The political movement which tried to reinstate King James II of England and VII of Scotland began in 1688 after James throne was taken away by his Protestant daughter Mary II and her cousin. After King James passed away, Jabobites would support the descendents of the Stuarts also known as the House of Stuart. Jacobitism occurred throughout Scotland, Ireland and in the north of England. People were most upset about the fact that parliament stepped in and interfered with the monarchical succession which they felt was illegal and not within their power.
Seumasaich is the term used to describe Scottish Highland clan supporters of Jacobitism. They supported Jacobitism because James VII's compassionate treatment of the clans and they wanted to keep their land and keep intruders of their territory out.
The 4 main beliefs of the Jacobite ideology were answerability of the Kings to only God, unchallengeable hereditary right, divine right of kings and indisputable obedience. Jacobites in Scotland opposed the Act of Union 1707.
Act of Union 1707
This act passed in both the Scottish and English Parliament, joining the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland and creating the Kingdom of 'Great Britain'.
The Acts took effect on 1 May 1707. On this date, the Scots Parliament
and the English Parliament united to form the Parliament of Great
Britain, based in the Palace of Westminster in London, the home of the
English Parliament. Hence, the Acts are referred to as the Union of the
A string of battles, rebellions and wars occurred between Scotland and England from 1688 to 1746. The rebellion was aimed at getting James VII his throne back from Parliament. The government in both England and Scotland called the Jabobite rising rebellions. Today these 'rebellions' would most likely be called acts of terrorism. The two major rebellions were called 'The Fifteen' and 'The Forty-Five' because these were the years that the rebellions took place, in 1715 and 1745. Although, the Jacobite uprising started in 1688, it didn't really intensify until 1714 after the House of Hanover took over the throne. The Hanoverians or House of Hanover is a group of royal monarchs who followed the House of Stuart as royalty in the various parts of Great Britain.
Dundee's rising in Scotland
In 1689 Viscount Dundee gathered Jacobite supporters from Scotland and Ireland to help James regain power. After building a sufficient army of two companies and eight battalions he set out for battle, these battles featured clans of the Dundee army who supported James VII versus the supporters of William of Orange. They won some small skirmishes and they surprisingly defeated a Scottish force in the Battle of Killiecrankie but Dundee died in the battle and his forces scattered.
Battle of Dunkeld
The Battle of Dunkeld was led by Colonel Alexander Cannon, who was the leader of the Irish Jacobites, the experienced Jacobite highlander Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel was so upset that he was not chosen as the new leader that he left before the battle. Dundee's death and Lochiel's departure would be too much to overcome, the Highlanders were easily defeated, however the northern region of Scotland would remain hostile to English rule and small battles continued for years.
Battle of Cromdale
The Battle of Cromdale was led by Sir Ewen Cameron and ended Dundee's rising in Scotland. Cameron's men were already in low spirits after their defeat in Dunkeld and they were outnumbered and barely put up a fight before retreating against the Sir Thomas Livingston's government force.
The end of James dreams
James VII hope's of returning to power took another major hit in both 1691 and 1692. In 1691, William's troops defeated James at the Battle of the Boyne. Many historians, consider the Battle of the Boyne the turning point in the Jacobite rebellion otherwise known as the battle between the Catholic King James and the Protestant King William. After this battle James dreams of regaining the crown seemed all but lost. News of this defeat quieted and disheartened the Scottish Highlander supporters of James. William took advantage of the weakened state of the Highlanders by offering them to take an oath, to show their allegiance to him and be pardoned from any wrongdoing. He gave them a deadline of January 1st 1692.
Massacre of Glencoe
After various battles with Chief Maclain's Highlander clan, William asked him and other chiefs to sign oaths of allegiance. Although, Maclain did not give his oath as hurriedly as some other chiefs, he eventually signed off on the oath in front English government officials and returned home.
King William, John Dalrymple, and Sir Thomas Livingston had viewed the Highlander clans as an impediment to English rule in Scotland. These men were all believed to be involved in the preparation of this bloody massacre. Sometime between late January and early February the Earl Argyll Regiment of Foot soldiers consisting of 120 men arrived to Glencoe where they were greeted warmly and customary by the Highlanders. The Captain of this mission was Robert Campbell, he pretended like he was only there to collect taxes. The chief of the Highlanders in this region was Alastair Maclain. In mid February, Captain Drummond arrived and played card games with his unsuspicious victims. The next day Maclain was murdered along with 38 other men and 40 children/women, most of the Highlanders were killed unarmed trying to flee. The king was exonerated from any blame from the massacre and most of the blame fell to the Secretary Dalrmple.
