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The History of England from the Accession of James II, Vol. 3 by Thomas Babington Macaulay

Part 5 out of 13

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James; and Sir James at Leyden told his Puritan friends how
deeply he lamented the wicked compliances of his unhappy child
Sir John.

The Revolution came, and brought a large increase of wealth and
honours to the House of Stair. The son promptly changed sides,
and cooperated ably and zealously with the father. Sir James
established himself in London for the purpose of giving advice to
William on Scotch affairs. Sir John's post was in the Parliament
House at Edinburgh. He was not likely to find any equal among the
debaters there, and was prepared to exert all his powers against
the dynasty which he had lately served.279

By the large party which was zealous for the Calvinistic church
government John Dalrymple was regarded with incurable distrust
and dislike. It was therefore necessary that another agent should
be employed to manage that party. Such an agent was George
Melville, Lord Melville, a nobleman connected by affinity with
the unfortunate Monmouth, and with that Leslie who had
unsuccessfully commanded the Scotch army against Cromwell at
Dunbar. Melville had always been accounted a Whig and a
Presbyterian. Those who speak of him most favourably have not
ventured to ascribe to him eminent intellectual endowments or
exalted public spirit. But he appears from his letters to have
been by no means deficient in that homely prudence the want of
which has often been fatal to men of brighter genius and of purer
virtue. That prudence had restrained him from going very far in
opposition to the tyranny of the Stuarts: but he had listened
while his friends talked about resistance, and therefore, when
the Rye House plot was discovered, thought it expedient to retire
to the Continent. In his absence he was accused of treason, and
was convicted on evidence which would not have satisfied any
impartial tribunal. He was condemned to death: his honours and
lands were declared forfeit: his arms were torn with contumely
out of the Heralds' book; and his domains swelled the estate of
the cruel and rapacious Perth. The fugitive meanwhile, with
characteristic wariness, lived quietly on the Continent, and
discountenanced the unhappy projects of his kinsman Monmouth, but
cordially approved of the enterprise of the Prince of Orange.

Illness had prevented Melville from sailing with the Dutch
expedition: but he arrived in London a few hours after the new
Sovereigns had been proclaimed there. William instantly sent him
down to Edinburgh, in the hope, as it should seem, that the
Presbyterians would be disposed to listen to moderate counsels
proceeding from a man who was attached to their cause, and who
had suffered for it. Melville's second son, David, who had
inherited, through his mother, the title of Earl of Leven, and
who had acquired some military experience in the service of the
Elector of Brandenburg, had the honour of being the bearer of a
letter from the new King of England to the Scottish

James had intrusted the conduct of his affairs in Scotland to
John Graham, Viscount Dundee, and Colin Lindsay, Earl of
Balcarras. Dundee had commanded a body of Scottish troops which
had marched into England to oppose the Dutch: but he had found,
in the inglorious campaign which had been fatal to the dynasty of
Stuart, no opportunity of displaying the courage and military
skill which those who most detest his merciless nature allow him
to have possessed. He lay with his forces not far from Watford,
when he was informed that James had fled from Whitehall, and that
Feversham had ordered all the royal army to disband. The Scottish
regiments were thus left, without pay or provisions, in the midst
of a foreign and indeed a hostile nation. Dundee, it is said,
wept with grief and rage. Soon, however, more cheering
intelligence arrived from various quarters. William wrote a few
lines to say that, if the Scots would remain quiet, he would
pledge his honour for their safety; and, some hours later, it was
known that James had returned to his capital. Dundee repaired
instantly to London.281 There he met his friend Balcarras, who
had just arrived from Edinburgh. Balcarras, a man distinguished
by his handsome person and by his accomplishments, had, in his
youth, affected the character of a patriot, but had deserted the
popular cause, had accepted a seat in the Privy Council, had
become a tool of Perth and Melfort, and bad been one of the
Commissioners who were appointed to execute the office of
Treasurer when Queensberry was disgraced for refusing to betray
the interests of the Protestant religion.282

Dundee and Balcarras went together to Whitehall, and had the
honour of accompanying James in his last walk, up and down the
Mall. He told them that he intended to put his affairs in
Scotland under their management. "You, my Lord Balcarras, must
undertake the civil business: and you, my Lord Dundee, shall have
a commission from me to command the troops." The two noblemen
vowed that they would prove themselves deserving of his
confidence, and disclaimed all thought of making their peace with
the Prince of Orange.283

On the following day James left Whitehall for ever; and the
Prince of Orange arrived at Saint James's. Both Dundee and
Balcarras swelled the crowd which thronged to greet the
deliverer, and were not ungraciously received. Both were well
known to him. Dundee had served under him on the Continent284;
and the first wife of Balcarras had been a lady of the House of
Orange, and had worn, on her wedding day, a superb pair of
emerald earrings, the gift of her cousin the Prince.285

The Scottish Whigs, then assembled in great numbers at
Westminster, earnestly pressed William to proscribe by name four
or five men who had, during the evil times, borne a conspicuous
part in the proceedings of the Privy Council at Edinburgh. Dundee
and Balcarras were particularly mentioned. But the Prince had
determined that, as far as his power extended, all the past
should be covered with a general amnesty, and absolutely refused
to make any declaration which could drive to despair even the
most guilty of his uncle's servants.

Balcarras went repeatedly to Saint James's, had several audiences
of William, professed deep respect for his Highness, and owned
that King James had committed great errors, but would not promise
to concur in a vote of deposition. William gave no sign of
displeasure, but said at parting: "Take care, my Lord, that you
keep within the law; for, if you break it, you must expect to be
left to it."286

Dundee seems to have been less ingenuous. He employed the
mediation of Burnet, opened a negotiation with Saint James's,
declared himself willing to acquiesce in the new order of things,
obtained from William a promise of protection, and promised in
return to live peaceably. Such credit was given to his
professions that he was suffered to travel down to Scotland under
the escort of a troop of cavalry. Without such an escort the man
of blood, whose name was never mentioned but with a shudder at
the hearth of any Presbyterian family, would, at that
conjuncture, have had but a perilous journey through Berwickshire
and the Lothians.287

February was drawing to a close when Dundee and Balcarras reached
Edinburgh. They had some hope that they might be at the head of a
majority in the Convention. They therefore exerted themselves
vigorously to consolidate and animate their party. They assured
the rigid royalists, who had a scruple about sitting in an
assembly convoked by an usurper, that the rightful King
particularly wished no friend of hereditary monarchy to be
absent. More than one waverer was kept steady by being assured in
confident terms that a speedy restoration was inevitable. Gordon
had determined to surrender the castle, and had begun to remove
his furniture: but Dundee and Balcarras prevailed on him to hold
out some time longer. They informed him that they had received
from Saint Germains full powers to adjourn the Convention to
Stirling, and that, if things went ill at Edinburgh, those powers
would be used.288

At length the fourteenth of March, the day fixed for the meeting
of the Estates, arrived, and the Parliament House was crowded.
Nine prelates were in their places. When Argyle presented
himself, a single lord protested against the admission of a
person whom a legal sentence, passed in due form, and still
unreversed, had deprived of the honours of the peerage. But this
objection was overruled by the general sense of the assembly.
When Melville appeared, no voice was raised against his
admission. The Bishop of Edinburgh officiated as chaplain, and
made it one of his petitions that God would help and restore King
James.289 It soon appeared that the general feeling of the
Convention was by no means in harmony with this prayer. The first
matter to be decided was the choice of a President. The Duke of
Hamilton was supported by the Whigs, the Marquess of Athol by the
Jacobites. Neither candidate possessed, and neither deserved, the
entire confidence of his supporters. Hamilton had been a Privy
Councillor of James, had borne a part in many unjustifiable acts,
and had offered but a very cautious and languid opposition to the
most daring attacks on the laws and religion of Scotland. Not
till the Dutch guards were at Whitehall had he ventured to speak
out. Then he had joined the victorious party, and had assured the
Whigs that he had pretended to be their enemy, only in order that
he might, without incurring suspicion, act as their friend. Athol
was still less to be trusted. His abilities were mean, his temper
false, pusillanimous, and cruel. In the late reign he had gained
a dishonourable notoriety by the barbarous actions of which he
had been guilty in Argyleshire. He had turned with the turn of
fortune, and had paid servile court to the Prince of Orange, but
had been coldly received, and had now, from mere mortification,
come back to the party which he had deserted.290 Neither of the
rival noblemen had chosen to stake the dignities and lands of his
house on the issue of the contention between the rival Kings. The
eldest son of Hamilton had declared for James, and the eldest son
of Athol for William, so that, in any event, both coronets and
both estates were safe.

