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The allusion already made to the differences between Argyle and Marlborough, is to be further illustrated by the fact, that although associated together in the field of battle abroad, and in the cabinet at home, still they were far from according in strategic opinions, or concurring in political measures. Whether this personal opposition took its rise from any jealousy of rivalship in the breast of Argyle; or whether it was dictated by a sense of the impropriety of that secret influence generally ascribed to Marlborough; or whether again it proceeded from a feeling of the reasonable colour which some of the peculatory charges against the commander-in-chief assumed, it were now difficult to determine. It is probable that each of these causes had an influence over his conduct, and it is certain that he was not only among the first to speak against Marlborough in the House of Commons, but that he also caused the rejection of the last vote which was proposed in the House of Lords, as an acknowledgment of the lustre which the talented achievements of the former had, for so many years, shed over the history of England. Such a statement as this must ever excite a melancholy conviction of the instability of mortal greatness, and more than that, an indignant sense of the gracelessness and injustice which must always tarnish the annals of that country, in which the reins of government are incessantly contended for by political leaguers professing adverse principles. Party must invariably swell into faction when power is likely either to be gained, or to be lost. In that case, reason is perverted, and virtue misrepresented; no merit is then appreciated, and no services are rewarded : the end justifies the means; the ascendancy of the hour extenuates every vice; and the brilliancy of success wraps a web of glossy show over the crimes by which it is attained. Such were the circumstances that characterized the treatment of Marlborough. After having been, during the greater part of his life, extolled by the people, and caressed by their representatives, he sunk on a sudden into the common object of popular enmity and parliamentary censure; and that, too, although no variation was marked in the quality of his talents, or the quantity of his success. All the victories he had won, and all the forts he had reduced ; all the genius he had displayed, and all the services he had performed, --nothing was allowed to interpose or polish down the asperity of his fall; and he died with only the
memory of a happy fame to solace the bitterness of an unfortunate notoriety. Such, and so foul, are the features of popularity: let the aspirants to greatness shun the intriguing depths of party by which Marlborough rose ; and even the greatest fear the arts of faction, amidst which he so often fluctuated, and was at last 'meanly ruined.
Much attention was naturally excited by Argyle, first by the gallantry he evinced in personally adding to the celebrity of Marlborough’s battles, and then by disputing the degree of favour which such exploits deserved. His own conduct upon military occasions had obtained his advance to the coronet of a dukedom, and he was further vested with many other offices, which are generally estimated as so many acknowledgments of capacity and proofs of royal confidence. Thus, after being made a member of the Privy Council, captain of the Scotch Horse Guards, an extraordinary Lord of the Scotch Sessions; and, upon the revival of the order, installed a Knight of the Thistle; he was nominated High Commissioner of the Scotch Parliament, and intrusted with the management of the celebrated Union between the administrations of his native kingdom and England. This was a measure most odious to the people of Scotland, and in the prosecution of it, no light broke in upon him from those praises which must have so often relieved the breast of his opponent, Marlborough, when making his best efforts for the service of his country. The fury of the rabble rose to actual violence; and there was required as much of prudence and firmness to restrain them from arms, as there were demanded policy and talents to work the law through the two houses. But, however difficult the steps by which the Union was advanced, that it terminated most favourably, is universally known; and Argyle, for the active share he had in the success of the question, was upon his return to London, created an English peer, by the titles of Baron Chatham, and Earl of Greenwich.
George I. now ascended the throne ; the Tories were every where displaced, and the Whigs alone entrusted with the posts of influence and emolument. The successful party immediately determined to make their late opponents feel the strength of superiority; and impeachments, menaces and exile, were the instru* ments of revenge as unwisely as injuriously put into force. To this uncompromising policy has been generally attributed an event which again called Argyle into arms, and enabled him to give fresh proofs of his own talents, and the attachment he felt to the constitution as recently confirmed. Driven to despair by the implacability of the Whigs, the Tories fled to the court of the Pretender in France, and exerted all their influence to induce him to gain the acquiescence and support of Louis XIV. in an attempt to dislodge the house of Hanover from the throne of England. The rebellion of 1715 was thus determined upon; and King George had scarcely seen the first year of his reign, when the Earl of Mar proclaimed James II. once more monarch ; and the highlands of Scotland rose in mass to support the claim. At the head of this band, Mar advanced down upon the South, and increased his ranks as he marched ; the Lords Kenmure, Nithsdale, Cornwath, and Derwentwater, mustered their adherents and espoused the old cause; so that, ere long, every county, from Cromarty to the Frith of Forth, was secured in the interests of rebellion.
