Memoirs of the Jacobites of 1715 and 1745. - Volume I.
by Mrs. Thomson
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

The Earl of Mar, meantime, had given orders for his army to form to the left of the road that leads to Dumblane, and whilst they were forming in front of the town of Dumblane, they discovered the enemy on the height of the west end of the Sherriff Muir. A council of war was then held, and it was resolved, nemine contradicente, to fight.

The Earl of Mar's forces had also been ready for combat during the whole of the night. To the Highlanders the want of shelter was of little consequence. It was usual to them, before they lay down on the moor to dip their plaids in water, by which the cloth was made impervious to the wind; and to choose, as a favourite and luxurious resting-place, some spot underneath a cover of overhanging heath. So late as the year 1745, they could not be prevailed on to use seats.[109] It was therefore with unimpaired vigour that they rushed on to the combat.

The Earl of Mar placed himself at the head of the clans: perhaps a finer, a more singular, a more painful sight can rarely have been witnessed than the rush of this great body of Highlanders to the encounter. It was delayed by the Earl of Mar's despatching his aide-de-camp, Colonel Clephan, to Lord Drummond, and to General Gordon, with orders to march and attack immediately. On their return, pulling off his hat, he waved it with an huzza, and advanced in front of the enemy's formed battalions. Then was heard the slogan or war-cry, each clan having its own distinctive watch-word, to which every clansman responded, whether his ear caught the sound in the dead of night, or in the confusion of the combat. Distinguished by particular badges, and by the peculiar arrangement and colours of the tartans, these devoted men followed the Earl of Mar towards the foe.

But the action cannot be described in a manner better adapted to this narrative, than in the words of Lord Mar himself, in his letter on the very day of the engagement, to Colonel Balfour, whom he had left in command of the garrison at Perth. It is dated Ardoch, November 13th, 1715.

"Ardoch, Nov. 13th, 1715."

"I thought you would be anxious to know the fate of this day. We attacked the enemy on the end of the Sherriff Muir, at twelve of the clock this day, on our right and centre; carried the day entirely; pursued them down to a little hill on the south of Dumblane; and there I got most of our horse and a pretty good number of our foot, and brought them again into some order. We knew not then what was become of our left, so we returned to the field of battle. We discerned a body of the enemy on the north of us, consisting mostly of the Grey Dragoons, and some of the Black. We also discovered a body of their foot farther north upon the field where we were in the morning; and east of that, a body as we thought of our own foot, and I still believe it was so. I formed the horse and foot with me in a line on the north side of the hill, where we had engaged and kept our front towards the enemy to the north of us, who seem'd at first as if they intended to march towards us; but upon our forming and marching towards them, they halted and marched back to Dumblane. Our baggage and train-horses had all run away in the beginning of the action. But we got some horses and brought off most of the train to this place where we quarter to-night about Ardock, whither we march'd in very good order: and had our left and second line behaved as our right and the rest of the first line did, our victory had been compleat: but another day is coming for that, and I hope ere long too.

"I send you a list of the officers' names who are prisoners here, besides those who are dangerously wounded and could not come along, whose words of honour were taken. Two of these are the Earl of Forfar, who I'm afraid will die, and Captain Urquhart, of Burn's Yard, who is very ill wounded. We have also a good number of private men prisoners; but the number I do not exactly know.

"We have lost, to our regret, the Earl of Strathmore and the Captain of Clan Ranald. Some are missing, but the fate we are not sure of.

"The Earl of Panmure, Drummond of Logie, and Lieutenant Colonel Maclean are wounded.

"This is all that I have to say now, but that I am,

"Yours, &c. MAR."

"P.S. We have taken a great many of the enemy's arms."

Lord Mar, on this occasion, showed a degree of personal bravery worthy of the great name which he bore. He had placed himself on the right, and, as he was giving orders to the Macdonalds to charge that battalion of the enemy opposite to them, he encountered a very close fire. "The horse on which my Lord was," writes an eye-witness on the Jacobite side, "was wounded, for he fell down with him upon the fire, and got away, and my Lord immediately mounted another horse: he exposed his person but too much, and showed a great deal of bravery, as did the other lords about him."[110]

The army of the Duke of Argyle lay on their arms all night, expecting that the next day the battle would be resumed; but, on Monday the fourteenth of November, the Duke went out with the piquet guard to the field to view the enemy, but found them gone: and leaving the piquet guard on the place, he returned to Dumblane, and thence to Stirling, carrying off with him fourteen of the enemy's colours and standards, and among them the royal standard called the Restoration, besides several pieces of artillery, and many prisoners, some of them men of rank and influence.

Both sides claimed the victory of Sherriff Muir as their own; but, however it may be argued, it is certain that with only three thousand effective troops, Argyle had contrived "to break the heart of the rebellion," and to subdue an army such as could never again be reassembled. Between six and eight hundred of the Jacobites are stated to have fallen on the field,[111] and several, among whom was the brave Earl of Panmure and Colonel Maclean, were among the wounded. Lord Mar, nevertheless, celebrated the engagement as if it had been a victory.

Thanksgiving-sermons were ordered to be preached at Perth, and a Te Deum sung in the church; and ringing of bells, and other demonstrations deceived the hearts of those who knew little of the real injury done to the cause, or amused others whose nearest interests had not suffered in the Sherriff Muir. A paper was also circulated containing a report of the battle, of course highly favourable to the Earl of Mar's part in what he called his victory. The following is the statement which he sent to the Chevalier.


"Nov. 24, 1715.


"It was but yesterday that I had accounts of your being at sea, and I thought myself obliged to do all in my power to let you know the state of affairs in this island before you land in it, so that you may not be disapointed upon your comeing.

"I had the certain account yesterday of those who had appear'd in arms besouth Forth, and in the north of England, all being made prisoners at Preston in Lancashire, which I'm affraid will putt a stop to any more riseings in that country at this time.

"Your Majesty's army, which I have the honour to command, fought the enime on the Shirreff-Muir, near Dumblain, the thirteenth of this moneth. Our left behav'd scandalously and ran away, but our right routed the enimies left and most of their body.

"Their right follow'd and pursued our left, which made me not adventure to prosecute and push our advantage on our right so far as otherwayes wee might have done, however wee keept the field of battle, and the enimie retir'd to Dumblain.

"The armie had lyen without cover the night before, and wee had no provisions there, which oblidg'd me to march the armie back two milles that night, which was the nearest place where I could get any quarters. Next day I found the armie reduced to a small number, more by the Highlanders going home than by any loss wee sustained, which was but very small. So that and want of provisions oblidg'd me yet to retire, first to Auchterarder, and then here to Perth. I have been doing all I can ever since to get the armie together again, and I hope considerable numbers may come in a little time; but now that our friends in England are defeated, there will be troops sent down from thence to reinforce the Duke of Argyle, which will make him so strong, that wee shall not be able to face him, and I am affraid wee shall have much difficultie in makeing a stand any where, save in the Highlands, where wee shall not be able to subsist.

"This Sir, is a melancholy account, but what in duty I was oblidg'd to let you know, if possibly I can, before you land; and for that end I have endeavour'd to send boats out about those places where I judg'd it most probable you would come.

"Ther's another copie of this upon the West Coast, and I wish to God one or other of them may find you if your Majesty be upon the coast.

"By the strength you have with you, your Majesty will be best able to judge if you will be in a condition, when join'd with us, to make a stand against the enimie. I cannot say what our numbers will be against that time, or where wee shall be, for that will depend on the enimie, and the motions they make; but unless your Majesty have troops with you, which I'm affraid you have not, I see not how wee can oppose them even for this winter, when they have got the Dutch troops to England, and will power in more troops from thence upon us every day.

"Your Majestie's coming would certainly give new life to your friends, and make them do all in their power for your service; but how far they would be able to resist such a formed body of regular troops as will be against them, I must leave your Majestie to judge.

"I have sent accounts from time to time to Lord Bolingbroke, but I have not heard once from any of your Majestie's servants since Mr. Ogilvie of Boin came to Scotland, nor none of the five messengers I sent to France are return'd, which has been an infinite loss to us. I sent another, which is the sixt, to France, some days ago, with the account of our victory, who I suppose is sail'd ere now.

"May all happiness attend your Majestie, and grant you may be safe, whatever come of us. If it do not please God to bless your kingdoms at this time with your being settled on your throne, I make no doubt of its doing at another time; and I hope there will never be wanting of your own subjects to assert your cause, and may they have better fortune than wee are like to have. I ask but of Heaven that I may have the happiness to see your Majestie before I die, provided your person be safe; and I shall not repine at all that fortune has or can do to me.

"Your Majestie may find many more capable, but never a more faithful servant than him who is with all duty and esteem, Sir, your Majestie's most dutiful, most faithfull and most obedient subject and servant,


"From the Camp of Perth, Nov. 24, 1715."

