OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Reign of George I page 5

Pages: 1 2 3 4 <5> 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Bolingbroke and Ormonde, deeply sensible of this change, omitted no means, even the most scandalous, to obtain some degree of support from the regent. As Orleans was a man of the most libertine life, Ormonde tempted him by the beauty of Mrs. Olivia Trant. The regent was very ready to fall into the intrigue, but he was too subtle to allow it to influence his public measures. At the same time he was compelled to be more acquiescent to the demands of lord Stair. This vigilant minister had discovered the ships prepared at Havre, by the connivance and partly by the aid of the late king, and he insisted that they should be stopped. Admiral Byng also appeared off Havre with a squadron, and lord Stair demanded the ships should be given up to him. With this the regent declined to comply, but he ordered them to be unloaded, and the arms to be deposited in the royal arsenal. One ship, however, escaped the search, containing, according to Bolingbroke, one thousand three hundred arms, and four thousand pounds of powder, which he proposed to send to lord Mar, in Scotland.

This succession of adverse circumstances induced Bolingbroke to dispatch a messenger to London to inform the earl of Mar of them, and to state that, as England would not stir without assistance from abroad, and as no such assistance could be obtained, he would see that nothing as yet could be attempted. But when the messenger arrived in London, he learnt from Erasmus Lewis, Oxford's late secretary, and a very active partisan of the Jacobites, that Mar was already gone to raise the Highlands, and, if we are to believe the duke of Berwick, by the especial suggestion of the pretender himself, though he had, on the 23rd of September, in writing to Bolingbroke, expressed the necessity of the Scotch waiting till they heard further from him. If that was so, it was at once traitorous towards his supporters and very ill-advised, and was another proof to Bolingbroke of the unsafe parties with whom he was embarked in this hopeless enterprise.

So soon as this news reached France the pretender hastened to St. Malo in order to embark for Scotland, and Ormonde hastened over from Normandy to Devonshire to join the insurgents, whom he now expected to meet in arms. He took with him only twenty officers and as many troopers from Nugent's regiment. This was the force with which Ormonde landed in England to conquer it for the pretender. There was, however, no need of even these forty men. The English government had been beforehand with him; they had arrested all his chief coadjutors, and when he reached the appointed rendezvous there was not a man to meet him. On reaching St. Malo, Ormonde there found the pretender not yet embarked. After some conference together, Ormonde once more went on board ship to reach the English coast and make one more attempt in the hopeless expedition, but he was soon driven back by a tempest. By this time the port of St. Malo was blockaded by the English, and the pretender was compelled to travel on land to Dunkirk, where, in the middle of December, he sailed with only a single ship, for the conquest of Scotland, and attended only by half a dozen gentlemen, disguised, like himself, as French naval officers.

Mar had left London on the 2nd of August to raise the Highlands. In order to blind the agents of government he ordered a royal levee on the 1st, and on the following night got on board a collier bound for Newcastle, attended by major-general Hamilton and colonel Hay. From Newcastle they got to the coast of Fife in another vessel, and repaired to the house of John Bethune, at Ehe. Thence they went to Invercauld, and on the way met five gentlemen of Fife, who complaining that government was going to deprive them of their arms, Mar advised them to summon their neighbours and rise at once; though, as nothing was ready, they could only have insured their own ruin. On the 27th there was a large meeting at Aboyne, at which were present the marquises of Huntley and Tullibardine, the dukes of Gordon and Athol, the earl marshal, the earl of Southesk, the chief of Glengarry, and others.

Mar there addressed them at great length, telling them that he bitterly repented having signed the accursed treaty of union, and was now resolved to retrieve his fault by endeavouring to restore Scotland to its ancient independence, and the rightful king to his throne. He declared that he had his majesty's command to rise; that he himself was coming; that France was ready to furnish ample supplies; and that England was ripe for insurrection. The Scotch chiefs did not appear very sanguine oi success in going to war against England, and with only their own followers and resources; but they were weak enough to follow Mar's counsel. On the 6th of September he erected the standard of the chevalier at Kirkmichael, a village of Braemar. He was then only attended by sixty men; and the highland chiefs, extremely alive to omens, were startled by the gilt ball falling from the summit of the pole as it was planted in the ground. The standard was consecrated by prayers, and he was in a few days joined by about five hundred of his own vassals. The gentlemen who came on horseback, only about twenty at first, soon became several hundreds, and were named the Royal Squadron. The white cockade was assumed as the badge of the insurgent army, and clan after clan came in; first the Mackintoshes, five hundred in number, who seized on Inverness. James was proclaimed by Panmure at Brechin, by the earl marshal at Aberdeen, by lord Huntly at Gordon, and by Graham, the brother of Claverhouse, at Dundee. Colonel Hay, brother of the earl of Kinnaird, seized Perth, and in a very short time the country north of the Tay was in the hands of the insurg─its.

