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The Highland Host of 1678
Chapter II - The Calling out of the Host


LAUDERDALE'S plan of having recourse to the feudal resources of the Highlands was not hastily conceived. That he intended to do so had been for some time general knowledge among those who were in attendance upon him [Dr. George Hickes, afterwards Dean of Worcester, who acted as chaplain to Lauderdale during part of his stay in Scotland, writes as early as October 23rd, 1677: "I suppose you know that the country where these people most abound is in the West, about Glasgow, Ayr, etc., and upon their first motion several thousand Highlanders will be brought down upon them to cut them off and quarter in their county. The Castle at Stirling is also reinforced, and upon notice of their first stirring, proclamation will be issued out to warn all heritors that hold lands of the Crown, as the greatest part of the nation doth, to repair to the King's host at Edinburgh upon pain of high treason, so that if they rise as they did nine years since, they will be otherwise dealt with than they were then, for they will neither find mercy in the field nor afterwards, if they be taken, at the bar." The whole trouble he ascribed to those who were seeking to discredit Lauderdale's government. "My Lord's enemies know that there is nothing recommends him more to the King, than the confidence he hath in his great wisdom to govern the kingdom and keep it in peace, and that's the reason they take this way to embroil the kingdom and bring all, if they could, to confusion, that his Majesty might have recourse to them, as abler physicians of state. I need not tell you who they are, for you cannot but have heard of the Earl of Tweedale, the Duke of Hamilton and one more, who because he is a privy councillor, I shall not mention his name." Historical MSS. Commission, Report XIII., Appendix ii. p. 37,] and an evil shrewdly suspected and greatly feared by many of the principal men in the West country. Of these none had more reason to fear the threatened descent of the clans than the Duke of Hamilton, who, as a great landowner, must suffer severely should Highlanders be quartered on his estates, and who, already labouring under the suspicion of the authorities, could hope for little protection from them either for himself or for his tenantry. In a letter to Queensberry, dated 27th October, 1677, he shows that those belonging to his party were already well acquainted with the intentions of the government, and that the ominous signs of military preparations were being observed with the keenest anxiety by all classes in the West. He writes : " The horse and foot are all marched from Glasgow yesterday towards Stirline, to the great surprise of the Archbishop, as he pretends, and there is no small fear among the people for haveing Highlanders comeing down amongst them." He himself shared the view of his party that there was deliberate intent on the part of Lauderdale to provoke rebellion. "For my part," he writes, " I thinke it a device to engadge the people to disorders, but I hope they will be wiser." [Historical KISS. Commission, Report XV., Appendix viii. p. 229.]

To this same letter he adds a copy of a letter received from L. G., "a friend that lives near Stirline," to show his knowledge of the extent of the preparations already made.

"The Councell resolit that the 3 cassels bee weel looked too and provyded off all neceisors for their seceurety, that all Guards, hors and foott bee sett att Sterling, that 2000 arms, 9 piece of canon for the field and plenty off amonition bee careid from Edinburgh to Stirling cassel. The Dutch pyeneir was ordorit to attend E. Mar, and appoynt what wes needful for the forther strenthening that place. All that accordingly wes Boon, and the wholl nobilety who hay any interest in the Hylands, as Huntly, Atholl, Argyll, Marshall, Moray, Mar, Kintoir, Caithness, etc., are ordered instently to hav all the Hylanders in reddines upon a call to march to Stirling, wher they shall receiv arms and amunition for all that went, and itt appears ther ar non invyted hether, militia or Lolanders, bott Hylanders only, McDonalds, McCleans, McGregors, McEntoshes, McClouds, McForbesses, McCouls, etc., the rest of that sort. Earl Pearth gaitt a perteicouler letter from the Councel to have his Hyland men in reddiness, the postcrip wes with Duke Lauderdales' oun hand, that his men shood bee furnisht att Stirling. This day Earl Moray rendevous his att Doun. Atholl, Marshall, Mar, and all the rest hasted north for the same countrie. Itt wes talkt in plain tearms, that if the Hyland men wer forst to march to the west to suppress a rebelleion of the Uigs, they should not only have frie quarter bott liberty of plundering, and if they pleased to settell themselves ther as a new plantation and possess the countrey for a reward. The Council hav also ordeind that in caice there bee one suspeition, then a proclamation shall bee published requyr all fensible men off whatsomever qualety in ther best appoyntment to repeir to Stirling within a certan tym under pain off forfating off lyf and fourtoun." [Historical MSS. Commission, Retort XV., Appendix viii. p. 230.]

By the end of October, 1677, therefore, Lauderdale had so ordered matters that a strong force was ready if there should arise occasion for its use, the general feeling among the presbyterian faction being that the first suggestion as to the raising of this force had come from the bishops, whose subsequent conduct, indeed, did much to confirm the idea. [Lauderdale Papers, edited by Aizy, vol. iii. p. 95.] In the beginning of November, Lauderdale acquainted the Earl of Danby with the measures already taken, in order that he might inform the King. After speaking of the orders given "for making ready a good bodie of Highlanders and others (if the phanaticks in the west should rise in armes "), he says that the gentlemen of the disaffected shires, to whom he has already written "to try their puls and render them inexcusable," "pretend they cannot suppress these disorders, that is to say, they will doe nothing towards it." In point of fact, however, as Lauderdale well knew, these gentlemen, whether in sympathy with the Covenanters or not, were as powerless to prevent conventicles as he himself. "In short," as Wodrow puts the matter, "the thing sought of the gentlemen was not really in their power, to suppress and bear down conventicles; for, though they had inclined to do so, as I hope the most of them did not, and durst not hinder the pure preaching of the gospel; yet their tenants and the body of the people, excepting the parishes of the indulged, were the persons who heard the gospel preached, and would not, without a superior force, be restrained from so doing." [Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 374.]

From the noblemen already written to with reference to the assembling of the Highlanders, Lauderdale had had no reply except from the Marquis of Atholl and the Earl of Moray "who assure us they have made ready fourteen hundred men whenever they shall be called for." Then he adds significantly: "In the meantime they doe not rise in armes in the west. How soone they may take armes no man can tell; for as I have often said, they are perfitely fifth monarchye men, and no judgment can be made upon the grounds of reason what they may attempt; and therefor all preparations possible are to be made in case they rise, for this game is not to be played by halfes, we must take this opportunity to crush them, so as they may not trouble us any more in hast, or else we are to expect to be thus threatened by them nixt year." [Lauderdale Papers, edited by Airy, vol. iii. p. 89.]

