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had given them to the world as he found them; though as a reader, I own myself delighted with Fingal and Temora, in their present appearance.
"The most sceptical writers on other subjects never applied the laws of evidence more strictly than Dr. Johnson did in his inquiries about Ossian: he was not so precise in other matters. The diculous notion of the second sight, or of supernatural visions, was not disrelished by him. He listened to all the fables of that nature which abound in the Highlands; and, though no one fact was so well vouched as to command its particular belief, he held that the thing was not impossible; and that the number of facts alleged formed a favourable presumption.
"No human being is perfect in any thing: the mind which is filled with just devotion is apt to sink into superstition; and, on the other hand, the genius which detects holy imposition frequently slides into presumptuous infidelity."
Thus abruptly ends a paper which every reader will wish had been longer.-C.
ACCOUNT OF THE ESCAPE OF THE YOUNG PRETENDER, DRAWN UP BY MR. BOSWELL.
[See antè, p. 208.]
PRINCE CHARLES EDWARD, after the battle of Culloden, was conveyed to what is called the Long Island, where he lay for some time concealed. But intelligence having been obtained where he was, and a number of troops having come in quest of him, it became absolutely necessary for him to quit that country without delay. Miss Flora Macdonald, then a young lady, animated by what she thought the sacred principle of loyalty,
offered, with the magnanimity of a heroine, to accompany him in an open boat to Sky, though the coast they were to quit was guarded by ships. He dressed himself in women's clothes, and passed as her supposed maid, by the name of Betty Bourke, an Irish girl. They got off undiscovered, though several shots were fired to bring them to, and landed at Mugstot, the seat of Sir Alexander Macdonald. Sir Alexander was then at Fort Augustus, with the Duke of Cumberland; but his lady was at home. Prince Charles took his post upon a hill near the house. Flora Macdonald waited on Lady Margaret (1), and acquainted her of the enterprise in which she was engaged. Her ladyship, whose active benevolence was ever seconded by superior talents, showed a perfect presence of mind and readiness of invention, and at once settled that Prince Charles should be conducted to old Rasay, who was himself concealed with some select friends. The plan was instantly communicated to Kingsburgh, who was despatched to the hill to inform the wanderer, and carry him refreshments. When Kingsburgh approached, he started up, and advanced, holding a large knotted stick, and in appearance ready to knock him down, till he said, "I am Macdonald of Kingsburgh, come to serve your Highness." The wanderer answered, "It is well," and was satisfied with the plan.
Flora Macdonald dined with the Lady Margaret, at whose table there sat an officer of the army, stationed here with a party of soldiers to watch for Prince Charles in case of his flying to the Isle of Sky. She afterwards often laughed in good humour with this gentleman on her having so well deceived him.
(1) Though her husband took arms for the house of Hanover, she was suspected of being an ardent Jacobite; and, on that supposition, Flora Macdonald guided the Pretender to Mugshot.-C.-On the subject of Lady Margaret Macdonald, it is impossible to omit an anecdote which does much honour to Frederick, Prince of Wales. By some chance Lady Margaret had been presented to the princess, who, when she learnt what share she had taken in the Chevalier's escape, hastened to excuse herself to the prince, and explain to him that she was not aware that Lady Margaret was the person who had harboured the fugitive. The prince's answer was noble: "And would you not have done the same, madam, had he come to you, as to her, in distress and danger? I hope-I am sure you would!"... WALTER SCOTT.
After dinner, Flora Macdonald on horseback, and her sup posed maid, and Kingsburgh, with a servant carrying some linen, all on foot, proceeded towards that gentleman's house. Upon the road was a small rivulet which they were obliged to cross. The wanderer, forgetting his assumed sex, that his clothes might not be wet, held them up a great deal too high. Kingsburgh mentioned this to him, observing, it might make a discovery. He said he would be more careful for the future.. He was as good as his word; for the next brook they crossed, he did not hold up his clothes at all, but let them float upon the water. He was very awkward in his female dress. His size was so large, and his strides so great, that some women whom they met reported that they had seen a very big woman, who looked like a man in women's clothes, and that perhaps it was (as they expressed themselves) the Prince, after whom so much search was making.
At Kingsburgh he met with a most cordial reception; seemed gay at supper, and after it indulged himself in a cheerful glass with his worthy host. As he had not had his clothes off for a long time, the comfort of a good bed was highly relished by him, and he slept soundly till next day at one o'clock.
