MacCrimmon Pipers

Give McIntyre ye pyper fforty pounds scots as his prentises(hi)p with McCrooman till May nixt as also provyde him in what Cloths he needs and dispatch him immediately to the Isles.

Instruction from John Campbell, Earl of Breadalbane, to his chamberlain, Alexander Campbell of Barcaldine, c. 1697.

Item paid to quantiliane McCraingie McLeans pyper for one complete year as prentyce fie for the Litle pyper before he was sent to McCrooman, the soume of £160

Statement of Earl of Breadalbane, 22 April, 1697, at Taymouth Castle.

MACCRIMMON TRADITIONS.

THERE was a gathering of the clans at Dunvegan Castle. There sat down to dinner at the Macleod’s hospitable table eleven noble chiefs, each accompanied by his piper, a walking exhibition of his clan’s glory and greatness. Each chief was greater than the other, and each piper was better than his fellow. Great reputations were at stake; and all were anxious to have the matter decided at once. The Macleod gave the signal. Out stepped the famous piper of the Macdonalds of the Isles, and filled the hall with the well-known strains of the old Piob-mhor. Others followed and bravely upheld the traditions of clan and family. But one was amissing. There was an anxious look in Macleod’s eye. Where was the old piper who had so long and faithfully served the chief of Dunvegan? He sent a page-boy to look for him. He returned with sad news—the piper was hopelessly drunk. Great was the chief’s anger at being thus humbled in his own stronghold. Something must be done and that quickly. The tenth piper was tuning his pipes. One more to go—and then all would be found out. A sudden idea seized the chief’s mind. He grasped the pageboy’s hand, and whispered in his ear, “You are the twelfth piper—remember your chief’s words.” The feast went on as merrily as ever, and the fun grew fast and furious—but the page-boy, MacCrimmon, was not there to enjoy it. He was lying on a hillside, cursing the unkindly fate which had put him in so awkward a predicament. But there were friendly spirits moving about. Out of the hill-side there came the prettiest little fairy ever seen by human eyes. She made straight for MacCrimmon, and soon knew as much of his trouble as he did himself. She did not try to comfort him, but she did something better. She gave him a curiously-shaped whistle and bade him play on it. He smiled knowingly—but he would oblige the little lady because she meant kindly. He blew—and soon the hills and rocks re-echoed the divinest music ever heard in Dunvegan. He turned to thank his friend—but he was alone.

At once he hurried back to the castle and just came in time to hear the closing notes of the eleventh piper’s pibroch. He stepped out in his place and, heedless of the titter which passed all round the hall, he “blew up” the pipes. The scorn of the company was soon turned into admiration as the stripling played in faultless and brilliant manner compositions unknown to the others. From that hour MacCrimmon was the acknowledged prince of pipers.

On one occasion there was a pipe-music competition at Dunvegan Castle. There were competitors from all parts of the country, and among them the head of the MacCrimmon College, and his nephew. The professor had taught his nephew all the music known to him except one tune, which, he hoped, would give himself the lead in the competition. On their way to Dunvegan, they spent a night in a way-side inn, and shared a bed. The old gentleman was soon fast asleep, and naturally enough began to dream of the morrow’s work. He seized his nephew’s arm, on it played the notes of the tune which was to give him first place among the pipers. The keen witted youth was not slow to notice that there was more in the affair than might appear on the surface, and in a very short time he committed all the notes to memory. Next day, the first piper called on to play was the nephew. His first tune astonished most of those present, none more than his tutor, who at once gracefully retired from the competition, and allowed his worthy nephew to carry off the chief honours of the day. It was doubtless this incident which gave rise to the well-known Gaelic proverb—”An gille ‘toirt bàr air Mac Criomain“—the lad, or pupil, surpassing his master, MacCrimmon.

It may be added that the MacCrimmons were hereditary pipers to the MacLeods of Dunvegan. During the sixteenth and seventeenth century several generations of them acted in this capacity. They founded a college of music at Boreraig, Skye, and thither all the leading pipers of the day proceeded to complete their education. They invented a system of musical notation for the pipes, by means of which they taught their pupils.

