« AnteriorContinua »
of men being massacred in cold blood, after victory had declared for the army commanded by the Duke of Cumberland. He could not allow himself to think that a general could be so barbarous.
When they came within two miles of M'Kinnon's house, Malcolm asked if he chose to see the laird. "No," said he, "by no means. I know McKinnon to be as good and as honest a man as any in the world, but he is not fit for my purpose at present. You must conduct me to some other house; but let it be a gentleman's house." Malcolm then determined that they should go to the house of his brother-in-law, Mr. John McKinnon, and from thence be conveyed to the main land of Scotland, and claim the assistance of Macdonald of Scothouse. The wanderer at first objected to this, because Scothouse was cousin to a person of whom he had suspicions. But he acquiesced in Malcolm's opinion.
When they were near Mr. John M'Kinnon's house, they met a man of the name of Ross, who had been a private soldier in the Highland army. He fixed his eyes steadily on the wanderer in his disguise, and having at once recognised him, he clapped his hands, and exclaimed, "Alas! is this the case?" Finding that there was now a discovery, Malcolm asked, "What's to be done?" "Swear him to secrecy," answered Prince Charles. Upon which Malcolm drew his dirk, and on the naked blade made him take a solemn oath, that he would say nothing of his having seen the wanderer, till his escape should be made public.
Malcolm's sister, whose house they reached pretty early in the morning, asked him who the person was that was along with him. He said it was one Lewis Caw, from Crieff, who, being a fugit.ve like himself, for the same reason, he had engaged him as his servant, but that he had fallen sick. "Poor man!" said she, "I pity him. At the same time my heart warms to a man of his appearance." Her husband was gone a little way from home; but was expected every minute to return. She set down to her brother a plentiful Highland breakfast. Prince Charles acted the servant very well, sitting at a respect
ful distance, with his bonnet off. Malcolm then said to him, "Mr. Caw, you have as much need of this as I have; there is enough for us both: you had better draw nearer and share with me." Upon which he rose, made a profound bow, sat down at table with his supposed master, and eat very heartily. After this there came in an old woman, who, after the mode of ancient hospitality, brought warm water and washed Malcolm's feet. He desired her to wash the feet of the poor man who attended him. She at first seemed averse to this, from pride, as thinking him beneath her, and in the periphrastic language of the Highlanders and the Irish, said warmly, "Though I wash your father's son's feet, why should I wash his father's son's feet?" She was, however, persuaded to do it.
They then went to bed, and slept for some time; and when Malcolm awaked, he was told that Mr. John M'Kinnon, his brother-in-law, was in sight. He prang out to talk to him before he should see Prince Charles. After saluting him, Malcolm, pointing to the sea, said, "What, John, if the prince should be prisoner on board one of those tenders?" "God forbid!" replied John. "What if we had him here?" said Malcolm. "I wish we had," answered John; "we should take care of him." "Well, John," said Malcolm, "he is in your house." John, in a transport of joy, wanted to run directly in, and pay his obeisance; but Malcolm stopped him, saying, "Now is your time to behave well, and do nothing that can discover him." John composed himself, and having sent away all his servants upon different errands, he was introduced into the presence of his guest, and was then desired to go and get ready a boat lying near his house, which, though but a small leaky one, they resolved to take, rather than go to the Laird of McKinnon. John McKinnon, however, thought otherwise; and upon his return told them, that his chief and Lady M'Kinnon were coming in the laird's boat. Prince Charles said to his trusty Malcolm, "I am sorry for this, but must make the best of it." M'Kinnon then walked up from the shore, and did homage to the wanderer. His lady waited in a cave, to which they all repaired, and were entertained with
cold meat and wine. Mr. Malcolm Macleod being now superseded by the Laird of M'Kinnon, desired leave to return, which was granted him, and Prince Charles wrote a short note, which he subscribed James Thompson, informing his friends that he had got away from Sky, and thanking them for their kindness; and he desired this might be speedily conveyed to young Rasay and Dr. Macleod, that they might not wait longer in expectation of seeing him again. He bade a cordial adieu to Malcolm, and insisted on his accepting of a silver stock-buckle, and ten guineas from his purse, though, as Malcolm told me, it did not appear to contain above forty. Malcolm at first begged to be excused, saying, that he had a few guineas at his service; but Prince Charles answered, "You will have need of money: I shall get enough when I come upon the main land."
