William Fraser.

The earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 1) online

. (page 21 of 53)
Online LibraryWilliam FraserThe earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 1) → online text (page 21 of 53)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ship answered that site had had a sad dream, and asked whether she did not hear her calling
in the night time ; but she denyed that she heard any such thing, and so also did the gentle-
woman in whose house her Ladyship lodged, tho' she was out of bed all night over watching
a sick chdd of her own ; nor did any of the family own that they heard any noise at all. My
Lady concealed from all of them what she had heard or seen, but the next day her Ladyship
committed the whole to writing, and finding herself very much out of order, she went to Mr.
David Eankin, an Episcopal Minister, with a design to discover to him the matter ; but there
being company at his house, she w^ent to visit the late Bishop of the Isles his Lady, and dis-
burden'd her mind to her, as being a good acquaintance. Her Ladyship continued all that
week very thoughtful and apprehensive still of her own death, till Sunday thereafter, the 21
January, on which day a friend of her Ladyship, viz., the wife of Mr. Charles [torn], Writer
to the Signet, came to her betw'ixt sermons, being sent by her husband to communicate to
her Ladyship the account which he had just then read in the newspapers from London, that
her Lord, the Vicecount of Teviot, dyed the Sunday before, being the 14th instant, early in the
morning, at London. Then, and not till then, she perceived that the foregoing apparition had
only regard to his death.

xV.S. — All this my Lady Teviot told me with tears in her ej-es, jjroceeding from a sort of


horrour at the remembrance of it, and affirmed that, as she must answer before God, it was all
true, and again, that it was truth as God was in heaven. And, for my own part, I know the
Lady so well, and her relation of the fact was made with such an air of sincerity, that I believe
it equally as if I had seen and heard it all myself. Robert Keith, Edinburgh.

N.B. — My Lord Teviot had treated his Lady very ill, had forsaken her, and lived with Lady
Betty Gordon, who was marryed to, but divorced from, my Lord Cromarty, and was supposed
to have poisoned my Lord Teviot. And 'tis certain that at his Lordship's death he did appear
with the same ghastly countenance wherewith he appeared to his Lady,

N.B. — My Lady's left side, on which she felt the weight, was for some time thereafter dis-
coloured. The hair of her head also, from that night forward, turned gray or whitish.

N.B. — Siuce the death of my Lady Teviot, which happen'd Tuesday the 2d December
1729, a gentlewoman, who knew not that I had the preceding account from my Lady, or
indeed any account of the matter at all, told me that two ladies had assured her that they
chanced to pay a visit to my Lady Teviot the very day after this strange apparition, and that
\ipon perceiving her Ladyship much out of order, they took notice of it to her Ladyship, and
discreetly enquired what might be the matter with her. To which my Lady replyed she had
seen a surprising ajiparition the night before, and narrated to them the whole story as above ;
but was still ignorant of her husband's state of health, and so knew not what to make of it.

Three years after having divorced his first Avife, Lord Cromartie, still the
Master of Tarbat, married, secondly, on 25th April 1701, the Honourable Mary
Murray, eldest daughter of Patrick third Lord Elibank, who was then in her
twentieth year, having been born on 28th August 1681. The terms of a letter
from the Master show that this marriage was a very happy one.^ Lady Macleod
was in very bad health in the year 1714, as appears from letters from Lord
Macleod to his father; and she died before the year 1717. Of that marriage
there was issue, George third Earl of Cromartie, a memoir of whom is afterwards
given, and other children. Of these, Captain Eoderick was intended for the
navy. Being in the fleet in the Bay of Gibraltar in the year 1726, he ob-
tained leave to join the land forces that were thrown into the garrison, and
remained there during the siege. He got a pair of colours, and in 1740 a
Lieutenancy in the Eoyal Dragoons; and, in 1745, while his brother, the third
Earl, joined the standard of Prince Charles, he was sent with a detachment from
Ireland to join the British army then in Flanders. Captain Roderick Mackenzie
always proved himself a gallant officer. The regiment, in which he was eldest
Captain, was reduced at the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. William also betook him-
self to a military life, and was first in the service of the States of Holland in the

' Letter, vol. i. p. 150.

1731.] HIS DEATH nV 1731. ccix

Scotch Brigade, and afterwards got a commission in the East India Company's
service in the year 1737, and perished in a violent hurricane, with the whole
expedition that were going against Angria. Patrick became a merchant. The
names of the other children are given in the pedigree.

