EDITORIAL        4
   CLUNY'S LAND (POEM)    29
   LT.-COL. TOMMY MACPHERSON, M.C., T.D. -- Clansman of the Year    33
   THE 1963 RALLY    35
   THE 1962 RALLY (a) REPORT FROM The Badenoch Record    35
                              (b) EXCURSION DURING THE RALLY   36
   CLUNY'S WATCH    37
   REVIEWS    47
   NEAR AND FAR    51
Price to Non-Members, and for additional Copies. 7/6
Contributions and all Branch Reports for the 1964 Number should reach the Editor as early as possible and certainly not later than 1st December 1963.


No. 15        HOUSE AND MUSEUM NUMBER           1963

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   THE ANNUAL OF




Hon. President
Chief of the Clan

Hon. Vice-Presidents
Senior Chieftain in the Clan


Officers of the Association



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

Hon. Deputy Secretary
Capt., the Chevalier J. HARVEY MACPHERSON, K.L.J.,
Clan Macpherson House, Newtonmore

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

Address of Clan Annual
The Editor of Creag Dhubh, Clan House & Museum, Newtonmore, Inverness-shire

Miss CHRISTINE MACPHERSON, M.A., West High Street, Kingussie



ALEX. J. MACPHERSON, 5 Gararaline Tce., Kingussie
ALASTAIR W. MACPHERSON, The Park, Lhanbryde, Morayshire
EAST OF SCOTLANDJOHN MACPHERSON, M.A. 293 Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh, 3
Robert MACPHERSON, M.B.E. 41 Dovecot Road, Corstorphine, Edinburgh, 12.
WEST OF SCOTLAND HAMISH MACPHERSON, 1356 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, S.1
EWEN MACPHERSON, 39 Dalcruin St, Glasgo3w, N.W.
ENGLAND & WALES>Sir JOHN MACPHERSON, K.C.M.G., 141 Marsham Court, Westminster, London SW 1
IAN D. MACPHERSON, Glencoe, Sunnydale, Farnborough Park, Kent
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
U.S.A. Vacant


Hon. Organizing Secretary 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
8 Featherhall Grove, Corstorphine, Edinburgh

      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.



      "Don't shoot the editor -- he's doing his best!" But this is his first attempt to do such a job, and he is finding it very difficult. For this there are two good reasons, apart from his inexperience. The first is that he lives in Newtonmore, which may be the centre of the civilised world (ask any Newtonmoraich, and he will confirm this!), but it is, at the same time, a long way from the centres of population and from places where personal contacts and ready advice are obtainable just by lifting the telephone. The second is the fact that he steps into the shoes of a giant. Major Macpherson, "J.E." to all the Clan, is no easy person to follow, for his knowledge of Clan history and affairs, his great experience of Highland matters and his deep love for the Clan country all place him on a very high footing. His work as editor, with all these points behind it, can only serve as a model to work upon and an inspiration to those who follow him, but who bring to the work little more than great enthusiasm for Clan affairs and its history and not much real knowledge other than can be obtained through research.

      Full tribute is paid to "J.E.'s" work on another page, in an appreciation written by a former editor. That article reveals that he is not only an historian of the Clan, but is the author of works of prophecy. He can tell stories not only of the Clan's past and present, but can look into the future too! His coming role is obvious -- for when the Clan is once more re-established in a majority position in Badenoch, the time will be ripe for a re-establishment of old Clan positions and the post of Seannachie is ready-made for "J.E.", one feels.

      The Council has asked that this issue of the Journal be devoted to the Clan House. The editor is most grateful for the great help that he has been given, willingly and generously, by our Curator, whose life and work form the subject of another article in these pages.

      Finally, an appeal. The Association's Journal cannot fulfil its proper role if it is not supported by the Association. The whole Clan is more than grateful to the stalwarts who, year after year, help to fill the pages of Creag Dhubh with their knowledge and with the fruits of their research. There must, however, be vast stores of tradition and memory of Clan affairs which Members have and which they keep to themselves. It cannot be too strongly stressed that each and every item referring to the past and present of the Clan, and all plans or ideas for its future, are of vital importance to all of us and ought to be preserved -- and it is in the pages of this Journal that this preservation is most effectively achieved. So whether it is an account of great-grandfather's walk from Dalwhinnie to Rothiemurchus, or Aunt Jemima's recollection of Old Cluny's carriage, or even mention of a Macpherson in an old and out-of-print journal of some forgotten society -- all is valuable. All is worth keeping. But please send your contributions early in the year. Most of the articles appearing in this year's Creag Dhubh were received during the rush of Christmas and the New Year.


      The following article was written by way of appreciation of the work of Major J. E. Macpherson, a scion of the ancient Strathmashie Macphersons and affectionately known to us as "J.E." The time also seems opportune to review the history of Creag Dhubh itself, the Clan Association annual which is chiefly responsible for keeping the far-flung clansmen in touch with the Clan Council, the Clan Museum, and each other. Creag Dhubh is the great black hill in Badenoch around which so much of our history has occurred.

      First let us remind ourselves that the name of the annual is derived from the slogan, or battle-cry, of the clan: "Creag Dhubh Clann Chatain!" The slogan is both a rallying-cry and a shout of defiance. It was meant to encourage the kinsfolk and terrify the opponents by heralding a new advance. In all these respects it serves us well as the name of our annual publication.

      The first issue of Creag Dhubh made its brave appearance in 1949 under the joint editorship of Mary A. Macpherson of Glasgow and the Rev. Robert Macpherson of Craigrownie. Between 1950 and 1953 the next four issues were produced by Colin C. I. Murdoch, who was responsible for installing the device of the Green Banner, Am Brataich Uaine, essentially the coat of arms of the chief on the cover. The sixth issue in 1954 was brought to press by Robert Macpherson, M.B.E., of Edinburgh, and the next three by Alan G. Macpherson, the present writer. It was during his editorship that the present cover design first took shape, the green field being replaced by a much more pleasant grey field on which the Banner device appeared in black, the lettering in a fine dark red. The grey-black-red motif was intended to recall the colours of the Hunting Tartan, the famous Grey Plaid or Breacan Glas in which Prince Charles Edward Stuart escaped from Scotland to France in September 1746.

      Major J. E. Macpherson became editor in 1958, the annual of that year being the first of five which he has produced. With his recent retiral from the editor's chair he stands as the longest incumbent of the office so far. One of the first changes that he made was to reinforce the cover design by installing a snippet of the grey plaid. Within the cover he continued the previous editor's policy of inviting contributions from one branch of the Association (Southland Number, 1956; Canadian Number, 1957), with a Badenoch Number in 1958. From 1959 to 1961 he developed a further innovation with three memorial numbers: "Old Cluny", "Duncan of the Kiln", and the "Fingal Anniversary Number" to commemorate the centennial of the first publication of James Macpherson's edited translation of the Ossianic poems of ancient Gaeldom. Incidentally, "J.E.'s" ancestor, Lachlan Macpherson of Strathmashie, was James Ban Macpherson's companion and assistant during the collecting tour of the West Highlands that preceded their


publication. His last issue in 1962 reverted to the geographical theme, and we found ourselves reading the Nova Scotia Number. The appearance of the three memorial issues was responsible for the removal (temporary?) of the Banner device from the cover. It did not reappear in the last number, raising the question as to whether it should be lost sight of, or whether it ought not to be reinstated. (Gentlest of implied hints to the new editor!).

      Major "J.E.'s" own contributions to Creag Dhubh were already substantial when he became editor. To the 1954, 1955, and 1956 issues he contributed three fine articles on Sir John Macpherson of Sleat in Skye, Governor-General of India after Warren Hastings. During his own incumbency he wrote the memorial articles on Old Cluny and Duncan of the Kiln, and the scholarly account of how James Ban Macpherson came to collect, translate and edit the Ossianic poems. The last issue contained a short, but to those who are interested in the Ossianic controversy, a fascinating sequel: "Dr. Johnson and James Macpherson: the Personal Clash."

      We are also indebted to "J.E." for bringing before the clansmen for the first time some of the wealth of clan record contained in the "Invereshie Book", a longhand copy of the lost book of clan history compiled by Alexander "Banker" Macpherson of Kingussie during the 19th century, the copy being in the Clan Museum.

