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The Scots in Germany
The Army (Part 2)


We now turn to another Scottish General in the service of Sweden, already mentioned in connection with the relief of Hanau, Alexander Leslie.

Field-marshal Alexander Leslie, born about 1582, who, before entering the Swedish army, had already seen service in the Netherlands as a young man, was made a knight and a general by King Gustavus at the time when the latter received the Order of the Garter in the camp at Dirschau from the hands of the ambassadors of Charles I (Sept. 23, 1626).

In May 1628, at the head of five thousand Scots and Swedes, he cut himself a way into the town of Stralsund, which was then closely invested by Wallenstein. Having thus provisioned it, he took the command instead of Colonel Seatoun, who had hitherto acted as such with a Danish force, and conducted the defence so skilfully and vigorously that he contributed much to the final retreat of that famous general. The grateful town ordered rich presents to be given to him, amongst. them a gold medal struck in commemoration of the siege.’ Leslie remained commander of the Baltic cities until 1631, when he went to England to assist the Marquis of Hamilton in his levying of troops for the Swedish service.

In the following year he met him in Germany and was appointed joint-commander of the English-Scottish auxiliaries with him. After having assisted at the siege and the taking of Frankfurt on the Oder, he was made governor of the place. As such it fell to his task to see to the proper state of defence and the provisioning of Crossen and Guben, two towns in the neighbouring district, by which the King’s rear was to be protected on his southward march. Towards the end of the year Gustavus had reached Mainz, where he was joined by Leslie. Later on he shared with his leader the glory, though not the fate, of the battle of Lutzen, after having timely recovered from a wound in his foot. How deeply he felt the loss of the King, which quite overclouded this victory and endangered the future of Protestantism, is seen in a letter written to the Marquis of Hamilton from Stade, on the 26th of November 1632. In it, as Terry says, he emerges from his habitual reticence and gives a touching expression to his genuine grief.

"I have thought it expedient," the letter runs, "to mak your Excellencie this sad narration of the lamentable death of our most valarouse and worthie chiftaine, who, in the sixt (16th) of November, did end the constant course of all his glorious victories with his happie lyffe, for his Majestie went to farre on with a regiment of Smolandis horsemen, who did not second him so well as they showld, at the which instant ther came so thick and darke a mist, that his owin folkis did lose him, and he being seperate from his owin amongst his foes, his left arme was shote in two, after the which whill he was lying, one asked him, whate he was, he answeared, King of Sweddin, wherupon his enemies that did compasse him thought to have carried him away; but in the mean while, his own folkis comeing on, striveing in great furie to vindicate his Majestie out of ther handis, when they saw that they most quite him againe, he that before asked what he was, shote him through the heade; and so did put ane end to his dayes, the fame of whose valoure and love to the good cause sal nevir end. When his corpes were inbalmed ther waes found in them fyve shottes and nyne woundis, so ar we to our unspeakable griefe deprived of the best and most valorouse commander that evir any soldiours hade, and the church of God with hir good cause of the best instrument under God, we becaus we was not worthie of him, and she for the sinnes of hir children, and altho’ our lose who did follow him sal be greate, yit questionlesse the churche hir lose sal be much greatter for how can it be when the heade which gave such heavenly influence unto all the inferiore members, that nevir any distemperature or weaknes was seene in them; how can it be, since that heade is taken from the body, bot the members thereof sall fall unto much fainting and confusion. But this I say not, that ather I doubt of God’s providence or of these whom he hes left as actores behind him, for I am persuaded that God wil not desert his owne cause, bot will yit stirre up the heartis of some of his anoynted ones to prosecute the defence of his cause, and to be emolouse of such renowne as his Majestie hes left behind him for evir, and I pray the Almightie that it would please his Supreame Majestie now to stirre the King of Boheme and to make choyce of him in this worke, which indead is brought unto a great mesoure of perfectioun, neither doe I think that ther salbe any defect in these his valourous souldiours and followers, in whome ther is not the least suspicioun of jelousie; bot this al men knowis, that a bodie cannot long subsist without a head, which gives such lyffe and influence, ather good or bade, as it has radically in itselfe, when it is present; and when it is cutt away, cutts away with itselfe all lyffe and influence.

Now it remaines that we turne our sorrow to revenge, and our hearts to God by earnest prayer that he would stine up the heartis of such men, as may doe good to his cause, and now tak it in hand when it is in such a case.

I have no further wherof I can wreit to your Excellencie at this tyme

your Excellencies faithfull servant till death

A. LESLIE.

During 1633 we hear nothing of this writer of this remarkable letter. What we know is, that, after the siege of Landsberg and the capture of Minden and Osnabruck (1636) he was made Field-marshal in the place of Kniphausen. In the meantime, the treaty of Prague had provided him with the opportunity of paying a visit to his native country, during which he received the freedom of Culross and judiciously invested some of his wealth in landed property. After his return he joined the Landgraf of Hesse, and marched South to the relief of the fortress of Hanau, then hard pressed, as we have seen, by the Imperialists. This and the victory at Wittstock in 1637 were his last successes. Soon afterwards the position of the Swedes became critical. Leslie had to retire to Stettin and describes his case in a letter as well-nigh desperate. "It were to be wished, that such as have a mind to helpe us would steppe in whiles it is tyme, before all bee lost, for then it may proove too late," he writes.

From Stettin Leslie embarked for Stockholm, to concert further measures with Oxenstierna, the Swedish chancellor.

He was sent back to his command in Pomerania, and finding the Swedes under Baner, who had in the mean-time succeeded in repelling the Imperialists, about to march towards Bohemia, he very probably joined them. This last campaign, however, did not last long, for in summer 1638, after the outbreak of the civil troubles in Scotland, he obtained permission from the Queen of Sweden to retire from her service which was granted in terms of great gratitude. He was also presented with two guns and 2000 muskets, a fact which seems to prove Turner’s statement, that the rebellion in Scotland was fomented by Sweden and France. After a long and chequered career the old general of Gustavus died in 1661, having been made first Earl of Leven by Charles in 1642.

The honour of being solemnly knighted by the King of Sweden in his camp at Dirschau was shared with Leslie by Sir Patrick Ruthven. He was a man of great courage and a very trustworthy leader. But it was his chief renown to be able to drink deeper and longer than anybody else at the King’s festive boards. If Gustavus Adolfus entertained foreign ministers or officers and wanted to get at their secrets "he used to appoint Ruthven Field-marshal of the bottles and glasses, for in spite of his immoderate drinking, he always kept a cool head." After Ruthven had taken part in the march through the Forest of Thuringia to Wurzburg and Main; he was made Governor of Ulm. As such he succeeded by his vigilance to suppress two conspiracies, and to reduce a number of Catholic towns of the neighbourhood, though his garrison only amounted to 1200 men. In recognition of his faithful services Gustavus Adolfus gave him the valuable estate of Kilchberg, formerly the property of the Fugger family. In December 1631 he shared with Sparruyter the command of General Baner’s troops until the recovery of the latter from his wound. Afterwards he took part in the skirmishes and battles in Mecklenburg with the army of the North, and after he had on various occasions visited England for the purpose of levying new recruits, he left the Swedish service, like Leslie in 1637, and returned to Scotland, where he joined the party of the King. He died at Dundee in 1651, being then Field-marshal and Earl of Forth. Powerfully built, almost unwieldy, covered with scars, and better able to wield the sword than the pen, he is the type of an honest, blunt, brave, old "Haudegen" of the time.

The part played by the Marquis of Hamilton in the Thirty Years’ War is a somewhat doubtful one. It was Lord Reay who first drew attention in Scotland to the largeness of his collected forces. Whilst, no doubt, the news of such powerful reinforcements from Scotland and England - above 6000 men—assisted the cause of Protestantism in Germany, people in his own country saw dark and ambitious designs in it as if the crown itself was in jeopardy. No doubt this is foolish enough, but the fact remains that the character of the Marquis—scheming, unscrupulous and deep as it was—lent itself to these accusations.

In the meantime his enterprise in favour of Gustavus Adolfus was not crowned with success. First of all, the 6000 men, which the King of Sweden had insisted upon, could only be got together by force. Only 1400 hailed from Scotland, the rest were English, made up for the most part of men of doubtful character and of small physical endurance. Add to this as natural consequence that disease of every description raged amongst his soldiers from the very first day of their landing in Germany. Finally, Hamilton’s own position near the King was not one based upon mutual confidence. The latter spoke bitterly of Charles I, resented his plans to interfere, with the help of a large army commanded over by the Marquis, in his politics concerning Bohemia; resented above all his claim to a voice in the matter of concluding peace. Thus it came to pass, that not only the English-Swedish Alliance, which Sir Henry Vane, the ambassador, was to press, failed, but the Marquis became a man who, on account of his being cousin to the King of England and surrounded by a princely entourage, was to be treated with all the forms of royal courtesy, whilst at the same time he was as firmly refused any position in which he might do more than merely assist the King as one of the many Scotch officers. It was for this reason that he was refused the command of an army after his own mercenaries had been decimated. He was employed in guarding the fortresses on the Oder. But scarcely had he taken possession of Crossen and Guben, two small towns in the district of Frankfurt on the Oder, than he was recalled by Gustavus and attached to his staff; and though weary of being a volunteer, his applications for better employment were constantly set aside; he was ‘amused by delays.’ At last—in 1632—he returned, with all outward tokens of honour, to England.

A more interesting and a more creditable part is that played by the namesake, relation and successor to the Marquis in command of the Scottish troops: Sir Alexander Hamilton, called "Sandy." He had been of great service to Gustavus Adolfus as a captain and later on as skilful general of artillery. He was also invaluable by his ability to manufacture pieces of ordinance. For a time he held the post of Governor of Hanau. After the King’s death, he served the Duke William of Saxe-Weimar, for whom he established a small gun-foundry at a place called Suhl or Suhla in the Thuringian forest (1634-35). Three letters of the Duke to Hamilton have been preserved. They are addressed to him in SuhI and refer to his employment there. The first is dated Erfurt, Jan. 24th, 1634, and runs: "We should be sorry if this your work, the manufacture of pieces of small ordnance, should be interrupted by all kinds of inconveniences" (want of money among other things!). But we cannot help it at present, and must put our decision off till the return of the Chancellor. In the meantime, though there should be some delay, We entreat you to remain patiently at Suhl. We also send you along with this a letter to the Magistrates there, so that you may at least get what is necessary for your livelihood. Nothing more this time. We remain graciously and well-inclined towards you &c."

The other two letters of the Duke have reference to an assault committed by one of Hamilton’s lieutenants upon no less a person, than the "Ambts-Schulzen" or burgomaster. He orders a judicial inquiry and provisional imprisonment of the culprit.

In the following year (1635) Hamilton returned to England furnished by the Duke with very flattering letters of recommendation to King Charles. After an eventful and honourable career in Scotland Hamilton died in 1649.

Among the long list of prominent Scottish officers Sir James Turner, the author of Military Essays and an interesting memoir of his own life, deserves a few words. When a youth a restless desire for military renown filled him, and having joined the forces levied by Sir J. Lumsden in 1632 when only eighteen years of age, he landed at Rostock. But there a too greedy consumption of fruit, for which that part of Germany is famous, made him very seriously ill. He was laid up at Bremen for six weeks and was only then able to continue his military service under the Duke of Luneburg and General Kniphausen. Having taken a prominent part in the victory of Hameln he afterwards fought under the Scottish general King in Hessen and Westphalen, and returned to Scotland, like so many of his companions at arms, at the commencement of the Civil Wars. In his Memoirs he shows a delightful sense of humour and drollery, which in an atmosphere of smoke, blood and incredible misery that fills the reports of this dreadful war, does not fail to produce a bracing and refreshing effect. Thus he relates of the year 1634: "I was lodged at a widow’s house in Oldendorf (Hesse), whose daughter, a young widow, had been married to a Rittmaster of the Emperor’s. She was very handsome, wittie and discreet: of her, though my former toyle might have banished all love-thoughts out of my mind, I became perfitlie enamourd. Heere we stayed six weeks, in which time she taught me the High Dutch to reade and write, which before I could not learne but rudelie from sojors. Having then the countrey’s language, I learned also the fashion and customs of the Germane officers; and about this time was both regiments reduced to two companies, two captains-lieutenants and two ensigns (whereof I was one) only allowed to stand, all the rest casheered and in great necessitie and povertie. The two companies were bot badlie used, tossed to and fro, in constant danger of the enemies and without pay. But I had learned so much cunning and became so vigilant to lay hold on opportunities that I wanted for nothing, horses, clothes, meate or moneys, and made so good use of what I had learnd, that the whole time I served in Germanie I sufferd no such miserie as I had done the first yeare and a halfe, that I came to it."

