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Articles by Marie Fraser of Canada
The Scots Army - before Killiecrankie

We usually have lunch at the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto whenever I want to do some research.  While my husband enjoyed a pint with some of the veteran officers in the bar, I headed for the library to search through a stack of books relating to a period in history I had heretofore avoided like the plague - the period of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), the struggle between a largely Presbyterian Parliament and Puritan army, the invasion of Scotland (1650), the battle of Worcester (1651) and the defeat of Charles II and royalist Scots.  Richard Cromwell (1626-1712) succeeded his father as Lord Protector (1658), while the Army and Parliament struggled for power, until commonwealth was established (1659).  He lived abroad 1660-80, and later in England under an assumed name.  A man of virtue and dignity, he was forced into a situation beyond his talents.

I had read Montrose, For Covenant and King (1977) by Edward J. Cowan.  A native of Dumfries, Ted spent 14 years as head of the School of Scottish Studies at University of Guelph (Ontario) and now heads the Department of Scottish History at University of Glasgow.

MontroseJames Graham, 5th Earl & 1st Marquess of Montrose (1612-1650) was an imposing figure in the annals of Scottish history.  After spending five months in prison in Edinburgh Castle for refusing to support the Scottish Parliament’s union with the English Roundheads, he was appointed King’s Lieutenant in Scotland.  With an undisciplined Scottish-Irish force, Montrose won six battles in a year.  In attempting to translate his success into effective control of the Lowlands, he allowed his forces to disperse and was defeated by David Leslie at Philiphaugh near Selkirk (1645.

Ordered to disband by the captured King, Montrose escaped to Norway, where he was shocked to learn of the execution of Charles I, which he determined to avenge.  But his return to Scotland ended badly; his small force was defeated at Carbisdale in April 1650.  He was soon betrayed by MacLeod of Assynt, taken to Edinburgh on the 18th of May, sentenced to death by the Scottish Parliament without trial, hanged and disemboweled on May  21. 

After consulting the RCMI librarian, I chose four books, two from the Collection of Col. Geo. T. Denison (Denison Armory, Toronto): 

The Life and Campaigns of Alexander Leslie
First Earl of Leven 1582-1661
by Charles Sanford Terry, M.A., University of Aberdeen
(London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899) 

Alexander Leslie was an illegitimate child.  His father was George Leslie, who commanded the garrison of the Castle of Blair in Athol, where Alexander was probably born; his mother was a “wench in Rannoch”.  After the death of his wife, George Leslie married her in order to legitimate his son who was by then already high in the service of Gustavus II (Gustavus Adolphus), 1594-1632, who reigned Sweden 1611-32.  In Sweden he rose to the rank of Field Marshal.  In 1638,  aged 56, ‘the little old crooked soldier’ took command of the Scottish Army of the Covenant during the Bishops’ Wars and in 1640 he advanced into England, defeating the Royalists at Newburn and holding Newcastle for the Parliamentarians.  Attempting to conciliate his enemies, Charles I created him Earl of Leven (1641), but in 1644 he and his nephew, David Leslie (d 1682), contributed to the defeat of the Royalist army at Marston Moor.  He opposed the Engagement but after the execution of Charles I, Leslie firmly gave his allegiance to Charles II.  He fought against Cromwell at Dunbar and was imprisoned in the Tower of London, but was freed on the intercession of Queen Christina, 1626-89, daughter and successor of Gustavus II, 1632-54.


Leslie stands out as the Goliath of the Covenant; his career representing Scotland’s military activity against Charles, as Montrose’s represents Scotland’s efforts on the King’s behalf within the same period.   He was first and last a soldier.  With the soldier’s instinct of obedience he readily obeyed the State that employed him.  In June 1651 his wife, Agnes Renton of Billy, died at Inchleslie, and his attendance upon the army at Stirling prevented him from being present at her funeral.

One of his daughters, namely Anna Leslie, married Hugh Fraser, Master of Lovat (1624-1643) at Holyrood House in April 1642.  Although Lord Lovat was not in favour of his eldest surviving son and heir accepting a Lieutenant-Colonel’s commission in the army of Scotland, procured for him by General Leslie, the Master accepted the post and, while spending the winter of 1642 in Edinburgh with his wife, suffered an illness from which he never recovered.  Hugh Fraser, 7th Lord Lovat (1591-1645) survived the Master by three years, and was succeeded by his grandson, Hugh Fraser, 8th Lord Lovat (1643-1672).

