WHICH DAY JOHN, EARL OF MAR, LORD ERSKINE, IS GIVEN THE FREEDOM OF THE BURGH OF DUNDEE, FOR HIS AID AND MULTIFARIOUS SERVICES DONE FOR THE COMMONWEAL OF THE SAID BURGH.
JOHN ERSKINE, seventh EARL OF MAR, was the only son of the REGENT MAR, and of ANNABELLA, daughter of SIR WILLIAM MURRAY of Tullibardine, from whom the DUKE OF ATHOL claims descent. He succeeded to the title on the death of his father in 1572. His part in the history of his time was very similar to that of many of the Burgesses of Dundee who were enrolled about this period. He was a "Ruthven Raider," and was banished with his comrades when the Gowrie party was broken up. When LORD JOHN HAMILTON returned to Scotland in the manner already described [vide page 62], the EARL OF MAR accompanied him to Stirling, and was pardoned and restored to kingly favour. During the remainder of his life he was one of the principal members of the Privy Council, was made Keeper of Stirling Castle, and was entrusted with the guardianship of the young PRINCE HENRY, the Heir apparent to the Scottish Throne. When the KING went to London, after the death of QUEEN ELIZABETH in 1603, MAR accompanied him, and was made a Member of the Privy Council of England, and invested with the Order of the Garter.
The political life of the EARL OF MAR may be read in the histories of his time, and need not he detailed in this place; but there was one incident in his career not to be found in such works, and which may well be recorded here as it bears upon the municipal customs of the period. It was the settled purpose of JAMES VI. to obtain control over the burghs of Scotland, by placing his own nominees at the head of each important municipality. His unsuccessful attempt to force the EARL OF CRAUFURD upon the Community of Dundee as Provost in 1583, to the exclusion of the venerable JAMES HALIBURTON, who had served them so long, has been referred to already page 58]. No punishment was visited upon Dundee for this contumacious refusal to obey the KING's dictates; but the Burgh of Montrose was not so successful. On 23rd October, 1599, ROBERT LICHTON, Provost of Montrose, two Bailles, ten Councillors, and the Town Clerk of that Burgh, were all summoned before the Privy Council, to answer a complaint that they had, "disobeyed a charge by His HIGHNESS to elect JOHNNE, EARL OF MAR, to be Provost of the said Burgh for this year." After they had been heard in their defence, the KING and Council decided against them for refusing to elect the EARL, and "for useing of a pretendit forme of electioune of thair awne," and the fourteen hapless offenders the entire Corporation of Montrose were ordered to be imprisoned in the Castles of Blackness and Doune during His MAJESTY's pleasure.
The EARL OF MAR was twice married firstly, to ANNE, second daughter of DAVID, LORD, DRUMMOND, and sister of the wife of DAVID, eleventh EARL OF CRAUFURD page 59]; and secondly, to LADY MARY STEWART, second daughter of ESME,DUKE OF LENNOX, and sister of LUDOVIC, DUKE OF LENNOX page 61]. The names of two of EARL OF MAR's brothers in-law were inscribed on the Burgess Roll of Dundee before his own. JOHN ERSKINE, the only son of the first marriage, succeeded him, and is now represented by the present EARL OF MAR. Two of the sons of the second marriage were the ancestors of the EARLS OF BUCHAN and the EARLS OF ROSSLYN. The EARL OF MAR died on 14th December, 1634.