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.

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).

The Campbells and Boar’s Hill Farm

Clach Dhiarmaid, Diarmaid's Pillar, near to Torr an tuirc and Loch Nell, from R. Angus Smith, Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach, London, 1885.
Clach Dhiarmaid, Diarmaid’s Pillar, near to Torr an tuirc and Loch Nell, from R. Angus Smith, Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach, London, 1885.

How the Campbells came into possession of Torr-an-tuirc.

TORR-AN-TUIRC is partly an arable but chiefly a grazing hill-farm,
and is situated at the north-east corner of Lochnell (Loch-nan-eala).
This farm gave its name to a property which comprised several farms—viz., Torr-an-tuirc, Cabrachan, Kilmore (A’ Chill-mhòr), Dailnacàbaig, Kille-choinnich (Cille-Choinnich), Srontoilleir, and Baile-ghobhainn—all lying around Lochnell. This property belonged at one time to a family of MacDougalls, who were called the MacDougalls of Torr-an-tuirc. The last of them was an unmarried man who had no heirs, or at least none to whom he was inclined to bequeath his property. When he was well advanced in years it occurred to him that it was proper for him to settle it on some one. From a feeling of friendship to the Dunollie family, and of loyalty to his clan, he resolved to make it over to the laird of Dunollie’s second son. He went on a certain day to Dunollie (Dunolla) Castle with this object in view, taking with him the title-deeds. On entering the hall he unbuckled his sword and left it there. When he was shown into the room where his chief was, he informed him of the business on which he had come, and handed to him the title-deeds of Torr-an-tuirc. While these two worthies were together settling affairs, some of the idlers (there were generally plenty of such about the mansions of Highland families in the olden time) about the castle bethought them of playing a practical joke on the old laird of Torr-an-tuirc. Taking the sword out of its scabbard, they poured water into the scabbard and placed it against the wall, with the sword beside it. When the laird of Torr-an-tuirc came down to the hall and put the sword back into the scabbard, the water squirted on his hands. Resenting at once what he regarded as an indignity, he returned to the room where the chief was and demanded back the title-deeds, alleging that a clause had been omitted which would require to be supplied. They were given back to him at once. He no sooner received them than he took his departure, mounted his horse, and rode to Inverary (Ionaraora), where he made over the property to the Earl of Argyll’s second son. This was John Gorm, the first of the Campbells of Lochnell, with whom the property has continued ever since.

The date of the subject of this tale is about 1500.

Note.—Cabrachan was given by John Gorm to his son John, who was called John òg of Cabrachan.

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

The Maid of Lochnell

View of the Falls of Lora at Connel Bridge, and across Loch Etive with Ben Cruachan in the distance.
View of the Falls of Lora at Connel Bridge, and across Loch Etive with Ben Cruachan in the distance.

There is an old tradition that one of the Campbells of Lochnell had a daughter who fell in love with a young chieftain of the clan MacDonald, whose love she had in return. At the time, there was feud between the two clans, and her father forbade her to countenance him in any way. One day in trying to escape from her father to join him, she was drowned in Connell Rapids.

The following verses, composed on the occasion, have been handed down orally for some generations, but their author is unknown:–

The wintry winds howled round the towers of Dunstaffnage;
The tempest-winged spirit shrieked wildly on high;
The thunderbolts ploughed up the heathy mount’s high ridge,
And the blue forked lightning illumined the sky.
The storm-laden black clouds were heavily low’ring;
The sea-billows heaved up with mountain-like swell;
The cold roaring blast swept the brow of Ben Fuirean,
And kissed the white breasts of the maid of Lochnell.

She sprung in her curragh to meet her MacDonald,
While her soul-breathing love sighs were mingled with fear;
For the tempest-beat billows roared wildly in Connell,
And the fiery warm lightning hissed dolefully near.
Her long flowing hair to the rude blast was waving,
While the labouring curragh, wave-tossed, rose and fell;
The spray wet the wings of the storm-loving raven,
And chilled the sweet form of the maid of Lochnell.

Ah! ne’er more, lovely maid, wilt thou meet thy MacDonald–
No more in the strath will ye arm-and-arm rove;
For the angel of death’s on the dark wave of Connell,
And waits for the mandate preparing above.
Three times a loud voice was heard sobbing and wailing
Above roaring Connell with sad mournful spell,
And three times a voice was heard plaintively sailing
With sighs round the mansions of lofty Lochnell.

Ne’er again, lovely maid, wilt thou stray through the wild wood;
Ne’er again wilt thou rove through the sweet of the glen;
Ne’er again wilt thou tread in the haunts of thy childhood,
Or rouse the red deer from its rock covered den.
Sad, sad will thy lot be, ill-fated MacDonald!
No more on thy love’s ruby lips shalt thou dwell;
For low in the oozy green caverns of Connell
Lies the pride of thy heart, the sweet maid of Lochnell.

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