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



Columbia SHnibergitp ^ 

in tlje Citp of iSeto gorfe 












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


VOL. V. 








Departure of Perkin Warbeck from Scotland, 

Seven years' truce with England, 

James's progress to Inverness, 

Attention to his navy, .... 

to the administration of justice. 

Foundation of King's College, Aberdeen, 

Treaty of marriage with England, 

Lady Margaret Drummond, 

Marriage of James with the Princess Margaret of England, 

Rebellion in the North, .... 

James's measures regarding the Highlands, 

Court of Daily Council, '. . . . 

Proceedings of the Parliament, 

Progress of the king to the Borders, 

Extinction of the rebellion in the North, 

Embassy from the Pope, 

Embassy to France, 

Death of Henry the Seventh, 

State of Scotland, 

Naval affairs, . 

Introduction of Printing, 

Symptoms of war with England, 

Exploits of the Bartons, and death of Andrew Barton, 

James's warlike preparations, .... 





























Embassy of Dacre and West, . 
Second embassy of West, 
lleiuforcemeuts from France and Denmark 
Arran's foolish expedition against Ireland, 
James assembles his army. 
His defiance sent to Henry, 
Preparations of the Earl of Surrey, 
Stratagems to prevent war, 
Muster of the Scottish host, 
Messages between James and Surrey, 
Surrey's skilful manoeuvres, 
Infatuation of the Scottish king. 
Battle of Flodden, and death of James, 
Causes of the defeat, 
Character of the king, 





State of Scotland, .... 

Coronation of James the Fifth, 

Surrey disbands his army, 

Evils of the minority, 

The queen marries the Earl of Angus, 

French and English factions. 

Death of Elphinston bishop of Aberdeen, 

Intrigues of Henry the Eighth, 

Arrival of Albany in Scotland, 

State of parties, .... 

Decisive measures of Albany, . 

The queen refuses to give up the king, her 

Treasonable conduct of Home, 

The queen flies to England, 

Unfounded accusations against Albany, 

Home and Angus desert the queen, . 

Henry's intrigues in Scotland, 

Home and his brother executed. 

Ungenerous conduct of France, 

Albany revisits that kingdom, . 





Return of the queen-mother, 

Murder of De la Bastie, . 

Activity of Arran, 

State of the Highlands and Isles, 

Violence and ambition of Angus, 

Mission from Denmark, 

Truce between England and Scotland, 

Feuds of the nobles and the clergy. 

Embassy of Aubigny, 

Arrival of Albany in Scotland, 

His upright policy, . 

Thwarted by the intrigues of Dacre, 

Angus is compelled to fly. 

Difficulty of arriving at truth in these times, 

Conduct of Bishop Gawin Douglas, 

Henry's imperious demands, 

Angus passes into France, 

Preparations for war, 

Duplicity of the queen-mother, 

Albany's expedition into England, 

Observations on his conduct. 

Difficulties of his situation. 

His second visit to France, 

Ferocity of the Border war, 

Albany returns to Scotland, 

Venality of the Scottish nobles. 

The Regent assembles his army. 

The Scottish nobles refuse to fight. 

Disastrous result of the expedition, 

Observations on the retreat, 

A Parliament, .... 

Albany returns to France, 










Revolution in the government, . 
Successful intrigue of the queen-mother, . 
Regency of Albany declared to have ended. 




Coalition between Arran and the queen, 

Her imprudent conduct, . 

Negotiation with France, 

Venality of the Scottish nobles, 

Secret agreement between Angus and Wolsey, 

Angus returns to Scotland, 

His attack upon the capital. 

His recovery of the chief power. 

Miserable situation of the country, . 

Intrigues of the queen-mother. 

She loses all weight in the government, 

The queen is divorced. 

Marries Henry Stewart, . 

Angus obtains possession of the young king's person. 

Tyranny of the Douglases, 

Buccleugh attempts to deliver the king, 

Death of the Earl of Lennox, . 

Parliament assembles. 

Remorse of Arran, .... 

State of the Highlands, 

Beaton the chancellor reconciled to Angus. 

Martyrdom of Patrick Hamilton, 

Insolent tyranny of Angus, 

Plot for the escape of the young king, 

Its complete success. 

Despair and indignation of the Douglases, 








James the Fifth assumes the supreme power. 
His character at this time. 
His policy upon his accession. 
Proceedings against the Douglases, 
Their great power, . 
State of the Borders, 
Imprisonment of the Border barons. 
Rebellion in the Orkneys, 
State of the Isles, 




Matrimonial negotiations, 

Institution of the College of Justice, 

State of Europe, 

Border war, .... 

James's northern progress, 

Festivities in Athole, 

Negotiations with England, 

Persecution of the Reformers, . 

Henry the Eighth offers the Princess Mary in marriage 


Matrimonial embassy to France, 
The Papal Legate Campeggio visits Scotland, 
James affianced to Marie de Bourbon, 
Parliament assembles, .... 
James visits the Court of Francis the First, 
Becomes enamoured of the Princess Magdalen, , 
Marriage of James the Fifth, . 
Returns to Scotland with his queen. 
Reflections on James's policy, . 
State of parties, ... 
Death of the queen, 
James's second marriage, . 
Forbes's conspiracy against the king. 
Conspiracy of Lady Glammis, . 
Negotiations with England, 
Persecution of the disciples of the Reformation, 
Martyrdom of Kennedy and Russel, 
Mission of Sir Ralph Sadler to James, 
Fails in his great object, . 
James's voyage to the Western Isles, 
Conspiracy against the king. 
Parliament assembles. 
Its wise provisions, . 
Death of the queen-mother, 
James loses both his sons. 
Second embassy of Sadler, 

James disappoints Henry of the interview at York, 
Preparations of England for war. 
Defeat of the English at Hadden-Rig, 
The Duke of Norfolk assembles an army, . 
James musters his host on the Borough-muir, 
Disgraceful rout at the Solway Moss, 
VOL. V. 












The calamity overwhelms the king, . 
Despair and death of James the Filth, 

. 250 
. 251 




State of Scotland at the death of James, . 

Henry the Eighth's project for a marriage between the 

queen and Prince Edward, .... 

His intrigues with the Douglases and his Scottish prisoners 
State of parties in Scotland, 
Cardinal Beaton's attempt to be regent, . 
Earl of Arran chosen regent, . 
Arrival of Cassillis, Glencairn, and the Scottish prisoners in 

burgh, ...... 

Their intrigues detected by Cardinal Beaton, 
Imprisonment of Beaton, .... 

Henry's foolish conduct, .... 

Efforts of the Catholic party, 

^Meeting of Parliament, .... 

The Bible communicated to the people. 

Arrival of Sadler, the English ambassador, in Edinburgh, 

The Cardinal recovers his liberty, 

Scottish ambassadors sent to England, 

The Earl of Lennox returns to Scotland, . 

Arran recants his Protestant opinions, 

Beaton's able policy, .... 

Mission of Sir George Douglas to England, 
Treaties of peace and marriage, 

Opposed by Beaton, 

Arran's double conduct, .... 
Beaton gets possession of the young queen. 
Treaties of peace and marriage ratified, . 
Unpopularity of Arran, .... 
Reconcilement between Arran and the cardinal 
Henry resolves on war, .... 
Lennox joins the English party, 
Arrival of the French fleet. 
Unpopularity of the English party, . 













Fine trait of the Scottish merchants, 292 

Seizure of Lords Maxwell and Somerville, . . . .lb. 

Meeting of Parliament, 293 

French ambassadors introduced, ib. 

Strong feelings against England, 294 

Act against heretical opinions, 295 

Base conduct of the Douglases, 296 

Beaton's cruelty against the Reformers, 298 

Wishart's and Brunston's plot for the assassination, or seizure of 

Beaton, 299 

Great invasion of Scotland by the Earl of Hertford, . . . 300 

Retreat of the English, 302 

Lennox and Glencairn, the only peers in the English interest, . 303 

Glencairn totally defeated, 305 

Junction of the Catholic and Protestant parties, . . . 306 

Deprivation of the Governor Arran, 307 

State of the Highlands and Isles, ib. 

Disturbances in the Lowlands, ib. 

Earl of Lennox's expedition against Scotland, .... 308 
Beaton labours in vain to reconcile the Scottish and English 

factions, 311 

Double conduct of the Douglases, 312 

Miserable condition of the country, 313 

Battle of Ancram Moor, and defeat of the English, . . .316 
George Douglas continues his correspondence with Henry the 

Eighth, 318 

Mission of Cassillis to England, 319 

Proposals of Henry through Cassillis, 320 

They are rejected, ib. 

Cassillis's proposal for the assassination of Beaton, . . .321 

Mission of Forster into Scotland, 323 

Arrival of Lorges Montgomerie in Scotland, .... 325 
Henry's negotiations with Donald lord of the Isles, . . . 328 

Hertford invades Scotland, 329 

His dreadful ravages, 330 

Parliament at Stirling, 332 

Brunston's intrigues with England, 334 

Lord Maxwell imprisoned, 335 

Failure of Lennox's attempt on Dumbarton, .... 337 
Proposals of James Macconnell lord of the Isles, to Henry, . 338 

Progress of the Reformation, 339 

Arrival of George Wishart in Scotland, . ... 340 


His history, 341 

His preaching, 342 

His friends, 343 

His journey to Edinburgh, 344 

He is seized by the Earl of Bothwell, 346 

His trial and condemnation, 347 

His execution, 348 

Its effects, 349 

Beaton's progress into Angus, 351 

The conspiracy against him resumed, 352 

Assassination of Beaton, 355 

Observations, 35fi 


A. On the authenticity of the Chronicle, entitled a "Diurnal of 

Occurrents in Scotland," 359 

B. On the trial of Lady Glammis, 363 

C. Battle of Flodden, 373 

Historical Remarks on the Assassination of Cardinal Beaton, . 376 
Additional illustrations from the Hamilton MSS., . , .391 
Impolicy of Henry the Eighth towards Scotland, . . . 393 







Bngland. I France. 
nenryVII. | Lewis XII 
Uenry VIII. I 








John II. 



Alex. VI. (Borgia) 

Pius III. 

Julius II. 

Leo. X. 

The departure of Perkin Warbeck from Scotland, was 
followed, after a short interval, by a truce with Eng- 
land. It was evidently the interest of Henry the 
Seventh, and of James to be at peace. The English 
monarch was unpopular ; every attack by a foreign 
power endangered the stability of his government, en- 
courasins: domestic discontent, and streno-thenino; the 
hands of his enemies : on the side of the Scottish king- 
there were not similar causes of alarm, for he was strong 
in the affections of his subjects, and beloved by his 
nobility ; but grave and weighty cares engrossed his 
attention, and these were of a nature which could be 
best pursued in a time of peace. The state of the 
VOL. V. A 


revenue, the commerce and domestic manufactures of 
his kingdom, and the deficiency of his marine, had now 
begun to occupy an important place in the thoughts 
of the still youthful sovereign: the disorganized con- 
dition of the more northern portions of his dominions, 
demanded also the exertion of his utmost vigilance • 
so that he listened not unwillingly to Henry ""s proposals 
of peace, and to the overture for a matrimonial alliance, 
which was brought forward by the principal Commis- 
sioner of England, Fox bishop of Durham. The pacific 
disposition of James appears to have been strengthened 
by the judicious counsels of Pedro D' Ayala, the Spanish 
envoy at the court of Henry the Seventh : this able 
foreigner had received orders from his sovereigns, 
Ferdinand and Isabella, to visit Scotland as the am- 
bassador from their Catholic majesties ; and on his 
arrival in that country, he soon acquired so strong 
an influence over this prince, that he did not hesitate 
to nominate him his chief commissioner for the con- 
ducting: his ne2:otiations with Eno;land. A seven 
years' truce was accordingly concluded at Ayton, on 
the thirty-first of September, 1497,* and in a meeting 
which took place soon after, between William de 
Warham, Henry's commissioner, and D'Ayala, who 
appeared on the part of James ; it was agreed that 
this cessation of hostilities should continue durinor the 
lives of the two monarchs, and for a year after the 
death of the survivor. Having accomplished this ob- 
ject, the Spanish minister and his suite left the Scot- 
tish court to the regret of the king, who testified by 
rich presents the regard he entertained for them.-f- 
This ne";otiation with England beino; concluded, 

* R)'mer, vol. xii. pp. 673, 678 inclusive. 

+ >1S. Accounts of the Iligh Treasurer of Scotland under the 31st of 
October, 14^7. 

1497. JAMES IV. 3 

James had leisure lo turn his attention to his affairs at 
home ; and, although in the depth of winter, with the 
hardihood which marked his character, he took a pro- 
gress northward as far as Inverness. It was his object 
personally to inspect the state of these remote portions 
of his dominions, that he might be able to legislate for 
them with greater success than had attended the efforts 
of his predecessors. The policy which he adopted was, 
to separate and weaken the clans by arraying them in 
opposition to each other, to attach to his service by re- 
wards and preferment some of their ablest leaders — to 
maintain a correspondence with the remotest districts 
— and gradually to accustom their fierce inhabitants to 
habits of pacific industry, and a respect for the restraints 
of the laws. It has been objected to him that his pro- 
ceedings towards the highland chiefs were occasionally 
marked by an unbending rigour, and too slight a regard 
for justice; but his policy may be vindicated on the 
ground of necessity, and even of self-defence. 

These severe measures, however, were seldom resort- 
ed to but in cases of rebellion. To the great body of his 
nobility, James was uniformly indulgent; the lament- 
able fate of his father convinced him of the folly of 
attempting to rule without them : he was persuaded 
that a feudal monarch at war with his nobles, was 
deprived of the greatest sources of his strength and dig- 
nity ; and to enable him to direct their efforts to such 
objects as he had at heart, he endeavoured to gain their 
affections. Nor was it difficult to effect this : the course 
of conduct which his own disposition prompted him to 
pursue, was the best calculated to render him a favourite 
with the aristocracy. Under the former reign they 
seldom saw their prince, but lived in gloomy indepen- 
dence at a distance from court, resorting thither only on 


occasions of state or counsel; and when the parliament 
was ended, or the emergency had passed away, they 
returned to their castles full of complaints against a 
system which made them strangers to their sovereign, 
and ciphers in the government. Under James all this 
was changed. Aft'able in his manners, fond of magni- 
ficence, and devoted to pleasure, the king delighted 
to see himself surrounded by a splendid nobility: he 
bestowed upon his highest barons those offices in his 
household which ensured a familiar attendance upon 
his person : his court was a perpetual scene of revelry 
and amusement in which the nobles vied with each other 
in extravagance, and whilst they impoverished them- 
selves, became more dependent from this circumstance 
upon the sovereign. The seclusion and inferior splen- 
dour of their own castles became gradually irksome to 
them; as their residence was less frequent, the ties which 
bound their vassals to their service were loosened, wliilst 
the consequence w^as favourable to the royal authority. 

But amid the splendour of his court, and devotion to 
his pleasures, James pursued other objects which were 
truly laudable. Of these the most prominent and the 
most important was his attention to his navy: the 
enterprises of the Portuguese, and the discoveries 
of Columbus, had created a sensation at this period 
throughout every part of Europe, which, in these times, 
it is perhaps impossible for us to estimate in its full 
force. Every monarch ambitious of w^ealth or of glory, 
became anxious to share in the triumphs of maritime 
adventure and discovery. Henry the Seventh of Eng- 
land, although in most cases a cautious and penurious 
prince, had not hesitated to encourage the celebrated 
expedition of John Cabot, a Venetian merchant, settled 
at Bristol ; and his unwonted spirit was rewarded by 

1497. JAMES IV. 6 

the discovery of the continent of North America.* A 
second voyage conducted by his son Sebastian, one of 
the ablest navigators of the age, had greatly extended 
the range of our geographical knowledge ; and the 
genius of the Scottish prince catching fire at the suc- 
cesses of the neiirhbourino; kino'dom, became eao'er to 
distinguish itself in a similar career of naval enterprise. 

But a fleet was wanting to second these aspirings ; 
and to supply this became his principal object. His 
first care was wisely directed to those nurseries of 
seamen, his domestic fisheries, and his foreign com- 
merce. Deficient in anything deserving the name of 
a royal navy, Scotland was nevertheless rich in hardy 
mariners, and enterprising merchants. A former par- 
liament of this reio'n had adverted to the o'reat wealth 
still lost to the country from the want of a sufiicient 
number of ships, and busses, or boats, to be employed 
in the fisheries."!- ^^^ enactment was now made that 
vessels of twenty tons and upwards should be built in 
all the seaports of the kingdom ; whilst the magistrates 
were directed to compel all stout vagrants who fre- 
quented such districts, to learn the trade of mariners, 
and labour for their own living.^ 

Amongst his merchants and private traders, the 
king found some men of ability and experience. Sir 
Andrew Wood of Largo, the two Bartons, Sir Alex- 
ander Mathison, William Merrimonth of Leith, whose 

* Mr Biddel in his Life of Sebastian Cabot, a "work of great acuteness 
and research, has endeavoured to show that the discovery of North America 
belongs solely to Sebastian and not to John Cabot. From the examination 
of his proofs and authorities, I have arrived at a totally opposite conclusion. 
The reader who is interested in the subject ■will find it discussed in the 
Appendix to " A Historical View of the Progress of Discovery in North 
America " ; in which the subject is fully treated. 

't' Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 235. " Anent the greit 
innumerable riches yat is tint in fault of schippis and buschis." 

X M'Pherson's Annals of Commerce, vol. ii. pp. 17, 18. 


skill ill maritime afiairs had procured liim the title of 
*• king of the sea," and various other naval adventurers 
of inferior note were sought out by James, and treated 
with peculiar favour and distinction. They were en- 
eoura2:ed to extend their vovaires, to arm their trading; 
vessels, to purchase foreign ships of war, to import 
cannon, and to superintend the building of ships of 
force at home. In these cares the monarch not only 
took an interest, but studied the subjects with his usual 
enthusiasm, and personally superintended every detail. 
He conversed with his mariners — rewarded the most 
skilful and assiduous by presents — visited familiarly 
at the houses of his principal merchants and sea officers 
— practised wdth his artillery-men — often discharging 
and pointing the guns, and delighted in embarking on 
short voyages of experiment, in which, under the tuition 
of Wood or the J3artons, he became acquainted with 
the practical parts of navigation. The consequences of 
such conduct were highly favourable to him : he became 
as popular with his sailors as he was beloved by his 
nobility; his fame was carried by them to foreign 
countries ; ship-wrights, cannon-founders, and foreign 
artisans of every description, flocked to his court from 
France, Italy, and the Low Countries ; and if amongst 
these were some impostors, whose pretensions imposed 
upon the royal credulity, there were others by whose 
skill and o'enius Scotland rose in the scale of knowledo^e 
and importance. 

But the attention of James to his navy and his 
foreign commerce, although conspicuous, was not ex- 
clusive; his energy and activity in the administration 
of justice, in the suppression of crime, and in the regu- 
lation of the police of his dominions, were equally re- 
markable. Under the feudal government as it then 

1497. JAMES IV. 7 

existed in Scotland, the obedience paid to the laws, 
and the consequent increase of industry and security 
of property, were dependent in a great degree upon the 
personal character of the sovereign. Indolence and 
inactivity in the monarch commonly led to disorder 
and oppression. The stronger nobles oppressed their 
weaker neighbours ; murder and spoliation of every 
kind were practised by their vassals ; whilst the judges, 
deprived of the countenance and protection of their 
prince, either did not dare or did not choose to punish 
the delinquents. Personal vigour in the king, was in- 
variably accompanied by a diminution of crime and a 
respect for the laws ; and never was a sovereign more 
indefatigable than James m visiting with this object 
every district of his dominions ; travelling frequently 
alone, at night, and in the most inclement seasons to 
great distances ; surprising the judge, when he least 
expected, by his sudden appearance on the tribunal, 
and striking terror into the heart of the guilty by the 
rapidity and certainty of the royal vengeance. Pos- 
sessed of an athletic frame, which was streno-thened bv 
a familiarity with all the warlike exercises of the age, 
the king thought little of throwing himself on his horse, 
and riding a hundred miles before he drew bridle ; and, 
on one occasion it is recorded of him, that he rode un- 
attended from his palace of Stirling in a single day to 
Elgin, where he permitted himself but a few hours' 
repose, and then pushed on to the shrine of St Duthoc 
in Ross.* 

Whilst the monarch was occupied in these active 
but pacific cares, an event occurred which, in its con- 
sequences, threatened once more to plunge the two 
countries into war. A party of Scottish jouths, some 

* Lesley's History, Bannatyne edit. p. 76. 


of them highly born, crossed the Tweed at Norharn, 
and trusting to tlie protection of the truce, visited the 
castle ; but the national antipathy led to a misunder- 
standing : they were accused of being spies, attacked 
b}'" orders of the governor, and driven with ignominy 
and wounds across the river. James'*s chivalrous sense 
of honour fired at this outrage, and he despatched a 
herald to England, demanding inquiry, and denounc- 
ing war if it were refused. It was fortunate, however, 
that the excited passions of this prince were met by 
quietude and prudence upon the part of Henry ; he 
represented the event in its true colours, as an unpre- 
meditated and accidental attack, for which he felt re- 
gret and was ready to afford redress. Fox, the Bishop 
of Durham, to whom the castle belonged, made ample 
submissions; and the king, conciliated by his flattery, 
and convinced by his arguments of the ruinous im- 
policy of a war, allowed himself to be appeased. 
Throuohout the whole ne2:otiation, the wisdom and 
moderation of Henry presented a striking contrast to 
the foolish and overbearing impetuosity of the Scot- 
tish monarch : it was hoped, however, that this head- 
strong temper would be subdued by his arrival at a 
maturer a2:e : and in the meantime the Eno-lish kinfj 
despatched to the Scottish court his Vice-Admiral 
Rydon, to obtain from James the final ratification of 
the truce, w'hicli was given at Stirling, on the twentieth 
of July, 1499.* 

In the midst of these threateninsrs of war which 
were thus happily averted, it is pleasing to mark the 
efforts of an enlightened policy for the dissemination 
of learning. By an act of a former parliament, (1496,)*!* 

* RjTTier, Foedera, vol. xii. p. 728. 

f Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol ii. p. 238. 

1500. JAMES IV. 9 

it had been made imperative on all barons and free- 
holders under a fine of twenty pounds, to send their 
sons at the age of nine years to the schools, where 
they were to be competently founded in Latin, and to 
remain afterwards three years at the schools of " Art 
and Jury," so as to ensure their possessing a know- 
ledge of the laws. The object of this statute was to 
secure the appointment of learned persons to fill the 
office of sheriffs, that the poorer classes of the people 
might not be compelled from the ignorance of such 
judges to appeal to a higher tribunal. These efforts 
were seconded by the exertions of an eminent and 
learned prelate, Elphinston bishop of Aberdeen, who 
now completed the building of King"'s College in that 
city, for the foundation of which he had procured the 
papal bull in 1494. In the devout spirit of the age, 
its original institutions embraced the maintenance of 
eight priests and seven singing boys ; but it supported 
also professors of divinity, of the civil and canon law, 
of medicine and humanity; fourteen students of phi- 
losophy and ten bachelors were educated within its 
walls : nor is it unworthy of record, that its first prin- 
cipal was the noted Hector Boece, the correspondent 
of Erasmus, and a scholar whose classical attainments 
and brilliant fancy had already procured for him the 
distinction of professor of philosophy in Montague 
College at Paris. Scotland now possessed three uni- 
versities : that of St Andrew''s, founded in the com- 
mencement of the fifteenth century ; Glasgow, in the 
year 1453 ; and Aberdeen, in 1500. Fostered amid the 
security of peace, the Muses began to raise their heads 
from the slumber into which they had fallen ; and 
the genius of Dunbar and Douglas, emulated in their 


native language the poetical triumphs of Chaucer and 
of Gower.* 

It was about this time that James concluded a de- 
fensive alliance with France and Denmark; and Henry 
the Seventh, who began to be alarmed lest the monarch 
should be flattered by Lewis the Twelfth into a still 
more intimate intercourse, renewed his proposals for 
a marriage with his daughter. The wise policy of 
a union between the Scottish kins; and the Princess 
Mariraret had su2:2:ested itself to the councillors of both 
countries some years before ; but the extreme youth 
of the intended bride, and an indisposition upon the 
part of James to interrupt by more solemn ties the 
love which he bore to his mistress Margaret Drum- 
niond, the daughter of Lord Drummond, had for a 
while put an end to all negotiations on the subject. 
His continued attachment, however, the birth of a 
daughter, and, perhaps, the dread of female influence 
over the impetuous character of the king, began to 
alarm his nobility, and James felt disposed to listen 
to their remonstrances. He accordingly despatched 
his commissioners, the Bishop of Glasgow, the Earl 
of Bothwell his high admiral, and Andrew Forman 
apostolical prothonotary, to meet w^ith those of Henry; 
and, after some interval of debate and negotiation, the 
marriage treaty was concluded and signed in the palace 
of Richmond, on the twenty-fourth of January, 1502, •[* 
It was stipulated, that as the princess had not yet 
completed her twelfth year, her father should not be 
obliged to send her to Scotland before the first of Sep- 
tember, 1503; whilst James engaged to espouse her 

* Memoirs of William Dunbar, p. 45, prefixed to Mr Laing's beautiful 
edition of that poet. 

f Rymer, Fcjedera, vol. xii. pp. 776, 777, 787. 

1502. JAMES IV. 11 

within fifteen days after her arrival.* The queen was 
immediately to be put in possession of all the lands, 
castles, and manors, w^hose revenues constituted the 
jointure of the queens-dowager of Scotland; and it 
was stipulated that their annual amount should not 
be under the sum of two thousand pounds sterling. 
She was to receive during,- the lifetime of the kino- her 
husband, a pension of five hundred marks, equivalent 
to one thousand pounds of Scottish money ; and, in 
the event of James's death, was to be permitted to re- 
side at her pleasure, either within or without the limits 
of Scotland. On the part of Henry, her dowry con- 
sidering his great wealth, was not munificent. It 
was fixed at thirty thousand nobles, or ten thousand 
pounds sterling, to be paid by instalments within 
tliree years after the marriage.^* Besides her Scottish 
servants, the princess was to be at liberty to keep 
twenty-four English domestics, men and women; and 
her household was to be maintained by her husband in 
a state conformable to her hio'h rank as the dauo;hter 
and consort of a kino;. It was lastlv ao-reed, that 
should the queen die without issue before the three 
years had expired within wdiich her dowry was to be 
paid, the balance should not be demanded ; but in the 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol, xii. p. 765, gives the dispensation for the marriage. 
It is dated 5th August, 1500. 

'h At a period as remote as 1281, ■when silver was far more valuable than 
in 1502, Alexander the Third gave -with his daughter to the King of 
Norway the value of 9333 pounds of standard silver, one half in money, 
for the other half an annuity in lands, valued at ten years' purchase, whilst 
the stipulated jointure was to be ten per cent, of her portion. Henry the 
Seventh, on the other hand, when it might be thought more necessary for 
him to conciliate the affection of his son-in-law, gives only 5714 pounds, 
silver of the same standard, and stipulates for his daughter a jointure of 
twenty per cent., besides an allowance for her privy purse. [M'Pherson's 
Annals of Commerce, vol. iv, in Appendix, Chronological Table of Prices,] 
The well kno^vn economy, however, of the English monarch, and his shrewd- 
ness in all money transactions, precludes us from drawing any general con- 
clusions from this remarkable fact, as to the comparative wealth of Scotland 
in the thirteenth and England in the sixteenth century. 


event of lier death, leaving issue, the wliole sum was 
to be exacted.* Such was this celebrated treaty, in 
which the advantages were almost exclusively on the 
side of England; for Henry retained Berwick, and 
James was contented with a portion smaller than that 
which had been promised to the Prince of Scotland by 
Edward the Fourth, when in 1474 this monarch in- 
vited him to marry his daughter Csecilia.-f* But there 
seems no ground for the insinuation of a modern his- 
torian,:}: that the deliberations of the Scottish commis- 
sioners had been swayed by the gold of England ; it 
is more probable they avoided a too rigid scrutiny of 
the treaty, from an anxiety that an alliance, which 
promised to be in every way beneficial to the country 
and to the sovereign, should be carried into effect with 
as much speed as possible. 

The tender age of the young princess, however, still 
prevented her immediate union with the king, and in 
the interval a domestic tragedy occurred at court, of 
which the causes are as dark as the event was deplor- 
able. It has been already noticed that James, whose 
better qualities were tarnished by an indiscriminate 
devotion to his pleasures, had, amid other temporary 
amours, selected as his mistress Lady Margaret Drum- 
mond, the daughter of a noble house, which had already 
given a queen to Scotland. At first little anxiety was 
felt at such a connexion ; the nobles, in the plurality 
of the royal favourites, imagined there existed a safe- 
guard for the royal honour, and looked with confidence 
to James's fulfillin"; his enfT;a<2:ements with Eno-land ; 
but his infatuation seemed to increase in proportion as 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol, xii. pp. 787, 792, inclusi^-e. 

•\- The portion of Caecilia was 20,000 marks, equal to £13,3u3 English 
money of that age. — Rymer's Foedera, vol. xi. pp. 825, 830'. 
X Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 4i. 

1502. JAMES IV. 13 

the period for the completion of the marriage ap- 
proached. His coffers were exhausted to keep up the 
splendid establishment of his mistress : large sums of 
money, rich dresses, grants of land to her relations, 
and needy domestics, all contributed to drain the 
revenue, whilst her influence must have been alarmino-. 
The treaty was yet unconfirmed by the oath of the 
king, and his wisest councillors began to dread the 
consequences. It was in this state of things that, 
when residino^ at Drummond castle, Ladv Marsraret, 
along with her sisters, Euphemia and Sybilla, were 
suddenly seized with an illness which attacked them 
immediately after a repast, and soon after died in great 
torture, their last struggles exhibiting, it was said, the 
symptoms of poison. The bodies of the fair sufferers 
were instantly carried to Dunblane, and there buried 
with a precipitancy wdiich increased the suspicion, yet 
no steps were taken to arrive at the truth by disin- 
terment or examination. It is possible that a slight 
misunderstanding between James and Henry concern- 
ing the withdrawing the title of King of France, 
which the Scottish monarch had inadvertently per- 
mitted to be given to his intended father-in-law,* mav 
have had the effect of exciting the hopes of the Drum- 
monds, and reviving the alarm of the nobles, who 
adopted this horrid means of removing the subject of 
their fears ; or we may, perhaps, look for a solution of 
the mystery in the jealousy of a rival house, which 
shared in the munificence and disputed for the afi"eC" 
tions of the king.i* 

From the sad reflections which must have clouded 

* Rymer, Fcedera, vol. xiii. pp. 43, 44. 

+ The Lady Janet Kennedy, daughter of John lord Kennedy, had born 
a son to the king, whom James created Earl of Moray. 


his mind on this occasion, the monarch suddenly turned, 
with his characteristic versatility and energy, to the 
cares of government. 

Some time previous to this (but the precise date is 
uncertain) he provided the King of Denmark with 
vessels and troops for the reduction of the Norwegians 
who had risen against his authority. The Scottish 
auxiliaries, in conjunction with the Danish force and 
a squadron furnished by the elector of Brandenburg, 
were commanded by Christiern prince royal of Den- 
mark, and the insurgent Norwegians for the time 
completely reduced, whilst their chief, Hermold, was 
taken prisoner and executed. James's fleet now re- 
turned to Scotland ; the artillery and ammunition 
which formed their freight, were carried to the castle 
of Edinburdi, and a mission of Snowdon herald to the 
Danish king, to whom James sent a present of a coat 
of gold, evinced the friendly alliance which existed 
between the two countries.* 

All was now ready for the approaching nuptials of 
the king. The pope had given his dispensation, and 
confirmed the treaties ; James had renewed his oath 
for their observation, and the youthful bride, under 
the care of the Earl of Surrey, and surrounded by a 
splendid retinue, set out on her journey to Scotland. 
Besides Surrey and his train, the Earl of Northum- 
berland, Lord Dacre, the Archbishop of York, the 
Bishop of Durham, and other civil and ecclesiastical 
grandees, accompanied the princess, who was now in 
her fourteenth year; and, at Lambcrton kirk, in Lam- 
mermuir, she was met by the Archbishop of Glasgow, 

* Tliis expedition of the Scottish ships to Denmark, in 1502-3, is not to 
he found in Pinkerton. Its occurrence is established beyond doubt by the 
MS. accounts of the Lord High Treasurer, and by the Historians of Den- 
mark. — Lacombe, Ilistoire de Dannemarc, vol. i. p. 237. 

1502. JAMES IV. 15 

the Earl of Morton, and a train of Scottisli barons. 
The roval tents which had been sent forward, were 
now pitched for her reception ; and according to the 
terms of the treaty, the Earl of Northumberland de- 
livered her with great solemnity to the commissioners 
of the king. The cavalcade than proceeded towards 
Dalkeith. When she reached Newbattle, she was met 
by the prince himself, with all the ardour of a youth- 
ful lover, eager to do honour to the lady of his heart. 
The interview is described by an eye-witness, and 
presents a curious picture of the manners of the times. 
Darting, says he, like a hawk on its quarry, James 
eagerly entered her chamber, and found her playing 
at cards : he then, after an embrace, entertained her 
by his performance upon the clarichord and the lute : 
on taking leave, he sprung upon a beautiful courser 
without putting his foot in the stirrup, and pushing 
the animal to the top of his speed, left his train far 
behind.* At the next meeting the princess exhibited 
her musical skill, whilst the king listened on bended 
knee, and highly commended the performance. When 
she left Dalkeith to proceed to the capital, James met 
her, mounted on a bay horse, trapped with gold ; he 
and the nobles in his train riding at full gallop, and 
suddenlv checking;, and throwino; their steeds on their 
haunches, to exhibit the firmness of their seat. A 
singular chivalrous exhibition now took place : a 
knight appeared on horseback, attended by a beautiful 
lady, holding his bridle and carrying his hunting horn. 
He was assaulted by Sir Patrick Hamilton, who seized 
the damsel, and a mimic conflict took place, which 
concluded by the king throwing down his gage and 
calling "peace."''' On arriving at the suburbs, the 

* Leland, Collectanea, vol. iv. p. 284, 


princess descended from her litter, and, mounted upon 
a pillion behind the roval bridegroom, rode through 
the streets of the city to the palace, amid the accla- 
mations of the people.* On the eighth of August, 
the ceremony of the marriage was performed by the 
Archbishop of St Andrew's, in the abbey church of 
Holyrood; and the festivities which followed were 
still more splendid than those which had preceded it. 
Feasting, masques, morris dances, and dramatic en- 
tertainments, occupied successive nights of revelry. 
Amid the tournaments which were exhibited, the kins: 
appeared in the character of the Savage Knight, sur- 
rounded by wild men disguised in goats'* skins ; and 
by his uncommon skill in these martial exercises, car- 
ried off the prize from all who competed with him. 
Besides the English nobles, many foreigners of dis- 
tinction attended the wedding, amongst whom, one of 
the most illustrious was Anthony D'Arsie de la Bastie, 
who fou2:ht in the barriers with Lord Hamilton, after 
they had tilted with grinding spears. HamJlton was 
nearly related to the Idng ; and so pleased was James 
with his magnificent retinue and noble appearance in 
honour of his marriage, that he created him Earl of 
Arran, on the third day after the ceremony.f De la 
Bastie also was loaded with gifts ; the Countess of 
Surrey, the Archbishop of York, J the officers of the 
queen''s household, down to her meanest domestic, ex- 
perienced the liberality of the monarch ; and the revels 
broke up, amidst enthusiastic aspirations for his hap- 
piness, and commendations of his unexampled gene- 
rosity and gallantry. 

* Leland, Collectanea, vol. iv. p. 28G-7. 
+ Mag. Sig, xiii. 639. Aug. 11, 1503. 

X Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer, suh anno 1503. August, 9, 11, 
12, 13. 

1502. JAMES IV. 17 

Scarce had these scenes of public rejoicing concluded, 
when a rebellion broke out in the north which demand- 
ed the immediate attention of the kin^:. The measures 
pursued by James in the highlands and the isles, had 
been hitherto followed with complete success. He had 
visited these remote districts in person ; their fierce 
chiefs had submitted to his power, and in 1495 he had 
returned to his capital, leading captive the only two 
delinquents, who offered an}^ serious resistance — Mac- 
kenzie of Kintail, and Macintosh heir to the Captain of 
clan Chattan. From this period, till the year 1499, in the 
autumn of which the monarch held his court in south 
Kentire, all appears to have remained in tranquillity; 
but after his return (from what causes cannot be dis- 
covered) a complete change took place in the policy of 
the king, and the wise and moderate measures already 
adopted were succeeded by proceedings so severe as to 
border on injustice. The charters which had been 
granted during the last six years to the vassals of the 
isles, were summarily revoked. Archibald earl of 
Argyle, was installed in the office of lieutenant, with 
the ample and invidious power of leasing out the entire 
lordship of the isles.* The ancient proprietors and 
their vassals were violently expelled from their here- 
ditary property ; whilst Argyle and other royal fa- 
vourites appear to have been enriched by new grants 
of their estates and lordships. We are not to wonder 
that such harsh proceedings were loudly reprobated: 
the inhabitants saw, with indi2:nation, their riohtful 
masters exposed to insult and indigence, and at last 
broke into open rebellion. Donald Dhu, grandson of 
John lord of the Isles, had been shut up for forty years, 

* The island of Isla, and the lands of north and south Kentire, were alone 

VOL. V. B 


a solitary captive in the castle of Iiichconnal. His 
mother was a daughter of the first Earl of Argyle ; 
and although there is no doubt that both he and his 
father were illeoitimate,* the affection of the isleraen 
overlooked the blot in his scutcheon, and fondly turned 
to him as the true heir of Ross and Innisgail. To 
reinstate him in his right, and place him upon the 
throne of the Isles was the object of the present rebel- 
lion. -f A party led by the MacJans of Glenco, broke 
into his dungeon, liberated him from his captivity, and 
carried him in safety to the castle of Torquil Macleod 
in the Lewis; whilst measures were concerted through- 
out the wide extent of the Isles for the establishment 
of their independence, and the destruction of the regal 
power. Although James received early intelligence 
of the meditated insurrection, and laboured by every 
method to dissolve the union amongst its confederated 
chiefs, it now burst forth with destructive fury. Bade- 
noch was wasted with all the ferocity of highland war- 
fare, — Inverness given to the flames ; and so widely 
and rapidly did the contagion of independence spread 
throughout the Isles, that it demanded the most prompt 
and decisive measures to arrest it. But Jameses power, 
though shook, was too deeply rooted to be thus destroy- 
ed. The whole array of the kingdom was called forth. 
The Earls of Argyle, Huntley, Crawford, and Marshal, 
with Lord Lovat and other barons, were appointed to 
lead an army against the islanders ; the castles and 
strono^holds in the hands of the kinoj were fortified and 
garrisoned ; letters were addressed to the various chiefs, 
encouraging the loyal by the rewards which awaited 
them, whilst over the heads of the wavering or dis- 
affected, were suspended the terrors of forfeiture and 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 247. + Ibid. 

1503. JAMES IV. 19 

execution. But this was not all : a parliament assem- 
bled at Edinburgh on the eleventh of March, 1503,* 
and in addition to the above vigorous resolutions, 
the civilisation of the highlands, an object which had 
engrossed the attention of many a successive council, 
was again taken into consideration. To accomplish, 
this end, those districts, whose inhabitants had hitherto, 
from their inaccessible position, defied the restraints of 
the law, were divided into new sheriffdoms, and placed 
under the jurisdiction of permanent judges. The pre- 
amble of the act complained in strong terms of the 
gross abuse of justice in the northern and western 
divisions of the realm, — more especially the Isles ; it 
described the people as having become altogether 
savage, and provided that the new sheriffs for the 
north Isles should hold their courts in Inverness and 
Dingwall, and those for the south, in the Tarbet of 
Lochkilkerran. The inhabitants of Dowart, Glen- 
do wart, and the lordship of Lorn, who for a lono- 
period had violently resisted the jurisdiction of the 
Justice Ayres or ambulatory legal courts, were com- 
manded to come to the Justice Ayre, at Perth ; and 
the districts of Mawmor and Lochaber, wdiich had in- 
sisted on the same exemption, were brought under the 
jurisdiction of the Justice Ayre of Inverness. The 
divisions of Bute, Arran, Knapdale, Kentire, and the 
larger Cumray, were to hold their courts at Ayr, whilst 
the deplorable condition of Argyle was marked by the 
words of the act, " that the court is to be held wher- 
ever it is found that each highlander and lowlander 
may come without danger and ask justice,"' — a prob- 
lem of no easy discovery. The districts of Ross and 
Caithness, now separated from tlie sheriffdom of In- 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii, pp.. 239, 249. 


verness, were placed under their own judges ; and it 
was directed that the inhabitants of these three great 
divisions of the kingdom should as usual attend the 
Justice Ayre of Inverness. 

It appears, that for the purpose of quieting the 
lowland districts, the king had adopted a system, not 
uncommon in those times, of engaging the most power- 
ful of the resident nobles and gentry in a covenant or 
" band," which, under severe penalties, obliged them 
to maintain order throughout the country. By such 
means the blessings of security and good government 
had been enjoyed by Dumfries-shire, a district hither- 
to much disturbed; and the Earl of Bothwell now 
earnestly recommended a similar method to be pur- 
sued in the reduction of Teviotdale. 

In the same parliament, a court of daily council was 
appointed, the judges of which were to be selected by 
the king, and to hold their sittings in Edinburgh. The 
object of this new institution was to relieve the lords 
of the " Session" of the confusion and pressure of busi- 
ness, which had arisen from the great accumulation of 
cases, and to afford immediate redress to those poorer 
litigants whose matters had been delayed from year to 
year. The ferocity of feudal manners, and the gradual 
introduction of legal subtilties were strikingly blended 
in another law passed at this time, by which it was 
directed, that no remissions or pardons were hereafter 
to contain a general clause for all offences, as it was 
found, that by this form, much abuse of justice had been 
introduced. A ferocious ruffian, for example, who, to the 
crime of murder, had, as was generally the case, added 
many inferior offences, in purchasing his remission, was 
in the practice of stating only the minor delinquency, 
and afterwards pleading that the murder was included 

1503. JAMES IV. 21 

under the pardon. It was now made imperative, that 
before any remission was granted, the highest offence 
should be ascertained, and minutely described in the 
special clause ; it being permitted to the offender to plead 
his remission for all crimes of a minor description. The 
usual interdiction was repeated against all export of 
money forth of the realm : forty shillin2:s beino- fixed as 
the maximum, which any person might carry out of the 
country. The collection of the royal customs was more 
strictly ensured: it was enjoined, that the magistrates 
of all buro'hs should be annually chanQ-ed : that no Scot- 
tish merchants should carry on a litio;ation bevond seas. 
in any court but that of the Conservator, who w^as to be 
assisted by a council of six of the most able merchants, 
and was commanded to visit Scotland once every year. 
The burghs of the realm were amply secured in the pos- 
session of their ancient privileges, and warningwasgiven 
to their commissaries or head-men, that when anv tax 
wastobe proposed, or contribution granted by the parlia- 
ment, they should be careful to attend and give their 
advice in that matter as one of the three Estates of the 
realm; a provision demonstrating the obsoleteness of 
some of the former laws upon this subject, and proving 
that an attendance upon the great council of the king- 
dom was still considered a o-rievance by the more labori- 
ous classes of the community. With regard to the 
higher landed proprietors, they were strongly enjoined 
to take seisin, and enter upon the superiority of their 
lands, so that the vassals who held under them might 
not be injured by their neglect of this important legal 
solemnity ; whilst every judge, who upon a precept 
from the Chancery had given seisin to any baron, was 
directed to keep an attested register of such proceeding 
m a court -book, to be lodged in the Exchequer. 


