Monday, April 5, 2010
A Bit of Backstory
I have already said a little about the Jacobites in my last post, but now I am going to talk a little about the history behind what we are going to be talking about this month. The Jacobites were formed after the Union (that is the union between England and Scotland creating Britain) and, unlike the Wars for Independence in Bruce and Wallace's day, they were trying to get, not a king on their own throne, but a king on the throne of both England and Scotland. In the sixteen hundreds, when you had the great leaders like Montrose and Bonnie Dundee, they were trying to get the Stuart heir on the throne. The Stuarts, as I have probably said before are the royal family of Scotland and have been since Robert the Bruce. (His daughter married a Stuart, thus creating the royal family.) Montrose (James Graham) fought for Charles I (famous for getting his head cut off) and Bonnie Dundee (John Graham of Claverhouse) fought for James II (VII of Scots). The English wanted William of Orange (a Dutchman) on the throne, thus starting what I like to call the "foreign invasion" of Britain. This wasn't only a war for rightful rulers, but also one of religion which made it all the more bloody and horrible. By the time the 1715 Uprising came around with James III, religion had been forgotten, and the Scots only wanted their rightful ruler on the throne. This was the time when the Hanoverians (a German family) were set on the throne of Britain. This caused outrage among a lot of people, because the new king of England couldn't even speak English without a translator. In the 1745 Uprising, George II was on the throne and he earned himself the nickname "German Gerogie" or in the Scottish dialect "Jarmin Geordie". There was a popular song at the time that says, "What the divil do we have for a king but a wee, wee German lairdie?" This caused animosity in Scotland so they decided to try again to get a Stuart leader on the throne. This leader came in the form of Charles Edward Stuart, the twenty-five-year-old son of James III who was in exile for his troubles in the '15. He wanted to pick up where his father had failed and took a boat from France where he was staying at the time and went to Scotland to gather the clans to him for his fight. Prince Charles (Called Bonnie Prince Charlie by the Scots) was the model leader at the time. He was young, charismatic, and exceptionally handsome. He had blond curly locks and the lassies all loved him to death. The only problem was that he was not a very strong leader. The Highlanders flocked to his banner at Glenfinnan in 1745 and vowed that they would fight to the death for him. I always like to imagine the hundreds of plaided, kilted Highlandmen gathering by the loch at Glenfinnan, marching in with their pipes skirling and their drums beating and in the middle of them all, stands Bonnie Prince Charlie at the foot of his banner. This is one of those moments that shows the real romanticism of Scotland.
So the clans have gathered and the Bonnie Prince is ready for his battle against the English. We'll leave it at that for the day and also with this song called "Up and War then A' Willie" (This is actually one of my favorites, I don't know why!)
Also I did find the link to the Robert Bruce Heritage Center, so take a look if you want.