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and the best part of your clan to join the pretender, with as little concern as if no danger had attended such a step; I say sent them away, for we are not to imagine they went of themselves, or would have ventured to take arms without your lordship’s concurrence and approbation. This, however, you are pretty sure cannot be easily proved, which I indeed believe may be true.
But I cannot think it will be a difficult matter to make it appear, that the whole strain of your lordship’s conversation in every company where you have appeared since the pretender's arrival, has tended to pervert the minds of his majesty's subjects, and seduce them from their allegiance; and give me leave to tell you, my lord, even this falls under the construction of treason, and is no less liable to punishment than open rebellion, as I am afraid your lordship will find when once this insurrection is crushed, and the government at leisure to examine into the affair. And I am sorry to tell you, my lord, that I could sooner undertake to plead the cause of any one of these unhappy gentlemen, who are just now actually in arms against his majesty, and I could say more in defence of their conduct than I could say in defence of your lordship’s. The duke of Perth, and lord Ogilvy, never qualified, nor did they ever receive the smallest favour from the present govern ment, but on the contrary were both stripped of their titles and honours, and from men of the first quality, reduced to the state of private gentlemen since the revolution, and may both be supposed to act from a principle of resentment, and only took up arms to recover what they thought themselves unjustly deprived of. Lord George Murray never had any place or pension from the public, and was no doubt drawn in by the influence of the marquis of Tullibardine; perhaps touched with pity and commiseration for his eldest brother, who bas spent the best part of his life in exile, and undoubtedly upon an allowance much inferior to his dignity. These, and such like apologies, may be offered in defence of most of the leading men in the present rebellion—but what shall I say in favour of you, iny lord. You who have flourished under the present happy establishmentyou who in the beginning of your days forfeited both your life and fortune, and yet, by the benignity of the government, was not only indulged the liberty of living at home, but even restored
to all you could lay claim to; nay, his majesty's goodness went so far as to employ your lordship in his service, and was pleased to honour you with the command of one of the independent companies that were raised some years ago in the Highlands, which you enjoyed for a very long time, so that both duty and gratitude ought to have influenced your lordship’s conduct at this critical juncture, and disposed you to have acted a part quite different from what you have done. But there are some men whom no duty can bind, nor no favour can oblige; and I am afraid, if a timely repentance do not prevent it, your lordship will not unjustly be ranked among that number. You now see, my lord, how unanimous the people of England are against the pretender, and what forces they are mustering to oppose him. The king has ordered home his troops, several noblemen have raised regiments at their own expense, and every county and corporation throughout the kingdom are entering into associations in defence of the present establishment; so that these few unhappy gentlemen who are engaged in this rebellion, will have armies after armies to encounter, and if your lordship entertains any hope of their success, you'll find your mistake when it is too late to amend it. What I would therefore propose to your lordship, as the only expedient left to rescue you from the hazard of a rigorous prosecution, is to recal your son and his men immediately. This step, I am persuaded, would produce several good consequences; for on the one hand, it would prevent many from joining the rebels, who now hang in suspense—and on the other, occasion a great many of those already engaged to desert, and retire to their respective habitations, and perhaps may be the means of crushing the rebellion without farther bloodshed, which would do your lordship a great deal of honour, and such a remarkable piece of service would be amply rewarded by the government. If you shall judge it proper, my lord, to follow this advice, it will give me a great deal of pleasure, as it will contribute to stop the progress of an unhappy civil war, that threatens us with endless calamities; but if your lordship continues obstinate, and will not order your men to disband and return home, I shall be obliged to take you into custody, be the event what it will, and then your lordship will run the risk of having your family extirpate,
as well as other of the Highland chiefs, when the rebellion is once quelled. Now, my lord, I have told you my sentiments pretty freely, and no less out of friendship to your lordship, than duty to the public. I might have advanced many other arguments to induce your lordship to follow my advice, but methinks what I have already said is sufficient, and so I shall,” &c.*
Not at all damped by the honest plainness of this letter, Lovat answered it boldly, repeating the tale of his son's obstinacy, boasting of his own means of defence, and of the great services he had formerly performed for the government:-“ My dear lord,” says he, “I received the honour of your lordship's letter late last night, of yesterday's date, and I own that I never received one like it since I was born; and I give your lordship ten thousand thanks for the kind freedom you use with me in it, for I see by it that for my misfortune in having ane obstinate stubborn son, and ane ungrateful kindred, my family must go to destruction, and I must lose my life in my old age; such usage looks rather like a Turkish or Persian government than like a British. Am I, my lord, the first father that has had ane undutiful and unnatural son, or am I the first father that has made a good estate and saw it destroyed in his own time by the mad foolish actings of ane unnatural son, who prefers his own extravagant fancies to the solid advice of ane affectionate old father? I have seen instances of this in my own time, but I never heard till now that the foolishness of a son would take away the liberty and life of a father that lived peaceably, that was ane honest man and well inclined to the rest of mankind. But I find the longer a man lives the more wonders and extraordinary things he seesa
“ Now, my dear lord, I beg leave to tell you my mind freely in my turn. I thank God, I was born with very little fear. In umy greatest difficulties by sea and land, and, by God's assistance, I often saved my life by the firmness and stedfastness of my resolutions, and though I have now but a little remains of a life that is clogged with infirmities and pains, yet, by God's help, I am resolved to preserve it as long as I can; and
• Culloden Papers, Pr. 436-438.
though my son should go away with the young people of his clan, yet I'll have six hundred brave Frasers at home, many of them about my own age, that will lose the last drop of their blood to preserve my person. Since I am as peaceable a subject as any in the kingdom, and as ready to pay the king's taxes, and do every thing else that a faithful subject ought to do, I know no law or reason why my person should not be in safety.
“ I did use and will use the strongest arguments that my reason can suggest to me with my cousin Gortuleg, that he may repeat them to my son; and if they should not prevail, is it just or reasonable that I should be punished for the faults of
my son ?
“ Now, my dear lord, as to the civil war that occasions my misfortune, and in which almost the whole kingdom is involved in one side or other, I humbly think that men should be moderate on both sides, since it is morally impossible to know the event. For thousands, nay, tens of thousands on both sides are positive that their own party will carry; and suppose that this Highland army should be utterly defeat, and that the government should carry all in triumph, no man can think that any king upon the throne would destroy so many ancient good families that are engaged in it.
“ King William was as great a king, as to his knowledge of government and politics, as sat for many hundred years on the throne of England; and when his general, who was one of the best in Europe, was defeat and forced to run to save his life, and all his army routed at Killicrankie by a handful of Highlanders, not full two thousand in number, king William was so far from desiring to extirpate them, that he sent the late earl of Breadalbine with twenty-five thousand pounds sterling, as a compliment to them, and sought no other return nor condition from them but that they should live peaceably at home. My lord, we cannot imagine that though the Highlanders should be defeat at this time, and most of them killed, and the government full master of the kingdom, that any administration would be so cruel as to endeavour to extirpate the whole remains of the Highlanders. Besides, it would be a dangerous enterprize, which neither we nor our children would see
at an end; I pray God we may never see such a scene in our country as subjects killing and destroying their fellow subjects.
“ As your lordship's family and mine has always lived in great friendship together, and that I have not only a particular experience of your lordship’s good friendship and great service done me, but likewise of the goodness and friendship of your worthy father towards me, and of your brave brother who was my intimate and faithful friend, your lordship may be assured that while there is a drop of blood within me, I will be a most faithful friend and servant to your lordship’s family and person ; and who knows but providence may give me ane occasion to show the gratitude I owe to your lordship and to your worthy father and brother.
“ I hope your lordship has not forgot that in the year 1715, when the rebellion was great and dangerous, I did more effectual good service to this present government than any lord baron in Britain, for which I had three letters of thanks from the late king, my good master, and (was] a favourite of his present majesty, when he was prince of Wales and regent, and received marks of his favour. I think the remembrance of that should have some regard for ane old infirm man; and it is my belief that I will be still safe under the protection of my
lord president, while he has the full power and command of the north of Scotland. I beg leave to assure your lordship of my affectionate respects, in which Gortuleg joins me, and I ever am, with zeal and attachment, your lordship's most affectionate cousin and most obedient faithful humble servant,
"* &c. &c. The situation of Lovat was now indeed pitiable; he was naturally attached to the pretender, and, notwithstanding the kindness of the government, had been in all the plots that during his lifetime had been formed against it. He had given his letter to Charles and his word to all the rebel chiestains, which a special messenger from Charles and the chiefs who were along with him had just arrived to request him to fulfil. The master of Lovat, unquestionably at the instigation of his father, assisted by colonel Macdonald, a
* Culloden Papers, pp. 238, 239.