Memoirs of the Jacobites of 1715 and 1745
The following is from Volume I of Memoirs of the Jacobites of 1715 and 1745 by Mrs. Thomson:
John Erskine, Earl of Mar
"The title of Mar," observes Lord Hailes, "is one of the Earldoms whose origin is lost in its antiquity." It existed before our records, and before the era of general history: hence, the Earls of Mar claimed always to be called first in the Scottish Parliament in the roll of Earls, as having no rival in the antiquity of their honours.
From the time of Malcolm Canmore, in the year 1065, until the fourteenth century, the family of De Mar enjoyed this Earldom; but on the death of Thomas, the thirteenth Earl of Mar, in 1377, the direct male line of this race ended. The Earldom then devolved upon the female representatives of the house of De Mar; and thence, as in most similar instances in Scotland, it became the subject of contention, fraud, and violence.
Isabel, Countess of Mar and Garioch, the last of the De Mar family, was won in marriage by a singular and determined species of courtship, formerly common in Scotland; the influence of terror. The heiress of the castle of Kildrummie, and a widow, her first husband, Sir Malcolm Drummond, having died in 1403, her wealth and rank attracted the regards of Alexander Stewart, the natural son of Robert Earl of Buchan, of royal blood. Without waiting for the ordinary mode of persuasion to establish an interest in his favour, this wild, rapacious man appeared in the Highlands at the head of a band of plunderers, and planting himself before the castle of Kildrummie, stormed it, and effected a marriage between himself and the Countess of Mar. Alexander Stewart, in cooler moments, however, perceived the danger of this bold measure, and resolved to establish his right to the Countess and to her estates by another process. One morning, during the month of September 1404, he presented himself at the Castle gate of Kildrummie, and formally surrendered to the Countess the castle, its furniture, and the title-deeds kept within its chests; thus returning them to her to do with them as she pleased. The Countess, on the other hand, holding the keys in her hand, and declaring herself to be of "mature advice," chose the said Alexander for her husband, and gave him the castle, the Earldom of Mar, with all the other family estates in her possession. She afterwards conferred these gifts by a charter, signed and sealed in the open fields, in the presence of the Bishop of Ross, and of her whole tenantry, in order to show that these acts were produced by no unlawful coercion on the part of her husband. The said honours and estates were also to descend to any children born in that marriage. Some of her kindred listened resentfully to the account of these proceedings of Isabel of Mar.
The next heir to the Earldom, after the death of Isabel, was Janet, grand-daughter of Gratney, eleventh Earl of Mar. This lady had married Sir Thomas Erskine, the proprietor of the Barony of Erskine, on the Clyde, the property of the family during many ages; and she expected, on the death of the Countess of Mar, to succeed to the honours which had descended to her by the female line. By a series of unjust and rapacious acts on the part of the Crown, not only did Robert, Lord Erskine, her son, fail in securing his rights, but her descendants had the vexation of seeing their just honours and rights revert to the King, James the Third, who bestowed them first upon his brother, the accomplished and unfortunate John Earl of Mar, who was bled to death in one of the houses of the Canongate, in Edinburgh; and afterwards, upon Cochrane, the favourite of James the Third. The Earldom of Mar was then conferred on Alexander Stewart, the third son of King James; and after his death, upon James Stewart, Prior of St. Andrews, who had a charter from his sister, Queen Mary, entitling him to enjoy the long contested honour. But he soon relinquished the title, to assume that of Moray, which had also been bestowed upon him by the Queen: and in 1565 Mary repaired the injustice committed by her predecessors, and restored John Lord Erskine to the Earldom of Mar.
The house of Erskine, on whom these honours now descended, has the same traditional origin as that of most of the other Scottish families of note. In the days of Malcolm the Second, a Scottish man having killed with his own hand Enrique, a Danish general, presented the head of the enemy to his Sovereign, and, holding in his hand the bloody dagger with which the deed had been performed, exclaimed, in Gaelic, "Eris Skyne," alluding to the head and the dagger; upon which the surname of Erskine was imposed on him. The armorial bearing of a hand holding a dagger, was added as a further distinction, together with the motto, Je pense plus, in allusion to the declaration of the chieftain that he intended to perform even greater actions than that which procured him the name which has since been so celebrated in Scottish history. The crest and motto are still borne by the family.
This anecdote has, however, been rejected for the more probable conjecture that the family of Erskine derived its appellation from the estate of Erskine on the Clyde: yet it is not impossible but that tradition may, in most cases, have a deeper source than we are willing to allow to it. "There are few points in ancient history," observes a modern writer, "on which more judgment is required than in the amount of weight due to tradition. In general it will be found that the tradition subsisting in the families themselves has a true basis to rest upon, however much it may be overloaded with collateral matter which obscures it."
But that which ennobled most truly the first Earl of Mar, of the house of Erskine, was his own probity, loyalty, and patriotism. Destined originally to the church, John, properly sixth Earl of Mar, carried into public life those virtues which would have adorned the career of a private individual. In the melancholy interest of Queen Mary's eventful life, it is consolatory to reflect on the integrity and moderation of this exemplary nobleman. Too good and too sensitive for his times, he died of a broken heart, the result of that inward and incurable sorrow which the generous and the honest experience, when their hopes and designs are baffled by the selfish policy of their own party. "He was, perhaps," says Robertson, "the only person in the kingdom who could have enjoyed the office of Regent without envy, and have left it without loss of reputation."
From the restoration of John Earl of Mar to his family honours, until the reign of Charles the First, the prosperity of this loyal and favoured family increased, interrupted indeed by some vicissitudes of fortune, but by no serious reverses, until that period which, during the commotions of the Great Rebellion, reduced many of our proudest nobility to comparative poverty.
Among other important trusts enjoyed by the family of Erskine, the government of the Castle of Edinburgh, and the custody of the principal forts in the kingdom, attested the confidence of their Sovereigns. To these was added by Mary Queen of Scots, the command of the Castle of Stirling, and the still more important charge of her infant son. To these marks of confidence numerous grants of lands and high appointments succeeded,--obligations which were repaid with a fidelity which impoverished the family of Erskine; and which produced, towards the close of the seventeenth century, a marked decline in their fortunes, and decay of their local influence.
John, ninth Earl of Mar, the grandfather of the Jacobite Earl, suffered severely for his loyalty in joining the association at Cumbernauld, in favour of Charles the First. He afterwards raised forces at Brae-Mar for the King's service, for which he was heavily fined by the Parliament, and his estates were sequestrated. During all this season of adversity he lived in a cottage at the gate of his house at Alloa, until the Restoration relieved him from the sequestration.
His son Charles, who raised the first regiment of Scottish Fusileers, and was constituted their Colonel, began life as a determined Royalist; but disapproving of the measures of James the Second, he had prepared to go abroad when the Prince of Orange landed in England. He appears afterwards to have pursued somewhat of the same wavering course as that of which his son has been accused, and, joining the disaffected party against William, he was arrested, but afterwards released. The heavy incumbrances upon his estates, contracted during the civil wars, were such as to oblige him to sell a great portion of his lands, and to part with the ancient Barony of Erskine, the first possession of the family. This necessity may almost be considered as an ill omen for the future welfare of a family; which never seems to be so utterly brought low by fortune, as when compelled to consign to strangers that from which the first sense of importance and stability has been derived.
Under these circumstances, certainly not favourable to independence of character, John, eleventh Earl of Mar of the name of Erskine, and afterwards Lieutenant-general to the Chevalier St. George, was born at Alloa, in Clackmannan, where his father resided. He was a younger son of a numerous family, five brothers, older than himself, having died in infancy. His mother, the Lady Mary Maule, eldest daughter of George Earl of Panmure, gave birth to eight sons, and a daughter. Of the sons, the Earl of Mar and his brothers, James Erskine of the Grange, afterwards the husband of the famous and unfortunate Lady Grange; and Henry, killed at the battle of Almanza in 1707, alone attained the age of manhood. The only sister of Lord Mar, Lady Jean, was married to Sir Hugh Paterson of Bannockburn, in Stirlingshire.
The Earl of Mar succeeded to the possession and management of estates, heavily encumbered, in 1696. His qualities of mind and person, at this early period of his life, were not eminently pleasing. His countenance, though strongly marked, had none of the attributes of intellectual strength. In person he is said to have been deformed, although his portrait by Kneller was skilfully contrived to hide that defect; his complexion was fair: he was short in stature. In his early youth the Earl is declared by historians who were adverse to the Stuarts, to have been initiated into every species of licentious dissipation, by Neville Payne: and the young nobleman is characterized as "the scandal of his name." Although his ancestors had been devotedly attached to the interests of the exiled family, yet, it was to be shewn how far Mar preferred those interests to his own, or upon what principles he eventually adopted the cause of hereditary monarchy, which had already brought so much inconvenience, and so many losses to his father and grandfather.
The first political prepossessions of the young Earl must certainly have been those of the Cavaliers; such was the name by which the party continued to be called who still desired the restoration of James the Second, and fervidly believed in the fruition of their hopes. His father had indeed, to use the words of Lockhart of Carnwath, "embarked with the Revolution;" but had given tokens of his deep contrition for that act, so inconsistent with his hereditary allegiance. But the unformed opinions of the young are far more easily swayed by events which are passing before their eyes than by the cool reasonings of the closet; and the inclinations of the Earl of Mar's childhood were likely soon to be effaced by the state of public affairs. The later occurrences of the reign of William the Third were calculated not only to repress the spirit of Jacobitism, but to shame even the most enthusiastic of its partisans out of a scheme which the sagacity of William had defeated, and which his wisdom had taught him to forgive. It was in the year 1696, just as the Earl of Mar succeeded to his title, that the projected invasion of the kingdom, and the scheme of assassinating the King, were defeated:--that William, hastening to the House of Commons, gave to the nation an account of the whole conspiracy. The House of Commons, without rising from their seats, then "declared that William was their rightful king, and that they would defend him with their lives." It was at this important æra that James the Second, after long waiting at Calais, and casting thence many a wishful look towards England, returned to St. Germains, "to thank God that he had lost his country, because it had saved his soul." The hopes of the Cavaliers were thus wholly extinguished: and to these circumstances were the first observations of the youthful Earl of Mar doubtless directed.
His guardians, seemingly desirous of retrieving the affairs of the family, had endeavoured to imbue his mind with Revolution principles; and the famous association which acknowledged the title of William to the throne of England, framed about this time, was signed by many who became in after life the friends of the Earl of Mar. This was precisely the period when that political profligacy, too justly charged upon the leading men in this country, and which induced them, under the impression that the exiled family would be eventually restored, to correspond with the Court of St. Germains, was tranquillized, although not eradicated by the great policy and forbearance of William. That single reply of William's to Charnock, who had trafficked between France and England with these negotiations, and who offered to disclose to the King the names of those who had employed him;--these few words, "I do not wish to hear them," did more to soothe discontents, and to repress the violence of faction, than the subsequent executions in the reign of George the First.
The Earl of Mar, left as he was at the early age of fourteen to his own guidance, very soon displayed a remarkable prudence in his pecuniary affairs, and a desire to repair by good management the fortunes of his family,--a point which he accomplished, to a certain extent. His dawning character shewed him to be shrewd and wary, but possessing no extended views, and disposed to rest his hopes of elevation and distinction upon petty intrigues, rather than to look upon probity and exertion as the true basis of greatness. His great talent consisted in the management of his designs, "in which," remarks one who knew him well, "it was hard to find him out when he desired to be incognito; and thus he shewed himself to be a man of good sense, but bad morals."
On the 8th of September, 1696, the Earl of Mar took his seat in the Scottish Parliament, protesting, as his forefathers had done, against any Scottish Earl being called before him in the Roll. He became a frequent, but indifferent speaker in Parliament; but his continual activity, and the address which he soon acquired as the fruit of experience, together with the position which he held, as one generally understood to be well affected to the new order of things, yet of sufficient importance to be gained over to the other side, soon made him an object for party spirit to assail.
During the reign of William, the Earl of Mar continued constant to the side to which he had declared himself to belong. His pecuniary embarrassments, acting upon a restless, ambitious temper, rendered it difficult to a man weak in principle to retain independence of character: and it must be avowed, that there are few temptations to depart from the road of integrity more urgent than the desire to raise an ancient name to its original splendour. No encumbrances are so likely to drag their victim away from integrity as those by which rank is clogged with poverty.
In April, 1697, Lord Mar was chosen a privy councillor; and shortly afterwards invested with the Order of the Thistle; and the command of a company of foot bestowed upon him. On the death of William his fortune was rather improved than deteriorated, although he continued to attach himself to the Revolution Party, who, it was generally understood, were very far from being acceptable to the Queen. "At her accession," declares a Jacobite writer, "the Presbyterians looked upon themselves as undone; despair appeared in their countenances, which were more upon the melancholic and dejected than usual." The management of Scottish affairs was, nevertheless, entirely in the hands of the advocates of the Revolution; and one of their greatest supporters, the Duke of Queensbury, was appointed High Commissioner of the Scottish Parliament, notwithstanding the representations of some of the most powerful nobility in Scotland.
To the party of this celebrated politician the Earl of Mar attached himself, with a tenacity for which those who recollected the hereditary politics of the Erskine family, could find no motives but self-interest. James, Duke of Queensbury, was, it is true, the son of one of the most active partisans of the Stuart family, to whom the house of Queensbury owed both its ducal rank and princely fortune. Possessed of good abilities, but devoid of application, and with the disadvantage to a public man of being of an easy, indolent temper, this celebrated promoter of the union between Scotland and England, had acquired, by courtesy, and by a long administration of affairs, a singular influence over his countrymen. His character has been written with a pen that could scarcely find sufficient invectives for those politicians who, in the opinion of the writer, were the ruin of their country. The Duke of Queensbury falls under the heaviest censures. "To outward appearance," says Lockhart, "he was of a gentle and good disposition, but inwardly a very devil, standing at nothing to advance his own interest and designs. Though his hypocrisy and dissimulation served him very much, yet he became so well known, that no man, except such as were his nearest friends, and socii criminis, gave him any trust; and so little regard had he to his promises and vows, that it was observed and notorious, that if he was at any pains to convince you of his friendship, and by swearing and imprecating curses on himself and family to assure you of his sincerity, then, to be sure, he was doing you underhand all the mischief in his power."
These characteristics must be viewed as proceeding from the pen of a partisan; nor can we wonder at the contrariety of opinion which prevails respecting any public man who proposes a great and startling measure. Honours, places, and a pension were showered down upon this most fortunate of ministers; and his career is remarkable as having been cheered by the favour of four sovereigns of very different tempers. In his early youth, after his return from his travels, the Duke of Queensbury was appointed a Privy Councillor of Scotland by Charles the Second. He held the same post under James the Second, but resigned it in 1688. The reserved and doubting William of Orange placed him near his person, making him a Lord of the Bedchamber, and captain of his Dutch guard; eventually he became Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, and--to abridge a list of numerous employments and honours--Lord High Commissioner of Scotland. So far had Queensbury's fortunes begun with the Stuarts and continued under the House of Orange. It appeared unlikely that the successor of William--she who in her first speech announced that her heart was "wholly English," to mark the distinction between herself and the foreigner who had sat on the throne before her,--would adopt as her own representative in Scotland the favourite of William; yet she continued Queensbury in that high station which it was believed none could fill so adequately in the disturbed and refractory kingdom of Scotland.
During the early years of Queen Anne's reign, and in the season of his own comparative prosperity, the young Earl of Mar entered into his first marriage, at Twickenham, with Lady Margaret Hay, daughter of John Earl of Kinnoul. The wife whom he thus selected was the daughter of a house originally adverse to the principles of the Revolution. William Earl of Kinnoul, in the time of James the Second, had remained at St. Germains with that monarch. But the same change which had manifested the political course of Lord Mar, had been apparent in the father of Lady Margaret Hay. The Earl of Kinnoul was afterwards one of the Commissioners for the Union, and supported that treaty in Parliament; yet, when the Rebellion of 1715 commenced, this nobleman was one of the suspected persons who were summoned to surrender themselves, and was committed a prisoner to Edinburgh Castle. His daughter, the Countess of Mar, was happily spared from witnessing the turmoils of that period. Married in her seventeenth year, she lived only four years with a husband whose character was but partially developed, when, in 1707, she died at the age of twenty-one, having given birth to two sons. She was buried at the family seat at Alloa Castle, an ancient fortress, built in the year 1300, one turret of which still remaining rises ninety feet from the ground. Seven years intervened before Lord Mar supplied the place of his lost wife by another union.
His days were, indeed, consumed in public affairs, varied by the improvement of his Scottish estates, embellishing the tower of Alloa by laying out beautiful gardens in that wilderness style of planting which the Earl first introduced into Scotland. He had the reward of seeing his efforts succeed, the gardens of Alloa being much eulogized and visited. This was by no means Lord Mar's only recreation; architecture was his delight, and he introduced into London the celebrated Gibbs, who, out of gratitude, eventually bequeathed a large portion of his fortune to the children of the Earl. It is refreshing to view this busy and versatile politician in this light before we plunge into the depths of those intricate politics which form the principal features of his life.
It was during the year 1703 that a political association or club was framed consisting of the chief nobility and gentlemen of fortune and afterwards known by the name of the Squadrone Volante. They acquired distinguished popularity and influence by the patriotic character of the measures which they introduced into the Scottish Parliament; and by their professions of being free from any court interest, they gained the confidence of the country. They were firm friends of the Revolution party, great sticklers to the Protestant succession, forming a separate band distinct from the Whigs, yet opposed to the Cavaliers, or, as they were afterwards called, Jacobites. The power of the Squadrone was, in a great measure, the result of those jarring counsels in the Scottish Parliament, which only coalesced upon one theme,--independence of England--interference of "foreign" or English counsels, as they were termed. This combination was headed by the Duke of Montrose, the Marquis of Tweedale, and several other Scottish noblemen, to whom adhered thirty commoners.
During the existence of this association, the celebrated "Queensbury affair," as it was usually called, involved the temporary disgrace of the Duke of Queensbury, and first brought to view those convenient doctrines of expediency which afterwards formed so marked a feature in the character of Lord Mar.
The "sham plot," as it is called by Jacobite writers, was a supposed intended invasion of Great Britain, disclosed to the Duke of Queensbury by Simon Fraser of Beaufort, afterwards Lord Lovat; whose very name seems to have suggested to his contemporaries, as it has since done to posterity, the combination of all that is subtle, treacherous, and base, with all that is dangerous, desperate, and remorseless in conduct.
This tool of the court of St. Germains came over from France, in company with John Murray, who was sent to watch his proceedings, and also to aid his object in procuring the promises of the most distinguished Highland chieftains to the furtherance of the projected invasion of England. The assistance of Captain Murray was conjoined on this occasion, the fidelity of that gentleman having been ascertained by the court of St. Germains; whilst there existed not a human being who did not instinctively distrust Beaufort: to Mary of Modena, who far more ardently desired the restoration of the Stuarts than her consort James, he was peculiarly obnoxious.
The exiled Queen's fears proved well founded, for no sooner had Beaufort landed in England, than he formed the scheme of converting this secret enterprise into a means of obtaining reward and protection from the Duke of Argyle, whose mediation with the Duke of Queensbury he required for private reasons; he therefore notified his arrival to Argyle, who had been his early and hereditary friend, offering at the same time to make great disclosures, if he had previous assurances of remuneration.
Such is the account of most impartial writers, and more especially of those who lean to the Whig party: but, by the Jacobites, the very existence of a conspiracy to invade England at this time was denied, and the whole affair was declared to be a scheme of the Duke of Queensbury's to undermine the reputation of the Cavaliers, and "to find a pretence to vent his wrath, and execute his malice against those who thwarted his arbitrary designs," for the completion of a treaty of union between Scotland and England, which had been in contemplation ever since the days of William the Third.
After much deliberation the Duke of Queensbury was induced to have several communications with Fraser of Beaufort, and to listen to the information which he gave, all of which the Duke transmitted to Queen Anne, although he concealed the name of his informant. In consequence of Fraser's disclosures, several persons coming from France to England were apprehended on suspicion of being engaged in the Pretender's service, and an universal alarm was spread, as well as a distrust of the motives and proceedings of Queensbury, who thus acted upon the intelligence of an avowed spy, and noted outlaw, like Fraser. A temporary loss of Queensbury's political sway in Scotland was the result, and a consequent increase of power to the Squadrone Volante.
It was at this juncture that the Earl of Mar came forward as the advocate of the Duke of Queensbury's measures, and the opponent of the Squadrone Volante, who had now completely fixed upon themselves that name, from their pretending to act by themselves, and to cast the balance of contending parties in Parliament. The opposition of Lord Mar to the Squadrone was peculiarly acceptable to the Tories, or Cavaliers, who had recently applied to that faction to assist them in the defence of their country against the Union, but who had been greeted with an indignant and resolute refusal.
The Earl of Mar therefore appeared as the champion of the Cavaliers, and for the first time won their confidence and approbation. "He headed," writes the bitter and yet truthful Lockhart, "such of the Duke of Queensbury's friends as opposed the Marquis of Tweedale and his party's designs; and that with such art and dissimulation, that he gained the favour of all the Tories, and was by them esteemed an honest man, and well inclined to the royal family. Certain it is, he vowed and protested as much many a time; but no sooner was the Marquis of Tweedale and his party dispossessed, than he returned as a dog to the vomit, and promoted all the court of England's measures with the greatest zeal imaginable." The three parties in the Scottish Parliament, according to the same authority, consisted of the Cavaliers,--that remnant of the Jacobite party which remained vigorous, more especially in the Highlands, since the days of Dundee,--of the Squadrone, "or outer court party," and of the present court party, consisting of true blue Presbyterians and Revolutioners. With the interests of the latter party the Earl of Mar was undoubtedly engaged.
Scotland was at this time, and continued for several years, racked with dissensions regarding the Treaty of Union. No one can form an adequate idea of the heartburnings, feuds, parties, and tumults, by which that great measure was preceded, and followed, without looking into the contemporary writers, whose aim it ever is to heighten the picture of passing events; whereas the calm historian subdues it into one general effect of keeping.
The Earl of Mar took a prominent part in seconding the treaty; no man's commencement of a career could be more opposed to its termination than that of this politician of easy virtue. The Duke of Queensbury was for some time so hated in Scotland as scarcely to venture to appear there, but contented himself with sending the Duke of Argyle as commissioner, and "using him as the monkey did the cat in pulling out the hot roasted chesnut." But when he was, after an interval, reinstated in power, Lord Mar was again his devoted ally. The influence of the Duke over every mind with which he came into collision was, indeed, almost irresistible. "I cannot but wonder," remarks the indignant Lockhart, "at the influence he had over all men of sense, quality, and estate; men that had, at least many of them, no dependance on him, yet were so deluded as to serve his ambitious designs, contrary to the acknowledged dictates of their own conscience."
In 1706, in the beginning of the session of Parliament, the Earl of Mar presented the draught of an Act for appointing Commissioners, to treat of an Union of the two kingdoms of Scotland and England. Thus was he the instrument of first presenting to the Scotch that measure so revolting to their prejudices, so singularly distasteful to a proud and independent people. It is impossible to judge how far Lord Mar was convinced of the expediency of the Treaty, or whether he was, in secret, one of those who feigned an affection for the measure, whilst, in their hearts, they wished for the preponderance of the votes against it. The Treaty of Union was espoused by those in whose opinions Lord Mar had been nurtured,--and originally, according to De Foe, it had been mooted by William the Third, who declared that this Island would never be easy without an union. "I have done all I can in that affair," he once observed; "but I do not see a temper in either nation that looks like it: it may be done, but not yet."
