Name: John Cameron of Lochiel 20th Chief
Given Name: John
Suffix: of Lochiel 20th Chief
Death: Oct 1762 in Edinburgh, Scotland
JOHN CAMERON, described as "a man of extraordinary merits, who inherited all the virtues of his worthy ancestors, and
Change Date: 30 Apr 2012 at 01:00:00
was esteemed by all who knew him." When his father died he was only sixteen years old. He held the rank of Captain in his
father's regiment, and afterwards in the Royal Scots. His position in France will appear from the following correspondence,
which will also throw additional light on the events surrounding the death of his father, and conclusively establish the esteem in which Lochiel and his family were held by the ex-king and his son.
On the 4th of November 1748, Drummond of Balhaldy, under the signature of "Malloch," wrote from Paris to the Chevalier de St George :-
It is so long since the situation of affairs I had any concern in, permitted my troubling your Majesty directly with accounts from this place, that it becomes cruel in me now to be obliged to begin to inform you of the loss your Majesty has of the
most faithful and zealously devoted subject ever served any Prince, in the person of Donald Cameron of Lochiel. He died the 26th of last month of an inflammation within his head at Borgue, where he had been for some time with his regiment,
and where I had the melancholy satisfaction to see all means used for his preservation, but to no valuable effect. There is no great moment to be made of the death of people who continue in their duty to your Majesty, having no temptation to
swerve from it, or of others who have an affectation of zeal and duty to procure themselves subsistence, nor even those whose distresses, when personal, or flowing from oppressive tyranny, determine to be freed of the load by all reasonable means.
Lochiel was not in any of their cases. He had all the temptations laid in his way that government could. The late Duke of Argyll, Duncan Forbes, the President, and the Justice Clerk, never gave over laying baits for him, though they knew his
mind was as immovable as a mountain on that article, and since he came here he has not been left at ease. The Duke of Cumberland caused information that, if he applied in the simplest manner to him, he would never quit his father's knees,
until he had obtained his pardon and favour : this he disdained, or rather had a horror at. I need say no more ; his own services and the voice of your Majesty's enemies, speak loudly the loss. The Prince has very graciously interested himself
in procuring the regiment Lochiel had for his eldest son, which his Royal Highness has charged Mr Lally to solicit for along with other officers. It is very unhappy that this Lally has been for some time heartily hated by the Minister. I am afraid his appearance will hurt the youth as well as the other affair he is charged with, but there is no help for it. The Prince was positive, and would not allow Sullivan to be employed in it, notwithstanding he had all along agented with the Court as the public affairs Lochiel had since his arrival here. All I can do is to go to Fountainbleau privately, and give what assistance I can for the support of that numerous afflicted family. Had I had the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of that Regiment, as your Majesty graciously inclined I should, and my deceased cousin [Lochiel] wished, above everything on this side of the water ; this nomination could have met with no difficulty, because the king and the minister of war would have confided in me for conducting the regiment until Lochiel was of age to do it himself; but my being named to that or any other thing while his Royal Highness continues here and keeps Mr Kelly to advise him, is inconsistent with the duty and respect both
Lochiel and I owed him, and either of us would have suffered anything rather than oppose his will in what regarded ourselves. ... I am afraid that I shall not be able to continue the connexion and correspondence Lochiel and I had with the
Highlands ; what was easy for us to have done while he lived and had a regiment, without putting your Majesty to any expense.
To this letter the Chevalier replied from Rome, on the 3rd of December 1748, as follows :
I received last week yours of the 4th November, I had already heard of Lochiel 's death : it is a loss to the cause, and I am truly concerned for it ; if my recommendation to the Court of France comes in time and has its effect, young Lochiel will have his father's regiment, and on this and all other occasions I shall be always glad to shew him the great sense I retain of the merits of that family I desire Lochiel's lady, his brother, and his son, may find here my condolence on their late
loss, which I sincerely share with them.
On the 16th of December 1748, Dr Archibald Cameron wrote to the Chevalier de St George, from Paris :-
I, upon having the honour, for the first time of troubling your Majesty with a letter, or rather an apology for not writing sooner, to acquaint your Majesty that my brother Lochiel died on the 26th of October last of ten days' sickness, at a time the most fatal and unlucky for his family and his clan it could have happened, having just completed his regiment at great expense and considerable exertions and upon the way of reaping the benefits of it towards the maintaining his wife and six children, and providing for some of his friends and dependents, who lost comfortable living to join him in the late desperate and unsuccessful struggle we had in behalf of His Royal Highness in Scotland, and for a little time in England ; but now, by his death, they are reduced to the miserable situation they were in before the King of France was pleased, through the application of His Royal Highness, to grant the regiment. Next day after my brother's death I brought my nephew, of sixteen years of age, in order to lay him flat at His Majesty's feet ; then, by His Majesty's approbation, to present him to the King of France. Accordingly His Highness made application, and on the 7th of November gave in a memorial asking the Regiment for my nephew, and if thought too young, that I, being at present Captain of Grenadiers, Commandant (in absence of the Lieutenant-Colonel), and his uncle, would manage the Regiment till he was of age, as I am resolved to attend and serve my brother's children and my own, especially as that of Spain does not answer. I would have forwarded a letter I wrote more regular and more fully on the I2th of November, designed for your Majesty; but rather than add in the least to your Majesty's uneasiness by subjects of this kind, and thinking that the Court of France would determine the fate of the Regiment long ere now, I kept it from being sent, knowing His Royal Highness would be so good
as acquaint your Majesty before the present situation of affairs would induce His Highness to leave Paris. All our corps, and all the remains of Lochiel's family, are unanimously inclined to have my nephew, and Regiment if obtained, under my
directions at present, as is my nephew himself. I beg your Majesty will give assistance towards it.
