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Amelia Volume 2 chapter 34

Letters of James Mor MacGregor to Balhaldies in 1754

[page 434]
THE large number of Jacobite gentlemen who followed their Prince's fortunes to France after the "45," had to live in forced idleness, in poverty, in weary expectation of a favourable turn in the Prince's affairs, and in waiting some unknown good fortune. The stirring events which had stimulated their virtues of loyalty, courage, devotion to a great cause, and scope for their military talents, were over. Patience alone was the quality now called for, and the old feelings of ambition and restless energy could only prey upon themselves. No wonder that amongst the nobler spirits there were others who fell under temptation, and even deteriorated into the despicable office of a spy - false to God and man.

Amongst these it is supposed that James Mor [1]   MacGregor or Drum¬mond had a place, but if so, it seems to have arisen from the circumstances of crime and wretchedness, in which he had early been involved. His reputation had not much to lose, and therefore although glad that the researches of Mr Lang clear "Hamish Mor" from the aggravated treachery of the character who signed himself "Pickle the Spy," one cannot but regret that the black correspondence should now be traced to a Highland Chief of another Clan, who had hitherto been respected. James Mor's last letters are undoubtedly pathetic, and his faults brought him no gain. There seems reason to believe that he utterly repudiated the offer made to him by the Government, which possibly involved personal treachery to his Prince and to his friends in France. Writers view matters very differ¬ently - one mentions Hamish Mor's miserable death, alone and starving in Paris, as a point against Prince Charles and those for whose cause he suffered, [page 435] while another fastens eagerly on the supposed infamy of the unhappy James. In connection with this, the following is quoted from a footnote in Mr Lang's book "Pickle the Spy ":-

"Some of Pickle's letters were published by Mr Murray Rose in an essay called "an Infamous Spy James Mohr MacGregor" in the Scotsman March 15th 1895. This article was brought to my Notice June 22d 1896. As the author identifies Pickle with James Mohr MacGregor, though Pickle began to communi¬cate with the English government while James was a prisoner in Edinburgh Castle, and continued to do so for years after James's death; it is plain that he is in error, and that the transaction requires fresh examination. Mr Murray Rose in the article cited does not indicate the provenance of the documents which he publishes. When used in this work, they are copied from the Papers of the Pelham Adminis¬tration, The transcripts have been for several years in my hands, but I desire to acknowledge Mr Murray Rose's priority in printing some of the documents, which in my opinion he wholly misunderstood, at least on March 15th 1895. How many he printed, if any, besides those in the Scotsman and in what periodicals I am not informed."

It must be left to the experts who have been at the pains to rake amongst such disagreeable material, to form a competent judgment as to the apportionment of guilt, but the writer of the letter in the Scotsman, to which Mr Lang refers, went out of his way to affirm that the alleged conduct of James Mor MacGregor "must leave a stain on the Clan to which he belonged." It is needless to allude further to the letter, except to remark that the gentleman appears to have been in error as to the individuality of the criminal, and was assuredly mistaken as to the re¬sponsibility of a Clan for the delinquency of one member.

Memoire in favors of James MacGregor 1753. Translation from the French.

[2]   "To mylord the Marquis of Saint Conte &c, Minister and Secretary of State.
"James Drummond or Macgregor, son of Rob Roy MacGregor who dis-tinguished himself in the year 1715.
"Most humbly sheweth to your Highness.
[page 436]
“That on the arrival of the Prince of Wales in Scotland, he made himself master of the Fort of Inversnaite; That he joined the Prince with 200 Macgregors, who in the absence of their Chief had followed him and joined the Reg. of James Duke of Perth, in which the petitioner served in the Rank of Major; That he had a thigh broken at the Battle of Preston; That having caused himself to be conveyed to the Fort of Inversnait he preserved it at his own charges and expenses, in spite of the repeated efforts of the enemy, till the Battle of Culloden, in which he again had the misfortune to be wounded; That all his goods have been plundered, burned or confiscated; That he would not have come to shelter himself in France but on account of what he did when the Prince was in Scotland and because it was absolutely impracticable for him to remain in Scotland, his Enemies being absolutely in quest of his life, as much for services which he had done the Prince, as in consequence of his refusal of a higher rank in their service.
"He dares to hope that your Highness will he graciously pleased to put him on the List of the Scots who receive a gratuity from the Court, in regard of his services, his losses, and the deplorable situation in which he now finds himself, and he would not cease to offer his prayers for your Highness's health and prosperity."

