(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
See other formats

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

1 i^ i I'-n Hi^^i'''^''-"iii 

iiP PP piilliiHHiiiw 

"ill !ii;iilsi;ii;si 

iii ipiJliiiiHjiiiijli 


Columbia ©nitiersfitp ^ 
in tf}e Citp of i^eto |9orfe 












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










Relative situation of the nobility and the crown, after the assas 

sination of James the First, 

lietreat of the queen-mother to Edinburgh castle, 

Coronation of James the Second, 

A truce concluded with England, 

The young king secretly conveyed from Edinburgh castle to 


Siege of Edinburgh castle by the Earl of Livingston, 

Marriage of the queen-mother with Sir James Stewart, 

The king carried off, by Crichton, to Edinburgh castle. 

Distress of the people occasioned by the feuds of the nobles, 

Turbulent conduct of William, sixth Earl of Douglas, 

His execution in Edinburgh castle along with his brother David, bl 

Friendly relations between Scotland and England, . . 33 

Exorbitant power of Williajn, eighth Earl of Douglas, . . 36 

Feud between the Craw&rds and Ogilvies, . . . .49 

Sagacious and determined policy of the young king towards the 

nobles, . .' 52 

Border feuds, 55 

Marriage of the king and Mary of Gueldres, . . . .59 
Vigorous proceedings of the king against the turbulent nobility, GO 

Important parliamentary enactments, 64 

Determination of the Earl of Douglas to maintain his power, . 72 
His reception of Sir Patrick Gray, the king's messenger, . 81 

Douglas sent for, and assassinated in Stirling castle by the king, 8Q 

B '^ 4 (} 1 



The Earl of Crawford defeated by Huntley, . . . .89 
Conspiracy of James, ninth Earl of Douglas, . . . .91 
The king marches against Douglas, reduces, and pardons him, . 94 
Submission of the Earl of Cra^rford, . .... 98 

University of Glasgow founded, 99 

Intrigues of Douglas with the York party in England, . .100 

Douglas defeated at Arkinholme, 103 

Predatory expedition of Donald Balloch, 106 

Extraordinary letter of the English King to the King of Scots, 109 

Followed by war on the Borders, Ill 

Measures adopted for strengthening the crown, . . .112 

Parliamentary enactments regarding dress, war-beacons, and 

Border raids, 115 

Dispute ynth the King of Norway as to the Western Isles, . 120 
Provisions of Parliament regarding arms, the Borders, and the 

pestilence, 123 

Act regarding the money of the realm, 126 

Mutual support of the king and the clergy, . . . .130 

Earldom of Mar annexed to the crown, 131 

James attacks the York party in Northumberland and Durham, 

in support of Henry of Lancaster, . . . . 136 

Institution of the Session, 138 

Acts of Parliament regarding weapon-schawing, dress, leases, 

and other internal regulations, 1 39 

James breaks the truce with England, to aid Henry of Lancaster, 148 
And besieges Roxburgh castle, where he is killed, . . . 149 
His character. 152 



Accession of James the Third, 156 

Feuds of the Island Lords, 158 

Award of the King of France between Norway and Scotland, . 162 
Rebellion of the Earl of Ross, 166 


Rise of the Boyd family, and their league with the House of 

Fleming, 171 

Death and character of Bishop Kennedy, 174 

The king carried off by Lord Boyd and other nobles, . .176 

Parliamentary enactments, 179 

Intercourse between Scotland and Denmark, . . . .183 
Marriage of the king witli the Princess of Denmark, . .189 

Downfal of the House of Boyd, ib. 

Rise of the Ilamiltons, 193 

Character and situation of the young king, .... 194 
Persecution of Graham bishop of St Andrews, . . . .199 
St Andrews raised to the dignity of an archiepiscopal see, . ib. 

Intrigues of Lewis the Eleventh of France, .... 202 
Birth of James the Fourth and his bctrothment, . . . 206 
Causes which led to the disaffection of the nobles towards the 

king, 211 

Character and proceedings of Albany and JIar, . . . .213 
Rebellion of Albany and siege of Dunbar, . . . .218 

Hostile attitudes of the French, English, and Scottish kings, . 223 

Revolt of Albany to the English interest, 226 

The Scottish army stopped by a Papal bull on their march, . 227 
Intrigues of the English kings with the Scottish nobles, . . 228 
Rise and magnificence of Cochrane, called Earl of Mar, . . 230 
His murder, and the king's seizure by the nobles, . . . 234 

Albany and the king's party reconciled, 236 

Albany made lieutenant-general of the kingdom, . . . 239 
But afterwards deprived of his office by the king's party, . 243 

Albany and Douglas invade Scotland, with an English army, and 

are defeated, 248 

Truce between James the Third and Richard the Tliird of Eng- 
land, 250 

Death of Queen ^Margaret of Scotland, . • . . .255 

Real character of the king's government, 257 

Intrigues of Albany's party against the king, and their attempts 

to gain the prince, 258 

Their success in these attempts, 262 

Open rebellion of the nobles and the prince, .... 265 
Skirmish between the contending parties at Blackness, . . 268 
Temporary pacification, followed by a fresh insurrection, . . 270 

Battle of Sauchic-burn, 273 

And murder of the king, .... ... 277 

His character, 278 





Accession of James the Fourth, 286 

Trial of the nobles who had opposed him iu arms, . . . 291 
Parliamentary acquittal of the present king and his followers 

from the murder of the late king, ..... 294 
Policy of the young king towards the nobles, .... 298 
Brilliant exploits of Sir Andrew Wood at sea, . . . .301 
Conspiracy of Lord Bothwell against the king, .... 304 
The king begins to incline towards the friends of his father, and 

withdraws his confidence from his own late supporters, . 307 

Parliamentary enactments, 312 

The king endeavours to attach to himself the Highland chiefs, . 316 
His repeated expeditions into the Highlands, .... 317 
James's early intrigues with the Duchess of Burgundy, . .319 
Perkin Warbeck corresponds with James, .... 320 

Henry VII. discovers the intrigue, 321 

James's intercourse with O'Donnell, Prince of Tii'conuell, . 322 

Warbeck arrives in Scotland, 323 

Received with great honour, ....... ib. 

Marries Lady Catherine Gordon, 324 

James and Warbeck invade England, 326 

Failure of the expedition, ....... 327 

Retreat of the king, 328 

Negotiations for peace are renewed by Henry, .... 329 
Warbeck and his wife. Lady Catherine Gordon, leave Scotland, 330 


A. Boece and the story of the Bull's Head, .... 333 

B. George earl of Angus, 334 

C. Execution of the Douglases, ...... 335 

D. Early connexion between Scotland and the Hanse towns, . 337 



£. James, niuth Earl of Douglas, . . .343 

F. Earl of Moray, 345 

G. Rise of the power of the Boyds, ...... ib. 

II. and I. llevolt of the nobility against James the Third, . 346 

K. Inventory of the jewels and money of James the Third, . 349 
L. Margaret Drummond, mistress to James IV. . . . 357 

M. Sir Andrew Wood of Largo, ...... 359 

N. Mons Meg, 3G{) 

0. I'erkin Warbcck, 361 








Kinf} of England. 
Henry VI. 


Kinfl of France. 

Charles VII. 

Eiicene IV. 
Nichohis V. 
Cnlixtus 111. 
Pius II. 

The assassination of James the First, and the suc- 
ceeding minority of his son, a boy of only six years 
of age, was, if not a triumph to the majority of the 
Scottisli nobility, at least an event eminently favourable 
to their power and pretensions. His murderers, it is 
true, whether from the instant execration which bursts 
out against a deed of so dark and sanguinary a character, 
or from the personal revenge of the queen-mother, were 
punished with speedy and unmitigated severity. Yet, 
when tha first sentiments of horror and amazement 
were abated, and the Scottish aristocracy begun to 
regard the consequences likely to arise from the sudden 
destruction which had overtaken the king in the midst 
of his schemes for the abrid;rinent of their exorbitant 



power, it is impossible but that they should have con- 
templated the event of his death with secret satisfaction. 
The sentiments so boldly avowed by Graham in the 
midst of his tortures, that the day was near at hand 
when they would bless his memory for having rid them 
of a tyrant, must have forcibly recurred to their minds; 
and when they regarded the fate of the Earl of March, 
so summarily and cruelly stript of his immense posses- 
sions, and contemplated the magnitude of Jameses 
plans, and the stern firmness with which, in so short 
a reign, he had carried them into effect, we can readily 
believe that the recovery of the privileges which they 
had lost, and the erection of some permanent barriers, 
against all future encroachments of the crown, would 
be the great objects to which, under the minority of 
his successor, they would direct their attention. 

It happened also, unfortunately for Scotland, that 
such a scheme for the resumption of power by the 
feudal nobility, in other words, for the return of anarchy 
and disorder throughout the country, was but too likely 
to prove successful. The improvements introduced 
by James the First ; the judicial machinery for the 
more perfect administration of justice ; the laws for 
the protection of the lower orders against the insolence 
of the great ; the provisions for the admission of the 
representatives of the commercial classes into parlia- 
ment, and for the abridgment of the military strength 
of the great feudal lords — were rather in the state of 
prospective changes, than of measures whose salutary 
effects had been tried by time, and to which the nation 
had become attached by long usage. These improve- 
ments had been all carried into eHect within the short 
space of fourteen years ; they still bore upon them 
the hateful gloss of novelty and innovation ; and, no 

1436. JAMES II. 3 

longer supported by the firmness of the monarch with 
whom tliey originated, they couhl present but a feeble 
resistance to the attacks of the numerous and powerful 
classes whose privileges they abridged, and with whoso 
ambition their continuance was incompatible. The 
prospect of recovering, during a long minority, the 
estates and the feudal perquisites which had been re- 
sumed or cut down by James the First; the near view 
of successful venality which constantly accompanied the 
possession of the great offices under an infant sovereign ; 
and the facility, in the execution of such schemes, which 
every feudal government offered to any faction who 
were powerful or fortunate enough to possess them- 
selves of the person of the king, rendered the period 
upon wdiich we now enter one of great excitement 
amongst the Scottish nobles. The greater chiefs 
amongst them adopted every means to increase their 
personal strength and imj)ortance, recruiting the ranks 
of their armed vassals ami followers, and placing per- 
sons of tried fidelity in their castles and strongholds ; 
the lesser barons attached themselves to the more 
powerful by those leagues or bands which bound them 
by the • strictest ties to work the will of their lord ; 
and both classes set themselves attentively to watch 
the course of events, and to take immediate advantage 
of those sudden chancres and emergencies which were 
so likely to arise in a country thrown into the utmost 
dismay and confusion by the murder of the sovereign. 
But although such appear to have been the low and 
interested feelings of the greater proportion of the 
nobility, we are not to suppose that the support of the 
crown, and the cause of order and good government, 
were utterly abandoned. They still retained many 
friends in the dignified clergv, as well as among those 


learned and able churchmen from whose ranks the 
legal officers of the crown, and the diplomatic agents 
who transacted all foreign missions and alliances, were 
generally selected ; and they could undoubtedly reckon 
upon the attachment of the mercantile and commercial 
classes, now gradually rising into importance, and upon 
the affectionate support of the great body of the lower 
orders, in so far as they were left untrammelled by 
the fetters of their feudal servitude. 

Whilst such were the sentiments which animated 
the various bodies in the state upon the murder of the 
king, it may easily be supposed that terror was the 
first feeling which arose in the bosom of the queen- 
mother. Utterly uncertain as to the ramifications of 
the conspiracy, and trembling lest the same vengeance 
which had fallen upon the father should pursue the 
son, she instantly fled with the young prince to Edin- 
buro-h : nor did she esteem herself secure till she had 
retreated with her charge within the castle. The 
command of this fortress, rendered now a place of far 
higher importance than usual, by its aff'ording a retreat 
to the queen and the prince, was at this time in the 
hands of William Crichton baron of Crichton, and 
master of the household to the late king, a person of 
great craft and ambition ; and who, although still in 
the ranks of the lower nobility, was destined to act a 
principal part in the future history of the times.* 

* Registrum Magni Sigilli,B. III. No. 161. His first appearance is in 
Ilymer, vol. x. p. 309, amongst the nobility wlio met James the First at 
Durham, on his return from his long detention in England. See also Craw- 
ford's Officers of State, p. 25, for his title of Magister Hospitii, as proved by 
a charter then in the possession of Sir Peter Fraser of Dores, Bart. See 
also MS. Chamberlain Rolls, July 4, 1438. " Et pro quinque barellis de 
Hamburgh salmonum salsorum, liberatis per computantcm et liberatis Do- 
mino Willielmo de Crechtoun, custodi Castri de Edinburgh, fatenti receptum 
super computum, ad expensas domini nostri regis moderni, de quibus dictus 
dominus respondebit ix. lib." Again, MS. Chamberlain Rolls, July 5, 

1437. JAMES II. 5 

After the first panic had subsided, a parliament 
assembled at Edinburgh within less than a month 
after the murder of the king ; and measures appear to 
have been adopted for the government of the country 
during the minority. The first care, however, was the 
coronation of the young prince ; and for this purpose 
the principal nobles and barons of the kingdom, Avith 
the dignified clergy, and a great multitude of the free 
tenants of the crown, conducted him in procession from 
the castle of Edinburgh to the abbey of Holyrood, 
where he was crowned and anointed amid demonstra- 
tions of universal loyalty.* 

Under any other circumstances than those in Avhich 
James succeeded, the long-established custom of con- 
ducting the ceremony of the coronation at the Abbey 
of Scone, would not have been departed from ; but 
its proximity to the scene of the murder rendered it 
dangerous and suspected ; and, as delay was equally 
hazardous, the queen was obliged to purchase security 
and speed at the expense of somewhat of that solemnity 
which would otherwise have accompanied the pageant. 
Two important measures followed the coronation : The 
first, the nomination of the queen-mother to undertake 
the custody of the king till he had attained his majo- 
rity, and to become, at the same time, the guardian of 
the princesses, his sisters, with an annual allowance of 
four thousand marks ;-f" the second, the appointment 
of Archibald fifth earl of Douglas and duke of Touraine, 
to be lieutenant-general of the kingdom.;]: This baron, 

1438. " Per liberacionem factam Domino Willielmo de Creclitoun, Vice- 

comiti ct custodi Castri de Edinburfch, ut patet per literam .su;im sub signeto 
ostensam sujier coniputum iiii»» librarum de quibus asserit quinquaginta 
libras rcceptas ad cxpensas coronacionis domini nostri regis moderni." 

* " Gum maximo appiausu et apparatu ad laudem Dei et leticiam tocius 
populi." Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 31. 

T Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 54. 

:J. Sir Tliomas Boyd of Kilmarnock, in his account in E.xchcquer, of the 


undoubtedly the most powerful subject in Scotland, and 
whose revenue, from his estates at home and in France, 
was probably nearly equal to that of his sovereign, was 
the son of Archibald fourth Earl of Douglas, who was 
slain at the battle of Verneuil, and of Marraret dauo-h- 
ter to King Robert the Third, so that he was nephew 
of the late king. His power, however, proved to be of 
short duration, for he lived little more than a year 
after his nomination to this hioh office. 

It is unfortunate that no perfect record has been 
preserved of the proceedings of the first parliament of 
James the Second. From a mutilated fragment which 
remains, it is certain that it was composed, as usual, 
of the clergy, barons, and commissaries of the burghs; 
and that all alienations of lands, as well as of moveable 
property, which happened to be in the possession of 
the late king at his death, and which had been made 
without consent of the three Estates, were revoked, 
whilst an inventory of the goods and treasure in the 
royal coffers was directed to be taken, and an injunc- 
tion given, that no alienation of the king''s lands or 
property should be made to any person whatever, 
without the consent of the three Estates, until he had 
reached his full age of twenty- one years.* We may 
conjecture, on strong grounds, that the subjects to 
which the general council next turned their attention, 
were the establishment of a peace with England, and the 
renewal of amicable relations with the court of France', 
and the commercial states of Holland. 

With regard to peace with England, various cir- 

rent of Duchale in Ward, takes credit for the following payment : — " Et per 
solucionem factam Domino Comiti de Douglas, locum tenenti domini regis, 
in partem feodi sui de anno, 1438, dicto domino locum tenenti fatenti recep- 
tum super computum sexaginta librarum." MS. Chamberlain Rolls, sub 
anno 1438. 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 31. 

1 i38. JAMES II. 7 

cumstances concurred in the condition of that country 
to facilitate the negotiation. Under the minority of 
Henry the Sixth, the war with France, and the struggle 
to maintain unimpaired the conquests of Henry the 
Fifth, required a concentration of the national strength 
and resources, which must have been greatly weakened 
by any invasion upon the part of Scotland; and the 
Cardinal of \N'inchoster, who was at this time possessed 
of the principal power in the government, was uncle 
to the Queen of Scotland. Commissioners were ac- 
cordingly despatched by the Scottish parliament,* who, 
after a meeting with the English envoys, found little 
difficulty in concluding a nine years'" truce between the 
two kingdoms, which was appointed to commence on 
the first of May, 1438, and to terminate on the first 
of May, l-i-iT-i" Its provisions contain some interest- 
ing enactments regarding the commercial intercourse 
between the two countries, deformed indeed by those 
unwise restrictions, which were universal at this time 
throughout Europe, yet evincing an ardent anxiety 
for the prosperity of the country. In addition to the 
common stipulations against seizing vessels driven into 
port, and preventing shipwrecked mariners from re- 
turning home, it was agreed, that if any vessel belonging 
to either country, were carried by an enemy into a 
port of the other kingdom, no sale of the vessel or 
cargo should be permitted, without the consent of the 
original owners ; that no vessel, driven into any port, 
should be liable to arrest for any debt of the king, or 
of any other person ; but that all creditors should have 

* Rj-mer, Foedera, vol. x. pp. C70, C80, fi8J. 

+ Chamberlain MS. Rolls coinputum Johannis de Fyfe Receptoris finna- 
runi de Schines, &c. " Kt allocatur pro expensis Doniinorum do Gordoun, 
et de Montegomeri ac aliorum ambasgatorum regni factia in Angliapro treu- 
gis inter regna iueundis. iiii** iij'"" vL» viu<*." 


safe conducts, in order to sue for and recover their 
debts, with lawful damages and interest ; that, in cases 
of shipwreck, the property should be preserved and 
delivered to the owners ; that when goods were landed 
for the purpose of repairing the ship, they might be 
reshipped in the same, or in any other vessel, without 
payment of duties ; and that vessels of either kingdom, 
putting into ports of the other in distress for provisions, 
might sell goods for that purpose, without being 
chargeable with customs for the rest of the cargo. It 
was finally provided, that no wool or woolfels should 
be carried from one kingdom to the other, either by 
land or by water; and that, in all cases of depredation, 
not only the chief offenders, but also the receivers and 
encouragers, and even the communities of the towns 
in which the plundered goods were received, should be 
liable for compensation to the sufferers, who might sue 
for redress before the conservators of the truce, or the 
wardens of the marches. The principal of these con- 
servators for England were, the king"'s uncle, the Duke 
of Gloucester, and his kinsman, the Duke of Norfolk, 
with the Earls of Salisbury, Northumberland, and 
Westmoreland ; and for Scotland, Archibald earl of 
Douglas and duke of Touraine, with the Earls of 
Angus, Crawford, and Avendale, and the Lords Gor- 
don, Maxwell, Montgomery, and Crichton.* Care 
was taken to send an intimation of the truce to the 
Scottish merchants who were resident in Holland and 
in Zealand ; and with regard to France, although there 
can be little doubt, from the ancient alliance with 
Scotland, and the marriage of the sister of the king to 
the Dauphin, that the feelings of the country were 

* Rymer, Fcedera, vol. x. p. 695. Rotuli Scotise, vol. ii. pp. 306, 310. 
M'Therson's Annals of Commerce, vol. i. p. (Joi. 

1438. JAMES II. 9 

stronijly attached to the cause of Charles the Seventh, 
and that the total expulsion of the English would havo 
been an event joyfully welcomed in Scotland; yet the 
reverses experienced in the battles of Crevant and 
Verneuil, effectually cooled the ardour of that king- 
dom for foreign war, and appear to have compelled the 
nation to a temporary and unwilling neutrality. 

We have seen that Antony bishop of Urbino, the 
papal legate, was in Scotland at the time of the murder 
of the late king, and that a general council of the 
clergy, which had been called at Perth, for the purpose 
of receiving his credentials, was abruptly broken off 
by this event. The destruction of all contemporary 
records has unfortunately left the proceedings of this 
council in complete obscurity ; and wc only know, that 
towards the conclusion of the year 1438, Sir Andrew 
Meldrum, a knight of St John of Jerusalem, was 
despatched through England into Scotland, on a mis- 
sion connected with the "good of religion," and that 
a papal nuncio, Alfonso de Crucifubreis, proceeded 
about tlie same time, to the Scottish court.* It is 
not improbable that the church, which at the present 
moment felt deep alarm from the disorders of the 
Hussites in Bohemia, and the growth of heresy in 
England, was anxious to engage on its side the council 
and ministers of the infant monarch of Scotland, and 
to interest them in putting down those heterodox 
opinions, which, it is certain, during the last reign, 
had made a considerable progress in that country. 

An extraordinary event now claims our attention, 
wiiicii is involved in nmch obscurity, but drew after it 
important results. The queen-mother soon found that 
the castle of Edinburgh, an asylum which she had so 

• Rotuli Scotia;, vol. ii. p. 311. 


willingly sought for her son the king, was rendered, by 
the vigilance and jealousy of Crichton the governor, 
much too difficult of access to herself and her friends. 
It was, in truth, no longer the queen, but this ambitious 
baron, who was the keeper of the royal person. Under 
the pretence of superintending the expenses of the 
household, he seized* and dilapidated the royal reve- 
nues, surrounded the young sovereign by his own crea- 
tures, and permitted neither the queen-mother, the 
lieutenant-general of the kingdom, nor Sir Alexander 
Livingston of Callendar, a baron who had been in high 
favour with the late king, to have any share in the 
government. Finding it impossible, by any remon- 
strances, to obtain her wishes, the queen had recourse 
to stratagem. At the conclusion of a visit of a few 
days, which she had been permitted to pay to her son, 
it was dexterously managed that the prince should be 
concealed in a large wardrobe chest, which was carried 
alono^ with some luijgage out of the castle. In this he 
was conveyed to Leith, and from thence transported 
by water to Stirling castle, the jointure-house of his 
mother, which was at this time under the command 
of Livingston of Callendar. Whether the Earl of 
Douglas, the Bishop of Glasgow who was chancellor, 
or any of the other officers of state, were privy to this 
successful enterprise, there are unfortunately no docu- 
ments to determine ; but it seems difficult to believe 
that the queen should have undertaken it, and carried 
it through, without some powerful assistants ; and it 
is still more extraordinary that no proceedings appear 
to have been adopted against Crichton, for his unjus- 
tifiable seclusion of the youthful monarch from his 

* Chamberlain MS. Rolls, computum Thomoe Cranstoun. Receptoris re- 
dituum regis ex parte australi aquae de Forth. July 18, 1-138. 

U38. JAMES 11. 11 

mother, an act whioli, as it appears in the history of 
the times, must liavc ahnost amounted to treason. 

The records of a parliament, wliich was hehl at 
Edinburijh on the twenty-seventh of November, 1438, 
by the Earl of Douglas, therein styled the lieutenant- 
general of the realm ; and of a second meeting of the 
three Estates, which assembled at Stirling, on the 
thirteenth of March, in the same year, are so brief 
and mutilated, that little light can be elicited either 
as to the different factions which unquestionably tore 
and divided the state, or regarding the provisions which 
were adopted by the wisdom of parliament for the 
healing of such disorders. 

There is indeed a general provision for the remedy 
of the open plunder and robbery then prevalent in the 
country. The sheriff, within whose county the thieves 
had taken refuge, was commanded to see strict restora- 
tion made, and to denounce as rebels to the king's 
lieutenant, all who refused to obey him, under the 
penalty of being himself removed from his office, and 
punished as the principal offender. But where there 
is strong reason to suspect that the lieutenant and the 
greater barons were themselves the robbers, and that 
the sheriffs were their immediate dependants, it may 
easily be believed, that unless in instances where they 
were desirous of cutting off some unfortunate spoiler, 
who had incurred their resentment, the act was most 
im[)erfectly executed, if not universally evaded.* 

Having liberated her son, the king, from the durance 
in which he had been kept by Crichton, the queen- 
mother appears for some time to have reposed unlimited 
confidence in the fidelity of Sir Alexander Livingston; 
whilst the Earl of Douglas, the most powerful man in 

• Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 32. 


the state, refused to connect himself with any faction; 
and, although nominally the lieutenant-general of the 
kino:dom, took little interest in the scene of trouble and 
intrigue with which the youthful monarch was sur- 
rounded. It does not even appear that he presided in 
a parliament which was assembled at Stirling, probably 
a short time after the successful issue of the enterprise 
of the queen. In this meeting of the three Estates, the 
dreadful condition of the kingdom, and the treasonable 
conduct of Sir William Crichton, were, as far as we 
can judge from the mutilated records which have been 
preserved, the principal subjects for consideration. It 
was resolved, that there should be two sessions held 
yearly, within the realm, in which the lord-lieutenant 
and the king's council should sit, the first to begin on 
the day after the exaltation of Holy Cross ; and the 
second on the first Monday in Lent thereafter following. 
At the same time, an enactment was passed, with an 
evident reference to Crichton, by which it was ordained, 
that where any rebels had taken refuge within their 
castles or fortalices, and held the same against lawful 
authority, or wherever there was any " violent pre- 
sumption of rebellion and destruction of the country," 
it became the duty of the lieutenant to raise the lieges, 
to besiege such places, and arrest the offenders, of 
whatever rank they might be.* 

The Earl of Douglas, however, either too indolent 
to engage in an employment which would have re- 
quired the utmost resolution, or too proud to embroil 
himself with what he considered the private feuds be- 
tween Crichton and Livingston, refused to carry the 
act into execution ; and Livingston, having raised his 
vassals, laid siege in person to the castle of Edinburgh. 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p, 32. 

U38. JAMES II. 13 

Tlie events immediately succeeding, are involved in 
much obscurity ; so that, in the absence of ori<;inal 
authorities, and the errors and contradictions of his- 
torians, it is difficult to discover their true causes, or 
to give any intelligible account of the sudden revolu- 
tions which took place. Amid these difficulties, I adopt 
the narrative Avhich approaches nearest to those frag- 
ments of authentic evidence that have survived the 
common wreck. 

When he perceived that ho was beleaguered by the 
forces of Livingston, Crichton, who did not consider 
himself strong enough to contend singly against the 
united strength of the queen and this baron, secretly 
proposed a coalition to the Earl of Douglas, but his 
advances were received by that powerful chief with in- 
finite scorn. The pride of the haughty potentate could 
ill biook any suggestion of a division of authority with 
one whom he considered so far beneath him ; and it is 
said, that in a fit of bitter irony, he declared how much 
satisfaction it would give him if his refusal should cause 
two such unprincipled disturbers of the public peace 
mutually to destroy each other. These rivals, however, 
although either of them would willingly have risen upon 
the ruin of the other, were too crafty to fulfil the wishes 
of the Earl of Douglas; and his proud answer, which 
was soon carried to their ears, seems to have produced 
in their minds a disposition towards a settlement of 
their difTercnces. It was evident, that singly they could 
have little hope of resisting the lieutenant-general of 
the kingdom : but Livingston possessed the confidence 
of the queen-mother, and the custody of the king, her 
son; and with this weiglit thrown into the scale, it was 
not unlikely that a coalition might enable them to make 
head against his authority. The result of such mutual 


feelinofs was a truce between the rival lords, wliieli ended 
in a complete reconciliation, and in the delivery of the 
castle of Edinburgh into the hands of Sir William 
Livingston. The young king, whom he had carried 
along with him to Edinburgh, was presented by Crich- 
ton with the keys of the fortress, and supped there on 
the night when the agreement was concluded; on the 
morrow, the new friends divided between them the power 
which had thus fallen into their hands. Cameron 
bishop of Glasgow, who was a partisan of the house of 
Douglas, and filled the place of chancellor, was deprived 
of a situation, in wdiich there is reason to believe he 
had behaved with much rapacity. The vacant office 
was bestowed upon Crichton, whilst to Livingston was 
committed the guardianship of the king"'s person, and 
the chief manaoement in the frovernmeut.* With re- 
gard to Douglas, it is not easy to ascertain what measures 
were resolved upon; and it is probable that this great 
noble, confident in his own power, and in the high trust 
committed to him by the parliament, would have im- 
mediately proceeded against the confederate lords, as 
traitors to the state. But at this important crisis he 
was suddenly attacked by a malignant fever, and died at 
Restalrig, on the twenty-sixth of June, 14.39,f leaving 
an immense and dangerous inheritance of power and 
pride to his son, a youth of only seventeen years of age. 
The coalition might, therefore, for the present, be 
regarded as completely triumphant; and Livingston and 

* M.iy 3, 1439, Cameron is Chancellor. Mag. Sig. iii. 123. June 10. 
1439, Crichton is Chancellor. Ibid. ii. 141. 

f Gray's MS. Advocates' Library, rr. i. 17. " Obitiis Domini Archibald! 
Ducis Turonensis Comitis de Douglas ac Domini Gahvidise. apud Rostalrig, 
26 die mensis Junii, anno 1439, qui jacet apud Douglas." See,, for a beauti- 
ful engraving of his monument, Blore's Monumental Remains, Part L, No. 
IV., a work which, it is to be regretted, did not meet with the encourage- 
meut it justly merited. 

1430. JAMES II. IT) 

Cricliton, possessed of the king''s person, and enjoying 
that unlimited command over the queen-mother, against 
which an unprotected woman could offer no resistance, 
were at liberty to reward their friends, to requite their 
enemies, and to administer the affairs of the govern- 
ment with a power, which for a while, seemed little short 
of absolute. The consequences of this state of things were 
suchas might have beenanticipated. Theadministration 
of the government became venal and disorderly. Owing 
to the infancy of the king, and the neglect of appointing 
a lieutenant-general, or governor of the realm, in the 
place of the Duke of Touraine, the nation knew not 
where to look for that firm controlling authority, which 
should punish the guilty, and protect the honest and 
industrious. Those tyrannical barons, with which 
Scotland at this period abounded in common with the 
other countries of Europe, began to stir and be busy 
in the anticipation of a rich harvest of plunder, and to 
entertain and increase their troops of retainers; whose 
numbers and strength as they calculated, would induce 
Livingston, Cricliton, and the lords of their party, to 
attach them at any price to their service. 

Meanwhile, in the midst of this general confusion, 
the right of private war, and the prevalence of deadly 
feud, those two curses of the feudal system, flourished 
in increased strength and virulence. Sir Alan Stewart 
of Darnley, who had held the high oiTice of Constable 
of the Scottish army in France,* was treacherously slain 
at Polmais thorn, between Falkirk and Linlithgow, by 
Sir Thomas Boyd of Kilmarnock, for " auld feud which 
was betwixt them," in revenge of which, Sir Alexander 
Stewart collected his vassals, and, " in plain battle,' 
to use the expressive words of an old historian, " man- 

♦ Andrew Stewart's Hist, of the Stewarts, pp. 1G5, 1(J6. 


fully set upon Sir Thomas Boyd, who was cruelly slain, 
with many brave men on both sides." The ground 
where the conflict took place, was at Craignaucht Hill, 
a romantic spot, near Neilston, in Renfrewshire; and 
with such determined bravery was it contested, that, 
it is said, the parties, by mutual consent, retired sundry 
times to rest and recover breath, after which they re- 
commenced the combat to the sound of the trumpet, 
till the victory at last declared for the Stewarts. These 
slaughters and contests amongst the higher ranks, 
produced their usual abundant increase of robbery, 
plunder, burning, and murder, amongst the large body 
of the friends and vassals who were in the remotest 
degree connected with the parties ; so that, whilst Liv- 
ingston and Crichton possessed the supreme power, and, 
with a few of their favourites, flourished upon the out- 
lawries and forfeitures, and kept a firm hold over the 
person of the youthful monarch, whom they immured 
along with his mother, the queen, in Stirling castle, 
the state of the country became so deplorable as to call 
aloud for redress. 

It was at this dark period, that the queen-mother, 
who was in the prime of life, and still a beautiful 
woman, finding that she was little else than a prisoner 
in the hands of Livingston, determined to procure 
protection for herself by marriage. Whether it was an 
alliance of love or of ambition, is not apparent ; but 
it is certain that Margaret, unknown to the faction by 
whom she was so strictly guarded, espoused Sir James 
Stewart, third son of John Stewart lord Lorn,* and 
commonly known by the name of the Black Knight 
of Lorn. This powerful baron was in strict alliance 

* Duncan Stewart's Hist, and Geneal. Account of the Royal Family of 
Scotland, p. 171. 

143;). JAMES II. 17 

with tlic House of Douglas.* As husband of tho 
quocii-niother, to whom, in tho first instance, tho par- 
liament had committed the custody of the king's per- 
son, he might plausibly insist upon a principal share 
in tho education of the youthful prince, as well as in 
tho administration of the government; and a coalition 
between the party of the queen-mother and the Earl of 
Douglas, might, if managed with prudence and address, 
have put a speedy termination to the unprincipled 
tyranny of Livingston. 

But this able and crafty baron, who ruled all things 
around the court at his pleasure, had earlier informa- 
tion of these intrigues than the queen and her husband 
imagined; and whilst they, confiding in his pretended 
approval of their marriage, imprudently remained 
within his power, Sir James was suddenly arrested, 
Avith his brother, Sir William Stewart, and cast into 
a dungeon in Stirling castle, with every circumstance 
of cruelty and ignominy. An ancient manuscript 
affirms, that Livingston put " thaim in pittis and bollit 
thaim :"-f- an expression of which the meaning is ob- 
scure; but to whatever atrocity these words allude, it 
was soon shown that the ambition and audacity of the 
governor of Stirling was not to bo contented with the 
imprisonment of the Black Knight of Lorn. Almost 
immediately after this act of violence, the apartments 
of the queen herself, who then resided in the castle, 
were invaded bv Livingston ; and althouirh the ser- 
vants of her court, headed by Napier,} one of her 

• Lesley's History, p. 14. Baiinatj-nc edition. 

I" Auchirileck Chronicle, privately printed by Mr Thomson, Deputy-clerk 
Register of Scotland, p. '64, almost the solitary authentic record of this ob- 
scure reign. 

Z Koyal Charter by James II., March 7, 14-19-50, to Alexander Napier, 
of tJie lands of I'hilde, Mag. Sig. iv. 4. 



household, made a violent resistance, in which this 
gentleman was wounded, his royal mistress was torn 
from her chamber, and committed to an apartment, 
where she was placed under a guard, and cut off from 
all communication with her husband or his party. 

It is impossible to believe that Livingston would 
have dared to adopt these treasonable measures, which 
afterwards cost him his head, unless he had been sup- 
ported by a powerful faction, and by an armed force 
which, for the time, was sufficient to overcome all 
resistance. The extraordinary scene which followed, 
can only be explained upon this supposition. A general 
convention of the nobility was held at Stirling, after 
the imprisonment of the queen. It was attended by 
the Bishops of Glasgow, Moray, Ross, and Dunblane, 
upon the part of the clergy; and for the nobility, by 
the Earl of Douglas, Alexander Seton lord of Gordon, 
Sir William Crichton chancellor, and Walter lord of 
Dirleton; and at the same time, that there might at 
least be an appearance of the presence of a third Estate, 
James of Parcle, commissary of Linlithgow, ^Villiam 
Cranston, burgess and commissary of Edinburgh, and 
Andrew Reid, burgess and commissary of Inverness, 
were present as representatives of the burghs, and 
sanctioned, by their seals, the transaction which took 
place. In this convention, the queen-mother, with 
advice and consent of this faction, which usurped to 
themselves the name of the three Estates, resigned into 
the keeping of Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar, 
the person of the king, her deafest son, until he had 
reached his majority; she, at the same time, surren- 
dered in loan to the same baron her castle of Stirling, 
as the residence of the j^outhful monarch; and for the 
due maintenance of his household and dignity, con- 

1439. JAMES II. 10 

veyed to liiiu licr anuiuil allowance of four thousand 
marks, granted by the parliament upon the death of 
the king her hu.sband. The same deed which recorded 
this strange and unexpected revolution, declared that 
the queen had remitted to Sir Alexander Livingston 
and his accomplices, all rancour of mind, which slio 
Iiad erroneously conceived against them, fur the impri- 
sonment of her person, being convinced that thiir 
conduct had been actuated by none other motives than 
those of truth, loyalty, and a zealous anxiety for the 
safety of their sovereign. It provided also, that the 
lords and barons, who were to compose the retinue of 
the queen, should be approved of by Livingston; and 
that this princess might have access to her son at all 
times, with the cautious proviso, that such interview 
should take place in the presence of unsuspected per- 
sons: in the event of the king"'s death, the castle was 
to be redelivered to the queen ; and it was lastly sti- 
pulated that the Lord of Livingston and his friends 
were not to be anno3'ed or brought " nearer the death"'"' 
for any part which they might have acted in these 
important transactions.* 

It would be ridiculous to imagine, that this pardon 
and sudden confidence, bestowed with so much appa- 
rent cordiality, could be anything else than hollow and 
compulsory. That the queen should have received into 
her intimate councils the traitors who, not a month 
before, had violently seized and imprisoned her hus- 
band, invaded her royal chamber, staining it with 
blood, and reducing her to a state of caj)tivity, is too 
absurd to be accounted for even by the mutability of 
female caprice. The whole transaction exhibits an 

* Acts of tlie Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 54. The act is dated 
September 4, 1439. 


extraordinary picture of the country, — of the despotic 
power which, in a few weeks, might be lodged in the 
hands of a successful and unprincipled faction, — of the 
pitiable weakness of the party of the queen, and the 
corruption and venality of the great officers of the 
crown. It must have been evident to the queen- 
mother, that Livingston and Crichton divided between 
them the supreme power; and, in terror for the life of 
her husband, and dreading her own perpetual impri- 
sonment, she seems to have consented to purchase 
security and freedom at the price of the liberty and 
independence of the king, her son, then a boy in his 
ninth year. He was accordingly delivered up to Liv- 
ingston, who kept him in a state of honourable capti- 
vity at Stirling. 

This state of things could not be of long continu- 
ance. The coalition was from the first purely selfish ; 
it depended for its continuance upon the strict division 
of authority between two ambitious rivals; and soon 
after, the chancellor, jealous of the superior power of 
Livingston, determined to make him sensible on how 
precarious a basis it was founded. Seizing the oppor- 
tunity of the governor's absence at Perth, he rode 
with a strong body of his vassals, under cover of night, 
to the royal park of Stirling, in which the king was 
accustomed to take the pastime of the chase. Crichton, 
favoured by the darkness, concealed his followers in 
the wood; and, at sunrise, had the satisfaction to see 
the royal cavalcade approach the spot where he lay in 
ambush. In an instant the youthful monarch was 
surrounded by a multitude which rendered resistance 
hopeless ; and the chancellor, kneeling, and with an 
action rather of affectionate submission than of com- 
mand, taking hold of his bridle rein, besought hijn to 

1459. JAMES II. 21 

leave that fortress, ^vllere lie was more a prisoner than 
a kin<j, and to permit himself to bo rescued by his 
faitliful subjects, and restored to his free rights as a 
sovereiiin. Savin<z tlii?;, Crichton conducted his will- 
ing victim, amid the applauses and loyal protestations 
of his vassals, to Linlithgow, where he was met by an 
armed escort, who conducted him to the castle of Edin- 

To the king himself, this transaction brought merely 
a change of masters; but to Livingston it was full not 
only of mortification, but danger. Although ho would 
have been glad to have availed himself of the power, 
ho distrusted the youth and versatility of the Earl of 
Douglas. To the queen-mother he had given cause 
of mortal offence, and there was no other individual in 
the country whose authority, if united to his own, was 
weighty enough to counteract the exorbitant power of 
the chancellor, lie had recourse, therefore, to dissi- 
mulation; and coming to Edinburgh, accompanied by 
a small train, he despatched a flattering message to 
Crichton, deplored the misunderstanding which had 
taken place, and expressed his willingness to submit 
all differences to the judgment of their mutual friends, 
and to have the question regarding the custody of the 
royal person determined in the same manner. It liap- 
pened that there were then present in Edinburgh two 
prelates, whose character for probity and wisdom pecu- 
liarly fitted them for the task of reconciling the rival 
lords. These were Leighton bishop of Aberdeen, and 
Winchester bishop of Moray, by whose mediation 
Crichton and Livingston, unarmed, and slenderly 
attended, repaired to the church of St Giles, where a 
reconciliation took place; the charge of the youthful 

* January, 143.0. Lesley's Hist. p. 15. 


monarcli being once more intrusted to Livingston,* 
whilst the chancellor was rewarded by an increase of 
his individual authority in the management of the 
state, and the advancement of his personal friends to 
offices of trust and emolument. -f- 

In the midst of these selfish and petty contests for 
power, the people were afflicted by almost every scourge 
which could be let loose upon a devoted country: by 
intestine feuds, by a severe famine, and by a wide- 
spread and deadly pestilence. The fierce inhabitants 
of the Western Isles, under the command of Lauchlan 
Maclean and Murdoch Gibson, two leaders notorious 
for their spoliations and murders, broke in upon the 
continent ; and, not content with the devastation of the 
coast, pushed forward into the heart of the Lennox, 
where they slew Colquhoun of Luss in open battle, and 
reduced the whole district to the state of a blackened 
and depopulated desert. :|: Soon after this, the famine 
became so grievous, that multitudes of the poorer 
classes died of absolute want. It is stated in an ancient 
contemporary chronicle, that the boll of wheat was then 
generally sold at forty shillings, and the boll of oatmeal 
at thirty. We know from the authority of Stow, that 
the scarcity .was also severely felt in England, where 
wheat rose from its ordinary price of five shillings and 
four pence the quarter to one pound ; and soon after, 
in the course of the year 1440, to one pound four shil- 
lings. The consequences of unwholesome food were 
soon seen in a dreadful sickness of the nature of dysen- 
tery, which broke out amongst the people, and carried 
away great numbers ; so that, when the pestilence soon 

* Crawford's Officers of State, p. 28. Pinkerton, vol. i. p. 191. 
i" Buchanan and Bishop Lesley erroneously suppose that the custody of 
the king's person remained with the chancellor Crichton. 
J Auchinleck Chronicle, p. S4. 

1439. JAMES II. 2:^ 

after arrived in Scotland, and its ra values were added to 
the already -widely spread calamity, the unliappy coun- 
try seemed rapidly advancing to a state of depopulation. 
This awful scourge, which first showed itself at Dum- 
fries, was emphatically denominated " the pestilence 
without mercy," for none were seized with it who did 
not certainly die within twenty-fuur hours after the 

To these prolific causes of national misery, there was 
added another in the overgrown power of the house of 
Douglas, and the evils which were encouraged by the 
lawless demeanour of its j'outhful chief. Upon the 
death of Archibald duke of Touraine and fifth Earl of 
Douglas, we have seen that the immense estates of this 
family devolved upon his son William, a youth who 
was then only in his seventeenth year; a period of life 
liable, even under the most common circumstances, to 
be corrupted by power and adulation. To Douglas, 
liowever, the accession brought a complication of trials, 
which it would have required the maturity of age and 
wisdom to have resisted. As Duke of Touraine, he 
was a peer of France, and possessed one of the richest 
principalities in that kingdom. In his own country, 
he inherited estates, or rather provinces, in Galloway, 
Annandale, Wigtown, and other counties, which were 
covered by warlike vassals, and protected by numerous 
castles and fortaliccs ; and in ancestry, he could look 
to a long line of brave progenitors, springing, on the 
fathcr"'s side, from the heroic stock of the Good Sir 
James, and connected, in the maternal line, with tho 
royal family of Scotland. Tho effects of all this upon 
the character of tho youthful earl, were not long of 

• Auchinlcrk Chronicle, p. 34. " Thar tuke it naiii that ever rccoverit, 
bot thui deit within twenty-fuur houris." Fleetwood, Chrou. Preciosuni,p. U3. 


making their appearance. He treated every person 
about him with an unbounded arrogance of demeanour ; 
he affected a magnificence which outshone the splendour 
of the sovereign ; when summoned by the governor in 
the name of the king, he disdained to attend the council- 
general, where he was bound to give suit and service as 
a vassal of the throne; and in the reception he gave to 
the messages which were addressed to him, carried him- 
self more as a supreme and independent prince, than 
a subject who received the commands of his master. 
Soon after the death of his father, he despatched Mal- 
colm Fleming of Biggar, along with Alan Lauder of 
the Bass, as his ambassadors to carry his oath of alle- 
giance to the French monarch, and receive his investi- 
ture in the dukedom of Touraine, The envoys appear 
to have been warmly welcomed by Charles the Seventh ; 
and, flattered by the reception which was given them, 
as well as bv his immediate accession to his foreign 
principality, Douglas increased his train of followers, 
enlisted into his service multitudes of idle, fierce, and 
unprincipled adventurers, who wore his arms, profess- 
ing themselves his vassals only to obtain a license for 
their tyranny, whilst within his own vast territories, 
he openly insulted the authority of the government, 
and trampled upon the restraints of the laws. 

A parliament in the meantime was assembled (second 
August, 1440) at Stirling, for the purpose of taking 
into consideration the disordered state of the country, 
and some of those remedies were again proposed which 
had already been attended with such frequent failure, 
not so much from any defect in principle, as from the 
imperfect manner in which they were carried into exe- 
cution. It was declared that the holy church should 

lUO. JAMES II. 25 

be maintained in freedom, and the persons and pro- 
perty of ecclesiastics universally protected; according 
to ancient usage, the justiciars on the southern and 
northern sides of the Firth of Forth were commanded 
to hold their courts twice in the year, whilst the same 
duty was to be faithfully performed by the lords of 
regalities, within their jurisdiction, and by the judges 
and officers of the sovereign upon the royal lands. On 
the occurrence of any rebellion, slaughter, or robbery, 
it was ordained that the king should instantly ride in 
j)erson to the spot, and, summoning before him the 
sherift' of the county, see immediate justice done upon 
the offenders; for the more speedy execution of which, 
the barons were directed to assist with their persons, 
vassals, and property.* It was, in all probability, at 
this parliament, that those grievous complaints were 
presented concerning the abuses which then prevailed 
throughout the country, which Lindsay of Pitscottie, 
the amusing historian of these times, has described as 
originating in the overgrown power of the house of 
Douglas. " Many and innumerable con)plaints were 
given in, whereof the like were never seen before. 
There were so many widows, bairns, and infants, seek- 
ing redress for their husbands, kindred, and friends, 
that were cruelly slain by wicked bloody murderers, 
sicklike many for herschip, theft and reif, that there 
was no man but he would have ruth and pity to hear 
the same. Shortly, murder, theft, and slaughter, were 
come in such dalliance among the people, and the king's 
acts had fallen into such contempt, that no man wist 
where to seek refuge, unless he had sworn himself a 
servant to some common murderer or bloody tyrant, 
to maintain him contrary to the invasion of others, or 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. i>p. -i-, '.VX 


else had given largely of his geai' to save his life, and 
afford him peace and rest."* 

There can be little doubt that this dreadful state 
of things was to be ascribed, as much to the misgo- 
vernment of Livingston, and the lawless dominion of 
Crichton, as to the evil example which was afforded by 
the Earl of Douglas. On the one hand, that proud 
potentate, whilst he kept at a distance from court, and 
haughtily declined all interference with government, 
excused himself by alleging that the custody of the 
sovereign, and the management of the state, were in 
the hands of two ambitious and unprincipled tyrants, 
who had treasonably possessed themselves of the king''s 
person, and sanctioned by their example the outrages 
of which they complained. On the other, Livingston 
and the chancellor, with equal asperity, and more of 
the appearance of justice — for, however unwarrantably, 
they represented the supreme authority — complained 
that Douglas refused obedience to the summons of his 
sovereign; that he affected a state and magnificence 
unbecoming and dangerous in a subject; and traversed 
the country with an army of followers, whose excesses 
created the utmost misery and distress in whatever 
district he chose to fix his residence. Both complaints 
were true ; and Livingston and Crichton soon became 
convinced, that, to secure their own authority, they 
must crush the power of Douglas. For this purpose, 
they determined to set spies upon his conduct, and 
either to discover or create some occasion to work his 
ruin; whilst, unfortunately for himself, the prominent 
points of his character gave them every chance of suc- 
cess. He was still a youth, ambitious, violent, and 
courageous even to rashness ; his rivals united to a 

* Pitscottie's History of Scotland, p. 24. 

14 to. JAMES 11. 27 

coolness and wariness, which had been acquired in a 
long course of successful intrigues, an energy of pur- 
pose, and a cruelty of heart, which left }io hope for a 
fallen enemy. In a contest between such unequal 
enemies, the triumph of the chancellor and Livingston 
miirht have been easily anticipated; but, unfortunately, 
much obscurity hangs over the history of their proceed- 
ings. In this failure of authentic evidence, a conjec- 
ture may be hazarded, that these crafty statesmen, by 
means of the paid flatterers withwhom they surrounded 
the young earl, prevailed upon him to express doubts 
as to the legitimacy of the title of James the Second 
to the throne, and to advocate the pretensions of the 
children of Euphemia Ross, the second queen of Ro- 
bert the Second. Nor, considering Douglas''s own de- 
scent, was it at all unlikely that he should listen to 
such suggestions.* liyhis mother, EuphcmiaGraham, 
the daughter of Patrick earl of Strathern, he was de- 
scended from Robert the Second; and his second queen, 
Euphemia countess of Ross, whose children, notwith- 
standing an act of the legislature which declared the 
contrary, were disposed to consider their title to the 
crown preferable to any other. It is well known, on 
the other hand, that the Earl of Carrick, the son of 
Robert the Second, by his first marriage with Eliza- 
beth More, was born to that monarch previous to his 
marriaire with his mother, and that he succeeded to the 
crown by the title of Robert the Third, in consequence 
of that legal principle which permits the subsequent 
marriage of the parties to confer legitimacy upon the 
issue born out of wedlock. Under these circuiiistances. 

• Douglas's Peerage, vol. i. p. 428. By his father, tlie Elarl of Douglas 
was a near kinsman of the kine, for Doughis's father was cou«in-t;<Tnian to 
James the Second, bis mother being a daughter to Robert the Third. 


it is not difficult to imagine that the Earl of Douglas 
may lip.ve been induced to consider his mother's bro- 
ther, Malise earl of Strathern, as possessed of a more 
indubitable title to the crown than the present sove- 
reign, and that a conspiracy to employ his immense 
and overgrown poAver in reinstating him in his rights, 
may have been a project which was broached amongst 
his adherents, and carried to the ready ears of his 
enemies.* This theory proceeds upon the idea that 
Douglas was inclined to support the issue of Euphemia 
Ross, the queen of Robert the Second, in opposition 
to those of his first wife, who died before his accession 
to the throne; whilst, on the other hand, if the earl 
considered the title of James the First as unquestion- 
able, he, as the grandson of James's eldest sister, 
Margaret, daughter of Robert the Third, might have 
persuaded himself that, upon the failure of James the 
Second without issue, he had a specious claim to the 
crown. When we take into consideration the fact that 
Douglas and his brother were tried for high treason, 
and remember that when the young king interceded 
for them, Crichton reprimanded him for a desire to 
gratify his pity at the expense of the security of his 
throne, it is difficult to resist the inference, that in one 
or other of these ways the youthful baron had plotted 
against the crown. 

Having obtained sufficient evidence of the guilt of 
Douglas to constitute against him and his near adhe- 
rents a charge of treason, the next object of his enemies 
was to obtain possession of his person. For this pur- 

* The reader ■will perhaps remember that the injustice of James the First 
to this noble youth, in deprivirg him of the earldom of Strathern, and the 
determined purpose of vengeance which instantly arose in the bosom of his 
uncle, Robert Graham, were the causes which led directly to the murder of 
that monarch. 

1440. JAMES II 29 

poso tlio chancellor, Crichtoii, addrosscd a letter to 
liini, in which he ilattered liis youthful vanity, and 
rcfrretted, in his own name and that of the governor, 
Living.ston, that any misunderstanding should have 
arisen which deprived the government of his services. 
He expressed, in the strongest terms, tlicir anxiety 
that this should be removed, and concluded l»v invitinir 
him to court, whore he might have personal intercourse 
with his royal kinsman, where he would be received 
with the distinction and consideration befitting his high 
rank, and might contribute his advice and assistance 
iu the management of the public affairs, and the sup- 
pression of those abuses which then destroyed the 
peace of the country. By this artful conduct, Crichton 
succeeded in disarming the resentment, Avithout awak- 
ening the suspicions, of his opponent ; and Douglas, 
in the openness of his disposition, fell into the snare 
which had been laid for him. Accompanied by his only 
brother, David, his intimate friend and counsellor Sir 
Malcolm Fleming, and a slender train of attendants, 
he proceeded towards Edinburgh, at that moment the 
royal residence, and on his road thither was magni- 
ficently entertained by the chancellor at his castle of 
Crichton.* From thence he continued his journey to 
the capital ; but before he entered the town, it was 
observed by some of the gentlemen who rode in his 
train, that there appeared to be too many private 
messages passing between the chancellor and the go- 
vernor ; and some of his councillors, reminding him of 
an advice of his father, that in circumstances of danger, 
he and his brother ought never to proceed together, 
entreated him either to turn back, or at least send 

* Auctarium Scotichronici, apud Fordun, vol. ii. p. oil. Same vol. p. -IDO. 
Ferrerius, p. 'M'2, 


forward his brother and remain himself where he then 
was. Confident, however, in his own opinion, and 
lulled into security by the magnificent hospitality of 
Crichton, Douglas rebuked his friends for their sus- 
picions ; and, entering the city, rode fearlessly to the 
castle, where he was met at the gates by Livingston 
with every expression of devotion, and conducted to 
the presence of his youthful sovereign, by whom he 
was treated with marked distinction. 

The vengeance destined to fall upon the Douglases 
does not appear to have been immediate. It was ne- 
cessary to secure the castle against any sudden attack; 
to find pretences for separating the earl from his 
accustomed attendants ; and to make preparations for 
the pageant of a trial. During this interval, he was 
admitted to an intimate familiarity with the king; and 
James, who had just completed his tenth year, with 
the warm and sudden afiection of that age, is said to 
have become fondly attached to him : but all was now- 
ready, and the catastrophe at last was deplorably rapid 
and sanguinary. Whilst Douglas and his brother sat 
at dinner with the chancellor and Livingston, after a 
sumptuous entertainment the courses were removed, 
and the two youths found themselves accused, in words 
of rude and sudden violence, as"' traitors to the state.* 
Aware, when too late, that they were betrayed, they 
started from table, and attempted to escape from the 
apartment; but the door was beset by armed men, who, 
on a. signal from Livingston, rushed into the chamber, 
and seized and bound their victims, regardless of their 
indignation and reproaches. It is said that the youthful 

* Lesley's Hist, of Scotland, p. IG. I cannot follow the example of this 
•writer in retaining the fable of the bull's head, 'which is unsupported by con- 
temporary history. Illustrations, A. 

1440. JAMES II. 31 

monarch clung around Cricliton, and pleaded earnestly, 
and even with tears, for his friends ; yet the chancellor 
not only refused to listen, but sharply commanded him 
to cease his intercession for traitors who had menaced 
liis throne. A hurried form of trial was now run 
through, at which the youthful king was compelled to 
preside in person ; and, condemnation having been 
pronounced, the carl and his brother were instantly 
carried to execution, and beheaded in the back court 
of the castle. What were the precise charges brought 
against them, cannot now be discovered. That they 
involved some expressions which reflected upon the 
right of the sovereign, and perhaps embraced a design 
for the restoration of the children of the second mar- 
riajie of Robert the Second, fi'om which union Doufilas 
was himself descended, has been already stated as the 
most probable hypothesis in the absence of all authentic 
evidence.* It is certain, that three days after the 
execution, Malcolm Fleming of Cumbernauld, their 
confidential friend and adviser, was brought to trial on 
a charge of treason, and beheaded on the same ground 
which was still wet with the blood of his chief. -f* 

It might have been expected that the whole power 
of the house of Douglas would have been instantly 

• All tlie conspiracies against the royal family of Scotland, from the time 
of Robtrt Bruce to the cxeoition of the Doutrlases, may be accounted for 
by two great objects : the tirst which characterizes the conspiracy of David 
de Brechin against Robert the First, and that of the Earl of Douglas on the 
accession of Robert the Second, was the restoration of the right of the Baliols 
in preference to that of the Bruces ; in other words, the reinstating the descen- 
dants of the eldest daughter of David earl of Huntingdon, brother to King 
William the Lion, in their rights, in contradistinction to the children of the 
second daughter, whom they regarded as having intruded into them. But in 
addition to this, a second object arose out of the first and second marriiiges 
of Robert the Second, which furnished another handle to discontent and 
conspiracy. To illustrate this, however, would exceed the limits of a note. 
See illustrations, B. 

+ Auchinleck, Chronicle, p. ?t5. In the charter-chest of the earldom of 
Wigtown at Cumbernauld, is preserved the " Instrument of Falsing the Doom 
01 the late Malcolm Fleming of Biggar." See Illustrations, C. 


directed against Livingston and the chancellor, to 
avenge an execution, which, although sanctioned by 
the formality of a trial, was, from its secrecy and 
cruelty, little better than a state murder. Judging 
also from the common course adopted by the govern- 
ment after an execution for treason, we naturally look 
for the confiscation of the estates, and the division of 
the family property amongst the adherents of the 
governor and the chancellor ; but here we are again 
met by a circumstance not easily explained. James 
earl of Avendale, the grand-uncle of the murdered 
earl, to whom by law the greater part of his immense 
estates reverted, entered immediately into possession of 
them, and assumed the title of Earl of Douglas, without 
question or difficulty. That he was a man of fierce 
and determined character, had been early shown in his 
slaughter of Sir David Fleming of Cumbernauld, the 
father of the unfortunate baron who now shared the 
fate of the Douglases ;* and yet, in an age when re- 
venge was esteemed a sacred obligation, and under 
circumstances of provocation which might have roused 
remoter blood, we find him not only singularly supine, 
but, after a short period, united in the strictest bonds 
of intimacy with those who had destroyed the head of 
his house. The conjecture, therefore, of an acute 
historian, that the trial and execution of the Earl of 
Douglas was, perhaps, undertaken with the connivance 
and assistance of the next heir to the earldom, does 
not seem altogether improbable ; whilst it Is difficult to 
admit the easy solution of the problem which is brought 
forward by other inquirers, who discover that the un- 
common obesity of the new successor to this dignity 
may have extinguished in him all ideas of revenge. 

* See tliis History, vol. iii. p. 134. 

1 440. JAMES II. 33 

The dcatli of the Earl of Douglas had the effect of 
abridi^nng, for a short season, the overgrown power of 
the family. His Frencli property and dukedom of 
Touraine, being a male fief, returned to the crown of 
France, whilst his largo unentailed estates in the 
counties of Galloway and Wigtown, along with the 
domains of Balvenie and Onnond, reverted to his only 
sister Margaret, the most beautiful woman of her time, 
and generally known by the appellation of the Fair 
Maid of Galloway. The subsequent history of this 
youthful heiress affords another presumption that the 
alleged crime of Douglas, her brother, was not his 
overgrown power, but his treasonable designs against 
the government ; for within three years after his death, 
William earl of Douglas, who had succeeded to his 
father, James the Gross, was permitted to marry his 
cousin of Galloway, and thus once more to unite in his 
person the immense estates of the ftimily. Euphemia 
also, the Duchess of Touraine, and the mother of the 
murdered earl, soon after the death of her son, acquired 
a powerful protector, by marrying Sir James Hamilton 
of Cadyow, afterwards Lord Hamilton,* 

In the midst of these proceedings, which for a time 
strengthened the authority of Livingston and the 
chancellor, the foreiirn relations of the kinjrdom were 
fortunately of tlie most friendly character. The inter- 
course with England, during the continuance of the 
truce, appears to have been maintained without inter- 
ruption, not only between the subjects of either realm, 
who resorted from one country to the other for the pur- 
poses of commerce, travel, or pleasure, but by various 
mutual missions and embassies, undertaken apparently 
with the single design of confirming the good disposi- 

* Andrew Stewart, Hist, of House of Stewart, p. -ICI. 


tions which subsisted between the two countries. Witli 
France the communication was still more cordial and 
constant ; whilst a marriage between the princess Isa- 
bella, the sister of the king, and Francis de Montfort, 
eldest son to the Duke of Bretagne, increased the 
friendship between the two kingdoms. An anecdote, 
preserved by the historian of Brittanj, acquaints us 
with the character of the princess, and the opinions 
of John, surnamed the Good and Wise, as to the qua- 
lifications of a wife. On asking his ambassadors, after 
their return from Scotland, what opinion they had 
formed regarding the lady, he received for answer, 
that she was beautiful, elegantly formed, and in the 
bloom and vigour of health ; but remarkably silent, not 
so much, as it appeared to them, from discretion, as 
from extreme simplicity. " Dear friends," said John 
the Good and Wise, " return speedily and bring her 
to me. She is the very woman I have been long in 
search of. By St Nicholas ! a wife seems, to my mind, 
sufficiently acute, if she can tell the difference between 
her husband's shirt and his shirt ruffle."* 

The general commercial prosperity of the Nether- 
lands, with which Scotland had for many centuries 
carried on a flourishing and lucrative trade, had been 
injured at this time by a war with England, and by 
intestine commotions amongst themselves; but with 
Scotland their commercial relations do not appear to 
have experienced any material interruption ; and, al- 
though the precise object of his mission is not discover- 
able, Thomas bishop of Orkney, in 1441, repaired to 
Flanders, in all probability for the purpose of confirming 
the amicable correspondence between the two countries, 

* See Lobineam Histoire de Bretagne, pp. 619, 621, for a beautiful por- 
trait of this princesSjtaken from an original in the cathedral church of Vannes. 

Itil. JAMES II. 35 

and congratulating them on the cessation of foreign war 
and domestic dissension.* Whilst such were the fa- 
vourable dispositions entertained by England, France, 
and the Netherlands, it appears, from the public records, 
that the court of Rome was anxious at this time to 
maintain a close correspondence with Scotland ; and 
there is reason for suspecting, that the growth of Lol- 
lardism, and the progress of those heretical opinions 
for which Resby had suffered in 1407, and against 
which the parliament of James the First directed their 
censures in 1424, were the causes which led to the 
frequent missions from the Holy See, In 1438. 
Andrew Mcldrum, a knight of St John of Jerusalem, 
paid a visit to the Scottish court, on a mission connected 
with the good of religion. In the following year, Al- 
fonso de Crucifubreis, the papal nuncio, obtained a 
passport, for the j)urpose of j)rocecding through Eng- 
land into Scotland ; and, in 1439, William Croyser, a 
native of that country, but apjjarentl}' resident at 
Rome, invested also with the character of nuncio of the 
apostolic see, and in company with two priests of the 
names of Turnbull and Lithgow, repaired to Scotland, 
where he appears to have remained, engaged in eccle- 
siastical negotiations, for a considerable period. It is 
unfortunate that there are no public muniments which 
tend to explain or to illustrate the specific object of the 

But although threatened with no dangers from 
abroad, the accunmlatcd evils which in all feudal king- 
doms have attended the minority of the sovereign, 
continued to afflict the country at home. On the death 
of his father, James the Gross, the ability, the pride, 

• Rotuli Scotisc, vol. ii. p. .31.9. 

t li<jtuli S(x-tia;, vol. ii. p. 302-315. Ibid. pp. 31 1 , 317. 


and the power of the house of Douglas, revived with 
appalling strength and vigour in William, the eighth 
Earl of Douglas, his son and successor, inferior in 
talents and ambition to none who had borne the name 
before him. Bj his mother, Ladj Beatrix Sinclair, 
he was descended from a sister of King Robert the 
Third;* bj his father, from the Lady Christian Bruce, 
sister of Robert the First. ■[* His extensive estates gave 
him the command of a more powerful army of military 
vassals than any other baron in the kingdom, whilst 
the situation of these estates made him almost an ab- 
solute monarch upon the Borders, which, upon any 
disgust or offence offered him by the government, he 
could open to the invasion of England, or fortify against 
the arm and authority of the law. He was supported 
also by many warlike and potent lords in his own 
family, and by connexion with some of the most ancient 
and influential houses in Scotland. His mother, a 
daughter of the house of Sinclair earl of Orkney, gave 
him the alliance of this northern baron ; his brothers 
were the Earls of Moray and Ormond ; by his married 
sisters, he was in strict friendship with the Hays of 
Errol, the Flemings, and the Lord of Dalkeith. 

The possession of this great influence only stimulated 
an ambitious man like Douglas to grasp at still higher 
authority; and two paramount objects presented them- 
selves to his mind, to the prosecution of which he 
devoted himself with constant solicitude, and which 
afford a strong light to guide us through a portion of 
the history of the country, hitherto involved in obscu- 
rity. The first of these was to marry the Fair Maid 
of Galloway, his own cousin, and thus once more unite 
in his person the whole power of the house of Douglas. 

* Douglas's Peerage, vol. i. p. 429. i Ibid. vol. i. p. 220. 

1 tU. JAMES II. 37 

The second, l\v means of this overwhelming influence, 
to obtain the supreme mana'xement of the state, as 
fjovernor of the kin;^dom, and to act over again the 
history of the usurpation of Albany and the captivity 
of James the First. It must not be forgotten also, 
that the heiress of Galloway was descended, by the 
father's side, from the eldest sister of James the First, 
and, by the mother, from David earl of Strathern, 
eldest son of Robert the Second, by his second mar- 
riage. It is not therefore impossible, that, in the event 
of the death of James the Second, some vague idea of 
asserting a claim to the crown may have suggested 
itself to the imagination of this ambitious baron. 

Upon Livingston and the chancellor, on the other 
hand, the plans of Douglas could not fail to have an 
important influence. The possession of such over- 
grown estates in the hands of a single subject, neces- 
sarily rendered his friendship or his enmity a matter 
of extreme importance to these statesmen, whose union 
was that of fear and necessity, not of friendship. Both 
were well aware that upon the loss of their offices, there 
would be a brief interval between their disgrace and 
their destruction. Crichton knew that he was liable 
to a charge of treason for the forcible seizure of the 
king\s person at Stirling; Livingston, that his impri- 
sonment of the queen, and his usurpation of the 
government, made him equally guilty witli the chan- 
cellor ; and both, that they had to answer for a long 
catalogue of crimes, confiscations, and illegal imprison- 
ments, which, when the day of reckoning at last arrived, 
must exclude them from all hope of mercy. To secure, 
therefore, the exclusive friendship of Douglas, and to 
employ his resources in the mutual destruction of each 
other, was the great object which governed their policy. 


In the meantime, the youthful monarch, who had not 
yet completed his thirteenth year, beheld his kini^dom 
transformed into a stage, on which his nobles contended 
for the chief power; whilst his subjects were cruelly 
oppressed, and he himself handed about, a passive 
puppet, from the failing grasp of one faction, into the 
more iron tutelage of a more successful party in the 
state. It is scarcely possible to conceive a more mis- 
erable picture of a nation, either as it regards the 
happiness of the king or of the people. 

It is not therefore surprising, that, soon after this, 
the state of the country, abandoned by those who pos- 
sessed the highest offices or\\y to convert them into 
instruments of their individQa,l ambition, called loudly 
for some immediate interference and redress. Sir 
Robert Erskine, who claimed the earldom of Mar, and 
apparently on just grounds, finding himself opposed by 
the intrigues of the chancellor, took the law into his 
own hands, and laying siege to the castle of Kildrum- 
mie, carried it by storm ; upon which the king, or 
rather his ministers, seized the castle of Alloa, the 
property of Erskine. This same baron, as Sheriff of 
the Lennox, was Governor of Dumbarton, one of the 
strongest fortresses in the kingdom ; but during his 
absence in the north, Galbraith of Culcreuch, a partisan 
of the Earl of Douglas, with the connivance of his 
master, and the secret encouragement of Crichton, 
ascended the rock with a few followers, and forcing an 
entrance by Wallace''s tower, slew Robert Sempill the 
captain, and overpowering the garrison, made them- 
selves masters of the place.* In the north. Sir William 
Ruthven sheriff of Perth, attempting, in the execution 

* Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 35. Wallace's tower was probably the tower 
in which Wallace was confined after his capture by Menteith. 

1443. JAMES II. 39 

of his ofllcc, to conduct a culprit to the gullows, was 
attacked by John Gornio Stewart of A thole, at the 
head of a strong party of armed highlanders, who had 
detorniincd to rescue their countryman from the ven- 
geance of the law. Stewart had once before been 
serviceable to government, in employing the wild 
freebooters whom he commanded, to seize the traitor 
Graham, who, after the murder of James the First, had 
concealed himself in the fastnesses of Athole ; but, 
under the capriciousncss of a feudal government, tho 
arm which one day assisted the execution of the law, 
might the next be lifted up in defiance of its authority ; 
and Stewart, no doubt, argued that his securing one 
traitor entitled him, when it suited his own conveni- 
ence, to let loose another. Ruthven, however, a brave 
and determined baron, at the head of his vassals, re- 
sented this interference ; and, after a sanguinary con- 
Hict upon the North Inch of Perth, both he and his 
fierce opponent were left dead upon the field.* 

In the midst of these outrageous proceedings, tho 
Earl of Douglas, in prosecution of his scheme for his 
marriage with the heiress of Galloway, entered into a 
coalition with Livingston, the king's governor. Living- 
ston's grandson. Sir James Hamilton of Cadyow, had 
married Euphemia dowager-duchess of Touraine, the 
mother of Douglas's first wife; and it is by no means 
improbable, that the friends of tho Maiden of Gallo- 
way, who was to bring with her so noble a dowry, 
consented to her union with the Earl of Douglas, up- 
on a promise of this great noble to unite his influence 
witii tho governor, and put down the arrogant domi- 
nation of the chancellor. The events, at least, which 
immediately occurred, demonstrate some coalition of 

+ Aucliinleck Chronicle, p. 35. 


this sort. Douglas, arriving suddenly at Stirling 
castle with a modest train, instead of the army of fol- 
lowers by which he was commonly attended, besought 
and gained admittance into the royal presence, with 
the humble purpose, as he declared, of excusing him- 
self from any concern in those scenes of violence which 
had been lately enacted at Perth and Dumbarton. 
The king, as was reported, not only received his 
apology with a gracious ear, but was so much prepos- 
sessed by his winning address, and his declarations of 
devoted loyalty, that he made him a member of his 
privy council, and appears soon after to have conferred 
upon him the office of lieutenant-general of the king- 
dom,* which had been enjoyed by the first Duke of 
Touraine. The consequence of this sudden elevation 
of Douglas, was the immediate flight of the chancellor 
Crichton to the castle of Edinburgh, where he began 
to strengthen the fortifications, to lay in provisions, 
and to recruit his garrison, as if he contemplated a 
reo;ular sieoe. To imaarine that this elevation of Dou- 
glas was accomplished by the king, a boy who had not 
yet completed his thirteenth year, would be ridiculous. 
It was evidently the work of the governor, who held 
an exclusive power over the king's person ; and it indi- 
cated, for the moment, a coalition of parties, which 
might well make Crichton tremble. 

In the meantime, Livingston, pleading his advanced 
age, transferred to his eldest son. Sir James, the weighty 
charge of the sovereign's person, and his government 
of Stirling castle; whilst Douglas, in the active exer- 
cise of his new office of lieutenant-general, which en- 

* Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 35. Lesley's Hist. p. 17. Tlie appointment 
cf Douglas to be lieutenant-general is not founded on certain historical evi- 
dence, but inferred from his subsequent conduct. 

1443. JAMES II. 41 

titled him to summon in the kini^'s name, and obtain 
delivery of any fortress in the kingdom, assembled i\ 
large military force. At the head of these troops, and 
attended by the members of the royal household and 
privy council, he proceeded to the castle of Barnton, 
in Mid-Lothian, the property of the chancellor Crich- 
ton, demanded its delivery in the king"'s behalf, and 
exhibited the order which entitled him to make the 
requisition. To this haughty demand, the governor 
of the fortress. Sir Andrew Crichton, sent at lirst a 
peremptory refusal ; but, after a short interval, tlie 
preparations for a siege, and the display of the king's 
banner, overcame his resolution, and induced him to 
capitulate. Encouraged by this success, Douglas le- 
velled the castle with the ground, and summoned the 
chancellor Crichton, and his adherents, to attend a 
parliament at Stirling, to answer before his peers upon 
a charge of high treason. The reply made to this by 
the proud baron, was of a strictly feudal nature, and 
consisted in a raid or predatory expedition, in which 
the whole military vassals of the house of Crichton 
broke out with fire and sword upon the lands of the 
]']arl of Douglas, and of his adherent. Sir John For- 
ester of Corstorphine, and inflicted that sudden and 
summary vengeance, which gratified the feelings of 
their chief, and satisfied their own lust for plunder.* 
Whilst the chancellor thus let loose his vassals upon 
those who meditated his ruin, his estates were confis- 
cated in the parliament which met at Stirling; his 
friends and adiierents, who disdained or dreaded to 
ajjpear and plead to the charges brought against them. 
were outlawed, and declared rebels to the king's autho- 
rity; and he himself, shut up in the castle of Edin- 

• Aucliinleck Cbron'cle, pp. 26, ?,7. 


burgh, concentrated his powers of resistance, and pon- 
dered over the likeliest method of averting his total 

Douglas, in the meantime, received, through the 
influence of the Livingstons, the reward to which he 
had ardently looked forward. A divorce was obtained 
from his first countess; a dispensation arrived from 
Rome, permitting the marriage between himself and 
his cousin; and although still a girl, who had not 
completed her twelfth year, the Fair Maid of Gallo- 
way* was united to the earl, and the immense estates 
which had fallen asunder upon the execution of Wil- 
liam, were once more concentrated in the person of 
the lieutenant-o;eneral of the kino;dom. In this man- 
ner did Livingston, for the purpose of gratifying his 
ancient feud with the chancellor, lend his influence to 
the accumulation of a power, in the hands of an ambi- 
tious subject, which was incompatible with the welfare 
of the state or the safety of the sovereign. 

But although the monarch was thus abandoned by 
those who ought to have defended his rights, and the 
happiness of the state sacrificed to the gratification of 
individual revenge, there were still a few honest and 
upright men to be found, who foresaw the danger, and 
interposed their authority to prevent it ; and of these 
the principal, equally distinguished by his talents, his 
integrity, and his high birth, was Kennedy bishop of 
St Andrews, a sister's son of James the First, and by 
this near connexion with the king, entitled to stand 
forward as his defender aajainst the ambitious faction 

* In the dispensation obtained afterwards for her marriage with her bro- 
ther-in-law, it appears, that, at the time of her first marriage, she was " infra 
nubiles annos." Andrew Stewart's Hist. p. 444. The existence of a first 
countess of Karl William, is shown by the "Great Seal, vii. No. "214, under 
13th Oct. 1472; and 248, under 22d Jan, 1472-3." 

1444. JAMES II. 43 

who maintained possession of liis person. Kennedy's 
rank, as head of the Scottish churcli, invested hini 
with an authority, to which, amid the general corrup- 
tion and licentiousness of the other officers in the state, 
the peoj)lo looked with reverence and aftbction. His 
inind, which was of the highest order of intellect, had 
been cultivated by a learned and excellent education, 
enlightened by foreign travel, and exalted by a spirit 
of unaflectcd piety. During a residence of four years 
at Rome, ho had risen into esteem with the honester 
part of the Roman clergy; and, aware of the abuses 
w iiich had been introduced, during the minority of the 
sovereign, into the government of the church — of the 
venality of the presentations — the dilapidation of the 
ecclesiastical lands — the appointment of the licentious 
dependants of the fmidal barons who had usurped the 
supreme power — Kennedy, with a resolution which 
nothing could intimidate, devoted his attention to the 
reformation of the manners of the clergy, the dissemi- 
nation of knowledge, and the detection of all abuses con- 
nected with the ecclesiastical government. Upon the 
disgrace of Crichton, this eminent person was advanced 
to the important office of chancelhjr, which he retained 
only for a brief period; and in his double capacity of 
primate and head of the law, there were few subjects 
which did not, in one way or other, come within the 
reach of his conscientious and inquiring sj)irit. 

