Ascanius; or, the Young Adventurer
Containing an Impartial Account of the Rebellion
he family of the Stuarts is of great antiquity.
The earliest accounts declare them from a thane of Lochaber. But antiquity is
ever involved in absurdity. However, we are certain that the first of them who
Upon the death of Elizabeth Queen of
This ancient and noble family governed these realms, in an
uninterrupted line, down to James VII. This unfortunate prince had a blind
attachment for the Popish religion. During his administration he openly
discovered it, and exercised, for a time, amongst his subjects, all those tyrannical
measures which that religion naturally instigates those princes, who are its
votaries, to pursue. His eldest daughter Mary, was given in marriage to William
The first interruption, we see then, in the
lineal descent of the family of Stuarts, in their succession to the crowns of
While the attention of
Accordingly, upon the 15th of July, 1745, Prince
Charles, being furnished with a supply of money and arms from the French
ministry, embarked at Port Lazare, in Britanny, for
The frigate arrived among the Scottish isles, and
after hovering about for several days, made to the coast of
By this time the government was informed of his being in the Highlands, and sent strict orders to Sir John Cope, generalisimo of the king's forces in Scotland, to take all possible care to prevent him from making his party formidable, and if possible to take him alive or dead; and as an inducement to this a reward of £30,000 Sterling was set on his head.
Before the end of August, two companies of General Sinclair's regiment
being sent to reconnoitre the Highlanders, were most of them made prisoners, as
was soon after Captain Swethenham of Guise's foot. This gentleman being
released on his parole, gave the government the first circumstantial account of
the number and condition of the
Ascanius now prepared to march southward, with a
view of taking the city of Edinburgh; while, in the meantime, Cope having
collected all the king's forces in Scotland, and armed the militia, marched for the Highlands in quest of Ascanius;
who, not choosing to risk a battle in his infant state of affairs, gave the old
general the slip over the mountains, and (September 4) entered Perth without
resistance. The news being carried to Cope, who had got to Inverness, after a
very fatiguing march, he saw no other remedy but to march back, though not the
same way he came; accordingly, he ordered transport ships to meet him at
While both parties were thus advancing towards
the metropolis, the inhabitants were preparing for a vigorous resistance: But
the Prince having many friends in the city, no sooner came near it, than a
treaty of surrender was entered upon, and on the 17th the provost admitted him
into it; however, the brave, though very old, general Guest, retired with
a few regulars into the castle, which he held for the king. While the Prince
was entering the city, Cope was disembarking his troops at Dunbar, within
two days march of
following circumstances of his death are narrated by P. Doddridge, DD and may
be relied on as authentic.
"On Friday, September 20, 1745, (the day before the battle,) when the whole army was drawn up, I think about noon, the Colonel rode through all the ranks of his own regiment, addressing them at once in the most respectful and animating manner, both as soldiers and as Christians, to engage them to exert themselves courageously in the service of their country, and to neglect nothing that might have a tendency to prepare them for whatever should be the event of the battle.
"They seemed much affected with the address, and expressed a very ardent desire of attacking the enemy immediately. He earnestly pressed it on the commanding officer, both as the soldiers were then in better spirits than it could be supposed they would be after having passed the night under arms; and also as the circumstance of making an attack would be some encouragement to them, and probably some terror to the enemy, who would have had the disadvantage of standing on the defence. He also apprehended, that by marching to meet them, some advantage might have been secured with regard to the ground; with which, it is natural to imagine, he must have been perfectly acquainted, as it lay just at his own door, and he had rode over it so many hundred times. But this was overruled, as it also was in the disposition of the cannon, which he would have had planted in the centre of our small army, rather than just before his regiment, which was in the right wing; where he was apprehensive, that the horses, which had not been in any engagement before, might be thrown into some disorder by the discharge so very near them.
"When he found that he could not carry either of these points, nor some others, which out of regard to the common safety be insisted upon with some unusual earnestness, he dropped some intimations of the consequences which he apprehended, and which did in fact follow; and submitting to Providence, spent the remainder of the day in making as good disposition as circumstances would allow.
"He continued all night under arms, wrapped up in his cloak, and generally sheltered under a rick of barley which happened to be in the field. About three in the morning, he called his domestic servants to him, of whom there were four in waiting.
"He then dismissed three of them, with most affectionate Christian advice, and such solemn charges relating to the performance of their duty and the care of their souls, as seemed plainly to intimate, that he apprehended it at least very probably he was now taking his last farewell of them.
"The army was alarmed by break of day, by the noise of the Rebels' approach, and the attack was made before sun-rise, yet when it was light enough to discern what passed. As soon as the enemy came within gun-shot, they made a furious fire; and it is said that the dragoons, which constituted the left wing, immediately fled. The Colonel, at the beginning of the onset, which in the whole lasted but a few minutes, received a wound by a bullet in his left breast, which made him give a sudden spring in his saddle; upon which his servant who had led the horse, would have persuaded him to retreat; but he said, it was only a wound in the flesh; and fought on, though he presently after received a shot in his right thigh. In the meantime, it was discerned that some of the enemy fell by him and particularly one man, who had made him a treacherous visit but a few days before, with great professions of zeal for the present establishment.
"The Colonel was for a few moments supported by his men, and
particularly by that worthy person Lieutenant Colonel Whitney, who was shot
through the arm here, and few months after fell nobly in the battle of
"The moment he fell, another Highlander, whose name was McNaught, and who was executed about a year after, gave him a stroke, either with a broad sword or a Lochaber-axe, on the hinder part of his head, which was the mortal blow. All that his faithful attendant saw farther at that time was, that as his hat was fallen off, he took it in his left hand, and waved it as a signal to him to retreat; and added, what were the last words he ever heard him speak, "Take care of yourself:" Upon which the servant retired, and immediately fled to a mill, at the distance of about two miles from the spot of ground on which the colonel fell, where he changed his dress, and, disguised like a miller's servant, returned with a cart as soon as possible, which was not till near two hours after the engagement.
"The hurry of the action was then pretty well over, and he found his much-honoured master, not only plundered of his watch, and other things of value, but also stripped of his upper garments and boots, yet still breathing; and though not capable of speech, yet on taking him up, he opened his eyes; which makes it something questionable whether he were altogether insensible. In this condition, and in this manner, he conveyed him to the church of Tranent, from whence he was immediately taken into the minister's house, and laid in bed, where he continued breathing, and frequently groaning, till about eleven in the forenoon, when he took his final leave of pain and sorrow, and undoubtedly rose to those distinguished glories which are reserved for those who have been so eminently and remarkably faithful unto death.
"From the moment in which he fell it was not longer a battle, but a rout and carnage. The cruelties which the rebels inflicted on some of the king's troops, after they had asked quarter, were dreadfully legible on the countenances of many who survived it. They entered Colonel Gardiner's house before he was carried off from the field, and plundered it of everything of value, to the very curtains of the beds, and hangings of the rooms. His papers were all thrown into the wildest disorder, and his house made a hospital for the reception of those who were wounded in the action.
"The remains of this Christian hero were interred the Tuesday
following, September 24, at the parish
Many other principal officers were desperately wounded, and a considerable number of the common men made prisoners. All the cannon, tents, &c. of the vanquished, were taken.
Cope had the good fortune to escape to Berwick, with the Earls of
From this victory Ascanius reaped considerable advantages. It inspired
his followers with courage, intimidated his enemies, and many, who before that
time acted upon the reserve, now crowded to his standard. This victory, also
put his army in possession of fire-arms and ammunition, with which they were
formerly ill provided. He now returned in triumph to
We cannot help observing the conduct of the French court on this occasion; when they heard he had gained a victory, they supplied him with money, artillery and ammunition; his interest with them seemed to depend on the success of his arms.
Ascanius did not find so many in the kingdom espouse his cause as he was made to believe. The greater part of the kingdom did not favour his family and pretensions; but they were unarmed and undisciplined, and therefore could make no resistance.
And even in the
At the same time, Duncan Forbes, Esq. Lord President of the Court of Session in Scotland, particularly distinguished himself there, by his zeal for the Georgian interest; and it was principally by his means, that a considerable body of Highlanders and other Scots were raised, under the command of the Earl of Loudon, for the security of the forts of Inverness, Augustus and William, a chain of fortified places commanding the north of Scotland.
