William Fraser.

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

. (page 24 of 53)
Online LibraryWilliam FraserThe earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 1) → online text (page 24 of 53)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

yet at length, may you enjoy the celestial kingdom. Meanwhile, scorn not the offering of a
poor bard : a little victim is ofttimes pleasing even to a god. Nevertheless, if you deem this
gift little, return a greater, so as you do not wish to be accused of my fault.

A most humble admirer of your Lordship presents you with this, with good wishes and
congratulations ; who was formerly a professor of humanity in the schools of Ayton and
Duddingstone, but now stricken in years, and reduced to straits, and for many years bygone,
alas ! dismissed from service.

Mr. Jo. CoLME.

At Edinburgh, the 19th day of .Tune 1731.



Count Cromartie in Sweden.

Born 1727; married 1786; died 1789.

Marjory Forbes (afterwards Duchess of Athole).

JOHN LORD MACLEOD, eldest son of George third Earl of Cromartie and
^ of Isabella Gordon, Countess of Cromartie, Avas born in 1727. It does not
appear from the family papers at what University Lord Macleod was educated.
He had three successive preceptors, who all became ministers of the Church of
Scotland, and his education was carried on under the eye of his uncle, Mr. Dundas
of Arniston, afterwards Lord President of the Court of Session. He was instructed
in principles favourable to the establishment in Church and State, as appears
from the pleadings by his father for mercy from the King after the failure
of the Rising in 1745.^ His education, if completed, could only have been
so a few years before the insurrection which occurred on behalf of the
exiled royal family of Stuart in the year 1745, as he was then about the age of
eighteen years. Yet young as he was, he entered heartily into that stirring con-
test. He took an active part in it from the very beginning. His genius for a
military life was displayed in his anxiety to be engaged in several of the famous
battles, including that of Falkirk, which were successfully fought by Prince Charles.
He led the regiment composed of his own clan of the Mackenzies on several occa-
sions, in which he showed military skill, much prudence, and great bravery. He
wrote an account of the Rising from its commencement to the proceedings at
Thurso and other places in the shire of Caithness. His Narrative unfortunately

1 Case of George Earl of Cromartie, Hargrave's State Trials, vol. x. Appendix, p. ISG.

1727-1789.] JOIXS THE PRIXCE'S ABMY AT PERTH. ccxxxvii

ends abruptly with his account of the Raid to Caithness. The original Narrative
is holograph of Lord Macleod, being all written in his bold distinct hand on sheets
of foolscap paper of unequal length, and extending to thirty-eight pages. Although
incomplete, Lord Macleod's Narrative is a very valuable fragment of the history
of the events of the year 1745, and it contains several important particulars
which are not recorded in any of the other histories of the great popular rising.
The interviews between Prince Charles Edward and Lord Macleod are narrated
with great modesty ; and the chagrin which the Prince felt on learning from Lord
Macleod when at supper at Glasgow, that Seaforth, the chief of the Mackenzies,
was against him, was expressed to the French minister in the forcible words,
" He, mon Dieu, et Seaforth est aussi contre moi !"

The Narrative of Lord Macleod is jirinted at length in the second volume of
the present work, from the original at Tarbat House. It will be seen from it
how very actively Lord Macleod was engaged at the head of the regiment formed
of the Mackenzies.

President Forbes of Culloden, on the part of the Government, made an unsuc-
cessful attempt to induce Lord Macleod to accept a commission in the army of the
Government. But both Lord Macleod and his father declined that service, as ap-
pears from their correspondence with the President on the eve of the insurrection.

Shortly after the Mackenzies, under Lord Cromartie and Lord Macleod, had
arrived at Perth to join Lord Strathallan's army. Lady Stonebyres, the grandaunt
of Lord Macleod on the mother's side, who was a zealous Whig, knowing that
Lord Macleod had been educated on other principles, visited him, to try to induce
him to retire to Edinburgh, as his friends wished him to do. Lord Macleod,
however, complained bitterly of the conduct of the Government towards him, and
would not abandon the cause. ^

Prince Charles had appointed Mr. Macgregor of Glengyle to be governor of
Doune Castle, which was a place of consequence in order to a secure passage by
the ford of the Frews on the river Forth. To protect the Castle against General
Blakeney, who had received a reinforcement of two regiments of foot and two of
dragoons from Berwick, a body of Highlanders marched from Perth on the 17tli

1 " Good Lady StoneLyres" died in September of Captain Daniel Vers of Stonebyres."— Scots

