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Prince Charles Edward Stuart
Lochiel's interview with the Prince


Among the chiefs who were summoned to Borodale, Lochiel was the first to appear, and he immediately had a private interview with the prince. Charles told him that he meant to be quite candid, and to conceal nothing; he reprobated in severe terms the conduct of the French ministry, who, he averred, had long amused him with fair promises, and had at last deceived him. He admitted that he had but a small quantity of arms, and very little money; that he had left France with out concerting anything, or even taking leave of the French court, that he had, however, before leaving, written to the French king and his ministers soliciting succours, which he was persuaded they would send as soon as they saw that he really had a party in Scotland, that he had appointed Earl Marischal his agent at the court of France, and that he depended much upon the zeal and abilities of that nobleman, who would himself superintend the embarkation of the succours he was soliciting.

(A tribute to the memory of Lochiel, who died in 1748, appeared in the Scots Magazine of that year, part of which we quote...

Mistaken as he was, the man was just,
Firm to his word, and faithful to his trust:
He bade not others go, himself to stay,
As is the pretty, prudent, modern way;
But, like a warrior, bravely drew his sword,
And rear'd his target for his native lord.
Humane he was, protected countries tell;
So rude an host was never rul'd so well.
Fatal to him, and to the cause he lov'd,
Was the rashtumult which his folly mov'd;
Compell'd by hard necessity to bear,
In Gallia's bands, a mercenary spear!
But heav'n in pity to his honest heart,
Resolv'd to snatch him from so poor a part.
The mighty mendate unto death was given,
And good Lochiel is now a Whig in heaven.)

While Lochiel admitted the engagements which he and other chiefs had come under to support the cause, he observed that they were binding only in the event of the stipulated aid being furnished; and as his royal highness had come over without such support, they were released from the engagements they had contracted. He therefore reiterated his resolution not to join in the present hopeless attempt, and advised his royal highness to return to France and await a more favourable opportunity. Charles, on the other hand, maintained, that an opportunity more favourable than the present might never occur again, that, with the exception of a very few newly raised regiments, all the British troops were occupied abroad. He represented, that the regular troops now in the kingdom were insufficient to withstand the body of Highlanders his friends could bring into the field; and he stated his belief, that if in the outset he obtained an advantage over the government forces, the country in general would declare in his favour, and his friends abroad would at once aid him, that every thing, in fact, now depended upon the Highlanders, and that to accomplish the restoration of his father, it was only necessary that they should instantly declare themselves and begin the war.

These arguments, which, as the result showed, were more plausible than solid, had no effect upon Lochiel, who continued to resist all the entreaties of Charles to induce him to alter his resolution. Finding the prince utterly averse to the proposal made to him to return to France, Lochiel entreated him to be more moderate in his views. He then suggested, that Charles should send his attendants back to France; that he himself should remain concealed in the country; that a report should be circulated that he also had returned to France, and that the court of France should me made acquainted with the state of matters, and informed that his friends would be ready to take up arms upon the first notice of a landing, but that nothing could be done without foreign support. Charles, however, rejected this proposal also, and told Lochiel, that the court of France would never be convinced that he had a considerable party in Scotland, till there was an actual insurrection, without which he was afraid they would not venture their troops.

As a last shift, Lochiel suggested, that Charles should remain at Borodale till he and other friends should hold a meeting, and concert what was best to be done. With an impatience which spurned delay, Charles would not even listen to the proposal, and declared his firm determination to take the field, however small the number of his attendants might be. "In a few days", said he, "with the few friends that I have, I will erect the royal standard, and proclaim to the people of Britain, that Charles Stuart is come over to claim the crown of his ancestors: Lochiel, whom my father has often told me, was our firmest friend, may stay at home, and from the newspapers, learn the fate of his prince". This appeal was irresistible. "No!" exclaimed Lochiel, "I'll share the fate of my prince; and so shall every man over whom nature or fortune has given me any power.

Having extorted an acquiescence from Lochiel, who, impelled by a mistaken but chivalrous sense of honour, thus yielded to the prince's entreaties in spite of his own better judgement, Charles resolved to raise his standard at Glenfinnan on the 19th of August. Accordingly, he despatched letters from Borodale on the 6th, to the various chiefs who were favourably disposed, informing them of his intention, and requiring the presence of them and their followers at Glenfinnan on the day appointed, or as soon thereafter as possible. Lochiel, at the same time, returned to his own house, whence he despatched messengers to the leading gentlemen of his clan to raise their men, and to hold themselves in readiness to march with him to Glenfinnan.

After sending off his messengers, Charles left Borodale for the house of Kinlochmoidart, about seven miles from Borodale, whither he and his suite had been invited by the proprietor to spend a few days, while the preparations for the appointed meetings were going on. Charles and his party went by sea, and their baggage and some artillery were forwarded by the same conveyance; but the body-guard, which has been provided by Clanranald, proceeded by land along the heads of two intervening bays. While at the hospitable mansion of his friend, Charles expressed his sense of the services of Kinlochmoidart in the warmest terms, offered him a colonel's commission in a regiment of dragoons, and promised him a peerage.


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