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Jacobite rising of 1745

The Jacobite rising of 1745, also known as the Forty-five Rebellion or simply the '45 (Scottish Gaelic: Bliadhna Theàrlaich [ˈpliən̪ˠə ˈhjaːrˠl̪ˠɪç], "The Year of Charles"), was an attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for his father, James Francis Edward Stuart. It took place during the War of the Austrian Succession, when the bulk of the British Army was fighting in mainland Europe, and proved to be the last in a series of revolts that began in 1689, with major outbreaks in 1708, 1715 and 1719.

The Forty-five Rebellion
Part of the Jacobite risings
The Battle of Culloden.jpg
An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745 attributed to David Morier
Date19 August 1745 – 20 April 1746
Great Britain
Result Decisive government victory
End of Jacobitism as a significant political force


 Great Britain
Commanders and leaders

Charles launched the rebellion on 19 August 1745 at Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands, capturing Edinburgh and winning the Battle of Prestonpans in September. At a council in October, the Scots agreed to invade England after Charles assured them of substantial support from English Jacobites and a simultaneous French landing in Southern England. On that basis, the Jacobite army entered England in early November, reaching Derby on 4 December, where they decided to turn back.

Similar discussions had taken place at Carlisle, Preston and Manchester and many felt they had gone too far already. The invasion route had been selected to cross areas considered strongly Jacobite but the promised English support failed to materialise; they were now outnumbered and in danger of having their retreat cut off. The decision was supported by the vast majority but caused an irretrievable split between Charles and his Scots supporters. Despite victory at Falkirk Muir in January 1746, the Battle of Culloden in April ended the Rebellion and significant backing for the Stuart cause. Charles escaped to France, but was unable to win support for another attempt, and died in Rome in 1788.



James Francis Edward Stuart, the 'Old Pretender,' or 'Chevalier de St George'

The 1688 Glorious Revolution replaced James II and VII, then King of England, Ireland and Scotland, with his Protestant daughter Mary and her Dutch husband William, ruling as joint monarchs. Neither Mary, who died in 1694, nor her sister Anne, had surviving children, leaving their Catholic half-brother James Francis Edward as the closest natural heir. To ensure a Protestant succession, the 1701 Act of Settlement excluded Catholics from the English and Irish thrones, and of Great Britain after the 1707 Acts of Union. When Anne became the last Stuart monarch in 1702, her successor was the distantly related but Protestant Sophia of Hanover, who died two months before Anne in August 1714. Her son became George I, giving the pro-Hanoverian Whigs control of the government for the next 30 years.[1]

Cardinal Fleury, chief minister of France from 1723 to 1743, who saw the Jacobites as an ineffective weapon for dealing with British power

The King of France, Louis XIV, had been a strong supporter of the Stuarts but after his death in 1715, French priorities were peace and rebuilding their economy.[2] The 1716 Anglo-French alliance forced the Stuarts to leave France and they were invited to settle in Rome by Pope Benedict XIV.[3] The Duke of Ormond, responsible for planning the Jacobite rising of 1719, concluded it had damaged the cause, writing that "it bid fair to ruin the King's Interest and faithful subjects in these parts."[4]

While the birth of his sons Charles and Henry kept the Stuarts in the public eye, James' devout personal Catholicism made him less attractive to his Protestant supporters.[5] By 1737, he was reported to be "living tranquilly in Rome, having abandoned all hope of a restoration."[6]

This changed as French statesmen came to see British commercial power as a threat to the traditional advantage provided by the revenue-raising powers of the centralised French state.[7] For France, an ongoing low-level civil war was a far more cost-effective way of absorbing British resources than an expensive and risky Stuart restoration. While Scotland was the best place to launch an insurgency, due to its combination of clan structure, remoteness and terrain, they were potentially devastating for the local populace, a fact recognised by many Jacobites, including Charles.[a][8]

The 1737 Porteous riots in Edinburgh reflected opposition to the loss of political power following Union