Upon even a superficial examination of the state of 
the country, it required little discernment to discover, 
that out (tf the union of the two parties of the Living- 
stons and the Douglases, had already sprung an infi- 
nite multitude of grievances, which weighed heavily 
upon the people, and that, if not speedily counter- 
acted, the further growth of this coalition might en- 


danger the security of the crown, and threaten the life 
of the sovereign. The penetrating spirit of Kennedy 
soon detected an alarming confirmation of these sus- 
picions in the assiduity evinced by Douglas, to draw 
within the coalition between himself and Livingston, 
all the proudest and most powerful of the feudal fami- 
lies, as well as in the preference which he manifested 
for those to whom the severity of the government of 
James the First had already given cause of offence and 
dissatisfaction, and who, Avith the unforgiving spirit 
of feudal times, transferred to the person of his son 
the hatred with which they had regarded the father. 
Of this there was a striking example in a league or 
association which Douglas at this time entered into 
with Alexander, the second Earl of Crawford, who had 
married !Mariot de Dunbar, the sister of that unfor- 
tunate Earl of March whom we have seen stripped 
of his ancient and extensive inheritance by James the 
First, under circumstances of such severity, and at best 
of such equivocal justice, as could never be forgotten 
by the remotest connexions of the sufferer.* When 
Kennedy observed such associations, indicating in 
Douglas a purpose of concentrating around him, not 
only the most powerful barons, but the most bitter 
enemies of the ruling dynasty, he at once threw the 
whole weight of his authority and experience into the 
scale of the late chancellor, and united cordially with 
Crichton in an endeavour to defeat such formidable 
purposes. But he was instantly awakened to the 
dangers of such a proceeding, by the ferocity with 
which his interference was resented. At the instiga- 
tion of the lord-lieutenant, the Earl of Crawford, along 
with Alexander Ogilvy, Livingston governor of Stir- 

* Douglas's Peerage, vol. i. p. 376. History, vol. iii. p. 248. 

Ult. JAMES ir. 45 

lin<T castle, Lord llaniilton, and Robert lleoch, a wild 
lii2;l»laiid chief, assembled an overwhelming; force, and, 
with every circumstance of savaiio and indiscriminate 
cruelty, laid waste the lands belonging to the bishop, 
both in Fife and Angus ; leading captive his vassals, 
destroying his granges and villages with fire, and giv- 
ing up to wide and indiscriminate havoc, the only 
estates, perhaps, in the kingdom, which, under the 
quiet and enlightened rule of this prelate, had been 
reduced under a system of agricultural improvement. 
Kennedy, in deep indignation, instantly summoned 
the Earl of Crawford to repair the ravages which had 
been committed ; and finding that the proud baron 
disdained to obey, proceeded, with that religious pomp 
and solemnity which was fitted to inspire awe and 
terror even in the savage bosoms of his adversaries, to 
excommunicate the earl and his adherents, suspending 
them from the services and the sacraments of religion, 
and denouncing, against all who harboured or sup- 
ported them, the extremest curses of the church.* It 
may give us some idea of the danger and the hopeless- 
ness of the task in which the Bishop of St Andrews now 
consented to labour — the reformation of the abuses of 
the government — when we remember that three of the 
principal parties engaged in these acts of spoliation, 
were the lieutenant-general of the kingdom, the gover- 
nor of the royal person, and one of the most confiden- 
tial members of the king's privy-council. "f* 

Douglas, in his character of king''s lieutenant, now 

* Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 39. Robert Rcoch, or Swarthy Robert, waa 
the ancestor of the Robertsons of Strowan. He had apprehended the Karl 
of Athole, one of the niurdorurs of James the First, lie is sometimes styled 
liobert Duncanson. See Hist. vol. iii. p. '2(i(t. 

+ MS. indcntuFL' in the possession of Mr Maule of Panmuro, between the 
king's council, and daily about him, on one part, and W'alter Ogilvy of Beau- 
fort, on the other. 


assembled the vassals of the crown, and laid siege to 
Edinburgh castle, Avhicli Crichton, who had anticipated 
his movements, was prepared to hold out against him 
to the last extremity. The investment of the fortress, 
however, continued only for nine weeks ; at the ex- 
piration of which period, the chancellor, who, since 
his coalition with the Bishop of St Andrews and the 
house of Angus, was discovered by his adversaries to 
have a stronger party than they were at first willing 
to believe, surrendered the castle to the king, and 
entered into a treaty with Livingston and Douglas, 
by which he was not only ensured of indemnity, but 
restored to no inconsiderable portion of his former 
power and influence.* There can be little doubt that 
the reconciliation of this powerful statesman with the 
faction of Douglas, was neither cordial nor sincere : 
it was the result of fear and interest, the two great 
motives which influence the conduct of such men in 
such times ; but from the friendship and support of 
so pure a cliaracter as Kennedy, a presumption arises 
in favour of the integrity of the late chancellor, when 
compared with the selfish ambition, and lawless con- 
duct of his opponents. 

In the midst of these miserable scenes of war and 
commotion, the queen-mother, who, since her marriage 
with the Black Knight of Lorn, had gradually fallen 
into neglect and obscurity, died at the castle of Dunbar. 
Her fate might have aflforded to any moralist a fine 
lesson upon the instability of human grandeur. A 
daughter of the noble and talented house of Somerset, 
she was courted by James the First, during hij cap- 
tivity, with romantic ardour, in the shades of Windsor, 
and in the bloom of beauty became the queen of this 

* Aucliinleck Chronicle, p. 37. 

1445. JAMES II. 47 

great monarch. After fourteen years of liappincss an<l 
glory, she was doomed herself to witness tlio dreadful 
assassination of her royal consort; and having narrowly 
escaped the ferocity which would have involved her 
in a similar calamity, she enjoyed, after the capture of 
her husband's murderers, a brief interval of vengeance 
and of power. Since that period, the tumult of feudal 
war, and the struggles of aristocratic ambition, closed 
thickly around her ; and losing her influence with 
the guardianship of the youthful monarch, the solitary 
tie which invested her with distinction, she sunk at 
once into the wife of a private baron, by whom she 
appears to have been early neglected, and at last utterly 
forsaken. The latest events in her history are involved 
in an uncertainty' which itself pronounces a melancholy 
commentary on the depth of the neglect into wliich 
she had lallen ; and we find her dying in the castlo 
of Dunbar, then in the possession of a noted freebooter 
and outlaw, Patrick Hepburn of Hailes. AVhcther 
this baron liad violently seized the queen, or whether 
she had willingly sought a retreat in the fortress, does 
not appear ; but the castle, soon after her death, was 
delivered up to the king by Hepburn, who, as a partisan 
of the house of Douglas, was pardoned his excesses, 
and restored to favour.* It was a melancholy conse- 
quence of the insecurity of persons and of property in 
those dark times, that a widow became the mark, or 

* Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 37. Douglas's Peerage, vol. i. p. 2"_'4. 

IIoj)l)urn was aiice.--tor of the Karl of iJothwell, hushanri of Mary Qiiceii 
of Scots. Three manuscript letters of James the Second are preservid at 
Durham, amongst u collection of original jiapers helongingto the monastery 
ofColdingham. — Itaines' Hist, of North Durham, A])|n;ndix, p. '2'2. One of 
them, dated twenty-eighth April, I44fi, mentions tlie " niaist tressonable 
takyn of our castell of Dunhar, hernyng her schippis, elaughtyr, pressonying, 
oppression of our peple, and destruction of our land, and mony other dctes- 
tabill enormyties and ofl'cnce done be Patrick of Lepburn, soue till Aduni 
hepburn of hales, Knycht." 


the victim, of every darin<T adventurer, and by repeated 
nuptials, was compelled to defend herself against the 
immediate attacks of licentiousness and ambition. 

Upon the death of their mother the queen, the two 
princesses, her daughters, Jane and Eleanor, were sent 
to the Court of France, on a visit to their sister the 
Dauphiness; anxious, in all probability, to escape from 
a country which was at that moment divided by con- 
tending factions, and where their exalted rank only 
exposed them to more certain danger. On their arrival 
in France, however, they found the court plunged in 
distress by the death of the Dauphiness, who seems 
to have become the victim of a conspiracy which, 
by circulating suspicions against her reputation, and 
estranging the affections of her husband, succeeded 
at last in bringing her to an early grave. There is 
strong evidence of her innocence in the deep sorrow for 
her death expressed by Charles the Seventh, and his 
anxiety that the Dauphin should espouse her sister 
Jane, a marriage for which he in vain solicited a papal 
dispensation. Her husband, afterwards Lewis the 
Eleventh, was noted for his craft and his malignity ; 
and there is little doubt, that even before the slander- 
ous attack upon her character by Jamet de Tillay, the 
neglect and cruelty of the Dauphin had nearly broken 
a heart of much susceptibility, enfeebled by an over- 
devotion to poetry and romance, and seeking a refuge 
from scenes of domestic suffering in the pleasures of lite- 
rary composition, and the patronage of men of genius.* 

* Berry, Hist, de Charles VII. Duclos HI. 20. Paradin Alliances Gene- 
alogiques des Rois et Princes de Gaule, p. 111. "Marguerite, tille de Jacques, 
Roy d'Escosse, premier de ce nom, lut premiere femme de ce Louis, lui 
estant encores dauphin, et deceda, n'ayant eu aucuns enfans, Tan 1445, a 
Chalons, en Champaigne, auquel lieu fut inhume son corps en la grande eglise 
la, ou demeura jusqu'au regne de Roy Louis, qui le leit lors apporter en 
TAbhaic de Saint Laon de Thouars, en Poitou, ou il git." See same work, 
p. 307. 

U45. JAMES ir. 49 

Tn tlic meantime, amid a constant scries of petty 
feuds and tumults, which, originating in private am- 
bition, arc undeserving the notice of tlic historian, one 
from the magnitude of the scale on which it was acted, 
as well as from the illustrations which it affords us 
of the manners of the times, requires a more particular 
recital. The religious house of Arbroath had appointed 
Alexander Lindsay, eldest son of the Earl of Crawford, 
their chief justiciar, a man of ferocious habits, and of 
great ambition, who, from the length and bushiness 
of his beard, was afterwards commonly known by the 
appellation of the " Tiger, or Earl Bcardy." The 
prudent monks, however, soon discovered that the 
Tiger was too expensive a protector, and having de- 
posed him from his office, they conferred it upon Ogilvy 
of Innerquharity, an unpardonable offence in the eyes 
of the Master of Crawford, who instantly collected an 
army of his vassals, for the double purpose of inflicting 
vengeance upon the intruder, and repossessing himself 
of the dignity from which he had been ejected. There 
••an be little doubt that the Ogilvies must have sunk 
under this threatened attack, but accident gave them 
a powerful ally in Sir Alexander Seton of Gordon, 
afterwards Earl of Iluntly, who, as lie returned from 
court, happened to lodge for the night at the castle of 
Ogilvy, at the moment when this baron was mustering 
his forces against the meditated assault of Crawford. 
Seton, although in no way personally interested in the 
quarrel, found himself, it is said, compelled to assist 
the Oy-ilvies, bv a rude but ancient custom, which 
bound the guest to take common part with his host in 
all danjjers which mijjht occur so long as the food eaten 
under his roof remained in his stomach.* With the 

* Lesley Dc Rebus Gesti» Scotonun, p. 28G. History of Scotland by tlio 
MUne author, p. 1 U. 



small train of attendants and friends who accompanied 
him, he joined the forces of Innerquharity, and pro- 
ceeding to the town of Arbroath, found the opposite 
party drawn up in great strength on the outside of the 
gates. The families thus opposed in mortal defiance 
to each other, could number amongst their adherents 
many of the bravest and most opulent gentlemen in 
the country ; and the two armies exhibited an impos- 
ing appearance of armed knights, barbed horses, and 
embroidered banners. As the combatants, however, 
approached each other, the Earl of Crawford, who had 
received information of the intended combat, being 
anxious to avert it, suddenly appeared on the field, 
and galloping up between the two lines, was mortally 
wounded by a soldier, who was enraged at his inter- 
ference, and ignorant of his rank. The event naturally 
increased the bitterness of hostility, and the Crawfords, 
who were assisted by a large party of the vassals of 
Douglas, infuriated at the loss of their chief, attacked 
the Ogilvies with a desperation which soon broke their 
ranks, and reduced them to irreclaimable disorder. 
Such, however, was the gallantry of their resistance, 
that they were almost entirely cut to pieces ; and five 
hundred men, including many noble barons in Forfar 
and Angus, were left dead upon the field.* Seton 
himself had nearly paid with his life the penalty of 
his adherence to the rude usage of the times ; and 
John Forbes of Pitsligo, one of his followers, was slain : 
nor was the loss which the Ogilvies sustained in the 
field their worst misfortune : for Lindsay, with his 
characteristic ferocity, and protected by the authority 
of Douglas, let loose his army upon their estates ; and 
the flames of their castles, the slaughter of their vassals, 

* Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 38. 

1445. JAMES II. 61 

the plunder of their property, and the captivity of 
their wives and children, instructed the remotest 
adherents of tlio Ju.sticiar of Arhroath, how terrible 
was the vengeance which they had provoked. What 
must have been the state of the government, and how 
miserable the consequences of tiiose feudal manners 
and customs, which have been admired by superficial 
inquirers, where the pacific attempt of a few monks to 
exercise their undoubted privilege in choosing their own 
protector, could involve a whole province in bloodshed, 
and kindle tlie flames of civil war in the heart of the 
country ! It does honour to the administration of Ken- 
nedy, that, although distracted by such domestic feuds, 
he found leisure to attend to the foreign commercial rela- 
tions of the state, and that a violent dissension which 
had broken out betwixt the Scots and the Bremeners, 
who had seized a ship freighted from Edinburgh, and 
threatened further hostilities, was amicably adjusted by 
envoys despatched for the purpose to Flanders.* 

The consequences of the death of the Earl of Craw- 
ford require particular attention. That ambitious 
noble had been one of the firmest allies of Douglas; 
and the lieutenant-general, well aware that superior 
power was the sole support of an authority which he 
had very grossly abused, inmiediately entered into a 
league with the new Earl of Crawford, and Alexander 
earl of Ross and lord of the Isles, in whose mind the 
imprisonment and degrading penance inflicted upon 
him by James the First, had awakened desires of re- 
venge, the deeper only from their being long repressed. 
The alliance between these three nobles was on the 
face of it an act of treason, as it bore to be a league 
offensive and defensive against all men, not excepting 

• See Illustrations, D. 


the sovereign; and it was well known that Crawford, 
from his near connexion with the forfeited house of 
March, inherited a hatred of the royal family, which, 
increased by his native ferocity, had at last grown up 
into a determined resolution to destroy the race. The 
coalition seems to have acquired additional strength, 
during the succeeding year, by the accession of the 
Livingstons ; so that, with the exception of Crichton 
and Kennedy, there was scarcely to be found a baron 
of consequence who was not compelled to support the 
governor in his attempt to sink the authority of the 
sovereign, and concentrate in his o^vn person the un- 
divided administration of the state. 

Against his success in this treasonable project, Dou- 
glas soon found that his most formidable opponent was 
the young king himself, who had reached the age of 
seventeen years, and although under the disadvantage 
of a confined education, began to evince a sagacity of 
judgment, and a vigour of character, which gave the 
fairest promise of excellence. Cautiously abstaining 
from offering any open disgust to the governor, he 
attached silently to his service the upright and able 
Kennedy, and the experienced Crichton, who appears 
about this time to have been raised to the dignity of 
a lord in parliament, and soon after reinstated in the 
important office of chancellor. Aware, even at this 
early age, of the intellectual superiority of the clergy, 
he exerted himself to secure the services of the most 
distinguished of this order; by friendly negotiations 
with England, he secured the favourable dispositions 
of Henry the Sixth; and with the courts of France 
and of Rome he appears to have been on terms of the 
utmost confidence and amity. To ascribe the whole 
merit of these wise and politic measures to the young 

1448. JAMES II. 63 

niouarcli, ^voulJ be absurd; but allowing that tlioy 
orii;iiuitc'J with the party uf Crii'hton and of Konucdy, 
with whom ho had connected himself, the praise of tlie 
selection of such advisers, and the confidence with which 
they were treated, belongs to James. 

This confidence was soon after evinced upon an im- 
portant occasion, when the king granted a commission 
to the chancellor Crichton, his secretary Railston 
bishop of Dunkeld, and Nicholas de Ottcrburn official of 
Lothian, to repair to France for the purpose of renew- 
inir the league which for many centuries had subsisted 
between the two countries, and with a commission to 
choose him a bride amongst the princesses of that royal 
court. The first part of their duty was soon after 
happily accomplished; but as the family of the King 
of France afforded at that moment no suitable match 
for their young sovereign, the Scottish ambassadors, 
by the advice of Charles the Seventh, proceeded to the 
court of the Duke of Gueldres, and made their propo- 
sals to Mary, the only daughter and heiress of this 
wealthy potentate, and nearly related to the French 
king. In the succeeding year, accordingly, the prin- 
cess was solemnly affianced as the intended consort of 
the King of Scotland.* 

In the midst of these measures, James was careful 
to afford no open cause of suspicion or disgust to the 
faction of the Livingstons, or to the still more powerful 
party of the Douglases and Crawfords. His policy was 
to disunite them in the first instance, and afterwards 
to destroy them in detail; and, in furtherance of this 
project, he appears to have called home from the con- 
tinent Sir James Stewart, the husband of his late 

* MS. Traitcz entrc les Uois de France et les Rois d'Escosse. Advocates' 
Library, fcldinburgh. 


mother the queen-dowagor, and Robert Fleming, the 
son of Sir Malcolm Fleming, who, bj the command, 
or with the connivance of the Livingstons, had been 
executed in Edinburgh castle along with the Earl of 
Douglas and his brother. All this, to a deep observer, 
must have indicated a preparation for the fall of the 
Livingstons; but, as the king was careful to retain 
them in his service, and to use their assistance in his 
negotiations, thev appear to have been deceived into 
a false security, and to have neglected all means of 
defence, and all opportunity of escape, till it was too 
late. Douglas, however, was not so easily seduced; 
but suspecting the designs of the monarch, which were 
quietly maturing amid the peace and tranquillity with 
which he was surrounded, determined to divide his 
strength and defeat his purposes, by involving him in 
a war with England. Nor was this a matter of much 
difficulty, as the truce which subsisted between the two 
countries was on the point of expiring, and the Bor- 
derers had already commenced their hostilities. Three 
parties at present divided England : that of the good 
Duke of Gloucester, who seems to have been animated 
by a sincere love for his sovereign, Henry the Sixth, 
and an enlightened desire to promote the prosperity of 
the nation by the maintenance of pacific relations with 
Scotland; that of the queen and the Duke of Suffolk, 
the determined enemies of Gloucester, and solicitous 
only for the concentration of the whole power of the 
state into their own hands ; and, lastly, that of Richard 
duke of York, who, having already formed a design 
upon the crown, made it his chief business to widen 
the breach between the two factions of Gloucester and 
the queen, and to prepare the way for his own advance- 
ment, by increasing the miseries which the nation 

1418. JAMES II. 65 

suffered under the domination of the house of Lancas- 
ter. To this able and ambitious prince, the decay of 
the Englisli power in France, and the resumption of 
hostilities upon the Borders, were subjects rather of 
congratulation than of regret: and when both countries 
contained two powerful nobles, Douglas and the Duke 
of York, equally solicitous for war, it is only matter 
of surprise that hostilities should not have broken out 
at a more early period. 

On their occurrence, the aggression seems to have 
first proceeded from the English, who, under the com- 
mand of the Earls of Northumberland and Salisbury, 
wardens of the east and west marches, broke violently, 
and in two divisions of great force, into Scotland, and 
left the towns of Dunbar and Dumfries in flames. 
This, according to the usual course of Border warfare, 
led to an immediate invasion of Cumberland by James 
Douglas of Balveny, brother of the Earl of Douglas, 
in which Alnwick was burnt and plundered, and the 
whole of that province cruelly wasted and depopulated; 
whilst, as the spirit of revenge, and the passionate 
desire of retaliation, spread over a wider surface, the 
whole armed population of the country flowed in at the 
call of the wardens, and a force of six thousand English, 
under the command of the younger Percy, along with 
Sir JohnHarrinirton and Sir John Penninirton, crossed 
the Solway, and encamped upon the banks of the river 
Sark, where they were soon after defeated by the Scots, 
under the command of Hugh earl of Ormond, another 
brother of the Earl of Douglas. Along with Ormond 
were Sir John Wallace of Craigie,the Sherift'of Ayr,tho 
Laird of Johnston, and the Master of Somervillc, wlio 
commanded a force considerably inferior to that which 
they encountered, being about four thousand strong. 


They succeeded, however, in dispersing the English, of 
whom fifteen hundred men were left dead upon the field, 
five hundred drowned in the Solway, and the leaders, 
Percy, Harrington, and Pennington, taken prisoners ; 
by whose ransom, as well as the plunder of the English 
camp, the Scottish leaders were much enriched.* The 
Scots lost only twenty-six soldiers; but Wallace of 
Craigie, a leader of great courage and experience, whose 
conduct had mainly contributed to the victory, soon 
after died of his wounds. 

It would appear, however, that both countries were 
willing to consider this infringement of the peace rather 
as an insulated and accidental disturbance of the Bor- 
ders, than a fixed determination to renew the war. It 
led to no more serious hostilities; and whilst, in Eng- 
land, the loss of the French dominions, the rebellion of 
Ireland, and the intrigues of the Yorkists, spread dis- 
satisfaction and alarm throughout the country, the 
King of Scotland, whose character seemed gradually to 
gain in intelligence and vigour, looked anxiously for- 
ward to the arrival of his intended consort, and sum- 
moned his parliament to meet at Stirling on the fourth 
of April, 1449. Unfortunately, with a single and un- 
important exception, no re cord of the transactions of this 
meeting of the Estates has reached our times ."f* We 
know, however, that the practice of appointing a com- 
mittee of parliament, composed of the representatives 
of the bishops, the barons, and the commissaries of the 
burghs, was continued; and it may be conjectured, that 
their remaining deliberations principally regarded the 
approaching marriage of the king. Preparations for 

* Aucliinleck Chronicle, p. 40. The version of this battle, which Pinker- 
ton, in the silence of English and Scottish historians, has extracted from the 
French writers Chartier and Monstrelet, is fabulous. 

f Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 60. 

1 UD. JAMES II. 67 

this joyful event now engrossed the court ; and it was 
determined tliat the ceremony should be conducted 
with much magnificence and solemnity. 

On the eighteenth of June, the fleet which bore the 
bride anchored in tlie Fortli. It consisted of thirteen 
large vessels, and had on board a brilliant freight of 
French and Burgundian chivalry. The Archduke of 
Austria, the Duke of Brittany,* and the Lord of Camp- 
vere, all brothers-in-law to the King of Scotland, along 
with the Dukes of Savoy and of Burgundy, with a 
suite of knights and barons, accompanied the princess 
and her ladies, whilst a body-guard of three hundred 
men-at-arms, clothed, both man and horse, in complete 
steel, attended her from the shore to the palace of 
Holyrood, where she was received by her youthful 
consort. -f- The princess, a lady of great beauty, and, 
as it afterwards proved, of masculine talent and under- 
standing, rode, according to the manners of the times, 
behind the Lord Campvere, encircled by the nobles of 
France, Burgundy, and Scotland, and welcomed by the 
acclamations of an immenseconcourse of spectators. The 
portion of the bride amounted to sixty thousand crowns, 
which was stipulated to be paid within two years by 
the maternal uncle of the princess, Philip the Good 
duke of Burgundy, one of the wealthiest and most 
powerful princes in Europe, who now attended her to 
Scotland. James on the other hand, settled upon the 
queen, in the event of his previous decease, a dowry of 

* Paradin Alliances Genealogiques de Rois de France, p. 571. Francis 
the First, seventh Duke of Brittany, " fort bon et loyal Fraiiqois, et Tun des 
ileaux des Anglois, me>mes au recouvrenient de Nomiandie." He died in 
1450. He married Isabella, daughter of James the First, sister of James 
the Second of Scotland, sister to the l)aui)hiiiess of France. They had two 
daughters : Margaret, married to Francis the tenth Duke of BritliUiy; and 
Alary, married lo tlie Viscount of Uobaji. 

+ AucLiuleck Chronicle, p. 41. 


ten thousand crowns, wliicli was secured upon lands 
in Stratliern, Athole, Methven, and Linlithgow; and 
he bound himself, in the event of a male heir being 
born to the Duke of Gueldres, to renounce all claims 
to which his marriage v;ith the princess might other- 
wise have entitled him. At the same period, in con- 
sideration of the amicable and advantageous commercial 
intercourse which, from remote ages, had been main- 
tained between the Scottish merchants and the people 
of Brabant, Flanders, Holland, Zealand, and other 
territories, all of which were now subject to the Duke 
of Burgundy, a treaty of perpetual friendship and 
alliance was concluded between these united states and 
the kingdom of Scotland, in which their respective 
sovereigns engaged to compel all aggressors upon their 
mutual subjects, whether the attack and spoliation was 
conducted by land or sea, to make the amplest satis- 
faction and restitution to the injured parties.* From 
the moment of the arrival of the Princess of Gueldres 
till the solemnization of her marriage and coronation, 
the time was occupied by feasting, masks, revelry, and 
tournaments; amongst which last amusements there 
occurred a noted combat at outrance, in which three 
Burgundian champions, famous amongst their con- 
temporaries for an unrivalled skill in their weapons, 
challenged the bravest of the Scottish knights to an 
encounter with the lance, battle-axe, sword, and dagger. 
The challenge of the foreign knights, two of whom 
belonged to the ancient and noble family of Lalain, 
whilst the third was the Sieur de Meriadet, Lord of 
Longueville, was accepted by James Douglas, brother 
of the earl, another baron of the same name, brother 
of Douglas of Lochleven, and Sir John Ross of Halket. 

* MS. Bib. Harl. 4637, vol. iii. p. 183. 

1449. JAMES II. 69 

The lists were erected at Stirlini^, where the combatants 
haviiiij entered, splendidly apparelled, first proceeded 
to arm themselves in their pavilions. They were then 
knighted by the king; and, at the sound of the trumpet, 
eno^af ed in a desperate encounter, in which spears were 
soon shivered and cast aside to make way for the close 
combat. At length, one of the Douglases being felled 
to the ground by the stroke of a battle-axe, the mon- 
arch, anxious to avoid the further tffusion of blood, 
or to stain his nuptial entertainment by tlie death 
of such brave kniirhts, threw down his gauntlet, and 
terminated the contest.* It may give us some idea 
of the immense power possessed at this period by the 
Earl of Douglas, when we mention, that on this chi- 
valrous occasion, the military suite by which he was 
surrounded, and at the head of which he conducted 
the Scottish champions to the lists, consisted of a force 
amounting to five thousand men. 

Soon after this the royal marriage was solemnized 
in the abbey of Holy rood, and the king, guided by 
the advice and experience of Crichton and Kennedy, 
resumed his designs for the vindication of his own 
authority, and the destruction of those unprincipled 
barons who had risen, during his minority, upon its 
ruins. Against Douglas, however, on account of his 
exorbitant power, it was as yet impossible to proceed, 
although an example of his insolent cruelty occurred 
about this time, in the murder of Colvil of Oxcnham 
and a considerable body of his retainers,*!- which deeply 
incensed the young monarch. Dissembling his resent- 
ment till a more favourable opportunity, the king 
directed his whole strenirth ajrainst the faction of the 

* Auchinlcck Chronicle, p. 40. De Coucy. p. 5G7. His Momoir; ar* 
published at the end of the Ilistory of Jean Chartier. 
t Auckiuleck Chronicle, p. 4 1 . 


Livingstons; and having received secret information 
of a great convocation which they were to hold at the 
bridge of Inchbelly, which passes over the Kelvin near 
Kirkintilloch, he was fortunate enough to surround 
them by the royal forces, and arrest the leading men 
of the family, before they could adopt any measures 
either for resistance or escape. James Livingston, 
eldest son of the aged and noted Sir Alexander Living- 
ston of Callendar; Robyn of Calleudar captain of 
Dumbarton ; David Livingston of Greenyards ; John 
Livingston captain of Doune castle; Robert Living- 
ston of Lithgow; and, not long after. Sir Alexander 
himself, were seized and thrown into prison, while 
such expedition was used, that within forty days not 
only their whole property was put under arrest, but 
every officer who acted under their authority, was ex- 
pelled violently from his situation, and every castle 
or fortalice which was held by themselves or their 
vassals, seized and occupied by the sovereign.* The 
manner in which this bold and sweeping measure was 
carried into execution, is involved in an obscurity very 
similar to that which, in a former reign, attended the 
arrest of the family and faction of Albany by James 
the First. In both instances the great outlines of the 
transaction alone remain, and all the minute but not 
less important causes which led to the weakening the 
resistance of the victims of royal vengeance, to the 
strengthening the hands of the executive, and to the 
surprise and discomfiture of a formidable faction, which 
had for twelve years controlled and set at defiance the 
utmost energies of the government, are lost in the 
silence of contemporary history and the destruction of 
original records. All that is certainly known, seems 

* Aucliinleck Chronicle, p. 42. 

U4.9. JAMES II. 61 

to indicate an extraordinary increase in the resources, 
courage, and ability of the king, and a proportionable 
diminution in the strength, or a reniarkablo indillcr- 
ence and lukewarmness in the zeal, of the great fami- 
lies by whom ho had been so long retained in a state 
of ijrnominious durance. 

Immediately after this unexpected display of his 
power, which excited great astonishment in the coun- 
try, the king despatched the Bishop of Brechin and 
the Abbot of Melrose, his treasurer and confessor, along 
with the Lords Montgomery and Grey, as his ambas- 
sadors, for the purpose of concluding a truce with 
England;* and a meeting having taken place with the 
commissioners of the English monarch in the cathedral 
church at Durham, on the twenty-fifth of November, 
a cessation of hostilities for an indefinite period was 
agreed on, in which the most ample provisions were 
included for the encouragement of the commerce of 
both kingdoms, and which, upon six months*' previous 
warning being given, might be lawfully infringed by 
the Enjjlish or the Scottish monarch. A confirma- 
tion of the treaty with France, and a ratification of 
the league with the Duke of Brittany, immediately 
succeeded to the negotiations in England ;-f and James, 
having thus wisely secured himself against any dis- 
turbance from abroad, summoned his parliament to 
meet at Edinburgh on the nineteenth of January, and 
proceeded, with a determined purpose and exemplary 
severity, to enforce the judgment of the law against the 
manifold offences of the house of Livingston. 

Their principal crime, in itself an act of open trea- 
son, had been the violent attack uj)on the queen, and 
the imprisonment of her person, on the third of August, 

• Rymer, vol. xi. p. 2V2. f Mag. Sig. iv. fol. 1. 


1439; and with a manifest reference to this subject, 
it was declared, "That if any man should assist, coun- 
sel, or maintain those that are arraigned by the sove- 
reign in the present parliament, on account of crimes 
committed against the kina; or his late dearest mother, 
they should be liable to the punishment inflicted on 
the principal offenders." Sir Alexander Livingston 
of Callendar, the head of the family, and now an aged 
man, James Dundas of Dundas, his cousin-german, 
and Robert Bruce, brother to Bruce of Claclonannan, 
were forfeited and imprisoned in Dumbarton castle. 
The vengeance of the law next fell upon Alexander 
Livingston, a younger son of the Lord of Callendar, 
along with Robert Livingston, comptroller, who were 
hanged, and afterwards beheaded, on the Castle-hill 
at Edinburgh; upon which Archibald Dundas, whose 
brother had been shut up in Dumbarton, threw him- 
self into the castle of Dundas, which was at that time 
strongly garrisoned and full of provisions, declaring 
that he would die upon the walls, or extort from the 
king a free pardon to himself and his adherents. AVhy 
the father, the eldest son James, and James Dundas, 
who were all of them personally engaged in the atro- 
cious attack on the queen,* were permitted to escape 
with imprisonment, whilst a mortal punishment was 
reserved for apparently inferior delinquents, it is diffi- 
cult to discover. -|- 

* Mag. Sig. iv. 4. Charter bj' James II. to Alexander Naper, "Compo- 
torum suoium Rotulatori, pro suo tideli servicio quondam carissimo Matri 
Regine inipenso et in remuneracionem et recompensationem lesionis sui cor- 
poris, ac gravaminum et dampnorum sibi illatorum tempore proditoriae tra- 
dicionis et incarcerationis dicte Reginse, per Alex, de Levingston, militem, 
et Jac. de Levingston, (ilium suum, ac suos complices, nequiter perpetrati." 
See also a royal charter to trhe Earl of Douglas of half of the lands of Dundas, 
and Echling of Dumany and Queensferry, forfeited by James of Dundas : 
" propter proditoriam tradicionem in personam regiam per eundem Jac. com- 

f Pinkerton, vol. i. p. 203, misled by Boece and Lindsay, has committed 

1M9. JAMKS II. 6:J 

Another obscurity occurs in the passive manner in 
wliich tlie Earl of Doui;la.s appears to have rei^ardcd 
tho downfall of those with whom he had been loni; 
connected by the strictest ties of mutual support and 
successful and)ition. There can be little doubt that 
the king, who had now surrounded himself by some 
of the ablest men in the country, whom he chiefly 
selected from the ranks of the clergy, was well aware 
of the treasonable league between Douglas, Ross, and 
Crawford, and already meditated the destruction of 
this haughty potentate, whose power was incompatible 
with the security of the government ; and it is extra- 
ordinary that the example of the sudden destruction 
of his companions in intrigue and insubordination, 
should not have alarmed the earl for his own safety. 
The most probable account seems to be, that, aware of 
the increasing strength of the party of the sovereign, 
he found it expedient to act as an ally rather than an 
enemy, and in good time to desert, and even to share 
in the spoils of those whom he considered it desperate 
to defend. It is certain, at least, that immediately 
subsequent to the forfeiture of the Livingstons, Dou- 
glas repeatedly experienced the favour and generosity 
of the sovereign. When Dundas castle, after a reso- 
lute defence of three months, surrendered to the royal 
army, the wealth of the garrison, the cannon, provi- 
sions, and military stores, were divided between the 
king, the Earl of Douglas, and Sir William and Sir 
George Crichton. On the forfeiture of Dundas"'s lands, 
a great part of his estate was settled on Douglas; his 
lordship of Galloway was erected into a special regality, 
with the power of holding justice and chamberlain 

an error in placing the destruction of the Livingstons in IIKJ, and ascrildiig 
it to the Karl of Douglas. 


ayres, to be held blanch of the sovereign ; he obtained 
also the lands of Blairmaks in Lanarkshire, foi'feited 
by James of Dundas, and of Coulter and Ogleface, 
which had been the property of the Livingstons.* 

In the same parliament which inflicted so signal a 
vengeance upon this powerful family, the condition of 
the country, and the remedy of those abuses which 
had grown up during the minority of the monarch, 
engaged the attention of the legislature ; and to some 
of the resolutions which were passed, as they throw a 
strong light on the times, it will be necessary to direct 
our attention. After the usual declaration of the in- 
tention of the sovereiijn to maintain the freedom of 
" Haly Kirk," and to employ the arm of the civil 
power to carry the ecclesiastical sentence into execu- 
tion against any persons who had fallen under the 
censures of the church, the parliament provided, that 
general peace should be proclaimed and maintained 
throughout the realm, and that all persons were to be 
permitted to travel in security for mercantile or other 
purposes, in every part of the country, without the 
necessity of " having assurance one of the other." 
The " king''s peace," it was observed, was henceforth to 
be " sufficient surety to every man," as the sovereign 
was resolved to employ such officers alone as could 
well punish all disturbers of the public peace. In the 
event of any person being, notwithstanding this enact- 
ment, in mortal fear of another, a daily and hourly 
occurrence in these times of feudal riot and disorder, 
he was commanded to go to the sheriff, or nearest 
magistrate, and swear that he dreads him ; after which 
the officer was to take pledges for the keeping of the 
peace, according to the ancient statutes upon this sub- 
* Mag. Sig. iv. No. 109, 110. Ibid. No. 59. 

1440. JAMES II. C)') 

ject. Those who filled the office of judges were to be 
just men, who understood the law, and whose character 
should be a warrant for an equal administration of 
justice to the small as well as to the great. It was 
appointed that the justice should make his progress 
through the country twice in the year, according to 
the old law.* 

The attention of the parliament appears to have been 
next directed to that grave subject, of which the recent 
history of the country had aftbrded so many illustra- 
tions, rebellion against the king's person and authority, 
upon which it was first provided, that the crime should 
be punished according to the judgment of the three 
Estates, who were to take into consideration "the 
quality and the quantity of the rebellion." In the next 
place, when any man openly and "wo^owr/y" raised 
rebellion against the sovereign, or made war upon tho 
lieges, or gave encouragement or protection to those 
guilty of such offences, the parliament declared it to be 
the duty of the sovereign, with assistance of the whole 
strength of the country, to proceed in person against 
the offender, and inflict upon him speedy punishment; 
whilst all persons who in an}-- way afforded countenance 
to those convicted of rebellion, were to be punished 
with the same severity as the principal delinquents. 

The next enactment of this parliament constituted 
an important era in the history of the liberty of tho 
subject ; and I think it best to give it in its ancient 
simplicity : — " It is declared to be ordained for tho 
safety and favour of the poor people who labour the 
ground, that they, and all others who have taken or 
shall take lands in any time to come from lords, ac- 
cording to a lease which is to run for a certain term of 

• Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 35. 


years, shall remain on tlie lands protected by their 
lease till the expiry of the same, paying all along the 
same yearly rent, and this notwithstanding the lands 
should pass by sale, or by alienation, into different 
hands from those by whom they were first given in 
lease to the tenant." Under the reign of James the 
First, we have already pointed out the request made 
by that monarch to the great feudal lords, that they 
would not summarily remove their tenantry from their 
lands possessed on lease : this was clearly the earliest 
step towards the attainment of the important privilege 
contained in the above statute ; a wise and memorable 
act in its future consequences on the security of pro- 
perty, the liberty of the great body of the people, and 
the improvement of the country.* 

For the prevention of those invasions of property, 
which were at this period so frequent throughout the 
country, the sheriff was peremptorily enjoined to make 
immediate inquiry, and compel the ofienders to instant 
restoration ; an act easily engrossed in the statute- 
book, but almost impossible to be carried into execution, 
so lono; as the sheriff himself was under the fear and 
authority of one or other of the great feudal lords, or 
might perhaps be himself a principal offender. AVe 
find it accordingly provided, that these officers, along 
with the justices, chamberlains, coroners, and other 
magistrates, shall be prevented from collecting around 
them, in their progresses through the country, those 
numerous trains of attendants, which grievously op- 
pressed the people, and that they should content them- 
selves with that moderate number of followers, appointed 
by the ancient laws upon this subject. 

The statute which immediately followed, from the 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 35, 36. 

1449. JAMES II. 67 

strength and simplicity of its language, gives us a 
singular and primitive picture of the times. It related 
to that description of persons, who, disdaining all regu- 
lar labour, have ever been, iu the eyes of the civil 
magistrate, apcrverse and hatefulgeneration, "sornars, 
outlyars, masterful beggars, fools, bards, and runners 
about." For the putting away of all such vexatious 
and rude persons, who travelled through the country 
with their horses, hounds, and other property, all sheriffs), 
barons, aldermen, and bailies, either without or within 
burgh, were directed to make inquiry into this matter 
at every court which they held ; and, iu the event of 
any such individuals being discovered, their horses, 
hounds, and other property, were to be immediately 
confiscated to the crown, and they themselves put in 
prison till such time as the king "had his will of them."'' 
And it was also commanded by the parliament, that the 
same officers, when they held their courts, should make 
inquiry whether there be any persons that followed the 
profession of "Fools," or such like runners about, who 
did not belong to the class of bards ; and such being 
discovered, they were to be put in prison or in irons 
for such trespass, as long as they had any goods or 
substance of their o^vIl to live upon. If they had no- 
thing to live upon, it was directed that " their ears be 
nailed to the Tron, or to any other tree, and then cut 
off, and they themselves banished the country, to which, 
if they returned again, they were upon their first ap- 
prehension to be hanged."* 

For the examination of the acts of parliament, and 
of general councils, which had been assembled in the 
time of the present king and of his late father, the 
three Estates appointed a committee of twelve persons, 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 30". 


four chosen from the bishops, four from the lords, and 
four from the commissaries of burghs. To this body 
was committed the task of selecting all such acts as 
they esteemed wise, and calculated to promote the 
present advantage of the realm, which were to be re- 
vised and presented for approval at the next parliament 
to be assembled at Perth. For the prevention of that 
grievous calamity, a dearth of provisions in the land, 
the sheriffs, bailies, and all other officers, both without 
and within the burghs, were strictly enjoined to dis- 
cover, arrest, and punish all such persons within their 
own jurisdiction, who were in the practice of buying 
victual or corn, and hoarding it up till the occurrence 
of a dearth ; whilst the provisions which they had thus 
hoarded were directed to be escheated to the king. In 
addition to these enactments, whilst free permission 
was granted to all the subjects of the realm to buy and 
sell victual at their pleasure, either on the north half 
or south half of the Firth of Forth, yet the keeping 
old stacks of corn in the farm-yard later than Christ- 
mas was strictly prohibited ; and it was enjoined in 
equally positive terms, that neither burgesses nor other 
persons who bought victual for the purpose of selling 
again, should be allowed, to lay up a great store of 
corn, and keep it out of the market till the ripening of 
the next harvest ; but that, at this late season of the 
year, they were only to have so much grain in their 
possession, as was requisite for the support of them- 
selves and their families.* 

The succeeding statute, upon the punishment of 
treason, was directed against the repetition of the 
practices of Livingston, Douglas, and Crichton, which 
disgraced the minority of this sovereign. It provided 

* Acts of tlie Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 36. 

] i49. JAME3 II. 69 

that, ill the event of any person committing treason 
against the king"'s majesty, by rising against liini in 
open war, or laying violent hands upon his person — 
bv frivin<r countenance to those convicted of treason — 
supplying with military stores and armed men the 
castles of convicted traitors — holding out such castles 
against the king's forces, or assailing any fortress in 
which the king's person might happen to be at the time 
— ^lie should be immediately arrested, and openly 
punished as a traitor. When those who had been 
guilty of theft or robbery were men of such power and 
authority, that the justiciar was not in safety to hold 
his court, or to put down, by the arm of the law, such 
"great and masterful theft," he was instantly to com- 
municate with the king, who, with the assistance of 
his privy council, should provide a remedy ; and, in 
order that such bold and daring offenders be not placed 
upon their guard as to the legal processes in preparation 
against them, the justice-clerk was commanded not to 
reveal his action to any person whatever, or alter it in 
any way from the form in which it was given him, 
except for the king's advantage, or change any names, 
or put out any of the rolls without orders from the 
king or his council, and this under the penalty of the 
loss of his office and estate, at the will of the sovereign.* 
How lamentable a picture does it present of the condi- 
tion of the country when such expressions could be 
employed ; where an acknowledged infringement of the 
law was permitted, " if it be for the king's advantage"; 
and in which the right of the subject to be informed of 
the oflence of which hewas accused, previous to his trial, 
aj)pears to be thus unceremoniously sacrificed ! 

Upon the important subject of the money of the 

* Acts of the PaiJiancr.t of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 37. 


realm, reference was made, in this parliament, to a 
former act, now unfortunately lost, hy which twenty- 
four persons were chosen from the three Estates to 
appoint proper regulations as to the importation of 
bullion by the merchants, the new coinage and its issue, 
and the circulation of the money then current. Strict 
search was directed to be made at all seaports, and upon 
the Borders and marches, for the apprehension of those 
carrying money out of the kingdom ; and all false 
strikers of gold and silver, all forgers of false groats and 
pennies, were to be seized wherever found, and brought 
to the king, to be punished as the lav^ directed. In the 
same parliament, the monarch, with that affectionate 
respect for the clergy, which could not fail to be ex- 
perienced by a prince who had successfully employed 
their support and advice to escape from the tyranny of 
his nobles, granted to them some important privileges. 
In a charter, dated on the twenty-fourth January, 
1449, he declared that, "for the salvation of his own 
soul, and that of Queen Mary his consort, with consent 
of his three Estates, and in terms of a schedule then 
presented to him, he conferred upon all bishops of cathe- 
dral churches in Scotland, the privilege of making their 
testaments, of levying the fruits of vacant sees, and 
converting them to their use, the vicars-general of the 
cathedrals rendering a true account of the same." * 

At the time the king held this parhament, he appears 
to have entertained the most amicable disposition 
towards England, wisely considering, that it would 
require a long interval of peace to reform the condition 
of his own kingdom, and to rectify the abuses, to which 
lie was now beginning to direct his undivided attention. 
He was well aware that the English government, en 

* Mag. Sig. iv. 5. Jan. 24, 1449. 

1449. JAMES II. 71 

tirelj occupied in .1 vain effort to retain the pro'vnnces 
Avhioh had been conquci-cd in France, and wcalconcd by 
the soltishadniinistrationof thcqueen and herfavourite, 
Suftolk, could have little disposition to engage in a war 
with Scotland ; and he considered the protest of that 
government, upon the old and exploded claim of hom- 
age, as a piece of diplomatic etiquette, which it would 
bo absurd to make a serious ground of offence. Ho 
accordingly despatched John JMethvcn, a doctor of 
decretals, as his ambassador to the court of England : 
he appointed the Bishops of Dunkeld and Brechin, 
with the Earls of Douglas, Angus, and Crawford, to 
meet the commissioners of Henry the Sixth, for tho 
regulation of the truces, and settlement of the marches : 
whilst he encouraged, by every method in his power, 
the friendly intercourse between the two countries.* 

At the same time, without absolutely attempting to 
deprive the Earl of Douglas of his high office of lieu- 
tenant-general of the kingdom, a measure which must 
have excited extreme conmiotion, he silently withdrew 
from him his countenance and employment, surround- 
ing himself by the most energetic counsellors, whom 
he promoted to the chief ofHces in the state, rewarding 
the chancellor Crichton "for his faithful services 
rendered to the king's father, and to the king himself;"" 
and weakening the power of the earl and his party, 
rather by the formidable counterpoise which he raised 
against it, than by any act of determined hostility .•!• 
The consequences of this lino of policy were higidy 
favourable to the king. The power and unjust usur- 
j)ation of Douglas over the measures of government, 
decreased almost impcrce[)tibly, yet by sure degrees. 

• Rotuli ScotitD, vol. ii. p. 342. 

t Mag. Sig. iv. -M. Juno I'-', 1450. 


as the character of the sovereign increased in firmness, 
and the authority of the ministers by whom he man- 
aged the government became more steadily exerted ; 
the terror with which the people had regarded the 
tyrannic sway of this imperious noble, began to be 
dispelled ; and the despot himself, aware that his do- 
minion was on the wane, and conscious that any open 
insurrection would be premature, determined to leave 
the country for a season, and repair to Rome on a visit 
to the pope, making some stay, in his way thither, at 
the courts of England and France. His train consisted 
of six knights, with their own suites and attendants, 
and fourteen gentlemen of the best families in the 
country, with their servants, accompanied by a body 
of eighty horse, or men-at-arms.* 

Although the only motives assigned for this expe- 
dition, were those arising out of religion and the love 
of travel, it seems by no means improbable that Douglas 
had other objects in view. In right of his wife, he 
possessed a claim to the wealthy Duchy of Touraine ; 
which, although then a male fief, might be altered to 
heirs-general by the King of France, at the request of 
so potent a baron. In England also, he could not 
possibly be ignorant of the intrigues of the Yorkists 
against the government of Henry the Sixth ; and he 
may have had hopes of strengthening his own power, 
or diminishing that of his sovereign, by an alliance 
with a faction whose views were expressly opposed to 
the pacific policy of the present government of Scotland. 
In addition to this, althoug habsent in person, and 
with the apparent intention of remaining some years 
abroad, he left powerful friends at home, whose motions 
he directed, and by whose assistance he entertained the 

* Rotuli Scotia;, ii, p, 313. 

I Hi). JAMES 11. 73 

hope of once more possessing himself of tlio supremo 
power in the state. Upon James Douglas, his brother. 
Lord of Balveny, he conferred the ofKcc of procurator 
or administrator of his estates during his absence; and 
there seems a strong presumption, that ho secretly re- 
newed that treasonable correspondence with the Earls 
of Ross and Crawford, which has been already men- 
tioned as embracing an oftensive and defensive alliance 
against all men, not excepting the person of the sove- 

In the meantime, he and his numerous suite set sail 
for Flanders, from which they proceeded to Paris. He 
was here joined by his brother, James Douglas, at this 
time a scholar at the university, and intending to enter 
the church, but afterwards Earl of Douglas.* From 
the court of France, wliere he was received w'ith dis- 
tinction, Douglas proceeded to that of the supreme 
pontiff, during the brilliant season of the jubilee, where 
his visit appears to have astonished the polite and 
learned Italians, as much by its foreign novelty as by 
its barbaric pomp. His return, however, was hastened 
by disturbances at home, arising out of the insolence 
and tyranny of his brother, Douglas of Balveny, to 
whom he had delegated his authority, and against tho 
abuses of whose government such perpetual complaints 
were carried to tho king, that, according to the provi- 
sions of the late act of parliament upon the subject, 
he found it necessary to conduct in person an armed 
expedition into tho lands of the delinquent. The object 
of this enterprise was to expel from their strongholds 
that congregation of powerful barons, who were retained 
in the service of this feudal prince, and under the terror 
of his name, invaded tho property of the people, and 

* Buchanan, Look xi. chap, xxxii. Lesley, p. 2'2. 


defied the control of the laws. James, however, did 
not betake himself to this measure, until he had in 
vain attempted to appease the disturbances, and inflict 
punishment upon the offenders by the arm of the civil 
power; but having been driven to this last necessity, 
he made himself master of Lochmaben castle, exter- 
minated from their feudal nests the armed retainers, 
who were compelled to restore their plunder, and razed 
to the ground Douglas castle, which had long been the 
centre of insubordination. He then returned to court, 
and, under the idea that they had suffered a sufficient 
imprisonment, restored to liberty Sir Alexander Liv- 
ingston and Dundas of Dundas, who had been confined 
in Dumbarton castle since the memorable forfeiture of 
the Livingstons in the preceding year. Dundas appears 
immediately to have repaired to Rome,* with the de- 
sign, in all probability, of secretly commimicating with 
Douglas, whilst that formidable potentate, dreading 
the full concentration of the regal vengeance, which 
had already partially burst upon him, set out forth- 
with on his return to Scotland. 

In the meantime, his friends and confederates were 
not idle at home. In 1445, a secret league, as we have 
already seen, had been entered into between Douglas 
and the Earls of Ross and Crawford, and the confede- 
racy now resorted to hostile measures. Ross, who died 
in 1449, had transmitted to his eldest son, John, his 
treason along with his title ; and the new earl, who was 
connected by marriage with the Livingstons, broke out 
into rebellion, and seized the royal castles of Inver- 
ness, Urquhart, and Ruthven in Badenoch. This last 
place he immediately demolished ; Urquhart was com- 
mitted to Sir James Livingston, who, on the first news 

* Rotuli ScotisB, vol. ii. p. 344. 

1451. JAMES II. 76 

of Ross's rebellion, liad escaped from the king''s court 
to tlio highlands; whilst Inverness castle was supplied 
with military stores, and strongly garrisoned.* Al- 
though a rebellion which threatened to involve the 
whole of the northern part of Scotland in war and 
tumult, must have been known, and was probably in- 
stiirated by Douglas, it appears that the king, from 
his ignorance of the earl's confederac}' with Ross and 
Crawford, did not suspect his connivance. Douglas's 
absence from Scotland, and the secrecy with which the 
treasonable correspondence had been conducted, for a 
while blinded the e^-es of the monarch ; and on his 
return from Rome, having expressed his indignation at 
the excesses committed by his vassals during his ab- 
sence, and his resolution to employ his power on the 
side of the laws, he was again received into favour, and 
appointed, along with the Bishops of Dunkeld and 
Brechin, and the Earls of Angus and Crawford, a 
commissioner to treat of the prolongation of the truce 
with England.^ 

The earl, however, showed himself little worthy of 
this renewed confidence upon the part of the king. He 
put his seal, indeed, into the hands of the other com- 
missioners, for the purpose of giving a sanction to the 
articles of truce, but ho remained himself in Scot- 
land; and although the evidence is not of that direct 
nature which makes his guilt unquestionable, there 
seems a strong presumption, that, in concert with the 
Earls of Ross and Crawford, suj)ported by the faction 
of the Livingstons and Hamiltons, and in conjunction 
with the party of the Yorkists in England, ho entered 
into a conspiracy against his sovereign. It is well 

• Aucliinleck Chronicle, p. 44. 

t Uymer, vol. xi. p. '-'83. Rotuli Scotia;, ii. 345. 


known, that at this moment the Duke of York, father 
to Edward the Fourth was busy in exciting a spirit of 
dissension in England, and anxious to adopt every means 
to weaken the power of Henry the Sixth. Douglas 
accordingly despatched his brother, Sir James, who 
repaired to London, and continued there for a consider- 
able time, caressed by the faction which was inimical 
to the existing government ; whilst the earl soon after 
obtained a protection for himself, his three brothers, 
twenty-six gentlemen, and sixty-seven attendants, who 
proposed to visit the court of England, and proceed 
afterwards to the continent.* It is worthy of obser- 
vation, that the persons whose names are included in 
these letters of safe conduct, are the same who after- 
wards joined the house of Douglas in their open revolt, 
and there seems to be no doubt, from this circumstance, 
that although the conspiracy did not now burst forth in 
its full strength, it was rapidly gaining ground, and 
advancing to maturity. 

It was impossible, however, to conduct their treason- 
able designs upon so great a scale, without exposing 
themselves to the risk of detection; and some suspi- 
cions having been excited at this moment, or some 
secret information transmitted to the king, enough of 
the intrigue was discovered to justify parliament in 
depriving the Earl of Douglas of his office of lieuten- 
ant-general of the kingdom.-}- It will be recollected 
that the sovereign was now in his twenty-first year; 
that by attaching to his service the most enlightened 
of his clergy, and making use of the energetic talents 
of Crichton, his chancellor, he had already left nothing 
to Douglas but the name of his great office; and al- 
though his suspicion of the treasonable designs of the 

* Rymer, vol. xi. p. 284. + Boece, book xviii. p. S7i 

1451. JAMES II. 77 

carl must have accelerated this last step, yet his de- 
privation aj)pears to have been carried into execution 
without any open rupture. Indeed, James seems to 
have been anxious that the blow should not fall too 
heavily; and with this object the formi(Uible noble 
was invested almost immediately after with the office 
of Warden of the west and middle marches of Scot- 
land. At the same time, an entail was executed, by 
which the earldoms of Douglas and Wigtown were 
settled upon him and his descendants.* 

It was at this crisis of the struggle between the legi- 
timate prerogative of the Scottish sovereign and his 
ministers, and the overgrown authority of the house 
of Douglas, that the Duke of York and his party in 
England availed themselves of the popular discontents, 
occasioned by the loss of the French provinces, to dis- 
possess the Duke of Somerset and the queen from the 
chief management of the state, and to acquire the prin- 
cipal control over the government. In consequence of 
this revolution, a decided change is apparent in the 
conduct of England towards the sister country, from 
the principles of a wise and pacific policy to those of 
an unsettled, ambitious, and sometimes decidedly hos- 
tile character. The first appearance of this is discerni- 
ble in the negotiations regarding the truce which took 
place at Durham on the fourth of August, l-i51, where 
the amicable correspondence between the two countries 
was interrupted by a protest regarding the idle and 
antiquated claim of homage. Fortunately, however, 
this did not prevent the treaty of truce from being 
brought to aconclusion.-f- 

In the meantime, Douglas returned to his princi- 
pality in Annandale,and in the exercise of his authority 

• Mag. Sig. iv. 2-22. July 7, U51. + Rymer, vol. xi. pp. 291, 302, 


of warden, commenced anew that series of tyrannical 
measures, which had already brought upon him the 
indignation of the government. Herries of Terregles, 
a gentleman of ancient family, having attempted to 
defend himself by arms from the violence of his parti- 
sans, and to recover from them the property of which he 
had been plundered, was taken prisoner, and dragged 
before the earl, who in contempt of an express mandate 
of the king, solemnly delivered by a herald, ordered him 
to be instantly hanged. Soon after this, another auda- 
cious ti'ansaction occurred, in the murder of Sir John 
Sandilands of Calder, a kinsman of James, by Sir 
Patrick Thornton, a dependant of the house of Douglas, 
along; with whom were slain two knio-hts, Sir James and 
Sir Allan Stewart, both of whom enjoyed the regard 
and intimacy of the sovereign.* 

It appears to have been about this time, that, either 
from the circumstance of its having been more openly 
renewed, or less carefully concealed, the treasonable 
lea2;ue between Douglas and the Earls of Hoss and 
Crawford was discovered by James, who justly trem- 
bled at the formidable and extensive power which he 
found arrayed against the government. On the side 
of England, however, he was secure, owing to the 
recent renewal of the truce; upon the friendship of 
France he could calculate with equal certainty; but 
as it was impossible at once to destroy a conspiracy 
which was backed by a force equal to almost one-half 
of the armed population of Scotland, the king was 
compelled to temporize, and await a season when his 
own power should be more confirmed, and that of 
Douglas weakened by the jealousies and dissensions 
which, after some time, might be expected to break 

* Aucliinleck Chronicle, p. 45. Sir J. Balfour's Annals, vol. i. p. 180. 

14')1. JAMES II. 79 

out in a confederacy, embracing so many men of jSerce, 
capricious, and selfish lialiits. Douglas, however, ■who 
had already irritated and insulted tho monarch, by tlio 
murder of Herries and Sandilands, seemed determined 
not to imitate the calmness and moderation of the 
government; and, whilst the king''s chief minister, tho 
chancellor Crichton, was proceeding with his retinue 
through the southern suburb of Edinburgh, with tho 
intention of embarking on board a vessel in the Forth, 
the party was suddenly attacked by an armed band of 
ruffians hired for the purpose by the earl. Contrary, 
indeed, to tho hopes of this lawless baron, the old 
chancellor defended himself with much bravery; and, 
after being wounded, escaped to Crichton castle, where, 
with a spirit which forgot the sense of pain in tho 
desire of revenge, he instantly collected his vassals, 
and making an unexpected attack upon Douglas, ex 
pellcd him and his adherents from the city.* 

It affords a melancholy picture of the times, that 
this outrageous attack, committed upon the person of 
the chancellor and chief minister in the kingdom, was 
suffered to pass unpunished and even unnoticed by the 
law, and that he who had openly defied the royal 
authority, and trampled upon the regulations so re- 
cently passed in the parliament, was not long after 
employed in some political negotiations with England, 
in which there seems strong reason to believe he acted 
a part inimical to the existing government. The ex- 
planation of this must be looked for in the fact, that 
although jjartially aware of his treason, and deter- 
mined to leave nothing unattempted to undermine and 
destroy his power, James was conscious that Douglas 
was still too strong for him, and dreaded to drive him 

* Iluwthorndcn, Iliit, folio ed. p. '20. 


into a rebellion wliicli might have threatened the secu- 
rity of his throne. It was easy for him, on the other 
hand, silently to defeat his treachery, by conjoining 
with him, in the diplomatic or judicial situations in 
Avhich he was employed, those tried counsellors upon 
whom he could implicitly rely; and, in the meantime, 
he employed the interval in concentrating that power 
by means of which he trusted to overwhelm him. An 
extraordinary outrage of the earl, however, accelerated 
the royal vengeance. 

In the execution of the negotiation intrusted to him, 
Douglas had continued his correspondence with the 
party of the Yorkists in England, who still possessed 
a great influence in the state, although sometimes 
overruled by the opposite faction of Somerset and the 
queen. It seems to have been in consequence of such 
malign influence, that a letter was directed at this time 
by Henry the Sixth to the Scottish government, re- 
fusing to deliver up certain French ambassadors, who, 
on their voyage to Scotland, had been captured by the 
English;* and this step, which almost amounted to a 
declaration of hostility, was intended to be followed by 
a rising in Scotland, to be conducted by Douglas. On 
his return, therefore, to that country, the earl repaired 
to his estates ; and, in furtherance of his league with the 
Earls of Ross and Crawford, summoned the whole body 
of his vassals to assemble their armed retainers, and join 
in the treasonable association. One of these, however, 
a gentleman of spirit and independence, named Mac- 
lellan, tutor of Bomby, a sister's son to Sir Patrick 
Gray captain of the king's guard, refused to obey an 
order which he rightly stigmatized as an act of open 
rebellion, and was in consequence seized by the earl, 

* Rymer, Foedera, xi, p. 306. 

1451. JAMES II. 81 

and cast into prison. The speedy and mortal punish- 
ment witli which Douglas was accustomed to visit such 
offences, rendered the arrest of Maclelhm a subject of 
immediate alarm at court; and as he was beloved by 
the younn: kiuLf, and the near kinsman of one of his 
confidential servants, James despatched an order under 
the royal seal, commanding the immediate release of 
the prisoner; which, to prevent all mistake, he sent 
by the hands of Sir Patrick Gray. This baron accord- 
ingly rode post to Douglas castle, and was received 
by its hauirhty lord with affected courtesy and humi- 
lity. Well aware, however, of Gray"'s near relation- 
ship to his prisoner, he at once suspected the object 
of his'errand; and, being determined to defeat it, gave 
private orders for the instant execution of Maclellan. 
He then returned to Gray, and requested him to re- 
main and share his hospitality. " You found me," 
said he, "just about to sit down to dinner; if it pleases 
you, we shall first conclude our repast, and then per- 
use the letter with which I am honoured by my sove- 
reign." Having concluded the meal, Douglas rose 
from table, broke the royal seal, and glancing over the 
contents of the paper, assumed a look of much concern. 
" Sorry am I," said he, " that it is not in my power 
to give obedience to the commands of my dread sove- 
reign, much as I am beholden to him for so gracious 
a letter to one whom he has been pleased of late to 
regard with somewhat altered favour; but such redress 
as 1 can afford thou shalt have speedily."" Douglas 
then took Gray by the hand, and led him to the castle 
green, where the bleeding trunk of his poor friend lay 
beside the block upon which he had been recently be- 
lieaded. " Yonder, Sir Patrick," said he, " lies your 
sister's son — unfortunately he wants the head — but 


jou are welcome to do with his body what you please."" 
It may well be imagined how deep was the impression 
made by this cold and savage jest upon the mind of 
Gray; but he was in the den of the tyrant, and a 
single incautious word might have stretched him be- 
side his murdered kinsman. Dissembling: therefore 
his grief and indignation, he only replied, that since 
he had taken the head, the body was of little avail; 
and calling for his horse, mounted him, with a heavy 
heart, and rode across the drawbridge, to which the 
earl accompanied him. Once more, however, without 
the walls, and secure of his life, he reined up, and 
shaking his mailed glove, defied Douglas as a coward, 
and a disgrace to knighthood, whom, if he lived, he 
would requite according to his merits, and lay as low 
as the poor gentleman he had destroyed. Yet even 
this ebullition of natural indignation had nearly cost 
him dear; for the earl, braved in his own castle, gave 
orders for an instant pursuit, and the chase was con- 
tinued almost to Edinburgh, Gray only escaping by 
the uncommon fleetness of his horse.* 

An action like this was fitted to rouse to the highest 
pitch the indignation of the sovereign, and the repre- 
hension of every lover of freedom and good order. It 
manifested an utter contempt for the royal authority, 
a defiance of the laws, and a cruel exultation in the 
exercise of power. It had occurred too, at a moment 
when an attempt had been made by the statutes lately 
passed in parliament, to put down the insolence of 
aristocratic tyranny, and was of the most dangerous 
example. It was evident to the sovereign that some 
instantaneous step must be taken to reduce an over- 
grown power which threatened to plunge the country 

* Pitscottie, pp. 62, 63, 64. 

1451. JAMES II. 83 

into civil war, and that the time was come when it was 
to be shown whether he or the Earl of Douglas should 
henceforth rule in Scotland. But James, who had 
become aware of the league with lioss and Crawford, 
and of the overwhelming force which Douglas was 
ready to bring into the field, wisely hesitated before he 
adi)j)ted that course to which his determined temper 
inclined him; with the advice of Crichton and his most 
prudent counsellors, he determined rather to enter into 
a personal negotiation with Douglas, and to attempt to 
convince him of the folly of his ambition, in defying 
the authority of the crown, and aftecting the state and 
jurisdiction of an independent prince. He had hopes 
that, in this manner, he might prevail upon the earl to 
plead guilty to the oftences which he had committed ; 
to accept the pardon which was ready to be tendered 
to him, upon his indemnifying the relations of those he 
had so cruelly injured ; and to take that upright share 
in the government, to which he was entitled by his 
high rank, his great estates, and his important official 

In furtherance of this design, and suppressing his 
indiirnation at his late conduct, by considerations of 
political expediency, James despatched Sir William 
Lauder of Hatton, who had attended Douglas in his 
pilgrimage to Rome, with a message to him, expressive 
of the desire of the king to enter into a personal con- 
ference, promising absolute security for his person, and 
declaring, that upon an expression of regret for his 
misdemeanours, the offended majesty of the law might 
be appeased, and the pardon of tlie sovereign extended 
in his favour. It is impossible, in the imperfect his- 
torical evidence which remains of these dark and mys- 
terious transactions, to discover whether this conduct 


and these promises of tlie king were perfectly sincere 
or otherwise. 

It is asserted, in a contemporary chronicle, that the 
nobles who were then about the person of the monarch, 
meaning the privy councillors and officers of his house- 
hold, put their names and seals to a letter of safe 
conduct, which bore the royal signature, and to which 
the privy seal was attached.* It is added, by the same 
writer, that many of the nobles had transmitted a 
written obligation to the earl, by which they bound 
themselves, even if the king should show an inclination 
to break his promise, that they, to the utmost of their 
power, would compel him to observe it; and there seems 
no reason to doubt the accuracy of this account. -f- But, 
in the lax morality of the times, the most solemn ob- 
ligations were often little regarded ; and there were 
many crafty casuists around the king, ready to persuade 
him, that with a traitor, who, by repeated acts of re- 
bellion, had thrown himself without the pale of the 
laws, no faith ought to be kept ; that to seize such an 
offender, every method was fair, and even fraud praise- 
worthy ; and that, having once obtained possession of 
his person, it would be illegal to release him, till he had 
been declared innocent of the crimes of which he was 
accused by the verdict of a jury. That this was pro- 
bably the full extent to which James had carried his 
intentions in entrapping Douglas, is to be inferred from 
the circumstances in which he was placed, and the 
partial light of contemporary records. That he medi- 
tated the dreadful and unjustifiable vengeance in which 
the interview concluded, cannot be supposed by any one 
who considers for a moment the character of the king, 

* Auchiuleck Chronicle, p. 46. 

+ MS. Chronicle in the Library of the University of Edinburgh, A.C. c. 26. 

1451. JAMES 11. 85 

the statesmen by whose advice he was directed, or the 
dangerous crisis at which the meeting took place. 

But to whatever extent the sovereign had carried 
his design, Douglas, believing himself secure under the 
royal protection and the oaths of the nobility, came 
with a small retinue to Stirling, in company with Sir 
A\'illiam Lauder of Hatton ;* and having first taken 
up his residence in the town, soon after passed to the 
castle, where he was received by the king with much 
apparent cordiality, and invited to return on the mor- 
row to dine at the royal table. He accordingly obeyed; 
and on the following day, not only dined, but supped 
with the king ; whilst nothing appeared to have dis- 
turbed in the slightest degree the harmony of their 
intercourse. After supper, however, which, we learn 
from the contemporary chronicle was at seven in the 
evening, the monarch, apparently anxious to have some 
private conversation with the earl, took him aside from 
the crowd of courtiers by whom they were surrounded, 
into an inner chamber, where there were none present 
but the captain of his body-guard. Sir Patrick Gray, 
whom he had lately so cruelly injured. Sir William 
Crichton, Lord Gray, Sir Simon Glendonane, and a 
few more of his most intimate counsellors. -j- James, 
then walking apart with Douglas, with as much calm- 
ness and command of temper as he could assume, began 
to remonstrate upon his late violent and illegal pro- 
ceedings. In doing so, it was impossible he should not 
speak of the execution of Herries, the waylaying of 
Sandilands, and the late atrocious murder of the tutor 
of liomby. Tiie sovereign next informed him, that he 
had certain intelligence of the treasonable league which 
he had formed with the Earls of Ross and Crawford : 

• Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 4G. ■{■ Ibid. p. -17. 


he explained to him that his very admission that such 
a confederacy existed, made him obnoxious to the pun- 
ishment of a rebel, and threw him out of the protec- 
tion of the laws; and he conjured him, as he loved his 
country, and valued his own safety and welfare, to break 
the band which bound him to such traitors, and return, 
as it became a dutiful subject, to his allegiance.* But 
Douglas, unaccustomed to such remonstrances, and 
perhaps heated by the recent entertainment, listened 
with impatience, and replied with haughty insolence. 
He even broke into reproaches ; upbraided James with 
his being deprived of his office of lieutenant-governor 
of the kingdom ; and after a torrent of passionate abuse 
against the counsellors who had insinuated themselves 
into the royal confidence, declared that he little regard- 
ed the name of treason, with which his proceedings had 
been bi'anded ; that as for his confederacy with Ross 
and Crawford, he had it not in his power to dissolve 
it ; and, if he had, he would be sorry to break with his 
best friends to gratify the idle caprices of his sovereign. 
Hitherto the king had listened with patience, which 
was the more remarkable, as he was naturally fiery and 
impetuous in his temper; but this rude defiance, uttered 
to his face by one whom he regarded as an open enemy ; 
who had treated his royal mandate with contempt ; 
under whose nails, to use a strong expression of the 
times, the blood of his best friends was scarce dry, en- 
tirely overcame his self-command. He broke at once, 
from a state of quiescence, into an ungovernable fury, 
drew his dagger, and exclaiming, " False traitor, if 
thou wilt not break the band, this shall ! " he stabbed 
him first in the throat, and instantly after in the lower 

* MS. Chronicle in the University Library, Edinburgh. Hawthornden's 
History, folio edition, p. 29. 

1451 JAMES II. 87 

part of the body. Upon tins. Sir Patrick Gray, with a 
readiness and good-will which was whetted by revenge, 
at one blow felled him with his poleaxe; and the rest 
of the nobles who stood near the king, rushing in upon 
the dying man, meanly gratified their resentment by 
repeated strokes with their knives and daggers; so that 
he expired in a moment, without uttering a word, and 
covered with twenty-six wounds. Tiio Avindow was 
then thrown open, and the mangled trunk cast into 
an open court adjoining the royal apartments.* 

For a murder so atrocious, committed by the hand 
of the sovereign, and upon the person of a subject for 
whose safety he had solemnly pledged his royal word, 
no justification can be pleaded. It offered to the 
country, at a time when it was important to afford a 
specimen of respect for the laws, and reverence for the 
authority of parliament, an example the most perni- 
cious that can be conceived, exhibiting the sovereign 
in the disgraceful attitude of trampling upon the rules 
which it was his duty to respect, and committing with 
his own hand the crimes for which he had arraigned 
his subjects. But if James must be condemned, it is 
impossible to feel much commiseration for Douglas, 
whose career, from first to last, had been that of a 
selfish, ambitious, and cruel tyrant; who, at the mo- 
ment when he was cut off, was all but a convicted 
traitor; and whose death, if we except the mode by 
which it was brought about, was to be regarded as a 
public benefit. These considerations, hoMever, were 
solely entertained by the friends of peace and good 
order: by the immediate relatives, and the wide circle 
of the retainers and vassals of the carl, his assassination 

* Gray's MS. Advocates' Library, Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 47. MS. 
Chronicle in the Univeri>ity Library, Edinburgh. 


was regarded with feelings of bitter and unmingled 

Immediately after the death of his powerful enemy, 
the king, at the head of an armed force, proceeded to 
Perth in pursuit of the Earl of Crawf jrd, another 
party, as we have seen, in the league which had cost his 
associate so dear. In his absence, the faction of Dou- 
glas, led by Sir James Douglas, the brother of the 
murdered chief, who succeeded to the earldom, along 
with Hugh earl of Ormond, Lord Hamilton, and six hun- 
dred barons and gentlemen, followers and supporters 
of the family, invaded the town of Stirling, and in the 
first ebullition of their fury and contempt, according 
to an ancient custom of defiance, blew out upon the 
king twenty-four horns at once.* They then took the 
letter of assurance, subscribed by the names and gua- 
ranteed by the seals of the Scottish nobles, and, exhi- 
biting it at the Cross, proceeded to nail it, with many 
" slanderous words," to a board, which they tied to the 
tail of a sorry horse, and thus dragged it, amid the 
hooting and execration of their followers, through the 
streets. The scene of feudal defiance was concluded 
by their setting fire to the town, and carrying ofi" a 
great booty. -f- 

In the meantime the king proceeded to enrich and 
reward his servants, by the forfeiture of the lands of 
those who had shared in the treason of Douglas. He 
promoted to the ofiice of lieutenant-general of the king- 
dom the Earl of Huntley, committing to his assured 
loyalty and experience in war the task of putting down 
the rebellion of Crawford and Ross ; and empowering 

* Auchinleck Chronicle, p, 47. MS. Chronicle in the University Library, 
t Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 47. 

1451. JAMES II. 89 

liiiii to promise to all wlio caino forward to join tlio 
royal standard, an aniplo indemnity for past ofleuces, 
as well as to those who continued firm in their original 
loyalty the most substantial marks of the favour of the 
crown. Huntley, in the execution of his new office, 
instantly raised a large force in the northern counties, 
and having displayed the royal banner, encountered 
the Earl of Crawford, surnamed "The Tiger," on a 
level moor beside the town of Brechin, and gave him 
a total defeat. The action was fought with determined 
bravery on both sides ; and, although Huntley far out- 
numbered his opponents, for along time proved doubt- 
ful ; but, during the warmest part of the struggle, Coles- 
sie of Balnamoon, now called Bonnymoon, who com- 
manded the left wing of the Angus billmen, went over to 
the enemy, in consequence of some disgust he had con- 
ceived the night before in a conference with Crawford; 
and the effect of his sudden desertion was fatal to his 
party. His troops, dismayed at this unexpected cala- 
mity, and regardless of the furious and almost insane 
etl'orts which he made to restore tlio day, took to flight in 
all directions. John Lindsay of Brechin, brother to the 
Tiger, Dundas of Dundas, with sixty other lords and 
gentlemen, were slain upon the lield. On the other side, 
the loss did not exceed five barons and a small number of 
yeomen ; but amongst the slain, Huntley had to mourn 
his two brothers. Sir William and Sir Henry Seton.* 
During the confusion and flight of Crawford's army, a 
yeoman of the opposite side, riding eagerly in pursuit, 
became involved in the crowd, and, fearful of discovery, 
allowed himself to be hurried along to Finhaven Castle, 
to which the discomfited baron retreated. Here, amid 
the tumult and riot consequent upon a defeat, he is 

* Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 48. Lesley's Hist. p. 23. 


said to have overheard with horror the torrent of abuse 
and blasphemy which burst from the lips of the bearded 
savage, who, calling for a cup of wine on alighting 
from his horse, and cursing in the bitterness of his 
heart the traitor who had betrayed him, declared that 
he would willingly take seven years'* roasting in hell 
to have the honour of such a victory as had that day 
fallen to Huntley.* 

In the meantime, although the king was thus victo- 
rious in the north, the civil war, which was kindled in 
almost every part of Scotland, by the murder of Dou- 
glas, raged with pitiless and unabated fury. The Earl 
of Angus, although bearing the name of Douglas, had 
refused to join in the late rebellion, in consequence of 
which his castle of Dalkeith, a place of great strength, 
was instantly beleaguered by the enemy, who ravaged 
and burnt the adjacent town, and bound themselves 
by a great oath not to leave the siege till they had 
razed it to the ground. "The bravery, however, of 
Patrick Cockburn, the governor, soon compelled them 
to forego their resolution, and to divert the fury which 
had been concentrated against Dalkeith upon the vil- 
lages and granges of the adjacent country. The roads 
and highways became utterly insecure, the labours of 
agriculture were intermitted, the pursuits of trade and 
commerce destroyed or feebly followed, from the terror 
occasioned by the troops of armed banditti who over- 
spread the country, and nothing but insolent riot and 
needy boldness was prosperous in the land. In the 
north, whilst Huntley was engaged with Crawford, the 
Earl of Moray, brother of the late Earl of Douglas, in- 
vaded and wasted his estates in Strathbogie. Huntley, 
on the other hand, victorious at Brechin, fell, with a 

* Hawthornden's Hist. p. 31. 

1452. JAMES II. 91 

ven!]^cancc whetted by private as well as public wrongs, 
upon the fertile county of Moray, and completely razed 
to the ground that half of the city of Elgin which 
heloived to his enemy; whilst Crawford, infuriated but 
little weakened by his loss at Brechin, attacked in detail, 
and '■'• harried''''* the lands of all those to whose refusal 
to join his banner he ascribed his defeat, expelling them 
from their towers and fortalices, giving the empty ha- 
bitations to the flames, and carrying themselves and 
their families into captivity. 

