EDITORIAL        4
   "FINGAL"     5
   THE 1961 RALLY    21
   NIALL M. S. MACPHERSON, M.A., M.P.    27
   THE CLAN RALLY 1960    34
Price to Non-Members, and for additional Copies. 7/6
Contributioni and all Branch Reports for the 1962 Number should reach the Editor as early as possible and certainly not later than 1st December 1961.


No. 13        "FINGAL" ANNIVERARY NUMBER           1961

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   THE ANNUAL OF


      As we go to Press, we hear that H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh has included a visit to the Clan Museum at Newtonmore in his tour of Speyside. He was received by the Vice-Chairman of the Association, the Chairman of the Badenoch Branch and the Curator. H.R.H. showed great interest in the contents of the Museum and before leaving signed the Visitors' Book and accepted a copy of the short Clan History known as the "Green Booklet " and last years' Creag Dhubh.                                                                                                                                                 




Hon. President
Chief of the Clan

Hon. Vice-Presidents
Senior Chieftain in the Clan
Councillor HUGH MACPHERSON, F.S.A. Scot


Officers of the Association



Hon. Secretary
A. F. MACPHERSON, W.S., 16 Castle Street, Edinburgh,2.

Hon. Treasurer
KENNETH N. MCPHERSON, C.A., 62 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh 9.

Editor of Clan Annual

Miss Christine Macpherson, M.A., West High Street, Kingussie



MURDO MACPHERSON, 6 Telford Lane, Inverness
EAST OF SCOTLAND Robert MACPHERSON, M.B.E. 41 Dovecot Road, Corstorphine, Edinburgh, 12.
   GEORGE A. MACPHERSON, 1 Chesser Loan,
   Edinburgh, 11
WEST OF SCOTLAND DONALD MCPHERSON, 20 Ancaster Drive, Glasgow, W.2
HAMISH MACPHERSON, 1356 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, S.1
ENGLAND & WALES The Hon. J. GORDON MACPHERSON, Normans, Warley, Brentwood, Essex
Sir JOHN MACPHERSON, K.C.M.G., 141 Marsham Court, Westminster, London SW 1
CANADALt.-Col. CLUNY MACPHERSON, C.M.G., M.D., St John's, Newfoundland
LLOYD C. MACPHERSON, BSC, MS. IN ED., St Andrew's College, Aurora, Ont
SOUTHLAND, N.Z. E.M. MACPHERSON, 64 Louisa Street, Invercargill
   371 East 21st Street, Brooklyn, New York
Hon. Organizing
Capt. J. HARVEY MACPHERSON, Clan House, Newtonmore
Curator. Capt. J. MACDONALD, O.B.E. Clan House, Newtonmore
Senior PiperANGUS MACPHERSON, Inveran, Sutherland
Junior Piper DONALD MACPHERSON, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
Hon. AuditorVacant

      The Council appeals to members to support the Annual by contributing articles of historical, genealogical, or topographical interest, and by forwarding news of themselves and other clanmen, honours, appointments, etc. Photographs, prints, etc., of places or people and 'Letters to the Editor' on matters of Clan interst are also welcome. All communications should be addressed to the Editor at Clan macpherson House, Newtonmore, Inverness-shire.



      A lie, a rumour, and a smear are the three things most difficult to catch up with; nevertheless, in this number we try to overtake a smear with a two hundred years' start. James Macpherson's reputation, mainly in this country, but also in Europe, has for too long Iain under a cloud, and one not of his own making.

      We think that, in this day and age, no fair-minded person who has taken the trouble to acquaint himself with the facts, uncoloured by the political and Johnsonian prejudices of the eighteenth century, would now accuse Macpherson of any dishonesty whatsoever in connection with his translations of Ossian's poems. Dr. Johnson's animosity had several sources, and perhaps the full story can be told on another occasion, when our successor can find space for it. Perhaps, too, by that time either Macpherson's MSS or his journal may have been found in some attic in Badenoch, or the Red Book of Clanranald may have come to light in some sheiling in Skye. One report, distressing if true, is that the fine vellum of the last was cut up to make tailors' measuring tapes.

      We are pleased to be able to report that our earlier search, that for the descendants of Alexander Macpherson, "the Banker", has been successful. Thanks to the retentive memory and the trouble taken by a resident of Kingussie, Mr. J. M. Todd, M.A., we have been able to trace two of Alexander's daughters, now happily settled in Kensington, London, and also a grandson, who this year on leave from overseas, visited Badenoch and, as recorded on another page, called at Clan House.

      We have not yet discovered the book we are in search of, but the sisters have supplied some clues, which are being followed up. One unpleasant possibility is that it may have been with their brother's and their own furniture in storage in a London warehouse which was blitzed during the war, while the sisters were in New York supervising plays written by one of them, which were being produced on Broadway.

      We and others who have had the pleasure of meeting our long-lost clanswomen, have been accorded a warm Highland welcome and have enjoyed much interesting conversation on Kingussie, clan, and Cluny. The sisters have also given us some MSS of considerable clan interest which belonged to their father, and some of which it may be possible to publish in the magazine at a later date.



An Ancient Epic Poem, in Six Books; together with several other Poems,
composed by Ossian, the son of Fingal. Translated from the Galic Language by
James Macpherson

On the two hundredth anniversary of the publication in London, in November, 1761, of a book which was destined to cause a sensation, not only in this country, but in all the capitals of Europe, it would seem appropriate to look again, in the cold clear light of modern science, at its place in the history of literature, the manner of its begetting, and, not least, at the extraordinary young man who was responsible for it.

      In the mid-eighteenth century literature had got itself bogged down in the artificialities of the classical school. A revival of the human spirit was overdue, something which would release the spirit of man from its bondage and send it soaring into the empyrean.

      By an accident of time, if there is such a thing, that is what Macpherson produced. In the heat of the controversy which came later, it was frequently forgotten that his book, of its own right and quite apart from any question of the degree of authenticity of any of its parts, has an important and permanent place in the history of literature.

           "Romance yearns for and desires the ideal. It looks back to an ideal past . . . and finds there the beauty, the joy in life, the action it desires all human action at high or heroic pressure was its subject . . . Death was loved, rather than life bought by fear or a lie or dishonour . . . It was in the creation of such a part that Walter Scott found his Romance . . . It was the same excitement that set Macpherson to work".1       The young Walter Scott, in his own words, "devoured rather than perused" the Ossianic poems and could repeat whole duans of them. "Shenstone was carried away by Macpherson's Ossian and suggests as the cause of its popularity, 'The public has seen all that art can do, and they want the more striking effects of wild, original, enthusiastic genius . . . Here is indeed pure original genius', the very quintessence of poetry. . . "

      "To readers weary of the aridities of Pope and his school Macpherson's work presented a striking and impressive picture . . .. This fresh spring of poetic emotion was first opened in English literature in the Ossianic poems; and, whatever may be their origin or their history, if they have no other claim to importance, they would deserve it on that ground".3

The Impact on Europe
      "Macpherson has a niche of his own in the history of our literature, while as a pioneer of the Romantic Movement he is both first in time and chief in influence ... No book obtained in Europe such a vogue as Macpherson's".4

      In Italy the poems were instantly recognised and were translated by the Abbe Cesarotti. In one of the later editions they became the


favourite reading of Napoleon, who carried them with him on his campaigns, and showed proof of his enthusiasm by founding a Celtic academy in Paris.

      In Germany, Herder, the famous philosopher of history, "chose Macpherson's Ossian as the most striking instance of the simplicity spontaneity, wildness and directness of primitive poetry . . . when his doubts about the authenticity of the Ossian poems had been aroused he merely inferred that Macpherson, like Homer, had probably welded ancient fragments together into a whole: and even if he had invented the poems, he concluded, this would have been a heiliger Schwindel, necessary to destroy English complacency about their fashionable literature".5

      In France the poems were adopted at once by Chateaubriand and his school and till quite recently the well-known imagery was still being reproduced. As recently as 1895 the poems were newly translated into French and German.

The Man Responsible
      James Macpherson, Seumas B a/n (Fair-haired James), was born at Invertromie near the village and castle of Ruthven in Badenoch on the 27th October, 1736. He was of good family, his father being Andrew Macpherson, brother of Lachlan of Nuide, who became the seventeenth chief of the clan. [See CD16-p.16 for another opinion on James ' genealogy.] One of his boyhood recollections was of, with his cousins, throwing stones at the Government troops burning down Cluny Castle. Others must have been the marching out of the sixty men of Ruthven to join Cluny's Regiment, and the burning of Ruthven Barracks by the rallying clans after Culloden.

      He was educated at Ruthven School, Inverness Grammar School, and later at Aberdeen and Edinburgh Universities, where he went as a student of divinity. In 1756, being too young to enter the ministry, he returned to Ruthven, where he became the schoolmaster, a post of some slight distinction, as Ruthven was at the time the best school in the whole stretch between Speymouth and Lorn. At the age of twenty Macpherson lived in his books. His ambition was to be a poet and by 1756 he had already written many hundreds of lines of verse. The Highlander, a poem in the heroic strain in six cantos, was published in Edinburgh in 1758. It is in the classical style of the time and appears to have been little noticed. In the same year he contributed a short poem, On the Death of Marshall Keith to the Scots Magazine and in the following year two more short pieces. As he said himself, he 'had served his apprenticeship to the Muses'.

