The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Charles Edward

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The American Cyclopædia
Charles Edward
Edition of 1879. See also Charles Edward Stuart on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

CHARLES EDWARD (Louis Philip Casimir), an English prince, called the young pretender, son of James Stuart and Clementina Sobieska, and grandson of James II., born in Rome, Dec. 31, 1720, died there, Jan. 30, 1788. The Jacobite party saw in his birth ground for new hopes. The incapacity of the pretender, or chevalier de St. George, as exhibited in 1715-'16, and the failure of Alberoni's plan for his restoration in 1719, had well nigh driven them to despair. The birth of Charles Edward, and the high character of the race to which his mother belonged, caused a reaction in their feelings, and prolonged the struggle between the constitutionalists and the divine-right party for another generation, which was marked by desperate intrigue, and was concluded in wholesale slaughter. Charles early gave indications of talent, and of a firmness of purpose inherited from his mother, which misfortune caused to degenerate into sheer obstinacy. He was well educated by Protestant tutors, acquiring accurate knowledge of English, French, and Italian, and of the history of England. His physical education was attended to, and he was dexterous in all manly exercises. He had some taste for the fine arts and skill in music. In his 14th year he made his first campaign, serving in the Spanish army that besieged Gaeta, in the war between Spain and Austria. Though so young, he bore himself bravely. In 1737 he made the tour of Italy, and, to the annoyance of the British government, was everywhere well received. At Venice the honors due to a crowned head were accorded to him, for which the Venetian ambassador was dismissed from England. His character at this time was that of an amiable, accomplished youth, and his sweetness of disposition is frequently mentioned. From a very early period his mind dwelt upon the thought of recovering the British throne, and England and France becoming involved in the war of the Austrian succession, Charles was invited to France in 1744 to take command of an army that was to be sent to England. He went to Paris, but Louis XV. would not see him. He made a favorable impression on all persons with whom he came in contact, and particularly upon Marshal Saxe, who was to have been the real head of the invading army. That army was assembled on the channel coast, and consisted of 15,000 men. The transports were to be convoyed by 20 ships of the line and 5 frigates. The English were greatly alarmed. Their channel fleet was small, most of their ships being in the Mediterranean, where they had been sent to the assistance of the house of Austria. The prince and the marshal embarked at the close of February. This was the most favorable turn that the fortunes of the Stuarts ever took after the flight of James II. There was much discontent in England, they had a powerful party in Scotland, and the Irish Catholics looked upon them as promised deliverers. Marshal Saxe was the ablest of living soldiers, and Charles was enthusiastic and resolute. But on March 6 a great storm arose and raged for a week. Many vessels filled with troops were lost, and the rest were forced back to France. Though Charles earnestly pressed the French government to renew the attempt, he failed; whereupon he directed his attention to private efforts, and with difficulty was prevented from sailing to Scotland in a fishing boat. In 1745, having obtained some assistance from individuals of British origin in France, he fitted out two vessels, the Elizabeth of 67 guns, and the Doutelle of 16, and placing a quantity of arms and ammunition on board of them, sailed for Scotland, accompanied by a few friends. Of money he had less than £4,000. The Elizabeth was brought to action by a British cruiser, and was compelled to fly. This was a serious loss, as most of the stores were in her. The Doutelle escaped, and after some adventures Charles landed at Moidart, July 28, where he was joined by a few persons, whose numbers were soon increased, the most prominent of the highland chiefs being Donald Cameron the younger of Lochiel. The Stuart standard was raised at Glenfinnan a few days after. His army now rapidly increased, many clans rising in his behalf. He baffled Sir John Cope, the royal general, descended upon the lowlands, entered Perth, and took possession of Edinburgh, Sept. 17. The lowlanders who joined him were not numerous. The victory of Prestonpans, won Sept. 22, in which Cope's army was annihilated by the highlanders in five minutes, raised the prestige of Charles's arms, and he was enabled to march into England at the head of 6,000 men, entering that country Nov. 8. He took Carlisle, and penetrated to Swarkstone Bridge, 6 m. beyond Derby, and 94 from London, without encountering any opposition, his superior military genius enabling him to baffle the English army