14   15Drumminard is a pseudonym for
Prof. Alan G. Macpherson

Office-Bearers    2
The Rally, 1953    4
Clan Macpherson House and Museum.   7
Letters to the Editor    8
Programme for 1954.    9
Funding Progress Report   10
The Pipers Agreement  11
Letter from OV Cameron Depot, QOCH  11
Sir John Macpherson, Bart. -- Governor-General of India.
by J.E. Macpherson
Photograph of Loch Laggan in Winter  13
Photograph of Newtonmore from the Golf Course   14
Portrait of Sir John Macpherson, Bart. -- Governor-General of India.
A Young Pipe Major from Canada.
List of Subscriptions to the Fundraising Appeal   16
The Account of Breakachy and Benchar's Journey to France, 1764
by Alan G. Macpherson
An American Visitor from Connecticutt  21
The East of Scotland Branch Dinner  22
CMA Financial Reports.   24
The Badenoch Crofter by "Drumminard"  26
Macphersons of Edinburgh Strathspey   28
In Far-off, Forgotten Days -- the Townships of Creag Beag  29
Obituary.   31
Reports from Branches  33
Photograph and short Bio of Lt. Col. Cluny Macpherson, C.M.G., M.D.   36a
Photograph of North of Scotland Branch Burns' Supper   36b
Additions to the Membership List to 31st December 1953  42
Notices   51

---------------------------------------------------------------- 0---------------------------------------------------------------

Masthead No. 6      1954



Hon. President:
Chief of the Clan. Hon. Vice-President:
Lt.-Col. A. K. MACPHERSON of Pitmain. M.V.O.,
Senior Chieftain of the Clan
25 Castle Road, Oatlands Park, Weybridge, Surrey

Rt. Hon. Lord MACPHERSON of Drumochter,
Fairstead, Great Warley, Brentwood, Essex.



Chairman :
Major NIALL MACPHERSON, M.P., High Larch, Iver Heath, Bucks.

Vice-Chairman :
HUGH MACPHERSON, F.S.A Scot, Balnagarrow, Glebe Road, Cramond

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

Hon. Treasurer :
ALLAN G. MACPHERSON, Tigh-Tiorail, 32 Crown Drive, Inverness

Registrar :
NORMAN L. MACPHERSON, 44 Berridale Avenue, Cathcart, Glasgow, S.4.

Editor of the Clan Annual
ROBERT MACPHERSON, M.B.E., 41 Dovecot Road, Corstorphine, Edinburgh, 12




DONALD MACPHERSON57 Dulnain Road, Inverness
EAST OF SCOTLAND- D. STEWART MACPHERSON, M.B., F.R.C.S.22 Learmonth Crescent, Edinburgh, 4.
WEST OF SCOTLAND- Colonel ALLAN I. MACPHERSONPoltalloch, Kilmartin, Argyllshire

HAMISH MACPHERSON,1356 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, S.1,
The Cleave, Bideford, Devon.

J. GORDON MACPHERSON,Normans, Great Warley, Brentwood, Essex.
CANADA- Lt. Col. Cluny Macpherson, C.M.C., M.D. St. John's, Newfoundland

O.B.E., F.R.S.A., F.R.G.S.,
80 Ontario Avenue, Ottawa.
SOUTHLAND- JOHN MACPHERSON26 Charles St, Invercargill.

E.M. MACPHERSON,64 Louisa St, Invercargill.
CANTERBURY- F.W.J. MURDOCK MACPHERSON267 Burnside Road, Christchurch.
U.S.A. Mrs ALBERTA MACPHERSON-COSTELLO371 East 21st St, Brooklyn, NY.

Clan Piper :. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ANGUS MACPHERSON, Invershin.

Junior Piper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .DONALD MACPHERSON, Clydebank

Hon. Auditor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .KENNETH N. McPHERSON, C.A., Edinburgh.


The Rally, 1953
pages 4-6


Clan Macpherson House and Museum
By Norman L. Macpherson
pp 7-8


Letter to the Editor

Programme for 1954 Rally

Progress on the Funding of the Clan House and Museum


      It is thought that the following document, although not of historical importance, might be of interest to the members of the Association. It is one of the Cluny papers which are being examined by the Historical Documents Committee and is the Contract of Employment entered into between John Macpherson, the Piper at Cluny, and the late Ewen Macpherson of Cluny in 1818, shortly, after the Chief had succeeded his father, Duncan of The Kiln. Judging by the numerous duties undertaken by the Piper, he must have been a man of great versatility. Apparently, the duties of Ground Officer or Factor, Forester, Gamekeeper and Gardener were undertaken, in addition to his duties as Piper, but it may perhaps be inferred that he was only expected to act in a supervisory capacity so far as some of these additional duties were concerned.