The Treaty, retarded by many interests, clashing between nations, but, more especially, by the burning recollections of massacred countrymen in the blood-stained valley of Glencoe, was now brought into discussion just when the Earl of Mar was at that age when a thirst for gain, or an ambition to rise is unquenched, in general, by disappointment. Differing in one respect from many Cavaliers, in being of a family strictly Protestant, Lord Mar had not the inducement which operated upon the Catholics, in their undiminished, ardent desire to restore the young Prince of Wales to the throne. Differing, again, in another respect from many of the Jacobites, Lord Mar had not the tie of a personal knowledge of the exiled King to fix his fidelity; or, what was considered far more likely to have sealed his, or any adherent allegiance, he had enjoyed no opportunities of cultivating the favour of the enthusiastic, bigoted, and yet intelligent Mary of Modena, whose exertions for her family kept alive the spirit of Jacobitism during the decline of her royal devotee and the childhood of her son. Lord Mar seems to have been reared entirely in Scotland, and he might perhaps come under the description given by the eloquent Lord Belhaven of a Whig in Scotland:--"A true, blue Presbyterian, who, without considering time or power, will venture all for the Kirk, but something less for the State;" but that his subsequent conduct contradicts this supposition.
The Treaty struggled on through a powerful and memorable opposition. It is a curious instance of Scottish pride, that one of the objections made to the Commissioners appointed to treat of the Union, was, that there were six or eight newly-raised families amongst them, and but few of the great and ancient names of Hamilton, Graham, Murray, Erskine, and many others. Never was there so much domestic misery and humiliation, abroad, for poor Scotland, as during the progress of this Treaty. The fame of Marlborough, and the fortunes of Godolphin, were now at their zenith; they were considered as the great arbiters of Scottish affairs,--the Queen being only applied to for the sake of form. These two great statesmen treated the Scottish noblemen to whom the Cavaliers entrusted the success of their representations, with a lofty insolence, which galled the proud Highlanders, and went to their very hearts.
"I myself," writes the author of Memoirs of Scotland, "out of curiosity, went sometimes to their levées, where I saw the Commissioners, the Duke of Queensbury, the Chancellor, the Secretary, Lord Mar, and other great men of Scotland, hang on near an hour; and when admitted, treated with no more civility than one gentleman pays another's valet-de-chambre; and for which the Scots have none to blame but themselves, for had they valued themselves as they ought to have done, and not so meanly and sneakingly prostituted their honour and country to the will and pleasure of the English Ministry, they would never have presumed to usurp such a dominion over Scotland, as openly and avowedly to consult upon and determine in Scots' affairs."
At home, the spirit of party ran to an extent which cannot be called insane, because the interests at stake were those dearest to a high-spirited people. "Factions," exclaimed Lord Belhaven, "in Parliament, are now become independent, and have got footing in councils, in parliaments, in treaties, in armies, in incorporations, in families, among kindred; yea, man and wife are not free from them." "Hannibal, my Lord," he cried, in one of what Lockhart calls his long premeditated harangues, "Hannibal is at our gates; Hannibal is come the length of this table; he is at the foot of this throne: he will demolish the throne; if we take not notice, he will seize upon these regalia; he'll take them as our spolia opima, and whip us out of this House, never to return again."
In order to understand the effect of the Act of Union upon the hopes of the Jacobite party, it is necessary to take into consideration the following facts. The Act of the English Parliament, by which the Crown had been settled on Queen Mary and her sister, extended only to the Princess Anne and her issue. After the death of the Duke of Gloucester, and about the end of the reign of William the Third, another settlement was made, by which the Crown was settled on the House of Hanover; but no similar Act was passed in Scotland. And at the beginning of Queen Anne's reign, and until after the Union, the Scottish Parliament were legally possessed of a power to introduce again the exiled family into Great Britain.
During the course of the negotiations for the Treaty of Union, the Earl of Mar formed an alliance with the celebrated Duke of Hamilton. In the consideration of public affairs at this period, it may not appear a digression to give some insight into the character of one who headed the chief party in the Scottish Parliament, and with whom the Earl of Mar was, at this period of his life, in frequent intercourse.
James Duke of Hamilton was at this period nearly fifty years of age. His youth had been passed in the gay court of Charles the Second, as one of the Gentlemen of the Bedchamber of that monarch,--an office which he only relinquished to become Ambassador Extraordinary to France, where he remained long enough to serve in two campaigns under Louis the Fourteenth. Upon the death of Charles the Second, Louis recommended the young nobleman, then termed Earl of Arran, strongly and essentially to James the Second, who made him Master of his Wardrobe, and appointed him to other offices.
Under these circumstances it is not surprising that in the honest and warm feelings of the Duke of Hamilton, affection for the Stuarts should form a principal feature. He had the courage to adhere firmly to James the Second, amid the general obloquy, and to accompany the monarch on his abdication to his embarkation at Rochester. "I can distinguish," he said, at a meeting of the Scottish nobility in London, over which his father, the Duke of Hamilton presided, "between the King's popery and his person. I dislike the one, but have sworn to do allegiance to the other, which makes it impossible to withhold that which I cannot forbear believing is the King my master's right: for his present absence in France can no more affect my duty, than his longer absence from us has done all this while."
Notwithstanding these professions, upon the unfortunate conclusion of the affair of Darien, the Earl of Arran, after twice encountering imprisonment upon account of the Stuarts, esteemed it his duty to his country to take the oaths to King William, in order to qualify himself to sit in Parliament.
The character of the Duke of Hamilton presents a favourable specimen of the well-principled and well-intentioned Scotchman, with the acknowledged virtues and obvious defects of the national character. He was disinterested in great matters, refusing many opportunities of worldly advantage, and bearing for the first eight years of his public career, a retirement which is always more galling to an ambitious temper than actual danger; yet, it was supposed, and not without reason, that, whilst his heart was with the Cavaliers, or country party, the considerations of his great estate in England occasioned a lukewarmness in his political conduct, and broke down his opposition to the Union. Wary and cautious, he could thus sacrifice his present hopes of a distinction which his talents would have readily attained, to his adherence to a lost cause; but his resolution failed when the sacrifice of what many might deem inferior interests, was required.
The Duke soon formed a considerable party in the Parliament; and his empire over the affections of his countrymen grew daily. To those to whom he confided, the Duke was gracious and unbending; but a suspicion of an insult recalled the native haughtiness attributable to his house. "Frank, honest, and good-natured," as he was esteemed by Swift, and displaying on his dark, coarse countenance, the characteristics of good sense and energy, the Duke was a bitter and vindictive foe--characteristics of his age, and of a nation undoubtedly prone to wreak a singular and remorseless revenge on all who offend the hereditary pride, or militate against the prejudices of its people.
Endowed with these qualities, the whole career of James Duke of Hamilton was a struggle between his love for his country, and his consideration for what he esteemed its truest interests, and his desire to support the claims of the royal family of Stuart. His political career has been criticised by writers of every faction; but it must be judged of as having taken place in times of peculiar difficulty, and a due credit should be given to the motives of one who displayed, during the greater portion of his life, forbearance and consistency. "Had not his loyalty been so unalterable," writes Lockhart, "and that he would never engage in King William's and his Government's service, and his love to his country induced him to oppose that King and England's injustice and encroachments on it, no doubt he had made as great a figure in the world as any other whatsoever, and that either in a civil or military capacity." "The Duke of Hamilton's love for his country," observes a contemptuous, anonymous assailant, "made him leave London, and follow King James, who had enslaved it. His love to his country had engaged him in several plots to restore that prince, and with him, tyranny and idolatry, poverty and slavery." Upon the odious principle of always seeking out for the lowest and the most selfish motive that can actuate the conduct of men,--a principle which is thought by weak and bad minds to display knowledge of the world, but which, in fact, more often betrays ignorance,--another part of his conduct was misjudged. The reluctance of the Duke of Hamilton, in 1704, to nominate a successor to the throne of England, before framing the treaty touching "the Commerce of Scotland and other Concerns," was ascribed by many to the remote hope of succeeding to the Crown, since, in case of the exclusion of the Princess Sophia and her descendants, his family was the next in succession, of the Protestant Faith. Such was one of the reasons assigned for the wise endeavour which this nobleman exerted to prevent an invasion of the kingdom by James Stuart during the reign of Anne, and such the motive adduced for his advice to the Chevalier to maintain terms of amity with his royal sister. It was the cause calumniously assigned of his supposed decline in attachment to the exiled family.
But, notwithstanding the inference thus deduced, the Duke of Hamilton continued to enjoy, in no ordinary degree, popular applause and the favour of Queen Anne, until his tragical death in 1712 occurring just before the Rebellion of 1715, spared him the perplexity of deciding on which side he should embark in that perilous and ill-omened insurrection.
This celebrated statesman,--one who never entered into a new measure, nor formed a project, ("though in doing thereof," says Lockhart, "he was too cautious") that he did not prosecute his designs with a courage that nothing could daunt,--now determined to win over the Earl of Mar from the Duke of Queensbury. The Duke of Hamilton was the more induced to the attempt, from the frequent protestations made by the Earl of Mar of his love for the exiled family; and he applied himself to the task of gaining this now important ally with all the skill which experience and shrewdness could supply. Hamilton was considered invincible in such undertakings, and was master of a penetration which no one could withstand. "Never was," writes Lockhart, "a man so qualified to be the head of a party as himself; for he could, with the greatest dexterity, apply himself to, and sift through, the inclinations of different parties, and so cunningly manage them, that he gained some of all to his." But the Duke met in Lord Mar with one equally skilled in diving into motives, and in bending the will of others to his own projects. In the encounter of these two minds, the Duke is said to have been worsted and disarmed; and the Earl of Mar, by his insinuations, is suspected to have materially influenced the conduct of that great leader of party. "I have good reason to suppose," says Lockhart, "that his Grace's appearing with less zeal and forwardness in this ensuing than in former Parliaments, is attributable to some agreement passed between them two."
For the effect of his newly-acquired influence over the Duke of Hamilton, and for his other services in promoting the Union, the Earl of Mar was amply rewarded. During the Parliament of 1705, he was constituted one of the Commissioners of that Treaty, his name being third on the list. In 1706, he was appointed one of the Secretaries of State for Scotland; and afterwards, upon the loss of that office, in consequence of the Union between the two countries, he was compensated by being made Keeper of the Signet, with the addition of a pension. Those who were the promoters of the Treaty must have required some consolation for the general opprobrium into which the measure brought the Commissioners. The indignant populace converted the name of "Treaters" into Traitors: the Parliament Close resounded with "very free language," denouncing the "Traitors." That picturesque enclosure, since destroyed by fire, was crowded by a vehement multitude, who rushed into the outer Parliament House to denounce the Duke of Queensbury and his party, and to cheer the Duke of Hamilton, whom they followed to his residence in Holyrood House, exhorting him to stand by his country, and assuring him of support. The tumults were, indeed, soon quelled by military force; but the deliberations of Parliament were carried on at the risk of summary vengeance upon the "Traitors:" and the eloquence of members was uttered between walls which were guarded, during the whole session, by all the military force that Edinburgh could command. The Duke of Queensbury was obliged to walk "as if he had been led to the gallows," through two lanes of musqueteers, from the Parliament House to the Cross, where his coach stood; no coaches, nor any person who was not a member, being allowed to enter the Parliament Close towards evening: and he was conveyed in his carriage to the Abbey, surrounded both by horse and foot guards.
On the 1st of May, 1707, the Articles of Union were ratified by the Parliament of England. That day has been set down by the opponents of the measure as one never to be forgotten by Scotland,--the loss of their independence and sovereignty. Superstition marked every stage of the measure as happening upon some date adverse to the Stuarts. On the fourth of November the first Article of the Union was approved; on a fourth of November was William of Orange born. On the eighth of January the Peerage was renounced; on an eighth of January was the warrant for the Murder at Glencoe signed. The ratification of the Article of Union was on the sixteenth of January. On a sixteenth of January was the sentence of Charles the First pronounced. The dissolution of the Scottish Parliament took place upon the twenty-fifth of March, according to the Old Style, New Year's Day: that concession might therefore be esteemed a New-year's Gift to the English.
Finally,--The Equivalent, or Compensation Money, that is, "the price of Scotland," came to Edinburgh on the fifth of August, the day on which the Earl of Gowrie designed to murder James the Sixth.
The discontents and tumults which attended the progress of the Union ran throughout the whole country, and pervaded all ranks of people. Yet it is remarkable, that the nobility of Scotland should have been the first to fail in their opposition to the measure; and that the middle ranks, together with the lowest of the people, should have been foremost to withstand what they considered as insulting to the independence of their country. The very name and antiquity of their kingdom was dear to them, although there remained, after the removal of James the First into England, little more than "a vain shadow of a name, a yoke of slavery, and image of a kingdom." It was in vain that the Duke of Hamilton had called, in the beginning of the debates on this measure, upon the families of "Bruce, Campbell, Douglas," not to desert their country: the opposition to the Union was bought over, with many exceptions, with a price;--twenty thousand pounds being sent over to the Lords Commissioners to employ in this manner, twelve thousand pounds of which were, however, returned to the English Treasury, there being no more who would accept the bribe. The Earl of Mar and the Earl of Seafield had privately secured their own reward, having bargained "for greater matters than could be agreed upon while the kingdom of Scotland stood in safety."
Amidst the resentment of the Scotch for their insulted dignity, it is amusing to find that this Union of the two countries could be deemed derogatory to English dignity; yet Dean Swift, among others, considered it in that light. "Swift's hatred to the Scottish nation," observes Sir Walter Scott, "led him to look upon that Union with great resentment, as a measure degrading to England. The Scottish themselves hardly detested the idea more than he did; and that is saying as much as possible."
Swift vented his wrath in the verses beginning with these lines:
That the conduct of Lord Mar throughout this Treaty was regarded with avowed suspicion, the following anecdote tends to confirm: Lord Godolphin, at that time First Lord of the Treasury, wishing to tamper with one of a combination against the Queensbury faction, sent to offer that individual a place if he would discover to him how the combination was formed, and in what manner it might be broken. But the gentleman whose fidelity he thus assailed, was true to his engagements; and returned an indignant answer, desiring the Lord Treasurer's agent "not to think that he was treating with such men as Mar and Seafield."
At this time the Earl of Mar was said to be in the full enjoyment of Lord Godolphin's confidence, and to have been one of those whom the treasurer consulted, in settling the government of Scotland. The rumour was not conducive to his comfort or well-being in his native country; and the Earl appears to have passed much more time in intrigues in London than among the gardens of Alloa.
It was not long before the effects of the general discontent were manifested in the desire of the majority of the Scottish nation to restore the descendant of their ancient kings to the throne, and even the Cameronians and Presbyterians were willing to pass over the objection of his being a Papist. "God may convert the Prince," they said, "or he may have Protestant children, but the Union never can be good." The middle orders openly expressed their anxiety to welcome a Prince to their shores, whom they regarded as a deliverer: the nobility and gentry, though more cautious, yet were equally desirous to see the honour of their nation, in their own sense of it, restored. Episcopalians, Cavaliers, and Revolutionists, were unanimous, or, to use the Scots' proverb, "were all one man's bairns." This state of public feeling was soon communicated to St. Germains, and Colonel Hooke, famous for his negotiations, was, according to the writer of the Memoirs, "pitched upon by the French King, and palmed upon the court of St. Germains, and dispatched to sound the intentions of the principal Scottish nobility." This agent arrived in Scotland in the month of March, 1707. The paper containing assurances of aid to James Stuart was signed by sixteen noblemen and gentlemen; but the Earl of Mar was, at that time, engaged in a very different undertaking, and was in close amity with Sunderland, Godolphin, and the heads of the Whig party.
The spring of 1708 discovered the designs of Louis, and the news of great preparations at Dunkirk spread consternation in England. At this juncture, the first in which the son of James the Second was called upon to play a part in that drama of which he was the ill-starred hero, the usual fate of his race befel him. He came to Dunkirk hastily, and in private, intending to pass over alone to the Firth of Forth. He was attacked by the measles; at a still more critical moment of his melancholy life, he was the victim of ague: both of them ignoble diseases, which seem to have little concern with the affairs of royalty. The delay of the Prince's illness, although shortened by the peremptory commands of the French King to proceed, was fatal, for the English fleet had time to make preparations. A storm drove the French fleet northwards; in the tempest the unfortunate adventurer passed the Firth of Forth and Aberdeen; and although the fleet retraced its course to the Isle of May, it was only to flee back to France, daunted as the French admirals were by the proximity of Sir George Byng and the English fleet, who chased the enemy along the coasts of Fife and Angus. It was shortly after this event that the Pretender, upon whose head a price of a hundred thousand pounds was set by the English Government, first assumed the title of Chevalier of St. George, in order to spare himself the expense of field equipage in the campaign in Flanders.
The conduct of the Earl of Mar, in relation to conspiracy, has been alluded to rather than declared by historians. He is supposed not to have been, in secret, unfavourable to the undertaking. He was, nevertheless, active in giving to the Earl of Sunderland the names of the disaffected with whom he was generally supposed to be too well acquainted. Many of those who were suspected were brought to London, and were in some instances committed to prison, in others confined to their own houses. On this occasion the advice of the great Marlborough was followed, and the guilty were not proceeded against with more severity than was necessary for the Queen's safety. The same generous policy was in after times remembered, in mournful contrast with a very different spirit.
It was the ill-fortune of Mar to give satisfaction to none of those who had looked on the course of public affairs during the recent transactions; nor was it ever his good fortune to inspire confidence in his motives. Some notion may be formed of the thraldom of party in Scotland by the following anecdote:--
In 1711-12 the Queen conferred upon the Duke of Hamilton a patent for an English dukedom; but this, according to a vote of the House of Lords, did not entitle him to sit as a British Peer. Indignant at being thought incapable of receiving a grace which the King might confer on the meanest commoner, the Scotch Peers took the first opportunity of walking out of the House in a body, and refusing to vote or sit in that House. In addition to the affront implied by their incapacity of becoming British Peers, it was more than hinted that it would not be advisable for the independence of the House if the King could confer the privileges of British Peers upon a set of nobles whose poverty rendered them dependent on the Crown.
Just when this offensive vote of the House was the theme of general conversation, Dean Swift encountered the Earl of Mar at Lord Masham's. "I was arguing with him, (Lord Mar)," he writes, "about the stubbornness and folly of his countrymen; they are so angry about the affair of the Duke of Hamilton, whom the Queen has made a Duke of England, and the Lords will not admit him. He swears he would vote for us, but dare not, because all Scotland would detest him if he did; he should never be chosen again, nor be able to live there."
The Earl of Mar continued to be one of the Representative Peers for Scotland, having been chosen in 1707, and rechosen at the general elections in 1708, 1710, and 1713.
Upon the death of the Duke of Queensbury in 1711, the office of Secretary of State for Scotland became vacant, and the Duke of Hamilton and the Earl of Mar were rival expectants for the high and important post. Government hesitated for some time before filling up the post, being disposed rather to abolish it than to offend any party by its disposal, and deeming it as an useless expense to the Government; nor was it filled up for a considerable time.
The tragical death of one who, with some failings, deserved the affection and respect of his country, procured eventually to the Earl of Mar the chief management of public affairs in Scotland. Whilst on the eve of embarking as Ambassador Extraordinary to France, upon the conclusion of the peace of Utrecht, the Duke of Hamilton fell in a duel with his brother-in-law, Lord Mohun,--a man whose course of life had been stained with blood, but whose crimes had met with a singular impunity.
The character of Lord Mohun seems rather to have belonged to the reign of Charles the Second, than to the sober period of William and Anne. The representative of a very ancient family, he had the misfortune of coming to his title when young, while his estate was impoverished. "His quality introduced him into the best company," says a contemporary writer, "but his wants very often led him into bad." He ran a course of notorious and low dissipation, and was twice tried for murder before he was twenty. His first offence was the cruel and almost unprovoked murder of William Mountford, an accomplished actor, whom Mohun stabbed whilst off his guard. The second was the death of Mr. Charles Coote. For these crimes Lord Mohun had been tried by his peers, and, strange to say, acquitted. On his last acquittal he spoke gracefully before the Peers, expressing great contrition for the disgrace which he had brought upon his order, and promising to efface it by a better course of life. For some time this able but depraved nobleman kept to his resolution, and studied the constitution of his country. He became a bold and eloquent speaker in the House on the side of the Whigs; and he had attained a considerable popularity, when the affair with the Duke of Hamilton finished his career before the age of thirty.
A family dispute, exasperated by the different sides taken by these two noblemen in Parliament, was the cause of an event which deprived the Jacobite party of one of their most valuable and most moderate leaders; for had the counsels of the Duke of Hamilton prevailed, the Chevalier would never have undertaken the futile invasion of 1708, nor perhaps have engaged in the succeeding attempt in 1715. Upon the fortunes of the Earl of Mar, the death of the Duke so far operated that it was not until all fear of offending the powerful and popular Hamilton was ended by his tragical death, that the appointment of Secretary was conferred upon his rival. The Whigs were calumniously suspected of having had some unfair share in the death of the Duke,--an event which took place in the following manner.
Certain offensive words spoken by Lord Mohun in the chambers of a Master in Chancery, and addressed to the Duke of Hamilton, brought a long-standing enmity into open hostility. On the part of Lord Mohun, General Macartney was sent to convey a challenge to the Duke, and the place of meeting, time, and other preliminaries were settled by Macartney and the Duke over a bottle of claret, at the Rose Tavern, in Covent Garden. The hour of eight on the following day was fixed for the encounter, and on the fatal morning the Duke drove to the lodgings of his friend, Colonel Hamilton, who acted as his second, in Charing Cross, and hurried him away. It was afterwards deposed, that on setting out, the Colonel, in his haste, forgot his sword; upon which the Duke stopped the carriage, and taking his keys from his pocket, desired his servant to go to a certain closet in his house, and to bring his mourning-sword, which was accordingly done. This was regarded as a fatal omen in those days, in which, as Addison describes, a belief in such indications existed.
The Duke then drove on to that part of Hyde Park leading to Kensington, opposite the Lodge, and getting out, walked to and fro upon the grass between the two ponds. Lord Mohun, in the mean time, set out from Long Acre with his friend, General Macartney, who seems to have been a worthy second of the titled bravo.
Lord Mohun having taken the precaution of ordering some burnt wine to be prepared for him upon his return from the rencounter, proceeded to the place of appointment, where the Duke awaited him. "I must ask your Lordship," said Lord Mohun, "one favour, which is, that these gentlemen may have nothing to do with our quarrel." "My Lord," answered the Duke, "I leave them to themselves." The parties then threw off their cloaks, and all engaged; the seconds, it appears, fighting with as much fury as their principals. The park-keepers coming up, found Colonel Hamilton and General Macartney struggling together; the General holding the Colonel's sword in his left hand, the Colonel pulling at the blade of the General's sword. One of the keepers went up to the principals; he found Lord Mohun in a position between sitting and lying, bending towards the Duke, who was on his knees, leaning almost across Lord Mohun, both holding each other's sword fast, both striving and struggling with the fury of remorseless hatred. This awful scene was soon closed for ever, as far as Mohun was concerned. He expired shortly afterwards, having received four wounds, each of which was likely to be mortal. The Duke was raised and supported by Colonel Hamilton and one of the keepers; but after walking about thirty yards, exclaimed that "he could walk no farther," sank down upon the grass, and expired. His lifeless remains, mangled with wounds which showed the relentless fury of the encounter, were conveyed to St. James's Square, the same morning, while the Duchess was still asleep.
Lord Mohun, meanwhile, was carried, by order of General Macartney, to the hackney-coach in which he had arrived, and his body conveyed to his house in Marlborough Street, where, it was afterwards reported, that being flung upon the best bed, his Lady, one of the nieces of Charles Gerrard, Earl of Macclesfield, expressed great anger at the soiling of her new coverlid, on which the bleeding corpse was deposited.
