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Full text of "The history of Scotland from the accession of Alexander III. to the union"


s /^ 


Columbia ?HniberSitp 

in tf)e Citp of iSeta gork 








F.R.S.E. AND F.A.S. 











Accession of Robert the Second, 1 

Unexpected opposition by the Earl of Douglas, ... ib. 

Obscurity of the motives which guided him, ... 2 
Spirited conduct of Sir Robert Erskine, and the Earls of March 

and Moray, ib. 

Douglas renounces his opposition, ib. 

Coronation of the king, 3 

Indolent character of the new monarch, .... 4 

Situation of the country, 5 

Condition of England, 6 

Same subject continued, 7 

Scotland enters into a new treaty with France, ... 8 

Symptoms of hostility on the part of England, ... 9 

Parliament held at Scone, March 2, 1371, . . . 10 

Death of the Black Prince, 11 

And of Edward Third, ib. 

Causes of animosity between the two countries, . . . 12 

The Earl of March sacks and burns the town of Roxburgh, 13 

The Borderers fly to arms, ib. 

Warden raid by Hotspur, 14 

Singular dispersion of the English army, . . . . ib. 
Mercer, a Scottish naval adventurer, infests the English shipping, IT 

The fleet consists of Scottish, French, and Spanish privateers, ib. 

Mercer is taken by Philpot, a London merchant, . . 16 

Observations on the mutual situation of the two countries, ib 



Perpetual infringements of the truce, 17 

Berwick taken by Sir Alexander Ramsay, .... ib. 

Retaken by the Earl of Northumberland, . . . . 18 
Conflict between Sir Archibald Douglas and Sir Thomas Musgrave, ib. 

Invasion of Scotland by John of Gaunt, . . . . 19 

Cessation of hostilities, ib. 

Insurrection of Tyler, during which the Earl of Lancaster finds 

a retreat in Scotland, 20 

New treaty with France, ib. 

Truce with England expires, and war recommences, . . 21 

John of Gaunt again invades Scotland, .... ib. 

He advances to Edinburgh, ib. 

Truce between France and England notified in Scotland, . 22 
A party of French knights arrive in Scotland, and Lancaster 

retreats to England, ib. 

The king desirous for peace, but the nobles determine to continue 

the war, 23 

They break the truce and invade England, .... ib. 

Parliament meets at Edinburgh, 24 

Its various provisions, 25 

Same subject continued, ....... 26 

Expedition of John de Vienne, admiral of France, into Scotland, 27 
The French determine to attack England at the same time by sea, 28 

Vienne's fleet arrives in Scotland, 29 

Difficulty of finding them quarters — discontent of the Scots, ib. 

Scottish peasantry rise against them, 30 

Scottish king arrives at Edinburgh, ib. 

He is anxious for peace, but is overruled, .... 31 

An army of thirty thousand horse assembled near Edinburgh, ib. 

Council of war, and regulations for the conduct of the army, ib. 

Commencement of the campaign, 32 

King of England assembles a great army, .... 33 

Tactics of the Scots and French, 34 

Disadvantages under which the English made war in Scotland, ib. 

Discontent of the French, in not being allowed to fight, . 35 

Anecdote of Vienne and Douglas, ib. 

Richard the Second pushes on to the capital, ... ib. 

Devastations committed by the English, .... ib. 

Edinburgh burnt, ........ ib. 

Dreadful distress of the army, ...... 36 

Richard compelled to retreat, ...... ib. 

Scots and French break into England by the western marches, ib. 



Ravage Cumberland, 36 

Return to Scotland, 37 

Discontent of the Scots, who refuse to furnish transports for the 

French, ib. 

Miserable condition of the army of Vienne, .... 38 
The French admiral at length obliges himself to pay all da- 
mages, and his knights are allowed to return, . . ib. 

Reflections upon the expedition, 39 

Continuation of the war, and invasion of England, . , 40 

Scottish descent upon Ireland, ...... 41 

Character of Sir William Douglas, ib. 

He assaults and plunders Carlingford, and ravages the Isle of Man, 42 
Lands at Lochryan, and joins his father and the Earl of Fife in 

the west of England, ib. 

Great invasion of England determined on in a parliament held 

at Edinburgh, • . . 43 

Description of the army, ib. 

Plan of the campaign, ib. 

Army separates into two divisions, 44 

Second division, under the Earl of Douglas, pushes on to Durham, ib. 
Hotspur and the barons of Northumberland assemble their 

power, and occupy Newcastle, 45 

The Scots present themselves before the town, ... ib. 
Skirmish between the knights, in which Douglas wins the pennon 

of Hotspur, 46 

Defiance of Hotspur, * ib. 

The Scots are sufiered to continue their retreat, ... ib. 

Encamp in Redesdale, near Otterburn, .... 47 
Douglas prevails on the Scottish barons to interrupt their retreat, 

and assault the castle of Otterburn, .... ib. 

His motives for this, ib. 

His judicious choice of the ground, ib* 

Hotspur pursues Douglas at the head of eight thousand foot 

and six hundred lances, 48 

Battle of Otterburn, and death of Douglas, .... 49 

English totally defeated — captivity of Hotspur, ... 50 

Reflections upon the battle, 51 

Causes of the defeat of the English, ib. 

Distinguished prisoners, 52 

No important consequences result from this defeat, . . 53 

State of Scotland — age and infirmities of the king, . . 54 

The Earl of Fife chosen regent — ^his character, ... ib. 



His injudicious administration, 


Three years' truce, 


Death of Robert the Second, 


Ilis character, 


Commerce of Scotland, 





Coronation of John earl of Carrick, 59 

He assumes the name of Robert the Third, ... ib. 

Character of the new king, 60 

State of the country, ib. 

Earls of Fife and Buchan, their great power, . . . 61 

Anecdote illustrative of the times, 62 

Indolence of the king — intrusts the Earl of Fife with the man- 
agement of the government, 63 

Mutual situation of the two countries, . . . ' ib. 

Truce of eight years, 64 

Atrocious conduct of the Earl of Buchan, .... ib. 

His natural son, Duncan Stewart, ravages Aberdeenshire, . ib. 

Combat at Gasklune — the ketherans defeat the lowland barons, 65 

Disorganized state of the country, ..... 66 
Combat on the North Inch of Perth between the clan Kay and 

the clan Quhete, ■ . . 67 

Its results, 68 

Government of the northern parts of the kingdom committed 

to the king's eldest son, David earl of Carrick, . . ib. 

State of the two countries, ib. 

Prevalence of chivalry and knight-errantry, ... 69 

Anecdotes connected with this, ..... 70 

Parliament at Perth, April 28, 1398, .... 71 

David earl of Carrick, created Duke of Rothesay, . . ib. 

His character, 72 

Bands entered into between the king and his nobles, . ib. 

Same subject, * 73 

Observations on the state of the country. . . , . 74 



Albany resigns the office of governor, 
Parliament held at Perth, January 27, 1398, 

Its proceedings, 

Duke of Rothesay made king's lieutenant, and a council ap 

pointed to advise him, . * . . . 

Further proceedings of the parliament. 

Same subject continued, 

Accession of Henry the Fourth, and reported murder of Kin 


Revolution in England, and deposition of Richard the Second 

Reports arise that Richard is still alive, 

A real or pretended Richard appears in Scotland, 

Situation of that country, 

Contentions between the Earls of March and Douglas, regard 

ing the marriage of the Duke of Rothesay, . 
Rothesay is married to Elizabeth Douglas, 
The Earl of March enters into a correspondence with England, 

Flies to the English court, 

Borderers recommence their ravages, .... 
March, along with Hotspur, invades Scotland, 
Expedition of Henry the Fourth into Scotland, 

Details of this invasion, 

Henry's moderation, 

Same subject continued, 

Meeting of the Scottish parliament, February 21, 1401, 

Its proceedings, 

Same subject continued, 

Wild and reckless character of the Duke of Rothesay, 

Contrast between his character and that of his uncle Albany 

Death of the queen and the Earl of Douglas, 

Intrigues of Sir John de Ramorgny, .... 

Character of this intimate of the prince, 

Albany and Ramorgny form a plot for the destr action of the 


He is murdered by their contrivance, 

Conduct of the Scottish parliament, ... 

Albany resumes his situation as governor, 

Conflict at Nesbit Moor — Scots defeated, 

Scots invade England, ...... 

Battle of Homildon Hill, 

Scots entirely defeated, ...... 

Causes of this, 

























Events which followed the defeat, 116 

Cruelty of Hotspur, . 117 

Conspiracy of the Percies, . . . . . . 118 

Its connexion with Scotland, . . . . . . 119 

Battle of Shrewsbury, 120 

Able conduct of the Earl of March, 121 

Death of Hotspur, 122 

The Duke of Albany retreats, ib. 

Murder of Sir Malcolm Drummond, 123 

Alexander Stewart seizes Kildrummie, and marries the Coun- 
tess of Mar, ib. 

Extraordinary proceedings at the castle of Kildrummie, . 124 

State of Scotland, 125 

The heir of the throne is committed to the charge of the Bishop 

of St Andrews, 126 

Effects of the captivity of the nobles on the state of the country, ib. 

Reports that Richard the Second is kept in Scotland, . 127 

Conspiracy of the Countess of Oxford, . . . . 128 

Conspiracy of Scrope and Northumberland, . . . 129 

Scrope and Mowbray seized and beheaded, . . . 130 

Percy and Lord Bardolf fly into Scotland, ... ib. 
Albany's administration becomes unpopular with some of the 

nobles, 131 

They determine to send the heir of the throne to France, . 1 32 
The prince on his passage is treacherously captured by the 

English, 133 

And confined in the Tower, ib. 

Albany's satisfaction at this event, ib. 

Skirmish at Lang-Hermandston, and death of Sir David 

Fleming, 134 

Death of Robert the Third, 135 

Character of this monarch, ib. 

Meeting of the parliament at Perth, 137 

Declaration that James the First is king, and nomination of the 

Duke of Albany as regent, ib. 

Political condition of the country in its relations with France 

and England, ib. 

Piracies of the English cruisers, . . . . . 1 38 

Scots retaliate under Logan, but are defeated, . . . 139 

Stewart earl of Mar becomes a naval adventurer, . . ib. 

The Earls of Douglas and March return to Scotland, . 140 

Doctrines of Wickliff appear in Scotland, . . . . 141 



History and fate of John Resby, 

He is burnt for heresy, 

Consequences of this persecution, ..... 

Expiration of the truce, ....... 

Teviotdale Borderers recommence hostilities, 

Henry the Fourth complains of the Earl of Douglas neglecting 
to return to his captivity, 

Douglas is finally ransomed, 

Fast castle taken, and Roxburgh burnt by the Scots, 

Sir Robert Umfraville, admiral of England, seizes fourteen 
Scottish ships, and ravages the country. 

Rebellion of the Lord of the Isles, 

Causes of his discontent, .... 

Assembles his army at Inverness, and ravages Moray, 

The Earl of Mar advances against him, 

Great battle at Harlaw, 

Particulars of the battle, 

Severe loss of the lowlanders, .... 

Lord of the Isles retires, 

Statute in favour of the heirs of those slain at Harlaw, 

Albany's northern expedition, .... 

His negotiations for the return of his son from captivity. 

Death of Henry the Fourth, . . , . 

Policy of England to maintain pacific relations with Scot- 

Foundation of the University of St Andrews, 

Same subject, 

Policy of Henry the Fifth with regard to Scotland, 

Albany's profligate administration, 

He procures the return of his son Murdoch, 

And succeeds in detaining James the First in captivity. 

Resolves to assist France, and to invade England, 

Parallel between the policy of Edward the Third and 
the Fifth, as to Scotland, .... 

Albany sacrifices the national happiness to his own ambition. 

His expedition into England, called the " Foul Raid," 

Exploits of Sir Robert Umfraville, 

Embassy of the Duke of Vendome to Scotland, 

Seven thousand Scots sent to France under the Earls of Buchan 
and Wigtown, 

Albany the governor dies at Stirling, 

His character, 




















His son Murdoch succeeds to his power, and assumes the office 

of governor, 165 

His weak administration, ib. 

Henry the Fifth carries James the First with him to France, 166 
James refuses to command the Scots auxiliaries to cease fight- 
ing against the English, ...... ib. 

Intrigues of James tlie First fur his return, and his communi- 
cations with Scotland, ib. 

Death of Henry the Fifth, 167 

Regency of Bedford and Gloucester, ib. 

Negotiations for the return of James the First, . . . 168 
Marriage of James the First to the daughter of the Earl of 

Somerset, 169 

Seven years' truce, ib. 

James returns to his dominions, 170 




Character of James the First, 171 

Advantages of his education in England, .... 172 

His coronation at Scone, 173 

His caution in his first proceedings, 174 

Assembles his parliament, ib. 

Lords of the Articles, 175 

Proceedings of the parliament, ib. 

Proclamation against private wars and feuds, ... ib. 

Against riding with too numerous an attendance, . . ib. 

Appointment of oflicers or ministers of Justice, . . . 176 

Laws against sturdy mendicants, ib. 

Statutes regarding the "Great Customs," and the dilapidations 

of the crown lands, 177 

Tax upon the whole lands of the kingdom, . . . 178 

Mode of its collection, 179 

Same subject continued, . . . . . . , 180 

Taxation of ecclesiastical lands, ...... ib. 

State of the fisheries, 181 



IVIines of gold and silver, 

Impolitic restrictions upon commerce, 

Enactment against the purchase of pensions and ecclesiastical 


Against rookeries, 

Statute for the encouragement of archery, . 
Reflections upon James's first parliament, . . 
His measures for the destruction of the house of Albany, 
Difficulty of tracing his project, .... 
Mode in which he proceeds against Murdoch and the princi- 
pal nobles, 

Parliament summoned to meet at Perth, March 12, 1424, 
James imprisons Duke Murdoch, along with twenty-six of the 

principal nobility, 

Possesses himself of the strongest castles in the country. 
Trial and condemnation of Walter Stewart, eldest son of Al 


He is executed, 

Trials of the Duke of Albany, Alexander his second son, and 

the Earl of Lennox, 

They are condemned and executed, .... 

Their fate excites pity, 

James's unnecessary cruelty, 

Forfeiture of the estates of Albany and Lennox, 
The imprisoned nobles are liberated, .... 
Deliberations of the parliament proceed. 
Symptoms of the decay of the forest timber. 
Regulations concerning commerce, .... 

Administration of justice, 

Striking statute as to the dispensing justice " to the poor,' 

State of the highlands, 

Statutes against the growth of heresy, 

Reflections upon this subject, 

Reflections upon the destruction of the house of Albany, 

The queen is delivered of a daughter, 

Projected marriage between the Dauphin of France and the 

infant princess, 

State of France, ....... 

Embassy of the Archbishop of Rheims and the Lord Aubigny 

to Scotland, 

Embassy from the court of Scotland to France, . 
Embassy from the States of Flanders to Scotland, 
















James procures ample privileges for the Scottish merchants 

who trade to Flanders, 204 

The king and nobles of Scotland engage in commercial adven- 
ture, ib 

Tax of twelve pennies upon every pound, .... 205 
Rude estimate of the annual income of the people of Scotland, ib. 
Meeting of the parliament at Perth, March 11, 1425, . 206 
Picture of the condition of the country, conveyed by its regu- 
lations, ib. 

Institution of the " Session," 207 

Register for all charters and infeftments, .... ib. 

Committee appointed to examine the books of the law, . 208 
Directions for the transcription and promulgation of the acts 

of the legislature, 209 

Defence of the country, . ib. 

Commerce of the country, 210 

Singular statute as to hostillars, or innkeepers, . . . 211 

Regulations of weights and measures, .... 212 

James concludes a treaty with Denmark, . . . . 213 
He determines in person to bring his northern dominions under 

legitimate rule, ib. 

Summons his parliament to meet at Inverness, . . . 214 

Condition of the highlands, ib. 

Same subject continued, 215 

James repairs in person to Inverness, ib. 

His seizure of the northern chiefs, 216 

Some are instantly executed, 217 

James's clemency to the Lord of the Isles, . . . ib. 

Rebellion of this prince, 218 

James's active measures against him, ..... ib. 

Alexander's penance, 219 

James imprisons the Lord of the Isles in Tantallon castle, . ib. 
The Countess of Ross, his mother, confined'in the monastery 

of Inchcolm, ib. 

Anecdote illustrative of the disordered state of the highlands, 220 

Same subject continued, 221 

The king again assembles his parliament, .... 222 

Provisions against the barons sending procurators to attend 

in their place, ........ ib. 

Indications of James's government becoming unpopular, . 223 

Statutes regarding the prices of work, .... ib. 

And the encouragement of agriculture, .... ib. 


Rebuilding of the castles beyond the " Mounth," . . . 224 

Against carrying the gold out of the country, ... lb. 

Regarding judges and the administration of justice, . . 225 
Important change as to the attendance of the smaller barons 

in parliament, 226 

Principle of representation introduced, .... ib. 

Speaker of the commissaries, ib. 

Reflections on this change, and the causes of its introduction, 227 

Statutes regarding the destruction of wolves, . . . 228 

Regarding the fisheries, ib. 

Foreign commerce, ib. 

Lepers, ib. 

Against simony, or " Barratrie," 229 

Prices of labour, .....*.. ib. 
This meeting of the three Estates denominated a General 

Council, 230 

Difficult to understand the distinction between a Parliament 

and a General Council, ib. 

Embassy of the Archbishop of Rheims to Scotland, . . 231 
Conditions of the marriage between the Princess Margaret 

and the Dauphin finally agreed on, .... ib. 
Cardinal Beaufort requests a meeting with James, which is 

declined, 232 

Benevolent law as to the labourers of the soil, ... ib. 

Sumptuary laws as to dress, 233 

Laws as to the arming of the lieges, 234 

Arms of gentlemen, ib. 

Of yeomen, * ib. 

Of burgesses, ib. 

State of the navy, 235 

Tax of providing vessels laid on barons possessing lands within 

six miles of the sea, ib. 

The queen is delivered of twin sons, 236 

Truce between the kingdoms renewed for five years, . . ib. 

State of the highlands, 237 

Rebellion of Donald Balloch, ib. 

He defeats the Earl of Mar at Inverlochy, .... ib. 
Desperate combat between Angus Dow Mackay and Angus 

Murray, at Strathnaver, 238 

The king assembles an army, and undertakes an expedition 

into the highlands, . • 239 

Three hundred robbers hanged, ib. 



Donald Balloch betrayed, and his head sent to James, . 239 

Pestilence breaks out, 240 

Its symptoms — and effects on the popular mind, ... ib. 
Total eclipse of the sun, called the " Black Hour," . . 241 
Advantageous offers of the English government for the estab- 
lishment of peace, ib. 

The Estates of the realm meet in a General Council, . . ib. 
The treaty, to which the temporal barons had consented, un- 
fortunately is broken off by disputes amongst the clergy, 242 
Trial and condemnation of Paul Crawar for heresy, . . ib. 

His doctrines, 243 

Conduct of the king, 244 

James pursues his plan for weakening the aristocracy, . 245 

His designs against the Earl of Dunbar, .... ib. 

He determines to resume the immense estates of March, . 246 

Parliament assembled at Perth, January 10, 1434, . . 247 
The cause between the king and the Earl of March solemnly 

pleaded, 248 

March is deprived of his estates, ib. 

He is created Earl of Buchan, 249 

And retires in resentment to England, .... ib. 
Before separating, James requires the barons to give their 

bonds of adherence and fidelity to the queen, . . 250 
The king acquires the large estates of Alexander earl of 

Mar, on the death of this baron, ib. 

Sir Robert Ogle invades the Scottish marches, . . , 251 

He is defeated at Piperden by the Earl of Angus, . . ib. 

The Princess ISIargaret sent to France with a splendid suite, ib. 

The English attempt to interrupt her, but are unsuccessful, 252 

The king deeply resents this, ib. 

The marriage is celebrated at Tours, 253 

King James renews the war, and lays siege to Roxburgh, ib. 

He abruptly dismisses his forces, 254 

Assembles a General Council at Edinburgh, ... ib. 

Its provisions, 255 

Conspiracy formed against the king by Sir Robert Graham 

and the Earl of Athole, ib. 

Character of Graham, ib. 

Probable causes of the conspiracy, 256 

The nobles readily enter into Graham's designs, . . 257 

Their object merely to abridge the royal prerogative, . . ib. 

They select Graham to present their remonstrances to the king, 258 



He exceeds his commission, and is imprisoned, . . . 268 

He is afterwards banished, and his estates confiscated, . ib. 
Retires to the highlands, and sends to James a letter of defiance, 259 

James fixes a price upon his head, ib. 

Graham communicates with the discontented nobles, . . ib. 
Induces the Earl of Athole and Sir Robert Stewart to conspire 

against the king, 260 

James determines to keep his Christmas at Perth, . . 261 

Facilities which this afibrds to the conspirators, . . ib. 

Stopt on his journey by a highland woman, ... ib. 

Neglects her warning, ib. 

Conspirators determine to murder the king on the night of 20th 

February, 262 

Sir Robert Stewart, the chamberlain, removes the bolts of the 

king's bed-chamber, ib. 

James unusually cheerful, ib. 

Heroic conduct of Catherine Douglas, 264 

The murder, 265 

James makes a desperate resistance, ..... 266 

He is overpowered and slain, 267 

The murderers escape to the highlands, .... ib. 

But are soon taken, 268 

They are tortured and executed, ib. 

Audacious defence of Sir Robert Graham, .... 269 

Character of James the First, ' 270 

Prominent features in his reign, 271 

Causes which produced his inexorable firmness and occasional 

cruelty, 272 

His conduct towards the house of Albany, .... ib. 

His encouragement of his clergy, 273 

His personal accomplishments, 274 

And excellence in all knightly exercises, .... ib. 

His children, 275 








Obscurity which hangs over the accounts of Richard's death, 279 

Reports of his having escaped to Scotland, .... ib. 

Statement of the author's views on this point, . . . 280 

Proofs of his escape to Scotland, ib. 

Evidence of Bower, ib. 

Same subject, 281 

Evidence of Winton, 283 

Same subject continued, 284 

Opinion as to Winton's testimony, 285 

His caution accounted for, ib. 

Corroborations of his evidence as to Swlnburn and Waterton, 286 

Proofs from a MS. in Advocates' Library, .... 288 

Conclusions from the above evidence, 289 

Passages from the Chamberlain Accounts, .... ib. 

Same subject, 290 

Their unquestionable authenticity, ib. 

Inferences to be deduced from them, ... . . . 291 

Proofs from contemporary English writers, .... ib. 

From Walsingham, 292 

From Otterburn, ib. 

From a contemporary French MS., 293 

Chronicle of Kenilworth, ib. 

Of Peter de Ickham, ib. 

Assertions of the king's escape by contemporary writers, . 294 

Conspiracy of the Earls of Kent, Surrey, and Salisbury, . ib. 

Passage as to Maudelain personating the king, . . . 295 

Observations on this, 296 

Richard's reported death at Pontefract, .... 298 

Exposition of the body, and funeral service at St Paul's, . 299 
Passage descriptive of the ceremony, from a contemporary 

French MS., ib. 

Observations upon this, 300 

Assertions in a contemporary French MS. that it was not the 

body of the king, ib. 



But of Maudelain the priest, 301 

Arguments to show it was not the body of the king which was 

exposed, 302 

Burial at Langley, 303 

Froissart's account of Richard's deposition extremely inaccurate, 304 
Reports of Richard's escape, which arose soon after this expo- 
sition, ib. 

Frequent conspiracies against Henry, always accompanied with 

the assertion that Richard is alive, .... ib. 

Eight Franciscan friars hanged in London for asserting this, 305 

Prior of Launde executed for the same offence, ... ib. 

And Sir Roger de Clarendon, ib. 

Proofs of this from Henry's proclamations in the Fcedera Anglise, ib. 

Reports in 1402, . 306 

Rebellion of the Percies in 1403, 307 

Evidence in their letter of defiance in 1403, contradicted by 

their manifesto in 1405, 308 

Conspiracy of Serle and the Countess of Oxford in 1404, . 309 
Opinion as to Serle having procured Warde to personate the 

king, ib. 

Henry's assertion not to be credited — contradicted by the 

silence of Walsingham and Otterburn, . . . 310 

Proofs from the conduct of Henry after this conspiracy, . 311 

King believed to be alive by the French, .... ib. 

Epistle by Creton, addressed to Richard in 1405, . . 312 

Conspiracy of Scrope and Northumberland in 1405, . . 313 

Proofs from this conspiracy, ib. 

Letter of Northumberland to the Duke of Orleans, . . 314 

State of parties in Scotland at this time, .... 315 

Same subject continued, 316 

Prince James taken prisoner by the English, ... ib. 
Consequences of Henry becoming possessed of James the First, 

at the same time that Albany gets possession of Richard, 317 

Conspiracy by Northumberland and Lord Bardolf in 1407, . 318 

Suppression of this conspiracy, ib. 

Conspiracy of the Earl of Cambridge and Lord Scroop, in 1415, 319 

Proofs arising out of this conspiracy that Richard is alive, . 320 
Evident contradiction and falsehood of the account given in the 

Parliamentary Rolls, 321 

Same subject, 322 

Explanation of the real object of the conspirators, . . 323 

Same subject, 324 



Conspiracy of 1417, 325 

Alleged plot of the Duke of Orleans to bring in the " Mamuet" 

of Scotland, ib. 

Evidence of Lord Cobham that Richard is alive in 1417, . 326 

Observations on this evidence, 327 

Conclusion, . . 328 

Notes and Illustrations, 333 






Kings of Eivjland. I K ings of France. 
Kdward III. Charles V 

Richard 11. I Charles VI. 


Rome. (Popes.) Avignon. 
Gregory XI. I 
Urban Vl. Clement VII. 

David the Second, the only son of Robert the First, 
dying without children, the succession to the throne 
opened to Robert the High Steward of Scotland, in 
consequence of a solemn act of the parliament, which 
had passed during the reign of his grandfather, Robert 
the First, in the year 1318.* The High Steward was 
the only child of the Lady INIarjory Bruce, the eldest 
daughter of Robert the First, and of Walter the High 
Steward of Scotland ; and his talents in discharging 
the difficult duties of regent, had already shown him 
to be worthy of the crown, to which his title was 
unquestionable. Previous, however, to his coronation, 
opposition arose from an unexpected quarter. William 
earl of Douglas, one of the most powerful of the 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 290. 


Scottish nobles, boino; at Linlitligow at tlie time of 
the kiiig\s deatli, publicly proclaimed his intention of 
(questioning the title of the Steward to the throne ; 
but the motives which induced him to adopt so pre- 
cipitate a resolution arc exceedingly obscure. It is 
certain that Douirlas could not himself lav claim to the 
throne upon any title preferable to that of Robert ; 
but that the common story of his uniting in his per- 
son the claims of Comyu and of Baliol is entirely 
erroneous, seems not so apparent.* Some affront, 
real or imaginary, by which offence was given to the 
pride of this potent baron, was probably the cause of 
this hasty resolution, which, in whatever feeling it 
originated, was abandoned as precipitately as it was 
adopted. Sir Robert Erskine, who, in the former 
reign, had risen into great power, and then commanded 
the castles of Edinburgh, Stirling, and Dumbarton, 
instantly advanced to Linlithsrow at the head of a 
large force. He was there joined by the Earls of 
March and Moray ; and a conference having taken 
place with Douglas, he deemed it prudent to declare 
himself satisfied with their arguments, and ready to 
acknowledo'e a title which he discovered he had not 
strength to dispute. ■[- It was judged expedient, how- 
ever, to conciliate so warlike and influential a person 
as Douglas, and to secure his services for the support 
of the new government. For this purpose the king"'s 
daughter, Isabella, was promised in marriage to his 
eldest son, upon whom an annual pension was settled; 
and the earl himself was promoted to the high offices 

* The story is to be found in Bower, the continuator of Fordun, vol. ii. 
p. 382 ; and in the MS. work, entitled, Extracta ex Chronicis Scotia?, fol. 
22.5, It was repeated by Buchanan, attempted to be proved to be erroneous 
bv the learned Ruddiman, and again revived l)y Pinkerton, in his History 
of Scotland, vol. i. p. 10. See Illustrations, letter A, 

+ AVintou, vol. ii. pp. SO-i and 514. 

1371. ROBERT II. 3 

of King's Justiciar on the south of the Forth, and 
Warden of the East Marches.* To the rest of the 
barons and nobles who supported him, the High 
Steward was equally generous. The promptitude of 
Sir Robert Erskine was rewarded by the gift of three 
hundred and thirty-three pounds, an immense present 
for that time ; whilst the services of March and Moray, 
and of Sir Thomas Erskine, were proportionably ac- 
knowledged and requited. i" 

This threatened storm having passed, the Hioli 
Steward, accompanied by a splendid concourse of his 
nobility, proceeded to the Abbey of Scone, and was 
there crowned and anointed king, on the 26th of 
March, 1371, by the Bishop of St Andrews, under 
the title of Robert the Second. J To confer greater 
solemnity on this transaction, w^hich gave a new race 
of monarchs to the throne, the act of settlement by 
Robert the First was publicly read ; after which, the 
assembled prelates and nobles, rising in their places, 
separately took their oaths of homage. The king him- 
self then stood up, and declaring that he judged it 
right to imitate the example of his illustrious grand- 
father, pronounced his eldest son, the Earl of Carrick 
and Steward of Scotland, to be heir to the crown, in 
the event of his own death. This nomination was 

* Chamberlain Accounts, vol. ii. p. 26. Ibid. pp. 9, 10, 

+ Ibid. vol. ii, pp. 26, 27. 

" Et in solucione facta Domino Willelmo Comiti de Douglas, circa con- 
tractum matrimoniale inter tilium ipsius Comitis, et Isabellam tiliam regis, 
ut patet per literas regis de predicto, et ipsius Comitis de re, ons^. super com- 
putum, Vc. Ii: 

" Et in soluc: facto dno, Robto. de Erskine et de dono regis concess: sibi 
per literam ons. et cancellat. sr. compotum et ipsius Dni. Roberti de re. ons. 
super computum 111°, xxxiii Ii. vi s. viii d." 

X Robertson''s Records of the Parliament of Scotland, p. 119, sub anno 
1371. It is there stated, that all the barons and prelates took the oaths 
of homage, except the Bishop of Dumblane and Lord Archibald de Douglas, 
who only took the oath of hdelity. Yet this seems contradicted by the " Act 
of Settlement." 


immediately and unanimously ratified by consent of 
the clergy, nobility, and barons, who came forward 
and took the same oaths of homage to the Earl of 
Carrick, as their future king, which they had just 
oft'ered to his father ; and upon proclamation of the 
same being made before the assembled body of the 
people, who crowded into the abbey to witness the 
coronation, the resolution of the king was received by 
continued shouts of loyalty, and the waving of thou- 
sands of hands, which ratified the sentence. An in- 
strument, reciting these proceedings, was then drawn 
up, to which the principal nobles and clergy appended 
their seals, and which is still preserved amongst our 
national muniments : a venerable record, not seriously 
impaired by the attrition of four centuries and a half, 
and constituting the charter by which the house of 
Stewart lon^: held their title to the crown.* 

Robert the Hiofh Steward, who now succeeded to 
the throne, had reached his fifty-fifth year, a period 
of life wheu the approaches of age produce in most 
men a love of repose, and a desire to escape from the 
care and annoyance of public life. This effect was to 
be seen in the character of the king. The military 
and ambitious spirit, and the promptitude, resolution, 
and activity which we observe in the High Steward 
during his regency, had softened down into a more 
pacific and quiet nature. He possessed strong good 
sense, and a judgment in state affairs matured by ex- 
perience; but united to this was a love of indolence and 
retirement, little suited to the part which he had to act, 
as head of a fierce and lawless feudal nobility, and the 

* Robertson's Index to the Charters, Appendix, p. 11, " Clamore con- 
6ono ac manu levata in signum fidei dationis." A fac-simile of this deed 
lias been engraved, and will be found in the first volume of the Acts of the 
Parliament of Scotland, sub anno 1371. 

1371. ROBERT II. 5 

guardian of tlie liberty of the country, against the un- 
remitting attacks of England. Yet, to balance this 
inactivity of mind, Robert enjoyed some advantages. 
He was surrounded by a family of sons grown to 
manhood. The Earl of Carrick, Robert earl of Fife 
afterwards Duke of Albany, and Alexander lord of 
Badenoch, were born to him of his first marriage with 
Elizabeth More, daughter to Sir Adam More of Row- 
allan;* David earl of Strathern, and Walter lord of 
Brechin, blest his second alliance with Euphemia Ross, 
the widow of Randolph earl of Moray ; whilst seven 
daughters connected him by marriage with the noble 
families of the Earl of March, the Lord of the Isles, 
Hay of Errol, Lindsay of Glenesk, Lyon, and Dou- 
glas. To these legitimate supports of the throne 
must be added, the strength which he derived from 
a phalanx of eight natural sons, also grown to man''s 
estate, and who, undepressed by a stain then little 
regarded, held their place among the nobles of the 
land.-f- Although, after his accession to the throne, 
the king was little affected with the passion for mili- 
tary renown, and thus lost somewhat of his popularity 
amongst his subjects, he possessed other qualities 
which endeared him to the people. He was easy of 
access to the meanest suitor ; affable and pleasant in 
his address ; and while possessing a person of a com- 
manding stature and dignity, his manners were yet so 
tempered by a graceful and unaffected humility, that 
what the royal name lost in pomp and terror, it gained 
in confidence and affection. ;J: 

In the political situation of the country at this 

* Records of the Parliament of Scotland, p. 119, sub anno 1371.^ 

+ Duncan Stewarf s History of the Royal Family of iScotland, pp. 56,57, 58. 

X Forduu a (jroodal, vol. ii. p. 383. 


period, there Avere some difliculties of a formidable 
nature. A large portion of the ransom of David the 
Second, amounting to fifty-two thousand marks, was 
still unpaid ;* and if the nation had been reduced to 
the brink of bankruptcy, by its efforts to raise the 
^um already collected, the attempt to levy additional 
instalments, or to impose new taxes, could not be 
contemplated without alarm. The English were in 
possession of a large portion of Annandale, in which 
Edward continued to exercise all the rights of a feudal 
sovereign ; they held, besides, the castles of Roxburgh 
and Lochmaben, with the town and castle of Berwick ;-|- 
so that the seeds of war and commotion, and the ma- 
terials of national jealousy, were not removed ; and 
however anxious the Enolish and Scottish wardens 
might show themselves to preserve the truce, it was 
scarcely to be expected that the fierce borderers of both 
nations would be lonir controlled from breakinn^ out 
into their accustomed disorders. In addition to these 
adverse circumstances, the kingdom, during the years 
immediately following the accession of Robert the 
Second, was visited bv a irricvous scarcity. The whole 
nobility of Scotland appear to have been supported 
by grain imported from England and Ireland; and a 
famine which fell so severely upon the higher classes, 
must have been still more intensely experienced by the 
great body of the people. J 

But Scotland, although, as far as her political cir- 
cumstances are considered, undoubtedly not in a pros- 
perous condition, enjoyed a kind of negative security, 
from the weakness of England. Edward the Third 

* Records of the Parliament of Scotland, suh anno 1371, p. 120. 
t Rotuli Scotisc, vol. i. pp. 944, .047, .%1, 958, %'^, 965. 
X Ibid. vol. i. pp. 963, 9(i5, 9G<), 967, 968. The evidence of the Rotuli 
Scotite contradicts the assertions of Bower, vol. ii. Fordun a Goodal, p. 383. 

1371. ROBERT II. 7 

was no longer the victorious monarch of Cressy and 
Poictiers. His celebrated son, the Black Prince, a 
few years before this, had concluded his idle though 
chivalrous expedition against Spain; and after having 
been deceived by the monarch whom his valour had 
restored to the throne, again returned to France, 
drowned in debt, and broken in constitution. Prince 
Lionel, whom Edward had hoped to make King of 
Scotland, was lately dead in Italy, and still severer 
calamities were behind. Charles the Fifth of France, 
a sovereign of much wisdom and prudence, had com- 
mitted the conduct of the war aojainst Enoland to the 
Constable de Guesclin, a captain of the greatest skill 
and courage; and Edward, embarrassed at the same 
time with hostilities in Flanders and Spain, saw% with 
deep mortification, the fairest provinces, which were 
the fruits of his victories, either wrested from him by 
force of arms, or silently lost, from inactivity and 
neglect. In his attempts to defend those which re- 
mained, and to regain what was lost, the necessity of 
fitting out new armies called for immense sums of 
money, which, though at first willingly granted by 
parliament, weakened and impoverished the country; 
and the loss of his greatest captains, his own feeble 
health, and the mortal illness of the Black Prince, 
rendered these armies unavailable, from the want of 
experienced generals. 

From this picture of the mutual situation of the 
two countries, it may be imagined that both were well 
aware of the benefits of remaining at peace. On the 
part of Scotland, accordingly, it was determined to 
respect the truce, which in 1369 had been prolonged 
for a period of fourteen years, and to fulfil the obliga- 
tions as to the punctual payment of the ransom ; whilst 


England continued to encourage the commercial and 
friendly intercourse which had subsisted under the 
former monarch.* Yet, notwithstanding all this, two 
events soon occurred, which must have convinced the 
most superficial observer that the calm was fallacious, 
and would be of short duration. The first of these 
was a new treaty of amity with France, the determined 
enemy of England, which was concluded by the Scot- 
tish ambassadors, Wardlaw bishop of Glasgow, Sir 
Archibald Douglas, and Tynninghame dean of Abei- 
deen, at the castle of Vincennes, on the SOth June, 
1371; in which, after an allusion to the ancient alli- 
ances between France and Scotland, it w^as stipulated 
that, in consideration of the frequent wrongs and in- 
juries which had been sustained by both these realms 
from England, they should be mutually bound, as 
faithful allies, to assist each other against any aggres- 
sion made by that country. After some provisions 
calculated to prevent any subjects of the allied king- 
doms from serving in the English armies, it was de- 
clared that no truce was henceforth to be concluded, 
nor any treaty of peace agreed on, by either kingdom, 
in which the other was not included; and that in the 
event of a competition at any time taking place for the 
crown, the King of France should maintain the right 
of that person who was approved by a majority of the 
Scottish Estates, and defend his title if attacked bv 
England. Such was the treaty, as it appears ratified 
by the Scottish kins; at EdinburfT:h, on the 28th Octo- 
ber, 1371 ;i* but at the same time certain secret articles 
were proposed, upon the part of France, of a still more 
decisive and hostile character. By these the French 

* Rotuli Scotia', vol. i. sub, annis 1372, 1373, 

T Kecords of the Parliament of Scotland, sub anno 1371, pp. 122, 124. 

1371. ROBERT II. f) 

monarch engaged to persuade the pope to annul the 
existing truce between England and Scotland; to pay 
and supply with arms a large body of Scottish knights ; 
and to send to Scotland an auxiliary force of a thou- 
sand men-at-arms, to co-operate in a proposed invasion 
of England. These articles, however, which would again 
have plunged the kingdoms into all the horrors of war, 
do not appear to have been ratified by Robert.* 

The other event to which I allude, afforded an 
equally conclusive evidence of the concealed hostility 
of England. When Biggar, High Chamberlain of 
Scotland, repaired to Berwick to pay into the hands 
of the English commissioners a portion of the ransom 
which was still due, it was found that the English 
king, in his letters of discharge, had omitted to bestow 
his royal title on Robert. The chamberlain, and the 
Scottish lords who accompanied him, remonstrated in 
vain against this unexpected circumstance. They 
declared that they paid the ransom in the name and 
by the orders of their master the King of Scotland; 
and unless the dischart^e ran in the same stvle, it was 
null, and could not be received. Edward, however, 
continued obstinate: he replied, that if David Bruce 
had been content to accept the discharge without the 
addition of the kingly title, there was no good reason 
why his successor should quarrel with it for this omis- 
sion; and he drew up a deed declaring that the letter 
complained of was, in every respect, as full and un- 
challenoeable as if Robert had been therein desifrned 
the King of Scotland. -[- With this the Scottish com- 
missioners were obliged for the present to be satisfied; 
and having paid the sum under protest, they returned 

* Records of the Parliament of Scotland, sub anno 1371, p. 122. 
■^ Rotuli Scotite, vol- i. p. 953. 


home, aware from what had passed, tliat however en- 
feebled by his continental disasters, Edward still clung 
to the idea that, in consequence of the resignation of 
]3aliol, he himself possessed the title to the kingdom 
of Scotland, and might yet live to make it good.* 

Notwithstanding these threatening appearances, the 
country continued for some years to enjoy the bless- 
ings of peace ; and the interval was wisely occupied by 
the sovereign in providing for the security of the suc- 
cession to the crown; in regulating the expenses of 
the royal household, by the advice of his privy coun- 
cil ; in the enactment of wise and useful laws for the 
administration of justice, and the punishment of op- 
pression. For these purposes, a parliament was held 
at Scone, on the 2d of March, 1371, and another meet- 
ing of the Estates took place in April, 1373, in which 
many improvements w^re introduced, and some abuses 
corrected. -|- It seems at this period to have been cus- 
tomary for the lords of the king''s council to avail 
themselves of the advice of private persons, who sat 
alon^r with them in deliberation, althous^h not elected 
to that office. This practice was now abolished. She- 
rilFs and other judges were prohibited from asking or 
receiving presents from litigants of any part of the sum 
or matter in dispute; several acts w^ere passed relative 
to the punishment of murder, in its various degrees of 
criminality; ketherans, or masterful beggars, were 
declared not only liable to arrest, but, in case of resis- 
tance, to be slain on the spot; and all malversation 
by judges was pronounced cognizable by a jury, and 

* Records of the Parliament of Scotland, pp. 126, 127, sub anno 1372. 
Chamberlain Accounts, vol. ii. p. 3. 

t Records of the Parliament of Scotland, p. 124. The parliament con- 
sisted of the dignified clergy, the earls, barons, and free tenants in capite, 
Avith certain burgesses summoned from each burgh. 

1376. ROBERT IL 11 

punishable at the king'^s pleasure. These enactments 
point to a state of things in which it was evidently far 
easier to make laws than to carry them into execution.* 
In the meantime, England was visited with two 
great calamities. Edward prince of AVales, commonly 
called the Black Prince, to the universal resfret of the 
nation, and even of his enemies, died at Westminster; 
and his illustrious father, broken by the severity of 
the stroke, and worn out with the fati^rues of war, 
survived him scarcely a year. Anxious for the tran- 
quillity of his kingdom, it had been his earnest wish 
to conclude a peace with France; but even this was 
denied him; and he died on the 1st of June, 1377, 
leaving the reins of government to fall into the hands 
of a boy of eleven years of age, the eldest son of the 
Black Prince, who was crowned at Westminster, on 
the 11th July, 1377, by the title of Richard the 
Second. J]dward the Third was a monarch deservedly 
beloved by his people, and distinguished for the wisdom 
and the happy union of firmness and lenity which 
marked his domestic administration ; but his passion 
for conquest and military renown, which he gratified 
at an immense expense of money and of human life, 
whilst it served to throw that dano^erous and fictitious 
splendour over his reign which is yet scarcely dissi- 
pated, was undoubtedly destructive of the best and 
highest interests of his kingdom. Nothing, indeed, 
could afford a more striking lesson on the vanity of 
foreign conquest, and the emptiness of human gran- 
deur, than the circumstances in which he died: stript 
of the fairest provinces which had been the fruit of his 

* Records of the Parliament of Scotland, pp. 124, 125, sub anno 1371. A 
parliament was held by Robert the Second at Scone, on the 3d of April, 1373, 
of Avhich an important document has been preserved, touching the succession 
to the crown. Ibid, sub anno 1373. 


victories, the survivor of liis brave son and liis best 
captains, and at last pilla2,ed and deserted in his last 
moments bv his faithless mistress and unij-rateful do- 
mestics. His death delivered Scotland for the time 
from apprehension, and weakened in a great measure 
those causes of suspicion and distrust which have 
already been described. 

But, although the action of these was suspended, 
there were other subjects of mutual irritation, which 
could not be so easily removed. The feudal system, 
which then existed in full vigour in Scotland, con- 
tained within itself materials the very reverse of pa- 
cific. The power of the barons had been decidedly 
increasing since the days of Robert the First; the 
right of private war was exercised by them in its full 
extent; and, on the slightest insult or injury offered 
to one of their vassals by the English Wardens of the 
Border, they were ready to take the law into their own 
hands, and, at the head of a force, which for the time 
defied all resistance, to invade the country, and inflict 
a dreadful vengeance. In this manner, the king was 
frequently drawn in to support, or at least to connive 
at, the atrocities of a subject too powerful for him to 
control or resist; and a spark of individual malice or 
private revenge would kindle those materials, which 
were ever ready to be inflamed, into the wide confla- 
jrration of a ij-eneral war. 

The truth of these remarks was soon shown. At 
the fair of Roxburgh, a gentleman, belonging to the 
bedchamber of the Earl of March, was slain in a brawl 
by the English, who then held the castle in their hands, 
^larch, a grandson of tlie great Randolph, was one of 
the most powerful of the Scottish nobles. He instantly 
demanded redress, adding, that, if it was not given, he 

1377. ROBERT II. 13 

would not continue to respect the truce; but his repre- 
sentation was treated with scorn, and, as the earl did 
not reply, it was imagined he had forgotten the aiOfront. 
Time passed on, and the feast of St Laurence arrived, 
which w^as the season for the next fair to be held, when 
the town was again filled with the English, who, in 
unsuspicious security, had taken up their residence for 
the purposes of traffic or pleasure. Early in the morn- 
ing, JNlarch, at the head of an armed force, surprised 
and stormed the town, set it on fire, and commenced 
a pitiless slaughter of the English, sparing neither age 
nor infancy. Many who barricaded themselves in the 
booths and houses, were drasr^ed into the streets and 
murdered, or met a more dreadful death in the flames ; 
and the earl, at his leisure, drew off his followers, 
enriched wdth plunder, and glutted with revenge.* 

This atrocious attack proved the commencement of 
a series of hostilities, which, although unauthorized by 
either government, were carried on with obstinate and 
s^^stematic cruelty. The English borderers flew to 
arms, and broke in upon the lands of Sir John Gordon, 
one of March''s principal assistants in the recent attack 
upon Roxburgh. Gordon, in return, having collected 
his vassals, invaded England, and carried away a large 
booty in cattle and prisoners ; but, before he could 
cross the Border, was attacked in a mountain-pass by 
Sir John Lilburn, at tlie head of a bodv of kni<xhts 
and men-at-arms, double the number of the Scots. 
The skirmish was one of great obstinacy, and consti- 
tuted what Froissart delights in describins: as a fair 
point of arms, in which there were many empty saddles, 
and many torn and trampled banners ; but, although 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 3o4. "NVinton, vol. ii. p. 306. Walsingham, 
p. 108. 


grievously wouiulcd, Gordon made good liis retreat, 
took Lilburii prisoner, and secured his plunder.* 
This last insult called down the wrath of the English 
warden, Henry Percy earl of Northumberland, who, 
loudly accusing the Scots of despising the truce, at 
the head of an army of seven thousand men, broke 
across the Border, and encamped near Dunso, with 
the design of laying waste the extensive possessions of 
the Earl of March, which were situated in that quarter. 
But this " Warden Raid," which involved such great 
preparations, ended in a very ridiculous manner. The 
great proportion of the English consisted of knights 
and men-at-arms, whose horses were picketed on the 
outside of the encampment, under the charge of the 
sutlers and camp-boys, whilst their masters slept on 
their arms in the centre. It w^as one of the injunc- 
tions of the good King Robert's testament, to alarm 
the encampments of the English 

" By wiles and wakening in the nyclit, 
/ And meikil noise made on hyclit ;i" 

and in this instance Percy suffered under its success. 
At the dead of night, his position was surrounded, not 
by an army, but by a multitude of the common serfs 
and varlets, who were armed only with the rattles 
which they used in driving away the wild beasts from 
their flocks ; and such was the consternation produced 
amongst the horses and their keepers, by the sounding 
of the rattles, and the yells and shouting of the 
assailants, whose numbers were magnified by the dark- 
ness, that all was thrown into disorder. Hundreds 
of horses broke from the stakes to which they were 
picketed, and fled mastcrless over the country; num- 

* Winton, vol. ii. p. 309. + Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 232. 

1378. ROBERT TI. 15 

bers galloped into the encampment, and carried a panic 
amongst the knights, who stood to their arms, and 
every moment expected an attack: but no enemy ap- 
peared; and when morning broke, the Earl of North- 
umberland had the mortification to discover at once 
the ridiculous cause of the alarm, and to find that a 
great proportion of his best soldiers were unhorsed, 
and compelled, in their heavy armour, to find their 
way back to England. A retreat was ordered; and, 
after pillaging the lands of the Earl of March, the 
warden recrossed the border.* 

It was unfortunate, that these infractions of the 
truce, which were decidedly injurious to the best in- 
terests of both countries, were not confined to the 
eastern marches. The Baron of Johnston, and his 
retainers and vassals, harassed the English on the 
western border ;-|- while at sea, a Scottish naval adven- 
turer, of great spirit and enterprise, named Mercer, 
infested the English shipping, and, at the head of a 
squadron of armed vessels, consisting of Scottish, 
French, and Spanish privateers, scoured the channel, 
and took many rich prizes. The father of this bold 
depredator is said by Walsingham to have been a 
merchant of opulence, who resided in France, and was 
in hi oh favour at the French court. Durinsr one of 
his voyages, he had been taken by a Northumbrian 
cruiser, and carried into Scarborough;! in revenge of 
which insult, the son attacked this sea-port, and plun- 
dered its shipping. Such was the inefficiency of the 
government of Richard, that no measures were taken 
against him; till at last Philpot, a wealthy London 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. i. p. 385. W^inton, vol. ii. p. 300. 

't" Winton, vol. ii. p. 311. 

X Rotuli Scotise, vol. ii. p. 16, 20th June, 2 Rich. II. 


merchant, at his own expense fitted out an armament 
of several large ships of war, and attacking Mercer, 
entirely defeated him, took him prisoner, and captured 
his whole squadron, among which were fifteen Spanish 
vessels, and many rich prizes.* 

It would be tedious and uninstructive to enter into 
any minute details of the insulated and unimportant 
hostilities which, without any precise object, continued 
for some years to agitate the two countries : committed 
during the continuance of a truce, which was publicly 
declared to be respected by both governments, they 
are to be regarded as the outbreakings of the spirit of 
national rivalry engendered by a long war, and the 
effects of that love of chivalrous adventure which was 
then at its height in Europe. Tiie deep-laid plans of 
Edward the Third, for the entire subjugation of Scot- 
land, were now at an end; the character of the govern- 
ment of Richard the Second, or rather of his uncles, 
into whose hands the manairement of the state had 
fallen, was, with regard to Scotland, decidedly just and 
pacific; and the wisest policy for that country would 
have been, to have devoted her whole attention to 
the regulation of her internal government, to the re- 
cruiting of her finances, and the cultivation of those 
arts which form the true sources of the prosperity and 
greatness of a kingdom. Had the king been per- 
mitted to follow the bent of his own disposition, there 
is reason to think that these principles would have 
been adopted; but the nobility was still too power- 
ful and independent for the individual character of 
the sovereign to have much influence ; and the de- 
sire of plunder, and the passion for military adven- 

* Walsingham, p. -11. 

1.378. ROBERT II. 17 

ture, rendered it impossible for such men to remain at 

Another cause increased these hostile feelinos. Al- 
though the alliance with France was no lon2:er essen- 
tially advantageous to Scotland, yet the continuance 
of the Scottish war was of importance to France, in 
the circumstances in which that country was then 
placed ; and no means were left unemployed to secure 
it. The consequence of all this was the perpetual in- 
fringement of the truce by hostile invasions, and the 
reiterated appointment of English and Scottish com- 
missioners, who were empowered to hold courts on the 
Borders for the redress of grievances. These repeated 
Border raids, which drew after them no important re- 
sults, are of little interest. They had the worst effect, 
as they tended greatly to increase the exasperation 
between the two countries, and to render more distant 
and hopeless the prospect of peace; and they become 
tedious when we are obli2:e^o reo-ard them as no lono-er 
the simultaneous efforts of a nation in defence of their 
independence, but the selfish and disjointed expedi- 
tions of an aristocracy, whose principal objects were 
plunder and military adventure. It was in one of 
these that the castle of Berwick was stormed and taken 
by a small body of adventurers, led by Alexander 
Ramsay, who, when summoned by the Scottish and 
English wardens, proudly replied, " that he would give 
up his prize neither to the monarch of England nor of 
Scotland, but would keep it while he lived for the King 
of France." Some idea may be formed of the igno- 
rance of the mode of attacking fortified towns in those 
days, from the circumstance that the handful of Scot- 
tish borderers, who were led by this intrepid soldier, 
defended the castle for some time against the Earl of 

VOL. HI.. B 


Nortliiiinbcrland, at the head of ten thousand men, 
assisted by miners, mangonels, and all the machinery 
for carryins: on a sies^e.* 

It was in this sief>e that Ilenrv Percy, afterwards 
so famous under the name of Hotspur, first became 
acquainted with arms; and a quarrel, which had begun 
in a private plundering adventure, ended in a more 
serious manner. After making: himself master of Ber- 
wick, the Earl of Northumberland, along with the Earl 
of Nottingham, and Sir Thomas Musgrave, the gover- 
nor of Berwick, invaded the southern parts of Scot- 
land; and Sir Archibald Douglas, having under him 
a considerable force, had advanced against him; but 
being unable to cope with the army of Percy, he re- 
tired, and awaited the result. As he had probably 
expected, JNIusgrave, who enjoyed a high reputation 
for military enterprise, pushed on to Melrose, at the 
head of an advanced division; and suddenly on the 
march found himself in the presence of Douglas and 
the Scottish army : a conflict became unavoidable, and 
it was conducted with much preparatory pomp and 
formality. Douglas called to him two sons of King 
Robert, who were then under his command, and 
knighted them on the field; Musgrave conferred the 
same honour on his son ; and although he was greatly 
outnumbered by the Scots, trusting to the courage of 
his little band, who were mostly of high rank, and to 
the skill of the English archers, be2:an the fioht with 
high hopes. But after a short and desperate conflict, 
accompanied with a grievous slaughter, the English 
were defeated. It was the custom of Sir Archibald 
Douglas, as we learn from Froissart, when he found 
the light becoming hot, to dismount, and attack the 

* "Walsingham, p. 219. Froissart, par Buchon, vol. vii. pp. 44, 48. 

1380. ROBERT II. 19 

enemy with a large two-handed sword; and on this 
occasion, such was the furv of his assault, that nothing 
could resist it.* Musgrave and his son, with many 
other knights and esquires, were taken prisoners; and 
Douglas, who felt himself unequal to oppose the main 
army of Percy and the Earl of Nottingham, fell back 
upon Edinburgh. The succeeding years were occu- 
pied in the same course of Border hostilities; whilst 
in England, to the miseries of invasion and plunder, 
was added the calamity of a pestilence, which swept 
away multitudes of her inhabitants, and by weakening 
the power of resistance, increased the cruelty of her 

At length, John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster, 
who at this time directed the counsels of his nephew 
Richard the Second, approached Scotland at the head 
of a powerful army, although he declared his object to 
be solely the renewal of the truce, and the establish- 
ment of peace and good order between the two coun- 
tries. Sir Archibald Douglas, Lord of Galloway, along 
with the Bishops of Dunkeld and Glasgow, and the 
Earls of Douglas and March, were immediately ap- 
pointed commissioners to open a negotiation; and hav- 
ing consented to a cessation of hostilities, Lancaster 
disbanded his army, and agreed to meet the Scottish 
envoys in the following summer in a more pacific guise, 
at the head of his usual suite. The conference accord- 
ingly took place, and the Earl of Carrick, the heir of 
the throne, managed the negotiations on the part of 
Scotland; which concluded in an agreement to renew 
the truce for the space of three years, during which 

* Froissart, par Buchon, vol. vii. p. hi. 

+ Rotuli Scotiae, June 7, 2 Rich. II., and March 5, 5 Rich. II., vol. ii. 
pp. 10", 42. 


time the English monarch consented to delay the ex- 
action of the remaining penalty of the ransom of David 
the Second, of which twenty-five thousand marks w^ere 
still due.* 

It was at this time that the famous popular insur- 
rection, which was headed by Wat Tyler, had arrived 
at its height in England; and Lancaster, who was 
suspected of having given countenance to the insur- 
gents, and who dreaded the violence of a party which 
had been formed against him, found himself in an 
awkward and perilous dilemma. He begged permis- 
sion of the Earl of Carrick to be permitted to retreat 
for a short season into Scotland ; and the request was 
not only granted, but accompanied with circumstances 
which marked the courtesy of the age. The Earl of 
Doudas, alono^ with Sir Archibald Doudas lord of 
Gallow^ay, conducted him with a brilliant retinue to 
Haddington; from which they proceeded to Edin- 
burgh, where the Abbey of Holyrood was fitted up for 
his reception. Gifts and presents were made to him 
by the Scottish nobles; and here he remained till the 
fury of the storm was abated, and he could return in 
safety, escorted by a convoy of eight hundred Scottish 
spears, to the court of his nephew.-f- This friendly 
conduct, and the desire of remaining at peace, which 
was felt by both monarchs, might have been expected 
to have averted hostilities for some time; yet such was 
the influence of a restless aristocracy, that previous to 
the expiry of this truce, Scotland again consented to 
be involved in a nesfotiation with the French kin^:, 
which eventually entailed upon the nation the calami- 
ties of a war, undertaken with no precise object, and 
carried on at an immense expense of blood and treasure. 

* Rymer, vol. vii. p. 312. f Winton, vol. ii. pp. 315, 316. 


The foundation of this new treaty appears to have 
been those secret articles resrardino* an invasion of Ens- 
land, which have been already mentioned. A prospect 
of the large sura of forty thousand franks of gold, to 
be distributed amongst the Scottish nobles, and an 
engagement to send into Scotland a body of a thousand 
men-at-arms, with a supply of a thousand suits of 
armour, formed a temptation wdiich could not easily 
be resisted; and although no definite agreement was 
concluded, it became evident to England, that her 
enemy had abandoned all pacific intentions.* 

When the truce expired, the war was renewed with 
increased rancour. Lochmaben, a strong castle, which 
had been long in the hands of the English, was taken 
by Sir Archibald Douglas ;■[• and the Duke of Lan- 
caster invaded Scotland at the head of a numerous 
army, and accompanied by a fleet of victualling ships, 
which anchored in the Forth near Queensferry. But 
the expedition w^as singularly unfortunate. Although 
it was now the month of March, the Scottish winter 
had not concluded, and the cold was intense. Lan- 
caster, after exhausting the English northern counties 
in the support of his host, puslied on to Edinburgh, 
which his knights and captains were eager to sack and 
destroy. In this, however, they were disappointed; 
for the English commander, mindful of the generous 
hospitality which he had lately experienced, commanded 
the army to encamp at a distance from the town, and 
issued the strictest orders that none should leave the 
ranks. For three days, parties of the Scots could be 
seen carrying off" everything that was valuable, and 
transporting their goods and chattels beyond the Forth. 

* Records of the Parliament of Scotland, sub anno 1383, p. 131. 
+ Winton, vol. ii. p. 317. 


Numbers of the Ens^lisli soldiers, in tlie meantime, 
began to be seized with sickness, occasioned by ex- 
halations from the marches; and within a short time, 
five hundred horses died of cold. When at length 
permitted to advance to Edinburgh, the soldiers, as 
was to be expected, found nothing to supply their 
uru'cnt wants : the Scots had even carried oft" the straw 
roofs of their wooden houses; and having retreated 
into the woods and strongholds, quietly awaited the 
retreat of the English; and began their usual mode of 
warfare, by cutting oft" the foraging parties which, dis- 
regarding the orders of Lancaster, were compelled, by 
the calls of hunger, to leave the encampment.* In 
the meantime, Sir Alexander Lindsay had attacked 
and put to the sword the crew of one of the English 
ships, which had made good a landing on the ground 
above Queensferry; and the King of Scotland had 
issued orders to assemble an army, for the purpose of 
intercepting Lancaster in his retreat to England. 

At this crisis, ambassadors arrived from France, to 
notify the truce lately concluded between that country 
and England; whilst, at the same time, in the spirit 
of military adventure, then so prevalent, a party of 
French knights and esquires, tired of being idle at 
home, took shipping for Scotland; and, on their arrival 
at Edinburgh, found the Scottish parliament deliberat- 
ing on the propriety of prosecuting the war. The king 
and the nobles were divided in their opinion. Robert, 
with true wisdom, and a desire to promote the best 
interests of his people, desired peace; and whilst he 
received the French knights with kindness and cour- 
tesy, commanded them and his nobles to lay aside all 
thoughts of hostilities. Meanwhile Lancaster had pro- 

* Walsingham, pp. 308, 309. 

1384. ROBERT II. 23 

fited.by the interval allowed him, and made good his 
retreat; which was accompanied, as usual in these 
expeditions, with the total devastation of the country 
through which he passed, and the plunder of the im- 
mense estates of the Border earls. To them, and to 
the rest of the nobility, tlie king''s proposal was par- 
ticularly unsatisfactory; nor are we to wonder, that 
when their fields and woods, their manors and vilWes, 
were still blackened with the fires of the English, and 
their foot had been in the stirrup to pursue them, the 
counter order of the kin^;, and the messaire of the 
French envoys regarding the truce, came rather un- 

These, however, were not the days when Scottish 
barons, having resolved upon war, stood upon much 
ceremony, either as to the existence of a truce, or the 
commands of a sovereign. It was, accordingly, privately 
determined by the Earls of Mar and Douglas, along 
with Sir Archibald the lord of Galloway, that the 
foreign knights who had travelled so far to prove their 
chivalry, should not be disappointed; and after a short 
stay at Edinburgh, they were surprised by receiving 
a secret message from Douglas, requiring them to re- 
pair to his castle at Dalkeith, where they were warmly 
welcomed; and, again taking horse, found themselves, 
in three days'* riding, in the presence of an army of 
fifteen thousand men, mounted on active hackneys, 
and lightly armed, after the fashion of their country.* 
With this force they instantly broke into the northern 
counties of England; wasted the towns and villages 
with lire and sword; wreaked their vengeance upon 

* Froissart, vol. ix, p. 27. Walsingham, p. 309. About this time, the 
remaining part of Teviotdale, which, since the battle of Durham, had been 
in the hands of the English, was recovered by the exertions of the Earl of 
Douglas. Winton, vol. ii. p. 322. 


the e$Ut^ of the EarU of ^voriimmWrlaiul a:\l Not- 
tiu^r):uui; aiul rvtunuxl widi ;» lar^> booty in prisoners 
mad cattle. We K\iru frv>m Frvn«$iirt, thjit the Kin^ 
of Scotland was i^uoraut of this iufraotiou of the truce; 
and iu much conot>jru immediately deis^Kitohed a herald 
ta explain the oirvumstauee«s to the English court.* 
But it is moiv {lurohabK that> knowing of the intended 
expedition, he was unaUe to prevent it. However 
this might be> its consequences weiie calamitous; for, 
as usual, it hrv»ught an instantaneous retaliation upcm 
the [Kurt of the Earl of Northumberland; and the 
Fr^Jich knights, on their return to their own country. 
spoke so highly in feivour of the pleasures of a Scottish 
"^raid,"^ and the Bicilitiess offered to an attack upon 
Engbud in this quarter, that the King of France be- 
gan to think seriously of carrving the projected treaty, 
to which we have already alluded, into immediate exe- 
cution, and of sending an army into Scotland. 

An interval, which cannot be said to belong either 
to peace or to war, succeeded these events, and olfers 
little of general interest : the Border inroads bein«r con- 
tinned with equal and unvaried cruelty ; but in a meet- 
ing of the parliament, which took place at Edinburgh, 
a few provisions were passed regarding the state of the 
ooontry, which ai« not unworthy of notice,+ It was 
detomined that those greater and lesser barons to 
whom the sovereign, in the event of war, had com- 
mitted certain divisions of the kingdom should have 
tlmr anav of men-at-anus and archers in such readi- 
ness, that, as soon as required, they should be ready to 
pa^ to the Borders in warlike aj^arel, with horse, arms. 

1^5. fiOBEST IL 25 

and prorbionj;; so that the landj throng wfaidli the 
ho«t inarched «hoald not he waistedhj their exaetkms. 

It appears that grierous injnrj had heen raffiered, 
owing to the total want of all law and jnstiee in the 
northern dhsiriet» of the kingdom. Troops of hutdsl 
robhens, ehie& who lired bj plunder, *and owned no 
allegiance either to king or earl, trarersed the Hi^i- 
land disiriets^ and enlisted into their service mal^ie- 
tors and keth.eram^ who, without respeet to rank or 
aathoritv, burnt, slew, and plundered, wherever ibesr 
master chose to lead« Thiis dreadful state of thing? 
called for immediate attention; and to the Earl of 
Carrick, the heir to the throne, was the arduous affiur 
intrusted. He was commanded to repair instantlj to 
the disordered districts, at the head of a fotree which 
might ensure obedience; to call a meeting of the wisest 
landholders of these northern parts ; and, baring taken 
their advice, to adopt such speedj measures as should 
strike terror into the guiltj, and restore order and good 
goremment throughout the land.* 

The large district of TeTiotdale, which had long been 
in the possession of the English, having been now 
cleared of these intruders, and restored to the kingdom 
by the arms of the Earl of Douglas, it became neees- 
HSLTj to adopt measures for the restoration of their 
lands to those proprietors who had been expelled from 
them during the occupation of the eountry bj the 
enem J. It was ordered, that all persons in Teriotdale 
who had lately transferred their allegianoe from the 
King of England to the King of Scotland, should, 
within eight days, exhibit to the Chancellor their 
charters, containing the names of the lands and pos- 
sessions which they claimed as their hereditary right, 

* Caitnbzy (rf AbodecB, AdToc Ubaxj, pp. 101^ lOSt 


wherever they liappened to be situated; along with the 
names of those persons wlio now possessed tliern, and 
of the shcrilfdonis within wliose jurisdiction they were 
situated. The object of this was to enable all those 
persons, who, on the part of the claimants in Teviot- 
dale, were about to receive letters of summons from the 
Chancellor, to present their letters with such diligence 
to the sherifl's, as to enable these officers within eii>ht 
days to expedite the proper citations. It was besides 
ordained, that the Chancellor should direct the king^s 
letters to the various sheriffs, commanding them to 
summon all persons who then held, or asserted their 
right to hold, any lands, to appear before the king and 
council, brinoino' with them their charters and title- 
deeds, that thev mi "lit hear the final decision on the 

The next provision of the parliament introduces us 
to a case of feudal oppression, strikingly characteristic 
of the times; and evinces how feeble and impotent was 
the arm of the law against the power of the aristocracy. 
William de Fentoun complained, that he had been 
unjustly expelled from his manor of Fentoun, by a 
judgment pronounced in the court of the baron of 
Dirleton. He immediately appealed to the Sheriff of 
Edinburnfh, and was restored. Airain was he violently 
thrust out: upon which he carried his cause before the 
king*'s privy council; and by their solemn award his 
lands were once more restored. In the face of this 
last decision by the sovereign and his council, this un- 
fortunate person continued to be excluded from his 
property by the Baron of Dirleton, who, against all 
law, violently kept him down; so that he was com- 
pelled, in extreme distress, to appeal to the parliament. 

* Records of the Parliament of Scotland, sub anno 1 385, p. 1 33. 

1385. ROBERT II. 27 

This case of reiterated tyranny and oppression having 
been proved by the evidence of the slieriff, it was 
resolved that Fentoun, without delay, should be rein- 
stated by the royal power; and that the rents due 
since the period of his expulsion should be instantly 
restored to him. Whether this final judgment by the 
court of last resort was more successful than the former 
sentences against this feudal tyrant, cannot now be 
discovered; but it is very possible that Fentoun never 
recovered his property. The remaining provisions of 
the parliament are of little moment, and relate chiefly 
to the amicable arrangement of some disputes which 
had arisen between the Earls of Buchan and of Strath- 
ern, both of them sons of the king. 

An event of great interest and importance now claims 
our attention, in the expedition of John de Vienne, 
the Admiral of France, into Scotland. It is one of 
the miserable consequences of war, and the passion for 
conquest, that they almost indefinitely perpetuate the 
evils which they originally produce. A nation once 
unjustly attacked, and for a time treated as a con- 
quered people, is not satisfied with the mere defence 
of its rights, or the simple expulsion of its invaders : 
wounded pride, hatred, the desire of revenge, the love 
of plunder, or of glory, all provoke retaliation; and 
man delights to inflict upon his enemy the extremity 
of misery from which he has just escaped himself. 
France accordingly began to ponder upon the best 
mode of carrying the war into England; and the re- 
presentations of the knights who had served in the late 
expedition of Douglas, had a strong effect in recom- 
mending an invasion through Scotland. They remarked, 
that the English did not fidit so well in their own 


country as on the continent;* and without adverting 
to the true cause of Doui'las''s success in the skill 


with which he seized the moment when Lancaster''s 
army had dispersed, and his rapid retreat before the 
English wardens could assemble their forces, they con- 
trasted the obstinacy with which the English disputed 
every inch of ground in France, with the facility with 
which they themselves had been permitted to march 
and plunder in England. 

It was accordingly determined to fulfil the stipula- 
tions of the last treaty, and to attack the English 
king upon his own ground, by sending a large body of 
auxiliaries into Scotland, and co-operating with that 
nation in an invasion. For this purpose, they selected 
John de Vienne, Admiral of France, and one of the 
most experienced captains of the age; who embarked 
at Sluys, in Flanders, with a thousand knights, 
esquires, and men-at-arms, forming the flower of the 
French army, besides a body of cross-bowmen and 
common soldiers, composing altogether a force of two 
thousand men. He carried along with him fourteen 
hundred suits of armour for the Scottish knights, and 
fifty thousand franks of gold,-[- to be paid, on his 
arrival, to the king and his barons. It was deter- 
mined to attack England at the same time by sea; and 
a naval armament for this purpose had been prepared 
at a great expense by the French: but this part of 
the project was unsuccessful, and the fleet never sailed. 

Meanwhile all seemed to favour the expedition of 
Vienne. The wind was fair, the weather favourable, 

* Froissart, par Buchon, vol. ix. p. 1G2. 

+ Winton, vol. ii. p. 324. He says there were eight hundred knights, of 
•which number a hundred and four were knights-bannerets ; and besides 
this, four hundred arblasts, or crossbows. 

