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Soldiers of Fortune
Marshal Keith


JAMES KEITH was a youth of eighteen when his cousin, the Earl of Mar, raised the white standard in his forest of Braemar. It was an unhappy beginning to a brilliant career. Like the Earl of Derwentwater, the Earl Marischal and his brother were almost constrained to turn rebels in the '15. There was not only their near kinship to Mar, who, as a chronicler of the time very truly remarked, would turn cat-in-the-pan with any man, but their mother, a daughter of the Earl of Perth, the persecuting Chancellor of James VII., was by birth and upbringing a fanatical Jacobite. The ballad of " Lady Keith's Lament " was said to have been her own composition, though more probably it was a forgery by the Ettrick Shepherd. At any rate it expressed her feelings, when it breathes the hope that she would be Lady Keith again when her rightful King came back over the water. The young Earl, a sensible man, weighing the political chances dispassionately, was inclined to accept the Hanoverian dynasty. When the Dukes of Somerset and Argyle, by a happy coup d'etat, carried the wavering Council along with them, the summary proceedings against all suspected of disloyalty alienated many hesitating trimmers. When Mar, as a matter of necessity, was dismissed from his Secretaryship of State, his cousin Marischal was deprived of his troop of the Guards. Hurrying down to Scotland in high indignation, he met his brother, then on his way to town to ask for a pair of colours. In that meeting James Keith's fate was decided, and England lost a great soldier, as France had foolishly got rid of Prince Eugene. But the Marshal never turned his sword against the country which had given him birth.

The brothers both lived to a good old age, and though often parted, remained fondly attached. The elegy by the elder when he heard of his brother's glorious death speaks volumes for both. He wrote to his intimate friend d'Alembert, "My brother leaves me a noble legacy. Last year he had Bohemia at ransom, and his personal estate is seventy ducats." The Marshal only once saw his native land again, when he had sundry friendly conversations with George II. The Earl returned, but not in the circumstances his mother had fondly predicted. Realising that the recall of the Stewarts was hopeless, he had made his peace with the Hanoverian Court, and was able to send Lord Chatham from Madrid a piece of invaluable information. The grateful King received him graciously, and he was able to buy back a part of his ancestral domains. But the old exile saw the North again with sinking of the heart. He passed Stonehaven, where his sea-girt fortress of Dunnottar was in ruin, and found his second stronghold of Iverugie in Buchan in little better case. He had little cause to complain of lack of warmth in his welcome. Friends, neighbours, and tenants crowded to meet him at Peterhead, and he headed the long and jubilant procession which set out for Inverugie. The castle stands on an eminence encircled by the sweep of the Ugie. When he saw the roofless wreck of the old halls that had sheltered him as a boy, the aged Earl fairly broke down upon the bridge ; he drew rein, and unable to restrain his tears, sadly turned his horse's head to the South again. He had seen much of life at most of the courts of Europe, except that of the Empire. But Berlin was naturally the city of his predilections, for there he was petted, courted, and feted. He made many a friend among statesmen and the elite of the literary and intellectual world, but the strongest proof of his amiable and fascinating nature is that he seems to have been the only man who really won the affections of the cold-hearted Frederick. His brother, the Marshal, was highly valued, and could take liberties that few other men dared venture upon. But for the senior the penurious monarch would have drawn his purse-strings more freely than the Earl's pride would permit; he was recalled to Potsdam in his seventy-fourth year by the pressing appeals of his royal friend; he found a villa ready for him and royally furnished, and there he ended his days in peace.

The careers of the brothers were so often intermixed; their characters in many respects were so similar, though the Earl had no pretension to the Marshal's talent and decision, that a slight biographical sketch of the one was indispensable as a prelude to the story of the other. We can only gather impressions of the Earl at second-hand ; the Marshal has left a memoir so interesting, that our regret is that it ends with tantalising abruptness. It is written in the simple, straightforward, soldierly style, in which the Seigneur de Joinville described the romantic crusade of St. Louis; so it is all the better, and in a minor key it is almost as rich in romance. The rebellion of the '15 and the rash adventure of the saint were equally unlucky, though the one was carried out with ample means and the mediaeval pomp of chivalry, and the other at haphazard by disappointed politicians and desperate men who missed all the chances that fortune offered them. The Marshal in the memoir looks back with a soldier's eye on the drama in which he played a modest part; he does not spare criticism of his superiors, and remarks freely on their strategy and blundering tactics. Of much of what he describes he was an eye-witness, and the facts within his personal knowledge are reliable, for the Marshal was an honest man.

Of his cousin the Duke of Mar—he gives him his St. Germains title—he had no high opinion. He did not trust him, and hints that throughout he was playing the political game for his own hand. Mar was so ignorant that he looked for the duchy of Deux Ponts in a map of Hungary, which reminds one of the jubilation of the Duke of Newcastle, the head of the Ministry, at discovering that Cape Breton was an island. But the Jacobite party was numerous, discontent was great, and Keith thinks the enterprise might have ended differently had it found a more capable chief, and been planned with ordinary discretion. As it was, it was common talk that there was to be trouble from the Highlands, and the King and his counsellors had ample warning. "The Earl of Portmore, an old experienced officer, who had commanded the English army in Portugal," offered to go with Mar to Scotland, but as his military rank and experience must have given him the command, through Mar's jealousy he was left behind. In place of him the Earl brought General Hamilton as his second in command—brave enough, but old, infirm, and incompetent—who miscarried so lamentably at Sheriffmuir.

Mar came with neither men, arms, nor money, but with fallacious promises in plenty. There was great and contagious enthusiasm among the Highlanders at the Hunting ; they were men who set small store by their lives, and rejoiced in the prospect of pillaging the Lowlands. There were not a few nobles of ancient lineage at the muster, and some who might have commanded a large following. But it was significant that the Dukes of Gordon and Atholl, following the good old Scottish fashion of hedging, had prudently stayed at home, sending their heirs to represent them. It might have been foreseen that, in the event of any serious check, the retreat would have been sounded for Gordons and Murrays. Most of the peers were men of broken fortunes, with lands mortgaged to the last acre, who had little to lose. Nevertheless there were generous exceptions. The Earl of Panmure, who proclaimed King James at Brechin, had large, unencumbered estates, and the young Earl of Strathmore, like the Earl Marischal, hazarded lands which yielded a handsome income. Amid all the bustle of hasty preparation came the news of King Louis' death, and nothing should have been more discouraging. Had they cared to look facts in the face, they might have known that the astute English Ambassador, the Earl of Stair, was persona gratissima with the Regent, but they succeeded in befooling themselves into believing that the voluptuous but politic d'Orleans would befriend them. Indeed the leaders who had committed themselves had gone too far to draw back, and the ill-armed and undisciplined levies were already on their southward march. "By the beginning of October we had assembled about 5000 foot and 1200 horse. The enemy lay at Stirling under the command of the Duke of Argyle, and were about moo foot and 800 horse, en-camped under the cannon of the castle, where they could not be attacked." They could not be attacked, but they might have been turned, for Argyle was guarding the Brig o' Stirling, and the Forth might easily have been forded by the Highlanders higher up. "Oh for one hour of Dundee!" exclaimed an old chieftain at Sheriffmuir, and now either Dundee or Montrose would have utilised the Highland numbers and elan. But Mar lay in his leaguer at Perth, waiting the arrival of the Western mountaineers and the islesmen, though supports were fast coming up to the enemy. James Keith was boiling over with impatience, resenting the inaction. Like the rest, he welcomed any favourable report, and one day—he makes no allusion to it himself— characteristically he galloped down the lines, shouting that Bristol and Newcastle had fallen to their English friends. The upshot of all was, that Argyle outmanoeuvred them from first to last with forces infinitely inferior, and finally beat them in the decisive battle with 3000 men to their 12,000.

The forward move from Perth was leisurely as usual. On the 12th November "the advanced guard lay at Dunblane, and the rest of the troops were quartered about a mile behind, the want of the tents and the coldness of the weather rendering it impossible for us to encamp." The commissariat had been neglected, though they had been quartered for weeks in one of the most fertile districts of Scotland ; the troops, billeted about in cottages and farm steadings, were half famished, and even had the Jacobite victory been decisive as it should have been, there were no means of following it up. Next morning, at break of day, both armies were afoot, and facing each other. "Ours lay in two lines, without any body of reserve." Even then the hesitating Mar called another council of war, when the question was, "To fight or not to fight." He was so far relieved of responsibility, that the unanimous resolution was for battle.

