Jacobite rising of 1745

Summary

The Jacobite insurrection of 1745 interested the territory of Great Britain between 1745 and 1746 and it was the last episode of the Jacobite insurrections as well as the last attempt to bring back on the throne of the Kingdom of Great Britain the House of Stuart, ousted at the beginning of the 18th century in favor of the House of Hanover. Because of its date of beginning, the insurrection is known in the United Kingdom also as “the Forty-Five” (in English The Forty-Five).

The insurrection began in August 1745: Taking advantage of the commitment of the Kingdom of Great Britain in the War of Austrian Succession, Charles Edward Stuart, the last pretender to the throne for the House of Stuart, landed in Scotland thanks to the support of his French allies giving new life to the movement of the “Jacobites”; Under his insignia was soon gathered a vast army thanks to the massive support of the Scottish clans of the Highlands region, and with the bulk of the troops loyal to Hanover committed on the European continent, the Jacobite forces were soon able to obtain several victories against the improvised local militias, raising the whole of Scotland and pushing inside England itself advancing up to Derby.

The recall of some experienced units of regular British troops under the command of William, Duke of Cumberland, decided the outcome of the revolt: the battle of Culloden on April 16, 1746 saw the disciplined regiments of “redcoats” completely rout the semi-medieval army of highlanders, and within a few days Charles Edward had to flee from Scotland. In addition to putting an end to the Jacobite movement, the insurrection also marked the end of the Scottish clan system and the subjugation of Scotland to British rule.

The Jacobite Cause

The policy of openness towards the Catholic Church undertaken by King James II of England (at the same time King of Scotland as James VII) at the end of the XVII century provoked the strong discontent of the English political and religious classes faithful to Anglicanism; the possibility that the son of James II, educated to the Catholic religion, could succeed his father and become therefore also head of the Anglican Church pushed the Whig circles of the Parliament of England to organize the ascent to the throne of London of a Protestant: The choice fell on William III of Orange, Statolder of the United Provinces, grandson of James II and husband of his daughter Mary, supporter of Anglicanism. In November 1688, the bloodless “Glorious Revolution” saw the triumphal entry of William and Mary in London while at the same time James fled with his son to France under the protection of King Louis XIV.

Under the reign of William and Mary, the Parliament of London saw its powers considerably strengthened through the approval of the Bill of Rights of 1689. Given the lack of direct heirs of the reigning couple, to avoid any Catholic claim to the throne, the English Parliament imposed with the Act of Settlement of 1701 the succession to the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland by a Protestant exponent of the House of Hanover; the pressure of the English Parliament because the Parliament of Scotland approved the Act of Settlement led to the drafting in 1707 of the Act of Union between the two countries: England and Scotland were united under a single state, the Kingdom of Great Britain, with a single Parliament. After having passed into the hands of Mary”s sister, Anne, the crown of Great Britain came in 1714 to the Elector of Hanover Georg Ludwig von Hanover, who ascended to the throne of London as George I of Great Britain.

The “Glorious Revolution” and William III”s ascent to the throne were not unanimously welcomed in all of the British Isles: in England the new ruler was opposed by Tory political circles and schismatic elements of the Anglican Church, while Catholic Ireland had always been a loyal supporter of the House of Stuart; the deposed James II could count on many supporters in Scotland, both among the gentry of the Lowlands, mostly Catholic and hostile to the advancement of Presbyterianism in the country, and among the warlike clans of the Highlands, traditionally in good relations with the Stuart monarch (who had respected the administrative autonomy) and worried about the expansionist policy undertaken by the powerful Clan Campbell of Argyll, Presbyterian and allied with the English crown. The supporters of the Stuart dynasty gave themselves the name of “Jacobites” (from Jacobus, the Latin form of the name of James II), and for the next half century launched several attempts to oust with arms the Hoverian dynasty settled on the throne of Great Britain.