1385. ROBERT II. 29 

for it was in the month of May; and the transports, 
gleaming with their splendid freight of chivalry, and 
gay with innumerable banners, were soon wafted to 
the Scottish coast, and cast anchor in the ports of Leith 
and Dunbar. They were warmly welcomed by the 
Scottish barons; and the sight of the suits of foreign 
armour, then highly prized, with the promise of a libe- 
ral distribution of the French gold, could not fail to 
make a favourable impression.* On the arrival of the 
admiral at Edinburgh, he found that the king was then 
residing in the district which Froissart denominates 
the wild of Scotland; meaning, perhaps, his palace of 
Stirling, which is on the borders of a mountainous 
country. His speedy arrival, however, was looked 
for; and till then the Earls of Moray and Douglas 
took charge of the strangers. To provide lodgings for 
them all in Edinburgh was impossible; and in the 
efforts made to house their fastidious allies, who had 
been accustomed to the hotels of Paris, we are pre- 
sented with a striking picture of the poverty of this 
capital, when contrasted with the wealth and magni- 
tude of the French towns. It became necessary to 
furnish quarters for the knights in the adjacent vil- 
lages; and the necessity of billeting such splendid 
guests upon the burgesses, farmers, and yeomen, occa- 
sioned loud and grievous murmurs. Dunfermline, 
Queensferry, Kelso, Dunbar, Dalkeith, and many 
other towns and villages not mentioned by Froissart, 
were filled with strangers, speaking a foreign language, 
appropriating to themselves, without ceremony, the 
best of everything they saw, and assuming an air of 

* The proportion in which the French money was distributed amongst 
the Scottish nobles, gives us a pretty correct idea of the comparative conse- 
quence and power of the various members of the Scottish aristocracy. See 
Rymer, vol. vii. pp. 484, 485. 


superiority which the Scots could not easily tolerate. 
Mutual (lissatisfiiction and hatred naturally arose; 
and although the Earls of Douglas and Moray, who 
were well contented with an expedition which promised 
them the money of France, as well as the plunder of 
EnMand, continued to treat the French with kindness 
and courtesy, the people and the lesser barons began 
to quarrel with the intruders, and to adopt every 
method for their distress and annoyance. All this is 
feelingly described by the delightful and garrulous liis- 
torian of the period: " What evil spirit hath brought 
you here ? was,"''' he tells us, " the common expression 
employed by the Scots to their allies. Who sent for 
you ? Cannot we maintain our war with England 
well enough without your help ? Pack up your goods 
and begone ; for no good will be done as long as ye are 
here ! We neither understand you, nor you us. We 
cannot communicate together; and in a short time we 
shall be completely rilled and eaten up by such troops 
of locusts. What signifies a war with England I the 
English never occasioned such mischief as ve do. Thev 
burned our houses, it is true: but that was all; and 
with four or five stakes, and plenty green boughs to 
cover them, they were rebuilt almost as soon as they 
were destroyed." It was not, however, in words only 
that the French were thus ill-treated. The Scottish 
peasants rose against the foraging parties, and cut them 
off. In a month, more than a hundred men were slain 
in this manner; and, at last, none ventured to leave 
their quarters.* 

At Icni'th the kins: arrived at Edinburiih, and a 
council was held by the knights and barons of both 
nations, on the subject of an immediate invasion of 

* Froissart, par Buclion, vol. ix. pp. 155, 157. 

1385. ROBERT II. 31 

England. And here new disputes and heartburnings 
arose. It was soon discovered that Robert was averse 
to war. " He was," says Froissart, whose information 
regarding this expedition is in a high degree minute 
and curious, " a comely tall man, but with eyes so 
bloodshot, that they looked as if they were lined with 
scarlet ; and it soon became evident that he himself 
preferred a quiet life to war; yet he had nine sons 
who loved arms." The aro;uments of his barons, 
joined to the remonstrances of Vienne, and the distri- 
bution of the French gold, in the end overcame the 
repugnance of the king ; and the admiral had soon the 
satisfaction of seeing an army of thirty thousand horse 
assembled in the fields near Edinburgh. 

Unaccustomed, however, to the Scottish mode of 
carrying on war, and already disposed to quarrel on 
account of the injuries they had met with, the French 
were far from cordially co-operating with their allies; 
so that it was found necessary to hold a council of 
officers, and to draw up certain regulations, for the 
maintenance of order during the expedition, which were 
to be equally binding upon the soldiers of both nations. 
Some of these articles are curious and characteristic: 
No pillage was permitted in Scotland under pain of 
death; the merchants and victuallers who followed or 
might resort to the camp, were to be protected, and 
have prompt payment; any soldier who killed another 
was to be hanged; if any varlet defied a gentleman, 
he was to lose his ears ; and if any gentleman chal- 
lenged another, he was to be put under arrest, and 
justice done according to the advice of the officers. In 
the case of any riot arising between the French and 
the Scots, no appeal to arms was to be permitted; but 
care was to be taken to arrest the ringleaders, who 


were to be punished by tlio council of the officers. 
When ridins: airainst the enemy, if a French or a Scot- 
tish man-at-arnis should bear an Englishman to the 
earth, lie was to have half his ransom ; no burning of 
churches, ravishing or slaughter of women or infants, 
was to be suffered; and every French and Scottish 
soldier was to wear a white St Andrew'*s cross on his 
back and breast ; which, if his surcoat or jacket was 
white, was to be broidered on a division of black cloth.* 
It being now time to commence the campaign, the 
army broke at once across the marches, and after a 
destructive progress, appeared before the castle of 
Roxburgh. The king^s sons, along with De Vienne 
the admiral, and the Earls of Douglas, Mar, !Moray, 
and Sutherland, were the Scottish leaders ; but Robert 
himself, unwieldy from his age, remained at Edinburgh. 
Roxburo'h castle, strons: in its fortifications, and ex- 
cellently situated for defence, offered little temptation 
to a siege. For many months it might have been 
able to defy the most obstinate attacks of the united 
powers of France and Scotland ; and all idea of mak- 
ins: themselves masters of it beins; abandoned, the 
army pushed on towards Berwick, and with difficulty 
carried by assault the two smaller fortalices of Ford 
and Cornal, which were bravely defended by an Eng- 
lish knight and his 8on.-(- Wark, one of the strongest 
Border castles, commanded by Sir John Lusborn, was 
next assaulted; and, after a severe loss, stormed and 
taken, chiefly, if we may believe Froissart, by the 
bravery of the French ; whilst the country was miser- 
ably wasted by fire and sword, and the plunder and 
the prisoners slowly driven after the host, which ad- 

* Records of the Parliament of Scotland, sub anno 1385, pp. 135, 13G. 
t Winton, voL ii. p. 3"24. 

1385. ROBERT 11. S3 

vanced by Alnwick, and carried their rava^^es to tlie 
gates of Newcastle. Word was now brought that the 
Duke of Lancaster, and the barons of the bishoprics 
of York and Durham, with the Earls of Northumber- 
land and Nottingham, had collected a powerful force, 
and were advancing by forced marches to meet the 
enemy; and here it became necessary for the captains 
of the different divisions to deliberate whether they 
should await them where they were, and hazard a 
battle, or fall back upon their own country. This last 
measure the Scots naturally preferred. It was their 
usual mode of proceeding to avoid all great battles ; 
and the result of the war of liberty had shown the 
wisdom of the practice. Indeed, outnumbered as they 
always were by the English, and far inferior to them 
in cavalry, in archers, in the strength of their horses, 
and the temper of their arms, it would have been folly 
to have attempted it. But Vienne, one of the best 
and proudest soldiers in Europe, could not enter into 
this reasoning. He and his splendid column of knights, 
esquires, and archers, were anxious for battle ; and 
it was with infinite reluctance that he suffered him- 
self to be overpersuaded by the veteran experience of 
Douglas and Moray, and consented to fall back upon 

In the meantime, the King of England assembled 
an army more potent in numbers and equipment than 
any which had visited Scotland for a long period. It 
was the first field of the young monarch; and his 
barons, eager to demonstrate their loyalty, attended 
with so full a muster, that, according to a contem- 
porary English historian, three hundred thousand 
horses were employed.* The unequal terms upon 

* "Walsingham, pp. 31G, 537. Otterburn, p. 161. 


which a richer and a poorer country make war on each 
otlier, were never more strikingly evinced tlian in the 
result of these English and Scottish expeditions. The 
Scots, breaking in upon the rich fields of England, 
mounted on their hardy little hackneys, which lived 
on so little in their own country, that any change was 
for the better; carrying nothing with them but their 
arms ; inured to all weathers, and fearlessly familiar 
with danger, found war a pastime, rather than an 
inconvenience; enriched themselves with plunder, 
which they transported with wonderful expedition from 
place to place, and at last safely landed it at home. 
Intimately acquainted with the seat of war, on the 
approach of the English, they could accept or decline 
battle, as they thought best : if outnumbered, as was 
generally the case, they retired, and contented them- 
selves with cutting off the convoys or foraging parties, 
and securing their booty; if the English, from want 
of provisions, or discontent and disunion amongst the 
leaders, commenced their retreat, it was infested by 
their unwearied enemy, who instantly pushed forward, 
and, hovering round their line of march, never failed 
to do them serious mischief. On the otlier hand, the 
very strength, and warlike and complicated equipment 
of the English army, proved its ruin, or at least totally 
defeated its object ; and this was soon seen in the 
result of Richard''s invasion. The immense mass of 
his host slowly proceeded through the border counties 
by Liddesdale and Teviotdale,* devouring all as they 
passed on, and leaving behind them a black desert. In 
no place did they meet an enemy; the Scots hadstript 
the country of everything but the green crops on the 

* In the Archaeologia, vol. xxii., Part i., p. 13, -will be found an interest- 
ing paper, describing the army of Ricliard and its leaders, printed from a 
JIS. in the British Museum, and communicated by Sir Harris Nicolas. 

1385. ROBERT II. o5 

ground; and empty villages, which were given to the 
flames, and churches and monasteries, razed and plun- 
dered, formed the only triumphs of the campaign. 

One event, however, is too characteristic to be omit- 
ted. When the news of this great expedition reached 
the camp of Douglas and Vienne, who had fallen back 
towards Berwick, the Scots, although aware of the 
folly of attempting to give battle, yet deemed it pru- 
dent to approach nearer, and watch the progress ot 
their enemy. Here, again, the impatient temper of 
the French commander broke out, and he insisted that 
their united strength was equal to meet the English; 
on which the Earl of Douglas requested him to ride 
with hmi to a neig-hbourins; eminence, and reason the 
matter as they went. The admiral consented, and was 
surprised when they arrived there to hear the tramp 
of horse, and the sound of martial music. Douglas 
had, in truth, brought him to a height which hung 
over a winding mountain-pass, through which the 
English army were at that moment defiling, and from 
whence, without the fear of discovery, they could count 
the banners, and perceive its strength. The argument 
thus presented was not to be questioned ; and Vienne, 
with his knights, permitted themselves to be directed 
by the superior knowledge and military skill of the 
Scottish leaders.* 

Meanwhile, King Richard pushed on to the capital. 
The beautiful Abbeys of Melrose and Dryburgh were 
given to the flames; Edinburgh was burned and plun- 
dered, and nothing spared but the Monastery of Holy- 
rood. It had lately, as we have seen, afi*orded a retreat 
to John of Gaunt, the king's uncle, who now accom- 
panied him, and, at his earnest entreaty, was excepted 

* Froissart, par Buchon, vol. ix. p. 144. 


from tne general ruin. But the formidable expedition 
of the king was lierc concluded, and that unwise and 
selfish spirit of revenge and destruction, which had 
wasted the country, began to recoil upon the heads of 
its authors.* ^lultitudes perished from want, and 
provisions became daily more scarce in the camp. In 
such circumstances, the Duke of Lancaster advised 
that they should pass the Forth, and, imitating the 
example of Edward the First, attack and overwhelm 
the northern counties. But Richard, who scrupled 
not to accuse his uncle of treasonable motives, in pro- 
posing so desperate a project, which was, in truth, 
likely to increase the dijfficulties of their situation, re- 
solved to retreat instantly by the same route which he 
had already travelled. 

Before this, however, could be effected, the Scottish 
army, with their French auxiliaries, broke into Eng- 
land by the western marches ; and, uniting their forces 
with those of Sir Archibald Douglas lord of Galloway, 
ravaged Cumberland with a severity which was in- 
creased by the accounts of the havoc committed by 
the English. Towns, villages, manors, and hamlets, 
were indiscriminately plundered and razed to the 
ground; crow^ds of prisoners, herds of cattle, wagons 
and sumpter-horses, laden with the wealth of burghers 
and yeomen, were driven along; and the parks and 
pleasure grounds of the Earls of Nottingham and Staf- 
ford, of the Mowbrays, the Musgraves, and other Bor- 
der barons, swept of their wealth, and plundered with 
a merciless cruelty, which increased to the highest 
pitch the animosity between the two nations, andren- 

* Froissart, vol, ix. p. 147, asserts, that the English burnt St Johnston, 
Dundee, and pushed on as far as Aberdeen ; but I have followed Walsintr- 
ham and Fordun, who give the account of their ravages as it is found in the 

1385. ROBERT II. 87 

dered the prospect of peace remote and almost hopeless. 
After this destruction, the united armies made an un- 
successful assault upon the city of Carlisle,* the forti- 
fications of which withstood their utmost efforts ; and 
upon this repulse, which seems to have renewed tlie 
heartburning between the French and Scots, they 
again crossed the Border, the French boasting that 
they had burnt, destroyed, and plundered more in the 
bishoprics of Durham and Carlisle than was to be 
found in all the towns of Scotland put together. -[- 

When the army reached their former quarters, and 
proceeded to encamp in Edinburgh and the adjacent 
country, an extraordinary scene presented itself. The 
land, so late a solitary desert, was in a few hours alive 
Avith multitudes of the Scots, who emerged from the 
woods and mountain passes, driving their flocks and 
cattle before them, accompanied by their wives and 
children, and returning with their chattels and furni- 
ture to the burnt and blackened houses which they 
had abandoned to the enemy. The cheerfulness with 
which they bore these calamities, and set themselves 
to repair the havoc which had been committed, appears 
to have astonished their refined allies; but the presence 
of two thousand Frenchmen, and the difficulty of find- 
ing them provisions, was an additional evil Vv^hich they 
were not prepared to bear so easily; and when the 
Admiral of France, to lighten the burden, abandoned 
his design of a second invasion of England, and per- 
mitted as many as chose to embark for France, the 
Scots refused to furnish transports, or to allow a single 
vessel to leave their ports, until the French knights 
had paid them for the injuries they had inflicted by 

* Winton, vol. ii. p. 325, affirms they would not assault Carlisle, for " thai 
dred tynsale of men." 

j- Fordun aGoodal, vol. ii. p. 401. Froissart, par Buchon, vol. ix. p. 155, 


riding througlitlicir country, trampling and destroying 
their crops, cutting down their woods to build lodgings, 
and plundering their markets. To these conditions 
Vienne was compelled to listen; indeed, such was the 
miserable condition in which the campaign had left his 
knights and men-at-arms, who were now for the most 
])art unhorsed, and dispirited by sickness and priva- 
tion, that, to have provoked the Scots, might have led 
to serious consequences. He agreed, therefore, to dis- 
charge the claims of damage and reparation which were 
made against his soldiers; and for himself came under 
an obligation not to leave the country till they were fully 
satisfied, his knights being permitted to return home. 
These stipulations were strictly fulfilled. Ships 
were furnished by the Scots, and, to use the expressive 
language of Froissart, "divers knights and squires had 
passage, and returned into Flanders, as wind and 
weather drove them, with neither horse nor harness, 
right poor and feeble, cursing the day that ever they 
came upon such an adventure; and fervently desiring 
that the Kino-s of France and En2:land would con- 
elude a peace for a year or two, were it only to have 
the satisfaction of uniting their armies, and utterly 
destroying the realm of Scotland."' Some knights who 
were fond of adventure, and little anxious to return to 
France in so miserable a condition, passed on to Den- 
mark, Norway, and Sweden; others took shipping for 
Ireland, desirous of visiting the famous cavern known 
by the name of the purgatory of St Patrick;* and 
Vienne himself, after having corresponded with his 
government, and discharged the claims which were 
brought against him, took leave of the king and nobles 
of Scotland, and returned to Paris. 

* See Rjiner, Foedera, vol. viii. p, 14. 

1385. ROBERT II. 39 

Such was the issue of an expedition, fitted out by 
France at an immense expense, and which, from being 
hastily undertaken, and only partially executed, con- 
cluded in vexation and disappointment. Had the naval 
armament which was to have attacked England on the 
south been able to effect a descent, and had the Con- 
stable of France, according to the original intention, 
co-operated with Vienne, at the head of a large body 
of Genoese cross-bowmen and men-at-arms,* the result 
might perhaps have been different; but the great causes 
of failure are to be traced to the impossibility of recon- 
ciling two systems of military operations so perfectly 
distinct as those of the Scots and the French, and of 
supporting, for any length of time, in so poor a coun- 
try as Scotland, such a force as was able to offer battle 
to the English with any fair prospect of success. One 
good effect resulted from the experience gained in this 
campaign. It convinced the Scots of the superior 
excellence of their own tactics, which consisted in em- 
ploying their light cavalry solely in plunder, or in 
attacks upon the archers when they were forced to 
fight, and in opposing to the heavy-armed cavalry of 
the English their infantry alone, with their firm squares 
and long spears. It also taught them, that any foreign 
auxiliary force of the heavy-armed cavalry of the con- 
tinent was of infinitely greater encumbrance than assis- 
tance in their wars with England, as they must either 
be too small to produce any effect against the over- 
whelming armies of that country, or too numerous to 
be supported, without occasioning severe distress. 

Upon the departure of the French, the war conti- 
nued with great spirit ; and from the imbecility of the 
government of Richard the Second, a feeble opposition 

* Froissart, par Buchon, vol. ix. p. 162. 


was made asraiiist the successes of tlie Scots. The 
systematic manner in which their invasions were con- 
ducted, is apparent from the pLan and details of that 
which immediately succeeded the expedition of Vienna. 
It was remembered by the Scottish leaders, that in the 
[general devastation which had been lately inflicted upon 
the English Border counties, that portion of Cumber- 
land, including: the rich and fertile district of Cocker- 
mouth and the adjacent country, had not been visited 
since the days of Robert Bruce; and it was judged 
proper to put an end to this exemption. Robert earl 
of Fife, the king"'s second son, James earl of Douglas, 
and Sir Archibald Douglas lord of Galloway, at the 
head of thirty thousand light troops, passed the Sol- 
way, and for three days* plundered and laid waste the 
whole of this beautiful district; so that, to use the ex- 
pression of Fordun, the feeblest in the Scottish host 
had his hands full : nor do they appear to have met 
with the slightest opposition. A singular and charac- 
teristic anecdote of this expedition is preserved by 
this historian. Amid the plunder, an ancient Saxon 
charter of King Athelstane, with a waxen seal appended 
to it, was picked up by some of the soldiers, and carried 
to the Earl of Fife, afterwards the celebrated Regent 
Albany. Its lucid brevity astonished the feudal ba- 
ron : " I, King Adelstane, giffys here to Paulan, Oddam 
and Roddam, als gude and als fair, as ever thai myn 
war; and thairto witnes Maid my wyf.'"* Often, says 
the historian, after the earl became Duke of Albany 
and Governor of Scotland, when the tedious and wordy 
charters of our modern davs were recited in the causes 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p, 403. " Exercitum caute et quasi imper- 
ceptibi liter ducebat usque ad Cokirmouth, * * per terrain a diebus Domin 
Koberti de Bruce regis a Scotis non iuvasam.'" 

1387. ROBERT II. 41 

which came before him, he would recall to memory 
this little letter of King Athelstaue, and declare there 
was more truth and good faith in those old times than 
now, when the new race of lawyers had brought in such 
frivolous exceptions and studied prolixity of forms.* 
It is singular to meet with a protestation against the 
unnecessary multiplication of words and clauses in legal 
deeds at so remote a period. 

At the time of this invasion, another enterprise took 
place, which nearly proved fatal to its authors : a de- 
scent upon Ireland by Sir William Douglas, the natu- 
ral son of Sir Archibald of Galloway, commonly called 
the Black Douglas. This young knight appears to 
have been the Scottish Paladin of those days of chi- 
valry. His form and strength were almost gigantic ; 
and what gave a peculiar charm to his w^arlike prowess, 
was the extreme gentleness of his manners: sweet, 
brave, and generous, he was as faithful to his friends 
as he was terrible to his enemies. These qualities had 
"•ained him the hand of the kind's dauohter E^idia: 
a lady of such beauty, that the King of France is said 
to have fallen in love with her from the description of 
some of his courtiers, and to have privately despatched 
a painter into Scotland to bring him her picture; when 
he found, to his disappointment, that the princess had 
disposed of her heart in her own country. -(- 

At this time the piracies of the Irish on the coast 
of Galloway provoked the resentment of Douglas, who, 
at the head of five hundred lances, made a descent 
upon the Irish coast at Carlingford, and immediately 
assaulted the town with only a part of his force, find- 
ing it difiicult to procure small boats to land the whole. 
Before, however, he had made himself master of the 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 403. f Ibid. 


outworks, the citizens, by the promise of a large sum 
of money, procured an armistice ; after which, under 
cover of night, they despatclied a messenger to Dun- 
dalk for assistance, who represented the small number 
of the Scots, and the facility of overpowering them. 
Douglas, in the meantime, of an honest and unsuspi- 
cious temper, had retired to the shore, and was busied 
in superintending the lading of his vessels, when he 
discerned the approach of the English, and had scarce 
time to form his little phalanx, before he was attacked 
not only by them but by a sally from the town. Yet^ 
this treacherous conduct was entirely unsuccessful : 
although greatly outnumbered, such was the superior 
discipline and skill of the Scots, that every effort failed 
to pierce their columns, and they at length succeeded 
in totally dispersing the enemy; after which the town 
was burnt to the ground, the castle and its works 
demolished, and fifteen merchant ships, which lay at 
anchor, laden with goods, seized by the victors.* They 
then set sail for Scotland, ravaged the Isle of Man as 
they returned, and landed safely at Lochryan in Gal- 
loway; from which Douglas took horse and joined his 
father, who, with the Earl of Fife, had broken across 
the Border, and was then engaged in an expedition 
against the western districts of England. 

The origin of this invasion requires particular notice, 
as it led to important results, and terminated in the 
celebrated battle of Otterburn. The Scots had not 
forgotten the miserable havoc which was inflicted upon 
the country by the late expedition of the King of Eng- 
land ; and as this country was now torn by disputes 
between the weak monarch and his nobility, it was 
deemed a proper juncture to retaliate. To decide upon 

* Forduna Hearne, pp. 1073, 1074. Winton, vol. ii. p. 335, 330". 

1388. ROBERT II. 43 

this a council was held at Edinburgh. The kingf was 
now infirm from age, and wisely anxious for peace ; 
but his wishes were overruled, and the manairement 
of the campaign intrusted by the nobles to his second 
son, the Earl of Fife, upon whom the hopes of the 
warlike part of the nation chiefly rested, his elder 
brother, the Earl of Carrick, who was next heir to the 
crown, being of a feeble constitution, and little able to 
endure the fatigues of the field. It was resolved that 
there should be a general muster of the whole military 
force of the kingdom at Jedburgh, preparatory to an 
invasion, upon a scale likely to ensure an ample retri- 
bution for their losses.* 

The rumour of this great summons of the vassals 
of the crown soon reached England ; and the barons, 
to whom the care of the Borders was committed, began 
to muster their feudal services, and to prepare for 
resistance. On the day appointed, the Scots assem- 
bled at Yetholm, a small town not far from Jedburoh, 
and situated at the foot of the Cheviot Hills. A more 
powerful army had not been seen for a long period. 
There were twelve hundred men-at-arms and forty 
thousand infantry, including a small body of archers, 
a species of military force in which the Scots were still 
little skilled, when compared with the formidable power 
of the English bowmen. It was now necessary to deter- 
mine in what manner the war should begin, and upon 
what part of the country its fury should first be let 
loose ; and, when the leaders were deliberating upon 
this, a prisoner was taken and carried to head-quarters, 
who proved to be an English gentleman, despatched 
by the Border lords for the purpose of collecting infor- 
mation. From him they understood that the wardens 

* Froissart, par Buclion, vol. xi. p. 363. 


of the marches did not deem themselves strong enough 
at that time to oftcr battle, but that, having collected 
tlicir power, they had determined to remain quiet till 
it was seen in what direction the Scottish invasion was 
to take place, and then to make a counter expedition 
into Scotland; thus avoiding all chance of being at- 
tacked, and retaliating upon the Scots by a system of 
simultaneous havoc and plunder. 

Upon receiving this information, which proved to be 
correct, the Earl of Fife determined to separate his 
force into two divisions, and for the purpose of frus- 
tratinsr the desiirns of the Eno^lish, to invade the coun- 
tr}^ both by the w^estern and eastern marches. He 
himself, accordingly, with Archibald lord of Galloway, 
and the Earls of Sutherland, Menteith, Mar, and 
Strathern, at the head of a large force, being nearly 
two-thirds of the whole army, began their march 
through Liddesdale, and passing the borders of Gallo- 
way, advanced towards Carlisle. The second division 
was chiefly intended to divert the attention of the 
English from opposing the main body of the Scots; it 
consisted of three hundred knights and men-at-arms, 
and two thousand foot, besides some light-armed 
prickers and camp-followers,* and was placed under 
the command of the Earl of Douglas, a young soldier, 
who, from his boyhood, had been trained to war by his 
father, and who possessed the hereditary valour and 
military talent of the family. Along with him went 
the Earls of March and Moray ; Sir James Lindsay, 
Sir Alexander Ramsay, and Sir John St Clair, three 
soldiers of great experience ; Sir Patrick Hepburn 

* Winton, vol. ii, p, 337, gives a much higher numher ; hut we may here 
trust rather to Froissart, who affirms that he had no more than " three hun- 
dred men-at-arms, and two thousand infantrj-." 

1 38a ROBERT II. 45 

with his two sons, Sir John Haliburton, Sir John 
Maxwell, Sir Alexander Fraser, Sir Adam Glendin- 
ning, Sir David Fleming, Sir Thomas Erskine, and 
many other knights and squires. 

With this small army, the Earl of Douglas pushed 
rapidly on through Northumberland, having given 
strict orders that not a house should be burnt or plun- 
dered till they reached the Bishopric of Durham. 
Such was the silence and celerity of the march, that 
he crossed the Tyne near Branspeth, and was not dis- 
covered by the English garrisons to be in the heart of 
this rich and populous district, until the smoke of the 
flaming villages, and the terror of the people, carried 
the first news of his arrival to the city of Durham. 
Nor did the English dare at present to oppose him, 
imagining his force to be the advanced guard of the 
main army of the Scots : a natural supposition, for the 
capture of their spy had left them in ignorance of the 
real designs of the enemy. Douglas, therefore, plun- 
dered w^ithout meeting an enemy; whilst Sir Henry 
Percy, better known by his name of Hotspur, and his 
brother Ralph, the two sons of the Earl of Northum- 
berland, along with the Seneschal of York, the Cap- 
tain of Berwick, Sir Mathew Redman, Sir Ralph Mow- 
bray, Sir John Felton, Sir Thomas Grey, and numer- 
ous other Border barons, kept themselves, with their 
whole power, within the barriers of Newcastle,* and 
the Earl of Northumberland collected his strenath at 

Meanwhile, having wasted the country as far as the 
gates of Durham, the Scottish leaders returned to 
Newcastle with a rapidity equal to their advance, and 
in the spirit of the times, determined to tarry there 

* Winton, vol. ii. p. 338. Froissart, par Buchon, vol. xi. p. 377. 


two days, and try the courage of tlie Englisli knights. 
The names of Percy and of Doughas were at this time 
famous: Hotspur having the reputation of one of the 
hravest soldiers in England, and the Earl of Douglas, 
although his younger in years, being little inferior in 
the estimation in which his military prowess was held 
amongst his countrymen. In the skirmishes which 
took place at the barriers of the town, it happened that 
these celebrated soldiers came to be personally opposed 
to each other; and after an obstinate contest, Douglas 
won the pennon of the English leader, and boasted 
aloud, before the knights who were present, that he 
would carry it to Scotland, and plant it, as a proof of 
his prowess, on his castle of Dalkeith. " That, so help 
me God!" cried Hotspur, "no Dougl?.s shall ever do; 
and ere you leave Northumberland you shall have small 
cause to boast.'''' — " Well, Henry,'" answered Douglas, 
" your pennon shall this night be placed before my 
tent; come and win it if you can V* 

Such was the nature of this defiance ; and Douglas 
knew enough of Percy to be assured that, if possible, 
he would keep his word. He commanded, therefore, 
a strict watch to be maintained; struck the pennon 
into the ground in front of his tent, and awaited the 
assault of the Enfrlish. There were occasions, how- 
ever, in which the bravadoes of chivalry gave way to 
the stricter rules of war; and as the English leaders 
still entertained the idea that Douglas only led the van 
of the main army, and that his object was to draw them 
from their entrenchments, they insisted that Percy 
should not hazard an attack which might bring them 
into jeopardy. The Scots, accordingly, after in vain 
expecting an attack, left their encampment, and pro- 

* Froissart, par Buohon, vol. xi. pp. 377. 

13SS. ROBERT II. 47 

ceeded on their way. Passing by the tower of Ponte- 
land, they carried it by storm, razed it to the ground, 
and still continuing their retreat, came, on the second 
day, to the village and castle of Otterburn, situated 
in Redesdale,* and about twelve miles from Newcastle. 
This castle was strongly fortified, and the first day 
resisted every attack; upon which most of their leaders, 
anxious not to lose time, but to carry their booty across 
the Borders, proposed to proceed into Scotland. 

Douglas alone opposed this, and entreated them to 
remain a few days and make themselves masters of the 
castle, so that in the interval they might give Henry 
Percy full time, if he thought fit, to reach their en- 
campment, and fulfil his promise. This they at length 
agreed to ; and having skilfully chosen their encamp- 
ment, they fortified it in such a way as should give 
them oreat advantage in the event of an attack. In 
its front, and extending also a little to one side, was a 
marshy level, at the narrow entrance of which were 
placed their carriages and wagons laden with plunder 
and behind them the horses, sheep, and cattle which 
they had driven away with them. These were com- 
mitted to the charge of the sutlers and camp-followers, 
who, although poorly armed, were able to make some 
resistance with their staves and knives. Behind these, 
on firm ground, which was on one side defended by the 
marsh, and on the other flanked by a small w^ooded 
hill, were placed the tents and temporary huts of the 
leaders and the men-at-arms; and having thus taken 
every precaution against a surprise, they occupied them- 
selves during the day in assaulting the castle, and at 
night retired within their encampment. "|* But this 

* Winton, vol. li. pp. 339, 340. 

f Froissart, par Buchon, vol. xi. p. 385. 


did not long continue. By tliis time it became gene- 
rally known that Douglas and his little army were 
wholly unsupported; and the moment that Percy as- 
certained the fact, and discovered that the Scottish 
earl lay encamped at Otterburn, he put himself at the 
head of six hundred lances, and eight thousand foot, 
and, without waiting for the Bishop of Durham, who 
was advancing with his power to Newcastle, marched 
straight to Otterburn, at as rapid a rate as his infantry 
could bear.* 

Hotspur had left Newcastle after dinner, and the 
sun was set before he came in sight of the Scots en- 
campment. It was a placid evening in the month of 
August, which had succeeded to a day of extreme heat, 
and the greater part of the Scots, worn out with an 
unsuccessful attack upon the castle, had taken their 
supper and fallen asleep. In a moment they were 
awakened by a cry of " Percy, Percy !" and the Eng- 
lish, trusting that they could soon carry the encamp- 
ment from the superiority of their numbers, attacked 
it with the greatest fury. They were checked, how- 
ever, by the barrier of wagons, and the brave defence 
made by the servants and camp-followers, which gave 
the knights time to arm, and enabled Douglas and the 
leaders to form the men-at-arms before Hotspur could 
reach their tents. The excellence of the position chosen 
by the Scottish earl was now apparent ; for, taking 
advantage of the ground, he silently and rapidly defiled 
round the wooded eminence already mentioned, which 
completely concealed his march, and when the greater 
part of the English were engaged in the marsh, sud- 
denly raised his banner, and set upon them in flank. 
It was now night; but the moon shone brightly, and 

* Froissart, par Buchon, vol. xi. p. 384. 

1388. ROBERT II. 49 

the air was so clear and calm, that the light was almost 
equal to the day. Her quiet rays, however, fell on a 
dreadful scene ; for Percy became soon convinced that 
he had mistaken the iodgings of the servants for those 
of their masters; and, chafed at the disappointment, 
drew back his men on firm ground, and encountered 
the Scots with the utmost spirit. He was not, indeed, 
so w^ell supported as he might have been, as a large 
division of the English under Sir Mathew Redman 
and Sir Robert Ogle,* having made themselves mas- 
ters of the encampment, had begun to plunder, and 
his own men were fatigued with their march; whilst 
the Scots, under Douglas, Moray, and March, were 
fresh and well-breathed. Yet- with all these disadvan 
tages, the English greatly outnumbered the enemy; 
and in the temper of their armour and their weapons 
were far their superior. -[- 

For many hours the battle raged with undiminished 
fury; banners rose and fell; the voices of the knights 
shouting their war-cries, were mingled with the shrieks 
and groans of the dying, whilst the ground, covered 
with dead bodies and shreds of armour, and slipperv 
with blood, scarce afforded room for the combatants, 
so closely were they engaged, and so obstinately was 
every foot of earth contested. It was at this time that 
Douglas, wielding a battle-axe in both hands, and fol 
lowed only by a few of his household, cut his way 
into the press of English knights, and throwing him- 
self too rashly upon the spears, was borne to the eartli, 
and soon mortally wounded in the head and neck. 
Yet at this time none knew who had fallen, for the 
English pressed on ; and a considerable interval elapsed 

■* Winton, vol. ii. p. 340. 
+ Froissart, par Buchon, vol. xi. p. 389. 


before the Earls of March and Moray again forced 
them to 2,ive back, and cleared the spot vvhere Douglas 
lay bleeding. Sir James Lindsay was the first to dis- 
cover his kinsman ; and, running up hastily, eagerly 
inquired how it fared with him. " But poorly,"" said 
Douglas. " I am dying in my armour, as my fathers 
have done, thanks be to God, and not in my bed ; but 
if you love me, raise my banner and press forward, for 
he who should bear it lies slain beside me." Lindsay 
instantly obeyed ; and the banner of the crowned heart 
aixain rose amid the cries of " DouMas ! "" so that the 
Scots believed their leader was still in the field, and 
pressed on the English ranks with a courage which at 
last compelled them to give way.* Hotspur, and his 
brother Sir Ralph Percy, surrendered after a stout 
resistance ; and along with them nearly the whole 
chivalry of Northumberland and Durham were either 
slain or taken. Amongst the prisoners w^ere the Sene- 
schal of York, the Captain of Berwick, Sir Mathew 
Redman, Sir Ralph Langley, Sir Robert Ogle, Sir 
John Lilburn, Sir Thomas Walsingham, Sir John 
Felton, Sir John Copland, Sir Thomas Abingdon, and 
many other knights and gentlemen,-f- whose ransom 
was a source of great and immediate wealth to the 
Scots. There were slain on the English side about 
eighteen hundred and sixty men-at-arms, and a thou- 
sand were grievously wounded. J We are informed by 
Froissart, that he received his account of this expedi- 
tion from EnMish and Scottish kniohts who were 
engaged in it ; and " of all the battles," says he, "which 
I have made mention of heretofore in this history, this 

* Froissart, par Buchon, vol. xi. pp. 393, 394, 395. Winton, vol. ii. pp. 
3-iO, 341, 34-_'. 

t Froissart, par Buchon, vol. xi. p. 398. + Ibid. vol. xi. p. 420. 

1.388. ROBERT II. 51 

of Otterburn was the bravest and the best contested; 
for there was neither knight nor squire but acquitted 
himself nobly, doing well his duty, and fighting hand 
to hand, without either stav or faintheartedness." 
And as the English greatly outnumbered the Scots, 
so signal a victory was much talked of, not only in both 
countries, but on the continent.* 

The joy which was naturally felt upon such an occa- 
sion, was greatly overclouded by the death of Douglas. 
His conduct became the theme of universal praise; 
and his loss was the more lamented, as he had fallen 
in this heroic manner in the prime of manhood. All 
the soldiers mourned for him as their dearest friend; 
and the march to Scotland resembled more a funeral 
procession than a triumphant progress, for in the 
midst of it moved the car in which was placed the body 
of this brave man. In this manner was it conveyed by 
the army to the Abbey of Melrose, where they buried 
him in the sepulchre of his fathers, and hung his banner, 
torn and soiled with blood, over his grave.*!" 

The causes of this defeat of Hotspur, by a force 
greatly his inferior, are not difficult to be discovered. 
They are to be found in the excellent natural position 
chosen by Douglas for his encampment; in the judi- 
cious manner in which it had been fortified; and in the 
circumstance of Percy attempting to carry it at first by 
a coup-de-main; thus rendering his archers, that por- 
tion of the Enoiish force which had ever been most 
decisive and destructive in its effects, totally useless.^ 
The difficulties thrown in the way of the English by 
the intrenchment of wagons, and the defence of the 

* Froissart, par Buclion, vol. xi. p. 401. \ Ibid. vol. xi. p. 422. 

X Ibid. vol. xi. p. 38.9. " Et etoient si joints Pun a I'autre et si attaches, 
que trait d''archers de nul cote ny avoit point de lieu." 


camp followers, were of the utmost consequence in 
gaining: time; and the subsequent victory forms a 
striking* contrast to the dreadful defeat sustained by 
the Scots at Dupplin, in consequence of the want of 
any such precaution.* Even at Otterburn, the leaders, 
who were sittinjr in their gowns and doublets at sup- 
per when the first alarm reached them, had to arm in 
extreme haste; so that Douglas\s harness was in many 
places unclapsed, and the Earl of Moray fought all night 
without his helmet ;-|- but minutes, in such circum- 
stances, were infinitely valuable, and these were gained 
by the strength of the camp. One circumstance con- 
nected with the death of Douglas is too characteristic of 
the times to be omitted. His chaplain, a priest of the 
name of Lundie, had followed him to the war, and fought 
during the whole battle at his side. When his body 
was discovered, this warrior clerk was found bestriding 
his dying master, wielding his battle-axe, and defending 
him from injury. He became afterwards Archdeacon 
of North Berwick. J 

On hearing of the defeat at Otterburn, the Bishop 
of Durham, who, soon after Percy\s departure, had 
entered Newcastle with ten thousand men, attempted, 
at the head of this force, to cut off the retreat of the 
Scots ; but, on coming up with their little army, he 
found they had again intrenched themselves in the 
same strong position, in which they could not be 
attacked without manifest risk ; and he judged it 
prudent to retreat, § so that they reached their own 
country without further molestation. So many noble 
prisoners had not been carried into Scotland since the 
days of Bruce ;|| for although Hotspur''s force did not 

* Historj', supra, vol. ii. p. 12. "j- Winton, vol, ii. p. 38.9. 

X Froissart, par Buchon, vol. xi. p. 3.93. § Ibid. vol. xi. p. 419. 

II Winton, vol. ii. p. 343, 

1388. ROBERT 11. 5.3 

amount to nine tliousand men, it included tlie flower 
of the EnMish Border baronao-e. The reniainino: divi- 
sion of the Scots, under the Earl of Fife, amounting, 
as we have seen, to more than a third part of the whole 
army, broke into England by the west marches, accord- 
ing to the plan already agreed on ; and after an inroad, 
attended by the usual circumstances of devastation and 
plunder, being informed of the successful conclusion of 
the operations on the eastern border, returned without 
a check to Scotland. 

It is impossible not to agree with Froissart, that 
there never was a more chivalrous battle than this of 
Otterburn : the singular circumstances under which it 
was fought, in a sweet moonlight night;* the heroic 
death of Douglas; the very name of Hotspur; all con- 
tribute to invest it wdth that character of romance, so 
seldom coincident with the cold realities of history; and 
we experience, in its recital, something of the sentiment 
of Sir Philip Sidney, "who never could hear the song of 
the Douglas and Percy without having his heart stirred 
as with the sound of a trumpet.*'*' But it ought not to be 
forgotten, that it was solely a chivalrous battle: it had 
nothing great in its motive, and nothing great in its 
results. It differs as widely, in this respect, from the 
battles of Stirling and Bannockburn, and from the 
many contests which distinguish the war of liberty, as 
the holy spirit of freedom from the petty ebullitions of 
national rivalry, or the desire of plunder and revenge. 
It was fought at a time when England had abandoned 
all serious designs against the independence of the 
neighbouring country; when the king, and the great 
body of the Scottish people, earnestly desired peace; 

* It was fought on "Wednesday, 5th August. Macpherson's Notes on "Win - 
ton, voL ii. p. 516. 


and when the accomplishment of this desire would have 
been a real blessinc: to the nation: but this blessinor 
the Scottish nobles, who, like their feudal brethren of 
England and France, could not exist without public 
or private war, did not appreciate, and had no ambition 
to see realized. The war oriijinated in the character 
of this class, and the principles which they adopted; 
and the power of the crown, and the influence of the 
commons, were yet infinitely too feeble to check their 
authority: on the contrary, this domineering power 
of the great feudal families was evidently on the in- 
crease in Scotland, and led, as we shall see in the 
sequel, to dreadful results. 

But to return from this digression. The age and 
indolence of the king, and his aversion to business, 
appear to have now increased to a height which ren- 
dered it necessary for the parliament to interfere ; and 
the bodily weakness of the Earl of Carrick, the heir- 
apparent, who had been injured by the kick of a horse, 
made it impossible that much active management 
should be intrusted to him. From necessity, more 
than choice or affection, the nation next looked to 
Robert's second son, the Earl of Fife; and in a meet- 
ins: of the three Estates, held at Edinburo-h in 1389, 
the king willingly retired from all interference with 
public affairs, and committed the office of governor of 
the kingdom to this ambitious and intriguing man, 
who, at the mature age of fifty, succeeded to the com- 
plete management of the kingdom.* A deep selfishness, 
which, if it secured its own aggrandizement, little re- 
garded the means employed, was the prominent feature 
in the character of the new regent. His faults, too, 
•were redeemed by few great qualities, for he possessed 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 414. lie died in 1419, aged eighty. 

1389. ROBERT II. 55 

little military talent ; and although his genius forciyil 
government has been extolled bj our ancient historians, 
his first public act was one of great weakness. 

Since the defeat at Otterburn, and the capture of 
Hotspur, the Earl Marshal, to whom the English king 
had committed the custody of the marches, had been 
accustomed to taunt and provoke the Scottish Bor- 
derers to renew the quarrel, and had boasted, that he 
would be ready to give them battle, if they would meet 
him in a fair field, thousfh their numbers should double 
his. These were the natural and foolish ebullitions 
that will ever accompany any great defeat, and ought 
to have been overlooked by the governor; but, instead 
of this, he affected to consider his knightly character 
involved; and prepared to sacrifice the true interests 
of the country, which loudly called for peace, to his 
own notions of honour. An army was assembled, 
which Fife conducted in person, having along with him 
Archibald Douglas, and the rest of the Scottish nobles. 
With this force they passed the marches, and sent 
word to the Earl Marshal, that they had accepted his 
challenge, and would expect his arrival; but, with 
superior wisdom, he declined the defiance ; and, hav- 
ing intrenched himself in a strong position, refused to 
abandon his advantage, and proposed to wait their 
attack. This, however, formed no part of the project 
of the Scots, and they returned into their own coun- 
try.* In such absurd bravadoes, resembling more the 
quarrels of children than any grave or serious contest, 
did two great nations employ themselves, misled by 
those ridiculous ideas which had arisen out of the sys- 
tem of chivalry, whose influence was now paramount 
throughout Europe. 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 414. Winton, vol. ii. p. 34G. 


Not long after tliis, a three-years'' truce having been 
concluded at Boulogne between England and France, 
a mutual embassy of French and English knights 
arrived in Scotland, and, having repaired to the court, 
wliich was then held at Dunfermline, prevailed upon 
the Scots to become parties to this cessation of hosti- 
lities; so that the king, who, since his accession to the 
throne, had not ceased to desire peace, enjoyed the 
comfort of at last seeing it, if not permanently settled, 
at least in the course of being established.* He re- 
tired, soon after, to one of his northern castles at Dun- 
donald, in Ayrshire, where, on the thirteenth JNIay, 
1390, he died at the age of seventy-four, in the twen- 
tieth year of his reign."!- The most prominent features 
in the character of this monarch have been already 
described. That he was indolent, and fond of enjoy- 
ing himself in the seclusion of his northern manors, 
whilst he injudiciously conferred too independent a 
power upon his turbulent and ambitious sons, cannot 
be denied; but it ought not to be forgotten, that, at a 
time when the liberties of the country w^ere threatened 
with a total overthrow, the Steward stood forward in 
their defence, with a zeal and energy which w^ere emi- 
nently successful, and that he was the main instru- 
ment in defeating the designs of David the Second 
and Edward the Third, when an English prince was 
attempted to be imposed upon the nation. The policy 
he pursued, after his accession, so far as the character of 
the king was then allowed to influence the government, 
were essentially pacific; but the circumstances in which 
the nation was placed were totally changed; and to 

* Rotuli Scotiae, vol. ii. pp. 89, 99. 

+ Winton, vol. ii, pp. 3.50, 351. Some fine remains of this ancient castle 
still exist. Stat. Account, vol. vii. p. G19. 

1390. ROBERT II. 57 

maintain peace between the two countries became then 
as much the object of a wise governor, as it formerly 
had been his duty to continue the war. Unfortunately, 
the judgment of the king was not permitted to have 
that influence to which it was entitled: and many years 
were yet to run before the two nations had their eyes 
opened, to discern the principles best calculated to pro- 
mote their mutual prosperity. 

Durins: the whole course of this reio^n, the as^riculture 
of Scotland appears to have been in a lamentable con- 
dition; a circumstance to be traced, no doubt, to the 
constant interruption of the regular seasons of rural 
labour; the ravages committed by foreign invasion, and 
the havoc which necessarily attended the passage even 
of a Scottish army from one part of the country to an- 
other. The proof of this is to be found in the frequent 
licenses which were granted by the English king, allow- 
ing the nobles and the merchants of Scotland to import 
grain into that country, and in the fact that the grain 
for the victualling of the Scottish castles, then in the 
hands of the English, was not unfrequently brought 
from Ireland.* But the commercial spirit of the coun- 
try during this reign was undoubtedly on the increase ; 
and the trade which it carried on with Flanders appears 
to have been conducted with much enterprise and acti- 
vity. Mercer, a Scottish merchant, during his residence 
in France, was, from his great w^ealth, admitted to the 
favour and confidence of Charles the Sixth; and, on 
one occasion, the cargo of a Scottish merchantman, 
which had been captured by the English, was valued 
as high as seven thousand marks, an immense sum for 
those remote times. '[• The staple source of export 

* Rotuli Scotice, vol. i. pp. 963, 965, 966, 968, 975. 
i" Walsingham, p. 239. 


wealth continued to consist in wool, hides, skins, and 
wool-fells. We have the evidence of Froissart, who 
had himself travelled in the country, that its homo 
manufactures were in a very low condition. 






Kinjs of England. 
Richard II. 
Henry IV. 
Henry V. 


Kings of France. 
Charles VI. 
Charles VII. 

Rome. (Popes.) Avigiion. 

Boniface IX. 
Innocent VII. 
Gregory XII. 
Alexander V. 
John XXIII. 
Martin V. 

Clement VII. 
Benedict XIII. 

The remains of Robert the Second were committed to 
the sepulchre in the Abbey of Scone; and on the 14th 
August, 1390, being the morning succeeding the funeral, 
the coronation of his successor, John earl of Carrick, 
took place, with circumstances of great pomp and so- 
lemnity.* Next day, which was the Assumption of 
the Virgin, his wife, Annabella Drummond countess 
of Carrick, a daughter of the noble house of Drum- 
mond, was crowned queen; and on the following morn- 
ing, the assembled prelates and nobles, amidst a great 
concourse of the people, took their oaths of allegiance, 
when it was agreed that the king should change his 
name to that of Robert the Third; the appellative 

* Winton, vol. ii. pp. 361 , 362. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 41 8. Chara- 
beriam Accounts, vol. ii, p. 196. The funeral expenses amounted to £253, 
19s. 9d. 


John, from its associations witli l^aliol, being con- 
sidered ominous and unpopular. 

The character of the monarch was not essentially 
different from that of liis predecessor. It was amiable, 
and far from wanting in sound sense and discretion ; 
but the accident which had occasioned his lameness, un- 
fitted him for excelling in those martial exercises which 
were then necessary to secure the respect of his no- 
bility, and compelled him to seek his happiness in pacific 
pursuits, and domestic endearaients, more likely to 
draw upon him the contempt of his nobles, than any 
more kindly feelings. The name of king, too, did not 
bring with it, in this instance, that high hereditary 
liouour which, had Robert been the representative of 
a long line of princes, must necessarily have attached 
to it. He was only the second king of a new race ; 
the proud barons who surrounded his throne had but 
lately seen his father and himself in their own rank ; 
had associated with them as their equals, and were 
little prepared to surrender, to a dignity of such recent 
creation, the homage or the awe which the person on 
whom it had fallen did not command by his own vir- 
tues. Yet the king appears to have been distinguished 
by many admirable qualities. He possessed an in- 
flexible love of justice, and an affection for his people, 
which were evinced by every measure where he was 
suffered to follow the dictates of his own heart; he was 
aware of the miseries which the country had suffered 
by the long continuance of war, and he saw clearly that 
peace was the first and best blessing which his govern- 
ment could bestow, and for the establishment and 
continuance of which almost every sacrifice should be 
made. The soundness of these views could not be 
doubted. They were the db.'tates of a clear and correct 

J. 3.90. ROBERT III. 61 

thinking mind, which, confined by circumstances to 
thoiiahtfulness and retirement, had discovered the most 
judicious Hne of policy, when all around it was turbu- 
lence and error, and a few centuries later they would 
have been hailed as the hio-hest virtues in a sovereii^n. 
But Robert was w^antins: in that combination of 
qualities which could alone have enabled him to bring 
these higher principles into action ; and this is ex- 
plained in a single word, when it has been said he was 
unwarlike. The sceptre required to be held in a firm 
hand ; and to restrain the outrages of a set of nobles so 
haughty as those who then domineered over Scotland, 
it w^as absolutely necessary that the king should possess 
somewhat of that fierce energy w^hich distinguished 
themselves. Irresolution, timidity, and an anxious 
desire to conciliate the affection of all parties, induced 
him to abandon the most useful designs, because they 
opposed the selfishness, or threatened to abridge the 
power, of his barons ; and this weakness of character 
was ultimately productive of fatal effects in his o^vn 
family, and throughout the kingdom. It happened 
also, unfortunately for the peace of the community, 
that his father had delegated the chief power of the 
state to his brothers, the Earls of Fife and of Buchan, 
committingthe general management of all public affairs, 
with the title of Governor, to the first ;* and permit- 
ting the Earl of Buchan to rule over the northern parts 
of the kingdom, with an authority little less than regal. 
The first of these princes had long evinced a restless am- 
bition, which had been increased by the early possession 
of power ; but his character began now to discover those 
darker shades of crime, which grew^ deeper as he 
advanced in years. The Earl of Buchan, on the other 

* Chamberlain Accounts, vol. ii. pp. 165, 192. 


hand, was little less tlian a cruel and ferocious savan-e, 
a species of Celtic Attila, whose common appellation 
of the " Wolf of Badenoch,"" is sufficiently characteristic 
of the dreadful attributes which composed his character, 
and who issued from his lair in the north, like the devoted 
instrument of the divine wrath, to scourire and afflict 
the nation. 

On the morning after the coronation, a little incident 
occurred, which is indicative of the gentle character of 
the king, and illustrates the simple manners of the times. 
The fields and inclosures round the monastery had been 
destroyed by the nobles and their retinue ; and as it 
liappened during the harvest, when the cj;ops were ripe, 
the mischief fell heavily on the monks. A canon of 
the order, who filled the office of storekeeper, demanded 
an audience of the king, for the purpose of claiming 
gome compensation; but on announcing his errand the 
chamberlain dismissed him with scorn. The mode in 
which he reven^^ed himself was whimsical and extra- 
ordinarv. Earlv on the morninsr after the coronation, 
before the king had awoke, the priest assembled a mot- 
ley multitude of the farm-servants and villaoei-s belon;r- 
ing to the monastery, who, bearing before them an image 
stuffed with straw, and armed with the drums, horns, 
and rattles which they used in their rustic festivals, 
took their station under the windows of the royal bed- 
chamber, and at once struck up such a peal of yells, 
horns, rattles, and dissonant music, that the court awoke 
in terror and dismay. The priest who led the rout was 
instantly dragged before the king, and asked what he 
meant. " Please your majesty," said he, " what you 
have just heard are our rural carols, in which we indulge 
when our corps are brought in ; and as you and your 
nobles have spared us the trouble and expense of cutting 
them down this season, we thought it grateful to give 

1390. ROBERT III. 63 

you a specimen of our harvest jubilee." The freedom 
and sarcasm of the answer would have been instantly 
punished by the nobles ; but the king understood and 
pardoned the reproof, ordered an immediate inquiry 
into the damage done to the monastery, and not only 
paid the full amount, but applauded the humour and 
coura2:e of the ecclesiastic* 


It was a melancholy proof of the gentle and indolent 
character of this monarch that, after his accession to 
the throne, the general management of affairs, and 
even the name of Governor,*!- were still intrusted to 
the Earl of Fife, who for a while continued to pursue 
such measures as seemed best calculated for the pre- 
servation of the public prosperity. The truce of 
Leilinghen, which had been entered into between 
France and England, in 1.389, and to which Scotland 
had become a party, was again renewed, J and at the 
same time it was thought expedient that the league 
with France, concluded between Charles the Sixth and 
Robert the Second, in 1371, should be prolonged and 
ratified by the oath of the King,§ so that the three 
countries appeared to be mutually desirous of peace. 
Upon the part of England, every precaution seems to 
have been taken to prevent any infractions of the truce. 
The Scottish commerce was protected ; all injuries 
committed upon the Borders were directed to be inves- 
tigated and redressed by the Lords Wardens ; safe 
conducts to the nobles, the merchants, and the students 
of Scotland, w^ho were desirous of residino: in or tra- 
veiling through England, were readily granted ; and 
every inclination was shown to pave the way for the 

* Fordnn a Heame, vol. iv. pp. 1111, 1112. 

+ ChamberIainAccounts,Yol.ii.p.l 65. " Et Comiti de Fyf: Custodiregni 
pro officio Custodis percipient : mille marcasper annum." Ibid. pp. 261, 267. 

J Rymer, Foedera, vol. vii. p. 622. Rotuli Scotite, vol. ii. pp. 103, 105. 

§ Records of the Parliament of Scotland, sub anno 1390, p. 136, Rotuli 
Scotiae, vol. ii. p. 98. 


settlement of a lasting peace.* Upon the part of 
Scotland, these wise measures were met by a spirit 
equally conciliatory; and for eight years, the period 
for which tlie truce was prolonged, no important 
warlike operations took place : a blessed and unusual 
cessation, in which the country began to breathe anew, 
and to devote itself to the pursuits of peace. 

So happy a state of things was first interrupted by 
the ferocity of the " Wolf of Badenoch," and the dis- 
orders of the northern parts of the kingdom. On 
some provocation given to Buchan by the Bishop of 
Moray, this chief descended from his mountains, and, 
after laying waste the country, with a sacrilege which 
excited unwonted horror, sacked and plundered the 
cathedral of Elgin, carrying off its chalices and vest- 
ments, polluting its shrines with blood, and, finally, 
setting fire to the noble pile, which, wdth the adjoining 
houses of the canons, and the neighbouring town, were 
burnt to the ground.-|- This exploit of the father, was 
only a signal for a more serious incursion, conducted 
by his natural son, Duncan Stewart, whose manners 
were worthy of his descent, and who, at the head of a 
wild assemblao-e of ketherans, armed only with the 
sword and target, broke across the range of hills which 
divide the counties of Aberdeen and Forfar, and began 
to destroy the country, and murder the inhabitants, 
with reckless and indiscriminate cruelty. Sir Walter 
Ogilvy, then Sheriff of Angus, along with Sir Patrick 
Gray, and Sir David Lindsay of Glenesk, instantly 
collected their power, and, although far inferior in 
numbers, trusting to the temper of their armour, 

* Rotuli Scotis, vol. ii. pp. 99, 100, 101, 103, 105. 
+ Winton, vol. ii. p. 3GiJ. Keith's Catalogue, p. 83. See ChamberlaJn 
Accounts, vol. ii. p. '655 

1S90-8. ROBERT III. 65 

attacked the mountaineers at Gasklune, near the 
Water of Ila.* But they were almost instantly 
overwhelmed, the Highlanders fio:htins with a ferocity, 
and a contempt of life, which seem to have struck a 
panic into their steel-clad assailants. Ogilvy, with 
his brother, Wat of Lichtoune, Young of Ouchterlony, 
the Lairds of Cairncross, Forfar, and Guthry, were 
slain, and sixty men-at-arms along with them ; whilst 
Sir Patrick Gray and Sir David Lindsay were griev- 
ously wounded, and with difficulty carried off the field. 
The indomitable fierceness of the mountaineers is 
strikingly shown by an anecdote preserved by Winton. 
Lindsay had pierced one of these, a brawny and 
powerful man, through the body with his spear, and 
thus apparently pinned him to the earth ; but al- 
though mortally wounded, and in the agonies of 
death, he writhed himself up by main strength, and, 
with the weapon in his body, struck Lindsay a des- 
perate blow with his sword, which cut him through 
the stirrup and steel-boot into the bone, after which 
his assailant instantly sunk down and expired. *[" 

These dreadful excesses, committed by a brother 
and nephew of the king, called for immediate redress ; 
and it is a striking evidence of the internal weakness 
of the government, that they passed unheeded, and 
were succeeded by private feuds amongst the nobility, 
with whom the most petty disputes became frequently 
the causes of cruel and deadly revenge. A quarrel of 
this kind had occurred between the Lady of Fivy, 
wife to Sir David Lindsay, and her nephew Robert 

* Winton, Chron. vol. ii. pp. 368, 369. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 420. 
Glenbreret, where this "writer affirms the battle to have been fought, is Glen- 
brierachan, about eleven miles north of Gasklune. Macpherson's Notes on 
Winton, p. 517. 

f Winton, vol. ii. p. 369. Extracta ex Chronicis Scotiae, MS. folio 240 



Keith, a baron of great power. It arose from a trifling 
misunderstanding between some masons and the 
servants of Kcitli regarding a water-course, but it 
concluded in tliis fierce chief besieo-insr his aunt in her 
castle ; upon which Lindsa}'', who was then at court, 
flew to her rescue, and encounterino; Keith at Garvv- 
ach, compelled him to raise the siege, with the loss of 
sixty of his men, who were slain on the spot.* 

Whilst the government was disgraced by the occur- 
rence of such deliberate acts of private war in the 
low country, the Highlanders prepared to exhibit an 
extraordinary spectacle. Two numerous clans, or 
septs, known by the names of the clan Kay, and the 
clan Quhete,"!" having long been at deadly feud, their 
mutual attacks were carried on with that ferocity, 
which at this period distinguished the Celtic race from 
the more southern inhabitants of Scotland. The ideas 
of chivalry, the factitious principles of that system of 
manners from which we derive our modern code of 
honour, had hitherto made little progress amongst 
them ; but the more intimate intercourse between the 
northern and southern portions of the kingdom, and 
the residence of the lowland barons amongst them, 
appear to have introduced a change ; and the notions 
of the Norman knights becoming more familiar to the 
mountaineers, they adopted the singular idea of decid- 
ing their quarrel by a combat of thirty against thirty. 
This project, instead of discouragement, met with the 
approval of the government, who were happy that a 
scheme should have suggested itself, by which there 
was some prospect of the leaders in those fierce and 

* Winton, vol. ii. p. 372, 

+ Clan Quete or clan Chattan. The clan Kay is thought to have been the 
clan Dhai — the Davidsons, a sept of the M'Pherson. 

1390-8. ROBERT III. 67 

endless disputes being cut off. A day having been 
appointed for the combat, barriers were raised in the 
level ground of the North Inch of Perth, and in the 
presence of the king and a large concourse of the no- 
bility, sixty tall athletic Highland soldiers, armed in 
the fashion of their country, with bows and arrows, 
sword and target, short knives and battle-axes, entered 
the lists, and advanced in mortal array against each 
other ; but at this trying moment the courage of one 
of the clan Chattan faltered, and, as the lines w^re 
closing, he threw himself into the Tay, swam across 
the river, and fled to the woods. All was now at a 
stand : with the inequality of numbers the contest 
could not proceed ; and the benevolent monarch, who 
had suffered himself to be persuaded against his better 
feelings, was about to break up the assembly, when a 
stout burgher of Perth, an armourer by trade, sprung 
within the barriers, and declared, that for half a mark 
he would supply the place of the deserter. The offer 
was accepted, and a dreadful contest ensued. Unde- 
fended by armour, and confined within a narrow space, 
the Hio;hlanders fouo;ht with a ferocitv which nothin"; 
could surpass ; whilst the gashes made by the daggers 
and battle-axes, and the savage yells of the combatants, 
composed a scene altogether new and appalling to many 
French and Enolish knio-hts, who were amono-st the 
spectators, and to whom, it may be easily imagined, 
the contrast between this cruel butchery, and the more 
polished and less fatal battles of chivalry, was striking 
and revolting. At last a single combatant of the clan 
Kay alone remained, whilst eleven of their opponents, 
including the bold armourer, were still able to wield 
their weapons ; upon which the king threw down his 
gage, and the victory was awarded to the clan Quhete. 


The leaders in this savage combat, arc said to have 
been Shaw, the son of Farquhard, who headed the 
clan Kay, and Cristijohnson, wlio headed the victors;* 
but these names, which have been preserved by our 
contemporary chroniclers, are in all probability cor- 
rupted from the original Celtic. After this voluntary 
immolation of their bravest warriors, the Highlanders 
for a long time remained quiet within their mountains; 
and the Earl of INIoray and Sir James Lindsay, by 
whom this expedient for allaying the feuds is said to 
Iiave been encouraged, congratulated themselves on 
the success of their project. Soon after this, the ma- 
nagement of the northern parts of the kingdom-f* w^as 
committed to the care of David earl of Carrick, the 
king's eldest son, who, although still a youth in his 
seventeenth year, and with the faults incident to a 
proud and impatient temper, evinced an early talent 
for government, which, under proper cultivation might 
have proved a blessing to the country. 

For some years after this, the current of events is of 
that quiet character which oSers little prominent or 
interestins;. The weakness of the o-overnment of 
Richard the Second, the frenzy of the French King, 
the pacific disposition of the Scottish monarch, and the 
character of the Earl of Fife, his chief minister, who, 
although ambitious and intriguing, w^as unwarlike, all 
contributed to secure to Scotland the blessing of peace. 
The truce with Enoland was renewed from year to year, 
and the intercourse between the two countries warmly 
encouraged; the nobility, the merchants, the students 

* Winton, vol. ii. pp. 373, 374, and Notes p. 518, Fordun a Goodal, vol. 
ii. p. 420. 

"f Chamberlain Accounts, vol. ii. p. 349. " Et Dno. Comiti de Carrick de 
donacione regis pro expensis suis factis in partibus borealibus per tempus 
compoti : ut patet per literas regis concessas super bas, testante clerico pro- 
bacionis, 40 Ii." 

]S90-8. ROBERT III. 69 

of Scotland, received safe conducts, and travelled into 
England for the purposes of pleasure, business, or study, 
or to visit the shrines of the most popular saints ; and 
the rivalry between the two nations was no longer called 
forth in mortal combats, but in those less fatal contests, 
by which the restless spirits of those times, in the ab- 
sence of real war, kept up their military experience 
by an imitation of it in tilts and tournaments. An 
enthusiastic passion for chivalry now reigned in both 
countries, and, unless we make allowance for the uni- 
versal influence of this singular system, no just estimate 
can be formed of the manners of the times. Barons 
who were sage in council, and high in civil or military 
office, would leave the business of the state, and inter- 
rupt the greatest transactions, to set off upon a tour of 
adventures, having the king''s royal letters, permitting 
them to " perform points of arms, and manifest their 
prowess to the world."' Wortley, an English knight 
of great reputation, arrived in Scotland; and, after a 
courteous reception at court, published his cartel of 
defiance, which was taken up by Sir James Douglas of 
Strathbrock, and the trial of arms appointed to be held 
in presence of the king at Stirling ; but after the lists 
had been prepared, some unexpected occurrence appears 
to have prevented the duel from taking place.* Sir 
David Lindsay of Glenesk, who was then reputed one 
of the best soldiers in Scotland, soon after the accession 
of Robert the Third sent his cartel to the Lord Wells, 
an English knight of the court of Richard the Second, 
which having been accepted, the duel was appointed 
to take place in London in presence of the king. So 
important did Lindsay consider the afiair, that he 

* Chamberlain Acco'ints, vol. ii. p. 366. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 421, 


freighted a vessel belonging to Dundee* to bring him 
from London a new suit of armour; and, when the day 
arrived, at the head of a splendid retinue he entered 
the lists, which were crowded by the assembled nobles 
and beauties of the court. In the first course the Eng- 
lish knight was borne out of his saddle; and Lindsay, 
although rudely struck, kept his seat so firmly, that a 
cry rose amongst tlie crowd, who insisted he was tied 
to his steed, upon wdiich he vaulted to the ground, and, 
although encumbered by his armour, without touching 
the stirrup, again sprung into the saddle. Both the 
knights, after the first course, commenced a desperate 
foot combat with their da2:2:ers, which concluded in the 
total discomfiture of Lord Wells. Lindsay, who was 
a man of great personal strength, having struck his 
dagger firmly into one of the lower joints of his armour, 
lifted him into the air, and gave him so heavy a fall, 
that he lay at his mercy. He then, instead of putting 
him to death, a privilege which the savage laws of these 
combats at entrance conferred upon the victor, cour- 
teously raised him from the ground, and, leading him 
below the ladies'* gallery, delivered him as her prisoner 
to the Queen of England. *!- 

Upon another occasion, in one of those tournaments, 
an accomplished baron, named Piers Courtney, made 
his appearance, who bore upon his surcoat a falcon, with 
the distich, — " I bear a falcon fairest in flycht, wlioso 
prikketh at her his death is dicht, in graith." To his 
surprise he found in the lists an exact imitation of him- 
self in the shapeof a Scottish knight, with the exception, 
that instead of a falcon, his surcoat bore a jay, with 

* Rotuli Scotia?, vol. ii. p, 104. 

+ Winton, vol. ii. pp. 355, 350, 357. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 422. 
Lindsay, in gratitude lor his victory, founded an altar in the parish church 
of Dundee. Extracta ex Chronicis Scotiae, MS. fol. 243. 

1398. ROBERT III. 71 

an inscription ludicrously rhyming to the defiance 
of Courtney, — " I bear a pyet peikand at ane pees,* 
quhasa pykkis at her I sail pyk at his nees,-|- in faith." 
The challenge could not be mistaken; and the knights 
ran two courses as^ainst each other, in each of which 
the helmet of the Scot, from being loosely strapped, 
gave way, and foiled the attaint of Courtney, who, 
having lost two of his teeth by his adversary's spear, 
loudly complained of the occurrence, and insisted that 
the laws of arms made it imperative on both knights 
to be exactly on equal terms. " I am content," said 
the Scot, " to run six courses more on such an agree- 
ment, and let him who breaks it forfeit two hundred 
pounds." The challenge was accepted ; upon which he 
took off his helmet, and, throwing back his thick hair, 
showed that he was blind of an eye, which he had lost 
by a wound in the battle of Otterburn. The agreement 
made it imperative on Courtney to pay the money, or 
to submit to lose an eye ; and it may readily be imagined 
that Sir Piers, a handsome man, preferred the first to 
the last alternative. J 

The title of duke, a dignity originally Norman, had 
been brought from France into England ; and we now 
find it for the first time introduced into Scotland in a 
parliament held by Robert the Third at Perth, on the 
28th of April, 1398.S At this meeting of the Estates, 
the king, with great pomp, created his eldest son David 
earl of Carrick, Duke of Rothesay, and at the same time 
bestowed the dignity of Duke of Albany upon the Earl 
of Fife, to whom, since his accession, he had intrusted 
almost the whole management of public afi'airs.|| The 

* Pees — piece. + Nees — nose. J Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 423. 

§ Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 422. 

II Chamberlain Accounts, vol. ii. p. 421. Et libat: Clerico libacionis, 
domus Dni nostri Regis, ad expensas ipsius domus " factas apud Sconam, et 
apud Perth tempore quo tentum fuit Scaccarium, quo eciam tempore tentura 


age of tlic hcir-apparent rendered any further con- 
tinuance of his delegated authority suspicious and un- 
necessary. Rothesay was now past his twentieth year ; 
and his character, although exhibiting in an immo- 
derate degree the love of pleasure natural to his time 
of life, was yet marked by a vigour which plainly indi- 
cated that he would not long submit to the superiority 
of his uncle Albany. From his earliest years he had 
been the darling of his father, and, even as a boy, his 
household and establishment appear to have been kept 
up with a munificence which was perhaps imprudent ; 
yet the affectionate restraints imposed by his mother 
the queen, and the control of William de Drummond, 
the governor to whose charge his education seems to 
have been committed, might have done much for the 
formation of his character, had he not been deprived 
of both at an early age. It is a singular circumstance, 
also, that the king, although he possessed not resolu- 
tion enough to shake off his imprudent dependence 
upon Albany, evidently dreaded his ambition, and had 
many misgivings for the safety of his favourite son, 
and the dangers by which he wms surrounded. This 
may be inferred from the repeated bands or covenants 
for the support and defence of himself and his son and 
lieir the Earl of Carrick, which were entered into be- 
tween this monarch and his nobles, from the time the 
prince had reached his thirteenth year.* 

These bands, although in themselves not unknown 
to the feudal constitution, yet were new in so far as they 
were agreements, not between subject and subject, but 

fuit consilium Reg: ibidem super multis punctis et articulis necessariis pro 
negotiis regni, et reipublicae, £119, Cs. 4(1," The account goes on to notice 
the creation of the Earl of Carrick as Duke of Rothesay, of Fife as Duke of 
Albany, and of David Lindsay as Earl of Crawford. 
* Chamberlain Accounts, vol. ii. p. 197. 

1398. ROBERT III. 73 

between the kins; and those f^reat vassals who oufrht 
to have been sufficiently bound to support the crown 
and the heir-apparent by the ordinary oaths of homage. 
It is in this light that these frequent feudal covenants, 
by which any vassal of the crown, for a salary settled 
upon him and his heirs, becomes bound to give his 
" service and support" to the sovereign and his eldest 
son the Earl of Carrick, are to be regarded as a new 
feature in the feudal constitution of the country, 
importing an increase in the power of the aristocracy, 
aad a proportional decrease in the strength of the 
crown. There seems, in short, throughout the whole 
reign of David the Second and his successor, to have 
been a gradual dislocation of the parts of the feudal 
government, which left the nobles, far more than they 
had ever yet been, in the condition of so many inde- 
pendent princes, whose support the king could no longer 
compel as a right, but was reduced to purchase by 
pensions. In this way, there was scarce a baron of 
any power or consequence whom Robert had not at- 
tempted to bind to his service, and that of his son. 
The Duke of Albany, Lord Walter Stewart of Brechin 
his brother. Lord Murdoch Stewart, eldest son of 
Albany, and afterwards regent of the kingdom ; Sir 
John Montgomery of Eaglesham, Sir William de Lind- 
say, Sir William Stewart of Jedburgh, and Sir John 
de Ramorgny, were all parties to agreements of this 
nature, in which the king, by a charter, grants to 
them, and in many instances to their children, for the 
whole period of their lives, certain large sums in an- 
nuity, under the condition of their defending the king 
and the Earl of Carrick, in time of peace as well as war.* 

* Chamberlain Accounts, vol. ii. pp. 281, 310, 332, 197, 206, 207, 370, 
495 219. 


