Walter Scott.

The tales of a grandfather : being the history of Scotland from the earliest period to the close of the rebellion, 1745-46 (Volume 2) online

. (page 50 of 62)
Online LibraryWalter ScottThe tales of a grandfather : being the history of Scotland from the earliest period to the close of the rebellion, 1745-46 (Volume 2) → online text (page 50 of 62)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Morgan, one of these English volunteers, came up to Vaughan,
a gentleman of the same country, and observed, in a tone of
surprise, that the army were going to Scotland ; " Be it so,"
answered Vaughan, " I am determined to go with them where-
ever their course lies." Morgan replied, with an oath, it was
better to be hanged in England than starved in Scotland. He
had the misfortune to be hanged accordingly, while Vaughan
escaped, and died an officer in the Spanish service.

The people of the country, who had shown them little good-
will upon their advance, appeared more actively malevolent
when they beheld the Scots in retreat and in the act of pillaging
the places they passed through. At a village near Stockport
the inhabitants tired upon the patrols of the Highlanders, who,
in retaliation, set fire to the place. Most of the country people
were in arms, and all stragglers were killed or made prisoners.
The sick men, also, of the Jacobite army, who were necessarily
left behind the march, were killed or tieated with violence.
On the 9th of December the army approached Manchester ; but
in that city, which had lately appeared so friendly, they now
encountered opposition. A violent mob was in possession of


the town, and opposed the quartermasters of the Chevalier's
army. Two battalions and two squadrons were detached to
support the quartermasters, by whom the mob was dispersed.
2500 was demanded from the town in consequence of this
riot. On leaving the place the mob even pursued and fired
upon the rear of the Chevalier's army, although they uniformly
retreated so soon as the rearguard faced about. The temper
of the people, however, served to show how little reliance could
at any time have been placed upon their attachment.

The Duke of Cumberland, who, as I already said, was lying
at Litchfield, while Prince Charles was at Derby, did not learn
for two days that the Highlanders had left Derby for Ashburn
on the 6th ; and did not commence any pursuit until the 8th,
when the Duke marched northward with all his cavalry, and
a number of infantry mounted upon horses furnished by the
neighbouring gentry. The troops advanced with the utmost
spirit. The retreat of the Scottish army, whose advance had
been regarded with a vague apprehension of terror, was natur-
ally considered as an avowal of their inability to execute their
purpose; and it was concluded by the regular soldiery that
they were pressing upon the flight of a disappointed and dis-
heartened body of adventurers, who had failed in an attempt
to execute a desperate object. The English troops also felt in
spirits, as being under the command of a Prince of the blood,
of undoubted experience and courage, who had arrived in Britain
in time to assert the cause of his father, and to fix upon his
head the crown which had been so boldly struck at. They
anticipated little opposition from an enemy in full retreat, and
whom, it might be supposed, a brisk attack would throw into
utter disorder ; their cavalry, therefore, pressed forward in
spirits and by forced marches.

On their part the Highlanders retreated with speed, regu-
larity, and unabated courage. Lord George Murray, to vindicate
the sincerity of his attachment to the cause he had embraced,
xmdertook the charge of the rearguard, the post of danger
and of honour. This frequently detained him a considerable
time beyond the march of the main body, more especially for
the purpose of bringing up the baggage and artillery of the
army, which, from the bad weather and bad state of the roads,
was perpetually breaking down, and detained the rearguard


Towards the evening of the 17th of December the Piince,
with the main body of his arniy, had entered the town of
Penrith, in the county of Cumberland. Lord George Murray
had, in the meanwhile, been delayed so much by those various
accidents, that he was forced to pass the night six miles in the
rear, at the town of Shap. The Glengarry regiment of High-
landers were at that time in charge of the rearguard ; and at
Shap Lord George found Colonel Roy Stewart, with another
small regiment of 200 men. In the meantime the Chevalier
had determined to halt at Peurith until he was joined by his

