Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The End of the Affair.

In the Battle of Culloden many Jacobites were killed or wounded, but, even so, there were still some 2000 fighting men in the field, who believed that Charles had planned to re-group at Fort Augustus on the Friday after the battle. The intention was to fight Cumberland again, this time in the hills and defiles where government artillery and cavalry would be of no advantage. The Jacobites were as wrong about the Prince's intentions as they were about the location of the rallying point. Since the word 'defeat' was not in the Prince's lexicon, he had never planned a rendezvous. Most of the surviving Jacobite troops had made, not for Fort Augustus, but for Ruthven in Badenoch, believing that this was the rallying point. Most of the Jacobite leaders believed so too, including Lord George Murray, the Old Duke of Atholl, the Duke of Perth, Lord John Drummond and Lord Ogilvie. Lord Elcho had helped Charles's escape from the the battlefield at Culloden. Now Charles headed westwards, accompanied by Elcho, Sir Thomas Sheridan, John William O'Sullivan, Captain Felix O'Neil, an Irishman in the French service, and his ADC, Alexander Macleod whose servant Ned Burke from North Uist would be the party's guide. Charles kept his Irish 'advisors' always close to him. With the Prince on the run, this was a shadow which clouded the moment of triumph for the House of Hanover. Charles never intended to continue the fight, but left his followers a message to 'seek the means of escape as well as they can'. The Chevalier de Johnstone observed that this was a 'sad and heart-breaking answer for the brave men who had sacrificed themselves for him'. Maxwell of Kirkconnel said that the troops who assembled at Ruthven, having no orders from the Prince, 'simply dispersed', with no idea of their fate, nor if their days would end on the scaffold. Here at Ruthven on the day after the battle, Lord George, full of pent-up resentment, gave vent to his long-standing feelings in a lengthy, bitter letter to the Prince, detailing the disasterous conduct of the campaign. It was some weeks before the Prince received the letter, for which he never forgave Lord George. There would never again be any communication between the two men. Knowing that serious retribution would be sought by the government, most of the Jacobite lumenaries knew they had to leave the country as best they could. Two French ships arrived off Arisaig bringing 35,000 louis d'or to support the rising, but they were late, of course. Murray of Broughton, who was too ill to appear at Culloden, was now well enough to don the mantle of the Prince's Secretary in claiming 5,000 for 'current expensives' and burying the rest in two places near Loch Arkaig. The two ships, the 'Mars' and the 'Bellona', returned to France taking with them into exile Lord Elcho, Sir Thomas Sheridan, the dying Duke of Perth and his brother Lord John Drummond. Lochiel and Murray of Broughton stayed behind. Lochiel made it to France, where he was given command of a French regiment fighting in Flanders. Murray bid farewell to his young pregnant wife and headed for the East Coast hoping to arrange passage to Holland for himself. A party of dragoons eventually captured him at his sister's house in Peebles-shire, and as a rich prize for the Government, he was transported ot the Tower in London to be 'interrogated'. He told all he knew, which didn't amount to much, but his evidence in relation to Lord Lovat virtually signed the old man's death warrant. He would go down in history as 'Mr. Evidence Murray' or the 'Jacobite Judas'. He was later released from prison with a small government pension, but never returned to Scotland, dying in England some thirty years later.

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