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Prince Charles Edward Stuart
The Prince arrives at Perth


Charles spent the night at Nairne-house, and proceeded next day to Perth, which had been taken possession of by a party of Camerons the preceding evening. Attired in a superb dress of tartan, trimmed with gold, and mounted on Captain Scott's charger, Charles entered the "fair city", attended by several gentlemen on horseback. They immediately repaired to the cross, and proclaimed the Chevalier; after which ceremony Charles was conducted, amid the acclamations of the people, to the house of Viscount Stormont, which had been provided for his residence while in Perth. The magistrates and some of the principle inhabitants, following the example set by many of the landed proprietors of the county, abandoned the city on the appearance of the Highlanders, and fled to Edinburgh. An advanced party under Macdonald of Keppoch, had been sent forward to seize Dundee; but being informed by some of the inhabitants, who met him on the road, that his force was too small for the purpose, Keppoch applied for a reinforcement, which was accordingly sent off from Perth, about midnight, under Clanranald. These detachments entered Dundee at day-break, and captured two vessels with arms and ammunition on board, which were sent up the Tay for the use of the royal army.

At Perth, Charles was joined by the Duke of Perth, Lord Ogilvie and Strathallan, Robertson of Strowan, Oliphant of Gask, and several other gentlemen; but the chief personage who rallied under Charle's standard at Perth, and was indeed among the first to appear there, was Lord George Murray, immediate younger brother to the Duke of Athole. He was conducted by his eldest brother, the Marquis of Tullibardine, into the presence of the prince. Lord George had taken a share in the insurrection of 1715, and was one of the few persons who joined the Spanish forces, which were defeated at Glenshiel in 1719. He afterwards went abroad, and several years as an officer in the King of Sardinia's army; but having obtained a pardon, he returned from exile, and was presented to George I by his brother the Duke of Athole. Lord George was tall in person, and though now past the meridian of life, retained all the qualities of a robust and vigorous constitution. Besides a natural genius for military operations, in which he had had considerable experience, Lord George was fertile in resources, indefatigable in application, and brave even to a fault. With sword in hand he was always the first to rush forward upon the enemy in the day of battle, often saying to his men, "I do not ask you, my lads, to go before, but to follow me". The accession therefore of such a man, at such a crisis, was of the highest importance to the Jacobite cause. Charles, when at Glenfinnan, had conferred the post of quarter-master-general of the army on O'Sullivan. Aware of the brilliant qualifications of Lord George, the prince, almost immediately on his arrival at Perth, appointed him lieutenant-general, to the great satisfaction of the clans, to whom he was favourably know.

Lord George appointed the Chevalier Johnstone, who had also joined the prince at Perth, his aid-de-camp, and immediately entered on his duties with alacrity. Though the Highlanders acted in complete subordination to their chief when in the field of battle, they had so little idea of military discipline, that they would absent themselves without permission and roam about the country. This happened more particularly on marches, when there was a scarcity of food, on which occasions they would spread themselves over the whole country, in straggling parties, in quest of provisions. The inconveniences and loss of time, and the great abuses to which such a practice led, had been strongly felt in the former insurrection, and had been witnessed by Lord George himself. To prevent a recurrence of such evils during the present contest, the first thing Lord George did, was to advise the prince to appoint proper persons to fill the commissariat department, by whose exertions an adequate supply of food might be provided for the use of the army, without which, he said, it would be impossible to keep the Highlanders together for any length of time. That no delay might take place in waiting for provisions, in forced marches, or in detached enterprises, which required despatch, he caused a considerable number of small knapsacks to be made, sufficient to contain a peck of meal each, which the men could carry on their backs without any inconvenience. A thousand of these knapsacks were sent to Crieff, for the use of the Athole men, who were to march south in that direction.

The march of Charles into Athole had been so rapid and unexpected, that his friends in that district had had no time to gather any considerable force to join him on his route to Perth. He was, therefore, under the necessity of remaining a few days in Perth, to give his adherents time to raise their men. In mustering their tenants and vassals, some of them are said to have met with considerable difficulties from the unwillingness of their people to take up arms, and the Duke of Perth has been charged with the crime of shooting one or two of his tenants, who were refractory, but the charge does not appear sufficiently supported.

Another reason for Charles's stay in Perth was the want of money. His treasury had been completely drained by his liberal advances for the support of his army; and of the few thousand pounds which he brought with him from France, he had only one guinea remaining when he entered Perth. Taking the solitary coin from his pocket, he showed it to Kelly, one of the gentlemen who came over with him, and told him that it was all the money that now remained; but he added with an air of confidence, that the army had received a fortnight's pay in advance, and that before the expiration of another fortnight he would receive a fresh supply. In order to meet pecuniary demands, Charles had despatched a circular from Kinlochiel on the 22nd August to his friends in different parts of Scotland, soliciting an immediate supply; but up to the time of his arrival at Perth no money appears to have reached him. Shortly thereafter, however, his expectations began to be realised by some private pecuniary contributions sent by persons well affected to his cause, but who were afraid of openly declaring themselves. But Charles did not trust to such uncertain supplies to recruit his exhausted treasury. Besides compelling the city of Perth to contribute 500, he appointed persons in Perth, Dundee, and other towns in the counties of Perth and Angus, to collect the public money, by means of which, and the contributions of his friends, his coffers were speedily replenished.


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