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Prince Charles Edward Stuart
Pursuit of Charles - proceeds to Morar


Between eight and nine o'clock in the evening of Friday, the 4th of July, the prince departed for the mainland, accompanied by the chief and John Mackinnon. The observation of Charles, that he would obtain a fair wind after putting to sea, had made a deep impression upon the superstitious mind of the generous Malcolm, who accordingly sat down upon the side of the hill to watch the expected change, which, according to him, took place very soon, for the crew had not rowed the boat half a mile from the shore in the direction of the ships, before the wind chopped about, and whilst it favoured the prince, drove the men-of-war out of sight.

After a rough voyage, the party reached a place called Little Mallag or Malleck, on the south side of Loch Nevis between Morar and Knoydart, distance about thirty miles from the place where they had embarked. At sea they met a boat, containing some armed militia. No attempt was made to board, and a few words were exchanged in passing. Charles's visit to Skye soon became public, and the fact of his having been harboured and protected by certain persons in that island could not be disguised. Malcolm Macleod's connexion with the prince being reported, he was apprehended a few days after Charles's departure for the mainland, put on board a ship, and conveyed to London, where he remained a prisoner till the 1st of July, 1747, when he was discharged without being asked a single question. Kingsburgh also was taken up and conveyed to Fort Augustus, where, after being plundered of his shoe-buckles, garters, watch, and money, he was thrown into a dungeon, and loaded with irons. He was discharged by mistake for another person of the same name, but was brought back, and afterwards conveyed to Edinburgh, and committed to the castle, in which he remained till the 4th of July, in the same year.

Flora Macdonald was also apprehended about the same time by a party of militia, while on her way to the house of Donald Macdonald of Castleton in Skye, who had sent her notice that Macleod of Talisker, an officer of an independent company, had requested him to send for her. She was put on board the Furnace Bomb, and afterwards removed to Commodore Smith's sloop, and treated with great kindness and attention by him and General Campbell. She was confined a short time in Dunstaffnage castle. After being conveyed from place to place, she was put on board the Royal Sovereign, lying at the Nore, on the 28th of November, and carried up to London on the 6th of December following, where she remained in confinement till July in the following year, when she was discharged, at the especial request - according to the tradition of her family - of Frederick, Prince of Wales, father of George III, without a single question having been put to her. After her liberation, Miss Macdonald was invited to the house of Lady Primrose, a zealous Jacobite lady, where she was visited by a number of distinguished persons, who loaded her with presents. She and Malcolm Macleod returned to Scotland together in a post-chaise provided by Lady Primrose, and, on their way, paid a visit to Dr Burton at York, who had been previously liberated from jail. This gentleman having asked Malcolm his opinion of the prince, the trusty Highlander replied, that "he was the most cautious man he ever saw, not to be a coward, and the bravest, not to be rash". Few persons, now-a-days, will be disposed to concur in this eulogium, for though personally brave, Charles was extremely rash and inconsiderate.

(The subsequent history of the estimable Flora Macdonald may be stated in a few words. After her return to Skye, she married, in 1750, young Macdonald of Kingsburgh, whom she accompanied to North Carolina, America, probably in 1774. Young Kingsburgh joined the Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment, embodied in 1775, but was taken prisoner in 1776, and committed to Halifax goal. He afterwards served with the regiment in Canada, holding the rank of captain, and, at the close of the war, returned to Scotland on half-pay. The vessel in which Flora and her husband sailed was attacked by a French privateer, and while Flora, with characteristic spirit, stood on deck, animating the seamen, she was thrown down and had her arm broken. The wanderers, however, arrived in Skye, and never afterwards left it. Flora died on the 4th of March, 1790, aged 68, and was interred in the churchyard of Kilmuir, in a spot set apart for the graves of the Kingsburgh family. Kingsburgh died on the 20th of September 1795. Flora had seven children - five sons, and two daughters; the sons all became officers in the army, and the daughters officers' wives. Dr Johnson and Boswell visited Skye in the autumn of 1778, and were entertained at Kingsburgh house by Flora and her husband. Flora, then aged about 51, is described by Johnson as a woman of middle stature, soft features, gentle manners, and elegant presence; and by Boswell as "a little woman, of a genteel appearance, and uncommonly mild and well-bred").

As parties of the military were known to be stationed at a short distance from the place where Charles and his party landed, they were afraid to leave it, and slept three nights in the open air on the banks of Loch Nevis. On the fourth day the old laird and one of the boatmen ventured a little way into the country in quest of a place of concealment; and the prince, along with John Mackinnon and the other three boatmen, proceeded up the loch close to the shore. In turning a point, they unexpectedly came upon a boat tied to a rock, and so near as to touch her with their oars. This boat belonged to a militia party who were seen standing on the shore, and were at once recognised by their badge, which was a red cross on their bonnets. This party immediately hailed the boat, and demanded to know whence they came. The boatmen answered that they were from Sleat. The militiamen then ordered the boat to come ashore; but the boatmen continuing to row, the military jumped into their boat and gave chase. Charles, who lay in the bottom of the boat with John Mackinnon's plaid spread over him, wished to get up and attempt to escape by jumping ashore, but Mackinnon would not allow him, as he considered the experiment very dangerous. During the pursuit, Charles, who was anxious to know the relative progress of the two boats, kept up a conversation with the trusty Highlander, who assured him from time to time that the pursuers did not gain upon them. Both parties were equal in point of numbers; and as Mackinnon contemplating the possibility of the militiamen overtaking them, he directed the boatmen to keep their muskets close by them, but not to fire till he should give the word of command by firing first. "Be sure, (said John), to take an aim. Mark well, and there is no fear. We will be able to manage these rogues, if we come to engage them". Charles, begging that no lives might be sacrificed without an absolute necessity, Mackinnon said he would not fire if it could be avoided; but if compelled to do so in self-defence, their own preservation required that none of the assailants should escape to tell the news of their disaster. Observing a wood at some distance which reached down to the water, Mackinnon directed the boatmen to pull in that direction; and on reaching the shore, the prince, followed by Mackinnon and one of the boatmen, sprang out of the boat, and plunging into the wood, nimbly ascended the hill. The alarm into which they had been thrown gave place to feelings of a very different description, when, on reaching the summit of the hill, they perceived their pursuers returning from their fruitless chase.

