Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

some Spaniards who landed on the north west coast in 1719, and were with them at the battle of Glensheil; and that Rob and his party afterwards plundered a Spanish ship after being in possession of the English, which so enriched Rob that he again began farming, and returned to the braes of Balquhiddar.

For a considerable period after the reformation the establishment of Prebyterian clergy was very precarious, particularly in the Highland districts, where the Romish persuasion long struggled for predominance. Their settlement was often resisted by the parishioners, and their stipends being ill paid, it being customary for the lairds to fix the payment of them on their tenants, who were also made liable for any augmentation of stipend the incumbent might afterwards obtain. In the days of our hero, a Mr. Ferguson had been appointed to the parish of Balquhiddar; but his introduction was opposed by the whole body of the people, and he would not be admitted until he promised not to apply for an increase of salary. Finding, however, that he could not live on so small a sum, he subsequently took the usual legal steps for procuring an addition; but Rob Roy put a speedy termination to the business. He got hold of the minister, forced him into a public house near his own church, made him drink profusely of whisky, and caused him to sign a paper renouncing every future claim of aug. mentation; but he gave, at the same time, his own obligation, bind. ing himself to send the minister, every year, half a score of sheep and a fat cow, which, during his life, was regularly done.

In his trade of dealing in cattle, Rob Roy often required to travel to different parts of the Lowlands, and the last time he visited Edinburgh was to recover a debt due him by a person who was reputed opulent, but who had taken refuge in the sanctuary of the abbey. There Rob went and saw his man; but the sacredness of the place did not protect him; and although he was a strong man, Macgregor laid hold of him, dragged him across the line of safety, and, having some officers of the law in waiting, gave over his charge to them, by which means he got his money.

The power which Macgregor possessed in his arms was very uncommon. It was scarcely possible to wrench any thing out of his hands, and he was known to seize a deer by the horns and hold him fast. His arms were long, almost to deformity, as when he stood erect he could touch his knee-pans with his fingers. Some of his neighbours might indeed say that he had long arms; but in all his private transactions he was honourable, and was much respected by the gentlemen of his country, with whom he constantly associated; and though it may appear that he did not, in his partial warfare, act in conformity to the nicest principles of justice, the greater number of his errors were yet venial, and, in his own estimation, the fair and justifiable requital of injury which he or others had sustained.

With the family of Montrose he had been at enmity for more than thirty years; but he considered the hurt they had done him to be an inexpiable offence, which he never forgave: but the animoVOL. XI.

32

sity and rivalship' which had existed betwixt Montrose and Argyll, was probably a strong incentive to instigate Rob to that course which he had so long pursued against the former, as there is much reason to believe that Argyll took Rob by the hand merely to make him an instrument of opposition to Montrose,

The fame of Rob Roy Macgregor had travelled far and over many countries. His achievements were every where extolled as the matchless deeds of unconquered Caledonia; and though his prowess could not be said at all times to have been displayed upon occasions strictly meritorious, yet the general tenor of his conduct was admired in his own country, as it accorded with an ancient Gaelic saying, which marked the well known character of the Highlander, that he would not turn his back on a friend nor an enemy: yet he neither boasted of his strength nor his courage, and he did not look on his past exploits with the pride of a victor, but with the honest exultation of having supported the valour of his clan, and opposed the devouring tide of oppression. Steady in these principles, he never wantonly took up a quarrel; and, from a consciousness of his own powers, he was unwilling to adopt personal contention; yet he was often challenged to single combat, which he never refused; but on the last two trials he was worsted, when he threw down his sword and vowed he would never take it up again, for then he was nearly blind, and his strength had suffered the decay of years.

At length, worn out with the laborious vicissitudes of a restless life, he sunk calmly to his end, at the farm of Inverlocharigbegi among the braes of Balquhiddar, in 1740. His remains rest in the church yard of that parish, with no other monument to mark his grave than a simple stone, on which some kindred spirit has carved a sword—the appropriate emblem of the man:

“Clan-Alpine's omen and her aid.”

Art. X.-The Tomb of Warren. THERE is a solemn, though sweet satisfaction, in contemplating

the tomb of the brave. The recollection of their deeds arises to supply the ardour of curiosity, and to elevate the mind with noble sentiments. But, how many proud reflections are aroused, when we regard the turf that covers the remains of the honoured dead, martyrs to freedom's cause?--patriots, who fell gloriously contending for whatever could bind a cause to themselves and their posterity; at the price of whose blood, our independence—all the rights, privileges, and blessings we enjoy as freemen, were greatly, though dearly won.

Their merit survives the frail memorials of the tomb. Their fame is enshrined in the memory of their countrymen. Distant generations shall recount the gallant resistance of a handful of undisciplined volunteers, to the tried veterans who disputed the vic. tory of that day, when the triumph of native valour--the spontaneous burst of patriotic enthusiasm, was memorably asserted over mercenary regulars.

Foremost in this great struggle was JosepH WARREN, fitted alike for counsel and for action, prompt, intuitive, ardent, of bold decision, and unquénchable zeal. Whatever he determined, and he was eminently qualified to determine soundly, he was strenuous to urge and indefatigable to execute-qualities particularly serviceable at a period when even the prudent might waver and the cautious be afraid. But Warren was fearless, when the public interest, and his own glory involved, were in question.

It is for great minds to appreciate that devotion which rises with the occasion, buoyant with its own elasticity, which springs at the call of duty-sees no danger too difficult to surmount-no obstacle but to be overcome. Before it, impediments recede, and the magnitude of opposition serves but to excite higher energies to meet it.

