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The Scottish Nation

MACGREGOR, the name of a clan esteemed one of the purest of all the Celtic tribes, the distinctive badge of which was the pine. they were the principal sept of the Siol Alpin, and there can be no doubt of their unmixed and direct descent from the Albanish or Alpinian stock, which formed the aboriginal inhabitants of Scotland. They were once numerous in Balquhidder and Menteith, and also in Glenorchy, which appears to have been their original seat. An air of romance has been thrown around this particular clan from the exploits and adventures of the celebrated Rob Roy, and the cruel sufferings and proscriptions to which they were, at different times, subjected by the government.

      Claiming a regal origin, their motto anciently was “My race is royal.” Griogar, said to have been the third son of Alpin, king of Scotland, who commenced his reign in 833, is mentioned as their remote ancestor, but it is impossible to trace their descent from any such personage, or from his eldest brother, Kenneth Macalpin, from whom they also claim to be sprung.

      According to Buchanan of Auchmar, the clan Gregor were located in Glenorchy as early as the reign of Malcolm Canmore (1057-1093). As, however, they were in the reign of Alexander II. (1214-1249) vassals of the earl of Ross, Skene (Highlands of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 245) thinks it probable that Glenorchy was given to them, when that monarch conferred a large extent of territory on that potent noble. Hugh of Glenorchy appears to have been the first of their chiefs who was so styled. Malcolm, the chief of the clan in the days of Bruce, fought bravely on the national side at the battle of Bannockburn. He accompanied Edward Bruce to Ireland, and being severely wounded at Dundalk, he was ever afterwards known as “the lame lord.”

      In the reign of David II., the Campbells managed to procure a legal title to the lands of Glenorchy; nevertheless, the Macgregors maintained, for a long time, the actual possession of them by the strong hand. They knew no other right than that of the sword, but, ultimately, that was found unavailing, and, at last, expelled from their own territory, they became an outlawed, lawless, and landless clan.

      John Macgregor of Glenorchy, who died in 1390, is said to have had three sons; Patrick, his successor; John Dow, ancestor of the family of Glenstrae, who became the chiefs of the clan; and Gregor, ancestor of the Macgregors of Roro. Patrick’s son, Malcolm, was compelled by the Campbells to well the lands of Auchinrevach in Strathfillan, to Campbell of Glenorchy, who thus obtained the first footing in Breadalbane, which afterwards gave the title of earl to his family.

      The principal families of the Macgregors, in process of time, except that of Glenstrae, who held that estate as vassals of the earl of Argyle, found themselves reduced to the position of tenants on the lands of Campbell of Glenorchy and other powerful barons. It being the policy of the latter to get rid of them altogether, the unfortunate clan were driven, by a continuous system of oppression and annoyance, to acts of rapine and violence, which brought upon them the vengeance of the government. The clan had no other means of subsistence than the plunder of their neighbours’ property, and as they naturally directed their attacks chiefly against those who had wrested from them their own lands, it became still more the interest of their oppressors to represent to the king that nothing could put a stop to their lawless conduct, “save the cutting off the tribe of Macgregor root and branch.” In 1488, soon after the youthful James IV. had ascended the throne which the murder of his father had rendered vacant, an act was passed “for staunching of thiftreif and other enormities throw all the realm;” evidently designed against the Macgregors, for among the barons to whom power was given for enforcing it, were Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy, Neill Stewart of Fortingall, and Ewin Campbell of Strachur. At this time the Macgregors were still a numerous clan. Besides those in Glenorchy, they sere settled in great numbers in the districts of Breadalbane and Athol, and they all acknowledged Macgregor of Glenstrae, who bore the title of captain of the clan, as their chief.

      With the view of reducing these branches, Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy obtained, in 1492, the office of bailiary of the crown lands of Disher and Toyer, Glenlyon, and Glendochart, and in 1502 he procured a charter of the lands of Glenlyon. “From this period,” says Mr. Skene, (Highlands, vol. ii. p. 248), “the history of the Macgregors consists of a mere list of acts of privy council, by which commissions are granted to pursue the clan with fire and sword, and of various atrocities which a state of desperation, the natural result of these measures, as well as a deep spirit of vengeance, against both the framers and executors of them, frequently led the clan to commit. These actions led to the enactment of still severer laws, and at length to the complete proscription of the clan.”

