Part 2 out of 3
"Ultime Scotorum! potuit, quo sospite solo,
Libertas patriae salva fuisse tuae:
Te moriente, novos accepit Scotia cives,
Accepitque novos, te moriente, deos.
Illa nequit superesse tibi, tu non potes illi,
Ergo Caledoniae nomen inane, vale.
Tuque vale, gentis priscae fortissime ductor,
Ultime Scotorum, ac ultime Grame, vale!"
THE BURIAL MARCH OF DUNDEE
Sound the fife, and cry the slogan--
Let the pibroch shake the air
With its wild triumphal music,
Worthy of the freight we bear.
Let the ancient hills of Scotland
Hear once more the battle-song
Swell within their glens and valleys
As the clansmen march along!
Never from the field of combat,
Never from the deadly fray,
Was a nobler trophy carried
Than we bring with us to-day;
Never, since the valiant Douglas
On his dauntless bosom bore
Good King Robert's heart--the priceless--
To our dear Redeemer's shore!
Lo! we bring with us the hero--
Lo! we bring the conquering Graeme,
Crowned as best beseems a victor
From the altar of his fame;
Fresh and bleeding from the battle
Whence his spirit took its flight,
Midst the crashing charge of squadrons,
And the thunder of the fight!
Strike, I say, the notes of triumph,
As we march o'er moor and lea!
Is there any here will venture
To bewail our dead Dundee?
Let the widows of the traitors
Weep until their eyes are dim!
Wail ye may full well for Scotland--
Let none dare to mourn for him!
See! above his glorious body
Lies the royal banner's fold--
See! his valiant blood is mingled
With its crimson and its gold.
See! how calm he looks and stately,
Like a warrior on his shield,
Waiting till the flush of morning
Breaks along the battle-field!
See--Oh never more, my comrades!
Shall we see that falcon eye
Redden with its inward lightning,
As the hour of fight drew nigh;
Never shall we hear the voice that,
Clearer than the trumpet's call,
Bade us strike for King and Country,
Bade us win the field or fall!
On the heights of Killiecrankie
Yester-morn our army lay:
Slowly rose the mist in columns
From the river's broken way;
Hoarsely roared the swollen torrent,
And the pass was wrapped in gloom,
When the clansmen rose together
From their lair amidst the broom.
Then we belted on our tartans,
And our bonnets down we drew,
And we felt our broadswords' edges,
And we proved them to be true;
And we prayed the prayer of soldiers,
And we cried the gathering-cry,
And we clasped the hands of kinsmen,
And we swore to do or die!
Then our leader rode before us
On his war-horse black as night--
Well the Cameronian rebels
Knew that charger in the fight!--
And a cry of exultation
From the bearded warriors rose;
For we loved the house of Claver'se,
And we thought of good Montrose.
But he raised his hand for silence--
"Soldiers! I have sworn a vow:
Ere the evening-star shall glisten
On Schehallion's lofty brow,
Either we shall rest in triumph,
Or another of the Graemes
Shall have died in battle-harness
For his Country and King James!
Think upon the Royal Martyr--
Think of what his race endure--
Think on him whom butchers murder'd
On the field of Magus Muir:--
By his sacred blood I charge ye,
By the ruin'd hearth and shrine--
By the blighted hopes of Scotland,
By your injuries and mine--
Strike this day as if the anvil
Lay beneath your blows the while,
Be they Covenanting traitors,
Or the brood of false Argyle!
Strike! and drive the trembling rebels
Backwards o'er the stormy Forth;
Let them tell their pale Convention
How they fared within the North.
Let them tell that Highland honour
Is not to be bought nor sold,
That we scorn their Prince's anger,
As we loathe his foreign gold.
Strike! and when the fight is over,
If ye look in vain for me,
Where the dead are lying thickest,
Search for him that was Dundee!"
Loudly then the hills re-echoed
With our answer to his call,
But a deeper echo sounded
In the bosoms of us all.
For the lands of wide Breadalbane,
Not a man who heard him speak
Would that day have left the battle.
Burning eye and flushing cheek
Told the clansmen's fierce emotion,
And they harder drew their breath;
For their souls were strong within them,
Stronger than the grasp of death.
Soon we heard a challenge-trumpet
Sounding in the pass below,
And the distant tramp of horses,
And the voices of the foe:
Down we crouched amid the bracken,
Till the Lowland ranks drew near,
Panting like the hounds in summer,
When they scent the stately deer.
From the dark defile emerging,
Next we saw the squadrons come,
Leslie's foot and Leven's troopers
Marching to the tuck of drum;
Through the scattered wood of birches,
O'er the broken ground and heath,
Wound the long battalion slowly,
Till they gained the field beneath;
Then we bounded from our covert.--
Judge how looked the Saxons then,
When they saw the rugged mountain
Start to life with armed men!
Like a tempest down the ridges,
Swept the hurricane of steel,
Rose the slogan of Macdonald--
Flashed the broadsword of Locheill!
Vainly sped the withering volley
'Mongst the foremost of our band--
On we poured until we met them,
Foot to foot, and hand to hand.
Horse and man went down like drift-wood
When the floods are black at Yule,
And their carcasses are whirling
In the Garry's deepest pool.
Horse and man went down before us--
Living foe there tarried none
On the field of Killiecrankie,
When that stubborn fight was done!
And the evening-star was shining
On Schehallion's distant head,
When we wiped our bloody broadswords,
And returned to count the dead.
There we found him, gashed and gory,
Stretch'd upon the cumbered plain,
As he told us where to seek him,
In the thickest of the slain.
And a smile was on his visage,
For within his dying ear
Pealed the joyful note of triumph,
And the clansmen's clamorous cheer:
So, amidst the battle's thunder,
Shot, and steel, and scorching flame,
In the glory of his manhood
Passed the spirit of the Graeme!
Open wide the vaults of Athol,
Where the bones of heroes rest--
Open wide the hallowed portals
To receive another guest!
Last of Scots, and last of freemen--
Last of all that dauntless race
Who would rather die unsullied
Than outlive the land's disgrace!
O thou lion-hearted warrior!
Reck not of the after-time:
Honour may be deemed dishonour,
Loyalty be called a crime.
Sleep in peace with kindred ashes
Of the noble and the true,
Hands that never failed their country,
Hearts that never baseness knew.
Sleep!--and till the latest trumpet
Wakes the dead from earth and sea,
Scotland shall not boast a braver
Chieftain than our own Dundee!
THE WIDOW OF GLENCOE
The Massacre of Glencoe is an event which neither can nor ought to be
forgotten. It was a deed of the worst treason and cruelty--a barbarous
infraction of all laws, human and divine; and it exhibits in their
foulest perfidy the true characters of the authors and abettors of the
After the battle of Killiecrankie the cause of the Scottish royalists
declined, rather from the want of a competent leader than from any
disinclination on the part of a large section of the nobility and gentry
to vindicate the right of King James. No person of adequate talents or
authority was found to supply the place of the great and gallant Lord
Dundee; for General Cannon, who succeeded in command, was not only
deficient in military skill, but did not possess the confidence, nor
understand the character of the Highland chiefs, who, with their
clansmen, constituted by far the most important section of the army.
Accordingly no enterprise of any importance was attempted; and the
disastrous issue of the battle of the Boyne led to a negotiation which
terminated in the entire disbanding of the royal forces. By this treaty,
which was expressly sanctioned by William of Orange, a full and
unreserved indemnity and pardon was granted to all of the Highlanders
who had taken arms, with a proviso that they should first subscribe the
oath of allegiance to William and Mary, before the 1st of January, 1692,
in presence of the Lords of the Scottish Council, "or of the Sheriffs or
their deputies of the respective shires wherein they lived." The letter
of William addressed to the Privy Council, and ordering proclamation to
be made to the above effect, contained also the following significant
passage:--"That ye communicate our pleasure to the Governor of
Inverlochy, and other commanders, that they be exact and diligent in
their several posts; but that they show no more zeal against the
Highlanders after their submission, _than they have ever done formerly
when these were in open rebellion_."
This enigmatical sentence, which in reality was intended, as the sequel
will show, to be interpreted in the most cruel manner, appears to have
caused some perplexity in the Council, as that body deemed it necessary
to apply for more distinct and specific instructions, which, however,
were not then issued. It had been especially stipulated by the chiefs,
as an indispensable preliminary to their treaty, that they should have
leave to communicate with King James, then residing at St. Germains, for
the purpose of obtaining his permission and warrant previous to
submitting themselves to the existing government. That article had been
sanctioned by William before the proclamation was issued, and a special
messenger was despatched to France for that purpose.
In the mean time, troops were gradually and cautiously advanced to the
confines of the Highlands, and, in some instances, actually quartered on
the inhabitants. The condition of the country was perfectly tranquil. No
disturbances whatever occurred in the north or west of Scotland;
Locheill and the other chiefs were awaiting the communication from St.
Germains, and held themselves bound in honour to remain inactive; whilst
the remainder of the royalist forces (for whom separate terms had been
made) were left unmolested at Dunkeld.
But rumours, which are too clearly traceable to the emissaries of the
new government, asserting the preparation made for an immediate landing
of King James at the head of a large body of the French, were
industriously circulated, and by many were implicitly believed. The
infamous policy which dictated such a course is now apparent. The term
of the amnesty or truce granted by the proclamation expired with the
year 1691, and all who had not taken the oath of allegiance before that
term, were to be proceeded against with the utmost severity. The
proclamation was issued upon the 29th of August: consequently, only four
months were allowed for the complete submission of the Highlands.
Not one of the chiefs subscribed until the mandate from King James
arrived. That document, which is dated from St. Germains on the 12th of
December 1691, reached Dunkeld eleven days afterwards, and,
consequently, but a very short time before the indemnity expired. The
bearer, Major Menzies, was so fatigued that he could proceed no farther
on his journey, but forwarded the mandate by an express to the commander
of the royal forces, who was then at Glengarry. It was therefore
impossible that the document could be circulated through the Highlands
within the prescribed period. Locheill, says Drummond of Balhaldy, did
not receive his copy till about thirty hours before the time was out,
and appeared before the sheriff at Inverara, where he took the oaths
upon the very day on which the indemnity expired.
