Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

was with great reluctance prevailed upon by his general officers to measure back his way to Culloden: at which place he had no sooner arrived, than great numbers of his followers dispersed in quest of provision ; and many, overcome with weariness and sleep, threw themselves down on the heath, and along the park walls. Their repose, however, was soon interrupted in a very disagreeable manner. Their prince receiving intelligence that his enemies were in full march to attack him, resolved to hazard an engagement, and ordered his troops to be formed for that purpose. On the sixteenth day of April, the duke of Cumberland having made the proper dispositions, decamped from Nairn early in the morning, and after a march of nine miles perceived the Highlanders drawn up in order of battle, to the number of four thousand men, in thirteen divisions, supplied with some pieces of artillery. The royal army, which was much more numerous, the duke immediately formed into three lines, disposed in excellent order : and about one o'clock in the afternoon the cannonading began. The artillery of the rebels was ill served, and did very little execution ; but that of the king's troops made dreadful havoc among the enemy. Impatient of this fire, their front line advanced to the attack, and about five hundred of the clans charged the duke's left wing with their usual impetuosity. One regiment was disordered by the weight of this column; but two battalions advancing from the second line, sustained the first, and soon put a stop to their career, by a severe fire, that killed a great number. At the same time, the dragoons under Hawley, and the Argyleshire militia pulled down a park wall that covered their right flank, and the cavalry falling in among the rebels sword in hand, completed their confusion. The French picquets on their left, covered the retreat of the Highlanders by a close and regular fire ; and then retired to Inverness, where they surrendered themselves prisoners of war. An entire body of the rebels marched off the field in order, with their pipes playing, and the pretender's standard displayed; the rest were routed with great slaughter; and their prince was with reluctance prevailed upon to retire. In less than thirty minutes they were totally defeated, and the field covered with the slain. The road, as far as Inverness, was strewed with dead bodies; and a great number of people, who from motives of curiosity, had come to see the battle, were sacrificed to the undistinguishing vengeance of the victors. Twelve hundred rebels were slain or wounded on the field, and in the pursuit. The earl of Kilmarnock was taken ; and in a few days lord Balmerino surrendered to a country gentleman, at whose house he presented himself for this purpose. The glory of the victory was sullied by the barbarity of the soldiers. They had been provoked by their former disgraces to the most savage thirst of revenge. Not contented with the blood which was so profusely shed in the heat of action, they traversed the field after the battle, and massacred those miserable wretches who lay maimed and expiring: nay, some officers acted a part in this cruel scene of assassination, the triumph of low illiberal minds, uninspired by sentiment, untinctured by humanity. The vanquished adventurer rode off the field, accompanied by the duke of Perth, lord Elcho, and a few horsemen; he crossed the water of Nairn, and retired to the house of a gentleman in Struttharick, where he conferred with old lord Lovat; then he dismissed his followers, and wandered about, a wretched and solitary fugitive, among the isles and mountains for the space of five months, during which he underwent such a series of dangers, hardships, and misery, as no other person ever outlived. Thus, in one short hour, all his hope vanished, and the rebellion was entirely extinguished. One would almost imagine, the conductors of this desperate enterprise had conspired their own destruction, as they certainly neglected every step that might have contributed to their safety or success. They might have opposed the duke of Cumberland at the passage of the Spey; they might, by proper conduct, have afterwards attacked his camp in the night, with a good prospect of success. As they were greatly inferior to him in number, and weakened with hunger and fatigue, they might have retired to the hills and fastnesses, where they would have found plenty of live cattle for provision, recruited their regiments, and been joined hy a strong reinforcement, which was actually in full march to their assistance.

But they were distracted by dissensions and jealousies : they obeyed the dictates of despair, and wilfully devoted themselves to ruin and death. When

the news of the battle arrived in England, the nation was transported with joy, and extolled the duke of Cumberland as a hero and deliverer. Both houses of parliament congratulated his majesty on the auspicious event. They decreed, in the most solemn manner, their public thanks to his royal highness, which were transmitted to him by the speakers; and the commons, by bill, added five-and-twenty thousand pounds per annum to his former revenue.

