OF 1715 AND 1745.
BY MRS. THOMSON,
"MEMOIRS OF THE COURT OF HENRY THE EIGHTH," "MEMOIRS OF SARAH, DUCHESS OF MARLBOROUGH," ETC.
LONDON: RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET, Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty. 1845.
Printed by S. & J. BENTLEY, WILSON, and FLEY, Bangor House, Shoe Lane.
In completing this work, I have to repeat my acknowledgments to those friends and correspondents to whom I expressed my obligations in the Preface to the first volume; and I have the additional pleasure of recording similar obligations from other channels.
I beg to testify my gratitude to Sir William Maxwell, Bart., of Montreith, for some information regarding the Nithsdale family; which, I hope, at some future time, to interweave with my biography of the Earl of Nithsdale; and also to Miss Charlotte Maxwell, the sister of Sir William Maxwell, whose enthusiasm for the subject of the Jacobites is proved by the interesting collection of Jacobite airs which she is forming, and which will be very acceptable to all who can appreciate poetry and song.
To Sir John Maxwell, Bart., of Pollock, and to Lady Matilda Maxwell, I offer my best thanks for their prompt and valued suggestions on the same subject.
I owe much to the courtesy and great intelligence of Mrs. Howison Craufurd, of Craufurdland Castle, Ayrshire: I have derived considerable assistance from that lady in the life of the Earl of Kilmarnock, and have, through her aid, been enabled to give to the public several letters never before published. For original information regarding the Derwentwater family, and for a degree of zeal, combined with accurate knowledge, I must here express my cordial thanks to the Hon. Mrs. Douglass, to whose assistance much of the interest which will be found in the life of Charles Radcliffe is justly due.
I have also to acknowledge the kindness of Mons. Amedee Pichot, from whose interesting work I have derived great pleasure and profit; and to Madame Colmache, for her inquiries in the Biblotheque du Roi, for original papers relating to the subject. To W. E. Aytoun, Esq., of Edinburgh, I beg also to express my acknowledgments for his aid in supplying me with some curious information regarding the Duke of Perth. The kindness with which my researches, in every direction, have been met, has added to my task a degree of gratification, which now causes its close to be regarded with something almost like regret.
One advantage to be gained by the late publication of this third volume, is the criticism of friends on the two former ones. Amid many errors, I have been admonished, by my kind adviser and critic, Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, Esq., of having erred in accepting the common authorities in regard to the celebrated and unfortunate Lady Grange. Whatever were the sorrows of that lady, her faults and the provocation she gave to her irritated husband, were, it appears, fully equal to her misfortunes. Since the story of Lady Grange is not strictly connected with my subject, I have only referred to it incidentally. At some future time, the singular narrative of her fate may afford me a subject of further investigation.
I beg to correct a mistake into which I had fallen, in the first volume, respecting those letters relating to the Earl of Mar, for which I am indebted, to Alexander Macdonald, Esq. These, a distinct collection from that with which I was favoured by James Gibson Craig, Esq., were copied about twelve years ago, from the papers then in the possession of Lady Frances Erskine. They have since passed into the possession of the present Earl of Mar.
An interesting letter in the Appendix of this work, will be found relative to the social state of the Chevalier St. George, at Rome. For permission to publish this I am indebted to the valued friendship of my brother-in-law, Samuel Coltman, Esq., in whose possession it is, having been bequeathed, with other MSS. to his mother, by the well-known Joseph Spence, author of the "Anecdotes", and of other works.
LONDON, 28th March, 1846.
CONTENTS OF THE THIRD VOLUME.
PAGE LORD GEORGE MURRAY 1
JAMES DRUMMOND, DUKE OF PERTH 226
FLORA MACDONALD 310
WILLIAM BOYD, EARL OF KILMARNOCK 381
CHARLES RADCLIFFE 480
With Portraits of Flora Macdonald, Prince Charles, and Lord Balmerino.
MEMOIRS OF THE JACOBITES.
LORD GEORGE MURRAY.
This celebrated adherent of the Chevalier was born in the year 1705. He was the fifth son of John Duke of Atholl, and the younger brother of that Marquis of Tullibardine, whose biography has been already given.
The family of Atholl had attained a degree of power and influence in Scotland, which almost raised them out of the character of subjects. It was by consummate prudence, not unattended with a certain portion of time-serving, that, until the period 1715, the high position which these great nobles held had been in seasons of political difficulty preserved. Their political principles were those of indefeasible right and hereditary monarchy. John, first Marquis of Atholl, the father of Lord George Murray, married Amelia Stanley, daughter of Charlotte De la Tremouille, Countess of Derby, whose princely extraction, to borrow a phrase of high value in genealogical histories, was the least of her merits. This celebrated woman was remarkable for the virtue and piety of her ordinary life; and, when the season of trial and adversity called it forth, she displayed the heroism which becomes the hour of adversity. Her well-known defence of Latham House in 1644 from the assaults of the Parliamentarian forces, and her protracted maintenance of the Isle of Man, the last place in the English dominions that submitted to the Parliament, were followed by a long and patient endurance of penury and imprisonment.
The Marquis of Atholl was consistent in that adherence to the Stuarts which the family of his wife had professed. He advocated the succession of James the Second, and was rewarded with the royal confidence. Indeed, such was the partiality of the King towards him, that had the Marquis "in this sale of favour," as an old writer expresses it, "not been firm and inflexible in the point of his religion, which he could not sacrifice to the pleasure of any mortal, he might have been the first minister for Scotland." After the Revolution, the Marquis retired into the country, and relinquished all public business; thus signifying his opinion of that event.
He bequeathed to his son, John second Marquis of Atholl, and the father of Lord George Murray, as great a share of prosperity and as many sources of self-exultation as ordinarily fall to the lot of one man. To the blood of the Murrays, the marriage with Lady Amelia Stanley had added a connection in kindred with the Houses of Bourbon and Austria, with the Kings of Spain and Duke of Savoy, the Prince of Orange, and most of the crowned heads in Europe. Upon the extinction of the descendants of John the seventh Earl of Derby, commonly called the loyal Earl of Derby, and of his wife Charlotte De La Tremouille, "all that great and uncommon race of royal and illustrious blood," as it has been entitled, centred in the descendants of the Marquis of Atholl. In 1726, the barony of Strange devolved upon the Duke of Atholl; and the principality of the Isle of Man was also bequeathed to the same House by William ninth Earl of Derby. This was the accession of a later period, but was the consequence of that great and honourable alliance of which the family of Atholl might justly boast.
The father of Lord George Murray adopted every precaution, as we have seen, to preserve the acquisitions of dignity and fortune which the lapse of years had added to his patrimonial possessions. Sixteen coats of arms, eight on the paternal side, and eight on the maternal side, had composed the escutcheon of his father, John Marquis of Atholl. Among those great names on the maternal side, which graced a funeral escutcheon, which has been deemed the pattern and model of perfect dignity, and the perfection of ducal grandeur, was the name of the Prince of Orange. This plea of kindred was not thrown away upon the Marquis of Atholl; he declared himself for King William, and entered early into the Revolution. For this service he was rewarded with the office of High Commissioner to represent his Majesty in the Scottish parliament. But subsequent events broke up this compact, and destroyed all the cordiality which subsisted between William and the head of the House of Atholl. The refusal of the King to own the African Company was, it is said, the reason why the Marquis withdrew himself from Court, and remained at a distance from it during the lifetime of William.
The accession of Anne brought, at first, fresh honours to this powerful Scottish nobleman. He was created in 1704 a Duke, and was made Privy Seal: but the politics of the Court party changed; the Duke of Atholl was dismissed from the Ministry, and he became henceforth a warm opponent of all the Government measures. He spoke with boldness, yet discretion, against the Union; and protested against a measure which, as he conceived, gave up all the dignity and antiquity of the kingdom.
During his proud career, a marriage with Katherine, the daughter of William Duke of Hamilton, a lady of great prudence, and of eminent piety and virtue, added to the high consideration of the Duke of Atholl. Of this nobleman, certain historians have left the highest character. "He was," says Nisbet, "of great parts, but far greater virtues; of a lively apprehension, a clear and ready judgment, a copious eloquence, and of a very considerable degree of good understanding." It is difficult to reconcile this description with the intrigues and bitterness which characterise the Duke of Atholl, in Lovat's narrative of their rivalry; nor would it be easy to reconcile the public report of many men with the details of their private failings. That, however, which has impugned the consistency and sincerity of the Duke of Atholl far more than the representations of Lovat, is the belief that, whilst his feelings were engaged in one cause, his professions were loud in upholding the other; that he was double and self-interested; and that he saved his vast estates from forfeiture by an act of policy which might, in some bearings, be regarded as duplicity, in proof of which it is asserted, that, whilst he pretended to condemn the conduct of his eldest son in joining the Rebellion of 1715, he was the chief instigator of that step. Such was the father to whom Lord George Murray owed his birth.
