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General History of the Highlands
1695 - 1714


IN the meantime, December 28, 1694, had died Queen Mary, to the great grief of her husband and the sincere regret of the nation generally.

We are not required to enter here into a history of the Darien scheme, which originated in 1695, and was so mismanaged as to involve in ruin thousands of families formerly in comparative opulence. It appears to have had little influence on the Highlands, for although a few natives took part in the expedition out of dissatisfaction with William’s government, the great mass of the Highlanders were too far behind the age to resort to such a roundabout means of aggrandizing a fortune.

The attitude assumed by King William and the government to the Darien expedition exasperated the Scottish nation so much that there seemed to be some danger of a counter-revolution. To the bitterness of disappointment succeeded an implacable hostility to the king, who was denounced, in pamphlets of the most violent and inflammatory tendency, as a hypocrite, and as the deceiver of those who had shed their best blood in his cause, and as the author of all the misfortunes which had befallen Scotland. One of these pamphlets was voted by the House of Commons a false, scandalous, and seditious libel, and ordered to he burned by the common executioner, and an address was voted to his majesty to issue a proclamation for apprehending the author, printer, and publisher of the obnoxious publication. The king was so chagrined at the conduct of the Scotch that he refused to see Lord Basil Hamilton, who had an address to present to his majesty from the company, praying for his interference on behalf of their servants who were kept in captivity by the Spaniards.

In direct contradiction to the House of Lords, the Scottish parliament voted that the colony of Darien was a lawful and rightful settlement which they would support; a resolution which induced the Duke of Queensberry, the commissioner, to prorogue the session. But this step only tended to increase the discontents of the nation; and, to show the king that the people would be no longer trifled with, an address to his majesty, containing a detail of national grievances, and representing the necessity of calling an immediate meeting of parliament, was drawn up and signed by a considerable number of the members; and a deputation, with Lord Ross at its head, was appointed to present the address to the king. His majesty, however, evaded the address, by informing the deputation that they would be made acquainted in Scotland with his intentions; and, as if to show his displeasure, he ordered the parliament to be adjourned by proclamation.

The Scottish nation was now fully ripe for a rebellion, but neither James nor his advisers had the capacity to avail themselves of passing events, to snatch the tottering crown from the head of the illustrious foreigner, who was destined to be the happy instrument of placing the liberties of the nation upon a more sure and permanent footing than they had hitherto been. The hopes of the Jacobites were, however, greatly raised by the jarrings between the king and his Scottish subjects, and an event occurred, about this time, which tended still farther to strengthen them. This was the death of the young Duke of Gloucester, the only surviving child of the Princess Anne, on the 29th of July, 1700, in the eleventh year of his age. As the Jacobites considered that the duke was the chief obstacle in the way of the accession of the Prince of Wales to the crown, they could not conceal their pleasure at an occurrence which seemed to pave the way for the restoration of the exiled family, and they privately despatched a trusty adherent to France to assure King James that they would settle the succession upon the Prince of Wales. Such a proposition had indeed been made by William himself at an interview he had with Louis XIV. in 1697, when a prospect opened of James being elected king of Poland on the death of John Sobieski; but this proposal was rejected by James, who told the king of France, that though he could bear with patience the usurpation of his nephew and son-in-law, he would not allow his own son to commit such an act of injustice; that by permitting his son to reign while he (James) was alive, he would, in fact, be held as having renounced his crown, and that the Prince of Wales would also be held as having resigned his own right, if he accepted the crown as successor to the Prince of Orange. As James had now given up all idea of a crown, and was wholly engrossed with the more important concerns of a future life, it is probable that he received the proposal of his friends in a very different spirit from that he evinced when made by William.

The designs of the Jacobites, however, were frustrated by the intrigues of the Princess Sophia, Electress and Duchess Dowager of Hanover, grand-daughter of King James I., who had for several years contemplated the plan of getting the succession to the English crown settled upon herself and her heirs. An act was accordingly passed by the English parliament in June, 1701, at the desire of the king, whom the princess had prevailed upon to espouse her cause, declaring her to be the next in succession to the crown of England, after his majesty and the Princess Anne, in default of issue of their bodies respectively, and that after the decease of William and Anne respectively without issue, the crown and government of England should remain and continue to the Princess Sophia and the heirs of her body, being Protestants. This act, which, by one swoop, cut off the whole Catholic descendants of James I., of whom there were fifty-three alive, all nearer heirs to the crown than the princess, gave great offence to all the Catholic princes concerned in the succession.

The act of settlement in favour of the Princess Sophia and her heirs, was a deathblow to the Jacobite interest, but still the hopes of the party were not extinguished. As James had given up all idea of dispossessing William, and even discountenanced any attempt to disturb the peace of the kingdom during his own life-time, the partisans of his family had given up every expectation of his restoration. But the death of King James, which took place at St. Germains on the 16th of September, 1701, and the recognition of his son by Louis XIV. as king, were events which opened up brighter prospects than they had yet enjoyed. The unfortunate monarch had, for several years, taken farewell of worldly objects, and had turned his whole attention to the concerns of eternity, dying ardently attacked to the creed which, from principle, he had embraced. Of the arbitrary and unconstitutional conduct of James, at the period preceding the revolution, it is impossible for any lover of genuine liberty to speak without feelings of indignation; but it must not be forgotten that in his time the prerogatives of the crown were not clearly defined, and that he was misled by evil counsellors, who advised him to violate the existing constitution.

