hitherto too exclusively governed by their own capricious or tyrannical institutions, the same system of a severe but regular and rapid administration of civil and criminal justice which had been established in his Lowland dominions was the laudable object of the King; and for this purpose he succeeded, with that energy and activity which remarkably distinguished him, in opening up an intercourse with many of the leading men in the northern counties. With the Captain of the Clan Chattan, Duncan Mackintosh with Ewen, the son of Alan, Captain of the Clan Cameron with Campbell of Glenurghay; the Macgilleouns of Duart and Lochbuy; Mackane of Ardnamurchan the Lairds of Mackenzie and Grant; and the Earl of Huntly, a baron of the most extensive power in these northern districts, he appears to have been in habits of constant and regular communication -rewarding them by presents, in the shape either of money or of grants or land, and securing their services in reducing to obedience such of their fellow chieftains as proved contumacious, or actually rose in rebellion." [Tytler, vol. iv., pp. 367-368.]
To carry out this plan he determined to take pledges for their good behaviour from some of the most powerful clans, and, at the same time, educate the younger lairds into a more civilized manner of governing their people. Amongst others he took a special interest in Kenneth Og, and Farquhar Mackintosh, the young lairds of Mackenzie and Mackintosh, who were cousins, their mothers being sisters, daughters of John, last Lord of the Isles. They were both powerful, the leaders of great clans, and young men of great spirit and reckless habits. They were accordingly apprehended in 1495 ["The King having made a progress to the North, was advised to secure these two gentlemen as hostages for securing the peace of the Highlands, and accordingly they were apprehended at Inverness and sent prisoners to Edinburgh in the year 1495, where they remained two years."--Dr George Mackenzie's MS. History,] and sent to Edinburgh, where they were kept in custody in the Castle, until a favourable opportunity occurring in 1497, they escaped over the ramparts by the aid of ropes secretly conveyed to them by some of their friends.
This was the more easily managed, as they had liberty granted them to roam over the whole bounds of the Castle within the outer walls; and the young chieftains, getting tired of restraint, and ashamed to be idle while they considered themselves fit actors for the stage of their Highland domains, resolved to attempt an escape by dropping over the walls, when Kenneth injured his leg, so as to incapacitate him from rapid progress; but Mackintosh manfully resolved to risk capture himself rather than leave his fellow-fugitive behind him in such circumstances. The result of this accident, however, was that after three days journey they were only able to reach the Torwood, where, suspecting no danger, they put up for the night in a private house.
The Laird of Buchanan, who was at the time an outlaw for a murder he had committed, happened to be in the neighbourhood, and meeting the Highlanders, entertained them with a show of kindness; by which means he induced them to divulge their names and quality. A proclamation had recently been issued promising remission to any outlaw who would bring in another similarly circumstanced, and Buchanan resolved to procure his own freedom at the expenseof his fellow-fugitives; for he knew well that such they were, previously knowing of them as his Majesty's pledges from their respective clans. In the most deceitful manner, he watched until they had retired to rest, when he surrounded the house with a band of his followers, and charged them to surrender. This they declined; and Mackenzie, being of a violent temper and possessed of more courage than prudence, rushed out with a drawn sword "refusing delivery and endeavouring to escape," whereupon he was shot with an arrow by one of Buchanan's men. His head was severed from his body, and forwarded to the King in Edinburgh; while young Mackintosh, who made no further resistance, was secured and sent a prisoner to the King.
Buchanan's outlawry was remitted, and Mackintosh was confined in Dunbar, where he remained until after the death of James the Fourth at the battle of Flodden Field. [Gregory, p.93; and MS. History by the Earl of Cromartie.] Buchanan's base conduct was universally execrated, while the fate of young Mackenzie was lamented throughout the whole Highlands, having been accused of no other crime than the natural forwardness of youth, and having escaped from his confinement in Edinburgh Castle.
It is admitted on all hands that Kenneth Og was killed, as above, in 1497, and he must, therefore--his father having died in 1491--have ruled as one of the Barons of Kintail, though there is no record of his having been formally served heir. He was not married, but left two bastard sons--one, known as Rory Beag, by the daughter of the Baron of Moniack; and the other by the daughter of a gentleman in Cromar, of whom are descended the Sliochd Thomais in Cromar and Glenshiel, Braemar, the principal families of which were those of Dalmore and Renoway. ["In his going to Inverness, as I have said, to meet the King, he was the night before his coming there in the Baron of Muniag's house, whose daughter he got with child, who was called Rory Begg. Of this Rory descended the parson of Slate; and on the same journey going along with the King to Edinburgh he got a son with a gentleman's daughter, and called him Thomas Mackenzy, of whom descended the Mackenzies--in Braemar called Slyghk Homash Vic Choinnich. That is to say Thomas Mackenzie's Succession. If he had lived he would be heir to Mackenzie and Macdonald (Earl of Ross)."--Ancient MS.] He was succeeded by his eldest brother by his father's second marriage with Agnes or Anne, daughter of Hugh, third Lord Lovat,
IX. JOHN MACKENZIE OF KILLIN,
Known by that designation from his having generally resided at that place.