The most remarkable passages in the life of the honourable Colonel James Gardiner
OF THE HONOURABLE
Colonel JAMES GARDINER,
WHO WAS SLAIN IN
THE BATTLE OF PRESTONPANS,
By P. DODDRIDGE, D.D.
PRINTED BY T. JOHNSTON.
COLONEL JAMES GARDINER.
The reader here is to survey a character of such eminent and various goodness, as might demand veneration, and inspire him with a desire to imitate it too, had it appeared in the obscures: rank; but it will surely command some peculiar regard, when viewed in so elevated and important a station, especially as it shone, not in ecclesiastical, but military life, where the temptations are so many, and the prevalency of the contrary character so great, that it may seem no inconsiderable praise and felicity to be free from dissolute vice, and to retain what in most other professions might be esteemed only a mediocrity of virtue. It may surely, with the highest justice, be expected, that the title and bravery of Colonel Gardiner will invite many of our officers and soldiers, to whom his name has been long honourable and dear, to per use this account of him with some peculiar attention: In consequence of which, it may be a means of encreasing the number and brightening the character of those who are already adorning their office, their country, and their religion; and of reclaiming those who will see rather what they ought to be, than what they are. On the whole, to the gentlemen of the sword, I would particularly offer these memoirs, as theirs by so distinguished a title, yet, I am firmly persuaded, there are none whole office is so sacred, or whose proficiency in the religious life is so advanced, but they may find something to demand their thankfulness, and to awaken their emulation.
Colonel JAMES GARDINER was the son of Captain PATRICK GARDINER, of the family of Torwoodhead, by Mrs. Mary Hodge, of the family of Gladsmuir. The Captain, who was proprietor of a handsome estate, served many years in the army of K. William and Q. Anne, and died abroad with the British forces in Germany, soon after the battle of Hochstedt, through the fatigues of that celebrated campaign.- He had a company in the regiment of foot once commanded by Col. Hodge, his valiant brother-in-law, who was slain at the head of that regiment (my memorial from Scotland says) at the battle of Steenkirk, which was fought in the year 1692.
Mrs. GARDINER, the Colonel's mother, was a lady of a very valuable character; but it pleased God to exercise her with very uncommon trials: for she not only lost her husband and her brother in the service of their county, as before related, but also her eldest son, Mr. Rober Gardiner, on the day which completed the 10th year of his age, at the siege of Namur in 1695. But there is great reason to believe God blesse these various and heavy afflictions as the means of forming her to that eminent degree of piety which will render her memory honourable as long as it continues.
Her second son, the worthy person of whom I am now to give a more particular account, was born at Carriden, in Linlithgowshire, on the 10th of January, 1687-8, the memorable year of the Revolution, which he highly esteemed among the happiest events of his time; so that when he was slain in the defence of those liberties which God then, by so gracious & providence, rescued from utter destruction (viz. on the 21st of Sept. 1745,) he was aged 57 years, 8 months, and 11 days.
The annual return of his birth-day was observed by him in the latter and better years of his life, in a manner very different from what is commonly practised; for instead of making it a day of festivity, I am told, he rather distinguished it as a season of more than ordinary humiliation before God, both in commemoration of those mercies which he received in the first opening of life, and under an affectionate sense, as well of his long alienation from the Great Author and support of being, as of the many imperfections which he lamented in the best of his days and services.
I have not met with many things remarkable concerning the early years of his life, only that his mother took care to instruct him with great tenderness, and affection in the principles of true Christianity. He was also trained up in human literature at the school in Linlithgow, where he made a very considerable progress in the languages. I remember to have heard him quote some passages in the Latin classics very pertinently, though his employment in life, and the various turns which his mind took under different impulses in succeeding years, prevented him from cultivating such studies.
The good effects of his mother's prudent and examplary care were not so conspicuous as the willed and hoped in the younger part of her son's life; yet there is great reason to believe they were not entirely lost: as they were probably the occasion of many convictions which, in his younger years, were overborne; so, I doubt not, that when religious impressions took that strong hold of his heart, which they afterwards did, that stock of knowledge which wad been so early laid up in his mind, was found of considerable service: And I have heard him make the observation, as an encouragement to parents and other pious friends, to do their duty, and to hope for those good consequences of it, which may not immediately appear.