"The Duke commanded the Earl Marischal, with Sir Donald McDonald's regiment of foot and his own squadron of horse, to take possession of the rising ground, on which a body of the enemy's horse still remained, and to cover the march of the army on the left. On our approach the enemy's horse retired, and we had no sooner gained the top of the hill, than we discovered their whole body, marching without beat of drum about two musket-shot from us. There was no retreating; the Earl Marischal sent an aide-de-camp to ask for assistance. The assistance came "even in too much haste," for the army, which marched in four columns, arrived in such confusion that it was impossible to form them according to the line of battle projected. Argyle was there in person with Colonel Cathcart, and was prompt to take advantage of the confusion. Keith speaks of " the shameful behaviour of the foot," which he attributes to their seeing themselves abandoned by the horse, who had been ordered from the left to the right. If so, the order was the more superfluous, that on the right the Highlanders were carrying all before them, and in fact one of the fatal mischances of the day was that they had broken altogether out of hand. But there is some obscurity in his narrative. We know from other sources that his brother's squadron remained with their broken left, fighting to the last with determined gallantry, and covering the flight of the foot with repeated charges. It was almost entirely composed of gentlemen. It was then the young Earl of Strathmore fell, and that the Earl of Panmure was wounded and made prisoner. Keith notes another "unlucky mistake," which is much to the credit of Argyle's coolness and generalship. When Mar had recalled his victorious centre and left, he might have renewed the engagement in the afternoon with an overwhelming superiority in numbers. The Duke had taken his stand on the hill he had won to the right, with battalions scarcely numbering a thousand, but by broken ground and turf- banks he disguised his weakness, doubling at least his apparent strength by the display of colours taken from the enemy and closely resembling his own. He deceived the Jacobite officer sent to reconnoitre, and the report decided Mar to remain resting on his arms.

Ill news followed fast. The English insurrection had been crushed; 6000 Dutch who had landed were on the march for the North; Huntly and Seaforth, on more or less plausible pretexts, had withdrawn to their own counties, and malcontents, who had learned wisdom too late, had opened negotiations with Argyle to know on what terms he would receive their submission. At that crisis, and in the depths of an exceptionally severe winter, when the hopes of his party were as cold as the weather, the Chevalier disembarked at Peterhead. Instead of coming with a French fleet bringing arms, money, and men, he landed from a fishing-boat with a couple of attendants. Born to ill-luck, and of a sombre temperament, he was the last man to animate a dispirited army. The leaders learned that nothing was to be expected from France ; the superstitious clansmen saw a sinister omen in the shipwreck of the two barks that carried their master's baggage. Nevertheless, the forlorn adventurer must be received with royal honours. Mar set out to meet him, and was eventually accompanied by the Keiths, for the brothers were locally associated with the brief visit of the Pretender for whom they had sacrificed everything. Peterhead was within a mile or two of their castle of Inverugie, and they chanced to meet him at Fetteresso, one of their former baronies, within sight of their dilapidated fortress of Dunnottar. They found him prostrated with ague ; they escorted him to the headquarters in Perth, but he never regained either strength or spirits, and his sojourn was as short as it was unsatisfactory. With the perversity of the Stewarts he did what he could to alienate the Lowlands by desolating the fertile belt to the south of Perth, as Louis and Louvois had devastated the Palatinate. He saw his army dwindle, and the ammunition had almost given out. "He consulted the Duke of Marr, who positively advised him to return to France," and Mar urged many plausible reasons for a flight he had already determined to share. However, for very shame's sake, he took counsel with others, and "having called for the Earl Marischal, told him he desired his advice. The Earl excused himself on account of his youth and want of experience, but finding himself still pressed, desired that he might have leave to speak with the Duke of Marr." Mar repeated all he had urged on the Chevalier; the high-spirited Earl, arguing against hope or reason, strove to refute all his reasoning, but finally spoke his mind in what was really a counsel of despair. "He did not think it for the King's honour, or for that of the nation, to give up the game without putting it to the tryall." When he protested against a foregone decision, he spoke the feelings of the rank and file, who even on the retreat that was ordered were still full of fight as ever. When James and his commander-in-chief took ship at Montrose, skulking down the back stairs of their lodging, the Highlanders were furious at having been deserted and befooled. From the first the demeanour of their monarch might have depressed them. He is said to have taunted his devoted adherents by telling them that they had lured him to Scotland with the hope of a crown when all they had to offer was a grave. Prince Eugene's comment on the whole proceedings was characteristic of that fiery and resolute spirit—"Weeping is not the way to win a kingdom."

The Chevalier's flight was more helpful to his followers than his presence had ever been. It gained them a clear day in their retreat, for Argyle, when he heard of the escape, seems to have slackened the pursuit. If it was his wish to spare his unfortunate countrymen unnecessary slaughter, that consists with his kindly nature and previous conduct. Under General Gordon the half-mutinous Jacobite army marched undisturbed to Aberdeen. Then another council was called to settle the question between a final stand against the enemy or a sauve qui peut. The decision was scarcely in doubt, and it was finally settled on the failure of the Earl Marischal to bring Huntly again into the field. The Gordons were making separate terms for themselves ; the Keiths saw themselves beggared and proscribed.

Then the brothers had very similar adventures to those of Charles Edward after Culloden. As in 1746, the remains of the Highland host struggled over the mountains to Ruthven of Badenoch, whence they scattered to their native glens. The Keiths attached themselves to the isle- men of Skye, and to the Moidart men who had come east with the Captain of Clanranald. They arrived at the islands in the middle of March, having lost nearly a company of foot in crossing the sea-arm. The ships of the Government patrolled the seas, and for a month there was no opportunity of escaping. Several frigates were sighted off the coast, and they heard that two infantry battalions had disembarked at Portree. When all seemed hopeless a Breton smuggler ran the blockade, and after "a very pleasant passage" they were landed at St. Pol de Leon, which with its colleges and cathedral must have greatly reminded them of their own Old Aberdeen.

From St. Pol James Keith went straight to Paris, where he found himself among friends and kinsfolk. But most were penniless like himself, and all were engrossed with their own concerns. His warmest welcome was from Mary of Modena, who assured him that neither she nor her son could forget all he had done in the Chevalier's service—"in a word, had I conquered a kingdom for her, she could not have said more." Although he heard nothing more for a month, during which he was reduced to selling his horse furniture, she had a longer memory than most royal personages. For then she sent him i000 livres, placed him at the Military Academy, kindly reminding him that he would be the better of some regular training, and within a year the youth of nineteen had his commission as a colonel of horse, with orders to get ready for an expedition to Scotland, where the King of Sweden contemplated a descent. He was dazzled by the unexpected promotion, and exhilarated besides with the near hope of retrieving the family fortunes. But his spirits had only been raised to be dashed again, and he had his first experience of many disappointments. The secret of the Swedish plans had been indifferently kept ; the Regent took effectual means to baulk it, and Keith heard no more of his commission. At least it had decided him to end h s apprenticeship at the Academy and to seek active service. "With noth'ng to trust to but my sword " he was to turn soldier of fortune.

His first attempt was a failure, though in the future he was to be associated with many a stirring event in Russian history. In the midsummer of 1717 the Tsar Peter came to Paris to be feted; his ambitious schemes were the talk of the world, and Keith was eager to enter his service. How he made his approaches he does not say, but he gives the plausible explanation of his want of success, that he did not take the right way to ensure it. That he got no help from St. Germains was natural enough, and flattering besides; the shadowy court, always dreaming of another revolution, had no wish to send helpful men to the further confines of Europe. But there was always occupation to be found nearer home. In the beginning of next year there were preparations for war between Spain and the Empire. There was little difficulty in getting introductions from King James to Madrid, for the Jacobites were always glad to keep young soldiers of spirit in active training in countries whence they might be easily recalled. But Keith dallied for the best part of a year, and he very candidly gives the explanation. The fact was the youth of twenty was as susceptible as the war-worn veteran. " I was then too much in love to think of quitting Paris, and tho' shame and my friends forced me to take some steps towards it, yet I managed it so slowly that I set out only in the end of that year; and had not my mistress and I quarrelled, and that other affairs came to concern me more than the conquest of Sicily, it's probable I had lost many years of my time, so much was I taken up with my passion." Nor would he perhaps have gone then, had it not been for irresistible pressure. He had fallen ill besides—he does not say, from blighted affections. It is strange to speculate on what might have been his fate, had he remained a love-sick flaneur in the streets of Paris, possibly reduced to discreditable shifts by an exacting mistress and a scanty purse. But the family had powerful friends, and he had a wise brother who would not lose sight of him. Cardinal Alberoni, who then governed Spain, was furious at the destruction of the Spanish fleet off the Sicilian coast by Admiral Sir George Byng without any formal declaration of war. The Cardinal had resolved to be avenged by helping the Jacobites, and he summoned the Duke of Ormonde from Paris. Ormonde in turn sent for the Earl Marischal, and specially requested him to bring his brother.

Sailing from Marseilles in the beginning of 1719, they landed at Palamos in Catalonia. Their reception was far from cordial. Their answers were unsatisfactory, for they only said that they were English officers on their way to Madrid in search of employment. In Catholic Spain the general feeling then was that for military service no Protestants need apply, and, as the future field-marshal was to learn later, it was an effectual bar to promotion. The governor forwarded them, under arrest, to a superior, though he courteously assured them that the guard was a necessary precaution against brigands. At last they were delivered at the quarters of the Duke of Liria, who knew them personally, and was ready to vouch for them. But as the Duke knew nothing of the proposed descent upon England, as to that they kept their own counsel, and they begged him not to disclose their names. There were draw-backs and advantages in the strict incognito. "We resolved to continue the route slowly to Madrid, without fatiguing ourselves by going post," and so the sturdy young Scots had themselves carried in chairs to the environs of Barcelona. Thence they sent a letter from the Duke of Liria to the Prince of Savoy, who commanded in the place. It acted as an "Open Sesame." It passed them through the gates without challenge or examination, and they could not conceive a reason for the distinction with which they were treated. To his wonderment James saw a state coach with six mules and servants in the royal Savoy liveries, draw up at the door of their modest inn. It turned out that Liria had kept the secrets confided to him, and that the Prince had just received letters from Alberoni saying he might expect King James himself, who was to land in Catalonia incognito. "I believe the Prince was sorry to have given himself so much trouble about us, yet he received us very civilly."

