THE night after the battle of Preston, the Chevalier slept at Pinkie House, near Musselburgh; the next morning he returned to Duddingston, and entering the capital, was received with the acclamations of the populace,2 and all the honours which the official authorities could render. Several proclamations were issued upon his arrival, all of them adapted to influence the popular mind. He prohibited all rejoicings for the victory, assigning for his reason the loss which had been sustained by Ills father’s misguided subjects. The clergy of Edinburgh were, by another edict, exhorted to resume the exercise of their religious functions, and assured of the Prince’s protection. This venerable body sent a deputation to know whether they would he permitted, in the course of divine service, to offer up their prayers for King George. It was answered, on the part of the Chevalier, that to grant the request would be in so far to give the lie to those family pretensions for the assertion of which he was in arms; but that, notwithstanding, he would give them his royal assurance that they should not be called to account for any imprudent language which they might use in the pulpit. The ministers of Edinburgh seem to have doubted the guarantee, as none of them resumed his charge excepting the Rev. Mr MacVicar, minister of the West Church, who regularly officiated there, under the protection of the guns of the Castle. A number of the Highland officers, as well as the citizens, attended on Mr MacVicar’s ministry, in the coarse of which he not only prayed for King George, but stoutly asserted his right to the throne. This was represented to Charles Edward by some of his followers, as a piece of unjustifiable insolence, deserving of punishment; but the Prince wisely replied, that the man was an honest fool, and that he would not have him disturbed. I do not know if it was out or gratitude for this immunity, but Mr MacVicar, on the following Sunday, added to his prayers in behalf of King George, a petition in favour or the Chevalier, which was worded thus:—” As to this young person who has come among us seeking an earthly crown, do THOU, in thy merciful favour, give him a heavenly one.”
A good deal of inconvenience had arisen in consequence of the banking companies having retreated into the castle, carrying with them the specie which supplied the currency of the country. A third proclamation was issued, inviting these establishments to return to the town, and resume the ordinary course of their business; but, like the clergy, the bankers refused to listen to the invitation. They, as well as the clergy, did not probably place much confidence in the security offered. It is now time to take a more general view of the effects which the battle of Preston, or of Gladsmuir, as the Jacobites preferred calling it, had produced upon the affairs of the young Adventurer. Until that engagement, the Chevalier could not be said to possess a spot of Scotland, save the ground which was occupied by his Highland army. The victory had reversed this; and there was no place within the ancient kingdom of his ancestors, except the castles of Edinburgh and Stirling, and the four small garrisons on the Highland chain, which dared disavow his authority and abide by the consequences. It was therefore a question of high Import to decide in what manner this splendid advantage could be best improved. It was the opinion of many at the time, and has been repeated since, and was, it is said, originally the predominant sentiment of Charles Edward himself, that the blow at Preston should be followed up as speedily as possible by an irruption into England. This, it was said, would rouse the spirits of the English Jacobites, surprise the Government while in a state of doubt and want of preparation, and, in short, give the readiest prospect of completing a counter revolution. On consideration, however, the Prince, from reasons of the most cogent nature, was compelled to renounce an enterprise, which was, perhaps, not uncongenial to his daring temper. He could not but be sensible that his army, after the battle, was reduced nearly one half, by the number of Highlanders who, according to their uniform custom, returned home to deposit with their families the booty which they had taken in she field. This was not all: he was as yet deprived of the assistance of Lovat, MacLeod, and Sir Alexander MacDonald, upon whom he had rested as main supports of his enterprise. These three chiefs might have augmented his forces to six or seven thousand men, with which strength he might have approached the English Borders, not without hopes of striking an important blow. But, besides the relics of Sir John Cope’s dragoons, several British regiments, recalled from Flanders, had already reached England; and six thousand Dutch troops had, as in the insurrection in 1715. been supplied by the States of Holland, as an auxiliary contingent which they were bound to send over to England in case of invasion. These regiments, indeed, were chiefly Swiss and German troops in Dutch pay, who had been made prisoners by the French and enjoyed their liberty under parole that they should not bear arms against his Most Christian Majesty or his allies. There was, therefore, some doubt whether they could regularly have taken a part in the British civil war. It was understood that the French Government had made a remonstrance against their being employed, founded on the terms of the capitulation. But the laws of war, as well as others, have their points of casuistry; and since the troops were sent to Britain, it can be little doubted that, being there, it must have been with the resolution of fighting, although at a later period, when the Chevalier actually had in his camp a French force, they were withdrawn from the conflict.
It must be also remembered that, in advancing into England, the Chevalier, without being certain or any friends in the South, must have abandoned all chance of supplies from France, which he could only hope to receive in small quantities, by means of Montrose, Dundee, and other ports on the northeastern coast; while at the same time, he must have withdrawn from a junction with all the recruits whom he expected from the Highlands, and from the great clans, which he still hoped might join him.
To conclude, the British and Dutch forces were drawing to a head at Newcastle, under Field–Marshal Wade, to a number already superior to that of the Highland army.
Having such a force in front, the advance of the Chevalier into England with 1800 or 2000 men, would have been an act of positive insanity. There remained only another course-that the Chevalier should endeavour to augment his army by every means in his power, and prepare himself for the prosecution of his adventure before he went farther. With this purpose, the public money was levied in every direction, and parties were despatched as far as Glasgow, which city was subjected to payment of L.5000 sterling. The utmost exertion was made to collect the arms which had been taken from the vanquished in the field of battle; and various gifts were received into the Prince’s exchequer from individuals, who, too old or too timid to join him, took this mode of showing the interest which they felt in his cause.
The news of the victory, in the mean time, animated the Jacobites in every quarter of the kingdom, and decided many who had hitherto stood neutral. Officers were appointed to beat up for volunteers, and did so with success;-many Lowland gentlemen joined the ranks of the rebels; General Gordon of Glenbucket brought down 400 men from the upper part of Aberdeenshire; Lord Ogilvie led a body of 600 from Strathmore and the Mearns;-Lord Pitsligo, a nobleman of the most irreproachable character, and already in an advanced stage of life, took the field at the head of a squadron of north-country gentlemen, amounting to 120 in number;-Lord Lewis Gordon, brother of the Duke, undertook to levy considerable forces in his own country, though his brother, disgusted perhaps with the recollection of 1715, declined to join the Chevalier’s standard. The new forces were organized in all possible haste. Two troops of cavalry were formed as guards, one of which was placed under the command of Lord Elcho; the other, first destined to the son of Lord Kenmure, who declined to join, was finally conferred on the unfortunate Lord Balmerino. A troop of horse-grenadiers was placed under the command of the equally unfortunate Earl of Kilmarnock. This nobleman, if his early education is considered, could scarcely have been expected to have enrolled himself as an adherent of the cause which cost him so dear. In the 1715, being then only twelve years old, he appeared in arms with his father in behalf of the Government, at the head of 1000 men, whom the influence of the family had raised in Ayrshire. He had also enjoyed a pension from George II.‘s Government. But his wife. Lady Ann Livingston, daughter of James Earl of Linlithgow and Callander, was a zealous Jacobite, and it is supposed, converted her husband to that unhappy faith. Lord Kilmarnock was also in embarrassed circumstances, and his ambition was awakened by the gleam of success which shone on the Prince’s standard at Preston, and which induced him to take the step which cost him his life. Mr Murray, the secretary, desirous of a military as well as a civil command, made some progress in levying a regiment of hussars, designed for the light-cavalry duties, which were commanded under him by an Irish officer in the French service, named Lieutenant–Colonel Bagot. While recruits of considerable rank were thus joining the standard, the camp at Duddington assumed a more regular and military appearance — the Highlanders being, with some difficulty, prevailed upon to occupy the tents which had fallen into their possession at Preston, declaring, however, that they did so only out of respect to the Prince’s orders, as these hardy people preferred the open air, even in the end of a Scottish autumn. The tents were very indifferently pitched, and only half inhabited; so that the appearance of the camp was extremely irregular.
It may be here noticed, that the behaviour of the Highlanders was upon the whole exemplary. Some robberies were indeed committed in the vicinity of Edinburgh, by persons in Highland dresses, and wearing white cockades, but they were considered as having been perpetrated by ordinary thieves, who had used the Prince’s uniform as a disguise. On some occasions the Highlanders forgot themselves, and presented their pieces at the citizens to extort money; but the moderation of the demand bore a strange disproportion to the menacing manner in which it was enforced. It was generally limited to a penny, a circumstance strongly expressive of the simplicity of this singular people.
The Court at Holyrood was in those halcyon days of Jacobitism so much frequented by persons of distinction, that it might almost have been supposed the restoration had already taken place. The fair sex, in particular, were dazzled with the gallant undertaking of a young and ham some Prince so unexpectedly successful, and the young men, of course, if in the least biassed in favour of the politics of the softer sex, found it difficult to differ from their opinions. In the eyes of the public, the young Chevalier, whether from policy or a natural good disposition, showed no sentiments but such as were honourable and generous; and many anecdotes were circulated tending to exalt his character in the general opinion. It was said, for example, as Charles rode through the field of battle at Preston, that an officer describing the bodies with which it was covered as being those of his enemies, he replied, that he only beheld with regret the corpses of his father’s misguided subjects. It was more certain, that when the Chevalier proposed to the Court of London to settle a cartel for prisoners, and when that proposal was refused, he was strongly advised to consider those English captives who were in his hands as hostages for the lives of such of his own party as might become prisoners to the enemy. But Charles Edward uniformly rejected this proposal, declaring that it was beneath him as a prince to make threats which e did not intend to execute, and that he would never, on any account, or under any provocation, take away the lives of unoffending men in cold blood, after having spared them in the heat of action.
Another opportunity occurred in which Charles had the means of exhibiting the same tone of generosity after his return from Preston. He had established a blockade around the Castle of Edinburgh; this could, in fact, do little more than occasion inconvenience to the garrison, by depriving them of fresh provisions, for of salted stores they had an abundant supply; there was no great prospect, therefore, of reducing so strong a place by the effects of famine, nor did the Governor take much notice of a proclamation forbidding any one to carry provisions to the Castle under pain of death. A few shots fired on the Highland guards were the only acknowledgment of the insult; but after this had lasted a few days, General Preston, the Governor of the fortress, sent a message to the Lord Provost and magistrates, declaring, that unless the communication with the city was opened, he would cannonade the town, and lay it in ashes. When this threat was communicated to the Chevalier, to whom the affrighted citizens naturally carried their appeal, he observed, that nothing could be more unjust than to make the city responsible for the actions of an armed force which was not under their control; that he might, by a parity of reasoning, be summoned to evacuate the capital, or yield up any other advantage, by the same threat of destroying the city; and that there fore he would not permit his feelings, on the present occasion, to interrupt the plain course which his interest recommended. But to intimidate General Preston, the Chevalier caused him to be informed, that if he fired on the city of Edinburgh, he would, in retaliation, cause the General’s house at Valley-field in Fife, to be burnt to the ground. The stout veteran received the threat with scorn, declaring that if Valleyfield were injured, the English vessels of war in the Frith should in revenge receive instructions to burn down Wemyss castle, which is built on a rock overhanging the sea. This castle was the property of the Earl of Wemyss, whose eldest son, Lord Elcho, was in the Prince’s camp. Fortunately this exasperating species of warfare was practised on neither side. General Preston, in pity to the entreaty of the inhabitants, consented to suspend the cannonade until he should receive orders from St James’s.
Some misapprehension, however, having taken place about the terms of this kind of armistice, General Preston, according to his threat, opened a fire upon the city. The confusion was great; the garrison made a sally to dislodge the rebels from some posts near the Castle; the streets were swept with cartridge-shot, and several of the inhabitants, as well as Highlanders, were slain. It is said that the Governor engaged in this sort of warfare, in order to induce the rebel army to remain before the fortress; and that he caused letters to fall into the hands of their council, expressing fears of a scarcity of provisions, so as to determine them to adopt the course of continuing the blockade. Charles, however, feeling, or affecting to feel, much interest for the distress of the inhabitants, gave orders to open the communication with the Castle, and the cannonade in consequence ceased.
All this conduct on the part of the Adventurer was so far politic, as well as generous. But there were at the bottom of this apparent lenity and liberality private feuds, which rendered the Chevalier’s opinions and doctrines less acceptable to some of those who immediately approached his person, than to the adherents who only beheld events at a distance. For this purpose I will transcribe the manner in which his councils were conducted, as it is given by Lord Elcho. “ The Prince formed a council which met regularly every morning in his drawingroom. The gentlemen whom he called to it were the Duke of Perth, Lord Lewis Gordon, Lord George Murray, Lord Elcho, Lord Ogilvie, Lord Pitsligo, Lord Nairne, Lochiel, Keppoch, Clanranald, Glencoe, Lochgarry, Ardshiel, Sir Thomas Sheridan, Colonel 0’Sullivan, Glenbucket, and Secretary Murray. The Prince, in this council, used always first to declare what he himself was for, and then he asked every body’s opinion in their turn. There was one-third of the council whose principles were, that kings and princes can never either act or think wrong; so, in consequence, they always confirmed whatever the Prince said. The other two-thirds, who thought that kings and princes thought sometimes like other men, and were not altogether infallible, and that this Prince was no more so than others, and therefore, begged leave to differ from him when they could give sufficient reasons for their difference of opinion. This very often was no hard matter to do; for as the Prince and his old governor, Sir Thomas Sheridan, were altogether ignorant of the ways and customs of Great Britain, and both much for the doctrine of absolute monarchy, they would very often, had. they not been prevented, have fallen into blunders which might have hurt the cause. The Prince could not bear to hear any body differ in sentiment from him, and took a dislike to every body that did; for he had a notion of commanding this, army as any general does a body of mercenaries, and so let them know only what he pleased, and expected them to obey without enquiring further about the matter. This might have done better had his favourites been people of the country; but as they were Irish, and had nothing to risk, the people of fashion that had their all at stake, and consequently ought to be supposed prepared to give the best advice of which they were capable, thought they had a title to know and be consulted in what was for the good of the cause in which they had so much concern; and if it had not been for their insisting strongly upon it, the Prince, when he found that his sentiments were not always approved of, would have abolished this council long ere he did.
