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Reign of William and Mary. - (Continued.) page 6

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Luxembourg had been deceived by the forced letter of Millevoix. He had relied on it as being as correct as usual; and, though scout after scout brought intelligence of the English approaching, he deemed it only the foraging party and their supporters, and sate coolly at cards till it was nearly too late. Then he mounted his horse, reconnoitred the enemy, threw forward the Swiss regiments and the far-famed household troops of Louis, and encouraged his men to fight with their usual bravery. The young princes put themselves at the head of the household troops, and displayed an enthusiasm which communicated itself to the whole line. They found as vigorous opponents in the duke of Wurtemberg and the gallant and pious Mackay. The conflict was maintained at the muzzles of the muskets, and Luxembourg afterwards declared that he never saw so fierce a struggle. The duke of Wurtemberg had already seized one of the enemy's batteries, and penetrated within their entrenchments, but the immense weight of troops that kept pouring on against them at length bore them back. Mackay sent messenger after messenger to bid Solmes hasten up his reserve, but, from cowardice or treachery, Solmes would not move. He said coolly, "Let us see what sport these English bull-dogs will make." At length William sent an express order for him to move up; whereupon he trotted his horse forward a little, but never advanced his infantry. When, therefore, Mackay saw that his soldiers were being hewed down by hundreds and no succour came, he said, "God's will be done," and fought on till he fell.

The contest was not, however, decided till the detachment of Boufflers appeared upon the field. Luxembourg sent off an express to hasten him to his assistance; but Boufflers, unlike Solmes, had not waited for that - he had heard the firing, and was already on the way. Then William was compelled to order his troops to draw off; and this retreat he managed with his accustomed skill. He was, however, roused out of his usual stoicism by the infamous conduct of Solmes; and the whole army declared that they should not have been repulsed but for his base desertion of them. Besides Mackay, fell on William's side the earl of Angus, Sir John Lanier, Sir Robert Douglas, and lord Mountjoy, who, having been released from the Bastille in exchange for Richard Hamilton, at once showed his sense of James's treatment of his friends, and went over to William, to fall thus early in his new cause.

The carnage on this day was terrible. The English are said to have lost five thousand men, and the French to have had seven thousand killed and wounded. Five English regiments were completely cut up, and not a man of Mackay's would have escaped alive but for the gallant interposition of Auverquerque, who came up with two fresh battalions, and kept back the French in a masterly style. On the part of the French fell the prince of Turenne, the marquis of Bellefond, Tilladet, Fernacon, and a numerous list of officers. In the English camp the outcry against Solmes was universal and indignant. Both officers and men declared that this was not the first time that his conduct had been reprehensible. The officers hated and avoided him for his arrogance and ill-temper. They asked for what reason he had been advanced over the heads of English officers every way his superiors in talent and courage. William hanged Millevoix in the sight of the whole army, but we do not hear of his removal of Solmes, thus strengthening the opinion of his blind favouritism towards his countrymen. The French claimed the victory, though William retired to his camp in good order, and both armies continued to occupy their former position. In France the triumph was ecstatic. As the young princes returned home from the campaign, the whole country flocked to the roadsides to welcome them from their field of youthful glory with vociferous acclamations. In Paris every thing made for ornament was called a Steinkirk. There were Steinkirk bracelets, Steinkirk chains and buckles, Steinkirk collars, Steinkirk perfumes. As the young princes and nobility had rushed to the battle in hasty array, and with their lace cravats loosely tied,' it became the fashion for the ladies to wear lace neckerchiefs thus carelessly tied, and called also Steinkirks. The fame of William as a general in the field was greatly injured. He was acknowledged to be admirable at a retreat, but it was said that a first-rate general seldom practised that portion of the art of war. But his enemies, by their very joy at this rebuff, acknowledged their sense of his power; and they sought not only to tarnish his reputation, but to get rid of him altogether.

