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 1) online

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entering freely upon state affairs, which were then a common topic
in the pulpit, he preached boldly on the errors and heresies of
the Independent sectaries, insisted on the duty of resisting their
doctrines, and even spoke with little respect of the person of
Cromwell himself. An officer who sat behind Cromwell
whispered something in his ear more than once, and the general
as often seemed to impose silence upon him. The curiosity of
the congregation was strongly excited. At length the service
was ended, and Cromwell was in the act of leaving the church,
when he cast his eyes on one Wilson, a mechanic who had long



resided at Glasgow, aud called on him by name. The man no
sooner saw the general take notice of him than he ran away.
Cromwell directed that he should be followed and brought be-
fore him, but without injury. At the same time he sent a civil
message to the clergyman who had preached, desiring to see
him at his quarters. These things augmented the curiosity of
the town's people ; and when they saw Wilson led as prisoner to
the general's apartments, many remained about the door, watch-
ing the result. Wilson soon returned, and joyfully showed his
acquaintances some money which the English general had given
him to drink his health. His business with Cromwell was
easily explained. This man had been son of a footman who
had attended James VI. to England. By some accident Wilson
had served his apprenticeship to a shoemaker in the same town
where Cromwell's father lived, had often played with Master
Oliver while they were both children, and had obliged him by
making balls and other playthings for him. When Wilson saw
that his old companion recognised him, he ran away, because,
recollecting his father had been a servant of the Royal
family, he thought the general, who was known to have brought
the late King to the block, might nourish ill-will against all
who were connected with him. But Cromwell had received him
kindly, spoken of their childish acquaintance, and gave him some
money. The familiarity with which he seemed to treat him
encouraged Wilson to ask his former friend what it was that
passed betwixt the officer and him, when the preacher was
thundering from the pulpit against the sectaries and their
general. " He called the clergyman an insolent rascal," said
Cromwell, not unwilling, perhaps, that his forbearance should be
made public, " and asked my leave to pull him out of the pulpit
by the ears ; and I commanded him to sit still, telling him the
minister was one fool, and he another." This anecdote serves
to show Cromwell's recollection of persons and faces. He next
gave audience to the preacher, and used arguments with him
which did not reach the public ; but were so convincing, that
the minister pronounced a second discourse in the evening, in a
tone much mitigated towards Independency and its professors.

While the south of Scotland was overawed, and the Western
Remoustrators were dispersed by Cromwell, the Scottish Parlia-
ment, though retired beyond the Forth, still maintained a
show of decided opposition. They resolved upon the coronation


of Charles, a ceremony hitherto deferred, but which they deter-
mined now to perform, as a solemn pledge of their resolution to
support the constitution and religion of Scotland to the last.

But the melancholy solemnity had been nearly prevented by
the absence of the principal personage. Charles, disgusted with
the invectives of the Presbyterian clergy, and perhaps remember-
ing the fate of his father at Newcastle, formed a hasty purpose
of flying from the Presbyterian camp. He had not been
sufficiently aware of the weakness of the Royalists, who recom-
mended this wild step, and he actually went off to the hills.
But he found only a few Highlanders at Clova, 1 without the
appearance of an army, which he had promised himself, and was
easily induced to return to the camp with a party who had been
despatched in pursuit of him.

This excursion, which was called the Start, did not greatly
tend to increase confidence betwixt the young King and his
Presbyterian counsellors. The ceremony of the
coronation was performed with such solemnities as
the time admitted, but mingled with circumstances
which must have been highly disgusting to Charles. The con-
firmation of the Covenant was introduced as an essential part
of the solemnity; and the coronation was preceded by a na-
tional fast and humiliation, expressly held on account of the
sins of the Royal family. A suspected hand, that of the
Marquis of Argyle, placed an insecure crown on the head of
the son, 2 whose father he had been one of the principal instru-
ments in dethroning.

These were bad omens. But, on the other hand, the King
enjoyed more liberty than before ; most of the Engagers had

1 The village of Clova is situated in the northern extremity of Forfar-
shire, near to the source of the South Esk, in a glen of the Grampians,
along which that river flows in a south-eastward direction for upwards of
ten miles, issuing at length into a more open course in the romantic
vicinity of Cortachy Castle, a seat of the Earl of Airlie.

