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The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 3 (of 5)
by Thomas Babington Macaulay
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the year 1745, and was then for a moment succeeded by intense fear and rage. England, thoroughly alarmed, put forth her whole strength. The Highlands were subjugated rapidly, completely, and for ever. During a short time the English nation, still heated by the recent conflict, breathed nothing but vengeance. The slaughter on the field of battle and on the scaffold was not sufficient to slake the public thirst for blood. The sight of the tartan inflamed the populace of London with hatred, which showed itself by unmanly outrages to defenceless captives. A political and social revolution took place through the whole Celtic region. The power of the chiefs was destroyed: the people were disarmed: the use of the old national garb was interdicted: the old predatory habits were effectually broken; and scarcely had this change been accomplished when a strange reflux of public feeling began. Pity succeeded to aversion. The nation execrated the cruelties which had been committed on the Highlanders, and forgot that for those cruelties it was itself answerable. Those very Londoners, who, while the memory of the march to Derby was still fresh, had thronged to hoot and pelt the rebel prisoners, now fastened on the prince who had put down the rebellion the nickname of Butcher. Those barbarous institutions and usages, which, while they were in full force, no Saxon had thought worthy of serious examination, or had mentioned except with contempt, had no sooner ceased to exist than they became objects of curiosity, of interest, even of admiration. Scarcely had the chiefs been turned into mere landlords, when it became the fashion to draw invidious comparisons between the rapacity of the landlord and the indulgence of the chief. Men seemed to have forgotten that the ancient Gaelic polity had been found to be incompatible with the authority of law, had obstructed the progress of civilisation, had more than once brought on the empire the curse of civil war. As they had formerly seen only the odious side of that polity, they could now see only the pleasing side. The old tie, they said, had been parental: the new tie was purely commercial. What could be more lamentable than that the head of a tribe should eject, for a paltry arrear of rent, tenants who were his own flesh and blood, tenants whose forefathers had often with their bodies covered his forefathers on the field of battle? As long as there were Gaelic marauders, they had been regarded by the Saxon population as hateful vermin who ought to be exterminated without mercy. As soon as the extermination had been accomplished, as soon as cattle were as safe in the Perthshire passes as in Smithfield market, the freebooter was exalted into a hero of romance. As long as the Gaelic dress was worn, the Saxons had pronounced it hideous, ridiculous, nay, grossly indecent. Soon after it had been prohibited, they discovered that it was the most graceful drapery in Europe. The Gaelic monuments, the Gaelic usages, the Gaelic superstitions, the Gaelic verses, disdainfully neglected during many ages, began to attract the attention of the learned from the moment at which the peculiarities of the Gaelic race began to disappear. So strong was this impulse that, where the Highlands were concerned, men of sense gave ready credence to stories without evidence, and men of taste gave rapturous applause to compositions without merit. Epic poems, which any skilful and dispassionate critic would at a glance have perceived to be almost entirely modern, and which, if they had been published as modern, would have instantly found their proper place in company with Blackmore's Alfred and Wilkie's Epigoniad, were pronounced to be fifteen hundred years old, and were gravely classed with the Iliad. Writers of a very different order from the impostor who fabricated these forgeries saw how striking an effect might be produced by skilful pictures of the old Highland life. Whatever was repulsive was softened down: whatever was graceful and noble was brought prominently forward. Some of these works were executed with such admirable art that, like the historical plays of Shakspeare, they superseded history. The visions of the poet were realities to his readers. The places which he described became holy ground, and were visited by thousands of pilgrims. Soon the vulgar imagination was so completely occupied by plaids, targets, and claymores, that, by most Englishmen, Scotchman and Highlander were regarded as synonymous words. Few people seemed to be aware that, at no remote period, a Macdonald or a Macgregor in his tartan was to a citizen of Edinburgh or Glasgow what an Indian hunter in his war paint is to an inhabitant of Philadelphia or Boston. Artists and actors represented Bruce and Douglas in striped petticoats. They might as well have represented Washington brandishing a tomahawk, and girt with a string of scalps. At length this fashion reached a point beyond which it was not easy to proceed. The last British King who held a court in Holyrood thought that he could not give a more striking proof of his respect for the usages which had prevailed in Scotland before the Union, than by disguising himself in what, before the Union, was considered by nine Scotchmen out of ten as the dress of a thief.

Thus it has chanced that the old Gaelic institutions and manners have never been exhibited in the simple light of truth. Up to the middle of the last century, they were seen through one false medium: they have since been seen through another. Once they loomed dimly through an obscuring and distorting haze of prejudice; and no sooner had that fog dispersed than they appeared bright with all the richest tints of poetry. The time when a perfectly fair picture could have been painted has now passed away. The original has long disappeared: no authentic effigy exists; and all that is possible is to produce an imperfect likeness by the help of two portraits, of which one is a coarse caricature and the other a masterpiece of flattery.

Among the erroneous notions which have been commonly received concerning the history and character of the Highlanders is one which it is especially necessary to correct. During the century which commenced with the campaign of Montrose, and terminated with the campaign of the young Pretender, every great military exploit which was achieved on British ground in the cause of the House of Stuart was achieved by the valour of Gaelic tribes. The English have therefore very naturally ascribed to those tribes the feelings of English cavaliers, profound reverence for the royal office, and enthusiastic attachment to the royal family. A close inquiry however will show that the strength of these feelings among the Celtic clans has been greatly exaggerated.

In studying the history of our civil contentions, we must never forget that the same names, badges, and warcries had very different meanings in different parts of the British isles. We have already seen how little there was in common between the Jacobitism of Ireland and the Jacobitism of England. The Jacobitism of the Scotch Highlander was, at least in the seventeenth century, a third variety, quite distinct from the other two. The Gaelic population was far indeed from holding the doctrines of passive obedience and nonresistance. In fact disobedience and resistance made up the ordinary life of that population. Some of those very clans which it has been the fashion to describe as so enthusiastically loyal that they were prepared to stand by James to the death, even when he was in the wrong, had never, while he was on the throne, paid the smallest respect to his authority, even when he was clearly in the right. Their practice, their calling, had been to disobey and to defy him. Some of them had actually been proscribed by sound of horn for the crime of withstanding his lawful commands, and would have torn to pieces without scruple any of his officers who had dared to venture beyond the passes for the purpose of executing his warrant. The English Whigs were accused by their opponents of holding doctrines dangerously lax touching the obedience due to the chief magistrate. Yet no respectable English Whig ever defended rebellion, except as a rare and extreme remedy for rare and extreme evils. But among those Celtic chiefs whose loyalty has been the theme of so much warm eulogy were some whose whole existence from boyhood upwards had been one long rebellion. Such men, it is evident, were not likely to see the Revolution in the light in which it appeared to an Oxonian nonjuror. On the other hand they were not, like the aboriginal Irish, urged to take arms by impatience of Saxon domination. To such domination the Scottish Celt had never been subjected. He occupied his own wild and sterile region, and followed his own national usages. In his dealings with the Saxons, he was rather the oppressor than the oppressed. He exacted black mail from them: he drove away their flocks and herds; and they seldom dared to pursue him to his native wilderness. They had never portioned out among themselves his dreary region of moor and shingle. He had never seen the tower of his hereditary chieftains occupied by an usurper who could not speak Gaelic, and who looked on all who spoke it as brutes and slaves; nor had his national and religious feelings ever been outraged by the power and splendour of a church which he regarded as at once foreign and heretical.