“ There was a very good paper sent one day by a gentleman in Edinburgh, to be perused by this council. The Prince, when he heard it read, said, that it was below his dignity to enter into such a reasoning with subjects, and ordered the paper to be laid aside. The paper afterwards was printed, under the title of The Prince’s Declaration to the People of England, and is esteemed the best manifesto published in those times, for those that were printed at Rome and Paris were reckoned not well calculated for the present age.
“ The Prince created a committee for providing the army with forage. It was composed of Lord Elcho, President; Graham of Duntroon, whom they called Lord Dundee; Sir William Gordon of Park, Hunter of Burnside, Haldane of Lanark, and his son; Mr Smith, and Mr Hamilton. They issued out orders in the Prince’s name to all the gentlemen’s houses who had employments under the Government, to send in certain quantities of hay, straw, and corn, upon such a day, under the penalty of military execution if not complied with, but their orders were very punctually obeyed. “ There were courts-martial sat every day for the discipline of the army, and some delinquents were punished with death.”
Charles Edward, while he exercised at Holyrood the dignified hospitality of a Prince, and gave entertainments to his most distinguished followers, and balls and concerts to the ladies of the party, of whom the Duchess of Perth and Lady Ogilvy formed conspicuous persons, omitted not the attention that might become a prudent general. He visited the camp almost every day, exercised and reviewed his troops frequently, and often slept in the camp without throwing off his clothes. While the internal management of the Princess affairs, civil and military, was thus regulated, no time was lost in applying to every quarter from which the insurgents might expect assistance. Immediately after the battle of Preston, the Prince had despatched a confidential agent to France; the person intrusted with this mission was Mr Kelly, already mentioned as an accomplice in the Bishop of Rochester’s plot. He had instructions to magnify the victory as much as possible in the eyes of the French King and Ministry, and to represent how fair the Prince’s enterprise bade for success, if it should now receive the effective support of his Most Christian Majesty. This mission was not entirely useless, though it may be doubted whether the French Ministers considered the opportunity as being so favourable as was represented. Vessels were despatched from time to time with money and supplies, although only in small quantities. One of these vessels arrived at Montrose with L.5000 in money, and two thousand five hundred stand of arms. There came over in this vessel, Monsieur de Boyer, called Marquis D’Eguilles, son of a president of the Parliament of Aix, with one or two officers connected with those already engaged in the undertaking.
The Prince received the Marquis D’Eguilles with much studied ceremony, affecting to regard him as the accredited agent of the King his master. The Chevalier also gave out, that the Marquis had brought him letters from the King of France, in which he promised his assistance, and asserted more specifically, that his brother, Henry Benedict, calling himself the Duke of York, was to be despatched to Britain immediately, at the head of a French army. This news raised the spirits of the insurgents to a very high pitch; for an attempt at invasion was so obviously the policy of the French court at this period, that nobody had the least difficulty in believing it.
Three more ships arrived from France at Montrose and Stonehaven. A train of six brass four-pounders, and in each vessel two thousand five hundred stand of arms, and L.1000 in money, were received on this occasion. Some Irish officers also came by these vessels. To intercept such communications, Rear–Admiral Byng entered the frith of Forth with four or five ships of war, which obliged the cavalry of the insurgents to scour the coast by nightly patrols.
Neither was the Prince remiss in endeavouring to extend the insurrection in Scotland. We have mentioned already that MacPherson of Cluny had been taken prisoner in his house by the Prince’s soldiers, and carried to Perth as a captive. While in that city he had been released, upon coming under the same engagement as the clans already in arms. On returning, therefore, to his house in Badenoch, he had called his men together, and led three hundred MacPhersons to join the Chevalier’s standard at Edinburgh.
But though Cluny, the son-in-law of Lovat, had thus chosen his part, the crafty old chief himself continued to hesitate, and to retain the mask of pretended loyalty to George the Second. Charles Edward corresponded with him, both by means of his secretary Hugh Fraser, and by that of MacDonald of Barrisdale, a partisan, who affected in a peculiar manner the ancient Highland character, and was, therefore, supposed to be acceptable to Lord Lovat. Through the medium of these agents, Charles stimulated the chiefs ambition by every object which he could suggest; and while he pretended to receive as current coin, the apologies which the old man made for delaying his declaration, he eagerly urged him to redeem the time which had been lost, by instantly raising his clan. Lovat still hesitated. President Forbes possessed over him that species of ascendency which men of decided and honest principles usually have over such as are crafty and unconscientious. Lovat was driven, therefore, upon a course of doubtful politics, by which he endeavoured to give the Chevalier such underhand assistance as he could manage, without, as he hoped, incurring the guilt of rebellion. Whilst, therefore, he made to the President empty protestations of zeal and loyalty to the Government, he maintained a private correspondence, expressing equally inefficient devotion to the Prince; and without joining either party, endeavoured to keep fair terms with both, till he should make himself of such importance as to cast the balance between them by his own force.
