Yet from the moment that the standard of national independence was raised by Bruce, he had no more devoted adherents than among the purest Celts, whilst some of his bitterest and most dangerous opponents were the descendants and representatives of western and northern Clans who had collected under Norseman Chieftains. Among the earliest of his followers, and among the most constant, was the purely Celtic family from which I am descended—a family of Scoto-Irish origin—that is to say, belonging to that Celtic colony from Ireland which founded the Dalriadic Kingdom, and to whom the name of Scots originally and exclusively belonged. The name when it first appears in writing is always Cambel, and never Campbell, the letter p having been subsequently introduced in connection with the fashion which set in at one time to claim Norman lineage as more honourable than the Celtic. But the name as universally written for many generations is a purely Celtic word, conceived in the ancient Celtic spirit of connecting personal peculiarities with personal appellatives. “Cam” is “curved,” and is habitually applied to the curvature of a bay of the sea. The other syllable “bel” is merely a corruption of the Celtic word “beul,” meaning “mouth.” So, in like manner, the purely Celtic name of another Highland family, Cameron, is derived from the same word “Cam,” and “srón” the nose. But that portion of the Celtic race which first owned the name of Scots must have had in its character and development something which made it predominant, so that its name came to be that of the whole united Monarchy. Probably all its Chiefs had a memory and traditions which predisposed them to fight for that Monarchy as their own. Certain it is that Sir Nigel Cambel fought with, and for, the Bruce in all his battles from Methven Bridge to Bannockburn, and was finally rewarded by the hand of the Lady Mary, sister of the heroic King, who achieved the final independence of his Country.
— George Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll, Scotland As It Was and Is, Volume 1, Edinburgh, 1887, pp. 33-34.
CADETS OF THE HOUSE OF ARGYLL.
Bv Rev. P. J. Campbell, D.D.
It is interesting to observe the assiduity and sagacity with which the House of Lochawe prosecuted for centuries the policy which placed its wise and patriotic Chiefs eventually in the position of local sovereigns of Argyllshire. While with great foresight laying the foundations of their influence in the eye of the Court and of the Law, by securing, through charters—then little valued by Highlanders generally—the feudal superiority of the lands of the ancient proprietors of the soil, they, at the same time, lose no opportunity of basing it, in the meantime, on the Celtic feeling of the country, by allowing currency to theories of remote descent of these proprietors from their own family, and inducing them to adopt the name of Campbell. It was indeed a somewhat difficult task for the Seannachies to affiliate to the House of Lochawe races well-known to have been as long as or longer than itself, independent inhabitants of the country. The method most commonly resorted to was a discovery that a family which it was desirable to affiliate, had sprung from some clandestine and concealed marriage, or some illegitimate connection of a Chief of Lochawe at a remote period—a scheme to which the old Highland custom of hand-fast marriages gave much plausibility and success, especially as the interests of the families in question, and the advantage of securing the protection and favour of the potentates of Lochawe, induced them the more readily to acquiese in such theories of their descent. At the same time, the tradition of the country always preserved the distinction between the families really of Campbell origin and these other ancient races, and continued long to designate the members of the latter by their old patronymics. Thus, while no doubt has ever been entertained of the Campbell descent of Barbreck, Inverliver, or Ardkinglas, any more than of Glenorchy, Auchinbrek, Ellangreig, Ormidale, Calder (Cawdor), and Lochnell, of some of whom the progeny was very numerous, the tradition is different in the case of the following Argyllshire families:
M’DHONNACHIE, OR CAMPBELL, OF INVERAWE, with its offshoots, Ducholly, Kilmartin, Shirvain, Southall, &c. Of this family, which possessed the greater part of the magnificent mountain Ben Cruachan, and which produced many eminent clergymen of the Church of Scotland, and brave officers of the army, the Chief and many members, down to the middle of the seventeenth century, signed themselves M’Dhonnachie, M’Connachie, and Duncanson. In the pedigree of the Maconochies of Meadowbank given in Burke’s Landed Gentry (1847), the Inverawe family is derived from Duncan, a son of Sir Neil Campbell of Lochow, by his second wife, a daughter of Sir John Cameron of Lochiel. This genealogy is not more doubtful than that which represents the progenitor of the Meadowbank family, not merely as a member, but actually as the Head of the old House of Inverawe! The undoubted representative of that ancient race at that time was James A. Campbell, Esq. of New-Inverawe. There may be uncertainty as to the precise origin of the Inverawe family. There is none as to its extreme antiquity and position.