General Macartney escaped. It appeared on oath that he had made a thrust at the Duke, as he was struggling with Mohun; and it being generally believed that it was by that wound that the Duke died, an address was presented to her Majesty by the Scottish Peers, begging that she would write to all the kings and states in alliance with her, not to shelter Macartney from justice.
A deep and general grief was shown for the death of the Duke of Hamilton. In Scotland mourning was worn, and the churches were hung with black. It was in vain that the Duchess offered a reward of three hundred pounds for the apprehension of Macartney; the murderer had fled beyond seas.
The Cavaliers lost, in Hamilton, an ornament to their party, from the strict honour and fidelity of his known character. But the crisis which the unfortunate Duke had in vain endeavoured to avert was now at hand, and the death of Queen Anne brought with it all those consequences which a long series of cabals, during the later disturbed years of the Queen's existence, had been gradually ripening into importance.
The Earl of Mar had openly espoused the High-church party in the case of Sacheverel; and he had on that account, as well as from the doubt generally entertained of his fidelity, little reason to expect from the House of Hanover a continuance in office. No sooner had the Queen expired, than those whom Lord Mar had long, in secret, been regarding with interest, expressed openly their disappointment at the result of the last reign.
"The accession of George the First," remarks Dr. Coxe, "was a new era in the history of that Government which was established at the Revolution. Under William and Anne the Stuart family can scarcely be considered as absolutely excluded from the throne; for all parties, except the extreme Whigs, looked forward to the possibility of the Stuarts returning to the throne. But, in fact, the Revolution was not completed till the actual establishment of the Brunswick line, which cut off all hopes of a return without a new revolution."
When the news of Queen Anne's dangerous condition reached the Chevalier de St. George, he was at Luneville; but he repaired instantly to Barleduc, where he held a council. As he entered the council-chamber, he was heard to exclaim, "If that Princess dies, I am lost." There was no doubt that a correspondence with the exiled family had been carried on with great alacrity, during the last few years of Queen Anne's reign, with the cognizance of the Sovereign; and that large sums were spent by Mary of Modena, and by her son, in procuring intelligence of all that was going on in the English Court.
Immediately after the Queen's death, Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, proposed to Lord Bolingbroke to proclaim James at Charing Cross, and offered, himself, to head the procession in lawn sleeves. But Bolingbroke shrank from the enterprise; and, with an exclamation of passion, Atterbury exclaimed,--"There is the best cause in Europe lost for want of spirit." The boldness of the proposition, and the ardent temper from which it originated, recall, with regret, the remembrance of one who, as Lord Hailes in his notes on Atterbury's Correspondence has remarked, was "incapable of dark conspiracies."
The Chevalier was then residing at Barleduc, with a suite of sixty persons; some of whom boasted of having taken part in the conspiracies against William the Third, and were proud of having compassed the death of that Sovereign. From time to time, Englishmen of distinction travelled from Paris to Barleduc, under pretext of seeing the country, but in fact to proffer a secret allegiance to the Prince. The individual to whom these attentions were addressed, is described by an anonymous emissary of the English Court, as leading a regular life,--hunting when the weather permitted, and hearing mass every day with great precision and devotion. "Il est fort maigre," adds the same writer, "assez grand; son teint est brun, son humeur et sa personne ne sont pas désagréables." In another place, it is added, "Il paroit manquer de jugement et de résolution:" an opinion, unhappily, too correct. On the question being put by Bolingbroke to the Duke of Berwick, whether the Prince was bigot, the answer was in the negative. "Then," said Bolingbroke, "we shall have no objection to place him on the throne." This anecdote, which was told by the Chevalier himself to Brigadier Nugent, probably gave countenance to the rumour spread in England, that James was likely to renounce the Catholic faith, and conform to the English Church.
The Earl of Mar and his brother, Lord Grange, were now the two most considerable men in Scotland. Lord Grange had been made Lord of Session in 1707, and afterwards Lord Justice Clerk, during the three last years of Queen Anne's reign. His character presents traits even more repulsive and more dangerous than the time-serving and duplicity of the Earl of Mar. Lord Grange was one of those men whom the honest adherents to either party would, doubtless, gladly have turned over to the other side. His abilities, if we judge of the high appointments which he held, must have been eminent; but he was devoid of all principle, and was capable, if the melancholy and extraordinary history of his unhappy wife be true, of the darkest schemes.
It would be difficult to reconcile, in any other man, the discrepancy of Lord Grange's real opinions and of his subsequent efforts to restore the House of Stuart; but, in a brother of the Earl of Mar, the difficulty ceases, and all hopes of consistency, or rather of its origin, sincerity, vanish. Lord Grange is declared to have been a "true blue republican, and, if he had any religion, at bottom a Presbyterian;" yet he was deeply involved in transactions with the Chevalier and his friends.
Lord Grange was united to a lady violent in temper, of a dauntless spirit, and a determined Hanoverian. Their marriage had been enforced by the laws of honour, and was ill-omened from the first; therefore, where respect has ceased, affection soon languishes and expires. The daughter of Cheisly of Dalry, a man of uncontrolled passions, who shot Sir George Lockhart, one of the Lords of Session, for having decided a law-suit against him, Mrs. Erskine of Grange, commonly called Lady Grange, inherited the determined will of her father. It was said that she had compelled Lord Grange to do her justice by marrying her, and "had desired him to remember, by way of threat, that she was Cheisly's daughter." For this menace she suffered in a way which could only be effected in a country like Scotland at that period, and among a people held in the thraldom of the clans. Her singular history belongs to a later period in the annals of those events in which so much domestic happiness was blasted, never to be recovered.
With his brother, Lord Mar was in constant correspondence, during his own residence in London; and although Lord Grange was skilful enough to conceal his machinations, and to retain his seat on the bench as aScottish judge, there is very little reason to doubt his secret co-operation in the subsequent movements of the Earl.
Acting as if "he thought that all things were governed by fate or fortune," George the First remained a long time to settle his own affairs in Hanover, before coming to England. This delay was employed by the Earl of Mar, in an endeavour to extenuate the tenor of his political conduct of late years in the eyes of the Sovereign, and in placing before the King the merit of his services and his claims to favour. The letter which he addressed to George the First, when in Holland, was printed by Tonson, during the year 1715, with prefatory remarks by Sir Richard Steele, whose comments upon this production of a man who, scarcely a year after it was written, set up the standard of the Pretender at Braemar, are expressed in these terms:
"It gives me a lively sense of the hardships of civil war, wherein all the sacred and most intimate obligations between man and man are to be torn asunder, when I cannot, without pain, represent to myself the behaviour of Lord Mar, with whom I had not even the honour of any further commerce than the pleasure of passing some agreeable hours in his company: I say, when even such little incidents make it irksome to be in a state of war with those with whom we have lived in any degree of familiarity, how terrible must the image be of rending the ties of blood, the sanctity of affinity and intermarriage, and the bringing men who, perhaps in a few months before, were to each other the dearest of all mankind, to meet on terms of giving death to each other at the same time that they had rather embrace!" Thus premising, and declaring that he could with difficulty efface from his mind all remains of good will and pity to Lord Mar, Sir Richard Steele subjoins a document, fatal to the reputation of Lord Mar--the following letter, which Lord Mar addressed to the King, in explanation of his conduct.
Lord Mar to the King:
This disgraceful letter was ineffectual. The Monarch, "whose views and affections were, according to Lord Chesterfield, singly confined to the narrow compass of his Electorate," and for "whom England was too big," acted with a promptness and decision which gave no time for the workings of faction. An immediate change of ministry was announced by Kryenberg, the Hanoverian resident, at the first Privy Council; and among other changes, Lord Townshend was appointed in the place of Lord Bolingbroke. Well might Bolingbroke exclaim, "The grief of my soul is this; I see plainly that the Tory party is gone."
For many months Lord Mar continued to maintain such a demeanour as might blind those of the opposite party to his real intentions. It seems, indeed, certain that at first he hoped to ensure a continuance in office by exerting his influence in Scotland to procure the good conduct of the clans: he was successful in obtaining even from some of those Highland chieftains who were afterwards the most deeply implicated in the Rebellion, an address declaring that they were "ready to concur with his Lordship in faithfully serving King George." "Your Lordship," states that memorial, "has an estate and interest in the Highlands, and is so well known to bear good will to your neighbours, that in order to prevent any ill impression which malicious and designing people may at this juncture labour to give of us, we must beg leave to address your Lordship, and entreat you to assure the Government, in our names, and in that of the rest of our clans, who, by distance of the place, could not be present at the signing of our letter, of our loyalty to his sacred Majesty, King George." This address was signed by Maclean of that Ilk, Macdonald of Glengary, Mackenzie of Fraserdale, Cameron of Lochiel, and by several other chiefs of clans, who afterwards fought under the banners of the Earl of Mar. It furnishes a proof of the great influence which the Earl possessed in his own country, but he had not the courage to present it to the King. His Majesty, on the contrary, on hearing of this address was highly offended, believing that it had been drawn up at St. Germains in order to insult him, and his refusal to receive it was accompanied by an order to Lord Mar to give up the seals.
The Earl lingered, nevertheless, for some time in London, where he had now some attractions which to a less ambitious mind might have operated in favour of prudence. In the preceding year, July, 1714, he had married, at Acton in Middlesex, the Lady Frances Pierrepoint, the second daughter of Evelyn, first Duke of Kingston, and the sister of Lady Mary Wortley. The Countess of Mar was, at the time of her marriage, thirty-three years of age, being born in 1681. She does not appear to have been endowed with the rare qualities of her sister's mind; but that she was attached to her husband, her long exile from England on his account, sufficiently proves. Her married life was embittered by his career, and her latter days darkened by the direst of all maladies, mental aberration.
It is singular that so recently before his final effort, Lord Mar should have connected himself with a Whig family. The Marquis of Dorchester, who was created, by George the First, Duke of Kingston, was a member of the Kit Cat Club, and received early proofs of the good will of the Hanoverian Sovereign. It is true that Lady Mary Wortley augured ill of the match between her sister and Lord Mar, detesting as she did the Jacobite party, and believing that her sister was "drawn in by the persuasion of an officious female friend," Lord Mar's relation. But there is no reason to conclude that the Duke of Kingston in any way objected to a match apparently so dissonant with his political bias.
Whilst Lord Mar remained near the court, the discoveries made by the Earl of Stair in France, communicated the first surmise of an intended invasion of England. Several seizures of suspected people warned one who was deep in the intrigues of St. Germain, not long to delay the open prosecution of his schemes. The melancholy instance of Mr. Harvey, who was apprehended while he was hawking at Combe, in Surrey, alarmed the Jacobite party. Mr. Harvey being shown a paper written in his own hand, convicting him of guilt, stabbed himself, but not fatally, with a pruning-knife which he had used in his garden. Upon some hope of his confessing being hinted, it was answered that his Majesty and the Council knew more of it than he did. The celebrated John Anstis, the heraldic writer, was also apprehended, and warrants were issued for the seizure of other suspected persons.
Notwithstanding his strong family interest, the Earl of Mar could scarcely consider himself secure under the present state both of the country and the metropolis. The events of the last year had succeeded each other with an appalling rapidity. The flight of Bolingbroke had scarcely ceased to be the theme of comment, before the general elections excited all the ill blood and fanaticism which such struggles at any critical era of our history have always produced. Riots, which have been hastily touched upon in the histories of the period, but which the minute descriptions of memoirs of that period show to have been attended with an unusual display of violence and brutality on both sides, broke out upon every anniversary which could recall the Stuarts to recollection. On St. George's day, in compliment to the Chevalier, who, according to an observer of those eventful days, "had assumed the name of that far-famed Cappadocian Knight, though every one knew he has nothing of the valour, courage, and other bright qualities of the saint," a tumult was raised in London, and among other outrages, passengers through the streets of the City were beaten if they would not cry "God bless the late Queen and the High Church!" Sacheverel and Bolingbroke were pledged in bumpers by a mob, who burnt, at the same time, King William in effigy. A similar contagion spread throughout the country; Oxford took the lead in acts of destruction; her streets were filled with parties of Whigs and Tories, both of them infuriated, until their mad rage vented itself in acts of murder, under the pretence, on the one hand, of a dread of popery, on the other, on a similar plea of religious zeal. A Presbyterian meetinghouse was pulled down, and cries of "An Ormond!" "A Bolingbroke!" "Down with the Roundheads!" "No Hanover!" "A new Restoration!" accompanied the conflagration. On the same day similar exclamations were again heard in the streets of London; and all windows not illuminated were broken to pieces. The tenth of June, the anniversary of the Chevalier's birthday, was the signal for a still more decisive manifestation. On that day three Scottish magistrates went boldly to the Cross at Dundee, and there drank the Pretender's health, by the name of King James the Eighth, for which they were immediately apprehended and tried.
The impeachment of Lord Oxford still further exasperated the country, which rang with the cry, "No George, but a Stuart." The peaceable accession of the first monarch of the Brunswick line has been greatly insisted upon by historians; but that stillness was ominous; it was the stillness of the air before a storm; and was only indicative of irresolution, not of a diminished dislike to the sway of a foreigner.
It is supposed that an intercepted letter which the Duke de Berwick, the half-brother of the Chevalier, addressed to a person of distinction in England, first gave the intelligence of an intended invasion. The burden of that letter was to encourage the riots and tumults, and to keep up the spirits of the people with a promise of prompt assistance. The impeachment of Viscount Bolingbroke and of the Duke of Ormond followed shortly afterwards; and although these noblemen provided for their own safety by flight, they were degraded as outlaws, and in the order in Council were styled, according to the usual form of law, "James Butler, yeoman," and "Henry Bolingbroke, labourer," and the arms of Ormond were taken from Windsor Chapel, and torn in pieces by the Earl Marshal.
The English fleet, under the command of Sir George Byng, was stationed in the Downs, in case of a surprise. Portsmouth was put in a state of defence; and, during the month of July, the inhabitants of London beheld once more a sight such as had never been witnessed by its citizens since the days of the Great Rebellion. In Hyde Park the troops of the household were encamped, according to the arrangements of General Cadogan, who had marked out a camp. The forces were commanded by the Duke of Argyle. In Westminster the Earl of Clare reviewed the militia, and the trained bands were directed to be in readiness for orders. At the same time fourteen colonels of the Guards, and other inferior officers were cashiered by the King's orders, on suspicion of being in James Stuart's interest; so deep a root had this cause, which many have pretended to treat as a visionary scheme of self-interest, taken in the affections even of the British army.
A proclamation ordering all Papists and reputed Papists to depart from the cities of London and Westminster, was the next act of the Government. All persons of the Roman Catholic persuasion were to be disarmed and their horses sold; a declaration against transubstantiation was to be administered to them, and the oath of abjuration to non-jurors. After such mandates, it seems idle to talk of the tyranny of Henry the Eighth.
There is no doubt but that the greatest alarm and consternation reigned at St. James's. The stocks fell, but owing to the vigilance of the Ministry, information was obtained of the whole scheme of the invasion, in a manner which to this day has never been satisfactorily explained.
The Earl of Mar must have trembled, as he still lingered in the metropolis. It is probable that he waited there in order to receive those contributions from abroad which were necessary to carry on his plans. He was provided at last with no less a sum than a hundred thousand pounds; and also furnished with a commission dated the seventh of September, 1715 appointing him Lieutenant General and Commander in Chief of the forces raised for the Chevalier in Scotland. Large sums were already collected from Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and France, to the amount, it has been stated, of twelve millions. It has been well remarked by Sir Walter Scott, in his notes on the Master of Sinclair's MS., that "when the Stuarts had the means, they wanted a leader (as in 1715); when (as in 1745) they had a leader, they wanted the means."
With the eye of suspicion fixed upon him, his plans matured, his friends in the north prepared, the Earl of Mar had the hardihood, under such circumstances, to appear at the court of King George. A few weeks before the Habeas Corpus Act had been suspended; but the Earl trusted either to good fortune, or to his own well-known arts of insinuation. He braved all possibility of detection, and determined to carry on the game of deep dissimulation to the last moment.
On the first of August, 1715, the Earl of Mar attended the levee of King George. One can easily suppose how cold, if not disdainful, must have been his reception; but it is not easy to divine with what secret emotions, the subject on the eve of an insurrection could have offered his obeisance to the Monarch. Grave in expression, with a heavy German countenance, hating all show, and husbanding his time, so as to avoid all needless conversation; without an idea of cultivating the fine arts, of encouraging literature, or of even learning to speak English, George the First must have presented to his English subjects the reverse of all that is attractive. A decided respectability of character might have redeemed the ungainly picture; but, although esteemed a man of honour, and evincing liberal and even benevolent tendencies, the Monarch displayed not only an unblushing and scandalous profligacy, but a love for coarse and unworthy society. His court is said to have been modelled upon that of Louis the Fifteenth; but it was modelled upon the grossest and lowest principles only, and had none of the elegance even of that wretched King's depraved circles; and public decency was as much outraged by the three yachts which were prepared to carry over King George's mistresses and their suite, when he visited Hanover, as by the empire of Madame de Pompadour. It must, independent of every other consideration, have been galling to Englishmen to behold, seated on their throne, a German, fifty-four years of age, who from that very circumstance, was little likely ever to boast, like Queen Anne, "of an English heart." "A hard fate," observes a writer of great impartiality, "that the enthronement of a stranger should have been the only means to secure our liberties and laws!"
A week after he had been received at the levee of King George, the Earl embarked at Gravesend in a collier, attended by two servants, and accompanied by General Hamilton and Captain Hay. They were all disguised, and escaping detection, arrived on the third day afterwards at Newcastle. It has been even said, that in order the better to conceal his rank, the Earl of Mar wrought for his passage. From Newcastle Lord Mar proceeded northward in another vessel; and landing at Elie, in Fifeshire, went first to Crief, where he remained a few days. He then proceeded to Dupplin, in the county of Perth, the seat of his brother-in-law, the Earl of Kinnoul, and thence, on the eighteenth of August, crossing the river Perth, he proceeded to his own Castle of Kildrummie, in the Braes of Mar. He was accompanied by forty horse.
On the day after the arrival of the Earl at Kildrummie, he despatched letters to the principal Jacobites, inviting them to attend a grand hunting-match in Braemar on the twenty-seventh of August. This summons was couched in this form, for fear of a more explicit declaration being intercepted, revealing the design; but the great chiefs who were thus collected together were aware that "hunting" was but the watchword.
A gallant band of high-spirited chieftains answered the call. It is consolatory to turn to those who, unaffected by the intrigues of a Court, came heartily, and with a disinterested love, to the cause of which the Earl of Mar was the unworthy leader.
First in rank, was the Marquis of Huntly, eldest son of George, the first Duke of Gordon, and of that daring Duchess of Gordon, a daughter of the house of Howard, who, in 1711, had presented to the Dean and Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh a silver medal, with the head of the Chevalier on one side, and on the other the British Islands, with the word "Reddite." The learned body to whom the Duchess had proposed this dangerous gift, at first hesitated to receive it: after a debate, however, among their members, it was agreed that the donation should be accepted, and a vote was passed to return thanks to the Duchess. The Advocates then waited in a body upon the Duchess, and expressed their hopes that her Grace would soon have occasion to present the Faculty with a second medal on the Restoration. The Duke of Gordon, notwithstanding his having been brought up a Roman Catholic, was neutral in the troubles of the Rebellion of 1715, but his son took a force of three thousand men into the field,--the clan siding with the young Marquis rather than with their chief. The Marquis of Huntly was, probably for that reason, spared in the subsequent proceedings against the Jacobites, his participation in their schemes being punished only by a brief imprisonment.
William Marquis of Tullibardine, one of the most constant friends to the House of Stuart, the Earl of Nithisdale, and the Earl Marischal, also appeared at the time appointed. It was the fortune of the Marquis of Tullibardine, like that of the Marquis of Huntly, afterwards to appear in the field unsanctioned by his father, the Duke of Athol, who either was, or appeared to be, in favour of Government, whilst his son headed the clan to the number of six thousand. Lord Nairn, the younger brother of the Marquis, also joined in the undertaking. Of these distinguished Jacobites, separate lives will hereafter be given in this work: it therefore becomes unnecessary any further to expatiate upon them here. Of some, whose biography does not present features sufficiently marked to constitute a distinct narrative, some traits may here be given.
Charles Earl of Traquair, who hastened to Braemar, was one of those Scottish nobles who claimed kindred with royalty. He was descended from Sir James Stewart, commonly called the Black Knight of Lorn, and from Jane, daughter of John Earl of Somerset, and widow of King James the First. One of Lord Traquair's ancestors, the first Earl, had levied a regiment of horse, in order to release Charles the First from his imprisonment in the Isle of Wight; but, marching at the head of it at the battle of Preston, he and his son, Lord Seatoun, were taken prisoners and conveyed to Warwick Castle, where they languished four years in imprisonment, with the knowledge that their estates had been sequestered.
Connected with the family of Seatoun, on his mother's side, the Earl of Traquair had married the sister of Lord Nithisdale, being thus nearly related to two of those chiefs who gladly obeyed the summons of Lord Mar to the hunting-field. The Earl of Traquair appears to have escaped all the penalties which followed the Rebellion of 1715, perhaps because he does not appear to have taken any of his tenantry into the field.
Less prudent, or less fortunate, William Mackenzie, Earl of Seaforth, joined the standard of James Stuart with a body of three thousand men. He was attainted when the struggle was over, and his estates, both in Scotland and England, forfeited. He escaped to the Continent; but, in 1719, again landed with the Spaniards at Kintail; and was wounded at the battle of Glenshiels, but being carried off by his followers, again fled to the Continent, with the Marquis of Tullibardine and the Earl Marischal. Lord Seaforth was one of those to whom the royal mercy was shown. George the First reversed his attainder, and George the Second granted him arrears of the feu duties due to the Crown out of the forfeited estates. The title has been eventually restored.
James Livingstone, Earl of Linlithgow, was amongst the many who experienced less clemency than the Earl of Traquair. He had been chosen one of the sixteen representative peers of Scotland, on the death of the Duke of Hamilton; and enjoyed the possession of considerable family estates, which were eventually forfeited to the Crown. He led a band of three hundred clansmen to the field.
Perhaps one of the most sturdy adherents of the Chevalier St. George was James Maule, fourth Earl of Panmure. In his youth this nobleman had served as a volunteer at the siege of Luxembourg, where he had signalized his courage. In 1686, he succeeded his brother, and added to the honours of a peerage those of a character already established for bravery. To these distinctions was added that of being a Privy Councillor to James the Second; but he was removed upon his opposing the abrogation of the penal laws against Popery. Whilst thus protesting against what might then be deemed objectionable innovations, Lord Panmure was a firm adherent of James, and vigorously supported his interests in the convention of estates in 1689.
The accession of William and Mary drove this true Jacobite from the Scottish Parliament. He never appeared in that assembly after that event, having refused to take the oaths. Of course he disapproved of the Union; and the next step which he took was to join the standard of the Chevalier.
After that decisive proceeding, the course of this unfortunate nobleman's life was one of misfortune, in which his high spirit was sustained by a constancy of no ordinary character. At the battle of Sherriff Muir, the brave Panmure was taken prisoner, but was rescued by his brother Harry, who, like himself, had engaged in the rebellion. Panmure escaped to France: he was attainted of high treason,--his estates, which amounted to 3456l. per annum, and were the largest of the confiscated properties, were forfeited, as well as his hereditary honours. Twice were offers made to him by the English Government to restore his rank and possessions, if he would take the oath of allegiance to the House of Hanover; but Panmure refused the proffered boon, and preferred sharing the fortunes of him whom he looked upon as his legitimate Prince. When he joined the Jacobites at Braemar, Lord Panmure was no longer a young, rash man: he was in the sixty-fifth year of his age. His wife, the daughter of William Duke of Hamilton, was, after his attainder, provided for by act of Parliament in the same manner as if she had been a widow. His brother, Harry Maule, of Kellie, a man of considerable accomplishments, was so fortunate as to be enabled to return to his native country, and died in Edinburgh in 1734. But Lord Panmure, like most of the other brave and honest men who preferred their allegiance to their interest, finished his days in exile, and died at Paris, in 1723.
