Whose Is the Right

John Pettie (1834-93), Bonnie Prince Charlie Entering the Ballroom at Holyroodhouse, perhaps accompanied by Cameron of Lochiel (c. 1700-1748), and Alexander Forbes, 4th Lord Pitsligo (1678-1762).
John Pettie (1834-93), Bonnie Prince Charlie Entering the Ballroom at Holyroodhouse, perhaps accompanied by Cameron of Lochiel (c. 1700-1748), and Alexander Forbes, 4th Lord Pitsligo (1678-1762).

God bless the prince, I pray,
God bless the prince, I pray,
Charlie I mean;
That Scotland we may see
Freed from vile Presbyt’ry,
Both George and his Feckie.
Even so. Amen.

God bless the happy hour!
May the Almighty Power
Make all things well;
That the whole progeny
Who are in Italy
May soon and suddenly
Come to Whitehall.

God bless the church, I pray,
God save the church, I pray,
Pure to remain,
Free from all Whiggery,
And Whigs’ hypocrisy,
Who strive maliciously
Her to defame.

Here’s to the subjects all,
God send them, great and small,
Firmly to stand,
That would call home the king
Whose is the right to reign:
This is the only thing
Can save the land.

Four verses of the King’s Anthem, as published in Charles MacKay, ed., The Jacobite Songs and Ballads of Scotland from 1688 to 1746, Glasgow: Richard Griffin and Co., 1861.

One Man in this Country

Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll (1682-1761) by Allan Ramsay, 1758.
Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll (1682-1761) by Allan Ramsay, 1758.

There is one man in this country whom I could wish to have my friend, and that is the Duke of Argyle, who, I find, is in great credit amongst them, on account of his great abilities and quality, and has many dependents by his large fortune; but, I am told, I can hardly flatter myself with the hopes of it. The hard usage which his family has received from ours, has sunk deep into his mind. What have those princes to answer for, who, by their cruelties, have raised enemies, not only to themselves, but to their innocent children?

Prince Charles Edward Stuart, in a letter to his father, James Francis Edward Stuart, written at Perth, 10 September 1745.

An Pàpanach Mòr and the Campbells of Ardslignish

On the right: the gravestone of Alexander Campbell of Ardslignish, An Pàpanach Mòr ("the Great Papist"), third son of Alexander Campbell, 6th of Lochnell, Camus nan Gael, Ardnamurchan.
On the right: the gravestone of Alexander Campbell of Ardslignish, An Pàpanach Mòr (“the Great Papist”), third son of Alexander Campbell, 6th of Lochnell, Camus nan Gael, Ardnamurchan.

Campbells of Ardslignish.
(Supplied by Mrs. Lillias Davidson, neé Campbell, Lochnell.)

ALEXANDER CAMPBELL of Ardslignish, son of (Airdslignis)
the sixth Lochnell (Loch-nan-eala), brother to Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochnell, and commonly known as the “Pàpanach Mòr,” either on
account of his great stature, or his zealous adherence to the Church of Rome, was an enthusiastic Jacobite; while his only son John was a Protestant, and in the service of the king.

By an accident characteristic of these unhappy times, when religion and politics superseded the ties of kindred, Ardslignish and his son met on Stirling (Sruileadh) Bridge: the latter leading on his men, though himself disabled—one arm being broken, and the other run through; the father, unwounded, and untouched by pity, exclaiming as he passed, “Would to God, John, that every man on your side was in the same state!”

On another occasion, the father and son were again brought together: in a remarkable manner, when the army of the Prince, amongst whom was the Pàpanach Mòr, were surrounding Edinburgh Castle (Caisteal Dhun-èideann), in which his son John was shut up with the king’s troops. The latter, having volunteered to convey despatches from the garrison to their friends in Stirling, was let down in a basket from a window in the Castle at the dead of night, and passing through the enemy’s camp, unseen by his father and the rest of the Prince’s army, reached Stirling; and returning to Edinburgh (Dun-éideann) before daybreak, re-entered the Castle in the same manner as he had quitted it.

