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Edict for the Extermination of the ClanGregor, with offers of reward for the heads of Alexander MacGregor of Glenstrae and his principal followers,

Edited by Peter Lawrie, © 2012

The original Edict for the Extermination of the ClanGregor, with offers of reward for the heads of Alexander MacGregor of Glenstrae and his principal followers,
Dr Masson, in VoL xiv. of the published edition of the Register of the Privy Council, edited by him, gives from certain miscellaneous papers a copy "of the original Edict for the Extermination of the ClanGregor, with offers of reward for the heads of Alexander MacGregor of Glenstrae and his principal followers," two certified copies of which he has found.

 

1603. Feb.24.  Letters under the Signet as follows: James be the grace of God, King of Scottis, to oure lovittis. . . . Messengeris, our schireffis in that pairt, conjunctlie and severallie, speciallie constitute, gretting: Forsamekle as the wicked and unhappie race of Clangregour, quha sa lang hes continewit in bluid, thift, reiff, sorning, and oppressioun upoun the peciable and guid subjectis of the incuntrey, to the wraik, miserie, and undoing of mony honnest and substantious houshalderis, and laying waist of divers weleplenist boundis and possessiounis, they have now at last upoun the …  day of Februar instant, in oppin hostilitie enterit within the Lennox, quhair in maist barbarous and horrible maner, without pitie or compassion, they have murdreist and slane sevin scoir of personis, without respect to young or auld, to the offence and displeasour of God, to the grete greif and displeasour of us, and to the perpetuell reprotche and sklander of the haill natioun, gif this wyld and abhominable fact be not sua exemplarly punist as the rememberance thairof sall remane to the posteriteis: And thairfore, we, with a grete nowmer of oure Nobilitie and Counsal, haveing convenit upoun this mater, it is found that God can not be appeasit, nor the cuntrey releivit of the sklander quhilk it sustenis be that barbaritie, unless that unhappie and destable race be extirpat and ruttit out, and nevir sufferit to have rest or remaning within this cuntrey heirefter; for quhilk purpois, ordour and discretioun is alreddy gevin how and in quhat maner they salbe prosequte, huntit, followit, and persewit with fyre and sword, ay and quhill they be exterminat and ruttit out; and we nawayse dout bot all guid and dewitfull subjectis will hald hand to this so godlie a work, and will refuise the resset of thame and of thair guidis, and the patronizeing of thame ony way to the hinder of this oure Service:

Our will is heirfore, and we chairge yow straitlie and commandis, that incontinent thir oure letters sene ye pas and in our name and auctoritie command, chairge and inhibite all and sindrie oure leigeis and subjectis quhatsumevir, be oppin proclama­tioun at all mercat croceis and utheris placeis neidfull, that nane of thame presume or tak upoun hand to ressett, supplie, schaw favour or conforte to ony of the said Clangregour, thair wyffis, or bairnis, or to resett or hurde thair guidis or geir, or mak blokis or barganis with thame thairanent, undir whatsomevir cullour or pretence, nor git to entir in assuirance or freindschip with the saidis lymmairis, and gif ony assuirance or bondis of freindschip be amangis thame, that they gif up and dis­chairge the same, reputing and estemeing thame as traitouris and enemeis to God, thair prince, and cuntrey, undir the pane to be repute, haldin and extermit as air and pertakeris with the saidis lymmairis in all thair wickid and evill deidis, and to be persewit and punist with thame thairfore with all rigour and extremitie to the terrour of utheris, besydis the confiscatioun of all thair movable guidis to the use of the challengeair.-And to the effect the saidis thevis and lymmairis sall not eschaip thair deservit punischement, that ye command, chairge and inhibite all and sindrie ferriairis, marineris and awnairis of boitis or veschellis within our realme, that nane of thame presume or tak upoun hand to ressave ony of the said Clangregour, thair wyffis, bairnis, or servandis, within thair hoitis and veschellis, nor to transport thame to or fra ferreis towardis the Illis nor to Ireland, under the pane of deid, with certificatioun to thame that sail do in the contrair heirof they salbe taikin, apprehendit, and execute to the deid without favour. And siklyke that ye command and chairge all and sindrie noblemen, baronis, and gentilmen, within quhais boundis the saidis boittis or veschellis ar that they caus diligent attendance be givin that nane of the said ClanGregour, thair wyffis, bairnis or servandis be transportit within the saidis boittis or veschellis.  And, we being surlie informit that Allaster McGregour of Glenstra, cheif and chiftane of that unhappie race and clan, wes not onlie the conductair and leidair of that unhappie and mischevious cumpany, bot thairwith he with his awin handis committit the maist horrible and barbarous crueltie that fell out that day, and culd nevir be satiat in bathing of him selff, with the bluid of grit nowmeris of innocentis, thairfore we promit that quhatsumevir persone or personis will tak and apprehend the said Allaster, and bring and present him quick to us, and failyeing thairof, present his heid, that not only sall they have a frie pardoun and remissioun for all thair bygane offenssis and attemptis, albeit thay be giltie of the said barbarous and mischant crueltie committit within the Lennox, bot with that thay sall have a thousand pundis money of guid and reddy payment deliverit unto thame.  And siklyke quhatsumevir persoun or personis will tak, apprehend and present to us the personis undirwritten, and failyeing thairof thair heidis,-thay ar to say, Duncane McGregour VcEwne, [1] Johnne Dow Gair Ewne, [2] and Duncan Pirdrachis, [3] Robert Abroch McGregour, Patrik Aldoch, and his twa sones, Patrik Mcconnoquhy in Glen, [4] Gregour McGregour, sone to Duncane Glen, [5] Charles McGregour VcEane, [6] Callum McGregour Ruy, [7] Johnne Dow, [8] Duncan Bane McRobertis sone, [9] Allaster McGregour VcEane Dullihaith, [10] and Allaster McRobert, his brother, -that not onlie sall the said apprehendair and presentair have a free pardoun and remissioun for all thair bygaine offensis, except for the barbarous attempt laitlie committit within the Lennox, bot with that thay sail have twa hundreth merkis in present and reddy payment deliverit unto thame, as alswa quha evir will bring and present unto us ony utheris personis quhatsumevir culpable of the said barbarous crueltie committit within the Lennox, or ony utheris of the name of Clangregour quha salbe denuncet fugitives and rebellis for not com­peirance, before us and oure Counsale, that the saidis apprehendairis and presentairis sall not onlie have a free pardoun and remissioun for all offences committit be thame (except and aIwyse the attempt of the Lennox), bot with that thay sall have ane hundreth merkis of present and reddy payrnent deliverit unto thame. The quhilk to do we commit to yow conjunctlie and severallie oure full power be thir oure letteris, delivering thame be yow dewlie execute and in­dorsat agane to the berar. Gevin under oure signet at Halyruidhouse the twenty foure day of Februair, and of oure regne the xxxvj yeir, 1603. (L.S.) Per Actum Secreti Consilii etc. Ja. Prymrois." [11]