In addition to the miseries of open war were added 
the dangers of domestic treason. James, the ninth 
Earl of Douglas, through the agency of his mother lady 
Beatrix, who at this time repaired to England, con- 
tinued that secret correspondence with the party of 
the Yorkists, which appears to have been begun by the 
late earl.-f- Soon after this, in the extremity of his 
resentment against the murderer of his brother, he 
agreed to meet the Bishop of Carlisle, with the Earl of 
Salisbury and Henry Percy, as commissioners from the 
Enjjlish trovernmcnt, then entirely under the manage- 
ment of the Yorkists, and not only to enter into a 
treaty of mutual alliance and support, but to swear 
homage to the monarch of England, as his lawful 
sovereign. Such a miserable state of things calling 
loudly for redress, the king summoned thethree Estates 
to assemble at Edinburgh, on the twelfth of June, 
1452. During the night, however, previous to the 
meeting, a placard, signed with the names of James 
earl of Douglas, his three brothers, and Lord Hamil- 
ton, their near connexion, was fixed to the door of the 
house of parliament, renouncing their allegiance to 

* Harried — Wasted -with fire, rword, and plunder. 
+ Lesley's Uibt. pp. 23, 24. Kymer, vol. xi. p. ^10. 


James of Scotland, as a perjured prince and merciless 
murderer, who had trampled on the laws, broken his 
word and oath, and violated the most sacred bond of 
hospitality; declaring, that henceforth they held no 
lands from him, and never would give obedience to any 
mandate which bore the name and style which he had 
disgraced and dishonoured.* It may be easily ima- 
gined that a defiance of this gross nature was calculated 
to exasperate the bitterness of feudal resentment ; and 
from the mutilated records which remain to us of the 
proceedings of this parliament, the leaders and followers 
of the house of Douglas appear to have been treated 
with deserved severity. 

It was first of all declared in a solemn deed, which 
met with the unanimous approval of the parliament, 
that the late Earl of Douglas having, at the time of 
his death, avowed himself an enemy to the king, and 
acknowledo;ed a treasonable leas-ue as then existing 
between him and the Earls of Crawford and Ross, was 
in a state of open rebellion, and that, in such cirum- 
stances, it was lawful for the king to put him 
summarily to death. •{■ Sir James Crichton, the eldest 
son of the lord chancellor, was created Earl of Moray, 
in the place of Archibald Douglas, late Earl of Moray, 
who was forfeited. Others of the loyal barons, who had 
come forward at this dangerous crisis in support of the 
crown, were rewarded with lands and dignities. Lord 
Hay, constable of Scotland, and head of an ancient 
house, whose bravery and attachment to the crown had 
been transmitted through a long line of ancestry, was 
created Earl of Errol. Sir George Crichton of Cairnes 
was rewarded with the earldom of Caithness, and the 

* Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 48. 

•f Acts of tlie Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 73. 

1452. JAMES II. 93 

Biiron of Darnlcy, Hepburn of Hailes, Boyd, Fleming. 
Borthwick, Lyle, and Cathcart, were invested with the 
diixnity of lords of parliament. Lands partly bolonijing 
to the crown, partly consisting of estates which had 
been forfeited by the Douglases and their adherents, 
were bestowed upon Lord Campbell, and his son Sir 
Colin Campbell, Sir Davidllume, Sir Alexander Home, 
Sir James Keir, and others ; but as the appropriation 
of these estates was an act of the secret council, carried 
through without the sanction and during the sitting of 
parliament, it was believed to bo unconstitutional, and 
liable to legal challenge,* In the meantime, however, 
these events, combined with the increasing energy and 
nbilitv of the sovereiirn, and the joyful occurrence of 
the birth of a prince, afterwards James the Third,+ 
had the effect of weakening the once formidable power 
of Douglas. The loss of its chief, the defeat of Craw- 
ford, the forfeiture of Moray, the sight of those strong 
and powerful vassals, who, either from the love of their 
prince, or the hope of the rewards which were profusely 
distributed, flocked daily to court with their troops of 
armed retainers, all combined to render the allies of 
this rebellious house not a little doubtful of the ultimate 
success of the struggle in which they were engaged; 
and when, immediately after the conclusion of the 
parliament, the royal summonses were issued for the 
assembling of an army on the moor of Pentland, near 
Edinburgh, the monarch in a short time found himself 
at the head of aforce of thirt}' thousand men, excellently 
armed and equipped, and animated by one sentiment 
of loyalty and atit-r-tion.J 

With this army, the king proceeded in person against 

* Auchiiileck Chronicle, p. 43. •}• Buru, June 1, 145'2. 

;^ AucLinleck Cliruniclc, p. 4'J. 


the Earl of Douglas, directing his march through the 
districts of Peebles-shire, Selkirk forest, Dumfries, and 
Galloway, in which quarters lay the principal estates 
of this great rebel, who did not dare to make any resist- 
ance against the invasion. To prevent the destruction 
of the crops, which, as it was now the middle of autumn, 
were almost fully ripe, was impossible; and an ancient 
chronicle complains that the royal army " destroy it the 
country right fellounly, baith in cornes, meadows, and 
victuals;" whilst many barons and gentlemen, who 
held lands under the Douglases, but dreading the 
vengeance of the sovereign, had joined the expedition, 
endured the mortification of seeing their own estates 
utterly ravaged and laid waste, by the friends whose 
power they had increased, and whose protection they 
anticipated.* Notwithstanding these misfortunes, 
which it is probable the sovereign, by the utmost ex- 
ertion of his prerogative, could not prevent, the army 
continued united and attached to the royal cause, so 
that, on its appearance before the castle of Douglas, 
that haughty chief, who had lately renounced his 
allegiance, and who still maintained a secret corre- 
spondence with England, found himself compelled to 
lay down his arms, and to implore, with expressions' 
of deep contrition, that he might be once more restored 
to favour. The consequence of this was a negotiation, 
in which James, conscious, perhaps, of the provocation 
he had given, and anxious to restore tranquillity to his 
dominions, consented to pardon the Earl of Douglas 
and his adherents, upon certain conditions which are 
enumerated in a written bond, or " appointment," as 
it is denominated, the original of which is still pre- 

* Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 49, 

1452. JAMES II. 95 

In tliis interesting document, James earl of Douglas, 
in the lirst place, engaged to abstain from every 
attiiiipt to possess himself of the lands of the earldom 
of ^^'^igto^vn or of the lordship of Stewarton, forfeited 
by the last earl, and presented by the sovereign to his 
consort the queen. He next promised in his own name, 
and in that of his brother, as well as the Lord Hamil- 
ton, fully and for ever to forgive all manner of rancour 
of heart, feud, malice, and envy, which they had enter- 
tained in time past, or might conceive in time to come, 
against any of the king"'s subjects, and more espe- 
cially against all those who were art and part in the 
slaughter of the late William earl of Douglas; and he 
stipulated,for himself and his friends, to obcythewishes 
of his sovereign, by taking such persons once more 
heartily into his friendship. The next provision did 
honour to the humanity of the king, and evinced an 
enlightened anxiety for the welfare of the lower classes 
of his people. By it, the earl obliged himself, that the 
whole body of his tenants and rentallers, wherever they 
might be settled upon his estates, should remain un- 
molested in their farms, and protected by their tacks 
or leases till " Wiiitsunday come a year;"" except those 
tenants tliat occupied the granges and farm "steadings," 
which were in the hands of the late earl at the time of 
his decease, for his own proper use. Even these, how- 
ever, were not to be inmiediately dispossessed, but per- 
mitted to remain upon their farms till the ensuingWhit- 
sunday, so that the corns should bo duly gathered in, 
and neither the proprietor nor the cultivator endamaged 
by the sudden desertion of the ground. Douglas next 
engaged to dissolve all illegal bands or confederations 
into which he had already entered, and to make no more 
treasonable agreements in time to come: he promised 


to bring no claim against the king for any rents Avhich 
he might have levied, or which the queen might have 
distrained in Douglasdale or Galloway, previous to this 
agreement: he bound himself, in the execution of his 
office of warden, to maintain and defend the Borders, 
and keep the truce between the kingdoms to the best of 
his skill and power, and to pay to his sovereign lord, the 
king, all honour and worship, "he having such surety 
as was reasonable for safety of his life." Lastly, he 
engaged to restore all goods which had been seized from 
persons who enjoyed letters of protection, and to make 
compensation for all injuries which they had sustained; 
and to this agreement he not only put his own hand and 
seal, but, for the greater solemnity, took his oath upon 
the holy gospels.* 

That the king was led by sound policy, in his desire 
to convert the Earl of Douglas from a dangerous oppo- 
nent of the government into a peaceable subject, cannot 
be doubted. But although the principle was good, the 
measures adopted for the accomplishment of the end in 
view, were injudicious. Instead of effectually abridging 
the vast power of Douglas, leaving him just so much 
as should prevent him from being driven to despair, 
James, either following his own opinion, or misled by 
the advice of Crichton and Kennedy, who at this time 
acted as his chief counsellors, not only promised to put 
him into possession of the earldom of Wigtown and the 
lands of Stewarton, but engaged in a negotiation with 
the court of Rome, the object of which was to prevail 
upon the pope to grant a dispensation for the marriage 
of the earl with the Countess Margaret, the youthful 

* MS. Collections, called Sir Lewis Stewart's Collections. Advocates' 
Library, Edin. a 4, 7. p. 19. It is dated 28th August, 1452. See Illustra- 
tions, E. 

145.3. JAMES II. 97^ 

widow of liis deceased brother. The dispensation hav- 
ing accordingly been procured, the marriage took place, 
although the unnatural alliance was forced upon the 
heiress of Galloway, contrary to her earnest tears and 
entreaties.* It is difficult to understand, from the 
imperfect records of those times, how such sagacious 
j)()liticians as Crichton and Kennedy should have given 
tiieir countenance to a measure so pregnant with mis- 
chief. It again united in the person of the Earl of 
Douglas the immense entailed and unentailed estates 
of the family; and, should he have children, it revived 
tlie disputed claims between the descendants of Euphe- 
mia Ross and Elizabeth More, holding out an induce- 
ment to that ambitious noble to re-enact his brother"'s 
treason. •!• There is reason to believe, indeed, that 
perhaps at the very moment when Douglas was thus 
experiencing the distinguished favour of his sovereign, 
and undoubtedly within a very short period thereafter, 
lie had engaged in a secret treasonable correspond enco 
with Malise earl of Meuteith, then a prisoner in Pon- 
tefract castle, and the English ministers. Its object 
was to overturn the existinir government in Scotland, 
and to put an end to the dynasty then on the throne, by 
means of a civil insurrection, which was to be seconded 
l)y the arms and the money of the Yorkists, whilst 
the confidence with which he was treated enabled him 
to mature his designs in the sunshine of the royal 
favour. :J: 

In the meantime, the king, apparently unsuspicious 
of any such intentions, undertook an expedition to the 
north, accompanied by his privy council and a select 

* Andrew Stuart's Hist. p. 441. 

t Duncan Stewart's Hist, and Geneal. Account of the Royal Family of 
Scotland, p. !)7. 

+ Kotuli Scotia?, vol. ii. p. 300. 17tli June, I4.j,'i. 



body of troops, consisting, in all probability, of that 
personal guard, which, in imitation of the French 
monarchs, appears for the first time during this reign 
in Scotland. The Earl of Huntley, by his zeal and 
activity in the execution of his office of lieutenant- 
general, had succeeded in restoring the northern coun- 
ties to a state of quiet and security ; and in the progress 
through Angus a singular scene took place. The 
Earl of Crawford, lately notorious for his violent and 
rebellious career, and the dread of Scotland under his 
appellation of the " Tiger ^'' suddenly presented himself 
before the royal procession, clothed in beggarly apparel, 
his feet and head bare, and followed by a few miserable 
looking servants in the same rasrsfed weeds. In this 
dejected state, he threw himself on his knees before 
the king, and, with many tears, implored his forgiveness 
for his repeated treasons. Huntley, with whom he had 
already made his peace, along with Crichton and Ken- 
nedy, by whose advice this pageant of feudal contrition 
had been prepared, now interceded in his behalf ; and 
the king, moved by the penitence, not only of the 
principal offender, but of the miserable troop by whom 
he was accompanied, extended his hand to Crawford. 
He assured him that he was more anxious to gain the 
hearts than the lands of his nobles, although by repeated 
treasons, their estates had been forfeited to the crown, 
and bade him and his companions be of good cheer, as 
he was ready freely to forgive them all that had past, 
and to trust that their future loyalty would atone for 
their former rebellion. The fierce chief was accordingly 
restored to his honours and estates ; and the king 
appears to have had no reason to repent his clemency, 
for Crawford, at the head of a strong body of the barons 
and gentlemen of Angus, accompanied the monarch 

U53. JAMES II. 99 

in his future progress.* On his return, he entertained 
him with great magnificence at his castle of Finhaven ; 
and, from this time till the period of his death, remained 
a faithful supporter of the government. It was unfor- 
tunate, indeed, that a fever, which cut him ofl' six 
months after his restoration to the ro3'al favour, left 
him only this brief interval of loyalty to atone for a 
life of rebellion. -f- 

It is pleasing to be compelled for a few moments to 
intermit the narrative of domestic war and civil con- 
fusion, by the occurrence of events which indicate a 
desire at least to soften the ferocity of feudal manners, 
by the introduction of schools of learning. In the 
month of January, 1 450, Pope Nicholas, at the request 
of William Turnbull bishop of Glasgow, granted his 
rescript for the foundation of a university in that city ; 
and in the month of June, in the subsequent year, the 
papal bull was proclaimed at the Cross with great 
solemnity. Yet at fii-st the infant university was 
sj)aringly endowed; and such was the iniquity of the 
times, and the unfavourable disposition towards learn- 
ing, that, so late as the year 1521, we are informed 
by !Mair, in his History of Scotland, it was attended 
by a very small number of students. ;]: 

The transactions which occupied the years imme- 
diately succeeding the death of the Earl of Crawford, 
are involved in an obscurity which is the more to be 
lamented, as their consequences were highly important, 
and ultimately led to the total destruction of the 
House of Douglas. The only contemporary chronicle 
wluch remains is unfortunately too brief to afford us 
any satisfactory insight into the great springs of a 

• Buchanan, book. xi. chap. 42. Lesley's Hist. p. 27. 

+ Auchiiileck MS. p. .51. 

J Major, Uo Gebtis Scotorum, p. 10. Auchiuleck C'lironicle, p. -15. 


rebellion which shook the security of the throne; and 
the light reflected on those dark times by the few ori- 
ginal records which remain, is so feeble and uncertain, 
that it operates rather as a distraction than an assis- 
tance to the historian. In such circumstances, ab- 
staining from theory and conjecture, the greater out- 
lines are all that it is possible to trace. 

During the year 1454, the Earl of Douglas entered 
deeply into a treasonable correspondence with the 
powerful party of the Yorkists in England, who, at 
this time, having succeeded in undermining the influ- 
ence of the Duke of Somerset, had obtained the supreme 
management of the state.* The great principles which 
regulated the foreign policy of the party of York, were 
enmity to France, and, consequently, to Scotland, the 
ancient ally of that kingdom ; and this naturally led 
to a secret neo-otiation with the Earl of Douglas. His 
ambition, his power, his former rebellion, his injuries 
and grievances, were all intimately known at the Eng- 
lish court; and it was not difficult for a skilful in 
triguer like the Duke of York, by addressing to him 
such arguments as were best adapted to his design, to 
inflame his mind with the prospect of supreme autho- 
rity, and rouse his passions with the hope of revenge. 
Douglas, however, had miscalculated the strength of 
the king, which was far greater than he supposed ; and 
he had reckoned too certainly on the support of some 
powerful fellow-conspirators, who, bound to him, not 
by the ties of affection, but of interest, fell off" the 
moment they obtained a clear view of the desperate 
nature of the enterprise in which he was engaged. 

In the midst of these threatened dangers, and in the 

* Rymer, vol. xi. p. 349. Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. 
pp. 75, 76. Processus Forisfacture Jacobi Douglas, olim Comitis de Dou- 
glas. Carte's Hist, of England, vol. ii. p. 7-15. 

1454. JAMES ir. 101 

pnd of tho year 1454, Lord Crlcliton, late chancellor 
of the kingdom, and a statesman of veteran experience, 
died at the castle of Dunbar. If we except his early 
strugjjles with his rival Livingston, for the custody of 
the person of the infant king, his life, compared with 
that of most of his fellow-nobles, was one of upn'j;ht 
and consistent loyalty; and since his coalition with 
Kennedy, he had so endeared himself to his sovereign, 
that the most intimate of the royal counsellors dreaded 
to imj)art to him an event which they knew would so 
deeply affect him.* 

In the meantime, Douglas despatched Lord Hamil- 
ton into England, where, in a meeting with the York- 
ists, an immediate supply of money and of troops was 
promised,-}- upon the condition that the ''onspirators 
should give a pledge of the sincerity of tlieir inten- 
tions, by taking tho oath of homage to the English 
crown, — a piece of treachery to which Hamilton would 
not consent, although there is reason to believe it met 
witli few scruples in the convenient conscience of Dou- 
glas. Before, however, this test had been taken, tho 
royal vengeance burst upon the principal conspirator 
with a violence and a rapidity for which he appears to 
have been little prepared. James, at the head of a 
force which defied all resistance, attacked and stormed 
his castle of Inveravon, and, after having razed it to 
the ground, pressed forward without a check, to Glas- 
gow, where he collected the whole strength of the 
western counties, and a large force of the highlandors 
and islosmen. With this army he marched to Lanark, 
invaded Douglasdale and Avondale, which he wasted 
with all tho fury of military execution; and, after de- 
livering up to fire and sword the estates belonging to 

• Auchinleck Chronicle, p. L'2. f IbiJ. p. 53. 


Lord Hamilton, passed on to Edinburgh ; from thence, 
without delay, at the head of a new force, chiefly of 
lowlanders, he invaded the forests of Selkirk and 
Ettrick, and compelled all the barons and landed gen- 
tlemen, of whom he entertained any suspicion, to renew 
their allegiance, and join the royal banner, under the 
penalty of having their castles levelled with the ground, 
and their estates depopulated.* He next besieged the 
castle of Abercorn, which, from the great strength of 
its walls, and the facilities for defence afforded by its 
situation, defied for a month the utmost attempts of 
the royal army.-f* Battered and broken up at last, by 
the force of the machines which were brought to bear 
upon the towers, and exposed to the shot of a gun of 
large size, which was charged and directed by a French 
engineer, the place was taken by escalade, and the 
principal persons who had conducted the defence in- 
stantly hanged. The wialls were then dismantled, and 
the rest of the garrison dismissed with their lives. 
During the siege, a desperate but ineffectual attempt 
to disperse the royal army was made by Douglas, who 
concentrated his forces at Lanark,;}: and, along with 
his kinsman. Lord Hamilton, advanced to the neigh- 
bourhood of Abercorn, where, however, such was the 
terror of the royal name, and the success of the secret 
negotiation of Bishop Kennedy with the leaders in the 
rebel army, that in one night they deserted the banner 
of their chief, and left him a solitary fugitive, exposed 
to the unmitigated rioour of the re2;al veng^eance. Ha- 
milton, whose treachery to Douglas had principally 
occasioned this calamity, was immediately committed 

* Auchinleck Chronicle, pp. 53, 54. 

+ Original letter from James the Second to Charles the Seventh of France. 
Pinkerton's Hist. vol. i. p. 486. 
J Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 76. 

1455. JAMES II. 103 

to close confinement, whilst the great earl himself, 
hurled in a moment from the pinnacle of pritlo and 
j)owcr to a state of terror and destitution. Hod from 
his late encampment, under cover of night, and, for 
some time, so eftectually eluded pursuit, that none 
knew in what part of Scotland he was concealed.* 

In the meantime, the success of the king was attended 
with the happiest eflccts throughout the country, not 
only in affording encouragement to the friends of peace 
and order, who dreaded the re-establishment of a power 
in the house of Douglas, which repeated experience 
had shown to be incompatible with the security of the 
realm, but in bringing over to the royal party those 
fierce feudal barons, who, cither from fear, or the love 
of change and of plunder, had entered into bands with 
the house of Douglas, and now found it their interest 
to desert a falling cause. In consequence of this change, 
the castles, which, in the commencement of the rebel- 
lion, had been filled with military stores, and fortified 
against the government, were gradually given up, 
and taken possession of by the friends of the crown. 
Doufrlas castle, with the strono; fortresses of Thrieve 
in Galloway, Strathaven, Lochendorb, and Tarnaway, 
fell successively into the hands of the king ; and the 
Earl of Douglas, having once more reappeared in 
Annandale at the head of a tumultuous assemblage of 
outlaws, who had been drawn together by the exertions 
of his brothers, the Earls of Moray and Ormond, was 
encountered at Arkinholmc,"f* and totally defeated by 
the king"'s troops, under the command of the Earl of 
Angus. The battle was fought, by Douglas, with that 
desperate courage which arose out of the conviction that 

• Auchinleck Chronicle, pp. 53, 54, 

t Arkiuholme, on the Uiver Esk, opposite Wauchop Kirk. 


it must be amongst his last struggles for existence ; but 
the powerful and warlike Border families, the INIaxwells, 
Scotts, and Johnstons, inured to daily conflict, had 
joined the standard of the king, and the undisciplined 
rabble which composed the rebel army were unable to 
stand against them.* Ormond was taken prisoner, and 
instantly executed; his brother, the Earl of Moray, fell 
in the action ; and after a total dispersion of his army, 
the arch-rebel, along with his only remaining brother, 
Sir John Douglas of Balveny, made his escape into the 
wilds of Argyleshire, where he was received by the Earl 
of Ross, the only friend who now remained to him, of 
all the great connexions upon whose assistance he had 
so confidently reckoned in his enterprise against his 
sovereign. These important events took place during 
the continuance of the siege of Abercorn, and the first 
intimation of them received by the king was the arrival 
of a soldier from the field of Arkinholme, who laid the 
bleeding and mangled head of the Earl of Moray at 
the feet of his prince. "The king," says an ancient 
chronicle, " commended the bravery of the man who 
brought him this ghastly present, although he knew 
not at the first look to whom the head belonged." "f* 

Havino; brought his affairs to this successful conclu- 
sion, James assembled his parliament at Edinburgh, 
on the ninth of June, 1455, and proceeded to let loose 
the offended veno-eance of the laws against the rebels 
who had appeared in arms against the government. 
James late earl of Douglas, having failed to appear and 

* Sir Walter Scott of Kirkurd, tlie male ancestor of the Buccleuch family, 
on February '2'2, 1458-9, got a charter of lands in the barony of Crawford- 
john, " pro eo quod interfuit conflictu de Arkinholme, in occisione et cap- 
tions rebellium quondam Archib. et Hugonis de Douglas, olim Comitum 
Moravise et Ormond." Mag. Sigill. v. 46. 

+ MS. Chronicle of this reign in the University of Edinburgh, A.C c. 2G. 
Letter of James the Second to Charles the Seventh. Pinkerton, vol. i. p. 
4»6. See Illu.strations, F. 

1455. JAMES ir. 105 

answer to the charges brouglit against lihn, after hav- 
ing been duly summoned at his castles of Douglas 
and Strathaven, was declared a traitor; his mother, 
Beatrice countess of Douglas, in consequence of the 
support and assistance lent by her to the cause of her 
son, his brotiior Archibald late earl of Moray, who hatl 
fallen at Arkinhohnc, and Sir John Douglas of l^al- 
veny, who had fortified the castle of Abercorn, and 
leairued himself with the kinfr''s enemies of England, 
were involved in the same condemnation ; and the 
prelates and clergy who sat in the parliament, having 
retired, David Dempster of Caraldstone pronounced it 
to be the judgment of the three Estates, that these 
persons had forfeited their lives, and that their whole 
moveable and unmoveable property, their estates, chat- 
tels, superiorities, and offices, had escheated in the 
liands of the crown. To give additional solemnity to 
this sentence, the instrument of forfeiture, which is still 
preserved was corroborated by the seals of the Bishops 
of St Andrews, Dunblane, Ross, Dunkcld, and Lis- 
more; i)y those of the Earls of Athole, Angus, Men- 
teith, Errol, and Huntley; those of the Lords Lome, 
Erskine, Campbell, Grahame, Somerville, Montgomery, 
Maxwell, Leslie, Glamis, Hamilton, Gray, Boyd, and 
Borthwick; whilst the sanction of the whole body of 
the commissioners of the burghs, who were not provided 
at the moment with the seals of their respective com- 
munities, was declared to be fully given by appending 
to it the single seal of the burgh of Haddington.* 

Whilst such events were passing in the low country, 
the Earl of Douglas, formidable even in his last struggle, 
had entered into an alliance with John earl of Ross 
and lord of the Isles, to whom he had fled immediately 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 42, '•'), 77. 


after the disastrous issue of the battle of Arkinholrae. 
This powerful ocean prince immediately assembled his 
vassals, and having collected a fleet of a hundred light 
galleys, which received on board a force of five thousand 
men, he intrusted the chief command to his near rela- 
tion, Donald Balloch lord of Isla, and a chief of formid- 
able power not only in Scotland, but in the north of 
Ireland.* Animated by hereditary hatred against the 
Scottish throne, Donald conducted a naval " raid," or 
predatory expedition, along the western coast of Scot- 
land, commencing hostilities at Innerkip, and thence 
holding his progress to Bute, the Curarays, and the 
fertile island of Arran. Yet, owing to the able mea- 
sures of defence adopted by the king, the enterprise 
met with little success ; and the loss to the government, 
in lives and in property, was singularly disproportionate 
to the formidable maritime force which was engaged. 
" There was slain,"" says a contemporary chronicle, 
whose homely recital there is no reason to suspect of 
infidelity, " of good men fifteen, of women two or three, 
of children three or four. The plunder included five 
or six hundred horse, ten thousand oxen and kine, and 
more than a thousand sheep and goats. At the same 
time, they burnt down several mansions in Innerkip, 
around the church, harried all Arran, stormed and 
levelled with the ground the castle of Brodick, and 
wasted with fire and sword the islands of the Cumrays. 
They also levied tribute upon Bute, carrying away a 
hundred bolls of meal, a hundred bolls of malt, a hun- 
dred marts, and a hundred marks of silver." -f- The 
expedition appears to have been concluded by an attack 

* This Donald Balloch was son of John of Isla, brother to Donald earl of 
Ross, and inherited, through his mother, the territory of the Glens, in the 
county of Antrim. 

+ Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 55. 

145.5. .TAMES II. 107 

upon Lauder bishop of Lismorc, a prelate who liad made 
liimself obnoxious to the party of Dou^fla^', by affixing 
his seal to the instrument of their forfeiture. This 
dignitary, a son of the ancient family of Lauder of 
Balcomy in Fife, had been promoted by James the First 
to the bishopric of Argyle ; but ignorant of the man- 
ners and the language of the rude inhabitants of his 
diocese, he early became unpopular, and his attempts 
to extinguish the disorders Avith which he was sur- 
rounded, by the firm authority of ecclesiastical law, 
were received with execration, and almost universal 
resistance. Three years previous to the expedition of 
Donald Balloch, on the occurrence of some misunder- 
standing between a parson or vicar of the bishop, whom 
he had appointed to one of his churches, and some of 
the Celtic officials attached to the administration of the 
diocese, Sir Gilbert Maclachlan, and Sir Morice Mac- 
fadyan, who filled the offices of chancellor and treasurer 
of the cathedral, having assembled the whole force of 
the clan Lachlan, violently assaulted the prelate during 
the course of a peaceful journey to his own cathedral 
church. They scornfully addressed him in the Gaelic 
tongue, dragged from their horses and bound the hands 
of the clerks which composed his train, stripped them 
of their rich copes, hoods, and velvet caps, plundered 
next morning the repositories of the church of its silver 
and ornaments, even seized the bulls and charters, and 
compelled the bishop, under terror of his life, to pro- 
mise that he would never prosecute the men who had 
thus shamefully abused him. Such were the miserable 
scenes of liavoc and violence which fell to the lot of the 
prelates who were bold enough to undertake the charge 
of those remote and savage dioceses; and we now, only 
three years after this cruel assault, find the same un- 


fortunate dignitary attacked by the fierce admiral of 
the Isles, and after the slaughter of the greater part of 
his attendants, driven into a sanctuary which seems 
scarcely to have protected him from the fury of his 

Whilst Douglas thus succeeded in directing against 
the king the vengeance of the Isles, he himself had 
retired to England, where he was not only received 
with distinction by his ally the Duke of York, at this 
time possessed of the supreme power in the government, 
but repaid for his service by an annual pension of five 
hundred pounds, " to be continued to him until he 
should be restored to his possessions, or to the greater 
part of them, by the person who then called himself 
King of Scots." -f- It was hardly to be expected that 
an indignity like this, ofi'ered by a faction which had 
all along encouraged a rebellion in Scotland as a prin- 
cipal instrument in promoting their intrigues, should 
not have excited the utmost resentment in the bosom 
of the Scottish monarch ; and it was evident that a 
perseverance in such policy must inevitably hurry the 
two nations into war. James, however, whose king- 
dom was scarce recovered from the lamentable eff'ects 
of the late rebellion, with a wisdom which was willing 
to overlook the personal injury, in his anxiety to secure 
to his people the blessing of peace, despatched a con- 
ciliatory embassy to the English court. At the same 
time, he directed a letter to Henry the Sixth, complain- 
ins: of the encouraoement held out to a convicted trai- 
tor like Douglas, warning him of the fatal consequences 
which must result to himself in England, as well as to 
the kingdom which had been committed by God to his 

* Auchinleck Chronicle, pp. 50, 51. 
f Rynier, Fcedera. vol. xi. p. 367. 

1455. JAMES II. 100 

charge, if rebellion in a subject was thus fostered by a 
Christian prince; and declaring that, however unwill- 
ing to involve his subjects in war, he would never so 
far forgot his kingly olKce as to permit his o^vn dignity 
to he insulted, and the prosperity of his people endan- 
gered, with impunity, by any power whatever.* 

This spirited remonstrance appears to have been fol- 
lowed by preparations for immediate hostilities, which, 
it may be easily believed, were not rendered less urgent 
by the following extraordinary epistle, which was soon 
after transmitted to the Scottish monarch : — " The 
king, to an illustrious prince, James, calling himself 
King of Scotland, sends greeting : We presume that it 
is notorious to all men, and universally acknowledged 
as a fact, that the supreme and direct dominion over 
the kingdom of Scotland appertains by law to the King 
of England, as monarch of Britain. We presume it 
to be equally acknowledged and notorious, that fealty 
and homage are due by the King of Scots, to the King 
of England, upon the principle that it becomes a vassal 
to pay such homage to his superior and overlord ; and 
that from times of so remote antiquity that they exceed 
the memory of man, even to the present day, we and 
our progenitors. Kings of England, have possessed such 
rights, and you and your ancestors have acknowledged 
such a dependence. Wherefore, such being the case, 
whence comes it that the subject hath not scrupled 
insolently to erect his neck against his master? and 
what think ye ought to be his punishment, Avhen ho 
spurns the condition and endeavours to compass the 
destruction of his person? With what sentence is 
treason generally visited — or have you lived so igno- 
rant of all things as not to be aware of the penalties 

* ItymuT, F.jedcra, vol. xi. p. 3ii3. 


which await the rebel, and him who is so hardy as to 
deiij his homage to his liege superior ? If so, we would 
exhort you speedily to inform yourself upon the matter, 
lest the lesson should be communicated by the experi- 
ence of your own person, rather than by the information 
of others. To the letters which have been presented 
to us by a certain person, calling himself your lion- 
herald and king-at-arms, and which are replete with 
all manner of folly, insolence, and boasting, we make 
this brief reply : It hath ever been the custom of those 
who fight rather by deceit than with open arms, to 
commit an outrageous attack, in the first instance, and 
then to declare war; to affect innocence, and shift their 
own guilt upon their neighbours ; to cover themselves 
with the shadow of peace and the protection of truces, 
whilst beneath this veil they are fraudulently plotting 
the ruin of those they call their friends. To such 
persons, whose machinations we cordially despise, it 
seems to us best to reply by actions. The repeated 
breaches of faith, therefore, which we have sufiered at 
your hands ; the injury, rapine, robbery, and insolence, 
which have been inflicted upon us, contrary to the 
rights of nations, and in defiance of the faith of treaties, 
shall be passed over in silence rather than committed 
to writing; for we esteem it unworthy of our dignity 
to attempt to reply to you in your own fashion by 
slanders and reproaches. We would desire, however, 
that, in the mean season, you should not be ignorant 
that, instead of its having the intended effect of in- 
spiring us with terror, we do most cordially despise 
this vain confidence and insolent boasting, in which we 
have observed the weakest and most pusillanimous 
persons are generally the greatest adepts ; and that 
you should be aware that it is our firm purpose, with 

Uoo. JAMES II. Ill 

the assistance of the Almighty, to put down anJ 
severely chastise all such insolent rebellions, antl arro- 
gant attempts, which it hath been your practice con- 
tumeliously to direct against us. AVisliiiig. nevcrthek'ss, 
with that charity which becomes a Christian prince, 
that it may please our Lord Jesus Christ to reclaim 
you from error into the paths of justice and truth, and 
to inspire you for the future with a spirit of more en- 
lightened judgment and counsel, we bid you farewell."* 
It does not appear that the king took any notice of 
this singular specimen of diplomatic insolence, in which, 
with an amusing inconsistency, the writer condemns 
the error into which he falls himself; but it is evident, 
from the preparations appointed to be made by the 
parliament, which assembled at Edinburgh, during the 
course of the same year, on the fourth of August, and 
afterwards on the thirteenthof October, that it had been 
preceded, and it was certainly followed, by serious hos- 
tilities upon the Borders. The particulars of these 
conflicts on the marches do not, however, appear in the 
later historians of the times, or in the pages of the 
contemporary chronicles ; and, although carried on with 
all the desolating furv which distinguished the warfare 
of the marches, they led to no important results, and 
were soon after intermitted, in consequence of the par- 
tial recovery of health by Henry the Sixth ; a circum- 
stance which removed the Duke of York from the 
office of protector, and for a while deprived him of the 
supreme power in the state. The Earl of Douglas, 
however, continued still in England, animated by the 
bitterest resentment against James, and exerting every 
effort to organize a force sutHcicntly strong to enable 
him to invade the kingdom from which he had been so 

• RjTner, FoeJera, vol. xi. p. .'5U3. 


justly expelled. His success in this treasonable object, 
although ultimately of so alarming a nature as once 
more to threaten the tranquillity of the kingdom, was 
counteracted for the present by the revival of the in- 
fluence of the Duke of Somerset, which had ever been 
favourable to Scotland ; and the measures adopted by 
the parliament for strengthening the authority of the 
crown, and increasing the defensive force of the king- 
dom, were well calculated to render abortive the utmost 
attempts of its enemies. 

With regard to the first of these objects, it would 
be difficult to explain the intentions of the legislature 
in a more forcible manner than in the w^ords of the 
statute itself. It declared, that "since the poverty of 
the crown is ofttimes the cause of the poverty of the 
realm, and of many other inconveniences which it 
Avould be tedious to enumerate, it had been ordained, 
by the advice of the full council of parliament, that 
there should be, from this time, appointed certain 
lordships and castles in every part of the realm, where, 
at different periods of the year, the sovereign may be 
likely to take up his residence, which were to belong in 
perpetuity to the crown, never to be settled or bestowed 
either in fee or franctenure upon any person whatever, 
however high his rank or estate, except by the solemn 
advice and decree of the whole parliament, and under 
circumstances which affected the welfare and prosperity 
of the kingdom." For the additional security of the 
crown lands, it was further declared "that even if the 
present monarch, or any of his successors, should alien- 
ate or convey away to any person the lordships and 
castles which were the property of the crown, such a 
transaction being contrary to the will of parliament, 
should not stand good in law ; but that it should be 

14oo. JAMES 11. 113 

permitted to the king, for the time heing, to resume 
these lands into his own hands without the solemnity 
of any intervening process of law; and not only to 
resume tliem, but to insist that those who had unjustly 
occupied these royal estates should refund the whole 
rents and prolitswhich they had received, till the period 
of their resumption by the crown." It was lastly en- 
acted, "that the present king and his successors should 
bo obliged to take an oath, that they shall keep this 
statute and duly observe it in every particular."* 
There M-as added to this enactment, a particular enu- 
meration of the crown lands and revenue. In the Hoht 
which it throws on the history of the constitution, at 
a period when the crown was struggling for existence 
against the growing power of the aristocracy, it is too 
interesting to be passed over. 

The first article in this enumeration, is, the sum 
arising from the whole customs of Scotland, which were 
in the hands of James the First on the day of his 
death ; it being, however, provided, that those officers 
whose pensions, were payable out of the customs, should 
receive compensation from some other source. After 
this, follows the specific enumeration of the crown lands, 
beginning with the lordsliip of Ettrick forest, and the 
whole lordship or principality of Galloway, along with 
the castle of Thrieve. These two great accessions of 
territory, which were now annexed to the crown, had 
long formed one of the richest and most populous por- 
tions of the forfeited estates of the house of Douglas. 
Next, we find the castle of Edinburgh with the lands 
of Ballincroif and Gosford, together with all other 
estates pertaining to the king within the shcritidom of 
Lothian. Also, the castle of Stirling, with all the 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 42, 43. 


crown lands around it ; the castle of Dumbarton, with 
the lands of Cardross, Roseneath, and the pension from 
Cadyow, with the pension of the "ferme meill" of Kil- 
patrick ; the whole earldom of Fife, with the palace of 
Falkland ; the earldom of Strathern, with the rights 
belonging to it ; the house and lordship of Brechin, 
with the services and superiority of Cortachy; the 
castles and lordships of Inverness and Urquhart, with 
the water-mails or rents due for the fishings of Inver- 
ness ; the lordship of Abernethy, and the several 
baronies of Urquhart, Glenorchane, Bounechen Bono- 
char, Annache, Edderdail, otherwise called Ardman- 
ache, Pecty, Brachly, and Strathern ; and, lastly, the 
Redcastle, with the lordships in the county of Ross 
wdiich are attached to it. It was also particularly 
provided, that all regalities, which at present belonged 
to the king, should be indissolubly annexed to the crown 
lands, and that in time to come, no erection of regalities 
should take place without the advice of the parliament.* 
Other measures of the same parliament had an evi- 
dent reference to the increasing the authority of the 
crown. It was ordained, that, for the future, the war- 
denry of the Borders, an office of the utmost power and 
responsibility, should cease to be hereditary ; that the 
wardens should have no jurisdiction in cases of treason, 
except where such cases arose out of an infraction 
of the truce ; and that no actions or pleas in law should 
be brought into the court of the warden, but ought to 
be prosecuted before the justice ayre. The situation 
of warden had long been esteemed the inalienable pro- 
perty of the house of Douglas, and its abolition as a 
hereditary dignity was the consequence of the late re- 
bellion. But the able ministers who at this time 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pj). 42, 43. 

1456. JAMES II. 11.1 

directed the kini,^'s council^", were not satisfied w'lili 
cuttiui^ down the exorbitant power of the warden. The 
blow was wisely aimed aiiainst the principle which made 
any olKco whatever a hereditary lee ; and it was de- 
clared that, in all time to come, "no office should bo 
given in fee or heritage, whilst such as had been so 
disposed of since the death of the late king, were re- 
voked and abolished, due care being taken that any 
price or consideration which had been advanced by the 
incumbent, should bo restored. From the operation 
of this excellent statute, an exception was made in 
favour of the wardenry of the march, which the king 
liad bestowed on his son Alexander earl of March and 
lord of Annandale.* A few other statutes, enacted in 
this same parliament, deserve attention. lie who ar- 
rested any false coiner, and brought him to the king, 
was to have ten pounds for his labour, and the escheat 
of the offender. Soruers-f were to be punished as 
severely as thieves or robbers; and for the settlement 
<»f those inferior disputes which were perpetually oc- 
curring between the subjects of the burghs of the realm, 
it was provided, that the privy council should select 
eight or twelve persons, according to the size of the 
town, to whose decision all causes, not exceeding the 
sum of five pounds, were to be intrusted. 

A curious statute followed on the subject of dress, 
which is interesting, from its minuteness. It declared, 
that with regard to the dresses to be worn by earls, 
lords of parliament, commissaries of burghs, and 
advocates, at all parliaments and general councils, the 
carls should take caro to use mantles of "brown 

• Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 43. 

+ Au expressive Scottish word, meaning a stout armed vagrant, who in- 
sists on taking up his quarters for au indeliuite period, at the various houses 
hu visits. 


granyt," open in the front, furred with ermine, and 
lined before with the same, surmounted by little hoods 
of the same cloth, to be used for the shoulders. The 
other lords of parliament were directed to have a mantle 
of red cloth, open in front, and lined with silk, or furred 
with " Cristy gray, grece, or purray, with a hood furred 
in the same manner, and composed of the same cloth ;" 
whilst all commissaries of burghs were commanded 
to have a pair of cloaks, — such is the phrase made use 
of, — of blue cloth, made to open on the right shoulder, 
to be trimmed with fur, and having hoods of the same 
colour. If any earl, lord of parliament, or commissary, 
appeared in parliament, or at the general council, with- 
out this dress, he was to pay a fine of ten pounds to 
the king. All men of law employed and paid as " " fore- 
speakers," were to wear a dress of green cloth, made 
after the fashion of a "tuny kill," or little tunic, with 
the sleeves open like a tabard, under a penalty of five 
pounds to the king, if they appeared either in parlia- 
ment or at general councils without it; and in every 
burgh where parliament or general councils were 
held, it was directed that there be constructed "where 
the bar uses to stand," a platform, consisting of three 
lines of seats, each line higher than the other, upon 
which the commissaries of the burghs were to take 
their places.* 

At a prorogued meeting of the same parliament, held 
at Stirling on the thirteenth of October, regulations were 
made for the defence of the kingdom against any sudden 
invasion of the English, which explain the system of 
transmitting information by beacons adopted in those 
early times, in an interesting manner. At the different 
fords or passages of the Tweed between Eoxburgh and 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 43, 

Hd6. JAMES ir. 117 

Berwick, where it was customary for the En<i;lish forces 
to cross the river, certain watchmen were stationed, 
whose duty it was to light a balc-lire, or beacon, the 
moment they received word of the approach of an 
enemy. It was to be so placed as to be seen at Hume 
castle, and to this station tlic watchmen were instantly 
to repair. The beacon fires were to bo regulated in the 
following manner : One fire was understood to signify 
that an enemy was reported to be approaching, — two 
fires, that they were coming for certain, — by four fires, 
lighted up at once, and each beside another, like four 
" candellis, and all at ayns,''''* to use the homely lan- 
guage of the statute, it was to be understood that the 
invading army was one of great strength and power. 
The moment that the watchmen stationed at Eggerhope 
(now Edgei'ton) castle descried the beacon at Hume, 
they were commanded to light up their bale-fire ; and 
the moment the men stationed at Soutra Edire descried 
the Eggerhope fire, they were to answer it b}'^ a corre- 
sponding beacon on their battlements ; and thus, firo 
answering to fire, from Dunbar, Haddington, Dalkeith, 
all Lothian was to be roused as far as Edinburgh castle. 
At Edinburgh, four beacons were instantly to be lighted 
to warn the inhabitants of Fife, Stirling, and the east- 
ern part of Lothian. Beacons were also directed to bo 
kindled on North Berwick Law, and Dunpender Law, 
to warn the coast side of the sea : it being understood 
that all the fighting men on the west side of Edinburgh 
should assemble in that city ; and all to the cast of it, 
at Haddington ; whilst all merchants and burghers were 
directed to join the host as it passed through their 
respective communities. By another statute of the 
same parliament, two hundred spearmen and two hun- 

* All at once. 


dred bowmen were ordered to be maintained, at the 
expense of the Border lords, upon the east and middle 
marches ; whilst, upon the west marches, there was 
to be kept up a force of one hundred bows and one 
hundred spears ; the Border lords and barons being 
strictly enjoined to have their castles in good repair, well 
garrisoned, and amply provided with military stores, 
Avhilst they themselves were to be ready, having as- 
sembled their vassals at their chief places of residence, 
to join the warden, and pass forward with the host 
wherever he pleased to lead them.* 

Some other statutes are worthy of notice, as illus- 
trating the state of the Borders, and the manners of 
the times. It was directed, that when a warden raid 
took place, meaning an invasion of England by the 
lord warden in person, or when any other chieftain 
led his host against the enemy, no man was to be 
permitted, under pain of death, and forfeiture of his 
whole goods, to abstract any part of the general booty, 
until, according to the ancient custom of the marches, 
it had been divided into three parts, in presence of the 
chief leader of the expedition ; any theft of the plunder 
or the prisoners belonging to the leaders or their men 
— any supplies furnished to the English garrisons of 
Roxburgh or Berwick — any warning given to the Eng- 
lish of a meditated invasion by the Scots — any private 
journey into England, without the king"'sor the warden's 
safe-conduct, was to be punished as treason, with the 
loss of life and estate ; and it was strictly enjoined 
upon the principal leaders of any raids into England, 
that they should cause these directions of the parlia- 
ment to be communicated to their host previous to the 

* Acts of tbe Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 44, 45. 

1456. JAMES II. Ill) 

expedition, so that none might allege ignorance of tho 
law as an excuse of its violation.* 

Amid these wise endeavours to strengthen the power 
(jf the crown, and to provide for the security of tho 
kingdom, James was surprised by the arrival at court 
of two noble ladies, who threw themselves upon his 
protection. These were the Countess of Douglas, 
known before her marriage by the name of the Fair 
Maid of Galloway; and the Countess of Ross, a daugh- 
ter of the once powerful house of Livingston.-f- Tho 
first had been miserable in her marriage with that 
Earl of Douglas who had fallen by the king's hand in 
Stirling castle, and equally wretched in her subsequent 
unnatural union with his brother, at this moment a 
rebel in England. Profiting by his absence, she now 
fled to the court of the king, representing the cruelty 
with which she had been treated both by the one and 
the other. She was not only welcomed with the ut- 
most kindness and courtesy, but immediately provided 
with a third husband, in the king"'s uterine brother. 
Sir John Stewart, son of his mother by her second 
husband, the Black Knight of Lorn. In what manner 
her marriage with Douglas was dissolved does not 
a])pear ; but it is singular that she had no children 
by either of her former husbands. Her third lord, to 
whom she bore two daughters, :|: was soon afterwards 
created Earl of Athole, and enriched by the gift of 
tho forfeited barony of Balvcny. To the Countess of 
Ross, the wife of the rebel earl of that name, and to 
whom her husband''s treason appears to have been as 
distasteful as to the consort of the Earl of Douglas, 

■^ Arts of tho Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 44, 4.5. 
+ ISuchanan, book xi. chap. xlv. 

* Her two dauditers were Ladv Janet, married to Alexander earl of 
Huntley ; and Lady Catherine, to John, sixth Lord Forbes. 


James, with equal readiness, extended the royal favour, 
and assigned her a maintenance suited to her rank;* 
whilst not long after, a third noble female, his sister, 
the Princess Annabella, arrived from the court of the 
Duke of Savoy. She had been betrothed to Louis, 
the second son of the Duke of Savoy ; but, at the 
request of the King of France, and on payment of the 
sum of twenty-five thousand crowns, James consented 
to a dissolution of the intended marriage; and, on her 
return to Scotland, she became the wife of the first 
Earl of Huntley.-f- 

Disengaged from these minor cares, the king found 
himself soon after involved in a negotiation requiring 
greater delicacy in its management, and which, if abor- 
tive, might have been productive of consequences pre- 
judicial to the kingdom. It arose out of a complaint 
transmitted to the Scottish court by Christian king 
of Norway, upon the subject of the money due by the 
King of Scotland for the Western Isles and the king- 
dom of Man, in virtue of the treaty concluded in 1426 
between James the First and Eric king of Norway. 
This treaty itself was only a confirmation of the ori- 
ginal agreement, by which, nearly two hundred years 
before, Alexander the Third had purchased these islands 
from Mao-nus, then Kino; of Norway; and Christian 
now remonstrated, not merely on the ground that a 
large proportion of arrears was due, but that one of his 
subjects, Biorn son of Thorleif, the Lieutenant of Ice- 
laud, having been driven by a storm into a harbour in 
the Orkneys, had been seized by the Scottish authori- 
ties, contrary to the faith of treaties, and cast, with 
his wife and his attendants, into prison. J Happily, 

* Mag. Sig. vii. 371. 8th February, 1475. 

t Mag. Sig. V. 91. 1st March, 145^. J Torfsei Orcades, p. 184. 

1157. JAMES II. 121 

after some correspondence upon these points, in.stead 
of an appeal to arms, the parties adopted the expedient 
of referring all ditleronces to the decision of Charles 
the Seventh, their mutual friend and ally; who, after 
various delays, pronounced his final decision at a con- 
vention of the commissioners of hoth kingdoms, Avhich 
was not held till four years after this })eri(,)d, in liGO. 
In the meantime, in consequence of the re-establish- 
ment of the influence of the house of Lancaster, by 
the restoration of Henry the Sixth, and his queen, a 
woman of masculine spirit, aftairs began to assume a 
more favourable aspect on the side of England; and 
the King of Scotland having despatched the Abbot of 
Melrose, Lord Graham, Vans dean of Glasgow, and 
Mr George Fala burgess of Edinburgh, as his com- 
missioners to the English government, a truce between 
the two countries was concluded, which was to last 
till the sixth of July, 1459.* This change, however, 
in the administration of affairs in England, did not 
prevent the Earl of Douglas, who, during the con- 
tinuance of the power of the Yorkists, had acquired a 
considerable influence in that country, from making 
the strongest efforts to regain the vast estates of which 
he had been deprived, and to avenge himself on the 
sovereifrn whose alleoiance he had forsworn. He ac- 
cordingly assembled a force in conjunction witli the 
Earl of Northumberland, and breaking across the Bor- 
der, wasted the fertile district of the Merse in Berwick- 
shire, with the merciless fury of a renegade. After 
a course of plunder and devastation, which, without 
securing the confidence of his new friends, made him 
detested by his countrymen, ho was met, and totally 
defeated, by the Earl of Angus, at the head of a divi- 

• Kjmcr, Fttdcra, vol. xi. p. 389-31)9. 


sion of the royal army; nearly a thousand of the Eng- 
lish were slain, seven hundred taken prisoners, and 
Douglas, once more driven a fugitive into England, 
found himself so effectually shorn of his power, and 
limited in his resources, that he remained perfectly 
inoffensive during the remainder of this reign.* 

The lordship of Douglas, and the Avide domains 
attached to this dignity, were now, in consequence of 
his important public services, conferred upon the Earl 
of Angus, a nobleman of great talents and ambition, 
connected by his mother, who was a daughter of Robert 
the Third, with the royal family, and inheriting by his 
father, George, first Earl of Angus, a son of the first 
Earl of Douglas, the same claim to the crown through 
the blood of Baliol, which we have already seen pro- 
ducing a temporary embarrassment upon the accession 
of Robert the Second, in the year 1370. -f- Upon the 
acquisition by Angus of the forfeited estates of Dou- 
glas, the numerous and powerful vassals of that house 
immediately attached themselves to the fortunes of 
this rising favourite, whom the liberality of the king 
had already raised to a height of power almost as giddy 
and as dangerous as that from which his predecessor 
had been precipitated. Apparent, however, as were 
the dangerous consequences which might be antici- 
pated from this policy, we must blame rather that 
miserable feudal constitution under which he lived, 
than censure the monarch who was compelled to accom- 
modate himself to its principles. The only weapons 
by which a feudal sovereign could overwhelm a noble 
whose strength menaced the crown, were to be found 

* The MS. Chronicle in the Library of the University of Edinburgh dates 
this conflict, October 23, 14.5i5. 

f See vol. iii. of this History, pp. 1,2. Duncan Stewart's Account of the 
Royal Family of Scotland, p. 62. 

U56. JAMES II. 123 

in the liauds of liis brethren of the aristocracy; and 
the only mode by which ho could insure their co-ope- 
ration in a struggle, which, as it involved in some 
degree an attack upon their own rights must have 
excited their jealousy, was to permit them to share in 
the spoils of his forfeiture. 

Some time previous to this conclusive defeat of 
Douglas, the parliament had again assembled at Edin- 
i)urgh; when, at tho desire of the king, they took into 
consideration the great subjects of the defence of the 
country, tho regulations of tho value of the current 
coin, the administration of justice, and the establish- 
ment of a set of rules, which are entitled, " concerning 
the governance of the pestilence;''"' a dreadful scourge, 
which now, for the fifth time, began to commit its 
ravages in the kingdom. Upon the first head, it was 
provided, that all subjects of the realm possessed of 
lands or goods, should be ready mounted and armed, 
according to the value of their property, to ride for 
the defence of the country, the moment they received 
warning, either by sound of trumpet or lighting of the 
beacon; that all manner of men, between the ages of 
sixteen and sixty, should hasten to join the muster, 
on the first intelligence of the approach of an English 
host, except they were in such extreme poverty as to 
be unable to furnish themselves with weapons. Every 
yeoman, however, worth twenty marks, was to furnish 
himself at the least with a jack and sleeves down to 
the wrist, or, if not thus equipt, with a pair of splents, 
a sellat,* or a prikit hat, a sword and buckler, and a bow 
and sheaf of arrows. If unskilled in archery, ho was 
to have an axe and a targe, made either of leather or 
of lir, with two straps in the inside. Warning was to 

* A helmet, or Lead-piece for foot-soldiers. 


be given by the proper officers, to the inhabitants of 
every county, that they provide themselves with these 
weapons, and attend tlie weapon-schawing, or armed 
muster, before the sheriffs, bailies, or stewards of rega- 
lities, on the morrow after the " lawe days after Christ- 
mas."" The king, it was next declared, ought to make 
it a special request to some of the richest and most 
powerful barons, "that they make carts of war; and 
in each cart place two guns, each of which was to have 
two chambers, to be supplied with the proper warlike 
tackling, and to be furnished also with a cunning man 
to shoot them. And if," it was quaintly added, " they 
have no skill in the art of shooting with them, at the 
time of passing the act, it is hoped that they will make 
themselves master of it before they are required to 
take the field against the enemy." * 

With regard to the provisions for defence of the 
realm upon the Borders during the summer season, 
the three Estates declared it to be their opinion, tliat 
the Borderers did not require the same supplies which 
were thought necessary when the matter was first re- 
ferred to the king, because this year they were more 
able to defend themselves than in any former season; 
first, it was observed they were better, and their ene- 
mies worse provided than before; secondly, they were 
certain of peace, at least on two Borders, till Candle- 
mas. On the West Borders, it was remarked, the 
winter was seldom a time of distress, and the English 
would be as readily persuaded to agree to a special 
truce from Candlemas till " Wedderdais," as they now 
did till Candlemas; considering also, that during this 
last summer, the enemy have experienced great losses, 
costs, and labour in the war, and, as it is hoped, will 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 45. 

l4o6. JAMES II. 12') 

liave the same in summer, which is approachiiiir. The 
English, it was said, had been put to far more hibour 
and expense, and had suffered far greater losses in the 
war this last summer than the Scottish Borderers. It 
was therefore the opinion of the three Estates, that the 
Borderers should, for the present, be contented without 
overburdening the government by their demands; and 
if any great invasion was likely to come upon them, 
the parliament recommended that the midland barons 
should be ready to offer them immediate supplies and 

Upon the subject of the pestilence, the great object 
seems to have been to prevent contagion, by shutting 
up the inhabitants both of town and country, for a 
certain season, within their houses. The clergy, to 
whom the consideration of the most difficult matters of 
state policy appears to have been at this period invari- 
ably committed, were of opinion, in the words of the 
statute, " that no person, either dwelling in burgh, or 
in the upland districts, who had provision enough to 
maintain himself and his followers or servants, should 
be expelled from his own house, unless he will either 
not remain in it," or may not be shut up in the same. 
And should he disobey his neighbours, and refuse to 
keep himself within his residence, he was to be com- 
pelled to remove from the town. Where, however 
there were any people, neither rich enough to maintain 
themselves nor transport their families forth of the 
town, the citizens were directed to support them at 
their own expense, so that they did not wander away 
from the spot where they ought to remain, and carry 
infection through the kingdom, or " fvle the cuntro 
about thame." " And if any sick folk," it was observed, 

* Acta of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 45. 


" who had been put forth from the town, were caught 
steahng away from the station where they liad been 
shut up," the citizens were commanded to follow and 
bring them back again, punishing them for such con- 
duct, and compelling them to remain in durance. It 
was directed by the same statute, that no man should 
burn his neighbours"' houses, meaning the mansions 
which had been deserted as infected, or in which the 
whole inhabitants had died, unless it could be done 
without injury to the adjoining healthy tenements ; 
and the prelates were commanded to make general 
processions throughout their dioceses twice in the 
week, for the stanching of the pestilence, and " to grant 
pardon" (by which word possibly is meant indulgences) 
to the priests who exposed themselves by walking in 
these processions.* 

With regard to the important subject of the money 
and coinage of the realm, it will be necessary to look 
back, for a moment, to the provisions of the parliament 
held at Stirling a few years before this period, which 
were then purposely omitted,thatthestateofthe coinage 
under this reign, and the principles by which it was 
regulated, might be brought under the eye in a connec- 
ted series. 

We find it first declared in a public paper, entitled, 
The Advisement of the Deputes of the Three Estates, 
touching the Matter of the Money, that, on many 
accounts, it was considered expedient there should be 
an issue of a new coinage, conforming in weight to 
the money of England. Out of the ounce of burnt or 
refined silver, or bullion, eight groats Avere to be coined, 
and smaller coins of half groats, pennies, halfpennies, 
and farthings, of the same proportionate weight and 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 46. 

14oG. JAMES II. 1-27 

fineness. The new groat was to have course for ci^ht 
pence, the half groat for four pence, the penny for two 
pence, the halfpenny for one penny, and the fartliing 
for a halfj)i'nny. It was also directed that the English 
groat, of which eight groats contained one ounce of 
silver, should ho reckoned of the value of eight pence 
the piece; that the English half-groat, agreeing in 
weight to the same, should he taken ft)r four pence, and 
that the English penny should only be received for 
such value as the receiver chooses to affix to it. From 
the time that this new groat was struck, and a day 
appointed for its issue, the groat now current was to 
descend in its value to four pence, and the half-groat to 
two pence, till which time they were to retain the value 
of the new money. It was next directed by the par- 
liament, that there should be struck a new penny of 
gold, to be called "a lion," with the figure of a lion on 
the one side, and on the reverse, the image of St An- 
drew, clothed in a side-coat, reaching to his feet, which 
piece was to be of an equal weight with the half English 
noble, otherwise it should not be received in exchange 
by any person, — the value of which lion, from the time 
it was received into currency, was to be six shillings and 
eight pence of the new coinage, and the half-lion three 
shillings and four pence. After the issue of the new 
coinage, the piece called the demy, which, it wafe de- 
clared, had now a current value of nine shillings, was 
to be received only for six shillings and eight pence, and 
the half-demy for three shillings and four pence.* 

* The exact value of the foreign coins then current in Scotland was fixed 
at the same time; the French real heing fixed at six shillings and eight 
pence; the salute, whicli is of the same weight as the new lion, at the eume 
rate of six shillings and eight pence; the French crown, now current in 
France, having on each side of the shield a crowned ileur-de-lys, tlie Dau- 
phin's crown, and the Flemish ridar, are, in like nuiniier, to he estiniiited at 
the same value as the new lion. The English noble was fixed at thirteen sLil- 


The master of the mint was made responsible for all 
gold and silver struck under his authority, until the 
warden had taken assay of it, and put it in his store ; 
nor was any man to be obliged to receive this money 
should it be reduced by clipping; the same master 
having full power to select, and to punish for any mis- 
demeanour, the coiners and strikers avIio worked under 
him, and who were by no means to be goldsmiths by 
profession, if any others could be procured.* 

Such were the regulations regarding the current 
money of Scotland, which were passed by the Scottish 
parliament in 1451; but it appears that, in the inter- 
val between this period and the present year 1456, 
the value affixed to the various coins above mentioned, 
including those of foreign countries as well as the new 
issue of lions, groats, and half-groats, had been found 
to be too low; so that the merchants and traders dis- 
covering that there was actually more bullion in the 
money than the statutory value fixed by parliament, 
kept it up and made it an article of export. That such 
was the case, appears evident from the expressions 
used by the parliament of 1456 with regard to the 
pieces called demys, the value of which we have seen 
fixed in 1451 at six shillings and eight pence. "And 
to the intent," it was remarked, "that the demys which 
are kept in hand should ' come out,** and have course 
through the realm, and remain within it, instead of 
being carried out of it, the parliament judged it expe- 
dient that the demy be cried to ten shillings." Upon 
the same principle, and to prevent the same occurrence, 

lings and four pence; the half-noble at six shillings and eight pence; the Fle- 
mish noble at twelve shillings and eight jience; and all the other kind of 
gold not included in the established currency was to have its value accord- 
ing to the agreement of the buyer and seller. 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 39, 40. 

UoG. JAMES II. 12.0 

which was evidently viewed with alarm by the finan- 
cialists of this period, a corrospondiiis; increase of the 
value of the other current coins, both of foreign coun- 
tries and of home coinage, above that given them in 
1451, was fixed by the parliament of 1456. Thus, the 
Henry English noble was fixed at twenty-two shil- 
lings; the French crown, Dauphin"'s crown, salute, and 
Flemish ridars, which had been fixed at six shillings 
and eight pence, were raised, in 1456, to eleven shil- 
lings; the new lion, from its first value of six shillings 
and eight pence, was raised to ten shillings; the new 
groat from eight pence to twelve pence ; the half-groat 
from four pence to six pence. In conclusion, the lords 
and auditors of the exchequer wore directed by the 
same parliament to examine with the utmost care, and 
make trial of the purity of the gold and silver, which 
was presented by the warden of the mint.* 

It was provided that, in time of fairs and public 
markets, none of the king's officers were to take dis- 
tress, or levy any tax, upon the goods and wares of so 
small a value and bulk as to be carried to the fair either 
on men's backs, in their arms, or on barrows and 
sledges. On the other hand, where the merchandise 
was of such value and quantity, that it might be ex- 
posed for sale in great stalls, or in covered "crawys" 
or booths, which occupied room in the fair, a temporary 
tax was allowed to be levied upon the proprietors of 
these, whicli, however, was directed to be restored to 
the merchant at the court of the fair, provided he had 
committed no trespass, nor excited any disturbance 
during its continuance. -f- The enactments of this par- 
liament upon the subject of the administration of 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 4'?. f I'>iJ. p- ^^• 



justice, were so completely altered or modified in a 
subsequent meeting of the Estates, that at present it 
seems unnecessary to advert to them. 

In the meanwhile, the condition of the kingdom 
evidently improved, fostered by the care of the sove- 
reign, whose talents, of no inferior order, were daily 
advancing into the strength and maturity of manhood. 
Awake to the infinite superiority of intellect in the 
clergy over the warlike but rude and uninformed body 
of his nobles, it was the wise policy of James to select 
from them his chief ministers, employing them in his 
foreign ne2:otiations and the internal administration of 
the kingdom, as far as it was possible to do so without 
exciting resentment in the great class of his feudal 
barons. It was the consequence of this system, that 
a happy understanding, and a feeling of mutual afi'ec- 
tion and support, existed between the monarch and 
this numerous and influential class, so that, whilst the 
king maintained them in their independence, they sup- 
ported him in his prerogative. Thus, at a provincial 
council which was convoked at Perth, where Thomas 
bishop of Aberdeen presided as conservator statutoriim, 
it was declared, in opposition to the doctrine so strenu- 
ously insisted on by the Holy See, that the king had 
an undoubted right, by the ancient law and custom of 
Scotland, to the ecclesiastical patronage of the king- 
dom, by which it belonged to him to present to all 
benefices during the vacancy of the see. Whilst James, 
however, was thus firm in the assertion of those rights 
which he believed to be the unalienable property of the 
crown, he was careful to profess the greatest reverence 
in all spiritual matters for the authority of the Holy 
See; and, on the accession of Pius the Second, the 
celebrated -^neas Sylvius, to the papal crown, he 

1457. JAMES II. 1,')1 

appointed commissioners to proceed to Rome, and pcr- 
f(irni his u.sual lioinage to the sovcreii;n pontifl*.* 

It was al)i)ut tliis same time that the crown received 
a valuable addition to its political strength, in the an- 
nexation of the earldom of Mar to the royal domains. 
Since the period of tlie failure of the heir-male in 
1435, in the person of Alexander Stewart, natural son 
of the Earl of liuchan, brother of Robert the Third, 
this wide and wealthy earldom had been made the 
subject of litigation, being claimed by the crown, as 
tdtimus hccres^ by Robert lord Erskine, the descendant 
of Lady Ellen Mar, sister of Donald, twelfth Earl of 
Mar, and by Sir Robert Lyle of Duchal, who asserted 
his descent from a co-heiress. There can be no doubt 
that the claim of Erskine was just and legal. So com- 
pletely, indeed, had this been established, that, in 
1 io8, he had been served heir to Isabel countess of 
Mar; and in the due course of law, he assumed the 
title of Earl of Mar, and exercised the rights attached 
to this dignity. In consequence, however, of the act 
of the legislature already alluded to, which declared 
that no lands belonging to the king should be disposed 
of previous to his majority, without consent of the 
three Estates, the earl was prevented from attaining 
possession of his undoubted right; and now, that no 
such plea could bo maintained, an assize of error was 
assembled in presence of the king, and, by a verdict, 
which appears flagrantly unjust, founded upon perver- 
sions of the facts and misconstructions of the ancient 
law of the country, the service of the jury was reduced; 
and the earldom beinj; wrested from the hands of its 
hereditary lord, was declared to have devolved upon 
the king. The transaction, in which the rights of a 

• Mag. Sig. V. V,-l. 


private individual were sacrificed to the desire of ag- 
grandizing the crown, casts a severe reflection upon 
the character of the kins: and his ministers, and re- 
minds us too strongly of his father's conduct in appro- 
priating the earldom of March. It was fortunate, 
however, for the monarch, that the house of Erskine 
was distinguished as much by private virtue as by 
hereditary loyalty; and that, although not insensible 
to the injustice with which they had been treated, they 
were willing rather to submit to the wrong than endan- 
ger the country by redressing it. In the meantime, 
James, apparently unvisited by any compunction, set- 
tled the noble territory which he had thus acquired 
upon his third son, John, whom he created Earl of 

Soon after this, the clemency of the monarch was 
implored by one who, from the course of his former 
life, could scarcely expect that it should be extended 
in his favour. John lord of the isles and earl of Ross, 
a baron from his early years familiar with rebellion, 
and whose coalition with the Earls of Crawford and 
Douglas had, on a former occasion, almost shook the 
throne, being weakened by the death of Crawford, and 
the utter defeat of Douglas, became alarmed for the 
fate which might soon overtake him, and, by a sub- 
missive message, intreated the royal forgiveness, offer- 
ing, as far as it was still left to him, to repair the 
wrongs he had inflicted. To this communication, the 
offended monarch at first refused to listen ; because the 
suppliant, like Crawford, had not in person submitted 
himself unconditionally to his kingly clemency; but 
after a short time, James relented from the sternness 
of his resolution, and consented to extend to the hum- 

* Sutherland Case, by Lord Hailes, chap. v. p. 50. 

lioS. JAMES II. 133 

bled chief a period of probation, witliin which, if ho 
yhoubl evince tho reality of his repentance by some 
notable exploit, he was to be absolved from all the con- 
sequences of his rebellion, and reinstated in the royal 
favour, ^^'hat notable service was performed by Ross 
history has not recorded ; but his presence, three years 
subsequent to this, at the siege of Roxburgh, and his 
quiescence during the interval, entitle us to presume 
that he was restored to the royal favour. 

The aspect of affairs in England was now favourable 
to peace; and Henry the Sixth, with whom the Scottish 
monarch had always cultivated a friendly intercourse, 
having proposed a prolongation of the truce, by letters 
transmitted under the privy seal, James immediately 
acceded to his wishes. A desire for the tranquillity 
of his kingdom, an earnest wish to be united in the 
bonds of charity and love with all Christian princes, 
and a reverent obedience to the admonitions of the 
pope exhorting to peace with all the faithful followers 
of Christ, and to a strict union against the Turks and 
infidels, who were the enemies of the Catholic faith, 
were enumerated by the king as the motives by which 
he was actuated to extend the truce with England for 
the further space of four years,* from the sixth of 
July, 1459, when the present truce terminated. Hav- 
ing thus provided for his security, for a considerable 
period, upon the side of England, James devoted his 
attention to the foreign political relations of his king- 
dom. An advantageous treaty was concluded by his 
ambassadors with John king of Castile and Leon. Tho 
same statesmen to whom this negotiation was intrust- 
ed were empowered to proceed to Denmark, and adjust 
the differences between Scotland and the northern 

* Uymer's Foedera, vol. xi. p. 407. 


potentate, upon the subject of the arrears due for the 
Western Isles and the kingdom of Man ; -whilst a 
representation was made, at the same time, to Charles 
the Seventh of France, the faithful ally of Scotland, 
that the period was now long past when the Scottish 
crown ought to have received delivery of the earldom 
of Xaintonge and lordship of Rochfort, which were 
stipulated to be conveyed to it in the marriage treaty 
between the Princess Margaret, daughter of James 
the First and Lewis the Dauphin of France, It ap- 
pears by a subsequent recoixl of a parliament of James 
the Third, that the French monarch had agreed to 
the demand, and put James in possession of the earl- 

It is impossible to understand the causes, or to trace 
clearly the consequences, of the events which at this 
period occurred in Scotland, without a careful attention 
to the political condition of the sister country, then 
torn by the commencement of the fatal contest between 
the houses of York and Lancaster. In the year 1459, 
a struggle had taken place amongst these fierce com- 
petitors for the possession of supreme power, which 
terminated in favour of Henry the Sixth, who expelled 
from the kingdom his enemy, the Duke of York, with 
whom the Earl of Douglas, on his first flight from Scot- 
land, had entered into the strictest friendship. Previ- 
ous to this, however, the Scottish renegade baron, ever 
versatile and selfish, observing the sinking fortunes 
of York, had embraced the service of the house of 
Lancaster, and obtained a renewal of his English pen- 
sion, as a reward from Henry for his assistance against 
his late ally of York. James, at the same time, and 
prior to the flight of York to Ireland, had despatched 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 104. 

1459. JAMES II. 135 

an embassy to Henry, for tlio purpose of conferrin<j^ 
with him upon certain " secret matters," which of 
course it is vain to look for in the instructions delivered 
to the ambassadors; but Lesley, ahistorian of respectable 
authority, informs us that, at a mutual conference 
between the English and Scottish commissioners, a 
treaty was conoludctl, by which Henry, in return for 
the assistance to be given him by the Scottish king, 
agreed to make over to him the county of Northumber- 
land, alonir with Durham and some nciirhbouriii"- 
districts, which in former times, it is well known, had 
been the property of the Scottish crown.* We aro 
not to be astonished that the English ambassadors, the 
Bishop of Durham and Beaumont grcat-chamberlain 
of England, should have been required to keep those 
stipulations concealed which, had they transpired, 
must have rendered Henry's government so highly 
unj)opular; and it may be remarked that this secret 
treaty, which arose naturally out of the prior political 
connexions between James and Henry, explains, the 
causes of the rupture of the truce, and the subsequent 
invasion of England by the Scottish monarch, an event 
which, as it appears in the narrative of our popular 
historians, is involved in much obscurity. 

In consequence of this secret agreement, and irritated 
by the disturbances which the Duke of York and his 
adherents, in contempt of the existing truce, perpetually 
excited upon the Scottish Borders, James, in the month 
of August 1459, assembled a formidable army, which, 
including camp followers and attendants, composing 
nearly one half of the whole, mustered sixty thousand 
strong. With this force he broke into England, and 
in the short space of a week, won and destroyed seven- 

• Lesley, History of Scotland, p. 29. 


teen towers and castles, ravaging Northumberland with 
lire and sword, pushing forward to Durham, and wast- 
ing the neighbouring territories with that indiscrimi- 
nate havoc, wliich, making little distinction between 
Yorkists or Lancastrians, threatened to injure, rather 
than to assist, the government of his ally the English 
king.* Alarmed, accordingly, at this desolating pro- 
gress, Henry despatched a messenger to the Scottish 
camp, who, in an interview of the monarch, explained 
to him that the disturbances which had excited his 
resentment originated solely in the insolence of the 
Yorkists ; but that he trusted to be able to put down 
liis enemies within a short period, without calling upon 
his faithful ally for that assistance, which, if his affairs 
were less prosperous, he would willingly receive. In 
the meantime he besought him to cease from that in- 
vasion of his dominions, in which, however unwillingly, 
his friends as well as his foes were exposed to plunder, 
and to draw back his army once more into his own 
kingdom. To this demand James readily assented, 
and after a brief stay in England, recrossed the Borders, 
and brought his expedition to a conclusion. -f* 

Immediately after his retreat, an English army, of 
which the principal leaders were the Duke of York 
and the Earl of Salisbury, and which included vari- 
ous barons of both factions, approached the Scottish 
marches ; but the meditated invasion was interrupted 
by the dissensions amongst the leaders ; and a host, 
consisting of more than forty thousand men, fell to 
pieces, and dispersed without performing anything of 
consequence. I To account for so singular an occur- 
rence, it must be recollected, that at tliis moment a 

* Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 57. 

+ Extracta ex MS. Chronicis Scotise, fol. 389, r. 

X Auchiuleck Chrouicle, p. 57. 

1459. JAMES II. 137 

temporary and hollow agrcenunt liad been concluded 
between the Lancastrians and the Yorkists, in which, 
under the outward appearance of amity, the causes of 
mortal dissension were working as deeply as before,* 
so that, whilst it was natural to find the two factions 
attempting to coalesce for the purpose of inflicting ven- 
geance upon the Scots, it was equally to be expected 
that the king and the Lancastrians, who now possessed 
the supreme power, should be little inclined to carry 
matters to extremities. A few months, however, once 
more saw England involved in the misery of civil war; 
and although Henry was totally defeated by the Earl 
of Salisbur}', who commanded the Yorkists, in the 
battle of Bloreheath, yet his fortunes seemed again to 
revive upon the desertion of the Duke of York by his 
army at Ludford Field ; and James, rejoicing in the 
success of his ally, immediately despatched his ambas- 
sadors, the Bishops of Glasgow and Aberdeen, with the 
Abbots of Ilolyrood, Melrose, and Dunfermline, and 
the Lords Livingston and Avendale, to meet with the 
commissioners of England, confirm the truces between 
the kingdoms, and congratulate the English monarch 
on his successes against his enemies. 

But short was the triumph of the unfortunate Henry: 
and within the course of a single month the decisive 
victory gained by the Duke of York and the Earl of 
Warwick at Northampton, at once destroyed the hopes 
of his party; reduced himself to the state of a captive 
in the hands of his implacable enemies; and saw his 
queen and the prince his son compelled to seek a retreat 
in Scotland. It was now time for James sericjusly to 
exert himself in favour of his ally; and the assistance 
which, under a more favourable aspect of his fortunes, 

• Carte, Hist, of England, vol. ii. pp. 750, 751. 


had been deprecated, was now anxiously implored. 
Nor was the Scottish monarch insensible to the en- 
treaty, or slow to answer the call. He received the 
fugitive queen and the youthful prince with much af- 
fection, assigned them a residence and allowance suitable 
to their rank ; and, having issued his writs for the 
assembly of his vassals, and commanded the Earl of 
Huntley, his lieutenant-general, to superintend the 
organizing of the troops, he determined upon an im- 
mediate invasion of England. Previous, however, to 
this great expedition, which ended so fatally for the 
king, there had been a meeting of the three Estates, 
which lasted for a considerable period, and from whose 
iinited wisdom and experience proceeded a series of 
regulations which relate almost to every branch of the 
civil government of the country. To these, which 
present an interesting picture of Scotland in the fif- 
teenth century even in the short sketch to which the 
historian must confine himself, we now, for a few mo- 
ments, direct our attention. 