A fortnight previously the Earl of Mar had addressed the following curious letter to Captain Henry Straiton,[113] at Edinburgh, to whom many of Lord Mar's epistles are written. The allusion to Margaret Miller refers to Lady Nairn, the sister-in-law of the Marquis of Tullibardine, and wife of Lord Nairn, who, in compliance with a Scottish custom, took his wife's title, she being Lady Nairn in her own right. The allusion to "a dose" which will require the air of a foreign country to aid it, seems to offer some notion of the Earl's subsequent flight.

"Novemb. 8th, 1715.


"I had yours of the fourth this forenoon, which was very wellcome. And I hope we shall soon see the certainty of what the accounts makes us expect of these folks' arivall. I sent of a pacquet yesterday with an answer to Margaret Miller's of the second, and in it I sent a copie of my last to Mr. H——n, which was dated the second and third, of which I sent him copies two different wayes, so I hope he'll get one of them at least. They were pressing them to go into England; and now that they are actually gone their, and in so good a way, I am easie as to that. I hope God will direct and assist them.

"I thought to have marcht from this to-day. The foot are mostly gone, and I march with the horse to-morrow morning. Our generall revew is to be at Auchterardor on Thursday morning, and then to march forward immediately. It is of great use to hear often from you, and to have accounts of our friends in the north of England, and what is doing in England beside; so I know you'll write as often as you can find occasions. I fancie I may hear to-day from our friends in the north of England, for I hope they had some days ago a way of sending directly. It seems the Duke of Argyll's absence from London is not like to do his own court of interest there much good. I hope our manifesto's being disperced at London, will have good effect; and I long to see what the prints call the Pretender's declaration, and the declaration of the people of England. The run upon the bank, I hope, will not lessen. The public credit must not be once ruined to make it raise again, and I hope that time may be sooner than we think of. We have rainy weather, but that is an inconveniencie to the enimie as well as to us. My humble service to Margaret Miller: I thank her for the information she gives me, of one about me giving intelligence; but other friends may be easie about it, for I am sure there is nothing in it; and I know what made them belive, which I confess had colour enough. I wish she would get the Doctrix to send a new dose to the patient she knows of, for there was a little too much of one of the ingredients in the last, which toke away the effect of the whole. It is the ingredient that has the postponeing quality in it; and the patient's greatest distemper is the apprehentions he has of a perfect cure being long of comeing, and that it is not to be til he get the air of another country. The dose must be carefully made up, and no appearance of its comeing from any other hand but the Doctrix' own. Ther's some copies herewith sent of a paper printed on this side the water, of which I hear severall are at Stirling. The other two papers I got to-day are given to revise, and are to be printed soon. I send you a copie of a letter was wrote t'other day, and sent to the Cameronians in the west. I wish you could send this one to some of them in the south. This is all I will trouble you with; but I hope both to get from you and give you good news soon, and I ever am, with all sincerity and truth, yrs. &c.

"Perhaps Capt. R——n will not be found to have done so much hurt as was thought he designed; but this is not to bid trust him yet."

By two manuscript letters among the Mar papers, it appears, however, that the account soon afterwards published by Lord Mar was not so full of artifice and untruths as his enemies represented. "He kept the field of battle until it was dark," says one writer, in a letter dated from Perth (November the 19th, 1715); "and nothing but want of provisions prevented us from going forward the next day. We hear the Whigs give various accounts of the battle, to cover the victory; but the numbers of the slain on their part being eleven or twelve hundred, and ours not above fifty or sixty, and our keeping the field when they left it, makes the victory incontestable. Your friends that I know here mind you often, and they and I would be glad to have the opportunity to drink a bottle with you beyond the Forth."

Another eye-witness gives a still more detailed account.[114] "I have yours of the seventeenth, with the paper inclosed, wherein that gentleman has taken the liberty to insert many falsehoods relative to the late action, a true and impartial account of which I here send you, which is but too modest on our side, and many things omitted that will be afterwards made publick, particularly their murdering Strathmoir, after he had asked quarters, and the treatment they gave to Panmuir and several others, who, I hope, will be living witnesses against them. The enclosed is so full that I have little to say, only that we have not lost a hundred men in the action, and none of note, except Strathmoir, and the Captain of Clan Ronald."

The cruel spirit of party destroyed the generous characteristics of the soldier, during the excitement of the combat: but how can we palliate the conduct of one of the King's generals, Lord Isla, after the fierceness of the encounter was over? The letter referred to discloses particulars which were hushed up, or merely glanced at, in the partial annals of the time.

"So soon as they saw us coming down upon them, they marched off in great haste towards Dumblain, and left several of our people they had taken, among which was Lord Panmuir, who offered to give his parole, not knowing what had passed upon the eighth; but he was told by the person he sent to Lord Isla, that he could not take a parole from a rebel, and they were in such haste that they lost him in a little house, with several others near the field, where we found them when we advanced and brought him along with us to Ardoch, two miles furder, where we stayed all night and next day, until that we heard the enemy were marched off to Stirling. He is now pretty well and in no danger. Earl Loudoun passed him as he lay in the field, without taking any notice of him, and he was wounded there by the dragoons after he had surrendered to them; but I hope there will be one other day of reckoning for these things. My Lord Mar sent off two or three people to take care of Lord Forfar when he heard he was wounded, and one of them waited of him to Stirling. He expressed a good dale of consern that he should have been ingadged against his countrymen, and sent a breslet off his arm to Lord Mar, so that we all wish he may live. A good pairt of our baggage and the provisions we had, were distroyed by our own people who went of from our left. We are now getting provisions and every thing ready as soon as possible; and I am hopefull we will be in a condition in a very few days to pass forth without oposition.

"We have got accounts this day of a victorie obtained by our friends in the south, the particulars of which we long for. I have sent you some copies of the printed account of the action to give our friends.

"So adieu."

Notwithstanding the humane attentions shewn by the Earl to Lord Forfar, that brave and generous nobleman died of his wounds. After lingering more than three weeks, he expired at Stirling on the eighth of December. He was wounded in sixteen different places, but a shot which he received in his knee seems to have been the most fatal injury. The conduct of the Earl appears in strong contrast with that of the Earl of Isla; but we must remember that each party had its own chroniclers. It is, nevertheless, a result of observation, more easily stated than explained, that through the whole of the two contests, both in 1715 and 1745, the generous and somewhat chivalric bearing of the Jacobites was acknowledged; whilst a spirit of cruel persecution marked the conduct of some of the chief officers on the opposite side. The Duke of Argyle indeed, in his own person, presented an exception to this remark, which chiefly applies to those secondary to him in command and influence.

The conduct of Lord Mar, in retreating to Perth after the affair of Sherriff Muir, has been severely censured. But, as Sir Walter Scott has observed, he met with that obloquy which generally follows the leader of an unsuccessful enterprise. According to Lord Mar's own account (and it has been corroborated by others), his retiring to Perth was unavoidable. The Highlanders, brave as they were, had a custom of returning home after a battle; and many of them went off when the engagement was ended. The Earl of Mar was not, therefore, in a condition to pursue the advantage which he had gained, but was forced to await at Perth the arrival of the Chevalier, or of the Duke of Berwick; on the notification of which, the Highlanders would have rallied to his standard. No supplies had been sent; the gentlemen of the army, as well as the men, had been long absent from their homes, and were living at their own expense; and therefore were impatient for leave of absence. To add to the general discouraging aspect of affairs, the fatal result of the English insurrection, under the command of Mr. Forster, was communicated at this time.

At first the result of the battle of Preston was represented to the Jacobites at Perth in a very different light to that in which the defeat of the English Jacobites afterwards appeared. The following is an extract of a letter from Lord Mar, dated the twentieth of November. "This day we hear from good hands that they (the English Jacobites) have had a victory, for which we have had rejoicings, and I hope in God they are in a good way by this time. Let me hear from you often, I beg it of you, and I'll long for the particulars of that affair.

"I am doing all I can to get us again in a condition to march from home. It will not be so soon as I wish, which is no small mortification to me, but our friends; you may depend on it, that it shall be as soon as I can, and no time shall be lost. It is wonderfull that neither the King nor the Duke of Ormond comes, nor that I have not accounts from them. Now that there is so considerable a party appearing in England, I hope they will put it off no longer. I hope all your friends in England are well in particular, but pray let me have an account of it.

"Lord Tullibardin and Lord George are well; they are gone again to Atholl to bring back their men, who went off that they might retrieve their honour, as I doubt not but they will. It is a great pity if poor Strathmore and Clanronald, and I'm afraid honest Auchterhouse, is killed, for we can get no account of him.

