CH XXXII. THE LAST JACOBITE RISING

While the Kirk was vainly striving to assuage the tempers of Mr Erskine and his friends, the Jacobites were preparing to fish in troubled waters.  In 1739 Walpole was forced to declare war against Spain, and Walpole had previously sounded James as to his own chances of being trusted by that exiled prince.  James thought that Walpole was merely angling for information.  Meanwhile Jacobite affairs were managed by two rivals, Macgregor (calling himself Drummond) of Balhaldy and Murray of Broughton.  The sanguine Balhaldy induced France to suppose that the Jacobites in England and Scotland were much more united, powerful, and ready for action than they really were, when Argyll left office in 1742, while Walpole fell from power, Carteret and the Duke of Newcastle succeeding.  In 1743 Murray found that France, though now at war with England over the Spanish Succession, was holding aloof from the Jacobite cause, though plied with flourishing and fabulous reports from Balhaldy and the Jacobite Lord Sempill.  But, in December 1743, on the strength of alleged Jacobite energy in England, Balhaldy obtained leave from France to visit Rome and bring Prince Charles.  The Prince had kept himself in training for war and was eager.  Taking leave of his father for the last time, Charles drove out of Rome on January 9, 1744; evaded, in disguise, every trap that was set for him, and landed at Antibes, reaching Paris on February 10.  Louis did not receive him openly, if he received him at all; the Prince lurked at Gravelines in disguise, with the Earl Marischal, while winds and waves half ruined, and the approach of a British fleet drove into port, a French fleet of invasion under Roqueville (March 6, 7, 1744).

The Prince wrote to Sempill that he was ready and willing to sail for Scotland in an open boat.  In July 1744 he told Murray that he would come next summer “if he had no other companion than his valet.”  He nearly kept his word; nor did Murray resolutely oppose his will.  At the end of May 1745 Murray’s servant brought a letter from the Prince; “fall back, fall edge,” he would land in the Highlands in July.  Lochiel regretted the decision, but said that, as a man of honour, he would join his Prince if he arrived.

On July 2 the Prince left Nantes in the Dutillet (usually styled La Doutelle).  He brought some money (he had pawned the Sobieski rubies), some arms, Tullibardine, his Governor Sheridan, Parson Kelly, the titular Duke of Atholl, Sir John Macdonald, a banker, Sullivan, and one Buchanan—the Seven Men of Moidart.

On July 20 his consort, The Elizabeth, fought The Lion (Captain Brett) off the Lizard; both antagonists were crippled.  On [July 22/August 2] Charles passed the night on the little isle of Eriskay; appealed vainly to Macleod and Macdonald of Sleat; was urged, at Kinlochmoidart, by the Macdonalds, to return to France, but swept them off their feet by his resolution; and with Lochiel and the Macdonalds raised the standard at the head of Glenfinnan on August [19/30].

The English Government had already offered £30,000 for the Prince’s head.  The clans had nothing to gain; they held that they had honour to preserve; they remembered Montrose; they put it to the touch, and followed Prince Charlie.

The strength of the Prince’s force was, first, the Macdonalds.  On August 16 Keppoch had cut off two companies of the Royal Scots near Loch Lochy.  But the chief of Glengarry was old and wavering; young Glengarry, captured on his way from France, could not be with his clan; his young brother Æneas led till his accidental death after the battle of Falkirk.

Of the Camerons it is enough to say that their leader was the gentle Lochiel, and that they were worthy of their chief.  The Macphersons came in rather late, under Cluny.  The Frazers were held back by the crafty Lovat, whose double-dealing, with the abstention of Macleod (who was sworn to the cause) and of Macdonald of Sleat, ruined the enterprise.  Clan Chattan was headed by the beautiful Lady Mackintosh, whose husband adhered to King George.  Of the dispossessed Macleans, some 250 were gathered (under Maclean of Drimnin), and of that resolute band some fifty survived Culloden.  These western clans (including 220 Stewarts of Appin under Ardshiel) were the steel point of Charles’s weapon; to them should be added the Macgregors under James Mor, son of Rob Roy, a shifty character but a hero in fight.

