OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Reign of George II. (Continued.) page 14

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 <14> 15

Cumberland was now hunting down the fugitives on all sides. He posted himself at Fort Augustus, which the insurgents had blown up before leaving it, and from that centre he sent out his myrmidons in every direction to hunt out the Highlanders, and shoot them down on the spot or bring them in for execution. Mordaunt led nine hundred foot into the country of the Frazers, where he found a great quantity of cattle and oatmeal, said to be collected for the use of the Highland army, but more probably reserved by the selfish old chief for his own needs. They endeavoured to seize the old man at Gortuleg, but he had flown, and they burnt down the house. Everywhere the unhappy clans were pursued by their hereditary enemies, the whig clans, especially by the men of Argyllshire, and massacred with the most atrocious cruelty. They stripped their houses of everything of any value, and then burned them down, drove away the cattle, and tracking the miserable families into dens and caves, smothered them with burning heather, or thus forced them to rush out upon their bayonets. Those who escaped, chiefly women and children, were left to perish of hunger; and such were the horrors produced, that it is related that the starving wretches were compelled sometimes to feed on the slain bodies of their friends, whilst others followed the marauders, pleading piteously for the offal and entrails of the cattle of which they had been robbed! According to the evidence of men of all ranks and parties, men of the highest distinction - noblemen, bishops, ministers, elders, and officers of the victorious army - there was no horror or indignity which can be named in the annals of the wars in the most barbarous times, which were not perpetrated here. Women dishonoured, their children stabbed and flung over the rocks, whilst the brutal soldiers were making merry over their booty. These abominations stand on written record by all the parties who witnessed them, under their own names and signatures. In all these diabolical proceedings, the duke of Cumberland and his fidus Achates, the brutal general Hawley, were foremost. No extent of murder and extermination appeared capable of satiating the horrible souls of these monsters. "After all," Cumberland wrote to the duke of Newcastle from Fort Augustus, "I am sorry to leave this country in the condition it is in." The reader may think that he now felt remorse for his hideous crimes; on the contrary, he proceeds, "for all the good that we have done has been a little blood-letting, which has only weakened the madness, but not at all cured it; and I tremble for fear that this vile spot may still be the ruin of this island and our family." If we bear in mind that Cumberland at this time was only about twenty-six years of age, we can scarcely find in history so mere a youth so bloody and remorseless. But his physique indicated a gross and unfeeling nature. He was of a short and heavy build, a limpish style of countenance, awkward and uncouth, and destitute of every refinement of taste. His great qualities were courage and perseverance. But no perfect idea of his character could be arrived at, were it not understood that all the time that his soldiers were massacring men, violating the women, and immolating the children, till - according to Smollett, though only one thousand Highlanders fell on the field - two thousand five hundred were slaughtered altogether, and the country for fifty miles, in a very short time, had neither house, cottage, man, nor beast left, but was one vast scene of ruin, silence, and desolation; yet, whilst all this was transacting, Cumberland and his deputy-butcher Hawley were indulging the army in a saturnalia, in which every beastliness and scandal to human nature was practised. Amongst the entertainments given by this young prince were races on horseback by naked women! This and other indecencies and abominations, as the amusements of the

camp at Fort Augustus, patronised by his royal highness, were formally attested by the Rev. James Hays of Inverness; and his testimony is only too well supported by others of unquestioned character and veracity.

These horrors and abominations - such, say the astounded contemporaries, as never were witnessed in any Christian country - continued till July, when the Highlands, far and wide, were reduced to a desert. But long before, on the 14th of May, the king had sent a message to the house of commons, suggesting the propriety of settling a handsome income on the hero of Culloden; and the obsequious house had at once voted him twenty-five thousand pounds a-year, in addition to his previous income of fifteen thousand pounds a-year. Even Pitt, the great patriot and moralist, was anxious to have been the proposer of it, and the nation was in ecstasies over the glory of Cumberland. Glory there was none. Not to have routed such an army as that of Charles, famishing and weakened to the last degree by famine, would have been a disgrace only less than the horrors and indecencies that followed it. Whilst Cumberland was thus incensed, he had the effrontery to insult the nation by declaring that the British troops had won the victory, the Hessians not coming into action, and that English troops might now be considered "almost as good as foreign ones." Thus could the German egotism of this young royalty designate the army of a nation which had inherited the glories of Cressy and Agincourt, of Blenheim, Malplacquet, and Ramilies - victories such as no German army ever achieved till the Battle of the Peoples at Leipsic, in 1813.