Whilst the flame was spreading from hill to hill in the Highlands, there was an attempt to surprise the castle of Edinburgh by a party of Highlanders. Lord Drummond, a catholic nobleman, was at the head of the plan. Three soldiers in the garrison were gained over, and a part of the precipice on the north side of the rock on which the castle stands, was pointed out as accessible by one of the conspirators, who, having been once on duty as a soldier, had often descended by it into the town at night to visit his sweetheart. Ladders were prepared to facilitate the speedy ascent, and the rope which held them was secured to a strong post within the wall. The conspirators, on gaining the castle- yard, were to fire three cannon as a signal, which was to be taken up by men stationed on the opposite side of the Forth, in Fifeshire, who were to fire a beacon light on a hill, and thus the news was to be sent from hill to hill all over the Highlands.

But fortunately for the cause of king George, the men who were to perform this exploit committed two gross errors - they stayed tippling after their time, and a Mr. Arthur, who was in the conspiracy, communicated the secret to his brother, Dr. Arthur, who betrayed it to his wife, and who soon dispatched a messenger with it to the lord justice clerk. The scaling of the castle wall was to take place at nine: the news of the intended surprise did not reach the lord justice clerk till ten, but the conspirators continued drinking, and even boasting of what they were going to do, till eleven, two hours after their time. Had they been punctual, notwithstanding the betrayal of tue secret, they would have succeeded; as it was, just as they were ascending the ladders, the sentinel on duty, who was their accomplice, saw a body of soldiers issue from the castle and march towards him. Aware that the secret was out, he called over the wall, to give the conspirators the alarm, and suddenly let go the rope to prevent his own detection, so that numbers on the ladders were toppled down the cliff and much hurt. Four of them were taken, who turned out to be Ramsay and Boswell, writers to the signet; Leslie, late a page of the duchess of Gordon, famous for her Jacobite zeal; and captain Maclean, a veteran of the field of Killiecrankie.

The ministry in London, meantime, committed the political blunder - from a petty feeling of aversion to the man - of passing over Marlborough, and sending the duke of Argyll to Scotland as commander-in-chief against the rebels. Argyll was a man of ability, both in the field and in the house, but nothing like Marlborough, and he was of doubtful fidelity to the house of Hanover, Marlborough not more so. He was a man of imposing exterior, but with some mean and selfish qualities. Whilst Argyll proceeded to the Highlands to take the command of the forces there, the Dutch were called on, in compliance with a treaty with them, to supply six thousand soldiers; orders were issued to raise seven thousand more, all half-pay officers were summoned to active duty, and a reward of one hundred thousand pounds was offered for the pretender, dead or alive.

The authorities at Edinburgh, after the attempted surprise, suspended the habeas corpus act, and arrested and confined in the castle the most noted Jacobites, amongst them the earls of Hume, Wigtoun, Kinnoul, lord Deskford, Lockhart of Carnwath, and Hume of Whitfield. All suspected persons were summoned to give security for their good behaviour, and such as did not appear were deemed rebels. This done, great numbers came to a decision who might otherwise have remained inactive, and thus it did mischief. Amongst these was the earl of Breadalbane, a man of nearly eighty.

By the 28th of September Mar had mustered at Perth about five thousand men. He was cheered by the arrival of one or two ships from France with stores, arms, and ammunition. He had also managed to surprise a government ship driven to take shelter at Burntisland, on its way to carry arms to the earl of Sutherland, who was raising his clan for king George in the north. The arms were seized by Mar's party, and carried off to the army.

Argyll arrived about the same time in Scotland, and marched to Stirling, where he encamped with only about one thousand foot and five hundred cavalry. This was the time for Mar to advance and surround him, or drive him before him; but Mar was a most incompetent general, and remained inactive at Perth, awaiting the movement of the Jacobites in England, when, by a decisive action, he might have cleared all Scotland of the handful of king George's forces, and made a great impression on the public mind.

