Page images
PDF
EPUB

or dangerously tyrannical ; and the folly of men in shedding their blood (as the friends of the exiled family did) in support of hereditary right. He says, none of the Stuarts had a cruel disposition; nemini animus per se cruentus, p. 4. Surely he forgets James II. and his government in Scotland, during the reign of his brother. Burnet has compared Charles to Tiberius. In the malignant parts of his character, James bore a nearer resemblance to that tyrant: he had not indeed so much dissimulation; that vice was corrected by his bigotry: whether or no his character was the better for it, I stand not to enquire,

The descendant of this family, and its representative in 1745, is the hero of Dr. Whitaker's story. But he does not well sustain that character. I shall not resort to other authors for any thing concerning him, but take the account as Dr. Whitaker has given it. His first landing on the coast of Scotland was an act of boldness beyond heroism. He came (says Dr. Whitaker) a foreigner, ignorant of the language and manners of the country, without troops, with little money, hardly any arms or ammunition, more like one escaped from shipwreck than an invader. Cameron of Lochiel, the chief of a clan, was the first person he applied to, and upon whom he chiefly depended. This friend shewed him the hopelessness of his enterprise, and intreated him to go back, and wait for a better opportunity. But to this he would not listen. Let Dr. Whitaker relate what followed :

66

“6 Juvenis indignabundus in hæc verba prorupit: Quum tu, “ Lochieli, cujus in fidem ac prope tutelam, tanquam domûs regiæ 56 spectatissimi et integerrimi clientis, me permiserim, belli tamen “aleam exhorrescas, mihi certum est et obstinatum, paucis ab“ hinc diebus, passo hoc in littore vexillo, solium avitum utcunque

repetere. Tu verò abi, et, principe periclitante, otio fruere.' “ Tum demum Lochielius animi victus, manus dedit.” P. 30.

Notwithstanding the magnanimity which the Doctor puts into this speech, the conduct was blindly obstinate; and Lochiel, if, instead of yielding, he had sat still and left him to his fate, would have been a wiser man, and acted more honestly towards his party. I am willing to believe all that is alledged of the young adventurer's prowess, p. 48, 49, 71, 77, and other places : he had a prize in view which might well excite him to encounter hardships and brave dangers ; but he possessed nothing of that energy and superiority of mind, which might controul his refractory followers, or inspire them with confidence. He was a good standard for his party to rally around; but, like that, an instrument in the hands of those that carried him about : and he is but little interesting till he begins to suffer.

When, therefore, I read these lines in the title-page of this history,

66

" At tibi nos (quando non proderit ista silere)

Digna damus, JUVENIS, meritæ præconia vitæ :
66 Haud alium tantù civem tulit indole Roma,
“ Aut cui plus leges deberent recta sequenti ;"

I was somewhat at a loss to know how I ought to apply so illustrious a character. I doubted whether the Juvenis in the motto was not the same Juvenis who appears in the 76th page of the book, " tanquam Deus à machinâ," (as the Doctor says,) to bring on the catastrophe of this tragedy: and upon supposition that it was so, I took the last line to be a gentle reprehension of some acts that followed the victory of Culloden. Dr. Whitaker himself must confess that here is room for doubt, since he sets the two royal youths on a par in the following comparison, or rather gives the preference to the Duke of Cumberland :

“ Jamque tandem Stuarto parem dignumque æmulum nacto, so haud abs re fuerit, aut lecturis injucundum, par juvenum egre

gium inter se componere. Nempè regiis utrique natalibus illus6 tri, accedebant forma imperio digna *, indoles excelsa, belli stu.

* Here is a seeming contradiction to what is said of the Preten. der, p. 46 : Regii, oris venustatem agnoscere; oculorum aciem

66

[ocr errors]

“dium propè ingenitum, laborum, quanquam in purpurà nutrito, “ tolerantia, odia insuper plusquàm civilia, quum erga parentem “ officiosè ambo dimicarent, hic ut diadema amissum reciperaret, ille “partum ut tueretur; dispar tantùm partibus fortuna." P.76, 77. It appears from hence, that the two rivals have a disputable claim to the verses.

I think them as applicable to one as to the other, and leave the title in abeyance.

Yet even in his wanderings and adversity, the Pretender does not appear so great as some others of his fellow-sufferers. He displayed courage, and fortitude, and constancy; but he endured no more than hundreds of his party did; while he alone was exempt from those trials which they withstood, who were assisting in his concealment and escape. They renounced safety and wealth for his sake, and exposed their lives to preserve his. These were men whose virtue might have atorded to Dr. Whitaker a just subject for reflexions, but which I do not find in his book.

