THE YOUNG ADVENTURER
Containing an Impartial Account of the Rebellion in Scotland, in the year 1745.
The family of the Stuarts is of great antiquity. The earliest accounts declare them from a thane of Lochaber. But antiquity is ever involved in absurdity. However, we are certain that the first of them who reigned in Scotland was Robert II. surnamed Blear-eye. He was descended from Walter Stuart, and Marjory Bruce, daughter to King Robert Bruce. In the year 1371, Robert Stuart ascended the throne of Scotland, as next heir to King David Bruce the II. his mother’s brother.
Upon the death of Elizabeth Queen of England, the succession to the throne of that kingdom opened to the family of the Stuarts, in consequence of a marriage of alliance betwixt the royal blood of the two kingdoms. James VI. was the first of the race of the Stuarts who ascended the English throne. He had come to the throne of Scotland in 1507, and after the death of Queen Elizabeth, in 1604, he succeeded to the crown of England. Thus came the family of the Stuarts to reign over the kingdoms of Scotland and England.
This ancient and noble family governed these realms, in an uninterrupted line, down to James VII. This unfortunate prince had a blind attachment for the Popish religion. During his administration he openly discovered it, and exercised, for a time, amongst his subjects, all those tyrannical measures which that religion naturally instigates those princes, who are its votaries, to pursue. His eldest daughter Mary, was given in marriage to William Prince of Orange. This Prince the nation invited over, to redress the grievances they suffered under the government of his father-in-law. James, foreseeing the consequences which would ensue, withdrew himself privately from the kingdom and retired to France with his Queen, and Prince George, then an infant. Upon this, William, and his consort, were proclaimed king and queen. The succession to the crown was secured, by several acts of parliament, to Protestant heirs alone; which order of succession hath been constantly observed since that time.
The first interruption, we see then, in the lineal descent of the family of Stuarts, in their succession to the crowns of Scotland and England, was in the person of James VII. This was the year 1688; on account of which singular incident it is called the Revolution year. Two efforts have been made, since that time, to restore the former succession. Prince George made an effort in 1715, and his son, Prince Charles, made another effort in 1745; but both these proved unsuccessful. An account of the the attempt made by Prince Charles is given in the present history.
While the attention of Britain was employed in the war, in which it was at that time engaged with France, the plan of an insurrection, in favour of Prince Charles, was formed. It is thought to have been owing, chiefly, to the politics of France, that this project took place. the French ministry foresaw, that an invasion of this kind would embarrass Britain, and make a diversion in their own favour. The project was also favoured by the dispositions of many of the British subjects, who were strongly attached to the family of Stuart. France gave Prince Charles the strongest assurances of assistance, and many in Great Britain, by their solicitations and promises, seconded the enterprise. The young Prince, cajoled by these considerations, and fired with an ambition to ascend the throne of his ancestors, fully resolved to make a vigorous effort for this purpose; in which, if he did not succeed, he should, at least for a time, become the object of the attention and surprise of all the European powers.
Accordingly, upon the 15th of July, 1745, Prince Charles, being furnished with a supply of money and arms from the French ministry, embarked at Port Lazare, in Brittany, for Scotland. The vessel appointed by the French king to carry the Prince, was a frigate of 11 guns, which sailing first to Belleisle, was joined by the Elizabeth, formerly an English man of war of 60 guns. In their passage they met with the Lion, Caption Brett, and two other English men of war, with a fleet of merchantmen under convoy; the frigate bore away, but the Lion and the Elizabeth maintained a desperate fight, until night came and saved the latter, which made off, and got to Brest in a most terrible condition. Her captain and about 70 men were killed, and double the number wounded. She had on board a large sum of money, and arms for several thousand men, all designed for the service of Ascanius in Scotland.
The frigate arrived among the Scottish isles, and after hovering about for several days, made to the coast of Lochaber; and there Ascanius, with only seven attendants, landed, and went directly to Mr. McDonald of Kinlock-moidart. Here he remained in private several weeks, while some of the Highland chiefs were getting the clans together, in order to declare openly for him, and to endeavour first to reduce Scotland. By the middle of August they had assembled about 1800 men, consisting of the Stuarts of Appin, the McDonald's of Glengary, the Cameron's of Lochiel, and others. Ascanius set up his standard, which was this motto, Tandem triumphans, that is, At length triumphant. He also published two manifestos in his father's name, one of which was printed and dated in 1743; a third he published in his own name, in which he promised many things agreeable to the Scots and among other the dissolution of the union with England.
By this time the government was informed of his being in the Highlands, and sent strict orders to Sir John Cope, generalissimo of the king's forces in Scotland, to take all possible care to prevent him from making his party formidable, and if possible to take him alive or dead; and as an inducement to this a reward of £30,000 Sterling was set on his head.
Before the end of August, two companies of General Sinclair's regiment being sent to reconnoitre the Highlanders, were most of them made prisoners, as was soon after Captain Swethenham of Guise's foot. This gentleman being released on his parole, gave the government the first circumstantial account of the number and condition of the Highland forces.
Ascanius now prepared to march southward, with a view of taking the city of Edinburgh; while, in the meantime, Cope having collected all the king's forces in Scotland, and armed the militia, marched for the Highlands in quest of Ascanius; who, not choosing to risk a battle in his infant state of affairs, gave the old general the slip over the mountains, and (September 4) entered Perth without resistance. The news being carried to Cope, who had got to Inverness, after a very fatiguing march, he saw no other remedy but to march back, though not the same way he came; accordingly, he ordered transport ships to meet him at Aberdeen to carry his forces to Leith. Meantime, Ascanius proclaimed his Father at Perth, where he was joined by several persons of distinction, who brought supplies of men and arms: From thence he marched his troops to the river Forth, which they forded on the 13th, Ascanius first plunging in at the head of the infantry. Directing his march toward Glasgow, he summoned it, but receiving no answer, altered his rout, and marched for Edinburgh, which he reached before Cope had time to return from Aberdeen.
While both parties were thus advancing towards the metropolis, the inhabitants were preparing for a vigorous resistance: But the Prince having many friends in the city, no sooner came near it, than a treaty of surrender was entered upon, and on the 17th the provost admitted him into it; however, the brave, though very old, general Guest, retired with a few regulars into the castle, which he held for the king. While the Prince was entering the city, Cope was disembarking his troops at Dunbar, within two days march of Edinburgh; and being there joined by Brigadier Fowke, with Hamilton and Gardiner's dragoons, marched on the 19th and encamped that night near Haddington. Marching early next morning, they arrived at Prestonpans in the evening, where they perceived Ascanius' troops on the hills towards Edinburgh, at which place only a small body of Highlanders were left to secure a retreat thither. That night both parties lay under arms, and firing frequently passed between them. On the 21st, about three in the morning, the king's troops were briskly attacked; some dragoons retreated on the first fire, and left the infantry exposed to the broad swords of the Highlanders, with whose weapons and manner of fighting they were unacquainted; and not having time to recover the disorder they were thrown into, they were finally routed in a few minutes; about 300 were cut to pieces, and most of the rest made prisoners. The conduct of the gallant colonel Gardiner, in this action, will be remembered and admired by the latest posterity.
The following circumstances of his death are narrated by P. Doddridge, DD and may be relied on as authentic.
"On Friday, September 20, 1745, (the day before the battle,) when the whole army was drawn up, I think about noon, the Colonel rode through all the ranks of his own regiment, addressing them at once in the most respectful and animating manner, both as soldiers and as Christians, to engage them to exert themselves courageously in the service of their country, and to neglect nothing that might have a tendency to prepare them for whatever should be the event of the battle.
"They seemed much affected with the address, and expressed a very ardent desire of attacking the enemy immediately. He earnestly pressed it on the commanding officer, both as the soldiers were then in better spirits than it could be supposed they would be after having passed the night under arms; and also as the circumstance of making an attack would be some encouragement to them, and probably some terror to the enemy, who would have had the disadvantage of standing on the defence. He also apprehended, that by marching to meet them, some advantage might have been secured with regard to the ground; with which, it is natural to imagine, he must have been perfectly acquainted, as it lay just at his own door, and he had rode over it so many hundred times. But this was overruled, as it also was in the disposition of the cannon, which he would have had planted in the centre of our small army, rather than just before his regiment, which was in the right wing; where he was apprehensive, that the horses, which had not been in any engagement before, might be thrown into some disorder by the discharge so very near them.
"When he found that he could not carry either of these points, nor some others, which out of regard to the common safety be insisted upon with some unusual earnestness, he dropped some intimations of the consequences which he apprehended, and which did in fact follow; and submitting to Providence, spent the remainder of the day in making as good disposition as circumstances would allow.
"He continued all night under arms, wrapped up in his cloak, and generally sheltered under a rick of barley which happened to be in the field. About three in the morning, he called his domestic servants to him, of whom there were four in waiting.
"He then dismissed three of them, with most affectionate Christian advice, and such solemn charges relating to the performance of their duty and the care of their souls, as seemed plainly to intimate, that he apprehended it at least very probably he was now taking his last last farewell of them.
"The army was alarmed by break of day, by the noise of the Rebels' approach, and the attack was made before sun-rise, yet when it was light enough to discern what passed. As soon as the enemy came within gun-shot, they made a furious fire; and it is said that the dragoons, which constituted the left wing, immediately fled. The Colonel, at the beginning of the onset, which in the whole lasted but a few minutes, received a wound by a bullet in his left breast, which made him give a sudden spring in his saddle; upon which his servant who had led the horse, would have persuaded him to retreat; but he said, it was only a wound in the flesh; and fought on, though he presently after received a shot in his right thigh. In the meantime, it was discerned that some of the enemy fell by him and particularly one man, who had made him a treacherous visit but a few days before, with great professions of zeal for the present establishment.
"The Colonel was for a few moments supported by his men, and particularly by that worthy person Lieutenant Colonel Whitney, who was shot through the arm here, and few months after fell nobly in the battle of Falkirk, and by Lieutenant West, a man of distinguished bravery, as also by about fifteen dragoons, who stood by him to the last. But after a faint fire, the regiment in general was seized with a panic; and though their colonel, and some other gallant officers, did what they could to rally them once or twice, they at last took a precipitate flight; and, just in the moment when Colonel Gardiner seemed to be making a pause, to deliberate what duty required him to do in such a circumstance, he saw a party of the foot, who were then bravely fighting near him, and whom he ordered to support , had no officer to head them; upon which he said eagerly in the hearing of the person from whom I had this account, "those brave fellows would be cut to pieces for want of a commander," or words to that effect, which while he was speaking, he rode up to them, and cried out aloud, "Fire on, my lads, and fear nothing." But just as the words were out of his mouth, a Highlander advanced towards him with a scythe fastened to a long pole, with which he gave him such a deep wound on his right arm, that his sword dropped out of his hand; and at the same time several others coming about him, while he was thus dreadfully entangled with that cruel weapon, he was dragged off from his horse.
"The moment he fell, another Highlander, whose name was McNaught, and who was executed about a year after, gave him a stroke, either with a broad sword or a Lochaber-axe, on the hinder part of his head, which was the mortal blow. All that his faithful attendant saw farther at that time was, that as his hat was fallen off, he took it in his left hand, and waved it as a signal to him to retreat; and added, what were the last words he ever heard him speak, "Take care of yourself:" Upon which the servant retired, and immediately fled to a mill, at the distance of about two miles from the spot of ground on which the colonel fell, where he changed his dress, and, disguised like a miller's servant, returned with a cart as soon as possible, which was not till near two hours after the engagement.
"The hurry of the action was then pretty well over, and he found his much-honoured master, not only plundered of his watch, and other things of value, but also stripped of his upper garments and boots, yet still breathing; and though not capable of speech, yet on taking him up, he opened his eyes; which makes it something questionable whether he were altogether insensible. In this condition, and in this manner, he conveyed him to the church of Tranent, from whence he was immediately taken into the minister's house, and laid in bed, where he continued breathing, and frequently groaning, till about eleven in the forenoon, when he took his final leave of pain and sorrow, and undoubtedly rose to those distinguished glories which are reserved for those who have been so eminently and remarkably faithful unto death.
"From the moment in which he fell it was not longer a battle, but a rout and carnage. The cruelties which the rebels inflicted on some of the king's troops, after they had asked quarter, were dreadfully legible on the countenances of many who survived it. They entered Colonel Gardiner's house before he was carried off from the field, and plundered it of everything of value, to the very curtains of the beds, and hangings of the rooms. His papers were all thrown into the wildest disorder, and his house made a hospital for the reception of those who were wounded in the action.
"The remains of this Christian hero were interred the Tuesday following, September 24, at the parish church of Tranent, where he had usually attended divine service, with great solemnity. His obsequies were honoured with the presence of some persons of distinction, who were not afraid of paying that last piece of respect to his memory, though the country was then in the hands of the enemy."
Many other principal officers were desperately wounded, and a considerable number of the common men made prisoners. All the cannon, tents, &c. of the vanquished, were taken.
Cope had the good fortune to escape to Berwick, with the Earls of London and Home; and Brigadier Fowke and Colonel Lascelles got safe to Dunbar. This was called the battle of Prestonpans, or by some the battle of Seaton, from two little towns near which it was fought; but is more properly called the battle of Gladsmuir, which was the field of action, a wide barren heath about seven miles east from Edinburgh. We have no certain account of the number of Cope's army; the regiments he had, were those of Gardiner, Hamilton, Lee, Guise, Murray, Lascelles, and Loudon; but of these almost every one wanted near a third of their complement; and in all they are supposed not to have exceeded 4000, sutlers, &c. &c. included. The victors did not exceed 3400, above two-fifths of which did not fight.
From this victory Ascanius reaped considerable advantages. It inspired his followers with courage, intimidated his enemies, and many, who before that time acted upon the reserve, now crowded to his standard. This victory, also put his army in possession of fire-arms and ammunition, with which they were formerly ill provided. He now returned in triumph to Edinburgh, loaded with the spoils of his late victory, where he took up his residence in the palace of Holyroodhouse. He levied an army in Edinburgh and the neighbourhood; imposed taxes; compelled the city of Glasgow to furnish him with a large sum and laid all the country round under contribution. These things he judged necessary, to enable him to carry on his enterprise with vigour, money being the nerves of war.
We cannot help observing the conduct of the French court on this occasion; when they heard he had gained a victory, they supplied him with money, artillery and ammunition; his interest with them seemed to depend on the success of his arms.
