Part Two: 1689 - 1713
As was discussed in Part One of this story, the Jacobite Rebellion, although a battle of succession for the British throne, was also a battle of religion. England was mainly Protestant, while Scotland and Ireland were largely Roman Catholic. Add to this mix the Presbyterians of lower Scotland and the stage is set for war. And although the events are called a rebellion, the conflict was in fact a war of religion which encompassed all three countries (England, Scotland, and Ireland) during the period of 1689 - 1747. Sadly, its effects are still felt in Great Britain today.
The first battle of the 'religious war' took place in 1689. John Graham, Viscount Dundee raised the standard of James VII in April of that year. By July he had the support of most of the Highland Clans and clergy and molded these forces around a base force of cavalry, which he commanded. On July 27th, the Jacobites under John Graham met and defeated a larger government army under Mackay in the Pass of Killiecrankie near Pitlorchy. The Jacobites won, but John Graham himself was killed. Without his leadership, this rebellion quickly petered out after another battle at Dunkeld on August 21st, 1689.
But King James VII, although removed from power, was busy gaining money and support in France. In 1690, he landed in Ireland to actively wage war on William III in an attempt to regain his kingdom. He quickly amassed an army of 21,000 that was met by William with his own army of 35,000 on the banks of the Boyne River, on July 12. James Stuart was easily defeated and was forced to return to France and exile. In response to this battle an organization called the Orangemen was created. The Orangemen were supporters of the Protestant William and continue to celebrate the Battle of the Boyne victory annually on its anniversary.
Support for King James was largely subdued at this point in Ireland, while his support in Scotland was wounded but still alive. A revolution settlement in 1690 further enforced the Protestant cause when it endorsed Presbyterianism, much to the dismay of the Catholics. Some claim that the "Massacre at Glencoe" on February 13th, 1692 was a further effort to eliminate Jacobite supporters for King James. For a time at least, things died down, but were not by any means settled. The Protestant and Presbyterian religions were firmly in power and the prosecution of the Catholics continued almost unabated.
In 1701, James VII (James II of England) died and in response King Louis XIV of France (a Roman Catholic himself) declared that James Frances Edward Stuart was now the rightful King of England. He became James III of England or James VIII of Scotland to his supporters, but still lived a life in exile in France. In response to some calls in England and Scotland for his placement on the English throne the government in England passed the "Act of Settlement".
The Act of Settlement secured by law the succession to the English Crown to the House of Hannover in the Protestant faith, with one exception, that being any heir of birth of Queen Anne, the last of the Protestant Stuarts. Therefore the normal law of succession of the Crown was ignored, and a line of rightful heirs was removed because of their religion.
The Protestant and Presbyterian religions further increased their power with the Act of Union in 1707, but many Scotsmen complained openly to the loss of their country. In response, King James III led a half-hearted and scantly supported effort at invasion of Scotland in 1708, but was quickly forced to return to France.
Numerous small plots were hatched to return James to power, but these fell largely on the whims of Spain and France, which were the only countries with both the power and desire to unseat the Protestant rule of England. But the Jacobite cause was still strong in the heart of many a Scotsman, and the '15 and the '45 would soon prove this to be true.
by Brian Workman, May 2000
Thursday, December 26th, 2019
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