Page images
PDF
EPUB

a stirring world, than to embrace the worst side, of Pertlı, who were then strict Catholics. Having, were it as black as rebellion could make it. The as he observed, assumed the name of the Duke of impossibility of his being neutral in such a debate, Argyle, his first protector, he could pay no compli. Rob seems to lay down as an undeniable proposition. ment worth the Earl of Perth's acceptance, save At the same time, while he acknowledges having complying with his mode of religion. Rob did not been forced into an unnatural rebellion against King pretend, when pressed closely on the subject, to George, he pleads that he not only avoided acting justify all the tenets of Catholicism, and acknowoffensively against his Majesty's forces on all oc- ledged that extreme unction always appeared to casions, but, on the contrary, sent to them what him a great waste of ulzie, or oil.' intelligence he could collect from time to time ; for In the last years of Rob Roy's life, his clan was the truth of which he refers to his Grace the Duke involved in a dispute with one more powerful than of Argyle. What influence this plea had on Ge- themselves. Stewart of Appin, a chief of the tribe neral Wade, we have no means of knowing. so named, was proprietor of a hill-farm in the Braes

Rob Roy appears to have continued to live very of Balquhidder, called Invernenty. The MacGremuch as usual. His fame, in the meanwhile, passed gors of Rob Roy’s tribe claimed a right to it by beyond the narrow limits of the country in which ancient occupancy, and declared they would oppose he resided. A pretended history of him appeared to the uttermost the settlement of any person upon in London during his lifetime, under the title of the farm not being of their own name. The Stew. the Highland Rogue. It is a catch-penny publica- arts came down with two hur dred men, well armed, tion, bearing in front the effigy of a species of ogre, to do themselves justice by main force. The Macwith a beard of a foot in length; and his actions Gregors took the field, but were unable to muster are as much exaggerated as his personal appear. an equal strength. Rob Roy, finding himself the ance. Some few of the best known adventures of weaker party, asked a parley, in which he reprethe hero are told, though with little accuracy; but sented that both clans were friends to the King, the greater part of the pamphlet is entirel · ficti- and that he was unwilling they should be weakened tious. It is great pity so excellent a theme fo. a by mutual conflict, and thus made a merit of surnarrative of the kind had not fallen into the hands rendering to Appin the disputed territory of Inver. of De Foe, who was engaged at the time on sub- nenty. Appin, accordingly, settled as tenants there, jects somewhat similar, though inferior in dignity at an easy quit-rent, the MacLarens, a family deand interest.

pendent on the Stewarts, and from whose character As Rob Roy advanced in years, he became more for strength and bravery, it was expected that they peaceable in his habits, and his nephew Ghluno would make their right good if annoyed by the Dhu, with most of his tribe, renounced those pecu- MacGregors. When all this had been amicably liar quarrels with the Duke of Montrose, by which adjusted, in presence of the two clans drawn up in his uncle had been distinguished. The policy of arms near the Kirk of Balquhidder, Rob Roy, apthat great family had latterly been rather to attach parently fearing his tribe might be thought to have this wild tribe by kindness than to follow the mode conceded too much upon the occasion, stepped for. of violence which had been hitherto ineffectually ward and said, that where so many gallant men resorted to. Leases at a low rent were granted to were met in arms, it would be shameful to part many of the MacGregors, who had heretofore held without a trial of skill, and therefore he took the possessions in the Duke's Highland property merely freedom to invite any gentleman of the Stewarts by occupancy; and Glengyle (or Black-knee), who present to exchange a few blows with him for the continued to act as collector of black-mail, ma- honour of their respective clans. The brother-innaged his police, as a commander of the Highland law of Appin, and second chieftain of the clau, watch arrayed at the charge of Government. He Alaster Stewart of Invernahyle, accepted the chalis said to have strictly abstained from the open lenge, and they encountered with broad-sword and and lawless depredations which his kinsman had target before their respective kinsmen. The compractised.

bạt lasted till Rob received a slight wound in the It was probably after this state of temporary arm, which was the usual termination of such a quiet had been obtained, that Rob Roy began to combat when fought for honour only, and not with think of the concerns of his future state. He had a mortal purpose. Rob Roy dropped his point, and been bred, and long professed himself, a Protes- congratulated his adversary on having been the tant; but in his later years he embraced the Roman first man who ever drew blood from him. The Catholic faith,- perhaps on Mrs Cole's principle, victor generously acknowledged, that without the that it was a comfortable religion for one of his advantage of youth, and the agility accompanying calling. He is said to have alleged as the cause of it

, he probably could not have come off with advanhis conversion, a desire to gratify the noble family tage.