Ascanius did not find so many in the kingdom espouse his cause as he was made to believe. The greater part of the kingdom did not favour his family and pretensions; but they were unarmed and undisciplined, and therefore could make no resistance.
And even in the Highlands, where Ascanius thought a good part of his interest lay, there were found many friends to the government, who in the most open manner avowed their loyalty. Argyle armed his vessels; the Earl of Sutherland brought to the field 1200 men; Sir Alexander McDonald, and the Laird of McLeod, sent 2000 hardy islanders from Sky, for service of the government; and many other clans appeared under their several potent chiefs. There was also a body of gentlemen, who served on horseback at their own expense, styling themselves the Royal Hunters, of which General Oglethorpe had the command; - surely the sacred flame of liberty glowed warmly in the breasts of these gentlemen, who stood forth, in the cause of their country, on such honourable terms!
At the same time, Duncan Forbes, Esq. Lord President of the Court of Session in Scotland, particularly distinguished himself there, by his zeal for the Georgian interest; and it was principally by his means, that a considerable body of Highlanders and other Scots were raised, under the command of the Earl of Loudon, for the security of the forts of Inverness, Augustus and William, a chain of fortified places commanding the north of Scotland.
But notwithstanding all these preparations, the intrepid Ascanius resolved to pursue his designs through all obstacles. (Nov. 1.) He went from Edinburgh to the camp at Dalkeith, from whence he daily dispatched his agents into England, and received intelligence of what was doing there both by his friends and enemies; and, though he had the mortification to find, contrary to the assurances he had received, that the former were but few, yet he still inflexibly resolved to push on the daring attempt, having only, as he publicly signified, a crown or a coffin in view. He hoped that, by his presence in England, he should be able to put new life into his friends, to reclaim the apostate, fix the wavering, animate the fearful, and inspire the zealous with that activity, courage, and contempt of danger, of which he would give an immediate example.
With these views, and in this resolute disposition, he began his march for Carlisle, with an army not exceeding 6700 effective men; a small number for such an expedition; but he relied much on English reinforcements, and more, on a timely descent by the French in the south; for in case of such a diversion, nothing could have effectually obstructed his march to London. The principal persons in his army were, the Duke of Perth, general; Lord George Murray, lieutenant-general; Lord Elcho, son to the Earl of Wemyss, colonel of the life-guards; the Earl of Kilmarnock, colonel of a regiment mounted and accoutred as hussars; Lord Portsligo, general of the horse; the Lords Nairn, Ogilvie, Dundee, and Balmerino; Messrs. Sheridan and Sullivan, Irish gentlemen; General McDonald, his aid-de-camp; John Murray of Broughton, Esq. his secretary; and many others.
On the 6th November, the Prince's army passed the Tweed, and entered England. Marshal Wade was at this time, at Newcastle upon Tyne, and might have intercepted Ascanius on the borders; but being ignorant of the rout he intended to take, whether by Carlisle or Newcastle, the cautious old General determined to wait Ascanius' motions, and by them regulate his own; but this conduct rendered his army of little use to the government in this critical and dangerous juncture, for Ascanius, taking the Carlisle road, arrived that city (which is almost parallel to the Scots coast with Newcastle, from whence it is but three winters days march,) and took it before Wade could arrive to prevent him. After proclaiming his father here, he proceeded southward, leaving a garrison of Highlanders in the place. Wade had marched about half way to Carlisle when he heard it was taken; as the weather and roads were so bad as almost to have ruined his army, and as, consequently, they were not in a condition to attempt retaking the city, it was thought proper to return to Newcastle, leaving the adventurers to get so far to the southward, that it would have been absurd for Wade's people to attempt the overtaking them; therefore, the general remained in the North, in order to guard those parts, and prevent the Prince from receiving supplies or reinforcements from thence, or out of Scotland.
And now the progress of Ascanius had thrown all England into confusion, and the Georgians began to dread his arrival at London, before another army could be formed in the southern and midland parts to impede his march, which was amazingly swift, all the country flying before him, none daring and few caring to resist. However, the Duke of Cumberland, youngest son of George II, returning from Flanders, where he commanded his father's troops, most of which returned with him, or were before arrived and put under Wade's command; this Prince, I say, returning from abroad, in order to lead the Georgian troops against Ascanius, his now successful rival in more respects than one, an army was formed with all expedition, and the Duke put himself at the head thereof, resolving to wait the coming of Ascanius, and by one decisive stroke determine the fate of the British Crown.
Meantime, the young Adventurer advanced with prodigious celerity, while the attention of both kingdoms was fixed on the expected approaching action. On the 20th, our Adventurer left Carlisle, from whence be proceeded to Lancaster, where he arrived on the 24th; on the 27th he was at Preston, the 29th at Manchester. Till now the Prince had been joined by few of the English, and on this account, the spirits of his faithful followers began to droop; "The English are degenerate," say they, "and lost to all sense of justice or gratitude; They are stupidly in love with their present government, bigoted to their new-fangled notions, and strangers to those noble sentiments of loyalty which glowed in the breasts of their ancestors. In vain we have made this long fatiguing march, in vain doth the generous Ascanius invite the infatuated English to shake off the yoke of whiggism, to do justice to his Catholic family, themselves, and their posterity; in vain this glorious opportunity, if they refuse the proffered blessing, and choose to live in ease and indolence." In these terms were the complaints of the army couched, and Ascanius himself now began to see his error, in trusting to the accounts sent him while in Scotland, of the number and disposition of his partisans in the south; nevertheless, he prudently tried to disguise his sentiments, and keep up the spirits of the people. "Who knows," said he, at a council of war held at Manchester, "but all will yet happen for the best, and my greater glory. I grant we have run ourselves into imminent danger; or rather, perhaps, Providence has brought us thither, to show what great things may be done for us. Victory doth not always declare for numbers. Few though we are, we have arms in our hands, and I hope every man here is well satisfied as to the goodness of his cause. We found the English less than men at Gladsmuir, and we shall not find them more than men on any field in England. Our friends, for ought we know, are, at this instant, striking a more effectual blow for us than if they joined us in person. Let us suspend our fears and our judgments as to our situation, until I have received fresh advices from London, for there I hope fortune is yet working for us."
Thus cheered, the adventurers still went southward, until they came within the borders of Staffordshire, where the Duke lay with an army to intercept them; Wade was also marching after them through Yorkshire, intending to put them between two fires. Thus was this little army encircled by the English; unable to proceed any way without meeting an army treble their number, for even yet they did not exceed 7400 men, not having been joined by more than 500 since their entering England.
I must not forget to mention, that in every city and market-town through which Ascanius passed, he took possession of it for his father, by proclaiming him; for instance, in Carlisle, Penrith, Kendal, Lancaster, Preston, Wigan, Burton, Manchester, Stockport, Macclesfield, Congleton; the two last in Cheshire. At Congleton, finding his march southward absolutely stopped by the Duke, part of whose army lay at Newcastle-under-Lyme, within ten miles of Congleton, he resolved to turn off eastward to Leek in Staffordshire, and so through the moorlands into Derbyshire, marching east by south till he got to Derby town, where he would be nearer London than the English. This resolution was the most prudent he could take, in the circumstances he was in; for it would have been madness to engage the English army, not only superior in number but abounding in all necessaries; nor had they been harassed by forced marches, as the troops of Ascanius were, who wanted necessary refreshment. On the other hand, had they gone back the way they came, that would have been at once to forfeit every opportunity of getting possession of the capital; had they turned westward, in order to take refuge in Wales, they would be nothing the nearer conquering England, and out of the way of seconding a French invasion, or a general rising of their friends in London; besides, had Ascanius attempted to pass into Wales, he might have been obstructed in his march through Cheshire, particularly by the garrison of Chester city, where, besides the militia, some new regiments were quartered.
December 2nd, Ascanius was at Leek in the moorlands of Staffordshire, next day at Ashburn in the Peak of Derbyshire, and on the 5th at Derby town. Meantime, the Duke, finding the dexterous adventurers had given him the slip, crossed the country, expecting to intercept them in Lancashire or Northamptonshire; and this he had infallibly done, had not Ascanius perceived, that still to go forward, would be obliging himself to risk a battle under all the disadvantages above-mentioned, or to surrender at discretion; he now saw that the English were not to be depended on. Here he received advice from London, "That his friends there had not the power to rise in his favour without desperately hazarding both his own ruin and that of his party in the kingdom; that there was no likelihood of a descent from France, all the southern coasts being well guarded, as were the circumjacent seas, by the English fleet, for fear of whom the French durst not stir out."
Hereupon a council of war was called, at which the chiefs spoke very freely, and strenuously insisted on the army's returning to Scotland by the way he came; urging, that they might get through Derby and Stafford before the Duke, on the south side of them, could know they had begun to return; and that, as Wade lay directly north from them, they doubted not of again giving him the slip, and reaching Carlisle before he could obstruct their flight. -- To this advice Ascanius consented, still comforting himself with hopes that Providence intended to work for him by some other means than those he had thought of. However, the common soldiers, who had flattered themselves with the taking of London, were greatly chagrined at their disappointment, and would have severely revenged themselves on the people of Derby, and the other towns through which they were to repass, had not Ascanius and his officers appeased them, and convinced them of the necessity of their returning, and of injuring the persons and properties of the English as little as their necessities would admit. Nevertheless, discovering that a subscription had been here set on foot by the English party, and already pretty full, the adventurers procured a copy of the subscription list, and made the town pay the money to them. They also obliged the people of Derby to furnish them with many necessaries at an easy price. But this proceeding (which Ascanius could not easily prevent) was perhaps the principal reason of their being joined by only four or five in this county, one of whom was counsellor Morgan.
As a delay of a day or two must have rendered the retreat of Ascanius and his troops impracticable, they stayed at Derby but two nights. December 6th, we find them again at Ashburn in the Peak. While Ascanius is thus giving the world as extraordinary a proof of his dexterity and skill in a retreat, as he had before of his courage and conduct in a battle, (with one body of English foot hotly pursuing at his heels, and Oglethorpe with a body of horse on his right flying to intercept him, but in vain, though the general made a very swift march across the country.) let us leave him on his march, and take a view of what his friends in Scotland were doing for him there.
Lord Lewis Gordon, brother to the Duke of Gordon, who remained in Scotland to take care of Ascanius' interest while he was in England, was very active in raising men and money in the northern parts. His endeavours were greatly supported by the arrival of Fitz-James' regiment of horse from France, of which most of the men were Irish and Scots, or descended from parents born in those kingdoms; these were commanded by Lord John Drummond, brother to the Duke of Perth, who joined Lord Lewis; their forces together made near 5000 men. With these troops the two Lords quartered themselves in and about Perth, at the same time that Ascanius set out on his return from Derby.
On the other hand, the Earl of Loudon was equally active in spiriting up the clans in the Georgian interest; he raised considerable supplies among the McLeods, Grants, Monros, Sutherlands, and Gunns, and at last he had above 2300 effective men; with these he forced the son of Lord Lovat to retire from before Fort Augustus, which he had besieged with a considerable body of Frazers, a clan of which his father was chief. The city of Edinburgh, now again in the hands of the English, likewise exerted itself in raising men, as did also Glasgow, betwixt which two numerous regiments and several independent companies were raised. Thus, whether in England or Scotland, Ascanius was like to have enemies enough to deal with.
Let us now return into England, and follow Ascanius in his flight from Derby. December 7th, he arrived at Leek in Staffordshire, and on the 9th at Manchester. Meantime, the Duke of Cumberland having intelligence that his enemies had begun to retreat northward, prepared to follow them with all expedition. Flying with a body of horse through the counties of Warwick and Stafford, on the 10th he arrived at Macclesfield in Cheshire, 1000 foot following him at no great distance; for the Duke's scheme was to get up to the adventurers with his horse, and retard their march until his infantry came up, and then to endeavour to bring Ascanius to a general engagement. This, however, was what the latter prudently avoided, well knowing the difference betwixt the spirit of troops pursued in an enemy's country, and that of the pursuers. Besides, perceiving that fortune inclined her face with a smile towards his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, the country people voluntarily supplied his army with horses, carriages, provisions, and all other necessaries; while the adventurers could get nothing but what violence forced from the grumbling English, who took all methods to distress them.
Macclesfield, where, as we have observed, the English arrived on the 10th, is but a day's march from Manchester, from whence Ascanius marched that day, resting his troops there only one night; the fickle inhabitants, perceiving fortune seemed to frown on the adventurers, whom they had joyfully received a few days before, now gave the troops several rude marks of a very different spirit; this Ascanius so highly resented, that he made the people pay him £2500, to save them from being plundered, before he left the town; however, in consideration of the many friends he still had there, he promised repayment when the kingdom should be recovered to his family, of which he did not despair.
On the 11th, the adventurers, marched further northward, and came to Wigan, and next day to Preston. The Duke still followed at about a day's march, yet still he found it impossible to gain upon Ascanius, who felt it equally impracticable to outstrip his formidable rival in youthful vigour and vigilance. On the 13th, in the morning, Ascanius quitted Preston, which he had no sooner done than Oglethorpe, with the horse and dragoons from Wade's army, arrived there, having, in three days, marched above 100 miles through ice, and over mountains covered with snow. And now the adventurers had certainly been forced to an action, had not their English friends, in the south, luckily, at this critical juncture, done them some service. A report was successfully propagated, "that the French were landed in the south;" and this was so generally believed by the English, that an express was sent to inform the Duke thereof; whereupon he halted a day for further information, and sent orders to Oglethorpe to discontinue the pursuit, and march towards his army. Still more happy, indeed, had it been for Ascanius, if this report had been grounded on fact; but the seas were so well guarded by the English fleet, that though a strong squadron of French men of war had been fitted out, with a great many transports, having a considerable body of forces on board, yet they durst not venture out of port. But the report was of great service to Ascanius, for had not the Duke and Oglethorpe been thus retarded, he would have been forced to halt; and though the General's troops were as much fatigued and disordered by their forced march as his, yet they would, at least, have been able to obstruct his retreat until the Duke came up, and then the action must have been decisive; for the harassed adventurers could have little hopes of victory over an army so much superior in all respects.
