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Significant Scots
James Graham

GRAHAM, JAMES, the celebrated marquis of Montrose, was born in the year 1612, and succeeded to his father, John, earl of Montrose, in 1626, being then only fourteen years of age. As he was the only son of the family, he was persuaded by his friends to marry soon after, which greatly retarded his education. Preceptors were, however, brought into his house, and by assiduous study he became a tolerable proficient in the Latin and Greek languages. He afterwards travelled into foreign parts, where he spent some years in the attainment of modern languages, and practising the various exercises then in vogue. He returned to Scotland about the year 1634, with the reputation of being one of the most accomplished gentlemen of the age. Being a man of large expectations, and meeting with a reception at court which he considered not equal to his merits, he, on the fifteenth of November, 1637, joined the Tables at Edinburgh, to the great dismay of the bishops; who, according to Guthrie, "thought it time to prepare for a storm, when he engaged."—That the reader may be at no loss to understand our narrative, it may not be improper here to inform him that the Tables were committees for managing the cause of the people in the contest they were at this time engaged in with the court for their religion and liberties:—they were in number four—one for the nobility, another for the gentry, a third for the burghs, a fourth for the ministers; anal there was a special one, consisting of delegates from each of the four. The Table of the nobility, we may also remark, consisted of the lords Rothes, Lindsay, Loudon, and Montrose: the two latter of whom were unquestionably the ablest and probably the most efficient members. In point of zeal, indeed, at this period Montrose seems to have exceeded all his fellows. When Traquair published the king’s proclamation approving of the Service Book, Montrose stood not only on the scaffold beside Mr Archibald Johnston, while he read the protestation in name of the Tables, but got up, that he might overlook the crowd, upon the end of a puncheon; which gave occasion to the prophetic jest of Rothes, recorded with solemn gravity, by Gordon of Straloch—"James, you will never be at rest till you be lifted up there- above your fellows in a rope;—which was afterwards," he adds, "accomplished in earnest in that same place, and some even say that the same supporters of the scaffold were made use of at Montrose’s execution." The Tables, having prepared for renewing the national covenant, it was sworn by all ranks, assembled at Edinburgh, on the last of February and first of March, 1638; and, in a short time, generally throughout the kingdom. In this celebrated transaction, Montrose was a leading actor. In preparing, swearing, and imposing the covenant, especially in the last, no man seems to have been more zealous. In the fullest confidence of his faithfulness and zeal, he had been nominated, along with Alexander Henderson and David Dickson, to proceed to Aberdeen, in order to persuade that refractory city, the only one in the kingdom, to harmonize with the other parts of it; but they made very few converts, and were, upon the whole, treated in no friendly manner. The pulpits of Aberdeen they found universally shut against them; nor even in the open street, did they meet with any thing like a respectful audience. This triumph of the northern episcopalians was carefully reported to Charles by the marquis of Huntly; and the monarch was so much gratified by even this partial success of his favourite system, that, at the very moment when he was showing a disposition to give way to the covenanters, he wrote letters of thanks to the magistrates and doctors, promising them at all times his favour and protection. Montrose soon after returned to Edinburgh, and through the whole of the eventful year 1638, to all appearance acted most cordially in favour of the covenant.

In the beginning of the year 1639, when the covenanters had finally set the king at defiance by abolishing episcopacy, and were preparing to defend their measures by force of arms, Montrose received another commission to visit the Aberdonians, and to provide against the probability of their stirring upon insurrection in the north, when his majesty might be drawing the public attention wholly towards the south. While Montrose was preparing for this expedition, having learned that a meeting of the covenanters in that quarter had been appointed at Tureff, and that Huntly, who had taken possession of Aberdeen, had written to his friends and followers to assemble for the purpose of preventing the meeting, be resolved to protect his friends, and ensure their convocation in spite of Huntly. For this purpose he collected only a few of his friends upon whom he could depend, and by one of those rapid movements by which he was afterwards so much distinguished, led them across that wild mountainous range that divides Angus from Aberdeenshire; and, on the morning of February the 14th, took possession of Tureff, ere one of the opposite party was aware of his having left Angus. Huntly’s van, beginning to arrive in the forenoon, were astonished to find the place occupied in a hostile manner, and retired to the Broad Ford of Towie, about two miles to the south of Tureff where Huntly and his train from Aberdeen shortly after joined them. Here it was debated whether they should advance and attack the place, or withdraw for the present and being enjoined by his commission from the king to act as yet only on the defensive, Huntly himself dissolved the meeting, though it was upwards of two thousand strong. This formidable array only convinced Montrose that there was no time to lose in preparing to meet it; and hastening next day to his own country, he began to raise and to array troops, according to the commission he held from the Tables. Seconded by the energy and patriotism of the people, his activity was such, that in less than a month he was at the head of a well-appointed army of horse and foot, drawn from the immediate neighbourhood; at the head of which he marched directly north, and on the 29th of March approached the town of Aberdeen. The doctors who had given him so much trouble on his former mission, did not think fit to wait his coming on this occasion; and the pulpits were at the service of any of his followers who chose to occupy them. It is admitted, on all hands, that Montrose on this first visit acted with great moderation. Leaving a garrison in Aberdeen under the earl of Kinghorn, he set out on the 1st of April to meet the marquis of Huntly, who had now dismissed his followers and retired to one of his castles. On the approach of Montrose, Huntly sent his friend, Gordon of Straloch, to meet him, and to propose an armistice; and for this purpose a meeting took place between the parties at the village of Lowess, about midway between Aberdeen and the castle of Strathbogie. The stipulations under which this meeting took place were strongly characteristic of a semi-barbarous state of society. Each of the parties was to be accompanied by eleven followers, and those armed only with swords. Each party, too, before meeting, sent an advance guard to search the other, in case any of the parties might have forgotten or overlooked this so far pacific arrangement. After considerable time spent in rather passionate conversation, it was agreed between them, that Montrose should march his army from Inverary, where it was now encamped, to Aberdeen, leaving Huntly and his countrymen in the meantime unmolested. Guthrie affirms that Huntly subscribed a writ substantially the same with the covenant. Other writers contradict this, and say that he only signed a bond of maintenance, as it was called, obliging himself to maintain the king’s authority, and the laws and religion at that time established, which indeed appears substantially the same with the covenant; though the phrase " established religion" was somewhat equivocal, and probably was the salvo, on this occasion, of the marquis’s conscience. Montrose, on his return to Aberdeen, without any of the formalities of moral suasion, imposed the covenant, at the point of the sword, upon the inhabitants of the town and the surrounding country, who very generally accepted it, as there was no other way in which they could escape the outrages of the soldiery. As a contribution might have been troublesome to uplift, a handsome subsidy of ten thousand merks from the magistrates was accepted as an equivalent. This is the only instance with which we are acquainted, in which the covenant was really forced upon conscientious recusants at the sword’s point; and it is worthy of remark, that the agent in the compulsion was one of the most idolized of the opposite party. Having thus, as he supposed, completely quieted the country, Montrose gave it in charge to the Frasers and the Forbeses, and on the 13th of April, marched for Edinburgh with his whole army, leaving the Aberdonians, though they had put on a show of conformity, more exasperated against the covenanters than ever. Scarcely had the army left the city, than, to testify their contempt and hatred of their late guests, the ladies began to dress up their dogs with collars of blue ribbons, calling them, in derision, covenanters, a joke for which they were, in the sequel, amply repaid.

In the meantime, the preparations of the king were rapidly going forward, and by the first of May the marquis of Hamilton, his lieutenant, entered the Firth of Forth with a fleet of twenty-eight sail, having on board five thousand foot soldiers, and a large quantity of arms. This circumstance had no real effect but to demonstrate the utter hopelessness of the king’s cause to all those who witnessed it; yet, operating upon the highly excited feelings of the Gordons, they flew to arms, though they had no proper leader, the marquis of Huntly being by this time a prisoner in Edinburgh castle. Their first movement was an attack, 18th May, upon a meeting of covenanters at Tureff, which, being taken by surprise, was easily dispersed, few persons being either killed or wounded on either side. This was the first collision of the kind that took place between the parties, the prologue, as it were, to the sad drama that was to follow; and it has ever since been remembered by the ludicrous appellation of "The Trot of Tureff." Proceeding to Aberdeen, the Gordons, as the fruit of their victory, quartered themselves upon their friends the citizens of that loyal city, where they gave themselves up to the most lawless license. Here they were met by the historian, Gordon of Straloch, who endeavoured to reason them into more becoming conduct, but in vain. Finding that they intended to attack the earl Marischal, who was now resident at Dunnottar castle, Straloch hastened thither to mediate between them and the earl, and if possible to prevent the effusion of human blood. The Gordons followed rapidly on his heels; but having lain one night in the open fields, and finding the earl Marischal determined to oppose them, they at last hearkened to the advice of Straloch, and agreed to disband themselves, without committing further outrages. Unhappily, however, they had been joined at Durris by one thousand Highlanders, under lord Lewis Gordon, third son to the marquis of Huntly, who, though a mere boy, had made his escape from his guardians, assumed the Highland dress, and appeared at the head of these outrageous loyalists for the interests of his father. This band of one thousand heroes it was impossible to send home till they had indulged their patriotic feelings among the goods and chattels of their supposed enemies; which they did to such an extent, as to provoke the deepest resentment. The earl Marischal with his little army advanced against them, and on the 23d of May entered Aberdeen, thirty Highland barons making a precipitate retreat before him.

For the suppression of these insurrections, Montrose had been again commissioned to the north, with an army of four thousand men, with which he entered Aberdeen on the 25th of May, only two days after the earl Marischal. Having discovered, by numerous intercepted letters, the real feelings of the inhabitants, and that their former compliance with his demands had been mere hypocrisy, practised for the purpose of saving their goods, Montrose imposed upon them another fine of ten thousand merks,—his men, at the same time, making free with whatever they thought fit to take, no protections being granted, save to a very few burgesses, who were known to be genuine covenanters. In revenge for the affront put upon their blue ribbon by the ladies, not one single dog upon which the soldiers could lay their hands, was left alive within the wide circuit of Aberdeen. The Gordons, meanwhile, learning that the Frasers and the Forbeses were advancing to join Montrose, crossed the Spay with one thousand foot and upwards of three hundred horse, and took post on a field near Elgin, where the Frasers and Forbeses lay with an army superior to theirs in number. A parley ensued, and it was settled that neither party should cross the Spey to injure the other. Both parties, of course, sought their native quarters; and the Gordons, sensible of their inability to cope with Montrose, determined, individually, to seek each his own safety. Having nothing else to do, and possessing abundance of artillery, Montrose resolved to reduce the principal strength belonging to the party, and for this end had just sat down before Gicht, the residence of Sir Robert Gordon, when he learned that the earl of Aboyne, second son of the marquis of Huntly, had arrived at Aberdeen with three ships, having obtained from the king, at York, a commission of lieutenantcy over the whole north of Scotland. He, of course, hasted back to Aberdeen, where he arrived on the 5th of June; Aboyne had not yet landed, but for what reason does not appear. Montrose left Aberdeen next day, marching southward with all his forces, as did the earl Marischal at the same time. Aboyne, of course, landed, and raising his father’s vassals and dependents, to the number of four thousand men, took possession of Aberdeen—at the cross of which he published the king’s proclamation, bestowing all the lands of the covenanters upon their opponents. He then proposed to attack Montrose and the earl Marischal, marching for this purpose along the sea coast, ordering his ships with the cannon and ammunition to attend his progress. A west wind arising, drove the ships with his artillery and ammunition out to sea, so that he came in contact with Montrose and the earl Marischal advantageously posted on the Meagra-hill, a little to the south of Stonehaven, without the means of making any impression upon them. A few shots from the field-pieces of Montrose, so completely disheartened the followers of Aboyne, that they fell back upon Aberdeen in a state of utter confusion, with the loss of half their number, leaving to the covenanters a bloodless victory. Aboyne was rapidly followed by the victors; but with the gentlemen who yet adhered to him, he took post at the bridge of Dee, which he determined to defend, for the preservation of Aberdeen. Montrose attacked this position on the 18th of June, with his usual impetuosity, and it was maintained for a whole day with great bravery. Next morning Montrose made a movement as if he intended to cross the river farther up; and the attention of the defenders being thus distracted, Middleton made a desperate charge, and carried the bridge in defiance of all opposition. The routed and dispirited loyalists fled with the utmost trepidation towards the town, and were closely pursued by the victorious covenanters. Aberdeen was now again in the hands of the men of whom it had more reason than ever to be afraid: it had already endured repeated spoliations at the hands of both parties, and was at last threatened with indiscriminate pillage. At their first entry into the town, June 19th, the troops behaved with great rudeness; every person suspected of being engaged in the last insurrection was thrown into prison, and the general cry of the army was to set the town on fire. There was some disagreement, however, among the chiefs respecting the execution of such a severe measure, and next day the question was not at rest by the news of the pacification of Berwick, which had been concluded on the 18th, the day that the parties had been so hotly engaged at the bridge of Dee. Montrose was probably not a little sorry to be confined in the north, quelling parties of Highland royalists, when there was a probability of actions of much greater importance taking place in another quarter, upon which the eyes of all men were fixed with a much more intense interest than they could possibly be upon the rock of Dunnottar, the bog of Gicht, or even the "brave town of Aberdeen." Now that a settlement had taken place, he hastened to the head-quarters, that he might have his proportion of what was to be dealt out on the occasion, whether it were public honours, public places, or private emoluments.

