Transcript for HoS 81

Over the last couple of episodes on the History of Scotland we heard about the troubled decades that followed the Act of Union, and honestly it wasn’t great. The hoped-for economic benefits of Free trade did not flow, in fact Scottish manufacturers struggled in the face of new competition from the south. Suddenly there were all these new tax collectors about, and higher taxes, and a big section of the economy went underground, and the political elite seemed to have gone southbound and become part of a remote, Westminster elite. We’ve had riots and we’ve had rebellion. And we’ve seen fractured loyalties – for some Hanoverian Britain offered a brighter future and the safety of the Protestant Revolutionary settlement, for others it meant the permanent banishment of Scotland’s ancient royal house, religious and political alienation and for them the river of Jacobitism ran deep. Nonetheless, a dash of old style magnate politics through the partnership of the Campbells with the PM Robert Walpole had brought some stability at least for a while. And there were some green shoots of investment and development. Until all that also seemed threatened by the Porteous riots in Edinburgh in 1736, the departure of the Duke of Argyll from said political alliance and the fall of Walpole.

This time we are going to hear about Scotland on the edge. Will the Union survive? Because it will face its greatest challenge, and the formation of the legend of Culloden. We are talking the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 – The ’45.

But, I am going to start with the good news. By the 1740s, Scotland remains in a state of change. People are still struggling with this new British economy thing, but look it has to be said that hey, there do appear to be some intriguing possibilities opening up. From 1690’s Scotland had shown its interest in Empire; now The English Empire was become the British Empire, and the doors were open to them. And many walked through that door.

Scots after all had always been a nation of movers – they had emigrated with gay abandon to seek opportunity throughout continental Europe, Poland Scandinavia in particular, they’d fought for protestant armies, they’d joined the colonisation of Ireland. There is nothing new about emigration, Union did not change Scottish behaviour – but it did encourage it. Maybe 10% of Scotland’s population left in the first half of the 18th century, up to 115,000. Many went to North America – it’s thought by the time American Colonists decided it was time to part company with the mother country maybe 15,000 Gaelic Highlanders settled in Georgia and Carolina; and 60,000 or so Lowlanders in the Chesapeake and Boston areas.

There was the start of other opportunities associated with the Empire; many Scots found jobs in colonial ventures, and in the future, the East India Company will loom very large, a story we will tell, but it had already started now; the first Scottish Director of the EIC was appointed in 1722 for example; many went to serve for the EIC abroad, joining civil and military posts in Bengal and Madras.

Another attraction of the Union was the British Army an Scots voted with their feet; by the end of the 40’s, one in four regimental officers in the British Army was a Scot.

There’s just a lot more connectivity going on, interaction. For those higher up the social scale, London was a magnet, with its opportunities in business and government. A big Scottish Merchant community grew up  there, connected with the burgeoning tobacco businesses in Glasgow; the Tobacco Aristocracy they have been called. Newsprint begins to take off, especially in in Edinburgh with the arrival of the Courant in 1718 and the Caledonian Mercury. That’s important for Scottish civic identity, but also one tied more and more into a wider world – Paris, Madrid, Loughborough, but also stuffed full of London news and adverts. There was a new and growing postal service, so letters flowed like ichor, if I may be elegiac, like ichor through the growing veins of Britain. And while Westminster might seem very remote and very English, yet the strong tradition of petitioning transferred to the new union world – such as a campaign in 1721 which prompted Westminster passing the Calico Act.

And talking about that Tobacco Aristocracy, maybe, just maybe there were some economic benefits of Union emerging. Even by the 1720s, Glasgow firms had captured 15% of the legal American Tobacco trade – and given the level of smuggling you can bet the real number was way higher. Scottish merchants had spotted an opportunity, and the early days of the golden age dates from the 1740s, until by 1758 the imports of tobacco into Glasgow was greater than that of London and all other English ports combined.

There’s a story here – why Scotland’s economy will bloom, diversify and industrialise; unlike Ireland’s, which will become a slave economy within Britain, dependent on selling commodities. The biggest reason predate’s Union; Scotland already had wide international trade links; 50% of its trade went to England; Ireland was much more dependant – 75% of its trade went to England. So much Scottish tobacco trade was for re-export to Europe. So union didn’t cause the boom, but it enhanced it; Union legitimised Scottish firms and gave them greater opportunities. Look its early days, but Scotland was already dodging the predictions of Economic doom.