But in Scotland the fashionable notions touching political
morality were lax; and the aristocratical sentiment was strong.
The Whigs were therefore willing to forget that Hamilton had
lately sate in the council of James. The Jacobites were equally
willing to forget that Athol had lately fawned on William. In
political inconsistency those two great lords were far indeed
from standing by themselves; but in dignity and power they had
scarcely an equal in the assembly. Their descent was eminently
illustrious: their influence was immense: one of them could raise
the Western Lowlands: the other could bring into the field an
army of northern mountaineers. Round these chiefs therefore the
hostile factions gathered.

The votes were counted; and it appeared that Hamilton had a
majority of forty. The consequence was that about twenty of the
defeated party instantly passed over to the victors.291 At
Westminster such a defection would have been thought strange; but
it seems to have caused little surprise at Edinburgh. It is a
remarkable circumstance that the same country should have
produced in the same age the most wonderful specimens of both
extremes of human nature. No class of men mentioned in history
has ever adhered to a principle with more inflexible pertinacity
than was found among the Scotch Puritans. Fine and imprisonment,
the sheers and the branding iron, the boot, the thumbscrew, and
the gallows could not extort from the stubborn Covenanter one
evasive word on which it was possible to put a sense inconsistent
with his theological system. Even in things indifferent he would
hear of no compromise; and he was but too ready to consider all
who recommended prudence and charity as traitors to the cause of
truth. On the other hand, the Scotchmen of that generation who
made a figure in the Parliament House and in the Council Chamber
were the most dishonest and unblushing timeservers that the world
has ever seen. The English marvelled alike at both classes. There
were indeed many stouthearted nonconformists in the South; but
scarcely any who in obstinacy, pugnacity, and hardihood could
bear a comparison with the men of the school of Cameron. There
were many knavish politicians in the South; but few so utterly
destitute of morality, and still fewer so utterly destitute of
shame, as the men of the school of Lauderdale. Perhaps it is
natural that the most callous and impudent vice should be found
in the near neighbourhood of unreasonable and impracticable
virtue. Where enthusiasts are ready to destroy or to be destroyed
for trifles magnified into importance by a squeamish conscience,
it is not strange that the very name of conscience should become
a byword of contempt to cool and shrewd men of business.

The majority, reinforced by the crowd of deserters from the
minority, proceeded to name a Committee of Elections. Fifteen
persons were chosen, and it soon appeared that twelve of these
were not disposed to examine severely into the regularity of any
proceeding of which the result had been to send up a Whig to the
Parliament House. The Duke of Hamilton is said to have been
disgusted by the gross partiality of his own followers, and to
have exerted himself, with but little success, to restrain their

Before the Estates proceeded to deliberate on the business for
which they had met, they thought it necessary to provide for
their own security. They could not be perfectly at ease while the
roof under which they sate was commanded by the batteries of the
Castle. A deputation was therefore sent to inform Gordon that the
Convention required him to evacuate the fortress within twenty-
four hours, and that, if he complied, his past conduct should not
be remembered against him. He asked a night for consideration.
During that night his wavering mind was confirmed by the
exhortations of Dundee and Balcarras. On the morrow he sent an
answer drawn in respectful but evasive terms. He was very far, he
declared, from meditating harm to the City of Edinburgh. Least of
all could he harbour any thought of molesting an august assembly
which he regarded with profound reverence. He would willingly
give bond for his good behaviour to the amount of twenty thousand
pounds sterling. But he was in communication with the government
now established in England. He was in hourly expectation of
important despatches from that government; and, till they
arrived, he should not feel himself justified in resigning his
command. These excuses were not admitted. Heralds and trumpeters
were sent to summon the Castle in form, and to denounce the
penalties of high treason against those who should continue to
occupy that fortress in defiance of the authority of the Estates.
Guards were at the same time posted to intercept all
communication between the garrison and the city.293

Two days had been spent in these preludes; and it was expected
that on the third morning the great contest would begin.
Meanwhile the population of Edinburgh was in an excited state. It
had been discovered that Dundee had paid visits to the Castle;
and it was believed that his exhortations had induced the
garrison to hold out. His old soldiers were known to be gathering
round him; and it might well be apprehended that he would make
some desperate attempt. He, on the other hand, had been informed
that the Western Covenanters who filled the cellars of the city
had vowed vengeance on him: and, in truth, when we consider that
their temper was singularly savage and implacable; that they had
been taught to regard the slaying of a persecutor as a duty; that
no examples furnished by Holy Writ had been more frequently held
up to their admiration than Ehud stabbing Eglon, and Samuel
hewing Agag limb from limb; that they had never heard any
achievement in the history of their own country more warmly
praised by their favourite teachers than the butchery of Cardinal
Beatoun and of Archbishop Sharpe; we may well wonder that a man
who had shed the blood of the saints like water should have been
able to walk the High Street in safety during a single day. The
enemy whom Dundee had most reason to fear was a youth of
distinguished courage and abilities named William Cleland.
Cleland had, when little more than sixteen years old, borne arms
in that insurrection which had been put down at Bothwell Bridge.
He had since disgusted some virulent fanatics by his humanity and
moderation. But with the great body of Presbyterians his name
stood high. For with the strict morality and ardent zeal of a
Puritan he united some accomplishments of which few Puritans
could boast. His manners were polished, and his literary and
scientific attainments respectable. He was a linguist,
mathematician, and a poet. It is true that his hymns, odes,
ballads, and Hudibrastic satires are of very little intrinsic
value; but, when it is considered that he was a mere boy when
most of them were written, it must be admitted that they show
considerable vigour of mind. He was now at Edinburgh: his
influence among the West Country Whigs assembled there was great:
he hated Dundee with deadly hatred, and was believed to be
meditating some act of violence.294

On the fifteenth of March Dundee received information that some
of the Covenanters had bound themselves together to slay him and
Sir George Mackenzie, whose eloquence and learning, long
prostituted to the service of tyranny, had made him more odious
to the Presbyterians than any other man of the gown. Dundee
applied to Hamilton for protection,: and Hamilton advised him to
bring the matter under the consideration of the Convention at the
next sitting.295

Before that sitting, a person named Crane arrived from France,
with a letter addressed by the fugitive King to the Estates. The
letter was sealed: the bearer, strange to say, was not furnished
with a copy for the information of the heads of the Jacobite
party; nor did he bring any message, written or verbal, to either
of James's agents. Balcarras and Dundee were mortified by finding
that so little confidence was reposed in them, and were harassed
by painful doubts touching the contents of the document on which
so much depended. They were willing, however, to hope for the
best. King James could not, situated as he was, be so ill advised
as to act in direct opposition to the counsel and entreaties of
his friends. His letter, when opened, must be found to contain
such gracious assurances as would animate the royalists and
conciliate the moderate Whigs. His adherents, therefore,
determined that it should be produced.