"I wish our prisoners may be as civilly treated as theirs are with us. They are all sent to Dundee (the officers I mean), where they have the liberty of the town, and wear their swords. My compliments to our sick friend, who I am sorry is still so; but he has had a good second and secretary.

"Pray let us have some good news now, and I am with all truth and esteem,

Yours, &c."

"Perth, November 20, 1715."

"Lord Panmure recovers pritty well. The enimie give out that he gave his parole when he was prisoner, but it was not so, he off'red it them but they wou'd not take it from a rebel as they call'd him, and neither did Strewan; so they were both resqued."

* * * * *

These letters place Lord Mar in a somewhat more estimable light than the usual statements have done. The truth is, that we ought never to judge of a man's actions before we have had an insight into his real motives and circumstances at the time. Few individuals had greater difficulties to contend with than Lord Mar.

Harassed by cabals among the adherents of the Chevalier; unable to account for the continued reserve and absence of that Prince; and weakened greatly both by the secession of the clan of Fraser, who had joined the Insurgents with Mackenzie of Fraserdale, but who now went away, and joined him whom they considered as their real chieftain, the infamous Simon Fraser, of Beaufort, Lord Lovat; the Earl began to listen to those who talked of capitulating with the enemy. He found, indeed, that he was forced to comply with the wishes of the chieftains, some of whom were making private treaties for themselves. It must have been a bitter humiliation to Lord Mar to have sent a message to his former rival in politics, the Duke of Argyle, "to know if he had power to treat with him;" but the measure appears from the following letter to have been unavoidable. It was written after the news of the defeat at Preston had reached Perth. It bespeaks some degree of compassion and consideration for a man whose councils were distracted by dissensions, and who was embarrassed beyond measure by the absence of the Chevalier, to whose arrival he looked anxiously to give some hopes of revival to a sinking cause. The Master of Sinclair, to whom Lord Mar refers as a "devil," and who, since the disaster at Preston was known, "appeared in his own colours," was the eldest son of Henry, eighth Baron Sinclair, a devoted adherent of the House of Stuart, and one of those who had withdrawn from the Convention of 1689 when the resolution to expel James the Second was adopted. John, Master of Sinclair, was afterwards attainted, and never assumed the title of his father, although pardoned in 1726.

"November 27th, 1715.


"I had yours of the twenty-second, the twenty-fifth, and also spoke with the person you mention in it; I suppose he wou'd see you, as he returned. The disaster of our friends in England is very unlucky, both to affairs there and here. Since we knew of it here a devil, who I suspected for some time to be lurking amongst us, has appeared openly in his own colours. I forsaw this a-comeing some days ago. I have endeavoured to keep people from breaking amongst themselves, and was forced to go into the first step of it; but I hope we shall be able to have the manadgement of it, and prevent its doing any hurt, but to confounde in time comeing the designs of those who were the promoters of it. It was by the advise of all your friends what I have done, so let not our folks be alarmed when they hear of it from I——g. It is odd where the K——[115] can be all this time, since, by all appearance and all the accounts we have, he has left France long ago; but that must quickly appear, and I hope to get things staved off til it does. But without his comeing what can be done? Tho' I hope that will not be the case. It is odd that others write of Col. H——y and Doctor Abor—y, both at Parise, and that they do not write themselves, tho' I'm told to-day that there's a letter from them to me at Edinburgh, which I long for. We are told of troops comeing from Englande, both English and Dutch. I doubt if they'll ventur to quitt with both, and I would fain hope that none of them will come soon. God grant that the K—— be safe. If he go to England, as we are told he designed, I doubt not but he knows of support there. I confess there's a great deal lost by his long delay, but that certainly was not in his power to help, else it wou'd not have been so. If he still come here, I hope we will yet be able to make a stand for him this winter, but I thought I was obledged to let him know the true situation before he land, which I have done to the best of my pow'r, and lodged letters for him in the places where I thought it most likely he wou'd come, so that he may not be dissapointed by expecting to find things better than they are. He has been so long by the way that it wou'd seme he is not comeing to England, but that he is comeing round about Ireland to Scotland; and neither he nor D—— O——d[116] be in England. It wou'd seem that they will not stir there, which would make it a very hard task here; but I hope Providence will protect him, and yet settle him on his throne.

"I find it will be sometime before I can stirr from hence, and if the enemy get not reinforcments, I judge they will not stirr either; but as soon as they get them they certainly will, and I'm afraid we shall be oblidged to take the hills, which is a could quarter now. I wish you knew a great many particulars I have to tell you, but it is not safe writing them; there are some people with us who it had been good for the King they had stay'd at home, where they want not a little to be, and will leave us at last, but we must make the best of them, tho' there be but ill stuff to make it of as the saying is. Never had man so plaguie a life as I have had o' late; but I'll do the best I can to go threw it, and not be unworthy of the trust reposed in me. My service to Mr. Hall, and I hope he'll make my compliments to his correspondent at P——se,[117] who he mentions in his to me; but its odd that I have heard from none there myself ever sine B——n came, especially since other letters come through. I must own I have not had many encouragements, but that should be nothing if I had encouragements for others. Should it please God that the King's affairs should not succeed, but that people capitulated, I do not purpose to be a Scots or Englishman if they would let me, and all that I wou'd ask for myself is liberty to go abroad, for in that case I wou'd rather live in Siberia than Britain. If the King does not come soon, I find people will not hold out long; but if he does, there are honest men enough to stand by him and not see him perish. Pray let me hear from you as often as you can, and when you write to Mrs. Miller[118] make my compliments to her. I wish some of our men here had her spirit. I hope you are now perfectly recover'd, but pray take care that you fall not ill again. Adieu.

"Pray cause give the enclosed to my brother as soon as it comes to your handes. I beg you may apprise our friends at London and Parise of what has been done hear to-day; the sending to Argle at Stirling a message about articles of treaty, as appears from other papers, which I tel you I was forced to go into;—that they may not be surprised at it and think we have given all over, which might have very bad consequences in both places. Do this by the first post. All will come right again if the King come soon to Britain."

The answer returned by the Duke of Argyle to Lord Mar's overture was this: that "he had no sufficient powers to treat with the Earl of Mar and his Council as a body, but that he would write to Court about it."

To this reply, which was sent with much courtesy by the Duke, a rejoinder was made, "That when the Duke should let the Earl of Mar and his Council know that he had sufficient power, then they would make their proposition." The proposal was sent up to St. James's, but no further notice was taken of it, nor were the powers of the Duke of Argyle extended to enable him to come to any terms with Lord Mar. But although the negotiation thus died away, the weakness it betrayed among the Jacobite party was highly prejudicial to their cause.

James, during all the recent events, had been engaged in making several attempts to leave St. Maloes. He had gone openly on board ships which were laden with arms and ammunition for his use, but had withdrawn when he found that his embarkation was known. He therefore changed his plans, and crossing to Normandy, resolved to embark at Dunkirk. Having lurked for several days, disguised as a mariner, on the coast of Brittany, he went privately to Dunkirk, where he embarked, attended by the Marquis of Tynemouth, the eldest son of the Duke of Berwick, Lieutenant Cameron, and several other persons, on board a French ship, which, according to some accounts, "was laden with brandy, and furnished with a good pass-port." Thus at length having ventured on the ocean, the Prince set sail towards Norway; but changed his direction, and steered towards Peterhead, in Aberdeenshire. During all this time, the Earl of Mar suffered from the utmost anxiety and perplexity for one who was unworthy of the exertions made for his restoration. This is evident from the following letter, dated November the thirtieth, to Captain Straiton:

"The accounts of that person's[119] way of going on, and the danger he is in, confound me; but I hope Providence has not preserved him all this while to destroy him at last. I am doing all I can to make it safe; and perhaps what we thought our misfortune, (the men going home after Sheriff Muir,) may prove our happiness, they being where that person is to come, and I send troops there immediately."

"I knew before I got yours that the Dutch troops were coming here.[120] Those by sea may come soon, but those by land cannot be here a long time. They will now power in all the troups from England on us; but I hope we may hold it this winter in spite of them, tho' we shall have hard quarters in the Highlands. In case of what Mr. H——ll writes me prove true, and happen, for fear of accidents after it does, were it not fitt that you should write to France to send some ships to cruise up and down the north-west coast to save the person Mr. H——ll writes of, if things should not prove right? and our friends in France can either send them from thence or Spain, round Ireland? I hear of but two little ships of warr on that coast; and the ships I would have sent may pass as marchant ships tradeing and putting in by accident therabouts, which they often do. Pray think of this, and write of it soon to France, as I intend to do to-night by an express I am sending; and were it not fitt you should write of it too to some trusty friend at London? But it must be done with the utmost caution, for fear of disheartning the English. Tho' the safty of that person is of such consequence that all ways is to be taken for it, and all accidents guarded against.

