CHAPTER III. THE LAST JACOBITE MOVEMENT - THE IRISH SOLDIERS ABROAD - FRENCH EXPEDITION UNDER THUROT, OR O'FARRELL.
The mention of the Scottish insurrection of 1745 brings naturally with it another reference to the history of the Irish soldiers in the military service of France. This year was in truth the most eventful in the annals of that celebrated legion, for while it was the year of Fontenoy and victory on the one hand, it was on the other the year of Culloden and defeat.
The decisive battle of Fontenoy, in which the Franco-Irish troops bore so decisive a part, was fought on the 11th of May, 1745. The French army, commanded by Saxe, and accompanied by King Louis, leaving 18,000 men to besiege Namur, and 6,000 to guard the Scheldt, took a position between that river and the allies, having their centre at the village of Fontenoy. The British and Dutch, under the King's favourite son, the Duke of Cumberland, were 55,000 strong; the French 45,000. After a hard day's fighting, victory seemed to declare so clearly against France, that King Louis, who was present, prepared for flight. At this moment Marshal Saxe ordered a final charge by the seven Irish regiments under Counts Dillon and Thomond. The tide was turned, beyond expectation, to the cry of "Remember Limerick!" France was delivered, England checked, and Holland reduced from a first to a second-rate power upon that memorable day. But the victory was dearly bought. One-fourth of all the Irish officers, including Count Dillon, were killed, and one-third of all the men. The whole number slain on the side of France was set down at 7,000 by English accounts, while they admitted for themselves alone, 4,000 British and 3,300 Hanoverians and Dutch. "Foremost of all," says the just-minded Lord Mahon, "were the gallant brigade of Irish exiles." It was this defeat of his favourite son which wrung from King George II. the oft-quoted malediction on the laws which deprived him of such subjects.
The expedition of Prince Charles Edward was undertaken and conducted by Irish aid, quite as much as by French or Scottish. The chief parties to it, besides the old Marquis of Tullibardine and the young Duke of Perth, were the Waterses, father and son, Irish bankers at Paris, who advanced one hundred and eighty thousand livres between them; Walsh, an Irish merchant at Nantz, who put a privateer of eighteen guns into the venture; Sir Thomas Geraldine, the Pretender's agent at Paris; Sir Thomas Sheridan, the prince's preceptor, who, with Colonels O'Sullivan and Lynch, Captain O'Neil, and other officers of the brigade, formed the staff, on which Sir John McDonald, a Scottish officer in the Spanish service, was also placed. Fathers Kelly and O'Brien volunteered in the expedition. On the 22nd of June, 1745, with seven friends, the prince embarked in Walsh's vessel, the Doutelle, at St. Nazaire, on the Loire, and on the 19th of July, landed on the northern coast of Scotland, near Moidart. The Scottish chiefs, little consulted or considered beforehand, came slowly and dubiously to the landing-place. Under their patriarchal control there were still in the kingdom about a hundred thousand men, and about one-twelfth of the Scottish population. Clanronald, Cameron of Lochiel, the Laird of McLeod, and a few others, having arrived, the royal standard was unfurled on the 19th of August at Glenfinin, where that evening twelve hundred men - the entire army so far - were formed into camp, under the orders of O'Sullivan. From that day until the day of Culloden, O'Sullivan seems to have manoeuvred the prince's forces. At Perth, at Edinburgh, at Preston, at Manchester, at Culloden, he took command in the field, or in garrison; and even after the sad result, he adhered to his sovereign's son with an honourable fidelity which defied despair.
Charles, on his part, placed full confidence in his Irish officers. In his proclamation after the battle of Preston, he declared it was not his intention to enforce on the people of England, Scotland, or Ireland, "a religion they disliked." In a subsequent paper, he asks, "Have you found reason to love and cherish your governors as the fathers of the people of Great Britain and Ireland? Has a family upon whom a faction unlawfully bestowed the diadem of a rightful prince, retained a due sense of so great a trust and favour?" These and his other proclamations betrayed an Irish pen; probably Sir Thomas Sheridan's. One of Charles's English adherents, Lord Elcho, who kept a journal of the campaign, notes, complainingly, the Irish influence under which he acted. "The prince and his old governor, Sir Thomas Sheridan," are especially objected to, and the "Irish favourites" are censured in a body. While at Edinburgh, a French ship, containing some arms, supplies, and "Irish officers," arrived; at the same time efforts were made to recruit for the prince in Ireland; but the agents being taken in some cases, the channel narrowly watched, and the people not very eager to join the service, few recruits were obtained.