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Malcolm MacLeod
Born 1711

Sometime tacksman of Brae on Raasay. Son of John Macleod of Rigg (ca. 1672-?). Married to Catherine MacQueen.

According to Boswell, Malcolm MacLeod was "one of the Raasay family, celebrated in the year 1745 for his conducting the Prince [James Edward Stuart, ed.] with fidelity from Raasay to the Laird of Mackinnon’s."

According to a different source, "A few days after parting company with His Royal Highness, Malcolm was apprehended in Raasay, taken to Portree and conveyed to Applecross, where he was placed on board the " Furnace " sloop of war. He was ultimately, on the 1st of November, 1746, conveyed to London, where he was detained, along with Donald Macleod of Gualtrigill, in the custody of William Dick, a messenger, until July, 1747. He was in the end able to show that he had surrendered, with his men, in terms of the Duke of Cumberland's proclamation after the battle of Culloden, and he was then permitted to return home, in the same post-chaise as Flora Macdonald and Neil MacEachainn."1

  • 1Cf. Alexander Mackenzie's History of the Macleods (1889), p. 377
Life with Boswell

MacLeod was pilot on the boat taking Boswell and Dr Johnson from Broadford on Skye to the isle of Raasay on September 8, 1773. With them was also the rev. Donald Macqueen.

Boswell described Macleod as "quite the Highland gentleman; of a stout well-made person, well-proportioned; a manly countenance browned with the weather, but a ruddiness in his cheeks, a good way up which his rough beard extended; a quick lively eye, not fierce in his look, but firm and good-humoured. He had a pair of brogues, tartan hose which came up only near his knees and left them bare, a purple camblet kilt, a black waistcoat, a short cloth green coat bound with gold cord, a yellowish bushy wig, a large blue bonnet with a gold-thread button.314 I never saw a figure that was more perfectly a representative of a Highland gentleman. I wished much to have a picture of him just as he was. I found him frank and polite, in the true sense of the word."1

As they sailed on in the boat to Raasay, Malcolm "raised an Erse song, Hatyin foam foam eri, to which he gave Jacobite words of his own", before "taking an oar and [rowing] like a hero." He also told Boswell and Johnson about his experience with the Old Pretender during the Jacobite rising in 1745, and also told them that he still had an empty bottle from which the Prince had drunk brandy, and a silver stock-buckle which had been given to him by the Prince. Boswell related how he and Malcolm "became great friends", and that Malcolm "offered to make me a present of the bottle", which Boswell refused, saying that "nobody should have it but himself".

On September 10, Malcolm joined Boswell for a walk around Raasay together with Donald Macleod of Canna, John Macqueen, and Boswell's servant Joseph.