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Anthony (Antoine) Vincent Walsh
(1703-1763)

Anthony Walsh was named as Earl Walsh by James III on 20th October 1745 for his part in escorting the Prince of Wales to Scotland. Anthony was a descendant of the Kilkenny branch of the Walsh Family, the son of Philip Walsh of St. Malo, France. Philip Walsh, baptized in Dublin in 1666, built several men-of-war for the French service. Philip's father, James Walsh, forfeited his estates of Ballynacooly in the Walsh Mountains of County Kilkenny in 1665. James Walsh was a captain in the French navy, and it was on board his ship that James II fled from Kinsale to France in 1690, after the former King's unsuccesful bid to reclaim the throne of England.

James II's grandson, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, in his bid to reclaim the British throne on behalf of the Stuart dynasty, was aided by Antoine Walsh, among others, during the rebellion of 1745. This page tells some of that story.

The French government was apprised of Prince Charles's intentions, and though the French ministers were not disposed openly to sanction an enterprise which they were not at the time in a condition to support, they secretly favoured a design, which, whatever might be its result, would operate as a diversion in favour of France. Accordingly, Lord Clare, (afterwards Marshal Thomond), then a lieutenant-general in the French service, was authorised to open a negotiation with two merchants of Irish extraction, named Rutledge and Walsh, who had made some money by trading to the West Indies. They had, since the war, been concerned in privateering; and with the view of extending their operations, had lately obtained from the French government a grant of the Elisabeth, an old man-of-war of sixty-six guns, and they had purchased a small frigate of sixteen guns named the Doutelle (le Du Teillay), both of which ships were in the course of being fitted out for a cruise in the north seas. Lord Clare having introduced Prince Charles to Ruttledge and Walsh, explained the prince's design, and proposed that they should lend him their ships. This proposal was at once acceded to by the owners, who also offered to supply the prince with money and such arms as they could procure, in fulfilment of which offer they afterwards placed in his hands the sum of 3,800.

When informed that everything was in readiness for his departure, Charles went to Nantes, near the mouth of the Loire, in disguise, and having descended the Loire in a fishing boat on the 20th of June, (O.S.) 1745, embarked on the 21st on board the Doutelle at St. Nazaire, whence he proceeded on the following day to Belleisle, where he was joined on the 4th of July by the Elisabeth, which had on board 100 marines raised by Lord Clare, about 2,000 muskets, and 500 or 600 French broad-swords. The expedition sailed from Belleisle on the 5th of July with a fair wind, which continued favourable till the 8th, when a dead calm ensued. On the following day, when in the latitude of 47 57' north, and thirty-nine leagues west from the meridian of the Lizard, a sail was descried to windward, which proved to be the Lion, a British man-of-war of sixty guns, commanded by Captain Brett.

With the Lion bearing down M. D'Oe, or D'Eau, the captain of the Elisabeth, had the first broadside, which was instantly returned by the Lion; and before the Elisabeth could get her other side to bear upon her opponent, the Lion tacked about and poured in another broadside into the Elisabeth, which raked her fore and aft, and killed a great number of her men. Notwithstanding this untoward beginning, the Elisabeth maintained the fight for nearly five hours, when night coming on, and both vessels being complete wrecks, they parted as if by mutual consent. The prince, in the Doutelle, viewed the battle with great anxiety, and, it is said, importuned the captain to assist the Elisabeth, but Walsh positively refused to engage, and intimated to the price, that if he continued his solicitations, he would order him down to the cabin.

The engagement depicted in this painting took place on 9 July 1745, and was described as follows: the French man-of-war the Elisabeth (64 guns), carrying arms men to Scotland and escorting the Sloop Du Theilly (La Doutelle) with the Young Pretender on board, was sighted by Captain Percy Brett in the Lion (60 guns), off the Lizard at four o'clock. Captain Brett made four drawings illustrating the successive stages of the encounter, and this picture is based on that of the final phase (in the Sandwich collection, Kingzett, op. cit. pl. 9a). The Elisabeth had seized the opportunity of a shift in the wind's direction to escape, and the Lion, much damaged and powerless to pursue, is seen firing a last raking volley.

