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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BI 0 GR AP HI C AL SKETCHES. 419 Colquhoun Grant, whose father possessed the farm of Burnside, on the estate of Castle Grant, in Inverness-shire, was, in his early years, a devoted adherent of the house of Stuart. He joined the army of the Chevalier on its way towards the Lowlands; and, on approaching Edinburgh, was one of those detached to force an entrance into the city.’ The party, which consisted of nine hundred men, advanced before daylight, and arrived undiscovered at the Nether Bow. They had with them several barrels of gunpowder, for the purpose of blowing up the gate, but were saved this alternative by a carriage passing out at the moment of their arrival, when the Highlanders, rushing in, seized the sentinels, and at once obtained possession of the town. It is told of Colquhoun Grant, as an instance of the spirit by which he was animated, that he pursued some of‘ the guard to the very walls of the Castle, where they had just time to close the outer gate, into which he struck his dirk, leaving it there as a mark of triumph and defiance.’ Followed by a small party of about twenty-eight Highlanders, armed with the broadsword only, he routed a body of dragoons, and took two pieces of ordnance. For this signal instance of intrepidity, as well as for his former conduct, he was publicly tbanked by the Prince, at the first levee held at Holyrood House, who at the same time presented him with a small projle cast of himself: as a He is generally supposed to have been the “Highland recruit,” by whom, as is told in our notice of Lord Gardenstone, that gentleman and another volunteer were taken prisoners at Musselburgh Bridge, where they had gone into a well-known haunt to regde themselves with sherry and oysters. a The dirk and other relics of Colquhouu Grant are still preserved by his nephew, Captain Gregory Grant, R.N., who is now is possession of Burnside. It is now in the hands of Lieutenant- General Ainslie-author of an elaborate and beautiful work on the French coins of English sovereigns-to whom it was presented by his friend Donald Maclean, Esq., W.S., formerly of Drimnin, and son-in-law to the subject of our sketch. The grandfather of Mr. Maclean was also “out in the forty-five,” and fell, along with two of his sons, at the battle of Culloden, where he headed five hundred of the clan. In connection with Mr. Maclean’s father, who likewise fought at Culloden, and was wounded by a ball in the neck, an anecdote is told of William the Fourth. The latter was a midshipman on board the Thesby, twenty-eight guns, commanded by Captain Hawkins. Being on the cowt, he landed with a pleasure party near to where Mr. Maclean resided, by whom they were hospitably received. William, who was young, and of a flippant manner, exclaimed-“You are all rebels here !” Maclean replied,-“ No, please your Royal Highness ; I did fight for our rightful prince ; but as Uzut family of Stuarts, who sat upon the throne, is gone, and George the Third, your Royal father, is now the nearest heir, I can safely declare t,hat the King has not more loyal subjects than the Jacobites of Scotland.” Captain Hawkins observed, “I am aware that this fact is known to your Royal father, who is fully senaible that he has not more devoted or loyal subjects than the OM Jacobites of Scotland, who fought against him 1” The same spirit of gAllant loyalty which animated the Macleans in the cause of Prince Charles Edward in 1745 was manifasted, though on a different field, and in another manner, by Mr. Donald Maclean in 1794. We allude to the democratic riota in the theatre during [email protected] year, .some notice of which occurs in No. CXLI. It appears that the success of the loyalists on these occasions was mainly owing to the resolute conduct of Maclean, who had only been settled in Edinburgh a short time previously. The disturbances were principally instigated by American and Irish students-a party of whom, on the first night of the affair, remained covered in the pit during the performance of the King’s anthem. Mr. Maclean, who was seated in the boxes, leaped down into the pit, and going up into the party, politely requested them as gentlemen to conform to the usual mark of respect shown to his Majesty. “By J-a, we won’t 1 ” was the nngacious reply. The blood of Maclean boiled with indignation. “ By J-s, you At the affair of Prestonpans, Mr. Grant distinguished himself. We have seen this interesting relic of the young Chevalier. ’
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420 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. mark of personal esteem, and to denote the high opinion entertained of his gallant conduct. Mr. Grant, who was a very handsome, well-made man, was selected as one of the Prince’s Life-guards, commanded by Lord Elcho. The dress of the guards was blue, faced with red, and scarlet waistcoats, with gold lace. The equipment and appearance of this body are alluded to in a letter from Derby, where the Pretender’s army arrived on the 4th December 1745, on their intended march to London, but from which a counter-movement in the direction of Scotland was commenced next morning. The letter is by an eye-witness, who says :- “ On Wednesday, about eleven o’clock, two of the Rebel’s vanguard entered this town, inquiring for the Magistrates, and demanding billets for nine hundred men or more. A short while after, the vanguard rode into the town, consisting of about thirty men, clothed in blue, faced with red, aud scarlet waistcoats, with gold-lace; and, being likely men, made a good appearance. They were drawn up in the market-place, and sat on horseback two or three hours. At the same time the bells were rung, and several bonfires made, to prevent any resentment from them that might ensue on our showing a dislike to their coming among us. About three afternoon, Lord Elcho, with the Life-guards, and many of their chiefs, arrived on horseback, to the number of about a hundred and fifty, most of them clothed as above. Soon after, their main body marched into town, in tolerable order, six or eight abreast, with about eight standards, most of them white flags and a red cross, their bagpipes playing as they marched. * * * * * Their Prince did not arrive till the dusk of the evening. He walked on foot, attended by a great body of his men, who conducted him to his lodgings, the Lord Exeter’s, where he had guards placed all around the house. Every house almost by this time was pretty well tilled ; but they continued driving in till ten or eleven at night, and we thought we never should have seen the last of them. The Dnkes of Athol and Perth, the Lords Pitsligo, Nairn, Elcho, and George Murray, old Gordon of Glenbucket, and their other chiefs and great officers, Lady Ogilvie, and Lady Murray, were lodged at the best gentlemen’s houses. Many common ordinary houses, both public and private, had forty or fifty men each, and some gentlemen near a hundred. At their coming in they were generally treated with bread, cheese, beer, and ale, whilst all hand8 were aloft getting their suppers ready. After supper, being weary with their long march, they went to rest, most upon straw, others in beds.” Mr. Grant continued with the Prince’s army till its overthrow at Culloden, when he fled to his native hills, where, for a time, he found shelter. As the search for those who “ had been out ” became less vigorous, he ventured to take up his residence at his father’s house, where he once very narrowly estaped apprehension. One of the ploughmen being in the field, observed a party of military at a short distance ; but, conscious that he was seen by them, he was at a loss how to get intelligence conveyed to the house ; for had either he or his boy left the plough and gone home, the circumstance would have excited the suspicion of the soldiers. He therefore adopted the expedient of driving home, with oxen and plough, as if his work had been completed, and instantly gave notice of the danger. Colquhoun made his escape to a neighbouring hill, where, concealed in a hollow, he safely witnessed the arrival and departure of his foes These made a fine show, being the flower of the army. will ! ” he exclaimed, at the same moment dealing the democrat a blow that levelled him with the floor. The row instantly became general ; but by the prowess of Maclean and several other spirited gentlemen the loyalists were soon victorious. Mr. Maclean, who is a thorough Highlander, and a Jacobite in sentiment, has been for many years Solicitor of .Excise ; and, having been long in extensive business, may be said in a great measure to have repaired the broken fortunes of his family. He now possesses an estate in Argyleshire.
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