Pickle the Spy
or The Incognito of Prince Charles

The following is from Pickle the Spy by Andrew Lang:

Chapter VII

Young Glengarry

Pickle the spy - Not James Mohr Macgregor or Drummond - Pickle was the young chief of Glengarry - Proofs of this - His family history - His part in the Forty-five - Misfortunes of his family - In the Tower of London - Letters to James III. - No cheque! - Barren honours - In London in 1749 - His poverty - Mrs. Murray of Broughton’s watch - Steals from the Loch Arkaig hoard - Charges by him against Archy Cameron - Is accused of forgery - Cameron of Torcastle - Glengarry sees James III. in Rome - Was he sold to Cumberland? - Anonymous charges against Glengarry - A friend of Murray of Broughton - His spelling in evidence against him - Mrs. Cameron’s accusation against Young Glengarry - Henry Pelham and Campbell of Lochnell - Pickle gives his real name and address - Note on Glengarry family - Highlanders among the Turks.

In November 1752, if not earlier, a new fountain of information becomes open to us, namely, the communications made by Pickle the spy to the English Government. His undated letters to his employers are not always easily attributed to a given month or year, but there can be mo mistake in assigning his first dated letter to November 2, 1752. {145}

The spy called Pickle was a descendant of Somerled and the Lords of the Isles. In her roll-call of the clans, Flora MacIvor summons the Macdonalds:

‘O sprung from the kings who in Islay held state,
Proud chiefs of Glengarry, Clanranald, and Sleat,
Combine like three streams from one mountain of snow,
And resistless in union rush down on the foe!’

Pickle was the heir to the chieftainship of Glengarry; he was Alastair Ruadh Macdonnell (or Mackdonnell, as he often writes it), son of John Macdonnell, twelfth of Glengarry. Pickle himself, till his father’s death in 1754, is always spoken of as ‘Young Glengarry.’ We shall trace the steps by which Young Glengarry, the high-born chief of the most important Catholic Jacobite clan, became Pickle, the treacherous correspondent of the English Government. On first reading his letters in the Additional MSS. of the British Museum, I conceived Pickle to be a traitorous servant in the household of some exiled Jacobite. I then found him asserting his rank as eldest son of the chief of a great clan; and I thought he must be personating his master, for I could not believe in such villainy as the treason of a Highland chief. Next, I met allusions to the death of his father, and the date (September 1, 1754) corresponded with that of the decease of Old Glengarry. Presently I observed the suspicions entertained about Young Glengarry, and the denunciation of him in 1754 by Mrs. Cameron, the widow of the last Jacobite martyr, Archibald Cameron. I also perceived that Pickle and Young Glengarry both invariably spell ‘who’ as ‘how.’ Next, in Pickle’s last extant epistle to the English Government (1760), he directs his letters to be sent to ‘Alexander Macdonnell, Glengarry, Fort William.’ Finally, I compared Pickle’s handwriting, where he gives the name ‘Alexander Macdonnell,’ with examples of Young Glengarry’s signature in legal documents in the library of Edinburgh University. The writing, in my opinion, was the same in both sets of papers. Thus this hideous charge of treachery is not brought heedlessly against a gentleman of ancient, loyal, and honourable family. Young Glengarry died unarmed, at home, on December 23, 1761, leaving directions that his political papers should be burned, and the present representatives of a distinguished House are not the lineal descendants of a traitor.

The grandfather of Alastair Ruadh Macdonnell (alias Pickle, alias Roderick Random - he was fond of Dr. Smollett’s new novels - alias Alexander Jeanson, that is, Alastair, son of Ian), was Alastair Dubh, Black Alister, ‘who, with his ponderous two-handed sword, mowed down two men at every stroke’ at Killiecrankie, and also fought at Shirramuir. At Killiecrankie he lost his brother, and his son Donald Gorm (Donald of the Blue Eyes), who is said to have slain eighteen of the enemy. At Shirramuir, when Clanranald fell, Glengarry tossed his bonnet in the air, crying in Gaelic, ‘Revenge! Revenge! Revenge to-day, and mourning to-morrow.’ He then led a charge, and drove the regular British troops in rout. He received a warrant of a peerage from the King over the water.

