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gave up the command, and returned the same night to Inverness. Next day the
march was continued to Dingwall, and a day or two afterwards towards Tain,
against the Earl of Loudoun ; but on reaching the Bridge of Anas {now Alness)
intelligence was received that Lord Loudoun had crossed over into Sutherland
with his troops. Lord Cromartie marched that night to his residence of Tarbat
House with part of his troops, and ordered the rest to follow ; but presently
orders came from the Prince to send back part of the troops to Inverness, and to
wait with the rest at Dingwall for further orders. Lord George Murray had
taken part in this movement against the Earl of Loudoun. He returned to
Inverness, and thence made his expedition into Athole, while Lord Cromartie
remained as commander-in-chief north of the river Beauly.

It having been resolved to disperse Loudoun's forces, several regiments were sent
to reinforce Lord Cromartie, and the latter received orders to march from Dingwall
to Tain. The Duke of Perth took the direction on himself, though Lord Cromartie
kept the name of commander-in-chief. Lord Cromartie and Lord Macleod Avent
home to Tarbat House, accompanied by some Irish and other officers. Boats

^ Letter, vol. ii. p. 191.

2 e


liad been sent over from the coast of Moray to Tain to transj^ort the troops
over the Firth, for the enemy had carried off all the boats there. The army got
safely over, aided by a thick fog. Upon their landing, Lord Loudoun's army
retired ; the county militia Avent home ; the Earl of Sutherland crossed the Firth
of Moray to join the Duke of Cumberland's army that was advancing ; the Earl
of Loudoun, President Forbes, Sir Alexander Macdonald, and the Laird of Mac-
leod, retired to the isle of Skye ; most of Lord Loudoun's own regiment were
made prisoners of war. The news of this success was very cheering to Prince
Charles. Sir Thomas Sheridan, Avriting to Lord Cromartie, states that he is
ordered by his Eoyal Highness to wish him joy of his late success, and hopes he
Avill continue to make the most of it, and particularly by raising what money
he could in Sutherland.^ The Earl of Perth returned to Inverness, and Lord
Cromartie was left to command in Sutherland.

The following letter from a Eoyalist to the Earl of Sutherland gives a graphic
account of the proceedings of the Duke of Perth's force at Dunrobin Castle : —

Invergordonness, aboard the "Hound" Sloop of Warr,
27th March 1746.
My Lord, — lu less as half aa houre after your Lordship took boat, the rebells, 300 of
them, came to Dunrobiue that night ; some of them came to the ])lace in less as half an
houre where your Lordship took boat, commanded by M 'Donald of Clanronald. They were
that night in your Lordship's castle and the tennents' houses thereabouts ; I had 40 of tliem
under command of two oflBcers. My wife intertained them; but my brother and I went to
the hills. Nixt morning the rebells went back to Dornoch, they being alarm'd that Lord
Loudon were to attact them. They took away all your Lordship's ryding horses, and Sir
Harry Innesses, only my Lady Sutherland's Irish Galloway, and, at there commander's sight,
put into the house of Dunrobine to prevent these rabbles takeing him away. They entered
all the rooms in the castle, took away all the arms and amonition there, and the arms your
Lordship gote from the Gouernment, tho' put under ground. They instantly upon their
arrivall went to the very place, as if themselves had put the arms, etc., there. The rabble
took out of Dunrobine only small things from the servants there, which nixt day the Duke
of Pearth ordered to be left at Ferrgoon's till his furder orders. One of their officers had a
durk to my Lady Sutherland's brest, to get account where your Lordship was, and arms, to
which he gote noe satisfactory answer. Some other officer, seeing the durk drawen as above,
with his hand pushed it by my Lady's brest ; the edge toutched her skin, as if done by a small
pin : not in the least the worst of it, and tho' her Ladyship prepared all good intertainmeut for
them, they made a stable of your dyning room, stole one of the silver snuflfers, but took none

1 Letter, vol. ii. p. 211.


more of the pleat away. My brother and I, by accident, gote a boat Sunday last, and forced
to land in Helmsdale, and Munday night gote aboard Captain Fawckner's sloop of warr, then
oppossite to 'S[)ye. Nixt day tlie " Hound " sloop of warr came there, who gave orders to Cap-
tain Fawckner to goe to the Firth of Forth, My brother went with him to get his ship at
liberty by the letter he gote from Lord Laudon to the Duke's secretary ; and I came aboard
this sloop, commanded by Captain Dove, who gives a full information, and sent by the bearer,
Mr. Tolmie, who instantly returns to the Duke with all the information could be had since I
came aboard to this minute that severall gentlemen are come aboard ; and I was to be landed
with it by one of the sloops of warr this night, or to-morrow, besouth Spye, had not Mr.
Tolmie, by meer accident, coniVl aboard this sloop of warr, as she entered Cromarty Road, be
eight this morning. If any intelligence of consequence, I will be the nixt to land after the
bearer to give your Lordship for the Gouerment's service, to inform the Duke of it. Lord
Cromarty and Barisdale went last Munday to ryse all Caithiness.

This sloop of warr came up here about ten this morning, being inform'd that the rebells
were crossing here, etc., and this day all the gentlemen in Ross-shyre were commanded to
attend at Tayne to pay £5 sterling out of every £100 Scots of valuation, besides cess, crown
rent, and bishop rents. This shyre, and your Lordship's country, is ruined. I most remain
here if I get noe commands to goe to land safely for the Goverment's service, which I am
here ready to doe for that purpose on a minute's warning. May God send the Duke of Cum-
berland and his armie, your Lordship, forward with great success to relive us from these
hellish enemys of our happy constitution. The captain here salute your Lordship, as does
with great submission.

My Lord, your Lordship's most oblig'd, most faithfull, humble servant, while,

Hugh Monro. ^

After the Duke of Perth's departure, Lord Cromartie, at Skelbo, received orders
from the Prince to march himself into Caithness, or to send Lord Macleod into
that county to raise the militia, and to take up the public revenues for his service.
The county of Caithness being mostly possessed by the Sinclairs, who were in
general well affected to the Stuart family, and some of whom had offered the Prince
at Inverness to rise if the Duke of Perth or Lord Cromartie were sent to them, it
was thought that a body of troops might be raised. The Prince made choice of
Lord Cromartie, who, thinking it necessary for the Prince's service that he should
remain in Sutherland, where the militia of the county were still in arms in the
mountains, sent Lord Macleod into Caithness; but, though he went as far as
Thurso, he was unsuccessful in raising troops, and had to make his way back to
Ross.^ The Royalists of Sutherland did not remain inactive. On the 1 5th of April,
the day before the Battle of Culloden, Lord Cromartie was surprised at Dunrobin
1 Original Letter at Dunrobin Castle. ^ Narrative by Lord Macleod.


Castle, apart from his men, by a party of the Earl of Sutherland's militia, under
command of Lieutenant Mackay. The Earl of Cromartie's men being attacked
and defeated, many were killed and 178 taken prisoners. The Earl himself
and several friends were that evening taken by stratagem while conferring
with the assailants regarding offers of surrender. The particulars of his capture
were as follows : — On the return of Lord Cromartie's force from Caithness,
he and his followers entered Dunrobin Castle. A belief had been entertained that
they would not attack Dunrobin, as they had passed it going north, and because
there was a friendship between the families of Sutherland and Cromartie. Instead
of strengthening the castle, some cannon were sent thence to Dornoch, where an
attack was dreaded, and placed on the Gallows Hill. But, on their return, Lord
Cromartie and his followers entered Dunrobin, and the latter cut and destroyed
the paintings, and set fire to several old books. The county militia were speedily
assembled, and summoned Lord Cromartie to surrender, and when the Earl
saw that the castle would be attacked, he marched off j^rivately. When near
the church of Golspie the Sutherland men attacked him abruptly, and with
such effect that the Earl and his principal officers retreated to the castle of
Dunrobin, while his men ran in confusion towards the Little Ferry. They made
a stand there, but were quickly overwhelmed. Finding only a single boat, the
fugitives crowded into it, others clung to the edge of the boat; but the boat
being overloaded began to sink, till the fugitives inside cut off the fingers of their
companions who clung outside to the boat. Several were thus dro^vned, and others
who attempted to cross the Fleet below Skelbo also perished. Lord Cromartie
and most of his officers shut themselves up in Dunrobin Castle ; and when they
refused to open the gates to the militia returning from the fight at the Little
Ferry, entrance was obtained either by force, or over part of the court wall, by a
detached company of the Sutherland men, commanded by Lieutenant Mackay.
The Earl of Cromartie, however, at first was not to be found. The Countess of
Sutherland, unwilling that a friend and neighbour should be taken in her house,
and being, it is said, secretly Jacobite in feeling, like other members of the
"VVemyss family, thinking the most likely place to escape search was her own bed-
room, put him into it and locked the door, while she went to meet the Sutherland
men. Mackay, however, ordered the door to be broken open, notwithstanding
the remonstrances of the Countess. Lord Cromartie cast himself for concealment
under the hanging cover of a large easy chair, such as was then a common article


of furniture, but was betrayed by one of his feet, which was visible beyond the
edge ; and the Earl was dragged out so roughly by Mackay that the latter incurred
the resentment of Lady Sutherland for his rudeness to a nobleman in distress, and
she afterwards caused him to be removed from the estate. From that incident the
room in Dunrobin Castle is called the Cromartie Room.^ It is one of the apart-
ments of Her Grace the Duchess of Sutherland, and Countess of Cromartie, who
is the representative of the Earl who was so unfortunately captured in it.

In addition to the description given in the letter by Hugh Monro, above
quoted, of the proceedings of Lord Cromartie's men at Dunrobin Castle, more
minute information of what actually took place there is afforded by the follow-
ing depositions of the servants and others at Dunrobin. The testimony of those
who gave evidence shows that Lady Sutherland was suspected by her own hus-
band as a protectress of the rebels, while the refusal of others "to swear" is
significant of the inference that they were unwilling to implicate her Ladyship : —

Dunrobin, 21 Aprile 1746.
Being informed that there are effects belonging to the rebells lodged within this house,
these are impowering yow to make a narrow search, and swear for the same, of Avhatever kind,
to be secured in your hands till our return, which is your warrand from your friend, and,

To John Gun of Braemore, and Dugald Gilchrist, our factor.

Queries. — Whether any money, arms, or other effects belonging to Lord Cromarty, or
those in his companie, or any other of the rebells, is lodged with or in ber keeping ; or if they
had any, or how disposed off? Or whether they know of any such lodged in the hands of any
other in this country ; or have any suspicions that there is ?

Dunrobin, 24th Aprill 1746.
In presence of Hugh Gordon of Carroll, Sheriff-Depute of the shire of Sutherland, com-
peared Mrs. Barbara Sutherland, who being solemnly sworn and interrogate whether any

^ The account of what occurred at the died at an advanced age, and who at the time

capture of the Earl of Cromartie at Dun- of the occurrence resided at Golspie Tower, and

robin Castle is contained in a letter to was jiresent at the fight at the Little Ferry,

the late James Loch, Esq., M.P., by the and the taking of the prisoners in Dunrobin

late Mr. George Sutherland Taylor, dated Castle. — [Original Letter at Dunrobin.]

Dornoch, July 1, 1833. The writer of In a letter of the third Earl of Cromartie

that letter states that, when a youth of in 1754, he severely blames his brother,

fifteen, he had often heard the account of Roderick ^lackenzie, for basely betraying

the capture of Loi-d Cromartie from his him and giving him and his other friends

grandfather. Captain John Sutherland, who up for £1000. — [Letter at Tarbat House.]


money, arms, or other effects belonging to Lord [Cromartic] or servants, or any other of the
rebells, were lodged with her or in her keeping, or if she had any such, and how disposed off,
or whether she knows of any such lodg'd in the hands of any other in this country, or has
any suspicion that there is ? — Depones negativelj', only heard the money and some arms
were lodged with the Countess of Sutherland. Barbara Sutherland.

Hugh Gordon.

^Irs. Butler being sworn and interrogate as above, de})ones cum precedente in omnibus.

Sarah Buttler. Hugh Gordon.

Mrs. Dott, being sworn and interrogate as above, depones negatively, that she [has] no
money, arms, or other effects belonging to the rebells in her keejiiug ; that she had a silver-
hilted broadsword, which she got from the Countess and deliver'd to my Lord Sutherland ;
that she got a pistoU from George M'Kenzie, Lord Cromertie's servant, which she delivered to
Wm. Murray ; that she also got from the Countess a silver watch and a guinea, which she
delivered to the owner. Lord Cromertie's servant ; and further depones, that she heard the
Countess own that she had a five hundred pound, which she believes was not delivered up, and
suspects that there is some money and arms still in her Ladyship's custody, but is not certain.
Causa scientiae patet. Jannet Dott. Hugh Gordon.

Mrs. Jean Sutherland being called upon, refuses to swear. Hugh Gordon.

Anne Fraser, being solemnly sworn and interrogate as above, depones negatively, and this
is truth, as she shall answer to God ; and depones she cannot write. Hugh Gordon.

Christian Mackay, being sworn and interrogate as above, depones negatively, and that she
cannot write. Hugh Gordon.

