Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Number of voters:



26 June 1708HUGH ROSE21
 Hon. George Ross20
3 Mar. 1710HON. CHARLES ROSSE vice Rose, election declared void 
 Hon. Sir James Mackenzie 
 Hon. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie, Bt. 

Main Article

The impression conveyed to the English Whig ministry in 1708-10 by one of the competing factions in Ross-shire that the recent political upheavals in the county were a local manifestation of the great national conflict of parties, contained some elements of the truth but underplayed the most important, namely that the two sides were defined by family allegiance. The picture ministers were shown was of a conflict of cultures, between the Highland clansmen of wester Ross, clinging to religious beliefs and liturgical preferences their enemies dismissed as prelatic or popish, and the Presbyterian interest advancing along the eastern seaboard. But while religious differences, and occasionally the animosity between Highlander and Lowlander, did indeed colour electoral campaigns, working upon emotions so far as to arouse occasional displays of physical violence, the principals seem still to have been motivated by the customary concerns of Scottish magnates. Personal and family advantage was focused on the rivalry between the Mackenzies, established overlords of the shire, and the upstart clan Ross, at whose head stood the 12th Lord Ross of Halkshead, hopeful of reviving in his own person the ancient Earldom of Ross by presenting himself in England as a champion of the ‘Revolution’ interest. Certainly the Whig credentials of the Rosses and their allies were in no doubt following their whole-hearted support for the Revolution (Lord Ross himself having recovered from the fleeting disgrace of his involvement in the ‘Skelmorlie plot’ of 1690), and were even emphasized by a close working alliance with the presbytery of Dingwall in the ‘plantation’ of orthodox ministers across the shire. By contrast, various Mackenzie lairds had given evidence of ‘doubtful’ loyalties in 1688-9 and since then had refused the oaths. Although most seem to have been episcopalians, a few were Catholics, notably the clan chief, the 5th Earl of Seaforth, who had been educated abroad as a Jacobite exile and remained an object of suspicion to government even after he was permitted to return to Scotland, being among those interned during the invasion scare of 1708. It suited Lord Ross and his friends to identify Seaforth as the head of the Mackenzie interest, but in fact the effective leadership of the clan had devolved upon the 1st Earl of Cromarty, a subtle politician who had accommodated himself to the Williamite regime and after a lengthy period in high office still held the post of lord justice general in Scotland. Only one Mackenzie voter in the 1708 election, the laird of Gairloch, hailed from Seaforth’s country in the mountainous west of the shire. The remainder held their lands in the shadow of Cromarty’s estate - in the Tarbat peninsula, the Black Isle, and in the vicinity of the burgh of Dingwall on the borders of Inverness-shire - in the same way that the electoral strength of the Ross faction was concentrated in the neighbourhood of its major landed proprietors, on the western side of the Cromarty Firth, and inland from Tain Burgh to the Kyle of Sutherland.

Prior to the irruption of Lord Ross into the electoral politics of the county, Cromarty’s chief rivals had been the Munros, who had provided both shire commissioners to the convention of 1689, and who had shared the representation with the Mackenzies between 1693 and 1702. At the general election of 1703, however, four of the five candidates were Mackenzies and a clear majority appeared for Mackenzie of Gairloch and Cromarty’s first cousin Sir Kenneth of Scatwell. The heated political temperature had been evident in the preceding freeholders’ court, summoned to make up the roll, at which the credentials of ten electors of the 30 present had been challenged. A controverted by-election in 1704 to replace the deceased Gairloch, attended by no more than ‘about a dozen’ barons, eventually returned Cromarty’s client George Mackenzie* of Inchcoulter. Significantly in both contests opposition came from the Rosses (including Lord Ross) as well as the Munros, and was led by David Ross of Balnagown, a distant kinsman of Lord Ross and the titular head of the Ross ‘name’. Hitherto, pusillanimity had been Balnagown’s trademark: in 1694 some of his dependants had complained that he ‘never keeps burials or public meetings in the shire . . . for fear of the master of Tarbat’ (as Cromarty was then known). He was popularly supposed to be ‘weak-minded’ and henpecked, the more so since his wife’s brother, Francis Stuart of Moray, held a reversionary interest in his estate, acquired as security for a loan of £10,000 advanced in 1685 to settle Ross’s debts. In 1706 Stuart sold this reversion to Lord Ross. Through the discreet application of financial pressure, leavened by appeals to Presbyterian solidarity, the laird of Balnagown was soon brought under Lord Ross’s thumb, and it may well be that this new controlling influence can already be detected in David Ross’s unusual boldness in the 1703 and 1704 elections. The detailed advice which he received in 1705 as to the best methods of increasing the number of votes at his disposal is almost certain to have emanated from Lord Ross’s legal advisers, and by early 1708 Balnagown was undertaking to create new voters at Lord Ross’s behest.1

