The Jacobite Rebellions (1689-1746), by

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The Jacobite Rebellions (1689-1746), by

James Pringle Thomson This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at

Title: The Jacobite Rebellions (1689-1746) (Bell's Scottish History Source Books.)

Author: James Pringle Thomson

Release Date: November 15, 2007 [EBook #23488]

Language: English

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Original spellings have been retained. Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. Bold type is shown between +signs+. Superscript letters are preceded by ^.

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General Editors: S. E. WINBOLT, M.A., and KENNETH BELL, M.A.



+1637-1688. The Scottish Covenanters.+ Edited by J. PRINGLE THOMSON, M.A.

+1689-1746. The Jacobite Rebellions.+ Edited by J. PRINGLE THOMSON, M.A.


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Within the compass of 120 pages it was impossible for me to cover every event in this period. The "Forty-Five" itself would have provided enough material to fill a volume of double the size. I have therefore concentrated on the four events which seemed to me most important--namely, the Darien scheme, the Union of the Crowns, and the risings of 1715 and 1745. For the rest, I have endeavoured to illustrate, however briefly, the religious, social, and industrial activities of the time. As in my previous volume, I have drawn freely on the invaluable publications of the Scottish Historical Society, and my thanks are also due to Mr. William Cowan for permission to print the extract which appears on p. 29.

J. P. T. GLASGOW, May, 1914.


DATE PAGE 1689. STATE OF PARTIES IN SCOTLAND Dalrymple's "Memoirs" 1 THE CONVENTION OF ESTATES Dalrymple's "Memoirs" 3 DUNDEE'S REBELLION Mackay's "Memoirs" 6 THE BATTLE OF KILLIECRANKIE Mackay's "Memoirs" 8 1690. THE RELIGIOUS SETTLEMENT "Melville Papers" 11 1692. THE MASSACRE OF GLENCOE "Papers Illustrative of the Highlands of Scotland" 13 1695. THE BANK OF SCOTLAND "Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland" 18

THE DARIEN SCHEME: A. THE PROJECT AND ITS ORIGINATOR Burnet's "History of His Own Times" 20 1698. B. CONSTITUTION OF THE COMPANY "The Darien Papers" 22 C. WHY THE COLONY FAILED Burnet's "History of His Own Times" 24 1699. D. INDIGNATION IN SCOTLAND Burnet's "History of His Own Times" 25

1703. THE UNION IMPENDING Sir John Clerk's "Memoirs" 27

UNION OF THE CROWNS: A. THE LAST SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT "A Journey to Edenborough" 29 1706. B. DRAFTING THE TREATY Sir John Clerk's "Memoirs" 32 C. POPULAR HOSTILITY TO THE UNION Defoe's "History of the Union" 35 1707. D. "AN END OF AN OLD SONG" "The Lockhart Papers" 37

1714. "THE WEE, WEE GERMAN LAIRDIE" Mackay's "Jacobite Songs" 38

THE RISING OF 1715: 1715. A. GATHERING OF THE CLANS Rae's "History" 39 B. DEFENCE OF EDINBURGH Sir John Clerk's "Memoirs" 43 C. THE BATTLE OF SHERIFFMUIR Keith's "Memoir" 45 D. THE OLD PRETENDER Sinclair's "Memoirs" 48 1716. E. COLLAPSE OF THE REBELLION Rae's "History" 50 F. HARSHNESS OF THE GOVERNMENT "Culloden Papers" 54

1718. THE SCOTTISH CAPITAL Macky's "Journey through Scotland" 56 1719. THE JACOBITE ATTEMPT OF 1719 Keith's "Memoir" 60 1725. ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND CONTRASTED Macky's "Journey through Scotland" 65 THE MALT TAX "The Lockhart Papers" 67 1726. GENERAL WADE'S ROADS Burt's "Letters" 70 1735. SCOTTISH GARDENING Cockburn's "Letters to His Gardener" 74 1736. THE PORTEOUS RIOTS Carlyle's "Autobiography" 77 1742. THE "CAMBUSLANG WARK" "Statistical Account of Scotland" 81

THE "FORTY-FIVE": 1745. A. PRINCE CHARLES LANDS IN SCOTLAND "Culloden Papers" 83 B. RAISING THE PRINCE'S STANDARD Murray's "Memorials" 85 C. THE CAPTURE OF EDINBURGH Home's "History" 86 D. PRINCE CHARLES AT HOLYROOD Home's "History" 89 E. THE BATTLE OF PRESTONPANS Murray's "Memorials" 91 F. "JOHNNIE COPE" Mackay's "Jacobite Songs" 95 G. INVASION OF ENGLAND Blaikie's "Itinerary" 97 1746. H. THE BATTLE OF FALKIRK "Lockhart Papers" 99 I. RETREAT TO THE NORTH "The Lyon in Mourning" 102 J. THE EVE OF CULLODEN "Memoirs of Strange and Lumisden" 104 K. THE BATTLE "Memoirs of Strange and Lumisden" 107 L. THE PRINCE A FUGITIVE "The Lyon in Mourning" 111 M. FLORA MACDONALD "The Lyon in Mourning" 113 N. CHARLES AT CLUNY'S "CAGE" Home's "History" 117




+Source.+--Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland, from the Dissolution of the Last Parliament of Charles II. until the Sea-Battle off La Hogue, vol. i., p. 215, by Sir John Dalrymple, Bart. (London and Edinburgh: 1771.)