The first insurrectional attempts undertaken by the Jacobites proved to be unsuccessful: despite the military support of France, England”s traditional enemy, the attempt led by James II himself to raise Ireland was defeated by the forces of William III in the course of the so-called “Williamite War” of 1689-1691, while the Jacobite insurrection organized at the same time in Scotland by John Graham, was suppressed by the Presbyterian Covenanters loyal to the new dynasty after their victory at the Battle of Dunkeld on August 21, 1689, although the north of the country always remained hostile to the Williamites and was pacified only with great difficulty between 1690 and 1692. After the death of James II in 1701, the pretensions of the Stuart dynasty were continued by his son James Francis Edward Stuart, later known as “The Old Pretender”: in 1708 an attempt to return to Scotland in command of a small force escorted by French ships was canceled due to the close surveillance of Scottish waters by the Royal Navy, but soon after the establishment of the throne of the first representative of the Haverian dynasty, George I, the “Old Pretender” started a new attempt at insurrection.

The Jacobite insurrection of 1715, known as “the Fifteen” (the Fifteen), took hold in Scotland in September 1715 by John Erskine, XXIII Earl of Mar, a Wigh left without power after the advent of the new king, then spread to other parts of Britain: a Scottish army crossed the border and met in Lancashire with English Jacobite insurgents led by Member of Parliament Thomas Forster but was defeated at the Battle of Preston in early November, while other insurrectionary attempts in Wales and Cornwall were nipped in the bud by government forces. Neither the Earl of Mar nor James Edward, who landed in Scotland in December, were experienced military commanders and the rebels wasted the initial advantage allowing the government to react: after the inconclusive battle of Sheriffmuir, the Jacobite army soon found itself outnumbered by the Hanoverians and in early February 1716 James Edward had to admit defeat and flee back to France. After the stipulation of a peace treaty between France and Great Britain in 1716, the “old pretender” had to look for new allies at the court of the Kingdom of Spain: a massive Spanish invasion force of 5,000 men set sail for Scotland in March 1719 was dispersed by storms before even arriving and only a small contingent managed to land, later rejoining a force of Jacobite highlanders but subsequently defeated by the government during the Battle of Glen Shiel on June 10 following. The improvement of the relations between Spain and United Kingdom left again without allies the Jacobites: James Edward, in exile in Rome, continued to formulate plans and projects for a new insurrection, but short of funds and with his movement infiltrated and decimated by British spies could not achieve anything and the Jacobite cause seemed to progressively decline.

The “young suitor”

However, the international situation again became favorable for the Jacobites” plans: the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession in 1740 again rekindled the state of hostility between France and Britain, and Jacobite agents went to the court in Paris to ask for aid; after some promising contacts with Tory politicians in England, who gave their support to a new uprising, the king Louis XV of France was favorable to the enterprise provided that James Edward abdicated in favor of his son Charles Edward Stuart, known in the European courts as the “Handsome Prince Charles” (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and then as “the Young Pretender” (the Young Pretender): a declaration was signed on December 23, 1743, making Charles Edward the leader of the Jacobite movement. On February 8, 1744 Charles arrived in Paris while in the meantime an army of 10-15. 000 French soldiers under the command of General Maurice of Saxony was gathering in Dunkirk in view of a landing on the English coast to be implemented near Maldon in Essex; the action, however, resulted in a new failure: after news about the planned invasion had come through spies and informers to the Secretary of State for the Department of the South Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle, a wave of arrests hit the English Jacobite movement while at the same time on February 24 a violent storm caused serious damage to the French fleet anchored in Dunkirk leading to the cancellation of the invasion project.

The French interest in the restoration of the Stuarts soon began to decline, pushing Charles Edward to move on his own: after obtaining a loan of 40. 000 livres from the Parisian banker George Walters, Charles was helped by the commander of the Irish Brigade of the French army, Charles O”Brien, to make contacts with Irish shipowners to plan its landing on the Scottish coast; Antony Walsh, a well-known Irish pirate and smuggler, put at the disposal of the Jacobites his 16-gun frigate Du Teillay, and the same Walsh was then able to hire the Elizabeth, a 64-gun Royal Navy vessel previously captured by the French. On May 11, 1745 the British army engaged against the French in Flanders suffered a defeat in the battle of Fontenoy reporting hard losses, taking advantage of the favorable moment, Charles Edward gave way to the expedition and June 22, 1745 the Du Tellay sailed from Nantes with on board the “young pretender”, a handful of companions, a load of weapons and 4. 000 gold coins, meeting then on July 4 off Brittany with the Elisabeth on which were loaded other weapons as well as a hundred volunteers taken from the Irish brigade, on July 9, off Cape Lizard in Cornwall, the two ships were intercepted by the 64-gun vessel HMS Lion of the Royal Navy: in the clash that followed the Elisabeth was heavily damaged and had to make course for Brest, but the Du Teillay managed to escape and continue the journey north to Scotland.

