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Memoirs of the court of England : the pretenders and their adherents online

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particularly harassing in consequence of the rugged
character of the country which they were com-
pelled to traverse, and also from the scantiness
of their provisions, which consisted only of some
mouldy bread and cheese, a bottle of brandy and
some water. Charles, however, showed no sign of
fatigue ; indeed, his companion, Malcolm Macleod,
assured Boswell that, though himself an excellent
walker, even for a Highlander, he found himself
excelled by the prince. He boasted also to his
companion of the swiftness with which he could
run, adding that, if he should be pursued by
the English soldiers, he had little doubt that he
should outstrip them in the chase. " But what,"
observed Malcolm, " if you should be suddenly
surprised ? " " Why, I should fight," he said,


" to be sure." " I think," remarked Malcolm,
"that if there were no more than four of them,
I could engage to manage two." "And I," re-
joined Charles, "would engage to do for the
other two."

A pleasing instance of Charles's consideration
for those about him was related by Malcolm Mac-
leod to Bishop Forbes. The bottle of brandy which
they had brought with them had been a source
of great comfort to them during their painful jour-
ney, but unfortunately they had still some miles
to go when it was reduced to a single glass. Re-
marking that Malcolm was more fatigued than him-
self, Charles desired him to drink the remainder.
This, however, Malcolm positively refused to do,
and in return attempted to force it on the prince,
till at last, we are told, the " kind contest " rose
very high between them. At length Charles
showed himself so determined on the subject,
adding, " the devil a drop of it he would drink him-
self," that Malcolm was compelled to obey him.
Having drained the bottle, Charles proposed that
they should break it. This, however, was opposed
by Malcolm. " So far from breaking it," he said,
" I will preserve it as a curious piece, and it may
come to drink many a cask of whiskey to me
yet." Accordingly he hid it among the heather,
and when he was afterward on his return to
Skye from his captivity in London, he told Bishop
Forbes that he still hoped to find it, unless it


should have been unfortunately trodden to pieces
by the cattle.

During their walk, Malcolm related to the
prince many of the frightful barbarities committed
by the Duke of Cumberland after the battle of
Culloden. He appeared to be deeply affected by
the narrative, to which, however, he would only
give partial credit, adding that he would not believe
any general could be so barbarous. " For himself ,"
he said, " all the fatigues and distresses he under-
went signified nothing at all, because he was only
a single person ; but when he reflected on the
many brave fellows who suffered in his cause, it
did indeed strike him to the heart, and sink very
deep into him."

After travelling all night, Charles and his com-
panion arrived in the morning at Ellagol, near
Kilmaree, in Mackinnon's country. The first per-
sons whom they encountered were two of the
Mackinnon clan, who had been engaged in the
insurrection. These persons immediately recog-
nised their beloved prince in spite of his disguise ;
and so affected were they at the wretched appear-
ance which he now presented, so different from
the gay and gallant prince whom they had more
than once beheld at the head of a victorious and
devoted army, that they lifted up their hands
in astonishment, and burst into tears. Malcolm
was much concerned at his circumstance, but
having first cautioned them that any display of


their grief might prove fatal to the prince, he
swore them to secrecy on his naked dirk, after
the custom of the Highlanders, and then parted
from them, well satisfied that Charles had nothing
to fear at their hands. These men, indeed, may
well have been affected by the wretched appear-
ance of Charles, whose personal discomforts at
this period no description could exaggerate. As
an instance in point, we may mention the following
anecdote, which was related by Malcolm Macleod
to Bishop Forbes. "Happening," he said, "to
see the prince uneasy and fidgety, he took him to
the back of a knowe, and opening his breast, saw
him troubled with vermin, for want of clean linen,
and by reason of the coarse odd way he be-
hoved to live in, both as to sustenance and sleep.
Malcolm said he believed he took four score off
him. This," says the bishop, "serves to show
that he was reduced to the very lowest ebb of
misery and distress, and is a certain indication of
that greatness of soul which could rise above all
misfortunes, and bear up with a cheerfulness not
to be equalled in history, under all the scenes of
woe that could happen."