The ill-fortune of Charles Edward did not in any way diminish Ardslignish’s enthusiasm in his cause,—as may be seen from the fact that, when he knew himself to be dying (in 1767), he desired his son to have him arrayed in the dress he wore at Culloden (Cùil-fhodair), and caused the pipers to march round the house playing the “Prince’s Welcome” (“Fàilt a’ Phrionnsa“).

At the funeral of this Ardslignish’s father (in 1714) there were 4000 men, under arms, attending the various chieftains; and before the mourners left the house, Rob Roy, who claimed kindred with the family, stepped up to the bier, declaring that, if he was not allowed to have the first lift of Lochnell’s body, it would not be the only one that would leave the house. This demand was granted,—undoubtedly rather because brawling was considered out of place at such a time than that so great a number of men would be intimidated even by Rob Roy.

On one occasion, when John Campbell of Ardslignish was going to leave home, he went to the kiln where it was customary for the dead to be taken between the time of decease and of interment; and while there, while speaking to the smith of the place, who was supposed to be gifted with secondsight, he was surprised to see the man’s face suddenly change, and his gaze become riveted on one corner. The smith, on being asked the cause of his extraordinary manner, said that he saw either Ardslignish or himself lying dead in the kiln, as the body was covered by a plaid woven in an unusual manner, and of which only two had been made—one being in his possession, and the other in that of Ardslignish. To calm the man’s agitation, the latter said that he would make it impossible that this dream should come to pass, as he would leave orders that, in the event of the smith’s death, his body should not be taken to the kiln, and in his own case such a thing was obviously impossible; thus the dream could have no fulfilment. However, he forgot all about the circumstance, and left without giving the promised order,—to find, on his return, that the smith was dead, and his body lying in the kiln, wrapped in the plaid, as he had predicted.

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

O Gleyd Argyll

Archibald Campbell, 8th Earl of Argyll.
Archibald Campbell, 8th Earl of Argyll.

“THE BONNIE HOUSE O’ AIRLIE.”

The father of the late Earl of Airlie, for several years acted as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Among his retainers were two pipers; and at a levee at Holyrood Palace, the Moderator of the Assembly requested that the pipers should play “The Bonnie House o’ Airlie.” His Lordship replied that he was not certain whether they would, as one of the pipers was an Ogilvie, and the other a Campbell, but promised to try, and instructed his butler to give the order to the pipers to play the tune. In a little while one of them, the Ogilvie, marched into the room playing with much spirit. Summoning the butler again, the Earl asked why Campbell had not also come in. “I gave him the message, my Lord.” “Well, what did he say?” The man hesitated. “What did Campbell say?” again demanded the Earl. “He said—eh!—eh!—” still hesitating—”he said he would see your Lordship—” the rest of the sentence was lost in a cough and the skirl of Ogilvie’s pipes!

D. MacDougall.

The Celtic Monthly, February 1905.

* * *

It fell on a day, a bonny summer day,
When the corn was ripe and yellow,
That there fell oot a great dispute
Between Argyle aye and Airlie.

Lady Margaret looked o’er yon high castle wall,
And O but she sighed sairly.
She saw Argyle and a’ his men
Come to plunder the bonny hoose o’ Airlie.

“Come doun, come doun Lady Margaret,” he said.
“Come doun and kiss me fairly
Or gin the morning’s clear daylight
I willna leave a standing stane in Airlie.”

“I’ll no come doun, ye false Argyle,
Nor will I kiss thee fairly.
I wouldnae kiss the false Argyle
Though you wouldna leave a standin’ stane in Airlie.”

“For if my gude lord had been at hame,
As he’s awa’ wi’ Chairlie,
There wouldnae come a Campbell frae Argyle
Dare trod upon the bonny green o’ Airlie.”

“For I hae bore him seven bonny sons,
The eighth yin has never seen his daddy
But if I had as mony ower again
They would all be men for Chairlie.”