When they waited on the Cardinal at Madrid, he was rather out of temper. He asked why they had taken things so easily. They answered that they thought there was no sort of hurry. "Quite the contrary," was the re-joinder; "the business is pressing, and Ormonde is already on his way to the Groine" (Corunna). The Duke was to embark for England, the Earl Marischal was to land in Scotland, but it was indispensable that they should concert together. So the Earl posted off and overtook the Duke at Benevente. Five days later he returned to Madrid to settle their plans with the Cardinal. The Spanish treasury was as usual in low water, but the Earl got half the arms he asked for, with six companies of foot to cover his landing. There was yet another difficulty. It was necessary to inform the chiefs of the Jacobites in France of the plot that had been hatched in Spain, and as the countries were then at war, the French frontiers were strictly guarded. Alberoni asked James Keith to charge himself with the perilous mission. He had a voucher to the French Jacobites, in the shape of a blank order from Ormonde, telling them to have absolute confidence in the bearer. With that letter and i8,000 crowns Keith left Madrid in the middle of February. But at San Sebastian he had parted with two-thirds of the sum for the equipment of two frigates destined for Scotland, so the preparations were on no very lavish scale. He was fully alive to the risks he ran, but as the affair did not directly concern France, he hoped that at the worst he "might be quitte for laying some time in prison." He made his way to Bordeaux without interference, where he met his former commander, General Gordon. But at Bordeaux his troubles began, and by the irony of fate the man who threatened to baffle him was the son of the monarch he was seeking to restore. James, Duke of Berwick, was commanding in Bordeaux for the Regent. He was a man whose sense of military duty was not to be swayed either by personal considerations or filial affection. He gave passes to none who were not inter-viewed by himself or his secretary, and as Keith was well known to both, he dared not stand the ordeal. However, he found a friend who secured a pass, and he mounted behind, between the saddle-bags, as his attendant.

At Paris, as a matter of course, he was in an atmosphere of intrigue. When some of the leaders hastened to visit him, he showed them his credentials from Ormonde. They smiled, telling him frankly that the billet would not have been worth the paper it was written on, had they not already had instructions from Mar to obey any orders from the Duke. "This plainly let me see that we had two factions amongst us, and which proved the occasion of our speedy ruin when we landed in Scotland." His forebodings were to be only too surely realised, and again, with a sad heart and preparations absurdly inadequate, he embarked on a desperate venture. Their little French company sailed from Rouen in a bark of twenty- five tons. It was their intention to take their chances in the Straits of Dover and run round the Orkneys to the Outer Hebrides ; but easterly gales forced them to take the westerly course. Off the Land's End in the dusk, they were in the middle of a fleet, answering exactly to the numbers of that of Ormonde, which at the time might have been expected in the chops of the Channel. But the little craft very wisely slipped past in silence, for they were really with an English squadron transporting troops from Ireland.

In the first week of April they landed on the Lewis, where the natives knew nothing of any Spanish ships, and could give them as little intelligence from the mainland. After some anxious waiting Keith found the two frigates at moorings in Stornoway, with his brother on board. He communicated his suspicions of underhand dealing. The Earl showed his commission to command, and handed his brother another as colonel in the Spanish service. Next day came Tullibardine and Seaforth, and on the following morning, at a council of war, Tullibardine produced his own commission of lieutenant-general. Then the young Earl, perhaps weakly, resigned, though reserving authority over the ships, as to which he had positive orders from the Cardinal. After that it is a melancholy story of divided councils, adverse winds, and unfortunate delays. Keith says bitterly that there were demons conspiring to baffle them. So much invaluable time had been wasted that the Government had drawn troops even from Holland. When the affair was brought to the arbitration of arms, it was a skirmish rather than a battle. The disheartened Highlanders showed none of their customary fire ; they broke, and retreated in confusion with comparatively little loss. Night gave the leaders time for consultation ; the Spaniards surrendered and the Highlanders dispersed.

"Everybody else took the road he liked best." Keith, who was sick of a fever, was forced to lie in hiding in the mountains for a month, when he crossed country to his ancestral estates, and found a ship at Peterhead which carried him to the Texel. At the Hague the brothers came together again, and again they set out in company for Spain, deciding to pass through France as the route least likely to be suspected. But at Sedan they were stopped, as they could show no passports, and were ordered off to prison by the town mayor. As, fortunately, they were not searched, they destroyed their compromising Spanish commissions. Then it occurred to the town mayor that he had forgotten to ask their names, and he inquired if they had any papers. The Earl showed a note from the Princess de Conti which opened the doors of the prison. Thus they reached Paris, then in the height of the Mississippi boom, so that no one troubled much about the anonymous strangers. They parted, to meet once again at Toulouse, when the Earl, to his brother's surprise, walked into his apartment. Hoping to pass the Pyrenees, he had been arrested at Bigorre, and after a six weeks' sojourn in the castle, had been released by an order, signed by the child- king, accompanied by a passport for Italy and a peremptory order to leave the kingdom.

Toulouse was not on the road from Bigorre to Rome, but, having an Italian passport, to Rome the brothers resolved to go, and take the opportunity of paying their respects to their royal master. Sea voyages might then be almost as protracted as the cruise of Ulysses from Ilium to Ithaca. The galley of the Genoese Republic, bound from Marseilles to Leghorn, buffeted by light head winds, hugged the coasts as closely as that of the Ithican, continually stormbound in the harbours whither it had crept for safety. The Genoese of the Middle Ages were daring navigators ; Keith says there was no danger, but infinite worry, and he solemnly vowed that he never again would be tempted to set foot in any craft Italians professed to navigate.

At Rome they had no reason to complain of their reception. The King took it for granted that they had no money, and sent his secretary to the Pope, to beg an advance of rood scudi on his pension. The Pope declined, on pretence of poverty, which, as Keith remarks, shows how little regard the churchmen have for those who have abandoned all for their religion. However, a money-lender was more complaisant, and the wanderers had the means of returning to Madrid. Their arrival at Leghorn alarmed the English envoy, who threatened the Senate with a bombardment by the English fleet if they were not summarily dismissed. The Keiths were only too willing to go, but represented the impossibility of making a start with an English frigate in the offing. They were assured that, if they would charter a felucca of fourteen oars, they could safely sneak along the Riviera, sleeping comfortably every night on shore. The proposal seemed so reasonable that they adopted it.

Penniless in Madrid, James presented himself at the Mar Office to ask for a copy of the colonel's commission destroyed at Sedan. From time immemorial suitors in Spain have always been kept waiting. Now there was a very decent excuse; that commission, signed in blank by the King, had been filled up by Alberoni, now in exile, and had never been entered at the War Office. After some delay he did get another, but it was as a colonel unattached, and though there was a royal order that it should carry pay, the pay was never forthcoming. "I knew nobody and was known of none; and had not my good fortune brought Admiral Cammock to Madrid, whom I had known formerly in Paris, I know not what would have become of me ; he immediately offered me his house and his table." Cammock, who had a fellow-feeling for refugees, had the good fortune to be a Catholic. He had served for years in the British navy, and well merited the rank he had won in that of Spain. At the battle gained by Byng off Cape Passaro he had commanded a Spanish sixty-gun ship ; and had his chief listened to his wise advice, he would infallibly have escaped the great disaster.

Two years were idled away; after failure at Madrid he had tried Paris, and vainly attempted, through feminine influence, to enter the French service. Early in 1725, when the French match with the Infanta of Spain was broken off, he "could no longer stay in France with honour, after the notification from the Spanish ambassador that all officers holding the Spanish commission should leave with the Infanta." In 1726 there were rumours of a rupture with England. The exile writes as a Spaniard, of the fleet that was to intercept our galleons. Troops were ordered to Andalusia, and it was evident that they were intended to threaten Gibraltar. Keith asked to be employed, but had the usual answer, that no Protestant could receive a command, whereupon he volunteered. But as he despaired of any chance of advancement, he resolved it should be his last campaign under Spanish colours.

He gives a most interesting account of the operations, and the carelessness of the garrison might have cost them dear. There were not above Iwo men in the place; there was but a slender guard at the landward gate, and the Spanish soldiers were actually allowed to swarm into the town, without even searching them for arms. A surprise would have been easy, but the fortress was saved by a strange exhibition of the Spanish pride. The Count de Las Torres said, "that would the English give him the town, he would not take it but by the breach." The Spanish siege train was delayed by the rains ; when it came, the batteries were mounted at an impossible distance; when nearer ground was broken, English men-of-war had been moored so as to rake the trenches with a flanking fire; reinforcements had been poured into the place by the fleet, and after a five months' series of fiascos the siege was raised. "All we gained was the knowledge that Gibraltar was impregnable by land."