          "But, as often happens in the history of literature, the gifts which fortune had in store for him lay to a very small extent in the direction of what he supposed to be his best capacities. He was baulked of his particular ambition, but he obtained a brilliant success in another sphere, unexpected, and greater than the wildest dreams of his youth had ever conceived". 3


      The way was opened to him, not through his beloved Latin and Greek, his books, and his studies of the classics, but through the Gaelic recitations he had heard so often round the peat-fire ceilidhs on winter nights in Badenoch.

Return to Edinburgh
      Macpherson soon returned to Edinburgh, where he took up tutoring in private families, though such a way of life was not much to his taste.

      In the winter of 1755/6 had appeared in the Scots Magazine an English translation of a Gaelic poem. A letter with it called attention to the great quantity of Gaelic verse still to be found in the Highlands in spite of the Government's attempts to suppress the language altogether.

      The writer of the letter was Jerome Stone, master of the grammar school at Dunkeld. He was the first translator of Gaelic poetry and the immediate forerunner of Macpherson. Unfortunately he died at the age of 29, a short time after his letter appeared. The poem which he published was a very free rendering of the Gaelic original and the fact that it was acceptable shows the freedom permitted to translators at that time.

      Macpherson is known to have had access at a later date to Jerome Stone's collection and it may have stimulated his interest in the old Gaelic poems. In any case he carried about with him some of those he had transcribed, and on occasion showed them as curiosities to one or two people. Ramsay, the patron of Burns and friend of Scott, says the transcribing was done for his own amusement, and this is borne out by others of his contemporaries. One of the people to whom he showed them was Adam Ferguson, afterwards well-known, who was very interested, and urged him to enlarge his collection. Ferguson later introduced him to John Home, the author of the successful play, Douglas. Home had been in orders but the fact that a Presbyterian minister should have been guilty of writing a play caused such a storm that he had to resign his living. He found Macpherson to be "an exceedingly good classical scholar", and able to talk about Highland manners and customs, including that of sitting round the peat-fire listening to the tales and compositions of their ancient bards. Finding that Macpherson could remember some of those tales, Home pressed for examples. Some time later Macpherson handed him the fragment of a poem entitled The Death of Oscar, and a few days later one or two other fragments. All those fragments have been identified and were well-known in different parts of the Highlands. This is confirmed in detail in Hume the historian's letter of 16th August, 1760, quoted by Bailey Saunders (p.84).3 It should be noted that this is the first time that Macpherson had shown any desire to translate Gaelic poetry and it is expressly recorded that previously he had no such desire.


The Reluctant Translator
      Home took the translations to Edinburgh, then at its literary zenith, with a glittering 'Select Circle' of literati, historians, philosophers and men of letters, headed by Dr. Hugh Blair, Professor of Rhetoric at the University, and including Hume and Robertson, the historians, Kaimes and Monboddo, philosophers, Lord Elibank and John Home and an outlying member, Adam Smith, then a professor at Glasgow. Whether as historians, philosophers, or men of letters and critics, those men were at the time far in advance of their English contemporaries, and must have formed a truly awe-inspiring jury to express an opinion on the work of a young and unknown translator.

      Blair took the utmost possible interest in the poems and was the prime mover in all that followed. Be wrote afterwards that being much struck with the high poetry of the poems, he "presently made enquiry where Mr. Macpherson was to be found and having sent for him had much conversation with him on the subject. When I learned that . . . . greater and more considerable poems of the same strain were to be found in the Highlands, and were well-known to the natives there, I urged him to translate the other pieces which he had and bring them to me . . .. He was extremely reluctant and averse to complying with my request, saying that no translation of his could do justice to the spirit and force of the original; and that besides injuring them by translation, he apprehended they would be very ill relished by the public, as so very different from the strain of modern ideas and of modern, connected, and finished poetry. It was not until after much and repeated importunity on my part, and representing to him the injustice he would do to his native country by keeping concealed those hidden treasures, which, I assured him, if brought forth, would serve to enrich the whole learned world, that I at length prevailed on him to translate, and to bring to me, the several poetic pieces he had in his possession".3

      Encouraged by Blair, Macpherson completed the translation of some sixteen pieces, and in June, 1760, these were published in Edinburgh under the title of Fragments of Ancient Poetry collected in the Highlands of Scotland translated from the Galic or Erse Language. Blair in, the preface described the poems as probably episodes of a greater work, narrating the wars of a hero of whom there were innumerable traditions: he went on to say that many more such remains of ancient genius might be found in the Highlands and in particular a heroic poem of considerable length.

      The success of the volume was instantaneous and complete, and a second edition followed at once. Blair was soon proposing a scheme "for encouraging Mr. Macpherson to apply himself to the making a further collection of Erse poetry, and particularly for recovering our epic".

      But here again Macpherson expressed extreme reluctance and in spite of considerable pressure, persisted in it.


Why the Reluctance ?
      Many reasons have been put forward to explain Macpherson's unco-operative attitude. He said he did not like the idea because he was diffident of success, and that, as he had said before, he did not think the poems, even if discovered, would suit the public taste. The first objection we know was justified, in that his knowledge of Gaelic, and particularly of ancient Gaelic, was not considerable, and he foresaw, as turned out to be the case, great difficulties in transcribing it. The second objection was based on the fact that they lived in an age of elegance, and particularly of elegant writing, whereas the poems belonged to a rude and far from elegant age. There was a third objection, and perhaps the most important of all: to a young ambitious poet, interested much more in his own original work than in translating the poems of another, it is not surprising that, in his own words, his "Highland pride was alarmed at appearing to the world as only a translator".

      These considerations are more than enough to explain Macpherson's reluctance. In spite of continuous pressure he remained in that state of mind for over two months, until, in order to overcome his resistance, and at the same time obtain support for the enterprise, a dinner was arranged for the rank and taste of the capital, to which Macpherson was invited. Dr. Blair, many members of the 'Select Circle', and others who wished to see the success of the scheme were present and "after much conversation with Macpherson", it was at last arranged that he would set out on his search in the Highlands.

      Blair records remembering well, "that when the company was about to break up, and I was going away, Mr. Macpherson followed me to the door and told me that from the spirit of that meeting, he now for the first time entertained the hope that the undertaking to which I had so often prompted him would be attended with success; that hitherto he had imagined they were merely romantic ideas which I had held out to him; but he now saw them likely to be realised, and should endeavour to acquit himself so as to give satisfaction to all his friends".3

      Macpherson is described about this time by Dr. Carlyle of Inveresk as, "a big man and good-looking, but proud, reserved, and apparently of an unsociable disposition". A few months later Hume said in a letter of introduction to Strahan, the London publisher, that, "he is also very worthy of your friendship; being a sensible, modest young fellow, a very good scholar and of unexceptionable morals".

The Search
      When the search began there is no doubt Macpherson exerted himself to the full. In spite of the Government's attempt to suppress the Gaelic language, and in spite of the churches' attempts to turn the thoughts of their parishioners away from the old legends of Fingal and his like, there were still old men to be found who could recite the


old poems, and still old Gaelic MSS with Ossianic poems sometimes interspersed with genealogies and family histories.

      "The evidence shows that Macpherson cast his net wide, and collected a large amount of Ossianic tradition. The picture emerges of an eager investigator, travelling through Inverness-shire, Perthshire, Argyll, and the Inner and Outer Hebrides. He employed scribes to record oral traditions. One of these, Ewan Macpherson, went with him to Skye, Uist and Benbecula, and in a declaration he made afterwards, he says that he understood from James Macpherson that he had collected the bulk of his material on the mainland, before he came to the islands, but that he was still anxious to collect additional matter, and various editions of the same poems. He wheedled MSS from their owners, sometimes by personal interview, sometimes by letter, and spent hours poring over what he considered their uncouth and outlandish spelling".

      The above is taken from the latest and most authoritative book on the subject, The Gaelic Sources of Macpherson's Ossian by Derick S. Thomson. Published for the University of Aberdeen by Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh 1951.

      His first journey began in early September, 1760, and lasted for six to eight weeks. He had letters of introduction to the best known gentry and clergy and was everywhere cordially received. He was accompanied by Lachlan Macpherson, Laird of Strathmashie, who, being a better Gaelic scholar, was able to help considerably with the transcribing.

