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TRIALS OF THE REBEL LORDS.
have a more enduring interest than the formal proceedings of the trials themselves. These proceedings took the usual course when the evidence is too strong to involve any doubt of the legal guilt of the accused. Their personal demeanour is, in such cases, the chief object of attention. Bills of indictment had been found by the grand jury of Surrey against the three noblemen, and they were tried by the Peers in Westminster Hall. Walpole says it was the greatest and most melancholy scene he ever saw, the whole ceremony being conducted with the most awful solemnity and decency. Walpole expected to look on without emotion.
He thought of ths crimes of the prisoners, and of the dangers that the country had passed. Their first appearance shocked him; their behaviour melted him.* Kilmarnock and Cromartie pleaded guilty. Balmerino stood his trial. Walpole describes him as “the most natural brave old man I ever saw; the highest intrepidity, even to indifference.” He played with his fingers upon the axe. A little boy wanted to see what was going on, and he placed him near himself. Murray, the solicitor-general, after the Lords had pronounced Balmerino guilty, went up to him, and asked him how he could give the Lords so much trouble when he had been told that his plea was useless. Balmerino met the impertinence with a cool retort: "Oh, Mr. Murray, I am extremely glad to see you; I have been with several of your relations; the good lady, your mother, was of great use to us at Perth." + Kilmarnock, upon being brought up for sentence, expressed deep contrition for having joined the rebellion at a rash moment. Cromartie manifested a similar feeling of remorse. Balmerino simply desired the Lords to intercede for mercy. Gray, who was present at the trials, describes the conduct of these noblemen, in a letter to Wharton : “ Kilmarnock spoke in mitigation of his crime near half an hour, with a decent courage, and in a strong but pathetic voice. His figure would prejudice people in his favour, being tall and genteel; he is upwards of forty, but to the eye not above thirty-five years of age.
What he said appears to less advantage when read. Cromartie (who is about the same age, a man of lower stature, but much like a gentleman), was sinking into the earth with grief and dejection ; with down, and a voice so low, that no one heard a syllable that did not sit close to the bar; he made a short speech to raise compassion. It is now I see printed ; and is reckoned extremely fine. I believe you will think it touching and well-expressed; if there be any meanness in it, it is lost in that sorrow he gives us for so numerous and helpless a family.
As to Balmerino, he • Letter to Mann, August 1.
never had any hopes from the beginning. He is an old soldierlike man, of a vulgar manner and aspect, speaks the broadest Scotch, and shows an intrepidity, that some ascribe to real courage, and some to brandy.
The duke of Argyle, telling him how sorry and how astonished he was to see him engaged in such a cause, . My lord (says he), for the two kings, and their rights, I cared not a farthing which prevailed; but I was starving ; and if Mahomet bad set up bis standard in the Highlands, I had been a good Mussulman for bread, and stuck close to the party, for I must eat.'” This latter speech sounds like an invention of the day: Cromartie was pardoned. Kilmarnock and Balmerino were executed on Tower-bill, on the 18th of August. When the deputy-lieutenant, as they passed out of the Tower, cried oui, according to the usual form, “God bless king George,” Kilmarnock bowed; Balmerino exclaimed, “God bless king James.” When the two parted, Balmerino embraced his companion in misfortune, saying, “ My lord, I wish I could suffer for both.” Walpole then relates a circumstance of some historical import. Balmerino, after their parting, desired again to see Kilmarnock, and then thus addressed him: “6 My lord Kilmarnock, do you know anything of the resolution taken in our army, the day before the battle of Culloden, to put the English prisoners to death?? Ile replied, “ My lord, I was not present; but since I came hither, I have had all the reason in the world to believe that there was such order taken; and I hear the duke has the pocket-book with the order.' Bal. merino answered, :It was a lie raised to excuse their barbarity to us !'-Take notice, that the duke's charging this on lord Kilmarnock (certainly on misinformation) decided this unhappy man's fate.” Kilmarnock suffered with resolution. Balmerino's behaviour is noticed by Shenstone, as either “to have wanted coolness, or else to equal that of Adrian, Cato, Sir Thomas More, or any of those heroes who had spirit enough to make an ostentation of their unconcern." He wore the regimentals which he had worn in the Rebellion-a blue coat turned up with red-(the dress whichi, curiously enough, was afterwards known as the Windsor uniform of the time of George 111.); and when on the scaffold, he took off his periwig, and put on a night-cap of Scotch plaid.. “He died," says Walpole, “ with the intrepidity of a hero, but with the insensibility of one too."
The last of the titled sufferers was lord Lovat. In December, 1746, he was impeached by the House of Commons. His trial commenced before the Peers on the 9th of March.
The chief * Walpole to Mann, August 25.
evidence against him was John Murray, of Broughton; who had been secretary to Charles Edward, and, with sir Thomas Sheridan, was held to be the adviser of many raslı measures which the young prince obstinately pressed. It was a pitiful exhibition to behold this man giving evidence against the old chief, whose cunning could not save him from these treacherous disclosures of his long career of double dealing, Lovat's conduct upon his trial was as little dignified as his ordinary mode of life. He died decorously, quoting the line of Horace, which was a bitter satire upon his course of selfish tyranny and unprincipled ambition—“It is pleasant and honourable to die for one's country.” There were forty-three persons attainted by Parliament. Some of them were of noble families, but a large proportion were of inferior rank, including a few engaged in commercial and professional employments.
