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Prince Charles Edward Stuart
French expedition under Lord John Drummond


Hitherto the French court had not come under any written engagement to support the enterprise of Charles; but after the news of the capture of Edinburgh reached France, a treaty was entered into with the French crown. By this treaty, which was signed at Fontainebleau, on the 24th of October, by the Marquis D'Argenson, on the part of the French king, and by Colonel O'Bryen, on the part of Prince Charles, as regent of Scotland, the French king among other things agreed to furnish the prince with a body of troops to be taken from the Irish regiments in the service of France, along with other troops, to serve under his royal highness, to defend the provinces.

Lord John Drummond, who commanded a regiment in the French service, known by the name of Royal Scots, was appointed to the command of the troops destined for Scotland. Preparations were immediately made to fit out the expedition, and Lord John received written instructions, dated from Fontainebleau, October 28th, and signed by the French king, requiring him to repair immediately to Ostend, to superintend the embarkation of the troops. By these instructions, Lord John was directed to disembark the troops if possible upon the coast between Edinburgh and Berwick, and as soon as he had landed to give notice of his arrival to Prince Charles, and that the succours which he had brought were entirely at the disposal of the orders of the prince, to which Lord John himself was directed to conform, either by joining his army, or acting separately, according to the views of Charles. Lord John was also instructed to notify his arrival to the commander of the Dutch troops lately arrived in England, and to intimate to him to abstain from hostilities, agreeably to the capitulation of Tournay and Dendermonde. He was required to ask a prompt and categorical answer as to how he meant to act without sending to the Hague, as the state-general had declared to the Abbe de la Ville, that they had given positive orders to the commanders of these troops not to infringe the said capitulation's; and if, notwithstanding such notification, the Dutch troops should commit acts of hostility against those of the King of France, his lordship was ordered to confine closely such Dutch prisoners he might made, and to listen to no terms which would recognise a violation of the capitulation's, or dispense the King of France from enforcing the engagement that had been entered into with the Dutch, as to the exchange of prisoners of war.

Lord John Dummond accordingly proceeded to the coast, and having completed the embarkation of the troops, he set sail from Dunkirk about the middle of November, carrying along with him his own regiment, a select detachment from each of the six Irish regiments in the service of France, and Fiz-James's regiment of horse, so called from the Duke of Berwick, natural son of James the Second, who had been their colonel. Along with these troops were embarked a train of artillery and a considerable quantity of arms and ammunition. The forces embarked amounted to about 1,000 men, but they did not all reach their destination, as some of the transports were taken by English cruisers, and others were obliged to return to Dunkirk.

From Montrose, where he arrived about the end of November, Lord John despatched part of his forces to Aberdeen to aid Lord Lewis Gordon, and proceeded with the rest to Perth, where he established his head-quarters. In terms of his instructions, he sent a messenger to England with a letter to Count Nassau, the commander-in-chief of the Dutch auxiliaries, notifying his arrival, and requiring him to observe a neutrality. He also carried letters to the commanders of the royal forces. The bearer of these despatches, having obtained an escort of eight dragoons at Stirling, proceeded to Edinburgh, and having delivered a letter to General Guest, the commander of the castle, went on to Newcastle, and delivered letters to the Count and Marshal Wade. The Marshal, however, refused to receive any message "from a person who was a subject of the king, and in rebellion against his majesty". At the same time his lordship sent another messenger with a letter to Lord Fortrose, announcing his arrival, and urging him to declare for the prince as the only mode he had of retrieving his character. To induce him to join, Lord John informed his lordship that the prince had entered Wales, where he had about 10,000 friends, and that "his royal highness, the Duke of York", accompanied by Lord Marischal, would immediately join him at the head of 10,000 men.

Apprehensive that Lord John would cross the Forth above Stirling, two regiments of foot, and Hamilton's and Gardiner's dragoons, which had arrived at Edinburgh from Berwick, on the 14th of November, began their march to Stirling, on the 7th of December, to guard the passages of the Forth, and were joined at Stirling by the Glasgow regiment of 600 men, commanded by the Earl of Home. Lord John Drummond, however, it appears, had no intention of crossing the Forth at this time.

Almost simultaneously with Lord John Drummond's expedition, the French ministers appear to have contemplated a descent upon England under Lord Marischal, preparatory to which, Prince Henry repaired, by invitation, to Paris. Twelve thousand men were to have been employed upon this expedition; but the retreat of Charles from Derby, and the difficulty of transporting such a large force to England, seem to have prevented its execution.


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