The object of the present paper is not to pass over ground so much beaten as the expedition in question, nor to detail the particulars of the conspicuous part borne in it by Lochiel, which narratives approved by general acceptance have already sufficiently set forth - but to throw together, in a very brief form, a few circumstances less generally known regarding that memorable Highland chief.
Born about 1698 or 1700, he was too young to hear a part in the insurrection of 1715, (as his grandfather, the celebrated Sir Ewan, of Lochiel, was too old, being then eighty-seven years of age,) which preserved for him the succession to the estate and chiefdom, on Sir Ewans death, in 1719. His father, John Cameron, of Lochiel, had been outlawed and attainted for his share in the rebellion of 1715, and mostly remained an exile for thirty-two years, the whole term of his subsequent existence.
Lochiel not only inbibed attachment to hereditary and indefeasible right, from the martial achievements in behalf of the Stuart family of his renowned grandfather, the most famous chief of his own day, but from the courageous example of his father, who, with his younger brother, Allan, perilled his life, and lost his fortune in that cause.
This Allan Cameron, the uncle of the subject of my paper, was a man of very considerable abilities and address, for many years one of the prime agents of the Stuart family. In company with Stuart of Appin, he was commissioned by the Highland chiefs to present at court what was commonly called the "sword-in-hand" address, in 1712, and it well deserved that name, for it openly asserted principles altogether inconsistent with the Hanoverian succession.
It is, I think, highly probable that Allan and his colleague were the Highland gentlemen mentioned by Swift, in a letter of that period, as having dined in his company at Lord Treasurer Harleys, and whom he specially distinguishes as "very polite men," no small compliment to two Scottish Highlanders, from that caustic pen. Allan exercised a very considerable influence over the mind of his nephew, the young chief, and employed it all in establishing his principles, and inflaming his zeal, on behalf of the Stuarts.
Lochiel, in his youthful days, paid many visits to France, and when about to return home from one of these, in 1729, received a regular commission from the old chevalier, to treat with such of his friends in Scotland as he considered trustworthy.
This was accompanied by a letter from his uncle, Allan, (who was chamberlain to that unfortunate prince,) then at Albano, in Italy, which contains ample proof of the tact and ability already attributed to that relative. A few extracts are subjoined: -
"You are to keep on good terms with Glengarry and all neighbors, and to let bygones be bygones as long as they continue firm to the king's interests. You must see to win them by courtesy and good management, which will, I hope, enable you to make a figure amongst them not but that you are to tell the truth, if any of them fail in their duty to their king and country. * * * As to Lovat, pray be always on your guard, yet not so as to lose him; on the contrary, you may say that the king trusts a great deal to the resolution he has taken to serve him. * * * But, dear nephew, you know very well that he is a man whose chief end has always been his own interest. It is true he wishes our family well, and, I doubt not, would wish the king restored, if he has grace to lend a helping hand to it, after what he has done. So, upon the whole, I know not what advice to give you concerning him, only you are to make the best of him you can; but always be upon your guard, for it is best not to put too much in his power, before executing a good design. The king knows very well how useful he can be, if sincere, which I have represented as fully as necessary."
Thus ably instructed, and possessed himself of an excellent understanding and accomplished manners, Lochiel was an invaluable auxiliary to the cause which, mishappily for himself, he so ardently espoused; and he brought a strength to it, superior to any resulting from mere force of intellect, or gentlemanlike bearing - the solid respect attached to an upright, honest, honorable character, which; through his entire life, he maintained unblemished, by the universal admission of friend and foe.
Placed at the head of a numerous and warlike clan, long distinguished for military achievement, but as much distinguished for predatory habits, he set his face steadily and consistently against every act of aggression and violence. "Burt's Letters from the Highlands" prove that he had done so as early as 1726. "The chief of the Camerons," writes that intelligent officer, "has, as I am very well informed, positively forbidden all such outrages, (cattle-lifting, & c.), which has not at all recommended him to some of his followers. "
But, however some of the fiercer spirits might chafe at being reigned in from their accustomed turbulence, the clan in general soon became sensible of the inestimable qualities of their amiable chief. A chieftain of the clan, a few years deceased, and a worthy example of a hospitable, warm-hearted Highland gentleman, (the late Cameron of Clunes,) who was probably better acquainted with the local history of his sept than any person now surviving, and on whose authority many of the statements in this paper are made, gave me the following description of the estimation in which the subject of this memoir was held by his clan: - "There never was a chief more beloved than Donald of the Forty-five. He took the greatest pains to improve his clan, and was himself a most amiable gentleman, so just, generous, and condescending, that he governed them entirely by the love which they had for him personally!"
