From the Book of Eminent Burgesses of Dundee 1513 to 1885.

William Augustus, H.R.H. The Duke of Cumberland - 10th April 1746.



WILLIAM AUGUSTUS, DUKE OF CUMBERLAND, was the son of GEORGE II. and of CAROLINE OF BRANDENBURG ANSPACH, and was born on 15th April, 1721. He was created DUKE OF CUMBERLAND in 1726, and was devoted to the profession of arms at a very early age. In 1743 he accompanied his father the KING on his campaign in Flanders, and was wounded at the battle of Dettingen. The command of the forces was conferred upon him in 1745, but he experienced a severe defeat by MARSHAL SAXE at Fontenoy, on 14th May of that year. The young PRETENDER PRINCE CHARLES EDWARD STEWART having landed at Moidart and marched successfully to Edinburgh, defeating the forces under SIR JOHN COPE that were opposed to him, the DUKE OF CUMBERLAND was recalled from Flanders and despatched to Lancashire at the head of the British army to arrest the progress of the PRINCE. The DUKE encountered and defeated the rebels at Clifton, near Peurith, and forced the insurgents to retire towards Scotland.

They occupied Carlisle for some time, but that fortified town was besieged by the DUKE OF CUMBERLAND and capitulated on January 1st, 1746. The rebels having rallied and gained a victory at Falkirk on 17th January, the DUKE, who had returned to London, once more set out for Scotland to take full command of the forces there. He arrived at Edinburgh on 30th January, and marched thence to Stirling, driving the Jacobite army before him. From this place he advanced to Perth, and then crossed the country to Montrose, detaching a regiment of dragoons to occupy Dundee. ALEXANDER DUNCAN of Lundie, who was then Provost of Dundee (vide page 211), was a faithful supporter of the House of Hanover, and he took an early opportunity of testifying the affection of the Burgh towards the reigning monarch, as the loyalty of the inhabitants had been rendered doubtful through the aid they had rendered to the Jacobites in 1715. The following entry appears in the Council Minutes of 22nd February, 1746

" The Provost acquainted the Council that he was Informed his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumber¬land was to be at Montrose on Monday next, and wanted to know the opinion of the Council if or not they thought it proper that a Committee of their number should wait on his Royal Highness there. Which being considered by the Council they agree that the Provost and such other members of the Council as incline to go to Montrose on Monday next, wait on the Duke there."

No record of the meeting of PROVOST DUNCAN with the DUKE has been preserved, but it must have been satisfactory to both parties, as appears from the Minute of the Meeting of Council, on 10th April, 1746 :

"The Provost acquainted the Council that he had caused make out a Burgess Ticket for His Royall Highness the Duke of Cumberland, and that the Committee appointed for making up an Address to his Majesty had accordingly made out and forwarded the same, all in terms of the former Act of Council ; of which the Council approved."

The "Address of the Provost, Magistrates, Town Council, and Community of Dundee" is printed in full in the Scots Magazine, Vol. VIII., page 170; and the following passage in it may be quoted as showing the condition of the Burgh at the time of the Rebellion:

"We did not give credit to the first accounts brought us of the beginning of this rebellion, but continued unprovided for resistance, till of a sudden we were over run by a superior armed force, which obliged many of us to fly from our homes for safety of our persons, and the rest, being defenceless, were obliged to submit to lawless insults. But no sooner did the rebels march from this neighbourhood than the inhabitants of this burgh took up, with a zeal and fervour suitable to the duty they owe to your sacred Majesty, such arms as they could come at, and honourably delivered the officers of your Majesty's army, who were detained prisoners by the rebels at some miles distance from this place, and carried them safe to Edinburgh; and have continued, since his Royal Highness's seasonable arrival amongst us, to exert ,ourselves to the utmost of our power in assisting to support his vigorous and prudent conduct."

The esteem with which the Council regarded the DUKE OF CUMBERLAND at this period is shown by another entry in the Minute of 10th April, 1746, in which they order the DUKE'S birthday, which fell on 15th April, "to be kept with all publick Demonstrations of joy; the Council and such oyr Gentlemen as the Magistrates shall think proper to be invited to the Cross against five o'clock afternoon on sd day, and after drinking the Royal healths then the Council and such oyr Gentlemen as the Magistrates shall incline to be invited to the Town House. All the windows to the fore street of this Burrow (except writers chambers) to be sufficiently illuminated between eight and ten o'clock at night sd day, and appoint the Illuminating of windows to be advertised thro' the Town by the Drum, under the common penalty on his Majesty's birthday."

On 16th April the day after the DUKE's birthday the rebels were totally routed by the British Army under his command at Culloden; and the Town Council, having obtained sure intelligence of this victory, appointed the 24th of April to be kept as a public holiday, and the windows to be illuminated in the same manner as on the 15th of that month (Hay's Charters, Writs, and Documents of Dundee, page 145). The Burgess Ticket was presented to the DUKE OF CUMBERLAND, enclosed in a magnificent gold casket, whilst he was on his way homewards, as is shown by the Minute of 6th June, 1746:

"The Clk. acquainted the Council that he had got a letter from Lundy alongst with Burgess Ticket and box to be delivered the Duke, and that he wrote it was expected the Duke would be in Edin. on Saturday or Sunday next, so as they might send a deputation to wait upon his Royal Highness if they inclined. Which being considered by the Council, they unanimously agreed that Bailie Yeaman and Tealing go to Edin. in conjunction with Lundy, to wait upon the Duke and deliver him the said ticket."

The DUKE did not arrive at Holyroodhouse until the 21st of July, and there received the freedom of the Burghs of Dundee and of Glasgow. The cost of this testimonial to Dundee is recorded in the Minute of 23rd August, 1746:

"The Provost gave into the Council an account of the charge for makeing a Gold Box that was made for containing his Royall Highness the Duke of Cumberland's Burgess Ticket, amounting to £45 10s. 6d., which was approved of by the Council."

The DUKE OF CUMBERLAND rendered himself unpopular, even with his own party in Scotland, by his unnecessary severity towards the Jacobites after the rebellion had been crushed. In the year succeeding Culloden he returned to Flanders to resist the encroachments of the French there, but was again defeated by MARSHAL SAXF, at Lawfeldt. Ten years later (25th July, 1757) he was once more repulsed and his army routed by Monsieur D'ETREES at Hastenbeck, and was forced to sign Articles of Capitulation at Kloster seven on 8th September, so as to allow him to bring back the remnant of the British Army to this country. Though he retained his military grade, the DUKE OF CUMBERLAND was never again actively employed in warfare. He died suddenly at his house in Upper Grosvenor Street, London, on 31st October, 1765, being then in his forty fifth year, and was privately interred in the royal vault in HENRY VII's Chapel, Westminster Abbey. His unsuccessful campaigns in Flanders dimmed considerably the glory of his victory at Culloden; and he never gained the favour of the nation, though at the time of his death he was not far removed from the throne. He has been described as a Prince of vigorous understanding, courageous, truthful, and honourable; but his nature was hard, and what seemed to him justice was rarely tempered with mercy. The history of his military career shows that he never won a victory when opposed to disciplined forces; and when it is remembered that the rebels whom he vanquished at Culloden were demoralized by a long retreat, and unaccustomed to civilized warfare, it will be seen that their conquest is evidently much over praised.


Iain D. McIntosh, Friends of Dundee City Archives