3 " Upon that occasion, the King, clad in a prince's robe, walked in
procession from the hall of the palace to the church, the spurs, sword
of state, sceptre, and crown being carried before him by the principal
nobility. It was remarkable, that upon this occasion the crown was
borne by the unhappy Marquis of Argyle, who was put to death in no
very legal manner immediately after the Restomtiou, using upon the
scaffold these remarkable words, ' I placed the crown on the King's head,
and in reward he brings mine to the block."' See History of the Regalia
of Gotland.


resumed their seats in Parliament ; and many Royalist officers
were received into the army.

Determined at this time not to be tempted to a disadvan-
tageous battle, the King, who assumed the command of the
army in person, took up a line in front of Stirling, having in
his front the river of Carron. Cromwell approached, but could
neither with prudence attack the Scots in their lines, nor find
means of inducing them to hazard a battle, unless on great ad-
vantage. After the armies had confronted each other for more
than a mouth, Cromwell despatched Colonel Overton into Fife,
to turn the left flank of the Scottish army, and intercept their
supplies. He was encountered near the town of Inverkeithing
by the Scots, commanded by Holborn and Brown. The first
of these officers behaved basely, and perhaps treacherously.
Brown fought well and bravely, but finally sustaining a total
defeat, was made prisoner, and afterwards died of grief.

The situation of the main Scottish army, under Charles,
became hazardous after this defeat, for their position was
rendered precarious by the footing which the English obtained
in the counties of Fife and Kinross, which enabled them
to intercept the King's supplies and communioations from the
north. In this distressed situation Charles adopted a bold and
decisive measure. He resolved to transfer the war from Scot-
land to England and suddenly raising his camp, he moved to
the south-westward by rapid marches, hoping to rouse his
friends in England, to arms, before Cromwell could overtake
him. But the Cavaliers of England were now broken and
dispirited, and were, besides, altogether unprepared for this hasty
invasion, which seemed rather the effect of despair than the
result of deliberate and settled resolution. The Presbyterians,
though rather inclined to the Royal cause, were still less dis-
posed to hazard a junction with him, until terms of mutual
accommodation could be settled. They were divided and
uncertain, while the republicans were resolved and active.

The English militia assembled under Lambert to oppose

Charles in front, and Cromwell followed close in his rear, to

take every advantage that could offer. The Scots reached the

city of Worcester without much opposition, where

3 *\|JJ S 1 P *' the militia, commanded by Lambert, and the regu-
lar forces under Cromwell, attacked the Royalists
with a force double their number. Clarendon and other


English authors represent the Scottish army as making little
resistance. Cromwell, on the contrary, talks of the battle of
Worcester, in his peculiar phraseology, as " a stiff business a
very glorious mercy as stiff a contest as he had ever beheld."
But, well or ill disputed, the day was totally lost. Three
thousand men were slain in the field, ten thousand were taken,
and such of them as survived their wounds, and the horrors of
overcrowded jails, were shipped off to the plantations as slaves.

Charles, after beholding the ruin of his cause, and having
given sufficient proofs of personal valour, escaped from the field,
and concealed himself in obscure retreats, under various dis-
guises. At one time he was obliged to hide himseli in the
boughs of a spreading oak-tree ; hence called the Royal Oak.
At another time he rode before a lady, Mrs. Lane, in the qua-
lity of a groom ; and in this disguise passed through a part of
the Parliament forces. After infinite fatigue, many romantic
adventures, and the most imminent risk of discovery, he at
length escaped by sea, and for eight years continued to wander
from one foreign court to another, a poor, neglected, and in-
sulted adventurer, the claimant of thrones which he seemed
destined never to possess.

