By J. Scott Skinner (1842-1927)
[Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), steel magnate and philanthropist, was briefly the world’s richest man. Born in Dunfermline, Scotland, he emigrated to the United States in 1848. He returned to Scotland in 1881, although Skinner’s tune may have been written later. Skinner notes that ‘*Mr Carnegie is the possessor of Macpherson The Freebooters Violin. glorious thing the distribution of wealth’. He continues, along the right page margin, ‘The Freebooters ‘Claymore’ is in Duff House, Banff - The Property of Lord Fife [Lord Braco, the first Earl of Fife]’. James MacPherson, ‘The Freebooter’ (someone who pillages and plunders), is traditionally supposed to have played the fiddle, and composed his ‘Macpherson’s Lament’ shortly before he was hung for theft in Banff, on the northern coast of Banffshire, in 1700. ]
It is, of course, a march.
Macpherson smashed the fiddle before he was hanged. Who got it fixed?
Well, did he smash it or carefully unglue the joints, as this picture would indicate (bearing in mind that the fiddle appears to be from later than 1700 - and the bow)?
Very little of that instrument is actually "smashed".
Who can blame Skinner for embellishing the story a bit further?
Skinner doesn’t actually say that Carnegie’s fiddle was intact.
In case MacPherson offered his fiddle to the spectators and no one accepted it, he must have smashed (it over his knee?). Ungluing on the road - while everyone is waiting for him to be hanged - sounds unlikely.
But when I look at the pictures, I would suggest, the fiddle was damaged over the years of storage.