A Thistle Crushed

A Thistle Crushed – The Downfall of a proud Nation 

This novel (available soon) has been written around actual and momentous events in Scotland’s national history. It has been dramatized by way of a continuing fictitious storyline of family and other links. These have been deliberately introduced to help to portray the effects that the events had on Scotland’s people who were suffering greatly throughout these times.



Chapter 1 – A National Disaster 

Scotland’s calamitous Darien scheme

 The ill-fated Darien scheme at the end of the 17th century almost bankrupted the country of Scotland through greed, bad planning and insufficient knowledge of the prevailing conditions at the time in middle America. The story also highlights those at fault in general as well as those who suffered. This opening chapter introduces Charles Burt and his Glasgow trading company together with other individuals affected by the scheme’s collapse and those who paid the ultimate price.

 Chapter 2 – Towards Union 

Events that led to the 1707 Union of the Scottish and English Parliaments

The after effects of the disastrous Darien scheme included great poverty throughout the land, substantially reduced trade prospects resulting from English and other blockades of the project, a seriously failing Scottish economy, growing animosity towards the crown, and rising Jacobite pressures. All of these and other factors, and including those that specifically benefitted the Scottish elite, ultimately led to the Union between Scotland and England. This chapter progresses through developments at Charles Burt and Company, links to the Jacobites, and introduces a young influential orator and his close friendship with someone deeply affected by his own Darien experiences.

 Chapter 3 – Factional Resistance

Opposition to the Union between Scotland and England

This chapter features The Union between Scotland and England and the country’s reaction. The first of the Jacobite uprisings promises much but fails. Scotland’s economy is still in a poor state but there is now a growing divide between the north and south of the country with the south faring far better economically than the north. The Burt family still features, but it is Isla Burt, daughter of Charles Burt who is starting to come to the fore. The chapter also introduces Ewan MacPherson, a young Highlander who attends Glasgow University and his meeting with Isla Burt.

 Chapter 4 – A Dream Dies

The historic and final effort of the Jacobites

The Jacobite uprisings are still prominent and come to a head at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715. Ewan Macpherson, badly injured, is assisted to the island of Mull where he recovers. He then returns to Glasgow to find Isla and they decide to elope to Ewan’s family home in the Highlands where they start their family and have two sons. As their sons, Colin and Donald, grow up, a hatred develops between them that continues in their respective families for years to come. The Jacobites decide to try once more and their venture this time has more success but comes to a dramatic end at the Battle of Culloden. The two MacPherson brothers find themselves on opposite sides during the battle. Earlier, Isla decides to visit her parents who now live by Loch Fyne in Argyll.

 Chapter 5 – Escape

The subjugation begins

This chapter features the aftermath of Culloden and Colin MacPherson’s efforts to elude his brother. He tries to get home to his home in Kildonan, by Helmsdale in Sutherland, where his wife is also in danger from Colin’s brother. She is pregnant. The feud between the brothers comes to a head when Colin tries to get his wife away from the dangers that are building up for them in Helmsdale. They are assisted in this by a young man whose own family has been seriously affected by the terrible cruelties of Colin’s brother.

Chapter 6 – Subjugation and Enlightenment

A brightly shining light in the dark

The atrocities that were afflicted by Government forces in the aftermath of Culloden were now becoming more widely known. They are actually praised by some at Westminster but widely reviled by others in the Highlands. The Scottish economy is now starting to grow again particularly in the south. Many of the lairds, politicians and the elite move to England leaving a social space in which the arts, literature and industry start to flourish. It is the period of the Scottish Enlightenment recognised and praised around the world. A young authoress, Clara Sweeney, meets Robert Burns. She also learns about the start of the Highland Clearances and the initial attempts by those lairds and landowners who instigate these actions and who want to keep news of them quiet.

 Chapter 7 – A Family Cleared

The infamous Highland Clearances, and forced eviction

The family feud of the two sides of the MacPherson family has continued through the next generations and is still very much in evidence as the full-blown occurrence of the Highland Clearances starts to affect many Highland families. One side of the family is about to be cleared from their tenancy by the infamous Sutherland family and their dreaded land agent. On the other side of the MacPherson family, Sir Alexander MacPherson is very much involved in this action.

Chapter 8 – Emigration to the New World

The final sorry act, and a new beginning

Half of the “cleared” family decides to emigrate to the New World and they are greatly assisted in this by a young shipping clerk in Helmsdale. The very arduous journey by ship via Stromness in the Orkney Islands brings illness and deaths to many of the families. It also brings a young couple together. Eventually the ship arrives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and efforts are then made to find work and places to live through local agents and by their own investigations. 

 COPYRIGHT: Ian Couper 2019

Now fully proof-read and issued to publishers for consideration prior to publishing as an e-book

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