a large
Neapolitan army under Mack. Mack attacked
him at Civita-Castellana at the head of a foi'ce
40,000 strong, but failed to take the position, and
fled to Rome. At Otricoli and Colvi, Macdonald
was attended with similar success. He afterwards,
when in altered circumstances he was offered the
command of the Neapolitan Army, indignantly
exclaimed: — "I, who had fought and annihilated


them at Civita-Castellona, at Otricoli, who had com-
pletely finished them at ColVi, although on all these
occasions we were less than one against twelve or
fifteen !"

Owmg to differences with the commander-in-chief,
Championnet, Macdonald resigned his command, but
shortly after the former fell into disgrace, and the
latter was appointed commander-in-chief of the
army of Naples. Here he was successful in quelling
many insurrections, which involved continual fight-
ing. Hearing of the defeat of Scherer at Magnano,
and the retreat of the army of Italy, he advanced
towards Bome at the head of 25,000 men. He
descended from the Apennines upon Modena with a
portion of his army. A preliminary engagement
rook place on June 12th, 1799, an Austrian corps
was put to flight, and Macdonald occupied Modena.
After the combat he was seriously wounded, being
caught accidentally between an attachment of
Austrian cavalry and a French battalion, which was
issuing from Modena.

The battle of the Trebbia which followed, and
lasted for three days, taxed Macdonald's energies to
the utmost. He found himself in a difficult position,
surrounded by a numerous and powerful enemy, and
he was not yet recovered of his wounds. Unable to
mount a horse, he had to be carried at the head of
his forces, and being so handicapped, his orders were,
in many instances, disobeyed. The affair of the
Trebbia could hardly be called a battle, and if it
cannot be called a victory, it certainly cannot be
regarded as a defeat. It consisted of a series of
desperate conflicts, where some 35,000 Frenchmen
were endeavouring to check upwards of 50,000
Russians and Austrians, in which the losses on


both sides were nearly equal. No man could have
behaved better than Macdonald in the difficult
position in which he was placed, forced to give
battle without waiting for the junction with

Macdonald was recalled to Paris, but the days of
the Directory were numbered. Bonaparte arrived
unexpectedly, and Macdonald was appointed to the
command of the Army of the Grisons, which was to
operate among the Alps. It was at the head of this
army that he made the famous passage of the
Splugen. In March, 1801, on his way back through
Upper Italy, he received the information that he
had been appointed Minister Plenipotentiary at the
Court of Denmark. He hurried to Paris to com-
plain, but he was informed that his mission was
rather military than otherwise. He had been at
Copenhagen only for a few months when he was
offered the Russian Embassy, but he declined the
appointment, and eventually obtained his recall.

Macdonald now found himself, in some degree, in
disgrace. His enemies endeavoured to do him
injury in the eyes of the First Consul by poisoning
his mind against him. An attempt was made to
implicate him in Moreau's trial, but it failed. Mar-
shals were made after the proclamation of the
Empire, but his name was not among the number.
That honour he was yet to win at the point of his
sword on the field of Wao^ram. On the institution
of the Legion of Honour, he was, to his great
surprise, appointed a Knight Companion.

Macdonald now retired to the country and
occupied himself with agricultural pursuits at
Courcelles, a property which he had just acquired.
Here he remained for five years, convinced that his


military career was over. At last his character as
a military leader was acknowledged, and in April,
1809, he received the Emperor's orders to betake
himself to Italy to join the army of Prince Eugene,
the Viceroy. Here he was greatly handicapped by
Eugene's incapacity. He, however, succeeded in
carrying everything before him in Istria, Carniola,
Styria, Goritz, and Trieste. Fortune favoured him
especially at Layback, where he took 10,000 men
prisoners, and captured 100 guns.

On the field of Wagram Macdonald covered him-
self with glory. The Emperor advanced towards
him and embraced him, saying, " You have behaved
valiantly, and have rendered me the greatest services,
as indeed throughout the entire campaign. On the
battlefield of your glory, where I owe you so large a
part of yesterday's success, I make you a Marshal of
France. You have long deserved it."

After peace was concluded, Macdonald took
command of the army of Italy, and on August 15th,
1809, he received the Grand Cordon of the Legion
of Honour and the title of Duke of Tarentum. In
April, 18 JO, he was appoinfced Governor-General of
Catalonia, In the following year he carried out the
siege of Figueras, which had been surprised by the
Spaniards. In the spring of 1812, he was called to
take his share in the Russian Campaign. He crossed
the Niemen with the entire Grand Army in June
24th, and then broke off and occupied a position on
the coasts of the Baltic. When the Prussians
deserted the French Standard, he returned to Paris,
and in April, 1813, was appointed Commander-in-
Chief of the ] 1th Corps of the Grand Army. On
the 29th of the same month Merseburg was carried
by him after a long and stubborn resistance. Three


days later he contributed largely to the victory of
Lutzen. Shortly after followed the serious reverse
at Katzback. This was altogether a hard campaign,
made all the harder by the Emperor's wrongheaded-
ness and lack of judgment on many occasions.
Circumstances were invariably against Macdonald's
Jeadership. His orders were often disregarded, and
if he suffered defeat at Katzbach it was not owing
to lack of generalship on his part. The fortunes
of war were not favourable, and the greatest general
may meet with reverses.