His generosity was indeed only restricted by his means. His estate, though forty miles in extreme length, by many in breadth, did not produce more than £600 or £700 a year. The same estate now produces £10,000 per annum, as it is possessed by his great-grandson. Indeed, the rental itself of the estate did not amount to the sum above stated, but part of it was covered with vast woods, and where these were contiguous to the sea, Lochiel had many large transactions in their timber with the merchants of Whitehaven, and others.
His residence at Achnacarrie, in Glenarkaig, through which a river rushes connecting the two large lakes, Arkaig and Lochy, and which was surrounded on all sides by extensive woods, formed a romantic and suitable abode for a Highland chief.
The tourist will there vainly seek any extensive ruins of Lochiels mansion, burned by the military in 1746; nothing of it remains but a small portion of a cross wall. With the exception of a cross wall and a stone foundation, it had been entirely built of wood, which was the most abundant material in the neighborhood, about the year 1725.
A summer-house erected by him may be seen by the river-side, within which a large ash-tree grows, marking the long period during which the building has been roofless. This was a favourite resort of his, and from the window it is said he could shoot a deer in the opposite wood, or draw a salmon from the stream, in order to which a bell rang when a fish was taken by machinery fixed in the river.
Lochiel had considerable taste for the improvement of grounds. He laid out gardens, and formed plantations of trees (such as beech) which did not grow naturally in his forests.
Just at the time of the young Chevaliers landing in the highlands, he contemplated the drainage of a large tract of ground, and the addition of it to his demesne, as well as the erection of a new mansion-house, for which preparations had been made, and timber actually sawn, which was thrown by the soldiery into the general conflagration, at the burning of the house already in existence at Achnacarrie.
Amidst such pursuits, and acts of real benevolence and general utility to his country, mingled, however, of course, with political plots, many years of his life passed away in the enjoyment of domestic happiness.
He was already closely allied to the clan Campbell, by near relationship to the Breadalbane family, and also to the Lochnell, the oldest cadets of Argyle, of which house his mother was a member, and he drew the bond of union with a clan generally so opposite in politics, still closer, by marrying the daughter of Sir James Campbell, of Auchenbreck, Bart.
His father-in-law, however, was of the same political principles with himself, and they were alike Protestants in religious profession - a curious inconsistency, but one very common in Scotland at that day.
There were persons of all religious persuasions to be found among the Scottish adherents of the Stuart family, but men of rank were in general (as Lochiel was) of the Protestant Episcopal church. Romanists (except among the very lowest class of Highlanders) were comparatively but few in number. The strength of the Jacobite conspiracy was among the Episcopalians.
So truly respectable a character as Lochiel, in whom Jacobitism was presented in the fairest colours, naturally attracted the notice of the friends of government in Scotland, and many efforts were vainly made by them to detach him from his party.
The celebrated John Duke of Argyle, to whose family and clan Lochiel was related, always paid him the most flattering attentions, and in conjunction with President Forbes, threw temptations in his way, which would have deprived the Stuarts of a less honest and resolute adherent.
While Lord Lovat played the game of fast and loose, watching any opportunity of personal advantage which either party afforded him, trusted by none, and disliked by all, Lochiel, steadfast in his political attachments, and earnest for his cause, attracted universal esteem, and his most bitter opponents lamented the fatuity which had thrown so worthy a man into the ranks of the Pretender.
I need not recapitulate the circumstances connected with the landing of Charles Edward, and the arrangements for insurrection. The histories of Home and Chambers are, upon these points, sufficiently satisfactory.
Lochiel was exceedingly distressed by so unadvised and rash an advent, and, in the first instance, dispatched his brother Dr. Archibald Cameron, with a message to the Chevalier, absolutely declining any association with so wild an enterprise.
It had been happy for himself, as well as his family and country, if he had been content with this intimation of his views; but on further reflection be thought his loyalty required him to wait upon the prince, and explain them in person.
