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Reign of George II. (Continued.) page 15

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Drummossie Moor, Drummossie day,
A waefu' day it was to me!

So entirely was the insurrection quelled, so little likely was it that any renewal of it would ever again be attempted, that nothing could have been more worthy of the reigning family or more politic than to have shown a magnanimous clemency; but no such qualities rendered illustrious that heavy Hanoverian race. The king, it was said, was disposed to some degree of mercy; but Cumberland, drunk with blood, and yet thirsting for more, continued to urge "the utmost severity." The prisons were crammed to such a degree with the unfortunate Gaels, that government was compelled to stow numbers away on board of men-of-war and transports, till fevers broke out and swept them off by hundreds, sparing the labours of judges, juries, and hangmen. In Carlisle prison alone four hundred Scots were jammed in a space not properly sufficient for forty! The poor prisoners had been brought out of Scotland in open defiance of the Act of Union, and of the recognised rights of the Scottish courts; and now they were called on to cast lots for one in twenty to take their trials, with a certainty of being hanged, and the rest shipped off to the plantations in America without any trial at all. It was truly what Cumberland promised it should be - brigade law. Every principle of constitutional law was coolly ignored, as if, having put down their rivals, the Hanover family could now do as it pleased. In 1715 there had been some show of leniency; now there was a Draconian rigour exercised, in strange contrast to the humanity which Charles throughout had practised and recommended.

Amongst the first victims was colonel Townley and eight of his officers and privates of the Manchester regiment. They were hanged on Kennington Common, and all the ancient atrocities of tearing out their hearts and bowels and flinging them into a fire were perpetrated with disgusting formality. Similar odious executions took place at York, Brampton, and Penrith, and heads were stuck up over gates and in different places, as if the days of Jeffries were come again. About eighty such detestable exhibitions were made, the poor sufferers displaying a quiet courage and firmness which might have moved the heart of a Nero. Charles Radcliffe, the brother of the earl of Derwentwater, who escaped the earl's fate by breaking out of prison in 1715, had been taken on board a French vessel carrying supplies to the young pretender, and was put to death without any fresh trial. He pleaded that he was a French subject, holding a French commission, but without avail. He was beheaded on Tower Hill, and was buried by his brother in St. Giles's Church.

The duke of Perth had escaped on board a vessel and died at sea; lord Elcho had reached Paris in safety. Amongst the most distinguished persons captured were lords Kilmarnock, Cromarty, Balmerino, Mordington, and Lovat. Cromarty, Balmerino, and Kilmarnock were brought to trial before the peers in Westminster Hall on the 28th of July. "Cromarty," says Horace Walpole, "was a timid man, and shed tears; and Kilmarnock, though behaving with more dignity, pleaded guilty, both expressing remorse for their past conduct, and their fervent good wishes for the person and government of the king. But old Balmerino, the herd of the party, pleaded not guilty, and took exceptions to the indictment. He is," continues Walpole, "the most natural, brave old fellow I ever saw; the highest intrepidity, even to indifference. At the bar he behaved like a soldier and a man; in the intervals of form, with carelessness and humour. At the bar he played with his fingers upon the axe whilst he talked to the gentleman gaoler; and one day, somebody coming up to listen, he took the blade and held it like a fan between their faces. During the trial a little boy was near him, but not tall enough to see; he made room for the child, and placed him near himself." He took exception to the indictment, by showing that he was not at the taking of Carlisle, as stated in it, but that was overruled; and then he said, with a smile, he would give their lordships no further trouble. Whilst the peers withdrew to consider their verdict, Murray, the solicitor-general, afterwards lord Mansfield, asked him why he put in a plea which his solicitor previously assured him would be of no use. "Ah, Mr. Murray," replied the witty old nobleman, "I am certainly glad to see you. I have been with several of your relatives; the good lady, your mother, was of great use to us at Perth." As Murray's brother had been the young pretender's secretary, and his family altogether was very Jacobite, he felt no great temptation to renew such queries.

