Tales of a Grandfather, by Walter Scott

Chapter 42

In 1643, when the advance of spring permitted the resumption of hostilities, it was found that the state of the King’s party was decidedly superior to that of the Parliament, and it was generally believed that the event of the war would be decided in the Royal favour, could the cooperation of the Scots be obtained. The king privately made great offers to the Scottish nation, to induce them to declare in his favour, or at least remain neuter in the struggle. He called upon them to remember that he had gratified all their wishes, without exception, and reminded them that the late peace between England and Scotland provided, that neither country should declare war against the other without due provocation, and the consent of Parliament. But the members of the Scottish Convention of Estates were sensible, that if they should assist the King to conquer the English Parliament, for imitating their own example of insurrection, it would be naturally followed by their undergoing punishment themselves for the lesson which they had taught the English. They feared for the Presbyterian system, — some of them, no doubt, feared for themselves, — and all turned a deaf ear to the King’s proposals.

On the other hand, a deputation from Parliament pressed upon the Scottish Convention another clause in the treaty of peace made in 1641, namely, that the Parliament of either country should send aid to each other to repel invasion or suppress internal disturbances. In compliance with this article, the English Commissioners desires the assistance of a body of Scottish auxiliaries. The country being at this time filled with disbanded officers and soldiers who were eager for employment, the opportunity and the invitation were extremely tempting to them, for they remembered the free quarters and good pay which they had enjoyed while in England. Nevertheless, the leading members of the Convention of Estates were aware, that to embrace the party of the Parliament of England, and despatch to their assistance a large body of auxiliary forces, selected, as they must be, from their best levies, would necessarily expose their authority in Scotland to considerable danger; for the King’s friends who had joined in the bond with Montrose, were men of power and influence, and, having the will, only waited for the opportunity, to act in his behalf; and might raise, perhaps, a formidable insurrection in Scotland itself, when relieved from the superiority of force which at present was so great on the side of the Convention. But the English Commissioners held out a bait which the Convention found it impossible to resist.

From the success which the ruling party had experienced in establishing the Church of Scotland on a Presbyterian model, and from the great influence which the clergy had acquired in the councils of the nation by the late course of events, both the clergy and laity of that persuasion had been induced to cherish the ambitious desire of totally destroying the hierarchy of the Church of England, and of introducing into that kingdom a form of church government on the Presbyterian model. To accomplish this favourite object, the leading Presbyterians in Scotland were willing to run every risk, and to make every exertion.

The Commissioners of England were most ready to join with this idea, so far as concerned the destruction of Prelacy; but they knew that the English Parliament party were greatly divided among themselves on the propriety of substituting the Presbyterian system in its place. The whole body of Sectarians, or Independents, were totally opposed to the introduction of any national church government whatever, and were averse to that of Presbytery in particular, the Scottish clergy having, in their opinion, shown themselves disposed to be as absolute and intolerant in their church judicatories as the bishops had been while in power. But, with a crafty policy, the Commissioners conducted the negotiation in such a manner as to give the Scottish Convention reason to believe, that they would accomplish their favourite desire of seeing the system which they so much admired acknowledged and adopted in England, while, in fact they bound their constituents, the English Parliament, to nothing specific on the subject.

The Commissioners proposed to join with the Scottish nation in a new edition of the Covenant, which had before proved such a happy bond of union among the Scots themselves. In this new bond of religious association, which was called the Solemn League and Covenant, it was provided, that the church government of Scotland should be supported and maintained on its present footing; but with regard to England, the agreement was expressed with studied ambiguity — the religious system of England, it was provided, should be reformed “according to the word of God, and the example of the best reformed churches.” The Scots, usually more cautious in their transactions, never allowed themselves to doubt for a moment, that the rule and example to be adopted under this clause must necessarily be that of Presbytery, and under this conviction, both the nobles and the clergy hastened with raptures, and even with tears of joy, to subscribe the proposed League. But several of the English Commissioners enjoyed in secret the reserved power of interpreting the clause otherwise, and of explaining the phrase in a sense applicable to their own ideas of emancipation from church government of every kind.