Meanwhile, Sir James Fraser of Brae (1612-49) continued as Tutor, to be the ruling spirit of the administration of all the Lovat interests.  He was a staunch Presbyterian who took a prominent part in the business of Inverness Presbytery and the General Assembly of the Kirk, and was a leading Covenanter.  Although the success of the Royalists was short-lived, the loss of Inverness Citadel during the struggle, broke his heart and, after returning from the south, he died in 1649.

Sir George Mackenzie, King’s Advocate, of Rosehaugh
His Life and Times 1636(?)-1691
by Andrew Lang
(London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1909)

George was the eldest son of Simon Mackenzie of Lochslinn (s/o Kenneth Mackenzie, Lord Kintalil) by his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. Peter Bruce of Ferrar.  In 1662 he married Elizabeth, daughter of George Dickson of Hartree, one of the Senators of the College of Justice.  In 1670 he married Margaret Haliburton of Pitcur.  Of the children, the sons died young; the eldest daughter, Agnes, married (ctr. 24 Jul 1680) Sir James Stewart, afterwards first Earl of Bute.

Charles II used to say that, “in his reign all tragedies must have happy endings.”  The Restoration, as far as Scotland is concerned, was itself a tragedy, with a happy ending, “as mortals reckon happiness.”  After the Restoration was past, the Union was at hand, the Union that destroyed the legal absolutism asserted for the Corwn, north of the Tweed.  Henceforth, persecution was exercised by the Presbyterian majority over the Episcopalian and Catholic minorities; thus the greatest happiness of the greatest number was, so far, secured.  Previously the minority had persecuted the majority.

The Government’s object was to prevent the Kirk from reviving her old pretensions, and embroiling Scotland in a civil war which might spread to England.  When he took office as Public Prosecutor in 1676, Mackenzie became a persecutor.  Few men were less naturally disposed to be persecutors.  Like Claverhouse, Mackenzie stands apart from his companions.  Both men served the Crown, and held that “a soldier only has his orders.”

MackenzieHe acquired notoriety as ‘Bluidy Mackenzie,’ the ruthless prosecutor of Covenanters.  The author leaves one with the impression that he didn’t like his subject, although there are extensive quotes from Mackenzie’s career as Lord Advocate.  Lang is also skeptical of The Science of Heraldry and notes: His Account of Our Old Families he leaves in manuscript “as a new testimony to my kindness to my native country,” which has never printed it, and probably never will.  As Dean of Faculty (1682), Sir George was prominent in establishing the Advocate’s Library which became the National Library of Scotland (1925).  The reference to Claverhouse sent me in search of a biography purchased during a book sale at the University of Guelph Scottish Studies Library.

John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount of Dundee 1648-1689
by Charles Sanford Terry, M.A., Burnett-Fletcher Professor
of History and Archaeology in the University of Aberdeen
(London: Archibald Constable & Co., 1905)

John Graham is known as ‘Bluidy Clavers’ or ‘Bonnie Dundee’, the latter nickname probably conferred by Sir Walter Scott.  The subject of several ballads and novels, he was the Scottish Jacobite who was hated by the Covenanters whom he tried to suppress in 1678-88.  On 12th November 1688 he was raised to the Scottish peerage by the title Viscount of Dundee and Lord Graham of Claverhouse; the warrant ordering the issue of letters patent tersely but adequately founded his peerage upon ‘the many good and eminent services rendered both to his Majesty and his dearest Royall Brother King Charles the Second by his trusty and well beloved Councellor Major Generall John Graham of Claverhouse in the severall offices…’  


John Graham realized that James II was on the brink of irredeemable exile, but he watched the futile warfare with dismay, and the treachery which contributed to make it so.  He fought for James in the Glorious Revolution and raised a force to restore him, but was killed in battle at Killiecrankie.  They found him dying when the night had settled down over the gory field.  He asked how the day went. ‘Well for the King; but I’m sorry for your Lordship,’ was the answer.  ‘Tis the less matter for me,’ he replied, ‘seeing the day goes well for my master.’   Dundee was carried to Blair, and there he rests, heedless of the ruin of his nearest and dearest.  As he lived, so he died, bathed in the glamour of ideals fast setting to decline, the last expression of his century’s reckless Stewartism.  Within a fortnight of his death, Colonel James Mackay (brother of Lieut.-General Hugh Mackay of Scourie) was stated to have been ‘the man that gave Dundee his passport to heaven or hell.’

Dundee’s titles and estates devolved upon his son James, then only three months old, who was dead by December 1689.  He was succeeded by David Graham (Dundee’s brother), who was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, but released in an exchange of prisoners, on 3rd December 1689, about the time the 2nd Viscount died.  As a declared rebel, the Government took immediate steps against the new inheritor of Dundee’s honours.  On 3rd January 1690 an Order of Council sequestrated his rents and those of others who had been in arms.  On 2nd May 1690 a process of treason was raised against him.  The Claverhouse properties were bestowed on the Marquis of Douglas.  The titular Viscounty of Dundee passed to the Grahams of Duntrune.

