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Reign of William and Mary. - (Continued.) page 7

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The news did not reach Breadalbane and Argyll in Edinburgh, but in London, whither they were gone to represent the state of these affairs; and both they and the master of Stair, who was there too, instead of being glad that all the chiefs had come in, were exceedingly rejoiced that Glencoe had not come in till after the prescribed time. They agreed to suppress the fact that Glencoe had come in, though after the time, and only laid before William's council the circumstance that he had not come in at the expiry of the limited time. A proposal was therefore made by them that this nest of robbers, as they termed the people of Glencoe, should be utterly routed out, without which, they declared, there could be no peace in the highlands. William therefore signed a warrant laid before him for that purpose, putting his signature both at top and bottom.

With this fatal instrument in their hands, these worthless men instantly took measures to wreak their vengeance on this little horde of people, and to root them completely out. An order was sent to governor Hill to dispatch a sufficient force to Glencoe to kill every man, woman, and child in it. Whether Hill was deemed too humane or too dignified a man for the office of wholesale butcher, does not appear; but he was directed to send lieutenant-colonel Hamilton on the errand. Hamilton, however, to make all sure by studying- the place, sent, on the 1st of February, a captain Campbell - better known as Glenlyon, from the place of his residence. Glenlyon took with him one hundred and twenty men, part of a regiment of Campbells, and marched to Glencoe; and then appeared the full diabolism of the scheme of Mr. Secretary Stair and his associates, Argyll and Breadalbane. He was not to fall on the Macdonalds and put them to the sword as open and proscribed enemies, but to secure the completion of the barbarous design by a plan of the most revolting treachery on record. He was to profess to come as a friend, only to seek temporary quarters on his wintry march, and especially to visit a niece of his married to one of the sons of Mac Ian. He was to feign friendship, to live with the poor people some time in familiarity till all suspicion was laid to rest, and then to murder them in cold blood.

Accordingly, when this band of soldiers was seen approaching, a son of the chief and some of the people went out to learn the cause of the visit. The reply was, All in friendship, and only to seek quarters. The traitors were warmly received, and disposed of amongst the different families. Glenlyon and some of his men were accommodated by a man called Inverriggen; Lindsay, the lieutenant, by old Mac Ian; and a sergeant named Barbour in a little cluster of houses, by a leading man called Auchifitriater. For nearly a fortnight this air of friendship was kept up. Glenlyon professed much attachment to his niece and her husband. He and Lindsay played at cards with the chief and his sons, and all went gaily, as far as whisky, and French brandy, and blithe spirits on the part of the hosts could make it so. But all this time Glenlyon was studying how the more completely to secure the destruction of every soul in the glen. He and his men noted carefully every outlet, and the result of the observations was sent to Hamilton. All being considered ready, Hamilton fixed the 13th of February for the slaughter, and appointed to be there before five o'clock in the morning, and to stop all the earths to which the old fox and his cubs, as he termed Mac Ian and his sons, could flee. That night, as he was marching with four hundred men through the snows to do this butcherly deed, Glenlyon was spending the evening with Mac Ian, and engaged to dine the next day with "his murdered man."

But, with all the Judas-like deceit with which he carried on his hellish design, that evening two men were heard lamenting that they had something to do that they did not relish. A suspicion was awoke, and one of the sons of Mac Ian went at midnight to Glenlyon's lodgings to see if he could discover anything. In confirmation of his worst suspicions he found him and his men all up and armed. Yet he suffered himself to be persuaded by the villain that they were called to a sudden march to chastise some of the Glengarry clan for marauding; and the young man returned home and went to bed. Glenlyon had said, "Do you think I would do anything against my own niece and her husband?"