The vacillation and duplicity of Lord Lovat was the more unhappy for the cause which he finally adopted, because his example lost all the weight which a decisive resolution would have given it in the eyes of those who looked upon him as a model of cautious wisdom. It is generally allowed in the Highlands, that had Lovat taken arms in the beginning of the affair, the two great chiefs, Sir Alexander MacDonald of Sleat, and MacLeod of MacLeod, would certainly have done the same. The power of these three chiefs would have nearly doubled the numbers which the Chevalier collected from other quarters; nor would it be too much to assert, that with so great a force, the Chevalier might have ventured upon an instant march to England after the battle of Preston, and made a fair experiment of what impression he could have effected in that country, while the full freshness of victory shone upon his arms. But Lovat had proposed to himself to exercise the influence which he possessed over these island chiefs in a very different manner. He had formed a plan of uniting their men from the island of Skye and elsewhere, with the MacPhersons, under the command of Cluny; the MacIntoshes, the Farquharsons, and other branches of the Clan Chattan, over whom he possessed considerable influence; with these he proposed to form a northern army at the pass of Corryarrack, which would, as he calculated, probably have amounted to five or six thousand men, and might, at his own option, have been employed in a decided manner, either for the purpose of effecting a restoration of the Stewarts, or for that of putting down the unnatural rebellion against King George, as might happen eventually best to suit the interests of Simon, Lord Lovat. This plan was too obviously selfish to succeed. The two chiefs of MacLeod and MacDonald of Sleat became aware of Lovat’s desire to profit by their feudal power and following, and thought it as reasonable to. secure to themselves the price of their own services. The ambiguous conduct and delays of Lord Lovat inclined the two chiefs to listen to the more sincere and profitable counsel of Lord President Forbes, who exhorted them by all means to keep their dependents from joining in the rebellion; and, finally, persuaded them to raise their vassals in behalf of the reigning sovereign. The President was furnished with means of conviction more powerful than mere words. Government having, as already noticed, placed a hundred commissions of companies at the disposal of this active and intelligent judge, he was enabled still farther to improve his influence among the Highlanders, by distributing them among such clans as were disposed to take arms in behalf of the Government. Both Sir Alexander MacDonald and MacLeod were prevailed upon to accept some of these commissions; and when Alexander MacLeod of Muiravonside, a sincere adherent of the Chevalier, went to Skye for the purpose of inducing them to join the Prince, he found that they had committed themselves to the opposite party, in a degree far more active than the political principles which they had hitherto professed gave the slightest reason to expect. The other chiefs among whom commissions were distributed, were the Lord Seaforth, the Earl of Sutherland, Lord Reay, Sir Robert Monro of Foulis, the Master of Ross, and the Laird of Grant. The companies which were raised under these commissions, were ordered to assemble at Inverness, and thus a northern army of loyalists was on foot about the end of October, in the rear of the rebels, while the increasing forces under Marshal Wade threatened to prevent the possibility of any attempt upon England.
The defection of Mac Donald and MacLeod rendered altogether abortive Lovat’s plan of a northern army of Highlanders assembling at Corryarrack, and it might have been expected that he would have been now forced openly to adopt either one side or the other. But, ingenious in over-reaching himself, the wily old man imagined he had invented a scheme by which he could render Charles Edward such assistance as would greatly forward his enterprise, while, at the same time, he might himself avoid all personal responsibility. This plan, which he finally adopted, was, that his eldest son, the Master of Lovat, should join the Adventurer with seven or eight hundred of his best-armed and most warlike followers, and take upon himself the whole guilt of the rebellion; while he, the father, should remain at home, affecting a neutrality between the contending parties, and avoiding all visible accession to the insurrection. Even when he adopted the unnatural scheme of saving himself from personal danger, by making a cat’s-paw of his eldest son, the old Lord interposed so many doubts and delays, that the Master of Lovat, who was a noble and gallant gentleman, shed tears of rage and indignation at the train of dark and treacherous intrigue in which he was involved, and flung into the fire the white cockade which his father had commanded him to assume, yet refused for a time to let him display in the field.
When Lovat finally took the resolution of despatching his son, with the best part of his clan, to the assistance of Charles Edward, a resolution which was not adopted without much hesitation and many misgivings, he feigned, with characteristic finesse, an apology for his march. It was pretended that some of the rebel clans had driven a great prey of cattle from the country of Lovat, and that the Master was obliged to march with his clan for the purpose of recovering them. It was even averred, that, advancing too near the insurgent army, the Frasers were obliged to join them by actual compulsion.
It is singular to remark how the craft of Lovat disappointed his own expectations. He had doubtless desired to give real assistance to the insurrection, for he could hardly suppose that his neighbour, the Lord President, was imposed on by his pretext of neutrality; and lie must have feared being called to a severe account, if tranquillity was restored under the old government. And yet, notwithstanding the interest he took in Charles’s success, he delayed his son’s junction with the rebel forces so late, as to deprive that Prince of the assistance of the Frasers in his march into England, which was begun before the Master of Lovat commenced his journey southward. This delay induced the young nobleman to halt at Perth, where he united his corps with other reinforcements designed for the Prince’s army Thus, the indirect policy of Lord Lovat, while it led him to contribute aid to Charles’s cause, in such a manner as to ruin himself with Government, induced him, at the same time, to delay and postpone his assistance, until the period was past when it might have been essentially useful.
The Chevalier was aware of the difficulties of his situation, and, not inclining to remain at Edinburgh, like Mar at Perth, while they thickened around him, was disposed to supply by activity his want of numerical force. Having, therefore, received all such supplies as he seemed likely to bring together, he informed his council abruptly, that he designed to march for Newcastle, and give battle to Marshal Wade, who, he was convinced, would fly before him. This proposal seems to have been exclusively the suggestion of the sanguine temper which originally dictated his enterprise. His father’s courtiers, who endeavoured to outvie each other in professing doctrines of unlimited obedience, had impressed the young man with an early belief that his father’s cause, as that of an injured and banished monarch, was that of Heaven itself, and that Heaven would not fail to befriend him, if he boldly asserted those rights with which Providence had invested him. He believed the opinions of his English subjects to be the same in which he himself had been brought up. The manner in which the populace of Edinburgh had received him, and the unexpected and decisive victory at Preston, both confirmed him in his sanguine confidence of success; and he was strongly persuaded, that even the paid soldiers of the English would hesitate to lift their weapons against their rightful Prince. These sentiments, though they might well suit a Prince born and educated like Charles Edward, were too vague and visionary to gain the approbation of his council.
To his proposal of marching into England, it was replied, that the Scottish army which he now commanded, consisting only, after every augmentation, of upwards of 5500 men, was far beneath the number necessary to compel the English to accept him as their sovereign; that, therefore, it would be time enough for him to march into that country when he should be invited by his friends there, either to join them, or to favour their rising in arms. 2dly, It was urged, that, as Marshal Wade had assembled most of the troops in England, or lately arrived from Flanders, at Newcastle, with a view to a march into Scotland, it would be better to let him advance, than to go forward to meet him, because, in the former case, he must of necessity leave England undefended, and exposed to any insurrection of the Jacobites, or to the landing of the French armament, which the Marquis D’Eguilles and the Prince himself seemed daily to expect.
The council also observed, that it was the Prince’s interest, as it was understood to be the King of France’s advice and opinion, to postpone a decisive action as long as possible, because, in case of his sustaining a defeat, the French ministers would send no troops to support him, and the loss would be irretrievable; whereas the longer the insurgents remained unbroken and in force, the greater would be the interest and encouragement which their allies would have in affording them effectual assistance. To these, arguments the Prince only replied, by again asserting, that he was confident the French auxiliary force would be landed by, the time. he could cross the Border; and that he possessed a strong party in London and elsewhere, who would receive him as the people of Edinburgh had done. To which the members of his council could only answer, that they hoped it might prove so. They then dispersed for the night.
