Thursday, 8 May 2014

Derby - The End Of a Dream.

As the Prince's army passed through England, there was little support for his cause. Manchester gave some heart to the Prince. There were cheering crowds as he entered the city, Church of England ministers said prayers for him and large numbers gathered outside his lodgings to see hime dine. In addition he gained a regiment here in Manchester, the only Englishmen to join the Prince's cause. However realities had to be faced. Lord George Murray again told the Prince that the combined forces of the Hanoverian army was 30,000 that of the Jacobites only 5,000. Even taking account of the heroism of the Highlanders, continuing on this course would be their nemesis and every brave soldier in their army would be slaughtered. Promises of help from Wales or Ireland could be discounted, and the force of 4,000 that landed in Scotland from France commanded by Lord John Drummond, if true, was too far away from them to help. The Prince reminded Lord George that for the entire length of their campaign they were undefeated, and if they pressed on to London, victory was assured. Indeed, with news of the Highland army at Derby and rumours of an early French invasion, there was utter panic in London. Business came to a standstill, shopkeepers shut up shop, Jacobite posters appeared on walls, and Jacobite sympathisers collected £10,000 for the Prince. It was rumoured that King George had his yachts on standby off Tower Quay on the Thames, laden with his most precious belongings, ready to sail to the Continent. On 5 December Prince Charles awoke from a long sleep in his comfortable quarters in Exeter House Derby feeling happy, and buoyed at the prospect of being in London in two days time. Later that morning Lord George Murray spoke to the Prince asking him if had thought of what they were to do. The Prince was taken aback as he thought that they were resolved to press on to London. A Council of War was called for that day in which the chiefs reminded Charles that there had been no risings in England nor had France come to their aid, and it was now time to return to Scotland to join up with the army under Lord John Drummond. The Scots had done more than their duty, but now the sheer size of the English armies amassing against them was just too great for the small Jacobite army. The very idea of retreat was intolerable to the Prince, who said that " Rather than go back, I would wish to be twenty feet underground." The Prince heard all the arguments for retreating with growing impatience and "fell into a passion and gave most of the Gentlemen that had spoken very abusive language, and said that they had a mind to betray him." Finally the Prince agreed to go back to Scotland, but at the same time "he told them that for the future he would have no more Councils, for he would neither ask nor take their advice, that he was accountable to nobody for his actions but his Father, and he was as good as his word, for he never after advised with any body but the Irish Officers, Messers Murray and Hay and never more summonsed a council." (Chevalier Johnstone). Mounted on a black horse, the Prince left his lodgings late that morning and the Jacobite army marched out of Derby on Friday 6 June, the drums beating 'To Arms'. Lord George Murray took command of the reargaurd, surmising that here one might expect the enemy to attack. This was the end of the Prince's dreams.

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