This hero seems a strange ancestor for a spy and a traitor, like Pickle. Yet we may trace an element of ‘heredity.’ About 1735 a member of the Balhaldie family, chief of Clan Alpin or Macgregor, wrote the Memoirs of the great Lochiel, published in 1842 for the Abbotsford Club. Balhaldie draws rather in Clarendon’s manner a portrait of the Alastair Macdonnell of 1689 and of 1715. Among other things he writes:

‘Most of his actions might well admitt of a double construction, and what he appeared generally to be was seldome what he really was. . . . Though he was ingaged in every attempt that was made for the Restoration of King James and his family, yet he managed matters so that he lossed nothing in the event. . . . The concerts and ingagements he entered into with his neighbours . . . he observed only in so far as suited with his own particular interest, but still he had the address to make them bear the blame, while he carried the profits and honour. To conclude, he was brave, loyal, and wonderfully sagacious and long-sighted; and was possessed of a great many shineing qualities, blended with a few vices, which, like patches on a beautifull face, seemed to give the greater éclat to his character.’

Pickle, it will be discovered, inherited the ancestral ‘vices.’ ‘What he appeared generally to be was seldome what he really was.’ His portrait, {149a} in Highland dress, displays a handsome, fair, athletic young chief, with a haughty expression. Behind him stands a dark, dubious-looking retainer, like an evil genius.

Alastair Dubh Macdonnell died in 1724, and was succeeded by his son John, twelfth of Glengarry. This John had, by two wives, four sons, of whom the eldest, Alastair Ruadh, was Pickle. Alastair held a captain’s commission in the Scots brigade in the French service. In March 1744, he and the Earl Marischal were at Gravelines, meaning to sail with the futile French expedition from Dunkirk. In June 1745, Glengarry went to France with a letter from the Scotch Jacobites, bidding Charles not to come without adequate French support. Old Glengarry, in January 1745, had ‘disponed’ his lands to Alastair his son, for weighty reasons to him known. {149b} Such deeds were common in the Highlands, especially before a rising.

From this point the movements of Young Glengarry become rather difficult to trace. If we could believe the information received from Rob Roy’s son, James Mohr Macgregor, by Craigie, the Lord Advocate, Young Glengarry came over to Scotland in La Doutelle, when Charles landed in Moidart in July 1745. {150a} This was not true. Old Glengarry, with Lord George Murray, waited on Cope at Crieff in August, when Cope marched north. Cope writes, ‘I saw Glengarry the father at Crieff with the Duke of Athol; ’tis said that none of his followers are yet out, tho’ there is some doubt of his youngest son; the eldest, as Glengarry told me, is in France.’ {150b} On September 14, Forbes of Culloden congratulated Old Glengarry on his return home, and regretted that so many of his clan were out under Lochgarry, a kinsman. {150c} Old Glengarry had written to Forbes ‘lamenting the folly of his friends.’ He, like Lovat, was really ‘sitting on the fence.’ His clan was out; his second son Ćneas led it at Falkirk. Alastair was in France. At the close of 1745, Alastair, conveying a detachment of the Royal Scots, in French service, and a piquet of the Irish brigade to Scotland, was captured on the seas and imprisoned in the Tower of London. {150d} In January 1746 we find him writing from the Tower to Waters, the banker in Paris, asking for money. Almost at this very time Young Glengarry’s younger brother, Ćneas, who led the clan, was accidentally shot in the streets of Falkirk by a Macdonald of Clanranald’s regiment. The poor Macdonald was executed, and the Glengarry leader, by Charles’s desire, was buried in the grave of Wallace’s companion, Sir John the Graeme, as the only worthy resting-place. Many Macdonalds deserted. {151a}

After Culloden (April 1746), an extraordinary event took place in the Glengarry family. Colonel Warren, who, in October 1746, carried off Charles safely to France, arrested, in Scotland, Macdonell of Barrisdale, on charges of treason to King James. {151b} Barrisdale had been taken by the English, but was almost instantly released after Culloden. One charge against him, on the Jacobite side, was that he had made several gentlemen of Glengarry’s clan believe that their chief meant to deliver them up to the English. Thereon ‘information was laid’ (by the gentlemen?) against Old Glengarry. Old Glengarry’s letters in favour of the Prince were discovered; he was seized, and was only released from Edinburgh Castle in October 1749.