The next morning the debate was renewed, and the Prince again proposed to march into England, and fight Marshal Wade. As he found the council in no more complacent humour than they had been the day before, he was induced for the time to be silent upon the main proposition in debate, and limit his proposal to a march to the Borders, in order that the troops might be kept in activity, and make some progress in learning their duty This was agreed to, and orders were given out that the army should be ready to rendezvous at Dalkeith, and to march forward at the word of command.
On the evening of that same day, the Chevalier, for the third time, laid before his officers, then assembled in his own apartment, the proposal for a march upon Newcastle. To the objections which had been formerly offered, he replied, by saying, in a positive manner, “ I see, gentlemen, you are determined to stay in Scotland and defend your country; but I am not less resolved to try my fate in England, though I should go alone.” It being at length clear that the Prince’s determination was taken, and that they could not separate themselves from his project without endangering his person, and ruining the expedition irretrievably, Lord George Murray and the other counsellors thought of obtaining some middle conclusion betwixt their own plan of remaining in Scotland, and that of the Prince for marching directly to fight Marshal Wade. Lord George Murray, therefore, proposed, that since the army must needs enter England, it should be on the western frontier; they would thus” he calculated, avoid a hasty collision with the English army, which it was their obvious interest to defer, and would, at the same time, afford the English an opportunity to rise, or the French to land their troops, if either were disposed to act upon it. If, on the contrary, Marshal Wade should march across the country towards Carlisle, in order to give them battle, he would be compelled to do so at the expense of a fatiguing march over a mountainous country, while the Highlanders would fight to advantage among hills not dissimilar to their own. This plan of the western march was not instantly adopted, but the Chevalier at length came into it, rather than abandon his favourite scheme of moving southward.
On the 31st of October, 1745, Charles Edward marched out of Edinburgh at the head of his guards, and of Lord Pitsligo’s horse; they rendezvoused at Dalkeith, where they were joined by other corps of their army from the camp at Duddingston, and different quarters. Here the Adventurer’s army was separated into two divisions. One of these consisted of the Athole Brigade, Perth’s, Ogilvie’s, Roy Stewart’s, and Glenbucket’s of foot regiments; Kilmarnock’s and the hussars, of horse; with all the baggage and the artillery. This division was commanded by the Duke of Perth, and took the western road towards Carlisle. At Ecclesfechan they were compelled, by the badness of the roads, to leave a part of their baggage, which, after they had marched on, was taken possession of by the people of Dumfries.
The other column of the Highland army consisted chiefly of the three MacDonald regiments, Glengarry’s, Clanranald’s, and Keppoch’s, with Elcho and Pitsligo’s horse; this division was commanded by the Prince in person. On the 5th of November, after halting two days at Kelso, they marched to Jedburgh, thus taking a turn towards the west. Their original demonstration to the eastward, was designed to alarm Marshal Wade, and to prevent his taking any measures for moving towards Carlisle, their real object of attack. On Monday the 8th, the Prince, marching by Hawick and Hagiehaugh, took post at the village of Brampton, in England, with the purpose of facing Wade, should he attempt to advance from Newcastle in the direction of Carlisle.
In the mean time, the column under the Duke of Perth, consisting chiefly of Lowland regiments, horse, and artillery, advanced more to the westward, and reached Carlisle. This town had long been the principal garrison of England upon the western frontier, and many a Scottish army had, in former days, besieged it in vain. The walls by which it was surrounded were of the period of Henry VIII., improved by additional defences in the time of Queen Elizabeth. The castle, situated upon an abrupt and steep eminence, and surrounded by deep ditches on the only accessible point, was very ancient, but strong from its situation and the thickness of its walls. Upon the whole, although Carlisle was in no respect qualified to stand a regular siege, yet it might have defied the efforts of an enemy who possessed no cannon of larger calibre than four-pounders.
It was a considerable discouragement to the Highland leaders, that their men had deserted in great numbers. The march into England was by no means popular among the common soldiers, who attached to the movement some superstitious ideas of misfortune, which must necessarily attend their crossing the Border. When the army of the Prince marched off from Dalkeith, it was upwards of 5500 strong, and they were computed to have lost by desertion at least 1000 men before the one column arrived at Brampton, and the other in the vicinity of Carlisle.
The town of Carlisle showed a spirit of defence. The mayor, whose name was Pattison, was at the trouble to issue a proclamation to inform the citizens, that he was not Paterson, a Scottishman, but Pattison, a true-born native of England, determined to hold out the town to the last. The commandant of the castle, whose name was Durand” and who had lately been sent down to that important situation, was equally vehement in his protestations of defence.
The Duke of Perth, who commanded the right column of the Prince’s army, thought it necessary, notwithstanding these adverse circumstances, to attempt the reduction of this important place. He opened, therefore, a trench on the east side of the town, and in two days afterwards began to construct a battery. On seeing these operations, the town of Carlisle, and its valiant Mayor, desired to capitulate. The Duke of Perth refused to accept of their submission, unless the castle surrendered, but allowed them a reasonable time for determination. The consequence was, that both town and citadel surrendered, on condition that the privileges of the community should be respected, and that the garrison, being chiefly militia, should be allowed to retire from the town, after delivering up their arms and horses, and engaging not to serve against the Chevalier for the space of twelve months. This capitulation was signed by the Duke of Perth and Colonel Durand, whose defence must have been but a sorry one, since during the short siege them was only one man killed and another wounded in the besieging army.
