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Events after the Battle - Chapter 6


Hunting the Rebels after the Battle

Hunting the Rebels after the Battle

IT IS PAINFUL to have to recur to the extraordinary barbarities which formed the sequel to this decisive battle, on the issue of which hinges so much of our subsequent national history. Excuses have been offered, even of late years, for the Duke, as if the cruelties practised — ere no more than a somewhat excessive degree of severity dictated by a sense of duty; and the go-by has been attempted to be given to the circumstantial and accredited narratives of these atrocities, as if they were little else than mere Jacobite fictions; but the enormities were of a nature no such palliation can serve to extenuate ate, and the means of proof are such as can with no propriety be disregarded.

Local tradition in the Highlands is unvarying as to the excesses committed by the English soldiery under the express orders of the Duke of Cumberland; or under circumstances which leave the responsibility upon him. It could not be for fictitious or exaggerated cruelties that the Duke of Cumberland's name was branded as it has been. Contemporary annals must at all times be held worthless, should such singularly circumstantial and well-attested evidence as has been preserved of the atrocities perpetrated, be deemed unworthy of credit. The truth is, not only was there a deal of coarseness and brutality among the common soldiers and seamen of the period, but the like features were strongly characteristic of all ranks in both services. It is of the British army Swift writes to Wogan, as a fraternity "where the least pretension to learning, to piety, or to common morals, would endanger the owner to be cashiered."

On the topic of the cruelties perpetrated after the battle, the most detailed repertory is a very remarkable MS. series of memorabilia, now in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh, extending to ten volumes, bound in black, with black-edged leaves, and quaintly styled, The Lyon in Mourning. The collection was formed with much pains and industry during the twenty years ensuing upon the event, by the Rev. Robert Forbes, Episcopal minister at Leith, and latterly (titular) Bishop of Ross and Caithness, and known as Bishop Forbes. The Bishop seems to have been extremely solicitous to arrive at the exact truth from his correspondents; and while he "nought extenuates," he "nought sets down in malice." The disclosures seem, therefore, worthy of due credit, corroborating, as they do, the general statements of tradition and history; and they certainly reveal a systematic perpetration of barbarities such as the tortures practised by the most savage Indian tribes on their victims can hardly exceed in atrocity — such as were scarcely credible had they not been well authenticated. Dr. Robert Chambers made use of the collection when compiling his Jacobite Memoirs in 1834; and The Lyon in Mourning was printed in extenso by the Scottish History Society in 1895-96.

Of the Duke of Cumberland, Lord Mahon, in his History of England, vol. iii. p. 436, says:

"The Royal Duke, destined to wield so decisive an influence over the fortunes of his cousin and competitor, was of very nearly the same age, being only four months younger. (The Prince was then in his twenty-sixth year.) He had not, however, the same graces of person, being corpulent and unwieldy to a remarkable degree, and in his manner rough and displeasing. His character was adorned by considerable virtues — honesty of purpose, adherence to his promises, attachment to his friends. He was a dutiful son and a liberal patron; as a soldier, he was enthusiastically fond of his profession; he had closely studied its details, and might even be lauded for capacity, in an age which, to England at least, was singularly barren of military merit. His unwearied activity, and his high personal courage would, however, at any period, have justly claimed applause. But, as one of his own friends complains, 'his judgment is too much guided by his passions, which are often violent and ungovernable.' Against his foreign adversaries he displayed no undue asperity, and towards his soldiers he could sometimes show compassion. Thus, for instance, on arriving at Edinburgh, he immediately arrested the course of Hawley's savage executions, yet even his own army often murmured at his harshness and rigour; and as to any rebel, he treated him with as little mercy as he would a wolf. Never, perhaps, did any insurgents meet a more ungenerous enemy. From the deeds of blood in Scotland — committed by his own order in some cases and connived at in many more — his contemporaries branded him with a contemptuous by-word — THE BUTCHER — and the historian, who cannot deny the guilt, must confirm and ratify the name."

Home's History, though fair and candid so far as it goes, is tainted with suppressio veri. It is materially different from what it had been before publication; is silent as to the manner in which the battle of Culloden was used — a reticence ascribed to his having unadvisedly resolved to dedicate it to the King; and great public disappointment was expressed in Scotland when it appeared. Home, too, had submitted his narrative to the correction of both Whigs and Jacobites. They were both profuse in their compliments, but each struck out such anecdotes as made against their own party. "Thus," as has been quaintly remarked, "if he imitated the confidence, so he shared also the fate, of the unhappy man and his two mistresses — the one with an utter antipathy to grey, and the other to black, hairs — who, on committing his abundant but mixed locks to their discretion, soon found himself completely despoiled of both."

"The bravery of the Duke of Cumberland," says Macaulay, "was such as distinguished him even among the princes of his brave house. The indifference with which he rode about amidst musket-balls and cannonballs was not the highest proof of his fortitude. Hopeless maladies, horrible surgical operations, far from unmanning him, did not even discompose him. With courage, he had the virtues which are akin to courage. He spoke the truth, was open in enmity and friendship, and upright in all his dealings. But his nature was hard; and what seemed to him justice, was rarely tempered with mercy. He was, therefore, many years one of the most unpopular men in England. The severity with which he treated the rebels after the battle of Culloden had gained him the name of 'The Butcher.' His attempts to introduce into the army of England, then in a most disorderly state, the rigorous discipline of Potsdam, had excited still stronger disgust. Nothing was too bad to be believed of him. Many honest people were so absurd as to fancy that, if he were Regent during the minority of his nephews, there would be another smothering in the Tower."—(Essays: Chatham).

