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thousands of raw levies, most of them having little share in the Royalist enthusiasm of their lords. The strength of an army, however, in the middle of the seventeenth century lay in its cavalry, and it was the cavalry of Leslie's army which Middleton, who had not yet satisfied the Kirk for having held high command in Hamilton's army, as well as for having shared in Pluscardine's rising, professed himself to be ready to bring over to Montrose. If Middleton could fulfil his engagement, Montrose would sweep the board in Scotland. Whether it was likely or not to be able to do so is a question on which, in the present state of our knowledge, we can offer no opinion. Middleton held no command over the cavalry in question, and we have no means of judging what his influence with them was.

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Whether Middleton was to join him or not, Montrose resolved to make the great attempt. Kinnoul, whom he had sent before, had died in Orkney, and there had been no one to replace him in the work of drilling the island levies. May, writing on March 30, gives Montrose's numbers as 2,000, 'besides those left behind that are to secure General King's -i.e. Lord Eythin's-landing, who has been detained longer than was expected.' In two or three days at the furthest the expedition was to sail. The importunity of the coun'try,' adds May, has been very extraordinary for our enter'ing.' According to the editors of The Deeds of Montrose,' Montrose's force was some 1,500 strong, including about 1,000 natives.' However this may have been, on April 9 Montrose gave his orders to Hurry, the professional soldier who served either party indiscriminately, and was now Montrose's major-general, to cross to the mainland, and he himself followed on the 11th or 12th. Some time before, Colonel Sibbald, who in 1645 had accompanied him on his adventurous ride through the Lowlands, had been sent to enter into communication with the gentry who had professed readiness to join him when he appeared.

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Hurry was directed to land at Thurso if he found it practicable, and to hasten forwards to seize the Ord of Caithness, a hill by the coast, high up on the side of which lay the only road-or rather track-by which Sutherland was in those days accessible from the north. Hurry carried out his instructions, taking Dunbeath Castle, which, according to Gordon of Sallagh and Graymond, he sacked, contrary to the terms of the capitulation. The Earl of Sutherland, who stood for the Covenant, was a poor soldier, and, making no attempt to hamper Montrose's movements at the Ord, he

retreated with 300 men to the south, leaving garrisons in Dunrobin Castle and his fortified houses round it. Montrose, who left forces in Caithness to rouse the inhabitants, is said to have had some 1,200 men with him after he passed the Ord. Leslie had also left garrisons in Brahan Castle and Cromarty, and Montrose, if it were only to avoid danger, would have found it expedient to turn up Strathfleet, making his way to Strath Oykell.

David Leslie had already made preparations to meet so dangerous a foe. Ordering a rendezvous of his army at Brechin on the 25th, he hurried forward Lieutenant-Colonel Strachan, with a small party of horse, directing him to collect together the few troops of horse in garrison in the neighbourhood threatened by Montrose. In selecting Strachan for the charge, Leslie showed his usual judgement. He knew Montrose to be weak in horse, and, in fact, the Royalist general had no more than some forty mounted men, mostly, if not all, gentlemen intended to command the new levies which he hoped to raise. As for Strachan himself, though the editors disparage him as a fanatic and a traitor -a title which he may well share with such men as Cromwell and Vane-he was certainly a remarkable personage. He was one of a little band of Scotsmen who, believing with all his heart in the Divine character of the Presbyterian system, refused to bow his neck under the yoke of political compromise. In the summer of 1650 he was almost prepared to listen to Cromwell rather than serve a king the genuineness of whose declarations in favour of the Covenant he distrusted. Earlier in the same year he was sure to do his uttermost against Montrose, the open enemy of the Covenant.

It may be well here to remind our readers that there are only two immediately contemporary accounts of the events. which followed. The first is that of Gordon of Sallagh, who lived close to the scene of action, and whose story is told in his continuation of Sir R. Gordon's 'Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland.' His narrative deserves the highest respect, as he lived close to the scene of action, and, though he was not friendly to Montrose, his account does not appear to have been tinged with partisanship. The other authority is usually quoted as that of Sir

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* The editors of 'The Deeds of Montrose' indeed (297, note 32) quote his statement that Dunbeath Castle was surrendered upon very fair conditions which were ill observed,' with the remark that he

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James Balfour. Balfour, however, had nothing to do with the narrative which passes in his name except to reprint it. It appears in A Brief Relation' for the week ending May 14, and is there said to be taken from a 'printed paper,' evidently a broadside, issued by the Committee of Estates under the title of A True Relation of the late Great and Happy Victory,' no doubt founded on a report from one of the Covenanting commanders, probably, as the editors of The Deeds of Montrose' suggest, from Strachan himself. We therefore propose to refer to it as 'A True Relation,' as, even if it is founded on Strachan's report, it has at least been so far changed as to name him in the third person.