I Such an admission is ascribed to the robber, Donald the account of Invernahyle himself, was as stated in the Bean Lean, in Waverley, p. 153.

text. But the period when I received the information is

now so distant, that it is possible I may be mistaken. In • Some accounts state, that Appin himself was Rob i vernahyle was rather of low stature, but very well made, Roy's antagonist on this occasion. My recollection, from athletic, and an excellent swordsman.

1

زاران

This was probably one of Rob Roy's last exploits ability, the support of the widow and the orphan -in arms. The time of his death is not known with kept his word when pledged—and died lamented certainty, but he is generally said to have survived in his own wild country, where there were hearts 1738, and to have died an aged man. When he grateful for his beneficence, though their minds found himself approaching his final change, he were not sufficiently instructed to appreciate his expressed some contrition for particular parts of errors. his life. His wife laughed at these scruples of con The author perhaps ought to stop here; but the science, and exhorted him to die like a man, as he fate of a part of Rob Roy's family was so extraorhad lived. In reply, he rebuked her for her vio- dinary, as to call for a continuation of this somelent passions, and the counsels she had given him. what prolix account, as affording an interesting " You have put strife,” he said, “ betwixt me and chapter, not on Highland manners alone, but on the best men of the country, and now you would every stage of society in which the people of a priplace enmity between me and my God.”

mitive and half-civilized tribe are brought into There is a tradition, no way inconsistent with close contact with a nation, in which civilization the former, if the character of Rob Roy be justly and polity has attained a complete superiority. considered, that while on his deathbed, he learned Rob had five sons, -Coll, Ronald, James, Dunthat a person, with whom he was at enmity, pro- can, and Robert. Nothing occurs worth notice posed to visit him. “ Raise me from my bed,” said concerning three of them; but James, who was a the invalid ," throw my plaid around me, and bring very handsome man, seems to have had a good deal me my claymore, dirk;' and pistols — it shall never of his father's spirit, and the mantle of Dougal Ciar be said that a foeman saw Rob Roy MacGregor Mohr had apparently descended on the shoulders defenceless and unarmed.” His foeman, conjec- of Robin Oig, that is, young Robin. Shortly after tured to be one of the MacLarens before and after Rob Roy's death, the ill-will which the MacGrementioned, entered and paid his compliments, in- gors entertained against the MacLarens again broke quiring after the health of his formidable neigh- out, at the instigation, it was said, of Rob’s widow, bour. Rob Roy maintained a cold, haughty civility who seems thus far to have deserved the character during their short conference, and so soon as he given to her by her husband, as an Até stirring up had left the house, “ Now," he said, “ all is over to blood and strife. Robin Oig, under her insti- let the piper play Ha til mi tulidh,(we return gation, swore that as soon as he could get back a no more ;) and he is said to have expired before certain gun which had belonged to his father, and the dirge was finished.

had been lately at Doune to be repaired, he would This singular man died in bed in his own house, shoot MacLaren, for having presumed to settle on in the parish of Balquhidder. He was buried in his mother's land. He was as good as his word, the churchyard of the same parish, where his tomb- and shot MacLaren when between the stilts of his stone is only distinguished by a rude attempt at the plough, wounding him mortally. figure of a broadsword.