On the 17th of November, the Prince himself made a triumphal entry into Carlisle. The inhabitants, who entertained no affection for his cause, received him coldly; yet they could not help expressing a sense of the gentleness with which they had been treated by the Duke of Perth, whose conduct towards them had been generous and liberal. Their expressions of gratitude, and those of favour which the Prince thought himself obliged to bestow upon the Duke, were productive of great injury to the cause, by fostering the jealousy which subsisted between Lord George Murray and his Grace. We have already noticed that this discord had its origin as early as the time when the Duke and Lord George first joined the Prince at Perth, and that the Secretary Murray had sought to gratify his own ambition by encouraging the pretensions of the Duke of Perth (whom he found an easy practicable person, very willing to adopt his suggestions), in preference to those of Lord George Murray, who, though an officer of much higher military talents, was haughty, blunt, and not unwilling to combat the opinions of the Prince himself, far more those of his favourite secretary. There being thus a sort of jealousy betwixt these eminent persons, Lord George considered the preference given to the Duke of Perth, to command the proceedings of the siege of Carlisle, as an encroachment upon his own pretensions; he regarded also, or seemed to regard, the Duke’s religion, being a Catholic, as a disqualification to his holding such an ostensible character in the expedition. Under the influence of these feelings, he wrote a letter to the Prince, during the time of the siege, in which he observed he was sorry to see that he did not possess his Royal Highnesses confidence, and that although a Lieutenant–General, others were employed in preference to him; for these reasons, he perceived he was likely to be of more service as a volunteer than as a general officer; so that he begged his Royal Highness’s acceptance of the resignation of his commission in the latter capacity. The Chevalier intimated to him, accordingly, that his resignation was accepted. But, however acceptable the preference given to the Duke of Perth over Lord George Murray might be to Secretary Murray, and to the immediate personal favourites of the Prince, the Duke’s principles and tenets being more acceptable to them than those of an uncompromising soldier of high rank, there was a general feeling of anxiety and apprehension spread through the bulk of the army, who had a much higher opinion of the military capacity of Lord George than of that of the Duke, though partial to the extreme good-nature, personal valour, and gentlemanlike conduct of the latter. The principal persons, therefore, in the army, chiefs, commanders of corps, and men who held similar situations of importance, united in a petition, which was delivered to the Prince at Carlisle, praying that he would be pleased to discharge all Roman Catholics from hi& councils. This request was grounded upon an allegation which had appeared in the newspapers, stating that the Prince was altogether guided by the advice of Roman Catholics, and comparing Sir Thomas Sheridan to his grandfather, James the Second’s father-confessor, the Jesuit Petre. In allusion to the surrender of Carlisle, the petition expressed an affected alarm upon the subject of Papists assuming the discussion and decision of articles of capitulation, in which the Church of England was intimately concerned. To mark the application of the whole, the Prince was entreated to request Lord George Murray might resume his command. To this last article of the petition the Prince returned a favourable answer; to the rest he waved making any reply. Thus, the intrigue was for a period put a stop to, which, joined to his own rough and uncourtly style of remonstrance, had nearly deprived the insurgents of the invaluable services of Lord George Murray, who was undoubtedly the most able officer of their party. The Prince might not have found it easy to extricate himself from this difficulty, had the Duke of Perth remained tenacious of the advantage which he had gained. He could not, indeed, be supposed to admit the principle of a petition, which was founded on the idea that the religion which he professed was a bar to his holding high rank in the Prince’s service, and accordingly repelled with spirit the objections to his precedence on this ground. But when it was pointed out to him that Charles could not at that moment adhere to his resolution in his favour, without losing, to the great disadvantage of his affairs, the benefit of Lord George Murray’s services, he at once professed his willingness to serve in any capacity, and submit to any. thing, by which the interest of Charles and the expedition might be most readily promoted. While the Prince lay at Carlisle, he received intelligence, which showed that his successes in Scotland had been but momentary, and of a kind which had not made any serious impression upon the minds of the people. The populace of the towns of Perth and Dundee had already intimated their dislike of the Stewart cause, and their adherence to the House of Hanover. Upon the birth-day of King George, the populace in both places assembled to celebrate the festival with the customary demonstrations of joy, notwithstanding their Jacobite commandants, and the new magistracy, which had been nominated in both towns by the prevailing party. At Perth, the mob had cooped up Mr Oliphant of Gask, with his friends, in the council-house, and shots and blows had been exchanged betwixt the parties. At Dundee, Fotheringham, the Jacobite governor, had been driven from the town, and although both he and Gask had been able to reassert their authority on the succeeding day, yet the temporary success of the citizens of both places, showed that the popular opinion was not on the side of Prince Charles.
A more marked expression of public feeling was now exhibited in the metropolis. The force which had restrained the general sentiment in Edinburgh was removed by the march of the Highland army towards England. The troops from the castle had resumed possession of the deserted city. The Lord Justice Clerk, the Lords of Session, the Sheriffs of the three counties of Lothian, with many other Whig gentlemen who had left the town on the approach of the rebels, had reentered Edinburgh in a kind of solemn procession, and had given orders to prosecute the levy of 1000 men, formerly voted to Government. General Handyside also had marched into the capital on the 14th of November, with Price’s and Ligonier’s regiments, which had come from Newcastle; also the two regiments of dragoons, who had behaved so indifferently at Preston. The towns of Glasgow, Stirling, Paisley, and Dumfries, were also embodying their militia; and Colonel John Campbell, then heir of the Argyle family, had arrived at Inverary and was raising the feudal interest of that powerful house, as well as the militia of the county of Argyle.
All these were symptoms that showed the frail tenure of the Chevalier’s influence in Scotland, and that it was not, in the Lowlands at least likely to survive long the absence of the Highland army. Neither were the Highlands in a safe situation, so far as the Prince’s interest was concerned. Lord Loudon was at Inverness, with the MacLeods and MacDonalds of Skye, and overawed the Jacobites north of Inverness, as well as those of Nairn and Moray. It is true, Lord Lewis Gordon, who commanded in Banff and Aberdeenshire, had raised three battalions for the Prince, commanded by Moir of Stonywood, Gordon of Abachie, and Farquharson of Monaltry. The rest of Charles’s reinforcements lay at Perth; they consisted of the Frasers, as already mentioned, MacGillivray of Drumnaglas, who commanded the MacIntoshes; the Farquharsons, the Earl of Cromarty, the Master of Lovat, with several detachments of MacDonalds of various tribes, and one hundred and fifty of the Stewarts of Appin. A large body of MacGregors lay at Doune, under the command of MacGregor of Glengyle, and kept the country in great awe. All these troops made a considerable force; those at Perth, in particular, together with Glengyle’s people, amounted to between three and four thousand men, as good as any the Prince had in his army, and Colonel MacLauchlan was despatched to order them immediately to march and join their countrymen in England. In those circumstances, several of the Prince’s followers were much surprised, when, in a council at Carlisle, the sanguine young Adventurer proposed that they should, without delay, pursue their march to London, as if the kingdom of England had been wholly defenceless. It was objected, that the Scottish gentlemen had consented to the invasion of England, in the hope of being joined by the English friends of the Prince, or in expectation of a descent from France; without one or other of these events, they had never, it was stated, undertaken to effect the restoration of the Stewart family. To this the Prince answered, that he was confident in expecting the junction of a strong party in Lancashire, if the Scots would consent to march forward. D’Eguilles vehemently affirmed his immediate expectation of a French landing; and Mr Murray, who was treasurer as well as secretary, assured them that it was impossible to stay longer at Carlisle for want of money. All these were urgent reasons for marching southward.