      "In 1797 the Highland Society of Scotland appointed a committee to collect what material or information it was still practicable to collect regarding the nature of the poems ascribed to Ossian and particularly of those published by Macpherson. The committee consisted of some of the best Celtic scholars of Scotland, and the chairman was Henry Mackenzie. The Report, prepared with great care and scrupulous fairness, was published in 1805 with an appendix of letters, affidavits and Gaelic poems . . .. The Report and Appendix, besides disposing incidentally, of much previous criticism, form by far the most important statement of the external evidence bearing on the authenticity of the poems".3

      The evidence in the Report and Appendix is voluminous and only some ex tracts can be given here.
          "Dr. John Macpherson, minister of Sleat in Skye, the Rev. Angus MacNeill of South Uist, the Rev. Neil MacLeod of Mull, Duncan MacNicol, the Rev. Donald MacLeod of Glenelg, the Rev. Donald Macqueen of Kilmuir, the Rev. Alexander Pope of Caithness, and many others, all mention passages in Macpherson's poems which are similar to those which they had heard recited orally. Thus the passage about the raising of the standards in Fingal, Book IV, is mentioned by four of the witnesses, the Battle of Lora by four also, the Courtship of Evirallin by three, as also the episode of Faineasolis, the fight between Fingal and Swaran and the passage giving the terms of peace."6


      "The Rev. Donald MacLeod of Glenelg, one of the most lucid and convincing of the witnesses, says, 'It was in my house that Mr. Macpherson got the description of Cuchullin's horses and car in Book I, p.11, from Alan MacCaskie, schoolmaster, and Rory MacLeod, both of this glen: he has not taken the whole of the description; and his translation of it (spirited and pretty as it appears, as far as it goes) falls so far short of the original in the picture it exhibits of Cuchullin's horses and car, their harness and trappings, etc., that in none of his translations is the inequality of Macpherson's genius to that of Ossian so very conspicuous".6

      Three other witnesses also mention the passage describing Cuchullin's chariot.

      "These witnesses, it is true, are not at pains as a rule to point out the deficiencies or inaccuracies of Macpherson's renderings, and it seems to have been realised that Macpherson used his material freely. Dr. Blair admits this, nor, he says, did Macpherson himself seem to disavow it". 6       On his second journey he went to the coast of Argyllshire and to Mull. In Glenorchay he was fortunate in discovering a family noted for its recitations from the old bards. One member, John McNicol of Arivean gave several recitations, including Darthula, one of the 'several Poems' published with Fingal. Many versions are known, both in Scotland and Ireland, and it is recorded in several MSS, the oldest, according to Skene, being that of 1238 in the collection of Gaelic MSS in what was then the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh.

      "In the early days of January, 1761, he returned to Edinburgh laden with his poetical treasures and took lodgings immediately below Blair's house at the head of Blackfriars' Wynd. It was thus, almost under the eye of the most conspicuous literary personage in Edinburgh, and in the constant company of the circle that gathered at his house, that Macpherson continued the translation which he had begun in Badenoch".3

      During this time he was still receiving MSS from his correspondents, notably from the Rev. James Maclagan, the minister of Amulrie in Perthshire, from whom he had already received some passages which appeared in the two last books of Fingal, and the poem called Erragon or the Battle of Lora. Adam Ferguson, Ramsay, and Robert Chalmers reported seeing the MSS at that time. Ferguson said they "were much stained with smoke and daub'd with Scots snuff ".

      In the remarkably short time of under three months,. Macpherson had completed his work. He proceeded in early spring to London to superintend the printing and Fingal was published in November of the same year.


The Book
      It was a great, success, much greater than Macpherson could ever have imagined. More than that, it was the book for the moment, in that it triggered off the overdue Romantic Movement.

It tells a tale of old, and begins:
           "Cuthullin sat by Tura's wall: by the tree of the rustling sound. His spear leaned against a rock. His shield lay on the grass by his side. Amid his thoughts of mighty Carbar, a hero slain by the chief in war; the scout of ocean comes, Moran, the son of Fithil!

           'Arise', says the youth, 'Cuthullin, arise. I see the ships of the north. Many, chief of men, are the foe. Many the heroes of the sea-borne Swaran !' 'Moran replied the blue-eyed chief, 'thou ever tremblest, son of Fithil Thy fears have increased the foe. It is Fingal, king of deserts, with aid to green Erin of streams' ".

           But Cuthullin is mistaken. The ships are the invading fleet of Lochlinn, "which is the name of Scandinavia in the Gaelic language," and, to continue in the words of Macpherson's summary,
           "Cuthullin, general of the Irish tribes in the minority of Cormac, king of Ireland, upon intelligence of the invasion, assembles his forces near Tura, a castle on the coast of Ulster. The poem opens with the landing of Swaran, councils are held, battles are fought, and Cuthullin is, at last, totally defeated. In the meantime, Fingal, king of Scotland, whose aid was solicited before the enemy landed, arrived and expelled them from the country. This war, which continued six days and as many nights, is, including the episodes, the whole story of the poem'.

Johnson and Macpherson
      The controversy which arose regarding the authenticity of the poems had many origins. At the time of publication there was a climate of hatred for all things Scots, partly an aftermath of the '45 Rising. Samuel Johnson in particular shared this hatred to a peculiar degree, and apparently on the same emotional grounds condemned the poems as spurious. Even after his visit to the Western Islands of Scotland, where he had so mistaken Highland courtesy for agreement with his dogmatic assertions, he repeated his accusations and refused to retract. Someone has pointed out that it is easy to feel superior to Johnson now, but it is only because of the lapse of time which has proved him wrong.' But, after making full allowance, it detracts from a great reputation that he should have been guilty of "a mere piece of ignorant dogmatism"3 regarding the poems. "It is surprising how English opinion allowed itself to be formed by Johnson, probably the least qualified of them all to express one". "It seems a pity . . . that Dr. Johnson's sweeping assertion that there were no Gaelic MSS above a hundred years old was not refuted". 6

      "The evidence as to Macpherson's collection of Gaelic MSS is presented convincingly by Donald T. Mackintosh in his article 'James -----------------------------------------------------------------12---------------------------------------------------------------

Macpherson and the Book of the Dean of Lismore' (in Scottish Gaelic Studies, Vol. VI, Part 1, p.11 ff). He shows that the nineteen MSS. handed over by John Mackenzie, secretary of the Highland Society, in 1803, were the same as those deposited by Macpherson in the shop of Becket, his publisher, in 1762. Among them was the Book of the Dean, whose preservation we thus owe in part to Macpherson".6

      Becket's shop in the Strand was within a short distance of Johnson's house off Fleet Street, and Johnson could not plead ignorance, as on 19th January, 1775, Becket had published an affidavit that the MSS lay in his shop for many months in the year 1762, for the inspection of the curious. "The public were not only apprised of their lying there for inspection, but even proposals for publishing the original poems of Ossian were dispersed through the kingdom, and advertised in the newspapers . . . ."3

      It would have been better for Macpherson's reputation if they had been exposed in the Lawnmarket of Edinburgh, in which case they might well have been published, and so refuted much uninformed criticism.

The Highland Society's Report
      The Report prepared by the Committee of the Highland Society 'with great care and scrupulous fairness' was published in 1805. The conclusions were:
           (1) That a great legend of Fingal, and Ossian, his son and songster had immemorially existed in Scotland; and that Ossianic poetry of an impressive character, was to be found generally and in great abundance in the Highlands; and that there were still, or until lately, many persons who could repeat large fragments of it.

          (2) That while fragments had been found giving the substance and sometimes the literal expression of parts of Macpherson's work, no one poem was discoverable the same in title or tenor with his publications.

           (3) That while the Committee inclined to believe that he supplied chasms and gave connections by inserting passages of his own, and that he added to the dignity and delicacy of the work by omitting or shortening certain incidents and refining the language, its members recognised that it was now impossible to determine how far these liberties extended; for Macpherson had enjoyed advantages which they did not possess in that they made their investigation forty years later, when a search for Ossianic poetry was likely to be impeded or defeated by the change which had come over the Highlands during that period.

      The first conclusion is merely a re-statement of facts well known in the Highlands and serves as a reminder to those living further south. It shows how general would have been the indignation and outcry against him if he had published the poems as his original work.

      What the second conclusion amounts to is that Macpherson, having


found his pearls, strung them together into necklaces, whereas the probability is that they had been set as, perhaps, bracelets and brooches. Any layman in the matter of ancient Gaelic texts could be excused, when he, like Dr. Blair, had seen different fragments of narrative poetry, mentioning the same people by name, that they belonged, if not to an epic, at least to a chronicle, and there is ground for believing that Macpherson, besides being impressed by Blair's strong belief, himself believed that when he discovered the genuine Red Book of Clanranald, now missing, with its 300 pages, of which 'a most beautiful series of poems formed the greatest part of the volume', that he had his hands on a complete epic.

Missing MSS
      It is possible that the Red Book of Clanranald may be found again. Two other sources also, Macpherson's own MSS, which were at one time in the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh, and his diary which was in the possession of his famous son-in-law, Sir David Brewster, Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh University, and was known to be at Belleville as late as 1868. The diary contained information about the collection of the poems, and was supposed to have been stolen by a servant. Those three sets of documents have one thing in common: not one of them has ever reached the London sale rooms, where they would probably have fetched some hundreds of pounds, and it is well within the bounds of possibility that one or more of them will still be found.