John second Earl of Cromartie married, thirdly, the Honourable Anne Eraser,
second daughter of Hugh tenth Lord Eraser of Lovat. Both parties had pre-
vious experience of Avedded life, this marriage being the third to each of them.
Lord Cromartie having been twice a widower, and his third wife also twice a
widow. Her first husband was Patrick Eothringham, younger of Powrie, and her
second was Norman Macleod of Macleod. Lord Cromartie, by their contract of
marriage, which is dated at Edinburgh, 23d October 1717, provided her in
liferent in an annuity of 2000 merks Scots, and also in the house, offices, and
mains of Cultaleod, then called Castleleod.^

Anne Eraser, Countess of Cromartie, was the niece, by her mother, of John first
Duke of Athole, who heartily congratulated Lord Cromartie on his marriage, and
wished them both much joy and happiness. His Grace also assured his Lordship
that since there was now so near an alliance between their families, his Lordship
might depend on all the service that it was in the power of the Duke to do him.^

Of this marriage there were three sons and one daughter. Anne Eraser, Countess
of Cromartie, survived her third husband also, and was alive on 1 4th December
1733, when, as tutrix-dative to James, Hugh, Norman, and Lady Amelia Macken-
zie, she made an assignation of their provisions under her marriage -contract.
Of these James died young ; Norman became an officer in the Scotch Dutch,
and perished at sea when taking recruits from Scotland to Holland. Hugh
was also an officer in the Scotch Dutch. On the formation of the 78th or
Montgomerie's Highlanders, in 1757, by Major the Honourable Archibald Mont-
gomerie, son of the Earl of Eglinton, he raised one of the companies and became
a Captain in the regiment, with which he served in America in the campaigns
against the French and the Indian tribes. Lady Amelia Mackenzie married Archi-
bald Lamont of that Ilk, in the county of Argyll.

John second Earl of Cromartie died at Castleleod on 20th February 1731,
when he was succeeded by his eldest son, George, as third Earl. Lord Royston
wrote to him that he was justly affected with his dear brother's death ; adding

1 Original Contract, Bundle 3 L, No 11, of Cromartie Writs, at Tarbat House.
- Letter, vol. ii. p. 169.




that his vigour promised a much longer life, but the distemper which carried him
off commonly attacks the strongest. There is a half-length portrait of the second
Earl at Tarbat House, of which an engraving is here given. It will be seen that
he possessed a very fine expression of countenance, though wanting the crisp
sharpness of his father, the first Earl.



BORN CIRCA 1702 - DIED 1766.




Born circa 1702; forfeited 1746; died 1766.

Isabella Gordon (of Invergordon), his Countess,
BORN 1705; MARRIED 1724; died 1769.

TN the lifetime of the first Earl of Cromartie, his grandson, George Mackenzie,
had the courtesy title of George Master of Macleod, as the eldest son of
Lord Macleod. On the succession of the latter in 1714 as Earl of Cromartie, his
eldest son took the courtesy title of Lord Tarbat, and on the death of his father
in 1731, Lord Tarbat succeeded to his landed estates, as well as to his title of
honour. The most important event in the life of the third Earl of Cromartie
was the part which he played in the great events of the years 1745 and 1746 in
favour of the exiled family of Stuart. Joining heartily in their cause, he shared in
its disasters, and suffered the forfeiture of his life, lands, and titles of honour.
His life, however, was spared, and his lands, though long held by the Crown,
were ultimately restored ; and the whole titles of honour have been happily revived
in his descendant and present representative. Her Grace Anne Duchess of Suther-
land and, in her own right, Countess of Cromartie, but in a higher degree, as she
is a Peeress of the United Kingdom.

From his infancy the Earl was educated and brought up in the principles
of the Established Church of Scotland, to which he was warmly attached. On
several occasions he received the thanks of the General Assembly for the sub-
stantial proofs he gave of that attachment.^

In the lifetime of his father. Lord Cromartie, then styled George Lord Tarbat,
married, on 23d September 1724, Isabella Gordon, eldest daughter of Sir William
Gordon, Baronet, of Invergordon, in the county of Eoss. That lady was a cele-
brated beauty, and was commonly called "Bonnie Bell Gordon." At the time of

^ Hargrave's State Trials, vol. x. Appendix pp. 186-S, where is printed the Case of the Earl
uf Cromartie as presented to the king in 1746.


