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Prince Charles Edward Stuart
Duke of Cumberland sent down to Scotland

Unwilling any longer to intrust the management of the war to a general who had given such a signal proof of incapacity as Hawley had done, the government, immediately on receipt of his dispatched, sent down the Duke of Cumberland to Scotland, to take the command of the army, and to retrieve if possible the lost reputation of the heroes of Dettingen and Fontenoy. The duke was beloved by the army, and enjoyed its confidence, circumstances which rendered him peculiarly fitted to supersede Hawley, who, after his return to Edinburgh, had by his severities become unpopular with the soldiers. Another reason for putting the duke at the head of the army opposed to Prince Charles, was the favourable effect which, it was supposed, the appearance of a prince of the blood would have upon the minds of the people of Scotland, and which, it was expected, would neutralise the influence of his kinsman. But apart from his rank as the son of the king, Prince William had little to recommend him to the especial notice of a nation, rather fastidious in its respect for princes. His conduct while in Scotland showed that humanity, the brightest ornament which can adorn the soldier hero, had no place in the catalogue of his virtues. With a cruelty, partly the result, perhaps, of the military school in which he was trained, and which fortunately has few parallels among civilised nations, he pursued his unfortunate victims, the misguided but chivalrous adherents of the fallen dynasty, with a relentless perseverance which disgusted even his own partisans.

Having received his instructions, the duke lost no time in preparing for his journey. He left London on the 25th of January, attended by Lord Cathcart, Lord Bury, Colonels Conway and York his aides-de-camp, and arrived at Holyrood House on the 30th. He was waited upon by the state-officers, the magistrates of the city, the professors of the university, and the clergy, all of whom were graciously received. His royal highness was presented with the freedom of the city in a gold box. In the afternoon he held a sort of drawing-room, which was attended by a considerable number of ladies very richly dressed. The most conspicuous among them was a Miss Ker, who wore a busk, at the top of which was a crown done in bugles, surrounded with this inscription, "Britain's Hero, William Duke of Cumberland". To celebrate his arrival the city was illuminated in the evening, but although the Jacobites, from prudential motives, concurred in this demonstration, their windows were broken by the mob.

In the course of the day the duke inspected the army. His appearance revived the spirits of the soldiers, who, it is said, desired nothing so much as an opportunity of wiping away the disgrace of their late defeat. Such being the favourable disposition of the troops, it was resolved in a council of war held in the evening to march next morning to the relief of Stirling castle. According, early in the morning the army, which, by recent reinforcements, had been increased to fourteen battalions of foot, and four regiments of dragoons, besides the Argyleshire men, left Edinburgh in two divisions, preceded by Hamilton's and Ligonier's dragoons. One of these divisions, comprising eight battalions, at the head of which the duke was to place himself, proceeded towards Linlithgow, and the other, consisting of six battalions under the command of Brigadier Mordaunt, marched in the direction of Borrowstownness. The duke himself left Holyrood House at nine o'clock in the morning, in presence of a large assemblage of citizens, who, from curiosity, had collected before the palace at an early hour to witness his departure. He entered a splendid coach, which, with twelve beautiful horses, had been presented to him by the Earl of Hopetoun, and was accompanied in his progress through the city by many persons of distinction, and by a crowd of citizens. On reaching Castlebarns, a place about a quarter of a mile from the West-port, by which he left the city, the duke mounted his horse, and taking off his hat thanked the people for their attentions. He told them that he was in great haste to fulfil the object of his mission, and concluded by wishing them farewell. This short address was received with a loud huzza. The duke then took leave of the nobility and gentry who surrounded him, and at parting said, "Shall we not have one song?". he then began to sing an old Scottish song:-

"Will ye play me fair?
Highland laddie, Highland laddie".

But before he had finished the first stanza he stretched forth his hand, and, putting spurs to his horse, went off at full gallop to join the army.

The duke took up his quarters for the night at Linlithgow with the eight battalions, and Mordaunt stopped at Borrowstowness with the other divisions. The dragoons were quartered in the adjacent villages, and the Argyleshire men were posted in front towards the river Avon. Early next morning, the duke received intelligence that the main body of the Highland army, quartered at Falkirk, had retired to the Torwood, where, they have out, they intended to make a stand. Determined that no time should be lost in following the insurgents, the duke, after reviewing his army in the morning, advanced towards Falkirk. Several parties of the Highlanders, who were seen hovering on the hills between Falkirk and Linlithgow, retired with precipitation on his approach; but some stragglers were brought in by his advanced scouts, who reported that the Highlanders, afraid to risk another battle, on account of the increase of the royal army, and the diminution of their own by desertion, were repassing the Forth in great confusion. Two great explosions, like the blowing up of magazines, which were heard from a distance, seemed to confirm this intelligence. On reaching Falkirk, the duke found that all the wounded soldiers who had been made prisoners in the late action, had been left behind by the insurgents in their retreat. His royal highness halted at Falkirk with the main body of his army, and immediately detached Brigadier Mordaunt with the Argyleshire men and all the dragoons, in pursuit of the Highlanders. The duke passed the night in the house which Charles had occupied on the evening of the late battle, and slept in the same bed on which the prince had reposed. Next morning Prince William marched to Stirling, of which Brigadier Morduant had taken possession the previous evening. He complimented General Blakeney on his defence of the castle, and was informed by the latter that, had the siege continued much longer, he (Blakeney) must have surrendered for want of ammunition and provisions.

In his march the duke was accompanied by several officers of the English army, who had been taken prisoners at Preston, and who, under the pretence of being forcibly released by armed parties of country people in Angus and Fife, had broken their parole, and returned to Edinburgh. The Duke of Cumberland, who appears to have thought it by no means dishonourable to break faith with rebels, not only absolved these officers from their parole, but sent circulars to all the other officers, who continued prisoners of war, releasing them from the solemn obligation they had undertaken not to serve against Prince Charles for a certain time, requiring them to join their respective regiments, and threatening with the loss of their commissions such of them as should refuse compliance, declaring their sense of the insult offered to men of an honourable profession, by remarking that the duke was master of their commissions, but not of their probity and honour.

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