The first subject which came before parliament is 
entitled, concerning the " article of the session," and 
related to the formation of committees of parliament 
for the administration of justice. It was directed that 
the Lords of the Session should sit three times in the 
year, for forty days at a time, in Edinburgh, Perth, 
and Aberdeen ; and that the court or committee which 
was to sit should be composed of nine judges, who were 
to have votes in the decision of causes, three being 
chosen from each Estate, along with the clerk of the 
register. Their first sitting was directed to begin at 
Aberdeen on the fifteenth of June, and continue 
thenceforward for forty days ; the second session was 
to commence at Perth on the fifth of October, and the 

1457. JAMES ir. LSD 

third at Edinburgh on the thirteenth of February. 
The names of the persons to be selected from the clergy, 
the barons, and the burghers, as the different members 
of the session, were then particularly enumerated for 
the three several periods ; and the sheriff was directed 
to be ready to receive them on their entry into the 
town, and undergo such trouble or charges as might bo 
found necessary. In a succeeding statute, however, 
it was observed that, considering the shortness of the 
period for which the Lords of Session arc to hold their 
Court, and the probability that they will not be called 
upon to undertake such a duty more than once every 
seven years, they ought, out of their benevolence, to 
pay their own costs; and upon the conclusion of the 
three yearly sessions, the king and his council promise 
to select other lords from the three Estates, who should 
sit in the same manner as the first, at such places as 
were most convenient.* 

The next subject to which the parliament directed 
their attention, regarded the defence of the country 
and the arming of the lieges. " Wapinschawings," or 
musters, in which the whole disposable force of a district 
assembled for their exercise in arms, and the inspection 
of their weapons, were directed to be hold by the lords 
and barons, spiritual as well as temporal, four times in 
the year. The games of the football and the golf were 
to be utterly abolished. Care was to be taken, that 
adjoining to each parish-church a pair of butts should 
be made, where shooting was to be practised every 
Sunday: every man was to shoot six shots at the least; 
and if any person refused to attend, he was to be found 
liable in a fine of two pence, to be given to those who 
came tothe bow-marks, or "wapinschawings," fordrink- 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 40. 


money. This mode of instruction was to be used from 
Pascli to Allhallowmas ; so that by the next midsum- 
mer it was expected that all persons would be ready, 
thus instructed and accoutred. In every head town of 
the shire, there were to be a good bow-maker, and "a 
fledger" or arrow-maker. These tradesmen were to 
be furnished by the town with the materials for their 
trade, according as they might require them ; and if 
the parish was large, according to its size, there were 
to be three or four or five bow-marks set up ; so that 
every man within the parish, who was within fifty, and 
past twelve years of age, should be furnished with his 
weapons, and practise shooting ; whilst those men above 
this age, or past threescore, were directed to amuse 
themselves with such honest games* as were best 
adapted to their time of life, excepting always the golf 
and football. 

There followed a minute and interesting sumptuary- 
law, relative to the impoverishment of the realm by 
the sumptuous apparel of men and women ; which, as 
presenting a vivid picture of the dresses of the times, 
I shall give as nearly as possible in the words of the 
original. It will perhaps be recollected, that in a par- 
liament of James the First, held in the year 1429,"f* 
the same subject had attracted the attention of the 
legislature ; and the present necessity of a revision of 
the laws against immoderate costliness in apparel, in- 
dicates an increasing wealth and prosperity in the 
country. "Seeing,"' it declared, "that each estate has 
been greatly impoverished through the sumptuous 
clothing of men and women, especially within the 
burghs, and amongst the commonalty 'to landwart,' 
the lords thought it speedful that restriction of such 

* Vol. iii. of this Hist. p. 185. t Ibid. p. 233. 

1457. JAMES ir. in 

vanity should be made in this manner. First, no man 
within buriili that lived by merchandise, except ho be 
a person of dignity, as one of the aldermen or bailies, 
or other good worthy men of the council of the town, 
should either himself wear, or allow his wife to wear, 
clothes of silk, or costly scarlet gowns, or furring of 
mertricks ;" and all were directed to take especial care 
" to make their wives and daughters to be habited in 
a manner correspondent to their estate; that is to say, 
on their heads short curches, with little hoods, such as 
are used in Flanders, England, and other countries ; 
and as to the gowns, no woman should wear mertricks 
or let vis, or tails of unbefitting length, nor trimmed 
with furs, except on holydays/"' * At the same time, 
it was ordered, "that poor gentlemen living in the 
country, whose property was within forty pounds, of 
old extent, should refjulate their dress accordin": to the 
same standard ; whilst amongst the lower classes, no 
labourers or husbandmen wore to wear, on their work 
days, any other stuft* than grey or white cloth, and on 
holydays, light blue, green, or red — their wives dress- 
ing correspondently, and using curches of their own 
making. The stuff they wore was not to exceed the 
price of forty pence the ell. No woman was to come 
to the kirk or market with her face ' mussalit,' or 
covered, so that she might not be known, under the 
penalty of forfeiting the curch. And as to the clerks, 
no one was to wear gowns of scarlet, or furring of 
mertricks, unless he were a dignified officer in a ca- 
thedral or collegc-ohurch, or a nobleman or doctor, 
or a person having an income of two hundred marks. 
These orders touching the dresses of the community, 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 40. llie word MvU is 


were to be immediately published throughout the 
country, and carried into peremptory and rigorous 
execution." * 

Other regulations of the same parliament are worthy 
of notice; some of them evincing a slight approach 
towards liberty, in an attention to the interests of the 
middle and lower classes of the people, and a desire to 
get loose of the grievous shackles imposed by the feudal 
system upon many of the most important branches of 
national prosperity; others, on the contrary, imposing 
restrictions upon trade and manufactures, in that spirit 
of legislative interference which, for many ages after 
this, retarded commercial progress, and formed a blot 
upon the statute book of this country, as well as of 
England. With regard to "feu-farms," and their 
leases, it was thought expedient by the parliament that 
the king should begin and set a good example to the 
rest of his barons, so that if any estate happened to 
be in "ward," in the hands of the crown, upon which 
leases had been granted, the tenants in such farms 
should not be removed, but remain upon the land, pay- 
ing to the king the rent which had been stipulated 
during the currency of the lease; and, in like manner, 
where any prelate, baron, or freeholder, wished to set 
either the whole or a part of his land in "feu-farm," 
the king was to be obliged to ratify such "assedations," 
or leases. With regard to "regalities," and the pri- 
vileges connected with them, a grievance essentially 
arising out of the feudal system, it was declared that 
all rights and freedoms belonging to them should be 
interpreted by the strictest law, and preserved, accord- 
ing to the letter of their founding charter; and that 
any lord of regality who abused his privileges, to the 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 49. 

1457. JAMES II. 143 

breaking of the king's laws and the injury of the coun- 
try, should be rigorously punished.* 

Intlie sauu' parliament, it was niadea subject of earnest 
request to the king, that he would take into considera- 
tion the great miseries inflicted upon men of every 
condition, but especially upon his poor commons, by 
the mannerof holding his itinerant chamberlain courts; 
and that, with the advice of his three Estates now 
assembled, some speedy remedy might be provided. 
Another heavy grievance, removed at this time, was a 
practice which prevailed during the sitting of parlia- 
ment, and of the session, by which the king"'s constables, 
and other officers, were permitted to levy a tax upon 
the merchants and tradesmen who then brought their 
goods to market, encouraged by the greater demand 
for their commodities. This was declared henceforth 
illeiial, unless the riirht of exaction belonoed to the con- 
stable "of fee,"" for which he must show his charter.-f- 
An attempt was made in the same parliament to abolish 
that custom of entering into " bands or leagues," of 
which we have seen so many pernicious consequences 
in the course of this history. It was declared, that 
" within the burghs throughout the realm, no bands 
or leagues were to be permitted, and no rising or com- 
motion amongst the commons, with the object of hin- 
dering the execution of the common law of the realm, 
unless at the express commandment of their head 
officers;" and that no persons who dwelt within burghs 
should either enter into " man-rent," or ride, or "rout" 
in warlike apparel, with any leader except the king, or 
liis officers, or the lord of the burgh within wliich they 
dwelt, under the penalty of forfeiting their lives, and 
having their goods confiscated to the king. J 

• Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 49. f Ibid. p. 50, * Ibid. 


With regard to those lawless and desperate, or, as 
they are termed in the act, "masterful persons, who 
did not scruple to seize other men's lands by force of 
arras, and detain them from their owners," application 
was directed to be instantly made to the sheriff, who, 
under pain of being dismissed from his office, was to 
proceed to the spot and expel such occupants from the 
ground, or, on their refusal, commit them to the king''s 
ward; a service easily prescribed by the wisdom of the 
three Estates, but, as they were probably well aware, 
not to be carried into execution, except at the peril of 
the life of the officer to whom it was intrusted. All 
persons, of every degree, barons, lords spiritual, or 
simple freeholders, were enjoined when they attended 
the justice ayres, or sheriff courts, to come in sober 
and quiet manner, with no more attendants than com- 
posed their daily household, and taking care, that on 
entering their inn or lodging, they laid their harness 
and warlike weapons aside, using for the time nothing 
but their knives ; and where any persons at deadly 
feud should happen to meet at such assemblies, the 
sheriff was directed to take pledges from both, binding 
them to keep the peace; whilst, for the better regula- 
tion of the country at the period when justice ayres 
were held, and in consequence of the great and mixed 
multitude which was then collected together, the king's 
justice was commanded to search for and apprehend 
all masterful beggars, all idle sorners, all itinerant 
bards and feigned fools, and either to banish them from 
the country, or commit them to the common prison. 
Lit, or dye, was to be '■'■ cried up,'''' and no litstar or 
dyer was to follow the trade of a draper, or to be per- 
mitted to buy or sell cloth; whilst regarding the estate 
of merchandise, and for the purpose of restricting the 

1457. JAMES II. 145 

multitude of "sailors,*" it was the unanimous opinion 
of the clergy, the barons, and the king, that no pcrsjon 
should be allowed to sail or trade in ships, but such as 
were of good reputation and ability; that they should 
have at the least three serplaiths of their own goods, 
or the same intrusted to them ; and that those who 
trailed by sea in merchandise, ought to be freemen and 
iudwcUers within burghs.* 

In the same parliament, some striking regulations 
are met with regarding the encouragement extended 
to agriculture, and the state of the woods and forests 
throughout the country. Every man possessed of a 
plough and of eight oxen, was commanded to sow, at 
the least, each year, a firlot of wheat, half a firlot of 
peas, and forty beans, under the penalty of ten shillings 
to the baron of the land where he dwelt, as often as he 
was found in fault ; and if the baron sowed not the 
same proportions of grain, peas, and beans, in his own 
domains, he was to pay ten shillings to the king for his 
own offence, and forty shillings if he neglected to levy 
the statutory penalty against his husbandmen. The 
disappearance of the wood of Scotland under the reign 
of James the First, and the attention of the legislature 
to this subject, have already been noticed. + It appears 
from one of the provisions of this parliament, held by 
his successor, that some anxiety upon this subject was 
still entertained by the legislature; for we find it de- 
clared that, " regarding the plantation of woods and 
hedges, and the sowing of broom, the lords thought it 
advisable that the king should advise all his freeholders, 
both spiritual and temporal, to make it a provision in 
their Whitsunday ""s lease, that all tenants should plant 

• Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 49. 
+ Vol. iii. of this iiistorv, p. 19(i. 



woods and trees, make hedges, and sow broom, in places 
best adapted, according to the nature of the farm, under 
a penalty to be fixed by the proprietor ; and that care 
should be taken that the enclosures and hedges were 
not constructed of dry stakes driven into the ground, 
and wattled, or of dry worked or planed boards, but of 
living trees, which might grow and be plentiful in the 

With regard to the preservation of such birds and 
wild fowls as " are gainful for the sustentation of man," 
namely, partridge, plover, wild-ducks, and such like, 
it was declared, that no one should destroy their nests 
or their eggs, or slay them in moulting time when 
unable to fly; and that, on the contrary, all manner 
of persons should be encouraged, by every method that 
could be devised, utterly to extirpate all " fowls of 
reiff," such as erns, buzzards, gleds, mytalls, rooks, 
crows, wherever they might be found to build and 
harbour; "for," say the three Estates, "the slaughter 
of these will cause the multiplication of great multi- 
tudes of divers kinds of wild fowls for man's susten- 
tation." In the same spirit, red-fish, meaning salmon 
and grilse, were forbidden to be taken in close time, 
under a fine of forty pounds ; and no manner of vessel, 
creel, or other contrivance, was to be used for the pur- 
pose of intercepting the spawn or smelt in their passage 
to the sea, under the like penalty. 

Touching the destruction of the wolf, it was enjoined 
by the parliament, that where such animals were known 
to haunt, the sheriff, or the bailies of the district, should 
assemble the population three times in the year, be- 
tween St Mark's day and Lammas, which is the time 
of the whelps; and whoever refused to attend the 

* Acts of the Parliarjicuc of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 51. 

1457. JAMES II. 147 

muster should be fined a wedder, as is contained in the 
old act of James the First on this subject. Ho who 
slew a wolf was to bo entitled to a penny from every 
household in the parish where it was killed, upon 
bringing the head to the sheriff; and if he brought the 
head of a fox, he was to receive six pence from the same 
officer. The well-known enactment passed in the reign 
of James the First, against leasing-making, or the 
crime of disseminating false reports, by which discord 
might be created between the king and his subjects, 
was confirmed in its full extent; and the statutes of 
the same prince regarding the non-attendance of free- 
holders in parliament whose holding was under forty 
pounds ; the use of one invariable " measure" through- 
out the realm ; the restriction of " niuir burning" after 
the month of March, till the corn had been cut down; 
and the publication of the acts of the legislature, by 
copies given to the sheriffs and commissaries of burghs, 
which were to be openly proclaimed and read through- 
out tlieir counties and communities, were repeated, and 
declared to bo maintained in full force. 

The enactments of the parliament concluded by an 
affectionate exhortation and prayer, which it would 
injure to give in any words but its own: " Since," it 
dechired, " God of his grace had sent our sovereign 
lord such progress and prosperity, that all his rebels 
and breakers of justice were removed out of his realm, 
and no potent or masterful party remained there to 
cause any disturbance, provided his highness was in- 
clined himself to promote the peace and common profit 
of the realm, and to see equal justicedistributcd amongst 
his subjects; his three Estates, with all humility, 
exhorted and required his highness so diligently to 
devote himself to the execution of these acts and 


statutes above written, that God may be pleased with 
him, and that all his subjects may address their prayers 
for him to God, and give thanks to their heavenly 
Father, for his goodness in sending them such a prince 
to be their governor and defender."* Such was the 
solemn conclusion of the last parliament of James of 
which any material record has been preserved; for, 
although we have certain evidence of three meetin2;s 
of the great council of the nation subsequent to this, 
the fact is only established by insulated charters, which 
convey no information of their particular proceedings. 
The peroration is affectionate, but marked, also, with 
a tone of honest freedom approaching to remonstrance. 
It might almost lead us to suspect that James"'s late 
unjustifiable proceedings, regarding the earldom of 
Mar, had occasioned some unquiet surmisings in the 
minds of his nobility, that he possibly intended to use 
the excuse afforded him by the reiterated rebellion of 
the Douglases to imitate the designs of his father, and 
to attempt to complete the scheme for the suppression 
of the aristocracy of the kingdom, which had cost that 
monarch his life. 

In the meantime, however, the king assembled his 
army. An acute writer has pronounced it difficult to 
discover the pretences or ca,uses which induced James 
to infringe the truce ;-[■ but we have only to look to 
the captivity of Henry the Sixth, the triumph of the 
Yorkists in the battle of Northampton, and the sub- 
sequent flight of the Queen of England to the Scottish 
court, to account satisfactorily for the invasion. James 
was bound, both by his personal friendship and con- 
nexion with Henry, by a secret treat}^, already alluded 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 52. 
f Pinkerton, Hist, of Scotland, vol. i. p. 242. 

1459. JAMES II. 149 

to, and by liis political relations with France, tlio ally 
of the house of Lancaster, to exert himself for its 
restoration to the throne ; and it has already been 
shown that, by the articles of the treaty, his assistance 
was not to go unrewarded. As long, however, as Henry 
and his energetic queen had the prospect of reducing 
the opposition of the house of York, and, by their un- 
assisted efforts, securing a triumph over their enemies, 
the invasion of the Scottish monarch would have de- 
tracted from the popularity of their party, and thrown 
an air of odium even over their success ; but now that 
the king was a captive in the hands of his enemies, and 
Jiis queen a fugitive in a foreign land, the assistance of 
James, and the fulfilment of the stipulations of the 
treaty, were anxiously required. The only key to the 
complicated understanding of the transactions of Scot- 
land during the wars of the Two Roses, is to recollect 
that the hostilities of James were directed, not against 
Enuland, but against the successes of the house of 

Since the calamitous battle of Durham, and the cap- 
tivity of David the Second, a period embracing upwards 
of a hundred years, the important frontier fortress of 
Roxburgh had been in the possession of England. It 
was now commanded by Neville lord Fauconberg,* a 
connexion of the Earl of Warwick, the principal sup- 
porter of the cause of the Yorkists, and James deter- 
mined to commence his campaign by besieging it in 
person. On being joined, accordingly, by the Earl of 
IIuntley,his lieutenant-general, and the Earl of Angus, 
who had risen into great estimation with his sovereign 
from the cordial assistance which he had given in the 
suppression of the rebellion of Douglas, the king pro- 

* Ayloffe's Calendars of Ancient Charters, p. 281. 


ceeded across the Borders, at the head of an army 
which was probably superior in numbers to that which 
he had lately conducted against England. He was 
joined also by the Earl of Ross, to whom we have seen 
that he had extended a conditional pardon, and who, 
eager to prove himself worthy of an entire restoration 
to the royal favour, came to the camp with a powerful 
body of his fierce and warlike vassals.* The siege was 
now opened, but it was destined to receive a sudden 
and melancholy interruption. The king, who had 
carried along with the army some of those rude pieces 
of ordnance which began now to be employed in Scot- 
tish war, -f- proceeded, in company with the Earl of 
Angus, and others of his nobility, to examine a battery 
which had begun to play upon the town. Of the cannon 
which composed it, one was a great gun of Flemish 
manufacture, which had been purchased by James the 
First, but little employed during his pacific reign. It 
was constructed of longitudinal bars of iron, fixed with 
iron hoops, which were made tight in a very rude 
manner, by strong oaken wedges. This piece, from the 
ignorance of the engineer, had been over-charged, and 
as the king stood near, intently observing the direction 
of the guns, it unfortunately exploded, and struck 
the monarch with one of its massy wooden wedges 
in the body. The blow was followed by instant 

* The Aucliinleck Chronicle, p. 57, says, " The yer of God, 1460, the thrid 
Sunday of August, King James the Secund, with ane gret cist, was at the 
sege of Roxburgh." 

•f Barbour, p. 392, informs ns, that at the skirmish on the Were, in 1327, 
the Scots observed two marvellous things in the English army, which were 
entirely new to them : 

Tymmeris for helmya war the tane, 

The tothyr crakys were of weir. 
These "crakys of weir" were in all probability the first attempts to use can- 
Bou ; but although Froissart asserts that, in Scotland, guns were used at the 
Biege of Stirling, in 1339, the fact is exceedingly doubtful. 

1460. JAMES II. 161 

Ji'utli,* liaviii2: fallen upon tho mortal rcijion of the 
groin, and broken the tliii;li; whilst the Earl of Angus, 
who stood near, was severely wounded by the same 
fragment. "f- 

An event so lamentable, whieli cut off their prince 
in the sight of his army, whilst he was yet in the flower 
of his strength, and in the very entrance of manhood, 
was accompanied by universal regret and sorrow; and, 
perhaps, there is no more decisive proof of the affection 
with which the nobility were disposed to regard the 
monarch, thus untimely snatched from them, than the 
first step which they adopted, in despatching a message 
to the court, requiring the immediate attendance of the 
queen, with a strict injunction to bring her eldest son, 
the prince, now king, along with her.;}: Nor was the 
queen-mother, although overpowered by the intelligence 
of her husband's death, of a character which, in the 
over indulgence of feminine sorrow, was likely to forget 
the great duties which she owed to her son. Attended 
by a small suite, in which were some of the prelates 
who formed the wisest counsellors of the deceased mon- 
arch, she travelled night and day to Roxburgh, and 
soon presented herself in the midst of the army, clothed 
in her weeds, and holding in her hand the little prince, 
then a boy of only eight years of age, Avhom, with tears, 
she introduced to them as their king. Tho siirht was 
well calculated to arouse to a high pitch the feelings of 
loyalty and dcvotcdness ; and availing herself of the 

* MS. F'xtracta ex Clironicis Scotia-, f. 289. "Casus iste do morte regis 
si dici potest, longo ante, ut fertur, preostcnsa est regi, per quendan Jolian- 
nem Tempelman, qui fuit pater Domini W'illmi Tempclnian, Sui)erioris 
Monast«rii de Camljuskenneth, qui dum prcgem in Montibus Ocliiliis." 
Here the manuscript abiuptiy breaks off without concluding the tale of 

+ U-slcy, Hist. p. 31. 

X Auchiuleck CLrouicle, p. 57. 


enthusiasm of the moment, she, with a magnanimity 
and vigour which did her honour, besought the nobles 
to continue the siege, and earnestly deprecated the idea 
of breaking up the leaguer, or disbanding the army, 
before they had made themselves master of a fortress, 
the possession of which was of the first importance to 
Scotland. Heart-broken as she was with the loss of 
her beloved lord, she would rather celebrate his obse- 
quies, she said, by the accomplishment of a victory 
which he had so much at heart, than waste the time in 
vain regrets and empty lamentations. And such was 
the ejSect of her appeal, that the leaders of the army, 
and the soldiers themselves, catching the ardour Avith 
which she was animated, instantly recommenced the 
attack, and, pressing the assault with the most deter- 
mined fury, carried the castle by storm, on the very 
day of her arrival in the camp.* 

It must be recollected that James had not completed 
his thirtieth year when he met his death in this untimely 
manner; and of course the greater portion of his life and 
reign was occupied by a minority, during which the 
nation was in that state of internal disorganization so 
lamentably frequent where such an event occurs under 
a feudal government. Taking this into consideration, 
we need not hesitate to pronounce him a prince of un- 
usual vigour and capacity ; and perhaps the eulogium 
of Buchanan, no obsequious granter of praise to kings, 
is one of the strongest proofs of this assertion. His 
wisdom in the internal administration of his kingdom, 
was conspicuously marked by the frequency with which 
he assembled his parliament ; and by a series of zeal- 
ous and anxious, if not always enlightened, laws for the 
regulation of the commerce, and the encouragement of 

* Lesley, Hist. p. 32. 

H60. JAMES II. 153 

tlio agriculture of the country, for the organization of 
the judicial departments, and the protection of tho 
middling and lower classes of his subjects, whether 
farmers, artisans, or merchants. His genius in war 
was not exhibited in any great military triumphs, for 
he was cut oft' in the outset of his career ; but the suc- 
cess with which he put down, by force of arms, tho 
repeated rebellions of some of the most powerful of his 
nobility ; the attention which he paid to the arming 
of his subjects, and the encouragement of warlike ex- 
ercises amongst the people; his directions to his higher 
nobles to devote themselves to the study of artillery, 
and the construction of cannon ; and the ardour with 
which he appears to have engaged in his first war with 
England, although it does not justify the hyperbolical 
panegyric of Abercromby and Johnson, entitles us to 
believe, that in a military contest with England, the 
national honour would not have been sullied in his 
hands. It is not improbable, however, that, had he 
lived a little longer, his maturer wisdom and experience 
would have considered even a successful war, which 
was not undertaken for the purposes of national defence, 
a severe calamity, rather than a subject of glory or 

His policy of employing the most able and enlight- 
ened amongst the clergy as his chief ministers, to whom 
ho intrusted his foreign negotiations, as well as tho 
chief ollices in the judicial and financial departments 
of the government, was borrowed from the example of 
his father, but improved upon, and more exclu.sively 
followed, by the Avisdom of tho son ; whilst his dis- 
crimination in selecting for the military enterprises in 
wliich he was engaged, such able commanders as 
Huntley and Angus, and that judicious union of firm- 


ness and lenity by which he ultimately disarmed of 
their enmity, and attached to his interest, such fierce 
spirits as the Earl of Crawford and the Lord of the 
Isles, do equal honour to the soundness of his judgment, 
and to the kindly feelings of his heart. That he was 
naturally of a violent and ungovernable temper, the 
unjustifiable assassination of Douglas too lamentably 
demonstrated ; but the catastrophe appears to have 
made the deepest impression upon a youthful mind, 
which, though keen, was of an affectionate temperament 
fitted to feel deeply the revulsion of remorse ; and the 
future lenitv of a rei^n fertile in rebellion, is to be 
traced perhaps to the consequences of his crime, and 
the lessons taught him by his repentance. 

In estimating his character, another subject for 
praise is to be found in the skill with which he divided 
into separate factions an aristocracy which, under any 
general or permanent combination, would have been 
far too powerful for the crown ; in the art by which he 
held out to them the prospect of rising upon the ruins 
of their associates in rebellion, and, by a judicious dis- 
tribution of the estates and the dignities which were 
set afloat by treason, induced them to destroy, or at 
least to weaken and neutralise, the strength of each 
other. This policy, under the management of such 
able ministers as Kennedy and Crichton, was his chief 
instrument in carrying to a successful conclusion one 
of his most prominent enterprises, the destruction of 
the immense and overgrown power of the house of 
Douglas, an event which is in itself sufficient to mark 
his reign as an important era in the history of the 

The person of this prince was robust, and well adapted 
or those warlike and knightly exercises in which he is 

1460. JAMES II. 355 

said to have excelled. His countenance was mild and 
intelligent, but deformed by a largo red mark on the 
check, which has given him, amongst contemporary 
chronicles, the surname of "James with the fiery face." 
By his queen he left three sons: James, his successor, 
Alexander duke of Albany, and John earl of Mar; 
and two daughters: Mary, who took to her first hus- 
band Lord Boyd, and afterwards Lord Hamilton, and 
Margaret, who married Sir William Crichton, son of 
the chancellor. From a charter, which is quoted bv 
Sir James Balfour, it would appear that he had an- 
other son, named David, created Earl of Moray, who, 
along with a daughter, died in early infancy.* 

* Sir Lewis Stewart's MS. Collections, Ad. Library, and Extracta ex 
Chrouicis Scotiae, MS. Ad. Library, f. 288. 







inrjs of England. 

Kings of France. 


Henry VI. 

Charles VII. 

Pius II. 

Edward IV. 

Lewis XI. 

Sixtus IV. 

Edward V. 

Innocent VIII 

Richard IIL 

Henry VII. 

Scotland, once more exposed to the danger and the 
woe pronounced upon the nation whose king is a child, 
was yet entitled to expect a pacific commencement of 
the minority, from the wisdom and experience of the 
queen-mother, the apparent union amongst the nobi- 
lity, and the sage counsels of the chief ministers of 
the late king, who, from attachment to the father, 
were likely to unite for the support of the son. Im- 
mediately after the surrender of the fortress of Rox- 
burgh, which Avas dismantled, and the demolition of 
Wark castle, which had been stormed by another divi- 
sion of the army, the further prosecution of the war 
was intermitted, and the nobility conducted their mon- 
arch, then only eight years old, to the monastery of 
Kelso, where he was crowned with the accustomed 
pomp and solemnity, more than a hundred knights 
being made, to commemorate tlTe simultaneous en- 
trance of the prince into the state of chivalry, and his 

14:60. JAMES III. 157 

assumption of his hereditary throne* The court tlicn 
removed to Edinburgh, where the remains of tiic late 
king were committed to the sepulchre in the venerable 
abbey of Holyrood.-f- 

A\'o have already seen, that at this moment the 
neighbouring nation of England was torn and distract- 
ed by the wars of York and Lancaster; and the cap- 
tivity of Henry the Sixth, the ally of Scotland, with 
the escape of his queen, and her son, the prince, into 
that country, are events belonging to the last reign. 
Immediately after the royal funeral, intelligence was 
brought, that this fugitive princess, whose Higlit had 
lain through Wales, was arrived at Dumfries, where 
she had been received with honour, and had taken up 
her residence in the college of Lincluden. To this 
place, the queen-mother of Scotland, with the king 
and the royal suite, proceeded, and a conference took 
place relative to the public affairs of both kingdoms, of 
which, unfortunately, we have no particular account, 
except that it lasted for twelve days. A marriage 
was talked of between the English prince and the sister 
of the King of Scotland, but the energetic consort of 
the feeble Henry required more prompt and warlike 
support than was to be derived from a distant matri- 
monial alliance, and, encouraged by the promise of a 
cordial co-operation upon the part of Scotland, she 
returned with haste to York, and there, in a council 
of her friends, formed the resolution of attacking Lon- 
don, and attempting the rescue of her captive husband. 
The complete triumph of this princess at Wakefield, 
where she totally routed the army of the Duke of 
York, once more, though for a brief period, confirmed 

• Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 58. 

+ Extracta ex Chronicis Scotia;, fol, 209. " ikJiimi circlter cUoram." 


the ascendency of the House of Lancaster; and Scot- 
land, in the re-establishment of her ally upon the 
throne, anticipated a breathing time of peace and tran- 

But the elements of civil commotion existed in the 
habits of the people, and the constitution of the coun- 
try. In the north, the fertile region of all confusion 
and rapine, Allan of Lorn of the Wood, a sister"'s son 
of Donald Balloch, had seized his elder brother, Ker 
of Lorn, and confined him in a dungeon in the island 
of Kerweray.-f- Allan''s object was to starve his vic- 
tim to death, and succeed to the estate; but the Earl 
of Argyle, who was nearly related to the unfortunate 
baron, determined to rescue him; and arriving sud- 
denly with a fleet of war galleys, entirely defeated this 
fierce chief, burnt his fleet, slew the greater part of his 
men, and restored the elder brother to his rightful 
inheritance. This, although apparently an act of jus- 
tice, had the usual effect of rousing the whole body of 
the Island lords, and dividing them into various par- 
ties, animated with a mortal hostility against each 
other, and these issued from their ocean-retreats to 
plunder the islands, to make descents upon the conti- 
nent, and to destroy and murder the unhappy persons 
who refused to join their banner, or engage in such 

In the meantime, it was thought expedient that 
writs should be issued, in the royal name, for the 
meeting of the parliament, which assembled at Edin- 
burgh on the twenty-third of February, 1460. It was 
fully attended, not only by the whole body of the 
prelates, to whose wisdom and experience the people 

* Auchinleck Chronicle, p. 58. Carte, Hist, of England, vol.ii. p. 757. 
f L e. Kerrera. J Auchinleck Chronicle, pp. 58, 59. 

1400. JAMES III. 159 

anxiously looked for protection, and by the great south- 
ern barons, but by the Earl of Ross lord of the Isles, 
and a multitude of independent highland chiefs, whose 
hands were scarce dry from the blood which they had 
lately shed in their domestic broils, and who came, 
not so much from feelings of affection to the crown, 
as with the desire of profiting by the changes and the 
insecurity which they knew to be the attendants upon 
a minority. Unfortunately no records remain of tho 
transactions of this first parliament of James the 
Third. It is certain, however, that tho debates and 
divisions of the aristocracy were carried on with a 
virulence which augured ill for the kingdom, and ren- 
dered abortive, in a great measure, the deliberations 
of the friends of order and good government. These, 
however, so far succeeded as to procure the appoint- 
ment of sessions for the distribution of justice, to bo 
held at Aberdeen, Perth, and Edinburgh. The keep- 
ing of the king's person, and tho government of the 
kingdom, were committed, for the present, to the queen- 
mother; and this prudent princess, distrusting the 
higher nobles, who commanded some of the principal 
fortresses, removed the governors of Edinburgh, Stir- 
ling, and Dunbar, and replaced them by those amongst 
her own servants, upon whose fidelity she could rely.* 
It was impossible that such decided measures should 
not excite dissatisfaction amongst a large proportion 
of the aristocracy, " who," in the words of a contem- 
porary chronicle, " loudly complained against those 
persons, whether of the temporal or spiritual estate, 
who committed to a woman the government of a power- 
ful kingdom." In other words, they murmured that 
the plunder and peculation which they had eagerly 

* AucLinlock Chrouicle, p. 59. Lesley, Ilist. p. 33. 


anticipated as the ministers of a minor sovereign, were 
not likely to be permitted under the energetic govern- 
ment of the queen. 

In the absence of authentic evidence, it is difficult 
to ascertain the exact measures which were adopted in 
the constitution of the new government immediately 
subsequent to the death of the king. According to 
Lesley, a council of regency was formed, under the 
direction of the queen-mother. By another, and, as 
it seems, a more probable account, the chief manage- 
ment of affairs was intrusted to Kennedy bishop of St 
Andrews ; and it is certain that the choice could not 
have fallen upon one more fitted, from his exemplary 
probity, and his eminent talents and experience, to 
guide the state amid the difficulties with which it was 
surrounded. This his conduct in office during the late 
reign had sufficiently demonstrated ; and his present 
appointment to be the principal minister of the crown, 
was a pledge given by the queen that, however thwarted 
and opposed by the selfish spirit of the great body of the 
nobles, it was at least her wish that the government 
should be administered with justice and impartiality. 
The office of chancellor was, about the same time, 
conferred on Lord Evandale, a nobleman of consider- 
able ability, who had enjoyed the advantage of a more 
learned education than generally fell to the lot of the 
rude barons of his age, and who had experienced the 
confidence and friendship of the late king. The high 
situation of Justiciar of Scotland was committed to 
Robert lord Boyd ; the care of the privy seal intrusted 
to James Lindsay provost of Lincluden, who was said 
to be admitted into the most secret councils of the 
queen ; James lord Livingston, was promoted to the 
lucrative and responsible dignity of chamberlain, whilst 

1460. JAMES III. ini 

Liddelo rector of Forres, was made secretary to tlio 
kiuir, David Guthrie of Kincaldrum treasurer, and 
Sir John Colquhoun of Luss, comptroller of the house- 

It was about this time that the King of France, 
who had been chosen arbitrator in the dispute between 
the crowns of Norway and Scotland, delivered his final 
judgment upon the subject. It has been already ex- 
plained that this serious diflference, which threatened 
to involve the two kingdoms in war, originated in a 
claim made by the Norwegian monarch for the arrears 
of the " annual of Norway," the sum payable by Scot- 
land to that kingdom for the possession of the Western 
Isles and Man. By the original treaty between Mag- 
nus king of Norway, and Alexander the Third, which 
was concluded in 1286, a certain penalty had been 
imposed, upon failure on the part of Scotland to pay 
the yearly quit-rent ; and the Norwegian commissioners 
insisted that the original autograph of this treaty should 
be produced by the Scottish ambassadors, Patrick 
Fokart, captain of the King of Francc"'s guard, and 
William de Monipenny lord of Concrcssault, alleging 
that they would prove, from the terms in which it was 
drawn up, that an arrear of forty-four thousand marks 
was due from the Scottish government to the King of 
Norway. This demand the Scottish envoys eluded. 
The}' alleged that the original deed was in the hands 
of Kennedy, the Provost of St Andrews, who was then 
sick in Flanders, at a great distance from the spot 
where the convention was held, and insinuated that 
the treatv had rather been noHectcd than infrinired ; 
that no demands having been, for a long period, 

• Crawford's Officers of State, p. 37. Ibid. p. 31 3. Rj-mer, Fadera, vol. 
xi. p. 470'. 



made by Norway, Scotland was almost justij&ed in con- 
sidering the claim as having been cut dow'n by de- 

Unable, from the want of the original document, to 
decide this point, and anxious to avoid the prolonga- 
tion of the conference, Charles the Seventh proposed 
that the disputes should be brought to an amicable 
termination by a marriage between the eldest son of 
James the Second, and Margaret, the daughter of the 
King of Norway. Upon this subject the plenipoten- 
tiaries of either power, although they intimated that 
they had no authority to come to a final agreement, 
declared their willingness to confer with their govern- 
ments. It was stated by the Scottish ambassadors 
that the terms which they should be inclined to propose, 
W'Ould be the renunciation by Norway of all claim 
for arrears, the cession to Scotland of the islands of 
Shetland and the Orkneys, and the payment of the 
sum of a hundred thousand crowns for the feminine 
decorations, or, in more familiar phrase, the pin-money, 
of the noble virgin ; whilst, upon their part, they 
engaged that their royal master should settle upon 
the princess a dowry suitable to her rank. At this 
moment, and apparently before the Norwegian com- 
missioners had returned any answer to the proposal, 
accounts of the death of James the Second before 
Koxburgh reached Bourges, where the convention 
was held, and the negotiations were brought to an 
abrupt conclusion ; but a foundation had been laid for 
a treaty highly advantageous to Scotland ; and the 
advice of the royal umpire, Charles the Seventh, that 
the two countries should be careful to continue in the 
Christian fellowship of peace till the youthful parties 
had reached a marriageable age, and the intended 

1461. JAMES III. 163 

union conlJ be completed, appears to have been wisely 
tuUowcJ by the ministers of both kingdoms.* 

In the meantime, events of an interesting and extra- 
ordin iry nature occurred in England. The battle of 
Wakeliuld had replaced the sceptre in the hands of the 
feeble Henry, and the bleeding head of the Duke of 
\'ork, laid at the feet of his masculine antagonist, 
the queen, was received by her as a pledge that her 
misfortunes were to be buried in the grave of this de- 
termined enemy of her house. Yet, within little more 
than two months, the star of York once more assumed 
the ascendant, and the total and sanguinary defeat of 
the Lancastrians in the decisive battle of Touton, again 
drove Henry and his consort into exile in Scotland. 
So complete had been the dispersion and slaughter of 
their army, and so immediate and rapid the flight, that 
their suite, when they arrived, consisted only of six 
p?rsons."f" They were received, however, with much 
distinction ; the warmest sympathy was expressed 
f(ir their misfortunes ; and the queen-mother, with 
the counsellors of the youthful monarch, held various 
conferences on the most prudent measures to be adopted 
for the restoration of their unfortunate ally to his 
hereditary throne. The difficulties, indeed, which pre- 
sented themselves in the prosecution of such a design, 
were by no means of a trifling description. It was 
evident to the good sense and mature experience of 
Kennedy, who held the chief place in the councils of 
the Scottish queen, that, upon the accession of a minor 
sovereign, the first object of his ministers ought to bo 
to secure the integrity of his dominions and the popu- 
larity of his government at home. Yet this, at the 
present moment, was no easy task. On the side of 

• Torfaus, pp. 185, 1U(). f Hall, 251). Paston Letters, i. '21 y. 


the liiglilands and the isles, Edward the Fourth had 
ah'eadj commenced his intrigues with two of the most 
potent and warlike chiefs of those districts, whose fleets 
and armies had repeatedly broken the tranquillity of the 
kingdom, John earl of Ross, and Donald Balloch com- 
monly called Mac Ian Vor of Isla. To meet these two 
barons, or their ambassadors, for they affected the state of 
independent princes, the English monarch despatched 
the banished Earl of Douglas, and his brother John Dou- 
glas of Balveny, who hadsunkinto English subjects, and 
were animated by a mortal antipathy against the house 
of James the Second.* On the side of Norway, the 
differences regarding the claims of that government, 
although they had assumed, under the mediation of 
the French monarch, a more friendly aspect, were still 
unsettled ; and a war with England, unless undertaken 
on the necessary ground of repelling an unjust attack 
appeared likely to lead to serious misfortune, and even, 
if crowned with success, could bring little permanent 
advantage. Yet to desert an ally in misfortune, to 
whom he was bound by the faith of repeated treaties, 
would have been unjust and ungenerous, and Henry, 
or rather his queen, without affecting to be blind to 
the sacrifice which must be made if Scotland then 
declared war, offered to indemnify that country by the 
immediate deliver}'' of the two important frontier towns 
of Berwick and Carlisle. -f- The prize thus offered was 
too alluring to be refused ; and although Edward had 
previously shown a disposition to remain on friendly 
terms, the occupation of so important a town was con- 
sidered as an open declaration of hostility, and called 
for immediate exertion. 

* Rymer, vol. xi. p. 474. Rotuli Scotice, vol. ii. p. 402. 
+ Rolls of Parliament, vol. v. p. 478. 


Personally engrossed, however, by tlic unsettled 
Btate of his own kingdom, he determined to invade 
Scotland, and, if possible, expel the reigning family by 
means of those powerful and rebellious chiefs which it 
lu'ld within its own bosom, assisted by the banished 
Douglases. We find, accordingly, that in a council of 
their vassals and dependants, held at Astornish, on the 
nineteenth of October, the Earl of Ross, along with 
Donald Balloch, and his son John de Isla,* despatched 
their ambassadors to meet with the English envoys, 
who, in a negotiation at Westminster, concluded a 
treaty with Edward IV., which embraced some extra- 
ordinary conditions. Its basis was nothing less than 
the contemplated conquest of Scotland by the army of 
the island lord and the auxiliaries to be furnished by 
Edward. The Lord of the Isles, upon payment of a 
stipulated sum of money to himself, his son, and his 
ally, agreed to become for ever the sworn vassal of 
England, along with the whole I)ody of his subjects, 
and to assist him in the wars in Ireland, as well as else- 
where. In the event of the entire subjugation of Scot- 
land by the Earls of Ross and Douglas, the whole of 
the kingdom to the north of the Scottish sea, or Firth 
of Forth, was to be divided equally between Douglas, 
Ross, and Donald Balloch ; whilst Douglas was to bo 
restored to the possession of those estates between tho 
Scottish sea and tho Borders of England, from which 
lie was now excluded ; and upon such partition and 
restoration being carried into effect, the salaries payable 
by l^ngland to Ross and his associates, as tho wages of 
their defection, were to cease. This remarkable treaty is 
dated at London, on the thirteenthof February, 1402. -•- 

* Gregory's Ilist. of the Western Islands, pp. 47, 4i3. 
t ItotuU Scotix, vol. ii. jt. 407. 


Whilst these important transactions were talcin<T 
place in England, Henry, the. exheridatccl monarch, in 
his asylum at the Scottish court, engaged the Earl of 
Angus, one of the most powerful subjects in Scotland, 
by the promise of an English dukedom, to grant him 
his assistance in the recovery of his dominions ;* but 
before any regular plan could be organized, the Earl of 
Ross, faithful to his promises to Edward, assembled an 
army. The command of this force he intrusted to his 
natural son, Angus, and this fierce chief, assisted by 
the veteran Donald Balloch, at once broke into a re- 
bellion, which was accompanied by all those circum- 
stances of atrocity and sacrilege that distinguished the 
hostilities of these island princes. Ross proclaimed 
himself King of the Hebrides, whilst his son and 
Donald Balloch, having taken possession of the castle 
of Inverness, invaded the country of A thole, publisheda 
proclamation, that no one should dare to obey the officers 
of King James — commanded all taxes to be henceforth 
paid to E/Oss — and, after a cruel and wasteful progress, 
concluded the expedition by storming the castle of 
Blair, and dragging the Earl and Countess of Athole 
from the chapel and sanctuary of St Bridget, to a dis- 
tant prison in Isla.-|- Thrice did Donald attempt, if 
we may believe the historian, to fire the holy pile which 
he had plundered — thrice the destructive element re- 
fused its office — and a storm of thunder and lightning, 
in which the greater part of his war-galleys were sunk, 
and the rich booty with which they were loaded con- 
signed to the deep, was universally ascribed to the 

* Hume of Godscroft, vol. ii. pp. 21, 22, quotes from the original treaty, 
which he had seen : "And so the treaty was sealed and suhscribed with a 
Henry as long as the whole sheet of parchment ; the worst shapen letters, 
and the worst put together, that 1 ever saw." 

+ Gregory's Hist, of the Western Islands, p. 48. 

] 4G2. JAMES III. 1 G7 

^v^athof Heaven, wliich had armed the elements against 
the abettor of sacrilege and murder. It is certain, at 
least, that this idea had fixed itself with all the strength 
of remorse and superstition in the mind of the bold and 
savage leader himself; and such was the effect of the 
feeling, that he became moody and almost distracted. 
Commanding his j)rincipal leaders and soldiers to strip 
themselves to their shirt and drawers, and assuming 
himself the same ignominious garb, he collected the 
relics of his plunder, and, proceeding with bare feet, 
and a dejected aspect, to the chapel which he had so 
lately stained with blood, he and his attendants per- 
formed penance before the altar. The Earl and Coun- 
tess of Atholo were innnediately set free from their 
jirison — and Angus, abandoned as it was believed by 
Heaven, at last ignominiously perished by the dagger 
of an Irish harper, whose resentment he had provoked.* 
It does not appear that any sinmltaneous effort of 
the banished Earl of Douglas, who at this time received 
from England a yearly pension of five hundred pounds, 
co-operated with the rebellion of Ross ; so that this 
formidable league, which threatened nothing less than 
the conquest and dismemberment of Scotland, expired 
in a short and insulated expedition, and fell to pieces 
before the breath of reliirious remorse. Meanwhile the 
masculine and able consort of Henry the Sixth was in- 
defatigable in her efforts to regain the power which she 
hud lost. With a convoy of four Scottish ships she 
sailed from Kirkcudbright to Bretagne, and there ])re- 
vailed upon the duke to advance the sum of twelve 
thousand crowns. From Bretagne she passed to her 
father, the King of Sicily, at this time resident at 

• Lesley, p. .T-l, Bannatyne edition. Biecc, p. .'M!.'' ; and MS. note coni- 
municuted by Mr C«rfj,'ory. 


Anjou, and thence proceeded to the court of France, 
where her promise to surrender Calais the moment she 
was reseated on her throne in England, induced Lewis 
the Eleventh to assist her with a force of two thousand 
men, under the command of the Sieur de Breze, sene- 
schal of Normandy, and a sum of twenty thousand 
livres.* With this little army, the English queen 
disembarked near Bamborough, under the confident 
expectation that the popularity of the house of Lan- 
caster, and the prompt assistance of the Scots, would 
soon recruit the ranks of her army, and enable her to 
triumph over the power of the usurper. But she was 
cruelly disappointed. On her first landing, indeed, the 
fortresses of Alnwick and Dunstanburgh surrendered, 
and were occupied by the troops of the Lancastrians ; 
but before the Scottish auxiliaries, under the command 
of Angus, could march into England, Edward the 
Fourth, in person, along with the Earl of Warwick, 
advanced, by rapid marches, at the head of a numerous 
army, and compelled the queen and her foreign ally to 
fly to their ships. The Seneschal of Normandy, how- 
ever, left his son in command of Alnwick, at the head 
of the French auxiharies, whilst Bamborough castle was 
committed to the Duke of Somerset and the Earl of 
Pembroke ; but it was impossible for the Queen of 
En2:land to stru^o-le against the adverse accidents 
which pursued her. A storm attacked and dispersed 
her fleet ; and it was with infinite difiiculty and danger 
that she succeeded in })utting into Berwick.-f* Breze, 
the seneschal, after witnessing the wreck of his best 
ships, and the capture of his troops by Ogle and Man- 
ners, two of Edward's officers, was glad to escape in a 

* Wyrecestre, p. 492. Carte, Hist, of England, vol. ii. p. 7&"6, 
"t" Ibid. p. 495, Leland, Coll. vol, i, part ii, p, 499. 

14G2. JAMES III. 10!) 

fisliing-boat from Holy Island ; and although the Earl 
of Angus, at the head of a considerable Scottish force, 
gallantly brought relief to the French auxiliaries who 
were shut up in Alnwick, and carried ofl' the garrison 
in safety, in the presence of the English army, the 
expedition concluded with Edward becoming master of 
the castles of Bamborough, Dunstanburgh, and Aln- 
wick, whilst Margaret once more iled to the continent, 
and sought an asylum at her father''s court. 

In the midst of these calamities which befell her 
sister-queen and ally, it appears that the Queen-dowa- 
ger of Scotland had consented to a personal interview 
with the Earl of Warwick, as the accredited ambassador 
of Edward the Fourth. The object of the negotiation 
was an artful proposal of this handsome and victorious 
prince, for a marriage between himself and the widowed 
queen, who was then in the bloom of her years, and 
possessed of many personal charms. Although this 
negotiation ultimately came to nothing, and indeed 
the notoriety of the queen's intrigue with the Duke 
of Somerset,* and the suspicions previously breathed 
against her character, rendered it difficult to believe 
that Edward was in earnest, still the agitation of such 
an alliance had the effect of neutralising the party 
against Eufjland, and diminishinf; the interest of 
Henry the Sixth at the Scottish court. The death 
also of his powerful ally, the Earl of Angus, which 
appears to have taken place about this time, greatly 
weakened his party; and this ill-fated prince, after 
having testified his gratitude for the honourable recep- 
tion and great humanity which he had exj)erienc('d 
from the provost and citizens of Edinburgh, by grant- 
ing to them the same freedom of trade to all English 

* Wvrecestre, p. 495, 


ports which was enjoyed by the citizens of London,* 
once more repaired to England, there to make a last 
effort for the recovery of his kingdom. 

The nobles of Scotland, at this moment, were divided 
into two parties, known by the name of the young and 
the old lords : -f* the first supported by the powerful 
countenance of the queen-mother and Bishop Kennedy, 
anxious for lasting peace with England, and eager to 
promote it by the sacrifice of the cause of Henry, which 
was justly considered desperate ; the second, led by the 
Earl of Angus, and after his death, headed, in all pro- 
bability, b}^ his son and successor, or rather by the tutors 
and protectors of this youthful chief. The sudden 
death of the queen-mother, Mary of Gucldres, in the 
prime of her years and her beauty, which took place on 
the sixteenth of November, 1463, | does not appear to 
have weakened the interest of Edward, or thrown any 
additional weight into the hands of the partisans of 
Henry; on the contrary, the event was followed by 
immediate and active negotiations for peace; and soon 
after the battle of Hexham, a defeat which gave the 
death-blow to the Lancastrian faction in England, a 
solemn convention was held between the commissioners 
of both countries. It was attended, on the part of Eng- 
land, by the Earls of Warwick and Northumberland ; 
and on that of Scotland, by the Bishop of Glasgow, and 
the Earl of Argyle, with the Lords Livingston, Boyd, 
and Hamilton ; and it concluded in a fifteen years'' truce, 
embracing, as one of its principal conditions, that "the 
King of Scotland should give no assistance to Henry, 
calling himself King of England, to Margaret his wife, 
Edward his son, or any of his friends or supporters.''"'^ 

* Maitland's History of Edinburgh, p. 8. 

+ Paston Letters, vol. i. p. 270. J Lesley, p. 36. 

§ RymerjVol.xi.p. 510. Rot. Scot. vol. ii.p.412. Abercromby,vol.ii. p. 390. 

UGo. JAMES III. 171 

Amidst these transactions there gradually arose in 
Scotland another powerful family, destined to act a 
prominent part in the public allairs of the kin^^doin, 
and to exhibit the frequently repeated spectacle of office 
and authority abused for the lowest and most selfish 
ends. I allude to the exaltation of the Boyds, whose 
rapid advancement to the possession of the supreme 
power in the state, and the custody of the king"'s per- 
son, is involved in considerable obscurity. The power 
of the imperious house of Douglas was now extinguish- 
ed; it had been succeeded by the domination of the 
Earl of Angus, which was at first checked by the 
influence of the queen-mother, and had lately sunk into 
a temporary weakness by the minority of the young 
earl. In these circumstances, an opening seems to have 
been left for the intrusion of any able, powerful, and 
unscrupulous adventurer, Avho should unite in his own 
favour the broken and scattered families of the aris- 
tocracy, and, imitating the audacious policy of the 
Livingstons in the earlier part of the reign of James 
the Second, obtain exclusive possession of the king''s 
person, and administer at his will the aflEairs of the 
government. Such a leader arose in the person of 
Robert lord Bovd, whose ancestor had done good ser- 
vice to the country under the reign of Bruce, and who 
himself, probably through the influence of Bishop 
Kennedy, had been created a peer in an early part of 
the present reign. The brother of this nobleman. Sir 
Alexander Boyd, is celebrated, in the popular histories 
of this reign, as a mirror of chivalry in all noble and 
knightly accomplishments, and upon this ground he 
had been selected by the queen- mother and Kennedy as 
thetutorof the youthful prince in his martial exercises.* 

* Paston Letters, vol. i. pp. '270, 271. 


To acquire an influence over the affections of a boy 
of thirteen, and to transfer that influence to his brother, 
Lord Boyd, who was much about the royal person, 
was no difiicult task for so pohshed and able a cour- 
tier as Sir Alexander; but it appears singular that 
the selfishness and ambition of his character, as well as 
that of his brother, should have escaped the acute dis- 
cernment of Kennedy ; and yet it seems probable that 
some months previous to the death of this excellent 
prelate, the Boyds had formed a strong party in the 
state, the object of which was to usurp the whole power 
in the government, and secure the exclusive possession 
of the king's person. 

This may be presumed from a remarkable indenture, 
dated at Stirling, on the tenth of February, 1465,* the 
contents of which not only disclose to us the ambition 
of this family, and the numerous friends and adherents 
whom they had already enlisted in their service, but 
throw a strong light upon the unworthy methods by 
which such confederacies were maintained amongst the 
members of the Scottish aristocracy. The agreement 
bears to have been entered into betwixt honourable and 
worshipful lords, Robert lord Fleming on the one side, 
and Gilbert lord Kennedy, elder brother of the bishop, 
and Sir Alexander Boyd of Duchol, knight, upon the 
other ; and it declared that these persons had solemnly 
bound themselves, their kin, friends, and vassals, to 
stand each to the other, in " afald kindness, supply, 
and defence," in all their causes and quarrels in which 
they were either already engaged, or might happen to 
be hereafter enoao-ed, during the whole continuance of 
their lives. Lord Fleming, however, it would seem, 
had entered into a similar covenant with the Lords 
Livingston and Hamilton ; and these two peers were 

* i,e, lOtli February, 1465-6. 

I iOo. JAMES III. 17.'> 

specially excepted from that clause by which he en- 
gaged to support Kennedy and Boyd against all manner 
of persons who live or die. In the same manner, these 
last-mentioned potentates excepted from the sweeping 
clause, which obliged them to consider as their enemies 
every opponent of Fleming, a long list of friends, to 
whom they had bound themselves in a similar inden- 
ture ; and it is this part of the deed which admits us 
into the secret of the early coalition between the house 
of Boyd and some of the most ancient and influential 
families in Scotland. The Earl of Crawford, Lord 
Montgomery, Lord ALaxwell, Lord Livingston, Lord 
Hamilton, and Lord Cathcart, along with a reverend 
prelate, Patrick Graham, who soon after was pro- 
moted to the see of St Andrews, were specially enu- 
merated as the covenanted friends of Boyd and 
Kennedv. It was next declared that Lord Flemins: 
was to remain a member of the king\s special council 
as long as Lord Kennedy and Sir Alexander Boyd 
were themselves continued in the same oflfice and ser- 
vice, and provided he solemnly obliged himself, in no 
possible manner, either by active measures, or by con- 
sent and advice, to remove the king''s person from the 
keeping of Kennedy and Boyd, or out of the hands of 
any persons to whom they may have committed the 
royal charge. By a subsequent part of the indenture 
it appears, that to Fleming was attributed a considei- 
able influence over the mind of the youthful monarch; 
for he was made to promise that he would employ his 
sincere and hearty endeavours to incline the king to 
entertain a sincere and att'octionate attachment to Lord 
Kennedy and Sir Alexander Boyd, with their children, 
friends, and viussals. The inducement by which Lord 
Fleming was persuaded to give his cordial support to 
the Boyds is next included in the agreement, which, it 


must be allowed, was sufficiently venal and corrupt. 
It Avas declared, that if any office happened to fall vacant 
in the king''s gift, which is a reasonable and proper 
thing for the Lord Fleming's service, he should be 
promoted thereto for his reward ; and it continues, "if 
there happens a large thing to fall, such as ward, relief, 
marriage, or other perquisite, as is meet for the Lord 
Fleming's service, he shall have it, for a reasonable 
composition, before any other." It was finally concluded 
between the contracting parties, that two of Lord 
Fleming's friends and retainers, Tom of Somerville, 
and Wat of Tweedy, should be received by Kennedy 
and Boyd amongst the number of their adherents, and 
maintained in all their causes and quarrels; and the 
deed was solemnly sealed and ratified by their oaths 
taken upon the holy gospels.* 

Such is a specimen of the mode in which the pro- 
sperity of the kingdom was sacrificed to the private 
ambition of the nobles ; and it is evident that this band 
of indenture, by which Lord Fleming was irrevocably 
tied to support the faction of the Boyds, was merely 
one of many other similar instruments which shackled 
in the same manner, and rewarded by the same pro- 
spects of peculation, the rest of the Scottish nobles. 

These intrigues appear to have been carried on 
during the mortal illness of Bishop Kennedy, and in 
contemplation of his death. This event, which, in the 
circumstances in which it occurred, was truly a national 
calamity, took place on the tenth of May, 14G6."|* In 
him the country lost the only statesman who possessed 
sufficient firmness, ability, and integrity, to direct the 

* This valuable original document was communicated to me by James 
Maidment, Esq., through whose kind permission it is printed in the Illustra- 
tions, Letter Gr. 

+ Keith's Catalogue of the Scottish Bishops, p. 19. 

14GG. JAMES III. 175 

councils of government. lie was, indeed, in every 
respect a remarkable man ; a pious and conscientious 
churchman, munificent, active, and discriminatini,' in 
his charity; and whose religion, untinged with bigotry 
or superstition, was j)ure and practical. His zeal for 
the interests of literature and science was another pro- 
minent ai:d admirable feature in his character, of which 
he left a noble monument in St Salvator's college at 
St Andrews, founded by him in 1456, and richly en- 
dowed out of his ecclesiastical revenues. Kennedy was 
nearly connected with the royal family, his mother 
being the Lady !Mary countess of Angus, a daughter 
of Robert the Third. It appears that he had early 
devoted his attention to a correction of the manifold 
abuses which were daily increasing in the government 
of the church ; for which Uudable purpose he twice 
visited Italy, and experienced the fiivour of the pope. 
Although in his public works, in his endowments of 
churches, and in everything connected with the pomp 
and ceremonial of the Catholic faith, he was unusually 
magnificent, yet in his own person, and the expenditure 
of his private household, he exhibited a rare union of 
purity, decorum, and frugality ; nor could the sternest 
judges breathe a single aspersion against either his in- 
tegrity as a minister of state, or his private character 
as a minister of religion. Buchanan, whose prepos- 
sessions were strongly against that ancient church, of 
which Kennedy was the head in Scotland, has yet spoken 
of his virtues in the highest terms of panegyric : — 
" His death," he says, "was so deeply deplored by all 
good men, that the country seemed to weep fur him as 
for a public parent."* 

Upon the decease of this virtuous prelale, the strength 

* Buchanan, lll^tur. Rcruni Scotic. look .xii. cliup. xxtii. 


of the coalition which had been formed by the Boyds, 
and the want of that firm hand which had hitherto 
guided the government, were soon felt in a lamentable 
manner by the country. To get complete possession 
of the king's person was the first object of the faction, 
and this they accomplished in a summary and audacious 
manner. Whilst the king, who had now completed 
his fourteenth year, sat in his Exchequer Court, which 
was then held in the palace of Linlithgow, Lord Boyd, 
accompanied by Lord Somerville, Adam Hepburn mas- 
ter of Hailes, and Andrew Ker of Cessford, violently 
invaded the court, which was kept by the ofiicers and 
attendants of the chamberlain, Lord Livingston, and 
laying hands upon the king, compelled him to mount 
on horseback behind one of the Exchequer deputies, 
and to accompany them to Edinburgh. Lord Kennedy, 
who was a principal party in the conspirac}^, with the 
object of removing from himself the public odium of 
such an outrage, intercepted the cavalcade, and, seizing 
the bridle of the horse which the kincr rode, attempted, 
with well-dissembled violence, to lead him back to the 
palace. A blow from the hunting-staff of Sir Alexander 
Boyd put an end to this interference, and the party 
were suffered to proceed with their royal prize to the 
capital.* The reader need hardly be reminded, that 
Lord Livingston, the chamberlain, without whose 
connivance this enterprise could not have succeeded, 
was one of the parties to that bond between Lord 
Fleming and the Boyds, which has been already quoted; 
and that Tom of Somerville, or, in less familiar lan- 
guage, Thomas Somerville of Plane, the brother of 

■* R. Mag. Sig. vii. 45. October 13, 1466. Buchanan, book. xii. chap 21 , 
is the authority for this pretended interposition of Kennedy. The rest of 
the story given by him is inaccurate. See an extract from the Trial of the 
]$oyds in 1469, in Crawford's Officers of State, p. 316. 


/ / 

Lord Somerville, who accompanied and assisted Lord 
Boyd in liis trcasonal)lo invasion of the royal person, 
was another. Fleming himself, indeed, does not appear; 
and the other powerful friends of the Boyds, the Earl 
of Crawford, with the Lords Montgomery, JNLixwell, 
Hamilton, and Cathcart, are not mentioned as having 
personally taken any share in the enterprise ; but can 
we doubt that all of them gave it their countenance 
and support ; and that Lord Bo3"d and his associates 
would not have risked the commission of an act of 
treason, unless they had been well assured that the 
strength of their party would enable them to defy, for 
the present, every effort which might be made against 
them ? 

This is strikingly corroborated by what followed. 
During the sitting of a parliament, which was soon 
after held at Edinburgh, an extraordinary scene took 
place. In the midst of the proceedings, Lord Boyd, 
suddenly entering the council-room, threw himself at 
the king\s feet, and, embracing his knees, earnestly be- 
sought him to declare before the three Estates whether 
he had incurred his displeasure for any part which ho 
had taken in the late removal of his majesty from Lin- 
lithgow to Edinburgh; upon which the royal boy, 
previously well instructed in his lesson, publicly assured 
his nobility, that instead of being forcibly carried off:' 
in the month of July last from Linlithgow, as had been 
by some persons erroneously asserted, he had attended 
Lord Boyd, and the other knights and gentlemen who 
accompanied him, of his own free-will and pleasure. 
In case, however, this assertion of a minor sovereign, 
under the influence of a powerful faction, should not 
be considered sufficiently conclusive, an instrument 
under the great seal was drawn up, in which Boyd and 


his accomplices were pardoned;* and to crown this 
parliamentary farce, the three Estates immediately 
appointed the same baron to the office of governor of 
the king's person, and of his royal brothers. They 
selected, at the same time, a committee of certain peers, 
to whom, during the interval between the dissolution 
of this present parliament and the meeting of the next, 
full parliamentary powers were intrusted. It is im- 
possible not to pity the miserable condition of a country, 
in which such abuses could be tolerated ; in which the 
rights of the sovereign, the constitution of the great 
national council, and the authority of the laws, were 
not only despised and outraged with impunity, but, 
with a shameless ingenuity, were made parties to their 
own destruction. In the same parliament, the ambas- 
sadors who were then in England, amongst whom we 
lind the prelates of Glasgow and Aberdeen, the Earls 
of Crawford and Argyle, with Lord Livingston the 
chamberlain, were directed to treat of the marriage of 
the king, as well as of his royal brothers, the Lords of 
Albany and Mar; and, upon their return to Scotland, 
to come to a final determination upon the subject with 
that committee of lords to whom the powers of parlia- 
ment were intrusted. 

It is evident, however, that although their names 
and their numbers are studiously concealed, there was 
a party in the kingdom inimical to the designs of the 
Boyds, Avho absented themselves from the meeting of 
the Estates, and, shut up within their feudal castles, 
despised the pretended summons of the king, and de- 
fied the authority of those who had possessed them- 
selves of his person. The parliamentary committee 

* Litera approbationis in favorem Doni. Rob. BoyJ. Appendix to Craw- 
ford's Officers of State, v. 473. 

U6G. JAMES III. 170 

were accordingly empowered to sit and judge all those 
who held their castles against the king or my Lord of 
Albany; to sunnnon them to immediate surrender; 
and, in the event of their refusal, to reduce them by 
arms. At the same time, it was determined that the 
dowry of the future queen shuuld be a third of the 
king's rents. Some regulations were passed against 
the purchase of benefices in commendam ; and an endea- 
vour was made to put a stop to the alarming preva- 
lence of crime and oppression, by iniiicting severe fines 
upon the borrows or pledges of those persons who had 
become security to the state that they would keep the 
peace, and abstain from otiering violence to the person 
or invading the property of their neighbours.* "If 
borrows be broken," to use the language of the act, 
'• upon any bishop, prelate, earl, or lord of parliament, 
the party who had impledged himself for his security, 
was to be fined a hundred pounds; if upon barons, 
knights, squires, or beneficed clerks, fifty pounds; if 
upon burgesses, yeomen, or priests, thirty pounds." 
In the same parliament, the act of King Robert Bruce, 
by which Englishmen were forbid to hold benefices 
in Scotland, was revived; and the statutes, so often 
renewed and so perpetually infringed, against the ex- 
portation of money out of the realm, excepting so 
much as was necessary for the traveller's personal ex- 
penses, were once more repeated. On the other hand, 
to encourage the importation of money into the king- 
dom, a provision was made that every merchant who 
exported hides orwoolfels, should, for each sack which 
ho sold in the foreign market, bring to the master- 
coiner of the king's mint two ounces of " burnt silver," 
for which he was to receive nine shillings and two 

• Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. fio. 


pence ; whilst, for the ease and sustentation of the 
king's lieges, and to encourage alms-deeds to be done 
to the poor, it was enacted that a coinage of copper 
money should be issued, four pieces or farthings to the 
penny, with the device of St Andrew's cross, and super- 
scribed Edinburgh, on the one side ; and a royal crown, 
with the letters James E.., on the reverse. The other 
gold and silver money of the realm was to be current 
at the same value as before.* 

A restriction was made upon foreign trade, by which 
none but free burgesses, resident within burgh, or their 
factors and servants, were permitted to sell or traffic 
in merchandise out of the realm ; always understand- 
ing, that it was lawful for prelates, barons, and clerks, 
to send their own property, the produce of their own 
lands, out of the country by the hands of their ser- 
vants, and to purchase in return such things as were 
needful for their personal use. Other regulations fol- 
low, which enable us to form some idea of the com- 
mercial condition of the country; even burgesses, it 
would appear, had not an unlimited permission to trade, 
unless the trader was a famous and worshipful man, 
having, of his own property, half a "last" of goods, 
or so much at least, under his own power and manage- 
ment; no handicraftsman or artisan was to be per- 
mitted to trade, unless he first, without colour or dis- 
simulation, renounced his craft ; and none of the king's 
lieges was to be permitted to freight a ship, either 
within the realm, or from a foreign port, without there 
being a formal agreement or charter-party drawn up, 
containing certain conditions which were to be fulfilled 
by the shipmaster. Bj such conditions, the shipmas- 
ter was obliged to find a steersman, and (tymmerman,) 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 86. 

14GG. JAMES III. 181 

timberman, with a crew sufficient to navigate tlio 
vessel. The merchant men who sailed with him, were 
to be provided with lire, water, and salt, at his ex- 
pense. If any quarrel arose between the shipmaster 
and his merchant passengers, its decision was to be 
referred to the court of the burgh to which the vessel 
was freighted; whilst care was to be taken that no 
goods should be damaged or destroyed, shorn or staved 
in, by ignorant or careless stowage, under the penalty 
of forfeiting the freight-money, and making good the 
loss to the merchant. No master was to bo allowed 
to sail his vessel during the winter months, fi-om the 
feast of St Simon and Jude, to Candlemas; and in 
consequence, probably, of some misunderstanding with 
the Flemings, of Avhich there is no trace in the history 
of the times, all merchants were interdicted from trad- 
ing to the ports of the Swyn, the Sluse, the Dam, or 
Bruges, and ordered to pass with their ships and cargoes 
to the town of Middleburg. They were not, however, 
to establish their trade in that city, as a staple, as it 
was declared to be the intention of the government to 
send commissioners to the continent, for the purpose 
of negotiating for them the privileges and freedom of 
trade, and to fix the staple in that port which offered 
the most liberal terms.* In the meantime, it was 
permitted to all merchants, to trade to llochelle, Bor- 
deaux, and the ports of France and Norway, as before. 
In England, during the same year, we find the parlia- 
ment of Edward the Fourth imposing the same restric- 
tiims upon the trade and manufactures of the kingdom, 
enforcing an unattainable uniformity of fabric and 
quantity in the worsted manufactures, and prohibiting 
the exportation of woollen yarn and unfulled cloth, by 

• Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. !>7. 


which the king lost his customs, and the people their 
employment. The truth seems to have been, that, 
owing to the decided inferiority of the English wool, 
the foreign cloths had completely undersold the Eng- 
lish broadcloth ; and the parliament interfered, to pre- 
vent the manufacturers from diverting their labour 
and their capital into that only channel in which they 
appear to have been profitably employed for them- 
selves and for the country.* 

In the midst of these parliamentary labours, the 
power of the family of the Boyds, fostered by a pre- 
possession which the youthful monarch seems to have 
entertained for their society, and increased by the use 
which they made of their interest in the government 
to reward their friends, and overwhelm their oppo- 
nents, was steadily on the increase. The Princess 
Mary, eldest sister to the king, had been affianced to 
the son of Henry the Sixth ; but the hand of this royal 
lady was not deemed too high a reward for Sir Tho- 
mas Boyd, the eldest son of Lord Boyd. The island 
of Arran was, immediately after the marriage, erected 
into an earldom, in favour of the bridegroom ; and his 
power and ambition were gratified by the grant of 
ample estates in the counties of Ayr, Bute, Forfar, 
Perth, and Lanark. •!- Soon after this accession of 
dignity. Lord Boyd, who already enjoyed the office of 
governor to the king and his brothers, and high jus- 
ticiar of the kingdom, was promoted to the lucrative 
and important trust of lord chamberlain ; so that, 
armed in this triple authority, he may be said to have 
ruled supreme over the person of the sovereign, the 
administration of justice, and the management of the 
revenues. The power of this family, however, which 

* Statutes of the Realm, vol. ii. p. 41 8. + Douglas's Peerage, vol. ii. p. 32. 

1466. JAMES III. 183 

had shot up, within a sliort jioriod, to such wonderful 
and dangerous strength, seems to have reached, at 
this moment, its highest exaltation; and the fall, when 
it did arrive, was destined to be proportionably rapid 
and severe. 

An event which soon after occurred in Orkney, had 
the effect of renewing the intercourse between tho 
courts of Scotland and Denmark, although the aus- 
pices under which it was resumed, were at first rather 
hostile than friendly. Tulloch bishop of Orkney, a 
Scotsman, and a prelate of high accomplishments and 
great suavity of manners, enjoyed the esteem of Chris- 
tiern king of Denmark and Norway; and appears to 
have been intrusted by this northern potentate with 
a considerable share in the government of these islands, 
at that time the property of the crown of Norway. In 
some contention or feud between the Bishop and the 
lOarl of Orkney, a baron of a violent character, and of 
great power, the prelate had been seized and shut up 
in prison, by a son of Orkney, who showed no dispo- 
sition to interfere for his liberation. Upon this, Chris- 
tiern directed letters to the King of Scotland, in which, 
whilst professing his earnest wishes that the two king- 
doms should continue to preserve tho most friendly 
relations to each other, he remonstrated against tho 
treatment of the bishop, requested the king"'s inter- 
ference to procure his liberty, and intimated his reso- 
lution not to permit the Earl of Orkney to oppress tho 
liege subjects of Norway.* So intent was tho northern 
potentate upon this subject, that additional letters 
were soon after transmitted to tho Scottish king, in 
which, with the design of expediting his deliberations, 
a demand was made for the payment of all arrears duo 

* Torfiei Orcades, p. 187. 


by Scotland to Norway, and reiterating his request 
not only for the liberation of the bishop, but for the 
restoration to the royal favour of a noble Scottish 
knight, Sir John Ross of Halket, the same who had 
distinguished himself in the famous combat, held be- 
fore James the Second, between three warriors of Bur- 
gundy and three champions of Scotland, 

These representations had the desired effect. The 
king had now completed his sixteenth year; it was 
not expedient longer to delay his marriage; and, in 
looking around for a suitable consort, the daughter of 
Christiern was thought of amongst other noble virgins. 
The consequence of this was, an amicable answer to 
the requests of the Norwegian monarch, and a promise 
upon the part of James, that an embassy should im- 
mediately be despatched, by which it was hoped all 
claims between the two crowns might be adjusted. 
The Bishop of Orkney appears to have been restored 
to liberty; Ross was recalled from his banishment, and 
admitted to favour; and a parliament assembled at 
Edinburgh, for the purpose of taking into immediate 
consideration the aftair of the king''s marriage. 

In this meeting of the estates of the realm, a com- 
mission was drawn up, empowering the Bishops of 
Glasgow and Orkney, the Chancellor Evandale, the 
Earl of Arran, and Mr Martin Vans, grand almoner 
and confessor to the king, to proceed as ambassadors 
to the court of Denmark, for the purpose of negotia- 
ting a marriage between the youthful sovereign of Scot- 
land and Margaret princess of Denmark ; whilst, in 
the event of any failure in the overtures made regard- 
ing this northern alliance, the embassy received a sort 
of roving commission to extend their matrimonial re- 
searches through the courts of England, France, Spain, 

14G7. JAMES III. 185 

Burgundy, Brittany, and Savoy. Tln-co tliousand 
pounds were coutributcd by the parliament for the pur- 
pose of defraying the expenses of the embassy, not, as 
it is stated in the act, by way of tax, or contribution, 
but of their own free-will, and without prejudice to 
follow to them in any time to come. Of this sum, a 
thousand was to be given by the clci'gy, a thousand 
by the barons, and a thousand by the burgesses of tho 

The Scottish ambassadors accordingly proceeded to 
Copenhagen, and their negotiations appear to have been 
conducted with much prudence and discretion. Their 
great object was to obtain a cession from Norway of 
the important islands of Orkney and Shetland, which, 
as long as they continued the property of a foreign 
crown, were likely, from their proximity to Scotland, 
and in the event of a war with the northern powers, to 
become exceedingly troublesome neighbours to that 
kingdom. Since the ninth century, the superiority in 
these islands had belonoed to the Norweiiian kinss. 
For a considerable period, they had been governed by 
a line of Norwegian jarls, or earls ; but these having 
failed about the middle of the fourteenth century, the 
earldom passed, by marriage, into the ancient and 
noble house of St Clair, who received their investiture 
from the monarchs of Norway, and took their oath of 
allegiance to that crown. Nay, the sovereigns of Nor- 
way were in the practice of occasionalh' appointing 
viceroys or governors in these islands; and on the 
failure of heirs in the line of the Scottish earls, on the 
refusal of allegiance, or in the event of rebellion, the 
islands were liable to be reclaimed by these foreign 
potentates, and at once separated from all connexion 

* Acts of the Piirliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 90. 


with Scotland. In such circumstances, the acquisition 
of the Orkneys, and the completing the integrity of 
the dominions of the Scottish crown, was evidently an 
ohject of the greatest national importance. At a re- 
mote period of Scottish history, in 1266, the kingdom 
of Man, and the Western Islands, were purchased 
from Norway by Alexander the Third. The stipu- 
lated annual payment of a hundred marks, from its 
trifling value, had not been regularly exacted. Under 
the reign of James the Second, when the arrears appear 
to have accumulated for a period of twenty-six years, 
Christiern king of Denmark, remonstrated, and not 
only claimed the arrears, but the penalties incurred 
by the failure. In these circumstances, the case was 
submitted to the arbitration of Charles the Seventh of 
France, the mutual friend of the parties, who, as already 
stated, recommended a marriage between the Prince 
of Scotland and the daughter of the King of Denmark, 
as the happiest and wisest mode of terminating the 

It was fortunate for the ambassadors of James that 
Christiern was disposed, at this period, to preserve the 
most friendly relations with Scotland. It had been 
the policy of this prince, more than that of any of his 
predecessors, to strengthen his iniluence by foreign 
alliances, and to support France against the aggres- 
sions of England, so that a matrimonial alliance with 
a kingdom which had long been the enemy of that 
country, was likely to meet with his cordial concur- 
rence. Under so favourable an aspect, the negotiation 
was soon concluded. The Norwegian monarch, how- 
ever, hesitated about giving an immediate cession of 
the islands to Scotland, but the articles of the matri- 
monial treaty amounted, in their consequences, to 

1469. JAMES III. 1S7 

almost the same thing. Cliri.sticrn consented to be- 
stow his daughter in marriage upon King James, with 
a portion of sixty thousand florins, and a full discharge 
of the whole arrears of the annual., the name given 
to the yearly tribute due for the Western Isles, and 
of the penalties incurred by non-payment. Of the 
stipulated sum ho agreed to pay down ten thousand 
florins before his daughter's departure for Scotland, and 
to give a mortgage of the sovereignty of the Orkney 
Islands, which were to remain the property of the 
kingdom of Scotland till the remaining lifty thousand 
florins of the marriage portion should be paid. Upon 
the part of James, it was agreed that his consort, Mar- 
garet of Demnark, should, in the event of his death, 
be confirmed in the possession of the palace of Lin- 
lithgow and the castle of Doun, in Menteith, with 
their territories; and, besides this, that she should 
enjoy a revenue amounting to one-third of the royal 
lands.* The exchequer of the Danish monarch had, at 
tills time, been drained by continued civil commotions 
in his kingdom of Sweden, and, owing to the delay in 
the stipulated payment of the dowry, the residence of 
the Scottish ambassadors at the northern court was 
protracted for several months. During this interval, 
Boyd earl of Arran, returned to Scotland, with the 
object of laying before James the terms of the treaty, 
and receiving his further instructions regarding the 
passage of the bride to her new country. 