To avoid the dangers of too precipitate an advance, the insurgents took up a station upon the Forti, while 2500 men under Mackintosh, were despatched to take possession of Edinburgh. Matters had already taken so formidable a state as this before the preparations of the English cabinet were brought into effect. Nothing more decisive, however, had occurred, before the Duke of Argyle, with many other Scottish lords, arrived in Scotland, vested with the authority of commander-in-chief. No exertion was now left unassayed to quell the progress of the war; and great as hitherto had been the popularity of the insurrection, the earnests of hostility to it soon became equally auspicious to the cause of George.
Argyle, who had marched to Stirling, to prevent Mar from passing over the Forth, upon hearing of the approach of Mackintosh towards the capital, fled to its defence. The latter then turned his route towards Leith, took possession of the fortress of Cromwell, and provided himself with some ammunition and cannon from the ships in the harbour; so that had not Mar neglected to seize this moment, to pass the Forth, gain the castle of Stirling, and then follow Argyle to Edinburgh, all Scotland would soon have been in possession of the rebels. But, disappointed in the reinforcements expected from the city of Edinburgh, deprived of
ordnance and provisions, and dreading that he might be surrounded, Mackintosh evacuated fort Cromwell by night, and took refuge in Seaton House, the castle of the Earl of Winton. Upon this retreat, Argyle received intelligence that Mar, with ten thousand men, had advanced to Dumblane, and threatened to take Stirling, which stood as a key to the southern counties.
During these transactions in the north, Kenmure, with what forces he could collect, marched into England, and, after several enterprises, reached Preston, and fortified himself in that town. Against him General Wills was sent down from London; but so carelessly indifferent was Forest, the rebel commander, that Wills was almost within sight of the town, before he had received any intelligence of his movements. At a small distance from Preston runs the river Ribble, which was only passable by a bridge, which could have been defended by a small force against a great army. Here Colonel Farquharson posted himself with a detachment of highlanders; but, by some infatuation, he was called off from the defence of the bridge, and the passage was thus left open to the royal army. The rebels then prepared to defend themselves in the town; and the battle began with terrible fury upon both sides. Mackintosh and Lord Murray, with the highlanders, met the charges of their foes with firmness. In every quarter where they acted, uncommon valour and intrepidity were displayed. When Farquharson was mortally wounded, and a glass of brandy was brought to him to sustain his fainting spirits, he drank gaily to the Pretender's health, saying, “I wish him success, my lads, though sorry I can do no more to serve him.” Lord Murray, who, through all the march, had walked on foot, and passed through rivers at the head of his men, now acted the part of a brave commander, and performed deeds that animated all around him. The arrival of General Carpenter to the aid of Wills gave new fury to the contest; until the rebels, becoming surrounded by superior numbers, were constrained to surrender at discretion.
While this defeat occurred in the South, their affairs began to assume an unfavourable aspect in the North. Fraser of Lovat, whom the house of Athol had driven into the interest of the Pretender, and afterwards covered with ignominy, and banished to a remote province of France, embraced this opportunity to reconcile himself to government, by engaging to repair to the north, and raise his followers against the prince, by whom he had been so cruelly and so ungenerously persecuted. His offers were accepted, and he realized his pretensions. He was seconded by the Grants, and the vassals of Sutherland, and soon changed the aspect of the rebellion. Meanwhile, Argyle received abundant supplies of money, artillery, ammunition, and all the necessaries of war. On the contrary, Mar could not arm all those who repaired to his standard; nor could he, without great difficulty, find provision and forage. The arrival of the Pretender himself was delayed ; and no supplies were received from him; while no intelligence of the arrival of Ormond, nor of the general insurrection in England, nor of the success of the Southern expedition, came to animate Mar and his men.
The latter now perceived that to remain any longer inactive, would be to ruin the whole undertaking; and in a council of war, it was, therefore, determined to give Argyle battle. It was resolved to send a detachment to Stirling Bridge; and, at two fords, one above and the othér below, to make a feint to pass the river, while the main army should actually cross a little above, and rush down upon the southern counties: thus should Argyle pursue the main army, then the detachment might either seize the passes to the castle, or attack the rear of the royal troops.
But these skilful plans were disconcerted by the spies which Argyle had obtained among the followers of the insurgents. Leaving, therefore, a sufficient number to defend Stirling, with the rest of the army he hastened to attack them in the vicinity of Dumblane. The rebels moved on, intending to take possession of the town, but, much to their disappointment, found it occupied by foes. According to this discovery, Mar changed the scene of his encampment, and rested all night under arms, in the confident hope of victory upon the ensuing day, since Argyle had abandoned all his local advantages.
In the morning, Mar drew out his army, which consisted of about nine thousand men, upon Sheriffmuir, in the best possible manner. Argyle was not less dexterous in forming his ranks, which were greatly inferior in number to the enemy, but better provided with every thing necessary to give full «ffect to their loyalty and