It appears by a provision of the same parliament, 
that " the Green Wood of Scotland" was then utterly 
destroyed: a remarkable change from the picture for- 
merly a'iven in this work of the extensive forests which 
once covered the face of the country. To remedy this, 
the fine for the felling or burning of growing timber 
was raised to five pounds, whilst it was ordered that 
every lord, or laird, in those districts where there were 
no great w^oods or forests, should plant at the least one 
acre, and attempt to introduce a farther improvement, 
bv enclosing a park for deer, whilst he attended also 
to his warrens, orchards, hedges, and dovecots. All 
park-breakers and trespassers within the enclosures of 
a landholder, were to be fined in the sum of ten pounds; 
and if the delinquency should be committed by a child, 
he was to be delivered by his parents to the judge, who 
was enjoined to administer corporal correction in pro- 
portion to its enormity. In the quaint language of 
the act, " the bairn is to be lashed, scourged, and dung, 
according to the fault." All vassals, although it was 
a time of peace, were commanded to have their arms 
and harness in good order, to be inspected at the annual 
military musters or w^eapon-schawings. By an act 
passed in the year 1457, it had been recommended to 
the king, lords, and prelates, to let their lands in " few 
farm;^ but this injunction which, when followed, was 
hiohlv beneficial to the country, had fallen so much 
into disuse, that its legality w^as disputed: it loosened 
the strict ties of the feudal system, by permitting the 
farmers and labourers to exchange their military ser- 
vices for the payment of a land rent; and although it 
promoted agricultural improvement, it was probably 
opposed by a large body of the barons, who were jealous 
of any infringement upon their privileges. The benefits 

1503. JAMES IV. 23 

of the system, however, were now once more recognised. 
It was declared lawful for the sovereign, his prelates, 
nobles, and landholders, to " set their lands in few,"" 
under any condition which they might judge expedient ; 
taking care, however, that by such leases the annual 
income of their estates should not be diminished to the 
prejudice of their successors. No creditor was to be 
permitted to seize for debt, or to order the sale of, any 
instruments of agriculture ; an equalisation of weights 
and measures was commanded to be observed throuirh- 
out the realm ; it was ordained that the most remote 
districts of the country, including the Isles, should be 
amenable to the same laws as the rest of the kingdom, 
severe regulations were passed for an examination into 
the proper qualifications of notaries; and an attempt 
was made to reduce the heavy expenses of litigation, 
and for the suppression of strong and idle paupers. 
The parliament concluded by introducing a law which 
materially afi'ected its own constitution. All barons 
or freeholders, whose annual revenue was below the 
sum of one hundred marks of the new extent established 
in 1424, were permitted to absent themselves from the 
meeting of the three Estates, provided they sent their 
procurators to answer for them ; whilst all whose income 
was above that sum were, under the usual fine, to be 
compelled to attend.* 

Such were the most remarkable provisions of this 
important meeting of the three Estates ; but in these 
times the difiiculty did not so much consist in the mak- 
ing good laws, as in carrying them into execution. 
This was particularly experienced in the case of the 
Isles, where the rebellion still raged with so much vio- 
lence, that it was found necessary to despatch a small 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 240-254. 


naval squadron under Sir Andrew Wood and Robert 
Barton, two of the most skilful officers in the country, 
to co-operate with the land army, which was command- 
ed by the Earl of Arran, lieutenant-general of the 
king.* James, who at present meditated an expedi- 
tion in person against the broken clans of Eskdale and 
Teviotdale, could not accompany his fleet farther than 
Dumbarton. •[' The facility with which Wood and 
Barton reduced the strong insular castle of Carne- 
burgh, which had attempted to stand a siege, and com- 
pelled the insurgent chiefs to abandon their attempts 
at resistance, convinced him, that in his attention to 
his navy, he had not too highly estimated its impor- 
tance. Aware also of the uncommon energy with which 
the monarch directed his military and naval resources, 
and witnessing the rapidity with which delinquents 
were overtaken by the royal vengeance, Macleod, Mac- 
Ian, and others of the most powerful of the island lords, 
adopted the wiser policy of supporting the crown, being 
rewarded for their fidelity by sharing in the forfeited 
estates of che rebels. J: 

A temporary tranquillity having been thus established 
in the north, the king proceeded, at the head of a force 
which overawed all opposition, into Eskdale. Infor- 
mation was sent to the English monarch, requesting 
him to co-operate in this attempt to reduce the warlike 
borderers, whose habits of plunder were prejudicial to 
the security of either country ; and Lord Dacre the 
warden, received his master"'s instructions to meet the 
Scottish king and afford him every assistance. He 
repaired accordingly to James"'s head quarters at Loch- 

* Treasurer's Accounts, 1504. March 14. 

+ Ibid, sub anno 1504. April 18, 30 ; May 6, 9, 10, and 11. 

X Treasurer's Accounts, 1504. May 7-11. 

1504. JAMES IV. 25 

maben, and proceedings against the freebooters of these 
districts were commenced with the utmost vigour and 
severity. None, however, knew better than James 
how to combine amusement with the wei2:htier cares 
of government. He was attended in his progress by 
his huntsmen, falconers, morris dancers, and all the 
motley and various minions of his pleasures, as well 
as by his judges and ministers of the law; and whilst 
troops of the unfortunate marauders were seized and 
brought in irons to the encampment, executions and 
entertainments appear to have succeeded each other 
with extraordinary rapidity.* The severity of the 
monarch to all who had disturbed the peace of the 
country was as remarkable as his kindness and affabi- 
lity to the lowest of his subjects who respected the 
laws ; and many of the ferocious borderers, to whom 
the love of plunder had become a second nature, but 
who promised themselves immunity because they robbed 
within the English pale, lamented on the scaffold the 
folly of such anticipation. The Armstrongs, however, 
appear at this time to have made their peace with the 
crown; ■[" whilst the Jardines, and probably other power- 
ful septs, purchased afreedom from minute inquiry, by an 
active co-operation with the measures of the sovereign. 
On his return from the " Raid of Eskdale" to Stir- 
ling, James scarcely permitted himself a month''s repose, 
which was occupied in attention to the state of his fleet, 
and in negotiation by mutual messengers with the Lord 
Aubigny in France, when he judged it necessary to 
make a progress across the Mounth as far as Forres ; 
visiting Scone, Forfar, Aberdeen, and Elgin, inquiring 
into the state of this part of his dominions, scrutinizing 

* Treasurer's A'-counts, August 9, 1504 ; also under August 17, 19, 20, 
21, 23, aud 31. For the particulars, see the entries on this expedition, 
t Ibid. 1504, September 2. 


the conduct of his sheriffs and ma2:istrates, and declar- 
ing his readiness to redress every grievance, were it 
sustained by the poorest tenant or labourer in his 

Soon after his return he received the unpleasant 
intelligence that disturbances had again broken out in 
the Isles, which would require immediate interference. 
In 1504, great efforts had been made, but with little 
permanent success, and the progress of the insurrection 
became alarming. Macvicar, an envoy from Macleod, 
who was then in strict alliance with the king, remained 
three weeks at court: Mac-Ian also had sent his emis- 
saries to explain the perilous condition of the country ; 
and, with his characteristic energy, the king, as soon 
as the state of the year permitted, despatched the Earl 
of Huntley to invade the Isles by the north, whilst 
himself in person led an army against them from the 
south ; and John Barton proceeded with a fleet to 
reduce and overawe these savage districts.-f* The 
terror of the royal name ; the generosity with which 
James rewarded his adherents : and the vio-orous 
measures which he adopted against the disaffected, 
produced a speedy and extensive effect in dissolving 
the confederacy. Maclean of Dowart, Macquarrie of 
Ulva, with Macneill of Barra, and Macinnon, offered 
their submission, and were received into favour ; and 
the succeeding year (1506) witnessed the utter de- 
struction of Torquil Macleod, the great head of the 
rebellion, whose castle of Stornaway in Lewis was 
stormed by Huntley; whilst Donald Dhu, the captive 
upon whose aged head his vassals had made this des- 
perate attempt to place the crown of the Isles, escaping 

* Treasurer's Accounts, 1504, sub mense Oct. -See also Sept. 26. 
t Ibid. 1505, Sept. 0", 

1505. JAMES IV. 27 

the gripe of the conqueror, fled to Ireland, where he 
soon after died.* 

It was now proper for the monarch to look to his 
foreign relations, to seize the interval of peace at home, 
that he mi2:ht streno-then his ties with the continent. 
France, the ally of Scotland, had been too constantly 
occupied with hostilities in Italy, to take an interest 
in preventing the negotiations for the marriage of the 
king to the Princess of England. The conquest of the 
Milanese by the arms of Lewis the Twelfth, in which 
Robert Stuart lord of Aubigny had distinguished him- 
self, and the events which succeeded in the partition 
of the kingdom of Naples between the Kings of France 
and Castile, concentrated the attention of both mon- 
archs upon Italy, and rendered their intercourse with 
Britain less frequent. But when the quarrel regarding 
the division of the kingdom of Naples broke out between 
Ferdinand and Lewis, in 1503, and the defeats of 
Seminara and Cerignola had established the superior- 
ity of the Spanish arms in Italy, negotiations between 
Lewis and the Scottish court, appear to have been 
renewed. The causes of this were obvious. Henrv 
the Seventh of Eno-land esteemed none of his foreion 
alliances so highly as that with Spain: his eldest son. 
Arthur, had espoused Catharine the Infanta ; and, on 
the death of her husband, a dispensation had been 
procured from the Pope for her marriage with his 
brother Henry, now Prince of Wales. It was evident 
to Lewis, that his rupture with Spain was not unlikely 

* Nor whilst the Bartons, by their naval skill secured the integrity of the 
kingdom at home, did the monarch neglect their interests abroad. Some of 
their ships, which had been cruising against the English in 14.97, had been 
seized and plundered on the coast of Brittany, and a remonstrance was ad- 
dressed to Lewis the Twelfth, by Panter, the royal secretary, which com- 
plained of the injustice, and insisted on redress. [Epistolae Regum Scotorura, 
voL i. pp. 17, 18.] 


to bring on a quarrel with England, and it became 
therefore of consequence to renew his negotiations with 
James the Fourth. 

These, however, were not the only foreign cares 
which attracted the attention of the kins:. In the 
autumn of the year 1505, Charles D'Egmont duke 
of Gueldres, a prince of spirit and ability, who with 
difficulty maintained his dominions against the unjust 
attacks of the Emperor Maximilian, despatched his 
secretary on an embassy to the Scottish monarch, 
requesting his interference and support.* Nor was 
this denied him. The duke had listened to the advice 
of the Scottish prince when he requested him to with- 
draw his intended aid from the unfortunate Edmund 
de la Pole earl of Suffolk, the representative of the 
House of York, who had sought a refuge at his court ; 
and James now anxiously exerted himself in his behalf. 
He treated his envo}'' with distinction ; despatched an 
embassy to the duke, which, in passing through France, 
secured the assistance of Lewis the Twelfth, and so 
effectually remonstrated with Henry the Seventh and 
the Emperor Maximilian, that all active designs against 
the duchy of Gueldres were for the present abandoned. -[* 

In the midst of these transactions, and whilst the 
presence of Huntley, Barton, and the Scottish fleet was 
still necessary in the Isles, the more pacific parts of 
the country were filled witli joy by the birth of a prince, 
which took place at Holyrood on the 10th of February, 
1506. None could testify greater satisfaction at this 
event than the monarch himself.J He instantly des- 
patched messengers to carry the news to the Kings of 

* Accounts of the High Treasurer, 1505, Sept, 6. 
t Ibid. 150G, July 6 and 8.— Epistolaj Reg. Scot. vol. i. pp. 21, 30, 34. 
X To the lady of the queen's chamber, -who brought him the first intelli- 
gence, be presented a hundred gold pieces and a cup of silver. 

1507. JAMES IV. 29 

England, France, Spain, and Portugal; and, on the 23d 
of February, the baptism was held with magnificence 
in the chapel of Holyrood. The boy was named James, 
after his father; but the sanguine hopes of the kingdom 
were, within a year, clouded by his premature death. 

At this conjuncture an embassy from Pope Julius 
the Second arrived at the court of Scotland. Alarmed 
at the increasing power of the French in Italy, this 
pontiff had united his strength with that of the Emperor 
Maximilian and the Venetians, to check the arms of 
Lewis, whilst he now attempted to induce the Scottish 
monarch to desert his ancient ally. The endeavour, 
however, proved fruitless. James, indeed, reverently 
received the papal ambassador, gratefully accepted the 
consecrated hat and sword which he presented, and 
loaded him and his suite with presents ; he communi- 
cated also the intelligence which he had lately received 
from the King of Denmark, that his ally, the Czar of 
Muscovv, had intimated a desire to be received into 
the bosom of the Latin church ; but he detected the 
political finesse of the warlike Julius, and remained 
steady to his alliance with France. Nay, scarcely had 
the ambassador left his court, when he proposed to send 
Lewis a body of four thousand auxiliaries to serve in 
his Italian wars, an offer which the rapid successes of 
that monarch enabled him to decline. 

Turnino- his attention from the continent to his 
affairs at home, the king recognised with satisfaction 
the effects of his exertions, in enforcing, by severity 
and indefatigable personal superintendence, a universal 
respect for the laws. The husbandman laboured his 
lands in security, the merchant traversed the country 
with his goods, the foreign trader visited the markets 
of the various burghs and sea-ports fearless of plunder 


or interruption ; and so convinced was the monarch 
of the success of his efforts, that, with a whimsical 
enthusiasm, he determined to put it to a singular test. 
Setting out on horseback, unaccompanied even by a 
groom, with nothing but his riding cloak cast abouthim, 
his hunting knife at his belt, and six-and-twenty pounds 
for his travelling expenses in his purse, he rode, in a 
single day, from Stirling to Perth, across the Mounth, 
and through Aberdeen to Elgin ; whence, after a few 
hours'* repose, he pushed on to the shrine of St Duthoc 
in Ross, where he heard mass. In this feat of bold 
and solitary activity, the unknown monarch met not 
a moment''s interruption ; and after having boasted, 
with an excusable pride, of the tranquillity to which he 
had reduced his dominions, he returned in a splendid 
progress to his palace at Stirling, accompanied by the 
principal nobles and gentry of the districts througli 
which he passed. 

Soon after, he despatched the Archbishop of St 
Andrew's and the Earl of Arran to the court of France, 
for the purpose of procuring certain privileges regarding 
the mercantile intercourse between the two countries, 
and to fix upon the line of policy which appeared best 
for their mutual interest regarding the complicated 
affairs of Italy. In that country an important change 
had taken place. The brilliant successes of the Vene- 
tians ao-ainst the arms of Maximilian had alarmed the 
jealousy of Lewis, and led to an inactivity on his part, 
which terminated in a total rupture; whilst the peace 
concluded between the Emperor and James"'s ally and 
relative, the Duke of Gueldres, formed, as is well known, 
the basis of the league of Cambrai, which united, against 
the single republic of Venice, the apparently irresistible 
forces of the Pope, the Emperor, and the K ings of France 

1509. JAMES IV. 81 

and Spain. For the purpose, no doubt, of inducing 
the king to become a party to this powerful coalition, 
Lewis now sent the veteran Aubigny to the Scottish 
court, with the President of Toulouse ;* and the mon- 
arch, who loved the ambassador for his extraction, and 
venerated his celebrity in arms, received him with 
distinction. Tournaments were held in honour of his 
arrival ; he was placed by the king in the highest seat 
at his own table, appealed to as supreme judge in the 
lists, and addressed by the title of Father of War. 
This eminent person had visited Scotland twenty-five 
years before, as ambassador from Charles the Eighth 
to James the Third ; and it was under his auspices 
that the leao:ue between the two countries was then 
solemnly renewed. He now returned to the land which 
contained the ashes of his ancestors, full of years and 
of honour ; but it was only to mingle his dust with 
theirs, for he sickened almost immediatelv after his 
arrival, and died at Corstorphine.-|- 

Another object of Lewis in this embassy was to 
consult with James re2;ardino' the marriafj:e of his eldest 
daughter, to whom Charles king of Castile, then only 
eight years old, had been proposed as a husband. Her 
hand was also sought by Francis of Valois dauphin 
of Vienne ; and the French monarch declared that he 
could not decide on so important a question without 
the advice of his allies, of whom he considered Scot- 
land both the oldest and the most friendly. To this 
James replied, that since his brother of France had 
honoured him by asking his advice, he w^ould give it 
frankly as his opinion, that the princess ought to 

* " Vicesima prima Martii antedicti, GalHse oratores, D""^ videlicet D'Au- 
beny et alter, supplicationum regia) domus jNlagister, octoginta equis egregie 
comitati, urbuem ingressi snt, Scotiam petituri/'—Narratio Hist, de gestis 
Henrici VII. per Bernardum Andream Tholosatem. Cotton. MSS. Julius 
A. iii. 

"^ Lesley's History, Bannatyne edit, p, 77, 


marry within her own reahn of France, and connect 
herself rather with liim who was to succeed to the crown 
than with any foreign potentate ; this latter being 
a union out of which some colourable or pretended 
claim might afterwards be raised against the integrity 
and independence of his kingdom. The advice was 
satisfactory, for it coincided with the course which 
Lewis had already determined to follow. 

Happy in the affections of his subjects, and gratified 
by observing an evident increase in the wealth and 
industry of the kingdom, the king found leisure to re- 
lax from the severer cares of government, and to gratify 
the inhabitants of the capital by one of those exhi- 
bitions of which he was fond even to weakness. A 
magnificent tournament w-as held at Edinburgh, in 
which the monarch enacted the part of the Wild 
Knight, attended by a troop of ferocious companions 
disguised as savages ; Sir Anthony D'Arsie and many 
of the French nobles who had formed the suite of 
Aubigny, w^ere still at court, and bore their part in 
the pageant of Arthur and his Peers of the Round 
Table, whilst the prince attracted admiration by the 
uncommon skill which he exhibited, and the rich gifts 
he bestowed ; but the profuse repetition of such ex- 
pensive entertainments soon reduced him to great 

The constant nes^otiation and intimacy between 
France and the Scottish court appear at this time to 
have roused the jealousy of Henry the Seventh. It 
required, indeed, no great acuteness in this cautious 
prince to anticipate the probable dissolution of the 
League of Cambrai, in which event he perhaps anti- 
cipated a revival of the ancient enmity of France, and 
the possible hostility of James. His suspicion was 
indicated by the seizure of the Earl of Arran and his 

1509. JAMES IV. 33 

brother Sir Patrick Hamilton, who had passed through 
England to the court of Lewis, without the knowledge 
of Henrv, and were now on their return. In Kent 
they were met by Vaughan, an emissary of En2:]and; 
and, on their refusal to take an oath which bound them 
to the observation of peace with that country, they 
were detained and committed to custody. To explain 
and justify his conduct, Henry despatched Dr West 
on a mission to the king, who resented the imprison- 
ment of his subjects, and declared that they had only 
fulfilled their duty in refusing the oath. He declined 
a proposal made for a personal interview with his royal 
father-in-law, insisted on the liberation of Arran, and 
on these conditions agreed to delay, for the present, 
any renewal of the league with France. The impri- 
soned nobles, however, were not immediately dismissed; 
and, probably, in consequence of the delay, James con- 
sidered himself relieved from his promise. 

The death of the Ensjlish kin^^ occurred not lonsr 
after, an event which was unquestionably unfortunate 
for Scotland. His caution, command of temper, and 
earnest desire of peace, were excellent checks to the 
inconsiderate impetuosity of his son-in-law ; nor, if 
we except, perhaps, the last-mentioned circumstance 
of the detention of Arran, can he be accused of a single 
act of injustice towards that kingdom, so long the 
enemy of England. The accession of Henry the 
Eighth, on the other hand, although not productive 
of any immediate ill effects, drew after it, within no 
very distant period, a train of events injurious in their 
progress, and most calamitous in their issue. At 
first, indeed, all looked propitious and peaceful. The 
Scottish king sent his ambassador to congratulate his 
brother-in-law of Ensrland on his accession to the 

VOL. V. c 


throne;* and the youthful monarch, in the plenitude 
of his joy on this occasion, professed the most anxious 
wishes for the continuance of that amity between the 
kingdoms which had been so sedulously cultivated by 
his father. The existing treaties were confirmed, and 
the two sovereians interchano-ed their oaths for tbeir 
observance ; ■[* nor, although so nearly allied to Spain 
by his marriage, did Henry seem at first to share in 
the jealousy of France which was entertained by that 
power; on the contrary, even after the battle of 
Agnadillo had extinguished the hopes of the Venetians, 
he did not hesitate to conclude a treaty of alliance with 
Lewis the Twelfth. All these fair prospects of peace, 
however, were soon destined to be overclouded by the 
pride and impetuosity of a temper which hurried him 
into unjust and unprofitable wars. 

In the meantime Scotland, under the energetic 
government of James, continued to increase in wealth 
and consequence: her navy, that great arm of national 
strength, had become not only respectable, but power- 
ful : no method of encouras^ement had been neojlected 
by the king ; and the success of his efforts was shown 
by the fact that, the largest ship of war then known 
in the world was constructed and launched within his 
dominions. This vessel, which was named the Great 
Michael, appears to have been many years in building, 
and the king personally superintended the work with 
much perseverance and enthusiasm. J The family of 

* Rotuli Scotise, vol. ii. p. 572. 

+ R}-mer, Foedera, vol. xiii. pp. 261, 262. 

Ij: Her length was two hundred and forty feet, her breadth fifty-six to the 
water's edge, but only thirty-six within ; her sides, which were ten feet in 
thickness, were proof against shot. In these days ships carried guns only 
on the upper deck, and the Great Michael, notwithstanding these gigantic 
dimensions, could boast of no more than thirty-five ; sixteen on each side, 
two in the stem, and one in the bow. She was provided, however, with 
three hundred small artillery, under the names of myaud, culveriua, and 

1509. JAMES IV. 35 

the Bartons, which for two generations had been pro- 
lific of naval commanders, were intrusted by this 
monarch with the principal authority in all maritime 
and commercial matters : they purchased vessels for 
him on the continent, they invited into his kingdom 
the most skilful foreign shipwrights ; they sold some of 
their own ships to the king, and vindicated the honour 
of their flag whenever it was insulted, with a readiness, 
and severity of retaliation which inspired respect and 
terror. The Hollanders had attacked a small fleet of 
Scottish merchantmen ; plundering the cargoes, mur- 
dering the crews, and throwing the bodies into the sea. 
The afiair was probably piratical, for it was followed 
by no diplomatic remonstrance ; but an exemplary 
vengeance followed the off"ence. AndrcAV Barton was 
instantly despatched with a squadron, which captured 
many of the pirates; and, in the cruel spirit of the 
times, the admiral commanded the hogsheads which 
were stowed in the hold of his vessels to be filled with 
the heads of the prisoners, and sent as a present to his 
royal master.* 

So far back as 1476, in consequence of the Bartons 
having been plundered by a Portuguese squadron, let- 
ters of reprisal were granted them, under the protec- 
tion of which, there seems reason to believe that they 
more than indemnified themselves for their losses. 
The Portuiruese, whose navv and commerce were at 
this time the richest and most powerful in the world, 
retaliated; and, in 1507, the Lion, commanded by 

double dogs ; "whilst her complement was three hundred seamen, besides 
officers, a hundred and twenty gunners, and a thousand soldiers [^I'Pher- 
son's Annals of Commerce, vol. ii. p. 42.] The minuteness of these details, 
which are extracted from authentic documents, may be pardoned upon a 
subject so important as the navy. 

^ Lesley's History, Baimatyne edit. p. 74. 


John Barton, was seized at Campvere, in Zealand, 
and its commander thrown into prison. The sons 
of this officer, however, having procured from James 
a renewal of their letters of reprisal, fitted out a 
squadron, which intercepted and captured at various 
times many richly-laden carracks returning from the 
Portuguese settlements in India and Africa ; and the 
unwonted apparition of blackamoors at the Scottish 
court, and sable empresses presiding over the royal 
tournaments, is to be traced to the spirit and success 
of the Scottish privateers. 

The consequence of this earnest attention to his 
fleet, was the securing an unusual degree of tranquillity 
at home. The islanders were kept dow^n by a few 
ships of war more effectually than by an army ; and 
James acquired at the same time an increasing autho- 
rity amongst his continental allies. By his navy he 
had been able to give assistance on more than one oc- 
casion to his relative the King of Denmark; and while 
the navy of England was still in its infancy, that of 
the sister country had risen, under the judicious care 
of the monarch, to a respectable rank, although far 
inferior to the armaments of the leadins: navioators of 
Europe, the Spaniards, the Portuguese, and the Vene- 

It was at this period, that the memorable invention 
of printing, — that art which, perhaps, more than any 
other human discovery, has changed the condition and 
the destinies of the world, — found its way into Scot- 
land, under the auspices of Walter Chepman, a servant 
of the king's household.* Two years before, the skill 

* lie printed in the year 1508, a small volume of pamphlets, and soon 
after, the " Breviary of Aberdeen."" 

1509. JAMES IV. 37 

and ingenuity of Chepman appear to have attracted 
the notice of his royal master ; and as James was a 
friend to letters, and an enthusiast in every new in- 
vention, we may believe, that he could not view this 
astonishing art with indifference. We know that he 
purchased books from the typographer ; and that a 
royal patent to exercise his mystery was granted to 
the artist ; the original of which still exists amongst 
our national records. The art, as is well known, had 
been imported into England by Caxton as early as the 
year 1474. Yet more than thirty years elapsed be- 
fore it penetrated into Scotland, — a tardiness to be 
partly accounted for by the strong principle of con- 
cealment and monopoly. 

Amidst all these useful cares, the character of the 
monarch, which could no longer plead for its excuse 
the levity or thoughtlessness of youth, exhibited many 
inconsistencies. He loved his youthful queen with 
much apparent tenderness, yet he was unable to re- 
nounce that indiscriminate admiration of beauty, and 
devotion to pleasure, whicli, in defiance of public de- 
cency and moral restraint, sought its gratification 
equally amongst the highest and lowest ranks of society. 
He loved his people, and would, in the ardent genero- 
sity of his disposition, have suffered any personal pri- 
vation to have saved the meanest of his subjects from 
distress ; but his thoughtless prodigality to every 
species of empiric, to jesters, dancers, and the lowest 
retainers about his court, wath his devotion to gam- 
bling, impoverished his exchequer, and drove him in 
his distresses to expedients, which his better reason 
lamented and abandoned. Large sums of money also 
were expended in the idle pursuits of alchemy, and 
the equally vain and expensive endeavours for the 


discovery of gold mines in Scotland : often, too, in the 
midst of his labours, his pleasures, and his fantastic 
projects, the monarch was suddenly seized with a fit 
of ascetic penitence, at which times he would shut 
himself up for many days with his confessor, resolve 
on an expedition to Jerusalem, or take a solitary pil- 
grimage on foot to some favourite shrine, where he 
wept over his sins, and made resolutions of amend- 
ment, which, on his return to the world, were instantly 
forirotten. Yet all this contradiction and thoui^htless- 
ness of mind was accompanied by so much kindliness, 
accessibility, and warm and generous feeling, that the 
people forgot or pardoned it in a prince, who, on every 
occasion, showed himself their friend. 

It was now two years since the accession of Henry 
the Eighth to the crown ; and the aspect of affairs in 
England began to be alarming. The youthful ambi- 
tion of the Ensflish kins: had become dazzled with the 
idle vision of the conquest of France ; he already pon- 
dered on the dangerous project of imitating the career 
of Edward the Third and Henry the Fifth ; whilst such 
was the affection of James for his ally, that any enter- 
prise for the subjugation of that kingdom was almost 
certain to draw after it a declaration of war a2:ainst 
the aggressor. Nor were there wanting artful and 
insidious friends, who, to accomplish their own ends, 
endeavoured to direct the arms of Henry against 
Lewis. Pope Julius the Second and Ferdinand of 
Spain having gained the object they had in view by 
the league of Cambrai, had seceded from that coalition, 
and were now anxious to check the successes of the 
French in Italy. The pontiff, with the violence which 
belonged to his character, left no measure unattempted 
to raise a powerful opposition against a monarch whose 

150.9. JAMES IV. S9 

arms, under Gaston de Foix and the Chevalier Bayard, 
were everywhere triumphant ; and well aware that an 
invasion of France by Henry must operate as an im- 
mediate diversion, he exhausted all his policy to effect 
it : he at the same time succeeded in detachins: the 
emperor and the Swiss from the league ; and the re- 
sult of these efforts was a coalition as formidable in 
every respect as that which had been arrayed so lately 
against the Venetians. Julius, who scrupled not to 
command his army in person, Ferdinand of Spain, 
Henry the Eighth, and the Swiss republics, deter- 
mined to employ their whole strength in the expulsion 
of the French from the Italian states ; and Lewis, 
aware of the ruin which might follow any attempt to 
divide the forces of his kingdom, found himself under 
the necessity of recalling his troops, and abandoning 
the possessions which had cost him so many battles. 

These transactions were not seen by James without 
emotion. Since the commencement of his reign, his 
alliance with France had been cordial and sincere. A 
lucrative commercial intercourse, and the most friendly 
ties between the sovereigns and the nobility of the two 
countries, had produced a mutual warmth of national 
attachment ; the armies of France had repeatedly been 
commanded bv Scotsmen ; and, throuo-hout the Ions: 
course of her history, whenever Scotland had been 
menaced or attacked by England, she had calculated 
without disappointment upon the assistance of her ally. 
As to the wisdom of this policy upon the part of her 
sovereigns, it would now be idle to inquire ; it being 
too apparent that, except where her independence as 
a nation was threatened, that kingdom had everything 
to lose and nothino; to o^ain bv a war with the sister 
country. But these were not the days in which the 


folly of a war of territorial conquest was recognised by 
European nionarclis ; and tlie gallantry of the Scottish 
prince disposed him to enter with readiness into the 
quarrel of Lewis. We find him accordingly engaged in 
the most friendly correspondence with this sovereign, 
requesting permission, owing to the failure of the har- 
vest to import grain from France, and renewing his 
determination to maintain in the strictest manner, the 
ties of amity and support. 

At this crisis an event happened which contributed 
in no small degree to fan the gathering flame of ani- 
mosity against England. Protected by their letters 
of reprisal, and preserving, as it would appear, a here- 
ditary animosity against the Portuguese, the Bartons 
had fitted out some privateers which scoured the 
Western Ocean, took many prizes, and detained and 
searched the English merchantmen under the pretence 
that they had Portuguese goods on board. It is well 
known, that at this period, and even so late as the 
days of Drake and Cavendish, the line between piracy 
and legitimate warfare was not precisely defined, and 
there is reason to suspect that the Scottish merchants 
having found the vindication of their own wrongs and 
the nation's honour a profitable speculation, were dis- 
posed to push their retaliation to an extent so far 
beyond the individual losses they had suftered, that 
their hostilities became almost piratical. So, at least, 
it appeared to the English : and it is said that the 
Earl of Surrey, on hearing of some late excesses of the 
privateers, declared that " the narrow seas should not 
be so infested whilst he had an estate that could fur- 
nish a ship, or a son who was able to command it." 
He accordingly fitted out two men-of-war, which he 
intrusted to his sons Lord Thomas Howard and Sir 

151]. JAMES IV. 41 

Edward Howard afterwards Lord High-admiral ; and 
this officer having put to sea, had the fortune to fall 
in with Andrew Barton, in the Downs, as he was re- 
turning^ from a cruise on the coast of Portusral. The 
engagement which followed was obstinately contested: 
Barton commanded his own ship, the Lion ; his other 
vessel was only an armed pinnace : but both fought 
with determined valour till the Scottish Admiral was 
desperately wounded ; it is said, that even then this 
bold and experienced seaman continued to encourage 
his men with his whistle,* till receiving a cannon shot 
in the body, it dropped from his hand, and he fell 
dead upon the deck. His ships were then boarded, 
and carried into the Thames ; the crews, after a short 
imprisonment, being dismissed, but the vessels detained 
as law^ful prizes. It was not to be expected that James 
should tamely brook this loss sustained by his navy, 
and the insult offered to his flag in a season of peace. 
Barton was a personal favourite, and one of his ablest 
officers ; whilst the Lion, the vessel w hich had been 
taken, was only inferior in size to the " Great Harry,"" 
at that time the largest ship of war which belonged 
to England. Kothesay herald was accordingly des- 
patched on the instant, with a remonstrance and a 
demand for redress : but the kino; had now no lon^'er 
to negotiate with the cautious and pacific Henry the 
Seventh, and his impetuous successor returned no 
gentler answer than that the fate of pirates ought 
never to be a matter of dispute among princes. 

It happened unfortunately that at this moment 
another cause of irritation existed : Sir Robert Ker, 

* Lesley, Bannatyne edition, pp. 82, 83. Pinkerton, ii. 69, 70. A gold 
•whistle was, in England, the emblem of the office of High-admiral. Kent's 
Illustrious Seamen, vol. i. p. 519. 


an officer of James'*s household, master of his artillery, 
and warden of the middle marches, having excited 
the animosity of the borderers by what they deemed 
an excessive rigour, was attacked and slain by three 
Englishmen named Lilburn, Starhead, and Heron.* 
This happened in the time of Henry the Seventh, by 
whom Lilburn was delivered to the Scots, whilst Star- 
head and Heron made their escape ; but such was the 
anxiety of the English king to banish every subject of 
complaint, that he arrested Heron, the brother of the 
murderer, and sent him in fetters to Scotland. After 
some years Lilburn died in prison, whilst Starhead and 
his accomplice stole forth from their concealment ; and 
trustinix that all would be for2:otten under the acces- 
sion of a new monarch, began to walk more openly 
abroad. But Andrew Ker, the son of Sir Robert, was 
not thus to be cheated of his reveno-e: two of his vas- 
sals sought out Starhead's residence during the night, 
although it was ninety miles from the Border, and, 
breakinir into the house, murdered him in cold blood ; 
after which they sent his head to their master, who 
exposed it with all the ferocity of feudal exultation, in 
the most conspicuous part of the capital ; a proceeding 
which appears to have been unchecked by James, whilst 
its summary and violent nature could hardly fail to 
excite the indignation of Henry. There were other 
sources of animosity in the assistance which the Eng- 
lish monarch had afforded to the Duchess of Savoy 
against the Duke of Gueldres, the relative and ally of 
his brother-in-law, in the audacity with which his 
cruisers had attacked and plundered a French vessel 
which ran in for protection to an anchorage off the 

* The name as given by Buchanan, Book xiii. c, 26, is Starhead. Star- 
liedus. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 71, has Sarked ; but he gives no authority for 

the change. 

1512. JAMES IV. 43 

coast of Ayr, and the manifest injustice with which 
he refused to deliver to his sister, the Queen of Scot- 
land, a valuable legacy of jewels which had been left 
her by her father''s will. 

Such beino; the state of affairs between the two 
countries, an envoy appeared at the Scottish court with 
letters from the pope, whilst nearly about the same time 
arrived the ambassadors of England, France, and Spain. 
Henry, flattered by the adulation of Julius, who greeted 
him with the title of Head of the Italian League, had 
now openly declared war against France : and anxious 
to be safe on the side of Scotland, he condescended to 
express his regret, and to offer satisfaction for any vio- 
lations of the peace. But James detected the object 
of this tardy proposal, and refused to accede to it. To 
the message of the Kino; of France, he listened with 
affectionate deference, deprecated the injustice of the 
league which had been formed against him, and spoke 
with indisrnation of the conduct of Ensrland, re2:rettinfj 
only the schism between Lewis and the See of Rome, 
which he declared himself anxious by every means to 
remove. Nor were these mere words of good will : he 
despatched his uncle, the Duke of Albany, as ambas- 
sador to the emperor, to entreat him to act as a medi- 
ator between the pope and the King of France, whilst 
the Bishop of Moray proceeded on the same errand to 
that country,* and afterwards endeavoured to instil 
pacific feelings into the College of Cardinals, and the 
Marquis of Mantua. 

To the proposals of the ambassador of Ferdinand, 
who laboured to engage him in the papal league against 
Lewis, it was answered by the king, that his only de- 
sire was, to maintain the peace of Christendom ; and 

* EpistolsB Reg. Scot. vol. i. p. 126-128. 


SO earnest were his endeavours upon this subject, that 
he summoned a general council for the purpose of de- 
liberating upon the likeliest methods of carrying his 
wishes into effect. To secure the co-operation of 
Denmark, Sir Andrew Brownhill was deputed to that 
court, and letters which strongly recommended the 
liealino; of all divisions, and the dutv of forijiveness, 
were addressed to the warlike Julius. It was too late, 
however : hostilities between France and the papal 
confederates had begun ; and James, aware that his 
own kingdom would soon be involved in war, made 
every effort to meet the emergency with vigour. His 
levies were conducted on a great scale ; and we learn 
from the contemporary letter of the English envoy 
then in Scotland, that the country rung with the din 
of preparation : armed musters were held in every part 
of the kingdom, not excepting the Isles, now an inte- 
gral portion of the state : ships were launched — forests 
felled to complete those on the stocks — Borthwick, 
the master gunner, was employed in casting cannon ; 
Urnebrig, aGerman, in the manufacture of gunpowder: 
the Great Michael was victualled and cleared out for 
sea : the castles in the interior dismantled of their 
guns, that they might be used in the fleet or the army: 
and the ablest sea officers and mariners collected in the 
various sea ports.* In the midst of these preparations 
the king visited every quarter in person — mingled 
with his sailors and artisans, and took so constant an 
interest in everythins: connected with his fleet, that 
it began to be rumoured he meant to command it in 
person. Yet whilst such was the hostile activity ex- 
liibited throughout the country, negotiations witli 
England were continued, and both monarchs made 

* Treasurer's Accounts, 1511, 1512. 

1512. JAMES IV. 45 

mutual professions of their desire to maintain peace ; 
Henry in all probability with sincerity, and James only 
to gain time. It was at this time that the Scottish 
queen gave birth to a prince in the palace of Linlithgow, 
on the tenth of April, 1512; who afterwards suc- 
ceeded to the throne by the title of James the Fifth.* 
Early in the year 1512, Lord Dacre and Dr West 
arrived as ambassadors from England, and were re- 
ceived with a studied courtesy, which seemed only 
intended to blind them to the real designs of Scotland. 
Their object was to prevail on the king to renew his 
oath regarding the peace with England ; to prevent 
the sailing of the fleet to the assistance of the French ; 
and to offer, upon the part of their master, his oath 
for the observation of an inviolable amity wdth his 
brother.-f- But the efforts of the English diplomatists 
were successfully counteracted by the abilities of the 
French ambassador De la INIotte : they departed, with 
splendid presents, indeed, for the king delighted in 
showing his generosity even to his enemies, but with- 
out any satisfactory answer ; and James, instead of 
listening to Henry, renewed the league with France, 
consenting to the insertion of a clause which, in a spirit 
of foolish and romantic devotion, bound himself and 
his subjects to that kingdom by stricter ties than be- 
fore. J About the same time an abortive attempt by 
the Scots to make themselves masters of Berwick, and 
an attack of a fleet of English merchantmen by De la 
Motte, who sunk three, and carried seven in triumph 
into Leith, must be considered equivalent to a declara- 
tion of war. Barton, too, Falconer, Mathison, and other 
veteran sea ofiicers, received orders to be on the look- 

* J^esley, p. 84. f Ibid. p. 85. 

X MS. Leagues, Harleian, 1244, pp, 115, 116, 


out for English ships ; and, aware of tlie importance 
of a diversion on the side of Ireland, a league was en- 
tered into with O'Donnel, prince of Connal, who visited 
the Scottish court, and took the oath of liomage to 
James : Duncan Campbell, one of the highland chiefs, 
engaged at the same time to procure some Irish ves- 
sels to join the royal fleet — which it was now reckoned 
would amount to sixteen ships of war, besides smaller 
craft ; a formidable armament for that period, and 
likely, when united to the squadron of the king of 
France, to prove, if skilfully commanded, an overmatch 
for the navy of England. Yet James's preparations, 
with his other sources of profusion, had so completely 
impoverished his exchequer, that it became a question 
whether he would be able to maintain the force which 
he had fitted out. In a private message sent to Lord 
Dacre, the treasurer of Scotland appears to have stated 
that a present from Henry of five thousand angels, 
and the payment of the disputed legacy, which with 
much injustice was still withheld, might produce a 
revolution in his policy;* and it is certain that, on the 
arrival of letters from Lewis, instigating Scotland to 
declare war, the reply of the monarch pleaded the im- 
possibility of obeying the injunction unless a large 
annuity was remitted by France. The borderers, 
however, of both countries had already commenced 
hostilities ; and Robert Barton, acting under his let- 
ters of reprisal, and scouring the narrow seas, came 
into Leith after a successful cruize, with thirteen Eng- 
lish prizes.*!" 

In their mutual professions of a desire for peace both 

* Letter, Lord Dacre to the Bishop of Durham, 17th of August. Caligula, 
B. iii. 3, quoted by Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 78. Also Letter, John Ainslow 
to the Bishop of Durham, 11th of September. Caligula, B. vi. 22. 

f Lesley, Bannatyne edit. p. bo. 