That a general massacre throughout the Highlands was contemplated by the
Whig government, is a fact established by overwhelming evidence. In the
course of the subsequent investigation before the Scots Parliament,
letters were produced from Sir John Dalrymple, then Master of Stair, one
of the secretaries of state in attendance upon the court, which too
clearly indicate the intentions of William. In one of these, dated 1st
December 1694,--_a month_, be it observed, before the amnesty
expired--and addressed to Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton, there are the
following words:--"The winter is the only season in which we are sure
the Highlanders cannot escape us, _nor carry their wives, bairns_, and
cattle to the mountains." And in another letter, written only two days
afterwards, he says, "It is the only time that they cannot escape you,
for human constitution cannot endure to be long out of houses. _This is
the proper season to maule them, in the cold long nights_." And in
January thereafter, he informed Sir Thomas Livingston that the design
was "to destroy entirely the country of Lochaber, Locheill's lands,
Keppoch's, Glengarry's, Appin, and Glencoe. I assure you," he continues,
"your power shall be full enough, _and I hope the soldiers will not
trouble the Government with prisoners_."
Locheill was more fortunate than others of his friends and neighbours.
According to Drummond,--"Major Menzies, who, upon his arrival, had
observed the whole forces of the kingdom ready to invade the Highlands,
as he wrote to General Buchan, foreseeing the unhappy consequences, not
only begged that general to send expresses to all parts with orders
immediately to submit, but also wrote to Sir Thomas Livingston, praying
him to supplicate the Council for a prorogation of the time, in regard
that he was so excessively fatigued, that he was obliged to stop some
days to repose a little; and that though he should send expresses, yet
it was impossible they could reach the distant parts in such time as to
allow the several persons concerned the benefit of the indemnity within
the space limited; besides, that some persons having put the Highlanders
in a bad temper, he was confident to persuade them to submit, if a
further time were allowed. Sir Thomas presented this letter to the
Council on the 5th of January, 1692, but they refused to give any
answer, and ordered him to transmit the same to Court."
The reply of William of Orange was a letter, countersigned by Dalrymple,
in which, upon the recital that "several of the chieftains and many of
their clans had not taken the benefit of our gracious indemnity," he
gave orders for a general massacre. "To that end, we have given Sir
Thomas Livingston orders to employ our troops (which we have already
conveniently posted) to cut off these obstinate rebels _by all manner of
hostility_; and we do require you to give him your assistance and
concurrence in all other things that may conduce to that service; and
because these rebels, to avoid our forces, may draw themselves, _their
families_, goods, or cattle, to lurk or be concealed among their
neighbours: therefore, we require and authorise you to emit a
proclamation to be published at the market-crosses of these or the
adjacent shires where the rebels reside, discharging upon the highest
penalties the law allows, any reset, correspondence, or intercommuning
with these rebels." This monstrous mandate, which was in fact the
death-warrant of many thousand innocent people, no distinction being
made of age or sex, would, in all human probability, have been put into
execution, but for the remonstrance of one high-minded nobleman. Lord
Carmarthen, afterwards Duke of Leeds, accidentally became aware of the
proposed massacre, and personally remonstrated with the monarch against
a measure which he denounced as at once cruel and impolitic. After much
discussion, William, influenced rather by an apprehension that so
savage and sweeping an act might prove fatal to his new authority, than
by any compunction or impulse of humanity, agreed to recall the general
order, and to limit himself, in the first instance, to a single deed of
butchery, by way of testing the temper of the nation. Some difficulty
seems to have arisen in the selection of the fittest victim. Both
Keppoch and Glencoe were named, but the personal rancour of Secretary
Dalrymple decided the doom of the latter. The Secretary wrote
thus:--"Argyle tells me that Glencoe hath not taken the oath, at which I
rejoice. It is a great work of charity to be exact in rooting out that
damnable set." The final instructions regarding Glencoe, which were
issued on 16th January, 1692, are as follows:--
"William R.--As for M'Ian of Glencoe, and that tribe,
if they can be well distinguished from the rest of the
Highlanders, it will be proper for public justice to extirpate
that set of thieves." "W.R."
This letter is remarkable as being signed and countersigned by William
alone, contrary to the usual practice. The Secretary was no doubt
desirous to screen himself from after responsibility, and was further
aware that the royal signature would insure a rigorous execution of the
Macdonald, or, as he was more commonly designed, M'Ian of Glencoe, was
the head of a considerable sept or branch of the great Clan-Coila, and
was lineally descended from the ancient Lords of the Isles, and from
the royal family of Scotland--the common ancestor of the Macdonalds
having espoused a daughter of Robert II. He was, according to a
contemporary testimony, "a person of great integrity, honour, good
nature, and courage; and his loyalty to his old master, King James, was
such, that he continued in arms from Dundee's first appearing in the
Highlands, till the fatal treaty that brought on his ruin." In common
with the other chiefs, he had omitted taking the benefit of the
indemnity until he received the sanction of King James: but the copy of
that document which was forwarded to him, unfortunately arrived too
late. The weather was so excessively stormy at the time that there was
no possibility of penetrating from Glencoe to Inverara, the place where
the sheriff resided, before the expiry of the stated period; and M'Ian
accordingly adopted the only practicable mode of signifying his
submission, by making his way with great difficulty to Fort-William,
then called Inverlochy, and tendering his signature to the military
Governor there. That officer was not authorised to receive it, but at
the earnest entreaty of the chief, he gave him a certificate of his
appearance and tender, and on New-Year's day, 1692, M'Ian reached
Inverara, where he produced that paper as evidence of his intentions,
and prevailed upon the sheriff, Sir James Campbell of Ardkinglass, to
administer the oaths required. After that ceremony, which was
immediately intimated to the Privy Council, had been performed, the
unfortunate gentleman returned home, in the full conviction that he had
thereby made peace with government for himself and for his clan. But his
doom was already sealed.
A company of the Earl of Argyle's regiment had been previously quartered
in Glencoe. These men, though Campbells, and hereditarily obnoxious to
the Macdonalds, Camerons, and other of the loyal clans, were yet
countrymen, and were kindly and hospitably received. Their captain,
Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, was connected with the family of Glencoe
through the marriage of a niece, and was resident under the roof of the
chief. And yet this was the very troop selected for the horrid service.
Special instructions were sent to the major of the regiment, one
Duncanson, then quartered at Ballachulish--a morose, brutal, and savage
man--who accordingly wrote to Campbell of Glenlyon in the following
Ballacholis, 12 _February_, 1692.
"SIR,--You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebels,
the M'Donalds of Glencoe, and putt all to the sword under
seventy. You are to have special care that the old fox and
his sons doe upon no account escape your hands. You are
to secure all the avenues, that no man escape. This you
are to put in execution att five o'clock in the morning
precisely, and by that time, or very shortly after it, I'll
strive to be att you with a stronger party. If I doe not
come to you at five, you are not to tarry for me, but to fall
on. This is by the king's speciall command, for the good
and safety of the country, that these miscreants be cutt off
root and branch. See that this be putt in execution without
feud or favour, else you may expect to be treated as not
true to the king's government, nor a man fitt to carry a
commission in the king's service. Expecting you will not
faill in the fulfilling hereof as you love yourself, I subscribe
these with my hand." ROBERT DUNCANSON.
"_For their Majestys' service.
To Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon_."
This order was but too literally obeyed. At the appointed hour, when the
whole inhabitants of the glen were asleep, the work of murder began.
M'Ian was one of the first who fell. Drummond's narrative fills up the
remainder of the dreadful story.
"They then served all within the family in the same manner, without
distinction of age or person. In a word--for the horror of that
execrable butchery must give pain to the reader--they left none alive
but a young child, who, being frightened with the noise of the guns, and
the dismal shrieks and cries of its dying parents, whom they were
a-murdering, got hold of Captain Campbell's knees, and wrapt itself
within his cloak; by which, chancing to move compassion, the captain
inclined to have saved it, but one Drummond, an officer, arriving about
the break of day with more troops, commanded it to be shot by a file of
musqueteers. Nothing could be more shocking and horrible than the
prospect of these houses bestrewed with mangled bodies of the dead,
covered with blood, and resounding with the groans of wretches in the
last agonies of life.
"Two sons of Glencoe's were the only persons that escaped in that
quarter of the country; for, growing jealous of some ill designs from
the behaviour of the soldiers, they stole from their beds a few minutes
before the tragedy began, and, chancing to overhear two of them
discoursing plainly of the matter, they endeavoured to have advertised
their father, but, finding that impracticable, they ran to the other end
of the country and alarmed the inhabitants. There was another accident
that contributed much to their safety; for the night was so excessively
stormy and tempestuous, that four hundred soldiers, who were appointed
to murder these people, were stopped in their march from Inverlochy, and
could not get up till they had time to save themselves. To cover the
deformity of so dreadful a sight, the soldiers burned all the houses to
the ground, after having rifled them, carried away nine hundred cows,
two hundred horses, numberless herds of sheep and goats, and every thing
else that belonged to these miserable people. Lamentable was the case of
the women and children that escaped the butchery; the mountains were
covered with a deep snow, the rivers impassable, storm and tempest
filled the air and added to the horrors and darkness of the night, and
there were no houses to shelter them within many miles."
Such was the awful massacre of Glencoe, an event which has left an
indelible and execrable stain upon the memory of William of Orange. The
records of Indian warfare can hardly afford a parallel instance of
atrocity: and this deed, coupled with his deliberate treachery in the
Darien scheme, whereby Scotland was for a time absolutely ruined, is
sufficient to account for the little estimation in which the name of the
"great Whig deliverer" is still regarded in the valleys of the North.
[Footnote 1: _Memoirs of Sir Ewen Cameron of Locheill_.]
THE WIDOW OF GLENCOE
Do not lift him from the bracken,
Leave him lying where he fell--
Better bier ye cannot fashion:
None beseems him half so well
As the bare and broken heather,
And the hard and trampled sod,
Whence his angry soul ascended
To the judgment-seat of God!
Winding-sheet we cannot give him--
Seek no mantle for the dead,
Save the cold and spotless covering
Showered from heaven upon his head.
Leave his broadsword, as we found it,
Bent and broken with the blow,
That, before he died, avenged him
On the foremost of the foe.
Leave the blood upon his bosom--
Wash not off that sacred stain:
Let it stiffen on the tartan,
Let his wounds unclosed remain,
Till the day when he shall show them
At the throne of God on high,
When the murderer and the murdered
Meet before their Judge's eye!
Nay--ye should not weep, my children!
Leave it to the faint and weak;
Sobs are but a woman's weapon--
Tears befit a maiden's cheek.