It now struck the mind of the king, that if he could but gain over the nobility to his side, the opposition of the lower classes would be rendered of little efficacy; and that he might have an opportunity of employing his royal eloquence for that purpose, he invited fourteen of the most influential of the grandees, that had taken part against him, to wait upon his court at Berwick, under the pretence of consulting them on the measures he meant to adopt for promoting the peace and the prosperity of the country. Aware of his design, the states sent only three of their number, Montrose, Loudon, and Lothian, to make an apology for the non-appearance of the remainder. The apology, however, was not accepted; and by the king’s special command, they wrote for the noblemen who had been named to follow them. This the noblemen probably were not backward to do, but a rumour being raised, that he intended to seize upon them, and send the whole prisoners to London, the populace interfered, and, to prevent a tumult, the journey was delayed. Charles was highly offended with this conduct; and being strongly cautioned by his courtiers against trusting himself among the unruly Scots, he departed for England, brooding over his depressed cause, and the means of regaining that influence of which he had been deprived by his subjects. Of those who did wait upon him, he succeeded in seducing only one, the earl of Montrose, who was disappointed in being placed under general Leslie, and who had of late become particularly jealous of Argyle. How much reason Charles had to be proud of such an acquisition we shall see in the sequel, though there can be no doubt that the circumstance emboldened him to proceed in his policy of only granting a set of mock reforms to the Scottish people, with the secret purpose of afterwards replacing the affairs of the kingdom on the same footing as before. In the spirit of this design, the earl of Traquair, who was nominated his majesty’s commissioner for holding the stipulated parliament and general assembly, was directed to allow the abolition of episcopacy, not as unlawful, but for settling the present disorders; and on no account to allow the smallest appearance of the bishops’ concurring (though several of them had already done and did concur) in the deed. He was to consent to the covenant being subscribed as it originally was in 1580—"provided it be so conceived that our subjects do not thereby be required to abjure episcopacy as a part of popery, or against God’s law." If the assembly required it to be abjured, as contrary to the constitution of the church of Scotland, he was to yield rather than make a breach: and the proceedings of the assembly at Glasgow he was to ratify, not as deeds of that meeting, all mention of which he was to avoid, but as acts of this present assembly; and to make every thing sure his own way, when the assembly business was closed, immediately before prayers, he was enjoined to make protestation, in the fairest way possible, that in respect of his majesty "not coming to the assembly in person, and his instructions being hastily written, many things may have occurred upon which he had not his majesty’s pleasure; therefore, in case any thing had escaped him, or been condescended upon prejudicial to his majesty’s service, his majesty may be heard for redress thereof in his own time and place." By these and other devices of a similar character, Charles imagined that he could lawfully render the whole proceedings of the assembly null and void at any time he might think it proper to declare himself. Traquair seconded the views of his master with great dexterity; and the assembly suspecting no bad faith, every thing was amicably adjusted.

In the parliament that sat down on the last day of August, 1639, the day after the rising of the general assembly, matters did not go quite so smoothly. Episcopacy being abolished, and with it the civil power of churchmen, the fourteen bishops, who had formed the third estate of the kingdom in parliament, were wanting. To fill up this deficiency, the other two estates proposed, instead of the bishops, to elect fourteen persons from the lower barons; but this was protested against by the commissioner, and by and by their proceedings were interrupted by an order for their prorogation till the 2d day of June, 1640. Against this prorogation the house protested, as an invasion of their rights; but they nevertheless gave instant obedience, after they had appointed commissioners to remonstrate with his majesty, and to supplicate him for a revisal of his commands. Before these commissioners found their way into the presence of Charles, however, he had fully resolved upon renewing the war, and all the arguments they could urge were of course unavailing. Charles, on this occasion, certainly displayed a want of consideration which was very extraordinary; he had emptied his treasury by his last fruitless campaign, yet continued his preparations against Scotland, though he could not raise one penny but by illegal and desperate expedients, which alienated the hearts of his English subjects more and more from him every day. The Scots were, at the same time, perfectly aware of what was intended, and they made such preparations as were in their power to avert the danger. As the subject of this memoir, however, seems not to have taken any particular or prominent part in these preparations, we must pass them over, referring the reader to the lives of those individuals who at this time took the most active part in conducting public affairs. Suffice it to say that, to oppose the army of Charles, which he had with great difficulty increased to nineteen thousand foot and two thousand horse, the Scots had an army of twenty-three thousand foot, three thousand horse, and a considerable train of artillery. Of this army, Alexander Leslie was again appointed commander-in-chief; lord Almond, brother to the earl of Livingston, lieutenant. general; W. Baillie, of the Lamington family, major-general; colonel A. Hamilton, general of artillery, colonel John Leslie, quarter-master-general; and A. Gibson, younger of Durie, commissary general. The nobles in general had the rank of colonel, with the assistance of veteran officers as lieutenant-colonels. Montrose, though his disaffection to the cause was now no secret, had still as formerly, two regiments, one of horse and another of foot. All these appointments were made in the month of April, 1640, but excepting some smaller bodies for suppressing local risings in the north, the army did not begin to assemble till the middle of July, and it was not till the end of that month that it was marched to Chouseley wood, about four miles to the west of Dunse, and, within six of the border.

The Scots had from the beginning of these troubles determined to carry the war, should war become inevitable, into England. This was sound policy; but as they did not wish to make war upon the English people, who were suffering equally with themselves, and were making the most praiseworthy exertions to limit the royal prerogative, it required no ordinary degree of prudence to carry it into execution. The leaders of the covenant, however, possessed powers fully adequate for the occasion. Notwithstanding of their warlike preparations, which were upon a scale equal to the magnitude of the enterprise, they continued to preserve the most perfect decorum, both of language and manner, and they sent before the army two printed papers, the one entitled "Six considerations, manifesting the lawfulness of their expedition into England," the other "The intentions of the army of the kingdom of Scotland declared to their brethren of England." In these papers, which for cogency of argument and elegance of composition may safely be compared with any similar productions of any age, they set forth in strong but temperate language the nature, the number, and the aggravations of their grievances. Their representations coming in the proper time, had the most powerful effect. If there was yet, at the time the parliament was convened, in a majority of the people, some tenderness towards the power of the monarch and the dignity of the prelates, every thing of the kind was now gone. The dissolution of a parliament, which for twelve years had been so impatiently expected and so firmly depended on, for at least a partial redress of grievances, and the innumerable oppressions that had been crowded into the short space between that dissolution and this appearance, on the part of the Scots, together with the exorbitances of the convocation,—that, contrary to all former precedent, had been allowed to sit, though the parliament was dissolved,—had so wrought upon the minds of men, that the threatenings these remonstrances breathed against prelates were grateful to the English nation, and the sharp expressions against the form and discipline of the established church gave no offence save to the few who composed the court faction. So completely did these declarations meet the general feeling, that the Scots were expected with impatience, and every accident that retarded their march was regarded as hurtful to the interests of the public. The northern counties, which lay immediately exposed to the invasion, absolutely refused to lend money to pay troops, or to furnish horses to mount the musqueteers, and the train-bands would not stir a foot without pay.

Anxious to make good their professions, the Scots were some time before they could advance, for want of money. The small supplies with which they had commenced operations being already nearly exhausted, two of the most popular of the nobility, along with Mr Alexander Henderson, and secretary Johnston, were sent back to Edinburgh to see what could be done in the way of procuring gratuitous supplies. As it would have been displeasing to the English, had the army been under the necessity of cutting down trees, for erecting huts, as had been the practice in former times, when inroads were made upon their border, the commissioners were instructed to use their influence with their countrymen, to provide as much cloth as would serve for tents during their encampments in that country. It was late on a Saturday night when the commissioners arrived in Edinburgh, but the exhortations of the ministers next day were so effectual, that on Monday the women of Edinburgh alone produced webs of coarse linen, vulgarly called harn, nearly sufficient for tents to the whole army; and the married men, with equal promptitude, advanced the sum of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds, with a promise of remitting as much more in a few days, which they did accordingly. Having obtained these supplies, and a considerable train of black cattle and sheep to be used as provisions, the Scottish army moved from Chouseley wood towards Coldstream, where they intended to enter England by a well-known ford over the Tweed. The river being swollen, they were obliged to camp on a spacious plain called Hirsel Haugh, till the flood should subside; and here they first proved the cloth furnished them for tents, by the good women of Edinburgh. On the 20th, the river having sunk to its ordinary level, it was resolved that the army should march forward. This, however, was considered so momentous an affair, that not one of the leading men would volunteer to be the first to set hostile feet upon the English border; and it was left to the lot to decide who should have the honour, or the demerit of doing so. The lot fell upon Montrose, who, aware of his own defection, and afraid of those suspicions with which he already saw himself regarded, eagerly laid hold of this opportunity to lay them asleep. Plunging at once into the stream, he waded through to the other side without a single attendant, but immediately returned to encourage his men; and a line of horse being planted on the upper side of the ford to break the force of the stream, the foot passed easily and safely, only one man being drowned of the whole army. The commanders, like Montrose, with the exception of those who commanded the horse employed to break the force of the water, waded at the head of their respective regiments, and though it was four o’clock, P. M., before they began to pass, the whole were on the English side before midnight. They encamped for that night on a hill that had been occupied by a troop of English horse, set to guard the ford, but which had fled before the superior force of the Scottish army; large fires were kindled in advance, which, says one of the actors in the scene, "rose like so many heralds proclaiming our crossing of the river, or rather like so many prodigious comets foretelling the fall of this ensuing storm upon our enemies in England;" contrary to the intentions of the Scots, "these fires so terrified the country people, that they all fled with bag and baggage towards the south parts of the country," according to the above author, "leaving their desolate houses to the mercy of the army." Charles left London to take command of his army, which had already rendezvoused at York, on the same day the Scottish army crossed the Tweed. This army, as we have stated above, was said to be twenty-one thousand strong; but from the aversion of the people in general to the service, there is reason to suppose, that in reality it fell far short of that number. The earl of Northumberland was nominated to the command, but he felt, says an English historian, disgusted at being called forth to act the most conspicuous part in a business which no good man in the kingdom relished; and taking advantage of a slight indisposition, he declared himself unfit to perform the duties of his function. Stafford, of course, exercised the supreme command, though only with the title of lieutenant-general, not caring to assume that of general, because of the envy and odium that attended him. Lord Conway, who commanded under Stafford, had been stationed at Newcastle with a strong garrison to protect the town, which it was supposed he might easily do, as it was fortified, and well stored with provisions.