                                                                                                     AGREEMENT with John Macpherson,
                                                                                                          the Piper at Cluny, commencing
                                                                                                          the 26th day of May 1818.
1st.    To perform all the duties of Ground Officer on the Estate of Cluny.
2nd.  To perform all the duties of Woodkeeper on, the Plantings of Cluny, the woods of Loch Laggan, Catlodge and Loch Coultry and the Slochd.
3rd.  To look after the game of Cluny, Dalnashelg, Tullohira and Bialidbeg and prevent poaching.
4th. His wife to attend to the great House according to the written instructions to be given to her by Mrs Macpherson of Cluny.
5th. To sell the fruit of the garden to the best advantage for Mrs Macpherson and to account to her or to any person appointed by her for the money produced by the sale thereof.
6th. To keep the Flower Borders in the garden free from weeds and regularly delved and to cover the sparrow grass, sea kale and artichokes with horse dung the beginning of every winter.
                                                                                                     (Signed) JOHN MCPHERSON.
(No. 716 Macpherson of Cluny Collection, Register House, Edinburgh.)

      Major N. C. Baird, O.B.E., Officer Commanding, Cameron Depot, the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, Inverness, has sent, us copies of a booklet which, among other things, emphasises the claims of his, regiment on Clansmen having connections with Inverness-shire. He has asked us to direct the attention of any younger male members joining Her Majesty's Forces, either as Regulars or for National Service, to the traditions of the Cameron Highlanders and how they would be welcomed, if they elected to join this famous Highland Regiment.

      The Officer Commanding would be happy to send fuller details and .also a copy of the Booklet to any man interested.


Sir JOHN MACPHERSON, Bart., Governor-General of India
      Thanks to the generosity of the writer's friends, W. A. Robertson, Esq., C.M.G., and the Misses Robertson, now of Wendover, Buckinghamshire, an important historical relic has become the property of the Clan and will shortly be added to the exhibits at the Clan House, Newtonmore. It is a miniature portrait, painted in colour on ivory and mounted in gold, of Sir John Macpherson, Bart., GovernorGeneral of India, 1785/6.

      Sir John is depicted as blue-eyed and fresh coloured, with a very open countenance and regular features. He is wearing a gay silk coat of bright pink and a white cravat, and gives the impression of a cheerful personality with a strong sense of humour, and one who did not let the cares of office weigh too heavily on his spirit. As can be seen from the illustration, he is wearing his own hair, highly powdered in the fashion of the day, showing as white, but, from the sample plaited and enclosed under glass in the back of the miniature, its natural colour was fair to gold. As will be seen, he must have been forty years old when it was painted.

      The portrait is fully authenticated as it has been continuously in the possession of the Robertson family and their Macleod ancestors, one of whom was aunt to Sir John.

      The following extract from " The History of the Macleods shows. the connection:
      " Donald Macleod of Bernera, born 1693 married when only eighteen years old,
      Anne, daughter of Macleod XVII of Macleod . . . had issue five sons and one daughter,
      Janet, who married Reverend John Macpherson, with issue Sir John Macpherson, Bart., Governor-General of India, 1785/6. Sir John died unmarried in 1821."
      The Reverend John Macpherson referred to was minister of Sleat in the Isle of Skye.

      By rather an odd coincidence, when the portrait had been offered to the writer, as representing the Clan, he received in an entirely different connection, a copy of the Journal of the Royal Society of'Arts containing a paper by Sir William Foster, C.I.E., on "British Artists in India," with an interesting reference to Sir John and to the artist who, almost certainly, painted the portrait.

      The following extract is given by permission and courtesy of the Royal Society of Arts.
"In 1785 two of the best known miniaturists arrived simultaneously, Ozias Humphrey at Calcutta and John Smart at Madras. The former found a patron in the Governor-General, Sir John Macpherson, who not only commissioned a number of miniatures, but gave the artist a. strong recommendation to the Nawab Wazir at Lucknow. There,


Photograph of Loch Laggan in Winter


Photograph of Newtonmore from the Golf Course


however, Humphrey found not only was Zoffany firmly established, but there was likely to be further competition from Charles Smith, newly arrived and likewise furnished with an introduction from Macpherson.

      The Nawab, bored with the whole business, compromised by granting simultaneous sittings to both artists. Humphrey soon tired of Lucknow and went back to Calcutta, where, with astounding ingratitude, he commenced a legal action against Macpherson for 42,000 rupees, which he alleged he had lost by going up country.

      The case ended in a verdict for Macpherson, who magnanimously forbore to claim the costs awarded against Humphrey. . . . On the whole Humphrey must have done fairly well, for he had painted many miniatures for which he charged from 500 to 1,000 rupees apiece."

      In view of the considerable differences of opinion expressed on the character of our clansman, many of them coloured by the political views of the writers, which could not have been otherwise in the tangle of eighteenth-century politics, the above is an interesting sidelight and one which tends to confirm the impression given by the portrait.