Whether the Prince had any stronger reasons than he avowed for believing in the actual probability of a Jacobite rising which he averred, will probably never be exactly known. It is certain that many families of distinction were understood to be engaged to join the Prince in 1740, provided he appeared at the head of a French force, and with a certain quantity of money and arms; but the same difficulties occurred in England, which he had encountered on his first landing in Scotland. The persons who had come under an agreement to join, under certain conditions, in a perilous enterprise, considered themselves as under no obligation to do so, when these conditions were not complied with. It is probable, nevertheless, that many of those zealous and fanatical partisans, which belong to every undertaking of the kind, and are usually as desperate in their plans as in their fortunes, might, since his entering England, have opened a communication with the Prince, and excited his own sanguine temper by their representations. But, at the same time, it is pretty clear that the Prince had no information of such credit as to be laid before his council; at least, if it were so, it was never seen by them; nor were there any indications of a formed plan of insurrection in his favour, although there seemed a strong disposition on the part of the gentry in Lancashire, Cheshire, and Wales, to embrace his interest. As for Lord George Murray, and the counsellors who differed in opinion from Charles, they assented to the advance into England, merely lest it might be said that, by their restiveness, the Prince had lost the chance of forming an union with his English friends, or profiting by a descent from France. The army was now reduced to about 4400 men, out of which a garrison of two or three hundred were to be left in Carlisle; with the remainder it was now resolved to march to London by the Lancashire road, although, including the militia and newly-raised regiments, there were upwards of 6000 men under arms upon the side of the Government, who lay directly in their road. It would, therefore, seem, that the better course would have been to have waited at Carlisle until the reinforcements arrived from Perth; but this proposal was made and overruled. On the 21st of November, the Prince marched from Carlisle, and arrived that night at Penrith, Lord George Murray commanding the army as general under him. He halted a day at Penrith, with the purpose of fighting Field-marshal Wade, who had made a demonstration towards Hexham, to raise the siege of Carlisle; but who had marched back, on account, as was alleged, of a heavy snow-storm. Wade was now an old man, and his military movements partook of the slowness and irresolution of advanced age. The Prince, neglecting the old Marshal, pushed southward, resumed his adventurous march, and advanced through Lancaster to Preston, where the whole army arrived on the 26th. They marched in two divisions, of which the first, commanded by Lord George Murray, comprehended what were called the Lowland regiments, that is to say, the whole army except the clans; although the greater part so called Lowland, were Highlanders by language, and all of them by dress, the Highland garb being the uniform of all the infantry of the Jacobite army. The Prince himself, at the head of the clans properly so called, each of which formed a regiment, led the way on foot, with his target on his shoulder, sharing the fatigues of his hardy followers. The little army was compel-led, for convenience of quarters, to move, as we have said, in two divisions, which generally kept half a day’s march separate from each other. These adventurous movements, from the very audacity of their character — for who could have supposed them to be hazarded on vague expectations? — struck a terror into the English nation, at which those who witnessed and shared it were afterwards surprised and ashamed. It was concluded that an enterprise so desperate would not have been undertaken without some private assurances of internal assistance,1 and every one expected some dreadful and widely-spread conspiracy to explode. In the mean time, the people remained wonderfully passive. “ London,” says a contemporary, writing on the spur of the moment, “ lies open as a prize to the first comers, whether Scotch or Dutch;” and a letter from the poet Gray to Horace Walpole, paints an indifference yet more ominous to the public cause than the general panic: “ The common people in town at least know how to be afraid; but we are such uncommon people here” (at Cambridge) “ as to have no more sense of danger than if the battle had been fought where and when the battle of Cannae was. I heard three sensible, middle-aged men, when the Scotch were said to be at Stamford, and actually were at Derby, talking of hiring a chaise to go to Caxton (a place in the high-road) to see the Pretender and Highlanders as they passed.” A further evidence of the feelings under which the public laboured during this crisis, is to be found in a letter from the well-known Sir Andrew Mitchell to the Lord President.1 “ If I had not,” says the writer, “ lived long enough in England to know the natural bravery of the people, particularly of the better sort, I should, from their behaviour of late, have had a very false opinion of them; for the least scrap of good news exalts them most absurdly, and the smallest reverse of fortune depresses them meanly.” In fact, the alarm was not groundless; not that the number of the Chevalier’s individual followers ought to have been an object of serious, at least of permanent alarm, to so great a kingdom; but because, in many counties, a great proportion of the landed interest were Jacobitically disposed, although, with the prudence which distinguished the opposite party in 1688, they declined joining the invaders, until it should appear whether they could maintain their ground without them. In the mean time, the unfortunate Prince marched on in full confidence in his stars, his fortunes, and his strength, like a daring gambler, encouraged by a run of luck which was hitherto extraordinary; but his English friends remained as much palsied as his enemies, nor did anything appear to announce that general declaration in his favour which he had asserted with so much confidence. On arriving at Preston, in Lancashire, Lord George Murray had to combat the superstition of the soldiers whom he commanded. The defeat of the Duke of Hamilton in the great Civil War, with the subsequent misfortune of Brigadier Macintosh in 1715, had given rise to a belief, that Preston was to a Scottish army the fatal point, beyond which they were not to pass. To counteract this superstition, Lord George led a part of his troops across the Ribble-bridge, a mile beyond Preston, at which town the Chevalier arrived in the evening. The spell which arrested the progress of the Scottish troops was thus supposed to be broken, and their road to London was considered as laid open.
The people of Preston received Charles Edward with several cheers, which were the first he had heard since entering England; but on officers being appointed to beat up for recruits, no one would enlist. When this was stated to the Prince, he continued, in reply, to assure his followers with unabated confidence, that he would be joined by all his English friends when they advanced as far as Manchester; and Monsieur D’Eguilles, with similar confidence, offered to lay considerable wagers, that the French either had already landed, or would land within a week. Thus, the murmurers were once more reduced to silence.
Daring this long and fatiguing march, Charles, as we have already said, shared with alacrity the fatigues of his soldiers.1 He usually wore a Highland dress, and marched on foot at the head of one of the columns, insisting that the infirm and aged Lord Pitsligo should occupy his carriage. He never took dinner, but, making a hearty meal at supper, threw himself upon his bed about eleven o’clock, without undressing, and rose by four the next morning, and, as he had a very strong constitution, supported this severe labour day after day. In all the towns where the Highland army passed, they levied the public revenue with great accuracy; and where any subscriptions had been levied in behalf of Government, as was the case in most considerable places, they exacted an equivalent sum from each subscriber.