1512. JAMES IV. 47 

governments appear to have been insincere : Henr}^ 
had determined to signalize his arms by the reconquest 
of Guienne, and only wished to gain time for the em- 
barkation of his army ; James, shutting his eyes to 
the real interests of his kingdom, allowed a devotion to 
Lewis, and a too violent resentment for the insult of- 
fered to his fleet, to direct his policy. To concentrate 
his strength, however, required delay. Repeated mes- 
sages passed between the tw^o courts ; the Scottish 
prince, by his ambassador Lord Drummond, even pro- 
ceeded so far as to offer to Henry a gratuitous remis- 
sion of all the late injuries sustained by his subjects, 
provided that monarch would abandon the confederacy 
against France ;* and although the proposal w^as re- 
jected, Dr West again proceeded on an embassy to 
Scotland, of which his original letters have left us some 
interesting particulars. He found the king engrossed 
in warlike preparations, yet visited for the moment, by 
one of his temporary fits of penance, in which he pro- 
jected an expedition to Jerusalem, animated equally 
by a romantic desire of signalizing his prowess against 
the infidels, and a hope of expiating the guilt which he 
had incurred in appearing in arms against his father. 
He had been shut up for a week in the church of the 
Friars Observants at Stirling ; but the effect of this 
reli2;ious retirement seems to have been the reverse of 
pacific. He expressed himself with the utmost bitter- 
ness against the late warlike pontifi", Julius the Second, 
then recently deceased ; declaring that, had he lived, 
he would have supported a council even of three bishops 
against him. He had resolved to send Form an the 
Bishop of Moray, and the chief author of the war 
against England, as ambassador to Leo the Tenth, the 

* Rymer, Foedei-a, vol. xiii. pp. 347, 348. 


new Pope ; and it was reported that Lewis had secured 
the services of this able and crafty prelate by the pro- 
mise of a cardinal's hat. To Henry's offers of redress 
for the infractions of the truce, provided the Scottish 
FJionarch would remain inactive during the campaign 
against France, he replied that he would not proceed 
to open hostilities against England, without previously 
sending a declaration by a herald ; so that if the king- 
fulfilled his intention of passing into France with his 
army, ample time should be allowed him to return for 
the defence of his kingdom. It w^as unequivocally 
intimated that peace with France was the only condi- 
tion upon which an amicable correspondence could be 
maintained between the two kingdoms ; and amongst 
minor subjects of complaint, Henry's continued refusal 
to send his sister's jewels was exposed in a spirited 
letter from that princess, which was delivered by Dr 
West on his return.* 

La Motte soon after asrain arrived from France with 
a small squadron laden with provisions for the Scottish 
fleet, besides warlike stores and rich presents to the 
king and his principal nobles. About the same time 
the King of Denmark sent several ships into Scotland 
freighted with arms, harness, and ammunition, and 
O'Donncl, the Irish potentate, visited tlie court in 
person to renew his offers of assistance against England. 
But an artful proceeding of Anne of Brittany, the 
consort of Lewis, had, it was believed, a greater effect 
in accelerating the war than either the intrigues of the 
Bishop of Moray or the negotiations of La Motte. 
This princess who understood the romantic wcaknes. 
of the Scottish king, addressed to him an epistle con- 

* ^Vest to Henry, 1st April. MS. Letter, Brit. Mus. Calig. B.ji. 5« 
This letter is now printed in " Illustrations of Scottish History," (p. 76-0.9,) 
presented by !Moses Steven, E.^q., to the Maitland Club. 

1513. JAMES IV. 49 

ceived in a strain of hi^^h-flown and amorous complaint. 
She described herself as an unhappy damsel, surround- 
ed by danger, claimed his protection from the attacks 
of a treacherous monarch, and sent him, not only a 
present of fourteen thousand crowns, but the still more 
tender gift of a ring from her own finger — a token to 
her faithful knight upon whose ready aid she implicitly 
relied. She concluded her letter by imploring him to 
advance, were it but three steps, into English ground 
for the sake of his mistress, as she had already suffered 
much misconstruction in defence of his honour, and 
in excusing the delay of his expedition.* To another 
monarch than James an appeal like this would have 
been only excusable at a court pageant or a tourna- 
ment ; but such was his hio^h-wrouoht sense of honour 
that there can be little doubt it a,ccelerated his warlike 
movements ; and when, soon after its delivery, intelli- 
gence arrived of the passage of the English army to 
France, and the opening of the w-ar by Henry the 
Eighth in person, he at once considered all negotiation 
as at an end, issued his writs for a general muster of 
the whole force of his dominions, and ordered everv 
ship in his service to put to sea. 

The fleet which assembled evinces that the efforts 
of the kins: to create a navv had been eminently sue- 
cessful. It consisted of thirteen great ships, all of 
them, in the naval phraseology of the times, with three 
tops, besides ten smaller vessels, and a ship of Lynne 
lately captured. In addition to these there was the 
Great Michael, a thirty-oared galley w^hich belonged 
to her, and two ships, the Margaret and the James, 
which, although damaged in a late gale, were now re- 
paired and ready to put to sea. Aboard this fleet was 

* Lindsay, p. 171. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 87. 
VOL. V. D 


embarked a force of three thousand men, under the 
command of the Earl of Arran, a nobleman of limited 
experience in the art of war; one of the principal 
captains of the fleet wa3 Gordon of Letterfury,* a son 
of the Earl of Huntley; but unfortunately Arran"'3 
higher feudal rank and his title of Generalissimo in- 
cluded an authority over the fleet as well as the army, 
and this circumstance drew after it disastraus conse- 
quences. Why James should not have appointed 
some of his veteran sea officers, Barton, AVood, or 
Falconer, to conduct a navy of which he was so proud 
to its destination in France, is not easily discoverable, 
but it probably arose out of some hereditary feudal 
right which entailed upon rank a command due only 
to skill, and for which it soon appeared that the pos- 
sessor was utterly incompetent. 

Instead of obeying the orders which he had received 
from the king, who, with the object of encouraging his 
seamen, embarked in the Great Michael and remained 
on board till they had passed the May, Arran con- 
ducted the fleet to Carrickfergus, in Ireland, landed 
his troops, and stormed the town with much barbarity, 
sparing neither age nor sex.-)* The reckless brutality 
with which the city was given up to the unlicensed 
fury of the soldiery would at all times have been 
blameable, but at this moment it was committed during 
a time of peace, and against the express promise of the 
king ; yet such was the folly or simplicity of the per- 
petrator, that with the spirit of a successful freebooter, 
he did not hesitate to put his ships about and return 
to Ayr with his plunder. Incensed to the utmost by 
such conduct, and dreading that his delay might totally 

* Lesley, p. 87. + Pinkerton's Scottish Poems, vol. i. p. 150, 

1513. JAMES IV. 51 

frustrate the object of the expedition, James despatched 
Sir Andrew Wood, to supersede Arran in the com- 
mand ; but misfortune still pursued his measures, and 
before this experienced seaman could reach the coast, 
the fleet had again sailed. Over the future history of 
an armament which was the boast of the sovereign, 
and whose equipment had cost the country an immense 
sum for those times, there rests a deep obscurity. 
That it reached France is certain, and it is equally 
clear that only a few ships ever returned to Scotland. 
Of its exploits nothing has been recorded — a strong pre- 
sumptive proof that Arran's future conduct in no way 
redeemed the folly of his commencement. The war, 
indeed, between Henry and Lewis was so soon con- 
cluded that little time was given for naval enterprise ; 
and the solitary engagement by which it was distin- 
guished, (the battle of Spurs,) appears to have been 
fought before the Scottish forces could join the French 
army. With regard to the final fate of the squadron, 
the probability seems to be that, after the defeat at 
Flodden, part, including the Great Michael, were 
purchased by the French government ; part arrived 
in a shattered and disabled state in Scotland ; whilst 
others which had been fitted out by merchant adven- 
turers, and were only commissioned by the government, 
pursued their private courses, and are lost sight of in 
the public transactions of the times. But we must 
turn from these unsatisfying conjectures to the im- 
portant and still more disastrous events which were 
passing in Scotland. 

Although the war was condemned by the wisest 
heads amongst his council, and the people, with the 
exception of the borderers whose trade was plunder, 
deprecated the interruption of their pacific labours, 


SO great was the popularity of the king, that from one 
end of the country to the other, liis summons for the 
muster of his army was devotedly obeyed. The low- 
land counties collected in great strength, and from the 
highlands and the remotest isles, the hardy inhabit- 
ants hastened under their several chiefs to join the 
royal banner. The Earl of Argyle, Mac-Ian of Ardna- 
murchan, Maclean of Dowart, and Sir Duncan Campbell 
of Glenurcha, with many other barons, led their clans- 
men and vassals to support the quarrel of their sove- 
reign, and within a short period James saw himself at 
the head of an army, which at the lowest computation 
was a hundred thousand strong. 

On the same day in which his fleet had sailed, a 
herald was despatched to France, who found the Eng- 
lish monarch in his camp before Terouen, and delivered 
a letter of which the tone was calculated to incense 
a milder monarch than Henry. It dwelt with some 
exaggeration upon the repeated injuries and insults 
which James had received from his brother-in-law. 
It accused him of refusing a safe conduct to his am- 
bassador (a proceeding-worthy only of an infidel power;) 
it upbraided him with a want of common justice and 
affection in withholding from his sister, the Queen of 
Scotland, the jewels and the legacy which had been 
left her by her father;* it asserted that the conduct 
of Enoland, in a late meetins: of the commissioners of 
the two countries on the Borders, had been deficient in 
honour and good faith ; that Heron, the murderer of 
a Scottish baron, who was dear to the king, was pro- 
tected in that country ; that Scottish subjects in time 
of peace had been carried off in fetters across the 

* Ellis's Letters, first series, vol. i. p. 6-1. — Queen Margaret to Henry the 

1513. JAMES IV. 5.S 

Border; that Andrew Barton had been slaughtered 
and his ships unjustly captured by Henry's admiral; 
whilst that prince not only refused all redress, but 
showed the contempt with which he treated the demand 
by declaring war against James's relative, the Duke 
of Gueldres, and now invading the dominions of his 
friend and ally the King of France. Wherefore, it 
concluded, " We require you to desist from farther 
hostilities against this most Christian prince, certifying 
your highness that in case of refusal we shall hold 
ourselves bound to assist him l)y force of arms, and to 
compel you to abandon the pursuit of so unjust a 

On perusing this letter, Henry broke out into an 
expression of ungovernable rage, and demanded of the 
Scottish envoy whether he would carry a verbal answer 
to his master. " Sir," said the Lion herald, " I am 
his natural subject, and what he commands me to say 
that must I boldly utter ; but it is contrary to my 
allegiance to report the commands of others. May it 
please your highness, therefore, to send an answer in 
writing — albeit the matter requires deeds rather than 
words — since it is the king my master's desire that 
you should straitway return home." " That shall 1 
do (replied Henry) at mine own pleasure, and not at 
your sovereign's bidding," adding many injurious re- 
flections upon the broken faith and treachery of the 
Scottish king ; to which the herald replied, as he had 
been instructed, by a denunciation of war. It was 
thought proper, however, that a graver answer should 
be sent to James's remonstrance, and a letter was 

* These are not the exact words, hut a paraphrase of the conclusion of the 
letter which exists in the British Museum. Caligula, B. vi. 49, 50. It has 
been printed by Holinshed, p. 1 '65. 


fortliwitli drawn up Avhicli in violence exceeded it ; 
but as the Iierald ^Yas detained on his return in Flan- 
ders, and did not reach Scotland till after the fatal 
result of Flodden, it was never delivered to the king.* 
The Eniilish monarch boasted, on beino- informed of 
James''s resolution, that he had left the task of defend- 
ing his dominions to a noble person \vho knew well 
how to execute it with fidelity, and he now addressed 
his orders to the Earl of Surrey, enjoining him with 
all expedition to summon the array of the northern 
counties, and to hold himself in readiness to resist the 
invasion. It was, indeed, high time to accelerate his 
levies, for Home the Lord-chamberlain, at the head of 
a force of eight thousand men had already burst across 
the English border, and after laying waste the country, 
was returnins: home with his bootv. A Ions: interval 
of peace, however, had been followed, as usual, by a 
decay of military skill amongst the Scots. The cham- 
berlain neglecting his discipline, forgot to push on his 
piquets, but marching in a confused mass, embarrassed 
by the cattle which he drove before him, and thought- 
less of an enemy, was surprised and defeated with 
great slaughter at a pass called the Broomhouse, by 
Sir AVilliam Bulmer. The action was, as usual, de- 
cided by the English archers, who, concealing them- 
selves in the tall furze with which the place abounded, 
struck down the Scottish companies by an unexpected 
discharge of their arrows."|* This being often repeated, 

* "We cannot greatly marvel (says Henry to James) considering the 
auncient accustumable manners of your progenitors whiche never kept longer 
faithe and promise than pleased them. * ■*" And if the example of the King 
of Navarre being exclused from his realme for the assistance given to the 
French King cannot restrain you from this unnatural dealing, we suppose 
ye shall have the assistance of the said French King as the King of Navarre 
bath nowe, who is a king without a realme." — Holinshed, p. 139. 

t Holinshed, edit. 1808, p. 471. Hall, p. 5o(), 

1513. JAMES IV. 55 

the confusion of their ranks became irrecoverable, and 
the English horse breaking in upon them gained an 
easy victory. Five hundred were slain upon the spot, 
and their leader compelled to fly for his life, leaving 
his banner on the field, and his brother Sir George 
Home with four hundred men prisoners in the hands 
of the English. The remainder, consisting of borderers 
more solicitous for the preservation of their booty than 
their honour, dispersed upon the first alarm, and the 
whole affair was far from creditable to the Scots. So 
much was the king incensed and mortified by the result 
of this action that his mind, already resolved on war, 
became impatient to wipe out the stain inflicted on the 
national honour, and he determined instantly to lead 
his army in person against England. 

This was a fatal resolve, and appeared full of rash- 
ness and dano'er to his wisest councillors, who did not 
scruple to advise him to protract hostilities. The queen 
earnestly besought him to spare her the unnatural 
spectacle of seeing her husband arrayed in mortal con- 
test against her brother ; and when open remonstrance 
produced no effect, other methods were employed to 
work upon the superstition which formed so marked a 
feature in the royal mind. At Linlithgow, a few days 
before he set out for his army, whilst attending vespers 
in the church of St Michael, adjacent to his palace, a 
venerable stranger of a stately appearance entered the 
aisle where the king knelt ; his head was uncovered, 
his hair, parted over his forehead, flowed down his 
shoulders, his robe was blue, tied round his loins with 
a linen girdle, and there was an air of majesty about 
him, which inspired the beholders with awe. Nor was 
this feelino: decreased when the unknown visitant 
walked up to the king, and leaning over the reading 


desk where he knelt, thus addressed him : " Sir, I am 
sent to warn thee not to proceed in thy present under- 
taking — for if thou dost, it shall not fare well either 
with thyself or those who go with thee. Further it 
hath been enjoined me to bid thee shun the familiar 
society and counsels of women, lest they occasion thy 
disgrace and destruction." The boldness of these words, 
which were pronounced audibly, seemed to excite the 
indignation neither of the king nor those around him. 
All were struck with superstitious dread, whilst the 
fisfure, usinsr neither salutation nor reverence, retreated 
and vanished amongst the crowd. Whither he went, 
or how he disappeared no one, when the first feelings 
of astonishment had subsided, could tell, and although 
the strictest inquiry was made, all remained a mystery. 
Sir David Lindsay and Sir James Inglis, w^ho belonged 
to the household of the young prince, stood close beside 
the king when the stranger appeared, and it was from 
Lindsay that Buchanan received the story.* The 
most probable conjecture seems to be, that it was a 
stratagem of the queen, of which it is likely the mon- 
arch had some suspicion, for it produced no change in 
his purpose, and the denunciation of the danger of 
female influence was disregarded. 

On arriving at head- quarters, James was flattered 
with the evidence he had before him of the aflfectionate 
loyalty of his subjects. The war was unpopular with 
the nobles, yet such was the strength with which the 
lowland counties had mustered, and the readiness with 
wdiich the remotest districts had sent their vassals, 
that he saw himself at the head of a noble army, ad- 
mirably equipt, and furnished with a train of artillery 
superior to that which had been brought into the field 

* Buchanan, xiii. 31. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 96. 

1513. JAMES IV. 67 

by any former monarch of Scotland. Leaving his capi- 
tal, and apparently without having formed any definite 
plan of operations, the monarch entered Enoland on the 
twenty-second of August ; encamping that night on 
the banks of the river Till, a tributary stream to the 
Tweed.* Here he seems to have remained inactive for 
two days ; and, on the twenty-fourth, with the view of 
encouraging his army, he passed an act, that the heirs of 
all who fell in the present campaign, should not be sub- 
ject to the common feudal fines, but should be free from 
the burdens of " ward, relief or marriage," without 
regard to age.*]* The proclamation is dated at Twisel- 
haugh and from this place he moved down the side of 
the Tweed, and invested the castle of Norham, which 
surrendered after a siege of a week. He then proceeded 
up the Tweed to Wark, of which he made himself 
master with equal ease; and advancing for a few miles, 
delayed some precious days before the towers of Etal 
and Ford — enterprises unworthy of his arms, and more 
befitting the raid of a border free-booter, than the 
eff'orts of a royal army. At Ford, which was stormed 
and razed, J Lady Heron, a beautiful and artful w^oman, 
the wife of Sir William Heron, who was still a prisoner 
in Scotland, became James's captive ; and the king, 
ever the slave of beauty, is said to have resigned him- 
self to her influence, which she employed to retard his 
military operations. Time was thus given for the 
English army to assemble. Had Douglas or Randolph 
commanded the host, they would have scoured and laid 
waste the whole of the north of England within the 
period that the monarch had already wasted ; but 

* Lord Herbert's Life of Henry the Eighth, Kennet, vol. ii. p. 18. Hall 
says the army amounted to a hundred thousau 1 men. 
+ Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. li. p. 278. 
X Weber's Flodden Field, p. 186", 187. 


James's military experience did not go beyond the ac- 
complishments of a tournament; and although aware, 
that his army was encamped in a barren country, where 
they must soon become distressed, he idled away his 
days, till the opportunity was past. 

Whilst such was the course pursued by the king, 
the Earl of Surrey, concentrating the strength of the 
northern counties, soon raised an army of twenty-six 
thousand men ; and marching through Durham, re- 
ceived there the sacred banner of St Cuthbert. He 
Mas soon after joined by Lord Dacre, Sir William 
Bulmer, Sir Marmaduke Constable, and other northern 
barons ; and on proceeding to Alnwick, was met by 
his son. Lord Thomas Howard, who, on the death of 
his brother Sir Edward, had succeeded him in the office 
of Lord Hi^h-admiral of Enoland, with a reinforcement 
of five thousand men.* On advancino- with this united 
force, Surrey despatched Rouge Croix herald to carry 
his challenoe to the Kino; of Scots, which was couched 
in the usual stately terms of feudal defiance. It re- 
proached him with having broken his faith and league, 
which had been solemnly pledged to the King of 
England, in thus invading his dominions, — and oft'ered 
him battle on the succeeding Friday, if he would be 
content to remain so long in England and accept it. 
Lord Thomas Howard, added a message, informing the 
king, that as high-admiral, and one who had borne a 
personal share in the action against Andrew Barton, 
he was now ready to justify the death of that pirate, 
for which purpose he would lead the vanguard, where 
his enemies, from whom he expected as little mercy as 
he meant to grant them, would be sure to find him. 

* Stow says five thousand. Lord Herbert, one thousand, Kennet, vol. ii. 
p. 18. 

1513. JAMES IV. 59 

To this challenge, James instantly replied that "he 
desired nothing more earnestly than the encounter, and 
would abide the battle on the day appointed." As 
to the accusation of broken honour, which had been 
brouo'ht against him, he desired his herald to carry a 
broad denial of the statement. " Our bond and pro- 
mise,"" he observed, " was to remain true to our royal 
brother, so long as he maintained his faith with us. 
This he was the first to break; we have desired redress, 
and have been denied it ; we have warned him of our 
intended hostility, — a courtesy which he has refused to 
us; and this is our just quarrel, which, with the grace 
of God, we shall defend.'"* These mutual messages 
passed on the fourth of September ; and on the day 
appointed, Surrey advanced against the enemy. By 
this time, however, the distress for provisions, the 
incessant rains, and the obstinacy of the kins: in wastino; 
upon his pleasures, and his observation of the punctilios 
of chivalry, the hours which might have been spent in 
active warfare, had created dissatisfaction in the sol- 
diers, many of whom deserted, with the booty they had 
already collected, so that in a short time the army was 
much diminished in numbers. To accept the challenge 
of his adversary, and permit him to appoint a day for 
the encounter, was contrary to the advice of his best 
councillors ; and he might have recollected, that in 
circumstances almost similar, two great masters in war, 
Douglas and Randolph, had treated a parallel proposal 
of Edward the Third with a sarcastic refusal. He had 
the sagacity, however to change his first encampment 
for a stronger position on the hill of Flodden, one of 
the last and lowest eminences which detach themselves 
from the range of the Cheviots ; a ground skilfully 
chosen, inaccessible on both flanks, and defended in 


front by the river Till, a deep sluggi&h stream, which 
wound between the armies. 

On advancing and reconnoitering the spot, Surrey, 
who despaired of being able to attack the Scots without 
exposing himself to the probability of defeat, again 
sent a herald, to request the king to descend from the 
eminence into the plain. He complained somewhat 
unreasonably, that James had "*putte himself into a 
ground more like a fortress or a camp, than any indif- 
ferent field for battle to be taxed ;" and hoping to work 
on the chivalrous spirit of the monarch, hinted that 
" such conduct did not sound to his honour f"* but 
James would not even admit the messenger into his 
presence. So far all had succeeded, and nothing was 
required on the part of the king but patience. He had 
chosen an impregnable position, had fulfilled his agree- 
ment by abiding the attack of the enemy ; and such 
was the distress of Surrey ""s army in a wasted country, 
that to keep it longer together was impossible. He 
attempted, therefore, a decisive measure, which would 
have appeared desperate unless he had reckoned upon 
the carelessness and inexperience of his opponent. 
Passing the Till on the eighth of September, he pro- 
ceeded along some rugged grounds on its east side to 
Barmoor Wood, about two miles distant from the Scot- 
tish position, where he encamped for the night. His 
march was concealed from the enemy by an eminence on 
the east of Ford ; but that the manoeuvre was executed 
without observation, or interruption, evinced a shame- 
ful negligence in the Scottish commanders. Early on 
the morning of the ninth, he marched from Barmoor 
Wood, in a north westerly direction ; and then turning 

* Letter of Surrey ; puhlislied by Ellis, vol, i. p. 8G, 87 ; dated at " Wool- 
erhaugh, the 7th day of Sept., at iive of the clock in tlie afternoon." 

1513. JAMES IV. 61 

suddenly to the eastward, crossed the Till with his 
vanguard and artillery, which was commanded by Lord 
Howard, at Twisel bridge, not far from the confluence 
of the Till and the Tweed, — whilst the rear division, 
under Surrey in person, passed the river at a ford, 
about a mile higher up. 

Whilst these movements were taking place, with a 
slowness which afforded ample opportunity for a suc- 
cessful attack, the Scottish king remained unaccount- 
ably passive. His veteran officers remonstrated. They 
showed him that if he advanced against Surrey, when 
the enemy were defiling over the bridge with their 
vanguard separated from the rear, there was every 
chance of destroying them in detail, and gaining an 
easy victory. The Earl of Angus, whose age and ex- 
perience gave great weight to his advice, implored him 
either to assault the English, or to change his position 
by a retreat, ere it was too late ; but his prudent coun- 
sel was only received by a cruel taunt, — "Angus,"*'' said 
the king, " if you are afraid, you may go home ;" a 
reproach which the spirit of the old baron could not 
brook. Bursting into tears, he turned mournfully 
away, observing, that his former life might have spared 
him such a rebuke from the lips of his sovereign. 
" My age,"*** said he, " renders my body of no service, 
and my counsel is despised ; but I leave my two sons, 
and the vassals of Douglas in the field: may the result 
be glorious, and Angus's foreboding unfounded!" The 
army of Surrey was still marching across the bridge, 
when Borthwick the master of the artillery, fell on his 
knees before the king, and earnestly solicited permis- 
sion to bring his guns to bear upon the columns, which 
might be then done with the most destructive eflect ; 
but James commanded him to desist on peril of his 


head, declaring, thcat he would meet his antagonist on 
equal terms in a plain field, and scorned to avail him- 
self of such an advantage. The counsel of Huntley 
was equally ineffectual ; the remonstrance of Lord 
Lindsay of the Byres, a rough warrior, was received 
hy James with such vehement indignation, that he 
threatened on his return to hang him up at his own 
gate. Time ran on amidst these useless altercations, 
and the opportunity was soon irrecoverable. The last 
divisions of Surrey^s force had disentangled themselves 
from the narrow bridge ; the rear had passed the ford ; 
and the earl, marshalling his army with the leisure 
which his enemy allowed him, placed his entire line 
between James and his own country. He was thus 
enabled, by an easy and gradual ascent, which led to 
Flodden, to march upon the rear of the enemy ; and 
without losing: his advantas'e for a moment, he ad- 
vanced as^ainst them in full arrav, his armv beins: 
divided into two battles, and each battle having two 
wind's.* On becomino; aware of this, the kin<x imme- 
diately set fire to the temporary huts and booths of 
his encampment, and descended the hill, with the ob- 
ject of occupying the eminence on which the village of 
Brankston is built. His army was divided into five 
battles, some of which had assumed the form of squares, 
some of wedges ; and all were drawn up in line, about a 
bow-shot distance from each other.-f- Their march was 
conducted in complete silence; and the clouds of smoke 
which arose from the burning camp, being driven in 
the face of tlie enemy, mutually concealed the armies; 
so that when the breeze freshened, and the misty cur- 

* Original Document in State-paper Office, entitled " Articles of the 
Bataill, betwixt the Kpig of Scottis, and the Erie of Surrey, in Brankston 
Field, the 9th day of September." 

"t* (jrazette of the Battle in the Herald''s Office. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 456. 

1513. JAMES IV. 63 

tain was withdrawn, the two hosts discovered that thej 
were within a quarter of a mile of each other. The 
arrangsment of both armies was simple. The van of 
the English, which consisted of ten thousand men, 
divided into a centre and two wings, was led by Lord 
Thomas Howard ; the rioht wino; beino^ intrusted to 
his brother Sir Edmund, and the left to Sir Marma- 

duke Constable. In the main centre of his host, Surrey 


himself commanded : the char^je of the rear was o-iven 
to Sir Edward Stanley ; and a strong body of horse, 
under Lord Dacre, formed a reserve. Upon the part 
of the Scots, the Earls of Home and Huntley led the 
vanguard or advance ; the king, the centre, and the 
Earls of Lennox and Argyle, the rear ; near wdiich was 
the reserve, consisting of the flower of the Lothians, 
commanded by the Earl of Bothwell. The battle com- 
menced at four in the afternoon by a furious charge of 
Huntley and Home upon the portion of the English 
vanguard under Sir Edmund Howard; which, after 
some resistance, was thrown into confusion, and totally 
routed. Howard''s banner was beaten down ; and he 
himself escaped with difficulty, falling back on his 
brother, the admiraPs division. That commander, 
dreading the consequences of the defeat, instantly des- 
patched a messenger to his father. Lord Surrey, 
entreating him to extend his line with all speed, and 
strengthen the van by drawing up a part of the centre 
on its left. The manoeuvre was judicious, but it w^ould 
have required too long a time to execute it ; and at 
this critical moment, Lord Dacre galloped forward with 
his cavalry, to the support of the vanguard.* Nothing 
could have been more timely than this assistance ; he 
not only checked the career of the Scottish earls, but, 

* Letter of Lord Dacre, in Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 460. 


being seconded by the intrepid attack of the admiral, 
drove back the division of Huntley with great slaugh- 
ter, whilst Home''s men, who were chiefly borderers, 
imagining they had already gained the victory, began 
to disperse and pillage. Dacre and the admiral then 
turned their attack against another portion of the 
Scottish vanguard, led by the Earls of Crawford and 
Montrose, who met them with levelled spears, and 
resolutely withstood the charge. Whilst such was the 
state of things on the right, a desperate contest was 
carried on between James and the Earl of Surrey in 
the centre. In his ardour, however, the king forgot 
that the duties of a commander were distinct from the 
indiscriminate valour of a knight ; he placed himself 
in the front of his lances and billmen, surrounded by 
his nobles, who, whilst they pitied the gallant weakness 
of such conduct, disdained to leave their sovereign un- 
supported.* The first consequence of this was so 
furious a charge upon the English centre, that its 
ranks were broken ; and for a while the standard of 
the Earl of Surrey was in danger ; but by this time, 
Lord Dacre and the admiral had been successful in 
defeating the division led by Crawford and Montrose; 
and wheelins: towards the left, thev turned their whole 
strenoth aiiainst the flank of the Scottish centre, which 
wavered under the shock, till the Earl of Bothwell 
came up with the reserve, and restored the day in this 
quarter. On the right, the divisions led by the Earls 
of Lennox and Argyle were composed chiefly of the 
highlanders and islemen ; the Campbells, Macleans, 
Macleods, and other hardy clans, who were dreadfully 
galled by the discharge of the English archers. Un- 
able to reach the enemy with their broad-swords and 

* Hall, p. 5C2. 

1513. JAMES IV. 65 

axes, which formed their only weapons, and at no time 
very amenable to discipline, their squadrons began to 
run fiercely forward, eager for closer fight and thought- 
less of the fatal consequences of breaking their array.* 
It was to little purpose that La IMotte and the French 
officers who were with him attempted by entreaties 
and blows to restrain them ; thev neither understood 
their lansiuaire nor cared for their violence, but threw 
themselves sword in hand upon the English. They 
found, however, an enemy in Sir Edward Stanley 
whose coolness was not to be surprised in this manner. 
The squares of English pikemen stood to their ground; 
and althou2:h for a moment the shock of the moun- 
taineers was terrible, its force once sustained became 
spent with its own violence, and nothing remained 
but a disorganization so complete that to recover their 
ranks was impossible. The consequence was a total 
rout of the right wing of the Scots, accompanied by a 
dreadful slaughter, in which, amid other brave men, 
the Earls of Lennox and Aro-yle were slain. Yet, 
notwithstanding this defeat on the right, the centre 
under the king still maintained an obstinate and dubi- 
ous conflict with the Earl of Surrey. The determined 
personal valour of James, imprudent as it was, had the 
efi'ect of rousing to a pitch of desperate courage the 
meanest of the private soldiers, and the ground becom- 
ing soft and slippery from blood, they pulled off their 
boots and shoes, and secured a firmer footino; bv fiaht- 
ing Id their hose. No quarter was given on either 
side; and the combatants were disputing every inch 
of ground, when Stanley, without losing his time in 
pursuit of the highlanders, drew back his division 
and impetuously charged the rear of the Scottish 

* Buchanan, xiii. 38. 
VOL. V. E 


centre. It was now late in the evening, and this 
movement was decisive. Pressed on the flank by 
Dacre and the admiral, opposed in front by Surrey, 
and now attacked in the rear by Stanley, the king's 
battle fought with fearful odds against it ; yet James 
continued by his voice and his gestures to animate his 
soldiers, and the contest was still uncertain when ho 
fell pierced with an arrow, and mortally wounded in 
the head by a bill, within a few paces from the English 
earl, his antao^onist. The death of their sovereifrn 
seemed only to animate the fury of the Scottish nobles, 
who threw themselves into a circle round the body and 
defended it till darkness separated the combatants. 
At this time Surrey was uncertain of the result of the 
battle, the remains of the enemy''s centre still held the 
field. Home with his borderers hovered on the left, and 
the commander wisely allowed neither pursuit nor 
j)lunder, but drew off his men and kept a strict watch 
during the night. When the morning broke, the 
Scottish artillerv were seen standins: deserted on the 
side of the hill, their defenders had disappeared, and 
the earl ordered thanks to be given for a victory which 
was no longer doubtful. He then created forty knights 
on the field, and permitted Lord Dacre to follow the 
retreat ; yet, even after all this, a body of the Scots 
appeared unbroken upon a hill, and were about to 
charge the lord admiral, when they were compelled to 
leave their position by a discharge of the English ord- 
nance.* The soldiers then ransacked the camp and 
seized the artillery which had been abandoned. It 
consisted of seventeen cannon of various shapes and 
dimensions, amongst which were six guns admirable 
for their fabric and beauty, named by the latq monarch 

* Hall, in Weber's Flodden Field, p. 3G4. 

1513. JAMES IV. 67 

the Six Sisters, which Surrey boasted were longer and 
larger than any in the arsenal of the King of England. 
The loss of the Scots in this fatal battle amounted to 
about ten thousand men.* Of these a great proportion 
were of high rank ; the remainder being composed of 
the gentry, the farmers, and landed yeomanry who 
disdained to fly when their -sovereign and his nobles 
lay stretched in heaps around them. Amongst the 
slain were thirteen earls — Crawford, Montrose, Hunt- 
ley, Lennox, Argyle, Errol, Atliole, Morton, Casillis, 
Bothwell, Rothes, Caithness, and Glencairn, the king''s 
natural son the archbishop of St Andrew'*s who had 
been educated abroad by Erasmus, the bishops of 
Caithness and the Isles, the Abbots of Inchafiray and 
Kilwinning, and the Dean of Glasgow. To these w^e 
must add fifteen lords and chiefs of clans : amongst 
whom were Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurcha, Lauch- 
lan Maclean of Dowart, Campbell of Lawers, and five 
peers'* eldest sons, besides La Motte the French am- 
bassador, and the secretary of the king. The names 
of the gentry who fell are too numerous for recapitu- 
lation, since there were few families of note in Scotland 
which did not lose one relative or another, whilst some 
houses had to weep the death of all. It is from this 
cause that the sensations of sorrow and national la- 
mentation occasioned by the defeat were peculiarly 
poignant and lasting ; so that to this day few Scots- 
men can hear the name of Flodden, without a shudder 
of gloomy regret. The body of James was found on 
the morrow amongst the thickest of the slain, and re- 
cognised by Lord Dacre, although much disfigured by 
wounds. It was carried to Berwick and ultimately 

* Original Gazette of the battle preserved in the Herald's Office, London. 
Apud Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 45(j. 


interred at RicnmonJ.* In Scotland, however, the 
affection of the people for their monarch led them to 
disbelieve the account of his death; it was well known 
that several of his nobles had worn in the battle a dress 
similar to tnc king''s ; and to this we may })robably 
trace a report that James had been seen alive after his 
defeat. Many long- and fondly believed that, in com- 
pletion of a religious vow, he had travelled to Jerusa- 
lem, and would return to claim the crown. "f* 

The causes which led to this defeat are of easy de- 
tection, and must be traced chiefly to the king himself. 
His obstinacy rendered him deaf to the advice of his 
officers, and his ignorance of war made his individual 
judgment the most dangerous guide. The days which 
he wasted in the siege of Norham and Etal, or squan- 
dered at Ford, gave his enemy time to concentrate his 
army, and, when the hosts were in sight of each other, 
he committed another error in permitting Surrey to 
dictate to him the terms on which they were to engage. 
A third blunder was the nesjlect of attacking: the Enfr- 
lish m crossing the river, and his obstinacy in not 
employing his artillery, which might have broken and 
destroyed the enemy in detail, and rendered their 
defeat when in confusion comparatively easy. Last 
of all, James\s thoughtlessness in the battle was as 
conspicuous as his want of judgment before it. When 
Surrey, mindful of his duty, kept himself as much as 
possible out of the deadly brunt of the conflict, and 

* Weever's Funeral Monuments, p. 181. 

"j- Godwin in his Annals, p. ■22, mentions, " That when James's hofly was 
found, his neck was opened in the middle with a wide wound, his left hand, 
almost cut off in two places, did scarce hang to his arm, and the archers 
had shot him in many places of his body." The sword and dagper of the 
unfortunate monarch are to be seen at this day preserved in the College of 
Arms in London, and have been engraved by the late Mr Weber as a fron- 
ti5piece to the battle of " Flodden Field," an ancient poem published hj 
that author. 

1513. JAMES IV. 69 

was able to watch its progress and to give each division 
his prompt assistance, the Scottish monarch acted the 
part of Richard or Amadis, more solicitous for the 
display of his individual bravery and prowess, than 
anxious for the defeat of the enemy. It was a gallant 
but a fatal weakness, which cannot be sufficiently con- 
demned ; dearl}^ expiated, indeed, by the death of the 
unfortunate prince himself, whose fate, some may think, 
ought to defend him from such severity of censure ; 
but when we consider the flood of noble and of honest 
blood which was poured out at Flodden, and the long 
train of national misfortunes which this disaster en- 
tailed upon the country, it is right that the miseries 
of unnecessary warfare, and the folly of a thirst for 
individual glory, should be pointed out for the admoni- 
tion of future a2,es. 

The character of this monarch may be sufficiently 
understood by the history which has been given of his 
reign ; and it is pleasing, in running over its most 
prominent features, to exchange censure for applause. 
His energ3% firmness, and indefatigable activity in the 
administration of justice; his zeal forthe encouragement 
of the useful arts ; his introduction of the machinery of 
law and justice into the northern districts and the domi- 
nions of the Isles: his encoura2:ement of the commerce 
and the agriculture of the country; his construction of 
a naval power ; his provision for increasing the means 
of national defence by casting artillery, building forts, 
and opening by his fleet a communication with the 
remotest parts of his kingdom, were all worthy of high 
praise : whilst his kindness of heart, and accessibility 
to the lowest classes of his subjects, rendered him de- 
servedly beloved. His weaknesses were, a too anxious 
desire for popularity, an extravagant love of amusement, 


and a criminal profusion of expenditure upon pleasures 
which diminished his respectability in the eyes of his 
subjects, and injured them by the contagion of bad 
example. He was slain in the forty-second year of his 
age, leaving an only son, an infant, who succeeded him 
by the title of James the Fifth. His natural children 
by various mothers of nohle blood as well as of homely 
lineasfe were numerous, and some of them who have 
hitherto escaped the research of the antiquary may be 
traced in the manuscript records of the high-treasurer. 




Henrj VIII. 




Lewis XII. 
Francis I. 

Maximilian I. 
Charles V. 

Philip I. 
Charles V. 

Leo. X. 
Adrian VI. 
Clement VIL 

The news of the discomfiture of the Scottish army at 
Flodden spread through the land with a rapidity of 
terror and sorrow proportionate to the greatness of the 
defeat, and the alarming condition into which it in- 
stantly brought the country. The wail of private grief, 
from the hall to the cottage, was loud and universal. 
In the capital were to be heard the shrieks of women 
who ran distractedly through the streets bewailing the 
husbands, the sons, or the brothers, Avho had fallen, 
clasping their infants to their bosoms, and anticipating 
in tears the comino; desolation of their country. In the 
provinces, as the gloomy tidings rolled on, the same 
scenes were repeated ; and had Surrey been inclined, or 
in a condition to pursue his victory, the consequences 
of the universal panic were much to be dreaded ; but 
the very imminency of the public danger was salutary 
in checking this violent outburst of sorrow in the capi- 
tal. During the absence of the chief magistrates who 
had joined the army with the king, the merchants to 


whom their authority liad been deputed, exhibited a 
line example of lirmness and presence of mind. They 
issued a proclamation which was well adapted to restore 
order and resolution. It took notice of the rumour 
touching: their beloved monarch and his armv, which 
had reached the city, dwelt on its uncertainty, and 
abstained from the mention of death or defeat; it com- 
manded the whole body of the townsmen to arm them- 
selves at the sound of the common bell, for the defence 
of the city. It enjoined, under the penalty of banish- 
ment, that no females should be seen crying or wailing 
in the streets, and concluded by recommending all 
women of the better sort to repair to the churches, 
and there offer up their petitions to the God of battles, 
for their sovereij^n lord and his host, with those of 
their fellow citizens who served therein.* 

It was soon discovered that, for the moment at least, 
Surrey had suffered so severely that he did not find 
himself strong enough to prosecute the victory, and 
an interval of deliberation was thus permitted to the 
country. Early in October, a parliament assembled 
at Perth, which from the death of the flower of the 
nobility at Flodden, consisted chiefly of the clergy.f 
It proceeded first to the coronation of the infant king, 
which was performed at Scone with the usual solemnity, 
but amid the tears, instead of the rejoicings of the 
people. Its attention was then directed to the condi- 
tion of the country ; but its deliberations were hurried, 
and unfortunately no satisfactory record of them re- 
mains. Contrary to the customary law, the regency 
was committed to the queen-mother, from a feeling of 

* Hailes' Remarks on the History of Scotland, chap. viii. 
+ Dacre to the Bishop of Durham, 29th Oct. Brit. Mus. Caligula, B. iii. 
11, quoted in Pinlfvton, vol. ii. p. 112. 

1513. JAMES V. 73 

affectionate respect to the late king. The castle of 
Stirling, with the custody of the infant monarch, was 
intrusted to Lord Borthwick;* and it was determined, 
till more protracted leisure for consultation had been 
given and a fuller parliament assembled, that the queen 
should use the counsel of Beaton archbishop of Glas- 
gow, with the Earls of Huntley and Angus. It ap- 
pears, however, that there was a party in Scotland 
which looked with anxiety on the measure of commit- 
im<y- the chief situation in the ^-overnment to a female, 
whose near connexion with England rendered it pos- 
sible that she mio-ht act under foreio-n influence : and 
a secret message was despatched by their leaders to the 
Duke of Albany, in France — a nobleman, who, in the 
event of the death of the young king, was the next heir 
to the throne, requesting him to repair to Scotland and 
assume the office of res^ent, which of rioht belonoed 
to his rank.-f* 

In the meantime the apprehensions of the country 
were quieted by the intelligence that Surrey had dis- 
banded his host — a proceeding to which that able 
commander was reduced not only by the loss which 
he had sustained, but by the impossibility of supporting 
an invading army without the co-operation of a fleet. 
It was probably on his own responsibility that Howard 
thus acted, for, on receiving accounts of the victory, 
whilst still in France, Henry appears to have been 
solicitous to follow up his advantage, and transmitted 
orders to Lord Dacre of tlie north, warden of the 
eastern marches, and Lord Darcy, directing them to 
make three principal incursions into Scotland. These 
orders were partially obeyed, and in various insulated 

* Dacre to the King's Highness.— Ilarbottle, 13 Nov. Cal. B. vi. 38, d. 
+ Lesley, Baunatyne edit. p. 97. Piukerton, vol. ii. p. 112. 


inroads much devastation was committed by the Eng- 
lisli ; but the retaliation of Home the warden of tho 
Scottish marches, was equally prompt and destructive, 
wliilst the only consequences from such mutual hosti- 
lities, were to protract the chances of peace by the 
exacerbation of national animosity. 

The condition of the country, meanwhile, .was 
alarming, and when men began to recover from the 
first impulses of grief, and to consider calmly the most 
probable schemes for the preservation of order, under 
the shock which it had received, the prospect on every 
side appeared almost hopeless. The dignified clergy, 
undoubtedly the ablest and best educated class in Scot- 
land, from whose ranks the state had been accustomed 
to look for its wisest councillors, were divided into 
feuds amongst themselves^ occasioned by the vacant 
benefices. The Archbishop of St Andrew"'s, the Pre- 
lates of Caithness and the Isles, with other ecclesiastical 
dignitaries, had fallen in the field of Flodden, and 
the intrigues of the various claimants distracted the 
church and the council. There were evils also to be 
dreaded from the character and the youth of the queen- 
mother. Margaret had been married at fourteen, and 
was now only twenty-four : her talents were of so high 
an order that they drew forth the unbiassed encomium 
of Surrey, Dacre, and Wolsey ; but there were some 
traits in her disposition which remind us of her brother, 
Henry the Eighth. Her resentments were hasty, 
her firmness sometimes degenerated into obstinacy, 
her passions were often too strong for her better judg- 
ment; her beauty, vivacity, and high accomplishments, 
were fitted to delight and adorn a court, but imparted 
an early devotion to pleasure, too much encouraged by 
the example of the late king ; and which his sudden 

1513. JAMES V. 75 

and unhappy fate rather checked than eradicated. For 
a while, however, the excess of grief, and her situation, 
which promised an increase to the royal family, kept 
her in retirement, and rendered her an object of deep 
interest to the people. 