Kenneth Macleod.

Lord Glenorchy in the ’45

John Campbell, 3rd Earl of Breadalbane and Holland, KB (10 March 1696 – 26 January 1782), attributed to John Wootton.

Your Lordship’s zeal and attachment to his Majesty, his family and Government are so cordial and well known that the Lords Justices fully rely upon your vigorous exertion of it on the present occasion … It is a very fortunate circumstance that, in my Lord Breadalbane’s weak state, you are on the spot to make use of the powerful influence which you have in that country on the side of the Government, which cannot fail to give a right direction to your numerous clan which, you know, took a wrong turn on a former occasion … Your Lordship has now, in my apprehension, an opportunity of doing great service to his Majesty and your country and of acquiring great merit to yourself.

Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke, Lord Chancellor, to John Campbell, Lord Glenorchy, 15 August 1745.

 

Examination and Conviction

“Dr. Archibald Cameron, Lochiel’s brother, Executed 1753.” Jacobite broadside, National Library of Scotland.

COPY of what Dr. [ARCHIBALD] CAMERON intended to have delivered to the Sheriff of Middlesex at the Place of Execution but which he left in the Hands of his Wife for that End.

On the first Slip of Paper,  dated Tower,  6th June, 1753.

BEING denied the use of Pen, Ink, and Paper, except in the Presence of one or more Officers (who always took away the Paper from me, when I began to write my Complaints), and not even allowed the Use of a Knife, with which I might cut a poor blunted Pencil, that had escap’d the diligence of my Searchers, I have notwithstanding, as I could find opportunity, attempted to set down on some Slips of Paper, in as legible Characters as I was able, what I would have my Country satisfied of, with regard to myself and the Cause in which I am now going to lay down my life.
As to my religion, I thank GOD I die a stedfast member, tho’ unworthy, of that Church in whose Communion I have always lived, the Episcopal Church of Scotland, as by Law established before the most unnatural rebellion begun in 1688, which for the Sins of these Nations hath continued to this Day; and I firmly trust to find, at the most awful and impartial Tribunal of the Almighty King of Kings, thro’ the Merits of my Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that Mercy (tho’ undeserved) to my immortal Part which is here denied to my earthly by an Usurper and his Faction, tho’ it be well known I have been the Instrument in preventing the Ruin and Destruction of many of my poor deluded Countrymen who were in their Service, as I shall make appear before I have done, if Opportunities of Writing fail me not.

On the second Slip of Paper.

In order to convince the world of the Uprightness of my Intentions while in the Prince of Wales’s army, as well as of the Cruelty, Injustice, and Ingratitude of my Murderers, I think it my Duty in this place to take Notice how much better Usage I might have expected of my Country, if Humanity and Good-nature, were now look’d upon with the same eyes as in the Times of our brave and generous Ancestors; But I’m sorry to observe, that our present Men in Power are so far sunk below the noble spirit of the ancient Britons, as hardly at this Day to be distinguished from the very basest of Mankind. Nor could the present Possessor of the Throne of our injured Sovereign, if he looked on himself as the Father and natural Prince of this Country, suffer the Life of one to be taken away who has saved the Lives and Effects of above Three hundred Persons in Scotland, who were firmly attached to him and his Party; but it seems it is now made a Crime to save the lives of Scotsmen.

As neither the Time nor the poor Materials I have for Writing, will allow me to descend to a particular Enumeration of all the Services I have done to the Friends of the Usurper; I shall therefore only mention a few of the most known and such as can be well attested.

In July, 1745, soon after the setting up of the Royal Standard, before our small army had reached Corayarick, it was moved by some of the Chiefs to apply to the PRINCE for a strong detachment of clans to distress Campbell of Invera’s house and Tenants in that Neighbourhood, which my brother Lochiel and I so successfully opposed, by representing to our generous Leader (who was always an Enemy to Oppression), that such Proceedings could be no way useful to his Undertaking, that the Motion was entirely laid aside, to the no small Mortification of the Proposers.

