In 1745 one of the most romantic figures in British history led a futile quest to "save the very soul of Scotland". There was increased tension between Protestant England and the Catholic / Jacobean Scotland and France which led Prince Charles Edward Stuart or Bonnie Prince Charlie or The Young Pretender, as he was also known, to plan a rebellion with the aim of marching on London to capture the throne for his father.
After failing to get support in France, Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in Scotland on 25 July 1745. The support he sought came from the Highlands and his army continued to grow as it marched south. His Jacobite army with The Prince in full highland dress, arrived unopposed in Perth on 4th September 1745. As a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce, he is said to have visited Scone, the place where so many of his ancestors had been crowned.
In "The Ancient Capital of Scotland : the story of Perth" it is recorded that "the magistrates, town clerk, and some of the leading inhabitants, who were Royalists, left Perth (before he arrived) and went to Edinburgh. The Prince had evidently spent all his money. When he arrived here he showed one of his friends his purse, which contained only a guinea, the last of 400 which he had brought from France. In the march from Glenfinnan he gave the chiefs what money they required to pay their men. While at Perth he proceeded to levy the cess (tax) and public revenue in the name of his father, while those who were too timid to join his standard sent sums of money to aid his cause. The contribution exacted from Perth was £500, which was paid by the Corporation."
It seems Prince Charles negotiated a deal with those Magistrates who had chosen to stay, to provide the townsfolk with some form of protection from harassment by any his soldiers in return for payment of £500. It is at this stage in the Rebellion that my ancestor makes a brief appearance as David Sandeman was one of those elected magistrates who had stayed and negotiated with the Prince. Why hadn't he fled with the other dignatories ? Was he a Jacobite sympathiser ?
A week later the Prince left Perth. However, on the pretext that the postmaster's wife had not paid a further levy of protection money, one of his generals took David Sandeman and Patrick Cree, a former Provost of Perth, hostage and they were taken with the army as it marched towards Edinburgh. This must have been a frightening experience for them both and they would probably have been in fear of their lives.
To his credit, it seems The Prince had them both released the next day at Auchterarder to avoid antagonising the citizens of Perth. Afterwards, David Sandeman wrote to the mildly Jacobite newspaper, the Caledonian Mercury, denying that he and Patrick Cree had been badly treated in any way.
Charles and his army continued their march on London. Although Charles met with little opposition, the English Jacobites didn’t rebel by joining his army and, after a long, weary march, they reached Derby and there, despite Prince Charles wanting to continue, the chieftains insisted on turning back.
After winning another battle against the Royalist troops at Falkirk the King sent his son, the Duke of Cumberland, to fight the rebels. The two armies met on Culloden Moor. The royal army was rested and fresh, well drilled and well armed. The Jacobite army was weary, hungry, ragged, and desperate.
“Towards one o'clock, the Jacobite artillery opened fire on government soldiers. The government responded with their own cannon, and the Battle of Culloden began.
Bombarded by cannon shot and mortar bombs, the Jacobite clans held back, waiting for the order to attack. At last they moved forwards, through hail, smoke, murderous gunfire and grapeshot. Around eighty paces from their enemy they started to fire their muskets and charged. Some fought ferociously. Others never reached their goal. The government troops had finally worked out bayonet tactics to challenge the dreaded Highland charge and broadsword. The Jacobites lost momentum, wavered, then fled.” (Source : http://www.nts.org.uk/Culloden/PPF/TheBattle/).
After a disastrous forty minute spell, Culloden was lost. The rebels were completely routed by the English regulars, and in addition to heavy loss in the field, suffered terribly in the pursuit. The Duke treated the fleeing and the wounded with merciless cruelty and slaughtered them.
The Prince was forced to spend the next five months as a hunted man. Eventually, he was rescued from Scotland by his brother, and shipped back to France who, although they were still not prepared to support his bid for the throne, agreed to protect him - if only to continue their feud with England.
The Jacobites never recovered from the failed invasion of 1745. The British took active measures to destroy the clan system in Scotland that had lent support to this and other rebellions by :
- disarming the clans
- seizing Jacobite estates
- reducing the power of the local chieftains, and
- banning the kilt and tartan.