The aid of a Highland leech was procured, who The character of Rob Roy is, of course, a mixed probed the wound with a probe made out of a casone. His sagacity, boldness, and prudence, quali- tock; i. 6. the stalk of a colewort or cabbage. This ties so highly necessary to success in war, became learned gentleman declared he would not venture in some degree vices, from the manner in which to prescribe, not knowing with what shot the pathey were employed. The circumstances of his tient had been wounded. MacLaren died, and education, however, must be admitted as some ex about the same time his cattle were houghed and tenuation of his habitual trangressions against the his live stock destroyed in a barbarous manner. law; and for his political tergiversations, he might Robin Oig, after this feat— which one of his in that distracted period plead the example of men biographers represents as the unhappy discharge far more powerful, and less excusable in becoming of a gun-retired to his mother's house, to boast the sport of circumstances, than the poor and des- that he had drawn the first blood in the quarrel perate outlaw. On the other hand, he was in the aforesaid. On the approach of troops, and a body of constant exercise of virtues, the more meritorious the Stewarts, who were bound to take up the cause as they seem inconsistent with his general charac of their tenant, Robin Oig absconded, and escaped ter. Pursuing the occupation of a predatory chief- all search. tain,-in modern phrase, a captain of banditti,— The doctor already mentioned, by name Callam Rob Roy was moderate in his revenge, and humane MacInleister, with James and Ronald, brothers to in his successes. No charge of cruelty or blood- the actual perpetrator of the murder, were brought shed, unless in battle, is brought against his me to trial. But as they contrived to represent the mory. In like manner, the formidable outlaw was action as a rash deed committed by the “ daft calthe friend of the poor, and, to the utmost of his lant Rob,” to which they were not accessory, the

tion of arms belonging to the author. It is a Spanishbarrelled gun, marked with the letters R.M.C., for Robert MacGregor Campbell.

1 This fatal piece was taken from Robin Oig, when he was seized many years afterwards. It remained in possession of the magistrates before whom he was brought for examination, and now makes part of a small collecVoi. I.

507 No. XXXIII.

2 K

the jury found their accession to the crime was Not Alpine, should come over from France. To cement Proven. The alleged acts of spoil and violence on the union after the Highland fashion, James laid the MacLarens' cattle were also found to be un- down the name of Campbell, and assumed that of supported by evidence. As it was proved, how- Drummond, in compliment to Lord Perth. He ever, that the two brothers, Ronald and James, was also called James Roy, after his father, and were held and reputed thieves, they were appointed James Mohr Big James, from his height. His to find caution to the extent of £200, for their good corps, the relics of his father Rob's band, behaved behaviour for seven years.

with great activity; with only twelve men he sucThe spirit of clanship was at that time so strong ceeded in surprising and burning, for the second - to which must be added the wish to secure the time, the fort at Inversnaid, constructed for the adherence of stout, able-bodied, and, as the Scotch express purpose of bridling the country of the Macphrase then went, pretty men--that the represen- Gregors. tative of the noble family of Perth condescended What rank or command James MacGregor had, to act openly as patron of the MacGregors, and is uncertain. He calls himself Major; and Cheappeared as such upon their trial. So at least the valier Johnstone calls him Captain. He must have author was informed by the late Robert Macintosh, held rank under Ghlune Dhu, his kinsman, but his Esq. advocate. The circumstance may, however, active and audacious character placed him above have occurred later than 1736—the year in which the rest of his brethren. Many of his followers this first trial took place.

were unarmed; he supplied the want of guns and Robin Oig served for a time in the 42d regiment, swords with scythe-blades set straight upon their and was present at the battle of Fontenoy, where handles. he was made prisoner and wounded. He was ex At the battle of Prestonpans, James Roy distinchanged, returned to Scotland, and obtained his guished himself. “ His company," says Chevalier discharge. He afterwards appeared openly in the Johnstone, “ did great execution with their scythes." MacGregor's country; and, notwithstanding his They cut the legs of the horses in two-the riders outlawry, married a daughter of Graham of Drun through the middle of their bodies. MacGregor was kie, a gentleman of some property. His wife died brave and intrepid, but, at the same time, soinea few years afterwards.