The commander of the Lion believed that the two ships were French units on their way to North America and did not send any alarm signal to the government in London, allowing the Du Teillay to arrive undisturbed on July 23 at the island of Eriskay in the Hebrides. On 25 July Charles Edward and his small retinue reached the Scottish mainland near Arisaig, beginning to make first contacts with the chiefs of the local clans MacDonald of Keppoch and Macdonald of Clanranald, part of the larger Clan Donald; on August 18 Charles Edorado went to a rendezvous with various chieftains near the village of Glenfinnan, and the next day he raised his banner on a nearby hill and made known James Edward”s proclamation appointing him prince regent in his name, officially starting the insurrection.

Charles, Lord of Scotland

The first rumors about the expedition of Charles Edward to Scotland had already begun to circulate in early June, and then became insistent in July; on July 28 Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, third son of King George II of Great Britain and commander in chief of the British regular army, wrote a letter to the Duke of Newcastle saying he was ready to interrupt the campaign in Flanders against the French to return home and face an eventual Jacobite insurrection: George II himself, however, declined the request. On August 3 the London Gazette published a proclamation of the court of justice that placed a bounty of 30,000 pounds for the capture of Charles Edward; when informed of this on August 20, the same Charles Edward replied offering a bounty of the same amount for the capture of King George II.

On August 14 two companies of the Royal Scots regiment left Fort Augustus to go to reinforce the government garrison of Fort William further west. On August 16 the detachment came across a small contingent of MacDonald of Keppoch guarding the Highbridge: after a brief skirmish the government tried to retreat along the road just crossed, but in a short time they found themselves surrounded by other groups of Jacobites rushed to the place and had to surrender. The Highbridge skirmish marked the beginning of the hostilities: on August 31, King George II returned to London from Hanover, while on September 4, a worried Duke of Newcastle sent a request to the Duke of Cumberland to immediately send ten battalions of British soldiers from Flanders to face the unexpected threat, fearing the danger of a Jacobite march on London.

Until the end of August, Charles Edward remained in Glenfinnan to gather troops and allies; in a short time the “young pretender” managed to put together an army of 1,200 men, half highlanders of the MacDonald clan and half of the Cameron clan. The army of the highlanders was the last medieval army still present in Western Europe: the Scottish clans were extended families who considered themselves descendants of an ancient common ancestor, and all the lands where the clan was settled were owned by the head of the clan, who gave them in management to other members on condition that they followed him in case of war, within the clan every man was a warrior and all warriors owed absolute loyalty to the head of the clan. Although by now firearms were in common use even in Scotland, the highlanders still preferred to fight with white weapons such as Lochaber axes or claymore swords with basket hilt, protecting themselves with small wooden shields covered with leather; the only known tactic was the frontal charge: men would unload their firearms on the enemy, either to cause casualties or to raise a curtain of smoke, and then sprint toward the opposing lineup to get to hand-to-hand combat, where the physical strength and courage of individuals decided the fight.

At the beginning of September Charles Edward marched towards the Badenoch region in the east, gathering more allies along the way and moving quickly thanks to the network of paved roads built by the British in the Highlands after the insurrection of 1715 to facilitate the movement of troops. At the command of the government forces in Scotland was General John Cope, who had at his command just under 4,000 soldiers, mostly inexperienced and poorly armed; after leaving Fort Augustus, Cope moved into the central Highlands hoping to intercept the Jacobite army before it could become too strong, but without finding any trace of the enemy he then headed for Inverness in the north-east, leaving the way to the south open. On September 4 Charles Edward reached Perth undisputed, where he was welcomed by other supporters led by Lord George Murray, an able veteran of the previous insurrection who was immediately appointed lieutenant general and commander of the Jacobite army; after the few government troops that barred his way had fled south without offering resistance, on September 15 the Jacobite army reached Edinburgh and, after some negotiations, on September 17 Charles Edward made his entrance in the city: the crowd welcomed the “young pretender” who could then settle in the Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the Scottish sovereigns, even if the government garrison under the orders of General Joshua Guest managed to barricade itself in the Edinburgh Castle where it remained besieged. On September 18 James Edward was formally proclaimed king of Scotland as James VIII, with Charles Edward as his temporary regent.

