1716 the Disarming Act came into effect, aimed at curbing the strength of the Highland clans. It declared that no Highlander should have ‘in his or their custody, use, or bear, broad sword or target, poignard, whinger [a short sword], or durk, side pistol, gun, or other warlike weapon’.
The Act was particularly ineffective. In fact, Lord Justice Clerk Thomas Fletcher noted that it had entirely the opposite effect to the one intended. The clans loyal to George II disarmed, while ‘the disaffected clans retain[ed]their arms, and either concealed them at the fact of disarming, or have provided themselves since’.1

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