what whimsical and singular. When advancing to The insurrection of 1745 soon afterwards called the charge with his company, he received five the MacGregors to arms. Robert MacGregor of wounds, two of them from balls that pierced his Glencarnoch, generally regarded as the chief of the body through and through. Stretched on the ground, whole name, and grandfather of Sir John, whom with his head resting on his hand, he called out the clan received in that character, raised a Mac- loudly to the Highlanders of his company, “ My Gregor regiment, with which he joined the standard lads, I am not dead. By G- I shall see if any of the Chevalier. The race of Ciar Mohr, however, of you does not do his duty.” The victory, as is affecting independence, and commanded by Glen- well known, was instantly obtained. gyle and his cousin James Roy MacGregor, did In some curious letters of James Roy, it appears not join this kindred corps, but united themselves that his thigh bone was broken on this occasion, to the levies of the titular Duke of Perth, until Wil- and that he, nevertheless, rejoined the army with liam MacGregor Drummond of Bolhaldie, whom six companies, and was present at the battle of they regarded as head of their branch of Clan- Culloden. After that defeat, the clan MacGregor

1 The author is uncertain whether it is worth while to attorney's clerk, was invested with the superintendence mention, that he had a personal opportunity of observing, of the expedition, with directions to see that the mes even in his own time, that the king's writ did not pass senger discharged his duty fully, and that the gallant ser. quite current in the Braes of Balquhidder. There were geant did not exceed his part by committing violence or very considerable debts due by Stewart of Appin (chiefly plunder. And thus it happened, oddly enough, that the to the author's family), which were likely to be lost to the author first entered the romantic scenery of Loch kacreditors, if they could not be made available out of this trine, of which he may perhaps say he has somewhat ex. same farm of Invernenty, the scene of the murder done tended the reputation, riding in all the dignity of danger, upon MacLaren.

with a front and rear guard, and loaded arms. The ser His family, consisting of several strapping deer-stalkers, geant was absolutely a llighland Sergeant Kite, full of still possessed the farm, by virtue of a long lease, for a stories of Rob Roy and of himself, and a very good comtrifling rent. There was no chance of any one buying it panion. We experienced no interruption whatever, and with such an encumbrance, and a transaction was entered when we came to Invernenty, found the house deserted. into by the MacLarens, who, being desirous to emigrate We took up our quarters for the night, and used some of to America, agreed to sell their lease to the creditors for the victuals which we found there. On the morning we £500, and to remove at the next term of Whitsunday. But returned as unmolested as we carne. whether they repented their bargain, or desired to make The Maclarens, who probably never thought of any sea better, or whether from a mere point of honour, the rious opposition, received their money and went to AmeMacLarens declared they would not permit a summons of rica, where, haviríg had some slight share in removing removal to be executed against thein, which was neces them from their paupera regna, I sincerely hope they prossary for the legal completion of the bargain. And such pered. was the general impression that they were men capable The rent of Invernenty instantly rose from £10 to £70 of resisting the legal execution of warning by very effec or £50; and when sold, ihe farm was purchased (I think tual means, no king's messenger would execute the suin by the late Laird of MacNab) at a price higher in propor. mons without the support of a military force. An escort tion than what even the modern rent authorised the par. of a sergeant and six men was obtained from a llighland ties interested to hope for. regiment lying in Stirling; and the author, then a writer's aiprentice, equivalent to the honourable situation of an ? Published in Blackwood's Magazine, vol. ii. page 228.

kept together in a body, and did not disperse till Donald with pretty Fanny. It is not a great many they had returned into their own country. They years since a respectable woman, above the lower brought James Roy with them in a litter; and, rank of life, expressed herself very warmly to the without being particularly molested, he was per- author on his taking the freedom to censure the mitted to reside in the MacGregor's country along behaviour of the MacGregors on the occasion in with his brothers.

