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Amelia Volume 2 chapter 35

Restoration of the Name of MacGregor, 1774

[page 448]
IT is now necessary to bring the notices of MacGregor of Glengyle up to the latter part of the eighteenth century.

VIII. Gregor MacGregor of Glengyle, who has been already men¬tioned, acquired the lands of Glengyle by Charter 1703, signed the Bond of Election to Balhaldies in 1714. The tendency to look upon himself as Chief did not appear till considerably later, and was possibly not entertained by him personally. In a letter, already quoted, to his Cousin Hamish mor, he expressly repudiated the wish to take anything but what was his birthright and "due," his meaning however being evidently only an expression of loyalty to the son of the man whom he had helped to elect Chief. Allowing that Glengyle did not intend by that letter to repudiate whatever he might consider to be his personal claims, there does not appear to have been any just ground for the descendants of Dugald Ciar to aspire to any distinction beyond that of Chief of their own particular House, and although they were, as is believed, a junior branch, there is no doubt they always liked to act independently, whilst in common dangers they might unite with the rest of the Clan. Gregor was a distinguished man, "fond of arms, and well educated," he had adopted the name of James Grahame, and his gaelic "twoname" was Glun dubh, in reference to a black mole on his knee. He commanded bodies of the Clan in 1715 and 1745, when he was appointed Colonel, and the Royal Commissions granted to him have been already quoted. In gratitude to his Uncle Rob Roy he took part in some of his quarrels, and befriended his sons. After the "45,' he suffered hostility from the Government, like other Loyalists, but he left a reputation for upright conduct, and "his memory was held in great respect by friend [page 449] and foe." [1]  

He married when still quite young Mary, daughter of Hamilton of Bardowie, by whom he had five sons and three daughters.
1. John, Younger of Glengyle, born 1708, a man of great honour and integrity. Early in 1745 the Hanoverian Government secured him, and he was kept prisoner in the Castle of Edinburgh until the troubles were over. The Family Estate was happily pre¬served by being vested in the person of John several years before 1745. By his attention to the affairs of the family he greatly improved the estate, which had been encumbered in consequence of his father's spirited exertions in favour of the Royal Family of Stuart. He predeceased his father, and died in 1774, [2]   having married Jean, daughter of Wm. Buchanan of Craigvairan, by whom he left two sons and a daughter.
1. James, who eventually succeeded his grandfather.
2. John, who went to Philadelphia.
Daughter Janet, who married Alexr. McNair of Lodrick.
2. Robert, 2d son of Glun dubh, married 1st a daughter of Graham of Drunkie, by whom he had a son who died young; and 2d a daughter of Stewart in Balquhidder, by whom he had a son, Duncan, a sailor. [3]  
3. James, a sailor, who died in the King's service.
4. Malcolm, who died at Port-Glasgow.
5. Donald, who went to sea with his uncle, Captain Hamilton. [4]  
1. Catherine, married Malcolm MacGregor, descended from a former Glengyle, and left a family.
2. Jean, married to Ronald 3d son of Rob Roy.
3. Elizabeth or Eliza, died unmarried in Glasgow.

[page 450]
Gregor of Glengyle died on the 21st August 1777, aged 89, at Portnellan, a farm a little to the east of Glengyle, in the house of his daughter Mrs Campbell, then a widow. On his tomb in the Family Burying Ground at Glengyle, on Loch Katrine side, is the following inscription :-
"Sacred to the Memory of Gregor McGregor, who died 21st August 1777
“Aged 88.
"Not with vain flattery to insult the dead,
We place this stone above thine honour'd head,
But that, while wandering here, the good and brave
May, sighing, pause, and mark thy silent grave;
And, awful,' o'er thine ashes as they bend,
Think on their Chief, their Father, and their Friend.
Speak of thy steady soul, and martial flame,
Which burnt for Truth and Virtue more than fame;
And tell their sons to hold thy Mem'ry dear,
Thy footsteps follow, and thy name revere."