Mr. Home is very distinct and particular in his account of the interview which took place between Charles Edward and Lochiel, at Boradale; and there cannot be the smallest question that he is a faithful narrator of the real truth. The genuine character of the chief remarkably appears in that singular conversation sensible and prudent, yet full of loyal enthusiasm and devoted bravery.
"I will share the fate of my prince, and so shall every man over whom nature or fortune has given me any power," was its decisive conclusion.
In the diary of Bishop Forbes, published by Mr. Chambers, an assertion is made, on the authority of Macdonnell of Glengarry, that Lochiel required security to be given him for the value of his estate, before consenting to join the standard. Even if it were true, it is no blot upon the character of the chief. In the next place, the character of the bishops informant was very indifferent, and altogether unworthy the gallant race from which he sprang. It is too bad to find a craven, who himself skulked from danger, and allowed his brave clan to be led out by his younger brother, presume to cast a reflection upon such a man as Lochiel, who asked no clansman to encounter peril which he himself did not face before him, and of whom a friendly opponent wrote
It may be observed, last of all, that there is not the slightest trace of such an arrangement discernible in the correspondence between the Stuarts and Lochiel, subsequent to 1746, as we have it published in the appendix to "Browns History of the Highlanders." On the contrary, the high and disinterested character of the chief stands in honorable contrast with the selfishness of others.
When Lochiel had once determined upon the hazardous enterprise which put an end to the hapiness of his own domestic circle, as well as to that of so many other families, he threw all his energies into the task of marshalling his clan for the field. His call was cheerfully responded to by that warlike people, and all his chieftains were anxiously engaged in preparing their numbers against the day of rendezvous.
His accession to so rash an adventure seems to have surprised some who were best acquainted with his principles and character. Sir Alexander Macdonald, of Sleat, writes to President Forbes, "Young Clanronald is playing the fool, and, what is much more extraordinary, Lochiels prudence has altogether forsaken him." The lord president himself also writes about the same time to Cluny Macpherson, " I am prodigiously concerned at the folly of our friend Lochiel."
The night of the 18th of August, 1745, was surely an anxious and agitating one at Achnacarrie. The next day was appointed for the erection of the standard at Glenfinnan, and parties of men were arriving, from different quarters during the entire night. The house itself was filled with soldiers of the royal Scots, nearly two hundred of whom had been taken prisoners the day before, by Macdonald of Keppoch, and handed over to Lochiel for safe custody. Lochiel treated these prisoners with the greatest humanity and courtesy and finding one of the officers wounded, sent him on his parole to Fort Augustus, that he might be properly taken care of. I fear that this officer broke his parole.
At an early hour on the morning of the 19th, the main strength of the Clan Cameron had arrived; but a large company, who resided in Morven and Sunart, in Argyleshire, were not to come to Achnacarrie, but to join on the march to Glenfinnan, to raise home and bring them up, Lochiel had sent his brother, Dr. Archibald Cameron, two days before. All the Lochaber Camerons had come up under their different chieftains, by six or seven o'clock. Letterfindlay, Glennevis, Glendessary, Calaart, Eracht, Strone, Clunes, Lindevra, & c., & c., all produced their plaided warriors.
Like other large Highland clans, the Camerons consisted of various tribes, of which the three principal were, the Mac Martins, under the Laird of Letterfindlay; the Mac Molonys, under Strone; and the Mac Sorleys, under Glennevis. It was often a matter of great difficulty in clan regiments, to adjust the claims of the various chieftains to regimental rank, and required all the authority of the chief to prevent dissension. Lochiel's arrangements were, on this occasion, submitted to with little murmuring, although in general he gave the youngest Cadets the highest rank, which was reckoned by some an innovation upon the ancient Highland usage. It greatly facilitated the matter, that the Laird of MacMartin, or Letterfindlay, who was the head of the most numerous tribe in the clan, as well as the oldest cadet, was at this time a child, so that the nomination to the command of the tribe rested with the chief, who appointed his uncle, Ludovic Cameron, one of the youngest cadets, to lead the Mac Martins. This Ludovic Cameron was of a school very different from his nephew Lochiel, and has received a character from Pennant, in one of his tours, which I believe him to have merited; but although selfish and unscrupulous, he was an adroit and able partisan, and was of very signal use in recruiting for the clan regiment.