Here then, in 1746, were Old Glengarry in prison, Young Glengarry in the Tower, and Lucas lying in the grave of Sir John the Graeme. Though only nineteen, Ćneas was married, and left issue. The family was now in desperate straits, and already a sough of treason to the cause was abroad. Young Glengarry says that he lay in the Tower for twenty-two months; he was released in July 1747. The Rev. James Leslie, writing to defend himself against a charge of treachery (Paris, May 27, 1752), quotes a letter, undated, from Glengarry. ‘One needs not be a wizard to see that mentioning you was only a feint, and the whole was aimed at me.’ {152a} If this, like Leslie’s letter, was written in 1752, Glengarry was then not unsuspected. We shall now see how he turned his coat.

On January 22, 1748, he writes to James from Paris, protesting loyalty. But ‘since I arrived here, after my tedious confinement in the Tower in London, I have not mett with any suitable encouragement.’ Glengarry, even as Pickle, constantly complains that his services are not recognised. Both sides were ungrateful! In the list of gratuities to the Scotch from France, Glengarry l’Ainé gets 1,800 livres; Young Glengarry is not mentioned. {152b} From Amiens, September 20, 1748, Young Glengarry again wrote to James. He means ‘to wait any opportunity of going safely to Britain’ on his private affairs. These journeys were usually notified by the exiles; their mutual suspicions had to be guarded against. In December, Young Glengarry hoped to succeed to the Colonelcy in the Scoto-French regiment of Albany, vacated by the death of the Gentle Lochiel. Archibald Cameron had also applied for it, as locum tenens of his nephew, Lochiel’s son, a boy of sixteen. James replied, through Edgar, that he was unable to interfere and assist Glengarry, as he had recommended young Lochiel. What follows explains, perhaps, the circumstance that changed Young Glengarry into Pickle.

‘His Majesty is sorry to find you so low in your circumstances, and reduced to such straits at present as you mention, and he is the more sorry that his own situation, as to money matters, never being so bad as it now is, he is not in a condition to relieve you, as he would incline. But His Majesty being at the same time desirous to do what depends on him for your satisfaction, he, upon your request, sends you here enclosed a duplicate of your grandfather’s warrant to be a Peer. You will see that it is signed by H. M. and I can assure you it is an exact duplicate copie out of the book of entrys of such like papers.’ {153a}

It is easy to conceive the feelings and to imagine the florid eloquence of Young Glengarry, when he expected a cheque and got a duplicate copy of a warrant (though he had asked for it) to be a Peer - over the water! As he was not without a sense of humour, the absurdity of the Stuart cause must now have become vividly present to his fancy. He must starve or ‘conform,’ that is, take tests and swallow oaths. But it was not necessary that he should sell himself. Many loyal gentlemen were in his position of poverty, but perhaps only James Mohr Macgregor and Samuel Cameron vended themselves as Glengarry presently did.

Glengarry loitered in Paris. On June 9, 1749, he wrote to the Cardinal Duke of York. He explained that, while he was in the Tower, the Court of France had sent him ‘unlimited credit’ as a Highland chief. He understood that he was intended to supply the wants of the poor prisoners, ‘Several of whom, had it not been our timely assistance [Sir Hector Maclean was with him] had starved.’ Sir Hector tells the same tale. From Sir James Graeme, Glengarry learned that the Duke of York had procured for him this assistance. But now the French War Office demanded repayment of the advance, and detained four years of his pay in the French service. He ‘can’t receive his ordinary supply from home, his father being in prison, and his lands entirely destroyed.’ To James’s agent, Lismore, he tells the same story, and adds, ‘I shall be obliged to leave this country, if not relieved.’ {154} Later, in 1749, we learn from Leslie that he accompanied Glengarry to London, where Glengarry ‘did not intend to appear publicly,’ but ‘to have the advice of some counsellors about an act of the Privy Council against his returning to Great Britain.’ At this time Leslie pledged a gold repeater, the property of Mrs. Murray, wife of that other traitor, Murray of Broughton. ‘Glengarry, after selling his sword and shoe-buckles to my certain knowledge was reduced to such straits, that I pledged the repeater for a small sum to relieve him, and wrote to Mr. Murray that I had done so.’ He pledged it to Clanranald. Mrs. Murray was angry, for (contrary to the usual story that she fled after the Prince to France) she was living with her husband at this time. {155a}

