Rare collection of Jacobite propaganda goes on show

The copy of Ascanius which was sold to raise money for the 1745 Jacobite rising. PIC: Contributed.
The copy of Ascanius which was sold to raise money for the 1745 Jacobite rising. PIC: Contributed.
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A rare collection of Jacobite propaganda, including a fictionalised account of the 1745 rising published anonymously to avoid charges of treason, has gone on show.

The exhibition, Genuine Jacobites? - 100 years of Scottish Propaganda - has been mounted at Innerpeffray Library in Perthshire, the oldest free public lending library in Scotland.

Innerpeffray Library - Scotland's first free Public Lending Library, by Crieff, Perthshire. 'PIC: Courtesy of Innerpeffray Library.

Innerpeffray Library - Scotland's first free Public Lending Library, by Crieff, Perthshire. 'PIC: Courtesy of Innerpeffray Library.

The exhibition was mounted following a bequest from US book collector Janet Saint Germain, who died in 2016.

Ms St Germain was of Scottish ancestry and had a lifelong interest in the country’s history.

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Among the gifted collection is a copy of Ascanius, or the Young Adventurer, which was published in London in 1746 and sold to raise funds for the rising.

Lara Haggerty, keeper of books at Innerpeffray Library, said: “It is a wonderful little book about Bonnie Prince Charlie but it doesn’t mention him by name - that would have been treasonous. He is referred to as the Young Hero and the Chevalier.

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“The books were published in a slightly surreptitious manner and sold to raise funds for weapons and soldiers.”

Several Jacobite-era broadsides, which were one-page news sheets printed quickly to spread information, are on display.

One announces the ‘Declaration of the Rebels now in Arms in the West of Scotland’.

Two letters pleading for mercy of imprisoned Jacobites facing execution are also included.

One, written by Agns (Agnes) Ogilvy, of Montrose, on October 4 1746, calls for leniency in the treatment of Reverend Robert Lyon, an Episcopalian priest who was condemned at Carlisle.

Separate accounts detail how the assistant priest in Perth became the chaplain to the Forfarshire Regiment, who drew its members from Clan Ogilvy, as it passed through Perth in September 1745.

The priest stayed with regiment throughout the campaign but he was arrested in Montrose following Culloden and found guilty of levying war, even though he did not carry arms.

The letter from Agns Ogilvy said: “I have now the melancholy accounts of his having been condemned at Carlile the 26 of September, therefore I most earnestly entreat & beseech, that if any thing can be done to Save his life, You will be so good to use Your most pressing endeavours to obtain Mercy for him & that as Soon as possible, which will lay me under greater obligations to you than I am able to express.”

Rev Lyon was executed at Penrith on October 28,1746.

Ms Haggerty said: “The exhibition brings together lots of special items.

“We get visitors from all over the world and we were keen to given them something different.”

She added: “The Jacobite campaign used all methods they could to promote and support the cause – from street propaganda to fundraising through the sales of controversial literature.

“Our aim with the exhibition was to show the rebellion through the printed word.”

Innerpeffray Library was founded by David Drummond 3rd Lord Madertie in around 1680. A descendant, Lord John Drummond, was a key military figure during the 1745 rising and fought on the frontline at Culloden.

He survived and escaped to France with his estates in Scotland forfeited as a result.