The Solemn League and Covenant was sworn to the Scotland with general acclamation, as was received and adopted by the English Parliament with the same applause, all discussion of the dubious article being cautiously avoided. The Scots proceeded, with eager haste, to send to the assistance of the Parliament of England a well-disciplined army of upwards of twenty thousand men, under the command of Alexander Lesley, Earl of Leven. An officer of character, named Baillie, was Leven’s lieutenant, and David Lesley, a man greater military talents than either, was his major-general. Their presence contributed greatly to a decisive victory which the Parliament force gained at Marston Moor; and indeed, as was to be expected from their numbers and discipline, quickly served to give that party the preponderance in the field.(3d July, 1644)

But while the Scottish auxiliaries were actively serving the common cause of the Parliament in England, the courageous and romantic enterprise of the Earl of Montrose, advanced by the King to the dignity of marquis, broke out in a train of success, which threatened to throw Scotland itself into the hands of the King and his friends. This nobleman’s bold genius, when the royalist party in Scotland seemed totally crushed and dispersed, devised the means of assembling them together, and of menacing the Convention of Estates with the destruction of their power at home, even at the moment when they hoped to establish the Presbyterian Church in both kingdoms, by the success of the army which they had despatched in England.

After obtaining his liberation from imprisonment, Montrose had repaired to England, and suggested to the King a plan of operations to be executed by a body of Irish, to be despatched by the Earl of Antrim from the county of Ulster, and landed in the West Highlands. With these he proposed to unite a force collected from the Highland clans, who were disinclined to the Presbyterian government, great enemies to the Marquis of Argyle, and attached to the Royal cause, because they regard the King as a chieftain whose clan was in rebellion against him, and who, therefore, deserved the support of every faithful mountaineer. The promise of pay, to which they had never been accustomed, and the certainty of booty, would as Montrose judiciously calculated, readily bring many chieftains and clans to the Royal Standard. The powerful family of the Gordons, in Aberdeenshire, who, besides enjoying almost princely authority over the numerous gentlemen of their family, had extensive influence among the mountain tribes in their neighbourhood, or, in the Scottish phrase, “could command a great Highland following,” might also be reckoned upon with certainty; as they had been repeatedly in arms for the King, had not been put down without a stout resistance, and were still warmly disposed towards the Royal cause. The support of many of the nobility and gentry in the north, might also be regarded as probable, should Montrose be able to collect a considerable force. The Episcopal establishment, so odious to the lords and barons of the southern and western parts of Scotland, was popular in the north. The northern barons were displeased with the extreme strictness of the Presbyterian clergy, and dissatisfied with the power they had often assumed of interfering with the domestic arrangements of families, under pretext of maintaining moral discipline. Finally, there were in all parts of Scotland active and daring men disappointed of obtaining employment or preferment under the existing government, and therefore willing to join in any enterprise, however desperate, which promised a change.

All this was known to the Convention of Estates; but they had not fully estimated the magnitude of the danger. Montrose’s personal talents were, to a certain extent, admitted; but ordinary men were incapable of estimating such a character as his; and he was generally esteemed a vain, though able young man, whose remarkable ambition was capable of urging him into rash and impracticable undertakings. The great power of the Marquis of Argyle was relied upon as a sufficient safeguard against any attempt on the west Highlands, and his numerous, brave, and powerful clan had long kept all the other tribes of that country in a species of awe, if not of subjection.

But the character of the Highlanders was estimated according to a sort of calculation, which time had rendered very erroneous. In the former days of Scotland, when the Lowlands were inhabited by men as brave, and much better armed and disciplined than the mountaineers, the latter had indeed often shown themselves alert as light troops, unwearied in predatory excursions; but had been generally, from their tumultuary charge, liable to defeat, either from a steady body of spearmen, who received their onset with lowered lances, or from an attack of the feudal chivalry of the Lowlands, completely armed and well mounted. At Harlaw, Corrichie, Glenlivat, and on many other occasions, the irregular forces of the Highlands had been defeated by any inferior number of their Lowland opponents.

These recollections might lead the governors of Scotland, during the civil war, to hold a Highland army in low estimation. But, if such was their opinion, it was adopted without considering that half a century of uninterrupted peace had rendered the Lowlander much less warlike, while the Highlander, who always were armed, was familiar with the use of the weapons which he constantly wore, and had a greater love for fighting than the Lowland peasant, who, called from the peaceful occupations of the farm, and only prepared by a few days’ drill, was less able to encounter the unwonted dangers of a field of battle. The burghers, who made a formidable part of the array of the Scottish army in former times, were not still more unwarlike than the peasant, being not only without skill in arms, and little accustomed to danger, but deficient also in the personal habits of exercise which the rustic had preserved. This great and essential difference between the Highlander and Lowlander of modern days, could scarcely be estimated in the middle of the seventeenth century, the causes by which it was brought about being gradual, and attracting little attention.

