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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


Volume 8 Page 3
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4 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. THE DAFT HIGHLAND LAIRD. JOHN DHU, OR DO'CV, ALIAS 'MACDONALD, AND JAMIE DUFF, AN IDIOT. THE first of these worthies, who is in the act of holding up a staff surmounted by the representation of a human head and face, was a gentleman by birth, his proper name and title being James Robertson of Kincraigie, in Perthshire. He was a determined Jacobite, and had been engaged in the Rebellion of 1745, for which he was confined in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. It was during this incarceration that the Laird exhibited those symptoms of derangement which subsequently caused him to obtain the sobriquet of the " Daft Highland Laird." His lunacy was first indicated by a series of splendid entertainments to all those who chose to come, no matter who they were. His insanity and harmlessness having become known to the authorities, they discharged him from the jail, from which, however, he was no sooner ejected than he was pounced upon by his friends, who having cognosced him in the usual manner, his younger bother was, it is understood, appointed his curator or guardian. By this prudent measure his property was preserved against any attempts which might be made by designing persons, and an adequate yearly allowance was provided for his support. A moderate income having in this way been secured to the Laird, he was enabled to maintain the character of a deranged gentleman with some degree of respectability, and he enjoyed, from this time forward, a total immunity from all the cares of life. When we say, however, that the Laird was freed from all care and anxiety, we hazarded something more than the facts warrant. Tilere was one darling wish of his heart that clung to him for many a day, which certainly it was not very easy to gratify. This was his extreme anxiety to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, as a rebel partisan of the house of Stuart, and a sworn and deadly foe to the reigning dynasty. He was sadly annoyed that nobody would put him in jail as a traitor, or attempt to bring him to trial. It would have been a partial alleviation of his grief, if he could have got any benevolent person to have accused him of treason. It was in vain that he drank healths to the Pretender-in vain that he bawled treason in the streets ; there was not one who would lend a helping-hand to procure him the enjoyment of its pains and penalties. The Laird, although he uniformly insisted on being a martyr to the cause of the Chevalier, seemed to feel that there was something wanting to complete his pretensions to that character-that it was hardly compatible with the unrestrained liberty he enjoyed, the ease and comfort in which he lived, and the total immunity from any kind of suffering which was permitted him j and hence his anxiety to bring down upon himself t,he vengeance of the law.
Volume 8 Page 4
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