Upon Boyd''s departure from Copenhagen, it seems 
probable that Christiern became acquainted, from his 
brother ambassadors who remained, with the over- 
grown power of the family of Arran, and the thraldom 
in which he held the youtliful king, and that in justice 

• Torfai Orcades, p. 1"). 


to liis daughter, the future queen, he had determined 
to undermine his influence. The imperious manners 
of such a spoilt favourite of fortune as Arran,were Ukely 
to prove disagreeable to the majesty of Denmark, and 
even amongst his brother ambassadors there were pro- 
bably some who, having sufiered under the rod of his 
power, would not be indisposed to share in the spoils 
of his forfeiture, and to lend themselves instruments 
to compass his ruin. Whilst such schemes for the 
destruction of the power of the despotic family of Boyd 
were ripening in Denmark, the Scottish nobles, during 
his absence on the embassy, had entered into an equally 
formidable coalition against him ; and the eyes of the 
king, no longer a boy, became opened to the ignominious 
tutelage in which he had been kept, and the dangerous 
plurality of the highest offices enjoyed by the high-cham- 
berlain and the Earl of Arran. All this, however, was 
kept concealed for the present; and as winter was now at 
hand, and the frequent storms in these northern lati- 
tudes were naturally formidable to the ambassadors and 
their timid bride, it was resolved to delay the voyage till 
spring.* At that period, Arran again proceeded with 
great pomp to the Danish court, and, on his arrival, it 
was found that Christiern, whose pecuniary difficulties 
continued, instead of ten thousand, could only pay two 
thousand florins of his daughter'^s dowry. Such being 
the case, he proposed a further mortgage of the islands 
of Shetland, till he should advance the remaining eight 
thousand florins, and, as may be easily supposed, the 
Scottish ambassadors were not slow to embrace his 
otfer. The money was never paid, and, since this 
period, the islands of Orkney and Shetland have re- 
mained attached to the Scottish crown. 

* Ferrerius, p. 388. Lesley, History of Scotland, p. 38. 

14G0. JAMES III. 189 

Havinii: brought tlicso matters to .a conclusion, in a 
manner honourable to themselves, and highly beneficial 
to the country, the Scottish ambassadors, bearing with 
them their youtliful bride, a princess of great beauty 
and accomplis^hmcnts, and attended by a brilliant train 
of Danish nobles, set sail for Scotland, and landed at 
Leith in the month of July, amidst the rejoicings of her 
future subjects. She was nowin her sixteenth ycar,and 
the 3'outhful monarch, who had not yet completed his 
eighteenth, received her with the gallantry and ardour 
incident to his age. Soon after her arrival, the mar- 
riage ceremony was completed with much pomp and 
solemnity in the abbey church of Holyrood, and was 
succeeded by a variety and splendour in the pageants 
and entertainments, and a perseverance in the feasting 
and revclr}'-, which were long afterwards remembered.* 

The next great public event which succeeded the 
king's marriage, was the fall of the proud and powerful 
house of Boyd; and so very similar were the circum- 
stances which attended their ruin to those by which 
the destruction of the Livingston family was accom- 
panied, under the reign of James the Second, that, in 
describing the fate of the one, we seem to be repeating 
the catastrophe of the other. The reflection which 
here necessarily forces itself upon the mind is, that the 
constitution of Scotland, at this period, invariably en- 
couraged some powerful family in the aristocracy to 
monopolise the supreme power in the state; and, as 
the manner by which they effected this purpose was 
the same in all cases, by a band namely, or coalition, 
with the most powerful and influential persons in the 
country, so the mode adopted by their enemies for their 

• Lesley's History of Scotland, p. 38. Fcrrerius, p. 388, printed at tlie 
«nd of bubce. 


ruin and discomfiture was equally uniform: a counter 
coalition, headed by the sovereign whom they had 
oppressed, and held together by the hopes of sharing in 
the spoils which they had amassed during their career. 
Whilst the Danish fleet, which brought the youth- 
ful bride and the Scottish ambassadors, was yet in the 
Forth, the king's sister, who was the wife of Arran, 
had become acquainted with the designs which were 
then in agitation ; and, alarmed for the safety of her 
husband, against whom she perceived that her royal 
brother had conceivedthedeepestanimosity, she secretly 
left the court, procured a conveyance on board the fleet, 
and informed him of his danger. It happened, unfor- 
tunately for his family, that this proud noble, over- 
whelmed with intelligence for which he was so little 
prepared, adopted the step most calculated to irritate 
the king's mind against him. It might have been 
possible for Arran to have awakened an old attachment, 
or at least to have diluted the bitterness of indignation, 
by a personal appeal to the generosity of the monarch ; 
but instead of this, without landing with his brother 
ambassadors, he secretly got on board a vessel, and 
taking his wife along with him, whose presence he 
perhaps believed would be a pledge for his security, 
escaped to Denmark, a country scarcely less inimical 
to him than Scotland. 

On being informed of his flight, the king was much 
incensed, and immediately after the conclusion of the 
rejoicings for his marriage, a parliament assembled at 
Edinburgh, in which the destruction of this great fa- 
mily was completed in a very summary manner. Lord 
Boyd, his brother Sir Alexander Boyd of Drumcol, 
and his son the Earl of Arran, were summoned to 
appear and answer the charges which should be brought 

1469. JAMES III. 101 

against them. Boyd, the lord justiciar and chamber- 
lain, now a very old man, made a vain show of resist- 
ance ; and trusting perhaps to those bauds by wliicli 
many of the most powerful fiimilies in the country 
liad engaged to follow his banner, and espouse his 
(juarrel, ho assembled his vassals, and advanced to 
Edinburgh witli a force intended to overawe the par- 
liament and intimidate his judges; but he had over- 
rated his influence. At the display of the royal stan- 
dard, his troops of friends dispersed ; even his own 
immediate dependants became fearful of the conse- 
quences, and dropt away by degrees ; so that the old 
lord, in despair for his safety, fled across the Borders 
into Northumberland, where, overwhelmed bv asro and 
misfortune, he soon after died. 

The Earl of Arran, as we have seen, had avoided 
the royal wrath, by a precipitate flight to Denmark ; 
but it is diflicult to account for the stern and inexor- 
able measures which were adopted against Sir Alex- 
ander Boyd, his uncle, whoso pleasing manners, and 
excellence in all the chivalrous accomplishments of the 
age, had raised him to the office of the king's military 
tutor or governor, and to whom, in his boyish years, 
James is said to have been so warmly attached. It 
is evident that the young king, with a capriciousnes^s 
often incident to his time of life, had suttered his mind 
to be totally alienated from his early friend ; and hav- 
ing consented to his trial for trciison, and the confisca- 
tion of the large estates which had been accumulated 
by the family, it is not impossible that, contrary to 
his own wishes, ho may have been hurried into tlio 
execution of a venfjeanco which was the work rather 
of the nobles than of the sovereign. However this 
may be, Sir Alexander Boyd, whose sickness had pre- 


vented him from making his escape, was brought to 
trial before the parliament, for his violent abduction 
of the king's person from Linlithgow, on the ninth of 
July, 1466, an act of manifest treason; which being 
fully proved, he was found guilty and condemned to 
death. Lord Boyd, and his son the Earl of Arran, 
who had eluded the pursuit of their enemies, were 
arraigned in their absence on the same charges as those 
brought against Sir Alexander Boyd ; and being tried 
by a jury, which included the Earls of Crawford and 
Morton, and the Lords Seton, Gordon, Abernethy, 
Glammis, Lorn, and Haliburton, were also pronounced 
guilty of treason. It was in vain pleaded for these 
unfortunate persons, that the crime of removing the 
king from Linlithgow had not only been remitted by 
a subsequent act of Parliament, but, upon the same 
great authority, had been declared good service. It 
was replied, and the truth of the answer could not be 
disputed, that this legislative act was of no avail, hav- 
ing been extorted by the Boyds when they possessed 
the supreme power, and held the person of the sove- 
reign under a shameful durance, which constituted an 
essential part of their guilt. Sentence of death was 
accordingly pronounced upon the twenty-second of 
November, 1469; and the same day. Sir Alexander 
Boyd, the only victim then in the power of the ruling 
faction, was executed on the Castle-hill of Edinburgh.* 
Upon the forfeiture of the estates of Lord Boyd, and 
his son the Earl of Arran, it was judged expedient to 
make an annexation to the crown of the estates and 
castles which had been engrossed by this powerful 
family; and this was done, it was declared, for behoof 

* Crawford's Officers of State, p. 316, quoting the original trial in Sir 
Lewis Stewart's MS. Collections, Advocates' Library. 

liGi). JAMES III. 1.08 

of the eldest sons of tlie kinirs of Scotland. Amonjist 
these, we find the lordship of liute and castle of Rothe- 
say, tiie lordship of Cowal and the castle of Dunoon, 
the earldom of Carrick, the lands and castle of Dun- 
donald, the barony of Renfrew, with the lordship and 
castle of Kilmarnock, the lordships of Stewarton and 
Dairy; the lands of Nithsdale, Kilbride, Nairnston, 
Caverton, Farinzcan, Drunicol, Teling, with the an- 
nualrent of Brechin, and fortalice of Trabach. When 
we consider the extent of the possessions whii-h thus 
l)ecame the prize of the crown, it may account for the 
readiness with which the party of the young queen, 
who was naturally jealous of the influence which the 
13oyds had usurped over her husband, embraced the 
earliest opportunity of accomplishing their downfall ; 
and a conjecture may be hazarded, that their chief 
enemies were the Chancellor Evandale and the Lord 
Hamilton, although the particular details of the con- 
spiracy, and the names of the other powerful and am- 
bitious persons whom it included in its ranks, have 
been unfortunately lost. It is certain that the house 
of Hamilton, which, previously to the reign of James 
the Second, had never possessed any very formidable 
power, rose into high distinction upon the ruins of the 
fiimily of Boyd. At the command of the king, the 
Princess Mary, who was the wife of the banished Earl 
of Arran, was compelled to leave her husband, with 
whom she had fled to the continent, and return to the 
Scottish court. A divorce was then obtained, and the 
Countess of Arran gave her hand to Lord Hamilton, 
to whom it had been promised in 145 i, in reward for 
the good services performed to the king's father in the 
great rebellion of the Earl of Douglas.* It is well 

• Abercromby, vol. ii. p. o'JJ. 


known that by this marriage, the family of Hamilton, 
under the reign of ]\Iary, became the nearest heirs to 
the Scottish crown. Undismayed by the miserable 
fate of his family, the Earl of Arran, whose talents as 
a statesman and a warrior were superior to most of 
the nobles by whom he had been deserted, soon after 
entered the service of Charles the Bold duke of 
Burgundy, in which he rose to high distinction, and 
became employed in negotiations with the court of 

The kino; had now reached that a2;e when a fair 
prognostication might be made of his future character. 
He had completed his eighteenth year. He had mar- 
ried a princess, who although considerably his junior, 
was endowed, if we may trust the concurrent testimony 
of all historians, with a rare union of wisdom and 
sweetness; and it was evident, that in any endeavour 
to extricate himself from the difficulties with which 
he was surrounded, much, almost all of its success 
depended upon his own personal qualities. The power 
of the Scottish aristocracy, which had greatly increased 
during his own and his father''s minority, required a 
firm hand to check its dangerous growth; and it hap- 
pened unfortunately, that the temporary triumph which 
had attended the intrigues of the Livingstons under 
James the Second, and more lately the durance in 
which the king himself was kept by the usurpation of 
the house of Boyd, had diminished in the eyes of the 
nobles, and even of the people, the respect entertained 
for the royal person, and accustomed them to look 
upon the sovereign as a prize to be played for and 
won by the most bold and fortunate faction in the 
siate. To counteract this, the possession of a steady 

* Paston Letters, vol. i. p. 269, 271. 

lieO. JAMES in. IPS 

judgment, and the exertion of a zealous attention to 
the cares of government, were required from the king; 
and in both James was deficient. That he was so 
weak and even wicked a monarch as ho is described by 
a certain cLass of historians, contrary to the evidence 
of facts, and of contemporaries, there is no ground to 
beHeve ; but his education, Mhich, after the death of 
the excellent Kennedy, had been intrusted to tho 
Boyds, was ill calculated to produce a sovereign fitted 
to govern a country under the circumstances in whicli 
Scotland was then placed. It was the interest of this 
family, the more easily to overrule everything accord- 
ing to their own wishes, to give their youthful charge 
a distaste for public business, to indulge him to an 
unlimited extent in his pleasures and amusements, to 
humour every little foible in his character, to keep liim 
ignorant of the state of the country, and to avoid tho 
slightest approach to that wholesome severity, and 
early discipline of the heart and the understanding, 
without which nothing that is excellent or useful in 
after life can be expected. The efiects of this baso 
system pursued by his governors, were apparent in 
the future misfortunes of the king, whose natural dis- 
position was good, and whose tastes and endowments 
were in some respects superior to his age. The defects 
in his character were mainly to be attributed to an 
ill-directed education; but from the political circum- 
stances by which he was surrounded, they were unfor- 
tunately of a nature calculated to produce tho most 
calamitous consequences to himself as well as to the 

He had indeed fallen on evil days; and whether wo 
look to the state of the continent or to the internal 
condition of Scotland, the task committed to tho su- 


preme governor of that country was one of no easy 
execution. In England, Edward the Fourth was en- 
grossed by his ambitious schemes against France, 
although scarcely secure upon the throne which he had 
mounted amid the tumult and confusion of a civil war; 
and it was his policy, fearful of any renewal of the 
war with Scotland, to encourage discontent, and sow 
the seeds of rebellion in that country, which, under an 
ambitious and a popular prince, might, by uniting its 
strength to his adversary of France, have occasioned 
him infinite annoyance and loss. It was, on the other 
hand, the object of his sagacious and unprincipled 
rival, Lewis the Eleventh, to engage James, by every 
possible means, in a war with England ; whilst Charles 
the Bold duke of Burgundy, who had married the sis- 
ter of Edward, and whose possession of the Netherlands 
gave him ample means of inflicting serious injur}' upon 
the commerce of Scotland, was equally anxious to in- 
terrupt the amicable relations between that country 
and France, and to preserve inviolate the truce between 
James and Edward. The aspect of affairs in England 
and on the continent, in relation to Scotland, was 
therefore one of considerable complication and diffi- 
culty, whilst the internal state of the country was 
equally dark and discouraging. 

In the meantime, the same parliament which had 
destroyed the power of the Boyds, continued its deli- 
berations, and passed some important acts relative to 
the administration of justice, the tenures of landed 
property, the privileges of sanctuary, the constitution 
of the courts of parliament and justice ayres, and the 
liability of the property of the tenants who laboured 
the ground, for the debts of their lord.* Of these 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 95. 

UG.9. JAMES III. 197 

enactments, the last was the most important, as it 
atTccted the rl<;lits and the condition of so laviijo and 
meritorious a class of the community, over whom the 
tyranny exercised by the higher orders appears to 
have been of a grievous description. Previous to this, 
when a nobleman fell into debt, his creditor, who sued 
out a brief of distress, and obtained a judgment against 
the debtor for a certain sum, was in the practice of 
having immediate recourse against the tenant of the 
lordly debtor's lands, seizing his whole property, to his 
utter loss and ruin. To remedy this, an act was passed, 
by which it was declared, that, " to prevent the great 
impoverishment and destruction of the king's com- 
mons and rentallers, and of the inhabitants of the 
estates of the nobles, which was occasioned by the brief 
of distress," the poor tenants should not be distrained 
for their landlord's debts, further than the sum which 
they were due to him in rent, so that if the sum in 
the brief of distress exceeded the rent due, the creditor 
was bound to have recourse aLrainst the other goods 
and property of the debtor. If he had no other pro- 
perty except his land, it was provided, that the land 
should be sold, and the debt paid, so that th<» poor 
tenants and labourers should not be distressed, a legis- 
lative provision which exhibits a more liberal consi- 
deration for the labouring classes than at this period 
we might have been prepared to expect. The debtor 
also was to enjoy the privilege of reclaiming his land 
from the purchaser, if, at any time within seven years, 
he should pay down the price for which it had been 
sold.* In the same parliament, the three Estates, 
after having concluded their deliberations, elected a 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol, ii. p. 96. 


committee of prelates, barons, and commissaries of the 
burghs, to whom they delegated full powers to advise 
upon certain important matters, and report their opi- 
nion to the next parliament. Amongst the subjects 
recommended for their consideration, are the " In- 
bringing or importation of bullion into the realm, the 
keeping the current money within the kingdom, and 
the reduction of the king's laws, comprehending the 
E-egiam Majestatem, the acts, statutes, and other books, 
into one code or volume ;" whilst the rest, meaning, 
probably, those statutes which had fallen into desue- 
tude, or had been abrogated by posterior enactment, 
were unscrupulously directed to be destroj^ed. 

The course of public events in England now became 
deeply interesting, exhibiting those sudden changes of 
fortune which seated the unfortunate Henry upon the 
throne, only to hurl him from it within a few months 
to a prison and a grave. In October 1470, the suc- 
cessful invasion of that country by the Earl of War- 
wick, and the desertion of Edward by the greater part 
of his army, compelled the monarch of the Yorkists 
to make a sudden and hurried escape to Flanders. 
Within five months he again landed in England, at 
the head of two thousand men; and such was the 
astonishing progress of his intrigues and of his arms, 
that in little more than a month, the city of London 
was delivered up, and the sanguinary and decisive battle 
of Tewkesbury completely and for ever annihilated the 
hopes of the House of Lancaster. Henry, as is well 
known, immediately fell a victim to assassination in 
the Tower; and his queen, after a captivity of five 
years, was permitted to retire to Anjou, where she 
died. Soon after this important event, a negotiation 
appears to have been opened with Scotland, and com- 

1470. JAMES III. 199 

niissioners were jvppointod to treat of a truco, wliidi 
Avas apparently to be cemented by some matrimonial 
alliance, of which the particnlars do not appear.* 

We have seen that the excellent Kennedy, who had 
filled the sec of St Andrews with so ninch credit to 
liimself and benefit to the nation, died in the com- 
mencement of the year 1466. Patrick Graham, his 
nterinc brother, then Bis^hop of Brechin, a prelate of 
singular and primitive virtue, was chosen to succeed 
him; and as his promotion was obnoxious to the power- 
ful faction of the Bo^'ds, who then ruled everything 
at court, the bishop-elect secretly left the country for 
Rome, and on his arrival, without difficulty, procured 
his confirmation from Pope Paul the Second. Fearing, 
liowever, that his enemies were too strong for him, he 
delayed his return; and the controversy regarding the 
claim of the see of York to the supremacy of tlie Scot- 
tish church, having been revived by Archbishop Nevill, 
Graham, during his stay in Italy, so earnestly and 
successfully exerted himself for the independence of 
his own church, that Sixtus the Fourth, Pope Paul's 
successor, became convinced by his arguments that the 
claim of York was completely unfounded. The result 
was a measure which forms an era in the history of the 
national church. The see of St Andrews was erected 
into an archbishopric, by a bull of Sixtus the Fourth; 
and the twelve bishops of Scotland solemnly enjoined 
to be subject to that see in all future time."f* In ad- 
dition to this privilege which he had gained for his own 
church, Graham, who felt deeply the abuses which had 
deformed it for so long a period, induced the pope to 
confer upon him the office of legate, for the space ot 

* R)Tncr, Fu'dcrn, vol. xi. p. 710. 

t bpottiswood's llibtory of the Church of Scotland, n. 5U, 50, fO, 


three years, purposing, on his return to Scotland, to 
make a determined effort for their removal. 

But little did this good man foresee tiie storm which 
there awaited him; the persecution which a nobility 
who had fattened on the sale of church livino-s, a dis- 
solute priesthood, and a weak and capricious monarch, 
were prepared to raise against him. His bulls of pri- 
macy and legation, which had been published before 
his arrival, seemed only to awaken the jealousy of the 
bishops, who accused him to the king of intruding him- 
self into the legation, and carrying on a private nego- 
tiation with the Roman court, without having first 
procured the royal license. The moment he set his 
foot in Scotland, he was cited to answer these com- 
plaints, and inhibited from assuming his title as arch- 
bishop, or exercising his legatine functions. In vain 
did he remonstrate against the sentence — in vain ap- 
peal to the bulls which he spread before the court — in 
vain assert what was conspicuously true, that he had 
been the instrument of placing the Scottish church on 
a proud equality with that of the sister kingdom, and 
that his efforts were conscientiously directed to her 
good. The royal mind was poisoned; his judges were 
corrupted by money, which the prelates and ecclesias- 
tics, who were his enemies, did not scruple to expend 
on this base conspiracy. Accusations were forged 
against him by Schevez, an able but profligate man, 
who, from his skill in the then fashionable studies of 
judicial astrology, had risen into favour at court; 
agents were employed at Rome, who raked up impu- 
tations of heresy; his bankers and creditors in that 
city, to whom he was indebted for large sums expended 
in procuring the bull for the archbishopric, insisted on 
premature payment; and the rector of his own uni- 

1 1-70. JAMES III. 201 

versity forginp: a quarrel, fur the purpose of persecution, 
dragged liiin into his court, and LMthlly jiroiiounced 
agaiusit him tho sonteiico of exconiniunicatiuu. De- 
spising the jurisdiction of liis inferior, and confident 
in his own rectitude, Graliam refused obedience, and 
bore liiniself with spirit against his enemies; but tlie 
unworthy conduct of the king, who corroborated the 
sentence, entirely broke his heart, and threw him into 
a state of distraction, from which he never completely 
recovered. He was committed to the charge of Schevez, 
his mortal enemy, who succeeded him in the primacy ; 
and, unappeased in his enmity, even by success, con- 
tinued to porsceuto his victim, removing him from 
prison to prison, till he died at last, overcome with age 
and misfortune, in the castle of Lochleven.* 

Amidst these ecclesiastical intrigues, the attention 
of the privy council and the parliament was directed 
to France, with the design of attempting a reconcilia- 
tion between the French king and the Duke of Bur- 
gundy, botli of them the old and faithful allies of 
Scotland. The Earl of Arran had fled, we have seen, 
after his disgrace in Scotland, to the court of Bur- 
gundy, and his talents and intrigues were successfully 
employed in exciting the animosity of the duke against 
France and Scotland. The same banished noble had 
also sought a refuge in England, probably with the 
same design which had been pursued under similar 
circumstances by the Douglases, that of persuading 
Edward the Fourth to assist him in the recovery of 
his forfeited estates by an invasion of the country. 
To counteract these intrigues, it was resolved imme- 
diately to despatch ambassadors to these powers, whose 
instructions were unfortunately not communicated in 

• Spottiswood's History of the Churcli of Scothind, p. .VJ. 


open parliament, but discussed secretly amongst the 
lords of the privy council, owing to which precaution 
it is impossible to discover the nature of the political 
relations which then subsisted between Scotland and 
the continent. To the same ambassadors was com- 
mitted the task of choosing a proper matrimonial al- 
liance for the king"'s sister, a sum of three thousand 
pounds being contributed in equal portions by the 
three Estates to meet their expenses. 

About the same time, Lewis the Eleventh despatched 
the Sieur Concressault to the court of James, with the 
object of persuading that monarch to attack and make 
himself master of the county of Brittany, wliich he 
promised to assign in perpetuity to the Scottish crown; 
and it appears he had so far succeeded, that orders 
w^ere given for a levy of six thousand men-at-arms, 
which the king had determined to conduct in person, 
whilst the three Estates en2;a2:ed to contribute six 
thousand pounds for the expenses of the expedition. 
Against this extraordinary project of deserting his 
dominions, at a period when the state of the country so 
imperiously demanded his presence, the wiser and more 
patriotic portion of the nobility steadily remonstrated.* 
They represented that it must be attended with great 
peril to the realm, if the sovereign, in his tender age, 
and as yet without a successor, should leave the coun- 
try, torn as it then was by civil faction, by the dread 
of threatened war, and by ecclesiastical dissension and 
intrigue. They exposed to him th.e duplicity of the 
conduct of Lewis, who had delayed to put him in pos- 
session of the county of Xaintonge, his undoubted 
right, and now attempted to divert him from insisting 
on the fulfilment of his stipulations, by an enterprise 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 102. 

1171-3. JAMES III. 203 

ci]iinlly hazanlou.s and extravagant. The prelates, in 
particular, drew up the strongest remonstnuico upon 
tlio subject; imploring him, by the tender love which 
they bore to his person, not to leave his dominions 
open to the incursions of his enemies of England; to 
recall the letters already written to the King of France; 
and to content himself with an earnest endeavour, by 
the negotiations of his ambassadors, to make up the 
dillercnces between Lewis the Eleventh and the Duke 
of Burgundy.* They advised him to use every method 
to discover the real intentions and disposition of the 
French monarch; and if they found him obstinate in 
his refusal to deliver up the county of Xaintonge, it 
was recommended that the ambassadors at the court 
of Burgundy should arraign the injustice of such con- 
duct to the duke, and prevail upon that prince to assist 
the Scottish monarch in his attempt to recover his 
rights, as well as to get possession of the rich duchy 
of Gueldres, which, they contended, had become the 
property of the crown of Scotland, in consequence of 
the imprisonment of the old Duke of Gueldres by his 
son.-f l^urgundy, however, had himself cast the eyes 
of affection upon this prize; and, with the design of 
uniting it to his own territory, and erecting the whole 
into a separate sovereignty, under the title of the king- 
dom of Burgundy, soon after prevailed upon the im- 
prisoned potentate to declare him his heir, and took 
forcible possession of the duchy. J 

^V'hilst engaged in these complicated negotiations 
with the continent, the pacific relations with England 
were renewed; and the repeated consultations between 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 10"2, 101. 
+ It)id. vol. ii. p. 104. 

+ Huuault, Hist, of France, vol. i. p. 318. Ilara'i Annal. Ducum Bra- 
buntix, p. ioii. 


the commissioners of tlie two countries, on the subject 
of those infractions of the existing truce, which were 
confined to the Borders, evinced an anxiety upon the 
pai't of both to remain on a friendly footing with each 
other.* Edward, indeed, since his decisive victory at 
Tewkesbury, was necessarily engaged in consolidating 
his yet unstable authority; and after having accom- 
plished this task, he engaged in a league with the Duke 
of Burgundy against France, with the determination 
of humbling the pride of Lewis, and reviving in that 
country the glory of Edward the Third and Henry 
the Fifth. Under such circumstances, a war with 
Scotland would have been fatal to the concentration of 
his forces. 

On the other hand, James and his ministers had 
full occupation at home, and wisely shunned all sub- 
jects of altercation which might lead to war. The 
tumults in the northern parts of Scotland, which had 
arisen in consequence of a feud between the Earls ot 
Boss and Huntley, whose dominions and vassalry em- 
braced almost the whole of the highlands, rendere^d it 
absolutely requisite that immediate measures should be 
adopted for the " stanching the slaughters and depre- 
dations" committed by their dependants, and attempt- 
ing to reduce these districts under the control of 
justice and civil polity. -f- A practice of selling the 
royal pardon for the most outrageous crimes, had 
lately been carried to a shameless frequency; and the 
Lords of the Articles, in the late parliament, exhorted 
and entreated his highness that " he would close his 
hands for a certain time comino; against all remissions 

* Rotuli Scotise, vol. ii. p. 430-430, inclusive. 

••- MS. extracts from the Books of the Lord ll'i^h Treasurer, March 21, 

1 iTo. JAMES III. 205 

and respites for murder, and, in the meantime, pre- 
vious to any personal interference in the allairs of the 
continent," take part of the hibour upon himself, and 
travel through his realm, that his fame might pass into 
other countries, and that he might obtain for himself 
the reputation of a virtuous prince, who gave an exam- 
ple to other sovereigns in the establishment of justice, 
policy, and peace throughout Lis dominions.* 

The plan for the amendment of the laws recom- 
mended in a late statute, appears to have made but 
little progress, if we may judge by a pathetic com- 
plaint, in which the lords and barons besought the 
sovereign to select from each estate two persons of wis- 
dom, conscience, and knowledge, who were to labour 
diligently towards the " clearing up of divers obscure 
matters which existed in the books of the law, and 
created a constant and daily per[)lcxity.'" These per- 
sons were recommended, in their wisdom, to " find 
good inventions which shall accord to law and con- 
science, for the decision of the daily pleas brought 
before the king"'s highness, and concerning which there 
was as yet no law proper to regulate their decision." 
This singular .enactment proceeded to state, that after 
such persons in their wisdom had lixcd upon such rules 
of law, the collection which they had made should be 
shown at the next parliament to the king''s highness 
and his three Estates ; and upon being ratified and 
approved, that a book should then be written, contain- 
ing all the laws of the realm, which was to be kept at 
a place where "the lafe" may have a copy ;-f- and that 
none other books of the law be permitted thenceforth 
to be quoted, but those which were copies from this 

* Acta of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 104. 

+ The " lafe" probably means the body of the inferior judges of the realm. 


great original, under a threatened penalty of personal 
punishment and perpetual silence to be inflicted upon 
all who practised in the laws and infringed these in- 
junctions.* A few other regulations of this meeting 
of the Estates, regarding the manufacture of artillery, 
or, as they were termed, " carts of war," the regulation 
of the coin, the importation of bullion, the examination 
of goldsmiths"' work, and the prohibition of English 
cloth as an article of import, do not require any more 
extended notice,-f- 

On the seventeenth of March, 1472, the birth of a 
prince, afterwards James the Fourth, had been wel- 
comed with great enthusiasm by the people ; and the 
king, to whom, in the present discontented and troubled 
state of the aristocracy, the event must have been 
especially grateful, was happily induced to listen to 
the advice of his clergy, and to renounce for the present 
all intentions of a personal expedition to the continent. 
He suffered himself also to be guided by the wisdom 
of the same counsellors in his resolution to respect the 
truce with England ; and on a proposal being made 
by Edward the Fourth, that a lasting peace should be 
concluded between the two nations, on the basis of a 
marriage betv/een the Prince Royal of Scotland and 
one of his own daughters, James despatched an embassy 
for the purpose of entering into a negotiation with the 
English commissioners upon this important subject. :|: 

The lady, or rather the infant fixed on, for she was 
then only in her fourth year, was Edward's youngest 
daughter, the Princess Csecilia; and the Bishop of 
Aberdeen, Sir John Colquhoun of Luss, and the chani- 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 1<*5. 

•f- A parliament was held at Edinburgh, October (i, 1474, of which nothing is 
knoAvii but its existence. Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol .ii. p. 108. 
J Rymer, Foedera, vol, xi. p. 814. 

1 1-74. JAMES III. 207 

berlain, James Sliaw, having repaired to England, and 
concluded their deliberations, Edward directed the 
Bishop of Durham, along with Ilussel, the keeper of 
his privy seal, and John lord Scrope, to proceed to 
Edinburgh, and there conclude a final treaty of mar- 
riage and alliance, which they hap})ily accomplished.* 
A curious illustration of the formality of feudal 
manners was presented by the ceremony of the bc- 
trothmcnt. On the twenty-sixth of October, David 
Lindsay earl of Crawford, John lord Scrope, knight of 
the garter, along with the Chancellor Evandale, the 
Earl of Argyle, and various English commissioners and 
gentlemen, assembled in the Low Grevfriars*" church 
at Edinburgh, The Earl of Lindsay then came for- 
ward, and declaring to the meeting that he appeared as 
procurator for an illustrious prince, the Lord James, 
by the frrace of God Kinir of Scots, demanded that 
the notarial letters, which gave him full powers in that 
character to contract the espousals between Prince 
James, first-born son of the said king, and heir to 
the throne, and the Princess Cecilia, daughter to an 
excellent prince. Lord Edward king of England, should 
be read aloud to the meeting. On the other side, 
Lord Scrope made the same declaration and demand ; 
and these preliminaries being concluded, the Earl of 
Crawford, taking Lord Scrope by the right hand, 
solemnly, and in presence of the assembled parties, 
plighted his faith that his dread lord, the King of 
Scotland, and father of Prince James, would bestow 
his son in marriage upon the Princess Caecilia of Eng- 
land, when both the })arties had arrived at the proper 
age. Lord Scrope, having then taken the Scottish 
ft'irl by the right hand, engaged, and, in the eamo 

• Rymer, Fa'de:a, vol. xi. p. U'2l. 


solemn terms, plighted his faith for his master, King 
Edward of England. After which, the conditions of 
the treaty upon which the espousals took place, were 
arranged by the respective commissioners of the two 
countries, with an enlightened anxiety for their mutual 

It was first declared, that for the better maintenance 
of peace and prosperity in the " noble isle called Bri- 
tain," some measures ought to be adopted by the Kings 
of Scotland and England, which should promote a spirit 
of mutual love between the subjects of both realms 
more effectually than the common method of a truce, 
which was scarcely sufficient to heal the calamities in- 
flicted by protracted jealousies and dissensions, followed 
as they had been by an obstinate war. A more likely 
method for the settlement of a lasting peace was then 
declared to be the intended marriage between Prince 
James and the Lady Caecilia ; and the conditions 
upon which it had been concluded were enumerated. 
The truce between the kingdoms, agreed upon first at 
York in 1464, and afterwards prolonged to 1519, was 
to be strictly observed by both countries. As the 
prince was yet only two years old, and the princess 
four, the two monarchs were to give their solemn word 
to use every effort to have the marriage celebrated 
whenever the parties had completed the lawful age. 
During the life of King James, the prince and princess 
were to possess the whole lands and rents which be- 
longed to the old heritage of the prince-apparent of 
Scotland during the lifetime of his father, namely, 
the duchy of Rothesay, the earldom of Carrick, and 
the lordship of the Stewards"" lands of Scotland. With 
his daughter, the King of England was to give a dowry 
of twenty thousand marks of English money ; and it 

1475. JAMES III. 209 

was lastly agreed, that, in the event of the death of the 
prince or princess, the heir-apparent of Scotland f(jr 
the time, should, upon the same terms, marry a prin- 
cess of England.* Such were the principal stipulations 
of a treaty, which, had it been faithfully fulfilled by 
the two countries, might have guaranteed to both 
the blessings of peace, and essentially promoted their 
national prosperity. At first, too, the English monarch 
appears to have been extremely solicitous to fulfil the 
agreement. Two thousand five hundred marks of the 
dowry of the princess were advanced ; and in conse- 
quence of some remonstrances of the Scottish king 
regarding the St Salvator, a vessel belonging to the 
see of St Andrews, which had been plundered by the 
English, with another ship, the property of the king 
himself, which had been captured by a privateer of the 
Duke of Gloucester, Edward despatched his envoy 
to the Scottish court, with instructions to meet the 
Admiral of Scotland, and afford complete redress upon 
the subject. This mission acquaints us with the 
singular circumstance that the nobility, and even the 
monarch, continued to occupy themselves in private com- 
mercial sj)eculations, and were in the habit of freighting 
vessels, which not only engaged in trade, but, when 
they fell in with other ships similarly employed, did 
not scruple to attack and make prize of them.-f- 

The state of the northern districts, and the continued 
rebellion of the Earl of Ross, now demanded the inter- 
ference of government, and a parliament was asemblcd 
at Edinburgh, in which this insurgent noble was de- 
clared a traitor, and his estates confiscated to the crown. 
His intimate league with Edward the Fourth, — his 

• Rymer, Fcedera, vol. xi. p. 8"J1. 
t lljitl. pp. b'-'O, 850. 



association with the rebellious Douglases, and hia 
outrageous conduct in "burning, slaying, and working 
the destruction of the lands and liege subjects of the 
king," fully justified the severity of the sentence ; but 
as the mountain chief continued refractory, a force was 
levied, and the Earls of Crawford and Athole directed 
to proceed against him. 

The extent of these preparations, which compre- 
hended a formidable fleet, as well as a land army, 
intimidated Ross, and induced him through the media- 
tion of Huntley, to petition for pardon. Assured of 
the favourable disposition of the monarch, he soon 
after appeared in person at Edinburgh, and with many 
expressions of contrition, surrendered himself to the 
royal mercy. The earldom of Ross, with the lands of 
Knapdale and Kentire, and the office of hereditary 
Sheriff" of Inverness and Nairn, were resigned by the 
penitent chief into the hands of the king, and unalien- 
ably annexed to the crown, whilst he himself was re- 
lieved from the sentence of forfeiture, and created a 
peer of parliament, under the title of John de Isla 
lord of the Isles.* The king had now attained his full 
majority of twenty-five years, and, according to a usual 
form, he revoked all alienations in any way prejudicial 
to the crown, which had been made during his minority, 
and especially all conveyances of the custody of the 
royal castles, resuming the power of dismissing or con- 
tinuing in office the persons to whom they had been 
committed. He at the same time intrusted the keeping 
and government of his son. Prince James, to his wife 
and consort, Margaret queen of Scotland, for the space 
of five years ; and for this purpose delivered to her the 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 1 13. " Baronem Banren- 
him et Dominum Dominum Parliamenti." Ferrerius, p. 393. 

1477. JAMES III. 211 

castlo of Eilinbur^li, witli an annual pension, and full 
power to ajipuint her own constable and Inferior olii- 
cers.* With the desire of cementing more stroni^ly 
the friendship with England, a double alliance was 
proposed. His sister, the Princess Margaret, was to 
marry the Duke of Clarence ; and his brother, the 
Duke of Albany, the Dowager-duchess of Burgundy, 
sister to Edward the Fourth. This monarch, however, 
appears to have courteously waved the proposal, -f- al- 
though he seized the opportunity of an intended visit 
of James to the shrine of St John of Amiens, to request, 
in pressing terms, a personal interview with this mon- 
arch. But the Scottish king was induced to delay his 
pilgrimage, and in obedience to a common practice of 
the age, caused a large medal of gold to be struck, as 
a decoration for the shrine of the saint. ;|: 

Hitherto the reign of this prince had been in no usual 
degree prosperous, and his administration signalized 
by various acquisitions, which added strength, security, 
and oj)ulence to the kingdom. The possession of the 
Orkneys and Shetland, the occupation of Berwick and 
Roxburgh, the annexation of the earldom of Ross to 
the crown, the establishment of the independence and 
liberty of the Scottish church by the erection of St 
Andrews into an archbishopric, the wise and honour- 
able marriage treaty with England, were all events, not 
only fortunate, but glorious. They had taken place, 
it is true, under the minority of the monarch ; they 
were to bo attributed principally to the counsellors who 
then conducted the allairs of the government; and the 
history of the country, after the monarch attained his 

• Mag. Sig. viii. 80. Feb. 7, 1477. 

+ Letter of I-klwanl IV. to l)r Legh his envoy. VcsjasianjC. jcvi. f. 12!, 
quoted by I'inkerton's Hisitory, v<il. i. ji. 207. 
J Ryiia-r, Ka-dcra, vol. xii. p. 53. 


full majority, presents a melancholy contrast to this 
early portion of his reign. It is difficult, however, to 
detect the causes which led to this rapid change; and 
it would be unjust to ascribe them wholly to the char- 
acter of the king. It must be recollected, that for 
a considerable time previous to this, the feudal nobility 
of Europe had been in a state of extraordinary commo- 
tion and tumult ; and that events had occurred which, 
exhibiting the deposition and imprisonment of heredi- 
tary sovereigns, diminished in the eyes of the aristo- 
cracy and of the people the inviolable character of the 
throne. At this time insurrection had become frequent 
in almost every corner of Europe; and the removal of the 
hereditary prince, to make way for somewarlike usurper, 
or successful invader of royalty, was no uncommon oc- 
currence: men's minds were induced to regard the crime 
with feelings of far greater lenity than had hitherto been 
extended to it ; whilst the aristocracy, who were the 
instruments of such revolutions, and shared in the 
spoils and forfeitures which they occasioned, began to 
be animated by a consciousness of their own power, and 
a determination to stretch it to the utmost bounds of 
illegal aggression and kingly endurance. The revolu- 
tion in England, which placed Henry the Fourth upon 
the throne, — the subsequent history of that kingdom 
during the contest between the houses of York and 
Lancaster, — the political struggles of France under 
Lewis the Eleventh, — the relative condition of the 
greater nobles in Germany, and of the rights of the 
imperial crown under the Emperor Sigismund, — the 
dissensions which divided the Netherlands, — and the 
civil factions and repeated conspiracies amongst the 
higher nobles, which agitated the government of Spain, 
all combine to establish the truth of this remark ; and 

1478. JAMES iir. 21 n 

if we remember tliat the conunuiiication between Scot- 
land and the continent was tlien frequent and widely 
spread over the kingdom, the powerful influence of such 
a state of things may be readily imagined. 

In addition to such causes of discontent and disor- 
ganization, there were other circumstances in the habits 
of the Scottish nobility, as contrasted with the pursuits 
of the king, which no doubt precipitated the commo- 
tions that conducted him to his ruin. The nobles were 
haughty and warlike, but rude, ignorant, and illiterate; 
when not immediately occupied in foreign hostilities, 
they were indulging in the havoc and plunder which 
sprung out of private feuds ; and they regarded with 
contempt every pursuit which did not increase their 
military skill, or exalt their knightly character. At 
their head were the king\s two brothers, the Duke of 
Albany and the Earl of Mar, men of bold and stirring 
spirits, and fitted by their personal qualities to be the 
favourites of the aristocracy. Their noble and athletic 
figures, and delight in martial exercises, — their taste for 
feudal pomp, for fine horses, and tail and handsome 
attendants, — their passion for the chase, and the 
splendid and generous liospitality of their establish- 
ment, united to the courtesy and gracefulness of their 
manners, made them universally admired and beloved; 
whilst Albany concealed under such popular endow- 
ments an ambition, which, there is reason to believe, 
did not scruple, even at an early period, to entertain 
some aspirations towards the throne. 

To that of his brothers, the disposition of the king 
presented a remarkable contrast. It has been the 
fashion of some historians to represent James as a com- 
pound of indolence, caprice, and imbecility ; but the 
assertion is rash and unfounded. His character was 


different from the age in which he lived, for it was 
unwarlike ; but in some respects it was far in advance 
of his own times. A love of repose and seclusion, in 
the midst of which he devoted himself to pursuits 
which, though enervating, were intellectual, and be- 
spoke an elegant and cultivated mind, rendered him 
unpopular amongst a nobility who treated such studies 
Avith contempt. A passion for mathematics and the 
study of judicial astrology, a taste for the erection of 
noble and splendid buildings, an addiction to the science 
and practice of music, and a general disposition to pa- 
tronise the professors of literature and philosophy, 
rather than to surround himself with a crowd of fierce 
retainers ; such were the features in the character of 
this unfortunate prince, which have drawn upon him 
the reprobation of most of the contemporary historians, 
but which he possessed in common with some of the 
most illustrious monarchs who have figured in history.* 
This turn of mind, in itself certainly rather praise- 
worthy than the contrary, led to consequences which 
were less excusable. Aware of the impossibility of 
finding men of congenial tastes amongst his nobles, 
James had the weakness, not merely to patronise, but 
to exalt to the rank of favourites and companions, the 
professors of his favourite studies. Architects, musi- 
cians, painters, and astrologers, were treated with dis- 
tinction, and admitted to the familiar converse of the 
sovereign: whilst the hisihest nobles found a cold and 
distant reception at court, or retired with a positive 
denial of access. Cochrane, an architect, or, as he is 
indignantly termed by our feudal historians, a mason; 
Rogers, a professor of music ; Ireland, a man of literary 
and scientific acquirements, who had been educated in 

* Ferrerius, p. 391. 

1478. JAMES III. 216 

I'nince, were warmly favoured and encouraged; whilst, 
even upon such low prolioients as tailors, smiths, and 
fencing-masters, the treasures, the smiles and encour- 
agement of the monarch were profusely lavished. 
Disgusted at such conduct in the sovereign, the whole 
body of the aristocracy looked up to the brothers, 
Albany and Mar, as the chief supports of the state ; 
and as long as the king continued on good terms with 
these popular noblemen, the flauie of discontent and 
incipient revolution was checked at least, though far 
from extinguished. But in the ambitious contests for 
power, and in the sanguinary collisions of jurisdiction, 
which were of frequent occurrence in a feudal govern- 
ment, it was to be dreaded that some event might take 
place which should have the effect of transforming 
Albany from a friend into an enemy, and it was not 
long before these fears were realized. 

The government of Berwick, and the wardenship of 
the eastern marches, had been committed to this war- 
like prince by his father, James the Second, from whom 
he had also inherited the important earldom of March, 
with the key of the eastern Border, the castle of Dun- 
bar.* In the exercise of these extensive offices, a rivalry 
had sprung up between Alban}' and the powerful family 
of the Humes, with their fierce allies the Hepburns, 
and their resistance to his authority was so indignantly 
resented by the warden, that his enemies, to save 
themselves from his vengeance, attached Cochrane, the 
king"'s favourite, to their party, and, by his advice and 
assistance, devised a scheme for his ruin. At this 
period, a belief in astrology and divination, and a blind 
devotion to such dark studies, was a predominant 
feature of the age. James himself was passionately 

* Pitscottic, Hist. p. 115. 


addicted to tliem ; and Sclievez, the Archbishop of St 
Andrews, who had received his education at Louvaine, 
under Spernicus, a famous astrologer of the time, had 
not scrupled to employ them in gaining an influence over 
the king, and in furthering those ambitious schemes 
by which he intruded himself into the primacy. Aware 
of this, Cochrane, who well knew the weakness of his 
sovereign, insinuated to his new allies, the Humes, that 
they could adopt no surer instrument of working upon 
the royal mind than witchcraft. One Andrews, a 
Flemish astrologer, whom James had prevailed upon 
to reside at his court, was induced to prophesy that a 
lion would soon be devoured by his whelps ; whilst a 
prophetess, who used to haunt about the palace, and 
pretended to have an intercourse with a familiar spirit, 
brought the information, that Mar had been employing 
magical arts against the king's life,* and that her fa- 
miliar had informed her, the monarch was destined to 
fall by the hands of his nearest kindred. The warm 
affection which James entertained for his brothers at 
first resisted these machinations ; but the result showed 
that Cochrane's estimate of his sovereign''s weakness 
was too true. His belief in the occult sciences gave a 
force to the insinuation ; his mind brooded over the 
prophecy; he became moody and pensive; shut himself 
up amidst his books and instruments of divination ; 
and, admitting into his privacy only his favourite 
adepts and astrologers, attempted to arrive at a clearer 
delineation of the threatened danger. To Cochrane and 
his brother conspirators, such conduct only afforded a 
stronger hold over the distempered fancy of the mon- 
arch, whilst the proud cliaracter of Albany, and his 

* Ferrerius, p. 393. Lesley's History of Scotland, p. 43. Buchanan, book 
xii. chap, xxxvii. 

1478. JAMES III. 217 

violent attack upon the Humes, were represented by his 
enemies as confii'inations of that conspiracy aijainst his 
royal brother, -which was to end in liis deposition and 
death. That Albany at this moment entertained seri- 
ous dcsii^ns against the crown, cannot be iiiado out by 
any satisfactory evidence; but that his conduct in the 
exercise of his office of warden of the marches was illegal 
and unjustifiablo, is proved by authentic records. In- 
stead of employing his high authority to estal)lish the 
peace of the Borders, he had broken the truce witli 
England by repeated slaughters and plundering expe- 
ditions; whilst within his own country he had assaulted 
and murdered John of Scougal, and surrounded himself 
by a band of desperate retainers, who executed what- 
ever lawless commission was intrusted to them. Such 
conduct, combined with the dark suspicions under 
which he laboured, effectually roused the king ; and 
Albany, two confident in his power and his poj)ularity, 
was suddenly seized and committed to confinement in 
the castle of Edinburgh.* 

Immediately after this decided measure, a parlia- 
ment assembled, in which the three Estates, with the 
laudable design of strengthening the amity with Eng- 
land, granted to the king a subsidy of twenty thousand 
marks, for the purpose of bringing to a conclusion the 
intended marriage between the Princess Margaret, his 
sister, and Lord Rivers, brother-in-law to Edward. 
The divided and distracted state of the country is 
strikingly depicted by the sim{)le enumeration of the 
matters to which the Lords of the Articles were com- 
manded to direct their attention. They were to labour 
fur the removal of the grievous feuds and commotions, 
which in Angus had broken out between the Earls of 

• Lesley's History of Scotland, p. 43. Buchanan, book xii. chap. 39. 


Angus and Errol, the Master of Crawford and Lord 
Glammis ; they were to attempt to put down the 
rebellion in Eoss, Caithness, and Sutherland; to per- 
suade to an amicable understanding the Laii'ds of Caer- 
laverock and Drumlanrig, who Avere at deadly feud in 
Annandale ; to bring within the bonds of friendship the 
Turnbulls and the Rutherfords of Teviotdale; and to 
promote a reconciliation between the sheriff" of this dis- 
trict and the Lord Cranstoun.* The subject of coinage, 
the state of the commerce of the country, and the expe- 
diency of a renewal of the negotiations with the court 
of Burgundy, were likewise recommended for their 
consideration; but in the midst of their deliberations, 
Albany found means to elude the vigilance of his 
guards, and to escape from the castle of Edinburgh, an 
event which threatened to plunge the kingdom into a 
civil war.-h The duke immediately retreated to his 
fortress of Dunbar, where he concentrated his force ; 
appointed Ellem of Butterden his constable ; and by 
increasing his military stores, and enlisting in his 
service some of the fiercest of the Border chieftains, 
seemed determined to hold out to the last extremity. 
The power of the king, however, soon after shook his 
resolution, and he took a rapid journey to France, with 
the design of procuring assistance from Lewis the 
Eleventh, and returning to Scotland at the head of a 
band of foreign auxiliaries. In this, however, he was 
unsuccessful. He was received, indeed, by the French 
monarch with distinction; but Lewis steadily refused 
to adopt any part against his brother and ally of Scot- 
land, or to assist Albany in his unnatural rebellion.;]: 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 122, 

-f Lesley's History of Scotland, p. 43. 

J Duclos. Hist, de Lewis XL vol. ii. p. 308. 

1 t7f>. JAMES III. 2 If) 

III liis conduct at this moment, James exliibited a 
deci-sion and an cncrLcy wliich vindicates his character 
from the change of indolence or imbecility, so com- 
monly brought against him. He despatched the Chan- 
cellor Evandalo at the head of a strong force to lay 
siege to Dunbar, which, after a spirited defence of 
some months, was delivered up to the royal arms. A 
train of rude artillery accompanied the army upon 
this occasion. The construction of cannon, and the 
proper method of pointing and discharging them, ap- 
pear, from contemporary records, to have been one of 
the subjects to which not only the king himself directed 
particular attention, but which he anxiously encour- 
atjcd in his nobility, and even amongst his clergy. 
Artillerymen and skilful artisans were procured from 
the continent ; and some of the principal entries in the 
treasurer's books at this period relate to the experi- 
ments made in the practice of gunnery, an art still in 
its infancy in Scotland. In the present siege of Dunbar, 
the uncommon strength of the walls Avithstood for 
some months the artillery of the besiegers ; but, on the 
opposite side, the cannon mounted on the ramparts of 
the castle appear to have been well served and pointed 
— a single ball at one moment striking dead three 
of the best knights in the army, Sir John Colquhoun 
of Luss, Sir Adam Wallace of Craigie, and Sir James 
Schaw of Sauchie.* When at last Evandale made 
liimself master of the castle, he found that the governor 
and the greater part of the garrison, availing themselves 
of its communication with the sea, had esca])cd in 
boats, and taken refuge in England from the fury of 
their enemies. It was not so easy for them, however, 
to escape the severe process of the law ; and a parlia- 

• Lesley, History, p. 43. 


ment was summoned to carry it into immediate execu- 
tion. Albany, who was still in France, was solemnly 
cited at the market-cross of Edinburoli and before the 
gates of his castle of Dunbar, to appear and answer 
to a charge of treason ; whilst many of his boldest 
friends and retainers, Ellem of Butterden, George Home 
of Polwarth, John Blackbeird, Pait Dickson the laird, 
and Tom Dickson of the Tower, were summoned at the 
same time, and upon a similar accusation.* 

Previous to the meeting of the three Estates, how- 
ever, an embassy arrived from Lewis the Eleventh, 
the object of which was to persuade the Scottish mon- 
arch to pardon his brother, and to assist the French 
king in the war which Edward the Fourth meditated 
against him, by the usual method of infringing the 
truce, and producing a hostile diversion on the side 
of the Eno'lish Borders. The ambassador on this 
occasion was Dr Ireland, a Scottish ecclesiastic of 
great literary acquirements, who had been educated in 
France, and in whose conversation the king took so 
much delight, that he had anxiously endeavoured to 
fix him at his own court. Personally disposed, how- 
ever, as he was to be pleased with the envoy, the cir- 
cumstances in which the king was then placed rendered 
it extremely difficult to break with England. The 
marriage treaty which had been concluded between the 
Princess Caecilia, Edward''s daughter, and the heir-ap- 
parent to the Scottish throne, had been sanctioned 
and ratified by the payment of three instalments of 
the dowry.-f- Another royal marriage also, that of the 
Princess Margaret of Scotland to the Earl of Rivers, 
was on the eve of being concluded ; and Edward had 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 128. 
+ Rymer, Foedera, vol. xii. pp. 40, 41. 

1470. JAMES III. 221 

lately granted passports not only to this noblo lady, 
but to James himself, who, with a suite of a thousand 
persons, contemphited a pilgrimage to the shrine of St 
John of Amiens. These were powerful obstacles in the 
way of any rupture of the truces, and with the greater 
part of the nobility the renewal of a war with England 
was equally unpopular and unpolitic ; but the attach- 
ment of the king to the ancient league with France 
prevailed ; and although there is undoubtedly no evi- 
dence of the fact, a conjecture may bo hazarded, that 
James had detected, at an earlier period than is gen- 
erally supposed, the existence of certain intrigues 
between Edward the Fourth and the Duke of Albany, 
which are proved by authentic documents to have taken 
place in the succeeding year. 

It does not appear that the conduct of the Scottish 
monarch at this trying conjuncture is deserving of the 
reprobation with which it has been visited by some 
historians: to Albany, who had been guilty of treason, 
it was almost generous. He did not indeed agree to 
the request of Lewis in granting him an unconditional 
pardon, but he adjourned the process of forfeiture from 
time to time, in the hopes that he might in the interval 
return to his allegiance, and render himself deserving 
of the royal clemency; and the same lenient measure 
was adopted in the case of his offending vassals and 
retainers. Against Mar, indeed, his younger brother, 
who was accused of using magical arts for the purpose 
of causing the king''s death, the royal vengeance broke 
out with rapid and overwhelming violence; but the 
death of this accomplished and unfortunate prince is 
involved in much obscurity. It is asserted by Lesley 
and Buchanan, that he was suddenly seized by the 
king's order and hurried to Craigmillar, and that at 


the same time many witches and wizards, whom he 
had been in the habit of consulting upon the surest 
means of shortening the life of the monarch, were con- 
demned to the flames.* The evidence derived from 
these unhappy wretches, left no doubt of the guilt of 
the prince ; and the choice of his death being given 
him, he is said to have preferred that of Petronius, 
directing his veins to be opened in a warm bath. In 
opposition to this tale of our popular historians, a more 
probable account is given by Drummond of Hawthorn- 
den, derived, as he affirms, from the papers of Bishop 
Elphinston, a contemporary of high character. Ac- 
cording to his version of the story, before James had 
fixed on any definite plan of punishment, Mar, from 
the violence of his own temperament, and the agitation 
attendant upon his seizure, was attacked by a fever, 
which soon led to delirium. In this alarming state, 
he was removed, by the king's command, from Craig- 
millar to a house in the Canongate at Edinburgh, where 
he was carefully attended by the royal physicians, who, 
to reduce the frenzy, opened a vein in his arm and in 
his temple. This, however, proved the cause of his 
death ; for the patient, when in the warm bath, was 
attacked by an accession of his disorder, and furiously 
tearing oft" the bandages, expired from weakness and 
exhaustion before any styptic could be applied. The 
silence of the faction of the nobles which afterwards 
deposed the king, upon the subject of Mar's death, at 
a moment when they were eager to seize every method 
to blacken the conduct of their sovereign, seems to 
corroborate the truth of this stoi-y.^ 

* Old Chronicle at the end of Winton, printed by Pinkerton. Hist. vol. 

p. 50;5. Lesley's Hist. pp. 4."'), 44. 

'(- Drummond''s History of the Jameses, p. 48. 

1480. JAMES in, 223 

But althouijli innocent of his death, James considered 
the treason of his brother as undeserviiii; the leniency 
whicii he still extended to Albany; and the rich earl- 
dom of Mar was forfeited to the crown. In the midst 
of these transactions, Edward the Fourth, who for some 
time had forgotten his wonted energy in a devotion to 
his pleasures, began to rouse himself from his lethargy, 
and to complain of the duplicity of Lewis and the 
treachery of James, with a violence which formed a 
striking contrast to the quietude of his late conduct. 

Nor can we be surprised at this burst of indignation, 
and the sudden resolution for war which accompanied 
it. He found that Lewis, who had amused him with 
a promise of marriage between the Dauphin of France 
and his daughter the Princess Elizabeth, had no serious 
intention of either accepting this alliance, or fulfilling 
the treaty upon which it proceeded; he discovered that 
this crafty prince had not only proved false to his own 
agreement, but had corrupted the fititli of his Scottish 
ally. Unnecessary and suspicious delays had occurred 
to prevent the intended marriage between James"'s 
sister and her affianced liusband the Earl of Rivers; 
and the same monarch, who had already received three 
payments of the dowry of the princess Cecilia, Ed- 
ward''s daughter, in contemplation of the marriage be- 
tween this lady and his eldest son, instead of exhibiting 
a friendly disposition, had begun to make preparations 
for war, and to exhibit unequivocal intentions of vio- 
lating the truce, and invading his dominions.* 

Upon the part of the Scottish king, this conduct 
was unwise; and it is easy to see, that in his present 
resolution to engage in a war with England, James 
allowed himself to be the dupe of the French monarch, 

* Ejincr, vol. xii. i>p. 41, 115. 


and shut his eyes to the best interests of his kingdom. 
He was unpopular with the great body of his nobility: 
they despised his studious and secluded habits; they 
regarded with the eyes of envy and hatred the favour- 
ites with whom he had surrounded himself, and the 
pacific and elegant pursuits to which he was addicted. 
The kingdom was full of private war and feudal dis- 
order; the church had been lately wounded by schism; 
and the lives of some of the higher clergy, under the 
loose superintendence of Schevez, who, on the death of 
the unfortunate and virtuous Graham, had succeeded 
to the primacy, were careless and corrupt. Nothing 
could be more injurious, to a kingdom thus situated, 
than to add to its internal distresses the misery of 
foreign war; and indeed if there was one cheering cir- 
cumstance in the aspect of public affairs, it was in the 
prospect of peace with England. The happy effects of 
a long interval of amity between the two kingdoms 
were beginning to bo apparent in the diminution of 
that spirit of national animosity which had been created 
by protracted war; and now that the nation was no 
longer threatened with any designs against its inde- 
pendence, it must have been the earnest wish of every 
lover of his country that it should remain at peace. 
So much indeed was this the conviction of one of 
James's most faithful counsellors, Spence bishop of 
Aberdeen, that after presenting a strong protestation 
against the war; after explaining that a continuance 
of peace could alone give stability to the government, 
and secure the improvement and the happiness of the 
nation, he was so overpowered with grief when he found 
his remonstrances neglected, that he fell into a pro- 
found melancholy, from which he never recovered.* 

* Lesley's History of Scotland, p. 44, 

1480. JAMES III. 225 

Botli countries having thus resolved on hostilities, 
Edward appointed his brother the Duke of Gloucester, 
afterwards known as Richard the Third, to the office 
of lieutenant-general of the north, with ample powers 
to levy an army, and conduct the war a^fainst Scot- 
land. Meanwhile, before Gloucester could organize 
his force, the Earl of Angus broke across the marches, 
at the head of a small army of Borderers. To these 
men, war was the only element in which they enjoyed 
existence; and, with the celerity and cruelty which 
marked their military operations, they ravaged Nor- 
thumberland for three days, burnt Baniborough, plun- 
dered the villaires and farm ":ran<ies, and drove before 
them their troops of prisoners and cattle without any 
attack or impediment.* Roused by this insult, and 
by the intelligence that the King of Scotland was 
about to invade his dominions in person, Edward has- 
tened his preparations; issued orders for the equipment 
of a fleet against Scotland ; entered into a negotiation 
with the Lord of the Isles and Donald Gorm, whose 
allegiance was never steady except in the immediate 
prospect of death and confiscation; and aware of the 
desperate condition of Albany, who was still in France, 
the English monarch, by private messages, in which 
he held out to him the prospect of dethroning his 
brother, and seizing the crown for himself, attached 
this ambitious prince to his service, and prevailed upon 
him to sacrifice his allegiance, and the independence 
of his country, to his ambition and his vengeance. "f^ 

Nothing could be more ungrateful than such con- 
duct in Albany. The process of treason and forfeiture 

* Chronicle at tlio end of Winton, in Piiikerton, Hist. vol. i. p. 503 
Uyiner, vol. xii.p. 117. 
+ Kjiner, Foedeni, vol. xii. p. MO. 



which had been raised against him in the Scottish par- 
liament, had, with much leniency and generosity upon 
the part of the king, been suffered to expire, and an 
opportunity thus afforded for his return to his former 
power and station in the government. Having divorced 
his first wife, a daughter of the potent house of Ork- 
ney, he had married in France the Lady Anne de la 
Tour, daughter of the Count d'Auvergne; and there 
can be little doubt that the friendship of the French 
monarch had a principal effect in prevailing on his 
ally James to suspend the vengeance of the law, and 
hold out to the penitent offender the hope of pardon. 
But Albany, actuated by pride and ambition, disdained 
to sue for mercy; and without hesitation, entering 
into the proposed negotiation, threw himself into the 
arms of England, 

In the meantime, the Scottish monarch deemed it 
necessary to assemble his parliament, and to adopt 
vigorous measures. The wardenry of the east marches 
was committed to the Earl of Angus, that of the west 
to Lord Cathcart; the fortresses of Dunbar and Loch- 
maben were strongly garrisoned and provisioned; the 
Border barons, and those whose estates lay near the 
sea, were commanded to repair and put into a posture 
of defence their castles of St Andrews, Aberdeen, Tan- 
tallon, Hailes, Dunglass, Hume, Edrington, and the 
Hermitage; the whole body of the lieges were warned 
to be ready, on eight days'* notice, to assemble under 
the royal banner, in their best array, with bows, spears, 
axes, and other warlike gear, and to bring with them 
provision for twenty days. A penalty was imposed 
on any soldier whose spear was shorter than five ells 
and a-half ; every axe-man who had neither spear nor 
bow was commanded to provide himself with a targe 

U81. JAMES III. 227 

made of wood or leather, according to a pattern to bo 
sent to tlie shcrift' of the county;* and all former sta- 
tutes concerning the regular military musters, or "wea- 
pon-schawings," were enjoined to be rigidly observed. 
A tax of seven thousand marks was at the same time 
ordered to be levied fur the victualling and defence of 
the town of Berwick, which was threatened with a 
siege by England. 

Having finished these preparations, James despatched 
an envoy to the English monarch, with a request that 
he would abstain from granting aid to the Duke of 
Burgundy, otherwise he should esteem it his duty to 
send assistance to the King of France. He at the 
same time commissioned a herald to deliver a remon- 
strance to Edward in a personal interview; but this 
prince treated the messenger with haughty neglect, 
detained him long, and at last dismissed him without 
an answer. Indignant at such conduct, James assem- 
bled his army, and advanced in great strength to the 
frontiers. A singular and unexpected event, however, 
interrupted the expedition. Before the Scottish mon- 
arch had crossed the Borders, a nuncio from the car- 
dinal legate, who then resided in England, arrived in 
the camp, and exhibiting the papal bull, commanded 
the king, under pain of excommunication, to abstain 
from war, and to beware of the violation of that peace 
which the Holy See had enjoined to bo observed by all 
Christian princes, that they might unite their strength 
against the Turks and the enemies of Christendom. 
To this remonstrance, the Scottish king found himself 
obliged to pay obedience; and tho army, which was 
numerous and well appointed, was immediately dis- 
banded. The king, to use tho words of the parlia- 

• Acts of the I'urliatncnt of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. l.'i'2, 133. 


mentary record, dispersed his great host which had 
been gathered for the resistance and invasion of his 
enemies of England, at the request and monition of 
the papal bulls shown him at the time, in the hope 
and trust that his enemies would have been equally 
submissive to the command of their holy father.* In 
this expectation, however, he was disappointed. To 
the papal bulls, or the remonstrances for the preserva- 
tion of the peace of Christendom, Edward paid no 
regard. Berwick was vigorously, though ineffectually, 
attacked; and the English army broke across the Bor- 
ders, carrying fire, bloodshed, and devastation into the 
country; whilst a squadron of English ships appeared 
in the Forth, but were gallantly repulsed by Andrew 
Wood of Leith, whose maritime skill and courage 
raised him afterwards to the highest celebrity as a 
naval commander.-f* 

But these open attacks were not so dangerous as the 
intrigues by which Edward contrived to seduce from 
the cause of their sovereign the wavering affections of 
some of the most powerful of the Scottish nobility. 
The banished Duke of Albany had, it may be believed, 
many friends at court; and Edward, having recalled 
him from France, determined to carry into immediate 
execution his project for the dethronement of the present 
King of Scotland, and the substitution of his brother 
in his stead. These designs, in which the English 
monarch was supported by the banished Earl of Dou- 
glas, the Lord of the Isles, Donald Gorm, and, not long 
after by many others of the Scottish nobility, led to an 
extraordinary treaty between Albany and Edward, 
which was concluded at Fotheringay castle.J In this 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 1 38. + Ibid, pp, 1 38, 1 39. 
J On June 10, 148"2. Rymer, Foedera, vol. xii. pp. 154, 150". 

1482. JAMES III. 2-19 

the Scottish prince at once assumed tlic title of Alex- 
ander king of Scotland, by the gift of J*]d\vard the 
Fourth kin<r of England. He then bound himself and 
his heirs to assist that monarch in all his quarrels 
against all earthly princes or persons; he solennily en- 
gaged to swear fealty and perforin homage to Edward 
within six months after he was put in possession of the 
crown and the greater portion of the kingdom of Scot- 
land ; to break the confederations which had hitherto 
existed between Scotland and the realm of France ; 
to deliver into the hands of England the town and 
castle of Berwick, the castle of Lochmaben, and the 
counties of Liddcsdale, Eskdale, and Annandale ; 
whilst, in the last place, he promised, if, according 
to the laws of the Christian church, he could make 
liimself " clear of other women," that within a year he 
should marry the Lady Csecilia, King Edward\s daugh- 
ter; the same princess who was already espoused to 
the heir-apparent of Scotland, Prince James, In the 
event, however, of its being found impossible to carry 
into execution this contemplated alliance, he stipulated 
that he would not marry his son and heir, " if any such 
there be," without the consent of King Edward.* 

In return for these obligations, by which Albany 
basely consented to sacrifice the independence of his 
country, the English monarch engaged to assist the 
duke in his designs for the occupation of the realm and 
crown of Scotland; and both these remarkable papers, 
which are yet preserved in the Tower, bear the signature 
Alexander 11., (Rex,) evincing that Albany lost no 
time in assuming that royal name and dignity to w Inch 
he so confidently asj)ired. But these were not the only 
dangers to which the King of Scotland was exposed. 

* Rymer, Fa'dcra, vol. xii. p. 15(). 


There was treachery at work amongst his nobles, and 
in his army. The Earl of Angus, one of the most power- 
ful men in the country. Lord Gray, and Sir James 
Liddal of Halkerston, appear to have been nominated 
by Albany, as his commissioners, to complete those 
negotiations with the English monarch, of which only 
the rude outline was drawn up in Fotheringay castle. 
Angus was warden of the eastern marches, and, as 
such, possessed on that side the keys of the kingdom. 
To the common feudal qualities of courage and cruelty, 
this chief united a haughty pride of birth, and a con- 
tempt for those intellectual studies to which his sove- 
reign was so deeply devoted. His high offices, his 
opulence, and his magnificent establishment, made him 
popular; and, by what means it is now difficult to 
discover, he succeeded in organizing a conspiracy in 
conjunction with Edward and Albany, which included 
within its ranks the most powerful persons amongst 
the Scottish aristocracy, and had for, its object the 
delivery of the monarch into the hands of his enemies. 
The Earls of Huntley, Lennox, Crawford, and Buchan; 
the Lords Gray, Hailes, Hume, and Drummond, with 
certain bishops whose names are not recorded, as- 
sembled their forces at the command of the king, but 
with the secret determination to desert him. It hap- 
pened unfortunately for the prince, who was thus 
marked out for destruction, that he had at this moment 
lavished upon his favourite Cochrane the principal 
revenues of the earldom of INIar, and had imprudently 
raised this low-born person to an influence in the 
government, which made him an object of envy and 
hatred. These bitter feelings Avere increased by some 
unpopular counsel given at this time to the king. At 
a season of great dearth, he is said to have persuaded 

1482. JAMES III. 231 

him to imitate the injurious device practised by other 
European princes, of debasing tlie current coin by an 
issue of "bhick money," or copper pieces, mixed with 
a small quantity of silver, which increased the public 
distress, and raised the price of all the necessaries of 
life* To the people, therefore, he was peculiarly ob- 
noxious — to the barons not less so, and his character 
and conduct aggravated this enmity. Possessing a 
noble iigux'e, and combining great personal strength 
and skill in the use of his weapons, with undaunted 
bravery, he fearlessly returned the feudal chiefs the 
scorn with which they regarded him. In the splendour 
of his ap])arel and establishment he eclipsed his ene- 
mies; and it is not imj)robable, that the king was weak 
and shortsighted enough to enjoy the mortification of 
liis nobility, little aware of the dark ])lot, which at that 
moment was in aiiitation against him. 

Angus and the rest of the conspirators determined 
to disguise their real design for the dethronement of 
their sovereign, under the specious cloak of a zeal for 
reforming the government, and dismissing from the 
royal councils such unworthy persons as Cochrane and 
his companions. Having matured their plans, the 
English monarch commanded his brother, the Duke of 
Gloucester, to assemble his army ; and this able leader, 
along with Albany and Douglas, advanced, at the head 
of a great force, accompanied by a park of artillery, to 
the siege of Berwick. Being informed of this procedure, 
James commanded a muster of the whole force of his 
dominions in the Borough Muir, an extensive common 
to the west of Edinburgh ; and, without the slightest 
suspicion of the base intentions of the conspirators, 

• Chronicle at tho end of Winton, i;i Pinkcrton's History, vol. i. p. 50.'?. 
Ituddiman'it Preface to Andt-rsou's Diplomuta, pp. 145, l4(i, of tho English 
transhition, Lldiuburgh, 1 77-i. 


proceeded with his army, which amounted to fifty 
thousand men, first to Soutra, and from thence to 
Lauder. Cochrane, who, either in derision, or from 
his own presumption, was known by the title of Earl 
of Mar, commanded the artillery, and by the unusual 
splendour of his camp furniture, provoked still further 
the envy of the nobles.* His tent or pavilion was of 
silk ; the fastening chains were richly gilt ; he was 
accompanied by a body-guard of three hundred stout 
retainers, in sumptuous liveries, and armed with light 
battle-axes ; a helmet of polished steel, richly inlaid 
with gold, was borne before him ; and, when not armed 
for the field, he wore a riding suit of black velvet, with 
a massive gold chain round his neck, and a hunting 
horn, tipt with gold and adorned with precious stones, 
sluno- across his shoulder. 

On reaching Lauder, the Scottish army encamped 
between the church and the village ; and the principal 
leaders, next morning, having secretly convoked a 
council, without sending any communication either to 
the sovereign or to his favourite, proceeded to deliberate 
upon the most effectual method of betraying their mas- 
ter, and fulfilling their promises to Edward and Albany. 
In the course of this debate, all were agreed that it 
would be expedient to rid themselves, without delay, of 
the hated Cochrane. His well-known courage, — his 
attachment to the king, — and the formidable force 
which he commanded, rendered this absolutely neces- 
sary. They hesitated, however, as to the best mode 
for his seizure ; and, amid the general embarrassment 
and uncertainty, Lord Gray introduced the well-known 
apologue of the mice having agreed, for the common 
safety, that a bell should be suspended round the neck 

■* Ferrerius, pp. 395, 396. 

1482. JAMES III. 233 

of tlieir tyrannic enemy the cat ; but, being thrown 
into great perplexity when it came to the selection of 
one bold enough to undertake the office, " Delay not 
as to that/'' cried Angus, with his characteristic au- 
dacity ; " leave me to bell the cat !" — a speech which 
has procured for him, from the Scottish historians, the 
homely appellative of Archibald Bell-thc-cat. It haj)- 
peued, by a singular coincidence, that at this critical 
moment Cochrane himself arrived at the jiorch of the 
church where the leaders were assembled, under the 
idea, probably, that it was a council of war in which 
they were engaged, and fatally ignorant of the subject 
of their deliberations. He knocked loudly, and Douglas 
of Lochleven, who kept the door, inquired who it was 
that so rudely demanded admittance. "It is I,"" said 
he, "the Earl of Mar." — "The victim has been before- 
liand with us," cried Angus, and stepping forward, bade 
Douglas unbar the gate to their unhappy visiter, who 
entered carelessly, carrying a riding whip in his hand, 
and in his usual splendid apparel. " It becomes not 
thee to wear this collar," said Angus, forcibly wrench- 
ing from his neck the golden chain which ho wore; "a 
rope would suit thee better." — "And the horn too," 
added Douglas, pulling it from his side, " he has been 
so long a hunter of mischief that he needs must hear 
this splendid bauble at his breast." Amidst such in- 
dignities, Cochrane, a man of intrepidity, and not easily 
alarmed, was for a moment doubtful whether the fierce 
barons who now crowded round him were not indulging 
in some rude pastime. "My lords," said he, "is it 
jest or earnest ?" a question which he had scarcely put 
when his immediate seizure ettcctually opened his eyes 
to the truth. His hands were tied; his person placed 
under a guard, which rendered escape impossible ; and 


a party was instantly despatched to the royal tent. 
They broke in upon the monarch; seized Rogers, his 
master of music, and others of his favourites, Avith whom 
he was surrounded, before a sword could be drawn in 
their defence ; and James, who appears to have been 
unaccountably ignorant of the plots which had been so 
long in preparation against him, found himself, in the 
course of a few moments, a prisoner in the hands of his 
subjects, and beheld his friends hurried from his pre- 
sence, with a brutality and violence which convinced 
him that their lives would be instantly sacrificed.* 
Nor was it long before his anticipations were realized. 
The moment the royal person was secured, the con- 
spirators dragged Cochrane to the bridge of Lauder. 
It is said that this unfortunate minion besought his 
butchers not to put him to death, like a dog, with a 
common rope, but at least to gratify him by using one 
of the silk cords of his tent equipage ; but even this 
was denied him, and he was hanged by a halter over 
the parapet of the bridge. At the same moment, Dr 
Rogers, a musician of great eminence, whose pupils 
were famous in Scotland at the time that Ferrerius 
composed his history,"!- shared a similar fate ; and along 
with them, Hommil, Torphichen, Leonard, Preston, 
and some others, whose single fault seems to have been 
their low birth and the favour with which the king 
regarded their talents, were put to death with the like 
cruel and thoughtless precipitation. When they had 
concluded this disgraceful transaction, the nobles 
disbanded the army, leaving their country exposed 
to the advance of the English under Gloucester and 
Albany; and having conveyed their sovereign to 

■*■ Lesley's History of Scotland, p. 48. Illustrations, H. 
•f Ferrerius, p. 3S5. 