Dundee was survived by his widow, Jean Cochrane, granddaughter of the first Earl of Dundonald, whom he had married (ctr. 9th June 1684 at Paisley) against the wishes of their respective mothers.  The author discounts the absurd story of the curse that his mother is said to have pronounced upon his widow’s second marriage with Lieut.-Colonel William Livingstone, third Viscount Kilsyth.  The story of her second husband having killed Dundee at Killiecrankie in guilty collusion with the Viscountess, was sufficiently disproved (Napier, vol. iii., p. 683).  She and her child by Kilsyth were accidentally killed in an inn at Utrecht on 16th October 1695.

Cromwell’s Scotch Campaigns: 1650-51
by W.S. Douglas
(London: Elliot Stock, 1899)

In 1639-40 Scotland had been almost unanimous in opposing Charles I; Montrose took with him only a few of his kinsmen and the more devotedly loyal peers; but by 1648 almost the whole of the nobility of Scotland swung round to support the Royal cause, which they had hitherto combated.

On July 22, 1650 the invading force arrived on Scottish soil; its total was under 16,500 men.  The cavalry and infantry, numbering respectively five and ten thousand odd, included a large proportion of veteran troops, and even some who had fought almost continuously against the Cavaliers since Edgehill battle nearly eight years before.  Their conduct was to prove them no tyros in the field. 

The chief leaders of the Scots army were the two famous Leslies.  The old Earl of Leven, though still in name Lord General, was virtually on the shelf.  In June 1650 the Parliament assured him it would ‘requyre no moir’ of him ‘than his aidge might comport wt.’  The real command was in the hands of his nephew Lieut.-General David Leslie (grandson of the 5th Earl of Rothes), who was now about to try his luck against those English with whom, ever since the day of Long Marston Moor, he had ridden side by side.  Not for nothing had he had experience of the professional soldiership of the Continent, and he was about to give his old comrade Oliver such a lesson in strategy as he had scarcely been used to in the slap-dash, rough-and-ready warfare of Cavalier and Roundhead.

The author presents an interesting account of the events leading up to Dunbar Drove, and those which followed in the next twelve month’s campaigning, based on contemporary newspapers of 1650-51 [Vol. E of the catalogue of the collection of the ‘King’s Pamphlets’ preserved in the British Museum].

I suppose it is a natural instinct to look for references to Frasers.  The author refers to Charles’s departure when he learned that the Stirling executive was set upon evicting his courtiers.  In his Journal of the Affairs of Scotland, 1650, Sir Edward Walker relates how it had been intended that he should make his way into Fife and rally the loyal gentry there, whilst Perth was simultaneously seized by 1,000 of the Earl of Athole’s Highlanders; but that the King incautiously told the secret to Buckingham, and was induced by the Duke to give up his plans. 

Clarendon mentions this ‘very empty and unprepared design, contrived and conducted by Doctor Frazier, without any foundation to build upon’ (History, vol. iii, pt. ii, Oxford Edition, 1807- p. 596); and that pique, or genuine fright about the sinister clearance of his Court, hurried Charles into trying his luck by a desperate dash for liberty.  In any case, the young King made use of the accustomed pretext of a sporting excursion; rode carelessly out of Perth on October 4th ‘as if going on hawking’; and only halted for the night when he had put forty-two miles of road and hill-track between him and the Fair City.  He declared he had been assured of that fact by his physician, Dr Frazer, who was, by universal consent, his chief ‘confident’ in the transaction, the go-between who should have ensured his reaching the Northern Royalists.  Clarendon mentions Frazer in connection with this affair, as the typical busybody blessed with more zeal than circumspection. [For a brief chart of the family of Sir Alexander Fraser of Durris, physician to Charles I & II, see CFSC Canadian Explorer, September 2003, page 9]

The Scots Army 1661-1688
With Memoirs of the Commanders-in-Chief
by Charles Dalton, F.R.G.S.
(Edinburgh: William Brown, 1909)

I found this book enlightening and it helped me to better understand and appreciate a turbulent period in the history of Scotland from the perspective of the soldiers who fought in these divisive wars.

“Soldiers have an undoubted right to claim
The greatest honours and the most lasting name.”

Scotland’s Standing Army consisted of a mere handful of Troops from 1661 to 1666.  In the summer of the latter year the exigencies of circumstances necessitated a material increase to his Majesty’s forces.