Next day, being the 18th of December, Lord George Murray
marched with both the corps which we have mentioned. The
march began, as usual, before daybreak; but when it became
broad daylight he discovered the village of Clifton, which is
within three or four miles south of Penrith, and the heights
beyond it, crowned with several parties of cavalry, drawn up
betwixt him and the village. The Highlanders, you must be
reminded, had in former times an aversion to encounter the
Lowland horse ; but since their success at Prestonpans they had
learned to despise the troops of whom they formerly stood in
awe. They had been instructed, chiefly by the standing orders
of Lord George Murray, that if they encountered the cavalry
manfully, striking with their swords at the heads and limbs of
the horses, they might be sure to throw them into disorder.
The MacDonalds, therefore, of Glengarry, on receiving the word
of command to attack those horsemen who appeared disposed
to interrupt their passage, stript off their plaids without hesita-
tion, and rushed upon them sword in hand. The cavalry in
question were not regulars but volunteers of the country, who
had assembled themselves for the purpose of harassing the rear
of the Highland army, and giving time for the Duke of Cum-
berland, who was in full pursuit, to advance and overtake them.
On the fierce attack of Glengarry's men they immediately
galloped off, but not before several prisoners were made, among
the rest a footman of the Duke of Cumberland, who told his
captors that his Royal Highuess was coming up in their rear
with 4000 horse.

Lord George Murray despatched this information to the
Chevalier at Peurith, requesting some support, which he
limited to 1000 men. Colonel Roy Stewart, who was charged


with the message, returned with orders that the rearguard
should retreat upon Penrith. At the same time MacPherson
of Cluny, with his clan, was sent back as far as Clifto abridge
with the Appin regiment, under command of Stewart of Ard-
shiel. With the assistance of these reinforcements, Lord
George Murray was still far inferior iu number to the enemy,
yet he determined to make good his retreat.

The Duke of Cumberland's whole cavalry was now drawn
up in the rear of the Highland army, upon the open moor of
Clifton ; beyond the moor, the rearguard of the Highlanders
must necessarily pursue their retreat through large plantations
of fir-trees, part of Lord Lonsdale's enclosures. Lord George
Murray foresaw an attack in this critical posture, and prepared
to meet and repel it. He drew up the Glengarry regiment upon
the highroad, within the fields, placed the Appin Stewarts in
the enclosures on their left, and again the MacPherson regi-
ment to the left of them. On the right he stationed Eoy
Stewart's men, covered by a wall.

The night was dark, with occasional glimpses of the moon.
The English advanced about 1000 dismounted dragoons, with
the intention of attacking the Highlanders on the flank, while
the Duke of Cumberland and the rest of his cavalry kept their
station on the moor, with the purpose of operating in the rear
of their opponents. Lord George Murray perceived, by a
glimpse of moonshine, this large body of men coming from the
moor, and advancing towards the Clifton enclosures. The
MacPherson and Stewart regiments, which were urder his im-
mediate command, were stationed behind a hedge ; but Lord
George, observing a second hedge in front, protected by a deep
ditch, ordered his men to advance and gain possession of it.
It was already lined on the opposite side by the enemy, who,
as was then the custom of dragoons, acted as infantry when
occasion required. Lord George asked Cluny his opinion of
what was to be done : " I will attack the enemy sword in hand,"
replied the undaunted chief, "provided you order me." As
they advanced, the MacPhersons, who were nearest to the
hedge of which they wished to take possession, received a fire
from the soldiers who had lined it on the opposite side. Cluuy,
surprised at receiving a discharge of musketry, when he con-
ceived he was marching against a body of horse, exclaimed,
" What the devil is this ! " Lord George Murray replied,


" There is no time to be lost we must instantly charge !" and
at the same time drawing his broadsword, exclaimed, " Clay-
more ! " which was the word for attacking sword in hand.
The MacPhersons rushed on, headed by their chief, with un-
controllable fuiy ; they gave their fire, and then burst, sword
in hand, through the hedge, and attacked the dragoons by whom
it was lined. Lord George himself headed the assault, and in
dashing through the hedge lost his bonnet and wig (the latter
being then universally worn), and fought bare-headed, the
foremost in the skirmish. Colonel Honeywood, who com-
manded the dragoons, was left severely wounded on the spot,
and his sword, of considerable value, fell into the hands of the
chief of the MacPhersons. The dragoons on the right were
compelled, with considerable loss, to retreat to their party on
the moor. At the same moment, or nearly so, another body
of dismounted dragoons pressed forward upon the highroad,
and were repulsed by the Glengarry regiment, and that of John
Roy Stewart. The Highlanders were with difficulty recalled
from the pursuit, exclaiming that it was a shame to see so
many of the King's enemies standing fast upon the moor with-
out attacking them. A very few of the MacPhersons, not
exceeding twelve, who ventured too far, were either killed or
taken. But the loss of the English was much more consider-
able, nor did they feel disposed to renew the attack upon the
rear of the Highlanders. Lord George Murray sent a second
message to the Prince, to propose that he should detach a re-
inforcement from the main body, with which he offered to
engage and defeat the cavalry opposed to him. The Prince,
doubtful of the event, or jealous of his general, declined to
comply with this request.