We shall soon have an opportunity of observing how 
feeble were such agreements to ensure to the crown the 
support and loyal attachment of the subjects, where 
they happened to counteract any schemes of ambition 
and individual as^sjrandizement. 

In the meantime, the character of that prince, for 
whose welfare and security these alliances were under- 
taken, had begun to exhibit an increasing impatience 
of control, and an eager desire of power. Elegant in 
his person, with a sweet and handsome countenance, 
excelling in all knightly accomplishments, courteous 
and easy in his manners, and a devoted admirer of 
beauty, Rothesay was the idol of the populace ; whilst 
a fondness for poetry, and a considerable acquaintance 
with the literature of the age, gave a superior refine- 
ment to his character, which, as it was little appre- 
ciated by a fierce nobility, probably induced him, in 
his turn, to treat their savage ignorance with contempt. 
He had already, at an early age, been familiarized to 
the management of public business, and had been 
en^ao-ed in the settlement of the disturbed northern 
districts, and employed as a commissioner for compos- 
insr the difterences on the Borders.* His mother, the 
queen, a woman of great sense and spirit, united her 
influence to that of her son; and a strong party was 
formed for the purpose of reducing the power of 
Albany, and compelling him to retire from the chief 
management of affairs, and resign his power into the 
hands of the prince. 

It was represented to the king, and with perfect 
truth, that the kingdom was in a frightful state of 
anarchy and disorder; that the administration of the 
laws was suspended; those who loved peace, and were 

* Chamberlain Accounts, vol. ii. p. 349. Winton, vol. ii. pp. 376, 377. 

1398. ROBERT III. 75 

friends to good order, not knowing where to look for 
support ; whilst, amid the general confusion, murder, 
robbery, and every species of crime, prevailed to an 
alarming and dreadful excess. All this had taken 
place, it was affirmed, in consequence of the misplaced 
trust which had been put into the hands of Albany, 
who prostituted his office of governor to his own selfish 
designs, and purchased the support of the nobles by 
ofi'ering them an immunity for their offences. " If," 
said the friends of the prince, " if it is absolutely 
necessary, from the increasing infirmities of the king, 
that he should delegate his authority to a governor or 
lieutenant, let his power be transferred to him to whom 
it is justly due, the heir-apparent to the throne ; so that 
the country be no longer torn and endangered by the 
ambition of two contending factions, and shocked by 
the indecent and undignified spectacle of perpetual 
disputes in the royal household." These representa- 
tions, and the increasing strength of the party of the 
prince, convinced Albany that it would be prudent for 
the present to give way to the secret wishes of the 
king and the open ambition of Rothesay, and to resign 
that office of governor, which he could no longer retain 
with safety. 

A parliament was accordingly held at Perth on the 
27th of January, 1398, of which the proceedings are 
interesting and important; and it is fortunate that a 
record has been lately discovered,* which contains a 
full account of this meetino; of the three Estates. It 
is declared, in the first place, that the " misgovernance 

* This valuable manuscript Record of the Parliament 1398, was politely 
communicated to me by Mr Thomson, Deputy-clerk Register, to whom we 
owe its discovery. It will be printed in the tirst volume of the Acts of the 
Parliaments of Scotland. It appears not to be an original record, but a con- 
♦-tmporaneous translation from the Latin original, now lost. 


of the realm, and the defaults in the due administration 
of the laws, are to be imputed to the kini^ and his mi- 
nisters;* and, if, therefore, the king chooses to excuse 
his own mismanagement, he is bound to be answerable 
for his oflicers, whom he must summon and arraign 
before his council, whose decision is to be given after 
they have made their defence, seeing no man ought to 
be condemned before he is called and openly accused."" 
After this preamble, in which it is singular at this 
early period to see clearly announced the principle of 
the king"'s responsibility through his ministers, it is 
declared, that since the king, for sickness of his person, 
is not able to labour in the government of the realm, 
norto restrain "tresspassours," the council have judged 
it expedient that the Duke of Rothesay should be the 
king"'s lieutenant generally throughout the land for the 
term of three years, having full power in all things, 
equally as if he were himself the king, under the con- 
dition that he is to be obliged, by his oath, to admi- 
nister the office accordins; to the directions of the 
Council General; or, in absence of the parliament, 
with the advice of a council of experienced and faithful 
men, of whom the principal are to be the Duke of 
Albany, and Walter Stewart lord of Brechin, the 
Bishops of St Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, and 
the Earls of Douglas, Ross, Moray, and Crawford. 
To these were added, the Lord of Dalkeith, the Con- 
stable Sir Thomas Hay, the Marshal Sir William 
Keith, Sir Thomas Erskine, Sir Patrick Graham, Sir 
John Levingston, Sir William Stewart, Sir John of 
Ramorgny, Adam Forester, along with the Abbot of 

* Skene, in his statutes of Robert the Third, p. 59, has suppressed the 
words, " sulde be imputyt to the kyng." His words are, " sulde be imput to 
the king's otEciars." 

■J 398. ROBERT III. 77 

Holyrood, the Archdean of Lothian, and Mr Walter 
Forester. It was next directed, that the different mem- 
bers of this council should take an oath to give to the 
young regent " lele counsail, for the common profit of 
the realm, nocht havande tlierto fede na frendschyp ;" 
and that the duke himself be sworn to fulfil everything 
which the king, in his coronation oath, had promised 
to Holy Kirk and the people. These duties of the 
king w^ere summarily explained to consist in the up- 
right administration of the laws; the maintenance of 
the old manners and customs for the people; the re- 
straining and punishing of all manslayers, reifars, 
brennars, and generally all strong and masterful mis- 
doers; and more especially in the seizing and putting 
down of all cursed or excommunicated men and heretics. 
Such being the full powers committed to the regent, 
provision was made against an abuse very common in 
those times : The king, it was declared, shall be obliged 
not to " let or hinder the prince in the execution of his 
office by any counter orders, as has hitherto happened ; 
and, if such were given, the lieutenant was not to be 
bound either to return an answer, or to obey them. It 
was next directed by the parliament, that whatever 
measures were adopted, or orders issued, in the execu- 
tion of this office, should be committed to writing, with 
the date of the day and place, and the names of the 
councillors by whose advice they were adopted; so that 
each councillor may be ready to answer for his own 
deed, and, if necessary, submit to the punishment, 
which, in the event of its being illegal, should be ad- 
judged by the council-general. It was determined in 
the same parliament, that the prince, in the discharge 
of his duties as lieutenant, was to have the same salary 
allowed him as that given to the Duke of Albany, his 


predecessor, in the office of Regent, at the last council- 
*;-eneral held at Stirling. With regard to the relations 
with foreign powers, it was resolved that an embassy, 
or, as it is singularly called, " a great message," be 
despatched to France; and that commissioners should 
be appointed to treat at Edinburgh of the peace with 
England, to determine whether the truce of twenty- 
eight years should be accepted or not. 

On the subject of finance, a general contribution of 
eleven thousand pounds was raised for the common 
necessities of the kingdom, of which the clergy agreed 
to contribute their share, under protestation that it did 
not prejudice them in time to come; and the said con- 
tribution was directed to be levied upon all goods, cattle, 
and lands, as well demesne as other lands, excepting 
white sheep, riding-horses, and oxen for labour. With 
regard to the burgesses who were resident beyond the 
Forth, it was stated that they must contribute to this 
tax, as well as those more opulent burghers wdio dwelt 
in the south, upon protestation that their ancient laws 
and free customs should be preserved; that they should 
be required to pay only the same duties upon wool, 
hides, and skins, as in the time of King Robert last 
deceased, and be free from all tax upon salmon. The 
statutes which were passed in the council held at Perth, 
in April last, regarding the payment of duties upon 
English and Scots cloth, salt, flesh, grease, and butter, 
as well as horse and cattle, exported to England, were 
appointed to be continued in force; and the provisions 
of the same parliament went on to declare, that, con- 
sidering the "great and horrible destructions, herschips, 
burning, and slaughter, which disgraced the kingdom, 
it was ordained, by consent of the three Estates, that 
every sheriff should make proclamation, that no man 

1398. ROBERT III. 79 

riding or going through the country be accompanied 
with more attendants than they are able to pay for; 
and that, under penalty of the loss of life and goods, 
no man disturb the country by such slaughters, burn- 
ings, raids, and destructions, as had been common under 
the late governor." The act also declared, that, " after 
such proclamation has been made, the sheriff shall use 
all diligence to discover and arrest the offenders, and 
shall bind them over to appear and stand their trial at 
the next Justice ayre: if unable to find bail, they were 
immediately to be put to the knowledge of an assize; 
and, if found guilty, instantly executed." 

With regard to those higher and more darinsr offend- 
ers, whom the power of the sheriff, or his inferior officers, 
was altogether unable to arrest, (and there can be little 
doubt that this class included the greater portion of the 
nobles.) it was provided, that this officer •■' should pub- 
licly declare the names of them that may not be arrested, 
enjoining them within fifteen days to come and find 
bail to appear and stand their trial, under the penalty, 
that all who do not obey this summons shall be put to 
the king''s horn, and their goods and estate confiscated." 
The only other provision of this parliament regarded 
a complaint of the queen-mother, stating, that her pen- 
sion of two thousand six hundred marks had been re- 
fused by the Duke of Albany, the chamberlain, and 
an order by the king that it be immediately paid: a 
manifest proof of the jealousy which existed between 
this ambitious noble and the royal family.* 

Whilst such was the course of events in Scotland, 
and the ambition of Rothesay, in supplanting his uncle 
Albany, was crowned with success, an extraordinary 
event had taken place in'Engiand, which seated Henry 

* MS. Record of Parliameut 1 398, ut supra. 


of Lancaster upon the throne, under tlie title of Henry 
the Fourth, and doomed Richard the Second to a per- 
petual prison. It was a revolution having, in its com- 
mencement, perhaps no higher object than to restrain 
within the limits of law the extravagant pretensions 
of the king; but it was hurried on to a consummation 
by a rashness and folly upon his part, which alienated 
the whole body of his people, and opened up to his rival 
an avenue to the throne, which it was difficult for 
human ambition to resist. The spectacle, however, of 
a king deposed by his nobles, and a crown forcibly 
appropriated by a subject who possessed no legitimate 
title, was new and appalling, and created in Scotland 
a feeling of indignant surprise, which is apparent in 
the accounts of our contemporary historians. Nor was 
this at all extraordinary. The feudal nobility consi- 
dered the kingdom as a fee descendible to heirs, and 
regarded the right to the throne as something very 
similar to their own right to their estates ; so that 
the principle, that a kingdom might be taken by con- 
quest^ on the allegation that the conduct of the king 
was tyrannical, w^as one which, if it gave Henry of 
Lancaster a lawful title, might afford to a powerful 
neighbour just as good a right to seize upon their pro- 
perty. It w^as extraordinary for us to hear, says 
Winton, with much simplicity, that a great and power- 
ful king, who was neither pagan nor heretic, should 
yet be deposed like an old abbot, who is superseded 
for dilapidation of his benefice ;* and it is quite evident, 
from the terms of the address which Henry used at his 
coronation, and his awkward attempt to mix up the 
principle of the king having vacated the throne by set- 
ting himself above the laws, with a vague hereditary 

* AVinton. vol, ii. p. 386. 

1398. ROBERT III. 81 

claim upon his own side, that the same ideas were pre- 
sent to his mind, and occasioned him uneasiness and 

It is well known, that he was scarce seated on the 
throne, when a conspiracy for the restoration of the de- 
posed monarch was discovered, which was soon after 
followed by the news that Richard had died in Ponte- 
fract castle, and by the removal of a body declared to 
be that of the late king from Pomfret to St PauFs, 
where, as it lay in state in its royal shroud, Henry 
himself, and the whole of the nobility, officiated in the 
service for the dead. A report, however, almost imme- 
diately arose, that this was not the body of the king, 
who, it was affirmed, was still alive, but that of Mau- 
delain, his private chaplain, lately executed as one of 
the conspirators, and to whom the king bore a striking 
resemblance. -|* After the funeral service, it is certain 
that Henry did not permit the body to be deposited in 
the tomb which Richard had prepared for himself and 
his first wife, at Westminster, but had it conveyed to 
the church of the preaching friars at King's Langley, 
where it was interred with the utmost secrecy and de- 

Not long after this an extraordinary story arose 
in Scotland. King Richard, it was affirmed, having 
escaped from Pontefract, had found means to convey 
himself, in the disguise of a poor traveller, to the Wes- 
tern, or out Isles of Scotland, where he was acciden- 
tally recognised by a lady who had known him in Ire- 
land, and who was sister-in-law to Donald lord of the 
Isles. Clothed in this mean habit, the unhappy mon- 

* Fordan a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 427. 

•{• Metrical Hist, of the Deposition of Richard the Second. Archseologia, 
Tol. XX. p. 220, 

X Otterburn, p. 229. Walsingham, p. 363. Gough's Sepulchral ]Monn- 
ments, vol. i, p. 1C8. 



arch sat down in the kitchen of the castle belonfrins: 
to this island prince, fearful, even in this remote region, 
of being discovered and delivered up to Henry. He 
was treated, however, with much kindness, and given 
in charge to Lord Montgomery, who carried him to the 
court of Robert the Third, where he was received with 
honour. It was soon discovered, that whatever was 
the history of his escape, either misfortune for the time 
had unsettled his intellect, or that, for the purpose of 
safety, he assumed the guise of madness; for although 
recognised by those to whom his features were familiar, 
he himself denied that he was the king; and AVinton 
describes him as half mad, or wild. It is certain, how- 
ever, that during: the continuance of the reiijn of Ro- 
bert the Third, and, after his death, throughout the 
regency of Albany, a period of nineteen years, this 
mysterious person was treated with the consideration 
befittinc; the rank of a kins:, althouo;h detained in a 
sort of honourable captivity; and it was constantly 
asserted in England and France, and believed by many 
of those best able to obtain accurate information, that 
King Richard was alive, and kept in Scotland. So 
much, indeed, was this the case, that, as we shall im- 
mediately see, the reign of Henry the Fourth, and of 
his successor, was disturbed by repeated conspiracies, 
which were invariably connected with that country, and 
which had for their object his restoration to the throne. 
It is certain also, that in contemporary records of un- 
questionable authenticity, he is spoken of as Richard the 
Second king of England; that he lived and died in the 
palace of Stirling; and that he was buried with the 
name, state, and honours, of that unfortunate monarch.* 
A cloud now began to gather over Scotland, which 

* See Appendix, at the end of this volume. 

1398. ROBERT III. 83 

threatened to interrupt the quiet current of public pro- 
sperity, and once more to plunge the country into war. 
It was thought proper that the Duke of Rothesay, the 
heir-apparent to the throne, should no longer continue 
unmarried; and the Earl of March, one of the most 
powerful nobles in the kingdom, proposed his daughter, 
with the promise of a large dowry, as a suitable match 
for the young prince. The offer was accepted; but, 
before the preliminaries were arranged, March found 
his designs traversed and defeated by the intrigues and 
ambition of a family now more powerful than his own. 
Archibald earl of Douglas loudly complained, that the 
marriage of the heir to the crown w^as too grave a mat- 
ter to be determined without the advice of the three 
Estates, and, with the secret design of procuring the 
prince's hand for his own daughter, engaged in his in- 
terest the Duke of Albany, who still possessed a great 
influence over the character of the kino;. What were 
Rothesay ''s own Welshes upon the occasion is not easily 
ascertained. It is not improbable, that his gay and 
dissipated habits, which unfortunately seem not to have 
been restrained by his late elevation, would have in- 
duced him to decline the proposals of both the earls ; 
but he was overruled: the splendid dowry paid down 
by Douglas, which far exceeded the promises of March, 
was perhaps the most powerful argument in the esti- 
mation of the prince and the king; and it was deter- 
mined that the daughter of Douglas should be preferred 
to Elizabeth of Dunbar. 

In the meantime, the intrigue reached the ears of 
March, who was not of a temper to sufi'er tamely so 
disgraceful a slight; and, little able or caring to con- 
ceal his indignation, he instantly sought the royal pre- 
sence, and upbraided the king for his breach of agree- 


mont, demanding redress, and the restoration of the 
sum which he had paid down. Receiving an cvasivo 
reply, his passion broke out into the most violent lan- 
guage; and he left the monarch with a threat, that he 
would either see his daujjhter riijhted, or take a revencfe 
which should convulse the kingdom. The first part of 
the alternativ^e, however, was impossible. It was soon 
discovered that Rothesay, with great speed and secrecy, 
had rode to Bothwell, where his marriasfo with Eliza- 
betli Douglas had been precipitately concluded ; and the 
moment that this intellifrence reached him, March com- 
mitted the charge of his castle of Dunbar to Maitland 
his nephew, repaired to the English court, and entered 
into a correspondence with the new king. 

His fli2:ht w^as the si2:nal for the Dous^lasses to wrest 
his castle out of the hands of the weak and irresolute 
youth to whom it had been intrusted, and to seize upon 
his noble estates; so that, to the insult and injustice 
with which he had already been treated, was added an 
injury which left him without house or lands, and 
compelled him to throw himself into the arms of Eng- 

On ascendins: the throne, the Duke of Lancaster, 
known henceforth by the title of Henry the Fourth, 
was naturally anxious to consolidate his power, and 
would willingly have remained at peace; but the ex- 
piration of the truce which had been concluded with his 
predecessor seems to have been hailed with mutual sa- 
tisfaction by the fierce Borderers; and careless of the 
pestilence which raged in England, the Scots broke 
acrossthe marches in great force, and stormed the castle 
of Wark, during the absence of Sir Thomas Gray, the 

* Rotuli Scotiae, vol. ii. p. 153. RjTner, Foedera, voL viii. p. 153. 

1S98. ROBERT III. 85 

governor,* who, hurrying back to defend his charge, 
found it razed to the foundation. These inroads were 
speedily revenged by Sir Robert Umfraville, who de- 
feated the Scots in a skirmish at Fullhopelaw, which 
was contested with much obstinacy. Sir Robert Ru- 
therford wdth his five sons, Sir WilKam Stewart, and 
John Turnbull, a famous leader, commonly called "Out 
w^yth Swerd," were made prisoners ;"t* and, the ancient 
enmity and rivalry between the tw'o nations being again 
excited, the Borderers, on both sides issued from their 
woods and marshes, and commenced their usual system 
of cruel and unsparing ravage. 

For a while these mutual excesses were overlooked, 
or referred to the decision of the march- wardens ; but 
Henry was well aware that the secret feelings both of 
the king and of Albany were against him : he knew 
they w^ere in strict alliance with France, which threat- 
ened him with invasion ; and the story of the escape 
of the real or pretended Richard, whom he of course 
branded as an impostor, wdiile the Scots did not scruple 
to entertain him as king, was likely to rouse his keen- 
est indignation. He accordingly received the Earl 
of March with distinguished favour; and this baron, 
whose remonstrances reo^arding: the restoration of his 
castle and estates had been answered with scorn, re- 
nounced his allegiance to his lawful sovereign, and 
agreed to become henceforw^ard the faithful subject of 
the King of England ; J upon wdiich that monarch 
publicly declared his intention of instantly invading 
the country, and prepared, at the head of an army, 
to chastise the temerity of his vassal in the assumed 

* Walsingham, p. 362. 

'\' Rymer, Foedera, vol. viii. p. 162. "This expressive appellative" ap- 
pears in R}Tner, " Joannus TournebuU Out wyth Swerd." 
X R)Tner, Foedera, vol. viii. p. 153. 


character of Lord Superior of Scotland. In so ludi- 
crous a light did tlie revival of this exploded claim 
appear, that, with the exception of a miserable pas- 
quinade, it met with no notice whatever. March, in 
the meantime, in conjunction with Hotspur and Lord 
Thomas Talbot, at the head of two thousand men, 
entered Scotland throu2:h the lands which he could no 
longer call his own, and wasting the country as far as 
the village of Popil, twice assaulted the castle of Hailes, 
but found himself repulsed by the bravery of the gar- 
rison ; after which, they burnt and plundered the vil- 
lages of Traprain and Methill, and encamped at Linton, 
where they collected their booty, kindled their fires, 
and, as it was a keen and cold evening in November, 
proposed to pass the night. So carelessly had they 
set their watches, however, that Archibald Douglas, 
the earFs eldest son, by a rapid march from Edin- 
burMi, had reached the hill of Pencrao; before the 
English received any notice of his approach ; upon 
which they took to flight in the utmost confusion, pur- 
sued by the Scots, who made many prisoners in the 
wood of Coldbrandspath, and continued the chase to 
the walls of Berwick, where they took the banner of 
Lord Talbot.* 

Soon after this, Henry determined to make good 
his threats ; and, at the head of an army far superior 
in number to any force which the Scots could oppose 
to him, proceeded to Newcastle; and from thence sum- 
moned Robert of Scotland to appear before him as his 
liegeman and vassal. ■[- To this ridiculous demand no 
answer was returned, and the king advanced into Scot- 
land, directing his march towards the capital. Rothe- 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 429. 

+ Rymer, Foedera, vol. viii. pp, 157, 158. 

1400. ROBERT III. 87 

say, the governor, now commanded the castle of Edin- 
burgh, and, incensed at the insolence of Henry, sent 
him his cartel, publicly defying him as his adversary 
of England; accusing him of having invaded, for the 
sole love of plunder, a country to which he had no 
title whatever; and offering to decide the quarrel, and 
spare the effusion of Christian blood which must fol- 
low a protracted war, by a combat of one hundred, 
two hundred, or three hundred nobles on each side.* 
This proposal Henry evaded, and proceeded without 
a check to Leith, from which he directed a monitory 
letter to the king, which, hke his former summons, 
was treated with silent scorn. 

The continuance of the expedition is totally deficient 
in historical interest, and is remarkable only from the 
circumstance, that it was the last invasion which an 
Eno'lish monarch ever conducted into Scotland. It 
possessed, also, another distinction highly honourable 
to its leader, in the unusual lenity which attended the 
march of the army, and the absence of that plunder, 
burning, and indiscriminate devastation, which had 
accompanied the last great invasion of Richard, and, 
indeed, almost every former enterprise of the English. 
After havino^ advanced to Leith, where he met his 
fleet, and reprovisioned his army, Henry proceeded 
to lay siege to the castle of Edinburgh, which was 
bravely defended by the Duke of Rothesay. Albany, 
in the meantime, having collected a numerous army, 
pushed on, by rapid marches, towards the capital, with 
the apparent design of raising the siege, and relieving 
the heir to the throne from the imminent danger to 
which he was exposed. On reaching Calder-moor, 
however, he pitched his tents, and showed no inclina- 

* Eymer, Foedera, vol. viii. p. 158. 

88 HISTORY or Scotland. 1400. 

tion to proceed ; whilst public rumour loudly accused 
liim of an intention to betray the prince into the hands 
of the enemy, and clear for himself a passage to the 
throne. Yet, although the prior and subsequent con- 
duct of Albany gave a plausible colour to such re- 
proaches, it is not impossible that the Duke might 
liave avoided a battle without any such base intentions. 
The season of the year was far advanced, and the 
numerous host of the English king w^as already suffer- 
ing grievously, both from sickness and want of provi- 
sions. Rothesay, on the contrary, and his garrison, 
were well provisioned, in high spirits, and ready to 
defend a fortress of great natural strenglh to the last 
extremity. The event showed the wisdom of these 
calculations ; for Henry, after a short experience of 
the strength of the castle, withdrew his army from the 
siege; and receiving, about the same time, intelligence 
of the rebellion of the Welsh, commenced his retreat 
into En2:land. 

It was conducted with the same discipline and mode- 
ration which had marked Jiis advance. Wherever a 
castle or fortalice requested protection, it was instantly 
granted, and a pennon, with the arms of England, 
was hung over the battlements, which w^as sacredly 
respected by the soldiers. Henry's reply to two canons 
of Holyrood, who besought him to spare their monas- 
tery, was in the same spirit of benevolence and cour- 
tesy: "Never," said he, "while I live, shall I cause 
distress to any religious house whatever : and God 
forbid that the monastery of Holyrood, the asylum of 
my father when an exile, should suffer aught from his 
son ! I am myself a Cumin, and by this side half a 
Scot ; and I came here with my army, not to ravage 
the land, but to answer the defiance of certain amongst 

1400. ROBERT III. 89 

you who have branded me as a traitor, to see whether 
tlicy dare to make good the opprobrious epithets with 
which I am loaded in their letters to the French king, 
which were intercepted by my people, and are now 
in my possession. I sought him"' (he here probably 
meant the Duke of Albany) " in his own land, anxious 
to give him an opportunity of establishing his inno- 
cence, or proving my guilt ; but he has not dared to 
meet me/'* 

That these were not the real motives which led to 
an expedition so pompous in its preliminaries, and so 
inglorious in its results, Henry himself has told us, 
in the revival of the claim of homage, the summons to 
E/obert as his vassal, and his resolution to punish his 
contumacy, and to compel him to sue for pardon ; but 
when he discovered that any attempt to effect this 
would be utterly futile, and the rumours of the rebel- 
lion of Glendower made him anxious to return, it was 
not impolitic to change his tone of superiority into 
more courteous and moderate language, and to repre- 
sent himself as coming to Scotland, not as a king to 
recover his dominions, but simply as a knight to avenge 
his injured honour. He afterwards asserted, that, had 
it not been for the false and flattering promises of Sir 
Adam Forester, made to him when he was in Scotland, 
he should not have so readily quitted that country ; 
but the subject to which the king alluded is involved 
in great obscurity.-]- It may, perhaps, have related 
to the delivery into his hands of the mysterious cap- 
tive who is supposed to have been Richard the Second. 

The condition of the country now called for the at- 
tention of the great national council; and, on the 21st 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii, p. 430. 

t Parliamentary Hist, of England, vol. ii. p. 72, 


of February, 1401, a parliament was held at Scone,* in 
which many wise and salutary laws were passed. To 
some of these, as they throw a stronir and clear li^-ht 
upon tlie civil condition of the country, it will be neces- 
sary to direct our attention; nor will the reader, per- 
haps, regret that the stirring narrative of war is thus 
sometimes broken by the quiet pictures of peace. The 
parliament was composed of the bishops, abbots, and 
priors; with the dukes, earls, and barons, and the free- 
holders and buriresses, who held of the kins: in chief. 
Its enactments appear to have related to various subjects 
connected with feudal possession : such as the brief of 
inquest; the duty of the chancellor in directing a pre- 
cept of seisin upon a retour; the prevention of distress 
to vassals from all improper recognition of their lands 
made by their overlords; the retrulation of the laws 
regarding the succession to a younger brother dying 
without heirs of his body; and the prevention of a 
common practice, by which, without consent of the 
vassal, a new superior was illegally imposed upon him. 
Owing to the precarious condition of feudal property, 
which, in the confusions incident to public and private 
war, was [constantly changing its master, and to the 
tyranny of the aristocracy of Scotland, it is not sur- 
prising that numberless abuses should have prevailed, 
and that, to use the expressive language of the record 
itself, " divers and sindrie our soverane lordis lieges 
should be many wayes unjustlie trubled and wexed in 
their lands and heritage be inquisitions taken favorably, 
and be ignorant persons." To remedy such malversa- 
tion, it was enacted, that no sheriff or other judge 
should cause any brief of inquest to be served, except 
in his own open court ; and that the inquest should be 

* Statutes of King Robert the Third, p, 51. Regiam Majestatem. 

1401. ROBERT III. 91 

composed of the most sufficient and worthy persons 
resident within his jurisdiction, whom he was to sum- 
mon upon a premonition of fifteen days. When an 
inquest had made a retour, by which the reader is to 
understand the jury giving their verdict or judgment, 
the chancellor was prohibited from directing a precept 
of seisin, or a command to deliver the lands into the 
hands of the vassal, unless it appeared clearly stated 
in the retour that the last heir was dead, and the lands 
in the hands of the kins: or the overlord. 

It was enacted, at the same time, that all barons and 
freeholders who held of the king, should provide them- 
selves with a seal bearing their arms, and that the re- 
tour should have appended to it the seals of the sheriff, 
and of the majority of the persons who sat upon the 
inquest. It appears to have been customary in those 
unquiet times, when " strongest might made strongest 
right,"*** for the great feudal barons, upon the most fri- 
volous pretences, to resume their vassals'* lands, and to 
dispose of them to some more favoured or more power- 
ful tenant. This great abuse, which destroyed all the 
security of property, and thus interrupted the agricul- 
tural and commercial improvement of the country, called 
for immediate redress; and a statute was passed, by 
which all such " gratuitous recognitions or resumptions 
of lands which had been made by any overlord, are 
declared of none effect, unless due and lawful cause be 
assigned for such having taken place.'' It was pro- 
vided, also, that no vassal should lose possession of his 
lands in consequence of such recognition, until after 
the expiration of a year, provided he used diligence to 
repledge his lands within forty days thereafter.* The 
mode in which this ceremony is to be performed, is 

* Statutes of King Robert the Third, pp. 52, 55. 


briefly but clearly pointed out: the vassal bein^^ com- 
manded to pass to the principal residence of his over- 
lord, and, before witnesses, to declare liis readiness to 
perform all feudal services to which he is bound by law, 
requesting the restoration of his lands upon his finding 
proper security for the performance of his duties as 
vassal; and in order to the^prevention of all concealed 
and illegal resumptions, it is made imperative on the 
overlord to give due intimation of them in the parish 
church, using the common language of the realm; 
whilst the vassal is commanded to make the same pro- 
clamation of any offer to repledge, in the same public 
manner. In the event of a younger brother dying 
without heirs of his body, it is declared that his " con- 
quest lands," — that is, those acquired not by descent, 
but by purchase, or other title, — should belong to the 
immediate elder brother, according to the old law upon 
the subject; and it is made illegal for any vassal hold- 
ing lands of the king, to have a new superior imposed 
upon him by any grant whatever, unless lie himself 
consent to this alteration. 

In those times of violence, it is interesting to observe 
the feeble attempts of the legislature to introduce these 
restraints of the law. In the event of a baron having 
a claim of debt against any unfortunate individual, it 
seems to have been a common practice for the creditor, 
on becoming impatient, to have proceeded to his house 
or lands, and there to have helped himself to an equi- 
valent, or, in the language of the statute-book, " to have 
taken his poynd." And in such cases, where a feudal 
lord, with his vassals at his heel, met with any attrac- 
tive property, in the form of horses or cattle, or rich 
household furniture, it may easily be believed that he 
would stand on little ceremony as to the exact amount 

1401. ROBERT III. 93 

of the debt, but appropriate what pleased him without 
much compunction. This practice was declared illegal, 
"unless the seizure be made within his own domi- 
nions, and for his own proper debtf"* an exception, 
proving the extreme feebleness of the government; and 
in truth, when we consider the immense estates pos- 
sessed at this period by the great vassals of the crown, 
amountino; almost to a total annulment of the law.* 
In somewhat of the same spirit of toleration, a law was 
made against any one attempting, by his own power 
and authority, to expel a vassal from his lands, on the 
plea that he is not the rightful heir; and it was declared, 
that, whether he be possessed of the land lawfully or 
unlawfully, he shall be restored to his possession, and 
retain the same until he lose it by the regular course 
of law; whilst no penalty was inflicted on him who 
thus dared, in the open defiance of all peace and good 
government, to take the execution of the law into his 
own hands. 

It was next declared unlawful to set free upon bail 
certain persons accused of great or heinous crimes; and 
the offenders thus excepted were described to be those 
taken for manslaughter, breakers of prison, common 
and notorious thieves, persons apprehended for fire- 
raising or felony, falsifiers of the king's money, or of his 
seal; such as have been excommunicated, and seized 
by command of the bishop; those accused of treason, 
and bailies who are in arrears, and make not just ac- 
counts to their masters.*[- Any excommunicated per- 
son who complains that he has been unjustly dealt with, 
was empowered within forty days to appeal from his 
judge to the conservator of the clergy, who, being ad- 
vised by his counsel, must reform the sentence; and, if 

* Statutes of King Robert the Third, p. 54. f Ibid. 


the party still conceived himself to be aggrieved, it was 
made lawful for him to carry his appeal, in the last in- 
stance, to the General Assembly of the Church. With 
regard to the trial of cases by " singular combat,'" a 
wise attempt seems to have been made in this parlia- 
ment to limit the circumstances under which this savage 
and extraordinary mode of judgment was adopted; and 
it is declared, that there must befour requisites in every 
crime before it is to be so tried. It must infer a capital 
punishment — it must have been secretly perpetrated — 
the person appealed must be pointed out by public and 
probable suspicionas its author — and it must be of such 
a nature as to render a proof by written evidence or 
by w^itnesses impossible. It was appointed that the 
king"'s lieutenant, and others the king''s judges, should 
be bound and obliged to hear the complaints of all 
churchmen, widows, pupils, and orphans, regarding 
whatever injuries may have been committed against 
them ; and that justice should be done to them speedily, 
and without taking from them any pledges or securities. 
Strict regulation was made, that all widows, who, after 
the death of their husbands, had been violently ex- 
pelled from their dower lands, should be restored to 
their possession, with the accumulated rents due since 
their husbands'' death; and it was specially provided, 
that interest or usury should not run against the debts 
of a minor until he is of perfect age, but that the debt 
should be paid with the interest which was owing by 
his predecessor, previous to his decease.* 

Some of the more minute regulations of the same 
parliament were curious: a fine of a hundred shillings 
was imposed on all who catch salmon within the for- 
bidden time; a penalty of six shillings and eight pence 

* Statutes of King Robert the Third, p. 56, 

]401. ROBERT III. 95 

on all who slay hares in time of snow; and it was 
strictly enjoined, as a statute to be observed through 
the whole realm, that there should be no muir-burning, 
or burning of heath, except in the month of March ; 
and that a penalty of forty shillings should be imposed 
upon an}^ one who dared to infringe this regulation, 
which should be given to the lord of the land where the 
burning had taken place.* With regard to a subject of 
great importance, "the assizeof weightis and measuris,'"* 
it is to be regretted that the abridgment of the pro- 
ceedings of this parliament, left by Skene, which is all 
that remains to us, is in many respects confused and un- 
intelligible. The original record itself is unfortunately 
lost. The chapter upon weights and measures com- 
mences with the declaration, that King David's com- 
mon elne, or ell, had been found to contain thirty-seven 
measured inches, each inch being equal to three grains 
of bear placed lengthways, without the tail or beard. 
The stone, by which wool and other commodities were 
weighed, was to contain fifteen pounds; but a stone of 
wax, only eight pounds: the pound itself being made 
to contain fifteen ounces, and to weigh twenty-five shil- 
lings. It is observed in the next section of this chapter, 
that the pound of silver in the days of King Robert 
Bruce, the first of that name, contained twenty-six 
shillings and four pennies, in consequence of the dete- 
rioration of the money of this king from the standard 
money in the days of David the First, in whose time 
the ounce of silver was coined into twenty pennies. 
The same quantity of silver under Robert the First 
was coined into twenty-one pennies; " but now," adds 
the record, "in our days, such has been the deteriora- 

* Statutes of King Robert the Third, pp. 53, 54. 


tion of the money of the reahii, that the ounce of silver 
actually contains thirty-two pennies."'"' 

It was enacted, that the boll should contain twelve 
gallons, and should be nine inches in depth, including 
the thickness of the tree on both the sides. In the 
roundness or circumference above, it was to be made to 
contain threescore and twelve inches in the middle of 
the " ower tree;"" but in the inferior roundness, or cir- 
cumference below, threescore eleven inches. The gal- 
lon was fixed to contain twelve pounds of water, four 
pounds of sea water, four of clear running water, and 
four of stagnant water. Its depth was to be six inches 
and a half, its breadth eight inches and a half, includ- 
ing the thickness of the wood on both sides; its cir- 
cumference at the top twenty-seven inches and a half, 
and at the bottom twenty-three inches.* Such were 
all the regulations wdth regard to this important subject 
which appear in this chapter, and they are to be regarded 
as valuable and venerable relics of the customs of our 
ancestors; but the perusal of a single page of the Cham- 
berlain Accounts will convince us how little way they 
go towards making up a perfect table of w^eights and 
measures, and how difficult it is to institute anything 
like a fair comparison between the actual wealth and 
comfort of those remote ages, and the prosperity and 
opulence of our own times. 

The parliament next turned its attention to the pro- 
viding of checks upon the conduct and administration 
of judges: a startling announcement, certainly, to any 
one whose opinions are formed on modern experience, 
but no unnecessary subject for parliamentary interfer- 
ence durin": these dark times. It was enacted, that 
every sheriff should have a clerk appointed, not by the 

* Statutes of King Robert the Third, p. 5G. 

1401. ROBERT III. 97 

sheriff, but by the king, to whom alone this officer was 
to be responsible ; and that such clerk should be one 
of the king''s retinue and household, and shall advise 
with the kins: in all the affairs which were intrusted 
to him.* The sheriffs themselves were to appear 
yearly, in person or by deputy, in the king'^s Court of 
Exchequer, under the penalty of ten pounds, and re- 
moval from office; their fees, or salaries, were made 
payable out of the escheats in their own courts, and 
were not due until an account had been given by them 
in the Exchequer; and it was specially ordained, that 
no sheriff should pass from the king's court to execute 
his various duties in the sheriffdom, without having 
along with him for his information the "Acts of Par- 
liament, and certain instructions in writ, to be given 
him by the king'*s Privy Council."*'' It w^as enacted, 
that justiciars should be appointed upon the south side 
and north side of the water of Forth ; it was made im- 
perative upon these high judges to hold their courts 
twice in the year in each sheriffdom within their juris- 
diction; and if any justiciar omitted to hold his court 
without being able to allege any reasonable impediment, 
he was to lose a proportion of his salary, and to answer 
to the king for such neglect of duty. 

The process of all cases brought before the justiciar 
was appointed to be reduced into writing by the clerk; 
and a change was introduced from the old practice with 
regard to the circumstances under which any person 
summoned before the justiciar should be judged and 
punished as contumacious for not appearing. Of old, 
the fourth court, that is, the court held on the fourth 
day, was peremptory in all cases except such as con- 
cerned fee and heritage ; but it was now appointed that 

* Statutes of King Robert the Third, p. 57. 


the second court, or the court held on the second day, 
and on the last day, should be peremptory ; and any 
person uho, being lawfully summoned, neglected to 
appear on either of these days, was to be denounced a 
rebel and put to the horn, as was the custom in "auld 
times and courts."* The office of the coroner was to 
arrest persons thus summoned ; and it was declared 
lawful for such officers to make such arrests at any 
time within the year, either before or after the procla- 
mation of the Justice Ayre. All lords of regality — 
by which the reader is to understand such feudal barons 
as possessed authority to hold their own courts within 
a certain division of property, all sheriffs, and all 
barons, who have the powerof holding criminal courts — 
were strictly enjoined to follow the same order of pro- 
ceeding as that which has been laid down for the 
observance of the Justiciars. These supreme judges 
were also commanded, in their annual courts, to inquire 
rigidly into the conduct of the sheriffs and other 
inferior officers; to scrutinize the manner in which 
they have discharged the duties committed to them ; 
and, if they found them guilty of malversation, to 
remove them from their offices until the meetins: of the 
next parliament. Any sheriff or inferior officer thus 
removed, was to find security for his appearance before 
the parliament, who, according to their best judgment, 
were to determine the punishment due for his offence, 
whether a perpetual removal from his office, or only a 
temporary suspension; and, in the meanwhile, the 
person so offending was ordained to lose his salary for 
that year, and another to be substituted by the Justi- 
ciar in his place. 

With re^rard to such malefactors as were found to 

* Statutes of King Robert the Third, p. 57. 

1401. ROBERT III. 99 

be common destroyers of the land, wasting the king's 
lieges with plundering expeditions, burning, and con- 
suming the country in their ruinous passage from 
one part to another, the sheriffs were commanded to 
do all diligence to arrest them, and to bind them over 
to appear at the next court of the Justiciar on a 
certain day, under a penalty of twenty pounds for each 
offender, to be paid in case of contumacy, or non- 
appearance, by those persons who were his sureties ; 
and it was strictly enjoined that no person, in riding 
through the country, should be attended by more 
persons than those for whom he makes full payment, 
under the penalty of loss of life and property. In all 
time coming, no one was to be permitted with im- 
punity to commit any slaughter, burning, theft, or 
"herschip;"" and if the offender guilty of such crimes 
be not able to find security for his appearance to stand 
his trial before the Justiciar, the sheriff was enjoined 
instantly to try him by an assize, and, if the crime be 
proved against him, take order for his execution. In 
the case of thieves and malefactors who escaped from 
one sheriffdom to another, the sheriff, within whose 
jurisdiction the crime had been committed, was bound 
to direct his letters to the sheriff in whose county the 
delinquent had taken refuge. It was made imperative 
on such officer, with the barons, freeholders, and 
others the king's lieges, to assist in the arrest of such 
fugitives, in order to their being brought to justice ; 
and this in every case, as well against their own vassals 
and retinue as against others ; whilst any baron or 
other person who disobeyed this order, and refused 
such assistance, was to pay ten pounds to the king, 
upon the offence being proved against him before a 


It was made lawful for any tenant or farmer, who 
possessed lands under a lease of a certain endurance, 
to sell or dispose of the lease to whom he pleased, any- 
time before its expiry. Any vassal or tenant who was 
found guilty of concealing the charter by which he 
held his lands, when summoned by his overlord to 
exhibit it, was to lose all benefit he might claim upon 
it ; and in the case of a vassal having lost such charter, 
or of his never having had any charter, a jury was to 
be impannelled, in the first event, for the purpose of 
investigating by witnesses whether the manner of 
holding corresponds with the tenor of the charter 
which had been lost ; and, in the second case, to estab- 
lish by what precise manner of holding the vassal was 
in future to be bound to his overlord, which determina- 
tion of the assize was in future to stand for his charter. 
If any person, in consequence of the sentence of a jury, 
had taken seisin or possession of land which was then 
in the hands of another, who affirmed it to be his 
property, it was made lawful for this last to retain 
possession, and to break the seisin, by instituting a 
process for its reduction within fifteen days, if the 
lands be heritage, and forty days if they be conquest. 
If any pork or bacon, which was unwholesome from 
any cause, or salmon spoilt and foul from being kept 
too long, was brought to market, it was to be seized 
by the bailies, and sent immediately to the " lipper 
folk,'*''* — a species of barbarous economy which says 
little for the humanity of the age ; the bailies, at the 
same time, were to take care that the money paid for 
it be restored, and " gif there are no lipper folk," the 
obnoxious provisions were to be destroyed.t 

Such is an outline of the principal provisions of this 

* Leprous folk. + Statutes of King Robert the Third, p. 5U 

1401. ROBERT III. 101 

parliament, which I have detailed at some length, as 
thej are the only relics of our legislative history which 
we shall meet with, until the reign of the first James; 
a period when the light reflected upon the state of the 
country, from the parliamentary proceedings, becomes 
more full and clear. Important as these provisions 
are, and evincing no inconsiderable wisdom for so 
remote a period, it must be recollected, that in such 
days of violence and feudal tyranny, it was an easier 
thing to pass acts of parliament than to carry them into 
execution. In all probability, there was not an inferior 
baron, who, sitting in his own court, surrounded by 
his mail-clad vassals, did not feel himself strong enough 
to resist the feeble voice of the law ; and as for the 
greater nobles, to whom such high offices as Justiciar, 
Chancellor, or Chamberlain, w^ere committed, it is 
certain, that instead of the guardians of the laws, and 
protectors of the rights of the people, they were them- 
selves often their worst oppressors, and, from their 
immense power and vassalage, able in frequent instances 
to defy the mandates of the crovv^n, and to resist all 
legitimate authority. 

Of this prevalence of successful guilt in the higher 
classes, the history of the country during the year in 
which this parliament assembled, afibrded a dreadful 
example, in the murder of the Duke of Rothesay, the 
heir-apparent to the throne, by his uncle the Duke of 
Albany. Rothesay^s marriage, which in all probability 
was the result of political convenience more than of 
inclination, does not appear to have improved his 
character. At an age when better things were to be 
expected, his life continued turbulent and licentious ; 
the spirit of mad unbridled frolic in which he indulged, 
the troops of gay and dissipated companions with 


whom he associated, gave just cause of offence to his 
friends, and filled the bosom of his fond and weak 
father with anxiety and alarm. Even after his assum- 
ing the temporary government of the country, liis 
conduct was wild and unprincipled ; he often employed 
the power intrusted to him against, rather than in 
support of, the laws and their ministers ; plundered 
the collectors of the revenue;* threatened and over- 
ruled the officers to whose management the public 
money was intrusted ; and exhibited an impatience 
for uncontrolled dominion. 

Yet amid all his recklessness, there was a high 
honour and a courageous openness about Rothesay, 
which were every now and then breaking out, and 
giving promise of reformation. He hated all that was 
double, whilst he despised, and delighted to expose, 
that selfish cunning; which he had detected in the 
character of his uncle, whose ambition, however care- 
fully concealed, could not escape him. Albany, on the 
other hand, was an enemy whom it was the extremity 
of folly and rashness to provoke. He was deep, cold, 
and unprincipled ; his objects were pursued w^ith a 
pertinacity of purpose, and a complete command of 
temper, which gave him a great superiority over the 
wild and impetuous nobility by whom he was sur- 
rounded ; and when once in his power, his victims had 
nothing to hope for from his pity. Rothesay he detested, 
and there is reason to believe had long determined on 
his destruction, as the one great obstacle which stood 
in the path of his ambition, and as the detector of his 
deep-laid intrigues ; but he was for a while controlled 
and overawed by the influence of the queen, and of her 
two principal friends and advisers, Trail bishop of St 

* Chamberlain Accounts, vol. ii. pp. 512, 520, 476. 

1401. ROBERT III. 103 

Andrews, and Archibald the Grim earl of DouMas. 

' CD 

Their united wisdom and authority had the happiest 
effects in restraining the w ildness of the prince ; sooth- 
in<j the irritated feelinj^s of the kins;, whose ao:e and 
infirmity liad thrown him into complete retirement ; 
and counteracting the ambition of Albany, who pos- 
sessed too great an influence over the mind of the 
monarch. But soon after this the queen died ; the 
Bishop of St Andrews and the Earl of Douglas did 
not long survive her ; and, to use the strong expression 
of Fordun, it was now said commonly through the 
land,* that the glory and the honesty of Scotland were 
buried with these three noble persons. All began to 
look with anxiety for what was to follow ; nor were 
they long kept in suspense. The Duke of Rothesay, 
freed from the gentle control of maternal love, broke 
into some of his accustomed excesses ; and the king, 
by the advice of Albany, found it necessary to subject 
him to a control which little agreed with his impetuous 

It happened, that amongst the prince"'s companions 
was a Sir John de Ramorgny, who, by a judicious 
accommodation of himself to his capricious humours, 
by flattering his vanity and ministering to his plea- 
sures, had gained the intimacy of Rothesay. Ramorgny 
appears to have been one of those men in whom extra- 
ordinary, and apparently contradictory qualities were 
found united. From his education, which was of the 
most learned kind, he seems to have been intended for 
the church ; but the profligacy of his youth, and the 
bold and audacious spirit which he exhibited, unfitted 
him for the sacred office, and he became a soldier and 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 431. Extracta ex Chronicia Scotiae, MS. 
p. 248. 


a statesman. His great talents for business bcino: soon 
discovered by Albany, lie was repeatedly employed in 
diplomatic negotiations both at home and abroad; and 
this intercourse with foreign countries, joined to a 
cultivation of those elegant accomplishments to which 
most of the feudal nobility of Scotland were still 
strangers, rendered his manners and his society ex- 
ceedingly attractive to the young prince. But these 
polished and delightful qualities were superinduced 
upon a character of consummate villany, as unprin- 
cipled in every respect as that of Albany, but fiercer, 
more audacious, and, if possible, more unforgiving. 

Such was the person whom Rothesay in an evil mo- 
ment admitted to his confidence and friendship, and to 
whom, upon being subjected to the restraint imposed 
upon him by Albany and his father, he vehemently 
complained. Ramorgny, with all his acuteness, had 
in one respect mistaken the character of the prince; 
and, deceived by the violence of his resentment, he 
darkly hinted at a scheme for ridding himself of his 
difficulties, by the assassination of his uncle. To his 
astonishment, the proposal was met by an expression 
of scorn and abhorrence ; and whilst Rothesay disdained 
to betray his profligate associate, he upbraided him in 
terms too bitter to be foro'iven. From that moment 
Ramorgny was transformed into his worst enemy ; and 
throwing himself into the arms of Albany, became 
possessed of his confidence, and turned it with fatal 
revenge against Rothesay.* It was unfortunate for 
this young prince, that his caprice and fondness for 
pleasure, failings which generally find their punish- 
ment in mere tedium and disappointment, had raised 

* Extracta ex Chronicis Scotiac, MS. Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, 
1.. 248. 

1101. ROBERT III. 105 

against him two powerful enemies, who sided with 
Albany and Ramorgny, and, stimulated by a sense of 
private injury, readily lent themselves to any plot for 
his ruin. These were, Archibald earl of Douglas 
the brother of Rothesay ""s wife, Elizabeth Douglas, and 
Sir William Lindsay of Rossy, whose sister he had 
loved and forsaken. Ramorgny w^ell knew that 
Douglas hated the prince for the coldness and incon- 
stancy with which he treated his wife, and that Lindsay 
had never forgiven the slight put upon his sister; and 
w^ith allthedissimulation in which hew^as so great a mas- 
ter, he, assisted by Albany, contrived, out of these dark 
elements, to compose a plot which it would have required 
a far more able person than Rothesay to have defeated. 
They began by representing to the king, whose age 
and infirmities now confined him to a distant retire- 
ment, and who knew nothing but through the repre- 
sentations of Albany, that the wild and impetuous 
conduct of his son required a more firm exertion of 
restraint, than any which had yet been employed 
a2:ainst him. The bearers of this unwelcome news to 
the king were Ramorgny and Lindsay ; and such was 
the success of their representations, that they returned 
to Albany w^ith an order under the royal signet, to 
arrest the prince, and place him in temporary confine- 
ment. Secured by this command, the conspirators 
now drew their meshes more closely round their victim ; 
and the bold and unsuspicious character of the prince 
gave them every advantage. It was the custom in those 
times, for the castle or palace of any deceased prelate 
to be occupied by the king, until the election of his 
successor ; and although the triennial period of the 
prince''s government was now expired, yet probably 


jealous of the resumption of his power by Albany, he 
determined to seize the castle of St Andrews, belonirinc: 
to Trail the bishop, lately deceased, before he should 
be anticipated by any order of the kin^. Tlic design 
was evidently illegal ; and Albany, who had received 
intimation of it, determined to make it the occasion of 
carrying his purpose into execution. He accordingly 
laid his plan for intercepting the prince ; and Rothesay, 
as he rode towards St Andrews, accompanied by a small 
retinue, was arrested near Stratyrum, by Ramorgny 
and Lindsay, and subjected to a strict confinement in 
the castle of St Andrews, until the duke and the Earl 
of Douglas should determine upon his fate. 

This needed little time, for it had been long resolved 
on ; and when once masters of his person, the cata- 
strophe was as rapid as it was horrible. In a tempestu- 
ous day, Albany and Douglas, with a strong party of 
soldiers, appeared at the castle, and dismissed the few 
servants who waited on him. They then compelled 
liim to mount a sorry horse, threw a coarse cloak over 
his splendid dress, and hurrying on, rudely and with- 
out ceremony, to Falkland, thrust him into a dungeon. 
The unhappy prince now saw that his death was 
determined, but he little anticipated its cruel nature. 
For fifteen days he was suffered to remain without 
food, under the charge of two ruffians named Wright 
and Selkirk,* whose task it was to watch the agony 
of their victim till it ended in death. It is said that, 
for a while, the wretched prisoner was preserved in a 
remarkable manner, by the kindness of a poor woman, 

* John "Wright and John Selkirk are the names, as given hy Fordun a 
Goodal, vol. ii. p. 431. In the Chamberlain Accounts, vol. ii. p. 6G6, sub 
anno 1405, is the following entry, which perhaps relates to this infamous 
person: "Johanni Wright uni heredum quondam Kicardi Ranulphi, per 
infeodacionem antiquam regis Roberti primi percipient! per annum heredi- 
taria quinque libras de firmis dicti burgi (Aberdeen.)" 

1401. ROBERT in. 107 

who, in passing through the garden of Falkland, and 
attracted by his groans to the grated window of his 
dungeon, which was level with the ground, became 
acquainted with his story. It was her custom to steal 
thither at night, and bring him food by dropping small 
cakes through the grating, whilst her own milk, con- 
ducted through a pipe to his mouth, was the only way 
he could be supplied with drink. But Wright and 
Selkirk, suspecting from his appearance, that he had 
some secret supply, w^atched and detected the chari- 
table visitant, and the prince was abandoned to his fate. 
When nature at last sunk, his body was found in a 
state too horrible to be described, but which showed 
that, in the extremities of hunger, he had gnawed and 
torn his own flesh. It was then carried to the monas- 
tery of Lindores, and there privately buried, while a 
report was circulated that the prince had been taken 
ill and died of a dysentery.* 

The public voice, however, loudly and vehemently 
accused his uncle of the murder ; the cruel nature of 
his death threw a veil over the folly and licentiousness 
of his life ; men began to remember and to dwell upon 
his better qualities ; and Albany found himself daily 
becoming more and more the object of scorn and 
detestation. It was necessary for him to adopt some 
means to clear himself of such imputations ; and the 
skill with which the conspiracy had been planned was 
now apparent : he produced the king''s letter command- 
ing the prince to be arrested ; he affirmed that every- 
thing which had been done was in consequence of the 
orders he had received, defying any one to prove that 
the slightest violence had been used; and he appealed 
to and demanded the judgment of the parliament. 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p, 431. Chamberlain Accounts, vol. ii. p. 51 1. 


This great council was accordingly assembled in the 
monastery of Ilolyrood, on the 16th of May, 1402; 
and a solemn farce took place, in which Albany and 
Douglas were examined as to the causes of the prince'^s 
death. Unfortunately, no original record of the ex- 
amination, or of the proceedings of the parliament, has 
been preserved. The accused, no doubt, told the story 
in the manner most favourable to themselves, and none 
dared to contradict them ; so that it only remained 
for the parliament to declare themselves satisfied, and 
to acquit them of all suspicion of a crime which they 
had no possibility of investigating. Even this, how- 
ever, was not deemed sufficient, and a public remission 
was drawn up, under the king^s seal, declaring their 
innocence, in terms which are quite conclusive as to 
their guilt.* 

The explanation of these unjust and extraordinary 
proceedings is to be found in the exorbitant power of 
Douglas and Albany, and the weakness of the unhappy 
monarch, who bitterly lamented the fate of his son, 
and probably well knew its authors, but dreaded to 
throw the kini]:dom into those convulsions which must 
have preceded their being brought to justice. Albany, 
therefore, resumed his situation of governor ; and the 
fate of Rothesay was soon forgotten in preparations for 
continuing the war with England. 

The truce, as was usual, had been little respected 
by the Borderers of either country ; the Earl of Dou- 
glas being accused of burning Bamborough castle, and 
that baron reproaching Northumberland for the ra- 
vasres committed in Scotland. The eastern marches 
especially were exposed to constant ravages by the 

* Tliis deed "was discovered by Mr Astle, and communicated by him to 
Lord Ilailes, who printed it in his Remarks on the History of Scotland. 

1402. ROBERT III. 109 

Earls of March and the Percies ; nor was it to be 
expected that so powerful a baron as March would 
bear to see his vast possessions in the hands of the 
house of Douglas, without attempting either to recover 
them himself, or by havoc and burning to make them 
useless to his enemy. These bitter feelings led to 
constant and destructive invasions ; and the Scottish 
Border barons, — the Haliburtons, the Hepburns, Cock- 
burns, and Landers, — found it necessary to assemble 
their whole power, and intrust the leading of it by 
turns to the most warlike amongst them, a scheme 
which rendered every one anxious to eclipse his pre- 
decessor by some exploit, or successful point of arms, 
termed, in the military language of the times, chevan- 
cJies. On one of these occasions, the conduct of the 
little army fell to Sir Patrick Hepburn of Hailes, 
whose father, a venerable soldier of eighty years, was 
too infirm to take his turn in command. Hepburn 
broke into England and laid waste the country ; but 
his adventurous spirit led him too far on, and Percy 
and March had time to assemble their power, and to 
intercept the Scots at Nesbit Moor, in the Merse, 
where a desperate conflict took place. The Scots were 
only four hundred strong, but they were admirably 
armed and mounted, and had amongst them the flower 
of the warriors of the Lothians ; the battle was for 
a long time bloody and doubtful, till the Master of 
Dunbar, joining his father and Northumberland, with 
two hundred men from the garrison at Berwick, decided 
the fortune of the day.* Hepburn was slain, and his 
bravest knio-hts either shared his fate or were taken 
prisoners. The spot where the conflict took place, is 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 433. 


still known by the name of Slaughter Hill.* So 
important did Henry consider this success, probably 
from the rank of the captives, that, in a letter to his 
privy council, he informed them of the defeat of the 
Scots; complimented Northumberland and his son on 
their activity; and commanded them to issue their 
orders for the array of the different counties, as their 
indefati<2:able enemies, in i^reat strength, had already 
ravaged the country round Carlisle, and were meditat- 
ing a second invasion. 

Nor was this inaccurate intelligence ; for the desire 
of revenoinfj the loss sustained at Nesbit Moor, and 
the circumstance of the King of England being occupied 
in the suppression of the Welsh rebellion under Glen- 
dower, encoura2:ed the Earl of Douirlas to collect his 
whole strength; and Albany, the governor, having 
sent his eldest son, Murdoch, to join him with a strong 
body of archers and spearmen, their united force was 
found to amount to ten thousand men. The Earls of 
IMoray and Angus ; Fergus Macdowall, with his 
fierce and half-armed Galwegians ; the heads of the 
noble houses of Erskine, Grahame, Montgomery, Seton, 
Sinclair, Lesley, the Stewarts of Angus, Lorn, and 
Durisdeer, and many other knights and esquires, 
embracing the greater part of the chivalry of Scotland, 
assembled under the command of the Earl of Douglas; 
and, confident in their strength, and eager for revenge, 
pushed on, without meeting an enemy, to the gates of 
Newcastle. But althou2:h Henry was himself person- 
ally engaged in his Welsh war, he had left the veteran 
Earl of Northumberland, and his son Hotspur, in 
charge of the Borders ; and the Scottish Earl of March, 
who had renounced his fealty to his sovereign, and 

+ Hume's Douglas and Angus, vol. i. p. 218. 

1402. ROBERT III. Ill 

become the subject of England, joined tlie Percies, 
with his son, Gawin of Dunbar. 

Douglas, it may be remembered, had risen upon the 
ruins of March, and possessed his castle and estates ; 
so that the renegade earl brought with him, not only 
an expe. ience in Scottish war, and an intimate know- 
ledge of the Border country, but that bitter spirit of 
enmity which made him a formidable enemy. It w^as 
probably by his advice that the Scots were allowed 
to advance without opposition through the heart of 
JN^orthumberland ; for the greater distance they were 
from home, and the lono^er time allowed to the EnMish 
to collect their force, it was evidently the more easy to 
cut off their retreat, and to fight them at an advantage. 

The result showed the correctness of this opinion. 
The Scottish army, loaded with plunder, confident in 
their own strength, and secure in the apparent panic 
of the enemy, retreated slowly and carelessly, and had 
encamped near Wooler, when they were met by the 
intelligence that Hotspur, with a strong army, had 
occupied the pass in their front, and was advancing to 
attack them. Douglas immediately drew up his force 
in a deep square, upon a neighbouring eminence, called 
Homildon Hill ; an excellent position, had his sole 
object been to repel the attacks of the English cavalry 
and men-at-arms, but in other respects the worst that 
could have been chosen , for the bulk of Percy's force 
consisted of archers, and there were many eminences 
round Homildon by which it was completely command- 
ed, the distance beins; within arrow-flia-ht. Had the 
Scottish knights and squires, and the rest of their 
light-armed cavalry, who must have composed a body 
of at least a thousand men, taken possession of the 
rising ground in advance, they might have charged the 


English archers before they came within bowshot, and 
the subsequent battle would liave been reduced to a 
close-hand encounter, in wliich the Scots, from the 
strong ground which tliev occupied, must have fought 
to irreat advanta2;e ; but from the mode in which it 
was occupied by Douglas, who crowded his whole 
army into one dense column, the position became the 
most filial that could have been selected. 

The English army now rapidly advanced, and on 
coming in sight of the Scots, at once occupied the 
opposite eminence, which, to their surprise, they were 
permitted to do, without a single Scottish knight or 
horseman leaving their ranks; but at this crisis, the 
characteristic impetuosity of Hotspur, who, at the head 
of the men-at-arms, proposed instantly to charge the 
Scots, had nearly thrown away the advantage. March, 
however, instantly seized his horse''s reins and stopt 
him. His eye had detected, at the first glance, the 
danger of Douglases position ; he knew from experience 
the strength of the long-bow of England ; and, by his 
orders, the precedence was given to the archers, who, 
slowly advancing down the hill, poured their volleys 
as thick as hail upon the Scots, whilst, to use the 
words of an ancient manuscript chronicle, they were 
so closely wedged together, that a breath of air could 
scarcely penetrate their files, making it impossible for 
them to wield their weapons. The effects of this were 
dreadful, for the cloth-yard shafts of England pierced 
with ease the lii^ht armour of the Scots, few of whom 
were defended by more than a steel-cap and a thin 
jack, or breast-plate, whilst many wore nothing more 
than the leather acton, or quilted coat, which afforded 
a feeble defence against such deadly missiles. Even 
the better-tempered armour of the knights was found 

I'i02. ROBERT III. lis 

atterly unequal to resistance, -when, owing to the 
gradual advance of their phalanx, the archers took a 
nearer and more level aim, whilst the Scottish bowmen 
drew a wavering and uncertain bow, and did little 
execution.* Numbers of the bravest barons and gen- 
tlemen were mortally wounded, and fell down on the 
spot where they were first drawn up, without the 
possibility of reaching the enemy; the horses, goaded 
and maddened by the increasing showers of arrows, 
reared and plunged, and became altogether unmanage- 
able ; whilst the dense masses of the spearmen and 
naked Galwegians presented the appearance of a huge 
hedgehog, (I use the expression of a contemporary 
historian,) bristled over with a thousand shafts, whose 
feathers were red with blood. This state of things 
could not long continue. " My friends," exclaimed 
Sir John Swinton, " why stand we here to be slain 
like deer, and marked down by the enemy ? Where 
is our wonted courage ? Are w^e to be still, and have 
our hands nailed to our lances ? Follow me, and let 
us at least sell our lives as dearly as we can."-(- 

Saying this, he couched his spear, and prepared to 
gallop down the hill; but his career was for a moment 
interrupted by a singular event. Sir Adam de Gordon, 
with whom Swinton had long been at deadly feud, 
threw himself from his horse, and kneeling at his feet, 
beofSfed his foro:iveness,andthe honourof bein2:knifi'hted 
by so brave a leader. Swinton instantly consented; 
and, after giving him the accolade, tenderly embraced 
him. The tw^o warriors then remounted, and at the 
head of their followers, forming a body of a hundred 

* Walsingham, p. 366. Otterburn, p. 237. Fordun and Vv'inton do not 
even mention the Scottish archers. 

t Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 434. "Winton, vol. ii. p. 401. 



liorse,made a desperate attack upon the English, which, 
had it been followed by a siiniiltaiieous charge of the 
great body of the Scots, might still have retrieved the 
fortune of the day. But such was now the confusion 
of the Scottish lines, that Swinton and Gordon were 
slain, and their men struck down or dispersed, before 
the Earl of Douglas could advance to support them; 
and when he did so, the English archers, keeping their 
ranks, fell back upon the cavalry, pouring in volley 
after volley, as they slowly retreated, and completing 
the discomfiture of the Scots by an appalling carnage. 
If we may believe Walsingham, the armour worn by 
the Earl of Douglas on this fatal day was of the most 
exquisite workmanship and temper, and cost the artisan 
who made it three years' labour; yet he was wounded 
in five places, and made prisoner along with Lord Mur- 
doch Stewart, and the Earls of Moray and Angus. 
In a short time the Scottish army was utterly routed; 
and the archers, to whom the whole honour of the day 
belonged, rushing in with their knives and short swords, 
made prisoners of almost every person of rank orstation. 
The number of the slain, however, was very great ; 
and multitudes of the fugitives — it is said nearly fifteen 
hundred — were drowned in an attempt to ford the 
Tweed. Amongst those who fell, besides Swinton and 
Gordon, were Sir John Levingston of Calendar, Sir 
Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie, Sir Roger Gordon, 
Sir Walter Scott, and Sir Walter Sinclair, with many 
other knights and esquires, whose followers mostly 
perished with their masters. Besides the leaders, Dou- 
glas and Lord Murdoch, eighty knights were taken 
prisoners, and a crowd of esquires and pages, whose 
names and numbers are not ascertained. Amono; the 
first were three French knights, Sir Piers de Essars, 

1402. ROBERT III. 115 

Sir James de Helsey, and Sir John Darni;* Sir Ro- 
bert Erskine of Alva, Lord Montgomery, Sir James 
Douglas master of Dalkeith, Sir William Abernethy 
of Salton, Sir John Stewart of Lorn, Sir John Seton, 
Sir George Lesley of Rothes, Sir Adam Forester of 
Corstorphine, Sir Walter Bickerton of LufFness, Sir 
Robert Stewart of Durisdeer, Sir William Sinclair of 
Hermandston, Sir Alexander Home of Dunglas, Sir 
Patrick Dunbar of Bele, Sir Robert Logan of Restal- 
rig, Sir Lawrence Ramsay, Sir Helias Kinmont, Sir 
John Ker, and Fergus Macdowall of Galloway, with 
many others whose names have not been as certain ed.-f* 
The fatal result of this day completely proved the 
dreadful power of the English bowmen; for there is not 
a doubt that the battle was gained by the archers. Wal- 
singham even goes so far as to say, that neither earl, 
knight, nor squire, ever handled their weapons, or camo 
into action, but remained idle spectators of the total 
destruction of the Scottish host; nor does there seem 
any good reason to question the correctness of this fact, 
although, after the Scots were broken, the English 
knights and horsemen joined in the pursuit. It was in 
every way a most decisive and bloody defeat, occasioned 
by the military incapacity of Douglas, whose pride was 
probably too great to take advice, and his judgment and 
experience in war too confined to render it unnecessary. 
Hotspur might now rejoice that the shame of Otter- 
burn was effectually defaced; and March, if he could 
be so base as to enjoy the triumph, must have been 
amply satiated with revenge: for his rival, Douglas, 
was defeated, cruelly w^ounded, and a captive.J 

* Walsingham, pp. 407, 408. Otterburn, pp. 236, 7, 8. 
+ Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. pp. 434, 435. 

t Ibid. vol. ii. pp. 434, 435. R}Tner, Foedera, vol. ix. p. 26. Walsinjf 
ham, p. 366. Extracta ex Chronicis ScotisE, MS. p. 250. 


Tlie battle was fought on the day of the Exaltation of 
the Holy Cross, being the 14th September, in the year 
1402 ; and the moment that the news of the defeat was 
carried to Westminster, the Kinij of Enoland directed 
liis letters to the Earl of Northumberland, with his son 
Henry Percy, and also to the Earl of March, command- 
ing them, for certain urgent causes, not to admit to 
ransom any of their Scottish prisoners, of whatever 
rank or station, or to suffer them to be at liberty under 
any parole or pretext, until they should receive further 
instructions upon the subject. To this order, which 
w^as highly displeasing to the pride of the Percies, as it 
went to deprive them of an acknowledged feudal right 
which belonged to the simplest esquire, the monarch 
subjoined his pious thanks to God for so signal a vic- 
tory, and to his faithful barons for their bravery and 
success ; but he commanded them to notify his orders 
regarding the prisoners to all who had fought at Ho- 
mildon, concluding with an assurance, that he had no 
intention of ultimately depriving any of his liege sub- 
jects of their undoubted rights in the persons and- pro- 
perty of their prisoners; a declaration which would not 
be readily believed.* If Henry thus defeated the ob- 
jects, Avhich the victory might have secured him, by 
his precipitancy and imprudence. Hotspur stained it by 
an act of cruelty and injustice. Teviotdale, it may 
perhaps be remembered, after having remained in the 
partial possession of the English for a long period, under 
Edward the Third, had at last been entirely wTcsted 
from them by the bravery of the Douglases; and as 
the Percies had obtained large grants of land in this 
district, upon which many fierce contests had taken 
place, their final expulsion from the country they called 

* RjTuer, Fcedera, vol. viii. p. 278. 

1402. ROBERT III. 117 

their own, was peculiarly irritating. It happened, that 
amongst the prisoners was Sir William Stewart of 
Forrest, a knight of Teviotdale, who was a boy at the 
time the district "was Anglicised," and, like many 
others, had been compelled to embrace a virtual alle- 
giance to England, by a necessity which he had neither 
the power nor the understanding to resist. On the 
miserable pretence that he had forfeited his allegiance, 
Hotspur accused him of treason, and had him tried by 
a jury; but the case was so palpably absurd and tyran- 
nical, that he was acquitted. Percy, in great wrath, 
impannelled a second jury, and a second verdict of 
acquittal showed their sense and firmness; but the 
fierce obstinacy of feudal revenge was not to be so 
bafiled, and these were not the days when the laws 
could check its violence. A third jury was summoned, 
packed, and overaw^ed, and their sentence condemned 
Sir William Stewart to the cruel and complicated death 
of a traitor. It was instantly executed ; and his quar- 
ters, with those of his squire, Thomas Ker, who suffered 
along with him, were placed on the gates of York ; 
the same gates upon which, within a year, were exposed 
the mangled remains of Percy himself.* The avidity 
with which Hotspur seems to have thirsted for the blood 
of this unhappy youth, is only to be accounted for on 
the supposition of some deadly feud between the fami- 
lies; for on no other occasion did this celebrated sol- 
dier show himself naturally cruel, or unnecessarily 

The events which followed the defeat of the Scots 
at Homildon are of an interesting nature, and merit 
particular attention. Not long after the victory, the 

* Winton, vol. ii. p. 403. 

i* Fordun a Hearne, pp. 1150, 1151. 