Letter from James Macgregor to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
"Paris Sep.20 1753.
"Sir,- The violence of your Royal Highness's enemies has at last got the better of the Resolution I had taken after the unhappy Battle of Culloden never to leave the Country but stay at home, and be as useful to your Cause as I possibly could, even after they had got me into their hands; I continued firm in this resolution they having no new treasons, as they name it, to prove.
“Your Royal Highness's Friend advised my escaping from Prison to shun certain death, This the Advocate made no ceremony to shew he had orders from Court to bring about, at whatever rate or lies or by whatever means. And the method he took of ….. me on obsolete Acts of Parliament and packing up a Jurie of the most envenomed ….. Scots made my fate certain if by God's assistance I had not saved myself by escaping, I was ever unwilling to come abroad to be troublesome either to your Royal Highness or your friends but necessity now obliges me to beg your directions how or to whom to apply I having trayed avery way I could think of, or was advised, without as yet having any hopes of success, this is not the only reason now of giving your Royal Highness this trouble, the Route I took to get here by the Isle of Man and the coast of Ireland put it in my way to learn what must be of great consequence to the Cause upon a proper occasion, but is put out of my power to be communicated save to your Royal Highness, The King your Father, and my Chief of Balhaldies who wishes he had a chance of informing your Royal Highness of what must be of so much use to your cause, I have in vain hitherto endeavoured to find out the means of laying myself at your Royal Highness's feet which necessitates my now writing this [page 437] and that your Royal Highness may have no mistake about me I am James Drummond MacGregor, Rob Roy MacGregor's son, who joyned no Corps with his men at the Battle of Preston pans and had his thigh broke in the action which incapaci¬tated him from following you into England, but upon your return Joyned the Army with six companys of MacGregors which the Duke of Perth engaged me to add to his Reg; untill my Chieff Balhaldies arrived from France. when I continued to serve as Major to the unhappy Culloden. I ever am with greatest respect,
“Sir,
“Your Royal Highness's most humble and faithful servant
"James Drummond MacGregor."

"It appears that the Memorial with the date of 1753 without month, preceded this Letter to the Prince, because of the date of the following which refers to the Memorial."

Letter from James Drummond MacGregor addressed to McGregor of McGregor, i.e. Balhaldies.

"Paris 8. Sep 1753.- Dr Chief,-I have sent the Inclosed Memorial which I shou'd to Lord Marichall this morning, and he put one his amendments which Mr Gordon was satisfied with: I have Engaged to let his Ldship know how soon the memorial is presented to the Minister at which time he was so good as promise to Engage all his friends in my interest, the Coppy herewith sent you is the one that's to be presented to the Minister, as it is so clear wrote, L Mariechall desired that I would waite on my Lady Lesmore and try to get Sir John Sulivan to present both me and the memorial. I dare say this Rejoyesing Season may be favourable, as now at a time when the King's family have Increas'd and that a young Prince is com’t to the world, for there will be rejoyesings over all the faces at Court, but for my part I know no more than to receive your commands and obey whatever you direct; so that I have sent the bearer on purpose that you may be plessed to let me know what step I now must follow, I am quite run out of Cash. I shou'd also the English Memorial wrote at your house to Ld Mariechall and y'by give him Reason to tell me that he thought that Glengyle was my Chief, and not you, which obliged me to relate to his Lordship a little of that History by which I have con¬vinced him of his error, more of which I shall let you know at meeting, that will make you laugh, as did his Ldship. I hope you'll do me the Justice as to be always assur’d of the grate Respect with which I have and ought to honour you and yours and that shall continue.
"Dr Chief.
"Your own to command while "Jas. Drummond."
"PS.-I understand that the Bishop of Cambutch (?) lives at present within one league of Paris if I can get a little cash to borrow, I shall wait on him tomorrow."