      The third conclusion deals with interpolations. Macpherson never concealed that he had supplied connections. One of his helpers testified that when a passage had completely baffled them, Macpherson was very clever at producing an improvisation which fitted well with what had gone before and what came after. Then again we have his own word for it. When Dr. MacIntyre of Glenorchay accused him of interpolating, he replied, "I had occasion to do less of that than you suppose".

      It will be noticed that in the conclusions of the Highland Society there is no suggestion of deception on Macpherson's part, no repetition of the charges of 'forgery' and 'imposture' of Johnson and his friends. Later Celtic scholars and others also have testified. Sir David Brewster had all Macpherson's papers, in addition to the diary above referred to, and stated categorically that there 'was not the slightest trace of evidence among them that Macpherson had either composed the poems or wished others to believe that he had composed them."3 William Sharp, better known as "Fiona Macleod", says, "The day is gone when the stupid outcry against Macpherson's Ossian as no more than a gigantic fraud, finds a response amongst lovers of literature." 7 Alexander Carmichael, in his day our finest Hebridean scholar, states his firm belief that Macpherson did not invent the tales of Ossian. He says: "I have frequently questioned old men concerning the Fingalians in almost all parts of the Highlands, from Cape Wrath to the Mull of Cantyre. If they had heard of them-what they heard of them -- and if they believed in them? I have never in one single instance met a negative".7


      The Rev. Donald MacNicol, minister of Lismore, published in his reply to Johnson's tour, "Every man of inquiry; every person of the least taste for the poetry or turn for the antiquities of his country, has heard often repeated some part or other of the poems published by Mr. Macpherson. Hundreds still alive have heard portions of them recited long before Mr. Macpherson was born; so that he cannot possibly be deemed the author of compositions which existed before he had any existence himself . . .. Mr. Macpherson's great merit has been in collecting the disjecta membra poetae; and his fitting the parts so well together as to form a complete figure." 7

      It is unusual to cite the traducer of an author as a witness to the quality of his book. Boswell is responsible for part of the Johnsonian smear in that he makes Macpherson appear to be the aggressor in the quarrel, which everyone who has read the letters knows to be untrue. But here is what Boswell writes to Erskine, " . . . . . Fingal shall accompany me. Take my word for it, he will make you feel you have a soul."3 Whatever one may think of Boswell, it is a startling tribute to the book.

      Bailey Saunders, an Englishman and an impartial one, who justifiably claims in the preface to his exhaustive Life and Letters of James Macpherson (London 1895) that he was free from the lues boswelliana, or disease of admiration, concludes after comparing Ossian's Poems with the Scandinavian Edda and the German Nibelungenlied, that 'with the old writers who gave those works to the world, Macpherson is fairly entitled to rank.'

      Two hundred years later it is difficult to understand the violence of the dispute, "the greatest literary controversy the world has ever seen". Much was due to the political hatreds of the time and much to Samuel Johnson's idiosyncrasies.

      Looked at in perspective, the facts now appear to be plain, and the motives clear. Through Macpherson's interest in the old poems they came to the notice of the public-spirited notables of Edinburgh, who pressed him to undertake a search for what could be found for publication. He very reluctantly agreed, but, once committed, was assiduous and industrious and conscientious in his search.

      Then came the more difficult part of transcribing and fitting together the results of his search. As the very sympathetic William Sharp said, "he worked incoherently upon a genuine but unsystematised, unsifted and fragmentary basis, without which he could have achieved nothing."

      He worked honestly and hard, but under considerable limitations. The studies of archaeology and folklore were at that time in their infancy -- Macpherson in later life was himself one of the earliest


archaeologists -- and he neither did have, nor could have had, at the the age of twenty-five, the extensive knowledge of the ancient Gaelic and the necessary critical faculty to produce the meticulously correct word-for-word translation, which would be approved by the historical text societies of future generations.

      But he did his best. His impelling motive was still "to acquit himself so as to give satisfaction to all his friends", which he took to mean not only to find the poems, but to make sure the form in which they were published would meet the public taste of that elegant age. He had suffered the disappointment of his own poems falling dead from the press, and he was determined that, if he could avoid it, a like disappointment would not befall his friends. Hence, in the words of the Highland Society Report, "he added to the dignity and delicacy of the work by omitting or shortening certain incidents and refining the language." And, to the surprise of everyone, including himself, he produced an international best-seller, which was to appear in edition after edition, in country after country, for nearly two centuries.

Translator or Interpreter ?
      Many people who have not themselves been students of the old Gaelic texts, and have therefore accepted all that the qualified critics have said, still consider that Macpherson has been both maligned and under-rated.

      If, they say, Dr. Blair and the 'Select Circle' had chosen someone else for the task, a better textual scholar than Macpherson, he would have been almost certain to produce a scholar's book of fragments with variant readings and copious notes - -the kind of book which is the scholar's delight but has few attractions for the ordinary reader.

      Macpherson did not do that, they admit, and could not have done it, but he did something else, something at least equally well worth doing, and did it supremely well-honestly, faithfully, and successfully, he interpreted the Ossianic world to the world and put ancient Scotland on the map of Europe.

      The two-hundredth anniversary of the publication of Fingal, they conclude, would be a not unsuitable occasion on which to refute, once and for all, the charge of dishonesty, and to accord to Macpherson the credit which is his due.

                                                                                                                    JAMES E. MACPHERSON


1. Naturalism in English Poetry. Brook. 2. Survey of English Literature, 130-1780. Oliver Elton. 3. Life and Letters of James Macpherson. Bailey Saunders. London, 1895. 4. Interamna Borealis. W. Keith Leask. Aberdeen, 1917. 5. Herder's Influence on History. Times Lit. Supp. 16/9/55. 6. The Gaelic Sources of Macpherson's Ossian. Derick S. Thomson. Edinburgh, 1951. 7. Poems of Ossian. Introd. Note. John Grant. Edinburgh, 1926.




      Our new Chairman, the Hon. Gordon Macpherson, in the spring of last year went on a big-game shooting expedition. We saw his journal of the trip and, after some persuasion, were able to obtain permission to publish a short account from it.

      The exciting part began with a journey of 200 miles alone by landrover across Uganda, from Kampala through the disaffected regions to the Ankole district in the north-east. That safely accomplished, and after a day spent in equipping and getting the necessary licenses, he started on a seven-day safari with the European Game Ranger and five African Game Guards.

      The first day was one of the most successful, the bag including a bull buffalo weighing about a ton and a remarkably fine big bull elephant. The first shot, from a .375 Holland Magnum, halted the latter and a second through the heart brought it down. The tusks weighed 45 and 45-1/2 lbs.

      On other days and amongst other game he got a fine head of water buck only 4-1/2" under the world record. On the last day, after a long crawl-up when he was bitten by everything from tsetse fly and safari ants to mosquitos, he got a good-sized cow hippopotamus weighing about 3,500 lbs.

      For the second stage he was a guest on a farm in South-West Africa, where on one day he got completely lost in the bush for over five hours, "the worst experience I have ever had." Altogether he spent ten hours that day in lion and leopard country. On another day he got a large eland weighing about 1,500 lbs.

      On the final stage he was one of a house party at the Exeter Game Farm in Eastern Transvaal, where he had three different times the experience of being charged by a lioness. In the first case "both of us fired, and luckily we turned her at seven yards (later paced out from the spoor marks). She then vanished in the bush, leaving us completely shattered". Two days later with native trackers they came on a pride of twelve lions, including three with large black manes. They were spotted, and a lioness charged while the others broke away. A shot hit her and the whole party from the farm followed the blood tracks till nightfall, and again the next day, but without success. "The huntingup of a wounded lion is quite frightening, but very exciting." They had no luck with 'kills' they had laid out, but while 'spooring' on the fifth day, he and his two trackers came on a lion and lioness only fifty yards away. The lion made off but the lioness turned and charged. "This time, knowing what to expect, I held my fire till she was twenty yards from me. I hit her in the neck and the bullet carried on right through the chest. She did not drop but turned to the left, and I shot her through the heart at point blank range. She dropped dead at about ten yards from where I was standing."



James Macpherson of Belleville*, Esquire, M.P., 1736 - 1796
                                                   Of Cluny's kin, beloved as Seumas Ba\n,
                                                  He found amid his Highland hills and glens
                                                   Amid the aftermath of "Forty-five",
                                                   Amid privation, clearance, poverty --
                                                   A golden treasury of verse and song.
                                                  This youth, with Ossianic minstrelsy, enriched
                                                   The placid, un-marched realms of Literature.

                                                   He wrote of heroes in Fingalian times
                                                   Who fought like lions, with no further end
                                                   Than combat, alternate to noble death.
                                                   Fingal himself led on his warrior Feinn
                                                   To constant victory, a giant King.
                                                   Cuchullin's chariot, decked with precious stones,
                                                   Sithfada and Dusronnal, fiery steeds
                                                   Driv'n like eagles swooping on their prey.
                                                   Swaran, a foe, tall as a glittering rock,
                                                   His spear a blasted pine, his shield a moon!

