Reign of George II. (Continued.) page 6
Meantime, Charles, compelled to wait the course of events in Edinburgh, endeavoured to render himself popular by his moderation and magnanimity. He displayed the utmost affability to those who visited him in the ancient palace of Holyrood, but he forbade all public rejoicings for his victory, because, he said, it was a victory over his father's misguided subjects. He was master of all Scotland, except some districts north of Inverness, the Highland forts, and the castles of Edinburgh and Stirling. He ordered the proclamation of James VIII. to be read in all the Scottish towns, and he levied on the wealthy and anti-Jacobite city of Glasgow five thousand pounds for his necessary expenses. In Edinburgh, on the contrary, his treatment was liberal, and intended to be reassuring. The bankers had fled into the castle, and the clergy had abandoned their pulpits in terror. He invited them to return and pursue their usual offices and duties, but none of the bankers and only one of the clergy availed himself of the proclamation. Mac Vicar, the minister of the West Church, reappeared in his pulpit and prayed for king George. The prince was urged to punish him, but he refused; and then Mac Vicar, softening a little, added to the prayer for George these words: - "And as for the young man who has come among us to seek an earthly crown, we beseech thee in mercy take him to thyself and give him a crown of glory."
To reduce the castle, Charles determined to blockade it and starve it out; but Guest sent word that he would in that case bombard the city and lay it in ruins. The threatened blockade was, in consequence, waived; but, some few days after, the Highlanders firing on some people coming up to the castle with provisions, the governor commenced a brisk fire on the town, which soon brought a message from the prince that the passage of the supplies should not again be interrupted, and the firing ceased.
Charles continued during his stay in Edinburgh to display the same humane character. His chief advisers proposed that he should send one of the officers taken at Preston to London to demand of the government a cartel of exchange of prisoners, and to announce that, if this were denied, and the prince's adherents were put to death as rebels when they fell into the hands of the enemy, the prince would treat his prisoners the same. To have obtained such a cartel would have been of the greatest advantage to the prince, as his partisans would have far more readily embraced his cause if they were assured of their lives in case of capture; but nothing would induce Charles to consent to such a proposal. He declared that he never would put them to death in cold blood, and to menace such a thing without meaning it was unworthy of a prince. As to the prisoners taken at Preston, he showed them the greatest clemency. He almost immediately liberated the officers on their parole, and allowed them to live at large in the town, and much freedom was extended to the common men. But this liberality was soon abused: an officer broke his parole, and betook himself to the castle; whereupon both officers and men were sent to Perth, and for a time carefully guarded. But the prince's followers were too few to maintain the onus and expense of such surveillance; they were soon released on taking an oath not to serve against the house of Stuart for a twelvemonth, except a few who entered into the prince's army.
On the 9th of October Charles issued a fresh proclamation. In this he declared the English parliament summoned to meet in Westminster on the 17th "a pretended parliament," declaring it high treason to attend it. On the day following he issued a still longer one, declaring the Act of Union, which he found everywhere most unpopular in Scotland, would never be ratified by his father; that he came to restore not only the king but the kingdom of Scotland. All other acts passed since the revolution he declared would be duly considered, and, if found for the public good, would be confirmed. He denied the frequent assertions that the Stuarts, if restored, would abolish the national debt and the national church. He repelled the aspersions on himself and his father as blood-thirsty tyrants; appealed to facts, and to the solemn declarations of his father that all existing rights and properties should be sacredly respected. He observed that if his ancestors had given just offence to the nation by any arbitrary acts, the family had now expiated their offences by an exile of fifty-seven years; and he demanded whether the new dynasty, which a fraction of the community had placed on the throne, had done anything to win a more favourable estimation than to load the nation with an awful amount of debt for objects in which the nation had no concern. As to the fears of him or his father bringing in with them the French and Spaniards, he said all the world saw that he had brought none, whilst the elector of Hanover had introduced Dutch, Danes, Germans, and Swiss. Was that being independent of foreign powers? He concluded by challenging the elector to send away all his foreigners, and let him depend upon the English people alone, and the question would speedily be decided.