[page 438]
Letter from James Drummond MacGregor, addressed Monsieur Gordon Principal au College Ecossais, Rue Victor, à Paris pour tenir à Monsieur MacGregor de Bal-haldies, à Beauvoir, à Paris.
"Dunkirke April 6, 1754.- Dear Chief-No doubt you'd be surprised to hear of my being openly in London, and that I did not acquaint you of my intention before I parted with you. I was not sure at that time whether I could go there or not, and besides there was a particular reason why I did not think you ought to know, or to be known, to the project I intended then to put in execution as much on your own account as mine if not more so, otherwise you might imagine me to be the most ungrateful person on earth considering the Parently usage I had the favour to receive from you & when I have the pleasurs of seeing you, you will be perfectly satisfied on that head. I fell upon ways and means to procure a Licence from under George's own sign manuel and after I appeared before the Secretaries of State and delivered my case to be laid before the Ministry and had also delivered the inclosed case for my broy' who suffered conforme to his sentence and the way and manner I represented my own case as well as my Brother's, the Ministry seemed favourable untill the Duke of Argyll interposed and also the grand Advocate for Scotland, the Duke positively entered your Clan in general the most disaffected in Scotland and after a very odious manner he represented also the whole Clan was Popish. It's certain my Brother being openly Roman Catholick hurt me much and gave the Ministry a very bad impression. I was at the time much indisposed of a fever, otherwise would have a better chance to save my Broy' and myself; Squair Corret (?) made me a party on your account and told that he thought it a favour done to himself to serve any of your Clan After I had recovered my illness about 19 days agoe I was sent for by the Under Secretary who gave me to understand by the Earl of Holderness orders that with great difficulty his Lordship had now procured for me handsome bread in the Government service and that I was to go off soon to Edinburgh where a sham tryal was to pass upon me to satisfie the Publick, he then acquainted me with the Employ I was to have, which I thought proper not to accept of and I desired that he would acquaint the Earl of Holderness that I was born in the Character of a Gentleman that I never intended to accept of that, which would be a disgrace to my family as well as a scourge to my country, nor did I think when his Lordship would consider with more patient deliberation, upon the offer made me but that he would forgive my refusing it, but if his Lordship thought me a proper subject to serve on any station in which other gentlemen of honour served, that I was very well satisfied and no other ways. The same Secretary sent for me the next day when he gave me to understand that it was the Ministry's orders to me to retire out of his Majesty's dominions within three days, upon which there was a mess' sett over me for fear I would return to Scotland, the Mess' was ordered to see me landed on this side upon their own charges. I could not [page 439] have time to wait on my friends as the Mess' attended me so close, only saw Gregor Drummond who knew my whole transactions with these; our friends who spoke against me sometime, proving what brought me thither, began now to speak in the most favourablest manner, They then knowing the treatment I had received from the Ministry, though the offer made was very advantageous as to the purse, as I stood to my resolution it was approved by every body even of some of the other side. This job was very expensive upon me yet had I the luck to save my poor Brother, I would not grudge anything. Before I went to London I received from Major Buchanan £103 and he still owes me 30 which is to be paid against Martinmas next All that I have saved of the whole I carried with me is about £40 and £16 I have sent my wife, I thought it my duty to let you know of this that you'd be so good as write me next step you may think I ought to take, I am advised if I could carrie on a small trade in this place and had some credit, with the little money I have I might make some good bread but would do nothing till would hear from you. I would be glad to know if you had an answer to the letter you know the draught of, Sent from me to a certain great man and also what method you think most proper to procure the gratification. I thought better to remain here as I am not well received, rather than go up to Paris not knowing that You'd approve of my settling here, which seems to be very feasable, yet as you are my head I leave you to dispose of me as you shall see fitt and proper and yrfor shall waite your orders if you please to advise by yours. Ane ample account of the project which procured the Licence and ane account of that worthy employ offered me, you shall have in full in my next. I beg pardon for this long letter and that I have the honour of manifesting my gratitude is the Sincerest wish of Dr Chief.
"your own to command. Jas Drummond.
"PS.-Adress to Jas, Drummond care of Miss Fitzgerald at the Sign of the Blue Anchor Olnken Street Dunkirk if you send."

