Bonnie Prince Charlie; A Tale of Fontenoy and Culloden

CHAPTER XIII: Prince Charles.

Upon arriving at the prince’s lodgings Macdonald remained without, the Duke of Athole entering, accompanied only by Ronald.

“The prince is in disguise,” he said, “and but one or two of us visit him here in order that no suspicion may be incited among the people of the house that he is anything beyond what he appears to be — a young student of the Scotch college at Paris.”

They ascended the stairs to the upper story, and on the marquis knocking, a door was opened. The duke entered, followed by Ronald.

“Well, duke, what is the news?”

The question was asked by a young man, who was pacing restlessly up and down the room, of which he was, with the exception of his valet de chambre, an Italian named Michel, the person who had opened the door, the only occupant.

“Ah! whom have you here?”

“Allow me to present to your royal highness Lieutenant Leslie. He is the son of Leslie of Glenlyon, who fought by my side in your father’s cause in ’15, and has, like myself, been an exile ever since. This is the young gentleman who, two years since, saved Macdonald from arrest in Glasgow.”

“Ah! I remember the adventure,” the prince said courteously, “and right gallant action it was; but how did you hear that I was here, sir?”

“I was told by my good friend and commanding officer, Colonel Hume of the 2nd Scottish Dragoons, your royal highness.”

“I revealed it to Hume before leaving Paris,” the duke said, “he being a great friend of mine and as staunch as steel, and I knew that he could be trusted to keep a secret.”

“It seems that in the last particular you were wrong,” the prince remarked with a slight smile.

“Colonel Hume only revealed it to me, sir,” Ronald said, anxious to save his friend from the suspicion of having betrayed a secret confided to him, “for very special reasons. I had the misfortune to kill in a duel the Duke of Chateaurouge, and as we fought just outside the park of Versailles, and the duke was a favourite of the king’s, I had to ride for it; then Colonel Hume, knowing my devotion to the cause of your highness, whispered to me the secret of your intention, and gave me a message to his friend the Duke of Athole.”

“Do you say that you have killed the Duke of Chateaurouge in a duel?” the duke exclaimed in astonishment. “Why, he has the reputation of being one of the best swordsmen in France, and has a most evil name as a dangerous and unscrupulous man. I met him constantly at court, and his arrogance and haughtiness were well nigh insufferable. And you have killed him?”

“I knew him well too,” the prince said, “and his reputation. We do not doubt what you say, young gentleman,” he added quickiy, seeing a flush mount into Ronald’s face; “but in truth it seems strange that such should have been the case.”

“Colonel Hume did me the honour to be my second,” Ronald said quietly,

“and the Marquis de Vallecourt was second to the duke; some other officers of the Scottish regiment were present, as were two other French noblemen, De Lisle and St. Aignan.”

“We doubt you not, sir,” the duke said warmly. “You will understand that it cannot but seem strange that you at your age — for it seems to me that you cannot be more than nineteen — should have been able to stand for a moment against one of the best swordsmen in France, to say nothing of having slain him.”

“Colonel Hume would scarcely have consented to act as my second had he thought that the contest was a wholly unequal one,” Ronald said with a slight smile; “indeed I may say that he regarded it as almost certain that I should have the best of the fray.”

“Why, you must be a very Paladin,” the prince said admiringly; “but sit down and tell us all about it. Upon my word I am so sick of being cooped up for four days in this wretched den that I regard your coming as a godsend. Now tell me how it was that the Duc de Chateaurouge condescended to quarrel with a young officer in the Scottish Horse.”

“It was a family quarrel, sir, which I had inherited from my father.”

“Yes, yes, I remember now,” the Duke of Athole broke in. “It is an old story now; but I heard all about it at the time, and did what I could, as did all Leslie’s friends, to set the matter right, but in vain. Leslie of Glenlyon, prince, was colonel of the Scottish Dragoons, and as gallant and dashing a soldier as ever was in the service of the King of France, and as good looking a one too; and the result was, the daughter of the Marquis de Recambours, one of the richest heiresses in France, whom her father and the king destined as the bride of this Duke of Chateaurouge, who was then quite a young man, fell in love with Leslie, and a secret marriage took place between them. For three years no one suspected it; but the young lady’s obstinacy in refusing to obey her father’s orders caused her to be shut up in a convent. Somehow the truth came out. Leslie was arrested and thrown into the Bastille, and he has never been heard of since. What became of the child which was said to have been born no one ever heard; but it was generally supposed that it had been put out of the way. We in vain endeavoured to soften the king’s anger against Leslie, but the influence of Recambours and Chateaurouge was too great for us.