Percics began to orixanizc that celebrated conspiracy 
a^jainst Henrv the Fourth, the monarch whom their 
own hands had placed on the throne, wliich ended in 
the battle of Shrewsbury, and the defeat and death of 
Hotspur ; but as the plot was yet in its infancy, an 
immediate invasion of Scotland was made the pretext 
for assembling an army, and disarming suspicion; 
whilst Percy, in conjunction with the Earl of Marcli, 
talked boldly of reducing the whole of the country as 
far as the Scottish sea.* It is probable, indeed, that 
previous to this, the defeat at Homildon had been 
followed by the temporary occupation of the immense 
Border estates of the Earl of Douglas by the Earl of 
Northumberland ; as, in a grant of the earldom of 
DouHas, which was about this time made to North- 
umberland by the King of England, the districts of 
Eskdale, and Liddesdale, with the forest of Ettrick 
and the Lordship of Selkirk, are noticed as being in 
the hands of the Percies ; but so numerous were the 
vicissitudes of war in these Border districts, that it is 
difficult to ascertain who possessed them with preci- 
sion \-\ and it is certain, that the recovery of the 
country by the Scots was almost simultaneous with its 
occupation. In the meantime, the combined army of 
March and the Percies took its progress towards 
Scotland ; and commenced the siege of the tower of 
Cocklaws, commanded by John Greenlaw, a simple 
esquire, J and situated on the Borders. The spectacle 
of a powerful army, commanded by the best soldier in 

* The Firth of Fourth usually -went by this name. 

+ Rotuli Scotiae, vol. ii. p, 163. 

X Ibid. vol. ii. p. 172. It appears by a MS. letter of the Earl of North- 
umberland, that on 30th May, he and his son had indentures for the delivery 
of Oriniston Castle on the 1st of August, if not delivered by battle. Pink- 
erton's History, vol. i. p. 77. 

1403. ROBERT III. 119 

England, proceeding to besiege a paltry march-tower, 
might have been sufficient to convince Henry, that the 
real object of the Percies was not the invasion of Scot- 
land; and their subsequent proceedings must have 
confirmed this opinion. Assaulted by the archers, 
and battered by the trebuchets and mangonels, the 
little tower of Cocklaws not only held its ground, but 
its master, assuming the air of the governor of a for- 
tress, entered into a treaty with Hotspur, by which he 
promised to surrender at the end of six weeks, if not 
relieved by the King of Scotland, or Albany the 
governor.* A messenger was despatched to Scotland 
with the avowed purpose of communicating this agree- 
ment to Albany, but whose real design was evidently 
to induce him to become a party to the conspiracy 
against Henry, and to support the Percies, by an im- 
mediate invasion of Endand. Nor w^as the mission 
unsuccessful; for Albany, anxious to avenge the loss 
sustained at Homildon, and irritated by the captivity 
of his eldest son, at once consented to the proposal, and 
assembled a numerous army, with which he prepared 
to enter England in person. -f* In the meantime, the 
Earl of Douglas, Sir Robert Stewart of Durisdeer, and 
the greater part of the barons and men-at-arms, who 
were made prisoners at Homildon, eagerly entered into 
the conspiracy, and joined the insurgents with a large 
force ; but the Earl of March continued faithful to the 
King of England, actuated more, perhaps, by his 
mortal enmity to the Douglases, than by any great 
affection for Henry. Another alarming branch of the 
rebellion was in Wales, where Owen Glendower had 
raised an army of ten thousand men, and besides this, 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. pp. 435, 436. 
+ Ibid. vol. ii. p. 436. 


nianv of the Enirlisli barons had entered into a corre- 
spondonce "with Percy, and bound themselves to join 
him with their power, although at the last most 
deserted him, and thus escaped his ruin. 

All things being thus prepared, Henry Percy and 
the Earl of Douglas at once broke off the prosecution 
of their Scottish expedition ; and, having joined the 
Earl of Worcester, began their march towards Wales, 
giving out at first that it was their design to assist the 
king in putting down the rebel Glendower. Henry, 
however, was no longer to be deceived ; and the repre- 
sentations of the Earl of March convinced him of the 
complicated dangers w4th which he was surrounded. 
It was his design to have delayed proceeding against 
the insurgents, until he had assembled such an over- 
whelming force as he thought gave a certainty of 
victory ; but the Scottish earl vehemently opposed all 
procrastination, maintaining the extreme importance 
of giving battle to Percy before he had formed a 
junction with Glendower ; and the king, following his 
advice, pushed on by forced marches, and entered 
Shrewsbury at the moment that the advance of Percy 
and Douglas could be seen marching forward to occupy 
the same city. On being anticipated by their opponent, 
they retired, and encamped at Hartfield, within a mile 
of the town. Henry immediately drew out his army 
by the east gate ; and after a vain attempt at treaty, 
which was broken off by Percy's uncle the Earl of 
Worcester, the banners advanced, cries of St George 
and Esperance, the mutual defiances of the king and 
Percy, rent the air ; and the archers on both sides 
made a pitiful slaughter, even with the first discharge. 
As it continued, the ranks soon became encumbered 
v/ith the dead, "who lay as thick," says Walsingham, 

1403. ROBERT III. 121 

"as leaves in autiiiiin;" and the knights and men-at- 
arms getting impatient, Perey^s advance, which was 
led by Douglas, and consisted principally of Scottish 
auxiliaries, made a desperate charge upon the king's 
party, and had almost broken their array, when it was 
restored by the extreme gallantry of Henry, and his 
son the Prince of Wales, afterwards Henry the Fifth. 
After this, the battle continued for three hours to be 
obstinately contested, English fighting against English, 
and Scots against Scots, with the utmost cruelty and 
determination. It could not indeed be otherwise. The 
two armies were fourteen thousand strong on each 
side, and included the flower not onlv of the En owlish 
chivalry, but of the English yeomen. Hotspur and 
Douglas were reckoned two of the bravest knights 
then living, and if defeated, could hope for no mercy ; 
whilst Henry felt that, on his part, the battle must 
decide whether he was to continue a king, or to have 
the diadem torn from his brow, and be branded as a 
usurper. At one time he was in imminent danger; for 
Hotspur and Douglas, during the heat of the battle, 
coming opposite to the royal Standard, made a desper- 
ate attempt to become masters of the person of the 
king ; and had so nearly succeeded, that the Scottish 
Earl slew Sir Walter Blunt, the standard-bearer, 
struck down the Earl of Stafibrd, and had penetrated 
within a few yards of the spot where Henry stood, 
when the Earl of March rushed forward to his assis- 
tance, and prevailed on him not to hazard himself so 
far in advance. On another occasion, when unhorsed, 
he was rescued by the Prince of Wales, who this day 
gave promise of his future military genius ; but with 
all his efi'orts, seconded by the most determined cour- 
age in his soldiers, the obstirate endurance of the Scots» 


and the unwearied gallantry and military skill of 
Hotspur were gradually gaining ground, when this 
brave leader, as he raised his visor for a moment to get 
air, was pierced through the brain by an arrow, and 
fell down dead on the spot. His fall, whicli was seen 
by both sides, seems to have at once turned the fortune 
of the day. The rebels were broken and dispersed, the 
Scots almost entirely cut to pieces. Sir Robert Stewart 
slain, and the Earl of Douglas once more a captive, 
and severely wounded.* 

In the meantime, whilst the rebellion of the Percies 
was thus -successfully put down, Albany, the governor, 
assembled the whole strength of the kingdom ; and, at 
the head of an army of fifty thousand men, advanced 
into England. His real object, as discovered by his 
subsequent conduct, was to second the insurrection of 
Hotspur ; but, ignorant as yet that the rebellion had 
openly burst forth, he concealed his intention, and 
gave out to his soldiers that it was his intention to 
give battle to the Percies, and to raise the siege of 
Cocklaws."!* On arriving before this little Border 
strength, instead of finding Hotspur, he was met by 
the news of his entire defeat and death in the battle of 
Shrewsbury ; and, after ordering a herald to proclaim 
this to the army, he at once quietly retired into Scot- 
land. Discouraged by the inactivity of the Welsh, 
by the death of Percy, the captivity of Douglas, and 
the submission of the Earl of Northumberland, Albany 
judiciously determined that this was not the most 
favourable crisis to attack the usurper, and for the 
present resumed a pacific line of policy. In their ac- 
count of the rebellion of the Percies, and the expedition. 

* Walsingham, pp. 3G8, 3G9. 

t Forduu a Ilearne, pp. 1158, 1159, 1160. 

1403. ROBERT III. 123 

of Albany, our ancient Scottish historians exhibit a 
singular instance of credulity in describing the investing 
of the Border fortalice by Hotspur, and the subsequent 
progress of Albany to raise the siege, as really and 
honestly engaged in by both parties ; and it is difficult 
not to smile at the importance which the tower of 
Cocklaws and its governor assume in their narrative. 

If Albany ""s government seemed destined to be in- 
glorious in war, his civil administration was weak and 
vacillating, disgraced by the impunity, if not by the 
encouragement, of feudal tyranny and unlicensed op- 
pression. Of this a striking instance occurred a little 
prior to the rebellion of the Percies. Sir Malcolm 
Drummond, brother to the late Queen of Scotland, had 
married Isabella countess of Mar in her own right, 
whose estates were amongst the richest in Scotland. 
When resident in his own castle, this baron was 
attacked by a band of armed ruffians, overpowered, and 
cast into a dungeon, where the barbarous treatment he 
experienced ended in his speedy death. The suspicion 
of this lawless act rested on Alexander Stewart, a 
natural son of the Earl of Buchan, brother to the king, 
who emulated the ferocity of his father, and became 
notorious for his wild and unlicensed life. This chief, 
soon after the death of Drummond, appeared before 
the strong castle of Kildrummie, the residence of the 
widowed countess, with an army of JcetJierans^ stormed 
it in the face of every resistance, and, whether by 
persuasion or by violence is not certain, obtained her 
in marriage. To murder the husband, to marry the 
widow, and carry off the inheritance from her children, 
were deeds which, even under the misgovernment of 
Albany, excited the horror of the people, and called 
loudly for redress ; but before this could be obtained, 


an extraordinary scene was acted at Kildrummie. 
Stewart presented himself at the outer gate of the 
castle, and there, in presence of the Bishop of Ross 
and the assembled tenantry and vassals, was met by 
the Countess of Mar, upon which, with much feudal 
pomp and solemnity, he surrendered the keys of the 
castle into her hands, declaring that he did so freely 
and with a good heart, to be disposed of as she pleased. 
The lady then, who seems to have forgotten the rugged 
nature of the courtship, holding the keys in her hands, 
declared that she freely chose Alexander Stewart for 
her lord and husband, and that she conferred on him 
the earldom of Mar, the castle of Kildrummie, and all 
other lands which she inherited. The whole proceed- 
ings were closed by solemn instruments or charters 
being taken on the spot; and this remarkable transac- 
tion, exhibiting in its commencement and termination 
so singular a mixture of the ferocity of feudal manners 
and the formality of feudal law, was legalized and 
confirmed by a charter of the king, which ratified the 
concession of the countess, and permitted Stewart to 
assume the titles of Earl of Mar, and Lord of Garvy- 
ach.* Yet he who was murdered, to make way for 
this extraordinary intrusion of the son of Buchan, was 
the kinir's brother-in-law; and there seems to have been 
little doubt that the successful wooer, and the assassin 
of Drummond, were one and the same person. Nothing 
could give us a more striking proof of the pusillanimity 
of the sovereign, the weakness of the law, and the gross 
partialities of Albany. 

The unquiet and suspicious times of Henry the 
Fourth, whose reign was marked by an almost unin- 
terrupted succession of conspiracies, rendered it an 

* Sutherland Case, by Lord Hailes, chap. v. p. 43. Winton, vol. ii. p. 404 

1403. ROBERT III. 125 

object of great moment with him to keep at peace with 
Scotland ; and it was evidently the interest of that 
kino^dom to cultivate an amicable relation with Ensr- 
land. Its present danger consisted not so much in 
any fears of invasion, or any serious attempts at 
conquest, as in the dread of civil commotion and 
domestic tyranny under the partial administration of 
Albany. The murder of the Duke of Rothesay, and 
the impunity permitted to the worst crimes committed 
by the nobles, clearly proved that the governor would 
feel no scruples in removing any further impediment 
which stood in the way of his ambition ; and that he 
looked for indulgence from the favour with which he 
treated similar crimes and excesses in the barons who 
composed his court, and with whom he was ready to 
share the spoils or the honours which he had wrested 
from their legitimate possessors. 

Under a government like this, the king became a 
mere shadow. Impelled by his natural disposition, 
wdiich w^as pacific and contemplative, he had at first 
courted retirement, and willingly resigned much of 
the management of the state to his brother ; and now 
that the murder of Rothesay had roused his paternal 
anxieties, that the murmurs of the people loudly ac- 
cused this brother of so dreadful a crime, and branded 
him as the abettor of all the disorders which distracted 
the country, he felt, yet dreaded, the necessity of 
interference ; and, while he trembled for the safety of 
his only remaining son, he found himself unequal to 
the task of instituting proper measures for his security, 
or of reassuming, in the midst of age and infirmi- 
ties, those toils of government, to which, even in his 
younger years, he had experienced an aversion. But 
although the unfortunate monarch, thus surrounded 


with difficulties, found little help in his own energy 
or resources, friends were still left who pitied his con- 
dition, and felt a just indignation at the successful 
tyranny of the governor. Of these, the principal was 
Henry AV^ardlaw bishop of St Andrews, a loyal and 
generous prelate, nephew to the Cardinal Wardlaw, 
and, like him, distinguished for his eminence as a 
scholar, and his devotion to literature. To his charge 
was committed the heir of the throne, James earl of 
Carrick, then a boy in his fourteenth year, who was 
educated in the castle of St Andrews, under the 
immediate eye of the prelate, in the learning, and 
accomplishments befitting his high rank, and already 
promising abilities. 

In the meantime, the captivity of so many of the 
nobles and gentry, who had been recently taken at 
Nesbit Moor, and in the battles of Homildon Hill and 
Shrewsbury, had a manifest effect in quieting Scot- 
land, encouraging its pacific relations, and increasing 
its commercial enterprise. The years which succeeded 
these fatal conflicts, were occupied with numerous 
expeditions of the Scottish captives, who, under 
the safe conducts of Henry, travelled into their own 
country, and returned either with money, or with 
cargoes of wool, fish, or live stock, with which they 
discharged their ransom and procured their liberty.* 
The neirotiations also, concernino- the ransom of IMur- 
doch the son of Albany, the Earl of Douglas, and other 
eminent prisoners, promoted a constant intercourse ; 
whilst the poverty of Scotland in its agricultural pro- 
duce, is seen in the circumstance, that any English 
captives are generally redeemed in grain, and not in 
money. Some Norfolk fishermen, who had probably 

* Rotuli Scotiscjvol. ii. pp. 1C4, 166, 1G7, 172, 173, 177. 

1403-4. ROBERT III. 127 

been pursuing their occupation upon the Scottish 
coast, having been captured and imprisoned, Henry 
permitted two mariners of Lynne to carry six hundred 
quarters of grain into Scotland for their redemption ; 
and, at the same time, granted a license to an Irish 
merchant to import corn, flour, and other victuals and 
merchandise, into that country, during the continu- 
ance of the truce.* Upon the whole, the commercial 
intercourse between the two countries appears to have 
been prosecuted with great activity, although inter- 
rupted at sea by the lawless attacks of the English 
cruisers,"!* and checked by the depredations of the 
Borderers, and broken men of both nations. 

One cause, however, for jealousy and dissatisfaction 
upon the part of Henry still remained, in the perpetual 
reports which proceeded from Scotland, with regard to 
Richard the Second being still alive in that country, 
where, it was said, he continued to be treated with kind- 
ness and distinction. That these assertions, as to the 
reappearance of the dethroned monarch, long after his 
reputed death, had some foundation in truth, there 
seems reason to believe ;l but, whether true or not, it 
w^as no unwise policy in Albany to abstain from giving 
any public contradiction to the rumour, and at times 
even to encourage it, as in this manner he essentially 
weakened the government of Henry; and, by affording 
him full employment at home, rendered it difficult for 
him to engage in any schemes for the annoyance of his 

In 1404, a gentleman named Serle, who had formerly 

* Rotuli Scotise, vol. ii. p. 172. 

t Foedera, vol. viii. pp. 411, 420, 450 ; and i\IS. Bibl. Cot. F. vii. No. 
22, 89, 110", 117, 118, quoted in M'Pherson''s Annals of Commerce, vol. i. 
p. 615. 

J See Appendix, at the end of the volume. 


been of llicliard''s bedchamber, repaired secretly to Scot- 
land, and, on his return, positively affirmed that he had 
seen the king. The old Countess of Oxford, mother 
to Robert de Vere duke of Ireland, the favourite of 
Richard, easterly save credit to the story ; and, bv the 
production of letters, and the present of little silver 
liarts, the gifts which the late king had been fond of dis- 
tributing amongst his favourites, she had already con- 
trived to persuade many persons to credit the report, 
when her practices were discovered, and the execution 
and confession of Serle put an end to the rumour for the 
present. It was asserted, that Serle had actually been 
introduced, when in Scotland, to a person whom he 
declared to bear so exact a resemblance to Richard the 
Second, that it was not astonishing many should be 
deceived by it ; and it was evident, that if Albany had 
not lent himself in any open manner to encourage, he 
had not, on the other hand, adopted any means to ex- 
pose or detect the alleged impostor.* 

But this plot of Serle and the Countess of Oxford 
was followed by a conspiracy of greater moment, in 
which Scotland was deeply concerned, yet whose rami- 
fications, owino; to the extreme care with which all 
written evidence, in such circumstances, was generally 
concealed or destroyed, were extremely difficult to be 
detected. Its principal authors appear to have been 
the Earl of Northumberland the father of Hotspur, 
Scrope the Archbishop of York, whose brother Henry 
had beheaded, and the Earl Marshal of England, with 
the Lords Hastings, Bardolf, and Faulconbridge; but 
it is certain that they received the cordial concurrence 
of some party in the Scottish state, as Northumber- 
land enjraired to meet them at the "general rendezvous 

* Walsingham, p. 371. 

1405. ROBERT III. 129 

at York, not only with his own followers, but with a 
large reinforcement of Scottish soldiers, and it was cal- 
culated that they would be able 'to take the field with 
an army of twenty thousand men.* Besides this, they 
had engaged in a correspondence with the French king, 
who promised to despatch an expedition, which, at the 
moment they took up arms in England, was to make 
a descent on Wales, where Owen Glendow^r, the fierce 
and indefatigable opponent of Henry, had promised to 
join them; and this formidable opposition w^as to be 
further strengthened by a simultaneous invasion of the 

Northumberland's intentions in this conspiracy are 
very clearly declared, in an intercepted letter, which 
he addressed to the Duke of Orleans, and which is pre- 
served in the Parliamentary Rolls. '' I have embraced,"" 
says he, " a firm purpose, with the assistance of God, 
with your aid, and that of my allies, to sustain the just 
quarrel of my sovereign lord King Richard, if he is 
alive; and, if he is dead, to avenge his death; and, 
moreover, to sustain the right and quarrel, which my 
redoubted ladv the Queen of Ens-land, vour niece, mav 
have to the kingdom of England; for which purpose I 
have declared war against Henry of Lancaster, at pre- 
sent Regent of England. """-I- 

A rebellion, so ably planned that it seemed almost 
impossible that it should not succeed, and hurl Henry 
from the throne, was ruined by the credulity of the 
Earl Marshal and the Archbishop, who became the vic- 
tims of an adherent of the king''s, Neville earl of West- 
moreland. This nobleman, who had received intelligence 

* Hall's Chronicle, p. 35. Edition 1809. London, 4to. Ilardyng's 
Chronicle, p. 36*2. Edition 1812. London, 4to. 
+ Rolls of Parliament, vol. iii. p. 605. The original is in French. 

VOL. Ill, I 


of the plot, artfully represented himself as warmly 
interested in its success; and, having prevailed upon 
Scrope and Mowbray to meet him in a private confer- 
ence, seized them both as they sat at his table, and 
hurried them to the king at Pontefract, by whose orders 
they were instantly beheaded. Northumberland, how- 
ever, with his little grandson Henry Percy, and the 
Lord Bardolf, had the good fortune to escape into Scot- 
land, where they were courteously received by Albany. 

In this country, notwithstanding; his advanced a^je 
and frequent failures, Percy continued to organize an 
opposition to the government of Henry; visiting, for 
this purpose, the court of France, and the Flemish 
States, and returning to stimulate the exertions of his 
Scottish friends. Althoudi unsuccessful in his conti- 
nental negotiations, it is evident, from the orders issued 
by Henry for the immediate array of the fighting men 
in the counties of York and Lancaster, as well as in 
Derby, Lincoln, and Nottingham, that Albany had 
been induced to assemble an army, and that the king 
had received intelligence of an intended invasion by 
the Scots, to be led, as the king expresses it, " l)y his 
common adversary, Robert duke of Albany, the pre- 
tended governor of Scotland.*"* Previous, however, to 
any such expedition, an event took place which effectu- 
ally altered the relations between the governor and the 
English monarch, and introduced material changes into 
the state of the different parties in Scotland. 

The continuance of his own power, and the adoption 
of every means by which the authority of the king, or 
the respect and affection due to the royal family, could 
be weakened or destroyed, was the principle of Albany's 
government: a principle which, although sometimes 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. viii, p. 414. 

1405. ROBERT III. 131 

artfully concealed, was never for a moment forgotten 
by this crafty statesman. In his designs, he had been 
all along supported by the Douglases : a family whom 
he attached to his interest by an ample share in the 
spoils with which his lawless government enabled him 
to gratify his creatures. Archibald earl of Douglas, 
the head of the house, we have seen become his part- 
ner in the murder of the Duke of E-othesav, and re- 
warded by the possession of the immense estates of the 
Earl of March, — a baron next to Douglas, — the most 
powerful of the Scottish aristocracy, but compelled, by 
the affront put upon his daughter, to become a fugitive 
in England, and a dependant upon the bounty of a 
foreign prince. 

The battle of Homildon Hill made Douglas a cap- 
tive; whilst many of his most powerful adherents shared 
his fate: and Albany, deprived of the countenance of 
his steadiest supporters, found the friends of the old 
king gradually gaining ground. A natural jealousy of 
the designs of the governor, against a youth who formed 
the only impediment between his own family and the 
succession to the crown, induced these persons to adopt 
measures for the security of the Earl of Carrick, now 
an only son . It was with this view that they had placed 
him under the charge of the Bishop of St Andrews, a 
man of uncorrupted honour and integrity ; and, whilst 
the studies of the young prince were carefully conducted 
by this prelate, whose devotion to literature well fitted 
him for the task, the presence of the warlike Earl of 
Northumberland, who, with his grandson, young Henry 
Percy, had found an asylum in the castle of the bishop, 
was of great service to the young prince in his chival- 
rous exercises. It was soon seen, however, that, with 
all these advantages, Scotland was then no fit place for 


the residence of the youthful heir to the throne. The 
intric^ues of Albany, and the unsettled state of the coun- 
try, filled the bosom of the timid monarch with constant 
alarm. lie became anxious to remove him for a season 
from Scotland; and, as France was at this time con- 
sidered the best school in Europe for the education of 
a youth of his high rank, it was resolved to send the 
prince thither, under the care of the Earl of Orkney,* 
and Sir David Fleming of Cumbernauld, an intimate 
friend and adherent of the exiled Earl of Northumber- 

At this crisis, a secret negotiation took place between 
the English monarch and the Duke of Albany, re^jard- 
ing the delivery of Northumberland and Lord Bardolf ; 
and it appears, that the party of the governor and the 
Douglases had embraced the treacherous plan of sacri- 
ficing the lives of two unfortunate exiles, who had 
found an asylum in Scotland, to procure in return the 
liberty of Murdoch, the son of the governor, the Earl 
of Douglas, and other captives who had been taken at 
Homildon. A baser project could not well be ima- 
gined; but it was accidentally discovered by Percy's 
friend, David Fleming, who instantly revealed it to the 
exiled noblemen, and advised them to consult their 
safety by flight. 

This conduct of Albany, which afforded a new light 
into the treachery of his character, accelerated the pre- 
parations for the young prince''s departure; and all 
being at length ready, the Earl of Carrick, then a boy 
in his fourteenth year, took his progress through Lo- 
thian to North Berwick, accompanied by the Earl of 
Orkney, Fleming of Cumbernauld, the Lords of Dirle- 
ton and Hermandston, and a strong party of the barons 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. viii. p. 415. 

1405. ROBERT III. 133 

Df Lothian. The ship which was to convey him to 
France lay at the Bass; and having embarked along 
with the Earl of Orkney and a small personal suite, 
they set sail with a fair wind, and under no apprehen- 
sions for their safety, as the truce between Eno-land 
and Scotland was not yet expired, and the only vessels 
they were likely to meet were English cruisers. But 
the result showed how little was to be trusted to the 
faith of truces, or to the honour of kings ; for the prince 
had not been a few days at sea, when he was captured 
off Flamborou!ih Head, by an armed merchantman 
belonging to the port of Wye, and carried to London, 
where the king instantly committed him and his atten- 
dants to the Tower.* » 

In vain did the guardians of theyoung prince remon- 
strate against this cruelty, or present to Henry a letter 
from the king his father, which, with much simplicity, re- 
comm ended him to the kindness of the English monarch, 
should he find it necessary to land in his dominions. 
In vain did they represent that the mission to France 
was perfectly pacific, and its only object, the education 
of the prince at the French court. Henry merely an- 
swered by a poor witticism, declaring that he himself 
knew the French language indifferently well, and that 
his father could not have sent him to a better master.*!* 
So flagrant a breach of the law of nations, as the seizure 
and imprisonment of the heir-apparent during the time 
of truce, would have called for the most violent remon- 
strances from any government except that of Albany. 
But to this usurper of the supreme power, the capture 
of the prince was the most grateful event which could 
have happened ; and to detain him in captivity became, 

* Walsingham, p. 375. Winton, vol. ii. pp. 415, 416. 

"j" Walsingham, p. 375. Extracta ex Chrouicis Scotise, p. 253. 


from this moment, one of the principal objects of his 
future life; we are not to wonder, then, tliat the con- 
duct of Henry not only drew forth no indignation from 
the governor, but was not even followed by any request 
that the prince should be restored to liberty. 

Whilst Albany"*s satisfaction was great at this un- 
fortunate event, his indignation, and that of the Dou- 
glases, at the conduct of Sir David Fleming, in at- 
tempting to convey the heir apparent to a place of 
safety, and in facilitating the escape of Northumber- 
land, was proportionably fierce and unforgiving; nor 
was it quenched until they had taken a bloody revenge. 
At the moor of Lang-Hermandston, the party which had 
accompanied the prince to North Berwick were attacked 
by James Douglas of Abercorn, second son of the Earl 
of Douglas, and Alexander Seton, where, after a fierce 
conflict, Fleming was slain, and the most of the barons 
who accompanied him made prisoners. A procession, 
which passed next day through Edinburgh, conveying 
to Holyrood the body of this noble knight, wlio was 
celebrated for his courage, tenderness, and fidelity, ex- 
cited much commiseration; but the populace did not 
dare to rise against the Douglases, and Albany openly 
protected them. Those bitter feelings of wrath, and 
desires of revenge, which so cruel an attack excited, 
now broke out into interminable feuds and jealousies, 
and, ramifying throughout the whole line of the vas- 
sals of these two powerful families, continued for many 
years to agitate the minds of the people, and disturb 
the tranquillity of the country.* 

The aged king, already worn out by infirmity, and 
BOW broken by disappointment and sorrow, did not 

* Winton, vol. ii. p. 413. Fordun aGoodal, vol. ii. p. 439. Extracta ex 
Chronicis Scotiae, p. 153. 

1406. ROBERT III. 135 

long survive the captivity of his son. It is said, the 
melancholy news were brought him as he was sitting 
down to supper in his palace of Rothesay in Bute ; and 
that the eflfect was such upon his affectionate but feeble 
spirit, that he drooped from that day forward, refused 
all sustenance, and died soon after of a broken heart. 
His death took place on the 4th of April, 1406, in the 
sixteenth year of his reign; and Albany, his brother, 
immediately succeeded to the prize which had so long 
been the paramount object of his ambition, by becom- 
ins: the unfettered o-overnor of Scotland. The character 
of this monarch requires little additional development. 
It was of that sweet, pacific, and indolent nature which 
unfitted him to subdue the pride, or overawe and con- 
trol the fierce passions and resentments of his barons ; 
and although the generosity and affectionate feelings 
of his heart inclined him, on every occasion, to be the 
friend of the poorer classes of his subjects, yet energy 
and courage w^ere wanting to make these good wishes 
eff'ectual; and it might almost be said, that in the dread 
of making anyone his enemy, he made no one his friend. 
All the virtues of domestic life he possessed in a high 
degree; but these, as well as his devotion to intellec- 
tual accomplishments, were thrown away upon the rude 
times in which he lived. His wisdom, which was far 
before his age, saw clearly that the greatest blessing 
which could be conferred upon the country was peace; 
but it required firmness, and almost violence, to carry 
these convictions into the active management of the 
government, and these were qualities which Robert 
could not command. Had he been born in the rank of 
a subject, he would have been among the best and wisest 
men in his dominions; but as a king, his timidity and 
irresolution rendered all his virtues of none avail, and 


permitted the government to fall into the hands of an 
usurper, ulio systematically ahused his power for the 
purposes of his own aggrandizement. 

In person, Robert was tall, and of a princely pre- 
sence; his countenance was somewhat florid, but pleas- 
ing and animated ; whilst a beard of great length, and 
silvery whiteness, llowed down his breast, and gave a 
look of sanctity to his appearance. Humility, a deep 
conviction of the vanity of human grandeur, and aspira- 
tions for the happiness of a better world, were senti- 
ments which he is said to have deeply felt, and fre- 
quently expressed; and nothing could prevail on him, 
in the custom of the age, and after the example of his 
father and grandfather, to provide a monument for 
himself. It is said, that his queen, Annabella, remon- 
strated with him on this occasion, when he rebuked her 
for speaking like one of the foolish women : " You con- 
sider not," said he, " how little it becomes a WTctched 
worm, and the vilest of sinners, to erect a proud tomb 
for his miserable remains : let them who delight in 
the honours of this world so employ themselves. As 
for me, cheerfully would I be buried in the meanest 
shed on earth, could I thus secure rest to my soul in 
the day of the Lord."* He was interred, however, in 
the Abbey church of Paisley, before the high altar. 

It has hitherto been believed by our Scottish his- 
torians, that there were born to him only two sons, 
David duke of Rothesay, and James earl of Carrick, 
who succeeded him in the throne. It is certain, how- 
ever, that the king had a third son, Robert, who pro- 
bably died very young, but whose existence is proved 
by a record of unquestionable authority.-]- 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 440. 

+ Chamberlain Accounts, vol. ii. p. 231. " Et Dno David Comiti de Car- 


Upon the king's death, the three Estates of the realm 
assembled in parliament at Perth; and, having first 
made a solemn declaration that James earl of Carrick, 
then a captive in England, was their lawful king, and 
that the crown belon2:ed of undoubted rio:ht to the heirs 
of his body, the Duke of Albany, being the next in 
succession, was chosen Regent;* and it was determined 
to send an embassy to the French court, for the purpose 
of renewins: the leao:ue of mutual defence and alliance 
which had so lono- subsisted between the two countries. 
For this purpose, Sir Walter Stewart of Ralston, Law- 
der archdeacon of Lothian, along with two esquires, 
John Gil and John de Leth, were selected to negotiate 
with France ; and their mission, as was to be expected 
from the exasperated feelings which were common to 
both countries with regard to their adversary of Eng- 
land, was completely successful. Charles the Sixth 
king of France, Louis his brother Duke of Anjou, and 
the Duke of Berry, by three separate deeds, each act- 
ing in his own name, ratified and confirmed the treaties 
formerly entered into between their country and the late 
Kino' of Scotland; and assured the Duke of Albanv, 
then reo:ent of that kinodom, of their resolution to 
maintain the same firm and inviolate in all time to 

With regard to England, Albany now earnestly 
desired the continuance of peace ; and it was fortunate 
that the principles which influenced his government, 
although selfish, and calculated for the preservation 
of his own power, proved, at this moment, the best for 
the interests of the country; whilst the English king, 

rick percipient! pro se et heredibus suis de corpore suo legitime procreandis, 
qui bus forte deficientibus, Roberto seneschallo fratri ipsius, et heredibus suis." 

* Winton, vol. ii, p. 418. 

•f Records of the Parliament of Scotland, pp. 137, 138. 


in the possession of the young heir to the throne, and 
master, also, of the persons of the cliief nobility who 
liad remained in captivity since the battle of Ilomildon 
Hill, was able to assume a decided tone in his negoti- 
ations, and exerted an influence over the governor, 
which he had not formerly enjoyed. A short time 
previous to the king^s death, negotiations had been 
renewed for the continuance of the truce, and for the 
return of the Earl of Douirlas to Scotland. The hiMi 
value placed upon this potent baron, and the power of 
weakening Scotland which the English king possessed 
at this time, may be estimated from the circumstance, 
that he would not permit his return, nntil thirteen 
hostages, selected from the first families in the country, 
liad repaired to Westminster and delivered themselves 
to the king.* It was one happy effect of the power 
and wealth which the capture of many noble prisoners 
necessarily conferred on those to whom they surren- 
dered, that it softened the atrocities of war and dimi- 
nished the effusion of blood. The only impediments 
to the continuance of peace arose out of the piracies of 
English cruisers and armed merchantmen, which, on 
the slightest provocation, were ready to make prize of 
any vessels they met, — French, Flemish, Genoese, or 
Scottish ; and it is a singular circumstance, that, at 
this early period, we find the English ships beginning 
to insist on their superior right to the dominion of the 
seas, which they afterwards so proudly maintained. 
In 1402, a formal complaint was presented to Henry 
the Fourth by the magistrates of Bruges, which stated 
that two fishermen, one belonging to Ostend and the 
other to Briel, when ens-aired in the herrins: fisherv of 
the North Sea, had been captured by the English and 

* Rotuli Scotiae, vol. ii. p. 177. 


carried into Hull, although they lowered their sails 
the moment they were hailed.* 

On the other hand, the Scots were not slow to make 
reprisals ; although their power at sea, which we have 
seen so formidable durino- the reio-ns of Edward the 
Second and Third, appears to have experienced a sen- 
sible diminution. In 1404, the fishery on the coast 
of Aberdeenshire, — a source of considerable wealth, — 
had been invaded by the English: a small fleet of 
Scottish ships was immediately fitted out by Sir 
Robert Logan, who attacked and attempted to destroy 
some English vessels ; but his force was insufficient, 
his ships were taken, and he himself carried prisoner 
into the port of Lynne in Norfolk.-f* Stewart earl of 
Mar, with whose singular courtship and marriage we 
are already acquainted, after amusing his taste for ad- 
ventures in foreign war,J leading the life of a knight- 
errant, and dividins: his time between real fialitintr 
and the recreations of tilts and tournaments, became 
latterly a pirate, and with a small squadron infested 
the coast between Berwick and Newcastle, destroying 
or making prizes of the English vessels. 

These hostile invasions, which appear to have been 
mutually committed on each other by the English and 
the Scottish merchantmen, were not openly counte- 
nanced by either government. No regular maritime 
laws for the protection of trade and commerce had as 
yet been practically established in Europe ; the vessels 
which traded from one country to another, were the 
property not of the nation, but of individuals, who, if 
their own gain or interest interfered, did not consider 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. viii. p. 274, " quanquam ad primam vocem ipsorum 
Anglicorum idem Johannes Willes, velum suum declinavit." M-'Pherson's 
Annals of Commerce, vol. i. p. 612. 

+ Walsingham, p. 364. 

:J: Juvenal des Ursins, Histoire de Charles VI., p. 196. 


themselves bound by treaties or truces ; and when a 
ship of greater strength met a small merchantman 
richly laden, and incapable of resistance, the temptation 
to make themselves master of her cari>o ^vas ircnerallv 
too strong to be resisted.* Henry, however, showed 
himself willins; to redress the irrievances suffered bv 
the Scottish merchants, as well as to put an end to the 
frequent infractions of the truce which were committed 
by the Borderers of both nations; and the perpetual 
grants of letters of safe conduct to natives of Scotland 
travelling through England on purposes of devotion, 
commerce, or pleasure, and eager to show their prowess 
in deeds of arms, or to seek for distinction in conti- 
nental war, evinced a sincere anxiety to keep up an 
amicable relation between the two countries, and to 
pave the way for a lasting peace. ■[- 

The return to their country of the two most power- 
ful barons in the state, — the Earls of Douglas and of 
^iarch, — with the "stanching of that mortal feud which 
had long continued between them,"" was another event 
that promised the best effects. The immense estates 
of March, which during his exile had been occupied by 
Douglas, were restored to him, with the exception of 
the lordship of Annandale,and the castle of Lochmaben. 
These w^ere retained by Douglas ; and, in addition to 
the thirteen noble persons who were compelled to 
remain in England as hostages for his return, Henry 
extorted from him a ransom of a thousand marks 
before he consented to his departure. J Amongst the 
hostages were Archibald Douglas, eldest son of the 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. viii. pp. 203, 420. 

fRotuli Scotiae, pp. 176, 177, 178, 179, 180. RjTner, vol. viii. pp. 416, 
430, 445, 450. 

X Rotuli Scotiffi, vol. ii. pp. 182, 184. Harl. MS. 381. f. 212, quoted in 
Pinkerton's History, vol. i. p. 87. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 444. 


earl, and James his son ; James, the son and heir of 
James DouMas lord of Dalkeith : Sir William Dous-las 
of Niddesdale, Sir John Seton, Sir Simon Glendinning, 
Sir John Montgomery, Sir John Stewart of Lorn, 
Sir William Graham, Sir William Sinclair of Her- 
mandston, and others of the first rank and conse- 
quence.* The residence of these persons in England, 
and the care which Henry bestowed upon the education 
of their youthful monarch, who, though still retained 
in captivity, was provided with the best masters, treated 
with uniform kindness, and waited on with the honours 
due to his rank, contributed to increase the amicable 
intercourse betw^een the two countries, and to give to 
both a short and happy interval of peace. 

It was in the midst of this pacific period that the 
doctrines of WicklifF for the first time appeared in 
Scotland ; and the flames of war had scarcely ceased, 
when the more dreadful flames of religious persecution 
were kindled in the country. John Resby, an English 
priest of the school of this great reformer, in whose 
remarkable works are to be found the seeds of almost 
every doctrine of Luther, had passed into Scotland, 
either in consequence of the persecutions of Wickliff'^s 
followers, which arose after his death, or from a desire 
to propagate the truth. After having for some time 
remained unnoticed, the boldness, and the novelty of 
his opinions at length awakened the jealousy of the 
church ; and it was asserted that he preached the most 
dangerous heresies. He was immediately seized by 
Laurence of Lindores, an eminent doctor in theology, 
and compelled to appear before a council of the clergy, 
where this inquisitor presided. Here he was accused 
of maintaining no fewer than forty heresies, amongst 

* Roluli ScoticB, vol. ii. pp. 181, 182. 


Avhich the principal were, a denial of the authority of 
the pope, as the successor of St Peter ; a contemp- 
tuous opinion of the utility of penances and auricular 
confession ; and an assertion that an absolutely sinless 
life was necessary in any one who dared to call himself 
the Vicar of Christ.* 

Although Ilesby was esteemed an admirable preacher 
by the common people, his eloquence, as may easily 
be supposed, had little effect upon the bench of eccle- 
siastical judges before whom he defended himself. 
Laurence of Lindores was equally triumphant in his 
confutation of the written conclusions, and in his 
answers to the spoken arguments by which their 
author attempted to support them ; and the brave but 
unfortunate inquirer after the truth, was barbarously 
condemned to the flames, and delivered over to the 
secular arm. The cruel sentence was carried into im- 
mediate execution ; and he was burnt at Perth in the 
year 1407, his books and writings being consumed in 
the same fire with their master. It is probable that 
the church was stimulated to this unjustifiable severity 
by Albany the governor, whose bitter hatred to all 
Lollards and heretics, and zeal for the purity of the 
Catholic faith, are particularly recorded by Winton.-f 

And here, in the first example of persecution for 
religious opinions which is recorded in our history, the 
inevitable effects of such a course were clearly discerni- 
ble in the increased zeal and affection which were 
evinced for the opinions which had been sealed by the 
blood of the preacher. The conclusions and little 
pamphlets of this early reformer were carefully con- 
cealed and preserved by his disciples ; and any who 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. pp. 442, 443. 
■f Winton's Chronicle, vol. ii. p. 419. 


had imbibed his opinions evinced a resolution and 
courao-e in maintainins: them, which resisted every 
attempt to restore them to the bosom of the church. 
They did not dare, indeed, to disseminate them openly, 
but they met, and read, and debated in secret ; and the 
doctrines which had been propagated by Resby, re- 
mained secretly cherished in the hearts of his disci- 
ples, and reappeared after a few years in additional 
strength, and with a spirit of more active and deter- 
mined proselytism.* It is not improbable also, that 
amono^st Resbv^s forty heretical conclusions were in- 
eluded some of those doctrines regarding the origin 
and foundation of the power of the civil magistrate and 
the rights of the people, which, being peculiar to the 
Lollards, were regarded with extreme jealousy by the 
higher orders in the state ; and Albany's persecution 
of the heretics may have proceeded as much upon civil 
as on relio;ious oTounds. 

Since the fatal battle of Durham, the castle of Jed- 
burgh had been kept by the English. In its masonry, 
it was one of the stronsfest built fortresses in Scotland ; 
and its garrison, by their perpetual attacks and plun- 
dering expeditions, had given great annoyance to the 
adjacent country. The moment the truce expired 
the Teviotdale Borderers recommenced the war, by 
reducing this castle; but on attempting to destroy 
the fortifications, it was found, that such was the in- 
duration and tenacity of the mortar, that the whole 
walls and towers seemed one mass of solid stone ; and 
that the expense of razing and levelling the works 
would be great. In a parliament held at Perth, a 
proposal was made to raise the sum required by a 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 442. Appendix to Dr M'Crie's Life of 
Melville, vol. i. p. 418. 


general tax of two pennies upon every hearth in the 
kingdom. But tliis the governor opposed, observing, 
that during the wliole course of liis administration, no 
such tax ever had been, or ever should be, levied; and 
that they who countenanced such an abuse, merited 
the maledictions of the poor. He concluded by giving 
orders tluit the sum required should be paid to the 
lords marchers out of the royal customs, — a liberality 
which was much extolled, and gained him high credit 
with the people.* 

In the following year, a violent remonstrance was 
addressed by the English monarch to the Duke of 
Albany, complaining of the delay of the Earl of Dou- 
glas to fulfil his knightly word, by which he had so- 
lemnly engaged to return to his captivity; and threaten - 
ins: to use his hostasfes accordins; to the laws of war, 
and to pursue the earl himself as a perjured rebel, if 
within a month he did not re-enter his person in ward. 
Douglas had, in truth, delayed his return to England 
a year beyond the stipulated period ; and as the castle 
of Jedburgh was situated within his territories, it 
was naturally supposed by Henry that he had not 
been over scrupulous in observing the strict conditions 
of amity, and adherence to the " party of the King of 
England," to which he had set his hand and seal before 
regaining his liberty. Matters, however, were amica- 
bly composed between the offended monarch and his 
prisoner; and Douglas, having permanently purchased 
his liberty by the payment of a high ransom, once 
more returned to assume his wonted authority in the 
councils of the country. -j* 

For some time after the reduction of Jedburgh, the 
war presented few features of interest or importance. 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 444. + Ryraer, Fcedera, vol. viii. p. 478 


Fast castle, a strength considered impregnable from 
its peculiar situation, had been occupied, during the 
convulsions of the times, bj an English adventurer 
named Holder, who, combining the avocations of a 
freebooter on shore and a pirate at sea, became the 
terror of the country round his retreat. For such 
purposes the castle was admirably adapted. It was 
built upon a high rock overhanging the German ocean, 
so rugged and precipitous, that all attack on that side 
was impossible; and it communicated with the adjoin- 
ing country by a narrow neck of land, defended by a 
barbican, where a handful of resolute men could have 
defied an armv. Notwithstandino; these difficulties, 
Patrick Dunbar, son of the Earl of March, made him- 
self master of the castle, and delivered the country 
from the depredations of its ferocious lord ; but the 
particulars of the enterprise are unfortunately lost, 
and we only know that it was distinguished by the 
utmost address and couraa'e.* 

About the same time Gawin Dunbar, IMarclfs second 
son, and Archibald Douglas of Drumlanrig, attacked 
and gave to the flames the town of Roxburgh, then in 
possession of the English ; but these partial successes 
were more than counterbalanced by the losses sus- 
tained by the Scots. Sir Robert Umfraville, vice- 
admiral of England, with a squadron of ten ships of 
w^ar, broke into the Forth, rava^'ed the countrv on both 
sides, and collected an immense boot}^, after which 
he swept the seas with his fleet, and made prizes of 
fourteen Scottish merchantmen. At the time of Um- 
fraville''s invasion, there happened to be a grievous 
dearth of grain in England, and the quantity of corn 
which he carried ofl" from Scotland so materially re- 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii, p. 444. " Non minus subtlliter quam viriliter." 


duced tlio prices of provisions, that it procured him 
the popular surname of Kobin Mendmarket. On an- 
other occasion, the same experienced leader, who had 
charge of the military education of Gilbert Umfra- 
ville, titular Earl of Angus, determined to hold a 
military array in honour of his youthful pupil, who 
had just completed his fourteenth year. His banner, 
accordingly, was raised for the first time amidst the 
shouts of his vassals ; and the festivities were con- 
cluded by a Border " raid,"" in which Jedburgh was 
sacked during its public fair, and reduced to ashes. 

But the attention of the country was soon after this 
diverted from such brief and insulated hostilities to an 
event of a more serious and formidable nature, which 
shook the security of the government, and threatened 
to dismember a portion of the kingdom. Tliis was 
the rebellion of Donald lord of the Isles, of which the 
origin and the effects merit particular consideration. 
The ancient line of barons, which for a long period of 
years had succeeded to the earldom of Ross, ended at 
length in a female, Euphemia Ross, married to Sir 
Walter Lesley. Of this marriage there were two chil- 
dren : Alexander, afterwards Earl of Ross, and j\Iar- 
garet, married to Donald lord of the Isles. Alexander 
earl of Ross, married a daughter of the Duke of Al- 
bany, and had by her an only daughter, Euphemia 
countess of Ross, who became a nun, and resigned the 
earldom of Ross in favour of her uncle, John earl of 
Buchan. This destination of the property, the Lord 
of the Isles steadily and haughtily resisted. He con- 
tended, that by Euphemia taking the veil, she became 
civillv dead; and that the earldom of Ross belon^-ed 
lawfully to him, in right of Margaret his wife.* His 

* Sutherland Case, by Lord Ilailes, chap. v. § 7. 

1411. REGENCv OF ALBANY. 147 

plea was at once repelled by the governor; and this 
noble territory, which included the Isle of Skye, and 
a district in the mainland equal in extent to a little 
kingdom, was declared to be the property of the Earl 
of Buchan. But the island prince, wdio had the pride 
and the power of an independent monarch, derided the 
award of Albany, and, collecting an army of ten thou- 
sand men, prepared not only to seize the disputed 
county, but determined to carry havoc and destruction 
into the heart of Scotland. Nor, in the midst of these 
ferocious desiizins, did he want somewhat of a states- 
manlike policy, for he engaged in repeated alliances 
with England; and, as the naval force which he com- 
manded was superior to any Scottish fleet which could 
be brought against him, his co-operation with the Eng- 
lish in their attacks upon the Scottish commerce, was 
likely to produce very serious eflects.* 

When his preparations were completed, he at once 
broke in upon the earldom at the head of his fierce 
multitudes, who were armed after the fashion of their 
country, with swords fitted both to cut and thrust, 
pole-axes, bows and arrows, short knives, and round 
bucklers formed of wood, or strong hide, with bosses of 
brass or iron. The people of the country readily sub- 
mitted to him — to have attempted opposition, indeed^ 
was impossible; and these northern districts had for 
many centuries been more accustomed to pay their 
allegiance to the Norwegian yarls, or pirate kings, 
whose power was at their door, than to acknowledge 
the remote superiority of the Scottish crown. At 
Dingwall, however, he was encountered by a formi- 
dable opponent in Angus Dim, or Black Angus, who 
attacked him with great fierceness, but was over- 

* Rymer, Fcedera, vol. viii. pp. 418, 527. 


powered and made prisoner, after liis brother Roderic 
(lald and the greater part of his men liad been cut to 

The Lord of the Isles then ordered a general ren- 
dezvous of his army at Inverness, and sent his sum- 
mons to levy all the fighting men in Boyne and Enzie, 
who were compelled to follow his banner and to join 
the soldiers from the Isles; with this united force, con- 
sisting of the best levies in the islands and the north, 
lie swept through Moray, meeting with none, or the 
most feeble resistance; whilst his soldiers covered the 
land like locusts, and the plunder of money, arms, and 
provisions, daily gave them new spirits and energy. 
Strathboo'ie was next invaded; and the extensive dis- 
trict of Garvyach, which belonged to his rival the Earl 
of Mar, was delivered up to cruel and indiscriminate 
havoc. It had been the boast of the invader that he 
would burn the rich burgh of Aberdeen, and make a 
desert of the country to the shores of the Tay; and as 
the smoke of his camp-fires was already seen on the 
banks of the Don, the unhappy burghers began to 
tremble in their booths, and to anticipate the realiza- 
tion of these dreadful menaces.* But their spirits 
soon rose when the Earl of Mar, wdiose reputation as 
a military leader was of the highest order, appeared at 
the head of an army, composed of the bravest knights 
and gentlemen in Angus and the Mearns, and declared 
his resolution of instantly advancing against the in- 
vader. Mar had the advantaii'e of having: been bred 
up in the midst of highland war, and at first distin- 
guished himself, as we have seen, by his predatory 
expeditions at the head of the highlanders. But his 
marriage with the Countess of Mar, and his reception 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p, 445. 


at court, appear to have effectually changed his char- 
acter: the savage habits of his early life were softened 
down, and left behind them a talent for war, and an 
ambition for renown, which restlessly sought for em- 
ployment wherever there was a chance of gaining dis- 
tinction. When on the continent, he had oiFered his 
services to the Duke of Burgundy; and the victory at 
Liege was mainly ascribed to his skill and courage, so 
that his reputation abroad was as distinguished as at 
home. In a short time he found himself at the head 
of the whole power of Mar and Garvyach, in addition 
to that of Angus and the Mearns ; Sir Alexander 
Ogilvy sheriff of Angus, Sir James Scrymgeour con- 
stable of Dundee and hereditary standard-bearer of 
Scotland, Sir Alexander Irvine, Sir Robert Melville, 
Sir William de Abernethy, nephew to Albany, and 
many other barons and esquires, with their feudal ser- 
vices, joined him with displayed banner; and Sir Ro- 
bert Davidson, the provost of Aberdeen, and a troop 
of the stoutest burgesses, came forward to defend their 
hearths and their stalls from the ravages of the Lord 
of the Isles. 

Mar immediately advanced from Aberdeen, and, 
marching by Inverury, came in sight of the highlanders 
at the village of Harlaw, on the water of Ury, not far 
from its junction with the Don. He found that his 
little army was immensely outnumbered, it is said, by 
nearly ten to one; but it consisted of the bravest ba- 
rons in these parts ; and his experience had taught him 
to consider a single knight in steel as a fair match 
against a whole troop of ketherans. Without delay, 
therefore, he intrusted the leading of the advance to 
the Constable of Dundee and Oailvv the sheriff of 
Angus, who had with them a small, but compact, bat- 


talion of men-at-arms ; whilst lie himself followed with 
the rearward, composed of the main strength of his 
army, including the Irvings, the Maules, the Morays, 
the Straitons, the Lesleys, the Stirlings, the Lovels, 
headed by their chiefs, and with their banners and 
penoncelles waving amid their grove of spears. Of the 
islesmen and highlanders, the principal leaders were 
the Lord of the Isles himself, with Macintosh and 
Maclean, the heads of their respective septs, and innu- 
merable other chiefs and chieftains, animated by the 
old and deep-rooted hostility between the Celtic and 
Saxon race.* 

The shock between two such armies may be easily 
imaoined to have been dreadful : the hiijhlanders, who 
were ten thousand strons;, rushinsr on with the fierce 
shouts and yells which it was their custom to raise in 
comino; into battle, and the knights meetino: them with 
levelled spears, and ponderous maces and battle-axes. 
In his first onset, Scrymgeour, and the men-at-arms 
who fought under him, with little difficulty drove back 
the mass of Islesmen, and, cutting his way through 
their thick columns, made a cruel slaughter. But, 
though hundreds fell around him, thousands poured in 
to supply their place, more fierce and fresh than their 
predecessors ; whilst Mar, who had penetrated with his 
main army into the very heart of the enemy, found 
himself in the same difficulties, becoming every moment 
more tired with slaughter, more encumbered with the 
numbers of the slain, and less able to resist the increas- 
ins: and reckless ferocitv of the masses that still veiled 
and fought around him. It was impossible that this 

* In one of the Macfarlane MSS., preserved in the Advocates' Lihrary, 
entitled, "A Geographical Description of Scotland," (vol. i. pp. 7, 20,) will 
be found a minute description of the locality of this battle. See Illustra- 
tions, iJ. 


should coFAtinue much longer without making a fatal 
impression on the Scots ; and the effects of fatigue were 
soon seen. The Constable of Dundee was slain; and 
the highlanders, encouraged by his fall, wielded their 
broadswords and Lochaber axes with murderous effect; 
seizing and stabbing the horses, and pulling down their 
riders, whom they despatched with their short daggers. 
In this way were slain some of the best soldiers of these 
northern districts. Sir Robert Davidson, with the 
greater part of the burgesses who fought around him, 
were amongst the number; and many of the families 
lost not only their chief, but every male in the house. 
Lesley of Balquhain, a baron of ancient lineage, is said 
to have fallen with six of his sons slain beside him. The 
Sheriff* of Angus, with his eldest son George Ogilvy, 
Sir Alexander Irving of Drum,* Sir Robert Maule, 
Sir Thomas Moray, William Abernethy, Alexander 
Straiton of Lauriston, James Level, Alexander Stir- 
ling, and above five hundred men-at-arms, including 
the principal gentry of Buchan, shared their fate;-|- 
whilst Mar himself, and a small number of the sur- 
vivors, still continued the battle till nightfall. The 
slaughter then ceased; and it was found in the morn- 
ing that the island lord had retreated by Inverury and 
the hill of Benochie, checked and broken certainly by 
the desperate contest, but neither conquered nor very 
effectually repulsed. Mar, on the contrary, although 
he passed the night on the field, did so, not in the 

* There is a tradition in the family of Irvine: of Drum, that the Laird of 
Maclean was slain by Sir Alexander Irving. Genealogical Collections, MS. 
Adv. Library, Jac. V. 4, 16". vol. i. p. 180. Irving was buried on the field, 
■where in ancient times a cairn marked the place of his interment, which was 
long known by the name of Drum's Cairn. Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, 
vol. i. V. 51. 

+ Fordun a Ilearne, pp. 1 1 75, 6. Extracta ex Chronicis Scotioe, MS. 
fol. 257. 


trlmiij)hant assertion of victory, but from tlie efi'ects of 
w(Minds and exlianstion: tlie best and bravest of his 
friends were stretclied around him; and he found him- 
self totally unable to pursue the retreat of the isles- 
men. Amonii-si those of the higlilanders who fell were 
the chiefs of jNIaclean and Macintosh, with upwards 
of nine hundred men: a small loss compared with that 
sustained by the lowlanders. The battle was foui^lit 
on St Jamcs"'s Eve, the twenty-fourth of July; and 
from the ferocity with which it was contested, and the 
dismal spectacle of civil war and bloodshed exhibited to 
the country, it appears to have made a deep impression 
on the national mind. It fixed itself in the music and 
the poetry of Scotland. A march, called the Battle 
of Harlaw, continued to be a popular air down to the 
time of Drummond of Hawthornden; and a spirited 
ballad, on the same event, is still repeated in our own 
aire, describinjx the meeting; of the armies, and the deaths 
of the chiefs, in no ignoble strain.* Soon after the 
battle, a council-ireneral was held by the i]:overnor, in 
which a statute was passed, in favour of the heirs of 
those who had died in defence of the country, exempt- 
ing them from the feudal fines usually exacted before 
they entered upon possession of their estates, and per- 
mitting them, although minors, immediately to serve 
lieirs to their lands. It will, perhaps, be recollected, 
that Bruce, on the eve of the battle of Bannockburn, 
encouraged his troops by a promise of the like nature.*f- 
It was naturally suspected by Albany, that the chief 
of the Isles, who was crippled rather than conquered, 

* Battle of Harlaw. Laing's Early ^Metrical Tales, p. 22,0. 

•)• History, supra, vol. i. p. 2b'8. Tlie fact mentioned in the text is proved 
by a Ketour in the Cartulary of Aberdeen, fol. 121, in favour of Andrew de 
Tulidef, whose father, AVilliam de Tulidef, was slain at Harlaw. It was 
pointed out to me by my friend Mr Thomson, Deputy Clerk- Register, to 
whom this volume is under repeated obligations. See Illustrations, letter C. 


had only fallen back to refresh his men and procure re- 
inforcements from Ross-shire and the Hebrides; and 
as the result of the battle had shown that, however in- 
ferior in arms or in discipline, the highlanders could 
make up for these disadvantages in numbers and ferocity, 
a renewal of the invasion was anticipated with alarm ; 
and Albany determined to prevent it by an unwonted 
display of military spirit and activity. He collected 
an army in the autumn; marched in person to Ding- 
wall, one of the principal castles of the ancient Earls 
of Ross, situated at the west end of the Cromarty Firth ; 
and, having made himself master of it, appointed a go- 
vernor, and proceeded to repossess himself of the whole 
county of Ross. Donald, however, fell back upon his 
island strengths, and durins; the winter defied his ene- 
mies ; but as soon as the summer permitted the resump- 
tion of hostilities, Albany again attacked him; and, 
after a war conducted with various success, the island 
king was compelled to lay down his assumed indepen- 
dence, and give up all claim to the earldom of Ross ; 
to consent to become a vassal of the Scottish crown; 
and to deliver hostaoes for his future 2:ood behaviour. 
The treaty was concluded at Polgilbe or Polgillip, now 
Loch Gilp, an arm of the sea running into the district 
of Knapdale in Argyle.* This successful termination 
of a rebellion, which appeared so formidable in its com- 
mencement, was followed by a truce with England, in 
which it was declared, that from the river vSpey in Scot- 
land to the mount of St Michael in Cornwall, all hos- 
tilities between the two countries should cease after the 
17th of May, 1412, for the period of six years.-f- 

* Fordun a Ilearne, p. 1177. Macplierson's Geographical Illustrations, 
voce PoJgylbe. 

f Rymer, Foedera, aoI. viii. p. 737. 


Albany now became impatient for the return of his 
oklest son, who had remained a captive in England since 
the battle of Homildon. As he felt the approach of age, 
he was desirous of making a quiet transfer of his power 
in the government into the hands of his own family; 
and various neo-otiations re^^ardins: the hostasres to be 
delivered for Murdoch, and the ransom which was claim- 
ed, had already taken place, but without success ; whilst 
the total indifference evinced by the governor to tlie 
prolonged captivity of the sovereign, clearly showed, 
that if age had impaired his strength, it had in no de- 
gree awakened his remorse, or stilled his ambition. It 
was evident that he intended his son to succeed him in 
the high authority which he had so long usurped; and 
Sir Walter Stewart of Ralston, and John de Leith, 
were en2:a2:ed in a final treatv for the return of the fu- 
ture governor, when their proceedings were suddenly 
interrupted by the death of Henry the Fourth, and the 
accession of a new sovereifrn to the Enirlish throne.* 

The uncertain tenure by which the crown had been 
held by Henry the Fourth, and his consequent anxiety 
to ward off all foreign attack when his attention was 
required in suppressing conspiracy at home, had contri- 
buted greatly to preserve the peace with Scotland; and 
under liis successor, Henry the Fifth, the great designs 
of this youthful conqueror against France, and his sub- 
sequent invasion of that kingdom, rendered it as ma- 
terially his interest, as it had been that of his prede- 
cessor, to maintain pacific relations with that country. 
In this view, the possession of the King of Scotland, 
and the eldest son of the Regent, gave him a hold over 
the politics of the country, which he employed with 
great skill and eftect in weakening the enmity and neu- 

* Rymer, Fcedera, vol. vili. pp. 708, 7^5, 775. 


tralisiiig the hostile schemes of those parties which were 
opposed to his wishes, and inclined to renew the war. 

But it is necessary here, for a moment, to interrupt 
the narrative, in order to fix our attention upon a spec- 
tacle, which, amid the gloomy pictures of foreign or 
domestic war, offers a refreshing and pleasing resting 
place to the mind. This was the establishment of the 
University of St Andrews, by Henry Wardlaw, the 
bishop of that see, to whom belongs the unfading ho- 
nour of beins: the founder of the first university in Scot- 
land, the father of the infant literature of his country. 
Before this time, the generosity of the Lady Devor- 
guilla, the wife of John Baliol, had established Baliol 
College in Oxford, in the end of the thirteenth century ; 
and we have seen the munificence of a Scottish prelate, 
the Bishop of Moray, distinguishing itself by the in- 
stitution of the Scottish College of Paris in 1826; but 
it was reserved for the enlightened spirit of Wardlaw 
to render unnecessary the emigration of our Scottish 
youth to these and other foreign seminaries, by opening 
the wells of learning at home ; and, in addition to the 
various schools which were connected with the monas- 
teries, by conferring upon his country the distinction 
of a university, protected by papal sanction, and de- 
voted to the cultivation of what were then esteemed 
the higher branches of science and philosophy. The 
names of the first professors in this early institution 
have been preserved. The fourth book of the Sentences 
of Peter Lombard was explained by Laurence of Lin- 
dores : a venerable master in theology, whose zeal for the 
purity of the Catholic faith had lately been displayed 
in the condemnation of John Resby the Wickliffite at 
Perth. The importance then attached to an education 
in the canon law, was shown by its being taught and 


cxpoundedby four difterent masters, who conducted their 
pupils from its simplest elements to its most profound 
reasoninirs. These were Richard Cornel archdeacon of 
Lothian, John Litstar canon of St Andrews, John 
Shevez official of St Andrews, and AVilliam Stevens 
afterwards bishop of Dumblane; whilst in philosophy 
and logic the lectures were delivered by John Gill, 
William Fowlis, and William Crosier. These learned 
persons commenced their prelections in 1410, imme- 
diately after the feast of Pentecost, and continued their 
labours for two vears and a half. But althou2:li a com- 
munieation with Rome had taken place, the establish- 
ment was yet unsanctioned by that authority, without 
which all such institutions were then considered im- 

At length, on the Sd of February, 1413, Henry 
Ogilvy, master of arts, made his entry into the city, 
bearing the papal bulls, which endowed the infant 
seminary with the high and important privileges of a 
university; and his arrival was welcomed by the ring- 
ing of bells from the steeples, and the tumultuous joy 
of all classes of the inhabitants. On the following 
day, being Sunday, a solemn convocation of the clergy 
was held in the refectory; and the papal bulls having 
been read in presence of the bishop, the chancellor of 
the university, they proceeded in procession to the 
high altar, where Te Deum was sung by the whole 
assembly; the bishops, priors, and other dignitaries, 
being arrayed in their richest canonicals, whilst four 
hundred clerks, besides novices and lay-brothers, pros- 
trated themselves before the altar, and an immense 
multitude of spectators, bent their knees in gratitude 
and adoration. High mass was then celebrated; and 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. pp. 445, 446. 


when the service was concluded, the remainder of the 
day was devoted to mirth and festivity. In the even- 
ing, bonfires in the streets, peals of bells, and musical 
instruments, processions of the clergy, and joyful as- 
semblies of the people, indulging in the song, the dance, 
and the wine-cup, succeeded to the graver ceremonies 
of the morning; and the event was welcomed by a 
boisterous enthusiasm, more befittino- the brilliant 
triumphs of war, than the quiet and noiseless conquests 
of science and philosophy. 

The first act of Henry the Fifth which affected Scot- 
land, seemed to indicate an extremity of suspicion, or 
a promptitude of hostility, which were equally alarm- 
ing. His father died on the twentieth of March, and 
on the succeeding day the king issued orders, that 
James king of Scotland, and Murdoch earl of Fife, 
should be committed to the Tower.* It would appear, 
however, by the result, that this was more a measure 
of customary precaution, enforced upon all prisoners 
upon the death of the sovereign to whom their parole 
had been given, than of any individual hostility. It 
was believed that the prisoners might avail themselves 
of a notion, that during the interval between the death 
of one king and the accession of another, they were 
not bound by their parole, but free to escape ; and this 
idea is confirmed by the circumstance of their being- 
liberated from the Tower within a short time after 
their commitment. 

Henry's great designs in France rendered it, as we 
have already remarked, absolutely necessary for him 
to preserve his pacific relations with Scotland; and, 
under a wise and patriotic governor, the interval of 
rest which his reign aff'orded to that country might 

* Foedera, vol. ix. p. 2. 

158 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. 1414-15. 

Iiave been improved to the furtherance of its best inte- 
rests. But Albany, had lie even been willing, did not 
dare to employ in this manner the breathing time 
allowed him. As a usurper of the supreme power, he 
was conscious that he continued to hold it only by the 
sufferance of the nobles ; and in return for their sup- 
port, it became necessary for him to become blind to 
their excesses, and to pass over their repeated delin- 
quencies. Dilapidation of the lands and revenues of 
the crown, invasions of the rights of private property, 
frequent murders arising from the habit of becoming 
the avengers of their own quarrel, and a reckless sacri- 
fice of the persons and liberties of the lower classes in 
the community, were crimes of perpetual recurrence, 
wdiich not only escaped with impunity, but wdiose 
authors were often the very dignitaries to whom the 
prosecution and the punishment belonged; whilst the 
conduct of the governor himself, in his unremitting 
efforts for the aggrandizement of his own family, in- 
creased the evil by the weight of his example; and the 
pledge which it seemed to furnish that no change for 
the better would be speedily attempted. 

During the few remaining years of Albany''s admi- 
nistration, two objects are seen to be constantly kept 
in view: the restoration of his son, Murdoch Stewart, 
and the retention of his sovereign, James the First, in 
captivity; and in both, his intrigues were successful. 
It was impossible for him, indeed, so effectually to 
keep down the hereditary animosity between the two 
nations, as to prevent it from breaking forth in Border 
inroads and insulated acts of hostility; but a constant 
succession of short truces, and a determination to dis- 
courage every measure which might have the effect of 
again plunging the country into war, succeeded in con- 


ciliatiiig the English king, and rendering liini willing 
to aofree to tlie return of his son to Scotland. In con- 
sequence of this an exchange was negotiated: youns: 
Henry Percy, the son of the illustrious Hotspur, who, 
since the rebellion and death of his grandfather the 
Earl of Northumberland, had remained in Scotland, 
returned to England, and was reinstated in his honours ; 
whilst Murdoch Stew^art was finally liberated from his 
captivity, and restored to the desires rather of his father 
than of his country. It was soon, however, discovered 
that his character was of that unambitious and feeble 
kind, which unfitted him for the purposes which had 
made his return so anxiously expected by the governor. 
In his attempts to accomplish his second object, 
that of detaining his sovereign a prisoner in England, 
Albany experienced more serious difiiculties. Jameses 
character had now begun to develop those great qua- 
lities, which durinoj his future reio^n so hio-hlv distin- 
guished him. The constant intercourse with the court 
of Henry the Fourth, which was permitted to Scottish 
subjects, had enabled many of his nobility to become 
acquainted with their youthful sovereign ; these per- 
sons he found means to attach to his interest ; and, 
upon their return, they employed their utmost efforts 
to traverse the desims of Albanv. Owinof to their 
influence, a negotiation for his return to his dominions 
took place in 1416, by the terms of which the royal 
captive was to be permitted to remain for a certain 
time in Scotland, upon his leaving in the hands of the 
English king a sufiicient number of hostages to secure 
the payment of a hundred thousand marks, in the 
event of his not delivering himself within the stipu- 
lated period.* To the Bishop of Durham, and the 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. ix. pp. 341, 417. 


Ivirls of Nortliuniberlaiul and Westmoreland, was in- 
trusted the task of receiving the oaths of the Scottish 
king and his hostages; whilst the treaty had been so 
far successful, that letters of safe conduct w^re granted 
to the Bishops of St Andrews and Glasgow, the Earls 
of Crawford, Douglas, and Mar, Murdoch Stewart, 
Albany's eldest son, and John his brother. Earl of 
Buchan, to wdiom the final adjustment was to be com- 
mitted. J5ut from what cause cannot now be dis- 
covered, the treaty, when on the eve of being concluded, 
mysteriously broke off. Whether it was owing to the 
intrigues of the governor, or the jealousy of Scottish 
influence in the aflairs of France, Henry became sud- 
denly cool, and interrupted the negotiation, so that 
the unfortunate prince saw himself at one moment on 
the eve of regaining his liberty, and being restored to 
the kina'dom which was his riirhtful inheritance, and 
the next remanded back to his captivity, and con- 
demned to the misery of that protracted hope which 
sickens the heart. Are w^e to wonder that his resent- 
ment against the man whose base and selfish intrigues 
he well knew to be the cause of the failure of the nego- 
tiation, should have assumed a strength and a violence 
which, at a future period, involved not only himself 
but his whole race in utter ruin? 

In the meantime, however, the power of the state 
was fixed too firmly in the hands of Albany for the 
friends of the vounc: kin;:: to defeat his schemes; and 
as the governor began to suspect that a continuance of 
peace encouraged intrigues for the restoration of James 
and his own deposition, he determined, as soon as the 
last short truce had expired, not only to invade Eng- 
land, but to send over an auxiliary force to the assis- 
tance of France. The object of all this was apparent: 


a war gave immediate employment to the restless spi- 
rits of the nobility; it at once interrupted their inter- 
course with their captive sovereign ; it necessarily 
incensed the English monarch ; put an end to that 
kind and conciliatory spirit with which he had con- 
ducted his correspondence with that country; and ren- 
dered it almost certain that he would retain the royal 
captive in his hands. 

The baseness of Albany in pursuing this line of 
policy cannot be too severely condemned. If ever 
there was a period in which Scotland could have en- 
joyed peace with security and with advantage, it was 
the present. The principles upon which Henry the 
Fifth acted with regard to that country were those of 
perfect honour and good faith. All those ideas of 
conquest, so long and so fondly cherished by the Eng- 
lish kings since the days of Edward the First, had 
been renounced, and the integrity and independence of 
the kingdom completely acknowledged. In this re- 
spect, the reigns of Edvrard the Third and Henry the 
Fifth offer as striking a contrast in the conduct pur- 
sued by these two monarchs towards Scotland, as they 
present a brilliant parallel in their ambitious attacks 
upon France. The grasping and gigantic ambition of 
Edward the Third was determined to achieve the con- 
quest of both countries, and it must be allowed that 
he pursued his object with great political ability ; but 
his failure in this scheme, and the unsuccessful result 
of the last invasion by Henry the Fourth, appear to 
have convinced his warlike son that two such miahtv 
designs were incompatible, and that one of the first 
steps towards ultimate success in his French war must 
be the complete restoration of amity with Scotland. 