      It seems to have been generally agreed, even by his political enemies, that he was handsome, good company, and generous, and his efficiency in the various posts he held has seldom been questioned. On the other hand, several times in the course of his career he was attacked for his financial relations with Mohammed Ali, the Nabob of Arcot, whom he met, and impressed so favourably, on his first arrival in India. One writer boldly calls Sir John an "adventurer" and states that he went out to India as a purser, making his career sound like a modern American success story of the tougher type. In fact, he went out nominally as purser of an East India ship commanded by his maternal uncle, one of the five sons of Macleod XVII. of Macleod, but the purser story went better with the "adventurer" theory.

      Just how young John Macpherson, twenty-two years of age, a son of the manse, fresh from King's College, Aberdeen and Edinburgh University, thrown into the melee of politics and intrigue between Company officials and native potentates, was able so to impress the Nabob of Arcot that he entrusted him with a secret mission to England is likely to remain one of the secrets of history.

      The Nabob had borrowed large sums of money at enormous interest from the East India Company's officials at Madras and was being hard pressed for repayment. He claimed he was being unjustly treated, with at least some reason, as will appear, and the young emissary's mission was to claim justice against the Company from the home government.

      Arrived home, up to a point he was successful in doing so. He must have created a favourable impression in many quarters before he was able to place his case, as he did, before the Prime Minister, the Duke of Grafton, who was so impressed by the story of injustice that he despatched a king's envoy extraordinary in the person of Sir John Lindsay to effect a settlement of the Nabob's claims. Here


unfortunately, for the time being, the emissary ceased being successful, but it is obvious that the Nabob must have had a fairly, good case, as well as a pretty good advocate. At this point the all-powerful East India Company woke up to what was happening and protested violently that the Prime Minister could not interfere with their internal administration. The Duke gave way and, Lindsay was recalled.

      After this experience one would think that the great "John Company" would be somewhat allergic to any young man bearing the name of the Clan and for some time to come, but, surprising to relate, the ex-secret emissary was back in India within two years in the position of writer in the Company's service. For six years he worked in Madras in an administrative capacity, more or less uneventfully, except that he came in contact with Warren Hastings and once again made a favourable impression which was to have a considerable effect on later events.

      But meantime the Nabob crops up again. Lord Pigott, Governor of Madras, obtained possession of a letter written to the Nabob by Macpherson, in which the actions of the Company were severely criticised. For this he was dismissed and returned to England in 1777, having first furnished, himself with fresh despatches from the Nabob to the home government. From 1779 to 1782 he sat in the House of Commons as member for Cricklade.

      On arriving home, he had appealed to the Court of Directors of the Company against his dismissal by the Madras Council. The Court was by no means satisfied with the intrigues indulged in by their servants in Madras and re-instated him.

      In 1781, however, before he could return to Madras, he was appointed by Lord North to a seat on the Supreme Council at Calcutta. It is believed that this was due to a personal recommendation of Warren Hastings, as a result of the Madras contact. Otherwise it seems difficult to account for the appointment of so young a man and one who was known more for the trouble he had caused the Company than for any other reason.

      He remained a member of the Council for four years till, on the resignation of Warren Hastings in 1785, he became Governor-General. They were four turbulent years of trouble in Europe and America, pressure by France in India and internal strife. At the end of them the new Governor-General inherited an almost bankrupt treasury, unpaid troops on the verge of mutiny and general financial chaos. The arrears due to the troops amounted to two million pounds sterling and the deficit in the annual revenues to nearly a million and a half. He took energetic action, used what actual cash there was in the Treasury to pay the soldiery; all other payments he met with bonds carrying eight per cent. interest till they were redeemed. In a year he had restored order and was able to claim that he had reduced the annual expenditure by a million and a half.       Shortly after his accession to the supreme power, the Mahratta prince, Mahdoji Sindia, having obtained possession of the titular


Emperor of India, Shah Alum, demanded from the Company the sum of four million pounds as arrears of tribute promised by it in 1765. Macpherson's answer was to insist on immediate withdrawal and disavowal of the claim under threat of war. Apparently the threat was enough, but to strengthen the position he established an envoy in Poonah, the capital of the Mahrattas.

      He was created a baronet in 1786, but was superseded as Governor- General by Lord Cornwallis in the same year, being given a sum of fifteen thousand pounds by way of compensation for loss of office and a pension of a thousand pounds a year.

      Back in England he sat in the House of Commons as member first for Cricklade and later for Horsham. At this time he was very popular in society, was intimate with the Prince of Wales and was consulted on finance and administration by the Grand Duke Leopold, whom he visited in Vienna when he became Emperor. One writer says, "his tall figure, handsome face and courtly manners made him a great favourite in society, while his wide knowledge and linguistic talents won him the respect of scholars."

      In 1806, in a discussion on Indian affairs, a member attacked him once more on his relations with the Nabob. Sir John replied in an Open Letter, in which he stated amongst other things that in 1777, owing to his intimacy with the Nabob, he had obtained information of secret overtures made to that prince by France, the exposure of which had been of great service to the British Government.

