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AFFAIR OF PRESTON, AND SUPPRESSION OF
THE INSURRECTION IN ENGLAND.
Let them come ;
K. Henry IV. Part I.
The southern party of insurgents were represented, at the end of the fourth chapter, as on the point of invading England by the western border, with the hope of raising the numerous Catholics and other Jacobites of Lancashire. It now remains to show the fortune which they met with in their enterprise.
They entered England on the 1st of November, and quartered for the first night at Brampton, a market-town in Cumberland, where they proclaimed the Chevalier, and raised the money which was collected for the excise on malt and ale. Here
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Mr Forster opened a commission which he had received, on the march, from the Earl of Mar, empowering him to act as General in England. The whole army was, at this time, very much fatigued, in consequence of the forced marches of the last five days, during which they had proceeded no less than a hundred miles.
As they advanced next day to Penrith, they learned that the Posse Comitatus had been assembled, to the number of twelve or fourteen thousand men, with the design of meeting them on PenrithMoor ; and this enormous force was headed by the Sheriff of the county, by Lord Lonsdale, and by the Bishop of Carlisle. Almost immediately after, they were informed that the posse had broken up and dispersed ; the rustics who composed it being found totally incapable of braving a host, which their imaginations had previously invested with all kinds of dreadful attributes. The insurgents, who immediately set themselves to pursue and seize the fugitives, took a considerable quantity of arms, horses, and other things useful to them, exclusive of a prodigious number of pitchforks, which the lower order of the men had thrown away in their fight. Finding no use for their prisoners, they soon gave them their liberty; a kindness which the obliged party repaid by shouting, “ God save King James, and prosper his merciful army!”? At Penrith, where they arrived that night, they found a supper, which had been prepared for the Bishop and his followers, and which they probably thought the best part of the spoils of the day.
Penrith was then a populous and wealthy town, 80 that the insurgents, if so inclined, might have done it much injury. They were prevented effec
tually from taking any measures against it, by some of the more respectable inhabitants, who had previously made a resolution to treat them, from the first, with civility. Some individuals—it is not recorded of what persuasion--attempted to get Mr Forster's permission to burn or pull down a Presbyterian meeting-house ; but he firmly rejected their request, observing, that he intended to gain by clemency, and not by cruelty.” Strange to say, the High Church mania had recently caused many such violent proceedings in various towns throughout England ,
They marched next day to Appleby, where they stayed two days to rest. The march had hitherto been very severe upon the Highland foot, notwithstanding that the English horse had carried their arms most of the way.
A clergymen of the name of Gwyn, who accompanied the expedition, is stated to have taken a very strange way of exhibiting his zeal during the march. At every church which occurred on the way, he carefully scratched out King George's name from the prayer-books, substituting that of the Chevalier in a nice hand, resembling print, so that the proprietors of the volumes could scarcely perceive the alteration.
Having proclaimed the Chevalier at Appleby, and also raised the public money, they marched, on the 5th, to Kendal, and from Kendal, next day, to Kirby Lonsdale. Though they had thus traversed the two populous counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland, they had as yet been joined by only one or two of the twenty thousand Ca. tholics whom the Northumbrian insurgents had expected ; an accession which was more than counterbalanced by the defection of seventeen Teviotdale gentlemen at Penrith. Now, however, they received a few of the Catholic gentlemen of Lancashire. They were also cheered for a moment, on next day's march, by learning that the Chevalier had been proclaimed at Manchester, and that the gentry of the country in that direction seemed in general determined to join them.
Their next remove was to Lancaster, where they released some of their friends from the county gaol; in particular, Thomas Syddal, who had headed the Manchester mob, on a late occasion, when it pulled down a dissenting chapel. On Wednesday, the 9th of November, after having spent two days at Lancaster, and received some accessions of force, they set out for Preston, designing to possess themselves of Warrington Bridge, and afterwards to fall in upon Liverpool. In anticipation of their intentions, General Willes, who had received an order from the Government to draw some forces together, and proceed against the rebels, rendezvoused at Warrington Bridge; the citizens of Liverpool at the same time making active preparations to defend themselves. It was unfortunate for the insurgents, that their West-ofEngland friends had raised so many local disturbances during the past year, as the Government had been thereby induced to send more troops to this than to any other district of England. These troops were now lying scattered in the neighbouring towns of Manchester, Chester, Birmingham, Ştafford, Wolverhampton, ready to be amassed into a little army for their destruction. .
General Carpenter was in the meantime apprised of the direction which the insurgents had ta
ken; and, though his troops were excessively fatigued with their late long marches, and he him. self indisposed, he lost no time in advancing from Newcastle, to renew the chase be had so unnecessarily abandoned. Willes learned at Newcastle, on the 8th, that Carpenter was at Durham; and be immediately sent an express to hasten and di, rect his march.
On Friday the 11th, just as the insurgents had taken possession of Preston, General Willes left Manchester for Wigan, taking with him four regiments of dragoons and one of foot, the last being the corps which has been already introduced to the notice of the reader under the title of “ the Cameronians." At Wigan, where be arrived that evening, he was joined by Pitt's regiment of dragoons, which had been there quartered, and also by Stanhope's, which, having been disposed at Preston, had necessarily retired to Wigan on the approach of the insurgents. Five of these six borse regiments, Wynne's, Honeywood's, Munden's, Dormer's, and Stanhope's had been raised within the year, to an. swer the emergencies of Government. But, though the men were thus very raw, their officers were generally men of experience.
Willes bad intelligence at Wigan, that General Carpenter would advance to Preston next day, and also that the insurgents were lingering there, with the intention, apparently, of sustaining his attack. He therefore marched forward to Preston next morning.
The insurgents had been joined, at Preston, by almost all the Catholic gentry of the neighbourhood, amounting, with their tenants, to about twelve hundred. Tbe mass of the recruits were indeed