1760. — [Letter from Leonard Urquhart, W.S., Magazine, vol. xxii. p. 503. She was akin to

Edinburgh,at Tarbat House.] "1760, Septr. 10: Lord Macleod through Sir William Gordon's

at Edinburgh, Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton, widow marriage with Miss Henderson of Fordell.

ccxxxviii JOHN LORD MACLEOD. [1727-

of December 1745 to Dunblane, where they lay till the Prince's return from
England. Lord Macleod, who, along with Lochiel the elder, had command of this
detachment, was told by Lord John Drummand that he depended most on him
for what was to be done. He took possession of the Bridge of Allan, and placed
sentinels so that none could cross the Forth from Stirling without being seen by
them ; and he was assisted in this by some French officers. A few days after,
Lord Macleod returned on a visit to Perth, and found that his father, Lord
Cromartie, was gone with some troops into Fife to raise the public revenues. He
stayed only one day at Perth, but on returning to Dunblane, found that his clan,
thinking he was not to return to them, had marched out of the town on their Avay
back to Ross; their officers, however, prevailed on them,although with great difficulty,
to return to their duty. Dr. Cameron, an aide-de-camp of the Prince, having come
from Glasgow, where the Prince then was, to Dunblane to see his lady, Lord Macleod,
from the great desire he had to see the Prince, returned with him to Glasgow
on the 1 2th of January. He went the same evening to pay his respects to the
Prince, and found him at supper. Lord George Murray introduced him to Prince
Charles, whose hand he had the honour to kiss, and he was ordered by the Prince to
take his place at table. After supper he followed the Prince to his own apartment
to give him an account of the situation of his affairs in the north. Nothing sur-
prised the latter so much as to hear that the Earl of Seaforth had declared against
him ; and when Lord Macleod told him that he had sent 200 men to Inverness on
the side of the Government, and had hindered many gentlemen of his clan from
joining the Earl of Cromartie, he turned to the French minister with some warmth,
and used the expression already quoted.

The Prince, after staying eight days in Glasgow, marched for Stirling on the
17th of January 1746, intending to besiege the castle. The column under Lord
George Murray marched to Falkirk to cover the siege. The column led by the
Prince went by Kilsyth, he himself having fixed his headquarters at Bannockburn
House. The Prince marched on foot from Glasgow to Bannockburn, and Lord
Macleod marched along with him. His Lordship on returning to Dunblane found
that his father's regiment had gone the day before to Alloa to cover the French
artillery and ammunition on their way from Perth to Stirling, which was to be
taken across the Forth there. Next day his Lordship joined the regiment. A
ship was seized further down the river by a detachment of the Duke of Perth's
army, and brought to Alloa to Lord Macleod to transport the artillery. Some of


the King's sloops that lay not far from where the ship was taken endeavoured to
retake her, and sent their long-boats for that purpose. But Lord Macleod, on the
first alarm, marched down his regiment to the river side, and the enemy retired ;
on their return, however, they burnt some other ships that lay at the place from
which the ship had been taken. The ship was scarcely loaded, when intelligence
arrived that the enemy were come up the river in transport ships and were lying at
Kincardine. Lord Macleod sent out spies and patrols to bring in intelligence, and
despatched an express to Dunblane with news of the enemy having come to Kin-
cardine, and asking reinforcements. Next morning Lord Cromartie and Lord John
Drummond came to Alloa. That night the enemy attempted to set fire to the ship,
and for that purpose sent up a long-boat full of men, but being discovered in time
they were repulsed. Next day they disembarked troojis at Kincardine to attack
by land ; but Lochiel and the Camerons crossed the Forth to join Lord
Cromartie's force. Lord John Drummond and the Earl of Cromartie, on riding
forward to observe their motions, found them returning to their ships, they having
seen the Camerons crossing the river. That same evening the ship sailed up the
river with as much of the artillery and ammunition as she could carry, and landed
them at Polmaise. Lord Cromartie and Lord John Drummond returned to Ban-
uockburn. The ship returned next day to Alloa and took away the remainder of the
artillery, but the tide failing soon, they cast anchor two miles above Alloa. Lord
Macleod then marched the regiment up the river side to protect the ship, should an
attack be made. That night Lord Macleod and Lord John Drummond, who had
returned, went to a gentleman's house in the neighbourhood, hoping to get some
rest and sleep after so much watching and fatigue, but Lord Macleod was awakened
by an express from Secretary Murray ordering him to cross the Forth and join
the army, as a battle was expected. Lochiel and Lord Macleod's regiment began
crossing early in the morning, but as there was only one boat, the day Avas advanced
before Lord Macleod got over. The regiment was left to guard the artillery ; but
his Lordship, wishing to see the battle, went forward on horseback, and found the
army advancing with the Prince at their head. But news being brought that
General Halley had halted at Falkirk, the army returned to Banuockburn. Lord
Macleod rejoined his regiment at Polmaise. The Highlanders, from a superstitious
notion that it would be of good omen, wished to fight on the field of Bannockburn.
On the 28th of January Lord Macleod was sent with his regiment to the head of
the Torwood to oppose the enemy if he appeared.


