Page images
PDF
EPUB

for calling a new one in the month of January 1715, nothing was to be seen in England but the bustle of electioneering, heightened at this time by the violence of party feeling, so as to render many places scenes of the most shameful disorder. The measures adopted by the ministry, who had already sealed up the papers of the earl of Strafford, on his return from the Hague, and recalled Prior from France, showed plainly that they had a design to make a judicial inquiry into the conduct of the late ministry, so soon as the new parliament should be convened, and the proclamation issued by his majesty for calling this parliament, left no room for any to question but it was the hope and the desire of the ministry to have a parliament exactly to their own mind. “ It having pleased Almighty God,” said his majesty, “ by most remarkable steps of his providence, to bring us in safety to the crown of this kingdom, notwithstanding the designs of evil men, who showed themselves disaffected to our succession, and who have since, with the utmost degree of malice, misrepresented our firm resolution and uniform endeavour, to preserve and defend our most excellent constitution, both in church and state, and attempted, by many false suggestions, to render 'us suspected to our people, we cannot omit, on this occasion, of first summoning our parliament of Great Britain, (in justice to ourselves, and that the miscarriages of others may not be imputed to us, at a time when false impressions may do the greatest and irrecoverable hurt before they can be cleared up,) to signify to our wbole kingdom, that we were very much concerned, on our accession to the crown, to find the public affairs of our kingdom under the greatest difficulties, as well in respect of our trade, and the interruption of our navigation, as of the great debts of the nation, which, we are surprised to observe, have been very much increased since the conclusion of the last war. We do not, therefore, doubt, that if the ensuing elections shall be made by our loving subjects, with that safety and freedom, which by law they are entitled to, and we are firmly resolved to maintain to them, they will send up to parliament the fittest persons to redress the present disorders, and to provide for the peace and happiness of our kingdoms, and the ease of our

people for the future, and therein will have a particular regard to such as showed a firmness to the protestant succession when it was most in danger. We have, therefore, found it necessary, as well for the causes aforesaid, as for other weighty considerations concerning us and our kingdoms, to call a new parliament; and we do, accordingly, declare, that, with the advice of our privy council, we have this day given orders,” &c. &c. This was plain speaking, and too true to be flatly denied; but it awakened the utmost indignation in the whole body of the tories, and they met it by a charge of undue interference with the freedom of elections, which they themselves immediately violated in every instance where it was in their power. Sheriffs, in many places, they forcibly prevented from doing their duty, and many false returns were made, by which means a number of the ministerial tories were returned, and among others Thomas Forster of Bamborough, whom we shall soon meet at the head of an army, arrayed against his lawful sovereign, to whom he had sworn fealty, and in behalf of the chevalier, whom he had solemnly abjured.

From the limited nature of the elective franchise in Scotland, it was impossible to carry on elections there with the same mischievous effect as in England, but nothing that could be thought upon, as tending to promote sedition, or forward rebellion, was neglected. The weight of taxation, occasioned by the Union, was strongly insisted upon as calling for the united exertions of all who wished well to their country, for having that ruinous treaty, as it was still denominated, speedily dissolved; and it was proposed that no one should be chosen as a representative, either for peers or commons, who was not known to be determined on the immediate prosecution of that measure; and, for a moment, this seemed to be an almost universal feeling. It was soon, however, discovered that the Jacobites were every where exerting themselves with uncommon zeal, and the more moderate party, rightly suspecting that the ruin of the Scotish church, and the setting aside the protestant succession, so auspiciously established in the person of George I., were objects which they had more at heart than the delivering of the country from any of its miseries, either real or pretended, wisely refused

to concur with them. The elections of course went on for the most part smoothly, and the members returned were almost to a man firm friends to the succession as now established, though some of them were very desirous, could they have been certain of a proper time and a fair opportunity, to have seen a dissolution of the Union, which, it must be confessed, had not as yet realized the sanguine expectations either of its projectors or supporters.

Inverness was, perhaps, the only place in Scotland where the Jacobites attempted to carry their purpose into effect by force, and they were utterly unsuccessful, from one of these singular combinations, which, we have already seen, and shall often have occasion again to see, attended the unfortunate pretender at almost every step of his progress. The government candidate was the honourable John Forbes of Culloden, a person of known loyalty, and universally beloved. He was opposed by Mackenzie of Prestonhall, who, to compel the Frazers to vote for him, brought Glengary and a great assemblage of papists in his train. Culloden, however, carried the day through the influence of his neighbour, brigadier general Grant, and Simon Frazer of Beaufort, the famous lord Lovat, who had just escaped from France, and was doing his utmost to obtain the countenance of the British government,* and by that means the estate of Lovat, and the chieftainship of the Frazers. Of the estate of Lovat, Prestonhall was at this time in possession, and he laid claim to be head of the Frazers also, having married the baroness of Lovat, eldest daughter of Hugh, late lord Lovat, in whose person, it was decreed by the court of session in 1702, were the honours and dignity of Lovat. Prestonhall, in consequence, assumed the name of Frazer, and the title of Frazerdale;t but the greater part of the Frazers refusing to submit to him, signed an address to the king, and made a full resignation of their clan to the duke of Argyle as their chief, at the very time when all the other clans were signing the address to his majesty in favour of high church and the

