The death of Charles I was nowhere more deeply resented than in his native country of Scotland; and the national pride of the Scots was the more hurt, that they could not but be conscious that the surrender of his person by their army at Newcastle, was the event which contributed immediately to place him in the hands of his enemies.
The government, since the Whigamores’ Raid, had continued in the hands of Argyle and the more rigid Presbyterians; but even they, no friends to the House of Stewart, were bound by the Covenant, which was their rule in all things, to acknowledge the hereditary descent of their ancient Kings, and call to the throne Charles, the eldest son of the deceased monarch, providing he would consent to unite with his subjects in taking the Solemn League and Covenant, for the support of Presbytery, and the putting down of all other forms of religion. The Scottish Parliament met, and resolved accordingly to proclaim Charles II their lawful sovereign; but, at the same time, not to admit him to the actual power as such, until he should give security for the religion, unity, and peace of the kingdoms. Commissioners were sent to wait upon Charles, who had retreated to the Continent, in order to offer him the throne of Scotland on these terms.
The young Prince had already around him counsellors of a different character. The celebrated Marquis of Montrose, and other Scottish nobles, few in number, but animated by their leader’s courage and zeal, advised him to reject the proposal of the Presbyterians to recall him to the regal dignity on such conditions, and offered their swords and lives to place him on the throne by force of arms.
It appears that Charles II, who never had any deep sense of integrity, was willing to treat with both of these parties at one and the same time; and that he granted a commission to the Marquis to attempt a descent on Scotland, taking the chance of what might be accomplished by his far-famed fortune and dauntless enterprise, while he kept a negotiation afloat with the Presbyterian commissioners, in case of Montrose’s failure.
The intrepid but rash enthusiast embarked at Hamburgh, with some arms and treasure, supplied by the northern courts of Europe. His fame drew around him a few of the emigrant Royalists, chiefly Scottish, and he recruited about six hundred German mercenaries. His first descent was on the Orkney islands, where he forced to arms a few hundreds of unwarlike fishermen. He next disembarked on the mainland; but the natives fled from him, remembering the former excesses of his army. Strachan, an officer under Lesley, came upon the Marquis by surprise, near a pass called Invercharron, (April, 1650) on the confines of Ross-shire. The Orkney men made but little resistance; the Germans retired to a wood, and there surrendered; the few Scottish companions of Montrose fought bravely, but in vain. Many gallant cavaliers were made prisoners. Montrose, when the day was irretrievably lost, threw off his cloak bearing the star, and afterwards changed clothes with an ordinary Highland kern, that he might endeavour to effect his escape, and swam across the river Kyle. Exhausted with fatigue and hunger, he was at length taken by a Ross-shire chief, MacLeod of Assint, who happened to be out with a party of his men in arms. The Marquis discovered himself to this man, thinking himself secure of favour, since Assint had been once his own follower. But tempted by a reward of four hundred bolls of meal, this wretched chief delivered his old commander into the unfriendly hands of David Lesley.
The Covenanters, when he who had so often made them tremble was at length delivered into their hands, celebrated their victory with all the exultation of mean, timid, and sullen spirits, suddenly released from apprehension of imminent danger. Montrose was dragged in a sort of triumph from town to town, in the mean garb in which he had disguised himself for flight. To the honour of the town of Dundee, which, you will recollect, had been partly plundered, and partly burnt by Montrose’s forces, during his eventful progress in 1645, the citizens of that town were the first who supplied their fallen foe with clothes befitting his rank, with money, and with necessaries. The Marquis himself must have felt this as a severe rebuke for the wasteful mode in which he had carried on his warfare; and it was a still more piercing reproach to the unworthy victors, who now triumphed over a heroic enemy in the same manner as they would have done over a detected felon.
While Montrose was confined in the house of the Laird of Grange, in Fifeshire, he had almost made his escape through the bold stratagem of the laird’s wife, a descendant of the house of Somerville. This lady’s address had drenched the guards with liquor; and the Marquis, disguised in female attire, with which she had furnished him, had already passed the sleeping sentinels, when he was challenged and stopped by a half-drunken soldier, who had been rambling about without any duty or purpose. The alarm being given, he was again secured, and the lady’s plot was of no avail. She escaped punishment only by her husband’s connexion with the ruling party.
Before Montrose reached Edinburgh, he had been condemned by the Parliament to the death of a traitor. The sentence was pronounced, without further trial, upon an act of attainder passed whilst he was plundering Argyle in the winter of 1644; and it was studiously aggravated by every species of infamy.
The Marquis was, according to the special order of Parliament, met at the gates by the magistrates, attended by the common hangman, who was clad for the time in his own livery. He was appointed, as the most infamous mode of execution, to be hanged on a gibbet thirty feet high, his head to be fixed on the tolbooth, or prison of Edinburgh, his body to be quartered, and his limbs to be placed over the gates of the principal towns of Scotland. According to the sentence, he was conducted to jail on a cart, whereon was fixed a high bench on which he was placed, bound and bareheaded, the horse led by the executioner, wearing his bonnet, and the noble prisoner exposed to the scorn of the people, who were expected to hoot and revile him. But the rabble, who came out with the rudest purposes, relented when they saw the dignity of his bearing; and silence, accompanied by the sighs and tears of the crowd, attended the progress, which his enemies had designed should excite other emotions. The only observation he made was, that “the ceremonial of his entrance had been somewhat fatiguing and tedious.”
He was next brought before the Parliament to hear the terms of his sentence, where he appeared with the same manly indifference. He gazed around on his assembled enemies with as much composure as the most unconcerned spectator; heard Loudoun, the chancellor, upbraid him, in a long and violent declamation, with the breach of both the first and second Covenant; with his cruel wars at the head of the savage Irish and Highland-men; and with the murders, treasons, and conflagrations, which they had occasioned. When the chancellor had finished, Montrose with difficulty obtained permission to reply.
He told the Parliament, with his usual boldness, that if he appeared before them uncovered, and addressed them with respect, it was only because the King had acknowledged their assembly, by entering into a treaty with them. He admitted he had taken the first, or National Covenant, and had acted upon it so long as it was confined to its proper purposes, but had dissented from and opposed those who had used it as a pretext for assailing the royal authority. “The second, or Solemn League and Covenant,” he said, “he had never taken, and was therefore in no respect bound by it. He had made war by the King’s express commission; and although it was impossible, in the course of hostilities, absolutely to prevent acts of military violence, he had always disowned and punished such irregularities. He had never” he said, “spilt the blood of a prisoner, even in retaliation of the cold-blooded murder of his officers and friends — nay, he had spared the lives of thousands in the very shock of battle. His last undertaking,” he continued, “was carried on at the express command of Charles II, whom they had proclaimed their sovereign, and with whom they were treating as such. Therefore, he desired to be used by them as a man and a Christian, to whom many of them had been indebted for life and property, when the fate of war had placed both in his power. He required them, in conclusion, to proceed with him according to the laws of nature and nations, but especially according to those of Scotland, as they themselves would expect to be judged when they stood at the bar of Almighty God.”
