View Full Version : The Declaration of Arbroath (asserting Scottish Independence)

Monday, March 21st, 2005, 03:25 PM
To the most Holy Father and Lord in Christ, the Lord John, by divine providence Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Roman and Universal Church, his humble and devout sons Duncan, Earl of Fife, Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, Lord of Man and of Annandale, Patrick Dunbar, Earl of March, Malise, Earl of Strathearn, Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, William, Earl of Ross, Magnus, Earl of Caithness and Orkney, and William, Earl of Sutherland; Walter, Steward of Scotland, William Soules, Butler of Scotland, James, Lord of Douglas, Roger Mowbray, David, Lord of Brechin, David Graham, Ingram Umfraville, John Menteith, guardian of the earldom of Menteith, Alexander Fraser, Gilbert Hay, Constable of Scotland, Robert Keith, Marischal of Scotland, Henry St Clair, John Graham, David Lindsay, William Oliphant, Patrick Graham, John Fenton, William Abernethy, David Wemyss, William Mushet, Fergus of Ardrossan, Eustace Maxwell, William Ramsay, William Mowat, Alan Murray, Donald Campbell, John Cameron, Reginald Cheyne, Alexander Seton, Andrew Leslie, and Alexander Straiton, and the other barons and freeholders and the whole community of the realm of Scotland send all manner of filial reverence, with devout kisses of his blessed feet.

Most Holy Father and Lord, we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race, however barbarous. Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still live today. The Britons they first drove out, the Picts they utterly destroyed, and, even though very often assailed by the Norwegians, the Danes and the English, they took possession of that home with many victories and untold efforts; and, as the historians of old time bear witness, they have held it free of all bondage ever since. In their kingdom there have reigned one hundred and thirteen kings of their own royal stock, the line unbroken a single foreigner.

The high qualities and deserts of these people, were they not otherwise manifest, gain glory enough from this: that the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Lord Jesus Christ, after His Passion and Resurrection, called them, even though settled in the uttermost parts of the earth, almost the first to His most holy faith. Nor would He have them confirmed in that faith by merely anyone but by the first of His Apostles -- by calling, though second or third in rank -- the most gentle Saint Andrew, the Blessed Peter's brother, and desired him to keep them under his protection as their patron forever.

The Most Holy Fathers your predecessors gave careful heed to these things and bestowed many favours and numerous privileges on this same kingdom and people, as being the special charge of the Blessed Peter's brother. Thus our nation under their protection did indeed live in freedom and peace up to the time when that mighty prince the King of the English, Edward, the father of the one who reigns today, when our kingdom had no head and our people harboured no malice or treachery and were then unused to wars or invasions, came in the guise of a friend and ally to harass them as an enemy. The deeds of cruelty, massacre, violence, pillage, arson, imprisoning prelates, burning down monasteries, robbing and killing monks and nuns, and yet other outrages without number which he committed against our people, sparing neither age nor sex, religion nor rank, no one could describe nor fully imagine unless he had seen them with his own eyes.

But from these countless evils we have been set free, by the help of Him Who though He afflicts yet heals and restores, by our most tireless Prince, King and Lord, the Lord Robert. He, that his people and his heritage might be delivered out of the hands of our enemies, met toil and fatigue, hunger and peril, like another Macabaeus or Joshua and bore them cheerfully. Him, too, divine providence, his right of succession according to or laws and customs which we shall maintain to the death, and the due consent and assent of us all have made our Prince and King. To him, as to the man by whom salvation has been wrought unto our people, we are bound both by law and by his merits that our freedom may be still maintained, and by him, come what may, we mean to stand.

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

Therefore it is, Reverend Father and Lord, that we beseech your Holiness with our most earnest prayers and suppliant hearts, inasmuch as you will in your sincerity and goodness consider all this, that, since with Him Whose vice-gerent on earth you are there is neither weighing nor distinction of Jew and Greek, Scotsman or Englishman, you will look with the eyes of a father on the troubles and privation brought by the English upon us and upon the Church of God. May it please you to admonish and exhort the King of the English, who ought to be satisfied with what belongs to him since England used once to be enough for seven kings or more, to leave us Scots in peace, who live in this poor little Scotland, beyond which there is no dwelling-place at all, and covet nothing but our own. We are sincerely willing to do anything for him, having regard to our condition, that we can, to win peace for ourselves.