The defeat at Worcester was a deathblow to the resistance
of the King's party in Scotland. The Parliament, driven from
Stirling to the Highlands, endeavoured in vain to assemble
new forces. The English troops, after Cromwell's departure,
were placed under the command of General Monk, who now
began to make a remarkable figure in those times. He was a
gentleman of good birth, had been in arms for the King's ser-
vice, but being made prisoner, had finally embraced the party
of the Parliament, and fought for them in Ireland. He was
accounted a brave and skilful commander, totally free from the
spirit of fanaticism so general in the army of Cromwell, and a
man of deep sagacity, and a cold reserved temper. Under
Monk's conduct, seconded by that of Overton, Alured, and
other Parliamentary officers, the cities, castles, and fortresses of
Scotland were reduced one after another. The partial resist-
ance of the wealthy seaport of Dundee, in particular, waa
punished with the extremities of fire and sword,
so that Montrose, Aberdeen, and St. Andrews be-
came terrified, and surrendered without opposition.

The castle of Dunottar, in Kincardineshire, the hereditary


fortress of the Earls Marischal, made an honourable defence
under George Ogilvy of Barras. It is situated upon a rock,
almost separated from the land by a deep ravine on the one side,
and overhanging the ocean on the other. 1 In this strong fortress
the Honours of Scotland, as they were called, had been deposited
after the battle of Dunbar. These were the crown, sceptre,
and sword of state, the symbols of Scottish sovereignty, which
were regarded by the nation with peculiar veneration. The
terror was great lest pledges, with which the national honour
was so intimately connected, should fall into the hands of
foreign schismatics and republicans. On the other hand, the
English, ardently desirous to possess themselves of these tro-
phies (the rather that they had formed a disproportioned idea
of their intrinsic value), besieged the castle closely, and block-
aded it by sea and land. As provisions began to fail, the
governor foresaw that further defence must speedily become
impossible ; and, with the assistance of Mr. Granger, minister
of Kinneff, he formed a stratagem for securing the ancient and
venerable regalia from the threatened dishonour. The first
preparation was to spread a report that these national treasures
had been carried abroad by Sir John Keith, a younger son of
the Earl Marischal, ancestor of the family of Kintore. Mrs.
Granger, the minister's wife, was the principal agent in the
subsequent part of the scheme. Having obtained of the Eng-
lish general the permission to bring out of the castle some
hards (or bundles) of lint, which she said was her property,
she had the courage and address to conceal the regalia within
the hards of lint, and carried them boldly through the English
camp, at the risk of much ill-usage, had she been discovered in
an attempt to deprive the greedy soldiery of their prey. Mrs.
Granger played her part so boldly, that she imposed on the
general himself, who courteously saluted her, and helped her
to mount on horseback as she left the encampment, little
guessing with what a valuable part of his expected booty she
was loaded. Arriving with her precious charge at Kinneff,
the minister buried the relics of royalty under the pulpit of
his church, and visited them from time to time, in order to
wrap them in fresh packages, and preserve them from injury.
Suspicion attached to the Governor of Dunottar; and when

1 On the eastern coast, nigh to the town of Stonehaven, and seventeen
miles south of Aberdeen.


the castle was finally surrendered, for want of provisions, he was
rigorously dealt with, imprisoned, and even tortured, to make
him discover where the regalia were concealed. His lady, who
had been active in the stratagem, was subjected to similar sever-
ities, as were also the minister of KinnefF and his courageous
spouse. All, however, persisted in keeping the secret. Re-
wards were distributed, after the Restoration, to those who had
been concerned in saving the Honours, but they do not appear
to have been very accurately accommodated to the merits of
the parties. Sir John Keith, whose name had only been used
in the transaction as a blind, to put the English on a wrong
scent, was created Earl of Kintore, and Ogilvy was made a
baronet; but the courageous minister, with his heroic wife,
were only rewarded with a pension in money.