My brother and I likewise prevented another such Design against Breadalbin, to the great satisfaction of our Dear Prince: And on our Return from England to Glasgow–

Archibald Cameron.*

On a third Slip of Paper.

My brother and I did Services to the Town of Glasgow, of which the principal Gentry in the Neighbourhood were then, and are to this Day, sensible, if they durst own the truth; but that might be construed Disaffection to a Government founded on and supported by Lies and Falsehoods.

On our March to Stirling, I myself (tho’ I am like to meet with a Hanoverian Reward for it) hindered the whole Town of Kirkintullich from being destroyed and all its Inhabitants put to the Sword by my Brother’s Men, who were justly incensed against it for the inhuman murder of two of Lady Lochiel’s Servants but two Months before. Here was a sufficient Pretence for Vengeance, had I been inclined to Cruelty! But I thank GOD nothing was ever farther from my Nature, tho’ I may have been otherwise represented.

Mr. Campbell of Shawfield, likewise owes me some Favours done to himself and Family, which at least deserve some Return in my Behalf; and Lady Campbell of Lochnell, now in London, can, if she pleases, vouch for the Truth of some of the above Facts.

Archibald Cameron.

On a fourth Slip of Paper.–June 6, 1753.

I thank kind Providence I had the Happiness to be early educated in the Principals of Christian Loyalty, which, as I grew in Years, inspired me with an utter Abhorrence of Rebellion and Usurpation, tho’ ever so successful; and when I arrived at Man’s Estate I had the joint Testimony of Religion and Reason to confirm me in the Truth of my first Principles: Thus my Attachment to the ROYAL FAMILY is more the Result of Examination and Conviction, than of Prepossession and Prejudice. And as I now am, so was I then, ready to seal my Loyalty with my Blood: As soon therefore as the Royal Youth had set up the King his Father’s Standard, I immediately, as in Duty bound, repaired to it; and, as I had the Honour, from that time, to be almost constantly about his Person till November 1748, (excepting the short time his ROYAL HIGHNESS was in the Western Isles after the affair of Culloden). I became more and more captivated with his amiable and princely Virtues, which are, indeed, in every Instance, so eminently great, as I want Words to describe.

I can further affirm (and my present Situation and that of my dear PRINCE too, can leave no room to suspect me of Flattery), that as I have been his Companion in the lowest Degree of Adversity ever Prince was reduced to; so I have beheld him too, as it were on the highest Pinnacle of Glory, amidst the continual Applauses, and, I had almost said, Adorations of the most brilliant Court in Europe; yet he was always the same, ever affable and courteous, giving constant Proofs of his great Humanity and his Love for his friends and his Country. What great Good to these Nations might not be expected from such a PRINCE, were he in Possession of the Throne of his Ancestors! And as to his Courage, none that have heard of his Glorious Attempt in 1745, I should think, can call it in Question.
I cannot pass by in Silence that most horrible Calumny raised by the Rebels under the Command of the inhuman Son of the Elector of Hanover, which served as an Excuse for unparalleled Butchery, committed by his Orders, in cold Blood, after the unhappy affair of Culloden, viz.: “That we had Orders to give no Quarter, &c.” which, if true, must have come to my Knowledge, who had the Honour to serve my ever dear Master in Quality of one of his Aides de Camp; and I hereby declare I never heard of such Orders. The above is Truth.

I likewise declare, on the Word of a dying Man, That the last Time I had the Honour to see his Royal Highness, CHARLES PRINCE of WALES, he told me from his own Mouth, and bid me assure his Friends from him, That he was a Member of the Church of England.

Archibald Cameron.

On a fifth Slip of Paper.

