Our thanks to Jacobite History, catch them on facebook, a huge source of excellent information. This just a wee collection of stories/truths I have found, I hope you read and take it further yourself!
Dalrymple authorised the Glencoe massacre – the story of this man: John Dalrymple, the 1st Earl of Stair. The Dalrymples, from Ayr, were noted legal figures in Scotland with John’s father, James Dalrymple Viscount Stair, the author of the Institutions of the Law of Scotland, first published in 1681 and generally accepted as ‘the foundation of modern Scots law’. This is particularly ironic, given John’s fate regarding the Glencoe massacre. There is a tenet of Scots Law called Murder Under Trust which is considered far worse than most murder. It was this charge which was made against Dalrymple for his part, as one of the Secretaries of State for Scotland, in authorising the massacre and caused him to resign his position a few years later. Ironically, he returned to favour under Queen Anne, who made him an Earl, and played an important part in getting the agreement of the Union in 1707. Unreal! But true.
And so we come to the day of Glencoe. After William of Orange (known also as King Billy) took the throne with a large invasion force of Dutch troops and mercenaries and an enormously effective propaganda machine which convinced an anti-Catholic population that James VII/II was going to force Catholicism on the English people – this disinformation campaign lingers on with a number of ‘historians’ today. Actually, William was less interested in ruling England, not to mention Scotland and Ireland, than he was to get control of the Royal Navy to use to fight his arch enemy Louis XIV. After the failed effort to oust William with fierce battles at Killiecrankie, the Boyne and Aughrim, the Jacobite clans held out, still hoping for a Stuart restoration but they are stories for later. William made a pledge of loyalty to his regime a matter of life and death for the Jacobite clans. Not wanting to see his followers massacred, James VII sent word to his loyal clans that they should sign the pledge to save their lives. From there the story is well known, though there are a few versions. The MacDonalds of Glencoe did not sign the loyalty pledge before the deadline. It was in fact the excuse the Williamite regime was looking for to terrorise the west highlands with a bloody show of force. The orders to take care of the inhabitants of the rugged lonely glen were sent to Campbell of Glen Lyon. The massacre stands out in history because the Campbell/ government forces accepted the hospitality – housing food and drink in the midst of winter when such things were scarce. Whether they were welcomed under the fierce tradition of highland hospitality or whether the armed troops simply billeted themselves in the houses of the clan is debated by historians. After living off the MacDonald clansmen for many days, the soldiers of the government famously turned on them and slaughtered at least 38, including children. The survivors were forced out into the frozen hills, some managed to escape to nearby Stewart lands where they were given refuge but many perished trying to escape.
Highland Archive Centre – some of the oldest records we have at the Highland Archive Centre are those of the Inverness Burgh Council, including town council minute books. These provide fascinating details of events taking place in Inverness during the Jacobite uprising of 1715 including this extract. In 1715 Inverness Castle was in the hands of Sir John McKenzie of Coul and a group of Jacobite rebels who had been proclaiming that ‘King James the Eighth’ was the rightful king and not King George I. On 7th November 1715, the Provost, Alexander Clark, and the magistrates received a letter from Hugh Rose of Kilravock, John Forbes of Culloden and Mr Duncan Forbes which read as follows: “We are credibly informed, that you the Magistrates, Town Council and Community of the Burgh of Inverness, have collusively and deceitfully admitted in to your castle a garrison of about a hundred rebels commanded by Sir John McKenzie of Coull, who stiles himself governor for the pretender under the designation of King James the Eighth of Scotland; and as such avowedly uplifts and intromets with all public money for the maintanance of his rebellion, which pretended governor and garrison you daily interain, converse with openly and comfort and assist alledging upon your parte that you are overawed and forc’d therto, altho it be obviously in your power to apprehend, arrest and secure these rebells and traitors to Our Soveraign King George and his government dayly in your streets or at least to dislodge them from the ruinous house where they now shelter themselves, by refusing to comfort, and, or assist them; these are therfor pursuant to the Powers and Instructions given us, requireing you forth with to apprehend, arrest and secure the person of the said Sir John McKenzie and of the other rebells….denying him and them all aid and comfort and means of subsistance until you either apprehend and secure him and them as above or force and constrain him and them to relinquish and abandon your said castle. Certifieing you, that if you ommitt or failzie in any article of the premises, wee will look upon and demain you, as aiders, assisters, maintainers and comforters of rebellion, and as Traitors and open enemies to our Soveraign King George and as such will anoy and prosecute you with fire and sword and the outmost vigour of war.”
The magistrates wrote back to claim that they had done nothing wrong and were only guilty of doing what they had been forced to by the rebels. Alongside the Lovat Frasers and the Forbes’, Hugh Rose determined to blockade Inverness. Following the fatal shooting of Arthur Rose (Hugh Rose’s brother) by rebels on 12th November, Hugh Rose wrote to McKenzie of Coul and the rebels demanding they surrender. On the 13th November the McKenzies took boats along the river and escaped north.
wee snippet; the story of Hector MacLean, chief of the name, who had arranged with the Prince for him to land at Mull, but was arrested in Edinburgh and held in prison before the prince left France. The landing site was changed to Moirdart. Maclean’s continue in history; The remarkable find only a few decades ago of the journals of Captain John MacLean who served in the Jacobite Army and was killed at Culloden. A diary with sketches, was unfinished as he was killed but someone else ended the story for him, I have that book, it is excellent, PM.
I am an avid reader/researcher on Jacobites, with so many good and – so many wrong avenues into history, I do try and get things right – to the best of my knowledge! My pal Kevino Frank Smith (also can be found on facebook) is another source I recommend. PM, Perth 2020.