From James MacGregor Drummond to Balhaldies.
Dunkirk May 1st 1754.
“Dr Chief,-I had the honour of yours some time agoe and would have made a return ere now but that these eight days past I have been taken ill of an ague which continues. "I am glad to have your approbation as to my settling here, I make no doubt our friends the Stewarts will endeavour to make a handle of my being in London, but I leave you to judge if it would be reasonable for me to make an attempt tho' never so hazardous, if I could expect to be of service or relief to my Brother, or procure my own liberty to support my distressed wife and numberous small family.
“The way and manner I procured the Licence to return to Great Britain was this, Captain Duncan Campbell who is nephew to Glengyle and my near relation [page 440] wrote me in June last about Allan Breack Stewart and inquir’d if there were any possibility of gettng him delivered in any part in EngIand, that if I could be of use in the matter that I might expect my own pardon. I returned him answer, often I was in Paris, that I would use my interest to endeavour to bring Stewart the murderer to justice, but that as I could not trust any with the secret, that I could not act alone so well as if I had a Trustee to support me; after receipt of this both Capt: Duncan and the present Glenuir wrote me in a most pressing manner, which letters I still retain, and desired of me to acquaint them upon receipt of these letters, and if I desired that a trustee and money should he sent me to support me carrying of the project; I wrote for this person to support me. After this gentleman came to Paris I waited upon him, he showed me proper recommendations he had from the Earl of Albermarle upon whom he waited and disclosed the matter to his Lordship and told his Lordship at the same time nothing could be done without me, nor could the murderer he brought to England unless his Lordship would procure a Licence to me for that purpose. His Lordship frankly consented to send express for the Licence to London, which being come at the same time, and David Stewart Brother to Glenbuckie who, with little Duncan MacGregor whom you recommended to Lord Ogilvie, put Allan Breack the murderer so much on his Guard that the very night I intended to have carried him of, made his escape from me after stealing out of my cloak bag several things of cloathes, linnens and 4 snuffboxes, one of which was G. Drummonds, all this was enacted in presence of your shoemaker his wife and daughter. After the murderer made his escape my friend went to Lord Albemarle and acquainted him of what had happened, his Lordship sent for me and I told his Lordship the way and manner he made his escape, his Lordship told me had I been luckie enough to have succeeded, that were I guilty of ever so much treason, that I might shuredly expect my pardon, I acquainted his Lordship that I was not guilty of treason for that I was not only freed by the Act of Indemnity, but that in the year 1741 I had received a pass from Andrew Fletcher Lord Justice Clerk then for Scotland, and as your Lordship, meaning Albemarle, commanded in Scotland at that time, your Lordship gave consent to my having said pass which I then produced, and his Lordship remembered the affair very well. He then inquired into my case which I laid before his Lordship and the distress that my wife and family was in. This other gentleman told my lord that I had 14 children, great many of whom were very young, this other gentleman moved that now as there was a licence procured for me to return into Great Britain, that as I used my utmost endeavours to bring the murderer to justice, that I might be allowed by his Lordship to go to London to represent both my own and my Brother's case, and beg'd his Lordship's Recommendation for that purpose, to which his Lordship answered that he was afraid that tho' he would incline to do me service and have it done for me, that all [page 441] those of the Clan MacGregor were too zealous Jacobites, but that if he thought that I could be trusted that he did not know but something might be done for me and my numberous family, upon which his Lordship wrote a letter to the Earl of Holderness in my favours, and allowed I should go to London, upon which I parted and went to wait on Major Buchanan and from thence to London, how soon I waited on the Earl of Holderness, his Lordship desired me to put my case in writing and that he would lay it before the Ministry but at the same time that I behoved to lodge in a Messenger's House where I would be entertained at the King's expence. That lodging there was not meant as any restraint upon me but for some other reason. Neither should any restraint be put upon me but have my liberty conform to my Licence. Eight days after I was called to the Earl of Holderness's house where I was examined in a most civil manner but was so much sifted with questions and cross questions that I was like to be put in confusion but upon mustering up all my spirits having nothing else for it I endeavoured that they could not throw stones and at the same time made such Compliance answers as I thought suited best their subject. I understood some time after that Secretary Murray was in the next room, the excuses I made for not answering the questions put to me, and that I plainly assured them that Secretary.Murray was both a Liar, villain, and a very great coward, and that at the time he was mostly employed by the young Pretender, as I then called him,which I thought made some favourable impression upon both the Chancellor and Holderness none else being present. I was dismissed and a few days after I contracted a fever and gravel which continued till the middle of March and what happened after that I have acquainted you with in my last, this is all the whole affair from the beginning, and considering Glenure's being so nearly related to me and my wife, and that the Stewarts had shewn themselves on all occasions the cut-throats of all our people, no mortal needs be surprised if I should endeavour to bring my friend's murderer to justice Besides that very family of Barcaldin is the greatest support your Clan has in our part of Scotland, I mean the parts I formerly lived in and yrabouts, now I leave you to judge whether I acted right or Dot in keeping my design secret from you. My reason you may judge, but when I parted with you I was not sure of going to England, now if you find my conduct amiss, you may chastise me without control as you may think proper, for as I am your own it is no other person's business what you do with any of your Clan. I was informed by Patrick McGregor who went lately for Scotland that people speak much against me, and as I know they'll incline to make a handle of my being openly at London, I beg you'll put a stop to it only by telling Lord Nairn, Gask, Mr Gordon the principal, that I can answer for what I have done, for tho' the attempt was bold and harardous, I thank God I came off with great honour as I refused yr terms. Let no mortal know of my attempt upon the murderer for I'm determined to deny it as I did not succeed, and as he ran off with my money and goods I may charge [page 442] him for theft. I understand Stewart the murderer has openly declared that if ever I return to France that he would murder me, I think when a proof of this is to be had, he ought to be put into close custody, of this I leave you to judge. I would have wrote before now but eight days ago I had the misfortune to be taken ill of an ague which continues. To be a stabler [3]   here which is the freedom of the town is of the greatest Service and no man can carry on a trade without it, the way to proceed to be a stabler is to procure an order from the Minister of France to Mr Dr Sechelle now residing in Lille, by which means Mons De Sechelle the Intendent will send an order to the Magistrates of this place to receive me as such, I am very little acquainted with the people, If you'd be so good as write to some of your acquaintance in this place that as I intend to settle here that you would take as done to yourself whatever friendship was shewn me, that the best people here knowing I had your countenance would greatly help me in our business I could expect to drive on. You give no notice to that part of Rob's case that is about the murder. It was made up in answer to a part of the Advocate's speech against him of which they had no proof to the contrary. I send you the petition as well as the case. As I never expect to get home any more I now take my own name by which I am known here, please direct for me care of Mr Robert mercht in Rue du Quay, Dunkirk. I beg whatever you have to do here that you'll favour me with your commands if you think it will be in my power to be of the slightest use. I leave entirely to yourself to manage about getting me a gratification for without one I see plainly I'll turn out a beggar or bankrupt and as for my part I much rather turn out an early Beggar than a late bankrupt I have signed a sheet of clean paper so you'll please write to my old mother in whatever style you think most agreeable and add in pairt, from the other letter or just as you think fitt and proper, and any time you think my presence of use I shall surely come upon a call, I beg manage matters with Mr Gordon at any rate, I owe some postage of letters to the Rector of the Scot's College I do not Know just now what way to send it but if I knew would by the first opportunity, I have wrote to Mr Gordon, and you told him nothing of my affair further than I had acquinted you with, which I hoped would be satisfying to him once he saw you. I beg pardon for this long letter and I hope you'll believe me to be forever Dr Chief yours to command Jas Macgregor.
"PS.-I have deferred writing to Mr Gordon as you was to see him yourself which would be better than that I would write."

