« PreviousContinue »
All parties, however, appear to have been pretty well satisfied, Hooke with himself, the chevalier de St. George with the vain hopes of a crown, his most Christian Majesty with the prospect of a diversion in his favours, on the part of Scotland, and the poor deluded Scotish Jacobites, with the visionary idea of regaining national independence, and along with it the sovereignty of England !! How miserably all were disappointed, we shall see in the sequel.
In the meantime, those who had been intrusted with the management of Scotish affairs, having succeeded in carrying into effect the measures suggested by the English ministry, with a facility, and to an extent far beyond their most sanguine expectations, hastened exultingly to court, where they were received with every demonstration of respect. Montrose and Roxburgh were both created dukes, and Queensberry, whose life had been threatened, and who was execrated by the populace in his own country, was in England, every where welcomed with expressions of gratitude and joy. At Berwick, Newcastle, Durham, and the other great towns through which he passed, he was waited upon, and complimented by the magis
company, and associate himself with such as are disaffected to us and our government, in such way or manner as he shall judge most for our service. Given under our Royal Hand, at our castle of Windsor, the 7th of July, 1707, and of our reign the 6th year.”
Thus fortified against any legal consequences that might accrue to him for his conduct, and furnished with money to serve present exigences, he became a leading man in all the deliberations of the Jacobites, and was by them thought to have full power over the Presbyterian Societies in the south and west, who, as they were known enemies to the union, were supposed necos. sarily to be in the interest of the pretender. Nothing, however, could be a fouller calumny, and it does not appear that he had any authority whatever from the Societies, which were composed of men far too strict in their morals, to have any thing particular to do with a man so profligate as Ker certainly was. He performed bis dirty work, however, with considerable ability, and, as is usual in such cases, was rewarded with neglect. After a bustling life of rascally intrigue, which he has himself carefully chronicled, he died in great misery, a prisoner for debt, in the King's bench prison, London, July 8th, 1726, aged 52. His Memuirs were published the preceding year, in three parts, and dedicated to a very proper patron, Sir Robert Walpole. Vide Memoirs of John Ker of Kersland, in three parts, London, 1726; and Lockhart Papers, vol. i. p. 307.
trates, while assembled multitudes every where surrounding him, testified the deep interest they felt in what he had so happily accomplished. At. Barnet, Highgate, and other places near London, the queen's ministers, and the members of both houses of parliament, waited upon him in their coaches, and the metropolis had never seen so great and so joyful a concourse of people, since the entry of James VI. at the union of the two crowns. A pension of £3,000 per annum, out of the post office, was settled upon his grace, the whole patronage of Scotland was vested in his hands, and he was created a British peer, by the title of duke of Dover, marquis of Beverly, and earl of Rippon, and took his seat as such in the house of lords, in the month of November following. *
The first British parliament was convoked by proclamation, on the 23d of October, 1707, and, after taking into consideration the affairs of the United Kingdom generally, turned its attention to the political situation, and internal government of Scotland, for improving which, and rendering the late treaty of union more completely effective, they passed a number of most important regulations. In the true spirit of kindness and conciliation, they addressed the queen, to discharge the informations that were still hanging over a number of merchants, for goods imported into Scotland before the 1st of May. They repealed the famous Act of Security, and the Act anent peace and war, both of which were indeed abrogated by the union, but, as they had been the means of inflaming the Scotish, and alarming the English nation, in no ordinary degree, to allay every uneasy apprehension, their formal and literal reversion was judged necessary. The militia of Scotland they voted to be placed upon the same footing with that of England. They restored the office of justices of the peace, which had been laid aside since the revolution, with the same powers as those of England; and, for the better and more speedy administration of justice, they appointed the lords of justiciary to travel their circuits twice in the year. Writs for electing members of parliament, they ordered to be issued, and the returns made in the same manner as in England, and they determined, that
oth of whict of Secibefore the
• Douglas' Peerage of Scotland, vol ij. p. 381.