Nothing but the prospect of an immediate war with England could, it is believed, have induced Louis to recognise, as he did, the Prince of Wales as king of England, Ireland, and Scotland. William remonstrated against this act of the French king, as a violation of the treaty of Ryswick, and appealed to the King of Sweden, as the guarantee for its observance; but Louis was inflexible, and maintained in the face of all Europe, that he was not debarred by the treaty from acknowledging the title of the Prince of Wales, to which he had right by birth. He admitted that by the fourth article of the treaty he was bound not to disturb William in the possession of his dominions, and he declared his intention to adhere to that stipulation; but this explanation was considered quite unsatisfactory by William, who recalled his ambassador from Paris. The conduct of the French king excited general indignation in England, and addresses were sent up from all parts of the kingdom, expressive of attachment to the government. The English parliament passed two separate acts of attainder against the pretended Prince of Wales, as the son of James was termed, and the queen, his mother, who acted as regent. Great preparations were made for entering into a war with France, and William had concerted with his allies the plan of a campaign, but he did not live to see the gigantic schemes which he had devised for humbling the pride of France put into execution. He expired at Kensington on the 8th of March, 1702, in consequence of a fall from his horse about a fortnight before, which fractured his collar-bone. He had reigned thirteen years, and was in the fifty-second year of his age.

The accession of the Princess Anne gave satisfaction to all parties, particularly to the Jacobites, who imagined, that as she had no heirs of her own body, she would be induced to concur with them in getting the succession act repealed, so as to make way for her brother, the Prince of Wales. At first the queen seemed disposed to throw herself into the hands of the Tory faction, at the head of which was the Earl of Rochester, first cousin to the queen, who was averse to a war with France; but the Earl, (afterwards the celebrated Duke) of Marlborough, his rival, succeeded, through the intrigues of his countess, in altering the mind of her majesty, and war was accordingly declared against France on the 4th of May.

The Scottish parliament, to which the Duke of Queensberry was appointed commissioner, met on the 9th of June; but before his commission was read, the Duke of Hamilton objected to the legality of the meeting, the parliament having been virtually dissolved, as he maintained, by not having met within the statutory period; and having taken a formal protest against its proceedings, he withdrew from the house, followed by seventy-nine members of the first rank in the kingdom, amidst the acclamations of the people. The seceding members, thereupon, sent up Lord Blantyre to London with an address to the queen, but she refused to see him. This refusal highly displeased the people, whose resentment was still farther increased by a prosecution raised by the lord advocate against the faculty of advocates, for having, by a vote, approved of the secession and address. Several acts were passed by the parliament, one of the most important of which was that authorizing the queen to name commissioners for negotiating a treaty of union with England. An attempt was made by the Earl of Marchmont, the lord-chancellor, (better known as Sir Patrick Home of Polwarth) without any instructions from his colleagues, and even contrary to the advice of the commissioner, to alter the succession, by bringing in a bill similar to that which had passed in England for abjuring the Prince of Wales, and settling the succession on the Princess Sophia and her heirs; but as the ministry had no instructions from the queen, the bill was not supported. It is not improbable that Marchmont intended, by the introduction of this measure, to sound the disposition of the queen in regard of her brother.

The queen, by virtue of the powers conferred on her by the parliaments of England and Scotland, named commissioners to treat about a union, who met at the Cockpit, near Whitehall, on the 22d of October; but after some of the preliminaries had been adjusted, the conference broke off, in consequence of the Scottish commissioners insisting that all the rights and privileges of the Darien company should be preserved and maintained.

A partial change in the Scottish ministry having taken place, the queen resolved upon calling a new parliament, in the spring of 1703, previous to which she issued an act of indemnity in favour of every person who had taken any part against the government since the revolution, and allowed such of them as were abroad to return home. Under the protection of this amnesty many of the Jacobites returned to Scotland, and took the oaths to the government, in the hope of forwarding the interest of the Prince of Wales. At this time Scotland was divided into three parties. The first consisted of the revolutionists, who were headed by the Duke of Argyle. The second of what was called the country party, who were opposed to the union, and who insisted on indemnification for the losses sustained in the Darien speculation, and satisfaction for the massacre of Glencoe and other grievances suffered in the late reign. The Duke of Hamilton and the Marquis of Tweeddale took the direction of this party. The last, called Mitchell’s club, from the house they met in, was composed entirely of the Jacobites or Cavaliers. These were headed by the Earl of Home. The two latter parties, by coalescing at the elections, might have returned a majority favourable to their views; but the Earl of Seafield, who had succeeded the Earl of Marchmont as chancellor, had the address to separate the Jacobites from the country party, and, by making them believe that he was their friend, prevailed upon them to throw their interest at the elections into the scale of the government. The parliament, however, which met on the 6th of May, was not so pliable to ministerial dictation as might have been expected, for although the royal assent was refused to what was called the act of security for limiting the power of the crown, "this session of parliament," to use the words of Lockhart, "did more for redressing the grievances and restoring the liberties of the nation than all the parliaments since the year 1660." It was in this parliament that the celebrated patriot, Fletcher of Saltoun, first distinguished himself. The Earl of Marchmont again brought in his bill for settling the crown of Scotland upon the house of Hanover; but such was the indignation with which it was received by the house, that some of the members proposed that the bill should be burnt, while others moved that the proposer of the measure should be committed to the castle of Edinburgh. On a division the bill was thrown out by a very large majority.

