Friday, December 31, 2010

Charles Edward Stuart

The year ends with a remembrance of the birth of Bonnie Prince Charlie, which occurred on December 31, 1720.  With his father in exile, Prince Charlie was born in Rome, under the protection of Pope Clement XI.

Charles Stuart and the rising of 1745, which aimed to restore the Stuart's to the throne, form the backdrop for Walter Scotts' 'Waverley".  Scott depicts Stuart's personal qualities favorably, based on sources included in notes to "Waverley":

'That Charles Edward had the advantages of a graceful presence, courtesy, and an address and manner becoming his station, the author never heard disputed by any who approached his person, nor does he conceive that these qualities are overcharged in the present attempt to sketch his portrait.

The following extracts corroborative of the general opinion respecting the Prince's amiable disposition are taken from a manuscript account of his romantic expedition, by James Maxwell of Kirkconnell, of which I possess a copy, by the friendship of J. Menzies, Esq., of Pitfoddells. The author, though partial to the Prince, whom he faithfully followed, seems to have been a fair and candid man, and well acquainted with the intrigues among the adventurer's council:--

'Everybody was mightily taken with the Prince's figure and personal behaviour. There was but one voice about them. Those whom interest or prejudice made a runaway to his cause could not help  acknowledging that they wished him well in all other respects, and could hardly blame him for his present undertaking. Sundry things had concurred to raise his character to the highest pitch, besides the greatness of the enterprise and the conduct that had hitherto appeared in the execution of it....'

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