The 1725 malt tax riots in Glasgow and the 1737 Porteous riots in Edinburgh showed a lack of sensitivity by the London government. In March 1743, the Highland-recruited 42nd Regiment or Black Watch was posted to Flanders; despite warnings this was contrary to an understanding their service was restricted to Scotland, the move went ahead and led to a mutiny.[9]

In 1739, disputes with Spain over British trade with the Americas led to war

Trade disputes between Spain and Britain led to the 1739 War of Jenkins' Ear, followed in 1740–41 by the War of the Austrian Succession. The long-serving British prime minister Robert Walpole was forced to resign in February 1742 by an alliance of Tories and anti-Walpole Patriot Whigs, who then did a deal that excluded the majority of their Tory partners from government.[10] Furious Tories such as the Duke of Beaufort now asked for French help in restoring James to the British throne.[11]

By 1743, hostilities between Britain and France seemed only a matter of time, as French statesmen generally agreed British commercial power was a threat that had to be dealt with.[12] However, the majority of Louis XV's ministers did not consider the Stuarts to be a useful tool in that process, exceptions being Marquis D'Argenson and Cardinal Tencin.[13] When Cardinal Fleury, chief minister since 1723, died in January 1743, Louis assumed control of government and D'Argenson was appointed foreign minister in November 1744.[14]

Post-1715; Jacobitism in the British IslesEdit

Defeat at Aughrim in July 1691 ended Irish hopes of land reform and tolerance for Catholicism; many of Charles' senior advisors in 1745 were Irish exiles

In 1745, supporters of the exiled Stuarts, or Jacobites, remained a significant element in British and Irish politics but with different and often competing goals. These divisions, especially between the Scots and Irish, became increasingly apparent during the 1745 Rising, which also demonstrated estimates of English support confused indifference to the Hanoverians with enthusiasm for the Stuarts.[15]

Charles' senior advisors included Irish exiles such as John O'Sullivan, who wanted an autonomous, Catholic Ireland and the return of lands confiscated after the Irish Confederate Wars.[16] James II promised these concessions in return for Irish support in the 1689–91 Williamite War, and only a Stuart on the throne of Great Britain could ensure their fulfilment.[17]

Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn (1692–1749), Welsh landowner and Member of Parliament; the sky-blue waistcoat worn here was a symbol used by Tory Jacobites.

A prominent factor in Tory opposition to the Hanoverians was their preference for a mercantilist strategy, which emphasised the protection of British trade. This meant focusing expenditure on strengthening the Royal Navy, with European land commitments seen as expensive and primarily of benefit to Hanover.[18] This view was particularly strong in the City of London but diplomats observed opposition to foreign entanglements was true "only so long as English commerce does not suffer".[19]

Opposition to the 1707 Act of Union was the most consistent element in Scottish Jacobite ideology

While a large proportion of English participants in the 1715 Rising were Catholic, the majority of English and Welsh Tories sympathetic to the Stuarts were fervently anti-Catholic. The Protestant Thomas Forster was appointed commander of English Jacobite forces in 1715 despite his lack of military experience, simply to avoid the perception of the Rising as a Catholic revolt.[20]

In 1745, many Tories remained supportive of the Stuart cause but were far more concerned by a perceived need to ensure the primacy of the Church of England. That included defending it from Charles and his Catholic advisors, the Scots Presbyterians who formed the bulk of his army or Nonconformists in general; many "Jacobite" demonstrations in Wales stemmed from hostility to the 18th century Welsh Methodist revival.[21] The Jacobite exiles failed to appreciate these distinctions or the extent to which Tory support derived from policy differences with the Whigs, not Stuart loyalism.[18]

The most prominent Welsh Jacobite was Denbighshire landowner and Tory Member of Parliament, Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, head of the Jacobite White Rose society. He met with Stuart agents several times between 1740 and 1744 and promised support "if the Prince brought a French army"; in the end, he spent the Rebellion in London, with participation by the Welsh gentry limited to two lawyers, David Morgan and William Vaughan.[22]