After the prorogation of the parliament, the courtiers and the heads of the cavaliers repaired to London to pay court to the queen, who received them kindly, and conferred marks of her favour upon some of them. The Marquis of Athole, in particular, who aspired to be leader of the Jacobites, was made a duke, and invested with the dignity of a knight of the order of the Thistle, which she had just revived to enable her to extend the royal favour. Her policy seems to have been to gain over all parties to her interest; but she was soon made to believe that a conspiracy existed against her among the cavaliers to supersede her, and to place her brother upon the throne. The moving spirit in this plot, known as the Scotch Plot, was the now notorious Lovat.

"An indemnity having been granted to those who had left the country with the exiled court, on condition of their returning within a time limited, and taking the oaths, it was observed with alarm, that many persons were taking advantage of this opportunity to return, who were among the most formidable of the Jacobite leaders, and who could not be supposed to be sincerely disposed to support the Protestant line of succession. Among these ominous apparitions were Lovat himself, the two Murrays, Sir John Maclean, Robertson of Struan the poet chieftain,—’ a little black man, about thirty years old,’ as he was described by those who kept their eyes on him; and David Lindsay, secretary to the Pretender’s prime minister, Middleton. The fiery Lord Belhaven had just paid a visit to France. He was an opponent of English ascendency, and a cadet of the house of Hamilton; and his mission could, of course, have no other object but to offer the allegiance of that house to the young prince. Political intriguers, such as the renowned Ferguson, looked busy and mysterious. Mrs. Fox, whose name was connected with the plot for which Sir John Fenwick suffered, had ventured over to Britain, under a feigned name; and sundry young men of good birth, whose avowed mission to France had been to study medicine, had, either in vanity or carelessness, allowed it to transpire that they had been at the court of St. Germains, and had seen those royal personages who created so dangerous an interest throughout the country. The general movement of these parties was northwards, and was accompanied by incidents such as those which happened to Lovat. Captain Hamilton, an officer stationed at Inverness, wrote to Brigadier-general Maitland, governor of Fort William, on the 23d of July, that a great hunting match had been planned for the 2d of the month, at which many of the Highland chiefs were to assemble their vassals.

"‘The Duke of Hamilton is to be there, the Marquis of Athol: and our neighbour the Laird of Grant, who has ordered 600 of his men in arms, in good order, with tartane coats, all of one colour and fashion. This is his order to his people in Strathspey. If it be a match of hunting only, I know not, but I think it my duty to acquaint you, whatever may fall out of any such body of men in arms, particularly in our northern parts.’

"It will be remembered that this was exactly the form in which the Earl of Mar raised the standard of rebellion at Braemar, in 1715; and we appear to owe the suggestion to the inventive genius of Lovat. At the same time, the British ambassador at the Hague received some mysterious intimations about large suing forwarded in gold, through a Dutch commercial house, to persons of importance in Scotland."

Lovat had the address before leaving France, by imposing upon Louis, to whom he was introduced by the pope’s nuncio, to obtain from the widow of King James, acting as regent for her son, a commission of Major-general, with power to raise and command forces in his behalf. As the court of St. Germains had some suspicion of Fraser’s integrity, Captain John Murray, brother of Mr. Murray of Abercairney, and Captain James Murray, brother of Sir David Murray of Stanhope, were sent over to Scotland, under the protection of Queen Anne’s indemnity, as a check upon him, and to sound the dispositions of the people.

On arriving in Scotland, he set off for the Highlands, introduced himself into the society of the adherents of the exiled family, and, by producing his commission of major-general, induced some of them to give him assurances that they would rise in arms when required, though they regretted that such a character should have been intrusted with so important a command. Others, however, apprehensive of his real designs, refused to hold any intercourse with him on the subject of his mission.

On Lovat’s return to Edinburgh, late in September, he contrived to obtain an interview with the Duke of Queensberry, High Commissioner to the Parliament of Scotland, and revealed to him the whole affair, drawing considerably on his own fertile fancy for startling facts. He also produced a letter, purporting to be from the ex-queen, signed with the initial M., addressed to the Duke of Athole. Its words were, "You may be sure that when my concerns require the help of my friends, you are one of the first I have in my view. I am satisfied you will not be wanting for any thing that may be in your power according to your promise, and you may be assured of all such returns as you can expect from me and mine. The bearer, who is known to you, will tell you more of my friendship to you, and how I rely on yours for me, and those I am concerned for." Queensberry was delighted with this apparent discovery, and immediately sent the letter unopened to the queen. Lovat, however, by his plotting had made the country too hot to hold him, and a day or two after his letter had been sent to the queen, letters of fire and sword were issued against him, so that he now set himself to get safely back to France. He managed to obtain from Queensberry a pass to London, to which place the duke himself was bound, and after a few more secret interviews in London, with another pass which he contrived to obtain, he safely quitted England about the middle of October.

When this so-called conspiracy became publicly known it excited considerable sensation, and the House of Lords immediately resolved that a committee should be appointed to inquire into the matter; but the queen, who was already well acquainted with the circumstances, sent them a message, intimating, that as the affair was already under investigation, she was desirous that the house should not interfere, and she promised in a short time to inform them of the result. Accordingly, on the 17th of December, she went to the House of Peers, and made a speech to both houses, informing them that she had complete evidence of evil practices and designs against her government, carried on by the emissaries of France in Scotland. The peers, however, proceeded in the inquiry, and after considerable investigation they agreed to the following resolution, "that there had been a dangerous conspiracy in Scotland toward the invading that kingdom with a French power, in order to subvert her majesty’s government, and the bringing in the pretended Prince of Wales; that it was their opinion nothing had given so much encouragement to these designs as the succession of the crown of Scotland not being declared in favour of the Princess Sophia and her heirs; that the queen should be addressed to use such methods as she thought convenient, for having the succession of the crown of that kingdom settled after that manner; and that being once done, then they would do all in their power to promote an entire union of the two kingdoms." Mr. Lockhart asserts that the lords thus interfered at the instance of the Duke of Queensberry, as he knew that the Whigs would bring him off, and although they were so clear as to the existence of a plot, he maintains that "it was all trick and villany." Meanwhile Fraser, for his imposition upon the French king, was committed a prisoner to the Bastile, in which he remained several years.

