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Prince Charles Edward Stuart
Stay at Raasay and return to Skye


Portree, a small bay opposite the island of Raasay, from which Charles was about to depart, had derived its name, which signifies the King's Port, from the circumstance of King James the Fifth having landed there during his excursion amongst the western islands. Charles left this creek after midnight, under the protection of the enthusiastic young laird of Raasay, to whom Malcolm Macleod introduced him when he entered the boat. as the two boatmen had served in the prince's army, the whole party, with the exception of young Raasay himself, were under the ban of the government, and the young laird, whose only motive in not joining the insurrection was probably a desire to save the estate, now fearlessly put his life and fortune in jeopardy, when the risk was even greater.

Charles slept a little upon the passage, and reached Raasay about day-break, a few hours after his departure from Portree. The party landed at a place called Glam, about the distance of ten miles from that haven. Charles, Malcolm, and Murdoch Macleod took up their abode in a wretched hut which some shepherds had lately erected. They had no bedding of any sort, and were obliged to repose upon some heath. On entering the hut they kindled a fire and partook of some provisions. On this, as on other occasions, Charles, to please the Highlanders, never tasted wheat-bread or brandy while oat-bread and whisky lasted, for, he observed, that these last were his "own country bread and drink". Young Raasay had nothing to dread from his own people; and, lest the military might revisit the island, he placed the two boatmen upon different eminencies to watch their approach. He visited Charles and his friends occasionally, and always carried provisions along with him. Though comparatively secure, Charles was very uneasy in his new retreat; and frequent starts and exclamations in his slumbers indicated the agitated workings of his mind. Malcolm Macleod often overheard him in his sleep muttering imperfect sentences, in Italian, French, and English. One of his expressions in English was, "O God! poor Scotland!".

During Charles's stay in Raasay, no person visited the island, but he and his friends were kept in a state of uneasiness by a person who prowled about without any apparent business, and who had come into the island to sell a roll of tobacco. He had arrived about twelve or fourteen days before Charles. Having disposed of his merchandise very speedily, it was expected that he would have departed, but continuing to stroll up and down the island in an idle way, he was suspected to be a spy. Malcolm Macleod happening to see him approaching the hut one day, a council of war was held by Charles and his friends. The three Macleods were for putting the poor tobacco vendor to death, and Macolm Macleod offer to go out immediately and shoot him through the head; but Charles indignantly reprobated the inhuman proposal. "God forbit (said he) that we should take away a man's life who may be innocent, while we can preserve our own". John Mackenzie, who sat as sentinel at the door, overhearing the debate, said to himself in Gaelic, "Well, well: he must be shot: you are the king, but we are the parliament, and will do what we choose". Observing his friends smile, Charles asked what John had said; and being told of the man's observation in English, the prince observed that he was a clever fellow; and, notwithstanding his perilous situation, laughed loud and heartily. Notwithstanding Charles's remonstances, the stranger would have been despatched had he entered the hut, but luckily he walked past without looking into it. It was afterwards ascertained that the stranger himself was a fugitive from the Highland army. While Charles resided in this hut, he and his companions indulged in a great deal of conversation. Alluding to passing events and his present situation, the prince observed that his life was to be sure a very hard one; but that he would rather live in the way he did for then years, than fall into the hands of his enemies, not because he believed they would dare to take away his life publicly, but because he dreaded being poisoned or assassinated. He was very particular in his inquiries at Dr Macleod about the wound he had received at Culloden, from a ball which entered at one shoulder and went across to the other. He threw out some reflections upon the conduct of some of his officers at Culloden, but confessed that perhaps it was rash in him to do so. Talking of the different Highland corps, the Macleods asked Charles which, in his opinion, were the best soldiers; but he evaded a direct answer, said he did not like comparisons among such corps; and that they were all the best.