For this purpose a grand scheme of assassination had long been maturing at the French court. Louvois, the minister of Louis XIV., had conceived this plan, or had received it from some one. He sketched out the scheme, which was found amongst his papers after his death by his son- in-law and successor, the marquis de Barbesieux. Barbesieux seized on the design, and soon found what appeared an admirable instrument for its execution. This was the chevalier de Grandval, a captain of dragoons. Grandval was joined in it by colonel Parker, a refugee Jacobite, and they engaged one Dumont, a Walloon, who undertook to assassinate William whilst in the Netherlands. Parker, Grandval, and Dumont were to meet at Uden, in North Brabant, to settle all the details of the attempt. Madame Maintenon and Papaul, paymaster of the French army, were in the secret. Grandval, before setting out for the Netherlands to meet Dumont, waited on James at St. Germains, who also presented him to the ex-queen. "I am informed," said James, " of your business, and if it succeed, you and your associates shall never want."

The Jacobites had stoutly denied the knowledge of this diabolical design, but unfortunately the discoveries made in our own days in the archives of Versailles, leave no doubt upon the matter. Still more, M. Mazure has produced the most positive evidence that James after this kept hired assassins to kill William.

This conspiracy, however, like so many others, failed by letting too many people into it. Barbesieux, not contented with employing Grandval and Dumont, engaged one Leefdale, a Dutchman, and imparted the secret to Chanlas, quartermaster-general of the French army. Probably the discovery of so many being cognisant of the design alarmed Dumont; for though he had proceeded to the camp of the allies in the Netherlands, and remained some weeks, he left it and retired to Hanover, where he discovered the whole scheme to the duke of Zell. The duke instantly wrote and put William and the allies on their guard. Meantime Leefdale, who had been sent to the allied camp to watch the accomplishment of the design, probably alarmed at the movement of Dumont, and by the incautious talking of Grandval, who had thrown out broad intimations of the scheme to Morel, a Swiss protestant minister in France, who directly wrote to inform Burnet of it - confessed the whole affair, and was employed by William to secure Grandval. Accordingly the assassin was induced by Leefdale to meet him at Eyndhoven, where he was apprehended. About a week after the battle of Steinkirk he was tried by a court-martial, and finding that Leefdale and Dumont had put William in full possession of the particulars, he made a complete confession, and was shot. The sensation which the discovery of this devilish plot occasioned over the whole continent, as well as in England, was such as may be supposed. The characters of James and Louis, who were capable of such things, fell in proportion; and whilst they were execrated by the whole Christian world, they themselves took no pains to deny the charge. On the contrary, Barbesieux still continued, as before, the minister of war to Louis, which could not have been the case if Louis really abhorred such devilish measures.

After this nothing of consequence distinguished the campaign in the Netherlands. On the 26th of September, William left the army under command of the elector of Bavaria, and retired to his hunting seat at Loo. The camp was broken up, and the infantry marched to Marienkirke, and the horse to Caure. But hearing that Boufflers had invested Charleroi and Luxembourg, he sent troops under the elector of Bavaria to raise the siege of those towns. Boufflers retired, and then the elector distributed his troops into winter quarters; and Luxembourg on his side left the army under Boufflers, and went to Paris.

Besides this there had been an attempt on the part of England to besiege Dunkirk. The duke of Leinster was sent over with troops, which were joined by others from William's camp; but they thought the attempt too hazardous, and returned, having done nothing. William quitted Holland, and on the 18th of October arrived in England. The result of this expensive campaign, where such unexampled preparations had been followed only by defeat and the loss of five thousand men, excited deep dissatisfaction; and the abortive attempt to recover Dunkirk increased it. The public complained that William had lain inactive at Grammont whilst Louis took Namur, and that if he could not cross the Scheldt in the face of the French | army, he might have crossed it higher up, and taken Louis in the flank; that he might, instead of lying inert to witness his enemy's triumph, have boldly marched into France and laid waste Louis's own territories, which would have quickly drawn him away from Namur. Such, indeed, might have been the decisive movements of a great military genius, but there is no reason to think William such a genius. His most striking qualities appear to have been dogged perseverance and insensibility to defeat.

In other directions the campaign of this year had been quite as unsatisfactory. In Germany, the landgrave of Hesse-Cassell had been compelled to abandon the siege of Eberemburg. On the Rhine the duke administrator of Wurtemberg had been surprised and taken prisoner by the duke de Lorges at Eidelsheim. Count Tallard had repulsed the Germans from Rhinefeldt; the elector of Saxony and the emperor had, instead of supporting the allies, fallen to feud themselves; and Schoning, the Saxon general, had been seized on his way to the hot baths of Toplitz, and was kept in prison two years. The war against the Turks was indecisive. On the side of Piedmont alone had it had success. There the duke of Savoy, accompanied by prince Eugene and the young duke Schomberg, made a descent into Dauphiny, overran a great tract of country, laying it waste in revenge of the French devastation of the palatinate. They took several towns, burnt eighty villages and chateaux, marched from Ambrun to Gap on the frontiers of Provence, and threw Grenoble and Lyons into consternation. The seizure of the duke with the small-pox, and the approach of winter, induced them to retire; but they had done enough to show that France was open to the same incursions which Louis had so cruelly made into Flanders, Holland, Germany, and Savoy; and had the allies adopted more of this system, they would soon have made both France and Louis sick of the war.