under Wade. But if he met no opposition, neither was his force increased, save by a few individuals, most of whom were of the lowest rank. The English nobility at that time contained many Jacobites, and they were still more numerous among the gentry; yet they remained quiet. Discouraged by this coldness, the chiefs compelled Charles to return to Scotland, where a new army had been formed, partly composed of troops from France, and partly of native levies. Charles was bitterly opposed to this course, and the view he took showed his superiority. Had the army pressed forward, London would have fallen into its hands. On the retreat, the insurgents evinced their usual military preëminence, outmarching even their mounted enemies, and inflicting a bloody repulse upon them at Clifton. They took Glasgow after their return, and defeated the English army, commanded by Hawley, Jan. 17, at Falkirk. The duke of Cumberland was then sent to Scotland, and Charles was compelled to retreat again, much against his will. Toward the middle of April, 1746, the two armies were near to one another, and Charles planned a night attack on Cumberland, which failed because of want of due information respecting the country. On April 16 was fought the battle of Culloden, which was as fatal to the prince's character for generalship as to the fortunes of his house. With a fatigued, starved, and diminished army he awaited the attack of the superior royal forces, the latter being well supplied with everything necessary to render them efficient. At first the action was one of artillery only, in which the highlanders suffered terribly. At length their right wing charged, swept away a large portion of the first English line, and was itself almost annihilated by the fire and bayonets of the second line. Even then the royal army would have been defeated had the Macdonalds imitated the daring bravery of the MacLeans, Frasers, Macintoshes, Stuarts, and Camerons; but, angry because they had been placed on the left, whereas they claimed the right as theirs from the day of Bannockburn, they refused to charge, and gave the enemy victory. Culloden was the last battle fought for the fated line of the Stuarts. Charles fled, and after five months of the most romantic wanderings he escaped to France, where he was well received, the king for the first time personally welcoming him. He was a great favorite at court. Some faint show was made of renewing the attempt to invade England, but Charles refused to promise to cede Ireland to France in the event of success, and the plan fell through. He visited Madrid in 1747, and was well received. In 1748 he was expelled from France in compliance with the terms of the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. This treatment he had brought upon himself, for the French government had sought in every way to avoid extremities, and nothing but the prince's obstinacy made violence necessary. He was also compelled to leave Avignon, and refused a home in Venice. He visited Germany, and afterward resided for some time in the duchy of Bouillon. He became a Protestant in or about 1752. He was engaged in some Jacobite conspiracies, and visited London in 1750 and in 1753. The story that he was present at the coronation of George III. is slenderly supported. He finally took up his residence in Florence. His father dying at the close of 1765, he became the legitimate king of Great Britain. This title he never assumed, but was known as the count of Albany, which designation he had borne as early as 1734. He married in 1772 the princess Louisa of Stolberg-Gedern, who was more than 30 years his junior. The only effect of this marriage was to add domestic misery to the sufferings of the prince. Alfieri was the princess's lover. She fled from her husband, and a judicial separation took place in 1783. His last years were spent at Rome, where he died on the anniversary of the execution of his great-grandfather, though most accounts place the event on the following day. He left an illegitimate daughter, who survived him but a year. He was one of those rare characters who bear prosperity better than adversity. His talents were high, and no member of the Stuart family ever exhibited more practical ability. His conduct in the campaign of 1745-'6 evinced an original genius for war. He found himself in circumstances entirely new, and he adapted himself to them with all the facility of genius. The history of Charles, and of his Scottish campaign, has been written by Walter Scott, Robert Chambers, Pichot, J. H. Jesse, Earl Stanhope, C. L. Klose, and others. There is much curious matter respecting the conduct of the Jacobites, and of the prince and his family, in the “Memoirs of Sir R. Strange, and of Andrew Lumisden,” by Mr. Dennistoun, Mr. Lumisden having been private secretary to both Charles and his father. In the early years of the 19th century the interest in the history of “the young pretender” was renewed by the writings of Scott, who introduced him into two of his novels, “Waverley” and “Redgauntlet.”