Cameron of Lochiel, who had been suffering from a severe illness for more than a month, died Achnacarry early yesterday morning. He had been ill all the autumn, but early in November his illness assumed a serious aspect; and on the tenth he was removed from Edinburgh to Achnacarry. He gradually became worse, and the frequent bulletins showed that hope of his recovery was abandoned more than a fortnight ago. He passed peacefully away at twenty minutes past one surrounded by the members of his family, with the exception of the third son, who is a Lieutenant of the Cameron Highlanders, and on his way home from South Africa.
Donald Cameron of Lochiel was the head of one of the oldest and most distinguished of Highland families. He was the twenty-fourth Chief of the Clan Cameron, some of the Chiefs of which occupy positions in Scottish history. Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel was a great figure in the Highlands during a critical period. He was knighted in 1681, fought at Killiecrankie in 1689, and is said to have killed the last of the wolves which is known to have wandered at large in our islands. His singularly noble countenance and hearing, his great personal bravery, his physical prowess, his generosity, his qualities of mind which, if fortune had placed him in Parliament or in the French Court, would have made him one of the foremost men of his age, form the subject of eloquent praise by Lord Macaulay in his History of England. Macaulay describes him as the "Ulysses of the Highlands." A descendant of Sir Ewen, his grandson, the "Gentle Lochiel" of the "Forty-Five," is also a notable figure. The seat of the Clan is the Castle of Achnacarry, a beautiful mansion in a picturesque spot in Lochaber, a few miles north-east of Fort-William. The Chief who has just passed away was the only surviving son of Donald Cameron, who died in 1859, by Lady Vere Catherine Louisa, sister of the fifth Earl of Buckinghamshire, and was born seventy years ago, in 1835. He was educated at Harrow, and while yet young he entered the diplomatic service. He became Attaché first in Berne and afterwards in Copenhagen. Subsequently, in 1857, he was appointed First Attaché to the Earl or Elgin's Special Mission to China, and on his return he was sent as an Attaché to the Embassy in Berlin.
Lochiel on taking leave of his diplomatic duties on the Continent began to interest himself in domestic politics, and was soon approached with a view of continuing the representation of the county of Inverness in the Tory interest in the House of Commons. His opportunity came in 1868, when he entered Parliament as a follower of Mr Disraeli, in succession to the Right Hon. Henry J. Baillie. He sat in the House of Commons continuously seventeen years—from 1868 till 1885, when he sought retirement. After the General Election of 1874, which returned Sir Disraeli to power, Lochiel accepted a nominal post in the Government as Groom-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria, which office he held till the defeat of the Ministry in 1830. He was a strong, if silent, supporter of the Beaconsfield-Salisbury policy in the Near East, Afghanistan, and South Africa. He supported also their domestic policy, which he defended on his visits to his constituents. Though he was unopposed in 1868 and again in 1874, in the General Election of 1880 Lochiel was called upon to defend his seat against a most powerful opponent, and the result was a contest which excited great interest throughout Scotland. The Liberal party had in the late Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Gairloch an exceedingly popular candidate - a gentleman who, like Lochiel, was the representative of an old Highland family, the proprietor of large property, and intimately acquainted with every public question that affected the interests of the people of the Highlands. The contest was an extremely keen one. Lochiel triumphed, but only by a majority of twenty-seven.
As has been said, Lochiel retired from Parliament in 1885. While a member of the House of Commons he sat on several important Select Committees and Royal Commissions - such as the Committee on the Game Laws of 1872 and the Napier Commission ten years later, the elaborate investigations of which and the no less elaborate report preceded the introduction and passing of the first Crofters Act. He was the means, by his influence on both sides of the House of Commons, arising out of his extensive knowledge of the people and of their condition, of securing legislative measures in the interests of the Highlands. He was instrumental in inducing the Government to embody in the Education Act of 1873 what are known as the "Lochiel Clauses," which have been so beneficial in securing suitable school buildings throughout sparsely populated districts. On the passing of the Act be was elected first chairman of the Fort-William School Board, an office which he held for many years. He also held a like appointment in the old Parochial Board, its successor, the Parish Council, and the Bclford Hospital Trust, besides being president of practically all local clubs and other kindred organisations. In 1887, on the death of the into Lord Lovat, he was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Inverness-shire, and became Convener of the county.
