I WAS born at a place called Plean, in the parish of Ninians, in the shire of Stirling, where my mother's forbears were residenters for generations unknown, although I can only trace them to the days of Charles the Second. The name of my mother was Paterson, her mother's name
was Square. She was the daughter of Ellshander, or
Alexander Square, the companion of John Balfour of Burley in his Covenanting campaigns; My father's name was Dugald Cameron, he came from a place called
Braemar; his mother's name was Stewart. The earliest account I can give
of my
grandmother's connections is only that she had a brother hanged about the borders of Lochaber, for the supposed murder of a man of the name of Campbell, who was
King's factor in that district for the estates confiscated at the rebellion of 1715-45.
If we can believe a Highland account, my grandfather, whose name was Donald
Cameron, was no far distant connection of the unfortunate Lochiel. Be that as it may,
he held a commission under Lochiel in the Cameron ranks in the rebellion for Prince
Charlie, and conducted the
forlorn hope at the taking of the city of Edinburgh; he
fought in the unfortunate cause of Charles at Prestonpans, Falkirk, and Culloden,
where he fell in a charge against Baillie's regiment, in which charge the Camerons
suffered sore.
I never saw any of his connections except a sister and a brother, whom my father did not make very welcome. I was but young when the sister visited us. She went to the
church with my father and mother, and, when she came home, remarked that their minister preached with a white
gown. My father gave her the hint to say no more, and
my mother did not understand it.
The brother stayed only one night, my father and he did not seem to agree; my uncle spoke mostly in Erse, which none of us understood, but the English of it was, that he
stamped his foot and shook his neive in my father's face, telling him that "he was no man to deny that he
was with Charles, and to turn his back on his religion;" which led me to think that my father had been at Culloden at any rate, but as for religion, I do not think that he knew anything about it till he came to the low country. My
grandmother had to fly from her house, and,
with seven children at her feet, sat in the shelf of a rook watching all her movables carried off, and her house burned by the King's army.

When my father did cast up, all she could do for him was to "cow his heid," and send him to the Low Country to seek service at the Fair
of Cockhill, near Callander. He was hired into a religions family of the name of Whitehead, at a place called Pattens
on the estate of Tough, in the parish of St Ninian's, where he remained for a number of years; to this family he was indebted for all the learning and
religion which he possessed. They were adherents of the Burgher religious body, and took him to church with themselves. He remained serving on the estate of Tough, but with different masters, until he was married, when he got an engagement as servant on the estate of Sauchie in
the same parish. His wife had four daughters and one son. Falling into a state of decline, from which she died, she left my father with his small family, and her infant son at the breast, which reduced him to great poverty. About two years after her death he married my
mother, who at that time was well advanced in years, and with her he removed to the place where I was born.
My father was engaged as mashman at a distillery called Sauchieferry; he was very poor, and my mother, during harvest, went to the shearing with neighbouring farmers,
leaving me in the charge of a girl not six years of age. At such an age she could not be expected to take care
of herself; to her I have no grudge, but during that harvest, my right leg caught damage, and left me a cripple for life. It would have been better if my mother had kept her house, as, during that harvest, she lost more than she gained. My father removed back to Sauchie, and
took a house in the village of Charterhall, where I was brought up, and where my father and mother terminated their earthly career.
Being lame, I was a heavy charge on my mother during my infant years. At the age of four I was put to school; the teacher was an old decrepit man, who had tried to be a
nailer, but at that employment he could not earn his bread. He then attempted to teach a few children, but
for this undertaking he was quite unfit; writing and arithmetic were to him secrets as dark as death, and as for English, he was short-sighted, and a word of more than two or three syllables was either passed over, or it got a term of his own making. At this school I continued
four years, and was not four months advanced
in learning, although I was as far advanced as my teacher.
I was taken from that school and sent to another place called Milton, about a mile distant, this was another do-no-better teacher, only he could write, which was his
masterpiece; his knowledge in arithmetic, although he pretended more, did not exceed the three common rules,
and his English was much the same as my former teacher's. At this school I lost another five years, and all my advance in learning was writing and arithmetic, consisting of the three common rules; and he racked our memories learning psalms, chapters of the Bible, and
catechisms, till a few of us could begin at the Song of Solomon, and, by heart, go on to the end of Malachi; we also knew by heart the Shorter, Mother's, Brown's, Proofs, and Synod's catechisms, till our little judgments were so mixed up, that, in a few years, I could not
answer a question in any of them. All this time was lost, the scholar robbed of his learning, and the parents of
their money, through the teacher being ashamed to say "he could go no further."

end of part 1

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