Instead of conducting the prince at once to the
house of the chieftain, Malcolm, at the wish of
Charles, brought him to the house of his own
brother-in-law, John Mackinnon, who had served
like himself as a captain in the insurgent army.
The master of the house was not at home, but


the travellers were kindly welcomed by Malcolm's
sister, Charles being presented to her as one
Lewie Caw, the son of a surgeon in Crieff, who
had served in the Highland army, and who was
now known to be skulking among his relations in
Skye. Mrs. Mackinnon seems to have been much
struck with the prince's appearance, observing that
she saw something "very uncommon about him."
" Poor man," she said, " I pity him ; at the same
time my heart warms to a man of his appearance."
She soon provided them with a plentiful Highland
breakfast, during which Charles continued to play
the part of a servant, by sitting at a respectful dis-
tance from Malcolm, with his bonnet off. After
the meal was over, an old woman, as was then the
fashion of the Highlands, entered the room with
some hot water to wash Malcolm's feet. As
soon as she had washed and dried them, Mal-
colm pointed to Charles, observing, "You see
that poor sick man there ; I hope you will wash
his feet, too ; it will be a great charity, for he has
as much need as I have." To this, however, the
old woman decidedly objected, adding, in the Ori-
ental mode of speech, so common in the High-
lands, "Though I wash your father's son's feet,
why should I wash his father's son's feet ? ' At
last Malcolm, with some difficulty, induced her to
perform the kindly office, which she did, however,
with so much unwillingness, and consequently with
so much roughness, that Charles, who was proba-


bly footsore, was more than once compelled to
request Malcolm to intercede for him during the

The travellers now laid themselves down to
rest, while their hostess kept watch on the top
of a neighbouring hill. Macleod slept for some
time longer than the prince, and, on rising, was
surprised to see the prince dandling and singing
to Mrs. Mackinnon's infant, with an old woman
looking on. Expressing some surprise at the cir-
cumstance, Charles, who for a moment forgot his
assumed character, observed, " Who knows but
this little fellow may be a captain in my service
yet ? ' This speech appears to have given no
slight offence to the old woman. Glancing with
contempt at the pretended servant, "You mean,"
she said, " that you may possibly be an old sergeant
in his company."

Immediately afterward, Macleod was informed
that his brother-in-law was approaching the house,
and he hurried out to meet him. After their first
greeting was over, "John," he said, pointing to
some ships which were hovering along the coast,
" what if the prince should be on board of one of
those vessels ? " " God forbid ! ' ' was the welcome
reply. "Supposing," rejoined Macleod, "that he
should be here ; do you think, John, that he would
be safe?' "I would he were," answered Mac-
kinnon, " for we should take care of him, and he
would be safe enough." Malcolm then informed


him, to his astonishment, that the prince was actu-
ally in his house. In the transport of his joy, he
would immediately have rushed into the prince's
presence ; but Malcolm desired him to compose
himself, adding, "Now is your time to behave
well, and do nothing that can discover him." Mac-
kinnon faithfully promised to keep his emotions
within due bounds ; but no sooner was he admitted
to the presence of Charles, and beheld the miser-
able condition to which his beloved prince was
reduced, than he burst into tears, and in this
state was hurried by Malcolm from the apart-

In the course of the day, the secret of Charles
being in the neighbourhood was confided to the
old chief of Mackinnon, who, together with his
lady, hastened to pay his respects to the prince,
and in the evening partook of an entertainment
with him of cold meat and wine, in a cave near the
shore. It was decided that Charles should repair
to the mainland, under the guidance of John Mac-
kinnon. Notwithstanding his advanced age, the
old chieftain insisted on accompanying them, and
accordingly, about eight o'clock at night, the whole
party proceeded to the seashore, where a boat was
in waiting for them. Before sailing, Charles wrote
a short letter, subscribed "James Thompson," in-
forming his friends of his departure from Skye,
which he requested might be conveyed as soon as
possible to young Raasay and his brother Mur-


doch. The epistle, which was written on the
seashore, was as follows :

" SIR : I have parted (thank God) as intended.
Remember me to all friends, and thank them for
the trouble they have been at.

