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strathspey, mingling its wail with the rustle fied, with claymore in hand, with wild outof the light feet, with the “ snap” of the bursts of contemptuous triumphant song, characteristic melody. We are all familiar not only Johnnie Cope, but more manful with the poetic contrast between that “sound leaders. “ Follow me, gentlemen," said the of revelry by night" and the distant echo of Adventurer on that field of Prestonpans, in the fatal guns which broke up the brilliant the chill daybreak, “and by the blessing of crowd. But the eve of Waterloo was noth- God I will this day make you a free and ing to that eve, behind which shadowed happy people!” He had slept among his darkly not only Culloden, but the Tower Highlanders that night on the peas-straw and the block — the traitors' heads set up among the ricks. He had crossed the moss on the gates, the noble hearts plucked with them, sinking in the uncertain soil. quivering out — all the nameless horrors of When the sudden shameful rout of their opthe scaffold; or that escape at the cost of ponents left them masters of the field, he reall that makes life supportable, which in mained there through the day to give orders some cases was more terrible still.
for the care of the wounded and the safety We cannot go over in detail all the mili- of the prisoners. But his was not the gentary vicissitudes of that strange year. It is ius which could combine and direct. He evident that almost from the first there was could animate, encourage, fight with his a conflict of authority. Lord George Mur- soldiers, share all their hardships ; and a ray, an able and experienced but stubborn certain intuition of what was wisest, being and self-willed general, defends himself in boldest, seems to have been in him; but he his narrative with a vehemence which sa- himself was not born to be a great general vours something of wrong on his part; but - which was well for England, perhaps, throughout the story the persistent shadow though ill for him. of another figure, almost as active as his In four months the handful of men which own, comes in to spite and harass the move- at the outset had been scorned as banditti ments of the Commander-in-chief. “Mr. and helpless savages, had won all Scotland, O'Sullivan then caine up," is the signal for with the exception of two or three strongconfusion, for contravention of legitimate holds, and bad overrun England in such a orders, and loss of men. O'Sullivan, one rapid raid as other Stuarts in other days had of Charles's companions from the outset attempted, — without meeting with any an Irishman, doubtless bristling with points check. The Prince reached Derby on the of national opposition to the kindred yet dif- 4th of December. His rapid progress and ferent race - does not send any voice out amazing successes struck the very soul of of the darkness to explain his own conduct; the English Government with terror. Horbut it is evident that he headed such an op- ace Walpole, once more discussing the sitposition as, useful enough in constitutional uation, gives up Scotland as lost; and Lonstruggles, is fatal in war, and that he thwart- don itself thrilled with terror, less perhaps ed wherever he was able, and set perma- of the new reign than of the petticoated nently on edge, the only captain of the Highlanders, who were likely to carry havoc Highland forces who had the head of a gen- into the city. And yet the invaders were
a eral. Lord George was interfered with, totally unequal to the defensive forces of stopped in his work, driven to the length of the country. Marshal Wade had ten thouresignations, self-defences, despair of any sand men at Newcastle when the Highland real good; while Charles, no doubt, felt army passed the border. The Duke of Cumover again more bitterly than ever, what he berland was forming another army in the had said before the beginning of his enter- midland counties — militia was being raised prise, that his friends would rather sacri- on all sides — and the whole wealth and fice me and my affairs than fail in any pri- credit of the empire were embarked against vate view of their own." He had nobody the Adventurer. The reader stands aghast great enough to take the lead by such force to see the little army, “ barely five thousand of genius as could not be withstood. fighting men,” in the very heart of England,
with all the troops of the kingdom in arms “() for one hour of Wallace wight, Or well-skilled Bruce, to rule the fight!”