The sentence already mentioned was then read to the undaunted prisoner, on which he observed, he was more honoured in having his head set on the prison, for the cause in which he died, than he would have been had they decreed a golden statue to be erected to him in the market-place, or in having his picture in the King’s bedchamber. As to the distribution of his limbs, he said he wished he had flesh enough to send some to each city of Europe in memory of the cause in which he died. He spent the night in reducing these ideas into poetry.
Early on the morning of the next day he was awakened by the drums and trumpets calling out the guards, by orders of Parliament, to attend on his execution. “Alas!” he said, “I have given these good folks much trouble while alive, and do I continue to be a terror to them on the day I am to die?”
The clergy importuned him urging repentance of his sins, and offering, on his expressing such compunction, to relieve him from the sentence of excommunication, under which he laboured. He calmly replied, that though the excommunication had been rashly pronounced, yet it gave him pain, and he desired to be freed from it, if a relaxation could be obtained, by expressing penitence for his offences as a man; but that he had committed none in his duty to his prince and country, and, therefore, had none to acknowledge or repent of.
Johnstone of Warriston, an eminent Covenanter, intruded himself on the noble prisoner, while he was combing the long curled hair, which he wore as a cavalier. Warriston, a gloomy fanatic, hinted as if it were but an idle employment at so solemn a time. “I will arrange my head as I please today, while it is still my own,” answered Montrose; “tomorrow it will be yours, and you may deal with it as you list.”
The marquis walked on foot, from the prison to the Grassmarket, the common place of execution for the basest felons, where a gibbet of extraordinary height, with a scaffold covered with black cloth, were erected. Here he was again pressed by the Presbyterian clergy to own his guilt. Their cruel and illiberal officiousness could not disturb the serenity of his temper. To exaggerate the infamy of his punishment, or rather to show the mean spite of his enemies, a book, containing the printed history of his exploits, was hung around his neck by the hangman. This insult, likewise, he treated with contempt, saying, he accounted such a record of his service to his prince as a symbol equally honourable with the badge of the Garter, which the King had bestowed on him. In all other particulars, Montrose bore himself with the same calm dignity, and finally submitted to execution with such resolved courage, that many, even of his bitterest enemies, wept on the occasion. He suffered on the 21st of May, 1650.
Argyle, the mortal foe of Montrose, exulted in private over the death of his enemy, but abstained from appearing in Parliament when he was contemned, and from witnessing his execution. He is even said to have shed tears when he heard the scene rehearsed. His son, Lord Lorn, was less scrupulous; he looked on his feudal enemy’s last moments, and even watched the blows of the executioner’s axe, while he dissevered the head from the body. His cruelty was requited in the subsequent reign; and indeed Heaven soon after made manifest the folly, as well as guilt, which destroyed this celebrated commander, at a time when approaching war might have rendered his talents invaluable to his country.
Other noble Scottish blood was spilt at the same time, both at home and in England. The Marquis of Huntly, who had always acted for the King, though he had injured his affairs by his hesitation to cooperate with Montrose, was beheaded at Edinburgh; and Urry, who had been sometimes the enemy, sometimes the follower of Montrose, was executed with others of the Marquis’s principal followers.
The unfortunate Duke of Hamilton, a man of a gentle but indecisive character, was taken, as I have told you, in his attempt to invade England and deliver the King, whom he seems to have served with fidelity, though he fell under his suspicion, and even suffered a long imprisonment by the royal order. While he was confined at Windsor, Charles, previous to his trial, was brought there by the soldiers. The dethroned King was permitted a momentary interview with the subject, who had lost fortune and liberty in his cause. Hamilton burst into tears, and flung himself at the King’s feet, exclaiming, “My dear master!” — “I have been a dear master to you indeed,” said Charles, kindly raising him. After the execution of the King, Hamilton, with the Earl of Holland, Lord Capel, and others, who had promoted the rising of the royalists on different points, were condemned to be beheaded. A stout old cavalier, Sir John Owen, was one of the number. When the sentence was pronounced, he exclaimed it was a great honour to a poor Welsh knight to be beheaded with so many nobles, adding, with an oath, “I thought they would have hanged me.” The gallant old man’s life was spared, when his companions in misfortune were executed.
While these bloody scenes were proceeding, the Commissioners of the Scottish Parliament continued to carry on the treaty with Charles II. He had nearly broken it off, when Montrose’s execution was reported to him; but a sense of his own duplicity in maintaining a treaty with the Parliament, while he gave Montrose a commission to invade and make war on them, smothered his complaints on the subject. At length Charles, seeing no other resource, agreed to accept the crown of Scotland on the terms offered, which were those of the most absolute compliance with the will of the Scottish Parliament in civil affairs, and with the pleasure of the General Assembly of the Kirk in ecclesiastical concerns. Above all, the young King promised to take upon him the obligations of the Solemn League and Covenant, and to further them by every means in his power. On these conditions the treaty was concluded; Charles sailed from Holland, and arriving on the coast of Scotland, landed near the mouth of the river Spey, and advanced to Stirling. (16th June, 1650)
Scotland was at this time divided into three parties, highly inimical to each other. There was, first, the rigid Presbyterians, of whom Argyle was the leader. This was the faction which had, since the Whigamore’s Raid, been in possession of the supreme power of government, and with its leaders the King had made the treaty in Holland. Secondly, the moderate Presbyterians, called the Engagers, who had joined with Hamilton in his incursion into England. These were headed by Lauderdale, a man of very considerable talents; Dunfermline and others. Thirdly, there was the party of the Absolute Loyalists, friends and followers of Montrose; such as the Marquis of Huntly, Lord Ogilvy, a few other nobles and gentlemen, and some Highland chiefs, too ignorant and too remotely situated to have nay influence in state affairs.
As all these three parties acknowledged, with more or less warmth, the sovereignty of King Charles, it might have seemed no very difficult matter to have united them in the same patriotic purpose of maintaining the national independence of the kingdom. But successful resistance to the English was a task to which the high Presbyterians, being the ruling party, thought themselves perfectly competent. Indeed they entertained the most presumptuous confidence in their own strength, and their clergy assured them, that so far from the aid of either Engagers or Malignants being profitable to them in the common defence, the presence of any such profane assistants would draw down the curse of Heaven on the cause, which, if trusted to the hands of true Covenanters only, could not fail to prosper.
