Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

General History of the Highlands
1714 - 1715


THE dismissal of the Earl of Oxford from the office of lord-high-treasurer was gratifying to the Jacobites, whose expectations he had disappointed, and they naturally waited with anxiety for the appointment of his successor, whom they confidently imagined would be Bolingbroke, his rival, who was supposed, on juster grounds, to favour their views, and to whom they had transferred their confidence. But all their hopes were disappointed by the promotion of the Duke of Shrewsbury to the treasury, a nobleman distinguished for modesty and disinterestedness, and a devoted attachment to his country.

To counteract still farther the schemes of Bolingbroke, all the members of the privy council in London, or the neighbourhood, had been invited, on the proposal of Somerset and Argyle, to attend the council without distinction of party, in consequence of which Lord Somers, and many other Whig noblemen, repaired to Kensington. The presence of such a number of the Whigs completely overawed the Tories, who, confused, distracted, and disunited, were either unable or afraid to oppose the measures proposed by the former for effectually securing the Protestant succession, and gave a tacit acquiescence to them. Every precaution, in short, had been taken to prevent any movement of the Jacobite party in favour of the Chevalier, and an express was sent to the Elector of Hanover, informing him that the physicians despaired of the queen’s life, and desiring him to repair to England with all convenient speed.

As soon as the death of the queen was announced, the lords of the privy council met, and drew up and issued a proclamation the same day, declaring that by the death of Queen Anne, the imperial crowns of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, had "solely and rightfully come to the High and Mighty Prince George, Elector of Brunswick, Lunenburg," in consequence of which, the prince was immediately proclaimed in London, by the heralds at arms, with the usual solemnities, and on Thursday the 5th of August, the same ceremony was repeated at the market cross of Edinburgh, by the deputy-lord-lyon, king at arms, in presence of the magistrates and town council of the city, the judges at the supreme courts, a considerable number of the nobility, and a large assemblage of the inhabitants. The Jacobites preserved a prudent silence on this occasion, but the supporters of the government at Edinburgh took care, notwithstanding, to provide against any contingency. They, accordingly, cut off a part of the wooden bridge before the castle gate, and drew up the remaining part to cover the gate itself. They also threw up an intrenchment between the gate and the castle wall, on which they posted a party of soldiers. In addition to these precautions, Major-general Wightman, the commander of the forces, ordered the different detachments quartered at Dundee, and other places, to join his camp in the vicinity of Edinburgh, with which order they immediately complied.

Pursuant to an act of the late reign, the parliament met on the day the queen died. The first four days were occupied in swearing in the members, and on the 5th of August, the parliament was opened by the Lord Chancellor, in name of the lords justices, on whom the interim administration of the government had devolved by an act of the 4th and 5th of Queen Anne. Both houses thereafter voted loyal addresses to his majesty, in which, after congratulating him upon his accession to the throne, they expressed their anxiety for his safe and speedy arrival in Great Britain. To these addresses his majesty returned most gracious answers, which were reported to both houses on the 25th of August, on which day the parliament was prorogued till the 23d of September.

When the Chevalier de St. George heard of the death of his sister, Queen Anne, he set off from his residence in Lorraine, to Paris, to crave the aid of the King of France, in vindication of his hereditary rights; but Louis declined to interfere, on the ground that he had, by the treaty of Utrecht, acknowledged the Protestant succession. Disappointed in his application, he retired first to Luneville, and afterwards to Plombières, whence, on the 29th of August, he issued a declaration as King James III., asserting his indefeasible right to the crowns of Great Britain and Ireland, and solemnly protesting against every act that had been already done, or that should thereafter be done to the prejudice of his hereditary rights. He says, that although he had been obliged by the treaty to remove from France, that he had still continued to have his kingdoms and his people in view, and that he had never ceased to hope, that God would in time open his people’s eyes, and convince them not only of the notorious injustice done to the crown and him, but of the dangerous consequences thereof for themselves; and that as he could not see, without grief and sorrow, their blood and treasure lavished in the late war, in opposition to his rights, so he could not now with less sorrow, see them exposed to be subjected to an arbitrary power, and become a prey to foreigners — that the settlement of the succession upon one who was so far removed from the regular line, was opposed to the maxims of the English constitution — that the Elector of Brunswick was, besides, a foreigner, a powerful prince, and absolute in his own country — that he was ignorant of the laws, manners, customs, and language, and supported by a good many of his own people — that there had been many thousands of aliens domiciled in England, for the last thirty years, who would be ready to stand by him upon all occasions — that the subversion of such a sacred and fundamental principle as hereditary right, would lead to endless wars and divisions, and that as there were many other princes, who had better pretensions to the crown than the Elector of Brunswick, the nation could never enjoy any lasting peace or happiness, till the succession was again settled "in the rightful line."