Look I need to stop being so darn positive, everyone knows there’s trouble coming, but I should mention that Scotland’s vibrant and pretty unique educational system, with its multiple universities and the parish school system fuelled by Presbyterianism, meant there were large numbers of folks who could find jobs in England. I am not going to talk yet about the Scottish Enlightenment, this is not this time, but let me note that William Adam was becoming known as Scotland’s universal architect with Hopetoun house and Duff House in Banff; and in 1739, David Hume published ‘A Treatise of Human Nature’, thought by many to be one of the seminal books in Western Philosophy. Of which – more, in due course, promise.[1]

Just one more point; the Union does not cause the Scottish enlightenment and economic growth – that came from indigenous roots. But it is important to note that the Union meant no wholesale takeover of Scottish institutions, nor did the Scottish church and justice system had no intention of ceding control to English judiciary. They had no need, had plenty of highly trained ministers and lawyers of their own thank you very much, different traditions; they had their own education systems – all of this was protected in law by the authors of the Treaty of Union.

None the less Britain gave this culture a context and an opportunity. Similarly there was a strand in Scottish society that, like Hume, looked at Scotland’s religious legacy of the 17th century as one of bigotry and violence, and felt a sense of support and association with those in England, Ireland and Wales that thought the same way and were also writing and thinking about new ways of looking at the world. That’s very general and hand wavy, because I don’t want to get into it here, but my point is that across a whole load of people and activities, Britain represented the chance of a better, freer world packed with new ideas.




Now, having said all of that, let’s talk about rebellion – the cause of Jacobitism, it’s health and otherwise.

There is no sense in which Jacobitism was particularly backward looking; Jacobites were as involved in commerce and culture as anyone, But their cause faced a challenge after the 1720s; Britain was at peace abroad. Given that the Hanoverians themselves had plenty of popular support, and given their control of a modern army, rebellion needed international support to succeed. So, Jacobitism went underground, and developed its own cultural flavour and networks.

An example is Dun House, commissioned from the most modern architect, William Adam by David Erskine, an episcopalian and Jacobite. It’s elegant and modern, and contains some extraordinary stucco designs by Joseph Enzer. Historian Linda Colley describes this said work as an expression of Jacobite beliefs – what Colley calls a

‘mixture of chaste classicism and gloating violence’;[2]

In it Mars tramples on the royal crown and the Union jack, and reduces the British lion to abject submission. Cultured they might be, but the Jacobites knew full well their triumph could not be peaceful.

There’s a whole language associated with Jacobitism. There were over 140 Jacobite clubs in Britain  – most of them in England as it happens, but with 12 in Scotland, most in Edinburgh, and they catered to all levels of society. They met to ‘toast the king over the water’, mutters of ‘no union’ might often be heard. There was secret ritual along with clever tricks – you might pass toasting glasses over a bowl of water; a toast to Job referenced some leading Jacobites in exile – James himself, James Butler the Duke of Ormonde, and Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke. There were highly decorated glasses and jewels with secret designs, motifs like white roses, feathers, oak trees; special words  in Latin. All of these were played out in private, or at coffee houses, the races – even Masonic lodges.

I hate to mention it in company, but there also appears to have been a close connection between Jacobitism and what some called the Beggars Benison sex club, or to give it the full formal title, “The Most Ancient and Most Puissant Order of the Beggar’s Benison and Merryland, Anstruther”. Merryland is a euphemism for a woman’s body. There are minutes, and they are gross, I have to say I blush. Anstruther is a rather idyllic little village on the coast of the East Neuk of Fife – I have been there many times I promise I knew nothing of this. All sorts of stuff seem to have been connected with the Beggars Benison club – a smuggling ring, as well as Jacobites; I suppose it makes sense to group together rule breaking. The club outlasted Jacobitism, until 1832 apparently. Well I never did.

On that though, Jacobitism also profited from a general sentiment that if you just happened to be cross about something, here was a good way to give it an outlet. So across the lowlands, enclosure of common land was growing more and more common, as had been going on in England for ages, and will of course famously happen come to the Highlands. So, Jacobites might stick their badge on enclosure riots too. While Jacobite landowners were every bit as likely to be doing the enclosing as anyone else.  Also Jacobitism was not just about restoring the Stuarts; it was also a way to object to what Laura Stewart describes as ‘an imperial protestant Anglo British state’. Jacobitism wraps up a bundle of things.