      A little later than this James Macpherson, the translator or part author of Ossian's poems, comes into the Nabob story. He took over as agent from Sir John and supported the cause by several publications, including a history of the East India Company from 1600.

      Sir John died at Brompton Grove on 12th January 1821. So ended a colourful life in a colourful age, and we can pay our respects to a handsome, generous, courtly and magnanimous member of the Clan.


A Young Pipe Major
      A member of our Canadian Branch, fourteen year old Sally Macpherson, leads the All Sydney (Nova Scotia) Girls Pipe Band (sponsored by the Celtic Club of Sydney), which includes several Macphersons. Besides performing a wide range of pipe tunes, the members of the band are keen singers and dancers. Sally greeted Mrs Flora McLeod of McLeod when she landed at Sydney in 1951 to attend the Gaelic Mod at Cape Breton. In 1952 Sally also greeted Lord Lovat when he arrived in Sydney, and in 1953 her band won first prize in the Festival of Music and Drama at Cape Breton.


Third List of Clan Macpherson House Subscribers (page 16)

Hugh Macpherson House Advertisement (page 17)



      The sad and speedy journey from Badenoch to Dunkirk in France, undertaken by Donald Macpherson of Breakachy and Andrew Macpherson of Benchar in February 1764 marked the end of a sadder and infinitely more tragic journey, which began in the fateful year of 1746. Ewan Macpherson of Cluny was left in Scotland, by Prince Charles Edward Stuart in September of that year, and be did not escape to France until called there in Spring 1755. He was joined by his wife, Janet Fraser, daughter of Lord Lovat, and his daughter Margaret (" Peggy ") in May 1757.

      By 1763 Cluny was suffering from the effects of his eight long years in the heather and was unable to put pen to paper, according to a letter written to him by Robertson of Struan on the 29th October that year. He breathed his last at Dunkirk between eight and nine o'clock in the morning of the 30th January 1764, among loyal friends who will be referred to later in this article. On the 31st January, the day of his burial in the private garden of the Carmelites, two letters were sent, one from David Gregorie to Archibald Fraser of Abertarff in London and another from Lachlan Mackintosh to Cluny's brother, Major John Macpherson, tacksman at the Mains of Clunie. It is with this second letter that we are concerned here. It must have taken over a week to reach Badenoch but its coming was doubtless expected, and two loyal friends were ready to set forth with the sad duty of escorting the widowed Lady Cluny and her daughter from the alien graveside to a mourning people in Badenoch. The following account is indeed the only "account" we have of the journey.

      A State of the Expence going to and returning from France in 1763 and 1764 paid out by Breahachy, so far as has appeared yet from his papers, copied 5th December 1785.

Breahachy had in Cash for a London Jant in 1763 �.  7.  --d.
Laid out by Expence for himself & Benchar from home to Leith included.   �  8.  9d.
Laid out at Edinburgh while there  � 11. 11d.
To Benchar at London and besouth �.  9.  7-1/2d.
Paid for bought things  �15.  --d.
Laid out while at London 'till now,
and at former times
  �  5.  8-1/2 d.
In Cash as yet   16.  --d.
This account made out Thursday first March 1764 �.  7.  --d.

(N.B. -- The above is copied from Breahachy's Holograph.)

To Benchar in Cash at Cailis (Calais) �--.  2. --d.
To do. at Dunkirk to pay the Coach hire to Lyle
�  1.   1. --d.
To do. Coming back to ditto�--. 10.  6d.
To do. at do. to give Captain McDonald�  1.   1.--d.
To do. at do. for Cloaths�  l.16.--d.
To do. at do. for dinner with Captain McDonald �--.  6.10d.
For a pass and Barber at do.�--.  5.  6d.
By the Road from Rochester to London �.--  5.  3d.
To Benchar for washing & Dinner Monday 27th �--.  5.  9d.
To do. Borrowed Tuesday 3.--d.
To do. Thursday 8th March 1.--d.
To do. on Friday 1.--d.                 18. 10d.

(N.B.-- The above is likewise copied from Breahachy's Holograph.)

Personal Charges at London & on the Road from thence to Edinburgh
with Lady Cluny, her daughter, Annie Nicholson, & Benchar as p(er)
particular acct. thereof
�. 17. 7d.
To do. laid out at Edbr. & on the road home, after parting with Lady
Cluny in company with Benchar, as pr. particular acct. thereof
2. 7d.
Breahachy & Benchar having borrowed � from Messrs. Grigory,
Haliburton & Blair at Dunkirk to defray their expences from thence,
granted their conjunct Bill for it, payable to Messrs. Roger Hogg &
Kinloch in London, which Bill these Gentlemen indorsed to Mansfield,
Hunter & Co., Bankers in Edinr. who prosecute Breahachy & Benchar
before the Court of Session & the Bal: that remained unpaid amounting
to �. 3. 6d. was paid with Breahachy's money by his Son, Duncan,
as pr. discharge thereof on Stamped paper, 20th August, 1766
�. 3. 6d.
There was at the same time paid to Messrs. Stuart & Penman
in Edinr. with Breahachy's money by his son, an acct. due by Lady Cluny
& constituted by Decreet, as pr. discharge thereof, on the back of the
Decreet amounting to
�. 14. 7d.

