A Jacobite in Exile

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Malcolm Ross of Pitcalnie, who was wounded at the Battle of Little Ferry, writes to his father the chief of Clan Ross whilst in exile in Rotterdam.

Today, the 15th of April 1746 is the anniversary of the Battle of Little Ferry which took place just south of Golspie during the Jacobie risings of 1745-46. Among the Jacobite forces of the Earl of Cromarty, that day, was 18 year old Malcolm Ross of Pitcalnie. Malcolm, who was the son of the Clan Chief, had been taken prisoner by the Jacobite army at the Battle of Preston Pans before taking up arms for the Jacobite cause. Although badly wounded at the battle Malcolm managed to escape and after hiding at Amat House for several months fled the country. The following apologetic letter was sent by Malcolm to his father under the alias Dugall Grant.  

Rotterdam, May 23rd New Style


Dr Sir

          I take the liberty to truble you with ane accompt of what I am doing here tho’ at the same time I am afraid you will not bear the pains to read it this is what I have reason to expect when I consider how heighnously I have disoblidged you by disobeying your strickest orders and acting contrary to the principles in which you brought me up so carefully, the only thing I can say to mollify your just anger is that I can with sincerity assure you that I repent heartily of everything that I have done that has given you offence ___

We met with nothing in our passage that could give one any uneasiness and arrived here on the last of April Old Style.  I have bought my cloths at as cheap a rate as possible  I have agreed with a man who lives 7 leagues from Rotterdam who to teach me french and dutch, arithmetic and Book keeping and to give me bed Board and washing for 300 Guelders a year which is about £30 of our mony.

I beg it of you give my humble service to all my friends I cannot nor must write to you any news,  I shall write you more fully when I get out to the Country,  I again intreat of you to offer my humble respects to all my friends and acquaintances

                                                                                I am Dr. Sir

                                                                Your most affectionate & dutifull 

                                                                Humble servant

                                                                                Dugall Grant

P.S. You’ll direct for me after this manner
For Mr. Dugall Grant 
To the care of Mr. Gilbert Masson
at Mr. James Crawfords, Rotterdam
Malcolm, although only 18 at the time of the battle, was never pardoned and after years of hardships abroad he died still in exile in 1762 only 34 years of age.