Not a few of the Scottish officers in the Continental armies were married to German ladies. One of them was Colonel Sir William Gunn, a Roman Catholic, whom we first meet in the ranks of the Swedes, later on in the service of the Austrian Emperor. A few interesting details concerning him have been unearthed at Ulm, the famous town and fortress in Würtemberg. In 1640 he hands a letter of recommendation from H. M. in Great Britain to the Magistrates and Council assembled, and receives the permission to reside in the city. On June 5th he invites the Town Councillors to his wedding, his bride being the young baroness Anna Margaretha von Freiberg, and the banquet taking place at the inn called the "White Ox." Two members of the Magistrates were deputed: the Burgomaster Marx Christoph Welser and the counsellor of war Johann Albrecht Stammler. They presented to him the gift of the town: a silver-gilt cup. Gunn remained at Uiln till 1649. After that time he mostly lived in Vienna. The last mention of him is in 1655 when he conferred with the town as Major-General.

As to the Field-marshal Sir Robert Douglas, he won great fame by a clever cavalry attack in the battle of Jankowitz. But owing to his being early recalled to Sweden his share in the achievements of the Thirty Years’ War is not great. [In Sweden Douglas obtained the very highest distinctions. His funeral took place with almost royal ceremonies; the King and Queen of Sweden followed the hearse (1662). He was one of the last veterans of Gustavus Adolfus. His grandson Count William Douglas was Adjutant to Charles XII. Belonging to the Douglases of Whittinghame, he was the ancestor of the Counts Douglas now flourishing in the Grand Duchy of Baden in Germany. There was another Douglas, Sir G. Douglas, who played a prominent part in the War under Gustavus. He was imprisoned by the King for some breach of discipline but afterwards released. In later times he was ambassador of the English King to Poland (Turner, Memoir:, and p. 97).]

Much might be told still of the brave deeds of the Munroes, the Drummonds, the Lumsdens, and others; but we must hasten to glance at the opposite camp in the Great War and recount the part played by the Scot there.

If Gustavus Adolfus by preference levied his foreign troops in Protestant Scotland, we find in the Imperial camps the Irish Catholic soldier prevailing. But there were also not a few Protestant Scottish officers, notably the two, Walter Leslie and John Gordon, well known not only from Schiller’s History of the Thirty Years’ War but also from his great tragedy of Wallenstein. In Wallenstein’s Death the poet has fused for artistic reasons these two men into one: the old, good-natured, faithful Gordon. But besides the name there is nothing historical; this Gordon is merely a creature of the imagination. History knows nothing of the days of his boyhood being spent together with Wallenstein at Burgau, neither is the Gordon of history the weak-minded old man such as Colonel Butler, the Irishman, describes him. It must be granted, however, that we know little enough of his life. He was Governor of the Fortress of Eger or Egra in Bohemia, the town where the murder of Wallenstein was perpetrated, in which he took a prominent part. Like Leslie he was richly rewarded by the Imperial Court at Vienna in the service of which he continued until the end of the war. In 1648 he was taken prisoner by the Swedes in Wismar (Mecklenburg). As Baron of the German Empire he died at Danzig, but was buried at Delft in Holland.

We are better informed of Walter Leslie. He was the second son of the tenth Baron of Balquhain in Aberdeen-shire. When quite a youth he went to Germany and, though a Protestant, entered the service of the Emperor. A regiment of Scotch and Irish were under his and Gordon’s command. In the skirmishes and battles around Nurnberg, especially in the hilly surroundings of the Altenberg, he showed great pluck and endurance. The Imperial General intended to cut off the retreat of the Swedish Colonel Taupadel, who had undertaken a sortie towards Freystadt (1632). With the utmost courage, seeking shelter behind the rocks, shrubs and trees the regiment stood firm after the rest of the Imperial troops had fallen back before a greatly enforced body of Swedes. But when General Gonzaga also took flight, Major Sparr, the commander of the regiment, had to surrender. The latter remained a prisoner in the hands of the Swedes, as he had before broken his word of honour. Gordon and Leslie, however, were set free by Gustavus Adolfus who knew how to acknowledge heroic conduct in an enemy. During five weeks they stayed at Nürnberg and were the guests of their countrymen, Hepburn and Munro. In banqueting and feasting they celebrated their meeting and recalled the days of old. Two years later Leslie arrived at Eger with his Scots and Irish for winter-quarters. It was from this town that he addressed a letter to the Imperial General Piccolomini, as a "Protector of all foreign officers to intercede in his favour with his colonel Trczka;" but we do not know if there had been any misunderstanding between these two. At Eger also he heard for the first time, possibly from Wallenstein himself, of the plans of the latter to desert the cause of the Empire, and of the Emperor’s order to seize the prescribed General’s person dead or alive. Time was pressing. Milder measures were overruled by the necessity of immediate action. The murder of Wallenstein is decided upon. Leslie gives the signal for the massacre of the generals Kinsky, Illow and Neumann during supper in the castle. Then hastening into the town, he makes the guards take the oath of allegiance, and calls out a hundred dragoons for the maintenance of order. After the murder of Wallensein himself, who received his death-blow from the pike of the Irishman Devereux, the body was brought in Leslie’s carriage to the citadel. On the following day the sergeant-major—for up till then Leslie did not occupy a higher rank—started on his journey to Vienna, where he arrived on the sixth of March. Here he found the Emperor extremely gracious. Although on the one hand masses in the churches were ordered for the soul of the dead Wallenstein, and although the murder was repudiated as the rash act of anticipating officials: no wish of Leslie’s, the chief actor in the tragedy, remained unfulfilled. He requested the command of a regiment and he received it; he desired the title of Count, and the Emperor sent him the diploma with his own signature: "Annuit Maiestas S. Caes. motu proprio et libentissime, antequam quisquam Dominorum Consiliariorum consuleret, contestans id se facturum etiamsi nemo consuleret." He advanced from Colonel to General, from General to Feld-zeugmeister (1646) and finally to Field-marshal (1650). Moreover he received the golden key of a privy counsellor and the estate of Neustadt, formerly the property of Trezka.