But notwithstanding all these preparations, the intrepid Ascanius
resolved to pursue his designs through all obstacles. (Nov. 1.) He went from
Edinburgh to the camp at Dalkeith, from whence he daily dispatched his agents
into England, and received intelligence of what was doing there both by his
friends and enemies; and, though he had the mortification to find, contrary to
the assurances he had received, that the former were but few, yet he still
inflexibly resolved to push on the daring attempt, having only, as he publicly
signified, a crown or a coffin in view. He hoped that, by his presence in
With these views, and in this resolute disposition, he began his march for Carlisle, with an army not exceeding 6700 effective men; a small number for such an expedition; but he relied much on English reinforcements, and more, on a timely descent by the French in the south; for in case of such a diversion, nothing could have effectually obstructed his march to London. The principal persons in his army were, the Duke of Perth, general; Lord George Murray, lieutenant-general; Lord Elcho, son to the Earl of Wemyss, colonel of the life-guards; the Earl of Kilmarnock, colonel of a regiment mounted and accoutered as hussars; Lord Portsligo, general of the horse; the Lords Nairn, Ogilvie, Dundee, and Balmerino; Messrs. Sheridan and Sullivan, Irish gentlemen; General McDonald, his aid-de-camp; John Murray of Broughton, Esq. his secretary; and many others.
On the 6th November, the Prince's army passed the Tweed, and entered
And now the progress of Ascanius had thrown all
Meantime, the young Adventurer advanced with prodigious celerity,
while the attention of both kingdoms was fixed on the expected approaching
action. On the 20th, our Adventurer left Carlisle, from whence be proceeded to
Thus cheered, the adventurers still went southward, until they came
within the borders of Staffordshire, where the Duke lay with an army to
intercept them; Wade was also marching after them through
I must not forget to mention, that in every city and market-town
through which Ascanius passed, he took possession of it for his father, by
proclaiming him; for instance, in Carlisle, Penrith, Kendal,
December 2nd, Ascanius was at Leek in the moorlands of Staffordshire,
next day at Ashburn in the
Hereupon a council of war was called, at which the chiefs spoke very
freely, and strenuously insisted on the army's returning to Scotland by the way
he came; urging, that they might get through Derby and Stafford before the
Duke, on the south side of them, could know they had begun to return; and that,
as Wade lay directly north from them, they doubted not of again giving him the
slip, and reaching Carlisle before he could obstruct their flight. -- To this
advice Ascanius consented, still comforting himself with hopes that
As a delay of a day or two must have rendered the retreat of Ascanius
and his troops impracticable, they stayed at
Lord Lewis Gordon, brother to the Duke of Gordon, who remained in
On the other hand, the Earl of Loudon was equally
active in spiriting up the clans in the Georgian interest; he raised
considerable supplies among the McLeods, Grants, Monros, Sutherlands, and
Gunns, and at last he had above 2300 effective men; with these he forced the
son of Lord Lovat to retire from before Fort Augustus, which he had besieged
with a considerable body of Frasers, a clan of which his father was chief. The
Let us now return into
Macclesfield, where, as we have observed, the English arrived on the 10th, is but a day's march from Manchester, from whence Ascanius marched that day, resting his troops there only one night; the fickle inhabitants, perceiving fortune seemed to frown on the adventurers, whom they had joyfully received a few days before, now gave the troops several rude marks of a very different spirit; this Ascanius so highly resented, that he made the people pay him £2500, to save them from being plundered, before he left the town; however, in consideration of the many friends he still had there, he promised repayment when the kingdom should be recovered to his family, of which he did not despair.
On the 11th, the adventurers, marched further northward, and came to
Wigan, and next day to
However, on the 14th, upon better information, the Duke ordered
Oglethorpe to continue the pursuit, whilst himself followed as fast as
possible. On the 15th Ascanius arrived at Kendal in Westmoreland, and marched
next day for Penrith in
Next morning Ascanius arrived at
The 20th, the English advanced to Hesket, within a short day's march
This small garrison, animated with a greater share of courage and fidelity to the cause they had embraced, than of prudence or human foresight, resolved obstinately to defend the city. They were greatly spirited up by Mr. John Hamilton of Aberdeenshire, their governor, who represented unto them, "That it was both their duty, and the most honourable thing they could do, to defend the place to the last extremity. The place is," said he, "both by art and nature, pretty strong, and we have artillery enough: the English have no cannon, nor can speedily bring any hither, so that we may, doubtless, hold out a month; mean time, Ascanius will certainly do all in his power to relieve us, and who knows how for it may be yet in his power? Besides, the English may not, perhaps, when they see us resolute, stay to besiege us in form, but follow our friends into Scotland; in which case you may do Ascanius some service, by employing part of the enemy's troops to look after us, and thereby, in some measure, pave the way to his being a match for them in the field; whereas, at present, he is in danger of being overwhelmed by numbers."
On the 22d, the Duke's army entirely invested Carlisle, it being
thought proper to reduce this important key of the kingdom before the army
marched after Ascanius, into
As the army under the Duke was destitute of the artillery and
ammunition proper for a siege, it sat still before the place till the 26th,
when being amply provided with all things necessary, two batteries were raised,
which played upon the city, from the 28th to the 30th, in the morning; when the
garrison, having no prospect of relief from their friends in Scotland, and
fearing to be reduced by storm, hung out the white flag to capitulate; however,
the best terms they could obtain was, that they should not be massacred, but
reserved for the king's pleasure; which they were forced to accept, and the
English took possession of the city the same day. In this affair, besides the
men, they lost 16 pieces of ordnance, being all that Ascanius brought with him
The Duke had no sooner reduced this city than he invested General Hawley with the chief command of the army, with order to march into Scotland, and there make such opposition to the motions of Ascanius, as the future circumstances of affairs should direct; meanwhile, the Duke returned to his father's court, there to concert measures for entirely completing the ruin of the adventurers.
Let us now follow the indefatigable Ascanius into
December 22d, Ascanius, who had divided his forces on the borders of
Scotland, marched with the largest body, about 4000 men, to Dumfries, where he
demanded of the inhabitants £2000 contribution money; of this £1100 was
immediately paid, and hostages for the rest. From this he moved northward on
the 23d, and the 25th arrived at Glasgow, choosing rather to take possession of
that town (of which he resolved to raise another large contribution, for its
active zeal against his party while he was in the south,) than to attempt the recovery
of Edinburgh, which the English had now put into a much better posture of
defence than it was when he took it.
Accordingly, he quartered his troops for several days upon the
inhabitants, and, before he left the city, obliged them to furnish him with
necessaries to the value of £10,000
January 3d, 1745-6,
Ascanius and the troops left
Mean while, Lieutenant General Hawley, commander in chief of the
English forces in Scotland, was assembling a strong, though not numerous army,
in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, and having all things in order, he
determined to march to the relief of Stirling castle; but first he detached
Brigadier General Huske, (who was next in command under Hawley) with part of
the army, to dislodge the Earl of Kilmarnock from Falkirk, where he lay with
the young Adventurer's horse, and which, being of little use in a siege, he
posted at this town, which lies in the direct road from Edinburgh to Stirling.
On the first intelligence of Huske's approach, Kilmarnock retired to the rest
of the army at Stirling, not having forces enough to engage the Brigadier
General's troops; and thus the road being opened, the whole English army
Ascanius's affairs, not now in the same situation as when he was in England, encircled by the English, and without the least prospect of any reinforcements in case of a defeat, it was the highest prudence in him to avoid an engagement, and retire into Scotland before his retreat was cut off; but now at the head of a body of resolute fellows, elate and re-animated by their successful retreat, the fresh troops which had joined them, and the absence of the Duke from the English army, of which he was the very life and soul, he had little to fear as to the event of an engagement; he doubted not his troops in their own country, in which they had already been so successful, and in which he foresaw so many ways of retrieving the loss of a battle.
