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THE PRETENDER'S ESCAPE.
engaged pursuing his advantages against the Highland left wing, which, although broken, retired in order, attempting ten times to rally within a space of two miles, his own left wing had, without his knowledge, been signally defeated by the insurgents' right; while Mar, in like manner, ignorant of the defeat incurred by a portion of his own army, pursued the retreating portion of Argyle's. Mar, stopped in his pursuit, and marching back to Sheriffmuir, took up a position on an eminence, which he so foolishly abandoned as to wring from one of the Highland chiefs, Gordon of Glenbucket, the exclamation, "O for an hour of Viscount Dundee !" The consequence of the blunder was utter defeat. On the 22d December the Pretender (son of James II.), misled by false reports as to the number of his adherents, landed at Peterhead, and on the 6th January made his public entry into Dundee, with Mar on his right hand and the Earl Marshal on his left. On the 8th he reached the Royal Palace of Scone, near Perth, where he formed a Council and issued manifestoes. But his manner, which was awkward, and his stubborn temper and bigoted character, did not win friendship. In fact, there was disappointment on both sides. The Pretender expected to meet a large body of supporters; and the comparatively few insurgents, on the other hand, looked for a French army in the train of their royal chief, and saw none. The Pretender accordingly, perceiving how matters stood, made up his mind to escape as quietly as possible. Argyle, meanwhile, was approaching over ground covered with snow, and a country which had been laid waste in order to check his advance,—a cruel proceeding which entailed great misery on the inhabitants. The Pretender, Mar, and some others, escaped to France. Then followed the usual tragedies after a suppressed insurrection. Leading men, such as Derwentwater, Nithsdale, and Kenmure, were executed; but, generally speaking, there was not much bloodshed.
The attachment of George to his Hanoverian dominions entangled the British nation in very complicated relations with foreign states. Philip v. of Spain was keeping his eye on the French throne, which, by the Treaty of Utrecht, he had renounced at the
close of the war of succession. The heir was a sickly child of six years old, and the kingdom was governed by the Duke of Orleans, as Regent, who, according to the treaty, was heir-apparent. Fearing the designs of Philip, the Regent proposed an offensive and defensive alliance with George, which, in his concern for his continental dominions, he agreed to, at the same time inducing the Dutch to sign the treaty. George, it must be remarked, by this act deprived the Pretender of French support.
Not content with the limits of Hanover, he was anxious to extend his kingdom, and temptation was thrown out by Denmark, which, as the price of his aid against Charles XII. of Sweden, offered him the rich districts of Verden and Bremen. A British fleet was sent into the Baltic, and England found herself at war for the sake of Hanover. The Swedish king, breathing revenge, took up the cause of the Pretender, and was planning an invasion of England in his support when he met his death at the sicge of Friedrichshall (1718).
The King of Spain, also enraged at the triple alliance concluded between France, England, and Holland, for the maintenance of the Treaty of Utrecht, determined to assist the enemies of George. Under the administration of the famous minister, Cardinal Alberoni, the power of Spain had wonderfully revived. This statesman determined to recover for Spain her former possessions in Italy, which, by the peace of Utrecht, had been transferred to the Emperor of Germany. A mighty fleet was accordingly equipped, Sardinia was seized, and the British government sent Sir George Byng to the Mediterranean with orders to fight the Spanish Armada (June 1718). The Emperor now found it his interest to adhere to the Triple Alliance (which thus became the Quadruple Alliance) to save his Italian possessions from the Spaniards. Byng sailed from Naples to save Messina (9th August), and, on turning the point of Faro, saw the Spanish fleet, composed of 27 sail of the line and 7 galleys, in order of battle, which, on the appearance of the British Admiral, drew off. Byng followed, but his pursuit was somewhat checked by a calm. Battle was joined next morning at ten o'clock, and at three the Spanish Admiral struck
THE PRETENDER ABANDONED.
his flag. By sunset the naval power of Spain was annihilated. With it fell the plan formed for the invasion of England from Cadiz, in the name of the Pretender, headed by the fugitive Duke of Ormond, and supported by a rising in Scotland. The Pretender, who had gone to Madrid, was sent off to Italy to meet his bride, the Princess Clementina Sobieski. The French Regent was now at war with Spain, and, as if to complete the strange turn of affairs, his troops were commanded by Marshal Berwick, natural son of James II., and Philip's own great general in that war of the succession, where parties now allied were then fighting one another with deadly hostility. British troops, under Lord Cobham, were at Vigo destroying ammunition and stores; while Admiral Byng, supplying the deficiences of his allies, and acting in Sicily as sailor, soldier, and diplomatist, obliged Messina to surrender (21st October 1719). Philip, to propitiate his antagonists, expelled his able minister Alberoni from Spain, and abandoned the Pretender. Peace was signed, and Europe secured a twelve years' tranquillity. After this both France and England became infected with a mania for speculation. In France, an able Scotch adventurer named Law, raised a company to work the boundless natural productions said to be contained in the Valley of the Mississippi. People of all ranks ran wildly after shares in the dazzling enterprise, and they rose to an extravagant premium. The promised wealth was found to be imaginary, and, the bubble bursting, caused ruin far and wide. In England, a similar scheme, called the South Sea Bubble, also burst in like manner, and people at length learned by bitter experience how preferable is steady industry to uncertain gambling. The professed object of the South Sea Company was to trade with the countries on the Pacific-a trade from which the projectors assured the nation that enormous profits would arise. The Government having given the scheme their countenance, there was a universal rush for shares which, after the declaration of a fictitious dividend of 50 per cent., rose to upwards of £1000 each. As it was impossible to realize the promised wealth, those who had sold their all to invest the proceeds in the shares, were ruined. The misery that ensued was very wide-spread.