During the unbroken prosperity of his House, the future General of the Jacobite army was born. He was the fifth son of eight children, borne by the first Duchess of Atholl, and was born in the year 1705. Of these, John the eldest, and presumptive heir to the dukedom, had been killed at the battle of Mons, or Malplaquet, in 1709. He was a youth of great promise, and his death was a source of deep lamentation to his father; a sorrow which subsequent events did not, perhaps, tend to alleviate. William, Marquis of Tullibardine, was therefore regarded as the next heir to all the vast possessions and ancestral dignities of his House. His faithful adherence to the Chevalier St. George, and the part which he adopted in the Rebellion of 1715, produced a revolution in the affairs of his family, which, one may suppose, could not be effected without some delicacy, and considerable distress.
In 1716 the Marquis of Tullibardine was attainted by an act passed in the first year of George the First; and by a bill, which was passed in the House of Commons relating to the forfeited estates, all these estates were vested in his Majesty from and after the twenty-fourth of January 1715. Upon this bill being passed, the Duke of Atholl, who had been residing for many years with the splendour and state of a prince at his Castle at Blair Atholl, journeyed to London, and, being graciously received by George the First, he laid his case before that monarch, representing the unhappy circumstances of his son, and pointing out what effect and influence this might have, in the event of his own death, on the succession of his family, if his estate and honour were not vested in law upon his second son, Lord James Murray, who had performed very signal service to his Majesty in the late rebellion. This petition was received, and a bill was brought into parliament for vesting the honours of John Duke of Atholl in James Murray, Esq., commonly called Lord James Murray; and, as a reward of his steady loyalty, a law was passed, enacting that the act of attainder against William Marquis of Tullibardine should not be construed to extend to Lord James Murray or his issue. In consequence of this bill, on the death of the Duke of Atholl, in 1724, Lord James Murray succeeded to all those honours and estates, which had thus been preserved through the prudence of his father, and the clemency or policy of the King.
In this divided House was Lord George Murray reared. It soon appeared that he possessed the decision and lofty courage of his ancestry; and that his early predilections, in which probably his father secretly coincided, were all in favour of the Stuarts, and that no considerations of self-interest could draw him from that adherence.
The events of 1715 occurring when Lord George Murray was only ten years of age, his first active exertions in the cause of the Stuarts did not take place until a later period. In the interim, the youth, who afterwards distinguished himself so greatly, served his first apprenticeship to arms in the British forces in Flanders. In 1719, when only fourteen years of age, a fresh plan of invasion being formed by Spain, and the Marquis of Tullibardine having again ventured to join in the enterprise, Lord George showed plainly his attachment to the Jacobite cause. He came over with the Marquis, with a small handful of Spaniards, and was wounded at the battle of Glenshiels on the tenth of June. Of his fate after that event, the following account has been given by Wodrow, who prefaces his statement with a congratulatory remark that several of the Jacobites were by their sufferings converted from their error. "At Glenshiels," he writes, referring to Lord George Murray, "he escaped, and with a servant got away among the Highland mountains, and lurked in a hut made for themselves for some months, and saw nobody. It was a happy Providence that either he or his servant had a Bible, and no other books. For want of other business, he carefully read that neglected book, and the Lord blessed it with his present hard circumstances to him. Now he begins to appear abroad, and it is said is soon to be pardoned; and he is highly commended not only for a serious convert from Jacobitism, but for a good Christian, and a youth of excellent parts, hopes, and expectations."
It appears, however, that Lord George, however he might be changed in his opinions, did not consider himself safe in Scotland. He fled to the Continent, and entered the service of Sardinia, then, in consequence of the quadruple alliance, allotted to the possessions of the Duke of Savoy.
Meantime, through the influence of his family, and, perhaps, on the plea of his extreme youth when he had engaged in the battle of Glenshiels, a pardon was obtained for the young soldier. His father, as is related in the manuscript account of the Highlands before quoted, "had found it his interest to change sides at the accession of George the First." His second brother, as he was now called, James Murray, or Marquis of Tullibardine, was a zealous supporter of the Hanoverian Government, although it proved no easy matter to engage his Clan in the same cause.
During many succeeding years, while Lord George Murray was serving abroad, cultivating those military acquirements which afterwards, whilst they failed to redeem his party from ruin, extorted the admiration of every competent judge, the progress of events was gradually working its way towards a second great attempt to restore the Stuarts.
Notwithstanding the apparent tranquillity of the Chevalier St. George, he had been continually though cautiously maintaining, during his residence at Albano, as friendly an intercourse with the English visitors to Rome as circumstances would permit. Most young men of family and condition travelled, during the time of peace, in Italy; many were thus the opportunities which occurred of conciliating these youthful scions of great and influential families. As one instance of this fact, the account given by Joseph Spence, the author of the "Anecdotes" and of "Polymetis," affords a curious picture of the eagerness evinced by James and his wife, during the infancy of their son, to ingraft his infant image on the memory, and affections of the English. Mr. Spence visited Rome while Charles Edward was yet in his cradle. He was expressly enjoined by his father, before his departure from England, on no account to be introduced to the Chevalier. Yet such were the advances made to him, as his own letter will show, that it was almost impossible for him to resist the overture: and similar overtures were made to almost every Englishman of family or note who visited Rome at that period.
In addition to these efforts, a continual correspondence was maintained between James and his Scottish adherents. The Chevalier's greatest accomplishment was his art of writing letters; and he appears eminently to have excelled in that power of conciliation which was so essential in his circumstance.
Meantime Charles grew up, justifying, as he increased in stature, and as his disposition revealed itself, the most ardent expectations of those who wished well to his cause. One failing he very early evinced; that remarkable devotion to certain favourites which marked the conduct of his ancestors; and the partiality was more commonly built upon the adulation bestowed by those favourites than founded in reason.
It was in the year 1741 that the royal youth, then scarcely nineteen years of age, became acquainted with a man whose qualities of mind, and attractions of manner, exercised a very considerable influence over his destiny; and whose character, pliant, yet bitter, intriguing and perfidious, came afterwards into a painful collision with the haughty overbearing temper, and manly sincerity, of Lord George Murray.
It was in consequence of the practice adopted by some of the hangers-on of the Chevalier's court, of luring young English or Scottish strangers to its circles, that John Murray of Broughton, afterwards Secretary to Prince Charles, was first introduced to the young Chevalier. Murray was the son of Sir David Murray, Bart., by his second wife, a daughter of Sir David Scott of Ancrum: he was at this time only twenty-three years of age, and he had lately completed his studies at Edinburgh, where he had gone through a course of philosophy, and studied the civil and municipal laws. The report which prevailed that Mr. Murray had been educated with the young Chevalier was untrue; it was by the desire of his mother, Lady Murray, that he first, in 1741, visited both France and Italy, and perfected himself in the language of those countries, then by no means generally attained by Scotchmen.
Mr. Murray had been brought up in the principles of the Episcopal Church, and therefore there was less reason, than there would have been in the case of a Roman Catholic, to apprehend his being beguiled into an intimate connection with the exiled Stuarts. He had not, however, been long in Rome before he was asked by an acquaintance whether he had seen the Santi Apostoli, as the palace of the Chevalier was called. On answering in the negative, he was assured that, through a knowledge of some of the servants, a sight might be obtained of the palace; and also of the Protestant chapel, in which, as Mr. Murray heard with great surprise, the Chevalier allowed service to be performed for such of the retinue of the young Prince as were of the Protestant persuasion. It was also alleged that this indulgence was with the cognizance of the Pope, who, in order to remove the barrier which prevented the Stuarts from enjoying the crown of England, was willing to allow Charles Edward to be brought up as a Protestant. This assertion was further confirmed by the fact, that the noblemen, Lord Inverness and Lord Dunbar, who had the charge of Charles Edward, were both Protestants; a choice on the part of James which had produced all that contention between himself and the Princess Clementina, with the details of which the Courts of Europe were entertained.
The family and retinue of the Chevalier St. George being then at Albano, Mr. Murray was able to gratify his curiosity, and to inspect the chapel, which had neither crucifix, confessional, nor picture in it,—only an altar,—and was not to be distinguished from an English chapel; and here English divines officiated. Here, it is said, whilst at his devotions, a slight accident occurred, which nourished a belief in presages in the mind of Charles Edward. A small piece of the ceiling, ornamented with flowers in fretwork, fell into his lap; it was discovered to be a thistle: soon afterwards, another of these ornaments became detached, and fell also into his lap; this proved to be a rose. Such omens, coupled with the star of great magnitude which astronomers asserted to have appeared at his nativity, were, it was thought, not without their effect on the hopes and conduct of the young Prince. One can hardly, however, do him so much injustice as to suppose that such could be the case.
Mr. Murray expressed, it is affirmed, a considerable degree of curiosity to see the Chevalier and his two sons, who were both highly extolled for their natural gifts and graces; the wish was communicated, and, acting upon the principle of attracting all comers to the Court, was soon realised: a page was sent, intimating that Mr. Murray's attendance would be well received, and he was, by an order from the Chevalier, graciously admitted to kiss hands. Such was the commencement of that acquaintance which afterwards proved so fatal to the interests of Prince Charles, and so disgraceful to the cause of the Jacobites. Such was the introduction of the young Prince to the man who subsequently betrayed his companions in misfortune. This step was shortly followed by an intimacy which, probably in the commencement, was grounded upon mutual good-will. Men become perfidious by slow degrees; and perform actions, as they advance in life, which they would blush to reflect on in the day-dawn of their honest youth.
