Disarming Act

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After the Jacobite Rising of 1715 ended it was evident that the most effective supporters of the Jacobites were Scottish clans in the Scottish Highlands and the Disarming Act attempted to remove this threat.

"An act for the more effectual securing the peace of the highlands in Scotland" was passed by the Parliament of Great Britain, coming into effect on November 1, 1716 which outlawed anyone in defined parts of Scotland from having "in his or their custody, use, or bear, broad sword or target, poignard, whinger, or durk, side pistol, gun, or other warlike weapon" unless authorised.

This act proved ineffectual and in 1725 An act for the more effectual disarming the highlands in that part of Great Britain called Scotland; and for the better securing the peace and quiet of that part of the kingdom was passed and more effectively enforced by Major-General George Wade. Wade succeeded in confiscating a significant number of useful weapons, though the Highlanders still managed to hide many weapons for future use.

The success of Wade's efforts was shown by the rough assortment of weapons used by the Highlanders when Bonnie Prince Charlie raised the Forty-Five Rising, but the Jacobites' overwhelming victory at the Battle of Prestonpans provided them with a good supply of government firelocks and bayonets left by the fleeing Redcoats. After that Jacobite Rising had been defeated the provisions of the Disarming Act were strengthened in the new Act of Proscription.


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