Always the Great Man

Portrait of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Duke of Greenwich (1678-1743) by William Aikman (died 1731), ca. 1720-1725, National Portrait Gallery, London.

Joannes Argatheliæ et Greenovici Dux, Marchio de Kintyre et Lorn, Comes de Campbell, Cowall et Greenwich, Vicecomes de Lochow et Glenyla, Dominus de Inveraray, Mull, Morvern et Tirij, Baro de Chatham, Hæreditarius Justiciarius Generalis, Vicecomitatus Argatheliæ, Insularum aliorumque ejusdem Vicecomitatus Locumtenens et Præfectus Juridicus Hæreditarius, Magnus apud Scotos Hospitii Magister ibidem Haereditarius, copiarum Britanicarum Mariscallus, tormentorum bellicorum Magnæ Britaniæ Praefectus, inter fines Commitatus Argatheliæ Insularumque Scotiæ occidentalium Admiralis, S. D. N. Regis a Sanctiaribus Concilijs ac nobilissimi ordinis auratæ periscelidis Eques.

Latin style of John Campbell, Duke of Argyll, c. 1740.

In Lustre of Race equal to the first Subjects;
In Talents and Accomplishments superior to most:
Distinguish’d from his Youth with the highest publick Trusts;
All discharged with signal Honour:
An upright Statesman, a human Hero:
His Address, like his Person pleasing:
A steady Friend; too sincere to feign Affection:
A fair Enemy; too brave to dissemble Resentment:
Never making small Foes, never courting great ones:
A powerful Orator,
Persuasive, by being himself persuaded;
Of wonderful Ability to shake or calm the human Soul:
In Office, the Man of Dignity; out of it, the easy Companion;
Always the Great Man:
For the rest I refer to Records, in the Annals of Europe,
Concerning the illustrious

— Inscription by —— Gordon, Esq, intended for the monument to John Campbell, Duke of Argyll, in Westminster Abbey, by Mr. Roubillac, of St. Martin’s Lane, from The Scots Magazine, February, 1749.

A Pack of Hypocrites

WHERE are the days that we have seen,
When Phœbus shone fu’ bright, man,
Days when fu’ merry we have been,
When every one had right man;
Now gloomy clouds do overshade,
And spread wide over a’, man,
Ill boding comets blaze o’er head,
O whirry whigs awa’, man.

Now ill appears with face fu’ bare,
‘Mong high and low degree, man,
And great confusion every where,
Which every day we see, man;
A blind man’s chosen for a guide,
If they get not a fa’ man,
There’s none needs wonder if they slide,
O whirry whigs awa’, man.

We are divided as you see,
A sad and dreadful thing, man,
‘Twixt malice, pride, and presbytery,
And Satan leads the ring, man:
Our nation’s under misery,
And slavery with a’ man,
Yet deaf’d with din of liberty,
O whirry whigs awa’, man.

Our decent gowns are all put down,
Dare scarcely now be seen, man,
Geneva frocks take up their room,
Entitled to the tiends, man;
Who cant and speak the most discreet,
And say they love the law, man,
Yet are a pack of hypocrites,
O whirry whigs awa’, man.

Of primitive simplicity,
Which in our church was left, man,
Of truth and peace with prelacy,
Alas! we are bereft, man;
Instead of true humility,
And unity with a’ man,
Confusion’s mither presbytery,
Now spawns her brats thro’ a’ man.

The Lord’s prayer and the creed,
With glore to trinity, man,
New start-ups all these things exclude
And call them popery, man,
Rebellion’s horn they loudly tout,
With whinning tone and bla, man,
And leave the means of grace without;
O whirry whigs awa’, man.

Yet creed and Lord’s prayer too,
The true blue folks of old, man,
Ye know believed to be true,
And promised to hold, man.
But having proved false to God,
Traitors to kings with a’, man,
They never by their word abode;
O whirry whigs awa’, man.

Continue reading “A Pack of Hypocrites”

Argyle Is My Name

Bronze medal of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Greenwich, by Jacques Antoine Dassier, 1743; 2 1/8" diameter; NPG 6232.
Bronze medal of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Greenwich, by Jacques Antoine Dassier, 1743; 2 1/8″ diameter; NPG 6232.