It was now, therefore, in the power of that country 

VOL. III. li 


to enjoy ta permanent peace, established on the basis 
of independence. Tlie King of England was ready to 
deliver to her a youthful sovereign of great talents and 
energy, who, although a captive, had been educated at 
his father''s court with a liberality which had opened 
to Iiim every avenue to knowledge; and under such a 
reign, what might not have been anticipated, in the 
revival of good order, the due execution of the laws, 
the progress of commerce and manufactures, the 
softening the harshness and tyranny of the feudal 
aristocracy, and the 2:radual amelioration of the middle 
and lower classes of the community ? Yet Albany 
hesitated not to sacrifice all this fair prospect of 
national felicity to his individual ambition ; and once 
more plunged the country into war, for the single 
purpose of detaining his sovereign in captivity, and 
transferring the power which he had so long usurped 
into the hands of his son. For awhile he succeeded; 
but he little anticipated the dreadful reckoning to which 
those w^ho now shared his guilt and his triumph were 
so soon to be called. 

His talents for war, however, were of a very inferior 
description. An expedition which he had meditated 
against England in a former year, in which it was 
commonly reported that he was to besiege Berwick at 
the head of an army of sixty thousand men, and that 
the cannon and warlike machines to be employed 
in the enterprise had already been shipped on board 
the fleet, concluded in nothing, for neither army nor 
artillery ever appeared before Berwick.* Nor was 
his second invasion much more successful. He laid 
sieiie indeed to Roxburirh, and the miners had com- 
menced their operations, when news was brought to 

* Walsingham, p. 399. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 449. 


his camp, that the Duke of Bedford, to whom Henry, 
during his absence in France, had intrusted the pro- 
tection of the Borders, was advancing, b j rapid marches, 
at the head of an army of forty thousand men. Albany 
had fooHshly imaoined that the whole disposable force 
of England was then in France with the king ; but, 
on discovering his mistake, he precipitately abandoned 
the siege ; and, without having achieved anything in 
the least degree correspondent to his great preparations, 
retreated into Scotland. The invasion, from its in- 
glorious progress and termination, was long remem- 
bered in the country by the contemptuous appellation 
of " The Foul Raid."* 

But if the war was carried on in this feeble manner 
by Albany, the English cannot be accused of any such 
inglorious inactivity. On the contrary, Henry had left 
behind him as guardians of the marches, some of his 
bravest and most experienced leaders ; and amongst 
these. Sir Robert Umfraville governor of Berwick, 
eager to emulate the exploits of his countrymen in 
France, invaded Scotland by the east marches, and 
committed dreadful havoc and devastation. The whole 
country was reduced into one wide field of desolation, 
and the rich Border towns of Hawick, Selkirk, Jed- 
burgh, Lauder, Dunbar, with the numerous villages, 
hamlets, and granges of Teviotdale and Liddesdale, 
were burnt to the ground ; whilst the solitary success 
upon the part of Scotland seems to have been the 
storming of Wark castle by William Haliburton, 
which, however, was soon afterwards retaken by Sir 
Robert Ogle, and the whole of the Scottish garrison 
put to the sword.-f- 

* Rjmer, Foedera, vol. ix. p. 307. A. D. 1415. 

t Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 458. Hardyng's Chronicle, p. 382. 


It was not long after this that the Dauphin de- 
spatched the Duke of Vendome on an embassy to the 
Scottish court. Its object was to request assistance 
against the English; and a parliament having been 
immediately assembled, it was determined by the 
srovernor to send into France a lar<Te auxiliary force, 
under the conduct of his second son, Sir John Stewart 
earl of Buchan, and the Earl of Wigtown. The vessels 
for the transport of these troops were to be furnished 
by France; and the King of Castile, with the Infanta 
of Arragon, who were in alliance with the Scots, had 
promised to fit out forty ships for the emergency. 
Alarmed at a resolution which might produce so seri- 
ous a diversion in favour of his enemies, Henry in- 
stantly despatched his letters to his brother the Duke 
of Bedford, on whom, during his absence in France, he 
had devolved the p-overnment, directina; him to seize 
and press into his service, in the various seaports 
where they could be found, a sufficient number of 
ships and galleons, to be armed and victualled with all 
possible despatch, for the purpose of intercepting 
the Scottish auxiliaries ; but the command was either 
disregarded, or came too late; for an army of seven 
thousand troops, amongst whom were the flower of 
the Scottish nobles, were safely landed in France, and 
were destined to distin2:uish themselves in a sio^nal 
manner in their operations against the English.* 

For a year, however, they lay inactive, and during 
this period important changes took place in Scotland. 
Albany the governor, at the advanced age of eighty, 
died at the palace of Stirling, on the 3d of September, 
1419. If we include the period of his management of 
the state under his father and brother, he may be said 

* Extracta ex Chronicis Scotise, MS. p. 2G2. See Illustrations, D. 

141.9. REGENCY OF ALBANY. 165 

to have governed Scotland for thirty-four years ; but 
his actual regency, from the death of Robert the Third 
to his own decease, did not exceed fourteen years.'* 
So effectually had he secured the interest of the nobi- 
lity, that his son succeeded, without opposition, to the 
power which his father had so ably and artfully con- 
solidated. No meeting of the parliament, or of any 
council of the nobility, appears to have taken place; 
and the silent assumption of the authority and name 
of governor by Duke Murdoch, during the continued 
captivity of the king, was nothing else than a bold act 
of treason.-)- It was soon apparent, however, that the 
dangerous elevation was rather thrust upon him by his 
party than chosen by himself; and that he possessed 
neither the talents nor the inclination to carry on that 
system of usurpation, of which his father had raised 
the superstructure, and no doubt flattered himself that 
he had secured the foundations. Within four years, 
under the weak, gentle, and vacillating administration 
of Murdoch, it crumbled aw^ay, and gave place to a 
state of rude and unlicensed anarchy. The nobility, 
although caressed and flattered by Albany, who, in 
his desire to attain popularity, had divided amongst 
them the spoils of the crown lands, and permitted an 
unsafe increase of individual power, had yet been par- 
tially kept within the limits of authority; and if the 
laws were not conscientiously administered, they were 
not openly outraged. But under the son all became, 
within a short time, one scene of rude unlicensed 
anarchy ; and it was evident that, to save the country 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 466. Extracta ex Chronicis Scotiae, p. 
263, MS. 

t In Macfarlane's Genealogical Collections, MS. vol. i. p. 3, is a precept 
of sasine by Duke [Murdoch to the Laird of Balfour, in which he styles him- 
self "Regni Scotise Gubernator." 


from ruin, some change must speedily take place. In 
tlie meantime, Henry the Fifth, alarmed at the success 
of the strong auxiliary force which the Earls of Buchan 
and Wigtown had conducted to France, insisted upon 
his royal captive James the First accompanying him 
in his expedition to renew the war in that country, 
havinir first entered into an en2:ai2:ement with that 
prince, by which he promised to permit him to revisit 
his dominions for a stipulated period, and under the 
condition of his delivering into the hands of England a 
sufficient number of hostages for his return.* 

Archibald earl of Douglas, the most powerful noble 
in Scotland, appears at this time to have deeply inter- 
ested himself in the return of James to his dominions. 
He engaged to assist Henry in his French war with a 
body of two hundred knights and squires, and two 
hundred mounted archers ; and that prince probably 
expected that the Scottish auxiliaries would be induced 
to detach themselves from the service of the Dauphin, 
rather than enfja2:e in hostilities with their rightful 
soverei2:n. Accordins: to the Enolish historians, the 
Scottish king, when requested by Henry to command 
his subjects on their allegiance to leave the service of 
France, replied, that as long as he remained a prisoner 
it neither became him to issue, nor them to obey such 
an order. But he added, that to win renown as a pri- 
vate knij^ht, and to be instructed in the art of war 
under so great a captain, was an opportunity he will- 
ingly embraced. Of the particulars of his life at this 
period, no account remains, but there is ample evidence 
that he was in constant communication with Scotland. 
His private chaplain William de Mirton, Alexander 
de Seton lord of Gordon, William Fowlis secretary to 

* Reiner, Foedera, vol. x. pp. 19, 125. 


the Earl of Douglas, and in all probability many others, 
were eno-a^'ed in secret missions, which informed him of 
the state of parties in his dominions, of the weak ad- 
ministration of Murdoch, the unlicensed anarchy which 
prevailed, and the earnest wishes of all good men for 
the return of their sovereio-n.* 

It was at this crisis, that Henry the Fifth closed 
his heroic career, happier than Edward the Third in 
his being spared the mortification of outliving those 
brilliant conquests, which, in the progress of years 
were destined to be as efi'ectually torn from the hand 
of Eno'land. The Duke of Bedford, wdio succeeded to 
the government of France, and the Duke of Gloucester, 
who assumed the office of R,eo;ent in Enoiand, durinir 
the minority of Henry the Sixth, appear to have been 
animated with favourable dispositions towards the 
Scottish king; and within a few months after the ac- 
cession of the infant sovereign, a negotiation took place, 
in which Alexander Seton lord of Gordon, Thomas de 
Mirton, the chaplain of the Scottish monarch. Sir 
John Forester, Sir Walter Ogilvy, John de Leith, 
and William Fowlis, had a meeting wdth the privy 
council of England upon the subject of the king's 
return to his dominions. "[* It was determined, that on 
the twelfth of May, 1423, James should be permitted 
to meet at Pontefract with the Scottish ambassadors, 
who should be empowered to enter into a negotiation 
upon this subject wdth the ambassadors of the King of 
England; and such a conference having accordingly 
taken place, the final treaty was concluded at London 
between the Bishop of Glasgow chancellor of Scotland, 
the Abbot of Balmerinoch, George Borthwdck arch- 

* Rymer, Fcedera, vol. x. pp. 166, 227. Ibid. pp. 174, 296. 
+ Ibid. vol. X. p. 266. 


deacon of Glasi;ow, and Patrick Howston licentiate in 
the laws, ambassadors appointed by the Scottish f^o- 
vernor;* and the Bishop of Worcester and Stafford 
the treasurer of Eni;land, W^illiam Alnwick keeper of 
the privy seal, the Lord Cromwell, Sir John Pelham, 
Robert Waterton, Esq., and John Stokes doctor of 
laws, commissaries appointed by the English regency. 
It will be recollected that James had been seized by 
the English durina: the time of truce, and to have 

CO ' 

insisted on a ransom for a prince, who by the law of 
nations was not properly a captive, would have been 
gross injustice. The English commissioners accord- 
ingly declared that they should only demand the 
payment of the expenses of the King of Scotland 
which had been incurred during the long period of his 
residence in England ; and these they fixed at the sum 
of forty thousand pounds of good and lawful money of 
England, to be paid in yearly sums of ten thousand 
marks, till the whole was discharged." It was deter- 
mined that the king should not only promise, upon his 
royal word and oath, to defray this sum, but that cer- 
tain hostages from the noblest families in the country 
should be delivered into the hands of the En2:lish kins:, 
to remain in England at their ow^n expense till the 
whole sum was paid; and that, for further security, a 
separate obligation should be given by the four principal 
towns of Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, and Abcrdeen,"|- 
by which they promised to defray the sum to the 
English treasury, in the event of its not being paid by 
their own sovereign. 

In addition to this, the ambassadors of both coun- 
tries were empowered to treat of a marriage between 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. x. p. 208. The commission by the governor is 
dated Inverkeithing, August 19, 1423. 
t Ibid. vol. X. p. 303. 


the Scottish king and some English lady ot noble 
birth; and as James, during his captivity, had fallen 
in love with the daughter of the Earl of Somerset, a 
lady of royal descent by both parents, and of great 
beauty and accomplishments, this part of their nego- 
tiation was without difficulty concluded. Johanna 
Beaufort had already given her heart to the royal 
captive; and the marriage w^as concluded with the cus- 
tomary feudal pomp in the church of St Mary Overy, 
in Southw^ark,* after which the feast was held in the 
palace of her uncle, the famous Cardinal Beaufort, a 
man of vast wealth and equal ambition.-|- Next day, 
James received as the dower of his w4fe, a relaxation 
from the payment of ten thousand marks of the original 
sum which had been agreed on. J A truce of seven 
years was concluded; and, accompanied by his queen 
and a brilliant cortege of the English nobility, to whom 
he had endeared himself by his graceful manners and 
deportment, he set out for his own dominions. At 
Durham, he was met by the Earls of Lennox, Wig- 
town, Moray, Crawford, March, Orkney, Angus, and 
Strathern, with the Constable and Marshal of Scot- 
land, and a train of the highest barons and gentry of 
his dominions, amounting altogether to about three 
hundred persons; from whom a band of twenty-eight 
hostages were selected, comprehending some of the 
most noble and opulent persons in the country. In 
the schedule containing their names, the annual rent of 
their estates is also set down, which renders it a docu- 
ment of much Interest, as illustrating the wealth and 
comparative influence of the Scottish aristocracy. § 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. x, pp. 321, 323. 

+ Gough's Sepulchral Monuments, vol. ii. p. 127, plate 41, p. 148. Dug- 
dale's Barona^re, vol. ii. p. 122, 

Z Rymer, Fifidera, vol. x. p. 323, dated 12th Feb. 1424. 
§ Ibid. vol. X. pp. 307, 309. See Illustrations, E. 


From Durham, James, still surrounded by his 
nobles, and attended by the Earl of Northumberland, 
the sheriflf of that county, and an escort under Sir 
Robert Umfraville, Sir William Heron, and Sir Robert 
Ogle, proceeded in his joyful progress, and halted, on 
reaching the Abbey of ^lelrose, for the purpose of ful- 
fillins: the obli<ration which bound him to confirm the 
treaty by his royal oath, upon the Holy Gospels, within 
four days after his entry into his own dominions.* 

He was received by all classes of his subjects with 
expressions of tumultuous joy and undissembled afi'ec- 
tion; and the regent hastened to resign the govern- 
ment into the hands of a prince who was in every way 
worthy of the crown. 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. x. pp. 333, 343. Dated April 5, 1425. 

1424. JAMRS I. J 71 




Kinfj of England. 
Ilenry VI. 

King of France. 
Charles VII. 

Martin V. 
Eugene IV. 

In James the First, Scotland was at length destined 
to receive a sovereign of no common character and 
endowments. We have seen, that when a boy of 
fourteen, he was seized by the English, and from that 
time till his return in 1424, twenty years of his life 
embracing the period of all others the most important 
and decisive in the formation of future character, had 
been passed in captivity. If unjust in his detention, 
Henry the Fourth appears to have been anxious to 
compensate for his infringement of the law of nations 
by the care which he bestowed upon the education of 
the youthful monarch. He was instructed in all the 
w^arlike exercises, and in the high-bred observances 
and polished manners of the school of chivalry; he was 
generously provided with masters in the various arts 
and sciences; and as it was the era of the revival of 
learning in England, the age especially of the rise of 
poetic literature in Chaucer and Gower, his mind and 
imagination became deeply infected with a passion for 


those elegant pursuits. But James, during his long 
captivity, enjoyed far higher advantages. He was able 
to study the arts of government, to make his observa- 
tions on the mode of administering justice in England, 
and to extract wisdom and experience from a personal 
acquaintance with the disputes between the sovereign 
and his nobility; whilst in the friendship and confi- 
dence with which he appears to have been uniformly 
treated by Henry the Fifth, who made him the partner 
of his campaigns in France, he became acquainted with 
the politics of both countries, received his education in 
the art of war from one of the greatest captains whom 
it has produced; and, from his not being personally en- 
gaged, had leisure to avail himself to the utmost of the 
opportunities which his peculiar situation presented. 
There were other changes also, which were then gra- 
dually beginning to manifest themselves in the political 
condition of the two countries, which, to his acute and 
discerning mind, must necessarily have presented a 
subject of thought and speculation — I mean the re- 
peated risings of the commons against the intolerable 
tyranny of the feudal nobility, and the increased wealth 
and consequence of the middle classes of the state; 
events which, in the moral history of those times, are 
of deep interest and importance, and of which the 
future monarch of Scotland was a personal observer. 
The school, therefore, in which James was educated 
seems to have been eminently qualified to produce a 
w^ise and excellent king; and the history of his reign 
corroborates this observation. 

On entering his kingdom, James proceeded to 
Edinburgh, where he held the festival of Easter; and 
on the twenty-first of IMay he and his queen were 
solemnly crowned in the Abbey church of Scone. 

1424. JAMES I. 17.3 

According to an ancient hereditary right, the kino- 
was placed in the royal seat by the late governor, 
Murdoch duke of Albany and earl of Fife, whilst 
Henry Wardlaw bishop of St Andrews, the same 
faithful prelate to whom the charge of his early edu- 
cation had been committed, anointed his royal master, 
and placed the crown upon his head, amid a crowded 
assembly of the nobility and clergy, and the shouts 
and rejoicings of the people. The king then proceeded 
to bestow the honour of knighthood upon Alexander 
Stewart, the younger son of the Duke of Albany ; upon 
the Earls of March, Angus, and Crawford; William 
Hay of Errol constable of Scotland, John Scrymgeour 
constable of Dundee, Alexander Seton of Gordon, and 
eighteen others of the principal nobility and barons;* 
after which he convoked his parliament on the twenty- 
sixth of May, and proceeded to the arduous task of 
inquiring into the abuses of the government, and 
adopting measures for their reformation. 

Hitherto James had been but imperfectly informed 
regarding the extent to which the government of 
Albany and his feeble successor had promoted, or 
permitted, the grossest injustice and the most unli- 
censed peculation. He had probably suspected that 
the picture had been exaggerated ; and with that deli- 
berate policy which constituted a striking part of his 
character, he resolved to conduct his investio-ations in 
person, before he gave the slightest hint of his ultimate 
intentions. It is said, indeed, that when he first 
entered the kingdom, the dreadful description given 
by one of his nobles of the unbridled licentiousness 
and contempt of the laws which everywhere prevailed, 

* Extracta ex Chronicis Scotix, MS. fol. 2c9, 270. Fordun a Goodal, 
vol. ii. p. 474. 


threw him for a moment off his guard. "Let God but 
grant me life," cried he, with a loud voice, " and there 
shall not be a spot in my dominions where the key 
shall not keep the castle, and the furze-bush the cow, 
thoucfh I myself should lead the life of a dosr to ac- 
complish it!"* This, however, was probably spoken 
in confidence, for the object of the king was to inform 
himself of the exact condition of his dominions without 
exciting alarm, or raising a suspicion which might 
foster opposition and induce concealment. The very 
persons who sat in this parliament, and through whose 
assistance the investiaation must be conducted, were 
themselves the worst defaulters; an imprudent word 
escaping him, and much more a sudden imprisonment 
or a hasty, perhaps an unsuccessful, attempt at im- 
peachment, would have been the signal for the nobles 
to fly to their estates and shut themselves up in their 
feudal castles, where they could have defied every effort 
of the king to apprehend them; and in this way all his 
plans might have been defeated or indefinitely pro- 
tracted, and the country plunged into something 
approaching to a civil war. 

The three Estates of the realm having been assem- 
bled, certain persons were elected for the determination 
of the " Articles" to be proposed to them by the king, 
leave of returning home being given to the other 
members of the parliament. Committees of parliament 
had already been introduced by David the Second, on 
the cfround of aeneral convenience, and the anxietv of 
the barons and landholders to be present on their 
estates during the time of harvest. -f* From this period 
to the present time, embracing an interval of more 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 511. 

+ Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, sub anno 1424, History, supra, vol. 
li. p. 234. 

1424. JAMES I. 175 

than half a century, the destruction of the records of 
the parUaments of Robert the Second and Third, and 
of the government of Albany and his son, renders it 
impossible to trace the progress of this important 
change, by which we now find the Lords of the Articles 
'•'• certe persone ad articulos^'''' an acknowledged institu- 
tion, in the room of the parliamentary committees of 
David the Second; but it is probable that the king 
availed himself of this privilege to form a small body 
of the nobilit}^, clergy, and burgesses, of whose fidelity 
he was secure, and who lent him their assistance in 
the difficult task upon which he now engaged. 

The parliament opened with an enactment, com- 
manding all men to honour the Church, declaring that 
its ministers should enjoy, in all things, their ancient 
freedom and established privileges, and that no person 
should dare to hinder the clergy from granting leases 
of their lands or tithes, under the spiritual censures 
commonly incurred by such prevention. A proclama- 
tion followed, directed against the prevalence of private 
war and feuds amongst the nobility, enjoining the 
king''s subjects to maintain thenceforward a firm peace 
throughout the realm, and discharging all barons, 
under the highest pains of the law, from " moving or 
making war against each other ; from riding through 
the country with a more numerous following of horse 
than properly belonged to their estate, or for which, 
in their progress, due payment was not made to the 
king's lieges and hostellars. All such riders or gang- 
ars,"" upon complaint being made, were to be apprehen- 
ded by the officers of the lands where the trespass had 
been committed, and kept in sure custody till the king 
declared his pleasure regarding them ; and in order to 
the due execution of this and other enactments, it 


was ordained that officers and ministers of the laws 
should be appointed generally throughout the realm, 
whose personal estate must be of wealth and sufficiency 
uuough to be proceeded against, in the event of malversa- 
tion, and from whose vigour and ability the "commons 
of the land" should be certain of receiving justice.* 

The penaltv of rebellion or treason airainst the kinf!i:''s 
person was declared to be the forfeiture of life, lands, 
and goods, whilst all friends or supporters of rebels 
were to be punished according to the pleasure of the 
sovereign. The enactments which followed regarding 
those troops of sturdy mendicants, who traversed the 
country, extorting charity where it was not speedily 
bestowed, present us with some curious illustrations 
of the manners of the times. The king commanded 
that no companies of such loose and unlicensed persons 
should be permitted to beg or insist on quarters from 
any husbandman or churchman, sojourning in the 
abbeys or on the farm granges, and devouring the 
wealth of the country. An exception was made in 
favour of " royal beggars,"" with regard to whom it is 
declared, that the king had agreed, by advice of his 
parliament, that no beggars or " thiggars'"* be permitted 
to beir, either in the bur^h or throuohout the countrv, 
between the a^es of fourteen and threescore and ten 
years, unless it be first ascertained by the council of 
the burgh that they are incapacitated from supporting 
themselves in any other way. It was directed that 
they who were thus permitted to support themselves 
should wear a certain token, to be furnished them by 
the sheriff, or the alderman and bailies ; and that 
proclamation be made, that all beggars having no such 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotlarid, vol. ii. p. 2. Statute? of the Realm. 
Rich, il., vol. ii. pp. i), 10. Statutes against Bonds or Confederacies. 

1424. JAMES 1. 177 

tokens, do immediately betake themselves to such 
trades as may enable them to win their own living, 
under the penalty of burning on the cheek and banish- 
ment from the country.* It is curious to discern, in 
this primitive legislative enactment, the first institution 
of the kino^'s blue coats or bedesmen, a venerable order 
of privileged mendicants, whose existence has only 
expired within these few years. 

During the weak administration of Robert the 
Second and Third, and still more under the unprin- 
cipled government of Albany, the "great customs,"" 
or the duties levied throughout the realm upon the 
exportation or importation of merchandise, had been 
diminished by various grants to private persons ; and, 
in addition to this, the crown lands had been shame- 
lessly alienated and dilapidated. It was declared 
by the parliament, that in all time coming the great 
customs should remain in the hands of the king for 
the support of his royal estate, and that all persons who 
made any claim upon such customs, should produce 
to the sovereign the deed or grant upon which such a 
demand was maintained.*!- With regard to the lands 
and rents which were formerly in possession of the 
ancestors of the king, it was provided, that special 
directions should be given to the diiFerent sheriffs 
throughout the realm, to make inquiries of the oldest 
and worthiest officers within their sheriffdom, as to 
the particular lands or annual rents wdiich belonged 
to the king, or in former times were in the hands of 
his royal predecessors, David the Second, Robert the 
Second, and Robert the Third. In these returns by 
the sheriffs, the names of the present possessors of 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 2, 8. 
*t* See a statute of Richard the Second on the same subject, pp. 41, 42, vol. 
ii. Statutes of the Realm. 



these lands were directed to be included, and an inquest 
Avas then to be summoned, who, after having examined 
the proper evidence, were enjoined to return a verdict 
under their seals, adjudging the property to belong to 
the crown. To facilitate such measures, it w'as declared 
that the king may summon, according to his free will 
and pleasure, his various tenants and vassals to exhibit 
their charters and holdings, in order to discover the 
exact extent of their property.* 

The next enactment related to a very important sub- 
ject, the payment of the fifty thousand marks which 
were due to England, and the deliverance of the host- 
ages who WTre detained in security. Upon this sub- 
ject it was ordained, that a specific sum should be raised 
upon the whole lands of the kingdom, including regality 
lands as well as others, as it would be grievous and 
heavy upon the commons to raise the whole '''■finance''' 
at once. For this purpose, an aid or donative, ex- 
pressed in the statute by the old Saxon word a zelde^ 
and amounting to the sum of twelve pennies in every 
pound, was directed to be raised upon all rents, lands, 
and goods, belonging to lords and barons within their 
domains, including both corn and cattle. From this 
valuation, however, all riding horses, draught oxen, and 
household utensils, were excepted. The burgesses, in 
like manner, were directed to contribute their share out 
of their goods and rents. In addition to this donative, 
the parliament determined that certain taxes should 
also be raised upon the cattle and the corn, the parti- 
culars of which were minutely detailed in the record. 
As to the tax upon all grain which was then housed, 
excepting the purveyance of the lords and barons for 
their own consumption, it was ordained that the boll 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 4. 

1424. JAMES I. 179 

of wheat should pay two sliillings; the boll of rye, bear, 
and pease, sixteen pence; and the boll of oats six pence. 
With regard to the green corn, all the standing crops 
were to remain untaxed until brought into the barn. 
As to cattle, it was determined that a cow and her calf, 
or quey of two years old, should pay six shillings and 
eight pence ; a draught ox the same ; every wedder and 
ewe, each at the rate of twelve pennies ; every goat, 
gymmer, and dynmont, the same; each wild mare, with 
her colt of three year old, ten shillings; and lastly, 
every colt of three years and upwards, a mark.* 

For the purpose of the just collection of this tax 
throughout the country, it was directed that every 
sheriff should within his own sheriffdom summon the 
barons and freeholders of the king, and by their advice 
select certain honest and discreet men, who should be 
ready to abide upon all occasions the scrutiny of the 
sovereia'n as to their faithful discharo'e of their office 
in the taxation ; and to whom the task of making an 
" Extent,'"* as it was technically called, or, in other 
words, of drawing up an exact inventory of the pro- 
perty of the country, should be committed. These 
officers, or '-'• extentoiirs^'' are directed to be sworn as to 
the faithful execution of their office, before the barons 
of the sheriffdom ; they are commanded, in order to 
insure a more complete investigation, to take with them 
the parish priest, who is to be enjoined by his bishop 
to inform them faithfully of all the goods in the parish ; 
and having done so, they are then to mark down the 
extent in a book furnished for the purpose, in which 
the special names of every town in the kingdom, and 
of ever}^ person dwelling therein, with the exact amount 
of their property, was to be particularly enumerated; 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, p. 4. 


all wliich books were to be delivered into the bands of 
the kino's auditors at Perth, upon the twelfth day of 
July next. It is deeply to be regretted, that none of 
these records of the property of the kingdom have 
reached our time. 

It was further declared upon this important subject, 
that all the lands of the kin2:dom should be taxed ac- 
cording to their present value, and that the tax upon 
all goods and gear should be paid in money of the like 
value with the coin then current in the realm. It was 
specially enjoined, that no one in the kingdom, whether 
he be of the rank of clerk, baron, or burgess, should be 
excepted from payment of this tax, and that all should 
have the money ready to be delivered within fifteen 
days after the taxation had been struck, the officers 
employed in its collection being empowered, upon failure, 
to take payment in kind, a cow being estimated at five 
shillings ; a ewe or wedder, at twelve pence ; a goat, 
gymmer, or dynmont, at eight pence ; a three-year old 
colt at a mark ; a w^ild mare and her foal at ten shil- 
lings; a boll of wheat at twelve pennies; of rye, bear, 
and pease, at eight pence; and of oats, at three pence.* 
If the lord of the land, where such payment in kind 
had been taken, chose to advance the sum for his ten- 
ants, the sheriffs were commanded to deliver the goods 
to him; if not, they were to be sold at the next mar- 
ket cross, or sent to the king. 

It was next determined by the parliament, that the 
prelates should tax their rents and kirks in the same 
manner, and at the same rate, as the baron^s land; 
every bishop in each deanery of his diocese being di- 
rected to cause his official and dean to summon all his 
tenants and freeholders before him, and to select tax- 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 4. 

1424. JAMES 1. 181 

gatherers, whose duty it was to " extend" the ecclesi- 
astical lands in the same way as the rest of the pro- 
perty of the country; it being provided, in ever}" in- 
stance where a churchman paid the whole value of his 
benefice, that the fruits of his kirk lands should next 
year be free from all imposition or exaction. In the 
taxation of the rents and goods of the burgesses, the 
sheriif was directed to send a superintendant to see 
that the tax-gatherers, who were chosen by the alder- 
men and bailies, executed their duty faithfully and 
truly ; and it was directed, that the salary and expenses 
of the various collectors in baronies, burghs, or church 
lands, should be respectively determined by the sheriff, 
aldermen, and prelates, and deducted from the whole 
amount of the tax, when it was given into the hands 
of the "auditors"''' appointed by the king to receive the 
gross sum, on the twelfth day of July at Perth. The 
auditors appointed were the Bishops of Dunkeld and 
Dunblane, the Abbots of Balmerinoch and St Colm's 
Inch, Mr John Scheves, the Earl of Athole, Sir Pa- 
trick Dunbar, William Borthwick, Patrick Ogilvy, 
James Douglas of Balveny, and William Erskine of 
Kinnoul. I have been anxious to give the entire de- 
tails of this scheme of taxation, as it furnishes us with 
many interesting facts illustrative of the state of pro- 
perty in the country at this early period of its history, 
and as it is not to be found in the ordinary edition of 
the Statutes of James the First. 

After some severe enactments against the slayers of 
salmon within the forbidden time, which a posterior 
statute informs us was in the interval between the feast 
of the Assumption of Our Lady and the feast of St 
Andrew in the winter, it was declared, that all yairs 
and C7'uves, (meaning certain mechanical contrivances 


for the taking of fish by means of wattled traps placed 
between two walls in the stream of the river,) which 
have been built in fresh waters where the sea ebbs and 
flows, should be put down for three years, on account 
of tlie destruction of the spawn, or young fry, which 
they necessarily occasion. This regulation was com- 
mandcdtobe peremptorily enforced, even by those whose 
charters included a ri^iht of "cruve fishinir," under the 
penalty of a hundred shillings; and the ancient regu- 
lation re2:ardin2: the removal of the cruve on Satur- 
day night, known by the name of "Saturday's Slap," 
as well as the rules which determined the statutory 
width of the '-''hecks,'''' or wattled interstices, were en- 
joined to be strictly observed.* The extent to which 
the fisheries had been carried in Scotland, and the 
object which they formed even to the foreign fish- 
curers, appeared in the statutory provisions regarding 
the royal custom imposed upon all herring taken within 
the realm, being one penny upon every thousand fresh 
herring sold in the market. Upon every last of herring 
which w' ere taken by Scottish fishermen and barrelled, 
a duty of four shillings, and on every last taken by 
strangers, a duty of six shillings was imposed; whilst, 
from every thousand red herrings made within the 
kingdom, a duty of four pennies w^as to be exacted.*!- 

With regard to mines of gold or silver it was pro- 
vided, that wherever such have been discovered within 
the lands of any lord or baron, if it can be proved that 
three half pennies of silver can be produced out of the 
pound of lead, the mine should, according to the estab- 
lished practice of other realms, belong to the king, a 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p, 5. 

't' A last, according to Skene, contains twelve great barrels, or fourteen 
imaller barrels, pp. 13'', 140. 

1424. JAMES I. 183 

species of property from wliicli there is no evidence that 
any substantial wealth ever flowed into the royal ex- 
chequer. It was enacted, that no gold or silver should 
be permitted to be carried forth of the realm, except it 
pay a duty of forty pence upon every pound exported ; 
and in the event of any attempt to contravene this 
provision, the defaulter was to forfeit the whole gold 
or silver, and to pay a fine of forty-one pennies to the 
king. It was moreover provided, that in every instance 
wdiere merchant strangers have disposed of their goods 
for money, they should either expend the same in the 
purchase of Scottish merchandise, or in the payment 
of their personal expenses, for proof of which, they must 
brinir the evidence of the host of the inn where thev 
made their abode; or, if they wished to carry it out of 
the realm, they were to pay the duty upon exportation.* 
It was determined, that the money in present circula- 
tion throughout the realm, which had been greatly de- 
preciated from the original standard, should be called 
in, and a new coinage issued of like w^eight and fine- 
ness with the money of England. 

It haviuGT been found that a considerable trade had 
been carried on in the sale and exportation of oxen, 
sheep and horses, it was provided, in the same spirit of 
unenlightened policy which distinguished the whole 
body of the statutes relative to the commerce of the 
country, that upon every pound of the price received 
in such transactions, a duty of twelve pennies should 
be levied by the king. Upon the same erroneous prin- 
ciple, so soon as it was discovered that a considerable 
trade was carried on in the exportation of the skins of 

* In England, by a statute of Henry IV., merchant strangers -were per- 
mitted to export one-half of the money received for their manufacrores. 
Statutes of the Realm, vol. ii. p. 1::2. 


harts and hinds, of martins, fumarts, rabbits, docs, roes, 
otters, and foxes, it was provided, that a eheck should 
be given to this flourishing branch of trade, by impos- 
ing a certain tax or custom upon each of such commo- 
dities, in the event of their being purchased for expor- 
tation.* It appears that many abuses had crept into 
the ecclesiastical state of the country by the frequent 
purchase of pensions from the pope, against which prac- 
tices a special statute was directed, declaring, that in 
all time coming, no person should purchase any pension 
payable out of any benefice, religious or secular, under 
the penalty of forfeiting the same to the crown; and 
that no clerk, without an express license from the king, 
should either himself pass over the sea, or send procu- 
I'ators for him upon any foreign errand. 

A singular and primitive enactment followed regard- 
ing rookeries; in which, after a preamble stating the 
mischief to the corn which was occasioned by rooks 
building in the trees of kirkyards and orchards, it was 
provided, that the proprietors of such trees should, by 
every method in their power, prevent the birds from 
building; and, if this cannot be accomplished, that 
they at least take special care that the young rooks, or 
branchers, were not sufiered to take wing, under the 
penalty, that all trees upon which the nests are found at 
Beltane, and from which it can be established, by good 
evidence, that the young birds have escaped, should 
be forfeited to the crown, and forthwith cut down, un- 
less redeemed by the proprietor. No man, under a 
penalty of forty shillings, was to burn muirs from the 
month of March till the corn be cut down; and if any 
such defaulter was unable to raise the sum, he was com- 
manded to be imprisoned for forty days. 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 6. 

1424. JAMES I. 185 

The great superiority of the English archers has 
been frequently pointed out in the course of this his- 
tory; and the importance of introducing a more frequent 
practice of the long-bow appears to have impressed 
itself deeply on the mind of the king, who had the best 
opportunity, under Henry the Fifth, of witnessing its 
destructive effects during his French campaigns. It 
was accordingly provided, that all the male subjects 
of the realm, after reaching the age of twelve years, 
" busk them to be archers;'' that is, provide themselves 
with the usual arms of an archer ; and that upon every 
ten-pound land bow-marks be constructed, especially 
in the vicinity of parish churches, where the people 
may practice archery, and, at the least, shoot thrice 
about, under the penalty of paying a wedder to the lord 
of the land, in the event of neglecting the injunction. 
To give further encouragement to archery, the pastime 
of foot-ball, which appears to have been a favourite na- 
tional game in Scotland, was forbidden, under a severe 
penalty, in order that the common people might give 
the whole of their leisure time to the acquisition of 
a just eye and a steady hand, in the use of the long- 

S,*ch is an abstract of the statutory regulations of 
the first parliament of James ; and it is evident that, 
making allowance for the different circumstances in 
which the two countries were situated, the most useful 
provisions, as well as those which imply the deepest 
ignorance of the true principles of commercial policy, 
were borrowed from England. Those, for instance, 
which imposed a penalty upon the exportation of sheep, 
horses, and cattle; which implied so deep a jealousy of 
the gold and silver being carried out of the realm. ; which 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 5, 6, 


forbade the riding armed, or \vith too formidable a band 
of servants; which encouraired archery; which related 
to mendicants and vagabonds; to the duties and quali- 
fications of bailies and magistrates; which extended to 
the privileges of the church, and forbade the interfer- 
ence of the pope with the benefices of the realm, are, 
w'ith a few chanjres, to be found amon^rst the statutes of 
Kiehard the Second, and the fourth and fifth Henries; 
and prove that the king, during his long detention in 
England, had made himself intimately acquainted with 
the legislative policy of that kingdom. 

It admits of little doubt, that durins; the sittins: of 
this parliament, James was secretly preparing for those 
determined measures, by which, eight months after- 
wards, he effectually crushed the family of Albany, and 
compelled the fierce nobility, who had so long despised 
all restraint, to respect the authority of the laws, and 
tremble before the power of the crown. But in these 
projects it was necessary to proceed with extreme cau- 
tion; and the institution of the Lords of the Articles 
seems to have furnished the kino; with an instrument 
well suited for the purpose he had in view, which, with- 
out creating alarm, enabled him gradually to mature 
his plans, and conduct them to a successful issue. Who 
were the persons selected for this committee it is, un- 
fortunately, impossible to discover; but w^e may be cer- 
tain that they enjoyed the confidence of the king, and 
were prepared to support him to the utmost of their 
power. With them, after the return of the rest of the 
most powerful lords and barons to their estates, who, 
from the warmth and cordiality with which they were 
received, had little suspicion of the secret measures 
meditated against them, James prepared and passed 
into laws many statutes, which, from the proud spirit 

l-i!>4. JAMES I. 187 

of iiis nobles, he knew they would not hesitate to de- 
spise and disobey, and thus furnish him with an oppor- 
tunity to bring the offenders within the poAver of the 
laws, which he had determined to enforce to the utmost 
riofour aaainst them. Anion o-st the statutes which were 
evidently designed to be the future means of coercino; 
his nobility, those which regarded the resumption of the 
lands of the crown, and the exhibition of the charters 
by which their estates were held, may be at once re- 
cognised; and to these may be added the enactments 
aixainst the numerous assemblies of armed vassals with 
which the feudal nobility of the time w^ere accustomed 
to traverse the country, and bid defiance to the local 

The loss of many original records, which might have 
thrown some certain light upon this interesting portion 
of our history, renders it impossible to trace the various 
links in the projects of the king. Some prominent facts 
alone remain ; yet from these it is not difficult to dis- 
cover at least the outline of his proceedings. 

He suffered eight months to expire before he con- 
voked that celebrated parliament at Perth, at which he 
had secretly resolved to exhibit his own strength, and 
to inflict a signal vengeance upon the powerful family 
of Albany. During this interval, he appears to have 
gained to his party the whole influence of the clergy, 
andtohave quietly consolidated his own power amongst 
a portion of the barons. The Earl of Mar, and his son 
Sir Thomas Stewart, William Lauder bishop of Glas- 
gow and Chancellor, Sir Walter Ogilvy the Treasurer, 
John Cameron provost of the Collegiate Church of Lin- 
cluden and private secretary to the king. Sir John 
Forester of Corstorphine chamberlain, Sir John Stewart 
and Sir Robert Lauder of the Bass, Thomas Somerville 


of Carnwath, and Alexander Levingston of Calendar, 
members of the king's council, were, in all probability^ 
the only persons whom James admitted to his confi- 
dence, and intrusted with the execution of his desiirns;* 
whilst the utmost secrecy appears to have been observed 
with regard to his ultimate purposes. 

Meanwhile Duke Murdoch and his sons, with the 
Earls of Douglas, March, and Angus, and the most 
powerful of the nobility, had separated without any 
suspicion of the blow which was meditated against them ; 
and, once more settled on their own estates, and sur- 
rounded bv their feudal retainers, soon foro"ot the sta- 
tutes which had been so lately enacted ; and with that 
spirit of fierce independence which had been nourished 
under the government of Albany and his son, dreamt 
little of producing their charters or giving up the crown 
lands or rents which they had received, of abridging 
their feudal state or dismissing their armed followers, 
or, indeed, of yielding obedience to any part of the laws 
which interfered with their individual importance and 
authority. They considered the statutes in precisely 
the same lioht in which there is reason to believe all 
parliamentary enactments had been regarded in Scot- 
land for a long period before this: as mandates to be 
obeyed by the lower orders, under the strictest exac- 
tions of penalty and forfeitures ; and to be attended to 
by the great and the powerful, provided they suited 
their own convenience, and did not offer any great vio- 
lence to their feelings of pride or their possession of 
power. The weak and feeble government of Robert 
the Second and Third, with the indulgence to which 

* See Hay's MS. Collection of Diplomata, vol. iii. p. 98, for a deed 
dated 30th of December, 1424, which gives the members of the king's privy 

1-124<. JAMES I. 189 

the aristocracy were accustomed under Albany, had 
riveted this idea firmly in their minds ; and they acted 
upon it without the suspicion, that a monarch might 
one day be found not only with sagacity to procure the 
enactment of laws which should level their indepen- 
dence, but with a determination of character, and a 
command of means, which should enable him to carry 
these laws into execution. 

On being summoned, therefore, by the king to attend a 
parliament, to be held at Perth on the twelfth of March, 
they obeyed without hesitation ; and as the first sub- 
ject which appears to have been brought before the three 
Estates w^as the dissemination of the heretical opinions 
of the Lollards, which began to revive about this time 
in the country, no alarm was excited, and the business 
of the parliament proceeded as usual. It was deter- 
mined that due inquiry should be made by the minis- 
ters of the king, whether the statutes passed in his 
former parliament had been obeyed ; and, in the event 
of its being discovered that they had been disregarded, 
orders were issued for the punishment of the offenders. 
All leao;ues or confederacies amono;st the kino'"'s lieo-es 
were strictly forbidden; all assistance afforded to rebels, 
all false reports, or "leasing-makings," which tended to 
create discord between the sovereign and his people, 
were prohibited under the penalty of forfeiting life and 
lands ; and in every instance where the property of the 
church was found to have been illegally occupied, re- 
storation was ordered to be made by due process of law.* 

The parliament had now continued for eight days, 
and as yet everything w^ent on without disturbance; 
but on the ninth an extraordinary scene presented it- 
self. Murdoch, the late governor, with Lord Alexander 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii, p. 7. 


Stewart, his younger son, were suddenly arrested, and 
immediately afterwards twenty-six of the principal 
nobles and barons shared the same fate. Amongst these 
were Archibald earl of Douglas, William Douglas earl 
of Angus, George Dunbar earl of March, William Hay 
of Errol constable of Scotland, Scr^nngeour constable 
of Dundee, Alexander Lindesay, Adam Hepburn of 
Hailes, Thomas Hay of Yester, Herbert Maxwell of 
Caerlaverock, Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie, Alan 
Otterburn secretary to the Duke of Albany, Sir John 
Montgomery, Sir John Stewart of Dundonald, com- 
monly called the lied Stewart, and thirteen others. 
During the course of the same year, and a short time 
previous to this energetic measure, the king had im- 
prisoned Walter, the eldest son of Albany, along with 
the Earl of Lennox and Sir Robert Graham : a man of 
a fierce and vindictive disposition, w^ho from that mo- 
ment vow^ed the most determined revenge, which he 
lived to execute in the murder of his sovereis^n.* The 
heir of Albany was shut up in the strong castle of the 
Bass, belonirins: to Sir Robert Lauder, a firm friend of 
the kinir : whilst Graham and Lennox were committed 
to Dunbar; and the Duke of Albany himself confined 
in the first instance in the castle of St Andrews, and 
afterwards transferred to that of Caerlaverock. At the 
same moment, the king took possession of the castles 
of Falkland, and of the fortified palace of Doune, the 
favourite residence of Albany. -|- Here he found Isa- 
bella, the wdfe of Albany, a daughter of the Earl of 
Lennox, whom he immediately committed to the castle 
of Tantallon; and with a success and a rapidity which 
can only be accounted for by the supposition cf the 

* Fordun a Ileame, vol. iv. p. 12G.0, 

f Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. sx. pji, 57, CO, 

1424. JAMES I. J 91 

utmost vigour in tlie execution of his plans, and a strong 
military power to overawe all opposition, he possessed 
himself of the strongest fortresses in the country; and, 
after adjourning the parliament, to meet within the 
space of two months at Stirling, upon the eighteenth of 
May,* he proceeded to adopt measures for inflicting a 
speedy and dreadful revenge upon the most powerful 
of his opponents. 

In the palace of Stirling, on the twenty-fourth of May, 
a court was held with great pomp and solemnity for the 
trial of Walter Stewart, the eldest son of the Duke of 
Albany. The king, sitting on his throne, clothed with 
the robes and insignia of majesty, with the sceptre in 
his hand, and w^earing the royal crown, presided as 
supreme judge of his people. The loss of all record of 
this trial is deeply to be regretted, as it would have 
thrown light upon an interesting, but obscure por- 
tion of our history. We know only from an ancient 
chronicle that the heir of Albany was tried for robbery, 
" de rohoria?'' The jury was composed of twenty-one 
of the principal nobles and barons ; and it is a remark- 
able circumstance, that amonirst their names which have 
been preserved, we find seven of the twenty-six barons 
whom the king had seized and imprisoned two months 
before at Perth, Avhen he arrested Albany and his sons. 
Amongst these seven, were the three most powerful 
lords in the body of the Scottish aristocracy — the Earls 
of Douglas, March, and Angus ; the rest were Sir John 
de Montgomery, Gilbert Hay of Errol the constable, 
Sir Herbert Herries of Terregles, and Sir Robert Gun- 
ingham of Kilmaurs.-J- Others who sat upon this jury 

* Fordun a Heame, vol. iv. p. 1270. 

+ Ibid. pp. r20'9, 1270, 12/1. See also Extracta ex Chronicis Scotioe, 
MS. p. 272. 


we know to have been the assured friends of the kins:, 
and members of his privy counciL These were, Alex- 
ander Stewart earl of Mar, Sir John Forester of Cor- 
storphine. Sir Thomas Somerville of Carnwath, and Sir 
Alexander Levingston of Callendar. It is probable 
that the seven jurymen above mentioned were persons 
attached to the party of Albany, and that the intention 
of the king, in their imprisonment, was to compel them 
to renounce all idea of supporting him, and to abandon 
him to his fate. In this result, whatever were the 
means adopted for its accomplishment, the king suc- 
ceeded. The trial of Walter Stewart occupied a single 
day. He was found guilty, and condemned to death. 
His fate excited a deep feeling of sympathy and com- 
passion in the breasts of the people; for the noble figure 
and dis^nified manners of the eldest son of Albany were 
peculiarly calculated to make him friends amongst the 
lower classes of the community. 

On the following day, Duke Murdoch himself, with 
his second son Alexander, and his father-in-law the 
Earl of Lennox were tried before the same jury. What 
were the crimes alleged against the Earl of Lennox and 
Alexander Stewart, it is now impossible to determine; 
but it may be conjectured, on strong grounds, that the 
usurpation of the government and the assumption of 
supreme authority during the captivity of the king, 
offences amounting- to hio-h treason, constituted the 
principal charge against the late regent. His father 
undoubtedly succeeded to the regency by the deter- 
mination of the three Estates assembled in parliament; 
but there is no evidence that any such decision was 
passed which sanctioned the high station assumed by 
the son; and if so, every act of his government was an 
act of treason, upon which the jury could have no diffi- 

1424. JAMES I 193 

culty in pronouncing their verdict. Albany was accord- 
ingly found guilty ; the same sentence was pronounced 
upon his son, Alexander Stewart; the Earl of Lennox 
was next condemned; and these three noble persons 
were publicly executed on that fatal eminence, before 
the castle of Stirling, known by the name of the Head- 
ins: Hill. As the condemnation of Walter Stewart had 
excited unwonted commiseration amongst the people, 
the spectacle now afforded was calculated to raise that 
feeling to a still higher pitch of distress and compassion. 
Albany and his two sons were men of almost gigantic 
stature,* and of so noble a presence, that it was im- 
possible to look upon them without an involuntary 
feeling of admiration ; whilst the venerable appearance 
and white hairs of Lennox, who had reached his eisfhti- 
eth year, inspired a sentiment of tenderness and pity, 
which, even if they admitted the justice of the sentence, 
was apt to raise in the bosom of the spectators a dis- 
position to condemn the rapid and unrelenting severity 
with which it was carried into execution. Even in their 
days of pride and usurpation, the family of Albany had 
been the favourites of the people. Its founder, the 
regent, courted popularity; and although a usurper, 
and stained with murders, seems in a great measure to 
have gained his end. It is impossible indeed to recon- 
cile the high eulogium of Bower and Winton-[* with 
the dark actions of his life ; but it is evident, from the 
tone of these historians, that the severity of James did 
not carry along with it the feelings of the people. Yet, 

* Albany and his sons vrere buried in the church of the Preaching Friars 
at Stirling, on the south side of the high altar, " figuris et armis eorundem 
depictis." — Extracta ex Chronicis Scotise, MS. p. 272. Fordun a Goodal, 
vol. ii. p. 483. " Homines gigantese staturse." 

f Fordun a Hearne, p. 1228. Winton, vol. ii. pp. 419, 420. See Illus- 
trations, F. 



looking at the state of things in Scotland, it is easy to 
understand the object of the king. It was his inten- 
tion to exhibit to a nation, long accustomed to regard 
the laws with contempt and the royal authority as a 
name of empty menace, a memorable example of stern 
and inflexible justice, and to convince them that a great 
change had already taken place in the executive part 
of the government. 

With this view another dreadful exhibition followed 
the execution of the family of Albany. James Stew- 
art, the youngest son of this unfortunate person, was 
the only member of it who had avoided the arrest of 
the king, and escaped to the Highlands. Driven to 
despair, by the ruin which threatened his house, he 
collected a band of armed freebooters, and, assisted 
by Finlay bishop of Lismore, and Argyle his father's 
chaplain, attacked the burgh of Dumbarton, with a fury 
which nothing could resist. Tlie king's uncle. Sir John 
of Dundonald, called the Red Stewart, was slain, the 
town sacked and given to the flames, and thirty men 
murdered, after which the son of Albany returned to 
his fastnesses in the north. But so hot was the pur- 
suit which w^as instituted by the royal vengeance, that 
he, and the ecclesiastical bandit who accompanied him, 
were dislodged from their retreats, and compelled to fly 
to Ireland.* Five of his accomplices, however, were 
seized, and their execution, which immediately suc- 
ceeded that of Albany, was unpardonably cruel and 
disgusting. They were torn to pieces by wild horses, 
after which their warm and quivering limbs were sus- 
pended upon gibbets : a terrible warning to the people 
of the punishment which awaited those, who imagined 

* Fordun a Ilearne, vol. iv. p. 1270. 

1424. JAMES I. 195 

that the fidelity which impelled them to execute the 
commands of their feudal lord, was superior to the ties 
which bound them to obey the laws of the country. 

These executions were followed by the forfeiture to 
the crown of the immense estates belonging to Albany 
and to the Earl of Lennox ; a seasonable supply of 
revenue, which, amid the general plunder to which the 
royal lands had been exposed, was much wanted to sup- 
port the dignity of the throne, and in the occupation 
of a considerable portion of which, there is reason to 
believe, the king only resumed w^hat had formerly 
belonged to him. With regard to the conduct of the 
Bishop of Lismore, James appears to have made com- 
plaint to the pope, who directed a bull, addressed to 
the Bishops of St Andrews and Dunblane, by wdiich 
they were empowered to inquire into the treason of the 
prelate, and other rebels against the king.* 

The remaining barons, who had been imprisoned at 
the time of Albany"'s arrest, appear to have been 
restored to liberty immediately after his execution, 
and the parliament proceeded to the enactment of 
several statutes, which exhibit a singular combination 
of wisdom and ignorance, some being as truly calculated 
to promote, as others were fitted to retard, the im- 
provement and prosperity of the country. It was 
ordained, that every man, of such simple estate, as 
made it reasonable that he should be a labourer or 
husbandman, should either combine with his neighbour 
to pay half the expense of an ox and a plough, or dig 
every day a portion of land seven feet in length and 
six feet in breadth. In every sheriflfdom within the 
realm, " weaponschawmgs," or an armed muster of 

* Innes' MS. Chronology, quoted by Chalmers in his Life of James the 
First, p. 14, prefixed to the Poetic Remains. 


the whole fighting men in the county for the purpose 
of military exercise and an inspection of their weapons, 
were appointed to be held four times in the course of 
the year. Symptoms of the decay of the forest and 
green wood, or perhaps, more correctly speaking, proofs 
of the improved attention of the nobles to the enclosure 
of their parks and the ornamental woods around their 
castles, are to be discerned in the enactment, which 
declared it to be a part of the duty of the Justice 
Clerk to make inquiries regarding those defaulters, 
who steal green wood, or strip the trees of their bark 
under cover of night, or break into orchards to purloin 
the fruit ; and provided, that where any man found 
his stolen woods in other lords'* lands, it should be 
lawful for him on the instant to seize both the goods 
and the thief, and to have him brought to trial in the 
court of the baron upon whose lands the crime was 

With regard to the commerce of the country, some 
regulations were now passed, dictated by the same 
jealous spirit which has been already remarked as 
pervading the whole body of our commercial legislation. 
It was strictly enjoined, that no tallow should be 
exported out of the country under the penalty of 
being forfeited to the king ; that no horses were to be 
carried forth of the realm till they were past the 
age of three years, and that no merchant was to be 
permitted to pass the sea for the purposes of trade, 
unless he either possess in property, or at least in 
commission, three serplaiths of wool, or the value of 
such in merchandise, to be determined by an inquest 
of his neighbours, under a penalty of forty-one pounds 
to the king, if found guilty of disobeying the law. 

* Acts of tlie Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 7, 8. 

1424?. JAMES I. 197 

Upon the subject of the administration of justice to 
the people in general, and more especially to such 
poor and needy persons who could not pay an advocate 
for conducting their cause, a statute was passed in this 
parliament which breathes a spirit of enlarged huma- 
nity. After declaring that all bills of complaints, 
v.'hich, for divers reasons, affecting the profit of the 
realm, could not be determined by the parliament, 
should be brought before the particular judge of the 
district to which they belong, to whom the king was 
to give injunction to distribute justice, without fraud 
or favour, as well to the poor as to the rich, in every 
part of the realm, it proceeded as follows, in language 
remarkable for its strength and simplicity: " And gif 
thar be ony pur creatur,"' it observes, " that for defalte 
of cunnyng or dispens, can nocht, or may nocht folow 
his cans ; the king, for the lufe of God, sail ordane 
that the juge before quhame the causs suld be determyt 
purway and get a lele and wyss advocate to folow 
sic creaturis cans. And gif sic cans be obtenyt, the 
wrangar sail assythe the party skathit, and ye advocatis 
costis that travale. And gif the juge refusys to doe the 
lawe evinly, as is befor saide, ye party plenzeand sail haf 
recours to ye king, ye quhilk sail sa rigorusly punyst 
sic jugis, yat it be ane ensampill till all utheris.'''* 

It was declared to be the intention of the sovereign 
to grant a remission or pardon of any injury committed 
upon person or property in the Lowland districts of 
liis dominions, where the defaulter made reparation, 
or, according to the Scottish phrase, " assythement,"'"' 
to the injured party, and where the extent of the loss 
had been previously ascertained by a jury of honest 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotlaud, vol. ii. p. 8. 


and faithful men ; but from this rule, the Highlands, 
or northern divisions of the country, were excepted, 
where, on account of the practice of indiscriminate 
robbery and murder which had prevailed, previous to 
the return of the king, it was impossible to ascertain 
correctly the extent of the depredation, or the amount 
of the assythement. The condition of his northern 
dominions, and the character and manners of his High- 
land subjects, — if indeed they could be called his sub- 
jects, whose allegiance was of so peculiar and capricious 
a nature, — had given birth to many anxious thoughts 
in the king, and led not long after this to a personal 
visit to these remote regions, which formed an interest- 
ing episode in his reign. 

The only remaining matter of importance which 
came under the consideration of this parliament, was 
the growth of heresy, a subject which, in its connexion 
as with the first feeble dawnings of reformation, is pecu- 
liarly interesting and worthy of attention. It was 
directed that every bishop within his diocese should 
make inquisition of all Lollards and heretics, where 
such were to be found, in order that they be punished 
according to the laws of the holy Catholic church, and 
that the civil power be called in for the support of the 
ecclesiastical, if required.* Eighteen years had now 
elapsed since John Resby, a follower of the great 
Wickliff, was burnt at Perth. It was then known, 
that his preaching, and the little treatises which he 
or his disciples had disseminated tlirough the country, 
had made a deep impression ; and the ancient historian 
who informs us of the circumstance, observes, that 
even in his own day, these same books and conclusions 
were secretly preserved by some unhappy persons 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii, pp. 7, 8. 

1424. JAMES I. 199 

under the instigation of the devil, and upon the prin- 
ciple that stolen waters are sweet.* 

There can be no doubt, that at this period the con- 
sciences of not a few in the country were alarmed as 
to the foundations of a faith upon which they had 
hitherto relied, and that they began to judge and 
reason for themselves upon a subject of all others the 
most important which can occupy the human mind, — 
the grounds of a sinner''s pardon and acceptance with 
God. An under current of reformation, which the 
church denominated heresy, was beginning gradually 
to sap the foundations upon which the ancient papal 
fabric had been hitherto securely resting; and the 
Scottish clergy, alarmed at the symptoms of spiritual 
rebellion, and possessing great influence over the mind 
of the monarch, prevailed upon him to interpose the 
authority of a legislative enactment, to discountenance 
the grow^th of the new opinions, and to confirm and 
follow up the efforts of the church, by the strength 
and terror of the secular arm. The education of James 
in England, under the direction of two monarchs, who 
had sullied their reign by the cruel persecution of the 
followers of Wickliff, was little calculated to open his 
mind to the convictions of truth, or to the principles 
of toleration; and at this moment he owed so much to 
the clergy, and was so engrossed with his efforts for 
the consolidation of the royal power, that he could 
neither refuse their request, nor inquire into the 
circumstances under which it was preferred. The 
statute, therefore, against Lollards and heretics was 
passed ; the symptoms of rebellion, which ought to have 
stimulated the clergy to greater zeal, purity, and 
usefulness, w^ere put down by a strong hand; and the 

* Fordun a Heame, vol. iv. p. 1169. 


reformation was retarded onlv to become more resist- 
less at the last. 

In the destruction of our national records many- 
links in the history of this remarkable parliament have 
been lost ; but the success with which the king con- 
ducted this overthrow of the house of Albanv, ccrtainlv 
gives us a high idea of his ability and courage ; and in 
the great outlines enough has been left to convince us, 
that the undertaking was of a nature the most delicate 
and dangerous which could have presented itself to a 
monarch recently seated on a precarious throne, sur- 
rounded by a fierce nobility, to whom he was almost 
a stranger, and the most powerful of whom were con- 
nected by blood or by marriage with the ancient house 
whose destruction he meditated. The example indeed 
was terrible; the scaffold was flooded with royal and 
noble blood ; and it is impossible not to experience a 
feeling of sorrow and indignation at the cruel and un- 
relenting severity of James. It seems as if his rage 
and mortification at the escape of his uncle, the prime 
offender, was but imperfectly satisfied with the punish- 
ment of the feeble Murdoch; and that his deep revenge 
almost delighted to slut itself in the extermination of 
every scion of that unfortunate house. But to form 
a just opinion, indeed, of the conduct of the king, we 
must not forget the galling circumstances in which he 
was situated. Deprived for nineteen years of his 
paternal kingdom, by a system of unprincipled usur- 
pation ; living almost within sight of his throne, yet 
unable to reach it ; feeling his royal spirit strong 
within him, but detained and dragged back by the 
successful and selfish intrigues of Albany, it is not 
surprising that when he did at last escape from his 
bonds, his rage should be that of the chafed lion who 

Ii24. JAMES I. 201 

has broken the toils, and that the principle of revenge, 
in those dark days esteemed as much a duty as a plea- 
sure, should mingle itself with his more cool determi- 
nation to inflict punishment upon his enemies. 

But laying individual feelings aside, the barbarism 
of the times, and the precarious state in which he found 
the government, compelled James to adopt strong- 
measures. Nothing but an example of speedy and in- 
flexible severity could have made an impression upon 
the iron-nerved and ferocious nobles, whose passions, 
under the government of the house of Albanv, had been 
nursed up into a state of reckless indulgence, and a 
contempt of all legitimate authority; and there seems 
reason to believe, that the conduct pursued by the king 
was deemed by him absolutely necessary to consolidate 
his own power, and enable him to carry into eff'ect his 
ultimate designs for promoting the interests of the 
country. Immediately after the conclusion of the 
parliament, James despatched Lord Montgomery of 
Eliotston, and Sir Humphrey Cunningham, to seize 
the castle of Lochlomond,* the property of Sir James 
Stewart, the vouno-est son of Albanv, who had fled to 
Ireland along with his father''s chaplain, the Bishop 
of Lismore. Such was the terror inspired by the 
severity of James, that this fierce youth never after- 
wards returned, but died in banishment ; so that the 
ruin of the house of Albany appeared to be complete. 

In the course of the preceding year the queen had 
brought into the w^orld a daughter, her first-born, who 
was baptized by the name of Margaret ; and, as the 
policy of France led those who then ruled in her coun- 

* " In the south end of the island Inchmurin, the ancient family of Len- 
nox had a castle, but it is now in ruins." This is probably the castle 
alluded to, Stat, Acct. vol. ix. p. 16. Extracta ex Chronicis Scotia;, fol. 273. 


cils to esteem the alliance of Scotland of great impor- 
tance in her protracted struggle with England, it was 
determined to ne2:otiate a marriaii'G between Louis of 
Anjou, the heir to the throne, and the infimt princess. 
In that kingdom the affairs of Charles the Seventh 
were still in a precarious situation. Although tho 
great military genius of Henry the Fifth no longer 
directed and animated the operations of the campaign, 
yet, under the Duke of Bedford, who had been ap- 
pointed Regent of France, fortune still favoured the 
arms of the invaders ; and the successive defeats of 
Crevant and Verneuil, in which the auxiliary forces 
of the Scots w^ere almost entirely cut to pieces, had 
lent a vigour and confidence to the councils and con- 
duct of the English, and imparted a proportionable 
despondency to the French, wdiich seemed to augur a 
fatal result to the efforts of that brave people. It be- 
came necessary, therefore, to court every alliance from 
which effectual assistance might be expected; and the 
army of seven thousand Scottish men-at-arms, which 
had passed over under the command of the Earls of 
Buchan and Wigtown in 1420, with the additional 
auxiliary force which the Earl of Douglas led to join the 
army of Charles the Seventh, convinced that monarch 
that the assistance of Scotland was an object, to attain 
which no efforts should be spared. Accordingly, Stew- 
art of Darnley, Lord of Aubigny and Constable of the 
Scottish army in France, along with the Archbishop of 
Rheims, the first prelate in the realm, were despatched 
in 1425 upon an embassy to negotiate the marriage 
between Margaret of Scotland and Louis the Dauphin, 
and to renew the ancient leasfue which had so lon^ 
connected the two countries with each other.* 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 484. 

1425. JAMES I. 203 

James received the ambassadors with great distinc- 
tion, agreed to the proposed alliance, and despatched 
Leighton bishop of Aberdeen, with Lauder archdeacon 
of Lothian, and Sir Patrick Ogilvy justiciar of Scot- 
land, to return his answer to the Court of France. It 
was determined, that in five years the parties should 
be betrothed, after which, the Scottish princess was 
to be conveyed with all honour to her royal consort. 
About the same time the king appears to have sent 
ambassadors to the Court of Rome, but it is difficult 
to discover whether they merely conveyed those gene- 
ral expressions of spiritual allegiance which it was usual 
for sovereigns to transmit to the Holy See after their 
coronation, or related to matters more intimately af- 
fectino- the ecclesiastical state of the kinirdom. If we 
may judge from the numbers and dignit}' of the envoys, 
the communication was one of importance, and may, 
perhaps, have related to those measures for the extir- 
pation of heresy which we have seen occupying the 
attention of the legislature under James''s second par- 
liament. It was a principle of this enterprising monarch, 
in his schemes for the recovery and consolidation of 
his own power, to cultivate the friendship of the clergy, 
whom he regarded as a counterpoise to the nobles; and 
with this view he issued a commission to Lei2:hton the 
Bishop of Aberdeen, authorizing him to resume all 
alienations of the lands of the church which had been 
made during the regencies of the two Albanys, com- 
manding his justiciars and officers of the law to assist 
in all proper measures for the recovery of the property 
which had been lost, and conferring upon the prelate 
the power of anathema in case of resistance.* 

During the same year there arrived in Scotland an 

* MS. in Harleian Coll. quoted in Pinkerton's History, vol. i. p. llCf. 


embassy from the States of Flanders, upon a subject 
of great commercial importance. It appears that the 
Flemings, as allies of England, had committed hosti- 
lities against the Scottish merchants during the capti- 
vity of the king, which had induced him to order the 
staple of the Scottish commerce in the Netherlands to 
be removed to Middelburgh in Zealand. The measure 
had been attended with much loss to the Flemish 
traders; and the object of the embassy was to solicit 
the return of the trade. The king, who, at the period 
of its arrival, was engaged in keeping his birthday, sur- 
rounded by his barons at St Andrews, received the 
Flemish envoys with distinction; and, aware of the 
importance of encouraging the commercial enterprise 
of his people, seized the opportunity of procuring more 
ample privileges for the Scottish merchants in Flanders, 
in return for which, he agreed that the staple should 
be restored.* 

At this period, besides the wealthy citizens and 
burghers, who adopted commerce as a profession, it was 
not uncommon for the richer nobles and gentry, and 
even for the sovereign, to embark in mercantile adven- 
tures. In 1408, the Earl of Douglas freighted a vessel, 
with one or two super-cargoes, and a crew of twenty 
mariners, to trade in Normandy and Rochelle; in the 
succeeding year the Duke of Albany was the proprie- 
tor of a vessel which carried six hundred quarters of 
malt, and was navigated by a master and twenty-four 
sailors; and, at a still later period, a vessel, the Mary 
of Leith, obtained a safe conduct from the English mon- 
arch to unship her cargo, which belonged to his dear 
cousin James, the King of Scotland, in the port of Lon- 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. pp. 487, 509. 

1425. JAMES I. 205 

don, and expose the merchandise to sale.* At the same 
time the Lombards, esteemed, perhaps, the most wealthy 
and enterprising merchants in Europe, continued to 
carry on a lucrative trade with Scotland; and one of 
their large carracks, which, compared with the smaller 
craft of the English and Scottish merchants, is distin- 
guished by the contemporary chronicler as an " enor- 
mous vessel," navis immanissima^ was wrecked by a 
sudden storm in the Firth of Forth. The o^ale was 
accompanied by a high spring-tide, against which the 
mariners of Italy, accustomed to the Mediterranean 
navigation, had taken no precautions; so that the ship 
was driven from her anchors, and cast ashore at Gran- 
ton, about three miles above Leith.*f- 

The tax of twelve pennies upon every pound of rent, 
and other branches of income, which was directed to be 
levied in the first parliament held at Perth after the 
king's return, has been already mentioned. The sum 
to be thus collected was destined for the payment of the 
arrears which the king had become bound to advance 
to England, as the amount of expense incurred by his 
maintenance during his captivity; and it appears by 
the account of Walter Bower, the continuator of For- 
dun, who was himself one of the commissioners for this 
taxation, that during the first year, it amounted to four- 
teen thousand marks; which would give nearly two 
hundred and eighty thousand marks, or about three 
millions of modern sterlino; monev, as the annual in- 
come of the people of Scotland in 1424. 

It must be recollected, however, that this does not 
include the lands and cattle employed by landholders 
in their own husbandry, which were particularly ex- 

* Rotuli Scotis, vol. ii. p. 257. Ibid. 1st Sept. 9 Henry IV., p. 187, 
'2d Dec. 11 Henry IV., p. 193. 

i* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 487. 


cepted in the collection. The tax itself was an inno- 
vation ; and in the second year the zeal of the people 
cooled; they openly murmured against the universal 
impoverishment it occasioned; and the collection was 
far less productive. In those primitive times, all taxes, 
except in customs, which became a part of the apparent 
price of the goods on which they were charged, were 
wholly unknown in Scotland. The people were accus- 
tomed to see the king support his dignity, and discharge 
his debts, by the revenues of the crown lands, which, 
previous to the late dilapidations, were amply sufficient 
for that purpose; and with equal prudence and gene- 
rosity, although supported by a resolution of the three 
Estates, James declined to avail himself of this invidi- 
ous mode of increasing his revenue, and gave orders 
that no further efforts should be made to levy the im- 

Upon the eleventh of March, 1425, the king convoked 
his third parliament at Perth, and the institution of the 
Lords of the Articles appears to have been fully estab- 
lished. The various subjects upon which the decision 
of the great council was requested, were declared to be 
submitted by the sovereign to the determination of 
certain persons to be chosen by the three Estates from 
the prelates, earls, and barons then assembled; and the 
lejrislative enactments which resulted from their deli- 
berations, convey to us an animated and instructive 
picture of the condition of the country. After the usual 
declaration, that the holy Catholic church and its mi- 
nisters should continue to enjoy their ancient privileges, 
and be permitted without hindrance to grant leases of 
their lands, or of their teinds, there follows a series of 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 482. M'Pherson''s Annals of Commerce, 
7oL i. p. 040. 

]425. JAMES I. 207 

regulations and improvements, both as to the laws 
themselves and the manner of their administration, 
which are well worthy of attention. 

It was first announced, that all the subjects of the 
realm must be governed by the statutes passed in par- 
liament, and not by any particular laws, or any spiritual 
privileges or customs of other countries; and a new 
court, known by the name of the Session, was insti- 
tuted for the administration of justice to the people. It 
was declared, that the king, with the consent of his 
parliament, had ordained, that his chancellor, and along 
with him certain discreet persons of the three Estates, 
who w^ere to be chosen and deputed by himself, should, 
from this day forth, sit three times in the year at what- 
ever place the sovereign may appoint them, for the 
examination and decision of all causes and quarrels 
which may be determined before the king's council ; and 
that these judges should have their expenses paid by 
the parties against whom the decision was given, out 
of the fines of court, or otherwise as the monarch may 
determine. The first session of this new court was 
appointed to be held the day after the feast of St Michael 
the Archangel, or on the thirtieth of September; the 
second on the Monday of the first week of Lent ; and 
the third on the morning preceding the feast of St John 
the Baptist.* 

A Register w^as next appointed, in which a record 
was to be kept of all charters and infeftments, as well 
as of all letters of protection, or confirmations of ancient 
rights or privileges, which, since the king's return, had 
been granted to any individuals ; and within four months 
after the passing of this act, all such charters were to 
be produced by the parties to whom they have been 

*■ Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 11. 


granted, and regularly marked in the book of record. 
Any person who was a judge or officer of justice within 
the realm, or any person who had prosecuted and sum- 
moned another to stand his trial, was forbidden, under 
a penalty of ten pounds, to sit upon his jury; and none 
were to be allowed to practise as attorneys in the jus- 
tice-ayrcs, or courts held by the king''s justiciars, or 
their deputies, who were not known to the justice and 
the barons as persons of sufficient learning and dis- 
cretion. Six wise and able men, best acquainted with 
the laws, were directed to be chosen from each of the 
three Estates, to whom was committed the examina- 
tion of the books of the law, that is to say, " Regiam 
Majestatem," and " Quoniam Attachiamenta ;" and 
these persons were directed by parliament, in language 
which marked the simple legislation of the times, " to 
mend the lawis that nedis mendyng,'*"' to reconcile all 
contradictory, and explain all obscure enactments, so 
that henceforth fraud and cunning may assist no man 
in obtaining an unjust judgment against his neighbour.* 
One of the greatest difficulties which at this early 
period stood in the way of all improvement introduced 
by parliamentary regulations, was the slowness with 
which these rcijulations were communicated to the more 
distant districts of the country; and the extreme igno- 
rance of the laws which subsisted, not only amongst the 
subjects of the realm and the inferior ministers of jus- 
tice, but even amongst the nobles and barons, who, liv- 
inir in their own castles in remote situations, rude and 
illiterate in their habits, and bigoted in their attachment 
to those ancient institutions under which they had so 
long tyrannised over their vassals, were little anxious 
to become acquainted with new laws; and frequently, 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 11. 

