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- Pickle the Spy - 30/45 -


rong to have let yourself ever want in ye least.'

Again, on November 12, he writes to Goring:

To Mr. Stouf.

'November 12.

'I am extremely concerned for yr health, and you cannot do me a greater Cervice than in taking care of yrself for I am not able to spare any of my true friends.'

Dr. King, as we have said, accuses Charles of AVARICE. Charles II., in exile, would not, he says, have left a friend in want. Though distressed for money, the Prince does not display a niggardly temper in these letters to Goring. He had to defray the expenses of many retainers; he intended to dismiss his Popish servants, his household at Avignon, and to part with Dumont. We shall read Goring's remonstrances. But the affair of Daniel's 'close' proves how hardly Charles was pressed. On December 16, 1752, he indulged in a few books, including Wood and Dawkins's 'Ruins of Palmyra,' a stately folio. One extraordinary note he made at this time: 'A marque to be put on ye Child, iff i part with it.' The future 'Bonny Lass of Albanie' was to be marked, like a kelt returned to the river in spring. 'I am pushed to ye last point, and so won't be cagioled any more.' He collected his treasures left with Mittie, the surgeon of Stanislas at Luneville. Among these was a couteau de chasse, with a double-barrelled pistol in a handle of jade. D'Argenson reports that the Prince was seen selling his pistols to an armourer in Paris. Who can wonder if he lost temper, and sought easy oblivion in wine!

CHAPTER X--JAMES MOHR MACGREGOR

Another spy--Rob Roy's son, James Mohr Macgregor--A spy in 1745--At Prestonpans and Culloden--Escape from Edinburgh Castle--Billy Marshall--Visit to Ireland--Balhaldie reports James's discovery of Irish Macgregors--Their loyalty--James Mohr and Lord Albemarle--James Mohr offers to sell himself--And to betray Alan Breck--His sense of honour--His long-winded report on Irish conspiracy--Balhaldie--Mrs. Macfarlane who shot the Captain--Her romance--Pitfirrane Papers-- Balhaldie's snuff-boxes--James Mohr's confessions--Balhaldie and Charles--Irish invasion--Arms in Moidart--Arms at the house of Tough- -Pickle to play the spy in Ireland--Accompanied by a 'Court Trusty'-- Letter from Pickle--Alan Breck spoils James Mohr--Takes his snuff- boxes--Death of James Mohr--Yet another spy--His wild information-- Confirmation of Charles's visit to Ireland.

From the deliberate and rejoicing devilry of Glengarry, and from Charles's increasing distress and degradation, it is almost a relief to pass for a moment to the harmless mendacity of a contemporary spy, Rob Roy's son, James Mohr Macgregor, or Drummond. This highland gentleman, with his courage, his sentiment, and his ingrained falseness, is known to the readers of Mr. Stevenson's 'Catriona.' Though unacquainted with the documents which we shall cite, Mr. Stevenson divined James Mohr with the assured certainty of genius. From first to last James was a valiant, plausible, conscienceless, heartless liar, with a keen feeling for the point of honour, and a truly Celtic passion of affection for his native hand.

As early at least as the spring of 1745, James Mohr, while posing as a Jacobite, was in relations with the law officers of the Crown in Scotland. {231a} James's desire then was to obtain a commission in a Highland regiment, and as much ready money as possible. Either he was dissatisfied with his pay as a spy, or he expected better things from the Jacobites, for, after arranging his evidence to suit his schemes, he took up arms for the Prince. He captured with a handful of men the fortress of Inversnaid; he fell, severely wounded, at Prestonpans, and called out, as he lay on the ground, 'My lads, I am not dead! By God! I shall see if any of you does not do his duty.' Though he fought at Culloden, James appears to have patched up a peace with the Government, and probably eked out a livelihood by cattle-stealing and spying, till, on December 8, 1750, he helped his brother Robin to abduct a young widow of some property. {231b} Soon after he was arrested, tried, and lodged, first in the Tolbooth, next, for more security, in Edinburgh Castle.

On November 16, 1752, James, by aid of his daughter (Mr. Stevenson's Catriona), escaped from the Castle disguised as a cobbler. {232a} It has often been said that the Government connived at James's escape. If so, they acted rather meanly in sentencing 'two lieutenants' of his guard 'to be broke, the sergeant reduced to a private man, and the porter to be whipped.' {232b}

The adventures of James after his escape are narrated by a writer in 'Blackwood's Magazine' for December 1817. This writer was probably a Macgregor, and possessed some of James's familiar epistles. Overcoming a fond desire to see once more his native hills and his dear ones (fourteen in all), James, on leaving Edinburgh Castle, bent his course towards the Border. In a dark night, on a Cumberland moor, he met the famed Billy Marshall, the gipsy. Mr. Marshall, apologising for the poverty of his temporary abode, remarked that he would be better housed 'when some ill-will which he had got in Galloway for setting fire to a stackyard would blow over.' Three days later Billy despatched James in a fishing boat from Whitehaven, whence he reached the Isle of Man. He then made for Ireland, and my next information about James occurs in a letter of Balhaldie, dated August 10, 1753, to the King over the Water. {232c} Balhaldie's letter to Rome, partly in cypher, runs thus, and is creditable to James's invention:

'James Drummond Macgregor, Rob Roy's son, came here some days agoe, and informed me that, having made his escape from Scotland by Ireland, he was addressed to some namesakes of his there, who acquainted him that the clan Macgregor were very numerous in that country, under different names, the greatest bodies of them living together in little towns and villages opposite to the Scottish coast.' They had left Scotland some one hundred and fifty years before, when their clan was proscribed. James 'never saw men more zealously loyal and clanish, better looked, or seemingly more intrepid and hardy. . . . No Macgregors in the Scotch highlands are more willing or ready to joyn their clan in your Majesty's service than they were, and for that end to transport 3,000 of their name and followers to the coast of Argileshyre.' They will only require twenty-four hours 'to transport themselves in whirries of their own, even in face of the enemy's fleet, of which they are not affrayed.'

The King, in answer (September 11, 1753), expressed a tempered pleasure in Mr. Macgregor's information, which, he said, might interest the Prince. On September 6, 1753, Lord Strathallan, writing to Edgar from Boulogne, vouches only for James's courage. 'As to anything else, I would be sorry to answer for him, as he had but an indifferent character as to real honesty.' On September 20, James Mohr, in Paris, wrote to the Prince, anxious to know where he was, and to communicate important news from Ireland. Probably James got no reply, for on October 18, 1753, Lord Holdernesse wrote from Whitehall to Lord Albemarle, English ambassador in Paris, a letter marked 'Very secret,' acknowledging a note of Lord Albemarle's. Mr. Macgregor had visited Lord Albemarle on October 8th and 10th, with offers of information. Lord Holdernesse, therefore, sends a safe- conduct for Macgregor's return. {234} We now give Macgregor's letter of October 12, 1733, to Lord Albemarle, setting forth his sad case and honourably patriotic designs:

MS. Add. 32,733.

'Paris: October 12, 1753. Mr. James Drummond.

'My Lord,--Tho' I have not the Honour to be much acquainted with Your Lordship, I presume to give you the trouble of this to acquaint your lordship that by a false Information I was taken prisoner in Scotland in November 1751 and by the speat [spite] that a certain Faction in Dundas, Scotland, had at me, was trayd by the Justiciary Court at Edinburgh, when I had brought plenty of exculpation which might free any person whatever of what was alledged against me, yet such a Jurie as at Dundas was given me, thought proper to give in a special verdict, finding some parts of the Layable [libel] proven, and in other parts found it not proven. It was thought by my friends that I would undergo the Sentence of Banishment, which made me make my escape from Edinburgh Castle in Novr. 1752, and since was forced to come to France for my safety. I ALWAYS HAD IN MY VEW IF POSSABLE TO BE CONCERNED IN GOVERNMENT'S SERVICE, {235} and, FOR THAT PURPOSE, thought it necessar ever since I came to France to be as much as possable in company with the Pretender's friends, so far as now I think I can be one useful Subject to my King and Country, upon giving me PROPER INCOURAGEMENT.

'In the first place I think its in my power to bring Allan Breack Stewart, the suposd murdrer of Colin Campbell of Glenouir, late factor of the forfet Estate of Ardsheal, to England and to deliver him in safe custody so as he may be brought to justice, and in that event, I think the delivering of the said murderer merits the getting of a Remission from his Majesty the King, especially as I was not guilty of any acts of treason since the Year 1746, and providing your lordship procures my Remission upon delivering the said murderer, I hereby promise to discover a very grand plott on footing against the Government, which is more effectually carried on than any ever since the Family of Stewart was put off the Throne of Britain, and besides to do all the services that lays in my power to the Government.

'Only with this provision, that I shall be received into the Government's Service, and that I shall have such reward as my Service shall meritt, I am willing, if your lordship shall think it agreeable, to go to England privily and carry the murderer [Allan Breck] alongest with me, and deliver him at Dover to the Military, and after waite on such of the King's friends as your lordship shall appoint. If your lordship think this agreeable, I should wish General Campbell would be one of those present as he knows me and my family, and besides that, I think to have some Credit with the General, which I cannot expect with those whom I never had the Honour to know. Either the General or Lieutt. Colln. John Crawford of Poulteney's Regiment would be very agreeable to me, as I know both of these would trust me much, and at the same time, I could be more free to them than to any others there. Your lordship may depend [on] the motive that induces me to make this Offer at present to you, in the Government's name, is both honourable and just, {236} so that I hope no other constructions will be put on it, and for your lordship's further satisfaction, I say nothing in this letter, but what I am determined to perform, and as much more as in my power layes with that, and that all I have said is Trueth, and I shall answer to God.

'JAS. DRUMMOND.'


Pickle the Spy - 30/45

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