All these noblemen were pronounced guilty. Cromarty pleaded piteously the condition of his wife and family, that he left his wife en famille, and eight innocent children to suffer for his fault. His wife's entreaties and the interest of the prince of Wales saved him. Kilmarnock pleaded that though he had joined the insurrection, he had instilled such good principles into his eldest son, that he was fighting at Culloden on the side of the crown, though he himself was unhappily fighting against it. He prudently said nothing of the second son, who not only fought with him against the house of Hanover, but was taken with him too. He very properly claimed some consideration for the kindness with which he had always treated English prisoners; but such a plea was lost on this ungenerous government. So nobly did he speak, that lord Leicester said to the duke of Newcastle, "I never heard so good an orator as lord Kilmarnock. If I were you, I would pardon him, and make him paymaster of the forces, like Pitt."

Kilmarnock, with a rare nobility of mind, begged that, if there was any one of them pardoned, it might be Cromarty; and when he met Balmerino on the way to the scaffold, he embraced him, and said, "My lord, I wish I could suffer for both." What an honour to a generous enemy to have pardoned such a man! But generosity or nobility like that of Balmerino was unknown in the royal bosoms. Balmerino died as he had lived, bravely, and refusing to concede anything to his enemies or his circumstances. When Kilmarnock was going away to the scaffold, he asked him solemnly whether he knew anything of a resolution come to by the Highland chiefs, the day before the battle of Culloden, to give no quarter to any English prisoners. This had been sedulously circulated in order to justify the cruelties of the English commander and government. Kilmarnock replied that he was not present at the passing of any such resolutions, but that since he had come to London he had had the most solemn assurances that such was the fact, and that it was said that the duke of Cumberland had the pocket-book with the order. Balmerino, who was present at all the councils, replied indignantly, "It is a lie, raised to justify their barbarity to us!" And as no such order before or after was ever produced, it is perfectly clear that it was so.

According to Walpole, brave old Balmerino came upon the scaffold with the air of a general, walked round it, bowed to the people, read the inscription on the lid of the coffin, nodded, smiled, and said all was right. Instead of pretending, like the others, any remorse for his support of the pretender, or any loyalty towards his unrelenting foes, he declared that, if he had a thousand lives, he would lay them down in the same cause: and so he died, shouting, "God save king James!"

Lord Lovat was the last who was brought to the block for this rebellion, and we will conclude our account of it with his trial and execution, though they did not take place till March, 1747. Lovat had not appeared in arms, nor committed any overt act, and therefore it was difficult to convict him. The cunning old sycophant hoped to elude the law, as he had done so often before, but Murray of Broughton, the brother of Murray, afterwards lord Mansfield, to save his own life, turned king's evidence, and won eternal infamy by sacrificing his own friends. He not only produced letters and other documents which amply proved the guilt of Lovat, but threw broad daylight on the whole plan and progress of the insurrection from 1740 to that time. His revelations fully implicated the duke of Beaufort, Sir Watkin Williams, and others, but these government showed no disposition to prosecute. Lovat's trial commenced on the 9th of March, and continued seven days. He complained indignantly that he had been deprived of funds with which to defend his cause; that his factor had not obeyed the order of their house to that effect; and that captain Fergusson, who had seized his strong box, and had received his majesty's command, by an order from the duke of Newcastle, to deliver it up, had not done so. Newcastle made a shuffling excuse, that Fergusson claimed it as a fair prize, and that, till that point was settled, it could not be recovered.

If that were true, the trial ought to have been delayed till the point was settled; whereupon Lovat applied some very deserved epithets to Fergusson.

The conduct of Lovat on his trial was as extraordinary as his life had been. lie alternately endeavoured to excite compassion, especially that of Cumberland - who attended this, though he avoided the trials of the other insurgents - by representing how he had carried his royal highness in his arms about Kensington and Hampton Court Parks as a child, and then by the most amazing jests, laughter, execrations, and tricks, to puzzle or confuse the witnesses. "I did not think it possible," said Walpole, "to feel so little as I did at so melancholy a spectacle; but tyranny and villany wound up by buffoonery, took off all edge of compassion." When the sentence was pronounced against him, he said to lord Ilchester,

Je meurs pour ma patrie,
Et ne m'en soucie guferes.