Hawley's design was to have attacked Ascanius, who, being sensible of
the difference betwixt an army's attacking and being attacked, and of the usual
disadvantage in the latter case, resolved to give the English battle, without
giving them time to choose their ground. This he did with great success, on the
17th in the afternoon. The field of battle was the moor of
The English army, though formed in a hurry, advanced in good order,
the dragoons on the left, and the infantry in two lines. When the adverse
parties came within little more than musket-shot of each other. Hawley ordered
the dragoons to fall on sword in hand, and the foot to advance, at the same
time to give the adventurers a close fire. But before they could execute these
directions, a smart fire from the latter put the dragoons into some disorder,
and at the same time the English battalions, firing without orders, increased
the confusion; and the dragoons falling in upon the foot, occasioned their
making only one irregular fire before they began to retreat. Barrel's and
Ligoniers’ regiments, however, were immediately rallied by Brigadier
Cholmondely, and Colonel Ligoniers. These troops made a brave stand, and
repulsed the adventurers, who poured upon them very briskly. Mean time, General
Huske, with great prudence and presence of mind, formed another body of foot in
the rear of the above two regiments. General Mordaunt also rallied another
corps of infantry; and, upon the whole, the English made a tolerable retreat to
the camp at
This battle cannot properly be said to have been fought out; it had certainly been renewed, had not bad weather prevented it. The rain and wind were violent, and rendered the firearms of little use.
The English, wanting their artillery, had no arms to oppose to the broad swords of the Highlanders, except their bayonets. During the action the artillery was drawn up the hill, but the owners of the draught horses, seeing the army in disorder, rode away with the horses so that none could be found to draw the useless cannon from the field; by which means the whole train (except one piece, which the grenadiers of Barrel's regiment yoked themselves to and carried off, and three others which the people at Falkirk furnished horses to draw away) fell into the hands of the adventurers.
The English at first (after quitting the field) determined to keep
possession of their camp, and wait to see if Ascanius would attempt to dislodge
them; but the rain coming on heavy, the tents were so wet, and so much of their
ammunition spoiled, that it was judged proper to order the troops to the town
of Linlithgow that night, purely for the sake of shelter; next day they
continued their retreat, and in the evening took up their former retreat in and
about Edinburgh, where they examined into their loss, and missed more officers
in proportion than men. Thus far, all the facts I have mentioned, relating to
the memorable battle of
Narrative drawn up by Mr. Sheridan, and by him transmitted to the
"After an easy victory, gained by 8000 over 12,000, we remained masters of the field of battle; but as it was near five o'clock before it ended, and as it required time for the Highlanders to recover their muskets, rejoin their colours, and form again in order, it was quite night before we could follow the fugitives.
"On the other hand, we had no tents nor provisions; the rain fell, and the cold sharp wind blew with such violence, that we must have perished had we remained all night on the field of battle; and as we could not return to our quarters without relinquishing the advantages of the victory, the Prince resolved, though without cannon or guides, and in extreme darkness, to attack the enemy in their camp, and the situation of it was very advantageous, and fortified by strong entrenchments: their solders were seized with such a panic on our approach, that they durst not stay therein, but fled towards Edinburgh, having first set fire to their tents.
"They had the start of us by an hour, and some troops which they
"Lord John Drummond commanded the left, and distinguished himself extremely; he took two prisoners with his own hand, had his horse shot under him, and was wounded in the left arm with a musket ball. We should likewise do justice to the valour and prudence of several other officers, particularly Mr. Stapleton, brigadier in his Most Christian Majesty's army, and commander of the Irish piquets; Mr. Sullivan, quarter-master general of the army, who rallied part of the left wing; and Mr. Brown, colonel of the guards, and one of the aid-de camps, formerly of Major General Lalley's regiment."
Jan. 31, 1745-6, N.S.
On the 18th, the day after the battle, Ascanius marched his army back
In this siege we shall at present leave the adventurers engaged, but
without any progress, disappointed of the succours they expected from
When the news of the battle of Falkirk reached
The troops under Hawley were extremely mortified at their late
disgrace, and ardently wished for a speedy opportunity of retrieving their
honour. In order to this, they were every day busied in preparations for
marching to the relief of the gallant old Blackney, who still continued to
defend Stirling castle with courage and constancy. In a few days the English
army was in all respects in a better condition than before the action at
Falkirk; and to animate the troops still more, January 30th, the young Duke
The active and indefatigable Duke reviewed the troops the day after
his arrival at
Next morning the English continued their march, and the officers and
soldiers eager to come to a fresh trial with the adventurers; but hardly had
they arrived when they received advice that the enemy, instead of preparing for
battle, were repassing the Forth with great precipitation; and, to confirm this
intelligence, they saw all the advanced guards retiring from their posts in
great haste and confusion. This news was soon after put out of all doubt, by
the noise of two great reports like the blowing up of magazines. Hereupon the
Duke ordered Brigadier Mordaunt to put himself at the head of the Argyleshire
troops and dragoons, and harass the adventurers in their retreat. Mordaunt
began to execute this order with all alacrity and diligence imaginable and
arrived late in the evening at
The adventurers had also left behind them all the wounded men they had
made prisoners at the battle of
As it was late when Mordaunt and his troops arrived at
On the approach of the English towards
As for the Highlanders, they were resolved to stand by him at all hazards, and to share in his fate, let it prove ever so desperate; however, a fresh council of war being held, the chiefs endeavoured to moderate the extreme ardour and forlorn resolution of the less experienced Ascanius, beseeching him not to hazard his all upon one desperate engagement.
Among others, the Duke of Perth strenuously opposed coming to action with the Duke, until their circumstances should become more favourable, and until they should have a better prospect of victory. In fine, it was at last thought expedient, to decline the battle for the present, and to march the whole army into the Highlands, where it was not in the least to be doubted but they should raise many recruits, and, in the end, either be able fairly to beat the English in a pitched battle, or to harass and ruin them, by terrible marches, fatigues, the badness of the country, and the rigour of the season, none of which they were so able to endure as the hardy natives.
In consequence of the above resolution, Ascanius, with a sorrowful
heart, (for he little thought he should have been obliged to turn his back on
the enemy so soon after the advantage he had gained at Falkirk,) gave orders
that all the troops should quit the camp immediately, and follow the orders
that had marched to pass the Forth. This was done with all possible speed; for
the consequence might have been fatal, had they given the enemy time to come so
nigh as to fall upon their rear and interrupt their retreat. I shall now give
the reader the particulars of Ascanius's return to the
February 2d, 1746.
Having broke down the bridge at Stirling, to retard the enemy's pursuit, the
adventurers entirely quitted the neighbourhood of that town, separating
themselves into different routs, though all led to the appointed general
rendezvous in the
The same day the Duke entered Stirling, where he received the compliments of General Blackney and the officers of the garrison on this memorable occasion; while this young Prince was pleased to testify his extreme satisfaction with regard to the good defence the General had made, by which a place of so much importance had been preserved, and the designs of his dangerous rival Ascanius defeated. Mean while, pursuant to the Duke's orders, many hands were employed in repairing the bridge; it being intended to march the army over it, and follow the fugitives into the mountains.
On the 3d, in the morning, Ascanius and his people quitted
February 4th, The bridge being repaired, the army passed over, and the advanced guard, consisting of the Argyleshire Highlanders and the dragoons, marched that night as far as Crieff, but the foot were cantoned in and about Dumblain, where the Duke took up his quarters that evening.
Next day the Duke's advanced guards took possession of
Ascanius was very sensible how much the news of his retreat would alarm his friends both at home and abroad; therefore he caused several printed papers to be dispersed, setting forth his reasons for taking this step; beside those already mentioned, the following were assigned, viz. That as his men, particularly the Highlanders, were loaded with the booty they had collected in England and Scotland, it was very proper to let them convey it home, where it might be lodged in safety; and further, that this would secure to them an acquired property, for which they would, doubtless, fight valiantly to the last, and be induced to stand by the Prince, not only on his account, but also on their own; and, after so fatiguing a campaign, to allow his troops some relaxation; after which, when well refreshed and recruited, they would not fail to make another irruption into the Lowlands the next Spring.
Ascanius had also other reasons, which he did not think proper
publicly to divulge: he judged, that by removing the war into the Highlands,
and by spreading reports of the severities of the enemy's troops, his men would
be the better kept together, which he now found difficult to do, and would also
contribute to increase the number of his followers. He also judged, that this would
furnish his friends in
But the Duke, who had intelligence of all the enemy's motions, from
the spies he had among them, easily penetrated all their views, and took the
most proper measures for defeating them. He marched the army, by different
He stationed the Hessian troops, and some corps of English, at the
castles of Blair and Menzies, at
Having taken these precautions, the Duke set out for
Lord Loudon was then there, with about 1600 of the new-raised men before-mentioned. With these he marched out to fight the adventurers; but, upon their approach, finding them much stronger than he expected, he retreated and abandoned the town of Inverness without the loss of a man, leaving Major Grant, with two independent companies, in the castle, with orders to defend it to the last extremity.