However, on the 14th, upon better information, the Duke ordered Oglethorpe to continue the pursuit, whilst himself followed as fast as possible. On the 15th Ascanius arrived at Kendal in Westmoreland, and marched next day for Penrith in Cumberland, the English following with great celerity. On the 18th, the Duke, with the king's own regiment of dragoons, and Kingston's new-raised light horse, came up with the rear of the adventurers, after a fatiguing ten hours march. Ascanius was then at Penrith, and knew not that his rear was in so much danger till it was over; for, on sight of the English, Lord George Murray, who commanded the rear, in conjunction with Lord Elcho, ordered his men to halt in a village called Clifton, and there receive their attack. Meantime, the Duke, whose capacity as a soldier all impartial persons must acknowledge to be consummate, made every necessary disposition for driving the adventurers from their post. The attack was resolutely made, and as resolutely opposed. The Highlanders being much sheltered by the walls and hedges, from behind which they fired with great security, lost very few men, nor had the assailants time to receive any great loss, night being so far advanced before the action was well begun, that it was soon ended. The adventurers (who must have been overpowered by numbers, had the action happened in the day) abandoned the village, continuing their retreat to Penrith, where they joined Ascanius before midnight. The darkness of the night, added to the closeness of the country, which was extremely rough and covered with wood land, obliged the English to discontinue the pursuit till morning. Their loss in the action was about twenty men and officers killed, and thirty wounded. Ascanius' troops suffered no loss, only Captain George Hamilton, of Colonel John Roy Stuart's regiment, was taken prisoner; he made a stout resistance, and killed two troopers with his own hand, but was at last dangerously wounded in the head and on the shoulder by one of the Austrian hussars, who voluntarily served the Duke.
Next morning Ascanius arrived at Carlisle, after a miserable march all night. The same morning also, the Duke marched for that city, and in his rout he gleaned up the stragglers, the weak, the weary, the sick, and the wounded adventurers, about 100 men, who were confined in the country jails.
The 20th, the English advanced to Hesket, within a short day's march of Carlisle. At the same time Ascanius left that city, continuing his march for Scotland; he forded the river Esk, though at that time very much swollen, and many of his men were drowned; he was forced, against his will, to leave a small garrison at Carlisle, in order to stop the Duke, and prevent his pursuing him into Scotland, at least, not so soon as to force him to an engagement, before he had got recruits of men, money and spirits. It was with regret, I say, that he left any garrison in Carlisle, for he well knew that they must be sacrificed to his convenience; but he was over persuaded by Mr. Sullivan, who insisted that he ought to improve this opportunity, and run the hazard of sacrificing a few of his followers to the safety of himself and all the rest, who had so cheerfully ventured their lives, and experienced so many hardships in their unfortunate expedition into England, particularly the Manchester regiment.
This small garrison, animated with a greater share of courage and fidelity to the cause they had embraced, than of prudence or human foresight, resolved obstinately to defend the city. They were greatly spirited up by Mr. John Hamilton of Aberdeenshire, their governor, who represented unto them, "That it was both their duty, and the most honourable thing they could do, to defend the place to the last extremity. The place is," said he, "both by art and nature, pretty strong, and we have artillery enough: the English have no cannon, nor can speedily bring any hither, so that we may, doubtless, hold out a month; mean time, Ascanius will certainly do all in his power to relieve us, and who knows how for it may be yet in his power? Besides, the English may not, perhaps, when they see us resolute, stay to besiege us in form, but follow our friends into Scotland; in which case you may do Ascanius some service, by employing part of the enemy's troops to look after us, and thereby, in some measure, pave the way to his being a match for them in the field; whereas, at present, he is in danger of being overwhelmed by numbers."
On the 22d, the Duke's army entirely invested Carlisle, it being thought proper to reduce this important key of the kingdom before the army marched after Ascanius, into Scotland. This step was disapproved of by many of the government's friends, who objected, "That the Duke's army was amusing itself with a trifling siege, while Ascanius was suffered to escape and had time given him to strengthen himself by a juncture of the several corps his friends had been raising for him in Scotland, during his excursion to the southward." But these censurers were doubtless unacquainted with the Duke's reasons for not immediately following his enemies out of England. They did not consider that he might, by the time he got to Carlisle, be convinced that he could never overtake or bring Ascanius to a battle, unless the latter pleased: that though he might again come up with his rear, yet it would be still as difficult to bring the main body into action, since, as before, the rear would cover the retreat of the rest; and further, that it could be of little advantage to the English interest to harass and weaken their army, by forced marches and skirmishes with the adventurers, who might, at least, lead them into such a country, as they would find it difficult to subsist in, and in the end, perhaps, become the weaker party, and have their own retreat into England cut off.
As the army under the Duke was destitute of the artillery and ammunition proper for a siege, it sat still before the place till the 26th, when being amply provided with all things necessary, two batteries were raised, which played upon the city, from the 28th to the 30th, in the morning; when the garrison, having no prospect of relief from their friends in Scotland, and fearing to be reduced by storm, hung out the white flag to capitulate; however, the best terms they could obtain was, that they should not be massacred, but reserved for the king's pleasure; which they were forced to accept, and the English took possession of the city the same day. In this affair, besides the men, they lost 16 pieces of ordnance, being all that Ascanius brought with him into England. Of this garrison many were tried and condemned, and some executed, particularly John Hamilton, Esq. the governor, besides Colonel Townley of the Manchester regiment.
The Duke had no sooner reduced this city than he invested General Hawley with the chief command of the army, with order to march into Scotland, and there make such opposition to the motions of Ascanius, as the future circumstances of affairs should direct; meanwhile, the Duke returned to his father's court, there to concert measures for entirely completing the ruin of the adventurers.
Let us now follow the indefatigable Ascanius into Scotland, where we shall find him emerging from his late disgrace, and carrying his affairs to a higher pitch of prosperity than ever. But I know not if it be proper to look upon that as a disgrace, which was not the want of any vigilance or capacity in him, but of treachery or remissness, or want of sincerity in those who made great professions of zeal for his interest, and who, after having drawn him into a vain dependence upon them, remained idle spectators of the danger they had run him into.
December 22d, Ascanius, who had divided his forces on the borders of Scotland, marched with the largest body, about 4000 men, to Dumfries, where he demanded of the inhabitants £2000 contribution money; of this £1100 was immediately paid, and hostages for the rest. From this he moved northward on the 23d, and the 25th arrived at Glasgow, choosing rather to take possession of that town (of which he resolved to raise another large contribution, for its active zeal against his party while he was in the south,) than to attempt the recovery of Edinburgh, which the English had now put into a much better posture of defence than it was when he took it. Glasgow was also the more obnoxious to him, as it had ever been distinguished for disaffection to his kingdom, particularly in the reigns of Charles and James II and was considered as the principal fountain of whiggism in the north.
Accordingly, he quartered his troops for several days upon the inhabitants, and, before he left the city, obliged them to furnish him with necessaries to the value of £10,000 Sterling. And now it was, that he formed a design of laying siege to Stirling, one of the strongest and most important places in Scotland. As all his forces would be wanted to carry on this siege, he dispatched letters to Lords Drummond and Gordon, the master of Lovat, and other chiefs in the north, to advance with their troops, and meet him betwixt Perth and Stirling. These chiefs had with them a considerable treasure, which had been landed from on board some Spanish privateers; also some artillery, ammunition, and other stores. Lord Gordon had likewise raised a vast sum of money in Scotland, part of which was voluntarily contributed, and the rest levied under pain of military execution: he and the other chiefs had also taken other vigorous methods for serving their party. The Hazard sloop of war, which the adventurers had taken from the English, they fitted out for their own service, as also a stout privateer at Montrose, and an armed sloop at Perth.
January 3d, 1745-6, Ascanius and the troops left Glasgow; and on the 5th, having got the best part of his forces together, he summoned the town of Stirling to surrender; but General Blackney, who commanded there for the King, gave him a flat denial, declaring, "He would sooner lose his life, than betray the trust that was reposed in him." However, the town being of no great strength, though the castle is, the inhabitants, after some hours spent in treaty, obtained their own terms of surrender, and next morning the adventurers took possession. But the resolute old Blackney retired with his troops into the castle, determined to defend it to the last extremity. He was again summoned to surrender, but to as little purpose as before; and therefore Ascanius prepared to besiege it in form with what artillery he had, which was insufficient for so considerable an undertaking.
Mean while, Lieutenant General Hawley, commander in chief of the English forces in Scotland, was assembling a strong, though not numerous army, in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, and having all things in order, he determined to march to the relief of Stirling castle; but first he detached Brigadier General Huske, (who was next in command under Hawley) with part of the army, to dislodge the Earl of Kilmarnock from Falkirk, where he lay with the young Adventurer's horse, and which, being of little use in a siege, he posted at this town, which lies in the direct road from Edinburgh to Stirling. On the first intelligence of Huske's approach, Kilmarnock retired to the rest of the army at Stirling, not having forces enough to engage the Brigadier General's troops; and thus the road being opened, the whole English army marched to Falkirk, where Ascanius resolved to give them the meeting.
Ascanius' affairs, not now in the same situation as when he was in England, encircled by the English, and without the least prospect of any reinforcements in case of a defeat, it was the highest prudence in him to avoid an engagement, and retire into Scotland before his retreat was cut off; but now at the head of a body of resolute fellows, elate and re-animated by their successful retreat, the fresh troops which had joined them, and the absence of the Duke from the English army, of which he was the very life and soul, he had little to fear as to the event of an engagement; he doubted not his troops in their own country, in which they had already been so successful, and in which he foresaw so many ways of retrieving the loss of a battle.
Hawley's design was to have attacked Ascanius, who, being sensible of the difference betwixt an army's attacking and being attacked, and of the usual disadvantage in the latter case, resolved to give the English battle, without giving them time to choose their ground. This he did with great success, on the 17th in the afternoon. The field of battle was the moor of Falkirk, about a mile distant from that town. Ascanius was informed that the English (who had made great haste to gain the rising ground on which they were posted), had left their cannon in their camp, and would find it very difficult to get any up the hill; therefore he resolved to attack them before they could get up their artillery.
The English army, though formed in a hurry, advanced in good order, the dragoons on the left, and the infantry in two lines. When the adverse parties came within little more than musket-shot of each other. Hawley ordered the dragoons to fall on sword in hand, and the foot to advance, at the same time to give the adventurers a close fire. But before they could execute these directions, a smart fire from the latter put the dragoons into some disorder, and at the same time the English battalions, firing without orders, increased the confusion; and the dragoons falling in upon the foot, occasioned their making only one irregular fire before they began to retreat. Barrel's and Ligonier's regiments, however, were immediately rallied by Brigadier Cholmondeley, and Colonel Ligoniers. These troops made a brave stand, and repulsed the adventurers, who poured upon them very briskly. Mean time, General Huske, with great prudence and presence of mind, formed another body of foot in the rear of the above two regiments. General Mordaunt also rallied another corps of infantry; and, upon the whole, the English made a tolerable retreat to the camp at Falkirk.
This battle cannot properly be said to have been fought out; it had certainly been renewed, had not bad weather prevented it. The rain and wind were violent, and rendered the fire arms of little use.
The English, wanting their artillery, had no arms to oppose to the broad swords of the Highlanders, except their bayonets. During the action the artillery was drawn up the hill, but the owners of the draught horses, seeing the army in disorder, rode away with the horses so that none could be found to draw the useless cannon from the field; by which means the whole train (except one piece, which the grenadiers of Barrel's regiment yoked themselves to and carried off, and three others which the people at Falkirk furnished horses to draw away) fell into the hands of the adventurers.
The English at first (after quitting the field) determined to keep possession of their camp, and wait to see if Ascanius would attempt to dislodge them; but the rain coming on heavy, the tents were so wet, and so much of their ammunition spoiled, that it was judged proper to order the troops to the town of Linlithgow that night, purely for the sake of shelter; next day they continued their retreat, and in the evening took up their former retreat in and about Edinburgh, where they examined into their loss, and missed more officers in proportion than men. Thus far, all the facts I have mentioned, relating to the memorable battle of Falkirk, are admitted by the English: let us now consult the other party.
Narrative drawn up by Mr. Sheridan, and by him transmitted to the kings of France and Spain, the Pope, and other powers in alliance with the young Adventurer's family.
"After an easy victory, gained by 8000 over 12,000, we remained masters of the field of battle; but as it was near five o'clock before it ended, and as it required time for the Highlanders to recover their muskets, rejoin their colours, and form again in order, it was quite night before we could follow the fugitives.
"On the other hand, we had no tents nor provisions; the rain fell, and the cold sharp wind blew with such violence, that we must have perished had we remained all night on the field of battle; and as we could not return to our quarters without relinquishing the advantages of the victory, the Prince resolved, though without cannon or guides, and in extreme darkness, to attack the enemy in their camp, and the situation of it was very advantageous, and fortified by strong entrenchments: their solders were seized with such a panic on our approach, that they durst not stay therein, but fled towards Edinburgh, having first set fire to their tents.
"They had the start of us by an hour, and some troops which they left at Falkirk disputing our entrance gained them another hour, so that our cavalry being poorly mounted could not come up with them. Hence it was, that in a flight in which 5 or 6000 prisoners might have been taken, we did not make above 500, only half of which were regular troops. They had 600 slain, two-thirds whereof were horses and dragoons, but we know not exactly the number of their wounded. Our wounded were not above 150, and our slain only forty-three, officers included. We have taken 7 pieces of cannon, 3 mortars, 1 pair of kettle-drums, a pair of colours, 3 standards, 600 muskets, 4000 weight of powder, a large quantity of grenadoes, 25 waggons loaded with all kinds of military stores, tents for 470 men, and all the baggage that escaped the flames. Among their officers that fell, were 5 colonels and lieutenant colonels, with all the chiefs of their Highlanders and militia. Our Prince, who at the beginning of the action had been conjured, for the love of his troops, not to expose himself, was in the second line of the piquets; but as soon as the left wing was thrown into some disorder, he flew to their relief with an ardour that was not to be restrained. In the disposition of his troops, he followed the advice of Lord George Murray, who commanded the right wing, and fought on foot during the whole action at the head of his Highlanders.
"Lord John Drummond commanded the left, and distinguished himself extremely; he took two prisoners with his own hand, had his horse shot under him, and was wounded in the left arm with a musket ball. We should likewise do justice to the valour and prudence of several other officers, particularly Mr. Stapleton, brigadier in his Most Christian Majesty's army, and commander of the Irish piquets; Mr. Sullivan, quarter-master general of the army, who rallied part of the left wing; and Mr. Brown, colonel of the guards, and one of the aid-de camps, formerly of Major General Lalley's regiment."