14-82. JAMES III. 235 

the caj)ital, tlioy .shut him uj) in the castle of Edin- 

Tlie consequences of this base conduct were, fur the 
time, fatal to the kingdom. Berwick, whoso trade 
formed one of tlio riolicst sources of the Si'ottish reve- 
nue, fell into the hands of the English; and Gloucester 
advanced to the capital through a country where there 
was no army to resist him. The Duke of All)any now 
deemed himself secure of the crown; and the Earl of 
Angus, possessed of the person of the king, awaited 
only a full deliberation with the English commander, 
to complete the revolution by the dethronement of his 
sovereign. But although the whole body of the Scot- 
tish nobility had united willingly with Angus, and even 
lent their assistance to Albany and Edward to complete 
the destruction of Cochrane and the king's favourites, 
Angus had hitherto concealed from them the darker 
portion of the plot; and when hints were thrown out 
as to his real intentions — when it was obscurely pro- 
posed that the Duke of Albany should be placed upon 
the throne, and their rightful sovereign deposed — he 
immediately discovered that he could no longer reckon 
upon the support of the nobles in his ultimate designs. 
The very idea seems to have caused an immediate se- 
paration of parties; and the friends of the government 
and of the sovereign, suspicious of a leader who began 
to speculate on treason, withdrew themselves from 
Angus, and collected an army near Haddington, Avith 
which they determined to kfop in check the further 
proceedings of Albany and Gloucester. -f- 

It was fortunate for these barons that the full ex- 
tent of their baseness — the convention at Fothcringay, 

• Chronicle at the end of Winton, in Pinkcrton'a lliFtC'ry, vol. i. p. /iO.'* 
July 118J. 

+ Lesley's History of Scotl.ind, p. 49. 


the assumption of the title of king, the sacrifice of the 
superiority and independence of the country — were not 
then revealed; and that, having been convinced that 
a coalition with the royal party was absolutely neces- 
sary, they had not so far betrayed themselves as to 
render it impossible. A negotiation was accordingly 
opened, in which Schevez archbishop of St Andrews, 
and Livingston bishop of Dunkeld, along with Evan- 
dale, the chancellor, and the Earl of Argyle, undertook 
the difficult task of promoting a union between the two 
parties, and effecting a reconciliation between Albany 
and his royal brother.* It was impossible for these 
leaders to act under a commission from the king ; for 
since the disastrous execution of his favourites at Lau- 
der, this unfortunate prince had been imprisoned in the 
castle of Edinburgh, under the care of his two uncles, 
the Earls of Athole and Buchan. They engaged, 
therefore, on their own authority, to procure a pardon 
for Albany, and a restoration to his estates and digni- 
ties, provided he was content to return to his allegiance, 
and assist his sovereign in the government of his realm, 
and the maintenance of justice. The friends of the 
duke, with the exception of those whose names had 
already been marked in the act of parliament, were to 
be included in the indemnity ; and to these conditions 
they engaged, by the same deed, to procure the consent 
of the king, and the confirmation of the three Estates.-f" 
To such an agreement, it may readily be believed that 
Albany was not loath to accede. It extricated him, 
indeed, from a situation which was not a little perilous : 
for he found himself unpopular amongst the nobles, 
and trembled lest circumstances might reveal the full 
extent of his baseness ; Avhilst Gloucester, discovering 

* RjTiier, Foedera, vol. xii. p. IGO. + Ibid. p. 161. 

1482. JAMES III. 237 

that the schemes of tlie duke for the dethronement of 
his brother, and the sacrifice of the independence of the 
country, had excited an odium for Nvhich he was not 
prepared, determined to witlidraw his army, and to be 
satisfied with the surrender of Berwick as the fruit of 
the campaign.* There was no difTiculty, therefore, in 
effecting a full reconcilement between Albany and the 
king's party, which was headed by the Chancellor 
ICvandale, and the prelates of St Andrews andDunkeld. 
But it was found a less easy task to reduce to obedience 
the Earls of Athole and Buchan, who commanded the 
castle of Edinburgh, and retained possession of the 
person of the sovereign. These chiefs were the sons 
of Sir James Stewart, the black knight of Lorn, by 
Johanna queen-dowager of James the First ; and if 
wo are to believe the assertions of the king himself, 
they not only kept the most jealous watch over his 
person, but would actually have slain him, had he not 
been protected by Lord Darnlcy and other barons, who 
remained beside him, and refused either by night or 
day to quit his apartment.-f* It may be doubted, how- 
ever, whether the documents in which these facts appear 
present us with the whole truth; and it seems highly 
probable, that, amid the dark and complicated intrigues 
which were carried on at this moment amongst the 
Scottish nobles, the faction of Athole and Buchan, in- 
stead of having a separate interest from Albany, were 
only branches of the same party, and kept possession 
of the king\s person, that the duke, by the eclat of de- 
livering his sovereign from imprisonment, might regain 
fiomewliat of the popularity which he had lost. It is 
certain, at least, that Albany, upon his restoration to 

* Rvmer, Foodera, vol. xii. p. IG'2. 
+ Mag. Sig. X. 44. Oct. ly, uaj. 


his former high offices of warden of the east and west 
marches, and lord high admiral, immediately collected 
an army, and laid siege to Edinburgh castle. The 
English army* at the same time commenced its retreat 
to England; and the burgesses of Edinburgh, anxious 
to re-establish a good understandins^ between the two 
countries, agreed to repay to Edward the sum which 
had been advanced as the dowry of the Lady Csecilia, 
his daughter, provided he should think it expedient to 
draw back from the proposed marriage between this 
princess and the heir-apparent of the Scottish throne. -f* 
In reply to this, Edward intimated his resolution that 
the intended alliance should not take place ; and, in 
terms of their obligation, the full amount of the dowry 
already paid was re-transmitted by the citizens to 
England. In the meantime, after a decent interval of 
hostilities, the Earls of Athole and Buchan thought 
proper to capitulate ; and the castle of Edinburgh, 
with its royal prisoner, was delivered into the hands 
of the Duke of Albany, who now became the keeper of 
the sovereign, and, in concert with an overwhelming 
party of the nobility, assumed the direction of the go- 

The unhappy king, thus transferred from a prison 
only to fall under a durance still more intolerable, had 
yet left to him a few friends in the Archbishop of St 
Andrews, the Chancellor Evandale, and the Earl of 
Argyle ; but, for the present, it was impossible for them 
to make any effectual stand against the power of Albany, 
and they fled precipitately to their estates. Evandale 
was in consequence deprived of the chancellorship, 
which was conferred upon Laing bishop of Glasgow ; 

* Lesley's History of Scotland, p. 4.0. f RjTner, vol. xii. p. 161. 

+ Lesley's History of Scotland, p. 50. 

1482. JAMES III. 239 

whilst Andrew Stewart, an ecclesiastic, and brother to 
the Earls of Atliolc and Buchan, was presented to the 
bishopric of M(iray, and promoted to the ofRcc of 
keeper of the privy seal. 

A parliament now assembled at Edinburi;]i, and all 
was conducted under the control of the Duke of Albany. 
The sovereign was treated with the greatest harshness, 
at times, being actually in fear of his life, he found 
himself compelled to affix his signature and authority 
to papers which gave the falsest views of the real state 
of affairs; and it is curious to trace how completely the 
voice of the records was prostituted to eulogize the 
conduct of Albany and his friends. The monarch was 
made to thank this usurper in the warmest terms for 
his delivery from imprisonment; and the abettors of 
the duke in his treasonable assumption of the supreme 
power were rewarded, under the pretence of having 
hazarded their lives for the protection of the king.* 

At the request of the three Estates, the king, upon 
the plea of its being improper for him to expose his per- 
son to continual danger in defence of his realm against 
its enemies, was recommended to entreat the Duke of 
Albany to accept the office of lieutenant-general of the 
kingdom, with a provision to meet the great expenses 
which he must incur in the execution of its duties. 
By conferring this high office upon his brother, the 
sovereign was in reality compelled to be the instrument 
of superseding his own authority, and declaring him- 

• It is evident that the whole of the acts of tliis parliament, 2d Deccmher, 
14f!"2, the charters which passed the great seal, and the various deeds and 
muniments which proceeded from the great ofliccrs of tlie crown, ought to ho 
viewed with the utmost suspicion hy the historian. 'J'hcy are not only the 
depo>iti()ns of parties in their own favour, hut they are the very instru- 
ments by which they sacriticed the puhlic good, the lihcrty of the lieges, 
and the property of the crown, to their own aggrandizement ; and amid s\ich 
a mass of intentional mit>rcpre^entatiou and error, it would bo vain to look 
for the truth. 


self unworthy of the crown. But this was not all. 
The extensive earldom of Mar and Garioch was deemed 
a proper remuneration for the services of the lieutenant- 
general in delivering his sovereign from imprisonment, 
and the principal offices in the government appear to 
have been filled bj his supporters and dependants.* 
Nor did he neglect the most likely methods of courting 
popularity. Privileges were conferred on the provost 
and magistrates of the capital ; the burgesses of the city 
were lauded for their fidelity to the king ; the office of 
heritable sheriff within the town was conferred upon 
their chief magistrate ; and his rights in exacting cus- 
toms, and calling out the trained bands and armed 
citizens beneath a banner presented to them on this 
occasion, and denominated the Blue Blanket, were 
considerably extended.-f- 

Sensible of the strong spirit of national enmity 
which still existed between the two countries, and the 
jealousy with which many regarded his intimacy with 
Edward the Fourth, the lieutenant-general issued his 
orders to the lieges to make ready their warlike ac- 
coutrements, and prepare for hostilities. But nothing 
was farther from his intentions than war. He meant 
only to strengthen his popularity by the enthusiasm 
with which he knew such a measure would be received 
by a large proportion of the country, whilst, at the 
same time, he privately renewed his intrigues with the 
English monarch. A secret treatv was negotiated 
between the commissioners of Edward and the Earl of 
Angus, Lord Gray, and Sir James Liddal, the friends 

*Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, p. 143. Mag. Sig. x. 32. Decem- 
ber 2, 1482. The expressions employed in the royal charter are evidently 
dictated by Albany himself. It is granted to him "for the faith, loyalty, 
love, benevolence, brotherly tenderness, piety, cordial service, and virtuous 
attention," manifested in freeing the king's person from imprisonment. 

t Inventory to the City Chartulary, i. 33. 

1482. JAMES III. 2U 

and envoys of the duke, by which it was agreed that, 
from this day forth, there should be good amity, love, 
and favour, between the King of England, and a high 
mighty prince, Alexander duke of Albany, and between 
the subjects of either prince dwelling within the one 
realm and the other. By another article in the same 
treaty, the King of England and the Scottish ambas- 
sadors engaged to Albany, that they would not only 
preserve inviolate the truce between the two kingdoms, 
but, if need be, would assist him in the conquest of the 
crown of Scotland " to his proper use," so that he in 
his turn, and the nobles of Scotland, might do the 
King of England great service against his enemy the 
King of France. Another stipulation provided, that, 
upon the assumption of the crown of Scotland by the 
duke, he should instantly and for ever annul the league 
between that country and France; that he should never 
in all time coming pretend any right or title to the 
town and castle of Berwick ; that he should restore to 
his lands and dignity in Scotland the banished earl of 
Douglas ; and after he is king, and at freedom as to 
marriage, espouse one of the daughters of King Edward. 
In the event of Albany dying without heirs, Angus, 
^ray, and Liddal, the three ambassadors, engaged for 
themselves, and their friends and adherents, to keep 
their castles, houses, and strengths, from James, now 
King of Scots, " and to live under the sole a-llegiance 
of their good and gracious prince,tho Kingof England." 
In return for this base and treasonable sacrifice of his 
country, Edward undertook to further the views of 
Albany in his conquest of the crown of Scotland, by 
sending his brother, the Duke of Gloucester, and his 
cousin, the Earl of Northumberland, with such aid of 
archers and men-at-arms as was thought necessary 



for the eraergencj. For the present, three thousand 
archers were to be furnished, paid and provisioned for 
six weeks ; and, in case there should happen " a great 
day of rescue," or any other immediate danger, Edward 
promised that the Duke of Albany should be helped 
by an army, through God's grace, sufficient for his 

The contradictions and errors of our popular histo- 
rians, and the deficiency of authentic records, have left 
the period immediately succeeding this convention be- 
tween Edward and Albany in much obscurity. Its 
consequences seem to have been much the same as 
those which followed the intrigues of Angus ; -|- and 
it is evident, that although the duke, in his endeavours 
to possess himself of the crown, was assisted by Athole, 
Buchan, Gray, Crichton, and others of the most power- 
ful nobility in Scotland, another and a still stronger 
party had ranged themselves on the side of the king, 
incited to this more by their detestation of the schemes 
of Albany, by which the integrity and independence 
of tlieir country as a separate kingdom were wantonly 
sacrificed, than by any strong afiection for the person 
of their sovereign. The measures, too, of the duke 
appear to have been rash and precipitate. He accused 
the sovereign of countenancing a conspiracy to take 
him off by poison, and he retaliated by a violent but 
abortive attempt to seize the king, which weakened 
his faction, and united in still stronger opposition to 
his unprincipled designs the friends of order and good 
government. t By their assistance, the monarch, if 
he did not regain his popularity, was at least enabled 
to make a temporary stand against the ambition of his 

* Rjiner, Foedera, vol. xii. pp. 173, 174, 175. + Supra, p. 235. 

J Lesley, History, p. 50. Original Letter James IIL to Arbutlinot. Cale- 
donia, vol. ii. p. 602. 

1 482. JAMES III. 24.3 

brother, who, convinced that lie was on tlie verge of 
ruin, besouijht and <ibtaincd a timely reconciliation. 

In a parliament which was assembled at Edinbur^'h 
in the conclusion of the eventful year 1482, Albany 
was compelled to acknowledge hi.s manifold treasons, 
and to lay down his office of lieutenant-governor of the 
realm.* lie was, however, with great weakness and 
inconsistency upon the part of the government, per- 
mitted to retain his wardenship of the marches ; and 
whilst lie and his adherents, the Bishop of Moray, the 
Earls of Atliole, 13uchan, and Angus, were discharged 
from approaching within six miles of the royal person, 
he was indulged by the sowreign and the parliament 
with a full pardon for all former offences, and permitted 
to retain his dignity and his estates unfettered and 
unimpaired. At the same time the duke delivered a 
public declaration, authenticated under his hand and 
seal, in which he pronounced it to be a false slander 
that the king liad ever meditated his death by poison ; 
he promised from thenceforth to discontinue his con- 
nexion with Angus, Athole, Buchan, and the re^t of 
his facti >n, " not holding them in dayly household in 
time to come ;" and he engaged to give his letters of 
manrent and allegiance to the sovereign under his seal 
and subscription, and to endure for the full term of his 
life. By the same agreement, the most powerful of his 
supporters Avere deprived of the dignities and offices 
which they had abused to the purposes of conspiracy 
and rebellion. The Earl of Buchan was degraded from 
his place as great chamberlain, which was bestowed 
upon the Earl of Crawford ; deprived of his command 
of deputy-warden of the middle marches ; and, along 

• Indcntura inter Jacobum Tertium et Ducem Albaniae Alexandrum ejus 
iJratrem. lOtb March, 142J°2. MU. Uen. liegister iioiue, Ediiiburgh. 


with Lord Crichton and Sir James Liddal, who appear 
to have been considered the most dangerous of the 
conspirators with England, banished from the realm 
for the space of three years. Angus was compelled 
to remove from his office of great justiciar on the south 
half of the water of Forth, to resign his stewartry of 
Kirkcudbright, his sheriffdom of Lanark, and his com- 
mand of the castle of Trief ;* whilst John of Douglas, 
another steady associate of Albany, was superseded in 
his sheriffdom of Edinburgh. The whole conspiracy, 
by which nothing less was intended than the seizure 
of the crown, and the destruction of the independence 
of the country, was acknowledged with an indifference 
and effrontery which adds a deeper shade of baseness 
to its authors, and punished by the government with 
a leniency which could only have proceeded from a 
want of confidence between the sovereign and the great 
body of his nobility. The causes of all this seem to 
have been a weakness in the party opposed to Albany, 
and a dread in the king^s friends lest, if driven to 
despair, this ambitious and unprincipled man might 
yet be able to withstand or even to overcome them. 
But the result of so wavering a line of policy, was the 
same here as in other cases where half measures are 
adopted. It discouraged for the time the patriotic 
party, which, having the power in their own hands, 
did not dare to employ it in the punishment of the 
most flagrant acts of treason which had occurred since 
the time of Edward Baliol ; and, by convincing Albany 
of the indecision of the government, and the manifest 
unpopularity of the king, it encouraged him to renew 
his intercourse with England, and to repeat his attempt 
upon the crown. 

* MS. Indenture, as quoted above. 

1483. JAMES III. ■ 2 to 

Accordingly, soon after the dissolution of the par- 
liament, he removed to his castle of Dunbar, whi(!h he 
garrisoned for immediate resistance ; ho provisioned 
his other castles ; summoned around him his most 
powerful friends and retainers, and despatched into 
England Sir James Liddal, whose society he had lately 
so solemnly forsworn, for the purpose of renewing his 
league with Edward, and requesting his assistance 
against his enemies. In consequence of these pro- 
ceedings, an English envoy, or herald, named Blue 
Mantle, was commissioned to renew the negotiations 
with Albany ; and he himself indefatigable in intrigue 
soon after repaired to England.* At his desire, an 
Enirlish force invaded the Border, and advancing to 
Dunbar, was admitted into that important fortress by 
Giflbrd of Sheriffhall, to whom it had been committed, 
for the purpose of being delivered into the hands of 
his ally, King Edward. The duke himself remained 
in England, busy in concerting his measures with 
Douglas and his adherents for a more formidable 
expedition ; and his friend Lord Crichton, one of the 
most powerful and warlike of the Scottish barons, 
engaged with the utmost ardour in concentrating his 
party in Scotland, and fortifying their castles for a 
determined' resistance against the sovereign. "f* 

At this critical moment happened the death of Ed- 
ward the Fourth ; an event which greatly weakened the 
party of the duke, and contributed eventually to his 
total discomfiture. Its effects, however, were not im- 
mediately fatal ; and Richard the Third, who usurped 
the throne, and with whom, when Duke of Gloucester, 

* Processus Forisfacturc Ducis Albanie. Acts of the Parliament of Scot- 
land, vol. ii. p. 147. 

f Processus Forisfacture Domini de Crechtoun. Ibid. pp. 154, 1C4. 


we have seen Albany preserving an intimate corre- 
spondence, received the renegade at court with much 
courtesy and distinction. In the meantime, his re- 
peated conspiracies excited, as was to be expected, a 
very general indignation in Scotland. A parliament 
assembled, in which he was again summoned to answer 
to a charge of treason ; and, having failed to appear, 
the three Estates found him guilty of the crime laid 
to his charge, declaring that his life, lands, offices, and 
all other possessions, were forfeited to the king. Lord 
Crichton, Sir James Liddal, GifFord of Sheriffhall, and 
a long list of their adherents, experienced a similar 
fate;* whilst the monarch of England, surrounded by 
difficulties, and threatened with daily plots in his own 
kingdom, evinced an anxiety to cultivate the most 
amicable relations with Scotland, and granted safe- 
conducts to Elphinston bishop of Aberdeen, and the 
Earl of Crawford, as ambassadors from James,-]- with 
the object of renewing the truces, and arranging the 
best measures for the maintenance of peace upon the 

At the same time there arrived at court, as ambas- 
sador from Charles the Eighth of France, who had lately 
succeeded to the throne of that kingdom, Bernard 
Stewart lord Aubigny. This eminent person, whose 
Scottish descent made him peculiarly acceptable to the 
king, was received with high distinction ; and the an- 
cient league between France and Scotland was renewed 
by the Scottish monarch with much solemnity. Soon 
after, an embassy, which consisted of the Earl of 
Argyle, and Schevez archbishop of St Andrews, with 
the Lords Evandale, Fleming, and Glammis, proceeded 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 152, 154, 1C4. 
+ Rymer, vol. xii. p. 207. Illustrations, I. 

]48t. JAMES TTI. 247 

to Franco,* and in their proscnco, Charles the Eiii;]ith, 
tlien only iu his luurtcenth year, confirmed and ratified 
the league, and consented to grant the most prompt 
assistance to his ally for the expulsion of the English 
from the kingdom, and the reduction of his rebellious 
subjects. •!- 

So far the treasonable conspiracy of Albany had been 
completely defeated by the energy of the king, and the 
co-operation of his nobility ; and James, shaking oft" 
that indolent devotion to literature and the fine arts, 
which he was now convinced had too much intruded 
upon his severer duties as a sovereign, collected an 
army, and laid siege to the castle of Dunbar, which 
had been delivered by Albany to the enemy, and 
strongly garrisoned with English soldiers. J Mean- 
while, Albany and Douglas, although courteously re- 
ceived bv the Enfrlish kinfj, soon discovered that it was 
his determination to remain at peace with Scotland ; 
and, with the desperate resolution of making a last 
struggle for the recovery of their influence, they in- 
vaded Scotland, at the head of a small force of five 
hundred horse, and pushed forward to Lochmaben, 
under the fallacious idea that they would be joined by 
some of their late brothers in conspiracy, and by their 
own tenantry and vassals, who were numerous and 
powerful in this district. It was St Magdalene's day,§ 
upon which an annual fair was held in the town, and a 
numerous concourse of neighbouring gentry, along 
with a still greater assemblage of merchants, hawkers, 
and labourers, were met together, all of whom, accord- 
ing to the fashion of the times, carried arms. On the 
a[)proach of Albany and Douglas at the head of a body 

* Crawford's OfUcers of State, p. 45. + Ii)id. 

X l''errcriu8, p. 307. Drummuiid, p. 55. § '-Jd July. 


of English cavalry, it naturally occurred to the multi- 
tude, whose booths and shops were full of their goods 
and merchandise, that the object of the invaders was 
plunder ; and with a resolution whetted by the love of 
property, they threw themselves upon the enemy. The 
conflict, however, was unequal, and on the point of 
terminating fatally for the brave burghers and pea- 
santry, when a body of the king's troops, of which the 
chief leaders were Charteris of Amisfield, Crichton of 
Sanquhar, and Kirkpatrick of Kirkmichael, along with 
the Laird of Johnston, and Murray of Cockpule, ad- 
vanced rapidly to the rescue of their countrymen, and 
attacked the English with a fury which broke their 
ranks, and decided the contest.* After a grievous 
slaughter and complete dispersion of their force, the 
Duke of Albany escaped from the field by the fleetness 
of his horse; but Douglas, more aged, and oppressed 
by the weight of his armour, was overtaken and made 
prisoner by Kirkpatrick, who, proud of his prize, car- 
ried him instantly to the king.i* His career had, as we 
have seen, been such as to claim little sympathy. It 
was that of a selfish and versatile politician, ever ready 
to sacrifice his country to his personal ambition. But 
his rank and his misfortunes, his venerable aspect and 
grey hairs, moved the compassion of the king ; and he 
whose treason had banished him from Scotland, who 
for nearly thirty years had subsisted upon the pay of 
its enemies, and united himself to every conspiracy 
against its independence, was permitted to escape with 
a punishment whose leniency reflects honour on the 
humanity of the sovereign. He was confined to the 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, no], ii. p. 173. Mag. Sig. xi. 77. 
August 10, 1484. 

+ Acta Domin. Concilii, 19th January, 1484. Mag. Sig. xi. 72. July 9, 

1484. JAMES III. 249 

monastery of Lindores, where, after a few years of 
tranquil seclusion, lie died, — the last branch of an an- 
cient and illustrious race, whose power, employed in the 
days of their early greatness in securing- the liberty of 
the country against foreign aggression, had latterly 
risen into a fatal and treasonable rivalry Avith the 
crown. It is said, that, when brought into the royal 
presence, Douglas, either from shame or pride, turned 
his back upon his sovereign, and on hearing his sen- 
tence, nmttcred with a bitter smile, "lie who may be 
no better, must needs turn monk."* His associate, 
Albany, first took refuge in England, and from thence 
passed over to France, where, after a few years, he was 
accidentally slain in a tournament. ■}- 

Two powerful enemies of the king were thus removed; 
and instead of a monarch who, like Edward the Fourth, 
encouraged rebellion amongst his subjects by intrigue 
and invasion, the Scottish king found in Richard the 
Third, that calm and conciliatory disposition, which 
naturally arose out of his terror for the occurrence 
of foreign war, before he had consolidated his newly- 
acquired power. To him, tranquillity, and popularity 
with the great body of his nobility and of his people, 
were as necessary as to James ; and had the Scottish 
aristocracy permitted their development, the govern- 
ment of either country would have been conducted 
upon the principles of nmtual friendship and unfettered 
intercourse. An embassy, consisting of the Earl of 
Argyle, the chancellor, Lord Evandale, Whitelaw the 
secretary to the king, and the Lord Lylo was re- 
ceived with great state by Richard at Nottingham ; 
and having conferred with the English commissioners, 

* l)runimon<l. Hist. p. 53. Ilume'.s Doupl.is and An^us, p. 381. 
f Atibuline, liistoiro Ueuealogique, iv. p. S'JU. 


the Archbishop of York, the Chancellor of England, 
and the Duke of Norfolk, they determined upon a 
truce for three years, which was to be cemented by a 
marriage between theheirof the Scottish crown, James 
Duke of Rothesay, now a boy in his fourteenth year, 
and Lady Anne, niece of the King of England, and 
daughter to the Duke of Suffolk.* By one of the 
articles of this truce, the castle of Dunbar, then in 
the possession of the English, having been delivered 
to them by Albany, and for recovery of which the 
King of Scotland had made great preparations, was 
to enjoy the benefit of the cessation of hostilities for six 
months ; after the expiration of which period, James 
was to be permitted to recover it, if he was able, by force 
of arms. 

At the same time that this embassy took place, the 
purport of which was openly declared, and appears in 
the public records, much secret intercourse was car- 
ried on between Richard the Third and the Scottish 
nobility and clergy, in which the names occur of several 
barons who took a prominent part against the king in 
the subsequent rebellion. From the brief and cautious 
manner in which the passports for such persons are 
worded, it is impossible to point out the subjects of 
their private negotiation, but thei'e seems ground to 
presume that the aristocratic faction, which had been 
for a long time opposed to the king, and which gave 
him its lukewarm support solely for the purpose of 
crushing the desperate treasons of Albany, had now 
be^un to intri2;ue with Eiio-land. 

o o O 

From the time of the rising at Lauder, the execution 
of Cochrane and his associates, and the subsequent 
imprisonment of the sovereign, many of the Scottish 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol, xii. pp. 235, 244, 250. 

1484. JAMES III. 2.')! 

nobles must have been sensible that they had subjectefl 
themselves to a charije of treason, and that the monarch 
only waited for the opportunity of returnino^ power to 
employ it in their destruction. The blood of his fa- 
vourites, shed with a wantonness and inhumanity which 
nothing could justify, called loud for vengeance : how- 
ever devoted to the indolent cultivation of the fine arts, 
or enervated by the pursuit of pleasure and the society 
of the female sex, the character of James partook some- 
what of the firmness and tenacity of revenge which 
distinguished his grand-father James the First; and it 
was anticipated that his return to liberty, and the free 
exercise of his prerogative, would bring a fearful day 
of reckoning to the conspirators at Lauder. The in- 
stances of the Douglases, the Livingstons, and the 
Boyds, some of whom, previous to their trial and exe- 
cution, had stood in far more favourable circumstances 
than most of the present nobles, must to them have 
been full of warning; and it was natural for those who 
felt the treacherous and unstable ground on which they 
stood, to endeavour to strengthen their faction by a 
secret negotiation with England. To what extent 
Richard listened to such advances, does not appear ; 
but there seems to be little doubt that, on the meeting 
of parliament in the commencement of the year 1485, 
a large proportion of the Scottish aristocracy had per- 
suaded themselves that the security of their lives 
and their property was incompatible with the resump- 
tion of his royal authority by the monarch whom they 
had insulted and imprisoned: on the other hand, it is 
evident, that by whatever various motives they were 
actuated, a more numerous party, consisting both of 
the clergy and of the barons, had attached themselves 
to the interest of the sovereign ; and whilst many must 


be supposed to have been influenced by the selfish hope 
of sharing in the plunder and confiscation which in- 
variably accompanied the destruction of a feudal fac- 
tion, a few perhaps were animated by a patriotic desire 
to support the authority of the crown, and give strength 
and energy to the feeble government of the country. 
Such appear to have been the relative situations of the 
two sjreat factions in the state on the opening of the 
parliament in the commencement of the year 1485; 
and most of its acts seem to have been wisely calculated 
for the good of the community. 

It was resolved to despatch an embassy to the court 
of England, for the purpose of concluding the marriage 
betweentheDukeof Rothesay and the niece of Richard. 
Provisions were adopted for the maintenance of tran- 
quillity throughout the realm, by holding justice ayres 
twice in the year;, the king was advised to call a part 
of the lords and head men of his kingdom, who were to 
bring to trial and execution all notorious offenders, and 
Schevez, the Archbishop of St Andrews, was to be des- 
patched on an embassy to the court of Rome, having 
instructions to procure the papal confirmation of the 
alliances which had been concluded between Scotland 
and the kingdoms of France and Denmark. Other 
matters of importance, affecting mutually the rights 
claimed by the crown, and the authority maintained 
by the see of Rome, were intrusted to the same diplo- 
matist. It was to be reverently submitted to the holy 
father, that the king, having nominated his " tender 
clerk and counsellor," Alexander Inglis, to the bishop- 
rick of Dunkeld, requested the papal confirmation of his 
promotion as speedily as possible; and the ambassador 
was to declare determinately, that his sovereign would 
not suffer any other person, who had presumed to 

1485. JAMES III. 2ou 

procure liis promotion to tliis bishopric contrary to 
the royal will, to enter into possession. An earnest 
remonstrance was to be presented to the pope, request- 
in^T, that on the decease of any prelate or beneliced 
clergyman, his holiness would be pleased to delay the 
disposition to such dignities for six months, in conse- 
quence of the distance of the realm of Scotland from 
the holy see, within which time the king''s letter of 
supplication for the promotion to the vacant benefice 
of such persons as were agreeable to him might reach 
the pontiff, — a privilege which, it was remarked, the 
sovereign considered himself entitled to insist upon, 
since the prelates of his realm had the iirst vote in 
his parliament, and were members of his secret council. 
In the same parliament, an act of James the Second, 
which made it treason for any clerks to purchase bene- 
fices in the court of Home, the presentation to which 
belonged to the crown, was directed to be rigidly car- 
ried into execution; and all persons who maintained 
or supported any ecclesiastics who had thus intruded 
themselves into vacant sees, were ordered to be punished 
by the same penalties of proscription and rebellion as 
the principal offenders. Some homely provisions re- 
garding the extortion of ferrymen, who were in the habit 
of taking double and treble freight, and a regulation 
concerning tiie coinage, concluded the subjects which 
upon this occasion occupied the wisdom of parliament.* 
It was within four months after this, that Richard 
the Third was cut off in the midst of his unprincij)led, 
but daring and energetic career, by a revolution, which 
placed Henry earl of Richmond, upon the throne of 
England, under the title of Henry the Seventh. That 
a faction in Scotland supported the J'^arl of Richmond, 

• Acts of the Pailiament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 173. 


we have tlie authority of his rival Richard for believ- 
ing ; * but who were the individuals to whom the king 
alluded, and to what extent their intrigues had been 
carried on, there are no authentic documents to deter- 
mine. The plot of Richmond, as it is well-known, was 
fostered in the court of France ; and Bernard Stewart 
lord Aubigny, commanded the body of French soldiers 
which accompanied him to England. Aubigny was, as 
we have seen, of Scottish extraction, and nearly related 
to the Earl of Lennox. i* He had been ambassador to the 
Scottish court in the year 1 484 ; and it is by no means 
improbable, that, to further the plot for the invasion 
of England by the Earl of Richmond, Aubigny, an able 
politician, as well as an eminent military leader, had 
induced that party of the Scottish lords, who were 
already disaffected to the king, to make a diversion by 
invading England, and breaking the truce between 
the kingdoms. The impetuosity of Richard, however, 
hurried on a battle before any symptoms of open hos- 
tility had broken out; and when the death of the 
usurper, on the field of Bosworth, had placed the crown 
upon the head of Henry, this monarch became naturally 
as desirous of cultivating peace as he had formerly been 
anxious to promote a war. Yet with this change of 
policy, the connexion of the new king with the faction 
of the Scottish barons which was opposed to the go- 
vernment of James, may have remained as intimate as 
before ; and when many of the same nobles, who had 

* Fenn's Paston Letters, vol. ii. p. 32G. 

+ Bernard Stewart lord Aubigny, and John Stewart of Darnley, nrst 
Earl of Lennox, were brothers'" children. Mathew earl of Lennox, to whom 
Aubigny left his fortune, was the son of the first earl. By his sisters, the 
Ladies Elizabeth, Marion, Janet, and Margaret Stewart, the Earl of Lennox 
was connected by marriage with the Earl of Argyle, Lord Crichton of San- 
quhar, Lord Ross of Halkhead, and Sir John Colquhoun of Luss. Douglas 
Peerage, vol. ii. pp. 95, 96. 

HS6. JAMES III. 2o5 

conspired with France against Ricliard, began to form 
plots for the destruction of their own sovereign, it is 
by no means improbable that they looked for support 
to their friend and ally the King of England. The 
extraordinary caution with which Henry carried on his 
diplomatic negotiations, has rendered it exceedingly 
difficult for succeeding hisitorians to detect his political 
intrigues, but there are some circumstances which create 
a presumption that the designs of James''s enemies were 
neither unknown nor unacceptable to him. 

In the meantime, however, the acces.<ion of Henry 
seemed, at first, to bring only a continuance of friendly 
dispositions between the two kingdoms. Within a 
month after the death of Richard, the English monarch 
made overtures for the establishment of peace, and ap- 
pointed the Earl of Northumberland, who was warden 
of the marches, to open a negotiation with such envoys 
as James might select.* Accordingly, Elphinston 
bishop of Aberdeen, Whitelaw the king's secretary, 
with the Lords Bothwell and Kennedy, and the Abbot 
of Holyrood, were despatched as ambassadors ; and 
after various conferences, a three years' truce was 
agreed on, preparatory to a final pacification, whilst the 
Earl of Angus and the Lord Maxwell were appointed 
wardens of the middle and western marches. Upon 
the part of England, the Earl of Northumberland and 
Lord Dacres were nominated to the same ofiice on the 
eastern and western Borders, whilst overtures wore 
made for a marriage between James marquis of Or- 
mond, James's second son, and the Lady Catherine, 
daughter of Edward the Fourth, and sister-in-law to 
King Henry. 

Soon after this, James was deprived, by death, of 

• Rjmer, vol. xii. p. 285-316. 


his queen the Lady Margaret, daughter to Christiern 
king of Denmark, a princess whose virtues were of that 
modest and unobtrusive character which make little 
figure in history, and to whom, if we may believe the 
report of his enemies, the king was not warmly at- 
tached.* The aspersions, indeed, which were so un- 
sparingly poured upon the memory of this monarch by 
the faction which dethroned and destroyed him, and the 
certain falsehood of some of their most confident accu- 
sations, render the stories of his alienation from his 
queen, and his attachment to other women, at best 
extremely doubtful. It is certain, however, that before 
a year of grief had expired, the royal widower began 
to think of another marriage, which should connect him 
more intimately in the bonds of peace and affectionate 
intercourse with England. The princess upon whom 
he had fixed his aff'ections, was the Queen-dowager of 
England, the widow of Edward the Fourth, and the 
mother-in-law of Henry the Seventh ; but before this 
union could be effected, a conspiracy broke out, which 
had been long collecting strength and virulence, and 
whose effects were as fatal as its history is obscure and 

We have already remarked that since the period of 
the conspiracy at the bridge of Lauder, in which a great 
body of the Scottish nobles rose against the sovereign, 
imprisoned his person, usurped the administration of 
the government, and, without trial or conviction, in- 
flicted the punishment of death upon his principal 
favourites and counsellors, the barons ensfaa'cd in that 

* The period of her death, Pinkerton, vol. i. p. 324, observes has not been 
mentioned by the Scottish historians. We are enabled, however, to approxi- 
mate nearly to the exact time, by the expression used in a charter in the 
Morton Chartulary, dated ICtli October, 1486, -which mentions her as that 
time " nuper delaacta." 

148G. JAMES III. 257 

enterprise had never been cordially reconciled to tlio 
kiu<r, and were well aware that they lived with a chariro 
of treason hanging over their heads — that they held 
their estates, and even their lives, only so long as their 
party continued in power. Nearly live years had now 
elapsed since the execution of Cochrane, and in that 
interval some alterations had occurred, which were 
quite sufficient to alarm them. The character of the 
kin<j had underffoue a material change ; he had attached 
to his interest some of the wisest of the clergy, and 
not a few of the most powerful of his nobility ; he 
had preserved peace with England, — had completely 
triumphed over the traitorous designs of his brother 
Albany and the Earl of Douglas, — had maintained his 
alliance with France, Flanders, and the northern courts 
of Europe, unbroken, — had supported with great firm- 
ness and dignity his royal prerogative against the 
encroachments of the see of Rome, — and had made 
repeated endeavours to enforce the authority of the 
laws, to improve the administration of justice, and re- 
strain the independent power of the feudal nobility, by 
the enactments of his parliament, and the increasing 
energy and attention with which he devoted himself to 
the cares of government. It has indeed been the fashion 
of some of our popular historians to represent the char- 
acter of this unfortunate prince as a base mixture of 
wickedness and weakness; but nothing can be more 
untrue than such a picture. The facts of his reign, 
and the measures of his government, demonstrate its 
infidelity to the original; and convince us that such 
calumnies proceeded from the voice of a faction desirous 
to blacken the memory of a monarch whom they had 
deserted and betrayed. But, even admitting that the 
full merit of the wise and active administration of the 


government which had lately taken place, did not be- 
long to the king, it was evident to his enemies that 
their power was on the decline, and that their danger 
was becoming imminent. The character of the mon- 
arch, indeed, was far from relentless or unforgiving ; 
and the mildness of the punishment of Albany, and the 
benevolence of the sentence against Douglas, might 
have inspired them with hope, and promoted a reconci- 
liation ; but they knew also that there were many about 
the royal person who would advise a different course, and 
to whom the forfeiture, and the expectation of sharing 
in their estates, would present an inviting prospect. 

On consulting together, they appear to have come 
to the resolution to muster their whole strength at the 
ensuing parliament; to sound the disposition of the 
king and his party towards accepting their submission, 
and encouraging a coalition ; and when they had warily 
estimated the comparative strength of their own fac- 
tion, and that of the monarch, to form their plan, either 
of adherence to the government, and submission to the 
king, or of a determined rebellion against both. In 
the meantime, however, the death of the queen, and 
the treachery of those to whom the keeping and edu- 
cation of the heir-apparent was intrusted, enabled them 
to usurp an influence over his mind, which they art- 
fully turned to their own advantage. 

To gain the prince to favour their designs against 
his father, and to allure him to join their party, by the 
prospect of an early possession of the sovereign power, 
was a project which had been so frequently and suc- 
cessfully repeated in the tumultuous transactions of 
Scotland, and other feudal kingdoms, that it naturally 
BU2:2;ested itself to the discontented nobles; and it was 
no difficult task for such crafty and unscrupulous in- 

1487. JAMES III. 2'/J 

triguers to work upon the youthful ambition of his 
character. James duke of Rothesay, \vas now in his 
fifteenth year ; his disposition was aspiring and im- 
petuous ; and, although still a boy, his mind seems tc 
have been far beyond his years. It was easy for them 
to inflame his boyish feelings against his father, by the 
same false and unfounded tales with wliich they after- 
wards polluted the popular mind, and excused their 
own attacks upon the government; and previous to 
the meeting of the parliament, they had succeeded in 
estranging the ellections of the son from the father, and 
producing in his mind a readiness to unite himself to 
their party. Whilst such had been the conduct of the 
faction which opposed itself to the government, the 
king, shaking off the love of indolent retirement which 
he had too long encouraged, mustered his friends 
around him, consulted with his most confidential offi- 
cers, and resolved that the proceedings of the ensuing 
parliament should be conducted with an energy and a 
wisdom which should convince his enemies that they 
were mistaken in liim. 

Such ap])cars to have been the relative position of 
the monarch, and the faction of the discontented nobles, 
at the period of the meeting of parliament, on the 
thirteenth of October, 1487.* On that day, a more 
numerous assemblauo of the nobles attended than for 
many years had been seen in the Scottish parliament ; 
and although the barons who were inimical to the king 
were pleased to find that they nmstercd in formidable 
strength, it was thought expedient to make overtures 
to the sovereign for an amicable adjustment of all their 
disputes and grievances, upon condition that a full 
pardon should be granted to all such barons, as had 

• Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 170'. 


made themselves obnoxious to the laws, by treason, 
rapine, or other offences. To such a proposition, how- 
ever, the party of the sovereign, too confident in their 
own power, gave an absolute denial. They brought 
in an act of parliament, which declared, that for 
the purpose of re-establishing justice and tranquillity 
throughout the realm, which, in consequence of the 
delay of inflicting " sharp execution upon traitors and 
murderers, had been greatly broken and distressed, the 
king''s highness had acceded to the request of his three 
Estates, and was determined to refuse all applications 
for pardon of such crimes, or of any similar offences, 
for seven years to come." In return for the readiness 
Avitli which the king had obeyed the wishes of his par- 
liament, the lords spiritual and temporal, with the 
barons and freeholders, gave their promise, that, in all 
time coming they should cease to maintain, or stand at 
the bar with traitors, men-slayers, thieves, or robbers, 
always excepting that the}^ must not be prevented from 
taking part in " sober wise," with their kin and friends, 
in the defence of their honest actions. They engaged 
also to assist the king and his officers to bring all such 
offenders to justice, that they might "underly" the 
law ; and when, in consequence of the strength of the 
party accused, the coroner was unable to make his 
arrestment, they promised, with their armed vassals 
to apprehend the delinquent. Other acts were passed 
at the same time, to which it is unnecessary to refer ; 
but the proceedings were amply sufficient to convince the 
barons, whose rebellion against the sovereign had made 
them liable to a charge of treason, that extreme mea- 
sures were meditated against them. The parliament 
was then continued to the eleventh of January ; and it 
was intimated by the sovereign, that a full attendance 

1487. JAMES III. 2G1 

of the Avliole body of the prchitos, ban^ns, and free- 
holders, wouhl be insisted on, it having been re.st)lvcd, 
that all absent members shonld not only be punished 
by the infliction of the usual line, but in such other 
method as the king ^vas wont to adopt to those \vho 
disobeyed his orders, and incurred his high displeasure. 
lu the interval, an important negotiation took place 
between the Bishops of Exeter and Aberdeen, who 
met at Edinburgh, and agreed that the present truce 
subsisting between the kingdoms, should be prolonged 
to the first of September, 1481). It was determined 
also, that the proposed marriage between the King of 
Scots and the Princess Elizabeth, widow of Edward 
the Fourth, should take place as soon as the prelimi- 
naries could be settled, in a diet to be held at Edinburgh; 
whilst the peace between the two countries should be 
further cemented by the marriage of James's second 
son, the Marquis of Ormond, to the Lady Catherine, 
third daughter of Edward the Fourth, and of James 
prince of Scotland and duke of llothesay, to another 
daughter of the same royal line.* These royal alliances 
were interrupted by a demand of the Scottish monarch. 
As a preliminary, he insisted upon the surrender of 
the town of Berwick, which for so long a period had 
been the property of Scotland, and the rich emporium 
of its trade. To this last condition, Henry would by 
no means consent.-f- He was well aware of the impor- 
tance of this Border fortress, as commanding a frontier 
against the Scots; and so high a value did he set upon 
its continuing in the possession of England, that, from 
the moment that James had pertinaciously required 
its restoration, all serious thoughts of the proposed 

* Rvmer, Fa»(lera, vol. xii. p. .T2fl. 

t Teb. 1(1, 1-1!{7. Koluli Scot., vol. ii. p. 483. 


alliances were at an end ; and the politics of tlie Eng- 
lish monarch, instead of being animated by the desire 
of a friendly union with the king, became infected with 
a partiality for the faction of his discontented nobles. 

Nor had these barons, during this interval, been idle : 
they had consolidated their own strength ; appointed 
various points of rendezvous for their vassals and re- 
tainers, and put their castles into a posture of defence : 
they had prevailed on some of the prelates and digni- 
fied clergy to join their party, whose affections the 
king had alienated by his severe reprobation of their 
proceedings, in purchasing the nomination to vacant 
benefices at the papal court : they had completely 
corrupted the principles of the king's eldest son, the 
Duke of Rothesay, and prevailed upon him to lend his 
name and his presence to their treasonable attack upon 
the government ; and although it cannot be asserted 
upon conclusive evidence, there is some reason to be- 
lieve that the conspiracy was countenanced at least, if 
not supported, at the court of Henry the Seventh. 

In the meantime, the parliament, which had been 
prorogued to the month of January, again assembled,* 
and was attended in great force by both, factions. 
Aware of the intrigues which were in agitation against 
him, and incensed at the conduct of his enemies in 
working upon the ambition, and alienating from him 
the affections, of his son and successor, James proceed- 
ed to adopt decided measures. He brought forward 
his second son, created him Duke of Ross, Marquis 
of Ormond, Earl of Edirdale, and Lord of Brechin and 
Novar, and by accumulating upon him these high 
titles, appeared to point him out as his intended suc- 
cessor in the throne. He strengthened his own party 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 1 80, 

1487. JAMES III. 26.3 

by raisin:^ tlio Barons of Drumnioiul, Cricliton of 
Sanquhar, Hay, and Ruthvcu, to tho dignity and 
privileges of lords of parliament; he procured the con- 
sent of tlie three Estates to the innnediate departure of 
an embassy to the court of England, for the purpose 
of making a final agreement regarding his own marriage 
and that of the prince his son ; with instructions to 
the ambassadors that they should insist cither on tho 
delivery of tho castle and the city of Berwick into the 
hands of the Scots, or upon the castle being cast down 
and destroyed. He appointed the Earls of Crawford 
and Huntley to bo justices on tho north half beyond 
the Forth ; and from the Lords Bothwcll, Glammis, 
Lyle, and Drummond, directed the parliament to select 
two justices for the southern division of the kingdom. 
With regard to the rights, which hccontcnded belonged 
to the crown, in disposing of vacant benefices, — rights 
which interfered with those ecclesiastical privilejjes 
claimed by the court of Rome as part of its inalienable 
prerogative, the conduct of the monarch was spirited 
and consistent. He had united tlic priory of Colding- 
ham to the royal chapel at Stirling,* a measure which 
tho potent Border family of the Humes affected to 
consider as an interference with their patronage, but 
upon what ground is not apparent. They made it a 
pretext, however, for joining the ranks of the discon- 
tented nobles ; opposed the annexation in a violent and 
outrageous manner, and attempted to overturn the act 
of the king by an appeal to the pope. The monarch, 
in the first instance, interdicted all persons from pre- 
senting or countenancing such appeals, under penalty 
of the forfeiture of life, lands, and goods ; and finding 
this warning insufficient, ho directed summonses to be 

• Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 179. 


issued against the oifenders, ordaining them to stand 
their trial before a committee of parliament, and abide 
the sentence of the law.* Aware also that there would 
be some attempt at interference on the part of the 
papal court, it was declared by the parliament, that 
the king was bound to preserve that ancient privilege 
which had been conferred upon his progenitors by a 
special bull, and by which the Scottish monarchs were 
not obliged to receive any legate or messenger of that 
court within their realm, unless a communication Avere 
first made to the king and his council as to the nature 
of the message, so that it might be perfectly understood, 
before they were permitted to enter the kingdom, that 
they brought no communication contrary to the will 
of the sovereign or the common prosperity of his realm. 
If, therefore, it was said, any such legate happened 
to be now on his journey, or hereafter arrived, the 
parliament recommended that messengers should be 
immediately sent to the Borders to prohibit him from 
settino; his foot within the kingdom, until he first 
explained to his highness the cause of his coming.-f- 
In the same parliament, and with a like resolute spirit, 
the king obtained an act to be passed, which insisted 
on his right to nominate to vacant benefices as an 
inalienable prerogative of his crown, and in which his 
determination was declared, to keep his clerk Mr 
David Abercromby, unvexed and untroubled in the en- 
joyment of the deanery of Aberdeen, notwithstanding 
any attempt to the contrary by persons who founded 
their title of interference upon a purchase or impetration 
of this ecclesiastical preferment at the court of Rome. 
The parliament was then adjourned to the fifth of 
May, and the members dispersed; but the quiet was 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 183. f IljiJ- 

1487. JAMES III. 2G5 

of short continuance, and the materials of civil com- 
motion, so long pent up in the bosom of the country, 
in consequence of the determined measures adopted 
by the king, at length took fire, and blazed forth into 
open rebellion. In the severity of the late acts of parlia- 
ment, the Earls of Argyle and Angus, the Lords Lyle, 
Drummond, and Ilailes, Blacader bishop of Glasgow, 
and many other powerful barons who had joined their 
party, saw clearly the measures which were intendotl 
for their destruction, and determined, ere it was too 
late, to convince their enemies, that their power was 
more formidable than they anticipated. They accord- 
ingly concentrated their forces. The young prince, 
already estranged from his lather, and flattered with 
the adulation of a party which addressed him as king, 
issued from Stirling castle,* the governor of which, 
James Shaw of Sauchie, had early joined the conspi- 
racy, and placed himself at the head of the insurgent 
army; whilst James, who had unfortunately permitted 
his friends and supporters to return to their estates 
after the dissolution of the parliament, found himself 
almost alone amidst a thickening tumult of revolt and 
violence, which it was impossible to resist. Cut to the 
heart also, by seeing his own son at the head of his 
enemies, the king formed the sudden resolution of re- 
tiring from the southern provinces of his kingdom, 
which were occupied chiefly by his enemies, to those 
northern districts, where he could still rely on the 
loyalty of his subjects, and the support of a large 
body of his nobility. Previous to this, however, he 
despatched the P]arl of Buchan, along with Lord Both- 
well and the Bishop of Moray, on an embassy to 
Henry the Seventh, to solicit the assistance of that 

• Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 211, 223. 


monarch, and procure the presence of a body of Eng- 
lish troops to overawe his rebels, and defend him against 
the imminent dangers with which he was surrounded.* 
He at the same time deprived Argyle of the office of 
chancellor, and conferred that dignity upon Elphinston 
bishop of Aberdeen, one of the ablest and most faithful 
of his counsellors ; and anxious to detach his son from 
the party of the insurgents, and to save him from in- 
curring the penalties of treason, he sent proposals to 
the misguided youth, in which the severity of the king 
and the affection of the father were judiciously blended. 
But all was in vain. From the moment that the prince 
left Stirling, and placed himself at the head of their 
party, the rebels boldly declared, that James the Third, 
having forfeited the affections of his people, oppressed 
his nobility, and brought in the English to subdue the 
nation, had forfeited the crown, and ceased to reign. 
They then proclaimed his son as his successor, under 
the title of James the Fourth, and in his name pro- 
ceeded to carry on the government. The Earl of Argyle 
was reinstated in his office of chancellor ;-|- a negotia- 
tion was opened with the court of England; and Henry, 
who had looked coldly on the father, in consequence of 
his insisting upon the restoration of Berwick, did not 
scruple to treat with the sou as King of Scots, and to 
grant passports tor his ambassadors, the Bishops of 
Glasgow and Dunkeld, the Earl of Argyle, the Lords 
Lyle and Hailes, with the Master of Hume. J 

The alarm of the king at the boldness and success of 
such measures was great. He was surrounded on all 
sides by his enemies, and in daily risk of being made 
a captive by his son. It was absolutely necessary, 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. xii. p. 334. 
+ Mag. Sig. X. 122. Feb. 18, 1487. 
J RjTiier, Foedera, vol. xii. p. 340. 

1487. JAMES III. 207 

therefore, to hasten liis retreat to the north ; but before 
his preparations wore completed, the rebels advanced 
upon Edinburgh, liis baggage and money were seized 
at Leith, and the monarch had scarcely time to throw 
himself into a ship belonging to Sir Andrew Wood, 
and pass over to Fife, when ho heard that the whole 
southern provinces were in arms.* The disaftection, 
however, had reached no farther, and James, as he 
proceeded towards Aberdeen, and issued orders for the 
arraj^of Strathern and Angus, had the gratification to 
find himself within a short time at the head of a nu- 
merous and formidable army. His uncle, Athole, 
with the Earls of Huntley and Crawford, and a strong 
assemblage of northern barons, joined his standard. 
Lord Lindsay of the Byres, a veteran commander of 
great talent and devoted loyalty, who had served in 
the French wars, assembled a body of three thousand 
foot-men and a thousand horse. The old baron, who 
led this force in person, was mounted on a grey courser 
of great size and spirit. On meeting the king, he dis- 
mounted, and placing the reins in the hands of his 
sovereign, begged him to accept of the best war-horse 
in Scotland. " If your grace will only sit well," said 
the blunt old soldier, " his speed will outdo all 1 have 
ever seen either to flee or follow." The present was 
highly valued by the monarch, but it was thought 
ominous at the time, and led to fatal results. Soon 
after this the king was met by Lord Ruthven at the 
head of a thousand gentlemen well mounted and clothed 
in complete body-armour, with a thousand archers, and 
a thousand infantry. -f* As he advanced, his forces 
daily increased. The Earls of Buchan and Errol; the 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. j) C()"2. 
t Pitscottie, Hist. p. 140. Fcrrcriu!-, p. 400. 


Lords Glammis, Forbes, andKilmaurs; nis standard- 
bearer Sir William Turnbull; the Barons of Tullibar- 
dineandPourie: Innes of Innes,ColessieofBaluamoon, 
Somer of Balyard, and many other loyalists, incensed 
at the unnatural rebellion, and commiserating the 
condition of the country, warmly espoused his cause ; 
so that he soon found himself at the head of a well- 
appointed army of thirty thousand men, with which he 
instantly advanced against the rebel lords.* 

He found them stationed with the prince his son at 
Blackness, near Linlithgow ; but the sight of his sub- 
jects arrayed in mortal conflict against each other, 
and commanded by the heir to his throne, affected the 
benevolent heart of the monarch, and induced him to 
listen to the advice of the Earls of Huntley and Errol, 
who earnestly besought permission to attempt an ac- 
commodation. A negotiation was accordingly opened, 
and certain articles of agreement were drawn up and 
corroborated by the royal signature, which, if we may 
believe the suspicious evidence of the conspirators 
themselves, were violated by the king, who suffered 
himself to be overruled by the stern councils of the 
Earl of Buchan.-f- Irritated at such undue influence, 
the Earl Marshal along with Huntley, Errol, and Lord 
Glammis, deserted the royal camp, and retired to their 
respective estates ; whilst Buchau, who perhaps wisely 
dreaded to lose an opportunity of extinguishing the 
rebellion which might never again occur, attacked the 
prince's army, and gained an advantage, which, al- 
though magnified into a victory, appears to have been 
little else than a severe skirmish, too undecided, to 
deter the prince and his associates from keeping the field 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 202, 
t Ibid. pp. 202, 210, 

1488. JAMES III. 260 

in tlio face of tlie roval army.* Tlie odious si^lit of 
civil bloodshed, liowovcr, created in both armies an 
indisposition to push the battle to extremities; and the 
monarch, whoso heart sickened at the prospect of pro- 
tracted rebellion, again by the mediation of his uncle, 
the Earl of Athole, made proposals for an amicable 
adjustment of the grievances for the redress of which 
his opponents were in arms. Commissioners were ac- 
cordingly appointed, and a pacification agreed on, 
remarkable for the leniency of its stipulations, and the 
tenderness with which the royal parent conducted 
himself towards his son. It will bo remembered that 
James was at the head of an army flushed with recent 
success, — that ho had been grossly calumniated by the 
rebellious subjects whom he was now willing to admit 
to pardon, — that liis son, a youth in his sixteenth year, 
had usurped his name and authority of king, — that 
they had filled his kingdom with confusion and blood- 
shed; under such circumstances, the conditions agreed 
on contradict in the strongest manner the representa- 
tions of the popular historians regarding the character 
of this unfortunate prince. It was stipulated, that the 
royal estate and authority of the sovereign should bo 
maintained, so that the king might exercise his prero- 
gatives, and administer justice to his lieges, throughout 
every part of his realm ; that his person should at all 
times be in honour and security ; and that such pre- 
lates, earls, lords, and barons, as were most noted for 
wisdom, prudence, and fidelity, should be kej)t around 
him. All those barons whom the prince had hitherto 
admitted to his confidence, and whose evil councils had 
done displeasure to the king, were to make honourable 
amends to the monarch, by adopting a wise and discreet 

* Acts of thu Parli.inicnt of Scotland, vol. ii. p. "204. 


line of conduct, under the condition that full security 
was to be given them for their lives, honours, and 
estates. The king engaged to maintain the household 
of the heir-apparent, and support the lords and officers 
of his establishment in befitting dignity, provided they 
were honourable and faithful persons, distinguished for 
wisdom and fidelit}^, under whose directions my lord 
the prince might become obedient to his royal father, 
and increase in that dutiful love and tenderness wliicli 
ought ever to be preserved between them. On these 
conditions, the king declared his readiness to forgive and 
admit to his favour all the prince''s friends and servants 
against whom he had conceived any displeasure ; whilst 
his highness the prince intimated his willingness to 
dismiss from his mind all rancorous feelino-s ao-aiust 
the lords spiritual and temporal who had adhered to 
the service of their sovereign in this time of trouble. 
In conclusion, it was agreed by both parties, that all 
feuds or dissensions which at that moment existed 
between various great lords and barons, and more 
especially between the Earl of Buchan and the Lord 
Lyle, should be composed and concluded ; so that our 
sovereign lord and his lieges might once more live 
in peace, justice, and concord, and tranquillity be re- 
established throughout the realm.* 

Whatever causes led to this pacification, it is evident 
that the terms offered to the prince and his rebellious 
party were far too favourable, and that the humanity 
which dictated so feeble and insecure a compromise was 
little else than weakness. The king was then in cir- 
cumstances, which, if properly turned to advantage, 
must, in all probability, have given him a complete 
triumph over a conspiracy, whose ramifications had 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. f>. 210. 

1488. JAMES III. 271 

sj)road tllrou^llout the kingdom. UiiJor the pretcnco 
of the rcJiv.ss of grievances partly ideal, partly true, 
but principally of their own creation, a faction of his 
prelates and nobles had withdrawn their allegiance 
from their sovereign, seduced the afl'ections of the 
prince, and attempted to overturn the government of 
the country by force of arms. To have entered into 
terms with such offenders upon any other basis than a 
full and unconditional surrender, was the extremity of 
folly; but instead of this, James, in his anxiety to 
avoid a mortal contest, which, after the advantage at 
Blackness, the insurgent lords would scarcely have 
hazarded, permitted the sou who had usurped his 
kingly name, and the subjects who had defied the laws 
of the realm to negotiate, with arms in their hands, on 
a footing of equality. No petition for forgiveness, no 
expression of penitence, was suflfered to escape : the 
prince spoke throughout, not as a son conscious that 
he had otl'ended, but as a sovereign transacting a treaty 
with his equal. The pacification of Blackness was, in 
truth, a triumph to the faction of the discontented 
nobles ; and it required little penetration to foresee, 
that the tranquillity which was established on such a 
foundation, could not be of any long duration : it was 
a confession of weakness, pronounced at a time when 
firmness at least, if not severity, were the only guides 
to the permanent settlement of the convulsions which 
now agitated the kingdom. 

Unconscious, however, of the dangers which sur- 
rounded him, and trusting too implicitly to the pro- 
mises of the insurgents, James retired to Edinburgh, 
dismissed his army, and permitted the northern lords, 
upon whose fidelity he chiefly dejiended, to return to 
their estates. He then proceeded to reward the barons 


to whose zeal he had been indebted, and who had dis- 
tinguished themselves in the conflict at Blackness. 
The Earl of Crawford was created Duke of Montrose; 
Lord Kilmaurs was raised to the rank of Earl of Glen- 
cairn ; Sir Thomas Turnbull, his standard-bearer, Sir 
Andrew Wood, the Lairds of Balnamoon, Lag, Balyard, 
and others of his adherents, received grants of lands : 
and the king weakly imagined, that if any bitter feel- 
ings were yet cherished in the bosoms of his son and 
his nobles, the mediation of the French monarch, to 
whom he had lately despatched ambassadors, and the 
interference of the Holy See, to which a mission had 
been also directed, might effectually remove them.* 
Nothing, however, could be more vain than such anti- 
cipations. The monarch had scarcely time to reorganize 
his court, and take up his residence within his castle 
of Edinburgh, when he was informed that his son, and 
the same fierce and ambitious faction, had resumed their 
schemes of insurrection, and assembled in more formi- 
dable numbers than before. It may be doubted, indeed, 
whether they had ever dispersed; and it is difficult to 
account for the infatuation of the king, and his advisers, 
when we find them consentino; to the dismissal of the 
royal army at the very moment the rebels continued 
to retain their arms. 

James, however, had a few powerful friends around 
him, and these urged him, ere it was too late, to reas- 
semble his army without a moment's delay. The Duke 
of Montrose, the Earls of Menteith and Glencairn, the 
Lords Erskine, Graham, Ruthven, and Lord Lindsay 
of the Byres, immediately collected their followers ; 
and such was the popularity of the royal cause, that 

* Mag. Sig. X. 69. May 18, 1488. 
365. June 25, 149-1 

Ibid. ix. 77, same date. Ibid. xii. 

14S8. JAMES III. 273 

within a short time the royal army mustered in sufli- 
cient strength to take the field against the insurgents. 
Summonses were rapidly forwarded to the northern 
lords, and it was at iir.st determined that, till these 
reinforcements joined the army, the sovereign should 
remain at Edinburgh, and avoid the risk of a battle. 
But this resolution, undoubtedly the wisest that could 
be adopted, was abandoned. It was suggested that Stir- 
ling would be a more convenient rendezvous for the 
northern chiefs and clans; and, abandoninir his stronjr 
castle of Edinburgh, the monarch advanced to this 
town, attacked the prince his son, who was encamped 
in the neighbourhood, drove him across the Forth, 
and after dispersing this portion of the rebels, de- 
manded admittance into his castle of Stirling.* This, 
however, was peremptorily refused him by Shaw of 
Sauchie, the governor, who had joined the prince; and 
before time was given him to decide whether it would 
be expedient to lay siege to the fortress, intelligence 
was brought that his enemies had pressed on from 
Falkirk, and occupied the high level plain above the 
bridge of the Tor\vood."|- Upon hearing this, James 
immediately advanced against them, and encountered 
the insurgent army on a tract of ground known at the 
present day by the name of Little Canglar, which is 
situated upon the east side of a small brook called 
Sauchie Burn, about two miles from Stirling, and one 
mile from the celebrated field of Bannockburn, where 
Bruce had defeated Edward. Although inexperienced 
in war, James was not deficient in courage. By the 
advice of Lord Lindsay, with other veteran soldiers, 

• Mag. Sig. xii. C4. 9tli January, l-iRS. 

t PiUcotiic, History, vol. i. pp. 211), 21!), by Dalyell. 



the royal army, much inferior in numbers to the in- 
surgents, was drawn up in three divisions. The first, 
consisting of such of the northern clans as had arrived 
before the battle, was commanded by the Earls of 
Athole and Huntley, forming an advance of high- 
landmen armed with bows, long daggers, swords, and 
targets ; in the rear division were the westland and 
Stirlingshire men commanded by the Earl of Menteith, 
with the Lords Erskine and Graham ; whilst the king 
himself led the main battle, composed of the burghers 
and commons.* He was splendidly armed, and rode 
the tall grey horse which had lately been presented to 
him by Lord Lindsay. On his right this veteran sol- 
dier, with the Earl of Crawford, commanded a fine body 
of cavalry, consisting of the chivalry of Fife and Angus; 
whilst Lord Ruthven, with the men of Strathern and 
Stormont, formed his left wing, with a body of nearly 
five thousand spearmen. Against this array, the rebel 
lords, advancing rapidly from the Torwood, formed 
themselves also in three battles. The first division 
was led by the Lord Hailes and the Master of Hume, 
and composed of the hardy spearmen of East Lothian 
and the Merse.-j* Lord Gray commanded the second 
line, formed of the fierce Galwegians, and the more 
disciplined and hardy Borderers of Liddesdale and 
Aunandale, men trained from their infancy to arms, 
and happy only in a state of war. In the main battle 
were the principal lords who had conspired against the 
king, and at their head the young prince himself, whose 
mind, torn between ambition and remorse, is said to 
have sought for comfort in issuing an order, that no 

* Nimmo's Stirlingshire, p. 226. Lesley's Hist. p. 57. 
f Fencrius, p. 400. Buchanan, hook xii. chap. Ixi. Pitscottie, History, 
vol. i. p. 211). 

1488. JAMES in. 275 

one should dare, in the ensuing conflict, to lay violent 
hands upon his father.* 

The onset commenced by showers of arrows, which 
did littlo execution, as the how, althouLjh lately more 
er.coura:,fed amongst the highland troops, \Yas never 
a favourite or formidable weapon with the nation. In 
the charge with the spear, however, the royalists 
drove back the enemv^s first line and uained a decided 
advantage ; but it lasted only till the advance of the 
Jiordcrers, who attacked with such steady and deter- 
mined valour, that they not only recovered the ground 
which had been lost, but made a dreadful slaughter, 
and at last compelled the Earls of Huntley and Mon- 
teith to retreat in confusion upon the main battle, 
commanded by the king. The conflict, however, was 
continued for some time with great obstinacy, and 
James's forces, although inferior in number to the 
insurgents, made a desperate stand. They at last, 
however, began to waver, and the tumult and slaughter 
approached the spot where the king had stationed 
himself. The lords who surrounded his person, im- 
plored him not to run the risk of death or captivity, 
which must bring ruin upon their cause, but to leave 
the field whilst there was yet a chance of safetv. To 
this advice Jau\es consented, not unreluctantly, if we 
may believe his enemies ; and whilst his nobles obsti- 
nately protracted the battle, the monarch spurred his 
horse, and fled at full speed through the village of 
Bannockburn. The precaution, however, which was 
intended to secure his safety, only hastened his de- 
struction. On crossing the littlo river Bannock, at 

* Pinkerton.vol. i. p. .334, has represented the conflict which followed these 
dispositions as a brief fkirmish, hurried to a conclusion by the timidity 
kuJ tiigbt of the king. Of thii), however, there is no evidence. 


a hamlet called Milltown, he came suddenly upon a 
woman drawing water, who. alarmed at the apparition 
of an armed horseman, threw down her pitcher, and 
fled into the house.* At this noise the horse, taking 
fright, swerved in the midst of his career, and the 
king, losing his seat and falling heavily, was so much 
bruised by the concussion and the weight of his armour, 
that he swooned away. He was instantly carried into 
a miller's cottage hard by, whose inmates, ignorant 
of the rank of the sufferer, but compassionating his 
distress, treated him with great humanity. They 
placed him on a bed ; cordials, such as their poverty 
could bestow, were administered, and the unhappy 
monarch at length opening his eyes, earnestly required 
the presence of a priest, to whom he might confess 
before his death. On being questioned regarding his 
name and rank, he incautiousl}^ answered, " Alas ! I 
was your sovereign this morning ;" upon which the 
poor woman rushed out of the cottage, wringing her 
hands, and calling aloud for a priest to come and 
confess the king. By this time a party of the strag- 
gling soldiers of the prince's army had reached the spot, 
and one whose name is not certainly known, but whom 
some historians assert to have been an ecclesiastic 
named Borthwick, in Lord Gray's service, hearing the 
woman's lamentation, announced himself as a priest, 
and was admitted into the cottage. He found the 
monarch lying on a flock-bed, with a coarse cloth 
thrown over him, and kneeling down, inquired with 
apparent tenderness and anxiety how it fared with 
him, and whither with medical assistance he might 

* The cottage, called Beaton's Mill, where the king -was murdered, is still 
pointed out to the traveller ; and the great antiquity and thickness of tha 
walls corroborates the traditioiL 

1488. JAMES III. 277 

vet recover. The kin^r assured liim that there was 
hope, but in the meanwhile bosoiiii;lit him to receive 
his confession, upon which the ruflian bent over him, 
under pretence of proceeding to discharge his holy office, 
and drawing his dagger, stabbed his unresisting victim 
to the heart, repeating his strokes till he perceived life 
to be completely extinct. The atrocity of the deed 
seems to have had the effect of throwing over it a 
studied obscurity; so that, although it is asserted that 
the murderer carried off the body of his sovereign, his 
movements were never certainly traced, and his name 
and condition are to this day undiscovered. A body, 
however, ascertained to be that of James, was after- 
wards found in the neighbourhood, and interred with 
royal honours, beside his queen, in the Abbey of Cam- 

After the flijrht of the king, the battle was neither 
long nor obstinately contested. Anxious to save their 
army, and dispirited by a vague rumour of the death of 
their master, the royalist leaders retired upon Stirling, 
and were not hotly pursued by the prince, who is said 
to have been seized with sudden and overwhelminir 
remorse on being informed of the melancholy fate of 
his father. Dazzled, however, by his accession to the 
throne, and flattered by the professions of devotcdness 
and affection of his party, these repentant feelings for 
the present were evanescent, although they afterwards 
broke out with a strength which occasionally embittered 
his existence. In the battle the loss was on neither 
side very great, although the Earls of Glencairn and 
Bothwell, with the Lords Erskine, Semple, and Ruth- 
ven, were amongst the slain in the royalist party. The 

• Ferrerius, p. -lOO. Lesley's History, p. 57. Mag. Sig. xiii. 251. Gth 
April, 1490". 


army of the insurgent nobles passed the night upon 
the field, and next day fell back upon Linlithgow, when 
the lords permitted their vassals to disperse, and began 
anxiously to consult regarding the measures which it 
was necessary to adopt for the immediate administra- 
tion of the government.* 

Thus perished in the prime of life, and the victim 
of a conspiracy headed by his own son, James the 
Third of Scotland ; a prince whose character appears 
to have been misrepresented and mistaken by writers 
of two very different parties, and whose real disposi- 
tion is to be sought for neither in the mistaken asper- 
sions of Buchanan, nor in the vague and indiscriminate 
panegyric of some later authors. Buchanan, misled 
by the attacks of a faction, whose interest it was to 
paint the monarch whom they had deposed and mur- 
dered, as weak, unjust, and abandoned to low pleasures, 
has exaggerated the picture by his own prejudices and 
antipathies ; other writers, amongst whom Abercromby 
is the most conspicuous, have, with an equal aberration 
from the truth, represented him as almost faultless. 
That James had any design, similar to that of his 
able and energetic grandfather, of raising the kingly 
power upon the ruins of the nobility, is an assertion 
not only unsupported by any authentic testimony, 
but contradicted by the facts which are already before 
the reader. That he was cruel or tyrannical is an 
unfounded aspersion, ungraciously proceeding from 
those who had experienced his repeated lenity, and 
who, in the last fatal scenes of his life, abused his 
ready forgiveness to compass his ruin. That he mur- 
dered his brother is an untruth, emanating from the 
same source, contradicted by the highest contemporary 

* Ferrerius, p. 40(t. 

1488. JAMES III. 279 

pviJcncc, and abandoned by his \vurst enemies as too 
ridiculoifs to be statedat a tirnewhcn they were anxious- 
ly collectini; every possible accusation against him. 
Vet it figures in the classical pages of Buchanan ; a 
very convincing proof of the slight examination ^hich 
that great man was accustomed to bestow upon any 
story which coincided with his preconceived oj)inions, 
and flattered his prejudices against monarchy. Equally 
unfounded was that imputation, so strongly urged 
against this prince by his insurgent nobles, that he 
had attempted to accomplish the perpetual subjection 
of the realm to England. His brother Albany had 
trulv done so ; and the oi'iginal records of his neirotia- 
tions, and of his homage sworn to Edward, remain to 
tliis day, although we in vain look for an account of 
this extraordinary intrigue in the pages of the poj)ular 
historians. In this attempt to destroy the indepen- 
dence of the kingdom, it is equally certain that Albany 
was supported by a great proportion of the nobility, 
who now rose against the king, and whose names ap- 
pear in the contemporary muniments of the period ; 
but we in vain look in tho pages of the Fojdera, or in 
the rolls of Westminster and the Tower, for an atom 
of evidence to show that James, in his natural anxiety 
for assistance against a rebellion of his own subjects, 
had ceased for a moment to treat with Henry tho 
Seventh as an independent sovereign. So far, indeed, 
from this being the case, we know that, at a time when 
conciliation was necessary, ho refused to benefit hiin- 
self by sacrificing any portion of his kingdom, and in- 
sisted on the redelivery of Berwick with an obstinacy 
which in all probability disgusted the English monarch, 
and rendered him lukewarm in his support. 

James's misfortunes, in truth, arc to bo attributed 


more to the extraordinary circumstances of the times 
in which he lived, than to any very marked defects 
in the character or conduct of the monarch himself, 
although both were certainly far from blameless. At 
this period, in almost every kingdom in Europe with 
which Scotland was connected, the power of the great 
feudal nobles and that of the sovereign had been arrayed 
in jealous and mortal hostility against each other. 
The time appeared to have arrived in which both parties 
seemed convinced that they were on the confines of a 
great change, and that the sovereignty of the throne 
must either sink under the superior strength of the 
greater nobles, or the tyranny and independence of 
these feudal tyrants receive a blow from which it would 
not be easy for them to recover. In this struggle 
another remarkable feature is to be discerned. The 
nobles, anxious for a leader, and eager to procure some 
counterpoise to the weight of the king's name and 
authority, generally attempted to seduce the heir- 
apparent, or some one of the royal family, to favour 
their designs, bribing him to dethrone his parent or rela- 
tive by the promise of placing him immediately upon 
the throne. The principles of loyalty, and the respect 
for hereditary succession, were thus diluted in their 
strength, and weakened in their conservative effects ; 
and from the constant intercourse, both commercial 
and political, which existed between Scotland and the 
other countries of Europe, the examples of kings re- 
sisted or deposed by their nobles, and monarchs im- 
prisoned by their children, were not lost upon the fervid 
and restless genius of the Scottish aristocracy. In 
France, indeed, the struggle had terminated under 
Lewis the Eleventh in favour of the crown ; but the 
lesson to be derived from it was not the less instructive 

14S8. JAMES III. 281 

to tlio Scottish nobility. In Flanders and the states 
of Holland, they had before thcni the spectacle of an 
indejiendent prince deposed and imprisoned by his son; 
and in Germany, the reign of Frederick the Third, 
which was contemporaneous with our James the Third, 
presented one constant scene of strugi^le and discontent 
between the emperor and his nobility, in which this 
weak and capricious potentate was uniformly defeated.* 
In the struggle in Scotland, which ended b}' the death 
of the unfortunate monarch, it is important to observe, 
that whilst the pretext used by the barons was resis- 
tance to royal oppression and the establishment of 
liberty, the middle classes and the great body of the 
people took no share. They did not side with the 
nobles, whose clTorts on this occasion were entirely 
selfish and exclusive. On the contrary, so fiir as they 
were represented by the commissaries of the burghs 
who sat in parliament, they joined the party of the 
king and the clergy ; by whom frequent efibrts were 
made to introduce a more effectual administration of 
justice, and a more constant respect for the rights of 
individuals, and the protection of property. With this 
object laws were promulgated, and alternate threats 
and exhortations upon these subjects are to be found 
in the record of each successive parliament; but the 
offenders continued refractory, and these offenders it 
was notorious to the whole country, Avere the nobility 
and their dependants. The very men whose impor- 
tant offices ought, if conscientiously administered, to 
Jiave secured the rights of the great body of the people 

• "Although," says Eneas Sylvius, in his address to the electoral princes, 
"we acknowledge Frederic to bo our emperor and king, his title to such an 
ftppcllution seems to bo in no little degree precarious ; for where is his power? 
You give him just as much obedience as you choose, and you choose to give 
him very little." "Tantum ei parictis quantum vultis.vuitis onim niiniinuni." 
A sentence which might be applied with equal if not greater force to Scotland. 


— the justiciars, chancellors, chamberlains, sheriffs, and 
others — were often their worst oppressors : partial and 
venal in their administration of justice; severe in their 
exactions of obedience; and decided in their opposition 
to every right which interfered with their own power. 
Their interest and their privileges, as feudal nobles, 
came into collision with their duties as servants and 
officers of the government ; and the consequence was 
apparent in the remarkable fact, that, in the struggle 
between the crown and the aristocracy, wherever the 
greater offices were in the hands of the clergy, they 
generally supported the sovereign ; but wherever they 
were intrusted to the nobility, they almost uniformly 
combined against him. 