To cover the Cruelty of murdering me at this Distance of Time, from the passing of the unjust Attainder, I am accused of being deeply engaged in a new plot against this Government; which, if I was, neither the Fear of the worst Death their Malice could invent, nor much less the blustering and noisy Threatnings of the tumultuous Council, nor even their flattering Promises, could extort any Discovery of it from me; yet not so much as one Evidence was ever produced to make good the Charge. But it is my business to submit, since GOD, in his Alwise Providence, thinks fit to suffer it to be so; and I the more cheerfully resign my Life as it is taken away for doing my Duty to GOD, my King, and Country: Nor is there any Thing in this World I could so much wish to have it prolonged for, as to have another Opportunity of employing the Remainder of it in the same Glorious Cause.

Archibald Cameron.

I thank God I was not in the least daunted at hearing the bloody Sentence which my unrighteous Judge, pronounced with a seeming Insensibility, till he came to the Words, But not till you are dead; before which he made a Pause, and uttering them with a particular Emphasis, stared me in the Face, to observe, I suppose, if I was as much frightened at them as he perhaps would have been in my Place. As to the Guilt, he said, I had to answer for, as having been instrumental in the Loss of so many Lives. Let him and his Constituents see to that; at their Hands, not at mine, will all the Blood that has been shed on that account, be required.

GOD, of his infinite Mercy, grant they may prevent the Punishment that hangs over their Heads, by a sincere Repentance, and speedy Return to their Duty. And, I pray GOD to hasten the Restoration of the Royal Family (without which these miserably divided Nations can never enjoy Peace and Happiness) and that it may please Him to preserve and defend the King, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke of York, from the Power and Malice of their Enemies; to prosper and reward all my Friends and Benefactors, and to forgive all my Enemies, Murderers, and false Accusers, from the Elector of Hanover, and his Bloody Son, down to Samuel Cameron the basest of their Spies, as I freely do from the Bottom of my Heart.

Sic subscripsit,
Archibald Cameron.

I am now ready to be offered; I have fought a good fight, All Glory be to God.

* Mr. Cameron (as was his custom when interrupted) subscribed his name (as he told his wife) to make what be had written the more authentic; in case he should not have an opportunity of writing any more.

A Complete Collection of State Trials, Vol. 19, London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, 1816.

Breadalbane Mausoleum c. 1880

J. V. Royaume-Uni, Breadalbane Mausoleum, Finlarig Castle, c. 1880; albumen print, 19 cm x 29 cm.
Ruins of the Breadalbane Mausoleum, Finlarig Castle.

Colin Campbell, 8th Laird of Glenorchy

Sir Colin Campbell, 2nd Baronet, 8th Laird of Glenorchy, from the Black Book of Taymouth.
Sir Colin Campbell, 2nd Baronet, 8th Laird of Glenorchy, from the Black Book of Taymouth.

Item, the said Sir Coline Campbell of Glenurchay Knycht barronett of gude memorie depairt this lyfe in Balloch the sext day of September the yeir of God 1640 yeiris, being laird of Glenurchay nyne yeiris, and thriescore thrie yeiris of age.

And wes honourablie buried in the chappell of Finlarg be his nixt brother Sir Robert Campbell nynt laird of Glenurchay, being accompanyit with diveris of his honourabill freinds and neighbouris, his brethreen, and the rest of his freendis of the name Campbell come of his hous.

Black Book of Taymouth.

Sir Colin and Lady Juliana Campbell

Colin Campbell, 6th Laird of Glenorchy

Colin Campbell, 6th Laird of Glenorchy.
Colin Campbell, 6th Laird of Glenorchy.

Interfectio et decapitatio Duncani McGregor et filiorum eius videlicet Gregorii et Malcomi Roy, per Colinum Campbell de Glenurqhay et per Duncanum Roy Campbell de Glenlyon et Alexandrum Menzheis de Rannoch cum suis complicibus. Chronicle of Fortingall.

Colene Campbell, brother germane to the forsaidis Duncane and Jhone, succedit, as said is, sext laird of Glenvrquhay.

