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Letter from Frederick — Chances in 1759 — French friends — ■
Murray and ' the Pills ' — Charles at Bouillon — Madame de
Pompadour — Charles on Lord George Murray — The night
march to Nairn— Manifestoes — Charles will only land in
England — Murray wishes to repudiate the National Debt —
Choiseul's promises — Andrew Lumisden — The Marshal's old
boots — Clancarty — Internal feuds of Jacobites — Scotch and
Irish quarrels — The five of diamonds — Lord Elibank's views
— The expedition starting — Routed in Quiberon Bay — New
hopes — Charles will not land in Scotland or Ireland — ' False
subjects' — Pickle waits on events — His last letter — His
ardent Patriotism —Still in touch with the Prince — Offers to
sell a regiment of Macdonalds — Spy or colonel ? — Signs his
real name — ' Alexander Macdonnell of Glengarry ' — Death
of Pickle — His services recognised 300



Conclusion — Charles in 1762 — Flight of Miss Walkinshaw—
Charles quarrels with France — Remonstrance from Murray —
Death of King James — Charles returns to Rome — His charm
— His disappointments — Lochgarry enters the Portuguese
service — Charles declines to recognise Miss Walkinshaw—
Report of his secret marriage to Miss Walkinshaw — Denied
by the lady — Charles breaks with Lumisden — Bishop Forbes
— Charles's marriage — The Duchess of Albany — ' All ends in
song ' — The Princesse de Talmond— The end .... 316

Appendix A 325

Index 327


PICKLE THE SPY Frontispiece

THE PRINCE OF WALES, 1735 ... To face p. 18

From a Portrait in the National Portrait Gallery.


From a miniature at Strathtyrum. (By permission of Messrs.
Charles Scribners' Sons.)


From a miniature in Her Majesty's Collection at Windsor Cast! - .


From a miniature in the possession of Mrs. Wedderburn Ogilvie, of
Rannagulzion. (By permission of Messrs. Charles Scribners'

THE KING, 1780 (?) » 320

From a Portrait in the National Portrait Gallery.




Subject of this book — The last rally of Jacobitism hitherto ob-
scure — Nature of the new materials — Information from spies,
unpublished Stuart Papers, &c. — The chief spy — Probably known
to Sir Walter Scott—' Eedgauntlet ' cited — ' Pickle the Spy '—His
position and services — The hidden gold of Loch Arkaig — Con-
sequent treacheries — Character of Pickle — Pickle's nephew —
Pickle's portrait — Pickle detected and denounced — To no purpose — •
Historical summary— Incognito of Prince Charles — Plan of this

The latest rally of Jacobitism, with its last romance, so
faded and so tarnished, has hitherto remained obscure.
The facts on which ' Waverley ' is based are familiar
to all the world : those on which ' Eedgauntlet ' rests
were but imperfectly known even to Sir Walter Scott.
The story of the Forty-five is the tale of Highland
loyalty : the story of 1750-1763 is the record
of Highland treachery, or rather of the treachery
of some Highlanders. That story, now for the first
time to be told, is founded on documents never hither-
to published, or never previously pieced together. The
Additional Manuscripts of the British Museum, with
relics of the government of Henry Felham and his



brother, the Duke of Newcastle, have yielded their
secrets, and given the information of the spies. The
Stuart Papers at Windsor (partly published in
Browne's ' History of the Highland Clans ' and by Lord
Stanhope, but mainly virginal of type) fill up the inter-
stices in the Pelham Papers like pieces in a mosaic,
and reveal the general design. The letters of British
ambassadors at Paris, Dresden, Berlin, Hanover,
Leipzig, Florence, St. Petersburg, lend colour and
coherence. The political correspondence of Frederick
the Great contributes to the effect. A trifle of in-
formation comes from the French Foreign Office
Archives ; French printed i Memoires ' and letters,
neglected by previous English writers on the subject,
offer some valuable, indeed essential, hints, and illus-
trate Charles's relations with the wits and beauties of
the reign of Louis XV. By combining information
from these and other sources in print, manuscript,
and tradition, we reach various results. We can now
follow and understand the changes in the singular
and wretched development of the character of Prince
Charles Edward Stuart. We get a curious view of
the manners, and a lurid light on the diplomacy of
the middle of the eighteenth centurv. We go behind
the scenes of many conspiracies. Above all, we en-
counter an extraordinary personage, the great, high-
born Highland chief who sold himself as a spy to the
English Government.

