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The Highlanders of Waipu
Chapter II - The '45

The year 1745 is one for ever memorable in the annals of British history. In that year Charles Edward, the elder son of James the Eighth of Scotland and Second of England, who was in exile in Rome, arrived in the Hebrides, and on August 19 raised his Standard at Glenfinnen, Inverness-shire. This was the signal for rebellion, and an effort by Charles to recover the British throne for his father.

We may now ask ourselves who was this James and who this Charles Edward. To answer this we have again to dig into the pages of history. In the year 1114 Henry the First of England gave the castle and lands of Oswestry, in Shropshire, to one of his Norman friends named Alan Fitzflaald. One of this man’s sons named Walter found his way into Scotland and entered the service of David I as a Land Steward. Walter married into one of the noble Scottish families, and then David gave him lands in various parts of the south of Scotland. He gradually abandoned the name of Fitzflaald and became known as The Steward, and eventually Stewart. The pronomens Fitz, Mac, and O all mean the same thing, viz., Sons of or young of. Fitz is Norman-French, Mac is Scottish Gaelic, and O is Irish Gaelic. Thus Fitzgerald means son of Gerald; Macdonald, son of Donald; and O’Brien, son of Brien. For seven generations these Fitzfiaalds filled the position of land stewards for the Kings of Scotland. Walter, the Sixth Steward, was a companion in arms with Bruce at Bannockburn. In 1315 he married Marjory, the daughter of Robert the Bruce. On the death of David the Second in 1371, Marjory’s son Robert succeeded to the Crown of Scotland as Robert the Second. Thus the Norman adventurer’s descendant became King of Scotland, and by custom the name was changed to Stewart and in France to Stuart. From 1371 to 1714—that is, for 343 years—14 Stewarts sat upon the Scottish throne. One of them, James IV, married Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII of England in 1503, and so one of her descendants, Mary, daughter of James V, was a prospective heiress to the Crown of England. Mary of Scotland and Elizabeth of England were cousins, and hence if Elizabeth predeceased Mary the latter would have been Queen of England and of Scotland. Mary had a troublesome reign, partly due to religious quarrels and partly to matrimonial adventures. Eventually she had to fly the country, and threw herself into the arms of Elizabeth for protection. The latter imprisoned her, and eventually beheaded her in Fotheringay Castle in 1587, under the pretext that she was privy to the death of her husband Darnley and scheming to upset the Protestant religion. Her son, James VI of Scotland, succeeded to the English Crown on the death of Elizabeth in 1603. History says that the Stewarts were not a success as Kings of England. One of them was beheaded (Charles I) and the others had to fly the country, but they still called themselves Kings of England. Our present monarch has a little Stewart blood in his veins. Marjory Bruce was buried in Paisley Abbey, as the country around belonged to the Stewarts. In 1888 Queen Victoria visited Paisley Abbey and, standing beside the tomb of Marjory Bruce, she claimed kinship with this daughter of Scotland. Thus we see how kings arise and fall, and how uncertain are the fortunes of the mighty in the land.


Charles Edward arrived in Scotland to recover a kingdom without men, money, or arms. It was an extraordinary venture and very nearly succeeded. He knew all about clanship, the feudal system, and all they stood for. He knew that if he gained the goodwill of the chiefs the clans-men were bound to follow them. If we can believe history, the chiefs were not favourable to the venture. "What," they said, "going to conquer a kingdom without money or arms; the thing is impossible. We have the men, but we have neither money nor arms." At a meeting of the chiefs before the unfurling of his flag at Glenfinnin Charles was strongly urged to return to France and await a more favourable moment. At this rebuff Charles was upon the point of breaking into tears. Then, summoning courage, he said:

"No; I came here to win my father’s kingdom, and I shall win it or die in the attempt." With this outburst most of the chiefs replied: "We will share our Prince’s fate." This decided Charles, and next day he ordered his flag to be unfurled. This was the famous Bratach-ban, or white silk flag with the cross of St. Andrew, which he brought from France. The chiefs were now committed to the adventure, and as a matter of course the clansmen had to follow their chiefs.

Charles advanced upon Edinburgh with some 2,000 untrained, poorly-armed and equipped men. Edinburgh fell without a shot, and his father, James VIII, was proclaimed King. He remained dallying in Edinburgh for six weeks. Then he ordered his army of 5,000 men to advance into England. It reached Derby, in the heart of England on December 3, 1745, without serious opposition. Here a council of war was held, but owing to religious differences amongst the leaders, the lack of support from the English Jacobites, one English army behind them, and another in front of them, it was decided to return into Scotland. In the light of subsequent events this decision was a great tactical mistake. George II had his yacht ready for flight. The wealthy Londoners were busy removing their wealth and treasured goods into the country, while the people generally were quite indifferent. The Latins had a maxim, Sic volvere fates—thus decreed the fates— and so it was decreed that Charles should advance no further. His army gradually retreated into Scotland and largely dispersed to their several homes, as there was no conimissariat, shelter, or food supplies. Charles and the remnant of his army spent the winter in and around Inverness. The Duke of Cumberland, brother of George II, was appointed to the command in Scotland. He marched upon Aberdeen, and on April 12, 1746, he moved out to meet Charles and his army. Cumberland had a well-equipped army of men, horses, guns, and food, numbering about 10,000. Charles had about 5,000 men, poorly equipped with neither guns nor horses nor food. They met upon Culloden Moor, a few miles east of Inverness, on April 16, 1746. Cumberland won the day, and then gave orders that no prisoners were to be taken nor wounded rescued. This inhuman order gained for him the title of "Butcher Cum berland," and to this day Butcher Cumberland is a loathsome expression in the Highlands. Charles fled, and sought refuge in the mountains of Inverness-shire and the Hebridean Isles. His wanderings there will ever be remembered owing to the fidelity of that immortal heroine "Flora Macdonald." A sum of £30,000 was set upon his head, yet poverty, avarice, yea even life, were powerless to betray him. After six months’ wanderings, and being pursued like a felon, he left Lochanuigh on September 20, 1746, bound for France. Thus ended one of the most romantic episodes in British history.

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