      Finally, perhaps the truth can now be told about the authorship of the articles on the Clan School at Ruthven (opened 2019 A.D.!) which appeared in the 1958, 1959 and 1960 issues. The Badenoch "seer" was our ex-editor, Major "J.E."

      It is evident, then, that we all owe "J.E." a considerable debt of gratitude on several counts, not least the fine spirit with which he always approaches clan affairs, past, present, and future. May we hope that he will continue to fascinate us - and even astound us - with further contributions from his versatile pen .... Slainte, Seumas ruadh.


      The Clan Museum received last August one of the most valuable additions to its contents through the generosity of our late editor, Major J. E. Macpherson, who presented to the Association a large leather-bound volume containing the collection of specimens of Clan Tartans compiled by Messrs. Romanes & Paterson, the well-known and long-established Tartan dealers of 62 Princes Street, Edinburgh. This volume was presented on 9th August, 1839, by the firm to the museum of H. M. William, Esq., as is recorded by a manuscript docquet thereon of that date, and was recently in turn presented by Capt. A. W. F. Fuller and Mrs. Estelle Fuller of London to Major Macpherson who, as already mentioned, donated it to the Clan Museum.


      The collection consists of sixty-nine specimens of hard tartan cloth, measuring in most cases approximately 12-inches by 9-inches, carefully bound at the edges and representng setts allocated at the time of publication to almost the same number of Highland Clans and Lowland families. Romanes & Paterson's collection must have been compiled prior to 1839, probably round about 1830. Logan, the author of The Scottish Gael, published in 1831, was engaged in collecting tartans prior to that date and Messrs. Stewart Christie & Co., George Street, Edinburgh, have a pattern book of tartans which, it is thought, was compiled in 1820-1830. This collection consists of specimens of tartan cloth as in the case of Romanes & Paterson's book. There is a similar collection, dated 1815, compiled by General Sir William Cockburn and now in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow. In response to enquiry, Romanes & Paterson cannot give any authentic information as to the date or origin of their collection.

      Representations of tartan issued to the public since the date of Romanes & Paterson's collection are reproduced by printing, except in the one case of the book entitled, Old and Rare Scottish Tartans by W. W. Stewart, where the specimens are woven in silk. It is obvious that the specimens woven in cloth will be more reliable as regards colour and design than reproductions in print or lithography, and this is the outstanding feature of value in the collection now presented to the Museum.

      It is impossible to comment on many of the tartans in the collection within the space available, but some remarks on the Macpherson tartans included may be of interest.

      There are three of these tartans given, viz., the white tartan now known as the dress tartan, the grey hunting tartan and the red tartan known as the Clan sett.

      The white tartan appears in two entries in the index. In one case it is named "Cluny Macpherson Dress" and in the other "Macpherson Dress", while the note attached to the actual specimen describes it as "Dress Tartan of Macpherson". This raises the supposition that it was originally a tartan wom by the Chief. The specimen includes the yellow line which according to some authorities (including "Old Cluny") was a later addition by the Sobieski Stuarts. The Chief's tartan is registered by Lyon without this yellow line.

      The Hunting Tartan is similarly included twice in the index -- once as "Cluny Macpherson Undress" and in the second entry as "Macpherson Undress Tartan". The portion of this sett now usually coloured light grey appears to be white in the specimen and it has been suggested from some sources that in this form it is one of the Chief's tartans, the usual form with the grey colour being a Clan tartan.

      The red Clan tartan appears only once in the index as "Macpherson" and the specimen is so described in the note attached. The colours are particularly clear in this case and correspond with those usually seen in present-day specimens, the blue being definitely azure, i.e., light, in shade.


      It is difficult to decide whether allocations of tartans made in these collections can be relied on as completely authoritative. There is nothing in Romanes & Paterson's volume to show on what authority the various tartans are given. In comparison, the writer owns a book of Clan Tartans, published in 1850 and compiled by the firm of W. & A. Smith of Mauchline, Ayrshire, after application to what they considered to be the best authorities of that time. In the case of the Macphersons "Old Cluny" was approached and supplied three specimens "of my tartan, all of which I consider original patterns". These were the white Dress with yellow lines, the Hunting grey and a variation of the tartan now known as Clan Chattan. Smith's had asked Cluny if the white dress tartan had been known before it was published in the Sobieski Stuarts' Vestiarium Scoticum and in reply the Chief said, "It was known as the Breacan Glas long before John Stuart and was known in this country, although I rather think the addition of the yellow stripe was introduced by him or rather taken from his MS, but at all events the tartan is an old Macpherson." It may be remembered that in an article in Creag Dhubh No. 13 (1961) p.22, the writer reported evidence of the existence at one time of a white tartan with black and red, but not yellow, stripes, connected with the Clan. Smith's names the three tartans in their book (presumably those supplied by "Old Cluny") as Macpherson Dress, Hunting and Clan respectively. In the case of the Hunting (grey without white colour) they state, "on the Chief's authority" it is the Hunting Macpherson which had been made for the Chief's grandmother, i.e., Janet Fraser, wife of Ewen of the '45, from an old shawl or plaid which had been preserved in Cluny Castle for some generations. This seems to tell against the idea that the sett with the white portions is the old tartan of the Chief. The tartan included by Smith as Clan Macpherson is not the usual red sett as in Romanes & Paterson, but that known as Clan Chattan, with some variations in number and colour of stripes.

      All this rather suggests that "Old Cluny", who was also Chief when Romanes & Paterson made their collection, may have considered that the three specimens in Smith's Book were Chief's tartans and that the only Clan Tartan was the red tartan shown as such in Romanes & Paterson's collection and omitted entirely by the Smiths. This tartan was certified as the Clan tartan by Duncan of the Kiln when he supplied a specimen for the collection of the Gaelic Society of London in 1817.

      It is noticeable that Romanes & Paterson include only one specimen of the Fraser tartan which is not that usually worn at the present time but which is the pattern given by Logan in The Scottish Gael. The white line which is conspicuous in the normal Fraser is omitted from this specimen.

      It may also be noticed that the Sinclair tartan is also called by Romanes & Paterson, "Caithness", that the Rob Roy is given as MacGregor, while the usual MacGregor is called the Clan Alpine. The Royal Stuart is also given under Hamilton, while the black and white "shepherd" check is included as "Shepherd or Border plaid".


      No one, studying the specimens in the Romanes & Paterson collection, can fail to be impressed with the freshness and clarity of the colours, which cannot be equalled by any printing process.

      There is added to the original collection a woven specimen of the MacBain tartan, as now acknowledged by Hughston MacBain of Chicago, the Chief of the Clan, who presented this handsome addition to Captain Fuller in 1958.       The Association is greatly indebted to Major Macpherson and, through him, to Captain and Mrs. Fuller for this very fine contribution to our collection.

by J. MACDONALD, Curator

      Continuance in interest and in the pride and appreciation manifested by visitors to the Museum during season 1962 has to be recorded by the curator.

      In the course of the season, signatures to the number of 1,691 were entered in the visitors' book. Of that number, 189, claiming Macpherson kith and kin, answered the call from homes in: Australia 10; Canada 7; U.S.A. 12; South Africa 3; England 63; Scotland 94. For many, it was a first experience; for others, a periodical pilgrimage; for all, an opportunity to be reminded of a rich heritage ever to be cherished.

      Fifty-six (56), who were non-members of the Association: Australia 1; Canada 2; South Africa 1; U.S.A. 9; England 20; and Scotland 23; accepted the curator's invitation to enrol as Association members. This they did despite, or it may be to some extent because of the freely disclosed information that the invitation was being extended not by an interested Macpherson but by a member of a one-time rival clan who was now privileged to be associated in carrying out objects of the Clan Macpherson Association Charter: "promoting andfostering the Clan spirit and the corporate life of the Clan at home and abroad,- to provide a focal point for, and a means of expressing Clan sentiment, and to keep Clansmen in touch with one another in all parts of the world" - objects dear to all Scots.