His military career ended with the battle of Nordlingen in 1634, where he took a conspicuous part, and in the carefully executed revictualling and fortifying of Petrin in Albania, where his new dignity as Governor of the Turkish-Austrian boundary-district had called him. After this he was chiefly entrusted with diplomatic missions, in which he proved himself a skilful negotiator. He travelled to Italy and obtained a subsidy from the Pope for Austria, amounting to 20,000 crowns and from Naples even 100,000 crowns for the same purpose. No less successful was his journey to Constantinople, which he undertook, as an old man of sixty and infirm, at the express wish of the Emperor, who shortly before had decorated him with the Order of the Golden Fleece (1665). The reason of this embassy was the ratification of the treaty of Vasvar. Valuable presents had to be delivered; a fleet of thirty-six gaily decked ships carried him down the Danube as far as Belgrade. Loaded with gifts from the Sultan, and followed by sixty Christians delivered out of Turkish imprisonment, but ill himself, he returned about Christmas time to the Austrian Capital. There he died on the third of March 1667 and was buried, having previously embraced Roman Catholicism, in the vault of the Church of the Scottish Benedictines with great pomp and magnificence. His great riches he had used to render the family estates in Scotland free of debt.

There is no doubt whatever that Leslie served his imperial master with skill and fidelity. The question of guilt in his betraying Wallenstein stands and falls with the much debated question of the guilt of Wallenstein himself. At any rate there is no need of assuming that Leslie was nothing but one of a band of low, hired assassins. It seems to be more just to say with the greatest of German historians, that he did the deed "forced to it by the feeling of military obedience towards his sovereign and by the duty of an oath which could not be broken at will."

The nephew of Field-marshal Leslie, who had been made the heir of his childless uncle, was carefully educated and served with distinction under the Emperor Leopold. He commanded the Galizian Regiment, No. 24, which was called Leslie’s Regiment during 1665-1675. At the siege of Vienna he proved himself a daring and skilful leader. Afterwards he was, like his uncle, much used for diplomatic missions, never losing the favour of the imperial court. He held the title of Count, the rank of a Privy Counsellor and of Major-General. When he was married to the Princess Maria Theresa of Lichtenstein the Emperor as well as the Empress and the highest nobles of Austria were present at the ceremony.

He left no children either, and another nephew, James Ernest, became third Count Leslie. Of him we know little more than that he built a hospital for invalided soldiers at Neustadt in Bohemia and left a legacy to the Scottish Monastery at Regensburg for the education of young Scottish gentlemen, especially those of the name of Leslie. He died in 1694. [The male line of the Counts Leslie became extinct in 1802. The estates passed into the hands of the heirs of Prince Dietrichstein, the first Count having married a princess of that house. They again became extinct in 1858. The Scottish heirs now came forward and their claims were recognised in 1861. But on some Austrian noblemen protesting a law-suit followed, which lasted till 1867, when a compromise was agreed upon to that effect that five-twelfths of the count’s estates should go to the Scottish claimants.]

The brilliant career of so many brave Scottish officers, which we have hitherto traced, if alone taken into account, would indeed give us a wrong impression of the life of the Scottish mercenary. There is a sad, dark side of the picture as well. No sooner has the war-drum ceased to beat, than we meet with the familiar figure of the old Scottish soldier receiving alms from his countrymen in the seaport towns on the Baltic. Or we find him poor, ragged, ill, perhaps crippled for life in the company of idle Lanzknechte, gipsies, Jews, beggars and vagabonds, who, like a swarm of locusts, overran the country. In a few graphic lines a contemporaneous sketch of him has been preserved in the archives of the city of Breslau. Towards the end of the XVth Century a band of such vagabonds had been dragged to the Rathaus there on the charge of begging and using loaded dice. There were many Scots among them, mostly men, who had vowed a pilgrimage to Rome and were now returning home by way of Danzig; others had been soldiers. One of these is introduced as Thomas Woysheit (?) from Edenburgk, "die beste stat yn Schotten," i.e. the best town in Scotland. Of him the clerk notes down: ‘He has not been in Scotland for XII. years, and is a nobleman and went after military service and served under the King of France and of the Romans, and in the wars, which he has gone through, he has lost his all, and has been at Rome and from one town to another begging, so that he might feed his wife and children."

Nothing could be more tragic than this concise statement. Other facts like these, unrecorded, perhaps, but none the less numerable, awaken the sounds of the old song again: ‘O woe unto these cruel wars!’ and they dim the glory which Scottish valour gained abroad. But we must follow still further the traces of the Scots as revealed by history.

The century between the Thirty Years’ War and the Seven Years’ War in Germany is chiefly filled by two Wars of Succession, in both of which Scottish troops and Scottish leaders have taken a not inglorious part. But now they were fighting no longer as mercenaries of a foreign power, but as trained soldiers of an allied king.

In the Spanish War of Succession (1702-1713), in which the Austrians and the English opposed the French and the Bavarians, it was the Duke of Marlborough, who, with the heroic Prince Eugen of Savoy, obtained immortal fame, handed down to us in song and story. The following Scottish regiments accompanied the Duke:-

1. The Royal Scots Dragoons, commonly called Scots Greys.
2. One battalion of the Royal Scots Foot Guards.
3. The Royal Scots.
4. The Royal North British Fusiliers (21st Foot).
5. The Cameronians.

In the battle of Blenheim they had the first opportunity of distinguishing themselves. But in spite of their impetuous advance on the strongly entrenched village of Blenheim, an advance which brought them so close to the pallisades that their General, Rowe, is said to have stuck his sword into them before giving the order to fire, they did not succeed in driving the French out of their stronghold. Only after the fate of the battle had already been decided elsewhere did the brave defenders of the village surrender to the Earl of Orkney.