As he left the hall he turned and said, "Farewell, my lords, we shall never meet again in the same place;" a valediction which lord Byron has put into the mouth of one of his characters in the "Doge of Venice," as original. He wrote to Cumberland, offering to make the most astounding discoveries to government on condition of pardoning him; and that failing, he said in jest, that he would be hung, for his neck was too short for the executioner to hit it. On his way to Tower Hill, a scaffold fell down and killed eighteen people. He sate down in a chair on the stage, and talked in his peculiar way, with abundance of falsehood, and quoted Horace's hackneyed line - "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori," a most flagrant burlesque on his whole political and closing conduct. Murray, who had thus enabled government to bring not only this hoary hypocrite, but much better men, to their end, lived long to reap the scorn and abhorrence of his countrymen. And with this tragi-comedy closed the strange, romantic, and melancholy rebellion of 1745 and 1746, for in a few weeks an act of indemnity was passed, clogged, however, with eighty omissions, followed by other measures for subduing the spirit of the vanquished Highlanders - the disarming act; the abolition of heritable jurisdiction; and the prohibition of the Highland costume.

We must not dismiss this subject, however, without noticing the fortunes of Charles Edward's heroic rescuer, Flora Macdonald. After a year's confinement she was liberated, as it was said, at the intercession of the prince of Wales, and the ladies of London subscribed for her nearly one thousand five hundred pounds. She returned to her native island with Malcolm Macleod, who also was dismissed for want of sufficient evidence against him. She was about four-and-twenty at the time of this great adventure. She afterwards married the son of Kings- burgh. At the time that Dr. Johnson visited the Highlands and the Western Isles in 1773, he saw her in the Isle of Skye. She must then have been about fifty-one. Johnson describes her as not old, of a pleasing person, and elegant behaviour; and Boswell, as "a little woman of genteel appearance, and uncommonly mild and well-bred." Johnson says that she and her husband were poor, and talked of emigrating to America, which they afterwards did, but returned to Scotland during the war of independence, and she died in the Isle of Skye in 1790, when she must have been about sixty-eight.

Whilst the rebellion was raging in Scotland there had been an attempt to change the ministry and to place at the helm lord Granville. That nobleman had so engrossed the favour of the king, that Pelham and his brother, Newcastle, found their measures greatly obstructed by Granville's influence, and suspected that they would soon be called on to give place to him. They determined, therefore, to bring the matter to a crisis, confident that Granville would never be able to secure a majority in either house against them. To furnish a reason for their tendering their resignation, the demanded the place which they had promised to Pitt. Under the influence of Granville and of lord Bath, the king refused to admit Pitt, and they determined to resign, but got lord Harrington to take the first step. He tendered the resignation of the seals on the 10th of February, 1746, and the king accepted them, but never forgave Harrington. The same day Newcastle and Pelham tendered theirs, and their example was followed by others of their colleagues. The king immediately sent the seals to Granville, desiring him and Bath to construct al new administration. They found the thing, however, by no means so easy. It was in vain that they made overtures to men of distinction to join them. Sir John Bernard declined the post of chancellor of the exchequer; chief-justice Willes that of lord chancellor. After forty-eight hours of abortive endeavours, lord Bath announced to the king that they were unable to form a cabinet. It was with extreme chagrin that George was compelled to reinstate the Pelhams. He expressed the most profound mortification that he should have a man like Newcastle thus forced upon him - a man, he said, not fit to be a petty chamberlain to a petty prince of Germany. What made it the more galling, the Pelhams would not take back the seals without authority to name their own terms, and one of them was, that such of the adherents of Bath and Granville as had been retained in the ministry should be dismissed. The marquis of Tweeddale was, accordingly, one of these, and his office of secretary of state for Scotland was abolished. Pitt was introduced to the cabinet, not as secretary at war, as he had demanded, but as vice-treasurer of Ireland, and subsequently, on the death of Winnington, as paymaster of the forces. By this event the opposition was still further weakened, and the Pelhams for some time seemed to carry everything as they wished, without almost a single ruffle of opposition. The rebellion once over, and the restrictive measures just mentioned passed, ministers and government seemed to forget it and Scotland altogether. The noble-hearted Duncan Forbes, though utterly unsuccessful in endeavouring to obtain any justice for himself, made yet another effort for the benefit of his country. Though his health was breaking up, he made a journey to London to lay before government a plan for the pacification of the Highlands - a plan including encouragement as well as repression to the Highlanders; encouragement to the friendly clans, and employment in the foreign military service of the Highlanders generally. But he returned from his patriotic mission with the melancholy conviction that all his suggestions and exertions had been made in vain.

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