Little Rebellions – Soothing the Savage

BuodeuNote

Treasury Board Papers, Evidence Against Rebels in Newgate Prison
Likely Spring/Summer 1746

He was with some Players at Manchester when the Rebells
came there and he was sent to by some of the Princes (Privt?) Rebells & asked
if the Company could play Gustavus Vasa and the Witness saying no &
going away from ‘em when Colo Grant who knew the Witness at
Dunkirk asked him to go with him and said his Compa was all
Frenchmen and he wod be an Interpreter to them but the Witness
refusing Collo Grant threatened to Shoot him if he did not go with him
and took him under a Guard of Highlanders to Derby and back to
Carlisle…

According to the testimony of Joseph Buodeu, a musician in Manchester at the time of the Jacobite army’s arrival there in late November of 1745, he was bullied into joining the rebels at gunpoint. This was not an unpopular claim from those captured by the government during the final rising. When faced with the terminal charge of high treason in the London courts and its consequence, the dreaded gibbet, it only makes sense that terrified prisoners and witnesses would swear that they were compelled by force to pick up arms against the Hanoverian king. It was, in essence, a Hail Mary.

So many had claimed impressment, in fact, that most scholars marginalize the significance of its presence, holding to the traditional maxim that such claims exacerbate the perceived severity of the Jacobite army’s actual recruitment tactics. My own findings contradict this marginalization, instead revealing in no uncertain terms that not only was the last Jacobite effort wholly decentralized and hardly popular, but that the need for armed supporters was so great that coercion – by fire and sword, through financial or emotional manipulation, or simply at gunpoint – was markedly rampant at specific points during the affair.

Buodeu’s experience is illustrative. Approached by Jacobite recruiters, his band of French “players” was asked to provide some entrainment in the form of an outlawed musical: Brooke’s anti-Walpolian Gustavus Vasa. Knowing the significance of that piece, or perhaps just being leery of Col. Grant (likely James, whom Buodeu apparently had met before in France), he refused and tried to put some distance between the two “bands”. Grant was resolute, insisting that Buodeau would be a welcome addition as the interpreter for his company of French Jacobites. This was not posed as an option.

Under threat of being shot, Joseph Buodeau was taken under guard by a troop of Jacobite soldiers (“Highlanders”) and brought along with the rest of the army to Derby. There, as we know, Charles Edward Stuart was himself coerced – though not through violence – to enact the retreat back to Scotland. Shoring up for a last stand at Carlisle, likely with the Manchester Regiment, Buodeau was captured when the town surrendered to Cumberland’s troops on 30 December 1745. From there, we only know that he gave evidence against Captain James Dawson of the Manchester Regiment, who was later executed at Kennington Common, 30 July 1746. What then happened to Buodeau has not yet been unearthed.

It is somewhat (pleasantly) surprising that the few existing studies of Jacobite prisoners have completely passed up the voluminous Treasury Board Papers at The National Archives. While there is some overlap of names in the usual secondary sources (The Prisoners of the ’45, The Muster Roll of the Jacobite Army, A List of Persons Concerned in the Rebellion, etc.), I have not yet seen any significant work done with the actual deposition and trial records of those accused, other than a handful of expositions on certain high-profile Jacobite characters. The wealth of information contained within this corpus, if catalogued and analyzed properly, could significantly contribute to – and perhaps even modify – what we know about the social history of Jacobitism in the mid-18th century. Needless to say, that is precisely what my current project seeks to provide.

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