Kenneth Lord Duffus was another of those noblemen who had already established a character for personal bravery. He was a person of great skill in maritime affairs, and was promoted by Queen Anne to the command of the Advice ship of war, with which, in 1711, this gallant Highlander engaged eight French privateers, and after a desperate resistance of some hours, he was taken prisoner, after receiving five balls in his body.
He was, however, released in time to engage in the Rebellion of 1715; and though it does not appear that he took any followers to fight beneath the Chevalier's standard, he was included in the Act of Attainder. The intelligence was communicated to Lord Duffus when he was in Sweden. He resolved immediately to surrender himself to the British Government, and declared his intention to the British Minister at Stockholm, who notified it to Lord Townshend, Secretary of State. Notwithstanding this manly determination, Lord Duffus was arrested on his way to England, at Hamburgh, and was detained there until the time specified for surrendering had expired. He thence proceeded to London, where he was confined more than a year in the Tower, but released in 1717, without being brought to trial. Lord Duffus died, according to some accounts, in the Russian service; to others, in that of France. He married a Swedish lady, and attained to the rank of Admiral.
Such were some of those Jacobite chieftains whose history has sunk into obscurity, partly from the difficulty of obtaining information concerning their career, after the contest was at an end. Amongst those who met Lord Mar in the hunting-field, but who afterwards became neutral, although most of his clan joined in the Rebellion, was the Earl of Errol, one of a family whose fame for valour was dated from the time of the Danish invasion. The origin of the House of Errol is curious, and marks the simplicity of the times. An aged countryman, named Hay, and his sons, had arrested the progress of the ruthless conquerors in a defile near Lanearty in Perthshire. The old man was rewarded by Kenneth the Third with as much land in the Carse of Gowrie as a falcon from a man's hand flew over until she lighted. The bird flew over a space of six miles, which was thence called Errol, and which is still in possession of the family; and the old man and his sons were raised from the rank of plebeians by the assignment of a coat of arms, on which were three escutcheons, gules, to denote that the father and the two sons had been the shields of Scotland. The family grew in wealth and estimation, and the office of Hereditary High Constable of Scotland was added to their other honours.
The Countess of Errol, the mother of the High Constable, and sister of the Earl of Perth, had already taken a decided part in the affairs of the Jacobite party. When Colonel Hooke had been sent over in 1707 to Scotland, she had met him at the sea-coast, and had there placed in the hands of that emissary several letters from her son, expressing his earnest intention to support the cause of the Chevalier. The Earl of Errol had also received Hooke at his castle, and had entertained him there several days, and employed that time in initiating Hooke into the various characteristics and views of the Jacobite nobility in Scotland. He was thus deeply pledged to aid the undertaking at that time (the year 1707); and in a letter to the Chevalier, the Earl expressed his hopes that he might have the happiness of seeing his Majesty, "a happiness for which," he adds, "we have long sighed, to be delivered from oppression." The Countess of Errol also addressed a letter to the mother of James Stuart, as the Queen of England, declaring that the delays which the Scotch had suffered had not "diminished their zeal, although they had prolonged their miseries and misfortunes." Whether, upon the rising in 1715, the views of Lord Errol were altered, or that female influence had been lessened by some circumstance, does not exactly appear. He kept himself neutral in the subsequent outbreak, notwithstanding his appearance at Braemar, and although his clan were for the most part against the Government. The Earl of Errol died, unmarried, in 1717: his adherence to his Jacobite principles were not, therefore, put to the test in 1745.
To these noblemen were united Seaton, Viscount of Kingston, whose estates were forfeited to the Crown; Livingstone Viscount of Kilsyth, one of the representative peers, who died an exile at Rome in 1733; Lord Balfour of Burleigh; Lord Ogilvy, afterwards Earl of Airly, and Forbes, Lord Pitsligo. This last-mentioned nobleman was a man of a grave and prudent character, whose example drew many of his neighbours to embark in an enterprise in which so discreet a person risked his honours and estate. He was the author of essays, moral and philosophical; and either from respect to his merits, or from some less worthy cause, his defection in 1715 passed with impunity. But, in 1745, the aged nobleman again appeared in the field, infirm as he was: and one of the most pleasing traits in Charles Edward's noble, yet faulty character was his walking at the head of his forces, having given up his carriage for the use of this tried adherent of his father. Attainder and forfeiture followed this last attempt, but the sentence was reversed by the Court of Session, from a misnomer in the attainder; and the venerable Lord Forbes, surviving many who had set out on the same course with him, had the comfort of breathing his last in his native country. He died at Auchiries in Aberdeenshire, in 1762.
Several of these noblemen had been long contemplating the possibility of James's return to Scotland. Like the Earl of Errol, they had been dissatisfied with the prudence of the Duke of Hamilton, whose policy it had been to postpone the risk of a precarious undertaking, and whose foresight was acknowledged when it was too late. Lord John Drummond, Lord Kilsyth, and Lord Linlithgow, had been all deeply concerned in the schemes and speculations which had been formed in 1707, on the subject of the Restoration; but the zeal of Lord Kilsyth had been doubted, from his intimacy with the Duke of Hamilton, who was then objectionable to the violent Jacobite leaders.
These chieftains were not unworthy to come into the same field with Tullibardine, Nithisdale, Marischal, and their brave associates. A still nobler band of associates was formed in the different members of the house of Drummond, a family who could boast of being derived from "the ancient nobility of the kingdom of Hungary:" and from the daughters of whose house Charles the Second was lineally descended in the ninth and sixth degree. Well may it be called "the splendid family of Drummond," even if we regard only its proud antiquity, or the singular "faithfulness of the family, or the accomplishments and virtues which characterised many of its members." Nothing can be finer than the manner in which the claims of birth are placed before us, in the address of William Drummond of Hawthornden to "John Earle of Perthe," in his manuscript "Historie of the Familie of Perthe:"
"Though, as Glaucus sayes to Diomed (in Homer),
"yet I have ever thought the knowledge of kindred and genealogies of the ancient families of a country a matter so far from contempt, that it deserveth highest praise. Herein consisteth a part of the knowledge of a man's own selfe. It is a great spurr to vertue to look back on the worth of our line. In this is the memory of the dead preserved with the living, being more firm and honourable than any epitaph. The living know that band which tyeth them to others. By this man is distinguished from the reasonless creatures, and the noble of men from the base sort. For it often falleth out (though we cannot tell how) for the most part, that generositie followeth good birth and parentage." The two members of the Drummond family who attended Lord Mar in his famous hunting-field were James Earl of Perth, and William Drummond, Viscount Strathallan.
The Earls of Southesk and Carnwath, the Viscounts Kenmure and Stormont, and the Lord Rollo, complete the list of Scottish peers who were present on this memorable occasion. But perhaps the more remarkable feature of the hunting-match was the arrival of twenty-six gentlemen of influence in the Highlands, men of sway and importance, of which it is impossible, without a knowledge of Highland manners, to form an adequate notion. The constitution of the clans is thus pourtrayed by one who knew it well.
"In every narrow vale where a blue stream bent its narrow course, some hunter of superior prowess, or some herdsman whom wealth had led to wealth and power to power, was the founder of a little community who ever after looked up to the head of the family as their leader and their chief. Those chains of mountains which formed the boundings of their separate districts had then their ascents covered with forests, which were the scene of their hunting-excursions: when their eagerness in pursuit of game led them to penetrate into the districts claimed by the chief of the neighbouring valleys, a rash encounter was the usual consequence, which laid the foundation of future hostilities."
These petty wars gave room for a display of valour in the chiefs, and led to a mutual dependence from the followers. Alliances offensive and defensive were formed among the clans, and intermarriages were contracted between the confederated clans, who governed their followers by a kind of polity not ill regulated. The chief had the power of life and death over his large family, but it was a power seldom used. A chieftain might be cruel to his enemies, but never to his friends. Nor were those paternal rulers by any means so despotic as they have been represented to be; of all monarchs their power was the most limited, being allowed to take no step without permission of their friends, or the elders of their tribe, including the most distant branches of their family. The kind and conciliatory system adopted towards their clansmen accounts for the warm attachment and fidelity displayed towards their chiefs; and these sentiments were heightened to enthusiasm by the songs and traditions of the bards, in which the exploits of their heroes were perpetuated. Still there is nothing, as it has been justly said, so remarkable in the political history of any country, as the succession of the Highland chiefs, and the long and uninterrupted sway which they held over their followers. The system of clanship gives all the romantic interest which the Rebellions of 1715 and 1745 inspire;--it perfects a picture which would only otherwise be a factious contention for power; it was annihilated only after the last of the Stuarts had fled for ever from the mountains of Scotland.
It was at the head of the clans that the Earl of Mar frequently placed himself, at the battle of Sherriff Muir: he now welcomed their chieftains to the field. Among these were General Hamilton, General Gordon, Glengary, Campbell of Glendarvel, and the lairds of Auchterhouse and Aldebar.
So great an assembly of those whom the Chevalier afterwards not inaptly termed "little kings," was by no means unusual at that period. It was the custom among the lords and chieftains in the Highlands to invite their neighbours and vassals to a general rendezvous to chase the deer upon the mountains, and after the diversion was over, to entertain the persons of note in the castle hall. This expedient would, therefore, have excited but little attention, had it not been for several years the practice of the Jacobites to hold these hunting-parties annually, in order to maintain the spirit of the association, which had been carried on since the peace of Utrecht.
The halls of Kildrummie received the noblemen and chieftains that day beneath its roof, and the Earl of Mar addressed his guests in a long, premeditated harangue. He is described as having little pretension to eloquence; but his hearers were probably not very fastidious judges, and from the influence which the Earl acquired over those whom he led on to the contest, it may be inferred that he understood well how to address himself to the passions of a Highland audience.
At first the Earl was heard with distrust,--at least if we may credit the account of one on whom, perhaps, too great a reliance has been placed.
"It is true, that at first," says Mr. Patten, "he gained little or no credit among them, they suspecting some piece of policy in him to ensnare them; but some were weak enough to suck in the poison, and particularly some of those who were with him at his house, called Brae-Mar. These, listening to him, embraced his project, and, as is reported, engaged by oath to stand by him and one another, and to bring over their friends and dependants to do the like."
The Earl began his harangue by expressing a deep regret for having promoted the Union, which had delivered his countrymen into the hands of the English, whose power to enslave them was far too great, and whose intentions to do so still further were manifest from the proceedings of the Elector of Hanover ever since he ascended the throne. That Prince regarded, according to Lord Mar, neither the welfare of his people, nor their religion, but solely left the management of affairs to a set of men who made encroachments in Church and State. Many persons, he said, were now resolved to consult their own safety, and determined to defend their liberties and properties, and to establish on the throne of these realms the Chevalier St. George, who had the only undoubted right to the Crown, who would hear their grievances, and redress their wrongs. He then incited his hearers to take arms for the Chevalier, under the title of King James the Seventh; and told them, that for his part, he was determined to set up his standard and to summon all the fencible men of his own tenants, and with them to hazard his life in the cause. To this declaration he added the assurance, that a general rising in England and assistance from France would aid their undertaking; that thousands were in league and covenant with him to establish the Chevalier and depose King George.
To these inducements were added others. Letters from the Chevalier were read to the assembly, promising to come over in person; with assurances that ships, arms, and ammunition would be dispatched to their aid.
The proposals of Lord Mar were unfolded with such address, and his popularity was at that time so great, that one might have supposed an immediate assent to his schemes would have followed. On the contrary some degree of persuasion was required: the Highlanders are slow to promise, but sure to fulfil. The very chieftains who hung back from a too ready consent, never deserted the cause which they once undertook. The universal fidelity to the part which they espoused was violated in no instance during the first Rebellion.
At length the assembled chiefs swore an oath to stand by the Earl of Mar, and to bring their friends and dependants to do the same. However, no second meeting was at that time determined upon: every man went back to his own estate, to take measures for appearing in arms after again hearing from the Earl of Mar, who remained among his own people with few attendants. But the Jacobites were not idle during that interval. They employed themselves in collecting their servants and kindred, but with the utmost secrecy, until everything was ready to break out. Nor were they long kept in suspense. On the third of September, another meeting at Abbone, in Aberdeenshire, was held, and there the Earl directed his adherents to collect their men without loss of time. He returned to Braemar, and continued for several days gathering the people together, until they amounted, according to Reay, to two thousand horse; although some have said that there were only sixty followers at that time assembled.
On the sixth of September, the standard of the Pretender was set up at Braemar, by the Earl of Mar, in the presence of the assembled forces. The superstitious Highlanders remarked with dismay, that, as the standard was erected, the ball on the top of it fell off; and they regarded this accident as an ill omen. "The event," says a quaint Scottish writer, "has proven that it was no less."
This grave accordance in the verification of the omen, was a feature of the times and country. "When a clan went upon any expedition," observes Dr. Brown in his valuable work upon the Highlands, "they were much addicted to omens. If they met an armed man they believed that good was portended. If they observed a deer, fox, hare, or any four-footed beast of game, and did not succeed in killing it, they prognosticated evil. If a woman, barefooted, crossed the road before them, they seized her, and drew blood from her forehead." This mixture of fear of visionary evils, and courage in opposing real ones, of credulity and distrust, strength and weakness, presents a singular view of the Highland character. It had, however, in many respects, no inconsiderable influence upon the contests of 1715 and 1745.
From Braemar the Earl proceeded to Kirk Michael, a small town, where he proclaimed the Chevalier, and set up his standard. He then marched to Moulin in Perthshire, where he rested some time, collecting his forces.
It is a remarkable fact, that up to this period the Earl of Mar was acting without a commission from the Chevalier. The disposition which is too predominant in society, and which leads men always to add the bitterness of invective to the mortification of failure, has attributed to the Earl of Mar, relatively to this commission, a line of conduct from which it is agreeable to be able to clear his memory. It was not very long after the meeting in Braemar, that Lord Mar discovered that there was what he called "a devil" in his camp, in the person of the Master of Sinclair, whose manuscript strictures upon the unfortunate and incompetent leader of the Jacobites have contributed to blacken his memory.
According to the Master of Sinclair, the Earl of Mar produced at the meeting a forged commission; but this statement is not only contradicted by Lord Mar's own account, but completely invalidated by the fact that the commission is in existence, among various other curious documents and letters, many of which place the character of Lord Mar in a much fairer light than that in which it has hitherto been viewed. The Earl of Mar, in a justification of his conduct, printed at Paris, and added to Patten's History of the Rebellion, gives the following account of the affair:
"It was near a month after the Earl of Mar set up the Standard before he could produce a commission, and it is no small proof of the people's zeal for their country that so great a number followed his advice and obeyed his orders before he could produce one. It must, though, be owned, and it is the less to be wondered at, that his authority being thus precarious, some were not so punctual in joining him, and others performed not so effectually the service they were sent upon, which, had they done, not only Scotland, but even part of England, had been reduced to the Chevalier's obedience, before the Government had been in a condition to make head against us."
The commission was, however, at that time written, although it had not been sent over to Scotland. It is dated the seventh of September, 1715, and is superscribed James R. The Earl of Mar was doubtless aware that such an instrument was in preparation.
When the Earl had first arrived in Scotland, he found, as he himself alleges, the people far more eager to take arms than his instructions allowed him to permit; but before actual steps were commenced, that ardour was cooled by two circumstances: first, by the Chevalier's not landing in England, as the Jacobites had confidently hoped; and, secondly, by the Duke of Berwick's not coming to Scotland. The vigorous measures adopted by Government made, therefore, a far greater impression on the public mind than could have been expected had the Earl of Mar been boldly seconded by him who was most of all interested in the event of the contest. The Lord Advocate summoned all the principal Jacobites to appear at Edinburgh within specified periods, in order to give bail to Government for their allegiance. "Many," says Lord Mar, "seemed inclined to comply." Yet the number of those who did comply with the summons was inconsiderable; the rest, including the most honoured names in Scotland, rushed into the insurrection. The different heads of noble houses dispersed, and each in the district in which he had most power, and in the principal towns proclaimed the Chevalier King. The Fiery Cross was sent throughout the country, with blood at one end, and fire at the other; and it was afterwards asserted by some of the rebels who were tried at Liverpool, that they were forced into the service of the Chevalier, the person who bore that cross assuring them that, unless they hastened to Mar's camp, they were to perish by blood and fire.
Intelligence of the death of Louis the Fourteenth, which had happened during the preceding August, reached Scotland at this time, and cast an universal gloom over his party. It was even disputed whether the Jacobite leaders should not disperse until news of the Chevalier's landing should reassure them, or the certainty of a rising in England should give vigour to their proceedings. At this critical moment Lord Mar published a declaration which has been printed in most of the histories of the period, exhorting all those who were well-affected to the good cause to put themselves under arms, and summoning his confederates to the Tower of Braemar, on the eleventh of September, promising them, in the name of the King, their pay from the moment of setting out.
"Now is the time," said the Earl, "for all good men to show their zeal for his Majesty's service, whose cause is so deeply concerned, and the relief of our native country from oppression and a foreign yoke too heavy for us and our posterity to bear.
"In so honourable, good, and just a cause," he added, "we cannot doubt of the assistance, direction, and blessing of Almighty God, who has so often rescued the royal family of Stuart, and our country from sinking under oppression.
"Your punctual observance of these orders is expected, for the doing of all which, this shall be to you, and all you employ in the execution of them, a sufficient warrant."
In a very different tone was a letter, written the same night by the Earl to his baillie of Kildrummie: from this epistle, so characteristic of the politic Earl of Mar, it was manifest that his own followers were more tardy in the field than those of the other chieftains of the Highlands. The means taken to intimidate and compel them are strongly characteristic of the state of society in Scotland at that period. The reluctance of his clan must have been a subject of deep mortification to Lord Mar, when, in one evening, the summons of the Fiery Cross, paraded round Loch Tay, a distance of thirty-two miles, could assemble five hundred men, at the bidding of the Laird of Glenlyon, to join the Earl of Mar.
A few days after the assembling of the forces, the Earl of Mar, assisted by his Jacobite friends, published a manifesto, asserting the right of James the Eighth, by the grace of God, King of Scotland, &c., and pointing to the relief of the kingdom from oppression and grievances.
Whilst the adherents of James were thus assembling in the North, a brave but unsuccessful attempt was made to surprise the castle of Edinburgh. Ninety chosen men, under the command of Lord Drummond, were engaged in this undertaking, of which the design was, to seize the citadel and to place it under the command of Lord Drummond; then the artillery within the castle was to be employed in firing their rounds by way of signal to different posts, in concert. Fires were to be lighted up on the hills as a signal to Lord Mar to march and take possession of the city. The failure of this design was owing to the disclosure of one Dr. Arthur, a physician in Edinburgh, to his wife, who gave information of the whole plan to the Lord Justice Clerk, to whom she sent an unsigned letter the evening she had gained from her unwilling husband intelligence of the scheme. This failure, the first of those adverse events which disheartened the spirits of the Jacobites, was, however, less deplored than it would have been, had not the progress of the Earl of Mar's exertions borne the most flattering aspect. In September, the Earl marched to Logaret, where his forces still increased, and thence into the beautiful region around Dunkeld; here he was joined, with fourteen hundred men, by the Marquis of Tullibardine, and by five hundred Campbells from the Breadalbane territory, headed, not by their chief, but by Campbell of Glenderule, Campbell of Glenlyon, and John Campbell, the Earl's chamberlain. Enforced also by the addition of two hundred Highlanders from different quarters, the Earl of Mar resolved to make the town of Perth his head-quarters.
This was a wise resolution: the situation of that fine city presented the most important advantages to the General of the Jacobite forces. Seated on the river Tay, and near the sea-coast, it gave the Earl the control of the East Lowlands, of the rich counties of Angus, the Carse of Gowrie, Mearns, Murray, Aberdeen, and Banff, and also of the Shire of Fife. It also cut off the communication between the north and the south of Scotland, so that the friends of Government could neither act nor fly from the enemy. Thus all the usual posts were stopped. The revenues of the public fell into the hands of the insurgents who gave receipts for them in the name of James the Eighth, and the landowners in the counties subject to the Earl were taxed at whatever rate he chose to impose. Perth continued to be the head-quarters of the Lieutenant General until a few days before this disastrous contest was finally closed.
At the first general review at Perth, the forces of Lord Mar amounted only to five thousand men; but a few weeks afterwards, by the accession of his friends in the north, they were increased to the number of twelve thousand, both horse and foot, of well appointed men. That Lord Mar's hopes were high, and, at this period, not without reason of, at any rate, a partial success, the following letter addressed by him to Captain Henry Straiton, at Edinburgh, is a proof. It relates, in the first instance, to the insurrection in Northumberland, under the guidance of Mr. Forster, a gentleman of suspected zeal and little discretion, to whom Lord Mar unwisely trusted the conduct of the gallant but ill-fated bands who fell at Preston:--
On the very day of the Earl's arrival at Perth, Mr. James Murray, second son of Lord Stormont arrived from St. Germains, bringing assurances of support, and letters from the Chevalier, who had appointed him Secretary of State for the affairs of Scotland. Mr. Murray is said also to have presented the Earl of Mar with a patent, creating him Duke of Mar, Marquis of Stirling and Earl of Alloway: "And though," observes an historian, "there was little more said about it, yet the relation seems justified by this, that in some of the papers printed at Perth, he is styled the Duke of Mar."
Extensive preparations were also declared to be in progress for the invasion of England. Twelve large ships were actually at that time at anchor in Havre, St. Malos, and other places. These vessels, with several frigates of good force, were loaded with ammunition, and manned with generals, officers, and soldiers. A particular account of the "Pretender's Magazine" is extant. But these preparations were all frustrated by the remonstrances of the Earl of Stair at the Court of the Regent of France. Admiral Byng was sent with a squadron to cruise on the coast of France, and the ships ready to sail for the enterprise against England were obliged, by command of the Regent, in order not to implicate the French Government, to declare that they were thus employed without the sanction or knowledge of the Regent. Thus, even whilst Mr. Murray was raising the sanguine hopes of the Jacobites to the highest pitch, their evil star had again prevailed. They were, indeed, singularly unhappy in those in whom they placed confidence. Their schemes perpetually got wind: whether it were owing to the irresolution of some of their partisans, or to the great participation which the female sex took in the affairs of the Chevalier's party, it is difficult to determine.
The Jacobite ladies were as fearless as they were persevering. The Duchess of Gordon, whose present of a medal to the Faculty of Advocates denoted her principles, and whose son, the second Duke of Gordon suffered a brief imprisonment on account of his share in the insurrection, was one of the most approved channels of communication between the two parties. She generally resided in Edinburgh, where she occupied herself as a mediator between some of the Presbyterians and the friends of James. Colonel Hooke mentions her as one of the depositories of all that was going on during his mission.
The Earl of Mar, in his letters, refers repeatedly to different ladies with approval of their zeal and courage, and mentions one of his fair confederates in the north of Scotland, through whose hands many of his letters were sent to different chieftains; but these channels may not, in all cases, have been so secure as the Earl conceived.
The proceedings of the English Government were, meantime, marked with energy and judgment. The various movements of the insurgent party were met in every direction by a systematic resistance, the details of which have been minutely detailed by historians, and belong not to a narrative which is chiefly of a personal nature.
On the fourteenth of September, the Duke of Argyle, Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Forces in Scotland, and General of the army, arrived in Edinburgh. The interest of this able and powerful nobleman in the Western Highlands, his zeal for the Protestant succession, were sufficient reasons for his appointment to this important office. The following original letter from George the Second, then Prince of Wales, gives an insight into the views which were entertained by George the First upon the mode of conducting the warfare in Scotland. It is among various other papers in the Mar Correspondence.