Hume told me some time since that Leslie’s son had been carried off to Scotland by one of his troopers, and had returned, and was riding as a gentleman volunteer in his regiment; but we have had no further talk on the subject.”

“You will be glad to hear, sir,” Ronald said, “that my father and mother have within the last few weeks been released, and are now living on a small estate of my mother’s in the south. They were ordered to retire there by the king.”

“I am glad, indeed,” the duke said cordially; “and how is your father?”

“He is sadly crippled by rheumatism, and can scarce walk,” Ronald said,

“and I fear that his health is altogether shaken with what he had to go through.”

“How did you obtain their release, Leslie?” the prince asked.

“Marshal Saxe obtained it for me,” Ronald answered. “Colonel Hume first introduced me to him, and as he too had known my father he promised that should he obtain a victory he would ask as a boon from the king the release of my father, and he did so after Fontenoy, where the Marquis de Recambours was killed, and the king thereby freed from his influence. The Duke of Chateaurouge, whose hostility against my father had always been bitter, was doubtless greatly irritated at his release, and took the first opportunity, on meeting me, of grossly insulting me. On my replying in terms in accordance with the insult, he drew, and would have fought me in the palace grounds had not Colonel Hume and his friends interfered; then we adjourned outside the park. The duke doubtless thought that he would kill me without difficulty, and so rushed in so carelessly that at the very first thrust I ran him through.”

“And served him right,” the prince said heartily. “Now since both your father’s enemies are gone, it may be hoped that his troubles are over, and that your mother will recover the estates to which she is entitled.

And now, duke, what is your news? When are we going to sail?”

“The Doutelle is already by this time on her way down the river, and it is proposed that we shall start this evening and board her there. The stores and arms are all safely on board the Elizabeth, and she is lying off Belleisle; so far as Mr. Walsh has heard, no suspicion has been excited as to their purpose or destination, so that we may hope in twenty-four hours to be fairly on board.”

“That is the best news I have heard for months,” the prince said; “thank goodness the time for action is at last at hand!”

“I have, I trust, your royal highness’ permission to accompany you,”

Ronald said; “together with my follower, Anderson. He is the trooper who carried me over to Scotland as a child, and has been my faithful friend ever since.”

“Certainly, Leslie. I shall be glad indeed to have a member of a family who have proved so faithful to my father’s cause with me in the adventure upon which I am embarking.”

Ronald with a few words of thanks bowed and took his leave, after receiving instructions from the duke to start shortly and to ride down the river towards Lorient.

“You can halt for a few hours on the road, and then ride on again; we shall overtake you before you reach the port. We shall all leave singly or in pairs, to avoid attracting any attention.”

Ronald left, delighted with the kindness of the prince’s manner. Prince Charles was indeed possessed of all the attributes which win men’s hearts and devotion. In figure he was tall and well formed, and endowed both with strength and activity. He excelled in all manly exercises, and was an excellent walker, having applied himself ardently to field sports during his residence in Italy.

He was strikingly handsome, his face was of a perfect oval, his features high and noble, his complexion was fair, his eyes light blue, and, contrary to the custom of the time, when wigs were almost universally worn, he allowed his hair to fall in long ringlets on his neck. His manner was graceful, and although he always bore himself with a sort of royal dignity he had the peculiar talent of pleasing and attracting all with whom he came in contact, and had the art of adapting his conversation to the taste or station of those whom he addressed.

His education had been intrusted to Sir Thomas Sheridan, an Irish Roman Catholic, who had grossly neglected his duties, and who indeed has been more than suspected of acting as an agent in the pay of the British government. The weakness in the prince’s character was that he was a bad judge of men, and inclined on all occasions to take the advice of designing knaves who flattered and paid deference to him, rather than that of the Scottish nobles who were risking their lives for his cause, but who at times gave their advice with a bluntness and warmth which were displeasing to him. It was this weakness which brought an enterprise, which at one time had the fairest prospect of success, to destruction and ruin.

