Lord Argyll reporting to Lord Townshend, Secretary of State, describes the degree of resistance after the rebels were defeated at Preston. Argyll says he would need more troops at his command and outlines the difficulties of taking Glasgow and Edinburgh, (SP 54/10/64).
Sterling 19th November, 1715
I received last night a letter from Mr. Carpenter with the good news of the Rebells at Preston being all Prisoners but he makes a Reflection at the end of his letter which is a very wrong one, he imagines those at Perth may upon this news desire to capitulate, I hope his Majesties Ministers have not been of this opinion, because it would literally very greatly endanger the whole.
I have this morning received Intelligence from Perth by which I find that the Rebells were yesterday 7000 men and that they were gathering back their People from all corners of the country with a resolution to advance; If my Lord I could possibly guess what party would be most agreeable to his Majesty for me to take, I dare say your Lordship does me the justice to think I would execute it to the utmost of my power. We have, my Lord once fought and the more we all think of the action, the more we are astonisht that it should have ended as it did, and I do not believe there is an Officer here who thinks that it is allmost possible for us to succeed in another, three or four to one of people who will not only fight well; I believe all mankind must be of the opinion is not to be resisted. I confess to your Lordship notwithstanding the repeated intelligences I had I could not imagine that they were by 2000 men so strong as we found them, nor did I think it possible that they could have been in the order and disciple that they are, or that they could have behaved themselves with half the resolution that they did, so that if your Lordship thinks my judgement is at all to be depended upon, give me leave to say with the greatest submission, that it may prove fatall to whole if there is not what one may properly call an Army oppos’d to these people. This my Lord I do by no means say out of an ambition of having more Troops under my command, on the contrary, my humble Petition to his Majesty is that out of his goodness he would be pleas’d to place some other person at the head of his Troops, the Chief command being the only service that I am not able to execute, or that I shall not execute with the utmost pleasure. We are not present under as miserable a Dilemma as I think can possibly be imagined, if the Enemy advances we have but one of two parties to take to fight or to retire in the first case I think both the country and this corps of Troops will be lost, in the latter the Country is lost, and which adds to our difficultys, our foot [soldiers] do not at all think they can beat more than their own number.
It is my Lord more than six weeks that I have continually press’d the Town of Glasgow to run a strong entrenchment round the Town, by means it had been impossible for any number of men to have forced that place without a regular siege but my success in that matter has been but very small, so that I take for granted the Enemy will have accepted to it whenever they can come before it, and the Town of Edinburgh is in such condition as that no Detachment could get into it, yet on account of their never having any provisions in the Town but what they receive from day to day, whatever considerable Body can remain three or four days before it cannot faill of having it.
These my Lord are our Circumstances, and I am sure your Lordship does not think that I have in the least contributed towards them, either by fault or misfortune. I have not omitted one day since the Action to write my thoughts, which are every Officers here
I have the honour to be
with the Greatest Respect
Your Lordships most Obedient and most Humble Servant
My Lord with this Express there goes a Bundle of the Standards and Colours [flags which represent different regiments, often used to mark a rallying point] taken at the Battle of Dumblain there was two or three more which were by some accident destroyed.