The towns and castles of Scotland being thus reduced, the
national resistance was confined to a petty warfare, carried on
by small bands, who lurked among the mountains and morasses,
and took every advantage which these afforded to annoy the
English troops, and cut off small parties, or straggling soldiers.
These were called Mosstroopers, from a word formerly ap-
propriated to the freebooters of the Border. But the English,
who observed a most rigid discipline, were not much in
danger of suffering from such desultory efforts ; and as they
seldom spared the prisoners taken in the skirmishes, the Scots
found themselves obliged to submit, for the first time, to an
invader more fortunate than all the preceding rulers of Eng-
land. Their resistance ceased, but their hatred watched for a
safer opportunity of vengeance. The Highlanders, however,
being strong in the character of the country and its inhabit-
ants, continued refractory to the English authority, and if the
soldiery ventured to go through the country alone, or in small
parties, they were sure to be surprised and slain, without its
being possible to discover the actors. The English officers
endeavoured to obtain from the neighbouring chiefs, who pre-
tended complete ignorance of these transactions, such redress
as the case admitted of, but their endeavours were in general
ingeniously eluded.

For example, an English garrison had lost cattle, horses,
and even men, by the incursion of a Highland clan who had
their residence in the neighbouring mountains, so that the
incensed governor demanded peremptorily, that the actors of


these depredations should be delivered up to him to suffer
punishment. The chief was in no condition to resist, but
was not the less unwilling to deliver up the men actually
concerned in the creagh, who were probably the boldest, or, as
it was then termed, the prettiest, men of his name. To get
easily out of the dilemma, he is said to have selected two or
three old creatures, past all military service, whom he sent down
to the English commandant, as if they had been the caterans,
or plunderers, whom he wanted. The English officer caused
them instantly to be hanged in terrorem, which was done
accordingly, no protestations which they might make of their
innocence being understood or attended to. It is to be hoped
that other refractory chiefs found more justifiable means of
preserving their authority.

In the meantime, Oliver Cromwell accomplished an extra-
ordinary revolution in England, which I can here but barely
touch upon. He and his council of officers, who had so often
offered violence to the Parliament, by excluding from the
sittings such members as were obnoxious to them, now resolved
altogether to destroy the very remnant of this body. For this
purpose Cromwell came to the house while it was sitting, told
them, in a violent manner, that they were no longer a Parlia-
ment, and, upbraiding several individuals with injurious names,
he called in a body of soldiers, and commanded one of them to
" take away that bauble," meaning the silver mace, which is
an emblem of the authority of the House. Then turning the
members forcibly out of the hall, he locked the doors, and thus
dissolved that memorable body, which had made war against
the King, defeated, dethroned, and beheaded him, yet sunk at
once under the authority of one of their own members, and
an officer of their own naming, who had, in the beginning of
these struggles, been regarded as a man of very mean consider-
ation. Oliver Cromwell now seized the supreme power into
his hands, with the title of Protector of the Republics of
Great Britain and Ireland, under which he governed these
islands till his death, with authority more ample than was ever
possessed by any of their lawful monarchs.

The confusion which the usurpation of Cromwell was expected
to have occasioned in England, determined the Royalists to
attempt a general rising, in which it was expected that great
part of the Highland chieftains would join. The successes


of Montrose were remembered, although it seems to have
been forgotten that it was more his own genius than his
means, that enabled him to attain them. The Earl of Glen-
cairn was placed by the King's commission at the head of the
insurrection ; he was joined by the Earl of Athole, by the son
of the heroic Montrose, by Lord Lorn, the son of the Marquis
of Argyle, and other nobles. A romantic young English
cavalier, named Wogan, joined this insurgent army at the head
of a body of eighty horse, whom he brought by a toilsome and
dangerous march through England and the Lowlands of Scot-
land. This gallant troop was frequently engaged with the
Republican forces, and particularly with a horse regiment,
called " the Brazen Wall," from their never having been broken.
Wogan defeated, however, a party of these invincibles, but
received several wounds, which, though not at first mortal,
became so for want of good surgeons ; and thus, in an obscure
skirmish, ended the singular career of an enthusiastic Royalist.

The army under Glencairn increased to five thousand men,
numbers much greater than Montrose usually commanded.
Their leader, however, though a brave and accomplished noble-
man, seems to have been deficient in military skill, or, at any
rate, in the art of securing the good-will and obedience of the
various chiefs and nobles who acted under him. It was in
vain that Charles, to reconcile their feuds, sent over, as their
commander -in -chief, General Middleton, who, after having
fought against Montrose in the cause of the Covenant, had at
length become an entire Royalist, and was trusted as such.
But his military talents were not adequate to surmount the
objections which were made to his obscure origin, and the diffi-
culties annexed to his situation.

