An t-Easbuig Mor, Alasdair Mac Dhonuill a Gleanna Garadh The Big Bishop, Alexander MacDonell of Kingston By George F. S. Stanley

Seall sagairt mor a bha taitinn le Dia ann a lanthean, – uime sin dh’ardaich an Tighearna e am measg a shluaidh.[1]


It was the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden Moor in 1746 that led, indirectly to the appointment of Alexander Macdonell as the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Kingston in 1826. The immediate result of the collapse of the Highland army in 1746 was the destruction of the patriarchal system, the system by which the chief, the Ceann-Cinnidh was united in the mystic unity of blood with all the men of his name. In theory the chief was the owner of the land occupied by the clan, and yet the clansmen spoke of it as “our land.2 He, the chief, was the law: and yet he ceased to be the law when he betrayed the trust of his clanna, his children. Even the lowest man in the clan structure, in theory at least, shared the blood and the glory of the chief when the bard sang and the piper played. Probably the clan system was bound to disappear in time. Some authorities suggest that it had already outlived its time by 1746. But after the defeat of Culloden it had to go. The English ministers in London would not let it stand upon the order of its going. It would go at once. Clan jurisdictions were to be erased from British history.

The clan structure crumbled rapidly during the last years of the eighteenth century. The old chiefs who had been out in ’45, or who had stayed at home watching carefully to see if Bonnie Charlie or German Geordie would be the winner, died one by one. Their sons saw no future in looking backward to a past which Scotland could not recreate and England would not tolerate. Deprived of their ancient roles by the Duke of Cumberland’s bayonets and George II’s proscriptive laws, the young chiefs were content to accept an empty title, provided they could keep their purses filled. Why should they sacrifice their financial interests to their pride, and their political acceptability to their social responsibilities? Why should they maintain an expensive train of henchmen and retainers who could no longer serve them? Why should they speak Gaelic when the people who mattered spoke English? Because they never attempted to answer these questions; they neglected their language, evicted their clansmen, took English wives and moved from the Highlands into Edinburgh. If they could find the means they could live comfortably, or they could take commissions in the British army. But both comfort and commissions cost money. And where was the money to come from, it not from their landed possessions? Certainly it would not come from the miserable highland tenants who, as Sir George Mackenzie remarked, “live in the midst of smoke and filth”; nor would it come from poor grain crops grown on stony, unproductive ground. It could only come from raising black haired cattle or black-faced sheep: Meat and wool. Both of these could be sold at good prices. That was where the money would come from.

The demand for meat and wool was there right enough. The merchants of Glasgow and Greenock had turned from importing tobacco to importing cotton, and mills were popping up in all the neighbouring towns. By 1792 it is estimated that some 80,000 people were employed in the cotton mills of Lanark, Renfrew and Dumbarton. The new mill workers needed food and clothing, and the rising prices which each demanded made it well worthwhile to satisfy the demand. The Highland lairds, with their eyes on the silver crowns and shillings that the meat and wool would bring, hurried to turn their bleak glens and barren hills into sheep walks and cattle runs. The Highland crofters were therefore ordered off their little farms and required to sell their pitiful possessions for whatever they could get for them. Then they were turned loose to shift for themselves in a world which was as hostile as it was unfamiliar, among a people who neither understood their language nor approved of their habits of life.

Some sought refuge in emigration. But emigration took passage money as well as courage to face the unknown. And a persecuting British government, without providing the displaced crofters with any kind of employment, was more often than not reluctant to let them emigrate. As for the lairds, they did not care. Speaking of the lairds, the Presbyterian divine, Thomas MacLauchlan, wrote:

“They can ride out of a forenoon, with their visitors and point out to them the splendid enclosures, the extensive sheep walks, or the well stocked deer forest, as they pass along, without alluding to the amount of suffering by which the whole was purchased. They want fine fields and fine forests: what care they for men?”

When the choice lay between keeping men or sheep, the lairds chose the sheep, “the four footed clansmen”, as they were sometimes called.

