Pickle The Spy - The Incognito Of Prince Charles - Andrew Lang - E-Book

Pickle The Spy - The Incognito Of Prince Charles E-Book

Andrew Lang



The book: This is the peculiar title of a book that is making something of a literary sensation. This brilliant study of the betrayal and extinction of Jacobitism has triumphantly solved a mystery which once baffled all Europe. History has so far sought in vain to follow the wanderings and intrigues of Prince Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, after his expulsion from France in the last days of 1748. "From this time forward," says Lord Stanhope, writing of the time when the Prince quitted Avignon early in 1749, "his proceedings during many years are wrapped in mystery; all his correspondence passed through the hands of Mr. Walters"--according to Mr. Lang the name should be Waters-"his banker at Paris, even his warmest partisans were seldom made acquainted with his place of abode, and though he still continued to write to his father at intervals, his letters were never dated. Neither friends nor enemies at that time could obtain any certain information of his movements or designs. Now, however, it is known that he visited Venice and Germany, that he resided secretly for some time at Paris, that he undertook a mysterious journey to England in 1750, and perhaps another in 1752 or 1753; but his principal residence was in the territory of his friend the Dukede Bouillon, where, surrounded by the wide and lonely forest of Ardennes, his active spirit sought in the dangerous chase of boars and wolves an image of the warlike enterprise which was denied him. It was not till the death of his father in 1766 that he returned to Rome and became reconciled to his brother. But his character had darkened with his fortunes." By a patient study of documents still preserved in the British Museum, the Royal Library at Windsor, and elsewhere, and still for the most part unpublished, and by a laborious collation of these new materials with others more accessible, Mr.

Sie lesen das E-Book in den Legimi-Apps auf:

von Legimi
zertifizierten E-Readern

Seitenzahl: 428

Das E-Book (TTS) können Sie hören im Abo „Legimi Premium” in Legimi-Apps auf:


Pickle The Spy

Or The Incognito Of Prince Charles

Andrew Lang


Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

Pickle The Spy


Chapter I - Introductory To Pickle

Chapter Ii - Charles Edward Stuart

Chapter Iii - The Prince In Fairyland - February 1749-September 1750 - I.  What The World Said

Chapter Iv - The Prince In Fairyland. Ii. - What Actually Occurred

Chapter V - The Prince In London; And After. - Mademoiselle Luci (September 1750-July 1751)

Chapter Vi - Intrigues, Political And Amatory.  Death Of Mademoiselle Luci, 1752

Chapter Vii - Young Glengarry

Chapter Viii - Pickle And The Elibank Plot

Chapter Ix - De Profundis

Chapter X - James Mohr Macgregor

Chapter Xi - ‘A Man Undone.’  1754

Chapter Xii - Pickle As A Highland Chief. 1755-1757

Chapter Xiii - The Last Hope.  1759

Chapter Xiv - Conclusion


Pickle The Spy, A. Lang

Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck

86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9


ISBN: 9783849606954


[email protected]

‘I knew the Master: on many secret steps of his career I have an authentic memoir in my hand.’


ANDREW LANG (1844-1912)

Biographical Sketch from "Portraits And Sketches" by Edmund Gosse

INVITED to note down some of my recollections of Andrew Lang, I find myself suspended between the sudden blow of his death and the slow development of memory, now extending in unbroken friendship over thirty-five years. The magnitude and multitude of Lang's performances, public and private, during that considerable length of time almost paralyse expression; it is difficult to know where to begin or where to stop. Just as his written works are so extremely numerous as to make a pathway through them a formidable task in bibliography, no one book standing out predominant, so his character, intellectual and moral, was full -of so many apparent inconsistencies, so many pitfalls for rash assertion, so many queer caprices of impulse, that in a whole volume of analysis, which would be tedious, one could scarcely do justice to them all. I will venture to put down, almost at haphazard, what I remember that seems to me to have been overlooked, or inexactly stated, by those who wrote, often very sympathetically, at the moment of his death, always premising that I speak rather of a Lang of from 1877 to 1890, when I saw him very frequently, than of a Lang whom younger people met chiefly in Scotland.

When he died, all the newspapers were loud in proclaiming his "versatility." But I am not sure that he was not the very opposite of versatile. I take "versatile" to mean changeable, fickle, constantly ready to alter direction with the weather-cock. The great instance of versatility in literature is Ruskin, who adopted diametrically different views of the same subject at different times of his life, and defended them with equal ardour. To be versatile seems to be unsteady, variable. But Lang was through his long career singularly unaltered; he never changed his point of view; what he liked and admired as a youth he liked and admired as an elderly man. It is true that his interests and knowledge were vividly drawn along a surprisingly large number of channels, but while there was abundance there does not seem to me to have been versatility. If a huge body of water boils up from a crater, it may pour down a dozen paths, but these will always be the same; unless there is an earthquake, new cascades will not form nor old rivulets run dry. In some authors earthquakes do take place as in Tolstoy, for instance, and in S. T. Coleridge but nothing of this kind was ever manifest in Lang, who was extraordinarily multiform, yet in his varieties strictly consistent from Oxford to the grave. As this is not generally perceived, I will take the liberty of expanding my view of his intellectual development.

To a superficial observer in late life the genius of Andrew Lang had the characteristics which we are in the habit of identifying with precocity. Yet he had not been, as a writer, precocious in his youth. One slender volume of verses represents all that he published in book-form before his thirty-fifth year. No doubt we shall learn in good time what he was doing before he flashed upon the world of journalism in all his panoply of graces, in 1876, at the close of his Merton fellowship. He was then, at all events, the finest finished product of his age, with the bright armour of Oxford burnished on his body to such a brilliance that humdrum eyes could hardly bear the radiance of it. Of the terms behind, of the fifteen years then dividing him from St. Andrews, we know as yet but little; they were years of insatiable acquirement, incessant reading, and talking, and observing gay preparation for a life to be devoted, as no other life in our time has been, to the stimulation of other people's observation and talk and reading. There was no cloistered virtue about the bright and petulant Merton don. He was already flouting and jesting, laughing with Ariosto in the sunshine, performing with a snap of his fingers tasks which might break the back of a pedant, and concealing under an affectation of carelessness a literary ambition which knew no definite bounds.

