Been a while since I worked on this post series. Please forgive me!
And let’s return…
Remember Robert Hunter from Part 15? Well, during his foolishness England was trying to dump its Jacobite population in America. They were from an incident called “The 15”, a failed attempt in 1715 to have George I replaced with Prince James Edward Stuart (aka. the old pretender).
Who were the Jacobites? A religio-political movement who wanted to restore the Stuart king James I (of Scotland) & II (of England) and his heirs to the English, Scottish & Irish throne. James Edward Stuart was one such heir.
Oh, and James was a Roman Catholic.
The rebellion began only a year after Georgie-boy’s ascension. Jacobites gathered in Scotland, while England-based ones were to advance on Lancashire. This was a total flop; the Battle of Preston royally fucked them over! No pun intended. 1500 were taken in Lancashire. The Scotland-based lot were no better, for they kept wasting perfectly good chances and ended up disbanding. In Christmas week 1715 the old pretender came from France to Scotland to rally his troops (first and last time!!!), then in February fucked off back to France and never came back!
The Scotland & England ringleaders were executed for treason, while in Preston the troops were given a choice:
- Be shipped off to the colonies,
Guess which they chose.
As they languished in the prisons, a Liverpudlian merchant called Thomas Johnson (yes, another Thomas!) offered to do Britain a favour and take them off its hands. However it was done, slavery or otherwise, he got the Treasury to give him 40 shillings a head to sell them for 7 years’ service.
In April 1716, colony governors were instructed to take the rebels. Any who didn’t sign indentures were forced to. Some of the more “gentlemanly” prisoners refused to be sold, claiming (pretty wittily in my opinion) they’d only signed up for being transported not enslaved. Of course there was a catch: Johnson’s son-in-law obtained a contract from the government itself giving him permission to sell them! So 600 prisoners were shipped to mainland America and the Caribbean, but some managed to escape before setting sail.
How? Bribery, subterfuge and/or outright rebellion.
As with all the enslaved, the mainlanders got it relatively easier than the islanders. In fact, working in the Caribbean sugar plantations & factories was equivalent to death sentence.
In 1745, Charles Edward Stuart (aka. “Bonny prince Charlie” and “young pretender”) tried to claim the throne in an incident called The 45. Unlike his cowardly predecessor he visited his troops regularly and led the armies personally.
Biggest mistake – expecting France to back him up. France promptly cancelled their fleet because they predicted a defeat. The bonny prince therefore had an army of 5000 vs. England’s 8000 led by George II’s son the Duke of Cumberland.
Guess who won.
Of the survivors, clan leaders were banished. An old Scottish law (mentioned in a previous post in this series) allowed the prisoners to choose where to be exiled to. Londoner Samuel Smith & Liverpudlian Richard Gildart were licensed to transport them to the colonies, and were paid £2 10s upon proof of shipment. They were also given power to pardon rebels who surrendered to servitude, which meant only 610 of the 866 were actually sent.
Hold on! Why were they given power to pardon?
Because the London powers-that-be reckoned support for the House of Stuart could be destroyed better by fragmenting the clans. Unfortunately for them, some rebels got off pretty easy and some even made it back home!
Back to Part 15