General George Wade: Roadmaker in the Highlands

Raymond Lamont Brown describes how this professional soldier’s greatest achievement was a splendid feat of peace-time engineering along lines that he himself laid down.

Although Major William Caulfield built many more miles of military road than his mentor General George Wade, it was the latter who conceived the idea of military roads in the Highlands simply to facilitate the movement of troops. The events of 1688-9, (d. 1767), H.M. Inspector of Roads, which forced the direct line of the House of Stuart, in the person of James II and VII, into exile was to prove for the Highlands a revolution in every sense of the word.

When John Graham of Claverhouse, 1st Viscount Dundee(1648-89), raised the Royal Standard on Dundee Law in the spring of 1689, active Jacobitism was born. In launching this first Jacobite Rising, Dundee set in motion a train of events which were to have radical effects, far beyond their immediate objections, on every aspect of Highland life.

For centuries up to this time there had been in effect two Scotlands: The Lowlands and the Highlands. Over Lowland Scotland the King and his government in London exercised control: But in the Highlands, where the language and culture bore no resemblance to that of the Lowlands, the people had been impervious to periodic attempts at assimilation.

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