Jacobite Estates of the '45 by Annette M. Smith

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The defeat of the Jacobites in 1746 enabled government statesmen and administrators, north and south of the border, to begin a policy of punishment and reform in Scotland generally but particularly in the Highlands, which had provided the greater part of Charles Edward Stewart's army. The forfeiture of the estates of attainted rebels was initially part of the punishment. Later, the rents and profits of thirteen of these estates, converted into what was in effect Crown land by 'unalienable' annexation, were used applied to a far-reaching programme of social and economic change in the Highlands.

A board of honorary commissioners was appointed to manage the annexed estates, with instructions from the government to modernise agriculture, introduce and develop industry and fisheries, improve communications and eradicate Roman Catholicism and sedition. Though not wholly ineffective, the commissioners cannot be credited with having achieved overwhelming success, and in 1784 twelve of the estates were returned to the families who had forfeited them. The owners had to repay the government for having settled their ancestors' debts during the annexation, and the large capital sums obtained were devoted to assisting a variety of major projects: the Forth-Clyde canal, a lunatic asylum in Edinburgh, the construction of harbours and piers.

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