Flora Macdonald imprisoned

Extracts from a letter from Earl Albemarle to the Secretary of State about Bonnie Prince Charlie and his supposed intentions to get support from France. Albemarle outlines the need to defend the coastline to prevent invasion and also mentions Flora MacDonald, 27 October 1746 (SP 54/34/13A).


… I have now procured proper people, some residing amongst the disaffected [discontented] clans to inform me of their present steps, and hopes and that all I have heard from them and others since my last Intelligence to your Grace of the 8th Instant, corroborates [supports the information] exactly (viz) that the Pretender’s son went on board the Conti [named ship] of twenty two guns in company with a larger ship of thirty guns on the 19th of the last Month and sailed the morning following, and that since then, no ships of force, have been seen on the Western Coast, that Clunie McPherson and some more under him had money left with them to supply the poorer sort of people, and that they gave out, that the Pretender’s Son and a considerable Force from France was to return soon to this Country; to prevent such a design it would be necessary to have Men of War [warships] of a sufficient force to cruise upon our coast of which we have none at this time, for Commodore Smith, who by this Express writes to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, told me that he had but Two Twenty Gun Ships and Two Sloops [a sail boat with a single mast] to guard the East and West Coasts of this Kingdom…

We had sometime ago an account of Danish and Swedish ships being Freighted [loaded] by the French to carry off the Pretender’s Son and his adherents, but as that service was done by the French themselves, I have reason to believe those ships will not sail from their several ports.

If contrary to my expectations, we should have occasion to take the Field, it will be absolutely necessary that the Board of Ordnance should send us camp Necessaries (viz) Kettles, Canteens, Hatchets etc as ordered by His Royal Highness before he went to England, for without them the Tents already sent can be of very little use…

Miss Flora McDonald sailed this morning on board the Bridgewater under the care of Captain Knowles, her behaviour has been such during her Confinement, that Commodore Smith and General Campbell begs of your Grace, that when she arrives she may rather be put into the hands of a Messenger, than into any common Prison, this favour the poor Girl deserves, her modest behaviour having gained her many friends.

Major General Campbell, who sets out from hence after the King’s Birthday, sends your Grace, by this express copies of the evidence against the prisoners sent by the Furnace [named ship], Captain Ferguson,

I am with the greatest Respect,

My Lord,

Your Grace’s most Obedient humble Servant


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