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date 16th January, were sent to Livingston, and in the letter containing them, Secretary Dalrymple said, “For a just example of vengeance, I entreat the thieving tribe of Glencoe may be rooted out to purpose.” A duplicate of these instructions was at the same time sent by him to Colonel Hill, governor of Fort-William, with a similar letter.
The oath fell to be taken on or before the ist January, 1692. Old Macian Macdonald of Glencoe offered to comply at Fort-William on that day, but found the Sheriff had gone to Inverary, and the inclement season made the second journey unusually tedious. The roll was ultimately returned with a certificate explaining the cause of delay. The certificate was first suppressed and Macdonald's name afterwards deleted from the roll—a fraud for which the Master of Stair has had to bear even a greater share of the odium than his Royal Master who signed an order to the Commander of the Forces in Scotland:--“As for Maclan of Glencoe and that tribe, if they can be well distinguished from the other Highlanders, it will be proper for the vindication of public justice to extirpate that set of thieves.” In his defence of William, generally admitted to be more ingenious than convincing, Macaulay discusses “extirpation" as in itself an innocent legal term, expressive of the primary duty of a Governinent to extirpate all clans whose chief business was to steal cattle and to burn houses. This, however, does not meet the case, evading as it does, and not very adroitly, the graver portion of the charge made against King William and his government in Scotland. It may, and no doubt is, as the historian insists in many passages of his writings, one of the primary duties of a Government to protect life and property, and therefore, naturally, to take all proper means for “extirpating” thieves. But this surely cannot be set down as meaning that every thief is first to consider himself as pardoned, then to be entrapped into a display of friendly hospitality to his rulers, and finally to be murdered in his sleep without the pretence of even a form of trial. It is the mingled treachery and ruthless cruelty which burned the recollection of Glencoe into the hearts of all Scotsmen at home and abroad, and even threatened complications with Continental allies.
The soldiers appointed to carry out the deed of darkness were 120 in number, and mostly Campbells, hereditary foes of the Macdonalds. They entered the glen early in February, were received with unsuspecting hospitality, and basely repaid the kindness by rising at a concerted signal about four o'clock on the morning of the 12th to carry through their bloody mission of "mauling them in the long nights of winter.” Men, women, and children, to the number of 38 in all, were treacherously put to death, many of them in their bed unconscious, and about 150 escaped to the hills, to endure hardships worse to face than death. The body of the old chief himself was found among the slain, his gray hair dabbled in blood. During the month of March, as mentioned before, it was known in a general way in Edinburgh that the Macdonalds had come to an untimely end, but it was not till April that the “Paris Gazette” published the news to the world. Even then theerwas so little popular excitement on the subject that Dalrymple continued to hold unmolested the offices of Scottish Secretary and Lord-Advocate. But details of the treacherous outrage could not be long concealed. Public indignation rose in proportion as each terrible fact got whispered about; and to anticipate as far as possible any action which might be taken in the Scottish Parliament, Dalrymple resigned his offices before the end of that year so fatal to the reputation of King William and himself. With a dilatoriness not creditable to the King the Report of a Royal Commission regarding the massacre was delayed for over three years, when a resolution was come to "that William's instructions afforded no warrant for the measure;" but, “considering that the Master of Stair's excess in his letters against the Glencoe men has been the original cause of this unhappy business, and hath given occasion in a great measure to so extraordinary an execution, by the warm directions he gives about doing it by way of surprise, and considering the station and trust he is in, and that he is absent, we do therefore beg that your Majesty will give such orders about him for vindication of your Government as you in your royal wisdom shall think fit. And likewise, considering that the actors have barbarously killed men under trust, we humbly desire your Majesty
would be pleased to send the actors home, and to give orders to your Advocate to prosecute them according to law." It is but right to say that letters to and from Breadalbane, in the charter-chest at Taymouth, give colour to the opinion that King William was cognisant of all that passed in Scotland, discussing in particular this Highland matter so frequently with Stair, Queensberry, and Tarbat, as to make it all but certain that Glencoe fell into the trap prepared really for Keppoch and Glengarry. “Tarbat (writes Stair) thinks that Keppoch will be a more proper example of severity, but he hath not a house so proper for a garrison, and he hath not been so forward to ruin himself, and all the rest. But, I confess, both's best to be ruined."