Weep not, children of Macdonald!
Weep not thou, his orphan heir--
Not in shame, but stainless honour,
Lies thy slaughtered father there.
Weep not--but when years are over,
And thine arm is strong and sure,
And thy foot is swift and steady
On the mountain and the muir--
Let thy heart be hard as iron,
And thy wrath as fierce as fire,
Till the hour when vengeance cometh
For the race that slew thy sire;
Till in deep and dark Glenlyon
Rise a louder shriek of woe
Than at midnight, from their eyrie,
Scared the eagles of Glencoe;
Louder than the screams that mingled
With the howling of the blast,
When the murderer's steel was clashing,
And the fires were rising fast;
When thy noble father bounded
To the rescue of his men,
And the slogan of our kindred
Pealed throughout the startled glen;
When the herd of frantic women
Stumbled through the midnight snow,
With their fathers' houses blazing,
And their dearest dead below.
Oh, the horror of the tempest,
As the flashing drift was blown,
Crimsoned with the conflagration,
And the roofs went thundering down!
Oh, the prayers--the prayers and curses
That together winged their flight
From the maddened hearts of many
Through that long and woeful night!
Till the fires began to dwindle,
And the shots grew faint and few,
And we heard the foeman's challenge
Only in a far halloo;
Till the silence once more settled
O'er the gorges of the glen,
Broken only by the Cona
Plunging through its naked den.
Slowly from the mountain-summit
Was the drifting veil withdrawn,
And the ghastly valley glimmered
In the gray December dawn.
Better had the morning never
Dawned upon our dark despair!
Black amidst the common whiteness
Rose the spectral ruins there:
But the sight of these was nothing
More than wrings the wild dove's breast,
When she searches for her offspring
Round the relics of her nest.
For in many a spot the tartan
Peered above the wintry heap,
Marking where a dead Macdonald
Lay within his frozen sleep.
Tremblingly we scooped the covering
From each kindred victim's head,
And the living lips were burning
On the cold ones of the dead.
And I left them with their dearest--
Dearest charge had everyone--
Left the maiden with her lover,
Left the mother with her son.
I alone of all was mateless--
Far more wretched I than they,
For the snow would not discover
Where my lord and husband lay.
But I wandered up the valley
Till I found him lying low,
With the gash upon his bosom,
And the frown upon his brow--
Till I found him lying murdered
Where he wooed me long ago.
Woman's weakness shall not shame me;
Why should I have tears to shed?
Could I rain them down like water,
O my hero, on thy head,
Could the cry of lamentation
Wake thee from thy silent sleep,
Could it set thy heart a-throbbing,
It were mine to wail and weep.
But I will not waste my sorrow,
Lest the Campbell women say
That the daughters of Clanranald
Are as weak and frail as they.
I had wept thee hadst thou fallen,
Like our fathers, on thy shield,
When a host of English foemen
Camped upon a Scottish field;
I had mourned thee hadst thou perished
With the foremost of his name,
When the valiant and the noble
Died around the dauntless Graeme.
But I will not wrong thee, husband!
With my unavailing cries,
Whilst thy cold and mangled body,
Stricken by the traitor, lies;
Whilst he counts the gold and glory
That this hideous night has won,
And his heart is big with triumph
At the murder he has done.
Other eyes than mine shall glisten,
Other hearts be rent in twain,
Ere the heathbells on thy hillock
Wither in the autumn rain.
Then I'll seek thee where thou sleepest,
And I'll veil my weary head,
Praying for a place beside thee,
Dearer than my bridal-bed:
And I'll give thee tears, my husband,
If the tears remain to me,
When the widows of the foemen
Cry the coronach for thee.
THE ISLAND OF THE SCOTS
In consequence of a capitulation with Government, the regular troops who
had served under Lord Dundee were transhipped to France, and,
immediately upon their landing, the officers and others had their rank
confirmed according to the tenor of the commissions and characters which
they bore in Scotland. They were distributed throughout the different
garrisons in the north of France, and, though nominally in the service
of King James, derived their whole means of subsistence from the bounty
of the French monarch. So long as it appeared probable that another
descent was meditated, those gentlemen, who were almost without
exception men of considerable family, assented to this arrangement, but
the destruction of the French fleet under Admiral Tourville, off La
Hogue, led to a material change in their views. After that naval
engagement it became obvious that the cause of the fugitive King was in
the mean time desperate, and the Scottish officers, with no less
gallantry than honour, volunteered a sacrifice which, so far as I know,
has hardly been equalled.
The old and interesting pamphlet written by one of the corps, from
which I have extracted most of the following details, but which is
seldom perused except by the antiquary, states that, "The Scottish
officers, considering that, by the loss of the French Fleet, King
James's restoration would be retarded for some time, and that they were
burdensome to the King of France, being entertained in garrisons on
whole pay, without doing duty, when he had almost all Europe in
confederacy against him, therefore humbly entreated King James to have
them reduced into a company of private sentinels, and choose officers
amongst themselves to command them, assuring his majesty that they would
serve in the meanest circumstances, and undergo the greatest hardships
and fatigues that reason could imagine, or misfortunes inflict, until it
pleased God to restore him. King James commended their generosity and
loyalty, but disapproved of what they proposed, and told them it was
impossible that gentlemen who had served in so honourable posts as
formerly they had enjoyed, and lived in so great plenty and ease, could
ever undergo the fatigue and hardships of private sentinels' duty.
Again, that his own first command was a company of officers, whereof
several died, others, wearied with fatigue, drew their discharges, till
at last it dwindled into nothing, and he got no reputation by the
command: therefore he desired them to insist no more on that project.
The officers (notwithstanding his majesty's desire to the contrary) made
several interests at court, and harassed him so much, that at last he
condescended," and appointed those who were to command them.
Shortly afterwards the new corps was reviewed for the first and last
time by the unfortunate James in the gardens of Saint Germains, and the
tears are said to have gushed from his eyes at the sight of so many
brave men, reduced, through their disinterested and persevering loyalty,
to so very humble a condition. "Gentlemen," said he, "my own misfortunes
are not so nigh my heart as yours. It grieves me beyond what I can
express to see so many brave and worthy gentlemen, who had once the
prospect of being the chief officers in my army, reduced to the stations
of private sentinels. Nothing but your loyalty, and that of a few of my
subjects in Britain, who are forced from their allegiance by the Prince
of Orange, and who, I know, will be ready on all occasions to serve me
and my distressed family, could make me willing to live. The sense of
what all of you have done and undergone for your loyalty hath made so
deep an impression upon my heart, that, if it ever please God to restore
me, it is impossible I can be forgetful of your services and sufferings.
Neither can there be any posts in the armies of my dominions but what
you have just pretensions to. As for my son, your Prince, he is of your
own blood, a child capable of any impression, and, as his education will
be from you, it is not supposable that he can forget your merits. At
your own desires you are now going a long march far distant from me.
Fear God and love one another. Write your wants particularly to me, and
depend upon it always to find me your parent and King." The scene bore a
strong resemblance to one which many years afterwards occurred at
Fontainebleau. The company listened to his words with deep emotion,
gathered round him, as if half repentant of their own desire to go, and
so parted, for ever on this earth, the dethroned monarch and his exiled
The number of this company of officers was about one hundred and twenty:
their destination was Perpignan in Rousillon, close upon the frontier of
Spain, where they were to join the army under the command of the
Mareschal de Noailles. Their power of endurance, though often most
severely tested in an unwholesome climate, seems to have been no less
remarkable than their gallantry, which upon many occasions called forth
the warm acknowledgment of the French commanders. "_Le gentilhomme_,"
said one of the generals, in acknowledgment of their readiness at a
peculiarly critical moment, "_est toujours gentilhomme, et se montre
toujours tel dans besoin et dans le danger_"--a eulogy as applicable to
them as it was in later days to La Tour d'Auvergne, styled the first
grenadier of France. At Perpignan they were joined by two other
Scottish companies, and the three seem to have continued to serve
together for several campaigns.
As a proof of the estimation in which they were held, I shall merely
extract a short account of the taking of Rosas in Catalonia, before
referring to the exploit which forms the subject of the following
ballad. "On the 27th of May, the company of officers and other Scottish
companies, were joined by two companies of Irish, to make up a battalion
in order to mount the trenches; and the major part of the officers
listed themselves in the company of grenadiers, under the command of the
brave Major Rutherford, who, on his way to the trenches, in sight of
Mareschal de Noailles and his court, marched with his company on the
side of the trench, which exposed him to the fire of a bastion, where
there were two culverins and several other guns planted; likewise to the
fire of two curtins lined with small shot. Colonel Brown, following with
the battalion, was obliged, in honour, to march the same way Major
Rutherford had done; the danger whereof the Mareschal immediately
perceiving, ordered one of his aides-de-camp to command Rutherford to
march under cover of the trench, which he did; and if he had but delayed
six minutes, the grenadiers and battalion had been cut to pieces.
Rutherford, with his grenadiers, marched to a trench near the town, and
the battalion to a trench on the rear and flank of the grenadiers, who
fired so incessantly on the besieged, that they thought (the trench
being practicable) they were going to make their attacks, immediately
beat a chamade, and were willing to give up the town upon reasonable
terms: but the Mareschal's demands were so exorbitant, that the Governor
could not agree to them. Then firing began on both sides to be very hot;
and they in the town, seeing how the grenadiers lay, killed eight of
them. When the Governor surrendered the town, he inquired of the
Mareschal what countrymen these grenadiers were; and assured him it was
on their account he delivered up the town, because they fired so hotly,
that he believed they were resolved to attack the breach. He answered,
smiling, _'Ces sont mes enfants_--They are my children.' Again; 'they
are the King of Great Britain's Scottish officers, who, to show their
willingness to share of his miseries, have reduced themselves to the
carrying of arms, and chosen to serve under my command.' The next day,
when the Mareschal rode along the front of the camp, he halted at the
company of the officers' piquet, and they all surrounded him. Then, with
his hat in his hand, he thanked them for their good services in the
trenches, and freely acknowledged it was their conduct and courage which
compelled the Governor to give up the town; and assured them he would
acquaint his master with the same, which he did. For when his son
arrived with the news at Versailles, the King, having read the letter,
immediately took coach to St. Germains; and when he had shown King James
the letter, he thanked him for the services his subjects had done in
taking Rosas in Catalonia; who, with concern, replied, they were the
stock of his British officers, and that he was sorry he could not make
better provision for them."