From the same to the same
"Dunkirke 8th June 1754
“Dr Chief,- I wrote you according to your desire of the 25. April, and the packet I swelled so as that I paid the postage here, and you've as genuine confession [page 443] of what I had done as if I was before my Father Confessor, and if my behaviour is faulty no doubt you are the only man that hes a right to chastise me, I am affraid you disaprove or what I have done, as I had not the honour of hearing from you since, but I hope when you will consider of both my past conduct and behaviour to my Prince and what baits and incouragement I had offered me from the contrary party which I had refused, that you'I imagine I am not to be suspected in any thing else than that I profess, I can very easily prove by people of undoubted character that my fidelity was as much put to the tryal as any whatever, and at the same time make appear, that I never violated that trust that was reposed in me in my greatest misery, and in a forrin country without friends that I will be upbraided and suspected of mistrust I think my fate very hard, especially when it is evidently known how much I have served my Prince, and what I suffered in his service besides the loss of all my effects which to me was no small article And now if by my going to England and having a conference with those I have already wrote you, has lost me your countenance it's hard when in my opinion what I did was not dishonourable or hurtful to any one on earth.
"Pray dear Sir would you have me presume to tell you a lye, or was I not to let you know everything as I valued myself on your being my Head and my support, and now if I am not to expect that friendship to whom can I apply, no doubt if I have lost yours, the World will say, tho' unjustly, that I have been guilty of some villainous thing otherways my Chief would never desert me, but let the case be as it will, I pray God an occasion worthy woud offer which might show the Deserts of man, and it is very possible, for all the misfortunes I have laboured under, that I would show by my friends and followers that a Chief would have very good reson to have some value for me, Sir forgive me to tell you that I have done a great dale of honour once in my time to you and your Clan and I hope in God to do more ere I die.
"Ever since I came here I was very bad of the fever and ague and still continues which makes me of no service to mysell, but on the contrary I spends the little thing I have which if gone, God knows what will become of me If you'd be so kind and favour me with a letter on receipt of this that I may not labour under the Doubts of your Displeasure, otherwise I will not presume to give you further trouble till once time will satisfie you of the verity what I have already wrote you; And I ever am with a gratefull submission and deu Respect.
"Dr Chief your own to kill or cure. Jas MacGregor"