      The total of 56 new members enrolled at the Museum by the curator in 1962, added to 64 similarly enrolled in 1961 and 46 during the period July to September when the Museum operated in 1960, is proof that the Museum is fulfilling its purpose as a focal point for the Clan as a means of expressing Clan sentiment and as a productive Association Recruiting Agency.

      As in previous years, notable Clansmen took the opportunity of calling and all saw, or learned, something of interest. The Hon. Donald Paxton Macpherson, of the U.S.A. Senate, paying his first visit, was very interested to find on the museum bookshelf two Cluny Castle volumes -- McPherson's History of the Rebellion 1860/1865 and McPherson's History of the Reconstruction 1865/1870 -- of which his grandfather, the Hon. Edward McPherson, LL.D., Clerk of the


House of Representatives of the United States, was author and which he had presented to the Chief on the occasion of a special visit he had made to Cluny Castle about 50 years ago.

      During the Rally, Mr. Alan G. Macpherson of Rochester, New York, a former Creag Dhubh editor, and Mr. A. F. Macpherson, the Association secretary, devoted much of their limited time to an exhaustive study of the "Invereshie Book" and the result may, in due course, enable the valuable "Invereshie" information to become more widely known to the members.

Interesting Enquiry
      The museum copy of Chevalier de Johnstone's Memoirs, which was the subject of an article in Creag Dhubh No. 7 (1955) p. 7, has been the subject of an interesting enquiry passed to the curator through the National Trust for Scotland from a Canadian source anxious to trace original manuscript containing, in addition to Prince Charlie's campaign in Britain, an account of the subsequent operations in Canada in which many Highlanders took part. The information which was communicated in reply should, in the opinion of the National Trust, conclusively prove the authenticity of the museum copy as original manuscript.

Museum Furnishings
      The museum facilities have benefitted by gifts of furnishings supplied from time to time by Mr. Alexander Mackenzie, Inverness, through the vice-chairman of the Association.


Additional Museum Exhibits include
      By the Clan Council -- two photographs of H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh's visit to the Museum on 23rd March, 1961.
      By Major J. E. Macpherson, London - volume of actual Tartans in cloth presented by Romanes & Paterson as a museum piece in 1839.
      By Major Scott-Miller, 4th/5th Camerons -- obsolete weapons.
      By relatives of the late Miss Macpherson, Saltcoats, Ayrshire -- three portraits of Cluny Chiefs.


by J. MACDONALD, Curator

      A notice prominently displayed at the public entrance to the Clan Museum at Newtonmore, proclaims:
                                        Here are Housed Relics and Memorials of Rich
                                        Historical Interest not only to Scottish Clansmen
                                        but to all of Whatever Race they may be
                                        who are Attracted by the Story of High Resolve
                                        Patriotism and Loyalty.

     The Proclamation well serves its purpose. Clansmen and Clanswomen from far and near; many who would much wish to claim allegiance to any Clan; visitors of all nationalities; all enter the portals; all acclaim the heritage and the tradition represented in the Museum, located, as it is, in the cradle of Clan Macpherson.

      In discharging, during the past three seasons, the interesting and congenial duties of museum curator, I have encountered a surprising lack of knowledge by Macpherson visitors in regard to the history of the Clan Relics; also of the circumstances that resulted in the Relics coming into possession of the Clan Association for public exhibition in the Museum.

      That the Cluny Estate fell into an unfortunate position financially is common knowledge, but that the Clan Macpherson did make an effort, albeit abortive, to meet the position is not generally known, nor do visitors -- not even all Macphersons -- realise the many difficulties that had to be surmounted by the Clan Association in acquiring the Relics at a period when the second world war was at its height, when money was tight and when contact with interested Clansmen overseas was difficult. When the facts have been related to visitors, all very warmly acclaim the patriotic action by the Clan Macpherson, which secured such historic Macpherson possessions, not only for themselves but for Scotland.

      The circumstances surrounding the acquisition are set forth in a comprehensive report, dated 31 st May, 1943, by Tom Macpherson (now Lord Macpherson of Drumochter) in which it is stated:


      "Thanks to the co-operation of members of the Clan at the Sale and no serious competition from dealers, I was able, from proceeds of public subscriptions by members of the Clan at home and abroad, on 3rd May, 1943, at Wyllie & Lochead's public sale in Glasgow of the contents of Cluny Castle, to purchase all the principal Relics at quite reasonable prices."

      Complete details of all articles so purchased, with the sums paid for each, are shown in statement accompanying the report.

      It is worthy of mention, here, that the "no serious competition" referred to by Lord Macpherson in his report was confirmed by a Glasgow visitor to the Museum last Spring. He stated that he, as an interested party, had been at the sale and that but for the anxiety and determination displayed by the Macpherson buyers to regain their historical Clan possessions, a "gentleman's agreement" which had been entered into by other potential purchasers might not have been reached.

      The Relics remained in storage until accommodated in the Clan Macpherson House and Museum, which was officially opened in August 1952. Since then, visitors from a over the world have evinced keen interest in them, but the period which a visitor can normally devote to the Museum does not permit of other than a fragmentary part of their history and association with the Clan being communicated and desires which have been expressed by members and visitors, generally, for fuller information being made available for subsequent reference by them could be met by the inclusion in successive issues of Creag Dhubh of brief particulars relating to the various possessions on view.

(Purchase Price �
by J. MACDONALD, Curator

                                                              I ve spent my life in rioting,
                                                              Debauch'd my health and strength,
                                                              I squander'd fast, as pillage came,
                                                              And fell to shame at length.

                                                              My father was a gentleman,
                                                              Of fame and honour high,
                                                              Oh mother, would you ne'er had borne
                                                              The son so doom'd to die.

                                                              The laird of Grant, with pow'r aboon,
                                                              The Royal Majesty,
                                                              Pass'd his great word for Peter Brown
                                                              And let Macpherson die.

                                                              But Braco Duff, with rage enough,
                                                              First laid a snare for me,
                                                              And if that death did not prevent,
                                                              Aveng'd I well could be.


                                                              But vengeance I did never wreak,
                                                              When power was in my hand,
                                                              And you, dear friends, no vengeance seek,
                                                              It is my last command.

                                                              Forgive the man whose rage betray'd
                                                              Macpherson's worthless life;
                                                              When I am gone, be it not said,
                                                              My legacy was strife.

      Experience having proved that overseas visitors of Scottish extraction are more conversant with Highland lore than are many from the homeland, it was no surprise to hear a young Canadian lady, viewing for the first time James Macpherson's fiddle, reciting the above stanzas of "Macpherson's Lament", a song which the owner of the fiddle had composed and played in prison while he lay under sentence of death; nor was it surprising to find that she was equally familiar with "Macpherson's Farewell" (tune - "Macpherson's Rant") which the poet, Robert Bums, had composed as an "improvement" on Macpherson's contribution.

      The owner of the fiddle was a James Macpherson, born of a beautiful gipsy who had attracted the attentions of an Invereshie Macpherson. The reputed father was killed shortly after the birth while pursuing a body of hostile clansmen cattle-lifting in Badenoch, but the family, acknowledging the relationship, undertook the care of the child and mother.

      Chroniclers describe the child as having developed into a man "magnificent in stature and intellect"; "possessing beauty, strength and stature rarely equalled"; "a remarkable character of uncommon personal strength"; "who gave himself up to the life of a free-booter, being captain of a band of gipsies who, well armed, travelled the northern counties of Scotland helping themselves to the property of the many well-to-do but never perpetrating acts of cruelty or wilful murder and never condescending to harm the helpless and distressed."

      Macpherson's remarkable career as a free-booter; the circumstances of his capture; rescues by friends and re-capture; his trial at Banff; allegations of political bias; the indictment to which he had to answer; the severity of the sentence; the short interval that was permitted between trial and execution in order to defeat attempts at rescue; the belief that by fraud or violence a messenger with missive of pardon had been delayed between Turriff and Banff and his execution have been the subject of searching contributions by writers over a long period. The Literary Chronicle and Weekly Review of 13th October, 1821, a periodical published in London, contained a lengthy article with full text of his song "Macpherson's Lament"; Chambers' edition of the works of Robert Burns deals with the subject in an introduction to the poet's "Macpherson"s Farewell": copious notes, memorandum and ballad found in an old ledger in Banffshire and passed to the Clan Macpherson Association secretary last year and prominence given in articles as recently as 1920 in a Banffshire newspaper are some of the many references testifying to the interest aroused.


