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Prince Charles Edward Stuart
Charles in Skye - proceeds to Kingsburgh House

When Charles left the shores of Benbecula the evening was clear and serene, and a gentle and favourable breeze rippled over the bosom of the deep; but as they proceeded to sea the sky began to lower, and they had not rowed above a league when the wind rose, the sea became rough, and a tempest ensued which seemed to threaten them with destruction. Miss Macdonald and the boatmen grew alarmed, but Charles showed the greatest composure, and, to revive their drooping spirits, alternately related some amusing stories and sang several songs, among which was an old spirited air composed on the occasion of the restoration of Charles II. In the passage Miss Macdonald fell asleep, and Charles took every precaution to prevent her being disturbed.

The wind having shifted several times during the night, the boatmen had not been able to keep a regular course, and when day-light appeared next morning, they found themselves out of sight of land without knowing where they were. Having no compass, they proceeded at random; but they had not sailed far when they perceived some of the headlands of Skye. Favoured by the wind, they soon gained the point of Waternish, on the west of the island. In passing along this point they were fired upon by a party of Macleod militia, who called upon them to land; but they continued their course, and, to prevent suspicion, plied their oars very slowly. Charles told the boatmen "not to fear the villans"; but they assured him that they did not care for themselves: their only fear was for him". "No fear of me!" was Charles's reply. Encouraged by the undaunted bravery of the prince, the boat's crew applied themselves with energy to their oars; on observing which the Macleods continued to fire at the boat till it got out of reach of their shot, but did no harm. Whilst the bullets were falling about the boat, Charles, it is said, requested Miss Macdonald to lie down in the bottom of the boat in order to avoid them; but she heroically declined the proposed and declared that, as she was endeavouring to preserve the life of her prince, she would never degrade herself by attending to the safety of her own person while that of her master was in jeopardy. She even solicited Charles to occupy the place he had assigned for her. The prince, as the danger increased, became more urgent; but no entreaties could prevail upon Miss Macdonald to abandon her intrepid resolution, till Charles offered to lie down also. Both accordingly lay down in the bottom of the boat, till out of reach of the bullets of the militia.

Flora Macdonald

After escaping this danger they entered a small creek, and the party, after taking a short rest, proceeded to Kilbride, and landed near Mugstot or Moydhstat, the seat of Sir Alexander Macdonald, near the northern extremity of Skye. Sir Alexander was at this time with the Duke of Cumberland at Fort Augustus; and, as his lady was known to be a warm friend of the prince, Flora resolved to proceed to Moydhstat and acquaint her of Charles's arrival. Lady Margaret Macdonald had inherited the spirit of Jacobitism from her father Alexander, Earl of Eglintoun; and, as she knew that her husband was a Jacobite at heart, she was less scrupulous to assist the prince in his necessities. Knowing her good intentions, Charles had, about a week before his arrival in Skye, written her a letter, which was sent inclosed in one from Hugh Macdonald of Balishair, in North Uist, to his brother Donald Roy Macdonald, who was requested to deliver the letter into her ladyship's own hand. Balishair announced in the letter to his brother, that, as a very strict search was making in the Long island for Charles, he intended to seek refuge upon a small grass island, called Fladdachuan, belonging to Sir Alexander Macdonald, lying to the north of Trotternish, with only one tenant upon it, and requesting him to keep a sharp look-out for the prince, to meet him upon Fladdachuan and provide him with necessaries. He was desired to show the letter to Lady Margaret, and after she had perused it to throw it into the fire; and he also requested that her ladyship should so the same with the letter sent her. The letter was accordingly delivered to Lady Margaret by Donald Roy, who burnt his own, as directed; but, on begging Lady Margaret to put hers into the fire, she rose up and, kissing the letter, exclaimed, "No! I will not burn it. I will reserve it for the sake of him who wrote it to me. Although King George's forces should come to the house, I hope I shall find a way to secure the letter".

Leaving Charles in the boat, Miss Flora, accompanied by Neil Mac Eachan, set out for Mugstot, to apprise Lady Margaret of her arrival. It was a fortunate circumstance that Charles was left behind, as there was a militia officer of the name of Macleod in the house, who, on Miss Macdonald's entering the room where he was sitting, questioned her very closely as to her journey; but she answered his interrogatories so readily, and with such apparent candour and simplicity, that he had not the least suspicion, that she was any way concerned about the prince. Charles's arrival was not altogether unexpected, as she had been informed the day before by Mrs Macdonald, wife of John Macdonald of Kirkebost, in North Uist, who had come from the Long island, of the probability of his appearing speedily in Skye. Lady Margaret, on being informed of the prince's arrival in her neighbourhood, was greatly alarmed for his safety. Her active benevolence was ever seconded by superior talents; and, on the present occasion, she displayed a presence of mind and readiness of invention, which corresponded with these high qualifications. Mr Macdonald of Kingsburgh, Sir Alexander's factor, being then in the house, she resolved to consult him in this emergency. Desirous also to avail herself of the services of Captain Roy Macdonald, who had visited Fladdachuan in quest of the prince, she sent an express to Trotternish, where he then resided, requesting his immediate attendance at Mugstot. Mounting his horse, he repaired to the spot, and found Lady Margaret and Kingsburgh walking together, in serious conversation. On dismounting, Lady Margaret came up to him and exclaimed, "O Donald Roy, we are ruined for ever!". After a long consultation, Lady Margaret proposed that, as the prince could not remain long in Skye without being discovered, he should be conducted to old Raasay, who was himself concealed with some select friends, and that, in the mean time, he should take up his residence in Kingsburgh house.

During the time this consultation lasted, Charles remained upon the shore, at a short distance from the foot of the garden. Kingsburgh proposed to go and acquaint him with their determination; but, lest he might be observed by some of the military about the house, Neil Mac Eachan was sent to inform him that Kingsburgh meant to visit him, and to request that he would retire behind a neighbouring hill to escape observation. Taking with him some wine and provisions, Kingsburgh repaired to the spot where Mac Eachan had left Charles. To his great surprise, however, Charles was not to be seen, and he in vain searched for him in the neighbourhood of the place where he expected to meet him. Despairing of finding the prince, Kingsburgh would have returned to Mugstot; but the bounding of a flock of sheep at a distance, indicating that some person was at hand, Kingsburgh went forward to the place whence the sheep had fled, where he found the prince sitting on the ground. Charles started up when he saw Kinsburgh approaching. He advanced cautiously toward him, holding a large knotted stick in his hand, as if intending to knock down the stranger. "I am Macdonald of Kingsburgh, come to serve your highness", said the good Highlander, as he approached. "It is well", answered Charles, who went forward to receive his friend. They then saluted each other, and the prince took some refreshment. Kingsburgh then mentioned Lady Macdonald's plan, with which Charles having expressed himself satisfied, they both proceeded to Kingsburgh house.

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