Argyle, therefore, and his friends, received the young King with all the outward marks of profound respect. But they took care to give him his own will in no one particular. They excluded from attendance on his person all his English adherents, suspicious of their attachment to Prelacy and malignant opinions. The ministers beset him with exhortations and sermons of immoderate length, introduced on all occasions, and exhausting the patience of a young prince, whose strong sense of the ridiculous, and impatience of serious subjects, led him to receive with heartfelt contempt and disgust the homely eloquence of the long-winded orators. The preachers also gave him offence, by choosing frequently for their themes the sins of his father, the idolatry of his mother, who was a Catholic, and what they frankly termed his own ill-disguised disposition to malignity. They numbered up the judgments which, they affirmed, these sins had brought on his father’s house, and they prayed that they might not be followed by similar punishments upon Charles himself. These ill-timed and ill-judged admonitions were so often repeated, as to impress on the young King’s mind a feeling of dislike and disgust, with which he remembered the Presbyterian preachers and their doctrines as long as he lived.
Sometimes their fanaticism and want of judgment led to ridiculous scenes. It is said, that on one occasion a devout lady, who lived opposite to the royal lodgings, saw from her window the young King engaged in a game at cards, or some other frivolous amusement, which the rigour of the Covenanters denounced as sinful. The lady communicated this important discovery to her minister, and it reached the ears of the Commission of the Kirk, who named a venerable member of their body to rebuke the monarch personally for this act of backsliding. The clergyman to whom this delicate commission was intrusted, was a shred old man, who saw no great wisdom in the proceedings of his brethren, but executed their commands with courtly dexterity, and summed up his ghostly admonition with a request, that when his Majesty indulged in similar recreations, he would be pleased to take the precaution of shutting the windows. The King laughed, and was glad to escape so well from the apprehended lecture. But events were fast approaching which had no jesting aspect.
England, to which you must now turn your attention, had totally changed its outward constitution since the death of the King. Cromwell, who, using the victorious army as his tools, was already in the real possession of the supreme power, had still more tasks than one to accomplish, before he dared venture to assume the external appearance of it. He suffered, therefore, the diminished and mutilated House of Commons to exist for a season, during which the philosophical Republicans of the party passed resolutions that monarchy should never be again established in England; that the power of the Executive Government should be lodged in a Council of State; and that the House of Lords should be abolished.
Meantime, Cromwell led in person a part of his victorious army to Ireland, which had been the scene of more frightful disorders than England, or even Scotland. These had begun by the Catholic inhabitants rising upon the Protestants, and murdering many thousands of them in what is termed the Irish Massacre. This had been followed by a general war between the opposite parties in religion, but at length the address of the Duke of Ormond, as devoted a loyalist as Montrose, contrived to engage a large portion of the Catholics on the side of Charles; and Ireland became the place of refuge to all the Cavaliers, or remains of the royal party, who began to assume a formidable appearance in that island. The arrival of Cromwell suddenly changed this gleam of fortune into cloud and storm. Wherever this fated general appeared he was victorious; and in Ireland, in order perhaps to strike terror into a fierce people (for Oliver Cromwell was not bloodthirsty by disposition), he made dreadful execution among the vanquished, particularly at the storming of the town of Drogheda, where his troops spared neither sex nor age. He now returned to England, with even greater terror attached to his name than before.
The new Commonwealth of England had not intention that the son of the King whom they had put to death, should be suffered to establish himself quietly in the sister kingdom of Scotland, and enjoy the power, when opportunity offered, of again calling to arms his numerous adherents in England, and disturbing, or perhaps destroying, their new-modelled republic. They were resolved to prevent this danger by making war on Scotland, while still weakened by her domestic dissensions; and compelling her to adopt the constitution of a republic, and to become confederated with their own. This proposal was of course haughtily rejected by the Scots, as it implied a renunciation at once of king and kirk, and a total alteration of the Scottish constitution in civil and ecclesiastical government. The ruling parties of both nations, therefore, prepared for the contest.
The rigid Presbyterians in Scotland showed now a double anxiety to exclude from their army all, however otherwise well qualified to assist in such a crisis, whom they regarded as suspicious, whether as absolute malignants, or as approaching nearer to their own doctrines, by professing only a moderate and tolerant attachment to Presbytery.
Yet even without the assistance of these excluded parties, the Convention of Estates assembled a fine army, full of men enthusiastic in the cause in which they were about to fight; and feeling all the impulse which could be given by the rude eloquence of their favourite ministers. Unfortunately the preachers were not disposed to limit themselves to the task of animating the courage of the soldiers; but were so presumptuous as to interfere with and control the plans of the general, and movements of the army.
The army of England, consisting almost entirely of Independents, amongst whom any man who chose might exert the office of a clergyman, resembled the Presbyterian troops of Scotland; for both armies professed to appeal to Heaven for the justice of their cause, and both resounded with psalms, prayers, exhortations, and religious exercises, to confirm the faith, and animate the zeal of the soldiers. Both likewise used the same language in their proclamations against each other, and it was such as implied a war rather on account of religion than of temporal interests. The Scottish proclamations declared the army commanded by Cromwell to be a union of the most perverse heretical sectaries, of every different persuasion, agreeing in nothing, saving their desire to effect the ruin of the unity and discipline of the Christian Church, and the destruction of the Covenant, to which most of their leaders had sworn fidelity. The army of Cromwell replied to them in the same style. They declared that they valued the Christian Church ten thousand times more than their own lives. They protested that they were not only a rod of iron to dash asunder the common enemies, but a hedge (though unworthy) about the divine vineyard. As for the Covenant, they protested that, were it not for making it an object of idolatry, they would be content, if called upon to encounter the Scots in this quarrel, to place that national engagement on the point of their pikes, and let God himself judge whether they or their opponents had best observed its obligations.
Although the contending nations thus nearly resembled each other in their ideas and language, there was betwixt the Scottish and English soldiers one difference, and it proved a material one. In the English army the officers insisted upon being preachers, and though their doctrine was wild enough, their ignorance of theology had no effect on military events. But with the Scots, the Presbyterian clergy were unhappily seized with the opposite rage of acting as officers and generals, and their skill in their own profession of divinity could not redeem the errors which they committed in the art of war.
Fairfax having declined the command of the English army, his conscience (for he was a Presbyterian) not permitting him to engage in the war, Cromwell accepted with joy the supreme military authority, and prepared for the invasion of Scotland.
The wars between the sister kingdoms seemed now about to be rekindled, after the interval of two-thirds of a century; and notwithstanding the greatly superior power of England, there was no room for absolute confidence in her ultimate success. The Scots, though divided into parties, so unanimous in acknowledging the right of King Charles, whereas the English were far from making common cause against his claims. On the contrary, if the stern army of Sectaries, now about to take the field, should sustain any great disaster, the Cavaliers of England, with great part of the Presbyterians in that country, were alike disposed to put the King once more at the head of the government; so that the fate not of Scotland alone, but of England also, was committed to the event of the present war.
