Billeder på siden

Charles II. This event took place in 1687, and in the ensuing year Sir Francis was made Earl of Derwentwater by King James II., then about to lose his throne in consequence of his arbitrary measures, and his endeavours to introduce the Roman Catholic religion.

When the Revolution took place, and James, with his consort and infant son, sought refuge in France, the Derwentwater family adhered most devotedly to his ruined fortunes, thus manifesting a feeling which must be approved of as taken by itself, but which, in existing circumstances, was dangerous to the public peace, and apt to lead to evil. James, the eldest son of the second earl, and the subject of this memoir, was brought up at St Germain in France, with the son of the exiled king, who was of the same age, and with whom, accordingly, he formed one of those youthful friendships which are usually found to be both the most tender and the most lasting. On the death of his father in 1705, he succeeded in his seventeenth year to the titles and estates of his family, and came to live at Dilston, in Northumberland, a fine old mansion, where he exercised almost princely hospitality. He was in due time happily married to a daughter of Sir John Web of Canford, in Dorsetshire, by whom he had two children, a son and daughter. His amiable disposition now shone out in the management of his extensive property. He was regarded with affectionate veneration by men of every rank, and was in the habit of visiting the cottages upon his estates, that his own eye might discover, and his own hand relieve, the wants and distresses of the poor.

REBELLION OF 1715-16. Shortly after the death of Queen Anne, and the accession of George I., which events occurred in the autumn of 1714, a very extensive design existed for restoring the family of Stuart to the throne. Those who favoured this unhappy cause-usually termed Jacobites, from James (Jacobus) II., who had forfeited the crown in 1688—were principally old families of rank in the north and west of England and in Scotland, and other persons who were adverse to those principles of elective monarchy which had raised the family of Hanover to the throne. The government of George I. becoming alarmed for its safety, took measures to prevent the expected insurrection, seized the horses, arms, and ammunition which had been gathered together by the Jacobite leaders, and hastened to take various persons into custody. The Habeas Corpus Act, which gives the people a right to immediate trial, should they be seized for any alleged offences, was likewise suspended. This extreme measure is supposed to have precipitated the rebellion.

Among the noblemen and gentlemen who were ordered to be taken into custody on suspicion, were the Earl of Derwentwater, and

Mr Foster, member of parliament for the county of Northumberland. Warrants were accordingly issued for their apprehension; but the design having been communicated by one of the clerks at the Secretary of State's office to his lordship's friends in London, they immediately gave him warning of the intended arrest. Lord Derwentwater, in consequence, fled from Dilston, and found refuge in the cottage of one Richard Lambert, a humble but faithful retainer of his family. For some time preparations had been making by the Roman Catholic gentry of Northumberland, in concert with their friends in London, to appear in arms on the first warning. The manner in which they communicated their plans to each other is somewhat curious. As it was considered unsafe to employ the usual mode of carrying on so important a correspondence, gentlemen were engaged to travel on horseback from place to place in the country, as if on commercial concerns, and letters were deposited by them in secure situations, while others were there taken up and delivered elsewhere. The placing of letters beneath stones at certain spots on the hills and moors was one of the expedients resorted to; and it was by this means that the Earl of Derwentwater received private intelligence from his friends.

His lordship remained some time in concealment, but being at length desirous of an interview with his family, he repaired secretly to his own house. A considerate wife on such an occasion would have probably recommended safe and moderate measures to her husband. But the Countess of Derwentwater is said to have been of a temper which made her a bad adviser at this juncture. On his lordship presenting himself before her, she reproached him with some asperity, declaring it was not fitting that the Earl of Derwentwater should continue to hide his head in hovels from the light of day when the gentry were up in arms for the cause of their rightful sovereign. It is also said that she at the same time threw down her fan, indignantly exclaiming: 'Take that, and give your sword to me.' These stinging reproaches decided the earl as to the course he should pursue. He resolved to join the insurgents. Orders were instantly given that all his servants should hold themselves in immediate readiness to march ; and assembling his small company in the courtyard, he commanded them to draw their swords and follow him. His horses had been for some time in the custody of a neighbouring justice of the peace, according to the order of council; but when his lordship required them, they were returned. It is hinted by a historian of the period, that a smart bribe paid by the earl to the justice --for neither magistrates, nor judges, nor statesmen in these times were above taking money to serve the ends of a suitor—was the ready means of unlocking the doors of the stables in which his lordship’s horses were confined.