Besides the regular troops there were not wanting volunteer officers from Scotland in the Imperial army, whom the brilliant generalship of Prince Eugen of Savoy had attracted. Special mention deserves John, Earl of Crawford, who in 1735 went to Germany and was attached to the Prince’s staff, taking part in the engagements near the Moselle river. He distinguished himself in the battle of Claussen (17th Oct., 1735), where his friend the Count of Nassau was killed at his side. Later he fought against the Turks under the Russian flag, but returned to Austria in 1738. Under General Wallis and the Prince of Waldeck he was present before Peterwardein and in the battle of Krotska. It was there that he discovered the Turkish outposts in a churchyard, and after having charged them drove them across the river. On the battle proceeding his horse was killed under him and he himself severely wounded in the left thigh. Half dead from the loss of blood, only hastily bandaged up, he remained lying by the road-side waiting for the sleeping-coach of General Waldeck, which had been promised to him. In vain he tried to persuade his faithful servant, a German named Köpp, to leave him to die, handing him at the same time his watch and his purse as a reward for his services. At last the vehicle appeared and the wounded man, who suffered the most intense agony, was safely conveyed to Belgrad only three days prior to the surrounding of the town by the Turks. Here he spent weeks, hovering between life and death, until his strong constitution gained the upper hand. On the 27th of October 1738 he succeeded in reaching Vienna on the Danube in a primitive boat. Thence he went to Baden to take the waters, but though greatly improved in health, he never altogether recovered. His wound kept discharging splinters ever and again and accelerated his death in 1749 after he had taken a prominent part under the Earl of Stair in the battle of Dettingen (June 16th, 1743).

In the war of the Austrian Succession (1742-1748) in which, as is well known, the forces of France and Bavaria as enemies of Austria opposed those of England, Holland and Prussia, it was chiefly this battle of Dettingen, where the Scottish troops under the eyes of King George II. himself distinguished themselves. Prominent amongst them Colonel Sir Andrew Agnew, who commanded the Royal North British Fusiliers. The impetuous attack of the French Cuirassiers left them no time to form a square; all they could do was to draw up in a line and to receive the enemy with such hot musketry-fire from all sides that only a few of the gallant troopers escaped.

It is no secret that the advice and the plan of the Earl of Stair, "the only tolerably bright man in the army," to pursue the enemy, was not accepted, and that he himself, incensed at the growing Hanoverian influence in matters of military tactics, soon resigned his command.

Passing on to the age of Frederic the Great of Prussia, our attention is soon attracted to the scions of an old, famous, Scottish family, the Keiths. No less than six Scotsmen of this name have played a more or less important part in the life of the Prussian king.

Far away in the extreme north-east corner of the county of Aberdeen, struck by the storms of the North Sea, there stood, a few years ago, the lonely ruins of the Castle of Inverugie, the family seat of the Earl Marischals. There they lived lives of hardihood and energy, constantly engaged in and often directing the shifting fates of their native country. Here George Keith was born in 1693, his brother James in 1696, brothers throughout their long career deeply and affectionately attached to each other. They were the sons of the ninth Earl Marischal, and were educated by a Catholic mother and a Protestant father in the principles of unswerving fidelity to the Stuarts. Very soon these principles were put to the test. It was on the 20th of September 1715, that the two youthful brothers, together with other Highland nobles at the old Market Cross of Aberdeen, proclaimed Charles Edward King of Scotland as James VIII. But when the war-like enterprises in favour of the Stuart dynasty miscarried and the new-made king, after the defeat at Sheriffmuir, in which the elder Keith commanded two squadrons of cavalry, was compelled to seek safety in France, the two brothers, like so many others, were declared outlaws and their estates forfeited. George, nothing daunted, went first of all to Spain, and obtained the command of a small Spanish force, that was to land on the Isle of Lewis in the north-west of Scotland, take Inverness and again raise the standard of the Stuart. But this foolhardy expedition could not but end in disaster. Scarce had the handful of warriors reached the mainland, when they were attacked by General Whitman and scattered. The Highlanders dispersed to their mountains, the Spaniards, 274 in number, surrendered. Keith was wounded, but escaped to the islands and from there in disguise to Spain. Here he continued to live in the town of Valencia, still busily intriguing for his hero. Again in 1744 he was to command and lead an expeditionary force of the enemy into Scotland, but the plan was not carried out. In the following year Keith went to Vienna, and shortly afterwards, being invited by his brother, to Berlin. Here he gained very soon the complete confidence and enjoyed the close friendship of Frederic the Great, whose philosophical views of life he shared. He became a member of the Academy, and in 1751 ambassador of Prussia to the King of France. This post, however, he soon gave up, owing, no doubt, chiefly to the irritation of England at seeing a Jacobite outlaw appointed to one of the most responsible diplomatic positions. Frederic honoured him by bestowing upon him the Order of the Black Eagle and nominating him Governor of Neufchâtel in Switzerland, then part of the Prussian possessions.

His administration bore the stamp of Frederic’s humane and tolerant philosophy; the use of the rack, and public penance done in the churches were abolished, not without bitter hostility on the part of the enemies of light and progress. Rousseau, the banished philosopher, was offered an asylum and friendly assistance. Keith procured for him many favours of his royal master, and so great was his esteem for this much abused man, that he offered him a house in Scotland or in Potsdam, where the two might continue their intercourse, and when Rousseau refused, he granted him a pension of 600 francs.

The stay of the Earl Marischal at Neufchâtel extended over ten years, but it was often interrupted. In 1759, for instance, Keith was sent on a diplomatic errand to Madrid, where King Ferdinand of Spain had just died. But though this embassy did not procure any tangible benefit for Prussia, it proved of the greatest advantage to Keith himself. He gained the goodwill of Pitt by communicating to him the family-compact of the two houses of Bourbon, and thus, aided by the powerful intercession of his royal friend, he smoothed the way towards a final removal of all his Jacobite disabilities.

King George II issued a patent declaring the Marischal able to inherit, parliament assented and voted a considerable sum in lieu of his confiscated property, and Keith, now no longer under the ban of outlawry, at once entered on possession of the inheritance of the late Earl of Kintore, who had died without issue. He was presented to the King in 1760 on the 10th of August.