Neither were the armies and generals opposed to each other unworthy of the struggle. If the army of Cromwell consisted of veteran soldiers, inured to constant victory, that of Scotland was fresh, numerous, and masters of their own strong country, which was the destined scene of action. If Cromwell had defeated the most celebrated generals of the Cavaliers, David Lesley, the effective commander-inchief in Scotland, had been victor over Montrose, more renowned perhaps than any of them. If Cromwell was a general of the most decisive character, celebrated for the battles which he had won, Lesley was, by early education, a trained soldier, more skilful than his antagonist in taking positions, defending passes, and all the previous arrangements of a campaign. With these advantages on the different sides, the eventful struggle commenced.
Early in the summer of 1650, Cromwell invaded Scotland at the head of his veteran and well-disciplined troops. Bu, on marching through Berwickshire and East Lothian, he found that the country was abandoned by the population, and stripped of every thing which could supply the hostile army. Nothing was to be seen save old spectre looking women, clothed in white flannel, who told the English officers that all the men had taken arms, under command of the barons.
Subsisting chiefly on the provisions supplied by a fleet, which, sailing along the coast, accompanied his movements, the English general approached the capital, where Lesley had settled his headquarters. The right wing of the Scottish army rested upon the high grounds at the rise of the mountain called Arthur’s Seat, and the left wing was posted at Leith; while the high bank, formerly called Leith Walk, made a part of his lines, which defended by a numerous artillery, completely protected the metropolis. Cromwell skirmished with the Scottish advanced posts near to Restalrig, but his curassiers were so warmly encountered that they gained no advantage, and their general was obliged to withdraw to Musselburgh. His next effort was made from the west-ward.
The English army made a circuit from the coast, proceeding inland to Colinton, Redhall, and other places near to the eastern extremity of the Pentland hills, from which Cromwell hoped to advance on Edinburgh. But Lesley was immediately on his guard. He left his position betwixt Edinburgh and Leith, and took one which covered the city to the westward, and was protected by the Water of Leith, and the several cuts, drains, and mill-leads, at Saughton, Coltbridge, and the houses and villages in that quarter. Here Cromwell again found the Scots in order of battle, and again was obliged to withdraw after a distant cannonade.
The necessity of returning to the neighbourhood of his fleet, obliged Cromwell to march back to his encampment at Musselburgh. Nor was he permitted to remain there in quiet. At the dead of night, a strong body of cavalry, called the regiment of the Kirk, well armed at all points, broke into the English lines, with loud cries of “God and the Kirk! all is ours!” It was with some difficulty that Cromwell rallied his soldiers upon this sudden alarm, in which he sustained considerable loss, though the assailants were finally compelled to retreat.
The situation of the English army now became critical; their provisions were nearly exhausted, the communication with the fleet grew daily more precarious, while Lesley, with the same prudence which had hitherto guided his defence, baffled all the schemes of the English leader, without exposing his army to the risk of a general action; until Cromwell, fairly outgeneralled by the address of his enemy, was compelled to retire towards England.
Lesley, on his part, left his encampment without delay, for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the English, Moving by a shorter line than Cromwell, who was obliged to keep the coast, he took possession with his army of the skirts of Lammermoor, a ridge of hills terminating on the sea near the town of Dunbar, abounding with difficult passes, all of which he occupied strongly. Here he proposed to await the attack of the English, with every chance, nay, almost with the certainty, of gaining a great and decisive victory.
Cromwell was reduced to much perplexity. To force his way, it was necessary to attack a tremendous pass called Cockburn’s path, where, according to Cromwell’s own description, one man might do more to defend than twelve to make way. And if he engaged in this desperate enterprise, he was liable to be assaulted by the numerous forces of Lesley in flank and rear. He saw all the danger, and entertained thoughts of embarking his foot on board of his ships, and cutting his own way to England as he best could, at the head of his cavalry.
At this moment, the interference of the Presbyterian preachers, and the influence which they possessed over the Scottish army and its general, ruined this fair promise of success. In spite of all the prudent remonstrances of Lesley, they insisted that the Scottish army should be led from their strong position, to attack the English upon equal ground. This, in the language of scripture, they called going down against the Philistines at Gilgal.
Cromwell had slept at the Duke of Roxburghe’s house, called Broxmouth, within half a mile east of Dunbar, and his army was stationed in the park there, when he received news that the Scots were leaving their fastnesses, and about to hazard a battle on the level plain. He exclaimed, “that God had delivered them into his hands;” and calling for his horse, placed himself at the head of his troops. Coming to the head of a regiment of Lancashire men, he found one of their officers, while they were in the act of marching to battle, in a fit of sudden enthusiasm holding forth or preaching to the men. Cromwell also listened, and seemed affected by his discourse. At this moment the sun showed his broad orb on the level surface of the sea, which is close to the scene of action. “Let the Lord arise,” he said, “and let his enemies be scattered;” and presently after, looking upon the field where the battle had now commenced, he added, “I profess they flee.”
Cromwell’s hopes did not deceived him. The hastily raised Scottish levies, (3d Sept.) thus presumptuously opposed to the veteran soldiers of the English commander, proved unequal to stand the shock. Two regiments fought bravely, and were almost all cut off; but the greater part of Lesley’s army fell into confusion without much resistance. Great slaughter ensued, and many prisoners were made, whom the cruelty of the English government destined to a fate hitherto unknown in Christian warfare. They transported to the English settlements in America those unfortunate captives, subjects of an independent kingdom, who bore arms by order of their own lawful government, and there sold them for slaves.
The decisive defeat at Dunbar opened the whole of the south of Scotland to Cromwell. The Independents found a few friends and brother sectaries among the gentry, who had been hitherto deterred, by the fear of the Presbyterians, from making their opinions public. Almost all the strong places on the south side of the Forth were won by the arms of the English, or yielded by the timidity of their defenders. Edinburgh Castle was surrendered, not without suspicion of gross treachery; and Tantallon, Hume, Roslin, and Borthwick, with other fortresses, fell into their hands.