question. She said “ that there was no use in giving James MacGregor Drummond was attainted for a bride too much choice upon such occasions; that high treason with persons of more importance. But the marriages were the happiest lang syne which it appears he had entered into some communica- bad been done off hand.” Finally, she averred tion with Government, as, in the letters quoted, that her own mother had never seen her father he mentions having obtained a pass from the Lord till the night he brouglıt her up from the Lennox, Justice-Clerk in 1747, which was a sufficient pro- with ten head of black cattle, and there had not tection to him from the military. The circumstance been a happier couple in the country." is obscurely stated in one of the letters already James Drummond and his brethren having siquoted, but may perhaps, joined to subsequent in- milar opinions with the author's old acquaintance, cidents, authorise the suspicion that James, like and debating how they might raise the fallen forhis father, could look at both sides of the cards. As tunes of their clan, formed a resolution to settle the confusion of the country subsided, the Mac- their brother's fortune by striking up an advantaGregors, like foxes which had baffled the hounds, geous marriage betwixt Robin Oig and one Jean drew back to their old haunts, and lived unmolested. Key, or Wright, a young woman scarce twenty But an atrocious outrage, in which the sons of Rob years old, and who had been left about two months Roy were concerned, brought at length on the fa a widow by the death of her husband. Her promily the full vengeance of the law.

perty was estimated at only from 16,000 to 18,000 James Roy was a married man, and had fourteen merks, but it seems to have been sufficient tempchildren. But his brother, Robin Oig, was now a tation to these men to join in the commission of a widower; and it was resolved, if possible, that he great crime. should make his fortune by carrying off and mar This poor young victim lived with her mother in rying, by force if necessary, some woman of fortune her own house at Edinbilly, in the parish of Balfron from the Lowlands.

and shire of Stirling. At this place, in the night The imagination of the half-civilized Highlanders of 3d December 1750, the sons of Rob Roy, and was less shocked at the idea of this particular spe- particularly James Mohr and Robin Oig, rushed cies of violence, than might be expected from their into the house where the object of their attack was general kindness to the weaker sex when they make resident, presented guns, swords, and pistols to the part of their own families. But all their views were males of the family, and terrified the women by tinged with the idea that they lived in a state of threatening to break open the doors if Jean Key war; and in such a state, from the time of the siege was not surrendered, as, said James Roy, “ his of Troy to “ the moment when Previsa fell,”? the brother was a young fellow determined to make his female captives are, to uncivilized victors, the most fortune.” Having, at length, dragged the object of valuable part of the booty —

their lawless purpose from her place of concealment,

they tore her from her mother's arms, mounted her " The wealthy are slaughter'd, the lovely are spared."

on a horse before one of the gang, and carried her We need not refer to the rape of the Sabines, or off in spite of her screams and cries, which were to a similar instance in the Book of Judges, for long heard after the terrified spectators of the outevidence that such deeds of violence have been rage could no longer see the party retreat through committed upon a large scale. Indeed, this sort the darkness. In her attempts to escape, the poor of enterprise was so common along the Highland young woman threw herself from the horse on which line as to give rise to a variety of songs and ballads. they had placed her, and in so doing wrenched her The annals of Ireland, as well as those of Scotland, side. They then laid her double over the pummel prove the crime to have been common in the more of the saddle, and transported her through the lawless parts of both countries; and any woman mosses and moors till the pain of the injury she who happened to please a man of spirit who came had suffered in her side, augmented by the uneasiof a good house, and possessed a few chosen friends, ness of her posture, made her consent to sit upright. and a retreat in the mountains, was not permitted in the execution of this crime they stopped at more the alternative of saying him nay. What is more, houses than one, but none of the inhabitants dared it would seem that the women themselves, most interrupt their proceedings. Amongst others who interested in the immunities of their sex, were, saw them was that classical and accomplished schoamong the lower classes, accustomed to regard such lar the late Professor William Richardson of Glasmarriages as that which is presently to be detailed gow, who used to describe as a terrible dream their as “ pretty Fanny's way," or rather, the way of violent and noisy entrance into the house where

Childe llarold's Pilgrimage, Canto II.

2 See Appendix, No. V. p. 26.

he was then residing. The Highlanders filled the acquiesce in the match, she would find that there little kitchen, brandishing their arms, demanding were enough of men in the Highlands to bring the what they pleased, and receiving whatever they heads of two of her uncles who were pursuing the demanded. James Mohr, he said, was a tall, stern, civil lawsuit. At another time he fell down on and soldier-like man. Robin Oig looked more gentle; his knees, and confessed he had been accessory to dark, but yet ruddy in complexion-a good-looking wronging her, but begged she would not ruin his young savage. Their victim was so dishevelled in innocent wife and large family. She was made to her dress, and forlorn in her appearance and de swear she would not prosecute the brethren for the meanour, that he could hardly tell whether she was offence they had committed ; and she was obliged, alive or dead.