It was discovered that the address on the letter from the ex-queen was forged by Lovat himself, she having addressed it to no one, although it is supposed to have been meant for the Duke of Gordon. Lovat had also to implicate the Duke of Hamilton, and as he regarded both these noblemen as "impostors" and enemies of the exiled family, he considered that his conduct, in thus attempting to ruin them, "far from being a real crime, ought to be regarded as a good and essential service to the king (James III.), and the sincere, political, and ingenious fruit of his zeal, for his project, and the interests of his sovereign." Such is a specimen of the morality of this extraordinary personage, who, in his correspondence with the revolution party, always pretended to be a friend to the revolution settlement.

According to Lockhart, the Duke of Queensberry was at the bottom of this sham plot, but he appears really to have been entirely innocent, and to have acted all along for what he thought the best interests of the government. "He was, to use a common but clear expression, made a fool of." Although he had managed to clear himself of all blame, still as the affair had rendered him very unpopular in Scotland, he was dismissed from his situation as one of the Scottish secretaries of state, and the Marquis of Tweeddale was appointed to succeed him as lord high-commissioner to the Scottish parliament, which met on the 6th of July, 1704.

From the temper displayed in the Scottish parliament, it was obvious that without entering into a treaty with Scotland, it would be utterly impossible for the English ministry to carry the question of the succession in Scotland. To accomplish this the English parliament authorised the queen to nominate commissioners to treat with commissioners from Scotland; but the conduct of the parliament was by no means calculated to allay the jealousy entertained by the Scotch, of the interference of England in imposing a foreign sovereign upon them. Instead of simply empowering the queen to appoint commissioners, the English parliament, instigated by the Scottish ministry, directed the Scottish parliament in the choice of its commissioners, and they even prohibited their own commissioners to meet and treat with those of Scotland unless the parliament of Scotland allowed the queen to name these commissioners herself. Moreover all Scotsmen not settled in England, or in its service, were declared aliens, until the succession to the crown of Scotland should be settled on the Princess Sophia and her Protestant heirs. Several prohibitory clauses against the trade of Scotland were also inserted in the act, which were to take effect about eight months thereafter if the Scottish parliament did not, before the appointed time, yield to the instructions of that of England.

To strengthen the government party the Scottish ministry was changed, and the Duke of Queensberry was recalled to office, being appointed to the privy seal. The Cavaliers, thus deprived of the aid of the duke and his friends, applied to the Marquis of Tweeddale - who, with his displaced friends, had formed a party called the squad one volante, or "flying squadron" - to unite with them against the court; but he declined the proposal, as being inconsistent with the object for which it was said to be formed, namely, to keep the contending parties in parliament in check, and to vote only for such measures, by whatever party introduced, which should appear most beneficial to the country.

Notwithstanding the exertions of the court party, the Scottish ministry soon found themselves in a minority in the parliament, which was opened on the 28th of June, 1705, by the Duke of Argyle as commissioner. The motion of Sir James Falconer, which had hitherto remained a dead letter, was again renewed; but although the ministry was supported by the "squadron" in opposition to the motion, the Cavaliers carried it by a great majority. The Dukes of Hamilton and Athole were now desirous of pushing on the inquiry into the alleged plot, but by advice of the Cavaliers, who insisted that such a proceeding would be a violation of the agreement entered into between them and the Duke of Queensberry’s friends, they desisted for a time. But the duke having prevailed upon such of his friends as had voted with the Cavaliers in the beginning of the session, to join the court party, the subject was introduced before the house in the shape of a motion, to know what answer the queen had sent to an address which had been voted to her in the preceding session, to send down to Scotland against the next session such persons as had been examined respecting the plot, and the papers connected therewith. The Dukes of Hamilton and Athole vindicated themselves against the charge of being accessory to Fraser’s proceedings, and the latter particularly, in a long speech, reprobated the conduct of the Duke of Queensberry, whom he openly accused of a design to ruin him. Neither the duke nor his friends made any answer to the charge, and Athole and Hamilton conceiving that they had cleared themselves sufficiently, allowed the subject to drop. The most important business of the session was the measure of the proposed union with England, an act for effecting which was passed, though not without considerable opposition.

Before the state of the vote upon this measure was announced, the Duke of Athole, "in regard that by an English act of parliament made in the last sessions thereof, entitled an act for the effectual securing England from the dangers that may arise from several acts passed lately in Scotland, the subjects of this kingdom were adjudged aliens, born out of the allegiance of the queen, as queen of England, after the 25th of December 1705," protested that, for saving the honour and interest of her majesty as queen of Scotland, and maintaining and preserving the undoubted rights and privileges of her subjects, no act for a treaty with England ought to pass without a clause being added thereto, prohibiting and discharging the commissioners that might be appointed for carrying on the treaty from departing from Scotland until the English parliament should repeal and rescind the obnoxious act alluded to. To this protest twenty-four peers, thirty-seven barons, and eighteen of the burgh representatives adhered. When the state of the vote was announced, the Duke of Hamilton, to the surprise of the cavaliers and the country party, moved that the nomination of the commissioners should be left wholly to the queen. From twelve to fifteen members immediately exclaimed that the duke had deserted and basely betrayed his friends, and ran out of the house in rage and despair. A warm debate then ensued, in which Hamilton was roughly handled, and the inconsistency of his conflict exposed; but he persisted in his motion, which was carried by a majority of eight votes. Had the other members remained he would have found himself in a minority. The Duke of Athole protested a second time for the reasons contained in his first protest, and twenty-one peers, thirty-three barons, and eighteen burgh representatives adhered to his second protest. The protesters consisted of most of the cavaliers and the country party, and the whole of the "Squadron." The protesters, however, were not discouraged, and they succeeded so far as to obtain an order of the house prohibiting the Scottish commissioners from treating until the clause in the English act, declaring the subjects of Scotland aliens, should be repealed, a resolution which had the desired effect, the English parliament rescinding the clause before the time fixed for its operation arrived.

