full text of the Declaration of Arbroath
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.
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.
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.
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.
their kingdom there have reigned one hundred and thirteen kings
of their own royal stock, the line unbroken a single foreigner.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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-Regent 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.
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.
are sincerely willing to do anything for him, having regard to
our condition, that we can, to win peace for ourselves.
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.
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.
real reason that prevents them is that in making war on their
smaller neighbours they find quicker profit and weaker resistance.
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.
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.
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, casting our cares upon Him and firmly
trusting that He will inspire us with courage and bring our enemies
the Most High preserve you to his Holy Church in holiness and
health and grant you length of days.
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.