Jacobitism seems also to have had more acceptable appeal for women, in the sense that it allowed them to some degree subvert normal conventions; Lady Anne McIntosh will raise a regiment of 600 men to serve Charles when he pops over, she provided a refuge and defended the house against government troops. Jenny Cameron defied her husband’s decision to stay neutral in the ‘45, and took 300 Camerons to war when the call came.

These are quite popular things I guess – we all love a rebel. But it’s not often mentioned that the other side had their clubs and their passions too, especially when the balloon went up. The white horse of Hanover was celebrated at Burgh events for example; on the King’s birthday in 1734 there were rival groups of Jacobites and Hanoverians on the streets  of Kinghorn and Stirling.

So; hopefully you get the picture so far. For many, the House Hanover and Britain was the right choice for the patriotic Scot; for many only the return of the House of Stuart, royal authority, the episcopal church and the end of the union was the right choice for the patriotic Scot.



Now then, shall we go over the water and catch up on the man who would be king – and his son. The Chevalier of St George as Jimmy is also called, remained in Rome as he will for the rest of his life, surrounded by exiles. He’d got married; Maria Clementina Sobieska, and they have two children and a thoroughly testy relationship. The youngest child, Henry, was born in 1725, but it is the elder of the two on whom we are going to concentrate. His name was Bonnie. No it wasn’t. his name was Charles Edward Stuart, and he was born on 17th December 1720, pop it into your diary and pass drinking glasses over bowls of water on that day.

This is the shining prince of legend, and to be fair to the lad he’s not a bad candidate. From an early age he was deeply conscious of his destiny to reclaim his heritage and be king. He loved physical activities – hunting, horsemanship, dancing and training himself to be a warrior. He was raised Catholic of course, his devout father would have it no other way, but also had Protestant Jacobites at this side such as the earl of Dunbar. Also a decent cellist apparently, though a bit rubbish at the languages. In his late teens he toured northern Italy, and wowed the crowds with his charm and fine looks, in fact the Venetians were so enthusiastic George II banished the Venetian ambassador in disgust. Charles was always looking for the chance to build a campaign to the British isles, with Jacobites in Madrid and Versailles; he’d also impressed the Spanish, serving under them at the siege of Gaeta.

His father the Old Pretender by this stage seems to have checked out of the invasion game, so it became clear to Charles it would be down to him.  And then in 1743 luck started to be a lady; Cardinal Fleury in France died; he’d resolutely blocked any idea of Jacobite adventures. Not only that but glory be – war.  The War of the Austrian Succession was going badly for France, and they stitched up a treaty in 1743 with Spain against plucky little Britain, and decided to play the Stuart card and offer support for an invasion.

Well, Charles was up there like a rat up a drain. Honestly his father was not optimistic, and went all lugubrious, but clearly there was no holding back the fiery, energetic and determined 23 year old Prince – so James gave him his blessing, and announced that Charles was to be his British regent henceforth. Dering do results immediately as Charlie tried to sail secretly to meet his darling the French – British spies soon got to know, he was dogged by the British Navy, and not in a good way, and sneaked into a French port with a British ship practically nudging his stern, again not in a good way. There, at Gravelines in France Charles joined the growing French army and waited for destiny to come calling.

Well…Louis XV’s feet became steadily colder as the Royal Navy prowled and sniped; and in March 1744 he called the whole thing off.  Charles didn’t take it well and showed a certain lack of diplomatic finesse, to the point where he became a major irritant to Louis, and he was unceremoniously shuffled around the country incognito. A Jacobite arrived from Scotland, James Murray and poured scorn on the idea of any attempt to raise rebellion without French support. A lesser man at this stage would have gone back to Rome and started again. But not this young man. He declared he would go to Scotland even if it was by canoe, or invade even if with a single footman. So Obviously he was thinking at least of a two man canoe.

And he just went for it. He managed to raise some money, buy some arms get himself two ships and in July 1745 he set sail, come hell or high water. He would go, and seeing him land in Scotland to be mobbed with enthusiastic rebels, the French would be forced to support him; they’d come round, never fear. One of his ships almost immediately was forced to turn back, but the Prince was not for turning and on 23 July he made landfall at Eriskay in Clanranald country in the western Isles, with the ‘seven men of Moidart’. Breathless stuff.