Here then, in July or August 1749, is Young Glengarry in extreme distress at London. But Ćneas Macdonald, writing to Edgar from Boulogne on October 12, 1751, says, ‘I lent Young Glengarry 50l. when he was home in 1744, and I saw him in London just at the time I got out of gaol in 1749, and though in all appearance he had plenty of cash, yet’ he never dreamed of paying Ćneas his 50l! ‘Nothing could have lost him but falling too soon into the hands of bad counsellors.’

I regret to say that the pious Ćneas Macdonald was nearly as bad a traitor as any of these few evil Highland gentlemen. His examination in London was held on September 16, 1746. {155b} Herein he regaled his examiners with anecdotes of a tavern keeper at Gravelines ‘who threatened to beat the Pretender’s son’; and of how he himself made Lord Sempil drunk, to worm his schemes out of him. It is only fair to add that, beyond tattle of this kind, next to nothing was got out of Ćneas, who, in 1751, demands a Jacobite peerage for his family, that of Kinloch Moidart.

So much, at present, for Ćneas. If we listen to Leslie, Young Glengarry was starving in July or August 1749; if we believe Ćneas, he had ‘plenty of cash’ in December of the same year. Whence came this change from poverty to affluence? We need not assume it to be certain that Glengarry’s gold came out of English secret service money. His father had been released from prison in October 1749, and may have had resources. We have already seen, too, that Young Glengarry was accused of getting, in the winter of 1749, his share of the buried hoard of Loch Arkaig. Lord Elcho, in Paris, puts the money taken by Young Glengarry and Lochgarry (an honest man) at 1,200 louis d’or. We have heard the laments of ‘Thomas Newton’ (Kennedy), who himself is accused of peculation by Ćneas Macdonald, and of losing 800l. of the Prince’s money at Newmarket. {156} We do not know for certain, then, that Young Glengarry vended his honour when in London in autumn 1749. That he made overtures to England, whether they were accepted or not, will soon be made to seem highly probable. We return to his own letters. In June 1749 he had written, as we saw, from Paris, also to Lismore, and to the Cardinal Duke of York. On September 23, 1749, he again wrote to Lismore from Boulogne. He says he has been in London (as we know from Leslie), where his friends wished him to ‘conform’ to the Hanoverian interest. This he disdains. He has sent a vassal to the North, and finds that the clans are ready to rise. If not relieved from his debt to the French War Office he must return to England.

He did return in the winter of 1749, and he accompanied his cousin, Lochgarry (a truly loyal man), to Scotland, where he helped himself to some of the hoard of gold. On January 16, 1750, he writes to Edgar from Boulogne, reports his Scotch journey, and adds that he is now sent by the clans to lay their sentiments before James, in Rome. He then declares that Archibald Cameron has been damping all hearts in the Highlands. ‘I have prevented the bad consequences that might ensue from such notions; but one thing I could not prevent was his taking 6,000 louis d’ors of the money left in the country by his Royal Highness, which he did without any opposition, as he was privy to where the money was laid, only Cluny Macpherson obliged him to give a receipt for it. . . . I am credibly informed he designs to lay this money in the hands of a merchant in Dunkirk, and enter partners with him. . . .’ He hopes that James will detain Archibald Cameron in Rome, till his own arrival. He protests that it is ‘very disagreeable to him’ to give this information. {157}

As we have already seen, ‘Newton,’ since 1748, had been in England, trying to procure the money from Cluny: we have seen that Archibald Cameron, Young Glengarry, and others, had obtained a large share of the gold in the winter of 1749. Charges of dishonesty were made on all sides, and we have already narrated how Archibald Cameron, Sir Hector Maclean, Lochgarry, and Young Glengarry carried themselves and their disputes to Rome (in the spring of 1750), and how James declined to interfere. The matter, he said, was personal to the Prince. But the following letter of James to Charles deserves attention.

The King to the Prince.

‘March 17, 1750.