Meanwhile, certain movements in Scotland, among the friends of the Chevalier, indicated to the government that an insurrection was intended. Bodies of armed men were seen marching towards the Highlands, and a party of Highlanders appeared in arms near Inverlochy, which was, however, soon dispersed by a detachment from the garrison. In this situation of matters, the lords justices sent down to Scotland a considerable number of half-pay officers, chiefly of the Scots regiments, to officer the militia of the country, under the direction of Major-general Whitham, then commander-in-chief in Scotland. These prompt measures taken by the government, alarmed the Jacobites, who, after several consultations, retired to their homes. The Duke of Gordon was, by order of the justices, confined in the city of Edinburgh, and the Marquis of Huntly, and Lord Drummond, in their respective residences of Brahan, and castle Drummond. The last, on hearing that an order for his seizure had arrived, fled to the Highlands, but offered bail for his good behaviour. At the same time, Captain Campbell, of Glendaruel, who had obtained a commission from the late Tory administration, to raise an independent company in the Highlands, was apprehended at Inverlochy, and carried prisoner to the capital, and Sir Donald M’Donald of Slait, was also seized and committed to the castle of Edinburgh. As the lords justices had received information that the Chevalier intended to land in the kingdom, they, on the 15th of September, issued a proclamation, in terms of an act passed in the last session of parliament, offering a reward of £100,000 sterling for his apprehension, should lie land or attempt to land in Great Britain.

King George, after vesting the government of his German dominions in a council, embarked for England on the 16th of September, and landed at Greenwich on the 18th, where he was received by the Duke of Northumberland, captain of the life-guards, and by the lords justices, and a large number of the nobility and other persons of distinction. Among those who presented themselves on this occasion was the Earl of Mar, one of the secretaries of state, but the king had been so prepossessed against this nobleman, and indeed against all the heads of the Tory party, that he did not vouchsafe even to notice him. The earl suspecting that means had been used to prejudice his majesty against him, had, in order to take off any unfavourable impression which these might have produced upon the king’s mind, written a letter to George when in Holland on his way to England, congratulating him upon his accession to the throne, stating the services which he had rendered to the government, and assuring his majesty that he should find him as faithful and dutiful a subject and servant as ever any of his family, which had been always loyal, had been to the crown, or as he had been to his late mistress, the queen. With the same view, it is supposed, or to throw the government off its guard, Mar caused a letter to be addressed to him by some of the heads and branches of the Jacobite clans expressive of their loyalty to King George, and declaring, that as they had been always ready to follow his lordship’s directions in serving Queen Anne, they were equally ready to concur with him in faithfully serving his majesty.

[This document, which was signed by the chief of Maclean, Macdonell of Glengarry, Cameron of Lochiel, Macdonell of Keppoch, Sir Donald Macdonald, Mackintosh of Mackintosh, Mackenzie of Fraserdale, M’Leod of Contulick, Grant of Glenmoriston, Chisholm of Corner, and M’Pherson of Cluny, is as follows...

"My Lord,

"So soon as we heard of the afflicting news of the death of her late majesty, Queen Anne, it did exceedingly comfort us, that, after so good and great a queen, who had the hearts and consulted the true happiness of all her people, we were to be governed by his sacred majesty, King George, a prince so brightly adorned with all royal virtues, that Britain, under his royal administration, shall still be flourishing at home, and able to hold the balance in the affairs of Europe. Allow us, my Lord, to please ourselves with this agreeable persuasion, that his majesty’s royal and kindly influence shall reach to us, who are the most remote, as well as to others of his subjects in this island. We are not ignorant that there are some people forward to misrepresent us, from particular private views of their own, and who, to reach their own ends against us, on all occasions, endeavour to make us, in the Highlands of Scotland, pass for disaffected persons.

"Your lordship has an estate and interest in the Highlands, and is so well known to bear good-will to your neighbours, that in order to prevent any ill impressions which malicious and ill-designing people may at this juncture labour to give of us, we must beg leave to address your lordship, and entreat you to assure the government, in our names, and in that of the rest of the clans, who, by distance of place, could not be present at the signing of this letter, of our loyalty to his sacred majesty, King George. And we do hereby declare to your lordship, that as we were always ready to follow your directions in serving Queen Anne, so we will now be equally forward to concur with your lordship in faithfully serving King George. And we entreat your lordship would advise as how we may best offer our duty to his majesty upon his coming over to Britain; and on all occasions we will beg to receive your counsel and direction how we may be most useful to his royal government.

"We are, with all truth and respect," &c.

There is little difficulty in perceiving, by comparing this letter with that written by Mar to the king, that it is the pro duction of Mar himself, though said to be drawn up by his brother, Lord Grange. "‘The balance in the affsirs of Europe," an expression since changed into that of the "balance of power," is a phrase which could have occurred only to a secretary of state. What calamities have been ir~1licted upon Europe since the sway of the Grand Monarqne in attempts to adjust "this balance," and yet the scales vibrate as much as ever!]