When we find the popular historians departing so 
widely from the truth in the false and partial colouring 
which they have thrown over the history of this reign, 
we may be permitted to recpive their personal character 
of the monarch with considerable suspicion. James''s 
great fault seems to have been a devotion to studies and 
accomplishments which, in this rude and warlike age, 
were deemed unworthy of his rank and dignity. He 
was an enthusiast in music, and took delight in archi- 
tecture, and the construction of splendid and noble 
palaces and buildings; he was fond of rich and gor- 
geous dresses, and ready to spend large sums in the 
encoura2;ement of the most skilful and curious workers 
in gold and steel ; and the productions of these artists, 
their inlaid armour, massive gold chains, and jewel- 
hilted daggers, were purchased by him at high prices, 
whilst they themselves were admitted, if we believe the 
same writers, to an intimacy and friendship with the 
sovereign Avhicli disgusted the nobility. The true ac- 
count of this was probably, that James received these 

14S8. JAMES III. 283 

ingenious artisans into his palace, ^vlle^e he gave them 
eniploynient and took pleasure in superintending their 
labours — an amusement for which ho might havo 
pleaded the example of some of the wisest and most 
popular sovereigns. But the barons, for whose rude 
and nuintellectual society the monarch showed little 
predilection, returned the neglect with which they were 
unwisely treated, by pouring contempt and ridicule 
upon the pursuits to which he was devoted. Cochrane 
the architect, who had gained favour with the king by 
his genius in an art which, in its higher branches, is 
eminently intellectual, was stigmatized as a low mason, 
llogers, whose musical compositions were fitted to re- 
fine and improve the barbarous taste of the age, and 
whose works were long after highly esteemed in Scot- 
land, was ridiculed as a common fiddler or buffoon ; 
and other artists, whose talents had been warmly en- 
couraged by the sovereign, were treated with the same 
indignity. It would be absurd, however, from the 
evidence of such interested witnesses, to form our 
opinion of the true character of his favourites, as they 
have been termed, or of the encouragement which they 
received from the sovereign. To the Scottish barons of 
this age, Phidias would have been but a stone-cutter, 
and Apelles no better than the artisan who stained 
their oaken wainscot. The error of the king lay, not 
80 much in the encouragement of ingenuity and excel- 
lence, as in the indolent neglect of those duties and 
cares of government, which were in no degree incom- 
patible with his patronage of the fine arts. Had he 
possessed the energy and powerful intellect of his 
grandfather — had lie devoted the greater portion of 
his time to the administration of justice, to a friendly 
intercourse with his feudal nobles, and a strict and 


watchful superintendence of their conduct in the offices 
intrusted to them, he might safely have employed his 
leisure in any way most agreeable to him ; but it hap- 
pened to this prince, as it has to many a devotee of 
taste and sensibility, that a too exquisite perception of 
excellence in the fine arts, and an enthusiastic love for 
the studies intimately connected with them, in exclu- 
sion of more ordinary duties, produced an indolent 
refinement, which shrunk from common exertion, and 
transformed a character originally full of intellectual 
and moral promise, into that of a secluded, but not 
unamiable misanthropist. Nothing can justify the 
king's inattention to the cares of government, and the 
recklessness with which he shut his ears to the com- 
plaints and remonstrances of his nobility; but that he 
was cruel, unjust, or unforgiving — that he was a selfish 
and avaricious voluptuary — or that he drew down upon 
himself, by these dark portions of his character, the 
merited execration and vengeance of his nobles, is a 
representation founded on no authentic evidence, and 
contradicted by the uniform history of his reign and of 
his misfortunes. 

By his queen, Margaret, daughter to Christiern king 
of Denmark, James left a family of three children, all 
of them sons : James, his successor ; a second son, also 
named James, created Marquis of Ormond, and who 
afterwards became Archbishop of St Andrews ; and 
John earl of Mar, who died without issue. The king 
was eminently handsome ; his figure was tall, athletic, 
and well proportioned ; his countenance combined in- 
telligence with sweetness ; and his deep brown com- 
plexion and black hair resembled the hue rather of the 
warmer climates of the south, than that which we meet 
in colder latitudes. His manners were dignified, but 

1488. JAMES III. 285 

somewliat cold and distant, owinq to liis reserved and 
secluded liai)its of life. Ho was murdered in tho 
thirty-fifth year of his age, and the twenty-eighth of 
his reign. 







ings of England. 

Kings of France. 


Henry VII. 

Charles VIII. 

Innocent VIIT. 

Henry VIII. 

Lewis XII. 

Alexander V 1. 
Pius III. 
Julius II. 

When James the Fourth appeared in arms against 
his father, and, in consequence of the murder of that 
unfortunate prince, ascended tlie throne, he was a 
youth in his seventeenth year.* That he had himselt 
originated the rebelhon, or taken a principal part in 
organizing the army which dethroned the late king, 
does not appear; but that he was an unwilling, or a 
perfectly passive tool in the hands of the conspirators, 
is an assertion equally remote from the truth, although 
brought forward in the pages of our popular historians. 
It is, on the contrary, pretty apparent, that the prince 
was seduced and blinded by the flattery and false views 
offered by the discontented barons. He was dazzled by 
the near prospect of a throne ; and his mind, which was 

* He was born March 17, 1471-2 ; and at his accession, •was aged sixteen 
years and eighty-five days. MS. Notes of the Chronology of the reign of 
King James the Fourth, drawn up by tlie late Kev. Mr jNlacgregor Stirling. 
To this useful compilation, •which is dra^wn almost exclusively from original 
documents preserved in the Register-house at Edinburgh, and in other col- 
lections, I have been greatly indebted in •writing the history of this reign. 

1488. JAMES IV. 287 

one of great energy .and ambition, co-operated, without 
much persuasion, in their unworthy designs. After 
somo time, indeed, the remonstrances of the few faith- 
ful adherents of his father, awakened in him a violent 
fit of remorse; but his first accession to the throne does 
not appear to liavo been embittered by any feehngs of 
this nature; and the voice of self-reproach was drowned 
for the time in the applauses of a flagitious but suc- 
cessful faction. 

The leaders of this party did not lose a moment in 
rewarding their friends and adherents, and in distri- 
buting amongst themselves the offices which the rapid 
and total change in the administration of the govern- 
ment placed at their disposal. The assistance of tho 
powerful families of tho Humes and Hepburns, was 
remunerated by grants dated the very day after the 
battle of Sauchie ; the principal castles were intrusted 
to partisans of tried fidelity* — the money in the royal 
treasury was secured and delivered into the keeping of 
Sir William KnoUys lord St John of Jerusalem, trea- 
surer to the king ; and a deputation consisting of tho 
Bishop of Glasgow, tho Earls of Angus and Argyle, 
with the Lords llailes and Home, repaired to the castle 
to examine, and jjlacc in the hands of faithful persons, 
the jewels, and royal plate and apparel, which belonged 
to the late monarch at the time of his decease. The 
inventory taken upon this occasion is still preserved, 
and impresses us with no contemptible idea of the 
riches and splendour of the Scottish court. ■}- After 
the body of the king had been interred in tho Abbey 
of Cambuskenneth, J with all due solemnity, the court 

• Mag. Sig. xii. fl, June 10, 1488. Ibid. .\ii. 7, June 17, 1J88. 
+ Sco lllustnitions, Ijcttcr K. 

X For proof of t!ie interment of James tlie Tliird in the Abbey of Cambua- 
kenueth, »cc Mag. Sig. xiii. 251, April 0', 14%". 


immediately proceeded to Perth, and held the ceremony 
of the coronation in the Abbey of Scone.* The or- 
ganization of the government, and distribution of its 
various offices to persons of tried fidelity, now took 
place. To the prior of St Andrews was committed the 
keeping of the privy seal ; upon the Earl of Argyle was 
bestowed the high office of chancellor ; Hepburn lord 
Hailes was made master of the household ; the Lords 
Lyle and Glamrais became justiciaries on the south and 
north of the Forth ; Whitelaw sub-dean of Glasgow Avas 
chosen to fill the office of secretary to the king ; and 
upon the Vicar of Linlithgow, another of the nov\^ in- 
fluential family of the Hepburns, was bestowed the 
office of clerk of the rolls and the council. -f- 

From Scone the king proceeded to his palace of 
Stirling, where he took up his residence ; and it seems 
to have been immediately resolved by the members of 
his council, that an embassy should proceed to England, 
for the purpose of conciliating the favourable disposition 
of that government to the revolution which had lately 
taken place in Scotland. It was perhaps dreaded that 
the spectacle of a prince dethroned by his subjects, 
under the authority of his son, Avas not likely to be 
acceptable to the English monarch ; but Henry the 
Seventh, with his characteristic caution, did nothing 
precipitately. He granted safe-conducts to the Scottish 
ambassadors at the request of his dear cousin, James 
king of Scots; whilst he, at the same time, took the 
precaution to provision and strengthen Berwick, a for- 

* Balfour states, vol. i. p. 214, that James was crowned at Kelso. Pit- 
scottie places the coronation, equally erroneously, at Edinburgh ; and Lesley 
and Buchanan are silent on the subject. The Lord High Treasurer's books, 
under the date of July 14, 1488, prove it to have been at Scone. The day 
on which the coronation was held, seems to have been the ■2fa'th of June. 

t Mag. Sig. xii. 1, June 25, 1488. 

1488. JAMES IV. 289 

tress aijainst wliioli, in the event of hostilities, lie knew 
the chief efforts of Scotland would bo directed.* The 
successful faction, however, in whose hands the govern- 
ment was now placed, were too anxious to preserve 
tranquillity at home to dream at present of a war with 
England. To conciliate the attachment of the youthful 
monarch — to reward their principal partisans — to ar- 
rest and disarm their enemies, and to acquire the 
aticction of the people, by evincing an anxiety for the 
administration of justice, were objects which afforded 
them full employment. James already, at this early 
aire, began to evince that admiration for the fair sex 
which wrought him much distress in his after years ; 
and an attachment which he had formed, when Duke 
of Rothesay, for the Lady Margaret Drummond, the 
beautiful and unfortunate daunhtcr of Lord Drum- 
mond, was encouraged by the obsequious father and the 
nobles who filled the principal offices about court. •)• 
Splendid shows and presents which were lavished on 
his mistress — theatrical entertainments got up for the 
solace of the youthful lovers — dances and masked balls 
at night, and hunting parties during the day, were 
artfully provided by those unscrupulous ministers, who 
knew that there is no more effectual method of degrad- 
ing and destroying the human character, than by dis- 
solving it in pleasure. J 

Amidst such revellings, however, the lords of the 
council devoted themselves uninterruptedly to more 

• Rotuli Scotiae, vol. ii. pp. 485, 486. 

+ Treasurer's Books, Sept. 1.5, 1488 ; and Ibid. October 3. For twa elne 
of fransche to be liir my Lady Mergatt, a goune, v lb. Item, for tbree elne 
of black r)'ssillis for a goune till her, v lb. viii. ah. Item, for golde, aysure, 
silver, and colouris till it, and warken of it, vi lb. xvii sh. Item, for three 
uncc of sylkis to frenzeis till it, xiii sh. Illustrations, Letter L. 

ij; Trea.xurer's Books, August 5, 1488. To the j)layers of L)'thgow th.at 
playt to the king, v lb. Ibid. August '20. Item, to duiii-aris and gj'saris, xxxvi. 
ah. Ibid. Augubt 16. Ibid. Augubl 10. 

VOL. IV. . T 


serious employment. Summonses of treason were 
issued against the Earl of Buclian, the Lords Forbes 
and Bothwell, along with Ross of Montgrenan, the 
king"'s advocate, whose bravery in a skirmish at the 
bridge of Stirling, previous to the battle of Sauchie, 
had endangered the life of the present king : These 
barons were commanded to abide their trial in the next 
parliament, and along with them were associated the 
lairds of Cockpule, Amisfield, Innermeith, and Innes, 
with Sir Thomas Fotheringhame and Sir Alexander 
Dunbar.* At the same time, the lords justiciars, ac- 
companied by the king in person, held their ambulatory 
courts or justice ayres at Lanark, Dundee, Ayr, and 
other parts of the kingdom, taking care that the mon- 
arch should be attended by his huntsmen and falconers, 
his fool, "English John," and his youthful mistress, 
the Lady Margaret, lest a too exclusive attention to 
business should irritate or disgust the royal mind. A 
three years' truce was soon after concluded with Eng- 
land; and on the sixth of October, the first parliament 
of the new reign was opened at Edinburgh, with great 
solemnity : It was numerously attended by all the 
three Estates. For the clergy, there appeared Schevez 
archbishop of St Andrews, with the prelates of Glas- 
gow, Dunkeld, Aberdeen, Whitchurch, Dunblane, 
and the Isles, fourteen abbots, four priors, and various 
officials, deans, archdeans, and provosts of collegiate 
churches : For the temporal estate, there were present, 
the Earl of Argyle chancellor, along with the Earls of 
Angus, Huntley, Morton, Errol, Marshal, Lennox, 
Rothes, and Athole ; the Lord Hailes master of the 
household. Lord Lyle high justiciar, with the Lords 
Hamilton, Glammis, Gray, Oliphant, Montgomery, 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 201-200. 

1488. JAMES IV. 291 

Drummond, Maxwell, Grahame, Carlisle, Dirlton, and 
other noble persons, entitled either by their rank or by 
their offices to sit in parliament. There were present 
also the commissaries of the fifteen burghs. Upon the 
second day a committee of parliament, known as usual by 
the title of the Lords of the Articles was nominated, con- 
sisting of nine members for the clergy, fourteen for the 
barons, and five for the burghs; whilst a smaller judicial 
committee, embracing three membersof each Estate, was 
selected for the decision of those weighty causes which 
were brought before parliament as a court of last appeal. 
These preliminaries having been arranged, the more 
immediate business of the parliament proceeded, and 
the Earl of Buchan, Lord Bothwell, Ross of Montgre- 
nan the king''s advocate, and others who had appeared 
in arms at the field of Stirling, were summoned to 
answer upon a charge of treason. Of these persons 
the Earl of Buchan made confession of his guilt, and 
submitted himself to the kin2:*'s mercy, a procedure 
which was rewarded by his pardon and restoration to 
the royal favour. The others were found guilty, and 
sentence of forfeiture pronounced against them ; but 
in perusing the crimes laid to their charge, we must 
remember that the object of the opposite party, who 
now ruled all at court, was to throw the odium of the 
late rebellion on their opponents : They accused then~ 
accordingly of bringing in upon the kingdom thei" 
enemies of England; of an attempt to reduce under 
subjection and homage to that country the indepen- 
dent crown of Scotland; and of having advised their 
late sovereign, James the Tliird, to infringe repeatedly 
the stipulations which he had entered into with the 
nobles who were in arms against him.* There can be 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 210, 


little doubt that if any party in the state were truly 
guilty of such crimes, it was rather that of the youthful 
king than those who had adhered to his father, but the 
treason of the prince''s party had been crowned with 
success, and they were now all-powerful. Although 
Buchan therefore was pardoned upon his submission, 
Lord Bothwell was forfeited, and his lands and lordship 
erected into an earldom, and bestowed upon Lord 
Hailes, the master of the household; whilst the lands 
of Ross of Montgrenan, who at the same time was found 
guilty of treason, were conferred on Patrick Hume of 
Fast castle, for his services in the late disturbances. 
It was determined also that an embassy should be de- 
spatched to France, Spain, and Brittany for the pur- 
pose not only of confirming amicable relations between 
Scotland and these powers, but with a special commis- 
sion to search for a wife to the king, taking care that 
she be "a noble princess born, and descended from some 
worshipful house of ancient honour and dignity." The 
embassy was directed to consist of a bishop, an earl, a 
lord of parliament, a clerk, and a knight, with a retinue 
of fifty horse, and for the payment of their expenses, a 
tax of five thousand pounds was to be levied through- 
out the kingdom, two thousand to be contributed by 
the clergy, two thousand by the barons, and one thou- 
sand by the burghs; whilst at the same time it was 
specially directed that the contribution of the barons 
was to be paid by them and the free tenants, and not 
by the common people. 

A remarkable enactment followed. In consequence of 
the high displeasure conceived by the sovereign against 
all who by their appearance in the field at Stirling were 
regarded as the chief promoters of the slaughter of 
his late father, it was directed that such of the rebels 

U88. JAMES IV. 2.03 

as ■wore in possession of liercditary offices should bo 
deprived of them for the ])eriod of three years. A de- 
termined effort was next made for the putting down 
of theft, robbery, and murder, crimes which at this 
moment were grievously prevalent, by dividing the 
kingdom into certain districts, over wliich were placed 
various earls and barons, to whom full authority was 
intrusted, and who promised on oath, that they would 
to their utmost power exert themselves in the detection, 
and punishment of all ofl'endcrs. The Merse, Lothian, 
Linlithgow, and Lauderdale, were committed to the 
care of Lord Hailes and Alexander Hume the cham- 
berlain, and Kirkcudbright and Wigtown also to Lord 
Hailes; Roxburgh, Peebles, Selkirk, and Lanark, were 
intrusted to the Earl of Angus ; whilst the same 
po^^•erful baron, along with Lord ^Laxwell, undertook 
the charjre of Dumfries. The districts of Carrick, Ayr, 
Kyle, and Cunningham, were committed to Lord Ken- 
nedy, the Sheriff of Ayr, the Laird of Craigy, and Lord 
Montgomery; Renfrew, with Dumbarton, the Lennox, 
Bute, and Arran, to the Earl of Lennox, Lord Lyle, 
and Matthew Stewart; Stirlingshire, to the Sheriff of 
Stirlingshire and James Shaw of Sauchie ; Menteith 
and Straitgartney, to Archibald Edmonston; Argyle, 
Lorn, Kcntire, and Cowal, to the chancellor, assisted 
by his son the ^Lister of Argyle; Glenurquhart, Glen- 
lyon, and Glenfalloch, to Neill Stewart, with Duncan 
and Ewen Campbell ; Athole, Strathern, and Dunblane, 
to the Earl of Athole, Lord Drummond, and Robert- 
son of Strowan ; the low country of Perthshire, and the 
district of Dunkeld, to Lord Oliphant ; Angus, both 
in its highland and lowland district, to Lords Gray and 
Glammis, with the Master of Crawford; the sheriffdom 
of Fife, to Lord Lindsay and the sheriff of the county; 


the Mearns,to the Earl Marshal; and the extensive dis- 
trict reaching from the hilly ransje called the Mounth, 
northward to Inverness, to the Earls of Huntley and 
Errol, and the Laird of Inverugy.* 

The parliament next dii;ected their attention to the 
investigation of the causes of the late rebellion. From 
such interested judges, however, it would be vain to 
look for an impartial examination of this momentous 
question, and we accordingly find that the whole blame 
was thrown upon the late king, and his iniquitous ad- 
visers, for so his ministers were denominated. The 
object of the conspirators was, of course, to deceive the 
people and the portion of the nobility and middle classes 
not immediately connected with the rebellion, and to 
ensure safety to themselves under any subsequent re- 
volution, by enabling them to plead a parliamentary 
pai'don. It is not, therefore, matter of surprise that 
the opinion of parliament should be couched in strong 
terms. It declared that, the whole matter having been 
examined by the three Estates, they were unanimously 
of opinion, each man for himself, and under his loyalty 
and allegiance, that the slaughter committed in the 
field of Stirling, where the king's father happened to 
be slain, with others of his barons, was wholly to be 
ascribed to the offences, falsehood, and fraud practised 
by him and his perverse counsellors, previous to this 
fatal conflict. The acquittal of the young king and his 
advisers was equally broad and energetic ; and, consi- 
dering who it was that composed the act, it is difiicult 
to peruse it without a smile. It observed, "that our 
sovereign lord that now is, and the true lords and 
barons who were with him in the same field, were inno- 
cent, quit, and free of the said slaughters, battle, and 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 208. 

1488. JAMES IV. 295 

pursuit, and liad no blame in fomenting or exciting 
tlicm ;'''' and it recommended that a part of the three 
Estates, now assembled, selected from the bishops, 
great barons, and burgesses, should affix their seals to 
this declaration, along with the great seal of the king- 
dom, to be exhibited to the Pope, the Kings of France, 
Spain, Denmark, and such other realms as were 
judged expedient by the parliament.* In addition to 
these measures adopted for their own security, the 
party who now ruled the government commanded that 
all goods and moveables belonging to "the poor un- 
landed fulk," which had been seized during the troubles, 
should be restored ; that all houses, castles, and lands, 
which had been plundered and occupied by the lords 
of the "one opinion" or of the other, should be again 
delivered to their proprietors ; and that the heirs of 
those barons and gentlemen who died in arms against 
the king in the kittle of Stirling, should be permitted 
to succeed to their hereditary estates and honours, 
notwithstanding the legal impediment arising out of 
their having been slain when in a state of rebellion. 

The remaining provisions of this parliament related 
to the administration of justice, the commerce and the 
coinage of the realm, and the rewards and offices be- 
stowed upon those who had figured in the late rebellion. 
It was directed that the king should ride in person to 
the various justice ayres, and that his high justiciar 
should accompany him. Crichton of Ruthven was 
appointed warden of the mint, with injunctions to 
examine and assay the fineness of the gold and silver; 
and a singular provision was added, relative to the im- 
portation of bullion into the country. The merchants 
were commanded to bring in a certain bulk of pure 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, voL ii. p. '207. 


bullion, called in the act burnt silver, in proportion to 
the description and quantity of the goods which they 
exported.* It was next ordered that the castle of 
Dunbar should be entirely dismantled and destroyed, 
on account of the damage which it had already occa- 
sioned to the kingdom, and the likelihood of greater 
injury, in the event of its falling into the hands of the 
enemies of the government. The command of Edin- 
burgh castle, with the custody of the Lord James duke 
of Ross, the king*'s brother, whose education had hither- 
to been conducted in his tender years by Shaw, the 
abbot of Paisley, was intrusted to Lord Hailes, master 
of the household ; and another powerful border baron, 
Alexander Hume of Hume, was rewarded for his ser- 
vices by the office of high chamberlain. -f- In the same 
parliament, the penalties of treason were denounced 
against the purchasers of presentations to benefices at 
the court of Rome, whether clergy or seculars, by which 
great damage was occasioned to the realm, and the 
proceedings were closed by a declaration, that all grants 
signed by the late king, since the second of February, 
1487, the day upon which the prince, now king, took 
the field in arms against his father, were revoked be- 
cause made for the assistance of that treasonable faction 
which had been enemies to the realm, and had occa- 
sioned the death of the king''s father. | Such is a view 
of the principal proceedings of four successive parlia- 
ments, the first of which, as already noticed, met on 

* Thus for every serplaith of •wool, for every last of salmon, for every four 
hundredth of cloth, four ounces of bullion were to be brought in, for which, 
on its delivery to the warden of the mint, the importer was to be paid at the 
rate of twelve shillings an ounce. 

+ Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. U- p. 21 1. Mag. Sig. xii. 52. 
October 13, 1488. 

X Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 211, 223. 

1489. JAMES IV. 2.07 

the sixth of October, 1488, and the last on the third 
of February, 1489. 

But, although the proceedings of tl»e faction wliich 
liad deposed and slain the king were vigorously con- 
ducted, and their measures for the security of their 
own power, and the destruction of their opponents, 
pushed forward with feverish haste and anxiety, it was 
soon demonstrated that they were ineftectual. The 
Earl of Lennox and Lord Lyle, disappointed probably 
with the division of the plunder, brt»kc into revolt. 
Lyle occupied the strong fortress of Dumbarton, and 
held it out against the king; whilst Lennox and 
Matthew Stewart raised their vassals, garrisoned their 
castles and strongholds, and, communicating with the 
northern counties, where attachment to the government 
of the late monarch seems to have been stronger than 
around the court, succeeded in organizing a serious in- 
surrection. In the murder of James the Third, they 
possessed a subject for powerful appeal to the feelings 
of the nation, of which they were not slow to avail them- 
selves. Lord Forbes marched through the country with 
the king"'s bloody shirt displayed upon the end of a spear, 
and this ghastly banner excited multitudes to join the 
insurrection. It was affirmed, and apparently on good 
grounds, that those who had cruelly murdered the father, 
now completely overruled the son, abusing his youthful 
facility of temper, and intruding into the highest offices 
of the state. Lord Drummond, whose daughter was 
mistress to theyoung monarch, presuming upon this cir- 
cumstance, insulted the authority of the laws ; and with 
his sons and kinsmen committed open spoliation in the 
country ;* whilst Hepburn of Hailes, whom we have 
seen, in the former reign, in the rank of a minor baron, 

* Acta Dominoruni Coiicilii, Oct. 22, 1480. Ibid. Nov, 3. 


and whose conduct was then marked only by lawless- 
ness and ferocity, suddenly rose into a state of power 
and consequence, which left the oldest nobility in 
the background. Within less than a year he had 
been created Earl of Bothwell, promoted to the office 
of lord high admiral, intrusted with the connnand of 
the castles of Edinburgh, Lochmaben, and Treiff, 
with the custody of the king's brother, the Duke of 
Ross, and the wardenship of the western and middle 

But although liable to the charge of partiality and 
favouritism, the government of the young monarch 
partook of that energy which, in a greater or lesser 
degree, is always elicited by a revolution. Unlike his 
predecessors in their jealousy of the power of the nobles, 
James seems, on the contrary, to have early adopted 
the opinion, that the monarch was singly far too weak 
either to abridge the authority of his barons, or to rule 
the kingdom without their cordial co-operation. In 
the fate of his father he had before his eyes a terrible 
example of aristoci'atic vengeance, and aware that the 
same remorseless hands which had placed the crown 
upon his head, might, if provoked or injured, be the 
first to remove it in favour of a more obsequious prince, 
he determined to secure the stability of his throne by 
cultivating the affectionate attachment of his nobility. 
Amongst them were many men of great intellectual 
vigour, and military talent. Drummond, the Earl of 
Bothwell, Hume the high chamberlain, Argyle the 
chancellor, and Whitelaw subdean of Glasgow, the secre- 
tary, were all able assistants ; and the character of the 
king himself, who was not only generous, openhearted, 
and liberal almost to profusion, but who possessed fair 
abilities along with great activity, and courage, was 

1489. JAMES IV. 299 

"Nvoll fitted to secure their friendshij), and command 
their respect. 

It is not surprising, therefore, that the united 
strength of the throne and tlie nobles was too powerful 
for the rash attempt of Lennox. At the head of a 
force rapidly raised for the occasion, and accompanied 
by his chief officers of state, the king laid siege to 
his castles of Duchal and Crookston, which had been 
occupied by the rebels ; whilst he sent Argyle the 
chancellor to assault Dumbarton, which was then 
held by Lord Lylc, and Lennox's eldest son, Matthew 
Stewart.* Proclamation was also made, offering a 
reward of forty pounds"' worth of land, or one thousand 
marks of silver, for the apprehension of these barons ; 
and so vigorously did the young monarch proceed in 
his bombardment of Crookston and Duchal, i* that he 
made himself master of both places within a short 
period. He then marched towards Dumbarton, where 
the rebels, having been joined by Lord Forbes, the Earl 
Marshal, Lord Crichton, and the master of Huntley, 
only awaited the arrival of Lennox, before they made 
a united and desperate effort for the destruction of that 
faction, which, as they alleged, had enslaved the king, 
and risscn on the ruins of the established government. 
They were not destined, however, to be successful. 
On his descent from the highlands into the low country, 
Lennox''s first intention was to pass the bridge at Stir- 
ling. Receiving information, however, that his enemies 
had occupied the town, and rendered this impracticable, 
he resolved to cross the Forth at a ford not far from 
the source of the river, and for this purpose encamped 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol ii. p. 22.'?. 

+ The sieee of Duchul seems to have taken place in the end of July 14R.0. 
Ma^. Si)^. xii. l.')2. July 2!!, Hft.O. There were still some remaiua of itiia 
ancient castle in 170-. Stat. Acct. vol. iv. p. 27ii. 


in a level plain called Talla Moss, about sixteen miles 
from Stirling. His force was principally composed of 
highlanders ; and one of these mountaineers named 
Macalpin, deserting the camp, brought intelligence to 
the king and Lord Drummond at Dunblane, that it 
would be easy to destroy Lennox by a night attack, 
his army being so secure and careless, that they used 
no precautions against a surprise. This enterprise was 
no sooner suggested than it was carried into effect. In 
the middle of a dark October night, Drummond and 
the young monarch, at the head of a force hastily 
raised, and chiefly composed of the royal household, 
broke in upon the intrenchments of Lennox, and slew, 
dispersed, or made prisoners his whole army, pursuing 
the fugitives as far as Gartalunane, on the opposite side 
of the river. This success was immediately followed 
by the surrender of Dumbarton, and the complete sup- 
pression of the conspiracy ; after which the sovereign 
and his ministers appear to have acted with a judicious 
clemency, which had the effect of quieting the kingdom ; 
Lennox, Huntley, Marshal, Lyle, and Forbes, being 
not only pardoned, but soon after restored to the 
royal favour. 

The necessary consequence of this abortive attepipt 
at insurrection, was to give additional strength to the 
government: and a brilliant naval action which took 
place about the same time, increased its popularity. 
Under the former reign. Sir Andrew Wood, a naval 
officer of high talent and experience, had distinguished 
himself by his successes against the English, but his 
attachment to his old master, James the Third, of 
whom he was a favourite, prevented him from giving 
in his immediate adherence to the government of his 
son. He was soon reconciled, however, to the young 

1489. JAMES IV. SOI 

monarch, who early evinced an cnliii:htencd desire to 
encourage tlio maritime strength of the country by 
applying liimself personally to the study of ship-build- 
ing and naval tactics; and about the time of Lennox's 
defeat, ^Voodconunanded asmall squadron in the Forth, 
which had been successful in its cruises, against the 
English pirates who then infested the narrow seas.* 
Unauthorized by their own government, theseaudacious 
adventurers conunitted great depredations, plundering 
the Scottish merchantmen and fishing-craft, making 
descents upon the coast towns, and carrying oft" their 
riches, and their inhabitants. At this time, a fleet of 
five pirate ships had entered the Clyde, and after com- 
mitting their usual havoc, greatly incensed the young 
monarch by giving chase to a vessel which was his own 
property. -f- James earnestly represented the matter 
to Wood, and required his assistance in repelling so un- 
justifiable an attack, committed at aperiod of profound 
peace, when a three years"" truce existed between the 
two countries. Nor, whatever might be his opinion 
regarding the persons who managed the government, 
could this bravo oflScer resist the appeal of his sove- 
reign. With only two ships, the Flower and the 
Yellow Carvel, he attacked the English squadron; and 
notwithstanding his inferiority in force, after an obsti- 
nate action, the five piratic vessels were captured and 
carried into Leith.J If we are to believe the Scottish 
historians, the King of England although in the time, 

* Tliat the exploits of Sir Andrew Wood were perfonried against pirates 
is proved by a charter dated May 18, 1491. Mag. Sig. xii. 304. — Illus- 
trations, letter M. 

+ Treasurer's Books. Feb. 18, \4(19, Item, after the kingis srhip wes 
chaysit in Dunbertane be the Inglismen,and tyut hircabillis and oder graytht 
sent with Johne of Haw, xviii lib. 

X It is probable that this first action of Sir Andrew Wood took place some 
time after the lUth of February, Mii'J. 


of truce he could not openly attempt retaliation, or 
give his countenance to hostilities, took care to let it 
be understood that nothing would be more grateful to 
hira than the defeat of Wood ; and Stephen Bull an 
enterprising merchant and seaman of London,* having 
fitted out three stout vessels, manned by picked mari- 
ners, a body of crossbows, and pikemen, and various 
knights who volunteered their services, proceeded with 
much confidence of success against the Scottish com- 
mander. Bull, who had intelligence that Wood had 
sailed for Flanders, and was soon expected on his 
voyage homeward, directed his course to the May, a 
small island in the mouth of the Firth of Forth, about 
an equal distance from the opposite shores of Fife and 
Lothian, behind which he cast anchor, and, concealed 
from any vessels entering the Forth, awaited the 
expected prize. It was not long before two vessels 
appeared in the looked-for course oS" St Abb's Head ; 
and the English captain, who had seized some Scottish 
fishing-boats with their crews, sent the prisoners aloft 
to watch their approach, and report whether it was 
Wood. On their answering in the afiirmative, Bull 
cleared his ships for action, and the Scottish admiral, 
who sailed fearlessly onward and little dreamt of inter- 
ruption, found himself suddenly in the presence of the 
enemy. He had time, however, for the necessary 
orders ; and such was the excellent discipline of his 
ships, and rapidity of his preparations, that the common 

* I find in the valuable historical collections, entitled " Excerpta Histo- 
rica," edited by Sir Harris Nicolas, No. I., p. 118, the following entiy in 
the privy purse expenses of Henry the Seventh. "To Steven Bull, and 
Barnesfeld, seeking for Perkin, for their costs, £]. 6s. 8d." Perkin War- 
beck, at this time, (1498,) had eluded his keepers, and fled to the sea-coast , 
and Henry, afraid of his making his escape from the kingdom, employed 
Bull, probably his most active sea captain, to watch the coast and recapture 
him. This is corroborated by the next entry. " To four yeomeu 'watching 
one night with four botes, Gs. 8d." 

14Sf). JAMES IV. 303 

mischiefs of a surprise were prevented, and his gunners, 
pikeinen, crossbows, and firecasters, stood ready at 
tlieir several stations, when he bore down upon tho 
Enghsh. All this had taken place in the early dawn 
of a summer morning ; and whilst Wood skilfully 
gained the windward of his opponents, the sun rose, 
and shining full upon them, exhibited their large size 
and splendid equipment to the best advantage. Bull 
instantly opened his cannonade, with the object of 
deciding the action whilst the Scots were still at some 
distance ; but, from the inferior dimensions of their 
ships, the shot passed over them and took little effect; 
whilst their opponent hoisted all his canvass, and ran 
close in upon the English, casting out his grappling 
hooks, and even lashing the enemy''s ships by cables 
to his own. A close and dreadful combat succeeded, 
in which both parties fought with equal spirit, so that 
night parted the combatants, and found the action 
undecided. In the morning, the trumpets sounded, 
and the fight was renewed with such determined 
bravery, that the mariners, occupied wholly with the 
battle, took little heed to the management of their 
vessels, and permitted themselves to be drifted, by a 
strong ebb-tide, into the mouth of tho Tay. Crowds 
of men, women, and children, now flocked to the shore, 
exhibiting, by their cries and gesticulations, the inte- 
rest they took in their countrymen ; and at last, though 
withgreat difficulty, the valour and superiorseamanship 
of Wood prevailed over his brave opponent. The three 
English ships were captured and carried into Dundee, 
whilst Bull, their commander, was presented by ^V^ood 
to his master. King James, who received him with 
much courtesy, and after remonstrating against tho 
injuries inflicted by the English privateers upon the 


Scottish shipping, dismissed him without ransom, and 
gave the prisoners their hbert3^ It is said, however, 
that he at the same time warned Henry, that this 
hberal conduct could not be repeated ; and that he 
trusted the lesson given to his captains, would convince 
him that the Scots possessed the power of defending 
their commerce, which they would not scruple to exert 
on every occasion where the liberties of their mer- 
chantmen were invaded. To Wood, the king, with 
the ardour and enthusiasm for warlike renown which 
distinguished his character, extended his special favour. 
When the seaman was not eno-ased in his naval or 
commercial duties, for the two professions of a merchant 
and a sailor were then strictly connected, he retained 
him at court — kept him much about his person — re- 
warded him by grants of lands, and under his instruc- 
tions devoted much of his attention to the improvement 
of the naval strength of his dominions. 

Soon after this, an extraordinary conspiracy against 
the Scottish monarch, was fostered at the English 
court, of which James and his ministers appear at the 
moment to have had no suspicion. Ramsay loi'd Both- 
well, the favourite of James the Third, who, after the 
accession of his son, had escaped to England, along 
with the Earl of Buchan, so lately the subject of the 
royal clemency, and a person designing himself, "Sir 
Thomas Tod, of the realm of Scotland," entered into 
an agreement with Henry the Seventh, that they would 
seize and deliver the King of Scots, and his brother 
the Duke of Ross, into the hands of the English mon- 
arch. To assist them in this treasonable enterprise, 
Henry advanced the loan of two hundred and sixty-six 
pounds, which, as he carefully stipulated, was to bb 
restored to him by a certain day ; and for the fulfil- 

1490. JAMES IV. 305 

ment of this agreement, Tod delivered his son as a 
hostai^e.* It is affirmed in tlie obligation drawn up at 
Greenwich, unfortunately the only public paper which 
throws light upon this dark transaction, that besides 
Buehan, Bothwell, and Tod, various other persons were 
involved in the conspiracy. Their names certainly 
appeared in the original "indentures," but these are 
now lost ; and such seems to have been the secrecy 
which covered the whole transaction, that, at the mo- 
ment when the Encrlish k'm<x was enjTanred in bribinsr 
James's subjects to lay violent hands upon his person, 
the Scottish monarch had despatched the Archbishop 
of St Andrews on an embassy to England, and a meet- 
ing was appointed between his commissioners and those 
of f lenry, to make an amicable arrangement regarding 
the mutual infra'tions of the truces upon the liorders, 
and the prolongation of the pacific intercourse between 
the two kingdoms.-f* 

Soon after this, the parliament assembled at Edin- 
burgh, and various important measures were carried 
into effect regarding the foreign alliances of the country, 
and the internal administration of the government. 
The Earl of Huntley was a])pointcd king's lieutenant 
north of the Avater of Esk, till the sovereign, who was 
now in his twentieth year, had reached the age of 
twenty-five. It was resolved that Hepburn earl of 
Bothwell, and the Bishop of Glasgow, should be sent 
on an embassy to France, for the purpose of renewing 
the alliance with that kingdom, and confirming the 
connnercial privileges mutually enjoyed by the French 
and the Scottish merchants ; after which the ambas- 
sadors were to proceed to the court of Spain or other 

♦ Rymcr, Fadera, vol. xii. p. 440. April 10, 1491. 
+ liotuli Scotia;, vol. ii. p. 497. 



parts, to seek a bride for the young king. An embassy 
was also despatched to the court of Denmark, with the 
object of renewing the amicable commercial relations 
which already subsisted between Scotland and that 
country ; some wise but ineffectual measures were at- 
tempted for the restoration of peace and good order, by 
the punishment of those who committed slaughter or 
rapine, and were guilty of demembration of the king's 
lieges ; enactments were renewed against the old grie- 
vance of leagues or bands amongst the nobles and their 
feudal tenantry; and the chancellor, with certain lords 
of council, or, in their absence, the lords of session, were 
commanded tosit forthe administration of justice thrice 
every year. Attention was also paid to the interests 
of the burghs. It was ordained " that the common 
good, meaning the profits and revenues of all the royal 
burghs within the realm, should be so regulated as to 
promote the prosperity of the town, by being spent 
according to the advice of the council of the burgh, 
upon things necessary for its security and increase ; 
whilst the burgh rents, such as lands, fishings, mills, 
and farms, were not to be disposed of except upon a 
three years' lease." At the same time, all sheriffs, 
bailies, and provosts of burghs were commanded to 
take copies of the acts and statutes now passed, which 
were to be openly proclaimed within the bounds of their 

Some of the consequences which might easily have 
been anticipated from the conspiracy which had placed 
the young monarch upon the throne, began now to take 
place in Scotland. James, as he increased in years and 
understanding, became convinced that he had been 
made the tool of an artful and selfish faction, whose 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 227. 

U91. JAMES IV. ^ 307 

principal object was private plunder, the preservation 
ol' their own ovcri^rown power, and the diminution of 
tile authority of the crown, liy degrees he called around 
him, and restored to places of trust and authority, the 
counsellors of his late father, whom he attached to his 
interests by tlic remorse which ho expressed for his 
crime, and the warmth, openness, and generosity of his 
disposition. Amongst these advisers were some able 
individuals. Andrew Wood of Largo, wliom we have 
so lately seen victor over the English fleet, and whose 
genius for naval adventure was combined with a power- 
ful intellect in civil affairs, rose gradually to be one of 
the most intimate and confidential servants of the king, 
and appears to have been often consulted, especially in 
all his financial concerns. Wood combined in his char- 
acter various qualities, which, to our modern judgment, 
appear strange and inconsistent, lie was an enter- 
])rising and opulent merchant, a brave warrior and 
skilful naval commander, an able linancialist, inti- 
mately acquainted with the mangement of commercial 
transactions, and a stalwart feudal baron, who, without 
abating anything of his pride and his prerogative, re- 
fused not to adopt, in the management of his estates, 
some of those improvements whose good effects he had 
observed in his voyages and travels over various parts 
of the continent. The advice of such a counsellor was 
of great value to the young monarch; and as Wood 
was remarkable for his affectionate attachment to the 
late king, and for the bold and manly tone in which he 
had reprobated the rebellion against him, it was not 
wonderful that his influence over the present sovereign 
should be exhibited in a decided change in the princi- 
jtles upon which the government was conducted. Tlie 
leading lord.< who had instigated the revolt, were treated 


with coldness, suspicion, and, at last, open severity. 
The Earl of Angus, from his great estates and con- 
nexions one of the most powerful nobles in Scotland, 
resented this bj passing into England, where he con- 
cluded with Henry the Seventh a secret and treasonable 
treaty, of which, unfortunately, little but the existence 
is known.* On his return, however, he was met by the 
lion herald, who char";ed him in the kinsr^s name to 
enter his person in ward in his fortress of Tantallon;-|- 
and soon after James deprived him of his lands and 
lordship of Liddesdale, with the strong castle of Her- 
mitage, which, as the price of his pardon, he was com- 
pelled to resign to the Earl of Bothwell admiral of 
Scotland, and warden of the west and middle marches.;^ 
A reward was offered at the same time to any person 
who should discover the murderers of the late king ; but 
as it was well known that if this expression had been 
understood to include the authors of the conspiracy, 
the search could not have been a protracted one, the 
cautious proviso was added, that the sum was only to 
be given in the event of the informant making it certain 
who were the persons who slew the king " with their 
own hands ;" an expression thrice repeated in the body 
of the statute, and from which it may perhaps be fairly 
inferred, that whilst the actual butcher of the unhappy 
prince was unknown, the " heavy murmurs" and voice 
of the people pointed out some potent individuals with 
whom it was certain that he was connected. It does 
not appear, however, that the hundred marks'" worth 
of land in fee and lierita<re — the reward held out — was 

* Ayloffe's Calendars of Ancient Charters, p. 313. A fragment of these 
" Articles" is preserved amongst Rjoner's unpublished collections, now in the 
British Museum. Henry VII. vol. i. p. 120'. 

■f- Treasurer's MS. Accompts, July 29, 1491. 

:;: Mag. Sig. xii. 323, 344. March 6, 1491. 

1491-3. JAMES IV. • 309 

ever claimed by any one; and to this day the hand by 
which the king was so foully slain, is unknown. 

Another proof of the change of counciLs, and of the 
determination of the sovereign to withdraw his confi- 
dence from those who had possessed themselves of the 
supreme power immediately after the battle of Sauchie, 
is to bo found in a complaint which was now made 
regarding the disappearance of the royal jewels and 
treasure. AV"e have already- seen* that these, a few 
days after the death of the late king, were taken pos- 
session of by the Bishop of Glasgow, along with the 
Earls of Angus and Argyle, with the intention of being 
placed in the hands of faithful persons, w'ho were to be 
responsible for their safe custody. It was now discovered, 
liowever, that a very small part of this treasure had 
reached the coffers of the king ; a strict inquiry was 
ordered to be instituted for the detection of those who 
had stolen or concealed it; and they to whom it had 
been first intrusted, were directed to be examined before 
the king's council, so that it might be discovered how 
they had parted with the treasure — into what hands it 
had been delivered — and what was its exact amount. -f- 
Whether such measures were followed by the desired 
success, seems more than problematical. 

But although all this very decidedly demonstrated 
a change in the principles upon which the government 
was conducted, the party which headed the late re- 
bellion were still too strong, and the young king had 
identified himself too deeply with their proceedings, to 
render it advisable to commence a more serious or direct 
attack ; and with regard to the foreign relations of the 
country, the preservation of peace with England, and 

• Supra, p. 2fi7. 

+ Acts of tlic rarliamt-nt of Scotland, vol. ii. j). 230. 


the maintenance of a friendly intercourse with the 
courtsof France, Spain, Denmark, and the Netherlands, 
were wisely insisted on by the counsellors of the young- 
monarch, as absolutely necessary for the wellbeing of 
his kingdom. Yet, secured as it was by repeated truces, 
and strengthened by negotiations and proposals of 
marriage for the young monarch, with some princess of 
the blood-royal, the good understanding with England 
could neither be cordial nor sincere. The treasonable 
intercourse which some of the most powerful of James's 
subjects carried on with Henry the Seventh, and the 
audacious designs of seizing the king's person, which 
this monarch encouraged, if they transpired even par- 
tially, must have disgusted an ardent and impetuous 
spirit, such as James, with the crafty and dishonourable 
politics of the English king; and as it is certain that, 
at this period, in Scotland, the system of employing 
paid spies became prevalent, it may be conjectured that 
the king was not wholly ignorant of the plots in agi- 
tation against him. It was his secret desire, therefore, 
although not yet his declared resolution, to break with 
England, and the causes of the war which, in a few 
years, was kindled between the two countries, may be 
traced, with great probability, to this period; but, in 
the meantime, the appearance of peace was preserved, 
and James assiduously devoted himself to the preser- 
vation of good order throughout his dominions, and the 
distribution of strict and impartial justice to all classes 
of his subjects, 

In a parliament held at Edinburgh, in the summer 
of the year 1493, some important laws were passed, 
which evinced the jealousy of the king regarding any 
interference with his ecclesiastical privileges in the 
disposal of church benefices, and his determination to 

lion. JAMES IV. r>ii 

resist all unreasonable encroachments upon the part of 
the court of Rome. Eight months were to be allowed, 
after the occurrence of a vacancy in any see, for the 
king's letter, apj)ointing a successor, to reach the pope; 
no interim promotion was to be allowed, and any of the 
lieges who were detected lending themselves, or their 
interest, to oppose these regulations, were declared 
guilty of treason. No legate was to be permitted to 
enter the realm, unless ho was a cardinal, or a native 
of Scotland ; and the Archbishops of St Andrews and 
Glasirow, who had been for some time engaged in a 
violent litigation, which had been carried on before the 
j>apal court, and the expense of which plea had been 
attended, it is declared, with " inestimable damage to 
the realm," were exhorted to cease from their conten- 
tion before a foreign ecclesiastical tribunal, submitting 
to the decision of the king; under the serious denunci- 
ation, that if they demur to this proposal, their tenants 
and "mailers"''' shall be interdicted from j)ayingto them 
their rents, till they have repented of their contumacy.* 
The kinii's orators and ambassadors who were sent to 
Italy, received directions to exhort and entreat all his 
subjects, whether of the clergy or laymen, who had 
pleas depending in the Roman Court, to withdraw their 
litigation, and to return, like dutiful subjects, to their 
own country, bringing with them their bulls, writs, and 
other muniments, after which, the monarch undertook 
that justice should bo administered to them by their 
ordinary judge within whose jurisdiction the cause 
lay, and over whose conduct, in delivering an imj)artial 
decision, he engaged to have a strict superintendence. 
As the king had now attained majority, and his coun- 
sellors were anxious that the wild and capricious pas- 

* Acts of tlie rarliameiit of Scotland, vol. y. p. -32. 


sions in which his youth had hitherto been passed, 
should, if possible, be restrained by a legitimate union, 
the proposal was renewed of sending an embassy abroad 
to treat in France, or in any other realm where it might 
be judged expedient, of the king's marriage ; and in 
addition to the tax already agreed to by the clergy, 
barons, and commissaries of the burghs for this pur- 
pose, the three Estates consented to give a thousand 
pounds additional, " for the honourable hame-bringing 
of a queen." 

Some enactments were also passed at this time, which 
evinced a faint dawning of a more liberal spirit of com- 
mercial legislation than had yet appeared in parliament. 
The deacons, and head craftsmen of particular trades, 
were in the custom of "imposing a taxation penny 
upon men of the same craft coming to market on the 
Mondays," by which it necessarily followed that the 
prices demanded for the articles were higher than those 
at which they had afforded to sell them previous to such 
an imposition. The tax was therefore commanded to be 
discontinued, so that the craftsmen, without interfer- 
ence upon the part of the deacons of the burghs, might 
be at liberty to sell their commodities at the usual 
prices. The parliament, however, proceeded too far, 
when they abolished, for a year to come, the office of 
deacons of men of craft in burghs, restricting their au- 
thority to the simple examination of the sufficiency and 
fineness of the work executed by the artisans of the 
same trade. It had been found, it was declared, that 
the authority of these officers, and the by-laws which 
they enacted, were the cause of great trouble in the 
burghs, in leading to convocations and "rysing" of tlie 
king's lieges, in increasing tbe prices of labour, and 
encouraging those combinations for the purpose of 

1493. JAMES IV. 313 

compelling a consent to their unreasonable demands, 
from which we have sometimes scon such injurious 
ctlects in our own days. It was declared, accordingly, 
that all " makers and users of these statutes, were to 
be prosecuted as oppressors of the king's lieges." 
Another (jrievance was removed, which bore heavilv 
upon the agricultural prosperity of the country. 
Hitherto the flour brought to the various markets 
throughout the kingdom, or to the port of Leith, had 
been subjected to the payment of a certain tax or 
" multure,'' in addition to the local tax for grinding, 
which, by the feudal law, it. was bound to pay to the 
barony mill where it had been ground. This severe 
double duty was now removed; and it was declared 
that, for the future, all flour should be permitted to be 
brought to market, and sold without payment of any 
new taxation, and that all manner of persons should 
be free to brinji and sell their victual throughout the 
land, all the days of the week, as well as on the mar- 

An act followed, which evinced in the legislature an 
awakening interest in the fishery; a branch of national 
wealth, from which, under proper cultivation, the rich- 
est fruits might be expected, but which had hitherto 
been unwisely neglected. It was enacted that, " con- 
siderins: the jircat and innumerable riches" that is lost 
for want of ships and boats, with their appropriate 
nets and tackling, which are found in all other realms 
commanding a great extent of sea-coast, the parliament 
judged it proper that ships and "buschis," or fishing- 
boats, should be built in all burghs and fishing-towns 
within the realm, so that they might be ready to pro- 
ceed to the fishery before Fastren's Even following. 

•Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii, p. 234. 


These boats were directed to be of twenty tons, and 
the burghs and sea-coast towns were to be obliged to 
build and rig them out, according to their substance, 
with all conveniences for the taking of large and small 
fish. The officers in the burghs and regalities were 
ordered at the same time to apprehend and press on 
board these vessels all " stark idle men," under pain 
of their being banished in case of refusal. 

Whilst the parliament was thus severe upon the idle 
and the dissolute who refused to submit to all regular 
labour, it is pleasing to discern a glimpse of sympathy 
for the unmerited suffering and hard condition of the 
great body of the lower orders of the people. In a for- 
mer statute a severe fine had been imposed upon all 
persons who were detected setting fire to the heather 
or gorse in which the birds of game had their nests, a 
practice often absolutely necessary for the success of 
any attempt at agricultural improvement, but encroach- 
ing upon that feudal mania for hunting and hawking 
which, since the period of the Norman Conquest, had 
infected the nobles of Britain, and grievously abridged 
the rights and liberties of the subject. It was now 
discovered that the persons detected in "mureburning" 
were not the real offenders. "It was found," to use 
the expressive words of the statute, " that the poor 
bodies that dwelt in ' malings,'' or upon small divisions 
of land rented to them by their landlords, in setting 
fire to the gorse, were simply obeying the bidding of 
their masters ;" and in consequence of this the fine was 
henceforth directed to be levied, not on this large and 
meritorious class, but upon the proprietors of the 
"• maling," which they laboured.* 

Some regulations regarding the coinage and impor- 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 235. 

nor,, JAMES IV. 315 

tation of bullion, and an enactment by which the hii^li 
and disproportionate prices which were charged by 
craftsmen and victuallers were ordered to bo reduced 
to a more equitable standard, terminated the resolutions 
of the three Estates in this parliament.* 

Hitherto there is reason to believe that the great 
majority of the barons were deplorably ignorant, and 
careless of all liberal education. A better spirit, how- 
ever, now appeared; and the invention of printing, with 
the revival of classical learning, causes which had long 
been operating the happiest effects in the continental 
nations, began, from their frequent communication with 
Scotland, to be perceptible in producing the moral and 
intellectual improvement of that countr}'. In a par- 
liament held three years subsequent to that which has 
just been noticed, -f- it was ordered that, througl:out the 
kingdom, all barons and freeholders, whose fortunes 
permitted it, should send their sons to the schools as 
soon as they were eight or nine years old, to remain 
there until they had attained a competent knowledge of 
the Latin tongue ; after which they were directed to 
place them, for the space of three years, as pupils in 
the seminaries of art and law, so that they might be 
instructed in the knowledge of the laws, and fitted as 
sheriffs and ordinary judges, to administer justice, 
under the king''s highness, throughout the realm ; 
whilst, it is added, by this provision the " poor people 
of the land will not be obliged, in every trifling offence, 
to seek redress from the king"'s principal council." 

For a considerable time past, the condition of the 
highlands, and the reduction of such wild and remote 
districts under a more regular form of government 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. '2'.i8. 
+ Parliament, June 13, 1-1 9G. 


than that to which they had hitherto submitted, ap- 
pears to have been a subject which occupied a large 
share of the attention and anxiety of the sovereign. 
To attach to his interest the principal chiefs of these 
provinces; to overawe and subdue the petty princes 
who affected independence; to carry into their terri- 
tories, hitherto too exclusively governed by their own 
capricious or tyrannical institutions, the same system 
of a severe, but regular and rapid administration of 
civil and criminal justice, which had been established 
in his lowland dominions, was the laudable object of 
the king ; and for this purpose he succeeded, with that 
energy and activity which remarkably distinguished 
him, in opening up an intercourse with many of the 
leading men in the northern counties. With the 
Captain of the clan Chattan, Duncan Macintosh ; 
with Ewan, the son of Alan, Captain of the clan Ca- 
meron ; with Campbell of Glenurcha ; the Macgil- 
leouns of Dowart and Lochbuy ; Mackane of Ardna- 
murchan ; the Lairds of Mackenzie and Grant ; and 
the Earl of Huntley, a baron of the most extensive 
power in those northern districts — he appears to have 
been in habits of constant and regular communication, 
rewarding them by presents, in the shape either of 
money or of grants of land, and securing their services 
in reducing; to obedience such of their fellow chieftains 
as proved contumacious, or actually rose into rebellion.* 
But James was not content with this. He rightly 
judged that the personal presence of the sovereign in 
those distant parts of his dominions would be attended 
with salutary effects; and in 1490, on two different 

* Treasurer's MS. Accompts, Nov. 21, 1488. Item, til ane man to passe 
to the lard of Frauchie [Grant] for a tratoure he tuke, x sch. Ibid. Sep- 
tember 19, 1489. Ibid. October 22, 1489 ; November 10, 1489 ; August 
J6, 1490 ; August 26, 1492 ; August 18, 1493 ; Januarj' 5, 1493. 

1494. JAMES IV. 317 

occasions, he rode, accompanied by his chief counsellors 
and the li)rds of his household, from Perth across the 
" Mounth," the term applied to the extensive chain of 
mountains which extends across the country, from the 
border of the Mearns to the head of Loch Rannoch. 
In 1493, although much occupied with other cares 
and concerns, ho found time to penetrate twice into 
the highlands, proceeding as far as Dunstaffnage and 
Mingarry in Ardnamurchan,* and in the succeeding 
year such was the indefatigable activity with which 
he executed his public duties, that he thrice visited 
the Isles. -f The first of these voyages, which took 
place in April and May, was conducted with great 
state. It atlorded the youthful monarch an opportu- 
nity of combiningbusiness andamusement, of gratifying 
his passion for sailing and hunting, of investigating 
the state of the fisheries, of fitting out his barges for 
defence as well as pleasure, and of inducing his nobles 
to build and furnish, at their own expense, vessels in 
which they might accompany their sovereign. It had 
the effect also of impressing upon the inhabitants of 
the Isles a salutary idea of the wealth, grandeur, and 
military power of the king. The rapidity with which 
he travelled from place to place, the success and expe- 
dition with which he punished all who dared to oppose 
him, his generosity to his friends and attendants, and 
his gay and condescending familiarity with the lower 
classes of his subjects, all combined to increase his 
popularity, and to consolidate and unite, by the bonds 
of equal laws and affectionate allegiance, the remotest 
parts of the kingdom. 

• Mag. Sig. xiii. 200. August 18, 149.1 Ibid. xiii. 104. October 2.5, 

t Treasurers Accounts, "To J. M'cbatlainc, after Pasclie, the time th.at the 
king paiit to tbe hies, 3^ elns lowauo tuny iii lb. xvii shillings.'* April, 14D4. 


At Tarbet, in Kentire, he repaired the fort origi- 
nally built by Bruce, and established an emporium for 
his shipping, transporting thither his artillery, laying 
in a stock of gunpowder and carrying along with him 
his master-gunners, in whose training and practice he 
appears, from the payments in the treasurer's books,- 
to have busied himself with much perseverance and 
enthusiasm.* These warlike measures were generally 
attended with the best effects ; most of the chieftains 
readily submitted to a prince who could carry hostilities 
within a few days into the heart of their country, and 
attack them in their island fastnesses with a force 
which they found it vain to resist ; one only, Sir John 
of the Isles, had the folly to defy the royal vengeance, 
ungrateful for that repeated lenity with which his 
treasons had been already pardoned. His great power 
in the Isles probably induced him to believe that the 
king would not venture to drive him to extremities ; 
but in this he was disappointed. James instantly 
summoned him to stand his trial for treason ; and in 
a parliament, which assembled at Edinburgh soon 
after the king's return from the north, this formidable 
rebel was stripped of his power, and his lands and 
possessions forfeited to the crown. -f- 

A singular and interesting episode in the history of 
Scotland now presents itself in the connexion of James 
the Fourth with that mysterious impostor, Perkin 
Warbeck ; and there seems to be a strong presumption, 
almost amounting to proof, that the plots of the Duchess 

* Treasurer's Accounts, July 5 — July 24, 1494. 

•f* Treasurer's Accounts, August 24, 1494. " Item, to summon Sir John 
of tbe Isles, of treason in Kintire, and for the expense of witnesses, vi lb. 
xiii sch. iiii d." This, according to Mr Gregory, was Sir John, called " Ca- 
noch" or the handsome, of Isla and Kentire, and Lord of the Glens in Ireland 
• — executed afterwards at Edinburgh about tbe year 1500. 

U9{. JAMES IV. 519 

of Burgundy received the countenance and support of 
the Scottish monarch at a much earlier period than is 
commonly assigned by the popular historians of either 
country.* One of the most remarkable features in the 
government of the Scottish monarch, and one which 
strikingly points out the rising influence and impor- 
tance of the kingdom, was the constant and intimate 
communication which he maintained with the conti- 
nent. With France, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, and 
Flanders, the intercourse was as regular and uninter- 
rupted, not only in the more solemn way of embassies, 
but by heralds, envoys, and merchants, as that carried 
on with England; and with the Duchess of Burgundy, 
the inveterate enemy of Henry the Seventh and the 
house of Lancaster, James had established a secret 
correspondence only five months after his accession to 
the throne. It is well known that the plots of this 
enterprising woman were chiefly fostered by her friends 
and emissaries in Ireland; and when we find, as early 
as the fourth of November, 1488, Sir Richard Hardel- 
Bton and Richard Ludelay do Ireland, proceeding on a 
mission to the Scottish court from this princess, it is 
difficult to resist the conclusion that James was well 
aware of her intended conspiracy, although whether 
he was admitted into the secret of the imposition at- 
tempted to be practised upon England, is not easily 
discoverable.-)- This accession to the plot is corrobo- 
rated by other stronir facts. In the course of the same 

* NVarheck's connexion witli Jainosr is gpnerally liolievcd to liave com- 
menced shortly before his alleged arrival in Scotland, in 14!)(). It is certain, 
liuwever, that he arrived there in 141^5, uud he seems to have been long in 
secret treaty with James. 

t Mag. big. -xii. 5.'). Nov. 4, 1488. Safe-conduct hy James the Fourth at 
Eiliniiurgh to Kichard llardelstoun, knight, and Richard Ludelay de Ireland, 
iMigliahnien, with forty persons, at the request of Daniu Margaret duclicss 
ol Jiurgundy. 


month, in which the first envoys arrived, James re- 
ceived letters from the duchess by an English herald; 
and towards the conclusion of the year in which this 
intercourse took place, the Scottish monarch was 
visited by a herald from Ireland, who was immediately 
despatched upon a private mission to the Duchess of 
Burgundy, whilst a pursuivant was sent from Scotland 
to communicate with certain individuals in England, 
whose names do not appear.* It is well known that 
the conspiracy was encouraged by Charles the Eighth 
of France, who invited Perkin into his kingdom, and 
received him with high distinction; whilst the Earl of 
Bothwell, one of James's principal favourites and coun- 
sellors, repaired soon after to that court, and remained 
for some months engaged in these private negotiations. 
Warbeck was at this time treated like a prince. A 
guard of honour was appointed to wait upon his person, 
commanded by Monipenny Sieur de Concressault, a 
Scotsman by descent, but whose family had been long 
settled in France, and who, not long after, proceeded 
as ambassador to Scotland from the court of France. •!* 
Towards the conclusion of the year 1491, the inter- 
course, which hitherto had been involved in great ob- 
scurity, became more open and avowed. Warbeck, 
who was then in Ireland, where he had been joined by 
the Earl of Desmond, despatched one of his English 
followers, named Edward Ormond, to the Scottish court 

* Treasurer's Accounts, Nov. 26, 1488. "To an English herald, that 
came with letters from the Dutchess of Burgundy, x lb." Again, in Trea- 
surer's Accounts, September 21,1 489, " Item, to Rowland Robyson," (this 
person was afterwards in the intimate confidence of Perkin,) " that brought 
the letters to the king from the Dutchess of Burgundy, v lb. viii sh." Ibid. 
Feb. 27, 1489. "Item, to the harrot that came furth of Ireland, and past 
to the Dutchess of Burgundy, xviii lb. Item to the Scottis bute persyvant 
that past the same time in England, xvii lb. viii sh." 

-)■ Bacon's Life of Henry VII. Apud Kennet, vol. i. p. 607. Pinkerton, 
vol. ii. p. 28. 

1494. JAMES IV. 321 

with letters for the king, and the readiness with which 
James entertained the comnninication, although deep- 
ly engaged with the internal administration of his own 
dominions, evinces a prior intimacy with the conspiracy 
and its authors.* The intrigues, however, with which 
this extraordinary person was then occupied in France, 
England, and Flanders, left him little time to follow 
out his correspondence with the Scottish monarch, and 
it was not till the year 1494, that he renewed his 
intercourse with James. On the sixth of November 
of that year, the king received intimation from the 
Duchess of Burgundy, that the "Prince of England," 
the name by which ho is mentioned in the ancient 
record which informs us of this fact, w^as about to visit 
Scotland ; and preparations for his honourable recep- 
tion were commenced at Stirling. -f* 

Henry, however, there is reason to believe, was well 
aware of these intrigues in Scotland, Various Scots- 
men, amongst the rest a Scottish knight of Rhodes, 
probably Sir John Knollis, who had lately passed into 
England, and Ramsay lord Bothwell, the favourite of 
James the Third, were in the pay of the English king;;]: 
whilst in Flanders, Lord Clittbrd, who had at first 
warmly embraced the cause of the counterfeit prince, 
was corrupted by a large bribe; and after amusing his 
friends and adherents by a series of negotiations, which 
drew into the plot some of the ancient and noble fami- 
lies of England, concluded his base proceedings by be- 
traying them to the English monarch. This discovery 

• Treasurer's Books, March 2, H.Ol. " Given nt tlic king's command to 
an P^nglishman, called P2dward Ormond, tliat brought letters forth of Ire- 
land fra King Kihvard's son and tlio I-'.arl of Desmond, ix lb." 

t " Item, for carriage of the arras work forth of Edinburgh to Stirling, for 
receiving the Prince of England, xx\ sh." Treasurer's books, November 
U, 1494. 

X Nicolas, Excerpta Ilistorica, part i. p. 93. 



was a fatal blow to the Yorkists. Their project was 
probably to have proclaimed Perkin in England, whilst 
his numerous adherents engaged to rise in Ireland ; and 
the Scottish monarch was to break at the head of his 
army across the Borders, and compel Henry to divide 
his force. But the Border chiefs, impatient for war, 
invaded England too soon ; and it happened, unfortu- 
nately for Warbeck, that whilst a tumultuous force, in- 
cluding the Armstrongs, Elwalds, Crossars, Wighams, 
Nyksons, and Henrisons, penetrated into Northumber- 
land,* with the hope of promoting a rising in favour 
of the asserted Duke of York, the treachery of Clifford 
had revealed the whole particulars of tlie conspiracy ; 
and the apprehension and execution of the ringleaders 
struck such terror into the nation, that the cause of 
Perkin in that country was for the present considered 

He had still, however, to look to Ireland and Scot- 
land. Amongst the Irish, the affection for the house 
of York, and the belief in the reality of his pretensions, 
was exceedingly strong. It is difficult, indeed, to dis- 
cover whether the Scottish king was equally credulous ; 
yet, either as a believer or a politician, James deter- 
mined to support the sinking fortunes of the counterfeit 
prince. For this purpose an intercourse was opened 
up with Ireland, and O'Donnel prince of Tirconnel, 
one of the most powerful chiefs in that country, re- 
])aired to the Scottish court, where he was received 
by the king with great state and distinction.-f- The 

* This raid or invasion, which is unknown to our historians, is mentioned 
nowhere but in the record of justiciary, Nov. 1493. Mr Stirling's MS. 
Chron. Notes, pp. 50, 55. 

t Treasurer's Accounts. Sub anno 1494. But without any further date. 
"Item, passing with lettres in the east and south-landis, for the receiving of 
great Odonell, x shillings. Item, to Master Alex' Schawes expenses passing 
from the toim of Air to Edinburgh for the cupboard, and remaining there 
upon the king's clothing, to the receiving of Odonuell, xx shillings." 

1405 JAMES IV. 323 

particulars of tlieir conferences are unfortunately lost 
to history; but there can bo little doubt that they 
related to the cllbrts which James had determined to 
make for the restoration of the last descendant of tho 
house of York to the throne of liis alleged ancestors. 
At this time war appears to have been resolved on; and 
although Henry, justly alarmed by the state of his 
kingdom, still torn by public discontent and secret 
conspiracy, endeavoured to avert the storm by propo- 
sals for the marriage of James with his daughter the 
Princess Margaret,* this monarch rejected the alliance 
with coldness ; and resolved, that he who had not 
scrupled to sow treason amongst his barons, and to lay 
plots for the seizure of his person, should at length feel 
the weight of his resentment. 

Accordingly, in the month of November 14.95, War- 
beck, under the title of Prince Richard of England, 
was received with royal honours at the palace of Stir- 
ling ;-f- and whatever scepticism James may hitherto 
have indulged in, there is certainly strong ground to 
believe, that the art of this accomplished impostor, his 
noble appearance, the grace and unaftccted dignity of 
his manners, and the air of mystery and romance which 
his misfortunes had thrown around him, contributed 
to persuade the king of the identity of his person, and 
the justice of his claim upon tho throne of England. 
lie was welcomed into Scotland with great state and 
rejoicing. The king addressed him as " cousin," and 
publicly countenanced his title to the crown. Tour- 
naments and other courtly festivals were held in hon- 
our of his arrival ; and James, accompanied by his 
nobility, conducted him in a progress through his do- 

* RjTner, Fccdera, vol. xii. p. .^r'S. 

•j- 'JVcisurer's Accompts, November C, J 4 95. lie arrived at Stirling, 
November "JO. 


minions, in which, byhis handsome person, and popular 
manners, he concihated to himself the admiration of 
the people. But this was not all. The Scottish mon- 
arch bestowed upon his new ally the hand of Catherine 
Gordon, daughter of the Earl of Huntley, a lady of 
extraordinary beauty and accomplishments, who, by her 
mother, the daughter of James the First, was nearly 
related to the royal family; a step which appears to 
guarantee the sincerity of James's present belief in the 
reality of his pretensions. 

More serious measures were now resorted to, and a 
general muster of the military force of the kingdom was 
ordered by "letters of weapon-schawings," which were 
followed by an order to the whole body of the lieges, 
including the men of the Isles, to meet the king at 
Lauder. A communication at the same time took place 
between the Irish and Anglo-Irish barons who sup- 
ported in that Island the cause of Perkin ;* the king 
himself rode through the country, with his usual ac- 
tivity, superintending the equipment of the rude train 
of artillery, which had to be collected from various forts 
and castles ;i- Andrew Wood of Largo was despatched 
into the north with letters to the barons of that dis- 
trict; and all the preparations having been completed, 
the young monarch placed himself at the head of his 
army. He was accompanied by Warbeck, who, adopt- 
ing the title of the Duke of York, was treated with 

* Treasurer's Accompts, June 4, 1496. Ibid. June 29. 

t Ibid. Sept. 1, 1496. Ibid. May 3. Ibid. May 10. " Item, to the man 
that gydit the king to Drymmyne" (Drummond ca-stle, in Strathern) "that 
night, viiid. May 10, Item, to the king in Strivelin, to play at the each. 
August 8, Item, to the man that castis the brazen chambers to the gun, 
xxviii sh. Item, Sept. 1, to John Lamb of Leith, for xx.xvi gun-chambers, 
and for nykkis and bandis to ye gnnnis, and for iron graith to the brazen 
gun, and lokkis, finger and boltis to the bombards that were in Leith. Sept. 
9, For ane elne, half a quartere, and a nail of double red tafl'ety to the Duke 
of York's (Perkia Warbeck) banner, for the elne, xviii sh." 

1497. JAMES IV. 325 

distinguished honours, and equipped for war with a 
personal magnificence ahnost equal to that of the king. 
At this moment, Rodcric de Lalain, with two ships, 
which bore a force of sixty German men-at-arms, ar- 
rived from Flanders, bringing with him, from the 
Duchess of Burgundy, arms, harness, crossbows, and 
other necessary military stores; whilst there landed at 
St Andrews, on a mission from Charles the Pjighth, 
the Lord of Concressault,who had formerly commanded 
Perkin's body-guard in France.* The very selection 
of so intimate a friend of the counterfeit prince, indi- 
cated a secret disj)osition to favour his cause; and al- 
though the French monarch publicly proposed, by his 
ambassador, that he should be permitted to act as a 
mediator between Henry and the Scottish king, it is 
certain that ho secretly encouraged the invasion. At 
the same time, many of the English, chiefly of the 
Border barons, resorted to Perkin from Berwick and 
Carlisle ; the Nevilles, Dacres, Skcltons, Levels, and 
Herons, were in constant communication with him ; 
and it was confidently expected bj" the young King of 
Scots, that the disposition in his favour would become 
general the moment he penetrated into England.-f- 

But James, whose rash and overbearing temper often 
misled his judgment, was little aware of the means 
which Henry had sagaciously adopted to defeat the 
threatened invasion. With the Scottish people, who 
cared little for the pretensions of the house of York, 
or the cause of the mysterious stranger, the war was 
nn[)opular; and in Bothwell, the favourite of James 
the Third, who had been suffered by his son to remain 

* Supra, p. 320. 

+ Ix'tters from Ramsay lord Botlnvell, to Henry tlio Sevcntli, first piib- 
llsheil l)vPinkerton, from the originals iu the British iMuseum. I'iukurton's 
Hist. vol. ii. pp. 438, 443. 


in Scotland, Henry possessed an active and able parti- 
san. By his means, the king''s brother the Duke of 
Ross, the Earl of Buchan, and the Bishop of Moray, 
were induced to promise Henry their utmost assistance 
in defeating the object of the invasion ; the young 
prince even engaged to place himself under the protec- 
tion of the King of England, the moment his royal 
brother crossed the Borders ; and a plot for the seizure 
of Warbeck, at night, in his tent, was, at Henry ""s sug- 
gestion, entered into between Buchan, Bothwell, and 
Wyat, an English envoy, which probably only failed 
from the vigilance of the royal guard, whom James 
had directed to keep watch round the pavilion. 

Whilst many of the most powerful Scottish barons 
thus secretly lent themselves to Henry, and remained 
with the army only to betray it, others, who had been 
the friends and counsellors of his father, anxiously la- 
boured to dissuade James from carrying hostilities to 
extremity; but the glory of restoring an unfortunate 
prince, the last of a noble race, to his hereditary throne ; 
the recovery of Berwick, which he engaged to place in 
the hands of the Scottish king; and the sum of one 
thousand marks, which he promised to advance for the 
expenses of the war, were motives too powerful to be 
resisted by the young monarch ; and, after a general 
muster of his army at Ellame Kirk, within a few miles 
of the English Border, he declared war, and invaded 
England. At this time, Warbeck addressed a public 
declaration to his subjects, in the name of Richard duke 
of York, true inheritor of the crown of England. He 
branded Henry as an usurper — accused him of the 
murder of Sir William Stanley, Sir Simon Montfort, 
and others of the ancient barons and nobility — of hav- 
mct invaded the liberties and franchises of the church 

1497. JAMES IV. 327 

— and of having pilla2;o(l the people by heavy aids and 
unjust taxes. He pledged his word to remove these 
illegal impositions, to maintain uninjured the rights of 
the church, the privileges of the nobles, the charters of 
the corporations, with the commerce and manufactures 
of the country; and he concluded by setting a reward 
of one thousand pounds on Henry ^s head. 

This proclamation was judiciously drawn up, yet it 
gained no proselytes, and James, who had expected a 
very ditl'erent result, was mortified to find that the 
consequences which had been predicted by his wisest 
counsellors were speedily realized. So long as War- 
beck attempted to assert his pretended rights to the 
throne by the assistance of the English, whom he 
claimed as his own subjects, he had some chance of 
success; but such was still the hatred between the two 
nations, that the fact of his appearance at the head of 
a Scottish army at once destroyed all sympathy and 
afliection for his cause. Instead of a ijencral risinc; of 
the people, the Scottish monarch found that the English 
Border barons who had joined him, were avoided as 
traitors and renegades, and the large force of Germans, 
French, and Flemish volunteers, who marched along 
with the army, only increased the odium against the 
impostor, whilst they refused to co-operate cordially 
with their allies. James, however, held his desolating 
progress through Northumberland, and incensed at the 
failure of his scheme, and the disappointment of his 
hopes, with a cruel and short-sighted policy, indulged 
his revenge by delivering over the country to indiscri- 
minate plunder. It is said that Warbeck generously 
and warmly remonstrated against such a mode of 
making war, declaring that he would rather renounce 
the crown than gain it at thcexpeuseof so nmch misery : 


to which James coldly replied, that his cousin of York 
seemed to him too solicitous for the welfare of a nation 
which hesitated to acknowledge him either as a kinij 
or a subject ; a severe retort, evincing very unequivo- 
cally, that the ardour of the monarch for the main 
object of the war, had experienced a sudden and effectual 
check.* The approach, however, of an English army, 
the scarcity of provisions in an exhausted country, 
and the late season of the year, were more efficacious 
than the arguments of the pretended prince ; and the 
Scottish king, after an expedition which had been 
preceded by many boastful and expensive preparations, 
retreated without hazarding a battle, and regained his 
own dominions. Here, in the society of his fair mis- 
tress, the Lady Drummond, and surrounded by the 
flatterers and favourites who thronged his gay and 
dissipated court, he soon forgot his ambitious designs, 
and appeared disposed to abandon, for the present, all 
idea of supporting the pretensions of Warbeck to the 
throne of England. 

But the flame of war, once kindled between the 
two countries, was not so easily extinguished. The 
Borderers on either side had tasted the sweets of plun- 
der, and the excitation of mutual hostility. An inroad 
by the Homes, which took place even in the heart of 
winter, again carried havoc into England; and Henry, 
whose successes against his domestic enemies had now 
seated him firmly upon the throne, commanded Lord 
Dacre, his warden of the west marches, to assemble 
the whole power of these districts, and to retaliate by 
an invasion into Scotland. The sagacious monarch, 
however, soon discovered, by those methods of obtaining 
secret information of which he so constantly availed 

♦ Carte, Hist, of England, vol. ii. pp. 848, 849. 

1497. JAMES IV. 329 

liimself, that James's passion for military reno-s^ii, and 
his solicitude in the cause, had greatly diminished ; 
and although hostilities recommenced in the summer, 
and a conflict took place at Dunse, the war evidently 
languished. The English monarch hcgan to renew 
his negotiations for peace ; and his proposals were 
repeated for a marriage between the young King of 
Scots and his daughter the Princess Margaret. 