Three years later, he visited his old home at Aberdeen, where his kinsmen did all they could to persuade the Earl not only to settle among them, but to marry and give them welcome heirs of the loved name of Keith. However, King Frederic wrote an urgent letter, (Febr. 16, 1764), which was not to be resisted. "I do not wonder," he said, "that the Scots fight for your possession, and wish to have progeny of yours, and to preserve your bones. You have in your life-time the lot of Homer after death: cities arguing which is your birthplace. I myself would dispute it with Edinburgh to possess you. If I had ships I would make a descent on Scotland, to steal off my dear Mylord and to bring him hither. Alas! our Elbe-boats can’t do it. But you give me hopes, which I seize with avidity. I was your late brother’s friend, and had obligations to him; I am yours with heart and soul. These are my titles, these are my rights. You shan’t be forced in the matter of progeny here, neither priest nor attorney shall meddle with you, you shall live in the bosom of friendship, liberty and philosophy."

Keith gave in, removed in 1764 to Potsdam, where Frederic had built him a villa, and lived there, peacefully and hale in body and soul till his death in 1778.

King Frederic lost in him a true friend, who had proved useful to him in many ways, not only sharing his tastes and his philosophy, but showing an interest also in his plans of industrial and agricultural improvement. He even bought paintings for him and procured him his favourite tobacco from Spain. Moreover, he was a strictly upright man, a cheerful, ‘excellent, old soul, honest as the sunlight.’ His king loved him, ‘almost as one boy the other.’ His conversation was that of the wise, not without some dry humour, some ‘little vein of wit’; his manner of living was eccentric, a strange mixture of Aberdeenshire and Valencia. Frederic’s letters to him are all full of true friendliness. Thus he writes in 1758 after the death of the Field-marshal, his brother: "There is nothing left for us, mon cher Mylord, but to mingle and blend our weeping for the losses we have had. If my head were a fountain of tears, it would not suffice for the grief I feel.

"Our campaign is over, and there has nothing come of it, on one side or the other, but the loss of a great many worthy people, the misery of a great many poor soldiers crippled for ever, the ruin of Provinces, the ravage, pillage and conflagration of flourishing towns: exploits these which make humanity shudder; sad fruits of the wickedness and ambition of certain people in power, who sacrifice everything to their unbridled passions! I wish you, mon cher Mylord, nothing that has the least resemblance to my destiny and everything that is wanting to it. Your old friend till death."

The brother, to whom this letter alludes, James Keith, is better known in history. His life was full of adventures, warlike deeds and escapes. He was a Scotsman, a Frenchman, a Spaniard, and a Russian till he ended his career on a Prussian battlefield.

After he had taken part in the Jacobite insurrection in Scotland, he also was compelled to take flight, and went first of all to Paris, where he was well received at court. Having for some time studied under Maupertuis, he travelled to Spain and took part in the siege of Gibraltar. But as his Protestant faith barred the way of his promotion, he offered his services in 1728 to Russia. Here his career was brilliant and rapid. From General-Major and Colonel of the Body Guard of the Empress Anne he rose to be Army-Inspector on the Volga and the Don. In the Polish war of 1733-5, as well as in the war against the Turks in 1737, he proved his great military skill. After having been wounded during the siege and the storming of Otezakoff by a bullet in the knee, the Empress is said to have exclaimed: "I would rather lose ten thousand of my best soldiers than Keith." In 1740 he was made Governor of the Ukraine, where his just administration procured for him the love of the people. After the war against Sweden, in which he forced 17,000 of the enemy to surrender at Helsingfors, and conquered the Aland-isles, he was honoured with the post of Russian ambassador at Stockholm (1744). But then a gradual reversion of fortune took place. The favours so lavishly bestowed upon him by the Empress excited the jealousy and the envy of high officials and generals, especially of Bestucheff, the Vice-Chancellor. One command after the other was taken from him; his brother was not allowed to visit him at Riga and his position become daily more difficult and dangerous. Circumstances like these would in themselves have been sufficient to explain his sudden departure from Petersburg in 1747. But there seems to have been another very potent reason for this step, which has only lately come to light in the correspondence of the Field-marshal with Chevalier Drummond at Berlin. This was nothing more nor less than the growing affection of the Empress, which threatened to assume a form incompatible with his station and his security. In her letters she calls him the only man, "who can bring up a future heir of the throne in my mind and in the footsteps of Peter the Great," and he himself writes to Drummond as early as 1745: "The empress is resolved to raise me to a height, which would cause my ruin as well as her own." This being so—in other words, Siberia looming in the distance,—Keith’s sudden departure is more than sufficiently accounted for. At Berlin he was received with open arms, the King nominating him Field-marshal and Governor of the capital. With his new sovereign he lived on terms of cordial friendship. He was of great service to him in times of war and of peace, taking an active interest in the importation of English woollen cloth, promoting the affairs of Scottish merchants, endeavouring to open up trade to the East Indies, translating the English parliamentary debates, and even drawing designs for bridges across the Spree River.

Unfortunately the King was not long to enjoy the services of his devoted friend. After the siege of Prague in 1757, which had to be raised in consequence of the disastrous battle of Kolin, we find the Field-marshal as victorious commander of the second army corps at Rossbach. Then followed the long and futile siege of Olmutz, stubbornly defended by the Imperial general Marshal, another Scotsman; the masterly retreat before the forces of Louclon, and finally the fatal day of Hochkirch (1758). In vain Keith had expostulated with the King on the weakness of his right wing, and when ‘on that misty morning of October’ the furious and sudden Onslaught of the Austrians shook the ground, he was not able to withstand the shock nor to retake his former position. Forsaken by his very aides-de-camp the Field-marshal was thrice wounded, the last time mortally. Not even his body could be found. At last the Austrians discovered it, plundered by the Croats and naked, and carried it into the church, where General Lacy, who had fought under him in Russia, recognised it by a scar as that of the intimate friend of his father and had it buried with all military honours; "twelve canons salvoing thrice, the whole corps of Colloredo with their muskets thrice. Lacy as chief-mourner, not without tears." Four months afterwards the body was brought to Berlin and there interred for a second time in a still more solemn manner. "Keith now sleeps in the Garnisonkirche far from bonnie Inverugie; the hoarse sea winds and caverns of Dunottar singing vague requiem to his honourable line and him.