Keith, though with little hope of success, went back to Madrid to play his last card. He asked for a regiment through the King's confessor, and had the answer that if he would turn Roman Catholic he should have the regiment and much more. He was neither surprised nor greatly aggrieved, for with the bigoted King the refusal was matter of principle. Keith represented that, as he had no hope of promotion, he must reluctantly quit his Majesty's service, and requested a recommendation to the Empress of Russia. That was graciously granted, and letters were sent to the Duke of Liria, then the Spanish ambassador at St. Petersburg, charging him to recommend Keith to the sovereign. Nor could he have been better befriended. The Duke was an old acquaintance and familiar travelling companion. The answer came almost by return of post. The Tsar would take him into his service with rank of major-general, and the most Catholic King gave him 1000 crowns to defray his travelling expenses.

It is to be regretted that the autobiography ends abruptly with 1737. In Russia he passed nineteen of the best years of his life, and eventful years they were, both for him and the land of his adoption. But in an epoch when empresses reigned and their lovers or favourites ruled over them, much mention is made of the illustrious Scottish soldier, who played a leading part in the wars and rose to the rank of field-marshal. Keith was a soldier first, but he was also something of a courtier ; as we have seen, he was almost as inflammable as Marshal Saxe, and so susceptible to the influences of the fair sex that, once at least, a woman had well-nigh changed his career. It is said indeed, though we give little credence to the report, that had not north-country caution tempered his ambition, he might have been the consort of the Empress Elizabeth ; and when he died a soldier's death in his old age, he was as passionately in love with a mistress as when he had been a hot-headed youth of twenty in Paris.

The Russia of 1728 and afterwards offered splendid opportunities to gifted foreigners, but if there were great chances there were greater risks. Everything depended on some woman's smiles. Beggars might rise from the dunghill to autocratic rule, like Biron, the base-born Duke of Courland, but the higher the eminence to which they attained, the more tremendous was the almost inevitable fall. Their elevation turned friends into jealous enemies, and the relatives of the victims they had been trampling under foot, when they dared to find a voice, were clamorous for revenge. If the fallen favourite set store by life, he might deem himself fortunate in being beggared and banished. As a new sultan used to make a clean sweep of his male kindred, so the author of every successful revolution scattered death sentences and orders of exile broadcast ; executions were preceded by atrocious refinements of torture, and the highest order of the orthodox Church was no safeguard from being racked in the dungeon or broken on the wheel. Shortly before Keith landed at Cronstadt there had been one of the most striking examples of one of the worst vicissitudes of fortune. Prince Menschikoff had been more than the alter ego of the Tsarina Catherine. She had given him everything he asked, except the single right of succession to the throne in his family, but his daughter had been betrothed to the heir apparent. Grasping as he was ambitious, charged with all kinds of corruption, he had amassed incalculable riches. By the will of the Empress he was left standing alone, Regent and despotic master of the kingdom. He did not deem it worth while to conciliate the boy Tsar or the Tsar's favourite sister. A threatening of apoplexy and a short illness changed everything ; it was said that the ruthless old lion was dying; his enemies took heart, his friends fell away, the Tsar plucked up courage to shake off the yoke, Menschikoff's fall from step to step was rapid. First he was snubbed, then banished to a distant estate; order after order overtook him as he travelled, each more severe than the former. He left St. Petersburg in pomp ; he reached his destination closely guarded by subaltern officers of police. Palaces in half a dozen of cities, domains and forests in thirty-six governments, invaluable jewels and vast sums in coin and bullion, were all confiscated by one stroke of the pen. He had left the capital with a train of coaches and six, and 150 smaller carriages. A few months afterwards, in a common kibitka, he exchanged the magnificence of Oranienbaum for a cabin in Siberia; his baggage pillaged by his escort, and left with nothing but the clothes he wore. His destination, Berezoff, was in the marshes on the Obi, with a winter cold that is said to have shivered the window panes; and there he died. It argues much for Keith's prudence that, high as he rose, he never lost his footing on those treacherous slopes till he retired, in reasonable apprehension, of his own free will and pleasure.

He had landed at Cronstadt in the autumn of 1728, and in October was at Moscow, where his friend and patron, the Duke of Liria, presented him to all the principal personages. The boy Tsar, as was his habit, was gone hunting in the neighbouring forests. He had nominally given Keith his commission, but he concerned himself little with state affairs, and in his brief reign was but a puppet in the hands of favourites and flatterers. Boy as he was, with the restless energy of his race he had inherited the hard drinking and the amorous susceptibilities of the first Peter. He was swayed for good or evil between two feminine influences ; between his sister Nathalie and Elizabeth the future Empress, respectively styled the Minerva and the Venus of the court. Had he listened to the wise counsels of Nathalie, it had been better for him. But the boy was passionately enamoured of his aunt Elizabeth, the woman of many lovers, and she shared his passion for field sports, as for dissipation degenerating into orgies. Left to himself, it is said, he might have married his seductive aunt, born out of wedlock and legitimated by her father Peter. But he was as wax in the hands of his favourites, the Dolgoroukis, and they betrothed him to a daughter of the house. When Keith came to his court, everything was a chaos ; no master-will had replaced that of Menschikoff; law was in abeyance, life was unsafe, and the soldiers had broken loose from all discipline.

Then, to the consternation of the Dolgoroukis, young Peter caught the small-pox and died. In their desperation, in a family gathering they forged the signature to a will, by which Peter, imitating his grandfather and overriding the established order of succession, bequeathed the regency to his betrothed. Confronted by the leading aristocracy in the Imperial Council, they had never the courage to promulgate it. Those notables took matters in hand, and made arbitrary choice of a successor. They sent to Mitau for the Duchess of Courland, second daughter of Ivan, elder brother of the first Peter. They sent at the same time a charter of liberties she was compelled to subscribe, and brought her to St. Petersburg a constitutional sovereign. If they had hoped for a Queen Log, they found a Queen Stork. Anne, with an imperious temper, and smarting under many mortifications, was indignant at the restraints imposed. Aided by the jealousies of the lesser noblesse, she provoked an lmeute of the Pretorian Guards, who always found their account in devotion to unlimited autocracy. It was no longer a question of constitutional restraint, and the oligarchy who had hoped to govern were in terror of their lives. Not without reason, for though the new Empress took her vengeance leisurely, every man of them was sentenced to banishment or death. As for the Dolgoroukis, lately all-powerful, they were beggared, sent to Siberia, or doomed to death with refinements of torture.

With the new reign began a golden age for such foreign adventurers as the Scottish soldier. Germans were in the ascendant. No sooner was Anne seated firmly on the throne than she sent a courier post-haste to Mitau to fetch her paramour Biron, whom she had reluctantly left behind. The name had been Frenchified, but the proper spelling was Buhren. He came of a Westphalian stock which had emigrated to Courland, but was of such doubtful rank that, though he afterwards became sovereign of the country, the council of the duchy had refused to rank him as noble. His wife was complaisant ; his relations with the new Empress were notorious, so much so that the maternity of the Biron children was doubtful. Throughout the lifetime of Anne he ruled Russia with a rod of iron, accumulating enmities on all sides. Ostermann, another German, crafty and cautious, was charged with foreign affairs. Always intriguing against those in place and power, he invariably took to bed in moments of crisis, shirking all active responsibility. Field-Marshal Munich, Minister at War and Commander-in-Chief, was of a very different stamp. A typical soldier of fortune, who had served in the armies of France, Hesse, and Saxony, he had made his debut in Russia as a civil engineer. By an audacious accepting of the responsibilities from which Ostermann shrank, he had attracted the notice of Peter the Great, who found in him a man after his own heart. A Condottiere who had no scruples and ignored all obstacles, like Peter, when pushing forward military enterprises, he set slight value on either lives or money. He knew it himself, and there was no reproach to which he was more sensitive than that of playing fast and loose with the lives of his soldiers. There are experts who have ranked him with Prince Eugene, and the two had some qualities in common. He took Keith by the hand at once, and Keith certainly owed him much, and seems for a time to have been as devoted to him as his aide-de-camp Manstein, though they fell apart at the coup d'e'tat which raised Elizabeth to the throne.

There never was a time when there was a sharper dividing line between the household troops, the corps d'dlite, and the regiments of the line. The men of the latter were soldiers for life, the duty was detested, the pay was always in arrear, the clothing was ragged, desertions were frequent, and discipline was lax. That must be remembered in considering the campaigns ; but then, as now, the inoujiks in uniform would march to death with stolid fatalism. The regiments of the Guard, on the contrary, quartered in the capital, were paid and petted as possible instruments in some imminent revolution. Not a few of the privates were of noble or gentle birth. Munich's own regiment, the famous Preobrajenski Guards, was devoted to him; but nothing had made him more generally unpopular at headquarters than his proposal to scatter these gentlemen through the provinces and give them commissions in the line. When Keith came to court, one of the Dolgoroukis, a field-marshal, gave him command of two foot regiments quartered near Moscow. He modestly asked a delay of three months, till he should get some notion of the methods of the service. It does not appear that he had taken over the command before the revolution, and then, to the general amazement, he was given a newly-levied regiment of Guards. A command in the Guards was one of the most important trusts in the Empire, and according to Manstein the new regiment was enrolled as a check on the older ones, when all was suspicion.

