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grain on his own farms, and when he, or any of his people, or any poor person, were in want of meal, he went to a store which Montrose had at Moulin, ordered the quantity he required, gave the keeper a receipt for it, and made the tenants, with their horses, carry it to his house, or wherever else it was wanted.
The more deliberately to carry on those inroads, he and his men, for he never had less than twelve, casually occupied a cave at the base of Ben Lomond, on the banks of the lake. This recess has its entrance near the water's edge, among huge fragments of rock broken from that stupendous mountain, and fantastically diversified by the interspersion of brushwood, heath, and wild plants, matured in the desert luxuriance of solitude.
But Rob, though generally favoured by fortunate incidents, could not always expect to get off with impunity; and after have ing many things in his own way, he at length pressed too hard on Montrose, that he was constrained to call out a number of his people, who headed by a confidential Graham, and accompanied by some military, were sent forth to lay hold of Macgregor. Rob and his band chanced to be absent when the Grahams assailed his house; but they learned the course he had taken, and, by daybreak next morning, arrived at Crinlarach, a public house in Strathfillan, where our hero and his men had taken quarters for the night-he in the house, and they in an adjoining barn. The Grahams did not wait to gain admission to the house, but broke open the door. Rob was instantly on his feet and accoutred. He levelled them man by man as they came to the door, until his own lads, roused by the noise, attacked the Grahams in the rear with such hard knocks, that they retreated to some distance, leaving behind them several of their party sorely wounded; and Rob, having fortified his men with a glass of whisky, ascended the hill towards Glenfallach. The Grahams, expecting to obtain some advantage over them, followed at a little distance, till Rob's men shot some of the military, and drowned one soldier in a mill-dam, when the Grahams thought proper to withdraw.
After this inglorious trial to overcome Macgregor, though with five times the number of men, Montrose ceased for a while to give him any obstruction, until Rob now grown, if possible, more courageous than ever, made a descent into the plains, and sweeped away cattle, and every moveable article, from the country round Balfron and other parts; and this was commonly called, the herriship of Kilrain. This appears to have been the greatest misde. meanor of which he stood accused, as it attracted the notice of government; and the western volunteers were marched into the Highlands to curb the insolence of Rob Roy and his thievish clan, as they were denominated. These volunteers went to Drymen, but finding their entertainment very bad, and the people disaffected, they lay upon their arms all the night, dreading the approach of the Macgregors, who were within a few miles of them, to the number of 500; but they were not molested, being allowed to de. part in peace. Several parties of horse, however, were afterwards
dispersed over the country to apprehend Rob, and a reward offered for his head, which obliged him for some months to take shelter in the woods, and in the cave at the side of Loch Lomond.
While under this concealment he was only attended by two men. One day, when travelling in a sequestered place along the side of Lochearn, they were unexpectedly met by seven horsemen, who demanded their names and what they were, to which they gave an evasive answer; but, from our hero's great stature and warlike dress, they had no doubt of his being the person they sought, and desired him to surrender. There was no time for reply, and they sprang up the hill, followed by the troopers. Rob rapidly mounted the higher ground, where neither the horses nor the fire of the riders could touch him; but his companions were not so lucky, as they were overtaken and killed; and being exasperated at this, he fired upon the troopers in return, and killed three of them and four of their horses, when they galloped away.
Having continued to wander from place to place, somewhat forlorn, though not broken in spirit, he became solicitous about the safety of his family, and had them privately removed to a remote situation at the head of Glenfine, among the mountains of Argyll. To this solitude some of his faithful adherents accompanied him, and soon erected habitations for their accommodation; which being finished, Macgregor waited on his protector the Duke of Argyll, to inform him of what he had done.
From this place he and his people paid frequent visits to the lands of Montrose and Athol, from whom they abundantly supplied their wants. But when Montrose understood that Rob had an assylum from Argyll, he wrote to him desiring that the outlaw might be removed from his castle, and given up to justice, and blaming Argyll for having given him any countenance. Argyll replied, that the abode which Rob Roy occupied he had taken without leave, and that he supplied him only with wood for fire, and water for drink; and he believed, that with every thing else Rob would supply himself.