Lord Ross’s interest in Balnagown went beyond his concern to enlist its proprietor as an active ally in Ross-shire elections. Acquisition of the estate was the cornerstone of a scheme to have himself raised to the Ross earldom. The ancestral seat of the clan, Balnagown was thought to convey the chieftaincy, and Lord Ross wished to be able to demonstrate that he united in his own person the various branches of the family. He could put forward a claim to the inheritance of the property, dating back to various legal transactions in the 1640s, but preferred to rely upon the reversionary interest, and to seek the voluntary resignation of the current laird’s pretensions to the earldom, a concession that David Ross was happy to grant since he had no male heir himself and continued to be financially embarrassed. In 1707 and again in 1708 Lord Ross petitioned the Crown to regrant the earldom. At the same time his involvement in Ross-shire elections, both in the county and in the burgh of Tain, became more direct and more intense. Electoral ambitions and personal advancement were intimately connected. In the eyes of his enemies, and of some neutral observers as well, he had embarked upon an attempt to engross authority and political influence within the shire. In order to expose this ‘pernicious design’, Cromarty had written in 1707 in the strongest terms to the Court Tory Lord Mar, taking care to frame his argument in an ecclesiastical context calculated to appeal to a fellow episcopalian. The aim behind the petition for the earldom was, he said,

to subject as much as ten Lord Rosses to one and both steal from the Queen many good vassals from the Crown, and many good Protestants from the Church, and to make these vassals to the Lord Ross and converts to Mr Welsh and Mr Cameron’s religion, à la mode of west, for on that score seven ministers are importunate in their prayers for this donation from her Majesty, and the consequent reformation. I assure your lordship . . . that many would esteem this no less than a forfeiture; and as the interposing of men ’twixt the Crown and its vassals is against law and all prudence, either by making them vassals or feuars, especially to less men than themselves; so to make any, the king’s second son excepted, to be Earl of Ross, is against a very deliberate and express act of parliament . . .2

The 1708 general election was the first step. Lord Ross’s son George, the Master of Ross, was put forward as the family’s candidate. But the outcome of the two previous contests was a poor augury for his prospects, despite the fact that he could rely on the lairds of his own clan, their Presbyterian allies the Munros, and Sir William Gordon, 1st Bt.*, of Dalpholly, purchaser of the Inverbreakie estate close by Balnagown. In 1703 and again the following year David Ross had received only eight votes, out of approximately 23 and 21 respectively. The obvious answer was to qualify some new electors, beginning with George Ross himself. Unfortunately, the ineptitude of the laird of Balnagown in sending an illegal disposition of lands to George Ross, which it was necessary to recall and reissue, put the Mackenzies on their guard. His friends were impatient, to say the least; and Balnagown’s agent passed on a magisterial reprimand:

My Lord Ross is vexed to be disappointed of his design in furthering your family. It was not well done to send this paper to the Master without advice, it being to no purpose, but rather a disobligement, and if the fixed design of making an alteration in the elections of the shire perish now as formerly, it will be an imputation and a way to weaken the Kirk government in the place . . . I know it’s in your power and my Lord Ross to make the Master of Ross capable of a vote in the shire, but it will never do the way you propose and I apprehend some of the other votes you design for your friends will have the like fatality. What you did at that time I know not, save what I hear through the country, which, being now public, the adverse party guard strenuously against the attack . . . The Master of Ross his business requires all dispatch, and to be infeft upon his grant immediately and all the papers at Edinburgh before this day eight days, at which time or the week following the exchequer rises, after which there is no business done. I wish you may let me know of any right you grant the Master before signing, that he may not be disappointed again, for you must fall upon another method . . .