On leaving the house Ronald was joined by Malcolm, and half an hour later they mounted their horses and rode for the mouth of the Loire. The whole party arrived on the following day at St. Nazaire, embarking separately on board the Doutelle, where Prince Charles, who had come down from Nantes in a fishing boat, was received by Mr. Walsh, the owner of the vessel. Ronald now saw gathered together the various persons who were to accompany Prince Charles on this adventurous expedition. These were Sheridan, the former tutor of the prince; Kelly, a non-juring clergyman, and Sullivan — both, like Sheridan, Irishmen; Strickland, a personage so unimportant that while some writers call him an Englishman, others assert that he was Irish; Aeneas Macdonald, a Scotchman; Sir John Macdonald, an officer in the Spanish service; the prince’s valet, Michel; and the Duke of Athole, or, as he is more generally called, the Marquis of Tullibardine, the last named being the only man of high standing or reputation. Never did a prince start to fight for a kingdom with such a following.

The Doutelle weighed anchor as soon as the last of the party arrived on deck, and under easy sail proceeded to Belleisle. Here she lay for some days awaiting the arrival of the Elizabeth. Mr. Rutledge, a merchant at Nantes, had obtained an order from the French court that this man of war should proceed to cruise on the coast of Scotland, and had then arranged with the captain of the ship to take on board the arms that had been purchased by the prince with the proceeds of the sale of some of the family jewels.

These consisted of fifteen hundred muskets, eighteen hundred broadswords, twenty small field pieces, and some ammunition. The captain had also agreed that the Doutelle, which only mounted eighteen small guns, should sail in company with the Elizabeth to Scotland. As soon as the Elizabeth was seen the Doutelle spread her sails, and keeping a short distance from each other, the two vessels sailed north. So great was the necessity for prudence that the prince still maintained his disguise as a Scottish student, and, with the exception of Mr. Walsh, none of the officers and crew of the Doutelle were acquainted with his real rank, and the various members of his party treated him and each other as strangers.

Four days after leaving Belleisle a British man of war of fifty-eight guns hove in sight, and crowding on all sail rapidly came up. The Elizabeth at once prepared to engage her, signalling to the Doutelle to do the same. The prince urged Mr. Walsh to aid the Elizabeth, but the latter steadily refused.

He had undertaken, he said, to carry the prince to Scotland, and would do nothing to endanger the success of the enterprise. The two vessels were well matched, and he would not allow the Doutelle to engage in the affair. The prince continued to urge the point, until at last Mr. Walsh said “that unless he abstained from interference he should be forced to order him below.”

The Doutelle, therefore, stood aloof from the engagement, which lasted for five or six hours, and sailed quietly on her course, in order to be beyond the risk of capture should the English ship prove victorious; neither of the vessels, however, obtained any decided advantage. Both were so crippled in the encounter that the Elizabeth returned to France, the Lion to Plymouth to refit. Thus the small supply of arms and artillery which the prince had with such great trouble got together was lost.

“Well, Ronald,” Malcolm said that evening as they leant over the taffrail together, “I do think that such a mad headed expedition as this was never undertaken. An exiled prince, an outlawed duke, six adventurers, a valet, and our two selves. One could laugh if one was not almost ready to cry at the folly of invading a country like England in such a fashion.”

“That is only one way of looking at it, Malcolm. We are not an army of invasion. The prince is simply travelling with a few personal followers to put himself at the head of an army. The affair depends, not upon us, but upon the country. If the clans turn out to support him as they did in ’15 he will soon be at the head of some twenty thousand men. Not enough, I grant you, to conquer England, but enough for a nucleus round which the Lowland and English Jacobites can gather.”

“Yes, it depends upon the ifs, Ronald. If all the Highland clans join, and if there are sufficient Jacobites in the Lowlands and England to make a large army, we may do. I have some hopes of the clans, but after what we saw of the apathy of the English Jacobites in ’15 I have no shadow of faith in them. However, I fought for the Chevalier in ’15, and I am ready to fight for Prince Charles now as long as there is any fighting to be done, and when that is over I shall be as ready to make for France as I was before.”

Ronald laughed.

“You are certainly not enthusiastic about it, Malcolm.”

“When one gets to my age, Ronald, common sense takes the place of enthusiasm, and I have seen enough of wars to know that for business a well appointed and well disciplined army is required. If Prince Charles does get what you call an army, but which I should call an armed mob, together, there will be the same dissensions, the same bickerings, the same want of plan that there was before; and unless something like a miracle happens it will end as the last did at Preston, in defeat and ruin. However, lad, here we are, and we will go through with it to the end. By the time we get back to France we must hope that King Louis will have got over the killing of his favourite. However, I tell you frankly that my hope is that when the Highland chiefs see that the prince has come without arms, without men, and without even promises of support by France, they will refuse to risk liberty and life and to bring ruin upon their people by joining in such a mad brained adventure.”