This well-devised proclamation was not without its effect. Volunteers began to flock to his standard, the chief cause, however, being, no doubt, the prestige of his victory. Fresh reinforcements poured down from the Highlands. Lord Ogilvie, the eldest son of the earl of Airlie, brought six hundred men; Gordon of Glenbucket another regiment of four hundred from Aberdeenshire; Macpherson of Cluny, who had engaged to raise his clan, came down with three hundred; lord Balmerino, who had been out in 1715, a rough, old, hard-drinking Highlander, again took up arms; lord Lewis Gordon, brother of the duke of Gordon, declared for the Stuarts, and engaged to raise his clan. Besides these, lord Pitsligo, who was reckoned a very cautious, prudent man, but who was old and infirm, came, followed by a hundred and fifty cavalry, consisting of the gentlemen of Banffshire and their retainers, and by six companies of infantry. Altogether, Charles's army now amounted to nearly six thousand men. It would have amounted to ten thousand had the Macdonalds and Macleods of Skye and lord Lovat joined him. But though Charles sent a Macleod of Skye over to the island chiefs, urging them now to join his standard as certain of victory, they refused to move. He then went over from Skye to castle Dounie to stimulate lord Lovat, but that deceitful old miscreant was still playing the double game, and waiting to see which side would be the strongest. He had been so elated with the battle of Preston, he declared there was nothing like it in history; but all the time he was in correspondence with Duncan Forbes, complaining of his son-in-law, Macpherson of Cluny, seducing the Frazers from their allegiance, and then of his eldest son, the master of Lovat, being so mad as to follow the example of his brother-in-law. As for himself, he represented that he was dying of a horrible stitch in his side, of shortness of breath, and of grief at the conduct of his children and his vassals, of whom he wished every fifth man hanged. He deplored his misfortunes and welcomed the approach of death, as it would prevent him seeing the destruction which his mad and obstreperous son "was bringing on the honest family of Lovat." Amid all these hypocritical whinings, the base old man, though afraid of risking his own neck, was really encouraging his own son to do so. This the son, who was a very different man, and afterwards became the much-esteemed general Frazer, came to see, and to feel great disgust at. The duplicity of Lovat did not prevent government contemplating his arrest, and he made the most creeping and fulsome appeals to Duncan Forbes and lord Loudon to intercede to prevent it.
Disappointed in these very important quarters, Charles actively exerted himself to organise and drill his army at Duddingstone. He supplied all the soldiers with tents, either from requisitions on Edinburgh, or from the plunder of Cope's camp, though the mountaineers had much rather have lain in the open air. He went daily amongst them to see that they were all properly attended to, and frequently passed the night in the camp, sleeping in his clothes. He divided his cavalry into two troops of guards, under the command of lords Elcho and Kilmarnock, besides the little company of lord Pitsligo. He took care that the rations and pay of the soldiers were regularly supplied. After all, if we are to believe the report of a spy sent from England, who had the audacity not only to enter the camp as a partisan, but to obtain an audience of the prince himself, and to give him much pretended information as to the state of the troops and of public feeling in England, the rebel camp must have presented a strange sight. "They consist," he wrote, u of an odd medley of grey-beards and no- beards; old men fit to drop into the grave, and boys whose swords are nearly equal to their weight, and, I really believe, more than their length. Four or five thousand may be very good, determined men, but the rest are mean, dirty, villanous-looking rascals." Charles managed to keep these rude materials in tolerable order, however, for, though some of them would present their muskets at well-to-do citizens, when asked what they wanted, they would answer, "A baubee," that is, a halfpenny.