Determined to risk nothing, Lauderdale had already prepared a reserve for his force of invading Highlanders and had asked that the English troops in Ireland under Lord Granard should be concentrated on the north-east coast of the island; he now asked that instructions be given Lord Granard to " come over into Scotland upon the first call from the King's Privie Councell in Scotland, and that he may immediately send over to me one whom he trusts, that I may know his condition and his readiness, and that we agree the time and manner of his transportation before we call him." [Ibid. p. 90.] To this Danby replied on the 15th November, that the King, immediately upon receiving Lauderdale's communication, called together a Committee of Foreign Affairs to consider it, and that as a result of this meeting Lord Granard had been ordered to co-operate in every way possible in "the suppressing of any rising in Scotland."

The reply to his letter also gave Lauderdale the assurance of Charles' entire sympathy with him in all his actions. The king, he is told, "does extreamely approve the course you have taken of haveing some of the noblemen and their dependencies in a readiness upon occasion, and is as sensible as yr Grace could wish of the backwardness of some others of them who make excuses instead of doeing theire duties." To ensure the success of the plans already made, orders had also been given for troops to be massed on the English border in readiness for any emergency in Scotland. "The King," Lauderdale was told, "has also commanded a letter to bee writt to the Duke of Newcastle to order a thousand of the militia of Northumberland to bee in readiness to give you assistance if there should bee need, and has ordered my Ld Frescheville's troop and Sr Fr Compton's to march to Alnewick and to quarter there for some time. ... His Matie has also directed that all these, viz. from Ireland, the 2 troops of my Ld Oxford's Regiment, and hee who must command the 1000 men of the Northumberland militia, do all receive and obey such orders as they shall receive from the councell of Scotland." [Lauderdale Papers, vol. iii. p. 91.]

In accordance with these instructions, the arrangements for the transportation to Scotland of the forces massed on the coast of Ulster, should these be required by the Privy Council, were hurried on as much as possible, although those in authority in Ireland were strongly of opinion that a large force must be retained in the north of that island to keep down disaffection there. Large numbers of Scottish refugees harassed by the stringent action of the Privy Council had sought refuge among the Presbyterian population of the north of Ireland, [On September 22nd, 1677, Sir George Rawdon writes from Ireland to Viscount Conway: "The Ld Comissr in Scotd. is very severe in comiting to prison all conventiclers, till they pay their great fynes and Horning such as abscond. Some of them take sanctuary in this Kingdome. I write to Lord Granard what I heare still and have some apprehensions off trouble beginning there and that our neighbrs here will dance at their pipe. S.P. Dom. Car. II., vol. 338, No. 99.] and it was feared that the influence of these immigrants might induce the Ulstermen to rise in sympathy with their co-religionists of Ayrshire.

Thus, throughout these months of military preparations, the authorities in Ireland watched with anxiety the gathering of the warclouds in Scotland, since, as Sir George Rawdon writes to Viscount Conway, the effect of a rising in Scotland would be that "our condition here will be troublesome, and this countryes' dance will be after thair pype, though my Lord Granard doth hope his influence upon the ministers to be very much to prevent it." [S.P. Ireland Car. 11., vol. 338, No. 132.]

On November 17th, 1677, Sir Henry Coventry had written to Ormond, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, asking him to give orders to Lord Granard, commanding the troops in Ireland, to have men, horses, ammunition, and all things necessary for a field force in readiness to be instantly set aboard transports which were to lie in waiting for them till such time as the Council of Scotland should send the summons. Lauderdale likewise had been requested to send an officer to Ireland to inform Lord Granard upon such matters as the most suitable landing-places on the Scotch coast, the amount of supplies available there, and other necessary points of military detail. [Historical MSS. Commission, Marquis of Ormonde (New Series), vol. iv. p. 61.]

Viscount Granard, replying to this letter on November 18th, writes that from all he can gather there is every likelihood of the Irish troops being employed in Scotland. "The generality of the Commons there," he writes, "seem, by what I know, to be in a bad humour. I pray God they may not be influenced by the greater sort of people, which, if they be not, they will signify little." He adds in a postscript that he knows of the proposal to raise the clans. "There is two regiments of Highlanders raising. The companies which quartered in Glasgow are removed to Stirling." [Ibid]

On November 19th, Sir Henry Coventry wrote to Lauderdale to tell him of the King's exertions on his behalf and of his concern that the disaffected West should be promptly and firmly dealt with. " His it Iajesty hath not been a little concerned in the account your Grace lately gave him, and what is since brought to him from several other hands, concerning the number and insolency of the Conventicles with you. He has therefore sent this express to 'let you know how far he has provided for your assistance, if there be need, as likewise to receive by the return in what posture you are there, and if in a condition of force in Scotland, not only to dissipate them, but to seize some of the principal ministers and laymen, and bring them to condign punishment (which His Majesty conceiveth very necessary to be done): that the Council then immediately give order to act against them, but if you doubt of the force of these troops you have to employ against them, that then you temporise till the succours prepared by His Majesty, may come to you. What readiness they are in in Ireland I shall acquaint you by sending your Grace a duplicate of what I wrote by His Majesty's command to my Lord of Ormond, as likewise the extract of part of a letter of his Grace to me concerning a landing place, magazines on your side, and erecting a post to entertain a constant correspondence with Ireland. His Majesty would that your Grace having considered of the whole of the letters and queries, should despatch some understanding officer to my Lord of Granard, by whom you may likewise send the inclosed to the Duke of Ormond for more security, though I have sent from hence, but because the winds sometime remain contrary for several weeks, His Majesty hath commanded a duplicate to be sent by way of Scotland. This officer may adjust all matters with my Lord Granard concerning his queries, and inform your Grace in what readiness he findeth them for their transportation. There are in Ireland already at three several rendezvous in the North, i800 foot and 300 horse in six troops regimented; besides those His Majesty has given orders for two troops of horse to march to Alnwick and quarter there. And if your Grace think there will be need of them, upon notice from you they shall have order to recruit to ioo men each troop. The same order of recruiting shall be likewise given to the King's two garrisons in the north, as soon as you have declared your opinion of the need like to be of them. And of these garrisons His Majesty will draw 1200 foot for your assistance—all old troops—and garrison his towns with others; your Grace seeth how much his 'Majesty concerneth himself in these affairs. I beg a speedy return of this express, that His Majesty, being fully informed of the measures you intend to take there, may the better judge how to take his here." [Historical MSS. Commission, Marquis of Ormonde (New Series), vol. iv. p. 63.]