“I hope not, Malcolm,” Ronald said, as he looked at the prince as he was pacing up and down the deck with the Duke of Athole, talking rapidly, his face flushed with enthusiasm, his clustering hair blown backward by the wind. “He is a noble young prince. He is fighting for his own. He has justice and right on his side, and God grant that he may succeed!”

“Amen to that, Ronald, with all my heart! But so far as my experience goes, strength and discipline and generalship and resources go a great deal further than right in deciding the issue of a war.”

Two days later another English man of war came in sight and gave chase to the Doutelle, but the latter was a fast sailer and soon left her pursuer behind, and without further adventure arrived among the Western Isles, and dropped anchor near the little islet of Erisca, between Barra and South Uist. As they approached the island an eagle sailed out from the rocky shore and hovered over the vessel, and the Duke of Athole pointed it out as a favourable augury to the prince.

Charles and his companions landed at Erisca and passed the night on shore. They found on inquiry that this cluster of islands belonged to Macdonald of Clanranald, a young chief who was known to be attached to the Jacobite cause. He was at present absent on the mainland, but his uncle and principal adviser, Macdonald of Boisdale, was in South Uist.

The prince sent off one of his followers in a boat to summon him, and he came aboard the Doutelle the next morning; but when he heard from the prince that he had come alone and unattended he refused to have anything to do with the enterprise, which he asserted was rash to the point of insanity, and would bring ruin and destruction on all who took part in it.

The prince employed all his efforts to persuade the old chief, but in vain, and the latter returned to his isle in a boat, while the Doutelle pursued her voyage to the mainland and entered the Bay of Lochnanuagh, in Inverness shire, and immediately sent a messenger to Clanranald, who came on board shortly with Macdonald of Kinloch Moidart, and several other Macdonalds.

They received the prince with the greatest respect, but, like Macdonald of Boisdale, the two chiefs refused to take up arms in an enterprise which they believed to be absolutely hopeless. In vain Prince Charles argued and implored. The two chiefs remained firm, until the prince suddenly turned to a younger brother of Moidart, who stood listening to the conversation, and with his fingers clutching the hilt of his broadsword as he heard the young prince, whom he regarded as his future king, in vain imploring the assistance of his brother and kinsmen.

“Will you at least not assist me?” the prince exclaimed.

“I will, I will!” Ranald Macdonald exclaimed. “Though no other man in the Highlands shall draw a sword, I am ready to die for you.”

The enthusiasm of the young man was catching, and throwing to the winds their own convictions and forebodings, the two Macdonalds declared that they also would join, and use every exertion to engage their countrymen.

The clansmen who had come on board the ship without knowing the object of the visit were now told who the prince was, and they expressed their readiness to follow to the death. Two or three days later, on the 25th of July, Prince Charles landed and was conducted to Borodale, a farmhouse belonging to Clanranald.

Charles at once sent off letters to the Highland chiefs whom he knew to be favourable to the Stuart cause. Among these the principal were Cameron of Locheil, Sir Alexander Macdonald, and Macleod. Locheil immediately obeyed the summons, but being convinced of the madness of the enterprise he came, not to join the prince, but to dissuade him from embarking in it. On his way he called upon his brother, Cameron of Fassefern, who agreed with his opinion as to the hopelessness of success, and urged him to write to the prince instead of going to see him.

“I know you better than you know yourself,” he said. “If the prince once sets eyes upon you, he will make you do whatever he pleases.”

Locheil, however, persisted in going, convinced that the prince would, on his representation, abandon the design. For a long time he stood firm, until the prince exclaimed:

“I am resolved to put all to the hazard. In a few days I will erect the royal standard and proclaim to the people of Britain that Charles Stuart is come over to claim the crown of his ancestors or perish in the attempt. Locheil, who my father has often told me was our firmest friend, may stay at home and learn from the newspapers the fate of his prince.”

Locheil’s resolution melted at once at these words, and he said:

“Not so. I will share the fate of my prince whatsoever it be, and so shall every man over whom nature or fortune hath given me power.”