After discovering that he had been bypassed, Cope brought his army to Aberdeen, had it embarked and then transported by sea to Dunbar from where it marched towards Edinburgh; informed, Charles Edward brought the Jacobite army out of the Scottish capital and marched towards Prestonpans to meet the government of Cope. The battle of Prestonpans, fought on September 21, lasted just ten minutes: the violent charge of the highlanders overwhelmed the inexperienced army of Cope that ended up completely annihilated, with only light losses for the Jacobites. The news of Prestonpans reached London on September 24, unleashing panic: Cope was exonerated from command after the judgment of a court-martial, while in various parts of England there were outbreaks of anti-Catholic violence by the population; on October 19, the Duke of Cumberland formally received the letter of recall from King George II, and the British forces in Flanders began to embark to return to their homeland from October 28.

Practically master of the whole of Scotland, Charles Edward established his own court in Edinburgh and began to administer his new kingdom. The availability of money became a priority: the 4,000 gold louis brought from France had largely already been spent and, although the capture at Prestonpans of the Cope army chest had yielded another 3. 000 pounds, the monetary reserves of the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland had been taken to Edinburgh Castle and were still in government hands; letters were sent to all the boroughs of Scotland and to all the local tax collectors to favor their books and pay the balances due, while from the citizenry of Glasgow, mostly of Wigh sympathies, £5,000 in money and £500 in goods were obtained after negotiations. France hired four smugglers to deliver to the Jacobites £5,000 in gold, 2,500 muskets, six light cannons and a dozen French artillerymen under the supervision of James Grant, a Franco-Scottish lieutenant-colonel: all these supplies were successfully landed on October 9 at Montrose and October 19 at Peterhead; Louis XV”s personal representative, Alexander de Boyer marquis d”Eguilles, reached Charles Edward”s court at Edinburgh on October 14.

The invasion of England

On October 30, Charles Edward gathered a council to decide the next move: the intention of the “pretender” was to invade England as soon as possible via the south-east, since only a complete conquest of the region would allow a full restoration of the Stuart dynasty on the throne, but Lord Murray and many of the chiefs proposed to keep the Jacobite forces in Scotland to consolidate the position, eliminate the remaining government garrisons and wait for further aid from the French; in the end, by only one dissenting vote the council decided on the invasion, although Murray was able to convince Charles to lead the action by passing through Lancashire to the southwest, where landings of French troops on the coast of Wales or western England could bring additional reinforcements to the Jacobites. The Jacobite army then left Edinburgh in early November with a force of 5,000 infantrymen and 500 cavalrymen.

The 8 November 1745 the vanguard of the Jacobite army crossed the border between Scotland and England, reaching Carlisle the following day; the garrison of the castle of Carlisle decided to oppose resistance and the siege lasted until the 15 November when the government capitulated under very favorable conditions (the men were left free after having surrendered their weapons and signed a commitment not to resume hostilities against the Jacobites for at least one year): the capture of Carlise earned the Jacobites a good haul including 1. 500 muskets, 160 barrels of gunpowder and 120 horses. A government army under the command of general George Wade had been gathered in Newcastle upon Tyne to block the way to an invasion along the eastern coast of England, but the Jacobites advanced southward along the western coast penetrating in Lancashire and forcing Wade to pursue them; on November 23 Manchester was abandoned by Eduard Stanley, Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, and by the government garrison, and the Jacobites occupied it without a fight on November 28.