Hill Burton (History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 523) says of him:

"What he did was, we may be assured from his character, not done in a spirit of wantonness, but after a sense of duty. But that duty led him to severity. He was a soldier, according to the German notions of a soldier, and a rebel province was a community to be subjected to martial law. The Duke, brought up in the German military school, seems to have been unable to distinguish between a rebellion suppressed in constitutional Britain, where all men are supposed to be innocent but those proved to be guilty, and a revolted German province, where every awarded grace to the unfortunate people proceeds from the will of the conqueror. Thus there was a propensity to subject all the northern districts to something too closely resembling military law or licence."

One of the first spectacles which the inhabitants of Inverness had to endure, was the execution of no fewer than thirty-six unfortunates as deserters. To this, however, perhaps no reasonable exception can be taken. But what is to be said for the following occurrences:—

"Immediately after the conclusion of the battle, the men, under the command of their officers, traversed the field, stabbing with their bayonets, or cutting down with their swords, such of the wounded of the defeated party as came under their notice. This was done as much in sport as in rage; and, as the work went on, the men at length began to amuse themselves by splashing and dabbling each other with blood! They at length looked, as one of themselves has reported, more like so many butchers than an army of Christian soldiers."—(Chambers's 6th edit., p. 258; Scots Magazine, vol. viii. p. 192).

"Riding over the field, attended by some of his officers, the Duke observed a young wounded Highlander resting on his elbow and staring at the Royal party. He asked the man to whom he belonged; and received for answer, 'To the Prince.' He instantly called to an officer to shoot 'that insolent scoundrel.' The officer — Major Wolfe — declined the task, saying that his commission was at the disposal of his Royal Highness, but he could never consent to become an executioner. The Duke asked several other officers in succession to 'pistol' the wounded man, but with the like result. Then, seeing a common soldier, he asked him if he had a charge in his piece, and the man answering in the affirmative, he commanded him to do the required duty, — which was immediately performed. The youth thus slain was Mr. Charles Fraser, younger of Inverallochy, lieutenant-colonel of the Master of Lovat's regiment. The officer who first refused was afterwards observed to decline in favour with his commander." — (Chambers, p. 258; "Critique upon 'Home's Hist. Reb.'" in Anti-Jacobin Review, vol. xiii., p.125, by the late Sir Henry Steuart of Allanton, Bart.; Jacobite Memoirs, p.255).

"All the wounded on the field of battle were killed on the Thursday; and the wounded in houses were carried to the field on Friday, where they were killed."

"Upon Thursday, the day after the battle, a party was ordered to the field of battle to put to death all the wounded they should find upon it, which accordingly they performed with the greatest despatch and the utmost exactness, - carrying the wounded from the several parts of the field to two or three spots of rising ground, where they ranged them in due order, and instantly shot them dead.

"Upon the day following (Friday) parties were ordered to go and search for the wounded in houses in the neighbourhood of the field, to carry them to the field, and there to kill them."

"John MacLeod of MacLeod, junior, Esquire, has had the honesty and courage to declare, oftener than once, that he himself saw seventy-two killed in cold blood."

"At a small distance from the field, there was a hut for sheltering sheep or goats in cold and stormy weather. To this hut some of the wounded men had crawled, but were soon found out by the soldiery, who (immediately upon the discovery) made sure the door and set fire to several parts of the hut, so that all within perished in the flames, to the number of between thirty and forty persons, among whom were some beggars who had been spectators of the battle in hopes of sharing in the plunder. Many people went and viewed the smothered and scorched bodies among the rubbish of the hut. Among the number was Colonel Orelli, a brave old gentleman, who was either in the French or Spanish service."—(Jacobite Memoirs: Lyon in Mourning).

The house to which this hut belonged is still to be seen — ("Old Leanach," already mentioned) — within the inclosure of one of the Leanach fields, between the Graves and the Duke's Stone, near the former.

Mr. Chambers makes the number butchered on the Thursday to be 70, and on the Friday, 72; burnt in the hut, 32.

"I myself was told by William Rose, who was then grieve to my Lord President, that twelve wounded men were carried out of his house and shot in a hollow, which is within a very short distance of the scene of action. William Rose's wife told this fact to creditable people, from whom I had it more circumstantially: — She said that the party came to her house and told the wounded men to get up, that they might bring them to surgeons to have their wounds dressed; upon which, she said, the poor men, whom she thought in so miserable a way that it was impossible they could stir, made a shift to get up; and, she said, they went along with the party with an air of cheerfulness and joy, being full of the thought that their wounds were to be dressed; but, she said, when the party had brought them the length of the hollow above mentioned, which is at a very short distance from her house. she being then within the house heard the firing of several guns, and coming out immediately to know the cause, saw all those brought out of her house under pretence of being carried to surgeons, were dead men."

"Upon the same day the party was despatched to put to death the wounded men in and about the field of battle, there was another party detached, under the command of Colonel Cockeen, to bring in the Lady MacIntosh prisoner from her house at Moy. Though Cockeen himself was reckoned a most discreet, civil man, yet he found it impossible to restrain the barbarity of many of his party, who, straggling before, spared neither sex nor age they met with; so that the lady has told many that she herself counted above fourteen dead bodies of men, women, and children, betwixt Moy and Inverness" — 12 miles — (Jacobite Memoirs: Lyon in Mourning, ii. 188).

Mr. Ronald MacDonald of Belfinlay (a cadet of Clanranald's family) narrates that, being shot in both legs, "he remained likewise in the field all night, after he was strips of all his clothes, — his very shirt and breeches being taken from him; and as he was young and of a robust constitution, he lived till next morning, when he saw that cruel command coming to execute their bloody orders, and saw many of his unhappy companions (the number is elsewhere stated to be 17] put to death in cold blood."—(Lyon, id. 4).