In those days, and when he appeared for the first time in London, the poet was paramount in him. Jowett is said to have predicted that he would be greatly famous in this line, but I know not what evidence Jowett had before him. Unless I am much mistaken, it was not until Lang left Balliol that his peculiar bent became obvious. Up to that time he had been a promiscuous browser upon books, much occupied, moreover, in the struggle with ancient Greek, and immersed in Aristotle and Homer. But in the early days of his settlement at Merton he began to concentrate his powers, and I think there were certain influences which were instant and far-reaching. Among them one was pre-eminent. When Andrew Lang came up from St. Andrews he had found Matthew Arnold occupying the ancient chair of poetry at Oxford. He was a listener at some at least of the famous lectures which, in 1865, were collected as "Essays in Criticism"; while one of his latest experiences as a Balliol undergraduate was hearing Matthew Arnold lecture on the study of Celtic literature. His conscience was profoundly stirred by "Culture and Anarchy" (1869); his sense of prose-form largely determined by "Friendship's Garland" (1871). I have no hesitation in saying that the teaching and example of Matthew Arnold prevailed over all other Oxford influences upon the intellectual nature of Lang, while, although I think that his personal acquaintance with Arnold was very slight, yet in his social manner there was, in early days, not a little imitation of Arnold's aloofness and superfine delicacy of address. It was unconscious, of course, and nothing would have enraged Lang more than to have been accused of "imitating Uncle Matt."

The structure which his own individuality now began to build on the basis supplied by the learning of Oxford, and in particular by the study of the Greeks, and "dressed" by courses of Matthew Arnold, was from the first eclectic. Lang eschewed as completely what was not sympathetic to him as he assimilated what was attractive to him. Those who speak of his "versatility" should recollect what large tracts of the literature of the world, and even of England, existed outside the dimmest apprehension of Andrew Lang. It is, however, more useful to consider what he did apprehend; and there were two English books, published in his Oxford days, which permanently impressed him: one of these was "The Earthly Paradise," the other D. G. Rossetti's " Poems." In after years he tried to divest himself of the traces of these volumes, but he had fed upon their honey-dew and it had permeated his veins.

Not less important an element in the garnishing of a mind already prepared for it by academic and aesthetic studies was the absorption of the romantic part of French literature. Andrew Lang in this, as in everything else, was selective. He dipped into the wonderful lucky-bag of France wherever he saw the glitter of romance. Hence his approach, in the early seventies, was threefold: towards the mediaeval lais and chansons, towards the sixteenth-century Pleiade, and towards the school of which Victor Hugo was the leader in the nineteenth century. For a long time Ronsard was Lang's poet of intensest predilection; and I think that his definite ambition was to be the Ronsard of modern England, introducing a new poetical dexterity founded on a revival of pure humanism. He had in those days what he lost, or at least dispersed, in the weariness and growing melancholia of later years a splendid belief in poetry as a part of the renown of England, as a heritage to be received in reverence from our fathers, and to be passed on, if possible, in a brighter flame. This honest and beautiful ambition to shine as one of the permanent benefactors to national verse, in the attitude so nobly sustained four hundred years ago by Du Bellay and Ronsard, was unquestionably felt by Andrew Lang through his bright intellectual April, and supported him from Oxford times until 1882, when he published " Helen of Troy." The cool reception of that epic by the principal judges of poetry caused him acute disappointment, and from that time forth he became less eager and less serious as a poet, more and more petulantly expending his wonderful technical gift on fugitive subjects. And here again, when one comes to think of it, the whole history repeated itself, since in " Helen of Troy " Lang simply suffered as Ronsard had done in the "Franciade." But the fact that 1882 was his year of crisis, and the tomb of his brightest ambition, must be recognised by every one who closely followed his fortunes at that time. Lang's habit of picking out of literature and of life the plums of romance, and these alone, comes to be, to the dazzled observer of his extraordinarily vivid intellectual career, the principal guiding line. This determination to dwell, to the exclusion of all other sides of any question, on its romantic side is alone enough to rebut the charge of versatility. Lang was in a sense encyclopaedic; but the vast dictionary of his knowledge had blank pages, or pages pasted down, on which he would not, or could not, read what experience had printed. Absurd as it sounds, there was always something maidenly about his mind, and he glossed over ugly matters, sordid and dull conditions, so that they made no impression whatever upon him. He had a trick, which often exasperated his acquaintances, of declaring that he had " never heard " of things that everybody else was very well aware of. He had " never heard the name " of people he disliked, of books that he thought tiresome, of events that bored him; but, more than this, he used the formula for things and persons whom he did not wish to discuss. I remember meeting in the street a famous professor, who advanced with uplifted hands, and greeted me with " What do you think Lang says now? That he has never heard of Pascal! " This merely signified that Lang, not interested (at all events for the moment) in Pascal nor in the professor, thus closed at once all possibility of discussion.