Arrangements having been completed, the Camerons marched in two columns, with the prisoners in the centre, for Glenfinnan, which was many miles distant, amidst the tears and exclamations of a crowd of females, old men, and children, who had assembled to see them depart.
They marched by Strone, and then by the side of Lochiel, past Kilmalie church, and the enormous ash-tree that grew beside it, full in the view of the garrison of Fort William, but they were far too numerous to apprehend any molestation from that quarter.
They passed Achdalu, the scene of a triumph of Sir Ewans over Cromwells soldiers, and Fassafern, the residence of Lochiels brother, John Cameron, who took no share in the insurrection, and had done his best to dissuade his brother, the chief, from the rash enterprise. While Lochiel rejected his brothers prudent counsel, he allowed him in his own person to follow the bent of a cautious and pacific disposition.
When Lochiel and his clansmen arrived at the head of the loch, and were now but a few miles from Glenfinnan, the Camerons of Morven and Suinart, headed by his brother Archibald, and Cameron of Dungallon, were seen advancing to join them. Loud were the mutual shouts of congratulation with which the junction was effected. The clan now formed a body of eight hundred men, and surpassed the other septs that joined Charles Edward, as well by early adhesion as by superior numbers.
The public are indebted to Mr. Chambers for a correct version of the legend of Jenny Cameron, of whom so many stories, altogether false, have been told. She was the sister of Cameron of Dungallon and Glendessary, (one of the majors of Lochiels regiment, and a person of considerable importance as to property,) had now attained to middle age, never saw Charles except once, and that in public, on the day the standard was raised, for a short time, and was always a person of the greatest propriety of conduct and character.
I need not enter upon the general facts of the insurrection, which are so well known. Lochiel's conduct was throughout distinguished by the highest gallantry, as well as by signal humanity and moderation. He not only warmly and consistently, in the council of chiefs, opposed every design of a merely aggressive and vexatious character, but what was a more difficult task, withheld by terror the canaille of his own people from acts of rapine and violence. Mr. Chambers mentions, with some surprise, that upon one occasion he shot one of his men for committing a robbery upon a lowland farmer; but what officer could lead troops, and especially Highlanders, through a country, with any regard to discipline, without inflicting summary punishment upon the rapacious and insubordinate?
Lochiel shared his last farthing with his men, and lived himself on the march as they lived; but he would not connive at the smallest act of oppression upon their part, and however mild and indulgent towards them in his general disposition, was on this point resolute and inflexible. He was the first man to enter Edinburgh when the Highlanders took it by a coup-de-main, but was careful to preserve the sentinel at the gate from injury, by grasping him by the arm, so that the city was occupied by his detachment without spilling one drop of blood, or depriving any one of the smallest item of property.
Indeed, the generally admitted moderation and good discipline of the Highland army in this expedition, were greatly owing to the influence of Lochiel, and the admirable example set by him throughout to the other chiefs and commanders. At the battle of Prestonpans he was the foremost chief in leading his men into the right of the enemys line; a contemporary ballad thus describes his conduct -
And although under a heavy fire of artillery and musketry, with a threatened charge of dragoons, nothing could be more completely successful than his attack.
It is said that he was not favourable to the march into England, considering the Highland army quite too small to produce any decisive result in that country, though sufficient for the occupation of Scotland.
There can be no question that at Derby he joined Lord George Murray in urging a retreat, while there was still time to make one. They argued that there had been no movement throughout England in their favour, and that even if they did get to London without a battle, or after a successful engagement, they had not men enough to secure and guard the public places. As Lochiel and Keppoch stood in the street of Derby, talking to Lord George Murray, after the determination had been taken, a person came up to them and said, "Oh, shame! a Cameron vote for retreat! a Macdonnell turn his back upon the enemy!" It was certain that the three brave men who stood there together had courage enough, as they amply proved, to face any peril, but they did not choose to lead on their men to what plainly appeared inevitable destruction. At the same time such was the panic which prevailed in London, that it is hard to say what would have been the result of their continued and rapid advance upon that capital. They would probably have beaten any of the three armies that covered it, the more that the Highlanders would have fought with unusual desperation, as having no retreat. But their numbers were small, and the risk was fearful.