In the campaign of 1814, which proved so
disastrous to the French arms, Macdonald had at
first command of the line of the Rhine from
Coblentz. Another revolution was now imminent,
and Macdonald was one of the commissioners sent
to treat with the Provisional Government regarding
the abdication of Napoleon. In their last farewell,
Napoleon said, " I did not know you well. I had
been prejudiced against you. I have loaded W'ith
favours many others who have now deserted,
abandoned me. You who owe me nothing have
remained faithful." He then gave Macdonald the
sabre of Mourad Bey, which he wore at the battle of
Mont Thabor, to be kept in memory of him and of
his friendship for him.

Macdonald was now free to accept the change of
Government, and on the arrival of Louis XVIII. he
paid court to him at Compiegne, and was very
kindly received by the king. He w^as made a
member of the chamber of Peers under the new
regime, and at the same time was appointed
Governor of the 21st Military Division at Bourges.
Here the news of the landing of Napoleon reached
him on March 7th, 1815. Though Macdonald
shared the feelings of the army towards their old


chief, yet, as he had given his oath of allegiance to
Louis, he was resolved to continue faithful to him.
He accompanied the King to Lille, saw him safely
over the frontier, and returned to Paris, where he
still was when the news of Napoleon's defeat at
Waterloo came. The King on his return received
him cordially, and appointed him Grand Chancellor
of the Legion of Honour. The King, besides,
entrusted him with the painful duty of disbanding
the army of the Loire, and as a further mark of his
favour, he made him Major-General of the Eoyal
Body Guard. The Marshal, on resigning the
the Arch -Chancellorship in 1830, retired to his seat
at Courcelles.

The Marshal visited Scotland in 1825, and was
received everywhere, in the Lowlands and the High-
lands, with great distinction. The reception he
met with made a deep impression upon him,
especially the warm reception given him by his
kinsmen in the Isles. The British Government,
desirous to do honour to the gallant soldier, placed
the cruiser " Swift," commanded by Captain Henry
Dundas Beatson, at his disposal. He visited many
places of interest associated with his clan, including
the fields of Bannockburn, Harlaw, and Culloden,
the Castles of Mingarry, Aros, and Ardtornish, and
Dunluce and Glenarm Castles in Ireland. On the
.30th of June, he landed at Creagorry in Benbecula,
whence he crossed the ford to Howbeg, the birthplace
of his father. Here many near relatives welcomed
him. After visiting all the places of interest, he
returned to the Mainland, carrying with him a
quantity of earth from the floor of the house in
which his father was born, to be on his death
deposited in his coffin.

He died at Courcelles, September 25th, 1840.




It is not knowD which branch of the Clan this
distinguished man is descended from, but his
ancestors, who had been for several generations in
Sutherlandshire, came from the Isles, and were, no
doubt, descended from the House of Isla. John
Macdonald, a native of the Parish of Rogart,
settled in Dornoch in the latter half of the 18th
century, became the principal merchaiit there, and
was several times Provost of the Burgh. He
married, August I8th, 1778, Jean Macdonald,
Rogart, and had by her —

1. Donald, born 28th March, 1781.

2. Hugh, born 12th December, 1782.

3. Alexander, born 20th April, 1786.

4. William, born 15th July, 1792.

5. Annie, born 8th September, 1779.

6. Isabella, born 1st October, 1784.

7. Jane, born 17th July, 1789.

Hugh Macdonald, the second son, after being
for some time a manufacturer in Glasgow, emigrated
to Canada in 1820, and settled at King'ston. He
married, in 1811, Helen, daughter of Colonel James
Shaw, of the Kinrara branch of the Shaws of
Rothiemurchus, and had by her —

1. William, who died young,

2. John Alexander.

3. James, born 17th October, 1816, and died young.

4. Margaret, who, in 1852, married Rev. James Williamson,

LL.D., Professor in Queen's University, Kingston.

5. Louisa, who died in 1889, unmarried.


John Alexander, the second son of Hugh
Macdonald, was only five years old when the family
emigrated to Canada. In due time he was sent to the
Royal Grammar, Kingston, where he remained till he
was sixteen years of age. He was an apt pupil, with
a retentive memory, and a decided taste for mathe-
matics. He was also a good classic. He had always
been intended for the legal profession, and upon his
leavhig school in 1831, he entered the office of
George Mackenzie, where he remained for six years.
When he was about twenty-one years of age he was
called to the bar, and began the practice of his pro-
fession. In a short time he succeeded in building
up a good business, and won his first laurels as a
pleader in the case of Von Shoultz and others which
arose out of one of the incidents of the Rebelhon.
The trial at Kingston caused great excitement, and
Macdonald's defence of his clients was reckoned a
brilliant and masterly one. He was now recognised
as a young barrister of great ability, and an eminent
career was predicted for him. In 1843 he began to
take part in politics, and was elected a member of
the Kingston Council. In the following year, after
an exciting contest, he was elected, by an over-
whelming majority, member for Kingston in the
Legislative Assembly. He is described at this
period of his life as having the faculty, which he
ever afterwards retained, of winning the aifections
of the people. He became at once a popular,
eloquent, and effective speaker.