�0. 4. 1d.

      Donald of Breakachy and Andrew of Benchar (modern spelling: Banchor) were cadets of Cluny's family; both had been captains in his clan regiment in the Rising and both had been deeply concerned in the management of his affairs before and after his escape to France Breakachy in particular had organised Cluny's protection in Ben Alder from the beginning and had protected Lady Cluny's interests by installing her in the farm of Mains of Clunie. He was wily enough to have himself accepted as sub-factor of the forfeited estate of Clunie for a time, and he remained the factor of Lady Cluny's affairs. Breakachy and Benchar were, together, responsible for the Crown's victory over MacKintosh in the dispute over Cluny's estate of Lochlaggan and were still engaged in that business at the time of their journey. Indeed, the "London Jant in 1763," which begins our account in all probability was a jaunt, unfulfilled, to settle the Lochlaggan dispute.       The two itemised accounts "copied from Breahachy's Holograph", cover the journey from Badenoch to Dunkirk, via Leith, Edinburgh, London and Calais, and back to London via Rochester. The rapidity of their journey is strongly indicated by the fact that they were back in London by at least the 27th February, as recorded in the second holograph account. The first account, however, was dated 1st March and was therefore drawn up by Breakachy after his return to


London. It therefore overlaps the second account in time and that for a very interesting reason. Benchar is only credited once with money in the first account. it was the largest single item in that account and was for "London and besouth". The second account details expenses in France, and Benchar handled them all. The inference is obvious: Benchar alone had French, and he was responsible for buying their passages "besouth of London", that is, across the Channel.

      While the two friends were at Dunkirk, Benchar went off on a mysterious coach journey to Lille. The items involved are as mysterious as the purpose of this excursion, for Benchar paid twice, as much going to Lille as coming back. Was he accompanied to Lille by someone who rode at their expense? Or did he pay for his return journey at the outset and for a second party on his return? If Captain McDonald could be identified, this mystery might be elucidated. He was evidently a man who merited their consideration, for he was given a guinea and entertained to a dinner at Dunkirk. Nor is it clear whether the "Cloaths" bought by Benchar were for himself or for McDonald.

      Lady Cluny and her household do not appear in the account until Breakachy and Benchar leave London, some time after the 9th March. On his deathbed Cluny had committed them to the care of Messrs. David Gregorie, John Haliburton and ------- Blair. So much we learn from Gregorie and MacKintosh's letters already mentioned. Cluny asked these three friends, merchants in partnership at Campvire and Dunkirk, to send them to London, and Gregorie intimated to Fraser of Abertarff in London that Lady Cluny intended to travel about the 14th February. MacKintosh explains the delay by referring to Lady Cluny's bad health. (She died in Badenoch in April 1765, little over a year after her husband.) There is a strong suggestion, therefore, that Lady Cluny crossed to London before the two Badenoch escorts arrived at Dunkirk. The two parties probably passed each other on the Channel.

      Breakachy and Benchar escorted Lady Cluny, her daughter, and Annie Nicholson from London to Edinburgh, from which point the two friends proceeded alone to Badenoch. So much appears from the third and fourth accounts. Janet (Annie) Nicholson had been nurse to Duncan, the new Chief of Clan Macpherson, who was at school in Inverness while his parents were in exile. MacKintosh, in his letter to Major John at Clunie, recommended "Mrs Nicholson" to the Major's protection as Cluny's devoted nurse during his last illness.

      The last two accounts indicate the generosity of the three Scottish merchants at Dunkirk, "Messrs Grigory, Haliburton & Blair". Both Lady Cluny and Breakachy borrowed considerable sums from them. It was no fault of these good men that their creditors' creditors in Edinburgh pursued Breakachy and Benchar almost immediately for repayment. The debts were paid by Breakachy's son and heir, Duncan, in 1766.


The forfeited estates of Clunie and Lochlaggan were restored to Duncan of the Kiln, the Chief, in 1784, and the "Accounts" of Breakachy and Benchar's journey were copied for him in the following year. His indebtedness to the family of Breakachy was evidently regarded as a first charge upon his resumed inheritance. Breakachy's son, Duncan, eventually married his Chief's sister, Margaret, who had travelled under his father's charge, and so sealed the warm attachment shown by their fathers in the past.

     When we review the loyalty of Donald Macpherson of Breakachy and Andrew Macpherson of Benchar to the family of Cluny in its adversity, we cannot avoid the conclusion that they deserve a chapter to themselves in the history of the Clan-whenever that history comes to be written.