An anecdote is preserved of Lochiel, during the march into England, which marks the extreme terror that had seized the minds of the country people. One evening, as he entered the lodgings assigned to him, his landlady threw herself at his feet, and implored him to take her life, but to spare her children. Lochiel, astonished, asked her what she meant, and desired her to explain herself; upon which she said it was commonly thought the Highlanders ate children as their common food! The chief assured her that they would not injure her or her little children, or any person whatever. After looking at him for an instant, she called out, "Children, you may come out; the gentleman wont eat you," when several children came from a press, and threw themselves at his feet.
The Highland army was exceedingly incensed against the city of Glasgow, and resolved, on its return from England, to visit it with particular vengeance. It had well nigh been determined to give the city up to plunder, as a punishment for its zeal in the service of government, when Lochiel, with his usual aversion to harsh and oppressive measures, interfered in its behalf. The merchants and principal men of Glasgow were very sensible that any favour they obtained was through his influence, and, however odious to them his political principles might be, he was long remembered by them with respect and gratitude.* About this time, in concert with Secretary Murray and Cluny Macpherson, he wrote a letter to Lord Lovat, which a good deal marks the diplomatic talent early cultivated in him by Allan, his able uncle. The letter itself may be found in Lord Lovat's trial, as well as a remarkable one from that cunning and unprincipled nobleman to Lochiel.
Lochiel, in his letter to Lovat, designates the conduct of Sir Alexander Macdonald and the Laird of Macleod as "the shameful apathy of the one, and the scandalous activity of the other." Sir Alexander had hitherto been simply quiescent, but Macleod had raised men for the service of government. It is an undoubted fact, that they were both under positive engagements to the Stuarts.
At the battle of Falkirk, the Camerons were placed opposite the best English regiment in the field - viz., Barrell's, which bravely stood its ground, when all the rest of the army broke into a general flight. The ground certainly favoured it, for there was a ravine in its front, which prevented the Camerons attacking sword in hand, according to their wont. Lochiel lost a good many men by the severe fire, and was himself wounded in the leg; but his regiment imitated his gallant example, and in the end he pursued his foes into the town of Falkirk, when darkness alone saved them from entire destruction.
Shortly after this affair, the Highland army separated into various bodies, and Lochiel, with his neighbors, the Macdonnells of Keppoch, and Stuarts of Appin, marched for his own country, to lay siege to Fort William.
While engaged in that design, he forwarded, in conjunction with Keppoch, an emphatic remonstrance against the conduct of the Clan Campbell, with reference to the people of Lochaber.
It appeared that the Campbells, taking advantage of the absence of the able-bodied, had devastated a part of the country, and committed outrages on the helpless inhabitants burning houses, stripping women and driving them to the mountains, shooting horses, houghing cattle, & c. & c.
Lochiel felt the wrongs committed against his vassals the more keenly, that he himself had exhibited very different conduct, and had even offended some of his brother chiefs, by preventing, through his superior influence in the Highland army, incursions upon the property of those very same Campbells.
He also felt that the Clan Campbell ought to have remembered his near relationship to their most considerable chieftains, and however they might have opposed him fairly in the field, ought not to have selected his people as the prime objects of peculiar and malicious outrage.
It is not surprising, therefore, that he expressed himself warmly and indignantly in a joint letter despatched by him and Keppoch to Stuart of Invernahyle, that he might make the contents known to the Campbells, and from which I subjoin a few extracts: -
"As you happen, for the present, to be contiguous to the Campbells, it is our special desire that you communicate our sentiments (which, God willing, we are determined to execute) to their sheriff Airds, and to other leading men amongst them. * * * When courage fails against men it betrays cowardice to a great degree to vent the spleen on helpless women, and dumb brutes that cannot resist. We purpose to apply for permission to enter their country, with power to act at discretion, and should we be fortunate enough to obtain it, hope to show that we wage war, not against women and the brute creation, but against men. * * * No such act was committed by us since the commencement of the war, though we had it in our power, if barbarous enough, to take advantage of it. * * *"
Lochiel added the following postscript to the letter: - "I cannot omit taking notice that my people having been the first that have felt the cowardly barbarity of my pretended Campbell friends, I only wish that I may live to have an opportunity to thank them for it in the open field.
The crisis of the adventure now rapidly drew nigh, and Lochiel, having raised the siege of Fort William, arrived, on the evening of the 14th of April, 1746, at the camp of the Chevalier, in the park of Culloden.
