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It was the 10th of November when Mar, aware that Argyll was advancing against him, at length marched out of Perth with all his baggage and provisions for twelve days. On the 12th, when they arrived at Ardoch, Argyll was posted at Dunblane, and he advanced to give them battle. The wild, uneven ground of Sheriffmuir lay between them, and it was on this spot that Argyll on quitting Stirling had hoped to meet them. He therefore drew up his men on this moorland in battle array, and did not wait long for the coming of the Highland army. It was on a Sunday morning, the 13th of November, that the battle of Sheriffmuir was fought. Argyll commanded the right wing of his army, General Whitham the left, and General Wightman the centre. He calculated much on this open ground for the operations of his cavalry. On the other hand, Mar took the right wing of his army, and was thus opposed, not to Argyll, but to Whitham. The Highlanders, though called on to form in a moment, as it were, did so with a rapidity which astonished the enemy. They opened fire on Argyll so instantly and well, that it took the duke's forces by surprise. The left army retired on Stirling pursued by Mar. Argyll was compelled to be on the alert. He observed that Mar had drawn out his forces so as to outflank him; but, casting his eye on a morass on his right, he discovered that the frost had made it passable, and he ordered Major Cathcart to lead a squadron of horse across it, while with the rest of his cavalry he galloped round, and thus attacked the left wing of Mar both in front and flank. The Highlanders, thus taken by surprise, were thrown into confusion, but still fought with their wonted bravery. They were driven, however, by the momentum of the English horse, backwards; and between the spot whence the attack commenced and the river Allan, three miles distant, they rallied ten times, and fairly contested the field. Argyll, however, bore down upon them with all the force of his right wing, offering quarter to all who would surrender, and even parrying blows from his own dragoons which went to exterminate those already wounded. After an obstinate fight of three hours, he drove the Highlanders over the Allan, a great number of them being drowned in it. Mar at this crisis returned to learn the fate of the rest of his army. He found that he had been taking the office of a General of Division instead of that of the Commander-in-Chief, whose duty is to watch the movements of the whole field, and send aid to quarters which are giving way. Like Prince Rupert, in his ardour for victory over his enemies in front of him, he had totally forgotten the centre and left wing, and discovered now that the left wing was totally defeated. He was contented to draw off, and yet boast of victory.
A revolution of a similar character took place in France within a month of the fall of Ripperda in Spain. The Duke of Bourbon had exhibited a gross incapacity for governing France under the young king. He was replaced by Cardinal Fleury, whose pacific designs harmonised with those of Walpole. Thus Fleury's accession to power only strengthened the English alliance with France. As for Spain, notwithstanding the fall of Ripperda, Philip continued the same course of policyclinging firmly to the Emperor, and employing Palm, the envoy of the Emperor in London, through bribery to the Duchess of Kendal and the king's Hanoverian Ministers, Bothmar and the rest, who were averse from the Treaty of Hanover, as in their estimation too exclusively calculated for British interests. They even produced a strong feeling of this kind in the mind of George, and they managed to detach the King of Prussia from the British alliance. On the other hand, Sweden was won over, by British gold and diplomacy, from Russian interests. The Dutch also, with their usual slowness, came into the Hanover Treaty. Several British fleets were at sea during the summer, watching the different points of possible attack. One under Admiral Wager sailed to the Baltic to overawe the Russians, which it did effectually. Admiral Jennings, with another squadron, having on board some land troops, scoured the coasts of Spain, kept the Spaniards in constant alarm, and returned home safe before winter. A third fleet, under Admiral Hosier, was not so fortunate. He was ordered to sail to the West Indies, and the shores of the Spanish Main, to obstruct or capture the galleons; but he was attacked off Porto Bello by the yellow fever, and lost a great number of his men.[See larger version]
Somewhere in that same poem, he remembered, there had been advice relative to a man's contending to the uttermost for his life's set prize, though the end in sight were a vice. He shrugged his shoulders. It might be well enough to hold to that in Florence and the Middle Ages. It was highly impracticable for New Mexico and the nineteenth century. So many things left undone can be conveniently laid to the prosaic and materialistic tendencies of the age. Things were bad enough nowfor Landor, for himself, and most especially for Felipa. But if one were to be guided by the romantic poets, they could conceivably be much worse.
The surgeon, whose lore was not profound, and whose pharmacy exhibited more reptiles in alcohol than drugs, set the bones as best he knew how, which was badly; and, taking a fancy to Taylor, offered him and Cairness lodgings for the night,the hospitality of the West being very much, in those times, like that of the days when the preachers of a new Gospel were bidden to enter into a house and there abide until they departed from that place.
Before there was any declaration of war, the King of France, on the 18th of March, issued an order to seize all British ships in the ports of that kingdom; and, nine days afterwards, a similar order was issued by the British Government as to all French ships in their harbours. The first act of hostility was perpetrated by Admiral Keppel. He had been appointed first Admiral on the earliest news of the treaty of France with America; and, being now in the Channel with twenty ships of the line, he discovered two French frigates, La Licorne and La Belle Poule, reconnoitring his fleet. Not troubling himself that there had been no declaration of war, Keppel ordered some of his vessels to give chase; and, on coming up with the Licorne, a gun was fired over her, to call her to surrender; and the Frenchman struck his colours, but not before he had poured a broadside into the America, commanded by Lord Longford, and wounded four of his men. The "saucy" Arethusa, famed in song and story, in the meantime, had come up with the Belle Poule, and, after a desperate action, drove her in amongst the rocks, whilst the Arethusa herself was so disabled as to require towing back to the fleet. A schooner and a French frigate were soon afterwards taken; and, finding on board these vessels papers stating that the fleet in Brest harbour consisted of thirty-two sail of the line and ten or twelve frigates, Keppel returned to Portsmouth for reinforcements.