                                                   Fingalian maids were dreams of loveliness;
                                                   Exotic in their beauty, glamour, charm,
                                                   Golden their tresses, eyes of sapphire shade,
                                                   Too beautiful to age; short, tragic lives.
                                                   Fainesollis, trembling by young Fingal's side,
                                                   Her rosy cheek bedewed with tears, a branch
                                                   Of beauty bright with love adorned.
                                                   The sweet Malvina whose white, gentle hands
                                                   Move with a graceful rhythm o'er the harp;
                                                   And Morna, pale as early snow on heath,
                                                   Purest and fairest maid, her silken hair
                                                   Floats like the morning mist on mountain braes.
                                                   Bragela, in her distant Isle awaits
                                                   Her lord's return and hopes that far-off waves
                                                   May be his ships' white sails Alas ! not yet.

                                                   Himself of Belleville, handsome, tall, benign,
                                                   A kindly Laird, a jovial host to all,
                                                   Unselfishly declined the Cluny lands
                                                   And helped their restoration to his Chief.
                                                   (*Now Balavil)
                                                                                           M. B. H. RITCHIE.



Published by courtesy of DR. MACKAY OF LAGGAN and The Badenoch Record

      On the afternoon of Friday, August 19, 1960, there was unveiled and dedicated on his native heath at Catlodge, Laggan, a memorial cairn to Malcolm Macpherson (Calum Piobair), sometime piper to Cluny Macpherson ("Old Cluny") and son and father of men who themselves filled the same proud position of piper to the chief of the Macpherson clan.

      The proceedings were opened by Dr. Charteris, President of Glasgow Badenoch Association, who pointed out that Dr. Mackay of Laggan was the original proposer of the project.

      Giving a brief history of events leading up to the ceremony, Dr. Charteris said that Major Miller of Catlodge had kindly granted the ground on which the cairn was erected. The date coincided with that of the annual rally in Macpherson country of the Clan Macpherson Association, and the speaker thanked the clansmen for their attendance. Dr. Charteris then called on Dr. E. G. C. Orchard, of Kingussie, Chieftain of Glasgow Badenoch Association, to carry through the programme.

The Programme
      Dr. Orchard said that Dr. Mackay had described Calum Piobair as not only piper to the head of the clan, but a champion in his own right and a far-famed teacher of piping, and called on him to deliver the eulogy. (Dr. Mackay's eloquent tribute is given at the end of this report).

      The cairn was unveiled by Mr. Angus Macpherson, a son of Calum Piobair, who had travelled from Lairg to be present. Mr. Macpherson said that many nostalgic feelings came to him on that, to him, sacred spot with all its memories. On behalf of the family he thanked all who had shared in the project.


      The following inscription was revealed:

"Erected by the Glasgow Badenoch Association and friends in memory of Calum Piobair (Malcolm Macpherson), died in 1898, who here preserved and taught the piobaireachd of the MacCrimmons. A master musician, a dedicated teacher -- 'Leanaidh an oibre iad.'

      The Rev. Lachlan MacEdward, M.A., Kingussie,, dedicated the cairn to the memory of this worthy man -- prayer and dedication were rendered in Gaelic and English. Thereafter Pipe-Major Robert U. Brown, piper to H.M. the Queen at Balmoral, played a piobaireachd, "Lament for Patrig Og", composed by MacCriminon. Over 200, many from abroad, listened on the green sward, among them Mr. Seton Gordon, himself famed for piping.

      Wreaths were laid at the base of the cairn from Glasgow Badenoch Association and the young Laggan pipers.

The Eulogy
      Dr. Mackay said:
           "The lift-story of Calum, Piobair need occupy us only for a moment. We can sum it up by saying that he was a faithful servant to his chief, Cluny Macpherson, that he kept his pipes at that pitch of perfection and perfection of pitch that his own superb taste demanded, and that when he played them be strove to make in the highest degree the music that was the breath of life to him.

           "But his life-work is another matter. It had a vital importance of its own though he might not have believed it himself. To understand its importance, to explain our gathering in his honour, we must consider the background. The background is of course piping. The pipes are our music, bound up for centuries with the way of life of our land and people, with the joys and sorrows of our domestic life, with the tragedies and the glory of our national life. In the world of piping there are many who know Little of Malcolm Macpherson who yet speak with the utmost respect of the Macpherson School of Piobaireachd.

           "What is this mysterious 'Piobaireachd'? 'Piob' is the pipe, 'piobair' is the piper, and piobaireachd is what the piper does with his pipes. In the golden age of our composers what the piper did with his pipes, what his pipes were made for, what he gloried in playing, was not the march, strathspey. and reel with their lilting melody and toe-tapping rhythm. He called that the 'ceol beg', the little music. It was the great classical piece of theme and variations into which the master could put all the light and shade of his feeling and to which he could give all the perfection of his technique , the highest expression of the poetry of the Gael, the 'Ceol mor' or great music. It is to this that the term 'pibroch' is for convenience applied and by common usage limited. Many countries have the bagpipe, some have adopted our form of the instrument, but the ceol mor is ours and ours alone. It is music that great musicians of many lands have found both fascinating and satisfying because they recognise in it the basic universal qualities of all classical music.

          "We take it from four hundred years ago from the MacCrimmons of Skye, and because it was an oral tradition passed on from teacher to pupil, the gap caused by the '45 was catastrophic. For many years after 1745 Government troops came and went on this road below us, over the Corriearrick to Fort Augustus and Fort William, and it was their mission that the tartan should not be worn, that the people should speak their native tongue only in whispers, and that the song of the pipes should be for ever silenced. Much of our music was lost then. But over the gap are one or two slender bridges, and the road over one of these bridges leads directly from Boreraig in Skye to Laggan in Badenoch and from the MacCrimmons to Malcolm Macpherson.


      "Certainly he was a master. In his own family, seven of the highest awards for piping are testimony to his pre-eminence. Two members of that family are here today, both over 80 years young, both still able to show youngsters like Pipe-Major Brown how ceol mor should be played, and deeply moved by this tribute to their father, John Macdonald, M.B.E., his great pupil, himself a legendary figure in his own lifetime, who used to trudge through the snow from Glentruim to this place for his piobaireachd lessons, has put it on record that he never heard anything to equal the power and majesty and moving beauty of the playing of Malcolm Macpherson. But if that were all we would not be gathered here today. For more than sixty years Calum Piobair has been lying in the quiet churchyard at Laggan and all the glory of his playing is gone with the wind. Only some of the oldest among us faintly remember it. What gives greatness to his memory is that he had the inspiration of the teacher who can hold nothing back, who has the urge to perfection, and that those who learned from him received and transmitted the same inspiration, so that today the third generation of his teaching is passing it on to the fourth. All four generations are represented here today, and what a multitude they represent! From Uist to Aberdeen, from Orkney to London, in Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand -- especially in New Zealand where the place-names are echoes of Scotland and where the great-great-grandsons are playing the pipes their forebears took from Badenoch and Kintail -- at home and abroad our greatest pipers are playing what Calum Piobair in this place saved and passed on. Surely we do well to remember him, and the Badenoch exiles have shown sound judgment and healthy sentiment in building this cairn so that his name and work may not be forgotten.

      "You are here today to honour the single-minded devotion of this humble and gifted man. Especially do I hope that the young pupils will take away something more than a memory. I hope that in some measure there will enter into them the fierce pride of the pipes, and that as members of the brotherhood of piping every time they throw drone on shoulder they will magnify their office. For music is not made by the skill of the fingers only. The mind and heart must be in it too. The fingers certainly must be taught with patience and with discipline to do as nearly as may be what the masters do, but the arm that goes round the bag of the pipes should be a lover's arm. There is a beautiful piobaireachd called 'MacCrimmons Sweetheart.' I think it is more than a gentle joke that one legend has it that MacCrimmon's sweetheart was in fact the bag of his pipes.

      "I congratulate Mr. Russell on the fitting excellence of this memorial cairn, as native as the man himself, commanding the outlook over strath and mountain that filled his eyes when from this place his spirit soared on the wings of his native music. Long after the youngest of us is gone this tablet will tell the stranger how a Scot was honoured by his own people, not for his success in the market place but for his enrichment of the spiritual heritage of his people. It will be a place of pilgrimage for the world-wide brotherhood of piping and for all the sons of Badenoch"



      The 1961 Rally will take place on the 18th, 19th and 20th August, commencing with a Highland Ball in the Duke of Gordon Hotel, Kingussie, followed by the Annual General Meeting on the morning of the 19th at the Newtonmore Hall. Particulars of the outing in the afternoon will be given later with the official notification. The informal reception and ceilidh will be held on the Saturday evening and the Rally will close with a church service at St. Columba's Parish Church, Kingussie, on the morning of the 20th.


      The information in this article was supplied to the writer by Mr. Freeman Aeneas F. Nuttall of Culleenamore, Sligo, Eire, in correspondence in the early months of 1956 and seems worthy of record in the Clan archives as it relates to two tartans connected with Clan Macpherson.

