Historical and Traditional Sketches of Highland Families and of The Highlands


Historical and Traditional Sketches of Highland Families and of The Highlands - John Maclean. This book was actually written by Finlay Maclean, a son of John Maclean. It is a compilation of the recollections of the elder Maclean, who was known as the “Inverness Centenarian.” John Maclean lived from about 1747 to 1852, and this book was originally issued in 1848. It is not intended as a rigorous and thorough historical work, but as a collection of stories of local interest “whose merit, if they possess any, is, that they contain historical facts, traits of character, and traditional tales of stirring times and of important personages which have not been presented by any other author.” These stories paint a picture of a Scotland in the 1600s and 1700s in which might and ruthlessness abounded. Those wishing to purchase land “effected the sale by the claymore…and held possession by wielding, as frequently as occasion required, and with as much power as they could muster, the weapon by the use of which they came into possession.” In addition to sword-wielding chiefs and lairds, the reader learns of women like the fearsome Mrs. Mackintosh, “whose absence was considered good company” by the terrified local inhabitants. It was she who engineered the murder of Provost Junor of Inverness in retaliation for his reproving her for her “rude and indelicate demeanor.” (Subsequently a second murder occurred, of a Mackintosh family servant girl who spoke unguardedly of her knowledge of the plotters of the first murder.) There are accounts of smugglers, thieves and outlaws hanged by the neck and then hung in a cage as a warning to others. The first and longest chapter details the 150-year period during which the Clan Mackintosh possessed the property of Borlum, from 1610 to 1760. The second chapter concerns Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, who lived from about 1676 until his beheading in 1747. Chapter 3 concerns Lord President Forbes, who sailed into Inverness in “the largest vessel that ever entered the river.” Subsequent chapters describe Sir George Mackenzie of Rosbaugh, The Family of Chisholm, The Mackenzies of Redcastle, The Black Watch (or 42nd Royal Highlanders), Donald Gruimach, The Black Isle Cattle-Lifter, and Highland Robbers and Cattle Lifters. The last part of the book contains addenda on Inverness Municipal Affairs, the Fracas at Cnocan-Na-Gour, Provost Maclean in a Fight, The Bloody Marymas Cheese Market, Smuggling, Sheriffs Campbell and Fraser of Inverness-Shire, A Highland Desperado, The Blacksmith and the Laird of Glengarry, The Rev. Murdo Mackenzie, and The Rev. John Porteous. This book is a collection of stories rich in the flavor of times past, told in the language of Scotland past. An every-name index aids location of the figures named in the book. (1895, 1997), 2015, paper, 5½x8½, index, 202 pp.

ISBN: 9780788408090