These orders were, however, but indifferently obeyed, for Ascanius no sooner appeared before the place than the hearts of the garrison began to fail, and after a very short siege he became master of the town and castle, where he fixed his head quarters.
Besides the 4000 troops which now lay at Inverness, Ascanius had several detached parties abroad, and some of these falling upon several small corps of the Duke's Highlanders, stationed about the castle of Blair, defeated them. These successes raised the spirits of the whole party of adventurers, notwithstanding the badness of the quarters, want of pay, scarcity of provisions, and other inconveniences.
And now, in spite of all the difficulties Ascanius lay under, he
resolved to prosecute his design upon Fort-Augustus and Fort-William: the
former of these was accordingly attacked, in which was only three companies of
Guise's regiment, commanded by Major Wentworth, so that it was speedily reduced
and demolished; which was the fate that Fort-George (the castle of Inverness)
had already met with: a clear demonstration that Ascanius did not now think it
necessary to have a garrison in that part of the country. But being still
incommoded by Lord Loudon, who lay at the back of the adventurers, with only
the Firth of Murray between them, the Duke of Perth, the Earl of Cromarty, and
some other chiefs, resolved to attempt the surprising of Loudon, by the help of
boats, which they drew together on their side of the Firth. By favour of a fog
they executed their scheme so effectually, that, falling unexpectedly upon the
Earl's forces, they cut them off, made a good many officers prisoners, and
forced Loudon to retire with the rest out of the
But though these advantages made much noise, and greatly contributed
to keep up the spirits of Ascanius's party, yet in the end they proved but of
littler service to him. Money now was scarce with him, and supplies both at
home and abroad fell much short of his expectation; and his people began to
grumble for their pay, and demanded their arrears, which could not be speedily
satisfied; a sure presage of the ruin of his whole party. Let us now return to
the Duke, and see what he has been doing since we conducted him to
Though the rigour of the season, the badness of the roads, and the
difficulty of supporting so many men as he had under his command, were
sufficient to exercise the abilities of the most experienced general, yet the
Duke disposed them in such a manner as proved effectual, both for safety and
subsistence, and at the same time, took care to distress the adventurers as
such as possible; for the very day after he came to Aberdeen, he detached the
Earl of Ancram with 100 dragoons, and Major Morris with
March 16th, The Duke received
advice, that Colonel Roy Stuart, one of the chiefs of the adventurers, had
posted himself at Strathbogie, with
The Duke's army was cantoned in three divisions. The first line,
consisting of six battalions;
Brigadier Stapleton, of his Most Christian Majesty's forces, was sent
by Ascanius to besiege Fort-William; he had with him a large corps of the best
adventurers, and a pretty good train of artillery, and arrived at Glenevis, in
the neighbourhood of this fortress, March 3d. About this time, his detachment
took a boat belonging to the
As the siege of Fort-William was the only regular operation of that kind which happened in the continuance of this civil war, a journal of it, as drawn up by an officer employed in the siege, may not be unacceptable to the reader.
Of the Siege of FORT-WILLIAM.
March 14th, The adventurers continuing in the neighbourhood
of Fort-William, and the garrison at last perceiving that they were to undergo
a siege, began to heighten the parapets of their walls, on the side where they
apprehended the attack would be made. This work lasted a whole week, and the
two faces of the bastions were raised
15th, A detachment of the garrison, with some men belonging to the sloops of war before mentioned, went in armed boats to attempt the destroying of Kilmady Barns, commonly called the Corpoch. Stapleton having notice of their motions, and suspecting their intention, sent out a strong party to frustrate it; however, the falling of the tide contributed as much as any thing to the miscarriage of this scheme. Some firing indeed passed on both sides, but little damage was done on either. On the side of the garrison, a sailor was killed, and three men were wounded; the adventurers had five men wounded, four of them mortally.
18th, The Baltimore went up towards Kilmady Barns, in
order to cover the landing of some men for a fresh attempt upon the place. They
threw some cohorn shells, and set one hovel on fire; but the king's party were,
nevertheless, prevented from landing the Adventurer's party firing upon them,
with great advantage, from behind the natural entrenchments of a hollow road or
On the 20th, several parties of the garrison being appointed to protect their turf-diggers, frequent skirmishes happened between them and Stapleton's people; but as both parties skulked behind crags and rocks, so neither received any damage.
The same evening the adventurers opened the siege, discharging at the
fort, 17 royals, or small bombs, of
21st, The adventurers finding that their batteries
were too far off, erected a new one at the foot of the Cow-hill, about
22nd, The besiegers opened their battery of cannon,
from Sugar-loaf hill, consisting only of 3 guns, 6 and 4 pounders, but
discharged only 7 times, and that without doing any damage. About 12 o'clock,
the same day, General Stapleton sent a French drum to the fort, upon whose
approach, and beating a parley, Captain Scott, commander of the garrison, asked
him what he came about? The drummer answered, that General Stapleton, who commanded
the siege, by directions from Ascanius, had sent a letter to the commanding
officer of the garrison requiring him to surrender. To this Captain Scott
replied, I will receive no letters from rebels, and am determined to defend the
fort to the last extremity. The drummer returning to Stapleton with this
answer, a close bombarding ensued on both sides for some hours; but at last the
garrison silenced the besiegers, by beating down their principal battery.
However, about ten that night, they opened another bomb-battery, near the
bottom of the Cow-hill, about
23d, As soon as day light appeared, the garrison fired 23 bombs, 2 cohorns, 2 twelve pounders, 7 six pounders, and 6 swivels, at the besieger's batteries, some of which tore up their platforms. The adventurers, in return, fired as briskly as they were able upon the fort, but it did the besieged no other damage than shooting off the leg of a private soldier.
The same day, about
24th, Neither party fired much, and the garrison employed most part of the day in getting their supplies of provisions on shore.
25th, At day break, Captain Scott sent out a party,
to a place about six miles off, to bring in some cattle. The adventurers fired
very briskly this morning, and the garrison plied them a little with their
mortars and guns. About
26th, The garrison fired slowly at the besieger's batteries on the hills; and, as the latter only fired from two, the former perceived that they had dismounted the third. In the afternoon, the last mentioned party returned with a booty of black cattle and sheep, from the country near Ardshiels, they also brought in four prisoners, one of whom was dangerously wounded; they had likewise burned two villages belonging to one of the chiefs of the adventurers, with the whole estate of the unfortunate Appin.
The same night Captain Scott went out and dammed up some drains near
the walls of the fort, in hopes of rainy weather, to make a small inundation;
and with some prisoners raised the glacis, or rather parapet, to
27th, At day-break, the adventurers opened their new
battery of four embrazures, but only with 3 guns, 6 pounders, with which, however,
they fired very briskly; but the garrison plying them with their mortars and
guns, silenced one of the besieger's guns before
31st, Captain Scott ordered 12 men from each company
to march out to the crags, about
April 3d, The adventurers received orders from Ascanius
to quit the siege immediately, and to join him at
As soon as Captain Scott perceived they had turned their backs on the fort, he detached a party which secured 8 pieces of cannon and 7 mortars, the adventurers not having time to carry off such cumbersome moveables. the miscarriage of this enterprize may be considered as the immediate prelude to the many disasters which afterwards befell the adventurers, one misfortune immediately following upon the heels of another, till their affairs became quite desperate, and their force entirely crushed by the decisive action of Culloden.
The reason of this sudden and hasty retreat of the adventurers from
before Fort-William, was the necessity Ascanius was under of drawing together
all his forces in the neighbourhood of
We have already observed that they were in great distress for money and other necessaries, and waited impatiently for a supply from France, which they hoped (notwithstanding the miscarriage of so many vessels that had been fitted out of Scotland) would soon arrive on board the Hazard sloop, which they had named the Prince Charles Snow, and which they had intelligence was at sea with a considerable quantity of treasure from France, and a number of experienced officers and engineers, who were very much wanted.