Having found this new retreat, though secure and distant, both inconvenient and uncomfortable, and their enemies having relaxed in their pursuit, they left the bleak hills of Argyll, and again took up their residence on the soil of their nativity.
The various assaults to which Rob Roy had been accessary upon the Earl of Athol and his numerous vassals, were not dictated by malice, or a wish for spoil, but continued as a chastisement for the contempt in which he was held by that nobleman, who did not respect his bravery, although he had often seen and dreaded its effects. Rob having shewn no inclination to desist from those practices, Athol resolved to correct him in person as all former attempts to subdue him had failed, and with this bold intention he set forward to Balquhiddar. A large portion of that country then belonged to Athol; and when he arrived there, he summoned the attendance of his vassals; who very unwillingly accompanied him to Rob's house, as many of them were Macgregors, but dared not refuse their laird. Rob's mother having died in his house, preparations were going forward for the funeral, which was to take place that day; and on this occasion he could have dispensed with such unlooked for guests. He knew the purpose of their visit, and to escape seemed impossible; but, with strength of mind and quickness of thought, he buckled on his sword, and went out to meet the earl. He saluted him very graciously, and said, that he was much obliged to his lordship for having come, unasked, to his mother's funeral, which was a piece of friendship he did not expect; but Athol replied, that he did not come for that purpose, but to desire his company to Perth. Rob, however, declined the honour, as he could not leave his mother's funeral, but after doing that last duty to his parent, he would go if his lordship insisted upon it. Athol said the funeral could go on without him, and would not delay. A long remonstrance ensued; but the earl was inexorable, and Rob, apparently complying, went away amidst the the cries and tears of his sisters and kindred. Their distress roused his soul to a pitch of irresistible desperation, and breaking from the party, several of whom he threw down, he drew his sword. Athol, when he saw him retreat, and his party intimidated by such resolution, drew a holster pistol and fired at him. Rob fell at the same instant, not by the ball, which never touched him, but by slipping a foot. One of his sisters, the lady of Glenfallach, a stont woman, seeing her brother fall, believed he was killed, and making a furious spring at Athol, seized him by the throat, and brought him from his horse to the ground. In a few minutes that nobleman would have been choked, as it defied the by-standers to unfix the lady's grasp, until Rob went to his relief, when he was in the agonies of suffocation.
Several of our hero's friends, who observed the suspicious haste of Athol and his party towards his house, dreading some evil design, speedily armed and running to his assistance, were just arrived as Athol's eye-balls were beginning to revert into their sockets. Rob declared, that had the earl been so polite as allow him to wait his mother's burial, he would have then gone along with him; but this being refused, he would now remain in spite of all his efforts; and the lady's embrace having much astonished the earl, he was in no condition to renew his orders, so that he and his men departed as quickly as they could. Had they staid till the clan assembled to the exequies of the old woman, it is doubtful if either the chief or his companions had ever returned to taste Athol brose.
Though Rob Roy Macgregor was conscious how little the personal virtues of the Stewart family entitled them to support, he yet onsidered their right to the crown as hereditary, and consequently indefeasible; and from this conviction, he resolved that his exertions should be directed to their cause. When the clans, therefore, began to arm in favour of that house, in 1715, he also prepared the clan Gregor for the contest, in concert with his nephew, Gregor Macgregor of Glengyle.
A large body of Macgregors were at this time collected, and became very formidable. They marched into Monteith and Lennox, and disarmed all those whom they considered of opposite principles. Having secured all the boats on Loch Lomond, they took possession of an island in it, from whence they sent parties over the neighbouring countries to levy contributions, and extort such penalties as they judged proper. But serious apprehensions being entertained of their disposition for mischief, great crowds of military, lairds and their tenantry, assembled, and they were dislodged, and forced to join a camp of Highlanders from other quarters in Strathfillan, but not till after several struggles with the king's troops, different detachments of which they defeated.