"I wrote to you the twenty-seventh, and in it I gave you account of an affair which happened amongst us, which obliged us to send a message to the Duke of Argyll. I hope this came safe to your hand. His answer was very civil, and our return was in the words following, viz: 'We are obliged to the Duke of Argyll for his civility; that, since he has no powers to treat with us, we can say no more now; but if at any time he shall have them, and let us know it, we shall give our answer.'

"I hope this affair has been so manadgd that all the spirit of division amongst us is crusht; and pray take care to informe our friends at London and Parise about it, that it may not alarme them. I am affraid of its alarmeing the Regent, and keeping him from doing anything for the King; for which reason I send an express to Lord Bolingbroke to-night. I suppose it will be ten or twelve dayes at least before the Duke of Argyll will have a return, and we may know much before that time. If they agree to a treaty, it is still in our own power; and if not, I hope people will stand together for their own sake.

"You speak in your two last as if you were opresst about our divisions. All I shall trouble you further in relation to this,—there are odd people amongst us, and those of whom it should not have been expected; they had instild their spirit so farr into many, that there was no steming the tide but by going into it, or else breaking amongst ourselves, and, like them, make a seperat peace; but now those wise folk are ashamed of themselves, and are disclaimed by those who they said comissioned them. I do all I can to make others forgett this behaveour of those people, and I hope we shall be as unite as ever. If the King come, I am sure we shall; and if God is not pleased to bless us with his presence, whatever we do shall be in consert.

"I beg to hear often from you, and particularly what you can learn of the motion of the enimie and their designs.

"I send a reinforcement to-night to Bruntisland of a hundred men, and there was fifty in it before.

"Lord Seaforth went north some time ago, and severall of Lord Huntly's people; so I hope they togither will be able to keep Lord Sutherland from doing much mischife, and e'er long to reduce him and all the King's enimies there. We are not yet in so much apprehention of them as Mr. H——ll seems to be. I am mightily pleased you are so much recovered, which I know by your hand-writeing; but I can scarce conceave how you get yourself keept free of our enimies,—may you do long so, and

"I am sincearly yours, &c. Adieu."

On the first of December, the Earl having still heard no tidings of the Chevalier, and being ignorant of his real movements, again writes in all the uncertainty, and with the circumspection of one who knows not whether his letter will be received. He seems always to have sent duplicates of his letters.

"I am in the utmost pain about the K——,[121] and I have done all in my power to make him safe, but I hope Providence will protect him. I sent one for France this morning, and I hope he may sail in a day or two, but let that not keep you from writeing there too. I would fain hope that the Regent has altered his measurs, and is comeing into the K——'s intrest, else I do not see how it had been possible for him to get thro' France: if so, I have good hopes, and I wish he may come to us; but if not, and that England do nothing, I wish he were safe again where he formerly was, for we shall never be able alone to do his bussiness, and he will be in the utmost danger after starveing a winter in the Highlands. Lord Huntley is still very much out of humour and nothing can make him yet believe that the K——'s a-comeing. He intends to go north, under the pretext of reduceing Lord Sutherland, and his leaving us at this time I think might have very bad effects, which makes me do all I can to keep him. The Master of Sinclair is a very bad instrument about him, and has been most to blaim of any body for all the differences amongst us. I am plagued out of my life with them, but must do the best I can. I expect now to hear every day of the K——'s landing; but should he be any time of comeing, and the Duke of Argyll get his powers and send us word of it before he come, our old work will begin again, and I am sure I shall be deserted by a great many. Some people seem so farr from being pleased with the news of the K——'s comeing, that they are visiblie sorry for it; and I wish to God these people had never been with us for they will be our undoing! and what a plague brought them out, since they could not hold it out for so short a time? I shall be blamed, I know, over all Europe for what I am entirely innocent of. It will be my own ruin beside, but if that could advance the K——'s affairs I am contented. In time I shall be justified when my parte in all this affair comes to be knowen, and I bless God I have witnesses enough who have seen all; and if accidents do not happen them, my papers will show it to conviction, for I have been pretty exact in keeping copies and a journall.

"Since I have wrote so fully to you, I do not write to Mr. H——ll, for which I hope he'll forgive me.[122]

"I am anxious to know if my brother got my note that was inclosed to you in that of the twenty-seventh, which was to caution him in a thing that I was affraid his over great concern for me might make him do, and which would vex me extreamly if he did.

"I long to hear from you again, as I suppose you will from me; and as soon as I know of what you'll expect to hear of from me, you shall. Adieu."

In a few days afterwards Lord Mar had gained more precise intelligence of the Prince's movements; on the delay at St. Maloes he puts the favourable construction of the vessel's having been wind-bound, as will be seen by the following letter. The dissensions in his counsels, aided, as he hints, by the influence which the Master of Sinclair exercised over the Marquis of Huntley, were, still, not among the least of his difficulties.

"December 6th, 1715.


"Last night one of the messengers I had sent to France returned, and there came with him to Montrose, Mr. Charles Fleeming and General Eclin; but they are not yet come here, nor some money that came along with them. I have a letter from the King, the fifteenth of November, N. S. from St. Malos; severall from Lord Bolingbroke, the last of which was the twenty-seventh, and he belived the King then to be saild, and he had been wind bound there three weeks; but he did not sail, as I understand from the messenger til the eighteenth inst., he having seen a letter from Col. Hay at St. Maloes, to Mr. Arbuthnot, two dayes after he sailed. God send him safe to us, for which I have done all in my power! It is in the hands of Providence, and I hope God will protect him. It is not to be known where he is to land, and indeed it cannot be known certainly. Even this has not quite cured all the whims amongst us. Lord grant a safe landing, and I hope that will. The Duke of Ormond is gone to England, and I believe he has some troops with him and arms and ammunition.

"I hear from Fife to-day that there landed at Leith on Sunday last four hundred of the Dutch troops. I hope that's all that are comeing by sea. I have the King's Declaration, which is to be reprinted here, and shall be dispers'd in a few days. The less that it be spoke that the King is to land soon, I believe the better, until he actually does, for that but make the Government more alert. Were he but once landed, I have reason to belive that there will be a new face of affairs seen abroad as well as at home in the King's favour, which is all I dare yet adventure to trust of it to paper; but I hope in God were the King once with us all will be well.

"There are more officers comeing to us from abroad different wayes, so it's likely they may be dropping in every day. The Duke of Berwick stays behind for a very good reason, and is to follow. The King has been pleased to confer new honours on me, but I do not think it fitt to take it on me til he comes, and if it pleases not God he come to us safe, I am indifferent what becomes of all I ever had, and this may go with the rest. It is goodness in him, and more than I askt or deserve. I will long to hear from you; and tho' I desire you not to let the news I write you be much talkt of, yet I suppose it will be no secret, for I am obliged to communicate what I get to so many that it cannot possible be keept, and yet I cannot help this. Tho' Lord Huntley said little to me to-day upon my shewing him my letters, yet I know it from good hands he is not a bitt in better humour and that he will now positively go north; which I suppose he'll write of to me to-morrow, for 'tis seldom now he'll either see me or let me see him, tho' I take all the ways I can to please and humour him, but all will not do: however, I hope will not have many followers. Master of Sinclair is gone this day to see his father upon a sharp letter he had from him yesterday about his behaviour. Some others are ashamed of the part they acted, but if the King come not soon all of them will relapse again. The clans stand firm, and I hope will to the last.

"Pray try to get notice of what private letters from London say upon our proposeing terms, and let me know as soon as you can. Adieu."

It is curious to trace the revival of the Earl's hopes, and the increase of his confidence. The following letter contains, among other circumstances, a reference to the supposed attempt of the Earl of Stair, in France, to assassinate James.

"December 10th, 1715.


"Yesterday I had yours of the fourth and fifth, for which I thank you. I wrote to you on the eighth, which I hope you got safe, and in it I told you of one of the messengers I had sent to France being returned, and with him General Eclin and Mr. Charles Fleming, and some money: since that Doctor Abercromby is returned and Lord Edward Drummond is come with him and brought some more money. They come off the same day with the others, and landed the same day at Aberdeen the others did at Montrose. They only brought duplicates of the dispatches I had by the others, and a letter to me from the Q—— with a pacquet from her to the K——, by which you may be sure he is sail'd, and we hourly expect to hear of his landing. Since those people came, those amongst us who had been uneasy, are now comeing to be in good humour again, particularly Lord Huntley; and I have agreed to his going north with some of his horse to get all his people there together to suppress those about Inverness, and also to have them in readiness against the K. comes. Pray God send him safe and soon, and then I do not despair of things going right still. Our whole prisoners almost, I mean the private men, are like to take on since they heard of the K——g's being certainly a-comeing; and since they saw the two enclosed papers, they say that were he once come, there will be news of their armie and all those prisoners. Even those who do not lift with us, pray openly for the K——, and that God may keep him out of the hands of his enimies.