By the spring of 1708 only Sir William Gordon had been added to the list of potential voters, and that by his own efforts. In March seven more freeholders were created: five Rosses (including the candidate himself) and two Munros infeft by courtesy of Sir Robert Munro of Foulis. Allegedly some of the Rosses had been provided with lands ‘in trust’ by Balnagown and Lord Ross, and had bound themselves to surrender the property after the election (though in fact they continued, or were required to continue, on the voting roll throughout this period). Against this, Cromarty could muster six additions, among them the Earl’s own sons Hon. Sir Kenneth, 3rd Bt.*, and Hon. Sir James of Royston (later Lord Royston SCJ), with lands disposed either by Cromarty himself or by Lord Duffus, a Jacobite cousin of the Earl of Seaforth. Such was the anxiety in the Mackenzie camp, however, that not even this was felt to be enough. Sir James, when despatched to Ross-shire to canvass, reported that ‘friends’ persisted in believing that ‘it will be impossible to carry the shire’, partly because of the evident reluctance of a number of Mackenzies to take the oaths. He recommended the desperate expedient of approaching the sheriff, Hugh Rose I* of Kilravock, a Presbyterian and formerly an ally of the Rosses, and of conceding that Rose’s son, Hugh II, should stand as Cromarty’s candidate. There were two advantages beyond the simple addition of a further vote: Rose would be able to canvass among ‘our antagonists’, a prospect the Mackenzies deluded themselves into taking seriously; and, more to the point, the necessity of qualifying young Rose as a freeholder would require his father to delay the election by at least a month. In that time not only was a charter obtained from the Scottish exchequer for Hugh jnr. (at a cost of over £220), but another Mackenzie voter was also infeft. Wavering non-jurors were persuaded to swallow their scruples, including even the most conscientious, the advocate Simon Mackenzie of Allangrange, formerly host to the deprived bishop of Moray, a man who, according to Sir James Mackenzie of Royston, had ‘many . . . metaphysical maggots’ in his head. Even though their opponents had also exploited the delay to secure the infeftment of six Rosses and a Munro, Sir James approached the election with confidence: ‘for all their brags we hope to be as many good votes as they, good and bad, for we may make 23 and they cannot exceed that number. Three of our number are ordered to prepare the objections.’3

When the electors finally foregathered, in the toll booth at Fortrose on 12 June, the 29 already on the roll were joined by no less than 24 claimants. After Hugh Rose snr. had been chosen praeses, all the newcomers were enrolled, with two highly significant exceptions: Cromarty’s son, Lord Macleod, and the Master of Ross, both of whom were rejected on the grounds that, as eldest sons of peers of Scotland, they were debarred from voting (or sitting) under the clause in the Act of Union which continued the prohibitions operating under Scottish constitutional law. For the prize of being able to exclude George Ross the Mackenzies were happy to waive Lord Macleod’s vote, though at the conclusion of proceedings Macleod entered a saving protestation on his own behalf that, if at some future date Ross’s qualification should be upheld, he wished it to be recorded that he had presented himself and offered his vote for Rose. A fine calculation had assured the sheriff that his son would be returned without Lord Macleod’s assistance, but the margin could not have been closer, for in the absence of George Mackenzie of Inchcoulter, the vote of the praeses himself, in his capacity as a baron, decided the outcome after a battery of objections and counter-objections had been entered (15 against Rose’s supporters, ten against Ross’s). The identity of those who led for the respective parties reveals the essential nature of the contest as a trial of strength between Lords Cromarty and Ross: for Rose the chief spokesmen were Cromarty’s three sons, the Earl’s cousin of Scatwell, his kinsmen of Coul and Allangrange (who also worked subsequently for Cromarty in the collection of evidence and the preparation of representations), and agent Aeneas Macleod of Cadboll (son-in-law to Mackenzie of Scatwell); on the other side George Ross was the principal speaker in his own defence, aided by David Ross of Balnagown and ‘his busy friends’ John Ross of Achnacloich (a litigious neighbour who was in general a thorn in Cromarty’s side) and William Ross of Easter Fearn, with single contributions from Sir William Gordon and Sir Robert Munro. The Master of Ross protested his own qualification, objected to the sheriff casting a vote, and claimed at least a double return, on the grounds that the totals were equal, the laird of Easter Fearn submitting a commission for Ross signed by the candidate’s supporters. But Rose snr. insisted on returning his son alone. Ross petitioned against the return, rehearsing the detailed objections given at the court, this time with the addition of charges that the Mackenzies had resorted to bribery, one freeholder having been indemnified by Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Cromarty and the laird of Scatwell against any financial penalty he might incur for voting when unqualified, and another, Colin Robertson of Kindeace, allegedly having been persuaded out of a promise to Ross by ‘a discharge of £100 sterling’. The burden of the petition, however, concerned the grossly prejudicial conduct of the sheriff, in delaying the election, holding the court not at Tain, the head burgh, as was customary, but at Fortrose, ‘a town entirely in the interest of’ the Mackenzies, refusing a double return, tampering with the court minutes, and withholding them from the petitioner. Included in the litany of complaint was the unanswerable objection that by postponing the election so long Rose snr. had in fact left insufficient time between the meeting of the court and the date to which the Parliament had been summoned (11 days instead of the legal minimum of 12) and had thereby infringed the Scottish statute of 1681. The Commons appointed the petition to be heard at the bar, but no hearing took place, and the petition was reintroduced on 16 Nov. A complicating factor was the passage on 3 Dec. 1708 of a resolution confirming the disqualification of Scots peers’ eldest sons from sitting in the Parliament of Great Britain, greeted with glee by Cromarty’s supporters in Ross-shire, both as a direct blow to the Master of Ross and an indirect proof that Lord Ross’s influence was weaker than he had boasted. Lord Ross had promised his supporters that ‘he would procure Kilravock’s election to be null and all the barons that did vote for him to be fined in the terms of the act of parliament [of] 1681’, and had made preliminary approaches to the Junto Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) to secure the support of the English Whigs. ‘Balnagown and his friends are mightily cast down’, wrote Aeneas Macleod, ‘that their great pillar . . . his interest is so little that he could not sway the House of Commons as he pleased.’ It may be that Ross now looked to postpone any decision on his son’s petition until he had clarified his own strategy in the event of the election petition being sustained.4