Finding himself much fatigued, Charles slept three hours on this eminence, and returning down the hill, crossed the loch to a small island near the seat of Macdonald of Scothouse. Understanding that old Clanranald was there on a visit, Charles sent Mackinnon to solicit his protection, but the old chief positively refused to receive him. Upon Mackinnon's return the party repassed the loch, and returned to Mallag, where they rejoined the old laird. After refreshing themselves, they set out for the seat of Macdonald of Morar, about eight miles distant. In crossing the promontory between Loch Nevis and Loch Morar they passed a shieling, or cottage, where they observed some people coming down towards the road. Afraid that he would be known, the prince made John Mackinnon fold his plaid for him, and threw it over his shoulder with his knapsack upon it. To disguise himself still further, he tied a handkerchief about his head. In this attire Charles passed for Mackinnon's servant. A grandson of Macdonald of Scothouse, who was at the shieling, gave the party a draught of milk. At another shieling they procured another draught; and, as the night was dark and the road bad, they took a guide along with them to conduct them across this ford to Morar's house. When they came to this ford, an amusing occurrence took place. Mackinnon, desirous to keep Charles dry in crossing, desired the guide to be so good as carry "this poor sick fellow", (pointing to the prince), upon his back across the ford, as it was then pretty deep; but the guide indignantly answered, "The deil be on the back he comes, or any fellow of a servant like him; but I'll take you on my back, Sir, if you please, and carry you safely through the ford". "No, by no means", said Mackinnon, "if the lad must wade, I'll wade along with him, and help him, lest any harm should happen to him"; on saying which, he laid hold of Charles's arm, and they crossed the ford together. Both Charles and Mackinnon were pleased to find that the guide had no suspicion that the pretended sick person was the prince.

A little before day-break the party arrived at the end of their journey, but were disappointed to find that the mansion, where they expected to meet with a hospitable reception, had been burnt to the ground, and that its proprietor had been obliged to take up his abode in a bothy or hut in the neighbourhood. Morar, who had acted as lieutenant-colonel of Clanranald's regiment, gave the prince a hearty welcome. Having entertained Charles and his party, he conducted them to a cave for security, and went off in quest of young Clanranald, whom the prince was most anxious to see. After some hours absence Morar returned, and, reporting that he could not find Clanranald, Charles told him that as he had failed in meeting with that young chief, he would put himself under Morar's charge. According to Mackinnon's statement, Morar declined to take such responsibility upon him, and even declared that he did not know any person to whose care he could commit Charles's person. The prince, stung by the altered demeanour of Morar, this accosted him: "This is very hard. You were very kind yesternight, Morar! and said you could find out a hiding-place, proof against all the search of the enemy's forces; and now you say you can do nothing at all for me! You can travel to no place but what I will travel to; no estates or drinkables can you take but what I can take a share along with you, and be well content with them, and even pay handsomely for them. When fortune smiled upon me and I had pay to give, I then found some people ready enough to serve me; but now that fortune frowns on me, and I have no pay to give, they forsake me in my necessity". The chief of Mackinnon and his clansmen were highly indignant at Morar, and insisted that he must have seen young Clanranald, and that he had been advised to his present course, but Morar resolutely denied the charge. Charles in great distress exclaimed, "O God Almighty! look down upon my circumstance, and pity me; for I am in a most melancholy situation. Some of those who joined me at first, and appeared to be fast friends, now turn their backs upon me in my greatest need: and some of those again who refused to join me, and stood as a distance, are now among my best friends; for it is remarkable that those of Sir Alexander Macdonald's following have been most faithful to me in my distress, and contributed greatly to my preservation". The turning round to Mackinnon, he said, "I hope, Mr Mackinnon, you will not desert me too, and leave me in the lurch; but that you will do all for my preservation you can". The old laird, thinking that these words were meant for him, said, with tears in his eyes, "I never will leave your royal highness in the day of danger; but will, under God, do all I can for you, and go with you wherever you order me" - "Oh no!" rejoined Charles, "that is too much for one of your advanced years, Sir; I heartily thank you for your readiness to take care of me and my cause; but one of your age cannot well hold out with the fatigues and dangers I must undergo. It was to your friend John here, a stout young man, I was addressing myself". - "Well then", said John, "with the help of God, I will go through the wide world with your royal highness, if you desire me".


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