Rum Belonged to Maclean of Coll;
Barra was Owned by MacNeil

Nicholas Maclean-Bristol OBE, DL
Coll • 7-11 April 2015

In the blurb on the back cover of Christopher Duffy’s book The ’45, published in 2003, the Glasgow Herald’s reviewer states: ’It is difficult to see what now needs to be said about the ’45’.’

As one would expect from a former instructor at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and the Army’s Staff College, Duffy’s account of battles is masterly. His knowledge of Highland society is less assured. On several occasions he is inaccurate, particularly about who owned what land. For instance, in 1745, Clanranald did not own the Isles of Barra or Rum. (i)

An interest in genealogy is essential when writing Highland history, as so many people have the same name, and the reader’s conJidence is shattered when Duffy makes a howler when he states that ‘with the death of the Cardinal Duke of York, the direct Stuart line was extinct, and only the most eccentric legitimists now looked to the remote descent from James II’s youngest daughter Anne Marie, Princess of Orleans’. In fact, she was the daughter of Henrietta, 'Minette', the youngest daughter of King Charles I. She was therefore James II’s sister. (ii)

Macleans have not been served well by historians. Mary Beacock Fryer is said to be the author of eleven books on eighteenth and nineteenth century history. In Allan Maclean Jacobite General (1987) she writes more like a historical novelist than a historian. For instance, when she writes of her hero at Culloden she says:

‘A hail of grape shot shattered the Highlanders’ charge, but did not break it. On the front line rushed, scattering Cumberland’s line in confusion.

Dimly Allan suspected he was in the midst of Cumberland’s second line, and the tide was turning against the Jacobites. All around him men were dropping, their cries echoing above the boom of the cannon and the pop of the muskets. The moor was blanketed in blue smoke through which Allan, hoping in particular to attack men in Campbell tartan, could see little.

He was forced back, stumbling over dead and maimed men, aware that drums were sounding a retreat. Calling to his men to fall back, Allan prayed that some were with him, but he recognized no one as bodies hurtled towards the Prince’s second line.

Soon this line, and the survivors of the first, were falling back, tripping over more dead and wounded. Allan saw that all was lost. He looked in vain for Hector, or any of the other men from Mull, but could not spot one of them. Heart pounding, as though it would burst, Allan felt hot, angry tears dampening his cheeks. He ran westwards, up into the high moor, wondering how long he could keep up the pace. Just when he thought a redcoat’s bayonet would be welcome he beheld a miracle.

Grazing was an empty horse, reins dangling as it munched. Allan crept forward quietly so as not to startle it, seized the reins and mounted. He would ride southwards […].’ (iii)

There is nothing wrong with novelists interpreting the past. It can, as Hilary Mantel has shown, be highly remunerative. But it would be nice if the authors could get their facts correct.

Unfortunately for Mary Fryer, her hero, for all his later heroism, was not at Culloden and never served in the Jacobite army. Research by the late Dr Johannes Maclean shows that, on 11 February 1745, the 'cadet Allan Maclean' was appointed an ensign in the Scots Brigade in Dutch Service.

On 31 March 1746 he was promoted and became a lieutenant. (iv) If he had been at the battle of Culloden, which took place a couple of weeks later, he would have been hanged when he returned to Dutch Service, rather than spend a well-documented further ten years in the Netherlands.

Allan then transferred to the British army, fought the French in America, during the Seven Years and later raised a battalion of the Royal Highland Emigrants during the American Revolution. (v)
Fryer’s error has been repeated by Murray Pittock in The Myth of the Jacobite Clans (1995). He states that, among the former Jacobites who fought at Culloden and became generals, ‘Allan Maclean reached that rank locally in the British Army in Canada’. (vi)

The most unfortunate recent error occurs in Iain Gordon Brown and Hugh Cheape's Witness to Rebellion (1996). This is the journal of a Captain John Maclean. It is the personal record of the author’s experiences throughout the Rising as one of Prince Charles’s officers.