When the Convention reassembled on the morning of Saturday the
sixteenth of March, it was proposed that measures should be taken
for the personal security of the members. It was alleged that the
life of Dundee had been threatened; that two men of sinister
appearance had been watching the house where he lodged, and had
been heard to say that they would use the dog as he had used
them. Mackenzie complained that he too was in danger, and, with
his usual copiousness and force of language, demanded the
protection of the Estates. But the matter was lightly treated by
the majority: and the Convention passed on to other business.296

It was then announced that Crane was at the door of the
Parliament House. He was admitted. The paper of which he was in
charge was laid on the table. Hamilton remarked that there was,
in the hands of the Earl of Leven, a communication from the
Prince by whose authority the Estates had been convoked. That
communication seemed to be entitled to precedence. The Convention
was of the same opinion; and the well weighed and prudent letter
of William was read.

It was then moved that the letter of James should be opened. The
Whigs objected that it might possibly contain a mandate
dissolving the Convention. They therefore proposed that, before
the seal was broken, the Estates should resolve to continue
sitting, notwithstanding any such mandate. The Jacobites, who
knew no more than the Whigs what was in the letter, and were
impatient to have it read, eagerly assented. A vote was passed by
which the members bound themselves to consider any order which
should command them to separate as a nullity, and to remain
assembled till they should have accomplished the work of securing
the liberty and religion of Scotland. This vote was signed by
almost all the lords and gentlemen who were present. Seven out of
nine bishops subscribed it. The names of Dundee and Balcarras,
written by their own hands, may still be seen on the original
roll. Balcarras afterwards excused what, on his principles, was,
beyond all dispute, a flagrant act of treason, by saying that he
and his friends had, from zeal for their master's interest,
concurred in a declaration of rebellion against their master's
authority; that they had anticipated the most salutary effects
from the letter; and that, if they had not made some concession
to the majority, the letter would not have been opened.

In a few minutes the hopes of Balcarras were grievously
disappointed. The letter from which so much had been hoped and
feared was read with all the honours which Scottish Parliaments
were in the habit of paying to royal communications: but every
word carried despair to the hearts of the Jacobites. It was plain
that adversity had taught James neither wisdom nor mercy. All was
obstinacy, cruelty, insolence. A pardon was promised to those
traitors who should return to their allegiance within a
fortnight. Against all others unsparing vengeance was denounced.
Not only was no sorrow expressed for past offences: but the
letter was itself a new offence: for it was written and
countersigned by the apostate Melfort, who was, by the statutes
of the realm, incapable of holding the office of Secretary, and
who was not less abhorred by the Protestant Tories than by the
Whigs. The hall was in a tumult. The enemies of James were loud
and vehement. His friends, angry with him, and ashamed of him,
saw that it was vain to think of continuing the struggle in the
Convention. Every vote which had been doubtful when his letter
was unsealed was now irrecoverably lost. The sitting closed in
great agitation.297

It was Saturday afternoon. There was to be no other meeting till
Monday morning. The Jacobite leaders held a consultation, and
came to the conclusion. that it was necessary to take a decided
step. Dundee and Balcarras must use the powers with which they
had been intrusted. The minority must forthwith leave Edinburgh
and assemble at Stirling. Athol assented, and undertook to bring
a great body of his clansmen from the Highlands to protect the
deliberations of the Royalist Convention. Every thing was
arranged for the secession; but, in a few hours, the tardiness of
one man and the haste of another ruined the whole plan.

The Monday came. The Jacobite lords and gentlemen were actually
taking horse for Stirling, when Athol asked for a delay of
twenty-four hours. He had no personal reason to be in haste. By
staying he ran no risk of being assassinated. By going he
incurred the risks inseparable from civil war. The members of his
party, unwilling to separate from him, consented to the
postponement which he requested, and repaired once more to the
Parliament House. Dundee alone refused to stay a moment longer.
His life was in danger. The Convention had refused to protect
him. He would not remain to be a mark for the pistols and daggers
of murderers. Balcarras expostulated to no purpose. "By departing
alone," he said, "you will give the alarm and break up the whole
scheme." But Dundee was obstinate. Brave as he undoubtedly was,
he seems, like many other brave men, to have been less proof
against the danger of assassination than against any other form
of danger. He knew what the hatred of the Covenanters was: he
knew how well he had earned their hatred; and he was haunted by
that consciousness of inexpiable guilt, and by that dread of a
terrible retribution, which the ancient polytheists personified
under the awful name of the Furies. His old troopers, the Satans
and Beelzebubs who had shared his crimes, and who now shared his
perils, were ready to be the companions of his flight.

Meanwhile the Convention had assembled. Mackenzie was on his
legs, and was pathetically lamenting the hard condition of the
Estates, at once commanded by the guns of a fortress and menaced
by a fanatical rabble, when he was interrupted by some sentinels
who came running from the posts near the Castle. They had seen
Dundee at the head of fifty horse on the Stirling road. That road
ran close under the huge rock on which the citadel is built.
Gordon had appeared on the ramparts, and had made a sign that he
had something to say. Dundee had climbed high enough to hear and
to be heard, and was then actually conferring with the Duke. Up
to that moment the hatred with which the Presbyterian members of
the assembly regarded the merciless persecutor of their brethren
in the faith had been restrained by the decorous forms of
parliamentary deliberation. But now the explosion was terrible.
Hamilton himself, who, by the acknowledgment of his opponents,
had hitherto performed the duties of President with gravity and
impartiality, was the loudest and fiercest man in the hall. "It
is high time," he cried, "that we should look to ourselves. The
enemies of our religion and of our civil freedom are mustering
all around us; and we may well suspect that they have accomplices
even here. Lock the doors. Lay the keys on the table. Let nobody
go out but those lords and gentlemen whom we shall appoint to
call the citizens to arms. There are some good men from the West
in Edinburgh, men for whom I can answer." The assembly raised a
general cry of assent. Several members of the majority boasted
that they too had brought with them trusty retainers who would
turn out at a moment's notice against Claverhouse and his
dragoons. All that Hamilton proposed was instantly done. The
Jacobites, silent and unresisting, became prisoners. Leven went
forth and ordered the drums to beat. The Covenanters of
Lanarkshire and Ayrshire promptly obeyed the signal. The force
thus assembled had indeed no very military appearance, but was
amply sufficient to overawe the adherents of the House of Stuart.
From Dundee nothing was to be hoped or feared. He had already
scrambled down the Castle hill, rejoined his troopers, and
galloped westward. Hamilton now ordered the doors to be opened.
The suspected members were at liberty to depart. Humbled and
brokenspirited, yet glad that they had come off so well, they
stole forth through the crowd of stern fanatics which filled the
High Street. All thought of secession was at an end.298

On the following day it was resolved that the kingdom should be
put into a posture of defence. The preamble of this resolution
contained a severe reflection on the perfidy of the traitor who,
within a few hours after he had, by an engagement subscribed with
his own hand, bound himself not to quit his post in the
Convention, had set the example of desertion, and given the
signal of civil war. All Protestants, from sixteen to sixty, were
ordered to hold themselves in readiness to assemble in arms at
the first summons; and, that none might pretend ignorance, it was
directed that the edict should be proclaimed at all the market
crosses throughout the realm.299

The Estates then proceeded to send a letter of thanks to William.
To this letter were attached the signatures of many noblemen and
gentlemen who were in the interest of the banished King. The
Bishops however unanimously refused to subscribe their names.