The officers appointed to the new-raised levies during the early years of the Restoration were mostly veterans who had served in the Civil Wars of Charles I.  Some had fought with Montrose, while others had served against him.  In this army were found “Engagers” who had marched into Lancashire under the Duke of Hamilton, and had suffered defeat at Preston by Cromwell.  There were also not a few devoted Royalists who had fought at Dunbar and Worcester, and  those soldiers who had shared in the hardships of Lord Glencairn’s expedition and in General Middleton’s defeat at Loch Garry.  Lastly, there were representatives of the oldest and noblest families north of the Tweed who had served with the Scots Brigade in Holland and with the old Scots Regiments (the Royal Scots) in France.

It is an indisputable fact that the Scots Army from the Restoration to the Revolution has received scant justice at the hands of Scottish writers in general.  It appears that officers and soldiers have been handed down to posterity by Covenanting writers, and apologists, as cruel and relentless persecutors.  Take for instance the Rev Robert Wodrow’s magnum opus on The Sufferings of the Church of Scotland.  This labour of love, which was not published till 1726, was chiefly founded on hearsay evidence and the contemporary works, and pamphlets, of Covenanters who well knew how to blacken their enemies’ characters.  As a literary compilation, Mr Wodrow’s book is entitled to our respect, but many of the “military atrocities” which are detailed at length in the aforesaid work must be taken, in many instances, as gross exaggerations. 

It has been asserted that the Cromwellian forces cleared out of Scotland a few months after the Restoration.  However, according to an undated petition to Charles II, in 1660, “the Noblemen, Gentlemen and Burgesses of Scotland, met at London,” prayed his Majesty “that all the English forces may be removed out of Scotland, before the sitting of the Parliament, and that your Majestie employ such of your Scots subjects as you sall (sic) thinke fit for securing of the garisons and the peace of the kingdome.”  In reply, the King promised to remove the forces as soon as possible.  It was owing to the Earl of Lauderdale’s influence with the King that the four citadels built in Scotland by Cromwell, viz - Ayr, Perth, Inverness, and Leith were ordered to be dismantled.  The citadel at Ayr was given to Hugh, Earl of Eglinton as a reward for past services; Perth to the magistrates of the town; Inverness to the Earl of Moray; and Leith to the Earl of Lauderdale in May 1662.

Mr Dalton provides interesting biographical information on some of the important, albeit less well-known, officers in the Scots Army:

Thomas Morgan, Commander in Chief 

Thomas Morgan was second son of Robert Morgan of Llanrhymny.  He served in the Low Countries and under Bernard of Saxe Weimar in the Thirty Years’ War.   In 1651 he was in Scotland with General George Monk, who requested Cromwell to send down a commission for Morgan to be Colonel of Dragoons.  Morgan took Dunottar Castle and after a three weeks’ siege, 26th May 1652, was actively employed against Lord Glencairn and General Middleton in 1653-54.

Early in 1654, Morgan took the strong castle of Kildrummie, and on 19th July defeated Middleton at Loch Garry.  Morgan was promoted Major-General and returned to London in the spring of 1657 when summonsed by Cromwell to take part in the expedition sent to the assistance of the French in Flanders.  He was knighted by the Protector Richard Cromwell, 25th November 1658.  As Commander-in-Chief, Morgan took a conspicuous part in celebrating Charles II’s birthday at Edinburgh, 19th June 1660.  On 1st February 1661, Charles II created General Morgan a baronet.  When the Anglo-Dutch war broke out in 1665, the King appointed Sir Thomas Morgan Governor of Jersey, in which post he displayed the same military science and energy that had distinguished him during his long and eminent career.  He is believed to have died in 1679, and was succeeded by his son, Sir John Morgan, who became Colonel of the Welsh Fusiliers in 1692.

The Earl of Middleton, Captain-General of the Forces 1661-63

John Middleton (1619-73) was the eldest son of Robert Middleton of Caldhame, Kincardineshire.  He began his career as a pikeman in Hepburn’s Regiment in the service of France.  In 1639 he became a Captain in Montrose’s Army which made a triumphant entry into Aberdeen, 30th March 1639.  In 1642 Middleton entered the English Parliamentary Army and was made Major-General after Edgehill.  He commanded a large body of cavalry at the second battle of Newbury and by his bravery contributed to the King’s defeat.  When he resigned his commission (1644), in consequence of the “Self-denying Ordinance,” he was Lieut.-General in Sir William Waller’s Army. 