He was greeted by a bucket of cold water; the local laird Alexander MacDonald of Boisdale advised the prince to return home, because neither of the two major regional magnates, traditionally Jacobite clans, were prepared to come out. I was interested to find out why. It turns out that these clan chiefs, MacLeod of MacLeod and Sir Alexander MacDonald of Sleat, had been discovered by the British government selling their excess clansmen as indentured servants to the American colonies. Sadly these unfortunates had made a forced landfall in Ireland, the news got out, the families of the kidnapped clansmen appealed to Duncan Forbes of Culloden, and were freed by the government. Duncan Forbes had punishment for this held over the clan chiefs and so they toed the line, stayed loyal, and escaped punishment. Well, there’s a tale. Selling clansmen.

Anyway, back to glory. At this point step forward Ranald MacDonald. He vowed that he would draw his sword; by so doing, he committed at their honour, and the rebellion was on. On 19th  August the royal standard was raised at the head of Loch Shiel at Glenfinnan, blessed by the Catholic bishop of Moray, and cries rang out

‘King James the Eight … prosperity to Scotland and no Union!”




Chales was made of more adventurous stuff than Mar of the 15 rebellion; not for him the strategy of lurking north of the Tay, he was for bold action. Many clans did not answer the call, I believe fewer came to the standard that in the ’15, 19 of them, but join men did, and with an army of 2,500 Charles moved rapidly into the lowlands, and was joined by the likes of the Duke of Perth, the Duke of Athol and, significantly, Lord George Murray who had been part of the ’15. This was something of a surprise; Murray had just said he’d not fight against Hanover, and was seen to treat the Prince with less than the respect to which he was accustomed – called him a ‘reckless adventurer’[3]. George Murray is a major figure in this affair; for some and by tradition, he was a brilliant commander let down by a flawed prince; for more recent analyses, he was little more than a competent commander, and lacked Charles’ verve and vision. You pays yer money and takes yer choice.

By 15th September Charles was outside the gates of Edinburgh. The Burgh council it has to be said was not keen, and came out to negotiate to try and give the British commander time to get some men over here and send this rebel army packing; but the people of Edinburgh were rather more enthusiastic; the gates were opened, the MacDonalds and Camerons found a way in and Prince Charlie, now for the first time called Bonnie Prince Charlie in print, entered to 20,000 waving supporters. Whatever happened now this was an astounding success.

What of the government? Well; after the fall of Walpole and Islay, a New PM had arrived – one Henry Pelham. Pelham, I was interested to learn had some previous with Jacobitism, and was prepared to risk his life to defend the house of Hanover against its challenge. Because as a 21 year old, he’d signed up as a volunteer in the north of England to serve as a dragoon and fight the rising of the ’15, and fought in the battle of Preston. Interesting. He’d looked Jacobitism in the eyes. Pelham will be one of the better British PMs, but in 1743 was hamstrung by the favourite of GII – Lord Carteret. It wilk take until 1746 for Pelham to see him off. In the meantime, Carteret had got George to install his placename as Scottish Secretary – the last gasp of the Scottish Squadrone Volante – Lord Tweeddale.

Tweeddale demonstrated quite clearly that he had nothing of Islay’s knowledge and connections. He cast acid scorn on any danger – until someone mentioned en passant that ‘oh he captured Edinburgh by the way, just thought you should know’. That was the end of the post of Scottish Secretary of State, and Tweeddales’ career; I think he spent the rest of his life concentrating on charity work as something called a Free Gardener in Haddingtonshire.

Islay has lost favour with the fall of Walpole, but now left his estates in Inverary, paused in Edinburgh to discuss tactics with Lord Milton; Milton was to stay in Edinburgh and do his best from there, Islay went down to London to try to persuade the British government not to be idiots – he was not entirely successful, though some of his ideas did get taken up; notably, he persuaded them to order militias to be raised in Scotland, which did then begin to happen. Milton corresponded with the British commander John Cope and provided intelligence; and would work with the Duke of Cumberland when he turned up – watch this space, the Butcher as he would be called.

One little wrinkle here which will be super relevant, is that Islay himself was caught out, and now that he was Duke of Argyll after the death of his brother, he really should have known. In days gone by his tacksmen would have been sending him messages about the word on the hills and in the glens. But they were silent. Islay’s brother had been making massive changes on the Campbell estates, in the name of agricultural improvement. As part  of that, he’d changed the relationship with his key clan leaders, the tacksmen. Appointment and reward of  tacksmen from time out of mind had been a matter of personal loyalty. Argyll had changed all that; positions were now granted to the highest bidder, the one that could raise the most rent for his Landlord. It is this kind of commercial relationship which is part of Tom Devine assertion that Culloden was not the cause of the dissolution of clanship, but part of a continuing process that had started much earlier. Discuss, postcard that sort of thing. We’ll probably come back to it.