Baulked in Parliament, Lord Ross sought to exploit his influence with the ministry to secure a remodelling of local government in the county to the benefit of his party. He was particularly concerned to secure control over the commission of the peace. In the wake of the abolition of the Scottish privy council in 1708 it had been necessary to reinvigorate the local justice system, and in Ross, where there were no major heritable jurisdictions to limit the authority of the bench, the powers exercised by the justices offered a clear opportunity to each party to extend its influence and to pay off old scores. Almost immediately the commission became factionalized. In his capacity as custos rotulorum Sir Robert Munro of Foulis obtained possession of the commission sent down into the shire in August 1708, and, possibly by underhand means, secured control for a ‘club’ of Lord Ross’s supporters in the ‘eastern division’, their opponents being denied the opportunity to qualify themselves. This ‘club’, meeting at Tain, and evidently under the leadership of David Ross of Balnagown (with Lord Ross himself present occasionally), began working in close association with the presbytery to enforce the royal proclamation against immorality in such a way as to enable wholesale prosecution of Catholic Highlanders and episcopalians. Then in the autumn of 1708, at the instigation of Sir John Mackenzie of Coul, a group of justices of the so-called ‘western division’ counter-attacked. In meetings at Fortrose and Dingwall they entered upon inquiries into the qualification of all justices for the county, seeking to disqualify their opponents and claim exclusive right for themselves. There now ensued a fierce struggle to establish who held legitimate authority. Addresses, memorials and petitions from Balnagown and Sir Robert Munro of Foulis, which Lord Ross endorsed and actively solicited at court, declared the ‘western justices’ unqualified and denounced them as disloyal. Much play was made of the involvement of Lord Seaforth, returned from the continent to take up the titular chieftaincy of his clan. It was claimed that, as Cromarty’s and Seaforth’s ‘creatures’, the prime concern of the ‘usurping’ justices was to shelter from the full rigours of the law non-juring episcopalian ministers and even Catholic priests. To make the commission effective Ross recommended the appointment of more of his own clansmen and allies, all of whom were said to be of unimpeachable devotion to the Union and Protestant succession. The chief occasions for complaint were the ‘rabbling’ of new Presbyterian ministers in some parishes, allegedly with the connivance of sympathetic lairds, and a series of violent incidents surrounding elections in the burgh of Tain. Specific allegations were levelled at Hugh Rose the elder, for abuses of power committed in his capacity as sheriff, both at the election and more generally in the administration of the shire. He was subjected to a legal prosecution and ‘bound . . . up to answer’ the charges ‘before the lords of the justiciary at Edinburgh’, while Lord Ross’s brother appealed to Sunderland to obtain the sheriffdom instead for David Ross of Balnagown. These various ‘libels’ were answered with counter-representations prepared by Simon Mackenzie of Allangrange and Sir John Mackenzie of Coul, and transmitted to Cromarty, who followed his rival’s lead in appealing directly to Lord Chancellor Cowper (William*) and other ministers. A commission of inquiry was appointed: the result is unknown, but certainly the possibility of prosecutions and purges remained to encourage one side and dismay the other, and to keep the factions embroiled. Animosities reached such a pitch that ordinary disputes of landownership took on a factional complexion. On one occasion in the summer of 1708 the Baynes of Tulloch pursued their long-standing claim to turf on lands belonging to Sir Robert Munro of Foulis by means of an armed raid, with a number of Mackenzie justices in attendance headed by Lord Macleod and the lairds of Coul and Allangrange. Foulis complained of this to John Mackenzie of Delvine, a writer to the signet whose connexions gave him a foot in both camps, in language that reveals the extent to which the polarization of the local landed community was seen as a departure from custom:

I think it strange that upon any public account my cousin Sir John Mackenzie of Coul should witness the invading of my property, which I am sure I would not do to his, for they generally declare it is upon the public account they have assisted Tulloch this year, for I am sure they all condemned and refused him assistance the last . . .5

Meanwhile on 16 Nov. 1709 the Master of Ross had reintroduced his election petition. After two adjournments the committal took place on 3 Dec., attracting a degree of interest unusual in a Scottish election case, the serjeant being despatched beforehand into Westminster Hall and the court of requests to summon Members. On 28 Jan. 1710 the committee reported. Despite the variety of allegations made by the petitioner only one argument seems to have been considered: the legal implication of the delay in holding the court, which had undoubtedly invalidated the return. The election was rapidly declared void and a new writ issued. This had been the intention of the Ross interest for some time, probably since the vote disqualifying the eldest sons of Scottish peers. By December 1709 Lord Ross had lined up a new candidate, in the person of his brother, the army general Hon. Charles Rosse. On legal advice, it had been decided that Charles rather than Lord Ross himself should be made laird of Balnagown, and in due course the property would accordingly be made over to him. Lord Ross had taken care to increase his stock of voters by further dispositions of land and appropriate infeftments, while the Mackenzies, by contrast, had not made any new barons. Moreover, Hugh Rose snr., sniffing the political winds for a hint of change, seemed to be preparing to return to his former allegiance. For a time there was the possibility that a third force might be manifest, in the shape of John Forbes of Culloden in Inverness-shire, whose estate at Ferintosh gave him a foothold on the borders of the county, and who had some family connexions within the Ross party, George Munro of Newmore and David Ross of Kindeace being his brothers-in-law. Forbes was convinced that the Mackenzies would not be able to make much of a showing, but at the same time refused to resign his interest to Charles Rosse, since by doing so, he thought, he would forfeit credibility. Friends of Forbes also calculated that once Rosse became established in the seat it would be difficult, if not impossible, to remove him. Forbes’s best hope, therefore, was to try to exploit Rosse’s personal unpopularity with the English Whigs to prevent the election from being declared void. However, these efforts proved unavailing, and a new election was appointed.6

