Lowland Reaction to the '45 Rebellion With Particular Relation to the Estates of Lord Kilmarnock

Graham, Barbara (1979) Lowland Reaction to the '45 Rebellion With Particular Relation to the Estates of Lord Kilmarnock. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The reasons for the failure of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 lie chiefly in the almost unanimously hostile reaction of the Scottish Lowlanders to the arrival of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. With their support he might at least have held Scotland as a first stage towards his father's restoration. Without it he was like a man fighting a superior foe while handicapped with one hand tied behind his back. An appreciation of the pattern of lowland reaction to the 1745 Rebellion and the reasons for the nature of that reaction is therefore essential to an understanding of the failure of Prince Charles's campaign of 1745-46. In retrospect it is apparent that Lowland Scotland was entering a period of transition in the 1740s. Values were slowly changing from a predominance of religious concerns towards a much more pragmatic interest in commerce and industry. The Jacobite rebellion of 1745 was not itself a factor in this change, but as a crisis which forced people to make a decision based on their philosophy of life it helped to crystallise statements of public opinion, thus offering historians of the eighteenth century an ideal opportunity to examine the frame of mind of the most progressive section of Scottish society on the eve of the industrial revolution. Evidence of the transitional nature of the 1740s is seen in the mixture of reasons which prevented Lowlanders from supporting the Stuarts. Fears for the safety of the Protestant religion and the civil liberties won by "free Britons" in the constitutional struggle of 1689 were uppermost in the minds of Hanoverian supporters. So too, in the west at least, were memories of religious persecution as implemented in 1678 by the Highland Host, which engendered hatred and contempt for the "barbarian" culture of the Highlanders who formed the vast majority of Prince Charles's followers and, by association, for the French regime to which he looked for assistance. Much less spoken of, but no less important, were the growing commercial concerns of the upper and middle classes of Lowland society. Although the pace was slow compared with the economic sprint in the last third of the 18th century, important developments were nonetheless under way in the spheres of agriculture, mining, textiles, the tobacco trade and banking. Large scale investments were being made which would take time to mature and which made even less attractive the prospect of a disruption in law and order to men whose hopes for future progress under the existing regime were optimistic. This economic factor was much less well developed in 1715, as can be seen from a parallel examination of Lowland reaction to the two major Jacobite rebellions. This difference between the two risings is important as it demonstrates that although there was a core of feeling - about religion, culture and constitution - which remained unchanged, the reasoning of lowlanders in 1715 was largely dictated by past events, whereas their motives in 1745 reflected rather their hopes for the future - a future in which a Stuart restoration did not feature. Beyond the construction of a general picture of the motivating factors behind Lowland reaction to the '45 Rebellion, an attempt has been made to examine in detail the situation in two medium-sized towns - Falkirk and Kilmarnock - which, although located at opposite ends of the Central Lowlands, were linked through their superior, William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock. Research at this local level reveals the complexity of people's motives and shows how, in an age when the average citizen rarely travelled beyond his own community, local and personal factors weighed heavily in determining people's attitudes to national events. Sometimes the conditioning of the local background conflicted with a man's personal assessment of his present and future needs, as can be seen in a case study of William Boyd, who was Prince Charles's most notable Lowland supporter. If the fact that Lowlanders in general chose not to support the Stuart cause is considered to be of vital importance, the motives and nature of the few Lowlanders who cast their lot with Prince Charles are equally worthy of consideration. In comparing the steadiness of a typical Lowland laird, such as Lord Kilkerran, with the apparently unprincipled judgement of Lord Kilmarnock it can be seen that Prince Charles was able to attract from among the Lowlanders only men of "desperat circumstances". In the case of 'William Boyd it is possible to pare away the accretions of legend begun by contemporary gossip and fostered subsequently by some historians, based on unjustified assumptions arising from Lady Kilmarnock's Jacobite family connections and episcopalian allegiance, and to dispel the notion that he was merely a bankrupt puppet dancing on the strings of a Jacobite wife. In the light of evidence in private and business correspondence which was not available to historians, the Earl emerges as an amiable man, who was popular with his peers and with certain sections of the local communities in which he lived, but who, because of the reputation of his profligate youth ana the disadvantages of his perennial indebtedness, lacked the unquestioning respect of his tenants. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.).

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: European history, Political science
Date of Award: 1979
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1979-78806
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 14:52
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 14:52
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/78806

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