The Duke of Albany had now received the invitation 
from the lords of his party ; and unable instantly to 
obey it in person, he sent over the Sieur D"'Arsie de 
la Bastie,* the same accomplished knight whom we 
have seen a favourite of James the Fourth, and who 
was already personally known to many of the Scottish 
nobles. Along with him came the Earl of Arran, who, 
since the unfortunate result of his naval expedition, 
by which the late king had been so deeply incensed, 
appears to have remained in France, in command of 
that portion of the fleet which was the property of the 
crown ; the remainder, consisting of merchant vessels 
commissioned by government, having probably long 
ago dispersed on private adventure. He was cousin- 
german to Albany : the former being the son of Mary, 
sister to James the Third ; the latter of Alexander, 
the brother of that prince, whose treason, as we have 
seen, against the government in 1 482, did not scruple 
to aim at the crown, and even to brand the reianino; 
monarch with illeoitimacv. Arran still bore the title 
of high-admiral, and brought to Scotland a few ships, 
the three largest vessels having been left behind in 
France. His high birth and near relationship to the 
royal family impressed him with the idea that his 
interference would be respected; but his abilities were 
of an inferior order, and he found many proud nobles 
ready to dispute his authority. Amongst these, the 
principal were Home the chamberlain ; the Earl of 

* Lesley, p. 97. 


Angus, the recent death of whose father and grand- 
father had placed liini, when still a young man, at the 
liead of the potent house of Douglas ; and the Earls of 
Huntley and Crawford, who were the most influential 
lords in the north. Between Home and Angus, a 
deadly feud existed — the lesser nobles and gentry in 
the south joining themselves to one side or the other, 
as seemed most agreeable to their individual interests; 
whilst in Athole, and other northern districts, bands of 
robbers openly traversed the country ; and on the 
Borders, the dignities and revenues of the church, and 
the benefices of the inferior clergy, became the subjects 
of violent and successful spoliation.* 

In the midst of these scenes of public disorder, re- 
peated attempts were made to assemble the parliament ; 
but the selfishness of private ambition, and the confusion 
of contradictory councils, distracted the deliberations 
of the national council; and the patriotic wisdom of the 
venerable Elphinston in vain attempted to compose 
their difFerences.^f It was, however, determined that 
for the immediate repressing of the disturbances, the 
Earl of Crawford should be appointed chief justice to 
the north of the Forth, and Home to the same office 
in the south; whilst, in contemplation of the continu- 
ance of the war with England, an attempt was made 
to derive assistance from the courts of Denmark and 
France. To the sovereigns of both these countries 
Scotland had been profuse of her assistance in troops 
and in money : the insurrection of the Norwegians 
against the Danish monarch had been put down by her 
instrumentality; and the war with England, which had 

* Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. J 20. 

f Dacre to the King, 1 0th Marcl -, Caligiila, B. vi, 48. quoted in Pinkerton, 
vol. ii. p. 219. 

1514. JAMES V. 77 

cost the country so dear, had been undertaken at the 
instigation of France ; yet from neither the one nor the 
other did the Scots, in their day of calamity, receive 
anything more substantial than promises. The pre- 
sent pohcy of Lewis tlie Twelfth, who had been reduced 
to extremity by the league formed against him, ren- 
dered this monarch solicitous for peace with England, 
and fearful of any step w^hich might exasperate its 
sovereign. He not only, therefore, refused all active 
assistance, but ungenerously threw difficulties in the 
way of Albany''s departure, pretending that he could 
not dispense with the services of so valuable a subject: 
a mortifying lesson to Scotland upon the folly of her 
foreign alliances, but of which she had not yet the 
wisdom to make the proper use. 

In the midst of this disturbance at home, and dis- 
appointment abroad, the queen-mother was delivered 
of a son, who was named Alexander, and created Duke 
of E-oss ; whilst a parliament, which met immediately 
after her recovery, confirmed her in the regency, and 
appointed " three wise lords," whose names do not 
appear, to have the keeping of the young king and 
his brother.* Yet, in spite of every endeavour to 
allay them, the disorders of the country continued ; 
and whilst the queen corresponded with her brother, 
lamenting the selfish ambition and fierce independence 
of Home, who arrogated to himself an almost royal 
authority, that monarch ungenerously abused her in- 
formation, by directing his wardens of the Border to 
repeat their inroads, and carry havoc and w^ar into the 
defenceless country. It was a miserable feature of 
feudal Scotland (it may be said, indeed, of feudal 
Europe) that a woman of any wealth or rank, who was 

* Margaret to Dacre, Caligula, B. vi. 78. 


JcprivcJ of the protection of a husband or father, 
became an object of attack, Hable to be invaded in her 
castle and carried oft' by some of those remorseless 
barons, who, in the prosecution of their daring ends, 
little recked the means they used. The greater the 
prize, the more certain and alarming was the danger ; 
and as the possession of the person of the infant mon- 
arch gave to any faction which obtained it the chief 
influence in the government, we may easily understand 
that the queen-mother, surrounded by a fierce and 
ambitious nobility, for the suppression of whose lawless 
proceedings the authority with which she had been 
intrusted was insufficient, soon began to long for some 
more powerful protector. That Margaret, therefore, 
should have thought of a second marriage was by no 
means extraordinary ; but when it was declared that, 
without any previous consultation with her council, 
she had suddenly given her hand to the Earl of Angus, 
her best friends regretted her choice. It was evidently 
a match not so much of policy, as of passion, for Angus 
is described by the sagacious Dacre as "childish young, 
and attended by no wise councillors ;''"' but his person 
and countenance were beautiful, his accomplishments 
showy and attractive, whilst his power, as the head of 
the house of Douglas, was equal, if not superior, to 
that of any baron in the kingdom. The queen herself 
was still in the bloom of her youthful charms ; and 
when her affections fixed upon Angus, she only waited 
for her recovery from childbirth, to hurry into mar- 
riage with a precipitancy which was scarcely decorous, 
and certainly unwise. By the terms of the royal will, 
it at once put an end to her regency ; and although 
Angus flattered himself that his new title, as husband 
of the queen, would confer upon him the tutelage of 

1514. JAMES V. 79 

the infant sovereign, he was met hy an opposition far 
more powerful than he anticipated. 

The peace between France and England was now 
concluded ; and although Scotland was embraced in 
the treaty at the desire of Lewis, the cold and cautious 
terms in which that country was mentioned, might have 
convinced her rulers of the folly which had squandered 
so much treasure, and sacrificed so much national pro- 
sperity, for a sovereign whose gratitude lasted no longer 
than his necessity. It was stated that if, upon noti- 
fication of the peace, the Scots were desirous of being 
included, there should be no objection urged to their 
wishes ;* but if, after intimation of these terms, which 
was to be made before the fifteenth of September, any 
invasions took place on the Borders, the clause compre- 
hending that country was to be of no effect. No invasion 
of any note did take place, but minor inroads on both 
sides disturbed, as usual, the peace of the marches ; 
and the difficulty of adjusting these in the courts of the 
wardens, with the desire to postpone all leading mea- 
sures till the arrival of Albany, occasioned a delay of 
eight months before Scotland acceded to the treaty. 

One of the immediate effects of the imprudent mar- 
riage of the queen seems to have been, the separation 
of the nobility and the country into two great factions, 
which took the names of the English and French 
parties. At the head of the former were Angus and the 
queen; indeed, if we except the great power and widely 
ramifvins: vassalag-e of the House of Douo'las, there 
were few other permanent sources of strength on which 
they could build their hopes. The latter, the French 
faction, embraced almost the whole nobility, and was 
supported by the sympathies of the people. The fatal 

* Pinkerton, vol. ii. pp. 121, 122. 


defeat at Flodden was yet fresh in their memory, and 
revenge, a natural feeling, to which the principles of 
the feudal system added intensity, prompted them to 
fruitless desires for a continuance of the war; a jealousy 
of the interference of Henry, a certainty that the queen- 
mother had entered into an intimate correspondence 
with this monarch, consulting him upon those public 
measures which ought to have been regulated by the 
council and the parliament, and a recollection of the 
intolerable domination, once exercised b}'' the House 
of Douglas, all united to increase the numbers of the 
French faction, and to cause a universal desire for the 
arrival of the Duke of Albany. Nor could this event 
be much longer delayed. Lewis had now no pretext 
for his detention; the peace with England was con- 
cluded, the sentence of forfeiture, which had excluded 
the duke from the enjoyment of his rank and estates 
in Scotland was removed, and the condition of the 
country called loudly for some change. 

At this crisis, by the death of the venerable and patri- 
otic Elphinston bishop of Aberdeen, was removed the 
only man who seemed to possess authority in the state, 
an occurrence which increased the struir^les of ecclesi- 
astical ambition.* It was the intention of the queen to 
have appointed Elphinston to the archbishopric of St 
Andrews, but on his death she nominated to that see the 
celebrated Gawin Douglas, her husband\s uncle, — a man 
whose genius, had this been the only requisite for the 
important dignity, was calculated to bestow distinction 
upon any situation. Hepburn, however. Prior of St 
Andre\v''s, a churchman of a turbulent and factious char- 
acter, had interest enough with the chapter to secure his 
own election; whilst Forman bishop of Moray, the per- 

* Lesley, p. 100. 

1515. JAMES V. 81 

sonal favourite of the late king, whose foreign negotia- 
tions and immense wealth, gave him great influence at the 
court of Rome, was appointed to fill the vacant see by 
a papal bull, which he for a while did not dare to pro- 
mulgate. An indecent spectacle was thus exhibited, 
which could not fail to lower the church in the eyes of 
the people : the servants of Douglas, supported by his 
nephew and the queen, had seized the archiepiscopal 
palace, but were attacked by Hepburn, who carried the 
fortress, and kept possession of it, although threatened 
by Ano'us with a sieo:e. Forman, however, had the 
address to secure the interest of Home the cham- 
berlain, and a treaty havino; been entered into, in 
which money was the chief peacemaker, it was agreed, 
that Hepburn should surrender the castle, on condition 
of retaining the revenues which he had already col- 
lected, and receiving for his nephew the rich priory of 

These ecclesiastical commotions, however, were sur- 
passed in intensity by the feuds amongst the nobles, 
who traversed the country at the head of laro'e bodies 
of their armed vassals, and waged private war against 
each other with a ferocity which defied all interference. 
The Earl of Arran, encouraged by the protracted delay 
of Albany, aspired to the regency ; and being joined 
by the Earls of Lennox and Glencairn, declared war 
against Angus, who narrowly escaped falling into an 
ambuscade which was laid for his destruction. The 
castle of Dumbarton w^as seized by Lennox ; and 
Erskine the governor, who held it for the queen, was 
expelled from his place. Dunbar, the most important 
fortress in the kingdom, was delivered to the French 
knignt, de la Bastie, who claimed it as that part of 

* Lesley, p. 101. 
VOL. V. F 


the earldom of March which belonged to his master, 
Albany. Beaton archbishop of Glasgow, a prelate 
of a selfish and intriguing temper, keenly supported 
the interests of the French party ; whilst the Earl of 
Huntley, one of the most powerful barons in the north, 
threw his influence into the scale of the queen and 
Angus, which was supported also by Lord Drummond 
and the Earl jMarshal.* 

Under this miserable state of things, Henry the 
Eighth, by means of his able minister. Lord Dacre, 
who entertained many Scottish spies in his pay, kept 
up a regular correspondence with the queen, and availed 
himself of their confusion, to acquire a paramount 
influence over the affairs of the country. He even 
carried his intrigues so far as to make a secret proposal 
to Margaret for her immediate flight with the infant 
monarch and his brother into England, a scheme which 
amounted to nothino: less than treason : the a2:ents in 
this plot were Williamson, one of the creatures of 
Dacre, an English ecclesiastic resident in Scotland, 
and Sir James Ingiis the secretary of the queen. 
Margaret, in reply, regretted that she was not a private 
woman, able to fly with her children from the land 
where she was so unhappy, but a queen, who was 
narrowly watched ; whilst any failure in such an at- 
tempt might have cost her servants their heads, and 
herself her liberty. It is, perhaps, not extraordinary, 
that such a scheme should be regarded with no very 
strong feeling of revolt by the youthful queen, to 
whom Henry artfully held out the inducement of her 
son being declared heir-apparent to the English throne. 
But that Angus, and his uncle Douglas should have 

* Grig. Letter, quoted bv Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 126, Sir James Ingiis to 
Williamson, ■22(1 Jan. lalo. Caligula, B. i. 22; also B. vi. 114. Adam 
Williamson to the Bishop of DunkelcL 

1515. JAMES V. 83 

entertained the proposal, that they should rather have 
declined it as dangerous and not strictly honest, than 
cast it from them as an insult to their feelino^s of na- 
tional honour and individual integrity, presents the 
principles of these eminent persons in no favourable 
light. Meanwhile, although baffled in the perpetration 
of this project, the intrigues of Dacre contributed 
greatly to strengthen the English faction, and Home, 
whose formidable power and daring character rendered 
his accession no light matter, embraced the party of 
the queen. 

Albany, who had long delayed his voyage, now 
began to think in earnest of repairing to Scotland. 
The death of Lewis the Twelfth, which had been fol- 
lowed by the accession of Francis the First, was ac- 
companied by no material change in the policy of his 
kingdom towards her ancient ally ; and an embassy 
was despatched to induce the Scottish government to 
delay no longer accepting those terms by which they 
were comprehended in the peace between France and 
England. In a letter from the Council of State, this 
request was complied with, on the ground, that al- 
though not so far weakened by their recent disaster, 
as to doubt they should be soon able to requite their 
enemies; yet, for the love they bore to France, and 
their zeal for the crusade against the infidels, which 
was then in agitation, they would be sorry that Scot- 
land should oppose itself to a general peace.* 

Scarce had Le Vaire and Villebresme, the French 
ambassadors, received this favourable answer, when, 
on the eighteenth of May, the Duke of Albany, with a 
squadron of eight ships, came to anchorat Dumbarton.-f- 

* Rymer, vol. xiii. p. 509. 

+ These vessels aj^pear to have been the remains of that fleet which James 


His arrival had been anxiously expected, he landed 
amidst the unaffected joy of all who desired the re- 
establishment of good government in the country; 
and he was soon after installed in the office of Regent ;* 
but the task of restoring order, was one of no easy 
execution ; and even to a statesman of far superior 
talents, some of tlie difficulties wdiich presented them- 
selves would have been almost insurmountable. The 
intrigues of Henry the Eighth, conducted with much 
skill and judgment by Lord Dacre, had separated from 
his party some of the most potent of the nobility, who 
at a former period anxiously requested his presence ; 
and many good men, who anxiously desired a continu- 
ance of peace, and deplored the calamities which an 
unnecessary war had already entailed upon the country, 
dreading the politics of Albany, which soon disclosed 
an unreasonable animosity to England, threw their 
influence into the faction which opposed him : others, 
indeed, resented the interference of England in the 
Scottish councils, deeming it impolitic and unnatural, 
that the monarch who had slain the father, and shed 
with unexampled profusion the noblest blood in the 
land, should be selected as the favoured counsellor 
of the infant successor and his widowed mother. To 
assert their independence as a kingdom, and to cherish 
a hope of revenge, were the principles which actuated 
no inconsiderable party ; nor is it to be doubted, that 
amongst the great body of the people these feelings 
were regarded wdth applause. Of this numerous class 
the new regent might have easily secured the support, 

had despatched, under the Earl of Arran, to the assistance of the French 
monarch, and whose building and outfit had cost the country so large a sum. 
Lesley, p. lU"2. 

* He was made Regent on the 10th July. Dacre to the Council. Calig. 
B. ii. 341. Kirkoswald, 1st August. 

1515. JAMES V. 85 

had he not alienated them by a too servile devotion to 
France ; whilst the English party brought forward 
very plausible arguments to show the danger of in- 
trusting the government of the kingdom, or the custody 
of the sovereign and his brother, to one so circum- 
stanced as Albany. From his father, who had trai- 
torously attempted to seize the crown, and to brand 
the royal family with the stain of illegitimacy, he was 
not likely, they said, to imbibe very loyal ideas ; 
whilst the late instance in England, of the crimes of 
Richard the Third, would not fail to suggest a lesson 
of successful usurpation and murder to a Scottish 
usurper, between whom and his title to the throne 
there stood only the slender lives of two infants. Even 
setting aside these weighty considerations, they con- 
tended, that he evinced nothino- of the feelings or 
national independence of a Scotsman. He was ignorant 
of the constitution, of the language, of the manners of 
the country : his loyalty to the French kino-, whom 
he constantly styled his master; his ties to that king- 
dom, where his life had been spent, his honours won, 
and his chief estates were situated; his descent from 
a French mother, and marriage with the Countess of 
Auvergne, w^ere all enumerated, and with much plau- 
sibility, as circumstances which incapacitated him from 
feelino* that ardent and exclusive interest in Scotland 
which ought to be found in him to whom the regency 
was committed. When to all this it is added, that 
Albany was passionate in his temper, and sometimes 
capricious and wavering in his policy, it was not ex- 
pected that his government would be attended with 
much success. 

Yet these prognostications were not verified, and 
his first measures contradicted such surmises by the 


steady determination which tliey evinced to put down 
the Englisli party, and to curb the insolence of power 
w^hich had been shown by the supporters of Angus 
and the queen. Lord Drummond, grandfiither to 
Angus, and constable of Stirling castle, was committed 
prisoner to the castle of Blackness, for an insult offered 
to Lion herald in the queen"'s presence.* Soon after, 
Gawin Douglas, the talented and learned bishop of 
Dunkeld and uncle to Angus, was shut up in the sea 
tower of St Andrew's, on a charo^e of having: illeirallv 
procured his nomination to that see by the influence of 
Henry the Eighth Avith the papal court : it was in vain 
that the queen implored, even with tears, the pardon 
and delivery of her councillors, — the first, recommend- 
ed by his venerable age, and steady attachment to the 
royal family, the other by his distinguished talents. 
Albany was unmoved; and the supporters of the queen, 
with the exception of Home and Angus, shrunk from 
an alliance which exposed them to so severe a reckon- 

But the most important affair, and one which re- 
quired immediate attention, was the custody of the 
young monarch and his brother. These princes were 
still under the charge of their mother, the queen-dow^- 
ager. The negotiations, however, into which she had 
entered with Henry the Eighth, and in the course of 
which Williamson and Dacre had almost prevailed on 
her to deliver the royal children to England, proved 
clearly that since her new connexion wdth Angus, she 
was unworthy to remain their protector. The regent, 
therefore, wisely judged that no time ought to be lost 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 284. Calig, B. vi. 105, 
Remembrance of an Informacion by me, Margaret, Quene of Scots, 
"t Queen Margaret's Remembrance. Calig. B. vi. 105. 

1515. JAMES V. 87 

in removing them from her charge ; and for this pur- 
pose, a parliament was assembled at Edinburgh. The 
measures which were adopted, appear to have been 
framed with as much attention to the feelings of the 
mother, as was compatible with the security of the 
princes. Eight lords were nominated by the parlia- 
ment, out of which number four were to be chosen bv 
lot ; and from these Margaret was to select three, to 
whose custody the king and his brother were to be 
committed. This having been done, the three peers 
proceeded to the castle of Edinburgh, where the com- 
mands of the parliament were to be carried into effect: 
but nothing was farther than obedience from the mind 
of the queen. When the nobles approached, the gates 
of the fortress were thrown open, disclosing to the po- 
pulace, who rent the air with their acclamations, their 
royal mistress standing at the entrance, with the king 
at her side, his hand locked in hers, and a nurse be- 
hind, who held his infant brother in her arms.* The 
sight was imposing; nor was its effect diminished, 
when, with an air of dignity, and a voice, whose full 
tones all could distinctly hear, she bade them stand 
and declare their errand. On their answer, that thev 
came in the name of the parliament, to receive from 
her their sovereign and his brother, the princess com- 
manded the warder to drop the portcullis, and that 
massive iron barrier havins: instantly descended be- 
tween her and the astonished deleoates, she thus ad- 
dressed them : — " I hold this castle bv the aift of mv 
late husband, your sovereign, who also intrusted to me 
the keeping and government of my children, nor shall 
I yield them to any person whatsoever ; but I respect 

* Dacre to the Council. Caligula, B. ii. 341 ; an interesting original let- 
ter, first opened by the research of Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 1 37. 


the parllaincnt, and require a respite of six days to con- 
sider their mandate." Alarmed for tlie consequences 
of this refusal, which, if persevered in, amounted to 
treason, Angus, who stood beside the queen, entreated 
her to obey the order of the parliament, and took a 
notarial instrument on the spot, that he had consented 
to the surrender of the children ; but Margaret was 
iirm, and the peers retired to acquaint the regent with 
their ill success.* 

Meanwhile, their mother removed them from Edin- 
burgh castle, which she dreaded could not be defended 
against the forces of the parliament, to Stirling, a city 
more completely devoted to her interest. She then 
transmitted her final answer to the regent : it proposed, 
that the children should be committed to the custody 
of Angus, Home, the Earl Marshal, and Lauder of the 
Bass, — all of them, with the exception of the Marshal, 
devoted to her interest, and in intimate correspondence 
with England."!* This evasion, which was nothing 
more than a reiteration of her refusal to obey the 
orders of parliament, rendered it necessary for Albany 
to adopt decisive measures. He accordingly collected 
an armed force, summoned all the lords, on their alle- 
giance, to lend their assistance in enforcing the orders 
of the supreme council of the nation; directed Ruthven 
and Borthwick to blockade the castle of Stirling, so 
that no provisions should be permitted to enter ; and 
commanded Home, who was then provost of Edinburgh, 
to arrest Sir George DouMas, the brother of Angus, 
that peer being himself in the Mearns; whilst his uncle 
held Douglas castle. Home indignantly refused, and, 
under cover of night, fled to Newark, a Border tower 
upon the Yarrow; whilst Angus, who had received 

* Caligula, B. ii. 341, b. 2. + Ibid. 

1515. JAMES V. 89 

orders to join the host at the head of his vassals, kept 
himself within his strength, in his own country, and 
concentrated his power for the storm which he saw 

A proclamation was now issued against such persons 
as illesrallv retained the castle of Stirlino-; and Albany, 
at the head of seven thousand men, and attended bv 
all the peers, except Home and Angus, marched against 
that fortress, and summoned it to an immediate sur- 
render. Resistance was hopeless; and the queen had 
already carried her obstinacy beyond all prudent 
bounds; her party, which chiefly consisted of friends 
retained in her service by the money of England, de- 
serted her when the danger became imminent ; and 
requesting an interview with the regent, she delivered 
the keys of the castle to the infant monarch, who placed 
them in the hand of Albany, and only added her hope, 
that the royal children, herself and Angus, would be 
treated with favour. The answer of the regent assured 
the princess, that to herself and his infant sovereign, 
he was animated by no feelings but those of devoted 
loyalty ; but for Angus, whose opposition to the will 
of parliament, and dangerous correspondence with 
England, amounted, he declared, to treason, he would 
promise nothing, so long as he and his followers were 
banded together in open rebellion.* The king and 
his infant brother were then committed to the custody 
of the Earl Marshal, (a nobleman, w^ho had been no- 
minated on a former occasion by the royal mother her- 
self,) along with the Lords Fleming and Borthwick, 
whose fidelity to the crown was unsuspected. John 
Erskine was appointed governor of the fortress ; a 

* Dacre to the Council, Harbottle, 7th August. Caligula, B. ii. 3G9. Diur- 
nal of Occurents, p. G. 


guard of seven hundred soldiers left in it ; and the 
queen conducted with every mark of respect to 
Edinburgh, where she took up her residence in the 
castle. The Earl of Home, on being informed of this 
decided success, no longer hesitated to throw himself 
into the arms of England; and in a private conference 
with Dacre, concerted measures of resistance and re- 
venge. To this meeting Angus was not admitted, by 
the sagacity of the English warden; his youth, and 
versatility of purpose being dreaded; but Home con- 
tinued to work on the husband of the queen, and the 
streno'th of Teviotdale was raised to resist the alle2;ed 
tyranny of the regent, and avert the destruction which 
hung over the English party in Scotland.* 

In this emergenc}'', the conduct of Albany was 
marked by prudence and decision ; he summoned the 
force of the kingdom; but, before proceeding to hosti- 
lities, transmitted a message to the queen, in which 
he expressed his earnest desire for a pacification, and 
proposed articles of agreement, which were more fa- 
vourable than the conduct of her party deserved. He 
engaged to support her and her husband in all their 
just and equitable actions ; to put her in full posses- 
sion of her jointure lands, and maintain her in tlie 
state and dignity befitting her rank ; under the condi- 
tion that she should accede to the wishes of the parlia- 
ment, co-operate in those measures which were esteemed 
best for the security and independence of the state, 
and renounce all secret connexion with other realms, 
especially with England. When Henry's schemes 
for the removal of the kinjx and his brother, and the 
intrigues by which Dacre contrived to defeat every 
attempt to reduce the country to order and good 

* Dacre to the Council. Caligula, B. ii. 369, 

1515. JAMES V. 91 

government are taken into view, these proposals appear 
wise and conciliatory. Yet such was the unhappy 
infatuation of the queen, that she rejected them with- 
out hesitation ; and to make a merit of her firmness, 
transmitted them privately to Dacre.* To Home 
the chamberlain, Albany was less lenient : he insisted 
that he should leave Scotland ; and the haughty chief 
at once justified the severity by addressing a message 
to the English w^arden, in which he requested the as- 
sistance of an English army, and held out the induce- 
ment to Henry, that the country lay open to invasion. 
The crisis, he said, only required immediate activity 
and vigour, by which the monarch might destroy his 
enemies, and new model the government according to 
his interest and wishes. ■)* These offers were strongly 
seconded by Dacre, who advised an invasion ; whilst 
the chamberlain, assured of the support of England, 
assembled a powerful force, and commenced the war 
by retaking the castle of Home, which had been seized 
by the regent ; and securing the strong tower of Bla- 
cater, situated on the Borders, within five miles of 
Berwick. J To this safe-hold, the queen, who had 
continued her secret correspondence with Henry, now 
resolved to retire, finding herself, as she represented, 
in a sort of captivity at Edinburgh, whilst her friends 
were imprisoned, and her resources impoverished by 
the injustice of the regent. Dacre had recommended 
Blacater from its proximity to England, and the faci- 
lity she would enjoy of support and communication 
with her royal brother, — shrewdly observing, also, 
that, being within the Scottish Borders, her enemies 

* Caligula, B. vi. 83, 84. 

"t Caligula, B. ii. 186, Lord Home to Dacre, Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 145. 
J Franklin to the Bishop of Durham, Norham, 2i)th August. Caligula, 
B. iii. 133. 


could not callcge that she had forfeited lier riglits by 
desertini:: the country. She accordingly found means 
to join Lord Home, who, at the head of an escort of 
forty soldiers, conveyed her in safety to Blacater, from 
whence, if danger became imminent, she could secure 
a rapid and easy retreat into England.* 

Nothing could be more imprudent than such a pro- 
ceeding. Henry, although professing peace, was at 
this moment the worst enemy of Scotland. Having 
been baffled in his attempt to get the young king into 
his hands, it became his object to increase the neces- 
sary evils of a minority, by thwarting every measure 
which promised to restore tranquillity to that country. 
By means of his indefatigable agent, Lord Dacre, he 
had not only corrupted some of its leading nobility, but 
so successfullv fomented dissensions amon^-st them, that 
everv effort of the reijent to re-establish the control of 
the laws, was rendered abortive by the prevalence of 
private war. To league herself, therefore, with Eng- 
land, against tlie independence of that country, of which 
her son was sovereign, whilst Albany, with much ear- 
nestness and sincerity, offered her a complete restora- 
tion to all those rights and revenues, as queen-dowager, 
which she had not forfeited by her marriage, was an 
excess of blindness and pertinacity, difficult to be under- 
stood, and which drew after it the most calamitous 

The conduct of Albany had been marked hitherto 
by a laudable union of firmness and moderation ; and 
so completely was it seconded by the approval of the 
nobles and the clergy, that, although on other points 
at variance amongst themselves, all appear to have 

* Credence to Lord Dacre and Thomas Magnus, by the Queen of Scots. 
Caligula, B. vi. fJ5. 

1515. JAMES V. 93 

united in support of his determination to enforce obe- 
dience to the parliament, and restore some degree of 
stability to the government. He found little difficulty, 
therefore, in raising an army of forty thousand men : 
but anxious that his intentions should be clearly 
understood ; that none should mistake his resolution 
to reduce an internal rebellion, which was headed by 
disaffected subjects, for the desire of foreign war ; he 
despatched Sir William Scott, and Sir Robert Lauder, 
to meet Henry's commissioners, Dacre and Dr Mag- 
nus ; and to labour for the satisfactory adjustment of 
all disputes upon the Borders. At the same time, 
John Duplanis, a French envoy, was commissioned to 
renew the terms for an agreement, which had been for- 
merly oft'ered to the queen, and wdiich this ill-advised 
princess once more indignantly repelled. 

The regent instantly advanced to the Borders, where 
it was expected the Earl of Home would be able to make 
some serious resistance ; but the power of this dreaded 
chief melted away before the formidable array of Al- 
bany : he was taken prisoner; committed to the charge 
of the Earl of Arran ; found means to seduce his keeper, 
not only to favour, but to accompany his escape ; and 
fled to England, whither he was soon after followed by 
the queen and Angus.* No step could have been 
adopted more favourable to the intrigues of Henry ; 
and the fugitives were received by Lord Dacre with 
open arms. The queen, shortly before this, had ad- 
dressed a letter to Albany, in which, she attempted a 
vindication of her conduct ; necessity had compelled 
her, she asserted, to forsake her country, not without 
fears for her life ; she protested against the conduct of 

* Dacre and Dr Magnus to Henry the Eighth, Harbottle. 18th October. 
Caligula, B. vi. 110. 


the regent, and claimed as a right conferred on her by 
the will of the late king, her husband, (a deed which 
had received the papal confirmation,) the government 
of tlie kingdom, and the tutelage of the infant mon- 
arch.* The first pretence was ridiculous ; for since 
his arrival in Scotland, Margaret, had been treated by 
Albany with invariable respect. To the second request, 
the council of Scotland returned the answer, that by 
her second marriage, Margaret, according to the terms 
of the royal will, had forfeited all right to the tutelage 
of her son ; whilst the disposal of the government could 
neither be aflected by the will of a deceased monarch, 
nor the sanction of a living pope, but belonged to the 
three Estates, who had conferred it upon the Duke of 
Albany. -f- 

That nobleman, notwithstanding the infatuation of 
the mother of his sovereign, was still anxious to make 
a last effort for a compromise ; he addressed two let- 
ters to her on the same day : the first a manifesto from 
the council; the other, a private communication, writ- 
ten with his own hand. The terms of both were mo- 
derate, and even indulgent. The council implored her 
to awake to her duty ; declared their aversion to all 
rigorous measures ; besought her to come back amongst 
them ; and, as an inducement, promised that she should 
enjoy the disposal of all benefices within her dowry 
lands, a benefice to her late councillor, Gawin Douglas; 
and lastly, the guardianship of her children, if she 
would solemnly promise, that they should not be car- 
ried out of the kingdom. These proposals the queen 
imprudently rejected; for what reasons, does not 

* Caligula, B. vi. 119. The Queen of Scots to the Duke of Albany, 10th 
October. Harl)ottle. 

t Council of Scotland, 13th Oct. 1515. Caligula, B. vi. 120. "Madame, 
we commend our humyie service to your grace." 

1515. JAMES V. 95 

clearly appear. An acute historian* pronounces them 
too specious to be honest ; but Albany's whole conduct 
shows them to have been sincere, although Margaret, 
acting under the influence of Angus, Home, and Arran, 
had been taught to regard them with suspicion. Im- 
mediate acceptance of them was indeed impossible, for 
within eight days after she had taken refuge in Eng- 
land the queen bore a daughter to Angus, the lady 
Maro-aret Douolas, the future mother of the weak and 
unfortunate Darnley ; at the same time her husband 
entered into a private bond with Home and Arran, by 
which they engaged for themselves, their vassals, and 
supporters, to resist the regent, and to deliver their 
infant sovereign from the suspected guardianship, in 
which he was held by those w^ho then ruled in Scot- 
land. This asrreement, which was dated fifteenth of 
October, 1515, although it bears no express reference 
to England, appears to have been concluded under the 
direction of Lord Dacre."f* 

Nothing now remained for Albany, but to exercise 
with firmness the authority which had been committed 
to him; yet, although the conduct of those who leagued 
themselves against the government compelled him to 
measures of just severity, he evinced an anxiety for 
conciliation. The flioht of Arran rendered it necessary 

O t/ 

for him to seize the castles of a rebel ; but when, at 
Hamilton, his mother presented herself before the 
regent, and passionately interceded for her son, he re- 
ceived the matron, who was a daughter of James the 
Second, with the respect due to her royal descent, and 
assured her of forgiveness, could she prevail on him to 

* Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 151. 

+ Caligula, 13. vi.}24. Copie of the Bande made betwixt the Erles of Angus 
and Arran, and the Chamberlane of Scotland. Coldstream, 15th October, 1515. 


return to his allegiance ; nor was he forgetful of liis 
promise, for Arran, a nohlenian of a weak and vacillat- 
ing, though ambitious character, renounced the league 
with Angus as precipitately as he had embraced it, and 
was immediately received into favour. At this mo- 
ment the Duke of Ross, the infant brother of the king, 
was seized with one of the diseases incident to his early 
years, and died at Stirling ; a circumstance which it 
was to be expected would not be lost upon the queen, 
who instantly fulminated against Albany an accusation 
of poison. So atrocious a charge fell innoxious upon 
the upright character of the regent, who, although the 
nearest heir to the crown, had felt enough of its thorns 
to make him rather dread than desire the kingdom ; 
and the future conduct of Angus and Home, from 
whose faction the calumny proceeded, demonstrates its 
falsehood. Yet the enmity of Gawin Douglas the 
accomplished bishop of Dunkeld, did not hesitate, in 
1522, to repeat the story. 

These events were follow^ed by a renewal of the alli- 
ance with France ; and to evince that the governor 
was animated by a sincere desire for that tranquillity 
which could alone afford him leisure to compose the 
troubles of the country, Duplanis the French ambas- 
sador, and Dunbar archdean of St Andrew's, were 
sent to meet the English commissioners at Coldini!;ham 
for the negotiation of a peace between the two countries. 
At this moment Henry earnestly desired such an 
event ; the success of Francis the First, at the battle 
of Marignano, had given to this prince the whole 
Milanese, and roused the jealousy of Wolsey, who now 
directing, but with no profound policy, the councils 
of England, prevailed on his master and the emperor 
to enter into a league for the expulsion of the French 

1515. JAMES V 97 

from Italy. It was necessary, therefore, to be secure 
on the side of Scotland ; and although a general peace 
could not be then concluded, the truce between the 
kingdoms was renewed.* Home and Angus, whose 
conduct had been dictated by the selfishness of disap- 
pointed ambition, were awakened by these prudent 
measures to the desperate state of their affairs ; and 
soon after, withdrawing themselves from the queen, 
who lay dangerously ill at Morpeth, they retired into 
Scotland, where, restored once more to their hereditary 
possessions, they for a time abstained from all opposi- 
tion to the government. The facility with which these 
nobles appear to have procured their pardon, was in 
the regent perhaps more generous than prudent; but 
it evinces the sincerity of his desire for the welfare of 
the country, and seems completely to refute those 
charges of insatiate avarice, and profuse dissipation 
raised against him by the malice of his enemies, and 
too hastily retailed by a historian of this period.-f* 
For the conduct of Home, the queen found some ex- 
cuse, but to be thus deserted at her utmost need by a 
husband for whom she had sacrificed her royal pomp 
and power, was an ungrateful return for her love, 
which Margaret's proud spirit never forgave. She 
waited only for her recovery to fl}^ to the English 
court, where she loaded Albany and Angus with re- 
proaches, imploring her royal brother to interfere for 
the preservation of her son, and her restoration to 
those rights which in truth had been forfeited solely 
by her own imprudence. 

* Rymer, vol, xiii. p. 549. 

+ Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 155, -who -without considering its suspicious tenor, 
gives implicit belief to the Memorial of Gawin Douglas, Cal. B. iii. p. '609, 
and to the " Vv^rongs " of the c[ueen, Cal. B. ii. p. 21 1 : an original signed 
by " Margaret." 

VOL. V. .^ 


Nor ^Yas Henry deaf to her entreaties ; overlooking 
the conciliatory principles which marked the govern- 
ment of Albany, and which, in spite of the bribery and 
intrigues of Dacre, had received the support of the 
people, this monarch directed a letter to the three 
Estates, in which, in no measured terms, he called upon 
them not only to remove that nobleman from the re- 
gency and the care of the king''s person, but to expel 
him from the kingdom ; upon the ground that, as the 
nearest heir to the throne, he was the most suspicious 
person to whom so sacred a charge could be committed. 
To this extraordinary epistle, which was laid before 
them in a parliament assembled at Edinburgh, on the 
first of July, 1516, the Estates returned a decided an- 
swer. They reminded Henry that the Duke of Albany 
w^as governor by their own deliberate choice, expressed 
in a general council of the nation held immediately 
after the coronation of their youthful sovereign. He 
had undertaken, they said, this high and responsible 
office, which, by the canon law belonged to him as 
nearest relative to the infant king, not from his own 
wishes, but at their earnest request. He had left the 
service of France, and his estates and honours in that 
country with reluctance ; he had fulfilled its duties 
with much taknt and integrity ; and they declared 
that, so essential did they consider his remaining at 
the head of affairs to the national happiness, that, were 
he willing, they would not permit him to escape his 
duties or to leave the country. With regard to the 
anxiety expressed for the safety of the infant monarch, 
they observed that it appeared wholly misplaced in the 
present instance, as the person of the sovereign was 
intrusted to the keeping of the same lords to who&e 
care he had been committed by his mother the queen* 

1516. JAMES V. 99 

^Yllilst they concluded with great firmness and dignity, 
bv assurins: the En2:lish monarch, that it was their 
determination to resist with their lives every attempt 
to disturb the peace of the realm, or endanger the se- 
curity of the present government.* 

This spirited epistle might have convinced Henry 
of the folly of his ambition to become the chief ruler 
in the kingdom of his nephew ; but although the 
haughtiness with which he had disclosed his intentions 
had for the moment defeated his design, and united 
against him the discordant elements of the Scottish 
aristocracy, it was not long before the intrigues of his 
minister. Lord Dacre, succeeded in creating distrustand 
disturbance, and once more reinstating in its strength 
the Enoiish faction in Scotland. The means and assents 
by which this was effected were as base as they were 
successful. From an original letter of the warden him- 
self, addressed to Wolsey, we learn that he had in his 
pay four hundred Scots, whose chief employment was 
to distract the government of Albany by exciting 
popular tumults, encouraging private quarrels, and 
rekindling the jealousy of the higher nobles. " I labour 
and study all I can," says he, " to make division and 
debate, to the intent that, if the duke will not apply 
himself, that then debate may grow that it shall be 
impossible for him to do justice ; and for that intended 
purpose I have the master of Kilmaurs kept in my 
house secretly, which is one of the greatest parties in 
Scotland. * * And also (he adds) I have secret mes- 
sa2:es from the Earl of An^us and others, * * and also 
four hundred outlawes, and giveth them rewards, that 
burnetii and destroy eth daily in Scotland, all being 
Scotsmen that should be under the obedience of Scot- 

* Rymer Foedera, vol. xiii. p. 550. 


land/''* Such was the commencement by Dacre of 
that shameful system for the fostering of internal com- 
motions, by the agency of spies and the distribution 
of bribes amongst the nobles, which was continued by 
Sir Ralph Saddler, and afterwards brought to perfec- 
tion by Lord Burleigh under Elizabeth. It is to this 
cause, and not, as has generally been believed, to any 
fault or gross mismanagement upon the part of the 
regent, that we must ascribe the misery of the country. 
Albany was supported by the affection and confidence 
of the middle classes, and the great body of the nation; 
but their influence was counteracted, and his efl'orts 
completely paralyzed, by the selfish rapacity of the 
clergy, and the insolent ambition of the aristocracy. -f- 
Scarcely had Arran returned to his allegiance, when 
he entered into a new combination with Lennox, Glen- 
cairn, Mure of Caldwell, and other barons, with the 
apparent object of wresting from the regent that share 
in the government to which he not unjustly deemed 
himself entitled, by his afiinity to the royal family, 
but for which his vacillating character totally incapaci- 
tated him. The rebellion at first assumed a serious 
aspect : the castle of Glasgow, belonging to Beaton 
archbishop of that see, and which was important from 
its being the depot of the king's artillery, was stormed 
and plundered by Mure, who enriched himself by the 
spoil and retained it for Arran ; J but the promptitude 
and energy of Albany, who instantly assembled an 

* Letter— Dacre to Wolsey, 23d August, 1516. Caligula, B. i, 150, 
puVilished by Sir Henry Ellis, in his valuable Collection of Letters, vol. i. 
p. 131, tirst series. 

+ To this observation there were a few exceptions, hut these had little 
influence where the majority were corrupted. 

X Mure of Caldwell had married Lady Janet Stewart, sister to the Earl 
of Lennox. — !MS. document, in possession of William Mure, Esq., of Cald- 

1516. JAMES V. 101 

army and marched to the spot, overawed the conspira- 
tors and compelled them to submit to terms. The 
fortress was surrendered. Beaton the primate employed 
his influence to obtain the pardon of Arran with his 
associate earls ; and Albany, who often erred on the 
side of leniency, once more received them to the peace 
of the king; whilst Mure, an able and turbulent baron, 
who w^as nearly connected with Lennox, profiting by 
the commotion, continued to excite disturbances in the 
west country. 

