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Monday 3 March 2014

Dr Archibald Cameron: The Last Jacobite to be Executed

Dr Archibald Cameron (1707–1753), fourth son of John Cameron of Lochiel and brother of Donald Cameron known to posterity as the Gentle Lochiel, was a physician and prominent leader of the Jacobite Rising of 1745 and the last Jacobite to be tried and executed for high treason at Tyburn on the 7th of June, 1753.
Cameron initially attended the University of Glasgow where he studied law but then turned to medicine. He continued his medical studies at the University of Edinburgh and then completed his medical training in Paris and at Leiden. He subsequently returned to Lochaber, married and settled and brought up his family.
When the Rising broke out, Cameron joined the Prince to please his brother and, in his capacity as a physician, did a great deal of work; he seems to have taken a part in the fighting as well. Cameron gained a good reputation for his humane treatment of injured prisoners, who received as careful treatment at his hands as any of those on his own side. Following the Jacobite defeat at Culloden, Cameron tended his brother Lochiel who had been shot through both ankles by grapeshot and eventually escaped to France along with other chiefs, where he was appointed captain and physician in Albany’s regiment of which Lochiel was made the colonel. 
On his brother’s death, in 1748, Cameron was transferred to Lord Ogilvy’s regiment, also in French service. For some mysterious reason Cameron decided to return to Scotland in 1749 and again in 1753. Perhaps the reason for his return was to receive part of the money collected by the Prince’s friends to support his exiled adherents; or recovering some of the French gold that had been buried near Loch Arkaig. Cameron was later was accused to the Prince by Alexander McDonald, Younger of Glengarry, of embezzling £6000, but the accusation was apparently groundless, and in any case the Prince paid no heed to it. It is also said that he was suspected of being an emissary of King Frederick of Prussia, who at this time had talked of sending over 15,000 men to aid a new Jacobite Rebellion.
On his last visit, while staying secretly at Brenachyle by Loch Katrine, he was betrayed by MacDonell of Glengarry, the notorious ‘Pickle the Spy’ and members of his own clan who were sickened by his Jacobitisim and arrested in Glenbucket. Cameron was charged under the 1746 Act of Attainder for his part in the 1745 Uprising. He was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle and taken to Tower Hill, London, and sentenced to death. On the 7th of June 1753 at Tyburn, in spite of many efforts that were made to secure a reprieve, Cameron was brutally drawn on a sledge, and hanged for twenty minutes before being cut down and beheaded. His remains were buried in the Savoy Chapel. 
Dr Archibald Cameron was the last victim of the Hanoverian vengeance. His final papers, written from prison, are extant and where he still protested his loyalty to the Jacobite cause and his Episcopalian principles. His family was saved from destitution by the action of the French Government, which gave his widow a pension of 1200 livres and 400 livres each to two of his sons.
The following historical anecdote was recorded by Calum Maclean on the 21st of January, 1951, from the recitation of John MacDonald of Highbridge, Brae Lochaber:

Gilleasbui' Camshron, Bràthair Loch Iall

’S e seo an naidheachd a tha air innseadh mar a chaidh Gilleasbuig Camshron, bràthair do Loch Iall a bhrath. Deich bliadhna an deoghaidh do Chùil Lodiar, bha iad a’ coimhead air a shon agus toileach greim fhaotainn air. Bha e a’ smaoineach’ gun deach a’ chùis car sàmhach. Agus thàinig e gu àite aige, far an deach a thogail an àird taobh Loch Airceig. Bha mac piuthar dha easlainteach far an do thuit e ann an Loch Airceig. Agus thàinig e a dh’ionnsaigh fuachd dha, pliùras. Agus bha lìghiche anns a’ Ghearasdan agus chuir iad fios air an lìghiche. Agus nuair a thàinig an lìghiche – ’s e Kinnaird a bh’ air an lìghiche, agus bha e a’ toirt dà stuth tuathal airson a lèigheas. Agus thuig Gilleasbuig gur h-e an stuth tuathal a bha e a’ toirt dà. Agus thuirt e:
“Na toiribh dhà boinne dan stuth a tha sin air neo bidh e marbh. Ach bheir mise dhaibh stuth a lèigheas e.”
Agus nuair a thàinig an doctair a-rithist as a’ Ghearasdan, an lìghiche Kinnaird, chunnaic e gun robh an gille ann am feathas. Thuig e glè mhath gun robh cuideigin ag obair air a’ ghille a thoirt a dh’ionnsaigh a’ cheartais agus a dh’ionnsaigh a shlàinte. Agus dh’fhorfhaisich e. Is chuala e an uair seo gun robh Gilleabuig, bràthair Loch Iall anns an àite. Agus leis an tàmailt a ghabh e mar a chaidh an gnothach a dhèanadh air, agus an duine eile ga lèigheas, bhrath e e do na Sasannaich. Chuala e gun deach a bhrath agus theich e. Ghabh e suas mar a tha Loch Trèig an àirde na h-àiteachan sin a dhèanadh gu deas na air feadh nan gleann, mar a b’ fheàrr a b’ urrainn dà. Ach chaidh a ghlacadh, an duine truagh, agus chaidh a thoirt a Lunnainn. Agus chaidh a chur an àirde ann an sin agus an ceann a thoirt dheth, rud a bha glè dhuilich. Chaidh a chàirdean a bhruidhinn air a shon na chuir iad litir, air a thaobh feuch a leigeadh iad...leis an ùine bhon a bha blar Chùil Lodair ann. Is cha tugadh iad feart orra. Chaidh an duine truagh a chur gu bàs ann an Lunnainn.

And the translation goes something like the following:

Archibald Cameron, Brother of the Gentle Lochiel

This is the story told about how Archibald Cameron, brother to the Gentle Lochiel, was betrayed. A decade after the Battle of Culloden, they were searching for him and wanted to capture him. He thought that things had died down. And he arrived at his own place where he had been brought up beside Locharkaig. His nephew was unwell after falling into Locharkaig. He had contracted the flu and pleurisy. There was a physician in Fort William and a message was sent to him. And when the physician arrived – Kinnaird was his name – he prescribed the incorrect medicine. Archibald understood that the incorrect prescription had been given to him. He said: “Don’t give him a drop of that stuff or else he’ll die but I’ll prescribe him the correct medicine which will cure him.”
When the doctor visited from Fort William again, the physician Kinnaird, he saw that the lad had improved. The knew full well that someone had been attending the lad as he was regaining his health. He asked around. He heard then that Archibald, the Gentle Lochiel’s brother, had returned. And because he felt so mortified due to the circumstances in he found himself that another man had helped to cure the lad, he betrayed him to the English. He [Archibald] hear that he had been betrayed and so he fled. He went up by Lochtreig and the surrounding places making his way south through the glens as best he could, But the poor man was captured and he was taken to London. He was taken there and his head was cut off, a very shameful thing. His friends went to intercede or a letter was dispatched in order for him to be released since it had been long time since the Battle of Culloden. But they paid no attention to their pleas. The poor man was executed in London.

The story certainly made an impact upon Calum Maclean for he wrote about it in his book The Highlands (1959), in the following terms:

It was John MacDonald of Highbridge who told me of the sequence of events that led to the capture of Dr Archibald Cameron, brother of Locheil. Seven years after Culloden, Dr Archibald returned to Scotland. He stayed for some time at Achnacarry, where a nephew of his, a young boy, was ill. The local physician at Fort William had been attending the boy, but under his treatment the patient showed no signs of recovery. The physician continued the same treatment, when, quite unaccountably, the boy made a rapid and complete recovery. Some skilled hands had been at work and the physician immediately thought of Dr Cameron. Out of professional jealousy rather than out of a sense of loyalty to the Hanoverian régime, the medical gentleman decided to contact the military authorities. The noble and humanitarian Archibald Cameron was captured and went to his death as befitted one of his name. The execution of Dr Archibald Cameron was an act of unpardonable sadism on the part of the British Government. All through the campaign the doctor’s duties were non-combatant and he had given his services readily to the wounded on both sides. As long as true Highlanders like John MacDonald of Highbridge remain, even the commandos will have come, gone and been forgotten while the name of Dr Archibald Cameron of Locheil will still be revered and honoured. The memorial to Dr Archibald Cameron is more lasting than any edifice of stone or bronze, for it is deep in the hearts of the Gael.