On receiving this answer, Lord George Murray retreated to
Penrith, and united the rearguard with the main body ; and it
seems that the Duke of Cumberland became satisfied that a
good deal of risk might be incurred by a precipitate attack on
the Highland army, since he did not again repeat the experi-
ment. 1 The next day Charles retreated to Carlisle, and

1 " Cumberland and his cavalry fled with precipitation, and in such
great confusion, that if the Prince had been provided in a sufficient num-
ber of cavalry to have taken advantage of the disorder, it is beyond ques-
tion that the Duke of Cumberland and the bulk of his cavalry had been
taken prisoners. " M THBRSON'S MS. Memoirs, quoted in Notes to



arrived there with his army on the morning of the 19th of

It was thought desirable that the Highland garrison in that
town should be reinforced, but it was not easy to find forces
willing to be left behind in a place almost certain to be sacri-
ficed. The men of the Manchester regiment, who were dis-
heartened at the prospect of a retreat into Scotland, were pitched
upon for this duty, together with a number of French and
Irish. The last had little to fear, being generally engaged in
the French service, and the English were probably of the mind
of Captain Morgan, that hanging in England was preferable to
starving in Scotland.

The skirmish at Clifton seems to have abated the speed
of the English pursuers, who no longer attempted to annoy the
retreat of their active enemy. The Scottish army left Carlisle
upon the 20th of December, and effected their retreat into
Scotland by crossing the Esk at Longtown ; the river was
swollen, but the men, wading in arm in arm, supported each
other against the force of the current, and got safely through,
though with some difficulty. It is said that the Chevalier
showed both dexterity and humanity on this occasion. He
was crossing on horseback, beneath the place where some of his
men were fording the river, one or two of whom drifted from
the hold of their companions, and were carried down the stream
in great danger of perishing. As one of them passed, the
Chevalier caught him by the hair, called out in Gaelic, " Cohear,
cohearf" that is, "Help, help!" supported the man till he
was taken safely from the water, and thus gave himself an
additional claim to the attachment of his followers.

The Highland army, marching in two divisions, arrived at
Annan and Ecclefechan on the same day, and pursued their
road through the west of Scotland.

While the Scottish rebels were advancing, the utmost alarm
prevailed in London ; there was a sharp run upon the Bank,
which threatened the stability of that national establishment ;
the offers of support from public bodies showed the urgency
of the crisis ; the theatres, for example, proposed to raise armed
corps of real not personated soldiers. There was the more
alarm indicated in all this, because the Highlanders, who had
not been at first sufficiently respected as soldiers, had acquired
by their late actions credit for valour of a most romantic cast-



There was something also in the audacity of the attempt which
inclined men to give Charles credit for secret resources, until
his retreat showed that he was possessed of none except a firm
belief in the justice of his own cause, and a confidence that it
was universally regarded in the same light by the English
nation. The apathy of the English had dissipated this vision,
few or none, excepting Catholics, and a handful of Jacobites
of Manchester, having shown themselves disposed to acknow-
ledge his cause. The retreat, therefore, from Derby was
considered throughout England as the close of the rebellion;
as a physician regards a distemper to be nearly overcome when
he can drive it from the stomach and nobler parts into the
extremities of the body.


Occurrences in Scotland French Auxiliaries Measures of the opposing
Parties Battle of FalkirTc The Duke of Cumberland appointed
to the' Chief Command in Scotland


THE state of Scotland had materially changed during the
absence of the Prince and his army upon the expedition to
Derby ; and the nation was now in the situation of one who,
having received a stunning blow, recovers at last from his
stupor, and aims, though feebly and with uncertainty, at retali-
ating the injury which he has sustained.

