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.

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.

A Pack of Hypocrites

WHERE are the days that we have seen,
When Phœbus shone fu’ bright, man,
Days when fu’ merry we have been,
When every one had right man;
Now gloomy clouds do overshade,
And spread wide over a’, man,
Ill boding comets blaze o’er head,
O whirry whigs awa’, man.

Now ill appears with face fu’ bare,
‘Mong high and low degree, man,
And great confusion every where,
Which every day we see, man;
A blind man’s chosen for a guide,
If they get not a fa’ man,
There’s none needs wonder if they slide,
O whirry whigs awa’, man.

We are divided as you see,
A sad and dreadful thing, man,
‘Twixt malice, pride, and presbytery,
And Satan leads the ring, man:
Our nation’s under misery,
And slavery with a’ man,
Yet deaf’d with din of liberty,
O whirry whigs awa’, man.

Our decent gowns are all put down,
Dare scarcely now be seen, man,
Geneva frocks take up their room,
Entitled to the tiends, man;
Who cant and speak the most discreet,
And say they love the law, man,
Yet are a pack of hypocrites,
O whirry whigs awa’, man.

Of primitive simplicity,
Which in our church was left, man,
Of truth and peace with prelacy,
Alas! we are bereft, man;
Instead of true humility,
And unity with a’ man,
Confusion’s mither presbytery,
Now spawns her brats thro’ a’ man.

The Lord’s prayer and the creed,
With glore to trinity, man,
New start-ups all these things exclude
And call them popery, man,
Rebellion’s horn they loudly tout,
With whinning tone and bla, man,
And leave the means of grace without;
O whirry whigs awa’, man.

Yet creed and Lord’s prayer too,
The true blue folks of old, man,
Ye know believed to be true,
And promised to hold, man.
But having proved false to God,
Traitors to kings with a’, man,
They never by their word abode;
O whirry whigs awa’, man.

Continue reading “A Pack of Hypocrites”

Strangled by a Silken Cord

Monday, 25th October [1773].—My acquaintance, the Rev. Mr. John M’Aulay, one of the ministers of Inverary, and brother to our good friend at Calder, came to us this morning, and accompanied us to the castle, where I presented Dr. Johnson to the Duke of Argyle. We were shown through the house; and I never shall forget the impression made upon my fancy by some of the ladies’ maids tripping about in neat morning dresses. After seeing for a long time little but rusticity, their lively manner, and gay inviting appearance, pleased me so much, that I thought, for the moment, I could have been a knight-errant for them.

We then got into a low one-horse chair, ordered for us by the duke, in which we drove about the place. Dr. Johnson was much struck by the grandeur and elegance of this princely seat. He thought, however, the castle too low, and wished it had been a story higher. He said, “What I admire here, is the total defiance of expense.” I had a particular pride in showing him a great number of fine old trees, to compensate for the nakedness which had made such an impression on him on the eastern coast of Scotland.

When we came in, before dinner, we found the duke and some gentlemen in the hall. Dr. Johnson took much notice of the large collection of arms, which are excellently disposed there. I told what he had said to Sir Alexander M’Donald, of his ancestors not suffering their arms to rust. “Well,” said the doctor, “but let us be glad we live in times when arms may rust. We can sit to-day at his grace’s table, without any risk of being attacked, and perhaps sitting down again wounded or maimed.” The duke placed Dr. Johnson next himself at table. I was in fine spirits; and though sensible that I had the misfortune of not being in favour with the duchess, I was not in the least disconcerted, and offered her grace some of the dish that was before me. It must be owned that I was in the right to be quite unconcerned, if I could. I was the Duke of Argyle’s guest; and I had no reason to suppose that he adopted the prejudices and resentments of the Duchess of Hamilton.

I knew it was the rule of modern high life not to drink to any body; but, that I might have the satisfaction for once to look the duchess in the face, with a glass in my hand, I with a respectful air addressed her, “My Lady Duchess, I have the honour to drink your grace’s good health.” I repeated the words audibly, and with a steady countenance. This was, perhaps, rather too much; but some allowance must be made for human feelings.