The Earl of Mar now began to fortify Perth, and brought up fourteen pieces of cannon for that purpose from Dundee and Dunotter Castle. His time and thoughts were at this time occupied in concerting and encouraging the movements of the southern insurrection conducted by Viscount Kenmure. There can be no better means of showing the state of the Earl's hopes and feelings at this time, than by giving them in his own words.
To Viscount Kenmure:
It was the intention of Lord Mar to remain at Perth until all the Jacobite clans should have joined his army; but having gained the intelligence that some arms for the use of the Earl of Sutherland were put on board a vessel at Leith, to be taken northwards, he determined to take possession of them. The master of the vessel had dropped anchor at Brunt Island, for the purpose of seeing his wife, who was there: Lord Mar sent a detachment to surprise the harbour, which succeeded in carrying off the spoil, back to Perth. A report was at the same time raised in Stirling: that the Earl was marching to Alloa, the Duke of Argyle forthwith ordered out the picquets of horse and foot, and, also, all the troops to be ready to march out to sustain them, if required. But the Jacobite army did not appear; and the report of their advance to Stirling was believed to be a false alarm, contrived by Mar in order to draw off the attention of the Duke of Argyle from the expedition to Brunt Island.
The insurgents were now masters of the eastern coasts of Scotland from Brunt Island to the Murray Frith, an extent of above one hundred and sixty miles along the shore. On the western side, the Isle of Skye, Lewis, and all the Hebrides were their own, besides the estates of the Earl of Seaforth, Donald Mac Donald, and others of the clans. So that from the mouth of the river Lochie to Faro-Head, all the coast of Lochaber and Ross, even to the north-west point of Scotland, was theirs: theirs, in short, was all the kingdom of Scotland north of the Forth, except the remote counties of Caithness, Strathnaver and Sutherland beyond Inverness, and that part of Argyleshire which runs north-west into Lorn, and up to Lochaber, where Fort William continued in possession of the Government.
The Earl of Mar had resolved to impose an assessment upon the large extent of country under his sway, to raise money for the use of his army. It was of course an unpopular, though doubtless a necessary measure. The sum of twenty shillings sterling was to be paid by each landholder upon every hundred pounds Scots of valued rent; and, if not paid by a certain day, the tax was to be doubled. In levying this assessment, the friends of the Government were far more severely treated than those of the Chevalier; and the Presbyterian Ministers, who had dared to raise their voices in their churches against the Pretender, as they called the Chevalier, were commanded to be silent on that subject; their houses were plundered, and many of them were driven by tyranny from their homes.
The northern clans were now on their march to join the camp at Perth. First came the famous Laird of Mackintosh, better known as Brigadier Mackintosh, chief of that numerous clan in Invernesshire. His regiment, composed of five hundred men, whom he had persuaded to join in the insurrection, was considered the best that the Earl of Mar could boast. The Marquis of Huntley, with five hundred horse and two thousand foot, next arrived; and the Earl Marischal shortly afterwards brought a thousand men to the camp. But Lord Seaforth, afraid lest in his absence the Earl of Sutherland should invade his country, was still absent; and the anxiety of the Earl of Mar for his arrival is expressed in more than one of his letters. The whole strength of the army amounted to sixteen thousand seven hundred men; this number was afterwards diminished by the detachment sent southwards by the Earl, and by the number of three thousand who were dispersed in garrisons. But it was no common force that was now encamped at Perth.
At this critical moment where was the individual for whom these great and gallant spirits had ventured their all, the hills so dear to them, their homes, the welfare of their families, to say nothing of that which Highlanders least consider, their personal safety? At this moment, the ill-advised and irresolute James Stuart, was absent. What could have been his counsels? who were his advisers? of what materials was he made? why did he ever come? are questions to which the indignant mind can scarcely frame a reply. The fact, indeed, seems to be that his heart was never really in the undertaking; that he for whom the tragedy was performed, was the only actor in it who did not feel his part; it was reserved for a nobler and a warmer nature to experience the ardour of hope, and the bitter mortifications of disappointment.
It was not until the middle of October that the Earl of Mar took any personal share in the contest between the Jacobite army and that of the Government. Hitherto he had remained at Perth, acting with an ill-timed caution, and apparently bestowing far more attention upon the ill-fated insurrection in Northumberland, aided by the low country Scots under Lord Kenmure, than upon the proximate dangers of his own army. The detachment of a body of troops under Brigadier Mackintosh, sent in order to assist the Lowlanders, who were marching back into Scotland, accompanied by the forces under Mr. Forster and the Earl of Derwentwater, was the immediate cause of the two armies coming to an engagement. The Earl of Mar in his narrative thus explains his plans and their failure.
The detachment under Brigadier Mackintosh having been sent, "occasioned," Lord Mar says, "the Duke of Argyle's leaving Stirling, and going with a part of his army to Edinburgh. Now, had the Scots and English horse, who were then in the south of Scotland, come and joined the fifteen hundred foot, (under Brigadier Mackintosh) as was expected; had the Highland clans performed, as they promised, the service they were sent upon in Argyleshire, and marched towards Glasgow, as the Earl of Mar marched towards Sterling, he had then given a good account of the Government's army, the troops from Ireland not having yet joined them, nor could they have joined them afterwards. But all this failing by some cross accidents, Lord Argyle returned with that part of his army to Scotland, and the Earl of Mar could not then, with the men he then had, advance further than Dumblane, and for want of provisions there, was soon after obliged to return to Perth."
"But immediately after that we had got provisions, and that the clans and Lord Seaforth had joined us, we marched again towards the enemy; and notwithstanding the many difficulties the Earl of Mar had upon that occasion with some of our own people, he gave the enemy battle: and, as you saw in our printed account of it, had not our left wing given way, which was occasioned by mistake of orders and scarcity of experienced officers, that being composed of as good men, and marched as cheerfully up to the field of battle as the other, our victory had been complete. And as it was, the enemy, who was advanced on this side the river, was forced to retire back to Sterling."
Such is the Earl of Mar's comment upon the battle of Sherriff Muir, of which the friends of Government gave a very different representation.
The Earl had, it is evident, no disposition to risk a general engagement before the Chevalier arrived in Scotland. He had sent two gentlemen to the Prince to learn his determination, and had resolved to remain at Perth until their return. During his continuance in that city he employed himself not only in throwing up entrenchments round the town, but in publishing addresses to the people, to keep up the spirits of the Jacobites. Since the Earl was never scrupulous as to the means of which he availed himself, we may not venture to reject the declaration of an historian of no good will to the cause, that he ordered "false news" to be printed and circulated; and published that which he hoped would happen, as having already taken place. "The detachment," he related, "had passed the Forth, had been joined by the army in the South, were masters of Newcastle, and carried all before them; and their friends in and about London had taken arms in such numbers, that King George had made a shift to retire." These falsehoods were printed by Freebairn, formerly the King's printer at Edinburgh, whom the Earl had established at Perth, and provided with the implements brought by the army from Aberdeen.
In the beginning of November, the Earl of Seaforth arrived at Perth, and the Mac Invans, the Maccraws, the Chisholmes of Strath-Glass, and others, completed all the forces that Lord Mar expected to join him. Truly might the Earl say, "that no nation in such circumstances, and so destitute of all kind of succour from abroad, ever made so brave a struggle for restoring their prince and country to their just rights." But the usual fate of the Stuarts involved their devoted adherents in ruin: or rather, let us not call that fate, which may be better described by the word incapacity in the leaders of their cause.
The want of ammunition, which was to have been supplied from abroad, was now severely felt. "I must here add one thing," says Lord Mar, "which, however incredible the thing may appear, is, to our cost, but too true: and that is, that from the time the Earl of Mar set up the Chevalier's standard to this day, we never received from abroad the least supply of arms and ammunition of any kind; though it was notorious in itself, and well known, that this was what from the first we mainly wanted; and, as such, it was insisted upon by the Earl of Mar, in all the letters he writ, and by all the messengers he sent to the other side."
On the ninth of November it was determined, at a great council of war, to march straight to Dumblane with the ultimate view of following the Brigadier Mackintosh into England, with the main body of the army, amounting to nine thousand men, whilst a detachment of three thousand should, if possible, gain possession of Stirling.
The engagement which ensued, and which was called the battle of Sherriff Muir, was fought on a Sunday; after both armies had been under arms all night. No tent was pitched for the Duke of Argyle's men, either by officer or soldier, on that cold November evening. Each officer was at his post, nor could they much complain whilst their General sat on straw, in a sheepcote, at the foot of the hill, called Sherriff Muir, which overlooks Dumblane, on the right of his army. In the dead of the night, the Duke, by his spies, learned where the enemy were; for, although on account of the hills and broken ground, they could not be seen, they were not at two miles' distance. This was at Kinback; at break of day, the army of Argyle was completely formed, and the General rode up to the top of the hill to reconnoitre the foe.
The Earl of Mar, meantime, had given orders for his army to form to the left of the road that leads to Dumblane, and whilst they were forming in front of the town of Dumblane, they discovered the enemy on the height of the west end of the Sherriff Muir. A council of war was then held, and it was resolved, nemine contradicente, to fight.
The Earl of Mar's forces had also been ready for combat during the whole of the night. To the Highlanders the want of shelter was of little consequence. It was usual to them, before they lay down on the moor to dip their plaids in water, by which the cloth was made impervious to the wind; and to choose, as a favourite and luxurious resting-place, some spot underneath a cover of overhanging heath. So late as the year 1745, they could not be prevailed on to use seats. It was therefore with unimpaired vigour that they rushed on to the combat.
The Earl of Mar placed himself at the head of the clans: perhaps a finer, a more singular, a more painful sight can rarely have been witnessed than the rush of this great body of Highlanders to the encounter. It was delayed by the Earl of Mar's despatching his aide-de-camp, Colonel Clephan, to Lord Drummond, and to General Gordon, with orders to march and attack immediately. On their return, pulling off his hat, he waved it with an huzza, and advanced in front of the enemy's formed battalions. Then was heard the slogan or war-cry, each clan having its own distinctive watch-word, to which every clansman responded, whether his ear caught the sound in the dead of night, or in the confusion of the combat. Distinguished by particular badges, and by the peculiar arrangement and colours of the tartans, these devoted men followed the Earl of Mar towards the foe.
But the action cannot be described in a manner better adapted to this narrative, than in the words of Lord Mar himself, in his letter on the very day of the engagement, to Colonel Balfour, whom he had left in command of the garrison at Perth. It is dated Ardoch, November 13th, 1715.
Lord Mar, on this occasion, showed a degree of personal bravery worthy of the great name which he bore. He had placed himself on the right, and, as he was giving orders to the Macdonalds to charge that battalion of the enemy opposite to them, he encountered a very close fire. "The horse on which my Lord was," writes an eye-witness on the Jacobite side, "was wounded, for he fell down with him upon the fire, and got away, and my Lord immediately mounted another horse: he exposed his person but too much, and showed a great deal of bravery, as did the other lords about him."
The army of the Duke of Argyle lay on their arms all night, expecting that the next day the battle would be resumed; but, on Monday the fourteenth of November, the Duke went out with the piquet guard to the field to view the enemy, but found them gone: and leaving the piquet guard on the place, he returned to Dumblane, and thence to Stirling, carrying off with him fourteen of the enemy's colours and standards, and among them the royal standard called the Restoration, besides several pieces of artillery, and many prisoners, some of them men of rank and influence.
Both sides claimed the victory of Sherriff Muir as their own; but, however it may be argued, it is certain that with only three thousand effective troops, Argyle had contrived "to break the heart of the rebellion," and to subdue an army such as could never again be reassembled. Between six and eight hundred of the Jacobites are stated to have fallen on the field, and several, among whom was the brave Earl of Panmure and Colonel Maclean, were among the wounded. Lord Mar, nevertheless, celebrated the engagement as if it had been a victory.
Thanksgiving-sermons were ordered to be preached at Perth, and a Te Deum sung in the church; and ringing of bells, and other demonstrations deceived the hearts of those who knew little of the real injury done to the cause, or amused others whose nearest interests had not suffered in the Sherriff Muir. A paper was also circulated containing a report of the battle, of course highly favourable to the Earl of Mar's part in what he called his victory. The following is the statement which he sent to the Chevalier.
The Earl of Mar to the Chevalier:
A fortnight previously the Earl of Mar had addressed the following curious letter to Captain Henry Straiton, at Edinburgh, to whom many of Lord Mar's epistles are written. The allusion to Margaret Miller refers to Lady Nairn, the sister-in-law of the Marquis of Tullibardine, and wife of Lord Nairn, who, in compliance with a Scottish custom, took his wife's title, she being Lady Nairn in her own right. The allusion to "a dose" which will require the air of a foreign country to aid it, seems to offer some notion of the Earl's subsequent flight.
By two manuscript letters among the Mar papers, it appears, however, that the account soon afterwards published by Lord Mar was not so full of artifice and untruths as his enemies represented. "He kept the field of battle until it was dark," says one writer, in a letter dated from Perth (November the 19th, 1715); "and nothing but want of provisions prevented us from going forward the next day. We hear the Whigs give various accounts of the battle, to cover the victory; but the numbers of the slain on their part being eleven or twelve hundred, and ours not above fifty or sixty, and our keeping the field when they left it, makes the victory incontestable. Your friends that I know here mind you often, and they and I would be glad to have the opportunity to drink a bottle with you beyond the Forth."
Another eye-witness gives a still more detailed account. "I have yours of the seventeenth, with the paper inclosed, wherein that gentleman has taken the liberty to insert many falsehoods relative to the late action, a true and impartial account of which I here send you, which is but too modest on our side, and many things omitted that will be afterwards made publick, particularly their murdering Strathmoir, after he had asked quarters, and the treatment they gave to Panmuir and several others, who, I hope, will be living witnesses against them. The enclosed is so full that I have little to say, only that we have not lost a hundred men in the action, and none of note, except Strathmoir, and the Captain of Clan Ronald."
The cruel spirit of party destroyed the generous characteristics of the soldier, during the excitement of the combat: but how can we palliate the conduct of one of the King's generals, Lord Isla, after the fierceness of the encounter was over? The letter referred to discloses particulars which were hushed up, or merely glanced at, in the partial annals of the time.
Notwithstanding the humane attentions shewn by the Earl to Lord Forfar, that brave and generous nobleman died of his wounds. After lingering more than three weeks, he expired at Stirling on the eighth of December. He was wounded in sixteen different places, but a shot which he received in his knee seems to have been the most fatal injury. The conduct of the Earl appears in strong contrast with that of the Earl of Isla; but we must remember that each party had its own chroniclers. It is, nevertheless, a result of observation, more easily stated than explained, that through the whole of the two contests, both in 1715 and 1745, the generous and somewhat chivalric bearing of the Jacobites was acknowledged; whilst a spirit of cruel persecution marked the conduct of some of the chief officers on the opposite side. The Duke of Argyle indeed, in his own person, presented an exception to this remark, which chiefly applies to those secondary to him in command and influence.
The conduct of Lord Mar, in retreating to Perth after the affair of Sherriff Muir, has been severely censured. But, as Sir Walter Scott has observed, he met with that obloquy which generally follows the leader of an unsuccessful enterprise. According to Lord Mar's own account (and it has been corroborated by others), his retiring to Perth was unavoidable. The Highlanders, brave as they were, had a custom of returning home after a battle; and many of them went off when the engagement was ended. The Earl of Mar was not, therefore, in a condition to pursue the advantage which he had gained, but was forced to await at Perth the arrival of the Chevalier, or of the Duke of Berwick; on the notification of which, the Highlanders would have rallied to his standard. No supplies had been sent; the gentlemen of the army, as well as the men, had been long absent from their homes, and were living at their own expense; and therefore were impatient for leave of absence. To add to the general discouraging aspect of affairs, the fatal result of the English insurrection, under the command of Mr. Forster, was communicated at this time.
At first the result of the battle of Preston was represented to the Jacobites at Perth in a very different light to that in which the defeat of the English Jacobites afterwards appeared. The following is an extract of a letter from Lord Mar, dated the twentieth of November. "This day we hear from good hands that they (the English Jacobites) have had a victory, for which we have had rejoicings, and I hope in God they are in a good way by this time. Let me hear from you often, I beg it of you, and I'll long for the particulars of that affair.
"I am doing all I can to get us again in a condition to march from home. It will not be so soon as I wish, which is no small mortification to me, but our friends; you may depend on it, that it shall be as soon as I can, and no time shall be lost. It is wonderfull that neither the King nor the Duke of Ormond comes, nor that I have not accounts from them. Now that there is so considerable a party appearing in England, I hope they will put it off no longer. I hope all your friends in England are well in particular, but pray let me have an account of it.
"Lord Tullibardin and Lord George are well; they are gone again to Atholl to bring back their men, who went off that they might retrieve their honour, as I doubt not but they will. It is a great pity if poor Strathmore and Clanronald, and I'm afraid honest Auchterhouse, is killed, for we can get no account of him.
"I wish our prisoners may be as civilly treated as theirs are with us. They are all sent to Dundee (the officers I mean), where they have the liberty of the town, and wear their swords. My compliments to our sick friend, who I am sorry is still so; but he has had a good second and secretary.
"Pray let us have some good news now, and I am with all truth and esteem,
"Perth, November 20, 1715."
"Lord Panmure recovers pritty well. The enimie give out that he gave his parole when he was prisoner, but it was not so, he off'red it them but they wou'd not take it from a rebel as they call'd him, and neither did Strewan; so they were both resqued."
These letters place Lord Mar in a somewhat more estimable light than the usual statements have done. The truth is, that we ought never to judge of a man's actions before we have had an insight into his real motives and circumstances at the time. Few individuals had greater difficulties to contend with than Lord Mar.
Harassed by cabals among the adherents of the Chevalier; unable to account for the continued reserve and absence of that Prince; and weakened greatly both by the secession of the clan of Fraser, who had joined the Insurgents with Mackenzie of Fraserdale, but who now went away, and joined him whom they considered as their real chieftain, the infamous Simon Fraser, of Beaufort, Lord Lovat; the Earl began to listen to those who talked of capitulating with the enemy. He found, indeed, that he was forced to comply with the wishes of the chieftains, some of whom were making private treaties for themselves. It must have been a bitter humiliation to Lord Mar to have sent a message to his former rival in politics, the Duke of Argyle, "to know if he had power to treat with him;" but the measure appears from the following letter to have been unavoidable. It was written after the news of the defeat at Preston had reached Perth. It bespeaks some degree of compassion and consideration for a man whose councils were distracted by dissensions, and who was embarrassed beyond measure by the absence of the Chevalier, to whose arrival he looked anxiously to give some hopes of revival to a sinking cause. The Master of Sinclair, to whom Lord Mar refers as a "devil," and who, since the disaster at Preston was known, "appeared in his own colours," was the eldest son of Henry, eighth Baron Sinclair, a devoted adherent of the House of Stuart, and one of those who had withdrawn from the Convention of 1689 when the resolution to expel James the Second was adopted. John, Master of Sinclair, was afterwards attainted, and never assumed the title of his father, although pardoned in 1726.
The answer returned by the Duke of Argyle to Lord Mar's overture was this: that "he had no sufficient powers to treat with the Earl of Mar and his Council as a body, but that he would write to Court about it."
To this reply, which was sent with much courtesy by the Duke, a rejoinder was made, "That when the Duke should let the Earl of Mar and his Council know that he had sufficient power, then they would make their proposition." The proposal was sent up to St. James's, but no further notice was taken of it, nor were the powers of the Duke of Argyle extended to enable him to come to any terms with Lord Mar. But although the negotiation thus died away, the weakness it betrayed among the Jacobite party was highly prejudicial to their cause.
James, during all the recent events, had been engaged in making several attempts to leave St. Maloes. He had gone openly on board ships which were laden with arms and ammunition for his use, but had withdrawn when he found that his embarkation was known. He therefore changed his plans, and crossing to Normandy, resolved to embark at Dunkirk. Having lurked for several days, disguised as a mariner, on the coast of Brittany, he went privately to Dunkirk, where he embarked, attended by the Marquis of Tynemouth, the eldest son of the Duke of Berwick, Lieutenant Cameron, and several other persons, on board a French ship, which, according to some accounts, "was laden with brandy, and furnished with a good pass-port." Thus at length having ventured on the ocean, the Prince set sail towards Norway; but changed his direction, and steered towards Peterhead, in Aberdeenshire. During all this time, the Earl of Mar suffered from the utmost anxiety and perplexity for one who was unworthy of the exertions made for his restoration. This is evident from the following letter, dated November the thirtieth, to Captain Straiton:
On the first of December, the Earl having still heard no tidings of the Chevalier, and being ignorant of his real movements, again writes in all the uncertainty, and with the circumspection of one who knows not whether his letter will be received. He seems always to have sent duplicates of his letters.
In a few days afterwards Lord Mar had gained more precise intelligence of the Prince's movements; on the delay at St. Maloes he puts the favourable construction of the vessel's having been wind-bound, as will be seen by the following letter. The dissensions in his counsels, aided, as he hints, by the influence which the Master of Sinclair exercised over the Marquis of Huntley, were, still, not among the least of his difficulties.
It is curious to trace the revival of the Earl's hopes, and the increase of his confidence. The following letter contains, among other circumstances, a reference to the supposed attempt of the Earl of Stair, in France, to assassinate James.
At length, on the twenty-second of December, James landed at Peterhead, after a voyage of seven days. His arrival dispelled many doubts of his personal courage, since, after all his deliberations, he adopted by no means the least hazardous course by traversing the British ocean, which was beset by British men-of-war. He had sailed from Dunkirk in the small vessel in which he had embarked, and which was followed by two other vessels, containing his domestics, and stores for the use of his army. His immediate attendants were disguised as French officers, and his retinue as seamen. It had been the Chevalier's original intention to have landed in the Frith of Tay; but observing a sail which he suspected to be unfriendly, he altered his course, and landed at Peterhead, where the property of the Earl Marischal was situated. The ship in which the Chevalier sailed was, however, near enough to the shore to be able, by signals, to make signs to his friends of his approach. At Perth the intelligence was received with the utmost joy, and produced a most favourable effect, even among the prisoners of war, which Lord Mar describes in the following letter. Up to the twenty-eighth of the month he had not seen the Prince:
The Chevalier slept in the town of Peterhead on the first night of his landing, but on the second he was received at Newburgh, a seat of the Earl Marischal; and the adherents who welcomed him as their Prince, had there an opportunity of forming a judgment of one whom they had hitherto known only by the flattering representations of those who had visited the young adventurer, at his little Court in Lorraine.
In person, James is reported by the Master of Sinclair to have been "tall and thin, seeming to incline to be lean rather than to fill as he grows in years." His countenance, to judge by the most authentic portraits of this Prince, had none of the meditative character of that of Charles the First, whom the Chevalier was popularly said to resemble: neither had it the sweetness which is expressed by every feature of that unhappy Monarch, nor had his countenance the pensiveness which wins upon the beholder who gazes upon the portraits of Charles. The eyes of the Chevalier were light-hazel, his face was pale and long, and in the fullness of the lips he resembled his mother, Mary of Modena. To this physiognomy, on which it is said a smile was rarely seen to play, were added, according to the account of a contemporary, from whose narrative we will borrow a further description, "a speech grave, and not very clearly expressive of his thoughts, nor over much to the purpose; his words were few, and his behaviour and temper seemed always composed.