It must not be forgotten that we have lived to see him, always wonderful indeed, and always passionately devoted to perfection and purity, but worn, tired, harassed by the unceasing struggle, the lifelong slinging of sentences from that inexhaustible ink-pot. In one of the most perfect of his poems, " Natural Theology," Lang speaks of Cagn, the great hunter, who once was kind and good, but who was spoiled by fighting many things. Lang was never " spoiled," but he was injured; the surface of the radiant coin was rubbed by the vast and interminable handling of journalism. He was jaded by the toil of writing many things. Hence it is not possible but that those who knew him intimately in his later youth and early middle-age should prefer to look back at those years when he was the freshest, the most exhilarating figure in living literature, when a star seemed to dance upon the crest of his already silvering hair. Baudelaire exclaimed of Theophile Gautier: " Homme heureux! homme digne d'envie! il n'a jamais aimé que le Beau!" and of Andrew Lang in those brilliant days the same might have been said. As long as he had confidence in beauty he was safe and strong; and much that, with all affection and all respect, we must admit was rasping and disappointing in his attitude to literature in his later years, seems to have been due to a decreasing sense of confidence in the intellectual sources of beauty. It is dangerous, in the end it must be fatal, to sustain the entire structure of life and thought on the illusions of romance. But that was what Lang did he built his house upon the rainbow.

The charm of Andrew Lang's person and company was founded upon a certain lightness, an essential gentleness and elegance which were relieved by a sharp touch; just as a very dainty fruit may be preserved from mawkishness by something delicately acid in the rind of it. His nature was slightly inhuman; it was unwise to count upon its sympathy beyond a point which was very easily reached in social intercourse. If any simple soul showed an inclination, in eighteenth-century phrase, to " repose on the bosom " of Lang, that support was immediately withdrawn, and the confiding one fell among thorns. Lang was like an Angora cat, whose gentleness and soft fur, and general aspect of pure amenity, invite to caresses, which are suddenly met by the outspread paw with claws awake. This uncertain and freakish humour was the embarrassment of his friends, who, however, were preserved from despair by the fact that no malice was meant, and that the weapons were instantly sheathed again in velvet. Only, the instinct to give a sudden slap, half in play, half in fretful caprice, was incorrigible. No one among Lang's intimate friends but had suffered from this feline impulse, which did not spare even the serenity of Robert Louis Stevenson. But, tiresome as it sometimes was, this irritable humour seldom cost Lang a friend who was worth preserving. Those who really knew him recognised that he was always shy and usually tired.

His own swift spirit never brooded upon an offence, and could not conceive that any one else should mind what he himself minded so little and forgot so soon. Impressions swept over him very rapidly, and injuries passed completely out of his memory. Indeed, all his emotions were too fleeting, and in this there was something fairy-like; quick and keen and blithe as he was, he did not seem altogether like an ordinary mortal, nor could the appeal to gross human experience be made to him with much chance of success. This, doubtless, is why almost all imaginative literature which is founded upon the darker parts of life, all squalid and painful tragedy, all stories that " don't end well" all religious experiences, all that is not superficial and romantic, was irksome to him. He tried sometimes to reconcile his mind to the consideration of real life; he concentrated his matchless powers on it; but he always disliked it. He could persuade himself to be partly just to Ibsen or Hardy or Dostoieffsky, but what he really enjoyed was Dumas pêre, because that fertile romance-writer rose serene above the phenomena of actual human experience. We have seen more of this type in English literature than the Continental nations have in theirs, but even we have seen no instance of its strength and weakness so eminent as Andrew Lang. He was the fairy in our midst, the wonder-working, incorporeal, and tricksy fay of letters, who paid for all his wonderful gifts and charms by being not quite a man of like passions with the rest of us. In some verses which he scribbled to R.L.S. and threw away, twenty years ago, he acknowledged this unearthly character, and, speaking of the depredations of his kin, he said:

Faith, they might steal me, w? ma will,

And, ken'd I ony fairy hill

I#d lay me down there, snod and still,

Their land to win;

For, man, I maistly had my fill

O' this world's din

His wit had something disconcerting in its impishness. Its rapidity and sparkle were dazzling, but it was not quite human; that is to say, it conceded too little to the exigencies of flesh and blood. If we can conceive a seraph being fanny, it would be in the manner of Andrew Lang. Moreover, his wit usually danced over the surface of things, and rarely penetrated them. In verbal parry, in ironic misunderstanding, in breathless agility of topsy-turvy movement, Lang was like one of Milton's " yellow-skirted fays," sporting with the helpless, moon-bewildered traveller. His wit often had a depressing, a humiliating effect, against which one's mind presently revolted. I recollect an instance which may be thought to be apposite: I was passing through a phase of enthusiasm for Emerson, whom Lang very characteristically detested, and I was so ill-advised as to show him the famous epigram called " Brahma." Lang read it with a snort of derision (it appeared to be new to him), and immediately he improvised this parody:

If the wild bowler thinks he bowls,

Or if the batsman thinks he's bowled,

They know not, poor misguided souls,

They, too, shall perish unconsoled.

I am the batsman and the bat,

I am the bowler and the ball,

The umpire, the pavilion cat,

The roller, pitch and stumps, and all

This would make a pavilion cat laugh, and I felt that Emerson was done for. But when Lang had left me, and I was once more master of my mind, I reflected that the parody was but a parody, wonderful for its neatness and quickness, and for its seizure of what was awkward in the roll of Emerson's diction, but essentially superficial. However, what would wit be if it were profound? I must leave it there, feeling that I have not explained why Lang's extraordinary drollery in conversation so often left on the memory a certain sensation of distress.

