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Prince Charles Edward Stuart
Riot at Perth on the King's birthday


Whilst the prince and his partisans were thus spreading the seeds of insurrection, and endeavouring to improve the advantages they had gained, the ministry of Great Britain, aroused to a just sense of the impending danger, took every possible measure to retard the progress of the insurrection. King George had returned to London on the 31st of August. He met with a cordial reception from the nobility and gentry in the capital, and loyal addresses were voted by all the principal cities, and towns and corporations in the kingdom. A demand was made upon the states-general for the 6,000 men stipulated by treaty, part of whom were landed at Berwick the day after Cope's defeat. Three battalions of guards, and seven regiments of foot, were ordered home from Flanders, and a cabinet council was held at Kensington on the 13th of September, which directed letters to be sent to the lords-lieutenant and custondes rotulorum of the counties of England and Wales to raise the militia. Marshal Wade was despatched to the north of England to take the command of the forces in that quarter, and two regiments, of 1,000 each, were ordered to be transported from Dublin to Chester. A number of blank commissions were, as had been before stated, sent to the north of Scotland to raise independent companies; the Earl of Loudon was despatched to Inverness to take the command, and two ships of war were sent down with arms to the same place.

As popery had been formerly a serviceable bugbear to alarm the people for their religion and liberties, some of the English bishops issued mandates to their clergy, enjoining them to instil into their people "a just abhorrence of popery" and or arbitrary power, both of which they supposed to be inseparably connected; a proceeding which formed a singular contrast with the conduct of their brethren, the Scottish Protestant Episcopal clergy, who to a man were zealously desirous of restoring the Stuarts. The clergy attended to the injunctions they had received, and their admonitions were not without effect. Associations were speedily formed in every county, city, and town in England, of any consideration, in defence of the religion and liberties of the nation, and all persons, of whatever rank or degree, seemed equally zealous to protect both.

The parliament met on the 17th of October, and was informed by his majesty that he had been obliged to call them together sooner than he intended, in consequence of an unnatural rebellion which had broken out, and was still continued in Scotland, to suppress and extinguish which rebellion he craved the immediate advice and assistance of the parliament. Both houses voted address, in which they gave his majesty the strongest assurances of duty and affection to his person and government, and promised to adopt measures commensurate with the danger. The habeas corpus act was suspended for six months, and several persons were apprehended on suspicion. The Duke of Cumberland, the king's second son, arrived from the Netherlands shortly after the opening of the session, and on the 25th of October a large detachment of cavalry and infantry arrives in the Thames from Flanders. The trainbands of London were reviewed by his majesty on the 28th; and the persons who had associated themselves in different parts of the kingdom as volunteers, were daily engaged in the exercise of arms. Apprehensive of an invasion from France, the government appointed Admiral Vernon to command a squadron in the Downs, to watch the motions of the enemy by sea. Cruisers were stationed along the French coast, particularly off Dunkirk and Boulogne, which captured several ships destined for Scotland with officers, soldiers, and ammunition for the use of the insurgents.

The birth-day of George II, which fell on the 30th of October, was celebrated throughout the whole of England with extraordinary demonstrations of loyalty. Many extravagant scenes were enacted, which, though they may now appear ludicrous and absurd, were deemed by the actors as deeds of the purest and most exalted patriotism. In Scotland, however, with one remarkable exception, the supporters of government did not venture upon any public display. The exception alluded to was the town of Perth, some of whose inhabitants took possession of the church and steeple about mid-day, and rang the bells. Oliphant of Gask, who had been made deputy-governor of the town by the young Chevalier, and had under him a small party, sent to desire those who rang the bells to desist; but they refused to comply, and continued ringing at intervals until midnight, two hours after the ordinary time. Mr Oliphant, with his small guard and three of four gentlemen, posted themselves in the council-house, in order to secure about 1,400 small arms, some ammunition, &c, belonging to the Highland army, deposited there and in the adjoining jail. At night seven north-country gentlemen, in the Jacobite interest, came to town with their servants, and immediately joined their friends in the council-house: when it grew dark the mob made bonfires in the streets, and ordered the inhabitants to illuminate their windows, an order which was generally obeyed, and the few that refused had their windows broken. About nine o'clock at night a party sallied from the council-house, and marching up the street to disperse the mob, fired upon and wounded three of them. The mob, exasperated by this attack, rushed in upon the party, and disarmed and wounded some of them. After this recontre the mob placed guards at all the gates of the town, took possession of the main-guard and rung the fire-bell, by which they drew together about 200 people. They thereupon sent a message to Mr Oliphant, requiring him to withdraw immediately from the town and yield up the arms, ammunition, &c. Mr Oliphant having refused, they rang the fire-bell a second time, and hostilities commenced about two o'clock in the morning, and continued about three hours. The people fired at the council-house from the heads of lanes, from behind stairs, and from windows, so that the party within could not look out without the greatest hazard. About five o'clock the mob dispersed. An Irish captain in the French service was killed in the council-house, and three or four of Mr Oliphant's party were wounded. Of the mob, which was without a leader, four were wounded. To preserve order, about 60 of Lord Nairne's men were brought into the town next day, and these were soon after joined by about 130 Highlanders.


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