페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

stances which led to the Revolution. It may be sufficient, in order to excite a sympathising spirit in the reader towards the events of the following narrative, to remind him that, if the last of the Stuart sovereigns governed their kingdoms with less prudence than the monarchs by whom it has been the happiness of Britain to be governed since, they lived before them, and at a time when fair government was neither known in principle, nor could well be proceeded upon in practice. It has now become a fashion to declaim against the lineal race of the royal family as a series of intractable despots, whom even misfortune could not improve. Yet, even supposing it fair to condemn men and principles of government which obtained in the seventeenth century, because they were more barbarous than those which obtain in the nineteenth, and this alone seems the principle of the fashion alluded to,-is it like men of sense or candour to adopt a prejudice against a whole family on account of two generations, more especially as the very race by which the country is now so satisfactorily ruled, is sprung from pre. cisely the same stock? To look through the spectacles of modern politics at the unfortunate indi. viduals in question, and to condemn them for fall. ing short of what is now considered the standard of prudential government, appears to the present writer very much like trying a criminal upon a post-facto law. The Stuarts may have been absurdly inflexible, and even severe; but it ought to be recollected that they had the management of the country during a tumult of public opinion, which must have taken place whether they existed or not, and which would have made it equally

difficult for any other sort of sovereigns to govern with discretion. If they became arbitrary, and cruel, it was only when the threats and violence of the republican party had given them a horror for every thing like opposition. Altogether, it seems by no means impossible, while appreciating the infinite advantages which have accrued to Britain from the deposition of this race of kings, to regard them nevertheless with a great portion of that tender and forgiving sentiment which occasioned the following and so many other attempts for their restoration.

CHAPTER II.

THE REVOLUTION,

To the Lords of Convention-'twas Claverse who spoke
Ere the King's crown go down there are crowns to be broke!
Then let each Cavalier who loves honour and me,
Come follow the bonnets of bonny Dundee.

SIR WALTER SCOTT.

When it was first understood at the English court that the Prince of Orange designed to invade the kingdom, James thought it necessary to command all his Scottish forces to march southwards, that they might assist the English army in defending him against the expected attack. His Scottish forces then consisted of four regiments of foot, one of dragoons, and one troop of horse-guards ; amounting in all to nearly ten thousand men, or a third of the whole available force of the two kingdoms. They were commanded by General Douglas, brother of the first Duke of Queensberry; Claverhouse being Major-general, and leader of the horse. They left Scotland at the beginning of October, in two detachments ; the foot marching under the direction of General Douglas by Chester, and the horse under the charge of Claverhouse by York. They arrived at London, and joined

the English army under the command of the Earl of Feversham, on the 25th of October. "

The Prince of Orange having landed on the 5th of November at Torbay in Devonshire, King James advanced with bis united army to meet him; and it was while he maintained his intention of fighting the invader, and while anxious to secure all possible friends to his interests, that he made Claverhouse a Viscount. His confidence, however, gave way, as he observed the defection of his chief officers and counsellors to the Prince, and successively heard of the insurrections which were taking place throughout the kingdom against him. Appalled at the danger in which he stood, he resolved to abandon his army, and retire to London. In that emergency, the most of his Scottish forces remained true to his interests. These men were of a less scrupulous spirit in regard to the arbitrary conduct of their master, and had been less alarmed by his late Catholic measures, than the English soldiery. Many of them were cadets of old Episcopalian and Catholic families in the north of Scotland, who felt their interest identified with that of King James. Some had acted for nearly their whole lifetime in behalf of the House of Stuart, through good report and bad report, and were now too old to make a ready change. For instance, the Earl of Airly rode in a high command in this little Tory army; a nobleman who had accompanied that Lucifer of cavaliers, the Marquis of Montrose, through all his wars, and who had since served the Stuarts for nearly half a century. It could not be expected that such men

were inspired with the same notions regarding the 1 salvation of church and state as the English soldiers ; and accordingly, while company after company, and officer after officer, left James's camp to join him who proposed to restore the constitution, the Scottish regiments remained firm around their legitimate sovereign almost to a man. It was among the chiefs of this band that James found the most faithful counsels, and the most affectionate offers of service. The Earl of Dunbarton, a son of the noble House of Douglas, who commanded one of the foot regiments (now the Scots Royals), offered, with a spirit worthy of his ancient chivalric race, to engage the invader with his own -little corps ; certain, he said, that if he could not stop his progress, he would at least give him such a check as would cause the spirits of the King's friends to rally. Dundee 'advised the irresolute monarch to fight the Prince, at all hazards, with the force he had, or else go boldly to him in person, and demand his business in England ; and it is now every thing but certain, that if James had followed either of these two advices, or done something of an equally vigorous nature, he might have remained on the throne. Unfortunately for himself, he thought it more advisable to give way for the time to what he thought a merely accidental current of circumstances, in the hope of afterwards resuming the command of the empire with the increased power which always results from a suppressed rebellion. He told the Earl of Dunbarton, that he could not think of risking the lives of so many brave men in an action which could not be decisive ; and he rejected with equal firmness the advice tendered him by Dundee. He finally retired to London with a small guard, leaving his army without express commands of any kind, ei

« 이전계속 »