Andrew Lang.

Pickle the spy; online

. (page 20 of 23)
Online LibraryAndrew LangPickle the spy; → online text (page 20 of 23)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

regiment of Macdonalds — Spy or colonel ? — Signs his real name —
' Alexander Macdonnell of Glengarry ' — Death of Pickle— His
services recognised.

After the fatal 10th of December, 1748, Charles had
entertained a bitter hatred of France, though he was
always careful to blame the Ministers of Louis, not
the King himself. He even refused a French pension,
but this was an attitude which he could not main-
tain. In 1756 (July 1) he actually wrote to Louis,
asking for money.

' Monsieur Mon Frere et Cousin,' he said. ' With
the whole of Europe I admire your virtues . . . and
the benefits with which you daily load your subjects.
. . . Since 1744, when I left Borne, I have run many


risks, encountered many perils, and endured many
vicissitudes of fortune, unaided by those from whom
I had the right to expect assistance, unsuccoured even
by My Father. In truth such of his subjects as
espoused my cause have given me many proofs of
zeal, and of good will, but, since open war broke out
between France and England, I have not the same
support. I know not what Destiny prepares for me,
but I shall put it to the touch.'

For this purpose, then, he needs money.

' If I knew a Prince more virtuous than you, to
him I would appeal.'

Whether Louis was good-natured, and gave some
money for Charles to O'Hagarty and Elliot, his envoys,
does not appear. 1

In these dispositions, Charles hoped much from
the French project of invading England in 1759.
Though he never wholly despaired, and was soliciting
Louis XVI. even in the dawn of the Eevolution, we
may call the invasion of 1759 his last faint chance.
Hints had been thrown out of employing him in 1757 .
Frederick then wrote from Dresden to Mitchell, the
English Ambassador at Berlin :

' I want to let you know that yesterday a person
of distinguished rank told me that a friend of his at
Court, under promise of the utmost secrecy, told him
this : The French intend to make a diversion in Ire-
land in spring. They will disembark at Cork and at
Waterford. They are negotiating with the Young

1 Archives of French Foreign Office. Angleterre. 81. fol. 11.


Pretender to put himself at the head of the Expedi-
tion, but he will do nothing, unless the Courts of
Vienna and St. Petersburg guarantee the proposals
made to him by France.' x

Charles, in fact, was deeply distrustful of all
French offers. As we shall see, he later declined to
embark with any expedition for Scotland or Ireland.
He would go with troops destined for London, and
with no others. The year 1759 was spent in playing
the game of intrigue. The French Minister, the Due
de Choiseul, was, or affected to be, friendly ; friendly,
too, were the old Mareclial de Belleisle and the Prin-
cesse de Ligne. Louis sent vaguely affectionate mes-
sages. In Rome, James was reconciled, and indulged
in a gleam of hope. Charles's agents were Elliot, Alex-
ander Murray (who, I think, is usually styled ' Camp-
bell'), Holker, ' Goodwin,' Clancarty, and Mackenzie
Douglas. This man, whose real name was Mackenzie,
had been a Jesuit, and is said to have acted as a spy
in the Dutch service. He had also been, first the
secret, and then the avowed, envoy of Louis XV. to
St. Petersburg in 1755-1756. On his second visit he
was accompanied by the notorious Chevalier d'Eon.' 2

As early as January 2, 1759, Murray (I think; the
letters are unsigned) assures Charles of the friendship
of the French Court. The King (' Ellis ') will lend
30,000/. On January 8, Murray writes, and a funnier
letter of veiled meanings never was penned :

1 Pol. Corr. xiii. 320. No. 8,660.

2 See Le Secret du Boi, by the Due de Broglie.


' January 8.

' I arrived on Saturday morning, I immediately
call'd at Mr. Cambels, not finding him went to Mr.
Mansfield and delivered him the pills you sent him. . . .
I met Cambel at 10 o'clock, delivered him his pills, and
drank a serious bottle of Burdeaux . . . delivered a
pill to Harrison who with tears of tenderness in his
eyes, said from the Bottom of his heart woud do any-
thing in his power to serve that magnanimous Bour-
ton [the Prince], he brought me along to Mr. Budson's,
who after he had swallowed the pill came and made
me a Low reverence, and desired me to assure Bour-
ton of his respect.'