The duchess was very attentive to Dr. Johnson.

I know not how a middle state came to be mentioned. Her grace wished to hear him on that point. “Madam,” said he, “your own relation, Mr. Archibald Campbell, can tell you better about it than I can. He was a bishop of the nonjuring communion, and wrote a book upon the subject’.” He engaged to get it for her grace. He afterwards gave a full history of Mr. Archibald Campbell, which I am sorry I do not recollect particularly. He said, Mr. Campbell had been bred a violent whig, but afterwards “kept better company, and became a tory.” He said this with a smile, in pleasant allusion, as I thought, to the opposition between his own political principles and those of the duke’s clan. He added that Mr. Campbell, after the revolution, was thrown into gaol on account of his tenets; but, on application by letter to the old Lord Townshend, was released: that he always spoke of his lordship with great gratitude, saying, “though a whig, he had humanity.”

Dr. Johnson and I passed some time together, in June, 1784, at Pembroke college, Oxford, with the Rev. Dr. Adams, the master; and I having expressed a regret that my note relative to Mr. Archibald Campbell was imperfect, he was then so good as to write with his own hand, on the blank page of my journal, opposite to that which contains what I have now mentioned, the following paragraph; which, however, is not quite so full as the narrative he gave at Inverary:

“The Honourable Archibald Campbell was, I believe, the nephew of the Marquis of Argyle. He began life by engaging in Monmouth’s rebellion, and, to escape the law, lived some time in Surinam. When he returned, he became zealous for episcopacy and monarchy; and at the revolution adhered not only to the nonjurors, but to those who refused to communicate with the church of England, or to be present at any worship where the usurper was mentioned as king. He was, I believe, more than once apprehended in the reign of King William, and once at the accession of George. He was the familiar friend of Hicks and Nelson; a man of letters, but injudicious; and very curious and inquisitive, but credulous. He lived in 1743, or 44, about seventy-five years old.”

The subject of luxury having been introduced, Dr. Johnson defended it. “We have now,” said he, “a splendid dinner before us; which of all these dishes is unwholesome?” The duke asserted, that he had observed the grandees of Spain diminished in their size by luxury. Dr. Johnson politely refrained from opposing directly an observation which the duke himself had made; but said, “Man must be very different from other animals, if he is diminished by good living; for the size of all other animals is increased by it.” I made some remark that seemed to imply a belief in second-sight. The duchess said, “I fancy you will be a methodist.” This was the only sentence her grace deigned to utter to me; and I take it for granted, she thought it a good hit on my credulity in the Douglas cause.

A gentleman in company, after dinner, was desired by the duke to go to another room, for a specimen of curious marble, which his grace wished to show us. He brought a wrong piece, upon which the duke sent him back again. He could not refuse; but, to avoid any appearance of servility, he whistled as he walked out of the room, to show his independency. On my mentioning this afterwards to Dr. Johnson, he said, it was a nice trait of character.

Dr. Johnson talked a great deal, and was so entertaining, that Lady Betty Hamilton, after dinner, went and placed her chair close to his, leaned upon the back of it, and listened eagerly. It would have made a fine picture to have drawn the sage and her at this time in their several attitudes. He did not know, all the while, how much he was honoured. I told him afterwards, I never saw him so gentle and complaisant as this day.

We went to tea. The duke and I walked up and down the drawing-room, conversing. The duchess still continued to show the same marked coldness for me; for which, though I suffered from it, I made every allowance, considering the very warm part that I had taken for Douglas, in the cause in which she thought her son deeply interested. Had not her grace discovered some displeasure towards me, I should have suspected her of insensibility or dissimulation.