Montrose’s first plan was to collect a body of royalist horse on the frontiers of England, to burst at once into the centre of Scotland at their head, and force his way to Stirling, where a body of cavaliers had promised to assemble and unite with him. The expedition was disconcerted by a sort of mutiny among the English horse who had joined him; in consequence of which, Montrose disbanded his handful of followers, and exhorted them to make their way to the King, or to the nearest body of men in arms for the royal cause, while he himself adopted a new and more desperate plan. He took with him only two friends, and disguised himself as the groom of one of them, whom he followed, ill mounted and worse dressed, and leading a spare horse. They called themselves gentlemen belonging to Leven’s army; for, of course, if Montrose had been discovered by the Covenanting party, a rigorous captivity was the least he might expect. At one time he seemed on the point of being detected. A straggling soldier passed his two companions, and coming up to Montrose, saluted him respectfully by his name and title. Montrose tried to persuade him that he was mistaken; but the man persisted, though with the utmost respect and humility of deportment. “Do I not know my noble Lord of Montrose?” he said; “But to your way, and God be with you.” The circumstance alarmed Montrose and his companions; but the poor fellow was faithful, and never betrayed his old leader.

In this disguise he reached the verge of the Highlands, and lay concealed in the house of his relation, Graham of Inchbraco, and afterwards, for still greater safety, in an obscure hut on the Highland frontier, while he despatched spies in very direction, to bring him intelligence of the state of the Royalist party. Bad news came from all quarters. The Marquis of Huntly had taken arms hastily and imprudently, and had been defeated and compelled to fly; while Gordon of Haddow, the most active and gallant gentleman of the name, was made prisoner, and, to strike terror into the rest of the clan, was publicly executed by order of the Scottish Parliament.

Montrose’s spirit was not to be broken even by this disappointment; and, while anxiously awaiting further intelligence, an indistinct rumour reached him that a body of soldiers from Ireland had landed in the West Highlands, and were wandering in the mountains, followed and watched by Argyle with a strong party of his clan. Shortly after, he learned, by a messenger despatched on purpose, that this was the promised body of auxiliaries sent to him from Ulster by the Earl of Antrim. Their commander was Alaster MacDonald, a Scoto–Irishman, I believe, of the Antrim family. He was called Coll Kittoch, or Colkitto, from his being left-handed; a very brave and daring man, but vain and opinionative, and wholly ignorant of regular warfare. Montrose sent orders to him to march with all speed into the district of Athole, and despatched emissaries to raise the gentlemen of that country in arms, as they were generally well affected to the King’s cause. He himself set out to join this little band, attired in an ordinary Highland garb, and accompanied only by Inchbraco as his guide. The Irish were surprised and disappointed to see their expected general appear so poorly dressed and attended; nor had Montrose greater reason to congratulate himself on the appearance of his army. The force which was assembled did not exceed fifteen hundred Irish, instead of the thousands promised, and these were but indifferently armed and appointed, while only a few Highlanders from Badenoch were yet come to the appointed rendezvous.

These active mountain warriors, however, few as they were, had, a day or two before, come to blows with the Covenanters. Macpherson of Cluny, chief of his name, had sent out a party of men, under MacPherson of Invereshie, to look out for Montrose, who was anxiously expected in the Highlands. They beheld the approach of a detached body of horse, which they concluded was the escort of their expected general. But when they drew nearer, the Macphersons found it to be several troops of the cavalry of the Covenanters, commanded by Colonel Herries, and quartered in Glencairn, for the purpose of keeping the Highlanders in check. While the horsemen were advancing in formidable superiority of numbers, Invereshie, who was drawing up his Highlanders for action, observed on of them in the act of stooping; and as he lifted his stick to strike him for such conduct in the face of the enemy, the Highlander arose, and proved to be MacPherson of Dalifour, one of the boldest men of the clan. Much surprised, Invereshie demanded how he, of all men, could think of stooping before an enemy. “I was only fastening a spur on the heel of my brogue,” said Dalifour, with perfect composure. “A spur! and for what purpose, at such a time and place as this?” asked Invereshie. “I intend to have a good horse before the day is over,” answered the clansman with the same coolness. Dalifour kept his word; for the Lowland horse, disconcerted by a smart fire, and the broken nature of the ground, being worsted in the first onset, he got possession of a charger, on which he followed the pursuit, and brought in two prisoners.