Could his mother, or a very religious aunt (of whose good instructions and exhortations I have often heard him speak with pleasure) have prevailed, he would not have thought of a military life; from which it is no wonder these ladies endeavoured to dissuade him, considering the mournful experience they had of the dangers attending it, and the dear relatives they had lost already by it. But it suited his taste; and the ardeur of his spirit, animated by the persuasions of a friend, who greatly urged it, was not to be restrained. Nor will the reader wonder, that, thus excited and supported, it easily overbore their tender remonstrances, when he knows that this lively youth fought three duels before he attained to the stature of a man; in one of which, when he was about eight years old, he received from a boy much older than himself, a wound in the right cheek, the fear of which was always very apparent. The false sense of honour which instigated him to it, might seem indeed something excusable, in these unripened years, and considering the the profession of his father, brother, and uncle ; but I have often heard him mention this: rashness with that regret which the reflection would naturally give to so wife and good a man in the maturity of life. And I have been informed, that after his remarkable conversion, he declined accepting a challenge, with this calm and truly great reply, which, in a man of his experienced bravery, was exceeding graceful: "I fear sinning, though, you know, I do is not fear fighting."
He served first as a Cadet, which must have been very early, and then, at 14 years old, the bore an Ensign's commission in a Scotch Regiment in the Dutch Service; in which he continued till the you 1702. when (if my information be right) he received an Ensign's commission from Queen Anne, which he bore in the battle of Ramillies, being then in the 19th year of his age. In this exer-memorable action he received a wound in his mouth by a murket ball, which hath often been reported to be the occasion of his conversion. That report was a mistaken one; but as some very remarkable circumstances attended this affair, which I have had the pleasure of hearing more than once from his own mouth, I hope my reader will excuse me, if I give him so uncommon a story at large.
Our young officer was of a party in the Forlorn Hope, and was commanded on what seemed almost a desperate service, to dispossess the French of the church-yard at Ramillies, where a considerable number of them were posted to remarkable advantage. They succeeded much better than was expected; and it may well be supposed, that Mr. Gardiner, who had before been in several encounters, and had the view of making his fortune to animate the natural intrepidity of his spirit, was glad of such an opportunity of signalizing himself. Accordingly he had planted his colours on an advanced ground; and while he was calling to his men (probably in that horrid language which is so peculiar a disgrace to our soldiery, and so absurdly common in such articles of extreme danger) he received a shot into his mouth, which, without beating out any of his teeth, or touching the fore part of his tongue, went thro' his neck, and came out about an inch and an half on the left side of the vertebræ. Not feeling at first the pain of the stroke, he wondered what was become of the ball; and in the wildness of his surprise began to suspect he had swallowed it; but dropping soon after, he traced the passage of it by his finger, when he could discover it no other way: which I mention as one circumstance among many which occur to make it probable that the greater part of those who fall in battle by these instruments of death, feel very little anguish from the most mortal wounds.
This accident happened about five or six in the evening, on the 23d day of May, in the year 1700 and the army pursuing its advantages against the French, without ever regarding the wounded (which was, it seems, the Duke of Marlborough's constant method) our young officer lay all night in the field, agitated, as may well be supposed, with a great variety of thoughts. He assured me, that when he reflected upon the circumstances of his wound, that a ball should, as he then conceived it, go through his head without killing him, he thought God had preserved him by miracle; and therefore assuredly concluded that he should live, abandoned and desperate as his state then seemed to be. Yet (which to me appeared very astonishing) he had little thoughts of humbling himself before God, and returning to him after the wanderings of a life so licentiously begun. But expecting to recover, his mind was taken up with contrivances to secure his gold, of which he had a good deal about him; and he had recourse to a very odd expedient, which proved successful. Expecting to be stripped, he first took out a handful of that clotted gore, of which he was frequently obliged to clear his mouth, or his would have been choaked; and putting it in his left hand, he took out his money, (which I think was about 19 pistoles) and shutting his hand, and besmearing the back part of it with blood, he kept in this position till the blood dried in such a manner that his hand could not easily fall open, through any sudden surprise should happen, in which he might lose the presence of mind which that concealment otherwise would have required.
