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Reader at Dunlichtie and Daviot in November, 1569. Presented to the Parsonage and Vicarage by James VI., 6th November, 1575. Continued in 1589.
3. JAMES LYLE.
16--1626. Was Minister of Laggan and Alvie " long before 12th October, 1624.” Demitted for age in 1626. See No. 7, Parish of Alvie.
4. ALEXANDER CLARK.
16--16 “ Laureated” at the University and King's College, Aberdeen, in 1619. Admitted prior to 3rd April, 1638. Deposed by the Commission of Assembly at Aberdeen before 5th October, 1647. Admitted Master of the Grammar School at Kingussie in 1652.
5. JAMES DICK, A.M.
1653-1665. Obtained his degree from the University of St Andrews in 1645. Ordained to Laggan prior to 4th October, 1653, having Alvie likewise under his care. On 29th October, 1656, the Synod of Argyle wrote him “to know what Presbytery he is in, that they may write anent his carriage in Lochaber.” Was deposed by the Bishop and brethren on 15th November, 1665, for drunkenness.
7. WILLIAM ROBERTSON, A.M.
1667-1669. Graduated at Aberdeen in 1660. Passed his trials before the Presbytery of Fordyce, and was recommended for licence on 21st February, 1666. Admitted as Minister of Laggan prior to 1st October, 1667. Translated to Crathie and Kindrocht or Braemar after 6th April, 1669.
7. THOMAS MACPHERSON.
1672-1708. Was also Minister of Alvie from 1662 to the date of his death in 1708. See No. 9, Parish of Alvie.
8. JOHN MACKENZIE.
1709-1745. Translated from Kingussie to Laggan, and admitted prior to 31st May, 1709. In 1743, Mr Mackenzie, "owing to his great age, and manifold infirmities attending it," petitioned the Presbytery of Abertarff to have an assistant and successor appointed. The people
concurred, and signified their desire to have Mr Duncan Macpherson, who had been recently licensed by the Presbytery, settled as their minister. · The Presbytery entreated the Duke of Gordon to favour the nominee of the people ; but, until there would be an actual vacancy in the parish, the Duke declined to entertain these overtures. So the matter remained until the parish was declared vacant, after Mr Mackenzie's death in 1745. In 1747 Mr William Gordon was appointed by the Presbytery to supply services at Laggan upon a certain Sabbath, "and to sound the inclinations of the people as to their choice of a proper person.” Afterwards two candidates were put upon the leet. These were Mr Macpherson and a Mr Neil Macleod, a brother of Mr Donald Macleod of Swordale. This Neil Macleod was Macleod of Macleod's chaplain to the Royal forces during the Rising of 1745. In December, 1746, Macleod writes from London to President Forbes of Culloden, asking his influence in favour of Neil Macleod's appointment to the parish of Laggan. “You may remember,” the writer says, “he was of the Church millitant, and tended me in my expedition eastward, and stayed with the men constantly till they were sent home, and preached sound doctrine, and really was zealous and serviceable.” Consequent, apparently, upon President Forbes's influence, the Duke of Gordon signified to the Presbytery “his inclination” to have Mr Macleod settled as minister of Lagyan. As regards Mr Macpherson-the choice of the people—there was some difficulty, inasmuch as he had fallen under suspicion of being concerned in “ the late unnatural rebellion.” After due enquiry, however, " the Presbytery unanimously agreed to reject the call to Mr Neil Macleod, in respect it was signed only by four, two of whom were reputed Papists, and to sustain the call to Mr Duncan Macpherson, as being signed by a great many heads of families, together with the elders of the parish.” Mr Macpherson was accordingly duly admitted to the charge. Mr Macleod, it would appear, had been officiating within the bounds of the Presbytery ; but shortly before the termination of the Laggan case the following minute occurs in the Presbytery records :-“A letter from the Committee (Royal Bounty) was read, signifying their disapproval of employing Mr Neil Macleod as itinerant of Kilmonivaig and Laggan, and to approve of Mr Kenneth Bethune being continued at Laggan." “Subsequently,” adds Mr Sinton, “Mr. Martin Macpherson was appointed, and so ended Mr Macleod's relations with the parish of Laggan and the Presbytery of Abertarff, which were apparently the north side of friendly. One can scarcely suppose that the Duke of Gordon was very ardently in his favour; and, considering the condition of Brae-Badenoch at the time, and the pronounced political opinions of Mr Macleod, it is likely that he was regarded by the people as being a sort of Government spy in their midst."
Mr Mackenzie died Father of the Church, on 27th April, 1745, in the 59th year of his ministry.
9. DUNCAN MACPHERSON, A.M.
1747-1757. Graduated at the University and King's College, Aberdeen, 1st April, 1731. Licenced in 1742. Ordained by the Presbytery of Abertarff 23rd June, 1743, as Missionary at Glenroy, &c. Transferred to Mull in October, 1744. Called to Laggan, 2nd June, and admitted 16th September, 1747. Familiarly known by the cognomen of the Ministeir Mór, and distinguished for his herculean strength, as well as for his powers of mind. For some particulars regarding him I have to express my obligations to the Rev. Mr Maclennan, the present minister, and to Mr Angus Mackintosh, the worthy ex-schoolmaster of Laggan.
The old Kirk Session records of Laggan having been accidentally burnt, the particulars I have been able to obtain regarding many of the earlier ministers of that parish are very scanty. There is one, however, Duncan Macpherson (the Ministeir Mor), who was well known to the grandfathers of the present generation. Whether the Reformers worshipped in St Kenneth at Camus Killin is uncertain. At anyrate, one of the first Protestant churches was that at the Eilean Dhu, near Blargy. The church was of very rude construction, and thatched with heather. The remains are still to be seen. Mr Macpherson had his residence at Dalchully, and, in order to get to the church, had to cross the Spey on horseback, there being no bridges. Sunday was generally observed both as a holy day and a holiday. For hours before public worship began, the young men of the parish met and played shinty until the arrival of the clergyman, who, nolens volens, was compelled to join the players; otherwise he was given clearly to understand that he would have to preach to empty benches. So, after a hail or two, shinties were thrown aside, and a large congregation met to hear the new doctrine. The sermon was short, but pithy, and people began to think there was something in the new doctrine after all. Immediately after services were over, shinty was resumed, and carried on at intervals till darkness put an end to their amusements, when many retired to the neighbouring crofts and public-houses, where high revelry was kept up till morning.
Frequently the river was unfordable, and on such occasions the Ministeir Mor was obliged to preach from a knoll on one side, while one-half of the congregation stood on the other. A difficulty arose in connection with the proclamation of marriage banns, and the minister, when not very certain as to the financial status of the ardent swain, would, in stentorian tones, cry out-“Ma chuireas tusa nall an t-airgiod, cuiridh mise null am focal—a request that was immediately responded to through the medium of a piece of cloth in which the fee was carefully wrapped up, and flung across the river. It is also related that in the case of baptisms by the Ministeir Mor when the Spey was similarly in flood, the infant would be taken to the brink of the one side of the river, while the minister, standing on the brink of the other side, would, with his powerful arm, throw the water across with such unerring aim as to descend in showers on the face of the child, and thus, with the appropriate words uttered in tones sufficiently loud to be heard a long way off, administer the rite of baptism.
The universal application of the scriptural maxim that “the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong" was, alas ! strikingly exemplified in the case of the Ministeir Mor, the worthy man, strong and vigorous though he was, having been cut off on 13th August, 1757, at the comparatively early age of 46.
10. ANDREW GALLIE, A.M.
1758-1774. Native of the parish of Tarbat. Graduated at Aberdeen, 3rd April, 1750. Licenced by the Presbytery of Tain in 1753. Ordained in 1756 as missionary at Fort-Augustus. Presented to Laggan by Alexander Duke of Gordon, and admitted 6th September, 1758. Mr Gallie was well-known in connection with the Ossianic controversy. As having reference to visits paid by James Macpherson, the translator, to the Manse at Laggan during Mr Gallie's incumbency, let me give a few interesting extracts from the evidence given by the latter on the subject :
“ When he (Macpherson) returned from his tour through the Western Highlands and Islands he came to my house in BraeBadenoch. I enquired the success of his journey, and he produced several voluines, small octavo, or rather large duodecimo, in the Gaelic language and characters, being the poems of Ossian and other ancient bards.
“I remember perfectly that many of those volumes were, at the close, said to have been collected by Paul Macmhuirich, Bard
Chlanraonuil, and about the beginning of the fourteenth century Mr Macpherson and I were of opinion that, though the bard collected them, yet they must have been writ by an ecclesiastic, for the characters and spelling were most beautiful and correct. Every poem had its first letter of its first word most elegantly flourished and gilded ; some red, some yellow, some blue, and some green ; the material writ on seemed to be a limber, yet coarse and dark vellum ; the volumes were bound in strong parchment; Mr Macpherson had them from Clanranald.
“At that time I could read the Gaelic characters, though with difficulty, and did often amuse myself with reading here and there in those poems while Mr Macpherson was employed on his translation. At times we differed as to the meaning of certain words in the original.
“I remember Mr Macpherson, when reading the MSS. found in Clanranald's, execrating the bard who dictated to the amanuensis, saying, “D- n the scoundrel ; it is he himself that now speaks, and not Ossian.' This took place in my house in two or three instances. I thence conjecture that the MSS. were kept up, lest they should fall under the view of such as would be more ready to publish their deformities than to point out their beauties.
“ It was, and I believe still is, well known that the ancient poems of Ossian, handed down from one generation to another, got corrupted. In the state of the Highlands and its language, this evil, I apprehend, could not be avoided ; and I think great credit is due, in such a case, to him who restores a work of merit to its original purity.”
Mr Gallie was translated to Kincardine, in Ross-shire, on 18th August, 1774.
11. JAMES GRANT.
1775-1801. Appointed by the Committee of the Royal Bounty, 21st August, 1769, as missionary at Fort-Augustus. Presented to Lagyan by Alexander Duke of Gordon, and admitted 21st September, 1775. Was married on 29th May, 1779, to Anne, only daughter of Lieutenant Duncan Macvicar, Barrack-Master at Fort-George, afterwards so well known as the amiable and accomplished Mrs Grant of Laggan, the authoress of “ Letters from the Mountains," “Essays on the superstitions of the Highlanders," and other literary works.
Mr Grant got the Church of Laggan rebuilt in 1785. In 1794 he was appointed Chaplain of Lord Lynedoch's Regiment of Perthsh,te Volunteers, the 90th Foot. Of refined and cultivated tastes,