The introduction to Vol. xiv., from which the foregoing is quoted, gives the following comment:-
"This Edict, the ruthless vengeance of the Government upon the MacGregors for their slaughter of the Colquhouns and other Lennox men in the Battle of Glen­fruin, fought on the 7th of the same month, purports to have been the Act of the King with a number of his Nobility and Council 'convenit upoun this mater.' It is one of the very last Acts of King James, while he was King of Scotland only; for exactly one month afterwards by the death of Queen Elizabeth at Richmond on the 24th of March 1603, he was King also of England, and the news having come to Edinburgh on the 26th March, he took farewell of Scotland on the 5th of April and began his journey to London to assume his new dignity. The dating of the Edict would on this account alone be of some consequence.  Yet one looks in vain for it in its proper place, in the Official Register of the Council. Several Acts are recorded there as having been passed by the King and Council at Holyrood House on the 24th of February 1603; but this is not one of them.  How is the absence of so important a document from its proper place in the Register to be explained? It certainly was not because the King and Council retracted it or became ashamed of it. Although there is no Record of the Edict itself on the 24th of February, there is incidental reference to it, of an almost exulting kind, in an Act of Council passed two days afterwards, i.e. on the 26th of February, for modifying a previous business arrangement of the King and Council. An armed muster having bern ordered some time before to be in attendance on the King personally at Dundee on the 8th of March for the suppression of an intended rebellion within the bounds of Angus, this Act postpones the muster to the 1st of April, expressly on the ground that, in consequence of the late 'monstrous and cruell barbaritie' at Glenfruin, the King and Council have resolved on 'persute of that wicked and unhappie race of the ClanGregour quhill they be allutterlie extirpat and ruitit out,' and that it will be convenient at the muster on the 1st of April to conjoin this new business of the pursuit of the ClanGregor with the former business of the suppression of the rebellion in Angus.  In further evidence that there was no retraction of the MacGregor Edict there are the certificates [12] on the backs of the preserved copies of it now under notice that it was duly published at the market cross of Stirling on the 5th of March, at the Kirk of Dunkeld on the 6th of March, and at the market cross of Dumbarton on the 8th of March. Clearly the Edict was then running through the country and consideration for the methods for giving effect to it, must have continued to occupy the Council till those last days of March 1603 when the news of the accession of King James to the English throne drove everything else out of their heads. That we have not more distinct proofs of this, possibly even that the great Edict itself escaped due Registration in the Council Books about the time it was issued, may be owing to that long hiatus in the extant Official Register of the Council, extending exactly from the end of February 1603 to the 7th of August 1606, which we have so many other reasons to regret.  It is not from the Register, for example, but from other sources that we learn that on the 3rd of April 1603, the very Sunday on which King James took leave of his Scottish subjects in an affec­tionate farewell speech to such of them as were present that day in the High Church of Edinburgh, there was passed by him and his Council an Act 'whereby it was ordanit that the name of McGregoure sulde be altogedder abolisched, and that the haill personnes of thatt Clan suld renunce thair name and tak thame sum uther name, and that they nor nane of thair posteritie  suld call thameselffis Gregor or McGregoure thairefter under the payne of deid.'  In a footnote (in a previous volume of the published Register of the Privy Council) where mention was made of this Act, it was assumed as identical with the original Edict for the Extermination of the McGregors  The assumption was natural when no copy of that original Edict was accessible or known to be extant; but it must now be corrected. We can see now the real connexion between the original Edict of the 24th of February 1603, and this Act of the 3rd of the following April. The 1st of April had been appointed for the further consideration of the Macgregor business in the muster to be held at Dundee for the business of the Angus rebellion; but when the 1st of April came the King was on the wing for london, and could not think of a journey to Dundee for any purpose whatever. In order, however, not to leave the Mac­gregor business exactly where it was in the Edict of the 24th of February, he and his Council had been meditating a supplement to that Edict explaining that the decreed extermination of the Macgregor Clan need not be in the form of an absolute killing out of every man, woman, or child of the Clan, but might be achieved more mercifully in part by the compulsion of every man, woman, or child of the Clan that desired still to be left alive, to abjure the name of MacGregor and assume other name.  By James's departure into England, the actual execution both of the original Edict and of the supplementary or interpreting Act was devolved on the Privy Council he left behind him in Scotland, and a horrible legacy it was; but both the original Edict and the supplementary Act belong really to the last weeks of King James's own residence in Scotland, and it has seemed the more worth while to explain this, because, though the original Edict of 24th February 1603 was the initiation of all the long series of subsequent Acts against the MacGregors, it has hitherto evaded search, and is now first made accessible."