In the morning the French, who were masters of the spot, though their forces were defeated at some distance, came to plunder the stair: on seeing him to appearance almost expiring, one of them was just applying a sword to his breast, to destroy the little remainder of life, when, in the critical moment upon which all the extraordinary events of such a life as his afterwards proved, were suspended, a Cordelier attending the plunderers, interposed, taking him, by his dress, for a Frenchman, said, "Do not kill that poor child.” Our young soldier heard all that passed, though he was not able to speak one word; and, opening his eyes, made a sign for something to drink. They gave him a sup of some spirituous liquor which happened to be at hand; by which, he said, he found a more consible refreshment than he could remember from any thing he had tasted either before or since. Then signifying to the Friar to lean down his ear to his mouth, he employed the first efforts of his feeble breath in telling (what, alas! was a contrived falsehood) that he was nephew to the governor of Huy, a neutral town in the neighbourhood; and that, if he could take any method of conveying him thither, he did not doubt but his uncle would liberally reward him. He had indeed a friend at Huy (who, I think, was governor, and, if I mistake not, had been acquainted with the Captain his father) from whom he expected a kind reception ; but the relation was only pretended. On hearing this, they laid him on a fort of hand-barrow, and sent him by a file of musqueteers toward the place; but the men lost their way, and got into a wood towards the evening, in which they were obliged to continue all night. The poor patient's wound being still undressed, it is not to be wondered by this time it raged violently. The anguish of it engaged him earnestly to beg that they would kill him outright, or leave him there to die without the torture of any farther motion; and indeed they were obliged to rest for considerable time, on account of their own weariness. Thus he spent the second night in the open air, without any thing more than a common bandage to staunch the blood. He hath often mentioned it as a most astonishing providence, that he did not bleed to death; which, under God, he ascribed to the extreme coldness of these 2 nights.
Judging it quite unsafe to attempt carrying him to Huy, from whence they were now several miles distant, his convoy took him early in the morning to a convent in the neighbourhood, where he was hospitably received, and treated with great kindness and tenderness. But the care of his wound was committed to an ignorant barber surgeon, who lived near the house; the best shift that could then be made, at a time when, it may be easily fupposed, persons of ability in their profession had their hands full of employment. The tent which this artist applied, was almost like a peg driven into the wound; and gentlemen of kill and experience, when they came to hear of the manner in which he was treated, wondered how he could possibly survive such management. But, by the blessing of God, on these applications, rough as they were, he recovered in a few months. The Lady Abbels, who called him er son, treated him with the affection and care of a mother; and he always declared, that every thing which he saw within these walls was conducted with the stricest decency and decorum. He received a great many devout admonitions from the ladies there; and they would sain have persuaded him to acknowledge what they thought so miraculous deliverance, by embracing the Catholic Faith, as they were pleased to call it, but they could not succeed; for, though no religion lay near his heart, yet he had too much the spirit of a gentleman, instantly to change that form of religion which he wore, as it were, loose about him, as well as too much good sense to swallow these monstrous absurdities of Popery which immediately presented themselves to him, unacquainted as he was with the niceties of the controversy.
When his liberty was regained by an exchange of prisoners, and his health thoroughly established, he was far from rendering unto the Lord according to that wonderful display of divine mercy which he had experienced. I know very little of the particulars of those wild, thoughtless, and wretched years, which lay between the 19th and the 30th of his life; except it be, that he frequently experienced the divine goodness in renewed instances, particularly in preserving him in several hot military actions, in all which he never received so much as a wound after this, forward as he was in tempting danger; and yet, that all these years were spent in an entire alienation from God, and an eager pursuit of animal pleasure, as his supreme good. The series of criminal amours in which he was almost incessantly engaged during this time, must probably have afforded some remarkable adventures and occurrences; but the memory of them is perished. Nor do I think it unworthy notice here, that amidst all the intimacy of his friendship, and the many years of cheerful as well as serious converse which we spent together, I never remember to have heard him speak of any of these intrigues, otherwise than in the general, with deep and solemn abhorrence. This I the rather mention, as it seemed a most genuine proof of his unfeigned repentance; which, I think there is great reason to suspect, when people seem to take a pleasure in relating scenes of vicious indulgence, which yet they profess to have disapproved and forsaken.