March 25th, This long-looked for
vessel arrived in
At the same time that Ascanius employed so many of his forces attacking Fort-William, he sent another body, commanded by Lord George Murray, to make a little attempt upon the castle of Blair, the principal seat of the Duke of Atholl, but of no great force, and in which there was only a small garrison, under the command of Sir Andrew Agnew; which siege, or rather blockade, Lord George raised with the same hurry on the approach of the Earl of Crawford, with a party of English and Hessians, as Stapleton did that of Fort-William, upon the very same day, and from the very same motives.
Having thus, in as clear and succinct a manner possible, run through all the operations of the adventurers, and shown how their several bodies were drawn off, in order to join the corps under Ascanius at Inverness, and enable him to make a stand there, in case the Duke of Cumberland should pay him a visit on that side the Spey; let us now return to the latter, whom we left properly disposed to march as soon as the season and roads would permit, in hopes of putting an end to all the future hopes of Ascanius by one general and decisive action.
The Duke's troops, notwithstanding the severity of the winter, and the fatigues they had endured, by making a double campaign, were at the beginning of April, so well refreshed, and in such excellent order, that they were in all respects fit for service; and so far from apprehending any thing from the impetuosity of the Highland adventurers, or the advantage they had in lying behind a very deep and rapid river, that they showed the greatest eagerness to enter upon action. But, though the Duke encouraged, and took every possible measure to keep up this ardour in his army, yet he acted with great deliberation, and did not move till the weather was settled, when there was no danger that the cavalry should suffer for want of forage.
At length, April 8th, the Georgian army moved from
The noble old Lord pronounced the latter part of his speech with so warm an emphasis, as produced a great effect on the young officers, and even upon Ascanius: however after a long debate, it was resolved to follow the Marquis's advice, and suffer the enemy to pass the river without opposition; in the mean time, Ascanius prepared to attack the Duke. Nor was he disheartened by his enemy's superior numbers, whom, however, he did not despise, though he had already twice vanquished them; and much less did he despise the known valour and capacity of the Duke, aspiring to no greater honour than the vanquishing of so noble an enemy.
Early in the morning of April 12th, fifteen companies of English grenadiers, the Argyleshire and other Highlanders of that party, and all the Duke's cavalry, advanced towards the Spey, under the conduct of the Duke, assisted by Major General Huske. They no sooner arrived on the banks of the river, than the cavalry began to pass it, under cover of two pieces of cannon. Mean time, about 2000 adventurers, who had been posted near to this part of the river, retired as the enemy passed over; and thereupon Ascanius began to call in his out parties, as was before related.
Kingston's horse were the first that forded the river, sustained by
the grenadiers and Highlanders; the foot waded over as fast as they arrived,
and though the water was rapid, and some places so deep that it came up to their
breasts, they went through with great cheerfulness, and without any other loss
than one dragoon and four women. the Duke's army marched to
The memorable battle of Culloden was fought on the 16th of April 1746.
Ascanius had formed a design of surprizing his enemies on the 15th while they
were at Nairn, but was prevented by the vigilance and strict discipline of the
Duke. The scene of battle was a moor not far from
Account of the Battle of Culloden, drawn up by order of his Royal Highness the Duke of
We gave our men a day's halt at Nairn, and on the 16th marched, between four and five, in four columns. The three lines of foot (reckoning the reserve for one) were broken into three from the right, which made three columns equal, and each of five batallions. The artillery and baggage followed the first column on the right and the cavalry made the fourth on the left.
After we had marched about eight miles, our advanced guards composed of about 40 of Kingston's horse, and the Highlanders led on by the Quarter-master-general, observed the rebels at some distance making a motion towards us on the left, upon which we immediately formed; but finding they were still a good way from us, and that the whole body did not come forward, we put ourselves again upon our march in our former posture, and continued it till within a mile of them, when we formed again the same order as before. After reconnoitering their situation, we found them posted behind some old walls and huts in a line with Culloden-house.
As we thought our right entirely secure, General Hawley and General
Bland went to the left with two regiments of dragoons, to endeavour to fall
upon the right flank of the enemy, and
When we were advanced within
We spent about have an hour, after that in trying which should gain
the flank of the other; and, in the mean time, his Royal Highness sent Lord
Bury (son to the Earl of Albemarle) forward, to within
Mean time, General Hawley had, by the help of our Highlanders, beat down two little stone walls, and came in upon the right flank of the enemy's line.
As their whole first line came down to attack all at once, their right somewhat out-flanked Barrel's regiment, which was our left, and the greatest part of the little loss we sustained was there; but Bligh's and Semple's giving a smart fire upon those who had out-flanked Barrel's soon repulsed them, and Barrel's regiment and the left of Monroe's fairly beat them with their bayonets; there was scarce a soldier or officer of Barrel's, or that part of Monroe's which engaged, who did not kill one or two men each, with their bayonets and their pontoons.
The cavalry, which had charged from the right and left, met in the centre, except two squadrons of dragoons, which he missed, and they were going in pursuit of the runaways, Lord Ancram was ordered to pursue with the horse as far as he could; and he did it with so good effect, that a very considerable number were killed in the pursuit.
As we were on our march to Inverness, and were near arrived there, Major General Bland sent a small packet to his Royal Highness, containing the terms of the surrender of the French officers and soldiers whom he found there; which terms were no other than to remain prisoners of war at discretion. Major General Bland had also made great slaughter, and had taken about 50 French officers and soldiers prisoners in the pursuit. By the best calculation that can yet be made, it is thought the rebels lost 2000 men upon the field of battle and in the pursuit.
I have omitted the lists, annexed to the above account, as well for
the sake of brevity, as because they could not be exact at the time, but were
afterwards much enlarged. Among the French prisoners were Brigadier Stapleton,
and Marquis de Giles, (who acted as ambassador from the most Christian King to
Ascanius) Lord Lewis Drummond, and above 40 officers more, who all remained
prisoners at large in the town of
The loss on the side of the victors was but inconsiderable: The only persons of note killed, were Lord Robert Kerr, Captain in Barrel's regiment; Captain Grosset, of Price's; Captain John Campbell, of the Argyleshire militia; besides these, about 50 private men were killed and 240 wounded.
The number of prisoners taken by the English in this signal victory,
were 230 French, and 440 Scots, including a very few English of the adventuring
party, who, unhappily for themselves, had continued in the army of Ascanius
till this fatal day. All the artillery, ammunition, and other military stores
of the adventurers, together with 12 colours, several standards, and amongst
them Ascanius's own, fell into the hands of the victors. The Earl of Kilmarnock
was taken in the action; Lord Balmerino, who at first was reported to be
killed, was taken soon after by the Grants, and delivered up to the English.
Four ladies who had been very active in the service of Ascanius, were likewise
Immediately after the adventurers had quitted the field, Brigadier Mordaunt was detached with 900 of the volunteers into Lord Lovat's country, to reduce the Frasers, and all others who should be found in arms there; and with the like view, other detachments were sent into the estates of most of the adventuring chiefs; which put it entirely out of Ascanius's power afterwards to get together any considerable number of troops. In short, the adventurers who escaped the battle, were now necessitated to separate into small parties, in order to shift the better for themselves.
The Earl of Cromarty was not at the battle. This Lord had been ordered by Ascanius into his own country to raise men and money. But this order proved fatal to the Earl, who, almost at the very instant when Ascanius was defeated at Culloden, was taken prisoner by a party of Lord Rea's men, and a few others, who surprised his Lordship, his son Captain McLeod, and a great many other officers, with above 150 private men; they were conveyed on board the Hound sloop of war and carried to Inverness.
That the reader, whether Englishman, Scotsman, Frenchman, or of any other nation, may know in what light the Georgians, in general, looked upon this important event, I shall quote a reflection from a writer, who though a zealous Whig, has honestly and impartially summed up and repeated, only what was about this time remarked in almost all companies, both public and private.