[1] Third son of the Tutor.

[2] Second son of the Tutor, executed 1604.

[3] Pudrach.

[4] Son of Duncan na Glen.

[5] Another son of Duncan na Glen.

[6] Not found.

[7] Uncertain.

[8] John Dow McRcb?

[9] In Craigrostane.

[10] Dougal Chaich.

[11] The occasion of this act of extermination against the long-doomed MacGregors was their armed invasion of the Lennox, with consequent slaughter of so many of the Colquhouns, Buchanans, and others of that region in the Battle of Glenfruin, on the 7th February 1603.  Within six weeks after the act, King James was on his journey southwards to take possession of the throne of England; and it is memorable that the present tremendous decree - the first of a series of similarly ruthless edicts against the MacGregors which run through all the rest of James's reign - was among the last of his actions before leaving Scotland. -Dr Masson.

[12] These certificates on the back have been here omitted after the Edict as less important. – ED.




 
 

So far as can be made out from the scattered entries in the Justiciary Records, the number of MacGregors executed between April 1603 and April 1604 comes close on fifty. the Privy Council offered pardon and a reward of 500 merks to any of the clan who should kill a rebel of their own name. The first to claim this reward was John Dhu MacEwin, who received a remission for all his bypast offences and the sum proferred in money, for the slaughter of two Mac Williams. On August 14th, Archibald Dalzell, being himself at the horn, but seeing a prospect of obtaining the King's benevolence, had adventured his person and apprehended Neill MacGregor, one of the denounced principals of the clan, and announced himself ready to deliver him to the Council, and to do further adventures against the name of MacGregor, if he were released from the horn. In the following August John Colquhoun, fiar of Camstrodden, considering the sincerity of His Majesty's haste to have these infamous limmers of the Clan Gregor punished, and being moved to give His Highness proof of his affection, had pursued them, and after many skirmishes and a long and dangerous onset on Gregor Craginche MacGregor, Duncan MacGille Callum, and certain others of the most notorious of all that name, had apprehended them and put them in ward, where 'the said Duncan barbarouslie stikit himself' and died. Colquhoun, however, brought Duncan's head, with the said Gregor Craginche, to be presented to the Lords at Stirling, where Gregor was executed, and John Colquhoun received the benefit of the Act in a free pardon and 500 merks. This Act was succeeded by another, offering still greater inducements to adventurers to ' enter in blood' with the MacGregors. On April 19th, 1605, the Council issued proclamation that whoever should present to them at Edinburgh ' any of the MacGregors quick, or failing that his heid,' should have a nineteen years' lease of his lands and possessions or else a compensation for his kindness. But the adventurers were not all equally successful. James Gordon of Lismore had undertaken the capture of John Dhu Maclllchallum and Alaster his brother (both brothers apparently of that Duncan who had stabbed himself when taken by John Colquhoun), and after several skirmishes and the slaughter of some four or five of the band of MacGregors, Alaster was taken, and John escaped in the darkness, although severely wounded. Alaster is laid fast in the irons in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and Gordon recommended to His Majesty's favour by the Council. But John Dhu's wounds are soon healed, and in a few months he ' hes liochit and gored to the Laird of Lismore aucht scoir of nolt.'