But perhaps at no period of our history had the English government and public exhibited a more debased and degraded aspect than under this reign. Everything like nobleness and greatness of mind had fled; there was no glorious aspiration, no generosity, no magnanimity. The very patriots were venal and time-serving, and the few men who were above their age were treated with apathy and contempt. At the very moment that the parliament and nation here shouting acclamations to Cumberland, the wise and patriotic Duncan Forbes, who had done more than any man to prevent the rebellion, and when, spite of his warnings and suggestions, it came, had exerted himself incessantly, more like a soldier than a judge and a man of peace, to oppose the clans in arms, and to soothe down those who were ready to become hostile, was earnestly imploring the government to repay him one thousand five hundred pounds. This, indeed, was a small part of what he had laid down. He had spent three years' income to assist the government, and exposed himself to the vengeance of the clans. He had, in fact, greatly embarrassed his estate for the defence of the government, and he only asked this repayment, because it was a sum for which he had made himself responsible to others. But the noble lord-president implored in vain. He had given mortal offence to Cumberland by endeavouring to check his sanguinary proceedings, and had ventured to remind him of the authority of the laws. "Laws!" exclaimed the ruffian, "what laws? I'll make a brigade give laws!" But the heroic nobleman had still further offended. He had interceded for the unfortunate Highlanders, chiefs and men, and represented that there were other means now to calm the Highlanders besides cruelty and extermination. It was characteristic of the age, of the government, and the royal family then, that such a man should be contemptuously passed over, and his pleas be left unheard. He sank and died of a broken heart and a broken fortune in the following year, in the sixty-third year of his age. "But," says Sir Walter Scott, "he left behind him a name endeared to enemies as to friends, and doubly to be honoured by posterity."