"All Moscow," says Keith, "was as much surprised as I was myself." The Empress lost no time in imposing the oath exacted by Peter the Great, leaving it to the reigning autocrat to settle the succession. Keith had orders to administer it to his regiment, and then to all the troops of the line in garrison. They took it to a man without hesitation, but Dolgorouki who had signed Keith's commission showed temper, and was said to have spoken disrespectfully of the Tsarina herself. Whereupon he was seized, tried, and sentenced, and although the death penalty was graciously commuted, he followed the rest of his family into exile.

The military council presided over by Munich had framed a scheme of army organisation, with an inspector- general and three deputies. Keith was appointed one of the deputies, and was charged with the department of the south-east. He left Moscow, where he had been in command of the garrison, and in the course of six months he reviewed thirty-two regiments and travelled 1500 leagues. He returned to the capital to find "everything in movement " over the disputed Polish succession. Stanislas Leckinski was the French candidate, and he could count on a great majority in the Polish Diet; but France was far away, and Austria and Russia favoured the Elector of Saxony. It was resolved at St. Petersburg to rush the country before a king could be chosen, though the march of an army corps under General Lacy only precipitated the election. But the reign of Stanislas was as short and his supremacy as shadowy as that of the unfortunate Frederick, "the Winter King" of Bohemia. He fled to the strong fortress of Dantzic, whither he was followed by the Russians under Munich and Lacy.

Meantime the Empress had despatched other forces to march on Warsaw and invade Lithuania. Keith passed the Dneiper on the ice in the depth of winter, with six battalions of foot, a regiment of dragoons, and 4000 Cossacks. There was no fighting, but rumours of formidable Polish musters had alarmed the court, and Keith was superseded by Prince Shahofski, who arrived with strong reinforcements. The Prince was kept inactive by short supplies, and he devoted his involuntary leisure to devastating the country around. Keith was detached with 3000 Cossacks on the duty ; he did what he could to avoid it, but his superior was peremptory. He swept in cattle by the thousand and half-starved horses by the hundred, but wherever he turned he found villages deserted, and in his reports he said that, if the devastation went on, their own troops on their advance would risk dying of hunger. He repeatedly volunteered advice which was as often rejected. Some of his personal adventures were exciting and amusing. At Medzibeg, for example, he understood that the governor had orders to receive him and his troops and ask for safeguards. Accordingly he was met with all honours without the walls, and escorted to the castle-palace of Prince Schartorinski, the Seigneur of the place. He rode straight to the castle with only twenty-four troopers, where he found the garrison under arms with drums beating and colours flying. He saw he had fallen into a trap, and that the only way of escape was to put a good face on the matter. He sent his adjutant for his " equipage," ordering him to mix i5o grenadiers with the waggons, which gives an idea of the encumbrances with which Russian commanders were wont to take the field. Fortunately for him, his baggage train entered in time: "had they shut the gate before their arrival, I had certainly remained a prisoner." Then Prince Shahofski in turn was superseded by the Prince of Hesse-Homburg, who was afterwards to give Munich so much trouble in his Turkish war. The Prince was one of those high-born soldiers who would not obey, but had no genius for command. And it was a peculiar force he had under him ; there were but six battalions of foot, all the others were dragoons or Cossacks. It was a warfare of foraging, scouting, and skirmishing ; of blockading strong places with no siege train, trusting to surprises, starvation, or factions within the enceinte; for there was no sharp dividing line in the country between the partisans of Stanislas and those of the Saxon Elector. When the army went into winter quarters, it had been so far successful that Eastern Poland from the Sanne to the Dneiper was in Russian occupation, and there abruptly ends Marshal Keith's autobiographical fragment.

In the spring of 1735, the Polish question had been so far settled that the bulk of the troops were withdrawn. The restless Empress found them occupation elsewhere. In answer to an appeal of the Emperor Charles she realised an ambition of Peter the Great, and sent a corps d'Elite to show the Russian colours on the Rhine. Count Lacy went in command, and Keith was his second as lieutenant-general. The march lay through Bohemia and the Upper Palatinate, and Manstein says that every one was in admiration of their fine physique and splendid discipline. It was but a military promenade; no shot was fired, but they came back with credit and a sensible increase of Russian prestige. Her military and political triumphs turned the Empress's head. She was set on realising another of the great Peter's dreams, and the result was the costly war with Turkey— costly in lives and wasteful of treasure. It had been in contemplation ever since her accession. In 1732 Keith as inspector-general had had orders to review the troops and examine the stores collected in the frontier places and to replenish the magazines in case of deficiency. As might have been expected, he found that most of the stores were spoiled; that the clothes had rotted and the arms rusted. He did what he could to put things in better order, and gathered in vast quantities of corn. The Polish troubles had delayed hostilities, but now it was determined to open the attack, the rather that Turkey was committed to a war with Persia.

In the autumn of 1734 General Leontow marched for the Crimea with 20,000 men and orders to put everything to fire and sword. He had not time to do any great damage before winter set in and he retired, leaving half his men behind him. Next year, with a more powerful army and somewhat better organised, Marshal Munich took the field in person. He did not fare much better than Leontow, although through the summer he waged desultory warfare with varying fortunes. He had many difficulties to contend with. His losses in battle were not great, but the soldiers died like flies from hunger, thirst, and exhausting marches. Epidemics broke out in his camps, and it is noted that the men used to sour black bread were actually poisoned when they had to fall back on sweet wheaten flour. We have seen what Keith's baggage train as a simple general was in Poland, and the number of ox-waggons, beasts of burden, and camp-followers with Munich has been seldom exceeded by any Indian army. The depleted ranks had to be replenished, and when Keith led back Lacy's 10,000 from the Rhine, he marched them straight to the Ukraine, where they went into winter quarters.

In April 1737 the army was over the Dnieper, Keith in command of his own Rhenish corps. Its objective was Ockzakow. The Cossacks came in touch with the Tartar horsemen, who were driven back after a sharp skirmish. The Marshal held a council of war, in which it was resolved to push the siege before the Ottoman army could come to the relief. The Turks on their side were not inactive, for the council was broken up by a sally of the garrison. Munich was on his mettle, though he had missed his fleet, which was to come down the Dnieper, and was consequently in want of everything. There was not even wood for fires or for the making of fascines. Within a distance of eight leagues around everything had been wasted, even to pasturage for the horses. But 5000 pioneers were at once set to work to throw up redoubts and form lines of circumvallation behind the Russian trenches. The parallels were pushed forward; the Turks were driven from their advanced posts, and forced to take refuge behind the inner palisades. A lively cannonade was kept up ; the town was seen to be in flames in several places, though the fires were speedily extinguished. But before daybreak on the 13th July, there was a blaze which illuminated the town, and the flames were spreading fast. Whereupon the Marshal sent orders to Keith, who was in the centre attack and the nearest to the defences, to advance within musket-shot of the glacis and keep up a continual fire. Keith returned for answer that he was already within musket-shot, as he knew to his cost, for though his men were behind the redoubts, many had been killed or wounded. The Marshal simply repeated his orders, and shortly afterwards became more urgent, ordering the troops to leave their shelter and fire without cover. It will be remembered that Munich was specially sensitive on the charge of wasting the lives of his men. On this occasion, Keith again protested, but obeyed. To do the Marshal justice, if he sacrificed others he never spared himself. Scarcely had Keith got his soldiers out of the redoubts than another aide-de-camp reached him to say that Munich himself, with Biron and the Guards, were already at the foot of the glacis on the right, and he hoped Keith would follow the example. Lowendal on the left had the same order, and advancing, he joined Keith. At the bottom of the glacis they were brought up by a ditch twelve feet broad, and they had nothing to bridge it, nor had they ladders to scale the counterscarp. Yet there they stayed for a couple of hours, exposed to the hottest fire, which would have been more deadly had they not been so near, till at last the disheartened survivors, after endless futile efforts, made a rush back to the redoubts and the gardens in which they had bivouacked the night before.

Marshal Munich was in despair. But the progress of the conflagration brought a sudden turn of the wheel of fortune. The fire had reached the great powder magazine, which blew up, spreading destruction through half the town, and burying 6000 soldiers beneath the ruins. Thereupon the Seraskier hung out the white flag. No terms were granted, and there was a general massacre. Most of the defenders who were not put to the sword were drowned in their attempts to swim the river.

Munich, though successful, was deeply mortified. It was by luck, not skill, that the place was taken. Seeking a scapegoat, he found one in Keith, for whom now he had no great liking. He protested that the attack had failed owing to Keith's over-vivacity, though that had been due to his own initiative. He made the charge to the Prince of Brunswick, in presence of other generals. The Scotsman was not there, nor was he in condition to defend himself, but when he was informed of what had passed, he sent a message to the Marshal, saying that all he had done was by his orders, and demanding a council of war or a court-martial. He added that he gladly welcomed an opportunity of indicating the mistakes that had been made in the beginning of the operations. The Marshal came to him next morning, apologetic and effusive of praises. "Sir," he said, "it is to you we are partly indebted for the success of this great enterprise." Keith answered dryly, "I beg your pardon, sir, I do not pretend to the least honour, having done nothing but obey your orders."