On the 21st, the Scottish army marched in the direction of Newcastle, and encamped for the night on Millfield Race. On the 22d, they proceeded to the river Glen, where they were joined by about seven thousand of their brethren, who had entered England by Kelso. The whole marched the same night to Middleton Haugh. On Thursday the 27th, they came in sight of Newcastle. During this whole march, the Scots acted up to their previous professions; every Englishman that came into the camp, they caressed and loaded with kindness, and now they despatched a drummer to Newcastle with two letters, one to the mayor, and another to the military governor of the city, demanding in the most civil manner liberty to pass peaceably through, that they might lay their petition at the feet of their sovereign. The messenger was, however, sent back with his letters unopened, because they were sealed; and before he reached the army in his return, the general had determined to pass the Tyne at Newburn, about five or six miles above Newcastle. The principal ford below the village of Newburn, as well as two others, Conway had commanded by trenches, but as the river was passable in many other places not far distant, he had resolved on a retreat. Stafford, however, who undervalued the Scots, was anxious for a battle, if it were only to see what was the mettle of the parties, and commanded him to abide at his post. In approaching Newburn, general Leslie and a few of the chief noblemen, riding a little in advance, narrowly escaped being cut off by a party of English horse, that had crossed the Tyne for the purpose of reconnoitering. At sight of each other, both parties called a halt, and some more of the Scottish horse appearing, the English judged it prudent to retreat. The Scots during the night, encamped on Hadden Law, a rising ground behind Newburn, having a plain descent all the way down to the water’s edge. The English were encamped on the opposite side of the Tyne, on a perfect level, that extended behind them to the distance of more than half a mile. The Scottish position was deficient in water, but in return they had abundance of coal from the pits in the neighbourhood, with which they made great fires all around their camp, which tended not a little to magnify their appearance to the enemy. In the morning it was found that their camp overlooked completely that of the English, and they were able from the nature of the ground to plant their cannon so as to command completely the trenches cast up by the English at the fords. The morning was spent coolly in making preparations, both parties watering their horses at the river, (the tide being up,) without molestation. As the river became fordable, however, they became more jealous, and about midday a Scottish officer watering his horse, and looking steadily on the entrenchments on the opposite side, was shot dead by an English sentinel. This was the signal for battle; the Scottish batteries immediately opened, and the trenches thrown up by the English at the fords were soon rendered untenable. A few horsemen volunteers under a major Ballantyne, sent over the water to reconnoitre, with orders only to fire at a distance, and to retreat if necessary, found the whole of the breast-works abandoned. The general’s guard, consisting of the college of justice’s troop, commanded by Sir Thomas Hope, with two regiments of foot, Crawfurd’s and Loudon’s, were then sent across; and a battery being opened at the same time from a hilt to the eastward, directly upon the great body of the English horse on the plain below, a retreat was sounded, the cannon were withdrawn from the trenches, and the Scots passed in full force without farther opposition. The English foot sought refuge in a wood, and the horse in covering their retreat, were attacked by a fresh body of Scots, defeated with some loss, and their commanders made prisoners. The scattered parties escaped under cover of night, to carry dismay and confusion into the main body. The loss was inconsiderable, but the rout was complete. The English horse, who but the day before had left Newcastle with their swords drawn, threatening to kill each a dozen of covenanters, made their way into the town in a state of the utmost disorder and dismay, crying, as they rode full speed through the streets, for a guide to Durham; and having strewed the roads behind them with their arms, which they had thrown away in their haste to escape. The Scottish army rested that night upon the ground which the English had occupied, one regiment being still on the north side of the Tyne with the baggage, which the return of the tide had prevented being brought across. Despatches for the governor and mayor of Newcastle, of the same respectful character as had been formerly sent, were prepared on the morning of Saturday; but the committee learning that the garrison had abandoned it during the night, and retired with lord Conway to join the main army at York, it was thought proper to advance without ceremony. The army accordingly moved to Whiggam, within two miles of Newcastle, where they encamped for the night, and next morning, Sunday the 30th of August, the mayor sent an invitation to enter the town. The troops were accordingly marched into a field near the suburbs, after which the gates were thrown open, and the committee, with the principal leaders, entered the town in state, Sir Thomas Hope’s troop marshalling the way, and the laird of West Quarter’s company of foot keeping the post at the end of the bridge. The whole company were fronted at the house of the lord mayor, who was astonished to observe that they all drank his majesty’s health. After dinner the company repaired to the great church of St Nicholas, where a thanksgiving sermon was preached by Mr Henderson. In the town they found next day between four and five thousand stand of arms, five thousand pounds’ weight of cheese, some hundreds of bolls of pease and rye, a quantity of hard fish, with abundance of beer; which had been provided for the king’s troops, but now was taken possession of by his enemies.

Nothing could be more encouraging than the prospects of the covenanters at this time. The same day in which they gained the victory at Newburn, the castle of Dumbarton, then reckoned an impregnable fortress, surrendered to their friends in Scotland, as did shortly after that of Edinburgh; and the capture of Newcastle was speedily followed by the acquisition of Durham, Tynemouth, and Shields. The number and the splendour of these successes, with the delightful anticipations which they naturally called forth, could not fail to strike every pious mind among the Scots; and a day was most appropriately set apart by the army, as a day of fasting and prayer, in acknowledgment of their sense of the divine goodness. Stafford who, from bad health, had not yet come into action, was hastening to the combat, when he met his discomfited army at Durham; and, from the ill-timed haughtiness which he displayed, was soon the only enemy his army was desirous to overcome. His soldiers even went the length of vindicating their conduct at Newburn; affirming, that no man could wish success to the war against the Scots, without at the same time wishing the enslavement of England. The prudent magnanimity of the Scots, who, far from being elated with the victory, deplored the necessity of being obliged to shed the blood of their English brethren, not only supported, but heightened the favourable opinion that had been from the beginning entertained of them. Their prisoners, too, they treated not only with civility, but with such soothing and affectionate kindness, as insured their gratitude, and called forth the plaudits of the whole nation. Eager to profit by this state of things, in restoring order and concord between the king and his people, the Scottish committee, on the 2nd of September, sent a letter to the earl of Lanark, his majesty’s secretary of state for Scotland, enclosing a petition which they requested him to lay before the king. To this petition, which was couched in the most delicate terms, the king returned an answer without loss of time, requiring them to state in more plain terms the claims they intended to make upon him; informing them, at the same time, that he had called a meeting of the peers of England, to meet at York on the 24th instant. This was an antiquated and scarcely legal assembly, which Charles had called by his own authority, to supersede the necessity of again calling a parliament,—the only means by which the disorders of the government could now be arrested, and which the Scottish committee in their petition had requested him to call immediately. To this communication, the committee replied; "that the sum of their desires was, that his majesty would ratify the acts of the last Scottish parliament, garrison the castle of Edinburgh and the other fortresses only for the defence and security of his subjects, free their countrymen in England and Ireland from further persecution for subscribing the covenant, and press them no further with oaths and subscriptions not warranted by law—bring to just censure the incendiaries who had been the authors of these combustions—restore the ships and goods that had been seized and condemned by his majesty’s orders; repair the wrongs and repay the losses that had been sustained; recall the declaration that had been issued against them as traitors— and, finally, remove, with the consent of the parliament of England, the garrisons from the borders, and all impediments to free trade, and to the peace, the religion, and liberties of the two kingdoms.

These demands were no doubt as unpalatable as ever to Charles, but the consequences of his rashness were now pressing him on all sides. His exchequer was empty, his revenue anticipated, his army undisciplined and disaffected, and himself surrounded by people who scarcely deigned to disguise their displeasure at all his measures. In such extreme embarrassment, the king clung, like a drowning man, to any expedient which presented itself, rather than again meet, with the only friends who could effectually relieve him, his parliament. There was unfortunately, too, a secret party among the covenanters, who, with all the pretensions to religion and to patriotism they had put forth, were only seeking their own aggrandizement, and were determined never to admit any pacification that did not leave them at the head of public affairs. Of these, among the Scots, Montrose was the most conspicuous. We have seen with what zeal he imposed the covenant upon the recusant Aberdonians. But he had, since then, had a taste of royal favour at Berwick, and, as it was likely to advance him above every other Scotsman, his whole study, ever since that memorable circumstance, had been how he might best advance the royal interest. For this purpose he had formed an association for restoring the king to an unlimited exercise of all his prerogatives, which was subscribed at Cumbernauld, on the sixth day of the preceding July, by himself, the earl of Wigton, the lords Fleming, Boyd, and Almond, who held the place of lieutenant-general in the covenanters’, army; and afterwards by the earls of Marischal, Marr, Athol, Kinghorn, Perth, Kelly, Home, and Seaforth; and by the lords Stewart, Erskine, Drummond, Ker, and Napier. Though this association was unknown at the time, the predilections of Montrose were no secrets, and, of course, his credit among his friends was rather on the decline; but a circumstance now occurred which displayed his character in the full light of day, and nearly extinguished any little degree of respect that yet remained to him among the members of the liberal party. It had been laid down, at the commencement of the campaign, that no person in the army should communicate with either the English court or army, but by letters submitted to the inspection, and approved of by the committee, under the pain of treason. In obedience to this rule, when Sir James Mercer was despatched with the petition to the king, a number of letters from Scotsmen in the camp to their friends in the royal army, were submitted to the committee, and delivered to him, to be carried to their proper destination. Among these letters was one from Montrose to Sir Richard Graham, which had been read and allowed by the committee; but when Sir James Mercer delivered Sir Richard the letter, who instantly opened it, an enclosed letter dropped out and fell to the ground, which Sir James, politely stooping to lift, found, to his astonishment, was addressed in the hand-writing of Montrose to the king. Certain that no such letter had been shown to the committee, Sir James was at once convinced of what had been for some time suspected, that Montrose was betraying the cause in which he had been such a fiery zealot; and on his arrival at Newcastle, instantly communicated the circumstance to general Leslie, who, at a meeting of the committee, of which it was Montrose’s turn to sit as president, that same afternoon, moved that Sir James Mercer should be called in and examined concerning the letters he had carried to court. Sir James told an unvarnished tale, that would not admit if being denied; and Montrose, with that constitutional hardihood which was natural to him, finding no other resource, stood boldly up and challenged any man to say, that corresponding with the king was any thing else than paying duty to their common master. Leslie told him that he had known princes lose their heads for less. He had, however, too many associates to his treason, to render it safe or rather prudent at the present moment to treat him as convicted, and he was only enjoined to keep his chamber. While Montrose was thus traitorously spiriting up the king to stand up to all his usurpations, on the one side, Strafford was no less busy on the other, knowing that nothing could save him from the hands of public justice but the king; nor could the king do so, but by strengthening rather than abridging his prerogative. The voice of the nation, however, was distinctly raised, and there was nothing left for Charles but compliance, real or apparent.