"Thus, (says he) the flame of this rebellion, which, after being smothered for a time in Scotland, broke out at last with such force as to spread itself into England, and, not without reason, alarmed even London itself, that great metropolis, -- was in a short space totally extinguished by him, who gave the first check to its force, and who, perhaps alone, was capable of performing this service to his country, his father and his king. It is sufficiently known how great a hazard the person runs of displeasing him who praises his Royal Highness, but the regard we owe to truth, justice, and the public, obliges one on this occasion to declare, that Providence particularly made use of him as its most proper instrument in performing this work. He it was who revived the spirits of the people, by the magnanimity of his own behaviour; he, without severity, restored discipline in the army; he prudently suspended his career at Aberdeen till the troops recovered their fatigue, and the season opened a road to victory; he waited with patience, chose with discretion, and most happily and gloriously improved that opportunity which blasted the hopes of the rebels, and has secured to us the present possession and future prospect of the wisest and best-framed constitution, administered by the gentlest and the most indulgent government Europe can boast."
The humility, piety, and humanity! of the Duke of Cumberland, are no less conspicuous and admirable, on this occasion, than his prowess. Humility, when merely constitutional, is a noble qualification: the humble man is generally esteemed by all, and he alone stands fairest for advancement. But this quality is most excellent, when it proceeds from the fear and love of God; for he that, sensible of his own weakness, walks in a constant dependence upon God for every blessing, is sure of his powerful assistance, and of being exalted above every evil in this world, and in that which is to come.
This divine and moral disposition, gives us unspeakable pleasure in those who are eminent in life; so that, to hear or read of a great man speaking humbly of himself, when reflecting upon the mercy and love of God, is matter of greater joy to us, than to hear of his conquering kingdoms.
The signal mercy of our God, in delivering us from those who came to destroy or enslave us, has caused an universal joy, some expressing it one way, and some another; but all join in extolling the Duke of Cumberland as the principal deliverer of his country, under God Almighty. Amidst all these acclamations, how beautiful a scene must it be, to behold his Highness modestly attributing all the glory to God? That this is the case, I think plainly appears from a worthy ejaculation of the Duke's, a little after the late engagement, which I had from good authority.
The rebellion being now suppressed, the legislature resolved to execute justice upon those who dared to disturb the tranquillity of their country.
We proceed now, to give an account of the punishment of the principal
persons who embarked in such a desperate enterprise, the history whereof the
reader has heard. Amongst these, Lord Balmerino, the Earl of Kilmarnock, Lord
Lovat, and Mr. Ratcliff, make the greatest figure. Bills of indictment for high
treason were found against the Earls of Kilmarnock and Cromarty, and Lord
Balmerino. These noblemen were tried by their Peers in Westminster Hall. The
two Earls confessed their crime, but Balmerino pleaded not guilty, and moved a
point of law in arrest of judgment. The point was, that his indictment was in
the country of
The speeches made by the Earls of
May it please your Grace, and my Lords,
I have already, from a due sense of my folly, and the heinousness of those crimes with which I stand charged, confessed myself guilty, and obnoxious to those punishments which the laws of the land have wisely provided for offences of so deep a dye; nor would I have your Lordships to suspect, that what I am now to offer is intended to extenuate those crimes, or palliate my offences; no, I mean only to address myself to your Lordships' merciful disposition, to excite so much compassion in your Lordships' breasts, as to prevail on his Grace, and this honourable house, to intercede with his Majesty for his royal clemency.
Though the situation I am now in, and the folly and rashness which has exposed me to this disgrace, cover me with confusion, when I reflect upon the unsullied honour of my ancestors; yet I cannot help mentioning their unshaken fidelity, and steady loyalty to the crown, as a proper subject to excite that compassion which I am now soliciting. My father was an early and steady friend to the revolution, and was very active in promoting every measure that tended to settle and secure the Protestant succession in these kingdoms; he not only, in his public capacity, promoted thse events, but in his private supported them; and brought me up and endeavoured to instill into my early years, those revolution principles which had always been the rule of his actions.
It had been happy for me, my Lords, that I had been always influenced by his precepts, and acted up to his example: yet, I believe upon the strictest inquiry it will appear, that the whole tenor of my life, from my first entering into the world, to the unhappy minute in which I was seduced to join in this rebellion, has been agreeable to my duty and allegiance, and consistent with the strictest loyalty.
For the truth of this, I need only appeal to the manner in which I have educated my children, the eldest of whom has the honour to bear a commission under his Majesty, and has always behaved like a gentleman; I brought him up in the true principles of the revolution, and an abhorrence of popery and arbitrary power; his behaviour is known to many of this honourable House, therefore, I take the liberty to appeal to your Lordships, if it is possible that my endeavours in his education could have been attended with such success, if I had not myself been sincere in those principles, and an enemy to those measures which have now involved me and my family in ruin. Had my mind at that time been tainted with disloyalty and disaffection, I could not have dissembled to closely with my own family, but some tincture would have devolved to my children.
I have endeavoured as much as my capacity or interest would admit, to be serviceable to the crown on all occasions; and, even at the breaking out of the rebellion, I was so far from approving of their measures, or showing the least proneness to promote their unnatural scheme, that, by my interest in Kilmarnock, and places adjacent, I prevented numbers from joining them, and encouraged the country, as much as possible, to continue firm to their allegiance.
When that unhappy hour arrived, wherein I became a party, which was not till after the battle of Prestonpans, I was far from being a person of any consequence amongst them. I did not buy up any arms, nor raise a single man in their service. I endeavoured to moderate their cruelty, and was happily instrumental in saving the lives of many of his Majesty's loyal subjects, whom they had taken prisoners: I assisted the sick and wounded, and did all in my power to make their confinement tolerable.
I had not been long with them before I saw my error, and reflected with horror on the guilt of swerving from my allegiance to the best of sovereigns; the dishonour that it reflected upon myself, and the fatal ruin which it necessarily brought upon my family. I then determined to leave them, and submit to this Majesty's clemency, as soon as I should have an opportunity: for this I separated from my corps at the battle of Culloden, and stayed to surrender myself a prisoner, though I had frequent opportunities, and might have escaped with great ease; for the truth of which I appeal to the noble person to whom I surrendered.
But, my Lords, I did not endeavour to make my escape, because the consequences in an instant appeared to be more terrible, more shocking, than the most painful, or most ignominious death; I chose therefore to surrender, and commit myself into the king's mercy, rather than throw myself into the hands of a foreign power, the natural enemy to my country; with whom, to have merit, I must persist in continued acts of violence to my principles, and of treason and rebellion against my king and country.
It was with the utmost abhorrence and detestation I have seen a letter from the French court, presuming to dictate to a British monarch the manner how he should deal with his rebellious subjects: I am not so much in love with live, nor so void of a sense of honour, as to expect it upon such an intercession: I depend only on the merciful intercession of this honourable House, and the innate clemency of his Sacred Majesty.
But, my Lords, if all I have offered is not a sufficient motive to your Lordships to induce you to employ your interest with his Majesty, for his royal clemency in my behalf, I shall lay down my life with the utmost resignation; and my last moments shall be employed in fervent prayers for the preservation of the illustrious house of Hanover, and the peace and prosperity of Great Britain.
EARL CROMARTY'S SPEECH
I have now the misfortune to appear before your Lordships, guilty of an offence of such a nature, as justly merits the highest indignation of his Majesty, your Lordships, and the public; and it was from a conviction of my guilt, that I did not presume to trouble your Lordships with any defence. As I have committed treason, it is the last thing I would attempt to justify. My only plea shall be, your Lordships' compassion, my only refuge, his Majesty's clemency. Under this heavy load of affliction, I have still the satisfaction, my Lords, of hoping that my past conduct, before the breaking out of the rebellion, was irreproachable, also my attachment to the present happy establishment, both in church and state; and, in evidence of my affection to the government, upon the breaking out of the rebellion, I appeal to the then commander in chief of his Majesty's forces at Inverness, and to the Lord President of the Court of Session in Scotland, who, I am sure, will do justice to my conduct on that occasion. But, my Lords, notwithstanding my determined resolution in favour of the government, I was unhappily seduced from that loyalty, in an unguarded moment, by the arts of desperate designing men. And it is notorious, my Lords, that no sooner did I awake from that delusion, than I felt a remorse for my departure from my duty; but it was then too late.