The following is the description of the well-known massacre of a group of wounded officers, taken from a vault in Culloden House, and of the remarkable escape of one of their number, Alexander or John Fraser, commonly called MacIver:—

"This man was an officer of the Master of Lovat's regiment. He was very early shot through the knee at the battle of Culloden: he was carried off in the heat of the action, and left at a dyke-side pointing towards Culloden House. Some hours after the defeat of the Highland army, he, with other seventeen wounded officers of that army (who were either carried or made their escape towards a little plantation of wood near to the place where Fraser lay), were carried to the close and office houses of Culloden, where they remained for two days, wallowing in their blood, and in great torture, without any aid from a doctor or surgeon, though otherwise kindly entertained by Mr. Thomas Stewart, chamberlain and chief housekeeper to the late Lord President, and this he did to some at the hazard of his life. The third day, Fraser and the other seventeen wounded officers were, by a party of soldiers under the command of a certain officer, put on carts, tied with ropes, and carried a little distance from the house to a park dyke, when the officer who commanded the party ordered Fraser and the other prisoners to prepare for death; and all who were able bended their knees and began to pray to God for mercy to their souls. In a minute, the soldiers who conducted them were ordered to fire, which they did; and being at the distance of only two yards from the breasts of the unhappy prisoners, most of them all expired in an instant; but such was the humanity of the commanding officer, as, thinking it right to put an end to so many miserable lives, that he gave orders to the soldiers to club their muskets and dash out the brains of such of them as he observed with life, which accordingly they did; and one of the soldiers, observing John Fraser to have the signs of life after receiving a shot, he struck him on the face with the butt of his musket, broke the upper part of his nose and cheek-bone, and dashed out one of his eyes, and left him for dead. In this miserable situation a certain young nobleman (Lord Boyd), riding out by the House of Culloden and park-dyke, observed some life in Fraser, and, calling out to him, asked what he was. He told him he was an officer in the Master of Lovat's regiment. This young lord offered him money, saying he had been acquainted with his colonel; upon which Fraser told him he had no use for money, but begged, for God's sake, either to cause his servant to put an end to his miserable life, or carry him to a cot-house, which he mentioned, at a little distance. This the young lord had the humanity to do; and Fraser, being put in a corn kiln-logie, where he remained for three months, and with the assistance of his landlord, is so far cured as to be able to step upon two crutches, and is now a living object, and witness of all I relate to you."— (Lyon, ii. 328).

The late Rev. Alexander Campbell of Croy, in his account of that parish, thus attests this shocking incident:— "The man died near Beauly, about the year 1796, where many are still living who may have known him; but to put the bloody deed beyond the shadow of doubt, the writer of this account knew for several years a John Reid, who fought that day in the second battalion of the Royal Soots, and heard from his lips that he saw the cruel deed, and thanked God that he had nothing to do with the black work. John fought at the battles of Dettingen and Fontenoy, and only died about the year 1807, in the 105th year of his age, and in the full enjoyment of all his mental faculties. He was a lively little man, and retained a correct and vivid recollection of what he had seen and heard." — (New Stat. Account xiv.).

The spot where this wholesale butchery took place is well known, and is marked by a large stone in the wood in the hill face, about half-a-mile nearly right above Culloden House, and due south of the west end of the village of Balloch. It is a very large, flattish boulder, fifteen paces in circumference, and situated a little below and to the east of the westerly group of old pine trees previously mentioned, higher than the rest of the wood, and is nearly in a line on the hill face with the park- dyke east of the Dog Kennel. The victims are usually described as having been ranged against the park-wall; but the late Sandy Bain Sage, Smithton of Culloden, son of one of the men in the President's service who were compelled to drive the carts with the unfortunates, often told Culloden and his brother that this stone was the actual shambles.

A significant testimony to the wanton cruelty of the English troopers existed to a comparatively recent period, in the person of Provost John MacIntosh of Inverness, father of the late Mr. Charles MacIntosh of Aberarder. Being an infant of eighteen months at the time of the Prince's stay at Inverness, he had been sent with his nurse, to be out of the way, to a house somewhere in the neighbourhood of Culloden. A few days after the battle a party of dragoons had gone into the house in the nurse's absence, and, finding the child in a cradle, they, after pillaging the house, placed the cradle, with the infant in it, on the fire. When found by the nurse, the embryo magistrate was a good deal scorched: and till his dying day he bore the marks on his arms. In convivial moods, Provost MacIntosh used jocularly to boast that he had been wounded at Culloden.

The treatment of the prisoners was of a piece with the foregoing details.

"When we had filled all the jails, kirks and ships at Inverness with these rebel prisoners, wounded and naked as they were, we ordered that none should have any access to them, either with meat or drink, for two days. By this means, no doubt, we thought at least the wounded would starve, either for want of food or clothes, the weather being then very cold. The two days being passed, there was a quorum of officers pitched upon to go and visit them, in order to take down their names and numbers, which was diminished pretty well, without having the least regard to order the remaining part either meat or drink to support nature. Amongst the number I was myself; but oh, heavens! what a scene opened to my eye and nose all at once! The wounded weltering in their gore and blood ... Their groans would have pierced a heart of stone; but our corrupt hearts were not in the least touched; but, on the contrary, we began to upbraid them the moment we entered their prison. Doctor Lauder's case of instruments was taken from him, for fear he should aid any of the wounded; and one John Farquharson of Aldlerg, who was, I believe, a kind of a Highland-blooder, his lances was taken out of his pocket, for fear he should begin to blood them, after his Highland way, to save some few of the wounded to have fallen in fevers. That night it was determined in the Privy Council that each person should have half-a-pound oatmeal per day (but Hawley thought it too much); and, accordingly, they sent some of their commissaries to distribute the meal. I could not help laughing, in the time of the distribution, when the poor things had nothing left them to hold their meal but the foreskirt of their shirts ... Some were handcuffed, especially Major Stewart and Major M'Lachlan. Their handcuffs were so tight that their hands swelled, and at last broke the skin, so that the irons could not be seen. I can compare their case to nothing better than a horse sore saddle-spoiled ...