It had long been the custom of the Parliaments of Scotland to
entrust the preparation of Acts to a select number of members who
were designated as the Lords of the Articles. In conformity with
this usage, the business of framing a plan for the settling of
the government was now confided to a Committee of twenty-four. Of
the twenty-four eight were peers, eight representatives of
counties, and eight representatives of towns. The majority of the
Committee were Whigs; and not a single prelate had a seat.

The spirit of the Jacobites, broken by a succession of disasters,
was, about this time, for a moment revived by the arrival of the
Duke of Queensberry from London. His rank was high and
his influence was great: his character, by comparison with the
characters of those who surrounded him, was fair. When Popery was
in the ascendent, he had been true to the cause of the Protestant
Church; and, since Whiggism had been in the ascendent, he had
been true to the cause of hereditary monarchy. Some thought that,
if he had been earlier in his place, he might have been able to
render important service to the House of Stuart.300 Even now the
stimulants which he applied to his torpid and feeble party
produced some faint symptoms of returning animation. Means were
found of communicating with Gordon; and he was earnestly
solicited to fire on the city. The Jacobites hoped that, as soon
as the cannon balls had beaten down a few chimneys, the Estates
would adjourn to Glasgow. Time would thus be gained; and the
royalists might be able to execute their old project of meeting
in a separate convention. Gordon however positively refused to
take on himself so grave a responsibility on no better warrant
than the request of a small cabal.301

By this time the Estates had a guard on which they could rely
more firmly than on the undisciplined and turbulent Covenanters
of the West. A squadron of English men of war from the Thames had
arrived in the Frith of Forth. On board were the three Scottish
regiments which had accompanied William from Holland. He had,
with great judgment, selected them to protect the assembly which
was to settle the government of their country; and, that no cause
of jealousy might be given to a people exquisitely sensitive on
points of national honour, he had purged the ranks of all Dutch
soldiers, and had thus reduced the number of men to about eleven
hundred. This little force was commanded by Andrew Mackay, a
Highlander of noble descent, who had served long on the
Continent, and who was distinguished by courage of the truest
temper, and by a piety such as is seldom found in soldiers of
fortune. The Convention passed a resolution appointing Mackay
general of their forces. When the question was put on this
resolution, the Archbishop of Glasgow, unwilling doubtless to be
a party to such an usurpation of powers which belonged to the
King alone, begged that the prelates might be excused from
voting. Divines, he said, had nothing to do with military
arrangements. "The Fathers of the Church," answered a member very
keenly, "have been lately favoured with a new light. I have
myself seen military orders signed by the Most Reverend person
who has suddenly become so scrupulous. There was indeed one
difference: those orders were for dragooning Protestants, and the
resolution before us is meant to protect us from Papists."302

The arrival of Mackay's troops, and the determination of Gordon
to remain inactive, quelled the spirit of the Jacobites. They had
indeed one chance left. They might possibly, by joining with
those Whigs who were bent on an union with England, have
postponed during a considerable time the settlement of the
government. A negotiation was actually opened with this view, but
was speedily broken off. For it soon appeared that the party
which was for James was really hostile to the union, and that the
party which was for the union was really hostile to James. As
these two parties had no object in common, the only effect of a
coalition between them must have been that one of them would have
become the tool of the other. The question of the union therefore
was not raised.303 Some Jacobites retired to their country seats:
others, though they remained at Edinburgh, ceased to show
themselves in the Parliament House: many passed over to the
winning side; and, when at length the resolutions prepared by the
Twenty Four were submitted to the Convention, it appeared that
the party which on the first day of the session had rallied round
Athol had dwindled away to nothing.

The resolutions had been framed, as far as possible, in
conformity with the example recently set at Westminster. In one
important point, however, it was absolutely necessary that the
copy should deviate from the original. The Estates of England had
brought two charges against James, his misgovernment and his
flight, and had, by using the soft word "Abdication," evaded,
with some sacrifice of verbal precision, the question whether
subjects may lawfully depose a bad prince. That question the
Estates of Scotland could not evade. They could not pretend that
James had deserted his post. For he had never, since he came to
the throne, resided in Scotland. During many years that kingdom
had been ruled by sovereigns who dwelt in another land. The whole
machinery of the administration had been constructed on the
supposition that the King would be absent, and was therefore not
necessarily deranged by that flight which had, in the south of
the island, dissolved all government, and suspended the ordinary
course of justice. It was only by letter that the King could,
when he was at Whitehall, communicate with the Council and the
Parliament at Edinburgh; and by letter he could communicate with
them when he was at Saint Germains or at Dublin. The Twenty Four
were therefore forced to propose to the Estates a resolution
distinctly declaring that James the Seventh had by his misconduct
forfeited the crown. Many writers have inferred from the language
of this resolution that sound political principles had made a
greater progress in Scotland than in England. But the whole
history of the two countries from the Restoration to the Union
proves this inference to be erroneous. The Scottish Estates used
plain language, simply because it was impossible for them,
situated as they were, to use evasive language.

The person who bore the chief part in framing the resolution, and
in defending it, was Sir John Dalrymple, who had recently held
the high office of Lord Advocate, and had been an accomplice in
some of the misdeeds which he now arraigned with great force of
reasoning and eloquence. He was strenuously supported by Sir
James Montgomery, member for Ayrshire, a man of considerable
abilities, but of loose principles, turbulent temper, insatiable
cupidity, and implacable malevolence. The Archbishop of Glasgow
and Sir George Mackenzie spoke on the other side: but the only
effect of their oratory was to deprive their party of the
advantage of being able to allege that the Estates were under
duress, and that liberty of speech had been denied to the
defenders of hereditary monarchy.

When the question was put, Athol, Queensberry, and some of their
friends withdrew. Only five members voted against the resolution
which pronounced that James had forfeited his right to the
allegiance of his subjects. When it was moved that the Crown of
Scotland should be settled as the Crown of England had been
settled, Athol and Queensberry reappeared in the hall. They had
doubted, they said, whether they could justifiably declare the
throne vacant. But, since it had been declared vacant, they felt
no doubt that William and Mary were the persons who ought to fill

The Convention then went forth in procession to the High Street.
Several great nobles, attended by the Lord Provost of the capital
and by the heralds, ascended the octagon tower from which rose
the city cross surmounted by the unicorn of Scotland.304 Hamilton
read the vote of the Convention; and a King at Arms proclaimed
the new Sovereigns with sound of trumpet. On the same day the
Estates issued an order that the parochial clergy should, on pain
of deprivation, publish from their pulpits the proclamation which
had just been read at the city cross, and should pray for King
William and Queen Mary.