1425. JAMES I. 209 

when they did penetrate so far, pretended ignorance, 
as a cover for their disobedience. To obviate, as far 
as possible, this evil, it was directed by the parliament, 
that all statutes and ordinances made prior to this, 
should be first transcribed in the king''s register, and 
afterwards, that copies of them should be given to the 
diflerent sheriffs in the country. The sheriffs were then 
strictly enjoined to publish and proclaim these statutes 
in the chief and most notable places in the sheriffdom, 
and to distribute copies of them to prelates, barons, and 
burghs of bailiery, the expense being paid by those who 
made the application. They were commanded, under 
the penalty of being deprived of their office, to cause 
all acts of the leoislature to be observed throuo-hout 
their county, and to inculcate upon the people, whether 
burghers or landholders, obedience to the provisions 
made by their sovereign since his return from England; 
so that, in time coming, no man should have cause to 
pretend ignorance of the laws.* 

The defence of the country was another subject which 
came before this parliament. It w^as provided, that all 
merchants of the realm passing beyond seas should, 
along with their usual cargoes, bring home such a sup- 
ply of harness and armour as could be stowed in the 
vessel, besides spears, spear-shafts, bows, and bow- 
strings; nor was this to be omitted upon any of their 
voyages : particular injunctions were added with regard 
to the regulation of " ii'eaponscliaicings^'' or the annual 
county musters for the inspection of arms, and the en- 
couragement of warlike exercises. Every sheriff was 
directed to hold them four times in the year within his 
county, upon which occasion it was his duty to see that 
every gentleman having ten pounds value in land, 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 11. 


sliould be sufficiently harnessed and armed with steel 
basnet, leg-harness, sword, spear, and dagger, and that 
all gentlemen of less property sliould be armed accord- 
ing to their estate. All yeomen of the realm, between 
the ages of sixteen and sixty, were directed to be pro- 
vided with bows and a sheaf of arrows. With re^iard 
to the burghs, it was appointed that the weaponschaw- 
inir should be held within them also, four times durinjx 
the year, that all their inhabitants should be well armed, 
and that the aldermen and the bailies were to be held 
responsible for the due observance of this regulation ; 
w^hilst certain penalties were inflicted on all gentlemen 
and yeomen who may be found transgressing these 

The regulations relating to the commercial prospe- 
rity of the country, and its intercourse with other 
nations, manifest the same jealousy and ignorance of 
the true prosperity of the realm, which influenced the 
deliberations of the former parliaments. Taxes were 
repeated upon the exportation of money, compulsory 
I'egulations promulgated against foreign merchants, by 
Avhich they were compelled to lay out the money which 
they received for their commodities, upon the purchase 
of Scottish merchandise, directions were given to the 
sheriffs, and other ministers of the law, upon the coasts 
opposite to Ireland, to prevent all ships and galleys 
from sailing to that country without special license of 
the king''s deputes, to be appointed for this purpose in 
every seaport ; no merchant or shipman was to be allowed 
to give to any Irish subject a passage into Scotland, 
unless such stranger could show a letter or passport 
from the lord of the land from whence he came, declar- 
ing the business for which he desired to enter the realm, 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 9, 10. 

1425. JAMES I. 211 

and all such persons, previous to their being allowed to 
land, were to be examined by the king''s deputy of the 
seaport where the ship had weighed anchor, so that it 
might be discovered whether the business they had in 
hand were to the profit or the prejudice of the king and 
his estate. These strict enactments w^ere declared to 
proceed from no desire to break or interrupt the good 
understandino; which had been Ions: maintained betw^een 
the King of Scotland " and his gud aulde frendis the 
Erschry of Irelande;'" but because at that time the 
open rebels of the king had taken refuge in that coun- 
try, and the welfare and safety of the realm might be 
endangered by all such unrestrained intercourse as 
should give them an opportunity of plotting wdth their 
friends, or alFord facilities to the Irish of becoming ac- 
quainted with the private affairs of the government of 

A quaint and amusing provision was introduced in 
this parliament, which is entitled, " Anent hostillaris 
in villagis and burowyis." It informs us that hostlers, 
or innkeepers, had made grievous complaints to the king 
against a villanous practice of his lieges, who, in travel- 
ling from one part of the country to another, were in 
the habit of taking up their residence with their ac- 
quaintances and friends, instead of going to the regular 
inns and hostelries ; whereupon the sovereign, with 
counsel and consent of the three Estates, prohibited 
all travellers on foot or horseback from rendezvousing 
at any station except the established hostelry of the 
burgh or village; and interdicted all burgesses or vil- 
lagers from extending to them their hospitality, under 
the penalty of forty shillings. The higher ranks of the 
nobles and the gentry would, however, have considered 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 11. 


this as an infrin2:ement upon their liberty; and it was 
accordingly declared, that all persons whose estate 
permitted them to travel with a large retinue in com- 
pany, might quarter themselves upon their friends, 
under the condition that they sent their attendants 
and horses to be lodged at the common hostelries.* 

The remaining enactments of this parliament related 
to the regulation of the weights and measures, and to 
the appointment of an established standard to be used 
throughout the realm; to the obligation of all barons 
or freeholders to attend the parliament in person; to 
the offering up of regular prayers and collects, by all 
priests religious and secular, throughout the kingdom, 
for the health and prosperity of the king, his royal con- 
sort, and their children ; and, lastly, to the apprehen- 
sion of all stout, idle vagabonds, who possess the ability, 
but not the inclination, to labour for their own living. 
These were to be apprehended by the sheriff, and com- 
pelled, within forty days, to bind themselves to some 
lawful craft, so that they should no longer devour and 
trouble the country. The regulation of the standard 
size of the boll, firlot, half firlot, peck, and gallon, which 
were to be used throuirhout the kin2:dom, was referred 
to the next parliament; whilst it was declared, that 
the water measures then in use should continue the 
same; that with regard to weights, there should be 
made a standard stone, which was to weigh exactly 
fifteen legal troy pounds, but to be divided into sixteen 
Scots pounds, and that, according to this standard, 
weights should be made, and used by all buyers and 
sellers throughout the realm. 

James had already increased the strength and pro- 
sperity of his kingdom by various foreign treaties of 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 10. 

1426. JAMES I. 213 

alliance and commercial intercourse : lie was at peace 
with Enofland; the ancient ties between France and 
Scotland were about to be more firmly drawn together 
by the projected marriage between his daughter and 
the Dauphin ; he had re-established his amicable rela- 
tions with Flanders ; and the court of Rome, flattered 
by his zeal against heresy, and his devotedness to the 
Church, was disposed to support him with all its influ- 
ence. To complete these friendly relations with foreign 
powers, he now concluded by his ambassadors, William 
lord Crichton his chamberlain, and William Fowlis 
provost of the collegiate church of Bothwell his almo- 
ner, a treaty with Eric king of Denmark, Norway, and 
Sweden, in which the ancient alliances entered into 
between Alexander the Third, Robert the First, and 
the princes who in their days occupied the northern 
throne, were ratified and confirmed; mutual freedom 
of trade agreed upon, saving the peculiar rights and 
customs of both kingdoms; and all damages, trans- 
gressions, and defaults on either side, cancelled and 
foroiven. James also consented to continue the annual 
payment of a hundred marks for the sovereignty of the 
little kingdom of Man and the Western Isles, wdiicli 
Alexander the Third had purchased in 1266 for the 
sum of four thousand marks.* Their allegiance, in- 
deed, was of a precarious nature, and for a long time 
previous to this the nominal possession of the Isles, 
instead of an acquisition of strength and revenue, had 
proved a thorn in the side of the country ; but the king, 
with that firmness and decision of character for which 
he was remarkable, had now determined, by an expe- 
dition conducted in person, to reduce within the con- 
trol of the laws the northern parts of his dominions, 

* Fordun a Ilearne, vol. iv. pp. 1 355, 1 358. 


and confidently looked forward to the time when these 
islands would be esteemed an acquisition of no common 

Meanwhile he prepared to carry his schemes into 
execution. Having summoned his parliament to meet 
him at Inverness, he proceeded, surrounded by his 
principal nobles and barons, and at the head of a force 
which rendered all resistance unavailing, to establish 
his residence for a season in the heart of his northern 
dominions.* It was their gloomy castles, and almost 
inaccessible fastnesses, which had given refuge to those 
fierce and independent chiefs, who neither desired his 
friendship, nor deprecated his resentment, and who were 
now destined at last to experience the same unrelenting 
severity, which had fallen upon the house of Albany. 
At this period the condition of the Highlands, so far 
as it is discoverable from the few authentic documents 
which have reached our times, appears to have been 
in the hio-hest degrree rude and uncivilized. There 

o o 

existed a sin2;ular combination of Celtic and of feudal 
manners. Powerful chiefs of Norman name and Nor- 
man blood had penetrated into the remotest districts, 
and ruled over multitudes of vassals and serfs, whose 
strange and uncouth appellatives proclaim their differ- 
ence of race in the most convincing manner.*[* The 
tenure of lands by charter and seisin, the feudal services 
due by the vassal to his lord, the bands of friendship 
or of manrent which indissolubly united certain chiefs 
and nobles to each other, the baronial courts, and the 
complicated official pomp of feudal life, were all to be 
found in full strength and operation in the northern 
counties; but the dependence of the barons, who had 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 48n. 

t MS. Adv. Lib. Coll. Diplom. a Macfarlane, vol. i. p. 245. MS. Cart. 
Moray d. 262. See Illustrations. G. 

1427. JAMES I. 215 

taken up their residence in these wild districts, upon 
the kins:, and their alledance and subordination to the 
laws, were far less intimate and influential, than in the 
lowland divisions of the countr}^ ; and as they experi- 
enced less protection, we have already seen, that in 
great public emergencies, when the captivity of the 
sovereign, or the payment of his ransom, called for the 
imposition of a tax upon property throughout the king- 
dom, these great northern chiefs thought themselves 
at liberty to resist its collection within their moun- 
tainous principalities.* 

Besides such Scoto-Norman barons, however, there 
w^ere to be found in the Highlands and the Isles, those 
fierce aboriginal chiefs, who hated the Saxon and the 
Norman race, and ofiered a mortal opposition to the 
settlement of all intruders within a country which they 
considered their own. They exercised the same autho- 
rity over the various clans or septs of which they were 
the heads or leaders, which the baron possessed over 
his vassals and their military followers ; and the dread- 
ful disputes and collisions which perpetually occurred 
between these distinct ranks of potentates, w^ere ac- 
companied by spoliations, ravages, imprisonments, and 
murders, which had at last become so frequent and so 
far extended, that the whole country beyond the Gram- 
pian range was likely to be cut ofl", by these abuses, 
from all regular communication with the more pacific 
parts of the kingdom. 

This state of things called loudly for redress, and 
the measures of the king, on reaching Inverness, were 
of a prompt and determined character. He summoned 
the most powerful chiefs to attend his parliament ; and 
this command, however extraordinary it may appear, 

* History, supra, vol. ii. pp. 151, 153. 


these ferocious leaders did not think proper to disobey. 
It may be that lie employed stratagem, and held out 
the prospect of pardon and reconciliation ; or perhaps 
a dreadful example of immediate execution, in the 
event of resistance, may have persuaded the Highland 
nobles, that obedience gave them a chance for their 
lives, whilst a refusal left them no hope of escape. But 
by whatever method their attendance was secured, they 
soon bitterly repented their facility; for instantly on 
entering the hall of parliament, they were arrested, 
ironed, and cast into separate prisons, where all com- 
nmnication with each other, or with their followers, 
was impossible. So overjoyed was James at the suc- 
cess of his plan, and the apparent readiness with which 
these fierce leaders seemed to rush into the toils which 
had been prepared for them, that Bower described him 
as turning triumphantly to his courtiers, whilst they 
tied the hands of the captives, and reciting some leonine 
or monkish rhymes, applauding the skill exhibited in 
their arrest, and the deserved death which awaited 
them. Upon this occasion, forty greater and lesser 
chiefs were seized, but the names of the highest only 
have been preserved: Alexander of the Isles; Angus 
Dow, wdth his four sons, who could bring into the 
field four thousand men from Strathnaver; Kenneth 
More, with his son-in-lav/, Angus of IMoray and Mak- 
mathan, who could command a sept of two thousand 
strong; Alexander IMakreiny of Garmoran, and John 
Macarthur, a potent chief, each of whom could muster 
a thousand men ; along with John Ross, William 
Lesley, and James Campbell, are those enumerated by 
our contemporary historian; whilst the Countess of 
lloss, the mother of Alexander of the Isles, and heiress 
of Sir Walter Lesley, a rich and potent baron, was 

1427. JAMES I. 217 

apprehended at the same time, and compelled to share 
the captivity of her son.* 

Some of these, whose crimes had rendered them espe- 
cially obnoxious, the king ordered to immediate execu- 
tion. James Campbell was tried, convicted, and hanged, 
for his murder of John of the Isles; Alexander Mak- 
reiny and John Macarthur were beheaded, and their 
fellow-captives dispersed and confined in different pri- 
sons throuo-hout the kinicdom. Of these, not a few 
were afterwards condemned and executed; whilst the 
rest, against whom nothing very flagrant could be 
proved, w^ere suffered to escape with their lives. By 
some, this clemency was speedily abused, and by none 
more than the most powerful and ambitious of them 
all, Alexander of the Isles. 

This ocean lord, half prince and half pirate, had 
shown himself willing, upon all occasions, to embrace 
the friendship of England, and to shake himself loose 
of all dependence upon his sovereign ; whilst the im- 
mense body of vassals whom he could muster under 
his banner, and the powerful fleet with which he could 
sweep the northern seas, rendered his alliance or his 
enmity a matter of no inconsiderable consequence. 
After a short confinement, the king, moved, perhaps, 
by his descent from the ancient family of Lesley, a 
house of high and hereditary loyalty, restored him to 
liberty, after an admonition to change the evil courses 
to which he had been addicted, and to evince his gra- 
titude by a life of consistent attachment to the throne. 
Alexander, however, after having recovered his liberty, 
only waited to see the king returned to his lowland 
dominions, and then broke out into a paroxysm of fury 
and reven2:e. He collected the whole strensjth of Ross 

* Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. pp. 1283, 1284. 


and of the Isles, and at the liead of an army of ten 
tliousand men, grievously Avastcd the country, direct- 
ins: his principal vengeance against the crown lands, 
and concluding his campaign by razing to the ground 
the royal burgh of Inverness.* 

James, however, with an activity for which his enemy 
was little prepared, instantly collected a feudal force, 
and flew, rather than marched, to the Highlands, 
where, in Lochaber, he came up with the fierce, but 
confused and undisciplined army of the island chief. 
Although his army was probably far inferior in num- 
bers, yet the sudden appearance of the royal banner, 
the boldness with wdiich he confronted his enemy, and 
the terror of the king^s name, gave him all the advan- 
tage of a surprise; and before the battle began, Alex- 
ander found himself deserted by the clan Chattan and 
the clan Cameron, who, to a man, went over to the 
royal army. It is deeply to be regretted that the 
account of this expedition should be so meagre, even 
in Bower, who was a contemporary. All those par- 
ticular details, which would have given interest to the 
story, and individuality to the character of the persons 
who acted in it, and which a little pains miulit have 
then preserved, are now irrecoverably lost. We know 
only, that the Lord of the Isles, with his chieftains 
and ketherans, was completely routed, and so hotly 
pursued by the king, that he sent an embassy to sue 
for peace. This presumption greatly incensed the 
monarch; he derided the idea of an outlaw, w^ho 
knew not where to rest the sole of his foot, and whom 
his soldiers were then hunting from one retreat tc 
other, arrogating to himself the dignity of an inde- 
pendent prince, and attempting to open a correspon- 

* Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1285. 

1429. JAMES I. "' 219 

dence by his ambassadors; and sternly and scornfully 
refusing to enter into any negotiation, returned to his 
capital, after giving strict orders to his officers to exert 
every effort for his apprehension. 

Driven to despair, and finding it every day more 
difficult to elude the vigilance which was exerted, Alex- 
ander resolved at last to throw himself upon the royal 
mercy. Having privately travelled to Edinburgh, this 
proud chief, who had claimed an equality with kings, 
condescended to an unheard-of humiliation. Uj^on a 
solemn festival, when the monarch and his queen, at- 
tended by their suite, and surrounded by the nobles of 
the court, stood in front of the high altar in the church 
of Holyrood, a miserable-looking man, clothed only in 
his shirt and drawers, holding a naked sword in his 
hand, and with a countenance and manner in which 
grief and destitution were strongly exhibited, suddenly 
presented himself before them. It Avas the Lord of 
the Isles, who fell upon his knees, and delivering up 
his sword to the king, implored his clemency. James 
granted him his life, but instantly imprisoned him in 
Tantallon castle, under the charge of William earl of 
Angus, his nephew. His mother, the Countess of 
Ross, was committed to close confinement in the an- 
cient monastery of Inchcolm, situated in an island in 
the Firth of Forth.* She was released, however, after 
little more than a year"'s imprisonment ; and the island 
lord himself soon after experienced the royal favour, 
and was restored to his lands and possessions. 

This unbending severity, which in some instances 
approached the very borders of cruelty, was, perhaps, 
a necessary ingredient in the character of a monarch, 
wiio, when he ascended the throne, found his kingdom. 

* Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1286. 


to use the expressive language of an ancient chronicle,* 
little else than a wide den of robbers. Two anecdotes 
of this period have been preserved by Bower, the 
iaithful contemporary historian of the times, which 
illustrate, in a striking manner, both the character of 
the king, and the condition of the country. In the 
highland districts, one of those ferocious chieftains, 
against whom the king had directed an act of parlia- 
ment already quoted, had broken in upon a poor cot- 
tager, and carried off two of her cows. Such was the 
unlicensed state of the country, that the robber walked 
abroad, and was loudly accused by the aggrieved party, 
who swore that she would never put off her shoes again 
till she had carried her complaint to the king in per- 
son. "It is false," cried he; "Til have you shod my- 
self before you reach the court;" and with a brutality 
scarcely credible, the monster carried his threat into 
execution, by fixing with nails driven into the flesh two 
horse shoes of iron upon her naked feet, after which 
he thrust her wounded and bleedins: on the hic^hwaY. 
Some humane persons took pity on her; and, when 
cured, she retained her original purpose, sought out the 
king, told her story, and showed her feet, still seamed 
and scarred by the inhuman treatment she had received. 
James heard her with that mixture of pity, kindness, 
and incontrollable indignation, which marked his char- 
acter; and having instantly directed his writs to the 
sheriff of the county where the robber chief resided, 
had him seized within a short time, and sent to Perth, 
where the court was then held. He >vas instantly tried 
and condemned; a linen 'shirt was thrown over him, 
upon which was painted a rude representation of his 

* MS. Chronicon ab anno 1300 ad annum 1402. Cartular)' of Moray, 
p. 220. 

1429. JAMES I. 221 

crime ; and, after being paraded in this ignominious 
dress tlirou£:li the streets of the town, he was drao<red 
at a horse'*s tail, and hanged on a gallows.* Such ex- 
amples, there can be little doubt, had an excellent effect 
upon the fierce classes, for a warning to whom they 
were intended, and caused them to associate a deaTee 
of terror with the name of the king ; which accounts, 
in some measure, for the promptitude of their obedience 
when he arrived among them in person. 

The other story to which I have alluded is almost 
equally characteristic. A noble of high rank, and nearly 
related to the king, having quarrelled with another 
baron in presence of the monarch and his court, so far 
forgot himself, that he struck his adversary on the face. 
James instantlv had him seized, and ordered him to 
stretch out his hand upon the council table; he then 
unsheathed the short cutlass which he carried at his 
girdle, gave it to the baron who received the blow, and 
commanded him to strike oiF the hand which had in- 
sulted his honour, and was forfeited to the laws, threat- 
ening him with death if he refused. There is little 
doubt, from wdiat we know of the character of this 
prince, that he was in earnest; but a thrill of horror 
ran through the court, his prelates and council reminded 
him of the duty of forgiveness, and the queen, who was 
present, fell at his feet, implored pardon for the guilty, 
and at last obtained a remission of the sentence. The 
offender, however, was instantly banished from court. -[- 

One of the most remarkable features in the govern- 
ment of this prince, was the frequent recurrence of his 
parliaments. From the period of his return from Eng- 
land till his death, his reign embraced only thirteen 

* Fordun aGoodal, vol. ii. p. 510. 

+ Fordun a Hearue, vol. iv, pp. 1334, 1335. 


years; and, in that time, tlie great conncil of the na- 
tion -was thirteen times assembled. His object was 
evidently to render the higher nobles more dependent 
npon the crown, to break down tliat dangerous spirit 
of pride and individual consequence which confined 
them to their separate principalities, and taught them, 
for year after ycvar, to tyrannise over their unhappy 
vassals, without the dread of a superior, or the restraint 
even of an equal, to accustom them to the spectacle of 
the laws, proceeding not from their individual caprice or 
authority, but from the collective wisdom of the three 
Estates, sanctioned by the consent, and carried into 
execution by the power, of the crown acting through 
its ministers. 

In a parliament, of which the principal provisions 
have been already noticed, it had been made incumbent 
upon all earls, barons, and freeholders, to attend the 
meeting of the Estates in person ; and the practice of 
sending procurators or attorneys in their place, which, 
there seems reason to believe, had become not infre- 
quent, was strictly forbidden, unless due cause of ab- 
sence be proved. In two subsequent meetings of the 
great council of the nation, the first of which appears to 
have been held at Perth on the thirtieth of September, 
] 426, and the second on the first of July, 1427, some im- 
portant enactments occur, which evince the unwearied 
attention of the king to the manufactures, the commerce, 
the agriculture of his dominions, and to the speedy and 
impartial administration of justice to all classes of his 
subjects."" It is evident, from the tenor of a series of 
regulations concerning the deacons of the trades, or 
crafts, that the government of James, probably from its 
extreme firmness and severity, had already become un- 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 13, 14. 

U27. JAMES I. 223 

popular. It was first commanded, that the deacons of 
the crafts should confine themselves strictly and sim- 
ply to their duties, of ascertaining, hy an inspection 
every fifteen days, whether the workmen be sufficiently 
expert in their business, but it was added that they 
should have no authority to alter the laws of the craft, 
or to punish those who have offended against them; 
and in the parliament of 1427, it was declared, that the 
provisions regarding the appointment of deacons of the 
crafts within the royal burghs having been found pro- 
ductive of grievous injury to the realm, were henceforth 
annulled; that no deacon be permitted after this to be 
elected, whilst those already chosen to fill this office 
were prohibited from exercising their functions, or hold- 
ing their usual meetings, which had led to conspira- 
cies.* It is possible, however, that these conspiracies 
may have been combinations amongst the various work- 
men, on subjects connected with their trade, rather than 
any serious plots against government. 

To the aldermen and council of the different towns 
was committed the charge of fixing the prices of the 
various kinds of work, which they were to regulate by 
an examination of the value of the raw material, and 
an estimate of the labour of the workman ; whilst the 
same judges were to fix the wages given to wrights, 
masons, and such other handicraftsmen, who contri- 
buted their skill and labour, but did not furnish the 
materials. Every farmer and husbandman who pos- 
sessed a plough and eight oxen, was commanded to sow. 
annually, a firlot of wheat, half a firlot of pease, and 
forty beans, under a penalty of ten shillings, to be paid 
to the baron of the land for each infrino^ement of the 
law ; whilst the baron himself, if he either neglected to 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 13, 14. 


SOW the same quantity witliin his own demesnes, or 
omitted to exact the penalty from an oftendini^ tenant, 
was made liable in a fine of forty shillings for every 
offence, to be paid to the king. The small quantity of 
beans here mentioned, renders it probable that this is 
the era of their earliest introduction into Scotland.* 

It would appear, that although the castles of the low- 
land barons, during the regencies of the two Albanys, 
had been maintained by their proprietors in sufficient 
strength; the houses of defence, and the various forta- 
lices of the country, beyond that lofty range of hills, 
known ancientlv bv the name of the Mounth, had ffra- 
dually fallen into deca}", a state of things proceeding, 
without doubt, from the lawless state of these districts, 
divided amongst a few petty tyrants, and the extreme 
insecurity of life and property to any inferior barons 
who dared to settle within them. To remedy this evil, 
it was determined by the parliament, that every lord 
who had lands beyond the Mounth, upon which, in 
" auld tymes,'** there were castles, fortalices, or manor 
places, should be compelled to rebuild or repair them, 
and either himself to reside therein, or to procure a 
friend to take his place. The object of the statute is 
described to be the gracious government of the lands by 
good polity, and the happy effects which must result 
from the produce of the soil being consumed upon the 
lands themselves where it was grown ; an error, perhaps, 
in civil policy, but which evinced, even in its aberra- 
tion, an anxiety to discover the causes of national pros- 
perity, which is remarkable for so remote a period.-|- 

The extreme jealousy with which the transportation 
of money, or bullion, out of the realm, had always been 
regarded, was carried to an extraordinary height in the 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 13. f Ibid. 

1427. JAMES I. 225 

parliament of the first of July,1427; for we find an enact- 
ment, entitled, " Anent the finance of clerks, by which 
all such learned persons proposing to go beyond seas, 
were strictly enjoined either to make change of their 
money, which they had allotted for the expenses of their 
travel, with the money changers within the realm, or 
at least with the merchants of the country." The same 
act was made imperative upon all lay travellers; and 
both clerks and laymen were commanded not to leave 
the country before they had duly informed the king's 
chancellor of the exchange which they had transacted, 
and of the object of their journey. 

Some of the most important regulations in this par- 
liament of July 1427 regarded the administration of 
civil and criminal justice, a subject upon which the 
king appears to have laboured with an enthusiasm and 
assiduity which evinces how deeply he felt the disorders 
of this part of the government. It was first declared, 
that all persons who should be elected judges, in this 
or any succeeding parliament, for the determination of 
causes or disputes, should be obliged to take an oath 
that they will decide the questions brought before them 
to the best of their knowledge, and without fraud or 
favour. In the settlement of disputes by arbitration, 
it was enacted, that for the future, where the arbiters 
consist of clerks, a churchman, having the casting vote, 
was to be chosen by the bishop of the diocese, with ad- 
vice of liis chapter; where the case to be determined 
had arisen without burgh, between the vassals of a baron 
or others, the oversman having the casting vote was to 
be chosen by the sherifi*, with advice of the lord of the 
barony; and if the plea took place between citizens 
within burgh, the provost and his council were to select 
the oversman, it being specially provided, that for the 


future all arbitrations were to be determined, not by an 
even but an uneven number of arbiters.* AVith regard 
to the case of Scottish merchants dying abroad in Zea- 
land, Flanders, or other parts of the continent, if it be 
certain that they were not resident in these parts, but 
liad merely visited them for the purposes of trade, all 
causes or disputes regarding their succession, or their 
other transactions, were declared cognizable by the 
ordinary judge, within whose jurisdictions their testa- 
ments were confirmed; even although it was proved 
that part of the property of the deceased trader was at 
that time in England, or in parts beyond seas. 

In a general council held at Perth on the first of 
March, 1427, a change was introduced relative to the 
attendance of the smaller barons and free tenants in 
parliament, which, as introducing the principle of re- 
presentation, is worthy of particular attention. It was 
determined by the king, with consent of his council 
general, that the small barons and free tenants needed 
not come hereafter to parliaments nor general councils, 
provided that from each sheriffdom there be sent two 
or more wise men, to be chosen at the head court of each 
sheriffdom, in proportion to its size. An exception, 
however, was introduced with regard to the sheriffdoms 
of Clackmannan and Kinross, which were directed to 
return each a single representative. It was next de- 
clared, that by these commissaries in a body there 
should be elected an expert man, to be called the Com- 
mon Speaker of the Parliament, whose duty it should 
be to bring forward all cases of importance involving 
the rights or privileges of the commons; and that such 
commissaries should have full powers intrusted to them 
by the rest of the smaller barons and free tenants, to 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 14. 

1427. JAMES I. 227 

discuss and finally to determine what subjects or cases 
it might be proper to bring before the council or par- 
liament. It was finally ordained, that the expenses of 
the commissaries and of the speaker should be paid by 
their electors who owed suit and presence in the par- 
liament or council, but that this new regulation should 
have no interference with the bishops, abbots, priors, 
dukes, earls, lords of parliament, and bannerets, whom 
the king declared he would continue to summon by his 
special precept.* It is probable that in this famous 
law, James had in view the parliamentary regulations 
which were introduced into England as early as the 
reign of Henry the Third, relative to the elections of 
knights of the shire, and which he had an opportunity 
of observing in full force, under the fourth and fifth 
Henries, during his long residence in England.i* As 
far as we can judge from the concise, but clear, expres- 
sions of the Act itself, it is evident that it contained 
the rude draught or first embryo of a Lower House, in 
the shape of a committee or assembly of the commis- 
saries of the shires, who deliberated by themselves on 
the proper points to be brought before the higher court 
of parliament by their speaker. 

It is worthy of remark, that an institution w^hich was 
destined afterwards to become the most valuable and 
inalienable right of a free subject, — that of appearing 
by his representatives in the great council of the na- 
tion, — arose, in the first instance, from an attempt to 
avoid or to elude it. To come to parliament, was con- 
sidered by the smaller barons who held of the crown 
in capite^ an intolerable and expensive grievance; and 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 15, 16, cap. 2. 
+ Rapin's Acta Regia, vol. i. p. 41, Statutes of the Realm, vol. ii. pp. 156, 
170, 235. 


the act of James was nothing else than a permission of 
absence to this numerous body on condition of their 
electing a substitute, and each paying a proportion of 
his expenses. 

In the same parliament, other acts were passed, strik- 
ingly illustrative of the condition of the country. Every 
baron, within his barony, was directed, at the proper 
season, to search for and slay the wolves'* whelps, and 
to pay two shillings a-head for them to any man who 
brouirht them: the tenants were commanded to assist 
the barons on all occasions when a wolf-hunt was held, 
under the penalty of "a wedder"" for non-appearance; 
and such hunts were to take place four times in the 
year: no cruves, or machines for catching fish, were to 
be placed in waters where the tide ebbed and flowed, for 
three years to come : where the merchants trading to the 
continent could not procure Scottish ships, they were 
permitted to freight their cargoes in foreign vessels : 
no lepers were to dwell anywhere but in their own hos- 
pitals, at the gate of the town, or other places without 
the bounds of the burgh ; strict inquiries were directed 
to be made by the officials of the bishops, in their visi- 
tations, with regard to all persons, whether lay or secu- 
lar, who might be smitten with this loathsome disease, 
so that they should be denounced, and compelled to 
obey the statute; and no lepers were to be allowed to 
enter any burgh, except thrice in the week, — on Mon- 
days, Wednesdays, and Fridays, between the hours of 
ten and two, for the purpose of purchasing their food ; 
if, however, a fair or market happened to be held on 
any of these days, they were to come in the morning, 
and not to mix indiscriminately with the multitude. 

If any clerk, whether secular or religious, were de- 
sirous of passing beyond seas, it was made incumbent 

1427. JAMES I. 229 

on him first to come to his ordinary to show good 
cause for his expedition, and to make faith that he 
should not be guilty of any kind of simony or "^ar- 
ratrie^'' — a word meaning the purchasing of benefices 
by money. All such defaulters or " barratoures,'' 
were to be convicted, under the statute already made 
against those who carried money out of the realm ; and 
not only who were convicted of this crime in time to 
come, but all now without the realm, beinsr auiltv of 
it, were made liable to the penalties of the statute, and 
none permitted either to send them money, or to give 
them assistance, to whatever rank or dignity in the 
church they may have attained.* It was enacted, 
that no man should dare to interpret the statutes con- 
trary to their real meaning, as understood by those 
who framed them ; and that the litigants in any plea, 
should attend at court simply accompanied by their 
councillors and "forespeakers,"' and such sober retinue 
as befitted their estate, and not with a multitude of 
armed followers on foot or horseback. 

In the same general council some strict regulations 
occur regarding the prices charged by various crafts- 
men, such as masons, smiths, tailors, weavers, and the 
like, who had been in the practice of insisting upon a 
higher price for their labour than they were by law 
entitled to. Wardens of each craft w^ere directed to 
be yearly elected in every burgh, who, with the advice 
of other discreet and unsuspected men, were to examine 
and estimate the materials and workmanship of every 
trade, and fix upon it a certain price, not to be exceed- 
ed by the artificer, under the forfeiture of the article 
thus overcharged. In lands without the burgh the 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 16. Skene, De Verbo- 
rum Significatione, voce' Barratrie. 


duty of the warden was to be performed by the baron, 
and the sheriif to see that he duly performs it. The 
council concluded by an act, imposing a penalty of 
forty shillings upon all persons who should slay par- 
tridges, plovers, black cocks, grey hens, muir cocks, by 
any kind of instrument or contrivance between, "len- 
trvn and Auo^ust.'*'' 

It may be remarked, that the meeting of the three 
Estates in which these various enactments were passed, 
is not denominated a parliament, but a General Coun- 
cil, a term possibly implying a higher degree of 
solemnity, and conferring perhaps upon the statutes 
passed in it a more unchallengeable authority than the 
word parliament. It is difficult, however, to under- 
stand the precise distinction, or to discover wherein 
this superior sanctity consists ; for, in looking to its 
internal constitution, we find that the members who 
composed the general council were exactly the same aa 
those who sat in the parliament; the bishops, abbots, 
priors, earls, barons, and free tenants who held of the 
king in capite^ and certain burgesses from every burgh 
in the kingdom, "some of whom were absent upon a 
legitimate excuse, and others contumaciously, who, 
on this account, were found liable in a fine of ten 
pounds."* Within four months after the meeting of 
this last General Council, the king convoked another 
solemn assembly of the same description at Perth, on 
the twelfth of July, 1428, in which it was determined 
that all successors of prelates, and all the heirs of earls, 
barons, and free tenants of the crown, should be bound 
i)efore they were permitted to enter into possession ot 
their temporalities or their estates, to take the same 
oath of allegiance to the queen, which they had sworn 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 15. 

1429. JAMES I. 231 

to the sovereign, a regulation by which the king, in 
the event of his death, prepared his subjects to regard 
the queen as regent, and endeavoured to guard against 
those convulsions which were too likely to arise during 
a minority.* 

It is time, however, to return from this history of 
our early legislation to the course of our narrative. 
Although gradually gaining ground, France was still 
grievously oppressed by the united attacks of England 
and Burgundy; and Charles the Seventh, esteeming it 
of consequence to secure the friendship and assistance 
of Scotland, followed up the betrothment between 
Jameses only daughter and the Dauphin by a contract 
of marriage, for which purpose the Archbishop of 
Rheims, and Stuart lord of Darnley and count of 
Dreux, again visited Scotland. Instead of a dower, 
which Scotland was at that time little able to offer, 
James was requested to send to France six thousand 
soldiers; and the royal bride was, in return, to be 
provided in an income as ample as any hitherto settled 
upon the Queens of France. In addition to this, the 
county of Xaintonge and the lordship of Rochfort were 
to be made over to the Scottish Kinsr; all former alii- 
ances were to be renewed and ratified by the mutual 
oaths of the two monarchs; and the French monarch 
engaged to send transports for the passage of the Scot- 
tish soldiers to France. 

The extraordinary rise and splendid military suc- 
cesses of the Maid of Orleans, which occurred in the 
year immediately following this embassy, rendered it 
unnecessary for the French King to insist upon this 
article in the treaty; but the jealousy and apprehen- 
sions of England were roused by the prospect of so 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 16, 17. 


intimate an alliance, and the Cardinal Beaufort, the 
uncle of Jameses queen, who, at this time, was one of 
the leading directors in the government of England, 
made proposals for an interview upon the marches, 
between the Scottish monarch and himself, for the 
purpose of consulting upon some affairs intimately con- 
nected with the mutual weal and honour of the two 
realms. James, however, seems to have considered it 
beneath the dignity of an independent sovereign to 
leave his kingdom and engage in a personal conference 
with a subject, and the meeting never took place.* 
The two countries, however, fortunately continued on 
amicable terms with each other, and time was given to 
the Scottish monarch to pursue his schemes of im- 
provement, and to evince his continued zeal for every- 
thing which affected the happiness of his subjects and 
the internal prosperity of his kingdom. 

It appears, that at this period the poor tenants and 
labourers of the soil had been reduced to grievous dis- 
tress by being dispossessed of their farms, and turned 
out of their cottages, whenever their landlord chose to 
grant a lease of the estate, or dispose of it to a new 
proprietor; and such was then the enslaved condition 
of the lower classes in Scotland, that the king, who was 
bound to respect the laws which affected the rights of 
the feudal lords, could not, of his own authority, ame- 
liorate the condition of the labourers. He made it a re- 
quest, however, to the prelates and barons of his realm, 
in a parliament held at Perth on the twenty-sixth of 
April, 1429, that they would not summarily and sud- 
denly remove the husbandmen from any lands of which 
they had granted new leases ; for the space of a year 
after such transaction, unless where the baron to whom 

* RjTner, vol. x. p. 410. Rotuli Scotiae, vol. ii. p. 2G4. 

142.9. JAMES I. 233 

the estate belonged proposed to occupy the lands him- 
self, and keep them for his own private use; a bene- 
volent enactment, which perhaps may be regarded as 
the first step towards that important privilege, which 
was twenty years afterwards conceded to the great 
body of the farmers and labourers, and which is known 
in Scottish law under the name of the real ridit of 

A sumptuary law was passed at the same time, by 
which it was ordered that no person under the rank 
of knight, or having less than two hundred marks of 
yearly income, should wear clothes made of silk, 
adorned with the richer kinds of furs, or embroidered 
with gold or pearls. The eldest sons or heirs of all 
knights were permitted to dress as sumptuously as 
their fathers; and the aldermen, bailies, and council 
of the towns, to wear furred gowns ; whilst all others 
were enjoined to equip themselves in such grave and 
honest apparel as befitted their station, that is to say, 
in " serpis, beltis, uches, and chenzies.'' In these regu- 
lations, the apparel of the women w^as not forgotten. 
The increasing wealth and luxury of the commercial 
classes had introduced a corresponding, and, as it was 
then esteemed, an unseemly magnificence in the habili- 
ments of the rich burghers' wives, who imitated, and 
in all probability exaggerated, the dresses of the ladies 
of the court. It was commanded that neither com- 
moners' wives nor their servants should wear lono- trains, 
rich hoods or ruffs, purfled sleeves, or costly " curches'' 
of lawn ; and that all gentlemen's wives should take 
care that their array did not exceed the personal estate 
of their husband.-[- 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 17, 35. 
t Ibid. 17, 18. 


A 11 persons who were possessed of property aftbrding 
a yearly rent of twenty pounds, or of moveable goods 
to the value of a hundred pounds, were to be well 
horsed, and armed "from head to heel,'*'' as became 
their rank as gentlemen; whilst others of inferior 
wealth, extending only to ten pounds in rent, or fifty 
pounds in goods, were bound to provide themselves 
with a gorget, rerebrace,vambrace, breastplate, greaves, 
and legsplints. and with gloves of plate, or iron gaunt- 
lets. The arms of the lower classes were also minutely 
detailed. Every yeoman, whose property amounted 
to twenty pounds in goods, was commanded to arm 
himself with a good doublet of fence, or a habergeon, 
an iron hat, or knapscull, a bow and sheaf of arrows, a 
sword, buckler, and dagger. The second rank of yeo- 
men, who possessed only ten pounds in property, were 
to provide for themselves a bow and sheaf of arrows, a 
sword, buckler, and dagger ; whilst the lowest class of 
all, who had no skill in archery, were to have a good 
" suir'' hat, a doublet of fence, with sword and buck- 
ler, an axe also, or at least a staff pointed with iron. 
Every citizen, or burgess, possessing fifty pounds in 
property, was commanded to arm himself in the same 
fashion as a gentleman : and the bur^ress yeoman of 
inferior rank, possessing property to the extent of 
twenty pounds, to provide a doublet and habergeon, 
with a sword and buckler, a bow and sheaf of arrows, 
and a knife or dagger. It was finally made imperative 
on the barons within their barony, and the bailies 
within buroh, to carry these enactments into immediate 
execution, under certain penalties or fines, which, in 
the event of failure, were to be levied by the sheriff of 
the county.* 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol, ii. p. 18. 

1429. JAMES I. 235 

In the late rebellion of the Lord of the Isles, the 
want of a fleet had been severely felt, and these statutes 
regarding the land force of the country, were followed 
by other regulations of equal importance, concernino- 
the establishment of a navy — a subject which we have 
seen occupying the last exertions ^of Bruce. 

All barons and lords possessing estates within six 
miles of the sea, in the western and northern portions 
of the kingdom, and opposite the isles, were commanded 
to contribute to the building and equipment of galleys 
for the public service, in the proportion of one oar to 
every four marks worth of land,* and to have such 
vessels ready to put to sea within a year. From this 
obligation, all such barons as held their lands by the 
service of finding vessels, were of course excepted, they 
being still bound to furnish them according to the 
terms of their charter. In the event of any merchant- 
ships having been wrecked upon the coast, the confis- 
cation of their cargoes to the king, or their preservation 
for their owners, was made dependant upon the law 
respecting wrecks in the country to which such vessels 
belonged ; it being just that they should receive from 
foreign governments the same protection which it was 
the practice of their government to extend to foreign 
vessels. It was enacted in the same parliament, that 
all advocates, or forespeakers, who were employed in 
pleading causes in any temporal court, and also the 
parties litigant, if they happened to be present, should 
swear, before they be heard, that the cause which they 
were about to plead was just and true, according to 
their belief; or, in the simple words of the act itself, 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 19. What is here the 
precise value of an oar, cannot be discovered from any expression in the 


"that they trow the cause is gude and lele that they 
shall plead." 

In the same year, to the great joy of the monarch 
and the kingdom, his queen was delivered of twin sons, 
whose baptism was celebrated with much solemnity, 
one of them being named Alexander, probably after 
Alexander the Third, whose memory was still dear 
to the people, and the other James. At the font the 
kincj created both these infants kniijhts, and conferred 
the same honour on the youthful heirs of the Earl of 
Douglas, the Chancellor, Lord Crichton, Lord Borth- 
wick, Logan of Restalrig, and others of his nobility.* 
The first of these boys died very young, but the 
second, James, was destined to succeed his father in 
the throne. 

The truce with England was now on the point of 
expiring, and the king, who was anxious to concentrate 
his whole efforts upon the pacification of the northern 
parts of his dominions, and whose unremitted attention 
was required at home to carry his new laws into exe- 
cution, felt equally disposed with Henry the Sixth, 
to negotiate for a renewal of the armistice, and to dis- 
cuss the possibility of concluding a permanent peace. 
For this purpose, a meeting took place between com- 
missioners from both nations, who concluded a truce 
for five years, from the first of April, 1431, in the 
provisions of which, an anxious desire was manifested 
on both sides to adopt every possible expedient for 
restraininjr the intolerable lawlessness of the Border 
warfare. In the same truce, various rude accomoda- 
tions to each other"'s commerce were agreed upon by 
the governments of the sister kingdoms ; it was forbid 
to seize merchants, pilgrims, and fishers of either 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 490. 

1431. JAMES I. 237 

country, when driven into strange ports by stress of 
weather ; shipwrecked men were to be allowed to pass 
to their own homes ; in cases of piracy, not only the 
principal aggressors, but all who had encouraged the 
adventure or received the plunder, were to be liable 
in compensation, and amenable to punishment; and it 
was lastly agreed, that no aggressions by the subjects 
of either kingdom, should occasion a breach of the 

Having concluded this measure, James found him- 
self at leisure to take into consideration the condition 
of the highlands, wdiich, notwithstanding the severity 
of the examples already made, called loudly for his 
interference. Donald Balloch, a near relation of the 
Lord of the Isles, enraged at w^hat he deemed the 
pusillanimous submission of his kinsman, having col- 
lected a fleet and an army in the Hebrides, ran his 
galleys into the neck of sea which divides Morven 
from the little island of Lismore, and, disembarking 
at Lochaber, broke down upon that district with all 
the ferocity of northern warfare, cutting to pieces a 
superior force commanded by Alexander earl of ^Mar, 
and Alan Stewart earl of Caithness, w^hom James had 
stationed there for the protection of the highlands. 
The conflict took place at Inverlochy ; and such was 
the fury of the attack, that the superior discipline and 
armour of the lowland knio-hts was unavailino: asfainst 
the broadswords and battle-axes of the islesmen. The 
Earl of Caithness, with sixteen of his personal retinue, 
and many other barons and knights, w^ere left dead on 
the field ; while Mar, with great difficulty, succeeded 
in rescuing the remains of the royal army. From 

* RjTner Fcedera, vol. x, p. 48L'. M'Pherson's Annals of Commerce, vol. 
L p. G40". 


tlie result of this battle, as well as the severe loss 
experienced at Harlaw, it was evident that the islesmen 
and the ketherans were every day becoming more 
formidable enemies, and that their arms and their 
discipline must have been of late years essentially 
improved. Donald Balloch, however, notwithstanding 
the dispersion of the royal army, appears to have 
considered it hazardous to attempt to follow up his 
success ; and having ravaged Lochaber, and carried 
off as much plunder as he could collect, re-embarked 
in his galleys, and retreated first to the isles, and 
afterwards to Ireland.* 

About the same time, in the wild and remote coun- 
try of Caithness, a desperate conflict took place between 
Angus Dow Mackay and Angus IMurray, two leaders 
of opposite septs or clans, which, from some domestic 
quarrel, had arrayed themselves in mortal opposition. 
They met in a strath or valley upon the water of 
Naver; when such was the ferocity and exterminating 
spirit with which the battle was contested, that out 
of twelve hundred only nine are said to have remain- 
ed alive ;-[- an event wdiich, considering the infinite 
mischiefs lately occasioned by their lawless and undisci- 
plined manners, was perhaps considered a subject rather 
of congratulation than of regret to the kingdom. 

These excesses, however, for the time, had the effect 
of throwing the whole of the northern parts of the 
country into a state of tumult and rebellion ; and the 
king, having collected an army, summoned his feudal 
barons to attend him, and determined to proceed 
against his enemies in person. With some of the 

* Foidun a Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1289. Extracta ex Chronicis Scotiae, p. 

f Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 491, 

1431. JAMES I. 239 

most powerful of the nobility, this northern expedition 
seems to have been unpopular ; and the potent Earl 
of Douglas, with Lord Kennedy, both of them nephews 
to James, were committed to ward in the castles of 
Lochleven and Stirling, probably from some disgust 
expressed at the royal commands.* The rendezvous 
was appointed at Perth, where, previous to his northern 
expedition, a parliament was held on the fifteenth of 
October ; and to defray the expenses of the under- 
taking, a land-tax, or '' zelde,'' was raised upon the 
whole lands in the kingdom, ecclesiastical as well as 
temporal. Its amount was declared to be ten pennies 
in every pound from those lands where, upon a former 
occasion, the tax of two pennies had been levied, and 
twelve pennies in the pound out of all lands which 
had been excepted from the payment of this smaller 
contribution. At the same time, the king directed 
his justices to take proper measures for the punishment 
of those vassals who had disobeyed his summons, and 
absented themselves from the host; and, with the 
intention of passing into the Western Isles, and in- 
flicting exemplary vengeance against the pirate chiefs 
who had joined Donald Balloch, he proceeded to Dun- 
staffinch castle. Here he found himself in a short 
time surrounded by crowds of suppliant island lords, 
who, dreadino; the determined character of James, 
were eao-er to make their submission, and to throw 
the whole blame of the rebellion upon Balloch, whose 
power they dared not resist. By their means three 
hundred of the most noted thieves and robbers were 
seized and led to immediate execution ; and soon after 
Donald Balloch was himself betrayed by one of the 
petty kings of Ireland, who, having entered into a 

* Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1288. 


secret treaty with James, cut off his head, and sent it 
to the king.* 

It was at this period that tlic pestilence again broke 
out in Scotland; but the visitation, although suffi- 
ciently dreadful, appears to have assumed a less fatal 
character than that which in 1348 carried off almost a 
third part of the population of the kingdom. The 
winter had been unusually severe and stormy, and the 
cold so intense, that not only the domestic cattle, but 
the hardier beasts of the chase, almost entirely perished. 
It is difficult, in the meagre annals of contemporary 
historians, to detect anything like the distinguishing 
symptoms of this awful scourge. In contradistinction 
to the pestilences which, in 1348, 1361, and 1378, had 
committed such fatal ravages. Bower denominates this 
the " pestilentia volatilis ;"■[- and we know that, havino^ 
first appeared at Edinburgh in the month of February 
1430, it continued throughout the year 1432, at which 
time it was prevalent in Haddington ; J while in the 
year immediately preceding, (1431,) during the parlia- 
ment which was held at Perth in October, the volatile 
character of the disease seems to be pointed out by the 
provision, that the collectors of the land-tax should be 
obliired to arransie their accounts on the Feast of the 
Purification of the Virgin, next to come, " at Perth, 
provided the pestilence be not there, and if it is there, 
at Saint Andrews."" § The inclemency of the season, 
the poverty of the lower classes, and the dreadful rav- 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 20. Buchanan, book x. 
chap, xxxiii. xxxvi. It is singular that James's expedition against his north- 
ern rebels in 1431 is not mentioned either by Fordun, or Bower in his 
Continuation ; yet that such an expedition took place the Acts of the Par- 
liament held at Perth, fifteenth of October, 1431, afford undoubted evidence. 

f Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. pp. 347, 3(J5, 391, 490. 

Ij: Extracta ex Chronicis Scotiae, p. 277. 

§ Acts of Parliament, vol. ii. p. 20. 

1432. JAMES I. 241 

ages occasioned by private war, and by the ferocity of 
the northern clans, must have greatly increased the 
distresses occasioned by such a calamity ; and it appears 
from the accounts of our contemporary chroniclers, that 
during the height of the ravages which the pestilence 
occasioned, the popular mind, under the influence of ter- 
ror andiirnorance, became ag-itated with frio-htful stories, 
and wild and romantic superstitions. A total eclipse 
of the sun, which occurred on the seventeenth of June, 
1432, increased these terrors, the obscuration beginning 
at three in the afternoon, and for half an hour causins: 
a darkness as deep as midnight. It was long remem- 
bered in Scotland by the name of the Black Hour.* 

The continuance of the successes of the French, and 
the repeated defeats which the English had experienced, 
now rendered it of importance to the government of 
Henry the Sixth to make a serious efi'ort for the estab- 
lishment of a lasting peace with Scotland; and for this 
purpose Lord Scrope proceeded as envoy to the court 
of James, with proposals so decidedly advantageous, 
that it is difficult to account for their rejection. The 
English king, he declared, was ready to purchase so 
desirable a blessing as a peace by the delivery of Rox- 
burgh and Berwick into the hands of the Scots, and the 
restitution of all that had anciently belonged to their 
kingdom. Anxious to obtain the advice of his parlia- 
ment upon so momentous an ofier, James appointed a 
general council of the whole states of the realm to be 
held at Perth in October, -f in which he laid before them 
the proposals of England. 

The whole body of the temporal barons agreed in the 

* Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1307. 

+ Ibid. vol. iv. p, 1 308. I do not find in Rymer's Foedera, in the Acts 
of the Parliament, or in the Rotuli Scotise, any deed throwing light upon 
this transaction. 



expediency of entering upon an immediate negotiation, 
preparatory to a treaty of peace, and the majority of the 
prelates and higher churchmen concurred in this propo- 
sal ; hut amongst the minor clergy there existed a party 
attached to the interests of France, which was headed 
by the Abbots of Scone and Inchcolm. They warmly 
contended, that considering^ the en2:airements with that 
country, and the treaty of marriage and alliance which 
the king had lately ratified, it was impossible to accept 
the proposals of England, consistently with his honour, 
and the regard due to a solemn agreement, which had 
been examined by the University of Paris, and had 
received the ratification of the pope. These arguments 
were seconded by the Abbot of Melrose, and with much 
violence opposed by Lawrence of Lindores, who, as the 
great inquisitor of all heretical opinions, imagined that 
he detected, in the propositions of his brethren of the 
church, some tenets which were not strictly orthodox. 
This led to a warm reply, and the debate, instead of a 
temperate discussion of the political question which had 
been submitted to the parliament, degenerated into a 
theological controversy of useless length and bitterness, 
which unfortunately led, in the first instance, to a delay 
of the principal business, and ultimately to a rejection 
of all proposals of peace.* 

The succeeding year was barbarously signalized by the 
trial and condemnation of Paul Crawar, a Bohemian, 
who was burnt for heresy at St Andrews on the twenty- 
third of July. He had been sent by the citizens of 
Prague, who had adopted the tenets of WicklifF, to 
open an intercourse with their brethren in Scotland. 
Of these earnest inquirers after truth, there appears to 
have been a small sect, who, undaunted by the dread- 

* Fordun a Heame, vol. iv. pp. 1 309, 1 31 0. 

1433. JAMES I. 243 

ful fate of Resby, continued secretly to examine the 
alleged errors of the Catholic church, and to dissemi- 
nate what they contended were principles more ortho- 
dox and scriptural. Crawar was a physician, and came 
into Scotland with letters which spoke highly of his 
eminence in his art ; but he seized every opportu- 
nity of inculcating principles contrary to the estab- 
lished doctrines of the church, and the Inquisitor, 
Lawrence of Lindores, arraigned him before his court, 
and entered into a laboured confutation of his opinions. 
He found him, however, not only a courageous, but, 
according to the admission of his enemies, a singularly 
acute opponent. In theological controversy, in an 
acquaintance with the sacred Scriptures, and in the 
power of prompt and apposite quotation, the Bohemian 
physician was unrivalled; but it was soon discovered 
that he had adopted all the opinions of the disciples of 
WicklifF, and of the heretics of Prague, and that his 
profession of a physician was merely a cloak to conceal 
his real character as a zealous reformer. 

That he had made many converts, there can be no 
doubt, from the expressions used by Bower; and the 
laboured exposition and denunciation of his errors, 
which is given by the historian, contains evidence that 
his opinions were on some points those of Wickliff, 
which had been propagated twenty-six years before by 
Resby. He and his followers taught, that the Bible 
ought to be freely communicated to the people; that, 
in a temporal kingdom, the spiritual power should be 
subservient to the civil; that magistrates had a right 
to arraign, on trial, and to punish delinquent eccle- 
siastics and prelates; that purgatory was a fable; the 
efficacy of pilgrimages an imposition ; the power of the 
" keys,"" the doctrine of transubstantiation and the 


ceremonies of absolution, a delusion and invention of 
man. The historian adds, that this sect denied the 
resurrection of the dead, recommended a community 
of goods, and that their lives were gross and licen- 
tious.* In the celebration of the Lord's Supper, they 
departed entirely from the solemnities which distin- 
guished this rite in the usa^e of the Catholic church. 
They used no splendid vestments, attended to no cano- 
nical hours or set form of words, but began the service 
at once by the Lord's Prayer; after which, they read 
the history of the institution of the Supper as con- 
tained in the New Testament, and then proceeded to 
distribute the elements, using common bread and a 
common drinking cup or goblet.-|- 

These practices and principles, in some of which we 
can recognise not merely a dawning, but nearly a full 
development of the tenets of Luther, excited a deep 
alarm amongst the clergy, who found a warm supporter 
in the king. James had been brought up in a cruel and 
selfish school ; for both Henry the Fourth and his son 
were determined persecutors, and the price which the}'' 
did not scruple to pay for the money and the influence 
of the clergy, was the groans and tortures of those who 
sealed their confession with their blood. A familiarity 
with religious persecution, and an early habit of con- 
founding it with a zeal for the truth, became thus fami- 
liar to the mind of the youthful king; and the tempta- 
tions to favour and encourage his clergy, as a check and 
counterpoise to the power of his nobles, was not easily 
resisted. When, accordingly, Lawrence of Lindores, 
the Inquisitor of heresy, became ambitious to signalise 
the same controversial powers against Crawar, which 
he had already exerted in the confutation of Resby, he 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. pp. 495, 496. + Ibid, vol. ii. p. 495. 

1433. JAMES I. 245 

found no difficulties thrown in his way. The Bohe- 
mian reformer was seized, arraigned, confuted, and 
condemned; and as he boldly refused to renounce his 
opinions, he was led to the stake, and gave up his life 
for the principles he had disseminated, with the utmost 
cheerfulness and resolution.* The great Council of 
Basle, which was held at this time, had taken special 
cognizance of the errors of WicklifF; and as the Bishops 
of Glasgow and Moray, with the Abbot of Arbroath, 
and many of the Scottish nobles, attended at this so- 
lemn assembly of the church, it is probable that their 
increased devotion to the Catholic faith, and anxiety 
for the extermination of heretical opinions in their own 
country, proceeded from their late intercourse with this 
great theological convocation. -J- 

In the midst of his labours for the pacification of 
his northern dominions, and his anxiety for the sup- 
pression of heresy, the king never forgot his great plan 
for the diminution of the exorbitant power of the nobles; 
and with this view he now disclosed a design of a bold 
character, but which, how^ever expedient, was scarcely 
reconcileable to the principles of justice. The strong 
castle of Dunbar, and the extensive estate, or rather 
principality, of the Earl of March, since the days of 
David the First, had been a perpetual thorn in the 
side of the Scottish government ; its situation having 
enabled each successive earl to hold in his hands a 
power far too great for any subject. It was a common 
saying, that March held the keys of the kingdom at 
his girdle. The possession of the various castles which 
commanded the passes, permitted him to admit an 
enemy at pleasure into the heart of the country, and 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. pp. 442, 495. 
+ Rotuli Scotiae, vol. ii. pp. 276, 284. 


almost rendered the prosperity of the nation depen- 
dent upon the fidelity of a single baron. These cir- 
cumstances, accordingly, had produced the effects which 
might have been anticipated; and the Earls of March 
had shown themselves for many generations the most 
ambitious and the most intrio^uinfj of the whole race 
of Scottish nobles ; as pre-eminent in their power as 
they were precarious in their loyalty. 

The conduct of the father of the present earl had been 
productive of infinite distress and misery to Scotland. 
Disgusted at the affront offered to his daughter, by the 
Duke of Rothesay ""s breach of his betrothed promise, 
and by his subsequent marriage with the house of Dou- 
glas, he had fled to England in 1401, and for eight years 
had acted the part of an able and unrelenting renegade. 
He had ravaged Scotland in company with Hotspur; 
he had been the great cause of the disastrous defeat at 
Homildon; his military talents were still more decidedly 
displayed upon the side of Henry the Fourth at Shrews- 
bury; and his son, the earl, against whom James now 
resolved to direct his vengeance, had defeated the Scots 
at West Nesbit. After the accession of Albany to the 
kingdom, the elder March, in 1408, returned to his 
native countrv ; and havinir been restored to his estates, 
which had been forfeited to the crown in consequence 
of his rebellion, he continued in the quiet possession of 
them till his death, which happened in 1420. 

He was succeeded by his son, George earl of March, 
a baron, who, with the single exception of having fought 
against the Scots at Nesbit, does not appear to have 
inherited any part of his father's versatility; and who, 
although arrested by James at the time when Duke 
Murdoch was imprisoned, shared that fate in common 
with many others of the nobility, who seem to have 

] 43^. JAMES I. 247 

purchased their peace with the king hy sitting upon the 
jury which condemned his unfortunate cousin. It was 
*a reraarkahle feature, however, in the character of this 
monarch, that he retained his purposes with a steadiness 
and patience, that gave Uttle alarm, while it enabled him 
quietly to watch his opportunity: that he was calcu- 
lating- upon the removal of obstacles, and smoothing 
the road for the execution of his designs, when no 
one suspected that such designs existed. In the par- 
liament held at Perth, on the fifteenth of October, 
1431, it had been declared by the three Estates,* that 
the governor of the realm, during the period of his go- 
vernment, had no power to alienate any lands, which, 
by the decease of a bastard, might have fallen to the 
crown; and that, on this ground, the donation of the 
lands of Yetholm, which had been made by Albany, 
when governor, to Adam Ker, was of none effect, 
although it had been completed by feudal investiture. 
It is very probable that, at this or a subsequent period, 
other enactments may have been passed relative to the 
power possessed by the king to resume such estates as, 
having once been forfeited for treason, had been restored 
by the crovernor. No record of such, however, remains ; 
and we only know that James, having felt his way, and 
being probably sure of his own strength, determined on 
the resumption of the immense estates of March into 
the hands of the crown. 

A parliament was accordingly assembled at Perth, 
on the tenth of January, 1434, and its first proceeding 
was to select a committee of nine persons, including 
three of the clergy, three of the barons, and three of 
the burgesses, to determine all causes which might be 
brou2:ht before them. The Abbots of Scone and of St 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 20. 


Colin,* the Provost of the collegiate cliurch of Metli- 
ven, Sir Robert Stewart of Lorn, Sir Thomas Somer- 
ville of Somerville, and Sir Walter Haliburton of 
Dirleton, along with John Spens of Perth, Thomas 
Chambers of Aberdeen, and James Parkle of Linlith- 
gow, were the judges chosen upon this occasion; but 
whether the important cause relating to the earldom 
of March came before them, or was pleaded in presence 
of the whole body of the parliament, is not easily ascer- 
tained. It is certain that the question regarding the 
forfeiture of the property, and its reversion to the crown, 
in consequence of the treason of the late Earl of March, 
was discussed with all due solemnity by the advocates 
or prolocutors of the king, and of the earl then in pos- 
session; after which, this baron and his counsel being 
ordered to retire, the judges considered the reasons 
which had been urged on both sides, and made up their 
opinion upon the case. March and his prolocutors were 
then re-admitted, and the doomster declared it to be 
the decision of the parliament, that, in consequence of 
the forfeiture of Lord Geor2:e of Dunbar, formerlv Earl 
of March, all title of property to the lands of the earl- 
dom of March and lordship of Dunbar, with whatever 
other lands the same baron held of the crown, belonged 
of right to the king, and might immediately be in- 
sisted on.*f" 

Against this measure, which in a moment reduced 
one of the most powerful subjects in the realm to the 
condition of a landless dependant upon the charity of 
the crown, it does not appear that the earl or his friends 
dared to offer any remonstrance or resistance. They 
probably knew it would be ineffectual, and might bring 

* Walter Bower, the excellent Continuator of Fordun. 
't" Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 23. 

1434. JAMES I. 249 

upon them still more fatal consequences ; and James 
proceeded to complete his plan for the security of the 
kingdom, by taking possession of the forfeited estate, 
and delivering the keeping of the castle of Dunbar, 
which he had seized in the preceding year, to Sir Wal- 
ter Haliburton of Dirleton. He then, to soften in some 
degree the severity of his conduct, conferred upon March 
the title of Earl of Buchan, and assigned to him, out of 
the revenues of that northern principality, an annual 
pension of four hundred marks. That noble person, how- 
ever, full of resentment for the cruelty with which he 
had been treated, disdained to assume a title w^hich he 
regarded as only a mark of his degradation ; and almost 
immediately after the judgment, bidding adieu to his 
country, in company with his eldest son, retired to 
England.* Although this extraordinary proceeding 
appears not to have occasioned any open symptoms of 
dissatisfaction at the moment, it is impossible to con- 
ceive that it should not have roused the jealousy and 
alarmed the minds of the great body of the feudal no- 
bility. It cannot, perhaps, be pronounced strictly un- 
just ; yet there was a harshness, it may almost be said, 
a tyranny in the manner in which such princely estates 
were torn from the family, after they had been pos- 
sessed for twenty-six years, without challenge or re- 

During the long usurpation of Albany, many of the 
nobles had either acquired, or been permitted to retain 
their lands, upon tenures in every respect as unsound 
as that by which March possessed his earldom, and 
none knew whether they might not be the next victims. 
A dark suspicion that the life of the king was incom- 
patible with their security and independence, began 

* Rotuli Scotiae, vol. ii. p. 293. 


secretly to infuse itself into their minds; and from a 
proceeding which took place before the dissolution of 
the parliament, the monarch himself appears to have 
been aware of the probability of conspiracy, and to have 
contemplated the possibility of his being suddenly cut 
off in the midst of his schemes for the consolidation of 
his power. He did not allow them to separate and 
return to their homes, before the whole lords of parlia- 
ment, temporal and spiritual, as well as the commis- 
saries of the burghs, had promised to give their bonds 
of adherence and fidelity to their sovereign lady the 

About the same time, the king acquired a great ac- 
ccsion of property and powder by the death of Alexander 
Stewart, the famous Earl of Mar, and a natural son of 
the Earl of Buchan, James's uncle. The estates of this 
w^ealthy and potent person, who, from a rude and fero- 
cious highland freebooter, had become one of the ablest 
captains, and most experienced statesmen, in the na- 
tion, -[• reverted upon his death to the crown, upon the 
ground of his bastardy. The humiliation of the hated 
race of Albany was now complete. Murdoch and his 
sons, with the Earl of Lennox, had perished on the 
scafibld, and their whole estates had reverted to the 
crown; although the Earl of Buchan, wdio was slain 
at Verncuil, had left an only daughter, to whom the 
title belonged, by a stretch of power, bordering upon 
injustice, the title had been bestowed upon the disin- 
herited March, and now the immense estates of the 
Earl of Mar, the natural son of Buchan, reverted to 
the crown. The power of the king became thus every 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 23. The expression is, 
" dare literas suas retenencije et fidelitatis Domine nostre Regine." 
t Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 500. 

1434. JAMES I. 251 

day more formidable ; but it was built upon the oppres- 
sion of his feudal nobility, a set of men with whom 
it was considered a meanness to forget an injury, and 
whose revenge was generally deep and terrible — and 
so the result showed. 

Entirely occupied with a vain and unsuccessful effort 
to retain their conquests in France, the English govern- 
ment evinced every anxiety to preserve inviolate the 
truce with Scotland; but the spirit of Border hostility 
could not be long restrained, and Sir Robert Ogle, from 
some cause which is not easily discoverable, broke across 
the marches, at the head of a strong body of knights 
and men-at-arms. He was met, however, and totally 
routed, near Piperden, by the Earl of Angus, Hepburn 
of Hailes, and Sir Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie, he 
himself being taken captive, forty slain, and nearly the 
whole of his party made prisoners.* James violently 
remonstrated against this unprovoked infraction of the 
truce, and, in his letters to the English regency, insisted 
upon immediate redress; but his complaints were over- 
looked or rejected, and the king was not of a temper 
to bear such an affront with tameness, or to forget it 
when an opportunity for retaliation occurred. 

These indignant feelings were increased by an occur- 
rence which followed soon after the conflict at Piperden. 
The Dauphin of France, who had been betrothed to 
Margaret, the daughter of the Scottish king, had now 
attained his thirteenth year, and the princess herself 
was ten years old : it was accordingly resolved to com- 
plete the marriage ; and with this view, two French 
envo3^s having arrived in Scotland, the youthful bride 
was sent to the court of the king of France, accom- 
panied by a splendid train of the nobility. The fleet 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 501. 


"which carried her to her future kingdom, where her 
lot was singularly wretched, was commanded by the 
Earl of Orkney, William Sinclair. The Bishop of 
Brechin, Sir Walter Ogilvy the treasurer. Sir Herbert 
Harris, Sir John Maxwell of Calderwood, Sir John 
Campbell of Loudon, Sir John Wishart, and many 
other barons, attended in her suite. They were waited 
on by a hundred and forty youthful squires, and a 
guard of a thousand men-at-arms; and the fleet con- 
sisted of three large ships, and six barges.* 

In defiance of the truce which then subsisted between 
the two kingdoms, the English government determined, 
if possible, to intercept the princess upon her passage 
to France, and for this purpose fitted out a large fleet, 
which anchored ofl" the coast of Bretagne, in order to 
watch the motions of the Scots. It was impossible that 
so flagrant an insult should fail to rouse the indigna- 
tion of the Scottish king. It convinced him how little 
was to be trusted to the honour of a government which 
disreofarded a solemn truce the moment a favourable 
opportunity for conquest, or annoyance, presented it- 
self, whilst it reminded him of the treachery by w^hich 
he had himself been seized, and brought all the bitter- 
ness of his long captivity before him. The project, 
however, was unsuccessful. The English were drawn 
away from their watch by the appearance of a company 
of Flemish merchantmen, laden with wine from Ro- 
chelle, which they pursued and captured ; but the 
triumph was of short duration; for almost immediately 
after a Spanish fleet appeared in sight, and an engage- 
ment took place, in which the English were beaten, 
their Flemish prizes wrested from their hands, and 
they themselves compelled to take to flight. In the 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 485. 

U35. JAMES I. 253 

midst of these transactions, the little Scottish squa- 
dron, with the Dauphiness and her suite, safely entered 
the port of Rochelle, and disembarked at Neville Priory, 
where she was received by the Archbishop of Rheims 
and the Bishop of Poictiers and Xaintonge. The mar- 
riage was afterwards celebrated at Tours, with much 
magnificence, in presence of the King and Queen of 
France, the Queen of Sicily, and the nobility of both 
kingdoms.* By the common practice of most feudal 
states, an expensive ceremony of this kind was con- 
sidered a proper occasion for the imposition of a general 
tax throughout the kingdom; but James refused to 
oppress the great body of his subjects by any measure 
of this nature, and contented himself with those gifts 
or largesses which the prelates and the chief nobility 
of the court were wont to contribute upon such joyful 
occurrences. •[* 

The late infraction of the truce by Ogle, and the 
insidious attempt upon the part of the English govern- 
ment to intercept the Dauphiness, his daughter, had 
inflamed the resentment of the Scottish king, and ren- 
dered him not averse to the renewal of the war. It is 
probable, however, that there were other causes for this 
sudden resolution ; and these are perhaps to be sought 
in the irritated feelings with which a portion of the 
nobility began to regard the government of James. To 
find excitement and employment for such dangerous 
spirits, the monarch assembled the whole force of his 
dominions ; and with an army, formidable indeed in 
numbers, but weakened by intrigues and discontent 
amongst the principal leaders, he commenced the siege 
of Roxburgh. J 

* Fordun a Goodal. vol. ii. pp. 485, 501. + Ibid. 

X Ibid. p. 502. The king was engaged in the siege of Roxburgh, 10th 
August, 1436. Rotuli Scotise, vol. ii. p. 295. 


