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Rebellious Scots to crush...

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162672.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:13 am Reply with quote

In 1745, The Gentleman's Magazine published "God save our lord the king: A new song set for two voices", describing it as "As sung at both Playhouses".[8] This version includes the first three verses shown in the Lyrics section below (with minor variations). Traditionally, the first performance was thought to have been in 1745, when it was sung in support of George II after the defeat of his army at the Battle of Prestonpans by the Jacobite claimant to the English and Scottish thrones, Charles Edward Stuart, whose forces were mostly Scottish.

The national anthem, first published in 1745, was traditionally thought to be sung in support of George II after his army was defeated at Prestonpans by Charles Edward Stuart. A short-lived verse read:

May he sedition hush and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King.

It has often been claimed that there were more Scots in the English army at the battle of Culloden than there were in the Scottish army. However, with the aid of Frances of these forums and her investigations with the War Museum, we can debunk that one, but add the interesting point that in the 45 rebellion it is actually true to say that there were more Scots on the English side than on the Scottish side. Email from the War Museum as follows, and it turns out that the gentleman who wrote it is a QI fan.

Sorry if this one has already been done to death - I see the writer refers to it - but I wanted to share it in case it hadn't.

Hi Frances,

As a big fan of "QI" myself, I thought Iíd go ahead and try to find you an answer, which you can pass on as you see fit. I must say I had thought this subject had come up already in one of the prior programmes (last series?).

The short answer is "no, there were not more Scots serving on the government side at Culloden then with the Jacobites". Here's the long answer...

Whilst there appears to be nothing within our own collections that would provide primary sources for an assessment of Scottish numbers on either side at the battle, I have located a published summary which should suffice for your friend's purposes. The numbers are given in Stuart Reid's "1745; A Military History of the Last Jacobite Rising", and are as follows for those government units that, would have been regarded as "Scottish" or have been comprised of a majority of Scots:

Royal Scots (1st) - 481; Campbell's (Royal Scots Fusiliers) (21st) - 412; Sempill's (KOSB) (25th) - 477; Highland companies (Argyll militia and 64th Highlanders) - 501 Barrel's (4th) - 373 Kerr's Dragoons - 267

Grand total of Scots in Government army = 2511

There were also Scots officers, and no doubt, men, in the other notionally "English" regiments, including Captain Cunningham of the Royal Artillery detachment. You would be able to account for the officers, but not the NCOs or enlisted men. It's tough to say how this contingent might affect this question, but then equally we don't really know how many (for example) Irishmen were also involved (on both sides). Safer not to speculate I think.

Now, by comparison the same source tells us that there were the following Scottish Jacobites:

Atholl Highlanders - 500; Clan Cameron - 600; Clan Stewart of Appin - 150 ;Frasers of Lovat - 500; Lady Anne Farquharson MacIntosh - 500; Farquharson's - 150

Clan MacLachlan & Clan MacLean - 182; Clan Chisholm - 100; Clan MacDonald (Keppoch) - 200; Clanranald - 200; Glengarry - 500; Aberdeen battalion - 200

Strathbogie battalion - 300; Lord Ogilvy's regiment - 500

Mixed cavalry units - 242

Artillery (12 guns) - (difficult to say but at least) 100 Ecossaix Royeaux (French foreign regiment) - 350

Leaving aside a further 302 Irishmen (Picquets), that makes: Grand total = 5274

So even put conservatively, there were twice as many Scots in the Jacobite army *at Culloden* than there were in the British army. Now, I suspect that the original claim was that there were more Scots soldiers in the British army than the Jacobite in the '45 rebellion overall. Which would be quite true. But if we're talking Culloden, I think this one is safe to call as "debunked".

Hope this helps - I am just recompiling Stuart Reid's work really.

Best wishes,


PS If itís not too cheeky a question; Iíve seen information online that suggests one can become a sort of ďamateurĒ researcher for QI, fact-checking and the like. Do you or your friend know how I might find out more about that?

Jonathan Ferguson

Assistant Curator, Military History

National Museums Scotland

National War Museum

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh EH1 2NG

Tel +44 (0) 131 247 4406

Fax +44 (0) 131 225 3848


162674.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:14 am Reply with quote

We could, at any rate, possibly add him to our list of useful contacts.

162853.  Wed Apr 04, 2007 4:25 am Reply with quote

The subject certainly came up in the show, as I remember Doon Mackichan was asked about it. Although I thought they were trying to make the point that there were more Scots than English on the "English" side, rather than more Scots on the English side than on the Jacobite side.

I may be misremembering though.

It does seem strange how Bonny Prince Charlie has been portrayed as some great unifying Scottish nationalist, though. After the reformation, there were a significant proportion of Scottish people who had no desire to see a Catholic king ruling over them once more. Famously the Bank of Scotland removed their notes from circulation ahead of the Highland army as it marched towards Edinburgh. Their papers and valuables were stored in Edinburgh Castle, and the bank closed its doors for several weeks until the rebel army left the city.

Charlie even managed to piss off his own supporters. The Highlanders who rallied to his cause only really wanted to conquer Scotland, but it was Charlie who was keen to grab the English throne as well and persuaded them to press further south by promising that they would meet up with more Jacobite supporters in England. By the time the got as far as Derby and this support was obviously non existant, the Highlanders eventually decided to call it a day and bugger off home again, taking a sulky Charlie home with them. It was on the way back that they were cornered at Culloden.

162867.  Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:09 am Reply with quote

Ronni Ancona, it was, and if the source above is right, it's another one for the retractions special. Here's what we said:

Now tell us who fought whom in the Battle of Culloden?



The Battle of Culloden is quite complicated, because it was basically an Italian fop with a Polish accent with a bunch of Highlanders, some Irish, a few French, fighting some Scottish low-landers, English, led by a fat German from Hanover.

Is a very good description of the Battle of Culloden indeed.

There were the Campbells and the Rossís and the Grants and the Gunns and many of the lowland families. There were more Scots there beating Prince Charles, Edward Stuart, than there were English.

and then:

There were more Scots in the force which finally defeated Bonnie Prince Charlie than there were in his own army. It was basically a local derby, thatís the point.

The material we based this on starts at post 69273 and cites Prof Ted Cowan, professor of Scottish history at Glasgow University as the source.

Incidentally, I'll contact Mr Ferguson, who sounds like one of us. Amongst other things, he may be able to help with the pewter tankards and the v-signing archers.


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