The report of this skirmish gave a good specimen to Montrose of the mettle of the mountaineers, while the subsequent appearance of the Athole-men, eight hundred strong, and the enthusiastic shouts with which they received their general, soon gave confidence to the light-hearted Irishmen. Montrose instantly commenced his march upon Strathern, and crossed the Tay. He had scarce done so, when he discovered on hill of Buchanty a body of about four hundred men, who, he had the satisfaction to learn by his scouts, were commanded by two of his own particular friends, Lord Kilpont and Sir John Drummond. They had taken arms, on hearing that a body of Irish were traversing the country; and learning that they were there under Montrose’s command, for the King’s service, they immediately placed themselves and their followers under his orders.

Montrose received these succours in good time, for while Argyle pursued him with a large body of his adherents, who had followed the track of the Irish, Lord Elcho, the Earl of Tullibardine, and Lord Drummond, had collected an army of Lowlanders to protect the city of Perth, and to fight Montrose, in case he should descend from the hills. Montrose was aware, that such an enterprise as he had undertaken could only be supported by an excess of activity and decision. He therefore advanced upon the forces of Elcho, whom he found, on 1st September, 1644, drawn up in good order in a large pain called Tibbermuir, within three miles of Perth. They were nearly double Montrose’s army in number, and much encouraged by numerous ministers, who exhorted them to fight valiantly, and promised them certain victory. They had cannon also, and cavalry, whereas Montrose had no artillery, and only three horses, in his army. After a skirmish with the cavalry of his opponents, who were beaten off, Montrose charged with the Highlanders, under a heavy fire from his Irish musketeers. They burst into the ranks of the enemy with irresistible fury, and compelled them to fly. Once broken, the superiority of numbers became useless, as the means of supporting a main body by reserves was not then known or practised. The Covenanters fled in the utmost terror and confusion, but the light-footed Highlanders did great execution in the pursuit. Many honest burghers, distressed by the extraordinary speed which they were compelled to exert, broke their wind, and died in consequence. Montrose sustained little or no loss.

The town of Perth surrendered, and for this act a long string of reasons were given, which are rather amusingly stated in a letter from the ministers of that town; but we have only space to mention a few of them. First, it is alleged, that out of Elcho’s defeated army, only about twelve of the Fifeshire men offered themselves to the magistrates in defence of the town, unarmed, and and most of them were pot-valiant from liquor. Secondly, it is affirmed, that the citizens had concealed themselves in cellars and vaults, where they lay panting in vain endeavours to recover the breath which they had wasted in their retreat, scarcely finding words enough to tell the provost “that their hearts were away, and that they would fight no more though they should be killed.” Thirdly, the letter states, that if the citizens had had the inclination to stand out, they had not means of resistance, most of them having flung away their weapons in their flight. Finally, the courage of the defenders were overpowered by the sight of the enemy, drawn up like so many hellhounds before the gates of the town, their hands deeply dyed in the blood recently shed, and demanding, with hideous cries, to be led to further slaughter. The magistrates perhaps deserve no blame, if they capitulated in such circumstances, to avoid the horrors of a storm. But their conduct shows, at the same time, how much the people of the Lowlands had degenerated in point of military courage.

Perth consequently opened its gates to the victor. But Argyle, whose northern army had been augmented by a considerable body of cavalry, was not approaching with a force, against which Montrose could not pretend to defend an open town. He abandoned Perth, therefore, and marched into Angus-shire, hoping he might find adherents in that county. Accordingly, he was there joined by the old Earl of Airlie and two of his sons, who never forsook him in success or disaster.