At five in the morning, though Hamilton had not arrived, this bloodthirsty traitor commenced the massacre by murdering his host and all his family. Lindsay did the same by his host, old Mac Ian, and his family; and Barbour shot down his host and family in the same manner. Then the soldiers at every hut imitated their example, and speedily there was a hewing and shooting down of victims flying from the huts to the defiles for escape. Men, women, children, pleading most piteously, were ruthlessly murdered. But, fortunately, the sound of the fire-arms roused the whole glen at once, and the rush of the affrighted people was too simultaneous to allow of their being killed. The greater part of them escaped in the darkness to the hills, for Hamilton was not arrived to blockade the defiles. The sanguinary haste of Glenlyon had saved the majority. The two sons of Mac Ian were amongst the number who escaped. Above thirty people, however, were massacred, and an old man of seventy, unable to fly, was brutally stabbed.

But those who had escaped the sword and musket only escaped to the snow-covered rocks to perish, many of them, of cold and famine, for the wretches set fire to everything in the valley, and left it one black and hideous desert. "When the news of this terrible affair at length spread, the public could scarcely believe that so demoniacal a deed could have been done in a Christian country. The Jacobites did not fail to dilate on its infamy with particular emphasis. The whole frightful particulars were gleaned up industriously by the n on-jurors from the soldiers of this regiment, which happened the next summer to be quartered in England. All the execration due to such a deed was liberally showered on the courtiers, and the actors of the brutal butchery, and on the king who had sanctioned it. Terror, if not conscience, seized on the chief movers in it. Breadalbane sent his steward to Glencoe, to induce the miserable inhabitants who had returned to their burnt-up valley to sign a paper asserting that they did not charge him with any participation in the crime, promising in return to use his influence with the king to obtain a full pardon and immunity from forfeiture for them all. Glenlyon was shunned as a monster wherever he appeared; but Stair, so far from showing any shame or remorse, seemed to glory in the deed. As for William, there was a zealous attempt to make it appear that he did not know of what had been done ^ and when his warrant was produced, then that he was deceived as to the circumstances of the case. Unfortunately for William's reputation there was a searching inquiry into the facts of the affair, and when he did know these in all their atrocity, he failed to punish the perpetrators. Stair was for the time dismissed, but very soon restored to William's service; and after this all attempts would be futile to absolve him from gross want of feeling and of justice in the case. It is a black spot on his fame, and must remain so. Burnet, who is always anxious to defend William, says that, from the letters and documents produced which he himself read, so many persons were concerned in the business, that "the king's gentleness prevailed to a fault," and so he did not proceed against them; a singular kind of gentleness! At the very least, the blood-guiltiness of Breadalbane, Stair, and Glenlyon was so prominent, and they were so few, that they ought to have been made examples of; and such a mark of the sense of the atrocity of the crime would have wiped from William's reputation the now clinging stain.

Scarcely had William left England in the spring, when the country was menaced by an invasion; and whilst he was contending with Luxembourg in Flanders, the queen and her ministers had been as actively contending with real and imaginary plots, and with the French fleet at La Hogue. The papists of Lancashire had for some time been particularly active in encouraging in king James the idea that he would be welcomed again in England by his subjects. One Lant, a carpenter, had been dispatched to St. Germains, and brought back assurances that his majesty would, in the course of the spring, certainly land in England. He also sent over colonel Parker, one of the parties engaged to assassinate William, to concert the necessary measures with the catholics and Jacobites for the invasion. Parker assured them that James would embark at La Hogue with thirty thousand men. Johnson, a priest, was said to be associated with Parker to murder William before his departure if possible; but he was gone already when they arrived.

The great minister of Louis, Louvois, was dead. He had always opposed these ideas of invasion of England as absurd and impracticable. His removal enabled James to persuade Louis to attempt the enterprise. It was determined to muster a fleet of eighty sail. The count de Tourville commanded five-and-forty of them, and under him the count D'Estrees thirty-five more. The most active preparations were making for the completion of all things necessary for the equipment of this fleet, and the army which it was to carry over. The ships under Tourville lay at Brest, those of D'Estrees at Toulon; they were to meet at Ushant, and take on board the army at La Hogue. James was in high spirits; he was puffed up by the invitations which the catholic emissaries had brought him; he had, he believed, firmly won over the admirals of the fleet, Russell, Carter, Delaval, and Killigrew. Whilst in this elation of mind he sent over invitations to many protestant ladies of quality to attend the expected accouchement of his queen. He said many base aspersions had been cast on the birth of his son, and he desired now to prevent a recurrence of such; he therefore offered to all the distinguished persons invited safe conducts both for going and returning from the French monarch. No one accepted the invitation; and a daughter was born to James about which no one in England very much concerned themselves.

