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We have, we trust, said enough of this work, to recommend it to the reader: We ought to add, that the translation appears to be very respectable.
Art. V. Culloden Papers; comprising an Extensive and In
teresting Correspondence, from the Year 1625 to 1748. London, 1815. 1 vol. 4to. pp. 479.
chiefly of letters of correspondence, which were lately found in Culloden House, belonging to the family of Forbes, in the vicinity of Inverness. That family has long been distinguished as the head, or principal member (it is now indifferent which) of one of the great Highland clans, and was formerly still more conspicuous by the share which it took in all the public trans actions of its native land. But the most brilliant and honourable part of its history, is that which records the life of DUNCAN Forbes, who died President of the Court of Session in the year 1747. This eminent man raised himself to that high station by the unassisted excellence of a noble character, by the force of which he had previously won and adorned all the subordinate gradations of office. He took the lead in all affairs touching Scotland for nearly half of the last century-was particularly active during the two rebellions--maintained a constant intercourse with all the great inen of his day, both Scotch and English-and died, leaving behind him a bright and unenvied reputation, of which the recollection is scarcely yet effaced in this country-and a mass of papers, which were thrown, without arrangement or explanation, into cellars or other such places, where it was thought they would be safe or out of the
way. These documents, though often suspected to exist, and anxiously searched for, lay undisturbed in their fastnesses till the year 1812, when two large chests and three sacks full of them were discovered. A selection was instantly made and prepared for the press, with as much order and connexion as was attainable. This was not much; but it was rather diminished than increased, by the discovery of another mass, after the printing of the first had commenced. For, instead of beginning the work anew, it was thought better to go on with the original plan, and to throw such of the other papers as were meant for publication into the form of Addenda. This resolution may have been recommended by inmediate convenience, but it was certainly very unfortunate; for the separation of papers relating to the same events, and intended as parts of the same series of communicaţions, has greatly increased the distraction and confusion of the whole. It is to be regretted, too, that although there is an ill written and feeble life at the beginning of the work, there is scarcely any explanatory narrative or observation interspersed throughout its different parts. That there should be letters without answers, and answers without the previous letters, was a misfortune for which the editor was not responsible. But a very little diligence might easily have procured a great deal of information with respect to the persons and the events referred to in the correspondence; whereas the writers are brought forward with as little introduction as if they were all personally known to us; and the transactions, as if they had just happened in the neighbouring parish. This creates a constant glimmering and shifting of the light, which renders the perusal of the collection singularly painful and unsatisfactory; and as we profess to know little or nothing of the details to which it relates, except what we can catch here and there from this work, it is probable that our conceptions of most of them are imperfect or erroneous.
Still, however, there are some circumstances which render the publication extremely interesting. It exhibits a view, taken on the spot, of a period of Scottish history and manners which is fast receding from our sight, but of which the features are well worthy of being retained. Between the birth and the death of Forbes, this country passed from the fire of the most cruel religious and political persecution, into nearly its present state of freedom and toleration, was the chief scene the two last struggles made by the Stuarts for the recovery of what they termed their rights: The foundation of its subsequent growth in agriculture-trade and manufactures—were laid; the great men of the last century, to whom it owes its literary and philosophical splendour, were beginning to appear; and, above all, Forbes himself displays one of those characters which are sometimes to be found in what Hume calls the corners of history, but which deserve to be blazoned at large on its broadest page. He is in every situation so full of honour, of gentleness, of true wisdom, of kindness and intrepidity, that we doubt if there be any one public man of this part of the Empire, or of the age that is gone, whose qualities ought to be so strongly recommended to the contemplation of all those who wish truly to serve their country.
As there is nothing very particular in the letters until he appears, nor any connexion between the different parts of the work after this, except what arises from their reference to him, the best
way in which we can exhibit a view of its contents is by mentioning a few of the principal events and objects of his life.
He was born in the year 1685, of parents who transmitted their estate to his elder brother, and to all their children an heveditary aversion to the house of Stuart, which they appear to
have resisted from the very commencement of the civil wars,
of his public life, was an earnest of the
When the Pretender made his attempt in 1715, the whole family of Culloden exerted itself to put down an usurper who claimed the throne as his inheritance, and not as the people's
gift. The eldest son spent (and was never repaid) about 30001. in the service of Government; the family castle was besieged by the rebels, and successfully defended by the heroic wife of the owner, who happened to be absent; and Duncan's zeal was rewarded by the bitterest hatred of the Jacobites, and by public thanks from the reigning party. When the storm had blown over, it was thought right to reward him by making him Advocate-Depute,-an office which renders the holder a sort of subaltern Lord Advocate. This was the first occasion on which he was directly set up as an adherent of the ministry for the day; and therefore it is worth while observing his behaviour.