After the failed 1719 Rising, new laws in Scotland and England imposed penalties on nonjuring clergy, those who refused to swear allegiance to the Hanoverian regime, rather than the Stuarts.[23] The main issue in England was whether it was permissible to switch allegiance and so the problem naturally diminished as these priests died. In Scotland, they preserved their independence due to doctrinal differences with the majority Church of Scotland, which continues today in the Scottish Episcopal Church; many of the Rebellion's leaders and participants were members of non-juring Episcopalian congregations.[24] However, the strongest single element of Scottish Jacobite support in 1745 was opposition to the 1707 Union, where loss of political control was not matched by perceived economic benefit; this was particularly marked in Edinburgh, former location of the Scottish Parliament, and the Highlands.[25]

In summary, Charles wanted to reclaim the throne of a united Great Britain and rule on the principles of the divine right of kings and absolutism, ideas rejected by the 1688 Glorious Revolution but which were reinforced by his trusted advisors, most of whom were long-term English or Irish Catholic exiles.[b][26] They differed sharply from the Scottish Protestant nationalists that comprised the bulk of Jacobite support in 1745, who opposed the Union, Catholicism and "arbitrary" rule.[27]

Charles in ScotlandEdit

Charles Edward Stuart, late 1745; note similarities to that of Louis XV, right

In the 1743 Treaty of Fontainebleau or Pacte de Famille, Louis and his uncle, Philip V of Spain, agreed to co-operate against Britain, including an attempted restoration of the Stuarts.[28] In November, Louis advised James the invasion was planned for February and began assembling 12,000 troops and transports at Dunkirk, selected because it was possible to reach the Thames from there in a single tide.[29] Since the Royal Navy was well aware of this, the French squadron in Brest made ostentatious preparations for putting to sea, in hopes of luring their patrols away.[30]

James remained in Rome while Charles made his way in secret to join the invasion force but when the French admiral Roquefeuil's squadron left Brest on 26 January, the Royal Navy refused to follow.[31] Naval operations against Britain often took place in the winter, when wind and tides made it harder to enforce a blockade but increased the risks. As in 1719, the weather proved the British government's best defence; storms sank a number of French ships and severely damaged many others, Roquefeuil himself being among the casualties.[32] In March, Louis cancelled the invasion and declared war on Britain.[33]

In August, Charles travelled to Paris to argue for an alternative landing in Scotland, where he met with Sir John Murray of Broughton, liaison between the Stuarts and their Scottish supporters. Murray later claimed he advised against it but that Charles replied he was "determined to come [...] though with a single footman".[34] When Murray returned with this news, the Scots reiterated their opposition to a rising without substantial French backing but Charles gambled once there, the French would have to support him.[35]

He spent the first months of 1745 purchasing weapons, while victory at Fontenoy in April encouraged the French authorities to provide him with two transport ships. These were the 16-gun privateer Du Teillay and Elizabeth, an elderly 64-gun warship captured from the British in 1704, which carried the weapons and volunteers from the Regiment du Clare of the French Army's Irish Brigade.[36]

The Glenfinnan Monument; erected in 1814 to commemorate the Rebellion

In early July, Charles boarded Du Teillay at Saint-Nazaire accompanied by the "Seven Men of Moidart", the most notable being John O'Sullivan, an Irish exile and former French officer who acted as chief of staff.[37] The two vessels made for the Western Isles on 15 July but were intercepted four days out by HMS Lion and after a four-hour battle between Lion and Elizabeth, both were forced to return to port. This was a major setback as Elizabeth carried the Irish volunteers and most of the weapons but Charles continued on Du Teillay and landed on Eriskay on 23 July.[30]

Many of those he contacted now advised him to return to France, including MacDonald of Sleat and Norman MacLeod.[38] Aware of the potential impact of defeat on their clansmen, they felt that by arriving without French military support, Charles had failed to keep his commitments and were unconvinced by his personal qualities.[39] Enough were eventually persuaded, although the choice was rarely simple; Donald Cameron of Lochiel committed himself only after Charles provided "security for the full value of his estate should the rising prove abortive," while MacLeod and Sleat helped him escape after Culloden.[40]

Lord George Murray; a competent military commander, he had a poor relationship with Prince Charles

