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Balloch, son of John Mor, son of John, son of Angus Og, (the chief of the descendants of John Mor) and John Mor, son of John Cathanach, and young John, son of John Cathanach, and young Donald Balloch, son of John Cathanach, were treacher. ously taken by Mac-Cean in the island of Finlagan, in Isla, and carried to Edinburgh, where he got them hanged at the Burrow-muir, and their bodies weré buried in the church of St Anthony, called the New Church. There were none left alive at that time of the children of John Cathanach, except Alexander, the son of John Cathanach, and Agnes Flach, who concealed themselves in the glens of Ireland. Mac-Cean, hearing of their hiding-places, went to cut down the woods of these glens, in order to destroy Alexander, and extirpate the whole race. At length Mac-Cean and Alexander met, were reconciled, and a marriage alliance took place ; Alexander married Mac-Cean's daughter, and she brought him good children. The Mac-Donalds of the north had also descendants; for, after the death of John, Lord of the Isles, and Earl of Ross, and the murder of Angas, Alexander, the son of Archibald, the son of Alexander of the Isles, took possession, and John was in possession of the earldom of Ross, and the north bordering country, he married a daughter of the Earl of Moray, of whom some of the men of the north had descended. The MacKenzies rose against Alexander, and fought the battle called Blar na Paire. Alexander had only a few of the men of Ross at the battle. He went after that battle to take possession of the Isles, and sailed in a ship to the south to see if he could find any of the posterity of John Mor alive, to rise along with him, but Mac-Cean of Ardnamurchań watched him as he sailed past, followed him to Oransay and Colonsay, went to the house where he was, and he and Alexander, son of John Cathanach, murdered him there.
“A good while after these things fell out, Donald Galda, son of Alexander, son of Archibald, became major; hè, with the advice and direction of the Earl of Moray, came to the isles, and Mác-Leod of the Lewis, and many of the gentry of the isles, rose with him : they went by the promontory of Ardnamurchan, where they met Alexander, the son of John Cathanach, were réconciled to him, he joined his men with theirs against Mac-Cean of Ardnamurchan, came upon him at a place called the Silver Craig, where he and his three sons, and a great number of his people, were killed, and Donald Galda was immediately declared Mac-Donald: And, after the affair of Ardnamurchan, all the men of the islés yielded to him, but he did not live above séven or eight weeks after it; he died at Carnaborg, in Mull, without issue. He had three sisters' daughters of Alexander, son of Archibald, who were portioned in the north upon the continent, but the earldom of Ross was kept for them. Alexander, the son of Archibald, had a natural son, called John Cam, of whom is descended Achnacoichan, in Ramoeh, and Donald Gorm, son of Ronald, son of Alexan. der Dušon, of John Cam. Donald Du, son of Angus, son of John of the Isles, son of Alexander of the Isles, son of Donald of the Isles, son of John of the Isles, son of Angus Og, namely, the true heir of the Isles and Ross, came after his release from captivity to the isles, and convened the men thereof, and he and the Earl of Lennox agreed to raise a great army for the purpose of taking possession, and a ship came from England with a supply of money to carry on the war, which landed at Mull, and the money was given to Mac-Lean of Duart to be distributed among the commanders of the army, which they not receiving in proportion as it should have been distributed among them, caused the army to disperse, which, when the Earl of Lennox heard, he disbanded his own men, and made it up with the king: Mac-Donald went to Ireland to raise men, but he died on his way to Dublin, at Drogheda, of a fever, without issue of either sons or daughters.”.
In this history may be traced, though the Bard or Seannachie touches such a delicate discussion with a gentle hand, the point of difference between the three principal septs descended from the Lords of the Isles. The first question, and one of no easy solution, where so little evidence is produced, respects the nature of the connection of John, called by the Arch-dean of the Isles “the Good John of Ila,” and “ the last Lord of the Isles,” with Anne, daughter of Roderick Mac-Dougal, high-chief of Lorn. In the absence of positive evidence presumptive must be resorted to, and I own it appears to render it in the highest degree improbable that this connection was otherwise than legitimate. In the wars between David II. and Edward Baliol, John of the Isles espoused the Baliol interest, to which he was probably determined by his alliance with Ro
derick of Lorn, who was, from every family predilection, friendly to Baliol and hostile to Bruce. It seems absurd to suppose, that between two chiefs of the same descent, and nearly equal power and rank (though the Mac-Dougals had been much crushed by Robert Bruce,) such a connection should have been that of concubinage; and it appears more likely that the tempting offer of an alliance with the Bruce family, when they had obtained the decided superiority in Scotland, induced " the good John of Ila” to disinherit to a certain extent his eldest son Ronald, who came of a stock so unpopular as the Mac-Dougals, and to call to his succession his younger family, born of Margaret Stuart, daughter of Robert, afterwards king of Scotland. The setting aside of this elder branch of his family was most probably a condition of his new alliance, and his being received into favour with the dynasty he had always opposed. Nor were the laws of succession at this early period so clearly understood as to bar such transactions. The numerous and strange claims set up to the crown of Scotland, when vacant by the death of Alexander III., make it manifest how very little the indefeasible hereditary right of primogeniture was valued at that period. In fact, the title of the Bruces themselves to the crown, though justly the most popular, when assumed with the determination of asserting the independence of Scotland, was, upon pure principle, greatly inferior to that of Baliol. For Bruce, the competitor, claimed as son of Isabella, second daughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon; and John Baliol, as grandson of Margaret, the elder daughter of that same earl. So that the plea of Bruce was founded upon the very loose idea, that as the great grandson of David I., King of Scotland, and the nearest collateral relation of Alexander III., he was entitled to succeed in exclusion of the great great grandson of the same David, though by an elder daughter. This maxim savoured of the ancient practice of Scotland, which often called a brother to succeed to the crown as nearer in blood than a grand-child, or even a son of a deceased monarch. But, in truth, the maxims of inheritance in Scotland were sometimes departed from at periods when they were much more distinctly understood. Such a transposition took place in the family of Hamilton, in 1513, when the descendants of James, 3d Lord, by Lady Janet Home, were set aside, with an appanage of great value indeed, in order to call to the succession those which he had by a subsequent marriage with Janet Beatoun. In short, many other examples might be quoted to show that the question of legitimacy is not always determined by the fact of succession; and there seems reason to believe that Ronald, descendant of “ John of Ila," by Ann of Lorn, was legitimate, and therefore Lord of the Isles de jure, though de facto his younger half brother Donald, son of his father's second marriage with the princess of Scotland, superseded him in his right, and apparently by his own consent. From this Donald so preferred is. descended the family of Sleat, now Lords Mac-Donald. Op the other hand, from Ronald, the excluded heir, upon whom a very large appanage was settled, descendeil the chiefs of