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ence, and above all a protestant, there seemed every prospect of a peaceful and happy reign. But the reign of George I. was not without its troubles.
You remember how much Queen Anne had suffered from the disputes between the Whigs and Tories during her government. These disputes still continued, and proved a source. of vexation to her successor also. George himself favoured the Whig party; so the Duke of Marlborough, and others who had been disgraced during the preceding reign, were recalled, and the Tories were sent away. Some of them, on account of certain accusations brought against them, escaped from the country, and their estates were forfeited to the crown. The King's prime minister was Sir Robert Walpole. George having previously resided in Hanover, was not very well acquainted with the English language, and as his minister could not speak either French or German, they were obliged to converse together in Latin.
The government soon became very unpopular on account of the severities I have just mentioned; and strong parties were formed, both in England and Scotland, for the purpose of restoring the Stuart family, and making the Pretender king. The rebellion which followed was headed in Scotland by the Earl of
Mar, who actually went so far as to proclaim the son of James II, king of Scotland. The Duke of Argyle was sent against him, and a battle was fought at Dumblane, which had the effect of checking the rebels. The English part of the insurrection was quelled also. This was headed by the Earl of Derwentwater, Lord Kenmuir, Lord Nithesdale, and some other noblemen, who were taken, and sentenced to be beheaded for rebellion. A great deal of pity and sympathy was felt for these unfortunate men; for although they had acted wrongly in rebelling against the government, yet they were in other respects worthy of esteem. Lord Derwentwater was much beloved for his generosity and kindness to the poor on his estates, whom he was accustomed to feed and provide for; and Lord Kenmuir was also a sensible and honourable man.
After the fatal sentence had been pronounced, the Countess of Nithesdale and Lady Nairne, the wife of another of the condemned noblemen, who had been anxiously awaiting the sad moment, threw themselves at the feet of the king as he passed, and begged him to spare and pardon their husbands. But their tears and entreaties were of no avail. The council had determined that the sentence should be carried out, and the order for the execution had already been given. Derwentwater and
Kenmuir suffered first, and the others a few days after. But Lord Nithesdale, through the unwearied efforts of his wife, contrived to effect his escape, dressed in woman's clothes.
There is not, I think, much more that will interest you in the reign of George I. His reign lasted twelve years; and he died suddenly in Holland, when on his way to his Hanoverian dominions, for you remember that he was Elector of Hanover, as well as king of England. George I. died in the year 1727, and he was succeeded by his son George II.
The early years of this reign passed quietly away without any events which it will be necessary for me to relate. Sir Robert Walpole, who had been a leader of the Whig party in the two preceding reigns, still continued to be prime minister. He managed the affairs of the country very skilfully, and the time of his administration was particularly peaceful.
after a while, the people became anxious again for a war, and one was commenced against the Spaniards in South America, which lasted about three years. An expedition was also undertaken against Carthagena, which ended in a complete failure. The people were exceedingly annoyed and disappointed, and the party opposed to Sir Robert Walpole were glad of an opportunity of throwing the blame of the disaster upon him, though indeed he was not
responsible for the want of success of those who commanded in the expedition. However he resigned his office in consequence.
There was also another war carried on on the continent in this reign; but we will not say any thing further on these matters, as I have some event to tell you which happened nearer home, and which will, I think, interest you more than the accounts of battles and sieges in France and the Netherlands.
You remember the Pretender, the son of James II, who had attempted to obtain the throne of Scotland in the preceding reign.
Another effort was now made for him by his son Charles Edward, who is usually known by the title of the Young Pretender, to distinguish him from his father, who is called the Old Pretender, or the Cavalier. Charles Edward thought the present would be a favourable opportunity for asserting his claims; for the best of the English soldiers were absent fighting against the French; and they had moreover just suffered a defeat at the battle of Fontenoy. So the Young Pretender, having a promise of assistance from France, made his arrangements, and set off, accompanied by his brother, and his officers, and landed in the Highlands of Scotland.
When Charles Edward first made his appearance, most of the Scottish clans were
afraid of joining him. They knew it was a hazardous enterprize which he was attempting, and, if it failed, it might involve them in great difficulty and danger. A few, however, of the chiefs were less cautious; and the young Pretender exerted all his powers to bring over a large party to his side. This was no very difficult matter. Charles was young and handsome in his person, brave and generous in his disposition, and his manners were particularly winning; so that he usually succeeded in talking over his companions, and inspiring them with something of his own ardour and enthusiasm. And then, many of the Highland chiefs were by no means unwilling to be persuaded by the young Prince Charlie, as they called him. You will remember, that they had been not very favourably disposed towards the English government for some time past, and the defeats and severities they had lately experienced had not tended to make them like it better. They considered too, that the change made in the succession at the Revolution, was unfair; that the Stuarts were the proper inheritors of the crown, and that the sovereigns of the House of Hanover were only usurpers; for they did not recognize the principle of the Act of Settlement, by which, as you remember, it was arranged for the crown to pass to Protestant heirs only, thus excluding the Stuarts,