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viii. JACOBITE 463
with a view to promoting personal advancement. The enormous extent of territory in the possession of the family, stretching right across Scotland from sea to sea, is proof of inherited worldly wisdom. In 1715 the Duke of Argyle led the Government army; his kinsman, Breadalbane, the second great^branch of the family, hedged and made himself safe whatever might happen. He secretly arranged with the rebels to bring twelve hundred active men on the field, but only three hundred arrived, and they merely surveyed the battle from a distance. When the war was over Breadalbane claimed a reward from the Government for having prevented his men taking part in the rebellion. It was an ingenious device to claim compensation for benevolent neutrality. Breadalbane is'described thus by a contemporary—'of fair complexion and has the gravity of a Spaniard, is as cunning as a fox, wise as a serpent, and slippery as an eel.' The celebrated Rob Roy—one of the clan—was a chip of the same block. He also was present at the battle of Sheriffmuir with his caterans. He sympathized with the Pretender, but was restrained from assisting the rebels, it is said, for fear of giving offence to his protector the Duke of Argyle. Rob stood on an eminence watching the progress of the battle as described in a stanza of one of the ballads. He was pressed to assist, but he coolly replied, ' if they cannot do without me, they cannot do with me,' and remained inactive. When the battle was over he and his followers Impartially spoiled the wounded and dead on both sides, and went home laden with plunder.
The battle of Sheriffmuir practically closed the rebellion of 1715 ; when James arrived in the country and landed at Peterhead a few months iater, his adherents were perplexed what to do with him, as they had no further plans for continuing the war, and the Pretender did not inspire the Highlanders with enthusiasm. As Burton observes, their principles of Royal Succession or Divine right of reigning were never very strong unless the personal character or appearance of the monarch coincided with these decrees of Providence. In this case they saw a small wizened man, listless, feeble, inanimate, with a body shaken j4q. ^ by dissipation. This representative of the old race of the fair-haired Stuarts, was a little dark-complexioned man. They took unkindly to him from the first time they saw him, .and in less than three months from landing on the shores of Scotland, he had embarked and returned to France. The following scurrilous description of his defects and suspected spurious origin extracted from a contemporary pamphlet, is worth reproduction, and shows that the Whigs were not altogether devoid of humour as has so often been alleged. ' Whereas one James Stewart, alias Oglethrope, alias Chevalier, alias Pretender, alias King, alias No King; neither Caesar nor Nullus; neither a man nor a mouse, a man's man nor a woman's man, nor a statesman, nor a little man, nor a great man, neither Englishman nor Frenchman, but a mongrelion between both; neither wise nor otherwise; neither soldier nor sailor, nor cardinal: without father or mother, without friend or foe, without foresight or aftersight, without brains or bravery, without house or home, made in the figure of a man * but just alive and that's all; hath clandestinely lately eloped from his friends through a back door and has not been seen or heard of since . . . and whereas the said alias pretended to come here, to watch and fight, to bring men and money with him to train an army and march at the head of them, to fight battles and besiege towns, but in reality did none of these, but skulked and whined, and speeched and cryed, stole to his head quarters by night, went away before morning, and having smelled gunpowder and dreamed of an enemy, burnt the country and ran away by the light of it,'&c. &c.
It is a common remark that all the wit and humour of the Jacobite period was confined to the supporters of the Stuarts. This is scarcely correct, for any one can see some good Whiggish songs in Political Merriment, London, 1714.
Several well-known ballads exist on the battle of Sheriffmuir. The oldest, consisting of twenty-one stanzas and a chorus, in Herd's Scots Songs, 1769, 267, was written immediately after the battle, and the names of some of those