This truly concerns you, Holy Father, since you see the savagery of the heathen raging against the Christians, as the sins of Christians have indeed deserved, and the frontiers of Christendom being pressed inward every day; and how much it will tarnish your Holiness's memory if (which God forbid) the Church suffers eclipse or scandal in any branch of it during your time, you must perceive. Then rouse the Christian princes who for false reasons pretend that they cannot go to help of the Holy Land because of wars they have on hand with their neighbours. The real reason that prevents them is that in making war on their smaller neighbours they find quicker profit and weaker resistance. But how cheerfully our Lord the King and we too would go there if the King of the English would leave us in peace, He from Whom nothing is hidden well knows; and we profess and declare it to you as the Vicar of Christ and to all Christendom.

But if your Holiness puts too much faith in the tales the English tell and will not give sincere belief to all this, nor refrain from favouring them to our prejudice, then the slaughter of bodies, the perdition of souls, and all the other misfortunes that will follow, inflicted by them on us and by us on them, will, we believe, be surely laid by the Most High to your charge.

To conclude, we are and shall ever be, as far as duty calls us, ready to do your will in all things, as obedient sons to you as His Vicar; and to Him as the Supreme King and Judge we commit the maintenance of our cause, csating our cares upon Him and firmly trusting that He will inspire us with courage and bring our enemies to nought.

May the Most High preserve you to his Holy Church in holiness and health and grant you length of days.

Given at the monastery of Arbroath in Scotland on the sixth day of the month of April in the year of grace thirteen hundred and twenty and the fifteenth year of the reign of our King aforesaid.

Endorsed: Letter directed to our Lord the Supreme Pontiff by the community of Scotland.

Additional names written on some of the seal tags: Alexander Lamberton, Edward Keith, John Inchmartin, Thomas Menzies, John Durrant, Thomas Morham (and one illegible).

O Athair ro naomh an seirbhis Dhè ‘s ceannard mòr ro urramaicht’ le toil is cumhachd mhòrachd Dhè os cionn na h-Eaglais iomlan taght’; ar daoine uaisle saor le chèile, ceann cinnidh àrdaicht’ againn cruinnicht’, thaobh anam Alba bruidhinn treun airson rìoghachd gu lèir is aonaicht’.

Mar mhic gu sochair tro’ linntean fad’ an Eaglais filia specialis, le pròis is irioslachd san Tì a chuir sar chomharra chùmhnant naomha oirnn; mar leanabh nighean àraidh roghnaicht’, seo sgrìobh sinn fhèin an ùmhlachd trom bhur mic gu bràth, an gealladh làidir an cràbhadh fior bhur casan ‘pògadh.

Bhathas ‘tuigse, Thighearn Athair Naomh, tro’ uine fad’ measg muinntir mhòr bho Ghalile, Galatia, Gaul, Galicia nas gairge nan slògh borb’, gum bi ar laochan cliùiteach fior air saorsa grèim gu daingeann cumail; an togradh duibh cuir sinn fo riaghal - nach dànaich duin’ no dùthaich eil’,

Fad mìltean bliadhna cruaidhe trom an aghaidh Bhreatannach, Lochlann’s eile, ar n-athraichean air strì ar tìr a chumail an saors’ bho Shasainn sanntach glacail; a-nis am fianais le eachdair’ sean, an-diugh nar seasamh nar fir sìorraidh, bha againn ceud is tìr rìghrean deug gun coigrich breugach air ar rìoghachd.

Tro’ linntean dh’fhàs ar rìoghachd ‘s ar daoine beannaicht’ len athraiche naomha gu lèir mar chlann gu sònraicht’ bhràthair Phàdraig le mòran càirdeis, bàidhealachd is sochair, fo dhìon Anndra an sìth a’ còmhnaidh - gus Eideard ann an càirdeas breugach gu grad rinn cogadh garg nar n-aghaidh ‘s fear cruaidh gar cur fo èiginn brònach.

Chan urrain dhaibh na h-uilc a thuigsinn nach fhaca marbhadh agus ainneart ach iadsan dh’fhuiling on Rìgh neo-airidh am mulad dubh, am bàs cho tosdach, na h-eaglaisean, abaidean uile, air sgrios am marbhadh brùideil borb gun chiall, nach seachainn bodach, bean no leanabh, gun urram air na sagairtean bàidheil.