This accession of strength was counterbalanced by a shocking event. There was a Highland gentleman in Montrose’s camp, named James Stewart of Ardvoirlich, whose birth had been attended with some peculiar circumstances, which, though they lead me from my present subject, I cannot refrain from noticing. While his mother was pregnant, there came to the house of Ardvoirlich a band of outlaws, called Children of the Mist, Macgregors, some say, others call them Macdonalds of Ardnamurchan. They demanded food, and the lady caused bread and cheese to be placed on the table, and went into the kitchen to order a better meal to be made ready, such being the unvarying process of Highland hospitality. When the poor lady returned, she saw upon the table, with its mouth stuffed full of food, the bloody head of her brother, Drummond of Drummondernoch, whom the outlaws had met and murdered in the wood. The unhappy woman shrieked, ran wildly into the forest, where, notwithstanding strict search, she could not be found for many weeks. At length she was secured, but in a state of insanity, which doubtless was partly communicated to the infant of whom she was shortly after delivered. The lad, however, grew up. He was an uncertain and dangerous character, but distinguished for his muscular strength, which was so great, that he could, in grasping the hand of another person, force the blood from under the nails. This man was much favoured by the Lord Kilpont, whose accession to the King’s party was lately mentioned; indeed, he was admitted to share that young nobleman’s tent and bed. It appears that Ardvoirlich had disapproved of the step which his friend had taken in joining Montrose, and that he had solicited the young lord to join him in deserting from the royal army, and, it is even said, in murdering the general. Lord Kilpont rejected these proposals with disdain; when, either offended at his expressions, or fearful of being exposed in his treacherous purpose, Ardvoirlich stabbed his confiding friend mortally with his dagger. He then killed the sentinel who kept guard on the tent, and escaped to the camp of Argyle, where he received preferment. Montrose was awaked by the tumult which this melancholy event excited in the camp, and rushing into the crowd of soldiers, had the unhappiness to see the bleeding corpse of his noble friend, thus basely and treacherously murdered. The death of this young nobleman was a great loss to the royal cause.

Montrose, so much inferior in numbers to his enemies, could not well form any fixed plan of operations. He resolved to make up for this, by moving with the most extraordinary celerity from one part of the country to another, so as to strike severe blows where they were least expected, and take the chance of awakening the drooping spirit of the Royalists. He therefore marched suddenly on Aberdeen, to endeavour to arouse the Gordons to arms, and defeat any body of Covenanters which might overawe the King’s friends in that country. His army was now, however, greatly reduced in numbers; for the Highlanders, who had not idea of serving for a whole campaign, had most of them returned home to their own districts, to lodge their booty in safety, and get in their harvest. It was, on all occasions, the greatest inconvenience attending a Highland army, that after a battle, whether they won the day or lost it, they were certain to leave their standard in great numbers, and held it their undoubted right to do so; insomuch, that a victory thinned their ranks as much as a defeat is apt to do those of other armies. It is true, that they could be gathered again with equal celerity; but this humour, of deserting at their pleasure, was a principal reason why the brilliant victories of Montrose were productive of few decided results.

On reaching Aberdeen, Montrose hastened to take possession of the bridge of Dee, the principal approach to that town, and having made good this important point, he found himself in front of an army commanded by Lord Burleigh. He had the mortification also to find, that part of a large body of horse in the Covenanting army were Gordons, who had been compelled to take arms in that cause by Lord Lewis Gordon, the third son of the Marquis of Huntly, a wild and wilful young man, whose politics differed from those of his father, and upon whom he had once committed a considerable robbery.

Finding himself greatly inferior in horse, of which he had not fifty, Montrose intermingled with his cavalry some of his musketeers, who, for breath and speed, could keep up with the movements of such horses as he possessed. The Gordons, not perhaps very favourable to the side on which they ranked, made an ineffectual attack upon the horse of Montrose, which was repelled. And when the mingled musketeers and cavalry in their turn advanced on them, Lord Lewis’s men fled, in spite of his own personal exertions; and Montrose, we are informed, found it possible to move his handful of cavalry to the other wing of his army, and to encounter and defeat the horse of the Covenanters on both flanks successively, with the same wearied party of riders. The terror struck into his opponents by the novelty of mixing musketeers with cavalry, contributed not a little to this extraordinary success. While this was passing, the two bodies of infantry cannonaded each other, for Montrose had in the field the guns which he took at Tibbermuir. The Covenanters had the superiority in this part of the action, but it did not daunt the Royalists. The gaiety of an Irishman, whose leg was shot off by a cannon-ball, so that it hung only by a bit of skin, gave spirit to all around him. — “Go on,” he cried, “this bodes me promotion; as I am now disabled for the foot service, I am certain my lord the marquis will make me a trooper.” Montrose left the courage of his men no time to subside — he led them daringly up to the enemy’s teeth, and succeeded in a desperate charge, routing the Covenanters, and pursuing them into the town and through the streets.(14th Sept. 1644) Stormed as it was by such a tumultuary army, Aberdeen and its inhabitants suffered greatly. Many were killed in the streets; and the cruelty of the Irish in particular was so great, that they compelled the wretched citizens to strip themselves of their clothes before they killed them, to prevent their being soiled with blood! The women durst not lament their husbands or their fathers slaughtered in their presence, nor inter the dead, which remained unburied in the streets until the Irish departed. Montrose necessarily gave way to acts of pillage and cruelty, which he could not prevent, because he was unprovided with money to pay his half-barbarous soldiery. Yet the town of Aberdeen had two reasons for expecting better treatment:— First, that it had always inclined to the King’s party; and, secondly, that Montrose himself had, when acting for the Covenanters, been the agent in oppressing for its loyalty the very city which his troops were now plundering on the opposite score.

