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The court of France having fairly committed themselves, issued a declaration of war against the king of England, wherein he was taxed with having dissuaded the emperor from entertaining any thoughts of accommodating his differences with France; of having infringed the treaty of Hanover; of having exercised acts of the most cruel and barbarous piracy upon the subjects of France; and of having dared to undertake to come and block up the port of Toulon, stopping all ships, seizing upon their whole cargoes, carrying off likewise the recruits and ammunition his majesty was sending to his different fortresses. This was followed, in a few days, by a like declaration on the part of England against France, which was published at London on the thirty-first of March, 1744, amidst the acclamations of the people.*
In consequence of the above events, a bill was brought into the house of commons, denouncing the penalties of high treason against all who should maintain any correspondence with the sons of the pretender. In the upper house, it was moved by the lord chancellor Hardwicke, that a clause should be inserted, extending the crime of treason to the posterity of the offenders, during the lives of the pretender's sons. This motion produced a warm debate, in which the duke of Bedford, the earl of Chesterfield, and the lords Talbot and Harvey, argued against it as an illiberal expedient, contrary to the dictates of humanity, the law of nature, the rules of common justice, and the precepts of religion; an expedient that would involve the innocent with the guilty, and tend materially to the augmentation of ministerial power, for which purpose it was undoubtedly designed; but being supported by the whole strength of the ministry, it was carried in the affirmative. When sent back to the commons, the amendment was vigorously opposed by lord Strange, lord Guernsey, Mr. William Pitt, and other members, by whom the bill in its original form had been strenuously supported; but it still found a majority, passed the house, and received the royal assent.t
The session was closed on the twelfth of May, when his majesty made the following speech :" My Lords and Gentle
. * History of England, &c.
men, I cannot put an end to this session, without returning you my hearty thanks for the many demonstrations you have given me, during the course of it, of your good affections, and of your zeal for the support of my government.
“ The great preparations made by France, on the side of the Austrian Netherlands, must convince all Europe of the ambitious and destructive views of that crown, in beginning the present war. It shall be my care, in conjunction with my allies, to pursue the most proper measures to disappoint them, and to prosecute the war in such a manner as may be most effectual for procuring a safe and honourable peace. My good friends, the states general, have already, in pursuance of my requisition, agreed to furnish the succours stipulated by our treaties; and I have received the strongest assurances of their just sense, not only of the common danger, but also of the inseparable connexion of their interests with those of this kingdom, which I shall not fail to improve for the general good of the common cause.
“Gentlemen of the house of commons, The great readiness and regard to the public service which you have shown, in granting the supplies for the current year, are highly acceptable to me. You may depend upon it, that they shall be strictly applied to the ends for which they were given, and in such manner as may be most for the honour and advantage of Great Britain.
« My lords and Gentlemen, -Let me earnestly recommend to you, in your several stations, to be vigilant in preserving the peace and good order of the kingdom. I promise myself you will seriously consider, that in the present conjuncture you are particularly called upon by all the motives of duty and interest, to stir up, and to cultivate in the minds of my people, an hearty and more than ordinary zeal for the maintenance and defence of our holy religion, and excellent constitution, against the malicious designs of our enemies.”
On the fifth of June, three men, Sir Hector M‘Lean, with his servant Lauchlan M‘Lean, and George Bleau, of Castlebill, were apprehended in Edinburgh, on suspicion of being in the French service, and of enlisting men there. After being examined by his majesty's advocate, and some gentlemen of the
army, they were committed to prison, and some time afterward sent under a strong guard to London, where they again underwent a long examination; but it does not appear that any thing material was elicited, or that the government were awakened by the circumstance to any additional vigilance with regard to Scotland. All eyes were fixed upon the continent, and the cabinet, instead of providing for what there was every reason to think was preparing, an insurrection in Scotland, were, by the violence of their dissensions, ripening for a new revolution among themselves.
Lord Carteret, now earl Granville, had engrossed so much of the royal favour, as to have become an object of jealousy to the duke of Newcastle and his brother, and, from the sycophantish obsequency of his conduct, of contempt to the people, of whom, while he stood in the front of opposition, he had been the darling idol. Newcastle and his brother were at this time considerably in favour with the mob, and their parliamentary interest was very great. Knowing their own strength, they entered into a political alliance, which was dignified by the name of “ broad-bottomed,” against the minister and his measures, who, foreseeing the impossibility of withstanding such · an opposition in parliament, avoided, by a voluntary resignation of his employments, the danger of the combat, and the disgrace of a defeat. Lord Harrington succeeded him as secretary of state.