Writing a letter in the Tower of London on the 6th of June, Archibald Cameron in his final moving statement before he was executed the following day had this to say:

COPY of what Dr. ARCHIBALD CAMERON intended to have delivered to the Sheriff of Middlesex at the Place of Execution but which he left in the Hands of his Wife for that End.
On the first slip of Paper bearing Date Tower, June 6, 1753.
BEING denied the use of Pen, Ink, and Paper, except in the Presence of one or more Officers (who always took away the Paper from me, when I began to write my Complaints), and not even allowed the Use of a Knife, with which I might cut a poor blunted Pencil, that had escap’d the diligence of my Searchers, I have notwithstanding, as I could find opportunity, attempted to set down on some Slips of Paper, in as legible Characters as I was able, what I would have my Country satisfied of, with regard to myself and the Cause in which I am now going to lay down my life.
As to my religion, I thank GOD I die a stedfast member, tho’ unworthy, of that Church in whose Communion I have always lived, the Episcopal Church of Scotland, as by Law established before the most unnatural rebellion begun in 1688, which for the Sins of these Nations hath continued to this Day; and I firmly trust to find, at the most awful and impartial Tribunal of the Almighty King of Kings, thro’ the Merits of my Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that Mercy (tho’ undeserved) to my immortal Part which is here denied to my earthly by an Usurper and his Faction, tho’ it be well known I have been the Instrument in preventing the Ruin and Destruction of many of my poor deluded Countrymen who were in their Service, as I shall make appear before I have done, if Opportunities of Writing fail me not.
On the Second Slip of Paper:
In order to convince the world of the Uprightness of my Intentions while in the Prince of Wales’s army, as well as of the Cruelty, Injustice, and Ingratitude of my Murderers, I think it my Duty in this place to take Notice how much better Usage I might have expected of my Country, if Humanity and Good-nature, were now look’d upon with the same eyes as in the Times of our brave and generous Ancestors; But I’m sorry to observe, that our present Men in Power are so far sunk below the noble spirit of the ancient Britons, as hardly at this Day to be distinguished from the very basest of Mankind. Nor could the present Possessor of the Throne of our injured Sovereign, if he looked on himself as the Father and natural Prince of this Country, suffer the Life of one to be taken away who has saved the Lives and Effects of above Three hundred Persons in Scotland, who were firmly attached to him and his Party; but it seems it is now made a Crime to save the lives of Scotsmen.
As neither the Time nor the poor Materials I have for Writing, will allow me to descend to a particular Enumeration of all the Services I have done to the Friends of the Usurper; I shall therefore only mention a few of the most known and such as can be well attested.
In July, 1745, soon after the setting up of the Royal Standard, before our small army had reached Corayarick, it was moved by some of the Chiefs to apply to the PRINCE for a strong detachment of clans to distress Campbell of Invera’s house and Tenants in that Neighbourhood, which my brother Lochiel and I so successfully opposed, by representing to our generous Leader (who was always an Enemy to Oppression), that such Proceedings could be no way useful to his Undertaking, that the Motion was entirely laid aside, to the no small Mortification of the Proposers.
My brother and I likewise prevented another such Design against Breadalbin, to the great satisfaction of our Dear Prince: And on our Return from England to Glasgow.
On a Third Slip of Paper:
My brother and I did Services to the Town of Glasgow, of which the principal Gentry in the Neighbourhood were then, and are to this Day, sensible, if they durst own the truth; but that might be construed Disaffection to a Government founded on and supported by Lies and Falsehoods.
On our March to Stirling, I myself (tho’ I am like to meet with a Hanoverian Reward for it) hindered the whole Town of Kirkintullich from being destroyed and all its Inhabitants put to the Sword by my Brother’s Men, who were justly incensed against it for the inhuman murder of two of Lady Lochiel’s Servants but two Months before. Here was a sufficient Pretence for Vengeance, had I been inclined to Cruelty! But I thank GOD nothing was ever farther from my Nature, tho’ I may have been otherwise represented.
Mr. Campbell of Shawfield, likewise owes me some Favours done to himself and Family, which at least deserve some Return in my Behalf; and Lady Campbell of Lochnell, now in London, can, if she pleases, vouch for the Truth of some of the above Facts.
On a Fourth Slip of Paper:
I thank kind Providence I had the Happiness to be early educated in the Principals of Christian Loyalty, which, as I grew in Years, inspired me with an utter Abhorrence of Rebellion and Usurpation, tho’ ever so successful; and when I arrived at Man’s Estate I had the joint Testimony of Religion and Reason to confirm me in the Truth of my first Principles: Thus my Attachment to the ROYAL FAMILY is more the Result of Examination and Conviction, than of Prepossession and Prejudice. And as I now am, so was I then, ready to seal my Loyalty with my Blood: As soon therefore as the Royal Youth had set up the King his Father’s Standard, I immediately, as in Duty bound, repaired to it; and, as I had the Honour, from that time, to be almost constantly about his Person till November 1748, (excepting the short time his ROYAL HIGHNESS was in the Western Isles after the affair of Culloden). I became more and more captivated with his amiable and princely Virtues, which are, indeed, in every Instance, so eminently great, as I want Words to describe.
I can further affirm (and my present Situation and that of my dear PRINCE too, can leave no room to suspect me of Flattery), that as I have been his Companion in the lowest Degree of Adversity ever Prince was reduced to; so I have beheld him too, as it were on the highest Pinnacle of Glory, amidst the continual Applauses, and, I had almost said, Adorations of the most brilliant Court in Europe; yet he was always the same, ever affable and courteous, giving constant Proofs of his great Humanity and his Love for his friends and his Country. What great Good to these Nations might not be expected from such a PRINCE, were he in Possession of the Throne of his Ancestors! And as to his Courage, none that have heard of his Glorious Attempt in 1745, I should think, can call it in Question.
I cannot pass by in Silence that most horrible Calumny raised by the Rebels under the Command of the inhuman Son of the Elector of Hanover, which served as an Excuse for unparalleled Butchery, committed by his Orders, in cold Blood, after the unhappy affair of Culloden, viz.: “That we had Orders to give no Quarter, &c.” which, if true, must have come to my Knowledge, who had the Honour to serve my ever dear Master in Quality of one of his Aides de Camp; and I hereby declare I never heard of such Orders. The above is Truth.
I likewise declare, on the Word of a dying Man, That the last Time I had the Honour to see his Royal Highness, CHARLES PRINCE of WALES, he told me from his own Mouth, and bid me assure his Friends from him, That he was a Member of the Church of England.
On a Fifth Slip of Paper:
To cover the Cruelty of murdering me at this Distance of Time, from the passing of the unjust Attainder, I am accused of being deeply engaged in a new plot against this Government; which, if I was, neither the Fear of the worst Death their Malice could invent, nor much less the blustering and noisy Threatnings of the tumultuous Council, nor even their flattering Promises, could extort any Discovery of it from me; yet not so much as one Evidence was ever produced to make good the Charge. But it is my business to submit, since GOD, in his Alwise Providence, thinks fit to suffer it to be so; and I the more cheerfully resign my Life as it is taken away for doing my Duty to GOD, my King, and Country: Nor is there any Thing in this World I could so much wish to have it prolonged for, as to have another Opportunity of employing the Remainder of it in the same Glorious Cause.
I thank God I was not in the least daunted at hearing the bloody Sentence which my unrighteous Judge, pronounced with a seeming Insensibility, till he came to the Words, But not till you are dead; before which he made a Pause, and uttering them with a particular Emphasis, stared me in the Face, to observe, I suppose, if I was as much frightened at them as he perhaps would have been in my Place. As to the Guilt, he said, I had to answer for, as having been instrumental in the Loss of so many Lives. Let him and his Constituents see to that; at their Hands, not at mine, will all the Blood that has been shed on that account, be required.
GOD, of his infinite Mercy, grant they may prevent the Punishment that hangs over their Heads, by a sincere Repentance, and speedy Return to their Duty. And, I pray GOD to hasten the Restoration of the Royal Family (without which these miserably divided Nations can never enjoy Peace and Happiness) and that it may please Him to preserve and defend the King, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke of York, from the Power and Malice of their Enemies; to prosper and reward all my Friends and Benefactors, and to forgive all my Enemies, Murderers, and false Accusers, from the Elector of Hanover, and his Bloody Son, down to Samuel Cameron the basest of their Spies, as I freely do from the Bottom of my Heart.