Painted by Samuel Scott (1702-1772), the inscription on the lining canvas, 'Action on the 9th of July 1745 between the Lion of 60 guns, Captain Percy Brett / and the Elisabeth of 64 guns, the Doutelle in the distance making / her escape with the Pretender on board./ Painted for Admiral Lord Anson'. Oil on canvas.102.7 x 152.3 cm (401/2 x 60 in).

After the action was over, Captain Walsh bore up to the Elisabeth to ascertain the state of matters, and was informed by a lieutenant of the severe loss she had sustained in officers and men, and the crippled state she was in. He, however, offered to pursue the voyage if supplied with a main-mast and some rigging, but Walsh had no spare materials; and after intimating that he would endeavour to finish the voyage himself, and advising the commander of the Elisabeth to return to France, both ships parted, the Elisabeth on her way back to France, and the Doutelle on her voyage to the Western Highlands.

On the 11th of July a sail was discovered, which gave chase to the Doutelle; but being a swift-sailing vessel she outran her pursuer. She encountered a rough sea and tempestuous weather on the 15th and 16th, after which the weather became fine till the midnight of the 20th, when a violent storm arose. She stood out the gale, however, and on the 22d came within sight of land, which was discovered to be the southern extremity of Long Island, a name by which, from their appearing at a distance, and in a particular direction, to form one island, the islands of Lewis, the Uists, Barra, and others, are distinguished. On approaching land, a large ship, which appeared to be an English man-of-war, was descried between the Doutelle and the island. On perceiving this vessel, Walsh changed the course of the Doutelle, and stretching along the east side of Barra, reached the strait between South Uist and Eriska, the largest of a cluster of little rocky islands that lie off South Uist. In the strait, the Doutelle cast anchor on the 23d of July, having been eighteen days at sea. Accompanied by his attendants, the prince immediately landed in Eriska, and was conducted to the house of Angus MacDonald, the tacksman, or principal tenant thereof and of the small islands adjoining.

While prolonged (unsuccessful) discussions were taking place between Charles and the influential Scots clansmen of the area, two vessels appeared making for the strait in which the Doutelle lay, a circumstance which induced her commander to weigh anchor and stand in for the mainland. The Doutelle continued her course during the night, and next morning cast anchor in the bay of Lochnanuagh (Loch na nUamh), which partly divides the countries of Moidart and Arisaig. Charles set foot on the mainland at Loch nan Uamh on 25 July. Meetings with other important clansmen were as discouraging as before. They were Jacobite supporters but also realists. They knew the likelihood of success was negligible and that failure would spell disaster for their clans. All but Antoine Walsh and another in his troop named O'Sullivan urged him to return to France. Charles refused to listen to any advice and gradually assembled a few local supporters. He secured the support of Cameron of Lochiel, who had also been pessimistic about the outcome of the rebellion, by sneering that Lochiel could stay at home and learn of the Prince's fate in a news sheet. Lochiel's support and the men he could put in the field were vital if the rebellion was to proceed. Charles sent letters and messengers from his HQ at Borrodale summoning support and he decided on Glenfinnan as the place where he would first assemble his army.

Later the Doutelle captured 2 sloops carrying barley and oatmeal, which Charles bought from their captains and distributed to the general population. It is important to note that Scotland had experienced famine in 1743 and 1744 and many were suffering from scurvy during the summer of 1745. The promise of regular food helped to lure supporters to follow the Jacobite standard.

On Monday 19 August the Jacobite standard was raised there. On August 19 that standard was raised at Glenfinnan and a general call to arms was put out. Of the approximately 1200 men who gathered at Glenfinnan about 700 were Lochiel's Camerons. The MacDonalds, Stewarts, MacLeods, Camerons and many other Clans rallied to him, and the British Government placed a price of 30,000 on Charles' head.

The ensuing war (rebellion) was one mainly of marches and counter marches which lasted through the intervening months. Jacobite successes were notably seen at Edinburgh and at Preston.