What the ' pills ' were we can only guess, but
their effects are entertaining. Charles at this time
was at Bouillon, the home of his cousin, the Due de
Bouillon, and he made the President Thibault there
the guardian of his child, for Miss Walkinshaw did
not carry off her daughter to Paris till July 1760. 1
Murray (or Campbell) kept besieging Choiseul,
Belleisle, and the Prince de Soubise with appeals in
favour of Charles. We have heard how the Prince
used to treat Madame de Pompadour, burning her
Billets unanswered. Now his mood was altered. His
agent writes :

' February 19.

' Campbell, I send copy of Letter to Prince de

' 1 am convinced you will not delay in writting to

1 Mimoire of Charlotte Stuart. French Foreign Office. 1774.


Madame La Marquise de Pompadour and thereby
show her that your politeness and gallantry are not
enferiour to your other superior qualifications, not-
withstanding that you have lived for these ten years
past in a manner shut up from the world. It will be
absolutely necessary that you inclosed it to the P. of
S. [Soubise] who has given up the command of ye
army in Germany in order to conduct the expedition
against England.'

Charles answered in this submissive fashion :

Prince to Murray.

' February 24.

' Eien ne me natterai plus que d'assurer de
Bouche Mad. L. M. de P. de l'estime et de La Con-
sideration La plus parfaitte. Vous scavez mes senti-
ments pour Elle, je Les ay aussy Explique a Le P. de
Soubise, et je ne dessirres rien tant que trouver Les
occasions de lui La prouver.'

He also tried to justify his past conduct to ' Mr.
Orry ' (his father), especially as regarded Lord George
Murray. He declared that, in the futile attempt
at a night surprise at Nairn, before Culloden, Clan-
ranald's regiment did encounter Cumberland's sen-
tries, and found that the attempt was feasible,
had Lord George not retreated, contrary to his

The obstinate self-will of Charles displayed itself in
thwarting all arrangements attempted by the French
for employing him in their projected invasion of


England. They expected a diversion to be made in
their favour by his adherents, but he persistently
refused to be landed either in Scotland or Ireland.
He was partly justified. The French (as d'Argenson
admits) had no idea, even in 1745, of making him King
of the Three Kingdoms. To establish him at Holyrood,
or in Dublin, and so to create and perpetuate disunion
in Great Britain, was their policy, as far as they had a
policy. We may think that Charles was in no position
to refuse any assistance, but his reply to Cardinal
Tencin, ' Point de partage ; tout ou rien,' was at least
patriotic. The Dutch correspondent of the ' Scots
Magazine,' writing on May 22, 1759, said that a
French expedition for Scotland was ready, and that
Charles was to sail with it, but the Prince would not
lend himself to this scheme. All through the summer
he had his agents, Elliot, Holker, and Clancart}^, at
Dunkirk, Rouen, and Boulogne. They reported on
the French preparations, but, writes Charles on July
22, ' I am not in their secret.' He corresponded with
the Due de Choiseul and the Marechal de Belleisle,
but they confined themselves to general assurances of
friendship. ' It is impossible for the Due de Choiseul
to tell you the King's secret, as you would not tell
him yours,' wrote an anonymous correspondent,
apparently Alexander Murray.

Charles prepared manifestoes for the Press, and
was urged, from England, to include certain arranged
words in them, to be taken as a sign that he was
actually landed. These words, of course, were to be



kept a dead secret. The English Jacobites had no
intention of appearing in arms to aid a French
invading force, if Charles was not in the midst of it.
Alexander Murray wrote suggestions for Charles's
Declaration. He was to be very strong on the
Habeas Corpus Act, and Murray ruefully recalled
his own long imprisonment by order of the House of
Commons. He wished also to repudiate the National
Debt, but Charles must not propose this. ' A free
Parliament ' must take the burden of the deed. ' The
landed interest can't be made easy by any other
method than by paying that prodigious load by a
sponge.' In a Dutch caricature of ' Perkin's Triumph '
(1745), Charles is represented driving in a coach over
the bodies of holders of Consols. It is difficult now
to believe that Eepudiation was the chief aim of the
honest squires who toasted ' the King over the

In August, Murray reported that Choiseul said
' nothing should be done except with and for the

The manuscript letter-book of Andrew Lumis-
den, James's secretary since Edgar's death, and
brother-in law of Sir Eobert Strange, the engraver,
illustrates Charles's intentions. 1 On August 12, 1759,
Lumisden is in correspondence with Murray. The
Prince, to Lumisden's great delight, wants his com-
pany. Already, in 1759, Lumisden had been on