Still the interregnum was not at an end. Though the new
Sovereigns had been proclaimed, they had not yet been put into
possession of the royal authority by a formal tender and a formal
acceptance. At Edinburgh, as at Westminster, it was thought
necessary that the instrument which settled the government should
clearly define and solemnly assert those privileges of the people
which the Stuarts had illegally infringed. A Claim of Right was
therefore drawn up by the Twenty Four, and adopted by the
Convention. To this Claim, which purported to be merely
declaratory of the law as it stood, was added a supplementary
paper containing a list of grievances which could be remedied
only by new laws. One most important article which we should
naturally expect to find at the head of such a list, the
Convention, with great practical prudence, but in defiance of
notorious facts and of unanswerable arguments, placed in the
Claim of Right. Nobody could deny that prelacy was established by
Act of Parliament. The power exercised by the Bishops might be
pernicious, unscriptural, antichristian but illegal it certainly
was not; and to pronounce it illegal was to outrage common sense.
The Whig leaders however were much more desirous to get rid of
episcopacy than to prove themselves consummate publicists and
logicians. If they made the abolition of episcopacy an article of
the contract by which William was to hold the crown, they
attained their end, though doubtless in a manner open to much
criticism. If, on the other hand, they contented themselves with
resolving that episcopacy was a noxious institution which at some
future time the legislature would do well to abolish, they might
find that their resolution, though unobjectionable in form, was
barren of consequences. They knew that William by no means
sympathized with their dislike of Bishops, and that, even had he
been much more zealous for the Calvinistic model than he was, the
relation in which he stood to the Anglican Church would make it
difficult and dangerous for him to declare himself hostile to a
fundamental part of the constitution of that Church. If he should
become King of Scotland without being fettered by any pledge on
this subject, it might well be apprehended that he would hesitate
about passing an Act which would be regarded with abhorrence by a
large body of his subjects in the south of the island. It was
therefore most desirable that the question should be settled
while the throne was still vacant. In this opinion many
politicians concurred, who had no dislike to rochets and mitres,
but who wished that William might have a quiet and prosperous
reign. The Scottish people,--so these men reasoned,--hated
episcopacy. The English loved it. To leave William any voice in
the matter was to put him under the necessity of deeply wounding
the strongest feelings of one of the nations which he governed.
It was therefore plainly for his own interest that the question,
which he could not settle in any manner without incurring a
fearful amount of obloquy, should be settled for him by others
who were exposed to no such danger. He was not yet Sovereign of
Scotland. While the interregnum lasted, the supreme power
belonged to the Estates; and for what the Estates might do the
prelatists of his southern kingdom could not hold him
responsible. The elder Dalrymple wrote strongly from London to
this effect, and there can be little doubt that he expressed the
sentiments of his master. William would have sincerely rejoiced
if the Scots could have been reconciled to a modified episcopacy.
But, since that could not be, it was manifestly desirable that
they should themselves, while there was yet no King over them,
pronounce the irrevocable doom of the institution which they

The Convention, therefore, with little debate as it should seem,
inserted in the Claim of Right a clause declaring that prelacy
was an insupportable burden to the kingdom, that it had been long
odious to the body of the people, and that it ought to be

Nothing in the proceedings at Edinburgh astonishes an Englishman
more than the manner in which the Estates dealt with the practice
of torture. In England torture had always been illegal. In the
most servile times the judges had unanimously pronounced it so.
Those rulers who had occasionally resorted to it had, as far as
was possible, used it in secret, had never pretended that they
had acted in conformity with either statute law or common law,
and had excused themselves by saying that the extraordinary peril
to which the state was exposed had forced them to take on
themselves the responsibility of employing extraordinarily means
of defence. It had therefore never been thought necessary by any
English Parliament to pass any Act or resolution touching this
matter. The torture was not mentioned in the Petition of Right,
or in any of the statutes framed by the Long Parliament. No
member of the Convention of 1689 dreamed of proposing that the
instrument which called the Prince and Princess of Orange to the
throne should contain a declaration against the using of racks
and thumbscrews for the purpose of forcing prisoners to accuse
themselves. Such a declaration would have been justly regarded as
weakening rather than strengthening a rule which, as far back as
the days of the Plantagenets, had been proudly declared by the
most illustrious sages of Westminster Hall to be a distinguishing
feature of the English jurisprudence.306 In the Scottish Claim of
Right, the use of torture, without evidence, or in ordinary
cases, was declared to be contrary to law. The use of torture,
therefore, where there was strong evidence, and where the crime
was extraordinary, was, by the plainest implication, declared to
be according to law; nor did the Estates mention the use of
torture among the grievances which required a legislative remedy.
In truth, they could not condemn the use of torture without
condemning themselves. It had chanced that, while they were
employed in settling the government, the eloquent and learned
Lord President Lockhart had been foully murdered in a public
street through which he was returning from church on a Sunday.
The murderer was seized, and proved to be a wretch who, having
treated his wife barbarously and turned her out of doors, had
been compelled by a decree of the Court of Session to provide for
her. A savage hatred of the judges by whom she had been protected
had taken possession of his mind, and had goaded him to a
horrible crime and a horrible fate. It was natural that an
assassination attended by so many circumstances of aggravation
should move the indignation of the members of the Convention. Yet
they should have considered the gravity of the conjuncture and
the importance of their own mission. They unfortunately, in the
heat of passion, directed the magistrates of Edinburgh to strike
the prisoner in the boots, and named a Committee to superintend
the operation. But for this unhappy event, it is probable that
the law of Scotland concerning torture would have been
immediately assimilated to the law of England.307

Having settled the Claim of Right, the Convention proceeded to
revise the Coronation oath. When this had been done, three
members were appointed to carry the Instrument of Government to
London. Argyle, though not, in strictness of law, a Peer, was
chosen to represent the Peers: Sir James Montgomery represented
the Commissioners of Shires, and Sir John Dalrymple the
Commissioners of Towns.

The Estates then adjourned for a few weeks, having first passed a
vote which empowered Hamilton to take such measures as might be
necessary for the preservation of the public peace till the end
of the interregnum.

The ceremony of the inauguration was distinguished from ordinary
pageants by some highly interesting circumstances. On the
eleventh of May the three Commissioners came to the Council
Chamber at Whitehall, and thence, attended by almost all the
Scotchmen of note who were then in London, proceeded to the
Banqueting House. There William and Mary appeared seated under a
canopy. A splendid circle of English nobles, and statesmen stood
round the throne: but the sword of state as committed to a Scotch
lord; and the oath of office was administered after the Scotch
fashion. Argyle recited the words slowly. The royal pair, holding
up their hands towards heaven, repeated after him till they came
to the last clause. There William paused. That clause contained a promise that
he would root out all heretics and all enemies of
the true worship of God; and it was notorious that, in the
opinion of many Scotchmen, not only all Roman Catholics, but all
Protestant Episcopalians, all Independents, Baptists and Quakers,
all Lutherans, nay all British Presbyterians who did not hold
themselves bound by the Solemn League and Covenant, were enemies
of the true worship of God.308 The King had apprised the
Commissioners that he could not take this part of the oath
without a distinct and public explanation; and they had been
authorised by the Convention to give such an explanation as would
satisfy him. "I will not," he now said, "lay myself under any
obligation to be a persecutor." "Neither the words of this oath,"
said one of the Commissioners, "nor the laws of Scotland, lay any
such obligation on your Majesty." "In that sense, then, I swear,"
said William; "and I desire you all, my lords and gentlemen, to
witness that I do so." Even his detractors have generally
admitted that on this great occasion he acted with uprightness,
dignity, and wisdom.309