In terms of the powers vested in her by the parliaments of England and Scotland, the queen nominated commissioners, who met in the council chamber of the Cockpit, near Whitehall, on the 16th of April, 1706. During their sittings they were twice visited by the queen, who urged them to complete with as little delay as possible, a treaty which, she anticipated, would be advantageous to both kingdoms. By the second article of the treaty, it was declared that the succession to the monarchy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, in default of issue of the queen, should remain and continue to the Princess Sophia and her heirs, being Protestants.

When the terms of the treaty became publicly known in Scotland, a shout of indignation was set up in every part of the kingdom, at a measure which, it was supposed, would destroy the independence of the nation; and when the Scottish parliament met for the purpose of ratifying the treaty, considerable rioting took place in different parts of the country, and large bodies of armed men threatened to march upon the capital, and disperse the assembly. Numerous addresses were sent to the parliament from every part of the kingdom against the Union, and considerable opposition was made by the Dukes of Hamilton and Athole, Lord Belhaven, Fletcher of Saltoun, and others, but the court party, having obtained the support of the "Squadron," carried the measure by a great majority. The treaty was, however, after strenuous opposition, ratified by the Scotch as well as the English parliament, and ultimately completed on May 1st, 1707.

As the restoration of the son of James II. now appeared to the Scottish nation necessary to preserve its independence, various combinations were entered into among the people to effect it. The inhabitants of the western shires, chiefly Cameronians, formerly the most determined supporters of the Protestant government, all at once became the most zealous partisans of the exiled family, whose Catholicity they showed themselves disposed altogether to overlook. Preparatory to more active measures for accomplishing their object, the ringleaders among them held several meetings, divided themselves into regiments, chose their officers, provided themselves with horses and arms, and, notwithstanding the religious asperity which had long existed between them and the inhabitants of the northern shires, offered to unite with them in any measure which might be devised for accomplishing the restoration of the young prince, who had now assumed the title of the Chevalier de St. George. The court of St. Germains, fully aware of the strong national feeling which existed in favour of the prince, sent, in concert with the French king, one Hooke into Scotland to obtain intelligence, and to treat with the people for his restoration. This gentleman had been one of the Duke of Monmouth’s chaplains when he invaded England; but after the execution of that unfortunate nobleman, Hooke went to France, where he became a Catholic, and entered into the French service, in which he rose to the rank of Colonel. He had been in Scotland in 1705 on a mission to the heads of the Jacobite chiefs and the country party; but though a man of sense, he conducted himself with such indiscretion, that he could only obtain general promises, from the parties he consulted, of their readiness to advance the prince’s interest. The cavaliers, however, sent Captain Henry Straton, a gentleman in whom they placed great confidence, to France, in July the following year, to ascertain the extent of the aid they might expect from Louis.

Hooke, on this occasion, landed in the north of Scotland,. about the end of February or beginning of March, 1707, and took up a temporary abode in Slams Castle, the seat of the Earl of Errol, high-constable of Scotland, where he was waited upon by the countess-dowager, the mother of the earl, her son being then absent from home. Instead of consulting, as he should have done, the principal chiefs upon the subject of his mission, Hooke at first confined himself to interviews with some gentlemen in the counties of Perth and Angus, by whom he was received with great favour and hospitality, and looked upon as a person of no ordinary importance. The attention thus paid him, flattered his vanity, in return for which he made them his confidents, and proceeded, in concert with them, to deliberate upon the mode of accomplishing a restoration. This party, however, had not the wisdom to conceal the negotiation with Hooke, whose presence in the country became consequently generally known. The result was, that the Duke of Hamilton and others, conceiving themselves slighted, and alarmed at the imprudence of Hooke’s friends, declined to correspond with him, and entered into direct communication with the court of St. Germains itself.

As the French king was desirous of ascertaining the exact situation of the affairs in Scotland, M. de Chamillard, his minister of war, had furnished Hooke with a paper of instructions, in the shape of questions, to which he was desired to obtain distinct answers, to enable his majesty to judge of the extent of the assistance required from him, and the probability of success. In answer to these questions, a memorial, addressed to the king of France, was drawn up, and signed by several noblemen and gentlemen, in which they stated that the greater part of the Scottish nation had always been disposed for the service of "its lawful king" ever since the. revolution; but that this disposition had now become universal, and that the shires of the west, which used to be the most disaffected, were now zealous to serve him. That to reap the benefit of so favourable a disposition, and of so happy a conjuncture, the presence of the king (the Chevalier) would be absolutely necessary, the people being unwilling to take arms without being sure of having him at their head—that the whole nation would rise upon his arrival—that he would become master of Scotland without opposition,. and that the existing government would be entirely abolished— that of the numbers that they would raise, the memorialists would immediately despatch 25,000 foot, and 5,000 horse and dragoons into England, while the other peers and chiefs would assemble all their men in their respective counties, and that the general rendezvous of the troops on the north of the river Tay should be at Perth, those of the western counties at Stirling, and those of the south and east at Dumfries and Dunse. As to the subsistence of the troops, they informed his majesty that they would require nothing from him, as the harvests of two years were to be found in the granaries, and that so great was its abundance, that a crown would purchase as much flour as would maintain a man two months—that there was also great plenty of meat, beer and brandy in the kingdom, and cloth, linen, shoes and bonnets, sufficient to clothe a considerable number of troops. The principal articles they stood in most need of were arms and money. Of the former, the memorialists begged his majesty to send them as many as would equip 25,000 foot, and 5,000 horse or dragoons, together with a proportionate quantity of ammunition, and also some pieces of artillery, bombs, &c. Of money, of which the country had been almost drained by the Darien speculation, by five years of famine, and by the constant residence of the nobility at London, they required a remittance of 100,000 pistoles, to enable them to march into England, and also a regular monthly subsidy during the war. In addition to these demands, they required that the Chevalier should be accompanied to Scotland by a body of 8,000 troops, to protect his person against any sudden attempt by the government forces. The memorialists concluded, by assuring his most Christian Majesty of their resolution to bind themselves by the strictest and most sacred ties, to assist one another in what they deemed a common cause, to forget all family differences, and to concur sincerely, and with all their hearts "without jealousy or distrust, like men of honour in so just and glorious an enterprise."

Having finished his negotiation, Hooke returned to France in the month of May, after assuring his friends that "the Pretender" would land in Scotland about August following. On arriving at the court of St. Germains, Hooke gave the most flattering account of his reception, and of the zeal of the people in behalf of the Chevalier, and accused the Duke of Hamilton and the other persons who had refused openly to commit themselves, of lukewarmness in the cause. The armament, promised by the king of France, should have been ready in August; but the court of Versailles contrived to put it off, from time to time, under various pretences. The fact appears to be, that Louis was indifferent about the matter, and, although he pretended that his object was to place the Chevalier upon the throne of his ancestors, his real object was to create a diversion in his own favour by embroiling Great Britain in a civil war. His reverses at Ramillies and Turin had induced him to send Hooke into Scotland to obtain information but, having afterwards defeated the allies at Almanza, he was in hopes that he would be able to retrieve his affairs without the aid of the intended descent on Scotland.

To hasten the enterprise, the cavaliers sent the Honourable Charles Fleming, brother of the Earl of Wigton, over to France with letters to his most Christian Majesty and the Chevalier, in consequence of which, preparations for the expedition were commenced at Dunkirk, where a squadron was collected under the command of the Chevalier de Forbin. When the news of these preparations reached England, the greatest exertions were made to meet the threatened danger. Both houses of parliament joined in an address to the queen, in which they pledged themselves to defend her with their lives and fortunes against the "pretended Prince of Wales," and all her other enemies. They suspended the habeas corpus act, and passed a bill enacting, that all persons should take the oath of abjuration under the pain of being held as convicted recusants. They also passed another bill, releasing the Scottish clans from all vassalage to those chiefs who should appear in arms against her majesty; and "the Pretender" and his adherents were declared traitors and rebels. A large fleet was equipped and assembled at Deal with extraordinary promptitude, and despatched towards Dunkirk under the command of Sir John Leake, Sir George Byng, and Lord Dursley, and transports were engaged to bring over ten British battalions from Ostend. When this fleet, which the French had supposed to be destined for Lisbon, appeared off Mardyke, they were greatly surprised; and the embarkation of their troops, which had commenced, was immediately countermanded. The French admiral represented to his court the danger of proceeding with the expedition; but he received positive orders to finish the embarkation,. and to sail with the first favourable wind. The Chevalier de St. George, at taking farewell, was presented by Louis with a sword studded with costly diamonds, and sumptuous services of gold and silver plate, rich dresses, and other necessaries becoming his high station.

While the embarkation was going on, Mr. Fleming and a gentleman of the name of Arnott were separately despatched for Scotland from Dunkirk, on the evening of the 6th of March, 1708, in two frigates, with instructions from the Chevalier to the Jacobite chiefs. Fleming arrived on the northern coast on the 13th, and, when about two leagues off the land, entered a fishing boat which landed him at Slams castle, where he met the Earl of Errol, who received the intelligence of the expedition with great pleasure. On perusing the Chevalier’s instructions, he immediately despatched a messenger to Mr. Malcolm of Grange, in Fife, with orders to have a boat and pilots in readiness at the mouth of the Frith of Forth to go on board the first vessel that should give the signal agreed on.

In the mean time, the English fleet having been forced, by stress of weather, off their station on the 14th of March, the expedition sailed on the 17th from the road of Dunkirk; but it was detained in Newport-pits in consequence of a change in the wind, till the 19th, when it again set sail with a fair breeze for Scotland. The expedition consisted of seven men-of-war, two of which were fitted up as transports, and twenty-one frigates, having on board 5,100 troops, under the command of Monsieur le Comte de Gass, who, on the last-mentioned day, received from the French king the patent of a Marshal of France, and assumed the name of Mantignon. While at Newport, three of the frigates, which had received some damage, returned to Dunkirk; but, at a council of war, held in the apartment of the Chevalier, it was resolved, at his desire, to proceed without them, although these vessels had 800 troops on board, and a considerable quantity of arms and provisions. At the same council it was also determined to sail directly to the Frith of Forth, and to disembark the troops at Burntisland, whence it was proposed to send a detachment to take possession of Stirling.