The aftermath of this event helped Jacobite supporters build sympathy around Scotland and stories of the massacre even became novels and short stories such as the 'The Highland Widow', written by Sir Walter Scott.
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward Stuart was the only son of James VII and was later proclaimed James VIII of Scotland and James III of Ireland and England. James would later be called the 'the Old Pretender', while his son Charles Edward Stuart was recognized as 'the Young Pretender'.
Aborted invasion of 1708
The War of the Spanish Succession in 1701 helped the Jacobites gain French support. The Old Pretender allied himself with the French and in 1708 tried to bring 6000 French troops to battle the English but his plans was halted by Admiral Byng and the Royal English Navy. Many French ships retreated back to France and the invasion of 1708 never gained steamed.
The Jacobite Rebellion of 1715
This Rebellion is also depicted as the Rising of 1715 and 'The Fifteen'. Jacobites planed on using armed rebels to overtake the Hanoverian government. After the failed invasion of 1708, the Old Pretender worked with John Erkskine, the Earl of Mar and they continued plotting to bring down the government. Earl of Mar wanted Scotland to gain independence from England and he helped raise an army alongside James, his army grew to 8,000 men but Mar's indecisiveness as a general would be their downfall. Mars spent too much time waiting around when he should have been attacking the English army who were still in their recruiting phase.
The Battle of Preston
This important battle during the Jacobite rising was fought in November of 1715. The Jacobites moved into the southern part of England with an army of 4000 men; however the Jacobite force had to deal with unexpected defections and mutinies throughout their march into England. Thomas Forster, the leader of the Jacobite force did everything right at first, from barricading streets, gaining high position from houses and setting up a strong defensive position at the Ribble Bridge. The early advantage in this battle clearly belonged to the Jacobites but that quickly changed after Forster withdrew troops from key areas and some Jacobites left town to help out other forces. This story led to a ballad, Lo! The Bird is Fallen. On November 13th more government soldiers arrived and forced the Jacobite army to surrender and ended one of the last battles taken place on English soil.
After 'The Fifteen'
The government passed the Clan Act and the Disarming act to try to prevent the Scottish High lands of ever threatening the government again.
The 'Young Pretender'
Charles Edward Stuart was the son of James Francis Edward Stuart (the Old Pretender). Charles would soon be called the Young Pretender. In 1744 after British and French diplomacy had once again soured, the French and the Jacobites, again tried to set up a surprise attack on England, however a dreadful February storm ruined their plans.
Rising of 1745
The Young Pretender gathered more rebel troops in France and Scotland for another invasion of England. His armies were funded by rich Scottish bankers, French supporters and other noble Jacobite supporters. Charles Stuart landed in Scotland on 2 August 1745 and planed to lead another Jacobite rising in his father's honour. The young pretender and his Jacobite followers soon captured Coatbridge and Perth while the majority of the British troops were in the midst of battles with the French.
Battle of Prestonpans
In the Battle of Prestonpans
(also known as the Battle of Gladsmuir), the Jacobites successfully defeated the government troops
(led by Sir John Cope) after unexpectedly attacking the government forces at 4am
on 21 September 1745, this battle only lasted about 10 minutes. The government forces suffered hundreds of casualties and 1500 of them were taken prisoner. This battle would be the high point for the Jacobite rebels, there enlistment increased and morale sky rocketed.
After this battle the Young Pretender and his army would be on the run for months, the experienced English army had returned from France and were looking to stop the rebels in their tracks. After various small battles the Jacobites regrouped and confronted the government army in the Battle of Culloden.
Battle of Prestonpans mural
The Battle of Culloden
The Young Pretender's army faced off against the government troops in what became a one sided easy victory for the English army. Stuart's French and Highland troops were no match for the more skilled and better equipped British fighters. In the end, over 1,500 Jacobite troops perished, while only 50 British troops passed away. This defeat would lead to the end of Jacobitism and any hope of the Stuart's regaining the throne was gone. The young pretender was forced to make an embarrassing return to France dressed as a lady's maid.
Aftermath of Jacobtism
Stuart's defeat led to the destruction of the Scottish clan structure and allowed the British government to pass some laws which forced the Scottish Highlanders to assimilate with the rest of England such as the Dress Act 1746, the Act of Proscription 1746, and the Heritable Jurisdictions Act. The Dress Act deemed Highland attire illegal in Scotland, the Heritable Jurisdictions Act took away the heritable rights of Scottish clan chiefs and the Act of Proscription banned the playing of bag pipes and the Gaelic language. These laws would later be repealed about 50 years later.