Lord Macleod took part in the battle of Falkirk that ensued ; and after the
battle he rescued an officer of the King's army whom some Highlanders were threat-
ening to kUl, after he had been taken prisoner. He conducted the officer to Lord
George Murray, who sent him to the rear-guard. Lord George Murray had a value
for Lord Macleod' s advice, and followed it in drawing up the men in line, without
regard to clans or regiments, in the confusion of the pursuit, when a new attack
was feared. Lord Macleod joined the Irish pickets, and remained with them till
after dark. He then mounted his horse and went to seek the Prince. He found
him in a little hut on the top of the hill, sitting by the fire-side, and with him
Sir Thomas Sheridan, Adjutant-General Sulivan, and others. On word being
brought that the Highlanders had taken possession of Falkirk and the enemy's
camp, the Prince and his suite mounted and rode to the town, where shelter was
eagerly sought owing to the heavy rain. Lord Macleod had the honour to sup with
the Prince in the evening, Avho asked him about his father, who was reported to
be wounded. Lord Macleod, after supper, went through the town in search of
him, but got no account till next day, when he found the report erroneous.

After the battle of Falkirk, a great number of the Highlanders deserted. In
the retreat to the north Lord Macleod went along with his father's regiment, and
continued with his father for the rest of the campaign.

Under the Prince's orders, Lord Macleod was sent by his father into Caithness
with his regiment, to raise that shire for the Prince's service and take up the
public revenues. On his arrival at "VVick, Lord Macleod Avrote circular letters to
all the gentlemen of the county, requiring them to meet him on a certain day at
Thurso. He went thither himself, and was joined by the men from Lochbroom of
his clansmen, the Mackenzies of Ballone and Dundonell. On the day after arriving
at Thurso, Lord Macleod sent Mr. Mackenzie of Ardloch with a party to the
Orkneys to take up the public moneys, and try if he could raise any men. Several
gentlemen of Caithness appeared at Thurso, and after dinner Lord Macleod made a
speech, exhorting them to take up arms for the Prince Regent. Thej'- all seemed
very hearty for the cause ; and his Lordship named a day when he would set up
the Royal Standard. Meantime he busied himself in gathering in the public
money. Lord Macleod marched with his regiment to the place appointed, being a
hill near Thurso. Two or three gentlemen of the shire went along with him,
but only one met them, with tAventy or thirty men, who made but an indifferent
figure. Lord Macleod gave them leave to return home; and shortly afterwards

lie left Caithness for Ross-shire, but his force was intercepted by the Sutherland
militia at the Little Ferry.

The circumstances attending the capture of Lord Cromartie at Dunrobin
Castle have been stated in his memoir ; but it does not appear where or in what
manner the capture of Lord Macleod was effected. He was, however, appre-
hended and carried to London. Sir John Gordon, his uncle, presented a petition
for him, representing that he had resolved to plead guilty, and requesting that
he might be allowed to remain in the Tower till the day of trial, instead of
being committed to the jail in Southwark, which was crowded with prisoners,
and dangerous from fevers and other distempers incident to jails. The King
was favourable to this request, and referred it to the Attorney-General, who
granted the prayer of the petition.^ A true bill was found against him at
Saint Margaret's Hill, London, on 23d August 1746, and at his trial, which
took place on 20th December thereafter, he pleaded guilty, to the great
surprise of the judges, court, and jury, who expected that his extreme youth
would have been pleaded in alleviation of his crime ; but he wished to throw
himself altogether upon the mercy of the king and country. He thus ad-
dressed the Court : — " My Lords, I stand indicted for one of the most heinous
of all crimes, that of rebellion and treason against the best of Kings, and my
only rightful lord and sovereign. Would to God, my Lords, I could not plead
guilty to the cliarge. But as I cannot, I beg leave to assure your Lordships my
heart never was consenting to the unnatural and wicked part I then acted.
Remember, my Lords, my youth, and that I am in that state of life when an
unhappy father's example is almost a law. But my heart is full from the deep
sense I have of his miseries, and my own ; and I shall only add, that as I must
and do plead guilty to the charge, if, on your Lordships' kind representation of
my case, his Majesty shall think fit, in his great goodness, to extend his com-
passion to me, what of future life and fortune I may ever have shall be entirely
devoted to the service of his Majesty, on whose mercy I now absolutely throw
myself." "

