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clung to their belief that the Throne of the country would once more have "its rightful occupant" could have no better illustration than that afforded by the subsequent career of Lord Kilsyth. After the burial of his wife he was elected to occupy his old seat as one of the members for Stirlingshire, and that position he held till the 3rd October, 1706, when, on the death of his brother, he was raised to the Peerage. At that time the country lost its head over the Darien enterprise. The majority of the Scottish nobility and merchants were severely bitten. The bubble burst, and Lord Kilsyth lost the sum of ;£iooo sterling, which the books of the company show he subscribed on the afternoon of the 31st March, 1696. In 1707 Colonel Hooke, a secret agent from the Court of Versailles and St. Germains, visited Scotland for the purpose of engaging the disaffected nobility in the interests of the King of France, and stirring up if possible a Jacobite rising. Hooke was the very man for this delicate mission, being wily and wary, and full of deceit and diplomacy. He looked to the Duke of Hamilton and Lord Kilsyth as two men whom he was certain to enlist in the plot He had an interview with Kilsyth, who was also a commissioner of Hamilton's, at the house of Lord Stormont. Kilsyth insisted that they must be provided with a force of 8000 men and a large sum of money before they could think of entertaining the French proposals. Hooke, upon their agreeing to the scheme, proposed to submit their proposals to the King of France. The other nobles who were present consented to this. Lord Kilsyth, however, stood firm, and would have nothing to do with the conspiracy until he saw both the men and the money. The nobles took Hooke's side, and the meeting grew warm. Finding his counsel set aside by his own countrymen, Lord Kilsyth, "nettled to the quick, got up, and went away." Afterwards Kilsyth and Hooke had a private interview. Kilsyth was considerably affected at the prospect of the restoration of his King and the deliverance of his country, but he refused to sign the memorial to the French King until he had seen the Duke of Hamilton and disengaged himself of his promise. The two men parted on this understanding, agreeing to meet again at the house of the Countess of Errol. The meeting never took place. The news of an impending French invasion, and the rumour of a Jacobite rising, flew through the country like wildfire. The Government at once arrested the Marquis of Huntly, the Earls of Seaforth and Nithsdale, and the Viscounts Stormont and Kilsyth. They were thrown into Edinburgh Castle, and in April, 1708, they were conducted to London under an escort of dragoons. The French expedition failed, the prisoners were admitted to bail, and the proceedings were allowed to quietly drop. Kilsyth was hated by the Government, but he was greatly popular in Scotland, and he held his seat and voted steadily against the measures for the Parliamentary Union of England and Scotland. When the Act did pass, he was elected to sit in the English House of Lords as one of the sixteen representative Scottish Peers. That was in 1713. Two years later he took those steps and committed those acts of rebellion which brought about his utter ruin and exile. Being a well-known Jacobite, the Earl of Mar invited him to attend the celebrated hunting meeting at Braemar in August, 1715. The ruse was successful, the nobles met, and were able to confer.
"There ye might see the noble Mar,
'' Then what are a' their Westland crews?
The standard of the Pretender was immediately raised. Mar sped the fiery cross through the Highlands, and 10,000 men gathered about him in a wonderfully short space of time. Had this army, full as it was of zeal and energy, been properly handled, there can be little doubt it would have scored for the Jacobites a number of successes, and prolonged the Rebellion for a considerable period. But Mar wanted the qualifications of Dundee and Montrose. He was a man of good parts and soldier-like presence, but as a commander, he was irresolute, tentative, vacillating. The moment the clansmen gathered, he should have acted with boldness and determination. Instead, the slowness of his movements damped the ardour of his followers, and gave Argyll time to rally the Government forces. When the impetuosity of the Highlanders could no longer be restrained, at the head of 12,000 men he marched from Perth to meet Argyll, who was stationed at Dunblane. The forces of Argyll were much smaller, but in point of discipline and equipment they were much superior to those of Mar. Sheriffmuir is of the shape of an inverted saucer. It is a waste, boggy, uncultivated tract, near the ancient cathedral seat of Dunblane. There the two armies met. They found themselves in battle order against each other on the morning of Sunday, the 13th November. Rob Roy was present, but performed the part of an onlooker. Through the nature of the ground the armies were within pistol shot of each other before they came fully into each others' view. The Highlanders pursued their wonted tactics. Throwing aside their plaids they discharged their muskets with steady aim. Having fired their pieces, they then flung them down, and drawing their claymores, with a fierce yell of defiance dashed on the foe. The right wing of the army was led by Mar in person, and by sheer courage, and the resolute use of dirk and broadsword, he overpowered the Government troops with great slaughter and drove them before him. From the pursuit Mar was called by the news of the disaster which had befallen his left wing. That portion of his army had been outflanked and reduced to confusion by a skilful manoeuvre of Argyll's horse. The clansmen retreated, fighting every inch of the ground, till Argyll, afraid of being attacked in his rear, drew off his forces and formed them in battle order. Much weakened and broken, Argyll never imagined but Mar would be immediately' upon him like a lion. Mar, however, acted like himself; he failed to take advantage of his position, and drew off his Highlanders. At this juncture an aged clansman, seeing his irresolution, cried in the bitterness of his soul, "Oh for an hour of Dundee." Mar lost 800, and Argyll 610 men, and thus unsatisfactorily terminated the battle of Sheriffmuir. It was a drawn game.
"Some say that we wan, and some say that they wan,
Mar had missed his chance, and the clansmen soon melted away.
Political vengeance quickly followed. The Scottish gentlemen who were taken were tried and executed. Many saved themselves by flight. Amongst these was Lord Kilsyth. He fought at Sheriffmuir, and, having witnessed the uncertain assault, he saw clearly that the hopes of the Jacobites were extinguished, and also that, so far as he was concerned—an arch-conspirator from his youth—even to dream of mercy was foolishness. With all haste he fled to the Continent. His estates and titles were immediately attainted, and the whole of his property forfeited to the Crown. He survived for eighteen years the disasters of the '15, and "in an advanced age, in perfect judgment, and showing a Christian and exemplary resignation," he died at Rome on the 12th January, 1733. His second wife was a daughter of Macdougall of Mackerston. Thus perished, in exile and misery, the last of the Lords of Kilsyth, the last of a family than whom the House of Stuart had not more staunch supporters, a family who had risen under their rule to influence and honour, and who in their day of misfortune and disaster had been brought to ruin.