Highland Scots had little reason to love the British monarchy after the shattering of the Jacob cause once and for all at the battle of Culloden in 1745. British forces under King George II’s youngest son, Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, engaged in a “pacification” of the highlands after the battle, which involved the hanging of 100 men and the imprisonment of many women. Hordes of highlanders were sent to London on a forced march for trial and many died on the way. Little wonder that for the remainder of his life Prince William was often referred to as Butcher Cumberland. An oath was extracted from the Highlanders, or rather one of three variants. The oaths were administered both in Gaelic and in English:
A-ta sinne na Foi-sgriobhoire gu fior agus gu neimh-chealgach ag Aidmheachadh, agus ag Dimhineachadh ag togbhail Fiadhnais, agus ag Foillseachadh ann ar Coguisibh, ann Labhair Dhe agus an t-Saoghail gur e ar n Aird-Thriath an Dara Righ Seoras, Righ laghail dligheach na Rioghachd-sa, agus gach gu neimh-chealgach a foillseachadh, gu’m bheil sinn ag creidsin ann ar Coguisibh nach bheil Coir no Dlighe air-bith air Crun na Rioghachd-sa, no Tighearnais air-bith eile a bhuineas d’i, ag an Fhear a chuir roimh-e b’e Prionsa Wales re Linn Righ Seamais nach mairthean, agus o a Bhas-san a ’ta ag cur roimh-e gar e, agus a ’ta ag gabhail chuig-e fein Stoile agus Tiotal Righ Shasoin fo Ainm an Treasa Seamais, no Righ Alba fo ainm on Ochta Seamais, no Stoile agus Tiotal Righ Mhoir-Bhritinn. Agus a ta sinn ag Aicheadh agus air ar Mionnaibh Seanaidh ag Diulltadh gach Geill agus Umhlachd dh’a. Agus a ta sinn ag Mionnachadh gu’n toir sinn Fior-umhlachd aghaidh gach Comh-cheangail chealgaich agus gach Ionnsuigh air-bith, a bhitheas ann Aghaidh a Phearsa, a Chruin no Fhiuntais. Agus Gnathaichidh sinn ar n Uile-dhithcheal a leigeil ris agus a nochdadh d’a Mhordhachd agus d’a Luchd Iairleanmhain, gach Ceannairc agus Coimh-cheangal cealgach, a’s Aithne dhuinn ’a bhitheas ’n a Aghaidh-sin, no ann Aghaidh aoin-neach dhiubhsan. Agus a ta sinn gu dileas ag Gealltain gu’n Cum sinn suas, gu’n Coimhid agus gu’n Dion, sinn le ar n Uile-neart Iairleanmhain a’ Chruin ’n a Aghaidh-sin, iodhon Seamas reamh-raite, agus ann Aghaidh gach Dreim air-bith eile, An Iair-lean-mhain a ’ta le Reachd d’an Ainm Reachd chum tuille Crioslachaidh a’ Chruin, agus Daingeachaidh Choraiche agus Saoirse nan Iochdaran nis fearr, sonraichte do’n Bhain-Phrionsa Sophia nach mairthean, Ban-roigh-neadair agus Bain-duic Dhuairichte Hanover, agus do oighreachaibh a Cuirp, air bith dhoibh do’n Chreideamh aith-leasaichte. Agus na Nithe sin uile a-ta sinn gu soilleir agus neimh-chealgach ag Aidmheachadh agus ag Mionnachadh, do Reir nan Ceirtbhriathar sin a labhradh leinn’ agus de Reir Seagha agus Ceill shoilleir agus gnath-aichte nam Briathar ceadna, gun Atharrachadh Seagha gun Seach-rod, gun Saoibh-sheagh, gun diomhair Inntinn. Agus a ta Sinn ag deanamh na’ h’ Athfhaosaid agus na h’ Aidmheil so, ag luadh nam Mionna Seanaidh, ag deanamh an Diulltadh, agus ag tabhairt a Gheallaidh so, gu croidheil, toileach, fior, air Fir-chrideamh Criosluidh. Mar so cuidich leinn’ a Dhia.