But this was not the characteristic of his humour at its best, as it was displayed throughout the happiest period of his work. If, as seems possible, it is as an essayist that he will ultimately take his place in English literature, this element will continue to delight fresh generations of enchanted readers. I cannot imagine that the preface to his translation of " Theocritus," "Letters to Dead Authors," "In the Wrong Paradise," " Old Friends," and " Essays in Little " will ever lose their charm; but future admirers will have to pick their way to them through a tangle of history and anthropology and mythology, where there may be left no perfume and no sweetness. I am impatient to see this vast mass of writing reduced to the limits of its author's delicate, true, but somewhat evasive and ephemeral. genius. However, as far as the circumstances of his temperament permitted, Andrew Lang has left with us the memory of one of our most surprising contemporaries, a man of letters who laboured without cessation from boyhood to the grave, who pursued his ideal with indomitable activity and perseverance, and who was never betrayed except by the loftiness of his own endeavour. Lang's only misfortune was not to be completely in contact with life, and his work will survive exactly where he was most faithful to his innermost illusions.



This woful History began in my study of the Pelham Papers in the Additional Manuscripts of the British Museum.  These include the letters of Pickle the Spy and of JAMES MOHR MACGREGOR.  Transcripts of them were sent by me to Mr. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, for use in a novel, which he did not live to finish.  The character of Pickle, indeed, like that of the Master of Ballantrae, is alluring to writers of historical romance.  Resisting the temptation to use Pickle as the villain of fiction, I have tried to tell his story with fidelity.  The secret, so long kept, of Prince Charles’s incognito, is divulged no less by his own correspondence in the Stuart MSS. than by the letters of Pickle.

For Her Majesty’s gracious permission to read the Stuart Papers in the library of Windsor Castle, and to engrave a miniature of Prince Charles in the Royal collection, I have respectfully to express my sincerest gratitude.

To Mr. HOLMES, Her Majesty’s librarian, I owe much kind and valuable aid.

The Pickle Papers, and many despatches in the State Papers, were examined and copied for me by Miss E. A. IBBS.

In studying the Stuart Papers, I owe much to the aid of Miss VIOLET SIMPSON, who has also assisted me by verifying references from many sources.

It would not be easy to mention the numerous correspondents who have helped me, but it were ungrateful to omit acknowledgment of the kindness of Mr. HORATIO F. BROWN and of Mr. GEORGE T. OMOND.

I have to thank Mr. ALEXANDER PELHAM TROTTER for permission to cite the MS. Letter Book of the exiled Chevalier’s secretary, ANDREW LUMISDEN, in Mr. TROTTER’S possession.

Miss MACPHERSON of Cluny kindly gave me a copy of a privately printed Memorial of her celebrated ancestor, and, by CLUNY’S kind permission, I have been allowed to see some letters from his charter chest.  Apparently, the more important secret papers have perished in the years of turmoil and exile.

This opportunity may be taken for disclaiming any belief in the imputations against CLUNY conjecturally hazarded by ‘NEWTON,’ or KENNEDY, in the following pages.  The Chief’s destitution in France, after a long period of suffering in Scotland, refutes these suspicions, bred in an atmosphere of jealousy and distrust.  Among the relics of the family are none of the objects which CHARLES, in 1766-1767, found it difficult to obtain from CLUNY’S representatives for lack of a proper messenger.

To Sir ARTHUR HALKETT, Bart., of Pitfirrane, I am obliged for a view of BALHALDIE’S correspondence with his agent in Scotland.

The Directors of the French Foreign Office Archives courteously permitted Monsieur LÉON PAJOT to examine, and copy for me, some of the documents in their charge.  These, it will be seen, add but little to our information during the years 1749-1766.

I have remarked, in the proper place, that Mr. MURRAY ROSE has already printed some of Pickle’s letters in a newspaper.  As Mr. MURRAY ROSE assigned them to JAMES MOHR MACGREGOR, I await with interest his arguments in favour of this opinion in his promised volume of Essays.

The ornament on the cover of this work is a copy of that with which the volumes of Prince CHARLES’S own library were impressed.  I owe the stamp to the kindness of Miss WARRENDER of Bruntsfield.

Among printed books, the most serviceable have been Mr. EWALD’S work on Prince Charles, Lord STANHOPE’S History, and Dr. BROWNE’S ‘History of the Highlands and Clans.’  Had Mr. EWALD explored the Stuart Papers and the Memoirs of d’Argenson, Grimm, de Luynes, Barbier, and the Letters of Madame du Deffand (edited by M. DE LESCURE), with the ‘Political Correspondence of Frederick the Great,’ little would have been left for gleaners in his track.

I must not forget to thank Mr. and Mrs. BARTELS for researches in old magazines and journals.  Mr. BARTELS also examined for me the printed correspondence of Frederick the Great.  To the kindness of J. A. ERSKINE CUNNINGHAM, Esq., of Balgownie I owe permission to photograph the portrait of Young Glengarry in his possession.

If I might make a suggestion to historical students of leisure, it is this.  The Life of the Old Chevalier (James III.) has never been written, and is well worth writing.  My own studies, alas! prove that Prince Charles’s character was incapable of enduring misfortune.  His father, less brilliant and less popular, was a very different man, and, I think, has everything to gain from an unprejudiced examination of his career.  He has certainly nothing to lose.

Since this work was in type the whole of Bishop Forbes’s MS., The Lyon in Mourning, has been printed for an Historical Society in Scotland.  I was unable to consult the MS. for this book, but it contains, I now find, no addition to the facts here set forth.

November5, 1896.


Subject of this book - The last rally of Jacobitism hitherto obscure - Nature of the new materials - Information from spies, unpublished Stuart Papers, &c. - The chief spy - Probably known to Sir Walter Scott - ‘Redgauntlet’ cited - ‘Pickle the Spy’ - His position and services - The hidden gold of Loch Arkaig - Consequent treacheries - Character of Pickle - Pickle’s nephew - Pickle’s portrait - Pickle detected and denounced - To no purpose - Historical summary - Incognito of Prince Charles - Plan of this work.

