« السابقةمتابعة »
giving up when his followers were as many thousands. He, however, gave John Hay a written order to which we have already adverted, though it was not to be shown to his friends till so many days had elapsed, during which he intended to sail for the Long Island, where he expected to meet a ship that would carry him to France, whence he was hopeful of returning very soon with a powerful re-enforcement. It was in vain that, to dissuade him from his purpose, Clanronald joined his voice to that of all his Scotish friends, proffering to build for him a number of small huts amongst his extensive woods, where, shifting from one to another as circumstances should require, he would be perfectly safe under the faithful watch that would always be kept on foot for his sake; while Clanronald himself, and a few chosen friends, would traverse the Isles, and find out a vessel to carry him to France at any time such a mode of procedure should be found necessary. Sulivan, who was still his companion and confidant, had the entire mastery over him, and he would think of nothing but the Isles. Of course, Clanronald provided him an eight oared boat, which had formerly belonged to Macdonald of Borradale, with expert rowers, and such necessaries for the voyage as the place could afford, which was only four pecks of oatmeal,* and on the twenty-fourth he embarked at Lochnanaugh-the very place where he landed the previous autumn—for the Isle of Uist, Donald Macleod being his pilot.
Charles at this time assumed the name of Mr. St. Clair, Sullivan passed for old St. Clair his father, and Macdonald the priest, for a gentleman of the name of Graham. The wind blew a very fresh gale, and in weathering the point of Arisaig, their bowsprit went to pieces. The gale speedily increased to a hurricane, the night became dismally dark, and having no compass, they could only guess at the course they were steering; but at break of day they found themselves near the island of Benbecula, on which they landed at the town of Rossnish, on the morning of the twenty-fifth. The storm still continuing, they remained here for three days, during which time they had a visit from old Clanronald, to whom the island belonged; but
* Culloden Papers, vol. č. p. 540.
it would appear, though he was proprietor of an island, he was unable to render even to him he considered his prince any assistance, for an uninhabited hut was their lodging, where Charles could obtain no better bed than an old sailcloth, nor one of the company any better fare than a little of the oatmeal they had brought along with them, and plenty of water. *
On the twenty-eighth they set sail for the island of Lewis, and they now agreed that they should represent themselves as having been wrecked on the island of Tiree, and endeavouring to get home to their own country, the Orkneys. They were, however, again overtaken by a storm, and on the morning of the twenty-ninth, landed on the island of Skalpay, belonging to a person of the name of Campbell, who was entirely devoted to the interests of the Stuarts, and very frankly lent Donald Macleod his boat on the thirtieth, to carry him and other four of the company to Stornoway, for the purpose of hiring a boat to carry them to the Orkneys. Macleod soon succeeded in procuring a boat, having promised one hundred pounds sterling for the freight of one forty tons burden, and, sending back notice of what he had done to Charles on the third of May, was followed by him and all his attendants on the fourth, in the boat that had conveyed them from Borradale. Owing to contrary winds, however, they were compelled to land on the island of Lewis, at a great distance from Stornoway, travelling towards which, in a dark and rainy night, through the ignorance of his guide Charles lost his way, and was glad to halt at lady Kildeen's house in Arynish, which he did not reach till near noon of the next day. And fortunate it was for him that it so happened, for Macleod being full of money, and full of his commission, could not refrain, after partaking of a little brandy, from giving himself airs from which the owner of the vessel inferred the secret, and refused to abide by his agreement. Donald, loath to be baulked after he had gone so far, to make sure work proffered to purchase the vessel at a very high price, which at once confirmed the suspicions of the owner, and it was at once blazed abroad that Charles was at Lewis. Donald was soon sensible of his error, and fearing fatal conse
* Home's History of the Rebellion, p. 175.
quences from it, hastened to Arynish, where he told Charles all that had happened. In consequence of this, Charles and his company hastened to their boat, which they had left at Lochseafort, where, as they were launching it, Donald, to repair in some measure the errors he had committed, asked at the people who were gazing upon them, if there was one of their number who for a good hire would pilot them into Lochfraon, a harbour in lord Seaforth's country, Ross-shire, from which it was conjectured they were bound for that part of the mainland, though they did not intend any such thing. They, however, put to sea without loss of time, on the evening of May the sixth, the people from the shore carefully watching their
The darkness of the night, however, soon put an end to any observation from the shore, and contrary winds forced the poor adventurers into a creek of a small island at the foot of Lochalg. Here they were under the necessity of remaining two nights, and could perceive several boats pass that they had no doubt were sent to Lochfraon in quest of them. They also here observed two large vessels, which Charles believed to be French, but which his attendants were certain were English; nor could any of the company be prevailed upon to go out to
They were, indeed, French, the ships which we have already mentioned, as having landed some money and stores for Charles, and had been in Lochnanaugh the day after he left it. They were still beating about for the very purpose of affording him the means of escape, which he lost at this time through an excess of caution.
On the eighth the wind shifted to the north, they again put to sea, and landed at Rainish, near Rossnish, on the island of Benbecula, where they had landed when they first left the mainland, and were again waited upon by old Clanronald and his lady, who gave him such supplies as the island could afford. Charles was now in want of every thing; the drummock and dried fish upon which he had been living, had begun seriously to injure his health, and it was proposed that he should lodge in old Clanronald's house. After having considered all the circumstances of the case, however, it was agreed that he should be removed to South Uist, and lodged in the forest house of Glencorridale, a place very remote, yet centrical for corre
sponding with his friends, and in case of sudden alarm, most convenient either for taking to the hills or to the sea. The house was accordingly fitted up in the best manner that time and means would permit, and Charles took possession of it, attended by Sullivan, Macdonald, the captain and priest, captain O'Neil, the two Rories, and Alexander and John Macdonald, all formerly officers in Clanronald's regiment; with a dozen of their dependants to serve as guards, as guides, or as couriers. On this sequestered spot Charles passed his time in the best manner he could, hunting and fowling occasionally; leaving it to his friends to contrive and prepare the means of his escape, which was every day becoming a matter of more difficulty.
For some time after the battle of Culloden, it was not known at Inverness what route Charles had pursued. Detachments of troops, however, were very soon sent out to every place where there was any likelihood that either he himself or any of his principal followers might be found. General Campbell, and his son colonel Campbell, both afterwards dukes of Argyle, sailed with a body of troops to St. Kilda, the most remote of all the Æbudean isles, which they searched narrowly in hopes of finding him there. Their search proving fruitless, they lost no time in returning to Bara, where some hundreds of regular troops, under the orders of captain Ferguson, had landed before them. The Macleods and the Macdonalds of Skye had landed upon Benbecula at the same time, and all of them proceeded to South Uist, intending to search that chain of small islands that passes under the name of Long Island, from south to north, with the utmost minuteness, having many reasons for supposing that in some one of them he was yet concealed. To facilitate their aim, and to render it certain, the Long Island was literally surrounded with cutters, sloops of war, frigates, &c. &c. and at every ferry a guard was posted, with the strictest orders to suffer no person to pass, without a regular passport from some of the commanding officers. Charles and his few attendants were now in the utmost perplexity, especially when they learned from their scouts, that general Campbell had landed on one end of the island, and captain Ferguson upon the other, and that they intended a regular progress till they should meet in