Spotlight: Jacobites - Princely Academies and Educational Networks: Scottish Jacobites on the Continent

06 September 2023
Dr Jérémy Filet takes a look at the role of the academy of Lorraine in educating young male Scottish travellers. 

From the second half of the 17th century, European princely academies complemented and sometimes even replaced the curricula of students expected to enroll in more traditional universities or religious colleges. These academies became popular stops on the routes of the Grand Tour and collectively provided an aristocratic form of educational travel. Travellers from the British Isles journeyed to the Continent to educate themselves and to interact with the nobility and courts of Europe. [1] Academies in small states were particularly popular because they gave access to a princely court while providing a practical education to their attendees. The academy of Lunéville, created in 1699, offered such opportunities. It was located in the independent Duchy of Lorraine, which also supported the Jacobite claimant to the throne of the three kingdoms: James Francis Edward Stuart, known to his supporters as James VIII & III.

Indeed, between 1713 and 1716, the Jacobite court in exile was welcomed in Lorraine and had regular contacts with the academy of Lunéville and its attendees. Although many Scots associated the duchy with the homeland of Marie de Guise, the Queen Regent of Scotland and mother of Mary Queen of Scots, the affiliation between Lorraine and the Stuart dynasty was also a motivation for Jacobite travellers to visit the ducal court of Lunéville. Reaching well beyond only Britain and Ireland, Jacobitism had always been a multinational movement that deeply influenced the game of diplomatic alliances and political contingencies in continental Europe. Although Scottish Jacobites were relatively well-represented around the exiled Stuart Court in France and Italy, the historiography usually records Irish Jacobites – commonly called the Wild Geese – as impoverished soldiers, while the English Jacobites are portrayed as having been wealthier and therefore able to take on expensive travel on the Continent. [2] It is likewise difficult to imagine the peregrination of Scottish Jacobites outside the prism of exile because they have often been depicted as being secretive, illegal, and biased against by both Whig and anti-Catholic sources. Yet the analysis of the archives at the Academy of Lorraine opens new paths of research for discovering more about Jacobite educational travel.

I) Jacobite educational networks

Were there Jacobite educational networks en marge within the myriad routes that defined the Grand Tour? The records of the academy of Lunéville seem to suggest so. Between 1699 and 1736, over eighty-five travellers from the three kingdoms – at least twenty-nine of whom had expressed Jacobite sympathies – stopped at the Academy of Lorraine on their way to Italy or to the Stuart Court in exile. [3] Travel was necessarily political since passage into a foreign country was influenced by respective diplomatic relations. This is particularly significant for the Jacobite movement because the duke of Lorraine directly supported the 1715 Jacobite rising. [4] Therefore, the choices made by aristocrats to attend courts and educational institutions on the Tour were often seen as a comment on international politics.

The first Scottish traveller to attend the academy of Lorraine was William Hamilton, a son of James Hamilton, 4th Duke of Hamilton and 1st Duke of Brandon, and Anne Spencer, daughter of Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland. The Protestant William arrived in Lunéville at the beginning of 1718 and left after the death of his tutor on 7 November 1719. [5] The rules of attendance at Lunéville were clear: students needed to be under the supervision of their academic tutors to obtain lodgings within the walls of the academy. [6] While the duchy was staunchly Catholic, its ruler Leopold would accept tutors and Grand Tourists of any faith, including notoriously anti-Jacobite Presbyterians. While William’s sojourn was cut short at the end of 1719, it was made possible in the first place by Leopold’s religious toleration for Protestants. Although it was William’s brother, James, who was a well-known and ‘overt’ Jacobite, suspicions of William’s support for the Stuarts were later taken seriously by the British government. He was reported to have met James Stuart several times before 1726 and he kept a regular political correspondence with active Jacobites until at least 1733. [7]

In 1722, another Scottish Jacobite arrived in Lorraine: Lucius Charles Cary. [8] His father, Lucius Henry Cary, 6th Viscount Falkland, operated as a secret agent to James Stuart after the death of Queen Anne. [9] Lucius Charles was on the Tour with Nicholas Wogan, a famous Irish Jacobite. [10] Cary was seventeen when he entered Lorraine and spent almost two years there before continuing his Grand Tour onwards to Naples to finally reach the Jacobite court in Rome. [11] As per the rule of the academy, all students had to attend the Lorraine court at least once a week, and the attendees’ dinner time could be changed according to the programme of court entertainment. Therefore, Lucius’ long stay would have provided him with the time to meet nobles from all over Europe who often attended the prestigious ducal court. [12] Lucius made the most of a variety of classes available in Lunéville; although the Lorraine institution was teaching history, geography, mathematics, law, foreign languages, dance, and offered music classes, it was, above all, an equestrian academy.

Both William and Lucius thus attended hippiatrics classes once per week to study the treatment of disease in horses, and they rode five times every week. They learnt vaulting, equestrian military history, fencing, musket shooting, pike techniques, and flag maneuvering.

The two young Scottish gentlemen enjoyed practical exercises in war strategy and fortification building, skills that many Jacobites would have been envious to possess. In effect, Lorraine provided a place where Scottish aristocrats with Jacobite inclinations could receive military education on the Continent. Hamilton and Cary would have been fooling themselves if they ever thought that military education was the same as military training or actual combat experience, though they might have been able to supplement the slapdash Jacobite leadership during the 1745 campaign with some additional prowess learnt at the academy. It could therefore feasibly be believed that some Scottish Jacobites targeted Lorraine as a viable way of obtaining military skills on the continent, but further work would need to be done to verify this. As a counterpoint, the presence of these young men might simply indicate an attempt to compete with other British travellers on the Grand Tour.

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II) A meeting point

From a cursory examination of the Lorraine archives, only eight Scottish travellers have been identified in the period 1699-1736. Yet their political diversity is striking. Charles Hamilton of Painshill, the son of James Hamilton, 6th Earl of Abercorn, appears on the enrollment list of the academy in 1724. [13] Charles was a Scottish and Irish nobleman who was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated with a BA in 1723. [14] He then left on his Tour for Lorraine, and arrived in Rome by December 1725 before continuing to Padua in March 1727. [15] It is very likely that Hamilton was travelling with another Scottish aristocrat: David Graham. David was a son of James Graham, 1st Duke of Montrose, and he met John Hope, the Scottish 2nd Lord Hopetoun, in Lunéville. Hope stayed in Lorraine with his tutor, William Dundas, from the end of 1724 to mid-1725. [16] None of these three Scottish travellers were Jacobites but they nonetheless decided to come to Lorraine from the mid-1720s onwards. Although the academy was advertised as being open to all, an assessment of attendance patterns reveals how the duke of Lorraine’s diplomatic relations with London had an influence on travellers stopping in Lunéville. [17] In fact, the presence of the Jacobite court near the academy from 1713 to 1716 acted as a deterrent for some Scottish travellers whose real or imagined association with the Jacobite movement could have tarnished their reputations.

There were also several contradictory contextual issues colliding in the 1720s that influenced public opinion of the academies. In the context of the War of the Quadruple Alliance (1718-1720), Leopold wanted George I to convince France, Austria, and the Dutch republic to accept Lorraine into the alliance. The duke’s goal was to further the standing of the duchy on the international stage. Although Leopold had never stopped corresponding with James Stuart, the reputation of the academy in Europe was starting to outgrow its association with the Jacobites. In 1721, William Cadogan wrote to Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond, to advise him to stay a minimum of three months in Lunéville because Leopold was extremely generous to travellers from the British Isles. [18] In a letter to a Captain Fish, Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, wrote that ‘there is an extream good academy at Lorrain’, and asked to have her grandsons tutored there not only due to the renown of the institution, but also because the association between Lorraine and the Jacobites had withered away. [19] By 1725, Scottish travellers with no visible association to the Jacobite movement also started to have their arrival in Lorraine reported in several European newspapers. [20] However, George I never supported Leopold’s pretensions, and the duke of Lorraine started to resent the Hanoverian monarch by 1726. [21] With growing tensions in Europe, Leopold came to view Spain and the Holy Roman Empire as allies of the Jacobites. George I died on 11 June 1727 and James Stuart saw the death of the Hanoverian king as an opportunity to attempt a restoration of his family’s line. James left Rome for Lorraine the following month hoping for Leopold’s assistance. He stayed near the Lorraine capital for two weeks and though the duke kept James’s arrival a secret, the would-be Stuart king went back to Rome on 8 August 1727 when he realized Leopold would not risk helping him further. [22]


Lorraine and its ruler, Duke Leopold, had offered its assistance to the Jacobite court in exile from 1713 and had supported the rising in 1715. As such, William Hamilton and Lucius Cary are representative of Scottish elites whose families with Jacobite inclinations chose Lunéville as a stop on the Grand Tour because of Lorraine’s association with Jacobitism. Scottish Jacobites were not the majority of the attendees but their presence before the 1720s and their absence thereafter was influenced by the fate of the Jacobite movement in those years. The duke of Lorraine welcomed Jacobites and non-Jacobites alike regardless of their political views or religious traditions, but his own ambitions as a monarch were always put first. Although he allowed himself to be tempted to help James again in 1727, he eventually settled on the fact that aiding the Jacobite challenge was not worth gambling away the fame of his academy. After the failure of the '15, the political reality of the changing diplomatic climate took precedence over the ideals shared by the Lorrains and the Jacobites, and Leopold came to be thought of as a prince of the Enlightenment rather than a ruler clinging onto outdated dynastic and religious connections to the Stuarts and their allies.

Dr Jérémy Filet has been awarded a PhD in “littérature, langues et civilisation étrangères” from the University of Lorraine and “Early-modern history” from Manchester Metropolitan University, where is currently a Lecturer. He has co-edited a book printed at the Presses Universitaires de Lorraine (2018) and has published several articles in Canada (2020), China (2019), and England (2018-2022), notably in the Journal for Eighteenth- Century Studies (JSECS).



1 Jean Boutier, ‘L’academie de Lunéville-Nancy. Education nobiliaire et culture équestre dans la Lorraine Ducale (1699-1737)’ in Lunéville, la cite cavalière par excellence. Perspectives cavalieres du siecle des lumieres au XXeme siecle, ed. by Patrice Franchet d’Esperey (Paris, 2007), p. 82.

2 Edward Corp, A Court in Exile: The Stuarts in France, 1689-1718 (Cambridge, 2009); Edward Corp, The Jacobites at Urbino: An Exiled Court in Transition (Basingstoke, 2009); Edward Corp, The Stuarts in Italy, 1719-1766: A Royal Court in Permanent Exile (Cambridge, 2014); Nathalie Genet-Rouffiac, Le Grand Exil: Les Jacobites En France, 1688-1715 (Paris, 2007).

3 There is a partial list of travellers to the Duchy of Lorraine in the Archives départementales de Meurthe-et- Moselle under the reference ADMM 3F276 f. 21. The patchiness of such records makes Scottish Jacobites extremely difficult to track down.

4 Jeremy Filet, 'Jacobitism on the Grand Tour? The Duchy of Lorraine and the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion in the Writings about Displacement, 1697-1736’, PhD thesis (University of Lorraine and Manchester Metropolitan University, 2021).

5 Wolfgang Behringer, Wolfgang Kraus, and Roland Marti, eds., Die Reformation zwischen Revolution and Renaissance. Reflexionen zum Reformationsjubilaüm (Berlin, 2019), pp. 165-70.

6 Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF), Collection de Lorraine 465: 'Réglement pour l’Académie qui sera establie a nancy, capitale de la Lorraine, le moy de may de la presente année 1699', f. 2.

7 George Lockhart, The Lockhart Papers, (2 vols., London, 1817), ii, pp. 62, 267-8, 319-20. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Egmont Diary, ii, p.7 ; Royal Archives, Windsor (RA), Stuart Papers (SP) 208/124, 215/154.

8 Cary is mentioned in Edward Southwell, ‘Travel journal of Edward Southwell, M.P. (1705-1755), son of Edward Southwell, Secretary of State for Ireland, describing his journey from Paris to Naples by way of Turin, Florence and Rome’, British Library (BL) Add. Mss. 34753 (September 1723); hereafter referred to as Southwell’s travel journal.

9 Lucius Henry Cary, the father, left England after the failure of the 1722 Atterbury Plot in which he was involved. Hugh Trevor-Roper, History and the Enlightenment (New Haven, 2010), p. 41-2.

10 Wogan was a Jacobite army officer from an Irish Jacobite family. For more, see the Wogan entries in The Dic(onary of Irish Biography.

11 Both men and their companions were in Rome by the beginning of 1725, as Lucius Charles left Rome for Venice via Loreto with Wogan by January. Dr Richard Rawlison, Diaries 1720-26. Bodlean Library, Mss. Rawl., pp. 1180-7.

12 Southwell’s travel journal.

13 Identification is based on the fact that Charles was attending the academy the following year with Edward Southwell. Southwell, another attendee of the Academy, had an argument with Painshill and broke a coach window on 29 December 1725 in Rome, British National Archives (TNA), Secretary of State Papers, Foreign (SPF) 85/15.

14 Joseph Foster, Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886 (Oxford, 1891-2), ii, p. 592.

15 H. F. Brown, Inglesi e Scozzesi all’ Universita di Padova dall’ anno 1618 sino al 1765 (Venice, 1921), p. 1836.

16 SPF 98/25; 85/15 f. 519.

17 The copies of the regulations were to be sent 'dans toutes les parties de l’Europe’ as soon as the academy was created, ADMM 3F276 f. 11.

18 Earl of March (Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond), A Duke and his Friends: The Life and Letters of the Second Duke of Richmond (London, 1911), i, p. 51.

19 ‘Letter of the duchess to captain Fish, sent from Blenheim on 15 October 1726’, BL Add. Mss. 61444 f. 73.

20 Ipswich Journal announced the arrival of David Graham to Hanover via the Academy of Lorraine in June 1725, Ipswich Journal (5 June 1725), accessed via British Library Newspapers, part IV: 1732-1950. ‘James, Duke of Hamilton at Lunéville in July 1728’ was reported by Stamford Mercury, (7 July 1728), accessed via British Library Newspapers, part IV: 1732-1950.

21 Stephen Griffin, ‘Duke Leopold of Lorraine, Small State Diplomacy, and the Stuart Court in Exile, 1716-1729’ in The Historical Journal (65:5, 2022), p. 1258.

22 Ibid, p. 1257.

Further Reading:

Richard Ansell, Complete Gentlemen: Educational Travel and Family Strategy 1650-1750 (Oxford, 2022).

Jean Boutier, ‘Le “Grand Tour” des élites britanniques dans l’Europe des Lumières: la réinvention permanente des traditions’ in Le Chemin, la Route, la Voie. Figures de l’imaginaire occidental à l’époque moderne, ed. by Marie-Madeleine Martinet, Francis Conte, Annie Molinié- Bertrand, and Jean-Marie Valentin (Paris, 2005), pp. 225-42.

Jeremy Filet, 'Jacobitism on the Grand Tour? The Duchy of Lorraine and the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion in the Writings about Displacement, 1697-1736’, PhD thesis (University of Lorraine and Manchester Metropolitan University, 2021).

Stephen Griffin, ‘Duke Leopold of Lorraine, Small State Diplomacy, and the Stuart Court in Exile, 1716-1729’, The Historical Journal (65:5, 2022), pp. 1244-61.

Matthijs Lok, Friedemann Pestel, and Juliette Reboul, eds., Cosmopolitan Conservatisms: Countering Revolution in Transnational Networks, Ideas and Movements c.1700-1930, (Leiden, 2021).

P. Nelles and R. Salzberg, eds., Connected Mobilities in the Early Modern World: The Practice and Experience of Movement (Amsterdam, 2023).