"In this excessive agony were they kept ten days notwithstanding all the application they made, only to get wider handcuffs, or their being changed and put upon their other hands. Amongst the rest I saw a Frenchman in the agonies of dying, lying in nastiness up to his stomach, and I myself put a great stone under his head, that he might not be choked, which he lay on. We always took care not to bury their dead until such time as we had at least a dozen of them. Only imagine to yourself what for an agreeable smell was there ..."

"Amongst the wounded I pitied none more than one Cameron of Callort, who was a gentleman. He had his arm broke, — a great many friends in the place, even im our army; notwithstanding all, he could not have a surgeon to dress him for ten days' time; that at last Mr. Menzie, at Inverness, made stolen marches to see his friend. The Sunday se'n-night after the battle, there was orders given that all the prisoners should be reviewed publicly in the streets of Inverness; and accordingly there were two lines of our men from one end of the Bridge Street to the other, and 'twixt these two lines the prisoners were to pass muster. Such a scene was never seen; some entirely naked, others in their shirts, and their meal tied as before; the wounded even behoved to come out; neither cries nor entreaties would save them; and those who were not able either to stand or walk, were carried by their fellow- prisoners, amongst the loud huzza of officers and soldiers, none more delighted than Mr. Bruce." — (Jacobite Memoirs; p. 339; Lyon iii. 155).

Numbers were sent to London by sea. The system of torture was continued on board.

"Gentlemen, — This comes to acquaint you that I was eight months and eight days at sea, of which time I was eight weeks upon half-a-pound and twelve ounces oatmeal, and a bottle of water in the twentyfour hours, which was obliged to make meal-and-water in the bottom of an old bottle. There was one hundred and twenty-five put on board at Inverness, on the 'James and May' of Fife. In the latter end of June, we was put on board of a transport of four hundred and fifty ton, called the 'Liberty and Property,' in which we continued the rest of the eight months, upon twelve ounces of oat sheelin as it came from the mill. There was thirty-two prisoners more put on board of the said 'Liberty and Property,' which makes one hundred and fifty-seven; and when we came ashore there was only in life forty-nine, which would have been no great surprise if there had not been one, conform to our usage. They would take us from the hold in a rope, and hoisted us up to the yardarm, and let us fall in the sea, in order for ducking of us; and tying us to the mast and whipping us if we did anything however innocent that offended them: this was done to us when we was not able to stand. I will leave it to the readers to judge what condition they might be in themselves with the above treatment. We had neither bed nor bed-clothes, nor clothes to keep us warm in the day- time. The ship's ballast was black earth and small stones, which we was obliged to dig holes to lie in to keep us warm, till the first of November last, that every man got about three yards of gross harn filled up with straw, but no bed-clothes. I will not trouble you more till I see you. There is none in life that went from Elgin with me, but William Innes in Fochabers; James Brander in Condloch died seven months ago; Alexander Frigge died in Cromarty Road; John Kintrea, that lived in Longbride, died also. Mr. James Falconar is well, and remains on board of a ship called the 'James and Mary,' lying off Tilbury Fort. — I am, gentlemen, your most humble servant,
(Signed) WILL. JACK.
"Tilbury Fort, March 17th, 1747."Jacobite Memoirs, p. 299; Lyon, iii. 15).

"But at last, by hunger, bad usage, and lying upon the ballasts and 'twixt decks, exposed to all weathers, they were seized with a kind of plague which carried them off by dozens; and a good many of those who would have outlived their sickness were wantonly murdered by the sailors by dipping of them in the sea in the crisis of their fevers. This was the sailors' diversion from Buchanness Point till we came to the Nore; they'd take a rope and tie about the poor sicks' waists; then they would haul them up by their tackle, and plunge them in the sea, as they said, to drown the vermin, but they took special care to drown both together; then they'd haul them up upon deck, and tie a stone about one of the legs, and overboard with them. I have seen six or seven examples of this in a day. After we brought them up the river Thames, we got orders to separate their officers from what they called soldiers, and bring the officers to Southwark New jail, and leave the commons at Tilbury Fort without meat, drink, money, or clothes; and actually they would have starved, had it not been for the charity of the English, the government not giving them one sol to live upon, except those few that turned evidence; it's no great wonder if they had all turned evidence to get out of this miserable situation, the prospect of which behoved to appear worse than death, for, in my opinion, nothing could come up to it, save the notion we conceive of hell; and I do not know if hell itself be so bad, only that it may be of a longer duration. But to return to our gentleman officers: they were brought up in rank and file, exposed to the fury of a tumultuous mob, who neither spared them with their outrageous words, spittles, dirt, and even stones and bricks, and in that manner carried through all the streets in Southwark, and at last delivered over to the hands of a jailer, who neither had the least fear of God, nor humanity, — a creature entirely after their own heart, who loaded them, the moment they entered his gates, with heavy irons and bad usage.

"After every execution the mangled bodies were brought back to the jail, and remained there some days, to show the remaining prisoners how they were to be used in their turn. I am very sure nothing could be more shocking to nature than to see their comrades, their friends, brought back in such a condition all cut to piece - the very comrades they parted with about an hour-and-a-half before in perfect good health and top spirits. They had even the cruelty to keep up the reprieves of those that were to be saved till some hours before their execution." — (Jacobite Memoirs," p. 343; Lyon, iii. 167).

