Wikipedia – 2009-03-31 23:01:00
The Glencoe Massacre
The Massacre of Glencoe occurred in Glen Coe, Scotland, in the early morning of 13 February, 1692, during the era of the “Glorious Revolution” and Jacobitism. In Gaelic, the event is named ‘Mort Ghlinne Comhann’ (murder of Glen Coe).
The massacre began simultaneously in three settlements along the glen—Invercoe, Inverrigan, and Achacon—although the killing took place all over the glen as fleeing MacDonalds were pursued. Thirty-eight MacDonalds from the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by the guests who had accepted their hospitality, on the grounds that the MacDonalds had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs, Mary II and William II. Another forty women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.
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 late January or early February 1692, the first and second companies of the Earl of Argyll’s Regiment of Foot, around 120 men, under the command of Captain Robert Campbell were billeted on the MacDonalds in Glencoe, who received them in the hospitable tradition of the Highlands. Most of the regiment was recruited from the Argyll estates, but only a minority actually bore the Campbell name. Others, including many of the officers, came from the Lowlands.
Captain Campbell was related by marriage to old MacIain himself and so it was natural that he should be billeted at the Chief’s own house. Each morning for about two weeks, Captain Campbell visited the home of Alexander MacDonald, MacIain’s youngest son, who was married to Campbell’s niece, the sister of Rob Roy MacGregor.
At this stage, it is not clear that Campbell knew the nature of their mission — ostensibly the purpose of collecting the Cess tax, instituted by the Scots Parliament in 1690. The planning was meticulous enough that they were able to produce legitimate orders to this effect from the very Colonel Hill who had tried to help MacIain complete his oath in the first place, thus dispelling any suspicion the MacDonalds might have felt, although it was also Colonel Hill who issued the orders to begin the massacre two weeks later.
On 12 February, 1692, Captain Drummond arrived. Due to his role in ensuring MacIain was late in giving his oath, Drummond would not have been welcomed. As Drummond was captain of the grenadiers, the 1st company of the regiment, he was the ranking officer, yet did not take command. Drummond was bearing the following instructions for Robert Campbell, from his superior officer, a Major Duncanson.
You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebels, the McDonalds of Glenco, and put 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 fulfilling 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