Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Prince Charles Edward Stuart
The Chevalier de St. George Proclaimed

To complete the business of this eventful day, the proclamation at the cross of the Chevalier de St. George as James III, alone remained. The Highlanders who entered the city in the morning, desirous of obtaining the services of the heralds and the pursuivants, to perform what appeared to them an indispensable ceremony, had secured the persons of these functionaries. Surrounded by a body of armed men, the heralds and pursuivants, several of whom had probably been similarly employed on the accession of "the Elector of Hanover", proceeded to the cross, a little before one o'clock afternoon, clothed in their robes of office, and proclaimed King James, amid the general acclamations of the people. The windows of the adjoining houses were filled with ladies, who testified the intensity of their feeling by straining their voices to the utmost pitch, and with outstretched arms waving white handkerchiefs in honour of the handsome young adventurer. Few gentlemen were, however, to be seen in the streets or at the windows, and even among the common people, there were not a few who preserved a stubborn silence. The effect of the ceremony was greatly heightened by the appearance of Mrs Murray of Broughton, a lady of great beauty, who, to show here devoted attachment to the cause of the Stuarts, decorated with a profusion of white ribbons, sat on horseback near the cross with a drawn sword in her hand, during all the time the ceremony lasted.

While the heralds were proclaiming King James at the market-cross of Edinburgh, Sir John Cope, who, as has been stated, arrived in the mouth of the Frith of Forth on the 16th, was landing his troops at Dunbar. The two regiments of dragoons had continued their inglorious flight during the night, and had reached that town, on the morning of the 17th, "in a condition", to use the soft expression of Mr Home, "not very respectable". On arriving at Musselburgh, they had halted for a short time, and afterwards went to a field between Preston Grange and Dolphinston, where they dismounted for the purpose of passing the night; but between ten and eleven o'clock they were aroused by the cries of a dragoon who had fallen into an old coal-pit full of water. Conceiving that the Highlanders were at hand, they instantly mounted their horses and fled towards Dunbar with such precipitation and alarm, that they dropped their arms by the way. Next morning the road to Dunbar was found strewed with the swords, pistols, and firelocks, which had fallen from the nervous hand of these cowards. Colonel Gardiner, who had slept during the night in his own house at Preston, near the field where the dragoons were to bivouack, was surprised, when he rose in the morning, to find that his men were all gone. All that he could learn was that they had taken the road to Dunbar. He followed them with a heavy heart, which certainly did not lighten when he saw the proofs they had left behind them of their pusillanimity. These arms were collected and conveyed in covered carts to Dunbar, where they were again put into the hands of the craven dragoons.

The landing of Cope's troops was finished on Wednesday, the 17th of September,; but the disembarkation of the artillery and stores was not completed till the 18th. On the last mentioned day, Mr Home, the author of the history of this Rebellion, arrived at Dunbar, and was introduced to Sir John, as a "volunteer from Edinburgh", desirous of communicating to him such information as he had personally collected respecting the Highland army. He told the general, that being curious to see the Highland army and its leader, and to ascertain the number of Highlanders, he had remained in Edinburgh after they had taken possession thereof, - that for the last-mentioned purpose, he had visited the different parts they occupied in the city, and had succeeded in making a pretty exact enumeration, - that with the same view he had perambulated the Hunter's bog, where the main body was encamped, - and as he found the Highlanders sitting in ranks upon the ground taking a meal, that he was enabled to calculate their numbers with great certainty. He stated, from the observations he had been thus enabled to make, that all the Highlanders within and without the city did not amount to 2,000 men; but that he had been told that several bodies of men from the north were on the march, and were expected very soon to join the main body at Edinburgh. In answer to a question put by Cope, as to the appearance and equipment of the Highlanders, Home stated that most of them seemed to be strong, active, and hardy men, though many of them were of a very ordinary size: and if clothed like Lowlanders, would, in his opinion, appear inferior to the king's troops; but the Highland garb favoured them much, as it showed their naked limbs, which were strong and muscular; and their stern countenances and bushy uncombed hair have them a fierce, barbarous, and imposing aspect. With regard to their arms, Mr Home said that they had no artillery of any sort but one small unmounted iron cannon, lying upon a cart, drawn by a little Highland pony, - that about 1,400 or 1,500 of them were armed with firelocks and broadswords, - that their firelocks were of all sorts and sizes, consisting of muskets, fuses, and fowling pieces, - that some of the rest had firelocks without swords, while others had swords without firelocks, - that many of their swords were not Highland broadswords but French, - that one of two companies, amounting to about 100 men, were armed, each of them with the shaft of a pitch-fork, with the blade of a scythe fastened to it, resembling in some degree the Lochaber axe. Mr Home, however, added, that all the Highlanders would soon be provided with firelocks, as the arms belonging to the train bands of the city had fallen into their hands.

At Dunbar, General Cope was joined by some judges and lawyers, who had fled from Edinburgh on the approach of the Highlanders. They did not, however, enter the camp as fighting men, but with the intention of continuing with the king's army, as anxious and interested spectators of the approaching conflict. Cope found a more efficient supporter in the person of the Earl of Home, then an officer in the guards, who considered it his duty to offer his services on the present occasion. Unlike his ancestors, who could have raised in their own territories a force almost equal to that now opposed to Sir John Cope, this peer was attended by one or two servants only, a circumstance which have occasion to many persons to mark the great change in the feudal system which had taken place in Scotland, in little more than a century.

Next | Index | Previous


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus