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Reign of George II. (Continued.)


Commencement of the Rebellion of 1745 - The Young Pretender embarks at Nantes - Lands with only Seven Companions - Raises the Standard of the Stuarts - Commences his March southwards - Enters Edinburgh - Routs the Royal Army at Preston Pans - The English Parliament suspends the Habeas Corpus, and raises Troops - Charles Edward marches for England - Crosses into Cumberland, and summons Carlisle, which surrenders - The Young Pretender evades the Forces of General Wade at Newcastle, and reaches Derby - Council of War there, and Retreat of the Rebels, pursued by the Duke of Cumberland - Skirmish near Clifton Moor - The Rebels re-enter Scotland - Edinburgh shuts them out - Rebels besiege Stirling Castle - Battle of Falkirk - Duke of Cumberland relieves Stirling - Reaches Nairn - Battle of Culloden - Twenty-five Thousand Pounds a-Year granted to the Duke of Cumberland for his Defeat of the Rebels - Flora Macdonald secures the Escape of the Young Pretender to the Western Isles - Flora taken and sent to London - Executions of Colonel Townley, Earl of Derwentwater, Balmarino, and Kilmarnock - Pretender embarks at Lochnanuagh, and reaches France - Philip V. of Spain dies, and is succeeded by Ferdinand VI. - Habeas Corpus further suspended - Lord Lovat beheaded - Flora Macdonald released.
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The time for the last great conflict for the recovery of their forfeited throne in Great Britain by the Stuarts was come. The pretender had grown old and cautious, but the young prince, Charles Edward, who had been permitted by his father and encouraged by France to attempt this great object in 1744, had not at all abated his enthusiasm for it, though Providence had appeared to fight against him, and France, after the failure of Dunkirk, had seemed to abandon the design altogether. France, indeed, had now, in its belief, nearly accomplished a far more important object - the subjugation and annexation of Flanders to her empire. The campaign of 1745 had shown her triumphant at Fontenoy, and thrown many fine towns into her power. Austria humbled in Italy, and England deserted by her allies in Flanders, opened an alluring prospect for the next campaign. It would have appeared a most desirable diversion to create a rebellion in Great Britain itself, and thus entirely draw away England from the contest in Flanders; but France had still a presentiment that she would need all her forces to complete her designs on the continent; and there were other reasons which made her cool as to the English invasion at the very time when the battle of Fontenoy awoke the most flattering anticipations of the young pretender. It was of the highest consequence for France to maintain the alliance of Prussia, which so vigorously kept Austria in check; and Frederick, now secretly at peace with England, had remonstrated against the support which France was giving to the Roman catholic party in Great Britain. Other protestant powers, whom it was desirable to keep quiet at this crisis, had made similar representations, and it was therefore unfortunate for Charles Edward that, when every other circumstance appeared to favour his hopes, his grand object of dependence, France, foiled him. To his eager statements that now was the time, both on the account of France and his own, to make the long-contemplated descent, Louis turned only a deaf ear. The Irish brigade, which had won so high a character for bravery, and whose country, and religion, and resentments were his own, and which had been proposed for this service, was now destined for Flanders. So indifferent was the court of France become to his cause, that it was only after the most importunate solicitations that he could procure even a little money to keep him from destitution. None of these things, nor all of them together, could, however, damp the ardour of the young pretender. When he received the news of the battle of Fontenoy he was at the chateau de Navarre, near Evreux, the seat of his attached friend, the young duke de Bouillon. He wrote to his father, saying that, whatever he might suffer, he should not regret in the least, so long as he thought it of service for this great object; that he would put himself into the tub of Diogenes, if necessary. He then wrote to Murray of Broughton, in Scotland, to announce his determination to attempt the enterprise at all hazards. He had been assured by Murray himself that his friends in Scotland discountenanced any rising unless six thousand men and ten thousand stand of arms could be brought over; and that, without these, they would not even engage to join him. The announcement, therefore, that he was coming threw the friends of the old dynasty in Scotland into the greatest alarm. All but the duke of Perth condemned the enterprise in the strongest terms, and wrote letters to induce him to postpone his voyage. But these remonstrances arrived too late, if, indeed, they would have had any effect had they reached him earlier. Charles Edward had lost no time in making his preparations. He had written to his father desiring his jewels to be pawned and the money sent to him. On the 12th of June he wrote again to his father, more distinctly announcing his intentions. He complained of the scandalous treatment of the court of France, and added, "Your majesty cannot disapprove a son's following the example of his father. You yourself did the like in the year fifteen. The circumstances are now very different indeed, by being much more encouraging." He then informed him that this letter would not be forwarded till he was on ship-board; that he had sent to Spain to demand assistance from the king and queen; that whatever should happen, the stroke was struck, and that he would stand his ground so long as a single man remained with him. He added, the king would see why he wished his jewels pawned, which he pressingly entreated might be done without delay.

He had been able to borrow a hundred and eighty thousand livres from two of his adherents, had made great exertions to raise arms, and though he had kept his project profoundly secret from the French king and ministry, lest they might forcibly detain him, he had managed to engage a French man-of-war called the "Elizabeth," carrying sixty-seven guns, and a brig of eighteen guns called the "Doutelle," an excellent sailer. He had procured these through Walsh and Rutledge, naturalised French subjects, and merchants of Nantes. Rutledge had got a grant of the man-of-war for the purpose of cruising on the coast of Scotland, and had to go as far north as Charles intended to go. The "Elizabeth" was to carry over the arms and ammunition, or the chief part of them, namely, about one thousand five hundred fusees, one thousand eight hundred broadswords, twenty small field-pieces, with powder, balls, and flints. Charles himself and the gentlemen who accompanied him, only seven in number, were to set sail in the "Doutelle," with the money which he had raised, amounting altogether to about four thousand louis-d'ors. The "Doutelle" lay in the mouth of the Loire, and the place of meeting was Nantes. The seven companions of the young pretender's voyage lodged in different parts of the town, and, when they passed in the streets, took no notice of each other, so as to escape suspicion. Charles himself appeared as a student of the Scotch college at Paris, and let his beard grow. On the 2nd of July the "Doutelle" sailed from St. Nazaire, at the mouth of the Loire, and waited at Belleisle for the "Elizabeth," when they put forward to sea in good earnest. Unfortunately, only four days after leaving Belleisle, they fell in with the British man-of-war the "Lion," of [fifty-eight guns, commanded by the brave captain Butt, who in Anson's expedition had stormed Paita. There was no avoiding an engagement, which continued warmly for five or six hours, when both vessels were so disabled that they were compelled to put back respectively to England and France. During the engagement Charles was all on fire that the "Doutelle" should engage in aid of the "Elizabeth;" but Mr. Walsh, who had fitted her out, would not allow him to run the risk; and he becoming importunate, told him that if he persisted he would order him down into the cabin.

With the "Elizabeth" the young pretender lost the greater part of his arms and ammunition. Yet he would not return, but put forward in the "Doutelle" towards: Scotland. In two days more the little vessel was pursued by another large English ship, but by dint of superior sailing; they escaped and made the Western Isles. It was only after j a fortnight's voyage, however, that they came to anchor off the little islet of Erisca, between Barra and South Uist. An eagle approaching and hovering over the ship as she neared the shore, the marquis of Tullibardine, one of Charles's seven co-adventurers, exclaimed, "Behold the king of birds come to welcome your royal highness to Scotland!"

They landed and passed the night there. Young Macdonald of Clanranald informed them that his father, the chief of that cluster of islands, was away on the mainland, but that his uncle was in South Uist. Charles sent a messenger for the uncle, Macdonald of Boisdale, who appeared on board the "Doutelle" the next morning. When the old chief learned that Charles had come with only that little vessel, he pronounced the attempt nothing short of insanity; declared that if Clanranald himself were mad enough to join in such a rash adventure he would not follow him, and put back to his isle deaf to all the entreaties of the prince. Weil would it have been for Scotland had all the clan chiefs shown the same prudence.

Charles then sailed into the bay of Lochnanuagh, in Inver- ness-shire, betwixt Moidart and Arisaig, whence he dispatched a messenger to Clanranald, who came on board with Macdonald of Kinloch-Moidart, and several others of the clan. They were equally astounded at the folly of the attempt, and represented that, so far from raising the Stuart standard unsupported by a strong force from abroad being of any use, it would be certain destruction to all who engaged in it. Charles paced the deck with these chiefs, earnestly endeavouring to overcome their coldness by every argument that could awaken slumbering loyalty. Whilst he was on the verge of despair, finding all his representations vain, he noticed a Highlander standing near, armed at all points, who betrayed his increasing agitation as the conversation went on. His eyes flashed fire, his cheeks burned, he could not remain a moment standing still, but had his hand on his sword, and followed the young prince with his glances. He had come on board, not knowing that the prince was there; but when he caught from the conversation that it was not only the prince, but that his kinsmen were refusing to countenance his adventure for the crown, his Highland blood grew more impatient every moment. He was the younger brother of Kinloch-Moidart; and when Charles, perceiving his mood, suddenly turned to him and said, "Will you, at least, not assist me?" the young Ranald exclaimed, "I will! Though not another man in the Highlands draw a sword, I am ready to die for you!" Charles eagerly grasped the young champion's hand, and thanked him heartily for his loyalty, declaring that he only wished that all the Highlanders were like him. The burst of loyalty in the young man had, however, fired the latent spark in the bosoms of the two chiefs. They declared, come what would, they would follow him, and do all in their power to raise the Highlands.

Whilst this had been passing, the rest of the Macdonalds who had followed their chiefs had been kept in a tent at the other end of the deck with Charles's followers. They could scarcely help, however, divining the real facts of the scene; and one of them, to whose journal we are indebted for an account of these events, says, "There entered the tent a tall youth of a most agreeable aspect, in a plain black coat, with a plain shirt, not very clean, and a cambric stock, fixed with a plain silver buckle; a fair, round wig out of the buckle; a plain hat with a canvas string, having one end fixed to one of his coat-buttons; he had black stockings, and brass buckles to his shoes. At his first appearance I felt my heart swell to my very throat; but we were immediately told that this youth was an English clergyman, who had long been possessed with a desire to see and converse with Highlanders." The blind must, however, have been but too transparent, and sufficient to restrain any demonstration rather than to convince. And here we may give a general idea of the person and character of this young man, who was destined to bring the long-contended claims of the Stuarts to an eternal close.

