One of the most dramatic and romantic periods in Scottish history was the Jacobite Uprising in 1745. For historical and romance authors, other than the first Scottish War of Independence in the 13th and 14th century, this event is a favorite backdrop for their stories with braw, kilted Highlanders and strong independent heroines. For the family historian, this period is probably the best known of all Scottish history and provides a wealth of records of their ancestors whether they were Jacobites or government troops or innocent bystanders as the drama unfolded. But who were the Jacobites?
King James II and his queen Anne of Hyde
The Jacobite uprising in 1745 was the culmination of over 60 years of Jacobite uprising beginning with the death of King Charles II in 1685 leaving no heir other than his brother James II. At this time Scotland and England were separate countries with their own parliaments but who shared a single king. In the reign of Henry VIII in1534, the king split with the Catholic Church and the papacy creating the Protestant Church of England insuring setting the stage for the Parliament to require the monarch in the 17th century to be a Protestant. The Scottish Reformation in 1560 established their form of a Presbyterian form of Protestantism finally formalized by the monarchy and parliament as the Church of Scotland in 1690. Both established the monarchy of both countries would be Protestant. This proved a problem with the death of Charles II.
King William II (Scotland)/III (England) and Queen Mary Stuart
James II, brother, and heir to Charles II was a Catholic. With his first wife, he had two Protestant raised daughters, Mary, and Anne. With his second wife, who was a Catholic, he had a son James (Old Pretender) and a daughter who died young. King James’ adherence to the Catholic faith became an issue for the English and in 1688 the English Parliament invited William of Orange (whose mother was the sister of Charles II and James II) and his wife Mary Stewart (Protestant daughter of James II) to rule the English crown. In 1689 the Convention of Estates in Scotland also favored of William and Mary for the crown of Scotland. In November of 1688, James II fled to France. In the ensuing 60 plus years, there were five Jacobite Uprisings with the goal of restoring the Catholic Stuart family to the throne of England and Scotland (1688-1707) and Great Britain (1707-1746).
In August, King William III/II offered the Jacobites a pardon if they pledged their allegiance to the crown by the end of the year. An unsuccessful effort, in January of 1692 King William ordered those who did not sign would be severley sanctioned by the Crown. This resulted in with the worst breach of Scottish hospitality ever occurring in early modern Scottish History. When the clan Chief of the Macdonalds of Glen Coe was late in signing the pledge (because he waited too long to see who would sign and then was thwarted by the weather), King William III and Lord Stair orchestrated the horrific massacre of Glen Coe as a message to other clans.
Dr David Dobson is the recognized authority on American Colonial genealogy, especially those who came from Ireland, Scotland and England in the period. He also has done extensive research on places in Scotland, Ireland and England, focusing on the type of records and information a family historian (an author doing research) use routinely in their research. His books can be purchased online and are found in many genealogy libraries
John Graham, of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, "Bonnie Dundee"
Second Jacobite Uprising 1708
On June 12, 1701 the English Parliament passed the act of Settlement which stated if King William and Mary or Mary's sister, Queen Anne left no surviving Protestant heir, the crowns of Scotland and England would pass to Sophia of Hanover (the granddaughter of James I of England-James VI of Scotland), and/or her Protestants. heirs. Later that year, James II died the king of France recognized his son James III (the Old Pretender) as the King of England and Scotland. In 1707, after the disaster of the Darian Scheme that nearly bankrupted Scotland, the English and Scottish parliaments voted for the act of Union creating the single country . Great Britain (United Kingdom was in 1801). This completed what began with the Union of the Crowns in 1603. This act ended of Scottish independence resulting in limited Scottish representation in the new British parliament located in London, known as the Westminster Parliament. In 1708, the Jacobites in France sent a French naval Squadron hoping to land the forces of the King James III and the king in the Firth of Forth but were unsuccessful. And for the next seven years as the Scots tried to adapt to the changes brought on by the union with England, Jacobite support grew among the disgruntled Scots throughout Scotland and not just those in the Highlands.
A Parcel of Rogues (Lyrics were written by Robert Burns almost 100 years after the event, however the tune is of the period.)
In the second part of this post, I will cover the two most famous of the Jacobite Uprisings (1715 and 1745) as well as the aftermath for both the culture of the Highlands and Scotland as a whole. Look for that post to appear sometime on Friday June 17. Enjoy, and as always if you have a question or a topic request for a future post .... please feel free to contact me here .