It was preserved by the Macleans of Pennycross (not the Macleans of Torloisk as stated in the preface) and was unknown to the wider world until it was brought in to the Scottish Record Office for examination at an ‘open day’ in 1991. Four years later, having disappeared from sight in the interim, it was offered for sale at Sotheby’s and was bought by the National Library of Scotland. (vii)

As the authors of Witness to Rebellion point out that: ‘The discovery was as unexpected as it was welcome’. It is unfortunate that they went on to say ‘that Maclean, before joining the Prince, had held British commissions, first in a Highland Independent Company and then, when these were regimented, in the Black Watch’.

Not unnaturally, the regiment was not pleased to have one of their earliest ofJicers accused of being a traitor, and in February 2001 Allan Maclean of Dochgarroch argued convincingly in West Highland Notes and Queries that the authors had identified the wrong Maclean. (viii)

In the following issue I suggested that our author was Captain John Maclean, the second son of Hector Maclean in Ballimartin, Tiree. He notes in his diary that on ‘The 14th of August 1745 I went from Broloss in Mull, crossed the Sound of Mull and arrived the 16th August at Kinlochmudart, where I had the honour, and Satisfaction, to Get a kiss of his royal Highness's hand and after Dinner the Same day I was ordered by his Highness Back to Mull where I continued until the 5th Septr, being the time I went off from Killunaig in Broloss [...].’

In March 1744 a government spy informed the Sheriff-Depute of Argyll that ‘some young Gentlemen of desperate fortune did agree’ that in the event of a landing from abroad ‘Killeunock’s brother [would] be imploy’d’. (ix)

The tenant at Killunaig in 1748 was a Donald Maclean. (x) He was still there in 1762. (xi) As his predecessor Charles Maclean of Killunaig died in 1743, and his daughter ‘Anne was married to Donald Mac Eachin Mac Iain Diurach’. (xii) In other words, Donald, third son of Hector Maclean in Ballimartin, Tiree. (xiii) It is probable that Donald succeeded his father-in-law as Tacksman of Killunaig.

Donald is described as a ‘very brave man’ by Allan Maclean of Crossapol in his version of the Maclean Genealogical account, which is at Breacachadh [Castle, Coll]. As there is no evidence to suggest that he served in the British or any other army, it is difficult to see where Donald had an opportunity to be ‘a very brave man’ if it were not during the ’45.

The final conclusive piece of evidence that Killunaig’s brother was our author is in Seanachie’s An Historical & Genealogical Account of The Clan Maclean (1838), where it is stated that:

‘John, Hector [of Ballimartin]’s second son, never married. He was a captain in Maclean of Drimnin’s battalion, and killed at the battle of Culloden, or rather in the massacre next day after the battle.’

I had foolishly failed to check Seanachie’s book before writing my note in West Highland Notes and Queries, as had the authors of Witness to Rebellion.

If one is to understand why Highlanders took part in the ’45, it is necessary to examine the careers of those who took part on both sides. This is not practical for the whole Gaidhealtachd, but it is worth studying one clan. Other historians are then able to compare these findings with the clan they know best.

For nearly sixty years, I have collected information in a card index of Macleans from the earliest times until the middle of the nineteenth century. Recently I have examined the careers of all male Macleans who were alive between 1716 & 1766. The first task was to extract details of all who appear in the Jive genealogical accounts of the Macleans, compiled between 1734, when Doctor Hector Maclean completed the first version, on which the rest are based, and 1830. Added to this skeleton, I have included a mass of facts gleaned from Record offices in Edinburgh, London, Dublin and Paris. I have also visited the battlefields on which many fought and dragged my wife round those in Europe and North America.

This research is not yet complete. However, much new information has been unearthed. More howlers have been discovered. For instance Colonel David Stewart of Garth in his Sketches of the Highlanders of Scotland published in 1822 turns Sir Allan Maclean of Duart, whose portrait is at Breacachadh, and General Allan Maclean, who we have already met at the Battle of Culloden, into one man. It is a mistake that is still being repeated on Wikipedia.