And a miserable provision it was! They were gradually compelled to part
with every remnant of the property which they had secured from the ruins
of their fortunes; so that when they arrived, after various adventures,
at Scelestat, in Alsace, they were literally without the common means of
subsistence. Famine and the sword had, by this time, thinned their
ranks, but had not diminished their spirit, as the following narrative
of their last exploit will show:--
"In December 1697, General Stirk, who commanded for the Germans,
appeared with 16,000 men on the other side of the Rhine, which obliged
the Marquis de Sell to draw out all the garrisons in Alsace, who made up
about 4000 men; and he encamped on the other side of the Rhine, over
against General Stirk, to prevent his passing the Rhine and carrying a
bridge over into an island in the middle of it, which the French foresaw
would be of great prejudice to them. For the enemy's guns, placed on
that island, would extremely gall their camp, which they could not
hinder for the deepness of the water and their wanting of boats--for
which the Marquis quickly sent; but arriving too late, the Germans had
carried a bridge over into the island, where they had posted above five
hundred men, who, by order of their engineers, intrenched themselves:
which the company of officers perceiving, who always grasped after
honour, and scorned all thoughts of danger, resolved to wade the river,
and attack the Germans in the island; and for that effect, desired
Captain John Foster, who then commanded them, to beg of the Marquis that
they might have liberty to attack the Germans in the island; who told
Captain Foster, when the boats came up, they should be the first that
attacked. Foster courteously thanked the Marquis, and told him they
would wade into the island, who shrunk up his shoulders, prayed God to
bless them, and desired them to do what they pleased." Whereupon the
officers, with the other two Scottish companies, made themselves ready;
and having secured their arms round their necks, waded into the river
hand-in-hand, "according to the Highland fashion," with the water as
high as their breasts; and having crossed the heavy stream, fell upon
the Germans in their intrenchment. These were presently thrown into
confusion, and retreated, breaking down their own bridges, whilst many
of them were drowned. This movement, having been made in the dusk of the
evening, partook of the character of a surprise; but it appears to me a
very remarkable one, as having been effected under such circumstances,
in the dead of winter, and in the face of an enemy who possessed the
advantages both of position and of numerical superiority. The author of
the narrative adds:--"When the Marquis de Sell heard the firing, and
understood that the Germans were beat out of the island, he made the
sign of the cross on his face and breast, and declared publicly, that it
was the bravest action that ever he saw, and that his army had no honour
by it. As soon as the boats came, the Marquis sent into the island to
acquaint the officers that he would send them both troops and
provisions, who thanked his Excellency, and desired he should be
informed that they wanted no troops, and could not spare time to make
use of provisions, and only desired spades, shovels, and pickaxes,
wherewith they might intrench themselves--which were immediately sent to
them. The next morning, the Marquis came into the island, and kindly
embraced every officer, and thanked them for the good service they had
done his master, assuring them he would write a true account of their
honour and bravery to the Court of France, which, at the reading his
letters, immediately went to St. Germains, and thanked King James for
the services his subjects had done on the Rhine."
The company kept possession of the island for nearly six weeks,
notwithstanding repeated attempts on the part of the Germans to surprise
and dislodge them; but all these having been defeated by the extreme
watchfulness of the Scots, General Stirk at length drew off his army and
retreated. "In consequence of this action," says the chronicler, "that
island is called at present Isle d'Ecosse, and will in likelihood bear
that name until the general conflagration."
Two years afterwards, a treaty of peace was concluded; and this gallant
company of soldiers, worthy of a better fate, was broken up and
dispersed. At the time when the narrative, from which I have quoted so
freely, was compiled, not more than sixteen of Dundee's veterans were
alive. The author concludes thus,--"And thus was dissolved one of the
best companies that ever marched under command! Gentlemen, who, in the
midst of all their pressures and obscurity, never forgot they were
gentlemen; and whom the sweets of a brave, a just, and honourable
conscience, rendered perhaps more happy under those sufferings, than the
most prosperous and triumphant in iniquity, since our minds stamp our
Some years ago, while visiting the ancient Scottish convent at Ratisbon,
my attention was drawn to the monumental inscriptions on the walls of
the dormitory, many of which bear reference to gentlemen of family and
distinction, whose political principles had involved them in the
troubles of 1688, 1715, and 1745. Whether the cloister which now holds
their dust had afforded them a shelter in the later years of their
misfortunes, I know not; but for one that is so commemorated, hundreds
of the exiles must have passed away in obscurity, buried in the field on
which they fell, or carried from the damp vaults of the military
hospital to the trench, without any token of remembrance, or any other
wish beyond that which the minstrels have ascribed to one of the
greatest of our olden heroes--
"Oh bury me by the bracken bush,
Beneath the blooming brier:
Let never living mortal ken
That a kindly Scot lies here!"
[Footnote 2: _An account of Dundee's Officers after they went to
France_. By an Officer of the Army. London, 1714.]
THE ISLAND OF THE SCOTS
The Rhine is running deep and red,
The island lies before--
"Now is there one of all the host
Will dare to venture o'er?
For not alone the river's sweep
Might make a brave man quail:
The foe are on the further side,
Their shot comes fast as hail.
God help us, if the middle isle
We may not hope to win!
Now, is there any of the host
Will dare to venture in?"
"The ford is deep, the banks are steep,
The island-shore lies wide:
Nor man nor horse could stem its force,
Or reach the further side.
See there! amidst the willow boughs
The serried bayonets gleam;
They've flung their bridge--they've won the isle;
The foe have crossed the stream!
Their volley flashes sharp and strong--
By all the Saints, I trow,
There never yet was soldier born
Could force that passage now!"
So spoke the bold French Mareschal
With him who led the van,
Whilst rough and red before their view
The turbid river ran.
Nor bridge nor boat had they to cross
The wild and swollen Rhine,
And thundering on the other bank
Far stretched the German line.
Hard by there stood a swarthy man
Was leaning on his sword,
And a saddened smile lit up his face
As he heard the Captain's word.
"I've seen a wilder stream ere now
Than that which rushes there;
I've stemmed a heavier torrent yet
And never thought to dare.
If German steel be sharp and keen,
Is ours not strong and true?
There may be danger in the deed,
But there is honour too."
The old lord in his saddle turned,
And hastily he said--
"Hath bold Dugueselin's fiery heart
Awakened from the dead?
Thou art the leader of the Scots--
Now well and sure I know,
That gentle blood in dangerous hour
Ne'er yet ran cold nor slow,
And I have seen ye in the fight
Do all that mortal may:
If honour is the boon ye seek
It may be won this day.
The prize is in the middle isle,
There lies the venturous way;
And armies twain are on the plain,
The daring deed to see--
Now ask thy gallant company
If they will follow thee!"
Right gladsome looked the Captain then,
And nothing did he say,
But he turned him to his little band--
Oh few, I ween, were they!
The relics of the bravest force
That ever fought in fray.
No one of all that company
But bore a gentle name,
Not one whose fathers had not stood
In Scotland's fields of fame.
All they had marched with great Dundee
To where he fought and fell,
And in the deadly battle-strife
Had venged their leader well;
And they had bent the knee to earth
When every eye was dim,
As o'er their hero's buried corpse
They sang the funeral hymn;
And they had trod the Pass once more,
And stooped on either side
To pluck the heather from the spot
Where he had dropped and died;
And they had bound it next their hearts,
And ta'en a last farewell
Of Scottish earth and Scottish sky,
Where Scotland's glory fell.
Then went they forth to foreign lands
Like bent and broken men,
Who leave their dearest hope behind,
And may not turn again!
"The stream," he said, "is broad and deep,
And stubborn is the foe--
Yon island-strength is guarded well--
Say, brothers, will ye go?
From home and kin for many a year
Our steps have wandered wide,
And never may our bones be laid
Our fathers' graves beside.
No sisters have we to lament,
No wives to wail our fall;
The traitor's and the spoiler's hand
Have reft our hearths of all.
But we have hearts, and we have arms
As strong to will and dare
As when our ancient banners flew
Within the northern air.
Come, brothers; let me name a spell
Shall rouse your souls again,
And send the old blood bounding free
Through pulse, and heart, and vein!
Call back the days of bygone years--
Be young and strong once more;
Think yonder stream, so stark and red,
Is one we've crossed before.
Rise, hill and glen! rise, crag and wood!
Rise up on either hand--
Again upon the Garry's banks,
On Scottish soil we stand!
Again I see the tartans wave,
Again the trumpets ring;
Again I hear our leader's call--
'Upon them, for the King!'
Stayed we behind that glorious day
For roaring flood or linn?
The soul of Graeme is with us still--
Now, brothers! will ye in?"
No stay--no pause. With one accord
They grasped each others' hand,
And plunged into the angry flood,
That bold and dauntless band.
High flew the spray above their heads,
Yet onward still they bore,
Midst cheer, and shout, and answering yell,
And shot and cannon roar.
"Now by the Holy Cross! I swear,
Since earth and sea began
Was never such a daring deed
Essayed by mortal man!"
Thick blew the smoke across the stream,
And faster flashed the flame:
The water plashed in hissing jets
As ball and bullet came.
Yet onwards pushed the Cavaliers
All stern and undismayed,
With thousand armed foes before,
And none behind to aid.
Once, as they neared the middle stream,
So strong the torrent swept,
That scarce that long and living wall,
Their dangerous footing kept.
Then rose a warning cry behind,
A joyous shout before:
"The current's strong--the way is long--
They'll never reach the shore!
See, see! They stagger in the midst,
They waver in their line!
Fire on the madmen! break their ranks,
And whelm them in the Rhine!"
Have you seen the tall trees swaying
When the blast is piping shrill,
And the whirlwind reels in fury
Down the gorges of the hill?
How they toss their mighty branches,
Striving with the tempest's shock;
How they keep their place of vantage,
Cleaving firmly to the rock?
Even so the Scottish warriors
Held their own against the river;
Though the water flashed around them,
Not an eye was seen to quiver;
Though the shot flew sharp and deadly,
Not a man relaxed his hold:
For their hearts were big and thrilling
With the mighty thoughts of old.
One word was spoke among them,
And through the ranks it spread--
"Remember our dead Claverhouse!"
Was all the Captain said.
Then, sternly bending forward,
They struggled on awhile,
Until they cleared the heavy stream,
Then rushed towards the isle.