against them, and more than their own num
ber of Hessians just imported to help King he might well have exclaimed; or even, if George to hold his own. How did they get not that, of Berwick or Maurice of Saxe to there? how did they get away again through be supreme and above all question. What the mazes of successive armies ? A march downright valour could do the little army more marvellous, a success so wonderful, did. It stormed across Scotland, sweeping bas scarcely ever been recorded in history. before it the panic-stricken troopers who had Almost every qualified critic concurs in the Cought well enough on other fields. It de- conclusion that had Charles and his soldiers
had their simple will and pushed on, blind |" the soothing close applications” the tragic to the tremendous risks of their position, to protest of the unhappy Prince, which had London, they would have carried victory once moved them to the risking of life and with them, and taken possession of the cap- fortune, should have lost all its potency ital of England as easily as they did of Ed- now, who can tell? It was as if a forlorn inburgh. It is said that the trembling Pre- hope, carrying all before it, had suddenly mier shut himself up for a day, to consider bethought itself that it was a regular army, whether he had not better declare for Charles and must return to the punctilios and symwhen the news came of his arrival at Derby; metrical movements of dignified warfare. and that King George had his treasures em- This was the strange revolution of feeling barked and his vessels prepared at the that arrested Charles on his way. It was no Tower ready for escape. The armies stood defection of heart, no faltering of courage. impotent, gazing at the unexampled foray These men were all as ready to die for him the nation stood passive, with a stupid as when, hopeless yet dauntless, they had ainaze, gazing too, to let events settle them- pledged him their Highland faith. But all selves. The only active living figures in at once it had flashed upon them that they that grim pause of fate against the great si- were doing their work as men had never lent background of expectant England, are done it before; “ C'est magnifique, mais ce the wild forms of the mountaineers, daring n'est pas la guerre.” The danger was no
the princely young Captain at way increased, the path was as open, every their head, as eager, simple, and fearless augury of success as fair before them as at and the anxious chiefs between. They were the moment of starting; but at last the irless than a hundred and thirty miles from regular impetus had failed, and the laws of London. They had driven away like chaff their trade, and the long-forgotten precauevery antagonist that had yet ventured to tions of prudence, came back too late to the look them in the face. They had glided be- minds of the generals. Prudence was madtween and around the stupid masses of ness in their then position, but, mad as it soldiery, who‘outnumbered them twice over. was, it carried the day. What was to arrest their victorious course ? To this awakening, however, many differFortune for once was on the Stuarts side: ent reasons had conduced. First of all was a few days longer, and all would have been the old and stubborn Scottish prejudice
against leaving or remaining long absent It was at this moment, against all proba- from their native soil — a prejudice, no bility and all true wisdom, that the Highland doubt, built upon very sufficient foundation leaders seem to have come to their senses. and recollections of disaster but put in force The laws of ordinary prudence suddenly, at too late, when retreat was worse than adthe most unpropitious hour, came back to vance. Then the fact that England did but them. They opened their eyes as from a stare at them and stand aloof, bad no doubt trance, and felt their position untenable. an intensely depressing effect What they do not seem to have perceived were compelled to take all the circumstances was, that their position had been untenable into consideration, and could not go on from the first outset; that laws of every blindly like knights-errant. It had been kind had been 'defied; and that in the utter promised them that England was ready to daring and mad valour of their expedition take up arms, that France was ready to had been and might be its success. By all send Lelp and succour. Such promises had military laws they had no right to be where been made to Charles himself, and he too they were. The conclusion they ought to in his silent heart had borne the shock of have drawn from this was clearly the simple disappointment. But his generals could not unscientific conclusion drawn by Charles take it silently. To this let us add, that and the common men of his army, to perse- the divisions among them were gradually vere in their wild triumphant way to the end. growing more bitter. It is said that Charles But the trained soldiers thought otherwise. himself was wilful, and fond of his own way; At Derby, heaven knows why, neither but of this there is little direct evidence, so sooner nor later, they awoke from their pas- | far as the conduct of the war is concerned. sion of fight and victory. The light of com- He had all but forced them over the Border, mon day returned to them. A panic of rea- it is true, vowing that he would go alone if sonableness, good sense, and strategical rule no man would follow him ; but there is little came back upon them. It was such an ex- trace in the various narratives of absolute hibition of the foolishness of wisdom as sel- interference on his part. Lord George, dom strikes the eye. Why they should have though evidently feeling himself an injured pulled up there of all spots in the world; man, repeatedly records the fact that the how it was that the eloquence, the entreaties, Prince relinquished his own will in defer
