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William Duncan's Stand Against the Jacobites

William Duncan, the son of John Duncan, was born January 7, 1627/28 in Perth near the Firth of Tay, Perthshire, Scotland. He was beheaded January 2, 1690/91 near Glasgow, Lanard, Scotland. William was also known as the Reverend William Duncan. He fell martyr during the religious troubles that afflicted Scotland at the time Charles the second was restored to the throne and William refused to take the Jacobite oath. He received his degree in theology from the Kings College at Aberdeen in 1648. When William was ejected from office for informing against members of the resistance to Episcopalianism, his children fled to Virginia where they settled in the region of Northern Neck. He married Sarah Haldane, daughter of Richard Haldane and Mary Kennett, on August 29, 1657 in Scotland.

The word Jacobite comes from the latin Jacobus (Jacob's), or James' from the Royal House of Stuart. The followers of the James' (James V through to VII) were therefore known as Jacobites. Jacobitism is, however, more than merely a belief that a different person has best right to the throne. It is also a radically different understanding of the place which the monarch and the monarchy have within society. Jacobites reject the idea that the king has his authority delegated to him by Parliament. Many hold that the king's authority comes directly from Almighty God.

Jacobites were adherents of the exiled branch of the Stuart Dynasty who sought to restore James II and his descendants to the English and Scottish thrones after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Theoretical justification for the Stuart claim was found in the writings of the Nonjurors, who maintained the principles of hereditary succession and the divine right of kings. But the Stuarts' continued adherence to Roman Catholicism, the rash and incompetent leadership of their military ventures, and the duplicity of foreign courts cost the Jacobite cause much support.

The situation was like this: England had been ruled by Protestant Queen Elizabeth I, she was succeeded by James I of England (James VI of Scotland). Catholic and Protestant divide not only in England but also in Scotland, Ireland and to a lesser degree France and Germany was the worst it had ever been. Support within all these countries for one family over another was across the board. Protestant support in Scotland and England was heavier than that of the Catholics. Both countries were under the rule of the Stuarts and this did not run well with the protestant parliament of the more powerful English. The Stuarts were eventually exiled and forced to retire to France due to the support of the Act of Union which basically forced Scotland to accept a situation that was not in their favour. Queen Anne died without an heir and the Act of Union, amongst other things, allowed the German House of Hanover to take the crown. This was something that the English desperately wanted, as it was regarded then that Catholicism was closer to evil than good.

Jacobitism also has its roots, in a way, in the religious situation of the time. Scotland and England of the seventeenth and eighteenth century were predominantly Protestant, but from 1685 to 1688 they had a Catholic king, James VII of Scotland and II of England. The people were highly suspicious of him, and were afraid of how safe their Protestant faith would be under a Catholic king. William of Orange was therefore called by the Whig party to invade England, and he became the new, Protestant king in 1689. James then fled to France. Most of England and the Lowlands(The Nobility) of Scotland supported the new king, but there were those, especially in the Scottish Highlands (The Local Clans), who remained true to James, whom they thought to be their legitimate monarch, and eventually acted to have him restored as the king. This was the beginning of the Jacobite movement. (Fitzroy Maclean, Scotland: A Concise History, pp. 138-139)

The first Jacobite attempt at the restoration of James VII came in 1689. Highland clans loyal to James had been assembled, and troops were sent by William to pacify them. In the battle in Killiecrankie, the Jacobites managed to drive the government troops away, but the commander of the Jacobites, Viscount Dundee, was killed in the battle, and because the army was left without a leader, they lost the advantage they had gained by the victory in the battle, and had to withdraw. However, the government remained uneasy about the situation in the Highlands, and tried to take control of the area with measures which included an order that the chiefs of the clans had to take an oath of allegiance to King William. Only two chiefs failed to take the oath by the date required, and one of them, MacIan of Glencoe, was made a threatening example to the rest of the clans: many of the members of his clan were murdered by government troops in what became known as The Massacre of Glencoe. The king did gain some more control over the Highlands with his measures, but especially the Massacre of Glencoe also turned many Scottish people against the king and was a source of very critical comments. This probably served to increase the popularity of the Jacobite cause in Scotland, even in the Lowlands, and probably was one of the reasons why the most serious rebellions, those of 1715 and 1745-6, came about. (Maclean, pp. 139 - 146.)

The Glorious Revolution in English History: The events of 1688-89 that resulted in the deposition of James II and the accession of William III and Mary II to the English throne. It is also called the Bloodless Revolution. The restoration of Charles II in 1660 was met with misgivings by many Englishmen who suspected the Stuarts of Roman Catholic and absolutist leanings. Charles II increased this distrust by not being responsive to Parliament, by his toleration of Catholic dissent, and by favoring alliances with Catholic powers in Europe. A parliamentary group, The Whigs, tried to ensure a Protestant successor by excluding James, Duke of York (later James II), from the throne, but they were unsuccessful. After James's accession (1685) his overt Catholicism and the birth of a Catholic prince who would succeed to the throne united the hitherto loyal Tories with the Whigs in common opposition to James. Seven Whig and Tory leaders sent an invitation to the Dutch prince William of Orange and his consort, Mary, Protestant daughter of James, to come to England. William landed at Torbay in Devonshire with an army. James's forces, under John Churchill (later duke of Marlborough), deserted him, and James fled to France (Dec., 1688). There was some debate in England on how to transfer power; whether to recall James on strict conditions or under a regency, whether to depose him outright, or whether to treat his flight as an abdication. The last course was decided upon, and early in 1689 William and Mary accepted the invitation of Parliament to rule as joint sovereigns. The Declaration of Rights and the Bill of Rights (1689) redefined the relationship between monarch and subjects and barred any future Catholic succession to the throne. The royal power to suspend and dispense with law was abolished, and the crown was forbidden to levy taxation or maintain a standing army in peacetime without parliamentary consent. The provisions of the Bill of Rights were, in effect, the conditions upon which the throne was offered to and accepted by William and Mary. These events were a milestone in the gradual process by which practical power shifted from the monarch to Parliament. The theoretical ascendancy of Parliament was never thereafter successfully challenged.