"Dunkirke July 7. 1754.
"Dr Chief,-The within are the questions put to me in so far as I well can remember, but there were a great many more and cross questions put to me but this is the import of the whole, only not so good language which cannot be expected from me, I do not know whether you'll approve of what I said of you or not, but if it's amiss I hope you'l forgive me as I intended it for your good and thought it my honour.
[page 444 ]
If it was in my power to be of the lest use to you, and if no opposition would be made against me I dare venture to say both you and I might have gone home ere now, I have got nothing done since I came as I am not a stadlin or free man in this place, and besides my indisposition made me spend a great part of what little money I had and if nothing is done for me I am now worse than ever, I thank God that you are satisfied with me as for every body else I am partly indifferent, as I have the satisfaction to have your countenance which I will study to preserve while I live, I beg the favour of you to let me hear from you upon receipt of this, and whether you approve of what I have said of yourself to the Chancellor. I do not think of writing to Mr Gordon as my writing can be but of little weight in respect to what you can doe, yrfor I beg you'll try him once more, Believe Dear Sir that I have been as ingenious with you as if I was before my great Judge, which maxim I incline to follow while I live as I think every body else should to their Chief were they so happy in that point as Dr Chief
"Your own to command. Jas. MacGregor.
"Direct to me care of Mr Robert Walker
merchant in Rue do Quay. Dunkirke."

Same to the Same.
"Dunkirk July 28 1754.
"Dear Chief,- As you promised to write to me before you left the Country I send this, inclosed under cover to Captain John, in order you would not forget me that I may expect to have pleasure of seeing you and chate a little more serious than time permitted when last I had the pleasure to wait on you, As my whole dependance is upon you alone, your not seeing me now will oblidge me to waite on you up the country as I doe not know how to behave or do anything without your assistance and interest. I shall be glad to my soul to hear a good account of you, and your cussine Captain Cameron, and that both will compleat ane ounion which may be for the happiness of your familys, God send me this happy news for nothing could give me more pleasure than to heare of your being settled that I might expect a young Chief of your Offspring, which would also be a great satisfaction to the whole of your Clan in general. If this is the case do me the honour to make offer of my duty to both the Ladies, and always believe to he with gratitude, Duty and respect and with the greatest submission shall be acknowledged by Dr Chief.
"Your own to command. Jas. McGregor.
"Direct for me to care of Mr John Hennan
Merchant in Dunkirk."

