« PreviousContinue »
shore, and did homage to the Wanderer. His lady waited in a cave, to which they all repaired, and were entertained with cold meat and wine.* Mr. Malcolm Macleod being now superseded by the Laird of Mackinnon, desired leave to return, which was granted him, and Prince Charles wrote a short note, which he subscribed James Thompson, informing his friends that he had got away from Sky, and thanking them for their kindness; and he desired this might be speedily conveyed to young Rasay and Dr. Macleod, that they might not wait longer in expectation of seeing him again. He bade a cordial adieu to Malcolm, and insisted on his accepting of a silver stockbuckle, and ten guineas from his purse, though, as Malcolm told me, it did not appear to contain above forty. Malcolm, at first, begged to be excused, saying, that he had a few guineas at his service; but Prince Charles answered, “ You will have need of money. I shall get enough when I come upon the main land.”
The Laird of Mackinnon then conveyed him to the opposite coast of Knoidart. Old Rasay, to whom intelligence had been sent, was crossing at the same time to Sky; but as they did not know of each other, and each had apprehensions, the two boats kept aloof.
These are the particulars which I have collected concerning the extraordinary concealment and escapes of Prince Charles, in the Hebrides. He was often in imminent danger. The troops traced him from the Long Island, across Sky, to Portree, but there lost him.
Here I stop; having received no further authentic information of his fatigues and perils before he escaped to France. Kings and subjects may both take a lesson of moderation from the melancholy fate of the House of Stuart; that kings may not suffer degradation and exile, and subjects may not be harassed by the evils of a disputed succession.
Let me close the scene on that unfortunate house with the elegant and pathetic reflections of Voltaire, in his “ Histoire Générale :"
“Que les hommes privés,” says that brilliant writer, speaking of Prince Charles, “qui se croyent malheureux, jettent les yeux sur ce prince et ses ancêtres.”+
* To this cave, as we learn from Mr. Chambers's “History of the Rebellion," the old laird used to retire in after years, and busy himself in laying down plans for the restoration, and working out his theories in detail, after which he would return home extremely well pleased. A characteristic anecdote is related of him:-After his release from Tilbury Fort (where he had been confined a twelvemonth) the Attorney General reminded him of his Majesty's clemency. “Had I the King in my power as I am in his," replied the laird, “I would return him the compliment, by sending him back to his own country." Mackinnon died in 1756, aged seventy-five.-ED,
+ ["Let those private individuals who believe themselves unfortunate cast their eyes upon this prince and his ancestors."]
In another place he thus sums up the sad story of the family in general:
“Il n'y a aucun exemple dans l'histoire d'une maison si longtems infortunée. Le premier des Rois d'Ecosse, qui eut le nom de Jacques, après avoir été dix-huit ans prisonnier en Angleterre, mourut assassiné, avec sa femme, par la main de ses sujets. Jacques II., son fils, fut tué à vingt-neuf ans en combattant contre les Anglais. Jacques III. mis en prison par son peuple, fut tué ensuite par les revoltés, dans une battaille. Jacques IV. périt dans un combat qu'il perdit. Marie Stuart, sa petite fille, chassée de son trône, fugitivé en Angleterre, ayant langui dix-huit ans en prison, se vit condamnée à mort par des juges Anglais, et eut la tête tranchée. Charles I., petit fils de Marie, Roi d'Ecosse et d'Angleterre, vendu par les Ecossais, et jugé à mort par les Anglais, mourut sur un échaffaud dans la place publique. Jacques, son fils, septième du nom, et deuxième en Angleterre, fut chassé de ses trois royaumes ;
pour comble de malheur on contesta à son fils sa naissance; le fils ne tenta de remonter sur le trône de ses pères, que pour faire périr ses amis par des bourreaux ; et nous avons vu le Prince Charles Edouard, réunissant en vain les vertus de ses pères, et le courage du Roi Jean Sobieski, son ayeul maternel, exécuter les exploits et essuyer les malheurs les plus incroyables. Si quelque chose justifie ceux qui croyent une fatalité à laquelle rien ne peut se soustraire, c'est cette suite continuelle de malheurs qui a persécuté la maison de Stuart, pendant plus de trois-cent années."*
The gallant Malcolm was apprehended in about ten days after they separated, put aboard a ship, and carried prisoner to London. He said the prisoners in general were very ill-treated in their passage; but there were soldiers on board who lived well, and sometimes invited him to share with them: that he had the good fortune not to be thrown into jail, but was confined in the house of a messenger of the name of Dick. To his astonishment, only one witness could be found against him, though he had been so openly engaged; and, therefore, for want of sufficient evidence, he was set at liberty. He added, that he thought himself in such danger that he would gladly have compounded for banishment. Yet, he said, “ he should never be so ready for death as he then was." There is philosophical truth in this. A man will meet death much more firmly at one time than another. The enthusiasm even of a mistaken principle warms the mind and sets it above the fear of death, which in our cooler moments, if we really think of it, cannot but be terrible, or at least