As King of Scotland, he soon found himself embarrassed at every
step by all the difficulties which had embarrassed him as King of
England, and by other difficulties which in England were happily
unknown. In the north of the island, no class was more
dissatisfied with the Revolution than the class which owed most
to the Revolution. The manner in which the Convention had decided
the question of ecclesiastical polity had not been more offensive
to the Bishops themselves than to those fiery Covenanters who had
long, in defiance of sword and carbine, boot and gibbet,
worshipped their Maker after their own fashion in caverns and on
mountain tops. Was there ever, these zealots exclaimed, such a
halting between two opinions, such a compromise between the Lord
and Baal? The Estates ought to have said that episcopacy was an
abomination in God's sight, and that, in obedience to his word,
and from fear of his righteous judgment, they were determined to
deal with this great national sin and scandal after the fashion
of those saintly rulers who of old cut down the groves and
demolished the altars of Chemosh and Astarte. Unhappily, Scotland
was ruled, not by pious Josiahs, but by careless Gallios. The
antichristian hierarchy was to be abolished, not because it was
an insult to heaven, but because it was felt as a burden on
earth; not because it was hateful to the great Head of the
Church, but because it was hateful to the people. Was public
opinion, then, the test of right and wrong in religion? Was not
the order which Christ had established in his own house to be
held equally sacred in all countries and through all ages? And
was there no reason for following that order in Scotland except a
reason which might be urged with equal force for maintaining
Prelacy in England, Popery in Spain, and Mahometanism in Turkey?
Why, too, was nothing said of those Covenants which the nation
had so generally subscribed and so generally violated? Why was it
not distinctly affirmed that the promises set down in those rolls
were still binding, and would to the end of time be binding, on
the kingdom? Were these truths to be suppressed from regard for
the feelings and interests of a prince who was all things to all
men, an ally of the idolatrous Spaniard and of the Lutheran bane,
a presbyterian at the Hague and a prelatist at Whiteball? He,
like Jelin in ancient times, had doubtless so far done well that
he had been the scourge of the idolatrous House of Ahab. But he,
like Jelin, had not taken heed to walk in the divine law with his
whole heart, but had tolerated and practised impieties differing
only in degree from those of which he had declared himself the
enemy. It would have better become godly senators to remonstrate
with him on the sin which he was committing by conforming to the
Anglican ritual, and by maintaining the Anglican Church
government, than to flatter him by using a phraseology which
seemed to indicate that they were as deeply tainted with
Erastianism as himself. Many of those who held this language
refused to do any act which could be construed into a recognition
of the new Sovereigns, and would rather have been fired upon by
files of musketeers or tied to stakes within low water mark than
have uttered a prayer that God would bless William and Mary.

Yet the King had less to fear from the pertinacious adherence of
these men to their absurd principles, than from the ambition and
avarice of another set of men who had no principles at all. It
was necessary that he should immediately name ministers to
conduct the government of Scotland: and, name whom he might, he
could not fail to disappoint and irritate a multitude of
expectants. Scotland was one of the least wealthy countries in
Europe: yet no country in Europe contained a greater number of
clever and selfish politicians. The places in the gift of the
Crown were not enough to satisfy one twentieth part of the
placehunters, every one of whom thought that his own services had
been preeminent, and that, whoever might be passed by, he ought
to be remembered. William did his best to satisfy these
innumerable and insatiable claimants by putting many offices into
commission. There were however a few great posts which it was
impossible to divide. Hamilton was declared Lord High
Commissioner, in the hope that immense pecuniary allowances, a
residence in Holyrood Palace, and a pomp and dignity little less
than regal, would content him. The Earl of Crawford was appointed
President of the Parliament; and it was supposed that this
appointment would conciliate the rigid Presbyterians,
for Crawford was what they called a professor. His letters and
speeches are, to use his own phraseology, exceeding savoury.
Alone, or almost alone, among the prominent politicians of that
time, he retained the style which had been fashionable in the
preceding generation. He had a text of the Old Testament ready
for every occasion. He filled his despatches with allusions to
Ishmael and Hagar, Hannah and Eli, Elijah, Nehemiah, and
Zerubbabel, and adorned his oratory with quotations from Ezra and
Haggai. It is a circumstance strikingly characteristic of the
man, and of the school in which he had been trained, that, in all
the mass of his writing which has come down to us, there is not a
single word indicating that he had ever in his life heard of the
New Testament. Even in our own time some persons of a peculiar
taste have been so much delighted by the rich unction of his
eloquence, that they have confidently pronounced him a saint. To
those whose habit it is to judge of a man rather by his actions
than by his words, Crawford will appear to have been a selfish,
cruel politician, who was not at all the dupe of his own cant,
and whose zeal against episcopal government was not a little
whetted by his desire to obtain a grant of episcopal domains. In
excuse for his greediness, it ought to be said that he was the
poorest noble of a poor nobility, and that before the Revolution
he was sometimes at a loss for a meal and a suit of clothes.310

The ablest of Scottish politicians and debaters, Sir John
Dalrymple, was appointed Lord Advocate. His father, Sir James,
the greatest of Scottish jurists, was placed at the head of the
Court of Session. Sir William Lockhart, a man whose letters prove
him to have possessed considerable ability, became Solicitor

Sir James Montgomery had flattered himself that he should be the
chief minister. He had distinguished himself highly in the
Convention. He had been one of the Commissioners who had tendered
the Crown and administered the oath to the new Sovereigns. In
parliamentary ability and eloquence he had no superior among his
countrymen, except the new Lord Advocate. The Secretaryship was,
not indeed in dignity, but in real power, the highest office in
the Scottish government; and this office was the reward to which
Montgomery thought himself entitled. But the Episcopalians and
the moderate Presbyterians dreaded him as a man of extreme
opinions and of bitter spirit. He had been a chief of the
Covenanters: he had been prosecuted at one time for holding
conventicles, and at another time for harbouring rebels: he had
been fined: he had been imprisoned: he had been almost driven to
take refuge from his enemies beyond the Atlantic in the infant
settlement of New Jersey. It was apprehended that, if he were now
armed with the whole power of the Crown, he would exact a
terrible retribution for what he had suffered.311 William
therefore preferred Melville, who, though not a man of eminent
talents, was regarded by the Presbyterians as a thoroughgoing
friend, and yet not regarded by the Episcopalians as an
implacable enemy. Melville fixed his residence at the English
Court, and became the regular organ of communication between
Kensington and the authorities at Edinburgh.

William had, however, one Scottish adviser who deserved and
possessed more influence than any of the ostensible ministers.
This was Carstairs, one of the most remarkable men of that age.
He united great scholastic attainments with great aptitude for
civil business, and the firm faith and ardent zeal of a martyr
with the shrewdness and suppleness of a consummate politician. In
courage and fidelity he resembled Burnet; but he had, what Burnet
wanted, judgment, selfcommand, and a singular power of keeping
secrets. There was no post to which he might not have aspired if
he had been a layman, or a priest of the Church of England. But a
Presbyterian clergyman could not hope to attain any high dignity
either in the north or in the south of the island. Carstairs was
forced to content himself with the substance of power, and to
leave the semblance to others. He was named Chaplain to their
Majesties for Scotland, but wherever the King was, in England,
in Ireland, in the Netherlands, there was this most trusty and
most prudent of courtiers. He obtained from the royal bounty a
modest competence; and he desired no more. But it was well known
that he could be as useful a friend and as formidable an enemy as
any member of the cabinet; and he was designated at the public
offices and in the antechambers of the palace by the significant
nickname of the Cardinal.312

