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- History Of The Mackenzies - 30/115 -

heard in presence of his Highness and his Council to have shown a reasonable cause why no such letters should be granted simpliciter upon the said Colin to the effect above-written. Not-withstanding for by his expectation, he being resident for the time in Edinburgh, where he looked that the said matter should have been called, the said other letters were upon the tenth day of the said month of August last, by moyen of the said Donald Mac Angus, called at the Castle of Dalkeith, and there, for the said Colin's alleged non-compearance, as he is surely informed, decree was pronounced in the said matter and letters ordained to be directed simpliciter against him." Had his said servant, then still in Edinburgh, been made aware of this meeting of Council at Dalkeith, "he would not have failed to have compeared, and had many good and sufficient reasons and defences to have staid all giving of the said letters simpliciter;" such as that "the said Colin received the said castle and fortalice of Strome by virtue of a contract passed betwixt him and the said Donald, wherein he was content and consented that the said castle should remain in the said Colin's hands and keeping unto the time he had fulfilled certain other articles and clauses mentioned and contained in the same contract;" also "that the said Colin was charged, by virtue of letters passed by deliverance of the Lords of Session, to render and deliver the said castle and fortalice of Strome to John Grant of Freuchie, as pertaining to him in heritage, within a certain space after the charge, under the said pain of horning, so that, he being doubly charged, he is uncertain to whom to render the said castle." Moreover, for the satisfaction of the King and the Lords of Council, "the said Colin has found caution to render and deliver the said castle and fortalice to the said Donald, if it shall be found by his Highness and the said Lords that he ought to do the same." For these reasons it is argued that the said decree and letters issued against him ought to be suspended.

Charge having been made to the said Donald Mac Angus to appear to this complaint and demand, "both the said parties compeared personally," and the Lords after hearing them, "suspended the foresaid letters purchased by the said Donald Mac Angus, effect thereof, and process of horning contained therein, and all that has followed thereupon, upon the said Colin simpliciter in time coming," the ground for this decision being that "the said Colin has found security acted in the books of Secret Council that the said castle and fortalice of Strome, committed to him in keeping by the King's Majesty and Lords of Secret Council, shall be rendered and delivered again to such person or persons as shall be appointed by the King's Majesty to receive the same, as the keepers thereof shall be required thereto upon six days' warning, under the pain of ten thousand merks" and meanwhile, under the same pains, that none of the King's subjects shall be "invaded, troubled, molested, nor persecuted," by those who keep the castle for him, or by others resorting thither. There is, however, this proviso -

That, in case the said Colin shall at any time hereafter sue of the King's Majesty to be disburdened of the keeping of the said castle, and that some person may be appointed to receive the same out of his hands and keeping within the space of twenty days next after his said Suit, which notwithstanding shall happen to be refused and not done by his Highness within the said space, that in that case he nor his cautioner be anywise answerable thereafter for the said house and keeping thereof, but to be free of the same, and these presents to annul and to have no further force, effect, nor execution, against them at any time thereafter except that the same house shall happen to be kept by the said Colin or his servants in his name thereafter, for the which in that respect the said Colin shall always be answerable in manner aforesaid and no otherwise.

A bond of caution by Mackenzie, and Lord Lindsay of the Byres as security for him, for ten thousand merks, subscribed on the 20th of January, 1582-83, and registered in the Chanonry of Ross, binds Colin to surrender the Castle of Strome to any person appointed by the King for the purpose, on six days' warning and to fulfil the other duties imposed upon him by the Act of the Privy Council dated the 11th of the same month, already given, but with the proviso in his favour contained in that Act, which is repeated at length in the bond of caution of this date.

In terms of this bond the King and Council at a meeting held at Holyrood on the 8th of March following "for certain causes and considerations moving them," order letters to issue charging Mackenzie and other keepers of the Castle of Strome to deliver the same to Colin, Earl of Argyll, Chancellor, or to his servants in his name within six days after charge under the pains of rebellion, which being done the King "discharges thereafter the sureties found by the said Colin Mackenzie of before, either acted in the books of Secret Council, or by contract, bond, or promise between him and Donald Mac Angus Mac Alastair of Glengarry," the Acts referring to the same to be deleted from the books of the Privy Council.

Colin's name appears again on the 1st of August as surety for a bond of three thousand merks by David Dunbar of Kilstarry and Patrick Dunbar of Blairy.