Now that the young legislator had entered m
earnest on his political career, his influence, quietly
exerted at first, gradually made itself felt, and it
was not long before he left the ranks. Once in a
position of prominence, his rise was still more rapid.


In 1854, only ten years after his entry into the
poHtical arena, he became Attorney-General of
Upper Canada, and soon after Prime Minister. He
was a member of the Executive Council of Canada
from May, 1847, to March, 1847 ; from September,
1854, to July, 1858; from August to May,
1862; and from March, 1864, until the Union.
He was also during these several periods
Receiver General from May to December, 1847;
Commissioner of Crown Lands from December,
1847, to March, 1848, when, as Prime Mmister, he
and his cabinet resigned. He returned to office in
August of the same year as Postmaster General, a
position he resigned the following day on his re-
appointment as Attorney General of Upper Canada.
This office he continued to hold until the defeat of
the Administration in 1862, when he again retired
from office. When the Tache-Macdonald Govern-
ment was formed in March, 1864, he returned
to his old office of Attorney General, and was
Government leader in the Assembly until the
Union of the British North American pro-
vinces in 1867. During the negotiations prior
to the Union he was the leading spirit. He
was head of the Canadian delegation at the
CharlottetowD Conference of 1864, convened for
effecting a Union of the Maritime Provinces, and at
the subsequent Quebec Conference to arrange a
basis of Union for all the British American Colonies.
At the London Conference in 1866-7, he was
unanimously chosen chairman. His share in the
momentous work of that Conference is thus described
by one of his biographers : -" Though some of the
ablest men our colonies have ever produced were
instrumental in framing the new constitutional


charter, Mr Macdonald, it was readily admitted,
was the master-head. Many a time during the
progress of the iiegotiations conflicting interests
arose which, but for careful handling, might have
wrecked the scheme ; and here the matchless tact
of the Attorney General of Canada West pre-
eminently asserted itself." Another has said : —
" His perfect knowledge of all details, his marvellous
tact, and irresistible persuasive powers proved equal
to the herculean task of reconciling the vast and
varied interests which at times seemed so seriously
conflicting as to menace the whole scheme." Con-
federation may, indeed, be justly regarded as Sir
John Macdonald's magnum opus.

Confederation accomplished, and the new con-
stitution brought into force in July, 1867, Macdonald
was called upon to form the first Government of the
new Dominion, and was sworn of the Privy Council
and appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney
General of Canada, which office he filled until
November, 1873. One of the first acts of the newly
appointed Governor-General of Canada was to confer
u]3on the Premier the honour of knighthood. The
most important event of the period which followed
was the settlement of the Washington Treaty in
1871. Among the commissioners appointed on both
sides was Sir John Macdonald, whose position as
Premier of Canada was one of peculiar difficulty.
His acquiescence in the principles of the Treaty of
Washington was bitterly resented in Canada, but
Sir John was a man possessing a more than Colonial
mind. He took a wider view of the situation, and
regarded the interests of the Empire as a whole, and
the interests of Canada as a portion of the Empire.
In 1872, the first Parliament was dissolved, and at


the General Election which followed, Sir John and
his party were again successful, but their tenure of
office was shortlived, and their resignation was
placed in the hands of the Governor-General in
November, 1873. The party had got into disgrace,
and were accused of wholesale corruption in con-
nection with the affairs of the Pacific Railway Com-
pany. Sir John's own hands were clean, as he
put it. Throughout the transactions he remained
absolutely incorrupt. For the next five years, Sir
John was in opposition, during which he devoted
his time to the development of his " National
Policy." At the next General Election, in 1878,
his party were returned by a large majority, and Sir
John formed the Government, at whose head he
remained until his death, winning three elections in

Sir John Macdonald's political career extended
over a period of forty-four years, during which he
held the office of Premier for nearly thirty years,
almost continuously, a political reign almost unpre-
cedented in any country. As a politician, no public
man was more bitterly abused by his political
opponents, or more loudly eulogised by his political
friends. Both Governments bear testimony to the
wonderful extent of his success as a politician. That
success was in part due to his remarkable power of
drawing men to him and holding them to his
" personal magnetism." But beyond this, he united
in himself as few men do an unusual number of
those qualities which are invaluable to the success-
ful politician and statesman. He had a remarkable
knowledge of human nature, a rare insight into men
and their motives, and an extraordinary ability for


holding together diverse elements and interests.
As a public speaker, Sir John was not an orator in
the popular acceptation of the word, but he was

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