More illustrious authors, such as Sir Charles Petrie, are guilty of similar crimes. In The Jacobite Movement 1688-1716, Sir Charles states that Sir John Maclean of Duart betrayed the Scots plot in 1706. He did not. He also claims that Sir John was the Duke of Ormonde's secretary, who betrayed the English rising of 1715. Again he is incorrect. He does, however, have the grace to acknowledge that perhaps in the latter case 'two men of the same name have been confused'. This is more than Eveline Cruickshanks does in ‘The Duke of Ormonde and the Atterbury Plot’, published in 2000. In it, she states that 'preparations for the '15 were hampered by the death of Louis XIV....and by the treachery of [Ormonde's] own secretary Sir John Maclean, who in exchange for money revealed to Townshend the names of the leaders of the rising in the west, where Ormonde was to land'.

In West Highland Notes & Queries, which we have produced here on Coll since 1972, I argued that Sir John was never Ormonde's secretary and was probably in the Highlands in 1715. He was certainly at Mingary in Ardnamuuchan on 14 September, when he witnessed the marriage contract of Hector Maclean, younger of Coll to Lochnell's sister.

The actual villain was a Major Lauchlan Maclean. He is the 'Colonel M'Leane' named as the traitor in the Duke of Berwick's memoirs. He is merely called 'Maclean' in Bolingbroke's letter to James on 4 November 1716, and is described as 'Major Maclean' on 28 October, when he is paid £500 from the king's bounty in the Calendar of Treasury Books (volume 29, part iii, 1959).

In none of these publications is Sir John Maclean as such accused of being the traitor. Eveline Cruickshanks cannot have bothered to check these references. I think it was the late Geoffrey Barrow, the great Scottish historian, who first said that 'History repeats itself because historians are idle'.

One way of not falling into this trap is to use West Highland Notes & Queries to fly kites. These need not be the authors' final thoughts on subject but an opportunity to find further evidence. No historian can read every book on any subject. This is one of the reasons why our West Highland Notes & Queries are produced as it is: it gives others a chance to comment before the author's final thoughts appear in SHR or in a book.

The Society of West Highland & Island Historical Research, which publishes WHN&Q three times a year, was founded in 1972 by RW Munro, Jean Munro, Grant Simpson, the Macleans of Dochgarroch and myself. Its aim was, and is, to encourage research into the history of the West Highlands & Islands. It is targeted both at academics and those who want to know more about their ancestors. We would like to recruit a new generation of historians to become members.

The second group can produce information that is of interest to a wider audience than just the researcher's own family. For instance, Ronald Black has translated, and I am editing 'An Account of Coll and its People', written in Gaelic by Donald Mackinnon, a crofter's son in Coll, who was born at Grishipol in 1802. He emigrated to Australia in 1859.

Donald's 'Account' gives a different picture to life on the island during the time of the potato famine and the following disruption painted by recent commentators. It compliments my great- great-uncle's account of Coll and Tiree, of which he was minister, in the Statistical Account of the 1840s, as well as his own uncle Allan Maclean of Crossapol's genealogical account of the Macleans. Unlike the other Maclean Genealogies, Crossapol gives details of crofters' and cottars' families and shows how they were related to Maclean of Coll. It is being serialised in WHN&Q in the hope that descendants of the people he writes about will add comments on their own families.
Some curious stories have emerged, including one about a family from Coll who went to Australia, where the emigrant was murdered by his wife and eldest son.

Once Ronald has finished translating Donald's Account, and his Gaelic poetry, and when we have both finished separate books about the Jacobites, we hope to publish it.

My own new book is a sequel to my earlier publication on the Jacobites: Castor and Pollux: Two Jacobite Knights from the Sound of Mull at War in the Hebrides, The Highlands of Scotland, Ireland & Mainland Europe 1674-1716 (2012).