The great Duke of Marlborough died 16th June 1722, and the same year was born the young Pretender, an event which again raised the hopes of the Jacobites. In order to punish the Roman Catholics, who were accused of favouring another abortive movement, Walpole levied a tax of £100,000 on their estates. Bishop Atterbury was impeached, and amongst his defenders was the famous poet Alexander Pope. He was banished to France. The exile Bolingbroke was, however, pardoned, and allowed to return home.
In 1727 Spain, which had concluded a treaty of amity with her old antagonist the Emperor of Germany, thought herself strong enough to frighten England into a surrender of Gibraltar, but the Emperor having repented of his engagement, Philip was obliged to raise the siege he had rashly begun, and to make peace in time to save the Plate ships on their return from South America. On the 3d June George set out for his kingdom of Hanover, and on the 10th, while on the way, was seized with apoplexy, and died before his carriage reached Osnabrück, in the 68th year of his age.
Cotemporary Sovereigns.-France: Louis XIV., XV. Sweden: Charles XII., &c. Russia: Peter the Great. Catherine I. Prussia: Frederick-William I.
Questions.-1. Who was the "Old Pretender?" 2. Give an account of the rising in his favour. 3. Give a short account of the foreign policy of England during George I.'s reign.
2. George II. (Son of George I.)
WHIG MINISTRY UNDER SIR ROBERT WALPOLE-LENGTHENED PEACE-WAR WITH SPAIN-WAR OF THE AUSTRIAN SUCCESSION-VICTORY AT DETTINGEN, AND DEFEAT AT FONTENOY-PRINCE CHARLES EDWARD, HIS HISTORY AND FINAL OVERTHROW-WAR WITH FRANCE-THE SEVEN YEARS' WAR CARRIED ON IN AMERICA, INDIA, THE CONTINENT, AND ON THE SEA-SUCCESSFUL ISSUE—AN ACCOUNT OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY.
George II., forty-four years of age, was, like his father, not much favoured by advantages of person, being small and hard-featured ;
THE PORTEOUS MOB.
but he had the advantage of speaking English fluently, and was, moreover, sociable and accessible. With his father he had at one time been on bad terms, and was destined in turn to suffer the misery of disagreement with his own son. Queen Caroline was happily of a mind and temper to counteract family disunions, and even to exercise a beneficent influence on public affairs. She it was who acted as Regent during the many visits which George, like the late king, paid to his Hanoverian dominions. The king, it was said, went wrong whenever he acted contrary to her advice. Through her influence the peace-loving Robert Walpole was retained in power; and as France was at the same time ruled by Cardinal Fleury, a minister of like temper, the advantageous Treaty of Seville was concluded on the 9th November 1730, by which Spain joined in a defensive alliance with England, France, and Holland. Through the exertions of these ministers also, a war was prevented between the Emperor and Spain on account of Naples and Sicily, which, having been united under the name of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, were allowed to be erected into an independent kingdom under Don Carlos, the Queen of Spain's son.
The debates in Parliament during the session of 1737 turned on the disturbances in Edinburgh, caused by the Porteous mob, rendered ever memorable by Sir Walter Scott's Heart of Mid-Lothian.1
1 A criminal named Wilson had been condemned to death for having robbed the collector of excise, a deed which he contrived to palliate in his own eyes by the consideration that the collector had ruined him by a seizure of smuggled goods. As Wilson had, with generous self-devotion, favoured the escape of his accomplice in the robbery, by laying hold of the two soldiers in whose custody they were, whilst he retained the third with his teeth, the Edinburgh mob became greatly interested in his fate. When the execution was over, their feelings of discontent broke out in acts of violence, and to repress these the guard fired upon them, under Porteous's orders, killing and wounding several. This event took place 14th April 1736. Porteous, accused of having exceeded his duty, was taken up, tried, found guilty of murder, and condemned to death. The Crown, however, granted a reprieve, followed by a pardon, which so infuriated the people of Edinburgh, that a mob deliberately forced the prison doors, took Porteous out and hanged him. The British Parliament in turn became greatly excited at this proceeding, and determined to visit the consequences on the city authorities of Edinburgh, whom they held responsible for the conduct of the mob, which, in the opinion of the House, they ought to have restrained at all hazards. A resolution was accordingly passed, disabling the Provost from ever holding office, and obliging the Corporation to pay £2000 to Porteous's widow.