Of those who had offered their services to William for the settlement of Scotland, three were eminent above the rest: the Duke of Hamilton, the Marquis of Athole, and Lord Stair. The Duke of Hamilton had disapproved of the measures of the late reign, but without publicly opposing them. He had observed the same cautious conduct with regard to the parties of his countrymen. He took advantage of his rank to attend none of those public cabals in which all party-measures had been conducted in Scotland, from the time of the tables of the covenant; and, by that singularity, appeared to be of no party, at the same time when he was dealing in private with all parties. Son of the illustrious house of Douglas, married to the heiress of the house of Hamilton, related to the royal family, and to most of the crowned heads of Europe, in succession in right of his wife to the crown of Scotland, at a time when the ancient families of Scotland were of importance in the scale of government, because they were of importance in their own country, his pre-eminence was seen by William, and perhaps feared. He had been entrusted with none of the secrets of the revolution from the ambiguity of his conduct. Yet he took a violent side against King James upon his first retreat, but made apologies to that Prince's friends, so soon as he heard of his return. William, therefore, affected to show him the highest honours, cajolling him by those arts which the Duke was in use to employ upon others. From hence, and from the vanity of pre-eminence, he had consented to preside in the Assembly at London, which offered the Prince the administration of government. And hence, William gave him all the influence of the court, to be president of that convention which was to make the offer of government itself.

The Marquis of Athole was a subject of great consequence, because his estate and power lay in the heart of the highlands. He had concurred in all the measures of the two royal brothers, and had been loaded with favours and honours by both. Yet, upon news of James's retreat, he flew, from restlessness of temper more than from principle, to London, while Scotland was yet in disquiet; resolved, amid contending Princes, to make the best terms for himself. He almost alone, of all those who went to London to offer their service to the Prince of Orange, returned home discontented; because his views had been too sanguine, and because he was ashamed of what he had done. His repentance he made offer of to the friends of James in Scotland, which was received, and thanked in public, but in secret distrusted.

Lord Stair had none of the external advantages of the other two. Yet, from great reach of thought, and through knowledge of men and parties gained from experience, he came to be a considerable figure in party.... Upon the restoration he attached himself to the Duke of Lauderdale. The furies of that minister he often moderated, and often opposed, openly when he could, secretly when he could not; yet still preserved his friendship. After enduring many years the loss of his rank and his country, from the injustice of the Duke of York, he, at the age of seventy, assumed again his long-neglected sword and cuirass, and came over with the Prince of Orange, who was so fond of him that he carried him in his own ship. The influence of Lord Stair in party was increased by that of his son Sir John Dalrymple, a man distinguished above all by the beauty of his person, and the power of his eloquence. To the wisdom and experience of the father, to the parts and show of the son, rather than to the power of the Duke of Hamilton, William, certain that the two former could never hope to be pardoned by James, resolved to leave the management of Scotland in the end; but, in the meantime, to make advantage of the Duke's offers of service for the settlement of that country.

Of all those nobles whom James, when Duke of York, had honoured with his friendship, and when King, graced with his favours, a few only continued openly in his interest. Of these the chief were the Duke of Gordon, a Roman Catholic, to whom James had entrusted the castle of Edinburgh, a man weak, and wavering in courage, but bound by shame and religion; Lord Balcarres attached by affection, gratitude, and that delicacy of sentiment which the love of letters commonly inspires; and Lord Dundee, who had for ever before his eyes ideas of glory, the duty of a soldier, and the example of the great Montrose, from whose family he was descended. James had entrusted the care of his civil concerns in Scotland to Balcarres, and of his military ones to Dundee. William asked both to enter into his service. Dundee refused without ceremony. Balcarres confessed the trust which had been put in him, and asked the King, if, after that, he could enter into the service of another? William generously answered, "I cannot say that you can." But added, "Take care that you fall not within the law; for otherwise I shall be forced against my will to let the law overtake you." The other nobles of the late King's party waited for events, in hopes and in fears from the old government and the new, intriguing with both, and depended upon by neither.


+Source.+--Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland, from the Dissolution of the Last Parliament of Charles II. until the Sea-Battle off La Hogue, vol. i., p. 218, by Sir John Dalrymple, Bart. (London and Edinburgh: 1771.)