Letter from James Mor Drummond McGregor to Balhaldies containing copy, partly to appearance interpolated, of letter from Gregor Glun dhu MacGregor com-monly called James Grahame of Glengyle.
[page 445]
Dunkirk Aug. 7.1754
"Dr Chief,-When I was in London I wrote old Glengyle, [4]   and acquainted him that Sir John O'Sulliven told before a publick company, he looked him to he the Chief of the Clan McGregor and that the Prince and all his friends knew no other Chief but him. John was no friend of ours but reather wanted, if in his power to lessen your credit and interest with the Royal Family, yrfor Desired that he would clear himself of the aspersion by leting me have the contrair from under his own hand, as I well knew he never pretended any such, and I also wrote my Brother Ronald [5]   to wait upon Glen, and see that a proper answer would be sent me so as I might confront Sir John by shewing under Glen's hand the contrair of what he asserted. The reason why I wrote in so strong terms to Glen is that I knew it would irritate him against Sir John, and last night I received Glen's answer, a copy of which is here subjoined."

Glengyle 20. May 1754.
"Dr Cussine,- I received yours from London the 24. March, and I am not a little surprised of my old friend Coll; O'Sullivan to give himself any trouble with respect to our Clan. I remember that John Murray the Secretary and O'Sullivan spoke to me and desired I would take upon me the title of Chief you may remember that in presence of these two gentlemen and the Duke of Perth, I solemnly declared Bohaldies was unanimously allowed to be Chief by the voice of the whole Clan, and for my part I only desired no more than my birthright and dew. You may tell Sullivan had the Prince carried along with him Balhaldies to Scotland pro¬bably he would see him at the head of a more numerous Clan than any appeared at that time, and I hope if ever an opportunity offers That our Clan will behave neighbourlike if not exceed severals who, as I understand, have met with more favourable returns for their service. Make offer of my best compliments to Bal¬haldies and let him know from me that I expect he entertains more favourable sentiments than that I would deviate from that to which I ought to adhere. I refer to what Ronald has wrote you and I am Dr Cussine. "Your affectionate Cuss and Servant.
"Jas; Grahame of Glengyle."

Continuation of Letter by Jas. Drummond.
"Dr Chief,- The Original of this copy I keep till I have an opportunity to see Sir John, to confront him, or if you please I shall send it to you in order that you confront him yourself, yet I think it was more seasonable_that one of your friends that would take him by the beard for his misbehaviour would rather present this than you, as you have severals of your Clan that may equal him in any shape. The Head ought to be spared. I thought proper to acquaint you with this as it came to my hands.
[page 446]
I refer you to my last, I hope you'll do me the honour to let me hear from you and I ever am with due respect and submission
"Dr Chief
your own to command. Jas. Drummond.
"To William MacGregor of that Ilk at his house in Baivre
"To care of Mr John Gordon Principal of the Scots College, Paris."