Mo thruaighe ort a thir, tha’n caoraich mhor a’ teachd! [2]

Greatly distressed by what he saw happening to the people of his glen was a young Roman Catholic priest, Alexander Macdonell. Few Highland clans had suffered more from the evictions and the dispersions of the late eighteenth century than the Macdonells of Glengarry, and learning that an emigrant ship which had recently set out for the new world had been wrecked, and her passengers landed at Greenock in a condition of extreme want, Father Macdonell set out for the Clyde. He carried with him an introduction to several professors and businessmen and on his arrival in Glasgow he appealed to them to give the destitute Highlanders work in the new cotton mills. There were obstacles to be overcome. The Highlanders did not understand braid Scots or English, and they were Catholics, not Presbyterians. Prospective employers were not unfriendly to Macdonell, but they still remembered the destruction and loss of life which had occurred in London a few years before, when the eccentric and half insane Lord George Gordon led his mobs in protest against any concessions to Roman Catholics. But Macdonell was a determined and persuasive man. He replied that if the employers would assure the safety of the Highlanders, he would risk the penalties of the law and the fanaticism of the Protestants and would accompany the Highlanders to Glasgow to serve them in the double capacity of interpreter and clergyman. The employers accepted Macdonell’s proposal and in June 1792, the man from Glengarry took up his residence in Glasgow and found work for some seven hundred Highlanders.

Then in 1794 Macdonell’s plans had to be altered. War between Great Britain and France followed the outbreak of revolution in France and the execution of Louis XVI, and the French market was closed to British manufactured goods such as cottons. And when the French armies advanced into Holland, the Dutch market was also lost. Mills were shut down, bankruptcies ensued and the labouring classes were thrown out of work. Among those forced to walk the streets were the men from the Highlands, who always seemed to suffer more than the others because of their total ignorance of the English language, their tendency to live in groups, and their propensity to cling to the habits of the past.

At this point, Father Macdonell conceived the idea of embodying these unfortunate Highlanders in a military corps under their young chief, Macdonell of Glengarry. A number of Catholic Highlanders were therefore assembled at Fort Augustus, on the shores of Loch Ness, a loyal address was drawn up, and an offer to enlist a corps of Catholic Highlanders under the command of young Glengarry was sent to King George III. Glengarry, and one John Fletcher of Dunans, then set out for London to present the address to His Majesty. The manufacturers of Glasgow provided them with testimonials of the good character of the Highlanders while they had been employed in the mills, and strong recommendations that they be employed in the service of the country. The British authorities received the address favourably. Letters of service were accordingly issued in August 1794 for the raising of the Glengarry Fencibles as a Catholic corps, under the command of Glengarry. It was the first Catholic regiment raised in Great Britain since the Reformation. Father Alexander Macdonell was, despite the restrictive legislation of the day, gazetted as chaplain. As a Fencible corps the Glengarrians were limited in their service to Scotland; however, they took the initiative, after the mutiny of two other Scottish Fencible corps who objected to being called for service in England, of offering to extend their own area of service to any part of Great Britain or Ireland and even to the Islands of Jersey and Guernsey.

The regiment was embodied in June 1795 and was sent to Guernsey to forestall a threatened French invasion. It remained there until 1798. Then it was transferred to Ireland on the outbreak of troubles in that unhappy land. There is no need here to give a detailed account of the services of the Glengarry Fencibles in Ireland. It is sufficient to say that they served in the disturbed regions of Wexford, Wicklow and Connemara. Father Macdonell remained with the regiment and, according to his reminiscences, held a firm grip on his men and thus avoided the excesses which made the English Yeomanry regiments the terror and detestation of the Irish rebels. Macdonell states that the Glengarrians found that the churches of Wicklow, Carlow and Wexford had been turned into stables by the Yeomanry. The Scots cleaned them and restored them to their original purpose, and invited the clergy and the people to return to them. While thus winning the goodwill of the Irish, the Glengarrians also gained the approval of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Cornwallis.

Finally, in 1802, the Anglo-French War came to an end. The Glengarry Fencibles retumed to Scotland, where they were disbanded and once more thrown into a labour market in which they could find no employment.


Alexander Macdonell was born on 17 July 1782. According to his nephew, John Allen Macdonell, Alexander’s birthplace was Inchlaggan, Glengarry. According to the Chevalier W.J. Macdonell, it was Glen Urquhart on the shores of Loch Ness. The big bishop’s biographer, Mgr. J.J. Somers of St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, skirts the issue by stating that Alexander Macdonell was born in Inverness county. His father was Angus MacAilean Macdonell, a well-known Scottish bard; his mother was Margaret Cameron, a daughter of Cameron of Clunes. Macdonell’s background was that of simple folk, and as such it was, in many ways, similar to that of another Scottish bishop, who was both Macdonell’s contemporary and colleague in the Legislative Council of Upper Canada: John Strachan. Neither family could give their sons much in the way of advantage from a worldly point of view; but they did instill into each boy firm convictions in the principles that guided them all their lives. Because these principles were so similar, the two men, although they differed on denominational lines, tended to think alike on many other matters.