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On the whole, the two accounts are, except in one point, easily reconcilable. Gordon, however, says that Montrose, after proceeding by short stages, marched to Strath Oykell, and from thence to Carbisdale, where he stayed some days, expecting to hear from Pluscardine and the Earl of Sea'forth's friends.' On the other hand, A True Relation' says that, on the morning of the fight, which befel on a Saturday, the Covenanting officers doubted whether they should seek out Montrose, but hesitated to do so because he was at such a distance that they would have to fight on the 'Lord's Day.' While they were doubting, notice was pre'sently brought that the enemy was marched from Strath 'Oykell to Carbisdale, six miles nearer unto them.' This is so circumstantial that it can hardly fail to be correct, and, moreover, if Montrose was looking to effect a junction with the Mackenzies, it was in Strath Oykell rather than at Carbisdale that he would naturally await their approach. It is therefore probable that, however unlikely it may seem, Gordon of Sallach made a mistake, unless, indeed, we suppose that the Monroes gave false information to Strachan, in order to conceal a negotiation which, as our editors argue with considerable probability, they had entered on with Montrose.

Whether Montrose spent a few hours in Carbisdale, or six days, is of no great importance. What is of importance is that the editors should have passed over Gordon's remark that Montrose came to Carbisdale expecting to hear from Pluscardine and the Earl of Seaforth's friends' with so slight consideration. It appears to us to contain the key of

'gives no details and his bias renders him of doubtful authority.' They were not aware that Graymond does give details which Sallagh spared.

the situation. Though we have no letters of this time from Seaforth to Montrose, Montrose's letters to Seaforth have been preserved, and show that the warm co-operation of Seaforth's Mackenzies was expected. As a matter of fact, not a man came from the whole clan. That it was not Pluscardine's fault appears from the fact that Pluscardine, who was all the while on his own estate, on which stands the lovely ruin of the Abbey of which he was the titular abbot, came to visit Montrose as a friend, when he was led as a captive towards Edinburgh. We are therefore driven to the conclusion that it was Seaforth who either neglected to give orders to his clan to join Montrose, or who countermanded them if they had been given already. Seaforth's past history pointed him out as one ever ready to swim with the tide, and Seaforth, in Holland, was just the man to mark the progress of Charles's negotiation, and to act accordingly. Here at least is the one point at which Charles's diplomacy may have contributed to the ruin of Montrose, and, in all probability, did contribute to it. The defection of Seaforth, for less we can hardly style it, was decisive. Amongst the Mackenzies of Western Ross-shire Montrose would have been in a country difficult of access for regular troops, and he might have held his own till his partisans elsewhere had time to rise in his support.

As it was, Montrose came down through the Kyle of Sutherland. Whether the remains of a small entrenchment still to be seen near the Culrain station has anything to do with his stay in the neighbourhood, there is no evidence to show. It lies near the main stream of the Kyle, whereas Carbisdale, a name which occurs in Pont's map published in 1654, though it has slipped out of modern maps, is fixed by local tradition to the course of what is now known as the Culrain Burn where it issues from the hills. Both Gordon and A True Relation' speak of Montrose as posted at Carbisdale. The spot on which tradition places him is a piece of rugged ground, sloping down to the little stream which at that time spread itself out in a bog which covered his left front, whilst behind him the ground rising sharply to the spurs of Craigchaoinichean-the Mossy Hill,* was, and is still, covered by a birch-wood, not very thickly planted. Montrose had now with him about twelve hundred foot, and

*The makers of the Ordnance Map have trans'ated this 'Hill of Lamentation,' as if any Highland Celts were likely to lament for the slaughter of Danes and Orkney-men.

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