The Laird of M'Kinnon then conveyed him to the opposite coast of Knoidart. Old Rasay, to whom intelligence had been sent, was crossing at the same time to Sky; but as they did not know of each other, and each had apprehensions, the two boats kept aloof.
These are the particulars which I have collected concerning the extraordinary concealment and escapes of Prince Charles, in the Hebrides. He was often in imminent danger. The troops traced him from the Long Island, across Sky, to Portree, but there lost him.
Here I stop, — having received no farther authentic information of his fatigues and perils before he escaped to France. Kings and subjects may both take a lesson of moderation from the melancholy fate of the house of Stuart; that kings may not suffer degradation and exile, and subjects may not be harassed by the evils of a disputed succession.
Let me close the scene on that unfortunate house with the elegant and pathetic reflections of Voltaire, in his Histoire Générale.
"Que les hommes privés,” says that brilliant writer, speaking
of Prince Charles," qui se croyent malheureux, jettent les yeux sur ce prince et ses ancêtres."
In another place he thus sums up the sad story of the family in general:·―
"Il n'y a aucun exemple dans l'histoire d'une maison si longtems infortunée. Le premier des Rois d'Ecosse, qui eut le nom de Jacques, après avoir été dix-huit ans prisonnier en Angleterre, mourut assassiné, avec sa femmé, par la main de ses sujets. Jacques II. son fils, fut tué à vingt-neuf ans en combattant contre les Anglais. Jacques III. mis en prison par son peuple, fut tué ensuite par les revoltés, dans une bataille. Jacques IV. périt dans un combat qu'il perdit Marie Stuart, sa petite fille, chassée de son trône fugitive en Angleterre, ayant langui dix-huit ans en prison, se vit condamnée à mort par des juges Anglais, et eut la tête tranchée. Charles I. petit fils de Marie, Roi d'Ecosse et d'Angleterre. vendu par les Ecossois, et jugé à mort par les Anglais, mouru, sur un échaffaut dans la place publique. Jacques, son fils, septième du nom, et deuxième en Angleterre, fut chassé de ses trois royaumes; et pour comble de malheur on contesta à son fils sa naissance; le fils ne tenta de remonter sur le trône de ses pères, que pour faire périr ses amis par des bourreaux; et nous avons vu le Prince Charles Edouard, réunissant en vain les vertus de ses peres, et le courage du Roi Jean Sobieski, son ayeu! maternel, exécuter les exploits et essuyer les malheurs les plus incroyables. Si quelque chose justifie ceux qui croyent une fatalité à laquelle rien ne peut se soustraire, c'est cette suite continuelle de malheurs qui a persécuté la maison de Stuart, pendant plus de trois cent années."-B.
The foregoing account is by no means so full, or so curious, as might have been expected from Mr. Boswell's activity of inquiry, and his means of information. It relates only to a few days of the Pretender's adventures, which, however, lasted five months. Even of Miss Flora Macdonald it tells less than
had been already in print forty years before Mr. Boswell's publication. It does not say who she was, nor when she met the prince, nor why she was selected or induced to interfere, and, in short, tells as little as possible of her personal share in the events. We should particularly have liked to know, from her own report, the particulars of her examination and reception in London. The reader who may be curious to know more of the details of the Pretender's escape, will find them in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1747, pp. 531. 638.; in the little volume before referred to, called Ascanius; and in a Journal in the second volume of the Lockhart Papers. .C.
END OF THE FOURTH VOLUME.