This unfortunate nobleman may now be said to have committed himself for the cause of the Stuarts, trusting no doubt to the general

understanding, if not express promise, that hundreds of other northcountry gentlemen would readily throw themselves into the same enterprise. In this expectation, as events proved, his lordship was doomed to disappointment. Those who talk most about fighting for principle, are often wonderfully slack when the time for action arrives. It was on the 6th October (1715) that the Earl of Derwentwater went into open rebellion. A few weeks before, the Earl of Mar had commenced a similar rising in Scotland, and he was now posted at Perth with a considerable body of troops. It was expected that, in both countries, the flocking to the Stuart standard would have been hearty and general; and important aid was expected from France. Unluckily for those who took arms, the unexpected death of Louis XIV. prevented all foreign assistance, and also acted severely in repressing the ardour of such as were still undeclared. On the side of the English, in particular, there was a lamentable failure of energy. Attended by only a small body of retainers, the Earl of Derwentwater met Mr Foster with a few men at a place called Greenrig, on the top of a hill in Northumberland. The whole force amounted to sixty persons on horseback. What was wanting in numbers, could not well be said to be compensated by military skill or heroism. The smallness of Derwentwater's party shewed that the authority which he possessed over his extensive estates, and the large mines which belonged to him at Alston Moor, had either been exerted very feebly, or had been counteracted by some opposite influence. He was himself, though an amiable man, possessed of no special talents for such an enterprise ; while his companion Foster, was worse, being decidedly of weak understanding.

The party of insurgents, having consulted as to their future movements, marched first to a place called Plainfield, on the river Coquet, where they were joined by a number of friends, and then to Rothbury, a small market-town, where they quartered for the night. Next morning, they proceeded to Warkworth, where they were joined by Lord Widdrington, great-grandson of the famous Lord Widdrington,

one of the most goodly persons of that age,' who had been killed fighting for Charles II. in 1651. Foster was now chosen commanderin-chief, not on account of his superior influence and station, or from any supposed abilities or military knowledge, but merely because he was a Protestant; it being judged unwise to excite popular prejudice against their cause by placing a Catholic at their head. On Sunday morning, Mr Foster sent Mr Buxton, the chaplain of the insurgents, to the parson of the parish, with orders that he should pray for King James by name; and that in the Litany he should introduce the names of Mary, the queen-mother, and all the dutiful branches of the royal family, but omit the names of King George and his family. But the parson prudently declined compliance, and, quitting the place altogether, took refuge in Newcastle; on which® Mr Buxton took possession of the church, and performed

divine service. On the following day, Mr Foster, in disguise, proclaimed James III. with sound of trumpet, and all other formalities which the circumstances of the place would admit. From Warkworth they marched to Alnwick, where they renewed their proclamation, and received some friends. Proceeding next to Morpeth, they were joined at Felton Bridge by seventy horse from the Scottish border, so that they now amounted to 300, the highest number which they ever attained. Some of their adherents remained undecided till the last fatal moment. Patten mentions that one of their number, John Hall of Otterburn, attended a meeting of the quarter-sessions which was held at Alnwick for the purpose of taking measures for quelling the rebellion, but left it to join the insurgents with such precipitation that he forgot his hat upon the bench. The insurgents received many offers of assistance from the country people, but were obliged to decline them, as they had neither arms to equip nor money to pay them. They therefore deemed it advisable to receive none but such as came mounted and equipped.