But poor Lady Margaret was forced to come doun
And O but she sighed sairly
For their in front o’ all his men
She was ravished on the bowlin’ green o’ Airlie.

“Draw your dirks, draw your dirks,” cried the brave Locheil.
“Unsheath your sword,” cried Chairlie,
“We’ll kindle sic a lowe roond the false Argyle,
And licht it wi’ a spark oot o’ Airlie.”

— Version collected by Hamish Henderson and Peter Kennedy at Fetterangus, 27 June 1955.

Continue reading “O Gleyd Argyll”

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.

Red and Strong Is the Blood

The Lamont Harp, Clàrsach Lumanach, presented c. 1460-1464 to Charles Robertson of Lude, National Museum of Scotland.
The Lamont Harp, Clàrsach Lumanach, presented c. 1460-1464 to Charles Robertson of Lude, National Museum of Scotland.

THE HARP OF THE GAEL.

GAELIC MOD PRIZE POEM.

BY REV. DUGALD MACECHERN, B. D.
(Translated by Author.)

HARP of my own dear country,
Trembling against my bosom,
Sweeter to me are thy strains
Than all of the wide world’s music,
Shapely thy curving neck
Like the wild swan afloat on the ocean,
Gleaming thy sun-bright strings,
Like the golden hair of my dear one.
What ah! what can express
Like the harp’s wild tender trembling,
Love that lies in the heart
Like a precious jewel hidden?
Sweet to me is the viol
When move in the dance the maidens,
Dear to me are the pipes
When my sword is red in the battle,
But ’tis the harp should be tuned
With slender and swift-moving finger,
When in her song my dear one,
Sweet-throated, her love confesseth.
Tell me thy secret, my harp,
Who taught thee to tremble in music?
Was it the ocean crooning
To th’ yellow sands and the sea-wrack?
Say, were thy tutors the lark
And the tuneful thrush of the wild-grove,
Blast of the giant bens
And whisper of wind-kissed forest,
Chant of the waterfall where
The stream leaps down from the mountains,
These, and in glens of our love
The songs of the sweet-throated maidens,
Say, were thy tutors these?
Who taught thee to tremble in music—
Music of kings in the times
When the Sun in his youth was shining,
Music of more than heroes
In the days of Fingal and Ossian.

Coll of the waves! Eilean Chola,
Musical were thy children,
Thine was the last of the line
Of the old-time harpers of Albyn,
Sad was thy heart, oh Murdoch!
When last thou tunedst the harp-strings,
Sad was thy heart, and the ship
Like a seagull out on the ocean,
Passing tby spray-swept island,
Bearing the Prince of thy bosom,
Bearing Prince Charlie an exile
Out on the sorrowful ocean,
Saying good-bye to Albyn
And to the crown of his fathers—
The golden crown of his fathers
Lost on the field of battle,
And to the land of the heroes
Who unto death were faithful.
Passed thy prince from thy view
Till the sail seemed merged in the ocean,
Passed—and together that hour
Thy harp and thy heart were broken.

Never again did thy song
Rise in the halls of the chieftains,
Never in Coll of the waves
In the eyrie of Tighearn Chola.
Even as the rose will shut
When her lover the Sun is departed,
So didst thou close thy heart,
The music, the glory departed.
Music with thee was laid
In thy grave in Mull of the mountains.
How could the strings be tuned
When lost were the rights of our fathers.
Banned was the tartan plaid
And they cursed the tongue of the mountains;
Who, who could tune thy strings
And the land of the Gael dishonoured?

Harp of the kings, let us sing
In the ears of the wise of the nation,
Standing on steps of the throne
Of the Scot-descended Edward,
Close to the Destiny Stone,
The stone of the Scots and of Aidan—
Sing how a nation alone
May stand forever unshaken.
Red and strong is the blood
Where the wind is scented with heather,
Races of heroes are bred
On the purple breasts of mountains,
Often the heroes of hills
Have hurled back doom from a nation—
Have we forgotten Omdurman
And Hector in crisis of battle?
Sing how the blood of the cities,
Swiftly degenerate, faileth,
Sing of proud kingdoms that fell
Their children forsaking the mountains.