But the long and the short is that the government’s response sucked. The commander John Cope had merely 3,000 men to stop the march, and suffered reverses at the hands of the rebels  anyway. Then he sailed south from Aberdeen, landed at Dunbar south of Edinburgh, and took up a position well defended by marshes – at Preston Pans. Bold as ever, Charles decided to give battle, found a way through the marshes and gave John Cope a kicking. Cope fled, 1500 prisoners were taken – and when asked to sign up for the rebellion instead of Hanover said yeah, OK, we’ll do that then.

So there we are then. Wild. Scotland is, nominally at least, ruled once more by a Stuart. In October Charles issued two declarations against the ‘pretended Union’, and dismissed the British parliament as an ‘unlawful assembly’.

One of the reasons for the government’s lack of preparedness was that the vast majority of British troops were fighting on the continent. They were under the command on George II’s younger son, William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland. Cumberland was pretty much the same age as the Bonnie prince, just a year older. Both he and George had been guilty of a certain amount of complacency. Now complacency had turned to panic, and London was in a froth. Pelham now managed to persuade George to recall his son back home. Rather exasperated at begin called away from the important work of European war, Cumberland set off.

In Scotland Charles spent a crucial five weeks deciding what to do and waiting for reinforcements – and for that confidently expected response from the French. Louis XV it appears wasn’t susceptible to arm twisting; there was a French landing, but it was merely a couple of ships with some arms. This is something the Stuarts and their supporters would have to do on their own.

Charles army did grow; numbers seem to vary wildly, but probably to a top whack of 8,000 or so. The response of the Burgh councils themselves was a little disappointing; only the burgh of Montrose showed any enthusiasm for this rebellion, the rest sat on their hands or actively resisted attempts to raise troops. The message was clear; what is all of this going to do for trade? And let’s say Bonnie Prince Charlie wins, a French sponsored king. Britain’s greatest maritime and trading rival was France, a mercantilist battle red in tooth and claw. It seemed more than likely that to win his throne, the new James VIII would have to grant the French rivals some trading advantages so what are we fighting for again, is this a good idea? Meanwhile the prospect of a French speaking Catholic on the throne was seriously underwhelming to the Church of Scotland; Presbyterian clergy thundered loyalty to George from the pulpit, the Jacobite governors of Perth and Dundee were both attacked on 30th October, George II’s birthday[4].

Charles’s Council of War debated what to do next. To Charles it was obvious – be bold, strike for London while the government is unprepared; at the time there were scarcely 6,000 government soldiers between them and the Capital. Charles was not content to be king of Scotland; this was about becoming the king of the Three Kingdoms.

But to his dismay, his advisors were proving difficult to persuade. This might be the moment to say that it appears that the army that would fight at Culloden would be commanded mainly by lowlanders – apparently only 20% of the Jacobite regimental commanders were highlanders. But on the other hand, the council was dominated by highland chiefs. There were also signs that Charles and his best commander, Lord George Murray were not entirely in agreement; Murray was a fan of the idea of Britain, and disagreed strongly with Charles’ appeal of No Union, and seemed a bit pessimistic of the chances of success. And no one likes having a worry wort around in the middle of a great adventure. But in one thing  Murray agreed with Charles – to strike now, that was the thing to do. It was put to the vote. And it was agreed – it would be attack, to England – passed by just one vote.

England was in a fever. But not in a way to set Jacobite eyes smiling. Between September and December 1745, Hanoverian Associations sprang up in ¾ of English and Welsh counties. In a London theatre in 1745, an anthem which was not yet the National anthem, but which would become so, was first sung publicly; men and women stood up and called repeatedly for encores[5].  As the Jacobite army marched southwards, they were joined by a crowd of enthusiastic – no one – well, about 300. As with so many aspects of the ’45, historians present different views; Murray Pittock talks of crowds of well-wishers lining the route; [6]others talk of surly but helpless villagers. But what is not at dispute is that very few English or Welsh joined up.  Any Jacobites who thought they would have been interested took one look at the lack of French support and stuck with their floral drinking glasses and bowl of water at home. It’s been noted that the people didn’t turn out to oppose the Jacobite army either – but then it was an army, with arms. It was the perception of the Jacobite army themselves that they were not passing through friendly territory; the counties they passed through they related, seemed to them much more enemies than friends.