The sound of the Cameron pibroch was a joyful one to that prince and his officers, as they were never in so much need of valiant men and undaunted leaders.
The Duke of Cumberland was within a few hours' march of them, yet their forces were not nearly concentrated. So entirely had the commissariat been neglected that they had not provisions sufficient for the men already with them, even for a single day. Under these circumstances, Lochiel, at a council of war on the 15th, agreed with the other principal officers to a night attack on the enemys camp at Nairn, though he was sensible of the risk of attempting it with such an inferior force.
Mr. Home, in his account of the transaction, says - "Lochiel, who was not a man of many words, said that the army would be stronger next day by fifteen hundred men at least." Had all the other regiments in the small army marched with the same alacrity as Lochiels, during that eventful night, the Duke of Cumberlands camp would have been reached by one o'clock in the morning, and an attack have been made with the fairest prospect of success. The Atholmen and Camerons, led by Lord George Murray and Lochiel, had the van of the column, followed by the other Highlanders, and had been retarded throughout the night by repeated messages from the Lowland regiments in the rear, requesting them to march slower, so that on reaching Culraik at two o'clock in the morning, they were still four Scotch miles from the enemys position, which they could not now hope to reach before daylight.
It had been a better arrangement to have marched the clan regiments, amounting to about 3,000 men, in a completely separate body, and that the Lowland regiments should have followed only as far as the wood of Culraik, and there in position have awaited the issue of the attack, and in case of failure have covered the retreat. The Duke of Cumberland knew from spies that the Highlanders were marching towards his camp; but he had no idea that they meditated anything more than taking their ground in the night, and attacking early the next morning, as they had done at the battle of Prestonpans.
If the attack had been made (as would have been done) fiercely and resolutely, with shouts rendered more terrific by darkness, and from more points than one, with the advantage derivable in such a combat from the nature of the Highland weapons, there can scarcely be a doubt that the issue must have been disastrous to the Duke of Cumberland's army.
Here, again, then, the fate of England trembled on the beam; never was the house of Hanover, in all probability, so near ruin, as when saved by the bad marching of a few inferior regiments. The weary and starved clansmen had but little time to rest after returning to Culloden, and altogether contrary to the opinion of Lord George Murray, Lochiel, and the most sensible officers, were formed on the open moor to meet the far more numerous army of the Duke of Cumberland.
The Camerons stood in the right wing, next to the Atholmen, which had hitherto been the position of the Macdonalds, and which Lochiel had himself persuaded the other chiefs to yield to them without dispute, at the battle of Prestonpans, and doubtless he was governed by his usual good sense on this occasion. Though Macdonald of Morar, in his journal, has this record, "Our sweet-natured prince was persuaded by Lochiel and his faction to give this honour (the right) to another, which we judge they will be ready to yield us back next fighting-day." This sarcasm is, however, pointless, for the Camerons, even surpassing their usual bravery, fought on the right, not merely with valour, but with headlong desperation, while the Macdonalds, by their weak and irresolute conduct on the left, and more especially by suffering the gallant Keppoch** to perish alone before the English line, dishonored their long-established martial reputation.
When the right wing and centre, after suffering dreadfully from the cannonade, moved under the orders of the intrepid Lord George Murray, against the hostile line, Lochiel led his regiment right upon Barrell's, (the present 4th foot), his former adversaries in the field of Falkirk.
Under a fearful shower of grape-shot, which tore their ranks and levelled many of their boldest, and a close-sustained fire of musketry, the Camerons rushed on, sword in hand, and, within two minutes, entirely pierced and broke Barrell's regiment, killing and wounding more than a hundred, and forcing the routed corps to run towards their right, in a disorganized mass. The same fate, at the same instant, overtook Munros regiment, on the right of Barrells, under the attack of the Macintoshes, & c. ; and had the singularly gallant onset of the right wing of the Highland army been duly supported, a different story might have been related of the field of Culloden. But the attack had no support from any quarter, and, after the exhibition of extraordinary daring and prowess, and the loss of innumerable lives, was finally defeated by the fire of the second line of infantry, and the dragoons coming in on the flank.