Meanwhile, the French King Louis XV, to support the Jacobite expedition to Scotland, had given orders to collect ships at Dunkirk: eighteen batallions of infantry and two squadrons of cavalry formed the corps of land forces. Maurepas, entrusted with the execution of the King's will, hurried the organization and departure of the troops. The command of the French fleet was committed to Antoine Walsh, who had earlier taken the Prince of Wales to Scotland. Everything was preparing in France to embark the troops and to set sail about the month of March 1746. Delays, difficulties, the cause of which is unknown, prevented the succour being ready in time to be useful.

Prince Charles Edward, abandoned to his own forces, was defeated at Culloden in the month of April 1746, which effectively ended the rebellion. Here, Government forces under the Duke of Cumberland defeated the Bonnie Prince. Charles remained in Scotland intil 20th September 1746 when he left Scotland for good aboard the French frigate L'Heureux. The cause of the Stuarts was lost, the descent of the French on England countermanded.


Another Version

It used to be thought that Prince Charlie was entirely responsible for instigating the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. It certainly would not have happened without him but the French government played a significant part which they were very successful in covering up later. In late 1744 Charles was introduced to a group of Franco-Irish privateers who operated out of northern French ports. They had Jacobite connections e.g. Antoine Walsh was the son of Philip Walsh whose ship had taken James II to France after his defeat at the Battle of the Boyne. Philip became rich through building naval ships and in the slave trade. Antoine also engaged in the slave trade and added privateering to his accomplishments. Privateering was the practice of privately owned and operated ships sanctioned by their government attacking the ships of hostile nations. Great fortunes were made this way. In addition to their Jacobite sympathies a landing in Scotland was appealling to the group of privateers since it would distract the British navy into decreasing their ability to protect British merchant shipping. In other words, commercial advantage encouraged political loyalty. The French government's involvement was even more cynical: the sacrifice of Scots for French advantage in Europe. After the failure of the rebellion they naturally did not wish to broadcast this and Charles was happy to be portrayed as solitary hero.

The 1745 rebellion did not start well. Charles had only been able to put together a small expedition with only two ships, one a light frigate, the "Du Teillay", the other a much larger French naval vessel of 64 guns, the "Elisabeth", chartered from the government. These two ships set sail from the Loire on 22 June 1745. On 9 July they encountered the British 54 gun HMS 'Lion' which damaged Charles' larger ship so badly it had to return to France. Since it was carrying most of the arms and ammunition for the Prince's force this was a severe blow. Nevertheless he continued on to Scotland, landing on the island of Eriskay on 23 July 1745 at what is still known as Cladach a'Phrionnsa (the Prince's beach). Charles' first meeting, with Alexander Macdonald of Boisdale, in South Uist was a shock. He told the Prince that he could expect no support for his rebellion and advised him to go home. Charles supposedly replied "I am come home, sir." It was almost the shortest of visits since his entourage were soon quarrelling. They had heard of the arrest by the government of the chief of the Macleans of Mull as a Jacobite plotter. Only Antoine Walsh and Charles argued that the rebellion should continue. Growing paranoia led to the "Du Teillay" sailing for the safety of the sea lochs of the mainland. Charles set foot on the mainland at Loch nan Uamh on 25 July. Meetings with other important clansmen were as discouraging as that with Alexander Macdonald had been. They were Jacobite supporters but also realists. They knew the likelihood of success was negligible and that failure would spell disaster for their clans. Charles refused to listen to any advice and gradually assembled a few local supporters. He secured the support of Cameron of Lochiel, who had also been pessimistic about the outcome of the rebellion, by sneering that Lochiel could stay at home and learn of the Prince's fate in a news sheet. Lochiel's support and the men he could put in the field were vital if the rebellion was to proceed. Charles sent letters and messengers from his HQ at Borrodale summoning support and he decided on Glenfinnan as the place where he would first assemble his army. On Monday 19 August the Jacobite standard was raised there. Of the approximately 1200 men who gathered at Glenfinnan about 700 were Lochiel's Camerons. All the same, Lochiel's faith in the rebellion can perhaps be judged by the fact that he sought and received a promise from Charles that he would not suffer financially if the rising did not succeed.
Source: The Jaobites.


The preceding article was compiled by Dennis J. Walsh, 2009

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