Garthbeg Coat Of Arms

The Lost Families of Stratherrick, Strathnairn, and Dunmaglass, Inverness-shire, Scotland

Letters between Simon McTavish Esq. of Montreal and Lachlan McTavish of Dunardry

These Letters were first published by myself,  on this site, January of 2005.  Since then they have been copied and republished on another website.  Since the author of the other website, has  been called to task on yet another website for his misrepresentation of history, I would remind him that it is also without conscience to "swipe" my work.  I have copies of e-mails where this author offered to help me better interpret my work, having already copied the information from this website.  Whereas, this is not original work, it cannot be copyrighted, but being sourced would have been a honorable thing.  I think this theft would fall under the definition of Plagiarism.


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London 18th December 1792 

Dear Sir:

                        Although I have not the honor of a personal acquaintance with you, knowing that some of my brothers were formerly in habits of intimacy and friendship with your family, and my being of the same name, will I presume apologize for troubling you on this occasion, rather than apply to friends more distant, which would require the more time to satisfy my curiosity.

                        My father was generally called Garthbeg, from the place of his residence in Stratherrick, a part of the Lovat estate, and you probably have heard of him.

                        I went to American as early as 1764, at the age of 13 and have resided there ever since, except occasional trips I made to this place, where, I am now established in the Commercial shipping line to Canada.  You will naturally conceive I could have but a very imperfect knowledge of the history of our family, leaving my native country so young, there’s none of my brothers now living to inform me, and my remaining relations are far distant in the Highlands, so that being told by my friend Captain McLean who encloses this, that you lived in Edinburgh, I have taken the liberty  to request you will favor me with the Arms of our family, and send me the impression of your seal on Wax with such explanations as you may think necessary.

            I know  we are descended from the Campbell’s, but how far we use the same arms I am at a loss.  Your compliance will oblige me infinitely and if I can at any time be useful to you or any of your friends, it will give me sensible pleasure if you will command me freely.

            I think of going North some time in May next, in order to renew my acquaintance with the few remaining relations I have in the Highlands and shall have the pleasure of paying you my respects en passant, if you are in Edinburgh at the time.  I am with regard

                                    Dear Sir

                                                You’re most Obedient and humble servant

                                                            Simon McTavish


P.S.  When you favor me with an answer, which I beg may be as soon as convenient, please direct it to Messers McTavish, Fraser, and Co., Suffolk Lane London 




Dear Sir: 

You will no doubt be much surprised that I did not sooner acknowledge the receipt of the very polite letter of the 18th December last which you did me the honor to write me, but the truth is that that letter was dropt at my house at a time when I was on a visit in the country during the Christmas recess, and being of a private nature , it escaped my wife to deliver to me until last day that Mr. Campbell writer to the Signet whose cover it had come made inquiry respecting it – This I beseech you to believe is the real cause of my silence and not any want of attention.  For I can with great truth assure you that it afforded me unspeakable pleasure to answer a letter from the son of a Gentlemen for whom I had been early taught to entertain a most sincere attachment and regard.  Although I had never the pleasure of being personally acquainted with him, I was however very intimately acquainted with two of your brothers, Duncan and John,

especially the latter who was much about my own time of day and lived for sometime at my fathers previous to is departure for the West Indies and who had he lived till now would have been an honor to his clan.  I never had the pleasure of being acquainted with your brother Alexander who died lately, which I regretted very much as report spoke very favorably of him.  I understand, however, that he has left a family.

            With regards to the Arms of our family,  I am extremely sorry that I cannot at present give you any satisfactory explanation having no impression of them and when I yesterday applied at the Lyon office I could not get access to the records owing to their having been sealed up on account of the death of the keeper which happened lately.  Mr. Boswell the Lyon (Deputy) however assured me that he would get access to them in a few days and make a search and when that happens you may rely upon hearing from me with a accurate Blazoned description of them as well as some (word illegible).  (__) acct. of our decent from the family of Argyle(--) proof of which produce from Charters as far back as 1500 now in my possession.