The German heart is stout and true,
The German arm is strong;
The German foot goes seldom back
Where armed foemen throng.
But never had they faced in field
So stern a charge before,
And never had they felt the sweep
Of Scotland's broad claymore.
Not fiercer pours the avalanche
Adown the steep incline,
That rises o'er the parent springs
Of rough and rapid Rhine--
Scarce swifter shoots the bolt from heaven
Than came the Scottish band,
Right up against the guarded trench,
And o'er it, sword in hand.
In vain their leaders forward press--
They meet the deadly brand!
O lonely island of the Rhine,
Where seed was never sown,
What harvest lay upon thy sands,
By those strong reapers thrown?
What saw the winter moon that night,
As, struggling through the rain,
She poured a wan and fitful light
On marsh, and stream, and plain?
A dreary spot with corpses strewn,
And bayonets glistening round;
A broken bridge, a stranded boat,
A bare and battered mound;
And one huge watch-fire's kindled pile,
That sent its quivering glare
To tell the leaders of the host
The conquering Scots were there!
And did they twine the laurel-wreath
For those who fought so well?
And did they honour those who lived,
And weep for those who fell?
What meed of thanks was given to them
Let aged annals tell.
Why should they twine the laurel-wreath--
Why crown the cup with wine?
It was not Frenchman's blood that flowed
So freely on the Rhine--
A stranger band of beggared men
Had done the venturous deed:
The glory was to France alone,
The danger was their meed.
And what cared they for idle thanks
From foreign prince and peer?
What virtue had such honeyed words
The exiles' hearts to cheer?
What mattered it that men should vaunt,
And loud and fondly swear,
That higher feat of chivalry
Was never wrought elsewhere?
They bore within their breasts the grief
That fame can never heal--
The deep, unutterable woe
Which none save exiles feel.
Their hearts were yearning for the land
They ne'er might see again--
For Scotland's high and heathered hills,
For mountain, loch, and glen--
For those who haply lay at rest
Beyond the distant sea,
Beneath the green and daisied turf
Where they would gladly be!
Long years went by. The lonely isle
In Rhine's impetuous flood
Has ta'en another name from those
Who bought it with their blood:
And though the legend does not live,
For legends lightly die,
The peasant, as he sees the stream
In winter rolling by,
And foaming o'er its channel-bed
Between him and the spot
Won by the warriors of the sword,
Still calls that deep and dangerous ford
The Passage of the Scot.
CHARLES EDWARD AT VERSAILLES
Though the sceptre had departed from the House of Stuart, it was
reserved for one of its last descendants to prove to the world, by his
personal gallantry and noble spirit of enterprise, that he at least had
not degenerated from his royal line of ancestors. The daring effort of
Charles Edward to recover the crown of these kingdoms for his father, is
to us the most remarkable incident of the last century. It was
honourable alike to the Prince and to those who espoused his cause; and,
even in a political point of view, the outbreak ought not to be
deplored, since its failure put an end for ever to the dynastical
struggle which, for more than half a century, had agitated the whole of
Britain, established the rule of law and of social order throughout the
mountainous districts of Scotland, and blended Celt and Saxon into one
prosperous and united people. It was better that the antiquated system
of clanship should have expired in a blaze of glory, than gradually
dwindled into contempt; better that the patriarchal rule should at once
have been extinguished by the dire catastrophe of Culloden, than that it
should have lingered on, the shadow of an old tradition. There is
nothing now to prevent us from dwelling with pride and admiration on the
matchless devotion displayed by the Highlanders, in 1745, in behalf of
the heir of him whom they acknowledged as their lawful king. No feeling
can arise to repress the interest and the sympathy which is excited by
the perusal of the tale narrating the sufferings of the princely
wanderer. That un-bought loyalty and allegiance of the heart, which
would not depart from its constancy until the tomb of the Vatican had
closed upon the last of the Stuart line, has long since been transferred
to the constitutional sovereign of these realms; and the enthusiastic
welcome which has so often greeted the return of Queen Victoria to her
Highland home, owes its origin to a deeper feeling than that dull
respect which modern liberalism asserts to be the only tribute due to
the first magistrate of the land.
The campaign of 1745 yields in romantic interest to none which is
written in history. A young and inexperienced prince, whose person was
utterly unknown to any of his adherents, landed on the west coast of
Scotland, not at the head of a foreign force, not munimented with
supplies and arms, but accompanied by a mere handful of followers, and
ignorant of the language of the people amongst whom he was hazarding his
person. His presence in Scotland had not been urged by the chiefs of the
clans, most of whom were deeply averse to embarking in an enterprise
which must involve them in a war with so powerful an antagonist as
England, and which, if unsuccessful, could only terminate in the utter
ruin of their fortunes. This was not a cause in which the whole of
Scotland was concerned. Although it was well known that many leading
families in the Lowlands entertained Jacobite opinions, and although a
large proportion of the common people had not yet become reconciled to,
or satisfied of, the advantages of the Union, by which they considered
themselves dishonoured and betrayed, it was hardly to be expected that,
without some fair guarantee for success, the bulk of the Scottish nation
would actively bestir themselves on the side of the exiled family.
Besides this, even amongst the Highlanders there was not unanimity of
opinion. The three northern clans of Sutherland, Mackay, and Monro, were
known to be staunch supporters of the Government. It was doubtful what
part might be taken in the struggle by those of Mackenzie and Ross. The
chiefs of Skye, who could have brought a large force of armed men into
the field, had declined participating in the attempt. The assistance of
Lord Lovat, upon whom the co-operation of the Frasers might depend,
could not be calculated on with certainty; and nothing but hostility
could be expected from the powerful sept of the Campbells. Under such
circumstances, it is little wonder if Cameron of Locheill, the most
sagacious of all the chieftains who favoured the Stuart cause, was
struck with consternation and alarm at the news of the Prince's
landing, or that he attempted to persuade him from undertaking an
adventure so seemingly hopeless. Mr. Robert Chambers, in his admirable
history of that period, does not in the least exaggerate the importance
of the interview, on the result of which the prosecution of the war
depended. "On arriving at Borrodale, Locheill had a private interview
with the Prince, in which the probabilities of the enterprise were
anxiously debated. Charles used every argument to excite the loyalty of
Locheill, and the chief exerted all his eloquence to persuade the Prince
to withdraw till a better opportunity. Charles represented the present
as the best possible opportunity, seeing that the French general kept
the British army completely engaged abroad, while at home there were no
troops but one or two newly-raised regiments. He expressed his
confidence that a small body of Highlanders would be sufficient to gain
a victory over all the force that could now be brought against him; and
he was equally sure that such an advantage was all that was required to
make his friends at home declare in his favour, and cause those abroad
to send him assistance. All he wanted was that the Highlanders should
begin the war. Locheill still resisted, entreating Charles to be more
temperate, and consent to remain concealed where he was, till his
friends should meet together and concert what was best to be done.
Charles, whose mind was wound up to the utmost pitch of impatience, paid
no regard to this proposal, but answered that he was determined to put
all to the hazard. 'In a few days,' said he, 'with the few friends I
have, I will raise the royal standard, and proclaim to the people of
Britain that Charles Stuart is come over to claim the crown of his
ancestors--to win it, or to perish in the attempt! Locheill--who, my
father has often told me, was our firmest friend--may stay at home, and
learn from the newspapers the fate of his Prince!' 'No!' said Locheill,
stung by so poignant a reproach, and hurried away by the enthusiasm of
the moment; 'I will share the fate of my Prince, and so shall every man
over whom nature or fortune has given me any power.' Such was the
juncture upon which depended the civil war of 1745; for it is a point
agreed, says Mr. Home, who narrates this conversation, that if Locheill
had persisted in his refusal to take arms, no other chief would have
joined the standard, and the spark of rebellion must have been instantly
extinguished." Not more than twelve hundred men were assembled in
Glenfinnan on the day when the standard was unfurled by the Marquis of
Tullibardine, and, at the head of this mere handful of followers,
Charles Edward commenced the stupendous enterprise of reconquering the
dominions of his fathers.
With a force which, at the battle of Preston, did not double the above
numbers, the Prince descended upon the Lowlands, having baffled the
attempts of General Cope to intercept his march--occupied the city of
Perth and the town of Dundee, and finally, after a faint show of
resistance on the part of the burghers, took possession of the ancient
capital of Scotland, and once more established a court in the halls of
Holyrood. His youth, his gallantry, and the grace and beauty of his
person, added to a most winning and affable address, acquired for him
the sympathy of many who, from political motives, abstained from
becoming his adherents. Possibly certain feelings of nationality, which
no deliberate views of civil or religious policy could altogether
extirpate, led such men to regard, with a sensation akin to pride, the
spectacle of a prince descended from the long line of Scottish kings,
again occupying his ancestral seat, and restoring to their country,
which had been utterly neglected by the new dynasty, a portion of its
former state. No doubt a sense of pity for the probable fate of one so
young and chivalrous was often present to their minds, for they had
thorough confidence in the intrepidity of the regular troops, and in the
capacity of their commander; and they never for a moment supposed that
these could be successfully encountered by a raw levy of undisciplined
Highlanders, ill-armed and worse equipped, and without the support of
The issue of the battle of Prestonpans struck Edinburgh with amazement.
In point of numbers the two armies were nearly equal, but in every thing
else, save personal valour, the royal troops had the advantage. And yet,
_in four minutes_--for the battle is said not to have lasted
longer--the Highlanders having only made one terrific and impetuous
charge--the rout of the regulars was general. The infantry was broken
and cut to pieces; the dragoons, who behaved shamefully on the occasion,
turned bridle and fled, without having once crossed swords with the
enemy. Mr. Chambers thus terminates his account of the action: "The
general result of the battle of Preston may be stated as having been the
total overthrow and almost entire destruction of the royal army. Most of
the infantry, falling upon the park walls of Preston, were there huddled
together, without the power of resistance, into a confused drove, and
had either to surrender or to be cut to pieces. Many, in vainly
attempting to climb over the walls, fell an easy prey to the ruthless
claymore. Nearly 400, it is said, were thus slain, 700 taken, while only
about 170 in all succeeded in effecting their escape.
"The dragoons, with worse conduct, were much more fortunate. In falling
back, they had the good luck to find outlets from their respective
positions by the roads which ran along the various extremities of the
park wall, and they thus got clear through the village with little
slaughter; after which, as the Highlanders had no horse to pursue them,
they were safe. Several officers, among whom were Fowkes and Lascelles,
escaped to Cockenzie and along Seton Sands, in a direction contrary to
the general flight.