On November 25th, Viscount Granard again wrote from Belfast to Ormond to acquaint him with his preparations for the impending expedition to Scotland. Not finding sufficient transports, he had taken the precaution to order the captain of a man-of-war stationed there to stop all ships outward bound till further orders. He had bespoken ten thousand weight of biscuit and had issued orders that every man should have by him in his quarters six days' provisions ready in case of a march. Unfortunately, however, he found himself absolutely devoid of ammunition waggons and had neither horses to draw the nine field guns lying at Carrickfergus nor gunners to man them. He also desired about ioo men to make up his Infantry to field strength. [Ibid. vol. iv. p. 68.]

It was naturally with feelings of no small satisfaction that Lauderdale saw this field force being organised in Ireland to supplement his efforts in Scotland. On November 25th, 1677, he wrote to Ormond to thank him for all his diligence. "I find with much satisfaction," he says, " that you are so near us with so good a party under your command." He adds significantly: "I must say there is yet no rising in Scotland, nor do I think they dare rise in haste. Yet we must lie at their mercy no more to be alarmed by them; but we shall make ourselves ready for them with all speed and give your Lordship timely notice. The King has appointed a post to be settled betwixt this and you, which I shall quicken all I can. And I do not intend to leave this kingdom till it be settled, which I trust in God shall be this winter." [Historical MISS. Commission, Marquis of Ormonde (New Series), vol. iv. pp. 68-69.]

On December 1st Lauderdale again wrote to Viscount Granard to tell him that he was sending to him James Maitland, "one of the lieutenants of the regiment of Guards here"—his own cousin. Maitland was entrusted with a document signed by the Duke of Lauderdale headed " Instructions concerning Disorders in the Western Shires of Scotland," which shows clearly the exact position of military affairs in Scotland. At. the same time the Act of Council for establishing the post between Ireland and Scotland, so much desired by Lauderdale in view of the present crisis, was sent to Ormond, although he was informed that it would be the middle of January, 1678, before the post could be used and that meanwhile they must continue to communicate by means of expresses. The fact of the establishment of the post is also mentioned in the "Instructions," since Lauderdale evidently considered that a quick means of communication between those in command in Ireland and himself was absolutely essential. [6]

Maitland's instructions were as follows:

"1. In obedience to His Majesty's commands, signified to the Duke of Lauderdale, you shall go to Belfast or to any other place within the Kingdom of Ireland where you can find the Viscount of Granard. You shall acquaint his Lordship that the great disorders in the western shires continued now divers months by numerous field conventicles, building of preaching houses in commons, solemn communions given at those meetings, unlawful oaths imposed upon the people, seditious doctrine preached, inciting subjects to open rebellion, threatening the persons of the regular ministers, and preparations made to take up arms against His Majesty, his authority and laws; these and the like practices which were followed by the fanatics when they rose in rebellion in 1666, has moved His Majesty's Privy Council to take effectual course for suppressing those insolencies by drawing the King's standing forces of horse and foot together, and making suitable preparations for their march upon the first order, and by requiring the noblemen who have interest in the Highlands, and others in the north parts who have considerable vassals and following, to be in readiness to march to Stirling upon the first advertisement. And from thence (joining with the King's forces) to march to the west, to the places infested with these disorders. And those forces of horse and foot (besides the King's standing forces) are assured to be four thousand five hundred foot and five or six hundred horse, to be present at the first rendezvous there, and that -many more can be drawn together if there be need for it, and all this besides the Militia.

"2. You shall let his Lordship know that there are none risen yet in arms, and therefore the Council has not as yet called any horse or foot together except the King's standing forces, but has them ready upon a week's advertisement.

"3. That we are very glad to know of so considerable a party of horse and foot ordered by His Majesty for assisting his service here, and that they are commanded by his Lordship. And though the Privy Council is not resolved to desire his Lordship march hither till they find great cause for it, yet it is fit his Lordship should know the condition of this kingdom, and we his, and what preparation he expects towards his landing.

"4. That his Lordship give notice what place he intends to land at (if called for), and in order to his transportation it is not doubted but convenient vessels, and all other things necessary for his embarking, will be carefully provided on the Irish side, seeing we have nothing fit for such passage to send from hence.

"5. In order to the provisions and forage for horse, it is known that the country where he intends to land is sufficiently able to provide all the horses in corn and straw, and victuals for the horse and foot, in order to which, fit persons (so many as are necessary) shall be provided to be in readiness upon his Lordship's first landing to provide all things necessary in the premises; and his Lordship may (as he thinks fit) take care to transport a month's provisions of bread, cheese or other victuals for the horse and foot.

"6. The Privy Council has ordered the establishment of a horse post by stages from Edinburgh to Portpatrick, and from thence by sea to Donaghadee, according to the warrant of the Council herewith sent; and therefore it is offered that a packet boat be provided on the Irish side, and the post established on that side by land, this being His Majesty's express command.

"7. That his Lordship may provide a train of field Artillery to bring along with him, with suitable ammunition.

"8. That his Lordship give notice how soon he can be ready to land in Scotland after he receives advertisement; wind and weather serving.

What his Lordship thinks fit to return in answer by you, or what he shall acquaint us with hereafter, we shall readily comply with, and shall make suitable returns to his Lordship. - (Signed) LAUDERDALE."

To these Instructions Granard returned the following reply: [Historical MSS. Commission, Marquis of Ormonde (New Series), vol. iv. PP. 73, 74.]

