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1 88 THE LAIRD OK MACLEOD.

X

the people together ; I laid before them the situation of our family ; I acknowledged the hardships under which they laboured ; I reminded them of the manner in which their ancestors had lived with mine ; I combated their passion for America; I promised to live among them ; I desired every district to point out some of their most respected men to settle with me every claim, and I promised to do everything for their relief which in reason I could. Our labour was not in vain. We gave con- siderable abatements in the rents; few emigrated; and the clan conceived the most lively attachment to me, which they most effectually manifested.

" I remained at home till the end of 1774, but I consider this as the most gloomy period of my life. Educated in a liberal manner, fired with ambition, fond of society, I found myself in confinement in a remote corner of the world; without any hope of extinguishing the debts of my family, or of ever emerging from poverty and obscurity. I had also the torment of seeing my mother and sisters immured with me.

"In 1774 [1773] Dr. Samuel Johnson, with his companion, Mr. Boswell, visited our dreary regions ; it was my good fortune to be enabled to practise the virtue of hospitality on this occasion. The learned traveller spent a fortnight at Dunvegan ; and indeed amply repaid our cares to please him by the most instructive and entertaining conversation. I procured for him the company of the most learned clergymen and sagacious inhabitants of the islands." '

Macleod's high praise of Johnson is in curious contradiction to Sir Walter Scott's account, that " when winter-bound at Dunvegan, Johnson's temper became most execrable, and beyond all endurance save that of his guide (Boswell). " : Mr. Croker, on receiving this account from Sir Walter, applied to the Laird's son and successor, "who assured him emphatically they were all delighted with him." ! Nevertheless, as I have already stated/ the young ladies of the family do not seem to have shared in this delight. The true Johnsonian must look upon them as " a set of wretched un-idca'd girls," and so forgive their want of taste.

Macleod, two or three years after our traveller's visit, raised a company of his own Highlanders, and entered the army. In the war against our colonists in America he and his wife, who had accompanied him, were taken prisoners. In their captivity they made the acquaintance and won the friendship of George W r ash- ington. Let us hope that the heart of the founder of the great American Commonwealth was softened towards the author of Taxation no Tyranny by the anecdotes which he heard of him from his warm friend, the young Scottish chief. On his return home he raised the second battalion of the forty-second Highlanders, and served with distinction in India as their colonel. Zoffany painted him in his soldier's dress, surrounded with elephants,

1 Croker's Boswell, cd. 1835, iv. 322-9. 3 Crokcr's Boswell, p. 334.

2 Croker Correspondence, ii. 33. 4 Ante, p. 3.

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