The real explanation of the readiness with which a large part of the population of the Highlands, twice in the seventeenth century, drew the sword for the Stuarts is to be found in the internal quarrels which divided the commonwealth of clans. For there was a commonwealth of clans, the image, on a reduced scale, of the great commonwealth of European nations. In the smaller of these two commonwealths, as in the larger, there were wars, treaties, alliances, disputes about territory and precedence, a system of public law, a balance of power. There was one inexhaustible source of discontents and disputes. The feudal system had, some centuries before, been introduced into the hill country, but had neither destroyed the patriarchal system nor amalgamated completely with it. In general he who was lord in the Norman polity was also chief in the Celtic polity; and, when this was the case, there was no conflict. But, when the two characters were separated, all the willing and loyal obedience was reserved for the chief. The lord had only what he could get and hold by force. If he was able, by the help of his own tribe, to keep in subjection tenants who were not of his own tribe, there was a tyranny of clan over clan, the most galling, perhaps, of all forms of tyranny. At different times different races had risen to an authority which had produced general fear and envy. The Macdonalds had once possessed, in the Hebrides and throughout the mountain country of Argyleshire and Invernessshire, an ascendancy similar to that which the House of Austria had once possessed in Christendom. But the ascendancy of the Macdonalds had, like the ascendancy of the House of Austria, passed away; and the Campbells, the children of Diarmid, had become in the Highlands what the Bourbons had become in Europe. The parallel might be carried far. Imputations similar to those which it was the fashion to throw on the French government were thrown on the Campbells. A peculiar dexterity, a peculiar plausibility of address, a peculiar contempt for all the obligations of good faith, were ascribed, with or without reason, to the dreaded race. "Fair and false like a Campbell" became a proverb. It was said that Mac Callum More after Mac Callum More had, with unwearied, unscrupulous, and unrelenting ambition, annexed mountain after mountain and island after island to the original domains of his House. Some tribes had been expelled from their territory, some compelled to pay tribute, some incorporated with the conquerors. At length the number of fighting men who bore the name of Campbell was sufficient to meet in the field of battle the combined forces of all the other western clans, [324] It was during those civil troubles which commenced in 1638 that the power of this aspiring family reached the zenith. The Marquess of Argyle was the head of a party as well as the head of a tribe. Possessed of two different kinds of authority, he used each of them in such a way as to extend and fortify the other. The knowledge that he could bring into the field the claymores of five thousand half heathen mountaineers added to his influence among the austere Presbyterians who filled the Privy Council and the General Assembly at Edinburgh. His influence at Edinburgh added to the terror which he inspired among the mountains. Of all the Highland princes whose history is well known to us he was the greatest and most dreaded. It was while his neighbours were watching the increase of his power with hatred which fear could scarcely keep down that Montrose called them to arms. The call was promptly obeyed. A powerful coalition of clans waged war, nominally for King Charles, but really against Mac Callum More. It is not easy for any person who has studied the history of that contest to doubt that, if Argyle had supported the cause of monarchy, his neighbours would have declared against it. Grave writers tell of the victory gained at Inverlochy by the royalists over the rebels. But the peasants who dwell near the spot speak more accurately. They talk of the great battle won there by the Macdonalds over the Campbells.

The feelings which had produced the coalition against the Marquess of Argyle retained their force long after his death. His son, Earl Archibald, though a man of many eminent virtues, inherited, with the ascendancy of his ancestors, the unpopularity which such ascendancy could scarcely fail to produce. In 1675, several warlike tribes formed a confederacy against him, but were compelled to submit to the superior force which was at his command. There was therefore great joy from sea to sea when, in 1681, he was arraigned on a futile charge, condemned to death, driven into exile, and deprived of his dignities. There was great alarm when, in 1685, he returned from banishment, and sent forth the fiery cross to summon his kinsmen to his standard; and there was again great joy when his enterprise had failed, when his army had melted away, when his head had been fixed on the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and when those chiefs who had regarded him as an oppressor had obtained from the Crown, on easy terms, remissions of old debts and grants of new titles. While England and Scotland generally were execrating the tyranny of James, he was honoured as a deliverer in Appin and Lochaber, in Glenroy and Glenmore, [325] The hatred excited by the power and ambition of the House of Argyle was not satisfied even when the head of that House had perished, when his children were fugitives, when strangers garrisoned the Castle of Inverary, and when the whole shore of Loch Fyne was laid waste by fire and sword. It was said that the terrible precedent which had been set in the case of the Macgregors ought to be followed, and that it ought to be made a crime to bear the odious name of Campbell.

On a sudden all was changed. The Revolution came. The heir of Argyle returned in triumph. He was, as his predecessors had been, the head, not only of a tribe, but of a party. The sentence which had deprived him of his estate and of his honours was treated by the majority of the Convention as a nullity. The doors of the Parliament House were thrown open to him: he was selected from the whole body of Scottish nobles to administer the oath of office to the new Sovereigns; and he was authorised to raise an army on his domains for the service of the Crown. He would now, doubtless, be as powerful as the most powerful of his ancestors. Backed by the strength of the Government, he would demand all the long and heavy arrears of rent and tribute which were due to him from his neighbours, and would exact revenge for all the injuries and insults which his family had suffered. There was terror and agitation in the castles of twenty petty kings. The uneasiness was great among the Stewarts of Appin, whose territory was close pressed by the sea on one side, and by the race of Diarmid on the other. The Macnaghtens were still more alarmed. Once they had been the masters of those beautiful valleys through which the Ara and the Shira flow into Loch Fyne. But the Campbells had prevailed. The Macnaghtens had been reduced to subjection, and had, generation after generation, looked up with awe and detestation to the neighbouring Castle of Inverary. They had recently been promised a complete emancipation. A grant, by virtue of which their chief would have held his estate immediately from the Crown, had been prepared, and was about to pass the seals, when the Revolution suddenly extinguished a hope which amounted almost to certainty, [326]

The Macleans remembered that, only fourteen years before, their lands had been invaded and the seat of their chief taken and garrisoned by the Campbells, [327] Even before William and Mary had been proclaimed at Edinburgh, a Maclean, deputed doubtless by the head of his tribe, had crossed the sea to Dublin, and had assured James that, if two or three battalions from Ireland were landed in Argyleshire, they would be immediately joined by four thousand four hundred claymores, [328]

A similar spirit animated the Camerons. Their ruler, Sir Ewan Cameron, of Lochiel, surnamed the Black, was in personal qualities unrivalled among the Celtic princes. He was a gracious master, a trusty ally, a terrible enemy. His countenance and bearing were singularly noble. Some persons who had been at Versailles, and among them the shrewd and observant Simon Lord Lovat, said that there was, in person and manner, a most striking resemblance between Lewis the Fourteenth and Lochiel; and whoever compares the portraits of the two will perceive that there really was some likeness. In stature the difference was great. Lewis, in spite of highheeled shoes and a towering wig, hardly reached the middle size. Lochiel was tall and strongly built. In agility and skill at his weapons he had few equals among the inhabitants of the hills. He had repeatedly been victorious in single combat. He was a hunter of great fame. He made vigorous war on the wolves which, down to his time, preyed on the red deer of the Grampians; and by his hand perished the last of the ferocious breed which is known to have wandered at large in our island. Nor was Lochiel less distinguished by intellectual than by bodily vigour. He might indeed have seemed ignorant to educated and travelled Englishmen, who had studied the classics under Busby at Westminster and under Aldrich at Oxford, who had learned something about the sciences among Fellows of the Royal Society, and something about the fine arts in the galleries of Florence and Rome. But though Lochiel had very little knowledge of books, he was eminently wise in council, eloquent in debate, ready in devising expedients, and skilful in managing the minds of men. His understanding preserved him from those follies into which pride and anger frequently hurried his brother chieftains. Many, therefore, who regarded his brother chieftains as mere barbarians, mentioned him with respect. Even at the Dutch Embassy in St. James's Square he was spoken of as a man of such capacity and courage that it would not be easy to find his equal. As a patron of literature he ranks with the magnificent Dorset. If Dorset out of his own purse allowed Dryden a pension equal to the profits of the Laureateship, Lochiel is said to have bestowed on a celebrated bard, who had been plundered by marauders, and who implored alms in a pathetic Gaelic ode, three cows and the almost incredible sum of fifteen pounds sterling. In truth, the character of this great chief was depicted two thousand five hundred years before his birth, and depicted,—such is the power of genius,—in colours which will be fresh as many years after his death. He was the Ulysses of the Highlands, [329]