"That my Lord Viscount of Granard has orders from His Majesty and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to embark these forces now under his command and conduct them to Scotland, if so required by the Lords of His Majesty's Privy Council there, and from time to time to receive such orders as shall be sent to him by their Lordships.

"That the forces my Lord has here are above two thousand foot and three hundred horse, all commanded men, besides officers and servants, which are all ready, if required, to attend His Majesty's service there or elsewhere. His Lordship's humble opinion is that (if he be called for) Dumbarton-Haven, or any place about Granack (Greenock), is the fittest place to land on, and his Lordship's reasons are—because it is near Stirling, near Ed. (Edinburgh), and a plentiful country before him, and the Highlands at his back, and a place where he may join with any of His Majesty's forces that are raised or are to be raised. As for shipping, they are now all ready, and His Majesty at a thousand pounds a month charge for their demurrage, besides the disadvantages His Majesty sustains by loss of trade, and his Lordship desires a sudden resolution that His Majesty may be rid of that charge. That he conceives if the enemy be strong he cannot quarter at large his horse and foot, and for that reason he has provided 30,000 weight of biscuit, but if otherwise he will make the best shift he can to do it out of the country.

"As to the post and the boat, his Lordship thinks my Lord Lieutenant will give orders for it according to their desire, and has done already something preparative to it. That his Lordship has already four field pieces ready with ammunition, together with spades, shovels, pickaxes, and the like, in case they have use for them—for all which his Lordship desires carriage horses may be provided at the place where he designs to land, it being a hard matter to get ships enough to transport all the horse and foot here now at one time; his Lordship can be on shipboard, if the embargo be not taken off, in forty-eight hours advertisement."

On December 15th, 1677, Sir George Rawdon, then in Ireland, wrote to Viscount Conway concerning the arrival of Maitland and his mission, stating that Maitland had deprecated any hasty movement of the Irish troops but had rather suggested that time should be given "to try if any oyer expedient could be found to quyett or lay the wicked spirit infused by their ministers into the common people, rather than to invite forreiners, as these are termed, to suppress it, And for yt end every one of that Councell were summoned to appear at Edinburgh, and Duke Hamilton came in thither the same day this captain left, who had not ben there before since Duke Lauderdale's last coming into Scotland, And upon their result orders are to come to this brigade unto wch itt is to give obedience, And it is thought they will not easily all agree to send for this party over." [S.P. Ireland, Car. II., vol. 538.]

Apparently, indeed, the Privy Council, although ready to launch the Highlanders upon the West, were unable to agree as to whether English and Irish forces should also be summoned, [S.P. Dom. Car. II., vol. 398, No, 124.] and ultimately it was decided that the Scotch levies would be sufficient to perform any task required of them. The decision gave great satisfaction to many in Ireland who had feared the defection of the men of Ulster. [Thus on December 7th, the Earl of Ormonde writes to the Lord-Lieutenant : "My London and Dublin Letters by this post tell me the late clouds in Scotland are blown away; if it be so I shall be very glad of it on many accounts. For I confess to your Grace I was not without apprehensions that if that part of the army under my Lord Granard's command had been transported into Scotland, the Ulster Scots might not have been quiet. For I believe too many of them are inclined as some of their countrymen are, and I saw no preparations in that case to send more of this army into Ulster, nor indeed a possibility to do it, this army being so small and the revenue so anticipated, which made me doubt, while we went to quench our neighbour's house, our own might be set on fire. Till I know on what account the tumults there have been appeased, I shall not be able to form a judgment satisfactory to myself how long this pacification will last. But I too well remember when the first 'pacification was made in the year 1639 the sore was but skinned, and not healed at the bottom, and therefore soon after broke out more fiercely; I heartily pray the like may never happen again." Historical MSS. Commission, Marquis of Ormonde (New Series), vol. iv. p. 77.]

Meanwhile the gentlemen of the Shires, threatened thus with invasion both by Highlanders and by troops from Ireland, had met as requested by the Privy Council, to consider the situation. On November and they met at Irvine and passed three resolutions to be transmitted to the Council. They were of opinion that to suppress conventicles was outwith their powers, that a toleration of presbyterianism alone would put an end to all disorder, and that the measure of toleration in Scotland should be no less than that already granted in England and in Ireland. [Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 375.] The crisis had thus been reached, since Lauderdale was determined to entertain no idea of toleration with regard to Presbyterians. The news that the chief men of the West had thus publicly set themselves in opposition to his policy roused him to immediate action. He therefore hastened to acquaint the King with his plans, and wrote to Huntly, Perth and Airly, giving them orders to have their men in readiness to march. whenever they should be called upon. [Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 375. S.P. Dorn. Car. II., vol. 398, No. 124.]

On December 11th, 1677, Charles replied to Lauderdale's letter by empowering him to direct the march of the Highlanders to the West, as soon as he should find it expedient to do so. After speaking of the extreme necessity of the case, Charles expressed his entire approval of the plan of employing the clansmen. "We have been with much satisfaction informed," he says, "that you have required the noblemen and others who have interest and considerable vassals and following in the Highlands, and places thereto adjacent, to be in readiness, with what forces they can bring out, to rendezvous at Stirling, upon the first advertisement; which we do very much approve, and give you our very hearty thanks for your care therein—seeing we are fully resolved to maintain, preserve, and defend the government of the church in that our kingdom, as it is now established by law, and not to suffer our authority to be thus invaded and trode upon, nor longer to endure the insolencies formerly mentioned." Continuing, the King gave authority for the free quartering of these forces upon the western shires, and the seizing of such horses as might be required for military purposes; the heritors were to be compelled to "give bond for their tenants, and others that live upon and possess their lands that they shall keep no conventicles, that they shall live orderly and obedient to the laws," the punishment for disobedience being "fining, confining, imprisonment, or banishment." Garrisons were to be placed wherever necessary throughout the districts, while more troops could be called in from England and Ireland should that be desired. Finally, Lauderdale was given authority to embody either the whole militia of Scotland or such part of it as he should consider sufficient for his purpose. [Wodrow, vol. ii. P. 377.]

On December 25th, 16i7, Lauderdale himself, whose preparations in Scotland were now well advanced, felt so confident of the strength of the force thus prepared in Scotland that he wrote to Sir Henry Coventry concerning the troops in the north of Ireland. "It hath been of great use to the King's service that the party is so near, and hath damped the disaffected, and I beg they may continue on that coast; but my humble opinion is that it is enough if they quarter on that coast as formerly. Within a few days I hope to give the King a good account of effectual orders given by the Privy Council here for suppressing the fanatics and settling the peace." [Historical MSS. Commission, Marquis of Orrnonde (New Series), vol. iv. p. 80.]

The very fact, indeed, that such preparations were being made both in Scotland and in Ireland had already served the purpose of "settling the peace," which Lauderdale averred to be his aim. On December 27th, 1677, Sir C. Musgrave writes to Williamson telling him that there is no longer any disturbance in the West of Scotland. "By letters from Scotland dated ye 22 and 23, they write ye Councell have sent to ye Ld. Lt. of Ireland and Sr. Arthur Fforbus their thanks for their great care in ye North of Ireland, and yt ye West of Scotland is very quiet. I perceive ye West was very apprehensive ye Lds of ye Councell. wd call in ye English fforces upon them & ffeareffull yt ye Highlanders would be drawne doun and if they continue quiet it must be ascribed to ye ffeare of ye fforce wch may so soone be poured on them from England and Ireland, for questionless their inclinacions are to rebell. " [S.P. Dom. Car. II., vol. 398, No. 133.]

Lauderdale, however, although thus assured that the descent upon the Whigs was no longer necessary unless he wished it to partake of the character of a punitive expedition, was determined that no appearance of peace in the West was to prevent the carrying into execution of his carefully matured project. A supreme commander for the force had already been selected in George, Earl of Linlithgow, who, on December 18th, 1677, had been appointed to the supreme command of all the troops which were being assembled. [18th December, 1677. George, Earl of Linlithgow to be Major-General of all his Majesty's forces in Scotland "in place of Sir George Monro, our late Major General, whose Commission is hereby declared void—Giving hereby unto you full Power and Authority to command our Standing forces, our Militia, and all the Troopes, both Horse and ffoote that are or shall be drawn together by Warrant from us or our Privy Council, towards ye Expedition lately ordered by us for our important Service in that our King-dome." Warrant Book, Scotland, Car. 11., vol. iv. p. 278.] The commanders of the Highlanders had also been chosen. The Marquis of Athol, by commission from the Privy Council, dated 26th December, 1677, had received powers to assemble the gentlemen and heritors of Perthshire (except those of Monteith and Strathearn who were to be under the command of the Earls of Murray and of Perth), the Highlanders in the country of Athole, and others "within his owne lands, propperty or superiority," and form them into, regiments and troops as should appear best to him, it being ordered that the heritors, except those placed in command of companies of Highlanders, were to assemble on horseback. [Reg. Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series), pp. 300, 301.]

Atholl, on 31st December, writing to Lauderdale, acknowledged the receipt of a letter from the Duke on the subject, along with his commission from the Privy Council, in a communication assuring him of his faithfulness and readiness to carry out all his instructions.

["May it please your Grace,
I received the honnour of yr letter saturday night, & an order & Comission from his Majesties Privie Councell to have the Heretores of Perthshire in readiness to march to Sterlin the 24 of januarie, I am to write to ye Heretores to meet me the 8 of Jan:re at Perth, that I may lett them know the Councell's pleasure. I had waited on yr Gr: the next Councell day had it not bin for this, for it had bin impossible to have them or my owne Men In readiness without my stay, but I hope to kiss yr Gr: handes before the 24 of jan:re; I doubt not but his Majestie by your advice, has made a very good choice of the Earle of Linlithgoe to be Major Generall & Commander in Chiefe of all forces, horse and foott, raised or to bee raised, I was never wanting in my advice when called, though it signified very little, much less shall I be wanting in any action I am capable off, that conscernes his Majesties service, for I have when others have not, & shall continue still in that duty nor shall I ever faile in my faithfullness to your Grace, if you will but allow me still the honnour of the tytle of being sincerely,
May it please yr Grace,
yr Gr: most obedient oblidged & most humble servant,
ATHOLL. "
Tullibardine, 31 Dec, 1677."
The Lauderdale Papers, vol. iii. pp. 98-99.]

By a commission from the Privy Council dated also Edinburgh, 26th December, 1677, the Earl of Perth was likewise appointed to "convocate the inhabitants of Strathearn, form them into regiments, troops, and companies, and march with them to Stirling, there to await orders from the Privy Council." [Historical MSS. Commission, Report XI., Appendix vi. p. 156. Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series), p. 301.] Perth, in common with the others deputed to raise the Host, had already been in communication with Lauderdale, and in a letter dated from Linlithgow on the 3rd December, had intimated his own eagerness to lead his friends and followers wherever he might be of service and " ther readyness to complye with a thing so much tending to ther honour, & so necissarly their duty." [The Lauderdale Papers, vol. iii. p. 93.]

The eagerness of Atholl and Perth to descend with their followers is all the more notable in view of the fact that within a few months, disappointed in their hopes of rich reward, they had joined the opponents of Lauderdale's government in Scotland. Even before setting out for the West, Perth was in communication with Hamilton, assuring him that to be one of the Committee of the West would not be at all agreeable to his temper. Sending to Hamilton at the same time a copy of his commission, he complains that Lauderdale has "delt a little cunningly," "for Earl Errol told me that at first they had resolved to mention only a request that wee should joyn with and assist the King's forces, but if wee were slack they wold send a command, backt unpleasantly, yet in the commission they say such as offered (as if it had been a voluntary choyce), to assist the King's forces." He fears also the conduct of the Highlanders who must pass through his country on their way to the rendezvous at Stirling—no very pleasant statement for Hamilton who saw them about to descend upon his own broad lands. " If the Hyland-men march, Carrick or Galloway wil not suffer half so much as I, for not a man shall go to Stirling, but he must go through my bounds, and where they wil go through the west once, I shall have Huntly, Athol, Caithness, Mar, Airly, evrie on in his tour to destroy my people, and if I be not in a pretty taking let the Councell judg." [Historical MSS. Commission, Report XI., Appendix vi. pp. 162-3.]