" I am, sir, your humble servant,

" Ellighuil> July 4,

This letter Charles delivered to Malcolm Mac-
leod, from whom he parted with the greatest reluc-
tance, and, indeed, would only consent to their
separation at the earnest entreaty of Malcolm
himself. "For myself," observed the devoted
Highlander, " I have no care ; but for you I am
much afraid." He had been so long absent, he
said, that the military would probably pursue him
on suspicion, and in that case, the prince might
also fall into their hands. Should he be taken
prisoner on his return, which, he added, would
probably be the case, inasmuch as there would
be no one to confront with him, or contradict the
tale which he might tell, he should be enabled
to throw the prince's enemies on a wrong scent,
which of course was of the utmost importance.

Before parting, Charles presented Malcolm with
a silver stock-buckle, and also placed ten guineas
in his hands. Knowing how small a stock of
money the prince had reserved for his own use,


the generous Highlander positively refused to
accept the gold ; but Charles so pertinaciously
insisted on his taking it, that he was at last com-
pelled to obey. "You will have great need of
money," said the prince, "and I shall obtain
enough when I get to the mainland. Malcolm,"
he then said, " let us smoke a pipe together before
we part." Accordingly, having obtained a light
from the flint of Malcolm's musket, they sat down
together, Charles smoking his usual stump of
blackened pipe, of which notice has already been
made. This curious relic afterward fell into the
hands of a Doctor Burton, of York, who is said to
have preserved it with religious care.

The subsequent history of the faithful Malcolm
may be told in a few words. Having taken an
affectionate farewell of the prince, who twice
warmly embraced him, he remained on the side of
a hill, anxiously watching the small boat which
contained Charles and his fortunes, till it became
lost in the distance. He then proceeded in the
direction of his own country, where he had re-
turned only a short time when, as he himself had
anticipated, he was taken into custody. After
foeing detained a prisoner for some time on board
ship, he was conveyed to London, where he was
kept in custody till July, 1747. At the same
time Flora Macdonald also obtained her discharge,
and being desired to name some person whom she
would wish to accompany her on her return to


Scotland, she paid Malcolm the compliment of
selecting him to be her companion. "And so,"
he used to say with great glee, " I went up to
London to be hanged, and returned in a braw
post-chaise with Miss Flora Macdonald." Boswell,
who twenty-seven years afterward was introduced
to Malcolm at Raasay, observes : " He was now
sixty-two years of age, hale and well-proportioned,
with a manly countenance, tanned by the weather,
yet having a ruddiness in his cheeks, over a great
part of which his rough beard extended. His eye
was quick and lively, yet his look was not fierce ;
but he appeared at once firm and good-humoured.
He wore a pair of brogues; tartan hose which
came up near to his knees ; a purple camlet kilt ;
a black waistcoat ; a short green cloth coat, bound
with gold cord; a yellowish bushy wig; and a
large blue bonnet, with a gold thread button. I
never saw a figure which gave a more perfect
representation of a Highland gentleman. I wished
much to have a picture of him just as he was. I
found him frank and polite, in the true sense of
the word."

On the night of the 5th of July, Charles, as has
been already mentioned, quitted Skye, accompa-
nied by the old chief of Mackinnon, and by his
kinsman, John Mackinnon. During the voyage
they met a boat filled with armed militia, but for-
tunately the weather was too rough to admit of
their being boarded and examined, as they would


otherwise have been ; and, after exchanging a
few words, the two vessels parted company.
About four o'clock in the morning, after a tem-
pestuous voyage of thirty miles, the whole party
landed near a place called Little Mallack, on the
south side of Loch Nevis, in the wild and moun-
tainous district where Charles had first set foot in
the Highlands. He soon discovered that his situa-
tion was changed but little for the better by his
removal to the mainland. The militia were quar-
tered in the immediate neighbourhood in consid-
erable numbers, and consequently he had no
choice but to remain near the spot where he first
landed, and where he was compelled to pass three
wretched days in the open air.

