The Lord of Dundee's speech to his soldiers before the late battle in Scotland, and his letter to King James after the victory. Graham, John, Viscount Dundee, 1648-1689., James II, King of England 1633-1701.

The Lord of DUNDEE's Speech to his Soldiers before the late Battle in SCOTLAND

July 27th, 1689.


YOU are come hither to Day to Fight, and that in the best of Causes; for it is the Battle of your King, of your Religion, and of your Countrey, against the Foulest of Usurpations and Rebellions; Having therefore so good a Cause in your hands, I doubt not but it will Inspire you with an equal Cou∣rage to maintain it; For there is no Proportion betwixt Loyalty and Treason, nor should there be any between the Valour of good Subjects and Traytors. Remember that to Day begins the Fate of your King, your Religion, and your Countrey. Be∣have your selves therefore like true Scotch-Men, and let us Redeem by this Action the Credit of our Nation, that is laid low by the Treachery and Cowardize of some of our Countrey-men; In which I Ask nothing of you that you shall not see me do before you; And if any of us shall happen to fall upon this Occasion, we shall have the Comfort of Dying in our Duty, and as becomes true Men of Honour and Conscience; And such of us as shall Out-live and Win the Battle, shall have the Reward of a Gra∣cious King, and the Praise of all Good Men. In God's Name then, let us go on, and let this be your Word, King James, and the Church of Scotland; which God long Preserve:


When He began His March to meet General Cope at the field near Duddiston, September the 20th, 1745; The Prince being clothed in a plain Highland Habit, Cocked His Blue Bonnet, Drew His Sword, Threw away the Scabbard, and Said,

"Gentlemen: Follow Me, By the Assistance of GOD, I will, this Day, make you a free and happy people". 
Historical Papers 1699-1750 Vol. 2, New Spalding Club, 1896, page 606,


The speech of Sir John Cope, General of the Usurper's Army, a little before the Engagement, on Saturday the 21st September, 1745, at Preston-Grange, six miles East from Edinburgh.

"Gentlemen, You are just now to Engage with a parcel of Rable; a Parcel of Brutes, Being a small number of Scots Highlands, You can expect no Booty from such a poor despicable Pack. I have Authority to Declare, That you shall have Eight Full Hour's liberty to Plunder and Pillage the City of Edinburgh, Leith, and Suburbs, (the Place's which harbour'd and succour'd Them) at your Discretion, with Impunity". 
Historical Papers 1699-1750 Vol. 2, New Spalding Club, 1896, page 606

Battle of Killiecrankie (1689)

Gregor Leslie gives us a Jacobite viewpoint of the battle:

"Bonnie Dundee has made a valiant battle speech but nobody really cared, we all just jostled around to face the Redcoats below us. They can't possibly hide their fear, even when there are over 1500 more soldiers in their army.  We all slipped away into the forest upon the hill above the River Garry. Everyone is eager to make the charge because of the promises of gold from Bonnie Dundee. McKean won't stop going on about the new pistol he will buy off MacKay!  The horn has sounded, I make sure that all my weapons are ready before we charge. I hold my Catholic cross around my neck tightly, knowing this might be the last breath I take.  The sea of tartan and thunderous feet is met by an inaccurate wave of musket fire from the bottom of the hill. The screaming voices of my fellow men encourages me to charge further. Suddenly a wall of red face us. We hack our swords across the first cowards we meet."[source]

Before the battle could be joined, the commander made a speech to the troops within earshot. Cumberland was well versed in this; before the fight at Clifton he addressed the men:

His Royal Highness made a short speech to the troops before the Action, in which he took notice of the Honour they had acquired by their intrepid behaviour at the battle of Dettingham and Fontenoy, intimating that he had no doubt of their shewing the like on this occaision.

At Culloden , Cumberland rode along the front lines and addressed the men. One version, whose final two lines recall part of Shakespeare's Henry V's Agincourt speech, is as follows:

My brave boys, your toil soon be at an end; stand your ground against the broadsword and target; parry the enemy in the manner you have been directed, be assured of immediate assistance, and I promise you that I will not fail to make a report of your behaviour to the King; and in the meantime, if any are unwilling to engage, pray let him speak freely, and with pleasure they will have a discharge.

[The Jacobite campaigns: The British State at War, p.71]