upon men who
ence to the opinions of his officers. But | ated all hearts-he whose words had with all these adverse circumstances against charmed away prudence, and made life itthem, and little more than their attachment self seem but sweet as a weapon to serve to the Prince's person to inspire their cour-him- had to see his prayers put aside, age, it is natural enough that their endur- his arguments neglected, and no answer ance, strained to the uttermost, should have given to his appeal. The debate went on given way. Unfortunately, a sudden fit of for hours, but the unhappy Prince would prudence after daring is in most cases fatal. not yield. When the council broke up, he They had gone too far to go back. When tried once more pathetically what his old they turned they virtually gave up the con- skill in persuasion was good for. They had flict, renewed the courage of their adversa- baffled him together; they might yield to ries, and relinquished the immense advan- him separately. Something of the simplitages of enthusiasm and confidence which city of an untrained mind is in this last athad been their own. tempt. He trusted in his power of moving their hearts as a girl might trust in her beauty; but the influence was no longer fresh and novel. His captains had become used to the pleadings of their Prince. Perhaps he had tried too often that mode of government. The moment was come when fact and probability had returned to reign over them, shutting their ears to all appeals. The men faced him, when he sent for them, as steadily alone as they had done together. His hour and power were over. At that moment, when fortune still seemed to smile on him, and his neighbourhood struck terror into the hearts of his enemies, Charles must have passed through the very bitterness of death.
To Charles this blow was all the more terrible that it was quite unexpected. "He arrived at Derby in high spirits," says Lord Mahon, "reflecting that he was now within a hundred and thirty miles of the capital, and that neither Wade's nor Cumberland's forces any longer lay before that object of his hopes." He had even begun in the lightness of his heart to consider the question whether he should enter London on foot or on horseback, in an English or Highland dress. It was the last night of triumph to the Chevalier. The dawn of the winter morning brought with it a miserable change. The chief officers of his army waited on him at break of day, headed by Lord George, the Commander-in-Chief. The proposition they laid before him was nothing less than to abandon the attempt on England, which up to this time had been so strangely uninterrupted, and to retreat to Scotland. They laid before him their diminished numbers, the apathy of England, the silence of France, the thirty thousand men who might at any moment gather round them, and prevent the escape of a single soldier; the risk of his own person. All these arguments were suddenly poured upon Charles's indignant astonished ear. He tried again his powers of remonstrance, of entreaty, of sudden apall the arts that had once vanquished his fond yet half-unwilling supporters. What was his life to him in comparison with his cause? "Rather than go back I would wish to be twenty feet under ground!" he cried. With the fervour of a man arrived at the crisis of his life, and to whom the question was desperate, he confronted all those gloomy disappointed chiefs who had been so true to him, and yet so hard upon him. It might mean a scaffold to them: to Charles it meant death spiritual and moral, shame, downfall, a lingering agony. Desperately he pleaded with them, imploring them to do anything but retreat. Of all the silent stubborn assembly, Perth alone, young, chivalrous, and hopeful as himself, stood by him; and he who once had fascinVOL. XI. 422
The same evening the council was again called together, and "Charles suddenly declared his consent to a retreat." Sullenly, perhaps sadly with his heart broken and his high hopes quenched, who can doubt? Disappointed of the prize that seemed so near, the last stroke which would have roused all his friends to his succour; disappointed in the very love which now seemed to fail him in the dead silence of the country round, out of which so many promises had come-in the sickening unresponsive quiet in which he was left, to do his best or worst, heaven and earth looking on, not
It was then, and not when the stimulus of personal danger called him back to himself, that Charles Stuart bore the blow that was worse than death. There, and not on Culloden, the natural result of that decision, should be noted the real end of his extraordinary campaign.