But the prejudices of the king against Mar were too deeply rooted to be overcome, and within eight days after the king’s arrival in England, Mar was dismissed from office, and the Duke of Montrose appointed in his stead. It was very natural for the king to prefer the Whig party, by whose influence he had been raised to the throne; but unfortunately for the nation, he carried this predilection too far. A wise and prudent prince would have endeavoured to conciliate the adverse faction by acts of kindness, but George turned his back upon the entire body of the Tories, and threw himself completely into the arms of the Whigs, who alone shared in the royal favour, and who used every art to confirm their own interest, and extend their connexions. The consequence was, that a spirit of the most violent discontent was excited throughout the whole kingdom, and the populace, led on by the Tories or Jacobites, raised tumults in different parts of the kingdom. The Chevalier de St. George availing himself of this excitement, transmitted by the French mail copies of the manifesto, or declaration, which he had issued from Plombières to the chief nobility, particularly the Dukes of Shrewsbury, Marlborough, and Argyle, who delivered them to the secretaries of state. The king, imagining that the Duke of Lorraine was privy to the preparation and transmission of the manifesto, refused an audience to the Marquis de Lamberti, minister from the duke; but although the duke, on being informed by his minister of the circumstance, denied most pointedly that he was accessory to the affair, and declared that the Chevalier took up his residence in Lorraine by the directions of the king of France, the king persisted in refusing an audience to De Lamberti till his master should remove the Chevalier from his dominions.

The parliament having been dissolved, the king, in the month of January, 1715, issued an extraordinary proclamation, calling a new parliament. In this proclamation he complained of the evil designs of the disaffected, and of the misrepresentation of his principles and conduct which had been industriously circulated throughout the kingdom, expressing his hopes that his loving subjects would send up to parliament the fittest persons to redress the present disorders, and to provide for the peace and happiness of the kingdoms. In order to secure the interest of those in civil and military employments in the elections, a proclamation was issued on the same day, continuing all persons who had been duly invested in their offices, civil or military, before the demise of the queen, and who had not been since removed there-from, for the space of six months from the date of the proclamation, unless his majesty should see cause to remove them sooner. A warmly contested election followed in England, but although the Tories made every exertion, and set up the usual shout of the church in danger, a cry which was responded to by the populace in many places, a majority of Whigs was returned. The Whigs were still more successful in Scotland, where a majority of the sixteen peers, and forty out of forty-five members returned to the commons, were in the interest of the government. The principal struggle in Scotland was in Inverness-shire, between M’Kenzie of Preston-hall, who was supported by Glengarry and the other Jacobite chiefs, and Forbes of Culloden, brother of the celebrated President Forbes, who carried the election by the interest of Brigadier-general Grant, and the friends of Lord Lovat.

The new parliament assembled on the 19th of March at Westminster, and was for some time chiefly occupied in investigating the conduct of the late ministers, against some of whom measures of extreme rigour were resolved upon. But these proceedings were interrupted by the necessity of devising means for the suppression of a growing spirit of discontent and disaffection, which seemed to gain ground daily in England, of which an insurrection in Scotland, and an invasion from abroad, seemed about to ensue as inevitable results. To put an end to future rioting, a bill was passed, by which it was declared, that if any persons, to the number of twelve, riotously, tumultuously, and unlawfully assembled, should continue together for an hour after having been required to disperse by a justice of peace or other officer, by proclamation publicly read,—and of which a form was given in the act, they should be guilty of felony, without benefit of clergy. When the king attended in the House of Lords on the 13th of July, to give his assent to this and other bills, he informed both houses that a rebellion had actually begun at home, and that an invasion was threatened from abroad, and he, therefore, solicited the commons to enable him to provide for the defence of the kingdom. The preparations of the Chevalier de St. George for a descent upon Great Britain were indeed already far advanced. Elated by the intelligence which had been sent him from England by the Tories, of the disaffection of the people to the government, and by the promises of support which he had received from them, should he land in Great Britain, the prince had applied a second time for succour to Louis, who, notwithstanding the treaty of Utrecht, supplied him privately with money, and allowed a ship to be fitted out for him, at his own expense, in the port of Havre. The cause of the Chevalier had now been openly espoused by the Duke of Ormond and Lord Bolingbroke, both of whom having retired to France, had been attainted by the British parliament without a hearing, and were busily employed corresponding with the Tories of England. These intrigues and preparations were early discovered by the Earl of Stair, the British ambassador at Paris, and communicated by him to the ministry. Proceeding upon this information, the parliament suspended the Habeas Corpus act, and renewed the offer of one hundred thousand pounds to any person or persons who should seize the Pretender, dead or alive. Great naval and military preparations were made, and the trained bands were kept in readiness to suppress tumults.