Keith was in no condition to defend himself actively, for with a bullet in the knee he was lying helpless on his camp bed. The Russian surgery was rough and ready, and the only idea was amputation. Keith was loath to part with the limb, and would not hear of it. We have no details, but he must have lain crippled for months, and nothing but a strong constitution could have pulled him through. We know that there was time for the news to reach his brother at Valentia, when the Earl made all haste to Ockzakow. The patient could be moved, though the journey must have been a severe ordeal, and he was taken to the Baths of Bareges, famous a century before for the healing of gunshot wounds. The cure was effective, for there was no further inconvenience. It was then that the brothers visited England, and that the General had private audiences of the King. The wound had more important consequences. Travelling from Russia to France, the brothers passed through Berlin, where they were received with exceptional honours. The eccentric King was cordial, and it was then that General Keith made the acquaintance of the Crown Prince, his future friend and master.

Back in Russia Keith had the command in the Ukraine, where his mild but resolute rule made him generally popular. Yet there was the iron hand under the silken glove. A Wallachian Prince, commanding a regiment in the Russian service, on his way to St. Petersburg from Munich's army, was passing through Poland. Count Potocky, the Crown General, was a relation of his own, nevertheless the Prince was seized and thrown into a dungeon, and he had information that he was to be handed over to the Turks, when his probable fate would be that of Marsyas. He found means to communicate with Keith, who sent a peremptory demand for his release. The Crown General prevaricated, denying possession of the prisoner, but finally setting him at liberty, and escorting him in person to the frontiers of the Ukraine. As it happened, Keith had reason to repent his action. The Prince, having been detached by Munich to do duty on the Danube, took the bit in his teeth and turned back into Poland, where he ravaged the domains of his cousin the Crown General, committing the most shameful atrocities. Even then, when wars were not waged with rose-water, the raid made immense noise and scandal, and the Empress had to pay heavy damages to avert another Polish war.

Keith's departure from the Ukraine was deeply regretted. Manstein says that, although he was only there for a year, he had done more in the time than any of his predecessors in ten. He had even put his wild Cossacks in some sort of training, and the people complained that, having once given them so good a governor, he ought to have been left. But the Court cared little for good ad-ministration, and the General's military services were wanted elsewhere.

Trouble had been brewing between Russia and Sweden; war seemed imminent, and for once Russia was preparing for eventualities. Troops were being moved to the frontiers; the fleet was being refitted, and the magazines replenished. There was an interlude while great events were passing at St. Petersburg. The Empress Anne had died; the infant Ivan of Brunswick, doomed to a life of misery and a living death, had been declared Emperor by the will of the late Empress, and by the same testamentary disposition the omnipotent favourite Biron had been constituted Regent. In a few weeks, thanks to the jealousy of his old ally and bosom friend, Marshal Munich, Biron was surprised in his bed and sent summarily off to the further confines of Siberia. The Duchess Anne of Brunswick, mother of the child-Emperor, assumed the Regency, and her consort was proclaimed Generalissimo of the forces. Munich, to whom they owed their supremacy, vaingloriously paraded a power above the throne ; he fell naturally into disfavour ; disgraced, he was sent to follow Biron to Siberia, where for twenty years he occupied the quarters of the exiled Duke of Courland.

Russia had been preoccupied with these domestic affairs, but now the court was awakened to urgent warnings from their minister at Stockholm. The Regent summoned Lacy and Keith to St. Petersburg. It was resolved to form two corps cl'arntec. The first, under these two generals, was to enter Finland immediately on the impending declaration of war. On the 22nd July the first camp was formed under Keith at Wybourg, almost a suburb of the capital. There were eight regiments of horse and foot, and they were reviewed by the generalissimo and Lacy. A month later, on the little Emperor's birthday, Keith ordered the troops under arms to hear the declaration of war. He briefly addressed each of the battalions, exhorting each soldier to do his duty and augment the glories of the Russian arms. The next day the march began. The force was nearly doubled by regiments from Wybourg, and the men carried bread for fifteen days. Two days more and the army was on the frontier, when Lacy arrived to take over the command.

On the 1st of September the frontier was passed. So impracticable was the country, with its woods and swamps, that the army could only advance in a single column. At night, when they lay on their arms, there was one of those night alarms when trivial causes scare the steadiest troops, as we learned from our own Peninsular experiences. Some Swedish scouts had crept through the woods, till they were challenged and fired at by one of the sentinels. The regiments of the second line sprang to their feet, opening a lively fire on their comrades in front. They seem to have fired high, for but a few were killed and wounded. Nevertheless the scare might have had fatal consequences, for Lacy and Keith were sleeping between the lines, and the tents in which they had lain down were riddled. As it was, the fusillade gave Wrangel, the Swedish general, notice of the enemy's approach. The fortified town of Wilmanstrad was the immediate object of the Russians. Some hundreds of the dragoon horses had torn loose from their picket-pins. The volleys in the camp had startled an advance guard of the Swedes, and when the thunder of approaching hoofs intimated a cavalry charge, they turned and fled full speed for the town. The horses came hard on their heels, and entered with them before the bridges could be raised. Not only had a Russian regiment been dismounted, but Wrangel, when he heard the firing, sent immediate intelligence to his colleague Buddenbrog, and hurried forward himself to the relief of the town. It would have been well for him had he not taken the alarm. He had no answer from his colleague, but took up a position facing the Russians and commanding the town. In the battle that ensued Lacy attacked with slight regard to formation, and apparently with no plan. Keith led the right wing, and Manstein, who was under him, writes as an eye-witness and leading actor. Keith sent two of his regiments to storm the batteries, which were seriously annoying him. The regiments, who had to plunge into a ravine and climb a counterscarp, recoiled in disorder. Then Keith detached Manstein on a flanking movement under cover of the woods. It was so successful that the Swedes, abandoning their positions, broke and fled for the town. The batteries they had abandoned were out of action, till they were captured and turned against themselves. Everywhere the battle went in favour of the Russians, and Wrangel's soldiers were taken or slaughtered almost to a man. Nor did their misfortunes end there. A parlementaire sent to summon the place was killed by a shot from the ramparts. His death roused the Russians to fury. Wilmanstrand was stormed, its defenders put to the sword; subsequently the city was razed to the ground and the miserable inhabitants transported to Russia.

Manstein attributes the victory to Keith, but says both the Swedish generals were seriously to blame. Wrangel neglected the most ordinary precautions, and Buddenbrog was rightly sentenced to death by court-martial for having failed to come to his assistance. Both Swedes and Finns would seem to have deteriorated lamentably since the Thirty Years' War. The night after the battle there was a more disgraceful panic in Buddenbrog's camp than that which had roused Keith and Lacy. A few dragoons, flying from Wilmanstrand, charged down on the advanced pickets. The sentry challenged and had no answer; he fired his carbine, threw himself on his horse and rode for the camp. The fugitives followed, the pickets got mixed with them, and so general was the alarm that in a few minutes all Buddenbrog's soldiers were scattered through the woods. He and his staff were left in charge of the camp, and next day they had the greatest difficulty in gathering the men back to the colours. Yet Wilmanstrand, says Manstein, was the only battle in which the Swedes showed any valour in the whole course of the war.

For the war was to go on, though for the present the Russians withdrew behind the frontier without following up their advantage. Lacy returned to St. Petersburg, leaving Keith in command. The army was in winter quarters ; Keith had a summons from the Marshal to a council of war, but had scarcely reached the capital when he was recalled by news of menacing Swedish movements. We know not whether he was aware of the great events impending. By a strange and happy coincidence he left St. Petersburg the day before the coup d'etat that placed Elizabeth on the throne. It may have been well for him that he was temporarily out of the way, for though the conspiracy was engineered by Frenchmen, the daughter of Peter was raised to power on a rush of reaction. There was a proscription of the foreigners. Munich, Ostermann, and three others of scarcely less note were sentenced to the axe or the wheel, and only reprieved on the scaffold after a grim burlesque that might have been fatal to men of weaker nerve. Honours were showered on the Russian Revolutionists. Not content with what had been done, the Preobrajenski regiment of guards, who had been in the forefront of the plot and to whom Elizabeth had made special promises, clamoured for the massacre of all the strangers. Foreigners of all nations were hunted in the streets, and even one of Lacy's aides-de-camp was so mishandled that he nearly died of his wounds.

When the war with Sweden recommenced in spring, Keith had his own experience of the troubles. The rioters in St. Petersburg had sent agents to the army, where the regiments of the guards set the example of mutiny. Borrow in his "Bible in Spain" tells how Quesada, single-handed —followed only by two orderlies—quelled a tumult in Madrid. He adds, "Who by his single desperate courage and impetuosity ever before stopped a revolution in full course? " Manstein, a good judge of manhood, as the Great Frederick had reason to know, places Keith on a level with Quesada. The mutineers had gone straight to their German general's tent. They missed the general, but they mastered the guard, abused the staff, and maltreated the servants. They shouted that all foreigners should be massacred ; they had broken away from all control, for their own officers would not approach them. Then Keith rode up. "He threw himself, without the least hesitation, into the thickest of the mutinous troops. He seized with his own hand one of the mutineers. He ordered a priest to be called to confess him, saying he would have him shot on the spot. . . . Scarce had he pronounced these words, with that firmness which is natural to him, before the whole band dispersed and ran each to hide himself in his tent. Keith ordered a call of the rolls, that the absent should be taken into custody." Manstein adds, that had it not been for the spirited determination of the Scot, the revolt must have spread, since no Russian officer would have undertaken to face the rage of the soldiery.