The duke of Bedford was appointed first lord of the admiralty, and the polished earl of Chesterfield lord lieutenant of Ireland. The lords Cobham and Gower, were re-established in the offices they had resigned, and Mr. afterwards lord Lyttleton, was admitted as a commissioner of the treasury. Though this proved to be a change of men rather than of measures, it turned out to be so far an advantage to the sovereign, as his views were no longer thwarted in parliament by a turbulent and obstinate opposition.
The parliament was opened in the month of November, and after granting whatever supplies had been demanded, and discussing other matters that came before it, was prorogued in the month of May, 1745, when his majesty immediately set out for
• History of England, &c.
Hanover. It was in the same month that the British troops, under the duke of Cumberland, sustained a memorable and fatal defeat at Fontenoy. This defeat in all probability determined the son of the pretender to adopt, contrary to the advice of his best friends, the desperate expedient of throwing himself, and the fortunes of his house, upon the energies of the clans scattered over the Highlands of Scotland, without any portion of the stipulated foreign assistance, or any well-grounded hope of friendly co-operation further than early success might induce their more wealthy, and therefore more selfish and less daring brethren of the south to bestow. This frantic attempt, which had its origin in ignorance and temerity, and from the imbecility with which it was met had well nigh succeeded, it will now be our business shortly to detail.
Cut off by local situation for a great part of the year, and at all times by a language but partially, and in most cases not at all understood by their neighbours, from the pleasure of free and unrestricted intercourse with them, the Highlanders had as yet partaken of none of the benefits which the progress of knowledge was in a greater or lesser degree bestowing upon all their fellow-subjects. In a state of servitude the most deep, and of dependance the most perfect, they were not the most miserable of mortals, only because the services upon which their superiors employed them, did not necessarily make them so. To toil in useful employment, or for valuable purposes, to any extent, they were not required, but murder and robbery they were at all times ready to perpetrate, when their own wants, or the will of their chiefs impelled them-and it was these actions alone that called forth their energies. Every other employment they held in contempt, and their existence was, for the most part, devoured by hunger and sloth. Fletcher of Salton observed most justly of them in his day, and they had improved nothing at the time of which we write,~" They are all gentlemen, only because they will not work, and in every thing are more contemptible than the vilest slaves, except that they always carry arms, because for the most part they live upon robbery.” Their arms, their endurance of hunger, and their laziness, indeed, were the chief sources of their pride; and the meanest pigmy belonging to a clan, burrowing like an Afri
can Boscheman in a cavern of the rock, or, for laziness to excavate the rock, in a hillock of turf, with his garment of hair dipped in a dirty dye, compounded from the steepings of heath flowers and moss, and his miserable pittance of drummock, scantily procured by stealing, could look with scorn upon the man who was comfortably lodged, decently clothed, and fed to the full by honest and useful industry. Ignorant of all the arts of civilized life, they yet, like all other slaves and semi-barbarians, living among perpetual jealousies, feuds, depredations and thefts, possessed a sagacity and cunning utterly unknown and unaccountable to men living under the protection of regular government, and amid the common exercise of the various charities of life.
Their chieftains, each of whom exercised an absolute and unlimited control over the lives and the actions of all his retainers, on the contrary, lived in all the stateliness, and, as far as circumstances would permit, in all the luxuriousness of eastern monarchs; and to support this stateliness, and provide the means of this luxuriousness, was the whole business of their lives. Of their followers, their sole care was to keep up or to increase their number, and to secure their unlimited obedience, by heightening their dependance. For this purpose they were studiously taught to look upon all manner of industry as degrading, to despise all improvement, and to regard every thing as below their dignity, save the profession of arms, in which, as it was the only resource themselves and their chiefs could in most instances depend upon, they were carefully initiated from their earliest infancy. They inhabited straths that were fruitful, or by the hand of patient industry could easily have been made so; and in the teeming lakes and rivers with which these straths were intersected, they possessed the staple of an enriching traffic altogether inexhaustible, and by encouraging and directing their energies into these channels, their chieftains might not indeed have been kings, but they would have been the fathers and the benefactors of a flourishing, a virtuous, and a happy people.
This, however, did not comport either with their pride or their policy. Once enamoured of the spade, the plough, the net, and the oar, their followers would have felt themselves