Along with Atholl and Perth, the Privy Council had commissioned the Earl of Murray to raise the men of the Stewartry of Monteith and the Lordship of Doune, the Earl of Mar to levy his Highlanders from the Braes of Mar, and the Earl of Caithness to lead to the rendezvous the Highlanders on his estates in Perthshire and Argyleshire. [Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series) p. 301.] It had been decided also that certain regiments of lowland militia should likewise be sent to the West and, therefore, the Earl of Strathmore was commissioned to raise the militia troop of horse and the regiment of foot under his command in Forfarshire, while the militia of the shire of Edinburgh, under the command of Lauderdale himself, was to be embodied for the purpose of acting as a garrison when the regular troops stationed in Edinburgh should march to the West. The militia troop of horse of the same shire of Edinburgh was to be embodied under the Earl of Dalhousie, and was to lie near Edinburgh ready to carry out any orders of the Council. [Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series) pp. 303, 304. S.P. Dom. Car. II., vol. 398, No. 124.]

On December 26th, 1677, Charles authorized the issuing of the Commission for raising the Highlanders, ordering the various chiefs to be in Stirling by the 24th January, 1678, there to await orders. Authority was given in this commission to take free quarter, and to seize upon horses as deemed necessary "for carrying their sick men, ammunition and other provisions," while complete indemnity was given against any action, civil or criminal, which might be brought up for any offence committed in the King's service "by killing, wounding, apprehending, or imprisoning such as shall make opposition to our authority, or by seizing such as they have reason to suspect, the same being always done by order of our privy council, their committee, or of the superior officer." [Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series), pp. 300, 301.]

The Bishops had, with great satisfaction, seen the preparations for the subduing of the discontented West, and on December 21st, issued a "Memorandum by the Bishops anent what is fit to be done for suppressing disorders in the West," in which they urged that the most stringent measures should be taken. So many of their suggestions were afterwards carried into effect, indeed, that it appears plain that Lauderdale was, to a great extent, acting at their instigation and under their influence. [Lauderdale Papers, vol. ill. pp. 95-98. (See Appendix.)] When the Bishop of London on December 14th, 1677, wrote to Lauderdale assuring him of "the gratitude our whole Church ows to you for ye very great protection & encouragement you give to those of its principles in Scotland," he did so with good reason. [Ibid. p. 94.]

Meanwhile, anxious to prevent the threatened invasion if possible, the gentlemen of the western countries spoke of making petition directly to the King against Lauderdale. The Privy Council, however, took steps to prevent this by an "Act prohibiting noblemen and others to go out of the kingdom without a license," issued on January 3rd, 1678, [Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 380-381. Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol v. (Third Series), pp. 304, 305.] and at the same time summoned the principal gentlemen of the shires to attend a committee of the Council to meet at Glasgow on the 26th. For the most part, however, these repeated proclamations had no effect on the landowners of the West. Hamilton, for instance, writes on 18th January, 1678: "Sir John Cochrane was heere last night and he tells me the West Countrie gentlemen gott nothing done; all resolves to suffer patiently the worst." [Historical MSS. Commission, Report XV., Appendix viii. p. 283.]

The gentlemen of Ayrshire had already sought to avert the threatened blow by sending a deputation of nine of their number to Lauderdale to plead " that there was not the least tendency among the people to rebel, and that an indulgence to Presbyterians would serve to put an end to Conventicles and all other irregularities," and to deprecate "that severe procedure of sending among them so inhuman and barbarous a crew." Some of them had even declared themselves prepared to answer for the peace of the whole shire, provided that the standing forces were sent without the Highlanders. Lauderdale, however, refused to discuss matters with the deputation unless they signed the bond, not only for themselves, but for all the other heritors of the shire. To comply with this demand was impossible and the delegates had thus to return without having effected any part of their purpose. ["I am apt to be of your judgment that the calling of these forces together to Glasgow is more for perticular prejudices to some of us, or upon some designes we understand not, then for what is pretended." Hamilton to Queensberry, 28th January, 1678.] Some of them, indeed, like Hamilton, were of opinion that something more sinister was on foot than they could even conjecture, [Historical MSS. Commission, Report 1V., Appendix viii. p. 233.] and that Lauderdale had little desire to have his plans rendered valueless by the ready submission of the West. These plans were now matured and ready to be carried into operation.

On the 18th of January, 1678, there was issued the "Commission to the committee of the Council in the West." In this document it was stated that since the leading gentlemen of the western counties had declared that they were not able to repress the growing disorders within the shires, and since it was necessary to protect all good citizens from the result of such rebellious practices, the King had given orders for the mobilisation of the standing army in Scotland, with some militia regiments and a body of Highlanders, who were under orders to march to the disaffected districts. In order that all things might be done legally and that the object of the expedition might be the more effectively attained, a committee of the Privy Council was to accompany the troops, with full powers "to issue out proclamations and orders, persew and punish delinquents, apprehend and secure suspect persons and cause bands be subscribed and generally all other thinges to doe with that same power and in that same manor as if our Privy Council were all there personally present." [Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series), pp. 319, 320.] The Marquis of Atholl, the Earls of Mar, Glencairn, Moray, Linlithgow, Perth, Wigton, Strathmore, Airly, and Caithness, and Lord Ross were the eleven members of this Committee. Nine of these, as Wodrow very pertinently observes, held commissions in the expeditionary force, "and so were the more like to see to their own adherents and followers, and manage the host to good purpose." [Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 383. The following is a list of the Commissioners of the West, with the number of their attendances: George, Earl of Linlithgow (76); Patrick, Earl of Strathmore (71); George, Lord Rosse (64); James, Earl of Airlie (63); John, Earl of Glen-cairn (60); John, Earl of Caithness (39); Alexander, Earl of Moray (49); James, Earl of Perth (34); John, Marquis of Athol (34); Charles, Earl of Mar (29); William, Earl of Wigton (52). Register Privy Council. Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series), p. xvi.]

