1. The Highlanders
Somewhere in the hills of Inverness, in the strath of the river Naver, lived a poor family by the name of Mackay. They were the remote descendants of the great Lord Reay, Donald Mackay, who, in ancient times, established his castle upon a high cliff overlooking Loch Naver and the valley of the river. Because of its geographical appointments, the village was known as Strathnaver for "in the valley of the river Naver" and the Mackays were fishers of salmon. For hundreds of years this was their home, throughout long years of political turmoil between the Scots and English. For Scotland wanted its Stuart kings to occupy the throne, even after England passed the law barring Catholism. The long history of this fight commenced with the Stuarts inheriting the kingdoms of England and Ireland during the 17th century. Actually, since the 12th century, the dynasty's patrilineal Breton ancestors held the office of the High Steward of Scotland. Thus, they were deeply entrenched in the monarchy in 1688 when the Jacobite rebellion overthrew James II and a grand alliance between France, England and Scotland established forever the fate of the Stuarts and ended any chance of Catholicism ever becoming established in England. Still, the Stuarts had strong support in the highland country and protected the Stuarts even down to the time of Bonnie Prince Charles, a last attempt to seize the throne in 1745.
It all started with the marriage of the daughter of James I to Frederick V in 1613. The couple became King and Queen of Bohemia (1619) which marked the beginning of the thirty years' war. But the Catholic descendants of their daughter (Sophia of Hanover) barred her children from ascending to the throne. Thus, the ascension of thr queen's brother, Charles I, began a whole new era of political turmoil from the Stuarts to regain the throne. They were known as Jacobite Pretenders. Thus, the Jacobite rebellions were a series of uprisings and wars in Great Britain and Ireland occurring between 1688 and 1746. Those Scots occupying the highlands opposed the British and secretly participated in the rebellions, proclaiming Charles I (as King James III of England and Ireland as well as James VIII of Scotland).
Hence, in 1708, the Old Pretender sailed from Dunkirk with 6000 French troops inside of thirty ships belonging to the French navy. He intended to land in the Firth of Forth, but was prevented by the British Royal Navy. Thus, when the British blocked the harbor, the French admiral, having the Old Pretender onboard, chose not to risk a landing, and retreated. The British pursued the French fleet to the north of Scotland, losing ships and most of their men in shipwrecks on the way back to Dunkirk. Later in 1714, when George I (of the House of Hanover) arrived in England, Tory Jacobites in England conspired to organize armed rebellions against the new regime. During the summer of the following year, King James called on Mar (Bobbin' John) to raise the Clans. Mar summoned clan leaders to a grand hunting-match in August and proclaiming James as their lawful soveign, raised the Scottish standard. The alliance of the clans and the northern Lowlands, quickly overan many parts of the Highlands. In September without opposition, Mar's Jacobites captured Perth and his army grew to 8,000 strong. They waited in Perth for the Earl of Seaforth to arrive with his clans, but Seaforth was attacked from clans loyal to the British. Meanwhile, the Duke of Argyll held the vast Stirling plain. Meanwhile, an English contingent of the Jaobites had garnered a force of some 300 men in the north of England, and joined forces with a rising in the south of Scotland under Viscount Kenmure. Mar sent a force under Brigadier William Mackintosh of Borium to join them. They left Perth and ferried across the Firth of Borth from Burntisland to East Lothian. Here they became involved in an attack on the undefended Edinburgh, but having seized Leith citadel they were chased away by the arrival of Argyll's fores. Mackintosh's force of about 2000 made their way south and met their allies at Kelson on the British Borders. A disagreement of tactics delayed the fight. The Scots wanted to fight government forces near Dumfries and Glasgow, while the English contingents were determined to march towards Liverpool, promising 20,000 recruits in Lancashire. The brave Highlanders clans refused to march into England and pressed on. Instead of being welcomed, the Jacobites were met by a hostile militia armed with pitchforks. They went unopposed in Lancaster and found about 1500 recruits. When they reached Preston in November, the Jacobite forces numbered about 4000. The Hanoveran forces arrived and they fought the Battle of Preston. The Jacobites actually won the first day of battle, however government reinforcements arrived and caused the Jacobs to surrender five days' later. The following day, Mar's forces were unable to defeat a smaller force led by the Duke of Argyll and retreated to Perth. On 22 December a ship from France finally delivered the Old Pretender into a deep snow landscape of Peterhead. He set up court at Scone in Perthshire, visited the troops and ordered the burning of villages to hinder the advance of the Duke of Argyll. The highlanders were cheered by the presence of a deep snow upon the land and were ready to go into battle. But the pretender ordered a retreat to the coast upon the pretext of seeking a stronger position. Two months passed. Actually, the ailing pretender failed to meet the challenge and boarding a ship at Montrose, escaped into France. The message was clear. The Highlanders would have to fend for themselves. The English proceeded to subdue the Scottish Highlands by constructing garrisons and forts throughout the area and confiscating the wealth and estates.
During the year of 1719 another effort surfaced to raise the clans when the Jacobites found a new ally in the Spain, the Minister to the King, Cardinal Giulio Alberoni. Twenty seven ships and two frigates attempted to 5,000 soldiers in England, however the vessels were dispersed by storms. Two frigates did, however, land a party of Jacobites with 300 Spanish soldiers at Loch Duich and held Elean Donan Castle for awhile until it was captured by the Royal Navy. As a result, the Jacobites only had lukewarm support from the clans and soon surrendered.
During the Jacobean era, the unification of England and Scotland under one ruler was an important shift of order for both nations and ironically helped to shape the formation of the British colonies on the North American continent. The Glorious Revolution led to the collapse of the Dominion of New England as well and the overthrow of the Province of Maryland. All this during a time of the plantings of the English colonies in North America.
During the rebellions, although the Mackays and other clans were anti-Jacobite, the highlanders were subject to search and seizure by he british and to protect members of the clan, bands of highlands practiced guerrilla warfare. When the redcoats were on the march, they lunged upon the enemy from the hilly wooded plain.
2. The Clearing
Here is where the Mackays enter the turmoil. After having suffered the political ramnifications of the Stuart regimes and the loss of peerages, by the year of 1725, the land lords were clearing the highlanders from the strath of the river. The clearing, it was called, was wide-spread and affected a number of impoverished clans. Thus, of necessity, they left their homes and started the long process of removing into to Europe and the English colonies. By the 18th century, most highlanders had converted to the protestant religion and the Macdonalds, McGillevay, Mackays, Macintoshes of the strath and glen were in America.
3. James Edward Oglethorpe, colonizer
It was to this state of affairs that James Edward Oglethorpe addressed his plan of immigration to the cast-off-clans. They were enlisted as highland regiments to occupy an old british fortress south of Savannah (Darien), to serve as a butress against the threat of Spanish conquistadors in St. Augustine , Florida. For his part in the ownership of a private Charter of 22 English entrepreneurs or trustees, Colonel Oglethorpe was chosen as its military leader and colonizer. The challenge itself matched Oglethorpe's personal ideas of reform, that the poor people on the streets of London and elsewhere could substantially improve themselves, were they given land and opportunity. The trustees paid the passage of the highlanders in exchange for military service and land. But it ws Oglethorpe who personally visited the Mcintoshes, Macdonalds, MacGilliverays and Mackays and convinced the Scots to bring their sons into Georgia.
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