      1. The first of these is the red tartan now known as Clan Chattan according to Adam and Bain and as registered by Lyon. There are two old specimens of this tartan in existence, portions of a very old plaid of wool and silk, preserved in two Museums in Scotland, to which they were presented by two members of Mr. Nuttall's family who are descendants of the original owner from whom this plaid had been passed down. One of these specimens is in the Scottish Museum of Antiquities, Queen Street, Edinburgh, and was presented by Miss D. I. Harrison, and the other was lent to the Scottish National Naval and Military Museum in Edinburgh Castle by Mrs. Bullen and is now understood to be on loan at Fort William Museum.

      The plaid now represented by those two portions was in the possession of Mrs. Ann Lucinda Macpherson or Mackintosh of Stephens Green, Dublin, great-grandmother of Mr. Nuttall and Miss Harrison and great-great-grandmother of Mrs. Bullen. It was divided by Mrs. Mackintosh between her two daughters and thus came into the hands of their descendants, Miss Harrison being granddaughter of the elder, and Mrs. Bullen great-granddaughter of the younger, sister.

      The tradition in Mr. Nuttall's family, said to have been handed down from Mrs. Mackintosh's grandmother, is that the plaid was woven by ladies of the Crubin family of Macphersons and had belonged to Captain Aeneas Macpherson, 1st of Flichity, one of the allied Breakachy family, and an officer in the Macpherson Regiment in the 1745 Rising, who had carried it through the Campaign and handed it and his Commission, signed by Prince Charles Edward, for safe keeping to the Rev. William Blair, Parish Minister of Kingussie, his future father-in-law. Captain Macpherson's second wife was Miss Ann Blair who was grandmother of Mrs. Mackintosh. Captain Aeneas Macpherson's Commission is now preserved in the Scottish National Naval And Military Museum in Edinburgh Castle to which it was lent by Mr. Orrell H. H. Nuttall in 1938. Captain Aeneas was a younger brother of Donald Macpherson of Breakachy who married Margaret, the daughter of Lachlan of Cluny, 17th Chief of the Clan, and from whom General Barclay Macpherson was descended.

      One variant of this tartan appears as Macpherson Chief (according to D. C. Stewart and Gaelic Society of London) and Macpherson Clan (according to Smiths of Mauchline) and another as Mackintosh Chief (according to D. C. Stewart) and Clan Chattan Chief (as registered by Lyon).


Clan Macpherson House Appeal Fund

Tenth List of Subscribers


      2. There was, however, another plaid, described as "grey", in the possession of Mrs. Mackintosh which has now disappeared but which was shown by her in 1886 to Professor George Henry Falkner Nuttall, F.R.S., M.A., M.D., PH.D., LL.D., of Longfield, Cambridge. Professor Nuttall made a sketch of this tartan and sent it to Mr. Freeman A. F. Nuttall's brother Orrell H. H. Nuttall of Souldern, Oxfordshire, who has made it available for the following copy to be taken:

      It is understood that this plaid also descended from Aeneas Macpherson of Flichity and therefore has Macpherson connections. While it does not correspond in arrangement of stripes with the existing "Dress" Macpherson, it contains the same colours, omitting the yellow line. This yellow line in the existing tartan is considered by some authorities, following "Old Cluny", to have been added to the original white tartan of the Chief by the Sobieski Stuarts when they published their controversial work, the Vestiarium. Scoticum, in the early 19th century. The "Cluny" tartan as registered with Lyon omits the yellow line. Possibly the "grey plaid" of Mrs. Mackintosh is another variant of the "grey plaid of Badenoch", referred to by some authorities, from which the white Macpherson may have originated. Notes made by Professor Nuttall on his interview with Mrs. Mackintosh in 1886 indicated that the "grey" tartan was an "undress" variety and the red a "dress" tartan. This to some extent corresponds with Stewart Christie & Co.'s Collection of Tartans which gives a variant of the red Clan Chattan as Cluny "Dress" and the modern white "dress" tartan as "undress" Cluny.



From Lt.-Col A. K. Macpherson of Pitmain, M.V.O.
      I have in my possession The Clans of the Scottish Highlands, by James Logan, with original sketches by R. R. Mclan", quoted by R. G. M. Macpherson, Canada Branch.

      The accompanying description of Mclan's original drawing by James Logan is not the same as that given in the King Penguin 'Highland Dress', published in 1948, which latter R. G. M. Macpherson appears to confuse with Logan's original accompanying description. Logan's description is as follows: "The figure is that of a Highland gentleman in full dress. The breacan pheile or kilt and plaid of one piece, is of "the grey plaid of Badenoch", as worn by Captain Ewan Macpherson, present chief, and 23rd from Gilliechattan Mor" etc.

      It does not state that the drawing is of Ewan. It must be of a Chief, 'Cluny' being engraved on the pistols. It could be of Duncan, whose miniature quite resembles the drawing.

      The Belted Plaid in the drawing was practically never worn at the time Ewan was chief, when Mclan made the drawing about 1845. But it was almost certainly worn by Duncan of the Kiln, after the restoration to Duncan of the Cluny Estates.

      R. G. M. Macpherson states he has a number of proofs that the figure is that of 'Old Cluny' when young. I daresay this may be so. I merely write to correct the only 'proof', he has advanced and which is not by any means conclusive.

Yours, etc.,
Lismore, Maybole, Ayrshire.                                                                  A. K. MACPHERSON.

From R. G. M. Macpherson, F.R.S.A., F.S.A.Scot., Canada Branch

      It has been pointed out that the quotation taken from the King Penguin edition of Highland Dress (Creag Dhubh No. 12 p.26) referring to the Macpherson plate, is not the same as the description which accompanies the original Mclan painting in James Logan's book, The Clans of the Scottish Highlands.       The description in Logan's book describes the figure as that of "a Highland gentleman in 'full dress . . .' " without stating specifically whom the figure represents. If you examine the many Mclan prints, you will observe that very few of the subjects wear the three eagle feathers of a chief. Some wear two, the majority wear one, .and the remainder are either without a bonnet or with no feather at all, but with a sprig of their plant badge. The conclusion I draw from all this is that Mclan's painting of Macpherson must represent a particular chief because he has three feathers in his bonnet and, most important of all, his pistols bear the 'Cluny' inscription. If the artist intended to portray an imaginary clansman or simply 'a Highland gentleman' he would not, in my opinion, have given him the three feathers of a chief, the 'Cluny' pistols, or placed his personal coat-of-arms on the wall in the background.

      If we accept the premise that the painting then portrays an actual chief, we must now determine which Cluny it was. Col. Duncan, Old Cluny's son is one candidate who has been suggested. He was born in 1833 but did not succeed to the chiefship until 1885 when he was 52 years old. I think we can agree that Mclan's painting is not of a man of 52, and Col. Duncan certainly would not be wearing three feathers or the Cluny pistols until such time as he became chief.

      What of Duncan of the Kiln? Duncan was born in a corn-kiln in 1748 while his father was in hiding after the '45. I would judge the age of the subject in Mclan's painting as being in the neighbourhood of 35 and, if we accept this estimate of age, then, in order to be a painting of Duncan of the Kiln, the dating of the figure would have to be in the early 1780's. The costume the subject is wearing seems to me to be unquestionably early 19th century and the hair style would place it somewhere in the mid-1800's. The tunic with the high white collar and black cravat suggest the 1840's and the style of hair and side burns are reminiscent of portraits of Prince


Albert, Queen Victoria's Consort. It is costume and hair style of the period that seem to rule out Duncan of the Kiln.

      Ewen Macpherson of Cluny, 20th Chief, succeeded as chief in 1817 when he was 13 years old. If we agree upon the age of the subject as being about 35 then this would date the figure in the McIan painting around the 1840's which, in my estimation, fits perfectly with the costume of the early Victorian period. With regard to the age of the model and the early 19th century style of costume, Ewen Macpherson seems to be the obvious and most natural choice.

Yours, etc.,
London, Ontario, Canada.                                                                                  R. G. M. MACPHERSON

[If there is any lingering doubt as to the identity of the individual portrayed in the McIan painting, the portrait of the young 'Old Cluny' currently displayed in the Clan Macpherson Museum along with those of his wife and two elder sons offers overwhelming proof. The appearance of the person in the portrait and the painting are almost identical. -- RM]


From the Hon. J. Gordon Macpherson, Chairman

      Ever since the inception of our Association we have received the most welcome support from The Badenoch Record.

      To illustrate the point I have only to draw your attention to the two full columns allotted during the month of August to our Rally activities and those of Clan House.

      I am sure that all members of the Association appreciate this support from our homeland, and join with me in recognising the efforts of the Editor, Mr. W. B. Johnstone, who is such a welcome personal supporter of all our activities in Badenoch.

Yours, etc.,
                                                                                                             J. G. MACPHERSON.


      The immediate past Chairman's forthright comment, on his return from the "Rallying of the Clans" at Inverness at the end of June, "Even one who has not the advantage of being a 'Macpherson' can, in his retirement, do something more useful than play golf all day", is responsible for the inclusion in this issue of Creag Dhubh of some impressions and experiences of a member of another (distinguished) clan who had the privilege of receiving well-nigh 1,000 interested visitors at the Clan Macpherson House and Museum during the period 4th July to 3rd October.