General Middleton met with but an indifferent welcome from
the Highland army, as the following scene, which took place
at an entertainment given by him on taking the command, will
show. Glencairn had spoken something in praise of the men
he had assembled for the King's service, especially the High-
landers. In reply, up started Sir George Munro, an officer of
some reputation, but of a haughty and brutal temper, and who,
trained in the wars of Germany, despised all irregular troops,
and flatly swore that the men of whom the Earl thus boasted,
were a pack of thieves and robbers, whose place he hoped to
supply with very different soldiers. Glengarry, n, Highland


chief who was present, arose to resent this insolent language ;
but Glencairn, preventing him, replied to Munro, " You are a
base liar ! these men are neither thieves nor robbers, but
gallant gentlemen, and brave soldiers."

In spite of Middlcton's attempts to preserve peace, this alter-
cation led to a duel. They fought on horseback, first with
pistols, and then with broadswords. Sir George Munro
having received a wound on the bridle hand, called to the Earl
that he was unable to command his horse, and therefore desired
to continue the contest on foot. " You base churl," answered
Glencairn, " I will match you either on foot or on horseback."
Both dismounted, and encountered fiercely on foot, with their
broadswords, when Munro received a wound across his fore-
head, from which the blood flowed so fast into his eyes, that
he could not see to continue the combat. Glencairn was about
to thrust his enemy through the body, when the Earl's servant
struck up the point of his master's sword, saying, " You have
enough of him, my Lord you have gained the day." Glen-
cairn, still in great anger, struck the intrusive peacemaker
across the shoulders, but returned to his quarters, where he was
shortly after laid under arrest, by order of the general.

Ere this quarrel was composed, one Captain Livingstone, a
friend of Munro's, debated the justice of the question betwixt
the leaders so keenly with a gentleman, named Lindsay, that
they must needs fight a duel also, in which Lindsay killed
Livingstone on the spot. General Middleton, in spite of Glen-
cairn's intercessions, ordered Lindsay to be executed by martial
law, on which Glencairn left the army with his own immediate
followers, and soon after returning to the Lowlands, made peace
with the English. His example was followed by most of the
Lowland nobles, who grew impatient of long marches, Highland
quarters, and obscure skirmishes, which were followed by no
important result.

Middleton still endeavoured to keep the war alive, although
Cromwell had sent additional forces into the Highlands. At
length he sustained a defeat at Loch Garry, 26th July 1654,
after which his army dispersed, and he himself retired abroad.
The English forces then marched through the Highlands, and
compelled the principal clans to submit to the authority of the
Protector. And here I may give you an account of one
individual chieftain, of great celebrity at that time, since you

1652-4 EVAN DHTT 639

will learn better the character of that primitive race of men
from personal anecdotes than from details of obscure and petty
contests, fought at places with unpronounceable names.

Evan Cameron of Lochiel, chief of the numerous and powerful
clan of Cameron, was born in 1629. He was called Mac-
Connuill Dhu (the son of Black Donald), from the patronymic
that marked his descent, and Evan Dhu, or Black Evan, a
personal epithet derived from his own complexion. Young
Lochiel was bred up under the directions of the Marquis of
Argyle, and was in attendance on that nobleman, who regarded
him as a hostage for the peaceable behaviour of his clan. It
is said, that in the civil war the young chief was converted to
the side of the King by the exhortations of Sir Robert Spottis-
wood, then in prison at St. Andrews, and shortly afterwards
executed, as we have elsewhere noticed, for his adherence to

Evan Dhu, having embraced these principles, was one of the
first to join in the insurrection of 1652, of which I have just
given a short account. During the best part of two years he
was always with his clan, in the very front of battle, and
behaved gallantly in the various skirmishes which took place.
He was compelled, however, on one occasion, to withdraw from
the main body, on learning that the English were approaching
Lochaber, with the purpose of laying waste the country of
Lochiel. He hastened thither to protect his own possessions,

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 1) → online text (page 54 of 59)