Sunday, 13 April 2014

Edinburgh Falls to the Jacobite Army

General John Cope got word that the Jacobite Army was heading for Edinburgh. He left Inverness bound for Aberdeen, where ships were waiting to transport him and his troops to Dunbar on 17 September 1745. He was joined there by two regiments of dragoons under Brigadier Fowkes and many of the high and mighty of Edinburgh, particularly Lord Home, Lord Napier and some more of the capital's elite, but as Elcho say in his "Memoirs", "they did not all remain with him when the prospect of an Engagement (battle) drew nigh." The Prince in a letter to the bailies of Edinburgh said that if they were to capitulate, no harm would come to any of the city's people nor to their property. Various groups of magistrates came and went from the city to meet Charles hoping to extend the deadline of the Prince's ultimatum (to attack Edinburgh), in the hope that Cope's army, a day's march away at Dunbar, would come to their rescue. After three such attempts at "negotiation", the Prince knew 'he was being trifled with' and had 500 Camerons secreted near the West Port to force open the gates, but ironically the coach carrying the last group of magistrates back to the city via the West Port were a little tardy in closing the gates and this allowed Locheil's men to rush in, to the consternation of its citizenry. The local militia of about 1000 untrained men, at the urging of their wives, went to The Csstle Armoury to hand back their weapons. Some say that they came to this decision on seeing and hearing a ragged man on a grey horse proclaim that the Prince had 16,000 Highlanders waiting nearby at Duddingston. On 16 September, Lord Elcho arrived in Edinburgh to join the Prince, and donated 1500 guineas to the Jacobite war chest. Edinbugh had been taken without firing a shot, and 1000 stands of arms had been seized, which pleased the Prince and his army, as they were in great need of them. The Jacobite Army entered Edinburgh on 16 September with Lorg Strathallan leading on horse, and behind him the Prince on horseback flanked by Lord Elcho on his left and the Duke of Perth on the right, followed by Lord George Murray at the head of a column of infantry. Elcho says that " the army was met by vast multitudes of people, who by their repeated shouts and 'huzzas' expressed a great deal of joy to see the Prince." The Prince occupied the Gallery and the Duke of Hamilton's apartments ( vacated by that Government stalward) within the Royal Palace of Holyrood. It was from here he made the speech proclaiming his father King. The Prince was the man of the moment and entertained the prominent and fashionable personages of that time, including the Earl of Kelly, Lord Balermino, Hepburn of Keith, Lockart of Carnwath, Sir David Murray (and several other gentlemen of distinction). "But," says Elcho, "not one of that mob who were so fond of seeing him ever asked to enlist in his service, and when he marched to fight Cope he had not one of them in his army." At night various ladies of fashion came to meet the Prince and to kiss his hand. He was cool towards them, not having much experience of women's company, and was often embarrassed in their midst. On the morning of the 18 September, the Prince sent Lord Elcho to the City Magistrates with a list of demands "under pain of military execution if not complied with." viz. 1000 tents, 2000 targes (shields), 6000 pairs of shoes and 6000 canteens. The magistrates readily agreed to all their demand, and workmen were set to work on this vast order toute suite. They figured that when the Jacobite Army left town to meet General Cope, they would order the workmen to cease immediately. They did not take account of a very overhung Highlander who was left behind by his comrades who left Edinburgh the night before. Alone and staggering a little he was confronted by some people and "asked why he was not with the rest of the Highlandmen. The fellow said that there were 300 more Highlanders in town lurking in cellars." (Elcho's Memoirs). This piece of quick thinking ( not so inebriated !) had the magistrates believe this story and they restarted the work on the tents, shoes etc,

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