His existence was suspected by Scott, if not clearly
known and understood.


Iii his introduction to ' Eedgauntlet,' ] Sir Walter
Scott says that the ministers of George II. : thought
it proper to leave Dr. Cameron's new schemes in
concealment (1753), lest by divulging them they had
indicated the channel of communication which, it is
now well known, they possessed to all the plots of
Charles Edward.' To 'indicate' that secret 'channel
of communication ' between the Government of the
Pelhams and the Jacobite conspirators of 1749-
17G0 is one purpose of this book. Tradition has
vaguely bequeathed to us the name of ' Pickle the
Spy,' the foremost of many traitors. Who Pickle
was, and what he did, a whole romance of prosperous
treachery, is now to be revealed and illustrated from
various sources. Pickle was not only able to keep the
Duke of Newcastle and George II. well informed as to
the inmost plots, if not the most hidden movements of
Prince Charles, but he could either paralyse a serious,
or promote a premature, rising in the Highlands, as
seemed best to his English employers. We shall find
Pickle, in company with that devoted Jacobite, Loch-
garry, travelling through the Highlands, exciting-
hopes, consulting the chiefs, unburying a hidden
treasure, and encouraoino- the clans to rush once
more on English bayonets.

Romance, in a way, is stereotyped, and it m
characteristic that the last romance of the Stuarts
should be interwoven with a secret treasure. This
mass of French gold, buried after Culloden at Loch

1 Edition of 1832, i. p. x.



Arkaier, in one of the most remote recesses of the
Highlands, was, to the Jacobites, what the dwarf
Andvari's hoard was to the Niflungs, a curse and a
cause of discord. We shall see that rivalry for its
possession produced contending charges of disloyalty,
forgery, and theft among certain of the Highland
chiefs, and these may have helped to promote the
spirit of treachery in Pickle the Spy. It is probable,
though not certain, that he had acted as the agent
of Cumberland before he was sold to Henry Pelham,
and he was certainly communicating the results of
his inquiries in one sense to George II., and, in
another sense, to the exiled James III. in Borne. He
was betraying his own cousins, and traducing his
friends. Pickle is plainly no common spy or
' paltry vidette,' as he words it. Possibly Sir Walter
Scott knew who Pickle was : in him Scott, if he had
chosen, would have found a character very like Barry
Lyndon (but worse), very unlike any personage in the
Waverley Novels, and somewhat akin to the Master
of Ballantrae. The cool, good-humoured, smiling,
unscrupulous villain of high rank and noble lineage ;
the scoundrel happily unconscious of his own un-
speakable infamy, proud and sensitive upon the point
of honour ; the picturesque hypocrite in religion,
is a being whom we do not meet in Sir Walter's
romances. In Pickle he had such a character readv
made to his hand, but, in the time of Scott, it would
have been dangerous, as it is still disagreeable, to
unveil this old mystery of iniquity. A friend of Sir


Walter's, a man very ready with the pistol, the last,
as was commonly said, of the Highland chiefs, was of
the name and blood of Pickle, and would have taken
up Pickle's feud. Sir Walter was not to be moved by
pistols, but not even for the sake of a good story would
he hurt the sensibilities of a friend, or tarnish the
justly celebrated loyalty of the Highlands.

Now the friend of Scott, the representative of
Pickle in Scott's generation, was a Highlander,
and Pickle was not only a traitor, a profligate, an
oppressor of his tenantry, and a liar, but (according
to Jacobite gossip which reached ' King James ') a
former of the Kino's name ! Moreover he was, in all
probability, one fountain of that reproach, true or
false, which still clings to the name of the brave and
gentle Archibald Cameron, the brother of Lochiel,
whom Pickle brought to the gallows. If we add that,
when last we hear of Pickle, he is probably engaged
in a double treason, and certainly meditates selling a
regiment of his clan, like Hessians, to the Hanoverian
Government, it will be plain that his was no story for
Scott to tell.