"The two enclosed are sent about to a great many places: it is better to delay dispersing the K——'s declaration til he arrive, since I hope that is near.

"I admear we hear no certain accounts of the Duke of Ormond, for the fifteenth inst. the K—— and Q—— too write to me that he was saild a second time for England.

"Pray God it may be well with him, and if he do not, then I wish he may come here with all my heart.

"We have heard nothing as yet of the Duke of Argyle's return from London, and I imagine we shall hear nothing from him upon it, when he does get it and I hope he shall never be askt for it more by us. The Duke of Atholl will himself send his men against Crafourd.

"I believe I forgot to tell you in my last that Colonel Hay mist very narrowly being murdered in France, takeing him for the K—— (being in one of his cheases), by Lord Stair's gang, and in their pockets Lord Stair's orders were found to go to such a place, and there obey what orders they should receive from Count Douglass[123] (Lightly), let them be never so desperate. This is something so horrid that I want words to express it. I tell it you just as those from France tell me. The fellow was imprisoned by the government there and reclaimed by Lord Stair. Lord Clairmont was actually reclaimed by the Regent before they come away; so his being brought to England after, may work something. I have just now a packet of news sent me by A. M., for which I thank you. Notwithstanding this great new General's being come, I see not how they can do anything at Stirling till the Dutch join them, and that cannot be yet for some time; pray Heavens the K—— come before them! I know by other accounts as well as yours, from abroad, that they are not above four thousand complete and some of these are lost. Our Highlanders have got in their heads a mighty contempt for them, which may do good. This goes by the Hole,[124] from when your packet yesterday was sent me. I have nothing further to add now, but I hope soon to send you agreable news. Pray give my service to I. H. and desire him to make my compliments to his landlady and tel her, I hope she is now right with her son, which I am exceeding glad of. Adieu."

At length, on the twenty-second of December, James landed at Peterhead, after a voyage of seven days. His arrival dispelled many doubts of his personal courage, since, after all his deliberations, he adopted by no means the least hazardous course by traversing the British ocean, which was beset by British men-of-war. He had sailed from Dunkirk in the small vessel in which he had embarked, and which was followed by two other vessels, containing his domestics, and stores for the use of his army. His immediate attendants were disguised as French officers, and his retinue as seamen. It had been the Chevalier's original intention to have landed in the Frith of Tay; but observing a sail which he suspected to be unfriendly, he altered his course, and landed at Peterhead, where the property of the Earl Marischal was situated. The ship in which the Chevalier sailed was, however, near enough to the shore to be able, by signals, to make signs to his friends of his approach. At Perth the intelligence was received with the utmost joy, and produced a most favourable effect, even among the prisoners of war, which Lord Mar describes in the following letter. Up to the twenty-eighth of the month he had not seen the Prince:

"The 28th December.

"Yours of the twenty-second I have got just now by the Hole, and I sent one that way to you yesterday from our friend here, in which you have the joyfull news of the King's safe arival, which I hope in God will effectually sement what you recomend to us. Our friend went yesterday morning to meett his master, who I hope will be here with us again Friday; I pray God turn the hearts of his enemies, both for the sake of him and their poor country! It will be a monstruous crime never to be forgiven, if they now draw their swords against him, since he has been pleased to give them a most gratious indemnity for all that is past, without exception. All will now soon be dispersed in the North that opose him. Sutherland's men are deserting him, and the Frasers are all gone home. I make no doubt but that we are masters of Inverness, and so consequently the whole North before this time. I make no doubt but that the King's presence will forward everything: it has already had great effects here: and those that were for separate measurs have reason to be ashamed, and I hope they will make amends by their future behaveor. We have sent over some of the declarations, and ane other paket of them is gone this night. Now is the time for every body to bestir themselves, and that all resort here to their master. I ame persuaded you'l not be idle. Those that made a pretext of the King's not being landed, are now left unexcusable; and if those kind of folks now sit still and look any more on, they ought to be worse treated than our worst enemies. I beg of you to send us what accounts you can learn on your side, and what they are now to do upon this news. I hope in God we shall now be soon ready to give them a meeting! It will be of consequence for us to hear often from your side, and we have little other accounts than from you. I have sent yours by ane express this day to our friend, and I hope to hear from you soon in return to the last that went on Munday. The K—— lay on Saturday night at the Earl of Marischall's house; he had a very good and safe passage, and has given them fair slip, for I supose they did never rekon on his comeing the near way. I hear there is a great resort to him, since he landed, of all ranks.

"The Duke of Athol[125] sent a pairty of two hundered of his men yesterday morning, under the comand of his brother Lord Edward, and his son Lord James, to Dunkeld to have surprised our garison there, which consisted of about one hundred men of the clans; but it seems the garison had notice of it some hours before they came, and gave them such a warm reception, that they retired in great haste with the loss of two men killed by our out-sentinels and five or sixe wounded. I belive his Grace's men had no good will to the work, and were brought their against their inclinations. They had nott then gott the account there of the King's arival, els I belive they had not atempted it. I wish our garison were now at Brunt Island, but I hope that loss soon be made up. I hope you'll omitte no occasion in letting us hear from you. Adieu.

"The above is writte to H. S.,[126] but it will serve you both to forward it to him. I got the money and the cloas safe. I expect to hear from you soon. I have yours of the twenty-third. I have sent over a paket to be dispersed, and some ane other way. Your letters are longer be the way than they need so order it. Fall on some proper way to gett the enclosed delivered by some person, but be not seen in it yourself. If ane answer can be got, send it."

The Chevalier slept in the town of Peterhead on the first night of his landing, but on the second he was received at Newburgh, a seat of the Earl Marischal; and the adherents who welcomed him as their Prince, had there an opportunity of forming a judgment of one whom they had hitherto known only by the flattering representations of those who had visited the young adventurer, at his little Court in Lorraine.

In person, James is reported by the Master of Sinclair to have been "tall and thin, seeming to incline to be lean rather than to fill as he grows in years." His countenance, to judge by the most authentic portraits[127] of this Prince, had none of the meditative character of that of Charles the First, whom the Chevalier was popularly said to resemble: neither had it the sweetness which is expressed by every feature of that unhappy Monarch, nor had his countenance the pensiveness which wins upon the beholder who gazes upon the portraits of Charles. The eyes of the Chevalier were light-hazel, his face was pale and long, and in the fullness of the lips he resembled his mother, Mary of Modena. To this physiognomy, on which it is said a smile was rarely seen to play, were added, according to the account of a contemporary, from whose narrative we will borrow a further description, "a speech grave, and not very clearly expressive of his thoughts, nor over much to the purpose; his words were few, and his behaviour and temper seemed always composed.

"What he was in his diversions we know not; here was no room for such things. It was no time for mirth. Neither can I say I ever saw him smile. Those who speak so positively of his being like King James the Seventh, must excuse me for saying that it seems to say they either never saw this person or never saw King James the Seventh; and yet I must not conceal that when we saw the man whom they called our King, we found ourselves not at all animated by his presence; and if he was disappointed in us, we were tenfold more so in him. We saw nothing in him that looked like spirit. He never appeared with cheerfulness and vigour to animate us: our men began to despise him; some asked if he could speak. His countenance looked extremely heavy. He cared not to come abroad among us soldiers, or to see us handle our arms to do our exercise. Some said the circumstances he found us in dejected him. I am sure the figure he made dejected us; and had he sent us but five thousand men of good troops, and never himself come, we had done other things than we have done. At the approach of that crisis when he was to defend his pretensions, and either lose his life or gain a Crown, I think, as his affairs were situated, no man can say that his appearing grave and composed was a token of his want of thought, but rather of a significant anxiety grounded on the prospect of his inevitable ruin, which he could not be so void of sense as not to see plainly before him,—at least, when he came to see how inconsistent his measures were—how unsteady the resolution of his guides, and how impossible it was to make them agree with one another."[128]

* * * * *

It was at Glammis Castle, the seat of the Earl of Strathmore, that the Earl of Mar drew up a flattering account of the Prince, which he caused to be printed and diligently circulated.[129] The whole is here given, as affording an insight into all that was going on:—