The new book takes the story from 1716 to 1766. Recent research has shown (xiv) that the Jacobite movement did not end in 1746 at Culloden. The story is therefore taken to 1766, when King James III, the last de jure Stuart King to be recognised by the Pope, died in Rome.

It can even be argued, as it was by the late James NM Maclean in Reward is Secondary (1963), that a group of crypto-Jacobites in London, led by a Maclean, were responsible for the publication of the notorious series of letters which from 1769 to 1773 attracted huge public attention. They denounced ministers and ultimately the King himself. They were published anonymously in the Public Advertiser under the name of 'Junius'.

The new book examines the careers of independent Maclean lairds and their cousins, the tacksmen, in other words 'the officer class'. Details of joint tenants and cottars on the Maclean properties hardly exist before 1766, which is why Donald Mackinnon's 'Account' is so valuable. Another exception is the list of men living in the Inner Isles who were disarmed in 1716. It includes those living in Mull, Coll, Tiree, Canna, the Isle of Muck and the neighbouring mainland districts of Morvern and Ardnamurchan, who took part in the rising and those who supported the government. I edited this list for The Scottish Record Society in 1998. I am now comparing it with the far less detailed list that survives for the '45 in the British Library. It is interesting to see how many Macleans, who took part in the '15, or their sons, did so in 1745.

Another source of information on the wider community survives in The National Archives at Kew. These are details of all those Macleans who died abroad from 1750.

When I was serving at the Ministry of Defence in the late 1960s, I spent my lunch hours at Somerset House working through all the wills and administrations of Macleans who died overseas from 1750 to 1850. Several were army officers but they also included 22 Maclean seamen, mostly in the Royal Navy, but some in the merchant service, who died overseas between 1750 and 1766.

None of their next of kin were living in the Macleans' traditional homeland. The place of abode of Jive are not mentioned, whilst Jive others were living in London. One was living in Campsie, one each in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Greenock, Irvine, Rosneath, 'Kerrstoun-Argyle', and one is just mentioned as living in North Britain. The rest were living in England, one each in Gosport, Portsea, Portsmouth and Stepney. Seven of the next of kin were their widows, Jive were their father, three their brother, two were female friends, one a sister, one a mother, one a cousin- german, one a male friend and one 'loving male friend'. What I think is interesting is that, even by 1766, many Macleans had left Mull, Coll, Tiree and Morvern.

These documents also include some surprising examples of the social mix of those who joined the armed services. For instance, in 1752, the 'administration of the goods &c of Sergeant James McLean in Colonel Lefarry's Regiment of Marines on HMS Tartar were granted to Kenneth Mackenzie the lawful attorney of Francis McLean Esq. The natural and lawful brother and next of kin of the said deceased for the use and benefit of the said ffrancis McLean now residing at Brill in Holland'.

The late Dr Johannes MacLean refused to believe the evidence of this document. On 16 May 1969 he wrote: 'according to me your Francis was a common soldier. You must regard 'Esq' as an act of politeness to the client of the attorney'.

Despite Johannes's objections Francis and James are provably the sons of Captain William Maclean of Collyer's regiment in Dutch service and Anne, daughter of Sir Francis Kinloch Bart.
Captain William's own father was a detribalised Maclean, who was Master of the Revels at Holyrood when James, Duke of York was living there during the Exclusion Crisis.

A series of letters written by William and his wife survive in the NLS. In one, dated at Menin on 11 October 1729, Anne appeals to her aunt Lady Forglan to write to Lord Milton to remind him of his promise to help her husband, who was then a Lieutenant, to get him promotion. She writes that 'there being ane old captain of our regiment just a dying, if not dead before this time, and Mr Maclean being the oldest Lieutenant verie little recommendation will serve' as 'the Captain-Lieutenant is ane old failed man and not fit nor capable for duty...'. Anne got her wish and on 20 March 1730, William became a captain. However, he was not to be one for long as he died in 1735.