The latest rally of Jacobitism, with its last romance, so faded and so tarnished, has hitherto remained obscure.  The facts on which ‘Waverley’ is based are familiar to all the world: those on which ‘Redgauntlet’ rests were but imperfectly known even to Sir Walter Scott.  The story of the Forty-five is the tale of Highland loyalty: the story of 1750-1763 is the record of Highland treachery, or rather of the treachery of some Highlanders.  That story, now for the first time to be told, is founded on documents never hither to published, or never previously pieced together.  The Additional Manuscripts of the British Museum, with relics of the government of Henry Pelham and his brother, the Duke of Newcastle, have yielded their secrets, and given the information of the spies.  The Stuart Papers at Windsor (partly published in Browne’s ‘History of the Highland Clans’ and by Lord Stanhope, but mainly virginal of type) fill up the interstices in the Pelham Papers like pieces in a mosaic, and reveal the general design.  The letters of British ambassadors at Paris, Dresden, Berlin, Hanover, Leipzig, Florence, St. Petersburg, lend colour and coherence.  The political correspondence of Frederick the Great contributes to the effect.  A trifle of information comes from the French Foreign Office Archives; French printed ‘Mémoires’ and letters, neglected by previous English writers on the subject, offer some valuable, indeed essential, hints, and illustrate Charles’s relations with the wits and beauties of the reign of Louis XV.  By combining information from these and other sources in print, manuscript, and tradition, we reach various results.  We can now follow and understand the changes in the singular and wretched development of the character of Prince Charles Edward Stuart.  We get a curious view of the manners, and a lurid light on the diplomacy of the middle of the eighteenth century.  We go behind the scenes of many conspiracies.  Above all, we encounter an extraordinary personage, the great, highborn Highland chief who sold himself as a spy to the English Government.

His existence was suspected by Scott, if not clearly known and understood.

In his introduction to ‘Redgauntlet,’{3}Sir Walter Scott says that the ministers of George III. ‘thought it proper to leave Dr. Cameron’s new schemes in concealment (1753), lest by divulging them they had indicated the channel of communication which, it is now well known, they possessed to all the plots of Charles Edward.’  To ‘indicate’ that secret ‘channel of communication’ between the Government of the Pelhams and the Jacobite conspirators of 1749-1760 is one purpose of this book.  Tradition has vaguely bequeathed to us the name of ‘Pickle the Spy,’ the foremost of many traitors.  Who Pickle was, and what he did, a whole romance of prosperous treachery, is now to be revealed and illustrated from various sources.  Pickle was not only able to keep the Duke of Newcastle and George II. well informed as to the inmost plots, if not the most hidden movements of Prince Charles, but he could either paralyse a serious, or promote a premature, rising in the Highlands, as seemed best to his English employers.  We shall find Pickle, in company with that devoted Jacobite, Lochgarry, travelling through the Highlands, exciting hopes, consulting the chiefs, unburying a hidden treasure, and encouraging the clans to rush once more on English bayonets.

Romance, in a way, is stereotyped, and it is characteristic that the last romance of the Stuarts should be interwoven with a secret treasure.  This mass of French gold, buried after Culloden at Loch Arkaig, in one of the most remote recesses of the Highlands, was, to the Jacobites, what the dwarf Andvari’s hoard was to the Niflungs, a curse and a cause of discord.  We shall see that rivalry for its possession produced contending charges of disloyalty, forgery, and theft among certain of the Highland chiefs, and these may have helped to promote the spirit of treachery in Pickle the Spy.  It is probable, though not certain, that he had acted as the agent of Cumberland before he was sold to Henry Pelham, and he was certainly communicating the results of his inquiries in one sense to George II., and, in another sense, to the exiled James III. in Rome.  He was betraying his own cousins, and traducing his friends.  Pickle is plainly no common spy or ‘paltry vidette,’ as he words it.  Possibly Sir Walter Scott knew who Pickle was: in him Scott, if he had chosen, would have found a character very like Barry Lyndon (but worse), very unlike any personage in the Waverley Novels, and somewhat akin to the Master of Ballantrae.  The cool, good-humoured, smiling, unscrupulous villain of high rank and noble lineage; the scoundrel happily unconscious of his own unspeakable infamy, proud and sensitive upon the point of honour; the picturesque hypocrite in religion, is a being whom we do not meet in Sir Walter’s romances.  In Pickle he had such a character ready made to his hand, but, in the time of Scott, it would have been dangerous, as it is still disagreeable, to unveil this old mystery of iniquity.  A friend of Sir Walter’s, a man very ready with the pistol, the last, as was commonly said, of the Highland chiefs, was of the name and blood of Pickle, and would have taken up Pickle’s feud.  Sir Walter was not to be moved by pistols, but not even for the sake of a good story would he hurt the sensibilities of a friend, or tarnish the justly celebrated loyalty of the Highlands.

Now the friend of Scott, the representative of Pickle in Scott’s generation, was a Highlander, and Pickle was not only a traitor, a profligate, an oppressor of his tenantry, and a liar, but (according to Jacobite gossip which reached ‘King James’) a forger of the King’s name!  Moreover he was, in all probability, one fountain of that reproach, true or false, which still clings to the name of the brave and gentle Archibald Cameron, the brother of Lochiel, whom Pickle brought to the gallows.  If we add that, when last we hear of Pickle, he is probably engaged in a double treason, and certainly meditates selling a regiment of his clan, like Hessians, to the Hanoverian Government, it will be plain that his was no story for Scott to tell.