As the army of 8,000 marched south, desertions and stragglers fell away, until they were reduced to around 4,500, and woe betide the straggler. One Jacobite commander complained that all his men

That were left sick on the road were either killed abused or jailed.

There’s something of a variety of emphasis about how to represent this among historians too. Frank Mclynn tells a story of a vagrant woman and her child, who find an exhausted Scottish soldier sleeping; the woman cut the young man’s throat. For McClynn this is hideous and shamefully cowardly; for Linda Colley this is, and I quote

hate, hate by the poor and vulnerable for outsiders who had dared to shatter the peace of their communities[7]

Maybe both are true I guess. The #45 and Culloden is quite contested I think.

However what everyone is agreed on these days is just what a stunning achievement all of this was. George Murray was earning his spurs and his reputation. Cumberland was now in town, in command of 9,000 men; when he appeared in Lichfield it’s said his men jumped for joy; whatever you think about the Hanoverians they were tough and physically brave men, who came from a tradition of war on the continent. They were no pushovers. But George Murray through a series of brilliant feints and manoeuvres, fooled Cumberland and by passed him, leaving the way clear to London, and reached the Baseball Ground, sorry Pride Park, sorry Derby on 4th December. London was defended by just 2,000 soldiers, and 500 of them were the Black Watch, and therefore distinctly suspect. In London, the first public performance was carried out of a poem written by two Scots, James Thomson and David Mallet set to music by the English composer Thomas Arne. It was called Rule Britannia. Possibly it was sung more in fervent hope than expectation.




The decision at Derby is one of those great what ifs. I mean – what if? Just 2,000 men in the way. If London had fallen well, no rat could have negotiated the drain to London faster than a French army, they’d have been there before the cucumber sandwiches had been cut into triangles. In fact, already, excited at the news, the French had assembled 17 battalions ready to sail; the Prince had been right after all, if he built it, Louis would come.  All those stay at home Jacobites might have decided this was indeed the moment to play their cards. All the historians agree basically that it was

  1. Not impossible and
  2. Would have seemed hideously possible at the time.

So in Derby on 4th December there were furrowed brows and passionate debate. To continue to march on London? Or to retreat to the safety of Scotland. Charles had very little information and intelligence available to him – ironically, this had been the subject of one of the spats between him and George Murray – Murray had wanted to set up a network, Charles had refused.

So there was rumour of a big army that had landed back in Scotland under the command of John Drummond; though slightly suspiciously, said army had refused to come south to join them. There were rumours of gathering Hanoverian forces ahead of them – an Irishman later claimed he’d seeded this information into the council. Many of the Highland chiefs had of course been reluctant to leave Scotland anyway, and almost certainly over estimated how safe they’d be if they went back there.

Now it seems pessimism had won in George Murray’s mind. At the start of the debate Ranald MacDonald and the Irish Colonel O’Sullivan supported the Princes crystal clear and passionate view – that it was now or never, and this was the time. By the end of the debate they did not. Charles’ great men would not follow him basically. They must return to the safety of Scotland, there to re-establish the ancient Stuart monarchy and build their strength. On 6th December in a deep depression, Charles Stuart turned his back on his heritage and the 120 miles to London, and started the 300 mile walk back to Glasgow.






The following two months are a series of rather dizzying ups and downs. Charles was gutted and humiliated by retreat. And it turns out that this was not a man designed for adversity. He turned to drink – a lot of drink, and behaved erratically – a couple of times at Preston and Manchester waiting to turn and fight the pursuing Cumberland, then changing his mind. Once more George Murray held his nerve and it was his genius that achieved an extraordinarily effective retreat pursued by now larger forces. But the relationship between Prince and his general was shot.

Still, it turned out when they got home that John Drummond did indeed have an army; and quite a substantial one, and the Prince now commanded over 10,000 men again; game on, the Fortress Scotland strategy would maybe prove a stroke of genius. They’d defeated a local force of Hanoverian Highland chiefs at Inverurie, and now local government forces were defeated in a substantial battle at Falkirk on 17th January 1746.

But something had gone – some confidence, hope. The aftermath of Falkirk was characterised not by celebration by Charles and his commanders, but infighting between john Drummond, Charles and Murray. The Prince was helpless to change the mood. Despite these successes, they were being forced steadily northwards back into the highlands. When Charle ordered another attack at Falkirk, George Murray sent a letter signed by highland chiefs demanding a retreat to the Highlands.