Harp of the Scots, thou art kin
To the harp that is slumbering in Tara,
Shall we not therefore sing
Together our songs, O Erin?
Branches we are of the stem
Whose roots reach the ages forgotten,
Proudly the harp of the Gael
In the banner of Erin is floating,
Proudly in veins of the king
The blood of the Gael is flowing—
Blood of the Scots of Dalriad,
Blood of O’Neil and of Canmore.
Here in the hands of our love
Is balm for the wounds of thy bosom,
Thy deep, red wounds—and thy grief
Shall vanish like visions with morning.
Cease from your terrible tears,
O dark-haired daughters of sorrow,
Golden and beautiful breaks
The morn on the hilltops of Erin!

Harp of the world-scattered Gaels,
Sing how the Gaels are in number
Even as the stars; how in strength
They are sinew and muscle of empires.
Brothers they are, of our blood,
Though spread to the four winds of heaven,
Brothers, if exiles, still,
Though their white-sailed ships return not.
What if the straths are forlorn,
The Blood of the race is not passing,
What if the language should fail,
The Race of the Gael is not dying!
See how the Gaels are in number
As sands on the marge of the wild wave,
Conquering with hands of toil
The cities and lands of the stranger;
Under the sun of the Indies
And in the lands over ocean,
Wielding the axe of the settler
Far in the depths of the forest,
Digging the yellow gold,
Low in the depths of the canyon,
Struggling on far fields of battle
Struggling—and falling with glory!

Tell me, my harp beloved,
Shall the hope that I cherish fail me—
Shall I behold the Gaels
To the glens of their love returning,
Men at work on the crofts
As I saw in the times unforgotten,
The mother in musical Gaelic
To the babe at her bosom crooning.
Friendly at feast of the Old-Year,
Chieftain and clansmen together,
Cheeks of the youth aglow
At the Shinty on New-Year’s morning—
Every old custom so dear
To our beautiful glens returning,
Bagpipes on fields of battle
Chanting their war-notes defiant,
And, in the halls of peace
The harp with its wild sweet trembling,
Why should I thus drop tears
On the ruins of old homes broken—
Spanning the bens, behold!
The rainbow, the rainbow is shining!

Listen, my harp, my beloved!
When cometh the time of my changing,
When my hand white as the snow,
To dust in the grave shall crumble,
Do not let any man’s hand
Strike from thee chords of sorrow —
Shall I not rise again
To the wind my boat’s sail spreading,
For the beautiful Island of Youth
In the gold of the Sea of the Sunset.
There I shall practice thy music,
There in the Hall of the Noble—
Beloved! when I am dead,
For me let no wail of sorrow
Rise from thy sun-bright strings,
But a song—a song victorious.

Unfurling the Standard

1000px-Jacobite_Standard_(1745).svg

The Marquis of Tullibardine accompanied Charles in his progress until the Prince landed at Glenfinnin [sic], which is situated about twenty miles from Fort William, and forms the outlet from Moidart to Lochaber; here the standard of Charles Edward was unfurled. The scene in which this ill-omened ceremonial took place is a deep and narrow valley, in which the river Finnin runs between high and craggy mountains, which are inaccessible to every species of carriage, and only to be surmounted by travellers on foot. At each end of the vale is a lake of about twelve miles in length, and behind the stern mountains which enclose the glen, are salt-water lakes, one of them an arm of the sea. The river Finnin empties itself into the Lake of Glenshiel, at the extremity of the glen. On the eighteenth of August Prince Charles crossed this lake, slept at Glensiarick, and on the nineteenth proceeded to Glenfinnin.