As early as May, a report was current among the Jacobites of Scotland of the Chevalier’s design to make a descent, in consequence of which they began to bestir themselves, by providing arms, horses, &c. Lockhart of Carnwath, a very warm partisan of the Chevalier, while "solacing" himself, as he says, with the expectation of hearing "great and good news," had his house surrounded by a strong detachment of Lord Shannon’s regiment of foot, which carried him prisoner to the castle of Edinburgh by virtue of a warrant "under the Elector of Hanover’s own hand." The apprehension of Lockhart served as a signal to the other Jacobites in Scotland, against whom warrants were issued, all of whom escaped, with the exception of the Earls of Home and Wigton, who were taken up, and also committed prisoners to the castle.

Of John Erskine, the 11th Earl of Mar, the chief leader in the ensuing insurrection, it may be proper to say a few words. Following the footsteps of his father, who joined the revolution party, merely because he considered it his interest so to do, the young earl, on entering into public life, attached himself to the party then in power, at the head of which was the Duke of Queensberry, the leader of the Scottish Whigs. He took the oaths and his seat in parliament in September, 1696, was sworn in a privy councillor the following year, and was afterwards appointed to the command of a regiment of foot, and invested with the order of the Thistle. In 1704, when the Whigs were superseded by the country party, the earl, pursuant to the line of conduct he intended to follow, of making his politics subservient to his interest, immediately paid court to the new administration, by placing himself at the head of such of the Duke of Queensberry’s friends as opposed the Marquis of Tweeddale and his party. In this situation he showed so much dexterity, and managed his opposition with so much art and address, that he was considered by the Tories as a man of probity, and well inclined to the exiled family. Afterwards, when the Whig party came again into power, he gave them his support, and became very zealous in promoting all the measures of the court, particularly the treaty of union, for which he presented the draught of an act in parliament, in 1705. To reward his exertions, he was, after the prorogation of the parliament, appointed secretary of state for Scotland, instead of the Marquis of Annandale, who was displaced, because he was suspected of holding a correspondence with the "Squadron," who were inclined to support the succession to the crown without, rather than with the proposed union. His lordship was chosen one of the sixteen representative peers in 1707, and re-elected at the general election the following year, and in 1710 and 1713. By the share he had taken in bringing about the union, Mar had rendered himself very unpopular in Scotland; but he endeavoured to regain the favour of his countrymen, by attending a deputation of Scottish members, consisting of the Duke of Argyle, himself, Cockburn younger of Ormiston, and Lockhart of Carnwath, who waited on Queen Anne in 1712, to inform her of their resolution to move for a repeal of the union with England. When the Earl of Findlater brought forward a motion for repeal in the House of Lords, Mar spoke strongly in favour of it, and pressed the dissolution of the union as the only means to preserve the peace of the island. He was made a privy-councillor in 1708, and on the death of the Duke of Queensberry in 1713, the earl was again appointed secretary of state for Scotland, and thus, for the second time, enlisted himself under the banners of Toryism; but an end was put to his political tergiversation by his abrupt and unceremonious dismissal from office by George I., and he vowed revenge.

Though not possessed of shining talents, he made ample amends for their deficiencies by artifice and an insinuating and courteous deportment, and managed his designs with such prudence and circumspection as to render it extremely difficult to ascertain his object when he desired concealment; by which conduct "he showed himself," in the opinion of a contemporary, "to be a man of good sense, but bad morals." The versatility of his politics was perhaps owing rather to the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed than to any innate viciousness of disposition. He was a Jacobite from principle, but as the fortunes of his house had been greatly impaired in the civil war by its attachment to the Stuarts, and as, upon his entrance into public life, he found the cause of the exiled family at a low ebb, he sought to retrieve the losses which his ancestors had sustained; while, at the same time, he gratified his ambition, by aspiring to power, which he could only hope to acquire by attaching himself to the existing government. The loss of a place of £5,000 a-year, without any chance of ever again enjoying the sweets of office, was gall and wormwood to such a man. This disappointment, and the studied insult he had received from the king, operating upon a selfish and ambitious spirit, drove him into open rebellion, with no other view than the gratification of his revenge. But whatever were his qualifications in the cabinet, he was without military experience, and consequently unfit to command an army, as the result showed.

On the eve of Mar’s departure from England to place himself at the head of the intended insurrection in Scotland, he resolved to show himself at court; and, accordingly, he appeared in the presence of King George on the 1st of August, with all the complaisance of a courtier, and with that affability of demeanour for which he was so distinguished. What his motives were for thus needlessly laying himself open to the charge of studied duplicity by confronting a sovereign whose throne he was about to attempt to overturn, it is difficult to conjecture. Was it to solace his offended pride, or to show the world the hardihood of his determination to unfurl the standard of revolt, that he had the cool daring, in presence of the nobles of the land, to look in the face the man against whom he had inwardly vowed to wage war? Or was his object, in thus appearing as if no treasonable design could be in his contemplation, intended as a feint to deceive the court and lull suspicion, so as to enable him the more effectually to conceal the preparations he had made for his intended departure? All of these questions might be fairly answered in the affirmative, as being in perfect conformity with the earl’s character.