On the march between Preston and Wigan, the road was thronged with people anxious to see the army pass by, who expressed their good wishes for the Prince’s success; but when arms were offered to them, and they were invited to enrol themselves in his service, they unanimously declined, saying in excuse, they did not understand fighting. On the 29th, when the Prince arrived at Manchester, there was a still stronger appearance of favour to his cause; bonfires, acclamations, the display of white cockades, solemnized his arrival, and a considerable number of persons came to kiss his hand, and to offer their services. About two hundred men of the populace were here enlisted, and being embodied with the few who had before joined his standard, composed what was termed the Manchester regiment. The officers were in general respectable men, enthusiasts in the Jacobite cause; and Mr Townley, a gentleman of good family, and considerable literary accomplishments, was named colonel of the regiment. But the common soldiers were the very lowest of the populace.1 All this success was of a character very inferior to that which the Prince had promised, and which his followers expected; yet it was welcome, and was regarded as the commencement of a rising in their favour, so that even Lord George Murray, when consulted by a friend, whether they should not now renounce an expedition which promised so ill, gave it as his opinion, that, before doing so, they should advance as far as Derby, undertaking that, if they were not joined by the English Jacobites in considerable numbers at that place, he would then propose a retreat.
The Highland army advanced accordingly to Derby; But in their road through Macclesfield, Leek, Congleton, and other places, were received with signs of greater aversion to their cause than they had yet experienced, so that all hopes founded on the encouragement they had received from the junction of the Manchester Regiment, were quite obscured and forgotten.
They now also began to receive notice of the enemy. Colonel Ker of Gradon nearly surprised a party of English dragoons, and made prisoner one Weir, a principal spy, of the Duke of Cumberland, whom the Highland officers were desirous of sending to instant execution. Lord George Murray saved him from the gallows, and thus obtained, some valuable information concerning the numbers and position of the enemy. Accuracy in these particulars was of the last consequence, for having arrived at Derby, Charles might be said to be at the very crisis of his fate. He was within 127 miles of London, and, at the same time, less than a day’s march of an army of 10,000 and upwards, which had been originally assembled under General Ligonier, and was now commanded by his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, who had his headquarters at Litchfield, somewhat farther from the metropolis than those of Charles Edward.1 On the other hand, another English army, equal in numbers to their own, was moving up along the west side of Yorkshire, being about this time near Ferrybridge, two or three marches in the rear of the Scottish invaders, who were thus in danger of being placed between two fires.
Besides these two armies, George the Second was himself preparing to take the field at the head of his own Guards. For this purpose they were marched out of London, and encamped upon Finchley Common. Several regiments who had served abroad were destined to compose this third army, and form the defence of the capital, should its services be required.
The Prince showed no abatement of the high confidence which he had hitherto entertained of success. It seems to have been his idea to push forward at the head of his active troops, and, eluding the Duke of Cumberland (which, from their mutual position with respect to London, he would not have found difficult, being the nearest to the capital by nearly a day’s march), to press forward upon the metropolis, and dispute the pretensions of the reigning monarch beneath its very walls. He continued to entertain the belief that George the Second was a detested usurper, in whose favour no one would willingly draw his sword; that the people of England, as was their duty, still nourished that allegiance for the race of their native princes, which they were bound to hold sacred; and that, if he did but persevere in his daring attempt, Heaven itself would fight in his cause. His discourse, therefore, when at table, at Derby, was entirely about the manner in which he should enter London, whether on foot or horseback, or whether in Lowland or Highland garb; without hinting at the possibility of his having to retreat without TG79–227] making the final experiment on the faith and fortitude of the English. He remained at Derby for nearly two days to refresh his forces. On the morning of the 5th of December, Lord George Murray, with all the commanders of battalions and squadrons, waited on the Prince, and informed him, that it was the opinion of all present, that the Scots had now done every thing that could be expected of them. They had marched into the heart of England, through the counties represented as most favourable to the cause, and had not been joined, except by a very insignificant number. They had been assured also of a descent from France, to act in conjunction with them; but of this there had not been the slightest appearance; nevertheless, Lord George stated, that if the Prince could produce a letter from any English person of distinction, containing an invitation to the Scottish army either to march to London or elsewhere, they were ready to obey. If, however, no one was disposed to intermeddle with their affairs, he stated they must be under the necessity of caring for themselves, in which point of view their situation must be considered as critical. The army of the Duke of Cumberland, ten thousand strong, lay within a day’s march in front, or nearly so; that of Marshal Wade was only two or three marches in their rear. Supposing that, nevertheless, they could give both armies the slip, a battle under the walls of London with George the Second’s army was inevitable. He urged, that with whomsoever they fought, they could not reckon even upon victory without such a loss as would make it impossible to gather in the fruits which ought to follow it; and that four or five thousand men were an army inadequate even to taking possession of the city of London, although undefended by regular troops, unless the populace were strongly in his favour, of which good disposition some friend would certainly have informed them, if any such had existed.
Lord George Murray, to these causes for retreat added a plan for a Scottish campaign, which he thought might be prosecuted to advantage. In retreating to that country the Prince had the advantage of retiring upon his reinforcements, which included the body of Highlanders lying at Perth, as well as a detachment of French troops which had been landed at Montrose under Lord John Drummond. He, therefore, requested, in the name of the persons present, that they should go back and join their friends in Scotland, and live or die with them.
After Lord George had spoken, many of the council expressed similar opinions. The Duke of Perth and Sir John Gordon only proposed penetrating into1 Wales, to give the people there an opportunity to join. To this was opposed the necessity of fighting with the Duke of Cumberland, with unequal numbers, and perhaps with Marshal Wade also, who was likely to strain every nerve To come up in their rear.
Charles Edward heard these arguments with the utmost impatience, expressed his determination to advance to London, having gained a day’s march on the Duke of Cumberland, and plainly, stigmatized as traitors all who should adhere to any other resolution. He broke up the council, and used much argument with the members in private to alter their way of thinking. The Irish officers alone seemed convinced by his reasoning, for they were little accustomed to dispute his opinions; and besides, if made prisoners, they could only be subjected to a few months’ imprisonment as most of them had regular commissions in the French service. But at length the Chevalier, knowing that little weight would be given to their sanction, and finding that his own absolute commands were in danger of being disobeyed, was compelled to submit to the advice, or remonstrance, of the Scottish leaders.
On the 5th, therefore, in the evening, the council of war was again convoked, and the Chevalier told them, with sullen resignation, that he consented to return to Scotland, but at the same time informed them, that in future be should call no more councils, since he was accountable to nobody for his actions excepting to Heaven and to his Father, and would, therefore, no longer either ask or accept their advice.
Thus terminated the celebrated march to Derby, and with it every chance, however remote, of the Chevalier’s success in his romantic expedition. Whether he ought ever to have entered England, at least without collecting all the forces which he could command, is a very disputable point; but it was clear, that whatever influence he might for a time possess, arose from the boldness of his advance. The charm, however, was broken the moment he showed, by a movement in retreat, that he had undertaken an enterprise too difficult for him to achieve.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:54