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Prince Charles Edward Stuart
Occupations of the Prince - Alarm of Cope


During his stay at Perth, Charles devoted almost all his time to the disciplining and training of his men, in writing despatches, and in a variety of military details to which he had hitherto been unaccustomed. Though fond of amusement, he never allowed it to occupy much of his time; and if he accepted a convivial invitation, it was more from a wish not to disoblige than from a desire to join in the festivities of his friends. Amid the occupations of the camp he did not, however, neglect the outward observances of religion. For the first time, it is believed, of his life, he attended the Protestant service at Perth, on Sunday the 8th of September, rather, it may be conjectured, to please his Protestant friends, than from any predilection for a form of worship to which he was an entire stranger. The text appropriately chosen on this occasion by the preacher, a Mr Armstrong, was from Isaiah xiv, verses 1,2 "For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land; and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place; and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors". The nonjuring Jacobites discourse delivered on the occasion in question, would certainly form an extraordinary contrast with the democratic harangues to which Charles's great-grandfather, Charles I, and his grand uncle, Charles II, were accustomed to listen from the mouths of the stern Covenanters.

While Charles was thus employed at Perth, Sir John Cope was marching from Inverness to Aberdeen. After leaving the direct road to Fort Augustus, Cope had proceeded by forced marches to Inverness, where he arrived on the 29th of August. Here he met the Lord President, who communicated to him a letter he had received on his arrival in the north, from Sir Alexander Macdonald, informing him of the names of the chiefs who had joined Charles, and requesting directions how to act in the event of the insurgent chiefs being forced to retire to the islands. After consulting with the President, Cope resolved to march back his army to Stirling, provided he could obtain a reinforcement of Highlanders from the Whig clans in the neighbourhood of Inverness. An application was accordingly made to the chiefs; but as it turned out ineffectual, Cope determined to march to Aberdeen and embark his troops for the Frith of Forth. The feelings of alarm and anxiety with which he was agitated on this occasion, are thus described by himself in a letter which he wrote from Inverness, on the 31st of August, to Lord Milton the Justice Clerk:- "I, from the beginning, thought this affair might become serious; and sorry I am that I was not mistaken: indeed, my lord, it is serious. I know your activity and ability in business, - the whole is at stake, - exert your authority, - lengths must be gone, - and rules and common course of business must yield to the necessity of the times, or it may soon be too late. So much fatigue of body and mind I never knew of before; but my health continues good, and my spirits do not flag. Much depends upon the next step we take. In this country the rebels will not let us get at them unless we had some Highlanders with us; and, as yet, not one single man has joined us, though I have lugged along with us 300 stand of arms. No man could have believed that not one man would take arms in our favour, or show countenance to us, but so it is".

It is rather singular, that on the same day on which the above-mentioned letter was written, the adherents of government at Edinburgh, who had hitherto derided the attempt of the prince, should have been at last aroused to a full sense of the danger they were in. Lulled by a false sense of security, they had never, for a moment, doubted that Cope would be successful on his expedition in the north; but certain intelligence, brought to them by James Drummond or Macgregor, son of the celebrated Rob Roy, who arrived at Edinburgh on the 26th, began to open their eyes. With the object of throwing the government party in the capital off their guard, this man was despatched from the Jacobite camp in Lochaber to Edinburgh, with the necessary instructions. Enjoying in some degree the confidence of the Whig party, he was the better fitted to impose upon them by his misrepresentations. When introduced to the public functionaries on his arrival, he stated that the Highland army was not 1,500 strong, - that is was chiefly composed of old men and boys, who were badly armed, and that from what he saw and knew of them he was sure they would fly before Cope's army. Though unsuccessful, as will be seen, in this branch of his mission, he succeeded in another which he had volunteered to perform, by getting one Drummond, a Jacobite printer, to print the price's proclamations and manifestos, which he took care to distribute throughout the city among the friends of the cause. When apprised of the fact of the publication, the magistrates, without suspecting Macgregor as the importer of these treasonable documents, issued a proclamation, offering a large reward for the discovery of the printer.

Edinburgh, at the period in question, and for many years afterwards, was confined within narrow limits. It had never been properly fortified; and its castle, which majestically overtops the city, and forms the western boundary of that division now called the "Old Town", could afford it little security. On the south and on the east, the ancient city was bounded by a wall varying from ten to twenty feet high. On the north side, a lake, easily fordable, called the North Loch, now drained and converted into beautiful gardens, was its only defence. In several places the old wall had been built upon, so that dwelling houses formed part of the wall, but these erections were overlooked by rows of higher houses without the city. There were no cannon mounted upon the wall, but in some places it was strengthened by bastions and embrasures. The standing force of the city consisted of two bodies, called the Town Guard and the Trained Bands, neither of which now exist. The first, which, at the time we are now treating of, amounted to 126 men, acted in lieu of a police; and though pretty well versed in the manual and platoon exercise, were, from their being generally old men, unfit for military duty. The Trained Bands, or Burgher Guard, which was composed of citizens, and in former times amounted to a considerable number of men, did not at the period in questions exceed 1,000. Anciently, the tallest men were armed with pikes, and those of a lower stature with firelocks, and both were provided with defensive armour. The captain of each company, eight in number, instructed his men one day in every week in the exercise of arms; but the pikes and armour were afterwards laid aside, and since the Revolution the Trained Bands had appeared in arms only once in the year, to celebrate the king's birth-day, on which occasion they were furnished with arms for the service of the day from a magazine belonging to the city.

As it was obvious that, under these circumstances, no effectual resistance could be made to the entrance of an army into the city, the provost and magistrates held a meeting on the 27th of August, at which some of the principal citizens attended, to devise means of defence. At this meeting it was resolved to repair the walls and to raise a regiment of 1,000 men, to be paid by a voluntary contribution of the inhabitants. A standing committee was, at the same time, appointed to carry this resolution into effect, and to advise with the Lord-Justice-Clerk and other judges then in town, and the crown lawyers, as to such other steps as might be considered necessary in the present crisis. To obtain the requisite permission to embody the proposed regiment, an application was sent to London by the Lord Advocate; and leave to that effect was granted on the 4th of September.


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