The young pretender, during this time, had been making a hard run for his life, beset and hunted on all sides for the thirty thousand pounds set upon his head. After hiding for a few days in Glenboisdale, he got to Borrodale, where he had landed on coming to this country. Expecting to find a French vessel at the cluster of islands called the Long Island, he embarked in a boat with O'Sullivan, O'Neill, and Burke, and landed on Benbecula in the midst of a very stormy night. There was no vessel, and they were compelled to pass the wretched hours of darkness and the two following days with nothing else to eat but some oatmeal and water. They got thence to Lewis, where they engaged a fishing-boat to carry them to the continent; but the master of it, discovering who his chief passenger was, refused to put out on any terms. In returning to the mainland they saw two men-of-war, and, fearing they were English, avoided them; by which means they lost the passage to France, for they were French. After escaping a real English sloop they landed in North Uist, and about the middte of May in South Uist. There the great proprietor of the island, Macdonald of Clanranald, received them hospitably, furnished the prince with fresh shoes and stockings, for he was nearly barefoot, and refreshed him with generous food and wine, for his health and spirits were breaking down under the hardships he had passed through. But he was speedily obliged to abscond and hide himself again amongst the rocks, for general Campbell, afterwards duke of Argyll, came with a body of soldiers and several ships of war to search the islands for fugitives and disaffected. After exploring several of the neighbouring islands and taking many prisoners, suddenly he arrived at South Uist, surrounded it with his soldiers, ships, and boats, and commenced a rigorous search of the whole island. Nothing but the ingenuity and indefatigable fidelity of Clanranald and his people could have saved Charles. During the whole five months of his adventurous wanderings and hidings, nothing could induce a single Highlander to betray him, notwithstanding the temptation of the thirty thousand pounds. At this moment Miss Flora, or Flory Macdonald, of Milton, in South Uist, and a near relative of Macdonald of Clanranald, with whom she was on a visit, stepped forward to rescue him. She was so much excited by his sufferings and his dangers, that she agreed to convey him safely out of the island and to Skye. She procured a pass from Hugh Macdonald, her stepfather, who commanded part of the troops now searching the island, for herself, her maid, Betty Burke, and her servant, Neil Mac Eachan. She moreover induced captain Macdonald to recommend the maid, Betty Burke - which Betty Burke was to L J Charles in disguise - to his wife in Skye as very clever at spinning. At the moment that all was ready, general Campbell, as if suspecting something, came with a company of soldiers, and examined Clanranald's house. The prince, in his female attire, however, was concealed in a farmhouse, and the next morning he and his deliverer embarked in a boat with six rowers and the servant Neil. In passing the point of Yaternish, in Skye, they ran a near chance of being all killed, for the militia rushed out and fired upon them. Luckily the tide was out, so that they were at a tolerable distance, were neither hurt, nor could be very quickly pursued. The boatmen pulled stoutly, and landed them safely at Mugstole, the seat of Sir Alexander Macdonald. Sir Alexander was on the mainland in Cumberland's army; but the young heroine had the address to induce his wife, lady Margaret Macdonald, to receive him; and, as the house was full of soldiers, she sent him to her factor and kinsman, Macdonald of Kingsburgh, in the interior of the island. Near the house Charles put on a Highland dress, and Flora left him to the care of Kingsburgh and went home. Flora says that he had now recovered greatly his health and spirits. The next day Charles went over to the isle of Rasay, which was only six miles off, where he was received by the sons of Macleod of Rasay, who had been out with the young pretender at both Falkirk and Culloden, and were still hiding on the mainland. They could only, however, accommodate him in a cow-shed, for the soldiers had been there the day before, and burnt down every house in Rasay. Whilst he lay miserably there, his adventure had got wind, and Flora Macdonald was seized and sent to London, and Kingsburgh was seized and sent to headquarters at Fort Augustus. The enemy now knew that they were close upon his track, and it was almost by miracle that he escaped out of the isles to the mainland, where he was conducted by his faithful adherents from place to place through Rosshire, everywhere having to thread the lines of soldiers and sentinels which watched every pass. At length he was brought to a cave in the great mountain of Corado, between Kintail and Glenmoriston, inhabited by seven freebooters, who waited on him with the utmost zeal, "lifting," according to the Scotch phrase, or stealing for him whatever was necessary to his present comforts - food, clothes, linen, and even luxuries. With them he continued five weeks and three days, living more like a prince than since he left Falkirk, and having news and supplies brought by them from the very camp of Cumberland at Fort Augustus. One of these faithful bandits, untempted by the thirty thousand pounds, then conducted him to Glencoich, where he remained some time concealed with Cameron of Clunes and his sons in a little hut. Thence, by similar services, he was enabled to reach Mellanauir, in Badenoch, where Lochiel, who had been severely wounded at Culloden, and Macpherson of Cluny, were hiding. They took him to a little hut called the Cage, built of sticks, heather, and moss, in a thicket of trees on the rocky face of a high mountain, called Letternilinchk, in Benalder. The chiefs had a saucepan, with which they managed to cook so well, that when Charles was eating collops out of it with a silver spoon, he exclaimed gaily, "Now, gentlemen, I live like a prince!" In truth, they managed to live well in their concealment, having plenty of mutton, butter, and cheese, a ham, and a keg of whisky. Here the prince remained till the 13th of September, when news came that two French frigates had put into Lochnanuagh, under the direction of colonel Warner of Dillon's regiment, who was sent expressly to find him and convey him to France. Setting out immediately with his hospitable hosts, but, being able only to travel by night, it was the 20th of September before he got on board the French vessel. His late hosts, Lochiel and Cluny, as well as colonel Roy Stuart, and about a hundred other refugees, sailed with him, and they landed at the little port of Roscoff, near Morlaise, in Brittany, on the 29th of September, whence Charles hastened to Paris, was received in a very friendly manner by Louis XV., and by the Parisians, when he appeared at the opera, with rapturous acclamations.

Charles was, both in Scotland - on which his wild adventure had inflicted such miseries - and in France, a hero of romance; but his captured adherents had far other scenes to face than the lights and luxurious music of the opera. The wretched prisoners who were thrown into English dungeons, lest their own countrymen might on their trials sympathise too much with them, might truly utter such words as Burns has put into the mouth of one of the sufferers -

<<< Previous page <<< >>> Next page >>>
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 <14> 15

Pictures for Reign of George II. (Continued.) page 14

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About