Nor was he alone. in his misery. Next morning, when the army set out in the grey twilight, "the inferior officers and common men believed that they were going to fight the Duke of Cumberland, at which they displayed the utmost joy." But when the daybreak allowed them to discern the surrounding objects, and to discover that they were retracing their steps, nothing was to be heard throughout the army but expressions of rage and indignation. "If we had
been beaten," said one of their officers, "the grief could not have been greater." But the soldiers had to yield, silent with rage and dismay, and trudge back again the weary dangerous way, uncheered by the glorious hopes which had drawn them thither; while the Prince, ready to weep such tears as would not have misbecome his manhood-his heart broken, his countenance changed, all his princely suavity and charm gone from him came tardily and dully in the rear. At that terrible moment his dignity forsook him along with his hopes. In the frightful revulsion of feeling, the poor young hero, still so young, shows for a moment like a petulant child. Instinctively he felt that all he had struggled for was lost. What need now to be up with the sun, to brush away the early dew, to hold out the longest and march the strongest of any of his men? He had done so, and this was the end. Now he fell back into the exhaustion of lost hope. On his way south he had given up his carriage to one of his aged followers, and had traversed the long plains merrily on foot, sometimes at the head of one clan, sometimes of another, in the Highland dress, with his target slung over his shoulder. He would not even stop to eat, but snatched his dinner when he could, threw himself lightly on whatever bed might be possible - the open field, if no better was to be had and slept till four o'clock in the morning, when he was astir again. But now all this was over. Every other trial he had borne bravely, but this Charles did not bear well. He could not hide the change in his face; he made no further effort; lingering in the rear, late in the march, he rode on moody with a petulant misery. The test of this disappointment was too much for him. It is the only point in the brief and wonderful story in which the hero falls below his position. And yet the reader forgives the unhappy Chevalier. If ever man had reason to be cast down, it was he.
"I believe," says Lord Mahon, in whose careful and close narrative the mass of existing material is condensed and set forth with equal judgment and power, and whose principles do certainly not incline him to favour the Stuarts' cause- -"I believe that had Charles marched onwards from Derby he would have gained the British throne.” It is evident that he felt this conviction himself to the depths of his heart. But Providence did not mean to give the race that last chance. When the Highlanders turned their back upon England, the last possibility was over for the house of Stuart.
The retreat thus sadly begun was scarcely less wonderful than the march. It was accomplished with a speed and safety quite extraordinary in the circumstances; but, nevertheless, it moved like a funeral procession across the western border, men and leaders having alike lost temper and lost heart. The strict discipline of the earlier part of the campaign failed under this trial. The mountaineers, lowered in their own estimation, went back to their old instinct of plunder. The Prince, sore at heart, exacted fines from the towns he passed, where the popular enthusiasm for the successful leader had changed, with the usual treachery of the mob, into vexatious opposition. Manchester was mulcted in £5000; Dumfries in £2000. Glasgow, always adverse, was laid under a most heavy requisition to refit the Highland army." One transient gleam of renewed success burst upon them at Falkirk, reviving the spirit at once of the soldiers and of their leader; and a decisive battle seemed imminent. The prospect roused all the old enthusiasm. It was Cumberland this time who was advancing to meet them, and the hearts of the Highlanders were all aglow. But again the chiefs stepped in with proposals for retreat. A kind of infatuation seems to have possessed these fated men. Their mountains attracted them with some unreasonable fatal fascination. They promised Charles in spring an army of "10,000 effective Highlanders," and in the mean time the reduction of the northern forts, if he would but withdraw now, and seek safety among the hills. Only the night before, Lord George, once more at the head of the malcontents, had shown to the Prince a plan for the battle with Cumberland's army, which Charles had corrected and approved. Once more the rage of disappointment overwhelmed the unfortunate Adventurer. "Good God! have I lived to see this?" he cried, dashing his head against the wall with the wild passion of his southern training. But again the chiefs, masters more absolute than any king, prevailed. The inevitable battle was postponed from the links of Forth, where their followers were gay with victory, to the dreary Culloden moor, where, starving, destitute, and desperate, the hopeless encounter had at length to be. Thus the bitter crisis was re-enacted. And hard must the heart be, and dull the imagination, which will not own at such a moment a pang of intolerable pity for the heart-broken Chevalier and his lost cause.