Yet while he passes over such men with a transient commemoration of their fidelity, he expatiates upon the bodily sufferings of their prince as matters better deserving our notice. His scanty and coarse food, his hard lodging, his patched and tattered apparel, are topics to which he returns more than once. See p. 108, 110, 126, 128. The paragraph below is a curious specimen. He relates that the Pretender was conducted by his guides to a cavern in the Highlands, where he found seven men who made that their habitation, and subsisted by plunder.

" Hæc inter, Carolum, quanquam iphonesto sordidoque cultu 6 deformem, singuli agnoscunt, genibusque fiexis omni officio at. " que obsequio colunt. Nempè regio juveni (ita in amplissima “ dignitate ludere gestit fortuna) toga rustica fuit, tunica lacera ac

detrita, cervical pannosum, femoralia tunicæ similia, caligæ cor., "rigiis adstrictæ, pedibus ita per lacunas ex tantibus ut soleatus

" atque fulmen, incessum denique habitumque imperatoris planè de. 66 siderare gese aiebant." But perhaps his meaning is, that it was not really so, only the royal party said so.

nudipésne incederet meritò dubitaretur ; interula denique, quæ "& unica misero fuit, illuvie ac squalore obsita. Enimverò ne.

gabant generosi latrones has sordes sese diù laturos : neque homi. num fluxa fides ; namque, paucis post diebus, servato tempore, quo milites quidam regii nullo ordine ab Arce Augusti Straglassi.

am usque pergerent, equisones à tergo adorti, præfectorum “ sarcinas diripiunt, quo facto, in silvas vicinas dicto citiùs abditi,

cutem Principis meliùs deinceps & elegantiùs curatam præstant.” P. 123.

The changing of clothes here mentioned reminds me of another change that resembles it; the change of clothes which king Charles II. made, while he lay bid in the country, after his defeat at Worcester: and as Dr. W. has drawn out a parallel, between the two royal personages in their perils, their sufferings, and their fortunate escape, I will furnish one other point of comparison. The circumstances are reported by Lord Clarendon in these terms.

“ Here he (Charles) now dressed himself, changing clothes with his landlord: he had a great mind to have kept his own shirt; but he considered that men are not sooner discovered by any mark in disguises, than by having fine linen in ill clothes ; and so he parted with his shirt too, and took the same his poor host had then on." Hist. Reb. Vol. 3. p. 415. 8vo Ed. 1717.

The good-natured robbers, who could not bear to see their prince in a ragged and dirty plight, procured him handsome clothes, which he was incautious enough to wcar at the hazard of being discovered by any one who should see him. King Charles put off his good clothes to avoid the same hazard. The monarch here appears to have been more prudent than his kinsman.

Yet there is one point of time when Dr. W. has shewn the unhappy wanderer in a dignified and noble character. I will quote the passage.

“ Nocte imbribus procellisque fædả, profecti unà cum Stuarto “ contubernales, servatis asperrimorum montium jugis, manè ex edi. “ tissimo loco lacum Lochium despiciunt, Ibi, præterquàm quòd “subjectas inter alles virorum principum, eorundemque amicorum “ præcipuorum, tecta aut jam fumantia, aut incendio nuperrimè "absumpta, ipsum totius mali causam, angebant, diem totum impas" tus duravit." P. 125.

c.

When he stood cold and hunger-pinched on the mountain, beholding the country all around him laid waste with sword and fire, and beat his breast for anguish to reflect that he had been the cause of such devastation, he was greater than in his royal splendour at Edinburgh, or his gallant victory at Preston-Pans.

But Dr. W. makes too large a demand in favour of his hero, when he applies to him, from Livy, part of the character of Scipio, and by implication, sets him in some comparison with that illustrious Roman. The words are theșe ; Ipsi Carolo “ prima pars vitæ memorabilior quàm postrema fuit ; quia, in juventâ” res fortiter quanquam infeliciter gestæ, postea

defloruere, neque præbita est materia ingenio.” p. 144. The words within inverted commas are from Livy, lib. 38. 53. Now when Livy says the latter part of Scipio's life was not so memorable as the former, it is only because the former part was so eminently worthy of remembrance ; in which time (as Livy there adds) he brought to a happy issue as great and dangerous a war as ever Rome was engaged in. In the latter part of his life nothing occurred to call forth his transcendant abilities; but he then filled some of the highest offices of the state. The latter period of the Pretender's life was spent in quiet and retirement, and I am not desirous of intruding into his privacy.

There remains but a point or two more for animadversion. Dr. W. p. 139, adopts and commends the opinion of Cicero respecting forfeitures in cases of treason. The passage, as it stands in Cicero's epistle runs thus: “Nec verò me fugit quàm sit acerbum parentum scelera filiorum pænis lui : sed hoc præclarè legibus comparatum est, ut caritas liberorum amici. ores parentes reipublicæ redderet.' Cicero wrote this to Brutus upon the occasion of Lepidus's forfeiture; when he was declared a public enemy for joining with-M. Antony. But

« PreviousContinue »