Saturday, May 14, 2005

On This Day In Scottish History - May 14th (The Appin Murder)

I've decided I'm going to try and post from time to time on Scottish history. Each day I want to write a little on a significant event in Scotland's past, whether a battle, a poltical event, a birth or death, or anything at all really, as a tribute to the land of my birth. So here's the inaugural 'On This Day' post.

On May 14th, 1752, Colin Campbell was murdered near the town of Ballachulish in Scotland. Campbell, also known as the "Red Fox", was a Scottish landownerand ersecutor of the Jacobites, and he collected taxes for the English government. The murderer was unknown, but James Stewart (James of the Glen), was tried by three judges and a jury of fifteen, being found gulity and hanged.

Through the many years since the event, speculation has been rife as to whether Stewart killed Campbell, but the general consensus now is that he did not, and the trial was biased, firstly because the Campbells hated the Stewarts, but secondly because of the political necessities of the time and the requirement to find a perpetrator. The standard work now is by an American academic, Lee Holcombe, who argues that it was actually Donald Stewart, relying largely on the testimony of his descendants in 2001, a secret which had only been passed on by word of mouth.

The Appin Murder was brought to the public attention mainly because of Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, which embellishes the story somewhat! For those interested in reading more, see:

The Appin Murder

The Appin Murder II

Bloody Scot's Whodunnit is Solved by American Academic


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