"What he was in his diversions we know not; here was no room for such things. It was no time for mirth. Neither can I say I ever saw him smile. Those who speak so positively of his being like King James the Seventh, must excuse me for saying that it seems to say they either never saw this person or never saw King James the Seventh; and yet I must not conceal that when we saw the man whom they called our King, we found ourselves not at all animated by his presence; and if he was disappointed in us, we were tenfold more so in him. We saw nothing in him that looked like spirit. He never appeared with cheerfulness and vigour to animate us: our men began to despise him; some asked if he could speak. His countenance looked extremely heavy. He cared not to come abroad among us soldiers, or to see us handle our arms to do our exercise. Some said the circumstances he found us in dejected him. I am sure the figure he made dejected us; and had he sent us but five thousand men of good troops, and never himself come, we had done other things than we have done. At the approach of that crisis when he was to defend his pretensions, and either lose his life or gain a Crown, I think, as his affairs were situated, no man can say that his appearing grave and composed was a token of his want of thought, but rather of a significant anxiety grounded on the prospect of his inevitable ruin, which he could not be so void of sense as not to see plainly before him,--at least, when he came to see how inconsistent his measures were--how unsteady the resolution of his guides, and how impossible it was to make them agree with one another."
It was at Glammis Castle, the seat of the Earl of Strathmore, that the Earl of Mar drew up a flattering account of the Prince, which he caused to be printed and diligently circulated. The whole is here given, as affording an insight into all that was going on:--
Little dependance can be placed on the entire accuracy of either of these varying descriptions,--the one penned by a disappointed, and perhaps wavering, adherent, the other by a man whose personal interests were irrevocably involved with those of James. We must trust to other sources to enable us to form a due estimate of the merits of this ill-starred Prince.
James Stuart was at this time in his twenty-seventh year. From his very cradle he had been, as it might seem to the superstitious, marked by fate for a destiny peculiarly severe. His real birth was long disputed, without the shadow of a reason, except what was suggested by a base court intrigue. This slur upon his legitimacy, which was afterwards virtually wiped away by the British Parliament, was nevertheless the greatest obstacle to his accession, there being nothing so difficult to obliterate as a popular impression of that nature.
Educated within the narrow precincts of the exiled court, James owed the good that was within him to a disposition naturally humane, placable, and just, as well as to the communion with a mother, the fidelity of whose attachment to her exiled consort bespoke a finer quality of mind than that which Nature had bestowed on the object of her devotion. By this mother James must doubtless have been embued with a desire for recovering those dominions and that power for which Mary of Modena, like Henrietta Maria, sighed in vain, as the inheritance of her son; but the stimulus was applied to a disposition with which a private life was far more consonant than the cares of sovereignty. Rising as he does to respectability, when we contrast the good nature and mild good sense of the Chevalier with the bigotry of James the Second,--or view his career, blameless with some exceptions, in contrast with the licentiousness of Charles the Second, there were still no high hopes to be entertained of the young Prince; his character had little energy, and consequently little interest: he was affable, just, free from bigotry although firm in his faith, and capable of great application to business; but he wanted ardour. From his negative qualities, the pitying world were disposed to judge him favourably. "He began the world," says Lockhart, "with the general esteem of mankind; but he sank year by year in public estimation: his Court subsequently displayed the worst features of the Stuart propensities, an intense love of prerogative; and his mind, never strong, became weaker and weaker under the dominion of favourites."
The ship in which James had sailed returned to France immediately to give the news of his safe arrival, and at the same time Lieutenant Cameron, the son of Cameron of Lochiel, was dispatched to Perth to apprise the Earl of Mar of the event. Upon the spur of the moment the Earl, accompanied by the Earl Marischal and General Hamilton, and attended by twenty or thirty persons of quality, on horseback, set out with a guard of horse to attend him whom they considered as their rightful Sovereign. The cavalcade met the Chevalier at Fetteresso, the principal seat of the Earl Marischal. "Here," says Reay, "the Chevalier dressed, and discovered himself," and they all kissed his hand, and owned him as their King, causing him to be proclaimed at the gates of the house. At Fetteresso the Prince was detained during some days by that inconvenient malady the ague. Meantime, the declaration which he had prepared, and which was dated from Commercy, was disseminated, and was dropped in some loyal towns by his adherents in the night-time, there being danger in promulgating it openly.
On the second of January, 1715-16, the Chevalier proceeded to Brechin, and thence to Kinnaird; and on Thursday to Glammis Castle, the seat of the Earl of Strathmore. On the sixth of January he made his public entry into Dundee on horseback, at an early hour. Three hundred followers attended him, and the Earl of Mar rode on his right hand, the Earl Marischal on his left. At the suggestion of his friends, the Prince shewed himself in the market-place of Dundee for nearly an hour and a half, the people kissing his hands. The following extract from a letter among the Mar Papers affords a more minute and graphic account of the Chevalier's demeanour than is to be found in the usual histories of the day.
After the display at Dundee, the Chevalier rode to the house of Stewart of Grandutly, in the neighbourhood, where he dined and passed the day. On the following day he proceeded along the Carse of Gowrie to Castle Lyon, a seat of the Earl of Strathmore, where he dined, and went thence to Fingask, the seat of Sir David Threipland. On the eighth of January he took up his abode in the royal palace of Scoon, where he intended to remain until after his coronation.
For this event preparations were actually made by the Earl of Mar, whose sanguine spirit appears to have been somewhat revived by the presence of the Chevalier. The addition of a new dignity to his own ancestral honours had marked the favour and confidence of James. Before the arrival of the Chevalier in Scotland, the Earl of Mar had been informed that a patent of dukedom was made out for him; on which he thus expressed himself in a letter, written before the Chevalier's landing, full of gratitude and professions.
"Your Majesty has done me more honour than I deserve. The new dignity you have been pleased to confer on me is what I was not looking for; and coming from your Majesty's hands is what gives it the value. The patent is not yet come, but tho' it had, I think I ought not to make use of it till your Majesty's arrival."
The Earl of Mar had now had an opportunity of throwing himself at the feet of the King, which, as he expressed, "is the thing in the world he had longed most for." But still, the difficulties in his path seemed to be rendered more insurmountable than ever by the arrival of James.
In the first place, the landing of the Chevalier evidently sealed the doom of those gallant and unfortunate noblemen who had been taken prisoners at Preston; and rendered all hopes of mercy futile. The sixteenth of January, which witnessed the forming of the Chevalier's council at Perth, was the day on which the unfortunate Derwentwater, Nithisdale, Kenmure, Wintoun, and Widdrington, petitioned for two days' delay to prepare for their trials. Their doom was hurried on in the general panic; and in the addresses from both Houses of Parliament to King George, it was declared by the members of those assemblies "that the landing of the Pretender in this kingdom had greatly encreased their indignation against him and his adherents."
It is impossible that the Earl of Mar could have heard, without deep commiseration, and perhaps remorse, of the peril in which those ill-fated adherents of James were placed, although he may not have anticipated the full severity of the law. In one of his subsequent letters he remarks: "By the news I see the Parliament is to have no mercie on our Preston folks: but I hope God will send them salvation in time." One of his greatest sources of anxiety had been respecting the movements of the Duke of Ormond, upon whose making a diversion in favour of James, in England, Mar had counted. The news that Ormond, after having been seen on the coast of England, had returned, disheartened, was brought by the Chevalier, who heard of it at St. Maloes. The only chance of success, the last hope, were centered in this resource. The failure of this expectation was fatal, as Lord Mar conceived, to the cause, and on it he grounded his own subsequent withdrawal from England.
The entrance of the Chevalier into Perth, on the ninth of January, was attended with far less enthusiasm than the previous portion of his progress. His reception was comparatively cold. On asking to see their "little kings" (the chieftains) with their armies, the Highlanders, diminished in numbers by the secession of the Marquis of Huntley and the absence of Lord Seaforth and others, were marched before him. James could not help admiring their bearing; but the small amount of troops in the camp filled him with a dejection which he could not conceal. When, a few days afterwards, the unfortunate Prince addressed his council for the first time, he said, with mournful truth, these words. "For me it will be no new thing if I am unfortunate: my whole life, even from my cradle, has been a constant series of misfortunes." This sentiment of ill-presage was re-echoed in the address of the Episcopal clergymen.
"Your Majesty has been trained up," said these divines, at Fetteresso, "in the School of the Cross, in which the Divine grace inspires the mind with true wisdom and virtue, and guards it against those false blandishments by which prosperity corrupts the heart." And as this school has sent forth the most illustrious princes,--Moses, Joseph, and David, it was hoped that a similar benefit would accrue to the character of the Prince whom the Episcopal Clergy thus welcomed to their country.
Meantime the project of crowning the Chevalier at Scone amused the minds of the people, and continued to be the subject of diligent preparation by the Earl of Mar. Unhappily a ship laden with money and other aids, had been lost on its passage from France, close to the Tay, for want of a pilot. The difficulties which were augmented by this misfortune, are alluded to in the following extract from one of Lord Mar's letters.
By the next letter it appears that the good opinion entertained by Lord Mar of the Chevalier was real; since the whole of the epistle has the tone of being a natural effusion of feeling, and is a simple statement of what actually took place, and not the letter of a diplomatist.
"It were highly necessary that methods and measures were concerted for the right way of doing this, which you should let such of them as you know are so trusted know, and it is absolutely necessary that they either send one to me about this, or let me know it certainly some other way, that we may not be drawing different ways when we are designing the same thing.
The enthusiasm which was at first displayed towards the Chevalier was soon cooled, not only by his grave and discouraging aspect, but by his fearless and impolitic display of his religious faith. He never allowed any Protestant even to say grace for him, but employed his own confessor "to repeat the Pater nosters and Ave Marias:" and he also shewed an invincible objection to the usual coronation oath,--a circumstance which deferred the ceremony of coronation,--Bishop Mosse declaring that he would not consent to crown him unless that oath were taken. This sincerity of disposition--for it cannot be called by a more severe name--especially diminished the affections of the Chevalier's female episcopal friends, who had excited their male relations to bear arms in his favour. But the circumstance which weighed the most heavily against James, was the order which he published, on hearing that the Duke of Argyle was making preparations to march against him, for burning the towns and villages, and destroying the corn and forage, between Dumblane and Perth. This act of destruction, from the effects of which the desolate village of Auchterarder has never recovered, was determined on, in order that the enemy might be incommoded as much as possible upon their march; it added to the miseries of a people already impoverished by the taxes and contributions which the Jacobites had levied. It appears, however, from a letter of James's, since discovered, or perhaps, only suppressed at the time, to have been an act which he bitterly regretted, and the order for which he signed most unwillingly. He was desirous of making every reparation in his power for the ravages which were committed in his name.
On the ninth of January a council of war was held by the Duke of Argyle at Stirling, where, by a singular coincidence, the council sat in the same room in which James the Second, then Duke of York, had, in 1680, been entertained by the Earl of Argyle, to whom he had proposed the repeal of the sanguinary laws against Papists. The refusal of Argyle to concur in that measure, the consequences of his conduct, and his subsequent death, are circumstances which, doubtless, arose to the remembrance of his descendant, as he discussed, in that apartment, the march towards Perth.
The country between Stirling and Perth was covered with a deep snow; the weather was one continual storm; it was therefore impossible for the army of Argyle to proceed until the roads were cleared,--a process which required some time to effect. It is asserted, nevertheless, by an historian, that upon Colonel Ghest being sent with two hundred dragoons to reconnoitre the road leading to Perth, that the greatest panic prevailed in that town: immediate preparations were made for defence, and nothing was to be seen except planting of guns, marking out breastworks and trenches, and digging up stones, and laying them with sand to prevent the effects of a bombardment. The Earl of Mar, nevertheless, does not appear, if we may accredit his own words, to have even then despaired of a favourable issue. The following letter betrays no fear, but speaks of some minor inconvenience, which is far from being of a melancholy description. The difficulty of procuring the right sort of ribbon for the decoration of the Garter, is altogether a new feature among the adversities of royal personages. It seems strange that James should not have provided himself, before quitting France, with all that was necessary to preserve the external semblance of majesty.
If we may believe the public prints of the day, dissensions now arose between the Chevalier and the Earl of Mar: the former blaming his general for having urged him to come over, when he had so small a force to appear in his favour; the latter, recriminating that the failure of aid from the Continent had discouraged the Chevalier's friends. The Earl of Mar was severely blamed, to quote from the same source, for having deceived the Chevalier in making him believe that the forces in Scotland were more considerable than they really were, and for giving his Scottish friends reason to suppose that the Chevalier would bring over foreign auxiliaries. That the former part of these allegations against Mar was untrue, is shewn by the letter which has been given, explaining to the Prince the state of affairs; and rather discouraging him from his attempt. That the whole report was groundless, was manifested by the favour and confidence which James long continued to extend to the Earl after his exile abroad.
For some time, the Earl of Mar and his party contrived to keep up their hopes. The season was indeed in some respects their friend, since it necessarily impeded the movements of Argyle's army against them. The winter of 1715-16 was one of the most severe that had been felt for many years, not only in Scotland, but abroad. In France and Spain the cold was so excessive, and the snow so deep, that the country people could not go to the market towns to buy provisions, whilst the plains were infested with bears and wolves, emboldened by the desolation, and ranging over the country in great numbers.
Whilst the intense frost lasted, the three thousand Highlanders who were encamped at Perth were able to defy the English army, although now supplied with artillery and ammunition from Berwick. Their security was furthermore increased by a heavy fall of snow succeeding a partial thaw, and followed by a frost, which rendered the roads more impracticable than ever, especially for the foot-soldiers. This circumstance had even occasioned some deliberation whether it would not be advisable for the Duke of Argyle to defer his march to Perth until the winter should be ended. Until the middle of January, it was the full intention of the Highlanders, and also that of the Earl of Mar, to stand the event of a battle, let the enemy's force be what it might. That they purposed thus to maintain their ancient character for valour, was, even as those most adverse to them allow, the prevalent report. It is borne out by the Earl of Mar's correspondence. On the twenty-third of January he thus writes to Captain Straiton:
The next paragraph of this letter speaks mournfully of disappointment in those on whose aid the Earl had counted.
The most serious defection from the Jacobite cause was the submission of the Marquis of Huntley and the Earl of Seaforth to the victorious arms of the Earl of Sutherland, aided by Lord Lovat, in Invernesshire. Seaforth had collected, on the Moor of Gilliechrist, twelve hundred men, the remnant of those whom he had been able to save from Sherriff Muir; but finding that Lord Sutherland had resolved to force him into an engagement, he owned King George as his lawful Sovereign, and promised to lay down his arms. This had occurred early in December, and, according to Lord Mar, before the Earl of Seaforth, in those remote regions, could have heard of the Chevalier's landing. Mar therefore regarded it as a temporary cessation on the part of Seaforth and Huntley, for a given period, of hostilities against the Government.
As far as related to Lord Seaforth, the belief of Lord Mar was correct. At the end of the days agreed upon for the cessation of arms, Seaforth drew his people together, the influence of clanship enabling him to summon them at will, like a king; and again appeared in arms. This was the consequence of the news that James had landed having reached Inverness. But Seaforth could not retrieve the cause of James in the North, nor repair the effects of even a temporary submission. Eventually he returned to the party which he had espoused, and escaped to France. The Marquis of Huntley made his own terms with the Government.
At this critical juncture, unanimity still prevailed, according to Lord Mar, among the assembled chieftains at Perth. "I do assure you," he writes, "that since the arms came here, there has not been a quarrel of any kind happened among us--not even among the Highland men, which is very extraordinary; and you may depend upon it there is the greatest unanimity here just now, and all fully resolved to stand to it, let what will come. I pray God preserve our King from the wicked and hellish designs of his enemies! I hope we will be apprized of their motions, so as to be in readiness to receive them."
These expressions were written, but the letter which contained them was not sent, on the twenty-third of January. The postscript, written in a hurried hand, shows that the camp at Perth was not unprepared for the coming attack.
Again, on the twenty-fourth of January:
On the twenty-fourth of January, the Duke of Argyle marched to Dumblane, with two hundred horse, to reconnoitre the roads. The report that the enemy was approaching, was quickly conveyed to Perth; and now was the order to burn and destroy the village of Auchterarder, the contents of the houses, all stores of corn and forage, mournfully and promptly executed. It was supposed by this, that the march of Argyle's forces would be impeded; but it produced no other inconvenience to that army than obliging them to lie one night in the open air; whilst the unpopularity it brought on James and his advisers, was long the subject of comment to their enemies. It is consolatory to those who wish to judge favourably of James to find this declaration in Lord Mar's correspondence.
In pursuance of the cruel and impolitic commands to which Lord Mar refers, three thousand Highlanders were sent forth to the act of destruction. Auchterarder, Crieff, Blackford, Denning and Muthel, were mercilessly burned; and the wretched inhabitants turned out at that inclement season to destitution without a roof to shelter them. Many decrepid people and children perished in the flames. Had James sought, in truth, to prepare a way for the Government in the hearts of the people, he could not have adopted a more suitable means. In the Duke of Argyle, he had a generous and humane adversary to deal with,--one whose forbearance laid him under the imputation of a want of zeal for the cause of the Government, and rendered him no favourite at the English Court. The fashion at the Court of St. James's, according to a letter in the Mar Papers, was, to rail against the Duke, and even George the First and those about him joined in the unjust and ungrateful abuse.
Even so late as Sunday, the twenty-ninth of January, when Argyle's troops left Stirling and advanced to Braco Castle, Lord Mar appears to have been in ignorance of their actual movements. Perhaps, like the busy world of London politicians, he regarded the project of an attempt upon Perth in such weather as impracticable. Such was the opinion at St. James's. "Argyle's friends here," writes one near the Court, "speak of the march and the attempt at present as madness." And another individual writes, that "one half of their people must die of cold, and the other be knocked o' the head. So it seems Argyle is dragg'd to this matter. We cannot perceive, by all the letters that come up, any particular certainty as to Lord Mar's number and his designs. The Court are positive he will not stand; and they, as well as Ridpeath, assert strongly that the Pretender is gone already as far as Glammis. The Jacobites fancy that if he went thither, it was to meet and assemble these officers that were landed."
Whilst in this state of perplexity Lord Mar thus writes:
Again, in another letter on the same day, the Earl still seems to consider the game as not then lost. It is amusing to find how, in the carrying on of his projects, he availed himself of the aid of ladies, and how troubled he sometimes found himself with "busie women." Whilst this letter was being penned, Argyle was employing the country people around Auchterarder in clearing the roads of snow: and on the following day, he had advanced towards Tullibardine, within eight miles of Perth. On that very Sunday, Lord Mar thus writes: it is evident he had at this time formed no plan of retreat.
On Tuesday, the last day of January, the Duke of Argyle passed the river Eru, and took possession of Tullibardine. It has been stated by several historians that the Jacobites fled from Perth on the same day; but the following letter from Lord Mar, dated the first of February, shows that the flight could not have taken place until the following day. This curious letter, which was written at the early hour of six in the morning, is unfinished. It is the last in the series of that correspondence which has formed of itself a narrative of Lord Mar's life, from his first taking upon himself the office of General and Commander-in-Chief, to the hour when he virtually resigned that command. In the midst of pressing danger his sanguine nature seems not to have deserted him: his love of the underplots of life, the influence of "Kate Bruce," and the arrangements for a coronation, were as much in his thoughts as in the more hopeful days before Sherriff Muir and Preston.
Much had been going on in the meantime, to which Lord Mar, perhaps from the fear of spreading a panic, does not even allude to his correspondent in Edinburgh. When it became known in Perth that Argyle had left Stirling, the advisers of the Chevalier were dismayed and distracted by contending counsels. But the mass of the army expressed a very different sentiment, rejoicing that the opportunity of a rencontre with the enemy was so near: congratulations were heard passing from officers to their brother officers, and the soldiers, as they drank, pledged their cups to the good day near at hand. The council, meantime, sat all night: the irresolution of that body, towards morning, was disclosed to the impatient soldiery: the indignation of the brave men, and more especially of the Highlanders, burst forth upon the disclosure of what had passed in the council. The gentlemen volunteers resented the pusillanimity of their leaders: and one of them was heard to propose that the clans should take the Chevalier out of the hands of those who counselled him to retreat, and added that he would find ten thousand gentlemen in Scotland that would risk their lives for him. A friend of Mar, after remonstrating with these malcontents, asked "What they wished their officers to do?" "Do!" was the reply; "what did you call on us to take arms for? was it to run away? What did the King come hither for? was it to see his people butchered by hangmen and not strike a note for their lives? Let us die like men, and not live dogs."
On the thirtieth of January the Chevalier himself opened another council in the evening, and in a few words proposed a retreat. Lord Mar then addressed the meeting, and advocated the measure with a degree of ingenuity and eloquence which, at that moment, we are disposed rather to condemn than applaud; yet, his reasons for abandoning Perth were such, as in cool reflection were not devoid of justice, and they might be founded upon a humane consideration for the brave adherents of a lost cause. He stated, first, as the cause of his proposal, the failure of the Duke of Ormond's invasion of England. Secondly, the accession of foreign troops to the Duke of Argyle's force. Lastly, the reduced number of the Chevalier's troops, which then amounted to four thousand, only two thousand three hundred of which were properly armed. Even in that weak condition the Chevalier would, according to Lord Mar's subsequent statement, gladly have maintained Perth, or ventured a battle; but when the enemy with an army of eight thousand men were actually advanced near to the place, it was found impracticable to defend Perth, the town being little more at that time than an open village; and the river Tay on one side, and the fosse on the other, being both frozen over, it would have been easy to enter the town at any quarter. Added to this, the mills had been long stopped by the frost, so that there were not above two days' provision in the town. There were no coals to be procured: the enemy had possession of the coal mines in Fife, and wood was scarce. The Earl also contended that the Highlanders, however able in attack, were not accustomed to the defence of towns.
Reasons equally cogent were employed against going out to fight the enemy, and a retreat northwards was at length proposed. But it was no easy task to bring the brave spirits who had hailed the approach of Argyle, to accord in sentiments which might spring from discretion, but which ill agreed with the Highland notions of honour. The council, after a stormy debate, was broken up in confusion, and adjourned until the next morning.
Some hours afterwards, a few, who were favourable to the abandonment of Perth, were summoned privately by Lord Mar; and it was then agreed not to fight, but to retreat. For a time this determination was concealed from the bulk of the army, but it gained wind; and on the evening of the thirty-first of January, eight hundred of the Highlanders indignantly left Perth, and retired beyond Dunkeld, to their homes. That very night, also, the Chevalier, who had far less of the Scottish Stuart within him than of that modified and inferior variety exemplified in the British line of the family, disappeared from the town, and repaired to Scone. He supped and slept in the house of the Provost Hay; and on the following morning, at an early hour, was ready for retreat. To do the Chevalier justice, there was, according to Lord Mar's journal, much difficulty in persuading him to this step: it was found necessary to convince him that it had become a duty to retire from the pursuit of the Government, which, as long as he was in the country, would never cease to persecute his followers, who could not make any terms of capitulation so long as he remained. He was obliged, at last, to consent: "And, I dare say," adds Lord Mar, "no consent he ever gave was so uneasy to him as this was." Of that point it would be satisfactory to be well assured.
On the first of February, four hours after the unfinished letter of Lord Mar was written, the Jacobites abandoned Perth, and crossing the frozen stream of the Tay, took their route to Dundee. They went forth in such precipitation, that they left their cannon behind them,--a proof that they never hoped to oppose again the victorious arms of Argyle. About noon the Chevalier, accompanied by Lord Mar, followed his people towards the North. He is said to have been disconsolate,--and, shedding tears, to have complained "that instead of bringing him a crown, they had brought him to his grave." This murmur and these tears having been reported to Prince Eugene, of Savoy, that General remarked "that weeping was not the way to conquer kingdoms."
The Jacobites marched direct for Dundee, along the Carse of Gowrie. The Duke of Argyle's forces entered Perth only two hours after the Highland army had entirely cleared the Tay, which, happily for their retreat, was frozen over with ice of an extraordinary thickness. At Dundee the Chevalier rested one night only; but leaving it on the second of February, was again succeeded by Argyle and his squadrons, who arrived there on the following day.
