« EelmineJätka »
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 inake 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 bimself in boldest, seems to have been in him ; but he bis 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 came 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 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 “O 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 has 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 amaze, 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 fashed 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 won.
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, had no doubt trance, and felt their position untenable, an intensely depressing effect upon men who 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
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 To Charles this blow was all the more their bearts as a girl might trust in her terrible that it was quite unexpected. “He beauty; but the influence was no longer arrived at Derby in high spirits," says Lord fresh and novel. His captains had become Mahon, "reflecting that he was now within used to the pleadings of their Prince. Pera hundred and thirty miles of the capital, haps he had tried too often that mode of and that neither Wade's nor Cumberland's government. The moment was come when forces any longer lay before that object of fact and probability had returned to reign his hopes." He had even begun in the over them, shutting their ears to all aplightness of his heart to consider the ques- peals. The men faced him, when he sent tion whether he should enter London on for them, as steadily alone as they had done foot or on horseback, in an English or High- together. His hour and power were over. land dress. It was the last night of triumph At that moment, when fortune still seemed to the Chevalier. The dawn of the winter to smile on him, and his neighbourhood morning brought with it a miserable change. struck terror into the hearts of his enemies, The chief officers of his army waited on him Charles must have passed through the very at break of day, headed by Lord George, bitterness of death. the Commander-in-Chief. The proposition The same evening the council was again they laid before him was nothing less than called together, and Charles suddenly deto abandon the attempt on England, which clared his consent to a retreat." Sullenly, up to this time had been so strangely unin- perhaps sadly — with his heart broken and terrupted, and to retreat to Scotland. They his high hopes quenched, who can doubt ? laid before him their diminished numbers, Disappointed of the prize that seemed so the apathy of England, the silence of France, near, the last stroke which would have the thirty thousand men who might at any roused all his friends to his succour; dismoment gather round them, and prevent appointed in the very love which now the escape of a single soldier; the risk of seemed to fail him — in the dead silence of his own person. All these arguments were the country round, out of which so many suddenly poured upon Charles's indignant promises had come---in the sickening unastonished ear. He tried again his powers responsive quiet in which he was left, to do of remonstrance, of entreaty, of sudden ap- his best or worst, heaven and earth looking peal — all the arts that had once vanguished on, not aiding. It was then, and not when his fond yet half-unwilling supporters. What the stimulus of personal danger called him was his life to him in comparison with his back to himself, that Charles Stuart bore cause? “Rather than go back I would the blow that was worse than death. wish to be twenty feet under ground !” he There, and not on Culloden, the natural recried. With the fervour of a man arrived sult of that decision, should be noted the at the crisis of his life, and to whom the real end of his extraordinary campaign. question was desperate, he confronted all Nor was he alone. in his misery. Next those gloomy disappointed chiefs who had morning, when the army set out in the grey been so true to him, and yet so bard upon twilight, "the inferior officers and common him. It might mean a scaffold to them: to men believed that they were going to fight Charles it meant death spiritual and moral, the Duke of Cumberland, at which they shame, downfall, a lingering agony. Des- displayed the utmost joy." But when the perately he pleaded with them, imploring daybreak allowed them to discern the surthem to do anything but retreat. Of all rounding objects, and to discover that they the silent stubborn assembly, Perth alone, were retracing their steps, nothing was to young, chivalrous, and hopeful as himself, be heard throughout the army but expres. stood by him; and be who once had fascin-1 sions of rage and indignation.' “ If we bad
LIVING AGE. VOL. XI. 422
been beaten,” said one of their officers, The retreat thus sadly begun was scarce" the grief could not have been greater. ly less wonderful than the march. It was But the soldiers had to yield, silent with accomplished with a speed and safety quite rage and dismay, and trudge back again extraordinary in the circumstances; but, the weary dangerous way, uncheered by nevertheless, it moved like a funeral procesthe glorious hopes which had drawn them şion across the western border, men and thither; while the Prince, ready to weep leaders having alike lost temper and lost such tears as would not have misbecome his heart. The strict discipline of the earlier manhood— his heart broken, his counte- part of the campaign failed under this trial. nance changed, all his princely suavity and The mountaineers, lowered in their own escharm gone from him — came tardily and timation, went back to their old instinct of dully in the rear. At that terrible moment plunder, The Prince, sore at heart, exhis dignity forsook him along with his acted fines from the towns he passed, where hopes. In the frightful revulsion of feeling, the popular enthusiasm for the successful the poor young hero, still so young, shows leader had changed, with the usual treachfor a moment like a petulant child. In- ery of the mob, into vexatious opposition. stinctively he felt that all he had struggled Manchester was mulcted in £5000; Dumfor was lost. What need now to be up fries in £2000. Glasgow, always adverse, with the sun, to brush away the early dew, was laid under “a most heavy requisition to hold out the longest and march the to refit the Highland army.' One transtrongest of any of his men ? He had done sient gleam of renewed success burst upon so, and this was the end. Now he fell back them at Falkirk, reviving the spirit at once into the exhaustion of lost hope. On his of the soldiers and of their leader; and a way south he had given up his carriage to decisive battle seemed imminent. The prosone of his aged followers, and had traversed pect roused all the old enthusiasm. It was the long plains merrily on foot, sometimes Cumberland this time who was advancing at the head of one clan, sometimes of an- to meet them, and the hearts of the Highother, in the Higbland dress, with his tar- landers were all aglow. But again the get slung over his shoulder. He would not chiefs stepped in with proposals for retreat. even stop to eat, but snatched his dinner A kind of infatuation seems to have poswhen he could, threw himself lightly on sessed these fated men. Their mountains whatever bed might be possible — the open attracted them with some unreasonable fafield, if no better was to be had — and slept tal fascination. They promised Charles in till four o'clock in the morning, when he spring an army of “10,000 effective Highwas astir again. But now all this was over. landers," and in the mean time the reducEvery other trial he had borne bravely, tion of the northern forts, if he would but but this Charles did not bear well. He withdraw now, and seek safety among the could not hide the change in his face; he hills. Only the night before, Lord George, made no further effort ; lingering in the rear, once more at the head of the malcontents, late in the march, he rode on moody with a had shown to the Prince a plan for the batpetulant misery. The test of this disap- tle with Cumberland's army, which Charles pointment was too much for him. It is the had corrected and approved. Once more only point in the brief and wonderful story the rage of disappointment overwhelmed in which the hero falls below his position. the unfortunate Adventurer. “Good God! And yet the reader forgives the unhappy have I lived to see this ? ” he cried, dashing Chevalier. If ever man had reason to be his head against the wall with the wild pascast down, it was he.
sion of his southern training. But again “I believe,” says Lord Mahon, in whose the chiefs, masters more absolute than any careful and close narrative the mass of ex- king, prevailed. The inevitable battle was isting material is condensed and set forth postponed from the links of Forth, where with equal judgment and power, and whose their followers were gay with victory, to principles do certainly not incline him to the dreary Culloden moor, where, starvfavour the Stuarts cause —" I believe that ing, destitute, and desperate, the hopeless had Charles marched onwards from Derby encounter had at length to be. Thus the he would have gained the British throne.” bitter crisis was re-enacted. And hard must It.is evident that he felt this conviction him- the heart be, and dull the imagination, self to the depths of his heart. But Provi- which will not own at such a moment a dence did not mean to give the race that pang of intolerable pity for the heart-brolast chance. When the Highlanders turned ken Chevalier and his lost cause. their back upon England, the last possibil The retreat, for the first time, was made ity was over for the house of Stuart. 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
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 bim 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 had He was urged, some say, to put himself 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 other 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