Middleton then joined the Covenanting forces and was second in command to David Leslie at the battle of Philiphaugh near Selkirk (1645) where Montrose was routed.  The Estates rewarded Middleton with 25,000 merks and the command of the forces in Scotland.  He pursued Montrose, burnt the latter’s castle of Kincardine, and carried fire and sword through Aberdeenshire and parts adjacent.  When Charles I ordered Montrose to disband his forces, Middleton negotiated terms with the Great Marquis and is said to have granted better conditions than were approved of by the Assembly.  In 1647, he repressed a Royalist rising under the Marquis of Huntly.  On 11th May 1648, he was commissioned Lieut.-General of Horse by the Committee of Estates, in that army composed of “Engagers,” under the Duke of Hamilton, raised to rescue Charles I from the Cromwellians, “but to keep up the Covenant.”  He was wounded at Mauchline Moor, in June 1648, while dispersing 2,000 extreme Covenanters who resented the Government’s “Engagement” policy.  He distinguished himself in action at Preston, Lancashire, where he was wounded and taken prisoner.  Middleton was sent to Newcastle and imprisoned there, but made his escape. 

After the execution of Charles I, Middleton headed a Royalist rising in the Highlands which was unsuccessful.  The General Assembly threatened him with excommunication, but he was allowed to sign the ‘declaration and acknowledgment’ presented to those who had taken part in the Engagement.

In July 1650 Middleton joined Charles II in Scotland, but he resented the humiliating conditions imposed upon the young monarch by the Committee of Assembly and the Estates.  He raised a Royalist force and was joined by several of the most powerful Scottish nobles with their adherents, but Cromwell’s victory over Leslie at Dunbar called for united action against the invader, and the “ostracised Royalists” returned to the Covenanting fold.  Charles bowed to his fate and was crowned King on the basis of the Covenants, 1st January 1651.  Middleton, however, who was “banned for Malignancy,” was excommunicated by James Guthrie, Minister of Stirling, against the advice of influential Covenanters, and did penance in sackcloth in the Church of Dundee, 11th January 1651.

As Major-General of the Horse, Middleton distinguished himself at the battle of Worcester by driving back a wing of Cromwell’s Army and was wounded.  He was taken prisoner and sent to the Tower, but escaped, in his wife’s clothes, and joined Charles II at Paris in the autumn of 1652.  The exiled monarch appointed him Commander-in-Chief of the Royalist forces to be raised in Scotland.  Middleton left Paris in January 1653, but went to The Hague to try and raise money from the States of Holland for his master’s cause.  It was not till January 1654 that he returned to Scotland with sixty Scots officers, ammunition, and a small supply of ready money.  On his arrival, he found a goodly Royalist force in arms under the Earl of Glencairn whom he appointed his second in command. 

The combined forces fought with Monk’s Troops on several occasions, but on 19th July, Middleton was defeated at Loch Garry by Colonel Morgan with the loss of his “white charger, gold, papers, and all his baggage.”  He endured many hardships, and in April 1655 he succeeded in escaping to Emden on board a friendly ship.  He joined Charles II at Cologne.  In 1656 and 1657 Middleton was employed by the exiled monarch on a mission to the town of Dantzic where he was to try and raise troops, arms, and the sinews of war.  We are told that “Middleton was well received in Dantzic and raised a few men, but the want of money reduced him to great straits, and he was obliged to disband them again.”

At the Restoration he returned to England on the same ship with Charles II.  On 1st October 1660, the King created this faithful soldier Viscount Clermont and Fettercairn, and Earl of Middleton by Letters Patent.  He was appointed Governor of Edinburgh Castle and Captain-General of the Forces in Scotland, as well as Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament.

Middleton made a “progress” to the West of Scotland accompanied by the Scottish forces, but his popularity was gone.  In the exercise of his high office as Lord Commissioner, he had, with the aid of his faction, engineered through Parliament the Acts of Indemnity, Billeting, and Fining.  The Act in question was “a clause to the Indemnity Act by which twelve persons, to be selected by Ballot, should be excepted from public service.”  Middleton had devised this plan for shelving some of his political rivals “and by unsparing corruption had succeeded in placing Lauderdale, Sir Robert Moray, and Lord Crawford among the twelve.”  Lauderdale was too astute for Middleton.  The former explained the purport of the Act to the King and said, “What if they billet me, sir?”  Charles answered that the billeters could not meddle with his servants.  But Lauderdale told the King that he was actually billeted, and the Act was passed by the Commissioner without consulting his Majesty.  This was the real cause of Middleton’s disgrace and not, as has been supposed, his arbitrary measures for re-introducing Episcopacy into Scotland - particularly the Act passed by him and the Privy Council at Glasgow, 1st October 1662, “by which the clergy who refused to conform to episcopacy were deprived of their benefices.” 

