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Re: MacGregors

Hi Karen M . -----

Here is a short history  of the PROSCRIPTION from one of the MACGREGOR  web 
sites ::: Joe Greigg :::: 
The Glen of Sorrow 
Now we come to the time of Glenfruin, the Glen of
Sorrows. It was at this time that Argyle incited the
MacGregors in their feud with the clan Colquhoun.
Argyle was granted the Letter of Fire and Sword that
eventually led to his declaration as a rebel. Yet his
plans were fulfilled. His continued aggressions and
aggravations of the MacGregors caused much
trouble in the lowlands. Trouble for Argyle's enemies.
In February of 1603, with the Gregorach wrapped
into frenzy, Argyle's instigation of the blood feud
between Colquhoun of Luss and the MacGregors
boiled to a head near a farm in Strone in Glenfruin.
The result was two dead MacGregors and over two
hundred dead Colquhoun. King James VI & I and the
Privy Council, horrified at the outcome of Glenfruin,
enacted a series of commissions and letters. This
culminated in the final act; The Proscriptive Acts of
Clan Gregor were enacted on the 3rd of April 1603.
This draconian ruling authorized the capture of
Alasdair MacGregor of Glenstrae and his leading
kinsmen. The names of Clan Gregor were erased
from existence. To even claim one of these names
openly was to invite an immediate execution. The
clanfolk of the Gregorach were ordered to take
different names, usually assigned. They were to
obey implicitly the new Chief placed over them. It
should be noted here that many of the Gregors
refused. Of those who refused (and were caught);
the men were executed, the women were stripped
bare, branded, and whipped through the streets. The
women and children were sold into slavery for
Britain's new colonies in North America.
Further additions to the proscriptive acts denied the
Gregors basic necessities of food, water, shelter, and
care for infants and the elderly. The Gregors were
denied the Sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion,
marriage, and last rites. The gentry of Scotland were
encouraged to hunt the Gregors with dogs as if they
were common game stock. But, without a doubt, the
most horrifying act was the commission of selling
Gregor heads to the government to attain pardon for
thievery and murder.
The surviving MacGregors continued in two groups.
The first were those who legally changed their name
to satisfy the law, but never changed their heart or
blood. At night, these Gregors would exact their
revenge, raiding and plundering and calling their
Gregor names under the cover of darkness. The
other group were those who took to the great
highlands and continued to use their Gregor names
in defiance. Aided by their legalized cousins and kin,
they robbed and reived, sending terror into the hearts
of the lowland merchants. Their skills at guerrilla
warfare earned the clan the title - "Children of the
The Death of Alasdair
We have now covered the events leading up to the
proscription of our name. We have seen how two
major incidents affected the course of our family's
history. And we have even learned of the draconian
acts of retaliation placed on our clan by King James
VI & I.
The Acts of Proscription of 1603 would more than
likely have been the end of most clans. In fact the
Privy Council saw the proscription of our names as
the first step of extermination. The very word
proscription is note even truly correct. It is only an
attempt to translate to English the Gaidhlig word
"Diteadh gu bas" or 'condemnation to death'. Most
highlanders refused the headhunt encouraged by the
Privy Council. Two kindred clans, the Grants and the
MacAulay even gave extensive aid at great risk to
themselves. But, as always, Argyle was there to
enforce the 'law'. On being granted his commission to
hunt the Gregorach, Argyle was told by the Privy
Council to "lay mercy aside and by justice and the
sword ruit out and extirpat all of that race".
So, what became of our young Chief, Alasdair
MacGregor of Glenstrae? Alasdair, with many of his
clansmen, took to the highlands of Rannoch and the
Trossachs, living in caves and harrying merchants
who traveled the misty highlands. They were a
terrible revenge on their enemies. In a great
treachery, Campbell of Ardkinglass captured
Glenstrae. But Alasdair's former friend could not hold
him and Glenstrae escaped unharmed.
Eventually Alasdair was granted safe passage to
England to be interviewed by King James VI & I on
what had transpired. Alasdair honorably conformed
to the deal, providing Argyle with thirty of his kinsmen
as pledge to return. But Argyle was not one to
understand highland honor. Argyle arranged a troop
of Redcoats to see Glenstrae to England. As the
English troops crossed the Scottish border with
England, at Berwick, they turned and marched
Glenstrae to Edinburgh. Argyle had kept his promise.
Glenstrae had been given safe passage TO England.
One historian is quoted as saying "Argyll kept a
Hielandman's promise, fulfilling it to the letter, but
breaking it in the spirit." Argyle indicted Glenstrae
and conducted a hasty trial. Alasdair wrote an
accusation against Argyle, but it was perverted and
named a confession to the jury; made up of
Colquhouns and Dumbarton men.
And so, with a mockery of a trial, and a quick
sentencing, in the spring of 1604, Alasdair
MacGregor of Glenstrae, Chief and Laird of
MacGregor was hung with thirty of his warriors
against the West End of Saint Gile's Kirk where the
Tollbooth stood. Today, the "Heart of Midlothian" in
Edinburgh marks the spot where a MacGregor Chief
was executed.
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