On December 4, Charles Edward”s army reached Derby, only 127 miles from London, where the following day a war council of the Jacobites met in Exeter House. The meeting set off contrasts within the rebel high command: Charles Edward was in favor of continuing the advance on London decisively, taking advantage of the favorable position gained and the high morale of the Jacobite troops, but Lord Murray and many of the other officers spoke out against further advances into England. Three government armies were maneuvering around the Jacobite position (General Wade”s army arriving from the northeast, the Duke of Cumberland”s army arriving from the south, and a third represented by the troops of the London garrison), and Lord Murray estimated that facing and defeating one of them would cause heavy losses to the Jacobites, making them vulnerable to attacks by the other two, while in case of defeat the retreat to Scotland would be impossible; in the opinion of the lieutenant general, the conquest of London was feasible only with an uprising of the English Jacobites or a landing of French troops in Essex, and neither of the one nor the other was at the moment any trace: even if the capital had been captured in an assault by the Jacobite army, it would have been promptly besieged by the combined armies of Wade and the Duke of Cumberland. To complicate matters further, the Irish adventurer Dudley Bradstreet, who had joined the Jacobite army but was actually working for the government as a spy, spread false information about the presence of another British army of 9,000 men deployed between Derby and London, while a thousand highlanders took advantage of the confusion to flee and return to Scotland; finally, Charles Edward had no choice but to reluctantly order a retreat to Scotland.

The retreat to Scotland

On December 6, the Jacobites left Derby marching compactly towards the north; the retreat took place without too many problems: on December 18, the Jacobite rearguard was engaged by the vanguard cavalry of the army of the Duke of Cumberland during the so-called skirmish of Clifton Moor, but managed to disengage without problems. The Jacobites left a small garrison of 400 men in the castle of Carlisle, which was besieged by the army of the Duke of Cumberland starting from 21 December and finally forced to surrender the following 30 December; the Duke immediately gave a first taste of how he would conduct the repression of the insurrection: all captured officers were hanged as traitors and the privates deported to the West Indies. On 25 December Charles Edward”s army reached Glasgow, but the city proved hostile and provided the supplies the Jacobites desperately needed only under threat of being plundered; the militia of the Independent Highland Companies, units recruited by the government from among the Scottish clans loyal to the Hanoverian dynasty, were causing problems to the Jacobite forces in the north of Scotland, although the Jacobite Lewis Gordon was able to inflict a defeat on them in the battle of Inverurie on 23 December.

On 3 January 1746 Charles Edward left Glasgow with his forces marching eastwards towards Edinburgh; the army reached Stirling on 5 January and once again the citizens proved hostile, reluctantly opening the gates of the city while the castle remained in the hands of the government garrison and had to be besieged. Lieutenant General Henry Hawley had replaced Wade at the head of the British army deployed along the east coast, and in early January he left Newcastle for Edinburgh; after reaching Linlithgow on 13 January, Hawley detached a contingent to try to free Stirling Castle from the siege and Charles Edward hurried to face him in a pitched battle: the Battle of Falkirk on January 17 ended in another victory for the Jacobites, and Hawley”s forces had to fall back after suffering several losses. The victory was however poorly capitalized by the Jacobites: the army of Charles Edward remained to besiege the castle of Stirling, but despite the arrival of a contingent of French artillery landed in Montrose the post was not conquered. The Jacobites had to record an increasing number of desertions among their ranks just as the army of the Duke of Cumberland was approaching Stirling, and finally Charles Edward accepted the advice of Lord Murray to head north in the Highlands to winter and gather more troops in view of the spring campaign; on February 1st the Jacobites left Stirling and, forded the Firth of Forth, headed towards Inverness: the government garrison at Fort George, northeast of Inverness, put up a brief resistance before capitulating on February 21, and Charles Edward established his winter headquarters in the city.

In the meantime, the forces of the Duke of Cumberland had reached Edinburgh on January 30, where they joined the remnants of General Hawley”s army that had escaped defeat at Falkirk; now in command of all government units stationed in Scotland, the Duke decided to continue the march northward, advancing along the east coast where his army could be easily supplied by sea: on February 27, the government units reached Aberdeen where they established their winter quarters, training in preparation for the resumption of the campaign in the spring and receiving an additional reinforcement of 5. 000 German mercenary soldiers. Taking advantage of the government army”s immobility and encouraged by the easy occupation of Fort George, the Jacobites carried out a series of attacks on the remaining fortified positions in the Glen Albyn area, of strategic importance for control of the Highlands: Fort Augustus was invested on March 3 and, thanks to a lucky mortar shot that hit in full its ammunition depot blowing it up, capitulated already the following March 5; the following siege of Fort William, started on March 20, dragged instead for several days because of the determined resistance of the government garrison (a mixture of British regulars and Scottish militiamen of the Campbell of Argyll Militia), until April 3 when Charles Edward recalled the besieging force to Inverness. A Jacobite contingent sent to besiege Blair Castle on March 17 was similarly recalled back on April 2 without having succeeded in seizing the position.

