The White Cockade is a symbol of the Jacobites supporters of the House of Stuart, the true line of succession Kings of Scotland. These were mostly clan advocates for the Bonnie Prince to regain the throne of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The White Cockade of the Bonnie should be viewed as a Military Tribute, and the Laurel Sprig is the plant badge of the MacLarens who were strong Jacobite supporters in all their rebellions. Following the years of the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the decedents of the Appin Stuarts and MacLaren men would wear the White Cockade on their Balmorals or Glengarries as a symbol of allegiance to their True King; and as a reflective pride of their own battle-day accomplishments at Culloden Moor. The wives and lass’ of the Clans who supported the Jacobites would pin White Cockades on their bonnets and blouses in recognition of their rebel support. It was customary in the era to compliment the White Cockade with your Clan Badge pined in the center as recognition of allegiance of your clan.
Even though Prince Edward Stuart armies were defeated at the Battle of Culloden, there was a continuation of pride in the aftermath of military battlefield accomplishment by the Appin Stuarts and the MacLarens. These fierce brave fighters of both of these clans were able to break through the Hanoverian lines, and then fight their way back to the Jacobite lines of formation. The White Cockade was continued to be worn in the aftermath by their descendants as a Prideful Tribute to their rebellious Clansmen accomplishments, and to show their continued Jacobite support for Prince Edward Stuart.
The Hanoverian power hungry political dogs of German decent beginning with the reign of George I were distant relatives of the Stuart family; There claimant to the British throne comes through Elizabeth Stuart’s daughter Sophia of Palatinate who married Ernest Augustas, Elector of Hanover. One of the reasons the Hanover relative from the distant Stuart line was asked to ascend to the throne of England was because of James VII & II conversion to the Catholic faith. The German Hanover’s were Protestants who appealed to the Anglo-Saxon English who wanted to keep the religious affiliation. The Hanoverian Loyalists wore Black Cockades. The main adversity was the claimant to the throne by the Hanovers was not through the rightful male heir. The hereditary passage of the “Right of Kings” by Devine rule was a sticking point to King James and his followers. Only King James II through the Stuart succession could provide the proper Devine succession. The Protestant religion overshadowed the natural order of the 1st born male heir from Charles II to James II.
John Trumbull’s Washington at Verplanck’s Point
All 18th century artisan Master painters which depicted General George Washington wearing a “Cocked Hat” would have Washington would have accurately portrayed Washington’s Tribute to the Bonnie Prince by showing him following the Jacobite symbol of allegiance of wearing a White Cockade. This is known to be a symbol of Prince Edward Stuart during the Jacobite uprising in 1745/6. It is believed the Young Pretender picked a Wild White Rose and pined it to his hat somewhere between November 10th 1745, before the surrender of Carlisle Castle on the 13th, but more probable in my opinion on November 15th when they reached Rose Castle just 2 days march south.
American coin and medal scholars have mistaken the meaning of ribbon, berry and leaf symbols on America’s first coins. This is actually a representative symbol of the Scottish Jacobites economic war through the Bank of Scotland and Italy. This foliage is not the Roman olive branch of peace, this is actually found on Prince Edward Stuart Medals of period. The Laurel Sprig is symbolized by two leaves and a single berry symbolizing partly, “Unfinished Business” (Jacobite Fan by Robert Strange was the first to depict this). This is representative of Victory to Come. The MacLarens were wearing the Laurel Sprigs since Charles I to identify their Clan’s support. Robert Strange did 2 engravings with the Bonnie wearing the Laurel Sprig on his hat symbolizing “Victory to Come,” since the House of Stuart was not restored in 1746, it most probably references “The Coming of Victory though Economics.” So, two meanings with roots in shipping of goods, trade, and banking. Economic might!
George Washington Inaugural Button
So, what are my conclusions of unknown American / Jacobite History?
* During the 1745 uprising, Prince Charles Edward Stuart III ( he was addressing himself as the 3rd King) (This is also the number of berries on laurel sprig) was crowned with a Laurel Wreath at Holyrood Castle which represents his victory to come over the Hanoverians. Holyrood Castle was recognized as the home of the Stuart Kings of divine right. (This was representative of the invasion of Edinburg, Scotland. His first battles were in Scotland, not in England). The Bonnie Prince could not be given the crown because his father is still alive in 1745, he did not die until 1766. So, the Bonnie was crowned with a symbolic Laurel Crown as a Triumphant Caesar who was not yet the king himself, but would be next. This is why he wasn’t given the King’s Crown instead. The Bow represents tying the laurel crown to hereditary rightful ownership of the Kings Crown.
The Laurel Wreath symbol which was used by the Bonnie Prince was officially introduced by Jacobite supporters of Washington during the 1789 inaugural celebration of 1789. This was there way to re-introduce Roman symbolism which was used by the Bonnie in the uprising of 1745. By placing it first on George Washington inaugural buttons in 1789, it depicts symbolically the Triumphant General who could only wear a Laurel Crown because he is not the King through Divine hereditary rights. This was the first of many propaganda measures strategically done to mainstream Scottish heraldry. (Then next would be 1786 Columbia Magazine depicting the Great Seal of the United States). This Laurel Wreath symbol idea would then be included as part of the design in the 1792 Coinage Act followed by the Philadelphia Mint’s production of the first US coins. The left branch and right branch with the berry at the Crosshatch is representative tribute to the Bonnie. The branches not completing a circle as a Whole Crown is always representative of unfinished business. Finished business would have been if economic resources though trade, agriculture, and agriculture was controlled by Scottish Gentry, then he would received the crown. (Robert Strange’s depiction of the Bonnie has all the symbolism as evidence).