We the undersigned do truly and sincerely avow, and affirm and bear testimony, declaring in our consciences, in the presence of God and the world, that King George II is the supreme ruler, the lawful and rightful king of the kingdom, and each do declare sincerely, that we believe in our consciences that there is no right to the Crown of the Kingdom, or any lordship that belongs to (the kingdom), (that should be claimed by) the man [i.e., Prince Charles Edward Stuart] who alleged that he was the Prince of Wales during the time of the late King James, and since his [James’s] death, he is making that claim, and is taking for himself the style and title of the King of England, under the name James III, or the King of Scotland, under the name James VIII, or the style and title of the King of Great Britain. We renounce him — by the vows of the Synod — and refuse to surrender to him or defer to him. We do swear that we will truly renounce every seditious association and every attack which is against his [George’s] person, crown or dignity. And we will do our utmost to submit to him and to reveal to his Majesty and to his representatives, every treason and seditious association that we know of which would be against him, or against any one of them [his representatives]. And we do devotedly promise that we will keep up and preserve and defend, with all of our might, the representatives of the Crown against the aforementioned James, and against any other group, the Representative who (has?) the Act titled “An act for declaring the rights and liberties of the subject, and settling the succession of the Crown”, especially the late Princess Sophia, Electress and Duchess of Hanover, and to her corporal heirs, who have gone to the Reformed Faith. And all of these things we do clearly and sincerely profess and promise, according to these very words that we have declaimed, and according to the clear and usual sense and meaning of these same words, without any alteration of meaning, without wandering, without falsity, without any secrets of mind. And we make this vow and acknowledgement, speaking the oath of the Synod, making the renunciation and taking this promise, in earnest, willingly, and truly, by the true Christian faith, so help us God.
A ta sinne na Foi-sgriobhoire gu neimh-chealgach ag gealltain, agus ag mionnachadh, gu’m bith sinn dileas agus fior-umhal do Mhordhach an Dara Righ Seorais, mar so cuidich leinn’ a Dhia.
We the undersigned do sincerely promise and vow that we will be loyal and truly obedient to his Majesty, King George II, so help us God.
A ta sinne na Foi-sgriobhoire ann an Neimh-chealgaireachd ar Croidhi, ag radh, ag Aidmheachadh, agus ag Foillseachadh gur e Mordhachd an Dara Righ Seorais amhain agus gun Amharus, Aird-Thriath laghail na Rioghachd-sa, comh-mhaith ‘de Jure.’ Is e sin, Righ do brigh Corach as ‘de Facto.’ Is e sinn ann an Seilbh agus ann an Gnathachadh an h’ Aird-riaghail.
Agus air an Adhbhar Sin, a ta sinn gu neimh-chealgach agus gu dileas ag gealltainn agus ag Ceangal oirn-fein gu’n Coimhid agus gu’n Dion sinn le ar Croidhe agus le ar Laimh, le ar Beatha agus le ar Maoin Pearsa agus Aird-riaghail a Mhordhachd ann Aghaidh an Fhir sin a Chuir roimh-e gu’m b’e Prionsa Wales re Linn Righ Seamais nach mairthean, agus o a Bhas-san, a ta ag Cur roimh-e gur e, agus a ta ag gabhail chuig-e fein Stoile agus Tiotal Righ Shasoin fo Ainm an Treasa Seamais, no Righ Alba fo Ainm an Ochta Seamais, agus ann an Aghaidh a Luchd leanmhain, s nan uile Naimhde eile, a bheir Ionsuigh dhiomhair no fhollas air Aimh-reite no Ais-sith a thogbhail ann Aghaidh a Mhordhachd ann nan Seilbh agus ann nan Gnathachadh sin.
We the undersigned, in the sincerity of our hearts, do say, do vow and do declare, without any reservation, that his Majesty King George II is the only legitimate supreme ruler of this Kingdom, as good as de Jure. That is to say, the King whose right is de Facto. He is in possession of, and control of, the central government.
And for that reason, we do sincerely and loyally do promise and bind ourselves, that we will defend with our hearts and with our hands, with our lives and with our personal wealth, his Majesty’s central government against that man who alleged to be the Prince of Wales during the life of the late King James, and since his death, alleges that he is, and takes for himself the style and title of the King of England, under the name James III, or the King of Scotland, under the name James VIII, and against his followers, and all of those who are enemies, who make secret or public attack in order to create chaos or inflict damage against his Majesty, who is in possession and control of that.
One can wonder at the moral force of an oath extracted by force under such circumstances. However, to many of the Highlanders who settled in the American colonies after Culloden, an oath was an oath, which helps explain why many of them took up arms for a monarchy they had very good reasons to despise when the colonies rose in revolt.