James, however, although disposed to listen to these 
overtures, was too generous to entertain for a moment 
HeinVs proposal that Perkin should be abandoned, 
and delivered into his hands. Yet the expenses 
incurred by his stay in Scotland, where he was main- 
tained with a state and dignity in every way befitting 
his alleged rank, were necessarily great.* Ilis servants 
and attendants, and those of his wife, the Lady Cathe- 
rine Gordon, who took the title of Duchess of York, 
were all supported by the king; and the limited 
exchequer of the country could ill bear these heavy 
drains, in addition to the disbursement of a monarch, 
whose habits were unusually profuse, and who was 
frequently obliged to coin his personal ornaments, that 
he might procure money for the demands of pleasure, 
or the more serious urgencies of the state. -f- In such 
circumstances, it seemed to the king the best policy 
to continue the demonstrations of war for some time, 
without any intention of pushing it to extremities, 

• Treasurer's Books, May 10, 1497, "Item.GifTin to Rollaiid Roliysonn 
for his Maister (Zorkcs) mouths pcnsionne, l'=.\ii lb." — York, hero means 
Perkin Warbeck. 

•f- Treasurer's Books, July 27, 1107. " Item, ressavit of Sir Tlio* Tod 
for iii pund wecht, foure unce and three quarters of an unce of gold in xxxvi 
linkis of the great chain, coined hy the king's command, iiii'^xxxii unicorns 
iii<=lxix lbs. xvi shillings." Ibid. Feb. I'O, 1-196. Again, in the Treasurer's 
Books, Aug. 4, 1407, we fmd eighteen links struck off the great chain, weigh- 
ing thirty-live ounces, coined into two hundred unicorns and a half. Sir 
Thomas Tod was rather a dangerous persou to be placed in an ollice of such 
trust. See supra, p. 304. 


whilst, under cover of these hostilities, Warbeck should 
be suffered quietly to leave Scotland. James accord- 
ingly again advanced into England, accompanied by 
a considerable train of artillery, in which that large 
piece of ordnance, still preserved in the castle of 
Edinburgh, and known by the familiar name of Mons 
Meg, made a conspicuous appearance.* IMeanwhile, 
during his absence with the army, preparations were 
secretlv made fa>' 'ne embarkation of Warbeck. A 
ship, commanded by Robert Barton, a name destined 
to become afterwards illustrious in the naval history 
of the country, was ordered to be got ready at Ayr, and 
thither this mysterious and unfortunate adventurer 
repaired. He was accompanied by his wife, who con- 
tinued his faithful companion amid every future reverse 
of fortune, and attended by a body of thirty horse. *f- 
In this last scene of his connexion with Scotland, 
nothing occurred which evinced upon the part of James 
any change of opinion regarding the reality of his rank 
and pretensions. He and his beautiful consort pre- 
served their titles as Duke and Duchess of York, The 
vessel Avhich carried them to the continent was equipped 
at great expense, commanded by one of the most skilful 
seamen in the kingdom, and even the minutest cir- 
cumstances which could affect their accommodation 
and comfort were not forgotten by the watchful and 
generous anxiety of the monarch, who had been their 
protector till the cause seemed hopeless. At last, all 
being in readiness, the ship weighed anchor on the 
sixth of July, 1497, and Warbeck and his fortunes 
bade adieu to Scotland for ever.^ 

* Illustrations, letter N. + Treasurer's Books, July 5, 1497. 

X Treasurer's Books, July 6, 1497. Illustrations, letter O. NoteonPerkin 



Letter A, p. TiO. 

Boeee and the Story of the BulVa Jlead. 

The story of the bull's head being presented to the Douglases at 
the banquet, as a signal for their death, appears, as far as I have dis- 
covered, for the first time, in Hector Boeee, p. 363: — ^" Gubernator, 
assentiente Cancellario, * * amotis epulis, <a«riH«m ca/'wta^poni 
juhet. Id enim est apud nostrates supplicii capitalis symbolum." 
Although this extraordinary circumstance is not found in the Auch- 
ialeck Chronicle, an almost contemporary authority, yet, had I found 
evidence of the truth of Boece's assertion, that the production of a 
bull's head was amongst our countrymen a well-known signal for the 
infliction of a capital punishment, I should liave hesitated before re- 
jecting the appearance of this horrid emblem immediately previous 
to tlie seizure of the Douglases. The truth is, however, that the pro- 
duction of such a dish as a bull's head, or, according to the version of 
tlie tale given by a great writer,* a hlack bull's head, as an emblem 
of death, is not to be found in any former period of our history, or in 
any Celtic tradition of which I am aware. For this last assertion, 
the non-existence of any Celtic or Highland tradition of date pnor to 
Boece's liistory, where this emblem is said to have been used, I rest 
not on my own judgment, for I regret much I am little read in Gaelic 
antiquities, but on the information of my friends. Mr Gregory secre- 
tary to the Society of Antiquaries, and the Reverend Mr Macgregor 
Stirling, who are, perhaps, amongst the ablest of our Celtic antiquariep.+ 

• Sir Walter Scott's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 281. 

+ Mr Gregory, I am happy to see, is about to publish "A Histon- of the 


After the time of Boece, whose work was extremely popular in Scot- 
land, it is by no means improbable that the tale of the bull's head 
should have been transplanted into Highland traditions. Accordingly 
I understand, from Mr Stirling, that Sir Duncan Campbell, the seventh 
laird of Glenurcha, on an occasion somewhat similar to the murder 
of the Douglases, is said to have produced a bull's head at table, which 
caused his victims to start from the board and escape. Sir Duncan 
lived in the interval between 1560 and 1631. 

Letter B, p. 31. 

George earl of Angus. 

It is to be regretted that Godscroft, iu his History of the House of 
Douglas and Angus, vol. i. p. 287, instead of his own interminable 
remarks and digressions, had not given us the whole of the ancient 
ballad in which some indignant minstrel expressed his abhorrence of 
the deed. One stanza only is preserved :— 

Edinburgh Castle, Town and Tower, 
God grant thou sink for sin, 
And that even for the black dinner 
Earl Douglas gat therein. 

The late Lord Hailes, in his Remarks on the History of Scotland, chap, 
vii., satisfactorily demonstrated "that Archibald, third Earl of Dou- 
glas, could not, according to the common opinion, have been a brother 
of James, second Earl of Douglas, slain at Otterburn, and that he did 
not succeed to the earldom in right of blood." He added — " By what 
means, or under what pretext, George earl of Angus, the undoubted 
younger brother of Earl James, was excluded from the succession, it 
is impossible at this distance of time to determine. During the course of 
almost a century the descendants of Archibald, third Earl of Douglas, 
continued too powerful for the peace of the crown, or for their own 
safety. At length, in 1488, the male line ended by the death of James, 

Western Highlands and the Hebrides during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth 
Centuries." Hitherto, all that we know of the history of this most inter- 
esting portion of the kingdom, is preplexing, vague, and traditionary. But, 
from the mass of authentic materials which the industry of the secretary of 
the antiquaries has collected, a valuable work may at last be expected. 

The able work alluded to in the above note appeared in 1830'. Its author, 
in whom I lost a friend ahvays ready to communicate information out of his 
abundant stores, died in the course of the same year. He was the son of tlie 
celebrated Dr Gregory of Edinburgh— the direct descendant of a family long 
distinguished for hereditary talent of the highest kind. 


ninth Earl of Douglas, and the honours of Douglas returned into the 
right channel of Angus." A learned and, as it appears, conclusivo 
solution of this difficulty, appeared in a paper in the Scots Magazine 
for September, 1814, where it is shown that George earl of Angus, 
considered by Lord llailes, by Douglas, and all our genealogical 
writers, as the legitimate brother of James earl of Douglas, was an 
illegitimate son of William earl of Douglas, and as such had no title 
to succeed to the earldom. It is to be wished that the same acute 
antiquary, who has successfully solved this and many other genealo- 
gical difficulties, would bring his researches to bear upon some of 
those obscurer points in the history of the country, which are inti- 
mately connected with genealogy, and would derive from it important 
illustration. The hypothesis, for instance, upon which I have ven- 
tured as to the causes which may have led to the trial and execution 
of William, sixth Earl of Douglas, and his brother David, in 1440, is 
an example of one of the subjects upon which an intimate knowledge 
of genealogy might enable its possessor to do much for history. 

Letter C, p. 31. 

Execution of the Douglases. 

The Douglases, along with their unfortunate friend and adherent 
Malcolm Fleming, were beheaded, according to Gray's MS., " in 
vigilio Sancte Katerine Virginis, viz. xxiiii. die mensis Novembris anno 
Domini I"* iiii'^ xl." The date in the Extracta ex Veteribus Chronicis 
Scotite agrees with this ; but it appears from the following curious 
Instrument, that Malcolm Fleming was executed, not at the same 
time as the Douglases, but on the fourth day thereafter: — In Dei 
nomine Amen. Per hoc presens publicum instrumentum cunctis pateat 
evidenter quod anno ab incarnacione Domini, secundum computacionem 
Regni Scocie M"'" cccc™° xl™" mensis Januarii die vii. Indictione 
quarta Pontificatus Sanctissime in Xpo patris et Domini nostri, Do- 
mini Eugenii divina providentia Papse quarti Anno x"'°. In mei No- 
tarii publici et testium subscriptornm presencia personalitor constitut. 
Nobiles viri Walterus de Buchqwhanane et Thomas de Murhede scu- 
tiferi, ac procuratores nobilis viri Roberti Flemyng scutiferi, filii et 
heredis Malcolnii Flemyng quondam Domini de Bigar, habentes ad 
infrascripta potestaten et sufficieus mandatum, nt meipso notario con- 
Btabat per legitima documenta, accedcntes ad Crucem fori Burgi do 
Lithgw, coiam Willmo de Howstoun deputato Vicccomitis cjusdem, 
procuratorio nomine dicti Roberti, falsaverunt quoddain judicium dar 


turn seu prelatum super Malcolmum Flemyng, patrem dicti Roberti, 
super montem Castri de Edyuburch, Secundum modum et formam, et 
propter racionem inferius scriptum, quarum tenor sequitur in wulgar. 

We, Waltyr of Buchqwanane and Thomas of Murhede, speciale 
procurators and actournais, conjunctly and severally, to Robert 
Flemying, son and ayr to Malcolm Flemying, sumtyme Lord of Bigar, 
sayis to thee, John of Blayr Dempstar, that the Doyme gyfBn out of 
thy mouth on Malcolm Flemying in a said Courte haldyn befor our 
soTerane Lord y^ King on the Castle-hill of Edynburch, on Mononday 
the acht and twenty day of the moneth of November the yere of our 
Lord M"° cccc™" and fourty zeris. Sayande " that he had forfat land, 
lyff, and gud as chete to the King, and that yow gave for doyme ;" 
that doyme forsaid giffyn out of thy mouth is evyl, fals, and rotten in 
itself; and here We, the foresaid Walter and Thomas, procurators to 
the said Robert for hym, and in his name, fals it, adnuU it, and again 
cancel it in thy hand William of Howston Deput to the Sherray of 
Lithgow, and tharto a borch in thy hand ; and for this cause the 
Courte vras unlachfull, the doyme unlachfull, unorderly gyflTn, and 
agane our statut ; forbad he been a common thef takyn redhand, and 
haldyn twa Sonys, he sulde haff had his law dayis he askande them, 
as he did before our Soverane Lord the King, and be this resoune the 
doyme is evyll giffyn and well agane said ; and her we, the foresaid 
Walter and Thomas, procurators to the foresaid Robert, protests for 
ma resounys to be giffyn up be the said Robert, or be his procurators 
qwhar he acht, in lawfull tyme. 

Dictum judicium sic ut premittitur falsatum et adnullatum dicti 
procuratoris, nomine dicti Roberti, invenerunt plegium ad prosequen- 
dum dictas adnullaciones et falsaciones predicti judicii, in manu 
Roberti Nicholson serjandi domini nostri regis qui dictum plegium 
recepit. Postmodo vero dicti procuratores offerebant falsacionem 
adnullacionem dicte judicii sub sigillo praefati Roberti Flemyng dicto 
Willelmo de Howstoun deputato dicti vicecomitis, qui recipere recu- 
savit, dicendo quod recepcio Ejusdem pertinebat ad Justiciarium, et 
non ad vicecomitum, et tunc ipsi procuratores continuo publice pro- 
testati sunt, quod dicta recusacio nullum prejudicium dicto Roberto 
Flemyng generaret in futurum. Super quibus omnibus et singulis 
prsefati Walterus et Thomas procuratorio nomine ut supra a me nota- 
rio publico infrascript sibi fieri pecierunt publicum instrumentum, seu 
publica instrumenta : 

Acta fuerunt haec apud crucem ville de Lithgw hora qu decima 
ante meridiem Anno, die, mense, Indiccione et Pontificatu quibus 
supra, presentibus ibidem providis viris, Willelmo de Houston Depu- 
tato ut supra, Domino Willmo llane, Domino Johanne person, Pres- 


byteris, Jacobo Forrest et Jacobo Fowlys publico notario cum multis 
aliis tcstibus, ad premissa vocatis specialiter ct rogatis. 

This instrument, which exhibits in a striking light the formal so- 
lemnity of feudal manners, is printed from a copy communicated to 
me by my friend Thomas Thomson, Esq., Depute-clcrk Register, and 
taken from the original in the archives of the Earldom of Wigto%vn, 
preserved in the charter-chest of Admiral Fleming at Cumbcniauld. 

Letter D, p. 51. 
Early Connexion between Scotland and the IJanse Tovns. 

The intercourse of Scotland with the Hanse towns and the com- 
mercial states of Flanders took place, as has been shown in another 
p;irt of this history, at a very early period. When that portion of the 
work was ^vTitten I was not aware of the existence of an interesting 
document on the subject of early Scottish commerce, which had been 
included by Sartorius in his work on the origin of the league of the 
Hanse towns; for the publication of which, after the death of the 
author, the world is indebted to the learned Dr Lappenberg of 
Hamburgh; and to which my attention was first directed by Mr 
J. D. Carrick's Life of Sir William Wallace, published in Constable's 
Miscellany. The document is a letter from Wallace and Sir Andrew 
Moray, dated at Badsington in Scotland, evidently a misreading for 
Haddington, on the 11th of October, 12^7. It is as follows: — 

" Andreas de Morauia et Willelmus Wallensis, duces exercitus 
regni Scotie et communitas eiusdem Regni, prouidis viris et discretis 
ac amicis dilectis, maioribus et communibus de Lubek et de Hamburg 
salutem et sincere dilectionia semper incrementum. Nobis per fide 
dignos mercatores dicti regni Scotie est intimatum, quod vos vestri 
gratia, in omnibus causis et negociis, nos et ipsos mercatores tangen- 
tibus consulentes, auxiliautes et favorabilcs estis, licet, nostra non 
precesserent merita, et ideo magis vobis tenemur ad grates cum digna 
remuneracione, ad que vobis volumus obligari ; rogantcs vos, quatinus 
preconizari facere velitis inter mercatores vestros, quod securum ac- 
ceesum ad omnes portus regni Scotie possint habere cum mercandiis 
suis, quia rcgnum Scotie, Deo regraciato, ab Anglorum potestate bello 
est recuperatum. Valcte. Datum apud Badsingtonam in Scotia, 
undocimo die Octobris, Anno gracie, millesimo ducentesimo nonagesi- 
mo ecptimo. Rogamus vos iusuper vt negocia Johannis Burnet, et 
Johanuis Frere, mercatorum nostrorum promoucri dignemini, prout 
nos negocia mercatorum vestrorum promovere velitis. Valete dat : 
ut prius." 



The original letter, of which a transcript was communicated by 
Dr Lappeuberg, the editor of Sartorius' work, to Mr Carrick, through 
Mr Repp, one of the assistant librarians of the Faculty of Advocates, 
still is preserved among the archives of the Hanseatic city of Lubeck. 
" It appears," says Dr L. " to be the oldest document existing rela- 
tive to the intercourse of Hamburgh and Lubeck, or other Hanseatic 
cities, with Scotland." It is much to be wished that a correct fac- 
simile of it should be procured. The battle of Stirling, in which 
Wallace defeated Cressingham, was fought on the 3d of September, 
1297. A great dearth and famine then raged in Scotland, and Wal- 
lace led his army into England.* The letter to the cities of Lubeck 
and Hamburgh was evidently written on the march into Northumber- 
land, which corroborates the reading of Haddington, a town lying 
directly in the route of the army, for Badsington, a name unknown to 
Scottish topography. In Langtoft's Chronicle, a high authority, we 
meet with a coiToboration of Wallace's mission to Flanders, imme- 
diately after the battle of Stirling : — 

After this bataile, the Scottis sent over the se 
A boye of tlier rascaile, quaynt and deguise.+ 
To Flandres bad him fare, through burgh and cite, 
Of Edward where he ware to brjTig them certeynte. J 

It is probable that this boy or page, who was sent to spy out the 
motions of Edward, was the bearer of the letter to the cities of Lubeck 
and Hamburgh. We possess now four original deeds granted by 
Wallace : The above letter to Lubeck and Hamburgh — the protection 
to the monks of Hexham, dated the 8th of November, 1297 — the 
passport to the same monks — and the famous grant, published by 
Anderson in his Diplomata, plate xliv., to Alexander Skirmishur, of 
the oifice of Constable of the castle of Dundee, for his faithful service, 
in bearing the royal standard in the army of Scotland. It is curious 
to mark the progressive style used by Wallace in these deeds. In 
the first, the letter to the Hanse Towns, dated 11th October, 1297, it 
is simply, commander of the army of Scotland, " Dux exercitus regni 
Scotiffi." In the second, dated 7th November, 1297, he is "Leader of 
the army of Scotland, in the name of an illustrious prince. Lord John, 
by the grace of God, King of Scotland, by the consent of the commu- 
nity of the same kingdom."§ In the third, which is dated at Tor- 
phichen, the 29th March, 1298, we no longer find Andrew Moray 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. pp. 171, 172. "f- Disguised. 

X Langtoft, vol. ii. p. 298. 

§ Knighton, p. 2521. Apud T^\'ysdcn x. Scriptores, vol. ii. 


associated in the command of the army with Wallace ; his style is 
simply William Wallace, Guardian of the Kingdom of Scotland, and 
leader of the armies of the same, in the name of an excellent prince, 
Lord John, by the grace of God, the illustrious king of Scotland. 

With the exception of this valuable document, I am not aware that 
there exist any additional letters or charters relative to the early 
commerce between Scotland and the llanse towns, till we arrive at 
tlie first quarter of tlie fifteenth century, during which repeated com- 
jilaints were made on the part of the associated cities, that the Scots 
had plundered their merchantmen. In consequence of this, they re- 
sorted to reprisals ; the members of the league were prohibited from 
all intercourse with the Scots ; and every possible method was adopted 
to persecute and oppress the merchants of this country, wherever the 
Ilanseatic factories were established ; for example, in Norway, and 
in Flanders, to which the Scots resorted. It is ordered by a Hanse 
statute of the yearl41'2,that no member of the league should purchase 
of Scotsmen, either at Bruges or any other place, cloth cither dressed 
or undressed, or manufactured from Scottish wool ; whilst the mer- 
cliauts of the Hanse communities who did not belong to the league, 
were forbid to sell such wares in the markets of the leagued towns. 
It would appear that these quarrels continued for upwards of ten 
years, as in 1418 the Compter at Bruges was enjoined, under pain of 
confiscation, to renounce commercial intercourse with the Scots, till 
all difierences were adjusted ; from which we may fairly conclude, 
that the Bruges market was the principal emporium of trade on botli 
sides. A few years after this, in 1426, the prohibition of all trade 
with the Scots was renewed, unless they consented to an indemnifi- 
cation for damages already sustained. At a still later period, in 1445, 
it appears that the Bremeners had captured,.amongst other vessels, a 
ship coming from Edinburgh, laden with a cargo of cloth and leather ; 
and in the course of the same year, a commission was issued by James 
the Second, to certain Scottish delegates, empowering them to enter 
into negotiations with the towns of Bremen, Lubeck, Hamburgh, 
Wismar, Stralsund, and Rostock, regarding the termination of all 
such disputes. The original commission, which has never been printed 
in any English work, is preserved in the archives of the city of Bre- 
men, and is to be found in a rare German pamphlet, or Thesis, which 
was discovered and communicated by Sir William Hamilton to Mr 
Thomson, to whom I am indebted for the use of it. It is as follows : — 

"Jacobus Dei gratia Rex Scotorum. Universis ad quorum noticiam 
presentcs literas pervenerint, salutem. Sciatis quod nos ex matura 
licliberatione nostri parliamenti, de fide et Icgalitate delectorum, ei 
fiddium nostrorum. Thome de Preston, scutiferi ct farailiaris nostri 


Johannis Jeffrason et Stephani Huntare, cumburgensium burgi nostri 
de Edinburgh, ac Andree Ireland, burgensis burgi nostri de Perth, 
plurimum confidantes, ipsos, Thomam, Johannem, Stephanum, ac An- 
dream, nostros commissarios, -deputatos, et nuncios speciales fecimus, 
constituimus, et ordinavimus. Dantes et concedentes eisdem Thome, 
Johanni, Stephano, et Andree, et eorum, duobus, conjunctim, nostram 
plenariam potestatem et mandatum speciale ad comparendum coram 
nobilibus et circumspecte prudentie Tiris burgimastris, Scabinis et 
consulibus civitatum, villarum, et oppidorum de Lubec, Bremen 
Hamburgh, Wismere, Trailsond, et Rostock, seu ipsorum et aliorum, 
quorum interest commissariis et deputatis sufficientem potestatem 
habentibus, ad communicandum, tractandum, concordandum, com- 
ponendum, appunctuaudum, et finaliter concludendum, de et super 
spoliatione, bonorum restitutione, lesione et interfectione regni nostri 
Mercatorum per Bremenses anno revoluto in mare factorum, et per- 
petratorum^ ac literas quittancie pro nobis et dictis nostris mercatori- 
bus dandi et concedendi, ac omnia alia, ac singula faciendi, gerendi 
et exei'cendi, que in premissis necessaria fuerint, seu opportuna. 
Ratum et gratum habentes, pro perpetuo habituri quicquid dicti nostri 
commissarii vel eorum duo conjunctim in premissis duxerint facien- 
dum. Datum sub magno sigillo nostro apud Edynburgh, decimo 
quarto die mensis Augusti, anno domini millesimo quadragintesimo 
quadragesimo quinto, et regni nostri nono." 

In consequence of this commission, the following treaty, included 
in the same rare tract, was entered into on the I6th October, 1445. 
It is drawn up in an ancient dialect of Low German, still spoken in 
those parts. For its translation — a work which I believe few scholars 
in this country could have performed, I am indebted to the kindness 
and learning of my friend Mr Leith. 

Letter of the Scottish ambassadors concerning the reconcilia- 
rioN of the town of Bremen with the subjects of the kingdom 
OF Scotland, and the treating of the damage which they had 
occasioned each other. 

"We, John Jeffreson, Stephen Hunter provost of Edinburgh, and 
Andrew Ireland bailie of Perth, ambassadors and procurators pleni- 
potentiary of our most gracious beloved master, the most illustrious 
prince and lord, James king of Scots, of the noble city of Edinburgh, 
and others of his towns and subjects, acknowledge and make known 
openly in this letter, and give all to understand, who shall see it, or 
hear it read. 

"Since those of Bremen, in years but lately past, took on the sea, 
from the subjects of the afore-mentioned most powerful prince and 


lord, the King of Scots, our gracious beloved lord, a certain ship, 
'<aden witli Scottish cloth, and in order that all capture, attack, and 
damage, which have happened to ships, people or goods, wherever 
they have taken place, and that all other damage which has happen- 
ed to the kingdom of Scotland, and the subjects of the said kingdom, 
on the part of those of Bremen, or their people, up to the date of this 
letter, may be removed : 

" And also, iu order to compensate for, to diminish, and extinguish, 
any great and remarkable damage which they of Bremen have suf- 
fered and received in former years and times, from the subjects of the 
afore-mentioned lord the king : 

"Therefore have we, the above-mentioned John, Stephen, and 
Andrew, by the grace, full powers, and command of our aj'ore-men- 
tioned gracious and beloved lord the king, and others of his towns 
and subjects, procurators plenipotentiary, (according to the contents 
of all their procuratories, together with that of his royal gracious ma- 
jesty, sealed with all their seals, which we have delivered over to the 
aforc-mentioned people of Bremen, and received answer,) negotiated, 
elfectcd, and made conditions of a friendly treaty, with the honour- 
able burgcrmeister and counsellors of Bremen, in all power, and in 
the manner as hereafter is written. 

"Although the afore-mentioned people of Bremen, in strict right, 
as also on account of the delay which has taken place, and also on 
account of the great damage which they have suffered in former years 
from the said kingdom, could not be bound, and were not bound, yet 
on account of their affection to, and to please the afore-mentioned, 
our most gi-acious lord, and his royal grace, and for the sake of peace, 
and an equitable treaty, the same people of Bremen, to compensate for 
the expense, wear, and great inconvenience which then was occasioned, 
have given us, and do presently give a Butse,* called the Rose, with 
anchors, tackling, and ropes, as she came out of the sea, and there- 
unto forty measures of beer; and therewith shall all attack, damage, 
and hurt, which they of Bremen and their allies have done to the 
kingdom of Scotland, and the suljects of the said kingdom, up to the 
date of this letter, whether the damage may have been done to crews, 
goods, or ships, and wherever the damage may have been received, 
be declared to be compensated for, acquitted, and completely forgiven. 

"And, in like manner also, shall all attack, damage, and hurt, 
which they of Bremen, in these years, have suffered from the kingdom 
of Scotland, and the subjects of the said kingdom, and particularly 

• Butse, a particular kind of ship. Herring busses is a term frequently 
used in the Acts of Parliament. 


that which happened to one of their coggen* which was lost in the 
Firth, and to a kreyer lost near Wytkopp, and to a hreyger lost near 
the Abbey of Arbroath, and other ships, which damage those of Bremen 
estimated, and said they had suffered, to the amount of six thousand 
nobles, the same shall also be held acquitted and compensated for. 

"And we, the above-mentioned John, Stephen, and Andi-ew, pro- 
curators plenipotentiary, by power and grace of our gracious lord the 
king, his towns, and subjects, and according to the contents of our 
procuratories, do acquit, and have acquitted all and each one of the 
afore-mentioned persons of Bremen, and their allies, by power and 
might of this letter, of all the afore-mentioned damage and attackii, 
let it have happened when and where it will, and wherever it may 
have been received, in all time afore this, and will never revive the 
same comjjlaints, either in spiritual or secular courts. 

" Furthermore is agreed, negotiated, and settled, that if it should 
be that the subjects and merchants of the above-mentioned kingdom, 
should ship any of their goods in bottoms belonging to powers hostile 
to Bremen, and the privateers + of Bremen should come up to them 
on the sea, so shall the above-mentioned Scots and their goods be 
unmolested, with this difference — if it should be that enemy's goods 
were in the ship, such goods shall they, on their oaths, deliver over 
to those of Bremen ; and the ship, crew, and freight, shall be held to 
ransom for a certain sum of gold, as they shall agree with the allies % 
of those of Bi-emen, and these shall allow the ship, with the crew and 
the goods of the Scots, to sail away to their destined market. And 
farther, shall all the subjects and merchants of the above-mentioned 
most mighty prince and lord, the King of Scots, our most gracious 
and beloved master, as also those of Bremen and their merchants, 
visit, touch at, and make use of the ports and territory of the said 
kingdom of Scotland, and of the said town and territory of Bremen, 
with their merchant vessels, velinqen,§ lifes, and merchandise, with 
security, and under good safe-conduct, and velichkeit, 11 as they have 
been used to do in peace and love for long years before. 

"For the greater authenticity and truth of this document, have we 
John Jeffreson, Stephen Hunter, and Andrew Ireland, ambassadors 
and procurators plenipotentiary, affixed our true seals to this letter. 

"Given and written after the birth of Christ our Lord, fourteen 
Imndred years, and thereafter in the fortieth and fifth, on the day of 
St Gall, the holy abbot, (d. 16. Oct.)" 

* Coggen, another kind of ship, of some particular build, used for warlike 
as well as for mercantile purposes. Kieyer and kreyger can only be ex- 
plained in the same general way. 

t Kedliggere. % Vi-unden. § Unkno^vn. || Unknown. 


Letier E, p. 9G. 

Jiimci, ninth Earl of Douglas. 

As tliis authentic and interesting document has never been published, 
it may properly be included amongst the Proofs and Illustrations of 
this history. It is taken from the manuscript volume preserved in 
the Library of the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh, entitled, Sir 
Lewis Stewart's Collections, a. 4. 7. p. 19. 

Appoyntement betwixt James II. and James Earlc Douglas. 

Be it kend till all men be thyr present letters, me James, Earle of 
Douglas, to be balden and obleist, and be tliir present letters, and the 
faith in my body, lelie and truelie binds and obliges me till our sove- 
reane Lord James, be the grace of God, King of Scotland, that I shall 
fulfill, keep, and observe all and sundrie articles, and condecioncs, and 
poyntis underwrittin. That is to say — in the first, I bind and oblige 
me till our said soverayue lord, that I shall never follow nor pcrsew, 
directly nor indirectly, be law, or any other maner of way, any entrie 
in the lands of the carlcdome of Wigtone, with the pairtinents or any 
]iart of them, untill the tyme that I may obtaine speciall favour and 
Icicence of cure soverayne Lady Mary, be the Grace of God, Queen 
of Scotland, be letter and seal to be given and maid be hir to me 
thairupon. An<l in the samen wise, I bind and obliss me to our 
soverayne lord, that I shall never persew nor follow, directly nor in- 
dircctlie, the lands of the lordshipe of Stewartoun, with the pertinents, 
or any pairt of them, the whilk wer whilum the Dutches of Turinies, 
until the time that I may obtaine our soverayne lord's special licence, 
grace, and favour of entrie in the said lands ; and alswa, I bind and 
oblidge me till our soverayne lord, to remitt and forgive, and be tliir 
present letters fullie remitts and forgives, for evermair, for mc, my 
brother, and the Lord Ilamiltoune, and our (cnverdance,) all maner 
of rancour of heart, malice, fcde, nialgrc, and invy, the quliilk I or any 
of us had, hcs, or may have in tyme to come, till any of our said sove- 
rane lord's lieges, for any actions, causes, or querrcls by gane, ami 
spcciallie till all them that had arte or parte of the slaughter or deid 
of whylum William, Earle of Douglas, my brother, and shall take thay 
personnes in heartlincs and friendship at the ordinance and advyce of 
our said soverayne lord. 

And outter, I bind and obliss me till our said soverayne lord, that 
all the tenants and maillers being within my lands quatsomever, sail 


remane with thair tacks and maling quhile Whitsonday come a year, 
except them that occupies the grangis and steids whilk war in the 
hand of the said Earle William, my brother, for his own proper goods 
the tyme of his decease, and yet thay persones to remaine with thyr 
tacks, at our said soverayne lord's will, of the said granges and steids 
while Whitsonday next to come ; and alswa I bind and oblige me to 
our said soverayne lord to revock, and be thir present letters revocks, 
all leagues and bands, if any hes been made be me in any tyme by 
gane, contrare to our said soverayne lord ; and binds and obliss me, 
tliat I shall make na band, na ligg in tyme coming, quhilk sail be 
contrar til his hienes. Alswa I bind and obliss me till our said sove- 
rayne lord, to remitt and forgive, and be thir present letters remitts 
and forgives till his hienes all maner of maills, goods spendit, taken, 
sould, or analied be him or his intromitters, in any manner of wayes 
before the xxii day of the moneth of July last bypast, before the mak- 
yng of thir present letters. And if any thing be tane of the good of 
Gallaway, I put me thairof, to our said soveraigne lady, the Queen's 
will. Alswa I bind and oblige me to our said soveraigne lord, that 
I shall maintaine, supplie, and defend the borders and the bordarars, 
and keep the trewes taken, or to be taken, at all my guidly power, 
and in als far as I aught to do as wardane or liegeman till him. Alswa 
I bind and oblidge me to doe to our said soverane lord, honor and 
worschip in als far as lyes in my power, I havand sic sovertie as I can 
be content of reasoun for safety of my life. Item, I oblige me that 
all liarmes done, and guides taken under assurance be mandit and 
restored. In witness of the whilk thing, in fulfilling and keeping all 
and sundrie articles, poynts, and conditiones beforr written in all 
manier of forme, force, and effect, as is aforsaid, all fraud and guile 
away put, I the said James, for me, my brother, and the Lord Hamil- 
toune, and all our pairts, (averdance,) to ther present letters sett my 
seall, and for the mair sickerness the haly evangillis twichit, hes given 
our bodily oath, and subscryved with my own hand at Douglas, the 
xxviii day of the month of Agust, the year of our Lord jm. four 
hundreth and feftie-twa vears. 

Sic subscribitur, 

James, Earle Douglas. 
James, Lord Hamiltone. 

Sir Lewis Stewart does not say where the original is preserved ; 
but his transcript is evidently much altered and modernized in the 


Letter F, p. 104. 

" EoDEM anno Comes Moraviao frater Comitis de Dowglas cum fratre 
6U0 Comite de Ormont, el Johannes Douglas corundom fratre intra- 
verunt -Ynanderdaill et illam dcpredati sunt ; et spolia ad matrem in 
Karleil portarunt, presentaiitcs. Quibus (domiuus) de Johnston cum 
duceutis occurrit, et acriter inter illos pugnatum est. In quo conflictu 
domiuus Comes Moravia) occiditur, et caput ejus regi Jacobo prescn- 
tabatur, sed rex animositatem viri commeudabat, licet caput ignorabat. 
Occisus eciam fuit Comes de Ormont. Tunc convocato Parliamento 
anuexne erant illorum terrre, Coronro regiiv, viz. Ettrick forest, tola 
Galvaia, Ballincreiff, Gifford, cum aliis multis dominiis Eorundem." 

The manuscript from which this extract is taken, and which has 
never been printed, is preserved in the Library of tlie University of 
Edinburgh. A. C. c. 26. 

Letter G, p. 174. 
Rise of the Forcer of the Boyds. 

The remarkable indenture quoted in the text is preserved amongst 
tlie archives of the earldom of Wigtown, in the charter-chest of 
Admiral Fleming at Cumbernauld. 

As only twenty copies of it, printed for private circulation, exist, I 
am happy to render it more accessible to the Scottish antiquary. It 
is as follows : 

" Yis indeutour, mad at Striuclyn, the tend day of februar, the zer 
of God a thousand four hundreth sixty and fyf zeris, betwyx honourable 
and worschipful lordis, yat is to say, Robert, Lord Flomyng on ye ta 
pairt, and Gilbert, Lord Kennedy and Sir Alexander Boid of Duchol, 
knight, on the todir pairt, yat yai ar fullelie accordit and appointit 
in maner and form as eftir follouis : Yat is to say, yat ye said lordis 
ar bundyn and oblist yaim selfis, yair kyn, friendis, and men, to stand 
in afald kendnes, supple, and defencs, ilk an til odir, in all yair caussis 
and querrell leifuU and honest, movit and to be movit, for all ye dais 
of yair liffis, in contrery and aganis al maner of persones yat leilT 
or dee may ; yair allegiance til our soueran lord alanerly outan, 
cxcepand to the lord ficmyng, his bandis mad of befoir, to ye Lord 
Levynston, and to yhe lord Hamilton, and, in lyk maner, excepand 
to the saidis lordis kennedy and Sir Alexander, yair bandis mad of 
befoir, til a reverend fadir in Crist, master patrik the graham, bischop 
of Sanctander, ye Erie af Cran-ford, ye lord mungumer, the lord 


maxvel, the lord boid, the lord levynston, the lord hamilton, and the 
lord Ca thcart. Item, yat the said lord flemyng salbe of special service, 
and of cunsail to the kyng, als lang as the saidis lordis kenedy and 
Sir Alexander ar speciall seruandis and of cunsail to ye kyng ; the 
said lord flemyng kepaud his band and kyndnes to the foii'saidis lord 
kennedey and Alexander, for al the foirsaid tym : And attour, the said 
lord flemyng is oblist yat he sal nodir wit, consent, nor assent, til (avas,) 
nor tak away the kyngis person fra the saidis lord kenedy and Sir 
Alexander, nor fra na udyr yat yai lefi", and ordanis to be doaris to yaim, 
and keparis in yair abcens ; and gif the said lord flemyng getis, or 
may get, ony bit of sic thyng to be done in ony tym, he sal warn the 
saidis lord kennedy and Sir Alexander, or yair doars in do tym, or 
let it to be done at all his power ; and tak sic part as yai do, or on 
an of yaim for ye tymin, ye ganstandyng of yat mater, but fraud and 
gil; and the said lord fleming sal adwis the kyng at al his pertly power 
wycht his gud cunsail, to be hertly and kyndly to the foirsaidis lord 
kenedy and Sir Alexander, to yair barnis and friendis, and yai at belang 
to yaim for ye tym. Item, giff yair happynis ony vakand to fall in 
the kyngis handis, at is a resouable and meit thyng for the said lord 
flemyngis seruice, yat he salbe furdirit yairto for his reward ; and gif 
yair happynis a large thyng to fal, sic as vard, releiff", marriage, or 
offis, at is meit for hym, the said lord flemyng sal hafi" it for a resouable 
compocicion befoir udir. Item, the saidis lord kennedy and Sir 
Alexander sal hafi" thorn of Sumerwel and wat of twedy, in special 
mantenans, supple, and defencs, in all yair accionis, causs, and querrel, 
leful and honest, for the said lord flemyngis sak, and for yair semis 
don and to be don, next yair awyn mastii-is, yat yai wer to of befoir. 
And, at all and sundry thyngis abovn writtyn salbe lelily kepit, hot 
fraud and gil ; ather of yhe pairtis hes geSyn till udiris, yair bodily 
aithis, the hali evangelist tuychit, and enterchangable, set to yair sells, 
at day, yheir, and place abovn written." 

Letter H, p. 234, and I, p. 246- 

Rewlt of his Nobility against James the Third,in 1482. 

The history of this revolt of the nobles against James the Third, 
as it is found in the pages of Lesley and Buchanan, furnishes a strik- 
ing example of the necessity of having access to the contemporary 
muniments and state papers of the period, as the materials from 
which historical truth must be derived. Lesley was a scholar and a 
man of talent — Buchanan a genius of the first rank of intellect ; yet 


both have failed in their attempt to estimate the causes which led to 
the struggle between James and his barons ; and it is not, perhaps, 
too much to say that the narrative of Buchanan, where he treats of 
this period, is little else than a classical romance. The extent of 
Albany's treasonable correspondence with Edward the Fourth, his 
consent to sacrifice the independence of the kingdom, his actual as- 
sumption of the title of king, and the powerful party of the nobles by 
whom he was supported, are all oi them facts unknown to this histo- 
rian, and which the publication of the Fcodcra Angliro first revealed 
to the world. Instead of these facts, which let us into the history of 
the proceedings of both parties in the state, and afford a pretty clear 
notion of the motives by which they were actuated, we are presented 
by Buchanan with a series of vague and scandalous reports, calculated 
to blacken the memory of Vlic king, arising at first out of the false- 
hoods propagated by Albany and the nobles of his faction, against a 
monarch whom they had determined to dethrone, increased by the 
credulous additions of the common people, and invested by him with 
all the charms of style which his sweet and classic muse has so pro- 
fusely scattered over his history. "Use quidem in acta publica causae 
sunt rcdactcp. Vcrum odium regis ob causam privatum conceptnm 
plus ei (i.e. Domino Crichtonio) nocuisse crcditur. Krat Gulielmo 
uxor e nobile Dumbarorum familia nata, abque insigni pulchritudine. 
Eam cum a rcgc maritus corruptam comperisset, consilium temcrarium 
quidem sed ab animo amore jcgro et injuria irritato non alienum sus- 
cepit. Minorem enim e regis sororibus, et ipsam quoque forma egregia 
et consuetudine fratris infamem, compressit, et ex ea Margaritam 
Crichtoniura qusc non adeo pridem deccssit genuit." B. xii. cli. For 
this complicated tale, which throws the double guilt of adultery and 
incest upon the unfortunate monarch, there is no evidence whatever ; 
and of the first part of it, the inaccuracy may be detected. William, 
third Lord Crichton, did not marry a daughter of the noble house of 
Dunbar. The Lady Janet Dunbar was his mother, not his wife. 
(Douglas's Peerage, vol. i. p. (JOO. Crawford's Officers of State, p. 31 1. 
.Sutherland case, by Lord llailes, c. vi. p. 81.) On the other hand, 
it seems almost certain that William, third Lord Crichton, the asso- 
ciate of Albany, of whom Buchanan is speaking, did mnrry Margaret, 
sister to James the Third ; but the dark aspersion of her previous 
connexion with her brother, the king, is found, as far as I have yet 
seen, in no historian prior to Buchanan, not even in the credulous 
Boece, whose pages are sufficiently hostile to James the Third, to 
induce us to believe that the story would not have been neglected. 
That the treaty of Albany with Edward the Fourth, and his assump- 
tion of the royal title, should have been unknown to Buchanan and 


Lesley, to whom all access to the original records was probably im- 
possible at the time they wrote, is not exti-aordinary ; but it is singu- 
lar that the circumstances illustrative of this period of our history 
should have escaped the notice of Mr Aikmau, the latest translator 
of Buchanan. As to Lesley, the causes which he assigns for the hos- 
tility of the nobility to James and his favourites, are his having suf- 
fered Cochrane to debase the current coin, by the issue of copper 
money, unmeet to have course in the realm — the consequent dearth 
and famine throughout the country — his living secluded from his 
queen and his nobles, and his entertaining, in place of his royal con- 
sort, a mistress, named the Daisy — the slaughter of the Earl of Mar, 
his brother — and the banishment of the Duke of Albany. With regard 
to the first of these subjects of complaint, the issue of a new copper 
coin, the fact is certain, and the discontent and distress which it oc- 
casioned cannot be doubted. In the short Chronicle at the end of 
Winton's IMS. Reg. 17, d xx., printed by Pinkerton, Appendix vol. i. 
p. 502, Hist, of Scotland, is the following passage : — " Thar was ane 
gret hungyr and deid in Scotland, for the boll of meill was for four 
pounds ; for thair was black cunye in the realm strikin and ordynit 
be King James the Thred, half pennys, and three penny pennys innu- 
merabill, of copper. And thai yeid twa yeir and mair : And als was 
gret weir betwix Scotland and England, and gret distruction thro the 
weiris was of come and cattel. And thai twa thyngs causyt bayth 
hungar and derth, and mony puir folk deit of hungei'. And that 
samyn yeir, in the moneth of July, the Kyng of Scotland purposyt till 
half passit ou gaitwart Lawdyr : and thar the Lords of Scotland held 
thair counsaill in the Kirk of Lawdyr, and cryit doune the black silver, 
and thai slew ane pairt of the Kyng's housald ; and other part thai 
banysyt ; and thai tuke the Kyng himself, and thai put hym in the 
Castell of Edinburgh in firm kepyng. * * And he was haldyn in 
the Castell of EJynburgh fra the Magdalyne day quhill Michaelmas. 
And than the wictall grew better chaip,for the boll that was for four 
pounds was than for xxii. sh. of quhyt silver." The circumstance of 
crying down the black money is corroborated by the act passed in the 
parliament of 1473, c. 12, "and as touching the plakkis and the new 
pennys, the lordis thinkis that the striking of thame be cessit. And 
they have the course that they now have unto the tyme that the fy- 
nance of them be knawiu. And whether they halde five shillings 
fyne silver of the unce, as was ordainit by the King's hieness, and 
promittit bv the cunzeours."* So far the narrative of Lesley is sup- 
ported by watnentic evidence, but that Cochrane was the adviser of 

* Acts nf the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 105. 


tliis depreciation of the current coin does not appear in any contem- 
porary record ; and the assertion of James's attachment to a mistress, 
called the Daisy, who had withdrawn his affections from the queen, 
rests solely on the authority of the later and more popular historians. 

Lkttkh K, p. 2(57. 
InTcntori/ nf the Jewels and Money of James the Third. 

As the inventory referred to in the text is valuable, from the light 
which it throws upon the wealth and the manners of Scotland at the 
close of the fifteenth century, I am sure the antiquarian, and I trust even 
the general reader, will be gratified by its insertion. It is extracted 
from the Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, and a few 
copies have been already printed, although not published, by Mr 
Thomson, to whom this volume is under repeated obligations, and who 
will not be displeased by its curious details beiug made more gene- 
rally accessible to the public. 



Memorandum deliuerit be dene Robert hog channoune of halirud- 
house to the thesaurar, tauld in presens of the chancellar, lord Lilc. 
the prior of Sanctandrois, in a pync pig* of tynn. 

In the fyrst of angellis twa hundreth four score & v angellis 

Item in ridaris nyne score and audit ridaris 

Item in rialis of France fyfty ami fuur 

Item in uniconiis nyne hundrcthc & four score 

Item in demyis & Scottis crounis four hundreth & tuenti 

Item in rose nobilis fytfti and four 

Item in Ilari nobilis & salutis fourti & anc 

Item fyftene Flemis ridaris 

Item tuelf Lewis 

• I'yiic Pig ; perhaps our modern Scots *' penny pig." 


Item in Franche crounis thre score and thre 
Item in unkennyt* golde thretti pundis 

Memorandum, be the command of the king, thar past to the caste.i 
to see the jowalis, silver money, & uther stuif, the xvii day of Junii. 
the yer of god one thousand four hundreth and eighty-eight yeris, thir 
persouns under writtin, that is to say 

The erle of Angus 

The erle of Ergile 

The bischope of Glasgw 

The lord Ilalis 

The lord Home 

The knycht of Torfichane thesaurar 

Memorandum, fund be the saidis personis in the blak kist, tlire 
cofferis, a box, a cageat.-f" 
Item fund in the maist of the said cofferis, lous & put in na thing, 

bot liand within tlie said coffyr, fyve hundreth, thre score ten rois 

nobilis, and ane angell noble 
Item in a poik of cauves, beand within the said cofTre, of angell no- 
bilis, seviu hundreth and fyfty angelis 
Item in a litill purs, within the said coffre, of quarteris of rois nobilis, 

sevin score nyne rois nobilis, a quarter of a nobill. 
Item in a litill coffre, beand within the said coffre, of rois nobilis sevin 

hundreth fyfty & thre nobilis 
Item in a litill payntit coffre, beand within the said blak kist, of 

Henry nobilis a thousand thre hundreth, and sevinteue nobillis 
Item in ane uther coffre, beand within the said blak kist, a poik of 

canves, with demyis contenand audit hundreth, ane less 
Item in a box, beand within the said blak kist, the grete bedis of gold, 

contenand six score twa bedis, and a knop 
Item in the said box, a buke of gold like ane tabell, and on the glasp 

of it, four perlis, and a fare ruby 
Item in the said box the grete diamant, with the diamantis sett 

about it 
Item in the said box, a thing of gold with a top like a tunnele 
Item in the same box a stomok,^: & on it set a hert, all of precious 

stains, & perle 
Item in a trouch§ of cipre tre within the said box, a point maid of 

perle, contenand xxv perle with hornis of gold 

* Gold of unknown denomination. 

+ Cageat — casket. Jamieson, who quotes this inventory. 

J Stomok — storaacher. Jamieson. 

§ Trouch — a deep long box. 


Item twa tutlipikis of gold with a chcnyc, a perle, & crcpikc, a moist 

ball of gold, aiic hcrt of gold, with uther small japis* 
Item iu a round busto, within the said box, a cors of gold, with four 

stanis. Item a collar of gold, twa glassis with balme 
Item in a litill paper, within the said box, aue uche, with a diamant, 

twa hornis, four butonis horse nalis blak 
Item ane uchef of gold, like a flour the lis, of diamantis & thre bedis 

of gold, a columbe of gold & twa rubeis. 
Item in a cageat, beaud within the said blak kist, a braid chcnye, a 

ball of cristal 
Item a purs maid of pcrle, in it a moist ball,J a pyn§ of gold, a litill 

chenye of gold, a raggit staff, a serpent toung sett 
Item in the said cageat, a litill coffre of silver, oure gilt, with a litil 

saltfatll and a cover 
I tern a mannacliTI of silver 
Item in a small coffre, a chenye of gold, a hert of gold, anamclit, a 

brassalet of gold, sett with precious stanis 
Item a collar of gold maid with eliphantis and a grete hiugar at it 
Item sanct Michaell of gold with a perle on his spere 
Item a quhissill** of gold 
I tern a flour the lys of gold 
Item a ryng, witli a turcasff 
Item a small cors with twa pecisof gold at it 
Item a grete precious stane 
Item a litil barrell maid of gold 
Item twa berialis, and a grete bene 
Item in a litill coffre, a grete serpent toung, set with gold, perle, & 

precious stanis, and twa small serpent toungis set in gold, and ane 

ymage of gold 
Item in ane uther coffre, beand within the blak kyst, ane roll with 

ringis, ane with a grete satfer,t+ ane emmorant,§§ a stane of pil- 
lar, and ane uther ring 
Item in the same coffre aue uther roll with ringis, aue with a grcto 

ruby, & uther iiii ringis 
Item ane uther roll with ringis in it, of thame, thre grete emmorau- 

tis, a ruby, a diamant 
Item a roll of ringis, aue emmorant, a topa«, i^ a diamant 

* Japis — playtliings, trifles. + Uche — brooch. Not in Jamieson. 

J A moist ball — a musk ball. § Pyn — pin. 

II Saltfat — saltseliar. 

H Unknown ; perhaps a little man. Not in Jamicson. 

•• Quhissill — whittle. ft Turquois. i J Sappbiio. 

§ § Emerald. 


Item ane uther roll of ringis, ane with a grete turcas, and ane uther 

Item a roll with sevin small ringis, diamantis, rubeis, & perle 
Item a roll with ringis, a turcas, a stane of pillar, & a small ring 
Item a roll with ringis, a ruby, a diamant, twa uther ringis, a berial* 
Item in ane uther small coffre, within the said blak kyst, a chenye 

with ane uche, in it a ruby, a diamant, maid like a creill 
Item a brasselat of gold, with hede, & pendesf of gold 
Item sanct Antonis cors, and in it a diamant, a ruby, and a grete perle 
Item a grete ring with a topas 
Item a wodward J of gold with a diamant 
Item ane uche of gold, maid like a rose of diamantis 
Item a kist of silver, in it a grete cors, with stanis, a ryng, a berial 

hingand at it 
Item in it the grete cors of the chapell, sett with precious stauis 

Memorandum, fundin in a bandit kist like a gardeviant,§ in the fyrst 
the grete chenye of gold, contenand sevin score sex linkis 
Item thre platis of silver 
Item tuelf salfatis 
Item fyftene discheis ouregilt 
Item a grete gilt plate 
Item twa grete bassingis ouregilt 

Item four masaris,|| callit king Robert the Brocis, with a cover 
Item a grete cok maid of silver 

Item the hede, of silver, of ane of the coveris of masar 
Item a fare diaile 
Item twa kasis of knyffis 
Item a pare of auld knyffis 

Item takin be the smyth that opinnit the lokkis, in gold fourty demyis 

Item in Inglys grotis xxiiii li. & the said silver gevin agan to 

the takaris of hym 

Item ressavit in the cloissat of Davidis tour^ ane haly water fat of 
silver, twa boxis, a cageat tume, a glas with rois water, a dosouue 
of torchis,*'^ king Robert Brucis serk-t-f* 

* Beryl. f Pendants. + Unkno-mi. 
§ Cabinet. Jamieson. 

II Drinking cups. An interesting item — four drinking cups of Robert the 

TI David's Tower, in the castle. 

* * Unknown ; perhaps turquoises. 
•\'f Perhaps his mail shirt. 


Memorandum, gottin in the quenis kist, quliilk come fra Striveling, 
iu a litill coffre witliiu the same, In tlie fyrat a belt of crammassy* 
heniesait with gold & braid 

Item a braid belt of blak dammas, heriicssit with gold 
Item a small belt of claith of gold, heruessit with gold 
Item a belt of gold, uuhernessit 
Item twa bedis of gold 
Item a litill belt of gold, hernessit with gold 

Item in a box beaud within the said kist, a collar of cassedonis, with 

a grete hingar of moist, twa rubeis,twa perils contenand xxv small 

cassedonis set in gold 
Item a chenye of gold maid in fassoue of frere knottis,t contenand 

fourti four kuottis 
Item a pare of bedis of gold contenand fyfti & sex bedis 
Item a grete chenye of gold, contenand of linkis thre score and a lynk 
Item ane uther chenye of gold gretar, contenand fifti and aucht 

Item a fxete+ of the queuis oure set with grete perle, sett in fouris 

& fouris 
Item viii uchis of gold sett with stanis & perle 
Item tuenti hingaris of gold set with rubcis 
Item a collar of gold fassonit like roisis anamelit 
Item a serpent touug, & ane unicorue home, set in gold 
Item a grete hingar of gold with a ruby 
Item a grete ruby set in gold 
Item a hingar with a diamant & a grete perle 
Item a diamant set in gold 
Item a small chenye w' ane hingar set with diamantis in maner of 

. M . and a grete perle 
Item a grete safer set ii; gold 
Item a hert of gold with a grete perle at it 
Item a small chenye with ane hingar of rois & diamant 
Item ane hingar of gold with twa perle without stanis 
Item in a clout nyue precious stanis unsett 

Item in a box in the said kist a collar of gold, with nynetene dia- 

Item a coller of rubeis, set with threis of perle contenand xxx perils 
and XV rubeis with ane lunger, a diamant, and a grete perle 

* Crimson. f Friar's beads. + A large hoop or ring. 



Item ane ege of gold with four grete diamantis pointit and xxviii 

grete perils about thame 
Item ane uther grete ege with viii rubeis and xxxvi perils grete 

Item in the said kist of the quenis ane string of grete perle contenand 

fyfti & a perle, and stringis of small perle 
Item twa lingattis* of gold 

Item sex pecis of the said chenye of gold frere knottis 
Item twa grete ringis with saferis 
Item twa ringis with turcacis 
Item a ring with a paddokstane with a chamalef 
Item a ring with a face 
Item a signet & na thing in it 
Item thre small ringis with rubeis 
Item fyve ringis with diamantis 
Item a cassit coller of gold, maid like suannis, set in gold, with xvi 

rubeis, and diamantis, and viii quhite suannis & set with double 

Item a grete round ball, in maner of a chalfer, of silver ouregilt 
Item a levare J of silver ouregilt with a cover 
Item a cop with a cover ouregilt & punchit 
Item thre brokin gilt pecis of silver 
Item thre quhite pecis, a fut & a cover of silver, ouregilt 
Item a gi'ete vice nail maid of silver 
Item twa brokin platis of silver and a dische 

Item in a gardeviant in the fyrst a grete hosterage fedder§ 

Item a poik of lavender 

Item a buke with levis of golde with xiii levis of gold fulye 

Item a covering of variand purpir tarter, browdin with thrissillis & a 

Item a ruf & pendiclis of the same 
Item a pare of metingis 1| for hunting 
Item the surples of the robe riall 
In ane uther gardeviant, in the fyrst a lamp of silver, a corperale with 

a cais. Item thre quhippis TI and twa bukis 

Memorandum, gottin in a box quhilk was deliverit be the countas 
of Athole, and tauld in presens of the chancellar, lord Lile, the prior 
of Sanctandrois & the thesaurar. In the fyrst in a purs of ledder 

* Ingot. + A hinge. + Laver. § Ostrich feather. 

II Hunting Gloves. il Whips. 


within the said box thre huu Jretli rois nobilis of the quhilkis thare is 
vii Ilari uobilis 

Item in the same purs of half rois nobillis fyve hundretb hail rois no- 
bilis, sextcne rois nobillis 

Item gottin in ane uther box, fra the said countas, the xxi day of 
Junii, in acanves poik, within the said box, tuelf hundreth &sevin 
augcl nobilis* 

Item in ane uther purs, of ladder, bcand in the same box, ane hun- 
dreth angelis 

Item in the same purs, thre hundreth fyfti & sevin demyis 

Memorandum, fund in a blak coffre quhilk was brocht be the abbot 
of Arbroth, In the first the grete sarpef of gold contenand xxv sehaiffis 
with the fodder bctuix 
Item a water pot of silver 

Item a pare of curale bedis, and a grete muste ball 
Item a collar of cokkilschellis contenand xxiiii schellis of gold 
Item a bane coffre, & in it a grete cors of gold, with four precious 

stanis and a chcnye of gold 
Item a bcid of a cassedonne 
Item twa braid pecis of brynt silver bulliounc 
Item in a leddering purs, bcand in the said blak coffre, tuelf score & 

xvi salutis 
Item in the same purs thretti & sex Lewis and half nobilis 
Item in the same purs four score and thre Tranche crounis 
Item in the same purs fourtenc score of ducatis, and of thame gevin 

to the erle of Angus fyve score and six ducatis 
Item in the said coffre, quhilk was brocht be the said abbot, a litil 

cors with precious stauis 

Item in a blak box brocht be the said abbot to the toune of Perth the 
xxvi day of Junii, in the first, lows in the said box, four thousand 
thre hundreth and fourti demyis 

Item in a purs of ledder in the said box four hundreth tucnti & viii 
Lewis of gold, and in the same purs of ledder, of Franche crounis 
fyve hundreth thre score and sex. And of thame twa salutis and 
four Lewis 

Item in a quhitc coffre of irnc delivcrit be the said abbot, thro thou- 
sand, nyne hundreth, four score & viii angelis 

Memorandum, ressauit in Scone, be the thesaurar, in presens of the 

• Thir boxis put in the thesaurhous in the greto kist nerrest the windo. 
t licit. 


bischop of Glasgw, lord Lile, the prior of Sanctandrois, Patrik Home, 
& lord Drummond, the xxiii day of Junii, in Avereis box, lous, without 
ouy purSj a thousand and thretti Hari nobilis 

Item in a purs of ledder, within the said box, a thousand & twenti 
rois nobilis, and in the said purs fyfti & four Hari nobilis in half 
Hari nobilis 

Item a grete gugeoune* of gold 

Item thare was a writ fund in the said box sayand, in hac boxa xii c 
Hari nobilis, et in eadem boxa, xi c rois nobilis 

Thir ar the names of thame, that wist of the said box qulien it was 
in the myre 

James Averi 
William Patonsone 
William Wallace 

Item ressavit fra lang Patric Hume, & George of Touris, xvi skore of 
Hare nobelis, quhilkis tha had of a part of the money takin be the 
Cuntas of Atholl and Johne Steward 

Item of the same some & money gevin to the said Patric for his re- 
ward fourti Hare nobilis 

The Cojipt of schir William KnoUis, lord saint Johnnis of Jeru- 
salem, &c. thesaurar till our soverain lord maid at Edinburgh the 
xxiiii day of Februar, the yer of god &c. nynte ane yeris .... 

of all his ressait & expens fra the ferd day of the moneth of Junii in 
the yer of god &c. auchty and aucht yeris unto the day of this present 

In the first he chargis him with vii" V^ Ixxxxvii ti iiii s in gold of sex 
thousand thre hundreth thretty a pece of angell nobillis ressavit be 
the comptar as is contenit in the beginning of this buke writtin 
with Johnne Tyriis hand. And with ii° xvi ii iiii s in gold of ane 
hundreth fourscore aucht Scottis ridaris, as is contenit in this 
sammyn buke 
And with liiii ii be fifty four Fraunce riallis of gold 
And with viii° Ixxxii li be nyne hundreth fourscore unicornis 
And with y'l" Ixvi ti xiiii s iiii d in ane thousand Scottis crownis 

* Unknown. 


And with J" iii" xxxiii ti vi s viii d in tua thousand demyis rcssauit 

and gcvin for a mcrke the pece 
And with ii"" Ixix li iiii 5 in tua thousand nyne Imndrcth fifty sex 

demyis gcvin the pece for fourtcne schiliingis 
And with vi™ xix ti ix s in thre thousand thrc liundreth fifty five rose 

nobiliis and anc quarter, the quhilk wer gcvin for tliretty sex schil- 
lings the pece, except four hundreth that war gevin for thretty five 

schillings the pece 
And with iiii"" iiii" Ixvi li viii 5 in tua thousand sevin hundreth tuenty 

nyne Ilary nobiliis gevin for thretty tua schiliingis the pece 
And with xi ti v i in fiftene Flemis ridaris fiftene schilling the pece 
And with iiii= xxxii ti in four hundreth four score Lewis and halve 

rose nobiliis gcvin for auchtene schilling the pece 
And with iiii" Ixxxxiiii ti iiii i in sevin hundreth sex Fraunce crounis 

gevin for fourtcne schiliingis the pece 
And with XXX ti in Duch gold 
And with ii" vi li viii i in tua hundreth fifty aucht salutis gevin for 

sextcne schiliingis the pece 
And with i" xxxix li iiii s in anc hundreth sevinty four ducatisgeviu 

for sextcne schiliingis the pece 

Summa of this charge xxiiii™ v" xvii li x S 

Letter L, p. 289. 
Margaret Drummond, mistress to James IV. 

From a note of the Rev. Mr Macgregor Stirling's, in his valuable 
manuscript collections on the chronology of the reign of James the 
Fourth, I am enabled to give some curious particulars regarding this 
unfortunate favourite of James the Fourth. She was daughter of 
John, first Lord Drummond, and the king seems to have become at- 
tached to her at an early period. In his first Parliament, 3d October, 
1488, she had an allowance for dresses (mentioned in the text, p. 3C3.) 
She bore a daughter to the king in 1495, as it may be presumed from 
an entry in the Lord High Treasurer's Books, which states, that 
twenty-one pounds seven shillings, had been expended on the "Lady 
Mergetis dochtcr." In Douglas's Peerage, vol. i. p. 51, and vol. ii. p. 
361, she is mentioned as having been poisoned in 1501. But she ap- 
pears to have been alive on 24th June, 1502, as in the Treasurer's 


Books under that date, is the following entry : " Item, the xxiiii day 
of Junii, the kyng wes in Drummonde giffin to Mergrett Drummonde 
be the kingis commande, twenty-one pounds. Item, to her nuriss 
forty-one pounds." It is possible, however, this may have been the 
king's daughter, not his mistress. Great mystery hangs over the 
death of this royal favourite, and the most minute account is to be 
found in a celebrated work where one would certainly little expect 
to meet an obscure portion of Scottish history — Moreri's Dictionary. 
It is taken from a MS. history of the family of Drummond, composed 
in 1689. Speaking of the first Lord Drummond — " He had," says 
this author, " four daughters, one of whom, named Margaret, was so 
much beloved by James the Fourth, that he wished to marry her ; 
but as they were connected by blood, and a dispensation from the 
pope was required, the impatient monarch concluded a private mar- 
riage, from which clandestine union sprung a daughter, who became 
the wife of the Earl of Huntley. The dispensation having arrived, 
the king determined to celebrate his nuptials publicly ; but the jeal- 
ousy of some of the nobles against the house of Drummond, suggested 
to them the cruel project of taking off Margaret by poison, in order 
that her family might not enjoy the glory of giving two queens to 
Scotland." (Moreri sub voce Drummond.) It is certain that Mar- 
garet Drummond, with Euiiliemia Lady Fleming, and the Lady 
Sybilla, her sisters, died suddenly at the same time, with symptoms 
exciting a strong suspicion of poison, which it was thought had been 
administered to them at breakfast. So far the story substantially 
agrees with Moreri ; but that the unfortunate lady fell a victim to 
the jealousy of the Scottish nobles, rests on no authentic evidence ; nor 
does this explain why her two sisters. Lady Fleming and Lady Sybilla, 
should have shared her fate. The story tells more like some dreadful 
domestic tragedy, than a conspiracy of the aristocracy to prevent the 
king's marriage to a commoner. Besides this, it is shown by a deed 
preserved in the Fcedera, vol. xii. p. 787, that James, previous to the 
catastrophe of Margaret Drummond, had entered into an indenture, 
binding himself to marry the Princess Margaret of England ; a cir- 
cumstance certainly not wholly disproving the story of her having 
fallen a victim to aristocratic jealousy, but rendering it more im- 
probable. If the dispensation for James's marriage with Margaret 
Drummond had been procured, it is probable that it would have been 
discovered by Andrew Stewart during those investigations into the 
papal records which he instituted at Rome on the subject of the great 
Douglas case, when he accidentally fell upon the documents which 
settled the long agitated question regarding the marriage of Robert 


the Second to Elizabeth More. Tlie three ladies thus united in death, 
were interred together in the centre of the choir of the cathedral 
church at Dunblane. Their grave was marked by three plain blue 
marble flags, which remained untouched till 1817, when they were 
removed to make way for some repairs on the parochial church into 
which the choir of the ancient cathedral had been transformed. Sir 
Walter Drummond, lord-clerk register, their paternal uncle, was, at 
the time of their death. Dean of Dunblane, a cii'cumstance, says Mr 
Stirling, which seems to have led to their interment there, the family 
having lately removed from Stobhall, their original seat on the banks 
of the Tay, to Drummond castle, where they probably had no place 
of interment. An entry in the Treasurer's Books, June 18, 1503, shows 
that the king's daughter by Margaret Drummond, had some time 
before been removed from Drummond castle to the palace at Stirling : 
— " Item to the nuriss that brocht the king's dochtcr fra Drummync 
to Strivilin, 3 lbs. 10 sh." The child was brought up in Edinburgh 
castle under the name of the Lady Margaret ; — she married John 
lord Gordon, son and heir-apparent of Alexander earl of Huntley, 
(Mag. Sig. XV. 193. 26th April, 1510.) In the Treasurer's Books, 
under the 1st February, 1502-3, is this entry : — " Item to the priests of 
Edinburgh for to do dirge and saule messe for Mergratt Drummond 
V lb." Again, February 10, 1502-3. "Item to the priests that sing in 
Dumblano for Margaret Drummond their quarters fee v lbs." Entries 
similar to this arc to be found in the Treasurer's Books as far as they 
are extant downi to the end of the reign, from which it appears that 
two priests were regularly employed to sing masses for her soul in 

Letter M, p. 301. 

Sir Andrew \Yvod of Lartjo. 

The connexion of this eminent person with James the Third is 
illustrated by a charter under the great seal x. 87, dated 8tli March, 
1482, which states that this mjonarch had taken into consideration 
" Gratuita et fidclia servicia sibi per familiarem scrvitorcm suum 
Andream Wod commorante in Leith, tarn per terram, quam per mare, 
in pace et in guerra, gratuiter iinpcnsa, in Regno Scotiac ct extra idum, 
et signanter contra inimicos suos Angliic, et dampnum per ipsum 
Andream inde sustenta, suam personam gravibus vita) exponendo 
periculis." On this ground it proceeds to state that James granted 
to him and liis heirs, hereditarily and in fee, tbo lands and village of 


Largo in the Sheriffdom of Fife. It is probable that Wood was 
originally a merchant trader of Leith, and that a genius for naval 
enterprise was drawn out and cherished by casual encounters with 
pirates in defence of his property ; — after which, his talents, as a brave 
and successful commander, becoming known to James the Third, this 
monarch gave him employment, not only in war and against his ene- 
mies of England, but in diplomatic negotiations. It has been stated 
in the text, that the brilliant successes of Wood during the reign of 
James the Fourth were against English pirates. This fact seems 
established by a charter under the great seal xii. 304, 18th May, 1491, 
in which James the Fourth grants to Andrew Wood a license to build 
a castle at Largo with iron gates, on account of the great services 
done and losses sustained by the said Andrew, and for the services 
which it was confidently hoped he would yet render ; and because 
the said Andrew had, at great personal expense, built certain houses 
and a fortalice, on the lands of Largo, by the hands of Englishmen 
captured by him, with the object of resisting and expelling pirates who 
had often invaded the kiugdom, and attacked the lieges. The exis- 
tence of a truce between the two kingdoms at the time when these 
actions of Wood are described as having taken place, neither throws 
any suspicion on the truth of this assertion, nor proves that Henry may 
not have privately encouraged the expedition of Stejjhen Bull against 
Wood. A truce existed between the kingdoms, and proposals for 
bringing about a final peace on the basis of a marriage between James 
and an English princesswere actually under consideration, when Henry 
had bribed the Lord Bothwell and Sir Thomas Tod to seize the Scot- 
tish king and deliver him into his hands (Rymer, vol. xii. p. 440.) Some 
of the items of this date, 1491, in the Treasurer's Accounts, prove, in 
a very convincing manner, that James, in all probability in consequence 
of the advice and instructions of Andrew Wood, had begun to pay 
great attention to everything calculated to increase the naval strength 
of the kingdom. He built ships at his own expense, made experiments 
in sailing, studied the principles of navigation and gunnery, and 
attached to his service, by ample presents, such foreign captains and 
mariners as visited his dominions for the purposes of trade and com- 

Letter N, p. 330. 
Mons Meg. 
Popular as Mons Meg has been amongst the Scottish antiquaries 


of the nineteenth century, her celebrity, when slio was carried by 
James the Fourtli, July 10, 1489, to the siege of Dumbarton, if we 
may judge from some of the items in the Treasurer's Books, was of no 
inferior description. Thus, under that date we have this entry: — 
" Item given to the gunners to drink-silver when they cartit Monss, 
by the King's command, 18 shillings." Mons, however, from her 
enormous size and weight, proved exceedingly unmanageable ; and 
afler having been brought back from Dumbarton to Edinburgh, she 
enjoyed an interval of eight years' inglorious repose. When James, 
however, in 1497, sat down before Norham, the great gun was, with 
infinite labour and expense, conveyed to the siege, and some of the 
items regarding her transport are amusing. The construction of a 
new cradle or carriage for her seems to have been a work of great 
labour. Thus, on July 24, 1497, we have, " Item to pynouris to bero 
ye trees to be Mons new cradill to her at St Leonards quhare scho 
lay, iii sh. vi"" ;" and again, July 28, " Item for xiii stane of inie to 
mak graith to Monsis new cradill, and gavilokkis to ga with her, xxxs. 
jjjjd" « Item to vii wrights for twa dayis and a half ya maid Monsis 
cradill, xxiii sh. iiii''." " Item for xxiiii li of talloun [tallow] to Mons." 
" Item for viii elne of canwas to be Mons claitlis to cover her." " Item 
for mare talloun to Mons." " Item to Sir Thomas Galbraith for 
paynting of Monsis claiths, xiiii sh." " Item to the Minstralis that 
playit before Mons doune the gait, xiiii sh." The name of this cele- 
brated gun, as stated in the Treasurer's Accounts, is simply Mons. 
Drummond of Hawthornden is the first author who calls her Mons 
Meg. For these curious particulars I am indebted to the manuscript 
notes of the Rev. Mr Macgregor Stirling. 

Letter 0, p. 330. 
Perkin Warbeck. 

It is difficult to solve the problem whether James was a sincere 
believer in the reality of Warbeck's pretensions. I am inclined to 
think that, from political motives, he first entered into the intrigues 
with the Duchess of Burgundy, which commenced soon after Lambert 
Simnel's defeat and capture — though without any steady conviction 
of the truth of Warbeck's story — but that he became afterwards, on 
the arrival of this extraordinary person in Scotland, a convert to his 
being a eon of the Duke of York ; and that he entertained the same 


opinion, even when he found it necessary to advise his departure from 
Scotland. Of the residence of Warbeck in this country, the Trea- 
surer's Accounts furnish some curious illustrations. It appears that 
Jamie Doig, a person vv^hose name occurs frequently in the Treasurer's 
Books, and who is embalmed in Dunbar's Poems, "tursed the arrass 
work," or arranged the hanging and tapestry at Stirling, on the 20th 
November, 1495, in contemplation of Prince Richard's arrival. — 
(Treasurer's Books under that date.) A person named David Cald- 
well, received eighteen shillings for the "graithing" or furnishing of 
his chamber in the town ; and couriers were sent with letters to the 
Lords of Strathern and Athole, and to the Earl Marshal and the 
Barons of Angus, requiring them to attend upon the meeting of the 
King and Prince Richard in Saint Johnston. (Treasurer's Book, sub 
anno 1495.) It is mentioned in the text that a tournament was held 
in honour of his arrival, and many entries in the Treasurer's Books 
relate to it and to the preparations at the same time for the war 
against England. Thus, on the 9th September, 1496. " Item, for an 
elne, half a quarter, and a nail of double red taffety to the Duke of 
Zorkis banare — for the elue, xviii sh. — xxi sh. iiii d. Item, given for 
ii° of gold party for the Duke of Zorkis banere, xxvii sh. vii d. Item, 
for iii quaris of a silver buke to the same banare, vi sh. Item, for half 
a book of gold party to ye Duke of Zorkis standart, xx sh. Item, for 
a book of fine gold for the king's coat armour, iii lb. x sh. Item, to 
the Duke of York in his purse by the king's command, xxxvi lb." In 
the following entry we find mention of an " indenture," drawn up 
between James and the Duke of York, which is now unfortunately lost. 
" Item, given to Roland Robison (he was a French gunner or engineer, 
who had probably been in Warbeck's service when at the court of 
Charles the Eighth) "for the red" (settlement) "of the Inglismen to 
the sea, like as is contenit in an indenture made betwixt the kings gude 
grace and the Duke of Zork, ii"^ lb." 

It is probable that oue of the conditions entered into by James m 
this indenture was to pay to Warbeck a monthly pension of one hun- 
dred and twelve pounds. Thus, in the Treasurer's Books, May 6,1497, 
we find this entry. " Item, to Roland Robison, for his Maisteris" 
(" Zork" on the margin) "monethis pensioun, i" xii lb." Again, June 
7, 1497. " Item, to Roland Robison and the Dean of Zork, for their 
Maisteris monethis pension, 1= xii lb." And again, June 27. " Giffin 
to the Dean of Zork and Roland Robison for the Dukis (of Zorkis) 
monethlie pensioun to come in, i" xii lb." This large allowance, which 
amounted to one thousand three hundred and fourty-four pounds 
yearly was probably one great cause for James's anxiety to see War- 


beck out of the kingdom ; for, besides tlie pension to the Duke of York, 
it must be recollected that the king supported tiie whole body of his 
English attendants ; and the entries of payments to Roland llobisou 
for " redding," or settling, the Englishmen's costs, are numerous. 
Warbeck, too, appears to have been extravagant ; for notwithstanding 
liis allowance, he had got into debt, and had pledged his brown horse, 
which he was forced to leave in the innkeeper's hands, although thir- 
teen shillings would have set him free. "Item, gifiin to the protho- 
notare to quit out the Duke of Zorkis brown horse that lay in wed in 
the toune, xiii sh." The same Books contain a minute detail of the 
victualling of the ship in which Warbeck, accompanied by his wife, 
Lady Catherine Gordon, quitted Scotland. The vessel was not only 
under the command, but was the property of the afterwards celebrated 
Robert Bertoune. Amongst the stores were " twa tun and four pipes 
of wine, eight bolls of ait mele" (oatmeal), " eighteen marts of beef, 
twenty-three muttons, and a boghead of herring." Andrew Bertoune, 
the brother of the captain, is mentioned as having furnished biscuit, 
cider, and beer for the voyage. The Duchess of York, by the king's 
command, received three elns and a half of " rowane cannee," to make 
her " ane see goune," with two elne and a half of ryssilis black, to 
make her cloaks. It is well known, that after the execution of War- 
beck in 1498, the extraordinary beauty and misfortunes of this lady 
induced Henry the Seventh, whose disposition, although cautious, does 
not appear to have been either cold or unamiable, to treat her with 
kindness and humanity. The populace applied to her the epithet of 
the White Rose of Scotland. She was placed under the charge of the 
queen — received a pension — and afterwards married Sir Mathew 
Cradock of North Wales, ancestor of the Earls of Pembroke. — (Stew- 
art's Genealogy, p. 65.) From an entry in the privy purse expenses 
of Henry the Seventh, published by Sir Harris Nicolas, (p. 115, part 
ii. of the Excerpta Historica,) she seems to have been taken on 15th 
October, 1497. 

Sir Matthew Cradock aud the Wliite Rose had an only daughter, 
Margaret, who married Sir Richard Herbert of Ewyas, natural son 
of William, first Earl of Pembroke. (Dugdale's Baronage, vol. ii. p. 
255.) Their son, William, on the extinction of the legitimate male 
line of the Earls of Pembroke, was created Earl of Pembroke by 
Edward the Sixth. (Dugdale's Baronalfee, vol. ii. p. 258.) 

Sir Mathew Cradock and the Lady Catherine, his wife, are in- 
terred in the old church at Swansea, in Glamorganshire, under a 
monument of the altar kind, richly decorated, but now much muti- 
lated aud defaced — beneath which is this inscription : — 



" Sir Edward Herbert of Ewyas is buried," says Dugdale, Baron- 
age, vol. ii. p. 258, " under a noble tomb at Bargavenny, beside Mar- 
garet his wife." 

* Rees's Beauties of England and Wales, vol. xviii. p. 7-5. 



. SU II III III Mini I II I III li nil ni I 

h| 0035524146