The effect of the indiscriminate proscription of innocent and guilty alike was what might have been expected. The clan, driven to desperation, broke loose in a body, and went athwart the country, burning, harrying, and laying waste the lands of their oppressors. The writer of the Black Book of Taymouth states that at this time they burnt to Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy the barony of Monzie, the barony of Culdair and Tennaiffs, the lands of Crandich, the barony of Glenfalloch, the lands of Bochastle in Menteith, and the house of Achallader in Glenurchy, the total loss amounting to 100,000 merks. In August, 1604, Robert Campbell, Glenurchy's second son, having gathered a force of 200 men of Clan Cameron, Clan Nab, and Clanranald, pursued them through the country, and overtaking a band of 60 of them at Ranefray in the Brae of Glenurchy, slew Duncan Abrach MacGregor of Ardchoille (grandson of Duncan Laudosach), with his son Gregor, Dougal MacCoulkeir in Glengyle with his son Duncan, and Charles MacGregor MacEan in Brackley, who were the leaders of the band. Strangely enough, a Dougal MacGregor Clerich was afterwards tried at the High Court of Justiciary and executed for the slaughter in this fray of Gregor, son of Duncan Abrach, by shooting him in the back with an vol. xvi. 2 0 arrow, 'he being a bairn of sevin yeirs.' Besides those executed for complicity in the slaughter of Glenfruin, many were now brought to trial for offences, some of which are specified in the indictments as committed 30 years ago or thereby, and one indictment even runs to the extreme of 46 years ago or thereby. Some of the crimes laid to their charge are heinous enough, such as the slaughter of the fiddler MacKillope within his ain house, and the murder by drowning of MacKillope's wife that dwelt in Glenartney, In the harvest of 1602, the slaughter of John Drummond in Dron of Cowgask in August 1603, the burning of the castle of Achallader and 20 houses in Glenlochie, and the stealing furth of the Laird of Strowan's Crandoch of his haill insicht plenishing worth £1000. A number of the clan not personally chargeable with offences of this kind now made suit to obtain the protection of the law by changing their names and finding caution to abide the law when called on. They usually took the same name as that of their cautioners, and hence many MacGregors now appear as Stewarts, Grants, Cunninghams, Livingstons, Ramsays, and even Campbells.

By the end of the year 1606 the hue aud cry against the clan appears to have somewhat abated, if we judge from the tenor of an ordinance of the Privy Council of 23rd December, which sets forth that the course for extermination of the wicked race of MacGregor had been mitigated and permission granted them to live in the country, yet they had returned to their evil courses and committed pillages not worthy to be heard of in a country subject to a Prince armed with power sufficient to extirpate such an infamous byke of insolent limmers. The details of the next four years are not known as there is here a hiatus in the Council Record, but in 1610 it is recorded that the Council have resolved to pursue them with fire and sword, and commissions are issued to 29 barons and lairds in the counties of Perth, Stirling, Dumbarton and Argyle, including of course all the old enemies of the clan, with full powers to search, hunt and pursue all and whatsomever persons of the Clan Gregor. This extreme measure was followed by two proclamations—one calling all the lieges within the bounds to rise and assist the Commissioners named by His Majesty, who has resolved in his wrath and justice, by power and force to reduce these rebellious and detestable limmers to obedience and conformity to the laws; the other renewing the penalties against harbouring, dealing with, or in any way assisting the members of the clan, who are denounced as a handful of miserable caitiffs whom it is a discredit to have anv longer within the country. In the month of September 1610 the sum of £1200 was paid to the laird of Lawers for undertaking service against the Clan Gregor, and the castles of Garth, Glenlyon and Balquhidder are ordered to be given up to Lochiel and MacRanald in furtherance of the same service. These chiefs had at first held back, probably because they had not had a retaining fee like Lawers, but in October there is paid to McRanald for putting the service in execution £3566. In January 1611 the Commissioners were summoned to Stirling to be dealt with for slackness, and a promise was exacted from them that they would take the field by February next, and enter in action and blood with the Clan Gregor and prosecute the same for a month upon their own charges, and if they did some notable service within the month the King would bear the expense of 100 men to assist them thereafter to finish the service.

It was in these circumstances that the following proclamation was issued in the name of King James:—Forasmuch as the rebellious thieves and limmers of the Clan Gregor have most justly procured His Majesty's heavy wrath and indignation, yet in his accustomed clemency and mercy he is willing to show favour to such of them as by some notable service shall give proof of their hatred of the wicked doings of that unhappy race, and therefore the Lords of the Privy Council promise that whatever person of the name of MacGregor shall slay any person of the same name, being of as good rank and quality as himself, and shall prove the same before the Council, shall have a free pardon for all his bygone faults; and whatever other person shall slay any of the particular persons afternamed, to wit Duncan MacEwen MacGregor now called the Laird, Robert Abrach MacGregor, John Dhu MacAlaster MacGregor, Callum MacGregor V'Coull, Doulchay MacGregor, (Dougal of the Mist) and MacRobert MacGregor his brother, or any others of the rest of that race, shall have a reward in money presently paid according to the quality of the one slain, and the least sum shall be 100 merks, and for the chieftains and ringleaders of the MacGregors a thousand pounds apiece; and those who resett or supply any of the proscribed race are to be pursued with fire and sword as if they were of the race of the MacGregors themselves. In further preparation for the general onset it is announced in another proclamation 'that the Clan Gregor, being now despairing and out of all hope, have amassed themselves together in the Isle of Loch Ketterin (Ilanvernock), which they have fortified, and now there is hope that these wolves and thieves may be pursued within their own den by His Majesty's faithful subjects, for which purpose the haill boats and birlings on Loch Lomond must be transported to Loch Ketterin, which cannot be done but by the presence of a great number of people, and therefor all the lieges between sixteen and sixty years of age in Dumbarton, Menteith, and six parishes in the Lennox, are summoned to meet at Loch Lomond head on 13th February for this service, and all the landlords in Argyle, Athole, and Badenoch, are to set out watches on the hills lest the MacGregors escape there.' Meantime, a special Commission of Justiciary is given to the Earl of Dunbar, whose rigorous action in the pacification of the Borders had recommended him to King James as a fit instrument for the extirpation of the MacGregors, but his death following shortly afterwards, the King writes to the Council assuring them that he will ' verie narrowlie examine the particular behaviour of everie man in this service, and accordingly will remember them.' This was no idle threat, as some of them, and even Argyle himself, realised in a very short time.

