Saturday, 21 June 2014

Cumberland In Pursuit.

With the Jacobite army now withdrawing north towards the Highlands, the Duke of Cumberland arrived in Edinburgh, staying at Holyroodhouse, where he called a council of war, and where it was decided to march against the 'rebels' the very next morning. The army left Edinburgh on 31 January, with the Duke travelling in a state coach drawn by twelve horses, all provided by the sycophant Earl of Hopetoun. They spent the night in the ancient Stuart Palace of Linlithgow, where Mary Queen of Scots had been born. The palace, by accident or design, went on fire, and only the walls survived. Cumberland was anxious, as he put it, for 'an opportunity of finishing this affair at once' and continued to pursue the Jacobites to Falkirk and Stirling, barely twenty-four hours behind Charles. Cumberland wanted to catch up with the Jacobite army before they reached the Highlands, 'before they got into their holes and hiding-places, where it will be impossible to follow them in a body'. (Letter to the Duke of Newcastle, Feb.2). Finally Cumberland and his army reached Perth on the 6 February. On the way there, they marched through the Strathallan estates of the Jacobite, Lord James Drummond, the Duke of Perth, where Cumberland saw fit to 'let the soldiers a little loose, with proper precautions, that they might have some sweet meats with all their fatigues'. Cumberland held Lady Perth and her daughter captive in their home, Drummond Castle, and demanded that she write to her Jacobite husband to release all government prisoners held by the enemy, under threat of burning the castle to the ground. Writing again to the Duke of Newcastle (5 Feb.) his final words were that ' I thought it a pity to let this troublesome old woman escape without making some use of her'. He had given up hope of an immediate engagement with the Jacobite army, and spent the next two weeks in Perth. He sent out raiding parties to collect stores and rations in the hinterland, and to harrass the ordinary people, all of whom he believed to be Jacobite supporters. He prepared for the next phase of his campaign. His army was greatly reinforced by the arrival at Leith of the 4,500 German force under Prince Frederick of Hesse. At the same time a large contingent of Argyll Militia reached Perth under the command of Major-General John Campbell of Mamore. They were sent to the West Highlands to support Lord Glenorchy, whose father, Lord Breadalbane, had once been a Jacobite. Cumberland could not get his head round the fact that the Campbells, being Gaelic-speaking Highlanders could be good Whigs and supporters of King George. He disliked the Scots in general and the Highlanders in particular, whom, to a man, he stated were privatedly Jacobite supporters who often 'aided the rebels'. On 15 February Cumberland returned briefly to Edinburgh for a council of war at the house of Lord Milton, the Lord Justice-Clerk. Asked their opinion, all of Cumberland's generals said that as far as they could see, the war was at an end. The remaining rebels could be flushed from their strongholds when spring weather returned. When pressed for his opinion, Lord Milton said that, from his knowledge of the Highlanders, the rebellion was by no means over. Cumberland said that he would therefore press on to end this campaign and prevent any future outbreaks by rebel forces. He sent three batallions of foot to Coupar-Angus, a regiment of dragoons to Dundee and left the Scots Fusiliers behind to protect Perth. On 20 February he set out with his main force for Aberdeen arriving there near the end of the month. At this time he sent a despatch to London , calling on Parliament to pass a short act which would make it easier for him to deal with the rebels in a manner which they deserved. He wrote "As yet, I have only taken up Gentlemen and yet all the jails are full, whilst the common people I pick up every day must remain unpunished for want of being unable to try such a number. So, they will rebel again when someone comes to lead them." Cumberland was wanting nothing less than the power of life or death over his Jacobite enemies.

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