There are three publications I have come across to date relating to the Dumbarton’s Regiment Rebellion, all published in 1689. One relates to the rebellion itself, the second to its pursuit and suppression and a third to the trial of its ringleaders. I’m going to look at each in turn, with limited effort to confirm or contextualise them for now.
The first “A full and True ACCOUNT OF THE Barbarous Rebellion AND Rising of the Lord Dumbarton’s Regiment at Ipswich in Suffolk. With their Pretences of Declaring for the late King James” (LONDON, Printed by W.Downing 1689) is a one page broadsheet. I’ll give you the first paragraph in full as I can’t compete with the author’s colourful language
THE Lord Dumbartons, sometime called Douglas’s Regiment consists of Six and Twenty Companies, and by their continual Exercise and Service in Tangier, Holland, and other places abroad, they have been so improved in Military Discipline, that they are looked upon as on of the Largest and Ablest Regiments in the King’s Dominions; but as they have Courage, so they always an in all Quarters they have come to, have been known for the most Rapacious Villinous Fellows in the whole Army, leaving in all places marks of their Barbarity and roguery, so that in England especially, they have been looked upon by all People as the common Nusance and Grievance of the Kingdom; and by their Pillaging Outrages, Robberies, and Murders, they are utterly Detested and Abominated by all that have had the Misfortune to know them
The broadsheet goes on to describe the regiment’s “previous” of causing disturbances in London and Ipswich “upon no no reasonable pretence but their own Ravenous and Tumultuous Humour” before the Glorious Revolution. After the Revolution they were again sent to Ipswich with the intention of sending them to fight with the Dutch, but now used to their “Luxurious Idle Life In London” refused, citing pay arrears. These arrears were paid, so the Regiment promptly claimed its loyalty to the “late Abdicated King James” and offered violence to those of their officers who tried to bring them back into line. Although Lord Dumbarton himself had accompanied James into French exile the author implies this was a convenient excuse, not a firm conviction
Realising that the country was now likely to be raised against them, they tried to commandeer ships to take them to Scotland to “foment Divisions in the Country”. Eight Men of War were sent to prevent this and five regiments, The Lord Devonshires, two Dutch Regiments and two others were sent to intercept them.
It is not clear whether the whole regiment of twenty six companies was involved in the rebellion, but if so (and there is no suggestion otherwise) and the companies were anywhere near full strength, this could mean than well in excess of 2000 men were involved. The scale of the response (five regiments) suggests it probably was. All three pamphlets emphasise the reputation for martial prowess of the Regiment, so at the time of the broadsheet’s publication we have a couple of thousand battle hardened soldiers with a reputation for lawlessness and violence, and as we shall see later well equipped, in open rebellion in East Anglia and five regiments (interestingly including two foreign Dutch regiments, acting in support of royal authority in England) in pursuit.
I will finish for now with the broadsheets’s final line
they may more justly be called a Nest of Vagabonds and Cawards, than an Army of Valiant and truey honest English-men
Dumbarton’s Regiment was nominally Scottish. More on that later.