Pickle had, at least, the attraction of being
eminently handsome. No statelier gentleman than
Pickle, as his faded portrait shows him in full High-
land costume, ever trod a measure at Holyrood.
Tall, athletic, with a frank and pleasing face, Pickle
could never be taken for a traitor and a spy. He
seemed the fitting lord of that castellated palace of his
race, which, beautiful and majestic in decay, mirrors


itself in Loch Oicli. Again, the man was brave ; for
he moved freely in France, England, and Scotland, well
knowing that the skian was sharpened for his throat
if he were detected. And the most extraordinary
fact in an extraordinary story is that Pickle was
detected, and denounced to the King over the water
by Mrs. Archibald Cameron, the widow of his victim.
Yet the breach between James and his little Court,
on one side, and Prince Charles on the other, was
then so absolute that the Prince was dining with the
spy, chatting with him at the opera-ball, and pre-
senting him with a gold snuff-box, at about the very
time when Pickle's treachery was known in Eome.
Afterwards, the knowledge of his infamy came too
late, if it came at all. The £>Teat scheme had failed :
Cameron had fallen, and Frederick of Prussia, ceas-
ing to encourage Jacobitism, had become the ally of

These things sound like the inventions of the
romancer, but the} T rest on unimpeachable evidence,
printed and manuscript, and chiefly on Pickle's own
letters to his King, to his Prince, and to his English
employers — we cannot say ' pay-masters,' for
Pickle was never paid ! He obtained, indeed, sin-
gular advantages, but he seldom or never could
wring ready money from the Duke of Newcastle.

To understand Pickle's career, the reluctant
reader must endure a certain amount of actual
history in minute details of date and place. Every
one is acquainted with the brilliant hour of Prince


Charles : his landing in Moidart accompanied by
only seven men, his march on Edinburgh, his
success at Preston pans, the race to Derby, the
retreat to Scotland, the gleam of victory at Falkirk, the
ruin of Culloden, the long months of wanderings and
distress, the return to France in 174G. Then came
two years of baffled intrigues ; next, the Treaty of Aix-
la-Chapelle insisted on the Prince's expulsion from
France ; last, he declined to withdraw. On Decem-
ber 10, 1748, he was arrested at the opera, was lodged
in the prison of Vincennes, was released, and made
his way to the Pope's city of Avignon, arriving there
in the last days of December 1748. On February 28,
1749, he rode out of Avignon, and disappeared for
many months from the ken of history. For nearly
eighteen years he preserved his incognito, vaguely
heard of here and there in England, France, Germany,
Flanders, but always involved in mystery. On that
mystery, impenetrable to his father, Pickle threw
light enough for the purposes of the English
Government, but not during the darkest hours of
Charles's incognito.

'Le Prince Edouard,' says Barbier in his journal
for February 1750, 'fait l'admiration et la curiosite
de l'Europe.' This work, alas ! is not likely to add
to the admiration entertained for the unfortunate
adventurer, but any surviving curiosity as to the
Prince's secret may be assuaged. In the days of
1740-1700, before Pickle's revelations begin, the
drafts of the (Prince's memoranda, notes, and angry


love-letters, preserved in Her Majesty's Library,
enable us to follow his movements. On much that
is obscurely indicated in scarcely decipherable
scrawls, light is thrown by the French memoirs of
that age. The names of Madame de Talmond,
Madame d'Aiguillon, and the celebrated Montesquieu,
are beacons in the general twilight. The memoirs
also explain, what was previously inexplicable, the
motives of Charles in choosing a life ' in a hole of a
rock,' as he said after the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle
(1748). It is necessary, however, to study the
internal feuds of the Jacobites at this period, and
these are illuminated by the Stuart Papers, the
letters of James and his ministers.

The plan of our narrative, therefore, will be
arranged in the following manner. Pirst, we sketch
the character of Prince Charles in boyhood, during
his Scottish expedition, and as it developed in cruelly
thwartinq- circumstances between 1746 and 1749.
In illustrating his character the hostile parties
within the Jacobite camp must be described and
defined. From February 1749 to September 1750
(when he visited London), we must try to pierce
the darkness that has been more than Egyptian.
We can, at least, display the total ignorance of
Courts and diplomatists as to Charles's movements
before Pickle came to their assistance, and we dis-
cover a secret which they ought to have known.

After the date 1752 we give, as far as possible,
the personal history of Pickle before lie sold himself,


and we unveil his motives for his villany. Then we
display Pickle in action, we select from his letters,
we show him deep in the Scottish, English, and
continental intrigues. He spoils the Elibank Plot,
he reveals the hostile policy of Frederick the Great,
he leads on to the arrest of Archibald Cameron, he
sows disunion, he traduces and betrays. He finally
recovers his lands, robs his tenants, dabbles (pro-
bably) in the French scheme of invasion (1759),
offers further information, tries to sell a regiment of
his clan, and dies unexposed in 1761.