1 Mr. Alexander Pelhara Trotter has kindly permitted me to con-
sult this document in his possession.


secret expeditions to Paris, Germany, Austria, and
Venice. Macallester informs us that Sullivan, who
had been in Scotland with Charles in 1745, received
a command in the French army mustering at Brest.
He also tells a long dull story of Charles's incognito
in Paris at this time : how he lived over a butcher's
shop in the Eue de la Boucherie, seldom went out
except at night, and was recognised at Mass by a
woman who had attended Miss Walkinshaw's
daughter. Finally, the Prince went to Brest in dis-
guise, ' damning the Marshal's old boots,' the boots
of the Marechal de Belleisle, which, it seems, ' were
always stuffed full of projects.' Barbier supposes, in
his ' Memoires,' that Charles was to go with Thurot,
who was to attack Scotland, while Conflans invaded
England. But Charles would not hear of leaving
with Thurot and his tiny squadron, which committed
some petty larcenies on the coast of the West High-

The Prince was now warned against Clancarty
of the one eye, who was bragging, and lying, and
showing his letters in the taverns of Dunkirk. The
old feud of Scotch and Irish Jacobites went merrilv
on. Macallester called Murray a card-sharper, and
was himself lodged in prison on a lettre de cachet.
Murray wrote, of the Irish, ' their bulls and stupidity
one can forgive, but the villany and falsity of their
hearts is unpardonable.' Scotch and Irish bickerings,
a great cause of the ruin in 1745, broke out again on
the slightest gleam of hope.



Holker sent a curious account of the boats for
embarking horses on the expedition. These he
illustrated by a diagram on the back of the five
of diamonds ; a movable slip cut in the card gave
an idea of the mechanism. The King of France,
on August 27, sent friendly messages by Belleisle,
but ' could not be explicit.' Elliot reported that
Clancarty ' would stick at no lyes to bring about
his schemes.' On September 5 came an anonymous
warning against Murray, who ' is not trusted by the
French Ministry.' On September 28, Laurence
Oliphant of Gask sent verses in praise of Charles
written by ' Madame de Montagu,' the lady who
lent him 1,000/. years before. On October 8, Murray
still reports the ' attachment ' of Choiseul and Belle-
isle. He adds that neither his brother (Lord Elibank)
nor any other Scotch Jacobite will stir if an in-
vasion of Scotland is undertaken without a landing
in England. On October 21 he declares that
Conflans has orders to attack the English fleet lying
off Havre. The sailing of Thurot is also announced:
' I cannot comprehend the object of so small an
embarkation.' As late as October 26, Charles was
still left in the dark as to the intentions of France.

Then, obviously while Charles was waiting for
orders, came the fatal news in a hurried note.
' Conflans beaten, his ship, the " Soleil Royal" and the
" Heros " stranded at Croisic. Seven ships are come
in. Ten are flying at sea.'

Brave Admiral Hawke had routed Conflans in


Quiberon Bay. Afflavit Deus, and scattered the fleet
of France, with the last hope of Charles.

Yet hope never dies in the hearts of exiles, as
is proved by the following curious letter from
Murray (?). It is impossible to be certain as to the
sincerity of Choiseul ; the split in the Jacobite party
is only too clearly indicated.

From Campbell (probably Murray).

' December 10.

' I delivered your letter this evening and had a
long conference with both the Ministers : Mr. Choi-
seul assured me upon his word of honour that Your
E.H. should be inform'd in time before the de-
parture of Mr. de Gouillon, 1 so that you might go
with that embarquement if you thought proper, upon
which I interrupted him and told him if they were
destined for the Kingdom of Ireland that it would
be to no manner of purpose, for I was certain you
would not go, and that you had at all times expressly
ordered me to tell them so ; he continued his conver-
sation and said you should be equally informed when
the P. of S. 2 embarked. I answered as to every
project for England that you would not ballance one
moment, but that you would not, nor could not in
honour enter into any other project but that of
going to London, and if once master of that city
both Ireland and Scotland would fall of course, as
that town was the fountain of all the riches ; he

1 D'Aiguillon. 2 Prince de Soubise.


then hinted that Gr trillion's embarkment was not for
Ireland, and talked of Scotland.