So impatient was the King that on the 10th February the undertakers of the service were summoned to give an account of their proceedings, ' seeing that the time for them to have entered in blood with the MacGregors was past, and nothing done but the service altogether frustrated, and the Clan Gregor, who were enclosed within an isle, are now escaped, and not so much as ane mint or show of pursuit intended.' We learn from the Black Book of Taymouth that Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy had been most active in organising; the siege of Ilanvernock 'which was hastily dissolvit through ane vehement storm of snaw,' and Sir Duncan, with the other Commissioners, having been summoned to Edinburgh, the Clan Gregor immediately thereafter burnt all his lands of Glenurchy, Glenfalloch, and Mochaster, in Menteith, the lands of Culdares and Tennaiffs, and in the cosche (meadow) of Glenurchy they slew forty great mares and their foals, with ane fyne courser, sent to Sir Duncan by the Prince out of London,' and 'burnt also the haill houses on the lands of Aberuchill pertaining to Colin Campbell, brother to the laird of Lawers, where they slew eight persons and burnt three bairns, daughters of John MacKishock.' Robert Campbell, Sir Duncan's son, and .Colin Campbell of Aberuchill, pursued them through Balquhidder, Menteith, and Lennox, and drove them to the forest of Benbuie, in Argyle, where they killed some and took six prisoners, whom ' they hangit at the cosche of Glenurchy where they slew the mares.' Then they chased the remnant to Rannoch and Badenoch and completely scattered them. The number of MacGregors slain in this rout was sixteen. There is also a payment of £66 13s. 4d. to James Campbell of Lawers for the slaughter of Gregor Ammonach MacGregor, and the same sum to a man, Maclldowie, who brought three heads of MacGregors and presented the same to the Council. John Campbell, a brother of the laird of Lawers, slew John Dhu MacAlaster in Stronfernan, for whose head the Council had offered £1000. On the 24th May, the head was forwarded to the Council by Campbell, who claimed as his reward, in terms of another Act of Council, a nineteen years' lease of the deceased's lands, from which his wife and children were instantly ejected. On 2nd March, 1611, eight MacGregors were entered at the High Court of Justiciary on various charges, and hanged at the Burgh Muir. Two hundred pounds is paid to Sir Alexander Colquhoun in name of his friends, who slew three MacGregors.

In April the King writes to the Council that as he is now resolved by exemplary punishment of the MacGregors to terrify others, and because they 'receive great comfort by their wyffis,' who supply their wants and furnish them with intelligence to prevent their capture, as likewise their children being many in number are like to be as great a pest to the country in a few years, the Council is to confer with Argyle on the best means of preventing these two evils. The outcome of this conference is a proclamation that the King (has now resolved to lay mercy aside, and by justice and the sword to root out and extirpate all the race of MacGregor remaining rebellious,' and Commission is given to the Earl of Argyle accordingly. But to mitigate the rigour of the Commission the Earl is permitted to receive such of them to obedience as shall humbly sue His Majesty's pardon, on condition that the MacGregor so suing for pardon shall, before the obtaining thereof, enter in action and blood against the rest of that race, and deliver to the Earl or to the Privy Council the person or the head of a MacGregor of as good rank, quality, and action as himself, and find caution for his future good behaviour.' In April, Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy was ordered to assist Argyle, and in May he burned the houses and lands of Dovvlettir and the house of Glenstrae. To enable Argyle's men to live on the field they are authorised to take cattle and other provisions at fixed prices. As regards the wives and bairns of the Clan Gregor, the landlords on whose lands they live are ordered to deliver them up to Argyle within three days and the wives are to be ' marked with a key upon the face'—burnt on the cheek like thieves. On 25th May, a proposal to deport the wives and children of the MacGregors from the country was 'discussed in the Council. This was no new idea. In 1583 King James had issued authority to the Earl of Murray to invade the Clan Chattan 'to their utter destruction be slauchter, bryning, drowning, and uthir wayis, and laif na creatur levand of that clan except priests, wemen, and bairnis,' and these to be shipped off to Zealand or Norway, ' because it were inhumanity to put hands in the blude of wemen and bairnis.' But in November, 1611, King James finding that the ' utter extirpation' of all the Clan Gregor would be too troublesome, he is resolved on some to execute justice and the rest to take to mercy, and to transplant them and the wives and children of those that are killed or executed. Accordingly, he submits a series of proposals to the Council, among which are the following:—For those of the MacGregors that have come in will or surrendered themselves, if any of them have killed a MacGregor as good as himself, or two, three, or four of them which in comparison may be equal to him, he shall have a remission if he find surety, but for such as have come in will and done no service by killing of MacGregors, nor cannot find surety, then the law to have its course and no favour at all to be shown. For such as are yet rebels, that there be no pardon or surrender taken unless he present a better head—or one at least as good as his own. or such two or three more as shall be enjoined unto him by the Council. And for Robert Abrach, who is now chief of them that are presently out, that he be not pardoned unless he bring in at least half-a-dozen of their heads. Robert Abrach, a great grandson of the famous Duncan Laudosach, was not slow to take the hint, and in a memoir of the Earl of Perth, written by himself, we have an account of the affair at Tomzarloch in connection .with which he obtained the King's pardon. 'In March, 1612, I came from Edinburgh to Drummond Castle. In the meantime some dozen of the MacGregors came within the low country, Robin Abrach and Gregor Gair being chiefs. Abrach sent for my chamberlain, and alledging that his comrades were about to betray him, contrived to let them fall into the hands of justice. The plot was cunningly contrived, and six of that number were killed, three were taken, and one escaped, besides Robin and his man.' Here were the half-dozen heads' for which the King had stipulated as the price of Robert Abrach's pardon, but the wily fox instead of carrying them to the Council went direct to the King himself in England, and the first intimation the Council had of the matter was a request from the King to draw out a remission in his favour. It was in vain that Sir Thomas Hamilton, Sir Duncan Campbell, and others remonstrated in the strongest terms that ' Robert Abrach was the most bloody and violent murderer of all that damned race'; the King will have his way, and Robert Abrach is commended for good service and fully pardoned.