To resist these clans, the earliest to join, Sir John Cope, commanding in Scotland, had about an equal force of all arms, say 2500 to 3000 men, scattered in all quarters, and with very few field-pieces.  Tweeddale, holding the revived office of Secretary for Scotland, was on the worst terms, as leader of the Squadrone, with his Argathelian rival, Islay, now (through the recent death of his brother, Red Ian of the Battles) Duke of Argyll.  Scottish Whigs were not encouraged to arm.

The Prince marched south, while Cope, who had concentrated at Stirling, marched north to intercept him.  At Dalnacardoch he learned that Charles was advancing to meet him in Corryarrick Pass (here came in Ardshiel, Glencoe, and a Glengarry reinforcement).  At Dalwhinnie, Cope found that the clans held the pass, which is very defensible.  He dared not face them, and moved by Ruthven in Badenoch to Inverness, where he vainly expected to be met by the great Whig clans of the north.

Joined now by Cluny, Charles moved on that old base of Montrose, the Castle of Blair of Atholl, where the exiled duke (commonly called Marquis of Tullibardine) was received with enthusiasm.  In the mid-region between Highland and Lowland, the ladies, Lady Lude and the rest, simply forced their sons, brothers, and lovers into arms.  While Charles danced and made friends, and tasted his first pine-apple at Blair, James Mor took the fort of Inversnaid.  At Perth (September 4-10) Charles was joined by the Duke of Perth, the Ogilvys under Lord Ogilvy, some Drummonds under Lord Strathallan, the Oliphants of Gask, and 200 Robertsons of Struan.  Lord George Murray, brother of the Duke of Atholl, who had been out in 1715, out in 1719, and later was un reconcilié, came in, and with him came Discord.  He had dealt as a friend and ally with Cope at Crieff; his loyalty to either side was thus not unnaturally dubious; he was suspected by Murray of Broughton; envied by Sullivan, a soldier of some experience; and though he was loyal to the last,—the best organiser, and the most daring leader,—Charles never trusted him, and his temper was always crossing that of the Prince.

The race for Edinburgh now began, Cope bringing his troops by sea from Aberdeen, and Charles doing what Mar, in 1715, had never ventured.  He crossed the Forth by the fords of Frew, six miles above Stirling, passed within gunshot of the castle, and now there was no force between him and Edinburgh save the demoralised dragoons of Colonel Gardiner.  The sole use of the dragoons was, wherever they came, to let the world know that the clans were at their heels.  On September 16 Charles reached Corstorphine, and Gardiner’s dragoons fell back on Coltbridge.

On the previous day the town had been terribly perturbed.  The old walls, never sound, were dilapidated, and commanded by houses on the outside.  Volunteers were scarce, and knew not how to load a musket.  On Sunday, September 15, during sermon-time, “The bells were rung backwards, the drums they were beat,” the volunteers, being told to march against the clans, listened to the voices of mothers and aunts and of their own hearts, and melted like a mist.  Hamilton’s dragoons and ninety of the late Porteous’s Town Guard sallied forth, joining Gardiner’s men at Coltbridge.  A few of the mounted Jacobite gentry, such as Lord Elcho, eldest son of the Earl of Wemyss, trotted up to inspect the dragoons, who fled and drew bridle only at Musselburgh, six miles east of Edinburgh.

The magistrates treated through a caddie or street-messenger with the Prince.  He demanded surrender, the bailies went and came, in a hackney coach, between Charles’s quarters, Gray’s Mill, and Edinburgh, but on their return about 3 A.M. Lochiel with the Camerons rushed in when the Nether Bow gate was opened to admit the cab of the magistrates.  Murray had guided the clan round by Merchiston.  At noon Charles entered “that unhappy palace of his race,” Holyrood; and King James was proclaimed at Edinburgh Cross, while the beautiful Mrs Murray, mounted, distributed white cockades.  Edinburgh provided but few volunteers, though the ladies tried to “force them out.”