Camp at Stirling,
Jan. 31, 1745-6, N.S.}
On the 18th, the day after the battle, Ascanius marched his army back to Stirling; and as he was satisfied that Hawley's design of relieving this fortress was disappointed, he again summoned Blackney, who answered, "That he had always been looked upon as a man of honour, and he would die so." Hereupon the besiegers erected new batteries to play upon the castle, and continued to ply it with small arms, which did little mischief; but they suffered pretty much from the fire of the garrison. This made the Highlanders soon grow tired of the siege, and their uneasiness was greatly increased by a scarcity of provisions, which obliged Ascanius to send out parties on all sides of the country, to carry off what corn and meal they could find.
In this siege we shall at present leave the adventurers engaged, but without any progress, disappointed of the succours they expected from France and Spain, and very much perplexed to find means of subsisting their troops.
When the news of the battle of Falkirk reached London, the government thought it highly necessary to take more vigorous measures for defeating the designs of the once formidable Ascanius, who was now more dreaded by the English than ever. The army in Scotland was so considerably reinforced as to free the English from their apprehensions of the further progress of the adventurers; but, as an invasion by the French and Spaniards was yet to be feared in England, it was judged unsafe to send many of its forces into Scotland. The Hessian troops in British pay, then lying in the neighbourhood of Antwerp, were ordered into the northern parts of Britain; some of them landed in the north of England, others in the south of Scotland, and immediately were assembled in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh under the Prince of Hesse, who had married a daughter of the King of England.
The troops under Hawley were extremely mortified at their late disgrace, and ardently wished for a speedy opportunity of retrieving their honour. In order to this, they were every day busied in preparations for marching to the relief of the gallant old Blackney, who still continued to defend Stirling castle with courage and constancy. In a few days the English army was in all respects in a better condition than before the action at Falkirk; and to animate the troops still more, January 30th, the young Duke arrived at Edinburgh. He was received by the army as its guardian angel, whose presence was a sure omen of victory; in short, his arrival banished all remembrance of the late disagreeable affair, and the soldier expressed unusual ardour to be led against the enemy, bad as the weather still continued.
The active and indefatigable Duke reviewed the troops the day after his arrival at Edinburgh, and immediately marched them towards Stirling in two columns, consisting of 14 battalions, besides the Argyleshire Campbells, and Cobbam's and Ker's dragoons. The first night, February 1st, eight battalions of this army took quarters in Linlithgow, where the Duke himself lay; Brigadier Mordaunt, with six battalions, lay at Borrowstounness, the dragoons in the adjacent villages, and the Campbells took post in the front of the army towards Falkirk, where Ascanius had stationed a considerable body, who thought it convenient to retire upon the approach of the English, and marching back in the night to Torwood, they were met by a courier from Ascanius, with orders to halt there until morning, when he intended to join them with the rest of the army from Stirling, and to give the Duke battle.
Next morning the English continued their march, and the officers and soldiers eager to come to a fresh trial with the adventurers; but hardly had they arrived when they received advice that the enemy, instead of preparing for battle, were repassing the Forth with great precipitation; and, to confirm this intelligence, they saw all the advanced guards retiring from their posts in great haste and confusion. This news was soon after put out of all doubt, by the noise of two great reports like the blowing up of magazines. Hereupon the Duke ordered Brigadier Mordaunt to put himself at the head of the Argyleshire troops and dragoons, and harass the adventurers in their retreat. Mordaunt began to execute this order with all alacrity and diligence imaginable and arrived late in the evening at Stirling, where he took possession of the camp, which Ascanius and his troops had abandoned, with all their artillery. They had blown up St. Ninian's church, in which they had a great magazine of powder and ball; the noise of this explosion was what the Duke's army heard, as before-mentioned.
The adventurers had also left behind them all the wounded men they had made prisoners at the battle of Falkirk, together with 19 of their own sick men.
As it was late when Mordaunt and his troops arrived at Stirling, and as the fugitives had broke down the bridge which crosses the river running by that town, it was judged unnecessary to continue the pursuit; accordingly the Brigadier halted there till next day at noon, when the Duke, with the rest of the army, joined them. Having thus particularly related the motions of one party, let us return and take a view of what Ascanius had been doing, and attend to an explanation of his motive for, and the obligations he was under of quitting the camp at Stirling, and retiring to the Highlands.
On the approach of the English towards Falkirk, the adventurers quartered there, retired to Torwood, as we have before observed, where Ascanius intended to join them in the morning and fight the Duke. To this end he called a council of war, to whom be communicated his purpose, and it was approved by the officers and the chiefs of the clans. However, when the troops were ordered to march, the Lowlanders, struck with a sudden panic on the retreat of the detached corps from Falkirk to Torwood, and the approach of the Duke with an army treble their number, were found to be all in disorder and confusion, scattered about the fields, and as it seemed, preparing rather to shift for themselves than to advance against the enemy. In vain did their leaders endeavour to re-inspire them with fresh courage, the dastardly Lowlanders were not to be re-animated: Not even the presence of the undaunted Ascanius, who appeared among them; nor all his commands, entreaties, reproaches, exhortations, in the least availed; they attended to nothing but their unaccountable panic and absolutely declared, they would not sacrifice themselves, nor madly throw away their lives, by engaging an enemy so vastly superior both in number and condition. Ascanius, seeing that it was in vain to waste his precious minutes on these troops, gave orders for their passing the Forth, and retiring towards Perth, while he, with his trusty Highlanders, would abide the coming of the enemy, and defend their camp to the last man; choosing rather to die on the spot than join in the ignominious flight of his troops.
As for the Highlanders, they were resolved to stand by him at all hazards, and to share in his fate, let it prove ever so desperate; however, a fresh council of war being held, the chiefs endeavoured to moderate the extreme ardour and forlorn resolution of the less experienced Ascanius, beseeching him not to hazard his all upon one desperate engagement.
Among others, the Duke of Perth strenuously opposed coming to action with the Duke, until their circumstances should become more favourable, and until they should have a better prospect of victory. In fine, it was at last thought expedient, to decline the battle for the present, and to march the whole army into the Highlands, where it was not in the least to be doubted but they should raise many recruits, and, in the end, either be able fairly to beat the English in a pitched battle, or to harass and ruin them, by terrible marches, fatigues, the badness of the country, and the rigour of the season, none of which they were so able to endure as the hardy natives.
In consequence of the above resolution, Ascanius, with a sorrowful heart, (for he little thought he should have been obliged to turn his back on the enemy so soon after the advantage he had gained at Falkirk,) gave orders that all the troops should quit the camp immediately, and follow the orders that had marched to pass the Forth. This was done with all possible speed; for the consequence might have been fatal, had they given the enemy time to come so nigh as to fall upon their rear and interrupt their retreat. I shall now give the reader the particulars of Ascanius' return to the Highlands, and the Duke's march after him, in the form of a diary, or journal, that the future transactions of each party, every day, from this period to the decisive battle of Culloden, may be the more regularly exhibited, and more clearly comprehended by the reader.
February 2d, 1746. Having broke down the bridge at Stirling, to retard the enemy's pursuit, the adventurers entirely quitted the neighbourhood of that town, separating themselves into different routs, though all led to the appointed general rendezvous in the Highlands. Part of them took the road by Tay bridge, directly towards the mountains; Ascanius, with the rest, consisting of Lord Gordon's and Lord Ogilvie's men, the French troops, and what horse the adventurers had, got to Perth the same evening.
The same day the Duke entered Stirling, where he received the compliments of General Blackney and the officers of the garrison on this memorable occasion; while this young Prince was pleased to testify his extreme satisfaction with regard to the good defence the General had made, by which a place of so much importance had been preserved, and the designs of his dangerous rival Ascanius defeated. Mean while, pursuant to the Duke's orders, many hands were employed in repairing the bridge; it being intended to march the army over it, and follow the fugitives into the mountains.
On the 3d, in the morning, Ascanius and his people quitted Perth, and marched northwards; Lord John Drummond, with the remains of the Scottish and Irish troops, which he had brought from France, made directly for Montrose. The adventurers left behind them, at Perth, 13 pieces of iron cannon nailed up; and they flung a great quantity of ammunition into the river, with 14 swivel guns, which they had taken out of the Hazard sloop.
February 4th, The bridge being repaired, the army passed over, and the advanced guard, consisting of the Argyleshire Highlanders and the dragoons, marched that night as far as Crieff, but the foot were cantoned in and about Dumblain, where the Duke took up his quarters that evening.
Next day the Duke's advanced guards took possession of Perth. Mean while, the adventurers continued their retreat northward, in which we will leave them for a while, and make a short reflection on one of the most surprising instances of the greats effect of a General's reputation than any history hath ever exhibited.--In the space of a single week, the Duke of Cumberland posted from his father's court, travelled about 300 miles in the midst of winter, put himself at the head of the forces in Scotland, and saw his enemies flying before him with precipitation; those very enemies who, in his absence, despised those troops by whom they were now pursued, were grown terrible to the fliers, chiefly on account of only one single person's having resumed the command of them. Should the Duke's best friends endeavour to heighten this event, by any strains of compliment or panegyric, they would only obscure it; the bare recital of fact is the noblest eulogy.
Ascanius was very sensible how much the news of his retreat would alarm his friends both at home and abroad; therefore he caused several printed papers to be dispersed, setting forth his reasons for taking this step; beside those already mentioned, the following were assigned, viz. That as his men, particularly the Highlanders, were loaded with the booty they had collected in England and Scotland, it was very proper to let them convey it home, where it might be lodged in safety; and further, that this would secure to them an acquired property, for which they would, doubtless, fight valiantly to the last, and be induced to stand by the Prince, not only on his account, but also on their own; and, after so fatiguing a campaign, to allow his troops some relaxation; after which, when well refreshed and recruited, they would not fail to make another irruption into the Lowlands the next Spring.
Ascanius had also other reasons, which he did not think proper publicly to divulge: he judged, that by removing the war into the Highlands, and by spreading reports of the severities of the enemy's troops, his men would be the better kept together, which he now found difficult to do, and would also contribute to increase the number of his followers. He also judged, that this would furnish his friends in France and Spain with an opportunity to attempt an invasion in the south, which would be a means to free him from all his difficulties. He had likewise a great desire to make himself master of the fortifications which run along the north of Scotland, viz. Fort-William, Fort-Augustus, and Fort-George, the last being the castle of Inverness; by taking these places he would be able to secure the country behind him, and thereby afford means for his friends abroad, to land the reinforcements, of which he had received large promises.
But the Duke, who had intelligence of all the enemy's motions, from the spies he had among them, easily penetrated all their views, and took the most proper measures for defeating them. He marched the army, by different roads, to Aberdeen, where he resolved to fix his headquarters, raise magazines, and receive such succours and supplies as should come by sea from England. Nor were the adventurers able to surprise any of these separate corps, each detachment being capable to make a stout resistance in case of an attack.
He stationed the Hessian troops, and some corps of English, at the castles of Blair and Menzies, at Perth, Dunkeld, and other places, by which he secured the passage into the Lowlands, and put it out of the power of the adventurers to return that way into the south. The Argyleshire men, under their warlike leader, General Campbell, undertook the defence of Fort-William, a place, at that time, of infinite importance, as it secured another passage through the west of Scotland, by which Ascanius could have made his way into England a second time.
Having taken these precautions, the Duke set out for Aberdeen, where he arrived on the 28th of February. The necessary dispositions being made, the Georgian generals judged it necessary to make examples of some who had heretofore misbehaved; in order to which a court martial was held at Montrose, by which Captain ****, in the artillery, who had deserted the train in the action at Falkirk, was sentenced to have his sword broke over his head by the provost, his sash thrown on the ground and himself turned out of the army; and this was executed at the head of the artillery. A lieutenant, in Fleming's regiment, was broke for disobeying orders, and prevaricating before a court martial, on account of plundering Mr. Oliphant's house of Gask, a zealous adventurer, and who was at that time with Ascanius in the mountains. From this, and other instances which could be produced, all impartial men must own, that the burnings, plunderings, and devastations of the houses and estates of the adventurers, whereof the king's troops have been accused, were not connived at, nor permitted with so much impunity, as reported by some over-zealous people. Let us now return to Ascanius, who made it his first care to become master of Inverness.
Lord Loudon was then there, with about 1600 of the new-raised men before-mentioned. With these he marched out to fight the adventurers; but, upon their approach, finding them much stronger than he expected, he retreated and abandoned the town of Inverness without the loss of a man, leaving Major Grant, with two independent companies, in the castle, with orders to defend it to the last extremity.
These orders were, however, but indifferently obeyed, for Ascanius no sooner appeared before the place than the hearts of the garrison began to fail, and after a very short siege he became master of the town and castle, where he fixed his head quarters.
Besides the 4000 troops which now lay at Inverness, Ascanius had several detached parties abroad, and some of these falling upon several small corps of the Duke's Highlanders, stationed about the castle of Blair, defeated them. These successes raised the spirits of the whole party of adventurers, notwithstanding the badness of the quarters, want of pay, scarcity of provisions, and other inconveniences.
And now, in spite of all the difficulties Ascanius lay under, he resolved to prosecute his design upon Fort-Augustus and Fort-William: the former of these was accordingly attacked, in which was only three companies of Guise's regiment, commanded by Major Wentworth, so that it was speedily reduced and demolished; which was the fate that Fort-George (the castle of Inverness) had already met with: a clear demonstration that Ascanius did not now think it necessary to have a garrison in that part of the country. But being still incommoded by Lord Loudon, who lay at the back of the adventurers, with only the Firth of Murray between them, the Duke of Perth, the Earl of Cromarty, and some other chiefs, resolved to attempt the surprising of Loudon, by the help of boats, which they drew together on their side of the Firth. By favour of a fog they executed their scheme so effectually, that, falling unexpectedly upon the Earl's forces, they cut them off, made a good many officers prisoners, and forced Loudon to retire with the rest out of the county of Sutherland.
But though these advantages made much noise, and greatly contributed to keep up the spirits of Ascanius' party, yet in the end they proved but of littler service to him. Money now was scarce with him, and supplies both at home and abroad fell much short of his expectation; and his people began to grumble for their pay, and demanded their arrears, which could not be speedily satisfied; a sure presage of the ruin of his whole party. Let us now return to the Duke, and see what he has been doing since we conducted him to Aberdeen.
Though the rigour of the season, the badness of the roads, and the difficulty of supporting so many men as he had under his command, were sufficient to exercise the abilities of the most experienced general, yet the Duke disposed them in such a manner as proved effectual, both for safety and subsistence, and at the same time, took care to distress the adventurers as such as possible; for the very day after he came to Aberdeen, he detached the Earl of Ancram with 100 dragoons, and Major Morris with 300 foot, to the castle of Corgarf, at the head of the river Don, 40 miles from Aberdeen, and in the heard of the country then possessed by the adventurers, and wherein they had a large magazine of arms and ammunition, which the Earl had orders to seize or destroy. This was executed with great facility; for, upon his Lordship's approach, the garrison abandoned the place with precipitation, not taking time to carry off their stores. However, for want of horses, he could not carry off all the booty, and was forced to destroy most of the arms, and above 30 barrels of powder.
March 16th, The Duke received advice, that Colonel Roy Stuart, one of the chiefs of the adventurers, had posted himself at Strathbogie, with 1000 foot and a troop of hussars. Hereupon Lieutenant General Bland was sent, with a strong detachment to attack him, and Brigadier General Mordaunt was ordered after him with another party, to support Bland if occasion should be. The next day Bland arrived at Strathbogie, but as soon as Stuart perceived the enemy, he quitted the place, and retired towards Keith. Though the weather was wet and hazy, yet the Marquis of Granby, Conway, and Captain Holden, with the volunteers, continued the pursuit. But fortune, though she had thus far seemed to favour these gentlemen, played them a slippery trick at last; for Bland detached a captain of Argyleshire Campbell's, with 70 of his men, and 30 of Kingston's horse, to clear the village of Keith, and then rejoin the army; they, contrary to these directions, ventured to quarter in the place that night. This gave the adventurers an opportunity to surprise the captain and his party, which they improved; for, returning to Keith in the night, they surrounded it, entered it at both ends, and furiously attacked the Argyleshire-men, who defended themselves with great resolution, but were at last most of them cut to pieces; however, they sold their lives very dear. The Duke of Kingston's horse did not come off much better, the cornet who commanded them escaping with only one third of his men. But this accident made the Duke's people more circumspect for the future, and nothing of that kind happened afterwards. Indeed the dispositions made by the Duke, put all attempts of that sort out of the power of Ascanius, who watched for such opportunities, and, had they occurred, he would doubtless have improved them to the utmost; though at that time unable to encounter the Georgians in the open field, had the adventurers found means to surprise them, they might have ended the dispute at one blow, and Ascanius had perhaps been enabled to make a second and more successful expedition into England.
The Duke's army was cantoned in three divisions. The first line, consisting of six battalions; Kingston's horse and Cobham's dragoons, lay at Strathbogie, within eleven miles of the river Spey, and was commanded by the Earl of Albemarle, assisted by Major General Bland. The second line, consisting of six battalions, and Lord Mark Ker's dragoons, lay at Aberdeen; and the third line, or corps of reserve, consisting of three battalions, with four pieces of cannon, was stationed at Old Meldrum, half-way betwixt Strathbogie and Aberdeen.
Brigadier Stapleton, of his Most Christian Majesty's forces, was sent by Ascanius to besiege Fort-William; he had with him a large corps of the best adventurers, and a pretty good train of artillery, and arrived at Glenavis, in the neighbourhood of this fortress, March 3d. About this time, his detachment took a boat belonging to the Baltimore sloop, Captain Howe, employed in the service of the garrison of Fort-William. On the other hand, Captain Askew, of the Servant sloop, sent his own boat, with another of the Baltimore's, and a third that belonged to the garrison, and forced Stapleton's people from the narrows of Carron, where they were posted, and made themselves masters of all the boats they had in these parts; this was on March 4th, and proved a most important and well-timed piece of service to the government.
As the siege of Fort-William was the only regular operation of that kind which happened in the continuance of this civil war, a journal of it, as drawn up by an officer employed in the siege, may not be unacceptable to the reader.
Of the Siege of FORT-WILLIAM.
March 14th, The adventurers continuing in the neighbourhood of Fort-William, and the garrison at last perceiving that they were to undergo a siege, began to heighten the parapets of their walls, on the side where they apprehended the attack would be made. This work lasted a whole week, and the two faces of the bastions were raised 7 feet high.
15th, A detachment of the garrison, with some men belonging to the sloops of war before mentioned, went in armed boats to attempt the destroying of Kilmady Barns, commonly called the Corpoch. Stapleton having notice of their motions, and suspecting their intention, sent out a strong party to frustrate it; however, the falling of the tide contributed as much as any thing to the miscarriage of this scheme. Some firing indeed passed on both sides, but little damage was done on either. On the side of the garrison, a sailor was killed, and three men were wounded; the adventurers had five men wounded, four of them mortally.
18th, The Baltimore went up towards Kilmady Barns, in order to cover the landing of some men for a fresh attempt upon the place. They threw some cohorn shells, and set one hovel on fire; but the king's party were, nevertheless, prevented from landing the Adventurer's party firing upon them, with great advantage, from behind the natural entrenchments of a hollow road or till. The Baltimore's guns being only 4 pounders, had no effect upon the stone walls of the Corpoch; however, the sloop and the king's forces retired without any damage. On the side of the adventurer's, one of their principal engineers was killed, but no other hurt. This day, 3 sentinels and a drummer of Guise's regiment, who had been taken at Fort Augustus, made their escape from the Highlanders, and got safe into Fort-William.
On the 20th, several parties of the garrison being appointed to protect their turf-diggers, frequent skirmishes happened between them and Stapleton's people; but as both parties skulked behind crags and rocks, so neither received any damage.
The same evening the adventurers opened the siege, discharging at the fort, 17 royals, or small bombs, of 5 inches and a half diameter, weighing about 16 and 18 pounds each, and loaded with 14 ounces of powder; these were played off from a battery erected on a small hill, named the Sugar-loaf, about 800 yards off, which being at too great distance, the ordnance did little execution, the greatest part falling short. On the other hand, the garrison answered the besiegers, with 8 bombs of 18 inches diameter, 6 cohorns, one 12 pounder, and 2 swivels.
21st, The adventurers finding that their batteries were too far off, erected a new one at the foot of the Cow-hill, about 400 yards off, from which, between 12 and 4 in the morning, they discharged 84 of their royals, which did little damage, except penetrating through the roofs of several houses, and slightly wounding three men. The garrison this day answered the besiegers, with 20 bombs, 9 cohorns, 36 pounders, and 2 swivels.
22nd, The besiegers opened their battery of cannon, from Sugar-loaf hill, consisting only of 3 guns, 6 and 4 pounders, but discharged only 7 times, and that without doing any damage. About 12 o'clock, the same day, General Stapleton sent a French drum to the fort, upon whose approach, and beating a parley, Captain Scott, commander of the garrison, asked him what he came about? The drummer answered, that General Stapleton, who commanded the siege, by directions from Ascanius, had sent a letter to the commanding officer of the garrison requiring him to surrender. To this Captain Scott replied, I will receive no letters from rebels, and am determined to defend the fort to the last extremity. The drummer returning to Stapleton with this answer, a close bombarding ensued on both sides for some hours; but at last the garrison silenced the besiegers, by beating down their principal battery. However, about ten that night, they opened another bomb-battery, near the bottom of the Cow-hill, about 300 yards off, from which, and from their battery upon Sugar-loaf hill, they discharged, before three in the morning, 194 of their royals, and six cannon, against the fort; but all this without doing any other mischief than the demolition of the roofs of a few houses. The garrison did not return them one shell, but kept all their men within doors, except the piquet to stand by the fire engine; the governor and most of the officers being upon the ramparts.
23d, As soon as day light appeared, the garrison fired 23 bombs, 2 cohorns, 2 twelve pounders, 7 six pounders, and 6 swivels, at the besieger's batteries, some of which tore up their platforms. The adventurers, in return, fired as briskly as they were able upon the fort, but it did the besieged no other damage than shooting off the leg of a private soldier.
The same day, about 3 in the afternoon, some vessels appeared with supplies for the besieged, who, on sight of the ships, all at once discharged eight 12 pounders, two 6 pounders, 2 bombs, and some cohorns against the besieger's batteries, which were so well levelled as to do great execution, and occasioned much confusion among the adventurers, who, besides the damage done their batteries, had several men killed, and many wounded; however, to cheer the men, the officers gave out, that they would certainly burn the fort within four hours after their next new battery was erected; and accordingly, all this evening the people were employed in erecting another work, or battery, under cover of their cannon, and at the distance of 300 yards, at the foot of the Cow-hill.
24th, Neither party fired much, and the garrison employed most part of the day in getting their supplies of provisions on shore.
25th, At day break, Captain Scott sent out a party, to a place about six miles off, to bring in some cattle. The adventurers fired very briskly this morning, and the garrison plied them a little with their mortars and guns. About 3 in the afternoon, the aforementioned party returned with nineteen good bullocks and cows. The same evening, another detachment went from the fort for another prize of bullocks, with order to pass the narrows of Carron, and to get off all they could from the adjacent estates of the adventurers.
26th, The garrison fired slowly at the besieger's batteries on the hills; and, as the latter only fired from two, the former perceived that they had dismounted the third. In the afternoon, the last mentioned party returned with a booty of black cattle and sheep, from the country near Ardshiels, they also brought in four prisoners, one of whom was dangerously wounded; they had likewise burned two villages belonging to one of the chiefs of the adventurers, with the whole estate of the unfortunate Appin.
The same night Captain Scott went out and dammed up some drains near the walls of the fort, in hopes of rainy weather, to make a small inundation; and with some prisoners raised the glacis, or rather parapet, to 7 feet. For want of pallisades, the garrison could not make a right covered way; but then this might hinder the besiegers from seeing the foot of their walls.
27th, At day-break, the adventurers opened their new battery of four embrazures, but only with 3 guns, 6 pounders, with which, however, they fired very briskly; but the garrison plying them with their mortars and guns, silenced one of the besieger's guns before 8 in the morning. About 9 the magazine battery of the besieger's was set on fire, and it blew up. This day the garrison received no other damage than the wounding of 2 men and the governor's horse in the stable. The adventurers had 3 men killed, and 9 dangerously wounded.
31st, Captain Scott ordered 12 men from each company to march out to the crags, about 100 yards from the walls, where the adventurers had a battery; which, after some dispute, and the loss of a sergeant of the Argyleshire Highlanders, the men from the garrison made themselves master of. The victors brought off from this battery, 3 brass field pieces, 4 pounders, and 2 cohorns, from which the besiegers threw their shells; also, another brass cannon, 6 pounder, which being too heavy to draw in, they spiked and left under the wall, whence they afterwards dismounted it by cannon-shot. The other large cannon and mortars, on that battery, they likewise spiked and left there, and brought away 2 prisoners. The adventurers, however, still continued with 5 cannon they had yet mounted, to give the garrison all the disturbance in their power, and destroyed the roofs of most of the houses; but they did not mind that, the men being safe.
April 3d, The adventurers received orders from Ascanius to quit the siege immediately, and to join him at Inverness with all possible speed. Hereupon General Stapleton retired from the place with the utmost precipitation, and repaired to Inverness.
As soon as Captain Scott perceived they had turned their backs on the fort, he detached a party which secured 8 pieces of cannon and 7 mortars, the adventurers not having time to carry off such cumbersome movables. the miscarriage of this enterprise may be considered as the immediate prelude to the many disasters which afterwards befel the adventurers, one misfortune immediately following upon the heels of another, till their affairs became quite desperate, and their force entirely crushed by the decisive action of Culloden.
The reason of this sudden and hasty retreat of the adventurers from before Fort-William, was the necessity Ascanius was under of drawing together all his forces in the neighbourhood of Inverness, upon the approach of the Duke of Cumberland with his army. But before we come to treat of the measures taken by the adventurers after the raising of this siege, it is requisite that we give some account of another misfortune that befel them, which was no less fatal in its consequences.
We have already observed that they were in great distress for money and other necessaries, and waited impatiently for a supply from France, which they hoped (notwithstanding the miscarriage of so many vessels that had been fitted out of Scotland) would soon arrive on board the Hazard sloop, which they had named the Prince Charles Snow, and which they had intelligence was at sea with a considerable quantity of treasure from France, and a number of experienced officers and engineers, who were very much wanted.
March 25th, This long-looked for vessel arrived in Tongue Bay, into which she was followed by the Sheerness sloop of war, Captain O'Brian, who immediately attacked her. In the engagement the Hazard had many men killed, and not a few wounded; so that, unable to maintain the fight, she ran ashore on the shallows, where the Sheerness could not follow her, and there landed her men and money. The place on which she ran ashore, after being chased 50 leagues, was in the Lord Rea's country, and it happened there were then in his Lordship's house, his son Captain Mackay, Sir Henry Monroe, Lord Charles Gordon, Captain McLeod, and about 80 of Lord Loudon's men, who had retired thither, when the adventurers, under the Duke of Perth and the Earl of Cromarty, attacked them by boats, as hath been before related. These gentlemen, having animated the soldiers, advanced against the people who had landed from the Hazard, and, though the latter were superior in number, gained a complete victory, without much bloodshed on either side: for not much above four men of the adventurers fell, and not one of the other party, though many were wounded. Besides five chests of money, and a considerable quantity of arms, the victors took 156 officers, soldiers, and sailors, prisoners, with whom they embarked on board the Sheerness, and sailed directly for Aberdeen, in company with another prize which Captain O'Brian had taken in the Orkney's. The money, exclusive of one chest which was missing, and what had been taken out of another that was broken, amounted to 12,500 guineas; and amongst the prisoners were 41 experienced officers, who had been long either in the French or Spanish service.
At the same time that Ascanius employed so many of his forces attacking Fort-William, he sent another body, commanded by Lord George Murray, to make a little attempt upon the castle of Blair, the principal seat of the Duke of Athol, but of no great force, and in which there was only a small garrison, under the command of Sir Andrew Agnew; which siege, or rather blockade, Lord George raised with the same hurry on the approach of the Earl of Crawford, with a party of English and Hessian's, as Stapleton did that of Fort-William, upon the very same day, and from the very same motives.
Having thus, in as clear and succinct a manner possible, run through all the operations of the adventurers, and shewn how their several bodies were drawn off, in order to join the corps under Ascanius at Inverness, and enable him to make a stand there, in case the Duke of Cumberland should pay him a visit on that side the Spey; let us now return to the latter, whom we left properly disposed to march as soon as the season and roads would permit, in hopes of putting an end to all the future hopes of Ascanius by one general and decisive action.