On the 5th of May, 1585, he is denounced a rebel on a complaint by Hugh Fraser of Guisachan under the following circumstances. Fraser says that a certain "John Dow Mac Allan was lawfully denounced his Highness' rebel and put to the horn at the said Hucheon's instance for not removing from the half davoch of land of Kilboky pertaining to him, conform to a decree obtained by the said Hucheon against the said John Dow Mac Allan." Upon this decree Hugh Fraser "raised letters of caption by deliverance of the Lords of Session to charge the Sheriff of Inverness and other judges in the country where the said John resorts, to take, apprehend him, and keep him conform to the order observed in such cases." In all this process to obtain the decree, with "letters in the four forms, executions and denunciations thereof," and then raising of the said letters of caption thereupon, the complainer has been put to great travel and expenses, having his habitation by the space of eight score miles or thereby distant from the Burgh of Edinburgh." Nevertheless, Colin Mackenzie, "to whom the said John Dow Mac Allan is tenant, servant, and special depender," maintains and assists him in his violent occupation or the complainer's lands, "keeps him in his company, receives him in his house, and otherwise debates him that he cannot be apprehended," so that all the proceedings of the complainer Fraser are frustrated. Colin was thereupon charged to present Mac Allan before the Privy Council, under pain of rebellion, and failing to appear, or present John Dow, and the complainer having appeared personally, an order was pronounced denouncing Mackenzie a rebel.

On the 11th of December next, John Gordon of Pitlurg becomes cautioner in one thousand merks that Colin will not injure Andrew, Lord Dingwall, his tenants, or servants. On the 11th of April, 1586, William Cumming of Inverallochy and others become surety in L1000 that Mackenzie shall "remove his coble, fishers, and nets, from the fishing of the water of Canon, and desist and cease therefrom in time coming, conform to the letters raised at the instance of Andrew, Lord Dingwall, to the same effect, in case it shall be found and declared that the said Colin ought to do the same." On the 4th of May following, Mackenzie binds himself to keep his sureties scaithless in the matter of this caution. On the 16th of the same month, the King and Council "for certain necessary and weighty considerations moving his Highness, tending to the furthering and establishing of his Highness' obedience and the greatness and safety of his peaceable and good subjects from burnings, riefs, and oppression," ordain Colin to enter in ward in Blackness Castle within twenty-four hours after being charged under pain of treason. Two days later, being then in ward in this stronghold, he finds caution in ten thousand merks that on being relieved from ward he will repair to Edinburgh and keep ward there until set free. This is deleted by a warrant subscribed by the King and the Secretary at Falkland on the 6th of the following August. His name appears as one of a long list of Highland chiefs complained against to the Privy Council on the 30th of November, 1586, by the united burghs of the realm for obstructing the fisheries in the northern parts and making extortionate exactions from the fishermen, and again on the 16th of September, 1587, when an order is made to denounce him for his failure to appear before the Council to enter John Mackenzie of Gairloch and his accomplices, for whom Colin is held liable "as master and landlord," to answer a complaint made against them by James Sinclair, Master of Caithness, on the 10th of August preceding. On the 5th of March, 1587-88, John Davidson, burgess of Edinburgh, becomes cautioner in 500 merks that Colin will, if required, enter such of his men before the Privy Council as "assegeit" James, Master of Caithness, within the house of William Robson, in the Chanonry of Ross. On the 27th of July, 1588, he is appointed by a Convention of the Estates member of a Commission, charged with powers for executing the laws against Jesuits, Papists, and other delinquents, and with other extensive powers. On the 24th of May, 1589, he is named as the Commissioner for the shire of Inverness who is to convene the freeholders of the county for choosing the Commissioners to a Parliament to be held at Edinburgh on the 2nd of October in that year, and to report his diligence in this matter to the Council before the 15th of August, under pains of rebellion. On the 4th of June following, he appears in a curious position in connection with a prosecution for witchcraft against several women, and an abridgement of the document, as recorded in the Records of the Privy Council, is of sufficient interest to justify a place here. It is the complaint of Katherine Ross, relict of Robert Munro of Fowlis; Margaret Sutherland, spouse of Hector Munro, portioner of Kiltearn; Bessie Innes, spouse of Neil Munro, in Swordale; Margaret Ross, spouse of John Neil Mac Donald Roy, in Caull; and Margaret Mowat, as follows:

Mr Hector Munro, now of Fowlis, son-in-law of the said Katherine Ross, "seeking all ways and means to possess himself in certain her tierce and conjunct fee lands of the Barony of Fowlis, and to dispossess her therefrom" had first "persued certain of her tenants and servants by way of deed for their bodily harm and slaughter," and then, "finding that he could not prevail that way, neither by sundry other indirect means sought by him," had at last, "upon sinister and wrong information and importunate suit, purchased a commission of the same to his Majesty, and to Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, Rory Mackenzie, his brother, John Mackenzie of Gairloch, Alexander Bain of Tulloch, Angus Mackintosh of Termitt, James Glas of Gask, William Cuthbert, in Inverness, and some others specially mentioned therein, for apprehending of the said Margaret Sutherland, Bessy Innes, Margaret Ross, and Margaret Mowat, and sundry others, and putting them to the knowledge of an assize for witchcraft, and other forged and feinted crimes alleged to be committed by them." Further, "the said persons, by virtue of the same commission, intended to proceed against them most partially and wilfully, and thereby to drive the said complainers to that strait that either they shall satisfy his unreasonable desire, or then to lose their lives, with the sober portion of goods made by them for the sustenance of themselves and their poor bairns: howbeit it be of verity that they are honest women of repute and holding these many years bygone, spotted at no time with any such ungodly practices, neither any ways having committed any offence, but by all

History Of The Mackenzies - 30/115

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