Meanwhile Cope was landing his men at Dunbar; from Mr John Home (author of ‘Douglas, a Tragedy’) he learnt that Charles’s force was under 2000 strong.  He himself had, counting the dragoons, an almost equal strength, with six field-pieces manned by sailors.

On September 20 Cope advanced from Haddington, while Charles, with all the carriages he could collect for ambulance duty, set forth from his camp at Duddingston Loch, under Arthur’s Seat.  Cope took the low road near the sea, while Charles took the high road, holding the ridge, till from Birsley brae he beheld Cope on the low level plain, between Seaton and Prestonpans.  The manœuvres of the clans forced Cope to change his front, but wherever he went, his men were more or less cooped up and confined to the defensive, with the park wall on their rear.

Meanwhile Mr Anderson of Whitburgh, a local sportsman who had shot ducks in the morass on Cope’s left, brought to Charles news of a practicable path through that marsh.  Even so, the path was wet as high as the knee, says Ker of Graden, who had reconnoitred the British under fire.  He was a Roxburghshire laird, and there was with the Prince no better officer.

In the grey dawn the clans waded through the marsh and leaped the ditch; Charles was forced to come with the second line fifty yards behind the first.  The Macdonalds held the right, as they said they had done at Bannockburn; the Camerons and Macgregors were on the left they “cast their plaids, drew their blades,” and, after enduring an irregular fire, swept the red-coat ranks away; “they ran like rabets,” wrote Charles in a genuine letter to James.  Gardiner was cut down, his entire troop having fled, while he was directing a small force of foot which stood its ground.  Charles stated his losses at a hundred killed and wounded, all by gunshot.  Only two of the six field-pieces were discharged, by Colonel Whitefoord, who was captured.  Friends and foes agree in saying that the Prince devoted himself to the care of the wounded of both sides.  Lord George Murray states Cope’s losses, killed, wounded, and taken, at 3000, Murray, at under 1000.

The Prince would fain have marched on England, but his force was thinned by desertions, and English reinforcements would have been landed in his rear.  For a month he had to hold court in Edinburgh, adored by the ladies to whom he behaved with a coldness of which Charles II. would not have approved.  “These are my beauties,” he said, pointing to a burly-bearded Highland sentry.  He “requisitioned” public money, and such horses and fodder as he could procure; but to spare the townsfolk from the guns of the castle he was obliged to withdraw his blockade.  He sent messengers to France, asking for aid, but received little, though the Marquis Boyer d’Eguilles was granted as a kind of representative of Louis XV.  His envoys to Sleat and Macleod sped ill, and Lovat only dallied, France only hesitated, while Dutch and English regiments landed in the Thames and marched to join General Wade at Newcastle.  Charles himself received reinforcements amounting to some 1500 men, under Lord Ogilvy, old Lord Pitsligo, the Master of Strathallan (Drummond), the brave Lord Balmerino, and the Viscount Dundee.  A treaty of alliance with France, made at Fontainebleau, neutralised, under the Treaty of Tournay, 6000 Dutch who might not, by that treaty, fight against the ally of France.

The Prince entertained no illusions.  Without French forces, he told D’Eguilles, “I cannot resist English, Dutch, Hessians, and Swiss.”  On October [15/26] he wrote his last extant letter from Scotland to King James.  He puts his force at 8000 (more truly 6000), with 300 horse.  “With these, as matters stand, I shal have one decisive stroke for’t, but iff the French” (do not?) “land, perhaps none. . . .  As matters stand I must either conquer or perish in a little while.”

Defeated in the heart of England, and with a prize of £30,000 offered for his head, he could not hope to escape.  A victory for him would mean a landing of French troops, and his invasion of England had for its aim to force the hand of France.  Her troops, with Prince Henry among them, dallied at Dunkirk till Christmas, and were then dispersed, while the Duke of Cumberland arrived in England from Flanders on October 19.

On October 30 the Prince held a council of war.  French supplies and guns had been landed at Stonehaven, and news came that 6000 French were ready at Dunkirk: at Dunkirk they were, but they never were ready.  The news probably decided Charles to cross the Border; while it appears that his men preferred to be content with simply making Scotland again an independent kingdom, with a Catholic king.  But to do this, with French aid, was to return to the state of things under Mary of Guise!