To their Commission was added a set of "Instructions to the committee for the west." [Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series), pp. 320, 325, 322, 323, 324. Wodrow, vol. ii. pp. 384, 385, 386.] In terms of these instructions they were to march with the forces already ordered to assemble at Stirling on the 24th January, first to Glasgow and then to Ayrshire, where they were to enforce the bond, disarm the people, prosecute all who had been present at conventicles, burn all preaching houses and rase them to the ground. All horses above the value of fifty pounds Scots were to be secured, all the forces were to be quartered upon the people and sufficient garrison stationed in the principal houses of the shire. After Ayrshire had been reduced to order, the committee was to move to Lanarkshire, then to Renfrewshire, and thence to the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.

Wellmight Sir George Rawdon, writing on January 22nd, say: "There has not beane in our tyme such an ample cofission granted as the comitye haith, ffor they have nott onely lyberty to sequester men's estates and denounce them fugitives who will nott subscribe the Bond ffor keeping of the peace, Bbut, if they meet with the least opposition in their march, to putt all to the sword before them." [S.P. Dom. Car. II., vol. 400, No. 116.] That such opposition was feared was evident to him since he had heard that the Committee of the Council, to complete the equipment of their little army, intended to take cannon with them, " q. brass from Edinburgh and 4 from Stirling," [Ibid] thus utilising some of the cannon provided for field service by royal warrant of 8th January, 1675. [Among Instructions given for improving the defences of Edinburgh, Stirling, and Dumbarton Castles: " It is our Royall Pleasure that you mount twenty peeces of Ordnance upon field carriages and have them and all necessaries thereunto belonging in readiness to be carried upon any occasion into the field, as our service shall require the same." Warrant Book, Scotland, Car. II., vol. iii., No. 163.]

During the period of quiet intervening before the despatch of the Host to the West, the authorities both in Ireland and in Scotland were occupied with the confession and examination of a certain proscribed Scottish preacher called Douglas, who had fled to Ireland, and meeting there on December 6th with Captain Mansell, one of Ormonde's officers, had professed to show him the real state of affairs in Scotland, upon promise of "kindness and friendship, and that he should be provided for in this kingdom."

Douglas stated that there was "a full purpose in the fanatics of Scotland to take the sword in hand," and that they had received promises of support and help from many of the greatest noblemen and gentlemen. Welsh, he affirmed, had gone to England, having promised his followers to return by the 30th of January, and having left orders that in the meantime they should not gather in any great numbers. [Historical MSS. Commission, Marquis of Ormonde (New Series), vol. iv. P. 75.] Douglas added further that the disaffected party in Scotland had already received some £2000 from friends in London "for thi beter caring on of Godes cause," and that large stores of arms had been collected in Edinburgh and Glasgow in readiness for rebellion. [S.P. Dom. Car. II., vol. 338, No. 131.]

Ormond promptly forwarded the confession of Douglas to Lauderdale, who, receiving the communication on Sunday, the 13th January, immediately ordered "an exact search for arms in all the places which are so particularly described in Douglas's examination," both in Edinburgh and in Glasgow, and both at the same time. On receipt of these orders, Lord Ross immediately marched to Glasgow from Edinburgh "with a sufficient party of foot and a squad of the King's troop of Guards." Neither in Edinburgh nor in Glasgow, however, did any success at first attend the search, and Lord Ross was therefore ordered to remain in Glasgow and continue his search, until the rest of the troops ordered for service in the West should arrive, [Historical MSS. Commission, Marquis of Ormonde (New Series), vol. iv. p. 88.] Wodrow speaks with indignation of the arrival of Ross and his troops on a Sunday, and of the consternation caused among the citizens by what they took to be a premature quartering of the forces ordered for the West, sent thus early by the government with malicious intent.

By the end of January, however, Douglas was discredited as utterly untrustworthy. In a letter dated January 29th, Ormond writing of this, says: "Colonel Jeffreys is returned out of Scotland and says Douglas is a notorious cheat, and so esteemed by those of all sides there, and by some held to be frantic. I have spoken several times with him, and all the signs of madness I can discover in him is that he should affirm so many things and so particularly which a sober man must know would be disproved in a short time." "The matter did not end so simply for Captain Mansell, who, unfortunately for himself, had given too much credence to Douglas and had, without considering matters, denounced both Lord Granard and Lauderdale as being in league with the Whigs. "Certain it is," Ormond writes, "Mansell has conducted the whole matter very unskilfully and impertinently." Ultimately, Mansell was brought to trial and cashiered, Ormond's comment being: "The truth is, nothing of that nature could be more against the obedience and respect due to a superior officer in chief command upon an expedition, or might more probably have brought him into distrust with the party he commanded."

In spite of all rumours of rebellion, however, and although it had been affirmed that "this rebellious rout" had already a probable leader in one "Colonel Fox," an Englishman, who was "a companion of Welch and went well mounted and attended," [S.P. Dom. Car. II., vol. 400, No. 36.] the West, towards the time appointed for the muster of the Host, still remained to all appearance peaceful, greatly to the disappointment of many of those who, according to Burnet, had already cast lots for the estates of the disaffected landowners of the western shires. [Burnet, History of My Own Times, vol. ii. pp. 184, 185.] Lauderdale, nevertheless, in spite of the facts, was determined that the forces which had been summoned were to be employed and therefore took no steps to countermand the orders already given.

Accordingly, on January 15th, 1678, it was announced that a quorum of the Privy Council would sit at Glasgow on the 24th, and that on the same day "the Regiment of Ffoot Guards and the Gard of Horse, 16 foot campanyes of foot belonging to the toune of Edinburgh and the whole militia of Stirlingshire" would muster at Stirling. Along with them were to go "nine wagons ffor carrying yr amunition and other necessaries, with the ffield pieces." [S.P. Dom. Car. IL, vol. 400, No. 77. A small body of men had just been trained in Scotland in the use of artillery, John Slessor, his Majesty's chief engineer for Scotland, having on 4th March, 1677, been appointed Lieutenant of Artillery in Scotland, with instructions to choose one man from each company of the Regiment of Guards, five men from the garrison of Edinburgh Castle, three from that of Stirling, and two from that of Dumbarton, to the number of twenty in all. These men he was to instruct in "all things belonging to artillery, as Gunnery, casting Hand Granades and fireworks." Warrant Book, Scotland, Car. IL, vol. iv., Nos. 15x and 152.] Orders had already been issued for the transporting of the artillery; a hundred horses, with men to attend them, were to be provided by the city of Edinburgh and adjacent parishes. These were to be in readiness at the Castlehill of Edinburgh on 22nd January to take the artillery to Linlithgow. At Linlithgow, upon the 23rd, a similar number of horses with men, provided by Linlithgow and parishes near, was to be ready to take the cannon and ammunition to Kilsyth. Various parishes in the shire of Stirling were to provide the same number of horses to take the pieces of artillery to Glasgow upon the 24th of January, the day already fixed for the general muster at Stirling.9 This force of Regulars and Militia was met at Stirling by the levies of Fencibles from the territories of the Marquis of Atholl and of the Earl of Caithness, and by the militia regiments from the lands of the Earls of Airlie, Mar, Moray, Perth and Strathmore.

