Alexander MacLeod
b: 1719
d: 30 DEC 1784
!BIOGRAPHY: Sir Robert Douglas of Glenbervie, Baronet, THE BARONAGE
OF SCOTLAND, Edinburgh, 1798, p. 382.
!SOURCE: Rev. Dr. Donald MacKinnon and Alick Morrison, THE MACLEODS --
THE GENEALOGY OF A CLAN, Section II, Edinburgh, The Clan MacLeod
Society, 1968, pp. 90-93.
As a boy, he was a favourite of the wily schemer, Lord Lovat, who used
to call him "Alasdair Mor". Like his father and grandfather, Alexander
was bred to the law and became an advocate on 12th July 1743. Like
them too, he was a Jacobite and became the messenger for all important
communications between the Scottish Jocobites and Prince Charles
Edward Stuart in the spring 1745. When the Prince landed in Scotland,
he immediately joined his standard and became the Prince''s Aide de
Camp. After the whirlwind victory of Prestonpans, Alexander was
despatched from Holyrood to Skye to enlist the support of the Chiefs in
that island to the Jacobite cause. He carried a letter from the Highland
Jacobite Chiefs reminding MacLeod and MacDonald of Sleat of their
former promises of support and of the danger to them if the Jacobite
rising failed. Alexander''s mission failed to gain their support. He fought
in all the actions of the ''45 Campaign and stood beside the Prince at the
Battle of Culloden Moor. He was one fo the few who accompanied the
Prince from the fatal field to Gortuleg, where they drank three hasty
glasses of wine with Lord Lovat. Here a council of war was held in
which it was decided to rally the Jacobites at Fort Augustus.
Accordingly, that night Alexander MacLeod wrote the following letter to
Cluny MacPherson: "Dear Sir, You have (heard) no doubt of the ruffle we
met with this forenoon. We have suffered a good deal; but hope we shall
pay Cumberland in his own coin. We are to review Tomorrow at Fort
Augustus, the Frasers, Camerons, Stewarts, Clanranald''s and Keppoch''s
people. His R.H. expects your people will be with us at furthest Friday
morning. Dispatch is the more necessary that His Highness has
something in view which will make ample amends for this day''s ruffle. I
am, Dear Sir, Yours, Alexander MacLeod.
Gortuleg, April 16th, 9 at night.
"We have sent an express to Lord Cromarty, Glengyle and Barrisdale to
join us by Bewly. For God''s sake make haste to join us and bring with
all the people that can possibly be brought together. Take care in
particular of Lumisden and Sheridan as they carry with them the sinews
of war."
This hasty decision was abandoned on the advice of O''Sullivan, who
regarded it as sheer madness. At all events at the end of the next day,
the Prince was on his way well past Fort Augustus, guided by the
faithful Ned Burke, a native of North Uist and servant to Alexander
MacLeod. At Invergarry Alexander MacLeod, and his uncle, Donald the Old
Trojan of Berneray, parted company with Prince Charles, and his guide
Ned Burke. Chevalier Johnstone states that on the 20th April, Alexander
MacLeod had returned to Ruthven Barracks near Kingussie in Badenoch to
advise the Jacobites assembled there that it was the Prince''s decision
that everyone should seek safety in the best way they could.
In May two French frigates landed a total sum of 35,000 louis d''ors at
Loch Arkaig and Alexander MacLeod helpted to secrete some 15,000 of it
in a wood to the south of the loch. According to secretary Murray of
Broughton, Alexander received some of it and was also instrumental
ingiveing some to Raasay and Donald MacLeod of Berneray. Some 12,000
louis d''ors still remained and were tied up into two bags which Dr.
Cameron and Alexander hid in a secluded spot on the side of Loch Arkaig
about 1 1/2 miles from Achnacarry. Next day the fugitives had to flee
for a party led by Lord Loudoun and Lt.-Col. Campbell arrived at
Achnacarry and burned the house to the ground.