The Prince, judging correctly, wished to deal his “decisive stroke” near home, at the old and now futile Wade in Northumberland.  A victory would have disheartened England, and left Newcastle open to France.  If Charles were defeated, his own escape by sea, in a country where he had many well-wishers, was possible, and the clans would have retreated through the Cheviots.  Lord George Murray insisted on a march by the western road, Lancashire being expected to rise and join the Prince.  But this plan left Wade, with a superior force, on Charles’s flank!  The one difficulty, that of holding a bridge, say Kelso Bridge, over Tweed, was not insuperable.  Rivers could not stop the Highlanders.  Macdonald of Morar thought Charles the best general in the army, and to the layman, considering the necessity for an instant stroke, and the advantages of the east, as regards France, the Prince’s strategy appears better than Lord George’s.  But Lord George had his way.

On October 31, Charles, reinforced by Cluny with 400 Macphersons, concentrated at Dalkeith.  On November 1, the less trusted part of his force, under Tullibardine, with the Atholl men, moved south by Peebles and Moffat to Lockerbie, menacing Carlisle; while the Prince, Lord George, and the fighting clans marched to Kelso—a feint to deceive Wade.  The main body then moved by Jedburgh, up Rule Water and down through Liddesdale, joining hands with Tullibardine on November 9, and bivouacking within two miles of Carlisle.  On the 10th the Atholl men went to work at the trenches; on the 11th the army moved seven miles towards Newcastle, hoping to discuss Wade at Brampton on hilly ground.  But Wade did not gratify them by arriving.

On the 13th the Atholl men were kept at their spade-work, and Lord George in dudgeon resigned his command (November 14), but at night Carlisle surrendered, Murray and Perth negotiating.  Lord George expressed his anger and jealousy to his brother, Tullibardine, but Perth resigned his command to pacify his rival.  Wade feebly tried to cross country, failed, and went back to Newcastle.  On November 10, with some 4500 men (there had been many desertions), the march through Lancashire was decreed.  Save for Mr Townley and two Vaughans, the Catholics did not stir.  Charles marched on foot in the van; he was a trained pedestrian; the townspeople stared at him and his Highlanders, but only at Manchester (November 29-30) had he a welcome, enlisting about 150 doomed men.  On November 27 Cumberland took over command at Lichfield; his foot were distributed between Tamworth and Stafford; his cavalry was at Newcastle-under-Lyme.  Lord George was moving on Derby, but learning Cumberland’s dispositions he led a column to Congleton, inducing Cumberland to concentrate at Lichfield, while he himself, by way of Leek and Ashburn, joined the Prince at Derby.

The army was in the highest spirits.  The Duke of Richmond on the other side wrote from Lichfield (December 5), “If the enemy please to cut us off from the main army, they may; and also, if they please to give us the slip and march to London, I fear they may, before even this avant garde can come up with them; . . . there is no pass to defend, . . . the camp at Finchley is confined to paper plans”—and Wales was ready to join the Prince!  Lord George did not know what Richmond knew.  Despite the entreaties of the Prince, his Council decided to retreat.  On December 6 the clans, uttering cries of rage, were set with their faces to the north.

The Prince was now an altered man.  Full of distrust, he marched not with Lord George in the rear, he rode in the van.

Meanwhile Lord John Drummond, who, on November 22, had landed at Montrose with 800 French soldiers, was ordered by Charles to advance with large Highland levies now collected and meet him as he moved north.  Lord John disobeyed orders (received about December 18).  Expecting his advance, Charles most unhappily left the Manchester men and others to hold Carlisle, to which he would return.  Cumberland took them all,—many were hanged.

In the north, Lord Lewis Gordon routed Macleod at Inverurie (December 23), and defeated his effort to secure Aberdeen.  Admirably commanded by Lord George, and behaving admirably for an irregular retreating force, the army reached Penrith on December 18, and at Clifton, Lord George and Cluny defeated Cumberland’s dragoons in a rearguard action.