On the 23rd of the same month, Dr Cameron wrote him again, urging similar reasons to those stated in his letter of the
16th as above.
On the 23rd of December 1748, John Cameron himself wrote to the Chevalier de St George in the following terms :-
Mr Macgregor of Balhaldy was so good as to show me a paragraph of a letter from your Majesty this day. It gives me the greatest pleasure to find your Majesty has such a sense of the sufferings of the family I now represent and the death of my father, and could anything add to my loyalty and attachment to your Majesty's royal cause, your seasonable interposition to the Court of France in my favour requires it.
In principles of loyalty to your august family I was educated from my tenderest years, and in the same (through God's assistance), I steadfastly purpose to live. And as my nonage doth make me incapable of rendering your Majesty's service all the assistance that could be expected from me and my family, I have appointed Archibald, my uncle, curator and sole manages in all my affairs. I beg leave to inform your Majesty the motives that induced me to this step, which are : he is my full uncle, so that I believe his sincerity to be unexceptionable. He also, from the Prince's going to Scotland, was equally concerned with my father, and then got so much the heart of the clan I represent, that the cruelties committed on them by their barbarous enemies, would not deter them from cheerfully engaging in the royal cause at any time, if, during my minority, they should be commanded by him ; to this step I have the unanimous consent of all rny friends from Scotland, by express, upon hearing of my father's death, and the officers of the Regiment.
The Chevalier replied to these letters from Rome on the 1 4th of January 1749, addressed to Dr Cameron :-
I received, some days ago, your letters of the 16th December, and, since, that of the 23rd, with one from your nephew, Lochiel, of the same date. It is true I took a very particular share in the great loss you have lately made, being well acquainted with your brothers, and your family's merit with me, and truly sensible of the many marks they have given us of it, as I now am of the sentiments expressed in your letters. By what I lately heard I am afraid Lochiei's regiment will be reformed, but in that case I understand that the officers will be still taken care of, and your nephew and his mother have pensions. I should be very sorry for this reform, neither do I see what I can well do to prevent it, after the very strong recommendation I had already made that the said regiment might be given to your nephew ; but you may be sure that nothing that can depend upon me will ever be neglected which may tend to the advantage of your family, and of so many brave and honest gentlemen. This would be a very improper time to mention you to the Court of Spain, but some months hence I shall be able to recommend you to that Court, and in such a manner as I hope may succeed, if they are any wise disposed to favour you. The Duke [of York] takes very kindly of you the compliments you made him, and I have often
heard him speak of you with much esteem and in the manner you deserve. I don't write in particular to your nephew, since I could but repeat what I have here said, and to which I have nothing to add, but to assure you both of my constant regard
On the 27th of April 1753, John Cameron of Lochiel wrote to the Chevalier de St George, from Paris :-
As your Majesty's enemies have taken possession of my estate in Scotland, and since I have nothing to depend upon in that country till it pleases God to restore the Royal family, I have now no resource but to push my fortune in the French service.
I have been a Captain since the year 1747, and am told, that, upon proper application, I might obtain a Colonel's Brevet, especially as the recommendation His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, gave my father, has made our family and their sufferings known to them. If your Majesty would be graciously pleased to write in my favour, I am hopeful it will have the desired effect.
In 1759, John returned to Scotland, where his affable and obliging manner made him universally regarded and beloved.
He died of a lingering illness at Edinburgh, in October 1762, unmarried. His next brother, James, having died before him, in
1759, John was succeeded, as representative of the family, by his next surviving brother, CHARLES CAMERON, third son of the "Gentle Lochiel."
[The Celtic Magazine, Volume 9:466]
Father: Donald John "Gentle Lochiel" Cameron of Lochiel 19th Chief
Mother: Anne Campbell
- Title: The Celtic Magazine, Volume 9
Author: Alexander Mackenzie, F.S.A., Scot.
Publication: Inverness: A & W Mackenzie, 1884