The military chest of the young pretender was better supplied than his camp was with soldiers. Those who were too old or too cautious to join him sent in money instead - the earl of Wemyss, for example, five hundred pounds. The revenues of the king's land rents were levied throughout Scotland as of right, and all arrears called in; the factors of the estates forfeited in 1718 were ordered to pay over their balances under threats of military executions. Forced loans, like that in Glasgow, were demanded from the towns, and the goods in the custom-houses at Leith and the other ports were seized and sold. Meantime the pretender and his agents were importuning all the catholic continental powers to assist by money or men this great enterprise; and though Louis of France could not be roused to make such an effort as would have carried all before it, he yet sent various ships with arms and money. One landed at Montrose brought five thousand pounds; three others brought one thousand pounds more, as well as five thousand stand of arms, six field-pieces, and several French and Irish officers. With these came M. de Boyer, styled the marquis D'Eguilles, and brother of the marquis D'Argens, who brought a letter of congratulation from Louis XV. Charles received M. de Boyer with studied ceremony, accosting him as Monseigneur de Boyer, as the accredited ambassador of France, and he persuaded the Highland chiefs that Louis was going to send over a powerful army. He dispatched a messenger to the French court to urge such an armament, as equally for the interests of France as for his own, and as certain now to drive the Hanoverian house out again. He solicited, also, fresh subsidies.
Whilst he waited for these, he maintained all the princely state that his circumstances allowed him. He established a council, consisting of the two lieutenants-general, the duke of Perth and the lord George Murray; the quartermaster-general, O'Sullivan; lord Elcho, colonel of the horse guards; his secretary, Murray of Broughton; lords Ogilvie, Nairn, Pitsligo; Lewis Gordon, Sir Thomas Sheridan, and all the Highland chiefs. The council met in his drawing-room every morning at ten o'clock, where Charles first propounded his own opinion, and then heard that of the rest seriatim. Lord Elcho says, however, that he was much more inclined, like all his family, to follow his own notions than those of anybody else; that the deliberations were anything but unanimous, and greatly embittered by the rivalries betwixt the Scotch and Irish officers. Bearing in mind that lord Elcho wrote this after he had irreconcilably quarrelled with the prince, we can still suppose this to have been very much the case from what became too apparent afterwards. At the same time Elcho informs us that about one-third of the council were thorough divine-right men, whose principle was that kings can never do wrong, and that they always supported the prince's opinions. After the council he dined in public with his principal officers, and then rode out with his life guards to the camp at Duddingstone. In the evening he gave a drawing-room to the ladies, and frequently a ball, where he appeared to the greatest advantage, calling alternately for Highland and Lowland tunes to prevent heart-burnings, and charming the ladies especially by his gaiety and affability.
But his army now had received the last reinforcements that he expected, by the arrival of Menzies of Sheen with a considerable body of men, and he was impatient to march southwards. He was the more ready to quit Scotland, because lord Lovat had now sent him word that though he could not, from the state of his health, join the march into England, both he, and the Macdonalds and the Macleods of the Isles were prepared to defend his interests in the Highlands. The greater part of this intelligence was false, entirely so as regarded the Isles-men, and it was now well known that the English government had got together twelve thousand veteran troops, besides thirteen regiments of infantry and two of cavalry newly raised. The Highland chiefs, therefore, strenuously opposed the march till they should receive the reinforcements which he had promised them from France, as well as more money. Others contended that he ought not to invade England at all, but to remain in Scotland, make himself master of it, and reign there as his ancestors had done. But it was not merely to secure the crown of Scotland that he had come; it was to recover the whole grand heritage of his race, and he determined to could not, from the state of his health, join the march into England, both he, and the Macdonalds and the Macleods of the Isles were prepared to defend his interests in the Highlands. The greater part of this intelligence was false, entirely so as regarded the Isles-men, and it was now well known that the English government had got together twelve thousand veteran troops, besides thirteen regiments of infantry and two of cavalry newly raised. The Highland chiefs, therefore, strenuously opposed the march till they should receive the reinforcements which he had promised them from France, as well as more money. Others contended that he ought not to invade England at all, but to remain in Scotland, make himself master of it, and reign there as his ancestors had done. But it was not merely to secure the crown of Scotland that he had come; it was to recover the whole grand heritage of his race, and he determined to march into England without further delay. The Highland chiefs, however, resolutely resisted the proposal, and at three successive councils he strove with them in vain to induce them to cross the border and fight the army of marshal Wade, which lay at Newcastle, consisting of Dutch and English troops. At length Charles said indignantly, " Gentlemen, I see you are determined to stay in Scotland; I am resolved to try my fate in England, and I go, if I go alone."
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