Tune—Bannocks o’ Barley Meal.

Argyle is my name, and you may think it strange,
To live at a court, yet never to change;
A’ falsehood and flattery I do disdain,
In my secret thoughts nae guile does remain.
My king and my country’s foes I have faced,
In city or battle I ne’er was disgraced;
I do every thing for my country’s weal,
And feast upon bannocks o’ barley meal.

I will quickly lay down my sword and my gun,
And put my blue bonnet and my plaidie on;
With my silk tartan hose, and leather-heel’d shoon,
And then I will look like a sprightly loon.
And when I’m sae dress’d frae tap to tae,
To meet my dear Maggie I vow I will gae,
Wi’ target and hanger hung down to my heel;
And I’ll feast upon bannocks o’ barley meal.

I’ll buy a rich garment to gie to my dear,
A ribbon o’ green for Maggie to wear;
And mony thing brawer than that, I declare,
Gin she will gang wi’ me to Paisley fair.
And when we are married, I’ll keep her a cow,
And Maggie will milk when I gae to plow;
We’ll live a’ the winter on beef and lang kail,
And feast upon bannocks o’ barley meal.

Gin Maggie should chance to bring me a son,
He’ll fight for his king, as his daddy has done;
He’ll hie him to Flanders, some breeding to learn,
And then hame to Scotland, and get him a farm.
And there we will live by our industry,
And wha’ll be sae happy as Maggie and me?
We’ll a’ grow as fat as a Norway seal,
Wi’ our feasting on bannocks o’ barley meal.

Then fare ye weel, citizens, noisy men,
Wha jolt in your coaches to Drury Lane;
Ye bucks o’ Bear-garden, I bid ye adieu;
For drinking and swearing, I leave it to you.
I’m fairly resolved for a country life,
And nae langer will live in hurry and strife;
I’ll aff to the Highlands as hard’s I can reel,
And whang at the bannocks o’ barley meal.*

* From Herd’s Collection, 1776. Another conjecture or tradition gives the song to James Boswell.

— Robert Chambers, The Scottish Songs, Vol. 1, 1829.

Conflation: Gàidhealtachd & Jacobitism

The simple question “who were the Gaidheil (Gaels)”? Might seem like a surprising point of departure. When the Comunn Oiseanach (Ossianic Society) started meeting at the University of Glasgow some eighty years later, from 1831, one of their primary functions was as a debating society. They discussed, in Gaelic, a wide range of topics but one which proved especially popular and to which they returned again and again was the Jacobite rising of 1745-46. Was it right, they asked, again and again, that the ‘Gael’ should have risen in support of Prince Charles Edward Stuart?

The popularity of the topic was shared by Iain MacChoinnich (1806-48), a native of Gairloch, who worked at the printer’s office at the University of Glasgow and was admitted as an honorary member of An Comunn Oiseanach in 1834. Iain gifted An Comunn a copy of An Nuadh Oranaiche Gaelach (or ‘Ais-èiridh na Sean Chánoin Albannaich’), the volume published by Alasdair mac Mhaighistir Alasdair (1751). This Iain MacChoinnich (John Mackenzie) was the editor of the widely known collection of Gaelic poetry, Sàr Obair nam Bàrd Gaidhealach (1841), and also a history of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 entitled Eachdraidh a’ Phrionnsa (1844). The author referred to his honorary membership of An Comunn Oiseanach on the frontspiece of the latter book. This work, Eachdraidh a’ Phrionnsa, refers, as do members of An Comunn Oiseanach in their minute books, to the ‘Gaeil’ as being synonymous with support for the Prince.

The insistence shown by MacChoinnich in labelling Jacobite supporters as Gaels throughout his book seems all the more surprising given his awareness that the leader of the Whig opposition was the chief of a Highland clan. Iain Ruadh nan Cath (John, 2nd Duke of Argyll), the Campbell clan chief, followed by a considerable number of Gaelic speakers, commanded the Hanoverian forces arrayed against the ‘Gaels’ (Jacobites) in 1715. This identification of Jacobitism with Gaels must reflect to some extent, views held not only by An Comunn Oiseanach but also of the way in which contemporary Highland and Scottish society in the nineteenth century perceived events of the previous century.