Such characters, nurtured in revolutions, appear to be the immediate instruments in the hands of providence, of great designs. They occur rarely in an age, as if their virtues were to be the more impressive for this rarity. But for their magnanimous resolves, their heroic and inspiriting examples, their directing guides, what would have been the current of many of the happiest events that now adorn the calendar of human affairs? Without them, how precarious the tenure of liberty with life, of national existence, and political franchise?

In the annals of our country, the name of Warren is enumerated as the first victim of rank who fell in the arduous struggle with Great Britain. This distinguished person was born at Roxbury, near Boston, in 1740. He was entered of Harvard college, Cambridge, and graduated in 1759. Pursuing the study of medicine with great success, he attracted early notice, and in a few years rose to eminence in his profession as one of the ablest physicians in Boston. But other, and more pressing duties, in his mind, absorbed his interests, and urged him to make great sacrifices for his country's weal. His comprehensive intellect could not fail to perceive, in the distance, that a combination of causes was operating fast to accelerate a mighty change in the relations between Great Britain and his country. The cloud then lowering over the political horizon, portended the coming storm. He foresaw that it would burst on that portion of the state which seemed peculiarly to have an imperious claim upon his talents and his services. To be wanting on such an occasion to a full sense of duty, was reserved for souls less daring, who could purchase security at whatever price. In the estimation of Warren, a sacrifice of the emoluments of a lucrative profession was light in the comparison; setting at nought, then, the considerations that engross ordinary minds, he stepped boldly forward, the advocate of a vigorous resistance, when he saw that, between the extremes of power on the one hand, and unqualia fied emancipation on the other, there is no safe interval.

His eloquence as a speaker, and his talents as a writer, were conspicuous on all occasions, from the year in which the stamp act was passed, to the commencement of hostilities. He predicted, and with an energy that appalled enemies while it animated friends, he enforced, with irrefragable ability, the great truth that America was competent to withstand any force that could be sent against her; for that while he spoke, one hundred thousand men of New England alone, descendants of the puritans in the Charles's and James's days, were ready-men who had not lost the spirit of Englishmen under the English commonwealth.

He continued, from the year 1768, a principal member of a secret committee in Boston, which had great influence on the concerns of the country. At their meetings, plans of defence and preparation were agitated and matured, and in all these delicate proceedings, his boldness, his decision, and zeal were governed by the circumspection and wisdom with which they were happily tempered. After the destruction of the tea, and the consequent defeat of that attempt at foreign impost, the proceedings of this committee were no longer kcpt concealed. Warren was the avowed champion of decisive measures. His unhesitating espousal of the cause of liberty, pointed him out a leader in those times, and he was twice chosen the public orator of the town on the anniversaries of the massacre,* when he delivered orations breathing all the energy of a lofty mind.

On the evening before the battle of Lexington, he obtained, through his usual indefatigable industry, early information of the intended expedition against Concord, and at ten o'clock at night despatched an express to Messrs. Hancock and Adams, who were at Lexington, to warn them of their danger. He himself followed on the next day, hovered about the enemy, and was very active during the engagement of the memorable 19th of April. It is said, in general Heath's memoirs, that a ball took off part of his ear-lock. After the departure of John Hancock to the general congress, he was chosen president of the Massachusetts congress in his place, and by his extensive influence, was of signal benefit in preserving order among the troops then assembled at Cambridge, which, in the confused state of the army, was essentially important Four days previously to the battle of Bunker's or more properly Breed's Hill, he received his commission of major general in the armies of the general congress, then held at Philadelphia.

In the morning of that eventful day the 17th of June, 1775, he repaired from head-quarters at Cambridge to Breed's Hill, in order to inspect the intrenchments and give directions personally, respecting the completion of the works. His ardor did not allow him to remain an inactive spectator, but, with a view to encourage the men, he took his station within the lines, and assisted in their defence. He was in the hottest of the action, and towards the close of it, while in the trenches, received the fatal shot that prematurely terminated his valuable life, in the thirty-fifth year of his age. Thus was cut off in the lower of his age, this gallant hero, loved, lamented, the theme of universal regret-a loss, at any time

* He published one oration in 1772, and another in 1775, commemorative of the 5th of March, 1770.

deeply, but then, most poignantly felt. As Leonidas he was brave; as Leonidas he fell, with truly Spartan spirit, waging an unequal contest for the liberties of his country. But, though he did not outlive the glories of that great occasion, he had lived long enough for fame. It needed no other herald of his actions than the simple testimony of the historian, that Warren fell, foremost in the ranks of that war which he had justified by his argument, supported by his energy, and signalized by his prowess.

Dulce, et decorum est, pro patria mori. The monument erected by his fellow citizens, on the spot where he poured out his latest breath, commemorates at once his achievement and a people's gratitude. The representation of it here given was taken on Breed's Hill, and may be depended upon for its accuracy.

[graphic]

Though untimely was his fall, and though a cloud of sorrow overspread every countenance at the recital of his fate, yet, if the love of fame be the noblest passion of the human mind, and human nature pant for distinction in the martial field, perhaps there never was a moment of more unfading glory, offered to the wishes of the brave, than that which marked the exit of this heroic officer. Still, who will not lament that he incautiously courted the post of danger, while more important occasions required a regard to personal safety?

He was endowed with a clear and vigorous understanding, a disposition humane and generous—qualities which, graced by man. ners affable and engaging, rendered him the idol of the army and of his friends. His powers of speech and reasoning commanded respect, and gained him influence in the Massachusetts congress, whose electing voice, together with his native intrepidity, and sanguine zeal for the cause he had embraced, induced him to enter

« ZurückWeiter »