In the absence of young Kilravock, who enjoyed the luxury of having previously secured the seat for Nairnshire in the general election of 1708, and had therefore no pressing reason to stand at the by-election even if his father had wanted him to, the Mackenzies cast around, almost in desperation, for a candidate from outside their own family. They still needed to win votes from their opponents, and had indeed received a few promises (which turned out to be valueless), but on the whole the family’s advisers were of the opinion that no one who had opposed Rose the last time would ever vote for a Mackenzie. Eventually, however, they were obliged to fall back on Cromarty’s younger son, Sir James of Royston. Forbes, meanwhile, had decided not to stand. An incomplete set of minutes of the electoral court, held this time at Tain, shows a similar voting pattern to 1708: the electorate divided according to clan membership, with no obvious change of allegiance having occurred among any of the 50 barons present (out of a total of 59 enrolled). Rose of Kilravock and his son were both absent, the former allegedly sick, the latter attending Parliament. At this stage the sheriff seems to have been transfixed by fear into effective neutrality (though he seems to have given Cromarty some reason to believe him loyal). The five claimants for enrolment all belonged to the Ross interest: the candidate himself and two of his kinsmen, together with Sir William Gordon’s brother Adam, and William Robertson the younger of Kindeace, who the year before had been among those recommended by Lord Ross to be added to the commission of the peace. The Mackenzies had manufactured no new votes but had whipped in previous absentees, most notably George Mackenzie of Inchcoulter, who took a prominent part in orchestrating their protests and counter-protests in the court. These were chiefly aimed at exposing direct interference in the election by Lord Ross, which if proved would have been contrary to the orders of the Commons. Inchcoulter quoted a circular letter written by Lord Ross in January 1710 explicitly recommending his brother, in which Ross had declared that the general’s aim in standing was to support the ‘Revolution interest’ and the Hanoverian succession. After first demanding that none of the recipients of the letter be permitted to vote, Inchcoulter and his lieutenants (most vociferous among whom was Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Cromarty) passed on to a wholesale denunciation of Lord Ross’s involvement in the politics of the county, accusing him of seeking to establish a monopoly over the representation. The method by which Ross had been creating votes, a systematic partition of his lands so that ‘the retour may be fixed in a very inconsiderable share of the whole barony’, was declared to be ‘an invasion upon the privileges of Parliament and [the] barons’. However, in the petition which Sir James Mackenzie submitted against Charles Rosse’s return, no mention seems to have been made of improper aristocratic interference, Mackenzie simply claiming a majority for himself among the rightful voters who had been polled. In any case, there was no time for the petition to be heard.7

The shift of opinion in the country at large towards the Tories during 1710 should have brought some benefits to the Mackenzie interest, identified as it was at a local level with episcopalian defiance of attempted Presbyterian incursions. While Cromarty’s agents admitted that the by-election had ‘miscarried by our fault’ they were confident that the constituency would be ‘much in the power of our friends . . . hereafter, without new barons’. Even so, prior to the general election in October, the family recruited two more voters, Scatwell’s heir and the second husband of the widow of the laird of Gairloch, both enrolled at a freeholders’ court held in Cromarty’s stronghold of Dingwall, where Mackenzies and their allies outnumbered a small contingent of Munros. The greater was their anger, therefore, at seeing Rosse retain his seat at the ensuing electoral court, on this occasion defeating Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Cromarty. It would appear that some voters whom the Mackenzies had hoped to win over refused to be drawn, including the laird of Newmore, a Munro whose later possession of a portrait of the Old Pretender indicates that he may have cherished some Jacobite inclinations even though he was to stand with the rest of his clan against the Fifteen. Otherwise little is known of the election, aside from Sir Kenneth Mackenzie’s petition, alleging not only that unqualified votes had been allowed for his opponent, but that the sheriff, Hugh Rose the elder, now firmly identified with the Ross faction to the extent of being the butt of Mackenzie-inspired complaints of maladministration, had been guilty of ‘irregularities’. Mackenzie’s friends began a subscription to support the petition, and concentrated on the task of disqualifying Lord Ross’s barons. No report was forthcoming from the committee of privileges in the first session of the 1710-11 Parliament, whereupon Sir Kenneth Mackenzie gave up the ghost and declined to resubmit his case, much to the dismay of some of his supporters, including his brother Lord Royston. The reasons were probably threefold: Sir Kenneth was losing his appetite for the parliamentary fray, preferring to ‘stay at home to fish Cromarty crabs’; he was in any case already in possession of a parliamentary seat (as Member for Cromartyshire); and because of Rosse’s identification with the Tories at Westminster there appeared little chance of securing sufficient support from English Members in the Commons. These considerations, especially the last, probably continued to operate in the 1713 election. Although his family ambitions had not receded, Cromarty preferred discretion to confrontation. The electoral court did not therefore reflect the deepening bitterness of partisanship in the parishes as the pace of Presbyterian ‘plantation’ increased. Rosse was returned unopposed and, according to one Scottish newspaper, ‘unanimously’. Significantly, over half the enrolled electors were absent. Of the 26 who did attend, all bar the Roses, father and son, had voted for the Master of Ross in the 1708 election, or were associated with the Ross interest; of those who stayed away, only one had voted for the Master on that previous occasion, namely Charles Ross of Eye, who had in the meantime been engaged as factor for Aeneas Macleod of Cadboll. Cromarty disliked the outcome and resented the votes that had been given to the general, but could do nothing about it.8