Having disguised himself by changing his usual dress, he embarked at Gravesend on the 2d of August, 1715, on board a vessel bound for Newcastle, accompanied by Major-general Hamilton and Colonel Hay, and attended by two servants. On arriving at Newcastle he and his party went on board another vessel bound for the Frith of Forth, the property of one Spence, and were landed at Elie, a small port on the Fife coast, near the mouth of the Frith. During the great civil war, and for many years thereafter, a landing in Fife in support of the Stuarts would have been a dangerous attempt, but the opinions of many of the Fife people had, of late, undergone a complete revolution; and, at the time in question, Fife had, as the Jacobites would have said, many "honest" men, or in other words, persons who were warmly attached to the interests of the exiled family. From Elie, Mar proceeded to Crail, where he was met by Sir Alexander Erskine, the Lord Lyon, and other friends of the Jacobite interest, who accompanied him to the house of "the Honest Laird," a name by which John Bethune of Balfour, a stanch Jacobite, was commonly known. After remaining a few days in Fife, Mar paid a visit to his brother-in-law, the Earl of Kinnoul, at his seat of Dupplin in the county of Perth, whence he departed on Thursday the 18th of August, and crossed the Tay about two miles below Perth, with 40 horse, on his way to his seat of Kildrummy, in the Braes of Mar. On the following day he despatched letters to the principal Jacobites, inviting them to attend a grand hunting-match at Braemar, on the 27th of August. As the government was on the alert, and watched very narrowly any unusual assemblages, the Jacobites had frequently before had recourse to this and similar expedients to enable them to concert their measures without exciting the suspicion of the government.

That the earl had matured his plans before coming to Scotland, and that the Jacobites were let into the secret of his designs, is evident from the fact that, as early as the 6th of August, those in Edinburgh and the neighbourhood were aware of his intention to come down to Scotland. On the following morning the Honourable John Dalzel, a captain on half pay, sent in a resignation of his commission, that he might join with greater freedom the standard of the earl.

Under pretence of attending the hunting-match, a considerable number of noblemen and gentlemen arrived at Aboyne, in Aberdeenshire, about the time appointed. Among these were the Marquis of Huntly, eldest son of the Duke of Gordon; the Marquis of Tullibardine, eldest son of the Duke of Athole; the Earls of Nithsdale, Marischal, Traquair, Errol, Southesk, Carnwath, Seaforth, Linlithgow, and others; the Viscounts Kilsyth, Kenmure, Kingston, and Stormont; Lords Rollo, Duffus, Drummond, Strathallan, Ogilvie, and Nairne; and about twenty-six gentlemen of influence in the Highlands, among whom were Generals Hamilton and Gordon, Glengary, Campbell of Glendaruel, and the lairds of Auchterhouse and Auldbar.

After the meeting had assembled, the earl proceeded to address his friends in a regular and well-ordered speech. He began by expressing his sorrow for having been instrumental in forwarding the union of the two kingdoms. He informed them that his eyes were now opened, and that he clearly perceived the error he had committed; that he would therefore do every thing in his power to make his countrymen again a free people, and restore to them their ancient liberties which had been surrendered into the hands of the English by the accursed treaty of union. That this treaty, which had already done so much injury to Scotland, was calculated to inflict additional grievances upon it, and that such were the designs of the English appeared evident by the measures which had been daily pursued ever since the Elector of Hanover had ascended the throne. That this prince regarded neither the welfare of his people, nor their religion; but had committed the charge of both entirely to a set of men who, while they stuck to the Protestant succession, made such alterations in church and state as they thought fit. That they had already begun to encroach upon the liberties of both, on which account he had resolved to vindicate their rights by placing the lawful sovereign, James VIII., who had promised to hear their grievances and redress their wrongs, upon the throne of his ancestors. He then informed them of his determination to take up arms in behalf of his lawful king: that he would summon all the fencible men among his own tenantry, and with them hazard his life in the cause; and he exhorted all those assembled to follow his example. To encourage them to do so, he assured them that there would be a general rising in England in support of the cause; that they would receive powerful assistance from France, whither the Duke of Ormond and Lord Bolingbroke had gone to induce Louis XIV. to aid and assist them with men and money; and that the Duke of Berwick would certainly land in the West of England with a large force. That there were thousands of persons throughout the kingdom who had solemnly pledged themselves to him, and to one another, to join him in deposing King George, and establishing James VIII. on the throne. He then informed them that he had received letters (which he exhibited) under the hand of James himself, from Lorraine, promising to come over to Scotland and place his person under the protection of the valour and fidelity of his Scottish subjects; and that, in the meantime, ships, provided with arms, ammunition, and other military stores, would be sent over from France as soon as a landing port should be fixed upon. He thereupon produced, or stated that he had in his possession, a commission from James, appointing him his Lieutenant-general, and commander of all the Jacobite forces in Scotland, and informed the meeting that he was furnished with money, and that an arrangement had been made by which he would be enabled to pay regularly the troops that should be raised, so that no gentleman who might join his standard, with his followers, would be put to any expense, and the country would be quite relieved from the burden of supporting the war. After the earl had finished his harangue, the meeting unanimously resolved to take up arms in support of the Chevalier; and after taking an oath of fidelity to the earl as the representative of James VIII. and to each other, the persons present took leave of him, and promised to return immediately to their estates and raise their men, and to hold themselves in readiness to join the earl on the first summons. To enlist the feelings of the people in favour of the prince, copies of his manifesto, of which each individual who attended the meeting obtained a supply from the earl, were industriously circulated throughout the country, and dropt in the streets of the different towns in Scotland during night.