It was on the fourth day that Charles had a very
narrow escape from falling into the hands of his
pursuers. The old chief, accompanied by one of
the boatmen, had wandered forth in search of a
cave, which might at least shelter the unfortunate
prince from the inclemency of the weather, when
Charles, with John Mackinnon and the three re-
maining boatmen, entered the boat, and began
coasting along the shores of Loch Nevis, prob-
ably with the same object in view. They had
proceeded some distance, when, on turning a
point, their oars suddenly struck against a boat
which was fastened to a rock, and at the same
time they perceived five men, whom they knew
to be militia by the red crosses affixed to their


bonnets, standing upon the shore. The proba-
bility of such an accident occurring seems to have
been foreseen by the fugitives, for Charles at the
moment was lying at the bottom of the boat, with
his head between John Mackinnon's knees, and
with the plaid of the latter spread over him so as
entirely to conceal his person. The first question
of the militia was, from whence they came. The
answer was, " From Sleat." They were then or-
dered to come on shore, in order to be subjected
to the usual examination ; but instead of obeying
the summons, they plied their oars vigorously, on
which the militiamen jumped into their boat and
gave them chase. Charles had made a sudden
effort to extricate himself from his hiding-place
and spring on shore, but was forcibly kept down
by John Mackinnon. For a short time the chase
was one of intense interest both to the pursuers
and the pursued. Mackinnon, prepared for the
worst, desired his men to keep their muskets close
by them, but not to fire them till they should hear
the discharge of his own piece. " Be sure," he
said, " to take a deliberate aim ; only mark them
well, and there is no fear." The prince, overhear-
ing these orders, desired that no blood should be
shed without absolute necessity; to which Mac-
kinnon acceded, but at the same time added,
briefly, that if necessity did require it not a man
should escape. Fortunately, after a short chase,
they reached a part of the lake which was so


thickly wooded to the water's edge as completely
to conceal them from their enemies. They had
no sooner reached the shore than the prince
sprang out of the boat, and ran nimbly up a hill,
from the summit of which he could perceive his
pursuers returning sulkily from their fruitless
pursuit. Having congratulated Charles on his
escape, Mackinnon made an apology to him for
having prevented his jumping on shore when
they first encountered the militia, and respect-
fully asked him what object he had in making
the attempt. " Why," said the prince, " I would
rather fight for my life than be taken prisoner.
I hope, however," he added, "that God will never
so far afflict the king, my father, or the duke, my
brother, as to permit me to fall alive into the hands
of my enemies."

Having slept for about three hours, Charles
descended the hill, and, having reembarked,
crossed the lake to a small island near the fam-
ily seat of Macdonald of Scothouse. From this
place he despatched John Mackinnon to old Clan-
ranald, who he learned was in the neighbourhood,
soliciting his aid and advice in the present miser-
able condition to which he was reduced. The
chieftain, however, who was himself a proscribed
man, seems to have considered that he had already
suffered sufficiently in the prince's cause by the
ruin which he had brought on his family, and
positively refused to incur any further risk. On


this Mackinnon quitted him, and returned in great

indignation to the prince, to whom he related the
result of his unsuccessful mission. Charles, we
are told, listened to him "without any emotion,"
merely remarking, with his usual cheerfulness,
" Well, Mackinnon, there is no help for it ; we
must do the best we can for ourselves."

Satisfied that it would be useless to press Clan-
ranald further, Charles returned by water to Little
Mallack, where he was rejoined by the old chief of
Mackinnon, and thence proceeded to the house
of Macdonald of Morar, situated on the lake of
that name, where they arrived at an early hour
in the morning, after a walk of about eleven miles.
Morar received him with great kindness, as did
also his lady, a sister of the celebrated Lochiel,
who was so affected at witnessing the wretched
condition to which her beloved prince was re-
duced, that she burst into tears. It was now
decided that Morar should set out in search of
young Clanranald, who it was expected would
be both able and willing to aid in the prince's
escape. Accordingly he departed cheerfully on
his mission, but on his return, the following day,
his manner had become so cold and altered as
to render it evident that he had consulted with
others in the meantime, who had succeeded in
dissuading him from mixing himself up further
in the prince's affairs. He had been unable, he
said, to meet with young Clanranald, nor did he