S II. Immediately after the decisive action at Culloden, the duke took possession of Inverness, where six-andthirty deserters, convicted by a court martial, were ordered to be executed; then he detached several parties to ravage the country. One of these apprehended the lady Macintosh, who was sent prisoner to Inverness. They did not plunder her house, but drove away her cattle, though her husband was actually in the service of government. The castle of lord Lovat was destroyed. The French prisoners were sent to Carlisle and Penrith: Kilmarnock, Bal. merino, Cromartie, and his son the lord Macleod, were conveyed by sea to London ; and those of an inferior rank were confined in different prisons. The marquis of Tullibardine, together with a brother of the earl of Dunmore were seized, and transported to the Tower of London, to which the earl of Traquire had been committed on suspicion : in a few months after the battle of Culloden, Murray, the pretender's secretary, was apprehended; and the eldest son of lord Lovat, having surrendered himself, was imprisoned in the castle of Edinburgh. In a word, all the gaols of Great Britain, from the capital northwards, were filled with those unfortunate captives; and great numbers of them were crowded together in the holds of ships, where they perished in the most deplorable manner, for want of necessaries, air, and exercise. Some rebel chiefs escaped in two French frigates, which had arrived on the coast of Lochaber about the end of April, and engaged three vessels belonging to his Britannic majesty, which they obliged to retire. Others embarked on board of a ship on the coast of Buchan; and were conveyed to Norway, from thence they travelled to Sweden. In the month of May, the duke of Cumberland advanced with the army into the Highlands, as far as Fort Augustus, where he encamped; and sent off detachments on all hands, to hunt down the fugitives, and lay waste the country with fire and sword.

The castles of Glengary and Lochiel were plundered and burned : every house, hut, or habitation, met with the same fate, without distinction; all the cattle and provision were carried off: the men were either shot upon the mountains, like wild beasts, or put to death in cold blood, without form of trial : the women, after having seen their husbands and fathers murdered, were subjected to brutal violation, and then turned out naked, with their children, to starve on the barron heaths. One whole family was enclosed in a barn, and consumed to ashes. Those ministers of vengeance were so alert in the execution of their office, that in a few days there was neither house, cottage, man, nor beast, to be seen in the compass of fifty miles : all was ruin, silence, and desolation.

♡ III. The humane reader cannot reflect upon such a scene without grief and horror: what then must have been the sensation of the fugitive prince, when he beheld these spectacles of woe, the dismal fruit of his ambition ? He was now surrounded by armed troops, that chased him from hill to dale, from rock to cavern, and from shore to shore. Sometimes he lurked in caves and cottages, without attendants, or any other support but that which the poorest peasant could supply. Sometimes he was rowed in fisher boats from isle to isle, among the Hebrides, and often in sight of his pursuers.

For some days he appeared in women's attire, and even passed through the midst of his enemies unknown. But, notwithstanding his disguise was discovered, he assumed the habit of a travelling mountaineer, and wandered about among the woods and heaths, with a matted beard and squalled looks, exposed to hunger, thirst, and weariness, and in continual danger of being apprehended. He was obliged to trust his life to the fidelity of above fifty individuals, and many of these were in the lowest paths of fortune. They knew that a price of thirty thousand pounds was set upon his head ; and that, by betraying him, they should enjoy wealth and affluence: but they detested the thought of obtaining riches on such infamous terms, and ministered to his necessities, with the utmost zeal and fidelity, even at the hazard of their own

destruction. In the course of these peregrinations, he was more than once hemmed in by his pursuers, in such a manner as seemed to preclude all possibility of escaping: yet he was never abandoned by his hope and recollection : he still found some expedient that saved him from captivity and death; and through the whole course of his distresses maintained the most amazing equanimity and good humour. At length a privateer of St. Malo, hired by the young Sheridan and some other Irish adherents, arrived in Lochnannach; and on the twentieth day of September, this unfortunate prince embarked in the habit which he wore for disguise. His eye was hollow, his visage wan, and his constitution greatly impaired by famine and fatigue. He was accompanied by Cameron of Lochiel, and his brother, with a few other exiles. They set sail for France, and after having passed unseen, by means of a thick fog, through a British squadron commanded by admiral Lestock, and been chased by two English ships of war, arrived in safety at Roscau, near Morlaix, in Bretagne. Perhaps he would have found it still more difficult to escape, had not the vigilance and eagerness of the government been relaxed, in con sequence of a report, that he had already fallen among some persons that were slain by a volley from one of the duke's detachments.

IV. Having thus explained the rise, progress, and extinction of the rebellion, it will be necessary to take a retrospective view of the proceedings in parliament. The necessary steps being taken for quieting the intestine commotions of the kingdom, the two houses began to convert their attention to the affairs of the continent. On the fourteenth day of January, the king repaired to the house of peers, and in a speech from the throne gave his parliament to understand, that the states general had made pressing instances for his assistance in the present conjuncture, when they were in such danger of being oppressed by the power of France in the Netherlands; that he had promised to cooperate with them towards opposing the further progress of their enemies; and even concerted measures for that purpose. He declared it was with regret that he asked any further aids of his people: he exhorted them to watch over the public credit; and expressed his entire dependence VOL. III.

B

« AnteriorContinua »