Minor spies are tracked here and there, as Rob
Hoy's son, James Mohr Macgregor, Samuel Cameron,
and Oliver Macallester. English machinations against
the Prince's life and liberty are unveiled. His utter
decadence is illustrated, and we leave him weary,
dishonoured, and abandoned.

' A sair, sair altered man
Prince Charlie cam' hame '

to Eome ; and the refusal there of even a titular

The whole book aims chiefly at satisfying the
passion of curiosity. However unimportant a secret
may be, it is pleasant to know what all Europe was
once vainly anxious to discover. In the revelation
of manners, too, and in tracing the relations of
famous wits and beauties with a person then so
celebrated as Prince Charles, there is a certain
amount of entertainment which may excuse some
labour of research. Our history is of next to no


political value, but it revives as in a magic mirror
somewhat dim, certain scenes of actual human life.
Now and again the mist breaks, and real passionate
faces, gestures of living men and women, are beheld
in the clear-obscure. We see Lochgarry throw his
dirk after his son, and pronounce his curse. We
mark Pickle furtively scribbling after midnight in
French inns. We note Charles hiding in the alcove
of a lady's chamber in a convent. We admire the
* rich anger ' of his Polish mistress, and the sullen
rage of Lord Hyndford, baffled by ' the perfidious
Court ' of Frederick the Great. The old histories
emerge into light, like the writing in sympathetic
ink on the secret despatches of King James.




Prince Charles — Contradictions in his character — Extremes of had
and good — Evolution of character — The Prince's personal ad-
vantages — Common mistake as to the colour of his eyes — His
portraits from youth to age — Descriptions of Charles by the Due
de Liria ; the President de Brosses ; Gray; Charles's courage —
The siege of Gaeta — Story of Lord Elcho — The real facts — The
Prince's horse shot at Culloden — Foolish fables of David Hume
confuted — Charles's literary tastes — His clemency — His honour-
able conduct — Contrast with Cumberland— His graciousness —
His faults — Charge of avarice — Love of wine— Religious levity — ■
James on Charles's faults — An unpleasant discovery — Influence
of Murray of Broughton — Rapid decline of character after 1740 — -
Temper, wine, and women — Deep distrust of James's Court —
Rupture with James — Divisions among Jacobites — King's men
and Prince's men — Marischal, Kelly, Lismore, Clancarty — Anec-
dote of Clancarty and Braddock — Clancarty and d'Argenson —
Balhaldie— Lally Tollendal— The Duke of York— His secret flight
from Paris — ' Insigne Fourberie ' — Anxiety of Charles — The fatal
cardinal's hat — Madame de Pompadour — Charles rejects her
advances — His love affairs— Madame de Talmond — Voltaire's
verses on her — Her scepticism in religion — Her husband —
Correspondence with Montesquieu — The Duchesse d'Aiguillon—
Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle — Charles refuses to retire to Fribourg —
The gold plate — Scenes with Madame de Talmond — Bulkeley's
interference — Arrest of Charles — The compasses — Charles goes to
Avignon — His desperate condition — His policy — Based on a
scheme of d'Argenson— He leaves Avignon — He is lost to sight
and hearing.

1 Charles Edward Stuart,' says Lord Stanhope, ' is
one of those characters that cannot be portrayed at
a single sketch, but have so greatly altered as to


require a new delineation at different periods.' l
Now lie ' glitters all over like the star which they
tell you appeared at his nativity,' and which still
shines beside him, Micat inter omnes, on a medal
struck in his boyhood. 2 Anon he is sunk in besotted
vice, a cruel lover, a solitary tippler, a broken man.
We study the period of transition.

Descriptions of his character vary between the
noble encomium written in prison by Archibald
Cameron, the last man who died for the Stuarts,
and the virulent censures of Lord Elcho and Dr.
King. Veterans known to Sir Walter Scott wept at
the mention of the Prince's name ; yet, as early as
the tenth year after Prestonpans, his most devoted
adherent, Henry Goring, left him in an angry despair.
Nevertheless, the character so variously estimated,
so tenderly loved, so loathed, so despised, was one
character ; modified, swiftly or slowfy, as its natural
elements developed or decayed under the various
influences of struggle, of success, of long endurance,
of hope deferred, and of bitter disappointment. The
gay, kind, brave, loyal, and clement Prince Charlie
became the fierce, shabby, battered exile, homeless,
and all but friendless. The change, of course, was
not instantaneous, but gradual ; it was not the result
of one, but of many causes. Even out of his final
degradation, Charles occasionally speaks with his

1 History of England from the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace of
Aix-la-Chapelle. London, 1838, iii. 279.