For some time before this the system of tracking the fugitive MacGregors with dogs, and hunting them like wild beasts, had been in operation, for in July, 1612, we find there is a payment of £100 to a borderer named Archie Armstrong ' for his pains in attending His Majesty's service in the Highlands with lurg doggis against the Clan Gregor.' In 1613 there is a new out-break ofthe Clan, and a proclamation that none of that wicked and rebellious race shall be allowed hereafter to wear any kind of armour except a pointless knife to cut their meat, under pain of death. This was not a new thing either, for a similar proclamation had been made against the inhabitants of the Lewis in 1608. But it was followed by the absurd restriction upon the liberty of those who had changed their names and found caution to underlie the law. that they were not to meet together in greater numbers than four persons. In the meantime the King, finding the Council less pliable than he wished in the matter of 'taking order with' the wives and bairns of the MacGregors, had got into correspondence with Archibald Campbell, brother of James Campbell of Lawers, who writes to His Majesty on 13th April, 1613, undertaking that the MacGregor bairns shall be put in such obedient subjects' hands as shall be answerable for them, and that he or his brother, on receiving a secret warrant for pursuit of any member of the clan, will bring him in dead or quick, provided the direction be not divulged to the Council or others. A month afterwards he tells the King that his brother Lawers had taken twelve MacGregors, and there are now not above forty left. ' Likewise, as your Majesty commanded, he has made fast the most of the young ones of that unhappy clan, which in good faith is more troublesome to him than all the rest of the service.' At the Council meeting of 22nd June his Majesty's missive 'anent the boys and young ones' was read, and Lawers confessed that he had in his hands threescore and ten of them, being the sons of those executed and slain, the sustentation of which, with their keepers, which completed the number of a hundred persons, was very chargeable to him. The landlords being called to a conference with the Council most earnestly urged the transplantation of the whole race of the Clan Gregor ' man, wife, and bairn,' but the Council thought it not only a matter of difficulty, but of extreme rigour, to transplant men and families who had renounced their names and found caution to be answerable subjects. Finally, the bairns, to the number of fourscore or thereby, the oldest of them not past thirteen and the most part about eight, six and four years, and some of only two and three years old, are distributed among the landlords, who are made answerable for them. Those escaping under 14 years of ace were to be scourged and burned on the cheek for the first escape, and hanged for the second. The last Act against the bairns was passed in Parliament, June 28th 1633, when the former Acts against the Clan Gregor were ratified and renewed, with the further provision that every one of them, as they come to the age of 16 years, should yearly thereafter appear before the Council on 24th July and give renewed security for their good behaviour. It was also enacted that no minister in the Highland Counties should baptize a child with the name of Gregor or MacGregor under pain of deprivation.

KING CHARLES THE FIRST.
First Parliament, ie. 1633, June 28.
30.       Anent the Clan-Gregour.