know of any person to whose care he could rec-
ommend his Royal Highness. Charles was much
affected by his change of manner, and observed
deprecatingly, " Why, Morar, this is very hard ;
you were very kind yesternight, and said you
would find out a hiding-place proof against all the
search of the enemy's forces, and now you say you
can do nothing at all for me. You can travel
to no place but what I will travel to also. You
can eat or drink nothing but I will take a share
of them with you, and be well content. When
fortune smiled on me and I had money to give,
I found some people ready enough to serve me ;
but now, when fortune frowns on me, and I have
no pay to give, they forsake me in my necessity."
Mackinnon was extremely incensed at Morar's
conduct, and openly accused him of having allowed
himself to be worked upon by others. At length,
it being evident that neither taunts nor entreaties
were of the least avail, Charles (who knew not
what step to take next) gave vent to the bitter-
ness of his feelings in the following passionate
language. " Almighty God," he exclaimed, " look
down upon my circumstances and pity me, for
I am in a most melancholy situation. Some of
those who joined me at first, and appeared to be
fast friends, now turn their backs upon me in my
greatest need ; while some of those again who
refused to join me, and stood at a distance, are
now among my best friends ; for it is remarkable


that those of Sir Alexander Macdonald's follow-
ing have been most faithful to me in my distress,
and contributed greatly to my preservation." He
then added, plaintively, " I hope, Mackinnon, you
will not desert me, too, and leave me in the
lurch." The old chief, imagining that these
words were addressed to him, was so affected as
to shed tears. " I never," he said, " will leave
your Royal Highness in the day of danger, but
will, under God, do all I can for you, and go with
you wherever you order me." " Oh, no," said
Charles, "this is too much for one of your ad-
vanced years. I heartily thank you for your
readiness to take care of me, and I am well sat-
isfied of your zeal for me and my cause ; but one
of your age cannot well hold out with the fatigues
and dangers I must undergo. It was to your
friend John here, a stout young man, that I was
addressing myself." "Well, then," said John,
" with the help of God I will go through the wide
world with your Royal Highness."

Accompanied by John Mackinnon, and with a
son of Morar's for their guide, Charles proceeded
toward Borrodaile, the residence of Angus Mac.
donald, where he had passed the night on his first
landing in the Highlands. At Morar he took
leave of the old chief of Mackinnon, who was
captured the very next day in Morar's house.
He now also bade farewell to the faithful John,
who, being satisfied that the prince was in the


best hands, remained only to drink some warm
milk, and then proceeded to his own country in
Skye. He had scarcely reached his home when
he was seized by the militia with two of his
rowers, and carried before a Captain Ferguson,
whose detestable barbarities have rendered his
name still infamous in the Highlands. Finding
it impossible to extract any information from
Mackinnon or the rowers, either by promises or
threats, Ferguson caused one of the latter to be
stripped and tied to a tree, where he was lashed
till the blood gushed from both his sides. He
even threatened Mackinnon with similar treat-
ment, but nothing could extort a confession from
these faithful men. Both John Mackinnon and
the old chief were sent on board ship and carried
prisoners to London, where they remained in
custody till July, 1747.'

1 John Mackinnon died on the nth of May, 1762, at the age
of forty-eight. The death of the old chieftain was thus noticed
in the journals of the time : " May 7, 1756. Died at his house
of Kilmaine, in the Isle of Skye, John Mackinnon of that ilk,
*. e. the old Laird of Mackinnon, in the seventy-fifth year of his
age, leaving issue two sons and a daughter, Charles, Lachlan,
and Margaret, all born after the seventy-first year of his age.
He used to say he hoped God would not take him off the earth
but on the field of battle, when fighting for his king and coun-
try. He frequently retired to the cave in which the prince, and
he himself and his lady, dined just before the prince's leaving
Skye in his skulking, and there he would have entertained him-
self with laying down a plan for the restoration, and with the
execution thereof in theory, and then came home extremely well



Charles's Reception by Angus Macdonald Joined by Mao
donald of Glenaladale By Cameron of Glenpean Charles
and His Party Pass between the Watch-fires of Their Ene-
mies Halt at Corriscorridale Loss of the Prince's Purse
the Saving of His Person " The Seven Men of Glenmoris-
ton" Their Hospitality to the Prince Incident that For-
wards Charles's Escape.

BY Angus Macdonald Charles was received
with the greatest kindness. He is said to have
shown some hesitation on entering the small hut
in which Macdonald was now residing, and, indeed,

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