Those movements which Mar awaited in England were the rising of the west under Ormonde, which we have seen never came off, and of the Jacobites in the north. Though this did take place, it was so paralysed by the successful measures of the government, that it ended in nothing.

In and around London the government seized and confined all the leading Jacobites that they could find. Lord Lansdowne and lord Duplin, the titular duke of Powis, were sent to the Tower; lieutenant-colonel Paul, detected in enlisting for the pretender, was arrested. The king sent a message to the house of commons, desiring them to apprehend six of their members, with which they immediately endeavoured to comply. Some of these members were already away, but Harvey and Austin were taken at once. Sir John Packington and Sir William Wyndham were taken at their seats in the country. Wyndham was seized at his house in Somersetshire by colonel Huske and a messenger, who secured his papers; he, however, managed to escape, but one thousand pounds reward being offered for his recovery, he surrendered himself. Sir Richard Vivian, of Cornwall, was also arrested and sent up to town. Plymouth, Bristol, and Exeter, which the insurgents proposed to get possession of, were strongly garrisoned, and the west remained quiet.

A prompt course was next taken with the insolent Jacobitism of Oxford. That university had shown a most daring and insulting disloyalty; on the flight and attainder of the duke of Ormonde, their chancellor, had not only immediately elected his brother, the earl of Arran, to that dignity, but had conferred honorary degrees exclusively on Jacobites or high tories. A letter was intercepted from an undergraduate, in which he boasted that at the university they feared nothing, but drank king James's health every day. Colonel Owen and several other disbanded officers were there, concerting with the heads of houses to unite with the insurgents of Bristol; but Stanhope dispatched thither an experienced officer, general Pepper, who, on the 6th of October, summoned the vice-chancellor and mayor to his presence, showed them his orders from Stanhope to seize eighteen suspected persons, and to keep order in the place. The vaunting Oxonians doffed their bravado at the sight of the soldiers, and were in a hurry to obey. They assisted to secure the persons named. Ten or twelve of them were taken, though Owen and some others escaped; and Pepper assured the authorities that if any disorders took place in the execution of his duty, he would fire on the disturbers. This produced a profound quietus at Oxford.

In the north matters went further. In Northumberland and Durham there were many catholics, and the earl of Derwentwater, a young nobleman of amiable character, who had large estates both on the Tyne, where he lived, at Dilston Place, and at Derwentwater in Cumberland, and Mr. Forster, of Bamborough Castle, became their leaders. Derwentwater was only twenty-six at the time of the insurrection, and is said not to have entered willingly into it, but that he was incited to it by the reproaches of his wife, who told him that it was not fitting that the earl of Derwentwater should hide his head in hovels when the gentry were up in arms for the cause of their rightful sovereign; and throwing down her fan, she is reported to have said, "Take that, and give me your sword." This may account for the unprepared state in which he took the field, for though he had great numbers of men in his lead mines on Alston Moor, besides his numerous tenants, he joined the other insurgents with a very small following.

By appointment Derwentwater and Forster met at a place called Greenrig, whence the same day they marched to Rothbury. They had then together only sixty horse, but at Warkworth lord Widdrington joined them with thirty more. Forster was there appointed their general, simply because he was a protestant, and it was thought that this would have a go÷d effect on the protestant population. At Warkworth, Forster, in disguise, himself proclaimed the chevalier by sound of trumpet. They marched to Alnwick, and thence to Morpeth, where their force amounted to about three hundred. Finding the gates of Newcastle closed against them, and the people up in arms, they turned aside to Hexham, where they expected to meet detachments from Lancashire. No forces arrived from that quarter, but a body of Scotch who had risen at Moffat under lord Kenmure, and others, sent them word that they were marching southwards, and they would meet them at Kelso. Kenmure proclaimed the chevalier at Moffat on the 12th of October, and the next day made an attempt on Dumfries; but the marquis of Annandale was before him, and secured it for the king. Being joined by the earls of Wintoun, Nithsdale, and Carnwath, Kenmure marched south to meet the Northumberland rebels. He had about two hundred horsemen, and, hastening into England, he met Derwentwater,

<<< Previous page <<< >>> Next page >>>
Pages: 1 2 3 4 <5> 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Pictures for Reign of George I page 5

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About