Our Soveraigne Lord, and three Estates of this present Parliament understanding that albeit by the great care of his highness' umwhile dearest Father of eternal memory, the Clan-Gregour was suppresst & reduced to quietnesse; yet of late they art broken forth again to the heavie oppression of many of his Majesties good subjects, who dwell near to the part where they resort, & specially in the Sherriffdoms of Perth, Sterling, Clackmannan, Monteith, Lennox, Angus and Mernes, Therefore for the timeous preventing of the disorder, & oppression that may fall out by the said name and Clan of MacGregour, & their followers, & for farther suppressing of them Ratifie & approve all Acts of Council & Acts of Parliament made & granted heretofore, against the said wicked & rebellious Clan of MacGregour, And further, his Majesty & Estates of Parliament, statute & ordaine, that the said name of Clan Gregour, & every one of them as they come to the age of sixteen yeares, shall hereafter yearly give their compearance before the Lords of Privie Councel, upon the twenty fourth day of July, if it be a lawful Councel day; and failyieing thereof the next Councel day thereafter & there find caution for their good behaviour & obedience in all time coming; And to take to them some other surname, conform to the Acts of Councel alreadie made thereanent; And if they faile in not compearance, as said is, & go to the Horn, that then it shall be lawful to any of his Majesties Lieges, to take and apprehend them, & present them to the Sheriff of the Shire, or his Deputes, to the effect they may he presented before the Lords of the Privie Councel, there to be taken order with as effeiris.  And if it shall happen any of his Highoesse' good subjects in taking any of the said Clan-gregour, being put to the Horn as said is, to hurt, mutilate or slay any of them, the partie who shall happen so to do, & their complices, shall no wayes be subject nor lyable to Law therefore, nor ineurre any paine or skaith in body or goods, & shall be free of all pursuit criminal or civil to be intended against them, at the instance of his Highnesse' Advocate, or any other partie: But the same shall be holden & repute as good service done to his Majesty. And further our said Soveraigne Lord, & Estates foresaid fur the better extinguishing & extirpating of the said wicked & lawlesse Limmers: Statute & ordains that no Minister nor Preachers within the bounds of the Highlands, or next bordering countreys thereto, Bamffe, Inneres, or regalitie of Spynie or Elgin, Forres, shall at any time hereafter baptize & christen any male childe with the name of Gregour, under the paine of deprivatiun, & that no Clerke or Notar in any time coming, shall make or subscribe any band or other securitie under the name of Gregour, or MacGregour, under the paine of deprivation.  And siklike, statute & ordaine that all & what so ever of the said Clan-Gregour, that shall happen to bee within the said Kingdoms, upon the fifteenth day of March next to come, shall give their compearauce before the Lords of privie Councel at Edinburgh, or where it shall happen them to bee for the time, or the next Councel day thereafter, To the effect that such of them as have alreadie found caution, & whose cautioners are dead, may finde new caution for their good behaviour in time coming.  And such of them who have never found caution, may finde caution & suretie for their obedience in time coming, with certification to them if they doe not compeare, & that the Lords of the privie Councel, for their disobedience, shall direct letters of horning against them, or any of them, & that they therefore be put to the horne; that then it shall he lawful to any of his Majesties good subjects to take & apprehend them, where ever they may bee had, and put them to the next Sheriffs, Stewart, Bayliffe of regalitie, or their deputes; To any of the Justices of peace or to the Provest & Bayliffes of Burrowes  to the effect they may present them before the Lords of his Majesties privie Councel, that such order may bee taken with the said rebels, as the said Lords shall thinke expedient  And farther, our said Soveraigne Lord declares, that if any of his Highnesse good subjects shall happen in taking of the saids rebels, to hurt, mutilate, or slay any of them; the partie who shall happen so to doe, & their complices, shall no wayes be subject nor lyable to law therefors, nor incurre any paine or skaithe in their bodie or goods, & shall be free of all persute criminal or civil, to be intended against them, at the instance of his Highnesse Advocate, or any other partie; But the same shall be holden as good service done to his Majestie.  And likewise, his Majestie & Estates foresaids, statute & ordaine that if any of the said Clan-Gregour, who shall happen to have compeared, & found caution in manner above-specified, be found masterlesse in time coming, having neither possessions nor callings, whereupon to live, nor will not take them to service, That it shall bee lawful to any of his Highnesse good subjects, to take & apprehend, & present them to the nixt Sherife, Stewart, Bayliffs of Regalitie, & their deputes, or to the Provest & Bayliffes of Burrowes; & that they may present them to the Lords, & others of his Highnesse Councel, there to bee taken order with, as they thinke meete.  And sicklike, his Majestic & Estates of Parliament, statute & ordaine, That if any of the said Clan.Gregour shall happen to be put to the horne by letters of horning direct against them by the Lords of Councel, for the cause above-written: And that publication bee made thereof by the saids Lords, to all his Majesties Lieges, & at all places needful That then whatsoever person or persons shall receave, supply or inter­commoun with the saids rebels, or any of them, or supply them with meats, drink, lodging, or weapons, directly or indirectly, or any other necessaries, shall be punished in their bodies, goods & gears, as intercommunens with rebels & somers, conform to the laws of this Kingdom against intercommuners & somers.  And also his Majesty, with consent of the Estates foresaids, statutes & ordaines & commands all Sheriffs, Stewarts, Provests, Bayliffes of Burrowes, & Regalities, & all & sundrie his Majesties good subjects, to assist & concurre with any of his Highness good subjects who shall happen to be in persute of the saids rebels; And sicklike statutes & ordaines the said Provests, & Bayliffes of Burrowes, and Bayliffes of Regalitie to receive from the hands of his Highnesse good subjects, the said rebels, who shall happen to be apprehended by them in manner foresaid, put, keeps, & deteine them in sure ward & firmance, aye & while they be presented before his Majesties Councel or Justice.  And lastly, his Majestic & Estates foresaids, for suppressing of the said lawlesse limmers & Clan of MacGregour nominate & appoints the Sheriffes of the Sheriffdomes of Perth, Dumbartane, Angus, Memes, Sterling, & Stewarts of Stewartries of Stratherne, Menteith, Bamife, Innernesse, Elgin, & Forres, & their deputes, & the Sheriffe of Cromartie & his deputes, & the Provests & Bayliffes of the Burrowes there.  The Earles of Errole, Montrose, Athol, Perth, Tullibairdin, Seafort, Viscount of Stormonth, Lord Ogilvie, The Lairds of Glenurquhy, Lawers, Garntullie, Weymes, Glenlyon, Glenfalloch, Edinampil, Grant, or any of them, his Majesties Justices in that part, for setting, trying, & doing Justice upon the saids rebels of Clan-Gregour, or any of them & their complices, who shall be apprehended by any of his Highnesse good subjects; for theft; sorning or slaughter, with power to them to hold Courts, proceed & minister Justice upon the saids rebels apprehended, as said is, as accords. And wherever his Majesties good subjects shall happen to apprehend any of the said rebels sorning, committing theft or slaughter, & shall present them to the saids Lords of Councel, Justice or Justice-general, or Commissioners above specified, or either of them-the doer of that service, shall have for his reward, the moveable goods & geare of the offender, taken & presented by him in manner foresaid.