The retreat, for the first time, was made in confusion, of which poor Charles, sick at
heart, yet ever generous, took the blame despair, broke, fell, and perished before upon himself. Drearily, with heavy thoughts the fatal force and overwhelming numbers and lessening numbers, the little host pur- of their adversaries. “Nowhere," says sued its fatal way towards the hills. As Lord Mabon, moved out of his composure the disastrous march proceeded, money to a swell of sympathetic eloquence,—" not failed, and even food, as well as patience by their forefathers at Bannockburn — not and hope. The wild winter-bound moun- | by themselves at Preston or at Falkirk – tains afforded no supplies to the wanderers. not in after years, when discipline had The succours which had always continued raised and refined the valour of their sons to drop in in minute doles from France fell not on that other field of victory, where into the enemy's hands - one ship in par- their gallant chief, with a prophetic shroud ticular, with £10,000 in gold and 150 sol- (it is their own superstition) high upon his diers. The Highlanders had to be paid in breast, addressed to them only these three meal, “which the men, being obliged to words, ' Highlanders, remember Egypt!'sell out and convert into money, it went not in those hours of triumph and glory but a short way for their other needs.” was displayed a more firm and resolute Even the meal failed by-and-by. On the bravery than now in the defeat at Culloeve of Culloden, one biscuit served to each den.” But human strength has its limit, if man was the sole provision of the five not human bravery. For the first time thousand, who, weary, dispirited, and since they set out from their mountains chilled to the heart, had to meet, on this eight months before, the Highlanders fell poor fare, an army of nearly 9000 well-fed before their enemies. The tide had turned and carefully appointed soldiers. Courage their day was over — and the first lost alone held out, the last prop of the unfor- battle was the last. tunate. When Lord George advised a And Charles, into whose mind it is evinight-march to surprise Cumberland in his dent such an idea had never entered camp, even at this dismal conjuncture Charles, who could not believe that when Charles rose and embraced the general who the encounter came, man to man, anything had served him so ably and thwarted him so on earth could stand before his mountaincruelly. But Drummossie Moor and Pres- eers — saw this destruction from the height tonpans were different. The men were where he stood, watching with sudden tears worn out. The wintry darkness and cold, of passion and anguish, with wonder, inintensified by want, 'stupefied even the credulity, and despair. He could not bemountaineers. Their progress was so slow lieve it. Probably it was the stupefaction that this project, like so many others, had of amaze and horror that prevented him to.be given up.
Wearily the doomed army from rushing down into the fatal mélée and went back to arrange itself in line on the dying like his ancestor at Flodden, the best black hopeless moor, and wait the battle. fate his best friend could have wished him. Nobody seems to have had heart enough “ In the lost battle, borne down by the flyleft even to compare the dismal omens of ing,” he stood aghast in a terrible surprise. this field with what might have been bad He was urged, some say, to put bimself at Cumberland been met at Falkirk, or to cast the head of the stubborn Macdonalds and the contrast in the teeth of the captains who attempt another charge; others tell us that had retreated only for this. Hungry, cold, he was prevented by force from taking this and worn out, after a sleepless night and desperate step, O'Sullivan seizing his horse foodless day, the Highlanders stood up to by the bridle and forcing him from the field. meet their fate. The Macdonalds had not All the narratives combined leave upon the their usual place, which seems to have reader's mind the impression that Charles moved them more than fatigue or want. was stupefied with the unexpected calamity. “We of the clan Macdonald thought it om- He had felt his cause was lost, but never inous that we had not the right hand in bat- that it was so lost as this. As he turned tle as formerly at Gladsmuir and Falkirk, his back upon the fatal moor where his poor and which our clan maintains we had en- Highlanders lay dying, in this bewilderment joyed in all our battles and struggles since of amaze and despair, a certain Ned Burke, the battle of Bannockburn.” This punc- a poor Highland caddie from Edinburgh, tilio did what starvation could not do. came up to the little knot of reluctant fugi"My God! have the children of my clan tives which surrounded the Prince. There forsaken me?” cried gallant Keppoch, in were very few along with him," the faithful his death-pang,
- no doubt with a pang fellow says, “and he had no guide." "If more sharp than death. While the Mac- you be a true friend, endeavour to lead us donalds stood sullen without striking a safe off,” said Charles; while the enemy's blow, the other clans, fighting the fight of fire, according to this humble observer's