« AnteriorContinuar »
as volunteers, part of whom form'd a first troop of guards for the Prince, under the command of My Lord Elchoe, now Comte de Weems, who, being proscribed, is presently in France. Another part formed a second troup of guards under the command of My Lord Balmirino, who was beheaded at the Tower of London. A third part serv'd under My Lord le Comte de Kilmarnock, who was likewise beheaded at the Tower. A fourth part serv'd under My Lord Pitsligow, who is also proscribed; which cavalrie, tho' very few in numbers, being all Noblesse, were very brave, and of infinite advantage to the foot, not only in the day of battle, but in serving as advanced guards on the several inarches, and in patroling dureing the night on the different roads which led towards the towns where the army happened to quarter.
. While this small army was out in a body on the 29th December, upon a riseing ground to the northward of Penrith, passing review, Mons. de Cluny, with his tribe, was ordered to the Bridge of Clifton, about a mile to southward of Penrith, after having pass'd in review before Mons. Pattullo, who was charged with the inspection of the troops, and was likeways Quarter Master General of the army, and is now in France. They remained under arms at the Bridge, waiting the arrival of My Lord George Murray with the artilirie, whom Mons. de Cluny had orders to cover in passing the bridge. They arrived about sunsett closly pursued by the Duke of Comberland with the whole body of his cavalrie, reckoned upwards of 3000 strong, about a thousand of whom, as near as might be computed, dismounted, in order to cut off the passage of the artilirie towards the bridge, while the Duke and the others remained on horseback in order to attack the rear. My Lord George Murray advanced, and although he found Mons. de Cluny and his tribe in good spirits under arms, yet the circumstance appear'd extremely delicate. The numbers were vastly unequall, and the attack seem'd very dangerous; so My Lord George declin'd giving orders to such time as he ask'd Mons, de Cluny's oppinion. 'I will attack them with all my heart,' says Mons. de Cluny, "if you order me.' 'I do order it then,' answered My Lord George, and immediately went on himself along with Mons. de Cluny, and fought sword in hand on foot, at the head of the single tribe of Macphersons. They in a moment made their way through a strong hedge of thorns, under the cover whereof the cavalric had taken their station, in the strugle of passing which hedge My Lord George Murray, being dressd en montagnard, as all the army were, lost his bonet and wig; so continued to fight bear-beaded during the action. They at first made a brisk discharge of their fire arms on the enemy, then attacked them with their sabres, and made a great slaughter a considerable time, which obliged Comberland and his cavalrie to tly with precipitation and in great confusion; in so much, that if the Prince had been provided in a sufficient number of cavalrie to have taken advantage of the disorder, it is beyond question that the Duke of Conberland and the bulk of his cavalrie had been taken prisoners. By this time it was so dark that it was not possible to view or number the slain who filled all the ditches which happened to be on the ground where they stood. But it was computed that, besides those who went off wounded, upwards of a hundred at least were left on the spot, among whom was Colonel Honywood, who commanded the dismounted cavalrie, whose sabre of considerable value Mons. de Cluny brought off and still preserves; and his tribe lykeways brought off many arms ;-the Colonel was afterwards taken up, and, his wounds being dress’d, with great difficultie recovered. Mons. de Cluny lost only in the action twelve men, of whoin some haveing been only wounded, fell afterwards into the hands of the enemy, and were sent as slaves to America, whence several of them returned, and one of them is now in France, a sergeant in the Regiment of Royal Scots. How soon the accounts of the eneinies approach had reached the Prince, H. R. H. had immediately ordered Mi-Lord le Comte de Nairne, Brigadier, who, being proscribed, is now in France, with the three batalions of the Duke of Athol, the batalion of the Duke of Perth, and some other troups under his coinmand, in order to support Cluny, and to bring off the artilirie. But the action was intirely over, before the Comte de Nairne, with his command, could reach nigh to the place. They therefore return'd all to Penrith, and the artilirie marched up in good order. Nor did the Duke of Comberland ever afterwards dare to come within a day's march of the Prince and his army dureing the course of all that retreat, which was conducted with great prudence and safety when in some manner surrounded by enemies.»
Note 7, page 143, line 5. As the heathen deities contracted an indelible obligation if they swore by Styx, the Scottish Highlanders had usually some peculiar solemnity attached to an oath which they intended should be binding on thero. Very frequently it consisted in laying their hand, as they swore, on their own drawn dirk; which dagger, becoming a party to the transaction, was invoked to punish any breach of faith. But by whatever ritual the oath was sanctioned, the party was extremely desirous to keep secret what the especial oath was, which he considered as irrevocable. This was a matter of great convenience, as he felt no scruple in breaking his asseveration, when made in any other form than that which he accounted as peculiarly solemn; and therefore readily granted any engagement which bound him no longer than he inclined. Whereas, if the oath which he accounted inviolable was once publicly known, no party with whom he might have occasion to contract, would have rested satisfied with any other. Louis XI of France practised the same sophistry, for he also had a peculiar species of oath, the only one which he was ever known to respect, and which, therefore, he was very unwilling to pledge. The only engagement which that wily tyrant accounted binding upon him, was an oath by the Holy Cross of Saint Lo d'Angers, which contained a portion of the True Cross. If he prevaricated after taking this oath, Louis believed he should die within the year. The Constable Saint Paul, heing invited to a personal conference with Louis, refused to meet the king unless he would agree to ensure him safe conduct under sanction of this oath. But, says Comines, the king replied, he would never again pledge that engagement to mortal man, though he was willing to take any other oath which could be devised. The treaty broke off, therefore, after much chaffering concerning the nature of the vow which Louis was to take. Such is the difference between the dictates of superstition and those of conscience.
Note 8, page 161, line 7. A pair of chesnut-trees, destroyed, the one entirely, and the other in-part, by such a mischievous and wanton act of revenge, grew at Invergarry Castle, the fastness of MacDonald of Glengarry.
Note 9, page 162, line 4. The first three couplets are from an old ballad, called the Border Widow's Lament.