The Duke's troops, notwithstanding the severity of the winter, and the fatigues they had endured, by making a double campaign, were at the beginning of April, so well refreshed, and in such excellent order, that they were in all respects fit for service; and so far from apprehending any thing from the impetuosity of the Highland adventurers, or the advantage they had in lying behind a very deep and rapid river, that they shewed the greatest eagerness to enter upon action. But, though the Duke encouraged, and took every possible measure to keep up this ardour in his army, yet he acted with great deliberation, and did not move till the weather was settled, when there was no danger that the cavalry should suffer for want of forage.
At length, April 8th, the Georgian army moved from Aberdeen, and encamped on the 11th at Culloden, where the Earl of Albemarle joined them. Here, all the troops being assembled, the Duke gave orders for their immediately passing the river Spey. Meantime, Ascanius was continually busied in a council of war, which was held day and night, and in which it was debated whether or not they should suffer the Georgians to pass the river, and then to come to action; or whether they should defend the banks in order to gain time, by obliging the Duke to remain on the other side. Ascanius, with the warmth of a young general, argued for the latter measure; but most of the other chiefs were of opinion that it would be less hazardous to adhere to the first. The old Duke of Athol, alias the Marquis of Tullibardine, with great coolness and judgment, advised to give the enemy a free passage, if it should prove that they really were determined to attempt it. "They are (said he) well provided with cannon and engineers, of both which we are in great want. Consequently they have it in their power to cover the passage of their troops, and mow down whole ranks on the opposite shore, while we are destitute of the like means for opposing them with any prospect of success; and what other means can we trust to? To our swords and small fire arms we cannot, for their cannon will not suffer us to come within musket-shot of the river. In short, I believe no gentleman here, can (after mature consideration) reasonably hope for success by attempting to hinder the enemy's passage. If we do attempt to hinder them and prove unable, we are ruined inevitably; it will be impossible to rally and bring our men to renew the conflict, after our enemies have got ample footing on this side the river. And, on the other hand, will it not, at the same time, be too late to make any other retreat than a mere flight for our lives; and after such flight, can we ever hope to face the enemy again? but if we remain here, and suffer them to pass over us, we have a fairer chance; we shall then have time enough to get ready for a regular action, or a regular retreat, according as circumstances occur. If we fight, we have the same advantage that we had at Gladsmuir and Falkirk; if we retreat, we may take our time, and having a sufficient distance betwixt us and the enemy, may march off either in the day or night, and shall have leisure enough to cover our rear. I said, we have the same advantage as at Falkirk and Gladsmuir, and I may further add, that we have also a chance which cannot turn out to our disadvantage, and may prove of infinite service to us; if we come to action with the enemy, after they are entirely on this side the Spey, and gain an entire victory over them, we may possibly cut them entirely off, before they can find means to repass the river: In this case, their force in Scotland will be absolutely ruined, we shall carry all before us in this kingdom, and perhaps none on this side London shall be able to stop our progress: one lucky battle may yet put us in possession of that capital."
The noble old Lord pronounced the latter part of his speech with so warm an emphasis, as produced a great effect on the young officers, and even upon Ascanius: however after a long debate, it was resolved to follow the Marquis's advice, and suffer the enemy to pass the river without opposition; in the mean time, Ascanius prepared to attack the Duke. Nor was he disheartened by his enemy's superior numbers, whom, however, he did not despise, though he had already twice vanquished them; and much less did he despise the known valour and capacity of the Duke, aspiring to no greater honour than the vanquishing of so noble an enemy.
Early in the morning of April 12th, fifteen companies of English grenadiers, the Argyleshire and other Highlanders of that party, and all the Duke's cavalry, advanced towards the Spey, under the conduct of the Duke, assisted by Major General Huske. They no sooner arrived on the banks of the river, than the cavalry began to pass it, under cover of two pieces of cannon. Mean time, about 2000 adventurers, who had been posted near to this part of the river, retired as the enemy passed over; and thereupon Ascanius began to call in his out parties, as was before related.
Kingston's horse were the first that forded the river, sustained by the grenadiers and Highlanders; the foot waded over as fast as they arrived, and though the water was rapid, and some places so deep that it came up to their breasts, they went through with great cheerfulness, and without any other loss than one dragoon and four women. the Duke's army marched to Elgin and Forres the same day, and from thence to Nairn, where they halted on the 15th. Mean time, Ascanius was busied in preparing to attack the enemy, in encouraging his troops, and collecting his men, which, however, he had not time to do, and some of the clans did not arrive till it was too late; in short, his army, at this time, did not amount to more than 7000 men, so that it was no extraordinary thing for the Georgians, much superior in number, to defeat them, when animated and inspired by the presence and noble example of so gallant a general as the Duke.
The memorable battle of Culloden was fought on the 16th of April 1746. Ascanius had formed a design of surprising his enemies on the 15th while they were at Nairn, but was prevented by the vigilance and strict discipline of the Duke. The scene of battle was a moor not far from Inverness, and near Lord President Forbes's house, call Culloden-house, and from which the battle took its name. We have had several accounts of this important action, but the clearest, as well as the most authentic, is that dispatched by the Duke of Cumberland to the king his father, dated Inverness, April 18th; and to this I think it is best to adhere. Neither Ascanius, nor any one of his party, had an opportunity after the fight, during his stay in Scotland, to draw up an account of it; nor has he, or his friends, thought proper to give the world this satisfaction, though frequently solicited at the court of Versailles, to give a more succinct account of that day's action.
Account of the Battle of Culloden, drawn up by order of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland.
We gave our men a day's halt at Nairn, and on the 16th marched, between four and five, in four columns. The three lines of foot (reckoning the reserve for one) were broken into three from the right, which made three columns equal, and each of five battalions. The artillery and baggage followed the first column on the right and the cavalry made the fourth on the left.
After we had marched about eight miles, our advanced guards composed of about 40 of Kingston's horse, and the Highlanders led on by the Quarter-master-general, observed the rebels at some distance making a motion towards us on the left, upon which we immediately formed; but finding they were still a good way from us, and that the whole body did not come forward, we put ourselves again upon our march in our former posture, and continued it till within a mile of them, when we formed again the same order as before. After reconnoitering their situation, we found them posted behind some old walls and huts in a line with Culloden-house.
As we thought our right entirely secure, General Hawley and General Bland went to the left with two regiments of dragoons, to endeavour to fall upon the right flank of the enemy, and Kingston's horse were ordered to the reserve. Ten pieces of cannon were disposed, two in each of the intervals of the first line, and all our Highlanders (except about 140, which were upon the left with General Hawley, and behaved extremely well), were left to guard the baggage.
When we were advanced within 500 yards of the rebels, we found the morass upon our right was ended, which left our right flank quite uncovered to them. His Royal Highness thereupon ordered the Duke of Kingston's horse from the reserve, and a little squadron, of about 60 of Cobham's horse, that had been patrolling, to cover our flank; and Pultney's regiment was also ordered from the reserve, to the right of the royals.
We spent about have an hour, after that in trying which should gain the flank of the other; and, in the mean time, his Royal Highness sent Lord Bury (son to the Earl of Albemarle) forward, to within 100 yards of the enemy, to reconnoitre somewhat that appeared to us like a battery. On Lord Bury's approach, the enemy immediately began firing their cannon, which was extremely ill served and ill pointed. Ours as immediately answered them, and with great success, which began their confusion. They then came running on in their wild manner; and upon the right, where his Royal Highness and placed himself, imagining the greatest push would be made there, they came down there several times within 100 yards of our men, firing their pistols and brandishing their swords, but the Royals and Pultney's hardly took their fire-locks from their shoulders each time before the enemy retreated, abashed at the havoc made among them by the fire-arms of the English; so that, after these faint attempts, they made off, and the little squadron on our right was sent to pursue them.
Mean time, General Hawley had, by the help of our Highlanders, beat down two little stone walls, and came in upon the right flank of the enemy's line.
As their whole first line came down to attack all at once, their right somewhat out-flanked Barrel's regiment, which was our left, and the greatest part of the little loss we sustained was there; but Bligh's and Semple's giving a smart fire upon those who had out-flanked Barrel's soon repulsed them, and Barrel's regiment and the left of Monroe's fairly beat them with their bayonets; there was scarce a soldier or officer of Barrel's, or that part of Monroe's which engaged, who did not kill one or two men each, with their bayonets and their pontoons.
The cavalry, which had charged from the right and left, met in the centre, except two squadrons of dragoons, which he missed, and they were going in pursuit of the runaways, Lord Ancram was ordered to pursue with the horse as far as he could; and he did it with so good effect, that a very considerable number were killed in the pursuit.
As we were on our march to Inverness, and were near arrived there, Major General Bland sent a small packet to his Royal Highness, containing the terms of the surrender of the French officers and soldiers whom he found there; which terms were no other than to remain prisoners of war at discretion. Major General Bland had also made great slaughter, and had taken about 50 French officers and soldiers prisoners in the pursuit. By the best calculation that can yet be made, it is thought the rebels lost 2000 men upon the field of battle and in the pursuit.
I have omitted the lists, annexed to the above account, as well for the sake of brevity, as because they could not be exact at the time, but were afterwards much enlarged. Among the French prisoners were Brigadier Stapleton, and Marquis de Giles, (who acted as ambassador from the most Christian King to Ascanius) Lord Lewis Drummond, and above 40 officers more, who all remained prisoners at large in the town of Inverness, upon their parole of honour.
The loss on the side of the victors was but inconsiderable: The only persons of note killed, were Lord Robert Ker, Captain in Barrel's regiment; Captain Grosset, of Price's; Captain John Campbell, of the Argyleshire militia; besides these, about 50 private men were killed and 240 wounded.
The number of prisoners taken by the English in this signal victory, were 230 French, and 440 Scots, including a very few English of the adventuring party, who, unhappily for themselves, had continued in the army of Ascanius till this fatal day. All the artillery, ammunition, and other military stores of the adventurers, together with 12 colours, several standards, and amongst them Ascanius' own, fell into the hands of the victors. The Earl of Kilmarnock was taken in the action; Lord Balmerino, who at first was reported to be killed, was taken soon after by the Grants, and delivered up to the English. Four ladies who had been very active in the service of Ascanius, were likewise taken at Inverness, viz. Lady Kinloch, Lady Ogilvie, Lady McIntosh, and Lady Gordon.
Immediately after the adventurers had quitted the field, Brigadier Mordaunt was detached with 900 of the volunteers into Lord Lovat's country, to reduce the Frasers, and all others who should be found in arms there; and with the like view, other detachments were sent into the estates of most of the adventuring chiefs; which put it entirely out of Ascanius' power afterwards to get together any considerable number of troops. In short, the adventurers who escaped the battle, were now necessitated to separate into small parties, in order to shift the better for themselves.
The Earl of Cromarty was not at the battle. This Lord had been ordered by Ascanius into his own country to raise men and money. But this order proved fatal to the Earl, who, almost at the very instant when Ascanius was defeated at Culloden, was taken prisoner by a party of Lord Rea's men, and a few others, who surprised his Lordship, his son Captain McLeod, and a great many other officers, with above 150 private men; they were conveyed on board the Hound sloop of war and carried to Inverness.
That the reader, whether Englishman, Scotsman, Frenchman, or of any other nation, may know in what light the Georgians, in general, looked upon this important event, I shall quote a reflection from a writer, who though a zealous Whig, has honestly and impartially summed up and repeated, only what was about this time remarked in almost all companies, both public and private.
"Thus, (says he) the flame of this rebellion, which, after being smothered for a time in Scotland, broke out at last with such force as to spread itself into England, and, not without reason, alarmed even London itself, that great metropolis, -- was in a short space totally extinguished by him, who gave the first check to its force, and who, perhaps alone, was capable of performing this service to his country, his father and his king*. It is sufficiently known how great a hazard the person runs of displeasing him who praises his Royal Highness, but the regard we owe to truth, justice, and the public, obliges one on this occasion to declare, that Providence particularly made use of him as its most proper instrument in performing this work. He it was who revived the spirits of the people, by the magnanimity of his own behaviour; he, without severity, restored discipline in the army; he prudently suspended his career at Aberdeen till the troops recovered their fatigue, and the season opened a road to victory; he waited with patience, chose with discretion, and most happily and gloriously improved that opportunity which blasted the hopes of the rebels, and has secured to us the present possession and future prospect of the wisest and best-framed constitution, administered by the gentlest and the most indulgent government Europe can boast."
*Quere, Whether this author was aware how great a compliment he, by this expression, directly pays to Ascanius?
The humility, piety, and humanity! of the Duke of Cumberland, are no less conspicuous and admirable, on this occasion, than his prowess. Humility, when merely constitutional, is a noble qualification: the humble man is generally esteemed by all, and he alone stands fairest for advancement. But this quality is most excellent, when it proceeds from the fear and love of God; for he that, sensible of his own weakness, walks in a constant dependence upon God for every blessing, is sure of his powerful assistance, and of being exalted above every evil in this world, and in that which is to come.
This divine and moral disposition, gives us unspeakable pleasure in those who are eminent in life; so that, to hear or read of a great man speaking humbly of himself, when reflecting upon the mercy and love of God, is matter of greater joy to us, than to hear of his conquering kingdoms.
The signal mercy of our God, in delivering us from those who came to destroy or enslave us, has caused an universal joy, some expressing it one way, and some another; but all join in extolling the Duke of Cumberland as the principal deliverer of his country, under God Almighty. Amidst all these acclamations, how beautiful a scene must it be, to behold his Highness modestly attributing all the glory to God? That this is the case, I think plainly appears from a worthy ejaculation of the Duke's, a little after the late engagement, which I had from good authority.
The rebellion being now suppressed, the legislature resolved to execute justice upon those who dared to disturb the tranquillity of their country.
We proceed now, to give an account of the punishment of the principal persons who embarked in such a desperate enterprise, the history whereof the reader has heard. Amongst these, Lord Balmerino, the Earl of Kilmarnock, Lord Lovat, and Mr. Ratcliff, make the greatest figure. Bills of indictment for high treason were found against the Earls of Kilmarnock and Cromarty, and Lord Balmerino. These noblemen were tried by their Peers in Westminster Hall. The two Earls confessed their crime, but Balmerino pleaded not guilty, and moved a point of law in arrest of judgment. The point was, that his indictment was in the country of Surrey, and so he ought to be tried where the act of treason was said to have been committed; however, he waived this plea, and submitted to the court.