Battle of Killicrankie: Prior Events: John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee ("Bonnie" Dundee) heard that Blair Castle had been taken by Patrick Stewart of Ballechin and made for the castle. Whoever had the castle controlled the Garry pass. General Mackay, the Redcoat's army commander was also aware and made to retake the castle. The scene was set! The year was 1689 and the 17th century was a troubled time in Scotland. James II of Scotland/VII of England had fled to France on William of Orange's, invited, invasion. England was happy for William to be king but Scotland was divided. The Stuart line had ruled for 300 years and the Jacobites (mainly Highlanders) were not ready for a Protestant king. A convention was called in order to decide who Scotland should have as monarch (it was to finally to opt for William and Mary). When Claverhouse was summoned to the convention, in Edinburgh, from his home, at Dudhope, he refused to attend and left with his supporters. He then set about gathering an army. The Battle: After much chasing around, by Mackay, they eventually waged battle that day, 27th July 1689. Dundee had reached Blair first and headed South for the pass. He took up a position, on a ridge, up to the right of the pass exit. Mackay, meanwhile, turned to face the threat and advanced to level ground below the Jacobites. He could not attack, only a madman would contemplate attacking uphill. Dundee waited. Remember, he is to the right of the pass, facing West, into the sun. He waited hours, until the sun had gone down enough to be out of his troop's eyes. Mackay had 3,000 troops and cavalry, Dundee had 2,500 troops (4 clans and 300 Irishmen). He offset this rather one sided balance by thoughtful tactics. At the right time the Highlanders loosed off what musketry they had and charged. Now, the government troops were mainly raw recruits and probably unused to their new weapon, the bayonet. Imagine it, you have fired a hail of bullets at this screaming, broadsword wielding mass of Highlanders and they're still coming at you. You fumble with a new-fangled piece of kit, trying to screw it on the end of your musket and they're still screaming, still charging hell for leather down at you. By the time you start to react to this threat they're on you. What do you do? You run for it, that's what you do, and that is precisely what the government troops did! The government line broke and the Jacobites began a rout toward the River Garry, the water of which turned red that day. Mackay, a typical British army officer of the time, called his troops cowards for breaking so easily while he effected a hasty retreat. The victorious Highlanders did not know that their leader, Dundee, had been mortally wounded. They had lost 900 men while the Government side lost 2,000 men, half his army. Unfortunately this was a case of winning the battle but losing the war as, without their leader, the Highlanders were lost and went on to eventual defeat at Dunkeld.

Clan Duncan History-- Gaelic Name: Mac Dhonnchaidh Motto: Disce pati (I learn to suffer) LANDS: Atholl, Lundie, Scotland ORIGIN OF NAME: Gaelic, from donn (brown) and cath (war) - brown warrior. Branches: Duncan of Camperdown; Duncan of Lundie

The personal name Duncan can be found on Scotland\rquote s oldest records in its Gaelic form Donnchadh. Among these records is a reference to the death in 717 of Dunchad, the eleventh Abbot of Iona. In 965 the killing of the Abbot of Dunkeld is recorded, showing his name to be Duchad. When Duncan I took the Scottish throne, his grandfather had the blood of several relatives on his hands, having murdered the way clear for Duncan. History taken from "Clan Donnachaidh Museum in Scotland". Although the Clan has lost its lands, the clan spirit has never died. Dinners and gatherings took place throughout the 19th century and led to the founding of the Clan Donnachaidh Society (the name is pronounced Donnachie) in 1893. In 1967 the Clan Donnachaidh Society raised enough money world-wide to buy a site at Bruar and to open the first purpose-built Clan Museum in Scotland in 1969. It displays the story of the Clan's turbulent past in the mosaic of Scottish history, centred upon the Clan lands of Highland Perthshire. In 1993-94 clansfolk again donated nearly 360,000 to create a Gift Shop adjacent to the Museum where associated souvenirs are on sale. The shop's profits are ploughed back into the centre to help maintain the highest standards. In 1995 the Museum was awarded full registration status by the Museum and Galleries Commission.

The Clan Society's office is also at Braur, where the Secretary may be contacted by letter, phone or fax. The Society maintains and renews the family bond uniting the clan, now scattered throughout the world. The Clan Donnachaidh Annual has been published every year since 1951. Sent free to members, it contains Home and international news and historical articles. One weekend a year the Clan comes together for "The Gathering", attended by the Chief and his family, where they meet friends old and new and discuss the business of the Society. On the Sunday a service is held in Struan church, the burial site of many of the chiefs. Every five years or so an International Gathering attracts members from all over the world. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the history and culture of the Clan, particularly Robertsons, Duncans and those who bear allied surnames.

Originally a forename, this seems to be one of the earliest names to appear in Scottish records. Dunchad, eleventh abbot of Dunkeld was killed at the battle of Dorsum Crup, Perthshire in 965. This name was clearly widespread, but some Duncans claim to be descended from the Ancient Earls of Atholl, the name was taken from a chief of clan Donnachaidh, "Fat Duncan", who led the family at Bannockburn. From then on the history of the Duncans is associated with Clan Donnachaidh. (The name Robertson was not adopted by that clan until the 16th century from "the son of Robert", a chief living at the time of James I). The Duncans are therefore considered a sept of Clan Donnachaidh but also possessed lands in Forfarshire including the barony of Lundie and the estates of Gourdie.

The Duncan Family Tartan