The unfortunate Prince pursued his way to Montrose. His route along the sea-coast gave credence to a report which had now gained ground, of his intention of embarking for France. The loudest murmurs again ran through the Highland forces, worthy of a noble leader, and the sight of some French vessels lying near the shore confirmed the general suspicion. This was, nevertheless, somewhat allayed by an order to the clans to march that evening at eight o'clock to Aberdeen, where, in accordance with the crooked policy and deceptive plan of Lord Mar, it was represented that large supplies of troops and arms would meet them from France. But a very different scheme was in agitation among those who governed the feeble James, and perhaps, with right motives, guided him to his safety.
A small ship lay in the harbour of Montrose, for the purpose, originally, of carrying over an envoy from James to some foreign court. This vessel was now pitched upon to transport the Chevalier; the size being limited, she could accommodate but few passengers: and therefore, to avoid confusion, the Chevalier "himself thought fit to name who should attend him." "The Earl of Mar, who was the first named, made difficulty, and begged he might be left behind; but the Chevalier being positive for his going, and telling him that, in a great measure, there were the same reasons for his going as for his own,--that his friends could more easily get terms without him than with him,--and that, as things now stood, he could be of no more use to them in their own country, he submitted."
The Chevalier then chose the Marquis of Drummond to accompany him: this nobleman was lame from a fall from his horse, and was not in a condition to follow the army. He, as well as the Earl of Mar, the Lord Tullibardine, and the Lord Linlithgow had a bill of attainder passed against them. The Chevalier on that account was desirous of taking these other Lords with him; but both were absent: Lord Tullibardine was at Brechin with a part of the foot, and Lord Linlithgow at Berire with the horse. He ordered the Earl Marischal, General Sheldon, and Colonel Clephan to accompany him.
After these arrangements the Chevalier issued several orders which reflect the utmost credit upon his disposition. After appointing General Gordon Commander-in-chief, with all necessary powers, he wrote a paper containing his reasons for leaving the kingdom, and, delivering it to the General, gave him at the same time all the money in his possession, except a small sum which he reserved for his expenses and those of his suite; and desired, that after the army had been paid, the residue should be given to the impoverished and houseless inhabitants of Auchterarder. He then dictated a letter to the Duke of Argyle, in which he dwelt at some length upon his distress at being obliged "among the manifold mortifications which he had had in this unfortunate expedition," to burn the villages. The letter, which was never delivered to the Duke of Argyle, is in the possession of the Fingask family.
Having completed these arrangements, the Chevalier prepared to take leave for ever of the Scottish shores. The hour had now arrived which was appointed for the march of the troops, and the Chevalier's horses were brought before the door of the house in which he lodged: the guard which usually attended him whilst he mounted, were in readiness, and all was prepared as if he were resolved to march with the clans to Aberdeen. But meantime, the Chevalier had slipped out of his temporary abode on foot, accompanied only by one servant; and going to the Earl of Mar's lodgings, he went thence, attended by the Earl, through a bye-way to the water side, where a boat awaited him and carried him and the Earl of Mar to a French ship of ninety tons, the Marie Therese, of St. Malo. About a quarter of an hour afterwards two other boats carried the Earl of Melfort and Lord Drummond, with General Sheldon and ten other gentlemen, on board the same ship: they then hoisted sail and put to sea; and notwithstanding that several of the King's ships were cruizing on the coast, they sailed in safety, and after a passage of seven days, arrived at Waldam, near Gravelines, in French Flanders.
The Chevalier sailed at nine o'clock. Some hours afterwards, Earl Marischal and Colonel Clephan arrived at the shore, but they could get no boat to convey them, for fear of the men-of-war that were cruising near. The Marie Therese, nevertheless, got out of reach of these vessels before daylight.
With what reflections Lord Mar left his native country a prey to the power of an irritated Government, cannot readily be conceived. That he left it at such a moment, is a fact which for ever stamps his memory with degradation. The deserted adherents of James, being in no condition to make a stand against the Duke of Argyle, betook themselves to holes and caves, mostly in the remote parts of the Highlands, where many lurked until they could safely appear; but such as were most obnoxious took the first opportunity of ships to carry them into foreign countries; and vessels were, to this end, provided by the Chevalier with such success, that many escaped from the pursuit of justice.
James, accompanied by the Earl of Mar, proceeded to his former residence at St. Germains, where, in spite of the wishes of the French Government that he should repair to his old asylum in Lorraine, he wished to remain. In Paris, the Chevalier met two of his most distinguished adherents,--the faithless Bolingbroke, and the popular Duke of Ormond. Although aware of the unsoundness of Bolingbroke's loyalty, James received him cordially. "No Italian," says Bolingbroke, "ever embraced the man he was going to stab with a greater show of affection and confidence."
For some time the Chevalier lingered in Paris, hoping to see the Regent. "His trunks were packed, his chaise was ordered at five that afternoon," writes Lord Bolingbroke, "and I wrote word to Paris that he was gone. Instead of taking post for Lorraine, he went to the little house in the Bois de Boulogne, where his female ministers resided; and there he continued lurking for some days, pleasing himself with the air of mystery and business, while the only real business which he should have had at heart he neglected."
Avignon was now fixed on as the retreat of the Chevalier; and thither, after some delay, he retired, to an existence politically forgotten by the Continental powers, until the war with Spain and the consequent declaration of the Spanish King in his favour recalled him to importance.
Lord Mar, meantime, occupied himself in fruitless endeavours to excite, once more, the struggle which had just ended so fatally. As far as France was concerned, all those schemes upon which Mar successively built were futile: no aid could ever be expected during the Regency. "My hopes," said Bolingbroke, speaking of the Jacobite cause, "sunk as he [Louis the Fourteenth] declined, and died when he expired. The event of things has sufficiently shown that all those which were entertained by the Duke [of Ormond], and the Jacobite party under the Regency, were the grossest delusions imaginable."
Some of the remaining years of Lord Mar's life were, nevertheless, devoted to chimerical projects for which he received in return little but disappointment, ingratitude, and humiliation. One of his schemes was to engage Charles the Twelfth of Sweden on the side of the Chevalier. In a letter to Captain Straiton, the Chevalier's agent in Edinburgh, he signified that if five or six thousand bolls of meal could be purchased by the King's friends and sent to Sweden, where there was then a great scarcity, it would be of service to his master in conciliating the good will of Charles. This proposal was communicated by Mar's desire to Lockhart of Carnwath, to Lord Balmerino, and to the Bishop of Edinburgh. But it was the sanguine disposition of Mar which alone could lead him to suppose such a scheme practicable. It was, in the first place, found impossible to raise so large a sum from men, many of them exiles, or involved in difficulties from the expenses of the recent insurrection. It was also deemed folly to conceive that so large a quantity of Scotch meal as necessary could be exported without exciting the suspicion of Government.
The next plan which Lord Mar contrived was not so fully unfolded as the project of which Charles the Twelfth was to be the object. He wrote to Edinburgh soon after the failure of the first scheme, to this effect: that a certain foreign prince had entered into a design for the restoration of James: that it "would look odd if his friends at home did not assist him;" and he wished they would fall on some means to have in readiness such a sum as they could afford to venture in his cause when a fair opportunity occurred. The hint was taken up seriously by the zealous Lockhart of Carnwath, and assurances were sent from "several persons of honour, that they would be in a condition to answer his Majesty's call." Among these, the Earl of Eglintoun offered three thousand guineas; and the others "would have given a good round sum." The conduct of the English Government to the Duke of Argyle, who had been superseded as Commander-in-Chief in Scotland, and the strong personal friendship between Lockhart and the Duke, emboldened Mar to hope that a negotiation might be entered into with Argyle, and that he might be persuaded to join in their schemes. At the same time, Lord Mar enjoined the strictest secrecy in all these affairs, and with reason, for the letters of the exiled Jacobites abounded in false hopes and plans; many of their correspondents at home had not the discretion to conceal their delight, when the sanguine expectations of their party prevailed over despair.
The agent employed by Lockhart to treat with the Duke of Argyle was Colonel John Middleton. By him Lockhart was, however, assured that his Grace would neither directly nor indirectly treat with Mar for "he believed him his mortal enemy, and had no opinion of his honour; and," added Middleton, "I cannot think Mar does, more seriously now than before, desire to see Argyle in the King's measures, lest he eclipsed him." It was therefore resolved by Lockhart, that the correspondence between the Chevalier and Argyle should be contrived without Mar's cognizance. A letter was written to James, and was forwarded by Captain Straiton, enclosed, to the Earl of Mar, who was, in another epistle from Lockhart, "entreated not to be offended that the contents of the letter were not communicated to him, because he was bound to impart the same alone to the King."
This letter, containing a proposal so important to the interests of James, is supposed never to have reached the Chevalier. Mar, distrustful and offended, is suspected of having broken it open, and given it his own answer in a letter to the Duke of Argyle, which tended to affront and repel the Duke rather than to invite him to allegiance. When, some time afterwards, Lockhart's son spoke on the subject to the Chevalier at home, and represented what a fair opportunity had been lost, the Prince replied, "that he did not remember ever to have heard of it before." Whether Mar was misjudged or not must be a matter of doubt, but this anecdote proves how little respect was entertained for his good faith, or even for his possessing the common sentiments of gentlemanly propriety, when the suspicion of breaking open a letter which had been entrusted to him was attached to his conduct.
In consequence of the difficulty of bringing any scheme to bear, from the want of a head, Lockhart had contrived a plan of having trustees in Scotland to conduct it, to be empowered by James to act during his absence, and in his behalf. This plan had the usual obstacles to encounter among a set of factious partisans, who were only united when the common danger pressed and common services were required, but discordant and selfish in the calmer days of suspense. Mar, perhaps, with greater wisdom than he was allowed to display, did not advance the scheme; his reluctance to promote it was ascribed to his love of power in Scotland; but since the plan was resented by Tullibardine, Seaforth, and Penmure, as infringing upon their dignity, there is as good reason for believing that it was the suggestion of an intriguing ambition on the part of the proposer, as that Mar resisted it on selfish grounds. The notion was excellent, but the difficulty was to find men of sufficient fidelity, honesty, and prudence to exercise functions so delicate.
The spirit of Jacobitism seems scarcely, at this period to have been checked in the bosoms of the resolute people who had suffered so much; and the Netherbow and the High Street of Edinburgh still resounded at times with the firing of musquetry, directed against a harmless rabble of boys who betrayed the popular feeling by the white roses in their hats. Nor was the lingering enthusiasm for the Jacobite cause confined to the lower classes in either country. It is almost incredible that men of Whig principles, who held high offices in the Government, should, at various times, have engaged in correspondence with the agents of James; yet such is the fact.
Among those who were involved in these dangerous negotiations, Charles Earl of Sunderland, the son-in-law of Marlborough, and at that time Prime Minister of George the First, was one with whom Lord Mar treated. Among the Sunderland Papers is to be found a singular letter from the Earl of Mar to the Earl of Sunderland, urging that nobleman to assist in inducing his royal master to accede to a proposal from which he might himself derive a suitable advantage. "We find," says Dr. Coxe, "unequivocal proofs that Lord Sunderland, who was considered at the head of the new administration formed in 1717, was in secret correspondence with the Pretender and his principal agents."
The letter referred to from Lord Mar, on which Dr. Coxe has inscribed the word "curious," began with professions of respect and confidence on the part of his Lordship, to whom it was quite as easy to address those expressions to a man of one party as of the other. It contained also a promise of secrecy, and an exaction of a similar observance on the part of Lord Sunderland. He then alluded to the misfortunes into which the British nation was thrown by the disputed succession, and the violence of party spirit in consequence. The subtle politician next touched on the subject of George the First, whom he delicately terms, "your master."
"Whatever good opinion you may have of your master, and the way that things are ordered there at present, does not alter the case much; his health is not so good as to promise a long life, and he is not to live always even if it were good, nor will things continue there as they are, any longer than he lives at most."
He then suggests that the Earl would have it in his power to prevent the dangers resulting from a disputed succession, "which can only be prevented by restoring the rightful and lineal heir."
"I can assure your Lordship," he continues, "my master has so many good qualities, that he will make the nation happie, and wants but to be known to be beloved; and I dare promise in his name, that there is not any thing you could ask of him, reasonable, for yourself and your friends, but he would agree to. My master is young, in perfect good health, and as likely to live as any who has pretensions to his crown, and he is now about marrying, which, in all appearance, will perpetuate rightfull successors to him of his own body, who will ever have more friends in those kingdoms, as well as abroad, than to allow the house of Hanover to continue in possession of their right without continual disturbance."
The Earl then suggests that George the First should secure to himself the possession of "his old and just inheritance, and by the assistance of 'his master,' and those who would join, acquire such new ones on the Continent as would make his family more considerable than any of its neighbours.
"Britain and Ireland will have reason to bless your master for so good and Christian an action; and Europe no less for the repose it would have by it: and your master would live the remainder of his life in all the tranquillity and splendour that could be required, and end his days with the character of good and just."
Lord Mar was at this time on the borders of France, where he proposed to wait until he received Lord Sunderland's reply, in hopes that the Minister of George the First might be induced to give him a meeting, either in France or Flanders. "If you approve not of what I have said," he adds, "let it be buried on your side, as, upon my honour, it shall be on mine." "I am afraid," he adds in a postscript, "you know not my hand; but I have no other way of assuring you of this being no counterfeit than by writing it myself, and putting my seal to it."
The following remarks on this letter are interesting; they were penned by Dr. Coxe:
"Singular as this overture, made at such a period, may appear, we have strong proofs that it was not discouraged by Sunderland; for he not only procured a pension for the exiled nobleman, but even flattered the Jacobites with hopes that he was inclined to favour their cause. This we find by intelligence given at a subsequent period by the Jacobite spies."
The following addition to the above-stated remark of Dr. Coxe is even yet more astonishing:
"On the death of Lord Sunderland the secret of this correspondence became by some means known to the Regent Duke of Orleans, and he hastened to make so important a communication to the King of England. The letter written on this occasion by the British agent at Paris, Sir Luke Schwaub, and the reply of his friend Lord Carteret, then Secretary of State, are highly curious, because they prove, not only the correspondence, but the fact that it was known and approved by the King."
How near were the unfortunate Stuarts to that throne which they were destined never to ascend!
Upon the disgrace of Bolingbroke, and on his return to England, the Seals had been offered by James Stuart to Lord Mar, who refused them on the ostensible ground that he "could not speak French." The actual reason was perhaps to be sought for in a far deeper motive.
In 1714 the celebrated Lord Stair had been sent as Ambassador to France, chiefly to watch over the proceedings of the Jacobites, and to cement a friendship with the Duke of Orleans, on whom King George could not rely. The brilliant and spirited manner in which Lord Stair executed this commission, the splendour by which his embassy was distinguished, and his own personal qualities, courtesy, shrewdness, and diligence, contributed mainly to the diminution of the Jacobite influence, which declined under his exertions. It was from Lord Stair's address that Bolingbroke, or, as Stair calls him in his correspondence, Mr. York, was confirmed in his disgust to the Jacobite cause.
Between Lord Stair and the Earl of Mar an early acquaintance had existed. Agreeably to the fashion of the period, which led Queen Anne and the Duchess of Marlborough to assume the names of Morley and Freeman, Lord Stair and Lord Mar, in the early days of their confidence, had adopted the familiar names of Captain Brown, and Joe Murray.
Lord Mar had remained in Paris until October 1717; he then went into Italy with the Duke of Ormond; but previous to his departure he called on Lord Stair, and remained in the house of the Ambassador for four or five hours. He appears to have declared to Lord Stair that he then looked upon the affairs of his master as desperate. "He flung out," as Lord Stair wrote, "several things, as I thought, with a design to try whether there was any hopes of treating." Lord Stair, not liking to give an old friend false hopes, declined "dipping into particulars;" adding at the same time, in his account of the interview, "he would not have dealt so with me: but in conversation of that kind there is always something curious to be learned."
They parted without explanation, and Lord Mar proceeded to Rome. The correspondence between these two noblemen ceased for nearly two years. During that interval, James had married the Princess Clementina Maria, a daughter of Prince Sobieski, elder son of John King of Poland. The marriage could scarcely have been solemnized, since it took place early in May 1719, before we find Lord Mar at Geneva, on his way from Italy, resuming his negotiations with Lord Stair.
Lord Mar to Lord Stair:
Whilst he was thus in treaty with his former friend, Lord Mar was stopped on his way to St. Prix, near Geneva, by the orders of the Hanoverian Minister: his papers were seized and sealed up; and among them, a copy of that which was written to Lord Stair as Captain Brown. Lord Mar, who had borne an assumed name, disclosed his real rank, and wrote to Lord Stair for assistance,--again urging permission to go to the waters of Bourbon, or, if not allowed to go into France, the liberty to return to Italy, "where," he said, "I may end my days in quiet; and those, probably, will not be many in that climate." Whilst awaiting the reply of Lord Stair, the Earl was treated with respect by the authorities of Geneva; and "had only to wish that he had a little more liberty for taking air and exercise." He expected that Lord Stair's answer could not arrive in less than a fortnight: in the meantime, he adds, "I shall be obliged, on account of my health, to ask the Government here a little more tether."
His indulgent friend, Lord Stair, was, meantime, urging his cause by every means in his power. "I wish Lord Mar," he wrote to the English Ministry, "was at liberty upon his parole to the town of Geneva, or he had permission to go to the waters of Bourbon. I should be glad to know what pension you would allow him till he be restored?"
Lady Mar was now in Rome, whither she had followed her husband soon after his leaving Scotland. Her jointure, it appears, was stopped by the Commissioners, and she was unable, without that supply, to travel from Rome to Geneva. She was, probably, aware of Lord Mar's intention to leave the Chevalier's service, for the Earl had written a long letter, explanatory of his situation and intentions, to her father the Duke of Kingston. "I have offered him for Lady Mar's journey," says Lord Stair, "credit upon me for a thousand pounds." Yet notwithstanding this liberality, Lord Mar now began to be extremely uneasy at Geneva, and to fear that the Government meant "merely to expose him." In vain, for some time, did Stair plead for him, with Secretary Craggs and Lord Stanhope. They were evidently, from Lord Stair's replies to their objections, afraid to have any dealings with him. "As to Lord Mar," writes Stair, "the things that shock you, shock me; but our business is to break the Pretender's party by detaching him from it, which we shall effectually do by letting him live in quiet at Geneva or elsewhere, and by giving him a pension. Whatever his Lordship's intentions may be, it is very certain, in a few months, that the Jacobites will pull his throat out,--you know them well enough not to doubt of it. The Pretender," he adds, "looks upon Mar as lost, and has had no manner of confidence in him ever since Lady Mar came into Italy. They looked upon her as a spy, and that she had corrupted her husband. This, you may depend on it, is true." Little more than a week afterwards, Lord Stair informed his friends that "Lord Mar was outré at the usage he had met with. He says our Ministers may be great and able men, but that they are not skilful at making proselytes, or keeping friends when they have them. I am pretty much of his mind."
It was, doubtless, as Lord Stair declared, the full determination of Lord Mar at that time to leave the Chevalier's interests. "The Pretender, I know," said Stair, "wrote him the kindest letter imaginable since his [the Pretender's] return into Italy from Spain, with the warmest invitations to return to his post."
The letters which Lord Stair had received, in the course of this negotiation, from Lord Mar, were instantly sent to Hanover. They were in some instances written in his own hand, but without signature, and in the third person. In the first which he wrote to Lord Stair, Mar announced that he had quitted the service of James, and was desirous of making peace with King George upon the promise of a pardon, and the restoration of his estates.
"You are to consider," says Lord Stair, writing to the Secretary of State at home concerning this proposal, "whether it will be worth the while to receive him. In my humble opinion the taking him on will be the greatest blow that can be given to the Pretender's interest, and the greatest discredit to it. And it may be made of use to show to the world that nobody but a Papist can hope to continue in favour with the Pretender. I wish," adds the Ambassador, "you may think as I do. I own all his faults and misfortunes cannot make me forget the long and intimate friendship and familiarity that has been between him and me." It is consoling to find any politician acting upon such good old-fashioned maxims, the result of honest feeling.
Lady Mar having now joined her husband, Lord Mar resolved to make his escape from Geneva. Lord Stair advised him against it; but adds, in his letters to his friends at home, "I could hardly imagine that a man of his temper, and in his circumstances, will refuse his liberty when he sees he has nothing but ill usage and neglect to expect from us."
Thus ended this negotiation, the main conditions of which were, provided Lord Mar kept himself free from any plots against the Government, an offer of the family estate to his son; and, in the interim, till an act of Parliament could be obtained to that effect, a pension of two thousand pounds sterling, over and above one thousand five hundred pounds paid of jointure to his wife and daughter.
It was the fortune of Lord Mar on this, as on many other occasions, to reap the ignominy of having accepted this pension, without ever receiving the profits of his debasement.
During the absence of Lord Mar at Geneva, his Countess, who remained in Rome, received the following letters from the Chevalier and his Princess, Maria Clementina: these epistles show how desirous the Chevalier still was to retain Lord Mar in his interests.
Letter from the Princess Clementina to the Countess of Mar:
A subsequent letter is addressed "A ma cousine La Duchesse de Mar"--and subscribed "votre affectionée cousine, Clementine;" yet notwithstanding these professions of confidence and affection, the seeds of distrust were, it seems, soon sown between James and the Earl and Countess of Mar. At first the suggestions to their disadvantage were repelled, "There has been enough pains," writes James, "taken from Rome within these few days to do you ill offices with me, but I can assure you with truth they have made no impression upon me, nor will they produce any other effect than to make me, if possible, kinder to you. But when I see you I shall say more on this head, for 'tis fitt you should know your false from your true friends; and among the last you shall ever find me.
An order, dated the ninth of October, 1719, that all such boxes "as are in the Duchesse of Mar's custody should be first naled by her, and then delivered with their keyes to Sir William Ellis," written in the Chevalier's own hand, shews either that Lady Mar was on the eve of her departure from Italy, or that a breach of confidence had taken place.
Lord Mar, with impaired health, and writhing under the rejection of his offers, returned to Italy. There, had he adhered to a resolution which he had formed, of not interfering in public affairs, he might still have closed his days in tranquillity.
Notwithstanding the apparent continuance of the Chevalier's regard, he never forgot the treaty between Lord Stair and the Earl of Mar. The whole of this intrigue, discreditable as it was, has been reprobated by all who have touched upon this portion of Lord Mar's history. His accepting the loan of a thousand pounds from Stair, an old friend, for the purpose of ensuring Lady Mar's journey, has been censured, I think, with too great severity. But, although it be desirable to set to rights matters of fact, yet, it is always unsatisfactory to begin the defence of a bad cause. There is no evidence to show that Lord Mar ever received a pension: he was not thought worth conciliating; but that circumstance, in this case, and after a display of his willingness to receive all that could be granted, assists very little in his vindication, and rather adds to the degradation of one whom no party could trust.
Soon after Lord Mar's return to Rome, the seeds of disunion between James and his young and high-spirited wife began to disturb the minds of all who were really well wishers to the Stuarts.
Maria Clementina, reported by Horace Walpole to have been "lively, insinuating, agreeable, and enterprising," had encountered, soon after her marriage with James, the too frequent fate of many who were sacrificed to royal marriages. She had quickly perceived that her influence was inferior to that of the Prince's favourites: she was shortly made aware of his infidelities: she became jealous, without affection; and her disappointment in her consort was that of a proud, resentful woman, to whom submission to circumstances was a lesson too galling to be learned.
The Prince, after the fashion of his forefathers, was governed by favourites: like Charles the First, he had his Buckingham and his Strafford; and his miniature Court was rent with factions. But the Chevalier had neither the purity of Charles the First, nor the charm of character which gilded over the vices of Charles the Second. His household was an epitome of the worst passions; and his melancholy aspect, his want of dignity and spirit, his bigotry and even his unpopular virtue of economy, cast a gloom over that turbulent region. It was bitterly, but perhaps truly said of him, "that he had all the superstition of a capuchin, but none of the religion of a Prince." Like most of his immediate family, his character deteriorated as he grew older. He did not rise under the pressure of adversity; and his timid, irresolute nature was crushed by the effects of his cruel situation.