On 19 August, the rebellion was launched with the raising of the Royal Standard at Glenfinnan, witnessed by a force of Highlanders O'Sullivan estimated as around 700.[41] The Jacobites marched on Edinburgh, reaching Perth on 4 September where they were joined by more sympathisers, including Lord George Murray. An experienced soldier previously pardoned for his participation in the 1715 and 1719 risings, Murray replaced O'Sullivan as commander and spent the next week re-organising his forces.[42]

The senior government legal officer in Scotland, Lord President Duncan Forbes, forwarded confirmation of the landing to London on 9 August.[43] The military commander Sir John Cope had around 3,000 soldiers available, but these were mostly untrained recruits and he lacked information on Jacobite intentions. Forbes relied on his relationships to keep people loyal; he failed with Lochiel and Lord Lovat but succeeded with many others, including the Earl of Sutherland, Clan Munro and Lord Fortrose.[44]

Duncan Forbes, Lord Culloden, the senior government legal officer in Scotland.

On 17 September, Charles entered Edinburgh unopposed, although Edinburgh Castle itself remained in government hands; James was proclaimed King of Scotland the next day and Charles his Regent.[45] On 21 September, the Jacobites intercepted and scattered Cope's army in less than 20 minutes at the Battle of Prestonpans, just outside Edinburgh. The Duke of Cumberland, commander of the British army in Flanders, was recalled to London, along with 12,000 troops.[46]

To consolidate his support in Scotland, Charles published two "Declarations" on 9 and 10 October: the first dissolved the "pretended Union," the second rejected the Act of Settlement.[47] He also instructed the 'Caledonian Mercury' to publish minutes of the 1695 Parliamentary enquiry into the Glencoe Massacre, which was often used as an example of post-1688 oppression.[48]

Jacobite morale was further boosted in mid-October when the French landed supplies of money and weapons, together with an envoy, the Marquis d’Éguilles, which seemed to validate claims of French backing.[49] However, Lord Elcho later claimed his fellow Scots were already concerned by Charles' autocratic style and fears he was overly influenced by his Irish advisors.[50] A "Prince's Council" of 15 to 20 senior leaders was established; Charles resented it as an imposition by the Scots on their divinely appointed monarch, while the daily meetings accentuated divisions between the factions.[c][52]

1753 engraving of Edinburgh Castle, which remained in government hands throughout the Rising

These were highlighted by the meetings held on 30 and 31 October to discuss the invasion of England; the Scots wanted to consolidate and though willing to assist an English rising or French invasion, they would not do it on their own.[53] For the Irish exiles, only a Stuart on the British throne could provide the autonomous, Catholic Ireland promised by James II. Charles argued removing the Hanoverians was the best guarantee of an independent Scotland and thousands of supporters would join once they entered England, while the Marquis d’Éguilles assured the Council a French landing in England was imminent.[17]

Despite their doubts, the Council agreed to the invasion, on condition the promised English and French support was forthcoming.[d] Previous Scottish incursions into England had crossed the border at Berwick-upon-Tweed, but Murray selected a route via Carlisle and the North-West of England, areas strongly Jacobite in 1715.[55] The last elements of the Jacobite army left Edinburgh on 4 November and government forces under General Handasyde retook the city on 14th.[56]

Invasion of EnglandEdit

The March of the Guards to Finchley by William Hogarth; soldiers mustered to defend London against Jacobite forces

Murray divided the army into two columns to conceal their destination from General Wade, commander of government forces in Newcastle, and entered England on 8 November without opposition.[57] They reached Carlisle on 10 November; an important border fortress before the 1707 Union, the castle defences were now in poor condition, held by a garrison of 80 elderly veterans. Despite these deficiencies, without siege artillery the Jacobites would have to starve it into submission, an operation for which they had neither the equipment or time. It capitulated on 15 November, after learning Wade's relief force was delayed by snow; Cumberland wanted to execute those responsible for the surrender when he retook the city in December.[58]