From this period forward, we know of no portion of history that has a more painful interest than that of Charles I. Our limits, however, do not allow us to enter into it farther than what may be necessary to make the thread of our narrative intelligible. The Scottish committee being sincerely desirous of an accommodation, the preliminaries of a treaty were, on their part, soon settled; and commissioners from both sides being appointed, a meeting took place, October 1st, at Rippon, half way between the quarters of the two armies; where it was agreed that all hostilities should cease on the 26th of the same month. Charles was now necessitated to call a parliament, and on his consenting to this, the peers agreed to give their personal security to the city of London for a sum of money sufficient to pay both armies—for Charles had now the Scottish army to subsist as well as his own—till such time as it was expected the national grievances would be fully settled by a parliament. The Scottish army was to be stationary at Newcastle, and was to be paid at the rate of eight hundred and fifty pounds a day; but the commission for settling the terms of peace was transferred to London, in order to attend the parliament, which was summoned to meet on the 3d of November.

Unfortunately for the king, and latterly for the cause of liberty, the Scots who had attracted so much notice, and conducted themselves with so much prudence, were now no longer principals, but auxiliaries in the quarrel. The English parliament occupied with the grievances which had been so long complained of, and profiting by the impression which the successful resistance of the Scots had made, were in no haste to forward the treaty; so that it was not finished till the month of August, 1641. The Scottish army all this time received their stipulated daily pay, and the parliament further gratified them with what they called a brotherly assistance, the sum of three hundred thousand pounds, as a compensation for the losses they had sustained in the war, of which eighty thousand pounds was paid down as a first instalment. The king, so long as he had the smallest hope of managing the English parliament, was in as little haste as any body to wind up the negotiations, and, in the meantime, was exerting all his king-craft to corrupt the commissioners. Montrose, we have seen, he had already gained. Rothes, whose attachment to the covenant lay also in disgust and hatred of the opposite party, was likewise gained, by the promise of a rich marriage, and a lucrative situation near the king’s person. A fever, however, cut him off, and saved him from disgracing himself in the manner he had intended. Aware that he was not able to subdue the English parliament, Charles, amidst all his intriguing, gave up every thing to the Scots, and announced his intention of meeting with his parliament in Edinburgh by the month of August. This parliament had sat down on the 19th of November, 1640, and having reappointed the committee, adjourned till the 14th of January, 1641; when it again met, re-appointed the committee, and adjourned till the thirteenth of April. The committee had no sooner sat down, than the Cumbernauld bond was brought before them. It had been all this while kept a secret, though the general conversation of those who were engaged in it had excited strong suspicions of some such thing being in existence. The first notice of this bond seems to have dropped from lord Boyd on his death-bed; but the full discovery was made by the lord Almond to the earl of Argyle, who reported it to the committee of parliament The committee then cited before them Montrose, and so many of the bonders as happened to be at home at the time—who acknowledged the bond, and attempted to justify it, though by no means to the satisfaction of the committee, many of the members of which were eager to proceed capitally against the offenders. Motives the most mercenary and mean, however, distracted their deliberations, and impeded the course of even-handed justice; the bond was delivered up and burned; the parties declared in writing that no evil was intended; and the matter was hushed.

At a meeting of the committee, May 26th, probably as a set off against the Cumbernauld bond, Mr John Graham, minister at Auchterarder, was challenged for a speech uttered by him to the prejudice of the duke of Argyle. He acknowledged the speech, and gave for his authority Mr Robert Murray, minister of Methven, who, being present, gave for his author the earl of Montrose. Montrose condescended on the speech, the time, and the place. The place was in Argyle’s own tent, at the ford of Lyon; the time, when the earl of Athol and eight other gentlemen were there made prisoners; the speech was to this effect—that they (the parliament) had consulted both lawyers and divines anent deposing the king, and were resolved that it might be done in three cases: - 1st Desertion – 2d, Invasion – 3d, Vendition; adding, that they thought to have done it at the last sitting of parliament, and would do it at the next. For this speech Montrose gave for witness John Stuart, commissary of Dunkeld, one of the gentlemen who were present in the tent; and under took to produce him, which he did four days afterward. Stuart, before the committee, subscribed a paper bearing all that Montrose had said in his name, and was sent by the committee to the castle. In the castle he signed another paper, wherein he cleared Argyle, owned that he himself had forged the speech out of malice against his lordship; and that by the advice of Montrose, lord Napier, Sir George Stirling of Keir, and Sir Andrew Stuart of Blackhall, he had sent a copy of the speech, under his hand, to the king by captain Walter Stuart. Argyle thus implicated in a charge of the most dangerous nature, was under the necessity of presenting Stuart before the justiciary, where, upon the clearest evidence, he was found guilty, condemned, and executed.

On the 11th of June, Montrose, lord Napier, Sir George Stirling, and Sir Andrew Stuart of Blackhall, were cited before the committee, and after examination committed close prisoners to the castle, where they remained till towards the close of the year. Parliament, according to adjournment, having met on the 15th of July, letters were read, excusing his majesty’s attendance till the 15th of August, when it was resolved to sit till the coming of his majesty, and to have every thing in readiness agaisn the day of his arrival. Montrose was in the meantime summoned to appear before parliament on the 13th day of August. He requested that he might be allowed advocates for consultation, which was granted. So much, however, was he hated at the time, that no advocate of any note would come forward in his behalf, and from sheer necessity he was obliged to send for Mr John, afterwards Sir John Gilmour, then a man of no consideration, but in consequence of being Montrose’s counsel, afterwards held in high estimation, and employed in the succeeding reign for promoting the despotic measures of the court. On the 13th of August, Montrose appeared before the parliament, and having replied to his charge, was continued to the twenty-fourth, and remanded to prison. At the same time, summonses were issued against the lord Napier and the lairds of Keir and Blackhall, to appear before the parliament on the twenty-eighth. On the fourteenth his majesty arrived in Edinburgh, having visited in his way the Scottish army at Newcastle, and dined with general Leslie. On the seventeenth he came to the parliament, and sat there every day afterwards till he had accomplished as he supposed, the purposes of his journey. The king, perfectly aware, or rather perfectly determined to break with the parliament of England, had no object in view by this visit except to gain over the leaders of the Scots, that they might either join him against the parliament, or at least stand neuter till he had reduced England, when he knew he could mould Scotland as he thought fit. He, of course, granted every thing they requested. The earl of Montrose appeared again before the parliament on the twenty-fourth of August, and was continued de novo, as were also the lord Napier and the lairds of Keir and Blackhall, on the twenty-eighth. In this state they all remained till, in return for the king’s concessions, they were set at liberty in the beginning of the year 1642.

Thought in prison, Montrose had done all that he possibly could to stir up an insurrection in favour of the king while he was in Scotland; and he had also exerted himself, though unsuccessfully, to procure the disgrace of the marquis of Hamilton and the earl of Lanark, both of whom he seems bitterly to have envied, and to have hated almost as heartily as he did Argyle. It is probably owing to this, that upon his liberation he retired to his own house in the country, living privately till the spring of 1643; when the queen returning from Holland, he hasted to wait upon her at Burlington, and accompanied her to York. He embraced this opportunity again to press on the queen, as he had formerly done on the king, what he was pleased to denominate the dangerous policy of the covenanters, and solicited a commission to raise an army and to suppress them by force of arms, as he was certain his majesty would never be able to bring them to his measures by any other means. This marquis of Hamilton thwarted him, however, for the present, and he again returned home.

Having been unsuccessful in so many attempts to serve the king, and his services being now absolutely rejected, it might have been supposed that Montrose would either have returned to his old friends, or that he would have withdrawn himself as far as it was possible from public life. But he was animated by a spirit of deadly hatred against the party with whom he had acted, and he had within him a restless spirit of ambition which nothing could satisfy but the supreme direction in all public managements: an ambition, the unprincipled exercise of which rendered him, from the very outset of his career, the "evil genius," first of the covenanters, and latterly of the miserably misled monarch whom he laboured apparently to serve, and whom he affected to adore. By suggesting the plot against Argyle and Hamilton, known in history by the name of the Incident, during the sitting of the parliament, with Charles at its head in Edinburgh, he checked at once the tide of confidence between him and his parliament, which was rapidly returning to even more than a reasonable height, and created numberless suspicions and surmisings through all the three kingdoms, that could never again be laid while he was in life; and by betraying the secrets of the covenanters, he led the unwary monarch into such an extravagant notion of the proofs of treason which might be established against some members of the lower house, that, forgetting the dignity of his place, he came to the parliament house in person, to demand five of its members, who, he said, had been guilty of treason; an unhappy failure, which laid the broad foundation of his total ruin. With ceaseless activity Montrose, at the same time, tampered with the leaders of the covenant, who, anxious to bring him back to their cause, held out the prospect of not only a pardon, but of their giving him the post of lieutenant-general. Under the pretence of smoothing some difficulties of conscience, he sought a conference with the celebrated preacher, Mr Henderson, that he might pry into the secrets of his former friends; which he had no sooner obtained, than he hastened to lay the whole before his majesty in a new accusation, and as offering additional motives for his majesty issuing out against them commissions of fire and sword.

The king, having now disengaged himself from the controlling influence of the marquis of Hamilton, entered into an arrangement, in terms of which the earl of Antrim, who was at the time waiting upon his majesty, undertook to transport into Scotland a few thousands of his Irish retainers, at whose head, and with the assistance of a band of Highland royalists, Montrose was to attempt the subversion of the existing Scottish government. The time appointed for the execution of this scheme was the beginning of April, 1644. Arms and ammunition were in the meantime to be imported from the continent, and a small auxiliary force procured from the king of Denmark.

As the time approached, Montrose, raised to the rank of marquis, left Oxford with the royal commission, to be lieutenant-general for Scotland, under prince Rupert, and accompanied by about one hundred cavaliers, mostly his personal friends. To these he added a small body of militia in passing through the northern counties of England, and on the 13th of April entered Scotland on the western border; and pushing into Dumfries, he there erected his standard, and proposed to wait till he should hear of the arrival of his Irish auxiliaries. In two days, however, he was under the necessity of making a precipitate retreat to Carlisle. This so speedy catastrophe did not tend to exalt the character of Montrose among the English cavaliers, who had pretty generally been of opinion that a diversion in Scotland in the then state of the country was utterly impracticable. Montrose, however, had lost nothing of his self-confidence, and he applied to prince Rupert for one thousand horse, with which he promised to cut his way through all that Scotland could oppose to him. This the prince promised he should have, though he probably never intended any such thing, for he regarded him in no other light than that of a very wrong-headed enthusiast. Even his more particular friends, appalled by the reports of the state of matters in the north, began to melt from his side, and he was universally advised to give up his commission, and reserve himself for a more favourable, opportunity. The spirit of Scotland was at this time decidedly warlike. Leslie was in England with a large army of Scotsmen, who shortly after performed a prominent part at the decisive battle of Marston Moor. There was an army in the north, which had suppressed the insurrection of the Gordons, and sent Haddo and Logie to the block; and the earl of Callendar, formerly lord Almond, was ordered instantly to raise five thousand men for the suppression of Montrose. The commission of the general assembly of the church, in the meantime, proceeded against that nobleman, with a sentence of excommunication, which was pronounced in the high church of Edinburgh on the twenty-sixth day of April, scarcely more than ten days after he had set hostile foot on Scottish ground. Not knowing well what to do, Montrose made an attack upon a small party of covenanters in Morpeth, whom he drove out of the town, and secured the castle. He also captured a small fort at the mouth of the Tyne, and stored Newcastle plentifully with corn from Alnwick and other places around. He was requested by prince Rupert to come up to the battle of Marston Moor, but on his way thither met the prince flying from that disastrous field.