Colonel John Hay, of Cromlix, the brother of the Earl of Mar's first wife, and of George, seventh Earl of Kinnoul, succeeded in obtaining mastery over his subdued nature. The lady of Colonel Hay, Margery, the third daughter of Viscount Stormont, was said, also, to have possessed her own share of influence over the mind of the Chevalier. Of the real existence of any criminal attachment between the Prince and Mrs. Hay, there is, however, considerable doubt; and it has been generally regarded as one of those amours raised for a purpose, during the continuance of a fierce contention for power.
Clementina had also her favourites; and a certain Mrs. Sheldon, who had had the charge of Prince Charles Edward, had acquired her confidence. This choice was peculiarly infelicitous.
Mrs. Sheldon was reported to be about as unworthy a favourite as the unhappy Princess could have selected. According to Colonel Hay, she was the mistress of General Dillon, one of the most ardent adherents of the Stuarts, and the spy of the Earl of Mar. For four or five years, nevertheless, after Prince Charles's birth, she continued to be his governess, and to sway the feelings of his mother, in the same manner as confidants and dependants usually direct the angry passions of their mistresses into the most dangerous channels.
During the height of Colonel Hay's favour, the confidence of the Chevalier in Lord Mar visibly declined, as appears in the following letter to one of his adherents in Scotland.
"I have always been unwilling to mention Marr, but I find myself indispensably engaged at present to let my Scots friends know that I have withdrawn my confidence entirely from him, as I shall be obliged to doe from all who may be any ways influenced by him. This conduct is founded on the most urgent, strongest, and most urging necessity, in which my regard to my faithfull subjects and servants have the greatest share.
"What is here said of Marr, is not with a view of its being made publick, there being no occasion for that, since, many years ago, he put himself under such engagements, that he could not serve me in a publick capacity, neither has he been publickly employed by me."
To this it was answered, by the confidential friend to whom the remarks were addressed, "It is some time agoe since your friends here had doubts of the Earl of Marr; and thence it was that I was directed to mention him in the manner I did in my last two letters, it being matter of no small moment to us to know in whom wee might confide thorowly, and of whom beware,--especially when a person of his figure was the object."
Affairs were in this state; the Chevalier distrustful of Lord Mar, and devoted to his rival, Colonel Hay; the Princess heading an opposite faction, nominally commanded by Mrs. Sheldon, but secretly instigated by Lord Mar; when, in 1722, the conspiracy of Atterbury was discovered by the British Government.
The Earl of Mar was at that time in Paris, and Lord Carteret who was at the head of affairs in England, remembering the Earl's former negotiations with Lord Stair, dispatched a gentleman to Mar, with instructions to sound that nobleman as to his knowledge of the plot. Lord Mar happening to be in Colonel Dillon's company when the messenger reached Paris, and soon divining after one interview the nature of the embassy, it was agreed between him and Dillon that they would do James's cause a service by leading the British Government off the right scent. They therefore drew up, in conjunction, an answer to Lord Carteret. What was the nature of that reply, does not appear; but its result was such as to cast upon Lord Mar a degree of odium far greater than that which he had incurred in Lord Stair's business. He was accused by Atterbury with having, on that occasion, written such a letter as had been the cause of his banishment; with having betrayed the secrets of the Chevalier St. George to the British Government; and of several other charges of "base and treacherous practises, discovered by the Bishop of Rochester, that the like had scarce been heard of, and seem'd to be what no man, endued with common sense, or the least drop of noble blood, could perpetrate; and that the King's friends were at a loss in not knowing what credit to give to such reports, tho' they apprehended the worst, from the directions he had lately given of having no correspondence with Mar or his adherents, from whom he had withdrawn all confidence."
Shortly after this declaration the Chevalier declared Colonel Hay to be his Secretary, and created the favourite Earl of Inverness; between whom and the Earl of Mar an antipathy, which had now become open hostility, prevailed. "The Duke of Mar," wrote the Earl of Inverness to Lockhart, "has declared himself my mortal enemy, only because I spoke truth to him, and could not, in my conscience, enter into his measures nor approve his conduct, tho' I always shunned saying any thing to his disadvantage, but to the King alone, from whom I thought I was obliged to conceal nothing."
With respect to the treachery towards Atterbury, the justification of Lord Mar rests upon the testimony of Colonel Dillon, and other persons who saw the Earl's letter to Carteret. It is also certain that James accorded his approval to Mar's conduct in that affair. No positive intention of mischief can be made out against Mar; but his habit of rarely acting a straightforward part, his insatiable love of interference, and his mistaking cunning for policy, brought upon him the mournful indignation of the exiled Atterbury, and fixed upon him a grave imputation which it were almost impossible to wipe away.
Another charge brought by Atterbury against Lord Mar, was his advising James to barter his pretensions to the Crown for a pension. But this accusation is refuted by the two letters, of which vouchers are given in the Lockhart Papers, on which the allegation is founded. These letters were written from Geneva to the Prince and to Colonel Dillon.
Lastly, Lord Mar stood charged with a scheme, discovered to Atterbury by Lord Inverness, for the restoration of the Stuarts, which, under pretence of replacing them on the throne, would for ever have rendered that restoration impracticable. From this allegation Lord Mar justified himself by referring to the scheme itself, which he was declared to have laid before the Regent of France with the intent to ruin James. Of this scheme, the two main features were, first to re-establish the ancient independence of Scotland and Ireland: secondly, that a certain number of French troops should remain in England, and that five thousand Scots, and as many Irish troops, should be sent to France and kept in pay by the French King, for a certain number of years. There is certainly a great deal of Mar's double policy, his being all things to all men, in such a scheme. He declared, however, and proved that he acquainted James with his plan in confidence, and that Colonel Hay sent a copy of it to the Bishop of Rochester. Little as one can approve of Mar's conduct, it is manifest that, by a deeply-laid intrigue, it was resolved for ever to uproot him from the confidence of James.
But the public career of Lord Mar had now drawn to its ignoble close. That he had his partisans, who repelled the charges against him by counter allegations, Lord Inverness soon found; and he began to think that "the less noise that was made about Mar," the better.
During the year 1725, James further evinced his distrust of Lord Mar, by dismissing Mr. Sheldon, his supposed spy, and placing Mr. James Murray, a Protestant, as preceptor to the young Prince.
The retirement of the Princess Clementina into a convent, followed this last step. The correspondence of the royal couple, their recriminations, furnished, for some months, conversation for the continental courts, and even for St. James's, until the dismissal of Colonel Hay and his wife appeased the resolute daughter of the Sobieski, and produced an apparent reconciliation.
From the close of this altercation, and after the disgrace of Colonel Hay, the name of Lord Mar occurs no more in the history of the period. He resided at Paris until 1729, when, falling into ill health, he repaired to Aix la Chapelle, where he died in May 1732.
His wife survived him twenty-nine years, only to be the victim of mental disease, and, as it has been said, of cruelty and neglect. She became insane, and was placed under the charge of her sister, Lady Mary W. Montague, who, it has been reported, from avarice, stinted her unfortunate sister of even the common necessaries of life, and appropriated the allowance to herself. But this statement has been disproved.
The latter years of Lord Mar were passed neither in idleness, nor wholly in the intrigues of the Court at Albano. His amusement was to draw plans and designs for the improvement of Scotland, which he had loved "not wisely," but to which his warmest affections are said to have ever recurred. In 1728 he composed a paper, in which he suggested building bridges on the north and south sides of the city of Edinburgh: he planned, also, the formation of a navigable canal between the Forth and the Clyde. His beloved Alloa was sold by the Commissioners of the forfeited estates to his brother, Lord Grange, who, in 1739, conveyed it to Lord Erskine, his nephew. Lord Mar's children were enriched by the gratitude of Gibbs, the architect, who bequeathed to the offspring of his early patron the greatest part of his fortune.
The Earl of Mar was succeeded by his son, Thomas Lord Erskine, who was deprived of the famed title of Mar by his father's attainder. Lord Erskine was appointed by Government, Commissary of Stores at Gibraltar. His marriage with Lady Charlotte Hope being without issue, the title was restored to the descendant of Lord Grange, and consequently to the children of the unfortunate Lady Grange, whose sufferings, from the effects of party spirit, seem to belong more properly to the page of romance, than to the graver details of history.
The conduct of John Erskine, Earl of Mar, has afforded a subject of comment to two men of very different character, John Lockhart of Carnwath, and the Master of Sinclair. Neither of the portraits drawn by these master-hands are favourable; and they were, in both instances, written under the influence of strong, yet transient impressions of disappointment and suspicion. The mind naturally seeks for some safer steersman to guide opinion than the intemperate though honest Jacobite, Lockhart, or the sarcastic and slippery friend, Sinclair. The worst peculiarity in the career of Mar was, that no one trusted him; towards the latter portion of his life he had even lost the power of deceiving: it had become impossible to him to act without mingling the poison of deception with intentions which might have been honest, and even benevolent. The habits of a long life of intrigue had warped his very nature. When we behold him fleeing from the coasts of Scotland, leaving behind him the trusting hearts that would have bled for him, we fancy that no moral degradation can be more complete. We view him soliciting to be a pensioner of England, and we acknowledge that it was even possible to sink still more deeply into infamy.
With principles of action utterly unsound, it is surprising how much influence Lord Mar acquired over all with whom he came into collision. He was sanguine in disposition, and, if we may judge by his letters, buoyant in his spirits; his disposition was conciliatory, his manners were apparently confiding. At the bottom of that gay courtesy there doubtless was a heart warped by policy, but not inherently unkind. He attached to him the lowly. Lockhart speaks of the love of two of his kinsmen to him:--his tenantry, during his exile, contributed to supply his wants, by a subscription. These are the few redeeming characteristics of one made up of inconsistencies. He conferred, it must be allowed, but little credit on a party which could number among its adherents the brave Earl Marischal, the benevolent and honourable Derwentwater, and the disinterested Nithisdale. When we contrast the petty and selfish policy of the Earl of Mar with the integrity and fidelity of those who fought in the same cause, and over whom he was commander, his character sinks low in the estimate, and acts like a foil to the purity and brightness of his fellow sufferers in the strife.
 See Wood's Peerage of Scotland.
 Histories of Noble British Families by Henry Drummond, Esq. Preface to Part I.
 Robertson's History of Scotland, ii. 32.
 Wood's Peerage. The year of his birth is not stated.
 Cunningham's History of Great Britain, i. 326.
 Dalrymple's Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 100.
 Chambers's Biography, art. Erskine.
 See Dr. Coxe's MSS. in the British Museum, vol. iii.
 Dalrymple's Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 98.
 Lockhart's Memoirs, vol. i. p. 114.
 Lockhart, vol. i. p. 45.
 Granger, vol. ii. p. 31. Somerville's Queen Anne, p. 184.
 Of Alloa the following account is given. "Alloa House, situated in the immediate neighbourhood of the town, in the midst of a fine park, the seat of the Earl of Mar, and the subject of a fine Scottish song, is a place worthy of visit. The principal part of the building was destroyed some years ago by fire, and with it the only certain original portrait of Queen Mary existing in the kingdom. The original tower, a building of the thirteenth century, the walls of which are eleven feet thick, and ninety feet high, alone remains. In it James the Sixth and his eldest son, Henry, were successively educated under the care of the Mar family. The cradle of the former, and his little nursery-chair, besides Prince Henry's golfs, were preserved in the tower till a recent period, when they fell into the possession of Lady Frances Erskine, daughter of the late venerable Earl of Mar, who, we understand, now preserves them, with the care and veneration due to such valuable heirlooms, in her house in Edinburgh. The country in every direction round Alloa is extremely level and beautiful, interspersed with numerous fine seats, and abounding in delightful little old-established bower-like villages. Among the latter we would particularize one called the Bridge of Allan as everything which a village ought to be--soft, sunny, and warm--a confusion of straw-roofed cottages, and rich massy trees; possessed of a bridge and a mill, together with kail-yards, bee-skeps, colleys, callants, old inns with entertainment for man and horse, carts with their poles pointing up to the sky, venerable dames in drugget knitting their stockings in the sun, and young ones in gingham and dimity tripping along with milk-pails on their heads.
"Besides all these characteristics as a village, the Bridge of Allan boasts of a row of neat little villas for the temporary accommodation of a number of fashionables who flock to it in the summer, on account of a neighbouring mineral well."--Chambers's Picture of Scotland.
 Wood's Peerage.
 Somerville's Queen Anne, p. 167.
 Somerville, p. 177. Memoirs of Scotland, London, 1714. Defoe's History of the Union, p. 64.
 Lockhart Papers, vol. i. p. 114.
 Lockhart, p. 116.
 Daniel De Foe on the Union, p. 64.
 De Foe, p. 322.
 Lockhart. Letter to one English Lord concerning the Treaty, 1702, vol. i. p. 272.
 Memoirs, p. 74. De Foe, p. 321.
 Memoirs, p. 74. De Foe, p. 371.
 Introduction to De Foe's History of the Union, p. 16.
 Memoirs of Scotland, p. 31.
 Lockhart Papers, vol. i. p. 54.
 Memoirs of North Britain, p. 113.
 Wood's Peerage, vol. i. pp. 714, 717; also Mackay's Memoirs, p. 178.
 Lockhart Papers, vol. i. p. 115.
 Wood's Peerage, art. Erskine of Mar.
 Memoirs of Scotland, p. 224.
 Memoirs of Scotland, p. 340.
 Cunningham's Hist. Great Britain, p. 257.
 Ibid. p. 61.
 Swift's Works, edited by Sir W. Scott, pp. 14, 72.
 The motto on Queen Anne's coronation medal.
 Cunningham, p. 71.
 Memoirs of Scotland. Cunningham, p. 157.
 Swift's Letters, vol. ii. p. 488; also p. 487, note by Sir W. Scott.
 Wood's Peerage. Swift's Letters, p. 475. See note.
 Mackay's Characters, p. 94.
 Swift added, in his own hand, to this eulogium, this remark: "He was little better than a conceited talker in company."
 The following letter shows that the Duke anticipated the result of the duel.
London, Nov. 14, 1712.
 The Lady Elizabeth Gerrard, the sister of Lady Mohun, and Duchess of Hamilton, is said to have been "a lady of great wit and beauty, and all the fine accomplishments that adorn her sex." Through her the great estates in Lancashire and Staffordshire came into the family of Hamilton.
 Wood's Peerage; also "Life of the Duke of Hamilton," a scarce tract, p. 102.
 Coxe MSS. 9128. Plut. cxxxviii. H. British Museum.
 Ibid. See a Letter in French, dated April 5, 1714, p. 1.
 Coxe MSS.
 Lord Mahon's Hist. England, vol. i. p. 139. See also a scarce little book to be met with in the Advocate's Library in Edinburgh (Atterbury's Correspondence, with marginal notes by Lord Hailes): "By what accident these Letters have been preserved," says the noble Editor, "I know not: by what means they are now brought to light, I am not at liberty to explain."
 See the Letter before quoted.
 Cunningham, vol. ii. p. 440.
 Lockhart of Carnwath, vol. i. p. 446; also "Notices of Lady Grange," by Dr. Mackay.
 See "Notices of Lady Grange," by K. Mackay, M.D., 3rd edition. Glasgow, 1819.
 Cunningham, vol. ii. p. 441.
 Lord Mahon, vol. i. p. 152.
 "A Collection of Original Letters relating to the Rebellion of 1715." Edinburgh, 1730.
 Introductory Anecdotes to Lord Wharncliffe's Edition of Lady M. Wortley's Letters, p. 26.
 Reay, p. 135.
 Reay, p. 152.
 Reay, p. 171.
 This commission was long doubted, and was even denied by the Chevalier. It is, nevertheless, signed by his Secretary, and is among the valuable papers which, belonging to Mr. Gibson Craig of Edinburgh, have been liberally placed at the service of the author.
 Caledonian Mercury, 1722.
 Lord Mahon, p. 147.
 Lord Mahon; from the Master of Sinclair's MS.
 Burke's Peerage.
 Buchan's History of the Keith Family.
 Buchan's History of the Keith Family; also Scottish Peerage.
 See Patten's List of Chieftains.
 Secret History of Colonel Hooke's Negotiations, pp. 26, 110.
 Patten, p. 232.
 Buchan's History of the Keith Family, p. 153.
 Colonel Hooke's Negotiations.
 See "Genealogie of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Drummond, by the First Viscount Strathallan," Appendix. For this curious and elaborate work I am indebted to the Rev. Arthur Drummond.
 MS. Account of Several Clans, by Mrs. Grant, of Laggan.
 Brown's Highlands, vol. i. p. 131.
 The Rev. Robert Patten, from whose animated narrative many other writers have implicitly copied, was a man of indifferent character, who accompanied Mr. Forster, in the insurrection in Northumberland, as his chaplain. He afterwards turned king's evidence, and appeared against those whom he had served. For this act of treachery his pension was raised (as I find by the Caledonian Mercury for 1722) from 50l. to 80l. a-year. He dedicates his History of the Rebellion to Generals Carpenter and Wills.
 Patten, p. 151.
 Mar Papers.
 Reay, p. 191.
 Reay, p. 191.
 It seems to have been the custom of that period to write in the third person when in memoirs and statements. Lord Lovat's manifesto is in the same style.
 Patten, p. 257.
 A copy from the original, for which I am indebted to Mr. Gibson Craig, is given for the confirmation of Lord Mar's assertion:--
 Patten, p. 256.
 Note in Reay. From the Weekly Journal, Feb. 4th, 1715-16.
 Reay, p. 193.
 Brown's Highlands, vol. i. p. 129.
 Mar Papers. In these there is a copy of this Manifesto; but since it has been printed in Reay's History of the Rebellion, and others, I do not think it necessary to insert it here.
 The Chevalier's agent there.
 The orthography of this letter is copied from the original, with the exception of the abbreviations usual at that period.
 Reay, p. 221.
 Mar Papers.
 Mar Papers, communicated by Mr. Gibson Craig.
 Reay, pp. 236, 237.
 The Earl of Mar's Journal, as printed at Paris. At the end of Patten's History of the Rebellion, and addressed by Lord Mar to Colonel Balfour, p. 259.
 Reay, p. 197.
 Earl of Mar's Journal.
 Earl of Mar's Journal.
 Reay, p. 308.
 Brown's Highlands.
 Mar Papers.
 Reay, p. 309.
 From the MS. letter in the possession of Archibald Macdonald, Esq.
 The agent of the Jacobites in Edinburgh.
 Mar Papers, in the possession of Gibson Craig, Esq.
 Duke of Ormond.
 Lady Nairn.
 The Chevalier.
 The Dutch auxiliaries, to the amount of 6000, demanded by the English government, as accorded by treaty, arrived, to the number of 3000, in the Thames, on the 16th of November, expressly to assist in suppressing the rebellion, and proceeded to Scotland on the 25th. They were afterwards followed by 3000 more, who, being obliged to put in at Harwich, marched on by land. Reay, p. 327.
 The King.
 Lord Grange.
 The following note is annexed to this letter. It is in the hand-writing of Bishop Keith:--"Son of Sir Wm. Douglass, colonel of a regiment, and who had come over with the Prince of Orange to England, and was made Knight and Colonel by the said Prince, as says my Lady Bruce. The story Wm. Erskine, brother to the Earl of Buchan, told me, as the King and he were travelling through France at this period, they saw the Chevalier's picture set up in some of the post-houses, and they were told this was done by the desire of the English Ambassador, who had promised a reward to those who should stop and apprehend the person whom the picture resembled."
 A concealment in the House of Kineil, near Borrostowness.
 The younger brother of the Marquis of Tullibardine, but assuming the forfeited title as head of the house.
 Henry Straiton.
 I have had the advantage of seeing an original crayon portrait of the Chevalier, in the possession of Kirkpatrick Sharpe, Esq., of Edinburgh; also, a miniature painted at Rome, belonging to Mr. Sharpe. In the miniature the eyes are darker, and have more animation than in the crayon drawing. The portrait lately placed at Hampton Court gives a much more pleasing impression of James Stuart than either of these likenesses: the countenance is animated and benevolent.
 "A True Account of the Proceedings at Perth," by a Rebel, supposed to be the Master of Sinclair.
 That portion of the letter only which refers to the Chevalier appears to have been printed. I have given the entire letter from which the account was taken. A portion of this letter is published in Brown's History of the Highlands, vol. iv. p. 332.
 Reay, p. 352.
 MS. Letter in the possession of Alexander Macdonald, Esq., of the Register Office, Edinburgh.
 Mar Papers.
 Thomas Bruce, afterwards Earl of Kincardine.
 The loss of the ship from France.
 An allusion to the Marquis of Huntley and Lord Seaforth.
 Mar Papers.
 Reay, p. 364.
 Flying Post, or the Post Master, for January 28 and 31, 1716.
 Evening Post, Feb. 2, 1716.
 Reay, p. 364.
 Mar Correspondence.
 Probably Wigton.
 Brown's Highlands, vol. iv. p. 337.
 Patten, p. 248.
 Reay, p. 367.
 Lord Mar's Journal.
 A copy is given of the Prince's letter in Dr. Brown's work on the Highlands, vol. iv. p. 340. It is a sort of expostulation with the Duke, but mildly and sensibly expressed. "I fear," he said, alluding to the British people, "they will find yet more than I the smart of preferring a foreign yoke to the obedience they owe me."
 Bolingbroke's Letter to Sir William Wyndham.
 Letter to Sir Wm. Wyndham, p. 139.
 Lockhart, vol. ii. p. 17.
 Lockhart, vol. ii. p. 64.
 Coxe's Papers in the British Museum, MS. 9129. Plut. cxxxviii. II.
 I find that the biographers of Lord Mar, in the short lives given of him, (see Chambers's Scottish Biography, Georgian Era, &c.) have overlooked this correspondence. The letter from Sir Luke Schwaub, in French, with a translation, and the answer of Lord Carteret, in the Coxe Papers, although not exactly relevant to my subject, are interesting. "A thousands thanks," writes the generous Lord Carteret, in reply to Schwaub, "for your private letter, which affords me the means of obviating any calumny against the memory of a person who will always be dear to me." [That is, Lord Sunderland.] "I have shown it to the King, who is entirely satisfied with it." The anxiety on the part of Government to secure the papers of Lord Sunderland, was extreme, and affords a collateral proof of this connivance. The mysterious documents were seized by order of the King, and inspected by Lord Townshend, and not a trace of the correspondence was left when the papers were restored to the family. The seizure occasioned a suit between the executors of the Earl of Sunderland and the two Secretaries of State.--Coxe MSS.
 Hardwicke Papers, vol. ii. p. 252.
 Hardwicke Papers, vol. ii. p. 565.
 Hardwicke Papers, p. 586.
 Hardwicke Papers, vol. ii. p. 600.
 Chambers, art. Erskine.
 From original letters, for which I am indebted to Alexander Macdonald, Esq., of the Register Office, Edinburgh.
 The spelling is preserved as in the original.
 These words were written in the Chevalier's own hand.
 Letters in the possession of A. Macdonald, Esq.
 Lockhart Papers, vol. ii. p. 221.
 Lockhart Papers.
 See various papers in the State Paper Office. Collections for 1722.
 Lockhart, vol. ii. p. 149.
 Id. p. 183.
 Lockhart, vol. ii. p. 198.
 Mr. C. Kirkpatrick Sharpe was good enough to inform me that he had seen some letters on this subject, which exculpated Lady Mary W. Montague. The correspondence was destroyed, but it conveyed to the mind of that accomplished and erudite gentleman, who saw it, the impression that the charge against Lady Mary Wortley was groundless.