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Reign of George II. (Continued.) page 7


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At the time of the landing of prince Charles in Scotland, never was a country left so utterly unprotected, so utterly uncared-for as that country; as though, instead of being the very point to which the exiled dynasty would direct their first efforts in any attempt at recovering the throne, it had been a part of the kingdom the most remote from his designs. Besides the handful of troops under the incompetent command of Sir John Cope - troops as destitute of discipline as they were scanty in number - there was scarcely an English soldier north of the Tweed. Nor was this the worst feature of this astounding neglect of the danger in that quarter. From the date of the rebellion, nothing had been done to put a check upon the Highland clans, except to make military roads across the mountains, and to build two or three forts. These, moreover, were deemed amply sufficient to keep the Highlanders in subjection. As for conciliation, or for winning over those clans by making it their interest to be loyal, such matters, though urged by one or two good and far-seeing men, were treated with contempt. The Highland clans were of three classes. First, there were the whig clans, the Campbells, the Grants, the Munros, Mackays, and Sutherlands. Had these powerful and numerous clans been armed and encouraged, they would of themselves have been able to put down any insurrections in the Highlands, for they were by far the most numerous and powerful, well affected to government, and jealous of the Jacobite clans. There would have needed few English troops in Scotland; and on an emergency, with the assistance of a body of English troops, all opposition would have been hopeless. But all the Highlanders had been disarmed by an act of George I., which had operated to strengthen the enemies of government, and bring them no friends. The friendly clans had, in obedience to it, given up their arms, and were helpless. The hostile, or Jacobite clans, had concealed, and thus retained theirs. The Jacobite clans were dividable into two classes: - the Camerons, Macdonalds of Keppoch, Clanronald, and Glengarry, who were now out with Charles, and those who had been out in 1715, the chief of whom were the Gordons, and the Macdonalds, and Macleods of the Isles, who now professed to be friendly. These last received a severe lesson in the former rebellion, and the clans who were out were not amongst the most powerful clans.

Since the rebellion of 1715, the population of the clans had greatly increased, but the means of existence had not increased with it. Poverty, therefore, deep and severe, prevailed throughout the Highlands. There were no resources of trade there - the people were averse to sea-faring life and to manufactures. Nothing was done by government to improve the condition of the mountaineers, whilst all other classes of the kingdom had been rapidly advancing in wealth and comfort. It was this grinding poverty which was now driving the hostile clans into the train of the invading Stuart, in the hope of plunder. All this had been foreseen and strongly represented to the English government, long before the outbreak. Seven years before, the able and patriotic Duncan Forbes had formed a plan for employing the Highlanders as soldiers in the continental wars which were then raging. This was an occupation perfectly in keeping with their genius and their ambition. Wherever they had been so employed in Flanders, they had proved themselves of the most intrepid and efficient character. In the recent battle of Fontenoy, they had shown themselves a match for the picked regiments of France. Here, then, was a mode by which the Highland pressure of population would be relieved, and the Highlanders converted into the most loyal subjects of the crown. Duncan Forbes hastened with this brilliant idea to the equally patriotic and able justice- clerk, Andrew Fletcher, lord Milton. Lord Milton was charmed with the idea. The lord-president, Forbes, wrote down his scheme, and Fletcher submitted it to the earl of Islay, then brother of the duke of Argyll, but, at the outbreak of the rebellion, duke himself. Islay hastened to town with it. Sir Robert Walpole declared that it was the most sensible and practical scheme that he had ever seen, and wondered that nobody had thought of it before, though, in fact, a plan very like it had been submitted to William III. in his time. A council was called to consider the lord president's plan, but there it was at once swamped. It was denounced as a scheme which the opposition in parliament would at once represent as a plan for extinguishing English liberty by a standing army of the Highlanders. Sir Robert shrunk at the very idea of this outcry. But there was a still more fatal obstacle to the adoption of the plan - it would at once extinguish the king's favourite practice of employing his own Hanoverians and the Germans. To secure Hanover and aggrandise it, both Hanoverians, Hessians, and other Germans, must be employed, and paid, and subsidised; and thus the Highlands of Scotland and the security of the realm were sacrificed to these German interests. Instead of five regiments" of infantry, which the lord-president proposed should be raised, only one was formed, the forty-second, then called the Black Watch, which were chiefly raised from the Campbells and the clans favourable to the house of Hanover. Had the whole grand scheme been carried out - had the Highlanders of all clans and parties been brought into profitable and honourable service - the kingdom would have possessed a body of the bravest troops in the world, and troops most reasonably maintained. Invasion then, or rebellion, as Duncan Forbes truly observed, would have become an impossibility.

