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.

The Only Way of Accompting

John Campbell, 1st Earl of Breadalbane and Holland, Viscount of Tay and Paintland, and Lord Glenorchy, Benderloch, Ormelie and Wick.

The Earl of Breadalbane, a man of great power in the Highlands, and head of a numerous clan of the Campbells, was intrusted with a sum of money, which some authors call 20, and some 12,000 pounds, to be distributed among the chieftains, on the condition of their submission to the existing government, and keeping on foot, each chief in proportion to his means, a military force to act on behalf of government, at home or abroad, as they should be called on. This scheme would probably have rendered the Highland clans a resource, instead of a terror, to the government of King William; while their love of war, and their want of money, would by degrees have weaned them from their attachment to the exiled King, which would gradually have been transferred to a prince who led them to battle, and paid them for following him.

But many of the chiefs were jealous of the conduct of the Earl of Breadalbane in distributing the funds intrusted to his care. Part of this treasure the wily Earl bestowed among the most leading men; when these were bought off, he intimidated those of less power into submission, by threatening them with military execution; and it has always been said, that he retained a considerable portion of the gratuity in his own hands. The Highland chiefs complained to Government of Breadalbane’s conduct, who, they alleged, had advised them only to submit to King William for the present, until an opportunity should occur of doing King James effectual service. They also charged him with retaining, for his own purposes, a considerable part of the money deposited in his hands, as the price of peace.

My dear Lord, The money you mention, was given to purchase the peace of the Highlands. The money is spent—the Highlands are quiet, and this is the only way of accompting among friends.

Government, it is said, attended to this information, so far as to demand, through the Secretary of State, a regular account of the manner in which the sum of money placed in his hands had been distributed. But Breadalbane, too powerful to be called in question, and too audacious to care for suspicion of what he judged Government dared not resent, is traditionally said to have answered the demand in the following cavalier manner:— “My dear Lord, The money you mention, was given to purchase the peace of the Highlands. The money is spent—the Highlands are quiet, and this is the only way of accompting among friends.”

— Sir Walter Scott, Tales of a Grandfather, Second Series, Vol. I, 1842.

Plates from The Heraldry of the Campbells, Volume II

Plate VII. from G. Harvey Johnston, The Heraldry of the Campbells, Vol. II, Edinburgh, 1921.
Plate VII. from G. Harvey Johnston, The Heraldry of the Campbells, Vol. II, Edinburgh, 1921.
Plate V. from G. Harvey Johnston, The Heraldry of the Campbells, Vol. II, Edinburgh, 1921.
Plate VI. from G. Harvey Johnston, The Heraldry of the Campbells, Vol. II, Edinburgh, 1921.

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.

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
JOHN, Duke of ARGYLE and GREENWICH.

— 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.