(Sic subscripsit) Archibald Cameron
I am now ready to be offered; I have fought a good fight, All Glory be to God.

A contemporary account republished here in full is taken from a London-based newspaper entitledThe Newgate Calendar:

Executed at Tyburn, June 7, 1753 (greatly lamented) for High Treason.

As the rebellion was suppressed, and the British nation enjoyed internal peace, we could almost have wished the royal mercy had been extended to Dr. Cameron; as he took so small a part in the crime for which he suffered, and was drawn into it by attending, in his professional capacity, upon his elder brother.
The brother of this unfortunate man was the chief of the family of their name in the Highlands, and had obtained the highest degree of reputation by his zealous and effectual endeavours to civilize the manners of his countrymen.
Dr. Cameron, being intended by his father for the profession of the law, was sent to Glasgow; where he continued his studies some years; but, having an attachment to the practice of physic, he entered in the university of Edinburgh; whence he went to Paris, and then completed his studies at Leyden in Holland.
Though well qualified to have cut a respectable figure in any capital city, yet he chose to reside for life near his native place; and, having returned to the Highlands, he married, and settled in the small town of Lochaber; where, though his practice was small, his generous conduct rendered him the delight and the blessing of the neighbourhood. His wife bore him seven children, and was pregnant of the eighth at the unfortunate period of his death.
While Dr. Cameron was living happy in the domestic way, the rebellion broke out, and laid the foundation of the ruin of himself and his family. The Pretender having landed, went to the house of Mr M'Donald, and sent for the doctor's brother, who went to him, and did all in his power to dissuade him from an undertaking from which nothing but ruin could ensue.
The elder Mr Cameron having previously promised to bring all his clan in aid of the Pretender, the latter upbraided him with an intention of breaking his promise; which so affected the generous spirit of the Highlander, that he immediately went and took leave of his wife, and gave orders for his vassals, to the number of near twelve hundred, to have recourse to arms.
This being done, he sent for his brother, to attend him as a physician; but the doctor urged every argument against so rash an undertaking; from which he even besought him on his knees to desist. The brother would not be denied; and the doctor at length agreed to attend him as a physician, though he absolutely refused to accept any commission in the rebel army.
This unhappy gentleman was distinguished by his humanity; and gave the readiest assistance, by night or day, to any wounded men of the royal army, who were made prisoners by the rebels. His brother being wounded in the leg at the battle of Falkirk, he attended him with the kindest assiduity, till himself was likewise slightly wounded.
Dr. Cameron exhibited repeated instances of his humanity; but when the battle of Culloden gave a decisive stroke to the hopes of the rebels, he and his brother escaped to the western islands, whence they sailed to France, in a vessel belonging to that kingdom.
The doctor was appointed physician to a French regiment, of which his brother obtained the command; but the latter dying at the end of two years, the doctor became physician to Ogilvie's regiment, then in Flanders.
A subscription being set on foot, in England and Scotland, in the year 1750, for the relief of those persons who had been attainted, and escaped into foreign countries; the doctor came into England to receive the money for his unfortunate fellow sufferers. At the end of two years another subscription was opened; when the doctor, whose pay was inadequate to the support of his numerous family, came once more to this country, and having written a number of urgent letters to his friends, it was rumoured that he was returned.
Hereupon, a detachment from Lord George Beauclerk's regiment was sent in search of him, and he was taken in the following manner: -- Captain Graves, with thirty soldiers, going towards the place where it was presumed he was concealed, saw a little girl at the extremity of a village, who, on their approach, fled towards another village. She was pursued by a servant and two soldiers, who could only come near enough to observe her whispering to a boy, who seemed to have been placed for the purpose of conveying intelligence.
Unable to overtake the boy, they presented their guns at him; on which he fell on his knees, and begged his life; which they promised, on the condition that he would shew them the place where Dr. Cameron was concealed.