      "A state of the Expence to and from France laid out by Breahachy", No. 644 Macpherson of Cluny Papers, Register House, Edinburgh.

     Letters from Robertson of Struan, Lady Cluny, David Gregory and Lachlan Mackintosh: "Gleanings from Cluny Charter Chest ", Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, 1896-7, Vol. 21, pp. 434-448.


An American Visitor
      A G.I. who visited Scotland in unusual circumstances during the war was Mr Kenneth Macpherson, a descendant of Clansmen who emigrated to Connecticut after the '45, and has now settled down in the substantial stone farmhouse his great-grandfather built in Le Roy, near [Rochester, New York which is on ] Lake Ontario.       A couple of years after Mr Macpherson's start as a farmer, he was called up. After serving for three years on the Continent, he was sent to hospital in England. On his discharge, he was given seven days' leave. Faced with the problem of spending a week in a country quite unknown to him, Mr Macpherson, because of his Scots ancestry, decided to go to a little place called Kingussie. Completely unaware of this town's Macpherson associations, he took up residence in a hotel where the walls, to his great surprise, were hung with portraits of many Macphersons. It was with ever-increasing surprise that he learned that a large proportion of the population of the place consisted of his Clansmen.

      Mr Macpherson spent many subsequent leaves in Badenoch, and made many friends among clan members. Incidentally, it was during his first visit to Kingussie that he met his future wife, an English girt who was there on holiday.


The East of Scotland Branch Dinner
[ -- Wilfred Taylor Discusses 'Macpherson's Law]


Advertisement (page 23) CMA Accounts for 1952 (pp 24-25)


Drumminard is a pseudonym of Prof.Alan G. Macphherson

      As Alexander Stewart stepped into the room in Kingussie on Tuesday, 16th October 1883, five heads were raised and five pairs of eyes stared at him. Lord Napier, Sir Kenneth Mackenzie, Donald Cameron of Lochiel, Mr Fraser-Mackintosh and Sheriff Nicolson had seen hundreds of men like him throughout the summer, Highlanders from every glen and district from Argyle to the Butt of Lewis, all staunchly stating the economic and social troubles of their people. But Alexander Stewart was different. In fact, in his own way, he was unique. For he was the only Badenoch crofter to give evidence of conditions in that country.

      Alexander Stewart, aged thirty-eight, was a crofter in the township of Strone on the estate of Macpherson of Belleville. He was evidently a man of some moral courage, for his neighbours were afraid to give evidence, and he had been elected by a few of them as their delegate. Perhaps he was elected because he had been more successful than the others in getting a promise of a lease of his croft. Now his chance to speak had come, and he described the township economy in forthright and simple words.

      Strone consisted of eleven holdings of between seven and nine acres each. Alexander Stewart and his brother had two of these between them, making a croft of eighteen acres of arable land. Each nine-acre croft had the right to graze on the common grazing 110 sheep, 4 cows, a stirk (a year-old bullock), and a horse -- the latter probably a Highland garron. For this the rent was �, 5s. per annum. Alexander Stewart and his brother therefore had a flock of 220 sheep and paid �. 10s. rent.

      The eleven crofters of Strone claimed the right of ancient possession. Their ancestors had been in Strone for generations. The Stewart brothers, however, had only succeeded to their croft the previous year, a fact which was emphasised by Mr Charles Brewster-Macpherson, their laird, when giving evidence later in the day. The croft-houses in which the eleven families dwelt were of the old traditional blackhouse type, frowned upon by authorities imbued with ideas of modern sanitation but well-adapted to shelter man and beast from the rigours of the Badenoch winter and cool in the summer. Alexander Stewart had been offered a lease of his croft if he undertook to build a modern farm-house with a slated roof, the materials to be supplied by the laird, and the cost of haulage to be paid by Stewart. There was also a fee of � 10s. for the written lease. Stewart had not been able to pay this, the house was not built, and the lease had not been given.

      The principal grievance of the Strone crofters was one which illustrates the conflict which is inevitable where an old and a new system of land utilisation exist side by side. The township sheep stock in 1883 numbered about one thousand. An adjoining township, Clune, with nine holdings, had 700 sheep. To the west the single-


tenant farm of Glenbanchor carried 1,000 sheep, and to the east the laird's own farm carried 800 sheep, a total of 3,500 sheep in all. The hill grazings were undivided and the four farms had common rights. This old system worked well so long as herding was practised and so long as the farms had mutual access to each other's land.

      As usual, the equilibrium on the common grazings was upset by the perfectly natural and proper desire of the laird to improve his estate -- the same desire which had actuated his offer of a lease to Alexander Stewart if a new farm-house was built. Improvement meant investment of capital and investment of capital should result in increased profit in the form of rents. Rent itself was derived from sheep, and therefore improvement of an estate composed of sheep farms implied an increase in the stock-carrying capacity of the hill grazings. Unfortunately, and again quite typically, the laird chose the wrong method of improvement, and the result was the opposite of that which he desired.