            I cannot sufficiently express my sense of obligation to your for your very polite offer of good offices, of which I shall certainly avail myself when I have occasion.  At present however, I have only to recommend the Bearer W Campbell who is as friend as well as a relation of mine to your Civilities and to whom I beg leave to refer for any domestic intelligence which you may wish to learn respecting my present situation.

            My wife informs me that during my absence a lady who said she was a (connection) of your address which she gave her but it escaped her to inquire where the lady lived – I shall be glad to know if you have any of your relatives live in this place that I may at least show them attention if I cannot otherwise be useful.  


Lauchlan MacTavish Esq.

            Of Dunardarie



  London, April 11th 1793 

Dear Sir:          

                        I received your very polite letter of the 26th February by your Friend Mr. Campbell, some weeks ago, and have to thank you for the pleasure of that Gentleman’s acquaintance, which I shall always be happy to cultivate.

                        Your kind remembrance of my brothers, and the obligating manner in which you have now undertaken to satisfy my curiosity, is sufficiently convincing that I had no reason to suspect you of want of attention, and that the delay in answering my letter proceeded from accident only, to which cause I always attributed it; and I am now persuaded from not having the pleasure of hearing from you since , on the subject that Mr. Boswell has not had an opportunity of procuring the necessary information:  should any difficulty still remain in his obtaining it, I beg you will let me know as I shall in that case ?? for the present with the crest and Motto.

            The reason of my being so troublesome to you now and not waiting for your convenience for an answer, is this---people here are becoming such slaves to fashion that every man who is supposed to afford it, must either keep a carriage or be thought a miser; and I have so far given in to the (word illegible) as to get one made, which is now only unfinished for the want of the Arms.

            I return you thanks for the kindness of your intention in desiring to know of my connections about Edinburgh; I do not really know what relations I may have in that quarter for I have been long absent from the Country that I cannot say how they may have scattered, believe me to be with sentiments of regard.

                                    Dear Sir

                                    Your most obedient servant

                                    Simon McTavish




April 16, 1793 L McTavish to Simon McTavish

Dr Sir:

            I received your very kind letter of 15th and called immediately of Mr. Boswell who has given me the utmost assurance, that a complete representation of my arms will be ready by Wednesday or Thursday at furthest so that you may relay upon hearing from me by Friday next.  Knowing however your intention I think it is right to inform you that it will be necessary for you to matriculate in the Lyon office here, i.e. to take out a patent to carry Arms otherwise, Mr. Boswell assures me, and I believe it to be fact, that any carriage or plate upon which arms are painted or engraved without matriculation are liable to be seized and forfeited – In short that fees of office cannot be dispensed with, and as in your case they will not exceed 10 or 12 pounds.  I think it better that you pay that than run any risk and if you are of the same way of thinking you have only to drop me a few lines in course, and I shall expedite your patent. 





London April 22, 1793

Simon McTavish to Lachlan


My Dear Sir:

            I am favored with both your letters of the 15th and 19th currently for which I thank you very much, particularly the enclosures of the latter, which you were so good as to procure for me.  And I must still trespass on your indulgence so far as to request you will take out the Patent for me and draw a Bill on McTavish (Fraser) and Co. for the expense, as I shall not probably be in London when it comes up, having of a sudden, determined to make another voyage to Canada, one of the ships now in Portsmount waiting for the convoy.

            I expect to return here in October via New York, and shall probably visit Scotland before Christmas.  I shall be very happy to take you by the hand in passing through Edinburgh-but I shall have the pleasure S. McTavish, Esq. to write you on my arrival in Britain, which I shall beg of you to send up the Patent, as there’s no necessity to forward until then.  I have so little time to prepare for my voyage, having only resolved on it yesterday, that I am all in a hustle. I conclude in haste.

                                    My dear Sir

                                    You’re most Obedient and Obliged Servant

                                    Simon McTavish



Edinburgh April 26, 1793 

Letter from Lachlan McTavish to Simon McTavish 

My Dear Sir:

            I this moment received your favour of the _____ and although I regret any circumstance that delays the pleasure of seeing you, since however you find it necessary to go abroad again, I have nothing for it, but to wish you a prosperous voyage and a speedy return, which I do with great sincerity.  I have just give orders to expedite your patent and shall attend to what you say as to that business.