The Lord-President succeeded his father as second Viscount in November of the same year (1695), but public feeling regarding the Glencoe outrage had increased to such a pitch that he declined taking his seat in Parliament for five years. Soon after the accession of Queen Anne he was sworn a Privy Councillor and created Earl of Stair. As one of the Commissioners for framing the Treaty of Union the Earl of Stair gave it powerful support in its passage through Parliament. The Earl died suddenly January 8, 1707, his last speech being delivered that day in the course of an animated debate on one of the closing articles of the treaty providing for the election of representative Peers and the number of members to be sent to the Commons. Active and prominent as Stair had always been in the public service of his country (except during the Glencoe retirement), he had yet not reached the age of more than fifty-nine years at death.
An evil destiny still seemed to follow the family, notwithstanding all their gifts and worldly prosperity, John, second son of preceding, and successor in the Earldom, having the misfortune when a mere boy to shoot his elder brother by accident. Earl John had seen service under Marlborough at Ramilies and Malplaquet. As British Ambassador at Paris he manifested considerable hostility to the schemes of Law, the Finance Minister, which led to his being recalled, when he took up his residence at Newliston, to pass his leisure time in planting
trees and cultivating cabbages in the open air for the first time in Scotland. On the dissolution of Walpole's Ministry in 1742, Lord Stair was recalled to public life, appointed Commander-in-Chief of the allied army in Flanders, and fought with King George at Dettingen. Earl John died at Edinburgh, 1747, aged 74.
Among his successors were Captain John Dalrymple, fifth Earl (cousin of William, fourth Earl of Dumfries, and also fourth Earl of Stair, under the patent), author of various political treatises, and John, eighth Earl, son of Sir John Dalrymple of Cranston, author of “Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland.” The present holder of the honours is John, tenth Earl of Stair, who, when Lord Dalrymple, sat as M.P. for Wigtownshire, 1841-56; and was Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 1869–72. His eldest son, Viscount Dalrymple, unsuccessfully contested Wigtownshire in the Liberal interest, when he was defeated by Sir Herbert Maxwell (Conservative), the voters polled being 768 to 782.
KELBURNE, HAWKHEAD, AND EARLS OF
DESCENDED from a house famous over five hundred years since for its long descent-famous even among houses of such high repute as the Comyns and Mures, the Boyles of Kelburne have for generation after generation taken a prominent part in the public business of Ayrshire and Renfrewshire, and, indeed, of the West of Scotland generally. Seated almost as early as authentic records reach at Kelburne, Largs parish, the most northerly in Cunningham or North Ayrshire, a marriage with an heiress of George, Lord Ross, brought, about the middle of last century, the lands of Hawkhead, Renfrewshire, to the Boyle of
his day (1754), then John, third Earl of Glasgow. A Richard Boyle, of Kelburne, is known to have married, about 1260, Anicia, daughter of Sir Gilchrist Mure, of Rowallan, by his wife, daughter and heiress of that Walter Comyn who had early in the reign of Alexander III. (1249–86) succeeded in expelling the Mures from their Ayrshire possessions. Sir John Boyle, a descendant in the sixth generation, adhered to the cause of James III. as against his son, put forward by the discontented nobles, and fell on the field of Sauchieburn, near Stirling, where the King himself was treacherously murdered, 1488. As the houses of Cochrane and Boyle came to have an early as well as a late connection through marriage, so had the Boyles a double connection with the Rosses, Lords of Hawkhead, for in addition to the heiress, Elizabeth, mentioned above, John Boyle, son of the John who fell at Sauchie, married Agnes, daughter of the first Lord Ross of Hawkhead. He afterwards fell at Flodden (1513), where his brother-in-law, John, Lord Ross, was also slain. A son, John Boyle, got a charter of the lands of Ballehewin, Meikle Cumbrae, and was also made hereditary coroner of the island. An only surviving son was John Boyle of Halkshill, whose great-grandson, David, married his cousin, the heiress of Kelburne, and carried on the family succession. This heiress was Grizel Boyle, daughter of John of Kelburne by Agnes, only daughter of Sir John Maxwell of Pollok, and Margaret, daughter of William Cunningham of Caprington; issue three sons and one daughter. The eldest, John of Kelburne, sat as member for Buteshire in the Parliament of 1681. By his marriage with Marion, daughter of Sir William Steuart of Allanton, John Boyle, left with a daughter, two sons, David, raised to the peerage as first Earl of Glasgow, and William, a Commissioner of Customs for Scotland, who died in 1685.
David Boyle of Kelburne, after sitting as member for Bute in the Convention Parliament of 1689, was sworn of the Privy Council, and on 31st January, 1699, created a Peer by the title of Lord Boyle of Kelburne, Stewarton, Cumbrae, Largs, and Dalry, with remainder to his issue, male and heirs-male whatsoever. By patent, dated 12th April, 1703, Lord Boyle was advanced to the dignity of