      But still the Macgregors were not subdued. Taking refuge in their mountain fastnesses, they set at defiance all the efforts made by their enemies for their entire extermination, and inflicted upon some of them a terrible vengeance. In 1589 they seized and murdered John Drummond of Drummondernoch, a forester of the royal forest of Glenartney, an act which forms the foundation of the incident detailed in Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Legend of Montrose.’ The clan swore upon the head of the victim that they would avow and defend the deed in common. An outrage like this led at once to the most rigorous proceedings on the part of the crown. Fresh letters of fire and sword for three years were issued against the whole clan, and all persons were interdicted from harbouring or having any communication with them. Then followed the conflict at Glenfruin in 1603, when the Macgregors, under Alexander Macgregor of Glenstrae, their chief, defeated the Colquhouns, under the laird of Luss, and 140 of the latter were killed. The circumstances which led to, and the details of, this celebrated clan battle have been already given. The force of the Colquhouns was more than double that of the Macgregors, and of the latter it is remarkable that John, the brother of the chief, and another person, alone were killed, though a number of them were wounded. Dugald Ciar Mhor, ancestor of Rob Roy, is said on this occasion to have exhibited extraordinary ferocity and courage.

      Information of the disaster having been sent to the king by the laird of Luss, and the whole affair being misrepresented to his majesty, the clan Gregor were proclaimed rebels, and again intercommuned. The earl of Argyle, who had been appointed lieutenant and justiciary in the whole bounds inhabited by the Macgregors, was sent against them. About sixty of the clan made a brave stand at Bentoik against a party of 200, belonging to the clan Cameron, clan Nab, and Clanranald, under the command of Robert Campbell, son of the laird of Glenorchy, when Duncan Aberigh, one of the chieftains of the clan Gregor, with his son, Duncan, and seven gentlemen of Campbell’s party, were killed.

      Alexander Macgregor of Glenstrae, the chief, resisted for some time the strong combination formed against him, but, after suffering many privations, he at last surrendered, with some of his principal clansmen, to the earl of Argyle, on condition that he should be allowed a safe-conduct into England. He was, however, most basely betrayed by the earl. Sent under a guard across the borders, no sooner had he arrived at Berwick, than he was brought back to Edinburgh, and put in prison. At his trial on 26th January 1604, he was condemned to death, and executed at the Cross of that city with some of his followers, being, in consideration of his rank, suspended from a higher gallows than that on which hung the others. In relation to this betrayal and melancholy end of the unfortunate chief, there is the following entry in the MS. diary of Robert Birrell: “The 2 of October (1603) Allester M’‘Gregour of Glainstre tane be the laird of Arkynles, bot escapit againe; bot efter, taken he the earle of Argyill the 4 of Januar; and brocht to Edinburghe the 9 of Januar 1604, with mae of 18 his friendis, M’Gregouris. He wes convoyit to Berwick be the gaird, conforme to the earlis promese; for he promesit to put him out of Scottis grund. Swa he keipit ane Hieland-manis peomes; in respect he sent the gaird to convoy him out of Scottis grund: Bot thai wer not directit to pairt with him, bot to fetche him bak agane! The 18 of Januar, at evine, he come agane to Edinburghe; and upone the 20 day, he was hangit at the croce, and if (eleven) of his freindis and name, upone ane gallous: Himselff, being chieff, he wes hangit his awin hicht above the rest of his friendis.” That Argyle had an interest in his death appears from a declaration, printed in Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials, vol. ii. page 435, which the chief made before his execution, wherein he says that the earl had enticed him to commit several slaughters and disorders, and had endeavoured to prevail upon him to commit “sundrie mair.”

      Among other severe measures passed against this doomed clan was one which deprived them of their very name. By an act of the privy council dated 3d April 1603, all of the name of Macgregor were compelled, on pain of death, to adopt another surname, and all who had been engaged at the battle of Glenfruin, and other marauding expeditions detailed in the act, were prohibited, also under the pain of death, from carrying any weapon but a knife without a point to cut their victuals. They were also forbidden, under the same penalty of death, to meet in greater numbers than four at a time. The earls of Argyle and Athol were charged with the execution of these enactments, and it has been shown how the former carried out the task assigned to him. With regard to the ill-fated chief so treacherously “done to death” by him, the following interesting tradition is related: His son, while out hunting one day, met the young laird of Lamont travelling with a servant from Cowal towards Inverlochy. They dined together at a house on the Black-mount, between Tyndrum and King’s house; but having unfortunately quarrelled during the evening, dirks were drawn, and the young Macgregor was killed. Lamont instantly fled, and was closely pursued by some of the clan Gregor. Outstripping his foes, he reached the house of the chief of Glenstrae, whom he besought earnestly, without stating his crime, to afford him protection. “You are safe with me,” said the chief, “whatever you may have done.” On the pursuers arriving, they informed the unfortunate father of what had occurred, and demanded the murderer; but Macgregor refused to deliver him up, as he had passed his word to protect him. “Let none of you dare to injure the man,” he exclaimed, “Macgregor has promised him safety, and, as I live, he shall be safe while with me.” He afterwards, with a party of his clan, escorted the youth home; and, on bidding him farewell, said, “Lamont, you are now safe on your own land. I cannot, and I will not protect you farther! Keep away from my people; and may God forgive you for what you have done!” shortly afterwards the name of Macgregor was proscribed, and the chief of Glenstrae became a wanderer without a name or a home. But the laird of Lamont, remembering that he owed his life to him, hastened to protect the old chief and his family, and not only received the fugitives into his house, but shielded them for a time from their enemies.