The disturbance seems to have passed and left no trace. After summary chastisement had fallen on the ringleaders, the rank and file returned to discipline. The Russians advanced, driving the Swedes out of a succession of strongly defensible positions, and the chase was followed up to Helsingfors. Finally a Swedish army of 17,000 men capitulated to numbers barely superior. Finland was abandoned ; ten Finland regiments were disarmed and disbanded; and Keith, who was appointed governor of the province, went into winter quarters at Abo with a force deemed sufficient to hold it. Manstein suggests various reasons for the humiliating surrender. Yet the fact remains that those degenerate Finns were the descendants of the great Gustavus' famous cuirassiers.

The war was resumed in 1743 to compel the Swedes to accept all the hard Russian conditions. But that year it was chiefly fought on the sea and the sea-fjords, and Keith figured in the novel character of Admiral, with Lacy still in supreme command. In May he left Abo, joined his galleys to those of another flotilla, and decided to offer the enemy battle. But he had to count with winds and calms and dangerous navigation among shoals and islands, and operations dragged on, though the Swedes had the worst of it. When Lacy had joined him, and they might have dealt a decisive blow, supplies were scarcely to be had on any terms, and both combatants were nearly starving. Consequently it was a welcome announcement in midsummer that the preliminaries of a peace had been signed, and that there was to be an immediate suspension of hostilities. The troops were to be withdrawn from Finland, and Keith returned to Abo to make the necessary arrangements. With a hitch in the negotiations came counter-orders, and Keith when half-way home was sent back to Helsingfors with thirty galleys.

Meantime in Sweden there had been revolt in Dale-carlia, and the Danes had been massing troops on their Swedish frontiers. The King and the Senate turned for help to the Russians, to oppose the Danes and to quell the internal troubles. Keith was now to turn diplomatist, and had orders to repair to Stockholm, taking his ri,000 soldiers with him. He was to make his reports and take his orders from the King, but was fully accredited as Russian envoy. It was a boisterous voyage, and Manstein says that "any other man would hardly have been able to execute this expedition. He had not only to contend with the violence of the storms and the intensity of the cold, but also with the officers of the marine who were often representing the impossibility of proceeding in so severe a season." Keith received the remonstrances, put them in his pocket, and renewed the signals for going straight ahead. Nine months were passed in Sweden, when the foreign difficulties having been amicably arranged, he and his troops were recalled. He brought his fleet to Revel in the middle of August.

The remainder of his stay in Russia may be briefly dis-missed. On his return the successful Admiral and envoy was received with all honour, and for a time he stood so high in the favour of the Empress that scandal was busy with their relations. Naturally, both as favourite and foreigner, he made many enemies in influential quarters. The most formidable was Bestucheff, the new Vice-Chancellor. Little by little he was deprived of his commands and emoluments; in 1747 the man who had governed the Ukraine and administered conquered Finland, had only two regiments of militia. He knew well that after such a glissade he might any day follow Munich and Ostermann to Siberia. The cup of his disappointment and discontent overflowed when in December a Russian army was to march for the Rhine to aid the Austrians against the French. When Lacy, who had the first claim, had declined the leading, Keith should naturally have had the refusal, had it been a question of the most experienced and distinguished general. To his disgust, the choice fell on Prince Repuin, and it came as another warning to be gone. He had another grievance which assured him of his loss of favour, had he doubted it. He had solicited a place for his brother the Earl. "We have Marshals enough," was the curt answer of the Empress.

If Keith was disgusted, another and a greater soldier was delighted. Frederick of Prussia had never lost sight of him since years before they had met at Potsdam. Since then Frederick had waged the war of the Pragmatic Sanction, and knowing that the peace was but an indefinite truce, he had kept a watchful eye on his Russian neighbours and on the ablest of the soldiers of fortune who had been disciplining them. His envoys were at St. Petersburg, less for diplomacy than to send minute information as to all that was going on, and he had followed the decline of Keith with warm personal interest.

Keith left the land of his adoption without beat of drum and with no formal leave-takings. He passed the frontier incognito and travelled unostentatiously to Hamburg. Thence he sent Frederick a letter with a proffer of his services; the answer was prompt and to the point, and flattering as he could possibly have desired. He was to have the rank of Field-Marshal; the pay was 1200 a year, with everything else suitable to his standing. And the pay was good, when ambassadors at Paris or Vienna had to keep up their state on L800 or 900. The King received him with open arms, and in a few weeks he wrote to his brother that he dined almost daily at the royal table. "He has more wit than I have wit to tell you ; speaks intelligently on all subjects, and I am much mistaken if with the experience of four campaigns he is not the best officer in his army." But he adds that the King was a man who kept his own secrets, for the Marshal was a shrewd judge of character.

The more he was known, the more he was valued. Two years afterwards he was Governor of Berlin, with increased pay and allowances. Though in the meantime all seemed peaceful enough, the King had been making ready for probable trouble. In 1757 the storm broke, with all the world except his uncle of England against him. It was a war got up by the women he had offended, and it would be hard to say whether the Austrian Empress, the Tsarina, or Madame de Pompadour hated him the most. Consequently there was no hope of conciliation, though he attempted it at Vienna to put himself in the right. Coolly calculated, his ruin seemed assured, but at least he had done everything to meet the shock. His army of 150,000 was perfection; it had been trained and drilled by such gifted generals as old Schwerin and Frederick of Brunswick, the Duke of Brunswick Bevern, Moritz of Dessau, and Marshal Keith.

The question was whether to wait or strike. Policy dictated the one: strategical considerations the other England had been holding him back, but a decision was now urgent. Frederick's own mind was made up, but he consulted his most trusted generals. With what know-ledge they had they argued that as the future was inscrutable, it would be well to wait still. But when Frederick showed the secret papers in his possession, old Schwerin broke out, "If it must be war, let us march to-morrow; let us seize Saxony and form magazines for our campaign in Bohemia."

All was in readiness when what was practically an answer to what was virtually an ultimatum came from Vienna. Three columns crossed the frontiers. In contrast to the endless Russian baggage trains, there were to be no unnecessary encumbrances. There was to be but a single cart per company; not even a general was to be permitted an ounce of plate; and so minutely did the King attend to the welfare of the troops that each captain was ordered to take a cask of vinegar to correct the water when the quality was doubtful. Keith was with the central column, which directed itself on Dresden. There he was charged with a delicate duty. Frederick had broken the peace and was apparently the aggressor, but he knew there were documents in possession of the Queen of Poland which would amply justify him, and these he was determined to secure. That the Queen should remain in Dresden was not unnatural; but it is strange that those precious papers should not have been sent to the fortress of KOnigstein, whither Saxon archives and the treasures of the Schatzkanimer were invariably transported in times of peril. Keith offered his master's homage to her Majesty. She bitterly complained of her doors being beset by Prussian soldiers. Keith, it is to be presumed, answered respectfully, but next morning she found the sentries doubled and the corridors patrolled. An officer presented himself, who was polite but inflexible; and Frederick secured the papers which had a startling effect on European opinion.

The Saxon army, 16,000 strong, was formidably en-trenched in the Saxon Switzerland. Their camp was not to be stormed, and though time was precious, the only alternative was to starve them out. But the Austrians under Broun were advancing to the relief of their allies, and Keith with 30,000 men was sent to watch the passes leading out of Bohemia. Keith manoeuvred warily with inferior forces, but Broun was pressing, for he had peremptory orders to relieve the Saxons at any cost. Frederick with strong reinforcements hurried to the point of danger. Keith's camp was broken up and the King marched to meet the Austrian Marshal. They met in the bloody battle of Lobositz. Frederick, coming up in the evening, had seized twin hills and the intervening pass, whence he looked down on the Austrians. Broun had reason next day to regret that he had left those hills undefended. The morning opened in dense mists. Frederick ordered a cavalry charge in the dark, which was repulsed with heavy loss and which put his horse out of action for the time. Yet when the mists were lifting, accustomed to Austrian over-caution, he fancied that Broun was retiring, and that he was only confronted by a rearguard. He found out his mistake, and seldom has there been a more fiercely contested action. Prussian stubbornness prevailed in the end, after seven hours of hand-to-hand fighting, and the honours of the day were with the Duke of Brunswick Bevern. "Never have my troops," said Frederick, " done such miracles of valour;" but it was less satisfactory to feel he had been teaching the Austrians, who, with discipline greatly improved, had shown scarcely inferior heroism. Broun was baffled but not discouraged, and it was no fault of his that a second attempt to break the blockade was foiled by weather which wrecked a cleverly devised combination. The Saxons capitulated to famine, and passed under the Prussian colours. All this time and till the army went into winter quarters, Keith had remained in his camp at Lobositz, engaged in some minor actions, but virtually merely keeping the lists.

