The McDonalds vs The Campbells

June 3, 2008

I know a McDonald, and I know a Campbell. I can’t seem to get them interesting in squaring the ong standing feud that erupted in horrific violence between their clans at the infamous Massacre of Glencoe  in 1692.

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 . 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 king, William of Orange . Another forty women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.

Er, the guests were Campbells. More background :

At the end of the 17th Century, Scotland was divided. One side supported the Royalist cause and King William III of England 1 , while the other was busy planning an insurrection. Plans to quieten the Highlands were hatched in 1690 by the Earl of Cromarty with the support of Lord Breadalbane. Although these plans were abandoned, the intention to subdue the Highlanders remained until 1691, when sums of money were offered to the chiefs as a bribe. This tactic was largely unsuccessful.

Breadalbane, originally from the clan Argyll Campbell, was a lifelong enemy of the clan Glencoe MacDonald. Both these clans accused each other of stealing land which they believed they were entitled to. Breadalbane proclaimed to support William (the stronger, more successful side) while secretly professing to support the exiled King James II. He tried to persuade the Highland clans to join him in their support, giving them time to prepare their support to King James. However, the chiefs were reluctant, and stronger measures were taken. One by one, the chiefs complied with the threats of ‘letters of fire and sword’ and swore allegiance to the government. MacDonald was the last of these chiefs to agree.

120 men, under the command of a Captain Campbell of Glenlyon, made their way to Glencoe, under the pretence of collecting tax in arrears. They persuaded MacDonald to give them shelter, producing military documents as proof. Glenlyon’s niece was also married to Alexander MacDonald, which gave further vindication to the nature of their visit.

On the 12 February a dispatch was made, ordering the immediate death of the MacDonalds. Early in the morning (around five), the soldiers made their move. No MacDonald was intended to survive. However, a few escaped into the hills upon the discovery of Glenlyon’s treachery to his host.

Don’t think this is just ancient history. According to Wikipedia:

Memory of this massacre has been kept alive by continued ill feeling between MacDonalds and Campbells — since the late 20th century the Clachaig Inn , a hotel and pub in Glencoe popular with climbers, has had a sign on its door saying “No Hawkers or Campbells”.



2 Responses to “The McDonalds vs The Campbells”

  1. […] Explain your screen name. The McDonalds vs The Campbells Audible Smirk Not the best representation but one I could come up with at short notice!! […]

  2. thomaslfowler Says:

    Screen name? I am surrounded by people who visibly smirk. I could imagine them smirking even if I couldn’t see their faces. My other senses kicked in, so I could imagine myself hearing them smirk behind my back. I suppose it is also possible to telepathically smirk as well, though this is not a proven concept.

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