Saturday, 22 March 2014

The Royal Standard is Raised at Glenfinnan.

Locheil was ushered into a large room looking out over the Sound of Arisaig, and there at a window stood His Royal Highness, Prince Charles Edward Stuart. He was wearing a grey brown coat, scarlet-laced waistcoat and breeches and a fair round wig. The door to the room was closed leaving them alone. It must be appreciated that if Prince Charles had any hope of starting a rebellion, he had to persuade Locheil and his Cameron men to come onside. Locheil suggested in earnest that the Prince return to France, but the Prince reminded him that he and other clan chiefs had given solemn undertakings to rise in his support, while the Prince was languishing in France. He then told Locheil that if he wished he could stay at home, and read in the newspapers about his Prince's fate. That was enough for Young Locheil who there and then pledged every Cameron man under his command. Nevertheless as he returned to Achnacarry, it was with a sore heart he saw how the future lay. On Sunday 18th August, Charles left Kinlochmoidart heading for Loch Shiel with a large guard of Clanranald's men. They camped there overnight, and next morning they travelled by birlinn up the loch to Glenfinnan, where the clans were to gather. The next day (19th August) the Prince and a coterie of his followers foregathered on a hill above Glenfinnan awaiting the arrival of the clans. With him were the chosen few, among them the seven who travelled with him from France. Alongside the Prince stood Locheil, Macdonald of Keppoch, a man called Murray of Broughton, the old Gordon of Glenbucket and Father Colin Campbell, a priest from the Scots College in Paris. Finally,as "a witness from the opposition", looking rather forlorn, was the English Captain Swetenham who had been taken prisoner in a earlier skirmish with some Highlanders. They had to wait well into the afternoon before the sound of bagpipes announced the arrival of some clansmen. Over the piece. 700-800 Camerons arrived, along with 300 Macdonalds of Young Clanranald, another 300 Macdonalds of Keppoch,a further 150 Macdonalds of Glencoe. Stuart of Ardshiel arrived with 250 Stuarts of Appin. In all, around 1700 or 1800 came to fight for Charlie. All of the leaders and other 'dignitaries' had to sign a paper swearing their allegiance to the Cause, for as long as the Prince remained in Great Britain. The Royal Standard of 'white, blue and red silk' was blessed by Bishop Hugh Macdonald , and then Duke William of Atholl, aged and gout-ridden, supported on either side by two attendants stepped forward to unfurl the flag. The Prince was overjoyed at the rapturous cheers of the clansmen, and at the sight of their bonnets flung high in the air. Finally we had Atholl proclaiming Charles as Regent in place of his father King James, and declaring war on the House of Hanover. Most of the clansmen could not understand the English of Charles' short speech which promised success for the Stuart Cause. In the circumstances it was as well. There were large clans who did not support the Cause, mostly along religious lines. Macleod of Macleod was at this very time raising a body of men for the Government side. The Mackenzies had bitter memories of their outing for the Jacobites in 1715. They would not support the Stuart Cause this time. The Macdonalds of Sleat in Skye would maintain their allegiance to the Hanoverians. The northern clans, the Munros and Mackays were solidly opposed to the Stuarts, and, as for the Lovat Frasers, no one knew where they stood, but Lovat was actually recruiting other chiefs for the government side, or failing that, dissuading them from joining the Prince. I think we all know that the Campbells were big supporters of successive British governments, and had been handsomely rewarded for their sterling service, Neil and Donald sent this their third report to Miss Grant at the Inverness Courant via a hired express horseman, who carried the sealed papers in a leather satchel. She could only be delighted with what the Dalmore boys were sending to her. The major papers in Britain struggled to understand how this small journal, the Courant,was able to report events in the Jacobite camp as they happened.

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