Pickle had, at least, the attraction of being eminently handsome.  No statelier gentleman than Pickle, as his faded portrait shows him in full Highland costume, ever trod a measure at Holyrood.  Tall, athletic, with a frank and pleasing face, Pickle could never be taken for a traitor and a spy.  He seemed the fitting lord of that castellated palace of his race, which, beautiful and majestic in decay, mirrors itself in Loch Oich.  Again, the man was brave; for he moved freely in France, England, and Scotland, well knowing that the skian was sharpened for his throat if he were detected.  And the most extraordinary fact in an extraordinary story is that Pickle was detected, and denounced to the King over the water by Mrs. Archibald Cameron, the widow of his victim.  Yet the breach between James and his little Court, on one side, and Prince Charles on the other, was then so absolute that the Prince was dining with the spy, chatting with him at the opera-ball, and presenting him with a gold snuff-box, at about the very time when Pickle’s treachery was known in Rome.  Afterwards, the knowledge of his infamy came too late, if it came at all.  The great scheme had failed; Cameron had fallen, and Frederick of Prussia, ceasing to encourage Jacobitism, had become the ally of England.

These things sound like the inventions of the romancer, but they rest on unimpeachable evidence, printed and manuscript, and chiefly on Pickle’s own letters to his King, to his Prince, and to his English employers - we cannot say ‘pay-masters,’ for Pickle was never paid!  He obtained, indeed, singular advantages, but he seldom or never could wring ready money from the Duke of Newcastle.

To understand Pickle’s career, the reluctant reader must endure a certain amount of actual history in minute details of date and place.  Every one is acquainted with the brilliant hour of Prince Charles: his landing in Moidart accompanied by only seven men, his march on Edinburgh, his success at Prestonpans, the race to Derby, the retreat to Scotland, the gleam of victory at Falkirk, the ruin of Culloden, the long months of wanderings and distress, the return to France in 1746.  Then came two years of baffled intrigues; next, the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle insisted on the Prince’s expulsion from France; last, he declined to withdraw.  On December 10, 1748, he was arrested at the opera, was lodged in the prison of Vincennes, was released, and made his way to the Pope’s city of Avignon, arriving there in the last days of December 1748.  On February 28, 1749, he rode out of Avignon, and disappeared for many months from the ken of history.  For nearly eighteen years he preserved his incognito, vaguely heard of here and there in England, France, Germany, Flanders, but always involved in mystery.  On that mystery, impenetrable to his father, Pickle threw light enough for the purposes of the English Government, but not during the darkest hours of Charles’s incognito.

‘Le Prince Edouard,’ says Barbier in his journal for February 1750, ‘fait l’admiration et la curiosité de l’Europe.’ This work, alas! is not likely to add to the admiration entertained for the unfortunate adventurer, but any surviving curiosity as to the Prince’s secret may be assuaged.  In the days of 1749-1750, before Pickle’s revelations begin, the drafts of the Prince’s memoranda, notes, and angry love-letters, preserved in Her Majesty’s Library, enable us to follow his movements.  On much that is obscurely indicated in scarcely decipherable scrawls, light is thrown by the French memoirs of that age.  The names of Madame de Talmond, Madame d’Aiguillon, and the celebrated Montesquieu, are beacons in the general twilight.  The memoirs also explain, what was previously inexplicable, the motives of Charles in choosing a life ‘in a hole of a rock,’ as he said after the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748).  It is necessary, however, to study the internal feuds of the Jacobites at this period, and these are illuminated by the Stuart Papers, the letters of James and his ministers.

The plan of our narrative, therefore, will be arranged in the following manner.  First, we sketch the character of Prince Charles in boyhood, during his Scottish expedition, and as it developed in cruelly thwarting circumstances between 1746 and 1749.  In illustrating his character the hostile parties within the Jacobite camp must be described and defined.  From February 1749 to September 1750 (when he visited London), we must try to pierce the darkness that has been more than Egyptian.  We can, at least, display the total ignorance of Courts and diplomatists as to Charles’s movements before Pickle came to their assistance, and we discover a secret which they ought to have known.

After the date 1752 we give, as far as possible, the personal history of Pickle before he sold himself, and we unveil his motives for his villany.  Then we display Pickle in action, we select from his letters, we show him deep in the Scottish, English, and continental intrigues.  He spoils the Elibank Plot, he reveals the hostile policy of Frederick the Great, he leads on to the arrest of Archibald Cameron, he sows disunion, he traduces and betrays.  He finally recovers his lands, robs his tenants, dabbles (probably) in the French scheme of invasion (1759), offers further information, tries to sell a regiment of his clan, and dies unexposed in 1761.

Minor spies are tracked here and there, as Rob Roy’s son, James Mohr Macgregor, Samuel Cameron, and Oliver Macallester.  English machinations against the Prince’s life and liberty are unveiled.  His utter decadence is illustrated, and we leave him weary, dishonoured, and abandoned.

‘A sair, sair altered manPrince Charlie cam’ hame’

to Rome; and the refusal there of even a titular kingship.

The whole book aims chiefly at satisfying the passion of curiosity.  However unimportant a secret may be, it is pleasant to know what all Europe was once vainly anxious to discover.  In the revelation of manners, too, and in tracing the relations of famous wits and beauties with a person then so celebrated as Prince Charles, there is a certain amount of entertainment which may excuse some labour of research.  Our history is of next to no political value, but it revives as in a magic mirror somewhat dim, certain scenes of actual human life.  Now and again the mist breaks, and real passionate faces, gestures of living men and women, are beheld in the clear-obscure.  We see Lochgarry throw his dirk after his son, and pronounce his curse.  We mark Pickle furtively scribbling after midnight in French inns.  We note Charles hiding in the alcove of a lady’s chamber in a convent.  We admire the ‘rich anger’ of his Polish mistress, and the sullen rage of Lord Hyndford, baffled by ‘the perfidious Court’ of Frederick the Great.  The old histories emerge into light, like the writing in sympathetic ink on the secret despatches of King James.