Lord Macleod was not attainted, but was promised a free pardon, which the

king was pleased to grant to him thirteen months after he had pleaded guilty ;

but under the condition, that within six months after attaining his twenty-first

year, Lord Macleod should convey to the crown all right and claim which he had

1 Letter, vol. ii. pp. 2 1 5-2 IS. - Peerage of Scotland, by J. P. Wood, vol. i. p. 400.

2 k

to any of tlie estates of the late Earl of Cromartie, so that the Crown might
possess them the same as if he had been attainted of high treason.^ This con-
dition Lord Macleod complied with.

In the following year, and in the changed fortune of his family, Lord Macleod
formed the spirited resolution of going abroad in quest of military service. He
left Devonshire, Avhere his parents then resided, Avithout acquainting his family
with his purpose, but on reaching Bridport addressed the following letter to his
father, giving the reasons that had led him to take the step : —

Bridport, April ISth [1749].

My Lord, — You will perhaps be surprized to find by this letter that I am set out for
London, without having acquainted you with anything of my design ; but when T have in-
formed you of my motives for taking this step, I flatter myself you will approve of the prin-
ciples on which I act, and do justice to the sincerity of my intentions. It cannot but be
very dissagreeable to me to find that there are some of my relations in Scotland who make
it their bussiness to carp at everything I do ; and aU this because I wou'd not follow the
scheme of life which they had laid down for me. They not only dissaprove of every visit I
make, but my going into any company, however mixed ; my being at the most publick
places, however indifferently frequainted by people of all parties ; and my very cloaths are
offences of the highest nature. As this fully convinces me that they are resolved to diss-
aprove of every step I can take, I was affraid that, if you was acquainted with my design,
they might attribute a part of this other imaginarj' offence to your share. It is to prevent
any bad consequences of this nature that has determined me to act as I have done ; and I
declare before God that the above reason is my only inducement for so doing. As I have
ever made my duty to my parents the inviolable rule of my conduct, so I shall always con-
tinue in the same sentiments, and shall with pleasure embrace every opportunity by which I
can show it.

As idleness is certainly very detrimental to everybody, so it is likewise very shameful for
a young man — especialy for one in my situation — to loiter away his time when he ought to
be pushing his way throw the world. This has determin'd me to offer my service to some of
the Northern Powers, where the approaching war offers a favorable opportunity to such as are
determin'd to make a figure in the world, or fall in the attempt. I have as much money as
will carry me to town, and if I can get as much there as will carry me over the watter, it will
do very well. If not, I still think it better even to beg my bread over, and afterwards to
carry a musket, then to continue any longer a burden to you. I shall write again from

1 Pardon, under Privy Seal, dated 22d to the king, for a grant of the Cromartie
January 1748, Cromartie Writs, Bundle 3 O, estates, ibid, vol, xix. No. 248.
No. 10 ; and co])y Petition by Lord Macleod

%. ^ (^n^pyf. Afwi


L lixi &JtoAr vLaJl- f */wv /«i- <MAt-^<»T^ ^?^d»^ ^^AfLjy^ir VrMn/>M «-=-

=y.^^ .br-v^ hr^^^ l4__i|^ ,^^^ V.IaW.V


.A.^^ fw,^^ ^sh^ U^^IU. %^ 7m ^^^^




London, where I propose to stay but a few days. I offer my most affectionate duty to my
mother, and my affectionate compliments to my sisters.

I am, my Lord, your most affectionate and dutiful son,

To the right honourable the Earl of Cromertie.

On reaching London, Lord Macleod consulted his friends, and ultimately
adhered to his resolution expressed in the foregoing letter. He sailed for Ham-
burg on the 7th of May. Tn a letter addressed to his father the day before, he
says that he was sorry Lord Cromartie and his mother had any pain on his account,
and that it was to prevent anything of that nature that made him leave Devonshire
in the way he did, and adds, " I pray God that you and my sisters may soon enjoy
that happiness to which we have all for some time been strangers. Whenever I
am so happy as to hear of any change of this sort, I shall no longer think myself
unfortunate, but that any hardships to which my Avandering throw the world may
expose me are then fully compensated.""

