James Edward Stuart, the old Pretender (1688-1766)
Only son of James II, smuggled out of England soon after his birth on the fall from power of his father. Crowned as James III on the death of his father (1701). He was a devout Catholic, and his unwillingness to compromise on religion was one of the greatest impediments to his success, turning many potential allies away from his cause. He attempted an invasion of Scotland in 1708 with French aid, but his departure was known in London, and an English fleet chased him to the Firth of Forth, where it's presence prevented his landing, forcing him to return frustrated to France. He served with the French army at Oudenarde (1708) and Malplaquet (1709), but was forced to leave France after the Peace of Utrecht (1713), although his new base in Lorraine was close enough to Paris to allow him to communicate with his allies. His allies missed their best chance to gain him his throne on the death of Queen Anne (1714) and failed to take any action in the two months before George I arrived from Hanover (September 1714). However, George I soon made himself unpopular, and throughout 1715 Jacobite supporters in England and Scotland prepared for rebellion. Once again, their plans were known in London, and steps were taken to prevent any revolt in England, forcing the duke of Ormonde to flee to France (August 1715). On 6 September 1715 the earl of Mar raised the Jacobite banner, marking the start of the First Jacobite Revolt (the '15). James Edward made preparations to travel to Scotland, but by the time he arrived, in late December, Mar had already been repulsed, and the revolt was in effect over. James Edward took ship for France on 4 February 1715, and never returned to Britain, although another plot in his name was uncovered in 1722, and he provided money and support to his son, Charles Edward Stuart (the Young Pretender), for the Second Jacobite Revolt (the '45).
How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (6 November 2000), James Edward Stuart, the old Pretender (1688-1766), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_oldpretender.html