Lochiel did not himself share in the short-lived triumph of his valiant clan. He was within ten paces of Barrell's line, and had fired his pistol, and was drawing his sword, when he fell, wounded with grape-shot in both ankles. He was seen falling by a person in Barrell's regiment, who knew him, and hence a report of his death was generally believed; but the two brave and strong brothers, between whom, according to Highland usage, he advanced to the attack, and whose sole duty it was to guard the person of the chief, raised him up, and bore him away out of the sanguinary tumult. Before they arrived at the rear of the Highland army, it was evident that the day went against it, so they carried the wounded chief into a hut, and proceeded to take off the clothes he wore, appropriate to his rank, and to dress him in a common Highland plaid. While they thus consulted for his greater safety in retreat, the house was surrounded by a troop of dragoons, and a file had actually dismounted to enter it, when the whole party was called off elsewhere, by a peremptory order. By this time some other clansmen had come to the assistance of their beloved chief, and when the dragoons drew off, he was brought out of the hut, and placed upon a Highland pony. He was in a weak and fainting condition, and could scarcely be supported on the pony by a man on either side, while it was led out of the field, and towards a rough and inaccessible country, where danger of pursuit was at an end. The painful and distressing journey was continued from day to day, until he reached the covert of his own forest, but he was frequently on the very point of expiring, from agony and exhaustion.
He did not stop at Achnacarrie, but sought a concealment near the head of Locharkaig, where he remained until his wounds were beginning to heal. A dead body was found, some weeks after the battle of Culloden, which was mistaken for his, and this second report of his death greatly contributed to his escape from his numerous pursuers.
He had many hair-breadth escapes, and was, on one occasion, surprised alone, while asleep, by a soldier, but who allowed him to get off, on receiving a guinea. This soldier was, of course, ignorant of his rank, as the reward offered for his apprehension was very considerable.
I need not detail circumstances so well known as the failure of an attempted rally after the battle of Culloden, (which was to have been made at Achnacarrie; but Lochiel alone, wounded as he was, kept his appointment,) the devastation of the country by the Duke of Cumberland, and the adventures of Lochiel after he met Charles Edward in Badenoch. He gave his distressed clansmen who resorted to him in his covert, all the consolation and assistance in his power, advising them to the best course, and sharing with them his last shilling. He thus wrote to some brother chiefs, who had appointed with him a rendezvous: - "The above is our present determination, and what I have advised all my people to, as the best and safest course, and the interest of the public, yet some of them have delivered up their arms without my knowledge, and I cannot take it upon myself to direct in this particular, but to give my opinion, and let every one judge for himself."
The embarkation of Lochiel, in company with Charles Edward, in September, 1746, is said to have been an affecting scene. A considerable number of Highlanders had assembled on the shore, and many were the tears shed on all sides. The chief promised his mourning clansmen that he would shortly return to their relief - a promise which he afterwards vainly exerted himself to fulfil, for his heart was with his bleeding country -
expressed the vain expectations of his sorrowing vassals, who were never to see him more.
In France, Lochiel was joined by his family, whom, at one time, he had little hope of ever seeing again; but however the feelings of the husband and father were gratified, the heart of the chief was continually wrung by the melancholy tidings concerning his friends and vassals, which he received from Scotland.
So far from pressing his own individual interest on the notice of the Stuart family, for whom he had performed and suffered so much, he continually urged an expedition for the relief of the Highlanders, whose blood, he said, cried to him and claimed his help; and even when offered the command of a regiment in the French service, he expressed the uppermost desire of his heart in the following noblewords: -"Others may desire to make a figure in France, but my ambition is to serve my king, and serve my country, or perish with it." It is recorded on excellent authority, that the Duke of Cumberland caused it to be intimated to him when in France, that if he only sent him a message, he would procure for him pardon and favour from the British government, but that Lochiel shrank from owing obligation to one whom he regarded as the destroyer of his country.
