I am your master … and you’re mine. Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own. So said Jamie Fraser, the Jacobite warrior of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander stories, in a line that topped a poll to find Scotland’s favourite literary quotes.
The Outlander novels and TV series have generated a huge amount of interest in the Jacobites and resulted in large influx of new visitors to the Highlands, keen to explore the locations featured in Gabaldon’s tales.
These locations include Culloden Battlefield, outside Inverness, the Clava Cairns or standing stones, the Wardlaw Mausoleum, at Kirkhill, and the whole of the area from where Bonnie Prince Charlie fled to France after the defeat of his army on 16th April 1746.
But who were the Jacobites that also gave their name to our Loch Ness cruise company?
The Jacobites were members of a political movement who wanted to restore the Catholic Stuart family to the throne of Great Britain.
England and Scotland were ruled by separate monarchs until 1603 when James 1 of England inherited both. His mother was Mary Queen of Scots who was executed by her cousin Elizabeth 1.
Then 100 years later in 1706, the parliaments of England and Scotland voted to be officially united through the Treaty of Union, which resulted in the creation of Great Britain.
However, the Scottish people believed their representatives were bribed, as illustrated in the words of our national bard Robert Burns:
“We are bought and sold for English gold such a parcel of rogues in a nation.”
The Scots’ outrage marked the start of a rebellion and the rise of the Jacobites, first in 1715 and then in 1745 with the raising of the standard at Glenfinnan and the arrival of Prince Charles.
Bonnie Prince Charlie was known as the Young Pretender but never by his full name which was Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart!
Romanticism, heroics, and adventures
The rising of 1745 is one of the periods that Diana Gabaldon features in her time-travelling stories. However, long before we ever heard of Outlander, the Jacobites’ minds were filled with romanticism, heroics, adventures and a belief in the underdog rising against the authority of the day.
This is particularly evident in our folk songs and poetic writings. Again from the pen of Robert Burns we have the great Scottish folk song “Ye Jacobites by Name”.
Ye Jacobites by name, give an ear, give an ear
Ye Jacobites by name give an ear
Ye Jacobites by name
Your faults I will proclaim
Your doctrines I maun blame
You shall hear, you shall hear
This was made famous by the Scottish folk group The Corries who also wrote Flower of Scotland, our unofficial national anthem.
It’s amazing how everything is so interlinked. From the dispute of the Treaty of Union, to the Jacobites, to Bonnie Prince Charlie and his defeat at Culloden, to the writings of Robert Burns, and to the stories of Diana Gabaldon. Of course, we at Loch Ness by Jacobite are also continuing the story in which you, too, could feature.
In fact, while the smoke has long settled on the battlefields, you can still soak up the atmosphere of the Highlands and the magnificence of Loch Ness. And allow your imagination to drift back to those days of the Jacobites … if you close your eyes you can almost hear the battle cries in the distance.