He resigned his Commission as Captain-General 5th January 1664, and went to reside at Guildford with his friend Thomas Dalmahoy who had married the widow of William, Duke of Hamilton.  He was too good a soldier to be kept long unemployed.  On 30th June 1666, he was appointed Lieut.-General of all the Militia Forces in Kent and was given a Troop of Horse in 1667.  The following May, Middleton was made Governor of Tangier and Colonel of the Tangier Regiment.  He died at Tangier in 1673, the result of a fall downstairs.

The author notes that it was intemperance during the latter part of his life that ruined Middleton’s career and occasioned his end.  He was patriotic and brave.  His soldiers loved him as a commander and his officers had perfect trust in his general-ship.  Lord Clarendon, who was no mean judge of soldiers in general and commanders in particular, says of Middleton: “He was a man of great honour and courage and much the best officer the Scots had.”

The Earl of Rothes, Captain-General of the Forces 1664-1667

John Leslie, 7th Earl of Rothes (1630-1681) had commanded the Fife Regiment of Horse at the battle of Worcester (1651), and was sent to the Tower, but was allowed on several occasions to repair to Scotland to look after his own affairs there, until he was finally released in the spring of 1660.  Although his father (the 6th Earl) had in 1638 helped to draft the Covenant, the 7th Earl was a strong Episcopalian, and he aligned himself with Archbishop James Sharp (1613-79).


 In view of the continuation of the Anglo-Dutch War and increasing disaffection in the West of Scotland, Lieut.-General William Drummond of Cromlix (d 1688) and General Thomas Dalyell of Binns (d 1685) were recalled from the Russian Service by Charles II.  On 24th September 1667, Rothes received the Royal command to lay down his Commission, although he retained the command of his Troop of Guards till February 1676, when it was disbanded by the King’s order.  On 29th May 1680, he was created Duke of Rothes.  Dying without male issue in July 1686, his dukedom became extinct, but the earldom of Rothes descended to his elder daughter, Lady Margaret Leslie, who became Countess of Rothes in her own right.

Lieut.-General Thomas Dalyell commanding the Forces
employed against the Covenanters 1666-1667

Scotland was under the curse of ecclesiastical rule from 1643 to 1651.  To escape the thraldom of Episcopacy, the Scottish nation declared for the most extreme form of Presbyterianism.  The Church fabric, erected with infinite pains by James VI and Charles I, came toppling down.  Bishops were sent packing.  Royalists who were termed “Malignants” were excommunicated when in Scotland, and forbidden to return, if out of the Kingdom, by the all-powerful General Assembly.  On 18th May 1650 an Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament “excluding divers persons from entering within the Kingdome from beyond seas, with his Majestie, until they give satisfactione to the Churche and Stait” (sic).  The names of ‘Thomas Dalzell of Binns’ and ‘Sir George Monro’ stand out in the aforesaid Exclusion Act.


General Thomas Dalyell (c1599-1685), was chosen by his Sovereign to command the Scots Forces in the summer of 1666.  He made no secret of his hatred to the Covenanters and their cause.  He styles them “a damnet crue,” and suggests “extirpation” as the only way to stamp out the rebellion.  The General meant transportation to Barbados, Virginia, and New England.  In a letter to Kilmarnock dated 15th January 1667, he says there will be no peace in Scotland till all the “non conform Minesters be baniched and the puretan laidays sent to beir them compane.”

The 17th century Scottish peasantry was ignorant, superstitious and credulous, ready to believe any cock-and-bull story spread by local agitators to serve their own end.  Many of the cruelties of Montrose were libels spread by Covenanters when the Great Marquis turned Royalist.  When Cromwell invaded Scotland it was reported that his soldiers would cut off the breasts of all married women.

The disbandment of the Scots Forces was followed by Rothes, Dalyell and Drummond being relieved of their commands.  The handful of troops which composed the Scots Army was left without a general officer for seven years, when the Earl of Linlithgow, as senior officer, acted as commander.  When Monmouth’s commission as Captain-General was recalled in September 1679, Dalziel became  Commander-in-Chief of the Forces (1st Nov. 1679-23rd Aug. 1685).

Colonel the Earl of Linlithgow
Acting Commander-in-Chief 1667-1674

George Livingston, 3rd Earl of Linlithgow (1616-90) had suffered severely during the supremacy of Cromwell.  At the Restoration he was made a Privy Councillor and in September 1662 was appointed Lieut.-Colonel of the Foot Guards, then newly raised.  Unfortunately, on 8th August 1667, the Privy Council brought about a new method of paying the Troops, which ultimately led to an outbreak of mutinies.