He now determined to throw himself into the Highlands, where he still had high hopes of assistance and success. Making choice of two persons only for his companions, Sir William Rollock and colonel Sibbald, he disguised himself and rode as Sibbald’s groom, and in this manner, taking the most wild and unfrequented ways, they arrived, after riding four days, at Tullibalton, near the foot of the Grampians, the house of his friend, Patrick Graham of Inchbrackie, where he halted for some days, passing his time through the night in an obscure cottage, and in the day among the neighbouring mountains. His two companions in the meantime were despatched to collect intelligence respecting the state of the country, and privately to warn his friends. The accounts procured by his friends were of the most distressing kind, the covenanters being every where in great strength, and the cavaliers in a state of the most complete dejection. In a few days, however, a letter was brought by a Highlander to Inchbrackie, with a request that it might be conveyed to the marquis of Montrose, wherever he might be. This was a letter from Alexander M’Coll, alias M’Donald, a distinguished warrior, who had been entrusted with the charge of his retainers by the marquis of Antrim, with a request that he, Montrose, would come and take the command of the small but veteran band. This small division had about a month before landed in the sound of Mull, had besieged, taken, and garrisoned three castles on the island of that name, and afterwards sailing for the mainland had disembarked in Knoydart, where they attempted to raise some of the clans. Argyle, in the meantime, coming round to that quarter with some ships of war, had taken and destroyed their vessels, so that they had no means of escape; and, with a strong party of the enemy hanging on their rear, were proceeding into the interior in the hope of being assisted by some of the loyal clans. Montrose wrote an immediate answer as if from Carlisle, and appointed a day not very distant when he would meet them at Blair of Athol, which he selected as the most proper place of meeting from the enmity which he knew the men of Athol had to Argyle. On the appointed day, attended by Inchbrackie, both dressed in the costume of ordinary Highlanders and on foot, he travelled from Tullibalton to the place of meeting, and to his great joy found twelve hundred Irishmen quartered on the spot. They had already been joined by small bodies of Highlanders, and the men of Athol seemed ready to rise almost to a man. When Montrose presented himself to them, though he exhibited his majesty’s commission to act as lieutenant-general, the Irish, from the meanness of his appearance, could scarcely believe that he was the man he gave himself out to be. But the Highlanders, who received him with the warmest demonstrations of respect and affection, put the matter beyond doubt, and he was hailed with the highest enthusiasm. He was joined the same day by the whole of the Athol Highlanders, including the Stuarts, the Robertsons, and other smaller clans, to the number of eight hundred, so that his army was above two thousand men. Aware that Argyle was in pursuit of the Irish, he led his army the next day across the hills towards Strathearn, where he expected reinforcements. Passing the castle of Wiem, the seat of the clan Menzies, he commenced his career by burning and ravaging all the neighbouring lands, in revenge for the harsh treatment of one of his messengers by the family, to strike a salutary terror into all who might be disposed to offer him violence, and to gratify his followers, whose principal object he well knew was plunder. Passing through glen Almond next day, an advanced party of his men were surprised with the appearance of a large body of men drawn up on the hill of Buckenty. These were men of Menteith, raised by order of the committee of estates at Edinburgh, marching to the general rendezvous at Perth, under the command of lord Kilpont, eldest son of the earl of Menteith. Being mostly Highlanders and officered by gentlemen of the family of Montrose, or of the kindred clan Drummond, they were easily persuaded to place themselves under the royal standard, which increased his force to three thousand men.

Resolving to attack Perth, where some raw levies were assembled under the command of lord Elcho, Montrose continued his march all night, intending to take the place by surprise. Lord Elcho, however, had been warned of his approach, and had drawn his men to the outside of the town, intending to hazard a battle for its defence. In crossing the Tippermuir, a wild field about five miles from Perth, Montrose came in sight of the enemy, upwards of six thousand in number drawn up in one long line, with horse at either end. Lord Elcho himself led the right wing, Sir James Scott of Rossie, the only man in the army who had ever seen service, the left; and the earl of Tullibardine, the main body. Montrose drew out his little army also in one long line, three men deep. The Irish who were veteran troops, he placed in the centre; the Highlanders he placed on the wings to oppose the horse, being armed with swords, Lochaber axes, and long clubs. He himself led the right wing, that he might be opposed to Sir James Scott, who was an officer of good reputation, having served in the wars abroad—from the lords Elcho and Tullibardine, he apprehended little danger. The covenanters’ horse fled at the first onset, being overpowered, according to Wishart, by a shower of stones, but more probably induced by the treachery of lord Drummond, and his friend Gask. The flight of the horse threw the ill-disciplined foot into irremediable confusion, and they followed in such breathless haste, that many expired through fatigue and fear, without even the mark of a wound. Few were slain in the engagement, but there were upwards of three hundred killed in the pursuit. Montrose had not a single man killed, and only two wounded. The whole of the artillery and baggage of the vanquished fell into the hands of the victors; and Lord Drummond, whose treachery had chiefly occasioned the rout, joined Montrose as soon as the affair was over. Montrose entered Perth the same night, where he levied a subsidy of nine thousand merks, and stipulated for free quarters to his army for four days. They remained only three, but in these three they supplied themselves with whatever they wanted, whether it were clothes, arms, food, money, or ammunition. The stoutest young men were also impressed into the ranks, and all the horses seized without exception.

On the 4th of September, Montrose crossed the Tay, and proceeded through Angus for Aberdeenshire. The first night of his march he halted at Collace, where lord Kilpont was murdered by Stuart of Ardvorlich, who struck down a sentinel with the same weapon, with which he had stabbed his lordship, and made his escape. Proceeding to Dundee, Montrose summoned the town; but it was occupied by a number of the Fife troops, and refused to surrender. The approach of the earl of Argyle, with a body of troops, prevented Montrose from venturing upon a siege. Proceeding towards Aberdeen, the Aberdonians, alarmed at his approach, sent off the public money, and their most valuable effects to Dunnotter, and having a force of upwards of two thousand men, they threw up some fortifications at the bridge of Dee, for the defence of the city. Montrose however, remembered the bridge of Dee, and, avoiding it, crossed the water by a ford at the mills of Drum, which rendered all their preparations vain. A summons was sent into the town to surrender, and the covenanters’ army being on the march, the messengers who brought the summons were hospitably entertained and dismissed. By some accident the drummer on his return was killed; on which Montrose ordered preparations for an immediate attack, and issued the inhuman orders to give no quarter. Lord Burleigh and Lewis Gordon, a son of Huntly’s, led the right and left wings of the covenanters, which consisted of horse, and the levies of Aberdeenshire, a majority of whom were indifferent in the cause. The centre was composed of the Fife soldiers, and those who had joined them from principle. Montrose, still deficient in cavalry, had mixed his musketeers with his horse, and waited for the covenanters. Lord Lewis Gordon, who had forced a number of the Gordons to engage in opposition to the inclination and orders of his father, rushed precipitately forward with the left wing, which by a steady fire of musketry was suddenly checked, and before it could be rallied totally routed. The right wing experienced a similar fate, but the centre stood firm and maintained its post against the whole force of the enemy for two hours. It too at length gave way, and, fleeing into the town, was hotly pursued by the victors, who killed without exception every man they met; and for four days the town was given up to indiscriminate plunder. Montrose, lodging with his old acquaintance, skipper Anderson, allowed his Irishmen to take their full freedom of riot and debauchery. "Seeing a man well cled," says Spalding, "they would tirr him to save his clothes unspoiled, and syne kill him. Some women they pressed to deflour, and some they took perforce to serve them in the camp. The wife durst not cry nor weep at her husband’s slaughter before her eyes, nor the daughter for the father, which if they did, and were heard, they were presently slain also." The approach of Argyle put an end to these horrors. Expecting to be joined by the marquis of Huntly’s retainers, Montrose hasted to Inverary, but the breach of faith in carrying the marquis forcibly to Edinburgh after a safe conduct being granted was not forgotten; and Argyle too being at hand, his ranks were but little augmented in this quarter. When he approached the Spey, he found the boats removed to the northern side, and the whole force of Moray assembled to dispute his passage. Without a moment’s hesitation he dashed into the wilds of Badenoch, where with diminished numbers, for the highlanders had gone home to store their plunder, he could defy the approach of any enemy. Here he was confined for some days by sickness from over fatigue, but a few days restored him to wonted rigour, when he descended again into Athol to recruit, MacDonald having gone on the same errand into the Highlands. From Athol, Montrose passed into Angus, where he wasted the estates of lord Cowper, and plundered the place of Drum, in which were deposited all the valuables belonging to the town of Montrose and the surrounding country; there also he obtained a supply of arms, and some pieces of artillery. Argyle with a greatly superior force, was following his footsteps; but, destitute of military talents, he could neither bring him to an engagement, nor interrupt his progress. Having supplied his wants in Angus, and recruited his army, Montrose suddenly re-passed the Grampians, and spreading ruin around him, made another attempt to raise the Gordons. Disappointed still, he turned to the castle of Fyvie, where he was surprised by Argyle and Lothian, and, but for the most miserable mismanagement, must have been taken. After sustaining two assaults from very superior numbers, he eluded them by stratagem, and ere they were aware, was again lost in the wilds of Badenoch. Argyle, sensible perhaps of his inferiority, returned to Edinburgh, and threw up his commission.

Montrose, now left to act as he thought proper, having raised, in his retreat through Badenoch, portions of the clans M’Donald and Cameron, and been joined by the Stuarts of Appin, whom his friend Alister M’Coll had raised for him, he, with the consent and by the advice of his associates, prepared to lay waste the territory of his hated rival Argyle. For this purpose he divided his army into two divisions, the one consisting of the levies from Lochaber and Knoydart, under John Muidartach, the captain of the Clanronalds, entered by the head of Argyle; the other under his own direction, by the banks of Loch Tay and Glen Dochart. The country on both tracts belonging either to Argyle or his relations was destroyed without mercy. In this work of destruction Montrose was assisted by the clans of M’Gregor and M’Nab; who, whatever might be said of their loyalty, were, the former of them especially, as dextrous at foraying and fire raising, as the most accomplished troop in his service. For upwards of six weeks was this devastation prolonged. Every person capable of bearing a weapon was murdered, every house was razed, castles excepted, which they were not able for the want of artillery to master. Trusting to the poverty and difficulty of the passes into his country, Argyle seems never to have anticipated such a visit, till the marauders were within a few miles of his castle of Inverary, when he instantly took boat and sailed for the Lowlands, leaving all behind to the uncontrolled sway of these insatiate spoilers, who "left not a four-footed beast in his hale lands," nor, as they imagined, a man able to bear arms. Having rendered the country a desert, they bent their way towards Inverness, by Lochaber, to meet the earl of Seaforth, who with the strength of Ross, Sutherland, and Caithness, occupied that important station.

Argyle in the meantime having met with general Baillie at Dumbarton, and concerted a plan with him, hastened back to the Highlands, and collecting his fugitive vassals and his dependants, followed at a distance the steps of his enemy, intending to be ready to attack him in the rear, when Baillie, as had been agreed between them, should advance to take him in front. Montrose was marching through Abertarf, in the great glen of Albin, when he was surprised with intelligence that Argyle was at Inverlochy with an army of, at least, double the number of that which he himself commanded, and aware that Baillie and Hurry were both before him, was at no loss to conjecture his intentions. Without a moment’s hesitation, however, he determined to turn back, and taking his antagonist by surprise, cut him off at one blow, after which he should be able to deal with the enemy that was in his front, as circumstances should direct. For this purpose he placed a guard upon the level road down the great glen of Albin, which he had just traversed, that no tidings of his movements might be carried back, and moving up the narrow glen formed by the Tarf, crossed the hills of Lairee Thurard. Descending thence into the lonely vale at the head of the Spey, and traversing Glen Roy, he crossed another range of mountains, came in upon the water of Spean, and skirting the lofty Ben-nevis, was at Inverlochy, within half a mile of Argyle, before the least hint of his purpose had transpired; having killed every person they met with, of whom they had the smallest suspicion of carrying tidings of their approach, and the route they had chosen being so unusual a one, though they rested through the night in the clear moonlight, in sight of their camp, the Campbells supposed them to be only an assemblage of the country people come forth to protect their property; and they do not seem to have thought upon Montrose, till, with the rising sun and his usual flourish of trumpets, he debouched from the glen of the Nevis, with the rapidity of a mountain torrent. Argyle, who was lame of an arm at the time, had gone on board one of his vessels on the lake during the night, but a considerable portion of his troops that lay on the farther side of that lake, he had not thought it necessary to bring over to their fellows. His cousin, however, Campbell of Auchinbreck, a man of considerable military experience, who had been sent for from Ireland, for the purpose of leading this array of the Campbells, marshalled them in the best order circumstances would permit; but they fled at once before the wild yell of their antagonists, and, without even attempting to defend themselves, were driven into the lake, or cut down along its shores. On the part of Montrose, only three privates were killed and about two hundred wounded, among whom was Sir Thomas Ogilvy, who died a few days after. On the part of Argyle, upwards of fifteen hundred were slain, among whom were a great number of the chief men of the Campbells. This victory which was certainly most complete, was gained upon Sunday the 2nd of February, 1645; and if, as there are abundant grounds for believing, the letter of Montrose concerning it to the king, was the means of causing him to break off the treaty of Uxbridge, when he had determined to accept of the conditions offered him, it was more unfortunate than any defeat could possibly have been.