      Logan states that on the death of Alexander, the executed chief, without surviving lawful issue, the clan, then in a state of disorder, elected a chief, but the head of the collateral branch, deeming Gregor, the natural son of the late chief, better entitled to the honour, without ceremony dragged the chief-elect from his inaugural chair in the kirk of Strathfillan, and placed Gregor therein, in his stead.

      The favourite names assumed by the clan while compelled to relinquish their own, were Campbell, Graham, Stewart, and Drummond. Their unity as a clan remained unbroken, and they even seemed to increase in numbers, notwithstanding all the oppressive proceedings directed against them. These did not cease with the reign of James VI., for under Charles I. all the enactments against them were renewed, and yet in 1644, when the marquis of Montrose set up the king’s standard in the Highlands, the clan Gregor, to the number of 1,000 fighting men, joined him, under the command of Patrick Macgregor of Glenstrae, their chief. In reward for their loyalty, at the Restoration the various statutes against them were annulled, when the clan were enabled to resume their own name. In the reign of William III. however, the penal enactments against them were renewed in their full force. The clan were again proscribed, and compelled once more to take other names.

      According to Buchanan of Auchmar, the direct male line of the chiefs became extinct in the reign of the latter monarch, and the representation fell, by “a formal renunciation of the chiefship,” into the branch of Glengyle. Of this branch was the celebrated Rob Roy, that is, Red Rob, who assumed the name of Campbell under the proscriptive act. Born about 1660, he was the younger son of Donald Macgregor of Glengyle, a lieutenant-colonel in the service of King James VII., by his wife, the daughter of William Campbell of Glenfalloch, the third son of Sir Robert Campbell of Glenorchy. Rob Roy himself married Helen-Mary, the daughter of Macgregor of Comar. His own designation was that of Inversnaid, but he seems to have acquired a right to the property of Craig Royston, a domain of rock and forest lying on the east side of Loch Lomond. He became tutor to his nephew, the head of the Glengyle branch, then in his minority, and who claimed the chiefship of the clan.

      Like many other Highland gentlemen, Rob Roy was a trader in cattle or master drover, and in this capacity, he had borrowed several sums of money from the duke of Montrose, but becoming insolvent, he absconded. In June 1712 an advertisement appeared for his apprehension, and he was involved in prosecutions, which nearly ruined him. Some messengers of the law who visited his house in his absence are said to have abused his wife in a most shameful manner, and she, being a high-spirited woman, incited her husband to acts of vengeance. At the same time she gave vent to her feelings in a fine piece of pipe music, still well known, by the name of “Rob Roy’s Lament.” As the duke had contrived to get possession of Rob’s lands of Craig Royston, he was driven to become the “bold outlaw” which he is represented in song and story.

      “Determined,” says General Stewart of Garth, “that his grace should not enjoy his lands with impunity, he collected a band of about twenty followers, declared open war against him, and gave up his old course of regular droving, declaring that the estate of Montrose should in future supply him with cattle, and that he would make the duke rue the day he quarrelled with him. He kept his word; and for nearly thirty years – that is, till the day of his death – regularly levied contributions on the duke and his tenants, not by nightly depredations, but in broad day, and in a systematic manner; on an appointed time making a complete sweep of all the cattle of a district – always passing over those not belonging to the duke’s estate, or the estates of his friends and adherents; and having previously given notice where he was to be on a certain day with his cattle, he was met there by people from all parts of the country, to whom he sold them publicly. These meetings, or trysts, as they were called, were held in different parts of the country; sometimes the cattle were driven south, but oftener to the north and west, where the influence of his friend the duke of Argyle protected him. When the cattle were in this manner driven away, the tenants paid no rent, so that the duke was the ultimate sufferer. But he was made to suffer in every way. The rents of the lower farms were partly paid in grain and meal, which was generally lodged in a storehouse or granary, called a girnal, near the Loch of Monteath. When Macgregor wanted a supply of meal, he sent notice to a certain number of the duke’s tenants to meet him at the girnal on a certain day, with their horses to carry home his meal. They met accordingly, when he ordered the horses to be loaded, and, giving a regular receipt to his grace’s storekeeper for the quantity taken, he marched away, always entertaining the people very handsomely, and careful never to take the meal till it had been lodged in the duke’s storehouse in payment of rent. When the money rents were paid, Macgregor frequently attended. On one occasion, when Mr. Graham of Killearn, the factor, had collected the tenants to pay their rents, all Rob Roy’s men happened to be absent, except Alexander Stewart, called ‘the bailie.’ With this single attendant he descended to Chapel Errock, where the factor and the tenants were assembled. He reached the house after it was dark, and, looking in at a window, saw Killearn, surrounded by a number of the tenants, with a bag full of money which he had received, and was in the act of depositing it in a press or cupboard, at the same time saying that he would cheerfully give all he had in the bag for Rob Roy’s head. This notification was not lost on the outside visitor, who instantly gave orders in a loud voice to place two men at each window, two at each corner, and four at each of two doors, thus appearing to have twenty men. Immediately the door opened, and he walked in with his attendant close behind, each armed with a sword in his right and a pistol in his left hand, and with dirks and pistols slung in their belts. The company started up, but he desired them to sit down, as his business was only with Killearn, whom he ordered to hand down the bag and put it on the table. When this was done, he desired the money to be counted, and proper receipts to be drawn out, certifying that he received the money from the duke of Montrose’s agent, as the duke’s property, the tenants having paid their rents, so that no after demand could be made on them on account of this transaction; and finding that some of the people had not obtained receipts, he desired the factor to grant them immediately, ‘to show his grace,’ said he, ‘that it is from him I take the money, and not from these honest men who have paid him.’ After the whole was concluded, he ordered supper, saying that, as he had got the purse, it was proper he should pay the bill; and after they had drank heartily together for several hours, he called his bailie to produce his dirk, and lay it naked on the table. Killearn was then sworn that he would not move, nor direct any one else to move, from that spot for an hour after the departure of Macgregor, who thus cautioned him – ‘If you break your oath, you know what you are to expect in the next world, and in this,’ pointing to his dirk. He then walked away, and was beyond pursuit before the hour expired.”

      At the breaking out of the rebellion of 1715, in spite of the obligations which he owed to the indirect protection of the duke of Argyle, Rob Roy’s Jacobite partialities induced him to join the rebel forces under the earl of Mar.

      On this occasion none of the Clan Gregor, except the sept of Ciar Mohr, to which Rob Roy belonged, took up arms for the chevalier, though they were joined by connexions of the family, and among others by Leckie of Croy-Leckie, a large landed proprietor in Dumbartonshire, who had married a daughter of Donald M’Gregor, by his wife the daughter of Campbell of Glenfalloch, and who was thus the brother-in-law of Rob Roy. “They were not,” says Sir Walter Scott, “commanded by Rob Roy, but by his nephew already mentioned, Gregor Macgregor, otherwise called James Grahame of Glengyle, and still better remembered by the Gaelic epithet of Ghlune Dhu, i.e. Black Knee, from a black spot on one of his knees, which his Highland garb rendered visible. There can be no question, however, that being then very young, Glengyle must have acted on most occasions by the advice and direction of so experienced a leader as his uncle. The Macgregors assembled in numbers at that period, and began even to threaten the lowlands towards the lower extremity of Loch Lomond. They suddenly seized all the boats which were upon the lake, and, probably with a view to some enterprize of their own, drew them overland to Inversnaid, in order to intercept the progress of a large body of west country Whigs who were in arms for the government, and moving in that direction. The Whigs made an excursion for the recovery of the boats. Their forces consisted of volunteers from Paisley, Kilpatrick, and elsewhere, who, with the assistance of a body of seamen, were towed up the river Leven in long boats belonging to the ships of war then lying in the Clyde. At Luss, they were joined by the forces of Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, and James Grant, his son-in-law, with their followers, attired in the Highland dress of the period, which is picturesquely described. The whole party crossed to Craig Royston, but the Macgregors did not offer combat. If we were to believe the account of the expedition given by the historian Rae, they leaped on shore at Craig Royston with the utmost intrepidity, no enemy appearing to oppose them, and, by the noise of their drums, which they beat incessantly, and the discharge of their artillery and small arms, terrified the Macgregors, whom they appear never to have seen, out of their fastnesses, and caused them to fly in a panic to the general camp of the Highlanders at Strathfillan. The low-country men succeeded in getting possession of the boars, at a great expenditure of noise and courage, and little risk of danger.

      “After this temporary removal from his old haunts, Rob Roy was sent by the earl of Mar to Aberdeen, to raise, it is believed, a part of the clan Gregor, which is settled in that country. These men were of his own family (the race of the Ciar Mohr). They were the descendants of about three hundred Macgregors whom the earl of Moray, about the year 1624, transported from his estates in Monteith to oppose against his enemies the Macintoshes, a race as hardy and restless and they were themselves. We have already stated that Rob Roy’s conduct during the insurrection of 1715 was very equivocal. His person and followers were in the Highland army, but his heart seems to have been with the duke of Argyle’s. Yet the insurgents were constrained to trust to him as their only guide, when they marched from Perth towards Dunblane, with the view of crossing the Forth at what are called the fords of Frew, and when they themselves said he could not be relied upon.