Leaving a small garrison behind, the Jacobites continued south to Preston on 26 November, then Manchester on 28th, where they received the first notable intake of English recruits. 200–300 of these were formed into the Manchester Regiment, under the command of Francis Towneley; a member of a prominent Lancashire Catholic family, he and his brother John held commissions in the French Army, while his uncle Richard fought in the 1715 Rising.[59]

Derby; a statue of Charles Stuart commemorates the Jacobite army reaching the town in 1745

The army entered Derby on 4 December and the Council convened on 5th to discuss their next steps.[60] There was no sign of a French landing in England, and despite the large crowds that turned out to see them on the march south, only Manchester provided a significant number of recruits; Preston, a Jacobite stronghold in 1715, supplied three.[61] At the Council meetings in Preston and Manchester, many senior Scots felt they had gone far enough and wanted to turn back. They had agreed to continue only when Charles claimed Sir Watkin Williams Wynn would meet them at Derby and that the Duke of Beaufort was preparing to seize the strategic port of Bristol.[62]

Murray argued they had gone as far as possible and now risked having their retreat cut off by superior government forces, with Cumberland advancing north from London and Wade moving south from Newcastle. Charles was asked for news of Sir Watkin and Beaufort and admitted he had not heard from the English Jacobites since leaving France; since this meant he lied when claiming otherwise, his relationship with the Scots was irretrievably damaged.[63] The views expressed in Edinburgh that they should consolidate their position in Scotland were reinforced when they learnt Scots and Irish regulars from the Royal Écossais and the Irish Brigade had been landed at Montrose, with large quantities of weapons, ammunition and money. The Council was overwhelmingly in favour of retreat and turned north the next day.[64]

While this has been debated ever since, contemporaries did not believe the Hanoverian regime would collapse, even if the Jacobites reached London.[65] Their decision was driven by lack of English or French support, not proximity to the capital and its wisdom is supported by many modern historians.[66] The chief advantage for the lightly-equipped Jacobite army was speed of movement but the lack of heavy weapons was a disadvantage if they had to fight. In a letter of 30 November the Duke of Richmond, who was with Cumberland's army, listed five possible options for the Jacobites, of which retreating to Scotland was by far the best for them and the worst for the government.[67]

The British government was concerned by reports that the Duke of Richelieu was assembling an invasion fleet at Dunkirk. It is unclear how serious these plans were; the threat of an invasion was far more cost-effective in consuming British resources than actually doing so, while Dunkirk was a major privateer base and always busy.[29] Richelieu finally cancelled these plans in January 1746.[68]

The biggest impact was on the relationship between Charles and his Scottish supporters, especially Murray, both sides now viewing the other with deep suspicion. Elcho later wrote that Murray believed they could have continued the war in Scotland "for several years", forcing the Crown to come to terms as its troops were desperately needed for the war on the Continent.[69]

The fast moving Jacobite army evaded pursuit with only a minor skirmish at Clifton Moor, crossing back into Scotland on 20 December. Cumberland's army arrived outside Carlisle on 22 December, and seven days later the garrison was forced to surrender, ending the Jacobite military presence in England. Much of the garrison came from the Manchester Regiment and several of the officers were later executed, including Francis Towneley.[70]

Road to CullodenEdit

Stirling Castle; the Jacobites spent two months unsuccessfully besieging the strongest fort in Scotland

The invasion itself achieved little, but reaching Derby and returning was a considerable military achievement. Morale was high, recruits from the Frasers, Mackenzies and Gordons and reinforcement by Scottish and Irish regulars in French service bringing Jacobite strength to over 8,000.[71] French-supplied artillery was used to besiege Stirling Castle, the strategic key to the Highlands. On 17 January, the Jacobites dispersed a relief force under Henry Hawley at the Battle of Falkirk Muir but the siege itself made little progress.[58]

Hawley's forces were largely intact and advanced on Stirling again once Cumberland arrived in Edinburgh on 30 January. Many Highlanders went home for the winter and on 1 February, the siege was abandoned and the Jacobites retreated to Inverness.[72] Cumberland's army advanced along the coast, allowing it to be resupplied by sea, and entered Aberdeen on 27 February; both sides halted operations until the weather improved.[73]