Later generations can, perhaps, be forgiven for conflating the Gaidhealtachd with Jacobitism given that their predecessors in the 1740s were similarly imprecise. People in the 1740s, particularly people from the Lowlands habitually referred to Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s army as the ‘Highlanders’. Gaelic speakers who supported the Hanoverian regime, on the other hand were often given more specific identities. The Whig supporters tended to be not identified as Gaels or Highlanders, but instead as ‘Argyllshire men’, as ‘Munros’, or ‘Grants.’ Part of the reason for this is that Jacobites, irrespective of whether they were Lowland or Highland, and even the Prince himself, identified themselves as ‘Highlanders’ and adopted tartan dress. The Jacobites were highlanders – in a visual if not always in a linguistic sense.

— excerpted from “Jacobites & Whigs,” The Gaelic Story web site, University of Glasgow.

So Near Was the Union to Receiving a Fatal Blow

Portrait of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Duke of Greenwich (1678-1743) by William Aikman (died 1731), ca. 1720-1725, National Portrait Gallery, London.
Portrait of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Duke of Greenwich (1678-1743) by William Aikman (died 1731), ca. 1720-1725, National Portrait Gallery, London.

——— Imperial Jove,
He reigns unquestion’d in his Realms above;
No Title from Descent he need infer,
His red right Arm proclaims the Thunderer,
This, Campbell, be thy Pride, Illustrious Peer,
Alike to shine distinguish’d in your Sphere,
All Merit but your own you may disdain,
And Kings have been your Ancestors in vain.

Mr. Pope on reading the Preamble to the Patent creating his Grace Duke of Greenwich.

* * *

The Scotch, while the [Malt Tax] Bill was depending in the House of Commons, argued strenuously against it; but when it passed that House, all of them unanimously agreed to lay aside all invidious Distinctions of Whig or Tory, and to endeavour either to be redressed in their Grievances, or dissolve the Union; for which Purpose they had several Meetings, and on the sixth of May deputed four of their Members, viz. the Duke of Argyle, the Earl of Mar, Mr. Lockhart, and Mr. Cockburn, to attend the Queen, and make a Remonstrance in the Name of the whole Scotch Representation. The Substance of which was,  ‘That their Countrymen bore with great Impatience the Violation of some Articles the Act of Union, and the laying such an insupportable Burthen as the Malt-Tax upon them, was like to raise their Discontent to such a Height, as to promote them to declare the Union dissolv’d.’  To this unexpected verbal Remonstrance the Queen answer’d,  ‘This was a precipitate Resolution, and she wished they might not have Reason to repent it, but however she would endeavour to make all Things easy.’  Upon the Deputies Report to the Scotch Members, the next Day, of the Queen’s Answer, they resolved before they proceeded any farther, to apply to the House of Lords. Accordingly on Thursday the 28th of May, the Earl of Seafield made a Motion that some Day might be appointed to take into Consideration the State of the Nation, and Monday the first of June was appointed, and all the Peers summoned to be present on this important Debate, which was opened by the same Nobleman, who pathetically laid open the Grievances of the Scotch Nation; which he reduced to four Heads, ‘1.Their being deprived of a Privy Council: 2. The Laws of England in Cases of Treason extended to Scotland: 3. The Peers of Scotland being incapable of being made Peers of Great Britain, as was judged in the Case of the Duke of Hamilton: And, 4. The Scots being subjected to the Malt-Tax; which Would be more insupportable to them now, in that they never bore it during the War, and had Reason to expect to reap and enjoy the Benefits of a Peace.’  Concluding,  ‘That since the Union had not those good Effects as were expected and hoped from it when it was made, he therefore moved, that leave might be given to bring in a Bill for dissolving the said Union, and securing the Protestant Succession in the House of Hanover, securing the Queen’s Prerogative in both Kingdoms, and preserving an entire Amity and good Correspondence between the two Kingdoms.’  This Motion was seconded by the Earl of Mar, and a great many Scotch Peers. Those who spoke for the Dissolution was the Duke of Argyle; the Earls of Islay, Eglintoun, Nottingham, and Sunderland; the Lord Viscount Townshend; the Lords Hallifax, Powlet, Scarborough, and Scarsdale. Those who spoke against it were the Lord North and Grey, the Lord Earl Peterborough, the Lord Chief Justice Trevor, and the Lord Treasurer Oxford. The Arguments against the Dissolution were chiefly drawn from the Impossibility; the Lords on that side supposing it impossible to dissolve it: comparing it to a Marriage, which once made, could not be broke. That this Union was concluded with so much Solemnity, that nothing could be more Solemn, except it came down from Heaven like the Ten Commandments. They did not pretend so much to deny that the Scotch had not Grievances to complain of, but that some other Remedy might be found out to ease them than dissolving the Union. With some little Reflections on the Poverty and Temper of the Scots; who would have all the Advantages of the Union with England, and yet with their good Will would not pay one Farthing towards the common Expence.