During William's absence, circumstances had transpired which threw a dark shade upon his fame, which had tended to shake his throne, and which gratified the naval pride of the country, and at the same time mortified it. We must briefly review them.

The horrible event which had taken place in Scotland, still popularly styled the Massacre of Glencoe, had just become known to the English public as he left for the continental campaign, and threw no little odium upon him. The dissatisfaction which William felt with his bill of toleration for Scotland having been refused by the Scottish parliament, induced him to remove lord Melville, who had suffered the liberal views of the king to be swamped by the presbyterians, as William thought, too facilely. He therefore appointed Sir James Dalrymple, whom he had created viscount Stair, lord president of the court of session; and his son, Sir John - called now, according to the custom of Scotland, the master of Stair - as lord advocate, took the lead in the management of the Scottish affairs. Amongst the matters which came under his attention was that of settling the highlands; and it was resolved by William's cabinet, where lord Stair and the earl of Argyll were consulted as the great authorities on Scotch measures, that twelve thou- sand pounds should be distributed amongst the highland chiefs, to secure their goodwill. Unfortunately, as we have said, the agent chosen for the distribution of this money- was one of the hated tribe of Campbell. It was the earl of Breadalbane, who had deadly feuds with some of their chiefs; and, as they regarded him with aversion and suspicion, the most insurmountable obstacles arose to any reasonable arrangement. Besides that every chief wanted more money than Breadalbane thought they ought to have, the earl of Argyll contended that these chiefs owed him large sums, and that their quotas should be paid over to him in liquidation of those debts. To this the chiefs would not consent, and when the money was not paid over, they loudly avowed their conviction that Breadalbane meant to appropriate it to himself.

Amongst the chiefs, Macdonald of Glencoe was especially obnoxious to Breadalbane. Glencoe is a peculiarly wild and gloomy glen, stretching along the southern shore of Loch Leven, in Argyllshire. The English meaning of the word is "the glen of weeping," a name singularly appropriate from its being continually enveloped in dark mists and drizzling rains. It was too barren and rugged for agriculture, and, accordingly, its little section of the clan Donald were noted for their predatory habits, common, indeed, to all the highlanders, and deemed as actually honourable. They had committed frequent raids on the lands of Breadalbane, and therefore, when the old chief presented himself amongst the other chiefs at the castle of Breadalbane, he was rudely insulted, and was called upon to make reparation for his damages done to the Campbells. Macdonald - or, as he was commonly styled, Mac Ian - was glad to get away in safety. Incensed at his treatment, he exerted all his arts and influence amongst the other chiefs to embarrass and frustrate the attempts of Breadalbane towards a settlement.

Whilst these things were in agitation, the English government issued a proclamation, that every rebel who did not come in and take the oaths to William and Mary before the 1st of January, 1692, should be held to be traitors, and treated accordingly. Notwithstanding considerable delay, all the chiefs took care to come in before the appointed day except Mac Ian. In his stubborn rage against Breadalbane, he deferred his submission to the last moment. On the 31st of December, however, he presented himself at Fort William to take the necessary oaths; but colonel Hill, the governor, refused to give him the oaths, on the plea that he was not a magistrate, and told Mac Ian that it was necessary that he should go to Inverary and swear before the sheriff. The old chief was confounded; this w as the last day of grace, and it was impossible to reach Inverary in the depth of winter in time. Hill, however, gave him a letter to the sheriff expressing a hope that, as Mac Ian had presented himself in time to take the oaths, though under an error as to the authority, he would allow him to take them. Glencoe did not reach Inverary till the 6th of January, and the sheriff, after much entreaty and many tears from the old chief, consented to administer the oaths, and dispatch information of the circumstance to the council in Edinburgh.

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