      Before ultimately being brought to trial, Macpherson escaped several times from his captors. In Aberdeen, he was rescued from prison by his cousin, Donald Macpherson, a man of "herculean strength from Badenoch", and a gipsy named Peter Brown, aided by the populace. Shortly afterwards, he was captured, after a desperate resistance in course of which one of Macpherson's party was killed at Keith Fair, by Duff of Braco, who held sway in the county of Banff, only to be rescued by the Laird of Grant, who was in opposition to Duffs methods of administration. On the same evening, he was again captured, along with three of his party, Peter Brown, James Gordon and Donald Brown, and all were immediately removed to Banff prison by Duff, under strong escort.

      The four prisoners were brought to trial before Sheriff Nicholas Dunbar and a jury, at Banff, on 7th November, 1700, accused of "being known habit and repute vagabonds, sorrners and Egyptians and keeping ye mercats in yr ordinary manner of thieving and purse-cutting, or, of the crimes of theft and masterful bangstree and oppression." After a trial lasting three days and evidence, led by twenty-one witnesses, the Jury found all four "fyllen, culpable and convick" of the crimes libelled and the Sheriff pronounced sentence as follows: "For sae muckle as you, James Macpherson and James Gordon, pannals, are found guilty by ane verdict of ane assyse to be knowne, holden and repute, to be Egyptians and Vagabonds and Oppressors of his free lieges in ane bangstree manner, and going up and downe the country armed and keeping the mercats in ane hostile manner and that you are thieves and receptors of thieves and that you are of pessima forma; Therefore, the Sheriff Depute of Banff and I, in his name, adjudge and decerns you the s'd James Macpherson and James Gordon to be taken to the cross of Banff from the tollbooth thereof where you now lye and there upon ane gibbet to be erected to be hanged by the neck to the death by the hand of the common executioner upon Friday next being the 16th November instant, being a public weekly mercat day betwixt the hours of between two and three in the afternoon and in the meantime declares their baile, goods and gear to be escheat and inbrought to the fiscall for his interest and so recommends the sentence to be seen put in execution by the Magistrates of Banff."

      The Browns were not sentenced -- John Donaldsone, writer in Banff, on behalf of the Laird of Grant "putting in a claim for repledging the Browns because they were his vassals and subject to his jurisdiction."

      The execution took place on 16th November as ordered and it is interesting to note that this execution was the last capital sentence executed in Scotland under Heritable Jurisdiction.

      It is recorded that Macpherson played the fiddle up to the moment of execution; that he offered it to members of the crowd but no one had the courage to accept it; he therefore broke it over his knee and threw it amongst the crowd with the remark, "No one else shall play Jamie Macpherson's fiddle." It was picked up by a Donald Macpherson and taken by him to Cluny.


(Purchase Price �)
by J. MACDONALD, Curator

                                    Black Chanter of Chattan, now hushed and exhausted,
                                     Thy music was lost with the power of the Gael;
                                     The dread inspiration Macpherson had boasted
                                     For ever expired in Drummossie's sad wail.

      In any reference to the Clan Macpherson possessions in the Museum, pride of place falls to be accorded to the historic Feadan Dubh or Black Chanter bearing the striking inscription, " 'S FHAD O CHUALAS. 'S BUAN A MHAIREAS 'S MOR AD'." That it had been secured at the Sale must have been particularly gratifying to the Clan and to all concerned with the arrangements for acquiring the Relics.

      All Macphersons visiting the Museum profess some knowledge of their Chanter but the popular story that it fell from heaven during a Clan Combat held in the presence of the King and his Nobles, and in which the Clan Macpherson took part, on the North Inch of Perth in 1396, as graphically described by Sir Walter Scott in his Fair Maid of Perth, and that, thereafter, if the Chanter was with the Clan in action, "Macphersons knew not defeat", only touches the fringe of the Chanter's history and its association with the Clan.

      The subject was dealt with by Mr. A. F. Macpherson, the Association Secretary, and Mr. Alan G. Macpherson, former editor of Creag Dhubh, in a searching exposition which appeared in the Southland Issue in 1956 (No. 8) and which, by reason of its importance, is now reproduced for purpose of this series.

The Growth of a Tradition
      By tradition current in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the Black Chanter is associated with the historic clan battle fought on the North Inch of Perth in 1396. There is no reference, however, to pipes or pipers by any of the old chroniclers of the battle: Andrew of Wyntoun, a contemporary historian; Bower and Boece in the fifteenth century; and Bishop Leslie and John Major in the sixteenth century. Wyntoun's Original Chronicle of Scotland was first published and edited in 1795 by David Macpherson, a cousin of Colonel Duncan Macpherson of Cluny, but his copious notes make no mention of the Chanter. Even more significantly there is no reference to the instrument in Sir Aeneas Macpherson of Invereshie's Loyall Dissuasive which was written in 1701 to counter Mackintosh claims to represent Clan Chattan. Nor does the Rev. Lachlan Shaw's History of the Province of Moray, written before 1775, mention it.

      The later history of the Chanter is connected with the Clan Grant, the great body of which occupied Strathspey below Badenoch. Its possession by this clan, however, is not mentioned by any of the Grant


historians, and Dr. I. F. Grant, their most recent writer on the subject, cannot suggest any occasion on which the Chanter might have been borrowed.

      In view of this dearth of early record of the Black Chanter, it is proposed in this article to set out the recent accounts and trace the growth of the literary tradition.

The "Restoration" of the Chanter
      The earliest record of the Black Chanter is found in letters in the Macpherson of Cluny Papers, now in Register House, Edinburgh, once in the Cluny Castle Charter Chest. This correspondence is concerned with the return of the Chanter by Grant of Glenmoriston to Ewan Macpherson of Cluny, the seventeen-year-old Chief, in 1821. The "restoration" was evidently brought about through the good offices of Archibald Fraser of Abertarff, Cluny's cousin and lawyer.

(No. 951, Macpherson of Cluny Papers; Register House, Edinburgh
Letter endorsed 20th Oct. 1821 -- Glenmoriston sending the Chaunter of the Macphersons

                                                                                                                         Invermoriston, 20th Oct. 1821.
My Dear Sir,
      The Chaunter of the Pipe has only now come to my hands by some mistake of my Pipers it was detained at Inverness which I regret as I fear Cluny is by this time gone to Edinburgh.

      The Post is impatient to be forward to Fort Augustus which obliges me to conclude this shortly.

      With best wishes, believe me to remain, My dear Sir,

Yours most truly,
                                                                                                             (Sgd.) JAMES MURRAY GRANT.

                                                                                                                         Kinlochness, 22nd Oct. 1821.
My Dear Sir,
Many thanks for having sent the Chaunter. Its arrival will afford much joy to the young Chief of Clan Chattan. I am sure you will be in great favour with Clan Mhuirich on this account. I have sent the Chaunter over. It will just be in time to reach before he leaves the country. With best wishes to Mrs. Grant, believe me, I remain, my dear Sir,

Yours respectfully,
                                                                                                                         (Sgd.) ARCH. J. F. FRASER.


Letter endorsed "Oct. 1821 - Cluny anent Chaunter"

To Abertarff,
      Restorer of the Chaunter,
           Queeting,                 Fort Augustus.
                                                                                                                         Catlodge, 23rd Oct. 1821.
My Dear Mr. Fraser,
      I am happy to inform you that the Chaunter arrived here last night


in the greatest safety. We are quite convinced of its being the true Chaunter owing to the split up the middle which has been handed down as one of its marks. Beannaich sibhse air son chuir n'am ionsuidh (Bless you for sending it to me). I was exceedingly glad to see an old companion (name indistinct). I assure you his presence created a great deal of joy. I hope to have the satisfaction of hearing from you frequently in Edinburgh for I shall miss you very much this winter. I am very much hurried as we set off in half an hour but still I must have a tune on the Chaunter before leaving. All here unite with me in kindest love to you. I remain, My dear Cousin,

Yours very truly,
                                                                                                                         (Sgd.) EWEN MACPHERSON.