It had been under the condition of his renouncing 
all secret intercourse with Henry the Eighth, and 
residing peaceably on his estates, that Albany had 
extended foroiveness to Home. But it soon became 
apparent that the attempt to secure his adherence to 
the government was hopeless. His correspondence 
with Dacre was renewed ; bands of hired marauders 
known to be followers of the Scottish earl, and in the 
pay of England, broke across the marches, and ravaged 
the country with unexampled boldness and ferocity. 
Murders, rapine, fire-raising, and every species of out- 
rage, threatened the total dissolution of society; and it 
became necessary either to vindicate the laws by an 
example of instantaneous severity, or weakly to aban- 
don the government to the anarchy by which it was 
invaded. Under these circumstances. Home and his 
brother, either trusting to Albany's ignorance of their 
correspondence, or in veigled by his promises, imprudent - 
ly visited the court, and were instantly apprehended. 
Much obscurity hangs over the trial which followed; 
and if we may believe some of our historians, the charge 
of havino^ excited the late commotions against the re- 
gent, was mingled with a more atrocious accusation of 
being accessary to the defeat at Flodden, and the death 


of tlie late king. That tliis last imputation was un- 
founded, seems to be proved bj sufficient evidence ; 
but the truth of the first was notorious, and could be 
established by a multiplicity of witnesses. The lord 
chamberlain was accordino-ly found iruiltv: a2:ainst his 
brother the same sentence was pronounced ; and both 
were executed without delay, their heads being after- 
wards exposed above the Tolbooth or public prison 
of the capital.* Ker of Fernyhirst, one of their chief 
followers and a baron of great power on the marches, 
was also tried and condemned, but respited by the 
regent, who instantly led a powerful force to Jedburgh, 
and, by a judicious severity, reduced the unquiet dis- 
tricts on the Border to a state of temporary repose. 
The office of chamberlain was bestowed upon Lord 
Fleming, a nobleman of tried fidelity, whilst the French 
knight, De la Bastie, who was much in the confidence 
of the regent, and possessed of equal courage and ex- 
perience, became warden of the east Borders ; an ap- 
pointment deeply resented by the friends of Home, wlio 
secretly meditated, and at length accomplished a cruel 

On his return to Edinburgh, Albany assembled the 
parliament. Its principal business was the disposal of a 
singular claim presented by his step-brother Alexander 
Stewart, which, had it been supported by the three 
Estates, must have excluded him from the regency. 
Stewart was the eldest son of Alexander duke of 
Albany, the regent''s father, by his first marriage with 
a daughter of the Earl of Orkney; but it was now de- 
clared that this marriage had been pronounced unlawful 
by a vote of a former parliament, and on this ground 

* Lesley, Hist. Bannatyne edit. p. 107. The Chamberlain sufferetl on the 
eighth, and his brother on the ninth of October, 1516, 

1516. JAMES V. 103 

the title of Albany, the eldest son by a second marriage 
was confirmed as the second person in the realm, and 
nearest heir to the crown.* Not long after, Francis de 
Bordeaux, ambassador from the court of France, arrived 
in Scotland ; and the expectations of the regent and 
the parliament were sanguine as to the assistance about 
to be derived from this country against the continued 
efi'orts of Henry the Eighth. It was soon, however, 
discovered that the policy of that kingdom towards 
Scotland had undergone a considerable change. The 
treaty of Noyon, concluded on the 26th of August, 
1516, between Francis the First and the King of Spain, 
had secured to the former monarch his conquests in 
Italy : the emperor Maximilian, after an ineffectual 
attempt to wrest from him the Duchy of Milan, had 
been compelled to retire and accede to its provisions; 
whilst to France the single difficulty remained of con- 
ciliating the enmity of Henry the Eighth. It is this 
object which explains the coldness of Francis to his 
ancient allies, the Scots. They had claimed a restitu- 
tion of the county of Xaintonge, originally assigned 
by Charles the Seventh to James the First in 1428 ; 
but their demand was evaded ; they had requested the 
aid of France asrainst Enoland ; it was not only re- 
fused, but an advice added, recommending the regent 
to conclude a peace with that country upon the first 
occasion which ofi'ered; nay, not content with this 
startling dereliction of those principles upon the per- 
manence of which Albany had too securely rested, the 
French monarch refused to ratify the alliance between 
France and Scotland, which had been renewed by 
his ambassador Duplanis, and the Scottish council of 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 283. Keith's Catalogue 
of Bishops, p. 88. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 101. 


regency, within a year after the death of James the 

We are not to wonder that such conduct increased, 
in no small degree, the difficulties which already em- 
barrassed the re2:ent. His conduct in his liio'h office had 
been marked by ability and disinterestedness. He had 
maintained the independence of Scotland by resisting 
the rude dictation of Henry ; but he showed every 
desire to cultivate peace with England upon a fair basis : 
he had punished, with a severity to which he was com- 
pelled by their frequent repetition, the treasons of 
Home, and the excesses of the Borders ; he had shown 
the utmost anxiety to recall the queen-mother to her 
country and her duties, provided such an event could 
be accomplished without endangering the safety of 
the young monarch ; and the confidence in his admi- 
nistration which was expressed by parliament, had 
given a decided refutation to the injurious attacks of his 
enemies. But these enemies were still powerful : the 
money of England and the intrigues of Dacre con- 
tinued to seduce many venal persons amongst the 
Scottish nobles : their vassals were encouraged to 
weaken the government by spoliations, private feuds, 
and every species of unlicensed oppression ; whilst 
every attempt to introduce into the great body of the 
aristocracy a principle of cordial union which might at 
once secure the integrity of the country, and promote 
their own interests, was broken by the selfishness and 
rapacity of their leaders. Under such disheartening 
circumstances, the regent had looked to the support 
of France, as a counterpoise to the concealed attacks 
of England; but this was now about to be withdrawn ;* 
and, in the parliament which assembled in November, 

♦ Epistolae Reg. Scot. vol. i. p. 243, 248. 

1516. JAMES V. 105 

1516, to deliberate upon the communication of the 
French ambassador, Albany, with much earnestness, 
requested permission of the three Estates, to revisit 
France for a short period. 

From all who were interested in the welfare of the 
country, this proposal met with a vigorous opposition. 
They contended, and with plausibility, that the absence 
of the governor would be the signal for the return of 
the anarchy and confusion which had preceded his 
arrival, and that, having accepted the regency under an 
act of the three Estates which declared him the near- 
est heir to the throne, it was his duty to remain in 
the country, to share the labour and responsibility of 
that station : they hinted that, should he now leave 
Scotland, his return to the office of regent could not, 
and perhaps ought not to be guaranteed to him ; and 
they anticipated the renunciation of the alliance with 
France, and the certain triumph of the English fac- 
tion.* In such predictions there was much wisdom ; 
yet Albany, who was intent on revisiting his foreign 
estates, a proceeding to which he was invited by a pri- 
vate message brought by La Fayette from the French 
kino;, at leno-th extorted an unwillino^ consent from the 
parliament. His leave of absence, however, extended 
only to four months, and in this interval, the manage- 
ment of the government was intrusted to a council of 
regency consisting of the prelates of St Andrew''s and 
Glasgow, with the Earls of Huntley, Argyle, Angus, 
and Arran. The young king was brought to Edin- 
burgh castle, and intrusted to the keeping of Lord 
Erskine and the Earl Marshal. Prior to his departure, 
the Bishop of Dunkeld and Panter the secretary were 

* Caligula, B. vi, 133. " Clarencieux," to " My Lord Cardinal ; dated 
Alawick," 31st Nov. 


despatched on an embassy to tlie French court ; and 
he himself, eager to revisit the hmd which was endeared 
to him by all the recollections of his former life, em- 
barked at Dumbarton on the seventh of June.* 

Some time before this it had been arranged in par- 
liament that the queen-mother should be permitted to 
revisit Scotland, under the condition that she should 
abstain from all interference wdtli the authority of 
Albany ; and this princess, whose intrigues and am- 
bition had occasioned so much distress to the country, 
the moment she heard of the arrival of the governor 
in France, set out for the Scottish capital, accompanied 
by a slender train, more befitting her misfortunes than 
her rank. At Lamberton Kirk, the same familiar spot 
where, fourteen years before, she had been received by 
the Scottish nobles, the blooming bride of her sovereign, 
she was met by Angus, Morton, and De la Bastie ; 
but on her arrival in Edinburgh, was not permitted 
to visit her son the king. It was soon after understood, 
that the plague had made its appearance in the capital, 
and his guardians took the precaution of removing the 
young monarch to Craigmillar, where, relaxing in their 
rigour, his mother was indulged with occasional inter- 
views: but a report having arisen that a secret project 
had been formed for his being carried into England, (an 
attempt which the former conduct of the queen rendered 
it exceedingly likely would be repeated,) it was thought 
proper once more to restore him to the security of his 
original residence. "f* 

To ensure, if possible, the continuance of quiet to 
the country during his absence, Albany had carried 
along with him, as hostages, the eldest sons of many 

* Lesley, p. 109. Caligula, B. vi. 1C7. 
i- Lesley, Hist. p. 109. 

1517. JAMES V. 107 

of the noblest families, whilst he had connniLted the 
principal command upon the Borders, at all times the 
most distracted and lawless portion of the country, to 
the chivalrous and polished De la Bastie, whose talents 
in the field and in the cabinet were still higher than his 
accomplishments in the lists. The title of lieutenant, 
or deputy of the governor, was likewise conferred on 
him, and he was intrusted with the invidious and 
delicate task of transmittino: to the absent recent re- 
ports upon the conduct of the Scottish Border chiefs. 
The friends and vassals of the Earl of Home, men 
familiar with blood, and who esteemed reven^re a sacred 
duty, had never foro;iven Albany the execution of this 
powerful and popular rebel, and they now determined, 
the moment an occasion offered, that De la Bastie, the 
deputy of the governor, should suffer for the crime of 
his master. Nor was this opportunity long of occur- 
ring : keeping his state as warden in the fortress of 
Dunbar, La Bastie exerted himself with indefatigable 
diligence in repressing disorder. On the first intelli- 
gence of any commotion, he was instantly in person 
on the spot ; and it was out of this fearless activity 
that his enemies contrived his ruin. A plot to entrap 
him was laid by Home of Wedderburn, and other 
Border chiefs ; and, to draw their unsuspecting victim 
into it, they pretended to besiege the tower of Langton.* 
On receiving: intelliirence of this outra^-e, De la Bastie, 
with some French knights in his train, galloped towards 
the scene of commotion, and ere he was aware, found 
himself surrounded by the unrelenting borderers. 
Conscious of the cruel fate which awaited him, he 

* I have heard that there is a curious MS. history of the family of Wed- 
derburn, at Wedderburn-house, which gives some minute and interesting 
particulars regarding the murder of De la Bastie. He was slain by John 
and Patrick ilome, younger brothers of the Laird of Wedderburn. 


pushed his horse to speed and, from the extraordinary 
fleetness of the animal, had nearly escaped, when his 
ignorance of the country unfortunately led him into a 
marsh. Every eflfort entangled him more deeply ; it 
was in vain that he struggled to extricate himself — 
in vain that he besought his merciless pursuers, as 
they valued their honour as knights, to spare his life 
and accept his submission : the only reply was, insult 
and mockery; and, throwing themselves upon him, he 
was cruelly murdered. The ferocious Lord of Wedder- 
burn, exulting in the complete though tardy vengeance, 
cut off his head, tied it by its long and plaited tresses 
to his saddle-bow, and, galloping into the town of 
Dunse, affixed the ghastly trophy on the market cross. 
He then threw himself into his castle, where, for a 
season, he defied the utmost efforts of the laws.* 

The death of La Bastie was a serious blow to the 
maintenance of the authority of Albany ; but, although 
unable instantly to arrest the perpetrators, the regents 
exerted themselves with considerable vioour. It was 
suspected that Angus, or at least his brother Sir George 
Douglas, had been involved in the guilt of the Homes, 
and on this ground Arran, the next in po^ver amongst 
the nobles, was appointed warden of the marches. 
Without delay he seized Douglas and his accomplice 
Mark Ker : measures also were taken for the trial of 
the Homes, whose escape might have produced the 
worst consequences ; and a parliament having assem- 
bled at Edinburgh on the nineteenth of February, 
sentence of forfeiture was passed against all concerned 
in the assassination of La Bastie. The more difficult 
task remained in the apprehension of the culprits; but 
Arran having assembled a powerful force, accompanied 

* Lesley, p. 110. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 170. 

1517-18. JAMES V. 109 

by the king's artillery, an arm of war which the nation 
owed to the late monarch, marched against the insur- 
gents. Ere he had advanced many miles, however, 
the rebels besought his mercy. The keys of the castle 
of Home were delivered to him at Lauder, the forti- 
fied houses of Langton and Wedderburn thrown open, 
and the warden, with perhaps too great a leniency, 
extended even to the principal murderers a pardon. 

The four months' absence permitted by the parlia- 
ment to Albany had now expired: but they had been 
passed in such unquietness, and the collision of oppo- 
site factions had so much increased, that he preferred 
the security and comfort of France to the precarious 
and thankless power of the regency, and wrote earnestly 
to the queen-mother, recommending her, if she could 
obtain the concurrence of the nobles, to resume her 
former station as head of the government.* But 
Margaret, with female weakness, insisted that her 
husband Angus, to whom she had been lately recon- 
ciled, should be nominated regent ; a proposal which 
the Earl of Arran, and the whole body of the Scottish 
nobles who had experienced his insolence and weakness, 
resolutely opposed. The chief power, therefore, con- 
tinued in the hands of the regency, and a renewal of 
the truce with England,"!* gave some leisure to attend 
to the healing of the wounds which still deeply rankled 
in the country. Of these one of the chief was to be 
found in the condition of the Isles, where the rude in- 
habitants had lately signalized themselves by unusual 
violence and disorder. Under the latter ^^ears of the 
reign of James the Fourth, these districts had been 
unusually tranquil. It had not been the sole policy of 

* Caligula, B. i. p. 247. Margaret to Lord Dacre, Lithgow, IStli Oct, 
+ Rymer, Foedera, vol. x'ii, p. 599. 

110 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. 1513-17. 

that monarch to overawe the seditious by the severity 
of his measures : he had endeavoured to humanize them 
by education, and to introduce a knowledge of the laws, 
and a respect for their sanctions ; not through the 
suspected medium of lowlanders, but by supporting 
highland scholars at the universities, and afterwards 
encouragin2: them to reside permanently within the 
bounds of the Isles. It was as an additional means for 
the accomplishment of this enlightened purpose, that 
this monarch was ever anxious to get into his power 
the sons of the highland chiefs, whom he educated at 
court ; hoping thus to attach them to his service, and 
to employ them afterwards as useful instruments in 
the civilisation of their country. With this view he 
had secured, in some of his northern expeditions, the 
youthful sons of Sir Alexander Macdonald of Loch- 
alsh ; and the eldest of these became a favourite of the 
monarch. He restored part of his paternal estate; 
conferred on him the distinction of knighthood ; and 
permitted him frequently to visit the Isles.* Upon 
the death of this sovereign it was soon discovered that 
these favours had been thrown away, for scarcely had 
the chieftains escaped from the carnage at Flodden and 
returned home, when a rebellion was secretly organized, 
of which the object was to restore the ancient princi- 
pality of the Isles in the person of Sir Alexander Mac- 
donald of Lochalsh. At the head of this insurrection 
was Maclean of Dowart, commonly called Lauchlan 
Cattanach. and ^lacleod of Dunvegan, who seized the 
castles of Carnelreigh and Dunskaich, and threatened 
with the extremity of fire and sword all who resisted 
the authority of the new Lord of the Isles. It needed 

* Gregory's Hist, of the "West Highlands and Isles, p. 1 06. He was known 
in the highlands by the name of Donald Galda, or Donald the Foreigner. 

1513-17. JAMES V. Ill 

not this fresh source of disorganization to weaken the 
administration of Albany: and although a commission 
to put down the insurrection was early given to the 
Earl of Argyle, and his efforts were seconded by the 
exertions of Mackenzie of Kintail, Ewen Alanson, and 
Monro of Foulis, the rebellion a^'ainst the srovernment 
spread through Lochaber and western Ross. ^lany 
of the most powerful families, especially those of Mac- 
lean and Macleod, with the clan Ian Mhor of Isla, per- 
sisted in their resolution to establish an independent 
sovereignty ; and it was not till after a considerable 
interval of tumult and predatory warfare, that the ex- 
ertions of Aro-yle succeeded in reducins^the in3ur2:ents, 
who were treated with uncommon leniency. Under 
assurances of safety, the principal leaders repaired to 
court, and the chief of Lochalsh procured for himself 
and his followers favourable terms of reconciliation.* 
Scarce, however, had he returned to his remote domin- 
ions, when, owing to a feud which he had long main- 
tained against Mac-Ian of Ardnamurchan, the flames 
of civil discord were again kindled in the Isles, and 
the ferocity of private warfare soon assumed the more 
serious shape of rebellion against the state. Ample 
powers were again granted to Argyle, as lieutenant- 
general over the Isles ; and Maclean of Dowart, lately 
the chief supporter of Sir Donald, having procured a 
remission for all the crimes committed by himself and 
his adherents during the insurrection, not only deserted 
his cause, but engaged in hostilities against him with 
a violence which declared that nothing but the utter 
destruction of the "wicked blood of the Isles" would 
restore tranquillity to the government of his sovereign, 
or security to the inhabitants of these remote districts. 

* Gregory's History of the West Highlands, p. 114-117. 

112 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. 1518-19. 

There seems reason to believe, however, that the ex- 
tensive power granted by the council to Argyle and 
INlaclean, was more nominal than real ; for although 
broken in his strength, the indefatigable claimant of 
the throne of the Isles remained unsubdued ; and 
having united his forces to those of the Macleods and 
Alexander of Isla, he was strong; enouoh to attack and 
entirely defeat his mortal enemy Mac-Ian, at Craig- 
anairgid, in Morvern. Mac-Ian himself, with his two 
•sons, were amongst the slain : the ferocious islanders, 
who had a heavy arrear of blood to settle with this 
powerful chief, exulted in the ample vengeance by 
which he had been overtaken ; and the consequences 
of this victory might have proved serious, had not the 
rebellion been brought to an unexpected close by the 
death of Sir Donald of Lochalsh, who left no descend- 
ants to dispute the claims of the throne to the lordship 
of the Isles. From this period till the assumption of 
the supreme power by James the Fifth, the principality 
of the Isles remained in comparative tranquillity, owing 
principally to the exertions of the Earl of Argyle, 
whose activity and loyalty are, perhaps, to be traced 
as much to his ambition of family aggrandizement, as 
to any higher patriotic motive. 

Although tranquillity was thus restored in these 
remote districts, the country continued disturbed. 
Much of the disorder was to be traced to the violence 
and ambition of Angus, whose feudal power was too 
great for a subject, and whose disappointment in being 
refused the regency, delighted to vent itself in an open 
defiance of the laws. For a while his reconciliation 
with the queen, to whom, as the mother of their so- 
vereign, the nation still looked with affection, imparted 
a weight to his faction, which rendered him a formid- 

1518. JAMES V. 113 

able opponent to the regency ; but the fickleness of his 
attachment, his propensity to low pleasures, and the 
discovery of a mistress whom he had carried off from 
her friends and secluded in Douglasdale, once more 
rekindled the resentment of the proud princess whom 
he had deserted, and an open rupture took place. She 
assumed a high tone, violently upbraided him for his 
inconstancy, reminded him that with misplaced affec- 
tion she had even pawned her jewels to support him in 
his difiiculties, and concluded by expressing her deter- 
mination to sue for a divorce.* 

As soon as this resolution, in which the queen was 
supported by the most powerful of the nobles, became 
known in England, Henry, who foresaw in its being 
carried into effect a death-blow to his influence in 
Scotland, opposed it with his characteristic impetuosity. 
He despatched Chatsworth, a friar who filled the office 
of minister-general of the Observantines in England, 
with letters to his sister, and enjoined him at the same 
time, to remonstrate against the divorce ; a commission 
which he fulfilled with much violence, declaring that 
the measure was illeo:al, that she was labourino; under 
some damnable delusion ; and insinuating in no mea- 
sured terms, that a strict examination of her own con- 
duct might provoke from Angus a counter charge of 
adultery. It is easy to see in all this a proof that 
Henry considered Angus as the head of the English 
faction, and that the queen, with the principal nobles, 
Arran, Argyle, Lennox, Fleming, and Maxwell, had 
become aware of the importance of a more cordial union 
against the intrigue and domination of England. Such, 
however, was the effect of this remonstrance, that Mar- 
garet, if not convinced, was intimidated; and, against 

* Caligula, B. i. 275. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 173. 
VOL. V. H 


the advice of her councillors, a reconciliation took place 
between her and Angus, which was as insincere as it 
was precipitate.* 

From these domestic dissensions the attention of the 
regency was drawn to a mission from Christiern the 
Second, the Danii^h king, who earnestly petitioned from 
his Scottish allies a subsidy of a thousand highland 
soldiersi* to assist him in his Norwegian wars. With 
more wisdom, however, than their late regent, the 
three Estates eluded the request, on the ground that 
from the uncertain dispositions of England, they could 
reckon little on the continuance of peace at home, and 
that the internal state of their own country could 
not at present spare its defenders. A few years after 
this, however, the reiterated requests of the Danish 
monarch were met by the grant of a small body of 
troops under the command of Stewart of Ardgowan, J 
but the tyranny of Christiern, and the piracies of the 
Danish privateers upon the fleets of their merchant- 
men, effectually cooled the zeal of their allies, and no 
further auxiliaries appear to have left the country to 
the assistance of the unpopular monarch. 

On his return to France, Albany carried with him 
an authority from the parliament to superintend the 
foreign affairs of Scotland ; and it is to his credit that, 
in the disposal of benefices, at that period one of the 
most lucrative sources of peculation, his applications 
to the pope were, without exception, in favour of 
natives, — a circumstance which affords a satisfactory 
answer to the accusations which his enemies have 
brought against him of a blameable love of money, and 

* Caligula, B. ii. 333. Dacre to W^olsey, Harbottle, 2-2d Oct. Caligula, 
B. vi. ].'/4. Chats-worth to the Queen. 

t " Mille Silvestres Scotos." Epistola? Regum Scot. vol. i. p. 302, 
^ Epistolae Reg, Scot. voL i. pp. 317, 'oi'6. 

1519. JAMES V. 115 

a want of national feeling. The continued change in 
the policy of the French king now caused the renewal 
of the peacewith England; and Francis having included 
his allies, the Scots, in the treaty,* provided they 
agreed to its terms, La Fayette and Cordelle, arrived 
as ambassadors in England, from whence, in company 
of Clarencieux herald, they proceeded into Scotland. 
It was now found that without a parliament the powers 
of the council of regency were insufficient to conclude 
this transaction ; and the three Estates having assem- 
bled, the French ambassador intimated in no unequi- 
vocal terms, that if this treaty were rejected, in which 
his master considered the prosperity of his kingdom 
to be involved, his northern allies must no longer look 
for the support of France — a consideration of such 
weight that it was not judged prudent to delay its ac- 
ceptance ;•!* and the prolongation of the truce between 
England and Scotland to the thirtieth November, 1520, 
was proclaimed at Stirling in presence of the regents 
and the French and English ambassadors. 

To these wise proceedings the only opposition which 
was offered came from the Earl of Ang-us. As this 
haughty noble, whose great estates and numerous vas- 
salry rendered him at all times formidable, increased 
in years, his character, throwins: off the excesses of 
youth, discovered a power and talent for which his 
opponents were not prepared, and his ambition, which 
had hitherto only given occasional distress, became 
systematically dangerous to the government. His 
faction was numerous; embracing the Earls of Craw- 
ford and Errol, the Lord Glammis, the prelates of St 
Andrew's, Aberdeen, Orkney, and Dunblane, with 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. xiii. p. 627. October 2, 1518. 
+ Margaret to Wolsey, Stirling, 26th Dec. Caligula, B. vi. 270. Pinkerton, 
vol. ii. p. 1 78, gives the substance of the queen's letter, but misdates it Dec. 1 7- 


many other dignitaries and partisans. On the arrival 
of the French ambassadors at the capital, he had made 
an ineffectual effort to intrude into the place of Arran, 
and undertake the management of the treaty ; but this 
being peremptorily declined, he intercepted them on 
their return to England at the head of a formidable 
array of his vassals, and rudely upbraided them for 
their alleged contempt of his authority.* 

In the capital his intrigues amongst the citizens 
were more successful, and led to sanfruinarv results. 
Arran had been chosen provost of Edinburgh, — a 
situation which was at this period an object of contest 
amongst the highest nobles, and he confidently looked 
to his re-election. But on repairing from Dalkeith, 
where the court was then held, to the metropolis, he 
found the gates shut against him, and Archibald 
Douglas, the uncle of Angus, installed in the civic 
chair."!* The partisans of the lieutenant-general, the 
title now given to Arran, attempted to force their en- 
trance, but were repulsed with bloodshed; andGawin, 
a carpenter, the friend of Angus and the principal 
leader of the tumult, was slain by Sir James Hamilton, 
commonly called the bastard of Arran. About the 
same time, Home of Wedderburn, whose wife was the 
sister of Am^us, and whose hands had been recently 
stained by the blood of De la Bastie, added the guilt 
of sacrilege to murder by assassinating the Prior of 
Coldingham with six of his family, and thus making 
way for the intrusion of William Douglas, the brother 
of Angus, who instantly seized the priory. When such 
were the steps of ecclesiastical promotion, and such the 
character of the dignitaries who ascended them, we are 

* Lesley, Bannatyne edit. p. 114 21 Cali^a, B. ii. 264. Dacre to 
Wolsey, lOth Dec. 'Harbottle. 

■f Dacre to Wolsey, 10th Dec. Ibid. 

1520. JAMES V. 117 

scarcely to wonder that respect for the hierarchy did 
not form a feature in the a2:e. But to this censure it 
must be allowed that there were eminent exceptions ; 
and a remarkable one is to be found in the learned, 
pious, and venerable Dunbar bishop of Aberdeen, who, 
living himself in primitive simplicity, refused to expend 
the minutest portion of his revenues upon his personal 
wants, and entirely devoted them to works of public 
utility and extensive charity.* 

Amid much intestine commotion, Arran and the 
lords of the regency vainly attempted to exercise their 
precarious authority, and it would be fruitless to enu- 
merate the individual excesses w^hich were constantly 
occurring in a country torn by contending factions, and 
oToauina' under the miseries incident to a feudal mino- 
rity . But, upon the meeting of aparliament which had 
been summoned for the healing of these disturbances, 
a scene occurred which is too characteristic to be 
omitted. The capital, where the Estates were to as- 
semble, had been partially abandoned by the partisans 
of Angus, who retained as a body-guard only four 
hundred spearmen; w^hilst, in consequence of a recom- 
mendation transmitted by Albany the late regent, 
which wisely directed that, for the public peace, no 
person of the name of Hamilton or Douglas should be 
chosen provost, Archibald Douglas had resigned that 
dignity, and Robert Logan had been elected in his 
place. The party of Angus were thus greatly weak- 
ened in the city, and Arran the governor mustered in 
such strength, that his friends, of whom Beaton the 
archbishop of Glasgow and chancellor of the kingdom, 
was the principal, deemed that the opportunity of re- 
ducing the overgrown power of Angus was too favour- 

* Lesley, History, p. 112, 


able to be ne^^^lected. For the discussion of their desi^^ns 
a council of the principal leaders was held in the church 
of the Black Friars, where Gawin Douglas, the cele- 
brated Bishop of Dunkeld, appeared as a peacemaker 
between the contendino; frictions. Addrcssina; himself 
to Beaton the primate, who wore a coat of mail under 
his linen rocquet, he earnestly remonstrated against 
their intention of arresting Angus, and so warmly 
urged his entreaty, that Beaton, suddenly striking his 
hand on his breast, declared on his conscience that 
they had no hostile intentions, or at least that he was 
ignorant of their existence. "Alas, my lord," said 
Douglas, as the steel plates of Beaton's armour rung 
to the blow, " I perceive your conscience clatters."" 
The spirited appeal of Douglas, however, had nearly 
succeeded, and Sir Patrick Hamilton, the brother of 
the governor, had agreed to become umpire, when 
Hamilton of Finnart, a man distinguished for his 
ferocity, upbraided him with cowardice in declining the 
combat ; and pointed to the spearmen of Angus, who, 
being joined by a band of borderers under Home of 
Weddcrburn, had arrayed themselves in a formidable 
phalanx upon the causeway. It was a reproach which 
the proud spirit of Hamilton could not bear. " Bastard 
smaik!^''* said he, " I shall fight this day where thou 
darest not be seen." Upon which he rushed into the 
street, followed by a few of his retainers, and threw 
himself sword in hand upon the ranks of the spearmen, 
whilst Angus pressing forward, slew him on the spot, 
and fiercely assaulted his followers, most of whom fell 
pierced by the long pikes of the borderers : all forbear- 
ance was now at an end ; and the conflict becoming 
general, the party of Arran, after a fierce resistance, 

* Smaik ; a silly mean fellow. 

1520. JAMES V. 119 

were entirely routed, the chief himself being chased 
out of the city, and Beaton compelled to fly for safety 
behind the high altar of the church of the Dominican 
convent.* Even this sanctuary was not enough to 
screen him from the ferocity of the soldiers, who tore 
off his rocquet and would have slain him on the spot, 
but for the timely interference of his rival prelate, the 
Bishop of Dunkeld. 

Angus now remained master of the capital, and for 
some months appears to have ruled its proceedings 
with a boldness which defied the authority of the go- 
vernor and the restraint of the laws. The heads of 
Home and his brother, which, since their execution, had 
remained exposed on the front of the public prison, 
were removed, masses said for their souls, and their 
obsequies celebrated with great solemnity.-f- A sudden 
attempt was soon after made to seize the governor and 
the chancellor, who, with some of their party, had de- 
termined to meet at Stirling, but receiving intelligence 
of their danger, they hastily dispersed; and Angus, 
whose private affairs required his presence in the exten- 
sive district which owned his authority, by retiring 
thither gave a temporary respite to the country. 

It was still the interest of Francis the First to cul- 
tivate the amity of England. His influence with 
Wolsey had already procured the restitution of Tour- 
nay, and his hopes were high that the more important 
city of Calais might, ere long, be restored to France — a 
])olicy which afi'ords a key to his transactions with 
Scotland. Stuart lord of Aubigny, and Duplanis were 

* " Considering that tli' Erie of Anguisse slew Sir Patrick Hamilton, 
brother to the said Erie of Arayn (with) his own hand, intending also to 
have killed him if he could." Letter, Wolsey to the Duke of Norfolk, 
Caligula, B. i. 326, 327. 

+ Lesley, Hist. p. IIG- Lindsr.y, Hist. pp. 120, 121. Buchanan, xiv. 12 


despatched as his ambassadors to that country, and tlic 
advice which, by their master's orders they tendered 
to the Scottish Estates, was strikingly at variance with 
the former policy of France, and the feelings of a great 
proportion of the Scottish nobles. The necessity of 
maintaining peace with England, the prolongation of 
the truce, and the evil consequences which would result 
from the return of Albany, were earnestly insisted on. 
It was added that Francis could never consent to his 
leavins: France, and once more rekindlino; with all their 
ancient intensity, the flames of internal discord in 
Scotland, whilst no effort was left untried by the am- 
bassadors to reconcile the differences between the 
French and English parties, and to re-establish the 
peace of the country.* To effect this, however, exceeded 
the skill of these French diplomatists. The hatred of 
the queen-dowager to her husband Angus, was now too 
deep to admit even the semblance of a reconciliation; 
her temper, which partook of her brother's violence, 
resented his imperious mandates ; and as Dacre and 
Wolsey, who regarded Angus as the pillar of the Eng- 
lish interest, began to treat her with coldness, Margaret, 
not unnaturall}^, was induced to look to France, in 
whose policy towards England a very sudden revolu- 
tion now took place, in consequence of the election of 
Charles the Fifth to the imperial throne. The political 
treachery of Wolsey, wdiose personal ambition had be- 
come incompatible with the continuance of his devotion 
to Francis, is well known to the student of European 
history; and one of its immediate effects was the re- 
conciliation of Albany and the queen-dowager, who, by 
a letter under her own hand, entreated his return to 

* Caligula, B. vi. 140. Instructions a Mon^, Robert Estuard, Seigneur 

1521. JAMES V. 121 

Scotland,* anticipating, by a union of their parties, 
the complete submission of the kingdom to their au- 
thority. It was even rumoured that Albany had 
employed his interest at the papal court to procure the 
queen''s divorce from Angus, with the design of offer- 
ing her his hand; whilst a still more ridiculous report 
was circulated, of which it is difficult to trace the origin, 
that the young king had been conveyed to England, 
and that the boy to whom royal honours were then 
paid in Stirling was a plebeian child, which had been 
substituted in his place. 

In the meantime, Angus, whose nomination as one 
of the regents gave him a title to interfere in the 
government, effectually counteracted the superior au- 
thority of Arran ; and, strong in his partisans and 
vassals, he gained a weight in the councils of govern- 
ment, which was maintained with much arrogance. 
All things, therefore, seemed to urge upon the queen's 
party the necessity of immediate action ; and as the 
open accession of Henry the Eighth to the interests 
of the emperor, by dissolving the ties between that 
monarch and the French king, had removed every 
impediment to the departure of Albany, this nobleman 
set sail from France, and arrived in Scotland on the 
nineteenth of November, disembarking from the Gare- 
loch in Lennox; from thence he proceeded to Stirling, -j- 
where he was immediately joined by the queen, and 
welcomed by that princess, whose affections were as 
violent as her resentments, with an indiscreet fami- 
liarity, which gave rise to reports injurious to her 
honour. Lord Dacre, in a letter to his sovereign, 
represents her as closeted with Albany, not only during 

* Caligiila, B. ii. 195. Margaret to Dacre. 

y Caligula, B. vi. 204, dorso. Instructions and Commission for my Lord 
of Dunkeld. 


the day, but the greater part of the night, and careless 
of all appearances ; whilst he refers his majesty to the 
Bishop of Dunkeld, then at the English court, for a 
confirmation of the intimacy which existed between 
them.* Whatever truth we are to attach to these 
accusations, to which the character of the queen gives 
some countenance, the immediate effects of Albany''s 
arrival were highly important. It was an event which 
reunited the discordant factions, and gave the promise 
of something like a settled government. The nobility 
crowded to the palace to welcome his arrival, and he 
soon after entered the capital, accompanied by the queen 
and the chancellor, and with such a show of strength 
that the party of Angus precipitately deserted the 
city ; he then proceeded to the castle, where he was 
admitted to an interview with the vouno- kino^, on 
which occasion the captain delivered the keys of the 
fortress into his hands ; these, the regent with much 
devotion, laid at the feet of the queen-dowager, and she 
again presented them to Albany, intimating, that she 
considered him the person to whose tried fidelity tlio 
custodv of the monarch ou2:ht to be intrusted. + 

Albany, thus once more reinstated, after an interval 
of five years, in the precarious honour of the regency, 
summoned a parliament to meet within a short period 
at Edinburgh, and fulminated a citation against the 
Douglases to appear in that assembly, and reply to the 
weighty charges to be brought against them ; but al- 
though determined to put down with a firm hand these 
enemies of the state, the regent was anxious for peace 
with England. The principles of his government, of 
which the venality of the Scottish nobles, and the 

* Caligula, B. vi. 204, 205, dorso. 

f Instructions. Angus to Dunkeld. Caligula, B. vi. 204. Pinkerton, 
voL iL p. 188. 

1521. JAMES V. 123 

intrigues of Dacre the minister of Henry, alone pre- 
vented the development, were, to maintain the ancient 
independence of Scotland, and, whilst he dismissed all 
dreams of conquest or glorv, to resist that secret in- 
fluence, by which the English monarch, for his own 
ambitious designs, sought to govern a kingdom, in 
whose administration he had no title to interfere. The 
means by which he sought to accomplish these ends 
were, to reunite the discordant elements of the Scottish 
aristocracy, to persuade the queen-mother that her in- 
terest and those of her son the king were one and the 
same, and to open immediately a diplomatic correspon- 
dence with En oland, inwhichhe trusted to convince that 
power of the uprightness and sincerity of his intentions. 
But the difficulties which presented themselves, even 
on the threshold of his schemes, were great. Dacre, 
one of the most crafty diplomatists in the political 
school of Henry the Eighth, had no mtentions of re- 
nouncing the hold he had so long maintained for his 
master over the Scottish affairs ; he reckoned with 
confidence on the impetuous temper and capricious 
affections of the queen-dowager, he was familiar with 
the venality of the nobles, and he knew that the means 
he possessed of disturbing the government were many 
and powerful.* He therefore entered into a corre- 
spondence with Albany and the queen, v/ith confident 
anticipations of success ; but for the moment he was 

* In a letter from Wolsey to Henry, November, 1521, the secret and in- 
sidious policy of Henry towards Scotland, is strikingly laid down, '• Never- 
theless, to cause him not only to take a more vigilant eye to the demeanour 
of the Scots, as well within Scotland as without, and to be more diligent, 
hereafter, in writing to your grace and me, but also favourably to entertain 
the Homes and other rebels, after his accustumable manner, so that they 
may continue the divisions and sedition in Scotland, whereby the said Duke 
of Albany may, at his coming hither, be put in danger ; and though some 
money be employed for the entertainment of the said Homes and rebels,it will 
quit the cost at length." — State Papers, published by Government, p. 91. 


disappointed; he had not reckoned on the strength 
of their united parties, and, baffled in his efforts, his 
anger vented itself in accusations of the grossest and 
darkest nature aijainst the governor. In the letters 
addressed to his royal master and to Wolsey, he re- 
presented the regent"'s intimacy with the queen as 
scandalous and adulterous; it was reported, he said, tliat 
they had endeavoured, by a high bribe, and in contem- 
plation of their marriage, to induce Angus to consent to 
a divorce ; that Albany evidently looked to the throne ; 
and that some men did not scruple to affirm that the 
life of the young monarch was in danger. It may be 
conjectured, that, although Dacre repeats these as the 
rumours which had begun to circulate amongst the 
people, he was himself the principal author from whom 
they emanated. 

Such were the secret practices by which this busy 
political agent, and the creatures whom, on another 
occasion, he mentions as being in his pay, endeavoured 
to bring into disrepute the government of Albany; but 
for the present they were too gross to be successful. 
The only portion of truth which was to be found in 
them related probably to the governor'*s intrigue with 
the queen, which the licentious manners of the times, 
and the well-known gallantries of that princess, ren- 
dered by no means an improbable event. That Albany 
had any design of marriage, that he was ambitious 
of the royal power, or that he contemplated the atro- 
cious crime by wdiich he must have ascended the throne, 
are calumnies refuted by the whole tenor of his former 
and subsequent life. 

The best practical answer, indeed, to these imputa- 
tions was the success and popularity of his government. 
Angus, whose power had been too intolerable for the 

1521 JAMES V. 125 

councl of reo'encv, with his adherents, Home and 
Somerville, were compelled to fly for security to the 
kirk of Steyle, a retreat whose obscurity denotes the 
contempt into which they had fallen. From this place 
they engaged in a negotiation with Henry, which was 
managed by the celebrated Douglas bishop of Dun- 
keld, a keen and unscrupulous partisan of his nephew 
Angus.* This prelate was empowered to visit Dacre 
on his journey to England, and afterwards, in a per- 
sonal interview with Henry, to explain to that monarch 
the political state of Scotland, and the alleged excesses 
of the re2:ent. These, there is reason to believe, he 
had every disposition to exaggerate ; and in consulting 
the original papers which he has left, and the diploma- 
tic correspondence of Lord Dacre, the historian who is 
anxious to arrive at the truth, must recollect that he 
is perusing the evidence of partisans who were entirely 
devoted to the English interest, and whose object it 
was to reduce the country under the complete control 
of the English monarch. It is, therefore, with some 
distrust that we must listen to the accusation brought 
against the regent of a profligate venality in the dis- 
posal of ecclesiastical patronage, when we recollect his 
different conduct at a time when his actions could be 
closely watched, and the temptation was, perhaps, 
greater. To Dacre, Albany strongly remonstrated 

* "The Instructions and Commission for my Lord of Dunkeld to beshewen 
to the king's grace of England" is a curious document. It is preserved in 
the British Museum [Caligula, B. vi. 204.], and commences with the fol- 
lowing startling accusation : " Item first, ye shall shaw how the Duk of 
Albany is com to Skotland, and throw his pretended title that he has to the 
crown, it is presumed, he havand the kepand of the king our soveran lord, 
j:ur nephew, and the reull of his realme and subjects, [there] is grete sus- 
picion and danger of his person ; wherefore, without hasty assistance, and 
help of the king's grace of England, it is thought to us that our soverain lord 
forsaid stands in gret jeapardie of his life."- — See also the valuable volume 
of State Papers published bv Government, Part i. pp. 17, 18. Wolsey ta 
Henry VIII. July, 1521. ' 


against the Infractions of the truce, and the encourage- 
ment held out by Henry to those rebellious chiefs iu 
Scotland, who had been cited to answer for their trea- 
sons before the great council of the nation; whilst the 
Eno-lish warden, wiLhholdin2: from Albany his title of 
regent, and addressing him simply as one of the council, 
retorted a complaint against the conduct of Lord Max- 
well, who had refused to proclaim the peace, and per- 
mitted an invasion of the English Borders. There can 
be no doubt that the accusations on both sides were 
well founded, as, in these times, from the ferocious 
habits of the borderers, nothing could be more difficult 
than to enforce the observation of a truce ; but the 
regent, who seems to have been sincere in his desire 
of peace, promised immediate redress, whilst Dacre, 
although he recommended his master the kinir to 
abstain from any abrupt declaration of war, craftily 
suggested a plan by which, through pensions granted 
to the Enalish northern lords on condition of their 
invading the Scottish Borders, he might distress the 
country even more than by avowed hostilities.* He 
excited the animosity of the English king at the same 
time by informing him that, to the prejudice of the 
title of his royal nephew, the regent had assumed the 
style of majesty ; and he insinuated, from some ex- 
pressions which had been used by the Scottish governor, 
that his zeal in the office of lord warden miiiht not 
improbably expose him to attempts against his life.i" 
In the meantime, the Bishop of Dunkeld proceeded on 
his secret mission to Henry, and the strength of Albany 
became so great, that, after an ineffectual endeavour 
to abide the tempest which awaited them, Angus and 
Lis partisans deemed it prudent to escape into England. 

* Caligula, B. vi. 205, 206. f Pinkerton, vd. ii. p. 190. 

1522. JAMES V. 127 

It is unfortunate that the principal original records 
which remain of these troubled times, and from which 
we must extract the history of the second regency of 
Albany, are so completely the composition of partisans, 
and so contradictory of each other, that to arrive at 
the truth is a matter of no little difficulty. But in 
examining the impetuous measures adopted by Henry, 
the violent accusations against the government of 
Albany which proceeded from Dacre and the Bishop of 
Dunkeld, and the animated, though partial, defence of 
his and her own conduct, which is given by the queen, 
it is clear, I think, that the views presented of the 
character of the regent by Pinkerton, and some later 
writers, are unjust and erroneous. 

