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Reign of George II. (Continued.) page 8

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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.

At length the duke of Cumberland arrived from Flanders, and foreign and English troops were collected in the midland counties; marshal Wade had also ten thousand men collected at Newcastle-on-Tyne. The duke of Cumberland was appointed commander-in-chief, and the brave soldiers who had fought under him at Fontenoy were ready to follow him, in the highest confidence of making short work with the Highlanders.

Those Highlanders commenced their march into England with no predilection for the adventure. The warfare of Scotland was familiar to them; in all ages they had been accustomed to descend from their mountains and make raids in the Lowlands. But England was to them an unknown region; they knew little of the dangers or the perils before them; they knew that in the whiggish clans of the west they left powerful enemies behind them. No sooner did they lose sight of Edinburgh than they began to desert. Charles led his division of the army across the Tweed at Kelso, and sent on orders to Wooller to prepare for his reception, thus keeping up the feint of marching eastward; instead of which, he took his way down Liddesdale, and on the 8th of November crossed the Eske, and encamped that night at a place called Reddings, on the Cumberland side. There an incident, trivial in itself, but rendered powerful by the superstition of the Highlanders, greatly depressed his followers. On stepping upon English soil they drew their claymores and hurrahed; but Lochiel, in drawing his sword, chanced to cut his hand; and the Highlanders, deeming this an evil omen, were alarmed at the sight.

The next day the other column, which had marched through Moffat, came up, and the united army advanced towards Carlisle. They were perceived as they were crossing a moor on the 9th, about two miles from Carlisle, by the garrison, which began to fire their cannon upon them, and kept it up actively for some time. On the 10th Charles sent a letter summoning the garrison to surrender, but the garrison returned no answer, except by its cannon. This garrison consisted only of eighty invalids, but in the town lay the whole militia of the counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland, amounting to about one thousand six hundred men. The wall of the town was old and crumbling, but the castle was strong. The forces were commanded by colonel Durand, and the mayor, who sent them word that he was no Paterson of Scotland, but Pattieson, a true-born Briton, determined to hold the town to the last. They expected that marshal Wade would soon march to their relief, whence their courage; and, indeed, the prince heard that Wade was on the way by Hexham, and, instead of waiting for him, he went to meet him at Brampton, in the forest of Inglewood, seven miles from the town; but, finding he had been deceived, he sent back part of the troops to commence the siege of Carlisle in form. The duke of Perth conducted the operations, he and Tullibardine working in the trenches without their coats, to encourage the men. Lord George Murray lay at Harraby, on the high road to Penrith, and Glenbucket at Rickerby, on the north side of the river, thus covering the besiegers, the prince still maintaining his post at Brampton. As the batteries began to rise, the courage of the commanders in the town began to fail, and they offered to capitulate; but the prince declined any terms but surrender of both town and castle, the troops being allowed to retire without their arms on engaging not to serve against Charles for twelve months. These terms were accepted on the 15th, and the prince made a triumphant entry on the 17th, at which time Wade, in reality, had commenced his march against him; but hearing of the surrender, he returned to his post at Newcastle. The Highlanders had only one man killed and another wounded in this investment of the town; but few or none of the inhabitants showed any affection for their cause.

The prince's interests, however, received a wound in a violent quarrel which had here broken out betwixt the duke of Perth and lord George Murray. Murray was supposed to be jealous of the duke's command, and of his success in the siege. Many of the Highlanders were protestants, and lord Murray, whilst offering to resign his own commission, managed to have a requisition got up, requesting the prince to dismiss from his councils all papists, the duke of Perth and Sir Thomas Sheridan being of that religion. Charles was inclined to support Perth, but the duke, to put an end to the discord, resigned in favour of Murray, who, in reality, was the most able commander.

The town, the castle, the arms, horses, and military stores being surrendered to the prince, and the militia and invalids having marched out, a council of war was called to determine future proceedings. Some proposed to march against Wade and bring him to action, others to return to Scotland, where affairs had, immediately on their quitting it, assumed a lowering aspect. Strathallan had been joined at Perth by the master of Lovat, the earl of Cromarty, the Macgregors of Glengyle, and other small detachments, so that his force amounted to between two and three thousand men; lord Lewis Gordon had also raised three battalions in Aberdeenshire. But, on the other hand, the friends of government had been active in their exertions. In the north, lord Loudon and the lord-president Forbes had gathered a considerable force behind them at Inverness; and the whigs in the west had been mustering their militia. Glasgow did not forget the five thousand pounds which had been extorted from it, and Paisley and Dumfries, as well as the great manufacturing city, were strongly in arms. At Dundee, and even at Perth, in the very face of Strathallan, the inhabitants had insisted on celebrating the birthday of king George, and had exchanged blows with the soldiery. No sooner had the prince quitted Edinburgh than the judges and government officers had fled back thither. Levies had been raised to defend the town, and general Wade had sent them two regiments of cavalry. Charles had sent the chief of Maclauchlan to Strathallan, to order him to march with all speed to the army in England; but, under these circumstances, Strathallan pleaded his utter inability to comply.

Notwithstanding all these unfavourable circumstances, Charles still insisted on marching forward. Lord George Murray was the only one who at all seconded him, and he did not recommend marching far into England without more encouragement than there yet appeared; but as his royal highness was anxious to ascertain that point, he said he was sure his army, small as it was, would follow him. Charles declared his conviction that his friends in Lancashire waited only for their arrival; and the marquis D'Eguilles declaring his expectation of a speedy landing of a French army, under this assurance the council consented to the advance.