Margaret Bellie, being sworn and interrogate as above, depones that she has nothing in her
custody except some cloaths which she was desired by John M'Kay, ensign, to keep.

Margaret Bellie. Hugh Gordon.

Anne Grant, being sworn and interrogate as above, depones negative, only that she got the
lock of a gun from John Sutherland, brewar, to keep, which she afterwards delivered to him,
and saw a pistoll with a boy, Willie More, which he has in keeping ; and cannot write.

Hugh Gordon.

Anne Dawson, being swoni and interrogate, depones negatively, only that she saw, a day
or two after the engagement at Golspy, one or two pistoUs and a gun under Adam Black's
bed in the lodge, and a pistoll with John Lamb, on which the pretended Prince's name was
engraven, which is truth ; and depones she cannot write. Hugh Gordon.

Robert Collie, being sworn and interrogate as above, depones negatively.

Robert Collie. Hugh Gordon.

Wm. Ross, being sworn and interrogate as above, depones negatively, only that he has a
broadsword, which he got from John M'Culloch, which is truth ; and depones he cannot
write. Further depones that Arthur Ross, cuninger, had tM'o guns. Hugh Gordon.


Adam Black, being swoi-n and interi'ogate as above, depones that he got one of Lord Low-
don's fusees from Daniell Watson, at Morvich, for which he i)aid three shillings, and got two
holsters with a broadsword from Lord M'Leod's servant, and has a powder horn and two
targes, which is all he has or knows off.

Adam Sutherland. Hugh Gordon.*

The prisoners taken at Dunrobin Castle were carried in a sloop of war to Inver-
ness, the second day after the battle of Culloden. A pass was granted by command
of the Duke of Cumberland to permit the Countess of Cromartie and the ladies
Isabella, Mary, and Anne Mackenzie, her daughters, to pass to London by sea or
land. On the same day William Earl of Sutherland ordered a guard of twenty- four
men of the Sutherlandshire militia as a safeguard for the mansion-house of New
Tarbat. The order is dated at Tarbat House, Lord Cromartie was sent prisoner
to London in the "Hound " ship of war, along with Lords Balmerino and Kilmar-
nock, and they were all committed prisoners to the Tower. His devoted Coun-
tess also took up her abode in the Tower, being eager with hopes of saving her
husband's life. Lord Macleod was not sent up in the same ship with his father, but
in one that sailed later, as appears from one of Walpole's Letters, where he says,
" Old Marquis Tullibardine, with another set of rebels, are come, amongst whom
is Lord Macleod, son of Lord Cromarty, already in the Tower. Lady Cromarty
went down incog, to Woolwich to see her son pass by, without the power of speak-
ing to him : I never heard a more melancholy instance of affection."^

Bills of indictment were found by the grand jury of Surrey against the Earls
of Kilmarnock and Cromartie and Lord Balmerino. The indictment of Lord
Cromartie was laid against " George Earl of Cromartie, late of the Town of Perth,
in the shire of Perth," and charged him with entering into and taking possession
of the town of Perth, levying war against his Majesty, etc. They were thereafter
tried by the House of Peers on the 28th of July 1746. Lord Chancellor Hard-
wicke acted as Lord High Steward, or president of the Assembly. Mr. Adam
Gordon, at his own request, was appointed solicitor for Lord Cromartie. Lord
Cromartie pleaded guilty, and recommended himself to the king's mercy. Lord
Kilmarnock also pleaded guilty.

When the Court met again on the 30th, the Lord High Steward made a speech
to the prisoners, and asked each of them if he had anything to offer why judgment
of death should not pass against them % In answer, the Earl of Cromartie, after

* Original Depositions at Dunrobin. - Letters of Horace Walpole, vol. ii. p. 30, ed. 1S57.


