Order for the massacre of Glencoe

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Where: A82, Glencoe, Ballachulish PH49 4HR, UK

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When: 13 February 1692

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This is the original order sent to Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, instructing him to kill the MacDonalds of Glencoe. He was to spare none below the age of seventy. The resulting massacre is remembered not just for its premeditated brutality but for its violation of an unwritten code of conduct: the perpetrators of the deed had enjoyed the hospitality of their victims for twelve days before turning on them.

In 1688 the removal of James II and VII in favour of William of Orange had led to the first ever Jacobite uprising. Its leader, Viscount Dundee, died at the battle of Killiecrankie and the rebellion broke up. All that remained was to pacify the Highland chiefs who had joined the enterprise. To this end a proclamation was issued in August 1691 requiring clan chiefs to take the Oath of Allegiance to King William by Hogmanay that year. By the accident of reporting to the wrong official at the last possible moment, Clan MacDonald of Glencoe missed the vital deadline. Secretary of State James Dalymple, Master of Stair, was no friend to the MacDonalds. This was the excuse he had been waiting for. The order for the massacre went ahead.

Presented in 1925 by the Rt Hon James Ramsay MacDonald. Adv. MS. 23.6.24

More about the massacre


Owner: National Library of Scotland
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 10927
campbell macdonald mcdonald glen coe glencoe scotland massacre jacobiterebellionof168889

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    Urban Shadow

    • 15/Jul/2010 08:01:58

    This would never have happened if the throne had not been given to the House of Orange. R.I.P Bonnie Dundee.

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    • 18/Jul/2010 21:34:17

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Flickr Commons, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

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    DeadFred.com PRO

    • 22/Oct/2010 11:59:44

    Tragic History here .. thank you for posting this

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    • 27/Feb/2014 19:44:20

    For anyone else like me who is having a bit of trouble reading it: You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebells, the McDonalds of Glenco, and put all to the sword under seventy. you are to have a speciall care that the old Fox and his sones doe upon no account escape your hands, you are to secure all the avenues that no man escape. This you are to putt in execution att fyve of the clock precisely; and by that time, or very shortly after it, I’ll strive to be att you with a stronger party: if I doe not come to you att fyve, you are not to tarry for me, but to fall on. This is by the Kings speciall command, for the good & safety of the Country, that these miscreants be cutt off root and branch. See that this be putt in execution without feud or favour, else you may expect to be dealt with as one not true to King nor Government, nor a man fitt to carry Commissione in the Kings service. Expecting you will not faill in the full-filling hereof, as you love your selfe, I subscribe these with my hand att Balicholis Feb: 12, 1692. For their Majesties service

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    Old Family Images

    • 23/May/2016 14:28:29

    Who absolutely sad, But brutality is not a recently diagnosed condition. Man has been full of it since throwing that first stone.

4 months ago a contributor from Chiswick, Australia suggested this image is from 1692