Charles Edward, at the time of his landing in Scotland, was in person tall, well-formed, and accustomed to active pursuits in the woods and wilds of France and Italy. In the chase he had acquired the athletic vigour and elastic endurance necessary for the fatigues of war. He was in countenance handsome, and in manners graceful, open, and attractive. The blood of the Sobieski had softened the harshness and blackness of the Stuart feature. He is described as having an oval contour of face and a fair complexion; his eyes light blue, and his fair hair generally worn naturally - contrary to the fashion of the times, which was all for wigs. He was cordial and gay in his demeanour, and. frank and insinuating at the same time in his conversation with all classes. Those who saw him in the brief court of Holy- rood describe his handsome person, his elegant yet dignified manners, with enthusiasm. In the campaign which he conducted he certainly displayed all the enthusiasm, the courage, and the perseverance which became the leader of such an enterprise. Spite of some charges of cowardice against him, had he been able to carry out all that he dared and all that he planned, the invasion of England might have had a different termination. He was overruled by the Highlanders, on whom his whole chance depended. Nor was the interior unworthy at that date of the pleasing exterior. He was generous, daring, affectionate in his domestic relations, showing a zealous sympathy for his followers both in their trials and their sufferings. But these fine qualities had never been cultivated to the splendour which they might have acquired. His qualities were native and unimproved; his education had been grossly neglected. Whilst his father, who could not act with any heroism or decision, could write with the most striking wisdom and grace of style, Charles, who could both act and dare, could scarcely spell. He wrote a vile, straggling hand, his knowledge in every department was scanty, and in some essentials totally wanting. He spelt a sword, "sord;" humour, "umer;" and his own father's name, "Gems." This was the disgrace of his father rather than his own. Whilst his orthography and his prosody, too, were grievously defective, there lacked no evidence of mind and spirit in his letters, showing that, with proper culture, Charles Edward would have made not only a brilliant but an admirable character. He had all the elements of a fine prince but education, or, rather, the want of it, and failure ruined him. He was accused of being penurious'; but when we consider the mean resources with which he undertook this most stupendous enterprise, we see causes enough for care and economy; whilst, on the other hand, he suffered the sharpest evils by refusing to get into debt, to the probable ruin of his friends. "I never love to owe," he says in his letters; "but, on the contrary, I will deprive myself of little inconveniences rather than run into debt."

Such were the qualities of the young prince, which enabled him to land in the most powerful kingdom of Europe with one little vessel and seven followers, raise the Highlands, pour down like an avalanche upon the whole country, defeat the arms of the English at Falkirk and Preston Pans, advance like a rushing torrent into the very heart of England, affrighting the capital and paralysing the court, and being only turned back again by the less enduring spirit of his mountain followers.

Failure, disappointment, and despair of ever reaching the highest goal of his ambition, converted him in after years into a drivelling sot, querulous and ill-tempered, tyrannical to his dependents, and acrimonious to his wife; gradually sinking into imbecility and a premature old age. So striking in contrast were the beginning and end of the young pretender! We know what the ruin of his hopes made him; but who shall say what success might not have raised him into? It is certain that he displayed more honour towards his enemies than they did towards him. A price was set upon his head, and every inducement held out to his assassination; yet in no case would he listen to suck proposals in return, but always insisted that, should his cause triumph, the "lector," as his partisans always styled king George, and his whole family, should be treated with respect, and suffered to retire to their German patrimony. Even in his last and worst days, the memory of his romantic expedition and of his companions in arms and in suffering could raise all the ancient fire in his soul and throw him into convulsions. Such was the man who, in the pride of his youth, undertook the hopeless task of conquering England, deserted by France, and supported only by a handful of brave but impulsive and unstable Highlanders. The story of his adventures seems more like a romance than an episode of grave history.

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Pictures for Reign of George II. (Continued.)

Young Moidart
Young Moidart >>>>
Erecting the standard of the young pretender
Erecting the standard of the young pretender >>>>
Stirling castle
Stirling castle >>>>
Pinkie house
Pinkie house >>>>
Holyrood house
Holyrood house >>>>
Field of Prestonpans
Field of Prestonpans >>>>
Carlisle castle
Carlisle castle >>>>
Edinburgh castle
Edinburgh castle >>>>
Mrs. Skyring and young pretender
Mrs. Skyring and young pretender >>>>
Medal of Prince Charles Edward
Medal of Prince Charles Edward >>>>
Medal of James III
Medal of James III >>>>
Retreat of the young pretender
Retreat of the young pretender >>>>
Field of Culloden
Field of Culloden >>>>
Battle of Culloden
Battle of Culloden >>>>
The escape of the young pretender
The escape of the young pretender >>>>

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