The convention met on the 14th of March. As the governing part of the boroughs had been modelled by King James, the members sent up from thence should have been favourable to his interests. But Lord Stair, whose views were extensive, had taken care, in the paper which contained the offer of administration to the Prince, to recommend that the borough-elections should be made by a general poll of the burgesses; an artifice which, while it took the blame of innovation off the Prince, prepared the way for securing the elections to the whigs and presbyterians. The parties at the convention first tried their strengths in the choice of a president. The Duke of Hamilton was set up by the new, the Marquis of Athole by the old court: a singular situation, where both candidates were distrusted, both by those who recommended, and by those who elected them. The former was preferred by 40 votes out of about 150 voters: a victory which, from the nature of the human mind, determined the wavering. A committee of elections was next named, consisting of nine whigs and three tories. Sir John Dalrymple, who was an able lawyer, found it easy to start objections to the returns of the opposite party, and to remove those which were made against his own. The committee in the house followed his opinions, because the necessity of the times was made the excuse of partiality....

When the convention sat down, two letters were presented, one from the present, and another from the late King of England. The convention read both; but first passed an act, that nothing contained in the last of them should dissolve their assembly, or stop their proceeding to the settlement of the nation. James's letter was written in the terms of a conqueror and a priest; threatening the convention with punishment in this world, and damnation in the next. And, as it was counter-signed by Lord Melfort, a papist, and a minister abhorred by the presbyterians, the style and the signature hurt equally the interest which the letter was intended to serve. No answer was given. William's letter, on the contrary, was answered in strains of gratitude and respect; a distinction which sufficiently showed what might be expected with regard to the future resolutions of the assembly....

The revolution in England was brought about by a coalition of whigs and tories; but, in Scotland, by the whigs almost alone. Hence, the Scottish convention, instead of amusing themselves with school disputes about words, which, while they discovered the fine lines of party in England, had embarrassed the English convention, struck their blow without ceremony, and came to a resolution, that King James had, by his evil deeds, forfaulted his right to the crown; a term which, in the language of the law of Scotland, involved in it the exclusion of all his posterity as well as his own. But, as this resolution would have comprehended the other children of James, as well as the young Prince, they agreed upon the following explanation of the word forfaulted. "Agreed, that the word forfault, in the resolution, should imply no other alteration in the succession to the crown than the seclusion of King James, the pretended Prince of Wales, and the children that shall be procreated of either of their bodies." Only five opposed these resolutions....

The convention next made offer of the crown to William and Mary: a vote in which the Duke of Queensberry and the Marquis of Athole concurred, although they had refused to be present at the other. They reconciled their conduct by saying, "That, since the throne was declared vacant by the nation, they knew none so worthy to fill it as the Prince and Princess of Orange"--a mixture of sentiment, intended to please both Kings, but which, like most compliments of the kind, pleased neither. From an excess of zeal which betrayed the cause of it, the Duke of Hamilton demeaned himself to act the part of a clerk; reading, at the ordinary place of proclamation, the act of convention aloud to the mean multitude, who found even their own vanity hurt in the sacrifice which was made to it by the first man in the nation. With more dignity the parliament accompanied the offer of the crown with such a declaration of rights as laid open all the invasions upon the constitution, not of the late King alone, but of his brother, and ascertained every disputed pretension between the crown and the subject; for, accustomed either to trample upon their sovereigns, or to be trampled upon by them, the Scottish nation chose to leave nothing to be adjusted afterwards by the vibration between the executive and legislative powers, which had kept the English constitution almost continually in a just medium between the imperiousness of the crown and the licentiousness of the subject. The Earl of Argyle for the peers, Sir James Montgomery for the knights, and Sir John Dalrymple for the boroughs, were sent to London with the offer of the crown....

The administration of the coronation-oath of Scotland was a ceremony attended with much awe; the King holding up his right hand high, whilst he swore, and repeated each word with slowness after the person who read it. It contained a clause, that the King should root out heretics. At these words, William stopt the Earl of Argyle, who was administering the oath, and declared, he did not mean to oblige himself to become a persecutor. The commissioners answering, that such was not the meaning of the oath: "Then," said the King, "I take it in that sense only." Whether this scruple was the effect of affectation or of delicacy, is immaterial: it became a King, and it pleased the people.


+Source.+--Memoirs of the War carried on in Scotland and Ireland, 1689-1691, by Major-General Hugh Mackay, Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's forces. With an appendix of original papers, p. 225. (Edinburgh: Bannatyne Club, 1833.)


Holyroodhous, 8 June, 1689.