      “This movement to the westward, on the part of the insurgents, brought on the battle of Sheriffmuir; indecisive, indeed, in its immediate results, but of which the duke of Argyle reaped the whole advantage. In this action, it will be recollected that the right wing of the Highlanders broke and cut to pieces Argyle’s left wing, while the clans on the left of Mar’s army, though consisting of Stewarts, Mackenzies, and Camerons, were completely routed. During this medley of flight and pursuit, Rob Roy retained his station on a hill in the centre of the Highland position; and, though it is said his attack might have decided the day, he could not be prevailed upon to charge. This was the more unfortunate for the insurgents, as the leading of a party of the Macphersons had been committed to Macgregor. This, it is said, was owing to the age and infirmity of the chief of that name, who, unable to lead his clan in person, objected to his heir apparent, Macpherson of Nord, discharging his duty on that occasion; so that the tribe, or a part of them, were brigaded with their allies, the Macgregors. While the favourable moment for action was sliding away unemployed, Mar’s positive orders reached Rob Roy that he should presently attack. To which he coolly replied, ‘No,no, if they cannot do it without me, they cannot do it with me.’ One of the Macphersons, named Alexander, one of Rob’s original profession, videlicet a drover, but a man of great strength and spirit, was so incensed at the inactivity of his temporary leader, that he threw off his plaid, drew his sword, and called out to his clansmen, ‘Let us endure this no longer! If he will not lead you, I will’ Rob Roy replied, with great coolness, ‘Were the question about driving Highland stots or kyloes, Sandie, I would yield to your superior skill; but as it respects the leading of men, I must be allowed to be the better judge.’ ‘Did the matter respect driving Glen-Eigus stots,’ answered Macpherson, ‘the question with Rob would not be, which was to be last, but which was to be foremost.’ Incensed at this sarcasm, Macgregor drew his sword, and they would have fought upon the spot if their friends on both sides had not interfered. But the moment of attack was completely lost. Rob did not, however, neglect his own private interest on the occasion. In the confusion of an undecided field of battle, he enriched his followers by plundering the baggage and the dead on both sides. The fine old satirical ballad on the battle of Sheriffmuir, does not forget to stigmatize our hero’s conduct on this memorable occasion:

                        “Rob Roy he stood watch
                        On a hill for to catch
                              The booty, for aught that I saw, man;
                        For he ne’er advanced
                        From the place where he stanced,
                              Till nae mair was to do there at a’, man.’

      “Notwithstanding the sort of neutrality which Rob Roy had continued to observe during the progress of the rebellion, he did not escape some of its penalties. He was included in the act of attainder, and the house in Breadalbane, which was his place of retreat, was burned by General Lord Cadogan, when, after the conclusion of the insurrection, he marched through the Highlands to disarm and punish the offending clans. But upon going to Inverary with about forty or fifty of his followers, Rob obtained favour, by an apparent surrender of their arms to Colonel Patrick Campbell of Finnah, who furnished them and their leader with protections under his hand. Being thus in a great measure secured from the resentment of government, Rob Roy established his residence at Craig Royston, near Loch Lomond, in the midst of his own kinsmen, and lost no time in resuming his private quarrel with the duke of Montrose. For this purpose, he soon got on foot as many men, and well armed too, as he had yet commanded. He never stirred without a body guard of ten or twelve picked followers, and without much effort could increase them to fifty or sixty.” (Introduction to Rob Roy.)

      For some years he continued to levy black-mail from those whose cattle and estates he protected, and although an English garrison was stationed at Inversnaid, near Aberfoyle, his activity, address, and courage continually saved him from falling into their hands. The year of his death is uncertain, but it is supposed to have been after 1738. He died at an advanced age in his bed, in his own house at Balquhidder. When he found death approaching, “he expressed,” says Sir Walter Scott, “some contrition for particular parts of his life. His wife laughed at these scruples of conscience, and exhorted him to die like a man, as he had lived. In reply, he rebuked her for her violent passions, and the counsels she had given him. ‘You have put strife,’ he said, ‘between me and the best men of the country, and now you would place enmity between me and my God.’ There is a tradition noway inconsistent with the former, if the character of Rob Roy be justly considered, that, while on his deathbed, he learned that a person with whom he was at enmity, proposed to visit him. ‘Raise me from my bed,’ said the invalid, ‘throw my plaid around me, and bring me my claymore, dirk, and pistols – it shall never be said that a foeman saw Rob Roy Macgregor defenceless and unarmed.’ His foeman, conjectured to be one of the Maclarens, entered and paid his compliments, inquiring after the health of his formidable neighbour. Rob Roy maintained a cold haughty civility during their short conference, and as soon as he had left the house, ‘Now,’ he said, ‘all is over, – let the piper play Ha til me tudidh,’ (we return no more), and he is said to have expired before the dirge was finished.” The grave of Macgregor, in the churchyard of Balquhidder, is distinguished by a rude tombstone, over which a sword is carved.