"The unfortunate Cope had attempted, at the first break of Gardiner's
dragoons, to stop and rally them, but was borne headlong, with the
confused bands, through the narrow road to the south of the enclosures,
notwithstanding all his efforts to the contrary. On getting beyond the
village, where he was joined by the retreating bands of the other
regiment, he made one anxious effort, with the Earls of Loudoun and
Home, to form and bring them back to charge the enemy, now disordered by
the pursuit; but in vain. They fled on, ducking their heads along their
horses' necks to escape the bullets which the pursuers occasionally sent
after them. By using great exertions, and holding pistols to the heads
of the troopers, Sir John and a few of his officers induced a small
number of them to halt in a field near St. Clement's Wells, about two
miles from the battle-ground. But, after a momentary delay, the
accidental firing of a pistol renewed the panic, and they rode off once
more in great disorder. Sir John Cope, with a portion of them, reached
Channelkirk at an early hour in the forenoon, and there halted to
breakfast, and to write a brief note to one of the state-officers,
relating the fate of the day. He then resumed his flight, and reached
Coldstream that night. Next morning he proceeded to Berwick, whose
fortifications seemed competent to give the security he required. He
everywhere brought the first tidings of his own defeat."
This victory operated very much in favour of Prince Charles. It secured
him, for a season, the undisputed possession of Scotland, and enabled
numerous adherents from all parts of the country to raise such forces as
they could command, and to repair to his banner. His popularity in
Edinburgh daily increased, as the qualities of his person and mind
became known; and such testimony as the following, with respect to his
estimation by the fair sex, and the devotion they exhibited in his
cause, is not overcharged. "His affability and great personal grace
wrought him high favour with the ladies, who, as we learn from, the
letters of President Forbes, became generally so zealous in his cause,
as to have some serious effect in inducing their admirers to declare for
the Prince. There was, we know for certain, a Miss Lumsden, who plainly
told her lover, a young artist, named Robert Strange, that he might
think no more of her unless he should immediately join Prince Charles,
and thus actually prevailed upon him to take up arms. It may be added
that he survived the enterprise, escaped with great difficulty, and
married the lady. He was afterwards the best line-engraver of his time,
and received the honour of knighthood from George III. White ribbons and
breastknots became at this time conspicuous articles of female attire in
private assemblies. The ladies also showed considerable zeal in
contributing plate and other articles for the use of the Chevalier at
the palace, and in raising pecuniary subsidies for him. Many a
posset-dish and snuff-box, many a treasured necklace and repeater, many
a jewel which had adorned its successive generations of family
beauties, was at this time sold or laid in pledge, to raise a little
money for the service of Prince Charlie."
As to the motives and intended policy of this remarkable and unfortunate
young man, it may be interesting to quote the terms of the proclamation
which he issued on the 10th October, 1745, before commencing his march
into England. Let his history be impartially read, his character, as
spoken to by those who knew him best, fairly noted, and I think there
cannot be a doubt that, had he succeeded in his daring attempt, he would
have been true to the letter of his word, and fulfilled a pledge which
Britain never more required than at the period when that document was
"Do not the pulpits and congregations of the clergy, as well as your
weekly papers, ring with the dreadful threats of popery, slavery,
tyranny, and arbitrary power, which are now ready to be imposed upon you
by the formidable powers of France and Spain? Is not my royal father
represented as a bloodthirsty tyrant, breathing out nothing but
destruction to all who will not immediately embrace an odious religion?
Or have I myself been better used? But listen only to the naked truth.
"I, with my own money, hired a small vessel. Ill-supplied with money,
arms, or friends, I arrived in Scotland, attended by seven persons. I
publish the King my father's declaration, and proclaim his title, with
pardon in one hand, and in the other liberty of conscience, and the most
solemn promises to grant whatever a free Parliament shall propose for
the happiness of a people. I have, I confess, the greatest reason to
adore the goodness of Almighty God, who has in so remarkable a manner
protected me and my small army through the many dangers to which we were
at first exposed, and who has led me in the way to victory, and to the
capital of this ancient kingdom, amidst the acclamations of the King my
father's subjects. Why, then, is so much pains taken to spirit up the
minds of the people against this my undertaking?
"The reason is obvious; it is, lest the real sense of the nation's
present sufferings should blot out the remembrance of past misfortunes,
and of the outcries formerly raised against the royal family. Whatever
miscarriages might have given occasion to them, they have been more than
atoned for since; and the nation has now an opportunity of being secured
against the like in future.
"That our family has suffered exile during these fifty-seven years
everybody knows. Has the nation, during that period of time, been the
more happy and flourishing for it? Have you found reason to love and
cherish your governors as the fathers of the people of Great Britain and
Ireland? Has a family, upon whom a faction unlawfully bestowed the
diadem of a rightful prince, retained a due sense of so great a trust
and favour? Have you found more humanity and condescension in those who
were not born to a crown, than in my royal forefathers? Have their ears
been open to the cries of the people? Have they, or do they consider
only the interests of these nations? Have you reaped any other benefit
from them than an immense load of debt? If I am answered in the
affirmative, why has their government been so often railed at in all
your public assemblies? Why has the nation been so long crying out in
vain for redress against the abuse of Parliaments, upon account of their
long duration, the multitude of placemen, which occasions their
venality, the introduction of penal laws, and, in general, against the
miserable situation of the kingdom at home and abroad? All these, and
many more inconveniences, must now be removed, unless the people of
Great Britain be already so far corrupted that they will not accept of
freedom when offered to them, seeing the King, on his restoration, will
refuse nothing that a free Parliament can ask for the security of the
religion, laws, and liberty of his people.
"It is now time to conclude; and I shall do it with this reflection.
Civil wars are ever attended with rancour and ill-will, which party rage
never fails to produce in the minds of those whom different interests,
principles or views, set in opposition to one another. I, therefore,
earnestly require it of my friends to give as little loose as possible
to such passions: this will prove the most effectual means to prevent
the same in the enemies of my royal cause. And this my declaration will
vindicate to all posterity the nobleness of my undertaking, and the
generosity of my intentions."
There was much truth in the open charges preferred in this declaration
against the existing government. The sovereigns of the house of Hanover
had always shown a marked predilection for their Continental
possessions, and had proportionally neglected the affairs of Britain.
Under Walpole's administration the imperial Parliament had degenerated
from an independent assembly to a junta of placemen, and the most
flagitious system of bribery was openly practised and avowed. It was not
without reason that Charles contrasted the state of the nation then,
with its position when under the rule of the legitimate family; and had
there not been a strong, though, I think, unreasonable suspicion in the
minds of many, that his success would be the prelude to a vigorous
attack upon the established religions of the country, and that he would
be inclined to follow out in this respect the fatal policy of his
grandfather, Charles would in all probability have received a more
active and general support than was accorded to him. The zeal with which
the Episcopalian party in Scotland espoused his cause, naturally gave
rise to the idea that the attempt of the Prince was of evil omen to
Presbytery; and the settlement of the Church upon its present footing
was yet so recent, that the sores of the old feud were still festering
and green. The established clergy, therefore, were, nearly to a man,
opposed to his pretensions; and one minister of Edinburgh, at the time
when the Highland host was in possession of the city, had the courage to
conclude his prayer nearly in the following terms--"Bless the king; Thou
knows what king I mean--may his crown long sit easy on his head. And as
to this young man who has come among us to seek an earthly crown, we
beseech Thee in mercy to take him to Thyself, and give him a crown of
glory!" At the same time, it is very curious to observe, that the most
violent sect of Presbyterians, who might be considered as the
representatives of the extreme Cameronian principle, and who had early
seceded from the Church, and bitterly opposed the union of the kingdoms,
were not indisposed, on certain terms, to coalesce with the Jacobites.
It is hardly possible to understand the motives which actuated these
men, who appear to have regarded each successive government as equally
obnoxious. Some writers go the length of averring that, in 1688, a
negociation was opened by one section of the Covenanters with Lord
Dundee, with the object of resistance to the usurpation of William of
Orange, and that the project was frustrated only by the death of that
heroic nobleman. Sir Walter Scott--a great authority--seems to have been
convinced that such was the case; but, in the absence of direct proof,
I can hardly credit it. It is perfectly well known that a conspiracy was
formed by a certain section of the Cameronian party to assassinate Lords
Dundee and Dunfermline whilst in attendance at the meeting of Estates;
and, although the recognition of William as king might not have been
palatable to others who held the same opinions, it would be a strange
thing if they had so suddenly resolved to assist Dundee in his efforts
for the exiled family. But the political changes in Scotland, more
especially the union, seem to have inspired some of these men with a
spirit of disaffection to the government; for, according to Mr.
Chambers, the most rigid sect of Presbyterians had, since the
revolution, expressed a strong desire to coalesce with the Jacobites,
with the hope, in case the house of Stuart were restored, to obtain what
they called a covenanted king. Of this sect one thousand had assembled
in Dumfriesshire at the first intelligence of the insurrection, bearing
arms and colours, and supposed to contemplate a junction with the
Chevalier. But these religionists were now almost as violently distinct
from the Established Church of Scotland as ever they had been from those
of England and Rome, and had long ceased to play a prominent part in the
national disputes. The Established clergy, and the greater part of their
congregations, were averse to Charles upon considerations perfectly
moderate, at the same time not easy to be shaken.
On commencing his march into England, Charles found himself at the head
of an army of between five thousand and six thousand men, which force
was considered strong enough, with the augmentations it might receive on
the way, to effect the occupation of London. Had the English Jacobites
performed their part with the same zeal as the Scots, it is more than
probable that the attempt would have been crowned with success. As it
was, the Prince succeeded in reducing the strong fortified town of
Carlisle, and in marching, without opposition, through the heart of
England, as far as Derby, within one hundred miles of the metropolis.