‘You will remark that at the end of Archy’s paper, it is mentioned as if a certain person should have made use of my name in S---d, and have even produced a letter supposed to be mine to prove that he was acting by commission from me: what there may be in the bottom of all this I know not, but I think it necessary you should know that since your return from S---d I never either employed or authorized the person, or anybody else, to carry any commissions on politick affairs to any of the three kingdoms.’

Now this certain person, accused by ‘Archy’ (Archibald Cameron) of forging a letter from James, with a commission to take part of the hidden hoard, is Young Glengarry. In his letter of October 12, 1751, Ćneas Macdonald mentions a report ‘too audacious to be believed; that Glengarry had counterfeited his Majesty’s signature to gett the money that he gott in Scotland.’ Glengarry ‘was very capable of having it happen to him,’ but he accused Archibald Cameron, and the charge still clings to his name. Even now Cameron is not wholly cleared. On November 21, 1753, his uncle, Ludovic Cameron of Torcastle, wrote to the Prince from Paris:

‘My nephew, Dr. Cameron, had the misfortune to take away a round sum of your highness’s money, and I was told lately that it was thought I should have shared with him in that base and mean undertaking. I declare, on my honour and conscience, that I knew nothing of the taking of the money, until he told it himself in Rome, where I happened to be at the time, and that I never touched one farthing of it, or ever will.’ {159}

Cluny, as well as Cameron, was this gentleman’s nephew. The character of Archibald Cameron is so deservedly high, the praises given to him by Horace Walpole are so disinterested, that any imputation on him lacks credibility. One is inclined to believe that there is a misunderstanding, and that what money Cameron took was for the Prince’s service. Yet we find no proof of this, and Torcastle’s letter is difficult to explain on the hypothesis of Cameron’s innocence. Glengarry tried to secure himself by a mysterious interview with the King. On May 23, at Rome, he wrote to Edgar. ‘As His Majesty comes into town next week, and that I can’t, in your absence, have an audience with such safety, not choising to confide myself on that particular to any but you; I beg you’l be so good as contrive, if His Majesty judges it proper, that I have the honour of meeting him, in the duskish, for a few moments.’

No doubt Glengarry was brought to the secret cellar, whence a dark stair led to James’s furtive audience chamber.

We must repeat the question, Was Young Glengarry, while with James in Rome, actually sold to the English Government at this time? We have seen that he was in London in the summer of 1749. On August 2 of that year, the Duke of Cumberland wrote to the Duke of Bedford, who, of all men in England, is said by Jacobite tradition to have most frequently climbed James’s cellar stair! Cumberland speaks of ‘the goodness of the intelligence’ now offered to the Government. ‘On my part, I bear it witness, for I never knew it fail me in the least trifle, and have had very material and early notices from it. How far the price may agree with our present saving schemes I don’t know, but good intelligence ought not to be lightly thrown away.’ {160}

Was Glengarry (starving in August 1749) the source of the intelligence which, in that month, Cumberland had already found useful? The first breath of suspicion against Glengarry, not as a forger or thief (these minor charges were in the air), but as a traitor, is met in an anonymous letter forwarded by John Holker to young Waters. {161} A copy had also been sent to Edgar at Rome. Already, on November 30, 1751, some one, sealing with a stag’s head gorged, and a stag under a tree in the shield, had written to Waters, denouncing Glengarry’s suspected friend, Leslie the priest, as ‘to my private knowledge an arrant rogue.’ Leslie has been in London, and is now off to Lorraine. ‘He is going to discover if he can have any news of the Prince in a country which, it is strongly suspected, His Royal Highness has crossed or bordered on more than once.’ In the later anonymous letter we are told of ‘a regular correspondence between John Murray [of Broughton, the traitor] and Samuel Cameron’ - a spy of whom we shall hear again. ‘What surprises people still more is that Mr. Macdonald of Glengarrie, who says that he is charged with the affaires of his Majesty, is known to be in great intimacy with Murray, and to put Confidence in one Leslie, a priest, well known for a very infamous character, and who, I’m authorised to say, imposed upon one of the first personages in England by forging the Prince’s name.’