M’INNES (M’ANGUS), OR CAMPBELL, OF DUNSTAFFNAGE, theoretically traced to a natural son of Colin of Lochawe, d. 1390, or, as some say, of Colin, first Earl, d. 1492, but perhaps descended from the old Clan M’Innes of Ardgour or Morven. The constabulary of the Castle of Dunstaffnage was, no doubt, bestowed by Robert I. in 1321-22 on an Arthur, and afterwards on an Archibald Campbell; but neither the seannachies nor the family itself derive the M’Angus Campbells–now and for some centuries of Dunstaffnage—from these persons. The former allege Colin, first Earl, to be the progenitor.
M’NEIL, OR CAMPBELL, OF KENMORE OR MELFORT, deduced from a natural son of Sir Colin of Lochawe, d. 1340. This family, which, in the last generation, furnished several highly distinguished officers to the army and navy, although of very doubtful Campbell origin, seems to have no connection whatever with the Clan-Macneill.
M’IVER, OR CAMPBELL, OF LERGACHONZIE, STONSHIRAY, AND ASKNISH, one of the Barons of 1292, and the M’Ivers of Glassary and Cowal.
M’DUGALL, OR CAMPBELL, OF CRAIGNISH, of which the Chief latterly, after the recovery of the estate by Ronald Mac-Dhonuil-Mhic-Iain of Barchbeyan, was called M’Dhonuil-Vic-Iain. This—one of the most ancient families in Argyllshire, the head of it being one of the eleven Barons of 1292—is well known not to be of Campbell descent.
M’DHONNACHIE-MHOIR, OR CAMPBELL, OF DUNTROON. This family is by some supposed to be really descended from a natural son of Colin of Lochawe, d. 1390, but the tradition of a special brotherly alliance between it and the families of Dunstaffnage and Melfort, in accordance with which, on the death of any one of the three, the two others laid the one the head and the other the feet of the deceased in the grave, seems to argue a very ancient community of interest, if not of descent. Of Duntroon the Campbells of Raschoilly, Oib, Tayness, Knap, and Rudale, were cadets.
THE CLAN-CHEARLAICH, OR PERHAPS PROPERLY THEARLAICH—always reputed to be a branch of the Clan-Dugall of Craignish—whose original seat is uncertain. The Chiefs and a considerable number of this race seem to have accompanied the founders of the Breadalbane family into Perthshire, from Glenorchy, where they had been for some generations. They appear in Perthshire as the Campbells of West-Ardeonaig and Corrycharnaig, and are often mentioned also under the names M’Cairlich and Charliesoun in the Black-book of Taymouth. In Argyllshire, too, they appear of old under the name of M’Kerliche. The probable Chiefs of this old race are the Inverneil family, reestablished in Argyllshire by Sir Archibald and Sir James Campbell.
If to all these we add the number of MacDiarmids who in ancient times, and of MacGregors, MacLarens, and others, who more lately assumed the name of Campbell, it will be seen that many bearing that name in Argyllshire and Perthshire are descended of other races. In fact, prolific as some branches of the Campbells were, it would have been scarcely possible that all the bearers of the name in those counties should have sprung from them.*
A similar aggregation of large numbers from different races took place in many other cases, as in those of the Frasers, Gordons, &c.; but, while in these instances, the persons incorporated seem to have been mainly nativi without property, or members of broken septs, the Argyll family succeeded in attaching to itself and engrafting many old, independent, and well organised small Clans. If there is evidence of good policy here, there is also indubitable proof of the hereditary possession by the Black Knights of Lochawe, of the qualities that attract admiration and confidence.
It will be observed that almost all the families enumerated above are found in occupation of prominent and commanding points of Argyllshire—chiefly on the coast—a proof of early possession and power. It must also be borne in mind that, although not of the Campbell race, they almost all had latterly, through marriage with branches of the Argyll family—zealously promoted by the House of Lochawe—a large infusion, in many cases ultimately a preponderance, of Campbell blood.
* There is a third Argyllshire family of which the Head was styled M’Dhonnachie—Campbell of Glenfeochan. This family may probably have sprung from the House of Lochawe, but the writer has not traced its decent with certainty.
— The Celtic Monthly, September 1907.
[Re: other errors of this author, see W. D. H. Sellar, The Earliest Campbells–Norman, Briton, or Gael?, Scottish Studies, vol. xvii., 1973.]
Some ancient stone crosses are yet standing near this ancient pile [i.e. the ruins of Iona Abbey], with inscriptions no longer intelligible. Previous to the Reformation, there existed 860 of various sizes and beautiful workmanship. Many of which, were carried away to adorn the streets of distant towns and villages; and in Cowal, there is a popular tradition, that a great number of crosses and tomb-stones were sunk in Loch Fyne opposite to Strachur, where, if we believe the fishermen of that place, they are still to be seen at low water.
Steam-boat Companion, or Stranger’s Guide to the Western Isles & Highlands of Scotland, Glasgow, James Lumsden & Son, 1839, p. 175.
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.
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.
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.
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–
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.
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.
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.
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 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.