Amidst all these pernicious wanderings from the paths of religion, virtue, and happiness, he approved himself so well in his military character, that he was made a lieutenant in that year, viz. 1706: and I am told, he was very quickly promoted to a Cornet's commission in Lord Stair's regiment of Scotch Greys; and on the 31st of January, 1714-15, was made captain-lieutenant, in Col. Ker's regiment of dragoons. He had the honour of being known to the Earl of Stair some time before, and was made his aid decamp; and when, upon his Lordship's being appointed ambassador from his late Majesty to the Court of France, he made so splendid an entrance into Paris, Captain Gardiner was his master of the horse; and I have been told, that a great deal of the care of that admirably well adjusted ceremony fell upon him, so that he gained great credit by the manner in which he conducted it. Under the benign influence of his Lordship's favour (which to the last of his life he retained) a captain's commission was procured for him (dated July 22d, in the year 1715) in the regiment of dragoons, commanded by Colonel Stanhope, (now Earl of Harrington); and in the year 1717, he was advanced to the majority of that regiment; in which office he continued till it was reduced, in Nov. 10th, 1718, when he was put out of commission. But his Majesty King George I. was so thoroughly apprised of his faithful and important service, that he gave his sign manuel, entitling him to the first majority that would become vacant in any regiment of horse or dragoons, which happened about five years after to be in Croft's regiment of dragoons, in which he received a commission, dated 1st June, 1724; and on the 20th July, the same year, he was made Major of an older regiment, commanded by the Earl of Stair.
As I am now speaking of so many of his military preferments, I will dispatch the account of them, by observing, that on the 24th. January, 1729-30, he was advanced to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the same regiment, long under the command of Lord Cardogan; with whose friendship this brave and vigilant officer was also honoured for many years. And he continued in this rank and regiment will the 19th of April, 1743, when he received a Colonel's commission over a regiment of dragoons, lately commanded by Brigadier Bland; at the head of which he valiantly fell, in the defence of his Sovereign and his country, about two years and a half after he received it.
We will now return to that period of his life which passed at Paris, the scene of such remarkable and important events. He continued (if I remember right) several years under the roof of the brave and generous Earl of Stair, to whom he endeavoured to approve himself by every instance of diligent and faithful service: And his Lordship gave no inconsiderable proof of the dependence which he had upon him, when, in the beginning of the year 1715, he intrusted him with the important dispatches relating to a discovery which, by a series of admirable policy, he had made of a design which the French king was then forming for invading Great Britain, in favour of the Pretender; in which the French apprehended they were so sure of success, that it seemed a point of friendship in one of the chief counsellors of that court, to dissuade a dependent of his from accepting some employment under his Britannic Majesty, when proposed by his envoy there, because it was said, that in less than six weeks there would be a revolution in favour of what they called the family of the Stuarts. The Captain dispatched his journey with the utmost speed; a variety of circumstances happily occurred to accelerate it, and they who remember How soon the regiments which that emergency required were raised and armed, will, I doubt not, esteem it a memorable instance both of the most cordial zeal in the friends of the government, and of the gracious care of divine providence over the house of Hanover and the British liberties, so incomparably connected with s interest. And now I am come to that astonishing part of his story, the account of his conversion; which I cannot enter upon without alluring the reader, that I have sometimes been tempted to suppress many circumstances of it, not only as they may seem incredible to some, and enthusiastical to others, but as I am very sensible they are liable to great abuses; which was the reason that he gave me for concealing the most extraordinary from many persons to whom he mentioned some of the rest. And I believe it was this, together with the desire of avoiding every thing that might look like ostentation on this head, that prevented his leaving a written account of it, though I have often intreated him to do it, as I particularly remember I did in the very last letter I ever wrote him; and pleaded the possibility of his falling amidst those dangers to which I knew his valour might in such circumstances naturally expose him. I was not so happy as to receive any answer to this letter, which reached him but a few days before his death; nor can I certainly say, whether he had or had not complied with my request, as it is very possible a paper of that kind, if it were written, might be lost amidst the ravages which the rebels made when they plundered Bankton.