At this period, Foster received information of a dexterous exploit performed by one of their

friends, a Newcastle skipper of the name of Lancelot Errington. The small fort of Holy Island was then guarded by a few soldiers, who were exchanged once a week from the garrison of Berwick. It seems to have occurred to the insurgents that this fort might be of considerable service to them, as affording a station for making signals to the French ships which they expected to land on that coast with reinforcements of troops and supplies of arms. Accordingly, Errington, accompanied by a few Jacobite friends, sailed on the roth of October to make an attempt upon it ; and as he was in the habit of supplying the garrison with provisions, his appearance excited no suspicion. He was admitted as usual into the port near the castle, and subsequently, while part of the garrison were visiting his ship, he entered the castle itself, and made himself master of it without experiencing the least resistance. As soon as this was accomplished, Errington attempted to apprise his friends at Warkworth of the exploit which he had performed, in order that immediate assistance might be sent to him. Unluckily, his signals were not perceived by them ; while the governor of Berwick, having received intelligence of the capture of the fort, resolved to make an effort for its recovery before Errington could receive the necessary supplies of men and provisions. The next day he despatched a party of thirty soldiers and about fifty volunteers, who, crossing the sands at low water, attacked the little fort, and instantly overpowered the handful of defenders. Errington was wounded, and taken prisoner, but subsequently contrived to escape.

The main body of the insurgents had in the meantime experienced a severe disappointment in the failure of their attempt to obtain possession of the important city of Newcastle. As they had many

friends in the place, and Sir William Blackett, one of the representatives in parliament, and a great coal-proprietor, and therefore possessed of extensive influence among the keelmen, was understood to be warmly inclined towards their cause, they expected an easy capture of the town, intending to make it a grand stronghold for their party. But the great body of the inhabitants, like those of all the thriving towns in the country, were zealous for the reigning family, and prepared to defend the town with the greatest alacrity. Newcastle, though not regularly fortified, had strong walls and gates, which were well secured and defended by 700 volunteers, while as many more could very soon have been raised among the keelmen or bargemen employed on the Tyne. The Earl of Scarborough, lordlieutenant of Northumberland, and a number of the neighbouring gentry, supported the well-affected portion of the citizens in their resolution, and in the course of a few days the arrival of a body of regular troops put this important post out of danger. Frustrated in their designs on Newcastle, the insurgents turned aside to Hexham, from which they were led, few of them knowing whither, to a large heath or moor near Dilston, and there they halted, waiting for an opportunity to surprise Newcastle. But hearing of the arrival of General Carpenter with part of those forces with which he afterwards attacked the insurgents, they again retired to Hexham, where they proclaimed King James, nailing the proclamation to the marketcross, where it was allowed to remain several days after they had left the town. They had, a few days before, sent a message to the Earl of Mar, informing him of their proceedings, and entreating him to send them a reinforcement of foot-soldiers, of which they stood greatly in need.

In the meantime the Jacobites in the south-west of Scotland had also risen in insurrection, and placing Viscount Kenmure, a Protestant nobleman of high character, at their head, proposed by a sudden effort to possess themselves of the town of Dumfries. The citizens, however, zealously prepared themselves for a resolute defence, and being vigorously supported by the Marquis of Annandale, the lordlieutenant of the county, and many of the Whig gentlemen of the neighbourhood, they succeeded in baffling the enterprise, which, if successful, must have been attended with credit to the arms of the insurgents. Lord Kenmure, finding that he could not, with a handful of cavalry, propose to storm a town the citizens of which were determined on resistance, resolved to unite his forces with the Northumberland gentlemen who were in arms in the same cause ; and for that object proceeded through Hawick and Jedburgh over the Border to Rothbury, where, on the 19th, the junction was effected.

'The two bodies,' says Sir Walter Scott, 'inspected each other's military state and equipments with the anxiety of mingled hope and apprehension. The general character of the troops was the same, but the Scots seemed the best prepared for action, being mounted

« ForrigeFortsæt »