The subsequent course of events is involved in much 
obscurity, which the few original documents that remain 
do not in any satisfactory manner remove. After hav- 
ing spent fifteen days in the siege, during which time 
the warlike engines for the attack were broken and 
rendered useless, and the quarrels, arrows, and missiles, 
entirely exhausted, the castle was on the eve of being 
surrendered, when the queen suddenly arrived in the 
camp, and James, apparently in consequence of the 
secret information which she communicated, abruptly 
put a period to the siege, disbanded his army, and with 
a haste which implied some weighty cause of alarm, 
returned ingioriously into the interior of his dominions. 
For such an abrupt step no certain cause can be assigned, 
but such, beyond question, was the fact; and it natu- 
rally leads to the conjecture, that James w^as suddenly 
informed of some treacherous designs against him, and 
suspected that the conspirators lurked within his own 

This precipitate dismissal of his forces took place in 
August, and two months afterwards the king held a 
General Council at Edinburgh, on the twenty-second of 
October, 1436, in whose proceedings we can discern 
nothing intimating any continued suspicion of a con- 
spiracy. Some commercial regulations were passed, 
which, under the mistaken idea that they were encou- 
ragements, proved, in reality, restrictions upon com- 
merce. Exporters of wool were in future to give secu- 
rity to bring home and deliver to the master of the mint 
three ounces of bullion for every sack of wool, nine 

* Bower (Forclun aGoodal, vol. ii. p. 502) says nothing of the arrival of 
the queen at Roxburgh ; but the ancient MS., entitled Extracta ex Chronicis 
ScoticB, p. 279, expressly states the fact : — " Per quindecim dies obsidioni 
vacabant, et nihil laudis actum est veniens regina abduxit regem ; reliqui 
sunt secuti et sic cessavit." 


1436. JAMES I. ^oD 

ounces for a last of hides, and three ounces for such 
quantity of other goods as paid freight, equal to an an- 
cient measure called a serplaith ; whilst, in addition to the 
impolicy of restricting the merchants from importing 
such goods as they esteemed most likely to increase 
their profits, the delivery of the silver was regulated 
by weight or measure, and not by value. Other 
unwise restrictions were imposed. No English cloth 
was permitted to be purchased by the Scottish mer- 
chants, nor were English traders allowed to carry any 
articles of Scottish trade or manufacture out of the 
kingdom, unless such were specified particularly in 
their letters of safe conduct.* 

Yet, in the midst of these parliamentary proceedings, 
more dark designs were in agitation amongst the 
nobility; and the seeds of discontent and rebellion, 
which the king imagined had been entirely eradicated 
after the retreat from Roxburgh, were secretly ex- 
panding themselves into a conspiracy, of which the 
history and ramifications are as obscure as the result 
was deplorable. Its chief actors, however, and the 
temper and objects by which they were regulated, 
may be ascertained on authentic evidence. The chief 
promoters of the plot were Sir Robert Graham, brother 
of Sir Patrick Graham of Kincardine ; Walter Stewart 
earl of Athole, a son of Robert the Second ; and his 
grandson Sir Robert Stewart, who filled the ofiice of 
chamberlain to the king, by wdiom he was much caress- 
ed and favoured. Graham's disposition was one which, 
even in a civilized age, would have made him a dan- 
gerous enemy; but in those feudal times, when revenge 
was a virtue, and forgiveness a weakness, it became, 

♦ Acts of the Parliament of ScotL-jid, vol. ii. pp. 23, 24. M'Pherson's 
Annals of Commerce, vol. i. p. 650. 


under such nurture, peculiarly dark and ferocious. Un- 
shaken courage, and a contempt of pain and danger, 
a persuasive power of bending others to his purposes, 
a dissimulation which enabled him to conceal his private 
ambition under a zeal for the public good, and a cruelty 
which knew neither hesitation nor remorse, were the 
moral elements which formed the character of this darins: 

Upon the return of the king from his detention in 
England, and at the time that he inflicted his summary 
vengeance upon the house of Albany, Sir Robert 
Graham had been imprisoned, along with the other 
adherents of that powerful family; but it seems probable 
that he obtained his liberty, and for a while became 
reconciled to the government. Another transaction, 
however, was at hand, which, it is said, rekindled his 
feelings into a determined purpose of revenge. This 
was the seizure or resumption of the earldom of 
Strathern by the king. David earl of Strathern, the 
brother of the Earl of A thole, was the eldest son of 
Robert the Second, by his second wife Euphemia Ross. 
He left an only daughter, who married Patrick 
Graham, son of Sir Patrick Graham of Kincardine, 
and, in right of his wife. Earl of Strathern, to whose 
children, as the transmission of these feudal dignities 
through females was the acknowledged law of Scotland, 
the title and estates undoubtedly belonged. James, 
however, fixed his eyes upon this powerful earldom. 
He contended that it was limited to heirs-male ; that 
upon the death of David earl of Strathern it ought to 
have reverted to the crown ; and that Albany the 
governor had no power to permit Patrick Graham or 
his son to assume so extensive a fief, which he resumed 
as his own. Although, however, he dispossessed 

1436. JAMES I. 257 

Malise Graham, the son of the Earl of Strathern, of 
his lands and dignity, James appears to have been 
anxious to remove the appearance of injustice from 
such conduct, and to conciliate the disinherited family. 
For this purpose he conferred the liferent of the earldom 
of Strathern upon Athole, and he created the new 
earldom of Menteith in favour of Malise Graham.* 

This attempt at conciliation, however, did not 
succeed ; and indeed, notwithstandinor the dissfuise 
which the king threw over it, it is easy to see that 
his conduct must have appeared both selfish and ty- 
rannical. It was selfish, because, from the extreme 
age of Athole, James looked to the almost immediate 
possession of the rich earldom which he had torn from 
the Grahams ; and tyrannical, because there appears 
no ground for the assertion that it was a male fief. 
Malise Graham was now a youth, and absent in Enf^-- 
land ; but his uncle, Sir Robert Graham, remonstrated, 
as the natural guardian of his rights ; and finding it 
in vain to sue for redress, he determined upon revenge. 
It was no difficult matter for a spirit like his to work 
upon the jealousies and discontented feelings of the 
nobles ; and there were yet remaining many friends 
of Albany, who remembered the dreadful fate of that 
unhappy house, and who considered themselves bound 
by those strict ties of feudal vassalage then esteemed 
sacred, to revenge it the moment an opportunity pre- 
sented itself. 

Amongst these persons, Graham, who himself felt 
the influence of such feelings in the strongest possible 
manner, found many ready associates; but although 
the body of the higher nobility were sufficiently eager 
to enter into his designs for the abridgment of the 

* Hailes, Sutherland Case, chap. v. p. 57 


royal prerogative, and the resumption of the pc^ver 
which they had lost, they appear at first to have shrunk 
from anything beyond this.* It was determined, 
meanwhile, that Graham, who was an eloquent speaker, 
sliould detail their grievances in parliament, and that 
his remonstrance should be seconded by the rest of the 
nobles. The natural audacity of his character, how- 
ever, made him exceed his commission. He spoke 
with open detestation of the tyrannical conduct of the 
government; pointed out in glowing language the ruin 
of the noblest families in the state; and concluded by 
an appeal to the barons who surrounded him, beseech- 
ing them to save the authority of the laws, were it even 
at the risk of laying a temporary restraint upon the 
person of the sovereign. The temerity of this speech 
confounded the barons who had promised to support 
him: they trembled and hesitated; whilst James, 
starting from his throne, commanded them instantly 
to arrest the traitor, and was promptly obeyed. 
Graham meanwhile loudly expressed the bitterest 
contempt for the pusillanimity of his associates; but 
he was hurried to prison, soon after banished from 
court, and his estates confiscated to the crown.-f* 

James, if not already sensible of the dangerous 
character of Graham, must have now been fully aware 
of it; and how he should have suffered so bold and 
able a rebel to escape, is difficult to understand. It is 
evident, I think, that the connexion betw^een Graham, 
the Earl of Athole, and Sir Robert Stewart, had not 
at this time proceeded to the formation of those atro- 
cious designs which they afterwards carried into exe- 

* Contemporary Account of " The dethe of the King of Scotis," first 
printed by Pinkerton, Hist. vol. i. p. 4G'2. 
t Ibid. p. 464. 

1436. JAMES I. 259 

cution, for we cannot doubt that the king must have 
examined the whole affair with the utmost anxiety; 
and his banishment of Graham only, may convince us 
that, in this instance, he did not suspect him of plotting 
with others of his nobility. 

Enraged at the ruin of his fortunes, this audacious 
man retreated to the highlands, and within their 
gloomy recesses meditated a desperate revenge. But 
the mode in which he proceeded had something great 
about it, and showed that he was no hired or common 
assassin. He sent a letter to James, in which he re- 
nounced his allegiance ; he defied him, as a tyrant who 
had ruined his family, and left him houseless and 
landless ; and he warned him, that wherever he could 
find opportunity, he would slay him as his mortal 
enemy. These threats, coming from a vagabond 
traitor, James despised; but he made proclamation 
for his apprehension, and fixed a large sum of gold on 
his head.* 

In the meantime parliament met, and Graham, 
although immured in his highland retreats, found 
means to communicate with the discontented nobles, 
and to induce the Earl of Athole, and his grandson 
Sir Robert Stewart, to enter fully into his schemes for 
the destruction of the king. He represented to this 
baron, who, though now aged, inherited the v ^ud 
ambition of his family, that Robert the Third was born 
out of wedlock, and that the crown belonged to him, 
as the lawful son of the second marrias:e of Robert the 
Second, or, if he chose to decline it, to Stewart, his 
grandson. The single life of a tyrant, who had de- 
stroyed his house, and whose power was every day 
becoming more formidable, was, he contended, all that 

* Contemporary Account. 


stood between him and the throne, for James's son 
was yet a boy in his sixth year, and might be easily 
disposed of; and such was the unpopularity of the 
""overnment, that the whole body of the nobility would 
readily welcome a change. It is said, also, that Graham 
worked upon Athole's ambition by the predictions of 
a highland seer, who had prophesied that this earl 
should be crowned in that same year; a story much 
in the superstitious character of the times, and not 
unlikely to be true, as the conspiracy was undoubtedly 
brousrht to its hei2:ht within the hio-hlands. If Graham 
was thus able to seduce the age and experience of 
Athole, it is not surprising that the prospect of a 
crown easily captivated the youthful ambition of Sir 
Robert Stewart, his grandson ; and as he was cham- 
berlain to the king, enjoyed his most intimate confi- 
dence, and was constantly employed in offices about 
his person, his accession to the plot may be regarded 
as the principal cause of its success. Graham''s inferior 
assistants were principally some obscure dependants 
on the house of Albany, Christopher and Thomas 
Chambers,* with Sir John Hall and his brother; but 
his influence in the highlands had collected a body of 
three hundred ketherans, without whose co-operation 
it is not probable that he could have eftected his 

All things were now nearly ready, whilst the king, 
naturally of a fearless and confident temper, and occu- 
pied with his schemes for the amelioration of the com- 
merce of the kingdom, and the better execution of the 
laws, appeared to have forgotten the insolence of Gra- 
ham, and to have been persuaded that the discontents 

* Contemporary Account, p. 4()6. In the Rotuli Scotia;, vol. ii. p. 150, 
•we find John del Chambre in the employment of Albany in 1401. 

li.36. JAMES I. 261 

amongst his nobility had passed away. Christmas 
approaching, it was determined that the court should 
keep the festival at Perth, in the monastery of the 
Dominicans, or Black Friars, a noble edifice, which 
gave ample room for the accommodation of the royal 
retinue. This resolution gave an unlooked-for facility 
to the traitors, for it brought their victim to the bor- 
ders of the highlands. It was accordingly resolved 
by Graham, that the murder should be committed at 
this holy season ; and, after his preparations had been 
made, he waited patiently for the arrival of the king. 
It was impossible, however, that a plot which em- 
braced so many agents should be kept completely 
secret ; and a highland woman, who in those days of 
superstition laid claim to prophetic skill, becoming 
acquainted with the design, resolved to betray it to 
the king. Accordingly, as the monarch and his nobles 
were on their road to cross the Firth of Forth, then 
called the Scottish sea, she presented herself before 
the royal cavalcade, and addressing James, solemnly 
warned him, " that if he crossed that water he should 
never return a2:ain alive."* He was struck with her 
wild appearance, and the earnestness of her manner, 
stopt for a moment, and commanded a knight who 
rode beside him to inquire what she meant. Whether 
from stupidity or treachery is not certain, the com- 
mission was hurriedly executed, and she had only time 
to say that her information came from one Hubert; 
when the same knioht observino:, that she was either 
mad or intoxicated, the king gave orders to proceed, 
and, having crossed the Firth, rode on to Perth. 
James, as was expected, took up his residence in the 
Dominican monastery, and the court was unusually 

* Contemporary Account. Pinkei-ton, vol. i. p. 4G5. 


brilliant and joyous. Day after day passed in every 
species of feudal delight and revelry; and the conspi- 
rators had matured their plan, and fixed the very hour 
for the murder, whilst the unhappy prince dreamt of 
nothing but pleasure. 

It was on the niirht between the twentieth and the 
twenty-first of February that Graham resolved to carry 
his purpose into effect. After dark, he had procured 
Sir Robert Stewart, whose office of chamberlain faci- 
litated his treachery, and rendered him above all sus- 
picion, to place wooden boards across the moat which 
surrounded the monastery, over which the conspirators 
might pass without disturbing the warder, and to de- 
stroy the locks and remove the bolts of the doors by 
which the royal bedchamber communicated with the 
outer room, and this apartment with the passage. On 
this fatal evening the revels of the court were kept up 
to a late hour. The common sports and diversions of 
the time, the game of tables, the reading romances, 
the harp and the song, occupied the night; and the 
prince himself appears to have been in unusually gay 
and cheerful spirits. He even jested about a prophecy 
which had declared that a king should that year be 
slain; and when engaged in playing at chess with a 
young knight, whom in his sport he was accustomed 
to call the King of Love, warned him to look well to 
his safety, as they were the only two kings in the 
land.* In the midst of this playful conversation, 
Christopher Chambers, one of the conspirators, being 
seized with remorse, repeatedly approached the royal 
presence, intending to warn James of his danger; but 
either his heart failed him, or he was prevented by 
the crowd of knights and ladies who filled the pre- 

* Contemporary Account, p. 466. 

1436. JAMES r. 263 

sence chamber, and he renounced his purpose. It was 
now long past midnight, and the traitors, Athole and 
Stewart, who knew by this time that Graham and the 
other conspirators must be near at hand, heard James 
express his wishes for the conclusion of the revels with 
secret satisfaction ; when, at this moment, a last effort 
was made to save the unhappy prince, which had 
almost succeeded. The faithful highland woman who 
had followed the court to Perth, again presented herself 
at the door of the chamber, and so earnestly implored 
to see the king, that the usher informed him of her 
wishes. It was a moment on which his fate seemed 
to hang, but his evil genius presided; he bade her call 
again and tell her errand on the morrow, and she left 
the monastery, after solemnly observing that they 
would never meet asrain.* 

Soon after this James called for the parting cup, and 
the company dispersed. The Earl of Athole, and Sir 
Robert Stewart the chamberlain, were the last to leave 
the apartment ; and the king, who was now partly un- 
dressed, stood in his night-gown before the fire talking 
gaily with the queen and her ladies of the bedchamber, 
when he was alarmed by a confused clang of arms, and 
a glare of torches in the outer court. A suspicion of 
treason, and a dread that it was the traitor Graham, 
instantly darted into his mind, and the queen and the 
women flew to secure the door of the apartment, but 
to their dismay found the locks destroyed and the 
bolts removed. James thus became certain that his 
destruction was resolved on ; but his presence of mind 
did not forsake him, and commanding the women to 
obstruct all entrance as long as they were able, he 


* Contemporary Account, p. 467. " The said woman of Yreland that 
cleped herself a dyvenourese." 


rushed to the windows, but found them so firmly se- 
cured by iron bars, that all escape was impossible. 
The steps of armed men now came nearer and nearer, 
and in utter despair he seized the tongs of the fire- 
place in the apartment, and by main force wrenching 
up one of the boards of the floor, let himself down into 
a small vault situated below; he then replaced the 
board, and thus completely concealed himself from 
observation. From this incommodious retreat there 
was a communication with the outer court by means 
of a drain or square hole used for cleansing the apart- 
ment, and of width enough to have permitted the king 
to escape ; but it had unfortunately been built up only 
three days before this by James's own direction, as the 
tennis court was near it, and the balls had frequently 
run in and been lost in the aperture.* Meanwhile, 
Graham and his accomplices rushed towards the king's 
bedchamber, and having slain Walter Straiten, a page, 
whom they met in the passage, began to force open 
the door amidst the shrieks of the queen and the 
women, who feebly attempted to barricade it. One of 
the ladies, named Catherine Douglas, with heroic reso- 
lution thrust her arm into the staple from which the 
bolt had been treacherously removed; but it was in- 
stantly snapt and broken by the brutal violence of the 
conspirators, who, with furious looks, and naked wea- 
pons stained with blood, burst into the chamber, and 
in their first attack had the cowardice to wound some 
of the queen's women, as they tied screaming into the 
corners of the apartment. The queen alone did not 
move, but, wrought up to a pitch of horror and frenzy 
which paralyzed every member, stood rooted to the 
floor, her hair hanging loosely around her shoulders, 

* Contemporary Account, p. 468. 

14:36. JAMES I. 265 

and with nothing on but her kirtle and mantle.* Yet 
in this helpless state one of the villains, in the most 
brutal manner, attacked and wounded her, and she 
would assuredly have been slain had the deed not been 
prevented by a son of Graham's, who peremptorily 
commanded him to leave the women and join the search 
for the king, whom the conspirators now perceived had 
escaped them. Every part of the chamber was now 
diligently examined, every place of probable conceal- 
ment opened up without success ; and after a tedious 
search, they dispersed through the outer rooms and 
passages, and from thence extended their scrutiny to 
the remoter parts of the building. 

A considerable time had now elapsed since the first 
alarm, and although Graham had secured the gates 
and occupied the outer courts of the monastery by his 
highlanders, yet the citizens, and the nobles who were 
quartered in the town, already heard the noise of the 
tumult, and were hastening to the spot. It seemed 
exceedingly likely, therefore, that the king would still 
be saved, for his place of concealment had totally 
escaped the attention of the conspirators, and every 
moment brought his rescue nearer. But he was ruined 
by his own impatience. Hearing no stir, and imagining 
that they who sought his life had left the place not to 
return, he called to the women to bring the sheets from 
the bed, and draw him up again into the apartment; 
but in their attempt to effect this, Elizabeth Douglas, 
one of the queen's women, fell down. The noise re- 
called the conspirators, and at this moment Thomas 
Chambers, one of Graham's accomplices, who knew the 
monastery well, suddenly remembered the small closet 
beneath the bed-chamber, and conceiving, if James 

* Contemporary Account, p. 4G8. 


had not escaped, that he must be there concealed, 
quickly returned to the apartment. In a moment he 
discovered the spot where the floor was broken, raised 
up the plank, and looking in, by the light of his torch 
perceived the king, and the unfortunate lady who had 
fallen into the vault; upon which he shouted to his 
fellows, with savage merriment to come back, for the 
bride was found for whom they had sought and carolled 
all night.* The dreadful scene was now soon com- 
pleted; yet James, strong in his agony, although 
almost naked, and without a weapon, made a desperate 
defence. He seized Sir John Hall, who had leapt 
down, by the throat, and with main strength threw 
him under his feet ; another of the murderers, HalFs 
brother, who next descended, met with the same fate; 
and such was the convulsive violence with which they 
had been handled, that at their execution, a month 
after, the marks of the king"'s grasp were seen upon 
their persons. But the villains being armed with large 
knives, James''s hands and arms were dreadfully lacer- 
ated in the struggle. Sir Robert Graham now entered 
the chamber, and springing down with his drawn 
sword, threw himself upon his victim, who earnestly 
implored his mercy, and begged his life, should it be 
at the price of half his kingdom. " Thou cruel tyrant,""* 
said Graham, "never hadst thou compassion upon 
thine own noble kindred, therefore expect none now." 
— " At least," said James, "let me have a confessor 
for the good of my soul." — " None," cried Graham, 
" none shalt thou have but this sword !" upon which 
he wounded him mortally in the body, and the unhappy 
prince instantly fell down, and, bleeding and exhausted, 

* Contemporary Account, p. 469. " Saying to his felows, Sirs, the spows 
is foundon, wherfor we ben comne, and al this nycht haf carold here." 

1436. JAMES I. 267 

continued faintly to implore his life. The scene was 
so piteous, that it is said at this moment to have shook 
the nerves, and moved the compassion, of the ruffian 
himself, who was about to come up, leaving the kinc 
still breathing, when his companions above threatened 
him with instant death if he did not finish the work. 
He then obeyed, and, assisted by the two Halls, com- 
pleted the murder by repeated wounds.* 

In this atrocious manner was James the First cut 
off in the prime of life, and whilst pursuing his schemes 
for the consolidation of his own power, and the estab- 
lishment of the government upon a just and equitable 
basis, with a vigour and impetuosity which proved his 
ruin. The shockins^ deed bein": thus consummated, 
the traitors anxiously sought for the queen, but by 
this time she had escaped; and, warned by the increas- 
ing tumult in the town, and the alarm in the court, 
they fled in great haste from the monastery, and were 
descried crossing the outer moat, and making off in 
the direction of the Highlands. Sir David Dunbar, 
brother to the Earl of March, overtook and slew one 
of their number, after being himself grievously wound- 
ed ;-I* but he who fell was of inferior note, and the 
principal conspirators made good their retreat to the 

On enterinsr the chamber where the murder hac' 
been committed, a miserable spectacle presented itself, 
— the king^'s naked body bathed in blood, and pierced 
with sixteen wounds. The lamentable sight, by the 
pity and execration which it universally inspired, 
stimulated the activity of pursuit, and whetted the 
appetite for revenge; and the queen, disdaining to 

* Contemporary Account, p. 470. 

t Ibid. p. 471. Fordun a Goodal,vol. ii. p. 503. 


abandon herself to the helplessness of womanly grief, 
used such unwearied efforts to trace and apprehend 
the murderers, that in less than a month they were all 
taken and executed. Little, however, is known as to 
the exact mode of their apprehension. The principal 
conspirator, Graham, and some of his accomplices, 
appear to have escaped into the wilds of Mar ; but they 
were traced to their concealments, and seized by two 
highland chieftains, John Stewart Gorm, and Robert 
Duncanson, the ancestor of the ancient family of 
Robertson of Strowan.* 

The shocking scenes of torture which preceded their 
death must not be detailed, and are, it is hoped, chiefly 
to be ascribed to the ferocity of the times. It must be 
remembered that at this period the common death of 
every traitor was accomplished by torture; and in the 
present instance, the atrocity of the murder was thought 
to call for a refinement and complication in the pun- 
ishment. Sir Robert Stewart and Thomas Chambers 
were first taken andbrought to Edinburgh, where, after 
a full confession of their guilt, which unfortunately 
does not remain, they were beheaded on a high scaffold 
raised in the market-place, and their heads fixed upon 
the irates of Perth. Athole, who had been seized bv 
the Earl of Angus, was the next sufferer. After being 
exhibited to the populace, tied to a pillar in the city, 
and crowned with a paper diadem, upon which was 
thrice written the name of traitor, his head was struck 
off, adorned with an iron crown, and fixed upon the top 
of a spear. He denied to the last that he was a party 

• Chamber!. Accounts, sub anno 1 4 38. " Et per solucionem factam Johanni 
Stewart Gorme pro arrestacione Roberti Grahaam traditoris, et suonim com- 
plicum, ut patet per literas regis moderni, de precept, sub signeto, et dicti 
Johannis Stewart de recept. concess. super compotum ofi lib. lo s. 4d. Com- 
putum Dni Ade fanconar Camerarii Comitatus de Mar." See Illustrations, H. 

H.36. JAMES I. 269 

to the conspiracy, although he pleaded guilty to the 
knowledge and concealment of it, affirming, that he 
exerted every effort to dissuade his grandson ao-ainst 
such atrocious designs, and believed that he had suc- 
ceeded. As he was an old man, on the verge of seventy, 
his fate was not beheld without pitj. 

Very different were the feelings excited by the exe- 
cution of the arch-traitor Graham, whose courage and 
characteristic audacity supported him to the last. He 
pleaded to his judges, that having renounced his alle- 
giance under his hand and seal, and publicly challenged 
and arraigned the king as his mortal enemy, he was no 
longer his subject, but his feudal equal, and that it was 
lawful for him to slay him wherever they met, without 
being amenable to any court whatever; seeing, said he, 
he did no wrong nor sin, but only slew God's creature 
his enemy.* He knew well, he said, that his death was 
resolved on, but that the time would come when they 
would gratefully pray for the soul of him who hak 
delivered them from a merciless tyrant, whose avarice 
was so unbounded, that it ruined friends as well as 
enemies, and preyed alike on the poor and the rich. 
The firmness with which he endured his complicated 
sufferings, was equal to the boldness of his defence. 
Nailed alive and naked to a tree, dragged through the 
city, followed by the executioners, who tore him with 
pincers, whilst his son was tortured and beheaded before 
his face, he bore all with amazing fortitude; and when 
his sufferings became utterly insupportable, warned his 
tormentors, that if his anguish should drive him to 
blasphemy, the guilt would rest on their heads who had 
thus destroyed his soul.f Graham was at last be- 

* Contemi)orary Account, p. 473. f Ibid, p. 474. 


lieaded: and this dreadful scene of feudal vengeance, 
wliicli it is impossible to read in the original account 
without sentiments of the utmost loathing and horror, 
concluded with the execution of Thomas Hall, one who 
had apparently belonged to the household of the Duke 
of Albany, and who to the last vindicated the share he 
liad taken in the king's death. 

There was nothing little in the character of James 
the First: his virtues and his faults were alike on a 
great scale; and his reign, although it embraced only 
a period of thirteen years, reckoning from his return 
to his assassination, stands forward brightly and pro- 
minently in the history of the country. Perhaps the 
most important changes which he introduced, were the 
publication of the acts of parliament in the spoken 
language of the land ; the introduction of the principle 
of representation by the election of the commissaries 
for shires ; the institution of the court entitled the 
"Session:" and the reoularitv with which he assem- 
bled the parliament. Before his time it had been the 
practice for the laws, the resolutions, and the judgments 
of the parliament to be embodied in the Latin language; 
a custom which evidently was calculated to retard im- 
provement, and perpetuate the dominion of barbarism 
and feudal oppression. Before his time the great body 
of the judges, to whom the administration of the laws 
was intrusted, the barons within their regalities, the 
bailies, the sheriffs, mayors, sergeants, and other in- 
ferior officers, were incapable of reading or understand- 
ing the statutes; and the importance of the change 
from this state of darkness and uncertainty, to that 
which presented them with the law speaking in their 
ow^n tonij-ue, cannot be too hiolilv estimated. It is of 
itself enough to stamp originality upon the character 

14.36. JAMES I. 271 

of the king, and to cause us to regard his reign as an 
era in the legislative history of the country. 

Nor was the frequency in the assembling his parlia- 
ments of less consequence. Of these convocations of 
the legislature, no less than thirteen occurred during 
his brief reign ; a striking contrast to their infrequency 
under the government of his predecessors. His great 
principle seems to have been, to govern the country 
through the medium of his parliament; to introduce 
into this august assembly a complete representation of 
the body of the smaller landed proprietors, and of the 
commercial classes ; and to insist on the frequent atten- 
dance of the great temporal and spiritual lords, not, as 
they were formerly wont, in the character of rivals of 
the sovereign, surrounded by a little court, and backed 
by numerous bands of armed vassals, but in their ac- 
credited station, as forming the principal and essential 
portion of the council of the nation, bound to obey their 
summons to parliament upon the same principle which 
obliged them to give suit and service in the feudal 
court of their lieoe lord the kins:. 

Another striking feature in Jameses reign, was his 
institution of the " Session,''*' his constant anxiety for 
the administration of justice amongst the middle ranks 
and the commons, and the frequent and anxious legis- 
lative enactments for the severe and speedy punish- 
ment of offenders. His determination, that "he would 
make the bracken-bush keep the cow,"" — that proverb 
already alluded to, and still gratefully remembered in 
Scotland,* — was carried into execution by an indefati- 
gable activity, and a firmness so inexorable as some- 
times to assume the appearance of cruelty; but in 
estimating his true character upon this point, it is 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 511. 


necessary to keep clearly before our eyes the circum- 
stances in which he found the country, and the dreadful 
misrule and oppression to which the weaker individuals 
in the state were subjected from the tyranny of the 
higher orders. It is impossible, however, to deny that 
the king was sometimes cruel and unjust; and that 
when Graham accused him of tyranny and oppression, 
he had perhaps more to say in his vindication than 
many of our historians are willing to admit. The 
explanation, and, in some little measure, the excuse 
for this, is to be found in the natural feelings of deter- 
mined and undisguised hostility with which he un- 
doubtedly regarded the family of Albany, and their 
remotest connexions. James considered the govern- 
ment of the father and the son in its true li2:ht — as one 
long usurpation ; for although the first few ^^ears of 
Albany's administration as governor had been sanc- 
tioned by royal approval and the voice of the parlia- 
ment, yet it is not to be forgotten, that the detention 
of the youthful king in England extended through the 
sickening period of nineteen years, during the greater 
part of which time the return of this prince to his throne 
and to his people was thwarted, as we have seen, by 
every possible intrigue upon the part of Albany. This 
base conduct was viewed by James with more unfor- 
jrivinof resentment from its beins: crowned with success; 
for the aged usurper by a quiet death escaped the me- 
ditated vengeance, and transmitted the supreme autho- 
rity in the state to his son, ransomed from captivity 
for this very end, whilst his lawful prince beheld him- 
self still detained in England. When he did return, 
therefore, it was not to be wondered at that his resent- 
ment was wrought to a high pitch; and deep and 
bloody as was the retribution which he exacted, it was 

J 436. JAMES I. 273 

neither unnatural, nor, according to the feelings of 
those times, wholly unjustifiable. 

But making every allowance for the extraordinary 
wrono's he had suffered, the determination which he 
appears to have formed, of considering every single act 
of Albany's administration, however just it may have 
been in itself, as liable to be challenged and cut down, 
necessarily led, when attempted to be acted upon, to a 
stretch of power which bordered upon tyranny. The 
dilapidation, indeed, of the crown lands, and the plunder 
of the royal revenues which had taken place under the 
government of Albany and his son, aflforded James a 
sufficient ground for resuming a great part of what had 
originally belonged to him ; but as far as we are able 
to trace his schemes for the re-establishment of the 
royal authority, and the diminution of the overgrown 
power of the feudal aristocracy, there does appear about 
them a stern rigour, and a love of power, little removed 
from absolute oppression. It is not, therefore, a subject 
of wonder, that this spirit, which was solely directed 
against his nobles, incurred their bitterest hatred, and 
ultimately led to his ruin. 

If we except his misguided desire to distinguish him- 
self as a persecutor of theWickliffites, James's love for 
the church, as the best instrument he could employ in 
disseminating the blessings of education, and of gene- 
ral improvement throughout the country, was a wise 
and politic passion. He found his clergy a superior 
and enlightened class of men, and he employed their 
power, their wealth, and their abilities, as a counter- 
poise to his nobility: yet he was not, like David the 
First, a munificent founder of new religious houses; 
indeed, his income w^as so limited as to make this im- 
possible. His efforts were directed to the preservation 



of the discipline and learning of the church; to the 
revival of the custom of holding general councils or 
chapters, which had been discontinued during his deten- 
tion in England, but of which three appear to have 
been assembled during his brief reign; to a personal 
inspection of the various monasteries and religious 
establishments during his progresses through the 
kingdom, and an affectionate reproval, if he found they 
had dejxeneratcd from the strictness of their rule or 
the sanctity of their deportment.* 

It is well known that the personal accomplishments 
of this prince were of a high character. After his re- 
turn, indeed, his incessant occupation in the cares of 
government left him little leisure for the cultivation 
of literature or of the fine arts ; but his long detention 
in England gave him ample opportunities of mental 
cultivation, of which he appears to have anxiously 
availed himself. He was a reformer of the language 
and of the poetry of his country; he sang beautifully, 
and not only accompanied himself upon the harp and 
the organ, but composed various airs and pieces of sa- 
cred music, in which there was to be recognised the 
same original and inventive "genius which distino^uished 
this remarkable man in everything to which he applied 
his mind.+ 

In his person, James was of the middle size, of a 
make rather powerful and athletic than elegant, and 
which fitted him to excel in all martial feats and exer- 
cises. Of these he was extremely fond; and we have 
the testimony of a contemporary, that in drawing the 
bow, in the use of the lance, in horsemanship, wrest- 

* Innes, MS. Chronology, quoted by Chalmers in his Poetic Remains of 
the Scottish kings, pp. 8, IG. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 508. 
+ Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 504. 

1437. JAMES I. 275 

ling and running, in throwing the hammer, and " put- 
ting the stane,"*"* few of his courtiers could compete with 
him. His great strength, indeed, was shown in the 
dreadful and almost successful resistance which he 
made to his murderers. He died in the forty-fourth 
year of his age, and was buried in the church of the 
Carthusians at Perth, which he had himself founded. 
He left by his Queen Joanna, an only son, James, his 
successor, then a boy in his seventh year, and five 
daughters. To two of these, Margaret, who became 
Queen of France, and Eleanor, who married Sigis- 
mund duke of Austria, their father transmitted his 
love of literature.* 

Jameses remaining daughters were Isabella, married 
to Francis duke of Bretagne ; Mary, who took to her 
husband the Count de Boncquan, son to the Lord of 
Campvere; and lastly, Jane, wedded to the Earl of 
Angus, and subsequently to the Earl of Morton. 

* The story of the Dauphiness and Alain Chartier is 'well known. Find- 
ing this famous poet asleep in the saloon of the palace, she stooped down and 
kissed him — observing to her ladies, who were somewhat astonished at the 
proceeding, that she did not kiss the man, but the mouth which had uttered so 
many fine things : a singular, and, as they perhaps thought, too minute a dis- 
tinction. Menagiana, vol. ii. p. 130. 

Eleanor, although equally fond of literature, confined herself to a more de- 
corous mode of exhibiting her predilection, by translating the romance of 
Ponthus et Sidoyne into German, for the amusement of her husband. 



0\ THE 





It is generally known, that mucli obscurity hangs over 
the common stories relative to the death of Richard 
the Second, and that Henry the Fourth was greatly 
annoyed by reports of the captive king having escaped 
to Scotland ; reports which he, of course, invariably 
treated as false, and which all our modern historians, 
both of England and of Scotland, have been disposed 
to consider fabulous : some contenting themselves 
with a brief notice, that an impostor appeared under 
the name of Richard the Second, and others passing 
over the circumstance altogether. 

In investigating this obscure part of our history, it 
was lately my fortune to discover some very interesting 
evidence, which induced me to believe that there was 
much more truth in these reports than I w\as at first 
disposed to admit. This led to an examination of 
the whole proofs relative to Richard's disappearance 
and alleged death in England ; and the result was, a 
strong conviction that the king actually did make his 
escape from Pontefract castle ; that he succeeded in 


conveying himself to Scotland, where he was discover- 
ed, detained, and supported, by Robert the Third and 
the Duke of Albany; and that he actually died in that 
country, long after his reputed murder in England. 
I am well aware that this is a startling proposition, 
too broadly in the face of long-established opinion 
to be admitted upon any evidence inferior almost to 
demonstration. It is quite possible, also, that there 
may exist, in the manuscript treasures of the public 
libraries of England or of France, absolute proof that 
Richard was murdered, or that he died in prison ; and 
one great object of these observations will be attained, 
if they have the effect of directing the attention of the 
learned to the farther investigation of a subject still 
very obscure. In the meantime, I trust I shall succeed 
in showing, that my hypothesis, as to Richard's escape, 
for it pretends to no higher name, is supported by a 
body of direct as Avell as of negative evidence, superior 
to that which could be adduced upon many other his- 
torical facts, the truth of which has not be questioned 
by the most fastidious and sceptical writers. 

It is stated by Bower, or Bow-maker, the continuator 
of Fordun, and one of the most ancient and authentic 
of our early historians, that Richard the Second found 
means to escape from Pontefract castle ; that he suc- 
ceeded in conveying himself to the Scottish isles ; and, 
travelling in disguise through those remote parts, was 
accidentally recognised and discovered, when sitting 
in the kitchen of Donald lord of the Isles, by a jester 
who had been educated at the court of the kins:. The 
same historian proceeds to say, that Donald of the 
Isles sent him, under the charge of Lord Montgomery, 
to Robert the Third, with whom, as long as the Scot- 
tish monarch lived, he was supported as became his 


rank ; and that, after the death of this king, the royal 
fugitive was delivered to the Duke of Albany, then 
governor of Scotland, by whom he was honourably 
treated ; and he concludes this remarkable sentence, 
which I have given nearly in his own words, by 
affirming, that Richard at length died in the castle of 
Stirling, and was buried in the church of the preach- 
ing friars, on the north side of the altar.* 

In another part of his history, the same writer, 
in describing the devastations committed by Richard 
in his expedition into Scotland, alludes in equally 
positive terms, and almost in the same words, to his 
subsequent escape into that country, and his being- 
discovered by Donald of the Isles ;-|- and again, in the 
passage in which he mentions the death of Robert the 
Third, the same historian remarks, that about this 
time many persons fled out of England from the face 
of Henry the Fourth, and came to King Richard in 
Scotland; amongst whom were Henry Percy the elder, 
with his grandson, Henry Percy the younger, who had 
come a little before this, and beinsr of the same aa'e 
with James the First, had been brought up with him 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 427. " Isto modo rex Ricardus fuit regno 
privatus et perpetuk carceribus, cito deficiendus deputatus ; sed subtiliter 
abinde ereptus, et ad insulas Scotia3 transvectus, et in coquina Dovenaldi 
domini Insularum, a quodam fatuo qui in curia Regis Ricardi dum floreret, 
educatus fuerat cognitus et repertus, et a dicto domino Insularum ad Regem 
Scotise Robertum Tertium per Dominum de Monte-Gomorry transmissus, 
cum quo dum Rex Scotiae vixerat reverenter, ut decuit, procuratus, et post 
mortem regis Duel Albanise gubernatori Scotise presentatus ; cum quo regi- 
fice quoad statum honoratus, tandem in castro de Strivelyn mortuus, et in 
ecclesia fratmm ejusdem ad aquilonare altaris cornu ejusdem tumulatus." — 
" Hie Ricardus fuit filius Edwardi principis Wallise, filii Eduardi Windesor, 
qui rexit annis viginti duobus ; mortuus sine liberis." 

+ Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. 402. " Unde ad id deventum est, ut ipse 
idem Rex Ricardus II,, qui olim in florenti majestate sua, stipatus, turmis 
militum, et multitudine clientum, Salomoni magno in expensis aequiparaba- 
tur, tandem carceres evadens, insulas Scotise petens, cognitus est a quodam 
fatuo, qui in sua curia ante hoc educatus fuerat, et inventus in culina, tan- 
quam vilis elixa, Dovenaldi domini Insularum." 


ill the castle of St Andrews. At the same time, he 
continues, there came also the Lord Bardolph, two 
Welsh prelates, the Bishops of St Asaph and of Bangor, 
the Abbot of Welbeck, and other honourable persons; 
but, he adds. King Richard would in nowise be per- 
suaded, either by the governor, or by any other persons, 
to have a private interview with the Earl of Northum- 
berland.* Lastly, under the events of the year 1419, 
the historian has this brief entry: " In this year died 
Bichard king of England, on the Feast of St Luke, in 
the castle of Stirling.""!- These passages are suffi- 
ciently direct and positive : and in estimating the 
weight to which they are entitled, it must be remem- 
bered that Bower states them upon his own know- 
ledge; that he was a contemporary engaged in the 
collection of materials for his history at the period in 
question ; and that, from his rank in the church, from 
his employment in responsible offices of state, and his 
connexion with those best able to give him information 
upon this subject, his evidence is of an unexception- 
able kind. It is indeed true, that in the remote annals 
of the country, he may be convicted of error; but with 
regard to events falling within the range of his own 
personal observation. Bower is entitled to high credit ; 
and he assuredly does not throw out the' slightest sus- 
picion as to the identity of the king. 

But the credit due to this passage is much strength- 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p, 441. " His diebus fugerunt multi de Ang- 
lia a facie regis Henrici IV., et in Scotiam ad regem Ricardum venenint. 
Venit enim Henricus Percy, senior, cum nepote suo Henrico juniore qui 
paulo ante venerat et cum principe nostro Jacobo I. coa?vus in Castro Sancti 
Andrea? extiterat. Venitque tunc temporis, dominus de Bardolf, cum diversis 
honestis personis, et duo Episcopi AVallenses, viz. Dominus Griffinus Epis- 
copus Bangorenus et alius episcopus, viz. Assavensis et Abbas de AVelbeck. 
Quo in tempore rex Anglis Ricardus non potuit induci, nequc per gubema- 
torem nee alios quoscunque ad habendum i'amiliare colloquium cum Comite 

f Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 459. 


ened by the circumstance, that he is corroborated in 
the greater part, if not in the whole of his story, by 
another valuable original writer, Andrew Winton, 
whose testimony cannot be regarded as borrowed from 
Bower, as we know that his Chronicle was completed 
before the history of Bower was begun.* It is stated 
by this historian, in a passage of singular simplicity, 
of the contents of which I now give a literal tran- 
script, " that after Richard's deposition by King 
Henry the Fourth, he was confined in the Tower of 
London; they then (says he) brought him to Ponte- 
fract, where he was delivered to two gentlemen of rank 
and reputation, named Swinburn and Waterton, who 
felt compassion for him, and spread a report of the 
king's death ; after which there arose a rumour that 
King Richard was still alive.'*' Winton then proceeds 
to say, " that he will tell how this report arose, as he 
heard, although he possesses no information as to the 
manner in which the king efi'ected his escape from 
Pontefract : But," says he, " at this time a poor tra- 
veller appeared in the Oiite Isles of Scotland; and it 
happened that he was met by a lady of the family of 
Bisset, a daughter of an Irish lord, who was wedded to 
the brother of the Lord of the Isles. She had before 
seen the king in Ireland, and she immediately declared 
to her husband, that this traveller was King Richard ; 

* Winton, by Macpherson, preface, p. 22. " It was at his request (Sir John 
of the Wemyss) that he undertook his Chronicle, 1 Prolog. 54, which was 
finished between the third of September, 1420, and the return of King James 
from England in 1424, as appears by Robert duke of Albany being mentioned 
as dead, and the prayer for the prosperity of his children, ix. xxvi. 51." — 
" Bower was born in 1385. In 1403, when eighteen years old, he put on the 
habit ; he after^vards completed his theological studies at Paris ; and having 
returned to Scotland, was elected Abbot of Inchcolm in 1418. After this, he 
was employed in various offices of trust under the government ; and at length, 
in 1441, began his continuation of Fordun, whose Collectanea he had in his 
possession."" — Goodal's Preface to Fordun, p. 3. 


upon which he called him, and inquired whether this 
was true ; but he denied it, and would not allow that 
it was so. However,"" continues Winton, " they sent 
this person to the Lord Montgomery in haste, and 
afterwards he was kept by Robert king of Scotland; 
then he was held for some time by the Lord of Cum- 
bernauld; and lastly delivered to the Duke of Albany, 
who kept him for a long time after this." The his- 
torian then concludes his notice of this m3''sterious 
person by the following observation : — " Whether he 
had been the king or not, there were few who knew for 
certain. He was little inclined to devotion, and sel- 
dom showed a desire to hear mass ; from the manner 
in which he conducted himself, it seemed likely that 
he was half mad or wild."* Such is almost a literal 
translation of Winton's testimony, who was Prior of 

* After describing Richard's deposition, Winton thus proceeds — vol. ii. pp. 

" Wythoutyn dout the court wes hard 
W}i;h this forsaid King Richard, 
For in the Toure of Londone syne 
Haldyne he wes a quhile in pyne : 
And eftyre that on purpos set 
Thai brocht hym north on til Powmfret ; 
Thare wes he delyverit then 
Tyl twa wele trowit famous men, 
S^vynhu^n and Wattyrton, 
Men of gud reputacioune ; 
Thare he bade, and wes hard stade, 
Gret pite of h}'m thir gud men had. 
The word in Yngland thai gert spred 
That this Richard king wes dede, 
Bot eftyr that thare ras tithand, 
That this King Richard wes livand. 
And quhon that rais, I will tel here 
As I hard thare-of the manere. 
Bot I can nocht tell the case 
Oflf Poumfret as he chapit wase. 

" Bot in the Owt-Ilys of Scotland than 
Thare wes traveland a pure man, 
A Lordis douchtyr of Ireland 
Of the Bissetis, thare dwelland 
Wes weddit wyth a Gentylman, 
The Lord of the Ilys bruthir than, 


Lochleven at the time of Richard's appearance, and 
must have had the best opportunities of informing 
himself of the truth of the story. He cautiously, 
indeed, declines giving us his own opinion upon the sub- 
ject, contenting himself with declaring, that few knew 
for certain whether this mysterious person was the 
king; but this, I think, may be accounted for, from his 
high admiration of Albany, and his evident desire not 
to reveal anything which might throw a stain upon his 
government, or that of his son, Duke Murdoch. 

We know, from his own words, that Winton re- 
garded Henry the Fourth as an unprincipled usurper, 
who had unjustly dethroned the rightful king ;* and to 
have admitted that Albany detained Richard in an 
honourable captivity, whilst he recognised the title of 
Henry to the throne, would have little corresponded 

In Ireland before quhen scho had bene, 

And the King Richard thare had sene, 

Quhen in the Islis scho saw this man, 

Scho let that scho weil kend hym than, 

Til hir Maistere sone scho past 

And tauld thare til hym als-sa fast, 

That he wes that King of Yngland 

That scho be-fore saw in Ireland, 

Quhen he wes therein before 

As scho drew than to memore ; 

Quhen til hir Mastere this scho had tauld, 

That man rycht sone he tyl hym cald. 

And askit hym, gyf it wes swa. 

That he denyit ; and said nocht, Ya. 

Syn to the Lord of Montgwmery 

That ilke man wes send in hy ; 

That ilke man syne eftyr that 

Robert oure King of Scotland gat, 

The Lord als of Cumbirnald 

That man had a quhile to hald. 

The Duke of Albany syne hym gat, 

And held hym lang tyme eftyr that : 

Quhethir he had bene king, or nane, 

Thare wes hot few, that wj'st certane. 

Of devotioune nane he wes 

And seildyn will had to here Mes, 

As he bare hym, like wes he 

Oft half wod or wyld to be/' 

* Winton, vol. ii. p. 386. 


with the high character which he has elsewhere given 
of him. This disposition of the historian is strikingly 
illustrated by the manner in which he passes over the 
murder of the Duke of Rothesay. It is now established 
by undoubted evidence, that the prince was murdered 
by Albany and Douglas ; yet Winton omits the 
dreadful event, and gives us only a brief notice of his 
death.* And I may observe, that in his account of 
the deposition of Henry, and the subsequent escape of 
Richard into Scotland, he has introduced a remark 
which is evidently intended as an apology to the reader 
for the concealment of part of the truth. " Although," 
says he, " everything which you write should be true, 
yet in all circumstances to tell the whole truth, is 
neither needful nor speedful ."-f* 

Yet although the cautious Prior of Lochleven did 
not choose to commit himself by telling the whole truth, 
he states two remarkable circumstances which do not 
appear elsewhere. The first of these is the denial, by 
the person in question, that he was the king, when he 
w^as discovered by Donald of the Isles : a very extra- 
ordinary step certainly to be. taken by an impostor, but 
a natural one to be adopted by the fugitive king him- 
self, for at this time Donald of the Isles was in strict 
alliance with Henry the Fourth.^ The second is the 
new fact, that Richard was delivered at Pontefract to 
two trust-worthy and well-known gentlemen, Swinburn 
and Waterton. Such strict secrecy was observed by 
Henry as to the mode in which the dethroned monarch 

* "Winton's Chronicle, vol. ii. p. 397. 
t Id. vol. ii. pp. 383, 384. 

" And in al thing full suth to say 

Is noucht neidful na speidful ay. 

Bot quhat at suld writyn be 

Suld be al suth of honeste." 
Ij: Rotuli Scotise, vol. ii. pp. 155, 156. 


was conveyed to Pontefract, and the persons to whose 
custody he was intrusted, that neither in the state 
papers of the time, nor in the contemporary English 
historians, is there any particular information upon 
the subject. But it is certain, that Sir Thomas 
Swinburn and Sir Robert Waterton were two knio:hts 
in the confidence and employment of Henry, and that 
Waterton, in particular, was steward of the honour of 
Pontefract ;* a circumstance which tends strongly to 
corroborate the account of Winton, and to show that, 
although he did not think it prudent to tell the whole 
truth, he yet possessed sources of authentic information. 
There is no mention of Winton in Bower^s additions to 
Fordun ; a strong proof, I think, that this last author 
had never seen his Chronicle, so that we are entitled to 
consider these two passages as proceeding from two 
witnesses, who, being unconnected with each other, yet 
concur in the same story. Nor is it difficult to account 
for the more particular and positive account of Bower, 
if we recollect that this author composed his history 
under the reign of James the Second; twenty years 
after Winton had completed his Chronicle, when all 
were at liberty to speak freely of the actions and 
character of Albany, and time had been given to this 
writer to investigate and discover the truth. 

^ Whitaker's Loidis and Elmete, p. 269. Waterton was Master of the 
Horse to Henry the Fourth, who employed him in a foreign mission to the 
Duke of Gueldres. Cottonian Catalogue, p. 245. No. 88, also p. 244. In 
May 7, 1404, Sir Thomas Swinhorne was sent on a mission to the magis- 
trates of Bruges. Ibid. p. 244. See also Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 428. 
I have much pleasure in acknowledging the polite and friendly attention of 
Sir John Swinburn, Bart, of Capheaton, to my inquiries upon this subject. 
From his information I am enabled to state, that although in his own family 
there is no evidence, either written or traditionary, on the subject of Richard 
the Second, yet in the family of the present Mr Waterton of Walton Hall, 
the descendant of Sir Robert Waterton, Master of the Horse to Henry the 
Fourth, there is a long-established tradition, that his ancestor had the charge 
of Richard the Second in Pontefract castle. 


In an ancient manuscript in the Advocates' Library, 
which I conjecture to have been written posterior to 
the time of Fordun, and prior to the date of Bower's 
continuation, I have found three passages which cor- 
roborate the accounts of this author and of Winton in 
a striking manner. The manuscript is entitled, Extracta 
ex Chronicis Scotioe, and at folio 254 has the following 
passage : — " Henry Percy earl of Northumberland, 
with his nephew Henry the younger, and many others 
of the prelates and nobles of England, who fled from 
the face of Henry the Fourth, came into Scotland to 
Kins: Richard, at this time an exile, but well treated 
by the governor."* In another part of the same manu- 
script, the account given of the death of Richard, by 
Bower, is thus briefly but positively confirmed, with 
the valuable addition of the monkish or leonine epitaph 
inscribed above his tomb : " Richard the Second king 
of England, died in the castle of Stirling, in the afore- 
said year, and was buried on the Feast of St Lucie the 
Virgin, on the north side of the high altar of the Preach- 
ing Friars ;" above whose royal image there painted, 
it is thus written : 

" Anglise Ricardus jacet hie rex ipse sepultus. 
Loncaste quern Dux dejecit arte, mota prodicione 
Prodicione potens, sceptro potitur iniquo. 
Supplicium luit hunc ipsius omne genus. 
Ricardum inferis hunc Scotia sustulit annis 
Qui caustro Striveling vite peregit iter 
Anno milleno quaterceno quoque deno 
Et nono Christi regis finis fuit iste/'f' 

The church of the Dominican friars at Stirling has 

* " Percy Henricus Comes Northumbriae cum nepote suo Henrico minore 
et multi alii nobiles Anglise ac praelati fugientes a facie Henrici quarti Regis 
Anglise Scotiam venenint ad regem Ricardum exulem, per gubernatorem 
bene tractati." — Extracta ex Chronicis Scotia;, folio 254. MS. Adv. Lib. 

■f Extracta ex Chronicis Scotise, fol. 263, dorso. 


long since been destroyed, and other buildings erected 
on its site. It existed, however, in the time of Boece, 
who mentions the inscription over Richard's tomb as 
being visible in his day.* Such being the clear and 
positive statements of these respectable contemporary 
writers ; whilst, as I shall afterwards show, the accounts 
of the reputed death of the king by the English his- 
torians were extremely vague and contradictory, and 
the reports of his escape frequent, I certainly did not 
feel disposed to follow Buchanan, and the wliole body 
of English and Scottish historians who succeeded him, 
in treating the story as fabulous, or in considering the 
person whom Bower so positively asserts to have been 
the king, as an impostor. 

Having proceeded thus far in these researches, I 
began the examination of that part of the Chamberlain 
Accounts, which forms the continuation of those valu- 
able unpublished records, of which I have already given 
a description, in the appendix to the second volume of 
this history. It contains the accounts of the great 
chamberlains and other ministers of the crown during 
the government of the Duke of Albany ; and in ex- 
amining them with that deep interest which such 
authentic documents demanded, I came upon the fol- 
lowing extraordinary passages, which I shall translate 
literally from the Latin. Tho first occurs at the end 
of the accounts for the year 1408, and is as follows : 
"Be it remembered also,, that the said lord governor, 
down to the present time, has neither demanded nor 
received any allowance for the sums expended in the 
support of Richard king of England, and the messen- 
gers of France and of Wales, at different times coming 
into the country, upon whom he has defrayed much, 

* Boece, Hist. p. 339. 


as is well known.*"* Again, at the conclusion of Ac- 
counts for the year 1414, the following passage is to be 
found : " Be it remembered also, that our lord the 
duke, governor of the kingdom, has not received any 
allowance or credit for the expenses of King Richard 
incurred from the period of the death of his brother 
our lord the king of good memory, last deceased. """f* 
The same memorandum, in precisely the same words, 
is inserted at the termination of the Chamberlain 
Accounts for the year 1415; J and lastly, at the con- 
clusion of the year, 1417, there is this passage : "Be 
it remembered, that the lord governor has not received 
any allowance for the expenses and burdens which he 
sustained for the custody of King Richard of England 
from the time of the death of the late king his brother 
of good memory, being a period of eleven years, which 
expenses the lords auditors of accounts estimate at 
the least to have amounted annually to the sum of a 
hundred marks, which for the past years makes in all 
^733, 6s. 8d."§ 

The discovery of these remarkable passages in records 
of unquestionable authenticity, was very satisfactory. 
I considered them as affording a proof, nearly as con- 

* " Et memorandum quod dictus Dominus Gubernator regni non peciit 
neque recepit ad presens aliquam allocationem pro expensis suis factis super 
Ricardum rcgem Angliac ; Nuncios Francia; vel Walliaj diversis vicibus in- 
fra regnum venient : circa quos multa exposuit, ut est notum." Rotuli Com- 
potorum, vol. iii. p. 18. 

+ "Et memorandum quod dominus dux gubernator regni non recepit allo- 
cationem aliquam pro expensis regis Ricardi, a tempore obitus bone memorie 
Domini regis fratris sui ultimo, defuncti," Rotuli Compotorum vol. iii, 
p. 69. . 

X Id. vol. iii. p. 78. 

§ " Et memorandum quod dominus gubernator non recepit allocacionem 
pro expensis et oneribus quas sustinuit pro custodia regis Ricardi Anglie, a 
tempore obitus bone memorie quondam domini regis fratris sui, jam per un- 
decim annos. Quas expensas annuatim dni auditores compotorum estimant 
ad minus fuisse in quolibet, anno centum marcas. Qua) summa se extendit 
pro annis pra;teritis ad viic xxxiii lib. vi sb. viii d. qua) summa debetur do- 
mino duci.^' Id. p. 95. 


vincing as the nature of the subject admitted, that the 
story given b j Bower and by Winton was substantially 
true; as establishing upon direct evidence, which 
hitherto I can see no cause to suspect, the fact so posi- 
tively asserted during the reign of Henry the Fourth 
and Henry the Fifth, that Richard the Second had 
escaped into Scotland, and lived there for many years 
after his reputed death in England. That an impostor 
should, as we learn from Winton, deny that he was 
the king, or that, in the face of this denial, a poor 
maniac should be supported at great expense, and de- 
tained for more than eleven years at the Scottish court, 
seems to me so extravagant a supposition, that I do 
not envy the task of any one who undertakes to sup- 
port it. It was due, however, to the respectable 
historians who had adopted the common opinion 
regarding the death of Richard in 1399, that the evi- 
dence upon which they proceeded should be diligently 
weighed and examined. This 1 have done, with an 
earnest desire to arrive at the truth in this mysterious 
story; and the result has been, the discovery of a body 
of negative evidence, superior, I think, to that which 
could be brought in support of most historical facts. 

And here 1 may first remark, that there is no cer- 
tain proof furnished by contemporary English writers, 
that Richard the Second either died or was murdered 
in Pontefract castle; the accounts of the best histo- 
rians being not only vague and inconsistent w^ith each 
other, but many of them such as can easily be proved 
to be false by unexceptionable evidence. So much, 
indeed, is this the case, that some ingenious English 
authors have of late years attempted to clear up the 
mass of obscurity and contradiction which hangs over 
the fate of Richard, and after having done all which 


could be accomplished by erudition and acuteness, have 
been compelled to leave the question, as to the manner 
of his death, in nearly the same uncertainty in which 
they found it.* 

Walsingham, a contemporary historian of good au- 
thority, although attached to the house of Lancaster, 
affirms, that, according to common report, " ut fertur^'''' 
he died by a voluntary refusal of food, on the four- 
teenth of February, 1 399. " Richard,'' says he, " the 
former king of England, when he had heard of these 
disasters, became disturbed in his mind, and, as is re- 
ported, put an end to his life by voluntary abstinence, 
breathing his last at Pontefract castle on St Valen- 
tine's day."-|- Thomas of Otterburn, however, who 
was also a contemporary, gives a story considerably 
different : for he informs us that the kins:, althouofh 
he at first determined to starve himself to death, after- 
wards repented, and washed to take food, but that in 
consequence of his abstinence, the orifice of the sto- 
mach was shut, so that he could not eat, and died of 
weakness. " When Richard," he observes, " the late 
King of England, who w^as then a prisoner in Ponte- 
fract castle, had learnt the misfortune of his brother 
John of Holland, and the rest of his friends, he fell 
into such profound grief, that he took the resolution 
of starving himself, and, as it is reported, he so long 
abstained from food, that the orifice of his stomach was 
closed; so that when he was afterwards persuaded by 
his keepers to satisfy the craving of nature, by attempt- 
ing to take nourishment, he found himself unable to 

* See the learned dissertations of Mr Webb and Mr Amyot, in the twentieth 
volume of the Archaeologia. 

t Walsingham, p. 3G3. " Ricardus quondam rex Anglige cum audisset haec 
infortunia, mente consternatus, semetipsum extinxit inedia voluntaria, ut 
fertur, clausitque diem extremum apud castrum de Pontefracto die Sancti 


eat, and his constitution sinking under it, he expired 
in the same place on St Valentine''s day."* 

In direct opposition to this story of death by volun- 
tary abstinence, (a mode of extinction which is pro- 
nounced by an excellent historian to be inconsistent 
with the previous character of the king,)-]- a completely 
different tale is given by the author of a French manu- 
script work, in the royal library at Paris, who seems 
to be the first to whom we owe the introduction of Sir 
Piers Exton, and his band of eight assassins, who 
murdered Richard with their halberts and battle-axes. 
This account has been repeated by Fabyan and Hall 
in their Chronicles, by Hayward in his Life of Richard, 
and, in consequence of its adoption by Shakspeare, has 
become, and will probably continue, the general belief 
of Europe. For a complete exposure of the falsehood 
of this tale of assassination, I shall content myself 
with a simple reference to Mr Amyot's paper on the 
death of Richard the Second, which is printed in the 
Archseologia. J 

There is lastly a class of contemporary authorities 
which ascribe the death of the king neither to volun- 
tary abstinence, nor to the halbert of Sir Piers Exton 
— but to starvation by his keepers. The manuscript 
Chronicle of Kenilworth uses expressions which amount 
to this : — " Fame et siti, ut putatur, dolenter consum- 
matus." A Chronicle, in the Harleian collection, the 
work of Peter de Ickham, is more positive : "A cibo 

* Otterbum, pp. 228, 229. " Ricardus quondam rex Angliae in castro de 
Pontefracto existens custoditus, cum audisset infortunium fratris sui Joannis 
Holland, etceterorum, intantam devenit tristitiam, quodsemet inediavoluit 
peremisse, et tantum dicitur abstinuise, quod clauso oriticio stomacbi, cum 
ex post, consilio custodum, voluisset naturse satisfecisse comedendo, prse- 
cluso omni appetitu comedere non valeret, unde factum est, ut natura de- 
belitata, defecerit, et die Sancti Valentini, diem clausit supiemum ibidem." 

+ Turner, Hist, of England, vol. ii. p. 352. 

J Archaeologia, vol. xx. pp, 427, 428. 


et potu per iv. aut v. dies restrictus, fame et inedia 
expiravit." Hardyng, the chronicler, who was a con- 
temporary, and lived in the service and enjoyed the 
confidence of Hotspur and his father, repeats the same 
story.* Whilst we thus see that the accounts of so 
many writers who lived at the time are completely at 
variance ; one saying that he starved himself, another 
that he repented, and wished to eat, but found it too 
late, and died ; a third, that it took all the efi'orts of 
Exton and his accomplices, by repeated blows, to fell 
him to the ground ; and the last class of writers, that 
his death was occasioned by his keepers depriving him 
of all nourishment, the proper inference to be drawn 
from such discrepancies in the various accounts amounts 
simply to this — that about this time the king disap- 
peared, and no one knew what became of him. 

It may be said, however, that all contemporary 
writers agree that the king did die, although they 
differ as to the manner of his death ; yet even this is 
not the case : on the contrary, the belief that he had 
escaped, and was alive, seems to have been entertained 
in England by many, and those the persons most likely 
to have access to the best information, almost imme- 
diately after his being committed to Pontefract, and 
apparently before there w^as time to have any commu- 
nication with Scotland. This can be very convincingly 

Some time after Richard had been conveyed with 
great secrecy to his prison in Pontefract castle, and 
previous to his reported death, a conspiracy was formed 
against Henry the Fourth by the Earls of Kent, 
Salisbury, and Huntingdon. -|- These noblemen, along 

* Cron. Harl. MS. 4323, p. 68. Archseologia, vol. xx. p. 282. 
t Walsingham, pp. 362, 363. 


with the Bishop of Carlisle and the Abbot of West- 
minster, were the chief actors in the plot ; but they 
had drawn into it many persons of inferior rank, and, 
amongst the rest, Maudelain, a priest, who had been 
a favourite of the king, and who resembled him so 
completely in face and person, that it is said the 
likeness might have deceived any one.* Their design 
was to murder Henry at a tournament which they 
were to hold at Windsor, and to restore King Richard. 
After everything, however, as they supposed, had 
been admirably organized, the plot was betrayed to 
Henry by one of their own number ; and on arriving at 
Windsor, they found that their intended victim had 
fled to London. They now changed their purpose, and 
marched to Sunning, near Reading, where Richard''s 
youthful queen resided, who had not at this time 
completed her ninth year. Here, according to the 
accounts of Walsingham and Otterburn, the Earl of 
Kent, addressing the attendants and friends of the 
queen, informed them that Henry of Lancaster had 
fled to the Tower of London, and that they were now 
on their road to tneet King Richard, their lawful 
prince, who had escaped from prison, and was then 
at the bridge of Radcote with a hundred thousand 
men.-j* The last part of the assertion was undoubtedly 
false ; the first clause of the sentence contains the 
first assertion of Richard's escape which I have met 
with ; and I may remark, that with the exception of 
the two dignified ecclesiastics, none of the conspirators, 

* ^letrica! History of Deposition of Richard the Second, Archaeologia, 
vol. XX. p. 213. 

+ The expressions of Walsingham, p. 363, are slightly different from those 
of Otterburn, Walsingham 's words are, " Quia jam evasit de carcere et jacet 
ad Pontem-fractum cum centum millibus defensorum." Those of Otterburn 
are, " Qui jam evasit carcere et jacet ad pontem de Radcote cum 100,000 
hominum defensionis," pp. 225, 22b", 


whose testimony could have thrown light upon the 
subject, were suffered to live. The Earls of Surrey 
and of Salisbury were taken and executed at Cirences- 
ter ; the Lords Lumley and Despencer shared the 
same fate at Bristol ; the Earl of Huntingdon was 
seized near London, and beheaded at Pleshy ; two 
priests, one of them Maudelain, whose extraordinary 
likeness to the king has been already noticed, with 
another named Ferriby, were executed at London ; 
Sir Bernard Brocas and Sir John Shelly shared their 
fate ; and others, whose names Walsingham has not 
preserved, suffered at Oxford.* Rapin has asserted, 
that both the ecclesiastics who were involved in the 
plot, the Abbot of Westminster and the Bishop of 
Carlisle, died almost immediately, the abbot of a stroke 
of apoplexy, and the bishop of absolute terror ;■[- but 
this is an error. The Bishop of Carlisle, who was 
tried and pardoned, undoubtedly lived till 1409. And 
although the Abbot of Westminster appears to have 
died of apoplexy, neither the cause nor the time of his 
death agree with the story in Rapin.J It is quite 
clear, however, that previous to Richard''s reported 
death, it was asserted that he had escaped from Pon- 
tefract castle. 

A contemporary French manuscript, being a Metrical 
History of the Deposition of Richard the Second, which 
has been translated and published by Mr Webb in the 
Archaeoloo^ia, whilst it confirms the storv of Richard's 
alleged escape, adds, that to induce the people to believe 
it, they brought Maudelain the priest with them, and 
dressed him up to personate the king. The passage, 

* Metrical Hist, of Deposition of Richard the Second, p. 215. Archseolo- 
gia, vol. XX. 

-f Rapin, vol. i. p. 490. Fol. ed. London, 1732. 
X Godwin, p. 7C7. 


which is as follows, is amusing and curious: — "They,"" 
says this author, speaking of the conspirators, "had 
many archers with them. They said that good King 
E-ichard had left his prison, and was there with them. 
And to make this the more credible, they had brought 
a chaplain, who so exactly resembled good King Richard 
in face and person, in form and in speech, that every one 
who saw him certified and declared that he was the 
old king. He was called Maudelain. Many a time 
have I seen him in Ireland, riding through the country 
with King Richard his master. I have not for a long 
time seen a fairer priest. They armed the aforesaid 
as king, and set a very rich crown upon his helm, that 
it might be believed of a truth that the king was out 
of prison."* I have given this passage from the me- 
trical history, because I wish the reader to be possessed 
of all the contemporary evidence which may assist him 
in the discovery of the truth ; whilst 1 acknowledge 
at the same time, that the additional circumstance as 
to the personification of Richard by Maudelain the 
priest, seems at first to militate against the accuracy 
of the story as to Richard"'s escape. It ought to be 
remembered, however, that Walsingham says nothing 
of this personification ; and his evidence, which is that 
of a contemporary in England, ought to outweigh the 
testimony of the French Chronicle, which in this part 
is avowedly hearsay. Neither does Otterburn mention 
this circumstance, although it was too remarkable to 
be omitted if it really occurred. 

* Archseologia, vol. xx. pp. 213, 214. Translation of a French Metrical 
History of the Deposition of Richard the Second, with prefatory ohservations, 
notes, and an appendix, by the Rev. John Webb. Mr Webb's notes are 
learned and interesting, and have furnished me with som evaluable corrobo- 
rations of the truth of my theory as to Richard's fate. In the above passage, 
Mr Webb translates " le roy ancien" " the old king:" "the former king" 
would express the meaning more correctly. 


There is, however, another manuscript in the library 
of the King of France, entitled, " Relation de la fjrise 
de Richard Seconde, par Berry Roy d''Arines," which 
in some measure enables us to reconcile this discre- 
pancy. According to the account which it contains, 
it was resolved at the meeting of the conspirators, 
which was held in the house of the Abbot of West- 
minster, that " Maudelain was to ride with them, to 
represent King Richard;" but this plan was not after- 
wards carried into execution. It appears from the 
same manuscript, that Henry himself, when marching 
against the conspirators, believed the story of Richard's 
escape. This, I think, is evident from the following 
passage: " Next morning Henry set out to meet his 
enemies, with only fifty lances and six thousand arch- 
ers; and drawing up his men without the city, waited 
three hours for his reinforcements. Here he was re- 
proached by the Earl of Warwick for his lenity, which 
had brought him into this danger ; but he vindicated 
himself for his past conduct, adding, ' that if he should 
meet Richard now, one of them should die.'"* I do 
not see how Henry could have expressed himself in 
this way to the Earl of Warwick, unless he then be- 
lieved that Richard had really escaped, and was about 
to meet him in the field. 

It was almost immediately after the suppression of 
this conspiracy, and the execution of its authors, that 
Richard was reported to have died in Pontefract castle ; 
and we now come to the consideration of an extraordi- 
nary part of the story, in the exposition of the dead 
body by Henry, for the purpose of proving to the 

* Archi3Dologia, vol. xx. pp. 218, 219. From this curious manuscript, which 
belonged to the celebrated Baluze, large extracts -were made by Mr Allen, 
Master of Duhvich College, a gentleman of deep research in English history, 
and communicated to Mr Webb, from whose notes I have taken them. 


people that it was the very body of their late king. 
Of this ceremony Otterburn gives the following ac- 
count : " His body was carried and exposed in the 
principal places intervening betwixt Pontefract and 
London ; that part, at least, of the person was shown, 
by which he could be recognised, I mean the face, 
which was exposed from the lower part of the forehead 
to the throat. Having reached London, it was con- 
veyed to the church of St PauFs, where the king, 
along with some of his nobles, and the citizens of Lon- 
don, attended the funeral, both on the first and the 
second day ; after the conclusion of the mass, the body 
was carried back to Langley, in order to be there in- 
terred amongst the preaching friars ; which interment 
accordingly took place, being conducted without any 
pomp, by the Bishop of Chester, and the Abbots of St 
Albans and of Waltham.'*' * The manner in which 
this funeral procession to St Paul's was conducted, is 
minutely described in the following passage, extracted 
by Mr Allen from the manuscript in the royal library 
at Paris, already quoted : " In the year 1899-1400, 
on the twelfth day of March, was brought to the church 
of St Paul of London, in the state of a gentleman, the 
body of the noble king Richard. And true it is, that it 
was in a carriage which was covered with a black cloth,-|* 
having four banners thereupon, whereof two were the 
arms of St George, and the other two the arms of St 
Edward ; to wit, Azure, over all a cross Or ; and there 

* Otterburn, p. 229. 

+ " There is a curious representation of this chariot in the fine illuminated 
Froissart in the British Museum, from whence it appears, that the carriage 
was drawn by two horses, one placed before the other, as the five horses were 
placed in the French carriage of Henry VII., as described by Hall, vol. iii. 
p. 800." — Gough's Sepulchral Monuments, vol. iii. p. 166. 

