Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 35.djvu/44

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Macdonald
Macdonald
38

(History of Scotland, Bannatyne Club edit., p. 34).

Although John of the Isles was summoned on pain of forfeiture to appear before parliament to answer for his conduct, no further proceedings were meanwhile taken against him. In 1467 he was allowed to retain the fermes of Inverness, of which he had illegally taken possession (Exchequer Rolls, vii. 513), and he was also permitted to act as keeper of the castle of Urquhart, and to appropriate as his fee the rents of Urquhart and Glenmoriston (ib. viii. 183, 415). Meanwhile he did not attend parliament, but he was accustomed to send a deputy to represent him. Subsequently he was engaged in a feud with the Earl of Huntly, and on 21 March 1473–4 letters were sent by the king for ‘staunching’ the slaughters between them, on which the Lord of the Isles appears to have given conciliatory assurances (Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer, i. 51, 52). Towards the close of the year, however, the secret treaty with England became known to the government, and he was in consequence cited to appear before a parliament to be held at Edinburgh in December 1475 to answer for his treasonable acts committed from 1452 down to 1463. On his non-appearance he was declared to have forfeited his life, and sentence of attainder was passed against him (Acta Parl. Scot. ii. 109, 111). On 4 Dec. 1475 a commission was given to Colin, earl of Argyll, to invade his territory with fire and sword and pursue him and his accomplices to the death (Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. p. 487). While Argyll proceeded to the Isles, an expedition was also fitted out against him under the Earls of Crawford and Atholl to invade his northern territories; but with characteristic pusillanimity John was persuaded by the representations of Huntly to submit himself to the mercy of the crown. On 15 July 1476 he appeared as a suppliant before the parliament at Edinburgh, and at the intercession of the queen his lands were restored to him, with the exception of Knapdale, Kintyre, the castles of Inverness and Nairn, and the earldom of Ross, which was vested in the crown (Acta Parl. Scot. ii. 111). He was also made a lord of parliament by the title of Lord of the Isles, the succession to the new title and estates being as a concession to Celtic usages secured in favour of his bastard sons, Angus and John, in the absence of lawful issue (Reg. Mag. Sig. i. 1246). John's surrender of the earldom of Ross caused a breach between him and his followers, a large number of whom assembled under his natural son Angus, who endeavoured to wrest the earldom of Ross from the government. Not only did Angus successfully resist various expeditions sent by the government against him, but, encountering the forces of his father in a bay in the island of Mull, completely defeated him in an engagement traditionally known as ‘the Battle of the Bloody Bay;’ and became the recognised head of the clan. After the assassination of Angus by an Irish harper about 1485, the headship of the clan devolved on Alexander, nephew of John and son of his illegitimate brother Celestine. In 1491 he led an expedition into the north of Scotland, captured the castle of Inverness, and advanced into Ross, but was defeated by the Mackenzies, and either wounded or taken prisoner. In consequence of the proceedings of Alexander, the parliament in May 1493 declared the title and possessions of the Lord of the Isles to be forfeited to the crown. In the following January John made humble submission in presence of the king, in consideration of which he was permitted to remain at court in receipt of a pension (Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer, vol. i. passim; Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, vol. i. passim). He finally retired to the monastery of Paisley, where he died about 1498, and at his own request was interred in the tomb of his royal ancestor Robert II.

John left no lawful issue, having at an early period been separated from his wife, who, in consideration of the fact that she had not assisted her husband in his rebellions, received on 4 Feb. 1475–6 certain lands in Ross from the king for her support (Reg. Mag. Sig. i. 1227). Of the two illegitimate sons, Angus and John, John died without issue some time before 16 Dec. 1478, and Angus (assassinated about 1485), who had married Lady Margaret Campbell, daughter of Colin, first earl of Argyll, left either by her or another a son, Donald Dubh. After the capture and death of Sir Alexander Macdonald of Lochalsh, in the island of Oransay, in 1497, Donald Dubh became the recognised head of the clan. In his infancy he had been carried off by the Earl of Atholl and confined in the castle of Inchconnell, on Loch Awe, but in 1501 he made his escape, and in 1503 headed an insurrection, which it required several expeditions to subdue. Finally, however, the islanders in 1505 were attacked by a fleet under Sir Andrew Wood and Robert Barton and completely defeated, and Donald Dubh being captured in the fortress of Carniburg, near Mull, was sent a prisoner to the castle of Edinburgh, his possessions being divided between the Earls of