      In 1873 or 1874 rents were increased by twenty-five per cent., and the township of Strone found its total rent of �0 per annum raised to �0. The stock of sheep was increased by one hundred to give the total of one thousand already mentioned. The stocks of the other farms were also increased. At the same time, or shortly after, the low ground grazings of the two single-tenant farms were enclosed to increase the winter feeding. In 1875 or 1876 part of the low ground grazings of Strone was planted with trees, as part of an amenity drive by the laird. The people of Strone were given a poor piece of grazing in lieu of this planted area, access to which required cattle to ford the Spey, a dangerous affair at any time, and particularly hazardous for cattle. Finally in 1883 the laird erected a wire fence between the arable croftland of Strone and the grazings. Above this fence lay both the Strone wintering ground, and the common summering. The net result of the attempt at improvement, therefore, was to increase the stock on the common grazings, and to leave the Strone wintering ground open to encroachment, while protecting the wintering of the single-tenant farms. There was an added threat that the Mackintosh of Mackintosh was about to erect a hill fence to exclude the Badenoch flocks from his newly erected forest in the Upper Dulnain -- an ancient grazing ground of the Badenoch people.       Estate improvement, therefore, meant high rents and overgrazingboth sapping the economy of the Strone crofters. Ever since the rents were increased, "everyone has enough to do to eke out a living". So said Alexander Stewart to the Commissioners. He himself had lost thirteen out of fifty-three wether hoggs -- year-old castrated ram lambs -- in his first winter, entirely due to lack of winter keep. The crofters had corn and potatoes for themselves in plenty, but they were forced to buy in winter fodder for their cattle. The whole community was running into debt.

      The Commissioners invited Alexander Stewart to suggest remedies for his people's economic ills. He proposed that a fence should be


erected for three miles behind Strone and Clune to enclose their winter pastures. Twenty crofters would be benefited by this investment. He also hinted that a division of the hill grazings themselves would be welcome if the crofters and single-tenants were thereby segregated. His most revealing suggestion, however, shows him to have been a man of considerable foresight, and with an eye for the future well-being of his people. He proposed a reduction of sheep stocks by one-third to prevent the overgrazing, which we now know to have ruined the Highlands. As a corollary the rent should be reduced from � to � on a nine-acre croft. He agreed that the laird was benevolent and would comply if approached.

      Later in the day Mr Brewster-Macpherson gave evidence. And although he obviously resented his tenant's appearance before the Commission, he agreed to carry out the suggestions made by the crofter.

     It was owing to the courage of such men as Alexander Stewart that the crofters of Scotland won security of tenure and established in law their right of ancient possession. The declaration of communal rights and the moral conviction to declare them were both emanations of the Clan system itself, and the benevolent interest of the laird was similarly a manifestation of the paternalism of the ancient Clan Chiefs. Alexander Stewart therefore was instrumental, with hundreds of other Highlanders outside Badenoch, in re-asserting the legal basis of land holding under the Clan system.

(With apologies to the shades of Lord Napier, Mr Brewster-Macpherson and Alexander Stewart, the Badenoch crofter.)


      As this Dance has, thanks to Tim Wright and his Scottish Dance Band, been included on several occasions in the broadcasts of Scottish Dance Music in the Scottish Home Service of the B.B.C., members of the Association may be interested to have some information as to its composition and the music to which it is danced.

      The dance owes its origin to the Scottish Country Dance Class, which was formed at the inception of the East of Scotland Branch of the Association and proved one of its most flourishing activities. The resulting interest in Scottish Dancing and Dance Music led one of our members to investigate a collection of reels and Stfathspeys published in 1822, which had been for many years in possession of his family. This collection was composed by William Marshall, who lived from 1748 to 1833, and who was considered by Robert Burns, among others, to be the leading composer of strathspeys of his time. Marshall was born in Fochabers, was in the service of the Duke of Gordon, and many of his tunes are named after members of the Gordon


family, e.g., Marchioness of Huntly's Farewell, Marquess of Huntly's Favourite, Marquess of Huntly's Farewell, Marquess of Huntly's Strathspey and the Duke of Gordon's Birthday, all of which are well known and are found in modern collections of Scottish Dance Music. It has been said that the Marquess of Huntly's Farewell carries the strathspey to its highest development. The song "0' a' the Airts" is usually sung to the melody of one of Marshall's airs -- Miss Admiral Gordon's Strathspey. He composed in all 114 stratbspeys, 84 reels, 21 jigs and 38 miscellaneous tunes.