Charles resided two days in Raasay, when becoming uneasy, and thinking the island too narrow and confined for the purpose of concealment, he resolved to depart. Understanding that he expected a French ship as Lochbroom, Malcolm Macleod offered to carry him thither, but Charles declined the proposal on account of the danger of the voyage in a small boat. He expressed a wish to go to Trotternish in Skye, but his friends attempted to dissuade him, as they considered him safer in Raasay. Persisting however in going, the whole party, including the two boatmen, left Raasay on the evening of the 2d of July, in the same boat which they had used to carry them into the island. After they had gone a little off the shore the wind began to blow hard, and soon increased to a gale. The sea became so very rough, that the waves broke over the boat and almost filled it with water. All on board begged the prince to return, but he declined, observing, that as Providence had carried him through so many dangers, he did not doubt of the same care now as before. About eleven o'clock at night they landed at a place in Skye, called Nicolson's rock, near Scorobreck in Trotternish, after a very boisterous voyage of about fifteen miles. There was a large surf on the shore, and there being no convenient landing place, they had to jump out among the water. Charles was the third man who leapt into the sea. Standing in the surf, the whole party, including Charles, laid hold of the boat and drew it up on dry ground.

On this desolate coast, the royal wanderer could find no other resting-place than a cow-house, belonging to Mr Nicolson of Scorobreck, about two miles from that gentleman's seat. The party entered this wretched hovel and took a little refreshment of oat cakes, which had mouldered down into very small crumbs, and some cheese. Charles being wet to the skin, Malcolm Macleod advised him to put on a dry shirt. This he declined, and continued to sit in his wet clothes. Overcome with fatigue he fell asleep; but he enjoyed little sound repose. He would frequently start in his sleep, look briskly up, and stare boldly around him, as if about to fight the persons around him. "Oh poor England! poor England!" were the exclamations he would sometimes utter, with a deep sigh, during these disturbed moments.

In all his wanderings it was the constant practice of Charles to conceal his future movements from every person with whose services he was about to dispense, so as to prevent any clue to his discovery. Wishing to get quit of young Raasay and his brother, he despatched the former to look out for Donald Roy, and he desired the latter to go to a place called Cammistinawag, where he would meet him. Murdoch Macleod and the two boatmen then took leave. At parting he presented Murdoch with a case, containing a silver spoon, knife, and fork, which he requested him to keep till they met.

The prince and Malcolm Macleod remained in the hut till seven o'clock in the morning, when Charles, taking the little baggage in his hand, walked out, and desired Malcolm to follow him. Macleod took the bundle out of Charles's hand, and followed him in silence till out of sight of the cow-house, when Charles taking a direction Malcolm did not like, this faithful adherent went up to him and asked him where he was going, as he was afraid that he might fall into the hands of one of the numerous military parties, who were dispersed over the island. "Why, Macleod, (replied Charles), I now throw myself entirely into your hands, and leave you to do with me what you please; only I want to go to Strath, Mackinnon;s country. I hope you will accompany me, if you think you can lead me safe enough into Strath". Malcolm declared that he would go with his royal highness wherever he pleased, and offered to bring him safe into that part of Skye which belonged to the chief of Mackinnon, provided he would consent to go by sea; but Macleod objected to a journey over land which he considered would be attended with dangers from the soldiers. Charles, however, insisted on going by land, and observed that they could now do nothing without danger. The better to prevent a discovery, Charles proposed that he should act the part of Macleod's servant, and that he should assume the name of Lewis Caw, there being at the time a young surgeon of that name, who had been in the prince's service, skulking in Skye, where he had some relations. Observing that his scarlet tartan waistcoat with gold twist buttons, was finer than that worn by Macleod, which was of plain ordinary tartan, Charles exchanged it for Macleod's. The taking the bag which contained his linen out of Macleod;s hands, Charles threw it over his shoulder, and set out on his perilous journey, preceded by the faithful Malcolm, who, to complete the deception, had proposed that Charles should keep up his new character of a gilly, or footman, by walking in the rear.


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