Internal dissension added to the calamitous state of Scotland. The Committee of Estates, with the King, and the remainder of Lesley’s army, retreated to Stirling, where they still hoped to make a stand, by defending the passes of the Forth. A Parliament, held at Perth, was in this extremity disposed to relax in the extreme rigour of its exclusive doctrines, and to admit into the army, which it laboured to reinforce, such of the moderate Presbyterians, or Engagers, and even of the Royalists and Malignants, as were inclined to make a formal confession of their former errors. The Royalists readily enough complied with this requisition; but as their pretended repentance was generally regarded as a mere farce, submitted to to that they might obtain leave to bear arms for the King, the stricter Presbyterians looked upon this compromise with Malignants as a sinful seeking for help from Egypt. The Presbyterians of the western counties, in particular, carried this opinion so far, as to think this period of national distress an suspicious time for disclaiming the King’s interest and title. Refusing to allow that the victory of Dunbar was owing to the military skill of Cromwell and the disciplined valour of his troops, they set it down as a chastisement justly inflicted on the Scottish nation for espousing the royal cause. Under this separate banner there assembled an army of about four thousand men, commanded by Kerr and Strachan. They were resolved, at the same time, to oppose the English invasion, and fight with the King’s forces, and thus embroil the kingdom in a threefold war. The leaders of this third party, who were called Remonstrators, made a smart attack on a large body of English troops, stationed in Hamilton under General Lambert, and were at first successful; but falling into disorder, owing to their very success, they were ultimately defeated. Kerr, on of their leaders, was wounded, and made prisoner; and Strachan soon afterwards revolted, and joined the English army.
Cromwell, in the mean while, made the fairest promises to all who would listen to him, and laboured, not altogether in vain, to impress the rigid Presbyterian party with a belief, that they had better join with the Independents, although disallowing of church-government, and thus obtain peace and a close alliance with England, than adhere to the cause of the King, who, with; his father’s house, had, he said, been so long the troublers of Israel. And here I may interrupt the course of public events, to tell you an anecdote not generally known, but curious as illustrating the character of Cromwell.
Shortly after the battle of Dunbar, Cromwell visited Glasgow; and on Sunday attended the Presbyterian service in the principal church of that city. The preacher, a rigid Presbyterian, was nothing intimidated by the presence of the English general; but entering freely upon state affairs, which were then a common topic in the pulpit, he preached boldly on the errors and heresies of the Independent sectaries, insisted on the duty of resisting their doctrines, and even spoke with little respect of the person of Cromwell himself. An officer who sat behind Cromwell, whispered something in his ear more than once, and the general as often seemed to impose silence upon him. The curiosity of the congregation was strongly excited. At length the service was ended, and Cromwell was in the act of leaving the church, when he cast his eyes on one Wilson, a mechanic, who had long resided at Glasgow, and called on him by name. The man no sooner saw the general take notice of him than he ran away. Cromwell directed that he should be followed and brought before him, but without injury. At the same time he sent a civil message to the clergyman who had preached, desiring to see him at his quarters. These things augmented the curiosity of the town’s people; and when they saw Wilson led as prisoner to the general’s apartments, many remained about the door, watching the result. Wilson soon returned, and joyfully showed his acquaintances some money which the English general had given him to drink his health. His business with Cromwell was easily explained. This man had been son of a footman who had attended James VI to England. By some accident Wilson had served his apprenticeship to a shoemaker in the same town where Cromwell’s father lived, had often played with Master Oliver while they were both children, and had obliged him by making balls and other playthings for him. When Wilson saw that his old companion recognised him, he ran away, because, recollecting his father had been a servant of the royal family, he thought the general, who was known to have brought the late King to the block, might nourish ill-will against all who were connected with him. But Cromwell had received him kindly, spoken of their childish acquaintance, and gave him some money. The familiarity with which he seemed to treat him, encouraged Wilson to ask his former friend what it was that passed betwixt the officer and him, when the preacher was thundering from the pulpit against the sectaries and their general. “He called the clergyman an insolent rascal,” said Cromwell, not unwilling, perhaps, that his forbearance should be made public, “and asked my leave to pull him out of the pulpit by the ears; and I commanded him to sit still, telling him the minister was one fool, and he another.” This anecdote serves to show Cromwell’s recollection of persons and faces. He next gave audience to the preacher, and used arguments with him which did not reach the public; but were so convincing, that the minister pronounced a second discourse in the evening, in a tone much mitigated towards Independency and its professors.
While the south of Scotland was overawed, and the Western Remonstrators were dispersed by Cromwell, the Scottish Parliament, though retired beyond the Forth, still maintained a show of decided opposition. They resolved upon the coronation of Charles, a ceremony hitherto deferred, but which they determined now to perform, as a solemn pledge of their resolution to support the constitution and religion of Scotland to the last.
But the melancholy solemnity had been nearly prevented by the absence of the principal personage. Charles, disgusted with the invectives of the Presbyterian clergy, and perhaps remembering the fate of his father at Newcastle, formed a hasty purpose of flying from the Presbyterian camp. He had not been sufficiently aware of the weakness of the Royalists, who recommended this wild step, and he actually went off to the hills. But he found only a few Highlanders at Clova, without the appearance of an army, which he had promised himself, and was easily induced to return to the camp with a party who had been despatched in pursuit of him.
This excursion, which was called the Start, did not greatly tend to increase confidence betwixt the young King and his Presbyterian counsellors. The ceremony of the coronation was performed (1st January, 1651) with such solemnities as the time admitted, but mingled with circumstances which must have been highly disgusting to Charles. The confirmation of the Covenant was introduced as an essential part of the solemnity; and the coronation was preceded by a national fast and humiliation, expressly held on account of the sins of the Royal Family. A suspected hand, that of the Marquis of Argyle, placed an insecure crown on the head of the son, whose father he had been one of the principal instruments in dethroning.
These were bad omens. But, on the other hand, the King enjoyed more liberty than before; most of the Engagers had resumed their seats in Parliament; and many Royalist officers were received into the army.
Determined at this time not to be tempted to a disadvantageous battle, the King, who assumed the command of the army in person, took up a line in front of Stirling, having in his front the river of Carron. Cromwell approached, but could neither with prudence attack the Scots in their lines, nor find means of inducing them to hazard a battle, unless on great advantage. After the armies had confronted each other for more than a month, Cromwell despatched Colonel Overton into fife, to turn the left flank of the Scottish army, and intercept their supplies. He was encountered near the town of Inverkeithing by the Scots, commanded by Holborn and Brown. The first of these officers behaved basely, and perhaps treacherously. Brown fought well and bravely, but finally sustaining a total defeat, was made prisoner, and afterwards died of grief.
The situation of the main Scottish army, under Charles in person, became hazardous after this defeat, for their position was rendered precarious by the footing which the English obtained in the counties of Fife and Kinross, which enabled them to intercept the King’s supplies and communications from the north. In this distressed situation Charles adopted a bold and decisive measure. He resolved to transfer the war from Scotland to England, and, suddenly raising his camp, he moved to the south-westward by rapid marches, hoping to rouse his friends in England to arms, before Cromwell could overtake him. But the Cavaliers of England were now broken and dispirited, and were, besides, altogether unprepared for this hasty invasion, which seemed rather the effect of despair than the result of deliberate and settled resolution. The Presbyterians, though rather inclined to the Royal cause, were still less disposed to hazard a junction with him, until terms of mutual accommodation could be settled. They were divided and uncertain, while the republicans were resolved and active.