The story, however, was so remarkable, that I had little reason to apprehend I should ever forget it ; and yet, to guard against all contingencies of that kind, I wrote it down that very evening, as I heard it from his own mouth: And I have now before me the memoirs of that conversation, dated August 14th 1739, which conclude with these words, (which I added, that, if we should both have died that night, the world might not have lost this edifying and affecting history, or have wanted any attestation of it I was capable of giving.) “ N. B. I have written down this account with all the exactness I am capable of, and could safely take an oath of it, as to the truth "of every circumstance, to the best of my remembrance, as the Colonel related it to me a few hours ago." I do not know that I had reviewed this paper since I wrote it, till I set myself thus publicly to record this extraordinary fact; but I find it punctually to agree with what I have often related from my memory, which I charged carefully with so wonderful and important a fact. One thing more I will only promise, that I hope none who have heard the Colonel himself speak something of this wonderful scene, will be surprised if they find some new circumstances here; becaused he assured me, at the time he first gave me the whole narration, (which was in the very room in which I now write), that he had never imparted it so fully to any man living before. Yet, at the same time, he gave me full liberty to communicate it to whomsoever I should in my conscience judge it might be useful to do it, whether before or after his death. Accordingly I did, while he was alive, recount almost every circumstance I am now going to write, to several pious friends; referring them, at the same time to the Colonel himself, whenever they might have an opportunity of feeing or writing to him, for a farther confirmation of what I told them, if they judged it requisite.- They glorified God in him; and, I humbly hope, many of my readers will also do it. They will soon perceive the reason of so much caution in my introduction to this story, for which therefore I shall make no further apology.
This memorable event happened towards the middle of July, 1719; but I cannot be exact as to the day. The Major had spent the evening (and, if I mistake not, was the Sabbath) in some gay company, and had an unhappy assignation with a married woman, of what rank or quality I did not particularly enquire, whom he was to attend exactly at twelve. The company broke up about eleven; and not judging it convenient to anticipate the time appointed, he went into his chamber to kill the tedious hour, perhaps with some amusing book, or some other way. But it very accidentally happened, that he took up a religious book, which his good mother or aunt had, without his knowledge, flipped into his portmantua: It was called, if I remember the title exactly, The Christian Soldier, or, Heaven taken by Storm; and was written by Mr. Thomas Watson. Guessing by the title of it that he should find some phrases of his own profession spiritualized in a manner which he thought might afford him some diversion, he resolved to dip into it; but he took no serious notice of any thing he read in it: and yet, while this book was in his hand, an impression was made upon his mind (perhaps God only knows how) which drew after it a train of the most important and happy consequences. There is indeed a possibility, that while he was fitting in this attitude, and reading in this careless and profane manner, he might suddenly fall asleep, and only dream of what he apprehended he sawː But nothing can be more certain, than that, when he gave me this relation, he judged himself to be as broad awake, during the whole time, as he ever was in any part of his life; and he mentioned it to me several times afterwards, as what undoubtedly passed, not only in his imagination, but before his eyes.
He thought he saw an unusual blaze of light fall upon the book while he was reading, which he at first imagined might happen by some accident in the candle; but lifting up his eyes, he apprehended, to his extreme amazement, that there was before him, as it were suspended in the air, a visible representation of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross, surrounded on all sides with a glory; and was impressed, as if a voice, or something equivalent to a voice, had come to him, to this effect (for he was not confident as to the very words) “Oh sinner! did I suffer this for thee, and are there thy returns?” But whether this were an audible voice, or only a strong impression on his mind equally striking, he did not seem very confident; though, to the best of my remembrance, he rather judged it to be the former. Struck with so amazing a phenomenon as this, there remained hardly any life in him, so that he sunk down in the arm-chair in which he sat, and continued, he knew not very exactly how long, insensible: (which was one circumstance that made me several times take the liberty to suggest that he might possibly be all this while asleep). But however this were, he quickly after opened his eyes, and saw nothing more than usual.