The Rev. George Innes, Forres, in communicating to Bishop Forbes the above letter, which was from a William Jack, who had been a merchant in Elgin, to his friends there, writes:—

"From this letter you may easily see wherein consisted the great lenity of the Government to their unfortunate prisoners, viz., in starving and murdering them in the most barbarous manner that it might not be said there were many brought to public execution. And, indeed, their public executions were the least part of their cruelty."

One peculiarly discreditable act was committed by the Duke at Inverness — the seizure, on some specious pretext, of sixty-nine men from Glenmoriston, and twelve from Glen Urquhart, who, induced by the Laird of Grant to come to Inverness to surrender, were made prisoners and put on board ship; and such as did not die there, were sent to Barbadoes, where, three years after, only eighteen of the whole number were surviving. Certain of these atrocities — the stripping of the wounded prisoners naked, and leaving them to die of their wounds, without the least assistance; the taking from the Prince's surgeons of their instruments, and preventing them from giving professional aid to their fellows; the lingering tortures in which the wounded died on board ship (the "Jean of Leith"); the scrimp allowance there of oatmeal — half-a-pound a-day, sometimes increased to, but never exceeding, a pound; the starvation of numbers to death; the compelling of the poor sufferers to sit on large stones, denying them even the indulgence of lying on planks — are thus solemnly and emphatically attested in the dying declaration, dated 28th November, 1746, of Mr. James Bradshaw, an English gentleman, previous to his execution:-

"These are some of the few cruelties exercised which, being almost incredible in a Christian country, I am obliged to add an asseveration to the truth of them; and I do assure you, upon the word of a dying man, as I hope for mercy at the day of judgment, that I assert nothing but what I know to be true."—(Anti-Jacobin Review, vol. xiii. p. 126).

But enough of such details.

"The Duke of Cumberland now fixed his headquarters near Fort-Augustus, in the very centre of the insurgent districts. It would have been a task welcome to most generals, and not unbecoming in any to have tempered justice with mercy; to reserve the chiefs and principal delinquents for trial and punishment: but to spare, protect, and conciliate the people at large. Not such however, was the Duke of Cumberland's opinion of his duty. Every kind of havoc and outrage was not only permitted, but, I fear, we must add, encouraged. Military license usurped the place of law, and a fierce and exasperated soldiery were at once judge, jury, executioner. In such transactions it is natural and reasonable to suppose that the Jacobites would exaggerate their own sufferings and the wrongs of their opponents; nor, therefore, should we attach weight to mere loose and vague complaints. But where we find specific cases alleged, with names and dates, attested on most respectable authority, by gentlemen of high honour and character, by bishops and clergymen of the Episcopal Church — in some case even by members of the victorious party — then are we bound not to shrink from the truth, however the truth may be displeasing. From such evidence, it appears that the Rebels' country was laid waste, the houses plundered, the cabins burnt, the cattle driven away. The men had fled to the mountains, but such as could be found were frequently shot, nor was mercy always granted to their helpless families. In many cases the women and children, expelled from their homes, and seeking shelter in the clefts of the rocks, miserably perished of cold and hunger; others were reduced to follow the track of the marauders, humbly imploring for the blood and offal of their own cattle, which had been slaughtered for the soldiers' food! Such is the avowal which historical Justice demands " — Lord Mahon's History of England, iii.).

To the same purport Smollett expresses himself as follows:—

"In the month of May the Duke of Cumberland advanced with the army into the Highlands, as far as Fort-Augustus, where he encamped, and sent off detachments on all hands to hunt down the fugitives, and lay waste the country with fire and sword. The castles of Glengarry and Lochiel were plundered and burned; every house, hut, or habitation met with the same fate without distinction, all the cattle and provisions were carried off; the men were either shot upon the mountains like wild beasts, or put to death in cold blood, without form of trial; the women, after having seen their husbands and fathers murdered were subjected to brutal violation, and then turned out naked, with their children, to starve on the barren heaths. One whole family was inclosed in a barn, and consumed to ashes. Those ministers of vengeance were so alert in the execution of their office that in a few days there was neither house, cottage, man, nor beast, to be seen in the compass of fifty miles — all was ruin, silence, and desolation."


"Yet when the rage of battle ceased,
The victor's soul was not appeased,
The naked and forlorn must feel
Devouring flames and murdering steel!
"The pious mother, doomed to death,
Forsaken wanders o'er the heath;
The bleak wind whistles round her head;
Her helpless orphans cry for bread.

"Bereft of shelter, food, and friend,
She views the shade of light descend;
And, stretched beneath the inclement skies
Weeps o'er her tender babes — and dies.

"While the warm blood bedews my veins,
And unimpaired remembrance reigns,
Resentment of my country's fate
Within my filial breast shall beat."

Tears of Scotland.


In Dr. Chambers's words: "Before the 10th of June the task of desolation was complete throughout all the western parts of Inverness-shire; and the curse which had been denounced upon Scotland by the religious enthusiasts of the preceding century, was at length so entirely fulfilled in this remote region, that it would have been literally possible to travel for days through the depopulated glens, without seeing a chimney smoke, or hearing, a cock crow."

"It is generally allowed that the Duke himself, though the instigator of these cruelties, did not show so much open or active cruelty as some of the more immediate instruments of the Royal vengeance. General Hawley was one of the most remorseless of all the commanding officers, apparently thinking no extent of cruelty a sufficient compensation for the loss of honour at Falkirk. The names of Lieutenant-Colonel Howard, Captain Caroline Scott, and Major Lockhart, are also to be handed down as worthy of everlasting execration."

The mansions of Lord Lovat, Cluny, Keppoch, Kinlochmoidart, Glengyle, Ardshiel, and many others, were plundered and burnt; those of also many inferior gentlemen, and even the huts of the common people, were destroyed.

A very flimsy excuse was attempted for all these outrages. This was the allegation, that an order signed by Lord George Murray had been found on the person of a Highlander, that no quarter was to be given to the Duke's troops. Had this been a fact, it would have indeed been but a sorry solvent to wash out the blood-marks of such doings. But, in truth, the pretended order was never produced. It is certain that no such order was issued to the Insurgent army. There is no trace of any such; and the story was repeatedly and emphatically denied by the prisoners. Had there been, it would, beyond all question, have been noticed in the official documents of the time; while the atrocities never were contradicted. The tenor is quite at variance with all the previous actings of the Insurgents, which had been marked by the very reverse of cruelty in cold blood.

Had an order for no quarter been actually issued, the Prince would have been not without a plausible justification. From his ambulatory army being constantly in motion, it was a very perplexing problem how to dispose of the numerous prisoners made from time to time. They were constantly making their escape, and reappearing in arms; so that the Insurgents had to encounter anew the same men whom they had vanquished, and whose lives they had spared.

But this is not all. With regard to the many officers discharged upon parole, — some of whom, having been appointed to reside in different places in Forfar and Fifeshire, had been released by parties of the country people, and brought ostensibly by force to Edinburgh, — "incredible as it may appear," to use Dr. Chambers's words, "this Prince (the Duke of Cumberland), declaring their oath and parole to be dissolved, commanded them to return to duty in his army, and sent similar orders to all who still remained 'non-delivered,' threatening them with the loss of their commissions if they refused. A small number, including Sir Peter Halket, Mr. Ross, son of Lord Ross, Captain Lucy Scott, Lieutenants Farquharson and Cumming, refused compliance remarking that the Duke was master of their commissions but not of their honour. But the greater number rejoined their regiments, and served during the remainder of the campaign."

Chevalier Johnstone says that the expedient had been suggested of cutting off the thumbs of the right hands of the common soldiers, to render them incapable of holding their muskets; but the proposition was not entertained. It is to the honour of George II., "that the conduct of Sir Peter Halket and the few gentlemen who, like him, adhered punctually to their parole, was approved of by that monarch."

On the other hand, Captain John MacPherson, Strathmashie, has left it on record, in a letter to Bishop Forbes (Lyon in Mourning, id. 92), after detailing the capture of the Athol garrisons by Lord George Murray,—

"I must observe to you that among some papers found with the officers at Kynachan, there was ane order subscribed (if I well remember) by General or Colonel Campbell, setting furth it was the D--- of C---ds peremptor orders, if they could meet with any party of the rebels, whom they could at all expect to overcome, to engage them, and to give them no quarter, as they would be answerable. That of Kynachan was the attack assigned me, and this order I saw upon the word of ane honest man, and coppied, which coppy I kept, and had the bad luck since to lose it, by the iniquity of the times, as I did many more things; but it's possible it may come to my hands yet. The prin|| Cluny kept."

So far from any likelihood of such an order, the Prince on several occasions exhibited undue clemency, while even in the matter of plunder, discipline and general conduct had been preserved during the march into, and though doubtless with less complete success, even on their retreat from, England—the taking of horses for carrying their baggage and for sick men being what the Highlanders committed greatest excess in. These, however, when identified, were restored and all possible care was taken to restrain such noted thieves, as no army is free of, in which respect an army of Highlanders at that time was not singular.

"The Highland army were utter strangers to military discipline; but its place was supplied by implicit obedience to the will of their chiefs, who were many of them men of education and urbanity. No symptom of outrage, no ebullition of insolence, was discernible in the deportment of these lawless mountaineers. They regularly paid for everything they got. They left behind them neither sick nor stragglers; and we ourselves can attest that, from the Prince himself down to the private man, the correctness of their conduct was, many years after, recorded with applause, and advantageously compared with the excesses of the regulars, in the several towns through which both had passed. From these facts two things are apparent, — first, the astonishing influence and authority of the chiefs, and, secondly, the humane and generous motives by which they must have been actuated." — (Anti-Jacobin Review, vol. xiii.)

The bearing of the Royalist leaders was scarcely more conciliatory towards the friends than merciless to the enemies of government. The following occurrences in their intercourse with the civic rulers of Inverness are well known. The narrative is from one of the letters in the Jacobite Memoirs, p. 331; Lyon in Mourning, iii. 72.

"I am afraid I have been too long upon the gloom, and therefore I shall shift the scene a little, and touch upon something that is farcical, if I dare take upon me to call anything farcical that rubs upon dignities. But if dignities will affront and insult dignities, let them answer for it at whose door the blame lies.

"When John Fraser, Esq., the then Lord Mayor (in Scotch, Provost) of Inverness, and the aldermen (attended by Mr. Hossack, the then late Lord Mayor), went to pay their levee to the Duke of Cumberland, the Generals Hawley and Husk happened to be deliberating and making out orders about slaying the wounded upon the field of battle, etc. Mr. Hossack (a man of humanity, and the Sir Robert Walpole of Inverness, under the direction of President Forbes) could not witness such a prodigy of intended wickedness without saying something, and therefore, making a low bow to the generals, he spoke thus:— 'As His Majesty's troops have been happily successful against the rebels, I hope your excellencies will be so good as to mingle mercy with judgment.' Upon this General Hawley bawled out, 'D--n the puppy! Does he pretend to dictate here? Carry him away?' Another cried, 'Kick him out! kick him out!' The orders were instantly and literally obeyed; for good Mr. Hossack received kicks upon kicks, and Sir Robert Adair had the honour to give him the last kick upon the top of the stair, to such purpose that Mr. Hossack never touched a single step till he was at the bottom of the first flat, from which he tumbled headlong down to the foot of all the stair, and then was he discreetly taken up and carried to the provost-guard. A notable reward for zeal! — on which Mr. Hossack was warm enough, but with discretion and good-nature, as I was informed.

