Prayers said. Rolls called.

Procedure: minutes read

Minutes of the last sederunt read.

Address: to the king
Address by the parliament to the king touching the murder of the Glencoe-men

We, your majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the noblemen, barons and burghs assembled in parliament, do humbly represent to your majesty that in the beginning of this session we thought it our duty, for the more solemn and public vindication of the honour and justice of the government, to inquire into the barbarous slaughter committed in Glencoe in February 1692, which has made so much noise both in this kingdom and your majesty's other dominions. But we, being informed by your majesty's commissioner that we were prevented in this matter by a commission under the great seal for the same purpose, we did, upon the reading of the said commission, unanimously acquiesce to your majesty's pleasure, and returned our humble acknowledgements for your royal care in granting the same, and we only desired that the discoveries to be made should be communicated to us to the end that we might add our zeal to your majesty's for prosecuting such discoveries, and that in so national a concern the vindication might be as public as the reproach and scandal had been, and principally, that we, for whom it was most proper, might testify to the world how clear your majesty's justice is in all this matter. And now your majesty's commissioner having, upon our repeated instances, communicated to us a copy of the report transmitted by the commission to your majesty with your majesty's instructions, [Sir John Dalrymple], master of Stair's letters, the orders given by the officers and the depositions of the witnesses relating to that report, and the same being read and compared, we could not but unanimously declare that your majesty's instructions of 11 and 16 January 1692, touching the highlanders who had not accepted in due time of the benefit of the indemnity, did contain a warrant for mercy to all without exception, who should offer to take the oath of allegiance, and come in upon mercy though 1 January 1692 indicated beforehand by the proclamation of indemnity was past and that these instructions contain no warrant for the execution of the Glencoe-men made in February thereafter, and here we cannot but acknowledge your majesty's clemency upon this occasion, as well as in the whole tract of your government over us. For had your majesty without new offers of mercy given positive orders for the executing the law upon the highlanders that had already despised your repeated indemnities, they had but met with what they justly deserved. But, it being your majesty's mind according to your usual clemency still to offer them mercy, and the killing of the Glencoe-men being upon that account unwarrantable, as well as the manner of doing it being barbarous and inhumane, we proceeded to vote the killing of them a murder and to inquire who had given occasion to it, or were the actors in it.

We found in the first place that the master of Stair's letters had exceeded your majesty's instructions towards the killing and destruction of the Glencoe-men. This appeared by the comparing of the instructions and letters whereof the just attested duplicates are herewith transmitted, in which letters the Glencoe-men are over and over again distinguished from the rest of the highlanders, not as the fittest subject of severity in case they continued obstinate and made severity necessary according to the meaning of the instructions, but as men absolutely and positively ordered to be destroyed without any further consideration than that of their not having taken the indemnity in due time, and there not having taken it is valued as a happy incident since it afforded an opportunity to destroy them, and the destroying of them is urged with a great deal of zeal as a thing acceptable and of public use, and this zeal is extended even to the giving of directions about the manner of cutting them off, from all which it is plain that, though the instructions be for mercy to all that will submit though the day of indemnity was elapsed, yet the letters do exclude the Glencoe-men from this mercy.

In the next place, we examined the orders given by Sir Thomas Livingstone in this matter and were unanimously of opinion that he had reason to give such orders for the cutting off of the Glencoe-men upon the supposition that they had rejected the indemnity and without making them new offers of mercy, being a thing in itself lawful, and which your majesty might have ordered. And it appearing that Sir Thomas was then ignorant of the peculiar circumstances of the Glencoe-men, he might very well understand your majesty's instructions in the restricted sense which the master of Stair's letters had given them or understand the master of Stair's letters to be your majesty's additional pleasure. And it is evident he did by the orders which he gave, where any addition that is to be found in them to your majesty's instructions is given not only in the master of Stair's sense but in his words.

We proceeded to examine Colonel [John] Hill's part of the business and were unanimous that he was clear and free of the slaughter of the Glencoe-men, for though your majesty's instructions and the master of Stair's letters were sent straight from London to him as well as to Sir Thomas Livingstone, yet he, knowing the peculiar circumstances of the Glencoe-men, shunned to execute them and gave no orders in the matter until such time as knowing that his lieutenant colonel had received orders to take with him 400 of his garrison and regiment for the expedition against Glencoe. He to save his own honour and authority gave a general order to [Thomas] Hamilton, his lieutenant colonel, to take the 400 men and to put to due execution the orders which others had given him.

Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton's part came next to be considered and he, being required to be present and called and not appearing, we ordered him to be denounced and to be seized on wherever he could be found. And having considered the orders that he received and orders he said before the commission he gave, and his share in the execution, we agreed that from what appeared he was not clear of the murder of the Glencoe-men, and that there was ground to prosecute him for it.

Major [Robert] Duncanson, who received orders from Hamilton, being in Flanders, as well as those to whom he gave orders, we could not see these orders, and therefore we only resolved about him that we should address to your majesty either to cause him be examined there in Flanders about the orders he received and his knowledge of that affair, or to order him home to be prosecuted thereof, as your majesty shall think fit. In the last place the depositions of the witnesses being clear as to the share which Captain [Robert] Campbell of Glenlyon, Captain [Thomas] Drummond, Lieutenant [John] Lindsay, Ensign [John] Lundie and Sergeant [Robert] Barber had in the execution of the Glencoe-men upon whom they were quartered, we agreed that it appeared that the said persons were the actors in the slaughter of the Glencoe-men under trust, and that we should address your majesty to send them home to be prosecuted for the same according to law.

This being the state of that whole matter as it lies before us, and which, together with the report transmitted to your majesty by the commission (and which we saw verified), gives full light to it, we humbly beg that considering that the master of Stair's excess in his letters against the Glencoe-men has been the original cause of this unhappy business and has given occasion in a great measure to so extraordinary an execution by the warm directions he gives about doing it by way of surprise. And considering the high station and trust he is in and that he is absent, we do therefore beg that your majesty will give such orders about him for vindication of your government as you in your royal wisdom shall think fit. And likewise, considering that the actors have barbarously killed by men under trust, we humbly desire your majesty would be pleased to send the actors home and to give orders to your advocate to prosecute them according to law, there remaining nothing else to be done for the full vindication of your government of so foul and scandalous an aspersion as it has lain under upon this occasion.

We shall only add that the remnants of the Glencoe-men who escaped the slaughter, being reduced to great poverty by the depredation and devastation that was then committed upon them, and having ever since lived peaceably under your majesty's protection, have now applied to us that we might intercede with your majesty that some reparation may be made them for their losses. We do humbly lay their case before your majesty as worthy of your royal charity and compassion that such orders may be given for supplying them in their necessities as your majesty shall think fit.

And this is the most humble address of the estates of parliament, is by order and their warrant and in their name, subscribed by, may it please your majesty, your majesty's most humble most obedient and most faithful subject and servant,

Signed thus, [William Johnston, earl of] Annandale, president. In the presence of the lords of parliament.

Which address was upon 10 July 1695 voted and approved in parliament.

  1. NAS. PA2/36, f.84v-86.