The Jacobite risings of 1715 and 1745-46 were the two most serious threats to the Hanoverian crown in 18th Century Britain. Although there were numerous smaller attempts at returning the Stuarts to the throne the ’15 and ’45 remain the closest to succeeding. This essay will look at several of the contributing factors to the failures of these risings.
Foreign support was vital to the Jacobites in both the rebellions of 1715 and 1745-46. Many British Jacobites based their participation in the rebellions on the arrival of foreign assistance. The French support for the rebellion of 1715 was hampered by the death of Louis XIV in 1714. The Duke of Orleans succeeded Louis XIV and with the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht still standing and his own designs on becoming heir-apparent the Duke needed peace and an understanding with Britain.1 France, in both the ‘15 and the ‘45 was always faced with more demands on its strengths than it could possibly meet. Only if the French strategists could see the exiled house of Stuart as a priority would support be forthcoming. James ordered his followers and sympathizers to do all they could to involve France and England, hoping for an intervention.2 The Spanish participated and aided the Jacobites during the latter stages of the 1715 rising. In late December a shipment of £15,000 of Spanish gold was despatched, but with luck not on the rebels side it was wrecked on the beach at St Andrews Bay.3 Similarly in the 1745-46 rising the French ship “Le Prince Charles” carrying funds was intercepted by the Royal Navy forcing Charles Edward into an early and fateful battle in April 1746.4 The lack of financial aid sounded the death knell to both rebellions. In the ‘45 it is thought that Louis XV had left his decision to commit himself to the cause far too late, holding back to find out how serious the rebellion in Scotland was.5 This unfortunate lack of foreign assistance was a key factor in the failure of the rebellions.
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F J Mclynn: The Jacobite Army In England 1745. 1983 Edinburgh.
F J McLynn: The Jacobites. Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. 1985 London
Daniel Szechi: 1715 The Jacobite Rebellion. Yale University Press. 2006
Bruce Lenman: The Jacobite Cause. Richard Drew Publishing. 1986 Glasgow.
Bruce Lenman: The Jacobite Risings In Britain 1689-1746. Eyre Methuen Ltd. 1980 Glasgow.
T M Devine: The Scottish Nation 1700-2007. Penguin Group. 2006 London
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