Malcolm [5]   MacGregor or Murray of Marchfield or Ledcriech, a branch of Glengyle, left three sons. [6]  
1. John who was a Captain in the French service died s.p.
2. Duncan who married a daughter of Campbell of Glenfalloch and also died s.p.
3. Gregor known as Gregor McCallum McGregor VcDougall VcCallum, called personally from his good looks "Gregor Boyac" (boidheach, or beautiful), he was in the Black Watch and was presented to George II. He was afterwards Captain and Adjutant of the West Middlesex Militia, and was known as Captain Drummond. [7]   Encouraged by his acquaintance with some official people, he drew up a successful petition for the repeal of certain Acts of Parliament against the Clan, and for the Restoration of the right to bear the name of MacGregor, for which service he [page 451] undoubtedly earned the gratitude of the Clan, although the Restoration must soon have been other wise granted. [8]  

"ACT. AT THE PARLIAMENT BEGUN AND HOLDEN AT WESTMINSTER THE 29TH DAY OF Nov.1774.

“An Act to repeal Two Acts made in the Parliament of Scotland, the 28th day of June 1633 intitled Act anent the Clan Gregour and the 15th day of June 1693 intituled Act for the Justiciary in the Highlands, so far as relates to the MacGregors and to revive an Act of Parliament of the 26th day of April 1662 relative to the People called MacGregours.

“Whereas in the Parliament of Scotland being the first Parliament of King Charles I. holden at Edinburgh the 28th day of June 1633 an Act intituled Act anent the Clan Gregour, ratifying and approving all Acts of Council and of Parlia¬ment made theretofore against the Clan of MacGregour, and ordaining the Clan of the people of the name of Gregour or MacGregour, and every one of them on arriving at the age of Sixteen to give Security to the Privy Council of Scotland for their good behaviour and obedience; and that the said Clan Gregour should take to them some other surname; and that upon their failure to appear, it should be law¬ful to any of His Majesty's Lieges to take and apprehend them to be presented to the Privy CounaL there to be taken order with; and if it should happen any of the said Clan Gregour to be hurt, mutilated, or slain the Party so doing and their accomplices should no ways be subject or liable to Law therefore, nor incur any Pain of Skaith in Body or Goods, and should be free of all pursuit, Criminal or Civil, and the same should be holden as good service done to His Majesty; and that for the better extinguishing and extirpating the said Clan, no minister or Preacher within the Bounds should at any time hereafter baptise or christen any male child by the name of Gregour and that no clerk or notary at any time coming should make or subscribe any Bond or other security under the name of Gregour:

And whereas in the first Parliament of King Charles the Second holden at Edin¬burgh 1661 bearing date the 21st day of April in that year, whereby His Majesty considering that those who formerly designed by the name of MacGregour had during the troubles carried themselves with such loyalty and Affection to His Majesty as might justly wipe off all memory of their former Miscarriages, and take off all mark of Reproach put upon them for the same and His Majesty being desirous to reclaim his subjects from every evil way and to give all due encouragement to such as lived in due obedience to His Majesty's authority and Laws of the Kingdom, therefore His Majesty with advice and consent of His Estates of Parliament, rescinded, cassed, and annulled the Thirtieth Act of the First Parliament of King Charles the First, intituled Act anent the Clan Gregour and declared the same void and null in all Time coming; and that it should be hereafter free to all persons come of the name and race of the [page 452] Clan Gregour to keep and make use of the same name of Gregour or MacGregour, and enjoy all Priveleges and Immunities as other subjects, notwithstanding the said Act or other Acts or anything contained to the contrary: And whereas in the Reign or King William and Mary an Act passed in the Parliament of Scotland the 15th of June 1693 intituled Act for the Justiciary in the Highlands whereby their Majesties with the advice and consent of the Estates of Parliament revived the Act of Parliament of 1633 against the Clan Gregour notwithstanding the same was rescinded in the year 1661, which Act recis¬sary Their Majesties did by this Act annul, and make void: And whereas those persons who were the objects of the aforesaid Acts did generally give obedience to the Law by assuming other surnames and many of the descendants of those persons now bear the names that were by them so assumed; And whereas the causes inductive of the Acts for suppressing the name of Gregour or of MacGregour are now little known and have long ago ceased, and those Acts being incapable of execution ever since the powers of the Privy Council of Scotland were abolished many persons considering them to be ineffect and for the most part obsolete, do now use the name of MacGregour: And whereas many persons of the name or Surname of MacGregour have found divers Inconveniencies arising to them from the said Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, particularly by being disabled and apprehend¬ing themselves disabled thereby, from suing and defending in their own true names in Courts of Law and Justice in North Britain, and are desirous to re-assume the real Name of their Ancestors and Families, but are unwilling to do so while there is the appearance of a legal prohibition standing against them; and for as much as they cannot be fully relieved without the authority of Parliament, may it therefore upon the humble petition of Gregor Drummond Esquire, for himself and others that it may be enacted; and be it enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same; That from and after the passing of this Act the said Act of Parliament of Scotland of the 28th day of June 1633 and the said Act of the Parliament of Scotland of the 15th Day of June 1693 so far as respects the Clan Gregour or MacGregour shall be and stand repealed, rescinded, annulled and made void, to all Intents and purposes whatsoever.

