Born and reared in the Jacobite court in Rome, Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, or Bonnie Prince Charlie as the Scots called him, was in his early twenties, good-looking, chivalrous and eager to restore his family’s title as rightful heirs of Great Britain when the opportunity for restoration came with the outbreak of the War of the Austrian
Succession in 1740.[i] Britain and France were not at war with each other: Britain provided aid to Austria and France supported Bavaria and Spain. The situation changed in 1743 when the British decided to send troops instead of financial aid into Netherlands.[ii] This serious military reversal persuaded Louis XV to plan an invasion of England with the aim of restoring the Stuarts, thereby ensuring that Britain would take no further part in the war. In 1744, Charles Stuart arrived in Paris, but a storm destroyed the invasion fleet and the plan to conquer England was delayed. In 1745, with a little help from the French, Charles had two ships fitted out for an expedition to Scotland. In July 1745, Charles Edward landed in Scotland, declared his father, James III, King of Great Britain, raised an army and, defeated the English at Preston-pans.[iii]
In reprisal, George III sent his oldest son the Duke of Cumberland on a campaign to destroy the clans forever. The steps taken to destroy the clans were barbarous executions, the eradication of clan culture and the imposition of martial law. Furthermore, the English felt that they had to get rid of Catholicism and destroy the clan system, in order to control the “savage” Scots, who were always presumed to be Catholic or followers of the Jacobite movement. However, Scottish society and culture was already blending with English culture, and therefore the extermination of clan society was a purely racist policy implemented by the Duke of Cumberland.
Scotland and England in the eighteenth century were predominantly Protestant. Most of England and the Lowlands of Scotland supported the Hanoverian succession, but there were some, especially in the Scottish Highlands, who remained true to the Stuarts, whom they thought to be their legitimate monarch, and eventually pledged allegiance to the Stuart banner. The defeat of the Stuart army at the battle of Culloden was a severe blow to the Highlanders and the British policy was cruel and inhumane afterwards. The English intended to exterminate the Highlanders so that they could never again sponsor a Jacobite rebellion. The Hanoverian regime fully understood that wars and rebellions were funded by royalty and the rich banks of Europe. The reinforcement of major garrisons within Scotland and the execution of the captured officers would have been enough to destroy the rebellion.
However, a policy of genocide was imposed on the Scots, and the Chiefs and peasantry were rounded up for slaughter. In a letter to the author of the National Journal, the writer describes such indignation to the body such as wounded men after battles being clubbed and bayoneted to death; others were also castrated and burnt alive. Prisoners were also starved and kept naked within their own filth. They were denied medical treatment and their wounds were left to become gangrenous.[iv] These atrocities were common in the History of the English people and their relationship to the Gaelic speaking people of Ireland and their cousins living in the Highland region of Scotland. These acts of brutality were only the opening efforts at destroying the Highland culture. The British degraded the native people even more by raping their women. The women living in the islands and Highland areas were obliged to climb and hide themselves in caverns that were somewhat inaccessible when they were warned of a planned mass rape—‘skulking in a starving condition till the men of war sailed away or marched on to another town.[v] The British policies after Culloden were about executing rebels; they were about breaking the dignity and will of the people.
Well into the second week of the aftermath of the battle of Culloden, the English activities were increasing in depravity. It became apparent that the English were not about to stop the killings of the Gaelic people until their culture was exterminated from the Scottish highlands. These barbaric acts are not well known because history is usually documented from the conquerors’ point of view and there are no documents that depict the story of the burning of crops, destroying of cottages or killing of cattle.
A month after the battle of Culloden, it was decided that the leading rebels would be executed in London. Kennington Common was the place appointed for their executions and as the spectacle was expected to be attended with those circumstances of barbarity by the English law of treason, the London mob had assembled in extraordinary numbers to witness it.[vi] These executioners were barbaric because they were ordered to hang the rebels, cut their heads off and disembowel them. This procedure was achieved by cutting the rebels down from the scaffold just before they went unconscious. The disembowelled intestine was then burnt in the fire. The heads of rebels were then stuck on stakes and the body parts were discarded like garbage. After 1746 they were no vivacious supporters of the Jacobite cause in England or Scotland.