Hereupon the boy pointed to the house where he was, which the soldiers surrounded, and took him prisoner. Being sent to Edinburgh, he was thence conducted to London, and committed to the Tower.
While in this confinement, he was denied the use of pen, ink, and paper, and was not suffered to speak to his friends but when the warder was present. On his examination before the lords of the privy-council, be denied that he was the same Dr. Cameron whose name had been mentioned in the act of attainder; which made it necessary to procure living evidence to prove his identity.
Being brought to the bar of the court of king's-bench on the 17th of May, he was arraigned on the act of attainder, when, declining to give the court any farther trouble, he acknowledged that he was the person who had been attainted: on which the lord chief justice Lee pronounced sentence in the following terms: "You, Archibald Cameron, of Lochiel, in that part of Great Britain called Scotland, must be removed from hence to his majesty's prison of the Tower of London, from whence you came, and on Thursday, the 7th of June next, your body to be drawn on a sledge to the place of execution; there to be hanged, but not till you are dead; your bowels, to be taken out, your body quartered, your head cut off, and affixed at the king's disposal; and the Lord have mercy on your soul!"
After his commitment to the Tower, he begged to see his wife, who was then at Lisle in Flanders; and, on her arrival, the meeting between them was inexpressibly affecting. The unhappy lady wept incessantly, on reflecting on the fate of her husband, herself, and numerous family.
Coming to take her final leave of him on the morning of execution she was so agitated by her contending passions, that she was attacked by repeated fits; and, a few days after the death of her unfortunate husband, she became totally deprived of her senses.
On the 7th of June, the sheriffs went to the Tower, and demanded the body of Dr. Archibald Cameron, who was accordingly brought to them by William Ranford, Esq. the deputy-lieutenant.
As soon as he was seated on the sledge, whereon he was to be drawn to the place of execution, he requested to speak to his wife, but being informed that she had left the Tower, after taking leave of him, at eight o'clock, he replied, he was sorry for it; upon which the sledge moved towards Tyburn, among a great number of spectators, who all pitied his situation.
The doctor was dressed in a light-coloured coat, red waistcoat and breeches, and a new bag-wig. He looked much at the spectators in the houses and balconies, as well as at those in the streets, and bowed to several persons with whom he had been acquainted.
At a quarter past twelve the solemn procession reached the place of execution, where he looked on the officers and spectators, with an undaunted and composed countenance; and as soon as unloosed from the sledge, he started up, and with a heroic deportment, stept up into the cart, whence looking round with unconcern on all the apparatus of death, he smiled. Seeing the clergyman, that had before attended him, coming up the steps, he came forward to meet him, and endeavoured, with his fettered hands, to help him up, saying, "So, you are come: -- this is a glorious day to me! -— 'tis my new birthday! -— there are more witnesses at this birth than at my first"
The clergyman being now at the side of the cart, asked "how he felt himself;" he answered, "thank God, I am very well, but a little fatigued with my journey: but, blessed be God, I am now come to the end of it."
The sheriff asked the clergyman, whether he would be long about his office, Dr. Cameron immediately took the words, and said, he required but very little time; for it was disagreeable to be there, and he was as impatient to be gone as they were.
This truly unfortunate man then told the sheriff, he would no longer presume upon his patience; but the sheriff, with looks that shewed a great deal of concern, begged he would take as much time as he pleased, for he would wait until he was ready. The doctor thanked him. He turned to the clergy man, and said, "I have now done with this world, and am ready to leave it."
He now joined him in some short prayers, and repeated some ejaculations out of the Psalms; then embraced the clergyman and took his farewell.
As the divine was going down from the cart, he had nearly missed the steps, which the doctor observing, called to him in a cheerful tone of voice, saying, "Take care how you go; I think you don't know this way as well as I do;" and now, giving the signal, the cart drew from under him.
The body, after hanging twenty minutes, was cut down: it was not quartered; but the heart was taken out and burnt. On the following Sunday, the remains of Dr. Cameron were interred in a large vault in the Savoy chapel.

