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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

The foes found themselves face to face at Culloden


Whilst

Berlin was in gala trim to celebrate the return of her monarch in triumph, Europe had her eyes fixed upon the unparalleled enterprise of a young man, winning, courageous, and frivolous as he was, attempting to recover by himself alone the throne of his fathers. For nearly three years past, Charles Edward Stuart, son of Chevalier St. George, had been awaiting in France the fulfilment of the promises and hopes which had been flashed before his eyes. Weary of hope deferred, he had conceived the idea of a bold stroke. "Why not attempt to cross in a vessel to the north of Scotland?" had been the question put to him by Cardinal Tencin, who had, some time before, owed his cardinal's hat to the dethroned King of Great Britain. "Your presence will be enough to get you a party and an army, and France will be obliged to give you aid."

Charles Edward had followed this audacious counsel. Landing, in June, 1745, in the Highlands of Scotland, he had soon found the clans of the mountaineers hurrying to join his standard. At the head of this wild army, he had in a few months gained over the whole of Scotland. On the 20th of September he was proclaimed at Edinburgh Regent of England, France, Scotland, and Ireland, for his father, King James III. George II. had left Hanover; the Duke of Cumberland, returning from Germany, took the command of the troops assembled to oppose the invader. Their success in the battle of Preston-Pans against General Cope had

emboldened the Scots; at the end of December, 1745, Prince Charles Edward and his army had advanced as far as Derby.

It was the fate of the Stuarts, whether heroes or dastards, to see their hopes blasted all at once, and to drag down in their fall their most zealous and devoted partisans. The aid, so often promised by France and Spain, had dwindled down to the private expeditions of certain brave adventurers. The Duke of Richelieu, it was said, was to put himself at their head. "As to the embarkation at Dunkerque," writes the advocate Barbier, at the close of the year 1745, "there is great anxiety about it, for we are at the end of December, and it is not yet done, which gives every one occasion to make up news according to his fancy. This uncertainty discourages the Frenchman, who gives out that our expedition will not take place, or, at any rate, will not succeed." Charles Edward had already been forced to fall back upon Scotland. As in 1651, at the time of the attempt of Charles II., England remained quite cold in the presence of the Scottish invasion. The Duke of Cumberland was closely pressing the army of the mountaineers. On the 23d of April, 1746, the foes found themselves face to face at Culloden, in the environs of Inverness. Charles Edward was completely beaten, and the army of the Highlanders destroyed; the prince only escaped either death or captivity by the determined devotion of his partisans, whether distinguished or obscure; a hundred persons had risked their lives for him, when he finally succeeded, on the 10th of October, in touching land, in Brittany, near St. Pol de Leon. His friends and his defenders were meanwhile dying for his cause on scaffold or gallows.

The anger and severity displayed by the English government towards the Jacobites were aggravated by the checks encountered upon the Continent by the coalition. At the very moment when the Duke of Cumberland was defeating Charles Edward at Culloden, Antwerp was surrendering to Louis XV. in person: Mons, Namur, and Charleroi were not long before they fell. Prince Charles of Lorraine was advancing to the relief of the besieged places; Marshal Saxe left open to him the passage of the Meuse. The French camp seemed to be absorbed in pleasures; the most famous actors from Paris were ordered to amuse the general and the soldiers. On the 10th of October, in the evening, Madame Favart came forward on the stage. "To-morrow," said she, "there will be no performance, on account of the battle: the day after, we shall have the honor of giving you _Le Coq du Village_." At the same time the marshal sent the following order to the columns which were already forming on the road from St. Tron to Liege, near the village of Raucoux: "Whether the attacks succeed or not, the troops will remain in the position in which night finds them, in order to recommence the assault upon the enemy."


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