This account is, however, derived from the statements of an anonymous writer, evidently an apologist for the errors of Mr. Murray, and is contradicted so far as the sudden conversion of the young Scotchman to the cause of the Stuarts, by the fact that he had all his life been a violent Jacobite. On the other hand, it is alleged by Mr. Murray's champion, that his feelings and affections, rather than his reason, were quickly engaged in the cause of the Chevalier, from his opportunities of knowing intimately the personal qualities of the two royal brothers, Charles Edward and Henry Benedict. He was, moreover, independent of circumstances; being in the enjoyment of a fortune of three or four hundred a year, which was considered a sufficient independence for a younger brother, and therefore interest, it is alleged, could not have been an inducement to his actions.
Whether from real admiration, or from a wish to disseminate in Scotland a favourable impression of the Stuart Princes, it is difficult to decide; but Mr. Murray, in 1742, dispatched to a lady in Scotland, who had requested him to describe personages of so great interest to the Jacobites, the following, perhaps, not exaggerated portrait of what Charles Edward was in the days of his youth, and before he had left the mild influence of his father's house.
"Charles Edward, the eldest son of the Chevalier de St. George is tall, above the common stature; his limbs are cast in the exact mould, his complexion has in it somewhat of an uncommon delicacy; all his features are perfectly regular, well turned, and his eyes the finest I ever saw; but that which shines most in him, and renders him without exception the most surprisingly handsome person of the age, is the dignity that accompanies his every gesture; there is, indeed, such an unspeakable majesty diffused throughout his whole mien and air, as it is impossible to have any idea of without seeing, and strikes those that do with such an awe, as will not suffer them to look upon him for any time, unless he emboldens them to it by his excessive affability.
"Thus much, madam, as to the person of this Prince. His mind, by all I can judge of it, is no less worthy of admiration; he seems to me, and I find to all who know him, to have all the good nature of the Stuart family blended with the spirit of the Sobieskys. He is, at least as far as I am capable of seeing into men, equally qualified to preside in peace and war. As for his learning, it is extensive beyond what could be expected from double the number of his years. He speaks most of the European languages with the same ease and fluency as if each of them were the only one he knew; is a perfect master of all the different kinds of Latin, understands Greek very well, and is not altogether ignorant of Hebrew; history and philosophy are his darling entertainments, in both which he is well versed; the one he says will instruct him how to govern others, and the other how to govern himself, whether in prosperous or adverse fortune. Then for his courage, that was sufficiently proved at the siege of Gaita, where though scarcely arrived at the age of fifteen, he performed such things as in attempting made his friends and his enemies alike tremble, though for different motives. What he is ordained for, we must leave to the Almighty, who alone disposes all; but he appears to be born and endowed for something very extraordinary."
It was not long before Mr. Murray perceived that, although James Stuart had given up all hopes of the English crown for himself, he still cherished a desire of regaining it for his son. Scotland was of course the object of all future attempts, according to the old proverb:
"He that would England win, Must with Scotland first begin."
The project of an invasion, if not suggested by Murray, as has been stated, was soon communicated to him; and his credit attained to such an extent, that he was appointed by the Chevalier, at the request of Prince Charles, to be secretary for Scottish affairs. At the latter end of the year 1742 he was sent to Paris, where he found an emissary of the Stuarts, Mr. Kelly, who was negotiating in their behalf at the Court of France. Here Murray communicated with Cardinal Tencin, the successor of Cardinal Fleury, in the management of the affairs of the Chevalier, and here he met the exiled Marquis of Tullibardine, who, notwithstanding his losses and misfortunes in the year 1715, was still sanguine of ultimate success. Here, too, was the unfortunate Charles Radcliffe, who, with others once opulent, once independent, were now forced to submit to receive, with many indignities in the payment, pensions from the French Government. It was easy to inflame the minds of persons so situated with false hopes; and Murray is said to have been indefatigable in the prosecution of his scheme. After a delay of three weeks in Paris, he set off on that memorable undertaking to engage the Clans, which ultimately ended in the insurrection of 1745.
Lord George Murray, meantime, had returned to his native country, where he was presented to George the Second, and solicited, but ineffectually, a commission in the British army. This was refused, and the ardour in the Stuart cause, which we may presume to have wavered, again revived in its original vigour.
Previous to the Insurrection of 1745, Lord George Murray married Amelia, the only surviving child and heiress of James Murray of Glencarse and Strowan, a lady who appears, both from the terms of affection and respect expressed towards her by the Marquis of Tullibardine, and from the tenour of her own letters, to have coincided warmly in the efforts of her husband for the restoration of the Stuarts. Five children were the issue of this marriage.
The course which public affairs were now taking checked, however, completely all hopes of domestic felicity. After several unsuccessful negotiations in Paris attempted by the agents of James Stuart, and in London by Lord Elcho, the scheme of invasion languished for some time. Whilst all was apparently secure, however, the metropolis was the scene of secret cabals and meetings of the Jacobites, sometimes at one place, sometimes at another; but unhappily for their cause, the party generally wanted compactness and discretion. "The little Jacobites," as those who were not in the secret of these manoeuvres were called, began to flatter themselves that a large army would land in England from France that summer. Nor was it the policy of Government to check these reports, which strengthened the hands of the ministry, and procured a grant of the supplies with alacrity. The Jacobites, meantime, ran from house to house, intoxicated with their anticipated triumphs; and such chance of success as there might be was thus rendered abortive.
The year 1743 ended, however; and the visions of the Jacobites vanished into air. Donald Cameron of Lochiel, the elder, who visited Paris for the purpose of ascertaining what were the real intentions of the French cabinet, found that even the Cardinal Tencin did not think it yet time for the attempt, and he returned to Scotland disheartened. The death of the Cardinal Fleury in 1743 added to the discomfiture of his hopes. Above all, the reluctance of the English Jacobites to pledge themselves to the same assurances that had been given by the Scotch, and their shyness in conversing with the people who were sent from France or Scotland on the subject, perplexed the emissaries who arrived in this country, and offered but a faint hope of their assistance from England.
But, in the ensuing year, the affairs of the Jacobites brightened; France, which had suspended her favours, once more encouraged and flattered the party. A messenger was dispatched to the palace of Albano, to acquaint the Chevalier that the day was now arrived when his views might be expected to prosper; whilst at the same time the utmost pains were taken by the French Government to appear to the English averse to the pretensions of James Stuart. It affords, indeed, another trait of the unfortunate tendency of the Stuart family to repose a misplaced confidence, that they should have relied on professions so hollow and so vague as those of France. But the dependent and desolate situation of that Prince may well be supposed to have blinded a judgment not ripened by any active participation in the general business of life, and narrowed within his little Court. Besides, there remained some who, after the conflict at Culloden was over, could even view the enterprise as having been by no means unauspicious. "Upon the whole," writes Maxwell of Kirkconnel, "the conjuncture seemed favourable; and it is not to be wondered that a young Prince, naturally brave, should readily lay hold of it. There was a prospect of recalling his father from an exile nearly as long as his life, saving his country from impending ruin, and restoring both to the enjoyment of their rights."
Great preparations were in fact actually made by the French Government for the invasion of Great Britain. The young Prince, who was forthwith summoned from Rome, was to land in the Highlands and head the Clans; Lord John Drummond, it was arranged, should make a descent on the southern part of the island, and endeavour to join the young Chevalier, and march towards Edinburgh. Twelve thousand French were to pour into Wales at the same time, under the command of a general who was never named, and to join such English insurgents as should rally to their assistance.
This scheme, had it been executed with promptness, might perhaps have prospered better than, in these later times, in the security of an undisturbed succession, we are inclined to allow. General discontents prevailed in England. The partiality which had been shown to the Hanoverian troops in preference to the English at the battle of Dettingen had irritated, if not alienated, the affections of the army. The King and the Duke of Cumberland were abroad, and a small number of ships only guarded the coast. Parliament was not sitting; and most of the members both of the Lords and Commons, and of the Privy Council, were at their country-seats. But the proper moment for the enterprise was lost by delays, and the same opportunity never again occurred.
Meantime, the young Prince who was to influence the destiny of so many brave men, accompanied by his brother, left Rome furtively, under pretext of going to hunt at Cisterna. A tender affection, cemented by their adversities, existed between James Stuart and his sons. As they parted from each other with tears and embracings, the gallant Charles Edward exclaimed, "I go to claim your right to three crowns: If I fail," he added earnestly, "your next sight of me, sir, shall be in my coffin!" "My son," exclaimed the Chevalier, "Heaven forbid that all the crowns in the world should rob me of my child!" Mr. Murray of Broughton was present at this interview; the prelude to disasters and dangers to the ardent young man, and of anxieties and disappointments to his father, feelingly depicted in the Chevalier's touching letters to his children.