It may easily be supposed he was in no condition to make any observation upon the time in which he had remained in an insensible state; nor did he, throughout all the remainder of the night, once recollect that criminal and detestable assignation which had before engrossed all his thoughts. He rose in a tumult of passions not to be conceived, and walked to and fro in his chamber, till he was ready to drop down, in unutterable astonishment and agony of heart, appearing to himself the vilest monster in the creation of God, who had all his lifetime been crucifying Christ afresh by his sins, and now saw, as he assuredly believed, by a miraculous vision, the horror of what he had done. With this was connected such a view both of the majesty and goodness of God, as caused him to lothe and abhor himself, and to repent as in dust and ashes. He immediately gave judgement against himself, that he was most justly worthy of eternal damnation. He was astonished that he had not been immediately struck dead in the midst of his wickedness; and (which I think deserves particular remark) though he assuredly believed that he should ere long be in hell, and settled it as a point with himself for several months, that the wisdom and justice of God did almost necessarily require that such an enormous sinner should be made an example of everlasting vengeance and a spectacle, as such, both to angels and men; so that he hardly durst presume to pray for pardon: yet what he then suffered, was not so much from the fear of hell, though he concluded it would soon be his portion, as from a fear of that horrible ingratitude he had shewn to the God of his life, and to that, blessed Redeemer, who had been in so affecting a manner set forth as crucified before him. To this he refers in a letter, dated from Douglas, April 1, 1725, communicated to me by his Lady; but I know not to whom it was addressed. His words are these: "One thing relating to my conversion, and a remarkable instance of the goodness of God to me the chief of sinners, I do not remember that I ever told to any other person; it was this: That after the astonishing sight I had of my blessed Lord, the terrible condition in which I was, proceeded not so much from the terrors of the law, as from a sense of having been so ungrateful a monster to him whom I thought I saw pierced for my transgressions." I the rather insert these words, as they evidently attest the circumstance which may seem most amazing in this affair, and contain so express a declaration of his own apprehension concerning it.
The July before his death, he was persuaded to take a journey to Scarborough for the recovery of his health; from which he was at least encouraged to expect some little revival. After this, he had thoughts of going to London, and designed to have spent part of September at Northampton. The expectation of this was mutually agreeable, but Providence saw fit to disconcert the scheme. His love for his friends in these parts occasioned him to express some regret on his being commanded back: And I am pretty confident, from the manner in which he expressed himself in one of his last letters to me, that he had some more important reasons for wishing an opportunity of making a London journey just at that crisis, which, the reader will remember, was before the rebellion broke out.- But, as providence determined it otherwise, he acquiesced; and I am well satisfied, that could he have distinctly forseen the approaching event, so far as it concerned his own person, he would have esteemed it the happiest summons he ever received.
While he was at Scarborough, I find by a letter dated from thence, July 26, 1745, that he had been informed of the gaiety which so unseasonably prevailed at Edinburgh, where great multitudes were then spending their time in balls, assemblies, and other gay amusements, little mindful of the rod of God which was then hanging over them; on which occasion he hath this expression: “I am greatly surprised that the people of Edinburgh should be employed in such foolish diversions, when our situation is at present more melancholy than ever I saw it in my life. But there is one thing which I am very sure of, that comforts me, viz. that it shall go well with the righteous, come what will."
Quickly after his return home, the flame burst out, and his regiment was ordered to Stirling. It was in the castle there that his lady and eldest daughter enjoyed the last happy hours of his company; and I think it was about eight or ten days before his death that he departed from them there. A remarkable circumstance attended that parting, which hath been touched upon by surviving friends in more than one of their letters to me. His lady was so affected when the took her last leave of him, that she could not forbear bursting out into a flood of tears, with other marks of unusual emotion. And when he asked her the reason, she urged the apprehension she had of losing such an invaluable friend, amidst the dangers to which he was then called out, as a very sufficient apology. Upon which the took particular notice, that whereas he had generally comforted her on such occasions, by pleading with her that remarkable hand of providence which had so frequently, in former instances, been exerted for his preservation, and that in the greatest extremity, he said nothing of it now; but only replied, in his sententious manner, “We have an eternity to spend together."