The epitaph erected in the little church at Hochkirch by Sir Robert Murray Keith, a kinsman, bears the inscription: "Dum in Praelio non procul hinc inclinatam suorum aciem mente, manu, voce et exemplo restituebat, pugnans ut heroas decet, occubuit. Die xiv Octobris MDCCLVIII."

The King was deeply moved at the premature death of his favourite. His works bear witness how highly he esteemed the brilliant general and the true friend. The Earl Marischal lost in him, as Carlyle expresses himself; "more a father than a younger brother." The Field-marshal died poor.

Among the Scottish officers abroad, he was, without doubt, the foremost. He will also be remembered as the inventor of the "Kriegs-Spiel" or its precursor, the "Kriegs Schachspiel" (Game of War-Chess).

Two other remarkable members of the family of Keith, known and esteemed by the Great Frederick, were the Murray-Keiths, father and son, ambassadors at Vienna. Of them we shall have to speak later on. Here we have to mention still two other brothers: Keiths, the pages, who did play a passing part in the life of young Prince Frederick. They were not related to the Earl Marischal’s family, though also descended from Scottish forebears. They were born at Poberow in Pomerania. Peter Karl Christoph von Keith, the elder, was privy to the secret flight of the Crown Prince, and when the plans were discovered, he was warned by his master in a short letter containing only the words, "Sauvez-vous; tout est découvert." He had time left to escape to Holland, and with the assistance of Lord Chesterfield to England. His image was hung on the gallows at Wesel. After a short stay in Portugal, where he served as major, he returned to Berlin, when the Crown Prince had succeeded his father as King Frederick II. There he was made equerry, Lieutenant-Colonel and Curate of the Academy of Sciences with a good salary. But even then he complained and thought himself but poorly rewarded. His character, so different from the splendid and lofty unselfishness of the Earl Marischal, soon forfeited the favour of the King. He died in 1756. Of his younger brother almost nothing is known except that he served in a regiment of infantry at Wesel.

Besides the Keiths, there were many other Scottish officers in the army of Frederic. A Major Grant of Dunlugas, the same that brought the news of the victory at Leuthen (Dec. 5, 1751) to England, distinguished himself at Kolin. There the King had placed himself, after desperate efforts of collecting his troops, at the head of a small body "against a certain battery." But in his rear, man after man fell away, till Grant ventured to remark: "Your Majesty and I cannot take the battery ourselves!" upon which Frederic turned round, and, finding nobody, looked at the enemy through his glass and rode away.

Again we find the names of Lord John Drummond and Lord John Macleod mentioned. Both were attracted by the military genius of Frederick and entered his service as volunteer officers. Drummond was adjutant or aide-decamp in 1747; Macleod came from Sweden and published later on a description of the first summer campaign of 1757.

Finally we must not forget the 10,000 to 12,000 English auxiliaries, who joined the army of the Duke of Brunswick at Soest on the 20th of August 1758, after public opinion in England had at last veered round in Prussia’s favour. amongst them were many Scots, but none distinguished themselves more than the Scots Greys and the 1000 or 1600 Highlanders. "Grand-looking fellows all of them," said the Germans. "And did you ever see such horses, such splendour of equipment, regardless of expense? Not to mention the "Bergschotten" with their bagpipes, sporrans, kilt, and exotic costume and ways. Out of all whom Ferdinand got a great deal of first-rate fighting."

The brigade of Maxwell particularly distinguished itself in the battle of Warburg (1760). They did some excellent practice with the bayonet, muskets, and cannon, "obstinate as bears." But what pleased Prince Ferdinand most was the dashing bravery of the Highlanders under their colonel, Robert Murray Keith. He ordered even more regiments to be raised in Perth, Inverness, Ross, and Sutherland. In non-military circles of Germany, however, the notions entertained of the "Bergschotten" were still as singular as when the curious woodcut appeared at Stettin in 1627. Says the Vienna Gazette of 1762: "The Highlanders are in dress, temper, and custom altogether different from the rest of the inhabitants of Great Britain. They are caught in the mountains when young, and they still run with incredible swiftness. The soldiers are of small stature and mostly either old or very young. They show an extraordinary love for their officers, who are all handsome and young. Their good endowments, proving the innocence of nature before being corrupted by example and prejudice, make us hope that their King’s laudable though late endeavours to bring them up in the principles of Christianity will be crowned with success."