By a stratagem the young Prince effected his journey from Rome without its becoming known, and eleven days after his departure from that city elapsed before it was made public. He was accompanied by Henry Benedict, who was at this time a youth of great promise. He is described as having had, as well as his brother, a very fine person, though somewhat shorter in stature than that ill-fated young man, and of a less delicate complexion. He seems to have been, perhaps, better constituted for the career of difficulty which Charles Edward encountered. He was of a robust form, with an unusual fire in his eyes. Whilst his brother united the different qualities of the Stuart and the Sobieski, Henry Benedict is said to have been more entirely actuated by the spirit of his great ancestor, King John of Poland; by whom, and the handful of Christians whom he headed, a hundred and fifty thousand Turks were defeated. Even when only nine years of age, the high-spirited boy, whose martial qualities were afterwards subdued beneath the taming influence of a Cardinal's hat, resented the refusal of his father to allow him to accompany his brother to assist the young King of Naples in the recovery of his dominions; and could only be pacified by the threat of having his garter, the beloved insignia of English knighthood, taken from him as well as his sword.
It soon became evident that the designs of France were not unknown at St. James's. The celebrated Chauvelin, Secretary of State to Louis the Fifteenth, had long been employing his influence over the Cardinal Fleury to counteract the wishes of the English. By a slight accident his designs were disclosed to Queen Caroline. Chauvelin had, unintentionally, among other papers, put into the hands of the Earl of Waldegrave, then ambassador in France, a letter from the Chevalier. Lord Waldegrave immediately sent it to Queen Caroline. This involved a long correspondence between Sir Robert Walpole and Waldegrave on the subject. "Jacobitism," to borrow the language of Dr. Cox, "at this time produced a tremor through every nerve of Government; and the slightest incident that discovered any intercourse between the Pretender and France occasioned the most serious apprehensions." The spirit of insurrection and discontent had long pervaded not only the capital, which was disturbed by frequent tumults, but the country; and the murder of Porteous in Edinburgh, in 1736, was proved only to be the result of a regular systematic plan of resistance to the Government.
The death of Queen Caroline deprived the oppressed Jacobites in both kingdoms of their only friend at Court. The unfortunate of all modes of faith met, indeed, with protection and beneficence from that excellent Princess. Those Roman Catholics, whose zeal for the Stuart cause had exposed them to the rigour of the law, were succoured by her bounty; large sums were sent by her to the indigent and ruined Jacobite families; and Sir Robert Walpole, who was greatly disturbed at this show of mercy to the delinquent party, truly exclaimed, "that the Jacobites had a ready access to the Queen by the backstairs, and that all attempts to suppress them would be ineffectual."
The last efforts of Walpole, then Lord Orford, were exerted to warn the country of the danger to be feared in that second invasion, for prognosticating which he had so often been severely ridiculed. He alluded to "the greatest power in Europe, which was setting up a Pretender to the throne; the winds alone having hindered an invasion and protected Britain." He warned the Lords, that the rebellion which he anticipated would be "fought on British ground." The memorable oration in which he unfolded these sentiments, which were delivered with great emotion, touched the heart of Frederic Prince of Wales; who arose, quitted his seat, and, taking Lord Orford by the hand, expressed his acknowledgments. That warning was the last effort of one sinking under an excruciating disease, and to whose memory the tragedy of 1715 must still have been present.
Charles Edward, to whose ill-omened attempts to sail from Dunkirk, Walpole had thus alluded, had borne that disastrous endeavour with a fortitude which augured well for his future powers of endurance. Mr. Maxwell thus describes his commencement of the voyage. "Most of the troops," he says, "were already embarked, when a furious storm dispersed the ships of war, and drove the transports on the coast: the troops already embarked were glad to gain the shore, having lost some of their number. It is hardly possible to conceive a greater disappointment than that which the Prince met with on this occasion. How severely soever he might feel it, he did not seem dejected; on the contrary, he was in appearance cheerful and easy; encouraged such of his friends as seemed most deeply affected, telling them Providence would furnish him with other occasions of delivering his father's subjects, and making them happy. Immediately after this disaster the expedition was given up, and the Prince returned to Paris, where he lived incognito till he set out for Scotland. Not long after his return to Paris, war was declared betwixt France and England, which gave him fresh hopes that something would be undertaken. But after several months, seeing no appearance, he grew very impatient, and began to think of trying his fortune with such friends as would follow him: he was sick of the obscure way he was in; he thought himself neglected by the court of France, but could not bear the thoughts of returning to Rome. He had heard much of the loyalty and bravery of the Scotch Highlanders; but the number of those Clans he could depend upon was too inconsiderable to do anything effectual. While he was thus perplexed and fluctuating, John Murray of Broughton arrived from Scotland."
In this emergency, the flattering representations of Murray of Broughton found a ready response in the young Prince's heart. Notwithstanding the assertions of that individual in his evidence at Lovat's trial, that he had used every means to dissuade the Prince from going to Scotland, it is expressly stated by Mr. Maxwell, that he "advised the Prince, in his own name, to come to Scotland at any rate; it was his opinion that the Prince should come as well provided and attended as possible, but rather come alone than delay coming; that those who had invited the Prince, and promised to join him if he came at the head of four or five thousand regular troops, would do the same if he came without any troops at all; in fine, that he had a very strong party in Scotland, and would have a very good chance of succeeding. This was more than enough to determine the Prince. The expedition was resolved upon, and Murray despatched to Scotland with such orders and instructions as were thought proper at that juncture."
Mr. Murray may therefore be considered as in a great measure responsible for the event of that proceeding, which he afterwards denounced as a "desperate undertaking." He found, unhappily, ready instruments in the unfortunate Marquis of Tullibardine, in Mr. Radcliffe, and others, whose fate he may thus be considered to have hastened by his alluring representations of the prospects of success.
When it was decided that Charles Edward should throw himself on the loyalty of the Clans, and intimation was given of the whole scheme, Lord George Murray prepared for action. The landing of the Prince, the erection of a standard at Glenfinnin, the march through Lochiel, and the encampment between Glengarry and Fort Augustus, were events which he did not personally aid by his presence. He was, indeed, busily employed in assembling his father's tenantry; and it was not until the Prince arrived at Perth that Lord George Murray was presented to him; he was almost immediately created a Lieutenant-General in the Prince's service. His power in the Highlands was, indeed, of a far greater extent than that military rank would seem to imply; for, although the Marquis of Tullibardine was the nominal commander in the North, to Lord George Murray was entrusted the actual management of affairs; an arrangement with which the modest and conscientious Tullibardine willingly complied.
The character of Lord George might be considered as partly sobered by time; since, at the commencement of the Rebellion of 1745, he was forty years of age. He was in the full vigour, therefore, of his great natural and intellectual powers, which, when at that period of life they have been ripened by exercise and experience, are perhaps at their zenith. The person of Lord George was tall and robust; he had the self-denial and energy of his countrymen. He slept little, and entered into every description of detail; he was persevering in everything which he undertook; he was vigilant, active, and diligent. To these qualities he united a natural genius for military operations; and his powers were such, that it was justly thought, that, had he been well instructed in military tactics, he would have formed one of the ablest generals of the day. As it was, the retreat from Derby, ill-advised as it may be deemed, is said to have sufficiently manifested his skill as a commander.
In addition to these attributes, Lord George was brave to the highest degree; and, in all engagements, was always the first to rush sword in hand into danger. As he advanced to the charge, and looked round upon the Highlanders, whose character he well understood, it was his practice to say, "I do not ask you, my lads, to go before; but only to follow me." It cannot be a matter of surprise, that, with this bold and resolute spirit, Lord George was the darling of the Highland soldiers; and that his strong influence over their minds should have enabled him to obviate, in some measure, the deficiencies of discipline. "Taking them," as a contemporary writer asserts, "merely as they came from the plough, he made them perform prodigies of valour against English armies, always greatly superior in number to that of the Prince Charles Edward, although the English troops are allowed to be the best in Europe." Thus endowed, Lord George Murray showed how feeble are the advantages of birth, compared with those of nature's gift. In rank, if not in family connections, and in an hereditary hold upon the affections of his countrymen, the Duke of Perth might be esteemed superior; but, brave and honourable as he was, that amiable nobleman could never obtain the confidence of the army as a general. It is not, however, to be supposed that any commander would ever have obtained an influence over a Highland army, if he had not added high birth to his other requisites. The Clansmen were especially aristocratic in their notions; and the names which they had honoured and loved from their birth, were alone those to which they would eagerly respond.
To counterbalance the fine, soldierly characteristics which graced the lofty and heroic Lord George Murray, some defects, of too stern a nature to be called weaknesses, but yet indicative of narrowness of mind, clouded his excellent qualities. Unlike most great men, he was not open to conviction. That noble candour, which can bear counsels, or receive even admonition with gratitude, was not a part of his haughty nature. A sense of superiority over every human being rendered him impatient of the slightest controul, and greedy of exclusive power. He was imperious and determined; and was deficient in the courtesy which forms, combined with honesty, so fine an attribute in a soldier's bearing. "He wanted," says one who knew him well, "the sole ordering of everything."
At Perth, Lord George Murray met with the famous Chevalier Johnstone, whom he soon adopted into his service. This young soldier, whose pen has supplied memoirs of the Rebellion of 1745, and upon whose statements much of the reported merits of Lord George Murray rests, was the only son of a merchant in Edinburgh, and the descendant of an ancient and well-connected family. By the marriage of his sister he was nearly related to the House of Rollo; and, from these and other circumstances, he mingled with the best society in his native city.