The said Colene mareit befoir he succedit laird of Glenvrquhay Margaret Stewart, (dochtir to Bischop Alexander Stewart,) lady coniunct fear off Inchebraky, on quhome he begat tua dochteris: The eldar callit Beatrix Campbell, quha wes mareit on Sir Jhone Campbell of Lawiris: The vther namit Margaret Campbell, quha wes mareit on M’Cowle of Ragray in Lorne.

The said Colene, eftir the deceis of the said Margaret his first wyffe, succeding laird of Glenvrquhay, mareit Katherine Ruthwen, dochtir vntill Williame Lord Ruthuen, on quhome he begatt four sones: The eldest callit Sir Duncane, quha eftir succedit laird: The secund namit Colene: The thrid Maister Patrik, quha deceissit in his flouris: The fourt Archbald: And four dochteris, the eldest callit Margaret Campbell, quha in hir parentis tyme wes mareit on the Erle of Glencarne: The secund Katherine, quha deit in her yowtheid: The thrid Marie: The fourt Annas, bayth mareit be thair eldest brother, as in the awin place salbe schawin.

The said Colene was laird induring the space of threttie thre yeiris, in the quhilk tyme he conquesit the few of the Kingis landis and Chartirhows landis in Braydalbane, the takis quhairoff his predicessouris obtenit as is abone writtin. Item, he conquesit the ten markland of Auchlyne, Easter Ardchyllie, and Dowinche, togidder with the superioritie of M’Nab his haill landis. Item, he conquesit the superioritie of the tuentie markland of Stronmeloquhan in Glenvrquhay. Item, he cost ane auld ludging in Perthe: quhilkis conques and superiorities forsaidis as yit remains with the hows.

Item, he conquesit the tuentie pund land of Edinambill; item, the fyve pund land of Edinkip vnder reuersioun; item, the aucht markland of Kingartt; quhilkis, with the tuelff markland of Ardbeich, and takis of the land of Cranduich foirsaidis tane frome the hows, he bestowit on his secund sone Colene.

Item, he bestwoit on his thrid sone Maister Patrik the tuelff markland of Auchinryre, Condalict, and Drumnavoke, the eight markland of Auchnacroscre, Penniefurt, Tirewin, and Killen, all lyand in Lorne. But, the said Maister Patrik departing this lyfe but lauchfull airis of his awin body, the saidis landis returnit to the hows.

The said Colene in his tyme biggit the castell of Balloch, the castell of Edinambill in Buchquhidder, the haill ludging of Perth within the closs, the four Kirnellis of the castell of Ilankeilquhirne in Glenvrquhay, and the north chalmeris thairoff.

Memorandum. He was ane great justiciar all his tyme, throch the quhilk he sustenit thee deidlie feid of the Clangregour ane lang space. And, besydis that he caused executt to the death mony notable lymmaris, he beheiddit the laird off M’Gregour himselff at Kandmoir in presens of the Erle of Atholl, the justice clerk, and sundrie vther nobillmen.

The said Colene departit this lyffe the ellevint of Apryle anno 1583 in Balloch.

And was honorablie bureit in the chapell off Finlarg foirsaid.

The Black Book of Taymouth.

John Campbell, 5th Laird of Glenorchy

John Campbell, 5th Laird of Glenorchy.
John Campbell, 5th Laird of Glenorchy.

Jhone Campbell, brother germane to the foresaid Duncane, succedit fyft laird of Glenvrquhay.

The said Jhone mareit Marion Edmestoun, dochtir to the laird of Dountreith, before he succedit laird of Glenvrqhuay, on quhome he begat tua dochteris: The ane callit Cristiane Campbell, quha wes mareit on the tutour of Lus: And the vther callit Marioun Campbell, quha wes mareit on Alexander Home of Argadie.

The said Jhone levit laird fyftene yeiris, quha, besyde the keping of the auld leving haill, conquesit the twelf markland of Ardbeich, quhilk he left to the hows with great riches and stoir.

He deceissit in the Ile of Lochtay the 5 of Julii anno 1550.

And wes honorablie bureit in the chapell off Finlarg.

The Black Book of Taymouth.