      Shown over, and given the 'gen', on 4th July by "Helen", "Allan" and "the Provost"; faced on entering, with the life-like, ever-friendly, gaze of the gentle "Albert" of boyhood recollection; sterner memories being recalled on viewing, at the visitors' table, a plaque commemorating the gallant " A. D."; windows tastefully draped with the famed Clan tartan; all were fitting introduction to an era of enlightenment and fascinating experiences which has convinced that the 'Macphersons' of today have a "something"; a degree of clan loyalty; a sense of esprit-de-corps worthy of universal emulation.

      By closing hour on that first day, seven visitors from England and eight from Scotland had called, including a well-known London Scot, Lieut. Colonel McQueen.

      On the following day, opportunity to further the "usefulness" indicated by the Chairman presented itself and resulted in the enrolment of three new members.

           Those early instances of willingness; even of eagerness, to enrol as Association members in the cradle of their Clan were repeated on 14th July by Robert Grier Macpherson, A.B., M.A., PH.D., University of Georgia, and John Hanson Thomas Macpherson, A.B. B.S., M.D., also


of Georgia, whose ancestors left the Badenoch district about 1735 for America; on 18th July by Harry Maxwell Macpherson, A.B., M.A., PH.D., Napa, California; his wife, the well-known author "Jessemyn West", D.LITT., PH.D.; and, in absence, Mr. Macpherson's brother, Carey Ellis Macpherson of San Marino, California -- the brothers trace Badenoch ancestry to the 18th century.

      Thereafter, at intervals, George McHardy Macpherson, Aberdeen, Thomas Sutherland Macpherson, Hopeman, Moray; Mrs. Annie Macpherson Graham, East Kilbride; Mrs. Helen Thomson, Nairn; Mrs. Rita Macpherson, Edinburgh; Mr. Tan Strachan Macpherson, Pinner, Middlesex; Mrs. Annie Macpherson McArthur, Bannockburn; Mr. Bruce Macpherson Stewart, Glasgow; Mrs. Margaret Macpherson Smith, Selkirk; Mr. Norman Macpherson Young, Saltford, Bristol;, Mr. James B. and Mrs. M. H. Macpherson, Stirling; Mr. Cyrus Merriam and his sister, Mrs. Merriam Bradley, Battleboro, Vermont, U.S.A. (who claim descent from William, brother of Lachlan, the 20th Chief); Mr. William Allison, Girvan, Ayrshire; Mr. Malcolm Ian and Mrs. Macpherson, Welwyn Garden City, Herts; Mr. Adam and Mrs. Macpherson, Eureka, California; Mr. Arthur Hambleton, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Mrs. Jane E. Cowan and daughter, Margaret Lucy Macpherson Cowan, Winchester; Mr. James Alexander Ewen and Mrs. Phyllis M. Macpherson, Buxton (Mr. Macpherson, home from overseas, is a grandson of the wellknown Badenoch historian, Alexander Macpherson ("the Banker") author of "Church and Social Life in the Highlands", whose portrait graces the Museum); Mr. Alastair Bruce Macpherson, London; Mr. William Gordon Macpherson, Master Charles Gordon Macpherson, Mrs. Florence Macpherson and Miss Moira Macpherson, all of Ashvale, Rhynie, Aberdeenshire; Miss Isabel Jessie Macpherson, Inverurie; Mr. Brian and Mrs. Norma Macpherson, Poulton-Le-Fylde, Blackpool; Mrs. Jill Margaret Macpherson Metivier and Mr. Hugh Nye Metivier, M.A., M.R.C.V.S., Storrington, Sussex; Mr. Andrew Macpherson, Glasgow; Mr. Gavin Macpherson, Lanark; Mrs. Anne Macpherson Johnston, Newtonmore; and, lastly, on 30th September, Mr. Allan Macpherson of Buckie.

      Whilst all who called at the Museum -- Clansmen or others, from home or abroad -- were keenly interested in what they saw, heard and read, the reactions of visitors from the Commonwealth and the U.S.A. were a revelation, demonstrating most markedly the pride with which Scottish heritage and tradition are regarded by our overseas brethren.

      Equally pronounced was the appreciation, freely expressed, of the Clan's patriotic gesture in securing for Scotland the priceless relics and exhibits on view.

      Additions to Museum Exhibits include -- Period Chair by Mrs. Agnes B. Clarke, Edinburgh; Framed Portrait of Rev. Dr. John Gordon Macpherson, per the past Chairman; "The Banchor Cat" per Treasurer; the "History of a Macpherson Family" by Mr. Lloyd C. Macpherson, and "Clan Macpherson Armorial", presented by the Canadian Branch.


Hon. Vice-President of the Clan Association

      Born in Gaya, India, in 1908, Niall Macpherson was the fourth of seven children. His father, Sir Thomas Stewart Macpherson, C.I.E., I.C.S., J.P., used to say that he had the largest family of any Indian Civil Servant. His mother was Helen Cameron, daughter of the Rev. A. B. Cameron, D.D.

      In 1914 he went to Edinburgh Academy, where he started his brilliant career by distinguishing himself in music. In 1921 he won a Foundation Scholarship to Fettes College. His first day there a practical joker induced him to take the head of the school's seat at breakfast, but he ultimately occupied it in his own right and was captain of rugger as well. In 1927 he won a classical scholarship to Trinity College, Oxford, his father's old college. There he gained a Blue for rugger and a first class in Classical Moderations and "Greats".

      In 1931 he joined Messrs. J. & J. Colman Ltd., the mustard manufacturers, and underwent training in Norwich, Glasgow, London and Paris. In 1933 he was appointed to manage the firm's branch factory in Istanbul, where he remained for over two years. From 1936 to 1939 he was in the export branch in London. In 1937 he married Miss Peggy Runge, the sister of Mr. Peter Runge, an Oxford friend of his, who two years earlier had married the Hon. Fiona Macpherson, the elder daughter of the Rt. Hon. Lord Strathcarron, better known as Ian Macpherson. The younger daughter, Patricia, married Sir Denys Lowson, recently Lord Mayor of London. Niall has three daughters, Jean, Mary and Norah.

The Association
      About this time he and Col. Allan Macpherson of the Banchor family were approached by Tom Macpherson, later a member of Parliament and now Lord Macpherson of Drumochter, and invited to help in forming a Clan Macpherson Association. At a memorable meeting at the Cannon Street Hotel, London, he became honorary secretary of the Promotional Committee, and when on the 22nd August, 1947, the Association at last became a reality at the inaugural meeting at Newtonmore, he was appointed its first honorary secretary. In 1951 he was elected Chairman, a post which he held till 1954, when he was elected an Honorary Vice-President in recognition of his good work in those early years.

      We all owe him a debt of gratitude for the part he played in obtaining for the clan, and its posterity, the land opposite Loch-an-Ovie at the foot of Creag Dhubh, and also the right of access to Cluny's Cave, both of which through the courtesy of Capt. Peter Lindsay, Cluny Castle. Niall is a very popular clansman, always ready to help, and in addition to his other qualities, we cannot omit to mention his considerable entertainment value, especially at clan ceilidhs.


The Army and Parliament
      April 1939 found him busy recruiting in Badenoch for the territorial battalion of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. He was commissioned on 3rd June and at the outbreak of war found himself in charge of the Newtonmore platoon under the command of his relative and fellow clansman, Colonel Alec Cattanach of Kingussie. After a year with the battalion he was posted to the staff, passed through the staff college, and served in Madagascar and East Africa, attaining the rank of major.

      At the 1945 General Election he was elected for Dumfries and was immediately appointed Scottish Whip for the National Liberal Party. On the formation of the Liberal-Unionist Group he became Scottish Liberal-Unionist Whip. In June 1955 he was appointed Joint Under Secretary of State for Scotland, responsible for Agriculture, in Sir Anthony Eden's Government. In January 1957 he was transferred to Home and Education responsibilities. In October 1960 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, a post of increasing importance with the present emphasis on industry and exports.

      We cannot leave the subject of Parliament without recording an incident in which both Lord Macpherson and Niall took part, and which has now become part of the folk-lore of the House of Commons. Each day, when the Speaker's procession approaches, the policeman in the Central Lobby shouts, "Hats off, strangers", and doffs his own. One day, just after he had done so, Lord Macpherson saw Niall and called out to him, "Niall! Niall!" So over-awed by the occasion was one of the lady visitors present that she at once proceeded to get down on her knees.

His Family
      No record of one member of this distinguished family would be complete without at least mention of its other members. There is a story well known in the Highlands, of Niall's grandfather, Seumas Mor (Big James), Councillor and Justice of the Peace in Newtonmore, where he ran a coal and grain business and a hiring establishment. It is said that just after the First War he was driving an English visitor, who was commiserating with him on having to live in such a remote place, and wondering what sort of a career his sons could expect, coming from such a place. The visitor asked if he had any sons and, if so, what they were doing. Seumas, a little nettled by the aspersions on his beloved Newtonmore, appeared to agree with the visitor, but added in level tones, that, even so, one of his sons was a Cabinet Minister, another a Judge of the High Court in India and a third a captain in the army. They were of course Lord Strathcarron, Niall's father, who later returned to Badenoch and represented it on the Invernessshire County Council for many years, and Captain John Macpherson.

