The 1708 Expedition
Despite continued intrigue and considerable support for James amongst the Scottish people and nobility, it was only in 1708 that an attempt was made to start a rebellion.
The previous year had seen the Union of England and Scotland, to the resentment and open hostility of many Scots. With the European War going badly for the French, a diversion was needed and Louis offered James 6,000 soldiers and 40 ships for an invasion of Scotland.
Jacobite spies greatly exaggerated support for James in both England and Scotland, yet it was clear that there was considerable sympathy even in the Scottish capital. James's fleet therefore set out for Scotland with high spirits and some hope of success. However, this was soon blighted by storms at sea, arguments between the expedition's leaders, bad navigation, fear of the British fleet and the excellent intelligence that the British had about the invasion. No sooner had the Jacobites decided on a landing spot in the Firth of Forth than the British fleet appeared at the Firth's mouth, and only swift action by the French commander, Forbin, enabled their escape. They returned disconsolately to France.