But here his better genius deserted him. Discord had crept into his
councils; for some of the chiefs became seriously alarmed at finding
that the gentry of England were not prepared to join the expedition, but
preferred remaining at home inactive spectators of the contest. Except
at Manchester, they had received few or no recruits. No tidings had
reached them from Wales, a country supposed to be devoted to the cause
of King James, whilst it was well known that a large force was already
in arms to oppose the clans. Mr. Chambers gives us the following
details. "At a council of war held on the morning of the 5th December,
Lord George Murray and the other members gave it as their unanimous
opinion that the army ought to return to Scotland. Lord George pointed
out that they were about to be environed by three armies, amounting
collectively to about thirty thousand men, while their own forces were
not above five thousand, if so many. Supposing an unsuccessful
engagement with any of these armies, it could not be expected that one
man would escape, for the militia would beset every road. The Prince, if
not slain in the battle, must fall into the enemy's hands: the whole
world would blame them as fools for running into such a risk. Charles
answered, that he regarded not his own danger. He pressed, with all the
force of argument, to go forward. He did not doubt, he said, that the
justice of his cause would prevail. He was hopeful that there might be a
defection in the enemy's army, and that many would declare for him. He
was so very bent on putting all to the risk, that the Duke of Perth was
for it, since his Royal Highness was. At last he proposed going to Wales
instead of returning to Carlisle; but every other officer declared his
opinion for a retreat. These are nearly the words of Lord George Murray.
We are elsewhere told that the Prince condescended to use entreaties to
induce his adherents to alter their resolution. 'Rather than go back,'
he said, 'I would wish to be twenty feet under ground!' His chagrin,
when he found his councillors obdurate, was beyond all bounds. The
council broke up, on the understanding that the retreat was to commence
next morning, Lord George volunteering to take the place of honour in
the rear, provided only that he should not be troubled with the
This resolution was received by the army with marks of unequivocal
vexation. Retreat, in their estimation, was little less than overthrow;
and it was most galling to find that, after all their labours, hazards,
and toils, they were doomed to disappointment at the very moment when
the prize seemed ready for their grasp. That the movement was an
injudicious one is, I think, obvious. We are told, upon good authority,
"that the very boldness of the Prince's onward movement, especially
taken into connexion with the expected descent from France, had at
length disposed the English Jacobites to come out; and many were just on
the point of declaring themselves, and marching to join his army, when
the retreat from Derby was determined on. A Mr. Barry arrived in Derby
two days after the Prince left it, with a message from Sir Watkin
William Wynne and Lord Barrymore, to assure him, in the names of many
friends of the cause, that they were ready to join him in what manner he
pleased, either in the capital, or every one to rise in his own county.
I have likewise been assured that many of the Welsh gentry had actually
left their homes, and were on the way to join Charles, when intelligence
of his retreat at once sent them all back peaceably, convinced that it
was now too late to contribute their assistance. These men, from the
power they had over their tenantry, could have added materially to his
military force. In fact, from all that appears, we must conclude that
the insurgents had a very considerable chance of success from an onward
movement--also, no doubt, a chance of destruction, and yet not worse
than what ultimately befell many of them--while a retreat broke in a
moment the spell which their gallantry had conjured up, and gave the
enemy a great advantage over them."
One victory more was accorded to Prince Charles, before his final
overthrow. After successfully conducting his retreat to Scotland,
occupying Glasgow, and strengthening his army by the accession of new
recruits, he gave battle to the royal forces under General Hawley at
Falkirk, and, as at Preston, drove them from the field. The parties were
on this occasion fairly matched, there being about eight thousand men
engaged on either side. The action was short; and, though not so
decisive as the former one, gave great confidence to the insurgents. It
has been thus picturesquely portrayed by the historian of the
enterprise: "Some individuals, who beheld the battle from the steeple of
Falkirk, used to describe these, its main events, as occupying a
surprisingly brief space of time. They first saw the English army enter
the misty and storm-covered muir at the top of the hill; then saw the
dull atmosphere thickened by a fast-rolling smoke, and heard the pealing
sounds of the discharge; immediately after, they beheld the discomfited
troops burst wildly from the cloud in which they had been involved, and
rush, in far-spread disorder, over the face of the hill. From the
commencement of what they styled 'the break of the battle,' there did
not intervene more than ten minutes--so soon may an efficient body of
men become, by one transient emotion of cowardice, a feeble and
"The rout would have been total, but for the three out-flanking
regiments. These not having been opposed by any of the clans, having a
ravine in front, and deriving some support from a small body of
dragoons, stood their ground under the command of General Huske and
Brigadier Cholmondley. When the Highlanders went past in pursuit, they
received a volley from this part of the English army, which brought them
to a pause, and caused them to draw back to their former ground, their
impression being that some ambuscade was intended. This saved the
English army from destruction. A pause took place, during which the bulk
of the English infantry got back to Falkirk. It was not until Lord
George Murray brought up the second line of his wing and the pickets,
with some others on the other wing, that General Huske drew off his
party, which he did in good order."
The seat of war was now removed to the North. The month of April, 1746,
found Prince Charles in possession of Inverness, with an army sorely
dwindled in numbers, and in great want of necessaries and provisions.
Many of the Highlanders had retired for the winter to their native
glens, and had not yet rejoined the standard. The Duke of Cumberland,
who now commanded the English army, with a reputation not diminished by
the unfortunate issue of Fontenoy, was at the head of a large body of
tried and disciplined troops, in the best condition, and supported by
the powerful arm of artillery. He effected the passage of the Spey, a
large and rapid river which intersects the Highlands, without
encountering any opposition, and on the 15th of the month had arrived at
Nairn, about nine miles distant from the position occupied by his
kinsman and opponent. His superiority in point of strength was so great
that the boldest of the insurgent chiefs hesitated as to the policy of
giving immediate battle, and nothing but the desire of covering
Inverness prevented the council from recommencing a further retreat into
the mountains, where they could not have been easily followed, and where
they were certain to have met with reinforcements. As to the Prince, his
confidence in the prowess of the Highlanders was so unbounded, that,
even with such odds against him, he would not listen to a proposal for
There yet remained, says Mr. Chambers, before playing the great stake of
a pitched battle, one chance of success by the irregular mode of warfare
to which the army was accustomed, and Charles resolved to put it to
trial. This was a night-attack upon the camp of the Duke of Cumberland.
He rightly argued that if his men could approach without being
discovered, and make a simultaneous attack in more than one place, the
royal forces, then probably either engaged in drinking their commander's
health (the 15th happened to be the anniversary of the Duke's birthday,
and was celebrated as such by his army), or sleeping off the effects of
the debauch, must be completely surprised and cut to pieces, or at least
effectually routed. The time appointed for setting out upon the march
was eight in the evening, when daylight should have completely
disappeared, and, in the mean time, great pains were taken to conceal
the secret from the army.
This resolution was entered into at three in the afternoon, and orders
were given to collect the men who had gone off in search of provisions.
The officers dispersed themselves to Inverness and other places, and
besought the stragglers to repair to the muir. But, under the influence
of hunger, they told their commanders to shoot them, if they pleased,
rather than compel them to starve any longer. Charles had previously
declared, with his characteristic fervour, that though only a thousand
of his men should accompany him, he would lead them on to the attack,
and he was not now intimidated when he saw twice that number ready to
assist in the enterprise, though some of his officers would willingly
have made this deficiency of troops an excuse for abandoning what they
esteemed at best a hazardous expedition. Having given out for watchword
the name of his father, he embraced Lord George Murray, who was to
command the foremost column, and, putting himself at the head of that
which followed, gave the order to march.
The attempt proved peculiarly unfortunate, and, from the fatigue which
it occasioned to the Highlanders, contributed in a great degree towards
the disaster of the following day. The night chanced to be uncommonly
dark, and as it was well known that Cumberland had stationed spies on
the principal roads, it became necessary to select a devious route, in
order to effect a surprise. The columns, proceeding over broken and
irregular ground, soon became scattered and dislocated: no exertions of
the officers could keep the men together, so that Lord George Murray at
two o'clock found that he was still distant three miles from the hostile
camp, and that there were no hopes of commencing the attack before the
break of day, when they would be open to the observation of the enemy.
Under these circumstances a retreat was commenced; and the scheme, which
at one time seemed to hold out every probability of success, was
"The Highlanders returned, fatigued and disconsolate, to their former
position, about seven in the morning, when they immediately addressed
themselves to sleep, or went away in search of provisions. So scarce was
food at this critical juncture, that the Prince himself, on retiring to
Culloden House, could obtain no better refreshment than a little bread
and whisky. He felt the utmost anxiety regarding his men, among whom
the pangs of hunger, upon bodies exhausted by fatigue, must have been
working effects most unpromising to his success; and he gave orders,
before seeking any repose, that the whole country should now be
mercilessly ransacked for the means of refreshment. His orders were not
without effect. Considerable supplies were procured, and subjected to
the cook's art at Inverness; but the poor famished clansmen were
destined never to taste these provisions, the hour of battle arriving
before they were prepared."
About eleven in the forenoon, the troops of Cumberland were observed
upon the eastern extremity of the wide muir of Culloden, and
preparations were instantly made for the coming battle. The army had
been strengthened that morning by the arrival of the Keppoch Macdonalds
and a party of the Frasers; but even with these reinforcements the whole
available force which the Prince could muster was about five thousand
men, to oppose at fearful odds an enemy twice as numerous, and heavily
supported by artillery. Fortune on this day seemed to have deserted the
Prince altogether. In drawing out the line of battle, a most unlucky
arrangement was made by O'Sullivan, who acted as adjutant, whereby the
Macdonald regiments were removed from the right wing--the place which
the great clan Colla has been privileged to hold in Scottish array ever
since the auspicious battle of Bannockburn. To those who are not
acquainted with the peculiar temper and spirit of the Highlanders, and
their punctilio upon points of honour and precedence, the question of
arrangement will naturally appear a matter of little importance. But it
was not so felt by the Macdonalds, who considered their change of
position as a positive degradation, and who further looked upon it as an
evil omen to the success of the battle. The results of this mistake will
be explained immediately.
Just before the commencement of the action, the weather, which had
hitherto been fair and sunny, became overcast, and a heavy blast of rain
and sleet beat directly in the faces of the Highlanders. The English
artillery then began to play upon them, and, being admirably served,
every discharge told with fearful effect upon the ranks. The chief
object of either party at the battle of Culloden seems to have been to
force its opponent to leave his position, and to commence the attack.
Cumberland, finding that his artillery was doing such execution, had no
occasion to move; and Charles appears to have committed a great error in
abandoning a mode of warfare which was peculiarly suited for his troops,
and which, on two previous occasions, had proved eminently successful.
Had he at once ordered a general charge, and attempted to silence the
guns, the issue of the day might have been otherwise: but his
unfortunate star prevailed.