On December 19 Carlisle was reached, and, as we saw, a force was left to guard the castle; all were taken.  On December 20 the army forded the flooded Esk; the ladies, of whom several had been with them, rode it on their horses: the men waded breast-high, as, had there been need, they would have forded Tweed if the eastern route had been chosen, and if retreat had been necessary.  Cumberland returned to London on January 5, and Horace Walpole no longer dreaded “a rebellion that runs away.”  By different routes Charles and Lord George met (December 26) at Hamilton Palace.  Charles stayed a night at Dumfries.  Dumfries was hostile, and was fined; Glasgow was also disaffected, the ladies were unfriendly.  At Glasgow, Charles heard that Seaforth, chief of the Mackenzies, was aiding the Hanoverians in the north, combining with the great Whig clans, with Macleod, the Munroes, Lord Loudoun commanding some 2000 men, and the Mackays of Sutherland and Caithness.

Meanwhile Lord John Drummond, Strathallan, and Lord Lewis Gordon, with Lord Macleod, were concentrating to meet the Prince at Stirling, the purpose being the hopeless one of capturing the castle, the key of the north.  With weak artillery, and a futile and foolish French engineer officer to direct the siege, they had no chance of success.  The Prince, in bad health, stayed (January 4-10) at Sir Hugh Paterson’s place, Bannockburn House.

At Stirling, with his northern reinforcements, Charles may have had some seven or eight thousand men wherewith to meet General Hawley (a veteran of Sheriffmuir) advancing from Edinburgh.  Hawley encamped at Falkirk, and while the Atholl men were deserting by scores, Lord George skilfully deceived him, arrived on the Falkirk moor unobserved, and held the ridge above Hawley’s position, while the General was lunching with Lady Kilmarnock.  In the first line of the Prince’s force the Macdonalds held the right wing, the Camerons (whom the great Wolfe describes as the bravest of the brave) held the left; with Stewarts of Appin, Frazers, and Macphersons in the centre.  In the second line were the Atholl men, Lord Lewis Gordon’s levies, and Lord Ogilvy’s.  The Lowland horse and Drummond’s French details were in the rear.  The ground was made up of eminences and ravines, so that in the second line the various bodies were invisible to each other, as at Sheriffmuir—with similar results.  When Hawley found that he had been surprised he arrayed his thirteen battalions of regulars and 1000 men of Argyll on the plain, with three regiments of dragoons, by whose charge he expected to sweep away Charles’s right wing; behind his cavalry were the luckless militia of Glasgow and the Lothians.  In all, he had from 10,000 to 12,000 men against, perhaps, 7000 at most, for 1200 of Charles’s force were left to contain Blakeney in Stirling Castle.  Both sides, on account of the heavy roads, failed to bring forward their guns.

Hawley then advanced his cavalry up hill: their left faced Keppoch’s Macdonalds; their right faced the Frazers, under the Master of Lovat, in Charles’s centre.  Hawley then launched his cavalry, which were met at close range by the reserved fire of the Macdonalds and Frazers.  Through the mist and rain the townsfolk, looking on, saw in five minutes “the break in the battle.”  Hamilton’s and Ligonier’s cavalry turned and fled, Cobham’s wheeled and rode across the Highland left under fire, while the Macdonalds and Frazers pursuing the cavalry found themselves among the Glasgow militia, whom they followed, slaying.  Lord George had no pipers to sound the recall; they had flung their pipes to their gillies and gone in with the claymore.

Thus the Prince’s right, far beyond his front, were lost in the tempest; while his left had discharged their muskets at Cobham’s Horse, and could not load again, their powder being drenched with rain.  They received the fire of Hawley’s right, and charged with the claymore, but were outflanked and enfiladed by some battalions drawn up en potence.  Many of the second line had blindly followed the first: the rest shunned the action; Hawley’s officers led away some regiments in an orderly retreat; night fell; no man knew what had really occurred till young Gask and young Strathallan, with the French and Atholl men, ventured into Falkirk, and found Hawley’s camp deserted.  The darkness, the rain, the nature of the ground, and the clans’ want of discipline, prevented the annihilation of Hawley’s army; while the behaviour of his cavalry showed that the Prince might have defeated Cumberland’s advanced force beyond Derby with the greatest ease, as the Duke of Richmond had anticipated.

