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Prince Charles Edward Stuart
The Highland army arrives at Manchester


Accordingly, on the 28th, the Highland army left Preston and marched to Wigan, where they passed the night. Next day the whole army entered Manchester, amid the acclamations of the inhabitants, who illuminated their houses, and lighted up bonfires in the evening, to express their joy. The same evening one Dickson, a sergeant, enlisted by the Chevalier Johnstone, from the prisoners taken at Preston, presented 180 recruits whom he had raised in the course of the day in Manchester. This young Scotsman, whom the Chevalier represents to have been "as brave and intrepid as a lion", disappointed at his own ill success in raising recruits at Preston, had requested permission from Johnstone, in whose company he was, to proceed to Manchester - a day's march before the army - to make sure of some recruits before it should arrive there. The Chevalier reproved him sharply for entertaining so wild and extravagant a project, which would expose him to danger of being taken and hanged, and ordered him back to his company; but Dickson, reckless of consequences, quitted Preston on the evening of the 28th, with his mistress and a drummer, and travelling all night, entered Manchester next morning, and immediately began to beat up for recruits for "The Yellow Haired Laddie". Conceiving that the Highland army was at hand, the populace at first did not interrupt him; but when they ascertained that the army would not arrive till the evening, they surrounded him in a tumultuous manner, with the intention of taking him prisoner dead or alive. Dickson presented his blunderbuss, charged with slugs, threatened to blow out the brains of those who first dared to lay hands on himself or the two who accompanied him; and by turning round continually, facing in all directions, and behaving like a lion, he soon enlarged the circle which a crowd of people had formed around him. Having contrived for some time to manoeuvre in this way, those of the inhabitants of Manchester, who were attached to the house of Stuart, took arms, and flew to the assistance of Dickson, to rescue him from the fury of the mob; so that he had soon 500 or 600 men to aid him, who dispersed the crowd in a very short time. Dickson now triumphed in his turn; and putting himself at the head of his followers, he proudly paraded undisturbed the whole day with his drummer, enlisting all who offered themselves. That evening, on presenting his recruits, it was found that the whole amount of his expenses did not exceed three guineas. This adventure gave rise to many a joke, at the expense of the town of Manchester, from the singular circumstance of its having been taken by a sergeant, a drummer, and a girl.

The van of the prince's army, consisting of 100 horse, entered Manchester on the evening of the 28th of November, and, to magnify their numbers, ordered quarters to be prepared for 10,000 men. Another party of cavalry entered the town at ten o'clock next morning, and about two o'clock in the afternoon, Charles himself, accompanied by the main body, marched in on foot, surrounded by a select body of the clans. He wore on this occasion a light tartan plaid belted with a blue sash, a grey wig, and a blue velvet bonnet with silver lace, having a white rose in the centre of the top, by which latter badge he was distinguished from his general officers, who wore their cockades on one side. Here, as in all the other towns through which the Highlanders had passed, the Chevalier de St. George was proclaimed. The bells of the town were rung, and in the evening an illumination was made and bonfires lighted, by order of the prince, who also issued a proclamation requiring all persons, who had public money in their hands, to pay it into his treasury. The army halted a day in Manchester and beat up for recruits. They were joined by some young men of the most respectable families in the town, by several substantial tradesmen and farmers, and by upwards of 100 common men. These, with the recruits raised by Dickson, were formed into a corps called the Manchester regiment, the command of which was given to Mr Townley, on whom the rank of Colonel was conferred. This regiment never exceeded 300 men, and were all the English who ever openly declared for the prince.

Though Charles's reception at Manchester had been rather flattering, yet the countenance he received was not such as to encourage him to proceed, and a retreat now began to be talked of. One of Lord George Murray's friends ventured to hint to him that he thought they had advanced far enough, as neither of the events they had anticipated, of an insurrection in England, or a landing from France, were likely to take place. Lord George, who, it is understood, had always a retreat in view, if not supported by a party from England or by succours from abroad, said that they might make a farther trial by going as far as Derby, but that if they did not receive greater encouragement than they had yet met with, he would propose a retreat to the prince.

Conceiving that it was the intention of Charles to march by Chester into Wales, the bridges over the Mersey, on the road to Chester, had been broken down by order of the authorities; but this precaution was quite unnecessary. After halting a day at Manchester the army proceeded to
Macclesfield on the morning of the 1st of December, in two divisions. One took the road to Stockport, and the other to Knottesford. The bridge near Stockport having been broken down, Charles crossed the river up to his middle in water. At Knottesford the other division crossed the river over temporary bridges, made chiefly out of poplar trees laid length-ways with planks across. The horse and artillery crossed at Chedleford. In the evening both divisions joined at Macclesfield, where they passed the night.


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