Having been educated in Jacobite and Episcopalian principles, young Johnstone hailed with delight the arrival of Prince Charles: he resolved instantly to join his standard. Escaping from Edinburgh, he hastened to Duncrub, the seat of Lord Rollo, near Perth. Here he awaited the arrival of the young Chevalier; and here he was introduced by his cousins, the daughters of Lord Rollo, to the Duke of Perth and to Lord George Murray. The Chevalier Johnstone was one of the first Low-countrymen that joined the standard of Charles Edward.
Lord George Murray very soon discovered that the requisites for forming a good soldier and an active partizan were centred in young Johnstone. For the former he was qualified by an open and impetuous character, generally combined with a desperate courage. The jollity and licence of the Cavalier school, which characterized Johnstone, did not materially detract from, but added rather to the popularity of his character. As a partizan, he has proved his zeal by his Memoirs, which afford a sample of much heat and prejudice, and which have, in upholding Lord George Murray, done an injury to the memory of Charles Edward, of which the adversaries of his cause have not failed to take advantage. To many errors of character, and to some egotism, the Chevalier Johnstone, as he came to be called in after-life, united a kind heart and an enthusiastic disposition. He acted for a considerable time as aide-de-camp to Lord George Murray, and afterwards in the same capacity with the Prince. But his liveliest admiration appears to have been directed towards the general who has been classed with Montrose and Dundee, and no subsequent service under other masters ever effaced his impression of respect and confidence to Lord George Murray. After the battle of Preston-Pans Johnstone received a captain's commission from the Prince: and, exhausted with his duties as aide-de-camp, he formed a company, with which he joined the Duke of Perth's regiment. His history, mingled up as it is with that of the General under whom he first served, must necessarily be incorporated with the following narrative.
Lord George Murray continued, for some time, busily engaged in rallying around him his brother's vassals. The Duke of Atholl is partly proprietor, partly superior, of the country which bears his name. That region is inhabited by Stuarts and Robinsons, none of the Duke's name living upon his estates. Of these, several have fiefs or mortgages of the Atholl family, and command the common people of their respective Clans; but, like other Highlanders, they believe that they are bound to rise in arms when the chief of their whole Clan requires it. The vassals on the Atholl territory were well-affected to the Stuarts, great pains having been taken by the father of Lord George Murray, notwithstanding his efforts to appear loyal to the Government, to infuse the spirit of Jacobitism among them.
Of the events which succeeded his joining the Prince's standard at Perth, until the commencement of the retreat from Derby, Lord George Murray has left a succinct relation. It is written, as are his letters, in a plain, free, manly style, which dispels all doubt as to the sincerity of the narrator.
"I joined the standard at Perth," he begins, "the day his Royal Highness arrived there. As I had formerly known something of a Highland army, the first thing I did was to advise the Prince to endeavour to get proper people for provisors and commissaries, for otherwise there would be no keeping the men together, and they would straggle through the whole country upon their marches if it was left to themselves to find provisions; which, beside the inconveniency of irregular marches, and much time lost, great abuses would be committed, which, above all things, we were to avoid. I got many of the men to make small knapsacks of sacking before we left Perth, to carry a peck of meal each upon occasion; and I caused take as many threepenny loaves there as would be three days' bread to our small army, which was carried in carts. I sent about a thousand of these knapsacks to Crieff, to meet the men who were coming from Atholl."
The difficulties which Lord George encountered were, it is evident, considerable. Upon the arrival of Charles Edward at Perth, his army amounted only to two thousand men, until he was joined by Lord George Murray, by the Duke of Perth, and by Lord Nairn, and other persons of distinction. There were few persons in that army who were capable, by being versed in military affairs, of giving Lord George Murray any advice or assistance. The Highland chiefs possessed the most heroic courage; but they knew no other manoeuvre but that of rushing, sword in hand, upon an enemy. The Irish officers were equally deficient in experience and knowledge; and, with the exception of Mr. Sullivan, are stated "to have had no more knowledge than the whole stock of subalterns, namely, the knowing how to mount and quit guard." Such is the description given of the collected forces by Johnstone. But, although not trained as regular soldiers, and accustomed chiefly to the care of herds of black cattle, whom they wandered after in the mountains, the Highlanders had a discipline of their own. Their chiefs usually kept about them several retainers experienced in the use of arms; and a meeting of two or three gentlemen was sure to bring together a little army, for the habits of the clansmen were essentially military. It was, some considered, a circumstance favourable to Lord George Murray, that, being unprepared by an early military education, he was unfettered by its formal rules, and therefore was more calculated to lead an undisciplined army of Highlanders, whose native energies he knew how to direct better than a skilful tactician would have ventured to do. During his stay at Perth, the Highlanders, so prone to irregularities when not in active service, were tranquil under the strictest military rule.
It was here, however, that the first seeds of dissension were sown between Charles Edward and Lord George. Sir Thomas Sheridan, the tutor of the Prince, who was allowed to "have lived and died a man of honour," but who was manifestly incapable of the great charge intrusted to him, both in the education of the young Princes and as their adviser in after-life, added to his other deficiencies a total ignorance of the British constitution and habits of thinking. The Prince, of course, was equally ill-informed. They were therefore in the practice, in conversation, of espousing sentiments of arbitrary power, which were equally impolitic and unbecoming. Sincere and shrewd, Lord George Murray lost no time in expressing to Charles Edward his decided disapproval of this tone of discourse. His motives in these expostulations were excellent, but his overbearing manner nullified all the good that might have been effected. He offended the Prince, who repressed indeed his secret indignation, but whose pride, fostered by circumstances, could ill brook the assumption of his General.
It was not until the Prince reached Edinburgh that a regular Council was formed; consisting of the Duke of Perth, Lord George Murray, Lord Elcho, Secretary Murray, Sir Thomas Sheridan, and Mr. Sullivan, the Highland chiefs, and afterwards of all the colonels in the army. But, among the advisers of the Prince, an "ill-timed emulation," as Mr. Maxwell calls it, now crept in, and bred great dissension and animosities. "The dissensions," he states, "began at Edinburgh:" according to Sir Walter Scott, they had an earlier origin, and originated at Perth.
They were aggravated, as in the Council at Perth in the time of Lord Mar, by the base passions of an individual. Detesting the weak and crooked policy of Mar and viewing from his calm position as an inferior actor, with a fiendish pleasure, the embarrassments and mistakes of him whom he hated, stood the Master of Sinclair. Blinded by a selfish jealousy of power over the mind of him whom he afterwards betrayed to the ruin which he was working, and "aiming at nothing less than the sole direction and management of everything, the Secretary Murray sacrificed to this evil passion, this thirst for ascendancy, all the hopes of prosperity to Charles Edward—all present peace to the harassed and perplexed young man whom his counsels had brought to Scotland. It was he," strongly, and perhaps bitterly, writes Mr. Maxwell, "that had engaged the Prince to make this attempt upon so slight a foundation, and the wonderful success that had hitherto attended it was placed to his account."
By some the sincerity of Murray's loyalty and good-faith were even credited. The Duke of Perth, among a few others, judged of Murray's heart by his own, went readily into all his schemes, and confirmed the Prince in the opinion which he had imbibed of his favourite. After Kelly had left the Prince, Murray contrived to gain over Sullivan and Sir Thomas Sheridan, and by that means effectually governed Charles Edward. The fearless, lofty, honest character of Lord George Murray alone offered an obstacle to the efforts of the Secretary to obtain, for his own purposes, an entire controul; he cherished towards the General that aversion which a mean and servile nature ever feels to one whose dealings are free from fraud or deceit. He also feared him as a rival, and it became his aim to undermine him, and to lay a plot for the chief stay and prop of the undertaking. It was naturally to be supposed that Lord George Murray's age, his high birth, his experience and influence, and his great capacity, would have given him an advantage over his dastardly rival, and have gained the first consideration with the Prince. But Murray of Broughton, unhappily, had acquired an early influence over the credulous mind of the young adventurer. His acquaintance beneath the roof of the Santi Apostoli had secured an unhappy confidence in his fidelity and worth. He shortly took advantage of the sentiments which ought to have ensured the nicest honour, the most scrupulous truth, in return, to deceive and to mislead his young master.
Unfortunately there was one point upon which the honour of Lord George Murray was to be suspected. He "was said" to have solicited a commission in the English army. Upon this supposed early defection of Lord George to the Hanoverian party, Murray grounded his accusations.
"He began by representing Lord George as a traitor to the Prince; he assured him that he had joined on purpose to have an opportunity of delivering him up to Government. It was hardly possible to guard against this imposture. The Prince had the highest opinion of his Secretary's integrity, and knew little of Lord George Murray. So the calumny had its full effect. Lord George soon came to know the suspicion the Prince had of him, and was affected, as one may easily imagine; to be sure, nothing could be more shocking to a man of honour, and one that was now for the third time venturing his life and fortune for the royal cause. The Prince was partly undeceived by Lord George's gallant behaviour at the battle; and, had Lord George improved that opportunity, he might perhaps have gained the Prince's favour, and get the better of the Secretary: but his haughty and overbearing manner prevented a thorough reconciliation, and seconded the malicious insinuations of his rival."
