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ADVENTURES OF DUNDEE'S OFFICERS IN
The Whigs may scoff, the Whigs may jeer;
Nothing remains to be noted regarding Dundee's insurrectionary war, except the extraordinary conduct and adventures of his officers in France. About a hundred and fifty of these gentlemen, almost all the younger sons of the Scottish cavalier gentry, determined, when the clans were capitulating, to follow the broken fortunes of him whom they considered their only true lord, into his retirement in France, and there to await with patience the first favourable opportunity that might occur of attempting his restoration. Amidst the revolting displays of political insincerity and actual dishonour, which degrade the history of the Revolution in Scotland, it is delightful to record the generous abandonment of all selfish considerations, and the utter devotedness to a lofty and beautiful moral principle, which governed the actions of this noble band of gentlemen. Born, as all these men bad
been, to the expectation of an easy fortune and domestic happiness in their own country; educated perhaps rather to the avocations of peace than of war; bound, as many of them must have been, by the most endearing ties to their native soil ; it could not well be from fickleness or levity of disposition that they made this resolution. It must have been purely from that strangely abstract sentiment of patriotism, which, of old, animated the bosoms of the inhabitants of Athens and Sparta, but which has since been so rarely seen upon earth, as to give rise to a doubt whether such a feeling ever existed.
On their first landing in France, the Scottish officers were quartered at Lisle, Burburgh, Arras, and other towns in the French Flanders, where they were allowed pensions from Louis the Fourteenth, proportioned to the various ranks they had borne in Scotland. This, however, did not continue long. Louis becoming unfortunate in his war against William and the combined Protestant interest, these generous men, in September 1692, resolved no longer to be a burden upon his resources. Knowing at the same time that James, who was himself a pensionary of Louis, could not support them, they determined to enter the French service as a volunteer company of private sentinels, and thus procure for themselves the means of subsistence till better prospects should rise before their distressed master. They preferred a humble petition to King James, requesting his permission to carry this project into effect, and assuring him at the same time of the good will with which they would fly to his side whenever he required their services. But James implored them to abandon their resolution. He was sensible, he said, in the highest degree, of the generosity of their motives; but he also knew their impracticability. He himself, when in exile before the Restoration, had commanded a company of officers, such as they proposed to form ; but several died, others drew their discharges in disgust, and at last it dwindled into nothing ; so that he got no honour by the command. It was absolutely impossible, he said, that men nurtured in ease and plenty should bear the physical hardships of the private soldier's duty, or that their spirits, accustomed to command, and to the tastes and habits of higher situations, should ever brook its moral degradation and restraint. But all his entreaties had no effect upon the firm purpose of these high-minded young men. They insisted again and again upon the propriety of their doing as they designed; and at last they fairly overcame him by their entreaties, in so far that he condescended to name three or four individuals who should act as officers to their little corps.
When the time came for their entering into active service, they repaired to St Germain's, in order to pass in review before him. Borrowing the accoutrements of a French regiment, they drew themselves up one morning in the garden attached to the palace. James, who had appointed that day for a chase, was not aware of their intention, although he had conversed with them, among other persons, at his levee for some days before. Accordingly, as he passed through the garden to mount his horse, he did not recognise, in the ordinary figures before him, the well-bred and welldressed gentlemen, with whom he had talked on the previous day in his presence-chamber. He asked who they were ; and was surprised to learn that this was the devoted band of loyalists, who had abandoned and endured so much for his sake. Struck by the contrast between the levity of his own present purpose, and the misery of their situation, he countermanded his amusement, and returned pensive to the palace.
Afterwards, on a day expressly appointed, he held a regular review of about seventy of the corps, who were going in company to the seat of war in the south of France. When the exercises were over, be addressed them in the following speech, which few will read without being sensibly affected.
“ My own misfortunes are not so nigh my heart as yours. It grieves me, beyond what I can express, to see so many brave and worthy gentlemen, who had once the prospect of being the chief officers in my army, reduced to the station of private sentinels. Nothing but your loyalty, and that of a few of my subjects in Britain, who are forced from their allegiance by the Prince of Orange, and wbo, I know, will be ready on all occasions to serve me and my distressed family, could make me willing to live. The sense of what all of you have done and undergone for your loyalty, hath made so deep an impression on my heart, that if ever it please God to restore me, it is impossible I can be forgetful of your services and sufferings. Neither can there be any posts in the armies of my dominions, but what you have just pretensions to. As for my son, your prince, he is of your own blood, a child capable of any impressions; and as his education will be from you, it is impossible he can forget your merits.
" At your own desires, you are now going a long march, far distant from me. I have taken care to provide you with money, shoes, stockings, and other necessaries. Fear God, and love one another. Write your wants particularly to me, and depend upon't always to find me your parent and king."
He then entered their ranks, and, passing along, inquired the name of every individual, which he wrote down in his pocket-book, rendering him at the same time particular thanks for his service. When he had addressed a kind word to each, be removed to the front, where, taking off his hat, be made them a gracious bow, and fervently prayed God to bless and prosper them. After he had gone away, still thinking honour enough was not done them, he returned, bowed again, but burst into tears. The unfortunate gentlemen, affected to the last degree by this testimony of feeling in one whom they revered so much, knelt with one consent on the ground, and hung their heads in solemn silence. They then rose, and passed bim with the usual honours of war. 1
Their first march was one of great length and difficulty, extending no less than nine hundred miles. They bore it, however, with a cheerfulness of deportment, which nothing but their high principles could have enabled them to maintain. Their unhappy story every where went before them, accompanied by the most favourable report of the suavity of their tempers; and, as these were qualifications which appealed with great force to