1757 was the darkest, the most brilliant, and the most wonderful year in the King's chequered career. Beset by enemies on all sides, his most urgent concern was to deal with the Austrians. In Bohemia they had two great armies. Broun and Prince Charles of Lorraine were at the capital; Daun and Ludowitz were coming up behind. Frederick's columns were set in motion for Prague; the combinations were calculated to a day, for Schwerin was advancing through the mountains by a different route from the King, and punctuality was everything. Schwerin was true to time at the trysting place before the Austrian field- works, but his sturdy soldiers came up in the last stage of exhaustion. The Marshal pleaded for a day's delay, but the King, in apprehension of the arrival of Daun, determined for immediate attack. The excitement of battle fired the flagging strength of Schwerin's hungry and weary soldiers. The Austrians held the natural fortress of the famous Ziskaberg, bristling with improvised redoubts and field batteries. The only possible chance of success was in turning the position on their extreme right, and success was achieved, in spite of unforeseen obstacles in the shape of ditch and morass, with the loss of 13,000 men—Frederick puts it at 18,000—and of brave old Marshal Schwerin, whom he valued at 10,000 more. Broun, with his leg shattered by a cannon ball, was carried into Prague to die of the wound. Prince Charles was put hors de combat with spasms in the chest. Forty thousand of the enemy were driven into the town, and the rest broke away in various directions. Keith with the Prussian right wing was on the Weissenberg, to the west of the city, and had no direct share in the victory. But he cut into the game by heading back the Austrians who sought safety in flight by the western gates.

The strain on Frederick's nerves was intense, for then as always through that campaign time was everything. He may have hoped to carry Prague by a coup de main, but the beaten enemy made a formidable garrison in a city exceptionally capable of defence. It was furiously bombarded from both sides ; Keith had mounted his batteries on the Lorenzberg, a height dominating the Weissenberg. The siege dragged, horse-flesh was selling at fancy prices, and the garrison was enfeebled by famine. On the 23rd of May they were mustered for a desperate sally upon Keith's lines to the west of the Moldau. Ten thousand picked men, those who had suffered least, were to break out in the darkness, and the whole of the army was mustered, to follow if things went well. But Keith was on his guard ; there was no surprise, and the sortie was repulsed with heavy loss.

Still the siege dragged, and Daun, already superior in numbers, was gathering strength every day. Frederick resolved on the desperate venture of attacking him in his entrenchments on the heights of Kolin. The tidings of that disastrous day were brought to Prague by special messenger—a messenger who had specially distinguished himself, and Colonel Grant was charged with the order for the immediate abandonment of the siege. The shock to the generals was great, but they lost not a moment in obeying. Ferdinand of Brunswick was in command on the Ziskaberg, Keith on the Lorenzberg. The order came on the afternoon of the rgth of June. At three in the morning of the 10th the Prince was filing down from the Ziskaberg. Keith's departure was delayed for twelve hours longer, for he had all the baggage with him and most of the guns; but once begun, it was admirably effected. He took every precaution for the safety of his convoy, for he feared there might be hot pursuit. At Leitmeritz, where he halted, he was joined by the King. But there was little rest for Frederick. He had detached his brother, the Prince of Prussia, on the difficult and delicate business of completing the evacuation of Bohemia, which was inevitable. August Wilhelm bungled it, and his brother hurried off to put matters right, leaving Keith to follow with the artillery.

He could not tempt the Austrians to the battle he ardently desired, and his presence, as always, was urgently demanded elsewhere. The French with Austrian allies were in Thuringia. Leaving an army to mount guard over Silesia, he hastened westwards with a weak division, gathering up reinforcements as he went. But two months were to elapse before he brought the French to battle ; he was called back by the evil tidings of menace to Berlin, and in his absence Keith and Frederick of Brunswick were left to do their utmost in face of the enemy. He came back towards the end of October, and came in time to bring relief to Keith, who had thrown himself into Leipzig with a feeble force. For two days Keith had been in extreme danger, but he had stood gallantly on his defence when summoned by Soubise's vanguard. The news of Frederick's approach had raised the siege. Then from Leipzig there was a forward march, and ten days after wards the battle of Rossbach. The King headed the left column; Keith led the right, keeping within touch. On the 1st November they were on the banks of the Saale; the French declined to dispute the river ; the Prussians repaired the broken bridges and passed. In front of them was a country of hill and dale and sheltered villages, and there the battle was fought, when the victors were as one to three against the vanquished. Frederick's left lay round the village which gave the field its name, and in the centre he commanded in person. Soubise was over-confident in his overwhelming superiority, and the Prussian weakness had been masked so adroitly that he believed it to be even greater than it was. His plan was to surround and roll up the puny forces opposed to him. The tables were turned in the sudden surprise, when Sedlitz with the cavalry came down on his right in a furious flanking charge. In the confusion thus created, Frederick unmasked. His field pieces came into view on the hill crests, and opened a murderous fire. His infantry, in echelon, descended the slopes in steady advance, silent till they opened a musket fire on the serried ranks of the French. In vain Soubise and his gallant lieutenants strove to bring order out of chaos and confusion. Keith and Ferdinand of Brunswick had come down simultaneously with the King, and were searching the French left with withering volleys. Huddled together like scared sheep, confusion became panic; the rout was general ; they broke and fled in all directions, leaving guns and everything else behind.

No sooner had the victory been won than Frederick was back in Silesia. There everything had been going against him ; Charles of Lorraine and Dann had overrun the province. Frederick's arrival was to turn back the tide ; but Keith was busy in Bohemia, where he routed his confident enemies on the bloody field of Leuthen, and after a swift succession of the most remarkable victories on record, went into winter quarters at Breslau. At Rossbach the odds had been as one to three; Leuthen was won with 30,000 against 8o,000 of the elite of the Austrians.

The year 1758 opened with the unlucky siege of Olmutz, conducted by Keith. The Marshal lost no honour by his failure, which, though unwont to cast blame on subordinates, he attributed chiefly to his chief engineer. Moreover, ammunition had run short, and for that he was in no way responsible. It was said that Frederick had hesitated to deplete his magazine, and a train of supplies which he sent forward was ambushed and captured with the convoy. Had the Marshal been in any way blamable, he would have retrieved his credit by the masterly retreat in which he saved himself and his 4000 baggage waggons. Throughout he was ever in the rear of his rearguard, though suffering from severe illness.

Frederick in earlier days had been inclined to overrate the Russians ; latterly he had gone to the other extreme. Keith had repeatedly told him that he was wrong, and at Zorndorf he had reason to remember the warning, though Keith was not there to remind him. He won the battle, but at a heavy cost. Unlike the French at Rossbach, the Russians refused to recognise defeat, and though they could not re-form again to order like the highly drilled Prussians, they stood stubbornly to be cut to pieces.

After Leuthen, Charles of Lorraine had gone in sore discomfiture to Brussels; but Daun, as strong as before, was overrunning the Saxony Frederick had annexed. On the 10th of October Frederick was facing him again with what forces he could muster after his Pyrrhic victory at Zorndorf. For four days the armies sat watching each other. Keith was in command of the Prussian right, stretching beyond the village of Hochkirch, and within two miles of Lobau, memorable in the wars of the next century. The King had been pressing forward with less than his usual deliberation ; the positions were bad, and Keith remarked bluntly that if the Austrians did not attack, they deserved to be hanged. Daun agreed with Keith, and confident like Soubise in his numbers, had devised a similar and an excellent plan. The plan of a night or early morning surprise was so foreign to his habitual caution, that Frederick for once was deceived. And Daun, reading his adversary's mind, had cleverly added to the deception by elaborately strengthening the entrenchments on his heights. Thirty thousand selected men under his own command were under cover in the woods opposite Keith's positions on his left. At the stroke of five from the church of Hochkirch they were to rush the Prussian outposts. A few minutes after the bugles answered the chime of the clock, there was a raging hand-to-hand fight in and around the village; Keith, roused from his sleep, rushed from his quarters behind to hear that his men were being beaten back, and that his batteries were taken. The guns must be recovered at any cost. He threw himself upon his horse, retook his batteries, but was surrounded on all sides by the Austrians surging back again. The light was still dim; the dawn was obscured by powder smoke; all was confusion, and nothing to be distinguished. He called in vain for his aides-de-camp; he could rally no men to his support. Twice wounded, with the few soldiers around him he was striving to extricate himself and restore the battle, when a third bullet reached his heart. Like old Schwerin, the greatest of the Scottish soldiers of fortune fell on the field of honour, and died as he would have desired, though the one fell in the hour of defeat, the other on the eve of a glorious victory.

The Marshal had domestic tastes though he never married, neglecting his many opportunities in Russia. But at the surrender of Wilmanstrand in 1743 he found among the prisoners a beautiful Swedish girl whose parents had either fled or perished. He took Eva Merthens in every sense under his protection, for he was no more of a St. Anthony than any of his contemporaries. He had the little girl carefully educated—in particular she showed a great talent for music—and when she grew up she became his mistress. By her he had several children, of whom we hear nothing, and it is to be feared they were ill provided for. His brother the Earl may have exaggerated his poverty, but except for such windfalls as the administration of Bohemia, there were few opportunities of saving under Frederick's frugal regime. Whatever he possessed was bequeathed to his mistress, who survived her elderly adorer for half a century.


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