"I have had three of yours since I left Perth, but I wonder I have no letters from London. I mett the King at Fetteresso on Tuesday se'night, where we stayed til Friday; from thence we came to Brichan, then to Kinnaird, and yesterday here. The King designed to have gone to Dundee to-day, but ther's such a fall of snow that he is forced to put it off til to-morrow, if it be practicable then; and from thence he designs to go to Scoon. There was no haste in his being there sooner, for nothing can be done in this season, else he had not been so long by the way. People every where as we have come along, are excessively fond to see him and express that duty they ought. Without any compliment to him, and to do him nothing but justice, set aside his being a prince, he is realie the finest gentelman I ever knew. He has a very good presence, and resembles King Charles a great dele. His presence, tho', is not the best of him; he has fine partes, and dispatches all his buissiness himself with the greatest exactness. I never saw any body write so finely. He is afable to a great degree w^{t}out looseing that majestie that he ought to have, and has the sweetest temper in the world. In a word, he is even fitted to make us a happie people, were his subjects worthie of him. To have him peaceablie settled on his thron is what these kingdomes do not deserve; but he deserves it so much, that I hope ther's a good fate attending him. I am sure ther's nothing wanting to make the rest of his subjects as fond of him as we are, but thus knowing as we now have the happiness to do. And it will be odd if his presence amongst us, after his running so many hazards to compass it, do not turn the hearts of even the most obstinat. It is not fit to tel all the particulars, but I assure you, since he arived, he has left nothing undone that well could be to gain every body, and I hope God will touch their hearts. His Majestie is very sensible of the service you have done him and he desires you may continue, for which he hopes he may yet be able to reward you. He wrote to France as soon's he landed, and sent it with the shipe he came in, which we hope got safe there long ago. It is not often that we can have opportunity of writeing or sending there, and the Queen and others will be mighty impatient to hear frequently; therefore his Majestie expects you should write there frequently, and give them all the accounts you can. I have reason to hope we shall very quickly see a new face on affairs abroad in the King's favour, which is all I dare comitt to paper. The Government will nott certainly send all the strength against us they can, but e'er long, perhaps, they may have ocasion for their troups else where.

"I belive one wou'd speak to you lately of a kind of comisary of the Dutch, that may be spoke to, which by no means ought to be neglected, and he being on your side the watter, it is left to you, and you must not stick at offering such a reward as he himself can desire, which I shall see made good: there should no time be lost in this, and I'll be glad to know soon if there be any hopes that way.

"Tho' the way of sending letters betwixt us be now much more difficult than ever, yet you must write as often as you possiblie can get any probable way of sending of them safe; and pray give us all the accounts you can. I have ordred some of the King's declarations for England to be sent you, and when they come to your hands you wou'd get some way of sending them to London and other places of England. Send the enclosed for my wife under a cover, as you used to do; by my not hearing from her, I am affraid my last has not come to her hands. When any comes from her for me, pray take care that you send them a safe way. We long to know what effects the news of the King's arivall had at London, Stirling, and Edinburgh. I suppose you still hear from Kate Bruce. I do not understand what she means by going to the country, which she mentions in her letter to you.

"I see in one of the prints that Lawrance is come off from London, so by this time he must certainly be in Scotland; pray let me know what you hear of him. If he be come, I suppose he'll understand himself so well as our prisoner, that he will immediately give himself up to us again.

"The King wears paper caps under his wige, which I know you also do; they cannot be had at Perth, so I wish you could send some on, for his own are near out.

"We are in want of paper for printing; is there no way to send us some from your side?

"Pray, send my wife one of the Scots and one of the English declarations at the same time my letter goes, but under another cover. Adieu.

"Since writeing I have yours of the thirty-first and first, for which I thank you, and am just going to read them to my master."

Little dependance can be placed on the entire accuracy of either of these varying descriptions,—the one penned by a disappointed, and perhaps wavering, adherent, the other by a man whose personal interests were irrevocably involved with those of James. We must trust to other sources to enable us to form a due estimate of the merits of this ill-starred Prince.

James Stuart was at this time in his twenty-seventh year. From his very cradle he had been, as it might seem to the superstitious, marked by fate for a destiny peculiarly severe. His real birth was long disputed, without the shadow of a reason, except what was suggested by a base court intrigue. This slur upon his legitimacy, which was afterwards virtually wiped away by the British Parliament, was nevertheless the greatest obstacle to his accession, there being nothing so difficult to obliterate as a popular impression of that nature.

Educated within the narrow precincts of the exiled court, James owed the good that was within him to a disposition naturally humane, placable, and just, as well as to the communion with a mother, the fidelity of whose attachment to her exiled consort bespoke a finer quality of mind than that which Nature had bestowed on the object of her devotion. By this mother James must doubtless have been embued with a desire for recovering those dominions and that power for which Mary of Modena, like Henrietta Maria, sighed in vain, as the inheritance of her son; but the stimulus was applied to a disposition with which a private life was far more consonant than the cares of sovereignty. Rising as he does to respectability, when we contrast the good nature and mild good sense of the Chevalier with the bigotry of James the Second,—or view his career, blameless with some exceptions, in contrast with the licentiousness of Charles the Second, there were still no high hopes to be entertained of the young Prince; his character had little energy, and consequently little interest: he was affable, just, free from bigotry although firm in his faith, and capable of great application to business; but he wanted ardour. From his negative qualities, the pitying world were disposed to judge him favourably. "He began the world," says Lockhart, "with the general esteem of mankind; but he sank year by year in public estimation: his Court subsequently displayed the worst features of the Stuart propensities, an intense love of prerogative; and his mind, never strong, became weaker and weaker under the dominion of favourites."

The ship in which James had sailed returned to France immediately to give the news of his safe arrival, and at the same time Lieutenant Cameron, the son of Cameron of Lochiel, was dispatched to Perth to apprise the Earl of Mar of the event. Upon the spur of the moment the Earl, accompanied by the Earl Marischal and General Hamilton, and attended by twenty or thirty persons of quality, on horseback, set out with a guard of horse to attend him whom they considered as their rightful Sovereign. The cavalcade met the Chevalier at Fetteresso, the principal seat of the Earl Marischal. "Here," says Reay, "the Chevalier dressed, and discovered himself," and they all kissed his hand, and owned him as their King, causing him to be proclaimed at the gates of the house. At Fetteresso the Prince was detained during some days by that inconvenient malady the ague. Meantime, the declaration which he had prepared, and which was dated from Commercy, was disseminated, and was dropped in some loyal towns by his adherents in the night-time, there being danger in promulgating it openly.[130]

On the second of January, 1715-16, the Chevalier proceeded to Brechin, and thence to Kinnaird; and on Thursday to Glammis Castle, the seat of the Earl of Strathmore. On the sixth of January he made his public entry into Dundee on horseback, at an early hour. Three hundred followers attended him, and the Earl of Mar rode on his right hand, the Earl Marischal on his left. At the suggestion of his friends, the Prince shewed himself in the market-place of Dundee for nearly an hour and a half, the people kissing his hands. The following extract from a letter among the Mar Papers affords a more minute and graphic account of the Chevalier's demeanour than is to be found in the usual histories of the day.

"I hear the Pretender went this day from Glams to Dundee, and comes to Scoon to-morrow; and I am shourly informed that your old friend Willie Callender went to Glams on Wensday and kissed the Pretender's hand, of whom he makes great speeches, and says he is one of the finest gentlemen ever he saw in his life. Its weell that his landing is keept up from the army, for he has gained so much the good will of all ranks of people in this country that have seen him, that if it was made publick it's thought it might have ill effects among them. He is very affable and oblidging to all, and great crowds of the common people flok to him. When he toke horse this morning from Glams, there was about a thousand country people at the gate, who they say, gave him many blessings: he has tuched several of the ivil, as he did some this morning. He is of a very pleasant temper, and has intirely gained the hearts of all thro' the places he has passed. He aplyes himself very closs to business, and they say might very weell be a Secretarie of State. He has declared Lord Marischall one of his bedchamber. The toun of Aberdeen made him ane address, as did all the other touns as he passed; and I hear he is, at the request of the episcopal clergy in this country, to apoint a day of thanksgiving for his safe arival, and likeways a proclamation, to which will be referred his declaration, with something new, which shall be sent to you with first ocasion. There came a battalion of Bredalbins men to Perth on Tuesday, and ane other of Sir Donald M^{c}Donalds this day; and they are now daily getting in more men.

"This is all the intelligence I can give you, and I hope to hear from you again soon, and lett me know what certain number are now come over, and what more designed. Deliver the enclosed and tell him these papers could not be gott him just now, but shall per next. I ame affraid poor W. Maxewell wild be dead before you get this, of a fever and a flux: he is given over this two days. Write soon."

After the display at Dundee, the Chevalier rode to the house of Stewart of Grandutly, in the neighbourhood, where he dined and passed the day. On the following day he proceeded along the Carse of Gowrie to Castle Lyon, a seat of the Earl of Strathmore, where he dined, and went thence to Fingask, the seat of Sir David Threipland. On the eighth of January he took up his abode in the royal palace of Scoon, where he intended to remain until after his coronation.