The English militia assembled under Lambert to oppose Charles in front, and Cromwell followed close in his rear, to take every advantage that could offer. The Scots reached without much opposition the city of Worcester, (3d Sept. 1651) where the militia, commanded by Lambert, and the regular forces under Cromwell, attacked the Royalists with doubled the number of their forces. Clarendon and other English authors represent the Scottish army as making little resistance. Cromwell, on the contrary, talks of the battle of Worcester, in his peculiar phraseology, as “a stiff business — a very glorious mercy — as stiff a contest as he had ever beheld.” But, well or ill disputed, the day was totally lost. Three thousand men were slain in the field, ten thousand were taken, and such of them as survived their wounds, and the horrors of overcrowded jails, were shipped off to the plantations as slaves.
Charles, after beholding the ruin of his cause, and having given sufficient proofs of personal valour, escaped from the field, and concealed himself in obscure retreats, under various disguises. At one time he was obliged to hide himself in the boughs of a spreading oak-tree; hence called the Royal Oak. At another time he rode before a lady, Mrs Lane, in the quality of a groom; and in this disguise passed through a part of the Parliament forces. After infinite fatigue, many romantic adventures, and the most imminent risk of discovery, he at length escaped by sea, and for eight years continued to wander from one foreign court to another, a poor, neglected, and insulted adventurer, the claimant of thrones which he seemed destined never to possess.
The defeat at Worcester was a deathblow to the resistance of the King’s party in Scotland. The Parliament, driven from Stirling to the Highlands, endeavoured in vain to assemble new forces. The English troops, after Cromwell’s departure, were placed under the command of General Monk, who now began to make a remarkable figure in those times. He was a gentleman of good birth, had been in arms for the King’s service, but being made prisoner, had finally embraced the party of the Parliament, and fought for them in Ireland. He was accounted a brave and skilful commander, totally from the spirit of fanaticism so general in the army of Cromwell, and a man of deep sagacity, and a cold reserved temper. Under Monk’s conduct, seconded by that of Oveton, Alured, and other parliamentary officers, the cities, castles, and fortresses of Scotland were reduced one after another. The partial resistance of the wealthy seaport of Dundee, in particular (1st Sept. 1651) was punished with the extremities of fire and sword, so that Montrose, Aberdeen, and St Andres became terrified, and surrendered without opposition.
The castle of Dunottar, in Kincardineshire, the hereditary fortress of the Earls Marischal, made an honourable defence under George Ogilvy of Barras. It is situated upon a rock, almost separated from the land by a deep ravine on the one side, and overhanging the ocean on the other. In this strong fortress the Honours of Scotland, as they were called, had been deposited after the battle of Dunbar. These were the crown, sceptre, and sword of state, the symbols of Scottish sovereignty, which were regarded by the nation with peculiar veneration. The terror was great lest pledges, with which the national honour was so intimately connected, should fall into the hands of foreign schismatics and republicans. On the other hand, the English, ardently desirous to possess themselves of these trophies (the rather that they had formed a disproportioned idea of their intrinsic value), besieged the castle closely, and blockaded it by sea and land. As their provisions began to fail, the governor foresaw that further defence must speedily become impossible; and, with the assistance of Mr Granger, minister of Kinneff, he formed a stratagem for securing the ancient and venerable regalia from the dishonour which threatened them. The first preparation was to spread a report, that these national treasures had been carried abroad by Sir John Keith, a younger son of the Earl Marischal, ancestor of the family of Kintore. Mrs Granger, the minister’s wife, was the principal agent in the subsequent part of the scheme. Having obtained of the English general the permission to bring out of the castle, some hards (or bundles) of lint, which she said was her property, she had the courage and address to conceal the regalia within the hards of lint, and carried them boldly through the English camp, at the risk of much ill usage, had she been discovered in an attempt to deprive the greedy soldiery of their prey. Mrs Granger played her part so boldly, that she imposed on the general himself, who courteously saluted her, and helped her to mount on horseback as she left the encampment, little guessing with what a valuable part of his expected booty she was loaded. Arriving with her precious charge at Kinneff, the minister buried the relics of royalty under the pulpit of his church, and visited them from time to time, in order to wrap them in fresh packages, and preserve them from injury. Suspicion attached to the Governor of Dunottar; and when the castle was finally surrendered, for want of provisions, he was rigorously dealt with, imprisoned, and even tortured, to make his discover where the regalia were concealed. His lady, who had been active in the stratagem, was subjected to similar severities, as were also the minister of Kinneff and his courageous spouse. All, however, persisted in keeping the secret. Rewards were distributed, after the Restoration, to those who had been concerned in saving the Honours, but they do not appear to have been very accurately accommodated to the merits of the parties. Sir John Keith, whose name had only been used in the transaction as a blind, to put the English on a wrong scent, was created Earl of Kintore, and Ogilvy was made a baronet; but the courageous minister, with his heroic wife, were only rewarded with a pension in money.
The towns and castles of Scotland being thus reduced, the national resistance was confined to a petty warfare, carried on by small bands, who lurked among the mountains and morasses, and took every advantage which these afforded to annoy the English troops, and cut off small parties, or straggling soldiers. These were called Moss troopers, from a word formerly appropriated to the freebooters of the Border. But the English, who observed a most rigid discipline, were not much in danger of suffering from such desultory efforts; and as they seldom spared the prisoners taken in the skirmishes, the Scots found themselves obliged to submit, for the first time, to an invader more fortunate than all the preceding rulers of England. Their resistance ceased, but their hatred watched for a safer opportunity of vengeance. The Highlanders, however, being strong in the character of the country and its inhabitants, continued refractory to the English authority, and if the soldiery ventured to go through the country alone, or in small parties, they were sure to be surprised and slain, without its being possible to discover the actors. The English officers endeavoured to obtain from the neighbouring chiefs, who pretended complete ignorance of these transactions, such redress as the case admitted of, but their endeavours were in general ingeniously eluded.
For example, an English garrison had lost cattle, horses, and even men, by the incursion of a Highland clan who had their residence in the neighbouring mountains, so that the incensed governor demanded peremptorily, that the actors of these depredations should be delivered up to his to suffer punishment. The chief was in no condition to resist, but was not the less unwilling to deliver up the men actually concerned in the creagh, who were probably the boldest, or, as it was then termed, the prettiest, men of his name. To get easily out of the dilemma, he is said to have selected two or three old creatures, past all military service, whom he sent down to the English commandant, as if they had been the caterans, or plunderers, who he wanted. The English officer caused them instantly to be hanged in terrorem, which was done accordingly, no protestations which they might make of their innocence being understood or attended to. It is to be hoped that other refractory chiefs found more justifiable means of preserving their authority.
