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Scotland: The Jacobite Rebellion

King James II

King James II

The Jacobites  were supporters of the exiled royal house of the Stuart. The Jacobites took their name from Jacobus.  James II had been deprived of his throne in 1688.

In 1689 supporters of James II led by Viscount Dundee defeated a Protestant Covenanter army at the Battle of Killiekrankie.

In 1690 William of Orange defeats James II and his Jacobite supporters at the Battle of Boyne in Ireland.

In 1691, William of Orange offers a pardon to all Jacobites in the Scottish highlands who swear an allegiance to him by the end of the year.

In the January of 1692, King William II issues an order of displine against the Highland Scots.  In the February, the MacDonald chief was late in taking his oath to King William, and members of the Campbell clan killed 38 MacDonald’s at Glencoe.

In June of 1701, the Act of Settlement was passed by Parliament, which stated if William III and Princess/Queen Anne died without heirs, succession would pass to Sophia of Hanover, granddaughter of James I, and her heirs.

King James III

King James III

James II dies, succeeded by his son James III (The Old Pretender).

In 1708 a French naval squadron unsuccessfully attempted to land the Old Pretender on the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh.

With the accession of King George I of England, a Jacobite rebellion started in Braemar on the 6th September 1715 in Scotland.  The Scottish Jacobites were defeated at the Battle of Sheriffmuir on the 13th November.  On the 14th November English and Scottish Jacobites were defeated near Preston.  On the 22nd December the Old Pretender lands at Peterhead, joining up with fellow Jacobites at Perth, before returning to France on the 4th February 1716.

In 1743 war broke out between England and France. France was a Catholic country, and had always supported the Stuarts’ claim to the English throne.

King Louis XV informed the fifty-seven year old James Edward Stuart in 1745 that if he was to invade England he would supply him with arms and ammunition. James was not keen on becoming involved in another military campaign. However, his son Charles Stuart was keen to stand in for his father, and so it was, that on 5 July he left France with 700 men.

Once in Scotland, Charles Stuart; Bonnie Prince Charlie, began building up his army. He was especially successful at persuading Catholics living in the Scottish Highlands to join him. In September, Charles was ready to take action. His first move was to capture Holyrood, the ancient palace of Scottish kings. The English army arrived soon afterwards but Charles’ army had an easy victory at the battle of Prestonpans. Charles’ 5,000 man army now marched into England and by December had reached Derby.

Charles had hoped that English Catholics would join his army. This did not happen. In fact, in many of the towns that he marched through, the crowds showed great hostility to Charles’ army. Louis XV had promised Charles that 12,000 French soldiers would invade England in the autumn of 1745. However, Louis XV did not keep his promise. Although Charles still wanted to march on London, his military advisers argued that without the support of the French they were certain to be beaten. Reluctantly, Charles agreed to return to Scotland.

On the 18th February 1746, Jacobite forces capture Inverness.

A government army, led by the Prince William, the Duke of Cumberland, followed Charles back into Scotland. Completely outnumbered, Charles’s army was chased into the Scottish Highlands.

NPG 5517; Prince Charles Edward Stuart by Louis Gabriel Blanchet

Bonnie Prince Charlie

In April 1746, Charles Stuart; Bonnie Prince Charlie decided to turn and fight the English army, and met at Culloden Moor on 16 April. Cumberland’s army destroyed the Jacobites and Charles was forced to flee from the battlefield.

A reward of £30,000 was offered for his capture, but Charles still had many loyal supporters who were willing to hide him, until he could be smuggled back to France.

George II gave the Duke of Cumberland instructions that the Scots had to be punished for supporting Charles. Many of those who had joined Charles’ army were executed and their land was given to those who had remained loyal to George II. Scotsmen were also banned from wearing kilts and playing bagpipes.

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One thought on “Scotland: The Jacobite Rebellion

  1. Sometimes it seems to me that the Jacobites would have vanished if it had not been for the encouragement and financial support of the French Crown. In that sense, they can be seen as a “client state” of France in its continuous competition with England. Without French support, Bonnie Prince Charlie and his father might have disappeared into the alleys and shadows of history. I know such comments will certainly inflame Scottish nationalists, but it seems to me that Bonnie Prince Charlie cared very little for those who were willing to die for him.

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