The progress of the earl of Mar with his army of disaffected Highlanders, greatly alarmed the government, and immediate orders were transmitted to Edinburgh, to secure such suspected persons as were thought inimical to the king, and among others, Rob Roy Macgregor was specially named. He, however, conducted himself with some caution on this occasion, and waited to observe the complexion of matters before he should proceed farther, as his friend Argyll had espoused the part of king George, a circumstance which greatly distressed him. In a state of considerable indecision, he proceeded to the Lowlands, and hovered about both armies prior to the battle of Sheriff-muir, without making any declaration or offer to join either; and upon that event he remained an inactive spectator. This unexpected conduct arose from two motives equally powerful,—a wish not to offend his patron, the Duke of Argyll, should he join the earl of Mary-and that he might not act contrary to his conscience, by joining Argyll against his expatriated king.
Though the undecided issue of this trial eventually brought about the dispersion of the Highland army, the Macgregors continued together; but unwilling to return home without some substantial display of conquest, they marched to Faulkland, and garrisoned the ancient palace of that place; where, without much ceremony, they exacted rigorous fines from the king's friends. Here they remained till Argyil arrived at Perth, when they retired to their own country with the spoils they had acquired; but they continued in arms for several years thereafter, to the no small disturbance of their neighbours, in the pursuit of their usual compulsatory habits.
Those daring practices seem to have been the reason why, in the subsequent act of indemnity, or free pardon, the Macgregors were excluded from mercy in these words:-“ Excepting all persons of the name and clan of Macgregor, mentioned in an act of parliament made in Scotland in the first of the late king Charles I. instituted anent the clan Macgregor, whatever name he or they may have, or do assume, or commonly pass under;” and consequently our hero's name appeared attained, as“ Robert Campbell, alias Macgregor, commonly called Robert Roy.”
In raising the tax of black-mail, Rob Roy was in some measure sanctioned, if not by act of parliament, at least by statutes of local institution, as he was for some time a contractor for assisting the police of different districts in collecting duties somewhat similar to the other. These affairs of police were nearly the same, though not constituted under like regulations as the succeeding blackwatch, the origin of the now gallant 42d regiment.
Rob, who was in a great degree thus supported, openly demanded his dues, and took strong measures to enforce payment -his attack on Garden Castle was of that description. The owner was absent when Rob went to claim his right, which had long been withheld on pretences not to be allowed. He, however, took possession of the fortress; and when the owner returned he was refused admittance, until he would pay the reward of protection: but he refused; and Rob having ascended the turrets with a child from the nursery, threatened to throw it over the walls; which speedily brought the laird, at the intercession of his lady, to an agreement, when our hero restored the keys of the castle and took his leave.
Whether Rob Roy had ever paid respect to religious duties, or what might have been the extent of his creed during the more prosperous part of his life, is not certain, though he was by birth a Protestant; but he was at one period reduced so low in his finances, that he left his farm, and lived in a small hut in a distant glen. In this humble abode, whether affected by remorse for his past irregular life, or whether he had seriously come to the persuasion, that he might overcome all his errors by the interposition of Catholic priests, from their declared power of absolving all species of sin, has not been transmitted to us; but Rob had taken the resolution of becoming Roman Catholic, and he accordingly went to a Mr. Alexander Drummond, an old priest of that faith, who resided at Drummond Castle. What the nature of Rob's confessions were, or the penance which his sins required, has been concealed; but if we may judge from the account he himself gave of his interview with this ecclesiastic,~" that the old man frequently groaned, crossed himself, and exacted a heavy remuneration,"-Rob's crimes must have been of difficult expiation: “ It was a convenient religion, however," he used to say, “ which for a little money could put asleep the conscience.”
But whatever amendment this apostacy from the tenets of his fathers might have effected on our hero's principles of morality, which were previously loose and unsettled, certain it is, that the restless and active temper of his mind did not long allow him to remain the quiet votary of his new faith; and a desperate foray into the north Highlands having been projected by his nephew, he was requested to take the command. Tired of inactive life, to which he had never been accustomed, and willing to do any thing to retrieve his decayed circumstances, he readily consented, and set out at the head of twenty men.
It has been affirmed upon good authority, that these Macgregors, with other Highlanders, joined