Incidentally, Alexander Macdonell’s background was that of a mixed marriage. The Macdonells were Roman Catholics and the Camerons were Protestants. Despite this difference of communion the two families got along very well together, and Alexander Macdonell was a man who, wherever he was, won the affection of both religious groups.

Dorothy Dumbrill, in one of her books on Glengarry county, tells the story that when Alexander Macdonell’s mother died, the Macdonells, coming to bear the dead woman to her grave, found the Camerons there before them, bound upon the same errand. After all, the Camerons contended, the dead woman had been born a Cameron and it was the right of the Camerons to bury her. Neither side would yield to argument, so, while the coffin rested on the heather, the Macdonells and the Camerons went at it with their broad swords, the flat of the sword so as not to shed blood until the Macdonells established the priority of their claim.

Evidence of the friendship between the two groups is also afforded by another story (probably apocryphal) that on one occasion when Big Alasdair returned to Scotland on a visit from Canada, he met his cousin Alan Cameron in Edinburgh. Alan greeting him with the words, “And is it yourself, Alasdair Mor? I thought the devil had you long ago”. Immediately Alasdair replied, “Och no, Alan of Erracht: he has no room for me, what with Hell being already filled with my mother’ relations!”

Macdonell says that he went to the local school at Strathglass and then attended a small seminary in the Braes of Glenlivet. The seminary building had been destroyed by Cumberland’s men in 1746, but it had been rebuilt. At the age of sixteen he left Scotland to continue his studies at the Scots College in Paris. After several years in France he went on to the Scots College in Valladolid in Spain, where he was ordained in 1787. Why did he go abroad? Because no Catholic seminaries were allowed in Great Britain at that time. In August of 1787 Macdonell returned to Scotland and became a missionary in the region of Badenoch. Then, several years later, he found himself Chaplain of the Glengarry Fencibles.

Considerable emigration from Scotland had taken place during the years Macdonell had been pursuing his studies. Some of the emigrants had gone to South Carolina, others had gone to Nova Scotia and to Prince Edward Island. The men from Glengarry had settled principally at Schoharie in the Mohawk valley, in the colony of New York. This last group, on the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, had followed Sir John Johnson, whom they regarded much in the light of a Highland Chief, from the Mohawk Valley to British territory north of Lake Ontario. A number of them joined Sir John’s Royal Regiment of New York and fought on the British side against the American rebels. Then, when the Revolutionary war was over, they obtained grants of land along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River in the vicinity of New Johnstown, in the region known today as Glengarry County. The initial Scottish settlement in Upper Canada was subsequently strengthened by other groups of settlers, such as those who arrived in 1786 from Glengarry in Scotland, under the leadership of the Reverend Alexander Scotus Macdonell; and then again, in 1804 by the arrival of the disbanded Highland soldiery of the Glengarry Fencibles.

Father Alexander Macdonell took up the cause of his compatriots and brothers-in-arms as soon as the British Government announced the disbandment of the Fencibles in 1802. He went to London to try his persuasive powers on the British Prime Minister, Henry Addington. Of course the British authorities were willing to do something about the settlement of the disbanded Scots. What about Cornwall on the south coast of England? It was an exposed area, open to possible French attack in the event of the renewal of the war, a body of experienced soldiers ready to spring to arms would be most acceptable as settlers in that region. But of this, Macdonell would have nothing. His Gaelic-speaking Scots had no desire to settle in England and would not do so. Addington then suggested Trinidad. But Macdonell wanted to go to Upper Canada where his men and their families would find themselves among their kinfolk already settled on the St. Lawrence. Addington argued that Great Britain had such a tenuous hold on the British North American provinces that it was doubtful if the country could be held in the event of war with the United States; he could not encourage any British subject to settle there. But Macdonell was adamant. He expressed his conviction that the hot climate of the West Indies would be fatal to men brought up in the cold climate of Scotland and that, in any event, the best security Great Britain could have in North America would be soldier settlement of men of proven loyalty, like those of the Glengarry Fencibles. Whether it was to get rid of this importunate priest, or because he was influenced by Macdonell’s arguments, does not matter very much; the important fact is that Addington procured for Macdonell an order with the sign manual to the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, to grant 200 acres to every Highlander who should elect to migrate to Upper Canada. The bulk of the Fencibles took advantage of the offer and set out for new Glengarry.

Macdonell himself did not reach York until 1 November 1804. He presented his credentials to General Hunter, the Lieutenant-Governor of the province, and obtained some 126,000 acres under the order he had been given by Addington. This land was located in what is now Glengarry and Stormont counties. The mission of St. Raphael’s had already been established some years before, several miles north of Williamstown in Glengarry. Scotus had ministered there until his health failed in 1803, and Alexander Macdonell was appointed to the parish. When he reached Glengarry, travelling by way of the St. Lawrence, (and here I quote Macdonell’s own words) “a fine strapping young fellow waded out to the ship, took me in his arms as if I had been a baby, and carried me ashore.” When we remember that Macdonell was a man some six feet four inches in height and stout accordingly, we can appreciate the size and strength of this “fine strapping young fellow”. His name was John Macdonell; he was one of the servants of the North West Company.

At once Father Macdonell turned his attention to his missionary duties. His territory was a vast one. There were only two other Catholic priests in Upper Canada: one a French Canadian at Sandwich (Windsor), and the other a roving Irishman. Like all missionaries in Canada at that time, Macdonell had to undergo privation and hardship. In one of his letters he tells how he carried his Mass kit sometimes on horseback sometimes on his own back, sometimes in a birch canoe; how he crossed the Great lakes and descended the rapids of the Ottawa and the St Lawrence, how he lived with the Indians, or in the miserable huts of the poor Irish at Rice Lake, or ministered to the newly arrived Scots in the forests of Glengarry. I leave to your imagination Macdonell’s loneliness, his frequent discouragement and sickness, and his dreams of what Canada might some day be.

But his ecclesiastical responsibilities, time-consuming and onerous as they may have been, did not prevent Macdonell from becoming involved once more in military matters. In 1807 we find him co-operating with John Macdonell of Aberchalder, who had served during the American Revolutionary War with the Royal Highland Emigrants and had commanded a company of Butler’s Rangers, in a scheme to raise another regiment of Glengarry Highlanders. The two Macdonells, acting through Colonel Isaac Brock, urged upon the British Government the advisability of raising a battalion of Fencible infantry in Glengarry County as a means of providing needed recruits for the British regular regiments. Brock supported the scheme, pointing out the small number of militia available in the province, and strongly urging the appointment of Macdonell as Chaplain. In a letter to the Horse Guards, Brock wrote:

In regard to the Reverend Alexander Macdonell, I beg leave to observe that the men, being all Catholics, it may be deemed an expedient measure to appoint him chaplain. His zeal and attachment to the Government were strongly evinced while filling the office of chaplain to the Glengarry Fencibles during the rebellion in Ireland and were gratefully acknowledged by H.H. the Commander-in-Chief. His influence over the men is deservedly great, and I have every reason to believe that the corps by his exertions, would be soon completed and hereafter become a nursery, from which the army might draw a number of hardy recruits.

Macdonell’s suggestion was not, however, adopted in 1807. Not until our relations with the United States reached a point of crisis early in 1812, did the British military authorities authorize the formation of the Glengarry regiment of Fencible Light Infantry. Father Macdonell fired the heather and, largely as a result of his efforts and those of Captain Red George Macdonell of Leek, a regiment of 400 men took the field on 1 May 1812. This regiment was a full-time unit and, along with the militia units of the United Counties which served as required during the war, it distinguished itself at Ogdensburg, Fort Covington, Oswego, Sacket’s Harbour, Fort George, Stoney Creek and Lundy’s Lane.

It was one of Father Macdonell’s sayings that every man of his name should be a soldier of a priest. Certainly had he not been a priest with his courage, his resolute will, his imperturbable temper, his physical endurance, his mental ability and his strong personality, Macdonell would have been a great soldier. But his cloth condemned him to the less belligerent role of chaplain at military headquarters at York. Nevertheless, he was not content to sit quietly in his office.