"But this is not all. Mr. Mayor himself (John Fraser) behoved to have a specimen of their good sense and genteel manners; for he was taken from dinner at his own table by an officer and some musketeers, with a volley of oaths and imprecations, to a stable, and was ordered to clean it instantly upon his peril. Mr. Mayor said he never cleaned his own stable, and why should he clean that of any other person? After some debate upon the dirty subject, Mr. Fraser was at last indulged the privilege to get some fellows to clean the stable. However, he was obliged to stand a considerable time almost to the ankles in dirt, and see the dirty service performed. Oh! notable treatment of a king's lieutenant!

"This singularity of military conduct towards Messrs. Hossack and Fraser is the more amazing, as none in Great Britain can be more firmly attached to the present establishment, as settled in the illustrious House of Hanover, than they are; but whether or not this unaccountable treatment has thrown a dash of lukewarmness into their zeal, I shall not take it upon me to determine. Had it been my case, I am afraid my zeal would have fumed as chill as ice itself.

"The wanton youngsters, in and about Inverness, distinguish these two gentlemen by the names of the kick provost, and the muck or dirt provost.

"Several others who were zealous friends to the government were thrown into jail at the same time with Mr. Hossack. Liberty and property with a witness! Mere empty sounds without a meaning.

"In the north of Scotland I happened to fall in with a venerable old gentlemen, an honest Whig, who, looking me seriously in the face, asked if the Duke of Cumberland was not a Jacobite. 'A Jacobite,' said I; 'How comes that in your head?' 'Sure,' replied the old gentleman, 'the warmest zealot in the interests of the Prince could not possibly devise more proper methods for sowing the seeds of Jacobitism and disaffection than the Duke of Cumberland did!'"

Besides the hundreds of victims who were put to death in the north of Scotland, without form of law, numbers were brought to trial in England for high treason. Immediately after the battle, the passes to the Highlands were carefully guarded by troops and militia, and the coasts vigilantly watched by ships of war, and many prisoners were secured and lodged in various prisons throughout Scotland. Measures of the utmost severity were instigated by the Duke of Cumberland on his return to England. The proceedings took place at St. Margaret's Hill, Southwark, at Carlisle and at York. With reference to the trials at Carlisle, Mr. Chambers says:—

"About the beginning of August, a herd — for such it might be termed — of these ill-fated persons was impelled, like one of their own droves of cattle, from the Highlands towards Carlisle, where, on being imprisoned, they were found to amount to no less than three hundred and eighty- five. To try so many individuals with the certainty of finding almost all of them guilty, would have looked something like premeditated massacre, and might have had an effect on the nation very different from what was intended. It was therefore determined that, while all the officers and others who had distinguished themselves by zeal in the insurrection should be tried, the great mass should be permitted to cast lots, one in twenty to be tried, and the rest to be transported. Several individuals refused this extrajudicial proffer of grace, and chose rather to take their chance upon a fair trial."

In all, about eighty persons selected from the condemned, suffered death — the executions taking place at Kensington Common, Carlisle, Brampton, Penrith, and York. The sufferers of highest rank were Lords Kilmarnock, Balmerino, and Lovat, and Charles Ratcliffe, taking upon himself the title of Earl of Derwentwater. These were beheaded, and the composure and courage with which they met their fate have been frequently recorded with circumstantial detail. Of the others;—

"According to the atrocious treason-law of Edward III., the culprits were only allowed to hang three minutes (in the later executions the period was lengthened). Then with life scarcely extinct, their bodies were placed on a block, disemboweled, and beheaded, the viscera being thrown into a fire. All these unhappy individuals are said to have behaved throughout the last trying scene with a degree of decent firmness which surprised the beholders. Every one of them continued till his last Moment to justify the cause which brought him to the scaffold; and some even declared that, if set at liberty, they would act in the same way as they had done. They all prayed in their last moments for the exiled Royal family, particularly for Prince Charles, whom they concurred in representing as a pattern of all 'manly virtues, and as a person calculated to render the nation happy should it ever have the good fortune to see him restored." — (Chambers).

Acute diseases require sharp remedies, and the public men of that day are entitled, at the bar of posterity, to the benefit of such plea. The character of the insurrection, too, was sufficiently formidable to prompt, at the inspiration of a panic fear a stamping-out policy, which, however, though as judicious as effective in the treatment of a public calamity like the cattle plague, must be rigidly judged when applied to human beings, much more to fellow-countrymen.

"Few probably," Mr. Chambers remarks, "would deny that the late attempt to disturb a settlement in which the bulk of the nation acquiesced, called for some exercise of the law's severity; but I would hope that, in the present age, there are still fewer who can behold unmoved a cruel death falling as a punish ment upon men, who, so far from being actuated by the spirit of crime, had been prompted by nearly as high a sense of duty as the mind of man ever experiences. The conduct of the men themselves, in their last moments, and the declarations they left behind them, form a most affecting commentary on the laws which dictate death and ignominy for offences of mere sentiment and opinion."