Nothing, my Lords, remains, but to throw myself, my life, and my fortune, upon your Lordships' compassion; but of these, my Lords, as to myself, it is the least part of my sufferings, I have involved my eldest son, whose infancy and regard to his parents hurried him down the stream of rebellion. I have involved also eight innocent children, who must needs feel their father's punishment before they know his guilt. Let them, my Lords, be pledges to his Majesty; let them be pledges to your Lordships; let them be pledges to my country, for mercy; let the silent eloquence of their grief and tears; let the powerful language of innocent nature, supply my want of eloquence and persuasion; let me enjoy mercy, but no longer than I deserve it; and let me no longer enjoy life than I shall use it to deface the crime I have been guilty of. Whilst I thus intercede to his Majesty, through the mediation of your Lordships, for mercy, let my remorse for my guilt, as a subject; let the sorrow of my heart, as a husband, and the anguish of my mind, as a father, speak the rest of my misery. As your Lordships are men, feel as men, but may none of you ever suffer the smallest part of my anguish.
But if, after all, my Lords, my safety shall be found inconsistent with that of the public, and nothing but my blood can atone for my unhappy crime; if the sacrifice of my life, my fortune, and my family, is judged indispensably necessary for stopping the loud demands of public justice; and if the bitter cup is not to pass from me; "not mine, but they will, O God, be done."
The court pronounced sentence of death against the whole three; but the life of Cromarty was spared, and his other two associates were ordered to be beheaded.
There is something in the misfortunes of great men which generally attracts attention: we shall not stay here to investigate the philosophic reason of this; perhaps it arises from the contrast betwixt their grandeur and the miseries into which they are plunged, that the generality of mankind are so curious to be informed of every circumstance in their misfortunes. To gratify a curiosity natural to the human mind, we shall give a particular account of the manner of the execution of these unfortunate gentlemen, and some striking circumstances in their behaviour immediately before their death.
day appointed for the execution of
The Lords were conducted into separate apartments in the house, facing the steps of the scaffold; their friends being admitted to see them. The Earl of Kilmarnock was attended by the Rev. Mr. Foster, a dissenting minister, and the Rev. Mr. Hume, a near relation to the Earl of Hume; the chaplain of the Tower, and another clergyman of the church of England, accompanied Lord Balmerino; who, on entering the door of the house, hearing several of the spectators ask eagerly, which is Lord Balmerino? answered smiling, I am Lord Balmerino, Gentlemen, at your service. The parlour and passage of the house, the rails enclosing the way from thence to the scaffold, and rails about it, were all hung with black at the sheriffs' expense.
The Lord Kilmarnock, in the apartment allotted to him, spent about an hour in his devotions with Mr. Foster, who assisted him in prayer and exhortation.
After which, Lord Balmerino, pursuant to his request, being admitted to confer with the Earl, first thanked him for the favour, and then asked, "if his Lordship knew of any order signed by the prince, (meaning the Pretender's son) to give no quarter at the battle of Culloden?" On the Earl answering, "No," the Lord Balmerino added, "Nor I neither," and therefore it seems to be an invention to justify their own murders." The Earl replied, "he did not think this a fair inference, because he was informed, after he was taken prisoner at Inverness, by several officers, that such an order, signed George Murray, was in the Duke's custody." -- "George Murray!" said Lord Balmerino, "then they should not charge it on the Prince." Then he took his leave, embracing Lord Kilmarnock with the same kind of noble and generous compliments, as he had used before; "My dear Lord Kilmarnock, I am only sorrow that I cannot pay this reckoning alone; once more farewell forever!" and returned to his own room.
Then the Earl, with the company, kneeled down, joining in a prayer delivered by Mr. Foster, after which, having sat a few moments, and taken a second refreshment of a bit of bread and a glass of wine, he expressed a desire that Lord Balmerino might go first to the scaffold; but being informed that this could not be, as his Lordship was named first in the warrant, he appeared satisfied, saluted his friends, saying he should make no speech on the scaffold, but desired the ministers to assist him in his last moments: and they, accordingly, with other friends, proceeded with him to the scaffold. On this awful occasion, the multitude, who had been waiting with expectation, on his first appearing on the scaffold, dressed in black, with a countenance and demeanor testifying great contrition, showed the deepest signs of commiseration and pity; and his Lordship, at the same time, being struck with such a variety of dreadful objects at once, the multitude, the block, the coffin, the executioner, and instrument of death, turned about to Mr. Hume, and said, Hume! this is terrible; though without changing his voice or countenance.
After putting up a short prayer, concluding with a petition for his Majesty King George, and the Royal Family, in verification of his declaration in his speech, his Lordship embraced and took his last leave of his friends. The executioner, who before had something administered to keep him from fainting, was so affected with his Lordship's distress and the awfulness of the scene, that on asking him forgiveness, he burst into tears. My Lord bade him take courage, giving him at the same time a purse with five guineas, and telling him he would drop his handkerchief as a signal for the stroke. He proceeded, with the help of his gentleman, to make ready for the block, by taking off his coat, and the bag from his hair, which was then tucked up under a napkin-cap; but this being made up so wide as not to keep up his long hair, the making it less occasioned a little delay; his neck being laid bare, tucking down the collar of his shirt and waistcoat, he kneeled down on a black cushion at the block, and drew his cap over his eyes, in doing which, as well as in putting up his hair, his hands were observed to shake; but, either to support himself, or as a more convenient posture for devotion, he happened to lay both his hands upon the block, which the executioner observing, prayed his Lordship to let them fall, lest they should be mangled or break the blow. He was then told that the neck of his waistcoat was in the way, upon which he rose, and, with the help of a friend, took it off, and the neck being made bare to the shoulders, he kneeled down as before. ----In the meantime, when all things were ready for the execution, and the black bays which hung over the rails of the scaffold, having, by direction of the colonel of the guard, or the sheriffs, been turned up, that the people might see all the circumstances of the execution; in about two minutes (the time he before fixed), after he kneeled down, his Lordship dropping his handkerchief the executioner at once severed his head from his body, except only a small part of the skin, which was immediately divided by a gentle stroke: the head was received in a piece of red bays, and, with the body, immediately put into the coffin. The scaffold was then cleared from the blood, fresh saw dust strewed, and that no appearance of a former execution might remain, the executioner changed such of his clothes as appeared bloody.
In the account, said to be published by the authority of the sheriffs, it is asserted, that the Lord Kilmarnock requested his head might not be held up as usual, and declared to be the head of a traitor; and that, for this reason, that part of the ceremony was omitted, as the sentence and law did not require it: but we are assured, in Mr. Foster's account, that his Lordship made no such request; and further, that, when he was informed that his head would be held up, and such proclamation made, it did not affect him, and he spoke of it as a matter of no moment. All that he wished or desired was, 1. That the executioner might not be, as represented to his Lordship, a good sort of man, thinking a rough temper would be fitter for the purpose. 2. That his coffin, instead of remaining in the hearse, might be set upon the stage. 3. That four persons might be appointed to receive the head, that it might not roll about the stage, but be speedily, with his body, put into the coffin.
While this was doing, Lord Balmerino, after having solemnly recommended himself to the mercy of the Almighty, conversed cheerfully with his friends, refreshing himself twice with a bit of bread and a glass of wine, and desired the company to drink to him ain degrae ta haiven, acquainting them that he had prepared a speech, which he should read on the scaffold, and therefore should here say nothing of its contents. The under-sheriff coming into his Lordship's apartment, to let him know the stage was ready, he prevented him, by immediately asking, if the affair was over with Lord Kilmarnock? and being answered, it was; he inquired, how the executioner performed his office? and upon receiving the account, said, It was well done; then addressing himself to the company said, Gentlemen, I shall detain you no longer; and, with an easy, unaffected cheerfulness, he saluted his friends, and hastened to the scaffold, which he mounted with so easy an air as astonished the spectators. His Lordship was dressed in his regimentals, a blue coat turned up with red, trimmed with brass buttons, (and a tye wig) the same which he wore at the battle of Culloden; no circumstance in his whole deportment showed the least sign of fear or regret, and he frequently reproved his friends for discovering either upon his account. He walked several times round the scaffold, bowed to the people, went to his coffin, read the inscription, and with a nod, said, It is right; he then examined the block, which he called his pillow of rest. His Lordship putting on his spectacles, and taking a paper out of his pocket, read it with an audible voice, which, so far from being filled with passionate invective, mentioned his Majesty as a Prince of the greatest magnanimity and mercy, at the same time, that through erroneous political principles, it denied him a right to the allegiance of his people. Having delivered this paper to the sheriff, he called for the executioner, who appearing, and being about to ask his Lordship's pardon, he said, "Friend, you need not ask me forgiveness, the execution of your duty is commendable," on which is Lordship gave him three guineas, saying, "Friend, I never was rich, this is all the money I have now, I wish it were more, and I am sorry I can add nothing to it but my coat and waistcoat," which he then took off, together with his neck cloth, and threw them on his coffin; putting on a flannel waistcoat which had been provided for the purpose, and then taking a plaid-cap out of his pocket, he put it on his head, saying, he died a Scotsman; after kneeling down at the block, to adjust his posture, and show the executioner the signal for the stroke, which was dropping his arms, he once more turned to his friends, took his last farewell, and looking round on the crowd, said, "Perhaps some may think my behaviour too bold, but remember, Sir, (said he to a gentleman who stood near him) that I now declare, it is the effect of confidence in God and a good conscience, and I should dissemble if I showed signs of fear."