Battle of Culloden; boggy ground in front of the Jacobite left forces them to the right; Loudon's Highlanders positioned behind the park wall, extreme right

Several French shipments were received during the winter but the Royal Navy's blockade led to shortages of both money and food and when Cumberland left Aberdeen on 8 April, Charles and his officers agreed giving battle was their best option. The traditional view is that the ground was poorly-chosen; this originates in post-war disputes between supporters of Murray and O'Sullivan, largely responsible for selecting it, but defeat was a combination of many factors.[74] In addition to superior numbers and equipment, Cumberland's troops had been drilled in countering the Highland charge, which relied on speed and ferocity to break the enemy lines. When successful, it resulted in quick victories like Prestonpans and Falkirk. but if it failed, they could not hold their ground.[75]

The Battle of Culloden on 16 April, often cited as the last pitched battle on British soil,[76] lasted less than an hour and ended in a decisive government victory. Exhausted by a night march carried out in a failed attempt to surprise Cumberland's troops, many Jacobites missed the battle, leaving fewer than 5,000 to face a well-rested and equipped force of 7,000 to 9,000.[77]

Fighting began with an exchange of artillery fire, that of the government being superior in numbers and training and inflicting heavy casualties on the Jacobites. Charles held his position, expecting Cumberland to attack but he refused to do so and unable to respond to the artillery fire, some of the clan regiments began to withdraw. Seeing his army dispersing, Charles ordered his front line to charge; as they did so, the boggy ground in front of the Jacobite left pushed them to the right (see Map), where their movement was restricted by a park wall, allowing Loudon's Highlanders to subject them to flanking fire.[78]

Ruthven Barracks, where over 1,500 Jacobite survivors assembled after Culloden

This slowed the momentum of the charge and increased the distance the Jacobites had to cover to reach the government lines; these two factors combined to lengthen the time they were exposed to Cumberland's artillery.[79] Despite heavy losses as a result, the Highlanders crashed into Cumberland's left flank which gave ground but did not break; with the Jacobites held up in front, Wolfe's regiment behind the wall began firing volleys into their flank at close range. Unable to return fire and having suffered heavy casualties, the Highlanders fell back in disorder; the regular troops in French service and cavalry that made up their second line retired in good order, allowing Charles and his personal retinue to escape northwards.[80]

Retreating troops that held together, like the French regulars, were far less vulnerable than those who simply fled and many Highlanders were cut down by government dragoons in the pursuit. Government casualties are estimated as 50 killed, plus 259 wounded; many Jacobite wounded remaining on the battlefield were reportedly killed afterwards, their losses being 1,200–1,500 dead and 500 taken prisoners.[81] Over the next two days, an estimated 1,500 survivors assembled at Ruthven Barracks; on 20 April, Charles ordered them to disperse, arguing French assistance was required to continue the fight and they should return home until he returned with additional support.[82] Lord Elcho later claimed to have told Charles he should "put himself at the head of the 9,000 men that remained to him, and live and die with them," but that he was determined to leave for France.[83]

After evading capture in the Western Highlands, Charles was picked up by a French ship on 20 September and never returned to Scotland; the collapse of his relationship with the Scots making a second campaign unlikely. Even before Derby, he had accused Murray and others of treachery; these outbursts became more frequent due to disappointment and his heavy drinking, while the Scots no longer trusted his promises of support.[84]


Lovat, sketched by William Hogarth at St Albans, on his way to London for trial and later execution

After Culloden, government forces spent several weeks searching for rebels, confiscating cattle and burning non-juring Episcopalian and Catholic meeting houses.[24] Regular soldiers in French service were treated as prisoners of war and later exchanged, regardless of nationality, but 3,500 captured Jacobites were indicted for treason. Of these, 120 were executed, primarily deserters and members of the Manchester Regiment, 650 died awaiting trial, 900 pardoned and the rest transported.[85] The Jacobite lords Kilmarnock, Balmerino and Lovat were beheaded in April 1747, but public sympathies had shifted; Cumberland's insistence on severity earned him the nickname "Butcher" among Jacobite sympathisers.[86]