Instead of following his rival Argyle to Edinburgh, and demonstrating, as he somewhat quaintly boasted in his letter to the king, that the country was really conquered, and in danger of being called by his name, Montrose resumed his march to the north east, and, after approaching Inverness, which he durst not attempt, made another foray through Morayland; where, under pretence of calling forth all manner of men, between the ages of sixteen and sixty, to serve the king, he burned and plundered the country, firing the cobbles of the fishermen, and cutting their nets in pieces. Elgin was saved from burning by the payment of four thousand merks, and its fair of Fasten’s Eve, one of the greatest in the north of Scotland, was that year not held. The greater part of the inhabitants fled with their wives, their children, and their best goods, to the castle of Spynie, which only afforded an excuse for plundering the town of what was left. The laird of Grant’s people, who had newly joined Montrose, no doubt for the express purpose, were particularly active in the plundering of Elgin, "breaking down beds, boards, insight, and plenishing, and leaving nothing that was tursable (portable) uncarried away." Leaving the Grants thus honourably employed for the king in Elgin, Montrose with the main body of his army, proceeded on the 4th of March to the bog of Gight, sending before him across the Spey the Farquharsons of Braemar to plunder the town of Cullen, which they did without mercy. Grant having deserted his standard and thus become as assistant in robbery, as might naturally have been expected in this sort of warfare, the garrison of Inverness sent out a party to his house at Elchies, which they completely despoiled, carrying off plates, jewels, wearing apparel, and other articles; after which they plundered the lands of Coxtoun, because the laird had followed Montrose along with the lord Gordon. This compelled all the gentlemen of that quarter to go back for the protection of their own estates, Montrose taking their parole to continue faithful to the king or at least never to join the covenanters. This the most part of them kept as religiously as he had done the oath of the covenant. At the bog of Gight he lost his eldest son, a youth of sixteen, who had accompanied him through all this desultory campaign; and dying here, was buried in the church of Bellie.

Having received a reinforcement of five hundred foot and one hundred and sixty horse, which was all that lord Gordon was able to raise among his father’s vassals, Montrose moved from the bog of Gight, intending to fall down upon the Lowlands through Banffshire and Angus. In passing the house of Cullen, he plundered it of every article of plate and furniture, and would have set it on fire, but that the countess (the earl of Findlater being in Edinburgh) redeemed it for fifteen days, by paying five thousand marks in hand and promising fifteen thousand more. From Cullen he proceeded to Boyne, which he plundered of every article, spoiling even the minister’s books and setting every ‘biggin’ on fire. The laird himself kept safe in the craig of Boyne; but his whole lands were destroyed. In Banff he left neither goods nor arms, and every man whom they met in the streets they stripped to the skin. In the neighbourhood of Turreff he destroyed sixty ploughs belonging to the viscount Frenddraught, with all the movable property of the three parishes of Inverkeithny, Forgue, and Drumulade. He was met by a deputation from Aberdeen, who "declared the hail people, man and woman through plain fear of the Irishes, was fleeing away if his honour did not give them assurance of safety and protection. He forbade them to be feared, for this foot army wherein the Irishes were, should not come near Aberdeen by eight miles." And "this," Spalding exultingly exclaims, along with some other friendly promises, truly and nobly he kept!" Though he had promised to keep the Irishes at due distance, he sent one of his most trusty chieftains, Nathaniel Gordon, along with Donald Farquharson and about eighty well-horsed gentlemen, into Aberdeen, to seize some stores belonging to the estates, and to look out for Baillie, whom he expected by that route. These having partly executed their commission, sat down to enjoy themselves, and were surprised by general Hurry, who, with one hundred and sixty horse and foot, secured the gates and avenues of the town, and falling upon the unsuspecting cavaliers, killed many of them as they sat at their wine, and seized all their horses. Among those that were slain was Donald Farquharson, "one of the noblest captains," according to Spalding "amongst all the Highlanders of Scotland." Hurry retired at his leisure, unmolested, carrying with him a number of prisoners, who, as traitors to the covenant, were sent to Edinburgh. Among these prisoners was the second son of Montrose, now lord Graham, a young boy attending the schools, who along with his pedagogue was imprisoned in the castle of Edinburgh. The corpse of Donald Farquharson "was found next day in the streets stripped naked, for they tirred from off his body a rich suit which he had put on only the samen day. Major-general M’Donald was sent in on the Saturday afternoon with one thousand Irishes, horse and foot, to bury Donald, which they did on Sabbath, in the laird of Drum’s Isle." During these two days, though the Aberdonians were in great terror, M’Donald seems to have kept his Irishes in tolerably good order, "not doing wrong, or suffering much wrong to be done, except to one or two covenanters that were plundered;" but on Monday, when he had left Aberdeen to meet Montrose at Duriss, " a number of the Irish rogues lay lurking behind him, abusing and fearing the town’s people, taking their cloaks, plaids, and purses from them on the streets. No merchant’s booth durst be opened; the stable doors were broken up in the night, and the horses taken out; but the major hearing this returns that samen Monday back, and drove all thir rascals with sore skins out of the town before him; and so both Aberdeens were clear both of him and them, by God’s providence, who looked both for fire and plundering—yet he took up his cloth and other commodities, amounting to the sum of ten thousand pounds and above, to be cloathing to him and his soldiers, and caused the town to become obliged to pay the merchants, by raising of a taxation for that affect, whilk they were glad to do to be quit of their company." On time same Sunday, the 17th of March, Montrose burned the parish of Durris, "the hail laigh biggins and corns, and spoiled the hail ground of nolt, sheep, and other guids." The lands of Craigievar lying in the parish of Fintry, and the minister’s house of Fintry, were served in the same manner the same day. He proceeded on the 20th to Dunnottar, where he summoned the earl Marischal to "come out of the castle and join him in the king’s service." On receipt of the earl’s answer "that he would not fight against his country," he sent a party who plundered and burned the whole lands of Dunnottar. They set fire at the same time to the town of Stonehaven and to all the fishing boats that lay in the harbour. The lands of Fetteresso, including an extensive and finely ornamented deer park, the village of Cowie, and the minister’s manse of Dunnottar, shared the same fate.

After so many burnings and such reckless plundering, it must by this time have become necessary for Montrose to shift his quarters. Rapine, indeed, was almost the sole object of his followers; and when they had either too much or too little of it, they were sure to leave him. The north having been repeatedly gone over, he seems at last to have meditated a descent upon the south. A pitched battle with Baillie and Hurry, who were stationed at Brechin with a considerable army, he seems also to have thought a necessary preliminary to his further progress. For this purpose he came to Fettercairn, only eight miles from their camp, where he purposed to rest till they should by some movement indicate their strength and their intentions. Baillie and Hurry were both good officers, and they had a force more than sufficient to cope with Montrose; but they were hampered in all their movements by a parliamentary committee sent along with them, without whose advice or suffrage they were not allowed to act. In consequence of this, their conduct was not at all times of a very soldier-like character, nor their motions so prompt as they ought to have been; Montrose, however, was but a short time in his new quarters, when hurry, who was general of the horse, came out with six hundred of his troopers to inspect his situation, and, if possible, ascertain his real strengths. Montrose, apprized of his approach, drew out all the horse he had, about two hundred, whom he placed on an eminence in front of his camp, with a strong body of musketeers concealed in a hollow behind them. Hurry made a dash at the horse, but met with such a warm reception from the concealed musketeers, as made him quickly retreat. Hurry, however, who was a brave soldier, placed himself in the rear of his retreating squadron, and brought them safely back to the camp with very little damage. This encounter kept both parties quiet for some days, and induced Montrose to attempt getting into the Lowlands without fighting Baillie, as he had originally proposed. For this end he sent back the Gordons, that they might be ready to defend their own country, in case Baillie should attempt to wreak his vengeance upon them, after he had thus gotten the slip, he then skirted along the Grampians with time remainder of his army towards Dunkeld. Baillie made no attempt directly to stop him. but preserved such a position as prevented him making his intended descent. After being for two days thus opposed to each other on the opposite banks of the Isla, Montrose sent a trumpeter, challenging Baillie to fight, either coming over the water to the north, or allowing him to come over to the south; it being understood that no molestation was to be given to either till fairly clear of the water, or till he declared himself ready to fight. Baillie made a reply, which it had been well for his own reputation and for his country, that be had at all times continued to act upon. He would look, he said, to his own business, and did not require other men to teach him to fight. Both armies then resumed their march, and respectively arrived at Dunkeld and Perth nearly at the same time.

Finding that he could not pass Baillie without a battle, and being informed by his scouts that he had left Perth and gone to the pass of Stirling; Montrose, as an interim employment, that would help to pass the time, and encourage his followers by the abundance of spoil it would afford, determined on a visit to Dundee,—a place that was strenuous for the covenant, and which had haughtily refused to admit him after the battle of Tippermuir. Sending off his baggage, and the less efficient of his men to Brechin, on the 3d day of April he led a hundred and fifty horse, with six hundred picked musketeers against that city; and continuing his march all night, arrived before it by ten o’clock on the forenoon of the 4th. Montrose immediately gave the place up to military execution; and, perhaps, for a kind of salvo to his credit, retired to the top of Dundee Law, leaving the command to lord Gordon and Alister M’Coll. The attack was made at three different places simultaneously, and all of them in a few minutes were successful. The town was set on fire in various places. The most revolting scenes of outrage and rapine followed. The abundance of spoil, however, of the most alluring description, happily diverted the robbers from indulging in butchery; and, ere they were aware, Baillie and Hurry were both at their heels. Had Montrose been in the town, the whole had been surprised and cut off in the midst of their revel; but from his post on the hill, he was apprized of the approach of the enemy just in time to recall his men; the greater part of them being so drunk that it was with difficulty they could be brought forth at the one extremity of the town as Baillie and Hurry entered at the other. Placing the weakest and most inebriated in the front, while he himself with the horse and the best of the musketeers brought up the rear, Montrose marched directly to Arbroath; and from want of unity of plan and of spirit in the two commanders opposed to him, brought off the whole with but a trifling loss. He reached Arbroath, seventeen miles east of Dundee, long before day. Here, however, he could not rest without exposing himself and his army to certain destruction; and anxious to regain the mountains, where alone he judged himself safe from his pursuers, he wheeled about in a north-westerly direction, right athwart the county of Forfar, and, before morning, crossed the south Esk at Cariston castle, where he was only three miles from the Grampians. The march, which in the two nights and a day this army had performed, could not be much short of seventy miles, and they must now have been in great want of rest. Baillie, who had taken post for the night at Forfar, intending in the morning to fall down upon Montrose at Arbroath, where he calculated upon his halting, no sooner learned the manner in which he had eluded him, than, determined to overtake him, he marched from Forfar with such haste that his horse were in sight of Montrose ere that general was apprized that he was pursued. His men were in such a profound sleep, that it was not without difficulty they were awakened; but they were no sooner so than they fled into the recesses of Glenesk, and Baillie abandoned the pursuit. The part of Montrose’s troops that had been with the baggage sent to Brechin, had also by this time taken refuge among the Grampians, and in the course of next day joined their companions.