* ["There is no example in history of a house so long unfortunate. The first of the Scottish kings who bore the name of James, after having been eighteen years a prisoner in England, died by assassination, in presence of his wife, by the hand of his subjects. James II., his son, was killed at twenty-nine years of age, fighting against the English. James III., thrown into prison by his people, was afterwards slain by the insurgents in a battle. James IV. perished in a battle which he lost. Mary Stuart, his grand-daughter, driven from the throne, a fugitive in England, having languished eighteen years in prison, saw herself condemned to death by English judges, and was beheaded. Charles I., grandson of Mary, king of Scotland and England, sold by the Scots and condemned to death by the English, died on a scaffold in the public street. James, his son, seventh of the name and second in England, was driven from his three kingdoms; and, to complete his misfortunes, the legitimacy of his son was disputed. The son tried to re-ascend the throne of his fathers only to make his friends perish by executions. And we have seen Prince Charles Edward uniting in vain the virtues of bis fathers and the courage of King John Sobieski, his maternal grandfather-performing exploits and enduring calamities the most incredible. If anything justifies those who believe in a fatality which nothing can escape, it is this continued sequel of misfortunes which persecuted the house of Stuart for more than three hundred years."]
Miss Flora Macdonald being then also in London under the protection of Lady Primrose, that lady provided a post-chaise to convey her to Scotland, and desired she might choose any friend she pleased to accompany her. She chose Malcolm. “ So," said he, with a triumphant air, “I went to London to be hanged, and returned in a post-chaise with Miss Flora Macdonald."*
Mr. Macleod of Muiravenside, whom we saw at Rasay, assured us that Prince Charles was in London in 1759, and that there was then a plan in agitation for restoring his family.t Dr. Johnson could scarcely credit his story, and said there could be no probable plan at that time. Such an attempt could not have succeeded, unless the King of Prussia had stopped the army in Germany; for both the army and the fleet would, even without orders, have fought for the king, to whom they had engaged themselves.
Having related so many particulars concerning the grandson of the unfortunate King James II.; having given due praise to fidelity
* Lady Primrose promoted a subscription for Flora Macdonald, which Lord Mahon states amounted to 1,5001. Mr. Croker publishes a letter, written by Flora, and dated from Kingsburgh, April 23rd, 1751, addressed to some banker or merchant in London, in which she applies for a sum of 6271. lodged for her behoof by Lady Primrose, with an intimation that her ladyship had it in view to add more. This was probably part of the subscription alluded to by Lord Mahon. From delicacy to the Macleods, Flora Macdonald seems to have said nothing to Mr. Boswell of her apprehension and imprisonment. In her narrative to Home she mentions that “Captain Macleod of Talisker (now Colonel Macleod) who commanded the militia in Skye, ordered a party to go to Armadale and apprehend Miss Macdonald. They took her prisoner and gave
up to a body of fusiliers, who delivered her to General Campbell, at that time on board Captain Ferguson's ship, which lay between Sconser and Rasay. She was on board this ship twenty-two days."-ED.
+ Dr. King, the Jacobite principal of St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, met the Prince at Lady Primrose's, and received him in his own house in September, 1750. On this occasion Charles remained five days in London. He appears to have made a second visit to England in 1753, as stated by David Hume, and corroborated by the Lord Marischal and Lord Holderness, thon Secretary of State. In this year, Dr. Archibald Cameron also returned, and, being apprehended, was tried and executed as a traitor. The Government was generally condemned for this vindictive severity; but it was probably done to intimidate the Jacobite party, and stifle some plot which had led Charles to London. The Prince is reported to have been again in England in 1760. and to have witnessed the coronation of George III., but there is no good authority for the statement.-ED.
and generous attachment, which, however erroneous the judgment may be, are honourable for the heart; I must do the Highlanders the justice to attest, that I found everywhere among them a high opinion of the virtue of the king now upon the throne, and an honest disposition to be faithful subjects to his majesty, whose family has possessed the sovereignty of this country so long, that a change, even for the abdicated family, would now hurt the best feelings of all his subjects.
The abstract point of right would involve us in a discussion of remote and perplexed questions; and, after all, we should have no clear principle of decision. That establishment which, from political necessity, took place in 1688, by a breach in the succession of our kings, and which, whatever benefits may have accrued from it, certainly gave a shock to our monarchy, the able and constitutional Blackstone wisely rests on the solid footing of authority :-“Our ancestors having most indisputably a competent jurisdiction to decide this great and important question, and having, in fact, decided it, it is now become our duty, at this distance of time, to acquiesce in their determination."*
Mr. Paley, the present Archdeacon of Carlisle, in his “ Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy,” having, with much clearness of argument, shown the duty of submission to civil government to be founded, neither on an indefeasible jus divinum nor on compact, but on expediency, lays down this rational position :—“ Irregularity in the first foundation of a state, or subsequent violence, fraud, or injustice, in getting possession of the supreme power, are not sufficient reasons for resistance after the government is once peaceably settled. No subject of the British empire conceives himself engaged to vindicate the justice of the Norman claim or conquest, or apprehends that his duty in any manner depends upon that controversy.* So, likewise, if the house of Lancaster, or even the posterity of Cromwell
, had been at this day seated upon the throne of England, we should have been as little concerned to inquire how the founder of the family came there.”+
* Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book I. chap. 3.-Boswell.
+ B. VI. chap. iii.-Since I have quoted Mr. Archdeacon Paley upon one subject, I cannot but transcribe from his excellent work a distinguished passage in support of the Christian Revelation. After showing, in decent but strong terms, the unfairness of the indirect attempts of modern infidels to unsettle and perplex religious principlos, and particularly the irony, banter, and sneer of one whom he politely calls, “an eloquent historian,"[Gibbon) the archdeacon thus expresses himself :
“Seriousness is not constraint of thought, nor levity of freedom. Every mind which wishes the advancement of truth and knowledge, in the most important of all human researches, must abhor this licentiousness, as violating no less the laws of reasoning than the rights of decency. There is but one description of men to whose principles it ought to be tolerable. I mean that class of reasoners who can see little in Chris
In conformity with this doctrine, I myself, though fully persuaded that the house of Stuart had originally no right to the crown of Scotland, for that Baliol, and not Bruce, was the lawful heir, should yet have thought it very culpable to have rebelled, on that account, against Charles I., or even a prince of that house much nearer the time, in order to assert the claim of the posterity of Baliol.
However convinced I am of the justice of that principle which holds allegiance and protection to be reciprocal, I do, however, acknowledge, that I am not satisfied with the cold sentiment which would confine the exertions of the subject within the strict line of duty. I would have every breast animated with the fervour of loyalty-with that generous attachment which delights in doing somewhat more than is required, and makes “service perfect freedom.” And, therefore, as our most gracious sovereign, on his accession to the throne, gloried in being born a Briton,* so, in my
tianity even supposing it to be true. To such adversaries we address this reflection: Had Jesus Christ delivered no other declaration than the following—'The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth—they that have done well unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation,' he had pronounced a message of inestimable importance, and well worthy of that splendid apparatus of prophecy and miracles with which his mission was introduced and attested—a message in which the wisest of mankind would rejoice to find an answer to their doubts, and rest to their inquiries. It is idle to say that a future state had been discovered already. It had been discovered as the Copernican system was-it was one guess amongst many. He alone discovers who proves; and no man can prove this point but the teacher who testifies by miracles that his doctrine comes from God."-Book V. chap. ix.
If infidelity be disingenuously dispersed in every shape that is likely to allure, surprise, or beguile the imagination-in a fable, & tale, a novel, a poem-in books of travels, of philosophy, of natural history-as Mr. Paley has well observed, I hope it is fair in me thus to meet such poison with an unexpected antidote, which I cannot doubt will be found powerful.—Boswell.
* George III., in his first speech to parliament, November 18, 1760, said—“Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Briton." This use of the appellation Briton instead of Englishman was attributed to Lord Bute and the Scotch influence supposed to preponderate in the court of the young king. Junius makes it one of the points of attack against the sovereign: “When you affectedly renounced the name of Englishman, believe me, sir, you were persuaded to pay a very ill-judged compliment to one part of your subjects at the expense of another." We find Lord Bute using the name of Briton in oue of his letters to Home, the author of “ Douglas,” dated from Venice, October 5, 1770: “I hope I may get better, if per.
1 mitted to enjoy that peace, that liberty, which is the birthright of the meanest Briton, but which has been long denied to me." (Mackenzie's “Life of John Home.") The Bute influence ("a power lehind the throne greater than the throne itself ") was much exaggerated; but it had the effect of perpetuating and increasing the prejudice against Scotland, which Johnson, Junius, and others entertained. Lord Chatham disclaimed it. In his celebrated speech, when boasting of having called into the service of the State a hardy and intrepid race of men from the mountains of the north, he added, “It was not the country I objected to, but the man of that country (Lord Bute), because he wanted wisdom, and held principles incompatible with freedom."-ED.