As a landlord, Lochiel enjoyed the trust and respect of a large tenantry, his dealings with whom were always marked by a sense of justice and fairness. After assuming the more immediate management of his extensive estates, he, like many landlords, suffered a great deal by the depreciation in the value of sheep. In the course of a few years he had to take over the sheep stocks on all the large farms on the estate, and to pay high valuation prices. He suffered considerable loss from this process, but he succeeded, by wise management, to carry on some of the farms. Others, which were found unlettable at almost any rent and which were only suited for deer forests, he succeeded is letting for sport. Small holdings in those parts were barred by Nature, as well as by economical considerations. Lochiel was a practical sheep farmer, and continued for years to interest himself in all that that term means. He took, it might be said, the lead recently in the movement which led to the modification of the sheep-scab orders by the Board of Agriculture. On the subject of deer forests he had occasion to participate in the long and heated controversy which raged between the advocates and opponents of the system of converting large areas of pasture land into sporting tracts. In an important contribution to the volume on Red Deer which he made to the "Fur, Feather, and Fin" series published by Messrs Longmans, Green, & Co., in 1896, he vigorously defended his own policy. Broadly speaking, he justified a judicious system of deer forests on the grounds that there are vast tracts of land in the Highlands which are not suited for anything else than deer forests, and that the presence of sporting tenants in those districts was of immense economic, social, and educational advantage to the people. As a member of the Select Committee or the House of Commons on the Game Laws (1872-73), presided over by Mr Ward Hunt, he represented those views. The first to take the field against deer were the large sheep farmers, whose grievances Lochiel frankly admitted. Yet he incurred a considerable amount of unpopularity. "Well do I remember," he wrote "the year 1880, when I nearly lost my seat. I had to go about the country making speeches on Afghanistan and Zululand, defending the policy of the Government, and expressing views - which perhaps I have since seen reason to modify - while all the time I felt it was not so much the aggressive attitude of my political chiefs in far-away regions that provoked a certain hostility towards myself as the aggressive attitude which I was supposed to have assumed on the subject of deer forests." He complained that he had been completely misunderstood. His were moderate views. He would keep the sporting element in its proper place. In the volume to which reference has been made he said that if he had done any service to the owners and lessees of deer forests, the recognition which he would like best was that they should give careful consideration to his suggestions - that they should endeavour to conduct their own sport with as little inconvenience as possible to their neighbours, and that they should try to secure not only amicable relations but friendly intercourse and co-operation between all the different classes which compose the population of the Highlands. In those articles Lochiel dealt with the practice of deer-stalking, the management of deer forests, and the social and economical aspects of the whole question. He himself was a keen sportsman, and was in his element in the extensive forests of Achnacarry. His essay on the practice of deer-stalking is full of incident, and refreshing as the invigorating atmosphere of the mountains. He tells several amusing anecdotes, one of which is partly at his own expense. He is giving advice to young gentlemen, who may be the guests of the proprietors or tenants of deer forests, and he says that the "friend" who goes out on the forest of his host should endeavour to think of others besides himself, and should not try to bully or cajole the stalker into allowing him to spoil the chances of the man who was to go out next day. Almost the only scoldings he had ever had to give his servants were for allowing themselves to be persuaded by the "gentleman" into doing what they knew was wrong. "The youngest of these men has been in my service twenty-five years, and they are all well trained by this time, if a story is true (which I greatly doubt) that was told me with great glee by a friend who had tried to get the stalker to allow him to go after a good beast which they had spied on ground off his beat. The man replied that it was as much as his life was worth. 'You mean as much as your place was worth,' said my friend. 'Not at all,' he rejoined. 'I well believe Lochiel would shoot me if I were to take you on to that hill, as he intends stalking there himself tomorrow.' I was not conscious of deserving a character so ferocious, but I did not soon hear the last of the incident."
On the occasion of the visit of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria to Lochaber in 1873, she, with Princess Beatrice, paid a visit to Achnacarry. Lochiel, dressed as became a Highland Chieftain in the picturesque tartan of his clan, received Her Majesty with courteous dignity, and conducted her on board his steam launch, which took the Royal party on a short voyage up Loch Arkaig. The Queen's own impressions of that visit are summed up in interesting words, in her Journal. They were called forth by a remark made by one of her suite, who, struck by the historical association of ideas that the Queen's presence as the guest of Lochiel engendered in his mind, said that "It was a scene one could not look on unmoved." "Yes," wrote Her Majesty. "And I feel a sort of reverence in going over these scenes in this most beautiful country, which I am proud to call my own, where there was such devoted loyalty to the family of my ancestors - for Stuart blood is in my veins and I am now their representative, and the people are as devoted and loyal to me as they were to that unhappy race."
In 1875 the union of the two great families of Cameron and Scott was brought about by the marriage of Lochiel with Lady Margaret-Scott, second daughter of Walter, fifth Duke of Buccleuch. He is succeeded by his son, Donald Walter Cameron, Captain, Grenadier Guards, who was born in 1876. Captain Cameron served in the Boer War and was wounded. There are other three sons of the marriage - Ewen, a Barrister-at-Law; Allan, a Lieutenant of the Cameron Highlanders; and Archibald. Besides being Lord-Lieutenant of Inverness-shire, Lochiel was a Justice of the Peace for Bucks, and a Justice of the Peace and a Deputy-Lieutenant of Argyllshire.
Lochiel was greatly respected throughout the Highlands as a gentleman of eminent public spirit. He entered thoroughly into the life of the country. There was no public movement affecting the Highlands, and, indeed, Scotland, with which he was not prominently associated. In Lochaber, where he was best known, he was most esteemed. He knew every tenant on his estates, and every tenant knew Lochiel, and looked up to him as a personal friend. As a member of the Napier Commission of Inquiry into the condition and requirements of the crofters and cottars of the Highlands and Islands he was distinguished by his profound knowledge of the subject, his judicious treatment of it, and his attitude of sympathy with the people. He rarely missed the gatherings of farmers in Inverness-shire, from the great Sheep and Wool Fair to the shows and dinners of district farmers' societies. His was a strong and attractive individuality, which will be remembered with admiration by all who came into contact with him.