c I then told him of the message you had re-
ceived from my brother [Elibank] and the other
leading men of the party, in that country, that not a
man of consequence would stir unless the debark-
ment was made at the same time in England, and
that every person who pretended the contrary,
ought to be regarded as the enemy of your
Ii.H. as well as of France. He then told me that
in case vou did not chuse to go with Mr. de
Gruillion that it would be necessary to send one
with a declaration in your name ; I told him I
could make no answers to that proposition, as I had
never heard you talk of declarations of any sort
before you was landed in England, and that you had
settled all that matter, with vour friends in England
and Scotland. He assured me that the intentions of
the King and his Ministers were unalterable as to
their fixed resolution to serve you, but that they met
with difficulties in regard to the transports and flat-
bottomed boats which retarded the affair longer than
they imagined, and that though they had already
spent twenty four million every thing was not yet

' This is as near as I can recollect the purport
of his conversation excepting desiring to see him
before my return to Your E.H. I afterwards saw
your good friend the Marcel [Belleisle] who told me
that every thing that depended upon his department


was ready, and said pretty near what Mr. de Choiseul
had told concerning the delays of the transports,
seventeen of which they yet wanted. He assured
me it w r as the thing on earth he desired the most
to see you established upon the throne of your
Ancestors, and that he would with plesure give
you his left arm, rather than it should not succeed :
I am perfectly convinced of the sincere intention
of the Kin«- and Ministers, and that nothing but
the interposition of heaven can prevent your success.

' I have not yet seen the P. of S. [Soubise] but
shall to-morrow : your Cousin Bethune is greatly
attached to you, and has done you great justice in
destroying the villanous lyes, and aspersions of some
of your false subjects [Clancarty], who by a pre-
tended zeal for you got access to the ministers, and
have had the impudence to present memorials as
absurd and ridiculous, as their great quality, and
immense fortunes they have lost by being attached
to your family. I natter myself you will very soon
be convinced of all their infamous low schemes.'

Meanwhile, in all probability, Pickle was waiting
to see how matters would fall out. If Conflans beat
Hawke, and if Thurot landed in the Western High-
lands, then Pickle would have rallied to the old flair.
Tandem Triumphans, and welcomed gloriously His
Eoyal Highness the Prince of Wales. Then the
despised warrant of a peerage would have come
forth, and Lord Glengarry, I conceive, would have
hurried to seize the Duke of Newcastle's papers,


many of which were of extreme personal interest
to himself. But matters chanced otherwise, so
Pickle wrote his last extant letter to the English
Government :

Add. 32,902.

' My Lord [the Duke of Newcastle], — As I am
confident your Grace will be at a lose to find out
your present Corespondent, it will, I believe, suffice
to recall to mind Pickle, how [who] some time ago had
a conference with the young Gentilman whom honest
old Vaughan brought once to Clermont to waite of
yr. Grace. I find he still retains the same ardent
inclination to serve his King and Country, yet, at
same time, he bitterly complains that he has been
neglected, and nothing done for him of what was
promis'd him in the strongest terms, and which he
believes had been strickly perform'd, had your most
worthy Brother, his great friend and Patron, sur-
viv'd till now. He desires me aquent your Grace
that upon a late criticall juncture [November 1759]
he was prepairing to take post for London to lay
affaires of the greatest moment before his Majesty,
but the suden blow given the enemy by Admiral
Hack [Hawke] keept him back for that time. But
now that he finds that they are still projecting to
execute their first frustrated schem, 1 there present
plan of operation differing in nothing from the
first, but in what regards North Britain. He has

1 As is proved by Murray's letter of December 10.


certain information of this by verbal Expresses ;
writting beeing absolutely discharge! for fear of
discovery. He desires me aquent your Grace
of this, that you may lay the whole before His

' If His Majesty's Enemy s should once more faile
in their favourite scheme of Envasion, this young
gentilman [Glengarry] intends to make offer of raising
a Eegiment of as good men as ever was levied in
North Britain, if he gets the Eank of full Colonell,
the nomenation of his Officers, and suitable levie
Mony. He can be of infinite service in either capa-
city mentiond in this letter [spy or Colonel], that
his Majesty is graciously pleasd to employ him. He
begs that this may not be delay'd to be laid before
the King, as things may soon turn out very serious.
He makes a point with your Grace that this be com-
municated to no mortall but His Majesty, and he is
willing to forfite all pretensions to the Eoyall favour,
if his services at this criticall juncture does not meritt
his Majesty's aprobation. If your Grace calls upon
him at this time, as he was out of pocket upon
further Chants, it will be necessar}- to remit him a
bill payable at sight for whatever little sum is judg'd
proper for the present, untill he gives proof of his
attachment to the best of Sovereigns, and of his reale
zeale for the service of his King and Country,
against a most treacherous and perfidious Enemy.
I have now done my duty, my Lord, reffering the
whole manadgement to your Grace, and I beg youl


pardon the freedom I have taken as I have the
honour to remain at all times

' My Lord, your Grace's Most obedient and most
oblidged humble Servt.

' Pickle.

' February 19, 1760.

' Mack [make] mention of Pickle. His Majesty
will remember Mr. Pelham did, upon former affairs
of great consequence.

' Direction — To Alexander Mackdonell of Glengary
by Foraugustus [Fort Augustus].'

Pickle, as he remarks in one of his artless letters,
' is not of a suspicious temper, but judges of others'
candour by his own.' He now carries this honourable
freedom so far as to give his own noble name and
address. Habemus conjitentem reum. Persons more
suspicious and less candid will believe that Pickle, in
November 1759, was standing to win on both colours.
His readiness to sell a regiment of Macdonnells to
fight for King George is very worthy of a Highland
chief of Pickle's kind.

On December 23, 1761, Alastair Macdonnell of
Glengarry died, and Pickle died with him. He had
practically ceased to be useful ; the world was antici-
pating Burns's advice :

' Adore the rising sun,
And leave a man undone
To his fate ! '

We have unmasked a character of a kind never
popular. . Yet, in the government of the world,


Pickle served England well. But for him there might
have been another Highland rising, and more fire
and bloodshed. But for him the Eoyal Family might
have perished in a nocturnal brawl. Only one man,
Archibald Cameron, died through Pickle's treasons.
The Prince with whom he drank, and whom he be-
trayed, had become hopeless and worthless. The
world knows little of its greatest benefactors, and
Pickle did good by stealth. Now his shade may or
may not ' blush to find it fame,' and to be placed
above Murray of Broughton, beside Menteith and
Assynt, legendary Ganelons of Scotland.




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 dis-
appointments — 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 Tal-
mond — The end.

With the death of Pickle, the shabby romance of the
last Jacobite struggle finds its natural close.

Of Charles we need say little more. Macallester
represents him as hanging about the coasts of
England in 1761 1762, looking out for favourable
landing-places, or sending his valet, Stuart, to scour
Paris in search of Miss Walkinshaw. That luckless
lady fled from Charles at Bouillon to Paris in
July 1760, with her daughter, and found refuge in
a convent. As Lord Elcho reports her conversation,
Charles was wont to beat her cruelly. For general
circulation she averred that she and James merely
wished her daughter to be properly educated. 1

1 Memoire of Charlotte Stuart. 1774.


Charles, in fact, picked a new quarrel with
France on the score of his daughter. Louis refused
to make Miss Walkinshaw (now styled Countess of
Albertroff) resign her child to Charles's keeping.
He was very fond of children, and Macallester, who
hated him, declares that, when hiding in the High-
lands, he would amuse himself by playing with the
baby of a shepherd's wife. None the less, his habits
made him no proper guardian of his own little girl. 1
In 1762, young Oliphant of Gask, who visited the
Prince at Bouillon, reports that he will have nothing
to do with France till his daughter is restored to
him. He held moodily aloof, and then the Peace
came. Lumisden complains that ' Burton ' (the
Prince) is 'intractable.' He sulked at Bouillon,
where he hunted in the forests. Here is a sad and
tender admonition from Murray, whose remonstrances
were more softly conveyed than those of Goring :

' Thursday.

' When I have the honour of being with you I
am miserable, upon seeing you take so little care of
a health which is so precious to every honest man,
but more so to me in particular, because I know you,
and therefore can't help loving, honouring, and
esteeming vou : but alass ! what service can my zeal
and attachment be to my dear master, unless he lays
down a plan and system, and follows it, such as his

1 Charles, as Lumisden writes (Decemher 3, 1760), ' positively
insists on having the young filly returned to him.'


subjects and all mankind will, and must approve

Young Gask repeats the same melancholy tale.
Charles was hopeless. For some inscrutable reason

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 22 23

Online LibraryAndrew LangPickle the spy; → online text (page 20 of 23)