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CHAPTER III.

MAR'S DESCENT UPON THE LOWLANDS, AND COMMENCEMENT OF THE INSURRECTION

IN ENGLAND.

Buckingham, backed with the hardy Welshmen,
Is in the field, and still his power increaseth.

Richard III.

While the Earl of Mar was still lingering on the hills of Aberdeenshire, his friends at Edinburgh were defeated in a scheme, the success of wbich would have been of infinite importance to their cause. About eighty persons, chiefly Highlanders, and at the head of whom was Lord Drummond, a Catholic, had formed a plan for surprising the Castle of Edinburgh. Having gained over four soldiers in the garrison by dint of liberal promises, this party resolved, on the 9th of September, at nine o'clock at night, to scale the rock on which the Castle is built, at a place on the north side, near the Sally Port, where it is less precipitous and lofty than elsewhere. They had formed ladbring upon

ders of a peculiar construction, calculated to admit of four men at once, and which, being pulled up by one of the corrupted soldiers, were to be fastened to a strong stake within the wall. To have won Edinburgh Castle at the present juncture, would have been next thing to reducing the whole kingdom under the power of the Chevalier. In this fortress lay nearly all the stores upon which the government could calculate for arming their friends against the insurgents. It also contained an immense sum of money—upwards of a hundred thousand pounds, which had been sent down to Scotland at the time of the Union, as an equivalent or compensation for the distress which a full participation of the English taxes was expected to

the
poorer country. The

very

eclat of the thing would have been as good to the Earl of Mar as a victory won in a stricken field. He had concerted that, when the conspirators got possession, they should fire three cannon; which, being heard in Fife, should be a signal to some men there stationed, to light beacons on the tops of the hills ; which beacons, being continued northward from hill to hill, should apprise him with telegraphic despatch ; so that he could immediately follow up the triumph by pushing forward to Edinburgh, and completing the subjugation of Scotland.

This scheme, in every respect so well contrived, and calculated to be of such service to the cause of the insurgents, is said to have been marred by a circumstance almost as trivial as that which disarranged the conspiracy of Catiline. One of the principal Jacobites concerned, a Mr Arthur, had communicated the whole secret to his brother Dr Arthur, a physician in Edinburgh. This Dr Arthur had only of late become a Jacobite; consequently, although his brother's object in informing bim was no doubt to draw him into the scheme, be did not contemplate the enterprise with the same joyful hope which was felt by the rest. On the contrary, during the whole day previous to the appointed evening, he felt his mind depressed; nor could he conceal that he was suffering under some unusual anxiety. His wife, observing his melancholy, importuned him to disclose its cause ; and he was at length weak enough to gratify her curiosity. She immediately, without his knowledge, despatched an anonymous letter to Sir Adam Cockburn of Ormiston, Lord Justice-Clerk, informing him of the design. Lord Ormiston, than whom a more zealous Whig never lived, lost no time in sending an express, with the same information, to Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart, the Deputygovernor of the Castle. It was ten o'clock at night when Mrs Arthur's letter reached the Lord Justice-Clerk, and eleven ere his Lordship's express reached the Castle ; but, fortunately for the interests of the House of Hanover, the conspirators were fond, like all good Jacobites, of brandy and claret. They had lingered at a tavern till it was two hours past the time appointed. Ere they reached the bottom of the rock, with their apparatus, the Deputy-Governor had received the information of the Lord Justice-Clerk. Still, perhaps, had they been as expeditious as they ought to have been, their enterprise might have been successful. Colonel Stuart was either go well inclined to their scheme, or was so imperfectly informed by the express, that he fonnd himself only called upon to order his officers to double their guards and make diligent rounds ; after which he went to bed. Unfortunately, they lingered so long that, just as the four sentinels were pulling up their ladders, the hour for the change of guard arrived, and one Lieutenant Lindsay, leading out the fresh sentries from the sally-port, came upon them at the very last moment wben they could have been successful. One of the guilty sentinels immediately fired his piece, and called to those below that the whole plot was ruined; bis companions at the same time let go the ropes. The whole assembled band of conspirators instantly dispersed, some of them falling down the precipices in such a way as to be seriously hurt. At that moment, a party of the City guard, which the Lord Justice-Clerk had urged the Lord Provost to get under arms for the purpose, sallied from the West Port of the city, and exerted themselves to seize the fugitives. They only succeeded in taking four persons ; one Captain MacLean, a veteran Cavalier who had fought at Killiecranky; a gentleman of the name of Lesly, who had been page to the notedly Jacobite Dutchess of Gordon ; and Messrs Alexander Ramsay and George Boswell, writers in Edinburgh. Thus miserably ended an enterprise, which, if executed with promptitude and care, equal to the skill with which it was projected, might have given a very different turn to the course of this little narrative.

The discovery of this plot gave great alarm to the Government, and caused its members to take still more serious measures than before for the prevention of the insurrection. All suspected persons were now unscrupulously apprehended. At Edin

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bargh, the Earls of Hume, Wigtoun, and Kinnoul, Lord Deskford, (son of the Earl of Finlater), and Messrs Lockhart of Carnwath and Hume of Whitfield, were committed prisoners to the Castle. Sir Alexander Erskine, Lord Lyon, and Sir Patrick Murray of Auchtertyre, who surrendered themselves in terms of the late act, were also put into prison. General Whitham, Commander-in-chief of his Majesty's forces in Scotland, was ordered to march with all the regular troops that could be spared, to form a camp in Stirling Park, so as to secure the bridge over the Forth. Immediately after, he was superseded by the Duke of Argyle, who was expected, from his superior acquaintance with the country, and his immense territorial inAuence, to be a better commander. That officer arrived in Scotland about the middle of September, and lost no time in putting himself at the head of the little army which Whitham had collected. The Earl of Sutherland, a nobleman zealously attached to the Protestant succession, was, at the same time, despatched to the extreme north of Scotland, with a commission to raise his vassals, as well as all the other clans which might be favourably disposed to the Government, and to employ them as a check upon the disaffected in that quarter.

At the first intelligence of the insurrection in Scotland, the Court of St James's had formed the idea that it was only designed as a stratagem to draw the King's forces northward, so as to permit the English Jacobites to rise and seize the capital and seat of government. They accordingly did not send any troops to Scotland ; they rather sent such regiments as they had to the disaffected districts in the West and South-west of England, where the

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