Hi All -
Here is part two of The Roll article -
"The District of Mull, however, shows greater differences between the past and the present than any of its companion areas. At present the District of Mull is made up of mountainous Mull itself, with its insular satellites of , Ulva, Gometra, Staffa and scores of Islets the names of which have passed into popular disuse if not entirely from the memories of moderns as well as its larger neighbors Coll and Tiree. When the Valuation Roll of 1751 was prepared, Mull District not only included its present components but also the adjoining mainland regions of Ardnamurchan, Morvern, Sunart and Ardgour and stretched into the County of Inverness in the neighborhood of Kilmallie.
The various Districts were still overwhelmingly Highland and the numerous landowners were with few exceptions of Highland descent and birth. An analysis of the number of Lairds, great and small alike, affords a striking result and shows the completeness of the Campbell domination of Argyll two centuries ago when the Campbell proprietors from the powerful contemporary Duke to the the more humble "farmer-laird" were not fewer than one hundred and fourteen. Next came the clan MacLean with a mere dozen, followed by the Stewarts with nine, while the MacDonalds and Camerons were far in the rear, each with a meagre five. The vicissitudes of fortune during the two intervening centuries between then and now have wrought startling changes in the landownership of Argyll, and the Campbell Lairds of our times do not make up a quarter of the number of their Clansmen who were apparently in immovable tenure in 1751.
The bulky Roll provides texts innumerable for the lover of the historical past as well as for the moralist in search of evidence to illustrate the vanity and ephemeral nature of human possessions.
When the Roll was compiled, Colin Campbell of Glenure and James Stewart of the Glens were both alive and both figure in its pages. The cruel murder of Campbell lay in the unknown future. Although the manner of his death may arouse sympathy for his sudden cutting -off, he was a man of disagreeable and immoral character and relentless in enforcing the letter of the law against forfeited Jacobites paying a heavy price for their loyalty to a losing cause. James Stewart for his part was still living in freedom in the Glens of Appin, with little anticipation that he would have to face an unfriendly jury in Inveraray in less than two years.
The Campbells of Auchinbreck, who took their title from an Auchinbreck in Cowal and not in Mid-Argyll, were then mighty in the land and endowed with great financial resources. This family had played a leading part in inter-Clan warfare and its head had probably been the main military instrument in the overthrow of the MacDonalds of Kintyre and Islay in the second decade of the seventeenth century, when Sir James MacDonald of Knockrinsay made his final effort to restore the toppling fortunes of the MacDonald House of Iain Mhor. Fate or nemesis, as it may be, not long after overtook this powerful family and an advertisement appeared on 13th September, 1760, in the Caledonian Mercury, Intimating that the whole lands and estate which had belonged to the deceased Sir James Campbell of Auchinbreck, were to be sold.
Contrary to much popular opinion, the MacDonalds of Glencoe were by no means exterminated by the Massacre of 1692, which has been overpublicised by Macaulay in his unique History, and John MacDonald of Glencoe appears in the Roll of 1751 as the possessor of his ancestral lands.
One particularly notable entry occurs in he record dealing with the Island of Lismore and refers to "the half-croft of Bachil the property of Duncan MacInlea." This recalls memories of St. Moluag, whose crosier or pastoral staff came into the hereditary custody of the MacInleas or the Livingstones as they were termed somewhat inexactly in English. As long ago as 1544 Archibald Campbell, afterwards fifth Earl of Argyll, made a grant of land with the consent of his father Archibald "Roy", the fourth Earl, to John McMolmore VicKevir", his standard-bearer, together with the keeping of the"great staff of Saint Moloc" as freely as John's father, grandfather, great=grandfather and other predecessors had held of the granter's predecessors. This historic and venerable staff came into the possession of one of the Dukes of Argyll in the nineteenth century, but to the great satisfaction of all Gaels it has been restored to the modern representative of the Baron na Bachaill by the present Duke Ian, eleventh of Argyll.
So much meantime for Geography and History. What of finance, for a Valuation Roll should surely have dealt with pounds, Shillings and pence, whether Scots or Sterling? It did in fact, but here the greatest circumspection and the utmost caution are essential, for mere figures can be very misleading if taken out of their proper context and proper century, and the modest looking total of #12,466 5s 10d for 1751 seems to compare very poorly with the County's Valuation of #512,376 5s for 1952-1953, but he men and women of Argyll in 1751, we need not doubt, had plenty to eat and drink and were at any rate free from the twin evils that afflict their descendants - a ballooning currency and a vampirish income tax."