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Murder under Trust

The events of 13th February 1692 have gone down in history as being an atrocity. Although this is true, the official story is that  the MacDonalds of Glencoe were massacred by the Clan Campbell. I'd like to say, Bullshit.

The world has seen many greater slaughters. Measured on the simplistic scale of death toll, it could be classified as "a little local difficulty". Even in our Scotland there have been other atrocities in which much greater numbers of people have been despatched in horrific ways.  The massacre took the lives of 37 men and women. It is estimated that a further 40+ men, women and children died of exposure while fleeing the scene of the crime.

Although there were Campbells present in Glencoe, they were not there as part of a clan force. They were troops serving in a regiment of the government army.  The massacre was carried out by these troops on the direct order of King William of Orange. A plot was set in motion which apparently involved John Dalrymple, Master of Stair and Lord Advocate, Sir Thomas Livingstone, commander of the forces in Scotland, and even King William, who signed and countersigned the orders.

In 1688, William, glad to enlist British help in his wars with France, accepted the invitation to take the throne of the Kingdom of England. The Scottish Parliament was more cautious and invited letters from him and James VII (ousted as James II of England). When the arrogant response from James persuaded the Scots to accept William, an unsuccessful insurrection took place in the Highlands.  This insurrection failed due to the death of James Graham, 1st Viscount of Dundee, (Bonnie Dundee) at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689.

The Chiefs were ordered, under pain of the full weight of the law, to present themselves before the nearest civil authority and submit themselves before the 1st of January 1692. Elderly MacIain, Chief of the MacDonalds of Glencoe, did not leave for Fort William until the day before the deadline.

When he arrived the garrison commander there was not authorised to accept his submission. So MacIain had to ride to Invarary, a seven day fight through snow storms. Although he was past the deadline his submission was accepted. 

 The MacDonalds, therefore, were not suspicious when troops of Argyll’s regiment, under the command of Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, arrived to billet themselves in their homes. If only they had known of the genocide in the mind of Dalrymple who had written, ‘If MacIain of Glencoe and that tribe can be well separated from the rest, it will be a proper vindication of the public justice to extirpate that sect of thieves.’
For two weeks his soldiers enjoyed the MacDonalds’ hospitality.

The citation below shows that it was government troops who carried out this atrocity, purely because no clan would have needed instructions to raid another.

You are hereby ordered to fall upon the Rebels, the McDonalds of Glenco, and putt all to the sword under seventy. you are to have a special care that the old Fox and his sons doe upon no account escape your hands, you are to secure all the avenues that no man escape. This you are to putt in execution at fyve of the clock precisely; and by that time, or very shortly after it, I'll strive to be att you with a stronger party: if I doe not come to you att fyve, you are not to tarry for me, but to fall on. This is by the Kings speciall command, for the good & safty of the Country, that these miscreants be cutt off root and branch. See that this be putt in execution without feud or favour, else you may expect to be dealt with as one not true to King nor Government, nor a man fitt to carry Commissione in the Kings service. Expecting you will not faill in the fullfilling hereof, as you love your selfe, I subscribe these with my hand  att Balicholis  Feb: 12, 1692
[signed] R. Duncanson

For their Majesties service
To Capt. Robert Campbell of Glenlyon

A further point is that hospitality to all – including enemies – was seen as a sacred trust by all Highlanders.

Thanks fer thon Chookie!

Neil Oliver dun sum'hin' aboot thon on telly as wee whiles back, but it's guid tae see it wrote doon....... sticks in yer heid a bit better'n a TV proggy.

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