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Apathy of the Government-Proclamation by the Lords of the Regency-Intelligence of the Prince's arrival received at Edinburgh-Conduct of Macleod of Macleod Contradictory reports at Edinburgh-Preparations of Sir John Cope-Leaves Edinburgh for Stirling-Marches to the North-Arrives at Dalwhinnie-Holds a Council of War-Resolves to march to Inverness-Counter proclamation of Prince CharlesMarches from Glenfinnin-Crosses Corriearrack-Flight of Cope to Inverness March of Charles to the South-Enters Athole-Arrives al Perth-Joined by Lord George Murray and others-Preparations made by Charles at Perth-Proceedings and alarm at Edinburgh-Association of Volunteers formed-Municipal intrigues.
No event was less expected on the part of the government than the landing of Charles Edward. A flying report had, indeed, been spread in the Highlands in the beginning of summer, that the prince was to come over in the course of that season ; but no person, not in the secret of his design, could have imagined that Charles had any intention to risk his person without being accompanied by a sufficient body of troops, and no disposition appeared on the part of France to assist him.
The report alluded to was first communicated in a letter from a gentleman of consideration in the Highlands to Lord-president Forbes, who, on the second of July, showed it to Sir John Cope, the commander in chief in Scotland. Little credit was, however, attached to the report, either by the writer of the letter or by the president. Cope, though equally incredulous, considered it his duty to communicate the report to the marquis of Tweeddale, the secretary of state for Scotland; and to provide against any contingency that might occur, he proposed that the forts of Scotland should be well provided, and that arms should be trans. mitted for the use of the well-affected clans. In an answer which the marquis wrote upon the ninth, he ordered Cope to keep a strict watch upon the north, but informed him, that, as the measures he proposed were considered by the lords of the regency acting in behalf of the king dur. ing his majesty's absence in Hanover, as likely to create alarm, they had declined to enter into them.*
But the lords of the regency were soon aroused from their supineness by advices from abroad that the French court was meditating an
"Cope's Trial, p. 105.
invasion of Great Britain, and that the eldest son of the pretender had left Nantes in a French man-of-war, and, according to soine accounts, was actually landed in Scotland. On the thirtieth of July, the marquis of Tweeddale wrote Sir John Cope, communicating to him the news which had just been received, and despatched letters of same date also to Lord Milton, the justice-clerk,* and to the lord-advocate, with similar intelligence, and enjoining them to keep a strict look out,—to concert what was proper to be done in the event of a landing and to give the necessary orders for making the strictest inquiry into the truth of the intelligence,—and to transmit to the marquis, from time to time, such information as they were able to collect. The lords-justices, however, without waiting for a return to these letters, issued, on the sixth of August, the following proclamation.
" Whereas, by an act of parliament made in the seventeenth year of his majesty's reign, it was enacted, that if the eldest, or any other son or sons of the person who pretended to be the prince of Wales in the lifetime of the late King James II. and since his death as- . sumed the name and title of James III. king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, should, after the 1st day of May, in the year 1744, land, or attempt to land, or be found in Great Britain or Ireland, or any of the dominions or territories thereunto belonging, or should be found on board any ship,.vessel, or boat, being so on board with an intent to land in Great Britain or Ireland, or any of the dominions or territories aforesaid, he and they respectively should, by virtue of the said act, stand and be adjudged attainted of high treason to all intents and purposes whatsoever. And whereas we have received information that the eldest son of the said pretender did lately embark in France in order to land in some part of his majesty's kingdoms, we, being moved with just indignation at so daring an attempt, and desirous that the said act may be carried effectually into execution, have thought it fit, by advice of his majesty's privy-council, and do hereby in his majesty's name, command and require all his majesty's officers, civil and military, and all other his majesty's loving subjects, to use their utmost endeavours to seize and secure the said son of the pretender, whenever he shall land, or attempt to land, or be found in Great Britain or Ireland, or any of the dominions or territories belonging to the crown of Great Britain, or shall be found on board any ship, vessel, or boat, being so on board with intent to land in Great Britain or Ireland, or any of the dominions or territories aforesaid, in order to his being brought to jus. tice ; and to give notice thereof immediately, when he shall be so seized and secured, to one of his majesty's principal secretaries of state. And to the intent that all due encouragement be given to so important a service, we do hereby further, in his majesty's name, promise a reward of thirty thousand pounds to such person or persons who shall so seize
and secure the said son of the said pretender, so as that he may be brought to justice; and his majesty's high-treasurer or the commis. sioners of his majesty's treasury for the time being, is, and are hereby required, to make payment thereof accordingly. And if any of the persons who have adhered to or assisted, or who shall adhere to or assist the said pretender or his said son, shall seize and secure him the said son as aforesaid, he or they, who shall so seize and secure him, shall have his majesty's gracious pardon, and shall also receive the said reward, to be paid in manner aforesaid."