The Same to the Same.
"Saturday morning.
"Dr Chief- I came here last night and thought it my duty to let you know that I was obliged to leave Dunkirk for my safety, for Lochgerry last week, as I was informed, had lodged ane information against me to the grand Baillie leting him know I was sent on purpose from England to be a spy, I was advised by some friends to withdraw for fear I should be laid up on suspicion as I had no friends yr to support my innocence. and as the officers of the place had received orders to take me up I was obliged to come off in such a hurry, that it confused me intirely so as I was oblidged to come off with little cash in my pocket and tho' I had full time I had not a great dale more, as I was put to so much charge by my illness and keeping company with the English Gentleman I was with at St Omer's who would have made my fortune had not Lochgerry come to him and given the worst character of me possibly could be given to any, be all appearance I am born to suffer Crosses & it seems that yr not at ane End for such is my wretched Case at present that I doe not know earthly where to goe or what to do, as I have no sub¬sistence to keep Soul and body together. All that I have carried here is about 113 livers and has taken a room at my old quarters in Hotel St Pierre Rue de Cordier, I send you the bearer beging of you to let me know if you are to be in town soon that I may have pleasure of seeing you for I have non to mak application to but you alone. and all I want is if it was possible you could contrive where I could be Employed so as keep me in life without going to intire beggary, this probably is difficult yet unless it is attended with some difficulty you might think nothing of it, as your long head can bring about matter of much more difficulty and consequence than this. If you disclose this matter to your friend Mr Butler it's possible he might have some employ wherein I could be of use as I pretend to know as much of breeding and riding of horses as any in France besides that I am a good hunter eithet on horseback or by fouling, you may judge my reduction as I propose the meanes things, to serve a turn till better cast up: I am sorry that I am oblidged to give you so much trouble but I hope you are very well assured, that I am gratefull for whatever is done for me, I leave you to judge of my present wretched case and believe that I am and shall for ever continue
Dr Chief
"your own to command Jas. McGregor.
"PS.-If you'd send your pips by the bearer and all the other little trinkims belonging to it [page 447] I would put them in order and play some melancholy tunes which I may now with safety and in real trweth. Forgive my not going directly to your house for if I could shun seeing of yourself I would not choice to be seen by my friends in my wretchedness nor by any of my acquaintance.
Addressed on the back,
"A monsieur M"Gregor de Bohaldies au Baivre"
“This letter amongst Balhadies' papers is docketed "Letter from James Macg: on his arrival in Paris the week before he died Oct 1754."

With reference to Hamish Mor's undertaking to deliver to Government a fellow Jacobite, as very little mention of Alan Breck Stewart, brother of Ardshiel, appears in contemporary history, a few words about him are here added. In the Introduction to "Rob Roy," Sir Walter Scott relates that " Mr Campbell of Glenure, who had been named factor for Govern¬ment on the forfeited estates of Stewart of Ardshiel, was shot dead by an assassin as he passed through the wood of Lettermore after crossing the ferry of Ballachulish. A gentleman, named James Stewart, a natural brother of Ardshiel the forfeited person, was tried as being accessory to the murder, and condemned and executed upon very doubtful evidence, the heaviest part of which only amounted to the accused person having assisted a nephew of his own, called Alan Breck Stewart, with money to escape after the deed was done." Sir Walter proceeds with the account of Hamish Mor's attempt to capture the supposed homicide taken from Hamish's own letter of May 1st, 1754. In a note Sir Walter Scott states that Allan Breck survived till the beginning of the French Revolution, and about 1789 was a tall thin old man living in Paris very quietly on his little pension.

The brilliant novelist, the late Robert Louis Stevenson, in his interesting tales of "Kidnapped" and "Catriona," has revived the name of Alan Breck, but with artistic licence he connects Hamish Mor with Alan's adventures at the time when Hamish was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, to which he was conveyed 18th December 1751; though as is shown by the above letters it was not till 1753 that Hamish tried to capture Alan and failed in the attempt There is no evidence that they had ever been acquainted in Scotland.


[1] Gaelic for big or great; this word has frequently been incorrectly spelt "mohr," when the adjective applies to a feminine noun it takes by aspiration an h, thus "mhor", pronounced ‘vor’.

[2] These letters were amongst the Balhaldie Papers. They were given publicity about 1818 by Dr McLeay, M.D. In Crieff, to whom they had been merely lent by the custodian, Mrs MacGregor of Balhaldies, for perusal, and it wan considered that the time was quite immature for their publication, when near relatives were still alive, as also without the sanction of the young proprieter, then in India. ED

[3] Probably "Stedeling," the Dutch for Townsman-ED.

[4] Glengyle was then sixtyfive, having been born in 1688, but he had resigned Glengyle to his oldest son about 1740.

[5] Ronald married a daughter of Gregor Glun Dhu.