      The following points emerge from the correspondence:
            (i) The Chanter was highly prized by the Clan Macpherson.
            (ii) There was a legend among the Macphersons that it could be identified by "the split up the middle".
      (iii) The Chanter had been out of the possession of the clan throughout living memory.
       (iv) Cluny set great personal store by the return of the Chanter, giving Abertarff the title "Restorer of the Chanter", commenting on its arrival "in the greatest safety", and thanking Abertarff with a Gaelic blessing.
        (v) The Chanter was in the custody of Grant of Glenmoriston's piper in 1821.

      The correspondence therefore provides evidence that for some generations prior to 1821 the Chanter had been in the possession of the Grants of Glenmoriston, a sept of the Clan Grant which lived, not in Strathspey, but to the north of the Great Glen. It also proves that the "split up the middle" belongs to the time when it was in the original possession of the Clan Macpherson.

Sir Walter Scott and the Chanter
      The next appearance of the Chanter in the literary record is in Sir Walter Scott's Fair Maid of Perth, published in 1828. The novel includes the Clan Fight on the North Inch at Perth, described with all the vividness of the great novelist's imagination. The bald and condensed accounts of the fight in the writings of the old chroniclers are abandoned amid a wealth of detail for which there is no historical authenticity. Sir Walter introduces among the participants the standard-bearers and pipers of the rival clans, and describes the Clan Chattan piper as playing "the pibroch of his clan" to encourage his fellows while he himself was dying of mortal wounds. Sir Walter ends this incident with the comment:
      " . . . The instrument which he used, or at least that part of it called the chanter, is preserved in the family of a Highland Chief to this day and is much honoured under the name of the Federan (sic) Dhu or Black Chanter." Sir Walter was, of course, acquainted with the young Chief of the Macphersons, and had perhaps seen the pipe on its arrival in Edinburgh in the autumn of 1821. Their acquaintance was such that


it was Cluny that gave the Laird of Abbotsford the great deerhound "Bran", descendant of a breed that had been raised by the Lairds of Cluny for at least a century and a half.

      The novelist adds to his account an explanatory footnote which may in part derive from conversation with young Cluny, but which also smacks of the novelist's invention:

      "The present Cluny Macpherson, Chief of his clan, is in possession of this ancient trophy of their presence at the North Inch. Another account of it is given by a tradition which says that an aerial minstrel appeared over the heads of Clan Chattan, and having played some wild strains, let the instrument drop from his hand. Being made of glass , it was broken by the fall excepting only the chanter, which as usual was of lignum vitae. The Macpherson piper secured this enchanted pipe and the possession of it is still considered as insuring the prosperity of the clan."

      It would appear that Sir Walter presents two "traditions", one of a natural origin, the second of a supernatural origin. His evidence can be summarised as follows:
        (i) The Chanter was associated with the Fight on the North Inch.
       (ii) Its possession was a guarantee of prosperity.
      (iii) It was made of lignum vitae "as usual", that is, like most pipes of the eighteenth century with which Sir Walter was familiar.

      This last piece of information, if correct, discounts the possibility of the pipe ever having been played at the North Inch in 1396. Lignum vitae is the wood of the tree Guaiacum officinale, which grows only in tropical South America and the West Indies.

The Chanter Loaned to the Grants
      James Logan, in his Scottish Gael, published in 1831, adds material to the literary record which was largely independent of Sir Walter Scott's account. In his chapter on "The Music of the Gael" (Stewart's Edition, Vol. II, pp. 307, 308), Logan mentions that there is an ancient and celebrated pipe in the possession of the Chief of Clan Chattan, known as the Feadan Dubh or Black Chanter, concerning which various curious particulars are recorded. He proceeds, "The Chanter is believed to possess some charm or supernatural virtue which insures prosperity to its owners and their connection. It is this instrument which Sir Walter Scott mentions as having fallen from the clouds during the conflict on the North Inch of Perth in 1396. It appears to have been taken from the vanquished party at that fiercely contested battle." This forms a third "tradition" of its origin which may only in fact have occurred to Logan from Sir Walter's calling it a "trophy".

      Logan is the first writer to throw some light on the later history of the Chanter associating it with the Clan Grant. He recounts the story of a humiliating defeat suffered by a large party of Strathspey Grants near Aviemore at the hands of three MacDonalds of Glen Coe, who were cattle lifting in Strathspey. The entire clan of the Grants of Strathspey were disheartened by this affair, and "in order to reanimate them their Chief sent to Cluny for the loan of the Feadan Dubh, the notes


of which could infallibly rouse every latent spark of valour. Cluny is said to have lent it without hesitation, saying his men stood in no need of it. How long it remained with them at this time does not appear, but after it had been restored the Grants again received it and it remained with them until 1821, when Grant of Glenmoriston presented it to Ewen Macpherson of Cluny, the present worthy Chief" At this point in his account Logan inserts a note to the effect that Cluny had written to the author on the subject, the implication being that this information derived from Cluny. As Logan was collecting material for his book in the Highlands from 1826 onwards, his account is of the same date as Sir Walter's.

The Charm of Glenmoriston
      Logan was evidently puzzled as to how the Chanter passed from the possession of the neighbouring Grants of Strathspey into the hands of the distant Grants of Glen Moriston. He speculates: "It is probable that the last loan of this Chanter was made to the Grants of Glenmoriston who had no doubt observed the happy effects of its possession among their brethren in Strathspey."His comment on this even is more illuminating in view of further evidence on this point from another source: "This clan had however an opinion of their own prowess that would seem to render it improbable they should require such aid."

      In Andrew Lang's edition of The Highlands of Scotland in 1750 (page 111) -- the report of an anonymous government spy who was very conversant with Highland traditions -- there is mention of a charm used by the people of Glen Moriston:
            " . . . Before they went to the rebellion 1715 they practised a Charm to make them invulnerable .... Before they went out to the late Rebellion (1745) they used the same Charm and boasted that their small company could destroy all the King's forces, and that it was not possible for any weapon to hurt them; their disappointment was as great as their prepossession, for a smaller proportion of this clan return'd home than any other."

      It will be noted that Logan wrote of the Chanter possessing "some charm or supernatural virtue", and if it was to the Chanter that the spy of 1750 referred it means that Logan missed the point. The vaunted prowess of the Glen Moriston folk was due to their possession of the Chanter, not a reason for their dispensing with it. A further point emerges if the "Charm" of 1750 is identified with the Chanter: the potent pipe was in the possession of the Grants before 1715. This corroborates the tenour of the "Restoration Correspondence" of 1821, which suggests that the instrument had been out of the possession of the Macphersons beyond living memory.

The Fate of Cluny
      Logan's later account of the Chanter in Mclan's Costumes of the Clans, published in 1845, simply states that "the prosperity of the House of Cluny is popularly believed to be dependent on its preservation, and it is not doubted by all true clansmen that it is the veritable


instrument which fell from heaven to supply the loss of that used by the piper at the battle of Perth." Thus the efficacy of the pipe is now directed at the fate of the Chief's family rather than of the whole clan. This constitutes a new departure in the "tradition" which is repeated by Grant R. Francis in his Romance of the White Rose, and by Ewan L. Cheyne-Macpherson in an article on "The Luck of Clan Mhuirich" in the Clan Chattan Journal (Vol. III, No. 4, 1955). Cheyne-Macpherson instances two cases where the absence of the Chanter spelled disaster for the House of Cluny; the temporary ruin of the family after the 'Forty-Five, and the final sale of Cluny Castle in 1943 after the removal of the Chanter to the Judicial Factor's office in Edinburgh in 1934.

Celtic Saints and a Stolen Chanter
      With the publication of W. G. Stewart's Lectures on the Mountains in 1860 two new and startling departures in the "tradition" of the Black Chanter emerge. Of its origin he wrote:
           "Among the relics shown at Cluny Castle there is a small chanter or whistle called the Feadan Dubh, said to have been consecrated or blessed by St. Columba or St. Ciaran, of most enchanting influences. . . . The Feadan Dubh of the Clan Chattan exercised its spells ... in securing victory to the . . . heroes who contended for victory over contending foes. And it would appear that in the renowned and desperate combat on the North Inch of Perth, anno 1396, between two branches of Clan Chattan, the Macphersons and the Davidsons, the Feadan Dubh was carried off by the victors, the Macphersons, and has been the property of that clan for nearly five centuries."