The news spread quickly and the immediate impact of the betrayal and execution of Dr Archibald Cameron inspired a song entitled Òran don Doctair Chamshron (‘A Song to Dr Cameron’) by John Cameron of Dochanassie.[1] The following text and translation, with slight editorial emendations, is taken from John Lorne Campbell’s anthology Highland Songs of the ’45:

A-raoir bhruadair mi ’m chadal,
’S b’ fheàrr gum faicinn è ‘m dhùsgadh
Gun robh thus’, a Ghilleasbuig,
Air tighinn a sheasamh do dhùthcha;
Ach nuair dhùisg mi sa mhadainn
A faoin-bhrudar a’ chadail,
Cha d’fhuaras tu agam
B’ fhada, b’ fhada o t’ ùir thu.
B’ fhada, b’ fhada bho t’ ùir thu.
B’e do dhùthchas Cill Mhàilidh;
Thug na biastan ort ionnsaigh
'Mach à tùr Inbhir Snàthaid,
Thug iad leotha air dhroch ghiulan
Mac an athar bu chliùitich',
Craobh den abhall nach lùbadh.
Laoch gun chùram sna blàraibh.

Gur h-è siud a chuir as duibh,
Meud bhur braisid ’s gach àite;
An àm togail nam bratach
’S sibh a rachadh sna blàraibh.
Gum bu tric a’ dol dhachaigh,
Air dhroch-cunntas gun aitreabh,
Luchd nan cadaran-daise
Is nan casagan màduir.
’S iomadh buaidh nach robh suarach
A bha fuaighte ri do nàdair,
Bha thu ’shìol nan daoin'-uasal
A bha shuas ann sa Bhràighe;
Thig o Ghiuthasach nam badan
Is bho Lòchaidh nam bradan,
Bho Ghleann Laoigh 's bho Lobh Airceig;
'S Torra-Chaisteil b’è t’ àit’ è.

B’è mo cheist an t-òg suaire
Bu bhoidhche gruaidh agus mala,
Na sùl’ guirm’ bu ghlan lainnir
Mar dhriùchd air bharraibh a’ bharraich;
Dh’aindeoin Uilleim 's a shinnsreadh
B’ann de dh’onair an rìgh thù,
Ged chuir na biastan gu dìth thu,
Chuir umad lìon nach bu mhaith leinn.

Chuir umad lìon nach bu mhaith leinn,
’S daor a cheannich thu 'm Prionnsa,
Cha b’ì ’n fhoill a bh’ air t’ aire
Nuair a thàinig thu ’Mhùideart;
Ach seasamh gu fearail,
Mar bu dual dhut o d’ sheanair,
Choisinn buaidh dha na fearibh
Tha ’n-diugh tana ri ’n cunntas.