To an Englishman of the eighteenth century, and to most Lowland Scots, the Highlands of Scotland were a remote and unpleasant region populated by barbarians who spoke a meaningless tongue, who dressed in crude skins, worn out kilts, and who equated honour with cattle-stealing and murder. The Highlanders were a threat to the people of the Lowlands as Scottish history portrays the tale. In the thirteenth century, Scotland’s most famous patriot William Wallace was conceivably betrayed by Lowland Scottish nobles who had supported Edward I. All through the Middle Ages and into the period of the eighteenth century, the Lowlands were developing at a different cultural rate than the Highlands. The Lowland towns were similar in culture and industry with the towns of Northern England. On the other hand, the Highland way of life covered a system that was tribal, and very much similar to feudalism. At the time of the rebellion of 1745, it was understood that Charles Edward’s alliance with the clans showed no blood or kinship relation. This bond was an understanding that Protestant Britain was a dangerous enemy.
After the defeat of the Stuart army, the plan of the English was to eliminate the Highland culture from Scotland. The English government portrayed the Highlanders as one of the biggest threats to the Protestant faith. However, many chiefs were Protestant and their clan members were Catholic. The Highland way of life was more than religion; it was kinship and bonding under one banner which was one’s last name. Every clansman shared the same last name. From boyhood, from the moment his foster-mother weaned him, a Highland chief began to understand, or at least to enjoy, his peculiar position in life. He was of the same blood and name and descent as his people, but he stood halfway between them and God.[vii] So after the battle of Culloden; necessary steps such as the banning of kilts, playing the bagpipes and the destruction of the Clan rituals were all important steps in eliminating the clan.
The Dress Act was part of the Act of banning which came into force on the first of August 1746 and made wearing “the highland Dress”, including tartan or kilt, illegal in Scotland.[viii]The banning of the Kilt was used to control the Gaelic people because the British government then turned around and recruited trusted Highlanders to wear a form of the uniform in the newly created Black Watch guard who served in areas such as British North America and Australia. The playing of the bagpipe was also banned in Scotland after the uprising of 1745. The bagpipes were considered an instrument of war by the British government. In this period anyone carrying a bagpipe could be subjected to the death penalty. The British allowed the Scottish Highlanders to keep their cultural dress and bagpipes if they joined the army. Highland culture was implemented into the British army to fight wars in distant territories and the kilt and bagpipe was banned in Scotland for nearly 60 years.
These penalties could only be described as martial law. After the defeat at Culloden, the conduct of the magistrates was completely changed; and the fury of the soldiers and the people of the lowlands were directed at the church and Highlanders. Their chapels were burnt down and the gold ornaments and other riches were stolen by the British government. In the parliamentary session of 1747, several acts were brought forward and passed, for the purpose of preventing future disturbances on account of the succession. The most important of these acts were the, Episcopalian Act, the, Disarming Act, the, Act of Legislation and the, Act of Companion.[ix]
The Episcopalian church was the most powerful institution in Scotland. When the Stuarts lost the crown of Britain, the Episcopalian church came under from the Presbyterians, on account of the injudicious persecutions bringing upon the Presbyterians.[x] The Presbyterian Church came to be known as the Protestant supporters of Hanover and the established Episcopalian church was marked as the religion of the Jacobites.
From the Union of settlement in 1707, Scotland gained much freedom from Britain and the greater portion of the educated, the nobility and the wealthy had supported the Episcopalian church. After the battle of Culloden, Episcopalian churches were burnt and ransacked by the poorer people and the soldiers of Britain. An act was passed, less than three months after the conclusion of the war, by which it was ordained that any Episcopalian clergyman officiating after the 1st September 1746, without having taken the oaths of allegiance, abjuration, or without praying once, during the performance of worship, for the King, his heirs and all royal family, should , for the first offence suffer six months imprisonment and for second offence (upon conviction before High Court ), be transported to the penal colonies for life.[xi] Moreover a huge debt was put on the Episcopalian church, whereas the Episcopalian clergyman had to pay this debt before he could take up worship in this church.
Episcopalians could not meet in groups of five or more individuals with ministers. This meeting would be classified as a church gathering and the gatherers were subjected to a fine or imprisonment. Eventually the bill was rewritten to state that no Episcopalian church was guaranteed the right to worship in England, Scotland and Ireland. The British government then decreed that any Episcopalian member could not run for a government seat. This act effectively killed the Episcopalian church in Scotland. Many of the members feared that they would lose their lands and titles if they supported the Episcopalian church. The Episcopalian church grew old with the Jacobite cause and the next generation after the rebellion of 1746, worshipped in the Presbyterian Church.