Another anecdote is related, on the authority of Murray of Broughton: On the tenth of October the Chevalier issued a manifesto, dated from Holyrood House. This document is acknowledged, even by the opposite party, to have been remarkably well written: but it was not completed without some heart-burnings, arising from the distrust of many members of the Kirk, who conceived that it did not contain assurances for the security of their manner of Divine worship. A grand council was therefore held, concerning the alterations which were necessary to conciliate the good opinion of the Presbyterians. Mr. Kelly, who had drawn up the manifesto, was very tenacious of his performance; but the majority of those who were present were of opinion that the manifesto would prosper better if a promise of putting the penal laws against Papists into effect were added to it. Upon this proposition the young Chevalier was observed to change countenance, doubtless reflecting that it would be ungrateful to depress those who had been such real friends to his father. He had, however, the prudence to say but little, and to maintain a neutral position during the debate, which was carried on with much bitterness on both sides of the question. It is remarkable that the Duke of Perth, Sullivan, and O'Neil, who were all Papists, voted for the addition; whilst many who were of the Reformed Church opposed it. Amongst these was Lord George Murray, who, starting up and turning to Charles Edward, exclaimed, with an oath, "Sir, if you permit this article to be inserted, you will lose five hundred thousand friends;" meaning that there were that number of Papists in England. On this, the Prince arose from his chair and withdrew, offended, as it was thought, by the vehemence and overbearing advice of Lord George. As he left the room, he said, "I will have it decided by a majority." But the freedom with which he had been treated appears to have rankled in his mind. The additional clause was negatived, and the manifesto remained in the same state as when it came from Mr. Kelly's hands.
There were, indeed, times when Lord George endeavoured to retrieve mistakes of which he was conscious, and upon some occasions he subdued his lofty temper so far as to be "very obsequious and respectful, but had not temper to go through with it." "He now and then broke into such violent sallies as the Prince could not digest, though the situation of his affairs forced him to bear with them. The Secretary's station and favour had attached to him such as were confident of success, and had nothing in view but making their fortunes. Nevertheless, Lord George had greater weight and influence in the Council, and generally brought the majority over to his opinion; which so irritated the ambitious Secretary, that he endeavoured to give the Prince a bad impression of the Council itself, and engaged to lay it entirely aside."
It was not only in regard to Lord George Murray that the influence of the Secretary was prejudicial to the Prince's interests; neither was Lord George the only person whom he dreaded as a rival. Having access to the most intimate communication with Charles Edward, he abused the youth and inexperience of the ill-fated man to inspire him with a distrust of many gentlemen of good family and of integrity, whose fidelity he contrived to whisper away. All employments were filled up at the Secretary's nomination; and he contrived to bestow them upon his own creatures, who would never thwart his measures. Hence it followed that places of trust were bestowed on "insignificant little fellows," while there were abundance of gentlemen of merit who might have been of great use, had they met with the confidence of their Prince. "Those that Murray had thus placed," continues Mr. Maxwell, "seconded his dirty little views; and it was their interest, too, to keep their betters at a distance from the Prince's person and acquaintance."
Until a very short time before Charles Edward left Perth, he appears to have felt the most unqualified admiration for the Highland character, which he had carefully studied. He thus expressed himself to his father: "I have occasion every day to reflect on your Majesty's last words to me,—that I should find power, if tempered with justice and clemency, an easy thing to myself, and not grievous to those under me. 'Tis owing to the observance of this rule, and to my conformity to the customs of these people, that I have got their hearts, to a degree not easy to be conceived by those who do not see it. One who observes the discipline which I have established, would take my little army to be a body of picked veterans; and, to see the love and harmony that reigns amongst us, he would be apt to look upon it as a large well-ordered family, in which every one loves another better than himself."
He even applauded the rude climate of Scotland. "I keep my health better in these wild mountains than I used to do in the Campagna Felice; and sleep sounder, lying on the ground, than I used to do in the palaces at Rome."
In this happy temper the Prince set out on his march from Perth to Edinburgh. The march was made in the most perfect good order, and the strictest discipline prevented any depredations. As the insurgent army passed by Stirling, the standard of the Chevalier was saluted by some shot from the castle. Nevertheless, Lord George Murray sent into the town, and the gates were opened; and bread, cheese, and butter sent out to sell, near to Bannockburn, where the army halted. On the seventeenth of September the city of Edinburgh was taken.
In the description of the courtly scenes of Holyrood, it does not appear that Lord George Murray took any conspicuous part. His sphere was the council-room, or the camp, or the battle-field; and of his proceedings in these different occupations he has left a very particular account, written with the same manly spirit and fearless tone which he displayed in ordinary life.
When the Prince's Council had received accounts of Sir John Cope's landing at Dunbar, they left Edinburgh and lay upon their arms at Duddingstone, and on the twentieth marched to meet the enemy. Lord George commanded the van, and, whilst passing the south side of Pinkie Gardens, he heard that Cope was at or near Preston, and that he would probably gain the high ground at Fawside. There was no time to deliberate or to wait for orders. Well acquainted with the ground, Lord George struck off through the fields, without keeping to any road. He went without being even preceded by the usual escort to choose the ground where to halt. In less than half an hour, by marching quickly, he gained the eminence; he slackened his pace and waited for the rear, still proceeding slowly towards Tranent, always fronting the enemy. General Cope's army was drawn up on the plain between Preston Grange and Tranent, with deep broad ditches between them. After much reconnoitring and some firing, on the part of the enemy, from these ditches, at the Highlanders, who they thought had never seen cannon, and would therefore be intimidated, the English army was drawn up on the east side of the village of Tranent, where, on a dry stubble-field, with a small rising in front to shelter them, they lay down to repose in rank and file.
"It was now night," writes Lord George Murray; "and when all the principal officers were called together, I proposed the attacking the enemy at break of day. I assured them that it was not only practicable, but that it would, in all probability, be attended with success. I told them I knew the ground myself, and had a gentleman or two with me who knew every part thereabouts: there was indeed a small defile at the east end of the ditches, but, once that was past, there would be no stop; and though we should be long on our march, yet, when the whole line was past the defile, they had nothing to do but to face to the left, and in a moment the whole was formed, and then to attack. The Prince was highly pleased with the proposal, as indeed the whole officers were; so, after placing a few pickets, everybody lay down at their posts; and supped upon what they had with them. At midnight the principal officers were called again, and all was ordered as was at first proposed. Word was sent to the Atholl brigade to come off their post at two in the morning, and not to make the least noise."
Before four in the morning the army began to march, and an arrangement of the first line, which had been previously agreed upon, was now put into execution. Those who had had the right the day before, were to have the rear and the left; and this alteration was made without the least noise or confusion. The Duke of Perth therefore went into the front, Lord George giving up his guides to him. No horse marched at that time, for fear of being discovered. When the army had advanced within a hundred paces of the ditches, they marched on to the attack, Lord George calling on Cameron of Lochiel to incline to the left. As the enemy discovered their approach, the noise of the cannon announced that the engagement had begun. Notwithstanding that Lord George Murray's regiment was the last to pass the defile towards the enemy, it was the first to fire. "Our whole first line," writes the gallant soldier, "broke through the enemy. Some of them were rallying behind us; but when they saw our second line coming up, they then made the best of their way."
Lord George pursued the enemy to the walls of Bankton House, the residence of Colonel Gardiner; and here a party of the enemy got over the ditch, and fired at the Highland foe. This little company, brave as it was, was composed of only fourteen men, headed by a Lieutenant-Colonel. "I got before a hundred of our men," writes Lord George, "who had their guns presented to fire upon them, and at my desire they kept up their fire, so that those officers and soldiers surrendered themselves prisoners; and nothing gave me more pleasure that day than having it in my power to save those men, as well as several others." This declaration was perhaps necessary, to rescue the memory of Lord George from the opprobrium of cruelty; since it has been asserted, that at the battle of Culloden he issued orders to give no quarter, and that such a document to that effect, in the handwriting of Lord George, was in the possession of the Duke of Cumberland. This stigma on the fame of Lord George Murray may have originated from the desperate character of that last effort: his haughty temper may have been exasperated in the course of the fatal contest. It is a charge which can now only be repelled by the previous character of the individual against whom it is made, since it was never fairly made out, nor satisfactorily contradicted.