      Niall's no less distinguished brother, G.P.S., owns the best known initials in rugger history, now equally well known in the City of London.




A.I.S. is the well known Edinburgh surgeon, R.T.S. is famed perhaps most for his commando exploits which earned him a Military Cross with two bars. His two sisters, Sheila (Mrs. H. J. Kittermaster) and Rhona (Mrs. J. A. Mackintosh) share in the family brilliance, if less spectacularly, and have families of great promise. Of his mother, Lady Stewart Macpherson, all who know her can testify to the unique place she holds in the Edinburgh and Badenoch branches of the clan, a devoted clanswoman who lives in the hearts of all who have the privilege of knowing her.



better, and often gratefully, known as

      Few of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom can fail to know the name of "Sandy" Macpherson, associated with the ubiquitous broadcasting programmes, and an ever-increasing number of people have come to look to him, not only for entertainment, but for the warm humanity he succeeds in conveying through his music.

      Once, referring to "that quiet friendly, and generally beloved tiller of the soil, the late C. H. Middleton", Sandy remarked that he had "generally found gardeners to have in common that rich streak of humanity -- a quality of the spirit that seems to come to them on the breeze from the blossoms they so lovingly till". And that 'rich streak of humanity' Sandy undoubtedly has himself; whether it came to him from his music or from his heredity, it has enriched his own life and that of many thousands of others.

Ancestry and Early Life
      A Canadian, born in Paris, Ontario, in 1897, his grandfather was a farmer near Laggan, Badenoch, who emigrated and took part in the Gold Rush of 1849. After sailing round the Horn in that year, he settled in Glengarry County, Ontario. Sandy's father was a bank manager in Paris and his mother the daughter of another bank manager. Her maternal grandfather was a certain Dr. Hallowell (responsible for one of Sandy's Christian names) who had come to Canada as an army surgeon with a British regiment.

      Small town life in Canada in those days still retained some of the romance of the early days of the pioneers. The Presbyterian minister, for example, who lived next door, used to thrill Sandy and his friends with his hair-raising experiences during the Louis Riel Rebellion, when he was in the "Mounties" and "got his man".

      Other pictures which come back show Sunday evening parties when the unattached bank clerks in the town were invited to supper and, after the meal, "the candles would be lit on the silk-fronted upright


piano and my mother, in her tight-waisted Victorian dress with its leg-of-mutton sleeves, would seat herself at the piano and for an hour or two would accompany the lusty young voices of her guests and family".

      In 1910 the family moved to Amherst, Nova Scotia, where Sandy took his first organ lessons, and at the age of fourteen got his first engagement as cinema pianist. Regrettably, the engagement was somewhat spasmodic as it depended on the success, or rather non-success, of the regular lady pianist in keeping away from the gin bottle.

      From Amherst Sandy first went to boarding school at St. Andrew's College, where, it is interesting to note, Lloyd C. Macpherson, Chairman of the Canadian Branch, is now assistant headmaster.

      Sandy had just left school when the 1914-18 war broke out. At the second attempt he succeeded in joining up, and in September 1915 was sent on an officers' training course. A little later he was duly commissioned in the Canadian Corps of Engineers, but his hopes of being of use to his country were dashed, as he fell ill and was later discharged on medical grounds.

Lumber Jacking
      On his recovery he joined a lumber camp in Northern Ontario. After some time among the tough crowd of lumber jacks, including many mid-European types with whom a knife was not only a thing for spreading jam with, he decided it was time to return home and devote his time to music. This he did at the Hamilton Conservatory.

      Engagements at larger and larger cinemas followed till in 1921 he became theatre organist under MGM management, and in the same year got married. In 1927 he came to this country on holiday to see the land of his ancestors and made many friends on his visit to Badenoch.

      Shortly after returning to Canada he received the exciting offer of a six-months engagement at the last word in cinemas, the new Empire Theatre in Leicester Square, London, which he had seen being built the previous year.

      In the ten years which followed he entertained with his music, and especially with his interludes, some of the most fashionable and certainly the most varied audiences in the world. He became one of the best known people in show business, as well as one of the most popular.

The B.B.C.
      In 1938 he was appointed Staff Organist to the British Broadcasting Corporation, and the great success of his many programmes is common knowledge.

      In September 1939 came war, and a great B.B.C. exodus from London, Sandy's destination being Bristol. The chaos and confusion of this move at short notice has been typified by the completely apocryphal tale that a certain very important official of the Corporation set out on his journey in a motor char-a-banc accompanied by five typists and with �100 in his possession for emergencies, but arrived at his journey's end with a hundred typists and �5.


      Quite apart from his musical talents, Sandy's 'rich streak of humanity' had been noticed in higher quarters, and when in August 1943 someone was required for the task of advising the men in the forces on the problems the war upheaval had brought into their lives, Sandy was asked to take it on. He hesitated, not because of the immense amount of work involved, but, as he said himself, it "required the widest possible knowledge and experience of his fellow beings, of the soft cushions and hard corners of life, of the individual problems of countless different walks of life-in short to be a psychologist, a psychiatrist and a legal expert on King's Regulations all rolled into one", and he doubted if he could make a success of it. It was a great responsibility, no less than the inward peace of mind of a colossal number of men and their families, but the 'rich streak of humanity' and his desire to help overcame his doubts, and he shouldered the responsibility. In the three and a half years of the Forces Overseas programmes he was receiving an average of a thousand letters a week and must have earned untold gratitude.

A Camel and an Orphanage
      Not only lame dogs are Sandy's speciality: he has made himself responsible for the bill of fare of a camel at the London Zoo.

      As for children, what he did for the Reedham Orphanage at Purley, of which he has a great opinion, is only what one would expect. He came in touch with its 250 children early in 1948, gave the broadcast appeal, which raised nearly �6,000, as well as a very large bequest from a listener, and shortly afterwards was appointed a Vice-president by the Governors, a post which he takes very seriously.

      Sandy is also an Honorary Vice-President of the Glasgow Badenoch Association and has been for many years a member of the England and Wales Branch of the Clan Association.

Jack Macpherson of Fairlight Station, Southland, New Zealand, has distinguished himself during the year by shooting a record red deer head for Southland. It has twelve points on one antler and eleven on the other and is only one point behind the New Zealand record head of twenty-four points shot in 1917. The antlers have a spread of 38 inches.

      One of the Nova Scotia members of the Clan Association, Mrs. Gladys Porter, M.B.E., has been elected a member of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly, and has the distinction of being the first woman to attain this position. Mrs. Porter has been Mayor of the town of Kentville N.S. for eleven years and has resigned only recently on her election as M.L.A. She was the first woman to be elected Mayor of any town or city in Canada. She is a cousin of Murray Macpherson, the regional chairman of the Maritimes region of the Canadian Branch.



By courtesy of The (London) Times. Published under the title of "Whaur Are Ye Gaein?," and the above sub-title, June 10th, 1960.

      Private Macpherson is a "Jock" of my acquaintance -- dour, stocky and determined, and sustained in his course through life by the deeprooted conviction that there is no city anywhere with so much to offer as his native Glasgow, nor a football side quite so superb as Rangers. In this respect he is a true son of his father with whom I soldiered before the war.

      Macpherson senior was a sergeant by the time he fell in action in the jungles beyond Imphal, but his progress towards that rank had been marked by many ups and downs. His son also has inherited his father's habit of losing patience with the Army and taking his discharge; and then, after only a few weeks in "civvy street", of stumping along to the nearest recruiting office and demanding to be sent back to his "old mob" with the least possible delay.

A Simple Rifleman
      We were an English regiment and I never knew how the elder Macpherson came to enlist in our ranks. We had few Scotsmen, and those we had all seemed to be employed on the Quartermaster's side, with the sole exception of Macpherson. He was just a simple rifleman, speaking seldom and then only to his few cronies, and waging perpetual war with all corporals and above. For junior subalterns like myself he had a supreme contempt, barely condescending to notice our existence and reserving his worst kit for whenever it fell to our lot to inspect his "kit layout".

      My first meeting with Macpherson could not have taken place under more unfortunate circumstances. I had only just joined from Sandhurst and it was my first experience of manoeuvres in India. We had marched out from cantonments early in the morning and spent a long and dusty day plodding along an abominable cart track. We then went into one of those curious bivouacs, beloved by all true Frontier-wallahs, which was known as a perimeter camp.

      I had hardly had time to organize my platoon's defences and take the weight off my blistered and aching feet before I was summoned to my company commander's tent, where I was greeted with the words, "You can use a compass, I suppose?" Loth to admit my incompetence thus early in my service, I agreed that I could, whereupon I was ordered to take out a patrol as soon as it got dark, inspect the environs of the camp, and report back again after an hour.

Back Bearings
      I collected my patrol shortly afterwards. There were six private soldiers drawn up for my inspection, all long