The French fleet having been observed in Newport-pits from the steeples of Ostend, a vessel was immediately despatched thence by Major-general Cadogan to inform Sir George Byng of their having left Dunkirk: Sir George went immediately in quest of the enemy. The French fleet, favoured by a strong and fair wind, reached the Frith on the evening of the 23d, without seeing any of the English squadron, and anchored off Crail, the commander intending to proceed up the Frith the following morning; but he had been anticipated by the Proteus, one of the three vessels which had returned to Dunkirk, and which, being a superior sailer, had reached the Frith before him, and had given notice of the approach of the French fleet to the friends of the Chevalier, who lived on the coast, by firing five guns, the concerted signal by which the friends of the prince along that coast were to be apprized of his arrival Malcolm of Grange, who bad been for some days anxiously looking out for the fleet, went immediately on board this vessel with a pilot.

The resolution of M. de Forbin to proceed up the Frith next morning, was, however, put an end to, by the appearance, at day-break, of the English fleet, consisting of 28 sail, standing in for the Frith. Alarmed for the safety of his ships, the French commander immediately cut his cables, and by favour of a strong land breeze which fortunately sprung up, stood out to sea under full sail, having previously given orders to the different ships, in case of separation, to rendezvous at Cromarty or Inverness. The French vessels being lighter and cleaner, outstripped the English in sailing, and all of them escaped, with the exception of the Salisbury, a ship formerly captured from the English, which was taken. On board of this vessel were Lord Griffin, the Earl of Middleton’s two sons, M. La Vie, a Major-general, Colonel Francis Wauchope, some other officers, and between 300 and 400 soldiers. On the following day, the French commander finding himself out of sight of the enemy, and all his vessels together, with the exception of the Salisbury, consulted with the Marshal de Mantignon, on the expediency of landing at some place in the north of Scotland, and proposed Inverness. The Chevalier, who was so desirous of landing, that he had, though in vain, entreated M. de Forbin, the preceding day, to put him ashore, though his domestics alone should accompany him, received this proposal with great satisfaction. The fleet accordingly, aided by a favourable wind, steered to the north during the whole of the 25th; but at ten o’clock at night, the wind suddenly changed to the north, and blew directly in their teeth with considerable violence. As the storm continued the whole of the following day, and as M. de Forbin was afraid that the fleet would be dispersed, and might, when separated, fall into the hands of the enemy, a council was held, at which it was unanimously resolved, with the entire concurrence of the Chevalier, to return to Dunkirk, where the expedition arrived on the 7th of April.

Such was the result of an enterprise, which, but for the merest accidental circumstance, might have been crowned with the most cornplete success; for had the expedition arrived only a few hours earlier in the Frith of Forth, the whole troops, arms and ammunition, would have been landed without opposition. Such were the dispositions of the people of Scotland in favour of "the Pretender," and so disaffected had they become towards the government, that a universal rising would undoubtedly have taken place in his support had he set his foot in Scotland. No effectual resistance could have been offered to him by the regular troops, which did not exceed 2,500 men; and as little reliance could be placed in them, from their participating generally in the national feeling, the Earl of Leven, the commander-in-chief, had determined to retire to Carlisle or Berwick, with such forces as would accompany him.

[Alluding to the appearance of the French fleet in the Frith, Lockhart says, "It is impossible to describe the different appearance of people’s sentiments; all this day (23d March) generally speaking, in every persons face was to be observed an air of jollity and satisfaction, excepting the general (Leven), those concerned in the government, and such as were deeply dipt in the revolution. These indeed were in the greatest terror and confusion. And it was no great wonder that the Earl of Leven did afterwards, in one of his letters to the secretaries of state, complain that the Jacobites were so uppish he durst hardly look them in the face as they walked in the streets of Edinburgh; for uppish they were indeed, expecting soon to have an occasion of repaying him and his fellow-rebels in the same coin he and they had treated them for these twenty years past. But next day advice was sent from Sir George Byng, that he had come up with and was then in pursuit of the French fleet, and then it was that every body was in the greatest pain and anxiety imaginable; some fearing it would, and others that it would not, determine as it did. In this perplexity were people when, on the next day, being Sunday, a great number of tall ships were seen sailing up the Frith. This put our general in such a terror and confusion as can scarcely be well expressed: he drew up his army in battle array on the sands of Leith, as if he’d oppose a landing, and in this posture did he remain for several hours, when at last his fears, which truly had almost distracted him, vanished by the landing of a boat, which acquainted him that it was the English fleet returning from chasing the French. For Sir George Byng, after a day’s pursuit, finding the French out-sailed him, tackt about for the Frith, which was the place he designed chiefly to guard; besides, he had sailed so unprovided that most of his ships wanted water and provisions. Here he lay several weeks, and for the most part the wind was easterly, so that he could not well have sailed down the Frith, and the French might, and every body believed would, have landed in the north, or sailed round and landed in the west; but instead of that they went sneakingly home, without doing any good, but on the contrary much harm, to the king, his country, and themselves.]

The news of the sailing of the expedition created a panic in England, was followed by a run upon the bank, which would have been obliged to suspend its payments had not the most extraordinary exertions been made to support its credit.