the marriage Lord Tarbat was about twenty-two years of age, and Miss Gordon
was in her nineteenth year. Her father, when intimating to Lord Cromartie that
Lord Tarbat was a bridegroom, expressed the highest esteem for him, and the great
expectations that he had formed of him.^ Their contract of marriage is dated at Edin-
burgh, 27th June 1724; and Sir William Gordon paid to Lord Tarbat, in name of
tocher with his daughter, twenty thousand merks.^ In the printed Case above referred
to, Lord Cromartie states that he had married into a family noted for their zeal for
the Protestant succession, and who had proved it in the year 1715. This second
alliance between the Cromartie and Gordon families was in marked contrast with
the first. Notwithstanding the calamities which befell the Earl and Countess of
Cromartie after the events of 1745 and 1746, their marriage was a very happy one.

George Lord Tarbat succeeded his father as third Earl of Cromartie in 1731. He
asked his uncle. Lord Eoyston, whether the title of his eldest son should be Lord
Tarbat or Lord Macleod. Lord Eoyston wrote to his nephew that, upon his grand-
father's death, he was of opinion that the title of Tarbat was preferable, because it was
the original title of the family, by which it was longest known, and to which that of
Viscount is annexed. On the other hand, as Lord Cromartie was the representative
of Macleod of Lewis, an honourable and ancient family, and certainly the chief of
that clan, it would be full as honourable to keep that title as that which was but the
cadet of another family. Lord Eoyston thought that either title might well be used,
both being in the patent of honour.^ The title of Lord Macleod Avas finally adopted;
and we shall afterwards show, in the memoir of Lord Macleod, the high reputa-
tion which he acquired as a Swedish and a British officer under that designation.

The letters from Simon Lord Lovat to the third Earl of Cromartie, which are
printed at length in the second volume, show that a very close friendship was main-
tained between these cousins. The letters of Lord Lovat are singularly characteristic
and interesting, and furnish many details of the state of the Highlands at the time.
A curious picture is given in one of the letters as to the cateran of the Highlands.
The depredations committed by a noted cateran of that day, named Alaster
Scholar, in the Mackenzie country, led Lord Lovat, in writing to the Earl of
Cromartie, to express a wish that he had the robber by the neck that he might
send him to his Lordship. Lord Lovat in his correspondence expresses the utmost
friendship and affection for the Earl, his Countess, and all his family, who proved

1 Letter, vol. ii. p. 176-7. ' Original Contract, Bundle 3 L, No. 13, of

^ Letter, vol. ii. p. 179. Cromartie Writs, at Tarbat House.





themselves indeed worthy of the encomiums of his Lordship, during the period of
adversity which befell them after 1745. Lord Lovat also mentions the severity
of the winter of that year, the great snow that lay on the Strath of the Aird, and
the distress amongst the people, — a circumstance that may have rendered the
humbler clansmen readier to follow the standard of Prince Charles.

The likelihood of a rising in the Highlands on behalf of the Stuarts, in case of
an invasion, had been foreseen for some time. William Earl of Sutherland, writing
to Sir John Cope, on the 24tli of March 1744, stated that he could raise a
considerable force for his Majesty in the shire of Sutherland, and that from the
neighbouring county of Caithness he could depend upon 400 effective men of the
name of Sutherland who would follow him as their chief. He recommended that
a lord-lieutenant should be appointed to assemble the militia and arms provided
to be distributed. The country had been disarmed, but those who were supposed
to be disaffected were well armed.^

Lord Cromartie was not one of the seven noblemen and gentlemen that entered
into the concert of 1740 engaging to rise in arms on behalf of the Stuart family if
competent aid were sent from abroad. These were the Earl of Traquair, the Duke
of Perth, Lord Lovat, Cameron, younger of Lochiel, and others. When Prince
Charles landed at Boradel on his romantic enterprise, he addressed letters to those
noblemen in the Highlands who were supposed to sympathise with his cause ;
and the following letter was addressed to the Earl of Cromartie : —

Boradel, August the 8th, 1745.
Having been well inform'd of your principles and loyalty, I cannot but expect
your assistance at this juncture, that I am come with a firm resolution to restore the
King, my father, or perish in the attempt. I know the interest you have among
those of your name, and depend upon you to exert it to the utmost of your power.
I have some reasons not to make any application to the Earl of Seaforth without
your advice, which I therefoir desire you to give me sincerely. I intend to set up
the Royal Standard at Glanfinnen on Monday the 19th instant, and shou'd be very
glad to see you on that occasion. If time does not allow it, I still depend upon
your joyning me with all convenient speed. In the mean time you may be assured
of the particular esteem and friendship I have for you. Chart fs p p

For tlie Earl of Cromarty.