In the mean time, Oliver Cromwell accomplished an extraordinary revolution in England, which I can here but barely touch upon. He and his council of officers, who had so often offered violence to the Parliament, by excluding from the sittings such members as were obnoxious to them, now resolved altogether to destroy the very remnant of this body. For this purpose Cromwell came to the house while it was sitting, told them, in a violent manner, that they were no longer a Parliament, and, upbraiding several individuals with injurious names, he called in a body of soldiers, and commanded one of them to “take away that bauble,” meaning the silver mace, which is an emblem of the authority of the House. Then turning the members forcibly out of the hall, he locked the doors, and thus dissolved that memorable body, which had made war against the King, defeated, dethroned, and beheaded him, yet sunk at once under the authority of one of their own members, and an officer of their own naming, who had, in the beginning of these struggles, been regarded as a man of very mean consideration. Oliver Cromwell now seized the supreme power into his hands, with the title of Protector of the Republics of Great Britain and Ireland, under which he governed these islands till his death, with authority more ample than was ever possessed by any of their lawful monarchs.
The confusion which the usurpation of Cromwell was expected to have occasioned in England, determined the Royalists to attempt a general rising, in which it was expected that great part of the Highland chieftains would join. The successes of Montrose were remembered, although it seems to have been forgotten that it was more his own genius, than his means, that enabled him to attain them. The Earl of Glencairn was placed by the King’s commission at the head of the insurrection; he was joined by the Earl of Athole, by the son of the heroic Montrose, by Lord Lorn, the son of the Marquis of Argyle, and other nobles. A romantic young English cavalier, named Wogan, joined this insurgent army at the head of a body of eighty horse, whom he brought by a toilsome and dangerous march through England and the Lowlands of Scotland. This gallant troop was frequently engaged with the Republican forces, and particularly with a horse regiment, called “the Brazen Wall,” from their never having been broken. Wogan defeated, however, a party of these invincibles, but received several wounds, which, though not at first mortal, became so for want of good surgeons; and thus, in an obscure skirmish, ended the singular career of an enthusiastic Royalist.
The army under Glencairn increased to five thousand men, numbers much greater than Montrose usually commanded. Their leader, however, though a brave and accomplished nobleman, seems to have been deficient in military skill, or, at any rate, in the art of securing the good-will and obedience of the various chiefs and nobles who acted under him. It was in vain that Charles, to reconcile their feuds, sent over, as their commander-in chief, General Middleton, who, after having fought against Montrose in the cause of the Covenant, had at length become an entire Royalist, and was trusted as such. But his military talents were not adequate to surmount the objections which were made to his obscure origin, and the difficulties annexed to his situation.
General Middleton met with but an indifferent welcome from the Highland army, as the following scene, which took place at an entertainment given by him on taking the command, will show. Glencairn had spoken something in praise of the men he had assembled for the King’s service, especially the Highlanders. In reply, up started Sir George Munro, an officer of some reputation, but of a haughty and brutal temper, and who, trained in the wars of Germany, despised all irregular troops, and flatly swore that the men of whom the Earl thus boasted, were a pack of thieves and robbers, whose place he hoped to supply with very different soldiers. Glengarry, a Highland chief, who was present, arose to resent this insolent language; but Glencairn, preventing him, replied to Munro, “You are a base liar! — these men are neither thieves nor robbers, but gallant gentlemen, and brave soldiers.”
In spite of Middleton’s attempts to preserve peace, this altercation let to a duel. They fought on horseback, first with pistols, and then with broad swords. Sir George Munro, having received a wound on the bridle hand, called to the Earl that he was unable to command his horse, and therefore desired to continue the contest on foot. “You base churl,” answered Glencairn, “I will match you either on foot or on horseback.” Both dismounted, and encountered fiercely on foot, with the broadswords, when Munro received a wound across his forehead, from which the blood flowed so fast into his eyes, that he could not see to continue the combat. Glencairn was about to thrust his enemy through the body, when the Earl’s servant struck up the point of his master’s sword, saying, “You have enough of him, my Lord — you have gained the day.” Glencairn, still in great anger, struck the intrusive peace-maker across the shoulders, but returned to his quarters, where he was shortly after laid under arrest, by order of the General.
Ere this quarrel was composed, one Captain Livingstone, a friend of Munro’s, debated the justice of the question betwixt the leaders so keenly with a gentleman, named Lindsay, that they must needs fight a duel also, in which Lindsay killed Livingstone on the spot. General Middleton, in spite of Glencairn’s intercessions, ordered Lindsay to be executed by martial law, on which Glencairn left the army with his own immediate followers, and soon after returning to the Lowlands, made peace with the English. His example was followed by most of the Lowland nobles, who grew impatient of long marches, Highland quarters, and obscure skirmishes, which were followed by no important result.
Middleton still endeavoured to keep the war alive, although Cromwell had sent additional forces into the Highlands. At length he sustained a defeat at Loch–Gary, 26th July, 1654, after which his army dispersed, and he himself retired abroad. The English forces then marched through the Highlands, and compelled the principal clans to submit to the authority of the Protector. And here I may give you an account of one individual chieftain, of great celebrity at that time, since you will learn better the character of that primitive race of men from personal anecdotes, than from details of obscure and petty contests, fought at places with unpronounceable names.
Evan Cameron of Lochiel, chief of the numerous and powerful clan of Cameron, was born in 1629. He was called MacConnuill Dhu (the son of Black Donald), from the patronymic that marked his descent, and Evan Dhu, or Black Evan, a personal epithet derived from his own complexion. Young Lochiel was bred up under the directions of the Marquis of Argyle, and was in attendance on that nobleman, who regarded him as a hostage for the peaceable behaviour of his clan. It is said, that in the civil war the young chief was converted to the side of the King by the exhortations of Sir Robert Spottiswood, then in prison at St Andres, and shortly afterwards executed, as we have elsewhere noticed, for his adherence to Montrose.
Evan Dhu, having embraced these principles, was one of the first to join in the insurrection of 1652, of which I have just given a short account. During the best part of two years he was always with his clan, in the very front of battle, and behaved gallantly in the various skirmishes which took place. He was compelled, however, on one occasion, to withdraw from the main body, on learning that the English were approaching Lochaber, with the purpose of laying waste the country of Lochiel. He hastened thither to protect his own possessions, and those of his clan.
On returning to his estates, Lochiel had the mortification to find that the English had established a garrison at Inverlochy, with the purpose of reducing to submission the Royalist clans in the neighbourhood, particularly his own, and the MacDonalds of Glengarry and Keppoch. He resolved to keep a strict watch on their proceedings, and dismissing the rest of his followers, whom hi had not the means of maintaining without attracting attention to his motions, he lay in the woods with about fifty chosen men, within a few miles of Inverlochy.
