The Earl of Marís Declaration
Our knowledge of the successive fiascos that plot the (lack of) progress of the Jacobite cause from 1689 onwards should not blind us to the fact that with better leadership it might possibly have won through. In later years the Jacobites had the less than gifted Bonnie Prince Charlie to blame for squandering opportunities. In 1715 it was John Erskine , the Earl of Mar.
Erskine was chosen by James Stuart to raise a rebellion in Scotland and to general his forces in the ensuing clash with the Hanoverian government and army. He was well-connected, of noble birth, and an experienced politician. That experience, however, included supporting the Act of Union then seeking to break it. His major gripe with George I , newly crowned in 1714 (and thus surely vulnerable still), was seemingly that the king offered him no great office.
Ordered by James to raise the clans Erskine called Stuart loyalists and the discounted together to what was ostensibly a great sporting gathering at Braemar in August 1715 Ė The Hunting of Braemar. On September 9 Erskine issued a proclamation from that place, signalling the start of the 1715 uprising: ďNow 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.Ē
In Scotland great numbers flocked to join the cause. But Erskine proved as poor a strategist as he was a general: he was slow to organise; made a showy and useless move against Stirling ; failed to cooperate with a simultaneous rising in Northumberland ; and lost the Battle of Sherrifmuir in spite of superior numbers.
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