The mistress of Corrichatachin told me that in the forenoon she went into her father's room, who was also in bed, and suggested to him her apprehensions that a party of the military might come up, and that his guest and he had better not remain here too long. Her father said, "Let the poor man repose himself after his fatigues! and as for me, I care not, though they take off this old grey head ten or eleven years sooner than I should die in the course of nature." He then wrapped himself in the bed-clothes, and again fell fast asleep.
On the afternoon of that day, the wanderer, still in the same dress, set out for Portree, with Flora Macdonald and a man-servant. His shoes being very bad, Kingsburgh provided nim with a new pair, and taking up the old ones, said, “I will faithfully keep them till you are safely settled in St. James's. I will then introduce myself by shaking them at you, to put you in mind of your night's entertainment and protection under my roof." He smiled, and said, "Be as good as your
word!" Kingsburgh kept the shoes as long as he lived. After his death, a zealous Jacobite gentleman gave twenty guineas for them.
Old Mrs. Macdonald, after her guest had left the house, took the sheets in which he had lain, folded them carefully, and charged her daughter that they should be kept unwashed, and that, when she died, her body should be wrapped in them as a winding sheet. Her will was religiously observed.
Upon the road to Portree, Prince Charles changed his dress and put on man's clothes again; a tartan short coat and waistcoat, with philibeg and short hose, a plaid, and a wig and bonnet.
Mr. Donald M'Donald, called Donald Roy, had been sent express to the present laird, who was at that time at his sister's house, about three miles from Portree, attending his brother, Dr. Macleod, who was recovering of a wound he had received at the battle of Culloden. Mr. M'Donald communicated to young Rasay the plan of conveying the wanderer to where old Rasay was; but was told that old Rasay had fled to Knoidart, a part of Glengarry's estate. There was then a dilemna what should be done. Donald Roy proposed that he should conduct the wanderer to the main land; but young Rasay thought it too dangerous at that time, and said it would be better to conceal him in the island of Rasay, till old Rasay could be informed where he was, and give his advice what was best. But the difficulty was, how to get him to Rasay. They could not trust a Portree crew, and all the Rasay boats had been destroyed, or carried off the military, except two belonging to Malcolm M'Leod, which he had concealed somewhere.
Dr. Macleod being informed of this difficulty, said he would risk his life once more for Prince Charles; and it having oc curred, that there was a little boat upon a freshwater lake in the neighbourhood, young Rasay and Dr. Macleod, with the help of some women, brought it to the sea, by extraordinary exertion, across a Highland mile of land, one half of which was bog, and the other a steep precipice.
These gallant brothers, with the assistance of one little boy, rowed the small boat to Rasay, where they were to endeavour to find Captain M'Leod, as Malcolm was then called, and get -one of his good boats, with which they might return to Portree, and receive the wanderer; or, in case of not finding him, they were to make the small boat serve, though the danger was considerable.
Fortunately, on their first landing, they found their cousin Malcolm, who, with the utmost alacrity, got ready one of his boats, with two strong men, John M'Kenzie and Donald M'Friar. Malcolm, being the oldest man, and most cautious, said, that as young Rasay had not hitherto appeared in the unfortunate business, he ought not to run any risk; but that Dr. Macleod and himself, who were already publicly engaged, should go on this expedition. Young Rasay answered, with an oath, that he would go at the risk of his life and fortune. "In God's name then," said Malcolm, "let us proceed." The two boatmen, however, now stopped short, till they should be informed of their destination; and M'Kenzie declared he would not move an oar till he knew where they were going. Upon which they were both sworn to secrecy; and the business being imparted to them, they were eager to put off to sea without loss of time. The boat soon landed about half a mile from the inn at Portree.
All this was negotiated before the wanderer got forward to Portree. Malcolm Macleod and M Friar were despatched to look for him. In a short time he appeared, and went into the public house. Here Donald Roy, whom he had seen at Mugstot, received him, and informed him of what had been concerted. He wanted silver for a guinea, but the landlord had only thirteen shillings. He was going to accept of this for his guinea; but Donald Roy very judiciously observed, that it would discover him to be some great man; so he desisted. He slipped out of the house, leaving his fair protec tress, whom he never again saw; and Malcolm McLeod was presented to him by Donald Roy, as a captain in his army. Young Rasay and Dr. Macleod had waited, in impatient