The parliamentary committee seem now to have regarded Montrose as a sort of predatory outlaw, whom it was vain to pursue upon the mountains, and if they could confine him to these mountains, which he had already laid in many places waste, they seem for a time to have been willing to be satisfied. Baillie was accordingly stationed at Perth, to defend the passes into the southern shires, and Hurry was to defend, if possible, the northern counties from that spoliation to which they had been oftener than once subjected. Montrose’s followers, in the meantime, going home to deposit their plunder as usual, his numerical force was for a time considerably reduced. He, however, came as far south as Crief, for the purpose of meeting with his nephew, the master of Napier, viscount Aboyne, Stirling of Keir, and Hay of Dalgetty, who, with a few horse, had left their friends in England for the purpose of joining with him. Here Baillie attacked him, and chased him into the fastnesses at the head of Strathearn; whence, next day, April the 19th, he proceeded through Balquhidder to Menteith, where he had the good fortune to meet with his friends at the ford of Cardross. Here he had certainly been cut off from the Highlands, but that M’Coll had broken down upon the lordship of Cupar Angus, killed the minister of Cupar, and was laying waste the whole lands of lord Bahmerinoch, which attracted the attention of Baillie. Montrose, in the meantime, learning that Hurry was too many for his friends in the north, marched through Strath Tay and Athol, raising the Highlanders every where as he went along; and before Hurry was aware that he had crossed the Grampians, suddenly appeared behind his position at Strathbogie. Though thus taken by surprise, Hurry made his retreat good to Inverness; and being reinforced by the troops lying there, marched back the next day to Nairn, with the design of attacking Montrose, who, he learned, was posted at the village of Auldearn. Montrose would now have avoided a battle, but that he knew Baillie would soon be up, when he would have both Hurry and Baillie to contend with. It was on the 9th of May, 1645, that the two armies came in sight of each other. Montrose, who was deficient in numbers, made an admirable disposition of his troops. One division, consisting of the Gordons and the horse, he placed on the left, to the south of the village; the other, comprehending the Irish and the Highlanders, he arranged on the right, amidst the gardens and enclosures, to the north. The former he commanded in person, with lord Gordon under him; the latter was given to M’Coll. Hurry, unacquainted with the ground, led on his best troops to the attack of the right, as the main body, which was inclosed in impenetrable lines, and where he was exposed to the fire of cannon which he had no means of silencing. M’Coll, however, who was no general, provoked by the taunts of his assailants, came out of his fastnesses, and overcome by superiority of numbers and discipline, was speedily put to the rout. Montrose, who was watching an opportunity, no sooner perceived Hurry’s men disordered by their success, than with his unbroken strength he attacked them in flank. This unexpected attack, however, was received with great steadiness by Lothian’s, Loudon’s, and Buchanan’s regiments, who fell where they fought; and the day might perhaps have been retained, or at least left doubtful, had not colonel Drummond, one of Hurry’s own officers, by a treacherous manoeuvre, wheeled his horse into the midst of the foot, and trampled them down while they were at the hottest of the engagement with the enemy. In this battle, as in all of Montrose’s, the carnage was horrid, between two and three thousand killed, few or none being made prisoners. Sixteen colours, with all the baggage and ammunition fell into the hands of the victors. Hurry, though an unprincipled mercenary, had abstained from wasting by fire and saved the possessions of the anti-covenanters, and consequently had provoked no retaliations; but Montrose, more ferocious than ever, ravaged the whole district anew, committing to the flames the gleanings he had in his former rapacious and merciless visitations been compelled to leave, through incapacity to destroy. Nairn and Elgin were plundered, and the chief houses set on fire; Cullen was totally laid in ashes, and "sic lands as were left unburnt up before were now burnt up." Hurry, in the meantime, was allowed the quiet possession of Inverness.

On the very day that Hurry was defeated at Auldearn, Baillie had come to Cairn-a-mount on his way to join him. He had just ravaged Athol, and the Highlanders were on their way for its rescue, when he was ordered to the north; and by the Cairn-a-mount came to Cromar, where he learned the fate of his colleague at Auldearn. On the 19th of May he broke up his camp at Cromar, having peremptory orders to hazard a battle. He himself had experience sufficient to instruct him in the danger of leading a few raw and dispirited troops against an army of so much experience and so much confidence as that of Montrose; but having no alternative, he marched to Cochlarachie, whence he could discern Montrose’s army in number, as he supposed, nearly equal to his own, encamped among some enclosures in the neighbourhood of that town. The same night he was joined by Hurry, with a hundred horse, the remnants of the army that had fought at Auldearn, with whom he had fought his way through Montrose’s very lines. Next morning he expected to have had an encounter, but to his surprise Montrose was fled. He was followed at some distance by Baillie, but he took up an impregnable position in Badenoch, where he awaited the return of M’Coll and his reinforcements, having it in his power to draw from the interior of that wild district abundant supplies. Baillie, on the contrary, could not find subsistence, and withdrew to Inverness to recruit his commissariat; which having accomplished, he came south and encamped at Newton in the Garioch.

Montrose, in the meantime, penetrated as far as Newtyle in Angus, anticipating an easy victory over the earl of Crawford, who lay at the distance of only a few miles, with a new army, composed of draughts from the old for the protection of the Lowlands. When on the point of surprising this force, he was called to march to the assistance of the Gordons, whose lands Baillie was cruelly ravaging. On the last day of June, he came up with Baillie, advantageously posted near the kirk of Keith, and, declining to attack him, sent a message that he would fight him on plain ground. Baillie still wished to choose his own time and his own way of fighting; and Montrose recrossed the Don, as if he designed to fall back upon the Lowlands. This had the desired effect, and Baillie was compelled, by his overseeing committee, to pursue. On the 2d of July the two armies again met. Montrose had taken post on a small hill behind the village of Alford, with a marsh in his rear. He had with him the greater part of the Gordons, the whole of the Irish, the M’Donalds of Glengarry and Clanronald, the M’Phersons from Badenoch, and some small septs from Athol, the whole amounting to three thousand men. Baillie, on the other hand, had only thirteen hundred foot, many of them raw men, with a few troops of lord Balcarras’, and Halket’s horse regiment. Montrose, having double the number of infantry to Baillie, drew up his army in lines six file deep, with two bodies of reserve. Baillie formed also in line, but only three file deep, and he had no reserve. Balcarras, who commanded the horse, which were divided into three squadrons, charged gallantly with two; but the third, when ordered to attack in flank, drew up behind their comrades, where they stood till the others were broken by the Gordons. The foot, commanded by Baillie in person, fought desperately, refusing to yield even after the horse had fled; nor was it till Montrose had brought us his reserve, that the little band was overpowered and finally discomfited. The victory was complete, but Montrose had to lament the death of lord Gordon, whose funeral he celebrated shortly after the engagement with great military pomp at Aberdeen. No sooner had he accomplished this, than he sent a party into Buchan, which had hitherto, from its insular situation, escaped the calamitous visitations that had fallen upon most places in the north, to bring away all the horses, for the purpose of furnishing out a body of cavalry. It was also proposed to send two thousand men into Strathnaver, to bring the marquis of Huntly safely home through the hostile clans that lay in his way. Hearing of the army that was assembling against him at Perth, however, he laid aside that project, and hastened south to the little town of Fordun in Kincardineshire, where he waited for M’Coll, who very soon arrived with seven hundred M’Leans, and the whole of the Clanronald, amounting to five hundred men, at the head of whom was John Muidartach, who is celebrated in the Highlands to this day for his singular exploits. Graham of Inchbrackie brought the Athol Highlanders in full force, with the M’Gregors, the M’Nabs, the Stuarts of Appin, the Farquharsons of Braemar, with many other clans of smaller number and inferior note. With this force, which mustered between five and six thousand men, about the end of July, Montrose came down upon Perth, where he understood the parliament was then assembled, hoping to be able to disperse their army before it came to any head, or even to cut off the whole members of the government. After he had made frequent flourishes as if he meant to attack them, the army at Perth, being considerably strengthened, moved forward to offer him battle, when he once more betook himself to the hills to wait for reinforcements, Having received all the reinforcements he was likely to get, and more a great deal than he could expect to keep for any length of time without action and plunder, he marched back again, offering the army of Perth battle, which they did not accept. Not daring to attack their position, he passed to Kinross, hoping to draw them into a situation where they could be attacked with advantage, or to escape them altogether and make his way into England. Baillie followed him by Lindores, Rossie, and Burleigh, and was joined upon his march by the three Fife regiments.

From Kinross, Montrose suddenly took his route for Stirling bridge; and in passing down the vale of the Devon burned castle Campbell, the beautiful seat of the earl of Argyle; he burned also all the houses in the parishes of Dollar and Muckhart; and while he and his chief officers were feasted sumptuously by the earl of Marr, his Irish auxiliaries plundered the town of Alloa. Stirling being at this time visited by the plague, Montrose did not approach it, but, going further up the river, crossed the Forth at the ford of Frew. Baihlie’s army marched close upon his track down the Devon, passed the Fortb by the bridge of Stirling, and on the 14th of August, was led forward to Denny, where it crossed the Carron, and from thence to a place called Hollan-bush, about four miles to the east of Kilsyth, where it encamped for the night. In the whole warfare that had been waged with Montrose, the game had been played into his hand, and on this occasion it was more so than ever. He had taken up his ground with mature deliberation, and he had prepared his men by refreshments, and by every possible means for the encounter. The covenanters, on the other hand, after a toilsome march across the country, took up a position, which the general was not allowed to retan. Contrary to his own judgment, he was ordered to occupy a hill which the enemy, if they had chosen so to do, could have occupied before him. The orders of the committee, however, were obeyed, the change of ground was made; and while it was making, a company of cuirassiers, drew from Montrose a remark, "that the cowardly rascals darst not face them till they were cased in iron. To show our contempt of them let us fight them in our shirts." With that he threw off his coat and waistcoat, tucked up the sleeves of his shirt like a butcher going to kill cattle, at the same time drawing his sword with ferocious resolution. The proposal was received with applause, the cavalry threw off their upper garments, and tucked up their sleeves; the foot stripped themselves naked, even to the feet, and in this state were ready to rush upon their opponents before they could take up the places assigned them. The consequence was, the battle was a mere massacre—a race of fourteen miles, in which space six thousand men were cut down and slain.