When the Glengarrians and the 1st Regiment of Stormont Militia – this latter was the regiment with which my great-great grandfather served – attacked Ogdensburg in February 1813, Macdonell was with them. Sir John A. Macdonald used to tell the story, that when the troops crossed the ice from Prescott towards Ogdensburg, one of the soldiers tried to slip away. The chaplain ordered him to stand fast. When he disobeyed, Father Macdonell promptly excommunicated him. Sir John, who as a young man knew Father Macdonell, remarked that it would have been better for the poor man to have faced the Yankees rather than incur the wrath of Maighstir Alasdair when his blood was up and the terrors of the church were at his disposal.

Another story tells how Father Macdonell carried a wounded Glengarrian to a nearby inn on the American shore to obtain assistance. When he was refused admittance, Macdonell pushed his way in, broke down the door of the tap-room with his foot, and proceeded to take from the shelves the stimulants the wounded man required. When he was not in the field with the troops, Macdonell was busy writing letters to General Brock, to Sir George Provost, and to other military commanders, suggesting plans, urging that waste lands should be granted to soldiers once the war was at an end, and keeping a close eye on the line of communications between the upper and lower provinces.


After peace had been restored, Macdonell went off to Great Britain to use his influence with Henry Addington, now Lord Sidmouth, to obtain British recognition of the ecclesiastical title of the Bishop of Quebec and approval for the establishment of additional Catholic dioceses. He was apparently successful, for in 1817 Mgr. Joseph Octave Plessis was formally recognized as Bishop of Quebec and was appointed to the Legislative Council of Lower Canada. Shortly afterwards Plessis became the first Roman Catholic Archbishop in Canada’s history. Two suffragan bishops were appointed, one for Nova Scotia and the other for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Macdonell was named Bishop of Resina, in partibus infidelium, and was appointed Vicar Apostolic of Upper Canada. He was consecrated in the chapel of the Ursulines in Quebec, on 31 December 1820. He was then a man of fifty-eight.

In the few years he had been in Canada, Macdonell had achieved a great deal, but there was still much to do. In the vast region in which he laboured there were no more than five or six churches. If God’s work was to be carried on with some hope of success then Macdonell would need fifteen or twenty priests to serve the various settlements, instead of the five at that time under his jurisdiction. The question was where to get them? Macdonell adopted the solution which Bishop Laval had used almost two centuries earlier, that of attracting to the priesthood young men, native to the country, and educating them in Canada for their vocations. He therefore turned his residence at St. Raphael’s into a tiny seminary, where he boarded and trained one young man in theology and ten others in Latin and classics. This institution was known as the College of Iona, after the holy island off the shores of Mull in Scotland.

For some years the Rev. W.P. Macdonald assisted the bishop in the work of the little seminary. According to John Allan Macdonell, the Rev. W.P. Macdonald was a thorough scholar and a polished gentleman who had, at one time, been employed in the British embassy in Spain, (Macdonald later moved to Kingston where he edited a Catholic newspaper in 1830 later he moved to Hamilton where he died in 1847).

The Iona seminary never did become a very large institution. Even in its heyday it was a very modest affair. But it did produce a number of priests and missionaries, among whom were the Rev. George Hay of St. Andrews, the Rev. Michael Brennan of Belleville and the Rev. Edward Gordon of Hamilton.

In 1826 Upper Canada was designated as episcopal diocese by His Holiness, Leo XII. Mgr. Macdonell was appointed first bishop under the title Bishop of Regiopolis – that strange mixture of Latin and Greek which, combined, mean Kingston. The boundaries of the new diocese coincided with those of the whole province. Subsequently it had to be divided into a number of new dioceses, including Kingston, Toronto, Hamilton, London, St. Catharines, Ottawa, Pembroke, Peterborough and Alexandria. Bishop Macdonell did not, however, move to Kingston for several years. He was in ill health and was reluctant to make the move until his appointment had received the recognition of the Imperial as well as of the colonial authorities. Finally, on 26 April 1829 he came here to take possession of his cathedral. According to the census returns, the new diocese had 36,438 Roman Catholics, a figure which Macdonell claimed should have been half as great again, fourteen churches, ten clergy and an active if small seminary. The province had moved a long way from the three churches (two built of wood and one of stone, this last at St. Andrews West), and two missionaries of 1804.