Inverness was in the hands of Lord Loudon, commanding
an army composed of the MacLeods, MacDonalds of Skye, and
other northern clans, who, to the number of two thousand
men, had associated against the insurgents. The Earl of
Loudon even felt himself strong enough to lay hands on Lord
Lovat in his own castle, named Castle Downie, and brought
him to Inverness, where he detained him in a sort of honour-
able captivity. Fraser of Gortuleg, one of his clansmen, re-
lieved Lovat by a stratagem. The old chief, having made his
escape, lurked in the Highlands, keeping up his correspondence
with Charles Edward. The house of Gortuleg was Lovat's
chief residence. Matters in the north were, therefore, unfavour
able to the Chevalier's cause.


The capital of Scotland was again in possession of the
constituted authorities, garrisoned by a part of Marshal Wade's
army, which had been sent down for the purpose, and preparing
to redeem, by a more obstinate resistance to the Highlanders
upon their return from England, the honour which they might
be supposed to have lost by their surrender in the September

This spirit of resistance had reached the Western Border,
where reports were generally disseminated that the Chevalier
and his forces had been defeated in England, and were now
flying across the Border in such extreme confusion that the
militia and volunteers of the country would have little trouble
in totally destroying them. For this purpose, many of the
peasants of Dumfriesshire had assumed arms, but they showed
little inclination to use them, when they saw the Chevalier's
army return in complete order, and unbroken in strength or

The Highland army, after crossing the river Esk, was
divided into three bodies. The first, consisting of the clans,
moved with the Chevalier to Annan. Lord George Murray
was ordered to Ecclefechan with the Athole brigade and Low-
land regiments. Lord Elcho, with the cavalry, received orders
to go to Dumfries, and to disarm and punish that refractory
town. The Prince himself shortly followed with the infantry,
which he commanded in person.

Dumfries's ancient contumacy to the Jacobite cause had
been manifested, not only by their conduct in the year 1715,
but by a recent attack upon the Chevalier's baggage, as he
marched into England in the November preceding. The horse
marched thither accordingly with purposes of vengeance, and
were speedily followed by the Prince's own division. He laid
a fine of 2000 upon the town, and demanded, for the use of
the army, 1000 pairs of shoes. Some of the money required
was instantly paid down, and for the rest hostages were granted.
No violence was committed on the town or inhabitants, for the
Highlanders, though they threatened hard, did not, in fact,
commit any violence or pillage. 1

1 The provost of Dumfries, a gentleman of family named Corsan, who
had shown himself a staunch adherent of the Government, was menaced
with the destruction of his house and property. It is not very long since
the late Mrs. MacCulloch of Ardwell, daughter of provost Corsan, told


The magistrates and community of Glasgow were yet more
guilty in the eyes of the Prince than those of the smaller town
of Dumfries. That city had raised a body of 600 men, called
the Glasgow regiment, many of them serving without pay,
under the command of the Earls of Home and Glencairn. This
corps had been sent to Stirling to assist General Blakeney, the
governor of the castle, to defend the passes of the Forth.
From Stirling, the Glasgow regiment fell back with the other
troops which had assembled there and took post at Edinburgh.
This was with a view to the defence of the capital, since the
Highlanders, having bent their march to the westward, were
likely to pay Edinburgh the next visit.

While the citizens of the capital were suffering from the
apprehension of the neighbourhood of the rebels, those of
Glasgow were paying the actual penalty attached to their
presence. Clothing for the troops, and stores, were demanded
from the town to the extent of more than 10,000 sterling,
which they were compelled to pay, under the threat of military

At Glasgow, the Prince learned, for the first time with some
accuracy, the extent of the interest which France had taken in
his cause, and the supplies of every kind which she had sent to
him ; supplies which, in amount, remind us of those adminis-
tered to a man perishing of famine, by a comrade, who dropt
into his mouth, from time to time, a small shell-fish, affording
nutriment enough to keep the sufferer from dying, but not
sufficient to restore him to the power of active exertion.