Placed in the command of the regiment of Albany, and quartered in the fortress of Bergue, near Dunkirk, on the frontiers of the Netherlands - a most unhealthy situation - he took his last illness, and died in October, 1748, of an inflammation in the head, (as reported to the old chevalier, by his cousin Macgregor Drummond, of Bochaldy,) or, perhaps, of one of the country fevers. His death made a great impression at the time in his own country, and the following lines, written by a political opponent, appeared shortly afterwards in the Scots' Magazine: -
Pennant, also a Whig, thus writes of him: -
"Achnacarrie, once the seat of Cameron of Lochiel, but burnt in 1746. He was esteemed by all parties the honestest and most sensible man of any that engaged in the wicked and absurd attempt of that and the preceding year, and a melancholy instance of the victory of the prejudices of education over a naturally fine understanding and well-meaning heart." Douglas says of him, in his "Baronage:" - "He was a man of good parts, great probity, an amiable disposition, universally esteemed, and was at great pains to soften and polish the manners of his clan."
Sir Walter Scott writes of him: - "It might have been our lot to have represented patriarchal authority in a very different light, as exercised by Donald Cameron of Lochiel, who, to the high spirit, courage, and loyalty of a Highland chief, added the manners of an accomplished gentleman, and the morals of a good Christian."
Campbell, who would have rendered his name famous in literature, by the beautiful poem of "Lochiel's Warning," even if he had written nothing else, thus speaks of his character: - "He was famed for the social virtues, as much as his martial and magnanimous, though mistaken loyalty." It would be easy to multiply similar testimonials.
After Lochiels death, an ingenious application was made to the Court of Sessions to obtain his forfeited estate for his eldest son, on the ground of his being erroneously described in the act of attainder as "Donald Cameron the younger, of Lochiel, whereas he was the real fiar of the estate, though his father was alive, having succeeded at once to his grandfather, on account of his father's attainder in 1715. The application was, however, refused, but the estate was restored by act of parliament with the other Highland forfeitures, in 1784.
NOTE: In an article on the United Irishmen, in the UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE, it was remarked of one whose courage failed in the last extremity that "this is not the stuff traitors should be made of. Lochiel's brother, Dr. Archibald Cameron, a physician by profession, but who took a forward and courageous part in 1745, showed the very material referred to as desirable under such circumstances, at his execution, under the act of attainder previously passed against him, in 1753.
"When Dr. Cameron came to the place of execution, he looked on the preparations and spectators with an undaunted and composed countenance, and on being loosed from the sledge, he started up, and with an heroic demeanor stepped up into the cart, whence looking round with unconcern on all the awful apparatus of death, he smiled, and seeing the clergyman who attended him coming up the steps, he endeavored with his fettered hands to help him up, saying, 'This is a glorious day to me it is my new birth-day; there are more witnesses at this birth than were at my first. *** He thus addressed the sheriff: - 'Sir, you see a fellow-subject just about to pay his last debt. I the more willingly resign my life, that it is taken from me for doing my duty according to my conscience. I freely forgive all my enemies, and those who are instrumental in taking away my life. I thank God, I die in perfect charity with all men. As to my religion, I die a sincere though unworthy member of the church in which I have always lived, the Church of England, in whose communion I hope, through the merits of my blessed Saviour, for forgiveness of my sins, for which I am heartily sorry.' * * * He then said, 'I have now done with this world, and am ready to leave it.' He joined heartily in the commendatory prayer, repeated some ejaculations from the psalms, after which he embraced the clergyman and took leave."
Dr. Cameron has, I think, been condemned in rather too sanguinary a manner by Mr. Brown, in his "History of the Highlanders," with regard to the abstraction of a sum of money belonging to Charles Edward, which was concealed in the Highlands. I shall only observe that the witnesses brought forward against him, viz., Macdonnell, of Glenarry, and Ludovic Cameron, of Torcastle, were "arcades ambo," and unworthy of credit in a court of justice, in any case where their own interests were at all concerned. That Dr. Cameron did remove some of this money, I believe; but in 1752 he wrote an explanation of the transaction to Cluny Maepherson, stating that he was compelled to do so by the extreme destitution of his deceased brother Lochiel's family. Unless his own application of the circumstances were fully had, it is most unfair to asperse the memory of this courageous partisan and humane gentleman on such evidence.
* A merchant of Glasgow many years ago assured me of this, and informed me that he heard by tradition of townsmen, that Lochiel was a man of fine person and engaging manners. He was called by his clan "Donald Bean," on account of his light-coloured hair and fair complexion.
** There was not cordiality between this brave chief and his clan on the subject of religion. Sir Walter Scott tells us that he was a Protestant, while they were Roman Catholics, and be had offended them by positively refusing to allow a Romish priest to be with them in the expedition.