[the church yard of Balquhidder]

      Rob Roy had five sons, coll, Ronald, James, called James Roy, after his father, and James Mohr, or big James, from his height, Duncan, and Robert, called Robin Oig, or young Robin. shortly after his death, as Sir Walter Scott tells us, ‘the ill-will which the Macgregors entertained against the Maclarens again broke out, at the instigation, it was said, of Rob’s widow. Robin Oig, her youngest son, swore that as soon as he could get back a certain gun which had belonged to his father, and had been sent to Doune to be repaired, he would shoot Maclaren, for having presumed to settle on his mother’s land. He was as good as his word, and shot Maclaren when between the stilts of his plough, wounding him mortally.” The gun with which he did the deed afterwards came into the possession of Sir Walter Scott, and was placed in Abbotsford. This happened about 1736. Robin Oig absconded, and was outlawed by the high court of justiciary. His brothers, however, James and Ronald, with the doctor who had been called in to attend the wounded Maclaren, Callam Macinleister by name, were brought to trial for the murder. But as it could not be shown that they were accessory to the crime, the jury found a verdict of not proven. Ronald and James, however, being reputed thieves, were ordered to find caution to the extent of Ł200, for their good behaviour for seven years. Robin Oig had enlisted into the 42d regiment, and was present at the battle of Fontenoy, where he was wounded and taken prisoner. He was exchanged, and returned to Scotland. He married a daughter of Graham of Drunkie, but his wife died a few years afterwards.

      On the breaking out of the rebellion of 1745, the clan Gregor adhered to the cause of the Pretender. A Macgregor regiment, 300 strong, was raised by Robert Macgregor of Glencairnock, who was generally considered as chief of the clan, which joined the prince’s army. The branch of Ciar Mohr, however, regarded William Macgregor Drummond of Bohaldie, then in France, as their head, and a separate corps formed by them, commanded by Glengyle, and James Roy Macgregor, united themselves to the levies of the titular duke of Perth, James assuming the name of Drummond, the duke’s family name, instead of that of Campbell. This corps was the relics of Rob Roy’s band, and with only twelve men of it, James Roy, who seems to have held the rank of captain or major, succeeded in surprising and burning, for the second time, the fort at Inversnaid, constructed for the express purpose of keeping the country of the Macgregors in order.

      At the battle of Prestonpans, the duke of Perth’s men and the Macgregors composed the centre. Armed only with scythes, this party cut off the legs of the horses, and severed, it is said, the bodies of their riders in twain. Captain James Roy, at the commencement of the battle, received five wounds. Two bullets went through his body, and laid him prostrate on the earth. That his men might not be discouraged by his fall, he raised himself from the ground, and resting his head upon his hand, called out to them, “My lads, I am not dead! – by God, I shall see if any of you does not do his duty!” The Macgregors instantly fell on the flank of the English infantry, which immediately gave way. James Roy recovered from his wounds, and rejoined the prince’s army with six companies. He was present at the battle of Culloden, and after that defeat the clan Gregor returned in a body to their own country, when they dispersed. James Roy was attainted for high treason, but from some letters of his, published in Blackwood’s Magazine for December 1817, vol. i. page 228, it appears that he had entered into some communication with the government, as he mentions having obtained a pass from the lord-justice-clerk in 1747, which was a sufficient protection to him from the military.

      Rob Roy’s youngest son, Robin Oig, already mentioned, the subject of the old Scots song, beginning,

                        “Rob Roy from the Highlands cam’,”

was executed at Edinburgh in February 1753, for the abduction and rape of Jane Kay, heiress of Edenbellie. His brother, James Macgregor Drummond, was also tried capitally for assisting him in the crime, but escaping from prison before sentence, he was outlawed. The account of their trial is given at length in ‘Maclaurin’s Criminal Trials.’ Another brother, duncan Macgregor or Drummond, was brought to trial for being concerned in the abduction of Jane Kay, but the jury found him not guilty.

      On James Roy’s arrival in France, he seems to have been in very poor circumstances, as he addressed a letter to Mr. Edgar, secretary to the chevalier de St. George, dated Boulogne-sur-Mer, May 22d, 1753, craving assistance “for the support of a man who has always shown the strongest attachment to his majesty’s person and cause;” and enclosing the following certificate: “Boulogne-sur-Mer, May ye 22d, 1753. We the underwritten certify that it consists with our knowledge, that James Drummond, son to the late Rob Roy, was employ’d in the Prince Regent’s affairs by James, duke of Perth, before his royal Highness’ arrival in Scotland, and that afterwards he behaved with great bravery in several battles, in which he received many dangerous wounds. (Signed) Strathallan, Charles Boyd, Willm. Drummond.” to relieve his necessities, James ordered his banker at Paris to pay Macgregor 300 livres, in reference to which Lord Strathallan thus writes to Edgar, from Boulogne-sur-Mer, on 6th September 1753: – “I had the honour of yours some time ago, and deferred writing you until I heard about the 300 livres for Mr. Drummond (Macgregor); but I have never heard any more of it. I immediately acquainted Mr. D. with the contents of your letter. The attestation I signed was only as to his courage and personal bravery, for as to anything else, I would be sorry to answer for him, as he has but an indifferent character as to real honesty.” (Stuart Papers.) On the 20th of the same month and year James Roy went a petition to Prince Charles Edward, pleading his services to the cause of the Stuarts, ascribing his exile to the persecution of the Hanoverian government, without any allusion to the affair of Jane Kay, or his outlawry by the high court of justiciary. It was forwarded by Macgregor Drummond of Bohaldie, the acknowledged chief, as already stated, of the Ciar Mohr branch of the clan Gregor.

      James Roy was subsequently employed by the friends of Mr. Campbell of Glenure who, on being appointed factor for government on the forfeited estates of Stewart of Ardshiel, was shot dead by an assassin as he passed through the wood of Lettermore, to trepan Allan Black Stewart, a kinsman of the deceased, the supposed murderer, who had taken refuge in France, and convey him to England. Allan Breck, however, forwarned of his danger, escaped; but James Roy, availing himself of a permission he had received to return to Britain, made a journey to London, and had an interview, according to his own statement, with Lord Holdernesse, secretary of state. The latter and the under secretary offered him, he says, a situation in the government service, which he rejected, as he avers his acceptance of it would have been a disgrace to his birth, and would have rendered him a scourge to his country. ON this he was ordered instantly to quit England. On his return to France, an information was lodged against him by Macdonnell of Lochgarry, before the high bailie of Dunkirk, accusing him of being a spy. In consequence, he was obliged to quit that town and proceed to Paris, with only thirteen livres in his pocket. In his last letter to his acknowledged chief, Macgregor of Bohaldie, dated at Paris, 25th September, 1754, he describes himself as being in a state of extreme destitution, and expresses his anxiety to obtain some employment as a breaker and breeder of horses, or as a hunter or fowler, “till better cast up.” In a postscript he asks his chief to lend him his bagpipes, “to play some melancholy tunes.” He died about a week after writing this letter, it is supposed of absolute starvation.


      It was not till 1784 that the oppressive acts against the Macgregors, which, however, for several years had fallen into desuetude, were rescinded by the British parliament, when they were allowed to resume their own name, and were restored to all the rights and privileges of British citizens. A deed was immediately entered into, subscribed by 826 persons of the name of Macgregor, recognising John Murray of Lanrick, representative of the family of Glencarnock, as their chief, Murray being the name assumed, under the Proscriptive act, by John Macgregor, who was chief in 1715. Although he secretly favoured the rebellion of that year, the latter took no active part in it; but Robert, the next chief, mortgaged his estate, to support the cause of the Stuarts, and he commanded that portion of the clan who acknowledged him as their head in the rebellion of 1745. Altogether, with the Ciar Mohr branch, the Macgregors could then muster 700 fighting men. To induce Glencarnock’s followers to lay down their arms, the duke of Cumberland authorized Mr. Gordon, at that time minister of Alva, in Strathspey, to treat with them, offering them the restoration of their name, and other favours, but the chief replied that they could not desert the cause. They chose rather to risk all, and die with the characters of honest men, than live in infamy, and disgrace their posterity.

      After the battle of Culloden, the chief was long confined in Edinburgh castle, and on his death in 1758, he was succeeded by his brother Evan, who held a commission in the 41st regiment, and served with distinction in Germany. His son, John Murray of Lanrick, was the chief acknowledged by the clan, on the restoration of their rights in 1784. He was a general in the East India Company’s service, and auditor-general in Bengal. Created a baronet of Great Britain 23d July 1795, he resumed in 1822 the original surname of the family, Macgregor, by royal license. He died the same year. His next brother, Alexander Macgregor Murray, was colonel of the royal Clan-Alpin fencibles, when that regiment was raised in 1799. A younger brother, Robert, was lieutenant-colonel, and a great number of the clan Gregor formed part of it. The Clan-Alpin fencibles were disbanded in 1802. Another brother, Peter, colonel in the East India Company’s service, and adjutant-general of the Bengal army, was killed on board of the Lord Nelson, East Indiaman. Colonel Alexander Macgregor Murray’s son, also named Alexander, attained to the rank of major-general in the army.