The defeat of Culloden

After waiting for the weather to improve, the Duke of Cumberland left his barracks in Aberdeen on April 8, advancing north towards the Moray Firth and then bending westward, still following the coast; on April 11 the government troops reached the course of the Spey River, where a Jacobite force was stationed: the government forces successfully forded the river on April 12 while the Jacobites fell back first on Elgin and then on Nairn, which in turn was evacuated and occupied by the government forces on April 14. The Duke of Cumberland then established the camp of his army near Balblair, just west of Nairn, while that same April 14 Charles Edward left Inverness with the bulk of his army: the Jacobite forces included 5,000 infantry and 400 cavalry accompanied by a dozen light cannons, while the Duke of Cumberland could dispose of 6,500 infantry between British regulars and Scottish militiamen as well as 2,600 horse dragoons and 16 pieces of artillery. The Jacobites arrived in sight of the government camp on April 15, but the British troops did not prove inclined to give battle: April 15 was the birthday of the Duke of Cumberland, and the British soldiers remained in their camp to celebrate with an extraordinary distribution of brandy. The situation could have been to the advantage of the Jacobites, but once again the rebels wasted their advantage by engaging in discussions within the high command: Lord Murray was annoyed by the choice of ground for the battle, a stretch of flat moorland near the village of Culloden, which instead Charles Edward and his aide-de-camp Sir John O”Sullivan considered more than adequate. The Jacobite army remained lined up in the cold and without food for several hours, until finally the commanders agreed to a night attack on the government camp: despite the celebrations, the soldiers of the Duke of Cumberland were however on the alert and the Jacobite action soon degenerated into total confusion due to the darkness and lack of coordination; after a brief skirmish the Jacobite army retraced its steps, dispersing in search of food and shelter for the night.

The action resumed the next morning, when both armies lined up on the plain of Culloden for the final confrontation. The battle of Culloden ended in a disastrous defeat for the Jacobites: The Duke of Cumberland”s troops, soldiers of the regular troops trained according to the canons of European warfare of the time, were decidedly of a different category from the provincial militias faced by the Jacobites at Prestonpans and Falkirk, and the frontal charge of the highlanders was shattered against the discharges of rifle fire and the solid ranks of the government units; while the Argyll militia maneuvered to take the Jacobite army by the flank, the British regulars charged the dishevelled Highlanders at the bayonet, driving them back and putting them on course. The pursuit by the British dragoons turned the defeat of the Jacobites into a rout: by direct order of the Duke of Cumberland no quarter was given to the wounded or taken prisoners, who were then massacred in large numbers, earning the Duke the nickname by the Scots of “Billy the butcher”. The Jacobite army ended up largely annihilated with the loss of 1,500-2,000 men between dead and wounded, while on the contrary the governmental army suffered only 50 dead and little more than 250 wounded.