"And it is hereby further enacted That the said Act of the Parliament of Scotland made the 26th Day of April 1661 be and the same is hereby revived, and declared to be in full Force and vigour in Time coming."

"To the King's most Excellent Majesty
"The humble Address of Gregor MacGregor, late Drummond, Esquire for himself and at the request of a numerous Body of the ancient Surname of MacGregor.
"May it please your Majesty.

"The Ancestors of Your Majesty's Loyal Subjects, the present MacGregors, having upwards of a century ago become obnoxious to some of your Majesty's Royal Predecessors, certain Acts of the then Parliament of Scotland were made for [page 453] proscribing and prohibiting them from using their true names, and disabling them in many respects from enjoying the same privileges and immunities common to other people, whereby their innocent descendants finding themselves aggrieved were advised to apply to the present Legislation for Relief: and your Majesty having been graciously pleased lately to give your Royal Assent to a Repeal of those Acts, the present MacGregors therefore in order to shew their grateful sense and hearty acknowledgements of your Majesty's Royal goodness and benevolence towards them, beg leave by this sincere Address to assure your Majesty, that none of your Subjects can exceed the MacGregors in their firm attachment to your Majesty's Government, your Royal Person and family, and that nothing could be more agreeable to them than an opportunity of Exerting themselves as an united body in your Majesty's service, on any suitable Emergency, in support of your Government and the Rights of the great Community over which God in his Providence has been pleased to place your Majesty, as the undoubted and supreme Sovereign: and that your Majesty may be long preserved as a comfort to your Realms cannot be wished or prayed for by any of your loyal subjects more ardently or more sincerely than by the MacGregors."

"To the Right Honourable Lord Viscount Barrington His Majesty's Secretary for War.
"The humble Memorial of Gregor MacGregor late Drummond Esqre for him-self and as authorized by a numerous Body of the Ancient Surname of MacGregor.
"Sheweth
"That His Majesty having lately been graciously pleased to give his Royal Assent to an Act of the last Session of Parliament for repealing certain old Acts of the Parliament of Scotland which affected and greatly aggrieved the MacGregors and who by such Act of Bounty and Benevolence of his Majesty apprehending themselves in a peculiare manner bound to show their gratitude and firrn attach¬ment to his Majesty's Royal Person, his Family and Government, do hereby humbly request your Lordship to make known to his Majesty that on any Public Emergency requiring an extraordinary Levy or Aid of Men for his Majesty's Service, the MacGregors can and cheerfully will, if authorized by his Majesty, raise in a very short time a respectable and numerous Regiment for his Majesty's Service, without the Expense of Levy money or the tedious delay that usually attends the raising of men by recruiting, Provided his Majesty will he graciously pleased to appoint the Colonel and other officers of such Regiment ftom among Gentlemen of the MacGregor name and Race.
"Your Memorialist therefore Humbly prays
your Lordship to lay this Memorial before his
Majesty for his Majesty's Gracious approbation
and Directions."
Both signed, Gregor MacGregor or Drummond.