"It was not," says Mr. Chambers, "till the cannonade had continued
nearly half an hour, and the Highlanders had seen many of their kindred
stretched upon the heath, that Charles at last gave way to the necessity
of ordering a charge. The aide-de-camp intrusted to carry his message to
the Lieutenant-general--a youth of the name of Maclachlan--was killed by
a cannon-ball before he reached the first line, but the general
sentiment of the army, as reported to Lord George Murray, supplied the
want, and that general took it upon him to order an attack without
Charles's permission having been communicated.
"Lord George had scarcely determined upon ordering a general movement,
when the Macintoshes, a brave and devoted clan, though not before
engaged in action, unable any longer to brook the unavenged slaughter
made by the cannon, broke from the centre of the line, and rushed
forward through smoke and snow to mingle with the enemy. The Athole men,
Camerons, Stuarts, Frasers, and Macleans also went on, Lord George
Murray heading them with that rash bravery befitting the commander of
such forces. Thus, in the course of one or two minutes, the charge was
general along the whole line, except at the left extremity, where the
Macdonalds, dissatisfied with their position, hesitated to engage.
"The action and event of the onset were, throughout, quite as dreadful
as the mental emotion which urged it. Notwithstanding that the three
files of the front line of English poured forth their incessant fire of
musketry--notwithstanding that the cannon, now loaded with grapeshot,
swept the field as with a hailstorm--notwithstanding the flank fire of
Wolfe's regiment--onward, onward went the headlong Highlanders, flinging
themselves into, rather than rushing upon, the lines of the enemy,
which, indeed, they did not see for smoke, till involved among the
weapons. All that courage, all that despair could do, was done. It was a
moment of dreadful and agonising suspense, but only a moment--for the
whirlwind does not reap the forest with greater rapidity than the
Highlanders cleared the line. Nevertheless, almost every man in their
front rank, chief and gentleman, fell before the deadly weapons which
they had braved; and, although the enemy gave way, it was not till every
bayonet was bent and bloody with the strife.
"When the first line had thus been swept aside, the assailants continued
their impetuous advance till they came near the second, when, being
almost annihilated by a profuse and well-directed fire, the shattered
remains of what had been before a numerous and confident force began to
give way. Still a few rushed on, resolved rather to die than forfeit
their well-acquired and dearly-estimated honour. They rushed on; but not
a man ever came in contact with the enemy. The last survivor perished as
he reached the points of the bayonets."
Some idea of the determination displayed by the Highlanders in this
terrific charge may be gathered from the fact that, in one part of the
field, their bodies were afterwards found in layers of three and four
deep. The slaughter was fearful, for, out of the five regiments which
charged the English, almost all the leaders and men in the front rank
were killed. So shaken was the English line, that, had the Macdonald
regiments, well-known to yield in valour to none of the clans, come up,
the fortune of the day might have been altered. But they never made an
onset. Smarting and sullen at the affront which they conceived to have
been put upon their name, they bore the fire of the English regiments
without flinching, and gave way to their rage by hewing at the heather
with their swords. In vain their chiefs exhorted them to go forward:
even at that terrible moment the pride of clanship prevailed. "My God!"
cried Macdonald of Keppoch, "has it come to this, that the children of
my tribe have forsaken me!" and he rushed forward alone, sword in hand,
with the devotion of an ancient hero, and fell pierced with bullets.
The Lowland and foreign troops which formed the second line were
powerless to retrieve the disaster. All was over. The rout became
general, and the Prince was forced from the field, which he would not
quit, until dragged from it by his immediate bodyguard.
Such was the last battle, the result of civil war, which has been fought
on British soil. Those who were defeated have acquired as much glory
from it as the conquerors--and even more, for never was a conquest
sullied by such deeds of deliberate cruelty as were perpetrated upon the
survivors of the battle of Culloden. It is not, however, the object of
the present paper to recount these, or even the romantic history or
hairbreadth escapes of the Prince, whilst wandering on the mainland and
through the Hebrides. Although a reward of thirty thousand pounds--an
immense sum for the period--was set upon his head--although his secret
was known to hundreds of persons in every walk of life, and even to the
beggar and the outlaw--not one attempted to betray him. Not one of all
his followers, in the midst of the misery which overtook them, regretted
having drawn the sword in his cause, or would not again have gladly
imperilled their lives for the sake of their beloved Chevalier. "He
went," says Lord Mahon, "but not with him departed his remembrance from
the Highlanders. For years and years did his name continue enshrined in
their hearts and familiar to their tongues, their plaintive ditties
resounding with his exploits and inviting his return. Again, in these
strains, do they declare themselves ready to risk life and fortune for
his cause; and even maternal fondness--the strongest, perhaps, of all
human feelings--yields to the passionate devotion to Prince Charlie."
The subsequent life of the Prince is a story of melancholy interest. We
find him at first received in France with all the honours due to one
who, though unfortunate, had exhibited a heroism rarely equalled and
never surpassed: gradually he was neglected and slighted, as one of a
doomed and unhappy race, whom no human exertion could avail to elevate
to their former seat of power; and finally, when his presence in France
became an obstacle to the conclusion of peace, he was violently arrested
and conveyed out of the kingdom. There can be little doubt that
continued misfortune and disappointment had begun very early to impair
his noble mind. For long periods he was a wanderer, lost sight of by his
friends and even by his father and brother. There are fragments of his
writing extant which show how poignantly he felt the cruelty of his
fortune. "De vivre et pas vivre est beaucoup plus que de mourir!" And
again, writing to his father's secretary, eight years after Culloden, he
says--"I am grieved that our master should think that my silence was
either neglect or want of duty; but, in reality, my situation is such
that I have nothing to say but imprecations against the fatality of
being born in such a detestable age." An unhappy and uncongenial
marriage tended still more to embitter his existence; and if at last he
yielded to frailties, which inevitably insure degradation, it must be
remembered that his lot had been one to which few men have ever been
exposed, and the magnitude of his sufferings may fairly be admitted as
some palliation for his weakness.
To the last, his heart was with Scotland. The following anecdote was
related by his brother, Cardinal York, to Bishop Walker, the late
Primus of the Episcopal Church of Scotland:--"Mr. Greathead, a personal
friend of Mr. Fox, succeeded, when at Rome in 1782 or 1783, in obtaining
an interview with Charles Edward; and, being alone with him for some
time, studiously led the conversation to his enterprise in Scotland, and
to the occurrences which succeeded the failure of that attempt. The
Prince manifested some reluctance to enter upon these topics, appearing
at the same time to undergo so much mental suffering, that his guest
regretted the freedom he had used in calling up the remembrance of his
misfortunes. At length, however, the Prince seemed to shake off the load
which oppressed him; his eye brightened, his face assumed unwonted
animation, and he entered upon the narrative of his Scottish campaigns
with a distinct but somewhat vehement energy of manner--recounted his
marches, his battles, his victories, his retreats, and his
defeats--detailed his hairbreadth escapes in the Western Isles, the
inviolable and devoted attachment of his Highland friends, and at length
proceeded to allude to the terrible penalties with which the chiefs
among them had been visited. But here the tide of emotion rose too high
to allow him to go on--his voice faltered, his eyes became fixed, and he
fell convulsed on the floor. The noise brought into his room his
daughter, the Duchess of Albany, who happened to be in an adjoining
apartment. 'Sir,' she exclaimed, 'what is this? You have been speaking
to my father about Scotland and the Highlanders! No one dares to
mention those subjects in his presence.'"
He died on the 30th of January, 1788, in the arms of the Master of
Nairn. The monument erected to him, his father, and brother, in St.
Peter's, by desire of George IV., was perhaps the most graceful tribute
ever paid by royalty to misfortune--REGIO CINERI PIETAS REGIA.
CHARLES EDWARD AT VERSAILLES
ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF CULLODEN
Take away that star and garter--
Hide them from my aching sight:
Neither king nor prince shall tempt me
From my lonely room this night;
Fitting for the throneless exile
Is the atmosphere of pall,
And the gusty winds that shiver
'Neath the tapestry on the wall.
When the taper faintly dwindles
Like the pulse within the vein,
That to gay and merry measure
Ne'er may hope to bound again,
Let the shadows gather round me
While I sit in silence here,
Broken-hearted, as an orphan
Watching by his father's bier.
Let me hold my still communion
Far from every earthly sound--
Day of penance--day of passion--
Ever, as the year comes round;
Fatal day, whereon the latest
Die was cast for me and mine--
Cruel day, that quelled the fortunes
Of the hapless Stuart line!
Phantom-like, as in a mirror,
Rise the griesly scenes of death--
There before me, in its wildness,
Stretches bare Culloden's heath:
There the broken clans are scattered,
Gaunt as wolves, and famine-eyed,
Hunger gnawing at their vitals,
Hope abandoned, all but pride--
Pride, and that supreme devotion
Which the Southron never knew,
And the hatred, deeply rankling,
'Gainst the Hanoverian crew.
Oh, my God! are these the remnants,
These the wrecks of the array
That around the royal standard
Gathered on the glorious day,
When, in deep Glenfinnan's valley;
Thousands, on their bended knees,
Saw once more that stately ensign
Waving in the northern breeze,
When the noble Tullibardine
Stood beneath its weltering fold,
With the Ruddy Lion ramping
In the field of tressured gold,
When the mighty heart of Scotland,
All too big to slumber more,
Burst in wrath and exultation,
Like a huge volcano's roar?
There they stand, the battered columns,
Underneath the murky sky,
In the hush of desperation,
Not to conquer, but to die.
Hark! the bagpipe's fitful wailing:
Not the pibroch loud and shrill,
That, with hope of bloody banquet,
Lured the ravens from the hill,
But a dirge both low and solemn,
Fit for ears of dying men,
Marshalled for their latest battle,
Never more to fight again.
Madness--madness! Why this shrinking?
Were we less inured to war
When our reapers swept the harvest
From the field of red Dunbar?
Bring my horse, and blow the trumpet!
Call the riders of Fitz-James:
Let Lord Lewis head the column!
Valiant chiefs of mighty names--
Trusty Keppoch, stout Glengarry,
Gallant Gordon, wise Locheill--
Bid the clansmen hold together,
Fast, and fell, and firm as steel.
Elcho, never look so gloomy--
What avails a saddened brow?
Heart, man, heart! we need it sorely,
Never half so much, as now.
Had we but a thousand troopers,
Had we but a thousand more!
Noble Perth, I hear them coming!--
Hark! the English cannons' roar.