I have heard such a multitude of inconsistent reports of the circumstances of Colonel GARDINER's death, that I had almovt despaired of being able to give my reader any particular satisfaction concerning so interesting a scene: but, by a happy accident, I have very lately had an opportunity of being exactly informed of the whole, by that brave man, Mr. JOHN FOSTER, his faithful servant, (and worthy of the honour of serving such a master) whom I had seen with him at my house some years before. He attended him in his last hours, and gave me the narration at large; which he would be ready, if it were requisite, to attest upon oath.
On Friday, September 20th (the day before the battle which transmitted him to his immortal crown) when the whole army was drawn up, I think about noon, the Colonel rode through all the ranks of his own regiment, addressing them at once in the most respectful and animating manner, both as soldiers and as Christians, to engage them to exert themselves couragiously in the service of their country, and to neglect nothing that might have a tendency to prepare them for whatever event might happen. They seemed much affected with the address, and expressed a very ardent desire of attacking the enemy immediately: a desire in which he and another very gallant officer of distinguished rank, dignity, and character, both for bravery and conduct, would gladly have gratified them, if it had been in the power of either. He earnestly pressed it on the commanding officer, both as the soldiers were then in better spirits than it could be supposed they would be after having passed the night under arms; and also as the circumstances of making an attack would be some encouragement to them, and probably some terror to the enemy, who would have had the disadvantage of standing on the defence: a disadvantage with which those wild barbarians (for such most of them were) perhaps would have been more struck than better disciplined troops, especially when they fought against the laws of their country too. He also apprehended, that by marching to meet them, some advantage might have been secured with regard to the ground; with which, it is natural to imagine, he must have been perfectly acquainted, as it lay just at his own door, and he had rode over it so many hundred times. When I do mention these things, I do not pretend to be capable of judging how far this advice was on the whole right. A variety of circumstances, to me unknown, might make it otherwise. It is certain, however, that it was brave. But it was over-ruled in this respect, as it also was in the disposition of the cannon, which he would have bad planted in the centre of our small army, rather than just before his regiment, which was in the right wing; where he was apprehensive that the horses, which had not been in any engagement before, might be thrown into some disorder by the discharge so very near them. He urged this the more, as he thought the attack of the rebels might probably be made on the centre of the foot, where he knew there were some brave men, whose standing he thought, under God; the success of the day depended. When he found that he could not carry any of these points, nor me others, which, out of regard to the common safety, he insisted upon with some unusual earnestness, he dropped some intimations of the consequences which he apprehended, and which did in fact follow, and, submitting to Providence, spent the remainder of the day in making as good a disposition as circumstances would allow.
He continued all night under arms, wrapped up in his cloak, and generally sheltered under a rick of barley which happened to be in the field. About three in the morning he called his domestic servants to him, of which there were four in waiting. He dismissed three of them with a most affectionate Christian advice, and such solemn charges relating to the performance of their duty and the care of their souls, as seemed plainly to intimate that he was taking his last farewel of them. There is great reason to believe that he spent the little remainder of the time, which could not be much above an hour, in those devout exercises of soul, which had so long been habitual to him, and to which so many circumstances did then concur to call him. The army was alarmed by break of day, by the noise of the rebels approach, and the attack was made before sun-rise, yet when it was light enough to discern what passed. As soon as the enemy came within gun-shut, they made a furious fire; and it is said that the dragoons, which constituted the left wing, immediately fled. The Colonel, at the beginning of the onset, which, in the whole, lasted but a few minutes, received a wound by a bullet in his left breast, which made him give a sudden spring in his saddle; upon which his servant, who has led the horse, would have persuaded him to retreat: but he said it was only a wound in the flesh, and fought on, though he presently after received a shot in his right thigh. In the mean time it was discerned that some of the enemies fell by him, and particularly