      Stewart, like Scott and Logan, was acquainted with the Victorian chief, and may have got some of his information from him. The reference to the two Celtic saints, which takes the Chanter back to the beginning of Christianity in the Highlands in the sixth century, seems far-fetched despite the legendary ecclesiastical origins of the chiefs of Clan Chattan. Stewart, like Logan, implies that the pipe belonged to the opponents of the Macphersons at the North Inch, now generally accepted as having been the Clan Cameron, not the small sept of the Davidsons of Badenoch. [Not by the Macphersons it isn't! -- RM]

      The second departure from the earlier "tradition" of Scott and Logan introduces the idea that the Chanter was stolen from the Macphersons and restored in 1821 as stolen property. Stewart asserts: " . . . the valuable properties of the Feadan Dubh made it an object of speculation on the part of contemporary clans, naturally anxious for the possession of a warlike instrument, which, however puny in its bore, was more than a match for 'Mons Meg' in the field. And we have reason to know that after having been 'missing and a prisoner' more than once in the possession of some neighbouring clans, the present worthy chieftain of the Grants of Glenmoriston, no doubt influenced by compunction of conscience in having in his possession property not honestly come by, of such sacred value, about thirty years ago returned the treasure to its legitimate owner, the present accomplished chief of the Clan Chattan Macpherson."


      It is obvious from the tone of Stewart's account that he is merely speculating, and that the story of a stolen chanter gains little credence.

      Grant Francis, a most inaccurate writer wherever he touches Macpherson history, alleges that the Chanter was stolen by Grant of Glen Moriston before 1745, and subsequently restored to Cluny by Grant of Grant. Francis had no foundation whatever for these assertions, and they can safely be dismissed as of no account.

The Cracks and a Crystal Chanter
      Alexander Macpherson, the Provost of Kingussie and Factor of Cluny, adds an entirely new layer to the "tradition" of the Black Chanter in his Glimpses of Church and Social Life in the Highlands, published in 1893. He records that "of the many singular traditions regarding the Black Chanter one is that its original fell from heaven during the memorable Clan Battle fought on the North Inch of Perth in 1396, and that being made of crystal, it was broken by the fall and the existing one made in facsimile. Another tradition is to the effect that this is the genuine original and that the cracks were occasioned by its violent contact with the ground." The "crystal tradition" seems to be a rather pointless variant of Scott's story that the supernatural pipes were of glass apart from the chanter itself. Alexander Macpherson, of course, was very familiar with the pipe and its traces of apparent damage.

A Chanter Spoiled in the Making
      The last writer seriously to consider the Black Chanter was W. L. Manson in his Highland Bagpipe, published in 1901. After repeating Scott's supernatural version almost word for word and adding Macpherson's facsimile version and Logan's account of its possession by the Grants he goes on to debunk the "tradition": " . . . we do not of course believe in this phase of the supernatural nowadays, and it has been irreverently asserted that this particular chanter will not play, that a piper of Cluny's who was in the service of the Chief for seven years testified to this, and that it is nothing more nor less than a chanter that has been spoiled in the making." It will be noted that this most unromantic theory of its origin emanated from one of Cluny's pipers and not from Manson, although Manson as a serious student of the bagpipe naturally favours it. The Black Chanter cannot be dismissed so lightly, however, for in recent years it has been played by Hugh Macpherson, the Vice-Chairman, at the opening of the Clan House in 1952. His comment was that it sounded, but not properly. It can be presumed, therefore, that young Ewen of Cluny was able to "have a tune" as he intended before he left Catlodge for Edinburgh on the 23rd October 1821.

      In conclusion, it can be said that the legend of the Black Chanter at the North Inch must be doubted if the wood is of South American origin, while the tradition of its possession by Clan Grant can be accepted as being substantially true. Its real origin must probably be assigned to the late sixteenth or seventeenth century, before the downfall of the Glencoe MacDonalds in the Massacre, of 1692.


(Purchase Price �7)
by J. MACDONALD, Curator

                                                             In the land of the Macphersons
                                                             Where the Spey's wide waters flow,
                                                             In the land where Royal Charlie
                                                             Knew his best friend in his woe.

      This imposing exhibit, although not of ancient origin in relation to some of the Relics, is a subject of much interest and admiration. Placed in a position where it is clearly visible from outwith the Museum it acts as a magnet in attracting passers-by. It was presented to "Old Cluny" the 20th Chief and Lady Cluny -- Sarah Justina Davidson -- by Clansmen and Friends on the occasion of their Golden Wedding in 1882. It stands four feet high and weighs 700 ounces of pure silver. It was made by James Aitchison of Edinburgh to the design of Clark Stanton, A.R.S.A., and represents a sturdy oak tree growing from Highland soil. Nine branches spring from the tree with fitting for a large fruit bowl at the top. Each of the nine branches supports a fixture for holding a crystal flower vase or candlestick. The base has been designed to be in keeping with the Celtic sentiment of the occasion. It bears on one side the combined Arms of Cluny Macpherson and Davidson with supporters, crest and motto and on the other side a shield with the following inscription in Gaelic and English: "Presented, along with an illuminated address, to Cluny Macpherson, C.B., and Lady Cluny on the occasion of their Golden Wedding by their Friends and Clansmen. 20th December 1882." At the foot of the tree is arranged a group which represents one of the most striking and characteristic episodes in the life of the famous Cluny of the '45; with Sir Hector Munro, an equestrian figure in the uniform of a British officer, and a statuette of Cluny, in kilt, facing up to him defiantly and accepting a coin from Sir Hector's outstretched hand. As no authentic picture of Cluny of the '45 was available the artist adopted the features of "Old Cluny" for the statuette.

      The occasion depicted by this masterpiece of the silversmith's art is referred to by the 19th Chief of the Clan -- "Duncan of the Kiln", the son of Cluny of the '45 -- in the following excerpt from a letter by him, dated 9th June 1817, from Cluny Castle, to Colonel Stewart of Garth putting on record, at the request of Colonel Stewart, the experiences of his father after the Battle of Culloden and the many unsuccessful efforts to effect his capture during the nine years he was a fugitive in the Macpherson country:

      "My father remained in Badenoch nine years after the Battle of Culloden, during which period every exertion was made to apprehend him, and a reward of a Thousand Guineas and a Company, offered to any person that would take him, Dead or Alive. What is rather extraordinary, after a lapse of six or seven years, instead of relaxing, they actually redoubled their Vigilance, and placed a Detachment of Soldiers in almost every Town in the Parishes of


Laggan and Kingussie, a Measure so strongly resembling that adopted previous to the Massacre of Glencoe, as to induce some timid people to quit the country. The late Sir Hector Munro (then an Ensign in the Army) had been selected for this service, as an active officer who understood the language, and his conduct afterwards proved him fully qualified for such a Command. To enumerate the various attempts that Sir Hector and other Officers made would fill a volume. I shall therefore only instance One or Two Specimens, by which you will perceive that it required more than ordinary Abilities on the part of my Father, and unbounded Attachment on the part of his Clan to protect him under such circumstances, for so long a period."

Of the incident in question, Cluny writes:       "My father was at Cluny, in a small House inhabited by the family after the castle was burned, when the House was suddenly surrounded by a Party of Soldiers (Red Coats as they were then called) commanded by Ensign Munro, whose information was so correct, and managed matters so secretly that there was no possibility of my Father's making his Escape, but in this Emergency, his presence of mind did not forsake him, and he stood firm and collected in himself, and altho' he saw himself on the brink of Destruction, and falling into the hands of his Persecutors, by which he must suffer an ignominous death, he deliberately stept into the Kitchen, where a servant man was sifting and exchanged clothes with him, all of which was the work of a few moments, and when the Officer commanding the Party rode up to the Door, he, without any hesitation, ran out, held the Stirrup while dismounting; walked the Horse about while the Officer was in the House, and when he came out again, held the Stirrup to him to mount; on which the Officer asked him if he knew where Cluny was, he answered, he did not, and if he did, he would not tell him; when the Officer replied, I believe you would not, You are a good fellow, Here is a shilling for you. It is true that he possessed Vigilance and foresight in a very extraordinary degree, and many instances might be related to prove that he had an extensive knowledge of human nature; yet the result proved that all his precautions with respect to his Own Clan were unnecessary, for during the Nine Years of his Outlawry, only one Man attempted to betray him, and that Man was obliged to fly the Country and never afterwards returned."