But even now, at the arrival of the young pretender, had the government actively sent arms to the well-affected clans, and invited them to join the troops of Cope, no such disgraceful scenes as took place could ever have occurred. In vain, however, did lord Milton urge that measure in earnest letters to the marquis of Tweeddale, the secretary of state in London for Scotland. The cool reply was, that the forces of Cope were amply sufficient, and the result was soon seen.

Still the patriotic Duncan Forbes and lord Milton continued their entreaties to the government to arm the friendly clans. The lord-president remained in the north about Inverness and Fort George, endeavouring to raise the friendly clans, and so that they might take the rebels in the rear. Lord Islay, now duke of Argyll, was anxious to come and lead out his clans, and all that bore the name of Campbell were ready to enrol themselves and fight for king George, if they were enabled to do it. But in vain did the lord-president and lord justice-clerk repeat their applications for muskets and bayonets. The duke of Argyll himself went up to London to second these applications in person. He complained of the grievous manner in which Scotland had been neglected, and urged that instant means should be forwarded to the friendly clans to enable them to support the government. He found the heads of other clans jealous of the supreme command being conferred on him. The dukes of Hamilton, Queensberry, Buccleuch, and Montrose; the marquis of Lothian, the earl of Marchmont, and lord Dumfries, had all their petty interests and jealousies to serve; and thus, betwixt the imbecility and selfishness of government, and the factions of a proud and jobbing aristocracy, Scotland remained prostrate and helpless.

The news of the invasion brought George from Hanover. He arrived in London the last day of August, at which time the young pretender was already festively entertained by lord Tullibardine at Blair castle; but he seemed to entertain no great alarm. He thought the forces of Cope were sufficient to compete with the insurgents, and lord Granville and his party did their best to confirm him in this opinion. On the 20th of September three battalions of the expected Dutch forces landed, and received orders to march north. But what contributed more than anything to the security of the kingdom, was the activity of the fleet. The seamen all round our coasts showed as much spirit and life as our soldiers had shown cowardice. Privateers as well as men- of-war vied with one another in performing feats of bravery. A small ship off Bristol took a large Spanish ship, bound for Scotland, with arms and money. Another small ship took the "Soleil," from Dunkirk, carrying twenty French officers and sixty men, to Montrose; and a small squadron of privateers, who volunteered to serve under a brave naval captain, took a vast number of French vessels, and drove still more upon their own coasts. In the following spring, Horace Walpole mentions that two of these privateers met eight-and-twenty transports carrying supplies to the Brest fleet, and performed the almost unexampled prodigy of sinking ten, taking four, and driving the rest on shore. Such was the daring intrepidity and alertness of our seamen of all kinds, that the French government declined to put out to sea; and it was only by a rare chance that any succour could reach the young pretender. Charles's younger brother, Henry, was waiting to bring over the Irish regiments to his aid, but Louis would not hazard their appearance at sea in the face of such a dangerous fleet. Charles made an attempt to corrupt captain Beavor, of the " Fox," man-of-war, by offering him splendid rewards in case of his success, but the gallant officer sent him word that he only treated with principals, and that, if he would come on board, he would talk with him.