In August, 1746, Alexander skulked in a remote hill between Loch
Broom and the parish of Gairloch. He disappears for a considerable time
and seems to have gone into exile on the continent. By the spring of
1773 he is in London and actually met the famous biographer, Boswell.
Later in the same year he met Dr. Johnson and Boswell in the island of
Raasay. Boswell reports that, "he made much jovial noise" and "his
obstreperous mirth" was a sore trial to the biographer''s nerves. Dr.
Johnson, however, enjoyed Alexander''s company. "No, Sir," said he to the
grumbling Boswell, "he (Alexander) puts something into our society and
takes nothing out of it." On 9th September, Alexander joined Malcolm
MacLeod of Raasay and Boswell in a blackcock hunt but the day was
spoiled by a downpour of rain. He amazed Dr. Johnson by informing him
that Prince Charles had actually been in London in 1759 and that even at
that late date, plans were afoot to restore the Stuarts. On Thursday, 9th
September, Alexander left Raasay in company with MacLeod of MacLeod
and Talsker. He accompanied them to Sconser and Sleat and finally left
for the mainland of Scotland.
Alexander, who succeeded his father II of Muiravonside and V of
Berneray was not pardoned by the Government until 11th July 1778 -- 32
years after the battle of Culloden Moor. In 1780 he is resident in
Edinburgh. Boswell reports, "After supper, Mr. Bannatyne MacLeod, the
advocate, gave us an account of poor MacLeod of Muiravonside who is
troubled with alternate fits of high and low spirits. I questioned him
closely and he said that when MacLEod is low, he lyes most part of his
time in bed, that he talks as sensibly as at other times but says he is
bedevilled, that he knows exerting himself would cure him but he cannot
do it. i was struck with the representation of his case and dreaded that
I might just be as he is. I saw Hypochondria in a despicable light and
was very uneasy." He died at Muiravonside on 30th December 1784.
He married, without issue. He had, however, by one of his servants,
Louisa Mowat by name, two illegitimate sons.
When Alexander MacLeod died on 20th December 1784, an ugly story
that he had been poisoned by his cook was circulated. It was expected
that after his wife''s death he would have married Louisa Mowat, the
mother of his two ''natural'' sons. To prevent this, it was said that his
cook was instigated to poison her master, either by the local
school-master who was himself jealous of Louisa Mowat, or by
Alexander''s niece, Elizabeth of Largie, and her husband, who would not
inherit Muiravonside of the marriage were to take place and Louisa''s
sons legitimated. Whatever was the cause of his death, Alexander
MacLeod was a very old man when he died. His niece succeeded to
Muiravonside, and, in due course, she, her husband and large family went
to live there. Owing to the extravagant habits of her husband, Charles
Lockhart MacDonald, they became financially embarrassed, were forced
to let Muiravonside and live in a smaller house at New Park. Elizabeth
died in 1789, and her husband became bankrupt. He died in 1796. Three
years previously their third and surviving son had been served heir to his
mother and grandmother. As he was a minor, his guardians deemed it
advisable to sell Muiravonside, and after lenghty legal formalities the
estate was sold by public roup in February 1799. Thus ended the MacLeod
connection with Muiravonside, which had been in the family since 1724,
a period of seventy-five years.
As already stated, Alexander MacLeod died on 30th December 1784, and
was succeeded in the representation of the MacLeods of Berneray by his
first cousin.
  • 1719 - Birth -
  • 30 DEC 1784 - Death -
  • Nobility Title - V of Berneray
John MacLeod
1688 - 1771
Alexander MacLeod
1719 - 30 DEC 1784
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) John MacLeod
Marriageto Elisabeth Straiton
Marriageto Helen Home
PARENT (F) Elisabeth Straiton
Marriageto John MacLeod
MAlexander MacLeod
Death30 DEC 1784
FElisabeth MacLeod
Marriageto John MacDonald