I. William, his heir and successor.
II. Mary, who married John Careyl, with issue.
He died at Paris, in 1701, and was succeeded by his only son,
XVII. WILLIAM, FIFTH EARL OF SEAFORTH,
Generally known among the Highlanders as "Uilleam Dubh." He succeeded at a most critical period in the history of Scotland, just when the country was divided on the great question of Union with England, which in spite of the fears of most of the Highland chiefs and nobles of Scotland, ultimately turned out so beneficial to both. He would, no doubt, have imbibed strong Jacobite feelings during his residence with his exiled parents in France. But little information of William's proceedings during the first few years of his rule is obtainable. He seems to have continued abroad, for on the 23d of May, 1709, an order is found addressed to the forester at Letterewe signed by his mother the Dowager, "Frances Seaforth." But on the 22d of June, 1713, she addresses a letter to Colin Mackenzie of Kincraig, in which she says--"I find my son William is fully inclined to do justice to all. Within fifteen days he will be at Brahan." [Original produced at Allangrange Service in 1829.]
At this period the great majority of the southern nobles were ready to break out into open rebellion, while the Highland chiefs were almost to a man prepared to rise in favour of the Stuarts. This soon became known to the Government. Bodies of armed Highlanders were seen moving about in several districts in the North. A party appeared in the neighbourhood of Inverness which was, however, soon dispersed by the local garrison. The Government became alarmed, and the Lords Justices sent a large number of half-pay officers, chiefly from the Scottish regiments, to officer the militia, under command of Major General Whitham, commander-in-chief at the time in Scotland. These proceedings alarmed the Jacobites, most of whom returned to their homes. The Duke of Gordon was confined in Edinburgh Castle, and the Marquis of Huntly and Lord Drummond in their respective residences. The latter fled to the Highlands and offered bail for his good behaviour. Captain Campbell of Glendaruel, who had obtained a commission from the late Administration to raise an independent company of Highlanders, was apprehended at Inverlochy and sent prisoner to Edinburgh. Sir Donald Macdonald, XI. of Sleat, was also seized and committed to the same place, and a proclamation was issued offering a reward of ?00,000 sterling for the apprehension of the Chevalier, should he land or attempt to land in Great Britain. King George, on his arrival, threw himself entirely into the arms of the Whigs, who alone shared his favours. A spirit of the most violent discontent was excited throughout the whole kingdom, and the populace, led on by the Jacobite leaders, raised tumults in different parts of the King's dominions. The Chevalier, taking advantage of this excitement, issued a manifesto to the chief nobility, especially to the Dukes of Shrewsbury, Marlborough, and Argyll, who at once handed them to the Secretaries of State.
The King dissolved Parliament in January, 1715, and issued an extraordinary proclamation calling together a new one. The Whigs were successful both in England and Scotland, but particularly in the latter, where a majority of the peers, and forty out of the forty-five members then returned to the Commons, were in favour of his Majesty's Government. The principal Parliamentary struggle was in the county of Inverness between Mackenzie of Prestonhall, strongly supported by Glengarry and the other Jacobite chiefs, and Forbes of Culloden, brother of the celebrated President, who carried the election through the influence of Brigadier-General Grant and the friends of Lord Lovat.
The Earl of Mar, who had rendered himself extremely unpopular among the Jacobite chiefs, afterwards rewarded some of his former favourites by advocating the repeal of the Union. He was again made Secretary of State for Scotland in 1713, but was unceremoniously dismissed from office by George I., and he vowed revenge. He afterwards found his way to Fife, and subsequently to the Braes of Mar. On the 19th of August, 1715, he despatched letters to the principal Jacobites, among whom was Lord Seaforth, inviting them to attend a grand hunting match at Braemar on the 27th of the same month. This was a ruse meant to cover his intention to raise the standard of rebellion and that the Jacobites were let into the secret is evident from the fact that as early as the 6th of August those of them in Edinburgh and its neighbourhood were aware of his intentions to come to Scotland. Under pretence of attending this grand match, a considerable number of noblemen and gentlemen arrived at Aboyne at the appointed time. Among them 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, Carnwarth, Seaforth, and Linlithgow; the Viscounts Kilsyth, Kenmure, Kingston, and Stormont Lords Rollo, Duffus, Drummond, Strathallan, Ogilvie, and Nairne; and about twenty-six other gentlemen of influence in the Highlands, among whom were Generals Hamilton and Gordon, Glengarry, Campbell of Glendaruel, and the lairds of Aucterhouse and Auldbar. [Rae, p 189; Annals of King George, pp. 15-16.] Mar delivered a stirring address, in which he expressed regret for his past conduct in favouring the Union, and, now that his eyes were opened, promising to do all in his power to retrieve the past and help to make his countrymen again a free people. He produced a commission from James appointing him Lieutenant-General and Commander of all the Jacobite forces in Scotland, and at the same time informed the meeting that he was supplied with money, and that an arrangement had been made by which he would be able to pay regularly any forces that might be raised, so that no gentleman who with his followers should join his standard would be put to any expense, and that the country would be entirely relieved of the cost of conducting the war; after which the meeting unanimously resolved to take up arms for the purpose of establishing the Chevalier on the Scottish throne. They then took the oath of fidelity to Mar as the representative of James VIII. and to each other, and separated, each going home after promising to raise his vassals and to be in readiness to join the Earl whenever summoned to do so. They had scarcely arrived at their respective destinations when they were called upon to meet him at Aboyne on the 3d of September following, where, with only sixty followers, Mar proclaimed the Chevalier at Castletown in Braemar, after which he proceeded to Kirkmichael, and on the 6th of September, raised his standard in presence of a force of 2000, mostly consisting of cavalry.