He held a large territory peopled by a race which reverenced no lord, no king but himself. For that territory, however, he owed homage to the House of Argyle. He was bound to assist his feudal superiors in war, and was deeply in debt to them for rent. This vassalage he had doubtless been early taught to consider as degrading and unjust. In his minority he had been the ward in chivalry of the politic Marquess, and had been educated at the Castle of Inverary. But at eighteen the boy broke loose from the authority of his guardian, and fought bravely both for Charles the First and for Charles the Second. He was therefore considered by the English as a Cavalier, was well received at Whitehall after the Restoration, and was knighted by the hand of James. The compliment, however, which was paid to him, on one of his appearances at the English Court, would not have seemed very flattering to a Saxon. "Take care of your pockets, my lords," cried his Majesty; "here comes the king of the thieves." The loyalty of Lochiel is almost proverbial: but it was very unlike what was called loyalty in England. In the Records of the Scottish Parliament he was, in the days of Charles the Second, described as a lawless and rebellious man, who held lands masterfully and in high contempt of the royal authority, [330] On one occasion the Sheriff of Invernessshire was directed by King James to hold a court in Lochaber. Lochiel, jealous of this interference with his own patriarchal despotism, came to the tribunal at the head of four hundred armed Camerons. He affected great reverence for the royal commission, but he dropped three or four words which were perfectly understood by the pages and armourbearers, who watched every turn of his eye. "Is none of my lads so clever as to send this judge packing? I have seen them get up a quarrel when there was less need of one." In a moment a brawl began in the crowd, none could say how or where. Hundreds of dirks were out: cries of "Help" and "Murder" were raised on all sides: many wounds were inflicted: two men were killed: the sitting broke up in tumult; and the terrified Sheriff was forced to put himself under the protection of the chief, who, with a plausible bow of respect and concern, escorted him safe home. It is amusing to think that the man who performed this feat is constantly extolled as the most faithful and dutiful of subjects by writers who blame Somers and Burnet as contemners of the legitimate authority of Sovereigns. Lochiel would undoubtedly have laughed the doctrine of nonresistance to scorn. But scarcely any chief in Invernessshire had gained more than he by the downfall of the House of Argyle, or had more reason than he to dread the restoration of that House. Scarcely any chief in Invernessshire, therefore, was more alarmed and disgusted by the proceedings of the Convention.

But of all those Highlanders who looked on the recent turn of fortune with painful apprehension the fiercest and the most powerful were the Macdonalds. More than one of the magnates who bore that widespread name laid claim to the honour of being the rightful successor of those Lords of the Isles, who, as late as the fifteenth century, disputed the preeminence of the Kings of Scotland. This genealogical controversy, which has lasted down to our own time, caused much bickering among the competitors. But they all agreed in regretting the past splendour of their dynasty, and in detesting the upstart race of Campbell. The old feud had never slumbered. It was still constantly repeated, in verse and prose, that the finest part of the domain belonging to the ancient heads of the Gaelic nation, Islay, where they had lived with the pomp of royalty, Iona, where they had been interred with the pomp of religion, the paps of Jura, the rich peninsula of Kintyre, had been transferred from the legitimate possessors to the insatiable Mac Callum More. Since the downfall of the House of Argyle, the Macdonalds, if they had not regained their ancient superiority, might at least boast that they had now no superior. Relieved from the fear of their mighty enemy in the West, they had turned their arms against weaker enemies in the East, against the clan of Mackintosh and against the town of Inverness.

The clan of Mackintosh, a branch of an ancient and renowned tribe which took its name and badge from the wild cat of the forests, had a dispute with the Macdonalds, which originated, if tradition may be believed, in those dark times when the Danish pirates wasted the coasts of Scotland. Inverness was a Saxon colony among the Celts, a hive of traders and artisans in the midst of a population of loungers and plunderers, a solitary outpost of civilisation in a region of barbarians. Though the buildings covered but a small part of the space over which they now extend; though the arrival of a brig in the port was a rare event; though the Exchange was the middle of a miry street, in which stood a market cross much resembling a broken milestone; though the sittings of the municipal council were held in a filthy den with a roughcast wall; though the best houses were such as would now be called hovels; though the best roofs were of thatch; though the best ceilings were of bare rafters; though the best windows were, in bad weather, closed with shutters for want of glass; though the humbler dwellings were mere heaps of turf, in which barrels with the bottoms knocked out served the purpose of chimneys; yet to the mountaineer of the Grampians this city was as Babylon or as Tyre. Nowhere else had he seen four or five hundred houses, two churches, twelve maltkilns, crowded close together. Nowhere else had he been dazzled by the splendour of rows of booths, where knives, horn spoons, tin kettles, and gaudy ribands were exposed to sale. Nowhere else had he been on board of one of those huge ships which brought sugar and wine over the sea from countries far beyond the limits of his geography, [331] It is not strange that the haughty and warlike Macdonalds, despising peaceful industry, yet envying the fruits of that industry, should have fastened a succession of quarrels on the people of Inverness. In the reign of Charles the Second, it had been apprehended that the town would be stormed and plundered by those rude neighbours. The terms of peace which they offered showed how little they regarded the authority of the prince and of the law. Their demand was that a heavy tribute should be paid to them, that the municipal magistrates should bind themselves by an oath to deliver tip to the vengeance of the clan every burgher who should shed the blood of a Macdonald, and that every burgher who should anywhere meet a person wearing the Macdonald tartan should ground arms in token of submission. Never did Lewis the Fourteenth, not even when he was encamped between Utrecht and Amsterdam, treat the States General with such despotic insolence, [332] By the intervention of the Privy Council of Scotland a compromise was effected: but the old animosity was undiminished.

Common enmities and common apprehensions produced a good understanding between the town and the clan of Mackintosh. The foe most hated and dreaded by both was Colin Macdonald of Keppoch, an excellent specimen of the genuine Highland Jacobite. Keppoch's whole life had been passed in insulting and resisting the authority of the Crown. He had been repeatedly charged on his allegiance to desist from his lawless practices, but had treated every admonition with contempt. The government, however, was not willing to resort to extremities against him; and he long continued to rule undisturbed the stormy peaks of Coryarrick, and the gigantic terraces which still mark the limits of what was once the Lake of Glenroy. He was famed for his knowledge of all the ravines and caverns of that dreary region; and such was the skill with which he could track a herd of cattle to the most secret hidingplace that he was known by the nickname of Coll of the Cows, [333] At length his outrageous violations of all law compelled the Privy Council to take decided steps. He was proclaimed a rebel: letters of fire and sword were issued against him under the seal of James; and, a few weeks before the Revolution, a body of royal troops, supported by the whole strength of the Mackintoshes, marched into Keppoch's territories. He gave battle to the invaders, and was victorious. The King's forces were put to flight; the King's captain was slain; and this by a hero whose loyalty to the King many writers have very complacently contrasted with the factious turbulence of the Whigs, [334]

If Keppoch had ever stood in any awe of the government, he was completely relieved from that feeling by the general anarchy which followed the Revolution. He wasted the lands of the Mackintoshes, advanced to Inverness, and threatened the town with destruction. The danger was extreme. The houses were surrounded only by a wall which time and weather had so loosened that it shook in every storm. Yet the inhabitants showed a bold front; and their courage was stimulated by their preachers. Sunday the twenty-eighth of April was a day of alarm and confusion. The savages went round and round the small colony of Saxons like a troop of famished wolves round a sheepfold. Keppoch threatened and blustered. He would come in with all his men. He would sack the place. The burghers meanwhile mustered in arms round the market cross to listen to the oratory of their ministers. The day closed without an assault; the Monday and the Tuesday passed away in intense anxiety; and then an unexpected mediator made his appearance.

