On the 2d of September, George Lockhart of Carnwath, writing from that city to the Chevalier St George, states, amongst other information regarding his party in Scotland, that Daniel Murchison (as he calls him) "is come to Edinburgh, on his way to France"--doubtless charged with a sum of rents for Seaforth. "He's been in quest of me, and I of him," says Lockhart, "these two days, and missed each other; but in a day or two he's to be at my country house, where I'll get time to talk fully with him.
In the meantime, I know from one that saw him that he has taken up and secured all the arms of value on Seaforth's estate, which he thought better than to trust them to the care and prudence of the several owners; and the other chieftains, I hear, have done the same."
The Commissioners on the forfeited estates concluded their final report in 1725, by stating that they had not sold the estate of William, Earl of Seaforth, "not having been able to obtain possession and consequently to give the same to a purchaser." [In a Whig poem on the Highland Roads, written in 1737, Donald is characteristically spoken of as a sort of cateran, while, in reality, as every generous person can now well understand, he was a high-minded gentleman. The verses, nevertheless, as well as the appended note, are curious--
Keppoch, Rob Roy, and Daniel Murchison, Cadets are servants to some chief of clan, From theft and robberies scarce did ever cease, Yet `scaped the halter each, and died in peace. This last his exiled master's rents collected, Nor unto Ling or law would be subjected. Though veteran troops upon the confines lay, Sufficient to make lord and tribe a prey, Vet passes strong through which no roads were cut, Safe-guarded Seaforth's clan, each in his hu', Thus in strongholds the rogue securely lay, Neither could they by force be driven away, Till his attainted lord and chief of late By ways and means repurchased his estate.
"Donald Murchison, a kinsman and servant to the Earl of Seaforth, bred a writer, a man of small stature, but full of spirit and resolution, fought at Dunblane against the Government, anno 1715, but continued thereafter to collect Seaforth's rents for his lord's use, and had some bickerings with the King's forces on that account, till, about five years ago, the Government was so tender as to allow Seaforth to repurchase his estate, when the said Murchison had a principal band in striking the bargain for his master. How he fell under Seaforth's displeasure, and died thereafter, is not to the purpose here to mention."]
The end of Donald's career can scarcely now be passed over in a slighting manner. The story is most painful. The Seaforth of that day--very unlike some of his successors--proved unworthy of the devotion which this heroic man had shown to him. When his lordship took possession of the estates which Donald had in a manner preserved for him, he discountenanced and neglected him. Murchison's noble spirit pined away under this treatment, and he died in the very prime of his days of a broken heart. He lies in a remote little church-yard in the parish of Urray, where his worthy relative, the late Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, raised a suitable monument over his grave. The traditional account of Donald Murchison, communicated to Chambers by the late Finlay Macdonald, Druidaig, states that the heroic commissioner had been promised a handsome reward for his services; but Seaforth proved ungrateful. "He was offered only a small farm called Bun-Da-Loch, which pays at this day to Mr Matheson, the proprietor, no more than ?0 a year; or another place opposite to Inverinate House, of about the same value. It is no wonder he refused these paltry offers. He shortly afterwards left this country, and died in the prime of life near Conon. On his death-bed, Seaforth went to see him, and asked how he was, when he said, `Just as you will be in a short time,' and then turned his back. They never met again."
The death of George I. in 1726, suggested to the Chevalier a favourable opportunity for attempting a second Rising, and of again stirring up his adherents in Scotland, whither he was actually on his way, until strongly remonstrated with on the folly and hoplessness of such an undertaking. It was pointed out to him that it could only end in the ruin of his family pretentions, and in that of many of his friends who might be tempted to enter on the rash scheme more through personal attachment to himself than from any reasonable prospect they might see of success. He therefore retraced his steps to Boulogne; and the Earl of Seaforth having been pardoned in the same year, [By letters dated 12th July, 1726, King George I. was pleased to discharge him from imprisonment or the execution of his person on his attainder, and King George II. made him a grant of the arrears of feu-duties due to the Crown out of his forfeited estate. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1733, to enable William Mackenzie, late Earl of Seaforth, to sue or maintain any action or suit notwithstanding his attainder, and to remove any disability in him, by reason of his said attainder, to take or inherit any real or personal estate that may or shall hereafter descend to him.--Wood's Douglas' Peerage.] felt free once more to return to his native land, where, according to Captain Matheson, he spent the remainder of his life in retirement, and "with few objects to occupy him or to interest us beyond the due regard of his personal friends and the uninterrupted loyalty. of his old vassals."
He must, however, have been in tightened circumstances, for, on the 27th of June, 1728, he writes a letter to the Lord Advocate, in which he refers to a request he had made to Sir Robert Walpole, who advised him to put his claim in writing that it might be submitted to the King. This was done, but "the King would neither allow anything of the kind or give orders to be granted what his Royal father had granted before. On hearing this, I could not forbear making appear how ill I was used. The Government in possession of the estate, and I in the interim allowed to starve, though they were conscious of my complying with whatever I promised to see put in execution." He makes a strong appeal to his friend to contribute to an arrangement that would tend to the mutual satisfaction of all concerned, "for the way I am now in is most disagreeable, consequently, if not rectified, will choose rather to seek my bread elsewhere than continue longer in so unworthy a situation." [Culloden Papers, pp. 103-4] Notwithstanding the personal remission granted in his favour for the part he had taken in the Rising of 1715, the title of Earl of Seaforth, under which alone he was proscribed, passed under attainder, while the older and original dignity of Kintail, which only became subordinate by a future elevation, remained unnoticed, and, consequently unvitiated in the male descent of Kenneth, first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, granted by patent on the 19th of November, 1609, and it has accordingly been claimed. [This Act (of Attainder) omits all mention of the subordinate though older title of "Lord Kintail," which he and all the collateral branches descended of George, the second Earl, had taken up and assumed in all their deeds and transactions, though there was no occasion to use it in Parliament, as they appeared there as Earls of Seaforth. It is questionable therefore, if the Act of Attainder of William, Earl of Seaforth, by that designation only could affect the barony of Kintail; and as the designation to the patentee of it, "Suisque heredibus maxulis," seems to render he grant an entailed fee agreeable to the 7th of Queen Anne, c. 21, and the protecting clause of 26th Henry VIII. c. 13, the claimant George Falconer Mackenzie, is entitled to the benefit of such remainder, and in fact such remainder was given effect to by the succession of Earl George to his brother Colin's titles as his heir male collateral.--Allangrange Service.]