After the action was partially over, Lord George Murray perceived that a number of people were gathered together on the height near to Tranent. Mistaking them for the enemy, the General marched with his regiment, accompanied by Lochiel, who had kept his men together in good order, back to the narrow causeway that led up to Tranent. Here he found that the supposed enemy were only country-people and servants. From them, however, he learned that the enemy were at Cokenny, only a mile and a half distant; and he instantly determined on pursuing them. His energy and valour in thus doing so, after the events of that harassing and exhausting day, cannot but be admired. He found on arriving at Cokenny, a force of about three hundred Highlanders, a volunteer company recently embodied at Inverness by President Forbes. These soon surrendered; between sixteen and seventeen hundred prisoners were taken that day, among whom were seventy officers. "His Royal Highness," adds Lord George Murray in giving this his personal narrative, "took the same care of their wounded as of his own. I do not mention the behaviour of all our officers and men that day; their actions shewed it. I only take notice of those two that were immediately under my eye, which was Lochiel's regiment and the Stewarts of Appin." As the enemy's foot-soldiers had made little or no resistance during the battle of Preston-Pans, they might have been all cut to pieces had it not been for the interposition of Prince Charles and his officers, who gained that day as much honour by their humanity as by their bravery. The Prince, when the rout began, mounted his horse, galloped all over the field, and his voice was heard amid that scene of horror, calling on his men to spare the lives of his enemies, "whom he no longer looked upon as such." Far from being elated with the victory, which was considered as complete, the care of the kind-hearted and calumniated young man was directed to assist the wounded. Owing to his exertions, eighty-three of the officers were saved, besides hundreds of soldiers. "The Prince," writes Mr. Maxwell, "had a livelier sense of other people's misfortunes than of his own good-fortune."
This spirit of humanity was extended to the two Lieutenants-General. The conduct of the Duke of Perth was ever consistent with his mild character. On that occasion, at all events, Lord George participated in the noble clemency which usually characterized the Jacobites.
"In the evening," he writes, "I went with the officer prisoners to a house in Musselburgh that was allotted for them. Those who were worst wounded were left at Colonel Gardiner's house, where surgeons attended them; the others walked, as I did, along with them without a guard (as they had given me their parole); and to some, who were not able to walk, I gave my own horses. It was a new-finished house that was got for them, where there was neither table, bed, chair, nor chimney grate. I caused buy some new-thrashed straw, and had by good-fortune as much cold provisions and liquor of my own as made a tolerable meal to them all; and when I was going to retire, they entreated me not to leave them; for, as they had no guard, they were afraid that some of the Highlanders, who had got liquor, might come in upon them and insult or plunder them."
Beside these suffering men Lord George lay on a floor all night, having given up the minister's house in Musselburgh, which had been destined as his quarters, to those who were valetudinary. On the following day those officers who were tolerably well were removed to Pinkie House, where Prince Charles was staying. Lord George then returned to the field of battle, to give directions about the cannon, and to see about the other wounded prisoners. He afterwards repaired to Pinkie House, the gardens of which were thronged that night with the prisoners, privates, to whom provisions were sent; "and the night before," as Lord George relates, "I got some of their own provisions carried from Cokenny to Colonel Gardiner's courts and gardens for their use. In these things I ever laid it down as a maxim, to do by others as I would wish they would do by me, had I been in their place, and they in mine." Such is the spirit in which the unfortunate were regarded by the victors of that day; and these two accounts, that of Lord George Murray and that of Maxwell of Kirkconnel, written without any mutual compact, and at different times, and even in different countries, disprove the following gross and improbable statement of Henderson's of that which occurred after the day at Preston was fought and won.
According to his account, professedly that of an eye-witness, the conduct of the young Chevalier (who, he acknowledges, had, by the advice of the Duke of Perth, sent to Edinburgh for surgeons,) was, in the highest degree, unfeeling and indecent. He stood by the road-side, his horse near him, "with his armour of tin, which resembled a woman's stays, affixed to the saddle; he was on foot, clad as an ordinary captain, in a coarse plaid, and large blue bonnet, a scarlet waistcoat with a narrow plain lace about it; his boots and knees were much dirtied (the effect of his having fallen into a ditch, as I afterwards understood); he was exceeding merry, and twice said, 'My Highlanders have lost their plaids,' at which he laughed very heartily, being in no way affected when speaking of the dead or wounded. Nor would his jollity have been interrupted, if he had not looked upon seven standards that had been taken from the dragoons; on which he said, in French, (a language he frequently spoke in,) 'We have missed some of them.' After this, he refreshed himself upon the field, and, with the utmost composure, ate a piece of cold beef and drank a glass of wine, amidst the deep and piercing groans of the poor men who had fallen victims to his ambition."
After this flippant and hard-hearted conduct, as it is described, the Prince is said to have ridden off to Pinkie House, leaving the bulk of the wounded on the field that day, to be brought in carts to Edinburgh. "Few," he says, "recovered; and those who did, went begging through the streets, their heads tied about with bandages, but obtaining no relief from their conquerors. The property of the prisoners, the fine linen of the officers, their gold and silver hilted swords, their watches and rings, were worn by the lowest among the soldiery almost before their eyes."
The battle of Preston, which was magnified by Lord Lovat as a "glorious victory not to be paralleled in history," although not meriting such extravagant remarks, produced the most important consequences to the Jacobite cause. Among not the least important was the acquisition of all the arms of the whole body of foot, and even of the volunteers. These went to supply the recruits whom the Marquis of Tullibardine and others were sending daily to the camp. No enemy was left in the field to oppose the progress of Charles Edward's victorious troops. When, having, as the Chevalier Johnstone asserts, escaped from the field of battle by placing a white cockade on his head, Cope arrived at Coldstream with his troops in great disorder, he was greeted by Lord Mark Ker, one of a family who had long had hereditary claims to wit as well as courage, with the bitter remark, that "he believed he was the first general in Europe that had brought tidings of his own defeat."
"The Prince," writes Maxwell of Kirkconnel, "was now, properly speaking, master of Scotland." The militia, which had been raised in some parts of Scotland for the service of Government, was dismissed; and the Chevalier's orders were obeyed in many places far from his army. These advantages were, however, rather glaring than solid and permanent.
After the battle of Preston, it became a serious and important question what step was to be taken. It was the Prince's earnest desire to push the advantages thus gained by an immediate invasion of England, before the Hanoverians had time to recover from their surprise. But this spirited and, as the event proved, sagacious opinion was objected to on the score of the smallness of the forces, and the probability of an accession of strength before marching southwards. Lastly, the fatal hope of aid from France, that ignis fatuus which had misled the Jacobite party before, and on which it was their misfortune to depend, was adduced as an argument. The Prince yielded to his counsellors, and consented to remain some time in Edinburgh. Upon this decision Lord George Murray offers no opinion.
The castle of Edinburgh remained still unsubdued; and the Prince, upon his return to that city, resolved on blockading the fortress. This was a very unpopular step, but Charles had no alternative; since it was of vital importance to reduce a place of so great strength and consequence. Accordingly a proclamation was issued, forbidding, under pain of death, that any provisions should be sent up to the castle; and the management of this blockade was entrusted to Lord George Murray.
This able General now proposed to place guards in such a manner as should prevent the garrison in the castle marching out to surprise him, but his exertions were baffled by the want of judgment and incompetency of those beneath him in command. The guard was placed near the weigh-house at the foot of the Castle-rock, so that the battery of the half-moon, as it was termed, near the Castle-gate, bore upon it, and many of the guard within would have perished upon the first firing. This was not the only mistake. Mr. O'Sullivan, one of Prince Charles's officers, one day placed a small guard near the West Kirk, which was not only exposed to the enemy's fire, but conveniently situated near the sally-port, whence the besieged might issue and take the party there prisoners; for no relief could be sent to them in less than two hours' time, owing to its being necessary to pass round the whole circumference of the castle to arrive at that point. "I never," says Lord George Murray, "knew of that guard's being placed there, until they were taken prisoners." So severe a service was this blockade, that it was found necessary to relieve the guards, which were thus placed, by different corps who could not know the risk which they encountered. Desertions from the Jacobite army were among the most formidable evils with which Lord George had to contend. It was therefore important not to discourage the soldiery. In the midst of difficulty the high-minded Cameron of Lochiel came forward to offer his own person, and to risk his own regiment in this service. He agreed to take all the guards, and to relieve them with the soldiers of his own regiment, who were quartered for that purpose in the outer Parliament House. "I was with him," writes Lord George, "when the guards were relieved, and the men did their duty exceedingly, especially when there was danger; and, when the fire was hottest from the castle, they kept their post with much resolution and bravery. Lochiel and I being much with them, gave them a heartiness that hindered them from complaining of a duty which was so hard, and which the rest of the army had not in their turns. We even placed new guards to keep the castle from sallying, as they seemed disposed; and Keppoch's regiment was brought into town to take some of the guards and support them. I lay in town for some nights, and was constantly visiting the guards and sentinels."
The castle, nevertheless, seated on the precipitous rocks, which, steep as they are, have yet been "scaled by love and ambition," defied the blockaders. The Highlanders continued to keep guard in the weigh-house, and, stationing themselves in the Grass-market, the Smithfield as well as the Hay-market of Edinburgh, lying on the south side of the Castle-hill, awaited there the proceedings of the enemy.