Her grace made Dr. Johnson come and sit by her, and asked him why he made his journey so late in the year. “Why, madam,” said he, “you know Mr. Boswell must attend the court of session, and it does not rise till the twelfth of August.” She said, with some sharpness, “I know nothing of Mr. Boswell.” Poor Lady Lucy Douglas to whom I mentioned this, observed, “She knew too much of Mr. Boswell.” I shall make no remark on her grace’s speech. I indeed felt it as rather too severe; but when I recollected that my punishment was inflicted by so dignified a beauty, I had that kind of consolation which a man would feel who is strangled by a silken cord. Dr. Johnson was all attention to her grace. He used afterwards a droll expression, upon her enjoying the three titles of Hamilton, Brandon, and Argyle. Borrowing an image from the Turkish empire, he called her a duchess with three tails.

He was much pleased with our visit at the castle of Inverary. The Duke of Argyle was exceedingly polite to him, and, upon his complaining of the shelties which he had hitherto ridden being too small for him, his grace told him he should be provided with a good horse to carry him next day.

— James Boswell, The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson.

Argyle Is My Name

Bronze medal of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Greenwich, by Jacques Antoine Dassier, 1743; 2 1/8" diameter; NPG 6232.
Bronze medal of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Greenwich, by Jacques Antoine Dassier, 1743; 2 1/8″ diameter; NPG 6232.

ARGYLE IS MY NAME. 

SAID TO BE BY JOHN DUKE OF ARGYLE AND
GREENWICH [BORN 1678 DIED 1743.]

Tune—Bannocks o’ Barley Meal.

Argyle is my name, and you may think it strange,
To live at a court, yet never to change;
A’ falsehood and flattery I do disdain,
In my secret thoughts nae guile does remain.
My king and my country’s foes I have faced,
In city or battle I ne’er was disgraced;
I do every thing for my country’s weal,
And feast upon bannocks o’ barley meal.

I will quickly lay down my sword and my gun,
And put my blue bonnet and my plaidie on;
With my silk tartan hose, and leather-heel’d shoon,
And then I will look like a sprightly loon.
And when I’m sae dress’d frae tap to tae,
To meet my dear Maggie I vow I will gae,
Wi’ target and hanger hung down to my heel;
And I’ll feast upon bannocks o’ barley meal.

I’ll buy a rich garment to gie to my dear,
A ribbon o’ green for Maggie to wear;
And mony thing brawer than that, I declare,
Gin she will gang wi’ me to Paisley fair.
And when we are married, I’ll keep her a cow,
And Maggie will milk when I gae to plow;
We’ll live a’ the winter on beef and lang kail,
And feast upon bannocks o’ barley meal.

Gin Maggie should chance to bring me a son,
He’ll fight for his king, as his daddy has done;
He’ll hie him to Flanders, some breeding to learn,
And then hame to Scotland, and get him a farm.
And there we will live by our industry,
And wha’ll be sae happy as Maggie and me?
We’ll a’ grow as fat as a Norway seal,
Wi’ our feasting on bannocks o’ barley meal.

Then fare ye weel, citizens, noisy men,
Wha jolt in your coaches to Drury Lane;
Ye bucks o’ Bear-garden, I bid ye adieu;
For drinking and swearing, I leave it to you.
I’m fairly resolved for a country life,
And nae langer will live in hurry and strife;
I’ll aff to the Highlands as hard’s I can reel,
And whang at the bannocks o’ barley meal.*

* From Herd’s Collection, 1776. Another conjecture or tradition gives the song to James Boswell.

— Robert Chambers, The Scottish Songs, Vol. 1, 1829.

I Suspect Them Greatly

William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, by Sir Joshua Reynolds (died 1792); National Portrait Gallery, London.
William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, by Sir Joshua Reynolds (died 1792); National Portrait Gallery, London.

Yesterday, General Campbell came hither to meet me, and has brought with him four companys of Western Highlanders. He assures me that they will shew no favour or partiality to the other Highlanders; as he knows them best, he must answer for this; for my own part, I suspect them greatly, for those who were with us here before these came, almost absolutely refused to plunder any of the Rebels’ houses, which is the only way we have to punish them, or bring them back.

Duke of Cumberland to Duke of Newcastle, 10 February 1745.

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.