In London, notwithstanding, there was considerable alarm, but rather from fear of the papists and Jacobites at home than of any danger from abroad. Every endeavour had been used, in fact, to revive the "old popery" alarm. There were rumours circulated that the papists meant to rise, cut everybody's throats, and burn the city. There was a murrain amongst the cattle, and it was directly declared that the papists had poisoned the water. A lady wrote and published a pamphlet, exciting the worst fears of assassination of the children and dishonouring of the young women. The city gates were closed at ten o'clock at night, and not opened till six in the morning. The Tower was shut up several hours earlier than usual, and numbers of people were arrested in the streets because they looked miserable, and, therefore, suspicious. There was a fear of a run on the Bank of England, but the merchants met at Garraway's coffee-house, and entered into engagements to support the bank. They also opened a subscription to raise two hundred and fifty thousand pounds to enlist troops, and many of them gave as much as two thousand pounds a-piece. A camp was formed in Hyde Park of the household troops, horse and foot, a regiment of horse grenadiers, and some of the battalions that came over from Flanders. In the provinces many of the great nobility proposed to raise regiments at their own expense, and this act of patriotism was loudly applauded. In some instances the patriotism was real. The archbishop of York, Dr. Herring, roused the gentry in that quarter, both by a most animated speech and by deeds corresponding. Under his management and example, bodies of both foot and horse were speedily raised in Yorkshire. In Lancashire and Cheshire the case was the same, and lord Onslow displayed a similar spirit in Surrey. In many of these districts the catholics were as zealous as the protestants. But the great body of the whig nobility and some others cut a very different figure. No sooner did parliament meet on the 18th of October, and whilst the Jacobites were in the highest spirits, and opposing both the address and the suspension of the habeas corpus, than the dukes of Devonshire, Bedford, Rutland, Montague, the lords Herbert, Halifax, Cholmondeley, Falmouth, Malton, Derby, and others, moved contrary to their noble promises, that their regiments should be paid by the king! and should be put upon the regular establishment. The public was taken strangely aback by this shameless display of selfishness, after such magnificent offers; but the aristocracy were united upon it, and the monstrous job was carried. These nobles had taken care to name their relations and dependents as the officers, and these officers were to take rank in the old and regular army with those gallant men who had grown grey amid powder and ball. The king was as much disgusted with the proposition of this equality of rank as the most independent of his subjects, but he found himself unable to prevent the measure. He trusted that the commons would take fire at so gross and unblushing a job, and, by a strong address, enable him to refuse his assent; but there were to many in that house interested in the matter to allow of suck a protest. Horace Walpole says - "The Jacobiteš and patriots, and such as are not included in the coalition, violently opposed the measure themselves; so did Fox in a very warm speech, levelled particularly at the duke of Montague, who, besides his old regiments, had one of horse and one of foot on this new plan. Pitt defended them as warmly, the duke of Bedford, lord Gower, and lord Halifax being at the head of this job. At last, at ten at night, thirteen regiments of foot were voted without a division, and two of horse carried by a hundred and ninety-two to eighty-two. Then came the motion for the address (i. e., that his majesty should not grant rank, &c., to the new officers), and in an hour and a half it was rejected by a hundred and twenty- six to a hundred and twenty-four.... The fourteen lords threaten to throw up unless their whole terms are complied with; and the duke of Bedford is not moderately insolent against such of the king's servants as voted against him. I should be sorry, for the appearance, to have the regiments given up, but I am sure our affair is over if our two old armies are beaten and we should come to want these new ones, four only of which are even pretended to be actually raised."

Such was the patriotism of our nobles on an occasion when the very overthrow of the crown was menaced. They could only think of aggrandising themselves, and saddling the country with the whole batch of their relations. These u regiment-factors," as they were called, thus loaded the army-list with a swarm of lordlings and lazy young fellows of high family, who were of no use, and whom the men in various cases refused to follow into the field. The only sensible result was an enormous increase of expense to the public. In Ireland, on the contrary, the protestant nobles and gentry displayed a patriotism as zealous and disinterested as that of the English nobles was base and spurious. There, however, when the earl of Kildare, afterwards duke of Leinster, offered to raise a regiment really at his own expense, so striking a contrast to the conduct of the aristocracy on this side of the water caused the splendid offer to be declined.

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Pictures for Reign of George II. (Continued.) page 7

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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