But the preparations of James and Louis occasioned similar preparations in England. The militia was called out; London was strongly guarded by troops; the trainbands of the southern counties appeared in arms on the coasts; the beacons were all kept in vigilant order, and the fleet was manned and equipped with all possible speed and strength.

The invitation of James to the birth of his daughter was speedily followed by a proclamation to his subjects in England. James had always done himself more harm by his declarations than all the efforts of his friends and allies could do him good; and this was precisely of that character. lie expressed no regret for any of his past actions or measures; he betrayed no suspicion, even, that he might have governed more wisely. On the contrary, he represented himself as having always been right, good, and gracious, and his subjects wrong, captious, and unreasonable. He had always meant and done well, but he had been shamefully maligned. He now promised to maintain the church indeed; but then people had had too recent a proof of how he had maintained it in Ireland. He meant to pardon many of his enemies, but at the same time added such a list of proscriptions as looked more like a massacre than an amnesty. Amongst those expressly excepted from all pardon were the duke of Ormond, the marquis of Winchester, the earls of Sunderland, Danby, and Nottingham, the lords Delamere, Wiltshire, Colchester, Cornbury, and Dunblane; the bishop of St Asaph Drs. Tillotson and Burnet. He excepted not even the poor fishermen who at Feversham had mistaken him for a Jesuit priest on his flight, and called him "hatchet-face;" all judges, magistrates, sheriffs, jurymen, gaolers, turnkeys, constables, and every one who had acted under William in securing and condemning any Jacobite; and all justices and other authorities who should not immediately on his landing abandon the present government and support him; and all gaolers who should not at once set at liberty all prisoners confined for any conspiracy in favour of James, or for any political deed on that side. In short, such was the Draconian rigour with which the declaration was drawn, that there was hardly a man who was not a downright Jacobite who did not tremble at the belief that it would include him. All in the west of England, where William had landed, and where he had been received on his journey towards London, and all who had resisted James in Ireland, saw the bloody sword at once suspended over their heads. To add to this general consternation, the Jacobites counted up in their exultation all their enemies for the gallows; the least computation was five hundred. Still more, before leaving St. Germains, James bestowed the order of the garter on Powis - now called duke Powis - and on Melfort. The name of Melfort was hideous as a bigoted catholic and blood-thirsty wretch; yet this man was now the acknowledged prime minister and adviser of James. This man had written in his name letters to the Jacobites; was believed to be the writer of this alarming declaration, and, if the invasion succeeded, would be the especial minister and wholesale butcher of Englishmen. To complete the terror, the Irish regiments which had committed such excesses on the protestants of Ireland, and had displayed such cowardice, were to make a large part of the invading army. Were Englishmen to be subjected to the insolence, bigotry, and licence of the Irish in their own country? Never did a proclamation so effectually annihilate the hopes of the proclaimed and do the work of the enemy. All England was roused to a man, all differences of religion and politics were forgotten to a man; and, had James succeeded in landing, the nation, shoulder to shoulder, would have pushed him and his army into the sea.

The queen and her ministers no sooner read the declaration than they saw the whole effect of it. They had it printed and circulated all over the kingdom with a clever running commentary. Parliament was summoned for the 24th of May, and a number of persons, charged with being concerned with a plot for bringing in James, were arrested, and others absconded. Amongst those seized were Marlborough and lord Huntingdon, who were sent to the Tower; Messrs. Ridley, Knevitt, Hastings, and Ferguson were sent to Newgate; the bishop of Rochester was confined to his own house; the lords Brudenel and Fanshawe, the earls of Dunmore and Middleton, and Sir Andrew Forrester, were next secured. The earls of Scarsdale, Lichfield, and Newborough, the lords Griffin, Forbes, Sir John Fenwick, Sir Theophilus Oglethorpe, and others escaped. The princess Anne expected arrest.

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