Dundee, after his flight from Edinburgh, had retired to his country seat in that valley through which the Glamis descends to the ancient castle of Macbeth. Here he remained quiet during some time. He protested that he had no intention of opposing the new government. He declared himself ready to return to Edinburgh, if only he could be assured that he should be protected against lawless violence; and he offered to give his word of honour, or, if that were not sufficient, to give bail, that he would keep the peace. Some of his old soldiers had accompanied him, and formed a garrison sufficient to protect his house against the Presbyterians of the neighbourhood. Here he might possibly have remained unharmed and harmless, had not an event for which he was not answerable made his enemies implacable, and made him desperate, [335]

An emissary of James had crossed from Ireland to Scotland with letters addressed to Dundee and Balcarras. Suspicion was excited. The messenger was arrested, interrogated, and searched; and the letters were found. Some of them proved to be from Melfort, and were worthy of him. Every line indicated those qualities which had made him the abhorrence of his country and the favourite of his master. He announced with delight the near approach of the day of vengeance and rapine, of the day when the estates of the seditious would be divided among the loyal, and when many who had been great and prosperous would be exiles and beggars. The King, Melfort said, was determined to be severe. Experience had at length convinced his Majesty that mercy would be weakness. Even the Jacobites were disgusted by learning that a Restoration would be immediately followed by a confiscation and a proscription. Some of them did not hesitate to say that Melfort was a villain, that he hated Dundee and Balcarras, that he wished to ruin them, and that, for that end, he had written these odious despatches, and had employed a messenger who had very dexterously managed to be caught. It is however quite certain that Melfort, after the publication of these papers, continued to stand as high as ever in the favour of James. It can therefore hardly be doubted that, in those passages which shocked even the zealous supporters of hereditary right, the Secretary merely expressed with fidelity the feelings and intentions of his master, [336] Hamilton, by virtue of the powers which the Estates had, before their adjournment, confided to him, ordered Balcarras and Dundee to be arrested. Balcarras was taken and confined, first in his own house, and then in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. But to seize Dundee was not so easy an enterprise. As soon as he heard that warrants were out against him, he crossed the Dee with his followers, and remained a short time in the wild domains of the House of Gordon. There he held some communications with the Macdonalds and Camerons about a rising. But he seems at this time to have known little and cared little about the Highlanders. For their national character he probably felt the dislike of a Saxon, for their military character the contempt of a professional soldier. He soon returned to the Lowlands, and stayed there till he learned that a considerable body of troops had been sent to apprehend him, [337] He then betook himself to the hill country as his last refuge, pushed northward through Strathdon and Strathbogie, crossed the Spey, and, on the morning of the first of May, arrived with a small band of horsemen at the camp of Keppoch before Inverness.

The new situation in which Dundee was now placed, the new view of society which was presented to him, naturally suggested new projects to his inventive and enterprising spirit. The hundreds of athletic Celts whom he saw in their national order of battle were evidently not allies to be despised. If he could form a great coalition of clans, if he could muster under one banner ten or twelve thousand of those hardy warriors, if he could induce them to submit to the restraints of discipline, what a career might be before him!

A commission from King James, even when King James was securely seated on the throne, had never been regarded with much respect by Coll of the Cows. That chief, however, hated the Campbells with all the hatred of a Macdonald, and promptly gave in his adhesion to the cause of the House of Stuart. Dundee undertook to settle the dispute between Keppoch and Inverness. The town agreed to pay two thousand dollars, a sum which, small as it might be in the estimation of the goldsmiths of Lombard Street, probably exceeded any treasure that had ever been carried into the wilds of Coryarrick. Half the sum was raised, not without difficulty, by the inhabitants; and Dundee is said to have passed his word for the remainder, [338]

He next tried to reconcile the Macdonalds with the Mackintoshes, and flattered himself that the two warlike tribes, lately arrayed against each other, might be willing to fight side by side under his command. But he soon found that it was no light matter to take up a Highland feud. About the rights of the contending Kings neither clan knew any thing or cared any thing. The conduct of both is to be ascribed to local passions and interests. What Argyle was to Keppoch, Keppoch was to the Mackintoshes. The Mackintoshes therefore remained neutral; and their example was followed by the Macphersons, another branch of the race of the wild cat. This was not Dundee's only disappointment. The Mackenzies, the Frasers, the Grants, the Munros, the Mackays, the Macleods, dwelt at a great distance from the territory of Mac Callum More. They had no dispute with him; they owed no debt to him: and they had no reason to dread the increase of his power. They therefore did not sympathize with his alarmed and exasperated neighbours, and could not be induced to join the confederacy against him, [339] Those chiefs, on the other hand, who lived nearer to Inverary, and to whom the name of Campbell had long been terrible and hateful, greeted Dundee eagerly, and promised to meet him at the head of their followers on the eighteenth of May. During the fortnight which preceded that day, he traversed Badenoch and Athol, and exhorted the inhabitants of those districts to rise in arms. He dashed into the Lowlands with his horsemen, surprised Perth, and carried off some Whig gentlemen prisoners to the mountains. Meanwhile the fiery crosses had been wandering from hamlet to hamlet over all the heaths and mountains thirty miles round Ben Nevis; and when he reached the trysting place in Lochaber he found that the gathering had begun. The head quarters were fixed close to Lochiel's house, a large pile built entirely of fir wood, and considered in the Highlands as a superb palace. Lochiel, surrounded by more than six hundred broadswords, was there to receive his guests. Macnaghten of Macnaghten and Stewart of Appin were at the muster with their little clans. Macdonald of Keppoch led the warriors who had, a few months before, under his command, put to flight the musketeers of King James. Macdonald of Clanronald was of tender years: but he was brought to the camp by his uncle, who acted at Regent during the minority. The youth was attended by a picked body guard composed of his own cousins, all comely in appearance, and good men of their hands. Macdonald of Glengarry, conspicuous by his dark brow and his lofty stature, came from that great valley where a chain of lakes, then unknown to fame, and scarcely set down in maps, is now the daily highway of steam vessels passing and reprising between the Atlantic and the German Ocean. None of the rulers of the mountains had a higher sense of his personal dignity, or was more frequently engaged in disputes with other chiefs. He generally affected in his manners and in his housekeeping a rudeness beyond that of his rude neighbours, and professed to regard the very few luxuries which had then found their way from the civilised parts of the world into the Highlands as signs of the effeminacy and degeneracy of the Gaelic race. But on this occasion he chose to imitate the splendour of Saxon warriors, and rode on horseback before his four hundred plaided clansmen in a steel cuirass and a coat embroidered with gold lace. Another Macdonald, destined to a lamentable and horrible end, led a band of hardy freebooters from the dreary pass of Glencoe. Somewhat later came the great Hebridean potentates. Macdonald of Sleat, the most opulent and powerful of all the grandees who laid claim to the lofty title of Lord of the Isles, arrived at the head of seven hundred fighting men from Sky. A fleet of long boats brought five hundred Macleans from Mull under the command of their chief, Sir John of Duart. A far more formidable array had in old times followed his forefathers to battle. But the power, though not the spirit, of the clan had been broken by the arts and arms of the Campbells. Another band of Macleans arrived under a valiant leader, who took his title from Lochbuy, which is, being interpreted, the Yellow Lake, [340]

It does not appear that a single chief who had not some special cause to dread and detest the House of Argyle obeyed Dundee's summons. There is indeed strong reason to believe that the chiefs who came would have remained quietly at home if the government had understood the politics of the Highlands. Those politics were thoroughly understood by one able and experienced statesman, sprung from the great Highland family of Mackenzie, the Viscount Tarbet. He at this conjuncture pointed out to Melville by letter, and to Mackay in conversation, both the cause and the remedy of the distempers which seemed likely to bring on Scotland the calamities of civil war. There was, Tarbet said, no general disposition to insurrection among the Gael. Little was to be apprehended even from those popish clans which were under no apprehension of being subjected to the yoke of the Campbells. It was notorious that the ablest and most active of the discontented chiefs troubled themselves not at all about the questions which were in dispute between the Whigs and the Tories. Lochiel in particular, whose eminent personal qualities made him the most important man among the mountaineers, cared no more for James than for William. If the Camerons, the Macdonalds, and the Macleans could be convinced that, under the new government, their estates and their dignities would be safe, if Mac Callum More would make some concessions, if their Majesties would take on themselves the payment of some arrears of rent, Dundee might call the clans to arms; but he would call to little purpose. Five thousand pounds, Tarbet thought, would be sufficient to quiet all the Celtic magnates; and in truth, though that sum might seem ludicrously small to the politicians of Westminster, though it was not larger than the annual gains of the Groom of the Stole or of the Paymaster of the Forces, it might well be thought immense by a barbarous potentate who, while he ruled hundreds of square miles, and could bring hundreds of warriors into the field, had perhaps never had fifty guineas at once in his coffers, [341]