after the 1st of May, 1708, the Scotish privy council should be finally dissolved, thus annihilating the last vestige of the national government. These enactments did not pass either house without violent opposition, especially the last, which was carried in the house of lords, by a majority of only five voices; and, though the council in question was a most odious tribunal, and one which, had it been continued, would effectually have prevented any benefit arising from the union, its extinction tended to exasperate that irritable and gloomy feeeling, which at this time unhappily characterized the Scotish people.*
While the friends of their country were thus employing themselves to promote its best interests, the Jacobites were doing their utmost to counteract them, by restoring the exiled family, and breaking up the union, which they considered as giving, if it ever came to be fairly established, the death blow to their projects. The month of August was ardently looked for, as the happy period that was to bring them the accomplishment of all their wishes; but when it did arrive, it brought only a notice, that his most Christian majesty, at that time, could do nothing; and this notice was repeated from time to time, till the hopes of the most sanguine were nearly extinguished. From the freedoin of speech and of action too, in which many of them had indulged, fears were entertained, that they might be proceeded against by the existing government, and, without reaping any of its advantages, suffer all the pains of treason. Under this impression, they became all at once apparently deeply interested in the management of public affairs, and, as it was certain the parliament behoved to be dissolved at the end of the session, they began to canvass for seats in the new parliament, for the double purpose of laying asleep the
* “ In the records of the Privy Council of Scotland, after the junction of the crowns, we meet with more frequent examples of the gross abuse of delegated power, than occur perhaps in the history of any nation possessing a regular and established government. The functions and proceedings of the ordinary judicatories were often suspended, and their decisions overawed and controlled, by the indefinite prerogatives of a tribunal, which was a standing engine of regal and aristocratic oppression.” Somerville's History of Great Britain, &c.
vigilance of the government, and, if their friends were brought into trouble, that they might be in a situation more effectually to befriend them. This, to be sure, involved them in the guilt of deep dissimulation, and, if they succeeded, in the still deeper guilt of perjury; but politicians have very generally supposed the means to be sanctified by the end, even when less sacred objects were in view than divine, indefeasible, hereditary right, and where neither works of supererogation were provided, nor dispensing power claimed for their relief.
With all this diligence at home, the Jacobites did not fail, to hasten, by every means in their power, that assistance from abroad upon which they so much depended. Mr. Hall, of whom we have already made mention, writes thus, by orders of his grace the duke of Hamilton, to M. de Chamillart, the French minister, August 2d, 1707. “ The duke of Hamilton will not go to England, till he shall have seen the king's determination, with respect to the affairs of Scotland; and it is hoped here, that Sir James Ogilvie of Boyn will bring it soon. The duke of Hamilton has informed himself more fully concerning the dispositions of the west; and this is what he orders me to tell you. All the Presbyterians are resolved to oppose the union; and if the k- of England comes to Scotland with six or eight thousand men, he will have more people for him than he will know how to employ. It will be necessary that he give the command of them to the peers and the nobility, and the duke of Hamilton will set others the example. We have arms in these parts, and some shires have already officers upon half pay. All that the Presbyterians demand of the k- of England is, to declare against the union, and to maintain the parliament, and the independence of the nation. They submit to military discipline, and will not disturb his majesty on account of his religion, only desiring, that he will be content to exercise it without much show. They conjure him only to promise the safety of the Protestant religion in general, and to refer all the rest to his first parliament. All the tories are zealous for his interests, but it will be necessary that he come soon, otherwise the opportunity will be lost.” This is seconded by the duke of Gordon, August 9th, “ We are in great consternation here at
not hearing from you, and are therefore obliged to be urgent to know what we may hope for. Secrecy is necessary in great affairs, but too much mystery spoils all. May we know at least, whether we shall be assisted or not? The duke of Hamilton begins to espouse our interests heartily. There are people here who insinuate, that you do not intend to assist us. If you do intend it, the opportunity is favourable, and never will be found again.” The duke of Gordon is followed by Ker of Kersland, August 16th and 20th. “ All is ready here, but if the succours do not come soon, or at least, if we are not sure of being assisted within a limited time, all will go to confusion. The people complain, that they have often been made to hope, without any effect. I will still answer for keeping every thing ready for some time longer, provided I am sure of the succours; but it would not be just, that I should lose my fortune for my goodwill. Long delays will ruin us all. We are all convinced, that the only way to save Scotland, is to restore our k— The opportunity is excellent; it never was so good, and if you lose it, it never will be found again. The union is so universally detested, that it has changed the hearts of the greatest enemies of the k- of England. I should not wonder, if this change should not be easily believed in France, for I am surprised at it myself, and yet it is true. The attachment which the chiefs of the Cameronians have always had for my family, enables me to answer for them; and I will readily venture myself on this occasion, provided I am sure of not being forsaken; for the English will not spare me. Do not give credit to all the intelligence that may be sent from these shires, [the five shires of the south-west,] by any other channel than mine; for I am informed, that others make use of my name without my knowledge. We are ready to give every security that shall be desired, for the performance of our promises. Once more, do not lose time; for if you do, you lose every thing." This incendiary is followed by the dutchess of Gordon, August 20th and 23d, with still greater vehemency. « For God's sake! what are you thinking of? Is it possible, that after having ventured all to show our zeal, we have neither assistance nor answer! All is lost for want of knowing what measures ought to be taken. Several of the greatest partisans