The speeches made by the Earls of Kilmarnock and Cromarty, to their Peers, to intercede for them with his Majesty, are extremely elegant, and pathetic. As they are well worth the reader's perusal, we thought proper to insert them.
EARL OF KILMARNOCK'S SPEECH
May it please your Grace, and my Lords,
I have already, from a due sense of my folly, and the heinousness of those crimes with which I stand charged, confessed myself guilty, and obnoxious to those punishments which the laws of the land have wisely provided for offences of so deep a dye; nor would I have your Lordships to suspect, that what I am now to offer is intended to extenuate those crimes, or palliate my offences; no, I mean only to address myself to your Lordships' merciful disposition, to excite so much compassion in your Lordships' breasts, as to prevail on his Grace, and this honourable house, to intercede with his Majesty for his royal clemency.
Though the situation I am now in, and the folly and rashness which has exposed me to this disgrace, cover me with confusion, when I reflect upon the unsullied honour of my ancestors; yet I cannot help mentioning their unshaken fidelity, and steady loyalty to the crown, as a proper subject to excite that compassion which I am now soliciting. My father was an early and steady friend to the revolution, and was very active in promoting every measure that tended to settle and secure the Protestant succession in these kingdoms; he not only, in his public capacity, promoted these events, but in his private supported them; and brought me up and endeavoured to instill into my early years, those revolution principles which had always been the rule of his actions.
It had been happy for me, my Lords, that I had been always influenced by his precepts, and acted up to his example: yet, I believe upon the strictest inquiry it will appear, that the whole tenor of my life, from my first entering into the world, to the unhappy minute in which I was seduced to join in this rebellion, has been agreeable to my duty and allegiance, and consistent with the strictest loyalty.
For the truth of this, I need only appeal to the manner in which I have educated my children, the eldest of whom has the honour to bear a commission under his Majesty, and has always behaved like a gentleman; I brought him up in the true principles of the revolution, and an abhorrence of popery and arbitrary power; his behaviour is known to many of this honourable House, therefore, I take the liberty to appeal to your Lordships, if it is possible that my endeavours in his education could have been attended with such success, if I had not myself been sincere in those principles, and an enemy to those measures which have now involved me and my family in ruin. Had my mind at that time been tainted with disloyalty and disaffection, I could not have dissembled to closely with my own family, but some tincture would have devolved to my children.
I have endeavoured as much as my capacity or interest would admit, to be serviceable to the crown on all occasions; and, even at the breaking out of the rebellion, I was so far from approving of their measures, or shewing the least proneness to promote their unnatural scheme, that, by my interest in Kilmarnock, and places adjacent, I prevented numbers from joining them, and encouraged the country, as much as possible, to continue firm to their allegiance.
When that unhappy hour arrived, wherein I became a party, which was not till after the battle of Prestonpans, I was far from being a person of any consequence amongst them. I did not buy up any arms, nor raise a single man in their service. I endeavoured to moderate their cruelty, and was happily instrumental in saving the lives of many of his Majesty's loyal subjects, whom they had taken prisoners: I assisted the sick and wounded, and did all in my power to make their confinement tolerable.
I had not been long with them before I saw my error, and reflected with horror on the guilt of swerving from my allegiance to the best of sovereigns; the dishonour that it reflected upon myself, and the fatal ruin which it necessarily brought upon my family. I then determined to leave them, and submit to this Majesty's clemency, as soon as I should have an opportunity: for this I separated from my corps at the battle of Culloden, and stayed to surrender myself a prisoner, though I had frequent opportunities, and might have escaped with great ease; for the truth of which I appeal to the noble person to whom I surrendered.
But, my Lords, I did not endeavour to make my escape*, because the consequences in an instant appeared to be more terrible, more shocking, than the most painful, or most ignominious death; I chose therefore to surrender, and commit myself into the king's mercy, rather than throw myself into the hands of a foreign power, the natural enemy to my country; with whom, to have merit, I must persist in continued acts of violence to my principles, and of treason and rebellion against my king and country.
It was with the utmost abhorrence and detestation I have seen a letter from the French court, presuming to dictate to a British monarch the manner how he should deal with his rebellious subjects: I am not so much in love with live, nor so void of a sense of honour, as to expect it upon such an intercession: I depend only on the merciful intercession of this honourable House, and the innate clemency of his Sacred Majesty.
But, my Lords, if all I have offered is not a sufficient motive to your Lordships to induce you to employ your interest with his Majesty, for his royal clemency in my behalf, I shall lay down my life with the utmost resignation; and my last moments shall be employed in fervent prayers for the preservation of the illustrious house of Hanover, and the peace and prosperity of Great Britain.
*His Lordship, afterwards, (that he might not die with an untruth) owned this to be a false state of the fact, with a view to excite compassion; for, thinking that he was advancing towards Fitz-James' horse, he intended to get behind a dragoon, to facilitate his escape.
EARL CROMARTY'S SPEECH
I have now the misfortune to appear before your Lordships, guilty of an offence of such a nature, as justly merits the highest indignation of his Majesty, your Lordships, and the public; and it was from a conviction of my guilt, that I did not presume to trouble your Lordships with any defence. As I have committed treason, it is the last thing I would attempt to justify. My only plea shall be, your Lordships' compassion, my only refuge, his Majesty's clemency. Under this heavy load of affliction, I have still the satisfaction, my Lords, of hoping that my past conduct, before the breaking out of the rebellion, was irreproachable, also my attachment to the present happy establishment, both in church and state; and, in evidence of my affection to the government, upon the breaking out of the rebellion, I appeal to the then commander in chief of his Majesty's forces at Inverness, and to the Lord President of the Court of Session in Scotland, who, I am sure, will do justice to my conduct on that occasion. But, my Lords, notwithstanding my determined resolution in favour of the government, I was unhappily seduced from that loyalty, in an unguarded moment, by the arts of desperate designing men. And it is notorious, my Lords, that no sooner did I awake from that delusion, than I felt a remorse for my departure from my duty; but it was then too late.
Nothing, my Lords, remains, but to throw myself, my life, and my fortune, upon your Lordships' compassion; but of these, my Lords, as to myself, it is the least part of my sufferings, I have involved my eldest son, whose infancy and regard to his parents hurried him down the stream of rebellion. I have involved also eight innocent children, who must needs feel their father's punishment before they know his guilt. Let them, my Lords, be pledges to his Majesty; let them be pledges to your Lordships; let them be pledges to my country, for mercy; let the silent eloquence of their grief and tears; let the powerful language of innocent nature, supply my want of eloquence and persuasion; let me enjoy mercy, but no longer than I deserve it; and let me no longer enjoy life than I shall use it to deface the crime I have been guilty of. Whilst I thus intercede to his Majesty, through the mediation of your Lordships, for mercy, let my remorse for my guilt, as a subject; let the sorrow of my heart, as a husband, and the anguish of my mind, as a father, speak the rest of my misery. As your Lordships are men, feel as men, but may none of you ever suffer the smallest part of my anguish.
But if, after all, my Lords, my safety shall be found inconsistent with that of the public, and nothing but my blood can atone for my unhappy crime; if the sacrifice of my life, my fortune, and my family, is judged indispensably necessary for stopping the loud demands of public justice; and if the bitter cup is not to pass from me; "not mine, but they will, O God, be done."
The court pronounced sentence of death against the whole three; but the life of Cromarty was spared, and his other two associates were ordered to be beheaded.
There is something in the misfortunes of great men which generally attracts attention: we shall not stay here to investigate the philosophic reason of this; perhaps it arises from the contrast betwixt their grandeur and the miseries into which they are plunged, that the generality of mankind are so curious to be informed of every circumstance in their misfortunes. To gratify a curiosity natural to the human mind, we shall give a particular account of the manner of the execution of these unfortunate gentlemen, and some striking circumstances in their behaviour immediately before their death.
The day appointed for the execution of Kilmarnock and Balmerino, was the 18th of August 1746. Accordingly, at six o'clock, a troop of life-guards, one of the horse grenadiers, and 1000 of the foot-guards, (being fifteen men out of each company), marched from the parade in St. James' Park, through the city to the Tower-hill, to attend the execution of the Earl of Kilmarnock and Lord Balmerino, and having arrived there, were posted in lines from the Tower to the scaffold, and all around it. About eight o'clock, the sheriffs of London, with their under sheriffs and officers, viz. six sergeants at mace, six yeomen, and the executioner met at the Mitre Tavern, in Fenchurch street, where they breakfasted, and went from thence to the house, lately the transport office, on Tower hill, near Catharine Court, hired by them for the reception of the said lords, before they should be conducted to the scaffold, which was erected about thirty yards from that house. Precisely at ten o'clock, the block was fixed on the stage, covered with black cloth, and several sacks of saw dust were brought up to strew on it; soon after their coffins were brought, covered with black cloth, ornamented with gilt nails, &c. On the Earl of Kilmarnock's was a plate with this inscription: Gulielmus Comes de Kilmarnock, decollatus 18 Augusti, 1946, ætat. suæ 42, with an earl's coronet over it, and six coronets over the six handles; and on Lord Balmerino's was a plate with this inscription: Arthurus Dominus de Balmerino decollatus 18 Augusti, 1746, ætat. suæ 58, with an baron's coronet over it, and six others over the six handles. At a quarter after ten, the sheriffs went in procession to the outward gate of the Tower, and after knocking at it some time, a warder within asked, who's there? the officer without replied the sheriffs of London and Middlesex. The warder then asked what do they want? the officer answered, the bodies of William Earl of Kilmarnock, and Arthur Lord Balmerino; upon which the warder within said, I will go and inform the Lieutenant of the Tower, and in about ten minutes the Lieutenant of the Tower, with the Earl of Kilmarnock*, and Major White, with Lord Balmerino, guarded by several of the warders, came to the gate; the prisoners were there delivered to the sheriffs, who gave proper receipts for their bodies to the Lieutenant, who, as is usual, said God bless King George; to which the Earl of Kilmarnock assented by a bow, and the lord Balmerino said, God bless King James. Soon after, the procession, moving in a slow and solemn manner, appeared in the following order: 1. The constable of the Tower-hamlets. 2. Knight marshal's men and tip-staves. 3. The sheriffs officers. 4. The sheriffs, the prisoners, and their chaplains: Mr. Sheriff Blackford walking with the Earl of Kilmarnock, and Mr. Sheriff Cockayne with Lord Balmerino. 5. The Tower-warders. 6. A guard of musketeers. 7. The two hearses and a mourning coach. When the procession had passed through the lines, into the area of the circle formed by the guards, the passage was closed, and the troops of horse, who were in the rear of the foot on the lines, wheeled off, and drew up five deep behind the foot, on the south side of the hill facing the scaffold.
* At the foot of the first stairs he met and embraced Lord Balmerino, who gravely (as Mr. Foster observed) said to him, "My Lord, I am heartily sorry to have your company in this expedition"
The Lords were conducted into separate apartments in the house, facing the steps of the scaffold; their friends being admitted to see them. The Earl of Kilmarnock was attended by the Rev. Mr. Foster, a dissenting minister, and the Rev. Mr. Hume, a near relation to the Earl of Hume; the chaplain of the Tower, and another clergyman of the church of England, accompanied Lord Balmerino; who, on entering the door of the house, hearing several of the spectators ask eagerly, which is Lord Balmerino? answered smiling, I am Lord Balmerino, Gentlemen, at your service. The parlour and passage of the house, the rails enclosing the way from thence to the scaffold, and rails about it, were all hung with black at the sheriffs' expense.
The Lord Kilmarnock, in the apartment allotted to him, spent about an hour in his devotions with Mr. Foster, who assisted him in prayer and exhortation.
After which, Lord Balmerino, pursuant to his request, being admitted to confer with the Earl, first thanked him for the favour, and then asked, "if his Lordship knew of any order signed by the prince, (meaning the Pretender's son) to give no quarter at the battle of Culloden?" On the Earl answering, "No," the Lord Balmerino added, "Nor I neither," and therefore it seems to be an invention to justify their own murders." The Earl replied, "he did not think this a fair inference, because he was informed, after he was taken prisoner at Inverness, by several officers, that such an order, signed George Murray, was in the Duke's custody." -- "George Murray!" said Lord Balmerino, "then they should not charge it on the Prince." Then he took his leave, embracing Lord Kilmarnock with the same kind of noble and generous compliments, as he had used before; "My dear Lord Kilmarnock, I am only sorrow that I cannot pay this reckoning alone; once more farewell for ever!" and returned to his own room.
Then the Earl, with the company, kneeled down, joining in a prayer delivered by Mr. Foster, after which, having sat a few moments, and taken a second refreshment of a bit of bread and a glass of wine, he expressed a desire that Lord Balmerino might go first to the scaffold; but being informed that this could not be, as his Lordship was named first in the warrant, he appeared satisfied, saluted his friends, saying he should make no speech on the scaffold, but desired the ministers to assist him in his last moments: and they, accordingly, with other friends, proceeded with him to the scaffold. On this awful occasion, the multitude, who had been waiting with expectation, on his first appearing on the scaffold, dressed in black, with a countenance and demeanor* testifying great contrition, shewed the deepest signs of commiseration and pity; and his Lordship, at the same time, being struck with such a variety of dreadful objects at once, the multitude, the block, the coffin, the executioner, and instrument of death, turned about to Mr. Hume, and said, Hume! this is terrible; though without changing his voice or countenance.
After putting up a short prayer, concluding with a petition for his Majesty King George, and the Royal Family, in verification of his declaration in his speech, his Lordship embraced and took his last leave of his friends. The executioner, who before had something administered to keep him from fainting, was so affected with his Lordship's distress and the awfulness of the scene, that on asking him forgiveness, he burst into tears. My Lord bade him take courage, giving him at the same time a purse with five guineas, and telling him he would drop his handkerchief as a signal for the stroke. He proceeded, with the help of his gentleman, to make ready for the block, by taking off his coat, and the bag from his hair,
* His person was tall and graceful, his countenance mild, and his complexion pale; and more so as he had been indisposed.
which was then tucked up under a napkin-cap; but this being made up so wide as not to keep up his long hair, the making it less occasioned a little delay; his neck being laid bare, tucking down the collar of his shirt and waistcoat, he kneeled down on a black cushion at the block, and drew his cap over his eyes, in doing which, as well as in putting up his hair, his hands were observed to shake; but, either to support himself, or as a more convenient posture for devotion, he happened to lay both his hands upon the block, which the executioner observing, prayed his Lordship to let them fall, lest they should be mangled or break the blow. He was then told that the neck of his waistcoat was in the way, upon which he rose, and, with the help of a friend, took it off, and the neck being made bare to the shoulders, he kneeled down as before. ----In the meantime, when all things were ready for the execution, and the black bays which hung over the rails of the scaffold, having, by direction of the colonel of the guard, or the sheriffs, been turned up, that the people might see all the circumstances of the execution; in about two minutes (the time he before fixed), after he kneeled down, his Lordship dropping his handkerchief the executioner at once severed his head from his body, except only a small part of the skin, which was immediately divided by a gentle stroke: the head was received in a piece of red bays, and, with the body, immediately put into the coffin. The scaffold was then cleared from the blood, fresh saw dust strewed, and that no appearance of a former execution might remain, the executioner changed such of his clothes as appeared bloody.