Perhaps the right course now was to advance on Edinburgh, but the hopeless siege of Stirling Castle was continued—Charles perhaps hoping much from Hawley’s captured guns.

The accidental shooting of young Æneas Macdonnell, second son of Glengarry, by a Clanranald man, begat a kind of blood feud between the clans, and the unhappy cause of the accident had to be shot.  Lochgarry, writing to young Glengarry after Culloden, says that “there was a general desertion in the whole army,” and this was the view of the chiefs, who, on news of Cumberland’s approach, told Charles (January 29) that the army was depleted and resistance impossible.

The chiefs were mistaken in point of fact: a review at Crieff later showed that even then only 1000 men were missing.  As at Derby, and with right on his side, Charles insisted on meeting Cumberland.  He did well, his men were flushed with victory, had sufficient supplies, were to encounter an army not yet encouraged by a refusal to face it, and, if defeated had the gates of the hills open behind them.  In a very temperately written memorial Charles placed these ideas before the chiefs.  “Having told you my thoughts, I am too sensible of what you have already ventured and done for me, not to yield to your unanimous resolution if you persist.”

Lord George, Lovat, Lochgarry, Keppoch, Ardshiel, and Cluny did persist; the fatal die was cast; and the men who—well fed and confident—might have routed Cumberland, fled in confusion rather than retreated,—to be ruined later, when, starving, out-wearied, and with many of their best forces absent, they staggered his army at Culloden.  Charles had told the chiefs, “I can see nothing but ruin and destruction to us in case we should retreat.” {287}

This retreat embittered Charles’s feelings against Lord George, who may have been mistaken—who, indeed, at Crieff, seems to have recognised his error (February 5); but he had taken his part, and during the campaign, henceforth, as at Culloden, distinguished himself by every virtue of a soldier.

After the retreat Lord George moved on Aberdeen; Charles to Blair in Atholl; thence to Moy, the house of Lady Mackintosh, where a blacksmith and four or five men ingeniously scattered Loudoun and the Macleods, advancing to take him by a night surprise.  This was the famous Rout of Moy.

Charles next (February 20) took Inverness Castle, and Loudoun was driven into Sutherland, and cut off by Lord George’s dispositions from any chance of joining hands with Cumberland.  The Duke had now 5000 Hessian soldiers at his disposal: these he would not have commanded had the Prince’s army met him near Stirling.

Charles was now at or near Inverness: he lost, through illness, the services of Murray, whose successor, Hay, was impotent as an officer of Commissariat.  A gallant movement of Lord George into Atholl, where he surprised all Cumberland’s posts, but was foiled by the resistance of his brother’s castle, was interrupted by a recall to the north, and, on April 2, he retreated to the line of the Spey.  Forbes of Culloden and Macleod had been driven to take refuge in Skye; but 1500 men of the Prince’s best had been sent into Sutherland, when Cumberland arrived at Nairn (April 14), and Charles concentrated his starving forces on Culloden Moor.  The Macphersons, the Frazers, the 1500 Macdonalds, and others in Sutherland were absent on various duties when “the wicked day of destiny” approached.

The men on Culloden Moor, a flat waste unsuited to the tactics of the clans, had but one biscuit apiece on the eve of the battle.  Lord George “did not like the ground,” and proposed to surprise by a night attack Cumberland’s force at Nairn.  The Prince eagerly agreed, and, according to him, Clanranald’s advanced men were in touch with Cumberland’s outposts before Lord George convinced the Prince that retreat was necessary.  The advance was lagging; the way had been missed in the dark; dawn was at hand.  There are other versions: in any case the hungry men were so outworn that many are said to have slept through next day’s battle.