Observing the axe in the executioner's hand, as he passed him, he took it from him, felt the edge, and returning it, clapped him on the shoulder, to encourage him; tucked down the collar of his shirt and waistcoat, and showed him where to strike, desiring him to do it resolutely, for in that, says his Lordship, will consist your kindness.
He went to the side of the stage, and called up the warder, to whom he gave some money asked which was the hearse, and ordered the man to drive near.
Immediately, without trembling or changing countenance, he again knelt down at the block and having, with his arms stretched out, said "O Lord, reward my friends, forgive my enemies, -- and receive my soul," he gave the signal by letting them fall: but his uncommon firmness and intrepidity, and the unexpected suddenness of the signal, so surprised the executioner, that though he struck the part directed, the blow was not given with strength enough to wound him very deep; on which seemed as if he made an effort to turn his head towards the executioner, and the under jaw he and returned very quick, like anger and gnashing his teeth; but it could not be other way the part being convulsed. A second blow immediately succeeding the first, rendered him, however, quite insensible, and a third finished the work.
His head was received in a piece of red bays and with his body put into the coffin, which at his particular request, was placed on that of the church in the Tower, all the three Lords lying in one grave.
During the whole course of the solemnity, although the hill, scaffoldings, and houses, were crowded full of spectators, all persons behaved with uncommon decency, and evenness of temper, which evinces how much the people entered into the rectitude of the execution, though too humane to rejoice in the catastrophe.
Balmerino had but a small estate, though ground-landlord and lord of the manor
of Calton, a long street in the suburbs of Edinburgh, leading to Leith, and had
also some other small possessions in the shire of Fife. His lady came to
Several more of his sayings were related, as remarkable: among others, that being advised to take care of his person, he replied, "It would be thought very imprudent in a man to repair an old house when the lease of it was so near expiring."
November following, Ratcliff was arraigned on a former sentence passed against
him in 1716. He pleaded that he was a subject of the king of
Carolus Ratcliff, Comes de Derwentwater,
Decollatus, Die 8 Decembris 1746.
Requiescat in Pace.
It seems the Derwentwater estate was only confiscated to the crown for the life of Charles Ratcliff, Esq. but by a clause in an act of parliament, passed some years since, which says, that the issue of any person attainted of high treason, born and bred in any foreign dominion, and a Roman Catholic, shall forfeit his reversion of such estate, and the remainder shall forever be fixed in the crown, his son is absolutely deprived of any title of interest in the affluent fortune of that ancient family, to the amount of better than £200,000.
This unhappy gentleman was the youngest brother of James Earl of Derwentwater, who was executed in 1716; they were sons of Sir Francis Ratcliff, by the Lady Mary Tudor, natural daughter to K. Charles II. by Mrs. Mary Davis.
He was, with his brother, taken at Preston, tried, convicted, and condemned, but several times respited, and probably would have been pardoned, had he not, with thirteen others, made his escape out of a room called the Castle, in Newgate, through a small door which had been accidentally left open, leading to the master-side debtors, where the turnkey (not knowing them) let them out of prison, supposing they were persons who had come to see their friends.
He immediately got a passage to France, and from thence followed the Pretender to Rome, subsisting on such a petty pension as his master could allow him.----But, returning sometime afterwards to Paris, he married the relict of Livingston, Lord Newbourgh, by whom he had a son.
1733 he came to
He died in the principles in which he had lived, and was so zealous a papist, that on the absurdities of some things which are held sacred by the church of Rome being stated to him, he replied, "That for every tenet of that church, repugnant to reason, in which she requires an implicit belief, he wished there were twenty, that he might thereby have a nobler opportunity of exercising and displaying his faith."
Lord Lovat was impeached by the Commons. After the articles of impeachment were read to him, he made a long speech at the bar, signifying the esteem he had for his Majesty and the Royal Family; and enumerated divers instances of great service he did the government in extinguishing the rebellion in 1715. He likewise took notice of his infirmities, particularly, his deafness; and said he had not heard one word of the charge against him. He was convicted on the evidence of his own domestics, and accordingly condemned to be beheaded. He was turned of fourscore, and, notwithstanding his age and infirmities, the recollection of his conscience, (which was supposed not to be quite free of offence) he died like an old Roman, exclaiming, dulce et decorum propatria mori; i.e. it is pleasant and glorious to die a patriot. He surveyed the crowd with the utmost indifference. From this last scene of his life, one would have concluded that he went on principles, that he was thoroughly persuaded he died a martyr and that he had a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man.
Besides these, there were several others of less distinction, convicted and executed; seventeen officers of the rebel army were hanged at Kennington common, near London; nine were put to death in the same manner at Carlisle, six at Brampton, seven at Penrith, and eleven at York; some few obtained pardons, and a considerable number were transported to the plantations. There were some circumstances in the manner of the execution of some of the criminals, on this occasion, which cannot but give offence to a humane and delicate mind; before they were quite dead, they were cut down from the gallows, their heads severed from their bodies, their bowels and heart torn out, and some of them thrown into a fire: perhaps this was rather cruelty than justice; and yet, if we consider the rather extraordinary circumstances of their crimes, these things were in some measure necessary; not, indeed, when considered under the notion of justice executed upon the criminals, but to give all a dreadful impression of the heinousness of the crime of rebellion against the state, and thereby deter them from all such treasonable practices.
Pity it is, that, in some instances, there should be a clashing betwixt the feelings of humanity and those of self preservation. ---Shocking as the circumstances of the execution were, yet we find, that at the time many of the spectators gave loud shouts of applause: the triumph of ignoble souls, uninspired by sentiment, and insensible to the tender and delicate feelings of humanity! The mind, indeed, must necessarily disapprove the crime, and condemn the criminal; but, to give shouts of applause at the sufferings of our fellow-creatures, betrays a rude and savage disposition: however, indeed, it was scarce to be expected, that the blind English mob, who are stupid and insensible to everything, should possess the finer feelings of the heart.
 His Lordship, afterwards, (that he might not die with an untruth) owned this to be a false state of the fact, with a view to excite compassion; for, thinking that he was advancing towards Fitz-James's horse, he intended to get behind a dragoon, to facilitate his escape.
 At the foot of the first stairs he met and embraced Lord Balmerino, who gravely (as Mr. Foster observed) said to him, "My Lord, I am heartily sorry to have your company in this expedition."
 His person was tall and graceful, his countenance mild, and his complexion pale; and more so as he had been indisposed.
 If we were to draw his character, abstracted from the consideration of his being an enemy to the present happy government, we should call him a blunt, resolute man; who would, if his principles had not been tainted with Jacobinism, have appeared honest in the eyes of those who love sincerity; but he was not so happy as to be loyal. His person was very plain, his shape clumsy, but his make strong, and had no marks about him of the polite gentleman, though his seeming sincerity recompensed all those defects. He was illiterate, considering this birth, but rather from a total want of application to letters than want of ability. Several quaint stories are related concerning him, which seem to be the growth of wanton and fertile imaginations; which is not at all to be wondered at, in times that afford so much matter for invention. He left a lady behind him (whom he called his Peggy), to whom, at his request, his Majesty allowed £50 a year; whether he had any children, we are not able to say.
 The same blind, stupid, and insensible turn of mind seems to run through the rabble of every nation.