Soon after the flight of Angus, his uncle the Bishop 
of Dunkeld, addressed a memorial to the English king, 
in which he bitterly arraigned the conduct of the regent, 
accusing him of reiterated acts of peculation, and al- 
leging, that his avarice had proceeded so far as to have 
converted the royal robes and tapestries into dresses 
for his pages ; the young king, he affirmed, was kept 
in a state not only of durance, but of want ; the for- 
tresses of the kingdom were garrisoned by Frenchmen; 
the ecclesiastical benefices shamelessly trafficked for 
gold; and the crown lands dilapidated by an usurper, 
who, he maintained, had no title to the regency — it 
having been expressly declared by the Parliament, 
that should Albany remain more than four months in 
France, he should forfeit that high office. Margaret, 
on the other hand, despatched an envoy to her brother, 
to whom she gave full instructions, written with her 
own hand, in which she contradicted, in the most pointed 
terms, the distorted representations of the Bishop of 
Dunkeld. She described the conduct of the regenc as 


respectful and loyal ; lie had in nothing interfered, she 
said, with the custody of the king her son, who, by 
the permission of the lords whom the parliament had 
appointed his guardians, resided with herself in the castle 
of Edinburirh. She entreated Henry not to listen to 
the scandal which had l)een raised against her by a 
traitorous and unworthy prelate, who had forfeited his 
bishopric, of which the governor had given her the 
disposal ; and she besought her brother not to imitate, 
in his present answer, the sternness of a former mes- 
sage, but to give a favourable audience to her envoy, 
and a friendly construction to her remonstrances.* 

Nothing, however, could be farther from the mind 
of this monarch, who, giving himself up completely to 
the selfish policy of Wolsey, had resolved upon a war 
both with France and Scotland : he denounced his 
sister as the paramour of the governor, declared that 
he would listen to no terms until he had expelled this 
usurper from Scotland ; accused him of having stolen 
out of France, in defiance of the oath of the French 
king, w^hich guaranteed his remaining in that country; 
he despatched Clarencieux herald with a severe repri- 
mand to the queen, and addressed, at thesame moment, 
a message to the Scottish Estates, which gave them 
no choice but the dismissal of Albany, or immediate 
hostilities with England. To this haughty communi- 
cation the Scottish parliament replied with firmness 
and dignity. They derided the fears expressed by 
Henry for the safety of his nephew the king, and the 
honour of his sister, as idle, entreating him to refuse 

* Caligula, B. vi. 208. Gth January, 1.521-2. An original in the queen's 
hand. " And further, says Margaret, ye shall assure his grace, in my name, 
of my lord governor, that his mind is aluterlie to haif peace, and for the weill 
of this realme, without ony uther thought or regard, and his coming here, 
is alanarlie to kepe his aith and promise, and for na other causs. And with- 
out his coming it had been imjjossibil to me to baf bidden in this realme." 

1522. JAMES V. 129 

all credit to the report of such Scottish fugitives as 
abused his confidence ; they reminded him that Albany 
had been invited by themselves to assume the regency ; 
that he had conducted himself in this office with all 
honourand ability, as clearly appeared by his discovering 
and defeating the iniquitous designs of those traitors who 
had conspired to seize their youthful king, and transport 
liim out of the realm ; and they declared, that however 
solicitous for peace, they would never so far forget 
themselves or their duty to their sovereign, as to re- 
move that governor whom they had chosen, and once 
more abandon the commonwealth to those miserable 
intestine divisions to which it had been exposed during 
his absence. Here it is our pleasure, said they, that 
he shall remain, during the minority of our sovereign, 
nor shall he be permitted or enjoined to depart from 
this realm, at the request of your grace, or any other 
sovereign prince whatever. And if, they concluded, 
"for this cause we should happen to be invaded, what 
may we do but trust that God will espouse our just 
quarrel, and demean ourselves as our ancestors have 
done before us, who, in ancient times, were constreyned 
to fight for the conservation of this realm, and that 
with good success and honour."* 

Meanwhile, Angus, a fugitive on the English Bor- 
ders, yet little trusted by Henry, grew impatient of 
his obscurity and inaction ; and although still un- 
reconciled to his wife, so far prevailed on her latent 
affection, as to induce her to intercede on his behalf 
with Albany, who, on the condition that he and his 
brother Geor2:e DouHas, should retire into a voluntary 
exile, consented that the process of treason and for- 
feiture should not be carried into execution against 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. xiii, pp. 761, 763. 
VOL. V. I 


him. He accordingly passed into France where he 
appears to have devoted himself to such studies as 
rendered him, on his return, a more formidable op- 
ponent than he had ever yet been.* 

Whilst the Estates replied in this spirited manner 
to the proposal of Henry, neither they nor the governor 
could shut their eyes to the injurious consequences of 
a war with England. Repose and good government 
were the only means by which their country, worn out 
by long intestine commotions, could revive ; they 
w^ere, indeed, once more the allies of France, and the 
French monarch, against whom the emperor and Henry 
had now declared war, was anxious by every method, 
to employ their arms in his favour ; but their eyes 
were now open to the sudden changes which w^re per- 
petually taking place in European politics, and they 
had not forgotten the facility with which, on a late 
occasion, Francis had abandoned their interests when 
they became incompatible with his own views of ambi- 
tion. It was determined, therefore, to assemble an 
army, but to act on the defensive, and to make the 
best provision for the preservation of peace, by assum- 
ing the attitude of war. 

To these calm and wise counsels, the violent conduct 
of Henry offered a striking contrast. He published 
a sentence of confiscation and banishment ajxainst all 
French and Scottish subjects, who were resident in 
England, and insisted that the Scots should be driven 
from his dominions on foot, with a white cross affixed 
to their upper garments. He commanded the Earl of 
Shrewsbury to raise the power of the northern counties; 
and this leader suddenly penetrating as far as Kelso, 
gave that beautiful district to the flames, but was re- 

* Lesley, p. 117. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 201. 

j.522. JAMES V. LSI 

pulsed with considerable loss, by the borderers of Merse 
and Teviotdale. About the same time an English 
squadron appeared in the Forth, and, after ravaging 
the coast, returned without opposition to the Thames ; 
a proof, that during this calamitous minority, the 
naval enterprise of the Scots had declined. It was 
impossible, however, that these outrages, which might 
be only preludes to more serious hostilities, should be 
overlooked ; and Albany having assembled a parlia- 
ment at Edinburofh, it was resolved that w^ar should 
be instantly declared against England. The young 
king, now in his eleventh year, was removed from the 
capital to Stirling castle, Lord Erskine, a peer of tried 
fidelity, being appointed his sole governor ; and letters 
were issued for the array of the whole feudal force of 
the kingdom. At this moment, whether induced by 
the promises of Dacre, or actuated by that capricious 
mutability in her aft'ection, which Margaret seems to 
have possessed in common with her brother Henry, 
the queen suddenly cooled in her attachment to the 
interests of the regent, and betrayed the whole secrets 
of his policy to the English warden ; becoming an 
earnest advocate for peace, and intriguing with the 
chiefs and nobles to support her views. 

It was now the period which had been appointed for 
the muster of the Scottish host, and Albany, at the 
head of a numerous and well appointed army, eighty 
thousand strono-, and with a formidable train of 
artillery, advanced towards the English Borders, and 
encamped at Annan. Neither party, however, were 
sincere or earnest in their desire of war. Henry wished 
to avoid it, from his anxiety to concentrate his undi- 
vided strength against France ; the Scottish governor, 
from a conviction that a war of aggression, although 


favourable to the interests of Francis, was an idle 
expenditure of the public strength and the public 
money. On commencing hostilities, therefore, both 
belligerents appear to have mutually intimated the 
condition on which they considered that the war might 
be speedily concluded. Henry had so far altered his 
tone as to insist simply on the stipulation that the 
King of Scots should be placed in the hands of faithful 
iruardians, without addino; a word resfardinix the neces- 
sity of Albany''s departure from the realm ; whilst the 
regent declared that he was ready to stay the march 
of his army, under the single condition that France 
should be included in the treaty to be negotiated by the 
belligerents. The Scottish force, however, advanced 
to Carlisle ; and as the flower of the Ens-lish armv 
was with their sovereign in France, an universal panic 
seized the northern counties, which seems to have 
communicated itself to the desponding despatches of 
^yolsey; but Dacre, who knew from the queen-dowager 
the aversion of the leaders to the war, and the pacific 
desires of the regent, immediately opened a correspon- 
dence with the governor, and, by a course of able 
negotiations, succeeded in prevailing upon him to agree 
to an abstinence of hostilities for a month, for the 
purpose of sending ambassadors into England. He 
then disbanded his army, without striking any blow 
of consequence.* It has been the fashion of the Scot- 
tish historians to arraign the conduct of Albany on this 
occasion, as singularly pusillanimous and inglorious : 
but a little reflection will convince us, that the accusa- 
tion is unfounded. It had been the advice of Bruce, a 
master in the art of Scottish war, from whose judgment 

* Lesley, Bannatyne edit. p. 123. State Papers, p. 107. "Wolsey to Henry 
the Eighth. 

1522. JAMES V. 133 

few will be ready to appeal, that, in maintaining their 
independence, the Scots should abstain from any 
lengthened or protracted expedition against England; 
that thev should content themselves with harassing- 
the enemy by light predatory inroads, and never risk a 
pitched battle, which, considering the inferior resources 
of the country, might, even in the event of a victory, 
be ultimately fatal. By this counsel the regent was 
now wisely guided ; and it ought not to be forgotten, 
that the obstinate neglect of it, in opposition to the re- 
monstrances of some of James's ablest commanders, had 
brought on the defeat of Flodden, and the subsequent 
calamities of the country. Dacre and Shrewsbury 
were indeed unprepared to meet the Scots with a force 
at all equal to that which they led against him ; and 
had they been combating, as in the days of Bruce, for 
their national existence, it might have been a question, 
whether they ought not to have taken advantage of 
the opportunity, by wasting the country, in a rapid in- 
road; but now the circumstances were entirely changed. 
Albany, the queen, and the Scottish nobles, were all 
equally desirous of peace. Aware of the folly of sacri- 
ficing their country to the ambition of France, the 
peers had declared to Dacre, that " for no love, favour, 
or fair promises of the French king, would they in any 
wise attempt war against England, or invade that 
country:* nothing but Henry's command that they 
should dismiss the resent from the countrv, and sub- 
mit to his dictation, having compelled them to take 
arms." From this demand he now departed. Dacre, 
in an altered tone, only stipulated that measures should 
be taken for the security of the young king ; he pro- 

* Caligula, B. vi. 256, dorso. Instructions by the king's iighness to 
Clarencieux kins' at arms. 


iiiised an immediate truce, and to stay the advance 
of the English army ; to command a cessation of all 
hostilities on the Borders, and to procure a safe conduct 
for the Scottish ambassadors to the court of England. 
It would have been unwise to have sacrificed such 
favourable terms to any idle ambition of conquest or 
invasion; and the writers who have accused the regent 
on this occasion, of weakness and infatuation, must 
have given an imperfect examination to the peculiar 
and trying circumstances in which he was placed : 
whilst it appears, however, that the conduct of Albany 
was undeserving the severity of the censure with which 
it has been visited, it is not to be denied that Lord 
Dacre acted throughout with great political ability. 
I have delayed thus far in examining the conduct of 
the regent, because our more ancient historians have 
attributed the sudden peace to dissensions in the 
Scottish host, whilst Pinkerton, and those who have 
followed his steps, trace it solely to the pusillanimity 
of Albany, both opinions being founded, as it appears 
to me, on erroneous grounds. 

On the dismissal of his army, Albany returned to 
the capital, and resumed the anxious labours of his 
regency: the queen, at the same time, with charac- 
teristic caprice, continued her private correspondence 
with Dacre, betraying the secrets of the governor, and 
thus enabling him to defeat his measures by sowing 
dissensions amongst the nobles ; whilst the negotiations 
for continuance of the truce were brought to an abrupt 
termination by Henry ""s decided refusal to include 
France within its provisions. Nothing, indeed, could 
be more irksome or complicated than the duties which 
on every side pressed upon the govern ^r. His engage- 
ments to France prompted him to hostilities with 

1522. JAMES V. 135 

England ; his own opinion, and his attachment to his 
nephew the king, convinced him that peace was to be 
preferred, for the best interests of the kingdom com- 
mitted to his care : he had none beside him upon whom 
he could place implicit reliance in the discussion of 
state affairs, or the execution of his designs. Many 
of the nobles were corrupted by the money of England : 
if he attempted to punish or detect them, they rebelled ; 
if he shut his eyes to their excesses, his induls^ence was 

t.' ' o 

interpreted into weakness ; and the queen-dowager, by 
the junction of whose party with his own he had so 
lately succeeded in putting his enemies to a precipi- 
tate flight, was not to be trusted for a moment. 

It was, perhaps, the difficulties of his situation, and 
the impossibility of reconciling these various parties 
and interests, which now induced him to meditate a 
visit to France for the purpose of a conference with 
Francis the First, in which he was no doubt solicitous 
to vindicate what must have appeared to that monarch 
the culpability of his late inaction. About the same 
time the Earl of Shrewsbury, whose age incapacitated 
him for the activity of a military command, was re- 
moved, and Surrey, a nobleman of great vigour and 
ability, appointed chief warden of the Borders; whilst 
the Marquis of Dorset, and the experienced Dacre, 
acted under him as wardens of the east and west 
marches.* The governor now appointed a council of 
regency, which consisted of the Archbishop of Glasgow 
chancellor, with the Earls of Huntley, Arran, and 
Argyle, to whom he added GresoUes, a French knight, 
much in his confidence; he bound them by oath to 
attempt nothing which should weaken his authority.-[- 

* Lesley, p. 123. 

"t Caligula, B. ii. 327. Dacre to Wolsey. " The same lordes are bodely 


and promising to return within ten months, under the 
penalty of forfeiting his regency, he sailed for France, 
ulicre he was received by the king with much respect 
and kindness. 

During his absence, the war, notwithstanding the 
assurances of Dacre, and the promises of Henry to 
preserve peace, continued to rage with undiminished 
violence on the Borders. The conduct of the English 
monarch, indeed, must have appeared intolerable to 
every one who contrasted it with his hollow professions 
of love to the person and government of his nephew.* 
Dorset, the warden of the east marches, with Sir 
William Bulmer, and Sir Anthony Darcy, made an 
incursion into Teviotdale, and sweeping through the 
country, left its villages in flames, and robbed it of its 
agricultural wealth. Surrey, who commanded a force 
of ten thousand men, broke into the Merse, reduced its 
places of strength, and afterwards assaulted Jedburgh, 
which he burnt to the ijround, destrovino;, with sacri- 
legions barbarity, its ancient and beautiful monastery: 
Dacre reduced the castle of Fernyhirst, took prisoner 
the celebrated Dand Ker, a Border chief of great mi- 
litary skill, and afterwards led his host against Kelso, 
which, with the adjacent villages, he entirely sacked 
and depopulated. Yet Henry had but lately declared, 
by Clarencieux, whom, on the retirement of Albany, 
he had despatched into Scotland, that he considered 

swome, and oblisshed to do nothing contrary to the said duke's oflfice of tu- 
tory unto his retourne." — .^Ist Oct. 1522, at Harl)ottle. 

* Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 212. State Papers, p. 11.5. ""Wherefore, my lords, 
the king's highness, my sovereign lord, bering tender zele to the good of 
peax, and specially with his dercst nephew, and the Queen of Skotland hath 
.«ent me to know whether ye persever and continew in your vertuous intente 
and mynde towards the establissment of good peax hetwix both the realms." 
Instructions to Clarencieux, an original corrected by the cardinal. Caligula, 
B. vi. 254. Ibid. 261. 

J 523. JAMES V. 137 

the war unnatural, and was earnestly desirous to live 
at peace wdth his royal nephew. 

It was scarcely to be expected, that the intimation 
of such violent proceedings should not have incensed 
Albany; and, although out of the kingdom, and aware 
of the difficulty of persuading its divided nobility to 
any union, he determined to make a last effort to repel 
the insult offered to his government, and save the 
kingdom from being alternately wasted as a rebellious 
district, or administered as a province of England.* 
To this he was the more inclined, as the extreme 
cruelty with which the country had been wasted, had, 
for the moment, roused the resentment of the nobles; 
and anxious to profit by these feelings, the governor 
returned to Scotland with a fleet of eighty-seven small 
vessels and a force of four thousand foot, to which were 
added five hundred men-at-arms, a thousand hagbut- 
teers, six hundred horse, of which one hundred were 
barbed, and a fine park of artillery. -[- It was reported, 
he was to be followed by an illustrious pretender to 
the crown of England, Richard de la Pole. His claim 
as a descendant of a sister of Edward the Fourth, had 
been supported by Francis the First, and it was now, 
with the vain object of disturbing the government of 
England, espoused by Albany, t 

On his arrival, the condition in which the regent 
found his affairs was far from encouraoino-. His for- 
mer ally, the queen-dowager, had completely embraced 
the English interest, and was eagerly engaged in a 
negotiation with Dacre and Surrey, which threatened 
to change the whole aspect of affairs. It was proposed, 

* Letter of Wolsey to Sampson and Jerningham, 31st August, 1523, ia 
App. to Fiddes' Life of Wolsey, p. 137. 

t Caligula, B. iii. 51]. Copy of the Lord Ogle's letter. 
+ Carte, vol. iii. p. 55. State Papers, 122-125. 


with the object of flattering the princess, that her son, 
the young king, should solemnly assume the supreme 
power, whilst she, at the head of a council, should con- 
duct the government; and the correspondence upon 
this subject, although at this moment not conducted 
to a favourable termination, was not long after resumed 
with complete success. When Albany looked to the 
nobles, he discovered, that although willing to assemble 
an army for the defence of the Borders, they were 
totally averse to an invasion upon a great scale, or to 
a war of continued aggression, in which they argued, 
that for the sole object of obliging France, they could 
gain nothing, and might hazard all ; whilst, on turning 
to Surrey, the English Commander, he found him with 
peace, indeed, upon his lips, yet, by his whole conduct, 
showing a determination for immediate war. We know, 
by a letter of this stern leader to Wolsey, that he had 
resolved to conduct such an invasion as should lay 
waste the Scottish Border to the breadth of twelve 
miles, and reduce it for ever after to the state of an 
uninhabited desert.* 

To these difficulties, which pressed him on every side, 
must be added the circumstance, that the regent had 
little experience in the peculiar system of Scottish war, 

but had been trained in the militarv school of Italv ; 

t/ «^ 

and that any designs which he attempted to form for 
the conduct of the campaign, were communicated to 
Surrey by the queen, whose conduct had made her 
contemptible in the eyes of both parties. With such 
complicated embarrassments, ultimate success could 
scarcely be expected; but, for the moment, Albany, 
whose coff'ers had been recently filled, and were liber- 
ally opened, found the venality of the Scottish nobles 

* Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 217. Caligula, B. vi. 318-320. 

1523. JAMES V. 139 

a sure ground to work upon ; and even the queen, who 
at first had thouo'hts of retreatino; to Enf]:land, was so 
dazzled by his presents, and won by his courtesies, that 
her allegiance to that country began to waver; nor did 
she scruple to inform the Earl of Surrey, that Henry 
must remit more money, else she might be induced to 
join the French interest.* 

It was of material consequence to the regent that 
hostilities should instantly commence, as the foreign 
auxiliaries were maintained at a great expense, and 
the dispositions of the nobility were not to be trusted 
for any length of time. A parliament was assembled 
without delay; a proclamation issued for an array of 
the whole force of the kingdom on the twentieth of 
October; whilst Albany, surrounded by the principal 
nobles, made an imposing display of his foreign troops, 
exercised his park of artillery, harangued the peers 
upon the still unavenged defeat of Flodden, and joy- 
fully received their assurances of attachment to his 
service, many falling on their knees, and with earnest 
protestations, declaring their readiness to obey his 
orders. "I* Nothing, however, was farther from their 
intention; their secret determination, as the result 
soon showed, was to decline a battle and not advance 
a step into England; whilst these hollow professions 
were merely used to secure the pensions which they 
were then receiving from France. For the selfish- 
ness and venality of such conduct, little excuse can be 
pleaded; and it is unfortunately too frequently to be 
found in the preceding and subsequent history of the 
Scottish aristocracy. 

* Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 223. Caligiila, B. vi. 380, The Queen of Scots 
to Surrey. 

■\ Caligula, B. iii. 57. Sir William Eure to Surrey. Bedelston, 19tii Oct. 
Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 224. 


Meanwhile, all looked fair for the moment. On 
the day appointed, the army mustered in considerable 
strength on the Borough-Muir, near Edinburgh. 
Argyle, indeed, delayed at Glasgow, for the purpose 
of asscmblinf]^ the hiolilanders and islesmen ; the mas- 
ter of Forbes did not hesitate to speak openly against 
the expedition ; and Huntley, one of the most powerful 
of the peers, excused himself by feigning indisposi- 
tion ; yet a respectable force assembled, amounting, in 
effective numbers, to about forty thousand men, not 
including camp followers, which, on such occasions, 
were always numerous. With this army, Albany ad- 
vanced towards the Borders ; whilst symptoms of an 
early wdnter darkened around him, and his march was 
impeded by dragging his train of artillery through the 
rude and heavy roads of a country totally dissimilar 
from that in which they had been accustomed to act. 
The Scottish soldiers, and their leaders, became jeal- 
ous of the foreign auxiliaries, who required much at- 
tendance and consumed the best of everything ; whilst 
the towns and burghs complained of the necessity im- 
posed on them to furnish transports for their baggage. 
Owing to these causes, the march was slow, and indi- 
cations of disorganization early began to exhibit them- 

Meanwhile, tidings arrived, that Surrey had as- 
sembled his host, which out-numbered Albany by a 
thousand men ; whilst the confidence they expressed 
in their leader ; and the unanimity and discipline by 
which they were animated, offered a striking contrast 
to their enemies. The whole army was eager to en- 
gage in hostilities ; but, till Albany commenced an 
oflensive war, it was reported, that Henry's orders 
confined their commander to defensive operations. 

1523. JAMES V. 141 

This last rumour appears to have revived amongst the 
Scottish peers their former indisposition to invade 
Eno-land, and su2:2:ested the notion that the war mi^ht 
be yet avoided. It happened that the celebrated 
Buchanan was at this moment a volunteer in the 
army; and the account of such an eye-witness is 
highly valuable. On arriving at Melrose, where a 
wooden brido-e was then thrown across the Tweed, 
murmurs of discontent began to break forth, which 
all the entreaties and remonstrances of Albany could 
not remove ; and these gathering force, soon proceeded 
to an open refusal to advance. It was with the great- 
est difficulty, that the regent, putting himself at their 
head, prevailed upon part of the van of the army to 
cross the bridge ; the rearward obstinately refused to 
follow ;* and soon after, the divisions which had pass- 
ed over, turned their backs, and returned to the Scot- 
tish side. To struo^o-le ao-ainst such a determination 
was impossible ; and Albany, disgusted and incensed 
with the treachery of men whose solemn promises were 
so easily forgotten, adopted perhaps the only other 
alternative; and encamping on the left bank of the 
Tweed, laid sieoje to Wark castle with his foreign 
troops and artillery. The description given by Bu- 
chanan of this Border fortress, is valuable, as, with 
little variation, it presents an accurate picture of the 
Scoto-Norman castles of this period. It consisted of 
a high tower placed within an inner court, and sur- 
rounded by a double wall. The outer wall enclosed a 
large space, within which the country people in time 
of war sought refuge with their cattle ; whilst the in- 
ner embraced a narrower portion, and was defended by 
a fosse and flanking towers. With their character- 

* Buchanan''s Hist, of Scotland, B. xiv. c. xxii. 


istic spirit, and ready valour, the Frencli easily carried 
the first court ; but the EnMish settin^:: fire to the 
booths, in which they had stowed their farm produce, 
smoked the enemy out of the ground they had gained. 
The artiller}^ then began to batter the inner wall, and 
effected a breach, through which the men-at-arms 
charged with great fury ; and had they received sup- 
port from the Scots, there is little doubt the fortress 
would have been stormed ; but, on elFectino; a lodgment 
within the court, so destructiv^e a fire was poured in 
upon them from the ramparts, shot holes, and narrow 
windows of the great tower, which was still entire, that 
it was difficult for such a handful of men to maintain 
their ground ; the assault, nevertheless, was continued 
till night ; and when darkness compelled them to desist, 
it was proposed to renew it next day.* But it was 
now the fourth of November, the winter had set in, 
and a night of incessant snow and rain so flooded the 
river, that all retreat was threat efied to be cut off. 
The assaulting party, therefore, recrossed the Tweed 
with the utmost speed, leaving three hundred slain, 
of which the greater number were Frenchmen, and 
once more joined the main body of the army.-|- 

AVhile these events occurred, Surrey w^as at Holy 
Island ; and, on hearing of the attack on Wark castle, 
he issued orders for his army to rendezvous at Barm ore 
Wood, within a few miles of Wark. The news of his 
speedy approach confirmed the Scottish nobles in iheir 
determination not to risk a battle. So completely had 
the majority of them been corrupted by the money and 
intrigues of Dacre and the queen-dowager, that Albany 
did not venture to place them in the front ; but, on his 

* Caligula, B. vi. 304-306. Surrey to tlie king. 

•j* Buchanan, Book xiv. c. xxi. xxii. Lesley, Bannatyne edit. p. 125. 

1523. JAMES V. 143 

march, formed his vanguard of the French auxiliaries ; 
a proceeding rendered the more necessary by the dis- 
covery of some secret machinations amongst the peers 
for delivering him, if he persisted in urging hostilities, 
into the hands of the enemy.* To attempt to en- 
counter Surrey with his foreign auxiliaries alone, would 
have been the extremity of rashness, and to abide the 
advance of the English Earl with an army which re- 
fused to fight, must have exposed him to discomfiture 
and dishonour: under such circumstances, the regent, 
whose personal courage and military experience had 
been often tried on greater fields, adopted, or rather had 
forced upon him, the only feasible plan which remained. 
At the head of his artillery and foreign auxiliaries, the 
single portion of the army which had behaved with 
spirit, he retreated to Eccles, a monastery, six miles 
distant from Wark ; and, little able or anxious to con- 
ceal his contempt for those nobles, who, almost in the 
presence of the enemy, had acted with so much faith- 
lessness and pusillanimity, he permitted them to break 
up and disperse amid a tempest of snow, — carrying to 
their homes the first intelligence of their own dishon- 
our.*]* Such was the result of that remarkable expedi- 
tion which a historian, whose opinion has been formed 
upon imperfect evidence, has erroneously represented 
as reflecting the utmost disgrace upon the courage and 
conduct of Albany. When carefully examined, we 
must arrive at an opposite conclusion. The retreat of 
Albany is only one other amongst many facts, which 
establish the venality and selfishness of the feudal 

* Caligula, B. i. 281. Queen Margaret to Surrey, Stirling, 14th Novem- 
ber, 1523. 

•f Buchanan, B. xiv. c. xxii. p. 228. Ellis's Letters, vol. i. First Series, 
p. 234. Lord Surrey iniulges in somewhat unnecessary triumph on Albany^s 
cowardice and fear in this retreat — as if a general could fight when his otfi- 
cers and soldiers are ii: mutiny. 


aristocracy of Scotland, and tlie readiness with which 
they consented, for their own private ends, to sacrifice 
their individual honour, and the welfare of the country; 
nor, in this point of view is it unimportant to attend 
to some remarkable expressions of Surrey, which occur 
in a letter addressed to his soverei<^n. They furnish 
not only an instructive commentary on Henry''s alleged 
anxiety for the welfare of the kingdom of his nephew, 
but demonstrate the folly of tliose ideas, which, it is 
probable, guided some of the Scottish leaders ; that an 
abstinence from hostilities upon their part would be 
attended by a corresponding moderation on the side of 
Surrey. That earl observes, that in this expedition, he 
had so much despoiled the south of Scotland, that seven 
years would not repair the damage;* whilst he estimates 
the English losses sustained by the presence of Albany's 
army at ten pounds. 

On his return to the capital, the governor assembled 
a parliament, of which the proceedings were distracted 
by mutual accusations and complaints. The peers 
accused the regent of squandering the public treasure, 
although the greater part of the money which he had 
brought from France had found its way in the shape 
of pensions into their own coffers, or had been neces- 
sarily laid out in the support of the foreign auxiliaries. 
They insisted on dismissing the French troops, whose 
fjxrther residence was expensive ; and, notwithstanding 
the inclement season of the year, compelled them to 
embark ; an ungenerous proceeding, which led to the 
wreck of the transports on the shores of the Western 
Isles, and the loss of great part of their crews. i* To 

* And hath made suche waste and spoil in his o^vn countre, that they 
shall not recover these seven years. Surrey to Henry the Eighth. Belford. 
Caligula, B. vi. p. 306. 

t Caligula, B. i. 5. Dacre to "Wolsey. Morpeth, 28th January. 

1523. JAMES V. 145 

Albany, such conduct was mortifying in the extreme; 
it convinced him, that every effort must fail to persuade 
such men to adopt the only line of conduct which w^as 
likely to render the government respected, and to free 
the country from the dictation of England. He de- 
termined, therefore, once more, to retire to France ; 
and, in a conference with the nobility, requested three 
months leave, in which he might visit that kingdom, 
and discover what further assistance might be expected 
from the French king, in carrying on the w^ar with 
England. His demand, after much opposition, was 
granted under the condition, that if he did not return 
on the thirty- first of August, the league with France, 
and his own regency should be considered at an end:* 
but the various advices and injunctions to which he 
desired their attention in his absence, were received 
with much distrust ; the queen-mother declaring, that 
if he left the kingdom, she must needs act for herself ; 
and the barons replying in nearly the same terms. A 
loan of forty thousand crowns was positively refused 
him ; and the lords consented with an ill grace to the 
high and confidential office of treasurer being given, 
during his absence, -f- to Gresolles, the same knight 
who had been added to the council of regency in 1522. 
These arrangements being completed, and having pre- 
vailed on the parliament to intrust the keeping of the 
king's person to the Lords Cassillis, Fleming, Borth- 
wick, and Erskine, he took an affectionate leave of his 
youthful sovereign, and sailed for the continent, com- 
mitting^ the chief manasrement of affairs to the chan- 
cellor, with the Bishop of Aberdeen, and the Earls of 

* Ellis's Letters, vol. i. p. 247, First Series. 

t Lord Dacre to Cardinal Wolsey. 31st May, 1524. Ellis's Letters, vol. 
i. p. 240, First Series. 

VOL. V. K 


Huntley and Argylc* On quitting the kingdom, 
Albany asserted that his absence would not exceed 
three months; but it is probable, that his repeated 
reverses in a thankless office had totally disgusted him, 
both with Scotland and the regency; and that, when 
he embarked, it was with the resolution, which he ful- 
filled, of never returning to that country. 

* Lesley, p. 128. 

152i. JAMES V 147 

CHAP. Ill 




England. ■ i France. I Germany. I Spain. i Popes. 
Henry VIII. | Francis I. I Charles V. I Charles V. | Clement VII. 

For the last two years, the Earl of Angus, who had 
formerly shown himself so cordial a friend of England, 
had resided in France, whence Henry the Eighth, de- 
sirous of employing him in his designs for embroiling 
the government of Albany, had secretly called him into 
his dominions. It was now esteemed the moment 
when his presence in Scotland might once more rein- 
state the English faction, which had been long gaining 
strength, in undisputed power; and the earl, whose 
foreign residence had increased his experience and 
talent, but not improved his patriotic feelings, at once 
lent himself to the projects of Henry. During his 
banishment, he had corresponded with that monarch; 
although an exile, he had made himself master of the 
political divisions and intrigues by which the kingdom 
was distracted; and having agreed upon his plan of 
operations, he accelerated his preparations for his re- 
turn to his native country. Before, however, this 
project could be put into execution, the departure of 
the regent had given rise to a revolution, which, for a 


season, totally changed the aspect of public affairs. In 
this, the chief actors were Margaret the queen-dowager, 
and the Earl of Arran ; whilst its sudden and startling 
success seems to prove, that the project had been gra- 
dually matured, and only waited for the departure of 
Albany to bring it into effect. The young king had 
now entered his thirteenth year, and already gave pro- 
mise of that vigour of character, which afterwards dis- 
tinfjuished him. His mother, no lons^er controlled bv 
the presence of a superior, determined to place him 
upon the throne; a scheme, which, by the assistance 
of England, she trusted, might be easily accomplished; 
whilst Henry was ready to lend himself to the design, 
from the persuasion that the royal power, though 
ostensibly in the king, would be truly in the hands of 
a council overruled by England. Surrey, therefore, 
remained in the north, to overawe any opposition, by 
the terror of an immediate invasion; and Margaret, 
having gained to her interest the peers to whom the 
person of the sovereign had been intrusted, suddenly 
left the palace of Stirling, and accompanied by her son 
and a small retinue, proceeded to Edinburgh, which 
she entered, amid the joyful acclamations of the popu- 
lace. The procession, which, besides the queen-mother 
and her train, consisted of the Earls of Arran, Lennox, 
Crawford, and others of the nobility, moved on to the 
palace of Holyrood, where a council was held, the king 
declared of age, and proclamations instantly issued in 
his name. He then formally assumed the government ; 
the peers tendered their oaths of allegiance ; and many, 
as well of the spiritual as temporal estate, entered into 
a solemn agreement, by wdiich they abjured the en- 
gagements which had been made to Albany, declared 
his regency at an end, and promised faithfully to main- 

1524. JAMES V. 149 

tain the supreme authority of their sovereign against 
all who might dare to question it.* 

Against this extraordinary act, of which the real 
object on the part of Henry could not be concealed, 
and over w^hich the capricious character of the queen, 
alternately swayed by the most violent resentments or 
partialities, threw much suspicion, the only dissentient 
voices w^ere those of the Bishops of St Andrew's and 
Aberdeen. They contended that to confer the supreme 
power upon a boy of twelve years old was ridiculous ; 
that to remove him from the governors to whom his 
education had been intrusted, and plunge him at once 
in his tender years into the flatteries and vices of a 
court, must be certain ruin; and they reminded the 
nobles of their promises so lately pledged to the Duke 
of Albany, to whom the regency at this moment un- 
questionably belonged. For this bold and honest 
conduct they were by the queen'^s party immediately 
committed to prison ; nor could the offer from Wolsey 
of a cardinaPs hat induce Beaton to renounce his pro- 
mises to Albany, or become the tool of England. -|- 
The news of the success of this revolution, which in 
its rapidity had anticipated the wishes of Henry, was 
received with the utmost satisfaction in England. | A 
guard of two hundred men-at-arms was immediately 
sent by that monarch at the queen's request, for the 
security of the person of the young king ; whilst, as a 

* Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 238. Lesley, p. 129. Caligula, B. vi. 378. Pro- 
fession of obedience by the Lords of Scotland. Edinburgh, 31st July, 1524. 

+ Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 241. Caligula, B. vi. 353. Wolsey to the Duke 
of Norfolk. Hampton Court, August 19, 1524. 

+ State Papers, p. 150. The letter written to Henry in the name of the 
young king, informing him of his assumption of the government, was sent 
by Patrick Sinclair, whom Wolsey denominates a right trusty servant of 
James ; and at the same time describes as a spy of Dr Magnus, and a con- 
stant friend of England. Such was the character of this revolution. George 
Shaw, another personal servant of James, was a spy of Norfolk. — Norfolk 
to Wolsey, 19th September, 1524. Caligula, B. vi. 362, dorso. 


token of liis complete approwil of her conduct, and 
an earnest of future favours, Margaret received a pre- 
sent of two hundred marks, and Arran a hundred 
pounds. In return she earnestly remonstrated against 
Henry ""s permitting the return of Angus into Scotland, 
not without a threat that, should her request be over- 
looked, she would find another support than that of 
England. She demanded, at the same time, a pension 
and the order of the garter for Arran, and declared 
that without greater supplies it w^ould be impossible 
for her to defray the charges of the government. 

In the meantime a full account of these changes was 
transmitted by Gresolles, the captain of Dunbar, to 
the Duke of Albany, and a truce having been concluded 
for three months with England, it w^as determined that 
Dr Magnus, a person of great acuteness and diplomatic 
experience, should proceed as ambassador to Scotland. 
He was accompanied by Roger Ratcliffe, a gentleman 
of the privy chamber, whose agreeable and polished 
manners would, it was expected, have a favourable in- 
fluence on the young king. 

In the midst of these transactions, the sincerity of 
the queen became suspected. Her late demands were 
considered too peremptory and covetous, and the coun- 
tenance shown to Angus at the English court, in no 
small degree alienated her affections from her brother; 
nor was her personal conduct free from blame. With 
a volatility in her passions which defied the voice of 
reproof, or the restraints of decency, she had now be- 
come enamoured of Henry Stewart, the second son of 
Lord Evandale, and in the ardour of her new passion, 
raised him to the responsible office of treasurer. The 
people had hitherto regarded her with respect, but 
they no longer restrained their murmurs: Lennox and 

151k JAMES V. 151 

Glencairn, who had warmlj supported her in the late 
revolution, left the capital in disgust ; and Arran, who 
had never ceased to look to the regency of Scotland as 
his right, and in whose character there was a strange 
mixture of weakness and ambition, though he still acted 
along with her, held himself in readiness to support 
any party which promised to forward his own views. 

Whilst this earl and the queen continued to receive 
the money of England for the support of the guards, 
and the maintenance of their private state, they deemed 
it prudent to open a negotiation with Francis the First, 
then engaged in preparations for his fatal expedition 
into Italy. That monarch received their envoy with 
distinction : professed his anxiety to maintain the an- 
cient alliance between the kingdoms: reminded them 
of the intended marriage between the Scottish king 
and his daughter, and declared, that Angus having 
secretly escaped from his dominions, without asking 
his permission or that of Albany, was undoubtedly 
animated by hostile intentions, and ought to be treated 
as a fugitive and a rebel.* He addressed also a letter to 
the queen, in which he besought her to adopt such mea- 
sures as must secure the true interests of her son. But 
Margaret's blinded attachment to Henry Stewart, upon 
whose youth she had now bestowed the high office of 
chancellor, and Arran's devotion to his own interests, 
effectually estranged from both the attachment of the 
nobles, who found themselves excluded from all influ- 
ence in the government. They, indeed, as well as the 
queen, were in the pay of England ; and to such a 
degree of organization had the system of bribery and 
private information been carried, that whilst the Duke 
of Norfolk maintained his spies even in the palace of 

* Caligula, B. vi. 411. Instructions a Tainbassadeur du Roy d'Escosse, 


the king, the original correspondence of the period pre- 
sents us with the exact pensions allowed to the Scot- 
tish adherents of the English court, from the queen 
and Arran to the lowest a^-ent of this venal associa- 
tion.* Amongst the principal were Arran, Lennox, 
and the Master of Kilmaurs, afterwards Earl of Glen- 
cairn, a nobleman who thus early began to make a pro- 
fitable trade of his attachment to England. The fac- 
tion, however, contained within itself the seeds of its 
disunion ; for whilst the queen and Arran dreaded the 
power of Angus, and warmly remonstrated against his 
return, the peers of the party who found themselves 
neglected in the administration, looked to this event 
as the most probable means of recovering the import- 
ance which they had lost. It was in this state of things 
that Wolsey, who began to find that Margaret and 
Arran would not be sufficiently subservient to Eng- 
land, entered into a secret agreement with Angus,-|- in 
which that peer, on condition of his being permitted to 
enter Scotland, stipulated to support the English in- 
terest in that country and the government of James, 
equally against the open hostility of Albany, and the 
intrigues of the faction of the queen, which, from the 
venality and insolence of its measures, seemed to be 
rapidly hastening its ruin. An attempt was first made 
to reconcile Margaret to her husband, which completely 
failed; and symptoms appearing of a coalition between 
the party of Albany, and that of Arran and the queen, 
Angus was no longer detained by Henry; but, after 
an exile of two years, with increased ambition and ex- 
alted hopes, he returned to his native country. At 

* Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 246. Caligula, B. i. 70. Robert Lord to the Lord 
Cardinal. Ibid. 222. 

+ Caligula, B. vi. 305. Articles of Agreement, dated October 4, 1524 ; 
Bigne*! by Angus, and his brother George Douglas. 

1524. JAMES V. 153 

the same time, the English ambassadors, Dr Maguus 
and Ratcliffe, arrived at the capital ; and a complicated 
scene of intrigue and diplomacy commenced, into the 
minuter features of which it would be tedious to enter. 

The scene which presented itself was indeed pitiable. 
It exhibited a minor sovereign deserted by those who 
owed him allegiance and support, whilst his kingdom 
was left a prey to the rapacity of interested councillors, 
and exposed to the attacks of a powerful neighbour, 
whose object it was to destroy its separate existence, and 
reduce it to the condition of a dependent province. 

When we look more narrowly into its condition, we 
find that three great parties or factions at this moment 
distracted the minority of James. The first was that 
of Albany the late regent, supported by the influence 
of France, and conducted, during his absence, by the 
talents and vigour of the chancellor Beaton : of the 
second the leaders were, the Earl of Arran, and the 
queen-mother, in whom the present power of the state 
resided, and who possessed the custody of the king's 
person : wdiilst at the head of the third was Angus, 
who had sold himself to the English government. The 
secret treaty, how^ever, between this peer and Henry, 
was unknown in Scotland ; and so great was the afi"ec- 
tion of the people for the house of Douglas, with whose 
history they associated so much chivalrous enterprise 
and national glory, that on his arrival in his native 
country, he was received by all ranks with joy and en- 
thusiasm. Meanwhile Wolsey's jealousy of the Queen 
of Scots became confirmed, when he found that the 
Bishop of Aberdeen and the chancellor Beaton were 
set at liberty, and perceived the party of Albany once 
more rising into a dangerous importance. 

Such was the state of affairs on the arrival of Angus 


in Scotland, and his improvement in judgment was seen 
by the moderation of his first measures. He addressed 
to the queen a submissive letter, professing his attach- 
ment to his sovereign, and his anxiety to do him service; 
he abstained from showing himself at court ; and, 
although able to command an army of vassals, he tra- 
velled with a modest retinue of forty horse, in obedience 
to an order of the government. These quiet courses, 
however, produced no effect on Margaret, whose ancient 
love to Angus had long before this turned into deter- 
mined hatred, whilst with a contempt of all decency, 
she made no secret of her passion for Henry Stewart, 
intrusting to his weak and inexperienced hands tho 
chief guidance of affairs. Magnus, the English ambas- 
sador, attempted, but with equal want of success, to 
effect a reconciliation between her and her husband. 
The continuance of the pensions, the support of the 
English guard of honour, the present of a considerable 
sum for the exigencies of the moment, and lastly the 
promise of a matrimonial alliance between her son and 
the princess Mary, were artfully held out as induce- 
ments to consent to a pacification and to abandon her 
opposition to Angus. Margaret was immoveable, and, 
avowing her venality, she did not scruple to assign as 
her chief motive, that in the event of a treaty of peace 
with England, the kingdom, by which we may under- 
stand herself and Arran, would lose the annual remit- 
tance of Francis, which amounted to forty thousand 
francs.* Thus thwarted in his application to the queen, 
Magnus, who, in the complicated parties and interests 
by which he was surrounded, required the exertion of 
his whole diplomatic talents, began to sound the peers, 

* Caligula, B. i. 285-290, inclusive. The Queen of Scots to the Duke of 
Norfolk. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 248. 

1524. JAMES V. 155 

and not only found that there was no insurmountable 
impediment to the reconciliation of Angus and Arran, 
but that even Beaton the chancellor, the leader of the 
party of Albany, evinced, though we may suspect his 
sincerity, no unfavourable disposition to England.* 
The late regent's continued absence in France, and the 
vanity of expecting any active co-operation from the 
French monarch, then occupied with his campaign in 
Italy, had greatly weakened the influence of Albany, 
and the great body of the nobility detested the govern- 
ment of the queen. It was determined, therefore, that 
a sudden blow should be struck, which might at once 
punish her obstinacy, and ensure the pre-eminence of 
the English interest. 