The anonymous accusers were Blair and Holker, men known to Edgar and Waters, but not listened to by Charles. Glengarry, according to his anonymous accuser of February 1752, was in London nominally ‘on the King’s affaires.’ On July (or, as he spells it, ‘Jully’) 15, 1751, Young Glengarry wrote from London to James and to Edgar. He says, to James, that the English want a Restoration, but have ‘lost all martial spirit.’ To Edgar he gave warning that, if measures were not promptly taken, the Loch Arkaig hoard would be embezzled to the last six-pence. ‘I must drop the politicall,’ he says; he will no longer negotiate for James, but ‘my sword will be always drawn amongst the first.’

The letter to James is printed by Browne; {162a} that to Edgar is not printed. And now appears the value of original documents. In the manuscript Glengarry spells ‘who’ as ‘how’: in the printed version the spelling is tacitly corrected. Now Pickle, writing to his English employers, always spells ‘who as ‘how,’ an eccentricity not marked by me in any other writer of the period. This is a valuable trifle of evidence, connecting Pickle with Young Glengarry. In an undated letter to Charles, certainly of 1751, Glengarry announces his approaching marriage with a lady of ‘a very Honourable and loyall familie in England,’ after which he will pay his share of the Loch Arkaig gold. He ends with pious expressions. When at Rome he had been ‘an ardent suitor’ to the Cardinal Duke ‘for a relick of the precious wood of the Holy Cross, in obtaining which I shall think myself most happy.’ {162b}

In 1754, two years after the anonymous denunciation, we find a repetition of the charge of treachery against Glengarry. On January 25, 1754, Mrs. Cameron, by that time widow of Archibald, sends to Edgar, in Rome, what she has just told Balhaldie about Young Glengarry. Her letter is most amazing. ‘I was telling him [Balhaldie] what character I heard of Young Glengarry in England,’ where she had vainly thrown herself at the feet of George II., praying for her husband’s life. ‘Particularly Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochnell [Mrs. Cameron was a Campbell] told me, and others whom he could trust, that in the year 1748, or 1749, I don’t remember which, as he, Sir Duncan, was going out of the House of Commons, Mr. Henry Pelham, brother to the Duke of Newcastle, and Secretary of State, called on him, and asked if he knew Glengarry? Sir Duncan answered he knew the old man, but not the young. Pelham replied, it was Young Glengarry he spoke of; for that he came to him offering his most faithful and loyal services to the Government in any shape they thought proper, as he came from feeling the folly of any further concern with the ungrateful family of Stuart, to whom he and his family had been too long attached, to the absolute ruin of themselves and country.’

It is difficult to marvel enough at the folly of Pelham in thus giving away a secret of the most mortal moment. Mrs. Cameron did not hear Lochnell’s report till after the mischief was wrought, the great scheme baffled, and her husband traduced, betrayed, and executed. By January 1754, Pickle had done the most of his business, as will appear when we come to study his letters. In these Henry Pelham is always ‘my great friend,’ with him Pickle communicates till Pelham’s death (March 1754), and his letters are marked by the Duke of Newcastle, ‘My Brother’s Papers.’

All this may be called mere circumstantial evidence. The anonymous denouncer may have been prejudiced. Mrs. Cameron’s evidence is not at firsthand. Perhaps other Highland gentlemen spelled ‘who’ as ‘how.’ Leslie was not condemned by his ecclesiastical superiors, but sent back to his mission in Scotland. {164} But Pickle, writing as Pickle, describes himself, we shall see, in terms which apply to Young Glengarry, and to Young Glengarry alone. And, in his last letter (1760), Pickle begs that his letters may be addressed ‘To Alexander Macdonnell of Glengarry by Fort Augustus.’ It has been absurdly alleged that Pickle was James Mohr Macgregor. In 1760, James Mohr had long been dead, and at no time was he addressed as Alexander Macdonnell of Glengarry. Additional evidence of Pickle’s identity will occur in his communications with his English employers. He was not likely to adopt the name of Pickle before the publication of Smollett’s ‘Peregrine Pickle’ in 1751, though he may have earlier played his infamous part as spy, traitor, and informer.

* * * * *

Note

The Family of Glengarry.