2 An authentic account of the conduct of the Young Chevalier,
p. 7. Third edition, 1749.


real voice : his inborn goodness of heart, remarked
before his earliest adventures, utters its protest
against the self he has become ; just as, on the other
hand, lonsr ere he set his foot on Scottish soil, his
father had noted his fatal inclination to wine and

The processes in this change of character, the
events, the temptations, the trials under which Charles
became an altered man, have been very slightly
studied, and, indeed, have been very obscurely
known. Even Mr. Ewald, the author of the most
elaborate biography of the Prince, 1 neglected some
important French printed sources, while manuscript
documents, here for the first time published, were not
at his command. The present essay is itself un-
avoidably incomplete, for of family papers bearing
on the subject many have perished under the teeth
,pf time, and in one case, of rats, while others are not
accessible to the writer. Nevertheless, it is hoped
that this work elucidates much which has long been
veiled in the motives, conduct, and secret movements
of Charles during the vears between 1749 and the
death, in 17 GG, of his father, the Old Chevalier.
Charles then emerged from a retirement of seventeen
years ; the European game of Hide and Seek was
over, and it is not proposed to study the Prince in
the days of his manifest decline, and among the
disgraces of his miserable marriage. His ' incognito '
is our topic ; the period of ' deep and isolated enter-

1 Loudon, 1879.


prise ' which puzzled every Foreign Office in Europe,
and practically only ended, as far as hope was
concerned, with the break-up of the Jacobite party
in 1754-1756, or rather with Hawke's defeat of
■Conflans in 1759.

Ours is a strange and melancholy tale of desperate
loyalties, and of a treason almost unparalleled for
secrecy and persistence. AVe have to do with the
back-stairs of diplomacy, with spies and traitors,
with cloak and sword, with blabbing servants, and
inquisitive ambassadors, with disguise and dis-
covery, with friends more staunch than steel, or
weaker than water, with petty jealousies, with the
relentless persecution of a brave man, and with the
consequent ruin of a gallant life.

To understand the psychological problem, the
degradation of a promising personalit) T , it is necessary
to glance rapidly at what we know of Charles
before his Scottish expedition.

To begin at the beginning, in physical qualities
■the Prince was dowered by a kind fairy. He was
firmly though slimly built, of the best stature for
strength and health. ' He had a body made for
war,' writes Lord Elcho, who hated him. The gift
of beauty (in his case peculiarly fatal, as will be
seen) had not been denied to him. His brow was
high and broad, his nose shapely, his eyes of a rich
dark brown, his hair of a chestnut hue, golden at
•the tips. Though his eyes are described as blue,
both in 1744 by Sir Horace Mann, and in later life


(1770) by an English lady in Borne, though Lord
Stanhope and Mr. Stevenson agree in this error,
brown was really their colour. 1 Charles inherited
the dark eyes of his father, ' the Black Bird,' and of
Mary Stuart. This is manifest from all the original
portraits and miniatures, including that given by the
Prince to his secretary, Murray of Broughton, now
in my collection. In boyhood Charles's face had a
merry, mutinous, rather reckless expression, as por-
traits prove. Hundreds of faces like his may be
seen at the public schools ; indeed, Charles had many
' doubles,' who sometimes traded on the resemblance,
sometimes, wittingly or unwittingly, misled the spies
that constantly pursued him. 2 His adherents fondly
declared that his natural air of distinction, his
princely bearing, were too marked to be concealed
m any travesty. Yet no man has, in disguises of
his person, been more successful. We may grant
' the grand air ' to Charles, but we must admit that
he could successfully dissemble it.

About 1743, when a number of miniatures of
the Prince were done in Italy for presentation to
adherents, Charles's boyish mirth, as seen in these

1 Letters from Italy by an Englishwoman, ii. 198. London 1776.
Cited by Lord Stanhope, iii. 556. Horace Mann to the Duke of
Newcastle. State Papers. Tuscany. Jan. ^J, 174;,-. In Ewald, i. 87.
Both authorities speak of blue eyes.

2 A false Charles appeared in Selkirkshire in 1745. See Mr. Craig
Brown's History of Ettrich Forest. The French, in 1759, meant to
send a false Charles to Ireland with Thurot. Another appeared at
Civita Vecchia about 1752. The tradition of Roderick Mackenzie, who
died under English bullets, crying ' You have slain your Prince,' is

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Online LibraryAndrew LangPickle the spy; → online text (page 2 of 23)