Curse of Scotland

The nine of diamonds; diamonds, it is said, imply royalty, being ornaments to the imperial crown; and every ninth king of Scotland has been observed for many ages, to be a tyrant and a curse to that country. Others say it is from its similarity to the arms of Argyle; the Duke of Argyle having been very instrumental in bringing about the union, which, by some Scotch patriots, has been considered as detrimental to their country.
the Nine of Diamonds. Various hypotheses have been set up as to this appellation—that it was the card on which the “Butcher Duke” wrote a cruel order with respect to the rebels after the battle of Culloden; that the diamonds are the nine lozenges in the arms of Dalrymple, Earl of Stair, detested for his share in the Massacre of Glencoe; that it is a corruption of Cross of Scotland, the nine diamonds being arranged somewhat after the fashion of a St. Andrew's Cross. The first supposition is evidently erroneous, for in Dr. Houston's Memoirs of his own Lifetime, 1747, p. 92, the Jacobite ladies are stated to have nicknamed the Nine of Diamonds “the Justice Clerk,” after the rebellion of 1715, in allusion to the Lord Justice-Clerk Ormistone, who, for his severity in suppressing it, was called the Curse of Scotland. Gules a cross of lozenges were also the arms of Colonel Packer, who attended Charles I. on the scaffold, and commanded in Scotland afterwards with great severity.—See Chatto on the Origin and History of Playing Cards, p. 267. The most probable explanation is, that in the game of Pope Joan the nine of diamonds is the pope , of whom the Scotch have an especial horror.