To Montgomery was offered the place of Lord Justice Clerk. But
that place, though high and honourable, he thought below his
merits and his capacity; and he returned from London to Scotland
with a heart ulcerated by hatred of his ungrateful master and of
his successful rivals. At Edinburgh a knot of Whigs, as severely
disappointed as himself by the new arrangements, readily
submitted to the guidance of so bold and able a leader. Under his
direction these men, among whom the Earl of Annandale and Lord
Ross were the most conspicuous, formed themselves into a society
called the Club, appointed a clerk, and met daily at a tavern to
concert plans of opposition. Round this nucleus soon gathered a
great body of greedy and angry politicians.313 With these
dishonest malecontents, whose object was merely to annoy the
government and to get places, were leagued other malecontents,
who, in the course of a long resistance to tyranny, had become so
perverse and irritable that they were unable to live contentedly
even under the mildest and most constitutional government. Such a
man was Sir Patrick Hume. He had returned from exile, as
litigious, as impracticable; as morbidly jealous of all superior
authority, and as fond of haranguing, as he had been four years
before, and was as much bent on making a merely nominal sovereign
of William as he had formerly been bent on making a merely
nominal general of Argyle.314 A man far superior morally and
intellectually to Hume, Fletcher of Saltoun, belonged to the same
party. Though not a member of the Convention, he was a most
active member of the Club.315 He hated monarchy: he hated
democracy: his favourite project was to make Scotland an
oligarchical republic. The King, if there must be a King, was to
be a mere pageant. The lowest class of the people were to be
bondsmen. The whole power, legislative and executive, was to be
in the hands of the Parliament. In other words, the country was
to be absolutely governed by a hereditary aristocracy, the most
needy, the most haughty, and the most quarrelsome in Europe.
Under such a polity there could have been neither freedom nor
tranquillity. Trade, industry, science, would have languished;
and Scotland would have been a smaller Poland, with a puppet
sovereign, a turbulent diet, and an enslaved people. With
unsuccessful candidates for office, and with honest but
wrongheaded republicans, were mingled politicians whose course
was determined merely by fear. Many sycophants, who were
conscious that they had, in the evil time, done what deserved
punishment, were desirous to make their peace with the powerful
and vindictive Club, and were glad to be permitted to atone for
their servility to James by their opposition to William."316 The
great body of Jacobites meanwhile stood aloof, saw with delight
the enemies of the House of Stuart divided against one another,
and indulged the hope that the confusion would end in the
restoration of the banished king.317

While Montgomery was labouring to form out of various materials a
party which might, when the Convention should reassemble, be
powerful enough to dictate to the throne, an enemy still more
formidable than Montgomery had set up the standard of civil war
in a region about which the politicians of Westminster, and
indeed most of the politicians of Edinburgh, knew no more than
about Abyssinia or Japan.

It is not easy for a modern Englishman, who can pass in a day
from his club in St. James's Street to his shooting box among the
Grampians, and who finds in his shooting box all the comforts and
luxuries of his club, to believe that, in the time of his
greatgrandfathers, St. James's Street had as little connection
with the Grampians as with the Andes. Yet so it was. In the south
of our island scarcely any thing was known about the Celtic part
of Scotland; and what was known excited no feeling but contempt
and loathing. The crags and the glens, the woods and the waters,
were indeed the same that now swarm every autumn with admiring
gazers and stretchers. The Trosachs wound as now between gigantic
walls of rock tapestried with broom and wild roses: Foyers came
headlong down through the birchwood with the same leap and the
same roar with which he still rushes to Loch Ness; and, in
defiance of the sun of June, the snowy scalp of Ben Cruachan
rose, as it still rises, over the willowy islets of Loch Awe. Yet
none of these sights had power, till a recent period, to attract
a single poet or painter from more opulent and more tranquil
regions. Indeed, law and police, trade and industry, have done
far more than people of romantic dispositions will readily admit,
to develope in our minds a sense of the wilder beauties of
nature. A traveller must be freed from all apprehension of being
murdered or starved before he can be charmed by the bold outlines
and rich tints of the hills. He is not likely to be thrown into
ecstasies by the abruptness of a precipice from which he is in
imminent danger of falling two thousand feet perpendicular; by
the boiling waves of a torrent which suddenly whirls away his
baggage and forces him to run for his life; by the gloomy
grandeur of a pass where he finds a corpse which marauders have
just stripped and mangled; or by the screams of those eagles
whose next meal may probably be on his own eyes. About the year
1730, Captain Burt, one of the first Englishmen who caught a
glimpse of the spots which now allure tourists from every part of
the civilised world, wrote an account of his wanderings. He was
evidently a man of a quick, an observant, and a cultivated mind,
and would doubtless, had he lived in our age, have looked with
mingled awe and delight on the mountains of Invernessshire. But,
writing with the feeling which was universal in his own age, he
pronounced those mountains monstrous excrescences. Their
deformity, he said, was such that the most sterile plains seemed
lovely by comparison. Fine weather, he complained, only made bad
worse; for, the clearer the day, the more disagreeably did those
misshapen masses of gloomy brown and dirty purple affect the eye.
What a contrast, he exclaimed, between these horrible prospects
and the beauties of Richmond Hill!318 Some persons may think that
Burt was a man of vulgar and prosaical mind: but they will
scarcely venture to pass a similar judgment on Oliver Goldsmith.
Goldsmith was one of the very few Saxons who, more than a century
ago, ventured to explore the Highlands. He was disgusted by the
hideous wilderness, and declared that he greatly preferred the
charming country round Leyden, the vast expanse of verdant
meadow, and the villas with their statues and grottoes, trim
flower beds, and rectilinear avenues. Yet it is difficult to
believe that the author of the Traveller and of the Deserted
Village was naturally inferior in taste and sensibility to the
thousands of clerks and milliners who are now thrown into
raptures by the sight of Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond.319 His
feelings may easily be explained. It was not till roads had been
cut out of the rocks, till bridges had been flung over the
courses of the rivulets, till inns had succeeded to dens of
robbers, till there was as little danger of being slain or
plundered in the wildest defile of Badenoch or Lochaber as in
Cornhill, that strangers could be enchanted by the blue dimples
of the lakes and by the rainbows which overhung the waterfalls,
and could derive a solemn pleasure even from the clouds and
tempests which lowered on the mountain tops.