• Memoirs of the Life of Lord Lovat, written by himself, pp. 452, 453. + Douglas' Peerage of Scotland, by Wood, vol. ii. p. 159.

tories, which was to have been laid before the king at his accession through the earl of Marr, [vide a preceding note), but which a variety of circumstances prevented him from being able to accomplish. Lord Ila and the duke of Argyle were in the meantime exerting themselves in behalf of Simon Frazer of Beaufort, and Simon himself, always awake to whatever pro. mised to promote his schemes of aggrandizement, threw the whole weight of his interest with the Frazers into the scale of Culloden, for the double purpose of mortifying Prestonball, who was more sincerely attached to the pretender than he was himself, and securing the powerful patronage of the Forbeses, which he was fortunate enough to enjoy without interruption, till he foolishly threw it away in the year 1745.*

* The following letters, &c. throw some light upon the character of this arch apostate and villain, and demonstrate to what a man may attain, even under regular government, among virtuous and wise men, by the exercise of mere cunning and selfishness, though he be possessed of scarcely one single virtue. The first is directed to the laird of Culloden :

“ Much honoured and Dr Sir,

“ Tue real frdship y I know you have for my person and family, makes me take the freedom to assure you of my kind service, & to intreat of you to join wh my other friends betwixt Spy and Nesse, to sign ye address pe court requires, in order to give me my remission. Your cousine James, who has generously expos'd himself to bring me out of chains, will inform you of all steps & circumstances of my affairs since he saw me. I wish, D: Sir, from my heart, you were here; I am confident you would speak to the Duke of Argyle & to the Earl of Isla, to let them know their own interest, and their reiterated promises to do for me: perhaps they may have, sooner than they expect, a most serious occasion for my service. But its needless now to preach ye doctrine to them; they think ymselves in ane infallible security ; I wish they may not be mistaken. Hower, I think its the interest of all those, who love this government, betwixt Spy and Nesse, to see me at the head of my clan, ready to join them; so ye I believe, none of them will refuse to sign ane addrese to make me a Scotsman. I am persuaded, Di Sir, ye you will be of good example to ym on ye head. But secrecy above all most be keept; without which all may go wrong. I hope you will be stirring for the parliament, for I will not be reconciled to you, if you let Prestonall outvote you. Bregadecr Grant, to whom I am infinitely obliged, has written to Foyers to give you his vote; and he is ane ungrat villain if he refuses him. (If) I was at home, the little pityful barons of the aird, durst not refuse you. But I am hopefull ye the news of my going

The Jacobites, however, though generally foiled at the elections, were not by any means discouraged, but were actively and coolly, though secretly, at the very time making preparations for submitting their claims to the decision of

to Brittain, will hinder Prestonall to go north, for I may come to meet him when he least thinks of me. I am very impatient to see you, and to assure you most sincerely how much I am, wh love and respect,

Right honourable, your most obedient,
And most humble servant,

LOVAT.The 24th of November, 1714.

The next from Culloden to his brother, Duncan Forbes, relates to and throws light upon this same affair of Lovat’s :

“ Dear Brother :- I send you by this express, a packet, which, if my lord Nay is at Edinb, you yourself are to deliver to him, and if still att London, to forward carefully to him. It contains ane address from the Frasers to the king; and likewise a full resignation of their clan to Argyle as ther chieff. Ther doing this at a jouncture, when the other clans are forcing through ace other address in favours of the high church, and I truly think pairtly levelled at Argyle, ought not to be forgot; for I can assure you there was no stone left unturned by the other clans to divert them from it; even to that degree, that they were at daggers drawing about it. I, therefore, truly think the duke should take them heartily by the hand and support them, now that they have cast out with all the Highlands on his grace's accoumpt. Our Aird Frasers, viz. Relict, Dunballach, Belladrum, Kinnarid's, and Dunballach's brethren, bare subscribed the Hyland address with Fraserdealls; but Ahnagarn would not. Pray, fail not to speak to my lord Ilay, that he cause Streachen, who is now at the colledge, or with my lady duches, at Diddeston, subscribe the Fraser's address before its sent up.” &c. &c.--Culloden Papers, p. 33,

The following is the petition that was sent up for Lovat in the year 1714, and the grant that followed it, for his services to the government during the time of the rebellion, taken from the Culloden Papers, pp. 336–338:

“ We, your majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects under subscribing, who have always endeavoured to distinguish ourselves by our zeal for the protestant succession in your majesty's royal family, which has now taken place to the happiness of these nations, and the disappointment of all the enemies to liberty and the protestant religion, do humbly implore your royal mercy for one of your subjects, who, though banished and a prisoner, has now lately, when the greatest dangers did seem to surround us, by the influence he has over a numerous clan, supported with us that cause, which, in defence of your

+ Culloden Papers, pp. 32, 33.

« PreviousContinue »