Tha ’n-diugh tana ri ’n cunntas―
Tha do dhùthaich na fàsaich,
Chuid a dh’fhuirich de d’ mhuinntir
Tha aig Mungo[2] fo ’ràidhe;
Gar am beò mi ach bliadhna
’S aon achanich dh’iarrainn―
Guidheam sgrios air na biastan,
Is Loch Iall 'thighinn gu ’àite.
Last night I lay dreaming
What I'd sooner see waking,
That thou, O Gilleasbuig,
Hadst come to succour thy country;
But when I awakened
Out of my vain vision,
I could not find thee near me,
Thou wast far from thy country.
Thou wast far from thy country,
Thy home was Kilmallie,
The beasts did beset thee
From Inversnaid tower;
They took with them captive
A famed father's offspring,
A branch of apple unbending,
A hero fearless in battle.

'Twas thy boldness destroyed thee,
So great in all placed,
When the banners were hoisted
Thou wouldst be in the battle;
And oft did go homewards
Ill-used to their dwelllings,
The folk of …[3]
And of coats coloured madder.

Many a grace that was worthy
To thy nature was woven,
Thou wast of the nobles
From the Braes of Lochaber,
From Kingussie of the thickets,
And Lochy of the salmon,
From Glen Loy and Loch Arkaig,[4]
Torcastle was thy dwelling.

How I loved the youth kindly
Of cheeks and brows fairest,
Of bright blue eye shining
Like the dew on the branches;
Despite William and his forebears
Thou wast of royal honour,
Though the beasts have undone thee,
Set a vile net around thee.

Set a vile net around thee,
Dearly boughtst thou Prince Tearlach,
No guile didst thou think of
When thou camest to Moidart;[5]
But standing forth bravely,
With thy grandsire's[6] own nature
That won fame for his clansmen.
Who are now few in number.

Who are now few in number,
For thy land is a desert,[7]
Of thy folk, the survivors
Are oppressèd by Mungo;
Though I live but a year more
One prayer I'd be asking -
May the beasts meet destruction
And Lochiel return homewards.[8]
Anon., ‘Dr. A. Cameron’, Newgate Calendar (London, 1753)
John Lorne Campbell (ed.), Highlands Songs of the Forty-Five (Edinburgh: The Scottish Academic Press, 2nd ed., 1984)
Mary E. Gibson, ‘Dr Archibald Cameron (1707–53)’, Journal of Medical Biography, vol.  13 (2005), pp. 117–18
Calum I. Maclean, The Highlands (Inbhirnis: Club Leabhar, 1975)
Rennie MacOwan, ‘A Highland Hero: [Dr. Archie Cameron, Jacobite], The Scots Magazine, vol. 157, no 3. (Sept., 2002), pp. 238–42
SSS NB 8, pp. 690–92

Dr Archibald Cameron from a rare print in the Burney Collection in the British Museum

[1] John Cameron, known as An Tàillear MacAlasdair, lived at Dochanassie in Lochaber. He was a tailor by trade. It is said that he was bard to Alexander MacDonald of Keppoch, (seventeenth chief of Keppoch, who was killed at Culloden). Some of his descendants emigrated and settled in Cape Breton. Cameron was .probably related to Alexander Cameron of Dochanassie. A lament for Lochiel and an elegy to Donald McDonald of Tirnadris are also attributed to him, though in Patrick Turner’s collection the latter is ascribed to Alexander Cameron.
[2] Mungo Campbell, nephew of Colin Campbell of Glenure, became factor for the forfeited estates of Ardsheil, Callart, and the part of Lochiel's estates held of the Duke of Gordon, on the murder of his uncle on the 14th of May 1752.
[3] Text is corrupt here.
[4] Lands of the Clan Cameron which had been disputed over by the MacIntoshes for centuries.
[5] This probably refers to the charge of embezzlement that had been made against Dr Cameron by Alexander McDonald, Younger of Glengarry.
[6] Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel described by the historian Macaulay as Ulysses of the Highlands.
[7] Lochaber suffered more from Hanoverian reprisals and plundering than any other part of the Highlands.
[8] This is John Cameron of Lochiel (1732–1763). He returned to Scotland from France in 1759, but the estates being forfeited were not restored to the family until 1782.

1 comment:

  1. Daunting and emotional to read of the demise of my great x 7 grandfather