‘I have an army that I cannot command any further than the chief officers please’

Wrote Charles in despair.

Behind them, Cumberland held court in Holyrood in Edinburgh on 30th January, to emphasize the re-establishment of the rule of George II. He was in the very place where the Young Pretender had stayed just three months earlier. Cumberland thought the rebels were beaten and nothing remained but to do some mopping up

to crush the insolence of a set of thieves and plunderers who have learned from their fathers to disturb every government they have lived under

it’s an attitude that does not bode well.

But then Charles captured Inverness. And now Cumberland knew it was not over yet. Which brings us to the Battle of Culloden.

The Battle of Culloden needed to be fought, without it Charles had no future, so tick, there was no avoiding it. But it did not need to be fought at the place the Prince chose; flat, common land, ideal for regular infantry able to deploy and manoeuvre. On 15th April the Jacobite army was in place, now back down to 5 or 6,000 by this stage. Contrary to tradition, the army was composed of both Highlanders and lowlanders, and even some English; only about 45% of the soldiers were Highlanders according to Murray Pittock.[8] The army across the way, were breaking out the barrels of brandy, because it was William Augustus’ birthday. There were about 7,000 of them; 2,400 of them were Scots, around a core of the continental army.[9]

That night Charles ordered a daring night attack; it failed in the dark, and this was a doubly bad thing. Because when the morning dawned, many of his army had been up all night. At 5 am, bright and early, the Jacobite army saw Cumberland approaching. In the finest tradition, they started to cat call and trash talk their opponents to but the fear into them. Cumberland’s men, according to one who was there, remained Grim, silent, determined –  .

on the contrary, they continued proceeding, like a deep sullen river

a bit like David Sole’s men arriving on the pitch in 1990 for those of you who get the allusion. It’s Rugby.

There was an artillery exchange on the morning of the 16th April 1746 in which the Hanoverian artillery did rather better than their opposite numbers. Charles ordered the charge and Lady MacIntosh and Lord Lovat’s right wing advanced into heavy canister fire, rather swerved off to avoid it and got all tangled up with each other. The other wing advanced more carefully, but Ranald Macdonald was wounded and Cumberland’s men grimly held their shape against the famous charge. They had a specific tactic now to combat the highland charge. Since the invention of the Highland charge, the bayonet had been invented. So when the highlanders arrived, they were received by bayonets fixed, rather than heavy muskets used as clubs. If Alasdair Macolla’s gift to the  Highlanders was born in 1645, it died a hundred years later in 1746 at Culloden. As all started to go wrong, Murray brought up his reserve, the Royal Écossais.  But there was to be no reprieve. The Jacobites were beaten. Some fled in panic, others, like Lovat’s regiment retreated in good order, colours still flying.

Prince Charles was no coward. Colonel Sullivan rode up to Captain Shea, commander of his bodyguard:

Seize upon the Prince & take him off …”.

Charles refused

they won’t take me alive!

And He called for a final charge into the government lines. But there was no one left to charge. He was dragged reluctantly from the field.

It was all over. Cumberland had defended Hanover, and his dynasty was safe. For the moment. But it had been a close call. How much longer before it happened again? Next time, maybe it would succeed, and Britain would fall to its doom.

Well we’ll see about that, when we need to see how Britain reacts to this latest iteration of rebellion and whether it can secure its future. So we’ll do that, but I think I may also do something a little different, and we might talk about some lives, some families. I have promised Frasers and Lovats; I could give you a Hume, and a Drummond, the family of the Earl Marischal. How did they navigate these turbulent times, and what can their histories tell us about Scotland’s future?

[1] Devine, T: ‘The Scottish Nation’, pp 25-29; 60-69; Stewart, L: ‘Union and Revolution’, pp 140-2; Shaw ‘The political history of 18th C Scotland’, p64

[2] Colley, L: ‘Britons’, p74

[3] McLynn, ‘Jacobite Army’, p46.

[4] Colley, L: ‘Britons’, pp82-3

[5] Colley, L: ‘Britons’, p44

[6] Pittock, Murray ‘ODNB Charles Stuart’

[7] Colley, L: ‘Britons’, p77

[8] Shaw, J: ‘The Political History of 18th C Scotland’, p88

[9] Stewart, L; Union and Revolution’, p113

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