A Pair of Silver Mounted Pistols Engraved with the Macpherson Clan Motto. With sighted octagonal barrels, signed ‘Strand LONDON’ fitted with rear-sights and stamped with London proofs, case-colour hardened breech plugs, plain steel tangs, stepped, bevelled locks signed ‘Richards’ converted from flint, plain percussion hammers, full-stocked in walnut (one cracked through at wrist and slither repairs along side of barrel with replacement fore-end, the other with repairs to the sides of barrel) with swelling butts, with silver furniture comprising grotesque masks stamped with hallmarks in the mouth, oval escutcheon engraved with the Macpherson Clan Motto. "Touch Not The Cat But The Glove.” Hallmarked trigger guards (Ione repaired) decorated with foliage on the bows and stylised acanthus leaf finials, turned silver ramrod pipes. Horn tipped ramrods.
The Scottish Gaelic surname for Macpherson is Mac a’ Phearsain which means son of the parson. The Celtic church allowed priests to marry and the progenitor of the chiefs of the Clan Macpherson is believed to have been a man named Muireach or Murdo Cattenach who was the priest of Kingussie in Badenoch.
The Clan Macpherson is part of the Chattan Confederation (Clan Chattan). In 843 the chief of Clan Chattan was Gille Chattan Mor and one of his sons, the first chief of Clan Macpherson was forced to resettle in Lochaber by Kenneth MacAlpin, first King of Scots. The chief could have been the lay prior of Ardchattan and he seems to have been named in honour of Saint Cathan.
Touch not the cat bot a glove. 'Bot' means without. The 'glove' of a wildcat is the pad. If the cat is 'ungloved', its claws are unsheathed. The motto serves as a warning that one should beware when the wildcat's claws are 'without a glove'. It is a reference to the historically violent nature of the clan and serves as a metaphorical warning to other clans that they should think twice before interfering with Macpherson business. Macpherson clan traditions is that in 1309 Robert the Bruce offered the lands of Badenoch to the chief of Clan Macpherson if they destroyed the Bruce's enemies, the Clan Comyn, and the Macphersons carried out the king's wishes.The Clan Macpherson is sometimes known as the Clan of the Three Brothers owing to the fact that chief Ewan Ban Macpherson had three sons: Kenneth Macpherson of Clunie, Iain Macpherson of Pitman and Gillies Macpherson of Invereshie.
Richards, Thomas [1750-1780]
Shop in London. Made cannon barrel box-lock flintlock pocket pistols and under Government contract made flintlock holster pistols.
A. Merwyn Carey (1954) English, Irish and Scottish Firearms Makers, Acro Publishing Company, New York.
Bore: 28 Bore
Barrel Length: 8 Inches (20.32 cm)
Overall Length: 14 Inches (35.56 cm)