A parliament having assembled at Edinburgh, the 
distracted condition of the government, and the ex- 
pediency of an immediate embassy to England pre- 
paratory to a general peace, came before the three 
Estates. In one measure all parties seemed to agree. 
Albany"'s regency, in consequence of his continued 
absence, was declared at an end, and a committee of 
regency appointed. It consisted of the chancellor 
Beaton, the Bishop of Aberdeen, and the Earls of 
Arran and Argyle, whilst, apparently to lull the sus- 
picions of the queen, she was declared chief in this 

* Caligula, B. vi. 333. Dr Magnus and Roger Ratcliffe to Wolsey. Edin- 
burgh, 15th November. In this letter there is a fine description of James 
v. when a boy of thirteen : — " The quenes saide grace hath had vs furth to 
solace with the kingges grace here, at Leeth and in the feildes, and to see his 
saide grace stirre his horses, and renne with a spere amongges other his 
lordes and seruauntes at a gloove, and also by the quenes procuring we haue 
seen his saide grace vse hym selff otherAvise pleasauntly booth in slugging 
and daunsing, and shewing familiaritye amongges his lordes. All whiche 
his princely actes and doingges be soe excellent for his age not yet of xiii. 
yeres till Eister next, that in our oppynnyons it is not possible thay shulde 
be amended. And myche moore it is to our comforte to see and conceiue 
that in personnage, favor, and countenaunce,and in all other his procedingges, 
his grace resembleth veray myche to the kingges highnes [Henry VIII.] our 


council. Such was the state of matters, and the parlia- 
ment had now sat for a week, when, on the twenty-third 
of November, before daylight, an alarm was heard at 
the walls of the capital, and a party of armed men, 
fixing their scaling-ladders on the parapet, made good 
their entrance into the town, after which, with shouts 
and acclamations, they opened the gates to their com- 
panions. It was now discovered that this force, which 
amounted only to four hundred men, was led by the 
Earls of Angus and Lennox ; Scott of Buccleugh, the 
Master of Kilmaurs, and other chiefs, had joined them ; 
and as daylight broke they advanced fearlessly to the 
cross, and proclaimed that they came as faithful sub- 
jects to the king's grace ; they next proceeded to the 
council of regency which had assembled in great alarm, 
and repeating the same assurance, declared that the 
young king was in the hands of evil-disposed persons, 
who were compassing their ruin and that of the whole 
nobility; wherefore they required them to assume the 
custody of their monarch, and exercise the chief rule 
in the government.* During these proceedings the 
castle, which was in the hands of the queen's party, 
began to open its fire upon the town with the object 
of expelling Angus ; and in the midst of the thunder 
of its artillery, and the shouts of the infuriated parti- 
sans, a deputation, consisting of the Bishop of Aberdeen, 
the Abbot of Cambuskenneth, and Magnus the English 
ambassador, hurried to the palace, where they found 
the queen, and some lords of her party, denouncing 
vengeance against Angus, and mustering a force of 
five hundred men with which they proposed to assault 
him. On their arrival Margaret consented to receive 

* Magnus and Roger Ratcllffe to the Lord Cardinal. Edinburgh 26th 
Nov. Cal. B. i. 121. Lesley, p. 131. 

1525. JAMES V. 157 

the bishop and his associate, but she peremptorily 
ordered Ma2:niis to beo-one to his lodo;inf>;, and abstain 
from interfering in Scottish affairs — a mandate which 
that cautious civilian did not think it prudent to disobey. 
Meanwhile the fire of the fortress continued, and the 
peaceful citizens fell victims to the unprincipled efforts 
of two hostile factions. The conduct of Angus, how- 
ever, was pacific; his followers abstained from plunder; 
no blood was shed, although they met with various 
peers with whom they were at deadly feud ; and upon 
a proclamation, commanding him, in the king''s name, 
to leave the city, he retired to Dalkeith towards dusk. 
After dark the queen, taking with her the young king, 
proceeded by torch-light to the castle, and dismissing 
all the lords, except Moray, who was devoted to the 
French interest, shut herself up in the fortress, and 
meditated some determined measures against her ene- 
mies.* Although there is no decisive evidence of the 
fact, there appears a strong presumption that this 
attack upon the queen was preconcerted by English 
influence, and probably not wholly unexpected by 
Beaton the chancellor. Magnus, indeed, in writing 
to the cardinal represents it as unlooked for by all 
parties, but there exists a letter from the Earl of E-othes 
which seems to throw a doubt upon the sincerity of his 
ignorance. -f* It was probably a contrivance of the 
chancellor to try the strength and judgment of Angus, 

* The letter above quoted, in which Magnus and Ratcliffe give an account 
of this affair, is interesting and curious. " The queen's grace taking with 
her the young king, her sonne, departed in the evening by torchlight from 
the abbey to the castell, and ther contynueth, all the lordes being also departed 
from hence, but only the Erie of Murray fully of the Frenche Faction, and 
newly comen into favor with the queen's said grace ; and as we her, the 
said erle, and one that was the Duke of Albany's secretary, begyne to com- 
pass and practyse newe thynges as muche to the daunger of the said younge 
kinge as was at the Duk of Albany's being here." Calig. B. i. p. 121, dorso. 

+ Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 254. Caligula, B. i. 81. 


and its consequences were important, for it led to a 
coalition between this potent prelate, generally esteemed 
the richest subject in Scotland, and the Douglases, 
whose extensive possessions and vassalage placed them 
at the head of the Scottish aristocracy. 

Alarmed at so sudden a turn of affairs, the queen 
and Arran hastened to appease Henry by an embassy, 
of which the purpose was to treat of an immediate 
pacification, upon the basis of the proposed marriage 
between the young king and the princess Mary.* As a 
further means of accomplishing this, Marchmont herald 
was despatched to France, with the announcement that 
the regency of Albany had been formally declared at an 
end, and a remonstrance was addressed to Francis against 
the injuriousconsequences which too steady an attention 
to his interests had brought upon the commerce of Scot- 
land. ■[* These measures, if adopted some time before 
this, might have been attended with the recovery of her 
influence by the queen ; but they came too late ; their 
sincerity was suspected; and although Margaret con- 
tinued to retain possession of the king's person, whom she 
kept in the castle of Edinburgh, the Earl of Angus and 
the chancellor Beaton already wielded an equal if not a 
superior authority, and had succeeded in attaching to 
themselves not only the great majority of the nobility, 
but the affections of the citizens ; they were supported 
also by the English influence; and it became at length 
evident to the haughty spirit of the queen, that to 
save the total wreck of her power in Scotland, she must 
consent to a reconciliation with her husband, and a 
division of the power which she had abused, with those 
who were entitled to a share in the government. 

The situation of the country, which was the theatre 

* Calig. B. vl 191, dorso. f Epistolae Reg. Scot. i. 351-356. 

1525. JAMES V. 159 

of constant rapine and assassination, called loudly for 
a settled administration ; the nation were disgusted 
with the sio'ht of two factions who fulminated against 
each other accusations of treachery and rebellion. Such 
was the prodigality of the queen, who squandered the 
royal revenues upon her pleasures, that when the Eng- 
lish monarch withdrew the pensions which had hitherto 
supported her administration, and recalled the guard 
which waited on the sovereign, the necessities of the 
state became urgent, and the palace and the court were 
left in poverty. Under such circumstances, it was 
absolutely necessary that some decisive step should be 
adopted by Angus and the chancellor, and, in a meet- 
ing of the principal lords of their party, held at St 
Andrew's, a declaration was drawn up which called 
upon all who were interested in the good of the com- 
mon weal to interfere for the establishment of its inde- 
pendence and that of the young king. They represented 
the sovereign as imprisoned by an iniquitous faction 
in an unhealthy fortress, exposed to the unwholesome 
exhalations of the lake by which it was surrounded, 
and incurrino- additional dano;er from the reiterated 
commotions of the capital.* They protested that no 
letters or orders of the king ought to be obeyed until 
promulgated by a council chosen by the parliament, 
and they summoned a convention of the three Estates 
to meet on the sixth of February, at Stirling. 

These were bold measures ; but the queen determined 
to make yet one effort for the confusion of her enemies. 

* Caligula, B. vi. 394, Articles concluded between my Lord Cardinal's 
Grace and the Earl of Anguish. '2oth. January, 1524, i. e. 15'24-5. It 
commences thus ; — " AYe dou you to witt, that for as mekill as it is under- 
standin be the Weill avisit lordis of oure soveran lordis counsaill, they seand 
daily slaughteris, murtharis, reiffis, theftis, depredationis, and heavy at- 
temptates that ar daily and hourly committit within this realme in fait of 
justice, our soveran lord beand of less age, &c." 


She appealed to England, flattered Henry by a pretend- 
ed acquiescence in his designs, urged the accomplishment 
of the marriage between her son and the princess, and 
earnestly requested the advance of the Duke of Norfolk 
with ten thousand men to the Borders ; she next as- 
sembled the few peers who remained with her in the 
castle, expatiated on the arrogance of their opponents, 
and implored them to raise their followers, and give 
battle to the enemy; but Henry suspected her sincerity, 
the peers dreaded the insolence of her new favourite, 
Henry Stewart ; and she discovered, with the deepest 
mortification, that from neither could she expect any- 
thing like cordial support. She submitted, therefore, 
to the necessity of the case, and agreed to a conditional 
reconciliation with her husband,* the terms which she 
was permitted to dictate being more favourable than 
from her dependent situation might have been expected. 
Her first stipulation evinced the inveteracy of her feel- 
ings against Angus, who, upon pain of treason, she 
insisted should not assume any matrimonial rights, 
either over her person or her estate ; the king, her 
son, she agreed to remove from the castle to a more 
salubrious and accessible residence in the palace of 
Holyrood; the custody of his person was to be intrusted 
to a council of peers nominated by the parliament, and 
over which the queen was to preside;*)* the patronage 
of all the hi^'hest ecclesiastical benefices was to belonsj 
to a committee of the nobles, amongst whom Margaret 
was to be chief, whilst all below the value of a thousand 
pounds were to be placed at her sole disposal. Upon 
these conditions the pacification between the two parties 
was concluded, and Angus, supported by the chancellor 

* Magnus to Wolsey. Edinburgh, 22d Feb. 1524-5. Caligula, B. ii. 59 
-61. Lesley, p. 132. 

+ Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 289. 22d Feb. 1524-5. 

1525. JAMES V. 161 

Beaton, who was now the most influential man in 
Scotland, resumed his authority in the state. 

Magnus, the acute minister of Henry, had from the 
first suspected the sincerity of the queen, and within 
a short period her duplicity was completely detected.* 
The very day on w4iich the agreement with the peers 
and her husband was concluded, she opened a secret 
negotiation with Albany, acknowledged his authority as 
regent, professed a devotion to the interests of France, 
denounced as ignominious the idea of a peace with 
England, declared that she would leave Scotland sooner 
than consent to a sincere reconciliation with Angus, and 
eagerly requested the interest of Francis and Albany 
to accelerate at the Roman court her process of divorce. 
For such conduct, which presented a lamentable union 
of falsehood and selfishness, no apology can be offered ; 
and it is satisfactory to find that it met with its reward 
in almost immediate exposure and disappointment. 
Her letters were intercepted and transmitted to Eng- 
land, and the French monarch long before they could 
have reached him was defeated and made prisoner in 
the battle of Pavia."f* 

A minute account of the continued plots and in- 
trigues which for some time occupied the adverse fac- 
tions would be equally tedious and uninstructive. 
Nothing could be more unhappy than the condition 
of Scotland, torn by domestic dissension, exposed to 
the miseries of feudal anarchy, with a nobility divided 
amongst themselves, and pa^rtly in the pay of a foreign 
power; a minor monarch whose education was neglected, 
and his caprices or prepossessions indulged that he 
might be subservient to his interested guardians, a 

* Caligula, B. ii. 61. 

f Calig. B. vi. 416. A pacquet of letters sent from the Duke of Albany 
to his factor at Rome intercepted within the Duchy of Milan. 

VOL. V. L 


clergy, am )iigst wliom the cliief prelates were devoted 
to their worldly interests, and a people who, whilst 
they groaned under such manifold oppressions, were 
yet prevented by the complicated fetters of the feudal 
system from exerting their energies to obtain redress. 
All was dark and gloomy, the proposal of a lengthened 
peace with England, and a marriage between the king 
and the Princess Mary, appeared to be the single means 
which promised to secure anything like tranquillity ; 
and this measure, if guarded so as to prevent a too 
exclusive exertion of foreign influence, might have 
been attended with the happiest results; yet such was 
the infatuation of the queen-mother, that she gave the 
match her determined opposition, and, by her in- 
fluence with her son, implanted an aversion to it in 
his vouthful mind. 

It was not to be expected that the characteristic 
impetuosity and haughtiness of Henry should brook 
such conduct, and he addressed to his sister a letter so 
replete with reproaches, that, on perusing it, she burst 
into tears, and bitterly complained that the style of 
the kins: was more fit for some vulfrar railer, than to 
be employed by a monarch to a noble lady.* Yet 
terrified by its violence, and convinced that her parti- 
sans were graduall}'' dropping away, she replied in a 
submissive tone. So deep, indeed, were her suspicions 
of Angus, and the chancellor, with, whom she had 
lately entered into an agreement, that she refused to 
trust her person in the capital, where her presence in 
a parliament was necessary as president of the Council 
of State; and as the recent truce with England could 
not be proclaimed without her ratification, the country 
was on the point of being exposed to the ravages ot 

♦ Calig. B. vii. 3. Letter -^f Magnus to Wolsey, Edinburgh, 31st March. 

1525. JAMES V. 165 

Border war. It was therefore determined, that the 
deed should be efF^ctual without this solemnity, and 
irritated by this last indignity, she attempted a secret 
negotiation with the queen-mother of France, who, 
upon the captivity of her son in the battle of Pavia, 
had succeeded to the regency. Even this resource 
failed her, for by this time Wolsey had quarrelled with 
the emperor, and according to those selfish views, by 
which his public policy was often directed, had pre- 
vailed upon his royal master to conclude a treaty with 
France ; a death-blow to the hopes of the Scottish 
queen, and the prospects of the French faction. In 
the proceedings of the same parliament, there occurs 
a strong indication of the increase of the principles of 
the Reformation ; and we learn the important fact, 
that the books of Luther had made their way into 
Scotland, and excited the jealousy of the church. It 
was enacted, that no merchants or foreigners should 
dare to bring into the realm, which had hitherto firmly 
persevered in the holy faith, any such treatises on pain 
of imprisonment, and the forfeiture of their ships and 
cargoes ; and it was enjoined, that all persons, who 
publicly professed such doctrines, should be liable to 
the same penalties.* 

An embassy now proceeded to England, a truce 
of three ^^ears was concluded ; and wdiilst the queen- 
mother retained merely a nominal authorit}^, the whole 
of the real power of the state gradually centred in 
Angus and the chancellor. A feeble attempt was 
indeed made by Arran, to prevent by force the rati- 
fication of the truce; and for a moment the appearance 
of a body of five thousand men, which advanced to 
Linlithgow, threatened to plunge the country into war; 

* Acts of the Parliaiaent of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 295. 


but the storm was dissipated by the promptitude of 
Douglas. Taking the king along with him, and sup- 
ported by the terror of the royal name, he instantly 
marched against the rebels, who, without attempting 
to oppose him, precipitately retreated and dispersed.* 
At this moment the country, so long distracted by 
the miseries of Border war and internal anarchy, en- 
joyed something like a prospect of tranquillity. A 
pacification of three years had been concluded with 
England ;-f and this was an important step towards 
the marriage which had been lately contemplated 
between the young king and the Princess Mary. The 
alliance between England and France had destroyed, 
for the moment, the French party in Scotland, and 
removed that fertile source of misery which arose to 
that country out of the hostilities of these great rivals; 
the anxiety of Henry to accomplish a reconciliation 
between Angus and his sister the queen was sincere ; 
and if Margaret had consented to a sacrifice of her 
private feelings it would have probably been attended 
with the best effects. Magnus, whose prolonged resi- 
dence in the capital as the envoy of England was 
disliked by the people, had, by his departure, removed 
this cause of enmity ; and the able Lord Dacre, whose 
intrigues for so many years had sown disunion and 
treachery amongst the nobles, and defeated every ex- 
ertion of the well-affected to promote peace and good 
government, was removed by death from the stormy 
element in which he had presided.^ 

* Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 271. Lesley, 133. 

+ Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 296, 297. 

+ This able and busy lord, whose MS. correspondence, first opened by the 
acute Pinkerton, presents the most interesting materials for the history of 
this period, is entitled to the equivocal merit of being the inventor of that 
policy which was afterwards carried to perfection by the sagacious Burleigh 
under Elizabeth: the policy of strengthening the government of his sovereign 
by the organized system of corruption, bribery, and dissensions, which he 

1525. JAMES V. 165 

Everything, therefore, seemed to promise repose ; 
but this fair prospect was defeated by the obstinacy 
of the queen-mother, and the towering ambition of 
Douglas. Blinded by her attachment to Stewart, 
Margaret would not for a moment listen to the pro- 
posal of a reunion with her husband; and he, who 
desired it not from any affection, but with the motive 
of possessing himself of her large estates, renounced 
all desire of reconciliation the moment he discovered 
that the council would withhold their consent from such 
a project. The divorce accordingly was pronounced 
with that mischievous facility, which marked the pros- 
titution of the ecclesiastical law ; and scarcely was the 
sentence passed, when Margaret precipitately wedded 
her paramour, Henry Stewart, who disdained to ask 
the consent of the kino;, or to communicate the event 
to his chief ministers. Incensed at this presumption 
in an untitled subject, the Lords of the Council, in 
the name of the kino- sent Lord Erskine with a small 
military force to Stirling, wdiere the queen resided ; 
and the princess was compelled to deliver up her hus- 
band, who submitted to the ignomin}'' of a temporar^^ 

Hitherto, the great object of Angus had been to 
accomplish a reconciliation with the queen, and, pos- 
sessing her influence and estates, with the custody of 
the king''s person, he thus hoped to engross the supreme 
power. This scheme was now at an end, and its 
discomfiture drove him upon new and more violent 
courses. His authority in the capital, and throughout 

encouraged in the sister kingdom ; lie died 25tli Oct. 15'25. Pinkerton informs 
us, the estates of Dacre afterwards passed by marriage to the Howards earls 
of Carlisle. It is possible, therefore, that, in the papers of that noble house, 
there may be some of Lord Dacre's manuscripts. 

* Lesley, p. 133. Caligula, B. vii. 29. Sir William Dacre to Wolsey, 
2d April, 1525. 


tlic whole of the south of Scotland was immense ; since 
the marriage of the queen, he had effected a union with 
Arran and his adherents, — a party which, in feudal 
dignity and vassalage, was scarcely inferior to Iiis 
own ; he was warden of the marches, an office of great 
authority ; and his place as one of the Council of State 
gave him, according to the act of a recent parliament, 
a command over the person of the young king, which 
he had employed with great success to win his boyish 
affections. The party of Albany had gradually dis- 
appeared ; the queen, since her marriage, had fallen 
into contempt : Lennox, one of the most powerful of 
the peers, had become a firm ally of Angus ; and 
nothing but the authority of the Secret Council, which 
resided chiefly in the chancellor Beaton, stood between 
the earl and the entire command of the state. In 
these circumstances, an artful stroke of Douglas'*s 
enabled him at once to reach the summit of his ambi- 

The king had now completed his fourteenth year, a 
period, when, by the law of the country, his majority as 
an independent sovereign commenced. The event took 
place in April, and between this period and the month 
of June Angus appears to have matured his plans. On 
the thirteenth of that month, a parliament assembled 
at Edinburgh, and an ordinance was suddenly passed, 
which declared that the minority of the sovereiirn was at 
an end; that the royal prerogative now rested solely in 
the hands of the king, who had assumed the government 
of the realm, and that all other authority which had 
been delegated to any person whatever was annulled;* 
a measure against which, as it was founded apparently 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 301. C-awford's Officers 
of StaTe, pp. ()7, (i8. 

1525. JAMES V. 167 

on the most substantial legal grounds, neither the 
chancellor, nor the Secret Council could protest, but 
which in one moment destroyed their power. But 
although the statute which gave the powers of the 
government to the Secret Council was annulled, the 
act of the three Estates, which intrusted the keeping 
of the king's person to certain peers in rotation, 
remained in force, — of these Angus was one; and this 
crafty statesman had taken care to convene the parlia- 
ment at the precise time, when, by a former act, it 
belonged to himself and the Archbishop of Glasgow to 
assume the guardianship of the king, so that this new 
resolution of the three Estates evidently placed the 
supreme power in the hands of him who had the custody 
of the sovereign. It was an able stroke of policy, but 
it could not have occurred under any other than a 
feudal o-overnment. 

To masque this usurpation, a new Secret Council was 
appointed, consisting chiefly of the friends of Angus, 
and including the Archbishop of Glasgow, the Prelates 
of Aberdeen and Galloway, the Earls of Argyle, Mor- 
ton, Lennox, and Glencairn, with the Lord Maxwell, 
whose advice, it was declared, his grace the sovereign 
will use for the welfare of the realm ; but it was shortly 
perceived, that their authority centred in Angus alone, 
and that it was to be wielded with no mild or impartial 
sway. One of their first acts was to grant a remission 
to themselves for all crimes, robberies, or treasons, 
committed by them during the last nineteen years ;* 
and within a few months there was not an office of 
trust or emolument in the kingdom, which was not 
filled by a Douglas, or by a creature of that house : 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p, 307. This remission the 
Douglases aftenvards pleaded in 1528. Acts of Parliamer*-, vol. ii. p. 323. 


Archibald Douglas of Kilspindy was made high-trea- 
Burer ; Erskine of Halton, secretary; Cricliton abbot 
of Holyrood, a man wholly devoted to the interests of 
Angus, privy-seal ; and to crown the whole, the earl 
sent a peremptory message to Beaton, requiring him 
to resign the great seal, which this prelate not daring 
to disobey, he, without delay installed himself in the 
office of chancellor. 

The ancient tyranny of the house of Douglas now 
once more shot up into a strength which rivalled or 
rather usurped the royal power; the Borders became 
the scene of tumult and confusion, and the insolence of 
the numerous vassals of this great family was intolera- 
ble. Murders, spoliations, and crimes of varied enormity 
were committed with impunity. The arm of the law, 
paralysed by the power of an unprincipled faction, did 
not dare to arrest the guilty ; the sources of justice 
were corrupted, ecclesiastical dignities of high and 
sacred character became the prey of daring intruders, 
or were openly sold to the highest bidder, and the young 
monarch, who was watched with the utmost jealousy 
and rigour, began to sigh over a captivity, of which he 
could not look for a speedy termination. 

Such excesses at length roused the indignation of 
the kingdom; and Lennox, one of the most honest of 
the peers, secretly seceded from Angus. It was now 
the middle of summer, and as the Armstrongs had 
broken out into their usual excesses on the Borders, 
Angus, with the young king in his company, conducted 
an expedition against them, which was attended with 
slight success. Before this, however, James had con- 
trived to transmit a secret messao^e to Lennox and the 
laird of Buccleugh, a potent vassal of that house, which 
complained bitterly of the durance in which he was held 

1526. JAMES V. 169 

by the Douglases ; and as the royal cavalcade was re- 
turning by Melrose to Edin'burgh, Walter Scott of 
Buccleugh suddenly appeared on a neighbouring height, 
and, at the head of a thousand men, threw himself be- 
tween Angus and the route to the capital.* Douglas 
instantly sent a messenger, who commanded the Border 
chief, in the royal name, to dismiss his followers ; but 
Scott bluntly answered, that he knew the king''s mind 
better than the proudest baron amongst them, and 
meant to keep his ground, and do obeisance to his 
sovereign, who had honoured the Borders with his 
presence. ■[" The answer was meant and accepted as 
a defiance, and Angus instantly commanded his fol- 
lowers to dismount; his brother George, with the Earls 
of Maxwell and Lennox, forming a guard round the 
young king, retired to a little hillock in the neigh- 
bourhood, whilst the earl, with Fleming, Home, and 
Ker of Cessford, proceeded with levelled spears, and 
at a rapid pace, against Buccleugh, who also awaited 
them on foot. His chief followers, however, were out- 
lawed men of the Borders, whose array offered a feeble 
resistance to the determined charge of the armed knights 
belonging to Angus; the conflict, accordingly, was 
short, eighty of the party of Buccleugh were slain, the 
chief was compelled to retire, and, on the side of the 
Douglases, the only material loss was the death of Ker 
of Cessford, a brave baron, who was lamented by both 

Not long after this, another and more determined 
effort to rescue the king from his ignominious thraldom 
was made by Lennox, who, it was privately suspected. 
had encouraged the attempt of Buccleugh. Having 

* Lesley, p. 134. 

t Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 330. X Ibid. p. 312. 


lea2:uo(l liinisolf with the cliancellor and the queen, this 
nobleman advanced to Stirling at the head of an anny 
of ten thousand men, whilst, with the hope of concili- 
ating his hostility, the Douglases despatched against 
him his uncle Arran, who commanded a superior force. 
The mission, however, was vain: Lennox declared, 
that he would enter the capital, and rescue his sovereign, 
or die in the attempt. Arran instantly despatched a 
messenger to Angus, then at Edinburgh; who, com- 
manding the trumpets to sound, displayed the royal 
banner, and, unable to restrain his impatience, pushed 
on towards Linlithgow, leaving the king to follow, 
under the charge of his brother. Sir George Douglas. 
It was on this occasion that a slight circumstance 
occurred which produced afterwards important effects, 
and marked the ferocious manners of the times. The 
young monarch, who was fond of Lennox, and knew 
that he had taken arms from affection to his person, 
advanced slowly and unwillingly, and was bitterly re- 
proached for his delay by Douglas. On reaching 
Corstorphine, the distant sound of the artillery an- 
nounced the commencement of the battle, and his con- 
ductor urging speed, broke into passionate and brutal 
menaces. " Think not," said he, " that in any event 
you shall escape ns — for even were our enemies to gain 
the day, rather than surrender your person, w'e should 
tear it into pieces;" a threat which made an indelible 
impression on the royal mind, and was never forgiven.* 
Meanwhile the action had commenced ; and Arran hav- 
ing, with considerable military skill, seized the bridge 
across the river Avon, about a mile to the west of Lin- 
lithgow, Lennox found himself compelled to attempt a 
passage at a difficult ford, opposite the nunnery of 

* Buchanan, xiv. 28. 

1526. JAMES V. 171 

Manuel; an enterprise by which his soldiers were thrown 
into disorder, and exposed to a severe fire from the 
enemy. Yet they made good their passage, and some 
squadrons, as they pressed up the opposite bank, at- 
tacked the army of Arran with great gallantry; but 
their array had been broken, they found it impossible 
to form, and were already giving way, when the terrible 
shoiit of " Douglas," rose from the advancing party of 
Angus, and the rout became complete.* Lennox him- 
self fell amongst the foremost ranks, and Arran, a man 
of a o-entle and affectionate nature, was found kneelinsr 
beside the bleeding body of his uncle, which he had 
covered with his cloak, and passionately exclaiming 
that the victory had been dearly purchased by the death 
of the wisest and bravest knight in Scotland. -f* The 
triumph of Angus was great; his power was consoli- 
dated by the total failure of the coalition against it, 
and the chains of the young king appeared more firmly 
riveted than ever. 

It was hardly to be expected that the Douglases 
would use their success with moderation, or neglect 
the opportunity it offered to destroy effectually the 
power of their enemies. They accordingly made a 
rapid march to Stirling, with the intention of seizing 
the queen and the chancellor ; but both had fled, and 
Beaton found the pursuit so hot, that he was compelled 
for some time to assume the disguise of a shepherd, and 
to conceal himself in the mountains till the alarm was 
over.J The distress of the young king was great on 
hearing of the death of Lennox, and it rose to a feeling 
of the deepest resentment, when he discovered that 
after he had surrendered, he was murdered in cold 
blood by Hamilton the bastard of Arran, a ferocious 

* Lesley, p. 13G. f Lindsay, 215. X Ibid. 217. 


partisan of Angus. On hearing that the day was going 
against him, James had sent forward Sir Andrew 
Wood, with earnest entreaties that his life mi2:ht be 
spared, but, in the rejoicings for their victory, his hu- 
manity was treated with derision by the Douglases, 
wliose triumph soon afterseemed complete, when Henry 
the Eighth despatched his letters to offer them his 
congratulations on their late successes, with his best 
advice for the education of his nephew, and the entire 
destruction of their enemies.* 

Upon this last point Angus scarcely needed instruc- 
tion ; and having convoked a parliament, he proceeded, 
with no gentle hand, to the work of spoliation and 
vengeance. It was first declared, that his and Arran''s 
proceedings in the late rebellion of Lennox, were under- 
taken for the Sfood of the kinp', and the safetv of the 
commonwealth ; and this act was followed by the for- 
feiture of the estates of the insurgent lords. To Arran 
were presented the lands of Cassillis and Evandale ; to 
Sir George Douglas the estate of Stirling of Keir, who 
had been slain ; whilst Angus took for himself the 
ample principality of Lord Lindsay, and the lands of 
all the eastern and northern barons who had supported 
Lennox. To the queen-mother, for whom the king 
had become a suppliant, he behaved wdth moderation. 
She was invited to the capital, welcomed on her ap- 
proach by her son, who met her with a numerous reti- 
nue, permitted to converse with him familiarly, and 
received with courtesy by Angus, a conduct adopted 
out of respect to Henry the Eighth, and which showed 
that her power was at an end ; Beaton the chancellor 
had, in the meantime, by large gifts and the sacrifice 
of the abbey of Kilwinning, made his peace with his 

* Caligula, B. vii. 67, ^^. Sir Thomas More to Wolsey, 21st Sept. 

1527. JAMES V. 173 

enemies, and counted himself happy in being permitted 
to retire from court ; whilst Arran, the successful col- 
league of Angus, becoming a prey to the most gloomy 
remorse for the death of Lennox, shut himself up in one 
of his castles, and declined all interference in matters of 
state. The government was thus abandoned to an 
undivided despotism, and the tyranny of the house of 
Douglas became every day more intolerable to the 
nation. To bear the name was esteemed sufficient to 
cover the most atrocious crime, even in the streets of 
the capital ; and, during the sitting of parliament, a 
baron who had murdered his opponent on the threshold 
of the principal church, was permitted to walk openly 
abroad, solely because he was a Douglas ; and no one, 
by his arrestment, dared to incur the vengeance of its 

There were men, however, bred in these iron times, 
and nursed in that enthusiastic attachment to their 
chief, created by the feudal principle, who despised all 
danger, in the desire of fulfilling their duty. Of this 
an event, which now occurred, strikingly demonstrated 
the truth. A groom of Lennox, having arrived in the 
capital, whether by accident or intention does not ap- 
pear, met a fellow-servant in the street, and eagerly 
demanded if he had seen Hamilton the bastard of 
Arran ? "I have, and but a short time since," was 
the reply. " What !" said he, " and wert thou so 
ungrateful a recreant to thy murdered lord, as to per- 
mit him to live ? — begone ! thou art unworthy of so 
noble a master." With these words this daring man 
sought the palace, where a numerous body of the re- 

* Caligula, B. vi. 420. Sir C. Dacre to Lord William Dacre, Dec. 2, 
1526, The murderer mentioned in the text was the Laird of Lochinvar, 
who had slain the Laird of Bondhy at St Giles' kirk door. " As for th'ord" 
ring of God's justice there is noon done in all Scotland." 


tainers of Douglas were mustering for a projected ex- 
pedition to the Borders. Singling out Hamilton from 
amongst them, he watched him till he left the assembly, 
and springing upon him as he entered a dark passage, 
repeatedly buried his dagger in his bosom, leaving him 
stretched, with six wounds, apparently lifeless upon 
the ground. As the cry of blood arose, he darted into 
the midst of the crowd, and might have eluded pursuit 
but for an order which commanded the palace gates to 
be closed, and all within the court to draw up against 
its walls. This scrutiny instantly led to the seizure 
of the assassin, who was discovered, according to the 
strong expression of the Scottish law, " Red hand,"" 
with the marks of recent blood upon his dagger and 
his person.* On hearing that Hamilton was likely 
to survive, he bitterly upbraided himself for the failure 
of his purpose, and when, in the tortures which preceded 
his execution, his right hand was amputated, observed, 
that it merited such a fate, not for its crime, but for 
its failure. Such were the tempers and the principles 
which grew out of the feudal system. 

To atone for the injustice of his usurpation, Angus, 
during his progress to the Borders, assumed a severity 
which constrained the Armstrongs and their lawless 
adherents to renounce, for a season, their ferocious 
habits, and to give hostages for their future obedience 
to the government. He next proceeded to appease a 
deadly feud which had broken out between the families 
of Lesley and Forbes, and whose ramifications of pri- 
vate vengeance, extending through the districts of 
Mar, Garioch, and Aberdeen, plunged the country in 
blood. -f* 

The highlands, remote from the seat of government, 

* Lesley, p 139. Buchanan, xiv. c. 31. + Lesley, p. 136. 

1527. JAMES V. 175 

and completely neglected since the defeat at Flodden, 
had gradually relapsed into a state of almost irretrieva- 
ble disoraanizatiou. Where the law was not totally 
forgotten, it was perverted to the worst purposes of 
rapine and injustice ; its processes were employed to 
screen the spoliator and the murderer; crimes which 
mingled in their character the ferocity of a savage with 
the polished cunning of a refined age were perpetrated 
with impunity ; and the venal government of Angus 
neo;lected the outraoes which they found it lucrative 
to countenance and almost impossible to repress. 

Matters at last proceeded to such an extremity, that 
the alternative of immediate interference, or the entire 
separation of the remoter northern counties from the 
government was presented. Lachlan Macintosh, chief 
of the noted clan Chattan, was murdered by ^lalcolm- 
son, his near relative, for no other reason than that 
he had endeavoured to restrain the excesses of his re- 
tainers.* The assassin escaping, buried himself in an 
island of the lake of Rothiemurchy ; but his retreat 
was invaded, and he fell a victim to the vengeance of 
the clansmen. The infant son of the chief was delivered 
to the keeping of the Earl of Moray; and Hector his 
bastard brother, succeeded to the temporary command 
of the clan, till the majority of his nephew. Scarcely 
had he assumed this dignity, when he sent Moray a 
peremptory order to deliver up the infant, and, on his 
refusal, mercilessly ravaged his lands, sacked the town 
of Dvke, which belonged to him, and stormed and 
razed to the ground his castle of Tarnaway. Nor was 
this enough : the young heir of Macintosh had been 
committed to the care of the Ogilvies, Moray's near 
kinsmen ; and, to revenge this imaginary insult, the 

* Lesley, p. 137. 


ferocious mountaineer appeared before tlio castle of 
Pettie, belonging to Ogilvy of Durness, and, carrying 
it by assault, murdered twenty-four of their house. 
But the triumph was brief; for when Hector was about 
to continue his outrages, Moray, who had procured 
a royal commission, rapidly assembled an army, and 
suddenly invading the Macintoshes, defeated them with 
the utmost slaughter. Two hundred of the principal 
delinquents were made prisoners, and led to instant 
execution ; but the chief himself escaped ; and such 
was the fidelity of his clansmen, that neither rewards 
nor tortures could induce them to disclose the place of 
his retreat. His brother, however, was seized and 
hanged, whilst Hector, flying to the capital, obtained 
the royal mercy only to fall a victim to the dagger of 
a monk at St Andrew"'s, whose history and motive are 
alike unknown.* Amid these dark and sanguinary 
scenes, the government of Angus continued firm, being 
strengthened by the friendship of England, to whose 
interests he cordially attached himself, and by the 
apparent accession of the chancellor Beaton. The 
great wealth of this crafty prelate, and the liberality 
with which it was distributed to the Douglases, ob- 
tained for him a ready oblivion of his former opposi- 
tion ; and, although Sir George Douglas warned his 
brother of the dano-erous desiirns which midit be in 

o o o 

agitation under the pretended reconciliation, Angus, 
who was inferior to his rival in a talent for intrigue, 
derided his suspicion. 

The reconciliation of the archbishop to his powerful 
rivals, and his readmission to a share in the govern- 
ment, were signalized by a lamentable event, — the 
arraignment and death of Patrick Hamilton abbot of 

* Lesley, p. 1 38. 

1528. JAMES V. 177 

Feme, the earliest, and, in some respects, the most 
eminent of the Scottish reformers. This youthful 
sufferer was the son of Sir Patrick Hamilton of Kincavil, 
and Catherine Stewart, a daughter of the Duke of 
Albany. Educated at St Andrew's, in what was then 
esteemed the too liberal philosophy of John Mair, 
the master of Knox and Buchanan, he early distin- 
guished himself by a freedom of mind, which detected 
and despised the tenets of the schoolmen. He after- 
wards imbibed, probably from the treatises of Luther, 
a predilection for the new doctrines ; and, being sum- 
moned before an ecclesiastical council, he preferred at 
that time, when his faith was still unsettled, an escape 
to the continent to the dangerous glory of defending 
his opinions. At Wittemberg, he sought and obtained 
the friendship of Luther and Melancthon ; they re- 
commended him to the care of Lambert, the head of the 
university of Marpurg, and by this learned scholar 
Hamilton became fully instructed in the reformed 
opinions. No sooner did a full conviction of the errors 
of the church of Rome take possession of his mind, 
than a change seemed to be wrought in his character ; 
he that before had been sceptical and timid, became 
courageous, almost to rashness; and, resisting the tears 
and entreaties of his affectionate master, declared his 
resolution of returning to Scotland, and preaching the 
faith in his native country.* He embarked, arrived 
in 1527 at St Andrew's, publicly addressed the people, 
and, after a brief and zealous career, was arrested by 
the ecclesiastical arm, and thrown into prison. His 
youth, (he was then only twenty-eight,) his talents, his 
amiable and gentle manners, interested all in his favour; 
and many attempts were made to induce him to retract 

* Spottiswood, pp. 62, 63. Knox, pp. 7, 8. 
VOL. V. M 


his opinions, or, at least, to cease to disturb the tran- 
quillity of the church by their promulgation to the 
people. But all was in vain : he considered this tran- 
quillity not the stillness of peace, but the sleep of 
ignorance ; he defended his doctrines with such ear- 
nestness and acquaintance with scripture, that Aless, 
a Catholic priest, who had visited him in his cell with 
a desire to shake his resolution, became himself a con- 
vert to the captive, and he was at last condemned as 
an obstinate heretic, and led to the stake. On the 
scaffold, he turned affectionately to his servant, who 
had long attended him, and, taking off his gown, coat, 
and cap, bade him receive all the worldly goods now 
left him to bestow, and with them the example of his 
death. " What I am about to suffer, my dear friend," 
said he, " appears fearful and bitter to the flesh ; but, 
remember, it is the entrance to everlasting life, which 
none shall possess who deny their Lord."* In the 
midst of his torments, which, from the awkwardness of 
the executioner, were protracted and excruciating, he 
ceased not to exhort those who stood near, exhibiting 
a meekness and unaffected courage, which made a deep 
impression. Lifting up his eyes to Heaven, he ex- 
claimed, " How long, O God ! shall darkness cover this 
kingdom ? How long wilt thou suffer this tyranny of 
men V and when death at last came to his relief, he 
expired with these blessed words upon his lips, " Lord 
Jesus, receive my spirit." f The leading doctrines 
of Hamilton were explained by himself in a small 
Latin treatise, which has been translated by Fox, and 
incorporated in his Book of Martyrs. It contains a 

* There is some reason to believe that a scheme for his rescue had been 
organized by Andrew Duncan of Airdrie, in Fife, one of his most attached 
followers, but it was discovered and defeated. 

f Biographia Brit. Art. Duncan. Kippis' editioiv. 

1528. JAMES V. 179 

clear exposition of the manner in which a sinner is 
justified before God, through faith in Jesus Christ, 
and a beautiful commentary on some of the principal 
Christian graces. Although occasionally quaint and 
obscure, it proves that the mind of this good man was 
in advance of his age, at least in Scotland.* 

It was now two years since Angus had obtained the 
supreme power. During this time, the despotism of 
the house of Douglas had been complete ; and the 
history of the country presented the picture of a cap- 
tive monarch,-|- a subservient and degraded nobility, 
and a people groaning under oppression, yet bound 
by the ties of the miserable system under which they 
lived to the service of their oppressors. To use the 
strong and familiar language of an ancient historian, 
" the Douglases would frequently take a progress to 
punish thieves and traitors, yet none were found great- 
er than in their own company;''"' and an attempt made 
at this time, by the arch-plunderer himself, to obtain 
possession of the queen's dowry lands, so alarmed Mar- 
garet and her husband, that, giving way to terror, they 
suddenly threw themselves into the castle of Edin- 
burgh. But Douglas, taking the young monarch in 
his company, and summoning the lieges to muster 
under the royal standard, laid siege to the fortress ; 
and Maro;aret althouo-h she knew that her son was an 
unwilling enemy, and weary of his fetters, did not 
dare to disobey his summons. Falling on her knees 

* Knox, p. 8, Glasgow edition. 

+ In Caligula, B. ii. 118, Aug. 30th, 1527, is a letter from Magnus to 
Wolsey, which shows that James had ineffectually remonstrated to Henry 
VIII. against the thraldom in which he was held by Angus. " This daye,"" 
says Magnus, "passed from hence a chaplaine of the Bishoppe of St Andrew's, 
wyth a letter addressed from the younge kyng of Scottes to the kinge's 
hieness, a copy whereof I send ; mencioning, among other thj-nges, that the 
said yong king, contrary his will and mynd, is kept in thraldom and cap- 
tivitie with Archibald erle of Anguisshe." 


before tlio king, she presented the keys of the fortress, 
and implored pardon for herself and her husband, 
^vhilst Angus, in the insolence of uncontrollable do- 
minion, smiled at her constrained submission, and 
ordered Henry Stewart to a temporary imprisonment.* 
The secret history of this enormous power on the one 
hand, and implicit obedience on the other, is to be found 
in the fact, that the Douglases were masters of the 
king's person ; they compelled the young monarch to 
affix his signature to any deeds which they chose to 
offer him. Angus was chancellor, and the great seal 
at his command ; his uncle was treasurer, and the 
revenues, as well as the law of the country, with its 
terrible processes of treason and forfeiture, were com- 
pletely under his control. So long as James remained 
a captive, all this powerful machinery was theirs, and 
their authority, which it supported, could not be shaken ; 
but as soon as the king became free, the tyrannical 
system was undermined in its foundation and certain 
to disappear. 

The moment destined for the liberation of the mon- 
arch and the country was now at hand ; nor can it be 
doubted that James, who had completed his sixteenth 
year, and began to develop a character of great vigour 
and capacity, was the chief contriver of the plot for his 
freedom. Beaton, the ex-chancellor and his assistant in 
his schemes, having given a magnificent entertainment 
to the young king and the Douglases in his palace of 
St Andrew''s, so completely succeeded in blinding the 
eyes of Angus, that the conspiracy for his destruction 
was matured when he deemed himself most secure.+ 

* Lesley, p. 140. 