The change in the feeling with which the Lowlanders regarded the
highland scenery was closely connected with a change not less
remarkable in the feeling with which they regarded the Highland
race. It is not strange that the Wild Scotch, as they were
sometimes called, should, in the seventeenth century, have been
considered by the Saxons as mere savages. But it is surely
strange that, considered as savages, they should not have been
objects of interest and curiosity. The English were then
abundantly inquisitive about the manners of rude nations
separated from our island by great continents and oceans.
Numerous books were printed describing the laws, the
superstitions, the cabins, the repasts, the dresses, the
marriages, the funerals of Laplanders and Hottentots, Mohawks and
Malays. The plays and poems of that age are full of allusions to
the usages of the black men of Africa and of the red men of
America. The only barbarian about whom there was no wish to have
any information was the Highlander. Five or six years after the
Revolution, an indefatigable angler published an account of
Scotland. He boasted that, in the course of his rambles from lake
to lake, and from brook to brook, he had left scarcely a nook of
the kingdom unexplored. But, when we examine his narrative, we
find that he had never ventured beyond the extreme skirts of the
Celtic region. He tells us that even from the people who lived
close to the passes he could learn little or nothing about the
Gaelic population. Few Englishmen, he says, had ever seen
Inverary. All beyond Inverary was chaos.320 In the reign of
George the First, a work was published which professed to give a
most exact account of Scotland; and in this work, consisting of
more than three hundred pages, two contemptuous paragraphs were
thought sufficient for the Highlands and the Highlanders.321 We
may well doubt whether, in 1689, one in twenty of the well read
gentlemen who assembled at Will's coffeehouse knew that, within
the four seas, and at the distance of less than five hundred
miles from London, were many miniature courts, in each of which a
petty prince, attended by guards, by armour bearers, by
musicians, by a hereditary orator, by a hereditary poet laureate,
kept a rude state, dispensed a rude justice, waged wars, and
concluded treaties. While the old Gaelic institutions were in
full vigour, no account of them was given by any observer,
qualified to judge of them fairly. Had such an observer studied
the character of the Highlanders, he would doubtless have found
in it closely intermingled the good and the bad qualities of an
uncivilised nation. He would have found that the people had no
love for their country or for their king; that they had no
attachment to any commonwealth larger than the clan, or to any
magistrate superior to the chief. He would have found that life
was governed by a code of morality and honour widely different
from that which is established in peaceful and prosperous
societies. He would have learned that a stab in the back, or a
shot from behind a fragment of rock, were approved modes of
taking satisfaction for insults. He would have heard men relate
boastfully how they or their fathers had wreaked on hereditary
enemies in a neighbouring valley such vengeance as would have
made old soldiers of the Thirty Years' War shudder. He would have
found that robbery was held to be a calling, not merely innocent,
but honourable. He would have seen, wherever he turned, that
dislike of steady industry, and that disposition to throw on the
weaker sex the heaviest part of manual labour, which are
characteristic of savages. He would have been struck by the
spectacle of athletic men basking in the sun, angling for salmon,
or taking aim at grouse, while their aged mothers, their pregnant
wives, their tender daughters, were reaping the scanty harvest of
oats. Nor did the women repine at their hard lot. In their view
it was quite fit that a man, especially if he assumed the
aristocratic title of Duinhe Wassel and adorned his bonnet with
the eagle's feather, should take his ease, except when he was
fighting, hunting, or marauding. To mention the name of such a
man in connection with commerce or with any mechanical art was an
insult. Agriculture was indeed less despised. Yet a highborn
warrior was much more becomingly employed in plundering the land
of others than in tilling his own. The religion of the greater
part of the Highlands was a rude mixture of Popery and Paganism.
The symbol of redemption was associated with heathen sacrifices
and incantations. Baptized men poured libations of ale to one
Daemon, and set out drink offerings of milk for another. Seers
wrapped themselves up in bulls' hides, and awaited, in that
vesture, the inspiration which was to reveal the future. Even
among those minstrels and genealogists whose hereditary vocation
was to preserve the memory of past events, an enquirer would have
found very few who could read. In truth, he might easily have
journeyed from sea to sea without discovering a page of Gaelic
printed or written. The price which he would have had to pay for
his knowledge of the country would have been heavy. He would have
had to endure hardships as great as if he had sojourned among the
Esquimaux or the Samoyeds. Here and there, indeed, at the castle
of some great lord who had a seat in the Parliament and Privy
Council, and who was accustomed to pass a large part of his life
in the cities of the South, might have been found wigs and
embroidered coats, plate and fine linen, lace and jewels, French
dishes and French wines. But, in general, the traveller would
have been forced to content himself with very different quarters.
In many dwellings the furniture, the food, the clothing, nay the
very hair and skin of his hosts, would have put his philosophy to
the proof. His lodging would sometimes have been in a but of
which every nook would have swarmed with vermin. He would have
inhaled an atmosphere thick with peat smoke, and foul with a
hundred noisome exhalations. At supper grain fit only for horses
would have been set before him, accompanied by a cake of blood
drawn from living cows. Some of the company with which he would
have feasted would have been covered with cutaneous eruptions,
and others would have been smeared with tar like sheep. His couch
would have been the bare earth, dry or wet as the weather might
be; and from that couch he would have risen half poisoned with
stench, half blind with the reek of turf, and half mad with the

This is not an attractive picture. And yet an enlightened and
dispassionate observer would have found in the character and
manners of this rude people something which might well excite
admiration and a good hope. Their courage was what great exploits
achieved in all the four quarters of the globe have since proved
it to be. Their intense attachment to their own tribe and to
their own patriarch, though politically a great evil, partook of
the nature of virtue. The sentiment was misdirected and ill
regulated; but still it was heroic. There must be some elevation
of soul in a man who loves the society of which he is a member
and the leader whom he follows with a love stronger than the love
of life. It was true that the Highlander had few scruples about
shedding the blood of an enemy: but it was not less true that he
had high notions of the duty of observing faith to allies and
hospitality to guests. It was true that his predatory habits were
most pernicious to the commonwealth. Yet those erred greatly who
imagined that he bore any resemblance to villains who, in rich
and well governed communities, live by stealing. When he drove
before him the herds of Lowland farmers up the pass which led to
his native glen, he no more considered himself as a thief than
the Raleighs and Drakes considered themselves as thieves when
they divided the cargoes of Spanish galleons. He was a warrior
seizing lawful prize of war, of war never once intermitted during
the thirty-five generations which had passed away since the
Teutonic invaders had driven the children of the soil to the
mountains. That, if he was caught robbing on such principles, he
should, for the protection of peaceful industry, be punished with
the utmost rigour of the law was perfectly just. But it was not
just to class him morally with the pickpockets who infested Drury
Lane Theatre, or the highwaymen who stopped coaches on
Blackheath. His inordinate pride of birth and his contempt for
labour and trade were indeed great weaknesses, and had done far
more than the inclemency of the air and the sterility of the soil
to keep his country poor and rude. Yet even here there was some
compensation. It must in fairness be acknowledged that the
patrician virtues were not less widely diffused among the
population of the Highlands than the patrician vices. As there
was no other part of the island where men, sordidly clothed,
lodged, and fed, indulged themselves to such a degree in the idle
sauntering habits of an aristocracy, so there was no other part
of the island where such men had in such a degree the better
qualities of an aristocracy, grace and dignity of manner,
selfrespect, and that noble sensibility which makes dishonour
more terrible than death. A gentleman of this sort, whose clothes
were begrimed with the accumulated filth of years, and whose
hovel smelt worse than an English hogstye, would often do the
honours of that hovel with a lofty courtesy worthy of the
splendid circle of Versailles. Though he had as little
booklearning as the most stupid ploughboys of England, it would
have been a great error to put him in the same intellectual rank
with such ploughboys. It is indeed only by reading that men can
become profoundly acquainted with any science. But the arts of
poetry and rhetoric may be carried near to absolute perfection,
and may exercise a mighty influence on the public mind, in an age
in which books are wholly or almost wholly unknown. The first
great painter of life and manners has described, with a vivacity
which makes it impossible to doubt that he was copying from
nature, the effect produced by eloquence and song on audiences
ignorant of the alphabet. It is probable that, in the Highland
councils, men who would not have been qualified for the duty of
parish clerks sometimes argued questions of peace and war, of
tribute and homage, with ability worthy of Halifax and
Caermarthen, and that, at the Highland banquets, minstrels who
did not know their letters sometimes poured forth rhapsodies in
which a discerning critic might have found passages which would
have reminded him of the tenderness of Otway or of the vigour of

There was therefore even then evidence sufficient to justify the
belief that no natural inferiority had kept the Celt far behind
the Saxon. It might safely have been predicted that, if ever an
efficient police should make it impossible for the Highlander to
avenge his wrongs by violence and to supply his wants by rapine,
if ever his faculties should be developed by the civilising
influence of the Protestant religion and of the English language,
if ever he should transfer to his country and to her lawful
magistrates the affection and respect with which he had been
taught to regard his own petty community and his own petty
prince, the kingdom would obtain an immense accession of strength
for all the purposes both of peace and of war.

Such would doubtless have been the decision of a well informed
and impartial judge. But no such judge was then to be found. The
Saxons who dwelt far from the Gaelic provinces could not be well
informed. The Saxons who dwelt near those provinces could not be
impartial. National enmities have always been fiercest among
borderers; and the enmity between the Highland borderer and the
Lowland borderer along the whole frontier was the growth of ages,
and was kept fresh by constant injuries. One day many square
miles of pasture land were swept bare by armed plunderers from
the hills. Another day a score of plaids dangled in a row on the
gallows of Crieff or Stirling. Fairs were indeed held on the
debatable land for the necessary interchange of commodities. But
to those fairs both parties came prepared for battle; and the day
often ended in bloodshed. Thus the Highlander was an object of
hatred to his Saxon neighbours; and from his Saxon neighbours
those Saxons who dwelt far from him learned the very little that
they cared to know about his habits. When the English
condescended to think of him at all,--and it was seldom that they
did so,--they considered him as a filthy abject savage, a slave,
a Papist, a cutthroat, and a thief.323

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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