In matters of duty, he seems always to have had a commendable partiality for his own opinion.. On the 20th of March 1716, he writes to the Lord Advocate
· Yesterday I was qualified, the Lord knows how, as your depute. The Justice Clerk' (the highest criminal Judge in Scotland) • shows a grim sort of civilty towards me, because he finds me plagay stubborn. I waited upon him, however, and on the other Lords, to the end they might fix a dyet for the tryall of the Episcopall clergy. The Justice Clerk does not smile on their prosecution, because it is not is own contrivance; and declared it could not come on sooner than the first of June ; but I told him, that if, as I understood was designed, the May circuit were suspended this year by act of Parliament, I would require his Lordship to assign a dyet sooner.
This plaguy stubbornness broke out still more remarkably a few months afterwards. Many of the Scots rebels were about to be tried in England, and it was thought expedient to send this Depute there as a prosecutor. Upon this he writes, 'I am determined to refuse that employment.' Nor did he content himself with barely declining a task which most other men would have eagerly undertaken as the high road to advancement; but appears to have gone the length of composing and transmitting a Memorial to Sir Robert Walpole, remonstrating firmly against the injustice and impolicy of treating the rebels as ministry were about to da;--for a sort of exterminating bill was then in contemplation. We can scarcely conceive a more inagnanimous act, than the transmission of this remonstrance by a younger brother, then standing on the lowest step of the glittering ladder of preferment. The style of it is concise, clear, and very manly; evincing complete knowledge of Scotland, and of the great principle of reclaiming a deluded people by time and lenient firmness, instead of rainly attempting to subdue their turbulence by breaking their spirit. We have only room for the following extract.
• Every man concerned in that odious work, certainly deserved. death, and the punishment due by law; but humanity and prudence forbade it. It was not fit to dispeople a country, nor prudent to grieve the King's best friends, who mostly had some concern in those unfor
tunate men ; or expedient to give too just grounds of clamour to the disaffected.' - It will be agreed on all hands, that the proper
rule in this case would have been, to have punished only as many as was necessary for terror, and for weakening the strength of the rebels for the future; and to extend mercy to as many as it could conveniently be indulged to, with the security of the Government; and this maxim every thinking Whig had then in his mouth, however offended at the insolences of the rebels. In place of a course of this kind, the method followed was, ist, To try all the criminals in England,' &c. · The necessary consequences of this procedure, in general, are two; first, It makes all those who had the misfortune to be seduced into the rebellion, with their children, relations, and such as depend upon them, for ever desperate; and it's hard to tell what occasions may offer for venting their rage. We
e see that want and hard circumstances lead men daily into follys, without any other tempta
but when those circumstances are brought on by adherence to any principle or opinion, it's certain the sufferers will not quit their attempts to better their condition, but with their lives. 2d, As there are none of the rebels who have not friends among the King's faithful subjects, it is not easy to guess how far a severity of this kind, unnecessarily pushed, may alienate the affections, even of those, from Government.
• If all the rebels, with their wives, children and immediate dependants, could be at once rooted out of the earth, the shock would be astonishing ; but time would commit it to oblivion ; and the danger would be less to the Constitution, than when thousands of innocents, punished with misery and want for the offences of their friends, are suffered to wander about the country, sighing out their complaints to Heaven, and drawing at once the compassion, and moving the indignation, of every human creature.'
Notwithstanding these very obvious truths, the system that had been resolved on was adopted. Every family trembled for a prosecution; suspicion, however slight, was a ground of imprisonment; and those who were destined for trial were either sent into the foreign country of England, or else subjected in Scotland to the ignorant and vindictive zeal of English judges and English prosecutors, who were sent here no doubt for the purpose of administering justice, but who, from their very situation, could only do so in a form as revolting to true justice as the rebellion itself. Forbes, seeing he could not prevent this, did what he could to relieve his misguided countrymen, by actively promoting subscriptions for their relief; and, with this yiew, he writes as follows to his brother at Culloden, who, as well as himself, had been a personal sufferer from the very men of whom he speaks so gently.
• The design of this is to acquaint you, that a contribution is carrying on, for the relief of the poor prisoners at Carlisle from their necessitous condition. It is certainly christian, and by no means disloyall, to sustain them in their indigent state, until they are found