On the twenty-ninth of September, a letter was sent to the Provost of Edinburgh by General Guest, intimating, that, unless a communication were kept up between the city and the castle, he should be under the necessity of using cannon to dislodge the Highlanders. It was said that Guest had an order from the Government, signed by the Marquis of Tweedale, empowering him to lay the city in ashes if the citizens did not remove the Highlanders from their quarters. A message was dispatched from the Provost to General Guest obtaining a respite for that night; but, meantime, the utmost consternation prevailed in the town. Twelve o'clock at night was the hour fixed upon for the execution of this threat of the enemy; and, although many who reasoned did not believe in the existence of the order, the lower classes were seized with a panic, and the streets were crowded with women and children running towards the gates, and with people removing their property to more secure quarters. When the clocks struck twelve, the hour fixed in General Guest's message, the noise of the cannon was heard firing upon the principal streets; but the Highlanders were all under shelter, and only a few poor inhabitants were injured. Nothing was heard except imprecations on that Government which had issued so cruel an order, since it was quite out of the power of the citizens to dislodge the Highlanders from their quarters. But the firing was soon intermitted; and whether the garrison had private orders only to threaten, or whether they found it impossible to execute so barbarous an order, is unknown. They spared the city generally, and only directed their fire to any place where they fancied that they saw a Highlander.
On the following morning a deputation of citizens waited on the Chevalier, and showed him General Guest's letter. He immediately replied, that he was surprised and concerned at the barbarity of the order, but that if, out of compassion for the city, he were to remove his guards, the castle might with equal reason summon him to quit the town, and abandon all the advantages of which he was possessed. A respite of a day was afterwards obtained; and subsequently for six days, in case the Highlanders would abstain from firing at the castle; and a dispatch to London was sent to obtain a mitigation of the order in council.
Meantime, on the first of October, the Highlanders fired; whether at some people who were carrying provisions to the castle, or at the castle itself, is uncertain. Reprisals were instantly made by a heavy cannonading and small shot. The firing continued for some days, bringing terror to the hearts of those who lived remote from the scene of danger; whilst the aged and infirm were carried out of that noble city, thus threatened with destruction. Sir Walter Scott observes, that the generation of his own time alone can remember Edinburgh in peace, undisturbed by civil commotion. The fathers of that generation remembered the days of 1745—their fathers the disturbances of 1715. The fathers of those who had witnessed the rebellion of 1715 could remember the revolution of 1688.
The merciful temper of the young Chevalier saved the city of Edinburgh. At first he resolved to continue the blockade; and he renewed his former orders, prohibiting any person from going to the castle without a pass from his secretary, and threatening any one who was disobedient to this proclamation with instant death. But, when he beheld the distress to which the firing had already reduced the city,—then, let it be remembered, comprised within boundaries of very moderate extent,—he issued another proclamation, expressing his deep concern for the many murders which were committed upon the innocent inhabitants of the city, so contrary to the laws of war, to the truce granted to the city, and even exceeding the powers given. His humanity had, therefore, yielded to the barbarity of his enemy; the blockade of the castle was taken off, and the threatened punishment suspended.
The army of Charles Edward was now increasing daily; and, in consequence of the reports which were circulated in the metropolis, a panic spread there, of which no estimate can be made without consulting the newspapers of that time. Among other writers who employed their talents in inveighing against the cause of James Stuart, was the celebrated Henry Fielding, whose papers in the True Patriot upon the subject present a curious insight into those transient states of public feeling, which perished almost as soon as expressed. The rapidity of the progress made by the insurgents is declared by his powerful pen to have been unprecedented. "Can History," he writes, "produce an instance parallel to this,—of six or seven men landing in a powerful nation, in opposition to the inclination of the people, in defiance of a vast and mighty army? (For, though the greater part of this army was not then in the kingdom, it was so nearly within call, that every man of them might, within the compass of a few days, or weeks at farthest, have been brought home and landed in any part of it.) If we consider, I say, this handful of men landing in the most desolate corner, among a set of poor, naked, hungry, disarmed slaves, abiding there with impunity till they had, as it were, in the face of a large body of his Majesty's troops collected a kind of army, or rather rabble, together, it will be extremely difficult to assign any adequate cause whatsoever, for this unexampled success, without recurring to one, of whose great efficacy we have frequent instances in sacred history: I mean, the just judgment of God against an offending people." The state of public morals, Fielding considers, to have drawn down upon society this signal visitation of Providence. "Indeed, such monstrous impieties and iniquities have I both seen and heard of, within these last three years, during my sojourning in what is called the world, particularly the last winter, while I tarried in the great city, that, while I verily believe we are the silliest people under Heaven in every other light, we are wiser than Sodom in wickedness." The consternation of the sister kingdom had now, indeed, become general; on the slightest report of foreign ships being seen in the Downs, the dismay of the London citizens was extreme: and such was the liberality, or such were the fears of the inhabitants of the county of York, the capital of which may almost have been deemed, in those days, a northern metropolis, that forty thousand pounds were subscribed for its defence, after a grave and mournful address of the archbishop of that diocese.
When the Prince had determined to take off the blockade, and indeed had actually resolved to evacuate Edinburgh and to march southwards, he sent orders to Lord George Murray to nail the cannon upon the city walls, and to retire to Musselburgh and Dalkeith. But the sagacious Lord George, apprehending no further cannonading from the castle, begged permission not to make a precipitate retreat, and obtained leave to continue three weeks longer in Edinburgh, during which time the town remained in a much quieter state than it had been heretofore.
Whilst Lord George Murray was quartered in Edinburgh, he communicated frequently with his wife, the Lady Emilia, who remained with her children at Tullibardine. That lady seems to have taken a deep interest in the events which so deeply concerned her family. She was the first to communicate to the Marquis of Tullibardine the intelligence of the victory of Preston-Pans. "I pray God," she says in her postscript, "to prosper his Royal Highness's arms, and congratulate your Grace upon his happy success." A gentleman, who had seen her husband after the battle, had brought to the anxious wife the tidings of his success.
Towards the end of October the Prince resolved to march into England, without waiting any longer for the landing of French auxiliaries, or even for the arrival of the friendly Clans of Frasers and Mackintoshes, who were ready to march from the north to join Charles Edward. By some of the Chevalier's advisers he was recommended to go to Berwick; but this was a scheme counteracted by the counsels of Lord George Murray, who, in the presence of the principal officers, represented it as "a thing at least of great difficulty, and of not so great use as to lose time, which is precious." Lord George therefore proposed marching into England by the other road; but, to conceal their design, he advised that the army should be divided into three columns; one to go by Kelso, the second by Moffat, and a third by Galashiels, Selkirk, and Hawick; so that all the columns should join on an appointed day near Carlisle. The plan was approved; and, the secret being very well kept, on the thirty-first of October the army prepared to march. It is remarkable, that, during the whole period of their stay in Edinburgh, no general review of the Jacobite forces had taken place. The consequent uncertainty of what was really the amount of those forces, which existed in England, fostered the general panic. "Abundance of people," writes Mr. Maxwell, "friends as well as enemies, had made it their business to find out the number of the Prince's army, but to no purpose. Great pains had been taken to conceal its weakness."
In order to conceal the design upon England, a scheme was formed, allowing three days to elapse between the marching of the two great divisions of the army; and accordingly the Prince, attended by Lord George Murray, took up his abode at the palace of Dalkeith, and here he remained until the third of November. In this princely abode the young representative of the Stuart line may have remembered the adverse fortunes of Queen Mary, and the bold character of the Regent Morton, to whom the castle of Dalkeith belonged, when it had acquired from the character of its owner the name of the "Lion's Den." After the death of Morton, the barony of Dalkeith was included in the attainder; and the castle had been considered, during many years, as public property, and was inhabited by General Monk during the usurpation of Cromwell.
But, long before Charles Edward made it his temporary residence, Dalkeith had been repaired and beautified by Anne Duchess of Buccleugh and Monmouth, the widow of the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth. It was, as it is now, an appropriate residence for royalty. The more ancient part of the building has, it is true, lost its castellated appearance; but the beautiful site on the steep banks of the Eske, and the thickness of the walls, are still proofs of former strength and great importance, to which the contiguity of Dalkeith to Edinburgh conduce; whilst the junction of the north and south Esk in the park add to the beauties of this noble demesne.
The Chevalier Johnstone was still aide-de-camp to Lord George Murray, and remained to accompany the General on his march. Among those with whom the exertions of Lord George were frequently united was Mr. O'Sullivan, an Irish officer, and the object of Charles Edward's partiality and confidence, and he was a man of considerable abilities. Having received his education in a Romish college abroad, O'Sullivan had originally entered into priest's orders. It was his lot to be recommended as a tutor to the son of Marshal Maillebois, who, perceiving in the young ecclesiastic proofs of a genius better adapted to the use of the sword than to the gravity of the gown, encouraged him to apply himself to the profession of arms. There were not wanting in those days opportunities of cultivating a military turn, and Corsica was the scene of Mr. O'Sullivan's first exploits. Here he acted as secretary to Marshal Villebois; an office of no slight responsibility, for the Marshal was tainted with the prevalent vice of the day, and scarcely ever left the dinner-table in a state fit for public business. O'Sullivan, therefore, in the course of those oppressions which the French inflicted on the inhabitants of Corsica, acquired not only great experience in business, but also in military affairs; as well as knowledge in what is termed the art of making irregular war. To this acquirement he afterwards added another; for, having served a campaign on the Rhine, it was said by a French General, under whom he fought, that his knowledge of the regular art of war was equal to that of any General in Europe. To his abilities were attributed much of the rapid success of those whom it was the fashion of the newspapers of the day to describe as "a handful of savages," but whom the loungers about the English court soon learned to dread.