There was one fugitive from the field of Culloden whose adventures have the same sort of interest as those of Charles II. after the battle of Worcester. For the purpose of a general history of our country it is unnecessary here minutely to detail them. Charles Edward quitted the large body of horsemen who had accompinied him from the fatal moor, having resolved to make his way, with a few of his personal friends, to the west coast, in order to embark for France. He rested at Gortuleg, a house belonging to one of the Frasers, where, for the first time, he met lord Lovat. According to one account, the old chief reproached the Prince, when he avowed his intention to quit Scotland without hazarding another battle. Riding past the ruins of Fort Augustus, he halted at Invergarry, an almost deserted house of MacDonell of Glengarry. Here he was left to pursue his course, with two of his companions, and a poor Highlander, Ned Burke, who had been bis guide from the battle-field. On the 24th of April, he was sailing in a small baat from Loch Na Naugh, where, nine months before, he had landed with few companions, but with the support of the most sanguine hopes. These solitary lakes and isiands were now unsafe. Parties of soldiers penetrated into the most remote places, hunting down rebels, burning cabins, and chasing women and children from their desolate homes. Soon after the wanderings of Charles Edward had begun, the duke of Cumberland fixed his head-quarters at Fort Augustus, in the very heart of the district where the young Prince was hiding, for whose apprehension a reward of thirty thousand pounds had been offered. For five months did this ill-fated adventurer lead a life of constant privation and alarm; generally evading observation ; sometimes known; but never
betrayed. When he had gained a place of shelter in the house of the elder Clanranald, in the island of South Uist, he was soon disturbed by parties of militia who landed, and by vessels of war cruising about the coast. Obliged to quit his hospitable abode, he wandered alone amongst the hills, till he was enabled to escape to Skye. This he effected through the compassionate courage and sagacity of Flora MacDonald, a name ever to be numbered in the illustrious roll of heroic women. Charles was dressed as a female when, with Flora and a faithful Highlander, he went to sea in an open boat. They landed at last in the country of sir Alexander MacDonald, who was opposed to the Jacobite cause. Flora boldly appealed to the sympathy of the wife of the chief, lady Margaret MacDonald, and through her aid Charles was enabled to escape froni the danger which he might have encountered in this hostile district. The kind lady MacDonald employed her kinsman, Kingsburgh, to be his guide, in company with Flora. He thus safely got out of Skye ; and, taking leave of his companions, he reached the isle of Rasay, alone, disguised as a man-servant. Day after day the Prince sustained new hardships. He returned to Skye, and early in July was conveyed in a boat to the mainland. He wandered long amongst the glens between Loch Shiel and Loch Hourn. He had to elude the sentinels who watched the head of the two lochs. He dwelt amongst freebooters in a cave, and lived on the plunder which they brought in. In August he returned to the Glengarry country, which was then cleared of troops. Finally, on the 20th of September, he, for the third time, sailed from Loch Na Naugh ; but he now sailed in a French vessel, accompanied by Lochiel, and three other of his fugitive adherents.
Parliamentary calm. – Mr. Pelham and the Duke of Newcastle. -Mr. Pitt.--Naval suc
cesses. -Defeats by land.-Battle of Lauffeld.---Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle.--Charles Edward sent out of France. -Pacification of the Highlands.—The peace regarded as a hard necessity for Britain.-Measures of the Parliament.-Reduction of Interest on the National Debt.-Combination Laws.-Parliamentary Privilege.- Refarm of the Calendar.--Death of Frederick, prince of Wales.- Official changes .--Act for dissection in cases of murder.- Act for preventing Thefts and Robberies, and for regulating Places of Public Entertainment.-Gin Act.-The Jew Bill. T'he Marriage Act.
The interval between the suppression of the Scottish Rebellion
1746, and the conclusion of the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, is perhaps as little interesting in its details as any period of our history. Nor are there many exciting events to give spirit to a narrative of the remaining six years of that Administration which was broken up by the death of Mr. Pelham in 1754. Opinion became torpid, after the excitement of the rebellion had passed away. Jacobitism slunk to its hiding-places.. Patriotism looked out for pensions and sinecures. Party-contests had nearly subsided into personal struggles for place and power, which those who are curious as to such mysterious affairs muy drowsily meditate upon in the sober narrative of Coxe,* or laugh over in the sarcastic anccdotes of Walpole. During the agony of the rebellion, immediately after the defeat at Falkirk-at a time when it might be supposed that English statesmen would have cast away their petty ambitions —there came what is termed a ministerial crisis. Lord Granville (Carteret), although out of office, had the confidence of the king; whilst the duke of Newcastle, and his brother, Mr. Pellam, his majesty's chief ministers, were not favourites with him. They resolved to try their strength. They demanded office for Mr. Pitt, rather from their fear of him than from their love. The king refused to give a place to one who had so bitterly thwarted his Hanoverian partialities. The Pelhams and the whole body of their Whig followers resigned. Granville became minister-for forty-eight hours ; for he could command no parliamentary support. The Pelhams returned triumphantly to power, upon their own terms; giving Pitt an office, but one which would not neces.
* *Administration of Henry Pelham."