The conversion of Locheil was the turning point of the enterprise. Upon the news of the prince’s landing spreading, most of the other chiefs had agreed that if Locheil stood aloof they would not move; and had he remained firm not a man would have joined the prince’s standard, and he would have been forced to abandon the enterprise. Sir Alexander Macdonald and Macleod, instead of going to see the prince, had gone off together, on the receipt of his letter, to the Isle of Skye, so as to avoid an interview. Clanranald was despatched by Prince Charles to see them, but they declined to join, urging with the truth that the promises which they had given to join in a rising were contingent upon the prince arriving at the head of a strong French force with arms and supplies. They therefore refused at present to move. Others, however, were not so cautious. Fired by the example of Locheil, and by their own traditions of loyalty to the Stuarts’ cause, many of the lesser chiefs at once summoned their followers to the field. With the majority the absence of French troops had the exactly opposite effect that it had had with Sir Alexander Macdonald and Macleod. Had the prince landed with a French army they might have stood aloof and suffered him to fight out his quarrel unaided; but his arrival alone and unattended, trusting solely and wholly to the loyalty of the Scottish people, made an irresistible appeal to their generous feelings, and although there were probably but few who did not foresee that failure, ruin, and death would be the result of the enterprise, they embarked in the cause with as much ardour as if their success had been certain.

From Borodale, after disembarking the scanty treasure of four thousand louis d’or which he had brought with him and a few stands of arms from the Doutelle, Charles proceeded by water to Kinloch Moidart.

Mr. Walsh sailed in the Doutelle, after receiving the prince’s warmest thanks, and a letter to his father in Rome begging him to grant Mr. Walsh an Irish earldom as a reward for the services he had rendered, a recommendation which was complied with.

The chiefs soon began to assemble at Moidart, and the house became the centre of a picturesque gathering.

Ronald had now put aside the remembrance of Malcolm’s forebodings, and entered heart and soul into the enterprise. He had in Glasgow frequently seen Highlanders in their native dress, but he had not before witnessed any large gathering, and he was delighted with the aspect of the sturdy mountaineers in their picturesque garb.

The prince had at once laid aside the attire in which he had landed and had assumed Highland costume, and by the charm and geniality of his manner he completely won the hearts of all who came in contact with him.

Among those who joined him at Moidart was Murray of Broughton, a man who was destined to exercise as destructive an influence on the prince’s fortune as had Mr. Forster over that of his father. Murray had hurried from his seat in the south, having first had a large number of manifestoes for future distribution printed. He was at once appointed by Charles his secretary of state.

While the gathering at Moidart was daily growing, the English remained in ignorance of the storm which was preparing. It was not until the 30th of July that the fact that the prince had sailed from Nantes was known in London, and as late as the 8th of August, nearly three weeks after Charles first appeared on the coast, the fact of his landing was unknown to the authorities in Edinburgh.

On the 16th of August the English governor at Fort Augustus, alarmed at the vague reports which reached him, and the sudden news that bodies of armed Highlanders were hurrying west, sent a detachment of two companies under Captain Scott to reinforce the advance post of Fort William.

After marching twenty miles the troops entered the narrow ravine of Spean Bridge, when they were suddenly attacked by a party of Keppoch’s clansmen who were on their way to join the prince when they saw the English troops on their march. They were joined by some of Locheil’s clansmen, and so heavy a fire was kept up from the heights that the English, after having five or six men killed and many more wounded, among them their commanding officer, were forced to lay down their arms.

They were treated with great humanity by their captors, and the wounded were well cared for. The news of this success reached the prince on the day before that fixed for the raising of his standard, the 19th of August, and added to the enthusiasm which prevailed among the little force gathered in Glenfinnan, where the ceremony took place. The glen lay about halfway between Borodale and Fort William, both being about fifteen miles distant. The gathering consisted principally of the Camerons of Locheil, some six hundred strong, and they brought with them two English companies captured on the 16th, disarmed and prisoners.

The Duke of Athole performed the ceremony of unfurling the banner. He was the heir to the dukedom of Athole, but had been exiled for taking part in the rising of ’15 and the dukedom bestowed by the English government upon his brother; thus among the English he was still spoken of as the Marquis of Tullibardine, while at the French court and among the followers of the Stuarts he was regarded as the rightful Duke of Athole.

The unfurling of the standard was greeted with loud shouts, and the clansmen threw their bonnets high in the air. The duke then read the manifesto of the Chevalier, and the commission of regency granted by him to Prince Charles. After this the prince himself made an inspiring speech, and declared that at the head of his faithful Highlanders he was resolved to conquer or to perish.