 

Before this time a number of ' the young ones' had broken loose and found leaders in Robert Abrach and the sons of the late Patrick Aldoch who were again outlawed, and a price set upon their heads. In the month of October 1624, when many of his band had been taken and executed, Robert Abrach came to Perth, on a Sunday after sermon. ' He fell down upon his knees,' says the Chronicle of Perth,' having a tow about his neck, and offered his sword by the point to the Chancellor of Scotland.' The Chancellor refused to accept it, and commanded the Bailies to ward him, as they instantly did, and put both his feet in the gadd, or long irons, where he remained. He seems to have been brought to Edinburgh, but instead of being summarily 'justified' as was the usual fate of his kinsmen, he was kept prisoner in the Tolbooth till August 1626, when he was delivered to Sir Donald Mackay who was taken bound to transport him and two other MacGregors out of the kingdom and employ them in the wars in Germany, never to return on pain of death.

After the deportation of Robert Abrach, the leadership of the outlawed MacGregors fell to Patrick Roy MacGregor, better known as Gilroy or Gilderov, who with John Dhu, his brother, are reported to have broken loose in 1635. In 1636 eight of Gilroy's band, who had been captured by the Stewarts of Athole, were brought to Edinburgh for trial and hanged. In retaliation the Gilroys burnt the houses of Athole, and then betook themselves to the wilds of Aberdeenshire, haunting the forests of Culblene and Glentanner, and coming down on Strathdee and Strathdon in the darkness to commit spulzie and levy blackmail.

A price of a thousand pounds was put upon the head of Gilderoy, and we next hear of him and his band making a raid through the Lennox and haunting the Isle of Inchcalzeoch in Loch Lomond. At last, on June 6, 1636, Archibald Lord of Lome exhibits to the Privy Council Patrick MacGregor, called Gilderoy, and two of his followers, whom he had captured. The trial of Gilderoy and nine of his men before the High Court of Justiciary took place on 27th July. They were all convicted and hanged, the heads and right hands of Gilderoy and another being cut off and affixed above the east and west ports of Edinburgh.

After the execution of Gilderoy, John Dhu Gair became leader of the broken men of MacGregor, and on September 10, 1636, commissions were issued to James Stuart of Ardvoirlich, and John Stuart of Drumquhan, to capture John Dhu Gair and John Dhu Roy MacGregor, the brother of Gilderoy, and their accomplices. On 27th October, John Dhu Roy and one Maclnstalker were taken by the Laird of Grant's men, and ordered to be sent from Sheriff to Sheriff to their trial in Edinburgh. On 28th December, King Charles I. sent a special letter of thanks to John Lord Kinpont for his capture of John Dhu Roy. It appears, from a subsequent minute of the Council, that John Stuart of Drumquhan, in execution of his commission against the MacGregors, had attempted to capture John Dhu Gair and his companions in the house of one John Grant or MacJokkie at Tullich, in Strathspey, on Christmas Day, but as the band of the MacGregors were twenty-three in number, they overpowered Stuart's company, shot him through the thighs, breaking his thigh bones, and cut off his fingers, and finally cut off his head, dancing and making merry about him for a long time. One of the MacGregors, John MacPatrick, had been taken by the Laird of Grant and hanged because his wounds were such that he could not be transported to Edinburgh alive. For this the Laird of Grant was warded in the .Castle of Edinburgh, but it appears that the Council suspected him of resett of the MacGregors, as there was an old friendship between the two clans. Accordingly, on the 16th February they resolved to put John Dhu Roy and Patrick Maclnstalker to the torture anent their intercommuners; and again on 2nd March a Committee of the Council are called to the Laigh Council House at eight in the morning to examine John Dhu Roy, Patrick Maclnstalker, John Grant or MacJokkie, and his two sons, and the rest of the prisoners, and ' to put them to the torture of the butts.' Again, on the 14th of March, John Dhu Roy and his unfortunate fellow-prisoners are called for examination as to their crimes and their resetters, and for the better discovery of the truth are to be put to the torture of the boots. Two days afterwards John Grant and his younger son are to be put to the torture of the boots, and five days afterwards the torture is renewed; and John Dhu Roy is also to be put to the torture of the boots with a full number of the Council present. Next clay John Grant and his two sons are to be again tortured in the boots in consequence of the depositions of two of their associates, made under threat of torture. The day following John Dhu Roy is to be again put to the torture anent his resetters. On 30th March, John Dhu Roy is tried and sentenced to be hanged at the Cross, and his body hung in chains at the Gallowlie, betwixt Edinburgh and Leith. The rest of the prisoners were executed in June. The object of the prolonged examination under torture was apparently to obtain evidence to incriminate John Gordon of Park and the Laird of Grant as resetters of the outlaws of Clan Gregor. But as the desired evidence was not obtained, Gordon and Grant were liberated from ward, but Grant died on the day of his liberation.