On 17th March 1672 England and France declared war against Holland.  The Government had the difficulty of raising and paying additional forces.  A Regiment of 1,000 strong was raised in Ireland and sent to England for service with the Fleet, under the command of the Duke of Buckingham.  The Irish Establishment was also drawn upon for twelve Companies which were formed into a composite Regiment.  A Marine Regiment was likewise levied in England.  Charles II had, before war was declared, turned his attention to Scotland.  He wanted an Infantry Regiment of 1,000 strong, levied in that Kingdom, “for service with the Fleet or elsewhere,” and to be paid by the Scottish Treasury.  

During his command of the forces in Scotland, Lord Linlithgow exercised a firm and beneficent rule, but the Covenanters did not take kindly to any measures for securing the peace and quiet in the Kingdom.  In the summer of 1668, a report was spread that the rebels in the West had again risen. On 19th October 1669 the Scottish Parliament met, the Earl of Lauderdale then being Lord High Commissioner.  Lord Linlithgow was replaced by Sir George Monro, but Linlithgow later replaced Monro as Major-General commanding the Forces  1677-79.

Sir George Monro, Major-General
Commanding the Forces 1674-1677

Sir George Monro (c1601-93) was a younger son of Colonel John Monro of Obsdale, Ross-shire.  At an early age he accompanied his uncle, Colonel Robert Monro, to Sweden where he served with the Scots Regiment.  Later, he took part in the German campaign under Gustavus II.  He accompanied his uncle to Ireland in 1642, and had succeeded him as Major-General of the Scots forces in Ulster, when he was summoned by the Parliament to Scotland to take part in the Duke of Hamilton’s Expedition into England. 

On 27th October 1677, the King wrote to Sir George Monro “authorising him to command in chief Our Guards and all such other Forces, both Horse and Foot, as shall be by Warrant of Our Privy Council of Scotland drawn together for opposing any Rebellion or Insurrection there.”  In less than two months, the Earl of Linlithgow was appointed Major-General of the Forces in Scotland “in place of Sir George Monro Our late Major-General whose Commission is hereby declared void.”  No reason was given, but it was apparent enough.  In view of an expected rising, Lauderdale had formulated a plan for bringing the disaffected shires into a state of subjection, and Monro would not fall in with Lauderdale’s cruel policy.

When the Scots Army marched into England in October 1688, Monro was appointed Major-General of the Militia in Scotland by Commission dated 24th October 1688, and was granted a yearly pension of £200.  General Hugh Mackay, a good judge of soldiers, requested the Government in 1690, to make Sir George Monro a Privy Councillor, and grant him a pension “in order to help Mackay to take necessary measures for the security of the Kingdom in his (Mackay’s) absence in Holland.”

Sir George Monro died on 11th July 1693, at Newmore Castle.  In 1642 he had married Anne Monro (c1621-47), daughter of his uncle Major-General Robert Monro, by whom he had a son Hugh, who succeeded to Newmore.  In 1649 he had married Christian, only daughter of Sir Frederick Hamilton of Manner, and sister of Gustavus, 1st Viscount Boyne.  By this marriage Sir George had two sons, John who died in 1682 unmarried; and George, who inherited the estate of Colerain (Culrain).  The latter’s heir male ultimately succeeded to the baronetcy of Foulis.

The Earl of Linlithgow
Major-General Commanding the Forces 1677-1679

With a view of checking the French conquests in the Low Countries the English Parliament favoured an Anglo-Dutch alliance against France.  Under the plea of assisting the Dutch, Charles obtained large subsidies from Parliament early in 1678, to help raise additional forces in his three kingdoms.  The Scots Army trebled its strength.  The Earl of Linlithgow made a progress through the disaffected West in the autumn of 1678.  On 23rd October 1678, the King wrote to Lord Linlithgow approving his services as Major-General.

Peace was signed between Holland and France at Nimeguen in August 1678.  The English Parliament voted standing Armies illegal and the Commons requested the King to disband all the forces raised since September 1677.  Charles had to comply.  He had hoodwinked the nation with the pretence of an Anglo-Dutch alliance against the French.  To keep up the fiction, a strong British contingent had been sent to Flanders under the Earl of Feversham.  In the meantime, Charles was in receipt of a secret pension from Louis XIV to keep England neutral.  The wholesale disbandment of the new English levies did not affect the Scots Army, but Lord James Douglas’s Regiment was disbanded in January 1679, having been raised for the English Establishment.

