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The Bailie’s Great Adventure
Grant vs Fife


(13) Hugh Rose (or Ross) Thomson, Clerk or Shopman to William Gauldie, Merchant in Elgin declared on the morning of Saturday, 11th March he saw a crowd of people rushing down the School Wynd. Afterwards he heard Taylor had been carried away to Bishopmill.

Thomson went upstairs to Mrs Gauldie’s parlour to mention to the family the bailie had been carried off. While standing there he saw a carriage come down the wynd and he immediately supposed this was for conveying Taylor away. Coming downstairs he ran down the street to Taylor’s shop.

Alexander Adam, Apprentice Clerk or Shopman to Taylor, had seen a crowd run across the street of Elgin and down the Shambles Wynd. Adam had also seen a carriage go down the Shambles Wynd. He and John Ross and Hugh Thomson ran over to Bishopmill as hard as they could.

They heard the crowd cry out as they were coming up to the Bridge of Bishopmill there was no passage there. When they reached the bridge a person of the name of Longmoore took hold of Thomson by the arm and wanted to keep him back. Thomson got himself disentangled and made his way over.

Thomson saw John Ogilvie take a hold of John Ross and try to keep him back. He also saw Alexander Winchester, Journeyman Wright to Alexander Anderson take hold of Adam. Adam shook him off but Winchester pursued Adam and get hold of him by the collar of his coat. Adam also saw Ogilvie, porter with Robertson & Sons in Elgin, in the crowd at the bridge.

Clearing themselves of these obstacles, the boys effected their passage across the bridge. They got on to Bishopmill and into the mob, which then consisted of perhaps about two hundred people. Adam saw the bailie come out of the woman Bain’s house and he saw Brander and Farquhar at the door. John Ross, Shopman to Taylor, also saw the bailie come out of the woman Bain’s house. He spoke to him there.

Thomson saw Ross speaking to Taylor opposite the woman Bain’s door. Ross came out a few yards with the bailie that they might speak together; Thomson and Adam saw this, and both also saw Farquhar holding the bailie by the coat tails to prevent him escaping.

Ross, Adam and Thomson saw Taylor step into the carriage with the crowd all about him. Thomson saw young Francis go into the carriage; Ross saw Grant and Christie in the carriage with the bailie; Thomson saw Christie and a person whose face he did not observe; all three boys saw Brander on the back of carriage, which then drove off.

Crossing the bridge going homewards Ross, got a blow on the breast from someone, which occasioned a pain in his breast for some time after.

Afterwards, the boys fell in with Mrs Taylor and Miss Booth at the foot of the Shambles Wynd, the former was crying in consequence of what had happened to the bailie. Christie’s wife met them there; she directed a sneering laugh at them.

In the afternoon of that day, Saturday, Adam had occasion to go to McKenzie’s Inn on mail coach business. He found the door guarded by men that none might enter. He was obliged to tell his business before he got admission and he was afterwards watched.

(14) The chaise was hired from Thomas McLachlan, Vintner in Elgin, and was driven by Alexander Calder. James Cattanach, Cartwright; James Dick, Blacksmith; Thomas Russell, Wright; and Alexander More, Blacksmith all in Elgin were involved in the hire of the carriage.

McLachlan had repeatedly asked Cattanach for payment of the hire of the carriage but Cattanach always evaded, saying a person would come by some morning and give McLachlan a dram and pay for the hire.

Cattanach had an account against McLachlan and when Cattanach called for payment of the account, McLachlan deducted the hire of the carriage. McLachlan considered Cattanach liable to him.

(15) The marriage of Elizabeth Russell and Alexander Farquhar is recorded in the OPR of Birnie on 21st July 1791; James Farquhar’s baptism is recorded in the same records as 22nd July 1792; after the death of Alexander Farquhar, Elizabeth Russell remarried William McKimmie, the marriage also being recorded in the Birnie OPR, on 8th February 1817.

(16) At around 7 o'clock on the morning of Saturday, 11th March, while Robert Dick was removing his shutters from his shop windows, some three or four men came behind him and put a handkerchief over his eyes. Dick was led up Craig's Close, round by Batchen Lane and to McKenzie's Inn, where a carriage was waiting. The councillor’s daughter, who was a party to the plot, and who received a present of two diamond rings from Lord Fife, came up with a change of linen for her father.

Dick was then put into the carriage and, guarded by a couple of men, was driven rapidly to Burghead where a well-manned boat was in readiness to receive him. He was soon transported to the other side of the Moray Firth, landing at Dunrobin. There some Morayshire gentlemen who were in Sutherlandshire at this time hospitably entertained him.

After a few day's enjoyment, the councillor and his escort started leisurely by land for Elgin, where they arrived on Thursday, too late for the election of a delegate.

Robert Dick's position was initially on the side of the Grant party but, between the meetings of 25th and 28th March, he seems to have switched sides to the Fife cause. James Forsyth, Farmer at Longmorn and John Forsyth, Writer in Forres both relations to Robert Dick may have been able to persuade him to change his allegiance. James Forsyth was, after all, a tenant on the Fife Estate.

(17) John Reid, Farmer in Loanhead of Kintrea, rode to Burghead after the carriage. One of Lord Fife’s tenants in Quarrywood, he was asked to turn out and prevent a rescue of Taylor.

(18) William Young of Maryhill was a warm friend of Lord Fife and had expressed himself to sundry people on various occasions he was determined to carry through the election in favour of Lord Fife. He may have known or advised on Robert Dick being carried away.

Young wrote or sent word to John Forsyth, Writer in Forres, to come to Elgin on business. He knew Forsyth’s father, James Forsyth, was a cousin to Robert Dick. Forsyth, senior, was a Farmer at Longmorn and a tenant on the Fife estate. Young was alleged to have gotten John Forsyth to get his father to endeavour to prevail on Dick to go over to the Fife party or at least agree to be carried off.

It was reported Young never went to bed on the night of 10th March and his riding horse was saddled very early next morning. That day, he rode down from Elgin to Burghead very hard the moment he was informed one of the Grant councillors had been carried off.

At Burghead, Young hired one boat to convey away Robert Dick and another to convey Taylor across the Firth, both from James McDonald, Seaman there. He either gave money to pay the freights of one or both of these boats, or became bound to see them paid. Young ordered no boat should leave the harbour of Burghead that day for fear of Taylor be chased and taken back.

  Christian Shaw, the wife of James McDonald, was heard to say one or other, if not both of the boats were hired to be paid for by William Young. Sometime after he came from home from Brora, her husband found it necessary to deny this.  

When Dick and Taylor were about to be carried into the boats and set sail, Young was standing on the pier or beach at Burghead. He put his handkerchief or some other napkin across his eyes in order he might be enabled to say he did not see them out to sea.

  James Hay, Baker in Burghead, is alleged to have known some one of the Town Councillors of Elgin was to be taken to Burghead that day. He is believed to have learned this from Young.  


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