Prince Charles in Highland dress, ca 1750

The 1747 Act of Indemnity pardoned any remaining prisoners, including Flora MacDonald, whose aristocratic admirers, among them Frederick, Prince of Wales, collected over £1,500 for her.[87] Lord Elcho, Lord Murray and Lochiel died in exile; Archibald Cameron, employed by Lochiel in 1745 to force reluctant tenants into the Jacobite army, was allegedly betrayed by his own clansmen on returning to Scotland and executed on 7 June 1753.[88]

Once north of Edinburgh or inland from ports like Aberdeen, Cumberland's troops were hampered by the fact that there were few roads and no accurate maps of the Highlands.[89] To prevent future rebellions, new forts were built, the military road network started by Wade finally completed and William Roy made the first comprehensive survey of the Highlands.[90] Additional measures were taken to weaken the traditional clan system, which even before 1745 had been under severe stress due to changing economic conditions.[91] The Heritable Jurisdictions Act ended powers exercised by chiefs over their clansmen, while the Act of Proscription outlawed Highland dress unless worn in military service; its impact is debated and the law was repealed in 1782.[92]

Charles Edward Stuart as an old man

The Jacobite cause did not entirely disappear after 1746, but the exposure of the key factions' conflicting objectives ended it as a serious threat. Many Scots were disillusioned by Charles' leadership while the decline in English Jacobitism was demonstrated by the lack of support from areas that had been strongly Jacobite in 1715, such as Northumberland and County Durham.[93] Irish Jacobite societies continued but increasingly reflected opposition to the existing order rather than affection for the Stuarts and were eventually absorbed by the Republican United Irishmen.[94]

Equally damaging to the Jacobite cause and Charles in particular was D’Éguilles' report on the Rising, written on his return to France in June 1747 and addressed to Count Maurepas, the Naval Minister. With the exception of O'Sullivan and Lochiel, this was extremely critical of the Jacobite leaders; his opinion of Charles was so low, he suggested a Scots Republic was a better option for France than a Stuart restoration.[95]

The Rebellion was the highlight of their careers for both leaders; Cumberland resigned from the Army in 1757 and died of a stroke in 1765. Charles was treated as a hero on his return to Paris but the Stuarts were once again barred from France by the 1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Henry Stuart's entry into the Catholic Church in June 1747 was seen as tacit acceptance the Jacobite cause was finished and Charles never forgave him.[96] He continued attempts to reignite the cause, including a secret visit to London in 1750 and met with French Chief Minister de Choiseul in 1759 to discuss another invasion but Choiseul dismissed him as incapable through drink.[97]

Despite Henry's urgings, Pope Clement XIII refused to recognise him as Charles III after their father died in 1766.[98] He died of a stroke in Rome in January 1788, a disappointed and embittered man.[62]


Charles Stuart, romantic icon; from A History of Scotland for Boys and Girls by H. E. Marshall, published 1906

Modern commentators argue the traditional focus on "Bonnie Prince Charlie" obscures the true legacy of the Rising and that since nationalism was a key driver for many Scottish Jacobites, it is part of an ongoing political idea, not simply the last act of a doomed cause and culture.[99] The Jacobite Army is often portrayed as largely composed of Gaelic-speaking Highlanders; in 2013, the Culloden Visitors Centre listed Lowland regiments such as Lord Elcho's and Balmerino's Life Guards, Baggot's Hussars and Viscount Strathallan's Perthshire Horse as "Highland Horse".[100] Although a significant proportion were Highlanders, some of the most effective units came from the Lowlands, while this predominantly Scottish force included the English Manchester Regiment, as well as French and Irish regulars.[101]