Prince Charles - Contradictions in his character - Extremes of bad and good - Evolution of character - The Prince’s personal advantages - Common mistake as to the colour of his eyes - His portraits from youth to age - Descriptions of Charles by the Duc de Liria; the President de Brosses; Gray; Charles’s courage - The siege of Gaeta - Story of Lord Elcho - The real facts - The Prince’s horse shot at Culloden - Foolish fables of David Hume confuted - Charles’s literary tastes - His clemency - His honourable conduct - Contrast with Cumberland - His graciousness - His faults - Charge of avarice - Love of wine - Religious levity - James on Charles’s faults - An unpleasant discovery - Influence of Murray of Broughton - Rapid decline of character after 1746 - Temper, wine, and women - Deep distrust of James’s Court - Rupture with James - Divisions among Jacobites - King’s men and Prince’s men - Marischal, Kelly, Lismore, Clancarty - Anecdote of Clancarty and Braddock - Clancarty and d’Argenson - Balhaldie - Lally Tollendal - The Duke of York - His secret flight from Paris - ‘Insigne Fourberie’ - Anxiety of Charles - The fatal cardinal’s hat - Madame de Pompadour - Charles rejects her advances - His love affairs - Madame de Talmond - Voltaire’s verses on her - Her scepticism in religion - Her husband - Correspondence with Montesquieu - The Duchesse d’Aiguillon - Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle - Charles refuses to retire to Fribourg - The gold plate - Scenes with Madame de Talmond - Bulkeley’s interference - Arrest of Charles - The compasses - Charles goes to Avignon - His desperate condition - His policy - Based on a scheme of d’Argenson - He leaves Avignon - He is lost to sight and hearing.

‘Charles Edward Stuart,’ says Lord Stanhope, ‘is one of those characters that cannot be portrayed at a single sketch, but have so greatly altered as to require a new delineation at different periods.’{12a}  Now he ‘glitters all over like the star which they tell you appeared at his nativity,’ and which still shines beside him, Micat inter omnes, on a medal struck in his boyhood.{12b}  Anon he is sunk in besotted vice, a cruel lover, a solitary tippler, a broken man.  We study the period of transition.

Descriptions of his character vary between the noble encomium written in prison by Archibald Cameron, the last man who died for the Stuarts, and the virulent censures of Lord Elcho and Dr. King.  Veterans known to Sir Walter Scott wept at the mention of the Prince’s name; yet, as early as the tenth year after Prestonpans, his most devoted adherent, Henry Goring, left him in an angry despair.  Nevertheless, the character so variously estimated, so tenderly loved, so loathed, so despised, was one character; modified, swiftly or slowly, as its natural elements developed or decayed under the various influences of struggle, of success, of long endurance, of hope deferred, and of bitter disappointment.  The gay, kind, brave, loyal, and clement Prince Charlie became the fierce, shabby, battered exile, homeless, and all but friendless.  The change, of course, was not instantaneous, but gradual; it was not the result of one, but of many causes.  Even out of his final degradation, Charles occasionally speaks with his real voice: his inborn goodness of heart, remarked before his earliest adventures, utters its protest against the self he has become; just as, on the other hand, long ere he set his foot on Scottish soil, his father had noted his fatal inclination to wine and revel.

The processes in this change of character, the events, the temptations, the trials under which Charles became an altered man, have been very slightly studied, and, indeed, have been very obscurely known.  Even Mr. Ewald, the author of the most elaborate biography of the Prince,{13}neglected some important French printed sources, while manuscript documents, here for the first time published, were not at his command.  The present essay is itself unavoidably incomplete, for of family papers bearing on the subject many have perished under the teeth of time, and in one case, of rats, while others are not accessible to the writer.  Nevertheless, it is hoped that this work elucidates much which has long been veiled in the motives, conduct, and secret movements of Charles during the years between 1749 and the death, in 1766, of his father, the Old Chevalier.  Charles then emerged from a retirement of seventeen years; the European game of Hide and Seek was over, and it is not proposed to study the Prince in the days of his manifest decline, and among the disgraces of his miserable marriage.  His ‘incognito’ is our topic; the period of ‘deep and isolated enterprise’ which puzzled every Foreign Office in Europe, and practically only ended, as far as hope was concerned, with the break-up of the Jacobite party in 1754-1756, or rather with Hawke’s defeat of Conflans in 1759.

Ours is a strange and melancholy tale of desperate loyalties, and of a treason almost unparalleled for secrecy and persistence.  We have to do with the back-stairs of diplomacy, with spies and traitors, with cloak and sword, with blabbing servants, and inquisitive ambassadors, with disguise and discovery, with friends more staunch than steel, or weaker than water, with petty jealousies, with the relentless persecution of a brave man, and with the consequent ruin of a gallant life.

To understand the psychological problem, the degradation of a promising personality, it is necessary to glance rapidly at what we know of Charles before his Scottish expedition.

To begin at the beginning, in physical qualities the Prince was dowered by a kind fairy.  He was firmly though slimly built, of the best stature for strength and health.  ‘He had a body made for war,’ writes Lord Elcho, who hated him.  The gift of beauty (in his case peculiarly fatal, as will be seen) had not been denied to him.  His brow was high and broad, his nose shapely, his eyes of a rich dark brown, his hair of a chestnut hue, golden at the tips.  Though his eyes are described as blue, both in 1744 by Sir Horace Mann, and in later life (1770) by an English lady in Rome, though Lord Stanhope and Mr. Stevenson agree in this error, brown was really their colour.{15a}  Charles inherited the dark eyes of his father, ‘the Black Bird,’ and of Mary Stuart.  This is manifest from all the original portraits and miniatures, including that given by the Prince to his secretary, Murray of Broughton, now in my collection.  In boyhood Charles’s face had a merry, mutinous, rather reckless expression, as portraits prove.  Hundreds of faces like his may be seen at the public schools; indeed, Charles had many ‘doubles,’ who sometimes traded on the resemblance, sometimes, wittingly or unwittingly, misled the spies that constantly pursued him.{15b}  His adherents fondly declared that his natural air of distinction, his princely bearing, were too marked to be concealed in any travesty.  Yet no man has, in disguises of his person, been more successful.  We may grant ‘the grand air’ to Charles, but we must admit that he could successfully dissemble it.

