Declaration of the Earl of Mar, September 9, 1715

John Erskine was born in 1675, the son of Charles Erskine, 22nd and 5th Earl of Mar. He succeeded his father in April 1689, but did not take his seat in the Scottish Parliament of the Prince of Orange until 1696. The Prince of Orange named Mar to his Scottish Privy Council in 1697, and Princess Anne of Denmark raised him to many offices in her government. Although he signed the proclamation of the Elector George I of Hanover in 1714, he was suspected of Jacobite sympathies and dismissed by that prince.

Mar escaped from London, and on August 26, 1715, held a great council of Scottish nobles and gentry, known as the "Hunting of Braemar". In September 1715 King James III and VIII named him Commander-in-Chief, and in October 1715 he created him Duke of Mar.

Following the defeat of the 1715 Rising, Mar accompanied James to France and served as Secretary of State. In 1722 he lost James' confidence and retired from public life.

A printed version of Mar's declaration can be found on pages 177-178 of Charles Petrie, The Jacobite Movement: The First Phase, 1688-1716 (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1948).

Our rightful and natural King James the VIIIth, who, by the grace of God, is now coming to relieve us from our oppressions, having been pleased to entrust us with the direction of his affairs and the command of his forces in this his Ancient Kingdom of Scotland. And some of his faithful subjects and servants met at Aboyne, viz. the Lord Huntley, the Lord Tullibardine, the Earl Mareschal, the Earl of Southesk, Glingary from the Clans, Glenderule from the Earl of Broadalbine, and gentlemen of Argyleshire, Mr. Patrick Lyon of Auchterhouse, the Laird of Auldbair, Lieutenant-General George Hamilton, Major-general Gordon, and myself, having taken into our consideration His Majesty's last and late orders to us, find, that as this is now the time that he ordered us to appear openly in arms for him; so it seems to us absolutely necessary for His Majesty's service and the relieving of our native country from all its hardships, that all his faithful and loving subjects and lovers of their country should with all possible speed put themselves into arms.

These are therefore, in His Majesty's name and authority and by virtue of the power aforesaid and by the King's special order to me thereunto, to require and empower you forthwith to raise your fencible men with their best arms; and you are immediately to march them to join me and some other of the King's forces at the Invor of Braemar on Monday next in order to proceed in our march to attend the King's Standard with his other forces.

The King, intending that his forces shall be paid from the time of their setting out, he expects, as he positively orders, that they behave themselves civilly, and commit no plundering nor other disorders upon the highest penalties and his displeasure, which is expected you'll see observed.

Now is the time for all good men to show their zeal for His Majesty's service, whose cause is so deeply concerned, and the relief of our native country from oppression, and a foreign yoke too heavy for us and our posterity to bear; and to endeavour the restoring, not only of our rightful and native king, but also our country to its ancient, free, and independent constitution under him whose ancestors have reigned over us for so many generations.

In so honourable, good, and just a cause, we cannot doubt of the assistance, direction, and blessing of Almighty God, who has so often rescued the Royal Family of Stuart and our country from sinking under oppression.

Your punctual observance of these orders is expected, for the doing of all which this shall be to you and all you employ in the execution of them a sufficient warrant.


Given at Braemar, the 9th of September, 1715. To the Baillie and the rest of the Gentlemen of the Lordship of Kildrummie.

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