      The foregoing account of the incident may be accepted as substantially correct. There is an impression that the search for Cluny and other fugitives was not pressed as hard as it might have been. It has been suggested by visitors it was unlikely that, in the circumstances, Sir Hector did not pierce Cluny's disguise; that, whatever his original intentions had been, he had refrained from effecting Cluny's capture from an inborn sense of Highland sentiment. On that point the letter from "Duncan of the Kiln" to Colonel Stewart, in which several instances of narrow escapes by his father are recounted, is prefaced by,


"I have my information from a person who was well known to possess a strong Memory of undoubted Veracity and who was himself an Eye Witness to many of the circumstances that I am about to relate."


      When, in 1955, Creag Dhubh gave news of the presentation to the Museum of The Memoirs of the Chevalier Johnstone, little was said about the actual writer whose memoirs are one of the most valuable of all contemporary accounts of the 'Forty-Five.

      Johnstone was the mildly dissipated son of an Edinburgh merchant, with close connections with some of the best Scottish families. With a view, apparently, to breaking him away from the somewhat "fast" set with which he was involved, his father sent him to Russia, where he stayed with two uncles for a while before returning to Edinburgh where he took up much the same sort of life as he had left.

      In politics he was Jacobite and in religion he was Episcopalian. It was natural, therefore, that he should show sympathy with the Prince's cause. He, however, showed far more determination than the majority of the Prince's sympathisers in the south, for he was one of the first to join the Royal forces after news of the Prince's landing had reached Edinburgh.

      For the first time his influential relations proved of advantage to him, and he obtained, through them, an introduction to Lord George Murray who appointed him to be his aide-de-camp. Shortly after he was appointed assistant aide-de-camp to the Prince himself and he served in these dual capacities until after Prestonpans, when he raised a company for the Royal service, with the rank of captain, and took service in the Duke of Perth's regiment.

      Johnstone took an active part in the entire campaign until Culloden, after which disaster he followed a most exciting course of narrow escapes, amorous dallying and sheer determination of purpose which finally brought him to exile in Holland. Pressure was brought by the English government upon that of Holland, to surrender all Scottish refugees who had escaped to the Netherlands. It became apparent that the Dutch intended to yield to the English demands, and Johnstone found himself again compelled to make an escape. This time he went to France and, finding life in straitened circumstances uncongenial, he engaged in the French army and served in Canada where, as A.D.C. to Montcalm, it seems that he showed military talents which aroused no small amount of praise.

      After the British conquest of Canada, he returned to France where, in spite of his services to his adopted country, an ungrateful government allowed him to end his life in poverty.

      The memoirs were apparently written subsequently to the Canadian campaigns, and the passage of time accounts for some inaccuracies which occur. These inaccuracies are mainly numerical - his reckoning of distances is often wildly far from the mark and his estimation of the




numbers of men in the field is often contradicted by other, more accurate information. For all this, however, the memoirs of the Chevalier Johnstone remain of enormous importance, and this not only to the historian of the Jacobite movement. His account of social life, both in Scotland and in France, and his comments on contemporary conditions are most interesting, often pungent and prejudiced (but nane the waur o' that!) and valuable.

      The manuscript's history was detailed in Creag Dhubh in 1955. In its possession the Clan Association has indeed a treasure whose value is beyond price. In its display, in the Clan Museum, Brigadier-General Alexander Duncan Macpherson, in whose memory it was presented, has a lasting memorial amongst his clansmen and far beyond the Clan amongst the thousands of visitors who, each year, read the inscription which recounts the circumstances of its presentation.


[A follow-up article providing more details about Samuel and his cousin Malcolm is printed in CD16 beginning on page 15. It also provides the names of other Macphersons who were involved in the Black Watch Mutiny of 1743.]

      An old print, bearing the name of Corporal Samuel Macpherson, hangs on the West wall of the Clan Museum [It has hung on the South wall since the Museum was reconfigured in 1984. However, it has been replaced by a coloured reproduction of the original which was obtained from the Black Watch Museum at Perth in 2003]. It is well worth a second view - not for any artistic merit that it may possess, for it possesses none, but because it is the only likeness that we possess of a most extraordinary military genius of the early 18th century.

      Four years after the independent companies of the Highland Watch had been formed into a single regiment, they were ordered to march to London. Thence they were to have been posted to join the British army which was then on active service in Germany. The men I were gravely perturbed at these orders, for their terms of service had led them to believe that their work was to keep them in Scotland and that they were not to be employed on foreign service. Their doubts were, however, to some measure removed by a lying pronouncement to the effect that they were not to be posted to the Continent, but that their march to London was no more than an expression of the regiment's loyalty, as the King had expressed the wish to see his new forces and desired to review them personally.

      On arrival at London, the regiment went into quarters at Highgate and immediately their former doubts were renewed regarding the good faith of the authorities who had brought them south. Far from the King wishing to review them, he was not even in the country but had crossed to Europe some days earlier. However soft-soap and fair words were again applied to them and they made ready for a parade which was to be held on the King's birthday, the 14th May 1743.

      On that day, Lord Sempill's Highland Regiment, as it was then named, was inspected by General Wade, on Finchley Common. A huge crowd gathered to watch the parade and a contemporary report describes it as being the greatest concourse of people ever seen on such an occasion. It appears that the sight of Highlanders in their native dress was indeed something of a show for Londoners, for reference is made to the "novelty of the sight". A journal of the time says that,


      "The Highlanders made a very handsome appearance, and went through their exercise and firing with the utmost exactness."So the King's birthday passed off quietly and well and the men expected then to return to Scotland, having fulfilled the mission for which they had come to London.

      It soon became apparent that first doubts of governmental good faith had been only too well-founded. Once more orders came out that the regiment was to proceed overseas. Convinced that law and right was on their side, some 150 N.C.O.s and men of the Watch formed up and commenced to march northward, leaving London soon after midnight on the night of 17/18 May.

      Immediately their absence was reported, a most amazing panic spread through England. It was feared that appalling acts of savagery were likely to be perpetrated by the wild, uncivilised mountaineers, and proclamations were issued throughout the southern kingdom offering, amongst other things, a reward of forty shillings for every captured deserter.

      Meanwhile the Watch made good their advance towards home. The man responsible for their conduct was Corporal Samuel Macpherson whose name, together with that of his brother [cousin] -- Ed.], now comes to the fore. He had seen to it that each man marched out from London carrying all that he would need for the journey and bringing, too, his arms and fourteen rounds of ball ammunition for each man. With his forces thus armed and prepared, Corporal Macpherson led them in complete military order and discipline, showing no ordinary degree of skill and strategy in selecting their route and in making good their advance in the face of the opposition which was certain to be met. They marched generally by night and followed a route which led between the two great highways to the north, pushing forward with great speed and halting only in strong defensive positions. When marching by day, Corporal Macpherson again directed his route according to military needs. His way led in a zig-zag rather than due north, as he suited his march rather to military needs than to any ill-considered plan of taking the shortest way home -- which would, inevitably have led to interception and disaster. One result of this strategy of varied marches was that the troops who pursued the Highlanders were completely in the dark as to their movements, for reports of their route and direction of march were extremely contradictory. It was, in fact, not for seven days that reliable information reached London. And by that time the Watch was well on its road north.

      The task of interception was given to General Blakeney, who commanded the north-east district and who appointed Captain Ball to take charge of a large party of cavalry with express orders to intercept the Highlanders who, by the 21st May, were across the River Nen and in Northamptonshire, near Wellingborough. Captain Ball reported that he anticipated that they would proceed through Rutland and he was therefore taking up a good position at Uppingham, on the county border. General Blakeney himself took post with a strong force at Stamford. However, Corporal Macpherson again showed his military skill


by encamping in a thick wood, amongst some prehistoric earthworks near Oundle, in a position which was unassailable by the cavalry opposed to him.

      At this stage we find a new name appearing -- that of an English magistrate named Creed. He was evidently a man of no small degree of personal courage for, notwithstanding the alarming tales of the Highlanders ferocity and savagery which were current, he went to their camp and endeavoured to persuade them to surrender. Macpherson refused to do so unless a promise of complete pardon were granted. Creed had not the authority to supply this, but drew up a "treaty" whereby he agreed to write to the Duke of Montague, Master-General of the Ordnance, stating the Highlanders' grievances and their requirements. He agreed, too, to communicate with the military authorities to ensure that the Watch should not be interfered with during the course of negotiations. For his part, Corporal Macpherson agreed to remain where he was. Creed wrote the required letters, in the presence of the Highlanders, and they were immediately despatched.

      Once again, and this time finally, the bad faith of authority was manifested. Captain Ball brought down his troops and ordered instant surrender to military strength. Macpherson replied that he was already dealing with the civil authorities and referred Captain Ball to Mr. Creed to whom he wrote, very temperately, in reference to their discussions and terms of agreement. Creed, too, now joined the forces of ill-faith and replied only by urging instant surrender. And so matters remained for the time being. Macpherson, still honouring his word in spite of all that had passed, remained in position; whilst Captain Ball, finding that cavalry were useless, sent to General Blakeney for infantry reinforcements. He also agreed to meet the Highlanders who showed him the strength of their position under parole. This parole he broke -- in spirit, if not in actual deed -- for he made specious promises to the men who were detailed to guard him on his return and persuaded them to surrender to him, promising complete pardon. This promise was passed on to the remainder of the Highlanders who believed it, took the word of "an officer and a gentleman" and, that night, surrendered to General Blakeney.

      Alas for promises -- made by civil authority, by subordinate officer and by military commander! In flagrant breach of the guarantees that had been given, Corporal Macpherson was delivered to court martial, together with his brother [cousin -- Ed.] and a private named [Farquar} Shaw. All [three] were condemned to death, and were killed by a firing-squad on 12th July, in the presence of their comrades who, as we are told in a contemporary account, "joined in prayer with great earnestness". This account goes on to say that they were put into coffins by three of their clansmen and namesakes -- so there must have been other Macphersons there -- and were buried in one grave near the place of execution.

      That military authority, in some cases, held high opinions of Corporal Macpherson is shown by the fact that Lord John Murray, who later commanded the Watch, had portraits of the two brothers hung up in his dining room. Civilian opinion also swung round, largely by reason


of the extraordinary discipline and temperance displayed by the whole body in their march northwards. It is reported that their march was compared to the retreat of the Ten Thousand, and Corporal Macpherson was looked upon as a second Xenophon. These belated expressions of regard, however, came too late to save from death a man who was, obviously, possessed of quite extraordinary talents as a leader, an organiser and a tactician. His only fault -- if fault it was -- is that he was a gentleman and so trusted in the word of other "gentlemen" whose claim to the title was less surely founded in character.


      It would be most unfitting that an issue of the Journal, devoted mainly to the Clan House, should not contain some expression of the Association's gratitude to our Curator for the wonderful work that he does on our behalf in receiving visitors to Clan House and in showing them round the Museum with an enthusiasm and a deep affection for all things connected with Badenoch in general and with the Clan in particular, both of which he has the great gift of being able to communicate to those whom he meets.

      Some measure of his success may be judged from the ever-growing numbers of visitors who come each year to see the Museum and from the numbers who visit in one year and make a point of coming back again in subsequent years. Further measure - not apparent to most of us -- is the volume of the correspondence which Mr. Mcdonald receives, all through the year, from all over the world, from people seeking information regarding the Museum and its exhibits.

      Who is James Macdonald? So many people ask this. That they do not receive much satisfaction in reply is due to the fact that they almost always ask the wrong person. They address their question to James himself -- and the man who is so eloquent in discussing everything from the history of the Clan's exhibits, the traditions of Badenoch and the tragedy of the disappearance of Gaelic right down to Newtonmore's chances of winning the shinty cup next year, is remarkably silent about himself. It is no good asking him. The query must be addressed to any resident of Newtonmore if an answer is wanted, and answers will be forthcoming in no small measure -- for James Macdonald is, without doubt, one of the most respected and most beloved characters of the township.

      At his Golden Wedding celebrations, in June 1962, the editor and his wife were privileged to be included amongst the gathering of family friends who joined to congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Macdonald, when telegrams of congratulations were received from no fewer than six local organisations in which he is actively at work and also from the Clan Association. After the celebration, the Badenoch Record published a short account of his career. We have the permission of the editor of that paper to reprint a part of this account, which tells something of the life, eventful, varied and not lacking in honour which James Macdonald has led, in loyal and distinguished service to his country and to the community. Long may he live to continue his grand work.

Buaidh agus piseach oirbh, S[h]eumas

The Badenoch Record


An Active Career
      James Macdonald is the youngest member and is now the sole survivor of an old Badenoch family -- that of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Macdonald, who, each at an advanced age, died in Sherwood, Newtonmore. It was his choice and fortune to be a man of action through a long life. After service as a young volunteer in the Boer War, he joined the Ayrshire Police Force in May 1902. Rapid promotion brought him to the rank of Detective Inspector, and the fateful year 1914 found him Chief Constable of Arbroath. After service in France as an officer in the Cameron Highlanders, in which he was wounded, he resumed police duties.

      In 1935 Mr. Macdonald was awarded the M.B.E., and, in 1942, for special war-time duties, the O.B.E. was conferred upon him. The decorations were presented by the reigning monarchs, King George V and King George VI, at Buckingham Palace, Mrs. Macdonald being present.

Present Pursuits
      It is, of course, well known that old soldiers -- and old policemen -- never die and that their activity, mental and physical, is only slowly eroded by the rolling years. Back in Badenoch and in the post of Curator of the Clan Macpherson Museum and Library, James holds a judicious balance between Clan Donald and Clan Pherson. In numerous contributions to the Record he has not yet revealed his opinion as to which is on top, but we suspect that if twelve of each tartan met on the Eilan in their kilts and with drawn camans, Mr. Mac would be shouting for his own people!

      Mr. Macdonald, who had for many years been actively associated with Boys' Brigade training, has, since returning to his native village, continued his interest in youth by supervising and tutoring young golfers. Mrs. Macdonald is the only survivor of a well-known North Ayrshire family.


                                                 Ninety villages in the strath,
                                                      Church and homestead, croft and school
                                                      Gentle life and a gentle rule
                                                 Perished before the Southron's wrath.
                                                      Powder, steel and a flaming brand
                                                      And the towns were ravished in Cluny's land.

                                                 Six hundred men from farm and ward,
                                                      Stalwart limb and steadfast eye
                                                      As Bratach Uaine was carried by,
                                                 Warrior, farmer, piper, bard --
                                                      Slain at a butcher duke's command,
                                                      And the manhood perished in Cluny's land.


                                                 The salmon turn from the river's mouth,
                                                      Trellised wires festoon the sky,
                                                      Lochan and allt and bum run dry
                                                 That current may flow to the greedy south.
                                                      Starkly the steel and the concrete stand
                                                      And power is drained from Cluny's land.

                                                 But scattered sons of the Highland race
                                                      Wait for a leader to bring them back,
                                                      To build the walls and to clear the track
                                                 And to stand once more in their fathers' place;
                                                      That the ruined townships again may stand
                                                      And the Clan come home into Cluny's land.



      Many ruins of deserted townships can be found in the glens and on the hillsides of Badenoch, but Ruthven is unique in that, in spite of its size and comparative importance, it has completely disappeared.

     It was a village of some antiquity, being one of the few places mentioned by Ptolemy in his account of Britain in 140 A.D. The name is from the Gaelic Ruadhainn, the red place, from its ferruginous deposits. By an act of 1685 the name was ordered to be changed to the Burgh of St. George, and the castle to be St. George's Castle, but the change was never carried out.

      As can be seen from the Plan, the bulk of the village centred round the crossroads, where the farmhouse and its outbuildin