expressing his attachment to the present happy establishment, both in Church
and State, and his remorse that he had been seduced from his loyalty " in an
unguarded moment by the acts of desperate and designing men," concluded with
an eloquent appeal for mercy. " Nothing now, my Lords, remains," said he, " but
to throw myself, my life, and fortune upon your Lordships' compassion. But
those, my Lords, as to myself are the least part of my misery : I have involved an
innocent wife (no party to my guilt), and Avith her an unborn infant, to share its
penalty ; I have involved my eldest son, whose infancy and regard to his
parent hurried him down the stream of rebellion ; I have involved also eight
innocent children, who must feel their parent's punishment before they know his
guilt. Let them, my Lords, be pledges to his Majesty, let them be pledges to your
Lordships, let them be pledges to my country for mercy ; let the silent eloquence
of their grief and tears, let the powerful language of innocent nature supply my
want of eloquence and persuasion ; let me enjoy mercy no longer than I deserve
it ; and let me no longer enjoy life than I shall endeavour to efface the crimes
I have been guilty of. Whilst I thus intercede for your Lordships' recommenda-
tion to his Majesty for mercy, let my remorse for my guilt as a subject, let the
sorrows of my heart as a husband, let the anguish of my mind as a father speak
the rest of my misery. Your Lordships are men, you feel as men ; but may none
of you ever suffer the smallest part of what I suffer. But, after all, if my safety
shall be found inconsistent with that of the public, and nothing but my blood
thought necessary to atone for my unhappy crimes ; if the sacrifice of my life,
my fortune, and family are judged indispensable for stopping the loud demands of
public justice ; if, notwithstanding all the allegations that can be urged in my
favour, the bitter cup is not to pass from me, not mine, but Thy will, Oh God,
be done ! " ^

Notwithstanding this eloquent appeal, on the 1st of August sentence of death
was pronounced against the Earl of Cromartie, and his honours and estates were
forfeited. As in the case of the other Lords, the sentence of death would have
been executed but for the heroic and devoted affection of his wife, and the interest
of his friends, together with some favourable circumstances in his case.

In this extremity, while her husband was lying in the Tower under sentence
of death, the Countess of Cromartie wrote the following letter to the Honourable
Mrs. Poyntz, preceptress to the family of the Duke of Cumberland : —
1 Hargrave's State Trials, vol. ix. p. 611.


Madam, — I designed to have done myself the honour to have waited upon you tliis day
with the narrative of my unhappy husband's conduct, which you were pleased to desire a
sight of. But 1 find I have not strength of body to bear fatigue, for the little I have under-
gone yesterday and this day has quite exhausted me ; and yet, good God, when can I be easy
or think of rest, while my mind is tortured as it is? Were I able to wait upon you myself, [
could not presume to trouble you with a letter, but I am unable to do it, and still more unable
to delay giving yoii the information that through tender-heartedness you desire. Not days
alone, but hours, nay, moments, may be most precious ; but, believe me, Madam, nothing but
the insupportable distress of a miserable wife for the best of husbands should embolden me
to address you this way. My most unhapiiy situation, which can better be imagined than
described, and must, I dread to my misfortune, be inconceivable to any but those who feel it,
is my only excuse. Think, Madam, what is the distress and anguish of her who fears to lose
a most affectionate and indulgent husbanfl, on whose life depends all her earthly happiness
or misery. How shall I, in my present circumstances, with child, bear the dreadful shock
before me, or how bear the thoughts of such a number of young immortal orphans being left
exposed, as they will be, by their father's death, to suffer for a cause which they have been
educated in an utter abhorrence of. Allow me. Madam, to entreat you, for the Lord's sake,
to take compassion on me, and to indulge your own humanity and good nature, so far as to
use your interest in behalf of one labouring under the greatest load of trouble that is possible
to be conceived, and who would totally have sunk under it, were it not for his Majesty's
known clemency, of which he has of late been most generously pleased to give so remarkable
an instance. Mercy is a glorious attribute, by which the eternal God has delighted to dis-
tinguish Himself. Were it as much the prerogative of kings on earth to search the heart, I
am fully satisfied that, tho' my unhappy husband's crime is of the most heinous nature, yet
his early sense of it, and his continued grief, remorse, and shame are so sincere, that his
Majesty would see him a proper subject of his mercy.

Your character. Madam, leads me to flatter myself you will not despise the affliction of
the afilicted. God has promised the merciful shall obtain mercy, which I shall ever pray you
may find when appearing before that great and awful tribunal, before which all the world
must plead guilty.

I am. Madam, your most obedient and most humble servant,

J. Cromartie.
From the Tower, Sunday evening. ^

In devotion to her husband, exertions for his safety, and all but the final
intrigue for his escape, Lady Cromartie acted like Lady Nithsdale, whose heroic
exploits on behalf of her husband after his death-sentence, in 1716, must always
command the admiration of mankind.

After the sentence was pronounced. Lady Cromartie went and delivered peti-

1 Contemporary Copy Letter in the posses- who, as Miss Georgiana Murray of Ochtertyre,

Online LibraryWilliam FraserThe earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 1) → online text (page 22 of 53)