On the 20th of November this memorable march commenced. For the convenience of quarters, the two divisions of the army were still maintained, the first led by lord George Murray, the second by the prince himself. They left a garrison of two hundred men at Carlisle, though, on a muster, it was discovered that above a thousand men had deserted since they left Edinburgh, and that they had now only four thousand five hundred to attempt the conquest of England with. At Penrith the whole army halted for a day, hearing that Wade was coming against them; but finding, on the contrary, that he was gone back, they pursued their route by Shap, Kendal, and Lancaster, to Preston, where they arrived on the 27th. On the way, so far from meeting with any signs of adhesion, the farmers from whom they had taken horses congregated and pursued them on other horses, dismounted some of their cavalry, and carried their horses away again. Preston was a place of ill omen to the Highlanders ever since the defeat of the duke of Hamilton in the civil war there, and the surrender of Mackintosh in 1715. They had a fixed idea that no Scottish army could ever advance farther. To break this spell lord George led his vanguard at once over the bridge, and quartered them beyond it. The army halted there a day, and then proceeded to Wigan, which they entered the next day. On the march Charles showed every attention to the comfort of his meanest followers, and very little to his own. He insisted on the old and infirm lord Pitsligo occupying his carriage, whilst he himself marched on foot at the head of one or other of the clans, clad in the Highland costume, and his target slung on his shoulder. His shoes were so worn down that he was obliged to get a blacksmith to put a thin plate of iron on part of one of his soles. He often took but one hearty meal in the day, and that in the evening, and threw himself down in his clothes to sleep. Till he reached Preston, however, he received no tokens of sympathy. The most horrible ideas were entertained of the Highlanders, the women believing that they ate children. At Preston, for the first time, he received three hearty cheers, and a few men joined his standard. On the road from Wigan to Manchester the expressions of good-will increased; throngs of people collected to see him pass, but none would consent to join them. At Manchester the approach of the army had been heralded by a Scotch sergeant, a drummer, and a woman, the men in plaids and bonnets exciting great astonishment, and bringing together thousands of spectators. They announced the prince for the morrow, and began recruiting for his service. They offered a bounty of five guineas, to be paid when the prince came. A considerable number enlisted, receiving a shilling in token of engagement. The prince entered amid great crowds, great acclamations, and the ringing of bells. The people assumed white cockades in his honour; there was an illumination in the evening, and crowds flocked to kiss his hand and offer their services.

A letter of the time says: - "The Highlanders do not appear such terrible fellows as has been represented. Many of the foot are diminutive creatures, but many clever men amongst them. The guards and officers are all in the Highland dress, a long sword, and stuck with pistols; their horses of all sizes and colours. The bellman went to order all persons charged with excise, and innkeepers, forthwith to appear, and bring their last quittance and as much ready cash as that contains, on pain of military execution. It is my opinion that they will make all haste possible through Derbyshire, to evade fighting Ligonier. I do nos see that we have any person in town to give intelligence to the king's forces, as all our men of fashion are fled, and all officers under the government. A party came in at ten this morning, and have been examining the best houses, and fixed upon Mr. Dicconson's for the prince's quarters. Several thousands came in at two o'clock; they ordered the bells to ring; and the bellman has ordered us to illuminate our houses. The chevalier marched past my door in a Highland dress, on foot, at three o'clock, surrounded by a Highland guard; no music but a pair of bagpipes. Those that came in last night demanded quarters for ten thousand to-day." This was to create an idea of their force being double what it really was.

About two hundred men joined the standard of insurrection during the halt at Manchester. But these were the mere scum and ragamuffinism of the place; so much so, that the duke of Perth was provoked to declare, that if the devil had come recruiting, and offered a shilling more than the prince, they would have taken it. This was an appalling change since 1715, when nearly the whole Lancashire population was for the Stuart cause, and when thousands were ready to join the expedition. This miserable squad was dignified with the name of the " Manchester regiment," and was put under the command of Francis Townley, a catholic of an ancient Lancashire family, nearly the only gentleman who joined the rebels in that county. The Highland chiefs were so disappointed by this revelation of the real state of the Stuart interest in England, that they again strenuously demanded a retreat. They represented that marshal Wade was now actually marching against them; that the duke of Cumberland was waiting to intercept them at Lichfield with eight or ten thousand men, and that the king was ready to take the command of the army at Finchley in person; that the bridges over the Mersey and some other rivers in front were broken down by order of the duke of Cumberland, and that as to any army landing from France to aid them, there was not the slightest chance of it; that admiral Vernon cruised in the channel with a formidable fleet, and Byng with another on the east coast of Scotland; that the militia of different counties was called out; Liverpool was closed against them by the spirit of the inhabitants, and Chester by the earl of Cholmondeley and his regiment.

These certainly were considerations enough to impress prudent men, but they made no impression on Charles. He still contended that they should find friends ahead, and was as determined as ever to go on. The chief officers then remonstrated with lord George Murray, representing that to advance farther in the face of these obstacles was an act of madness. Lord George was in a dilemma betwixt the sentiment of the chiefs and the resolute determination of the prince; but he assured the officers that if they would consent to go on as far as Derby, and if, by that time, they were not joined by the English Jacobites, he would pledge himself then to insist on a retreat. On these conditions only the chiefs consented to proceed. On the 1st of December the army resumed its march. They immediately found the effect of Cumberland's measures; they had to ford the Mersey near Stockport, and to carry the baggage and artillery over a rude wooden bridge, consisting of the trunks of trees thrown across, at Chorlton. That evening they reached Macclesfield. On the Cheshire bank of the Mersey Charles found a few country gentry waiting to pay their respects to him, and amongst them an enthusiastic old lady, a Mrs. Skyring, who, as a child, had witnessed the landing of Charles II. at Dover, and exclaimed, on seeing the prince, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace!" It is said that on hearing, a few days after, of the retreat, the old lady died of the shock.

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