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Jacobites (English)


Adherents to the movement (Jacobitism) for the restoration of the Stuart dynasty following the flight of james ii after the fateful revolution of 1688. Until his death (1701) James maintained the leadership of the movement principally from Saint-Germainen-Laye, France.

Stuart Pretenders. After James's death three descendants upheld their claim to rule England, Scotland, and Ireland; two actively, one passively. The first was James Francis Edward Stuart, "The Old Pretender" (b. London, June 20, 1688; d. Rome, Jan. 1, 1766). He was the son of James II by his second wife, Mary of Modena. He succeeded his father at age 13 and was recognized by France, Spain, and the papacy as legitimate ruler. For nearly four decades he actively sought to regain the Stuart inheritance, especially in 1708 when an invasion of Scotland with 5,000 French troops was foiled by severe storms and the English fleet, and in 1715 when he tried almost unaided to raise the Scots. For all practical purposes the leadership of the movement devolved in the 1740s upon his elder son by his wife Clementina Sobieska, Charles Edward Stuart, "The Young Pretender"(b. Rome, Dec. 31, 1720; d. there, Jan. 1, 1788). His active leadership was confined to the early 1740s and culminated in the disastrous defeat at Culloden (1746). Subsequently he lived in exile chiefly in Italy. It is noteworthy that even the papacy did not recognize his claim to the throne upon his father's death in 1766. The last male Stuart pretender was his younger brother, Henry Stuart, Cardinal of York (b. Rome, March 6, 1725; d. Frascati, Italy, July 13, 1807). He was never active in prosecuting his own claims; neither was he officially recognized anywhere as king in succession to Charles. Any practical chance of his becoming king was eliminated by his position successively as priest, bishop, and finally cardinal. In his declining years he was a pensioner of George III and obviously no threat to the ruling Hanoverians. With his death the Stuart claim came to an end as a movement of historical interest.

Any discussion of Jacobitism is complicated by the separate national bases of the movementEnglish, Scottish, and Irishand by the disparate characteristics of its supporters. In Ireland the movement was of least importance once James II had been defeated in the Battle of the Boyne (July 12, 1690) and most of his principal supporters had come to terms with William III by the Treaty of Limerick (Oct. 13, 1691). After that time the Stuarts had little support from the predominantly Protestant ruling class, while the support of the vast majority of Roman Catholic Irish was of no practical significance. What meaningful aid there was came largely from Irish refugees who enlisted in the French army.

Sources of Support. In England assistance came from diverse and uncoordinated sources: Tories who believed in strict hereditary succession unalterable by parliament; the nonjuring clergy of the Church of England who believed in nonresistance to divinely ordained royal authority as defined by hereditary succession (see nonjur ors, english); and the small minority of Roman Catholics. The first two groups predicated their allegiance on recognition by the Stuarts of the established Church, its property, universities and schools, and generally favored position; indeed many would support the Stuarts only if they renounced their Roman Catholicism, persistent adherence to which cost many English, though few Scottish or Irish supporters.

Scotland, especially the Highland clans, formed the strongest and most persistent base for Stuart claims. The Stuarts were in origin a Scottish dynasty and thus had a strong claim on traditional loyalty and sentiments. The clergy of the Anglican Church of Scotland supported the Stuarts much more strongly than did their English coreligionists because they were a minority group whom the Stuarts would support together with Roman Catholics against the dominant Presbyterian Kirk. The largely Catholic Highlanders opposed the tendency toward encroachment on their economic and social customs, against the centralizing tendencies of the late 17th-and early 18th-century English governments.

In general Jacobitism may be divided chronologically, 1688 to 1715 and 1715 to 1746. In the first period there was some chance for Stuart reestablishment, especially from 1706 to 1714, based partly upon internal adherents in England and Scotland, partly on foreign arms, chiefly from France. During this time many Tory politicians, such as Bolingbroke, and the nonjuring Anglican clergy favored a Stuart restoration when Queen Anne should die, rather than import the foreign Hanoverian dynasty. After 1714, however, leadership in England was lacking, especially after 1722 when the leading Jacobite, Bishop Atterbury, was exiled to France. After the successful advent of the Hanoverians, the death of louis xiv (1715), and the failure of the abortive revolt of 1715 (the '15) the Old and Young Pretenders were heavily dependent on foreign assistance to initiate invasions, which clearly would have to receive greatest military strength from Scotland. Thus Stuart fortunes fluctuated wildly as the diplomatic situation in Europe changed. During the ascendency of Sir Robert Walpole in England and of Cardinal Fleury in France, roughly 1721 to 1742, the Jacobites had little hope of success since both men were committed to peace. Efforts to secure arms and money from Spain, Sweden, the papacy, and even Russia were largely unavailing.

Revolt and Defeat. Once England was at war with Spain (1739), later joined by France during the War of the Austrian Succession, large-scale support was again possible, but it gave the impression of imposing foreign rule, especially in England where France was the age-old enemy. In contrast France was Scotland's traditional ally (the Auld Alliance). The collapse of Jacobitism came after the Young Pretender's attempt to raise revolts in Scotland and England in 1745 to 1746 (the '45). In July 1745 Charles sailed to Scotland, where he received substantial, although not universal allegiance from the Highland clans, and also from the Lowlands, especially Edinburgh. In the fall he moved into northwest England and so toward London. Except for a few recruits in Lancashire, however, no Englishmen flocked to his standard, and at Derby, Dec. 5 to 6, 1745, the Young Pretender's military advisers forced a retreat since their men faced combat with overwhelming English armies. During the winter the Scots retreated through the Lowlands and up the east coast. Finally at Culloden, April 16, 1746, the Scottish Highlanders were slaughtered by the Hanoverian armies, which gave no quarter. After incredible hardships and romantic adventures in the western Highlands and Hebrides, Charles escaped in September to France. The Highlands were conquered by the building of military roads, through merciless devastation of the countryside, and the brutal handling and transportation of Scottish prisoners; the Stuarts' last manpower reserve was eliminated. Charles ended his days an alcoholic; his younger brother, Henry, was never a serious threat to George III. Perhaps the final touch was the Prince Regent's commissioning of Canova in 1819 to design a fine marble monument in St. Peter's, Rome, to the three pretenders. The Hanoverians could afford to be generous; their enemies had long since been vanquished.

Bibliography: c. a. petrie, The Jacobite Movement: The First Phase, 16881716 (London 1948). c. a. petrie, The Jacobite Movement: The Last Phase, 17161807 (London 1950). Britain after the Glorious Revolution, ed. g. holmes (New York 1969). b. lenman, The Jacobite Risings in Britain, 16891746 (London 1980). f. j. mclynn, The Jacobites (London 1985). p. kleber monod, Jacobitism and the English People, 16881788 (Cambridge Eng. 1989). d. szechi, The Jacobites, Britain and Europe, 16881788 (Manchester, Eng. 1994).

[h. s. reinmuth, jr.]

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