Though Tarbet was considered by the Scottish ministers of the new Sovereigns as a very doubtful friend, his advice was not altogether neglected. It was resolved that overtures such as he recommended should be made to the malecontents. Much depended on the choice of an agent; and unfortunately the choice showed how little the prejudices of the wild tribes of the hills were understood at Edinburgh. A Campbell was selected for the office of gaining over to the cause of King William men whose only quarrel to King William was that he countenanced the Campbells. Offers made through such a channel were naturally regarded as at once snares and insults. After this it was to no purpose that Tarbet wrote to Lochiel and Mackay to Glengarry. Lochiel returned no answer to Tarbet; and Glengarry returned to Mackay a coldly civil answer, in which the general was advised to imitate the example of Monk, [342]

Mackay, meanwhile, wasted some weeks in marching, in countermarching, and in indecisive skirmishing. He afterwards honestly admitted that the knowledge which he had acquired, during thirty years of military service on the Continent, was, in the new situation in which he was placed, useless to him. It was difficult in such a country to track the enemy. It was impossible to drive him to bay. Food for an invading army was not to be found in the wilderness of heath and shingle; nor could supplies for many days be transported far over quaking bogs and up precipitous ascents. The general found that he had tired his men and their horses almost to death, and yet had effected nothing. Highland auxiliaries might have been of the greatest use to him: but he had few such auxiliaries. The chief of the Grants, indeed, who had been persecuted by the late government, and had been accused of conspiring with the unfortunate Earl of Argyle, was zealous on the side of the Revolution. Two hundred Mackays, animated probably by family feeling, came from the northern extremity of our island, where at midsummer there is no night, to fight under a commander of their own name: but in general the clans which took no part in the insurrection awaited the event with cold indifference, and pleased themselves with the hope that they should easily make their peace with the conquerors, and be permitted to assist in plundering the conquered.

An experience of little more than a month satisfied Mackay that there was only one way in which the Highlands could be subdued. It was idle to run after the mountaineers up and down their mountains. A chain of fortresses must be built in the most important situations, and must be well garrisoned. The place with which the general proposed to begin was Inverlochy, where the huge remains of an ancient castle stood and still stand. This post was close to an arm of the sea, and was in the heart of the country occupied by the discontented clans. A strong force stationed there, and supported, if necessary, by ships of war, would effectually overawe at once the Macdonalds, the Camerons, and the Macleans, [343]

While Mackay was representing in his letters to the council at Edinburgh the necessity of adopting this plan, Dundee was contending with difficulties which all his energy and dexterity could not completely overcome.

The Highlanders, while they continued to be a nation living under a peculiar polity, were in one sense better and in another sense worse fitted for military purposes than any other nation in Europe. The individual Celt was morally and physically well qualified for war, and especially for war in so wild and rugged a country as his own. He was intrepid, strong, fleet, patient of cold, of hunger, and of fatigue. Up steep crags, and over treacherous morasses, he moved as easily as the French household troops paced along the great road from Versailles to Marli. He was accustomed to the use of weapons and to the sight of blood: he was a fencer; he was a marksman; and, before he had ever stood in the ranks, he was already more than half a soldier.

As the individual Celt was easily turned into a soldier, so a tribe of Celts was easily turned into a battalion of soldiers. All that was necessary was that the military organization should be conformed to the patriarchal organization. The Chief must be Colonel: his uncle or his brother must be Major: the tacksmen, who formed what may be called the peerage of the little community, must be the Captains: the company of each Captain must consist of those peasants who lived on his land, and whose names, faces, connections, and characters, were perfectly known to him: the subaltern officers must be selected among the Duinhe Wassels, proud of the eagle's feather: the henchman was an excellent orderly: the hereditary piper and his sons formed the band: and the clan became at once a regiment. In such a regiment was found from the first moment that exact order and prompt obedience in which the strength of regular armies consists. Every man, from highest to lowest, was in his proper place, and knew that place perfectly. It was not necessary to impress by threats or by punishment on the newly enlisted troops the duty of regarding as their head him whom they had regarded as their head ever since they could remember any thing. Every private had, from infancy, respected his corporal much and his Captain more, and had almost adored his Colonel. There was therefore no danger of mutiny. There was as little danger of desertion. Indeed the very feelings which most powerfully impel other soldiers to desert kept the Highlander to his standard. If he left it, whither was he to go? All his kinsmen, all his friends, were arrayed round it. To separate himself from it was to separate himself for ever from his family, and to incur all the misery of that very homesickness which, in regular armies, drives so many recruits to abscond at the risk of stripes and of death. When these things are fairly considered, it will not be thought strange that the Highland clans should have occasionally achieved great martial exploits.

But those very institutions which made a tribe of highlanders, all bearing the same name, and all subject to the same ruler, so formidable in battle, disqualified the nation for war on a large scale. Nothing was easier than to turn clans into efficient regiments; but nothing was more difficult than to combine these regiments in such a manner as to form an efficient army. From the shepherds and herdsmen who fought in the ranks up to the chiefs, all was harmony and order. Every man looked up to his immediate superior, and all looked up to the common head. But with the chief this chain of subordination ended. He knew only how to govern, and had never learned to obey. Even to royal proclamations, even to Acts of Parliament, he was accustomed to yield obedience only when they were in perfect accordance with his own inclinations. It was not to be expected that he would pay to any delegated authority a respect which he was in the habit of refusing to the supreme authority. He thought himself entitled to judge of the propriety of every order which he received. Of his brother chiefs, some were his enemies and some his rivals. It was hardly possible to keep him from affronting them, or to convince him that they were not affronting him. All his followers sympathized with all his animosities, considered his honour as their own, and were ready at his whistle to array themselves round him in arms against the commander in chief. There was therefore very little chance that by any contrivance any five clans could be induced to cooperate heartily with one another during a long campaign. The best chance, however, was when they were led by a Saxon. It is remarkable that none of the great actions performed by the Highlanders during our civil wars was performed under the command of a Highlander. Some writers have mentioned it as a proof of the extraordinary genius of Montrose and Dundee that those captains, though not themselves of Gaelic race or speech, should have been able to form and direct confederacies of Gaelic tribes. But in truth it was precisely because Montrose and Dundee were not Highlanders, that they were able to lead armies composed of Highland clans. Had Montrose been chief of the Camerons, the Macdonalds would never have submitted to his authority. Had Dundee been chief of Clanronald, he would never have been obeyed by Glengarry. Haughty and punctilious men, who scarcely acknowledged the king to be their superior, would not have endured the superiority of a neighbour, an equal, a competitor. They could far more easily bear the preeminence of a distinguished stranger, yet even to such a stranger they would allow only a very limited and a very precarious authority. To bring a chief before a court martial, to shoot him, to cashier him, to degrade him, to reprimand him publicly, was impossible. Macdonald of Keppoch or Maclean of Duart would have struck dead any officer who had demanded his sword, and told him to consider himself as under arrest; and hundreds of claymores would instantly have been drawn to protect the murderer. All that was left to the commander under whom these potentates condescended to serve was to argue with them, to supplicate them, to flatter them, to bribe them; and it was only during a short time that any human skill could preserve harmony by these means. For every chief thought himself entitled to peculiar observance; and it was therefore impossible to pay marked court to any one without disobliging the rest. The general found himself merely the president of a congress of petty kings. He was perpetually called upon to hear and to compose disputes about pedigrees, about precedence, about the division of spoil. His decision, be it what it might, must offend somebody. At any moment he might hear that his right wing had fired on his centre in pursuance of some quarrel two hundred years old, or that a whole battalion had marched back to its native glen, because another battalion had been put in the post of honour. A Highland bard might easily have found in the history of the year 1689 subjects very similar to those with which the war of Troy furnished the great poets of antiquity. One day Achilles is sullen, keeps his tent, and announces his intention to depart with all his men. The next day Ajax is storming about the camp, and threatening to cut the throat of Ulysses.

Hence it was that, though the Highlanders achieved some great exploits in the civil wars of the seventeenth century, those exploits left no trace which could be discerned after the lapse of a few weeks. Victories of strange and almost portentous splendour produced all the consequences of defeat. Veteran soldiers and statesmen were bewildered by those sudden turns of fortune. It was incredible that undisciplined men should have performed such feats of arms. It was incredible that such feats of arms, having been performed, should be immediately followed by the triumph of the conquered and the submission of the conquerors. Montrose, having passed rapidly from victory to victory, was, in the full career of success, suddenly abandoned by his followers. Local jealousies and local interests had brought his army together. Local jealousies and local interests dissolved it. The Gordons left him because they fancied that he neglected them for the Macdonalds. The Macdonalds left him because they wanted to plunder the Campbells. The force which had once seemed sufficient to decide the fate of a kingdom melted away in a few days; and the victories of Tippermuir and Kilsyth were followed by the disaster of Philiphaugh. Dundee did not live long enough to experience a similar reverse of fortune; but there is every reason to believe that, had his life been prolonged one fortnight, his history would have been the history of Montrose retold.