For this event preparations were actually made by the Earl of Mar, whose sanguine spirit appears to have been somewhat revived by the presence of the Chevalier. The addition of a new dignity to his own ancestral honours had marked the favour and confidence of James. Before the arrival of the Chevalier in Scotland, the Earl of Mar had been informed that a patent of dukedom was made out for him; on which he thus expressed himself in a letter, written before the Chevalier's landing, full of gratitude and professions.[131]

"Your Majesty has done me more honour than I deserve. The new dignity you have been pleased to confer on me is what I was not looking for; and coming from your Majesty's hands is what gives it the value. The patent is not yet come, but tho' it had, I think I ought not to make use of it till your Majesty's arrival."

The Earl of Mar had now had an opportunity of throwing himself at the feet of the King, which, as he expressed, "is the thing in the world he had longed most for." But still, the difficulties in his path seemed to be rendered more insurmountable than ever by the arrival of James.

In the first place, the landing of the Chevalier evidently sealed the doom of those gallant and unfortunate noblemen who had been taken prisoners at Preston; and rendered all hopes of mercy futile. The sixteenth of January, which witnessed the forming of the Chevalier's council at Perth, was the day on which the unfortunate Derwentwater, Nithisdale, Kenmure, Wintoun, and Widdrington, petitioned for two days' delay to prepare for their trials. Their doom was hurried on in the general panic; and in the addresses from both Houses of Parliament to King George, it was declared by the members of those assemblies "that the landing of the Pretender in this kingdom had greatly encreased their indignation against him and his adherents."

It is impossible that the Earl of Mar could have heard, without deep commiseration, and perhaps remorse, of the peril in which those ill-fated adherents of James were placed, although he may not have anticipated the full severity of the law. In one of his subsequent letters he remarks: "By the news I see the Parliament is to have no mercie on our Preston folks: but I hope God will send them salvation in time." One of his greatest sources of anxiety had been respecting the movements of the Duke of Ormond, upon whose making a diversion in favour of James, in England, Mar had counted. The news that Ormond, after having been seen on the coast of England, had returned, disheartened, was brought by the Chevalier, who heard of it at St. Maloes. The only chance of success, the last hope, were centered in this resource. The failure of this expectation was fatal, as Lord Mar conceived, to the cause, and on it he grounded his own subsequent withdrawal from England.

The entrance of the Chevalier into Perth, on the ninth of January, was attended with far less enthusiasm than the previous portion of his progress. His reception was comparatively cold. On asking to see their "little kings" (the chieftains) with their armies, the Highlanders, diminished in numbers by the secession of the Marquis of Huntley and the absence of Lord Seaforth and others, were marched before him. James could not help admiring their bearing; but the small amount of troops in the camp filled him with a dejection which he could not conceal. When, a few days afterwards, the unfortunate Prince addressed his council for the first time, he said, with mournful truth, these words. "For me it will be no new thing if I am unfortunate: my whole life, even from my cradle, has been a constant series of misfortunes." This sentiment of ill-presage was re-echoed in the address of the Episcopal clergymen.

"Your Majesty has been trained up," said these divines, at Fetteresso, "in the School of the Cross, in which the Divine grace inspires the mind with true wisdom and virtue, and guards it against those false blandishments by which prosperity corrupts the heart." And as this school has sent forth the most illustrious princes,—Moses, Joseph, and David, it was hoped that a similar benefit would accrue to the character of the Prince whom the Episcopal Clergy thus welcomed to their country.

Meantime the project of crowning the Chevalier at Scone amused the minds of the people, and continued to be the subject of diligent preparation by the Earl of Mar. Unhappily a ship laden with money and other aids, had been lost on its passage from France, close to the Tay, for want of a pilot.[132] The difficulties which were augmented by this misfortune, are alluded to in the following extract from one of Lord Mar's letters.

"January 15th, 1715-16.


"I wrote to you yesterday by one that used to come here from Mr. Hall, which I hope will come safe to your hands. At night I had yours of the fourteenth, and this night that of the tenth. The caps do pritty well, and I have orders to thank you for them. I send you one of his own; if you can get such paper t'is well, and if not, the other is what he likes best of any that you sent; so let some of either one or other come when you have an occasion.

"I am sorry Mr. Brewer[133] is ill, for his presence here wou'd be of great use; and as soon as he is able I wish he wou'd come, which I am ordered to tel you, and also that you may endeavour to get a copie of the coronation of King Charles the First and Second, which certainly are to be had in Edinburgh. Willie Wilson had them, and perhaps some of his friends may have got copies of them from him, which may be had.

"I spoke to one some time ago about makeing a crown in pices at Edinburgh and bringing it over here to be put togither, who, I believe, talkt to you of it. That man was here some days ago, but went away before I knew it is wisht that such a thing could yet be done, which is left to your care.

"In case there be occasion for it here, as I wish there may, bulion gold is what I'm afraid will be wanting, but it will not take much. Had not the misfortune I wrote to you of hapn'd to Sir J. Erskine[134] there had been no want of that. We have got no farther account of that affair, tho' we have people about it; but if they do not succeed this night or to-morrow when the spring tide is, it is lost for ever. There is more by the way tho', and I hope will have better fate. I have ordered more papers to be sent you, and certainly you have more of them before now. It is mighty well taken what that lady (the letters from London say) has ordered, as to those you sent her, which you are desired to let her have; and I do not doubt she will do the same as to those concerning E——d. Adieu."

By the next letter it appears that the good opinion entertained by Lord Mar of the Chevalier was real; since the whole of the epistle has the tone of being a natural effusion of feeling, and is a simple statement of what actually took place, and not the letter of a diplomatist.


"I have seen a letter from Mr. S——g, who had spoke with you on the subject I formerly wrote to you of, concerning that fo—f—y of the D——h to a gentleman with us, Mr. S——q's friend, and upon it our master has thought fit to write the enclosed to him, and orders me to tell you that you must cause give him an hundred guineas at the delivery of the letter. The letter is left open for your perusal, and I wish it may have effect, as perhaps it may. There's no time to be lost in it, and I'll long to know what passes in it, and what hopes you have of him. I sent you credit for five hundred pounds, which I hope you got safe; but if by any accident it should not come to your hands, Mr. S——q there, is a certain goldsmith that will advance what there is occasion for this way. I send you enclosed a letter, which may be of use in an affair I wrote of in my last.

"We have got severall deserters since the K. came and last night nine came in with their clothes and arms, and says many more will follow soon, which I wish we may see. They say, too, that the two regiments of dragoons are marcht from Glasgow for England, and that two are to go from Stirling to replace them. Were they designing to march against Scoon, sure they would not do this, nor is it possible they can do anything in this weather; but if they, notwithstanding, attempt it, perhaps they may find frost in it.

"As I am writing I have received yours of the thirteenth. I read it to the K——g, and delivered him the enclosed letter from Mr. Holmes, which was very well taken, as you will see by the enclosed return, which you'll take care to forward safely; and pray do me the favour to make my compliments there.

"Perhaps you'll hear things of the two northern powers[135] that will look odd to your other friends, as no wonder; but all will come right again—the time they had taken being out in a few days. There's one sent some days ago to assist them, so I hope things will be soon right there, tho' they have done much to spoil them, and each of them makes an excuse of one another as they have done from the begining. The K——, you will see by all the enclosed, is not spareing of his pains. You must fall on the right way of having them all delivered.

"That to Seaforth he writes upon the great professions he made when in France; he is such a fellow that I'm afraid it will do little good.

"I have nothing else material to say just now, but I cannot give over without telling a thing which I'm sure will please you—that the longer one knows the King the better he's liked, and the more good qualities are found in him; that of good-nature is very eminent, and so much good sense that he might be a first minister to any king in Europe, had he not been born a king himself. He has allowed Neil Campbell to go to Edinburgh t'other day on his parole, he being ill, and it was with so much good nature that was evident in his doing of it, that it charmed me. I wish you could get notice how Neil represents it or expresses himself when he gets there; for I wrote it at length to the gentleman who wrote to me about him. Adieu.

"If people from S——q be designing to come to us, they should either do it soon or give us assurances of doing it soon as we are in view of each other; and these assurances must be such that we can depend on, for our conduct must in a great measure be regulated by what we expect that way.

"It were highly necessary that methods and measures were concerted for the right way of doing this, which you should let such of them as you know are so trusted know, and it is absolutely necessary that they either send one to me about this, or let me know it certainly some other way, that we may not be drawing different ways when we are designing the same thing.

"We have no return of the last message which was sent to the good man of the house you wrote of, and t'is above eight days ago. I believe he designs right, tho' t'is odd."