The express sent by the marquis of Tweeddale reached Edinburgh on the third of August, but the advices which had been received in London had preceded it. The lord-president, in a letter written the day before to Mr Pelham, * mentions the alarm which, in a state of profound tranquillity, these advices had created. The report, however, of the prince's intended visit was discredited by the president, who considered the “young gentleman's game” to be then“ very desperate" in Scotland, the president not being to learn that there was “the least apparatus for his reception, even amongst the few Highlanders who were expected to be in his interest.” As, however, where there was so much at stake, the president wisely judged that no report respecting the prince's movements, however improbable, was to be disregarded, and he accordingly resolved to make his accustomed journey to the north a little earlier than usual, to the end that, though, as he himself observes, his “fighting days” were over, he might give countenance to the friends of government, and prevent the seduction of the unwary, should the report turn out well-founded. On the eighth of August, the lord-president wrote the marquis of Tweeddale, stating that the lord-advocate and Sir John Cope had ivformed him of the advices which had been received from abroad, but expressing his disbelief of the report, which he considered " highly improbable.” “I consider the report as improbable, (he observes,) because I am confident that young man cannot with reason expect to be joined by any considerable force in the Highlands. Some loose lawless men of desperate fortunes may indeed resort to him ; but I am persuaded that none of the Highland gentlemen, who have ought to lose, will, after the experience with which the year seventeen hundred and fifteen furnished them, think proper to risque their fortunes on an attempt which to them must appear desperate ; especially as so many considerable families amongst themselves have lately uttered their sentiments ; unless the undertaking is supported by an arm'd power from abroad, or seconded by an invasion on some other part of his majesty's dominions." + To provide against any emergency which might arise in the north, his lordship proposed first, that a sufficient number of arms should be lodged in the forts in the Highlands, with directions by whom, and to whom they might be delivered out, a proposal the same in substance as that made by Sir John Cope; and secondly, that money or credit should be lodged in the hands of confidential persons in the north, for the use of the public service. This last-mentioned measure he considered the more necessary, as it could not be expected, as he observed, that private individuals would come forward with money, when they recollected that several gentlemen, who, from the want of money in the year seventeen hun dred and fifteen, had advanced large sums out of their pockets for the public service, had not even been repaid, far less rewarded by the government.
• Culloden Papers, p. 203.
Ibid. p. 204.
The lord-president, though a man of sound judgment, and gifted with a considerable portion of political foresight, was, from entire ignorance of the character of Charles, completely deceived in his speculations; and Lord Tweeddale, probably inisled by the president, on whose personal knowledge of the state of the Highlands he placed great reliance, adopted the same views. In an answer to the president's letter which the marquis wrote on the seventeenth of August, he thus expresses himself: “I own I have never been alarmed with the reports of the pretender's son's landing in Scotland. I consider it as a rash and desperate attempt, that can have no other consequence than the ruin of those concerned in it."*
On the same day, however, on which the president's letter to Lord Tweeddale was written, all doubts of the arrival and landing of the prince were removed at Edinburgh, by an express from Lord Milton, the justice-clerk, then at Roseneath, to Sir John Cope, enclosing a letter dated the fifth, which he had received on the seventh from Mr Campbell of Stonefield, sheriff of Argyle, in which was contained a copy of a letter received by the latter from Mr Campbell of Aird, factor to the duke of Argyle in Mull and Morvern, announcing the landing of the prince in Arisaig, and stating that some of the Macdonalds were already up in arms, and that other Highlanders were preparing to follow their example.
This news was confirmed next day, by another express from the laird of Macleod to the lord-president, dated the third of August.f This letter he immediately communicated to the commander-in-chief. Mr Home-who, though he alludes to this letter, does not mention the name of the writer, either because he may have been unaware of it, or wished to conceal it-states that it was written by the same gentleman who had formerly given the president information of the prince's design of coming to the Highlands. If so, Macleod was guilty of a base and dishonourable act, as he had certainly promised to join the prince, if supported by a foreign force. He might, at the time he is supposed to have communicated the information of the prince's intention, have been probably apprized of Charles's resolution to throw
himself into the arms of the Highlanders ; but if aware of such intention, his conduct is still more inexcusable. If, from a pure and discontented motive, he wished, by thus giving early notice of danger, to save his country from the horrors of a civil war, and preserve his friends from ruin, his conduct must be considered patriotic and praiseworthy; but his previous conduct, as a partizan of the exiled family, negatives such a presumption. But Macleod himself appears to have been conscious that he was playing a double part, and he thus cunningly puts the president on his guard not to disclose the name of his informant: “ As it can be of no use to the public, to know whence you have this information, it is, I fancy, needless to mention either of us, (himself and Sir Alexander Macdonald,) but this we leave in your own breast, as you are a much better judge of what is, or is not, proper to be done. I've wrote to no other; and as our friendship and confidence in you is without reserve, so we doubt not of your supplying our defects properly."* He mentions the visit of young Clanranald, but avoids any allusion to its object ; and observes that he had given him and Sir Alexander Macdonald all possible assurances of his prudence.t
This intelligence, which at first was withheld from the public, was shortly followed by the arrival of the Gazette, containing the proclamation for the apprehension of the prince. Nothing was now talked off at Edinburgh but the threatened invasion. In the state of ignorance in which the public were still kept, the most contradictory reports were circulated. A rumour of the departure of Charles from France had indeed been stated in the Edinburgh Evening Courant a few days before, and the same paper had also, on the back of this report, stated, upon the alleged information of a foreign journal, that the prince had actually landed in the Highlands, and was to be supported by thirty thousand men and ten ships of war; but neither of these statements appears to have excited any sensation, being generally discredited. Now, how. ever, every person firmly believed that tlie prince had arrived. One day it was confidently asserted that he had landed in the western Highlands with ten thousand French troops. Next day it was affirmed with equal confidence that he had landed without troops; but that wherever he came the Highlanders to a man had joined him. On the other hand, the Jacobites, who were in the secret of the arrival, anxious to conceal the fact till Charles should be ready to take the field, industriously cir. culated a report that he was still in France, and had not the least intention of coming over. To divert the public attention, they had recourse to the weapons of ridicule. In their conversation they represented the preparations of the commander-in-chief in a ludicrous light; and to make him contemptible in the eyes of the public, sent him
• Culloden Papers, p. 204.
+ The author of the Journal and Memoirs, printed among the Lockhart Papers, (vol. ii. p. 441,) says that a report prevailed, that Macleod transmitted the letter, which the prince had sent him by young Clanranald, to Craigie, the lord-advocate.