It was because his physical strength no longer equalled his indomitable will, that Bishop Macdonell applied to Rome for a coadjutor to take possession of the church at St. Raphael’s and to assist him in his episcopal duties. The priest selected for the appointment was an Englishman. Thomas Weld, who was consecrated on 6 August 1826. But Weld never came to Canada. Instead he received a cardinal’s hat and remained in Rome.

Macdonell therefore repeated his request for a coadjutor. But few priests seemed to be interested in coming to Upper Canada, and those who were disposed to do so found their way blocked by their superiors. And yet it was becoming more and more apparent that an appointment had to be made owing to the Bishop’s increasing age and his growing infirmities. Finally Remegius Gaulin, a French Canadian who had be the Bishop’s vicar during the War of 1812, was selected. Gaulin had served in the parish of Antigonish for some years and had a working knowledge of Gaelic. And this, it should be remembered was as much of a requirement for a Bishop of Kingston a century and a half ago, as was a knowledge of French and English. Macdonell, of course, had all three. So too had his coadjutor. Gaulin had not been the Bishop’s first choice, but of him Macdonell wrote to the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada:

“From his knowledge of English and Gaelic, I thought that Mr. Gaulin would be the fittest person I could select in the country for a coadjutor. At all events I had no alternative, as the awful responsibility attached to the situation and the difficulty of discharging conscientiously its painful and irksome duties deterred others from accepting it.”

Gaulin arrived in Kingston in 1833, seven years after Macdonell had first applied for an assistant. In 1840, after the death of Macdonell, he became the second Bishop of Kingston, an appointment he held for seventeen years. Gaulin arrived none too soon. Macdonell was now seventy-one years of age and his responsibilities, instead of decreasing, seemed to be increasing in number and in intensity.

One of the most trying problems was that posed by the Rev. William O’Grady, a recalcitrant Irish priest, who held a parish appointment in Toronto. He was an erratic man, with more zeal than judgment, and in Macdonell’s eyes he was a radical and a trouble-maker. It was Macdonell who had placed him in Toronto; but it was not long before complaints began to reach Macdonell’s ears: Complaints of O’Grady’s “haughty, supercilious behaviour” and other matters “derogatory to a clergyman”. Macdonell admonished him. But the complaints continued. Finally the Bishop felt that the only course left to him would be to remove O’Grady from Toronto, where he was apparently irritating many people, and send him to some quieter parish like Brockville or Belleville “You have,” he wrote to O’Grady, “entirely lost the confidence of a large proportion of the respectable members of your congregation and consequently you ministry cannot longer be of use there,” But O’Grady was not disposed either to be disciplined or to bow in obedience to his ecclesiastical superior. He challenged the Bishop to move him. In extreme annoyance Macdonell wrote to the Rev. Angus Macdonald of the Scotch College at Rome:

“the consummate arrogance of this man and the impudence with which he asserts to most barefaced falsehoods are almost unbelievable He has organized a formidable faction of Irish bullies and drunkards and the very dregs of the population of this town who assemble in mobs and threaten to burn the church for refusing permission to him to hold illegal meetings in it.”

Macdonell enlisted support from other quarters and Archdeacon Strachan and the Hon. Jacques Baby approached O’Grady. The Irishman agreed to resign his appointment in Toronto: then he changed his mind and launched a new series of charges against the Bishop. He even petitioned the Lieutenant Governor to intervene in what was purely an ecclesiastical matter, and threatened Macdonell with violence. He and his supporters not only maintained that the Crown should assume the responsibility of approving ecclesiastical appointments, both parish and Episcopal, but also demanded the abolition of all government pensions. What had begun, apparently, as a purely ecclesiastical matter, became, by the 1830s, a political One. O’Grady had discovered a congenial companion in William Lyon Mackenzie and he was now more interested in serving as a political hack for the Reform party than in ministering to the people of his faith. The Bishop was not unfair when he stated that O’Grady “by his rebellious harangues and treasonable writings” was now a “useful tool in the hands of Mr. W.L. Mackenzie, who is at the present moment exerting every nerve to create discontent amongst the people.” In the end, Macdonell succeeded in ousting O’Grady from his church, and the Irish faction made their peace with the bishop. But O’Grady himself he did not forgive, and the Irishman continued to plague him with what Macdonell called “most scurrilous invective.”

(Continued in Clan Donald Magazine No8.)


[1] Behold a great priest who in his days pleased God – therefore did the Lord make him great among His people. 

[2] Woe unto thee, oh land, the great sheep is coming.