Today in Celtic History
June 28, 1746

Flora MacDonald.

June 28, 1746


Charles Edward Stuart and Flora MacDonald escape over the sea to Skye


Flora MacDonald (1722 ? March 5, 1790), Jacobite heroine, was the daughter of Ranald MacDonald of Milton in the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, and his wife Marion, the daughter of Angus MacDonald.

In June 1746, at the age of 24, she was living in the town of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides when Bonnie Prince Charlie took refuge there after the Battle of Culloden. The prince's companion, Captain O'Neill, sought her assistance to help the prince escape capture. The island was controlled by the Hanoverian government using a local militia, but the MacDonalds were secretly sympathetic with the Jacobite cause. After some hesitation, Flora promised to help the prince escape the island. At a later period she told the Duke of Cumberland, son of George II and commander-in-chief in Scotland, that she acted from charity and would have helped him also if he had been defeated and in distress, a statement which need not be accepted as quite literally true.

The commander of the militia in the island was also a MacDonald and probably a sympathizer of the Jacobite cause. The commander gave her a pass to the mainland for herself, a manservant, an Irish spinning maid, Betty Burke, and a boat's crew of six men. The prince was disguised as Betty Burke. After a first repulse at Waternish, Skye, the party landed at Portree, Skye.

The prince was hidden in a cave while Flora MacDonald found help for him in the neighbourhood, and he was finally able to escape. He had left Benbecula on June 27. The talk of the boatmen brought suspicion on Flora MacDonald, and she was arrested and brought to London for aiding the prince's escape. After a short imprisonment in the Tower of London, she was allowed to live outside of it, under the guard of a "messenger" or gaoler. When the Act of Indemnity was passed in 1747 she was released. Her courage and loyalty had gained her general sympathy, increased by her good manners and gentle character. Dr Johnson, who met her in 1773, describes her as "a woman of soft features, gentle manners and elegant presence."

What else happened today on June 28

June 28, 1798
General Hunter, who replaced Lake as Commander in Wexford, becomes aware rebellion is not over and begins to re-deploy his troops. He orders General Duff to Bunclody and General Needham to Gorey
June 28, 1838
Queen Victoria crowned at Westminster Abbey.
June 28, 1853
The introduction of income tax in Ireland is proposed for the first time
June 28, 1861
Explorer Robert Burke, from Co. Galway, dies in Australia
June 28, 1920
On hearing of British atrocities in Ireland, soldiers of the Connaught Rangers mutiny in protest; three are shot dead; a fourth - Private James Daly - is court-martialled and executed by firing squad. He is the last member of the British army to be execut
June 28, 1922
The Provisional Government of the Irish Free State bombards the Four Courts in Dublin, and the Civil War begins