Among the spectators of the ceremony was Captain Swetenham, an English officer taken prisoner a few days before while on his way to assume the command of Fort William. He had been treated with great courtesy and kindness by the prince, who, after the ceremony, dismissed him with the words, “You may now return to your general; tell him what you have seen, and add that I am about to give him battle.”

Soon after the conclusion of the ceremony Keppoch marched in with three hundred of his clan, and some smaller parties also arrived. The next morning the force marched to Locheil’s house at Auchnacarrie, where the prince was joined by the Macdonalds of Glencoe, a hundred and fifty strong, two hundred Stuarts of Appin under their chief, and by the younger Glengarry with two hundred more, so that the force had now swelled to sixteen hundred men.

“We begin to look like an army,” Ronald said to Malcolm.

“Well, yes,” the latter replied drily, “we are rather stronger than one regiment and not quite so strong as two; still, if things go on like this we shall ere very long have mounted up to the strength of a brigade; but even a brigade, Ronald, does nor go very far towards the conquest of a kingdom, especially when only about one man in three has got a musket, and so far there are neither cavalry nor artillery. Still, you know, these things may come.”

Ronald laughed gaily at his companion’s want of faith. He himself had now caught the enthusiasm which pervaded all around. It was true that as yet the prince’s adherents were but a handful, but it was not to be expected that an army would spring from the ground. Promises of assistance had come from all quarters, and if the army was a small one the English army in Scotland was but little larger, and if a first success could be achieved, all Scotland might be expected to rise, and the news would surely influence the Jacobites of England to declare for the prince.

Sir John Cope, the English officer commanding the English forces in Scotland, at the first rumour of troubles had ordered his troops to assemble at Stirling. He had with him two regiments of dragoons, Gardiner’s and Hamilton’s, both young regiments, and the whole force at his disposal, exclusive of troops in garrison, did not exceed three thousand men. With these he proposed to march at once to the west, and crush the rebellion before it gained strength. The English government approved of his proposal, and sent him a proclamation offering a reward of thirty thousand pounds to any person who should seize and secure the pretended Prince of Wales.

On the day of the raising of the standard Cope set out from Edinburgh for Stirling and the next day commenced his march at the head of fifteen hundred infantry, leaving the dragoons behind him, as these could be of but little service among the mountains, where they would have found it next to impossible to obtain forage for their horses. He took with him a large quantity of baggage, a drove of black cattle for food, and a thousand stand of arms to distribute among the volunteers who he expected would join him. As, however, none of these came in, he sent back seven hundred muskets to Crieff.

The first object of the march was Fort Augustus, which he intended to make his central post. As he advanced he was met by Captain Swetenham, who informed him of the raising of the standard and the gathering he had witnessed. As, however, only Locheil’s clansmen had arrived before Swetenham left, Cope considered his force ample for the purpose, and continued his march. In order to reach Fort Augustus, however, he had to pass over Corry Arrack, a lofty and precipitous mountain which was ascended by a military road with fifteen zigzags, known to the country as the devil’s staircase.

Prince Charles, who had received early news of the advance from Stirling, had recognized the importance of the position, and having burned and destroyed all baggage that would impede his progress, made a forced march and reached Corry Arrack on the 27th, before Sir John Cope had commenced his ascent. As Sir John saw that the formidable position was in the hands of the enemy he felt that it would be in vain to endeavour to force it.

Each zigzag would have to be carried in turn, and the enterprise would be a desperate one. Success would be of no great advantage, as the Highlanders, lightly clad and active, would make off and defy pursuit; defeat would be disastrous. He, therefore, called a council of war and asked his officers to decide whether it would be best to remain at Dalwhinnie at the foot of the mountain, to return to Sterling, or to march to Inverness, where they would be joined by the well affected clans. He himself strongly urged the last course, believing that the prince would not venture to descend into the Lowlands while he remained in his rear. The council of war adopted his opinion. No officer advocated remaining inactive at Dalwhinnie, one only supported the alternative of the retreat to Stirling, the rest agreed upon an advance to Inverness.

When it was found that Cope’s army had moved away without fighting, the exultation of the Highlanders was great. Most of the chiefs wished to follow at once and give battle, urging that it would be hazardous to advance south and leave the enemy to cut off their retreat; but the prince himself saw the supreme importance of a descent into the Lowlands, and that plan of action was decided upon.

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