The principal part of these succours came under Lord John
Drammond, brother to the Duke of Perth, and a general officer
in the army of France. They consisted of his own regiment in
the French service, called the Royal Scots ; the piquets of six
Irish regiments ; and Fitz-James's light horse. Of the latter,
not more than two squadrons appear to have mustered. He
also brought some money and military stores. Lord John
Drummond had been entrusted with letters from France, giving

your Grandfather that she remembered well, when a child of six years
old, being taken out of her father's house, as if it was to be instantly
burnt Too young to be sensible of the danger, she asked the Highland
officer, who held her in his arms, to show her the Pretender, which the
good-natured Gael did, under condition th .t little Miss Corsan was in
future to call him the Prince. Neither did they carry their threats into
execution against the provost or his mansion.


an account how matters had been conducted there, and what
was designed for the assistance of the Chevalier. Charles's
brother, the titular Duke of York, had arrived at Paris in
August 1745, and, on the news of the battle of Prestonpans,
there had originated a sincere desire on the part of the French
to assist the attempt of the House of Stewart effectually.

The original plan was, to put the Irish regiments in the
French service under the command of the said Duke of York,
and place them on board of fishing-boats, which should instantly
transport them to England. This scheme was laid aside, and
a much greater expedition projected, under the command of the
Duke of Richelieu, which, it was designed, should amount to
9000 foot and 1350 horse. The troops were assembled for
this purpose at Dunkirk, Boulogne, and Calais, and a number
of small vessels were collected for the embarkation. The
French, however, were so dilatory in their preparations, that
the design took air, and the English Government, to whom the
expedition, had it sailed during the time of Charles's irruption
into the west frontier, must have been highly dangerous,
instantly ordered Admiral Vernon, with a strong fleet, into the
Channel, and assembled an army on the coast of Kent and
Essex. Upon this the French abandoned the expedition, the
danger of which was greatly diminished by the retreat of the
Highlanders from Derby.

The Prince did not, for a long time, either hear or believe
that this scheme of a descent in favour of his family was
ultimately abandoned ; and his confidence that the French
continued to persevere in it led him into more than one serious
mistake. It was now agitated among the Prince and his
adherents in which way his small body of forces could be best
employed. Some were of opinion that they ought to direct
their march upon the capital of Scotland. It is true, that part
of the troops which had constituted Wade's army at Newcastle
were now preparing to defend Edinburgh, and that the rest of
those forces were advancing thither under the command of
General Hawley. It was nevertheless alleged that the High-
landers might, in this severe season, distress the English troops
considerably, by preventing them from dividing in their winter
march in quest of quarters, and by obliging them to keep the
field in a body, and undergo hardships which would be destruc-
tive to them, though little heeded by the hardy mountaineers.


But although this scheme promised considerable advantages,
Charles preferred another, which engaged him in the siege of
Stirling Castle, although his best troops were very unequal to
that species of service. The Prince was no doubt the rather
inclined to this scheme, that Lord John Drummond had
brought both battering guns and engineers from France ; and,
thus supplied, he probably imagined that his success in sieges
would be equally distinguished with that which he had attained
by open war.

Before leaving the west country, the Highlanders burnt and
plundered the village of Lesmahagow, and particularly the clergy-
man's house, on account of the inhabitants having, under that
reverend person's direction, attacked and made prisoner Mac-
Donald of Kinloch-Moidart, who was traversing the country
unattended, having been sent by the Prince on a mission to
the Western Isles. 1

On the 3d of January Prince Charles Edward evacuated
Glasgow, and fixed his headquarters on the following day at
the house of Bannockburn, while his troops occupied St.
Ninian's, and other villages in the neighbourhood of Stirling.
The town was summoned, and not being effectually fortified,
was surrendered by the magistrates, although there were about
six hundred militia within it. Some of these left the place, and
others retired to the castle, where there lay a good garrison
under General Blakney, a brave and steady officer. Having
summoned this fortress, and received a resolute refusal to
surrender, the Chevalier resolved to open trenches without
delay, and having brought him to this resolution, we will
resume the narrative of what had happened in the north of

Online LibraryWalter ScottThe tales of a grandfather : being the history of Scotland from the earliest period to the close of the rebellion, 1745-46 (Volume 2) → online text (page 50 of 62)