On the side of Austria the following Scottish generals fought in the Septennial War: Ogilvie, St Paul, Wallis, and Loudon. Ogilvie has already been mentioned; of St Paul little is known beyond his being created a count in 1786; Wallis was a scion of the Scottish Wallace; though himself born in Ireland. Gideon Ernest, Baron Loudon or "Laudohn," descended from Sir Matthew Campbell of Loudon, in Ayrshire (1574), must be placed in the foremost rank of military commanders. He alone could match the genius of Frederick; he was the one dreaded, resourceful leader of the enemy: a man who earned the high praise from the Prussian King, that he never committed a mistake, and that he was one he would rather see beside him than opposite him. The family of Loudon emigrated in the XVIth Century to Livonia and became possessors of two considerable estates, one registered under the old name of Loudon, the other of Tootzen. When Gideon was born in 1716 only Tootzen remained as property. His father had been Lieut.-Colonel in the Swedish army, but Livonia having been ceded to Russia in 1721, young Loudon, after a very defective education, entered the Russian army as cadet in 1731. He distinguished himself in the Polish War and against the Turks, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. When the War of the Austrian Succession broke out, he was disappointed at Russia not taking part in it, resigned his commission and sought employment elsewhere. He seems to have contemplated taking service in Sweden or even offering his sword to England and the Dutch, who were then sending out a fleet to defend their possessions in the East Indies; but at last he resolved to go to Vienna and to call at Berlin on his way, where by the help of some Scottish friends he hoped to obtain an audience of the King, and, if possible, receive a commission. Frederick did not absolutely refuse his request, but kept him waiting fully six weeks, after which time he declared, in one of his fits of anger, that he indeed must needs have many squadrons at his disposal, if he was to give a command to every foreign officer. Nor did a personal interview improve matters; the King declaring that the "physiognomy of that man did not please him." It is true, nature had not bestowed upon the future Field-Marshal an imposing stature or prepossessing features: heavy eyebrows overhung a pair of sad, grey eyes; his mouth was seldom known to smile; his stature was lean; his manners were modest and retiring. Baffled at Berlin, Loudon turned to Vienna, which he reached in 1744 in very straitened circumstances. At first he only obtained the command of a company under the famous Baron Trenck, whom he had known in Russia. This post he resigned in 1748, disgusted at the coarseness, cruelty, and insolence of his leader. Having been promoted to a captaincy in a regiment of Croats, he married a Miss von Haagen and removed to the Croatian frontier, where he lived a studious, happy, and retired life for the next eight or nine years. In 1750 he was made Major, and three years later Lieutenant-Colonel. On the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War, the Austrian Chancellor Kaunitz, who had recognised in him "a man of iron nerve, of great precision of thought, of marvellous memory and great observing powers, a man fit not only to conceive bold plans, but to carry them out," entrusted him with the command of a battalion of Croats under Field-Marshal Brown, an Irish-Austrian. Here he soon gained by experience that striking characteristic of a great military leader: swiftly to detect the weak point of an enemy’s position and to fall furiously upon it. After the battle of Kollin he received the command of four companies of Grenadiers, two thousand Croats, and six hundred Hussars, with which he formed the vanguard of the army. His boldness and dashing spirit displayed itself everywhere, in striking contrast to the hesitancy and caution of his Commander-in-Chief Daun, who often deprived himself of the fruits of his dearly-bought victories. How Loudon distinguished himself at Olmütz, where he cut off the supplies of the enemy; at the battles of Hochkirch and Kunersdorf where his urgent request to pursue the shattered armies of the Prussians was rejected; at the subsequent battle of Landshut, the taking of Glatz, the storming of the strong fortress of Schweidnitz, which enabled the Austrians for the first time to winter in Silesia: all this is a matter of history.

Nor were the rewards for such splendid services wanting. His grateful sovereign, the Empress, decorated him with many high orders, presented him with two houses in Vienna and the estate of Klein Beczwar in Bohemia. He was made Feldzeugmeister, and Field-Marshal and Generalissimo. After the conclusion of peace in 1763 Loudon went to Karisbad to take the waters. Here he met the famous German poet Gellert, who gives a very characteristic account of him, calling him "his dearest acquaintance, an earnest, modest, religious, somewhat sad man, who never speaks of his own exploits." His quiet life at Beczwar was interrupted only by his regular visits to Vienna twice a year to pay his respects to his sovereign. In 1769 he accompanied the Emperor Joseph II on a visit to Frederick at Neisse, and in 1770, when the King of Prussia returned the visit at Neustadt in Moravia, he commanded one of the divisions in a great sham-fight with such skill that he earned the greatest praise from the royal guest. It was here at the banquet, when Loudon was about to take a seat low down on the side of the table opposite to his own, that the King called out: "Come here, Field-Marshal Loudon. I would rather see you at my side than opposite me!" On two subsequent occasions Loudon’s services as commander were required, once in 1777, when the war of the Bavarian Succession broke out, Austria claiming certain parts of Bavaria after the death of the Elector, and in 1787, when Austria joined. Russia in a war against the Turks. The former campaign ended ingloriously, as a battle against Prince Henry, the Prussian Commander, had to be avoided because of the strict order of the Empress; the latter was distinguished chiefly by the capture of Berber and Belgrade.

During the years of peace the now aged Field-Marsha] lived at Hadersbach, near Vienna, a large estate, which contained a castle, some twenty farm-houses, and a mill. Here he farmed his own land, spending his time amongst his people, building, gardening, planting, and improving, often visited by the Archdukes Leopold and Ferdinand, Chancellor Kaunitz, and other friends. Here also he died on the 14th of July 1790, in his seventy-fifth year, after having been the sword and the shield of the House of Habsburg for nearly half a century. Great as he was as general, he was no less great as a man; a true friend, a loving husband, a man all whose thoughts were lofty.

His last words were words of comfort to his weeping nephew, who was kneeling by his bed-side. "Love your God," he said, "never injure your fellow-men; reverence your sovereign, and be a true defender of your country. Providence raised me from the dust to a greatness which I never sought. I have always only tried to do my duty. In that let me serve as your example."

Passing on to later times, a word or two must be said about Sir Charles Gordon, who served in the wars in Holland under the Duke of Brunswick in 1787, and about Lord Lynedoch, who accompanied the Austrian army to Italy in 1796, as Military Attaché of Great Britain.. As such he distinguished himself during the siege of Mantua by the French. This strong fortress was held by a brave Austrian garrison-; but famine threatened, and unless provisions could be sent from headquarters, the fate of the town was sealed. In this emergency Lynedoch volunteered to carry the message to the Austrian General commanding. He disguised himself as a peasant, left Mantua in the midst of winter during a terrible snowstorm, and reached his goal on the sixth day after many hair-breadth escapes during his march through morass and swamp.

We have now come to the limit of our task. In the great struggle of Europe against Napoleon during the first fifteen years of the new century, Great Britain had her own glorious share. Once again, at Waterloo, the Germans by the side of the British against a common foe, and spilling their blood, repaid for the many good services rendered by their brethren-of-arms during past centuries on German soil. But of Scottish soldiers fighting for a German cause, we hear no more. [Excepting only a battalion of Highlanders serving in the army of General Walmoden in the North of Germany in 1813.]

Only the famous old Scottish names of the Hamiltons, Douglases, Leslies, Gordons, Campbells, Gaudis, Johnstons, Spaldings, and others, still occurring in German Army lists, remind us of days long past, when the drums of the recruiting officer awoke the echo of every glen of Scotland, and when the world-famed kings and heroes of battle in Germany attracted the scions of her nobility under their victorious banners; banners of all colours and emblems, but banners which they never disgraced.

Some addition information is given in our Domestic Annals of Scotland


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