Argyle always continued following Montrose with a superior army, but, it would appear, not with a very anxious desire to overtake him. With a degree of activity that seemed incredible, Montrose marched up the Spey, hoping still to raise the Gordons. But that clan too strongly resented his former conduct towards them, as General for the Covenant, besides being sore with recollections of their recent check at the Bridge of Dee; and, on all these accounts, declined to join him. On the other hand, the men of Moray, who were very zealous against Montrose, appeared on the northern bank of the Spey to oppose his passage. Thus hemmed in on all sides, and headed back like an animal of chase from the course he intended to pursue, Montrose and his little army showed an extremity of courage. They hid their cannon in a bog, destroyed what they had of heavy baggage, entered Badenoch, where the Clan Chattan had shown themselves uniformly friendly, and descended from thence upon Athole, and so on to Angus-shire. After several long and rapid marches, Montrose returned again into Strathbogie, recrossing the great chain of the Grampians; and, clinging still to the hope of being able to raise the gentlemen of the name of Gordon, who were naturally disposed to join the royal standard, again repaired to Aberdeenshire.

Here this bold leader narrowly escaped a great danger. His army was considerably dispersed, and he himself lying at the castle of Fyvie, when he found himself at once threatened, and nearly surrounded, by Argyle and Lothian, at the head of very superior forces. A part of the enemy had already occupied the approach to Montrose’s position by means of ditches and enclosures, through which they had insinuated themselves, and his own men were beginning to look out of countenance, when Montrose, disguising his apprehensions, called to a gay and gallant young Irish officer, as if he had been imposing a trifling piece of duty, — “What are you doing, O’Kean? can you not chase these troublesome rascals out of the ditches and enclosures?” O’Kean obeyed the command in the spirit in which it was given; and, driving the enemy before him, got possession of some of their gun-powder, which was much needed in Montrose’s army. The remark of the Irishman on this occasion, who heavily complained of the neglect of the enemy in omitting to leave a supply of ball, corresponding to the powder, showed the confidence with which Montrose had been able to inspire his men.

The Earl of Lothian, on the other side, came with five troops of horse upon Montrose’s handful of cavalry, amounting scarcely to fifty men. But Montrose had, on the present occasion, as at the Bridge of Dee, sustained his troopers by mingling them with musketry. So that Lothian’s men, receiving an unexpected and galling fire, wheeled about, and could not again be brought to advance. Many hours were spent in skirmishing, with advantage on Montrose’s part, and loss on that of Argyle, until at length the former thought it most advisable to retreat from Fyvie to Strathbogie.

On the road he was deserted by many Lowland gentlemen who had joined him, and who saw his victories were followed with no better results than toilsome marches among wilds, where it was nearly impossible to provide subsistence for man or horse, and which the approach of winter was about to render still more desolate. They left his army, therefore, promising to return in summer; and of all his Lowland adherents, the old earl Airlie and his sons alone remained. They had paid dearly for their attachment to the Royal cause, Argyle having plundered their estates, and burnt their principal mansion, the “Bonnie house of Airlie,” situated on the river Isla, the memory of which conflagration is still preserved in Scottish Song.(June, 1640)

But the same circumstances which wearied out the patience of Montrose’s Lowland followers, rendered it impossible for Argyle to keep the field; and he sent his army into winter quarters, in full confidence that his enemy was cooped up for the season in the narrow and unprovided country of Athole and its neighbourhood, where he might be suffered to exist with little inconvenience to the rest of Scotland, till spring should enable the Covenanters to attack him with a superior force. In the mean time, the Marquis of Argyle returned to his own domains.

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