ALASTAIR RUADH MACDONELL, alias Pickle, Jeanson, Roderick Random, and so forth, died, as we saw, in 1761. He was succeeded by his nephew Duncan, son of Ćneas, accidentally shot. at Falkirk in 1746. Duncan was followed by Alastair, Scott’s friend; it was he who gave Maida to Sir Walter. Alastair, the last Glengarry who held the lands of the House, died in January 1828. Scott devotes a few lines of his journal to the chief (January 21, 1828), who shot a grandson of Flora Macdonald in a duel, and disputed with Clanranald the supremacy of the Macdonalds. Scott says ‘he seems to have lived a century too late, and to exist, in a state of complete law and order, like a Glengarry of old, whose will was law to his Sept. Warm-hearted, generous, friendly, he is beloved by those who knew him . . . To me he is a treasure . . . ’ {165} He married a daughter of Sir William Forbes, a strong claim on Scott’s affection. He left sons who died without offspring; his daughter Helen married Cunninghame of Balgownie, and is represented by her son, J. Alastair Erskine-Cunninghame, Esq., of Balgownie. If Charles, half brother of Alastair Ruadh (Pickle), who died in America, left no offspring, the House of Glengarry is represented by Ćneas Ranald Westrop Macdonnell, Esq., of the Scotus branch of Glengarry. According to a letter written to the Old Chevalier in 1751, by Will Henderson in Moidart, young Scotus had extraordinary adventures after Culloden. The letter follows. I published it first in the Illustrated London News.

To the King. From W. Henderson in Moydart.

‘October 5, 1750.

‘Sir, - After making offer to you of my kind compliments, I thought it my indispensable duty to inform you that one Governor Stewart of the Isle of Lemnos on the coast of Ethiopia in ye year 1748 wrot to Scotland a letter for Stewart of Glenbucky concerning Donald McDonell of Scothouse younger, and John Stewart with 20 other prisoners of our countrymen there, to see, if by moyen of ransome they could be relieved. The substance of the Letter, as it came with an Irish Ship this year to Clyde, is as follows:

‘That Donald McDonell of Scothouse, younger, and first cousin german to John McDonell of Glengarry, and with John Stewart of Acharn and other 20 persons mortally wounded in the Battle of Culloden, were by providence preserved, altho without mercy cast aboard of a ship in Cromarty Bay the very night of the Battle, and sailed next morning for Portsmouth, where they were cast again aboard of an Indiaman to be carried, or transported without doom or law to some of the british plantations, but they had the fate to be taken prisoners by a Salle Rover or a Turkish Privatir or Pirat, who, after strangling the captain and crew, keeped the 22 highlanders in their native garb to be admired by the Turks, since they never seed their habit, nor heard their languadgue befor, and as providence would have it, the Turks and Governor Stewart came to see the Rarysho, and being a South country hiland man, that went over on the Darien expedition, and yet extant, being but a very young boy when he went off, seeing his countrymen, spok to them with surprize in their native tong or language, and by comoning but a short time in galick, found in whose’s army they served, and how they suffered by the fate of war and disaster, after which he ordered them ashoar, and mitigated their confinement as far as lay’d in his power, but on them landing, by the Turks’ gelosie [jealousy?] they were deprived of all writting instroments, for fear they sho’d give their friends information of the place they were in, and so it would probably happen them during life: if John Stewart of Acharn had not got his remot cousin Governor Stewart to writt a letter and inclosed one from himself giving particular information of Scothouse, wishing and begging all frinds concerned to procure written orders from the King of France to his Ambassador at Constantinopol for to make all intercession for the relesement of the forsaid Two Gentlemen and other 20 British christians in the King His Majesty’s Name, or to recommend their condition to his holyness to see if by ransome they might be relived. And they’ll always be gratefull to their Deliverurs, to this pious end. I make chuse of you to inform your Master, who’s the capablest person under God to do for them, which will with other infinit titles endear you to your fast friends in Scotland, and especially to your Will Henderson, who lives there 13 years past among the MacDonalds of Clanranald, so I hope you’ll make use of what I have wrot, to the end I intend, and God will give the due reward . . . I remain, etc.’

In fact, the younger Scotus was not taken prisoner at Culloden, but remained in the Highlands, and is mentioned by Murray of Broughton, in his account of his expenditure, and of the Loch Arkaig treasure, published by Robert Chambers as an Appendix to his ‘History of the Rising of 1745.’

Chapter VIII - Pickle and the Elibank Plot - Footnotes


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