There is in the same MS. a portrait of Richard the Second when going to 
arrest the Duke of Gloucester at Pleshy. — Archseologia, vol. vi. p. 315. 


were a liundred men all clad in black; and each bore 
a torch. And the Londoners had thirty torches and 
thirty men, who were all clad in white, and they went 
to meet the noble King Richard ; and he was brought 
to St PauFs, the head church of London. There he 
was two days above ground, to show him to those of 
the said city, that they might believe for certain that 
he was dead; for they required no other thing."* 

This ceremony took place on the twelfth of March, 
1899, nearly a month after the king'*s reputed death 
on the fourteenth of February; and it would appear, 
from the expressions which are employed, that the 
citizens of London believed that Richard had escaped, 
and was alive, and that the exposure of the body was 
resorted to by Henry, as the most probable means of 
putting down this dangerous report. The question 
now immediately arises, if Richard was alive, accord- 
ing to the theory which I entertain, in what manner 
are we to account for this ceremony at St PauFs, and 
for the body lying in state at the different churches 
between Pontefract and London? My answer is, that 
the whole was a deception, ingeniously got up for the 
purpose of blinding the people, but when narrowly 
examined, betraying the imposition in a very palpable 
manner. It is accordingly positively asserted by the 
contemporary author of the French metrical history 
of Richard's deposition, that the body thus exposed in 
London was not that of the king, but of Maudelain 
the priest. I give the passage in Mr Webb's transla- 
tion : " Then was the king so vexed at heart by this 
evil news, that he neither ate nor drank from that 
hour : and thus, as they say, it came to pass that he 
died. But, indeed, I do not believe it ; for some de- 

* French Metrical History. — Archaeologia, vol. xx. p. 221. 


clare for certain that he is still alive and well, shut 
up in their prison ; — which is a great error in them ; 
although they caused a dead man to be openly carried 
through the city of London, in such pomp and cere- 
mony as becometh a deceased king, saying that it was 
the body of the deceased King Richard. Duke Henry 
there made a show of mourning, holding the pall after 
him, followed by all those of his blood in fair array, 
without regarding him, or the evils that they had done 
unto him. * * Thus, as you shall hear, did they carry 
the dead body to St PauFs, in London, honourably 
and as of right appertaineth to a king. But I cer- 
tainly do not believe that it was the old king ; but I 
think it was Maudelain, his chaplain, who, in face, 
size, height, and make, so exactly resembled him, that 
every one firmly thought it was good King Richard. 
And if it were he, morn and night I heartily make 
my prayer to the merciful and holy God, that he will 
take his soul to heaven." * 

A late author, Mr Amyot, in an ingenious paper in 
the Archseologia, considers that the circumstance of 
Maudelain having been beheaded, rendered such decep- 
tion impossible. To the support of my ideas as to 
Richard's escape, it is of little consequence whether 
Maudelain's remains were employed, or some other 
mode of deception was resorted to — all that I contend 
for is, that the body thus carried in a litter, or car, to 
St Paul's, was not that of the king. Now, the mort 
narrowly we examine the circumstances attending this 
exposition of the body at St Paul's, the more com- 
pletely shall we be convinced, I think, that the French 
historian is correct, and that it was not the true 
Richard. Of the king's person a minute description 

* French Metrical Hist. pp. 219,220,221 


has been left us by the monk of Evesham. " He was 
of the common or middle size, with yellow hair, his 
face fair, round, and feminine, rather round than long, 
and sometimes flushed and red."* 

Keeping in mind this description of the person of 
the real Richard, and comparing it with the manner in 
which Henry conducted the exhibition at St PauFs, a 
strong suspicion arises that he was not in possession 
of the actual body of the king. Why was his head 
entirely concealed, and the face only shown from the 
lower part of the forehead to the throat ? Richard's 
yellow hair was the very mark which would have 
enabled the people to identify their late monarch ; and 
so far from being concealed, we should have been led to 
expect that it would have been studiously displayed. 
Had the king, indeed, died by the murderous strokes 
of Exton and his accomplices, inflicted on the head, 
there mi2:ht have been p:ood cause for concealin": the 
gashes ; but it will be recollected this cannot be pleaded, 
as this story is now given up on all hands as a fable. 

There is another circumstance, which in my mind 
corroborates this suspicion of deception : Henry ""s wish 
was to do public honour to the body of the late king. 
He attended, we see, the service for the dead, and held 
the pall of the funeral car; but no interment followed, 
the body was not permitted to be buried in London at 
all ; although there was then a tomb ready, which 
Richard, previous to his deposition, had prepared for 
himself in Westminster Abbey, and to which Henry 
the Fifth afterwards removed the reputed remains of 
the king.-|- It was conveyed, apparently, in the same 

* Vita Ricardi II. p. 169. 

+ Richard the Second's Will is to be found published amongst the Royal 
and Noble Wills, p. 191. The king there directs his body to be buried in 
" Ecclesia Sancti Petri Westmonasterii — in monmnento quod ad nostrum et 


car in which it lay in state, to Langley, in Hertford- 
shire, and there interred with great secrecy, and with- 
out any funeral pomp. " When the funeral service," 
says Walsingham, "was concluded in the church of 
St Paul, the kins; and the citizens of London beins: 
present, the body was immediately carried back to 
Lano-lev, to be interred in the church of the Preachins: 
Friars ; the last offices being performed by the Bishop 
of Chester, the Abbots of St Albans and of Waltham, 
without the presence of the nobles, and unattended by 
any concourse of the people, nor was there any one who, 
after their labours, would invite them to dinner."'"' * It 
must be evident to every one, that as Henry''s avowed 
object was to convince the English people that Richard 
their late king was dead and buried, the greater con- 
course of people who attended his funeral, and the 
more public that ceremony was made, the more likely 
was he to attain his desire. In this light, then, the 
sudden removal from London, the secret burial at 
Langley, '•'• sine pompa^ sine magnatum prcesentia^ sine 
populari turha!^'' are circumstances which, I own, create 
in my mind a strong impression that Henry was not 
in possession of the real body of the king ; that either 
the head of Maudelain the priest, or some other spe- 
cious contrivance, was employed to deceive the people, 
and that the king did not think it prudent to permit 
a public funeral ; because, however easy it may have 
been to impose upon the .spectators, so long as they 
were merely permitted to see the funeral car in which 
the body lay covered up with black cloth, and having 
nothing but the face exposed, the process of removing 

inclitae recordacionis Annas dudum Reginse Anglise consortis nostroe, cujus 
animae prospicietur altissimus erigi fecimus mcmoriam." A description and 
engraving of this monument is to be seen in Gough''s Sepulchral Monuments, 
* Walsingham, p. 3(i3. Otterburn, p. 229. 


from the litter, arraying it for the grave, and placing 
it in the coffin, might have led to a discovery of the 
deception which had been practised. It is clear, that 
the evidciico of a single person who had known the 
king, had he been permitted to uncover the head and 
face, and to examine the person, would have been itself 
worth the testimony of thousands who gazed for a 
moment on the funeral car, and passed on ; and it is 
for this reason that I set little value on the account 
of Froissart, (whose history of the transactions con- 
nected with Richard's deposition is full of error,)* 
when he asserts that the body was seen by twenty 
thousand persons, or of Hardyng, who relates that he 
himself saw the "corse in herse rial;" and that the 
report w^as, he had been "forhungred" or starved, 
" and lapte in lede." 

Another proof of the conviction of the country, that 
this exhibition of the body of Richard was a deception 
upon the part of Henry, is to be found in the reports 
of his escape which not long afterwards arose in Eng- 
land, and the perpetual conspiracies in which men of 
rank and consequence freely hazarded, and in many 
cases lost their lives, which were invariably accompanied 
with the assertion that Richard was alive in Scotland. 
It is a remarkable circumstance, that these reports and 
conspiracies continued from the alleged year of his 
death, through the whole period occupied by the reigns 
of Henry the Fourth and Henry the Fifth. The year 
1402 absolutely teemed with reports that Richard was 
alive, as appears from Walsingham.. A priest of Ware 
was one of the first victims of Henry ""s resentment. 
He had, it seems, encouraged his brethren, by affirm- 

* Webb's Translation of the Metrical Hist, of the Deposition of Richard 
the Second, p. 7. Archseologia, vol. xx. 


ing that Richard was alive, and would shortly come 
forward to claim his rights ; in consequence of which 
he was drawn and quartered. Not long after, eight 
Franciscan friars were hanged at London, for having 
asserted that Richard was alive, one of whom, a doctor 
of divinity, named Frisby, owing to the boldness and 
obstinacy with which he maintained his loyalty, was 
executed in the habit of his order. About the same 
time, Walter de Baldock prior of Launde in Leices- 
tershire, was hanged because he had published the same 
story. Sir Roger de Clarendon, a natural son of the 
Black Prince, and one of the gentlemen of the bed- 
chamber to Richard the Second, along with his armour- 
bearer and page, were condemned and executed for the 
same offence.* In these cases there appears to have 
been no regularly formed conspiracy, as in the instances 
to be afterwards mentioned. The Franciscan friars, it 
is well known, were in the habit of travellino- through 
various countries, andw^ere in constant intercourse with 
Scotland, where they had many convents. •[* They had 
probably seen the king, or become possessed of certain 
evidence that he was alive, and they told the story on 
their return. 

Of these reports, however, we have the best evidence 
in a paper issued by Henry himself, and preserved in 
the Fcedera Anglise. J It is a pardon under the privy 
seal to John Bernard of Offely; and from it we learn 
some interesting particulars of the state of public be- 
lief as to the escape and existence of Richard. Ber- 
nard, it seems, had met with one William Balshalf of 
Lancashire, who, on being asked what news he had to 

* Walsinghara, p. 365. Otterburn, p. 234. Nichors Leicestershire, voL 
iii. pp. 2G0, 305. 
•f Quetif et Echard, Scriptores Ordinis Prsedicatorum, pp. 10, 11. 
X Rymer, Fcedera, vol. viii. p. 262. a.d. 1402, 1st June. 



tell, answered, "That King Richard, who had been 
deposed, was alive and well in Scotland, and would 
come into England upon the Feast of St John the 
Baptist next to come, if not before it." Balshalf added, 
" That Serlc, who was then with King Richard, had 
arranged everything for his array and entrance into 
England, and that they would have timely warning of 
it; whilst he reported that Henry the Fourth, in fear 
of such an event, had collected great sums of money 
from his lieges with the intention of evacuating the 
kingdom, repairing to Brittany, and marrying the 
duchess of that country. Bernard then asked Bals- 
half what was best to be done, — who bade him raise 
certain men, and take his way to meet King Richard; 
upon which he went to John Whyte and William 
Threshire of OfFely, to whom he told the whole story, 
and who immediately consented to accompany him to 
Athereston, near the Abbey of Merivale, there to await 
the king's arrival, and give him their support." This 
conversation Bernard revealed to Henry, and having 
offered to prove it on the body of Balshalf, who denied 
it, the king appointed a day for the trial by battle, which 
accordingly took place, and Balshalf was vanquished. 
The consequence was a free pardon to Bernard, which 
is dated on the first of June, 1402, and in which the 
above circumstances are distinctly stated. The person 
of the name of Serle here mentioned, as being with 
Richard in Scotland, was undoubtedly William Serle, 
o:entlcman of the bedchamber to Richard the Second, 
and one of the executors of his will.* He was infam- 
ous as one of the murderers of the Duke of Gloucester, 
and was soon after engaged in a second plot to restore 
the king. These transactions took place in 1402, and 

* Richard's Will, in Nichols, p. 200. It is datevl IGth April, 1399 


sufficiently prove the little credit given by the people 
of England to the story of the king's death, and the 
funeral service which was enacted at AVestminster. 

Next year, in 1 403, occurred the celebrated rebellion 
of the Percies, which ended in the battle of Shrews- 
bury, and the death of Hotspur. Previous to the 
battle, the Earl of Worcester and Henry Percy drew 
up a manifesto, which was delivered to King Henry 
upon the field by two squires of Percy, in which Henry 
was charged with having caused Richard to perish 
by hunger, thirst, and cold, after fifteen days and 
nights of sufferings unheard of among Christians. Yet, 
however broad and bold this accusation of murder, the 
principal persons who made it, and the only ones who 
survived its publication, afterwards altered their opi- 
nions, and employed very different expressions. This 
manifesto was drawn up in the name of the old Earl 
of Northumberland, although he had not then joined 
the armv which fought at Shrewsburv, and it was 
sanctioned and approved by Richard Scrope archbishop 
of York. It commences, " Nos Henricus Percy, comes 
Northumbrie, constabularius Anglise;" and Hardyng 
the chronicler, who was then wdth Hotspur and Wor- 
cester in the field, as he himself informs us, adds, "that 
their quarrel wasbe goode advyse and counseill of Mais- 
ter Richard Scrope archebishope of Yorke." Now, it 
will immediately be seen, that two years after this, in 
1405, Scrope and the Earl engaged in a second con- 
spiracy against Henry ; and in the articles which they 
then published, the positive statement in the manifesto 
as to Richard''s death, is materially changed.* I may 

* We owe the publication of this curious and interesting manifesto to Sir 
Henry Ellis. Archa;ologia, vol. xvi. p. 141. " Tu ipsum dominum nostrum 
legem et tuum, prcditorie incastro tuo de Pountefreite, sine consensu suo, seu 
judicio dominorum regni, per quindecim dies et tot noctes, c[uod horrendum 


here again use the words of Mr Amyot, in his paper on 
the death of Richard the Second. " On turning," says 
he, " from this letter of defiance in 1403, to the long 
and elaborate manifesto of Archbishop Scrope and the 
Yorkshire insurgents in 1405, we shall find a consider- 
able diminution in the force of the charge, not indeed 
that one single day is abated out of the fifteen allotted 
to the starvation, but the whole story is qualified by 
the diluting words, '■ ut xidgariter dicitur? So that in 
two years, the tale, which had before been roundly 
asserted as a fact, must have sunk into a mere ru- 
mour."* The accusation of the Percies, therefore, which 
is the only broad and unqualified charge brought against 
Henry by contemporaries, is not entitled to belief, as 
having been virtually abandoned by the very persons 
to whom it owes its orioin. 

This conspiracy of Hotspur having been put down 
in 1403, in 1404 Henry was again made miserable by 
new reports proceeding from Scotland regarding the 
escape of Richard, and his being alive in that country. 
These rumours, we learn from Otterburn, not only 
prevailed amongst the populace, but were common even 
in the household of the king.*]* Serle, one of the 
gentlemen of Richard's bedchamber, who, as we have 
already seen, had repaired to Scotland, returned from 
that country, with positive assertions that he had been 
with Richard, from whom he brought letters and com- 
munications, addressed under his privy seal to his 
friends in England.^ Maud, the old Countess of 

est inter Christianos audiri, fame, scitu, et frigore interfici fecisti,et mtirdro 
periri, unde perjuratus es, et falsus." 

* Archceologia, vol. XX. p. 436. 

+ Otterburn, p. 249. " Quo mortuo cessavit in regno de vita Regis Ric : 
confabulatio quaj prius viguit non solum in vulgari populo sed etiam in ipsa 
dominis regis domo." 

X Walsingliam, p. 370. 


Oxford, a lady far advanced in life, and little likely to 
engage, upon slight information, in any plot, "caused 
it to be reported," say Walsingham, "throughout 
Essex, by her domestics, that King Richard was alive, 
and would soon come back to recover and assert his 
former rank. She caused also little stags of silver and 
gold to be fabricated, presents which the king w^as wont 
to confer upon his most favourite knights and friends ; 
so that, by distributing these in place of the king, she 
might the more easily entice the most powerful men 
in that district to accede to her wishes. In this way,'' 
continues Walsingham, "she compelled many to believe 
that the king was alive; and the report was daily 
brought from Scotland, that he had there procured an 
asylum, and only w^aited for a convenient time, when, 
with the strons: assistance of the French and the Scots, 
he might recover the kingdom.''* Walsingham then 
goes on to observe, that the plot of the countess was 
not only favoured by the deception of Serle, but that 
she had brouo-ht over to her belief several abbots of 


that country, who were tried and committed to prison; 
and that, in particular, a clerk, who had asserted that 
he had lately talked with the king, describing minutely 
his dress, and the place of the meeting, was rewarded 
by being drawn and hanged. -f* 

It is stated by Dr Lingard, in his account of this 
conspiracy, J on the authority of Rymer's Foedera, and 
the Rolls of Parliament, that Serle being disappointed 
of finding his master alive, prevailed upon a person 
named Warde to personate the king ; and that many 
were thus deceived. Although, however, this per- 
sonification by Warde is distinctly asserted in Henry's 
proclamation, it is remarkable that it is not only 

* Walsingham, p. 370. + Ibid. pp. 370, 371. J Vol. iv. p. 398. 


omitted by Walsingliani, but is inconsistent with his 
story; and the total silence of this historian, as also 
that of Otterburn, (both of them contemporaries,) in- 
duces me to believe, that the story of Thomas Warde 
personating King Richard, was one of those forgeries 
which Henry, as I shall afterwards show, did not 
scruple to commit when they could serve his purposes. 
What became afterwards of Warde cannot be dis- 
covered ; but Serle was entrapped, and taken by Lord 
Clifford, and, according to Walsingham, confessed that 
the person whom he had seen in Scotland was indeed 
very like the king, but not the king himself, although, 
to serve his own ends, he had persuaded many, both 
in England and in Scotland, that it was Richard.* It 
would be absurd, however, to give much w^eight to this 
confession, made by a convicted murderer, and spoken 
under the strono-est motives to conciliate the mind of 
the king, and obtain mercy for himself. To obtain 
this, the likeliest method was to represent the whole 
story regarding Richard as a falsehood. It may be 
remarked, also, that in Otterburn there is not a word 
of Serle's confession, although his seizure, and subse- 
quent execution, are particularly mentioned. -f- 

The conduct of the king immediately after this is 
well worthy of remark; as we may discern in it, I 
think, a striking proof of his own convictions upon 
this mysterious subject. He issued instructions to 
certain commissioners, which contain conditions to be 
insisted on as the basis of a treaty with Scotland ; J 
and in these there is no article regarding the delivery 
of this pretended king, although his proclamation, as 
far back as the fifth June, 1402, § shows that he was 

* Walsingham, p. 371. + Otterburn, p. 249. 

X Rymer, Foedera, vol. viii. p. 384. § Ibid. vol. viii. p. 261. 


quite aware of his existence, and his constant inter- 
course with that country must have rendered him 
perfectly familiar with all the circumstances attending 
it. Is it possible to believe that Henry, if he was 
convinced that an impostor was harboured at the court 
of the Scottish king, whose existence there had been 
the cause of perpetual disquiet and rebellion in his 
kingdom, would not have insisted that he should be 
delivered up, as Henry the Seventh stipulated in the 
case of Perkin Warbeck? But Warbeck was an im- 
postor, and the seventh Henry never ceased to adopt 
♦every expedient of getting him into his hands ; whilst 
Henry the Fourth, at the very moment that he has 
put down a conspiracy, which derived its strength from 
the existence of this mysterious person in Scotland, so 
far from stipulating as to his delivery, does not think 
it prudent to mention his name. This difference in 
the conduct of the two monarchs, both of them dis- 
tinguished for prudence and sagacity, goes far, I think, 
to decide the question ; for, under the supposition that 
he who was kept in Scotland was the true Richard, it 
became as much an object in Henry the Fourth to 
induce the Scots to keep him where he was, as in Henry 
the Seventh to get Perkin into his hands; and a wary 
silence was the line of policy which it was most natural 
to adopt. 

There is a remarkable passage in Walsingham, 
regarding an occurrence which took place in this same 
year, 1404, which proves that, in France, although 
Henry at first succeeded in persuading Charles the 
Sixth that his son-in-law Richard was dead, the decep- 
tion was discovered, and, in 1404, the French considered 
the king to be alive. " The French,**' says this writer, 
*' at the same time came to the Isle of Wi^ht with a 


large fleet, and sent some of their men ashore, who 
demanded supplies from the islanders in the name of 
King Richard and Queen Isabella ; but they were met 
by the answer that Richard was dead."* 

An additional proof of the general belief in France 
of Richard's escape and safety, is to be found in a 
ballad composed by Creton, the author of the Metrical 
History of the Deposition of Richard the Second, which 
has been already quoted. We see, from the passage 
giving a description of the exposition of the body at St 
PauFs, that this author inclined to believe the whole 
a deception, and gave credit to the report, even then 
prevalent, that the king was alive. In 1405, however, 
he no longer entertains any doubt upon the subject, 
but addresses an epistle in prose to the king himself, 
expressing his joy at his escape, and his astonishment 
that he should have been able to survive the wretched 
condition to which he had been traitorously reduced. 
I am sorry that the learned author, from whose notes 
I take this illustration, enables me only to give the 
commencement of the epistle, and the first stanza of the 
ballad; but even these, though short, are quite decisive. 
His epistle is thus inscribed: "Ainsi come vraye 
amour requiert a tres noble prince et vraye Catholique 
Richart d'Engleterre, je, Creton ton liege serviteur te 
renvoye ceste Epistre." The first stanza of the ballad 
is equally conclusive. 

"0 vous, Seignors de sang royal de France, 
Mettez la main aux armes vistement, 
Et vous avez certaine cognoissance 
Du roy qui tant a souflfert de tourment 

* Walsingliam,p. 370. "Gallici," says this writer, " circa tempus illud 
venerunt ante Vectam insulam cum magna classe, miseruntque de suis quos- 
dam qui peterent nomine regis Richardi et Isabellaj reginse tributum, vel 
speciale subsidium ab insulanis. Qui responderunt regem Ricbardum fuisse 


Par faulx Anglois, qui traiteusement 

Lui ont tollu la domination ; 

Et puis de mort fait condempnation. 

Mais Dieu, qui est le vray juge es saintz cieulx, 

Lui a sauve la vie. Main et tart 

Chascun le dit par tut, jeunes et vieulx. 

C'est d'Albion le noble Roy Richart."* 

Not long after the plot of Serle had been discovered 
and put down in 1404, there arose, in 1405, the con- 
spiracy of the Earl of Northumberland and Archbishop 
Scrope, to which I have already alluded. In their 
manifesto, published before the battle of Shrewsbury, 
they had accused Henry in unqualified terms of the 
murder, whereas now, in the "Articles of Richard 
Scrope against Henry the Fourth,"^- the addition of 
the words '■^ut mdgariter dicitur^'' shows, as I have al- 
ready observed, that the strong convictions of Henry's 
guilt had sunk by this time into vague rumour ; but 
the Parliamentary Rolls,J which give a minute and 
interesting account of the conspiracy, furnish us with 
a still stronger proof of Northumberland's suspicion of 
Richard's being alive, and prove, by the best of all evi- 
dence, his own words, that one principal object of the 
conspirators was to restore him, if this was found to be 

It appears from these authentic documents, that in 
the month of May, 1405, the Earl of Northumberland 
seized and imprisoned Sir Robert Waterton, "esquire 
to our lord the king," keeping him in strict confinement 
in the castles of Warkworth, Alnwick, Berwick, and 
elsewhere. The reader will recollect, that according 
to the evidence of Winton, Richard was delivered 

* Metrical History of the Deposition of Richard the Second, with notes by 
Mr AVebb. Archjeologia, vol. xx. p. 189. 
'I' Wharton''s Anglia Sacra, p. 362, pars. ii. 
X Rolls of Parliament, vol. iii. p. 605. 


to two gentlemen of the name of Waterton and Swin- 
biirn, who spread a report of his escape; and it is not 
improbable that the object of Northumberland, in the 
seizure of Waterton, was to arrive at the real truth re- 
garding this story of his escape, to ascertain whether it 
was a mere fable, and whether the king actually had died 
in Pontefract castle, or might still be alive in Scotland, 
as had been confidently reported. It is of consequence, 
then, to observe Northumberland's conduct and expres- 
sions reaardinir Richard, after havino- had Waterton 
in his hands; and of both we have authentic evidence 
in the Parliamentary Rolls. He, and the rest of the 
conspirators, the Archbishop of York, Sir Thomas 
Mowbray, Sir John Fauconberg, Lord Hastings, and 
their accomplices, sent three commissioners, named 
Lasingsby, Boynton, and Burton, into Scotland, to 
enter into a treaty with Robert the Third, who died 
soon after, and at the same time to communicate with 
certain French ambassadors, who, it appears, were at 
that time in Scotland; and the avowed object of this 
alliance is expressly declared by Northumberland in his 
letter to the Duke of Orleans. It is as follows — " Most 
high and mighty prince, I recommend myself to your 
lordship; and be pleased to know, that I have made 
known by my servants, to Monsieur Jehan Chavbre- 
liack, Mr John Andrew, and John Ardinguill, called 
Reyner, now in Scotland, and ambassadors of a high 
and excellent prince, the King of France, your lord 
and brother, my present intention and wish, which I 
have written to the king your brother. It is this, that 
with the assistance of God, with your aid, and that of 
my allies, I have embraced a firm purpose and inten- 
tion to sustain the just quarrel of my sovereign lord 
King Richard, if he is alive, and if he is dead, to avenge 


his death; and, moreover, to sustain the right and 
quarrel which my redoubted lady, the Queen of Eng- 
land, your niece, may have to the kingdom of England, 
and for this purpose I have declared war against Henry 
of Lancaster, at present Regent of England." This 
letter, which will be found at length in the note below,* is 
written from Berwick, and although the precise date is 
not given, it appears, by comparison with other deeds 
connected with the same conspiracy preserved in the 
Foedera and the llotuli Scotise, to have been written 
about the tenth of June. The Parliamentary Rolls a'o 
on to state, that in this same month of June, North- 
umberland and his accomplices seized Berwick, and 
traitorously gave it up to the Scots, the enemies of the 
king, to be pillaged and burnt. 

It is of importance to attend to the state of parties 
in Scotland at this time. The persons in that country 
with whom Northumberland confederated to sustain 

* Rolls of Parliament, vol. iii. p. 605. " Tres haut et tres puissant prince, 
jeo me recomance a vostre seigneurie ; a laquelle plese asavoir que jaynoti- 
fie par mes gentz, a Mon^. Johan Chavbreliak, Meistre Jolian Andrew, et 
Johan Ardinguill dit Reyner, ambassatours de tres haut et tres excellent 
prince le Roy de France, vostre sieur et frere, esteantz en Escoce, mon en- 
tencion et voluntee, laquelle je escriptz au roy vostre dit sieur et frere ; 
laquelle est, que a Taide de Dieu, de le vostre et des plusours mes allies, j 'ay 
entencion et ferme purpos de sustener le droit querelle de mon soverein 
sieur le Roy Richard, s'il est vif, et si mort est, de venger sa mort, et aussi 
de sustener la droit querele que ma tres redoubtedame le Royne d'Engleterre, 
vostre niece, poit avoir reasonablement au Roiaeme d'Engleterre, et pur ceo 
ay moeve guerre a Henry de Lancastre, a present regent d'Angleterre ; et 
car jeo foy que vouz ames et sustenuz ceste querelle, et autres contre le dit 
Henry jeo vous prie et require, que en ceo vous moi voilles aider et soccorer, 
et ausi moi aider eius le tres haut et tres excellent prince le Roy de France, 
vostre dit sieur et frere, que les choses desquelles jeo lui escriptz, et dont vous 
enformeront au plain les ditz ambassatoui's,preignent bone et brief conclusion, 
quar en vite, en tout ceo que jeo vous pourra servier a sustener de par decea 
les ditz querelles encontre le dit Henry, jeo le ferra voluntiers de tout mon 
poair. Et vous plese de croiere les ditz ambassatours de ceo qu'ils vous dir- 
ront de par moy ; le Saint Esprit tres haut et tres puissant prince vous ait en 
sa garde. Escript a Bersvyck, &c. 

"A tres haut et tres puissant prince le Due d'Orleans, Count de Valois et 
de Blois, et Beaumond et Sieur de Courcy." No date is given but it imme- 
diately succeeds June 11, 1405. 


the quarrel of King Richard, were the loyal faction 
opposed to Albany, and friends to Prince James, whom 
that crafty and ambitious statesman now wished to 
supplant. Albany himself was at this moment in strict 
alliance with Henry the Fourth, as is shown by a 
manuscript letter preserved in the British Museum, 
dated from Falkland on the second of June, and by a 
mission of Rothesay herald, to the same monarch, on 
the tenth of July.* Wardlaw bishop of St Andrews, 
Sinclair earl of Orkney, and Sir David Fleming of 
Cumbernauld, to whose care, it will be recollected, 
Winton informs us Richard of Ensrland had been com- 
mitted, opposed themselves to Albany, and having 
determined, for the sake of safety, to send Prince James 
to France, entered, as we see, into a strict alliance with 
the Earl of Northumberland, in his conspiracy for 
overturning the government of Henry the Fourth. 

The events which followed immediately after this 
greatly favoured the usurpation of Albany. Prince 
James was taken on his passage to France, probably 
in consequence of a concerted plan between Albany and 
Henry. David Fleming, according to Bower, -f- was 
attacked and slain oji his return from accompanjnng 
James to the ship, by the Douglases, then in alliance 
with Albany ; and the old king, Robert the Third, died, 
leaving the government to the uncontrolled manage- 
ment of his ambitious brother, whilst his son, now king, 

* PinkertoDjHist. vol. i, p. 82. In the Cottonian Catalogue, p. 498, No. 
114, I find a letter from Robert duke of Albany to Henry the Fourth thank- 
ing him for his good treatment of Murdoch his son, and the favourable audi- 
ences given to Rothesay his herald, dated Falkland, June 4, 140.5. 

f If "we believe Walsingham, pp. 374, 375, however the chronology is dif- 
ferent. Fleming was not slain till some months afterwards, and lived to 
receive Northumberland and Bardolph on their ilight from BerAvick ; after 
which he discovered to them a plot of Albany's for their being delivered up 
to Henry,and, by his advice they Hed into Wales, in revenge for which, Flem- 
ing was slain by the party of Albany.iJ: 

4: Ypodignia Neustria, p. 566. 


was a prisoner in the Tower. Meanwhile, Sinclair the 
Earl of Orkney joined Northumberland at Berwick;* 
but the rebellion of that potent baron and his ac- 
complices having entirely failed, he and the Lord 
Bardolph fled into Scotland, from which, after a short 
while, discovering an intention upon the part of Albany 
to deliver them into the hands of Henry, they escaped 
into Wales. We know, from the Chamberlain Ac- 
counts, that immediately after the death of Robert the 
Third, Albany obtained possession of the person of 
Richard. In this way, by a singular combination of 
events, while the Scottish governor held in his hands 
the person who, of all others, was most formidable to 
Henry, this monarch became possessed of James the 
First of Scotland, the person of all others to be most 
dreaded by the governor. The result was, that Albany 
and Henry, both skilful politicians, in their secret 
negotiations could play off their two royal prisoners 
against each other ; Albany consenting to detain 
Richard solongas Henry agreed to keep hold of James. 
The consequence of this policy was just what might 
have been expected. Richard died in Scotland, and 
James, so long as Albany lived, never returned to 
his throne or to his kingdom ; although, during the 
fifteen years of Albany's usurpation, he had a strong 
party in his favour, and many attempts were made to 
procure his restoration. It seems to me, therefore, that 
this circumstance of Albany having Richard in his 
hands, furnishes us with a satisfactory explanation of 
two points, which have hitherto appeared inexplicable. 
I mean, the success with which the governor for fifteen 

* John, son of Henry, says, in a letter to his father, Vesp. F. vii. f. 95, No. 
2, that Orkney had joined Northumberland and Bardolph at Berwick. The 
letter is dated Sth June, in all appearance 1405, says Pinkerton, vol. i. p. 82. 
The circumstances mentioned prove that it was, without doubt, in 1405. 


years defeated every negotiation for the return of James, 
and the unmitigable severity and rage which this mon- 
arch, on his return, and throughout his reign, evinced 
towards every member of the family of Albany. 

Even after this grievous disaster of Northumberland 
in 1405, the reports regarding Richard being still alive 
revived, and broke out in the capital; and Percy, the 
indefatigable enemy of Henry, along with Lord Bar- 
dolph, made a last attempt to overturn his government. 
" At this time," says Walsingham, speaking of the 
year 1407, "placards were fixed up in many places in 
London, which declared that King Richard was alive, 
and that he would soon come to claim his kingdom with 
glory and magnificence; but not long thereafter, the 
foolish inventor of so daring a contrivance was taken 
and punished, which allayed the joy that many had 
experienced in consequence of this falsehood."* Who 
the person was whom Walsingham here designates as 
the inventor of these falsehoods, does not appear from 
any part of his own history, or from any of the public 
papers in the Fcederaor the Parliamentary Rolls; but 
we may connect these reports, on good grounds I think, 
with Percy and Lord Bardolph, who, in 1408, pro- 
ceeded from Scotland into Yorkshire, and after an 
ineff"ectual attempt to create a general insurrection in 
that country, w^ere entirely defeated, Northumberland 
being slain, and Bardolph dying soon after of his 
wounds. The reader will recollect, perhaps, a passage 
already quoted from Bower,*]- in which this historian 
states, that amongst other honourable persons who fled 
with Northumberland and Lord Bardolph into Scot- 
land, was the Bishop of Bangor; and I may mention 

* Walsingham, p. 376. 

+ Fordun a Goo(ial,vol. ii. p. 441, 


it as a striking confirmation of the accuracy of this 
account, that the Bishop of Bangor, according to Wal- 
singham, was taken in the battle along with Percy, 
and that, as the historian argues, he deserved to have 
his Hfe spared because he was unarmed. His fellow 
priest, the Abbot of Hayles, who was likewise in the 
field, and had changed the cassock for the steel coat, 
w^as hano'ed.* When Bower is thus found correct in 
one important particular, I know not why we are en- 
titled to distrust him in that other limb of the same 
sentence, which mentions the existence of Richard in 

It was originally my intention to have entered into 
an examination of the diplomatic correspondence which 
took place subsequent to this period between Albany 
the governor of Scotland, and Henry the Fourth and 
Fifth; in which, I think, it would not be difficult to 
point out some transactions, creating a presumption that 
Albany w^as in possession of the true King Richard. 
The limits, however, within which I must confine these 
observations, will not permit me to accomplish this ; 
and any intelligent reader who will take the trouble to 
study this correspondence as it is given in the Rotuli 
Scotise, will not find it difficult to discover and arrange 
the proofs for himself. I must be permitted, there- 
fore, to step at once from this conspiracy of Northum- 
berland, which took place in 1408, to the year 1415, 
when Henry the Fifth was preparing for his invasion 
of France. At this moment, when the king saw him- 
self at the head of a noble army, and when everything 
was ready for the embarkation of the. troops, a con- 
spiracy of a confused and obscure nature was discovered, 
which, like every other conspiracy against the govern- 

* Walsingham, p. 377. 


ment of Henr}^ the Fourth and Henry the Fifth, in- 
volved a supposition that Richard the Second might 
still be alive. The principal actors in this plot were 
Richard carl of Cambridge, brother to the Duke of 
York, and cousin to the king, Henry lord Scroop of 
Marsham, and Sir Thomas Grey of Heton in North- 
umberland; and the only account which we can obtain 
of it, is to be found in a confession of the Earl of Cam- 
bridge, preserved in the Foedera Anglioe, and in the 
detail of the trial given in the Rolls of Parliament, 
both papers evidently fabricated under the eye of Henry 
the Fifth, and bearing upon them marks of forgery 
and contradiction. 

According to these documents, the object of the con- 
spirators was to carry Edmund the Earl of March 
into Wales, and there proclaim him king, as being the 
lawful heir to the crown, in place of Henry of Lancas- 
ter, who was stigmatized as a usurper. This, how- 
ever, was only to be done, provided (to use the original 
words of the confession of the Earl of Cambridge) 
" yonder manis persone, wych they callen Kyng Ri- 
chard, had nauth bene alyve, as Y wot wel that he 
wys not alyve."* The absurdity and inconsistency of 
this must be at once apparent. In the event of Richard 
being dead, the Earl of March was without doubt the 
next heir to the crown, and had been declared so by 
Richard himself; and the avowed object of the con- 
spirators being to place this prince upon the throne, 
why they should delay to do this, till they ascertain 
whether the person calling himself King Bichard is alive, 
is not very easily seen, especially as they declare, in 
the same breath, that they are well aware this person 
is not alive. Yet this may be almost pronounced con- 

* Fcedera. vol. ix. p. 300. 


f;istency, when compared with the contradiction which 
follows : for we find it stated, in almost the next sen- 
tence, by the Earl of Cambridge, that he was in the 
knowledge of a plan entered into by Umfraville and 
Wederyngton, for the purpose of bringing in this very 
" persone wych they name Kyng Richard," and Henry 
Percy, out of Scotland, with a power of Scots, with 
whose assistance they hoped to be able to give battle 
to the king, for which treasonable intention the earl 
submits himself wholly to the king''s grace. It is dif- 
ficult to know what to make of this tissue of incon- 
sistency. The Earl of March is to be proclaimed 
king, provided it be discovered that the impostor who 
calls himself Richard is not alive, it being well known 
that he is dead, and although dead, ready, it would 
seem, to march out of Scotland with Umfraville and 
Wederyngton, and give battle to Henry.* 

The account of the same conspiracy given in the 
Parliamentary Rolls is equally contradictory, and in 
its conclusion still more absurd. It declares, that the 
object of the conspirators was to proclaim the Earl of 
March king, " in the event that Richard the Second 
king of England was actually dead ;" and it adds, 
that the Earl of Cambridge and Sir Thomas Grey 
had knowledo^e of a desiofn to brino- Thomas of Trum- 
pyngton, an idiot, from Scotland, to counterfeit the 
person of King Richard, Avho, with the assistance of 
Henry Percy and some others, was to give battle to 
Henry. -[• It was already remarked, in the account of 
the conspiracy of the old Countess of Oxford, in 1404, 
that the assertion then made by Henry the Fourth, 
in a proclamation in Rymer, that Thomas Warde of 

* Fcedera, vol. ix. p. 300. 

•j" Parliamentary Rolls, vol. iv. p. 65. 



Trumpyugton '* pretended that lie was King Richard,"*^ 
■was one of those forgeries which this monarch did not 
scruple to commit to serve his political purposes ; none 
of the contemporary historians giving the least hint of 
the appearance of an impostor at this time, and Serle, 
in his confession, not having a word upon the suhject. 
Besides, we hear nothing of Warde till 1404; and we 
know, from Henry's own proclamation, that Richard 
the Second was stated to be alive in Scotland as early 
as June 1402;* whilst, in 1404, when Warde is first 
mentioned, he comes before us as having personated 
the king in England, or rather, as then in the act of 
personating the king in England. Here, too, by 
Henry the Fourth''s description of him in 1404, he is 
an Englishman, and in his sound senses ; how then, in 
1415, does he come to be a Scotsman, and an idiot? 
The truth seems to be, that Henry the Fifth, in manu- 
facturing these confessions of the Earl of Cambridge, 
having found it stated by his father that Thomas Warde 
of Trumpyngton, in 1404, pretended to be King 
Richard, and that "there was an idiot in Scotland who 
personated the king,"*"* joined the two descriptions into 
one portentous person, Thomas of Trumpyngton, a 
Scottish idiot, wdio was to enact Richard the Second, 
and, at the head of an army, to give battle to the hero 
of Agincourt. Most of my readers, I doubt not, will 
agree with me in thinking, that, instead of an idiot, 
this gentleman from Trumpyngton must have been a 
person of superior powers. 

It is impossible, in short, to believe for a moment 
that the accounts in the Parliamentary Rolls and in 
Rymer give us the truth, yet Cambridge, Scroop, and 
Grey were executed; and the summary manner in 

* Rymer, vol. viii. p. 2G1. 


which their trial was conducted, is as extraordinary as 
the accusation. A commission was issued to John, Earl 
JNIarshal, and eight others, empowering any two of 
them, William Lasingsby, or Edward Hull, being one 
of the number, to sit as judges for the inquiry of 
all treasons carried on within the county by the oaths 
of a Hampshire jury. Twelve persons, whose names 
Carte observes were never heard of before, having been 
impannelled, the three persons accused were found 
guilty on the single testimony of the constable of South- 
ampton castle, who swore, that having spoke to each 
of them alone upon the subject, they had confessed 
their guilt, and thrown tliemselves on the king's mercy. 
Sir Thomas Grey was condemned upon this evidence, 
of which, says Carte, it will not be easy to produce a 
precedent in any former reign; but the Earl of Cam- 
bridge and Lord Scroop pleaded their peerage, and 
Henry issued a new commission to the Duke of Cla- 
rence, who summoned a jury of peers. This, however, 
was a mere farce; for the commission having had the 
records and process of the former jury read before 
them, without giving the parties accused an opportu- 
nity of pleading their defence, or even of appearing 
before their judges, condemned them to death, the sen- 
tence being carried into instant execution. 

It is obvious, from the haste, the studied concealment 
of the evidence, the injustice and the extraordinary 
severity of the sentence, that the crime of Cambridge, 
Scroop, and Grey, was one of a deep dye; and, even in 
the garbled and contradictory accounts given in the 
Parliamentary Rolls, we may discern, I think, that 
their real crime was not the design of setting up March 
as king, but their having entered into a correspon- 
dence with Scotland for the restoration of Richard the 


Second. That the story res^arding March was disbe- 
lieved, is indeed shown by Henry himself, who in- 
stantly pardoned him, and permitted him to sit as one 
of the jury who tried Scroop and Cambridge; but that 
Cambridge, Scroop, and Grey, were in possession of 
some important secret, and were thought guilty of 
some dark treason which made it dangerous for them 
to live, is quite apparent.* 

It seems to me that this dark story may be thus 
explained : Scroop and Cambridge, along with Percy, 
Umfraville, and AVederyngton, had entered into a 
correspondence with the Scottish faction who were 
opposed to Albany, the object of which was to restore 
Richard, and to obtain the return of James, Albany 
himself being then engaged in an amicable treaty with 
Henry, with the double object of obtaining the release 
of his son Murdoch, who was a prisoner in England, 
and of detaining James the First in captivity. At 
this moment the conspiracy of Cambridge was disco- 
vered; and Henry, in order to obtain full information 
for the conviction of the principals, pardoned Percy, 
and the two accomplices Umfraville and Wederyngton, 
and obtained from them a disclosure of the plot. He 
then agreed with Albany to exchange ^Murdoch for 
Percy; but we learn, from the MS. instructions re- 
garding this exchange, which are quoted by Pinker- 
ton, -|- that a secret clause was added, which declared, 

* We have seen, that Hemy directs that one of the two justices vrho are to 
sit on the trial, shall be either Edward Hull or W^illiam Lasingsby ; and it 
may perhaps be recollected, that William Lasingsby, Esq., was himself en- 

faged with Northumberland in 1405, in the conspiracy for the restoration of 
lichard, being one of the commissioners sent into Scotland to treat with Ro- 
bert the Third and the French ambassadors. It is probable, therefore, that 
he knew well whether Richard of Scotland was, or was not, the true Richard ; 
and his being selected as one of the judges makes it still more probable, that 
the real crime of the conspirators was a project for the restoration of the king. 
+ Vol. i. p. 97. 


that the exchange was only to take place, provided 
"Percy consent to fulfil what Robert Umfraville and 
John Witherington have promised Henry in his name." 
Percy's promise to Henry was, as I conjecture, to re- 
veal the particulars of the plot, and renounce all inter- 
course with Richard. 

This conspiracy was discovered and put down in 
1416, and the campaign which followed was distin- 
guished by the battle of Agincourt, in which, amongst 
other French nobles, the Duke of Orleans was taken 
prisoner, and became a fellow captive with James the 
First. In July, 1417, Henry the Fifth again em- 
barked for Normandy; but when engaged in prepara- 
tions for his second campaign, he detected a new plot, 
the object of which was to bring in the '''• Mamuet'''' of 
Scotland, to use the emphatic expression which he 
himself employs. I need scarcely remark, that the 
meaning of the old English word Mamuet, or Mam- 
met, is a puppet, a figure dressed up for the purpose 
of deception ; in other words, an impostor. The fol- 
lowing curious letter, which informs us of this conspi- 
racy, was published by Hearne, in his Appendix to the 
Life of Henry the Fifth, by Titus Livius of Forojulii. 
" Furthermore I wole that ye commend with my bro- 
ther, with the Chancellor, with my cousin of Northum- 
berland, and my cousin of Westmoreland, and that ye 
set a good ordinance for my north marches ; and spe- 
cially for the Duke of Orleans, and for all the remanent 
of my prisoners of France, and also for the King of 
Scotland. For as I am secretly informed by a man 
of right notable estate in this lond, that there hath 
bene a man of the Duke of Orleans in Scotland, and 
accorded with the Duke of Albany, that this next 
summer he shall bring in the Mamuet of Scotland, to 


stir wliat he may; and also, that there should he 
foundin waves to tlie having away especially of the 
Duke of Orleans, and also of the king, as well as of 
the remanent of my forsaid prisoners, that God do de- 
fend. Wherefore I wole that the Duke of Orleance 
be kept -still within the castle of Pomfret, without 
going to Robertis place, or any other disport. For it 
is better he lack his disport, than we were disteyned 
of all the remanent." * With regard to Albany's 
accession to this plot, it is probable that Henry was 
misinformed; and that the party which accorded with 
Orleans, was the faction opposed to the governor, and 
desirous of the restoration of James. The letter is 
valuable in another way, as it neither pronounces the 
Mamuet to be an idiot, nor identifies him with Tho- 
mas of Trumpyngton. 

There is yet, however, another witness to Richard's 
being alive in 1417, whose testimony is entitled to the 
greatest credit, not only from the character of the 
individual himself, but from the peculiar circumstances 
under which his evidence was given : I mean Lord 
Cobham, the famous supporter of the Wickliffites, or 
Lollards, who was burnt for heresy on the twenty-fiftli 
of December, 1417. When this unfortunate noble- 
man was seized, and brought before his judges to stand 
his trial, he declined the authority of the court ; and 
being asked his reason, answered, that he could ac- 
knowledge no judge amongst them^ so long as his liege 
lord King Richard was alive in Scotland. The passage 

* Titi Livii Forojul. Vita Henrici V. p. 99. This letter, also, is the first in 
that very interesting publication of Original Letters, which "\ve owe to Sir 
Henry Ellis. Neither this writer, however, nor Hearne, have added any note 
upon the expression, the Mamuet of Scotland, which must he obscure to an 
ordinary reader. The letter itself, and the proof it contains in support of this 
theory of Richard's escape, was pointed out to me by my valued and learned 
friend, Adam Urquhart, Esq. 


in Walsingliam is perfectly clear and decisive : " Qui 
confestim cum summa superbia et abusione respondit, 
se non habere judicem inter eos, vivente ligio Domino 
suo, in regno ScotiaB, rege Richardo ; quo responso 
accepto, quia non opus erat testibus, sine mora jussus 
est trahi et suspendi super furcas atque comburi, pen- 
dens in eisdem." * Lord Cobham, therefore, at the 
trying moment when he was about to answer to a 
capital charge, and when he knew that the unwelcome 
truth which he told was of itself enough to decide his 
sentence, declares that Richard the Second, his lawful 
prince, is then alive in Scotland. It is necessary for 
a moment to attend to the life and character of this 
witness, in order fully to appreciate the weight due to 
his testimony. It is not too much to say, that, in 
point of truth and integrity, he had borne the highest 
character during his whole life ; and it is impossible to 
imagine for an instant, that he would have stated any- 
thing as a fact which he did not solemnly believe to 
be true. What, then, is the fair inference to be drawn 
from the dying declaration of such a witness ? He 
had sat in parliament, and had been in high employ- 
ments under Richard the Second, Henry the Fourth, 
and Henry the Fifth. He was Sheriff of Hereford- 
shire in the eighth year of Henry the Fourth ; and 
as a peer, had summons to parliament among the 
barons in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth of that 
king's reign, and in the first of Henry the Fifth. He 
was, therefore, in high confidence and employment, 
and could not have been iijnorant of the measures 
adopted by Henry the Fourth to persuade the people 
of England that Richard was dead. He sat in the 
parliament of 1399, which deposed him; there is every 

* Walsingham, p. 591. 


reason to believe he was one of the peers summoned 
in council on the ninth of February, 1399-1400, only 
four days previous to Richard's reputed death ; and 
that he sat in the succeeding parliament, which met 
on the twenty-first of January, 1 401. The exhibition 
of the body at St PauFs, where all the nobility and 
the barons attended; the private burial at Langley, 
and the proclamations of Henry, declaring that Richard 
was dead and buried, must have been perfectly well 
known to him; and yet in the face of all this, he de- 
clares in his dying words, pronounced in 1417, that 
Richard the Second, his liege lord, is then alive in 
Scotland. We have, therefore, the testimony of Lord 
Cobham, that the reputed death of Richard in Ponte- 
fract castle, the masses performed over the dead body 
at St PauFs, and its burial at Langley, were all impu- 
dent fabrications. It is, I think, impossible to con- 
ceive evidence more clear in its enunciation, more 
solemn, considering the time when it was spoken, and, 
for the same reason, more perfectly unsuspicious. 

I know not thS,t I can better conclude these remarks 
upon this mysterious subject, than by this testimony 
of Lord Cobham, in support of the hypothesis which 
I have ventured to maintain. Other arguments and 
illustrations certainly might be added, but my limits 
allow me only to hint at them. It might be shown, 
for instance, that not long after Sir David Fleming 
had obtained possession of the person of Richard, 
Henry the Fourth engaged in a secret correspondence 
with this baron, and granted him a passport to have 
a personal interview; it might be shown, also, that in 
1404, Robert the Third, in his reply to a letter of 
Henry the Fourth, referred the English king to David 
Fleming for some particular information; that Henry 


was about the same time carrying on a private nego- 
tiation with Lord Montgomery, to whom the reader 
will recollect Richard had been delivered; whilst there 
is evidence, that with the lord of the isles, and with 
the chaplain of that pirate prince in whose dominions 
Richard was first discovered, the King of England had 
private meetings, which appear to have produced a 
perceptible change in the policy of Henry''s govern- 
ment towards Scotland. I had intended, also, to point 
out the gross forgeries of which Henry had conde- 
scended to be guilty, in his public account of the depo- 
sition of Richard, in order to show the very slender 
credit which is due to his assertions reorardins: the 
death and burial of this prince ; but I must content 
myself with once more referrins: to ]Mr WebVs Notes 
on the Metrical History of the Deposition of Richard, 
from which I have derived equal instruction and amuse- 

In conclusion, I may observe, that whatever side of 
the question my readers may be inclined to adopt, an 
extraordinary fact, or rather series of facts, is estab- 
lished, which have hitherto been overlooked by preced- 
ing historians. If disposed to embrace the opinion 
which I have formed after a careful, and, I trust, im- 
partial examination of the evidence, the circumstance 
of Richard's escape, and subsequent death in Scotland, 
is a new and interesting event in the history of both 
countries. If, on the other hand, they are inclined 
still to believe the ordinary accounts of the death of 
this monarch in 1399, it must be admitted, for it is 
proved by good evidence, that a mysterious person 
appeared suddenly in the dominions of Donald of the 
Isles ; that he was challenged by one who knew Rich- 
ard, as being the king in disguise; that he denied it 


steadily, and yet was kept in Scotland in an honourable 
captivity for eighteen years, at great expense; that it 
was believed in England by those best calculated to 
have accurate information on the subject, that he was 
the true Kino- Richard; and that, althoudi his beinf): 
detained and recognised in Scotland was the cause of 
repeated conspiracies for his restoration, which shook 
the government both of Henry the Fourth and Henry 
the Fifth, neither of these monarchs ever attempted 
to get this impostor into their hands, or to expose the 
cheat by insisting upon his being delivered up, in 
those various negotiations as to peace or truce which 
took place between the two kingdoms. This last hypo- 
thesis presents to me difficulties which appear at pre- 
sent insurmountable; and I believe, therefore, that the 
chapel at Stirling contained the ashes of the true 

I entertain too much respect, however, for the opinion 
of the many learned writers who have preceded me, and 
for the public judgment which has sanctioned an oppo- 
site belief for more than four hundred years, to venture, 
without farther discussion, to transplant this romantic 
sequel to the story of Richard the Second into the 
sacred field of history. And it is for this reason that, 
whilst I have acknowledged the royal title in the Ap- 
pendix, I have expressed myself more cautiously and 
hypothetically in the body of the work.* 

* The critical reader is referred to an able answer to these " Remarks," by 
Mr Amyot, in the twenty-third vol. of the " Archa^ologia,"" p. 277 ; to some 
additional observations by the same gentleman, Archseologia, vol. xxv. p. 394 ; 
to a critical " Note," by Sir James Macintosh, added to the first volume of his 
" History of England ;" to a " Dissertation on the Manner and Period of the 
Death of Richard the Second," by Lord Dover ; to observations on the same 
historical problem, by Mr Kiddell, in a volume of Legal and Antiquarian 
Tracts, published at Edinburgh in lU'do ; and to some remarks on the same 
point by Sir Harris Nicolas in the Preface to the hrst volume of his valuable 
work, the " Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council of England," 
Preface, p. 29 to iJ2. 



Letter A, p. 2. 

It is not conceivable, says IMr Thomson, from whom I hare pro- 
cured some information on this obscure subject, that this claim of the 
Earl of Douglas could have any other basis than a revival of the right 
of the Baliol family, whose titles appear to have devolved at this 
period on the Earl of Douglas. John Baliol, it is well known, left a 
son, Edward, whom we have seen crowned King of Scotland in 1332, 
who afterwards died in obscurity, and without children. (History, 
vol. ii. pp. 16, 90.) The right of the Baliol family upon this reverted 
to the descendants of Alexander de Baliol of Kavers, brother of King 
John Baliol ;* and we find that, in the reign of David the Second, 
the representative of this Alexander de Baliol was Isobel de Baliol, 
Comitissa de Mar, who married Donald, twelfth Earl of Mar. This 
lady, it appears, by a deed in the Rotuli Scotise, vol. i. p. 708, mar- 
ried, secondly, William de Careswell, who during the minority of her 
son, Thomas, thirteenth Earl of Mar, Lord of Garryach and Cavers, 
obtained from Edward the Third " the custody of all the lands which 
belonged to Isabella the late Countess of Mar, his consort." Thomas 
earl of Mar died without issue, but he left a sister, Margaret, who 
succeeded her brother, and became Countess of Mar in her own right. 
She married for her first husband William earl of Douglas, who in her 
right, became Earl of Mar ; and, as possessing through her the right 
of the house of Baliol, upon this ground laid claim to the crown. 
Winton, vol. ii. p. 304, does not mention the ground upon which the 
Earl of Douglas disputed the throne with Robert the Second. But 
the ancient manuscript, entitled " Extracta ex Chronicis Scotia), fol. 

* Dugdale's Baronage, vol. i. p. 525. 


225, is more explicit. Its words are, "Dovvglace Willmus Comes 
maim valida militari, coram eis comparuit allegans jus corone et 
successiouis in regnum ad se ex parte Cuminensium et Balliorum 
pertinere." And this is corroborated by Bower, Fordun a Goodal, 
vol. ii. p. 382. Douglas's right through his wife we have just 
explained ; and I may refer to a paper on the ancient lordship of 
Galloway, in the ninth volume of the Archaeologia, p. 49, by Mr Riddell, 
for an explanation of his title through the Comyns. 

Letter B, p. 150. 

Site of the Battle of Harlavc. 

In the manuscript geographical description of Scotland, collected 
by Macfarlane, and preserved in the Advocates' Library, vol. i. p. 7, 
there is the following minute description of the site of this battle : — 
" Through this parish (the chapel of Garioch, called formerly, Capella 
Beate Marise Virginie de Garryoch, Chart. Aberdon, p. 31) runs the 
king's highway from Aberdeen to Inverness, and [from Aberdeen to 
the high country. A large mile to the east of the church lies the 
field of an ancient battle, called the battle of Harlaw, from a country 
town of that name hard by. This town, and the field of battle, which 
lies along the king's highway upon a moor, extending a short mile 
from SE. to NW. stands on the north-east side of the water of Urie, 
and a small distance therefrom. To the west of the field of battle, 
about half a mile, is a farmer's house, called Legget's Den, hard by 
in which is a tomb, built in the form of a malt steep, of four large 
stones, covered with a broad stone above, where, as the country people 
generally report, Donald of the Isles lies buried, being slain in the 
battle, and therefore they call it commonly Donald's tomb." So far 
the MS. It is certain, however, that the Lord of the Isles was not 
slain. This may probably be the tomb of the chief of Maclean, or 
of Macintosh, both of whom fell in the battle. In the genealogical 
collections of the same industrious antiquary, (^IS. Advocates' Lib- 
rary, Jac. V. 4, 16, vol. i. p. 180,) we find a manuscript account of the 
family of Maclean, which informs us that Lauchlan Lubanich had, by 
M'Donald's daughter, a son, called Eachin Rusidh ni Cath, or Hector 
Rufus Bellicosus. He commanded as lieutenant-general under the 
Earl of Ross at the battle of Harlaw in 1411, where he and Irving 
of Drum, seeking out one another by their armorial bearings on their 
shields, met and killed each other. He was married to a daughter 
of the Earl of Douglas. 

Sir Walter Ogilvy, on twenty-eighth January,'! 426, founded a chap- 


lainry in the parish church of St Mary of Uchterhouse, in which 
perpetual prayers were to be offered up for the salvation of King 
James and his Queen Johanna ; and for the souls of all who died in 
the battle of Harlaw, — Diplom. Regior. Indices, vol. i. p. 97. 

Letter C, p. 152. 

The Retour of Andrew de Tullidiff, mentioned in the text, will be 
found in the MS. Cartulary of Aberdeen, preserved in the Advocates' 
Library, folio 121. It is as follows : — 

" Inquisitio super tercia parte 
Ledintusche et Rothmais. 

Hsec inquisitio facta fuit apud rane coram Willmo de Cadyhow Ballivo 
Reverendi in Christo patris, et Dni Gilberti Dei gracia Episcopi 
Aberdonen : die martis, nono die mensis Mail anno 1413, per probos 
et fideles homines subscriptos, viz. Robertum de Buthergask, Johan- 
nem Rous, Johannem Bisete, Robertum Malisei,Hugonem deKyncavil, 
Duncanum de Curquhruny, Johannem Morison, Johm Yhung, Adam 
Johannis, Johannem Thomson, Johannem de Lovask, Johannem Dun- 
canson, Walterum Ranyson, et Johannem Thomson de Petblayne. 
Qui magno Sacramento jurati dicunt, quod quondam Willmus de 
Tulidef latoris prsesencium obiit vestitus et saysitus ut de feodo ad 
pacem et fidem Dni nostri regis, de tercia parte terrarum de Ledyn- 
tusche, et de Rothmais cum pertinenciis jacentium in schyra de Rane 
infra Vicecom. de Aberden. Et quod dictus Andreas est leggitimus 
et propinquior heres ejusdem quondam Willmi patris sui de dicta 
tercia parte dictarum terrarum cum pertinenciis, et licet minoris 
setatis existit tamen secundum quoddam statutum consilii generalis 
ex priviligio concesso hseredibus occisorum in bello de Harelaw, pro 
defensione patriae, est hac vice leggittime setatis, et quod dicta tercia 
dictarum terrarum cum pertinenciis nunc valet per annum tres libras, 
et viginti denarios, et valuit tempore pacis quatuor libras," &c. &c. 
The remainder of the deed is uninteresting. 

Letter D, p. 164. 

Battles of Bauge and Verneuil. 

The exploits of the Scottish forces in France do not properly belong 
to the History of Scotland, and any reader who wishes for authentic 


information upon the subject will find it in Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. 
pp. 461, 463, and Monstrelet's Chronicle, by Johnes, vols. 5th and 6th. 
There were three important battles in which the Scots auxiliaries 
were engaged. First, that of Bauge, in Anjou, fought on twenty- 
Becond March, 1421, in which they gained a signal victory over the 
Duke of Clarence, who was slain, along with the " flower of his 
chivalry and esquiredom," to use the words of Monstrelet. Secondly, 
that of Crevant, which was disastrous to the Scots. And lastly, the 
great battle of Verneuil, fought in 1424, in which John duke of 
Bedford commanded the English, and completely defeated the united 
array of the French and Scots. 

There is a singular coincidence between the battle of Bauge, and 
the battle of Stirling, in which Wallace defeated Surrey and Cress- 
ingham. The two armies, one commanded by the Duke of Clarence, 
and the other by the Earl of Buchan, were separated from each other 
by a rapid river, over which was thrown a narrow bridge. Buchan 
had despatched a party, under Sir Robert Stewart of Darnley, and 
the Sieur de Fontaine, to reconnoitre, and they coming suddenly upon 
the English, were driven back in time to warn the Scottish general 
of the approach of Clarence. Fortunately, he had a short interval 
allowed him to draw up his army, whilst Sir Robert Stewart of 
Railston, and Sir Hugh Kennedy, with a small advanced body, de- 
fended the passage of the bridge, over which the Duke of Clarence 
with his best ofl&cers were eagerly forcing their way, having left 
the bulk of the English army to follow as they best could. The 
consequences were almost precisely the same as those which took 
place at Stirling. Clarence, distinguished by his coronet of jewels 
over his helmet, and splendid armour, was first fiercely attacked by 
John Carmichael, who shivered his lance on him ; then wounded in 
the face by Sir William de Swynton ; and lastly, felled to the earth 
and slain by the mace of the Earl of Buchan.* His bravest knights 
and men-at-arms fell along with him ; and the rest of the army, enraged 
at the disaster, and crowding over the bridge to avenge it, being thrown 
into complete disorder, as they arrived in detail, were slain or taken 
by the Scots. Monstrelet + affirms, that two or three thousand Eng- 
lish were slain. Bower limits the number who fell to sixteen hundred 
and seventeen, and asserts that the Scots only lost twelve, and the 
French two men. J It is well known that for this service Buchan was 
rewarded with the baton of Constable of France. After the battle, 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 4G1. This John, or, as he is called by Dou- 
gla?. Sir John Carmichael, was ancestor to the noble family of Hyndford, now 
extinct. The family crest is still a shivered spear. — Douglas, vol. i. p. 752. 

f Monstrelet, by Johnes, vol. v. p. 263. X Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 461. 


Sir Robert Stewart of Darnley bought Clarence's jewelled coronet 
from a Scottish soldier for 1000 angels.* 

Having been thus successful at Bauge, the conduct of the Scots at 
Crevant, considering the circumstances under which the battle was 
fought, is inexplicable. On consulting Monstrelet,+ it will be found 
that the river Yonne separated the two armies, over which there was 
a bridge as at Bauge. The Scots occupied a hill near the river, with 
the town of Crevant, to which they had laid siege, in their rear. 
Over this bridge they suffered the whole English army to defile, to 
arrange their squares, and to advance in firm order against them, 
when they might have pre-occupied the tete-de-pont, and attacked 
the enemy whilst they were in the act of passing the river. Either 
the circumstances of the battle have come down to us in a garbled 
and imperfect state, or it is the fate of the Scots to shut their eyes 
to the simplest lessons in military tactics, lessons, too, which, it may 
be added, have often been written against them with sharp pens and 
bloody ink. The consequences at Crevant were fatal. They were 
attacked in the front by the Earls of Salisbury and Sufiblk, and in 
the rear by a sortie from the town of Crevant, and completely de- 

The battle of Verueuil was still more disastrous, and so decisive, 
that it appears to have completely cooled all future desires upon the 
part of the Scots to send auxiliaries to France. The account given 
by Bower § is, at first sight, confused and contradictory ; but if the 
reader will compare it with Monstrelet, vol. vi. pp. 90, 94, it becomes 
clearer. It seems to have been lost by the Scots, in consequence of 
the unfortunate dissension between them and their allies the French, 
which prevented one part of the army from co-operating with the 
other ; whilst, on the side of the English, the steadiness of the archers, 
each of whom had a sharp double-pointed stake planted before him, 
defeated the charge of .the Lombard cross-bowmen, although they 
were admirably armed and mounted. I| 

Letter E, p. 169. 

In this treaty for the relief of James the First, which is to be found 
in Rymer's Foedera, vol. x. p. 307, the list which contains the names 

* Gough's Sepulchral Monuments, vol. ii. p. 58. 

t Vol. vi. p. 48. 

X Monstrelet, vol. vi. pp. 48, 49. 

§ Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 463. 

II Ibid. 



of the hostages is not a little curious, as there is added to the name 
of each baron a statement of his yearly income, presenting us with 
an interesting picture of the comparative wealth of the members of 
the Scottish aristocracy in 1423. The list is as follows : — 

Thomas Comes Moravia, rcddituatus et possessionatus ad M. marc. 

Alexander Comes CrauffurdisD, vel filius ejus et haeredes ad M. 

Willielmus Comes Angusite, ad vi C marc. 

Maletius Comes de Stratherne, ad v C marc. 

Georgius Comes Marchiarum, vel filius ejus primogenitus ad viii C 

David Filius Primogenitus Comitis Atholise, vel filius ejus et haeres 
ad xii C marc. 

Willielmus Constabularius Scotise, vel filius ethasres ad viii C marc. 

Dominus Robertas de Erskyn, ad M. marc. 

Robertas Marescallus Scotiaj, vel filius ejus et hoeres ad viii C marc. 

Walterus Dominus de Drybtoun (Drylton) vel filius ejus et hccres 
ad viii C marc. 

Johannes Dominus de Cetoun, miles vel filius ejus et haires ad vi 
C marc. 

Johannis de INIontgomery, miles de Ardrossane, vel filius ejus et 
hseres ad vii C marc. 

Alexander Dominus de Gordonne, ad iv C marc. 

Malcolmus Dominus de Bygare, ad vi C marc. 

Thomas Dominus de Yestyr, ad vi C marc. 

Johannis Kennady de Carryk, ad v C marc. 

Thomas Boyde de Kylmernok, vel filius ejus et ha^res ad v C marc. 

Patricius de Dounbarre Dominus de Canmok, vel filius ejus et 
ha;res ad v C marc. 

Jacobus Dominus de Dalketh, vel filius ejus primogenitus ad xv 
C marc. 

Duncanus Dominus de Argill, ad xv C marc* 

Johannes Lyon de Glammis, ad vi C marc. 

Letter F, p. 193. 

It is not easy to account for the high character of Albany, which 
is given both by Winton and by Bower. It is certain, because it is 
proved by his actions, which are established upon authentic evidence, 

* It may be conjectured, that there is some error both here and in the 
preceding name. 


that he was a crafty and selfish usurper, whose hands were stained 
with the blood of the heir to the crown— yet he is spoken of by both 
these writers, not only without severity, but with enthusiastic praise. 
Indeed, Wiuton's character of him might serve for the beau ideal of 
a perfect king : — Vol. ii. p. 418. 

Bower, though shorter, is equally complimentary, and throws in 
some touches which give individuality to the picture. On one occa- 
sion, in the midst of the tumult of war, and the havoc of a Border 
raid, we find the governor recognised by his soldiers as a collector of 
the relics of earlier ages, (Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 409,) and at 
another time a still finer picture is presented of Albany sitting on 
the ramparts of the castle of Edinburgh, and discoursing to his cour- 
tiers, in a clear moonlight night on the system of the universe, and 
the causes of eclipses. I am sorry I have neglected to mark the page 
where this occurs, and cannot find it at the moment. 

Letter G, p. 214. 

A curious instrument, which throws some light on the state of the 
Highlands in 1420, and gives an example of the mixture of Celtic 
and Norman names, is to be found in a MS. in the Adv. Lib., Jac. V. 
4. 22, entitled Diplomatum Collectio. It is as follows : — 

"John Touch, be the grace of God Bishop of Rosse ; Dame Mary 
of ye He, Lady of the Yles and of Rosse ; Hucheon Eraser, Lord of 
the Lovat ; John Macloyde, Lerde of Glenelg ; Angus Guthrason of 
the Ylis ; Schyr William Earquhar, Dean of Rosse ; Walter of Dou- 
glas, ScherafF of Elgin ; Walter of Innes, Lord of that ilke ; John 
Syncler, Lord of Deskford ; John ye Ross, Lord of Kilravache ; John 
IM'Ean of Arnamurchan, with mony othyr,— Til al and syndry to the 
knawledge of the quhilkis thir present lettres sal to cum, gretyng in 
God ay listand. Syn it is needeful and meritabil to ber lele witness 
to suthfastness to your Universitie, we mak knawyn throche thir 
present lettres, that on Eriday the sextent day of the moneth of 
August, ye yher of our Lord a thousand four hundreth and twenty 
yher,into the kyrke yharde of the Chanonry of Rossmarkyng, compeirit 
William the Grahame, the sone and the hayr umquhil of Henry the 
Grame. In presence of us, befor a nobil Lorde and a mychty, Thomas 
Earl of INIoreff, his ovyr lord of his lands of the Barony of Kerdale, 
resignande of his awin free will, purly and symply, be fast and baston, 
intill the hands of the sayde Lorde the Erie," &c. An entail of the 
lands follows, which is uninteresting. 

At page 263 of the same volume, we ^'ud a charter granted by 


David IT., in the 30th year of his reign, entitled, "Carta reraissionis 
ThomoD Man et multis aliis, actionis et sectoo regioe turn pro homicidiis, 
combustionibus, furtis, rapinis," &c., in which the preponderance of 
Celtic names is very striking. The names are as follows : — " Thomas 
Man, Bridan filii Fergusi, Martino More, Maldoveny Beg Maldowny 
Macmartican, Cristino filio Duncani, Bridano Breath, Alex™ Macron- 
let Ada9 Molcndinario, Martini M'Coly, Fergusio Clerico Donymore, 
^lichaeli Merlsway, Bridano M'Dor, Maldowny M'Robi, Colano M'Gil- 
bride, Maldowny Macenewerker, et Adgc Fovetour latoribus presen- 
cium, &c. Apud Perth, primo die Novemb. regni xxx. quinto. 

Letter H, p. 268. 

I am indebted for the communication of the following charter to 
the Rev. Mr Macgregor Stirling, a gentleman intimately acquainted 
with the recondite sources of Scottish History : — 

Apud Edinburgh, Aug. 15, 1451, a. r. 15. 

Rex [Jacobus II.] confirmavit Roberto Duncansoun de Strowane, 
et heredibus suis, terras de Strowane, — terras dimidicatis de Rannach, 
— terras de Glennerach, — terras de duobus Bohaspikis,-^terras de 
Grannecht, cum lacu et insula lacus ejusdem, — terras de Carrie, — 
terras de Innercadoune, — de Farnay, — de Disert, Faskel, de Kylkeve, 
— de Balnegarde, — et Balnefarc, — et terras de Glengary, cum foresta 
ejusdem, in comitatu Atholie, vie. de Perth, quas dictus Robertus, in 
castrum \_sic'\ Regium de Blar in Atholia personaliter resignavit, et 
quas rex in unam integram Baroniam de Strowane univit et incorpo- 
ravit (pro zelo, fauore, amore, quas rex gessit erga dictum Robertum 
pro captione nequissimi proditoris quondam Roberti de Grahame, et 
pro ipsius Roberti Duncansoune gratuitis diligenciis et laboribus, 
circa captionem ejusdem sevissimi proditoris, diligentissime et cordia- 
lissime factis.) — (Mag. Sig. iv. 227.)