The government was not inattentive to the proceedings of the Jacobites, and measures were adopted immediately by the Lord Advocate for securing the chiefs. Under the authority of an act passed on the 30th of August, a large number of noblemen and gentlemen, of whom a great proportion belonged to the Highlands, were summoned by him to appear at Edinburgh within certain specified periods, under the pain of a year’s imprisonment and other penalties, to give bail for their allegiance to the government. Among them was Rob Roy. The time allowed for the appearance of such as resided to the south of the river Tay, was seven days, to those on the north, fifteen, and to such as might be out of Scotland, sixty days after the day of citation. Very few of them however appeared, and the remainder, almost without exception, rushed at once into the insurrection.

The confederated chiefs had scarcely all of them reached their respective homes, when they were again summoned by Mar to meet him at Aboyne, on the 3d of September, to concert measures for appearing immediately in arms. Some of those who resided only a short distance from the appointed rendezvous, attended, and having received instructions to assemble their men, and to join him without delay, at Kirkmichael, a village in Braemar, they returned to their estates, and sent round the fiery cross to summon their followers to the field. With 60 followers only, Mar proclaimed the Chevalier at Castletown in Braemar, after which he proceeded to Kirkmichael, where on the 6th of September he raised his standard, which was consecrated by prayer, in presence, according to some accounts, of a force of 2,000 men, mostly consisting of horse. When the standard was in the course of being erected, the ball on the top of the pole fell off, an incident which was regarded by the superstitious Highlanders as a bad omen, and which threw a damp over the proceedings of the day.

On the following day, Mar intimated by a circular letter to the gentlemen of Perthshire, his appointment to the chief command of all King James’s forces in Scotland, and he required them to hold themselves in readiness to join him with their vassals when called upon. He also directed them to secure the arms of such persons as were hostile to the cause of King James, and desired they would prevent their men from plundering, or living at free quarters, upon his Majesty’s subjects. "The King," he observes, "makes no doubt of your zeal for his service, especially at this juncture when his cause is so deeply concerned, and the relieving of our native country from oppression and a foreign yoke, too heavy for us and our posterity to bear, and when now is the time to endeavour the restoring, not only our rightful and native king, but also our country to its ancient, free, and independent constitution under him, whose ancestors have teigned over us for so many generations."

Two days thereafter the earl published a high-flown declaration, in which he summons, "in his Majesty’s name and authority," and "by the King’s special order to me thereunto," all faithful and loving subjects to raise their fencible men with their best arms, and to join him at the Inver of Mar on the following Monday, "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 first setting out, he expects, as he positively orders, that they behave themselves civilly, and commit no plundering or other disorders, upon the highest penalties, and his displeasure, which is expected you’ll see observed."

As a contrast to this high-flown and liberty-sounding document, the following singular letter, written by the earl to his baillie in the lordship of Kildrummy, on the evening of the day on which the above declaration was issued, is curious. It exhibits, in a remarkable point of view, the despotic power which, even down to such a modern period, a feudal or rather a Highland chief considered himself entitled to exercise with impunity over his vassals. Had such an order been issued by a baron, who had scarcely ever gone beyond the boundaries of his own demesnes, it might have been passed over without remark, as in perfect keeping with the ideas of a feudal despot; but to see the refined courtier threatening his own vassals and tenants with destruction, and even extermination, merely because they hesitated to take up arms in opposition to the government under which they lived, and under which the earl himself had served, is indeed very extraordinary:— 

"Invercauld, Sept. 9, at night, 1715.

"Jocke,—Ye was in the right not to come with the hundred men ye sent up to-night, when I expected four times the number. It is a pretty thing, when all the Highlands of Scotland are now rising upon their king and country’s account, as I have accounts from them since they were with me, and the gentlemen of our neighbouring lowlands expecting us down to join them, that my men should be only refractory. Is not this the thing we are now about, which they have been wishing these twenty-six years? And now, when it is come, and the king and country’s cause is at stake, will they for ever sit still and see all perish? I have used gentle means too long, and so I shall be forced to put other orders I have in execution. I have sent you enclosed an order for the lordship of Kildrummy, which you are immediately to intimate to all my vassals: if they give ready obedience, it will make some amends, and if not ye may tell them from me, that it will not be in my power to save them (were I willing) from being treated as enemies, by those who are ready soon to join me; and they may depend on it, that I will be the first to propose, and order their being so. Particularly, let my own tenants in Kildrummy know, that if they come not forth with their best arms, that I will send a party immediately to burn what they shall miss taking from them. And they may believe this not only a threat, but, by all that’s sacred, I’ll put it in execution, let my loss be what it will, that it may be an example to others. You are to tell the gentlemen that I’ll expect them in their best accoutrements, on horseback, and no excuse to be accepted of. Go about this with all diligence, and come yourself and let me know your having done so. All this is not only as ye will be answerable to me, but to your king and country.

Your assured friend and servant,

MAR"

"To John Forbes of Inverau,
Bailie of Kildrummy."

While the Jacobite chiefs were collecting their forces, an event occurred which ought to have induced them to abandon, at least for a time, an enterprise signalized by such an untoward beginning. This was the death of Louis XIV., who expired on the 1st of September, after a short illness. An occurrence more unfortunate to the cause of the Chevalier could scarcely have happened at such a conjuncture, as it tended to damp the spirits of his partisans, who looked upon Louis as the main prop of the cause. On receipt of this intelligence, the chiefs held a meeting to consult upon the course they ought to pursue under this new aspect of matters. Some of the more moderate were for returning home, and remaining quiet till the arrival of the Chevalier, should he receive any encouragement from the new government of France to proceed on his intended voyage; but the majority argued that they had already gone too far to recede with safety, and that as a general insurrection would take place in England in favour of the Chevalier, they should take the field forthwith. An immediate appeal to arms having been resolved upon, messengers were despatched to France to urge the Chevalier to hasten his departure, and the following notable manifesto, which had been privately printed at Edinburgh by Freebairn, one of the king’s printers, was issued at the same time:—

"Manifesto by the Noblemen, Gentlemen, and others, who dutifully appear at this time in asserting the undoubted rights of their lawful sovereign, James the Eighth, by the grace of God, king of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c.; and for relieving this, his ancient kingdom, from the oppressions and grievances it lies under.

"His majesty’s right of blood to the crowns of these realms is undoubted, and has never been disputed or arraigned by the least circumstance or lawful authority. By the laws of God, by the ancient constitutions, and by the positive unrepealed laws of the land, we are bound to pay his majesty the duty of loyal subjects. Nothing can absolve us from this our duty of subjection and obedience. The laws of God require our allegiance to our rightful king—the laws of the land secure our religion and other interests; and his majesty giving up himself to the support of his Protestant subjects, puts the means of securing to us our concerns, religious and civil, in our own hands. Our fundamental constitution has been entirely altered and sunk amidst the various shocks of unstable faction, while, in searching out new expedients pretended for our security, it has produced nothing but daily disappointments, and has brought us and our posterity under a precarious dependence upon foreign councils and interests, and the power of foreign troops. The late unhappy union which was brought about by the mistaken notions of some, and the ruinous and selfish designs of others, has proved so far from lessening and healing the differences betwixt his majesty’s subjects of Scotland and England, that it has widened and increased them. And it appears by experience so inconsistent with the rights, privileges, and interests of us, and our good neighbours and fellow subjects of England, that the continuance of it must inevitably ruin us, and hurt them; nor can any way be found out to relieve us, and restore our ancient and independent constitution, but by the restoring our rightful and natural king, who has the only undoubted right to reign over us. Neither can we hope that the party who, chiefly contributed to bring us into bondage, will at any time endeavour to work our relief, since it is known how strenuously they opposed, in two late instances, the efforts that were made by all Scotsmen by themselves, and supported by the best and wisest of the English, towards so desirable an end, as they will not adventure openly to disown the dissolution of the union to be. Our substance has been wasted in the late ruinous wars, and we see an unavoidable prospect of having wars continued on us and our posterity so long as the possession of the crown is not in the right line. The hereditary rights of the subjects, though confirmed by conventions and parliaments, are now treated as of no value or force, and past services to the crown and royal family are now looked upon as grounds of suspicion. A packed up assembly, who call themselves a British parliament, have, so far as in them lies, inhumanely murdered their own and our sovereign, by promising a good sum of money as the reward of so execrable a crime. They have proscribed, by unaccountable and groundless impeachments and attainders, the worthy patriots of England, for their honourable and successful endeavours to restore trade, plenty, and peace to these nations.

"They have broken in upon the sacred law of both countries by which the liberty of our persons was secured, and they have empowered a foreign prince, (who, notwithstanding his expectations of the crown for fifteen years, is still unacquainted with our manners, customs, and language,) to make an absolute conquest (if not timely prevented) of the three kingdoms, by investing himself with an unlimited power, not only of raising unnecessary forces at home, but also of calling in foreign troops, ready to promote his uncontrollable designs. Nor can we be ever hopeful of its being otherwise, in the way it is at present, for some generations to come. And the sad consequences of these unexampled proceedings have really been so fatal to great numbers of our kinsmen, friends, and fellow-subjects of both kingdoms, that they have been constrained to abandon their country, houses, wives and children, to give themselves up prisoners, and perhaps victims, to be sacrificed to the pleasure of foreigners, and a few hot-headed men of a restless faction, whom they employ. Our troops abroad, notwithstanding their long and remarkable good services, have been treated, since the peace, with neglect and contempt, and particularly in Holland; and it is not now the officers’ long service, merit, and blood they have lost, but money and favour by which they can obtain justice in their preferments. So that it is evident the safety of his majesty’s person, and independency of his kingdoms, call loudly for immediate relief and defence.

"The consideration of these unhappy circumstances, with the due regard we have to common justice, the peace and quiet of us and our posterity, and our duty to his majesty, and his commands, are the powerful motives which have engaged us in our present undertaking, which we are firmly and heartily resolved to push to the utmost, and stand by one another to the last extremity, as the only solid and effectual means for putting an end to so dreadful a prospect, as by our present situation we have before our eyes, and with faithful hearts true to our rightful king, our country, and our neighbours, we earnestly beseech and expect, as his majesty commands, the assistance of all our true fellow-subjects to second our attempt; declaring hereby our sincere intentions that we will promote and concur in all lawful means for settling a lasting peace to these lands, under the auspicious government of our native-born rightful sovereign, the direction of our own domestic councils, and the protection of our native forces and troops. That we will in the same manner concur and endeavour to have our laws, liberties, and properties, secured by the parliaments of both kingdoms; that by the wisdom of such parliaments we will endevour to have such laws enacted as shall give absolute security to us, and future ages, for the Protestant religion, against all efforts of arbitrary power, popery, and all its other enemies.

"Nor have we any reason to be distrustful of the goodness of God, the truth and purity of our holy religion, or the known excellency of his majesty’s judgment, as not to hope, that in due time, good examples and conversation with our learned divines, will remove those prejudices, which we know his education in a Popish country has not riveted in his royal discerning mind; and we are sure, as justice is a virtue in all religions and professions, so the doing of it to him will not lessen his good opinion of ours. That as the king is willing to give his royal indemnity for all that is past, so he will cheerfully concur in passing general acts of oblivion, that our fellow-subjects, who have been misled, may have a fair opportunity of living with us in the same friendly manner that we design to live with them. That we will use our endeavours for redressing the bad usage of our troops abroad, and bringing the troops at home on the same footing and establishment of pay, as those of England. That we will sincerely and heartily go into such measures as shall maintain effectually, and establish, a right, firm, and lasting union betwixt his majesty’s ancient kingdom of Scotland, and our good neighbours and fellow-subjects of the kingdom of England.

"The peace of these nations being thus settled and we freed from foreign dangers, we will use our endeavours to have the army reduced to the usual number of guards and garrisons; and will concur in such laws and methods, as shall relieve us of the heavy taxes and debts now lying upon us, and at the same time, will support the public credit in all its parts. And we hereby faithfully promise and engage that every officer who joins with us in our king and country’s cause shall not only enjoy the same post he now does, but shall be advanced and preferred according to his rank and station and the number of men he brings off with him to us. And each foot soldier so joining us shall have twenty shillings sterling, and each trooper or dragoon, who brings horse and accoutrements along with him, £12 sterling gratuity, besides their pay; and in general we shall concur with all our fellow subjects in such measures as shall make us flourish at home, and be formidable abroad, under our rightful sovereign, and the peaceable harmony of our ancient fundamental constitution, undisturbed by a pretender’s interests and councils from abroad, or a restless faction at home. In so honourable, so good, and just a cause, we do not doubt of the assistance, direction, and blessing of Almighty God, who has so often succoured the royal family of Stuarts, and our country from sinking under oppression."

A document better calculated to arouse the national feeling could not have been penned. Every topic which could excite a spirit of disaffection against the government then existing is artfully introduced, and enforced with an energy of diction and an apparent strength of reasoning admirably fitted for exciting the spirit of a people living, as they imagined, in a state of national degradation. But this manifesto which, a few years before, would have set the whole of Scotland in a flame, produced little or no effect in those quarters where alone it was necessary to make such an appeal.


Previous Part | Index | Next Part

 


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus

Quantcast