Sergeant James was not the only Maclean officer's son to fail to obtain a commission. Perhaps their families were short of cash to purchase a commission in the British Army.

This is probably why so many Macleans started their military careers in the Scots Dutch, as both James's brother Francis and their father did. Instead of buying their commissions they probably began their military careers as volunteers or private soldiers.

Francis was to have a distinguished career in both the Dutch and British service becoming a Brigadier-General.

Others were less successful. For instance, Angus Maclean of Kinlochaline served as a volunteer in the Scots Dutch. He failed to obtain a commission in it but became one of Sir John Maclean's captains at Sheriffmuir. Another captain in the '15 was Lauchlan Maclean, the elder brother of Captain John, the diarist killed at Culloden.

He served during the wars in Spain during Queen Annes's reign in the Scots Guards. In 1715 he too became a captain in the Jacobite army.

One ex-soldier in the Scots Brigade in Dutch service, who was never commissioned in any army, came home in disgust. This was Lachlan Maclean of Torastan in Coll. His father was killed at Dunkeld in 1689, fighting for King James. Lachlan, however, was evidently sickened by all armies and stayed at home during the '15.

I have still a great deal more work to do analysing the careers of those who could have fought for the Jacobites in 1745. It is also of interest to examine the careers of others, who were not soldiers but who left the Inner Hebrides between 1716 and 1766. Several became merchants in Glasgow or Edinburgh and even in London. Some moved to the West Indies, particularly to Jamaica. Others left for North America during the Seven Years War, and stayed there after it was over.

A few spent their active lives in the Indian Army. As Dr Johnson noted: 'if they had dethroned no nabob they were not too rich to settle in their own country'. He gives the example of Captain Lauchlan Maclean, tacksman of Gallanach in Coll, who, in spite of having purchased a small estate in Lanarkshire, spent most of his declining years on his native island.

Retired army officers in the eighteenth century have recently not had a good press. In Lairds and Luxury: The Highland Gentry in Eighteenth-century Scotland, Stana Nenadic Senior Lecturer in Social History at Edinburgh University argues that the Highland ‘gentry’ in general and the officer class in particular by ‘their conspicuous consumption ultimately ruined the Highland economy and destroyed Highland social relationship’. Her highly partisan conclusions fall outside the time scale of this lecture.

Dr Hector Maclean, the author of the ‘Genealogical Account of the Macleans’ is described as ‘the minister of Erray’. Dr Hector was never a minister nor was there ever a parish in Mull called Erray. It was the name of his tack. It will be interesting to see if these errors are repeated by other authors. There is certainly room for a book about the Jacobite Cause before, during and after the '45.

(i) Christopher Duffy, The ’45, 555.
(ii) Peter Beauclerk Dewar (ed), Burke’s Landed Gentry of Great Britain: The Kingdom of Scotland (2001), lxvii-lxviii.
(iii) Jacobite General, 32.
(iv) Private letter dated 3 November 1979 from the late Dr. Ir. Johannes Mac Lean, van Neckstraat 102, ‘s-Gravenhage. He was the author of numerous genealogical articles about the Scots Brigade in Dutch Service.
(v) A Seanachie’s An Historical & Genealogical Account of The Clan Maclean (1838), 355-6.
(vi) The Myth of the Jacobite Clans, 12.
(vii) Witness to Rebellion, 7.
(viii) Allan Maclean of Dochgarroch ‘The identification of “John Maclean in his Highness’s Army 1745”’, WHN&Q, Series 3, No. 2 (February 2001), 8-13.
(ix) NLS. MS 16597. 3 March 1744.
(x) NLS. MS. 17677.
(xi) NLS. CH2. 273.1.
(xii) NLS. MS. 3018, 58.
(xiii) NLS. MS. 3018, 53-55.
(xiv) For example see Doron Zimmerman, The Jacobite Movement in Scotland and in Exile, 1746-1759 (2003).
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