The principal friends of the Chevalier de St. George, and every person of any distinction in Scotland, suspected of favouring his pretensions, were, upon the failure of the expedition, immediately seized and comrnitted to the castles of Edinburgh and Stirling, and the common jails, whence many of them were transmitted to England, and imprisoned in the Tower of London, or in Newgate. Among those who were carried to London, was the Duke of Hamilton, who, taking advantage of a quarrel between the Lord-treasurer Godolphin and the Whigs, obtained, by offering his support to the latter in the election of the Scottish representative peers, not only his own liberation, but also that of all the other prisoners, with the exception of Stirling of Kier, Seaton of Touch, Stirling of Carden, and other gentlemen of Stirlingshire, who, on receiving intelligence that the Chevalier had landed, had mounted their horses and advanced in a body towards Edinburgh, to support him. These last were brought to trial for high treason, as having appeared in arms against the government; but as no proof was brought against them, they were acquitted. The fact is, that the queen’s advisers, fully aware of the great danger which the government had escaped, and the risks to which it was still exposed, were disposed to act a very lenient part, and were afraid, under existing circumstances, to commit themselves by sacrificing any of the disaffected to a doubtful, and, as it must have appeared to them, a precarious expediency.

For a time, the idea of a restoration seems to have been abandoned; but the systematic attacks made by the High Church party in England, upon the principles of the revolution, and the popular excitement raised against the Whig ministry in consequence of Dr. Sacheverel’s trial, raised anew the expectations of the Jacobites, which were still farther elevated by the expulsion of the Whigs from office in 1710, by the intrigues of the Tories. Although the queen on opening the new parliament, which met on the 25th of November, declared to both houses that she would employ such persons only as were warmly attached to the Protestant succession in the House of Hanover; yet it was generally understood that she was inclined to favour the pretensions of her brother, the Chevalier de St. George. As his religion was, in fact, the only bar in the way of his succession, she endeavoured, but without success, to induce him to abandon it. "You see," she observed to the Duke of Buckingham, when speaking of her brother, "he does not take the least step to oblige me. I have no reason to think he values me or my kingdom, therefore I shall give it to the Elector of Hanover." On another occasion, when warmly pressed by the duke, she replied, "What would you have me to do? You know, as the law stands, a Papist cannot inherit the crown, and, therefore, any will I may make will be to no purpose; the law gives all to Hanover; and therefore I had better do that with a good grace which I cannot help. He may thank himself for it. He knows I always loved him better than the Elector." The Tories were by no means averse to her majesty’s views of a successor, but afraid of a reaction in public opinion in favour of the Whigs, who were endeavouring to excite the fears of the nation by raising a no-popery cry, they not only carefully abstained from any act which might be considered as favouring the claims of "the Pretender ;" but even appeared as if hostile to them. Indeed, so desirous were some of the Tory members of the House of Commons to settle the crown upon his head, that they required a mere profession of Protestantism from him, till he should be firmly seated on the throne, after which he might, they said, again resume the exercise and profession of his religion. But the prince refused to comply.

In Scotland, however, little reserve was shown, a remarkable instance of which occurred in the Faculty of Advocates, which body accepted from the Duchess of Gordon a silver medal, having on one side an impression of the head of the Chevalier de St. George, and on the reverse a representation of the British islands, with the motto, "Reddite." At the presentation of this treasonable device, a motion thanking her grace for her gift was carried, after a warm debate, by a majority of sixty-three voices against twelve. Dundas of Arniston, to whom the task of conveying the vote was intrusted, thanked her grace for having presented the Faculty with a medal of their sovereign, and stated a hope that she would very soon be enabled to present them with a second medal struck upon the restoration of the king and royal family, and the finishing of usurpation, rebellion, and whiggery. This proceeding created an extraordinary sensation, and Sir David Dalrymple, the Lord Advocate, was directed by the ministry to inquire into the matter. The Faculty grew alarmed, disclaimed the conduct of Dundas and of Home, another member with whom they alleged the transaction originated, and by a solemn resolution declared their attachment to the queen and the Protestant succession. To satisfy, in some measure, the court of Hanover, the resident of which at the British court had presented a memorial to the queen desiring that Dundas and his party might be prosecuted, the Lord Advocate was dismissed from office because he had been remiss in bringing the delinquents to justice; but no instructions were given to his successor to prosecute them.

The remaining years of Queen Anne’s reign were chiefly occupied with party struggles, which embittered her existence and impaired her constitution. The Tories disunited among themselves, split latterly into two factions, which were respectively headed by Harley, Earl of Oxford, and Henry St. John, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke. The Whigs, on the other hand, united, active and vigorous, pressed hard upon them, and employed every art to inflame the people against the authors of their disgrace. Popery and the Pretender were the never-ceasing topics with which they endeavoured to enlist the feelings of the nation in their favour, and the Duke of Argyle, in a warm debate which took place in the House of Peers on a question proposed by the Earl of Wharton, "Whether the Protestant succession was in danger under the present administration" offered to prove that the lord-treasurer had remitted a sum of money annually to the Highland Jacobite chiefs. Oxford did not deny the charge, but defended himself by saying, that he had only adopted the policy of King William, who had granted yearly pensions to the heads of the clans, the better to secure their obedience to the government. The fate of the Tory ministry was at length sealed by the removal of Oxford and the death of the queen, who survived that event only a few days. Fatigued by a long attendance at a cabinet council held immediately after the disrnissal of the lord-treasurer, she was thrown into a lethargic disorder, which terminated her existence on the morning of the 1st of August, 1714, in the fiftieth year of her age, and in the thirteenth of her reign. With the exception of her dereliction of duty towards her father, which, from the circumstances in which she was placed, may admit of considerable palliation, she left behind her an unblemished reputation; and though not possessed of much genius or vigour of mind, she wielded the sceptre with greater skill than is usually to be found in sovereigns, who, like her, have allowed themselves to be controlled by favourites.


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