After 1745, the popular perception of Highlanders changed from that of "wyld, wykkd Helandmen," racially and culturally separate from other Scots, to members of a noble warrior race.[102] For a century before 1745, rural poverty drove increasing numbers to enlist in foreign armies, such as the Dutch Scots Brigade. However, while military experience itself was common, the military aspects of clanship had been in decline for many years, the last significant inter-clan battle being Maol Ruadh in August 1688.[103] Foreign service was banned in 1745 and recruitment into the British Army accelerated as deliberate policy.[104] Victorian imperial administrators adopted a policy of focusing their recruitment on the so-called "martial races," Highlanders being grouped with Sikhs, Dogras and Gurkhas as those arbitrarily identified as sharing military virtues.[105]

George IV, portrayed in 1822 wearing Highland dress of his own design

Before 1707, Scots writers formed part of a wider and often uniform European literary culture; the creation of a uniquely Scottish style began as a reaction to Union, with poets like Allan Ramsay using Scots vernacular for the first time.[106] After the Rising, reconciling the Jacobite past with a Unionist present meant focusing on a shared cultural identity, which was made easier by the fact it did not imply sympathy for the Stuarts; Ramsay was one of those who left Edinburgh when it fell to the Jacobites in 1745.[107] However, the study of Scottish history itself was largely ignored by schools and universities until the mid-20th century.[108]

Ossian Singing, by Nicolai Abildgaard, 1787; James Macpherson's Ossian cycle was immensely popular throughout Europe

The vernacular style was continued after 1745, most famously by Robert Burns but others avoided recent divisions within Scottish society by looking back to a far more distant and largely mythical past. These included James Macpherson, who between 1760 and 1765 published the Ossian cycle which was a best-seller throughout Europe. The claim that it was a translation from the original Gaelic has been disputed ever since but the post-1746 sense of a culture under threat led to an upsurge in Scottish Gaelic literature, much of it related to the events of the Rising. Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair, generally credited as author of the first secular works in Gaelic in the early 1740s, was followed by Gaelic poets including Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir, who participated in the Rising as part of a government militia, and Catriona Nic Fhearghais, who allegedly lost her husband at Culloden.[109]

The Rising and its aftermath has been a popular topic for many writers; the most significant of these was Sir Walter Scott, who in the early 19th century presented the Rebellion as part of a shared Unionist history. The hero of his novel Waverley is an Englishman who fights for the Stuarts, rescues a Hanoverian Colonel and finally rejects a romantic Highland beauty for the daughter of a Lowland aristocrat.[110] Scott's reconciliation of Unionism and the '45 allowed Cumberland's nephew George IV to be painted less than 70 years later wearing Highland dress and tartans, previously symbols of Jacobite rebellion.[111]

Replacing a complex and divisive historical past with a simplified but shared cultural tradition led to the Victorian inventions of Burns Suppers, Highland Games, tartans and the adoption by a largely Protestant nation of the Catholic icons Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie. These continue to shape modern perspectives on the Scots past.[112]


  1. ^ Summarised in a British intelligence report of 1755; "...'tis not in the interest of France that the House of Stuart shoud ever be restored, as it would only unite the three Kingdoms against Them; England would have no exterior [threat] to mind, and [...] prevent any of its Descendants (the Stuarts) attempting anything against the Libertys or Religion of the People.
  2. ^ Scots made up less than five percent of the Jacobite court in 1696 and 1709: by far the largest element were English, followed by Irish and French.
  3. ^ Elcho reported that besides himself, the Council included Perth, Lord George Murray; Sheridan, Murray of Broughton, O'Sullivan, Lochiel, Keppoch, Clanranald, Glencoe, Ardsheal and Lochgarry.[51]
  4. ^ In his Diary, Lord Elcho later wrote that "...the majority of the Council was not in favour of a march to England and urged that they should remain in Scotland to watch events and defend their own land. This was also the opinion in secret of the Marquis d’Éguilles; but the wishes of the Prince prevailed."[54]


  1. ^ Somerset 2012, pp. 532–535.
  2. ^ Szechi 1994, p. 91.
  3. ^ Szechi 1994, pp. 93–95.
  4. ^ Dickson 1895, p. 273.
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External linksEdit

  • The Jacobite Rebellion, BBC Radio 4 discussion with Murray Pittock, Stana Nenadic & Allan Macinnes (In Our Time, May 8, 2003)