While most of the highlanders fled to their native lands, Lord Murray managed to gather about 1. 500 survivors of the battle at Ruthven Barracks near Ruthven, but Charles Edward, who had narrowly escaped capture at Culloden, gave orders to disband the army on 18 April: the Frenchmen still in the Jacobite army reached Inverness where they surrendered to the government on 19 April as prisoners of war, while the Scots dispersed and returned to their homes. A group of prominent members of the Jacobite command including the chieftains Lochiel, Lochgarry, Clanranald and Barisdale fled west to the Sound of Arisaig, not far from the point where Charles Edward had landed on the Scottish mainland at the beginning of the insurrection: here, on 30 April, the Jacobites were joined by two French frigates, the Mars and the Bellone, which brought ashore various supplies as well as 35. Two days later the French ships were engaged in a violent six-hour naval battle by three Royal Navy sloops-of-war before they were able to retreat. Reinvigorated by the supplies they received and by the tangible proof that their French allies had not abandoned them, the Highland clan chiefs decided to try to continue the insurrection: after meeting on 8 May near Murlagan, the chiefs arranged to meet at Invermallie on 18 May with the intention of rejoining the remaining forces of Keppoch”s MacDonalds and the Macpherson regiment, which had not taken part in the battle of Culloden. This attempt soon failed: after a month of substantial inactivity, the Duke of Cumberland moved his army inside the Highlands and on May 17 the government reoccupied Fort Augustus; that same day the Macpherson clan offered its surrender. At the meeting of May 18 the chiefs Lochiel, Lochgarry and Barisdale (Clanranald did not show up) managed to put together only about 600 men in arms, some of whom immediately dispersed in search of food; the next morning a government contingent approached the meeting place and the Jacobite forces fled without offering the slightest resistance, disintegrating completely.

After his lucky escape from the battlefield of Culloden, Charles Edward went north accompanied by a small group of followers towards the Hebridean islands; on April 20 the “pretender” reached Arisaig from where a few days later he embarked for the island of Benbecula from where he then moved to Scalpay and then Stornoway. For five months Charles Edward moved continuously through the Hebrides, constantly sought by the supporters of the Hanoverians and with a bounty of 30,000 pounds on his head; the noblewoman Flora MacDonald offered him hospitality and protection, making him then escape adventurously to Skye disguised as a woman. The 19 September finally Charles Edward returned to Arisaig, where with a small retinue managed to embark on two French ships that brought him back to France; his departure marked the conclusion of the insurrection.

The defeat of the insurrection of 1745 marked the end of the attempts of the Stuart dynasty to regain the throne of London. Charles Edward repaired to France, but one of the clauses of the 1748 Treaty of Aachen, the final outcome of the War of the Austrian Succession, required his expulsion from the country, and the prince had to return to exile in Rome; Charles Edward was soon left without any political or financial support, rendering futile some of his further plans to spark a new insurrection. A brief interest in the Jacobite cause returned to France after the outbreak of the Seven Years” War, when the French began to make preparations for a massive invasion of Great Britain: Charles Edward was recalled to Paris but was now a shadow of his former self and was soon cast aside; the defeat of the French fleet in the Battle of Quiberon Bay then put aside any plans to invade the British Isles, and with it the remaining hopes of a restoration of the Stuarts. Charles Edward died in 1788 without direct heirs and the role of pretender of the Jacobites passed to his brother Henry Benedict Stuart, a cardinal; Henry died in 1807, and with him the last hopes of the Stuart dynasty died out.

The repression of the remaining Jacobite movement in Scotland by the Duke of Cumberland was brutal. Scottish prisons were filled with supporters of the Stuarts or those who were presumed to be such, many of whom were then sent to England to be tried for high treason: almost all of the leading elements who had been captured were sentenced to death, while the men of low rank were mostly sentenced to deportation to the British colonies or to exile; others, like Lord Murray, although escaping capture had to leave the country forever. The British government took several measures to eliminate the regime of autonomy of the Highland clans and incorporate Scotland into the rest of Great Britain: the Heritable Jurisdictions (Scotland) Act 1746 ended the hereditary rights of Scottish landowners in the administration of justice on their property, eliminating the power of tribal chiefs and destroying their feudal authority over clansmen; the clansmen who remained loyal to the House of Hanover received ample monetary compensation for the loss of their autonomy, but the chiefs of the Jacobite clans saw their land confiscated by the government and sold for a few pounds to English entrepreneurs who drove out the peasants and introduced in the Highlands large flocks of sheep to feed the wool industry of England. In an effort to eliminate any reference to Scottish identity, the Act of Proscription 1746 made it illegal to wear traditional Scottish clothing such as kilts and tartan cloth outside of British Army regiments recruited in Scotland; other measures made the use of the bagpipes illegal, while traditional literature and poetry and even the use of the Scottish Gaelic language were heavily opposed. The defeat in the revolt of 1745 marked the full integration of Scotland in the nascent United Kingdom.

Sources

  1. Insurrezione giacobita del 1745
  2. Jacobite rising of 1745
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