The Jacobite uprisings of the 18th century directly concerned Ireland and many Irishmen and women living on the continent, even if very little of their process actually took place in Ireland. And while no large Irish regiments of the Brigades took part in the early adventures, their make-up and outcome is still of great relevance to the cause of the Wild Geese.Share
James Francis Edward Stuart was the son of James II, the man whose birth in 1688 had precipitated the entire crisis that saw his father ousted from power and forced into exile, an exile that the son now continued. The figurehead of the Jacobite cause, considered to be James III of England and VIII of Scotland by the followers of that cause, he is better known, perhaps, by the nickname that Jacobites came to call him: the “Old Pretender”.
James had spent only six months of his infancy in England, being brought to France just before the start of the War of the Two Kings in Ireland. And there he had remained for the most part, taking up his father’s position in 1701 at the age of only 13, recognised initially by the likes of France, Spain and the Papal States. In the course of his life he would attempt several times to land in Britain under arms, to try and militarily win the throne he believed was his by right. And, Irishmen would be with him when he tried.
The first real attempt was in 1708, during the War of the Spanish Succession, when James was able to garner the requisite support from Louis XIV to gather a fleet and try a crossing of the English Channel. As with so many such attempts, the plan was to land with only a small (ish) force, and then gather more soldiers in England or Scotland, those of a Jacobite persuasion, with which to topple the Williamite monarchy. On this occasion, no landing was actually made: the plan was delayed by a bout of measles suffered by James, poor weather hampered movement and the Royal Navy intercepted and warded off the French ships that aimed to unload their troops near Inverness. Unable to force the issue, the French commanders sailed back home, much to James’ chagrin. (Read more.)