The Lords on the opposite side argued, That however solemn the Treaty of Union might be, yet the Power which made it might dissolve it. They expatiated, upon their Grievances; which they said were the more intollerable, as the general Confidence they had placed in the Faith of the English Nation, for which they had desired no Guarantee, gave them all the Reason in the World to expect other Usage. They owned the Country poor, and that was the Reason they complained of the Imposition of the Malt-Tax. That they were willing to bear their stipulated Proportion of the necessary Expences of the Nation; but they had no Reason to expect that they should be taxed above their Power. The Duke of Argyle, in a handsome but warm Speech, among other Things said, ‘That he was by some reflected on as if he was disgusted, and had changed Sides; but that he despised those Persons as much as he undervalued their judgments. That it was true he had a great Hand in making the Union: That the chief Reason that moved him to it, was the securing the Protestant Succession ; but that he was satisfied that might be done now as well if the Union was dissolved: That he spoke as a Peer of England as well as of Scotland: That he believed in his Conscience it was as much for the Interest of England to have it dissolved, as that of Scotland: And if it was not, he did not expect long to have Property left in Scotland, or Liberty in England. He urged, That the Tax upon Malt in Scotland was as unequal, tho’ the same as in England, as taxing Land by the Acre; which would be very unjust, the Land being worth five or six Pound per Acre here about London, and not more Shillings in some Parts of the Country: That this was the Case between the Scotch and the English Malt; the latter being worth three or four Shillings per Bushel, the other not above one. So if that Tax was collected in Scotland, it must be done by a Regiment of Dragoons.’  Several English Lords were for putting off the Debate till a farther Day, that the Peers might have time to consider of a Matter of such Consequence. To this last Opinion of a Delay, the Earls of Mar and Loudon join’d, and so lost the Bill; for the Question being put on the Earl of Seafield‘s Motion, it was carried in the Negative by four Voices only; there being fifty four Lords on each Side present, seventeen Proxies on the Negative, and but thirteen on the Affirmative; so near was the Union to receiving a fatal Blow.

— Robert Campbell, Esq., The Life of the Most Illustrious Prince, John, Duke of Argyle and Greenwich, Belfast: F. Joy, 1745.

Blàr Sliabh an t-Siorraim

Obverse of bronze medal commemorating the Battle of Sheriffmuir, 1715; National Army Museum, London.
The reverse of the medal is inscribed “The avenger of perjury. At Dunblane, 13 Nov. 1715.”

The Highlanders were about 1000, besides the Lowlanders, which made at least 1200 more. They behaved very poorly, and afterwards, without stroke of sword, surrendered as prisoners of War.

This remarkable event hapned on the 13 Nov. 1715, and the same day the jacobite Army, under the command of the Earl of Mar, was defeated by the Duke of Argyle at the sheriffmoor near Dumblain. Mar’s army consisted of more than 12,000 men, whereas that under the Duke of Argyle very little exceeded 3000. The Highlanders made a fire or two in good order, but at last fled in confusion, except a few who remained with the Earl of Mar in what might be called the field of Battle, for they continued there after the Duke marched back to to Dumblain.

This seeming Equality of fortune was oweing to the defeat of the Duke of Argyle’s left wing, which was not timousely supported, for the jacobite Army which faced the Duke fled near 4 miles, with the Troops who defeated them at their Heels. The Duke fancied that the Route was total, and therefore pursued so far as that he cou’d not return in time to assist his left wing, which fled almost to the bridge of Stirling.