The Disarming Act was introduced to stop the Highlanders from carrying any kind of weapon; a gun, knife or sword. This act was changed to cover anyone living in the Highlands. A heavy fine was set and if the fine could not be paid within a period of one month, t he lawbreaker was transported to the colonies as a soldier. If the guilty person was a woman or they were too old to serve in the army, they were imprisoned for six months; upon release they were put on probation or watch for ten years. The gun and weapon laws greatly affected the Highland culture. These men were hunters and warriors. They could no longer hunt or duel amongst themselves. Their lands were stolen and on occasion some of their farm tools were destroyed because the British government believed they could be used as weapons. The Highlander was blamed for a war that originated in the royal prerogative right of succession to the British crown. This war of succession, which originated in 1689, was finally being put to a close with the extermination of the Gaelic culture and the subsequent assimilation of lower and upper class Scotland into the realm of Britain.
The plan of the British was to destroy the will of all people of Scottish descent and to possibly turn the Highlands into a plantation colony, like they implemented in 16th century Ireland and lesser comparison to the slave colonies of the West Indies. Further evidence of the previous statement is found in the Act of Legislation and the Act of Companion. The Act of Legislation was created to abolish heritable jurisdictions in Scotland. It put an end to the Highlanders judging civil and criminal cases amongst their own people.[xii] The Companion Act abolished the right of ward-holding, by which the landlords commanded military service of their tenants. By these means, the last conspicuous feature of the feudal system was brought to an end in Scotland[xiii].
The spirit, youth and vibrancy of the Jacobite movement was broken by the harsh policies of Britain. Jacobitism was left to rot in an unmarked and unblessed grave. As the decades passed, the movement was long forgotten because all the rebels were now dead and buried beside that unmarked grave. Many heroes and martyrs were born during the rebellion. The most famous being Flora Macdonald (1722-1790) who disguised Prince Charles as a woman and guided him through the toll stations set up in the islands.
In conclusion, the Highlanders loved their Prince and no amount of money could have persuaded them to hand him over to the British. He toiled in Scotland for six months after the battle in 1745. The policy implemented by the British is very similar to the occupation of Ireland. During the summer of 1690 and in the next twenty years, the English reduced the Irish to a condition of virtual slavery. The Catholics, who composed four-fifths of the population, now owned but one-seventh of the land. A series of penal laws kept Catholics from public office, voting, teaching, purchasing of land and many other beneficial things needed to succeed in life.[xiv] A similar but more severe system was instituted in the slave colonies. The Gaelic Highlanders were the brothers of the Irish and they understood the cruel process of colonization. This rebellion was more about eliminating the Stuart claim, but more important destroying important factions that stabilized the country of Scotland.
The most cohesive forces in 18th century Scotland were the Highlander’s and the Episcopalian Church. The Episcopalian church as its foundation in the Anglican Church, but the British policy was to take away this upper class Scottish institution from the people, so they could be subjugated further and become assimilated into British society. Britain has always had a caste system a system where Ireland and Wales were easily tamed. Scotland had always fought the English so fiercely. Scotland downfalls were its illicit encounters with Spain and France. In 1745, England had decided that her protestant lover Scotland had opened her back door for the last time to some dashing catholic despot. It was time she paid for her insubordination.
Charles Stuart was never to return to Scotland or raise an army again to support his family’s claim to the British throne. In old age he mentions in his letters the sadness he felt in causing such pain and devastation to the Highlanders of Scotland. . The court came to the conclusion “no highland regiment ever marched without a piper of kept alive in secret. in the eyes of the law, was an instrument of warfare” He suffered death on the 6th November 1746.herefore his bagpipes in the eyes of the law, was an instrument of warfare” He suffered
[i] Micheal Hook and Walter Ross, The Forty-Five-The Last Jacobite Rebellion (London, England: Stationery office Press 1995), p4
[iii] Clayton Roberts, David Roberts and Douglas R. Bisson, A History of England-Volume two 1688 to the Present (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall 2002), p452
[iv] John Richardson, Atrocities in Mid Eighteenth-Century War Literature: Eighteenth-Century Life (Volume 33, Number 2, Spring 2009), pp. 92-114
[v] Micheal Hook and walter Ross, The Forty-Five-The Last Jacobite Rebellion (London, England: Stationery office Press 1995), p119
[vi] Robert Chambers, History of the Rebellion of 1745 (Edinburgh, Scotland: W&R Chambers Limited 1869), p443
[vii] John Prebble, Culloden (Ipswich, England: Atheneum 1962), p42
[viii] http://www.heritageofscotland.com/p,history-of-the-kilt,page.php (accessed june 8th 2009)
[ix] Robert Chambers, History of The Rebellion of 1745 (Edinburgh, Scotland: W&R Chambers Limited 1869), p481-484
[xiv] Clayton Roberts, David Roberts and Douglas R. Bisson, A History of England Volume II 1688 to the Present (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall 2002), p409