A great mistake was made next day, if Lochgarry, who commanded the Macdonalds of Glengarry, and Maxwell of Kirkconnel are correct in saying that Lord George insisted on placing his Atholl men on the right wing.  The Macdonalds had an old claim to the right wing, but as far as research enlightens us, their failure on this fatal day was not due to jealous anger.  The battle might have been avoided, but to retreat was to lose Inverness and all chance of supplies.  On the Highland right was the water of Nairn, and they were guarded by a wall which the Campbells pulled down, enabling Cumberland’s cavalry to take them in flank.  Cumberland had about 9000 men, including the Campbells.  Charles, according to his muster-master, had 5000; of horse he had but a handful.

The battle began with an artillery duel, during which the clans lost heavily, while their few guns were useless, and their right flank was exposed by the breaking down of the protecting wall.  After some unexplained and dangerous delay, Lord George gave the word to charge, in face of a blinding tempest of sleet, and himself went in, as did Lochiel, claymore in hand.  But though the order was conveyed by Ker of Graden first to the Macdonalds on the left, as they had to charge over a wider space of ground, the Camerons, Clan Chattan, and Macleans came first to the shock.  “Nothing could be more desperate than their attack, or more properly received,” says Whitefoord.  The assailants were enfiladed by Wolfe’s regiment, which moved up and took position at right angles, like the fifty-second on the flank of the last charge of the French Guard at Waterloo.  The Highland right broke through Barrel’s regiment, swept over the guns, and died on the bayonets of the second line.  They had thrown down their muskets after one fire, and, says Cumberland, stood “and threw stones for at least a minute or two before their total rout began.”  Probably the fall of Lochiel, who was wounded and carried out of action, determined the flight.  Meanwhile the left, the Macdonalds, menaced on the flank by cavalry, were plied at a hundred yards by grape.  They saw their leaders, the gallant Keppoch and Macdonnell of Scothouse, with many others, fall under the grape-shot: they saw the right wing broken, and they did not come to the shock.  If we may believe four sworn witnesses in a court of justice (July 24, 1752), whose testimony was accepted as the basis of a judicial decreet (January 10, 1756), {290} Keppoch was wounded while giving his orders to some of his men not to outrun the line in advancing, and was shot dead as a friend was supporting him.  When all retreated they passed the dead body of Keppoch.

The tradition constantly given in various forms that Keppoch charged alone, “deserted by the children of his clan,” is worthless if sworn evidence may be trusted.

As for the unhappy Charles, by the evidence of Sir Robert Strange, who was with him, he had “ridden along the line to the right animating the soldiers,” and “endeavoured to rally the soldiers, who, annoyed by the enemy’s fire, were beginning to quit the field.”  He “was got off the field when the men in general were betaking themselves precipitately to flight; nor was there any possibility of their being rallied.”  Yorke, an English officer, says that the Prince did not leave the field till after the retreat of the second line.

So far the Prince’s conduct was honourable and worthy of his name.  But presently, on the advice of his Irish entourage, Sullivan and Sheridan, who always suggested suspicions, and doubtless not forgetting the great price on his head, he took his own way towards the west coast in place of joining Lord George and the remnant with him at Ruthven in Badenoch.  On April 26 he sailed from Borradale in a boat, and began that course of wanderings and hairbreadth escapes in which only the loyalty of Highland hearts enabled him at last to escape the ships that watched the isles and the troops that netted the hills.

Some years later General Wolfe, then residing at Inverness, reviewed the occurrences, and made up his mind that the battle had been a dangerous risk for Cumberland, while the pursuit (though ruthlessly cruel) was inefficient.

Despite Cumberland’s insistent orders to give no quarter (orders justified by the absolutely false pretext that Prince Charles had set the example), Lochgarry reported that the army had not lost more than a thousand men.  Fire and sword and torture, the destruction of tilled lands, and even of the shell-fish on the shore, did not break the spirit of the Highlanders.  Many bands held out in arms, and Lochgarry was only prevented by the Prince’s command from laying an ambush for Cumberland.  The Campbells and the Macleods under their recreant chief, the Whig Macdonalds under Sir Alexander of Sleat, ravaged the lands of the Jacobite clansmen; but the spies of Albemarle, who now commanded in Scotland, reported the Macleans, the Grants of Glenmoriston, with the Macphersons, Glengarry’s men, and Lochiel’s Camerons, as all eager “to do it again” if France would only help.