Lord Macleod landed at Hamburg after a passage of fourteen days. When
there he called on Mr. Cope, son of Sir John Cope, who was the commander-in-
chief of the forces in Scotland for the Government, when Lord Macleod was
engaged in the army of the Prince. Lord Macleod was very civilly received by
Mr. Cope.^ Thence he proceeded to Berlin. Through the recommendation of Field-
Marshal Keith he was favourably received at the Court of Sweden, whither he
next proceeded. On the 16th of January 1750, old style. Lord Macleod, writing
from Stockholm, mentions that in a few days he was to get his commission as
captain in the regiment of foot commanded by Major-General Baron Hamilton,
and that Baron Hamilton, the elder brother of his colonel, and High Chancellor of
Sweden, was his zealous friend. He mentions in the same letter that a great
number of the Swedish nobility are originally Scots, instancing the Counts Fercen,
who are Macphersons, and the families of Douglas, Stuart, Spens, and M'Dugal.*

Writing on 10th March following. Lord Cromartie mentions that besides the
company which Lord Macleod had got in the Swedish service, the King of Sweden
had been pleased to grant him a pension till he was better provided for.^ On
the recommendation of Lord George Murray, the Chevalier de Saint George sent
Lord Macleod the necessary means for his military equipment.

1 Letter, vol. ii. pp. 226-8. * Letter, vol. ii. p. 233.

2 Ibid. p. 229. '' Original Letter at Tarl^at House.

3 Ihid. p. 230.

ccxliv JOHN LORD MACLEOD. [1727-

Lord Macleod continued in the service of the Swedish Crown for the long
period of twenty-seven years, and with distinguished success. From his corre-
spondence it appears that he was in various places with his regiment, amongst
others at Malmoe, Barsebeck, and Helsingfors. Lord Cromartie, in a letter to
John Mackenzie of Meddat, dated 23d February 1754, says, — "I have not heard
lately from my eldest son ; he is now frozen up in Finland ; I expect to hear
from him soon." ^

His Lordship lost no opportunity of acquiring a knowledge of the art of war.
He visited Denmark to see the manoeuvres of the Danish troops. On the break-
ing out of the Seven Years' War in Germany, he joined the Prussian army as a
volunteer, and went through the first campaign in the year 1757. His aim in
doing so was to get a recommendation from the Court of Prussia to that of Great
Britain. He wrote an account of the campaign, similar to his narrative of the
Insurrection in Scotland in 1745-6.

The manuscript, written in French by Lord Macleod, describes the first sum-
mer campaign of the celebrated " Seven Years' War," commencing in April 1757.
After a brief statement of the intention of King Frederick of Prussia (Frederick
the Great) to anticipate the Austrians, he mentions the general disposition of the
Prussian army, the division under Prince Maurice of Anhaltdessau being sent west
towards Egra ; that of Marshal Schwerin, composed of Silesian troops, ordered to
move forward, whilst the Prince of Brunswick Bevern entered Bohemia with a
column of 16,000. From the 21st of April, onwards, the movements, manreuvres,
and battles of each day are particularly chronicled, with all the circumstantial
minuteness of an eye-witness. Thus he says: — " On the 2 2d we entered into
Bohemia and encamped at Nollesdorf, Lieutenant-General Kyon following us the
next day with the heavy cavalry." Amongst the officers mentioned appear the
names of Marshal Keith, Lieutenant-General Seton, and Lieutenant-General Smet-
tan, the first especially as holding a distinguished position and taking a leading
part in the campaign. The narrative ends on 16th August 1757, at which date
Lord Macleod describes the position of the army in all its divisions, and concludes
thus : — " Such was the situation of the Prussian army on the 16th of August
when I left it to return into Pomerania. These five corps might muster then
about 70,000 men. I tried to get information, before leaving, as to the Prussian
loss during the campaign in Bohemia, and several of their officers assured me that
^ Original Letter at Tarbat House.


it amounted to 80,000 men, the half of that number having been killed, wounded,
or made prisoners, and the other half lost by desertion." The original manu-
script is holograph of his Lordship, and extends to twenty-four pages folio.^

Online LibraryWilliam FraserThe earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 1) → online text (page 24 of 53)