Dundee made one attempt, soon after the gathering of the clans in Lochaber, to induce them to submit to the discipline of a regular army. He called a council of war to consider this question. His opinion was supported by all the officers who had joined him from the low country. Distinguished among them were James Seton, Earl of Dunfermline, and James Galloway, Lord Dunkeld. The Celtic chiefs took the other side. Lochiel, the ablest among them, was their spokesman, and argued the point with much ingenuity and natural eloquence. "Our system,"—such was the substance of his reasoning, "may not be the best: but we were bred to it from childhood: we understand it perfectly: it is suited to our peculiar institutions, feelings, and manners. Making war after our own fashion, we have the expertness and coolness of veterans. Making war in any other way, we shall be raw and awkward recruits. To turn us into soldiers like those of Cromwell and Turenne would be the business of years: and we have not even weeks to spare. We have time enough to unlearn our own discipline, but not time enough to learn yours." Dundee, with high compliments to Lochiel, declared himself convinced, and perhaps was convinced: for the reasonings of the wise old chief were by no means without weight, [344]

Yet some Celtic usages of war were such as Dundee could not tolerate. Cruel as he was, his cruelty always had a method and a purpose. He still hoped that he might be able to win some chiefs who remained neutral; and he carefully avoided every act which could goad them into open hostility. This was undoubtedly a policy likely to promote the interest of James; but the interest of James was nothing to the wild marauders who used his name and rallied round his banner merely for the purpose of making profitable forays and wreaking old grudges. Keppoch especially, who hated the Mackintoshes much more than he loved the Stuarts, not only plundered the territory of his enemies, but burned whatever he could not carry away. Dundee was moved to great wrath by the sight of the blazing dwellings. "I would rather," he said, "carry a musket in a respectable regiment than be captain of such a gang of thieves." Punishment was of course out of the question. Indeed it may be considered as a remarkable proof of the general's influence that Coll of the Cows deigned to apologize for conduct for which in a well governed army he would have been shot, [345]

As the Grants were in arms for King William, their property was considered as fair prize. Their territory was invaded by a party of Camerons: a skirmish took place: some blood was shed; and many cattle were carried off to Dundee's camp, where provisions were greatly needed. This raid produced a quarrel, the history of which illustrates in the most striking manner the character of a Highland army. Among those who were slain in resisting the Camerons was a Macdonald of the Glengarry branch, who had long resided among the Grants, had become in feelings and opinions a Grant, and had absented himself from the muster of his tribe. Though he had been guilty of a high offence against the Gaelic code of honour and morality, his kinsmen remembered the sacred tie which he had forgotten. Good or bad, he was bone of their bone: he was flesh of their flesh; and he should have been reserved for their justice. The name which he bore, the blood of the Lords of the Isles, should have been his protection. Glengarry in a rage went to Dundee and demanded vengeance on Lochiel and the whole race of Cameron. Dundee replied that the unfortunate gentleman who had fallen was a traitor to the clan as well as to the King. Was it ever heard of in war that the person of an enemy, a combatant in arms, was to be held inviolable on account of his name and descent? And, even if wrong had been done, how was it to be redressed? Half the army must slaughter the other half before a finger could be laid on Lochiel. Glengarry went away raging like a madman. Since his complaints were disregarded by those who ought to right him, he would right himself: he would draw out his men, and fall sword in hand on the murderers of his cousin. During some time he would listen to no expostulation. When he was reminded that Lochiel's followers were in number nearly double of the Glengarry men, "No matter," he cried, "one Macdonald is worth two Camerons." Had Lochiel been equally irritable and boastful, it is probable that the Highland insurrection would have given little more trouble to the government, and that the rebels would have perished obscurely in the wilderness by one another's claymores. But nature had bestowed on him in large measure the qualities of a statesman, though fortune had hidden those qualities in an obscure corner of the world. He saw that this was not a time for brawling: his own character for courage had long been established; and his temper was under strict government. The fury of Glengarry, not being inflamed by any fresh provocation, rapidly abated. Indeed there were some who suspected that he had never been quite so pugnacious as he had affected to be, and that his bluster was meant only to keep up his own dignity in the eyes of his retainers. However this might be, the quarrel was composed; and the two chiefs met, with the outward show of civility, at the general's table, [346]

What Dundee saw of his Celtic allies must have made him desirous to have in his army some troops on whose obedience he could depend, and who would not, at a signal from their colonel, turn their arms against their general and their king. He accordingly, during the months of May and June, sent to Dublin a succession of letters earnestly imploring assistance. If six thousand, four thousand, three thousand, regular soldiers were now sent to Lochaber, he trusted that his Majesty would soon hold a court in Holyrood. That such a force might be spared hardly admitted of a doubt. The authority of James was at that time acknowledged in every part of Ireland, except on the shores of Lough Erne and behind the ramparts of Londonderry. He had in that kingdom an army of forty thousand men. An eighth part of such an army would scarcely be missed there, and might, united with the clans which were in insurrection, effect great things in Scotland.

Dundee received such answers to his applications as encouraged him to hope that a large and well appointed force would soon be sent from Ulster to join him. He did not wish to try the chance of battle before these succours arrived, [347] Mackay, on the other hand, was weary of marching to and fro in a desert. His men were exhausted and out of heart. He thought it desirable that they should withdraw from the hill country; and William was of the same opinion.

In June therefore the civil war was, as if by concert between the generals, completely suspended. Dundee remained in Lochaber, impatiently awaiting the arrival of troops and supplies from Ireland. It was impossible for him to keep his Highlanders together in a state of inactivity. A vast extent of moor and mountain was required to furnish food for so many mouths. The clans therefore went back to their own glens, having promised to reassemble on the first summons.