      Among Marshall's strathspeys are several named after places in Badenoch or members of the Clan Macpherson, e.g., Glentromie, Invereshie, Mrs MacBarnet (nee Macpherson) of Ballachroan, daughter of Captain John Macpherson (known in Badenoch as the " Black Officer ", who was killed by an avalanche in Gaick Forest in 1800), Miss Isabella Macpherson Grant, etc. These attractive melodies gave rise to the idea that a dance might be set to the music, and the result was the strathspey devised by certain Edinburgh members and named in consequence "The Macphersons of Edinburgh Strathspey", set to Marshall's tunes: Glentromie, Miss Isabella Macpherson Grant and Mrs MacBarnet of Ballachroan, all with Clan Macpherson connections as already mentioned. At first it was intended only to be danced privately at functions of the Branch, but in consequence of encouragement from various quarters it was decided to venture on publication, and this was arranged through Rae, Macintosh & Co., Ltd., Edinburgh. Six hundred copies were printed and sold and the profit paid to the Clan House Fund. This has led to the publishers themselves making a second issue, for which a royalty is to be paid to the Branch for the benefit of the House Fund. Copies of the Dance may be obtained from Rae, Macintosh & Co. Ltd., 39 George Street, Edinburgh, at Is. 6d. each, plus postage, and the Association receives a royalty of 3d. for each copy sold. The music has been arranged most effectively for a dance band by Tim Wright, whose band play the strathspey at the Annual Ball of the East of Scotland Branch, and have included it in their broadcasts.


      Over towards Loch Gynack you may have come upon a grassy field among the moors of bracken and heather and moss that lie above Kingussie. Up there on the western slopes of Creag Beag you can still see the remains of an old Highland township, perhaps the very one your forefathers were born in. It was there long before man, with the aid of science, drained the Spey flats and built to-day's villages along the fine new coach-road.

      Away back in the times before the Rebellions, there was a thriving township up on the hill there, where the winds are keener and the snow


lies longer than in the valley below. A wide stretch of cultivated land lay in front of the little cluster of rude stone-built dwellings, each built on a slope for better draining of the byre end, each with the blue haze of peat smoke hovering over the thatch.

      We can picture the good wife spinning at the doorstep, her bairns playing at her feet or up on the hill, looking after the thin black cattle. We can see, in our imagination, her husband toiling away with the heavy foot-plough in the inbye land. An ever-present reminder of the hard struggle of many generations to wrest a living from that thin stony soil, is with us even to-day in the form of the piles of boulders torn from the earth to make way for the miserable crops of oats and bere those poor folk grew.

      And where have these people gone? They cannot be found on the hills; their houses are but piles of stones, the heather grows where once the children slept. There is no-one now to live that life, hard and rough, yet full and happy. You'll find their children down in the valley below; you'll find many more in the busy towns of the south, and in the wide lands of North America. You will not find them on the bonny braes of Badenoch; the shepherd and the gamekeeper will tell you why they've gone.


      MACPHERSON -- BUTLER-WILSON. -- The wedding took place on 26th September 1953, in St Cuthbert's Parish Church, Edinburgh, of Mr Ronald Thomas Stewart Macpherson, youngest son of the late Sir Thomas Stewart Macpherson and Lady Helen Stewart Macpherson, Edinburgh, and Miss Jean Henrietta Butler-Wilson. The Reception took place in the North British Station Hotel and the honeymoon was spent in Majorca and Paris. [These are now Sir Tommy and Lady Jean of Creag Dhubh Lodge by Newtonmore. Our present Chief was the 'best man']

      YOUNG -- MACPHERSON. -- The wedding took place on 28th November 1953, in St Cuthbert's Parish Church, Edinburgh, of Mr R. Ross Young and Miss Loma Macpherson, elder daughter of Mr and Mrs D. Stewart Macpherson, Edinburgh.

      At Lagos, Nigeria, on 17th June 1954 to Mr and Mrs G. S. Macpherson (Freda Jamieson), P.O. Box 36, Ijebu-ode, Nigeria, a son, Alexander (Sandy) James.


pages 31-32


Reports From Branches
pp 33-36

                                                                                        [Photo: KARSH, OTTAWA

      Dr Cluny Macpherson was elected as the new Chairman of the Clan Macpherson Association of Canada, at the fourth Annual Meeting held in Montreal. Dr Macpherson is a distinguished medical practitioner of St John's, Newfoundland, and he has had a long and active career in medicine. After his training at McGill University, Montreal, he served for a year with the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh.

      In the First War he served as a Lt.-Col. with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, and during this time received official recognition from the War Office for his outstanding work in the invention of the gas mask, which was adopted for use by the British Forces.

      He has headed the work of the St John Ambulance Association in Newfoundland for many years, and his wife -- a Dame of the Order of St John of Jerusalem-has given him her whole-hearted support.

      He has always maintained a keen interest in Clan affairs, and we look forward to his term of office, as our Chairman, with pleasure and interest.


Photograph of Burns' Supper at Nairn
Invercargill Branch, New Zealand Annual Dinner, 1952


Reports from the Branches
pages 37-40


Additions/Changes to Membership, Nov 1952-Dec 1953
pages 41-46




Appeal for Contributions




Inside Back Cover Blank


Back Cover Blank


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