one man who had made him a treacherous visit but a few days before, with great professions of zeal for the present establishment. Events of this kind pass in less time than the description of them can be written, or than it can be read. The Colonel was, for a few moments. supported by his men, and particularly by the brave Lieutenant Colonel Whitney, who was shot through the arm here, and a few months after, fell nobly in the battle of Falkirk, and by Lieutenant West, a man of distinguished bravery, as also by about fifteen dragoons, who stood by him to the last. But after a faint fire, the regiment in general was seized with a panic: and though their Colonel and some other gallant officers did what they could to rally them once or twice, they at last took a precipitate flight: And, just in the moment when Colonel Gardiner seemed to be making a pause, to deliberate what duty required him to do in such a circumstance, an accident happened, which must, I think, in the judgement of every worthy and generous man, be allowed a sufficient apology for exposing his life to so great hazard, when his regiment had left him. He saw a party of the foot, who were then bravely fighting near him, and whom he was ordered to support, had no officer to lead them; upon which he said eagerly, in the hearing of the person from whom I had this account, "Those brave fellows would be " cut to pieces for want of a commander;" or words to that effect, which, while he was speaking, he rode up to them and cried out aloud, "Fire on, my, lads, and fear nothing." But just as the words were out of his mouth, an Highlander advanced towards him with a scythe fastened to a long pole, with which he gave him such a deep wound on his right arm, that his sword dropped out of his hand; and at the same time several others coming about him, while he was thus dreadfully entangled with that cruel weapon, he was dragged off from his horse. The moment he fell, another Highlander, who, if the king's evidence at Carlisle nay be credited, (as I know not why they should not, though the unhappy creature died denying it) was one McNaught who was executed about a year after, gave him a stroke, either with a broad sword or a Lochaber axe, (for my informant could not exactly distinguish) on the hinder part of his head, which was the mortal blow. All that his faithful attendant saw farther at this time was, that as his hat was fallen off, he took it in his left hand, and waved it as a signal to him to retreat; and added, what were the last words he ever heard him speak, "Take care of yourself." Upon which the servant retired to a mill; at the distance of two miles from the spot of ground on which the Colonel fell, where he changed his dress, and, disguised like a miller's servant, returned with a cart as soon as possible; which yet was not till near two hours after the engagement. The hurry of the action was then pretty well over, and he found his much honoured master not only plundered of his watch, and other things of value, but also stripped of his upper garments and boots, yet still breathing and adds, that though he was not capable of speech, yet on taking him up he opened his eyes ; which makes it something questionable whether he was altogether insensible. In this condition, and in this manner, he conveyed him to the church of Tranent, from whence he was immediately taken into the minister's house, and laid in bed, where he continued breathing, and frequently groaning, till about eleven in the forenoon, when he took his final leave of pain and sorrow, and undoubtedly rose to those distinguished glories which are reserved for those who have been so eminently and remarkably faithful unto death.
From the moment in which he fell, it was no longer a battle, but a rout and carnage. The cruelties which the rebels (as it is generally said, under the command of Lord Elcho) inflicted on some of the king's troops, after they had asked quarter, were dreadfully legible on the countenance of many who survived it. They entered Colonel Gardiner's house before he was carried off from the field, and, notwithstanding the strict orders which the unhappy Duke of Perth (whose conduct is said to have been very humane in many instances) gave to the contrary, every thing of value was plundered, to the very curtains of the beds, and hangings of the rooms.- His papers were all thrown into the wildest disorder, and his house made an hospital for the receptior of those who were wounded in the action.
TO THE MEMORY OF
COLONEL JAMES GARDINER,
Who fell in the Battle of PRESTONPANS, Sept. 21st. 1745.
Joy cease to flow, while I relate,
A mournful tale of GARDINER's fate,
Most shocking to the human mind:
Envy and cruelty combin'd,
Sure did possess that rebel blind,
'Gainst reason could a butcher be,
And murder one who could not flee.
Rare Champion in his country's cause!
Dar'd to maintain BRITANNIA's Laws,
In face of danger boldly stood,
Nor flinch'd tho' he had loft much blood.
Even envy can't his valour stain,
Renown'd must GARDINER's same remain.
T. Johnston, Printer, Falkirk.