This oversight was much resented afterwards by King George, and was the chief cause of displacing the Duke after the Rebellion was over; however, I believe this might have befallen any General, for it hapned that one Armstrong, the Duke’s Aid-de-Camp, was killed as he was carrying the proper intelligence to the Duke of the Ennemy’s disposition. I myself hapned accidentally not to be at that Battle, but heard from others that the Moor of Dumblain was so covered with the Ennemies flying that all believed it was a general Route.

Mar exulted and claimed the honour of the victory because a part of his men remained for some time that night on the field of Battle; however, from that periode and what hapned at Preston, the Rebellion was in some measure at an end, for tho’ Mar retired to Perth, and keept his Troops with him for near three Months after, yet he was never able to prosecute his design of marching into England.

Memoirs of the life of Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, baronet, baron of the Exchequer, extracted by himself from his own journals, 1676-1755, Edinburgh, Printed at the University Press by T. and A. Constable for the Scottish History Society, 1892.

Caisteal Ionaraora

A nearby marker reads: "The white stone pillars in the immediate foreground are on the site of the old Inveraray Castle. It was built early 15th. century by Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll. By the mid 18th. century had fallen into a state of disrepair and was replaced by the present castle."
A nearby marker reads: “The white stone pillars in the immediate foreground are on the site of the old Inveraray Castle. It was built early 15th. century by Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll. By the mid 18th. century had fallen into a state of disrepair and was replaced by the present castle.”

Old Inverary1 Castle (Caisteal Ionaraora)

The grey turrets of this old castle witnessed the arrival of Mary Queen of Scots when she came riding from Dunoon (Dun-odhain) with her retinue on a visit to her half-sister the Countess of Argyll — that Countess who was seated in the Queen’s closet at Holyrood at supper when the arras was drawn aside in the adjoining bedroom, and Ruthven’s ghastly form, clothed in full armour, gloomily surveyed the party, when all rose, and the Italian troubadour, David Rizzio, knowing his hour had come, clung shrieking to the Queen’s skirts, to be but rudely torn away and despatched with dagger-thrusts before her eyes.

There at the head of the table in the old hall, sat MacLean’s wife, Argyll’s sister, whom MacLean supposed drowned. The story of how the lady was saved from the rising tide on the island not far from Duart is well known, and how she fled to Inverary; how MacLean was induced to believe she had perished, and his letter to Argyll saying he would bring her body to Inverary, and bewailing her untimely fate,– are all sufficiently well known. But it may not be as well remembered that Argyll caused a room to be prepared for the body to rest in overnight; and how, when the dinner-hour came round, Argyll in bitter scorn introduced MacLean to his wife seated at the head of the table; and how through the entreaty of the injured wife, he was allowed to go free. It is on record that MacLean was fully armed, and that Argyll’s people who met MacLean at the top of Glen Ara (Gleann-aora), were not so armed.

In the old castle lived the Marquess of Argyll during the stirring times of Montrose’s wars. From here he wrote many a curious letter; and here he received correspondence from all parts of Europe, gave audience to those whom it suited him to receive, or abruptly ended an inconvenient discussion by leaving the room and closing the door — as will be related elsewhere.

There, too, lived Archibald, ninth Earl, who loved his fellow-countrymen, and declared that if heaven were half as beautiful as the glen or valley of Eas-a-chosain, he would be satisfied — who ended his career on the scaffold at Edinburgh, murdered by the legal tribunal of the day.

Here dwelt John, second Duke of Argyll and Greenwich; and here sojourned Earl Crauford of the 42d, who learnt to love the ways of the people among whom he lived, and became famous for his rendering of the national sword-dance — the ancient dance, not to be confounded with the modern sword dance.

There the Earl of Ilay (Ile), later Archibald, third Duke, planned the new castle a pistol-shot from this fine old place, and, alas! ordered the old one to be destroyed, as being no longer habitable.

Here Athole lived and raised the rents during the days of the attainder of the Argyll estates, and the Athole Highlanders made free with whatever they could lay hands on, as is elsewhere described in the depredations committed on the Campbell Clan by the Atholl men.

– Lord Archibald Campbell’s Records of Argyll (1885).

1 Now spelt “Inveraray”.