The enthusiasm which was at first displayed towards the Chevalier was soon cooled, not only by his grave and discouraging aspect, but by his fearless and impolitic display of his religious faith. He never allowed any Protestant even to say grace for him, but employed his own confessor "to repeat the Pater nosters and Ave Marias:" and he also shewed an invincible objection to the usual coronation oath,—a circumstance which deferred the ceremony of coronation,—Bishop Mosse declaring that he would not consent to crown him unless that oath were taken. This sincerity of disposition—for it cannot be called by a more severe name—especially diminished the affections of the Chevalier's female episcopal friends, who had excited their male relations to bear arms in his favour. But the circumstance which weighed the most heavily against James, was the order which he published, on hearing that the Duke of Argyle was making preparations to march against him, for burning the towns and villages, and destroying the corn and forage, between Dumblane and Perth. This act of destruction, from the effects of which the desolate village of Auchterarder has never recovered, was determined on, in order that the enemy might be incommoded as much as possible upon their march; it added to the miseries of a people already impoverished by the taxes and contributions which the Jacobites had levied. It appears, however, from a letter of James's, since discovered, or perhaps, only suppressed at the time, to have been an act which he bitterly regretted, and the order for which he signed most unwillingly. He was desirous of making every reparation in his power for the ravages which were committed in his name.[136]

On the ninth of January a council of war was held by the Duke of Argyle at Stirling, where, by a singular coincidence, the council sat in the same room in which James the Second, then Duke of York, had, in 1680, been entertained by the Earl of Argyle, to whom he had proposed the repeal of the sanguinary laws against Papists. The refusal of Argyle to concur in that measure, the consequences of his conduct, and his subsequent death, are circumstances which, doubtless, arose to the remembrance of his descendant, as he discussed, in that apartment, the march towards Perth.

The country between Stirling and Perth was covered with a deep snow; the weather was one continual storm; it was therefore impossible for the army of Argyle to proceed until the roads were cleared,—a process which required some time to effect. It is asserted, nevertheless, by an historian, that upon Colonel Ghest being sent with two hundred dragoons to reconnoitre the road leading to Perth, that the greatest panic prevailed in that town: immediate preparations were made for defence, and nothing was to be seen except planting of guns, marking out breastworks and trenches, and digging up stones, and laying them with sand to prevent the effects of a bombardment.[137] The Earl of Mar, nevertheless, does not appear, if we may accredit his own words, to have even then despaired of a favourable issue. The following letter betrays no fear, but speaks of some minor inconvenience, which is far from being of a melancholy description. The difficulty of procuring the right sort of ribbon for the decoration of the Garter, is altogether a new feature among the adversities of royal personages. It seems strange that James should not have provided himself, before quitting France, with all that was necessary to preserve the external semblance of majesty.

"January 20th, 1715-16.


"I wrote to you the eighteenth, and sent severall others enclosed, which I hope will come safe to you. The inclosed, markt D. F., is from the King to Davie Floid at London, which he desires you may take care to gett conveid to him safly and soon, it being of consequence. The other is for my wife, which I beg you may forward as usewall.

"We are told that ther's some foot come to Dumblain, and that ther's more expected there. And they still talk as if they designed to march their whole armie against us nixt week. Perhaps they intend it, but with this weather I see not how 'tis in their power. If they do tho', upon their expecting we are to abandon Perth upon their aproach, as I'm told they believe, they will find themselves mistaken, for all here are resolved to stand it to the last, and perhaps we will not wait their comeing the lenth, but meet them by the way. We might have left it indeed, some time ago; but that time is past, and the King's being with us alters the case in every respect. After all, I cannot get myself to belive that they will actually come to us in haste, and if they do they may mistake their reckning. Sure I am, it were impossible for us to march to them in this snow, and our folks are as good at that as they. The snow puts me in mind of the children of Israel's pillar of smoke and pillar of fire; and to say truth, ther's something in the weather very odd and singular; I never saw such.

"My cloathes are almost all worn out, haveing left some at the battle: I know not if you could get me any made and sent from Edinburgh; but if you could, I should be glad of it. Ther's one Bird was my tayler and I belive has my measur, or some old cloathes of mine, that he could make them by. Perhaps he's a whig tho', and will not do it. I would have them deep blew, laced with gold, but not on the seams. I have but one starr and no riban, but 'tis no great matter for that, a better man than I is in the same case; he has only one scrub, one which he got made since he came, and no right riban. I believe ther's neither of that kind of blew nor green riban to be got at Edinburgh; but if you could get some tolorablie like it, you send some of both. Wine is like to be a more sensible want. We got a little Burgundy for the King, but it is out; and tho' we know of a little more, I'm affraid we shall scarce get it brought here; and he does not like clarit, but what you'l think odd, he likes ale tolorably well. I hope they will send us some from France, but with this wind nothing can come from thence. George Hamilton saild on Saturday last, and I belive is there long e'er now, which I heartily wish he may, and I hope you shall soon see the effects of his going with what he caried with him.

"I am affraid Macintosh's men in England may be in hard circumstances for want of money. The King has ordred some for them, which is this daye given to a friend of theirs who was sent to me from the North, who sayes he knows how to get it remitted to them.

"By the news I see the Parliament is to have no mercie on our Preston folks, but I hope God will send them salvation in time.

"I wish you would send us the newspapers oftner for we get them but seldome; the soonest way of sending them is by A. W. at Kirkaldy, who will find some way of sending them to us, notwithstanding of their garisons in Fife.

"I'm affraid what I wrote to you of formerly to be in danger will never be recovered, for it could not at this time, tho' it was try'd; and I fear shall not the next either, tho' we are to do all we can about it, and it was too much to go that way.

"We have heard nothing further as yet from the goodman of the house, as you call him, which I am surprized at. I can say no more now, so Adieu."

If we may believe the public prints of the day, dissensions now arose between the Chevalier and the Earl of Mar: the former blaming his general for having urged him to come over, when he had so small a force to appear in his favour; the latter, recriminating that the failure of aid from the Continent had discouraged the Chevalier's friends. The Earl of Mar was severely blamed, to quote from the same source, for having deceived the Chevalier in making him believe that the forces in Scotland were more considerable than they really were, and for giving his Scottish friends reason to suppose that the Chevalier would bring over foreign auxiliaries. That the former part of these allegations against Mar was untrue, is shewn by the letter which has been given, explaining to the Prince the state of affairs; and rather discouraging him from his attempt.[138] That the whole report was groundless, was manifested by the favour and confidence which James long continued to extend to the Earl after his exile abroad.

For some time, the Earl of Mar and his party contrived to keep up their hopes. The season was indeed in some respects their friend, since it necessarily impeded the movements of Argyle's army against them. The winter of 1715-16 was one of the most severe that had been felt for many years, not only in Scotland, but abroad. In France and Spain the cold was so excessive, and the snow so deep, that the country people could not go to the market towns to buy provisions, whilst the plains were infested with bears and wolves, emboldened by the desolation, and ranging over the country in great numbers.[139]

Whilst the intense frost lasted, the three thousand Highlanders who were encamped at Perth were able to defy the English army, although now supplied with artillery and ammunition from Berwick. Their security was furthermore increased by a heavy fall of snow succeeding a partial thaw, and followed by a frost, which rendered the roads more impracticable than ever, especially for the foot-soldiers. This circumstance had even occasioned some deliberation whether it would not be advisable for the Duke of Argyle to defer his march to Perth until the winter should be ended. Until the middle of January, it was the full intention of the Highlanders, and also that of the Earl of Mar, to stand the event of a battle, let the enemy's force be what it might. That they purposed thus to maintain their ancient character for valour, was, even as those most adverse to them allow, the prevalent report. It is borne out by the Earl of Mar's correspondence. On the twenty-third of January he thus writes to Captain Straiton:

"The 23rd January.

"I have yours of the seventeenth and the twentieth both togather last night, and a paket from H. in the last. I wrote to you on Saturday the old way, and sent you a paket enclosed, which I belive is of consequence, so I hope it's come safe, and that H. has gott it. He has had two or three sent him from this of late, different ways, and one goes of this day by the near way he sometimes uses. We hear from all hands of the preparations against us, but we resolve to stand it, cost what it will, and if they come out we will certainly give them battle, lett their number be never so great. It must now be plain to all that will allow themselves to see, that nothing less is designed by the present managers than the intire ruin and destruction of this poor country, and of every honest man in it; and if this will not be an awakened people, I know nothing that will. Since this then is plainly the case, there can be no choise in dying honourably in the field for so just a cause, or leving to see the ruin and intire destruction of our country, our King, and our friends and relations. For my part, I shall prefer the first with all cheerfulness, and never desire to live to be a witness to the latter, which certainly will be the case if it please God our King should be defeat."

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse