It depends on your point of view.
The British Army was first raised by the Stuart dynasty, starting with the royal bodyguard units raised to protect King Charles (Stuart) II's person at the start of his reign in the early 1660's, then the raising of basically home-defence force regiments after the Dutch wars, following the Medway Raid of 1667. The Royal Scots (or Douglas's Regiment) were brought on the establishment at this time. In the 1670's and early 1680's, Charles II raised more regiments, for internal security, to subdue religious dissenters such as the Covenanters and to enforce Anglican worship. The Royal Scots Greys (Dalyell's Regiment of Scotch Dragoons) and the Royal Scots Fusiliers (Earl of Mar's Regiment) were among those raised at this time. After his death, his brother, James VII (II of England) continued the repression of Protestant religious groups using the Army (including Scottish regiments) and he converted to Roman Catholicism.
His "born-again" enthusiasm for Catholicism and favoured promotion/introduction of Catholics within the Army alienated many of his loyal Protestant subjects and able commanders, including John Churchill (later famous as the Duke of Malborough). In 1688, after the population turned, he was forced to flee the throne as his Protestant daughter's Mary's husband, William, Prince of Orange, was invited by English nobility and Parliament to accept the throne.
James fled to Ireland where he summoned support from Irish Catholics and the Highland Clans, of which he was Ard-Righ. In the Scottish Highlands, the Jacobite Rebellion of 1689 was the result, only partly supported by clans. Meanwhile, the Scots Parliament raised more regiments to fight against the rebellion. As a result, the Earl of Leven's Regiment was fully recruited with volunteers in 3 hours in Edinburgh (later to become The King's Own Scottish Borderers) and in Lanarkshire, The Earl of Angus's Regiment was raised from Covenanters (fundamental Presbyterians), followers of the martyred Richard Cameron. They would become The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). Leven's stood up to the Highland Charge at Killiekrankie where many others caved in, while the Cameronians stopped dead the Jacobite advance at Dunkeld, after which the rebellion petered out in Scotland. Scotland's very first Highland Regiment, The Earl of Argyll's (who dressed in standard uniform apart from a wrap-around body-plaid and Highland bonnet) were raised to police the Highlands after the rebellion. 2 companies of the regiment (under Captains Duncanson and Robert Campbell of Glenlyon) were dispatched under "Orders of Fire and Sword" by the (Scottish) Secretary of State, Dalrymple, in February 1692 to make an example of the Jacobites, resulting in the Massacre of Glencoe. Even here, James Stuart had tested the loyalty of his Jacobite clans, after exile to France, by consistently refusing to allow their chiefs to sign an oath of loyalty to King William by 31st December 1691 to secure their amnesty. Only relenting under great pressure by the chiefs did he agree near the deadline date, ensuring just in time the clans were safe from retribution - all except MacIain Abrach, Chief of the MacDonalds of Glencoe whose remote location meant he missed the deadline. Due to Stuart arrogance, his small clan became the chosen target of Williamite retribution.
After the rebellion, King William III used British (including Scottish) regiments to fight Holland's (and now Britain's) enemy - France (previously Britain's friend). As well as the other Scottish regiments, this also included The Earl of Argyll's (disbanded after the war).
Several abortive Jacobite attempts by ex-King James' son, James, followed, with the most support in Scotland and England coming in 1715. The death of Queen Anne without a successor flung open the doors to a royal free-for-all. The Catholic Stuarts (aka Jacobites) reckoned this was their time. However, as Catholics were now banned from the British throne, the throne was offered to the "Kingmaker", George, Elector of Hanover, whose job was usually to find suitable royals for other people's thrones. A non-English speaker, he was effectively railroaded into the job and he was highly unpopular in Britain. However, he was a Protestant German and the thought of a Catholic king was even more unpopular, so George was considered the best of a bad deal. The Stuarts thought differently however and a new rebellion was signalled at the Braes of Mar (Braemar). The British Army's Scottish regiments of course were among the British regiments which faced the Jacobites. It should be noted that the Scottish regments didn't include only Lowlanders, but Highlanders too.
After that rebellion failed and the next in 1719, the Jacobites lost their "puff" and Britain settled down. George's son became king - George II, an English speaker who considered himself British. To ensure the Highlands remained peaceful, six companies of Highlanders from loyal clans, including Campbells, Grants, Munros, Cummings, MacLeods, Rosses, MacKays, Sutherlands etc, were raised and attached to the army. In 1739, they were strengthened and formed into one regiment of Highlanders, the Highland Regiment (aka The Earl of Crawfurds) aka Black Watch.
The 1745 Rebellion was less recruited than the 1715 among Jacobites and indeed, some chiefs who took part in the '45 implored Charles Edward Stuart to go back to the Continent as they believed a rebellion was now too late and King George was too popular in Britain to be ousted by a Stuart rising. However, Stuart stubborness prevailed and the rebellion was on. To put its popularity in context, in the 1730's, British General George Wade was commissioned to estimate the number of potentially friendly and hostile Highlanders. He estimated that Highlanders could muster 30,000 men, of whom 10,000 could be considered loyal to the British Crown. That left potentially 20,000 hostile Highlanders. However, during the 1745 rising, the Jacobite army only reached about 7,000 maximum strength, including Highlanders, Lowlanders, English deserters, French, Franco-Scots and Franco-Irish troops. The rest of the Highlands either supported the Government or stayed neutral.
Meanwhile, Britain - including England, Wales, Lowland Scotland and Highland Scotland except the Jacobite clans, preferred the peace of George II's Britain to an unsettled Jacobite Britain. The Jacobites were a small minority, even in Scotland. The recoated Scottish (and Highland) regiments were part of that unified Britain and took the field against a faction of rebels wishing to turn back the clock.
The rebels were defeated, albeit, with great severity.
In no way was this Scotland against England with Scottish regiments as traitors to Scotland. That is romanticised nonsense and in fact, ex-Jacobite Highland chiefs were some of the most loyal in raising Highland regiments to fight as part of King George II's army against the French in North America and Europe in the 1750's.
If anything, Charles Edward Stuart (aka "Bonnie Prince Charlie") was a manipulative narcissist who brought misery and downfall to the traditional Highlands. He only sought to use the only force he could muster, some of the Highland clans, to his own ends and that of his blighted dynasty, the Stuarts. He used the Highlanders (and others too) to try and conquer the British throne and evict the dynasty who had been invited to reign. If he conquered the throne, then what of his loyal Highlanders ? Rich rewards and gratitude ? No, once he had what he wanted, they would soon fade into memory and if they railed at being forgotten, the Stuart king would have turned on them.
As the Battle of Culloden reached its inevitable climax, Charles Edward Stuart rode off the field to safety. Lord Elcho, commander of the Jacobites' Horse Guards shouted bitterly after him "Run, you cowardly Italian !"
That about sums up the Jacobite Stuarts - self-serving cowards who fled when the going got tough. His granddad did something similar at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, deserting his loyal Irish troops in their hour of need after which they bitterly nicknamed him "James the Shi*head".
Last edited by Lachlan09; 10th April 2013 at 05:52.