Meanwhile Mackay's soldiers, exhausted by severe exertions and privations, were taking their ease in quarters scattered over the low country from Aberdeen to Stirling. Mackay himself was at Edinburgh, and was urging the ministers there to furnish him with the means of constructing a chain of fortifications among the Grampians. The ministers had, it should seem, miscalculated their military resources. It had been expected that the Campbells would take the field in such force as would balance the whole strength of the clans which marched under Dundee. It had also been expected that the Covenanters of the West would hasten to swell the ranks of the army of King William. Both expectations were disappointed. Argyle had found his principality devastated, and his tribe disarmed and disorganized. A considerable time must elapse before his standard would be surrounded by an array such as his forefathers had led to battle. The Covenanters of the West were in general unwilling to enlist. They were assuredly not wanting in courage; and they hated Dundee with deadly hatred. In their part of the country the memory of his cruelty was still fresh. Every village had its own tale of blood. The greyheaded father was missed in one dwelling, the hopeful stripling in another. It was remembered but too well how the dragoons had stalked into the peasant's cottage, cursing and damning him, themselves, and each other at every second word, pushing from the ingle nook his grandmother of eighty, and thrusting their hands into the bosom of his daughter of sixteen; how the abjuration had been tendered to him; how he had folded his arms and said "God's will be done"; how the Colonel had called for a file with loaded muskets; and how in three minutes the goodman of the house had been wallowing in a pool of blood at his own door. The seat of the martyr was still vacant at the fireside; and every child could point out his grave still green amidst the heath. When the people of this region called their oppressor a servant of the devil, they were not speaking figuratively. They believed that between the bad man and the bad angel there was a close alliance on definite terms; that Dundee had bound himself to do the work of hell on earth, and that, for high purposes, hell was permitted to protect its slave till the measure of his guilt should be full. But, intensely as these men abhorred Dundee, most of them had a scruple about drawing the sword for William. A great meeting was held in the parish church of Douglas; and the question was propounded, whether, at a time when war was in the land, and when an Irish invasion was expected, it were not a duty to take arms. The debate was sharp and tumultuous. The orators on one side adjured their brethren not to incur the curse denounced against the inhabitants of Meroz, who came not to the help of the Lord against the mighty. The orators on the other side thundered against sinful associations. There were malignants in William's Army: Mackay's own orthodoxy was problematical: to take military service with such comrades, and under such a general, would be a sinful association. At length, after much wrangling, and amidst great confusion, a vote was taken; and the majority pronounced that to take military service would be a sinful association. There was however a large minority; and, from among the members of this minority, the Earl of Angus was able to raise a body of infantry, which is still, after the lapse of more than a hundred and sixty years, known by the name of the Cameronian Regiment. The first Lieutenant Colonel was Cleland, that implacable avenger of blood who had driven Dundee from the Convention. There was no small difficulty in filling the ranks: for many West country Whigs, who did not think it absolutely sinful to enlist, stood out for terms subversive of all military discipline. Some would not serve under any colonel, major, captain, serjeant, or corporal, who was not ready to sign the Covenant. Others insisted that, if it should be found absolutely necessary to appoint any officer who had taken the tests imposed in the late reign, he should at least qualify himself for command by publicly confessing his sin at the head of the regiment. Most of the enthusiasts who had proposed these conditions were induced by dexterous management to abate much of their demands. Yet the new regiment had a very peculiar character. The soldiers were all rigid Puritans. One of their first acts was to petition the Parliament that all drunkenness, licentiousness, and profaneness might be severely punished. Their own conduct must have been exemplary: for the worst crime which the most extravagant bigotry could impute to them was that of huzzaing on the King's birthday. It was originally intended that with the military organization of the corps should he interwoven the organization of a Presbyterian congregation. Each company was to furnish an elder; and the elders were, with the chaplain, to form an ecclesiastical court for the suppression of immorality and heresy. Elders, however, were not appointed: but a noted hill preacher, Alexander Shields, was called to the office of chaplain. It is not easy to conceive that fanaticism can be heated to a higher temperature than that which is indicated by the writings of Shields. According to him, it should seem to be the first duty of a Christian ruler to persecute to the death every heterodox subject, and the first duty of every Christian subject to poniard a heterodox ruler. Yet there was then in Scotland an enthusiasm compared with which the enthusiasm even of this man was lukewarm. The extreme Covenanters protested against his defection as vehemently as he had protested against the Black Indulgence and the oath of supremacy, and pronounced every man who entered Angus's regiment guilty of a wicked confederacy with malignants, [348]

Meanwhile Edinburgh Castle had fallen, after holding out more than two months. Both the defence and the attack had been languidly conducted. The Duke of Gordon, unwilling to incur the mortal hatred of those at whose mercy his lands and life might soon be, did not choose to batter the city. The assailants, on the other hand, carried on their operations with so little energy and so little vigilance that a constant communication was kept up between the Jacobites within the citadel and the Jacobites without. Strange stories were told of the polite and facetious messages which passed between the besieged and the besiegers. On one occasion Gordon sent to inform the magistrates that he was going to fire a salute on account of some news which he had received from Ireland, but that the good town need not be alarmed, for that his guns would not be loaded with ball. On another occasion, his drums beat a parley: the white flag was hung out: a conference took place; and he gravely informed the enemy that all his cards had been thumbed to pieces, and begged them to let him have a few more packs. His friends established a telegraph by means of which they conversed with him across the lines of sentinels. From a window in the top story of one of the loftiest of those gigantic houses, a few of which still darken the High Street, a white cloth was hung out when all was well, and a black cloth when things went ill. If it was necessary to give more detailed information, a board was held up inscribed with capital letters so large that they could, by the help of a telescope, be read on the ramparts of the castle. Agents laden with letters and fresh provisions managed, in various disguises and by various shifts, to cross the sheet of water which then lay on the north of the fortress and to clamber up the precipitous ascent. The peal of a musket from a particular half moon was the signal which announced to the friends of the House of Stuart that another of their emissaries had got safe up the rock. But at length the supplies were exhausted; and it was necessary to capitulate. Favourable terms were readily granted: the garrison marched out; and the keys were delivered up amidst the acclamations of a great multitude of burghers, [349]

But the government had far more acrimonious and more pertinacious enemies in the Parliament House than in the Castle. When the Estates reassembled after their adjournment, the crown and sceptre of Scotland were displayed with the wonted pomp in the hall as types of the absent sovereign. Hamilton rode in state from Holyrood up the High Street as Lord High Commissioner; and Crawford took his seat as President. Two Acts, one turning the Convention into a Parliament, the other recognising William and Mary as King and Queen, were rapidly passed and touched with the sceptre; and then the conflict of factions began, [350]

It speedily appeared that the opposition which Montgomery had organized was irresistibly strong. Though made up of many conflicting elements, Republicans, Whigs, Tories, zealous Presbyterians, bigoted Prelatists, it acted for a time as one man, and drew to itself a multitude of those mean and timid politicians who naturally gravitate towards the stronger party. The friends of the government were few and disunited. Hamilton brought but half a heart to the discharge of his duties. He had always been unstable; and he was now discontented. He held indeed the highest place to which a subject could aspire. But he imagined that he had only the show of power while others enjoyed the substance, and was not sorry to see those of whom he was jealous thwarted and annoyed. He did not absolutely betray the prince whom he represented: but he sometimes tampered with the chiefs of the Club, and sometimes did sly in turns to those who were joined with him in the service of the Crown.

His instructions directed him to give the royal assent to laws for the mitigating or removing of numerous grievances, and particularly to a law restricting the power and reforming the constitution of the Committee of Articles, and to a law establishing the Presbyterian Church Government, [351] But it mattered not what his instructions were. The chiefs of the Club were bent on finding a cause of quarrel. The propositions of the Government touching the Lords of the Articles were contemptuously rejected. Hamilton wrote to London for fresh directions; and soon a second plan, which left little more than the name of the once despotic Committee, was sent back. But the second plan, though such as would have contented judicious and temperate reformers, shared the fate of the first. Meanwhile the chiefs of the Club laid on the table a law which interdicted the King from ever employing in any public office any person who had ever borne any part in any proceeding inconsistent with the Claim of Right, or who had ever obstructed or retarded any good design of the Estates. This law, uniting, within a very short compass, almost all the faults which a law can have, was well known to be aimed at the new Lord President of the Court of Session, and at his son the new Lord Advocate. Their prosperity and power made them objects of envy to every disappointed candidate for office. That they were new men, the first of their race who had risen to distinction, and that nevertheless they had, by the mere force of ability, become as important in the state as the Duke of Hamilton or the Earl of Argyle, was a thought which galled the hearts of many needy and haughty patricians. To the Whigs of Scotland the Dalrymples were what Halifax and Caermarthen were to the Whigs of England. Neither the exile of Sir James, nor the zeal with which Sir John had promoted the Revolution, was received as an atonement for old delinquency. They had both served the bloody and idolatrous House. They had both oppressed the people of God. Their late repentance might perhaps give them a fair claim to pardon, but surely gave them no right to honours and rewards.