by threats, to subscribe papers which were tendered The gang carried the unfortunate woman to to her, intimating that she was carried off in conRowerdennan, where they had a priest unscrupu- sequence of her own previous request. lous enough to read the marriage service, while James Mohr Drummond, accordingly, brought James Mohr forcibly held the bride up before him; his pretended sister-in-law to Edinburgli, where, and the priest declared the couple man and wife, for some little time, she was carried about from even while she protested against the infamy of his one house to another, watched by those with whom conduct. Under the same threats of violence, which she was lodged, and never permitted to go out had been all along used to enforce their scheme, alone, or even to approach the window. The Court the poor victim was compelled to reside with the of Session, considering the peculiarity of the case, pretended husband who was thus forced upon her. and regarding Jean Key as being still under some They even dared to carry her to the public church forcible restraint, took her person under their own of Balquidder, where the officiating clergyman (the special charge, and appointed her to reside in the same who had been Rob Roy's pensioner) only family of Mr Wightman of Mauldsley, a gentleman asked them if they were married persons. Robert of respectability, who was married to one of her MacGregor answered in the affirmative; the terri near relatives. Two sentinels kept guard on the fied female was silent.

house day and night-a precaution not deemed suThe country was now too effectually subjected perfluous when the MacGregors were in question. to the law for this vile outrage to be followed by She was allowed to go out whenever she chose, and the advantages proposed by the actors. Military to see whomsoever she had a mind, as well as the parties were sent out in every direction to seize men of law employed in the civil suit on either side. the MacGregors, who were for two or three weeks When she first came to Mr Wightman's house, she compelled to shift from one place to another in the seemed broken down with affright and suffering, mountains, bearing the unfortunate Jean Key along so changed in features that her mother hardly knew with them. In the meanwhile, the Supreme Civil her, and so shaken in mind that she scarce could Court issued a warrant sequestrating the property recognise her parent. It was long before she could of Jean Key, or Wright, which removed out of the be assured that she was in perfect safety. But reach of the actors in the violence the prize which when she at length received confidence in her situthey expected. They had, however, adopted a beation, she made a judicial declaration, or affidavit, lief of the poor woman's spirit being so far broken telling the full history of her wrongs, imputing to that she would prefer submitting to her condition, fear her former silence on the subject, and expressand adhering to Robin Oig as her husband, rather ing her resolution not to prosecute those who had than incur the disgrace of appearing in such a cause injured her, in respect of the oath which she had in an open court. It was, indeed, a delicate expe- been compelled to take. From the possible breach riment; but their kinsman Glengyle, chief of their of such an oatlı, though a compulsory one, she was immediate family, was of a temper averse to law- relieved by the forms of Scottish jurisprudence, in less proceedings ;t and the captive's friends having that respect more equitable than those of England, had recourse to his advice, they feared that he prosecutions for crimes being always conducted at would withdraw his protection if they refused to the expense and charge of the King, without inconplace the prisoner at liberty.

venience or cost to the private party who has susThe brethren resolved therefore to liberate the tained the wrong. But the unhappy sufferer did unhappy woman, but previously had recourse to not live to be either accuser or witness against those every measure which should oblige her, either from who had so deeply injured her. fear or otherwise, to own her marriage with Robin James Mohr Drummond had left Edinburgh so Oig. The cailliachs (old Highland hags) adminis- soon as his half-dead prey had been taken from his tered drugs, which were designed to have the effect clutches. Mrs Key, or Wright, was released from of philtres, but were probably deleterious. James her species of confinement there, and removed to Mohr at one time threatened, that if she did not | Glasgow, under the escort of Mr Wightman. As

1 Such, at least, was his general character; for when his enterprise, Jean Key told him he lied, since she was James Mohr, whilo perpetrating the violence at Edinbilly, confident Glengyle would never countenance so scouncalled out, in order to overawe opposition, that Glengyle drelly a business. was lying in the moor with a hundred men to patronise

« PreviousContinue »