A new form of “The Military Oath” was sanctioned by Charles II and subscribed by Lauderdale, on 10th December 1678.  To the mass of the Covenanters who had never borne arms as trained soldiers, and to whom military discipline was as odious as religious conformity, the new form of oath was merely regarded by them as an additional weapon put into the hands of their relentless persecutors by a godless Government.  On 3rd May 1679, Dr. James Sharp, Archbishop of St. Andrews, while riding in his carriage with his daughter on Magus Moor, near St. Andrews, was brutally murdered by a marauding band of zealous Fife covenanters waiting in ambush for another target.  This provoked further rebellion in the west and the persecution of John Graham of Claverhouse.


Linlithgow was a good regimental officer, but he had not the advantage of Dalyell’s or Drummond’s experience of warfare.  When the crisis came he proved vacillating and changeable.  It was jocularly said of English soldiers during the seventeenth century, that they could not fight without their beef, their beer, and their beds; but Scottish soldiers of that period were considerably more hardy.  A famous Scottish general (Lord Clyde) wished for nothing better than to fight a pitched battle with 10,000 well-fed Englishmen, 10,000 half-starved Scotsmen, and 10,000 half-drunk Irishmen!

In 1684 the 3rd Earl of Linlithgow was appointed Lord Justice General; holding this high office until 1688.  He died 1st February 1690, and was succeeded by his eldest son George, Lord Livingston.

James, Duke of Buccleuch and Monmouth
Captain-General of the Forces in England and Scotland 1679

James Crofts, alias Fitzroy, alias Scott (1649-1685) was the son of Charles II by Mrs. Lucy Barlow (nee Walter).  By Letters patent, dated 14th February 1663, he was created Duke of Monmouth, installed a Knight of the Garter, 28th March 1663.  By Lauderdale’s advice to the King, the little Duke was married 20th April 1663, to the greatest child-heiress in Scotland - Anne, suo jure Countess of Buccleuch, aged twelve.  Monmouth took the surname of Scott, and he and his bride were created Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch in Scotland, “with remainder to their heirs male, in default of which to their heirs whatever descending from the Duke’s body, succeeding to the estate and Earldom of Buccleuch.  For sixteen and a half years fortune smiled on him and he basked in the King’s favour.  He went from one high military post to another.  No one could call Monmouth a carpet knight, for he witnessed the sternest side of war on the Continent.


 The Duke’s Commission as Captain-General of all his Majesty’s Forces in England, Wales, and the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, dated 27th April 1678, was altered by Monmouth’s secretary (by his master’s order) erasing the obnoxious word “natural” in the body of the Commission, and so changing the words “our most entirely beloved natural Sonne James Duke of Monmouth” into “our most entirely beloved Sonne…”  In order to appease the anger and jealous fears of his brother, the Duke of York (later King James VII), the King was obliged to cancel the Commission, which was done by Charles “taking up a pair of scissors and without a word clipping a piece out of his own Royal signature.”

By June 1678, a report gained ground that the King had secretly married Mrs. Barlow, before her son’s birth, and that the marriage contract was in existence.  To prevent any trouble after his death, Charles made a solemn declaration that “he never gave nor made any contract of marriage nor was married to Mrs. Barlow alias Waters, the Duke of Monmouth’s mother.”  Notwithstanding this set-back, Monmouth pursued his command as Captain-General, but without a fresh Commission, till June 1679, when he was sent to Scotland to take command of the Royalist Forces.  On 12th June 1679 James, Duke of Buccleuch was appointed “Captain-Generall of all his Majtyes Forces already raysed or hereafter to bee raysed as well standing as militia within his Majtyes Kingdome of Scotland… which Commission is to continue in force during his Majtyes pleasure.”   The commission was recalled in September.  On 1st November 1679, the King wrote the Scots Privy Council that he had thought fit to recall the Commission granted “by Us unto James, Duke of Buccleuch to be Generall of Our Forces in Our ancient Kingdome… and that We look upon Our Lieut.-Generall Dalyell (General Thomas Dalzell) to be the Commander in Chiefe of all Our said Forces.”

The author refers briefly to Monmouth’s return to England without the King’s permission; his plotting and scheming; his desertion of his amiable and talented Duchess; his neglect of his children; his liaison with the young Baroness Wentworth - a peeress in her own right - who left home, and sacrificed her maiden honour to share the Duke’s second term in exile in Brussels; his invasion of England; defeat at Sedgemoor, 6th July 1685; and his execution in Tower Hill nine days later.  He notes there is a strange similarity between the half-educated Duke of Monmouth and the highly-accomplished Mary, Queen of Scots, in that each was endowed by nature with the fatal fascination of good looks coupled with captivating manners.

©  Article by Marie Fraser, Clan Fraser Society of Canada

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