The friends of the government in vain attempted to divert the attention of the Parliament from the business of persecuting the Dalrymple family to the important and pressing question of Church Government. They said that the old system had been abolished; that no other system had been substituted; that it was impossible to say what was the established religion of the kingdom; and that the first duty of the legislature was to put an end to an anarchy which was daily producing disasters and crimes. The leaders of the Club were not to be so drawn away from their object. It was moved and resolved that the consideration of ecclesiastical affairs should be postponed till secular affairs had been settled. The unjust and absurd Act of Incapacitation was carried by seventy-four voices to twenty-four. Another vote still more obviously aimed at the House of Stair speedily followed. The Parliament laid claim to a Veto on the nomination of the judges, and assumed the power of stopping the signet, in other words, of suspending the whole administration of justice, till this claim should be allowed. It was plain from what passed in debate that, though the chiefs of the Club had begun with the Court of Session, they did not mean to end there. The arguments used by Sir Patrick Hume and others led directly to the conclusion that the King ought not to have the appointment of any great public functionary. Sir Patrick indeed avowed, both in speech and in writing, his opinion that the whole patronage of the realm ought to be transferred from the Crown to the Estates. When the place of Treasurer, of Chancellor, of Secretary, was vacant, the Parliament ought to submit two or three names to his Majesty; and one of those names his Majesty ought to be bound to select, [352]

All this time the Estates obstinately refused to grant any supply till their Acts should have been touched with the sceptre. The Lord High Commissioner was at length so much provoked by their perverseness that, after long temporising, he refused to touch even Acts which were in themselves unobjectionable, and to which his instructions empowered him to consent. This state of things would have ended in some great convulsion, if the King of Scotland had not been also King of a much greater and more opulent kingdom. Charles the First had never found any parliament at Westminster more unmanageable than William, during this session, found the parliament at Edinburgh. But it was not in the power of the parliament at Edinburgh to put on William such a pressure as the parliament at Westminster had put on Charles. A refusal of supplies at Westminster was a serious thing, and left the Sovereign no choice except to yield, or to raise money by unconstitutional means, But a refusal of supplies at Edinburgh reduced him to no such dilemma. The largest sum that he could hope to receive from Scotland in a year was less than what he received from England every fortnight. He had therefore only to entrench himself within the limits of his undoubted prerogative, and there to remain on the defensive, till some favourable conjuncture should arrive, [353]

While these things were passing in the Parliament House, the civil war in the Highlands, having been during a few weeks suspended, broke forth again more violently than before. Since the splendour of the House of Argyle had been eclipsed, no Gaelic chief could vie in power with the Marquess of Athol. The district from which he took his title, and of which he might almost be called the sovereign, was in extent larger than an ordinary county, and was more fertile, more diligently cultivated, and more thickly peopled than the greater part of the Highlands. The men who followed his banner were supposed to be not less numerous than all the Macdonalds and Macleans united, and were, in strength and courage, inferior to no tribe in the mountains. But the clan had been made insignificant by the insignificance of the chief. The Marquess was the falsest, the most fickle, the most pusillanimous, of mankind. Already, in the short space of six months, he had been several times a Jacobite, and several times a Williamite. Both Jacobites and Williamites regarded him with contempt and distrust, which respect for his immense power prevented them from fully expressing. After repeatedly vowing fidelity to both parties, and repeatedly betraying both, he began to think that he should best provide for his safety by abdicating the functions both of a peer and of a chieftain, by absenting himself both from the Parliament House at Edinburgh and from his castle in the mountains, and by quitting the country to which he was bound by every tie of duty and honour at the very crisis of her fate. While all Scotland was waiting with impatience and anxiety to see in which army his numerous retainers would be arrayed, he stole away to England, settled himself at Bath, and pretended to drink the waters, [354] His principality, left without a head, was divided against itself. The general leaning of the Athol men was towards King James. For they had been employed by him, only four years before, as the ministers of his vengeance against the House of Argyle. They had garrisoned Inverary: they had ravaged Lorn: they had demolished houses, cut down fruit trees, burned fishing boats, broken millstones, hanged Campbells, and were therefore not likely to be pleased by the prospect of Mac Callum Mores restoration. One word from the Marquess would have sent two thousand claymores to the Jacobite side. But that word he would not speak; and the consequence was, that the conduct of his followers was as irresolute and inconsistent as his own.

While they were waiting for some indication of his wishes, they were called to arms at once by two leaders, either of whom might, with some show of reason, claim to be considered as the representative of the absent chief. Lord Murray, the Marquess's eldest son, who was married to a daughter of the Duke of Hamilton, declared for King William. Stewart of Ballenach, the Marquess's confidential agent, declared for King James. The people knew not which summons to obey. He whose authority would have been held in profound reverence, had plighted faith to both sides, and had then run away for fear of being under the necessity of joining either; nor was it very easy to say whether the place which he had left vacant belonged to his steward or to his heir apparent.

The most important military post in Athol was Blair Castle. The house which now bears that name is not distinguished by any striking peculiarity from other country seats of the aristocracy. The old building was a lofty tower of rude architecture which commanded a vale watered by the Garry. The walls would have offered very little resistance to a battering train, but were quite strong enough to keep the herdsmen of the Grampians in awe. About five miles south of this stronghold, the valley of the Garry contracts itself into the celebrated glen of Killiecrankie. At present a highway as smooth as any road in Middlesex ascends gently from the low country to the summit of the defile. White villas peep from the birch forest; and, on a fine summer day, there is scarcely a turn of the pass at which may not be seen some angler casting his fly on the foam of the river, some artist sketching a pinnacle of rock, or some party of pleasure banqueting on the turf in the fretwork of shade and sunshine. But, in the days of William the Third, Killiecrankie was mentioned with horror by the peaceful and industrious inhabitants of the Perthshire lowlands. It was deemed the most perilous of all those dark ravines through which the marauders of the hills were wont to sally forth. The sound, so musical to modern ears, of the river brawling round the mossy rocks and among the smooth pebbles, the dark masses of crag and verdure worthy of the pencil of Wilson, the fantastic peaks bathed, at sunrise and sunset, with light rich as that which glows on the canvass of Claude, suggested to our ancestors thoughts of murderous ambuscades and of bodies stripped, gashed, and abandoned to the birds of prey. The only path was narrow and rugged: a horse could with difficulty be led up: two men could hardly walk abreast; and, in some places, the way ran so close by the precipice that the traveller had great need of a steady eye and foot. Many years later, the first Duke of Athol constructed a road up which it was just possible to drag his coach. But even that road was so steep and so strait that a handful of resolute men might have defended it against an army; [355] nor did any Saxon consider a visit to Killiecrankie as a pleasure, till experience had taught the English Government that the weapons by which the Highlanders could be most effectually subdued were the pickaxe and the spade.

The country which lay just above this pass was now the theatre of a war such as the Highlands had not often witnessed. Men wearing the same tartan, and attached to the same lord, were arrayed against each other. The name of the absent chief was used, with some show of reason, on both sides. Ballenach, at the head of a body of vassals who considered him as the representative of the Marquess, occupied Blair Castle. Murray, with twelve hundred followers, appeared before the walls and demanded to be admitted into the mansion of his family, the mansion which would one day be his own. The garrison refused to open the gates. Messages were sent off by the besiegers to Edinburgh, and by the besieged to Lochaber, [356] In both places the tidings produced great agitation. Mackay and Dundee agreed in thinking that the crisis required prompt and strenuous exertion. On the fate of Blair Castle probably depended the fate of all Athol. On the fate of Athol might depend the fate of Scotland. Mackay hastened northward, and ordered his troops to assemble in the low country of Perthshire. Some of them were quartered at such a distance that they did not arrive in time. He soon, however, had with him the three Scotch regiments which had served in Holland, and which bore the names of their Colonels, Mackay himself, Balfour, and Ramsay. There was also a gallant regiment of infantry from England, then called Hastings's, but now known as the thirteenth of the line. With these old troops were joined two regiments newly levied in the Lowlands. One of them was commanded by Lord Kenmore; the other, which had been raised on the Border, and which is still styled the King's own Borderers, by Lord Leven. Two troops of horse, Lord Annandale's and Lord Belhaven's, probably made up the army to the number of above three thousand men. Belhaven rode at the head of his troop: but Annandale, the most factious of all Montgomery's followers, preferred the Club and the Parliament House to the field, [357]

Dundee, meanwhile, had summoned all the clans which acknowledged his commission to assemble for an expedition into Athol. His exertions were strenuously seconded by Lochiel. The fiery crosses were sent again in all haste through Appin and Ardnamurchan, up Glenmore, and along Loch Leven. But the call was so unexpected, and the time allowed was so short, that the muster was not a very full one. The whole number of broadswords seems to have been under three thousand. With this force, such as it was, Dundee set forth. On his march he was joined by succours which had just arrived from Ulster. They consisted of little more than three hundred Irish foot, ill armed, ill clothed, and ill disciplined. Their commander was an officer named Cannon, who had seen service in the Netherlands, and who might perhaps have acquitted himself well in a subordinate post and in a regular army, but who was altogether unequal to the part now assigned to him, [358] He had already loitered among the Hebrides so long that some ships which had been sent with him, and which were laden with stores, had been taken by English cruisers. He and his soldiers had with difficulty escaped the same fate. Incompetent as he was, he bore a commission which gave him military rank in Scotland next to Dundee.

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