Tartan Plaidy, The (O My Bonnie Highland Laddie)

DESCRIPTION: "When first he landed on our strand," Prince Charlie charms all who meet him. "When Geordie heard the news belyve, That he had come before his daddy," the king sends John Cope north. Cope and Charlie play cat and mouse. Stories of the '45
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1821 (Hogg2)
KEYWORDS: Jacobites rebellion battle
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1720-1788 - Life of Charles Edward Stuart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie," the Young Pretender, eldest son of James Stuart the "Old Pretender"
Jul 23, 1745 - Bonnie Prince Charlie lands on Eriskay
Jul 25, 1745 - Charlie transfers to Moidart
Aug 8, 1745 - Approximate date that firm word reaches George II's court of Charles's landing
Aug 19, 1745 - "Gathering of the Clans." Official raising of the standard at Glenfinnan
Aug 27, 1745 - Charlie expects to catch the army of General John Cope at Corriearrack, but Cope evades him and heads for Inverness. Cope from there heads to Aberdeen, to take ship south to Dunbar, moving from there to Prestonpans on Sep 20
Sep 4, 1745 - Charles enters Perth and proclaims his father King
Sep 17, 1745 - Jacobite army enters Edinborough
Sep 21, 1745 - Battle of Prestonpans. Bonnie Prince Charlie's Highland army routs the first real Hannoverian force it encounters
Apr 16, 1746 - Battle of Culloden Muir ends the 1745 Jacobite rebellion
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Hogg2 60, "O My Bonny Highland Laddie" (1 text, 1 tune)
GreigDuncan1 126, "The Lad Wi' The Tartan Plaidie" (2 texts, 2 tunes)

Roud #5778
BROADSIDES:
NLScotland, APS.4.95.15(2), "The Tartan Plaidie," unknown, c. 1830; also L.C.Fol.70(141), "Prince Charlie and his Tartan Plaidie," L.C.Fol.70(141a) [a trimmed version of the preceding], L.C.1270(005), "Charlie Stuart and his Tartan Plaidy," James Kay (Glasgow), c. 1845
ALTERNATE TITLES:
When Charlie First Cam to the North
Charlie Stuart and his Tartan Plaidy
Culloden Moor
NOTES: Looking at the texts available to me, this seems to be rather a catchall piece, describing the 1745 rebellion in as much detail as the singer wants to tell. On the whole, the versions seem fairly accurate, implying literary composition somewhere along the line. This fits with the anonymity of many of the prints.
The statement that "The graceful/manly looks o' that brave laddie Made every Hieland heartie warm" is, incidentally, true -- when Charlie landed, Lochiel of Cameron (the single most important chief to support him) sent messengers to urge him to go home. But Charlie arranged a meeting, and Lochiel was swept away. So were other chiefs.
The song describes a speech Charlie made to his troops before Prestonpans. This is real, though the details are doubtless unreliable; Charlie did give a speech which inspired his forces. If Cope did the same, obviously, it didn't work.
The comment that George II "thirty thousand pounds would give To catch him in his Hieland plaidie" is correct; within days of Charlie's landing, the government offered 30,000 pounds for his capture. Charlie initially made a contemptuous offer of thirty pounds for the head of George II, though political considerations later forced him to match the Hannoverian sum (obviously no one ever collected either reward).
In using the above dates, incidentally, it should be recalled that the Catholic continent was on the Gregorian calendar, but Protestant England still on the Julian (until 1752), making English dates 11 days behind continental dates. It is sometimes very hard to know which system a particular source is using; some, indeed, switch back and forth.
The dates given here and in most places in the Ballad Index are based on British Julian dates, since this is what seems to be most common -- e.g. Culloden, by modern standards, took place on April 27, 1746, but the references above list it as April 16, because that was the day marked on Cumberland's calendar (assuming he had enough brains to know what a calendar was, which is somewhat dubious). - RBW
See R. H. Cromek, Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song, (London, 1810), p. 153 for two verses that probably belong here; the non-chorus lines are "A' the lasses o' Dunkel' Brew gude ale for Charlie's sel'" and "The bonniest may in a' Dundee Made down the bed for young Charlie." - BS
Last updated in version 2.5
File: BrAPS495

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