^ Letter, vol. ii. pp. 184-5.


The original letter is still preserved in the Cromartie Charter-chest. The text
of the letter is in the handwriting of Sir Thomas Sheridan, who was Secretary to
the Prince. It is subscribed and addressed with the Prince's own hand. This
will be seen from the facsimile of the letter which is here given. Many letters
were addressed, during the progress of the insurrection, by Sir Thomas Sheridan
and Colonel O'Sulivan, who also attended the Prince, to the Earl of Cromartie ;
and these letters are printed in the second volume.

The Earl did not at once join the army of Prince Charles. While the High-
land army was marching into England, an army in behalf of the Government,
under Lord Loudoun, was mustering at Inverness. This army was organised chiefly
through the exertions of the Lord President, Duncan Forbes of Culloden. The
President received twenty blank commissions from the War Office, for 20 companies
of 100 men each. One of these commissions was offered to Lord Macleod, in a
letter to his father, dated 23d September 1745, which his Lordship declined, in a
letter, dated the 26th of the same month.^ The Commission was, as stated in
the Case referred to, declined by Lord Cromartie, because the appointment of
subalterns was given to Lord Fortrose, instead of to Lord Macleod. In the next
month Lord Cromartie began to enrol his men on behalf of the Prince. He wrote
to the Lord President, on 19th October, that when he had last seen his Lordship
at Culloden, it was agreed he should look out for some men, to have them in
readiness, and that he had taken some measures to that end, but was miscon-
strued.^ Lord Lovat wrote, on 17th October 1745, that his son had taken a
military freak, and that he was going, whether his Lordship was willing or not,
with all the name of Eraser that were fit for it, to join the adventuring Prince.^
This was just the day after a large party of Ijovat's clan, under some of his subal-
terns, had made an unsuccessful attack on Culloden House with a view to seize
the person of the President. In the last letter from Lord Lovat in this collection,
dated 26th October, he refers to a night's merriment he and Lord Cromartie and
Lord Macleod had at Brahan, the seat of Lord Seaforth, and also alludes to a
gentleman of consequence having come from the south with news of his friends.
In a letter from Lord Lovat to the Lord President, dated 6tli November, he
tells how the Earl of Cromartie and Lord Macleod had come to Beaufort, on
their way to join the Prince ; and adds, " So your Lordship sees that the wise
and worldly people of the M'Kenzies are infected, so that it 's no wonder that

1 Letters, vol. ii. pp. 186, 187. ' Ibid. p. 189. ^ Ihid. p. 313.

1766.] JOINS THE PRTNCE AT PERTH, 1746. ccxv

the Frasers, tliat were never thought worldly or wise, should be infected with a
contagion, tho' never so foolish and dangerous."^

Lord Cromartie and his son, Lord Macleod, entered heartily into the insur-
rection. With about 400 of their clan they joined the second army that
assembled at Perth, while Prince Charles was in England, The Mackintoshes
and Farquharsons had arrived a few days before Lord Cromartie's regiment, and
their arrival was opportune, for the night before, some of the people of the town
had tried to force the town-house where the arms were kept, but were repulsed.
A few days later, while the clans were in expectation of an attack from Stirling,
there was an alarm one evening in consequence of a great noise and blowing of
horns being heard in the country round about. It was feared this was an attack
about to be made by General Blakeney's troops from Stirling. The people of the
neighbourhood were also hostile, and, according to Lord Macleod's narrative,
would willingly have contributed to the destruction of the Highland army.
Measures of precaution were taken both against the mob of Perth and the enemy.
The alarm, however, turned out to be groundless, being caused by a number of
boors going home from their work and blowing horns to amuse themselves.

The forces at Perth consisted of the Mackintoshes, Farquharsons, Mackenzies,
Macdonalds of Glengarry, of Clanranald, and Glencoe, with a battalion of the
Camerons and Barisdale's regiment ; and the Frasers were coming up by com-
panies. The army was commanded by Lord Strathallan. Lord John Drummond
landed at this time at Montrose with a body of French troops, about seven or
eight hundred strong, with a number of battering cannon, and joined the second
army that was gathering at Perth. After his arrival. Lord John took the com-
mand-in-chief upon himself. Among the plans discussed in the council of war at
Perth was a proposal that Lord Cromartie should be sent north to dissipate
Loudon's army. This was agreed to, but never put in execution. This army lay
at Perth and at Dunblane to guard the Ford of the Frews, till it joined Prince
Charles's army at Bannockburn on his return from England. Lord Cromartie's
regiment, commanded by Lord Macleod, formed part of the detachment that lay at
Dunblane. Lord Cromartie was employed at this time in uj^lifting the public
moneys in the shire of Fife for the behoof of the Prince. On the 31st December
1745, orders were sent to him to send back to Dunblane the 30 men of Irish and
Royal Scotch that he had under his command, and to return thither himself as