"The reader will naturally expect," as remarked by Sir Walter Scott in the already mentioned Review of the Culloden Papers,

"to hear of the rewards and honours which were showered on President Forbes, for his admirable conduct during a period so difficult and dangerous. Of these we learn nothing. But we suspect that the memory of his services was cancelled by the zeal with which, after the victory, he pressed the cause of clemency. We have heard that, when this venerable judge, as well became his station, mentioned the laws of the country, he was answered, not, as the editor supposes, by the Earl of Albemarle, but by a personage greater still, 'What laws - By God, I'll make a brigade give laws to the land!' — that his repeated intercessions in favour of those who, from prejudice of education, or a false sense of honour, had joined the Chevalier, were taken in bad part; and his desire to preserve to the Highlanders a dress fitted to their occupations, was almost construed into disaffection; — in fine, that he died broken in spirit by witnessing the calamities of his country, and impoverished in estate by the want of that very money which he had, in the hour of need, frankly advanced to buy troops for the service of Government. But he left behind him a name endeared, even in those days of strife and bitterness, to enemies as to friends, and doubly to be honoured by posterity, for that impartiality which uniformly distinguished between the cause of the country and political party. By a sort of posthumous ingratitude, the privilege of distilling, without payment of duty, upon his barony of Ferintosh, — an immunity conferred to compensate his father's losses and reward his services at the Revolution, and hence termed by Burns, 'Loyal Forbes's chartered boast,' — was wrenched from the family by Government in 1785, for a most inadequate recompense."

In like terms, Sir Henry Steuart, in the AntiJacobin, thus expresses himself:—

"As to the Lord President Forbes, it deserves to be recorded, to the honour of that excellent judge and disinterested patriot, that, by his zeal, his prudence, and his unwearied assiduity, he, beyond question, saved the Highlands. From his extensive influence among the Highland chiefs, he was enabled to encourage the loyal, to overawe the timid, and to confirm the wavering; and, in fact, he generously exhausted an opulent fortune in the public service. It was owing to his countenance and timely counsels that the MacDonalds of Skye, the MacLeods of MacLeod, and many other families, preserved their loyalty, together with their estates, amidst the dangers and intrigues of a disastrous period. If Parliament with propriety voted £25,000 of additional annuity to the Duke of Cumberland for gaming the battle of Culloden, by what measure of remuneration should it have recompensed the man by whose previous exertions that victory was achieved, and but for whom. the Pretender would in all probability have brought into the field a force greatly superior to the Royal troops? For, from the first day of the Rebellion to the last, the President's exertions were unremitted, and frequently successful in stopping the infection of Jacobite principles, and in usefully strengthening the hands of government. How he was recompensed may be seen from the following anecdote, which we are desirous should be preserved in our pages. Although well-known, as we believe, to Mr. Home, it is not to be found in his book. But it is important in marking the temper of the times, and the astonishing violence of party spirit.

"When the Lord-President went to London, in the end of the year 1746, for the purpose of settling his accounts, and recovering the large sums he had expended in the Royal cause, he, as usual, went to Court. The King, whose ears had been offended with repeated accounts of the conduct of the military after the battle of Culloden, thus addressed the president:— 'My Lord President, you are the person I most wished to see. Shocking reports have been circulated here of barbarities committed by the army in the north: your Lordship is, of all men, the best able to satisfy me.' 'I wish to God,' replied the President, with a noble firmness, 'that I could, consistently with truth, assure your Majesty that such reports are destitute of foundation!' The King, as was his custom when exceedingly displeased, turned abruptly away from the President, whose accounts, next day, were passed with difficulty; and, as report says, the balance, which was immense, was never fully paid up."

Bishop Forbes, too, is not far wrong in the remark, that "the liberation of Rattray and Lauder (two medical officers of the Prince's army) was the only favour the President ever received for his extraordinary services." — (Lyon, ii. 313).

So ruinous had been the private outlays of the President that, to save the family estate, his son and successor, John Forbes, on the death of his father, repaired to Hampstead, where, for the long period of sixteen years, he lived in retirement, paying off debts incurred by the President in his efforts to suppress the Rebellion.

Several Acts were now passed with the view of suppressing the system of clanship, and to make it impossible for the Highlanders again to take up arms against the lawful government of the country. After the Rising of 1715 a disarming Act had been passed; but while obeyed by the Whig clans, it had been evaded by those favourable to the exiled family. In 1747-8 various important Acts were promulgated which struck at the root of the authority of the chiefs. One Act enforced that already in existence for disarming the Highlanders. By another the Highland dress and the very tartan were proscribed; an enactment which occasioned the most violent indignation throughout the Highlands. Heritable jurisdiction and wardholding (of which last military tenure was an essential) were abolished.

Episcopacy, which had already been marked as the religion of the Jacobites, was still further discountenanced by additional severe penal laws, which were not removed till 1792. Ordination, excepting by Bishops of the English or Irish Church, or deriving their orders from them, was declared inadequate to qualify for the pastorship in Scotland. All nonjuring Episcopalian clergymen, officiating to five or more persona, were made subject to imprisonment; and for repetition of the offence, to transportation to the American plantations; and the laity were required, under pain of fine and imprisonment, to give notice of resort to an illegal Episcopal meeting house. An Act of Indemnity, but excepting certain individuals, was passed in 1747. The forfeited estates were put under the charge of Scotch commissioners, and were, after a time, generously and judiciously restored.

The progress of Scotland since the middle, more particularly towards the close, of the eighteenth century, has been almost unexampled. It seems perfectly astonishing, at this time of day, to look back and reflect what an anomalous state of society had existed within little more than a century and a half, in a portion of the British islands; such a segregation of the inhabitants of the different glens and valleys of the Highlands of Scotland from the rest of the community, and from other tribes, all living under a peculiar patriarchial system, and ever ready to take up arms at the bidding of their chiefs. How different now! Proverbially none of His Majesty's subjects are more peaceful and loyal than the Highlanders of Scotland, whom the halo of romance, round the setting rays of the days of other years, invests with an interest in keeping with the attractions of the varied scenery of their "land of mountain and flood," which may render this attempt at a compendious compilation of the story of the Battle of Culloden not altogether labour misapplied.



Back Chapter 1, Chapt. 2, Chapt. 3, Chapt. 4, Chapt. 5, Chapt. 6,


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