The irregular forces assembled under their various commanders as follows: [1]

Fife, and Stirling were embodied for the maintenance of order during the absence of the Host in the West. [Military History of Perthshire, p. I16. S.P. Ireland, Car. II., vol. 338, No. 140]

By the "Memorial for instructions to the commissioners for the militia in the several! shyres" of 29th April, 1668, [Register Privy Council, Scotland, 1668, p. 439.] it had been laid down that in every company two thirds of the men must carry muskets and the other third pikes, these being supplied at the expense of the heritors of the various shires. The muskets were for use with matchwork, it being specially forbidden to have firearms with snapwork, a rule against which the vIarquis of Atholl had vigorously protested in 1668 on the ground that the Highlanders of the shire of Perth were " altogether unacquainted with the use of any other gunne but fyrelocks," with which they were well provided. [Register Privy Council, Scotland, 1668, p. 449.] The matter was referred to the King, and left by him at the discretion of the Council, who seem never to have given any clear decision on the matter. [Military History of Perthshire, p. 106.] In all probability, therefore, snapwork firelocks as well as matchwork muskets were carried by the Highlanders in their march to the West. The ordinary pike of the period was sixteen feet long, the standard pike for use being in the magazine of Edinburgh Castle. The cavalry part of the militia force carried sword and pistols, and for defensive equipment " back, breast and pott,". these being provided by the heritors. [Register Privy Council, 1668, p. 440. Warrant Book, Scotland, Car. II., vol. iii., No. 197. "Articles and Rules for the Better Government of his Maties Forces in Scotland." Article 37. Dated 26th Feb., 1675. "None shall be mustered but such as are compleatly armed, viz., Each Horseman to have for his defensive armes, Back, Breast, and Pott, and for his offensive armes, a sword not under three foote long in the blade, and a case of Pistells, the] The muster of the Host at Stirling was Barrells whereof not to be under fourteen Inches in length, and each Trooper of our Guard to have a Carbine besides the foresaid armes. And the foote to have each soldier a Sword or Dagger for their muskets, and each Pikeman a Pike of sixteen foote long and not under, and each Musqueteer a musquett, (with a Coller of Bandailiers) the Barrell of which musquett to be about four foote long and to containe a Bullett, fourteene of which shall make a pound, running into the Barrell."] directed by Sir Thomas Elphingston of Calderhall, mustermaster-general of the army, and by Richard Elphingston of Airth, his deputy. [Treasury Sederunt, 16th January, 1678.]

The Highlanders, thus well equipped with every warlike weapon necessary for their descent upon the fertile shires, assembled with such expedition and evident eagerness for whatever might be required of them as to evoke the warm praise of Lauderdale, who, on February ist, wrote thus in glowing terms concerning his new levies to Lord Granard. "The forces which the King called together for training the mad fanatics in our western shires did keep the rendezvous frequently and exactly, and there be in the shires of Ayr, Renfrew, and Lanark at this time seven thousand foot effective, and about one thousand horse at least. This force will, I hope, do the business, and when they are once forced into obedience and order, it will be the fault of the Privy Council, if they be not kept from playing such tricks again in haste. [Historical MSS. Commission, Marquis of Ormonde (New Series) vol. iv. p. 100.]

Wodrow, writing of the thoroughness of the Highlanders' preparations, says: "They had no small store of ammunition with them, four field pieces, vast numbers of spades, shovels, mattocks, as if they had been to have attacked great fortifications. They had good store of iron shackles, as if they were to lead back vast numbers of slaves; and thumblocks, as they call them, to make their examinations and trials with. The musketeers had their daggers so made, if need were, to fasten upon the mouth of their pieces, and maul horse, like our bayonets, not yet brought to perfection. In this posture came they West." [Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 389.]

Such was the terror inspired by the very name of these clansmen among the people of the West, that their coming was awaited with that spirit of resignation to the inevitable evinced by those who feel that fate for them can now have nothing worse in store. Thus Sir George Rawdon, writing on January 25th to Viscount Conway to tell him of the assembling of the Highlanders and their descent upon the West, reported: "The heyland Forces raysed by their lords of their owne vassals with such dilligence, are descended lyke a Torrent, and were to rendezvous yesterday at Stirlin, near 6000, to ye exceeding great terror of ye Lowlanders. . . . The people generally are in such a consternation by this inundation of the hylanders that, if this designe be hotly pursued while they are in this humour, it will be effected." Sir George was of those who believed that an organised rebellion of the Whigs had been very narrowly averted. Speaking of this, he continued: "Doubtless the sending hither of this brigade (the force in Northern Ireland) so near them with such dilligence was well tymed to prevent their appearance in rebellion last October, which they intended, as is the generall opinion from very pregnant circumstances, for thereupon their ministers did all desert their scabt flocks and fled, and absconded since, advising the people not to inquire of them, and that soon after the meeting of the Parliament in England they would return and advise them what was to be done. And though no arms have been found where Douglas informed, though strict searches were made for them presently after Coll. Jeffreyes arrival at Edinburgh, yet his discovery has so awakened the diligence of the ministers of state and the loyal subjects there, that it is to be hoped a great mischeef has in a great measure been tymeously prevented." [S.P. Ireland, Car. II., vol. 338, No. 135.]

Believing, therefore, that the Host had been mustered none too soon and that only a severe lesson would bring the stubborn Whig to reason, Lauderdale and his Privy Council watched with keen satisfaction the march of this force, upon which such extraordinary powers had been conferred.


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