When Charles landed in the glen, he gazed around anxiously for Cameron of Lochiel, the younger, whom he expected to have joined him. He looked for some time in vain; that faithful adherent was not then in sight, nor was the glen, as the Prince had expected, peopled by any of the clansmen whose gathering he had expected. A few poor people from the little knot of hovels, which was called the village, alone greeted the ill-starred adventurer. Disconcerted, Prince Charles entered one of the hovels, which are still standing, and waited there for about two hours. At the end of that time, the notes of the pibroch were heard, and presently, descending from the summit of a hill, appeared the Camerons, advancing in two lines, each of them three men deep. Between the lines walked the prisoners of war, who had been taken some days previously near Loch Lochiel [sic].

The Prince, exhilarated by the sight of six or seven hundred brave Highlanders, immediately gave orders for the standard to be unfurled.

The office of honour was entrusted to the Marquis of Tullibardine, on account of his high rank and importance to the cause. The spot chosen for the ceremony was a knoll in the centre of the vale. Upon this little eminence the Marquis stood, supported on either side by men, for his health was infirm, and what we should now call a premature old age was fast approaching. The banner which it was his lot to unfurl displayed no motto, nor was there inscribed upon it the coffin and the crown which the vulgar notion in England assigned to it. It was simply a large banner of red silk, with a white space in the middle. The Marquis held the staff until the Manifesto of the Chevalier and the Commission of Regency had been read. In a few hours the glen in which this solemnity had been performed, was filled not only with Highlanders, but with ladies and gentlemen to admire the spectacle.

— Memoirs of the Jacobites of 1715 and 1745, Volume II.

Glenfinnan

A Culloden Lament

Inscription on memorial cairn at the field of Culloden.
Inscription on memorial cairn at the field of Culloden.

Fhir a shiùbhlas na frìthe
Tha thu sìor thighinn fainear dhomh
Tha mi ‘g innse le fìrinn
An nì rinn mo sgaradh
Chan e ghearradh a luaidh
A rinn am bualadh fo’m neimheil
Ach an dh’fhuirich dhe’m chàirdean
Anns a’bhlàr a bha ‘s t-earrach

Tha mo chiabhag air glasadh
Tha mo leth-cheann air muthadh
Tha mo shùilean a’sileadh
Tha mo chridhe bochd, brùite
Le’n a dh’fhuirich dhe’m chàirdean
‘S an làr ‘n deach a rùsgadh
‘S e mheudaich mo chràdh
Gun fhios co chàraich an ùr orr’

Chan eil diùc ann an Albainn
No gu dearbh ann a Sasuinn
Nach iarradh an òigear deas òg
Bhi na mhac dha
Ann an toiseach do thìmeghlac
Thu inntinn bha beachdail
Bha thu foghainteach, rìoghail
Bha thu dìleas bha’n aidmheil

Ach sguiridh mise gar’n iomradh
Neo idir gar’n àireamh
Bho’n a chaill mi na gibhtean
Nach tig gu latha bràth
‘S ged a thigeadh Rígh Seamas
‘S a dh’eidir gach sraid e
Ann an deireadh gach cùmailt
Bidh mo chùis-sa mar tha e

— Fhir a Shiùbhlas na Frìthe; traditional; arranged by Arthur Cormack.

Continue reading “A Culloden Lament”

Glenfinnan Monument

The Glenfinnan Monument is situated at the head of Loch Shiel, erected in 1815 to mark the place where Prince Charles Edward Stuart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie") raised his standard, at the beginning of the 1745 Jacobite Rising.
The Glenfinnan Monument is situated at the head of Loch Shiel, erected in 1815 by Alexander Macdonald of Glenaladale, to mark the place where Prince Charles Edward Stuart (“Bonnie Prince Charlie”) raised his standard, at the beginning of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. The tower was designed by the Scottish architect James Gillespie Graham.

Precious Few Heroes

I was listening to the news the other day
I heard a fat politician who had the nerve to say
He was proud to be Scottish, by the way
With the the glories of our past to remember
“Here’s tae us, wha’s like us?” Listen to the cry
No surrender to the truth and here’s the reason why
The power and the glory’s just another bloody lie
They use to keep us all in line

Chorus:
For there’s no gods and there’s precious few heroes
But there’s plenty on the dole in the Land o’ the Leal
And it’s time now to sweep the future clear
Of the lies of a past that we know was never real

Sae farewell to the heather in the glen
They cleared us off once and they’d do it all again
For they still prefer sheep to thinking men
Ah but men who think like sheep are even better
There’s nothing much to choose between the old laird and the new
They still don’t give a damn for the likes of me and you
Just mind ye pay your rent to the factor when it’s due
And mind your bloody manners when ye pay!