It was the constant policy of Cromwell and his officers, both in Ireland and Scotland, to cut down and destroy the forests in which the insurgent natives found places of defence and concealment. In conformity with this general rule, the commandant of Inverlochy embarked three hundred men in two light armed vessels, with directions to disembark at a place called Achdalew, for the purpose of destroying Lochiel’s cattle and felling his woods. Lochiel, who watched their motions closely, saw the English soldiers come ashore, one-half having hatchets and other tools as a working party, the other half under arms, to protect their operations. Though the difference of numbers was so great, the chieftain vowed that he would make the red soldier (so the English were called from their uniform) pay dear for every bullock or tree which he should destroy on the black soldier’s property (alluding to the dark colour of the tartan, and perhaps to his own complexion). He then demanded of some of his followers who had served under Montrose, whether they had ever seen the Great Marquis encounter with such unequal numbers. They answered, they could recollect no instance of such temerity. “We will fight, nevertheless,” said Evan Dhu, “and if each of us kill a man, which is no might matter, I will answer for the event.” That his family might not be destroyed in so doubtful an enterprise, he ordered his brother Allan to be bound to a tree, meaning to prevent his interference in the conflict. Abut Allan prevailed on a little boy, who was left to attend him, to unloose the cords, and was soon as deep in the fight as Evan himself.
The Camerons, concealed by the trees, advanced so close on the enemy as to pour on them an unexpected and destructive shower of shot and arrows, which slew thirty men; and ere they could recover from their surprise, the Highlanders were in the midst of them, laying about them with incredible fury with their ponderous swords and axes. After a gallant resistance, the mass of the English began to retire towards their vessels, when Evan Dhu commanded a piper and a small party to go betwixt the enemy and their barks, and then sound his pibroch and war-cry, till their clamour made it seem that there was another body of Highlanders in ambush to cut off their retreat. The English, driven to fury and despair by this new alarm, turned back, like brave men, upon the first assailants, and, if the working party had possessed military weapons, Lochiel might have had little reason to congratulate himself on the result of this audacious stratagem.
He himself had a personal rencontre, strongly characteristic of the ferocity of the times. The chief was singled out by an English officer of great personal strength, and, as they were separated from the general strife, they fought in single combat for some time. Lochiel wad dexterous enough to disarm the Englishman; but his gigantic adversary suddenly closed on him, and in the struggle which ensued both fell to the ground, the officer upper most. He was in the act of grasping at his sword, which had fallen near the place where they lay in deadly struggle, and was naturally extending his neck in the same direction, when the Highland chief, making a desperate effort, grasped his enemy by the collar, and snatching with his teeth at the bare and out-stretched throat, he seized it as a wild-cat might have done, and kept his hold so fast as to tear out the windpipe. The officer died in this singular manner. Lochiel was so far from disowning, or being ashamed of this extraordinary mode of defence, that he was afterwards heard to say, it was the sweetest morsel he had ever tasted.
When Lochiel, thus extricated from the most imminent danger, was able to rejoin his men, he found they had not only pursued the English to the beach, but even into the sea, cutting and stabbing whomever they could overtake. He himself advanced till he was chin-deep, and observing a man on board one of the armed vessels take aim at him with a musket, he dived under the water, escaping so narrowly that the bullet grazed his head. Another marksman was foiled by the affection of the chief’s foster-brother, who threw himself betwixt the Englishman and the object of his aim, and was killed by the ball designed for his lord.
Having cut off a second party, who ventured to sally from the fort, and thus, as he thought, sufficiently chastised the garrison of Inverlochy, Lochiel again joined Middleton, but was soon recalled to Lochaber, by new acts of devastation. Leaving most of his men with the Royalist general, Evan Dhu returned with such speed and secrecy, that he again surprised a strong party when in the act of felling his woods, and assaulting them suddenly, Killed on the spot a hundred men, and all the officers, driving the rest up to the very walls of the garrison.
Middleton’s army being disbanded, it was long ere Lochiel could bring himself to accept of peace from the hands of the English. He continued to harass them by attacks on detached parties who straggled from the fort, — on the officers who went out into the woods in hunting-parties, — on the engineer officers who were sent to survey the Highlands, of whom he made a large party prisoners, and confined them in a desolate island, on a small lake called Loch Ortuigg. By such exploits he rendered himself so troublesome, that the English were desirous to have peace with him on any moderate terms. Their overtures were at first rejected, Evan Dhu returning for answer, that he would not abjure the King’s authority, even though the alternative was to be his living and dying in the condition of an exile and outlaw. But when it was hinted to him that no express renunciation of the King’s authority would be required, and that he was only desired to live in peace under the existing government, the chief made his submission to the existing powers with much solemnity.
Lochiel came down on this occasion at the head of his whole clan in arms, to the garrison of Inverlochy. The English forces being drawn up in a line opposite to them the Camerons laid down their arms in the name of King Charles, and took them up again in that of the States, without any mention of Cromwell, or any disowning of the King’s authority. In consequence of this honourable treaty, the last Scotsman who maintained the cause of Charles Stuart submitted to the authority of the republic.
It is related of this remarkable chieftain, that he slew with his own hand the last wolf that was ever seen in the Highlands of Scotland. Tradition records another anecdote of him. Being benighted, on some party for the battle or the chase, Evan Dhu laid himself down with his followers to sleep in the snow. As he composed himself to rest, he observed that one of his sons, or nephews, had rolled together a great snow-ball, on which he deposited his head. Indignant at what he considered as a mark of effeminacy, he started up and kicked the snow-ball from under the sleeper’s head, exclaiming, — “Are you become so luxurious that you cannot sleep without a pillow?”
After the accession of James II, Lochiel came to court to obtain pardon for one of his clan, who, being in command of a party of Camerons, had fired by mistake on a body of Athole men, and killed several. He was received with the most honourable distinction, and his request granted. The King desiring to make him a knight, asked the chieftain for his own sword, in order to render the ceremony still more peculiar. Lochiel had ridden up from Scotland, being then the only mode of travelling, and a constant rain had so rusted his trusty broadsword, that at the moment no man could have unsheathed it. Lochiel, affronted at the idea which the courtiers might conceive from his not being able to draw his own sword, burst into tears.
“Do not regard it, my faithful friend,” said King James, with ready courtesy — “your sword would have left the scabbard of itself, had the royal cause required it.”
With that he bestowed the intended honour with his own sword, which he presented to the new knight as soon as the ceremony was performed.
Sir Evan Dhu supported the cause of the Stewart family, for the last time, and with distinguished heroism, in the battle of Killiecrankie. After that civil strife was ended, he grew old in peace, and survived until 1719, aged about ninety, and so much deprived of his strength and faculties, that this once formidable warrior was fed like an infant, and like an infant rocked in a cradle.
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