Cumberland and Culloden

Published in Issue 4 (Winter 1999), Letters, Letters, Volume 7

Sir,—I hold no brief for ‘Butcher’ Cumberland. But Jim Smyth’s ‘Tale ofTwo Generals’ (HI Autumn 1999) is too simplistic by far. It is widelyacknowledged today—and not just by those whom Smyth calls‘apologists’—that, after Culloden, Cumberland offered an amnesty to allJacobites who would lay down their arms: an offer that they rejected orignored (John S. Gibson appears to credit the story in his recentbiography, Lochiel of the ‘45). And Charteris presents some prettypersuasive evidence that, even after the amnesty offer failed,Cumberland not only tried to rein in the worst of the excesses butpunished several of the perpetrators. I do not mean to suggest that‘Butcher’ is a candidate for canonisation. Neither, however, does heseem to have been the stereotypical sadist whom Smyth describes in hisone-dimensional account.—Yours etc.,

MARTIN B. MARGULIES
Hamden
Connecticut, USA

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