1 CuUodea Papers, p. 242.


soou as his business in Fife was ended. The Prince was coming to Stirling to
besiege the castle in person.^ To conduct the siege, it was necessary that the French
artillery, which Lord John Drummond had brought with him, should be transported
across the Forth. Alloa was fixed on as the best place to cross. Lord Cromartie's
regiment of Mackenzies were appointed to superintend the passage. Lord Mac-
leod, who had returned from a visit to the Prince at Glasgow, had the command,
and succeeded in getting a ship and transporting the artillery across the river,
notwithstanding attacks from the British sloops of war lying in the Forth. On
an express being sent by Lord Macleod that the enemy had debarked at Kincar-
dine, Lord Cromartie and Lord John Drummond rode over to Alloa, and Lochiel
with the Camerons crossed the river. The artillery was safely transported up the
river, and landed at Polmaise, whence it was drawn to Stirling.

Lord Cromartie and his son. Lord Macleod, were both engaged in the battle
of Falkirk, and had command of a brigade, consisting of the Mackenzies, the
Mackintoshes, and the Farquharsons. The Highland army had marched from
Bannockburn, crossed the Carron at Dunipace, and were met by Halley's forces
on the rising ground beyond. The day was cold and rainy. After repulsing the
enemy, the Highlanders, in pursuing, got into confusion, and broke their clans,
so that the pursuit was ineffectual. Lord Cromartie and his brigade ran, like
everybody else, in pursuit of the enemy, till he came to the foot of the hill, then
rallied his brigade and waited for further orders ; but receiving none for some
hours, and seeing that all the rest of the army was marched away, he at last
marched into the town, about ten o'clock at night. A report went abroad that
he was wounded, but this proved incorrect. This rumour had been told by the
Prince to Lord Macleod, who was much concerned for the safety of his father.
On making search for Lord Cromartie in the town of Falkirk on the following
morning. Lord Macleod found him in a house close by the one in which he was
himself lodged. This happy meeting afforded great joy both to the father and
the son. After the battle. Lord Cromartie's brigade was cantoned between Fal-
kirk and the Torwood. Many of the Highlanders deserted after the battle of
Falkirk. On the 11th of February Lord Macleod was directed by Lord George
Murray to have his brigade assembled at the head of the Torwood, where, being
joined by the troops from Falkirk, he began the retreat to the Highlands. The
regiment went to Polmaise. A retreat was formally resolved on in a council of

1 Letter, vol. ii. p. 191.

1766.] OPERATIOXS IK THE HIGHLANDS, 1746. ccxvii

war, held at Bannockburn House. The brigade under Lord Cromartie marched
coastwise, Avith the column under Lord George Murray, while the Prince's column
took the Highland road to Inverness. In the retreat, Lord Cromartie had the
command of a brigade. Lord George Murray, on 10th February 1746, gives him
orders for the march from Aberdeen. He was to march early in the morning, with
his own brigade and Glenbucket's battalion, for Old Meldrum, where he was to
quarter all that night, and next night at Strathbogie ; and was to march in the van
himself, and his son in the rear, and be careful that the division kept close together,
and that there were no stragglers.^ Having taken the town of Inverness,
the Prince despatched Lord Kihiiarnock, with a large force, into Ross in pur-
suit of Lord Loudoun. The Prince fixed his headquarters at Culloden House.
On Lord Cromartie reaching that place, the Prince ordered him to go and take
the command of the forces under Lord Kilmarnock. Lord Cromartie's own
clan, led by Lord Macleod, Avere sent on the same expedition. Lord Macleod
halted about half an hour at Culloden to pay his duty to the Prince ; and the
regiment halted an hour or two at Inverness, and then marched that night to
Beauly, where Lord Cromartie took over the command of the Earl of Kilmarnock's
troops, communicating to him the Prince's orders. Lord Kilmarnock immediately

Online LibraryWilliam FraserThe earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 1) → online text (page 21 of 53)