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. W. MacGill, Old Ross-Shire and Scotland, i. 99-100; Orig. Pprs. ed. Macpherson, ii. 19; More Culloden Pprs. ed. Warrand, ii. 17; SRO, Cromartie mss GD305 addit./bdle. 10, Sir Kenneth Mackenzie to [Cromarty], 7 Feb. 1704; NLS, ms 1345, f. 53; SRO, Balnagown castle mss GD129/box 30/116, ‘Info. for the Laird of Balnagown’ [1705]; ‘Memo. for the Laird of Balnagown’, 10 July 1705; David Ross of Invercassley to David Ross of Balnagown, 27 Jan., 19 Feb. 1708; A. M. Ross, Hist. Clan Ross, 36.
  • 2. MacGill, 263-4; Cromartie Corresp. ii. 50.
  • 3. MacGill, 43, 90-91, 99-100; Balnagown castle mss GD129/box 30/116, ‘Info. for the Laird of Balnagown’ [1705], David Ross of Invercassley to David Ross of Balnagown, 19 Feb. 1708; GD129/box 29/106/14, Ross-shire electoral ct. mins. 26 June 1708; Cromartie Corresp. 11; Cromartie mss GD305 addit./bdle. 12, Sir James Mackenzie to [Cromarty], 24 May, 14, 24 June 1708; SRO, Rose of Kilravock mss GD125/box 21, acct. of expenses for passing infeftment of lands of Craighouse, June 1708.
  • 4. Balnagown castle mss GD129/box 29/106/12, 14, 21, 30, instrument taken by Master of Ross, 28 June 1708, Ross-shire electoral ct. mins. 26 June 1708, case of George Ross, [1708], petition of George Ross, [1708]; MacGill, 100, 254; Add. 61628, ff. 174-5; 61631, f. 77; Cromartie mss GD305 addit./bdle. 12, Aeneas Macleod to [Cromarty], 1708, 12 Dec. 1708; bdle. 13, same to same, 21 Mar. 1709; bdle. 38, Simon Mackenzie of Allangrange to [Cromarty], 26 May [?1709]; Cromartie Corresp. 145.
  • 5. Add. 61631, ff. 183-6; 61629, ff. 116-17; 61632, ff. 3-4, 42-44; Cromartie Corresp. 73, 89-90, 99-103; Cromartie mss GD305/?1/?159/?7-8, 25-28, 121, 141, representations, memorials and misc. pprs.; GD305/1/160/92-93, representations; GD305/?1/?164/?80, 253, memo. 1709, Ld. Ross’s list of justices Feb. 1708-9; GD305/?1/?168/?23-25, 30, 89, representations, memorials and misc. pprs.; GD305 addit./bdle. 38, [-] to [Cromarty], ‘Date of the Justices’ Meeting’ [1709]; Mackenzie of Allangrange to [Cromarty], 26 May [?1710]; bdle. 13, Alexander Mackenzie (sheriff depute) to Cromarty, 29 Aug. 1709; bdle. 15, [Ld. Royston] to [Cromarty], [1709]; NLS, ms 1345, ff. 92, 97; 1391, ff. 288, 290.
  • 6. Cromartie Corresp. 101-2; More Culloden Pprs. 19-20, 22-25; Delvine pprs. 1285, ff. 112-13.
  • 7. Cromartie mss GD305/1/168/21, procs. of electoral ct. 3 Mar. 1710; GD305 addit./ bdle. 15, Ld. Royston to [Cromarty], 1710; GD305/1/164/253.
  • 8. Cromartie mss GD305 addit./bdle. 14, John Mackenzie of Delvine to [Cromarty], 3 Apr. 1710; George Mackenzie* to [same], 21 Sept. 1711; Ld. Royston to same, 12 Feb. 1712; bdle. 15, David Ross of Invercassley to same, 22 Jan. 1713[14]; W. Fraser, Sutherland Bk. ii. 46; Balnagown castle mss GD129/box 7/11/40, Ross-shire freeholders’ ct. mins. 29 Sept. 1710; Scots Courant, 28-30 Oct. 1713; MacGill, 132, 134; HMC Portland, x. 374, 402.