      Sir John Murray Macgregor’s only son, Sir Even John Macgregor, second baronet, was born in January 1785. He was a major-general in the army, K.C.B., and G.C.H., and govern-r general of the Windward Isles. He died at his seat of government 14th June 1841. By his wife, Lady Elizabeth Murray, daughter of John, fourth duke of Athol, he had five sons and four daughters.

      His eldest son, Sir John Athol Bannatyne Macgregor, third baronet, born 20th January 1810, was lieutenant-governor of the Virgin islands, and died at Tortola, his seat of government, 11th May, 1851. He had four sons and two daughters. The eldest son, Sir Malcolm Murray Macgregor, fourth baronet, born 29th August, 1834, and styled of Macgregor, county Perth, is an officer in the royal navy. The modern motto of the family is “E’en do, but spair nocht.”


      Another family of the name of Macgregor enjoys a baronetcy, conferred, on 17th March 1828, on Patrick Macgregor, son of James Macgregor of Ballimore, Inverness-shire, by his wife, Margaret, daughter of Alexander Grant of Tullochgorm. He had filled the situation of sergeant-surgeon to the king, and personal surgeon to the duke of York. He died two months after being created a baronet. His eldest son, Sir William, second baronet, was a captain in the 93d Highlanders. He died, unmarried, 29th March, 1846, and was succeeded by his brother, the Rev. Sir Charles Macgregor, third baronet, born in 1819, graduated at Catherine Hall, Cambridge, vicar and rural dean of the diocese of Lincoln; married, with issue.


      Many persons of the name of Macgregor have distinguished themselves, particularly in the military service of the country. Among these may be mentioned Colonel Robert Macgregor of the 88th regiment, who was renowned for his personal bravery. He was a native of Edinburgh, and entered the army as a volunteer in the 57th foot, and with that regiment proceeded to the West Indies. He was present at the reduction of St. Lucie, and was appointed by Sir Ralph Abercromby to an ensigncy in the 27th. He subsequently purchased a company in the 88th regiment, and accompanied it to the East Indies. He afterwards served in Egypt, and in 1806, his regiment formed part of General Crawford’s expedition to Buenos Ayres. In 1808, he proceeded to t he Peninsula, and was severely wounded at the battle of Busaco. He died in December 1835.

      An adventurer of this name, Sir Gregor Macgregor, at one time rendered himself remarkable by his exploits in South America, and particularly by his obtaining the sovereign sway in Poyais, a fertile tract of land, on the Mosquito shore, near the bay of Honduras, with a capital of the same name. He was originally an officer in the British army, and served with distinction in Spain. In 1816 he was very active in the Venezuelan revolution, and in 1817 he took possession of Amelia island, on the coast of Florida, then belonging to Spain. In 1819, he attacked Portobello, which he captured, but was soon after surprised in his bed, and obliged to escape out of a window. some years subsequently he settled among the Poyais, a warlike race of Indians, who had maintained their independence, and having gained their confidence he was chosen by them their cacique. In this capacity he encouraged commerce, founded schools, &c. In 1824 as cacique of Poyais he procured a loan in London from respectable houses. Strangeway, his aide-de-camp, published at Edinburgh in 1824, a Sketch of the Mosquito Shore, including the territory of Poyais, in which there are many interesting particulars regarding this enterprising member of the house of Macgregor


      One the roll of baronets of Great Britain is a family of the name of M’Grigor. Sir James M’Griger of Camden Hill, Kensington, Middlesex. M.D., F.R.S., the son of Colquhoun M’Grigor, Esq., a merchant in Aberdeen; born in 1771, entered the medical department of the army in 1793. In 1796 he was chief of the medical staff in Grenada, and after filling the same office in India, in Egypt, and in the Walcheron expedition, in 1811 he joined the army in the Peninsula, and was particularly distinguished by the duke of Wellington in his despatches after the surrender of Badajoz and the battle of Vittoria. Knighted in 1814, in 1815 he was placed at the head of the medical board, and in 1831 was created a baronet of Great Britain; he was also physician extraordinary to the Queen. He died in 1858. His son, Sir Charles Roderick M’Grigor, second baronet, born in 1811, married in 1850 the youngest daughter of Major-general Sir Robert Nickle, K.N.

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