Jacobite risings

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Were attempts after 1689 to reverse the expulsion of the senior branch of the Stuart family. Supporters of the exiled dynasty were known as Jacobites from the Latin form of the name James which is Jacobus. James VII and II fled from England in December 1688. He landed in Ireland in March 1689, with French troops, but left when defeated at the Boyne in 1690.

The first Jacobite rising was in Scotland in 1689 led by Viscount Dundee. Large clans and great magnates were inactive, apart from the Campbells, whose chief, Argyll, was restored by the events of 1688–9. Dundee died in victory at the battle of Killiecrankie in July 1689, and the Jacobite army was finally routed at the Haughs of Cromdale in May 1690.

Not until the passage of the Union of 1707 did outraged Scottish national sentiment make another rising thinkable. In March 1708 James Francis Edward Stuart, after his father's death in 1701 the Jacobite claimant, was off the coast of Fife with a French expedition, but the French fled north at the sight of Royal Navy ships.

Queen Anne's death in 1714 was followed by the smooth accession of the protestant Hanoverian dynasty. The Whig coup at the accession of George I drove many Tories to despair, some to rebellion. After failing to get a job from George I, the earl of Mar started a Scottish national rising. There was also a small English rising in Northumberland. The Scottish rising failed due to the action of Argyll, and Mar's incompetence. An attempt to raise the Lancashire catholics was foiled at Preston on the same day (14 November) that Mar failed to sweep Argyll aside at Sheriffmuir.

The next Jacobite rebellion was a fiasco cynically sponsored by a Spanish government which was quarrelling with the British over Mediterranean issues. The main invasion force was intended to strike at the west of England, but was scattered by storms. A purely diversionary force did invade the north‐west Highlands, only to be crushed by General Wightman at Glenshiel in June 1719.

By 1744, war had broken out between France and Britain, and the French brought Prince Charles Stuart, elder son of James Stuart, to France to front an invasion. Then they dropped the idea. The arrival of Charles in the west Highlands in the late summer of 1745 was designed to reverse the French decision by seizing a poorly defended Scotland and then invading England to provoke French intervention. With the help of the Camerons and smaller central Highland clans, Charles occupied Edinburgh before shattering government forces under Cope at Prestonpans. The invasion of England in late 1745 was agreed to reluctantly by many Jacobite Scots. Even the field commander, Lord George Murray, regarded it as a reconnaissance to test English willingness to restore the Stuarts. By Derby, it was clear there was none, and retreat in the face of superior armies was brilliantly executed. A victory over the pursuing Hanoverian army under General Hawley at Falkirk in January 1746 merely postponed the day of reckoning which came on 16 April at Culloden east of Inverness, where the Jacobites were totally routed by the duke of Cumberland, a younger son of George II.


Subjects: British History.

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