29 April 2013

Jacobite Rebellion - Research Notes (1)

From My Notes used in Research for Ripples In The Sand

The Jacobite Rebellion  of 1719 

The term ‘Jacobite’ is the name given to English and Scottish supporters of the exiled Roman Catholic Stuart dynasty. The name is derived from ‘Jacobus’, the Latin name for King James VII, the last Stuart to sit on the British throne.

   Although the rebellion of 1745 gains most attention, the Revolution actually started in April 1689 when Scotland’s Parliament declared that James VII had forfeited the Scottish throne.
   When Charles II died in February 1685 England was once again plunged into chaos, with numerous political and religious groups vying for power. They consisted of the Catholic, Protestant, and Presbyterian religions that were further refined by the political alignments of Whig, Tory, Roundhead, Royalist, and numerous other factions. Charles II had understood the need for tolerance and had managed to prosper with his restoration to the Crown after Cromwell. But his brother, James, did not balance tolerance against his desire for the security of his government.
Charles II
   The matter was further fuelled by the fact that France and Spain were both Roman Catholic countries and were England's enemies. Jacobite sympathizers were therefore also considered enemies of England.
   James (II of England, VII of Scotland) was opposed as king because of his Catholicism – he was to be the last Catholic King of England.
   Members of various political and religious elite opposed him as being too pro-French, too pro-Catholic, and of having too many designs on being an absolute monarch. When the King forced Anglican clergymen to read his proclamation granting religious liberty to Catholics and dissenters from their churches, his popularity plummeted, and when his wife produced a Catholic heir, James Francis Edward, the tension exploded.
   Had James II refrained from openly supporting Louis XIV of France, repealing various anti-Catholic Acts and increasing his standing army from 5,000 to 15,000 he would have escaped the accusation of Popery. What England needed was a monarch who had Charles II’s political expertise but none of his autocratic tendencies.
   What the kingdom got was the total opposite.
James II
   Disgruntled Protestant politicians and noblemen contacted William of Orange, husband to James’s protestant daughter, Mary and requested them to come to England with an army to depose James.
   William agreed and issued a declaration which referred to James' newborn son as the "pretended Prince of Wales". He also gave a list of grievances of the English people and stated that his proposed expedition was for the sole purpose of having "a free and lawful Parliament assembled".
   William and his Dutch army defeated King James who was allowed to escape to France.
    Numerous 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.
   After a brief peace, the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1701 renewed French support for the Jacobites. When James II died in exile in 1701, with William III passing away a year later, Louis, believing in the divine right of Kings, recognised James Francis Edward Stuart as James III but the English took this as an insult. War broke out in 1702 and James II’s protestant daughter, Anne, succeeded to the throne.
Queen Anne
   In 1708 the Old Pretender, James (III) sailed from Dunkirk with 6000 French troops in nearly 30 ships of the French navy. He had been delayed in France by an attack of measles. His intended landing in the Firth of Forth was thwarted by the Royal Navy driven back by the fleet of Admiral Sir George Byng. The British pursued the French fleet and made them retreat round the north of Scotland, losing ships and most of their men in shipwrecks on the way back to Dunkirk.
   Louis XIV was forced into diplomacy and negotiation, culminating in the treaty of Utrecht in 1713.
   Queen Anne died in 1714 and it was offered that James could succeed – but he refused to renounce the Catholic faith. Louis began to conclude that the Jacobite cause was lost and distanced himself from any further conflict. James removed his exiled Court into the protection of the Pope and the Whig government invited George of Hanover - a descendant of the Stuarts through his maternal grandmother - as King. He proved to be unpopular and a spate of riots swept through England, James however, had no idea how to turn events to his advantage.
   Following the arrival of George I Tory Jacobites in England conspired to organise armed rebellions against the new Hanoverian government. They were indecisive, unco-ordinated and frightened by widespread government arrests of their leaders.
   The political structure of England had changed because of the English Civil War, many families losing their fortune, land, and position. Bankruptcy as a motive for Jacobitism ran deep and wide. It became a treasonable offence in England for anyone to write to, or send James III money, but there was enough support for three major uprisings in favour of James: 1715, 1719 and 1745.
   In the summer of 1715 James called on the Earl of Mar to raise the Clans. James set foot on Scottish soil, but was disappointed by the strength of support he found. Mar's Jacobites had captured Perth without opposition, but the rebellion was defeated by the English at Preston. Instead of going through with plans for a coronation at Scone, James returned to France, sailing from Montrose. He was not welcomed back, because Louis XIV was dead and the French government found him a political embarrassment.
   In the aftermath of the 'Fifteen', the Disarming Act and the Clan Act made some attempts to subdue the Highlands. On the whole, the government adopted a gentle approach and attempted to 'win hearts and minds' by allowing the bulk of the defeated rebels to slip away back to their homes.
   Planned risings in Wales, Devon and Cornwall were forestalled by the English government arresting local Jacobites.
James (III)  "The Old Pretender"

   James often complained of loneliness and isolation and found fault with many things. He had a dislike of making decisions and became ill at the point of most momentous events: pneumonia in 1704, measles in 1708, smallpox in 1712 – but he lived to a ripe age and “reigned” for 64 years
   He had bitter rifts with his wife and elder son, Charles (Bonny Prince Charlie
   James was a man of thought, not of action, but he was generous and solved difficult problems with tact.
   While researching the historical facts for the fourth Sea Witch Voyage, Ripples In the Sand, I came across the planned 1719 Jacobite invasion of England – perfect! It became even more perfect when I read on.
   With France at peace with Britain and enjoying a rapprochement due to the Anglo-French Alliance, the Jacobites found a new ally in Spain.
   A fleet was assembled at Cadiz in March 1719 with orders to set sail to Coruña, where James was to join it and take command. There were to be two landings, one in England, another in Scotland. Both failed.
   Two frigates were to land in Scotland to raise the clans. When the Spanish frigates landed, they met only lukewarm support from a few clans. At the ensuing Battle of Glen Shiel the Spanish were forced to surrender to government forces.
   From Cadiz, twenty-seven ships were to carry 5,000 soldiers to England. The fleet duly put to sea but was shattered off Cape Finistere by storms of unusual ferocity. Many were sunk or damaged, some were scattered into the Bay of Biscay, and only a few limped into Coruña.
   The weather gave James, still in the Mediterranean, such a buffeting it took him a month to get from Italy to Catalonia, then another month to get to Coruña via Madrid, where he arrived in time to hear the maritime débâcle.
   James returned to exile, and had to wait for his son to try again in 1745.
   My immediate idea on reading the history – what if Jesamiah somehow, inadvertently, became involved with the Armada?
   He has a cargo of tobacco to sell, and he is directed to a buyer in Cadiz….

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