About 1743, when a number of miniatures of the Prince were done in Italy for presentation to adherents, Charles’s boyish mirth, as seen in these works of art, has become somewhat petulant, if not arrogant, but he is still ‘a lad with the bloom of a lass.’  A shade of aspiring melancholy marks a portrait done in France, just before the expedition to Scotland.  Le Toque’s fine portrait of the Prince in armour (1748) shows a manly and martial but rather sinister countenance.  A plaster bust, done from a life mask, if not from Le Moine’s bust in marble (1750), was thought the best likeness by Dr. King.  This bust was openly sold in Red Lion Square, and, when Charles visited Dr. King in September 1750, the Doctor’s servant observed the resemblance.  I have never seen a copy of this bust, and the medal struck in 1750, an intaglio of the same date, and a very rare profile in the collection of the Duke of Atholl, give a similar idea of the Prince as he was at thirty.  A distinguished artist, who outlined Charles’s profile and applied it to another of Her present Majesty in youth, tells me that they are almost exact counterparts.

Next we come to the angry eyes and swollen features of Ozias Humphreys’s miniature, in the Duke of Atholl’s collection, and in his sketch published in the ‘Lockhart Papers’ (1776), and, finally, to the fallen weary old face designed by Gavin Hamilton.  Charles’s younger brother, Henry, Duke of York, was a prettier boy, but it is curious to mark the prematurely priestly and ‘Italianate’ expression of the Duke in youth, while Charles still seems a merry lad.  Of Charles in boyhood many anecdotes are told.  At the age of two or three he is said to have been taken to see the Pope in his garden, and to have refused the usual marks of reverence.  Walton, the English agent in Florence, reports an outbreak of ferocious temper in 1733.{17a}  Though based on gossip, the story seems to forebode the later excesses of anger.  Earlier, in 1727, the Duc de Liria, a son of Marshal Berwick, draws a pretty picture of the child when about seven years old:-

‘The King of England did not wish me to leave before May 4, and I was only too happy to remain at his feet, not merely on account of the love and respect I have borne him all my life, but also because I was never weary of watching the Princes, his sons.  The Prince of Wales was now six and a half, and, besides his great beauty, was remarkable for dexterity, grace, and almost supernatural cleverness.  Not only could he read fluently, but he knew the doctrines of the Christian faith as well as the master who had taught him.  He could ride; could fire a gun; and, more surprising still, I have seen him take a crossbow and kill birds on the roof, and split a rolling ball with a shaft, ten times in succession.  He speaks English, French, and Italian perfectly, and altogether he is the most ideal Prince I have ever met in the course of my life.

‘The Duke of York, His Majesty’s second son, is two years old, and a prodigy of beauty and strength.’{17b}

Gray, certainly no Jacobite, when at Rome with Horace Walpole speaks very kindly of the two gay young Princes.  He sneers at their melancholy father, of whom Montesquieu writes, ‘ce Prince a une bonne physiononie et noble.  Il paroit triste, pieux.’{18a}  Young Charles was neither pious nor melancholy.

Of Charles at the age of twenty, the President de Brosses (the author of ‘Les Dieux Fétiches’) speaks as an unconcerned observer.  ‘I hear from those who know them both thoroughly that the eldest has far higher worth, and is much more beloved by his friends; that he has a kind heart and a high courage; that he feels warmly for his family’s misfortunes, and that if some day he does not retrieve them, it will not be for want of intrepidity.’{18b}

Charles’s gallantry when under fire as a mere boy, at the siege of Gaeta (1734), was, indeed, greatly admired and generally extolled.{18c}  His courage has been much more foolishly denied by his enemies than too eagerly applauded by friends who had seen him tried by every species of danger.

Aspersions have been thrown on Charles’s personal bravery; it may be worth while to comment on them.  The story of Lord Elcho’s reproaching the Prince for not heading a charge of the second line at Culloden, has unluckily been circulated by Sir Walter Scott.  On February 9, 1826, Scott met Sir James Stuart Denham, whose father was out in the Forty-five, and whose uncle was the Lord Elcho of that date.  Lord Elcho wrote memoirs, still unpublished, but used by Mr. Ewald in his ‘Life of the Prince.’  Elcho is a hostile witness: for twenty years he vainly dunned Charles for a debt of 1,5001.  According to Sir James Stuart Denham, Elcho asked Charles to lead a final charge at Culloden, retrieve the battle, or die sword in hand.  The Prince rode off the field, Elcho calling him ‘a damned, cowardly Italian - .’

No such passage occurs in Elcho’s diary.  He says that, after the flight, he found Charles, in the belief that he had been betrayed, anxious only for his Irish officers, and determined to go to France, not to join the clans at Ruthven.  Elcho most justly censured and resolved ‘never to have anything more to do with him,’ a broken vow!{19a}  As a matter of fact, Sir Robert Strange saw Charles vainly trying to rally the Highlanders, and Sir Stuart Thriepland of Fingask gives the same evidence.{19b}

In his seclusion during 1750, Charles wrote a little memoir, still unpublished, about his Highland wanderings.  In this he says that he was ‘led off the field by those about him,’ when the clans broke at Culloden.  ‘The Prince then changed his horse, his own having been wounded by a musket-ball in the shoulder.’{20a}