Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 35.djvu/45

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Macdonald
Macdonald
39

Argyll and Huntly. In 1543 he again made his escape, and assumed possession of the lordship without opposition. On 28 July 1545, through the mediation of Lennox, he entered into an obligation disavowing all allegiance to Scotland, and binding himself to agaist Lennox in the service of the kine of England with a force of eight thousand men (Cal. State Papers, Scott. Ser. i. 53, and more fully in Tytler, History of Scotland, ed. 1864, iii. 35). In accordance with this agreement he on 18 Aug. passed over to Knockfergus in Ireland, with a fleet of 180 galleys, carrying a force of four thousand men, other four thousand being left to guard the Isles. The intention was that they shonld be joined with an Irish force, under the command of Lennox, for an attack on the west of Scotland, but Lennox having been enjoined to place himself under the Earl of Hertford, who was about to invade Scotland from the south, the western expedition was meanwhile postponed. Donald Dubh died not long afterwards of fever at Drogheda, and with his death the direct line of the Lords of the Isles became extinct.

[Auchinleck Chronicle; Rymer's Fœdera; Rotuli Scotiæ; Acta Parl. Scot. vol. ii.; Exchequer Rolls of Scotland; Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot.; Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland; Gregory's History of the Western Highlands; Mackenzie's History of the Macdonalds.]

T. F. H.


MACDONALD, JOHN (1620?–1716?), known in the highlands as Ian Lom, Gaelic poet and warrior, born about 1620, was a descendant of Ian Aluinn, a chief of the Keppoch branch of Macdonalds, who was deposed by the clan about 1497. As a youth he excelled in gnomic sayings and colloquial witticisms, which have always appealed to his countrymen, and took part in verbal combats with professional bards. From the epithet ‘Manndach’ applied to him by an antagonist, it would seem that he had an impediment in his speech. ‘Lom’ (i.e. ‘bare’), his usual appellative, may possibly have reference to the directness of his satire. His poems were political and warlike. His descriptions are vigorous, but there is a strong dash of savagery in his martial compositions.

In 1639 the poet took part in a raid on the Campbells of Breadalbane, in revenge for an onslaught of theirs upon Lochaber. Macdonald's leaders, Angus Odhar, the chief of Keppoch, and his own father, Donald Mac Iain, were slain, and he mourned their loss in verse.

Such misfortunes drove Macdonald to the side of Montrose, and he was soon deep in the counsels of Alexander or Alaster Macdonald [q. v.], Montrose's celebrated lieutenant. He is credited with having contributed by his advice and his knowledge of the country to the success of the celebrated campaign of the royal army in the winter of 1645, which culminated in the battle of Inverlochy on 2 Feb. 1645–6. It is recorded that Macdonald declined the pressing invitation of Alaster Macdonald to be present in the fight, and preferred to witness its progress from the top of Inverlochy Castle. ‘If I go along with thee to-day,’ he remarked with some justice, ‘and fall in battle, who will sing thy praises to-morrow?’ He gave due recognition to his friend in his ‘Latha Innerlochaidh,’ although no mention is made of Montrose. The Marquis of Argyll, who was very roughly handled in the verse, set a price upon Macdonald's head. It is said that the bard repaired to Inverary and claimed the reward himself. It is creditable to Argyll that he not only respected the bard's person, but treated him with honour and hospitality.

Macdonald paid Montrose on his death in 1650 the tribute he seems to have withheld in his lifetime, and in the ‘Cumha’ or ‘Lament’ in his honour he is especially severe on the treacherous and mercenary chief, Neil Macleod of Assynt [q. v.], who was reported to have betrayed his leader.

Macdonald was subsequently absorbed in local politics. The successor of Angus Odhar of Keppoch, his uncle, Donald Glas, was outlawed for his share in Montrose's wars, and entered the Spanish service. Donald's two sons, Alastair and Ranald, at a later date returned to the highlands, and were murdered in 1663 after their father's death, in the interests of their uncle, Alastair Buidhe, tutor of Keppoch, one of whose sons was indicted in 1671 for the murder. This tragedy produced the impassioned ‘Murt na Ceapaich,’ in which the bard bewails the fate of his murdered chiefs. Macdonald had in consequence to fly from the vengeance of the usurping family, and took refuge in the territory of Seaforth. Thence he poured forth invectives and appeals, and sought to rouse the clan against the murderers. Disappointed in his application to Glengarry (then Lord Macdonell and Aros) he had recourse to Macdonald of Sleat, as ‘captain’ or second chief of Clandonald, whom he addressed in a subtle strain of flattery (in the poem commencing ‘O bhean leasaich an stop dhuinn’). By order of the chief of Sleat the castle of Keppoch was burned to the ground, and seven of the actual murderers were slain in their beds. The poet had the satisfaction of laying their heads before Glengarry, and the place at which the ghastly trophies were washed,