            Pray are you acquainted with Coll John Campbell of Glendarnel who resides at you near Quebec?  If so and that you have an opportunity of seeing him, I beg you may offer him my best compliments---he is a very (gentle) man and worthy your acquaintance.  May God prosper you and send you soon back to us in the sincere and fervent prayer of

                                    My Dear Sir

                                                Your faithful and affectionate humble servant.





 London April 29th 1793 

My Dear Sir:

                        I have just received your obliging letter of the 26th, but the Chaise that is to convey me the first stage towards Portsmouth is not at the door and I have barely time to say how sensible I am, and ever shall be of your very kind and obliging attention, in executing the commissions I have ever so frequently troubled you with.

            You are a much better judge that I can be, of the Propriety of my being stiled of Garthbeg and you will direct therein as you think fit.  My ancestors have long had possession of the place, although I have now no property in it.  My late brother Alexander had only a lease of it at the time of is death, of which there is still 14 years unexpired.  If the entail of the Lovat estate would be set aside I understand it is the wish of the present Lovat to sell apart in that case, I should like to become the purchaser of Garthby on account of the Duchas.

            I am very well acquainted with your friend Colonel Campbell of Glendarnet, he has been my neighbor at Montreal for many years and I dare say will be happy to find himself remembered by you.


                                    Simon McTavish




To Lachlan McTavish Esq of Dunardarie

 Favored by Mr. McGillivray

  London December 30, 1793

 My Dear Sir: 

The kind of attention I have already experienced from you, leaves me no room to doubt you being pleased to hear of my welfare; I therefore take an early opportunity to acquaint you of my safe arrival from Canada, the other day, after a tedious and boisterous passage; in company with (word illegible) Mr. McGillivray who is a nephew of mine and whom I beg leave to recommend to your civilities as he passes through Edinburgh in his way to Inverness, on a visit to his friends in the Highlands after ten years absence; which he has past in the interior North West parts of Canada.  He is at present a partner in our house in Montreal and at this place and can give you every information you can wish for respecting me and my concerns—I shall be happy to hear from you at your leisure, and you will oblige me at the same time by sending me Patent Arms – which you had he goodness last spring to propose taking out for me – the expense of which I beg you will draw a bill on me for.

            Mr. McGillivray will acquaint you of course that I married last summer in Montreal and brought my little Canadian to this country where I hope now to pass the rest of my days.

            I expect to visit my friends at Inverness next summer and flatter myself I shall have the pleasure to present her to you and Mrs. McTavish as I pass through Edinburgh with best compliments to that lady.

                        I remain

                                    Mr. Dear Sir

                                    Your obliged and Obed.

                                    Humble Servant

                                    Simon McTavish



 Lachlan to Simon 

Dear Sir:

            I received your very kind and welcome letter of the 30th December by W. McGillivray acquainting me of your safe arrival from Canada and the still more pleasing event of your having entered into a state, which while it promises to recruit a class at present rather weak, must afford an unspeakable pleasure to all your friends and to none more than myself, suffer me therefore to wish from the bottom of my heart, that you and your fair Canadian may, for a long series of years to come enjoy all the felicity that, that happy state  can possibly confer. 

            I thank you a thousand fold for making me acquainted with the bearer, W McGillivray who is indeed a very agreeable modest young man – I can only regret that I had not more of his company, but from the little I had I was glad to learn not only the prosperous state of your concerns but that his own time in Canada had not been misapplied and that you both may continue to flourish is my most ardent wish – I have delivered him the patent for your Arms the expenses of which I formerly drew for amounting as I remember to sometime more than 13/4 (word illegible) and it was not worth making words about it.

            I am happy in the prospect of having the pleasure of seeing you and your lady in summer – I think however you ought not to come early – since your propose going to the highlands July will be early enough and if you can accommodate matters so as to be here Race week, you will have an opportunity of seeing more company than at any other time.

            My wife and family join me in best compliments to you and your lady and believe me (word illegible)