In the account, said to be published by the authority of the sheriffs, it is asserted, that the Lord Kilmarnock requested his head might not be held up as usual, and declared to be the head of a traitor; and that, for this reason, that part of the ceremony was omitted, as the sentence and law did not require it: but we are assured, in Mr. Foster's account, that his Lordship made no such request; and further, that, when he was informed that his head would be held up, and such proclamation made, it did not affect him, and he spoke of it as a matter of no moment. All that he wished or desired was, 1. That the executioner might not be, as represented to his Lordship, a good sort of man, thinking a rough temper would be fitter for the purpose. 2. That his coffin, instead of remaining in the hearse, might be set upon the stage. 3. That four persons might be appointed to receive the head, that it might not roll about the stage, but be speedily, with his body, put into the coffin.
While this was doing, Lord Balmerino, after having solemnly recommended himself to the mercy of the Almighty, conversed cheerfully with his friends, refreshing himself twice with a bit of bread and a glass of wine, and desired the company to drink to him ain degrae ta haiven, acquainting them that he had prepared a speech, which he should read on the scaffold, and therefore should here say nothing of its contents. The under-sheriff coming into his Lordship's apartment, to let him know the stage was ready, he prevented him, by immediately asking, if the affair was over with Lord Kilmarnock? and being answered, it was; he inquired, how the executioner performed his office? and upon receiving the account, said, It was well done; then addressing himself to the company said, Gentlemen, I shall detain you no longer; and, with an easy, unaffected cheerfulness, he saluted his friends, and hastened to the scaffold, which he mounted with so easy an air as astonished the spectators. His Lordship was dressed in his regimentals, a blue coat turned up with red, trimmed with brass buttons, (and a Tye wig) the same which he wore at the battle of Culloden; no circumstance in his whole deportment shewed the least sign of fear or regret, and he frequently reproved his friends for discovering either upon his account. He walked several times round the scaffold, bowed to the people, went to his coffin, read the inscription, and with a nod, said, It is right; he then examined the block, which he called his pillow of rest. His Lordship putting on his spectacles, and taking a paper out of his pocket, read it with an audible voice, which, so far from being filled with passionate invective, mentioned his Majesty as a Prince of the greatest magnanimity and mercy, at the same time, that through erroneous political principles, it denied him a right to the allegiance of his people. Having delivered this paper to the sheriff, he called for the executioner, who appearing, and being about to ask his Lordship's pardon, he said, "Friend, you need not ask me forgiveness, the execution of your duty is commendable," on which is Lordship gave him three guineas, saying, "Friend, I never was rich, this is all the money I have now, I wish it were more, and I am sorry I can add nothing to it but my coat and waistcoat," which he then took off, together with his neckcloth, and threw them on his coffin; putting on a flannel waistcoat which had been provided for the purpose, and then taking a plaid-cap out of his pocket, he put it on his head, saying, he died a Scotsman; after kneeling down at the block, to adjust his posture, and shew the executioner the signal for the stroke, which was dropping his arms, he once more turned to his friends, took his last farewell, and looking round on the crowd, said, "Perhaps some may think my behaviour too bold, but remember, Sir, (said he to a gentleman who stood near him) that I now declare, it is the effect of confidence in God and a good conscience, and I should dissemble if I shewed signs of fear."
Observing the axe in the executioner's hand, as he passed him, he took it from him, felt the edge, and returning it, clapped him on the shoulder, to encourage him; tucked down the collar of his shirt and waistcoat, and shewed him where to strike, desiring him to do it resolutely, for in that, says his Lordship, will consist your kindness.
He went to the side of the stage, and called up the warder, to whom he gave some money asked which was the hearse, and ordered the man to drive near.
Immediately, without trembling or changing countenance, he again knelt down at the block and having, with his arms stretched out, said "O Lord, reward my friends, forgive my enemies, -- and receive my soul," he gave the signal by letting them fall: but his uncommon firmness and intrepidity, and the unexpected suddenness of the signal, so surprised the executioner, that though he struck the part directed, the blow was not given with strength enough to wound him very deep; on which seemed as if he made an effort to turn his head towards the executioner, and the under jaw he and returned very quick, like anger and gnashing his teeth; but it could not be other way the part being convulsed. A second blow immediately succeeding the first, rendered him, however, quite insensible, and a third finished the work*.
If we were to draw his character, abstracted from the consideration of his being an enemy to the present happy government, we should call him a blunt, resolute man; who would, if his principles had not been tainted with Jacobinism, have appeared honest in the eyes of those who love sincerity; but he was not so happy as to be loyal. His person was very plain, his shape clumsy, but his make strong, and had no marks about him of the polite gentleman, though his seeming sincerity recompensed all those defects. He was illiterate, considering this birth, but rather from a total want of application to letters than want of ability. Several quaint stories are related concerning him, which seem to be the growth of wanton and fertile imaginations; which is not at all to be wondered at, in times that afford so much matter for invention.
he left a lady behind him (whom he called his Peggy), to whom, at his request, his Majesty allowed L.50 a year; whether he had any children, we are not able to say.
His head was received in a piece of red bays and with his body put into the coffin, which at his particular request, was placed on that of the church in the Tower, all the three Lords lying in one grave.
During the whole course of the solemnity, although the hill, scaffoldings, and houses, were crowded full of spectators, all persons behaved with uncommon decency, and evenness of temper, which evinces how much the people entered into the rectitude of the execution, though too humane to rejoice in the catastrophe.
Lord Balmerino had but a small estate, though ground-landlord and lord of the manor of Calton, a long street in the suburbs of Edinburgh, leading to Leith, and had also some other small possessions in the shire of Fife. His lady came to London soon after him, and frequently attended him during his confinement in the Tower, having lodgings in East Smithfields. She was at dinner with him when the warrant came for his execution the Monday following, and being very much alarmed, he desired her not to be concerned at it; if the king had given me mercy, said he, I should have been glad of it; but since it is otherwise, I am very easy; for it is what I have expected, and therefore it does not at all surprise me. His lady seemed very disconsolate, and rose immediately from table; on which he started from his chair, and said, pray my lady, sit down, for it shall not spoil my dinner; upon which her ladyship sat down again, but could not eat.
Several more of his sayings were related, as remarkable: among others, that being advised to take care of his person, he replied, "It would be thought very imprudent in a man to repair an old house when the lease of it was so near expiring."
In November following, Ratcliff was arraigned on a former sentence passed against him in 1716. He pleaded that he was a subject of the king of France, and had a commission in the service of his Most Christian Majesty; meaning, that he was not Charles Ratcliff, but the Earl of Derwentwater. But the identity of his person being proved, a rule was ordered to be made for the proper writs of his decapitation on the 8th December 1746. Accordingly, about eight o'clock in the morning, two troop of life-guards, and one troop of horse-guards, marched through the city for little Tower-hill, where they were joined by a battalion of foot-guards, to attend the execution of Charles Ratcliff, Esq. About ten o'clock, the block, with a cushion, both covered with black, were brought up and fixed upon the stage; and soon after Mr. Ratcliff's coffin, covered with black velvet, with eight handles, which, with the nails, were gilt with gold; but there was no plate, or any inscription upon it. At near eleven, the sheriffs, Mr. Alderman Winterbottom and Mr. Alderman Aslop, with their officers, came to see if the scaffold was finished, (the carpenters, &c. who had very short notice, having worked all day on Sunday and the ensuing night) and if every thing was prepared for Mr. Ratcliff's reception; which being to their satisfaction, they went to the tower and demanded the body of Mr. Ratcliff from General Williamson, deputy-governor. Upon being surrendered, he was put into a landau, and carried over the wharf, at the end of which he was put into a mourning coach, and conveyed into a small booth joining to the stairs of the scaffold, lined with black, where he spent about half an hour in devotion, and then proceeded with the sheriffs, the divine, and some gentlemen his friends. When he came upon the scaffold, he took leave of his friends with great serenity and calmness of mind, and having spoken a few words to the executioner, gave him a purse of ten guineas, and put on a damask cap; he then knelt down to prayers, which lasted seven minutes, all the spectators on the scaffold kneeling with him. Prayers being over, he pulled off his clothes, and put his head to the block, from whence he soon got up, and having spoke a few words, he knelt down to it, and fixing his head, in about two minutes gave the signal to the executioner, who at three blows struck it off, which was received in a scarlet cloth held for that purpose. He was dressed in scarlet, faced with black velvet, trimmed with gold, a gold-laced waistcoat, and a white feather in his hat. He behaved with the greatest fortitude and coolness of temper, and was no way shocked at the approach of death. His body was immediately put into his coffin, and carried back in a hearse to the Tower, and the scaffold, booth, and all the boards belonging to them, were cleared away in the afternoon.----He had behaved himself very alert until the 4th , when he received a letter from his niece, Lady Petre, which engaged him to appear in a more serious manner, agreeable to his unhappy fate. His corpse was, on the 11th, carried in a hearse, attended by two mourning coaches, to St. Giles' in the fields, and there interred with the remains of the late Earl Derwentwater, according to his desire, with this inscription on his coffin,
Carolus Ratcliff, Comes de Derwentwater,
Decollatus, Die 8 Decembris 1746.
Requiescat in Pace.
It seems the Derwentwater estate was only confiscated to the crown for the life of Charles Ratcliff, Esq. but by a clause in an act of parliament, passed some years since, which says, that the issue of any person attainted of high treason, born and bred in any foreign dominion, and a Roman Catholic, shall forfeit his reversion of such estate, and the remainder shall forever be fixed in the crown, his son is absolutely deprived of any title of interest in the affluent fortune of that ancient family, to the amount of better than £200,000.
This unhappy gentleman was the youngest brother of James Earl of Derwentwater, who was executed in 1716; they were sons of Sir Francis Ratcliff, by the Lady Mary Tudor, natural daughter to K. Charles II. by Mrs. Mary Davis.
He was, with his brother, taken at Preston, tried, convicted, and condemned, but several times respited, and probably would have been pardoned, had he not, with thirteen others, made his escape out of a room called the Castle, in Newgate, through a small door which had been accidentally left open, leading to the master-side debtors, where the turnkey (not knowing them) let them out of prison, supposing they were persons who had come to see their friends.
He immediately got a passage to France, and from thence followed the Pretender to Rome, subsisting on such a petty pension as his master could allow him.----But, returning sometime afterwards to Paris, he married the relict of Livingston, Lord Newbourgh, by whom he had a son.
In 1733 he came to England, and resided some time at Mr. Johns' in Pall-Mall, without any molestation, though it was known to the ministry, and afterwards returned to France. He came back again to England in 1735, and solicited his pardon, but without success, though he appeared publicly, and visited several families in Essex.----Returning again to France, he accepted of the French king's commission, to act as an officer in the late rebellion; and embarking, with his son and several other Scots and Irish officers, on board the Esperance privateer, for Scotland, was taken by his Majesty's ship the Sheerness; and when he landed at Deal, was very arrogant to the king's officers, till they told him, they intended to use him like a gentleman, but he was going to put it out of their power.
He died in the principles in which he had lived, and was so zealous a papist, that on the absurdities of some things which are held sacred by the church of Rome being stated to him, he replied, "That for every tenet of that church, repugnant to reason, in which she requires an implicit belief, he wished there were twenty, that he might thereby have a nobler opportunity of exercising and displaying his faith."
Lord Lovat was impeached by the Commons. After the articles of impeachment were read to him, he made a long speech at the bar, signifying the esteem he had for his Majesty and the Royal Family; and enumerated divers instances of great service he did the government in extinguishing the rebellion in 1715. He likewise took notice of his infirmities, particularly, his deafness; and said he had not heard one word of the charge against him. He was convicted on the evidence of his own domestics, and accordingly condemned to be beheaded. He was turned of fourscore, and, notwithstanding his age and infirmities, the recollection of his conscience, (which was supposed not to be quite free of offence) he died like an old Roman, exclaiming, dulce et decorum propatria mori; i.e. it is pleasant and glorious to die a patriot. He surveyed the crowd with the utmost indifference. From this last scene of his life, one would have concluded that he went on principles, that he was thoroughly persuaded he died a martyr and that he had a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man.
Besides these, there were several others of less distinction, convicted and executed; seventeen officers of the rebel army were hanged at Kensington common, near London; nine were put to death in the same manner at Carlisle, six at Brampton, seven at Penrith, and eleven at York; some few obtained pardons, and a considerable number were transported to the plantations. There were some circumstances in the manner of the execution of some of the criminals, on this occasion, which cannot but give offence to a humane and delicate mind; before they were quite dead, they were cut down from the gallows, there heads severed from their bodies, their bowels and heart torn out, and some of them thrown into a fire: perhaps this was rather cruelty than justice; and yet, if we consider the rather extraordinary circumstances of their crimes, these things were in some measure necessary; not, indeed, when considered under the notion of justice executed upon the criminals, but to give all a dreadful impression of the heinousness of the crime of rebellion against the state, and thereby deter them from all such treasonable practices.
Pity it is, that, in some instances, there should be a clashing betwixt the feelings of humanity and those of self preservation. ---Shocking as the circumstances of the execution were, yet we find, that at the time many of the spectators gave loud shouts of applause: the triumph of ignoble souls, uninspired by sentiment, and insensible to the tender and delicate feelings of humanity! The mind, indeed, must necessarily disapprove the crime, and condemn the criminal; but, to give shouts of applause at the sufferings of our fellow-creatures, betrays a rude and savage disposition: however, indeed, it was scarce to be expected, that the blind English mob*, who are stupid and insensible to every thing, should possess the finer feelings of the heart.
* The same blind, stupid, and insensible turn of mind seems to run through the rabble of every nation.