(Chorus)

And tell me, will we never hear the end
Of puir bluidy Charlie at Culloden yet again?
Though he ran like a rabbit down the glen
Leaving better folk than him to be butchered
Or are you sittin in your Council house dreaming o’ your clan?
Waitin’ for the Jacobites tae come and free the land?
Try goin doon the broo with your claymore in your hand
And count a’ the Princes in the queueI

(Chorus)

So don’t talk to me of Scotland the brave
For if we don’t fight soon there’ll be nothing left to save
Or would you rather stand and watch them dig your grave
While ye wait for the Tartan messiah?
He’ll lead us tae the promised land wi laughter in his eye
We’ll all live on the oil and the whisky by and by
Free heavy beer, pie suppers in the sky
Will we never have the sense to learn?

That there’s no gods and there’s precious few heroes
But there’s plenty on the dole in the Land o’ the Leal
And I’m damn sure that there’s plenty live in fear
Of the day we stand together with our shoulders at the wheel
Aye there’s no gods

No Gods and Precious Few Heroes,  Brian McNeill.

John Campbell of the Bank

John Campbell of the Bank, 1759 (or 1749). All “modern tartans” identified with the Clan Campbell are blue, green, and black. I am not aware of any red tartan which has been associated either historically or by the tartan mills with the Clan Campbell. This portrait just reinforces the truth that Highlanders simply wore what tartans were locally available or to their taste. John Campbell (c.1703-1777) was a Scottish banker and man of business. He worked for The Royal Bank of Scotland from its foundation in 1727, and was its cashier, 1745-77. He served as agent for his kinsmen the 2nd Earl of Breadalbane and Lord Glenorchy, keeping their estate accounts and acting as their representative for all types of business in Edinburgh. Campbell was a Gaelic-speaker with an interest in supporting the survival of the language. He read poetry and his diary suggests that he also wrote it, although no samples are known to survive. It is thought that he was one of the financial supporters of James Macpherson, in his search for the ‘lost’ Ossian cycle of poems.

John Campbell’s diary recounts how the Jacobite army took control of Edinburgh on 17 September 1745. On 1 October, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s secretary informed John Campbell that he had £857 of Royal Bank banknotes and wanted payment for them in gold. Upon failure to comply, the Jacobites would seize property from the Bank and its directors to the value of the notes.

It was not immediately easy for the Bank to comply, because all the Bank’s valuables, including its reserves of gold, had been moved to Edinburgh Castle for safekeeping during this time of turmoil. At first, it had been possible to get access to the Castle when necessary, but by this time the Castle – still in government hands – was locked down, while the rest of the city was under Jacobite control. Just a few days earlier, Campbell and some colleagues had been refused access to the castle, despite waiting at the gates for an hour.

Campbell sought and obtained a special pass from the Jacobite authorities permitting him to pass through the streets safely on his way to the castle. He also wrote ahead to the castle warning its commander that he would be asking for access. The commander implied he would be allowed in, but refused to put anything in writing.

Campbell, accompanied by colleagues and directors from the Bank, made his expedition to the castle on 3 October 1745. He successfully gained access, withdrew the gold to meet the Prince’s demands (which by now had risen to over £3,000), and more to meet any imminent further demands. He also destroyed a large quantity of unissued notes to remove the risk of them entering circulation and becoming an additional liability. While he worked, shooting went on between government forces in the Castle and Jacobites outside.

He paid the money to the Prince’s secretary at his office later that evening. The Jacobite army left Edinburgh on 1 November, marching on into England in a bid to claim the British throne. The army’s progress into England was funded in no small part by the gold it had received from The Royal Bank of Scotland.