Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
GEORGE I.—THE STORY OF THE EARL OF MAR'S HUNTING-PARTY
 QUEEN ANNE was the last of the Stuarts, and her husband and
all her children died before she did. She had no near
relatives except her brother, who was called the Pretender.
He was a Roman Catholic and, therefore, could not succeed to
the throne; for, in the time of William and Mary, a law had
been made that no Roman Catholic should ever again wear the
crown. The people had foreseen that after Queen Anne died,
there might be quarrels as to who should reign next, so
that, too, had been settled by law in the time of William
James I. of England had a daughter called Elizabeth, who
married the King of Bohemia, and her grandson, George,
Elector, or King of Hanover, was the nearest Protestant heir
to the throne. He was the great-grandson of James VI.
So, as soon as Queen Anne died, George was proclaimed King
in England, Scotland, and Ireland, without any fighting or
quarrelling. But although his grandmother had been Bristish,
George himself was as German as could be, and he could not
even speak a word of English. He was fifty-five years old
when he came to the throne, and was too old ever to learn
the English language or English ways and manners.
 The Jacobites had never lost hope of having once more a
Stuart King. Now they felt was the time to try. The new King
was a German, and the people, they thought, would surely
rather have a man of their own country than an old German to
reign over them.
The Earl of Mar, making believe that he was going to have a
great hunting-party, ask a number of the Highland lords to
his house. They came, but soon it was seen that it was not
deer they meant to hunt, and a large army gathered round
Lord Mar and the standard of James VIII., which was the
title the Pretender took. In their caps they wore his badge
of white cockade or rosette.
The Pretender's standard was of blue silk, having on one
side the arms of Scotland worked in gold, and on the other
the Scottish thistle, with the motto, Nemo me impune
lacessit, which means, "those who touch me will suffer for
it." It had also two streamers of white ribbon, on one of
which were the words, "For our wronged King and oppressed
country," and on the other, "For our lives and
liberties." There was great rejoicing when the
standard was unfurled,
but scarely had it been done when the golden ball fell from
the top of the staff. That made the Highlanders very sad,
for they were superstitious and thought it meant bad luck.
"But when our standard was set up,
so fierce the wind did blow, Willie,
The golden knop down from the top
Unto the ground did fa', Willie.
Then second-sighted Sandy said,
We'll dae nae gude at a', Willie;
While pipers played frae right to left
Fy, furich Whigs awa', Willie."
In the north of England, Lord Derwentwater
 and another
gentleman gathered an army of Jacobites and proclaimed James
King. But neither Lord Mar nor Lord Derwentwater were good
generals. Having got their soliders together, they did not
seem to know what to do with them. So when King George's
army met Lord Derwentwater's army, the Jacobites yeilded
almost without a struggle.
In Scotland, the Jacobites under Lord Mar, and the King's
soldiers, under the Duke of Argyle, met at a place called
Sheriffmuir, near Dunblane. Lord Mar called a council of war
and asked his captains, "Shall we fight or shall we go
And all the captains called out, "Fight! fight!"
Lord Mar agreed, and they all went to their places. No
sooner did the Highlanders know they were to fight than a
great cheer went through the army, every man tossing his cap
in the air. Every Scotchman there was glad at the
opportunity of fighting his old enemies the English.
With broadswords drawn, colours flying, and bagpipes
playing, they rushed to battle. But brave and fierce though
the Highlanders were, they lacked a clever leader. So it
happened that one half of Mar's soliders beat one half of
Argyle's, but the other half of Argyle's beat the other half
of Mar's, so each side claimed the victory.
"There's some say that we wan,
Some say that they wan,
Some say that nane wan at a', man;
But one thing I'm sure,
That at Sheriffmuir
A battle there was, which I saw, man;
And we ran, and they ran, and they ran, and we ran,
And we ran and they ran awa', man."
"If we have not gained a
victory," said one Jacobite
 general, "we ought to fight Argyle once a week until we make
it one." But Mar did nothing, and James, who had promised to
come from France, did
not arrive. So, disappointed and discontented, many of the
chieftains and their followers went home again.
But at last James landed. He was greeted with great joy, and
rode into Dundee with three hundred gentlemen behind him.
"Now," thought the Jacobites, "we have a King. Now we will
be led to battle and victory."
But they were again disappointed. James was no soldier. He
was pale, grave, and quiet; he never smiled and he hardly
ever spoke. The men soon began to despise him, and to ask if
he could fight or even speak.
Day after day passed and nothing happened.
"What did you
call us to arms for?" asked the angry Highlanders, "was it
to run away?"
"What did the King come for? Was it to see his people
butchered by hangman, and not strike one blow for their
"Let us die like men, and not like dogs."
"If our King is willing to die like a King, there are ten
thousand gentlemen who are not afraid to die with him."
But it was of no use. Nothing was done. The Pretender,
taking the Earl of Mar with him, slunk back to France, a
beaten man for want of courage to strike a blow. And, sad
and angry, the Jacobite army melted away. Some of the
leaders escaped to foreign lands, others were taken prisoner
to the Tower and afterwards beheaded. Among those was Lord
This rebellion is known as "The Fifteen" because it took
place in 1715 A.D.
"O far frae my hame full soon will I be,
It's far, far frae hame, in a strange countrie,
Where I'll tarry a while, return, and with you be,
And bring many jolly boys to our ain countrie.
"I wish you all success till I again you see,
May the lusty Highland lads fight on and never flee.
When the King sets foot aground, and returns from the sea,
Then you'll welcome him hame to his ain countrie.
"God bless our royal King, from danger keep him free,
When he conquers all the foes that oppose his Majesty,
God bless the Duke of Mar and all his calvalry,
Who first began the war for our King and our countrie.
"Let the traitor King make haste and out of England flee,
With all his spurious race come far beyond the sea;
Then we will crown our royal King with mirth and jollity,
And end our days is peace in our ain countrie."