But France was helpless, and when Lochiel sailed for France with the Prince only Cluny remained, hunted like a partridge in the mountains, to keep up the spirit of the Cause.  Old Lovat met a long-deserved death by the executioner’s axe, though it needed the evidence of Murray of Broughton, turned informer, to convict that fox.  Kilmarnock and Balmerino also were executed; the good and brave Duke of Perth died on his way to France; the aged Tullibardine in the Tower; many gallant gentlemen were hanged; Lord George escaped, and is the ancestor of the present Duke of Atholl; many gentlemen took French service; others fought in other alien armies; three or four in the Highlands or abroad took the wages of spies upon the Prince.  The £30,000 of French gold, buried near Loch Arkaig, caused endless feuds, kinsman denouncing kinsman.  The secrets of the years 1746-1760 are to be sought in the Cumberland and Stuart MSS. in Windsor Castle and the Record Office.

Legislation, intended to scotch the snake of Jacobitism, began with religious persecution.  The Episcopalian clergy had no reason to love triumphant Presbyterianism, and actively, or in sympathy, were favourers of the exiled dynasty.  Episcopalian chapels, sometimes mere rooms in private houses, were burned, or their humble furniture was destroyed.  All Episcopalian ministers were bidden to take the oath and pray for King George by September 1746, or suffer for the second offence transportation for life to the American colonies.  Later, the orders conferred by Scottish bishops were made of no avail.  Only with great difficulty and danger could parents obtain the rite of baptism for their children.  Very little is said in our histories about the sufferings of the Episcopalians when it was their turn to be under the harrow.  They were not violent, they murdered no Moderator of the General Assembly.  Other measures were the Disarming Act, the prohibition to wear the Highland dress, and the abolition of “hereditable jurisdictions,” and the chief’s right to call out his clansmen in arms.  Compensation in money was paid, from £21,000 to the Duke of Argyll to £13, 6s. 8d. to the clerks of the Registrar of Aberbrothock.  The whole sum was £152,237, 15s. 4d.

In 1754 an Act “annexed the forfeited estates of the Jacobites who had been out (or many of them) inalienably to the Crown.”  The estates were restored in 1784; meanwhile the profits were to be used for the improvement of the Highlands.  If submissive tenants received better terms and larger leases than of old, Jacobite tenants were evicted for not being punctual with rent.  Therefore, on May 14, 1752, some person unknown shot Campbell of Glenure, who was about evicting the tenants on the lands of Lochiel and Stewart of Ardshiel in Appin.  Campbell rode down from Fort William to Ballachulish ferry, and when he had crossed it said, “I am safe now I am out of my mother’s country.”  But as he drove along the old road through the wood of Lettermore, perhaps a mile and a half south of Ballachulish House, the fatal shot was fired.  For this crime James Stewart of the Glens was tried by a Campbell jury at Inveraray, with the Duke on the bench, and was, of course, convicted, and hanged on the top of a knoll above Ballachulish ferry.  James was innocent, but Allan Breck Stewart was certainly an accomplice of the man with the gun, which, by the way, was the property neither of James Stewart nor of Stewart of Fasnacloich.  The murderer was anxious to save James by avowing the deed, but his kinsfolk, saying, “They will only hang both James and you,” bound him hand and foot and locked him up in the kitchen on the day of James’s execution. {293}  Allan lay for some weeks at the house of a kinsman in Rannoch, and escaped to France, where he had a fight with James Mor Macgregor, then a spy in the service of the Duke of Newcastle.

This murder of “the Red Fox” caused all the more excitement, and is all the better remembered in Lochaber and Glencoe, because agrarian violence in revenge for eviction has scarcely another example in the history of the Highlands.

 Print  Email