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SKIRMISHES OF DUNKELD AND CROMDALE.
From murders too, as soldiers true,
You are advanced well, boys;
Pasquil on the Cameronians.
WHEN the issue of the battle of Killiecranky was first known at Edinburgh, the Duke of Hamilton, and all others who had taken a strong hand in effecting the revolutionary settlement, were thrown into a consternation which defies all description. Under the impression that Dundee would immediately come down upon them, some proposed that they should retire to the remote parts of the south of Scotland; others advocated an instant departure out of the kingdom; and many actually did at least leave the seat of government. It was agitated whether the Cavalier prisoners should be liberated or more strictly confined ; and the latter measure was only determined on after some hesitation. These unfortunate individuals, among whom, it will be recollected, was the learned and elegant Balcarres, were now sequestered more strictly than ever from all intercourse with their friends. It is true, as the nobleman just mention
ed has informed us in his Memoirs, they were now more visited than they had ever been before by their enemies. These, however negligent of them formerly, now flocked in crowds to their dungeons, making the most abject excuses for their past delinquencies to King James, and protesting that they had all along wished well to his Majesty's interest, but had only hitherto found no convenient opportunity of declaring themselves.
All this terror was needless. A victory had been won to James and the Highlanders ; but Dundee had fallen. That simple circumstance neutralized, and more than neutralized, all the advantages which could have been derived from the victory. Upon the vivid military genius of this man had hung all the hopes of the one party, and all the fears of the other. “ Dundee has annihilated his enemies,” every body cried ; " why is he not here?” It seems to have been the general idea, that his presence in the Lowlands, a tri. umpbant and unassailable conqueror, should have just as naturally followed his victory, as effect in any case follows cause : he should have been there before the very news of the action. King Wil. liam and King James, from their intimate knowledge of his character, were able to justify, each in his several way, this extravagant popular feeling. When the former heard of the battle, he said, “ Then I am sure Dundee has fallen; for, otherwise, I should have heard at the same time of his being in possession of Edinburgh." King James, in his Memoirs, written by his own hand, tells us that “ it gave him a fresh occasion of adoring Providence, and contemplating the instability of human affairs, when one single shot from a
routed and flying enemy, decided, in all appear. ance, the fate of more than one kingdom.” i
At the same time, while so much respect, spontaneous and otherwise, was paid to the genius of Dundee, the Revolutionary party had no cause to complain of the conduct of their own general. To do Mackay justice, he had performed all that a good leader could have performed under the circumstances, and with such troops. When all his efforts were found unavailing in battle, he had done wliat was next to victory-performed a masterly retreat, with the wreck of his forces. His conduct, however, after reaching Stirling, was characterized by an energy and boldness very different from what might have been expected in a beaten general. On arriving there, he learned that the Convention had given orders to the various bodies of troops stationed in the north of Scotland to draw towards the capital; and it was intimated to himself, that if he could only defend the pass of Stirling, so as to prevent the Highlanders from coming south, though at the expense of surrendering all the north to them, he would be held as doing sufficient duty. This did not satisfy Mackay. He knew that the north of Scotland could raise an army far superior in bravery and discipline to the south; he also considered that, if they were permitted to take possession of such towns as Perth, Dundee, and Aberdeen, they could assume a face of government, and fairly divide the kingdom with his master and mistress. He thought it far better to hazard a good deal for the sake of restraining the enemy to the hills. Accordingly, resolving to march back forthwith to Perth, for the purpose of facing them in their expected descent, be exerted himself, during the two days following his return to Stirling, to collect all the bodies of troops which lay within reach. These bodies were not inconsiderable in number. Eight troops, of newly levied horse, and four of dragoons, which happened to lie near Stirling, made up, with Lord Colchester's regiment of horse, five hundred men. Besides these, his own regiment of horse and Hayford's dragoons, which lay at Edinburgh, numbered in all seventeen troops. He tells us in his Memoirs that he could have easily had a large army of foot, if he would have accepted of the services of the West-country Whigs, the whole of whom rose with one consent to assist him, whenever they heard of the issue of the battle of Killiecranky. Non tali auxilio, he says, was the rule of his conduct in rejecting their proffered services. He knew that, however zealous they had been, and were, in endeavouring to effect the Revolution, it was not from any comprehensive views of patriotism, but only for the purpose of thereby obliging King William to gratify them in their religious predilections. Their pretensions, he says, already appeared so exorbitant, that be feared assistance from them, almost as much as opposition from the enemy, King William bad not come to Britain, nor had he himself come to Scotland, merely for the purpose of settling a frivolous local dispute about ecclesiastical polity, but to promote the great cause of the Protestant religion throughout Europe, and the interests of mankind at large.
With such alacrity did this excellent soldier prosecute his design of marching back against the enemy, that, on Wednesday afternoon at two o'clock, less than two days after his return from
Killiecranky, he was on the high road to Perth with a new army of nearly two thousand men Before that evening be reached a village about half way betwixt Stirling and Perth, where he rested for a part of the night. Next day, marching towards Perth, he experienced great inconvenience from the impossibility of procuring any intelligence of the enemy, all the houses by the way being deserted by their inhabitants, who were gone in arms to join the Highlanders. As he was advancing towards the river Earn, his scouts, who went only a musket-shot before the army, to prevent their being cut off, met two gentlemen on horseback, who assailed them with a loud qui vive, and made a hostile movement towards them; on which they fired, and shot both dead. This accident caused the General to suspect that a large body of the enemy was not far off, and he accordingly drew off from the road, into the heathy ground west from Perth, called Tippermoor, where he was not so liable to surprise. • Here, as he was descending upon Perth, he was pleased to discover a party of the enemy, about three hundred in number, marching out of the town, and moving up the south bank of the river towards himself. This was a party which Cannan, Dundee's successor in command, had sent down the country to reconnoitre, and which, having heedlessly ventured to Perth, were now intercepted on their way back, by an enemy whose face they had never expected to see again, and whose motions, of course, they had taken no pains to watch. Mackay no sooner saw them than he detached & strong body of horse, with orders to attack them on all sides. The poor Highlanders, who were