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THE CULLODEN PAPERS.
[From the Quarterly Review, for January, 1816 :-On
“ Culloden Papers ; comprising an extensive and interesting Correspondence from the Year 1625 to 1748. To which is prefixed, an Introduction, containing Memoirs of the Right Honourable Duncan Forbes,” &c. 4to. 1815.]
Every thing belonging to the Highlands of Scotland has of late become peculiarly interesting. It is not much above half a century since it was otherwise. The inhabitants of the Lowlands of Scotland were, indeed, aware that there existed, in the extremity of the island, amid wilder mountains and broader lakes than their own, tribes of men called clans, living each under the rule of their own chief, wearing a peculiar dress, speaking an unknown language, and going armed even in the
most ordinary and peaceable vocations. The more southern counties saw specimens of these men, following the droves of cattle which were the sole exportable commodity of their country, plaided, bonneted, belted and brogued, and driving their bullocks, as Virgil is said to have spread his manure, with an air of great dignity and consequence. To their nearer Lowland neighbours, they were known by more fierce and frequent causes of acquaintance; by the forays which they made upon the inhabitants of the plains, and the tribute, or protection-money, which they exacted from those whose possessions they spared. But in England, the knowledge of the very existence of the Highlanders was, prior to 1745, faint and forgotten ; and not even the recollection of those civil wars which they had maintained in the years 1689, 1715, and 1719, had made much impression on the British public. The more intelligent, when they thought of them by any chance, considered them as complete barbarians; and the mass of the people cared no more about them than the merchants of New York about the Indians who dwell beyond the Alleghany mountains. Swift, in his Journal to Stella, mentions having dined in company with two gentlemen from the Highlands of Scotland, and expresses his surprise at finding them persons of ordinary decorum and civility.
Such was the universal ignorance of the rest of the island respecting the inhabitants of this remote corner of Britain, when the events of the remarkable years 1745-6 roused them, “ like a rattling
peal of thunder." On the 25th of July, 1745, the eldest son of the Chevalier Saint George, usually called from that circumstance the young Chevalier, landed in Moidart, in the West Highlands, with seven attendants only; and his presence was sufficient to summon about eighteen hundred men to his standard, even before the news of his arrival could reach London. This little army was composed of a few country gentlemen, acting as commanders of battalions raised from the peasants or commoners of their estates, and officered by the principal farmers, or tacksmen. None of them pretended to knowledge of military affairs, and very few had ever seen an action. With such inadequate forces, the adventurer marched forward, like the hero of a roniance, to prove his fortune. The most considerable part of the regular army moved to meet him at the pass of Corry-arrack; and here, as we learn from these papers, the Chevalier called for his Highland dress, and, tying the latchet of a pair of Highland brogues, swore he would fight the army of the government before he unloosed them. But Sir John Cope, avoiding an action, marched to Inverness, leaving the low countries open to the Chevalier, who instantly rushed down on them; and while one part of the government army retreated northward to avoid him, he chased before him the remainder, which fled to the south. He crossed the Forth on the 13th September, and in two days afterwards was
Culloden Papers, p. 216.