Yesternight I received your lordship's of the 4th instant, with one to General Major Mackay; I did the same night send one to the west to dispatch some to Ireland for intelligence, and write two several ways to the captains of our ships to go to the coast of Ireland to cruise there, and give the best account they could if there was any appearance of an invasion from thence, which, I am confident, there is little fears of, if it be not by the French fleet, and it's very strange if they can be able to come to our coasts and land men, if there be an English and Dutch fleet at sea as you write, but if they should be able to land any considerable force we should be in an ill condition, considering how disaffected all the north is, and if we should absolutely with all his forces recall Mackay before he dissipates or beats Dundee, all that country generally, lowlands as well as highlands, would be in arms with him; so, upon communicating your letter to the Council this morning, they thought it not fit absolutely to recall him, but leave it much to himself, and desired him to send any of the English horse that is with him to the west country, where they can be best provided with horse meat, and most of our own new levied horse we intend should go there also, and some regiments of our foot lays there and about Stirling, the rest being in St. Johnston,[1] Dundie, and about this place, beside what is with Mackay, from whom we have not heard since what I sent you.


Holyroodhous, 28 July, 1689.

MY LORD,--On Friday last Major General Mackay marched from St. Johnston with about 4000 foot, 4 troops of horse and dragoons, and was at Dunkell that night, where he received intelligence that Dundie was come to Blair in Atholl; he marched on Saturday towards him, and within two miles of Blair about 5 at night they engaged, and by several inferior officers and soldiers that is come here this evening, gives us the account, that after a sharp engagement Dundie being much stronger, the Major General was quite defeat, and I have yet heard of no officers of quality that is come of but Lieutenant Colonel Lauther, who my Lord Ruthven spoke with as he came from St. Johnston this day, and gives the same account of their being wholly routed, but the confusion is such here that the particulars is hardly to be got. We have given orders at Council this afternoon to draw all the standing forces to Stirling, and has sent to the west country to raise all the fencible men, and Sir John Lanier has write to the English forces in Northumberland to march in here, and is going to Stirling to command, for Mackay is either killed or taken by all the account we have yet got, but you shall quickly have another flying packet or an express.


[1] Perth.


+Source.+--Memoirs of the War carried on in Scotland and Ireland, 1689-1691, by Major-General Hugh Mackay, Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's forces. With an appendix of original papers, p. 50. (Edinburgh: Bannatyne Club, 1833.)

Being come up to the advanced party he[2] saw some small parties of the enemy, the matter of a short mile, marching slowly along the foot of a hill which lay towards Blair, marching towards us; whereupon he sent orders to Balfour to march up to him in all haste with the foot. But presently upon that order, having discovered some bodies of them marching down an high hill, within a quarter of a mile to the place where he stood, when the gross[3] of their body appeared, fearing that they should take possession of an eminence just above the ground where our forces halted on, of a steep and difficult ascent, full of trees and shrubs, and within a carbine shot of the place whereon we stood, whereby they could undoubtedly force us with their fire in confusion over the river, he galloped back in all haste to the forces, and having made every battalion form by a Quart de Conversion to the right upon the ground they stood, made them march each before his face up the hill, by which means he prevented that inconveniency, and got a ground fair enough to receive the enemy, but not to attack them, there being, within a short musket shot to it, another eminence before our front, as we stood when we were up the lowest hill, near the river, whereof Dundee had already got possession before we could be well up, and had his back to a very high hill, which is the ordinary maxim of Highlanders, who never fight against regular forces upon anything of equal terms, without a sure retreat at their back, particularly if their enemies be provided of horse; and to be sure of their escape, in case of a repulse, they attack bare footed, without any clothing but their shirts, and a little Highland doublet, whereby they are certain to outrun any foot, and will not readily engage where horse can follow the chase any distance.... Shortly thereafter, and about half an hour before sunset, they began to move down the hill.

The General had already commanded the officers, commanding battalions, to begin their firing at the distance of 100 paces by platoons, to discourage the approaching Highlanders, meeting with continual fire: That part of their forces which stood opposite to Hastings, who had the right of all, before the Generals', Levin's and Kenmore's regiments, came down briskly together with their horse, and notwithstanding of a brisk fire, particularly from the General's own battalion, whereby many of the chief gentlemen of the name of Macdonald, who attacked it, were killed, pushed their point, after they had fired their light pieces at some distance, which made little or no execution, with sword in hand, tho' in great confusion, which is their usual way. Which when the General observed, he called to the Lord Belhaven to march up with the first troop of horse, ordering him to flank to the left hand the enemy, the fire being then past on all hands, and coming to handy strokes if our men had stood, appointing the second troop to do the same to the right; but scarcely had Belhaven got them without the front of the line, where they had orders to wheel for the flank, tho' their very appearance made the enemy turn away from the place where they saw the horse coming up, but contrary to orders, they began to pass, not knowing whereat, and presently turned about, as did also Kenmore's and the half of Levin's battalion.

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