Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 2/Ana (April 14, 1860)


Strange is the origin of the name Macpherson, though now as common among the canny Scots as Williams or Bowen in Wales, or as hope or cherries in Kent. During the reign of David I. of Scotland, it appears that a younger brother of the chief of the then powerful clan Chattan espoused the clerical life, and in due course of time became Abbot of Kingussie. His elder brother, whether he fell in battle or died in his bed, somehow or other died childless, and the chieftainship unexpectedly devolved on the venerable abbot. Suiting the action to the word, or rather suiting his convictions to his circumstances, the monk procured from the Pope the necessary dispensation, and the Abbot of Kingussie became the husband of the fair daughter of the Thane of Calder. A swarm of little Kingussies naturally followed, and the good people of Inverness-shire as naturally called them Mac’Phersons, i. e., “the sons of the parson.” After this, who can say, “What’s in a name?”

It has generally been remarked, as a thing without precedent, that the late Duke of Wellington and three of his brothers should have enjoyed the honours of the Peerage at the same time: but a similar instance is, or rather was, to be found in the family of Boyle two centuries ago, when the three younger brothers of the Earl of Cork were severally ennobled as Lords Boyle, Broghill, and Shannon, to say nothing of the youngest of the family, Robert Boyle, the great philosopher, who frequently refused the sweets of both office and title, but whose fame has outlived that of all his coronetted brethren.

The following peerages, held by distinguished individuals, are now without heirs apparent or presumptive, and must therefore cease with the lives of their present holders:—Palmerston, Lyndhurst, Broughton, Ellenborough (earldom), Panmure, Cranworth, Dalhousie (marquisate), Canning, Eversley, Overstone, Wensleydale, Glenelg, Clyde, and Kingsdown.