The victory of Kilsyth gave to Montrose almost the entire power of Scotland; there was not the shadow of an army to oppose him; nor was there in the kingdom any authority that could direct one if there had. What he had formerly boasted, in his letter to Charles, would now most certainly have been realised had he possessed either moral or political influence. He possessed neither. His power lay entirely in the sword, and it was a consequence of the savage warfare which he had waged, that he was most odious to his countrymen in general, few of whom loved him, and still fewer dared to trust him. Notwithstanding the submissions he received from all quarters, there was nothing that with propriety he could have done but to have taken refuge for another quarter of a year in the wilds of Badenoch. He was gratified, however, with submissions from many quarters during the days he remained at Glasgow and Bothwell, at both which places he fancied himself in the exercise of regal authority. He had now his commission as lieutenant-governor of Scotland, and general of all his majesty’s forces there. He was impowered to raise and command forces in Scotland, to march, if expedient, into England, and act against such Scottish subjects as were in rebellion there; also to exercise unlimited power over the kingdom of Scotland, to pardon or condemn state prisoners as he pleased, and to confer the honour of knighthood on whom he would. By another commission he was impowered to call a parliament at Glasgow on the 28th of October next, where he, as royal commissioner, might consult with the king’s friends regarding the further prosecution of the war, and the settlement of the kingdom. He proceeded to knight his associate Macdonald, and he summoned the parliament which was never to meet. His mountaineers requested liberty, which, if he had refused, they would have taken, to depart with their plunder. The Gordons retired with their chief in disgust, and Alister, now Sir Alister M’Coll, as there was no longer an army in Scotland, seized the opportunity to renew his spoliations and revenge his private feuds in Argyleshire.

To save his army from total annihilation, Montrose turned his views to the south. Hume, Roxburgh, and Traquair, had spoken favourably toward the royal cause, and he expected to have been joined by them with their followers, and a body of horse which the king had despatched to his assistance, under lord Digby and Sir Marmaduke Langdale. This party, however, was totally routed in coming through Yorkshire. A party which these two leaders attempted to raise in Lancashire was finally dispersed on Carlisle sands, a short while before Montrose set out to effect a junction with them; and while he waited near the borders for the promised aid of the three neighbouring earls, David Leslie surprised him at Philiphaugh, near Selkirk, giving as complete an overthrow as he had ever given to the feeblest of his opponents, on the 13th of September, 1645. One thousand royalists were left dead on the field; and one hundred of the Irish, taken prisoners, according to an ordinance of the parliaments of both kingdoms, were afterwards shot. Montrose made his escape from the field with a few followers, and reached Athol in safety, where he was able still to raise about four hundred men. Huntly had now left his concealment; but he could not be prevailed on to join Montrose. Disappointed in his attempts to gain Huntly, Montrose returned by Braemar into Athol, and thence to Lennox, where he quartered for some time on the lands of the Buchanans, and hovered about Glasgow till the execution of his three friends, Sir William Rollock, Sir Philip Nisbet, and Alexander Ogilvy, younger of Inverquharity, gave him warning to withdraw to a safer neighbourhood. He accordingly once more withdrew to Athol. In the month of December he laid siege to Inverness, before which he lay for several weeks, till Middleton came upon him with a small force, when he fled into Ross-shire. The spring of 1646 he spent in marching and countermarching, constantly endeavouring to excite a simultaneous rising among the Highland septs, but constantly unsuccessful. On the last day of May he was informed of the king’s surrender to the Scottish army, and, at the same time, received his majesty’s order to disband his forces and withdraw from the kingdom. Through the influence of the duke of Hamilton, whose personal enemy he had been, he procured an indemnity for his followers, with liberty for himself to remain one month at his own house for settling his affairs, and afterwards to retire to the continent. He embarked in a small vessel for Norway on the 3d of September, 1646, taking his chaplain, Dr Wishart, along with him, for whose servant he passed during the voyage, being afraid of his enemies capturing him on the passage.

From Norway, he proceeded to Paris, where he endeavoured to cultivate the acquaintance of Henrietta Maria, the queen, and to instigate various expeditions to Britain in favour of his now captive sovereign. It was not, however, thought expedient by either Charles or his consort, to employ him again in behalf of the royal cause, on account of the invincible hatred with which he was regarded by all classes of his countrymen. In consequence of this he went into Germany, and offered his services to the emperor, who honoured him with the rank of mareschal, and gave him a commission to raise a regiment. He was busied in levying this corps, when he received the news of the king’s death, which deeply affected him. He was cheered, however, by a message soon after to repair to the son of the late king, afterwards Charles II, at the Hague, for the purpose of receiving a commission for a new invasion of his native country. With a view to this expedition, he undertook a tour through several of the northern states of Europe, under the character of ambassador for the king of Great Britain, and so ardently did he advocate the cause of depressed loyalty, that he received a considerable sum of money from the king of Denmark, fifteen hundred stand of arms from the queen of Sweden, five large vessels from the duke of Holstein, and from the state of Holstein and Hamburg between six and seven hundred men. Having selected the remote islands of Orkney as the safest point of rendezvous, he despatched a part of his troops thither so early as September, 1649; but of twelve hundred whom he embarked, only two hundred landed in Orkney, the rest perishing by shipwreck.

It was about this time, that in an overflowing fit of loyalty, he is alleged to have superintended the disgraceful assassination of Dorislaus, the envoy of the English parliament at the Hague; on which account young Charles was under the necessity of leaving the estates. When Montrose arrived in the Orkneys in the month of March, 1650, with the small remainder of his forces, he found that from a difference between the earls of Morton and Kinnoul, to the latter of whom he had himself granted a commission to be commander, but the former of whom claimed the right to command in virtue of his being lord of the islands, there had been no progress made in the business. He brought along only five hundred foreigners, officered by Scotsmen, which, with the two hundred formerly sent, gave him only seven hundred men. To these, by the aid of several loyal gentlemen, he was able to add about eight hundred Orcadians, who from their unwarlike habits, and their disinclination to the service, added little to his effective strength. After a residence in Orkney of three weeks, he embarked the whole of his forces, fifteen hundred in number, at the Holm Sound, the most part of them in fishing boats, and landed in safety near John O’Groat’s house. Caithness, Sutherland, and Ross had been exempted in the late disturbances from those ravages that had overtaken every place south of Inverness, and Montrose calculated on a regiment from each of them. For this purpose he had brought a great banner along with him, on which was painted the corpse of Charles I. the head being separated from the trunk, with the motto that was used for the murdered Darnley, "Judge and avenge my cause, 0 Lord." It had no effect, however, upon the simple natives of these regions, except to excite their aversion, and they every where fled before him.

In order to secure a retreat to the Orkneys, the castle of Dunbeath was taken possession of, and strongly garrisoned by Montrose. Five hundred men were also sent forward to occupy the hill of Ord, which they accomplished just as the earl of Sutherland was advancing to take possession of it. Sutherland retired rapidly before him, leaving his houses of Dunnechin, Shelbo, Skibo, and Dornoch, under strong garrisons for the protection of his lands. Montrose, mortified to find in Sutherland the same aversion to him as in Caithness, and confident of his strength and of the distance of his enemies, sent a message to the earl of Sutherland, threatening to subject his estates to military execution if he continued to neglect his duty and the royal cause. Colonel Strachan had, however, by this time reached Tain, where he met with his lordship and his friends the Rosses and Munroes, to the amount of five or six hundred men. Here it was determined that Sutherland should get behind Montrose, so as to prevent his retreat to the north, while Strachan with four troops of horse, assisted by the Rosses and Munroes, should march up in his front. When within two miles of him, they concealed themselves in a field of broom, and sent out scouts to observe the motions and calculate the strength he had brought along with him. Finding that Montrose had just sent out a party of forty horse, it was resolved that the whole should keep hid in the broom, one troop of horse excepted, which might lead him to think he had no more to contend with. This had the desired effect. Montrose took no pains to strengthen his position but placing his horse a little in advance, waited their approach on a piece of low ground close by the mouth of the river Kyle. Strachan then marshalled his little party for the attack, dividing the whole into four parts, the first of which he commanded in person; and it was his intention, that while he himself rode up with his party, so as to confirm the enemy in the notion that there were no more to oppose, the remaining parties should come up in quick succession, and at once overwhelm him with the announcement that he was surprised by a large army. The plan was completely successful. Montrose no sooner saw the strength of the presbyterians, than, alarmed for the safety of his foot, he ordered them to retire to a craggy hill behind his position. Strachan, however, made such haste that though it was very bad riding ground, he overtook the retiring invaders before they could reach their place of refuge. The mercenaries alone showed any disposition to resist—the rest threw down their arms without so much as firing a shot. Montrose fought with desperate valour, but to no avail. He could only save himself by flight. The carnage, considering the number of the combatants, was dreadful. Several hundreds were slain, and upwards of four hundred taken prisoners. On the part of the victors only two men were wounded and one drowned. The principal standard of the enemy, and all Montrose’s papers, fell into the hands of the victors.

Montrose, who fled from the field upon his friend the young viscount Frendraught’s horse, his own being killed in the battle, rode for some space with a friend or two that made their escape along with him; but the ground becoming bad, he abandoned in succession his horse, his friends, and his cloak, star, and sword, and exchanging clothes with a Highland rustic, toiled along the valley on foot. Ignorant of the locality of the country, he knew not so much as where he was going, except that he believed he was leaving his enemies behind him, in which he was fatally mistaken. His pursuers had found in succession, his horse, his cloak, and his sword, by which they conjectured that he had fled into Assynt; and accordingly the proprietor, Neil Macleod, was enjoined to apprehend any stranger he might find upon his ground. Parties were immediately sent out, and by one of them he was apprehended, along with an officer of the name of Sinclair. The laird of Assynt had served under Montrose; but was now alike regardless of the promises and the threatenings of his old commander. The fugitive was unrelentingly delivered up to general Leslie, and by Strachan and Halket conducted in the same mean habit in which he was taken, towards Edinburgh. At the house of the laird of Grange, near Dundee, he had a change of raiment, and by the assistance of an old lady had very nearly effected his escape. He had been excommunicated by the church and forfeited by the parliament so far back as 1644, and now sentence was pronounced against him before he was brought to Edinburgh. His reception in the capital was that of a condemned traitor, and many barbarous indignities were heaped upon him; in braving which he became what he could never otherwise have been, in some degree an object of popular sympathy. He was executed on Tuesday the 21st of May, 1650, in a dress the most splendid that he could command, and with the history of his achievements tied round his neck; defending with his latest breath his exertions in behalf of distressed royalty, and declaring that his conscience was completely at rest. His limbs were afterwards exposed with useless barbarity at the gates of the principal towns in Scotland.

Montrose appeared to cardinal du Retz as a hero fit for the pages of Plutarch, being inspired by all the ideas and sentiments which animated the classic personages whom that writer has commemorated. He certainly is entitled to the praise of great military genius, of uncompromising ardour of purpose, and of a boldness both in the conception and execution of great designs, such as are rarely found in any class of men. It is not to be denied, however, that ambition was nearly his highest principle of action, and that the attainment of his objects was too often sought at the expense of humanity. As might be expected, his memory was too much cherished by his own party, and unreasonably detested by the other; but historical truth now dictates that he had both his glorious and his dark features, all of which were alike the characteristics of a great and pregnant mind, soaring beyond the sphere assigned to it, but hardly knowing how to pursue greatness with virtue.

The Memoirs of James Marquis of Montrose 1639 - 1650
By the Rev. George Wishart, D.D., translated with Introduction, Notes, Appendices, and the original Latin (part II now first published by the Rev. Alexander D. Murdoch and H. F. Morland Simpson (1893) (pdf)

Memoirs of the Marquis of Montrose
By Mark Napier in two volumes (1856) (pdf)

Since the publication of “The Life and Times of Montrose,” in 1840, the author of the present more complete biography of that great Scottish worthy edited a voluminous collection of original documents, entitled “Memorials of Montrose and his Times,” which were printed under the auspices of that very liberal institution of letters the Maitland Club. Of this important historical repertory, affording the most authentic materials for a history of “the Troubles” in Scotland which led to the fall of the Monarchy, the first volume was completed in 1848, and the second in 1850. The nature of the original documents thus preserved, and rendered tangible for the benefit both of History and Biography, and their value especially to a fuller illustration than has hitherto appeared of the life and actions of the maligned Marquis of Montrose, will be best explained by some extracts from the editorial prefaces.

Volume 1  |  Volume 2

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