Rinn Raibeart treun ar Prionnsa gaisgeil stri mhòr mar Iudas Maccabeus, a chur ar cùl bruadaran Shasainn le aintighearn a chaoidh nar riaghladh; tro’ bhliadhna trom, chridh’ treun a’ cumail gu maireann, fad cruaidh chunnart’ mòr a’ dìon le sgiath nas cinntich fìor a mhuinntir sheas air taobh na h-oighreachd.

Chuir sinn air àirde Rìgh na taghadh, fear glèidhidh treun air saorsa Alba, a rugadh ‘na rìgh is ‘na dhuine fiùthail, airson sin tha sinne deas ri sabaid. Ma strìochdas e anfhann gar trèigsinn, sin bitheamaid grad ‘n Righ ud a dhiùltadh, ma ghèilleas e fhèin ri seirbhis Shasainn, ‘n sin Rìgh nas fheàrr bidh sinn a’ taghadh.

Chan fheum sinn dearbhadh a-rithist an glòirbhinn mhòr an sgeulachd Alba, cha chuir sinn earbs’ an airgead mealltach, chan iarr sinn ràiteachas gun fhiù, cha bhi sinn gu dìlinn a’ gèilleadh fo thràillealachd ìsle Shasainn amh, cho fad’s a mhaireas ceud a-mhàin glèidhidh sinn gu treun ar saors’ gu bràth.

Aon lagh air Iùdhach is Greugach a-mahàin mar sin an Alba ‘s Sasann cuideachd, bidh an Tì as àirde toirt a bhreitheanais air uilc fad bliadhn’ dorcha dòrainneach. A Thighearn, tha sinn ag achanaich, cuir stad air sannt Rìgh ud na h-uile Sasuinn a tha leis an talamh nas mò ‘na fheum far an d’fhuair seachd Rìghrean sàsachd.

Is sinne an còmhnaidh nar dùithacih bhig, chan iarr sinn ach rudan is leinn fhèin, sin innis dha leig dhuinn bhith ciùin, ar sìth a ghealladh tha sinn deònach. Chan urrain dhuibh gu dearbh seachnadh bhur dleasnas soilleir, Athair as naomha, mus fhaic am pàganach peacach Eaglais ‘s a h-ainm dol sìos am masladh grànda.

Sin Cronaich Rìghrean an leisgeil bhreugaich nach urrain dhaibh Tir Naomh a’ chuideach, a chionn a’ chogaidh an aghaidh nàbaidh, ‘s iad trang aig creachadh an coimhnearsnach; is aithne do Dhia a leugh an cridhe - gun eallach Eideard, bhitheamaid deas le aoibhneas saorsa thoirt don Tìr, ‘s an làthair Eaglais bheir sinn gealladh.

Nis deanamaid ùmhlachd duhibh mar mhic is a bhith taitneach daonnan d’ur toil, ach seasamh an seo am fianais ar Dia is feumaidh sinn ar comhairle fhoillseach - na gabh gun dearchadh fascal Shasainn, na cuir ann bhur muinighin neochiontach, neo-chùramach na dèan ar tilgeadh an cogadh dòrainneach brònach fuileach.

Gach olc a chuireadh iadsan oirnne, am mulad ceudna ‘s e an dìoghladh leinne, a Dhè as Àirde, na cionta sin cho uabharr, dona, fo chùnntas cuir-sa; bithidh sgrios gu lèir air àitibh uile, ma chumas sibhse bhur taic ri Sasainn an casgradh diabhlaidh air corp is anam aig airseirigh feumaidh sibh am freagradh.

Do chathair Dhè bheir sinn ar cùis air beulaibh an Rìgh ro Mhòr ar breitheamh; ar n-inntinn uaith ri fòirneart a’ cathadh an ainm Dhè is earbsa Chrìosd, gu robh ar Dia a’ deònach dhuinn a’ mhisneach làidir treun is seasmhach, gun cumadh sinn ar cinneach saor ‘s gu’n còpadh sinn aintighearnas daingeann.

Gu maireadh sibh an seirbhis Eaglais a’ bhliadhna 1320 beannaicht’; bho Obair-bhrothaig Giblean sèathamh an còigeamh bliadhn’ deug an Rìgh roimh-ainmicht’.