[page 454]
Letter from Captain Gregor MacGregor to Major Evan Murray or MacGregor.

“Dear Evan,- I wrote you some time before I set out for the Highlands to acquaint you with my intended journey and to receive your commands for that Country but find by your last letter of the 15th July which my wife Bent after me to Scotland, that you had not then received mine. I am now returned safe and sound in better health than I had enjoyed for ten years past which I believe will be the most agreeable News to you and Mrs MacGregor that I can send of myself, and that you should be fully acquainted with all my manovers for the Honor and Benefit of the Clan, herewith I send you a Copy of the MacGregor Address to the King and Secretary of War which I had always in view from the time our Bill received the Royal Assent, but waited for a favourable opportunity to present them. Consequently on the first account of the American Conflagration a few days before I Set out for Scotland I waited on Lord North with both the Addresses of which his Lordship approved very much indeed and was pleased to tell me that he would lay our Address before the King which his Majesty would receive very graciously, and directed me at the same time to wait on Lord Barrington with the Memorial. I have seen neither of the above Lords since my return from the Highlands, but have been to the War Office where my good old acquaintance the Under Secretary told me that there is no word of raising any new Levies yet Mean time showed me a List of several that have offered to raise new Levys in which List the MacGregors are notified, so that I dont think it prudent to stir any more on that Head till we see farther after the Meeting of the Parliament, whether any new Levys shall be wanted; be that as it will, the King and Ministry will for the Future have the MacGregor on Record to raise men when wanted, which at any rate must be an additional Feather to the Fir Tree. I very sincerely congratulate you on the most agreeable and promising accounts that your Sons send you, as doth my Clerk who joins me in wishing you both long life and health that you may enjoy the pleasure of seeing your offspring in Prosperity and believe me to remain as before
Dear Evan
Your very affecte Cousin and assured humble Servt.
(Signed) "Gregor MacGregor.

"Honndslow 25th Sep; 1775.
"N.B. -I have had no farther accounts of my Son and Nephew since my last to you."

[page 455]
The Name Restored

Thus "THE NAME "-the talisman so powerful to all of the Clan Gregor, was officially restored. Thenceforward the Clan, loyal and true, never crushed by the sorest hardships, could take its part with other Highlanders in the duties of the now United Kingdom; and its sons, with all their inherited courage, energy and endurance, could win their way to distinction in the field, the forum, the Church, the governorship of states, without any obstacles, only retaining out of the brotherhood of their mis-fortunes the feeling of kinship implied in the word "Clannish!"

It is hoped in a third volume to give the careers of distinguished members of the Clan, and to trace the descendants of families already mentioned, down to the present time. [9]  


[1] This account is derived from MS. collected by Col. Hugh MacGregor, Mr MacGregor Stirling, &c.

[2] This date shows that John IX. in descent predeceased his father

[3] Robert’s second wife was probably Jean, only daughter of John Stewart of Glenbuckie.Their son, Duncan, a sailor, died in the Royal Naval Hospital Greenwich in 1826. He was served heir to his uncle Donald who left £3300 sterling in 1789. Although described as ‘Captain’ in one of the legal documents connected with a dispute over his inheritance, by 1808 he was invalided out of the Royal Navy having served 8 years as AB. The ‘died in the King’s service’ against Duncan is a transcription error from the original against James. – PJL, a descendant of Duncan, and Editor 2002 Edtion.]

[4] Donald died in 1789 leaving £3300 to his nephew Duncan (above). This legacy included a heritable bond of £983 on the Glengyle estate. [PJL Editor 2002 edition]

[6] From letter on page 408 there appears to have heen another son, Daniel, who died before 15th Feb 1755 volume 2 Chapter 31

[8] This last remark is an example of Amelia’s pique that a member of the Glengyle family got his petition in before her grandfather. [Editor 2002 Edition.]

[9] Such a third volume was never published. It may exist as a manuscript, whether completed or not in the care of the Scottish Genealogy Society.