+ Caligula, B, iii. 13G. By a letter of Thomas Loggen, one of Magnus's 
spies, to that ambassador, it appears that the Douglases had detected Beaton 
secretly writing to the pope, representing his services, and requesting a car- 

1528. JAMES V. 181 

James prevailed first on his mother, whom it was not 
deemed prudent to intrust with the secret, to exchange 
with him her castle of Stirling for the lands of Methven, 
to be given with the dignity of peer to her husband ; 
and having placed this fortress in the hands of a cap- 
tain on whose fidelity he could rely, he induced Angus, 
under some plausible pretext, to permit him to remove 
to his palace of Falkland, within a moderate distance 
from St Andrew's.* It was here easy for him to com- 
municate with Beaton, and nothing remained but to 
seize a favourable moment for the execution of their 
design : nor was this long of presenting itself. Lulled 
into security by the late defeat of the queen, and the 
well-feio^ned indifference of the chancellor, the Dou- 
glases had for a while intermitted their rigid watch 
over the king. Angus had passed to Lothian, on his 
private affairs; Archibald his uncle, to Dundee; and 
Sir George Douglas, the master of the royal household, 
having entered into some transactions with Beaton 
regarding their mutual estates, had been induced by 
that prelate to leave the palace for a brief season, and 
to visit him at St Andrew"'s ; only Douglas of Park- 
head, captain of the royal guard, was left with the 
young monarch, who instantly took his measures for 
escape. Calling Balfour of Ferny, the keeper of Falk- 
land forest, and chamberlain of Fife, he issued orders 
for a hunting party next morning, commanding him 
to warn the tenantry, and assemble the best dogs in 
the neighbourhood; he then took supper, went early 
to bed, under pretence of being obliged to rise next 
morning before daybreak, and dismissed the captain of 

dinal's hat. It is singular this did not make Angus more cautious. Lindsay 
p. 206. 

* Caligula, B, vii. 73. Credence gevin by the Queene of Scotts to Wal- 
ter Taite. 


his guard, who, without suspicion, left the royal apart- 
ment. When all was quiet in the palace, James started 
from his couch, disguised himself as a yeoman of the 
guard, stole to the stable, attended by two faithful ser- 
vants, and, throwing himself upon a fleet horse, reached 
Stirling before sunrise. On passing the bridge, then 
secured by a gate and tower, he commanded it to be 
shut, and kept so at the peril of the warden's life ; and 
then, proceeding to the castle, the governor, in a tumult 
of deli<rht to behold his sovereic^n free, knelt down, and 
tendered his homage as he presented the keys of the 
fortress, amid the shouts and rejoicings of the garrison. 
Worn out with anxiety and travel, James now snatched 
a few hours of sleep; and couriers having been de- 
spatched in the interval, he awoke to see himself sur- 
rounded by his nobles, and felt, for the first time in 
his life, that he was a free monarch.* His first act 
w^as to summon a council, and issue a proclamation 
that no lord or follower of the house of Douo-las should 
dare to approach within six miles of the court, under 
pain of treason, — a step, strongly indicating that vigour 
and judgment which marked his future administration. 
The meeting was attended by the Earls of Arran, 
Arg3^1e, Eglinton, and Moray, with the Lords Evan- 
dale, Sinclair, Maxwell, and Montgomery.i* 

Meanwhile, all this had passed with such speed and 
secrecy, that the Douglases still believed the king safe 

* Lindsay, Hist. pp. 218, 2L9. Lesley, p. 140. Caligula, B. vii. 73. Cre- 
dence of the Queen of Scots to Walter Tait. 

i- In an unpublished letter of Angus to Dr Magnus, (March 15, 1527,) 
Caligula, B, i. 105, the vigilance of that peer is strongly marked. In ex- 
cusing himself for not keeping his appointment, he says, " Thyrdly, as the 
caiss stands, I dar not a ventur to depairt fra the keping of the kingis per- 
son, for danger that way appears ; for all the lords ar departit of toun, nane 
uther lords remayning with his grace as now, hot my lord of Glasgow, Leve- 
nax, and I ; and as I belief the kingis grace of Ingland nor ze suld l)e easie, 
yat I depairt fra the keping cf my said soveran's person, in this t}Tiie of 
necessitie, sic perell appearing and brekis throu thir lait novellis." 

1528. JAMES V. 183 

in tlie palace of Falkland; and so secure did they 
esteem themselves, that Sir George Douglas, the mas- 
ter of the household, arriving late in the evening, and 
hearing that James had retired for the night, made no 
further inquiries, but sought his own chamber. A loud 
and early knocking awoke him ; and Carmichael, the 
bailie of Abernethy, rushing in, demanded if he had 
lately seen the king. " His grace," said Douglas, " is 
yet in bed." " No, no," cried Carmichael ; "ye are all 
deceived and betrayed ; the king has passed the bridge 
of Stirling." Sir George now flew to the royal apart- 
ment, found it locked, burst open the door with his foot, 
and, to his consternation, found that the report was true. 
The royal vestments, which had been thrown off for 
the friendly disguise, lay upon the unoccupied couch; 
and Douglas, awakening to the full extent of the 
calamity, stood, for an instant, rooted to the ground, 
in an agony of rage and disappointment. To raise the 
cry of treason, and to summon Angus and his uncle, 
was the work of a few minutes ; within a few hours 
Ano'us himself and Archibald Dou^^las arrived in 
breathless haste, and without farther delay, the three 
lords, accompanied by a slender retinue, set out for 
Stirling. Before they had proceeded any distance, 
they were met by the herald, intrusted with the royal 
proclamation ; and this officer reining up his horse, 
boldly read the act, which prohibited their approach 
to court under the pain of treason. For a moment they 
hesitated : the hereditary and haughty fearlessness of 
their house impelled them to proceed ; but the terror 
of the royal name arrested their steps ; and the same 
weapons which they had found invincible in their own 
grasp were now employed against themselves. All 
the penalties of treason, the loss of their property, the 


desertion of their vassals, the forfeiture of their lives, 
rose in fearful array before them ; and, with impreca- 
tions against their own carelessness and folly, they 
turned their horses heads, and slowly rode back to 


* Buchanan, xiv. 33. In Mr Pitcairn's valuable collection of Criminal 
Trials, to which, in the course of my historical investigations, I have been 
under repeated obligations, there occurs (vol. i. p. 188) an incidental notice, 
from which we may pretty nearly Hx the hitherto uncertain date of the king's 
escape. Pinkerton (vol. ii. p. 291) assumes it to have taken place in July. 
This, however is undoubtedly incorrect ; for we find, on December 1st, 1528, 
the Lady Glammis was summoned to answer before parliament for the as- 
sistance afforded the Earl of Angus, in convocating the lieges for eight days 
immediately preceding June 1, to invade the king's person. This brings the 
date of the escape to the 22d or 23d of May. 







Henry VIII, 

Francis I. 

Charles V. 

Charles V. 

Clement VII. 
Paul 111. 

James the Fifth, who by this sudden revolution had 
been delivered from the thraldom of a successful fac- 
tion, and invested with the supreme power, was still a 
youth in his seventeenth year. Even as a boy, he 
appeared to the discriminating eye of Magnus, Henry's 
ambassador at the Scottish court, to be brave, manly, 
impatient of being treated as a child, and possessed of 
good natural talents. As he grew up, the Douglases 
neglected his education, and perverted his disposition 
by injudicious indulgences. They detected in him a 
strong propensity to pleasure, which they basely en- 
couraged, under the idea that his mind, becoming 
enervated b}^ indolence and sensuality, would resign 
itself to the captivity in which they meant him to re- 
main; but they were not aware of the strength of the 
character with which they had to deal. It did not, 
indeed, escape the pollution of such degrading culture ; 
but it survived it. There was a mental vigour about 
the young king, and a strength of natural talent, which 
developed itself under the most unfavourable circum- 


stances : he had early felt, with indignation, the cap- 
tivity to ^vhich he was doomed, by the ambition of 
Angus ; but he saw, for some time, no prospect of 
redress, and he insensibly acquired, by the necessity of 
liis situation, a degree of patience and self-command, 
which are rarely found at his years. Under the re- 
straint in which he was kept, the better parts of his 
nature had, for a while, little opportunity to display 
themselves. But the plot for his escape, and which 
appears to have been principally his own contrivance, 
having succeeded, he became at once a free monarch, 
and his true character, to the delight of the nation, 
was found to be marked by some of the highest quali- 
ties which could adorn a sovereign. He possessed a 
strict love of justice, an unwearied application in re- 
moving the grievances and promoting the real interests 
of his people, and a generosity and warmth of temper, 
which prompted him, on all occasions, to espouse with 
enthusiasm the cause of the oppressed. A stranger to 
pride, easy of access, and fond of mingling familiarly 
with all classes of his subjects, he seems to have gained 
their affections l)y relying on them, and was rewarded 
by an appellation, of which he was not unjustly proud, 
" the Kins: of the Commons."''' 

With regard to the principles which guided his future 
policy, they arose naturally out of the circumstances 
in which his mind had been nurtured. The sternest 
feelino's asfainst the Douo;lases, to whose ambition he 
had been made a sacrifice, were mingled with a deter- 
mination to recover those rights of the crown, which 
had been forgotten or neglected during his minority, 
and to repress the power of an overgrown and venal 
aristocracy. Towards his uncle, Henry the Eighth, 
he could not possibly experience any other sentiments 

1528. JAMES V. 187 

than those of indignation and suspicion. This mon- 
arch, through the exertions of his able minister, Lord 
Dacre, had introduced into Scotland a secret system 
of corruption, by which the nobles had become the 
pensioned agents of the English government, which 
maintained innumerable informers in the court and 
throughout the country, and excited such ceaseless 
commotions and private wars, that every effort for 
the maintenance of order and good government was 
defeated. In his uncle, James had latterly seen 
nothing but a determination to support his enemies 
the Douglases, with the object of degrading Scotland 
from its rank as an independent kingdom, and, by their 
aid, administering it according to his pleasure. To 
destroy this system of foreign dictation, which, since 
the defeat at Flodden, had been gradually assuming a 
more serious aspect, was one great object of the king; 
and whilst such a design rendered his policy inimical 
to England, it naturally disposed him to cultivate the 
most friendly relations with France. 

To the success of these designs, however, great ob- 
stacles presented themselves ; which, although for the 
moment overlooked by the sanguine mind of the king, 
soon compelled him to act with moderation. Henry 
the Eighth, and Francis the First, were now bound 
together by a strict league, of which the great object 
was, to humble the power of the Emperor Charles the 
Fifth ; and the French monarch received with coldness 
every advance which endangered a union on Avhich 
the success of his political schemes so mainly depended, 
Nur was it long of occurring to the Scottish king, that, 
with a divided nobility and his finances impoverished 
by the havoc made in the royal revenues during his 
minority, it would be wise to pause before he permitted 


his individual resentment to hurry the nation into a 
war; and that, in the meantime, it should be his first 
object to secure his recent elevation by the immediate 
proscription of his enemies. 

He accordingly proceeded from Stirling to Edin- 
burgh, where a proclamation was issued, prohibiting 
any Douglas, on pain of death, from remaining in the 
capital, and making it treason to hold intercourse with 
Angus or his adherents. It was resolved that a par- 
liament should meet in the beginning of September ; 
the important office of chancellor was bestowed by the 
king upon his preceptor, Gawin Dunbar archbishop 
of Glas2:ow: Cairncross abbot of Holyrood was made 
treasurer ; the bishop of Dunkeld privy-seal ; * the 
command of the capital, with the office of provost, 
intrusted to Lord Maxwell ; and Patrick Sinclair was 
despatched to the English court with a message to 
Henry, informing him of the change which had taken 
place, and the assumption of the supreme power by 
the young monarch. *|* During the rapid adoption of 
these measures, the terror of some sudden attempt by 
the Douo;lases had not subsided. Each ni2;ht the 
palace was strictly watched by the loyal peers and 
their armed followers, who now formed the court; and 
James himself, clothed in complete mail, took his turn 
in commanding the guard. After a few days, the king 
removed to Stirling, and the nobles dispersed to their 
estates, with a promise to attend the ensuing parlia- 
ment in great force. Meanwhile, the Earl of Angus 
had shut himself up in Tantallon, whilst his brother 

* Pollock MS. entitled a Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 1 1, edited 
by the Bannatyne Club. 

+ State Papers, Henry VIII. p. 282. James's confidence was ill bestowed 
ou Sinclair, who (State Papers, p. 150) was, in 1524, in the pay of the Eng- 
lish government. 

1528. JAMES V. 189 

Sir George Douglas, and Archibald the late treasurer, 
after a feeble attempt to make a diversion in his favour, 
were attacked by Maxwell, and driven from the capital. 
The measures which James contemplated against these 
powerful delinquents were not at first so severe as 
have been generally represented by our historians. 
Incensed, as he must have been, by the long and 
ignominious durance in which he had been kept, the 
young monarch did not instantly adopt that stern and 
unforgiving policy, to which he was afterwards driven 
by the Douglases themselves. The Earl of Angus was 
commanded to keep himself beyond the waters of Spey, 
and to surrender his brother Sir George Douglas, and 
his uncle Archibald Douglas of Kilspindy, as hostages 
for his answering to the summons of treason, which 
was directed to be raised against him.* Both orders 
he haughtily disobeyed; he mustered his vassals, for- 
tified his castles, and provoked, instead of conciliating, 
the royal resentment. Such conduct was attended 
with the effects which might have been anticipated. 

On the second of September, the parliament assem- 
bled, and an act of attainder was passed against the 
Douglases,"!* who justified the severity, by convoking 
their followers, and razing to the ground the villages 
of Cranston and Oowsland.J The lands of the arch- 
offender Ano'us, were divided bv James amona'st those 
followers, to whose support he had probably been 
indebted for the success of the late revolution, Argyle, 
Arran, Bothwell, Buccleugh, Maxwell, and Hamilton 
the bastard of Arran ; whilst to himself the kino; re- 
served the castle of Tantallon, a place whose great 
strength rendered it dangerous in the hands of a sub- 

* Acts of tlie Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 322-323. f Ibid. p. 324. 
X Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 11. 


ject. All this was easy, as the parliament consisted 
of such peers and prelates as were devoted to the king; 
but to carry the sentence into execution was a less 
practicable matter, and so formidable was the power 
of Angus, that, for a season, he completely defied the 
royal wrath. In vain did the young king, in person, 
and at the head of a force of eight thousand men, 
commence the siege of Douglas castle; admonished by 
the strength of the fortifications, and the injury to the 
harvest which must follow a protracted attempt, he 
was obliged to disband his army, and submit to the 
insult of having two villages, near his palace of Stir- 
ling, sacked and given to the flames, by a party of 
the Douglases ; who, in allusion to his late escape, 
remarked, that the lioht mioht be useful to their sove- 
reiiin, if he chose as^ain to travel before sunrise. An 
equally abortive display was soon after made before 
Cpldingham, in which the royal forces were totally 
dispersed; and, in a third attempt to reduce Tantallon, 
the monarch, although supported by a force of twelve 
thousand men, was not only compelled to raise the 
siege, but endured the mortification of having his train 
of artillery attacked and captured, after an obstinate 
action, by Angus in person.* It was on this occasion 
that the king, whose indignation was increased by the 
death of Falconar, the captain of his guard, and the 
best naval officer in the kingdom, burst into the bitter- 
est reproaches against Angus, and is said to have 
declared, with an oath, that so long as he lived, no 
Douglas should find a resting-place in Scotland. At 
length, after repeated failures, and a refusal on the part 
of Bothwell to lead the army against the formidable 
rebel, the task of his expulsion from Coldingham was 

* Lesley, pp. 140, 141. Piukerton, vol. ii. p. 301. 

1528. JAMES V. 191 

committed to Argyle, who, with the assistance of the 
Homes, compelled him to fly into England, an asylum 
from which he was not destined to return, till after the 
death of James. 

Under other circumstances than those in which the 
English monarch was now placed, the presence at his 
court of so formidable a person as Angus might have 
led Henry to an espousal of his quarrel, and have de- 
feated any proposals for a pacification ; but the present 
relations of this prince with the continent, and his 
strict coalition with Francis the First against the 
emperor, made him solicitous for tranquillity on the 
side of Scotland; he contented himself, therefore, with 
an earnest request for the restoration of the rebel peer, 
and when this was peremptorily refused by James, 
abstained from interrupting the negotiations by any 
cavil or reiteration. The Scottish king, on the other 
hand, professed his obligations to Henry for many 
favours conferred during his minority, a sentiment for 
which we can scarcely give him the credit of sincerity ; 
and having despatched his commissioners to meet with 
Magnus and Sir Thomas Tempest, the English am- 
bassadors, at Berwick, a pacification of five years was 
concluded between the two countries, and ratified on 
the fourteenth of December, 1528. To Angus was 
granted a remission of the sentence of death, and a 
consent. that he might remain in England; but the 
forfeiture of his estates was sternly enforced, and 
Tantallon, with the other castles belonging to the 
Douglases, delivered into the hands of the king. 

Having settled this important matter, and secured 
himself on the side of England, James directed his 
attention to the state of the Borders,* where the dis- 

* In the State-paper oflBce, is an original letter of James to Henry, dated 


orders incident to a minority had increased to a degree 
which threatened the total dismemberment of these 
districts. Such excesses were mainly to be attributed 
to Angus, the late warden of the marches, who had 
secured the friendship of the Border chiefs, by over- 
looking their oftences, whilst he had bound them to 
his interests by those feudal covenants, named " bands 
of manrent,"*"** which formed one of the darkest features 
of the times, compelling the parties to defend each 
other a2:ainst the effects of their mutual trans2:ressions. 
The task, therefore, of introducing order and respect 
for leiral restraints amonixst the fierce inhabitants of 
the marches, was one of extreme difficulty. The prin- 
cipal thieves were the Border barons themselves, some 
of whom maintained a feudal state almost royal ; whilst 
their castles, often impregnable from the strength of their 
natural and artificial defences, defied every attempt to 
reduce or to storm them. 

The energy of the young monarch overcame these 
difficulties. Having assembled his parliament at Edin- 
burgh, and ascertained his own strength, he represented 
to the three Estates the impossibility of maintaining 
the laws, when many of the highest nobles declined 
or dreaded the task of enforcing their obedience, and 
others were notorious for their violation of them. A 

at Jedburgh, 23d July, written on his progress to the Borders. " And at 
this t}Tiie," says he, " we ar in travaile towart oure bordouris, to put gude 
ordoure and rewle upon thame, and to stanche the thyftes and rubbary's 
committit be theiffis and tratouris upon the samyn. And as our besynes 
takis effect, we sail advertise zou," 

* " And howbeit, the said Erie [Angus] beand our chancellare, wardane 
of our est and middil marches, and lieutenant of the samyne, procurit divers 
radis to be maid upon the brokin men of our realme ; he usit our autorite, 
not against yame, hot against our baronis and uthers our lieges, yat wald not 
enter in bands of manrent to him, to be sa stark of power, that we suld not 
be habil to reign as his prince, or liaif dominatioun aboun hym or our lieges." 
MS. Caligula, B. ii. •2"24. Articles and Credence to be shown to Patrick 
Sinclair, July 13, 1528. Signed by James the Fifth. 

1528. JAMES V. "i93 

strong example of rigour was, he said, absolutely re- 
quired ; and this remark was instantly followed by the 
arrest of the Earl of Bothwell lord of Teviotdale: 
Home, Maxwell, Ker of Fernyhirst, Mark Ker, with 
the barons of Buccleugli, Polwarth, and Johnston 
shared his imprisonment ;* and having thus secured 
some of the greatest offenders, the king placed himself 
at the head of a force of eight thousand men, and tra- 
versed the disturbed districts with unexpected strength 
and celerity. Guided by some of the borderers, who 
thus secured a pardon, he penetrated into the inmost 
recesses of Eskdale and Teviotdale, and seized Cockburn 
of Henderland and Scott of Tushylaw before the gates 
of their own castles. Both were led to almost instant 
execution ; and by a sanguinary example of justice, 
long remembered on the marches, the famous free- 
booter, Johnnie Armstrong, was hanged, with forty- 
eight of his retainers, on the trees of a little grove, 
where they had too boldly presented themselves to en- 
treat the royal pardon. The fate of this renowned thief, 
who levied his tribute, or black mail, for many miles 
within the English Borders, has been commemorated in 
many of the rude ballads of these poetic districts ; and if 
we may believe their descriptions, he presented him self to 
theking, with a train of horsemen, whose splendid equip- 
ments almost put to shame the retinue of his prince. *h 
This partial restoration of tranquillity was followed 
by the news of a formidable but abortive attempt to se- 
parate the Orkneys from the dominion of the crown. 
The author of the rebellion, whose ambition soared to 
the height of an independent prince, was the Earl of 
Caithness ; but his .career was brief and unfortunate, 
the majority of the natives of the islands were steady 

* Lesley, pp. 141, 142. f Lesley, pp. 142, 143. Lindsay, p. 22G. 

VOL. V. N 


in their loyalty, and in a naval battle, James Sinclair 
the governor, encountered the insurgents, defeated and 
slew their leader, with five hundred men, and, making 
captives of the rest, reduced these remote districts to 
a state of peace.* But whilst tranquillity was restored 
in this quarter of his dominions, the condition of the 
Isles became a subject of serious alarm. The causes 
of these renewed disturbances are not to be traced, as 
in the former rebellion, to any design in the islesmen, 
to establish a separate and independent principality 
under a prince of their own election; and it is probable 
that the imprisonment of Donald of Sleat, in the castle 
of Edinburo'h, extinixuished for a season all ambition 
of this sort. The sources of disaffection originated in 
a fierce family feud, which had broken out between the 
Macleans of Dowart and the Earl of Argyle, who, 
holding the high office of governor of the Isles, was 
frequently tempted to represent any attack upon him- 
self or his adherents as a rebellion a2:ainst the autho- 
rity of the sovereign. A daughter of the earl, Lady 
Elizabeth Campbell, had been given in marriage to 
Maclean of Dowart, and the union proving unhappy, 
the ferocious chief exposed her upon a desolate rock 
near the isle of Lismore, which, at high water, was 
covered by the sea. From this dreadful situation 
she was rescued by a passing fishing-boat ; and, not 
long after. Sir John Campbell of Calder avenged the 
wrongs of his house by assassinating Maclean, whom 
he stabbed in his bed, although the highland chief had 
procured letters of protection and believed himself se- 
cure."I* Other causes of jealousy increased the mutual 

* Lesley, p. 141. 

h This murder Ly Sir John Campbell is alluded to in strong terms in an 
interesting document, preserved in the State-paper Office, dated August, 
1545, entitled, " Articles proposed by the Commissioners of the Lord oi the 

1528. JAMES V. 195 

exasperation ; the Macleans, strengthened by their 
union with the clan Ian Mhor, and led by Alexander 
of Isla, defied the authority of Argyle, and carried fire 
and sword through the extensive principality of the 
Campbells; whilst they, on the other hand, retaliated 
with equal ferocity, and the isles of Mull and Tiree, 
with the wide district of Morvern, were abandoned to 
indiscriminate plunder. 

Such was the state of things, in these remote dis- 
tricts, during the years 1528 and 1529 ; about which 
time Argyle earnestly appealed to the council, and, 
describing the deplorable condition of the country, 
demanded more extensive powers to enable him to 
reduce it under the dominion of the law. But the 
sagacity of James suspected the representations of this 
powerful noble ; and, whilst he determined to levy a 
force sufiicient to overawe the disaffected districts, and, 
if necessary, to lead it against the Isles in person, he 
endeavoured to avert hostilities, by offering pardon to 
any of the island chiefs who would repair to court and 
renew their alleoiance to their sovereign. These con- 
ciliatory measures were attended with success. Nine 
of the principal islesmen,with Hector Maclean of Dow- 
aj't, availed themselves of the royal safe-conduct, and 

Isles to the Pri\'y-counci], as the hasis of an agreement to he entered into 
between Henry the Eighth and him for the service of his troops." The 
passage is curions, as evincing the enmity of the islemen to Scotland : 
Quhairfor, your Lordships sail considder we have beyne auld enemys to the 
realme of Scotland, and quhen they had peasche with ye kings hienis, thei 
hanged, hedit, presoned, and destroied many of our kyn, friendis, and for- 
hearis, as testihes he our Master, th' Erie of Ross, now the king's grace's 
subject, ye quhilk hath lyin in presoun afoir he was borne of his moder, and 
is not releiffit with their will, hot now laitlie be ye grace of God. In lyke- 
wise, the Lord Maclanis fader, was cruellie murdressit, under traist, in his 
bed, in the toun of Edinbruch, be Sir John Campbell of Calder, brudir to 
th' Erll of Argyle. The capitane of Clanranald, this last zeir ago, in his 
defens, slew the Lord Lovett, his son-in-law, his three brethren, with xiii 
scoir of men ; and many uther crewell slachter, burnying, and herschip that 
hath beyu betwix us and the saidis Scottis, the quhilk war lang to wryte. 


personally tendered their submission ; whilst, soon after, 
Alexander of Isla repaired to the palace of Stirling, 
and in an interview with the monarch, expressed his 
contrition for his offences, and was received into favour. 
He promised to enforce the collection of the royal rents 
upon the crown lands of the Isles; to support the dignity 
and respect the revenues of the church ; and to main- 
tain the authority of the laws, and the inviolability of 
private property. Under these conditions the monarch 
reinstated the island lord and his vassals in the lands 
which they had forfeited by their rebellion.* 

In the late negotiations, Henry the Eighth had 
alluded to his wishes for a matrimonial alliance with 
Scotland,"!* and his ally Francis the First, whose 
interests at this time were inseparable from those of 
England, was disposed to promote the scheme. To 
Charles the Fifth, however, their great rival, whose 
policy was more profound than that of his opponents, 
any match between James and a daughter of England, 
was full of annoyance ; and he exerted every effort to 
prevent it. He proposed successively to the youthful 
monarch his sister the queen of Hungary, and his niece 
the daughter of Christiern king of Denmark ; and so 
intent was he upon the last-mentioned union, that an 
envoy was despatched to Scotland, who held out as 
a dower the whole principality of Norway. But the 
offer of an offensive and defensive league wuth so remote 
a power as Austria was coldly received by James and 
his parliament ; whilst the preservation of peace with 
England, and his desire to maintain the alliance with 

* These particulars I derive from Mr Gregory's interesting work, History 
of the Western Highlands and Isles, pp. 132, 133, 136. 

T Caligula, B. vii. 121. Copy of a letter from Magnus to Sir Adam 
Qtterburn, December 5, 1528. 

1531. JAMES V. 197 

France, inclined him to lend a more favourable ear to 
the now reiterated proposals of Henry. 

In the meantime, his attention was wisely directed 
to the best measures for promoting the security and 
happiness of his kingdom, still distracted by the un- 
bridled licentiousness of feudal manners. Blacater, the 
baron of Tulliallan, with some ferocious accomplices, 
among whom was a priest named Lothian, having 
assassinated Sir James Inglis abbot of Culross, was 
seized and led to instant execution; w^iilst the priest, 
after being degraded and placed without the pale of the 
ecclesiastical law, was beheaded.* To secure the com- 
mercial alliance between Scotland and the Netherlands 
was his next object; and for this purpose, Sir David 
Lindsay of the Mount, — a name dear to the Scottish 
Muses — and Campbell of Lundy, were sent on an em- 
bassy to Brussels, at that moment the residence of the 
emperor, who received them with a distinction propor- 
tioned to his earnest desire to secure the friendship of 
their young master. The commercial treaty, for one 
hundred years, originally concluded by James the First, 
between his dominions and the Netherlands, now about 
to expire, was wisely renewed for another century.-f- 

But it was in vain that the kino^ streno^thened his 
alliances abroad, and personally exerted himself at 
home, whilst a large proportion of his nobles thwarted 
every measure for the public weal. Spoilt by the license 
and impunity which they had enjoyed under the mis- 
rule of Angus, and trammelled by bands of manrent 
amongst themselves, or with that powerful baron, they 
either refused to execute the commands of the sovereii^n, 
or received them only to disobey, when removed out of 

* Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 1 3. 
•j- Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 310. 


the reach of the royal displeasure; and in this manner 
the laws, which had heen promulgated by the wisdom 
of the privy-council or parliament, became little else 
than a dead letter. Against this abuse, James was 
compelled to adopt decided measures. The Earl of 
Argyle was thrown into prison; Crawford, on some 
charges wdiich cannot be ascertained, lost the greater 
part of his estates : the dislike to the house of Douglas, 
and the determination to resist every proposal for 
their return, assumed a sterner form in the royal mind; 
and the Earl of Moray, Lord Maxwell, and Sir James 
Hamilton, who had shared for a while the intimacy and 
confidence of their sovereign, found themselv^es treated 
with coldness and disregard.* On the other hand, 
many of the clergy w^ere highly esteemed, and promoted 
to the principal offices in the government; nor are we 
to wonder at the preference evinced by the monarch, 
when it is considered, that in learning, talents, and 
acquaintance with the management of public affairs, the 
superiority of the spiritual over the temporal estate 
was decided. 

It was probably by the advice of Dunbar the arch- 
bishop of Glasgow, who had been his preceptor, and 
now held the office of chancellor, that the king at this 
time instituted the College of Justice, a new court, of 
which the first idea is generally said to have been sug- 
gested by the Parliament of Paris. Much delay, 
confusion, and partiality accompanied those heritable 
jurisdictions, by which each feudal baron enjoyed the 
right of holding his own court ; and although an appeal 
lay to the king and the privy-council, the remedy by 
the poorer litigant was unattainable, and by the richer 

* Caligula, B. v. 216. Communicacions had between th' Erie of North* 
uraberland and th' Erie Bothwell, December 21, 1531. 

1532. JAMES V. 199 

tedious and expensive. In a parliament, therefore, 
which was held at Edinburgh, (May 17, 1532,) the 
College of Justice was instituted, which consisted of 
fourteen Judges, — one half selected from the spiritual, 
and the other from the temporal estate, — over whom 
was placed a President, who was always to be a clergy- 
man. The great object of this new court was to remove 
the means of oppression out of the hands of the aristo- 
cracy ; but, as it was provided, that the chancellor 
might preside when he pleased, and that, on any occa- 
sion of consequence or difficulty, the king might send 
three or four members of his privy-council to influence 
the deliberations, and give their votes; it was evident 
that the subject was only freed from one grievance, to 
be exposed to the possibility of another, — less, indeed, 
in extent, but scarcely more endurable when it occur- 
red.* It is an observation of Buchanan, that the new 
judges, at their first meetings, devised many excellent 
plans for the equal administration of justice, but dis- 
appointed the nation by their future conduct, especially 
in their attempts to prevent any encroachments upon 
their authority, by the provisions of the parliament. 
We must not forget, however, that, as he approaches 
the period of the Reformation, impartiality is not the 
first virtue of this eminent man : that the circumstance 
of one half of the court being chosen from the spiritual 
estate had an effect in retarding the progress of the 
reformed opinions cannot be doubted. 

All Europe was now at peace; the treaties of Barce- 
lona and Cambrai had for a season settled the elements 
of war and ambition. Charles was reconciled to the 
Pope, and on friendly terms with his rival Francis ; 
AVhilst Henry the Eighth, under the influence of his 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 335, 336. 


passion for Anne Boleyn, was about to pursue his di- 
vorce, and become the advocate of that great religious 
reformation, in the history of which we must be care- 
ful to distinguish the baseness of some of its instruments, 
from that portion of the truth which it restored and 
established. It was in the meantime the effect of all 
these events to give a continuance of peace to Scotland; 
but the intrigues of the Earl of Bothwell, who had 
traitorously allied himself with England ;* the restless 
ambition of Angus, whose services against his native 
country had also been purchased by Henry ;-I- and the 
spirit of war and plunder which was fomented in unex- 
tinguishable strength upon the Borders, combined to 
distract the kin<rdom, and defeat the wisest efforts for 

* In the State-paper Office, Border Correspondence, is an interesting and 
curious original MS. letter, dated Newcastle, 27th December, 1531, from the 
Earl of Northumberland to the king, giving a full account of a conference 
with the Earl of Bothwell. Bothwell first declared the occasion and ground 
of his displeasure towards the King of Scots, — namely, " the giving of his 
lands to the Carres of Teviotdale ; the keeping him half a year in prison, and 
seeking to apprehend him and his colleagues, that he might lead them to 
execution." The letter continues thus, — " and touching the second article 
in your most gracious lettres, as to know what he could do for revenging of 
his displeasure, or releving of his hart and stomach against the Skottes kyng, 
the said er!e doth securely promise, your bigness being his good and gracious 
prince and helpyng him to his right, * * * i\^^i j^g should not only 
serve your most noble grace in your wars against Skotland trewly with a 
thousand gentlemen, and sex thousand commons, but also becomes your 
higness's time subject and liegeman. Thyrdly, to know what lykelihood 
of good effect shall ensue ; hereof the said erle doth say, rememberins^ the 
banyshment of the Erie of Anguisse, the wrongfull disinherityn^of the Erie 
of Crawford, the sore imprisonment of the Erie of Argyle, the litill estima- 
cyon of the Erie Murray and the Lord Maxwell, the simple regarding of 
Sir James Hamilton for his good and paynfuU services, he puts no doubt 
with his oAvn power and the Erie of Anguisse's, seeing all their nobles hartes 
afore expressed: be withdrawen from the king of Skottes, to crown t/our grace 
in the toune of KJ inhiirg within brief ti/me.'''' 

+ Caligula, B. v. 21 (j. The object of Bothwell, as it appears by the ori- 
ginal agreement, was to seek Henry's assistance, " that, by his grace, the 
realme of Skotland sal be brocht into gud stait agayn, and not the nobles 
thereof be kept down as they are in thralldom, but to be set up as theyhaif 
bene before," 21st December, 1.5.'>1. Angus bound himself, as we learn by 
a copy of the original writing between him and Henry, Caligula, B. i. 129, 
to " mak unto us the othe of allegiawnce, and recognif e us as supreme Lorde 
of Scotland, and as Lis prince and soveraigne." 

1532. JAMES V. 201 

the preservation of tranquillity. Mutual inroads took 
place, in which the banished Douglases and Sir An- 
thony Darcy distinguished themselves by the extent 
and cruelty of their ravages; whilst it was deemed 
expedient by James to divide the whole body of the 
fighting men in Scotland into four parts, to each of 
which, in rotation, the defence of the marches was in- 
trusted under the command of Moray, now reconciled 
to the king, and created lieutenant of the kingdom. 
This measure appears to have been attended with happy 
effects; and at the same time, the Scottish monarch 
evinced his power of distressing the government of 
Henry, should he persist in encouraging his rebel 
subjects, by raising a body of seven thousand high- 
landers, under the leading of Mac-Ian, to assist O'Don- 
nel the Irish chief, in his attempts to shake off the 
English yoke. It appears from a letter of the Earl of 
Northumberland to Henry the Eighth, that the Earl 
of Argyle, about the same time, had been deprived of 
the chief command in the Isles, which was conferred 
upon Mac-Ian; a circumstance which had completely 
alienated the former potent chief, and disposed him, 
with the whole strength of his vassals and retainers, 
to throw himself into the arms of Enoland. But this 
dangerous discontentment was not confined to Argyle; 
it was shared, in all its bitterness, by the Earl of Craw- 
ford, whose authority in the same remote districts had 
been plucked from his grasp, and placed in the hands of 
Mac-Ian.* Neither was James absolutely secure of 
the support of the clergy: they viewed with jealousy 

* Caligula, B. i. 129. " The king of Skottis hath plucked from the Erie 
of Argile, and from his heires for ever; the rule of all the oute Isles, and 
given the same to Mackayne and his heires for ever ; and also taken from the 
Erie Crawford such lands as he had ther, and given the same to the said 
Mackayne: the whiche hath engendered a grete hatrit in the said Erie's 
harte against the said Skottis king." 


an attempt to raise from their dioceses a tax of ten thou- 
sand crowns, within the period of a single year; and 
so effectiially addressed themselves to the Pope, that a 
bull was obtained, which limited the sum, and extended 
the period for its contribution. 

The mutual hostilities upon the Borders, had now 
continued with immitigable rancour for more than a 
3^ear, each sovereign professing his anxiety for peace ; 
yet unwilling, when provoked by aggression, to deny 
himself the triumph of revenge, and the consolation of 
plunder. The flames of towns and villages, the destruc- 
tion of the labour of the husbandman, and of the enter- 
prise and industry of the merchant ; the embittering of 
the spirit of national animosity, and the corruption of 
the aristocracy of the country, by the money and in- 
trigues of England — all these pernicious consequences 
were produced by the protraction of the war, which, 
although no open declaration had been made by either 
monarch, continued to desolate the country. It was 
in vain that Francis the First despatched his ambas- 
sador to the Scottish court, w^ith the object of medi- 
ating between the two countries, whose interests were 
now connected with his own. James upbraided him, 
and not without justice, with his readiness to forget 
the alliance between their two kingdoms, and to sacri- 
fice the welfare of Scotland to the ambition of Henry 
his new ally. The negotiation was thus defeated, but 
again Francis made the attempt : Beauvois, a second 
ambassador, arrived at the Scottish court ; and the 
monarch relaxed so far in his opposition, that he con- 
sented to a conference for a truce, which, although it 
had been stipulated to commence early in June, was 
protracted by the mutual disputes and jealousies of the 
contracting parties till near the winter. 

] 532. JAMES V. 203 

In the meantime, the king resolved to set out on a 
summer progress through his dominions, in the course 
of which an entertainment was given to the yet youth- 
ful monarch by the Earl of Athole, which is strikingly 
illustrative of the times. This potent highland chief- 
tain, who perhaps indulged in the hope of succeeding 
to a portion of the power so lately wrested from Argyle, 
received his sovereign at his residence in Athole, with 
a ma2:nificence which rivalled the creations of romance. 
A rural palace, curiously framed of green timber, was 
raised in a meadow, defended at each ano;le bv a hisfh 
tower, hung in its various chambers with tapestry of 
vsilk and gold, lighted by windows of stained glass, and 
surrounded by a moat, in the manner of a feudal fort- 
ress. In this fairy mansion, the king was lodged more 
sumptuously than in any of his own palaces ; he slept 
on the softest down ; listened to the sweetest music ; 
saw the fountains around him, flowing with muscadel 
and hippocras ; angled for the most delicate fish which 
gleamed in the little streams and lakes in the meadow, 
or pursued the pastime of the chase, amid woods and 
mountains, which abounded with every species of game. 
The queen-mother accompanied her son ; and an ambas- 
sador from the papal court having arrived shortly be- 
fore, was invited to join in the royal progress. The 
splendour, profusion, and delicacy of this feudal enter- 
tainment, given by those whom he had been accustomed 
to consider barbarians, appeared almost miraculous, 
even to the warmth of an Italian imagination ; and his 
astonishment was not diminished, when Athole, at the 
departure of the royal cavalcade, declared that the palace 
which had given delight to his sovereign should never be 
profaned by a subject, and commanded the whole fabric, 
with its innumerable luxuries, to be given to the flamos. 


Altliougli provoked by the continuance of the Border 
inrocads, wliich were carried on with the connivance of 
the English monarch, at the moment he professed an 
anxiety for peace, James wisely suppressed his resent- 
ment, and contented himself with a temperate remon- 
strance. His situation, indeed, owing to the continued 
intrigues of the adherents of the house of Douglas, and 
the secret support they received from England,* was 
perilous and harassing ; and whatever might be his 
individual feelings, it became evident that peace with 
that country must be secured, even at some sacrifice. 
The Bishop of Aberdeen and Sir Adam Otterburn 
were accordingly despatched to the English court with 
full powers ; and having met with the English com- 
missioners, the Secretary Cromwell and Dr Fox, a 
pacification was concluded, which was to last during 
the lives of the two monarchs, and to continue for a 
year after the death of him who first deceased. It 
appears that the Douglases, since their forfeiture, had 
gained possession of a fortalice, called Edrington castle, 
which James, who was jealous of their retaining even 
the smallest property within his dominions, insisted 
should be restored. On this condition he agreed that 
Angus, Sir George Douglas his brother, and Archibald 
his uncle, might remain unmolested in England, sup- 
ported by Henry as his subjects, — provided, according 
to the Border laws, reparation was made for any en- 
terprise which either he or they might conduct against 
Scotland. The treaty was concluded on the twelfth 
of May, 1534, and soon after ratified with circumstances 

* In the State-paper OfFice is a letter from James to Henry, dated 18th 
March, 1533-4, in which he complains, that since the departure of his am- 
bassador towards England, an incursion had heen made by some borderers 
under Sir R. Fenwick into Teviotdale, •which had done more damagt than 
any raid during the war. 

15S4!. JAMES V. 205 

of much solemnity and rejoicing by both monarchs.* 
The young king was soon after flattered by the arrival 
of Lord William Howard, with the Order of the Garter 
from England ; whilst Francis the First requested his 
acceptance of that of St Michael ; and the Emperor 
Charles the Fifth transmitted the Golden Fleece,*!* by 
his ambassador Godeschalco. 

James was now in his twenty-second year, and his 
marriage was earnestly desired by his subjects. His 
fearlessness in his constant efforts to suppress in person 
the disturbances which agitated his kingdom exposed 
him to constant danger ; he would often, with no greater 
force than his own retinue, attack and apprehend the 
fiercest banditti; riding by night through solitary and 
remote parts of his dominions; invading them in their 
fastnesses, and sharing in peril and privations with the 
meanest of his followers. Nor was he content with 
this nobler imitation of his father, but he unhappily 
inherited from him his propensity to low intrigue, and 
often exposed his life to the attacks of the robber or 
the assassin in his nocturnal visits to his mistresses. 
It was observed that the Hamiltons, who, next to the 
Duke of Albany, (now an elderly man without chil- 
dren,) had the nearest claim to the throne, looked upon 
this courasfe and recklessness of the kin<2: with a satis- 
faction which was scarcely concealed ; and Buchanan 
has even stated, although upon no certain evidence, 
that they had made attempts against his life. With 
some probability, therefore, of success, the Spanish am- 
bassador, in the name of his master, proposed a matri- 

* Rymer, vol. xiv. p. 480-537. 

+ Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 19. In the State-paper Office is 
an original letter from William bishop of Aberdeen to Secretary Cromwell, 
dated 8th July, 15o4, promising that the king his master will soon send his 
proxy to be installed Knight of the Garter. 


moiiial alliance Avitli his niece, the Princess Mary of 
Portuiral; but the Scottish kinj; evaded the offer, and 
dismissed him with general expressions of esteem. He 
regretted at the same time the continued hostility 
between his uncle and the emperor, expressed his 
sorrow for the violent measure of Iiis double divorce 
from Queen Catherine and the papal see, and declared 
his own determination to support the religion of his 
fathers, and to resist the enemies of the church.* 

This resolution he soon after fulfilled, by encouraging 
a renewed persecution of the reformers. An ecclesias- 
tical court was held in the abbey of Holy rood ; Hay 
bishop of Ross presided as commissioner for the car- 
dinal; and the king, completely clothed in scarlet, the 
judicial costume of the time, took his seat upon the 
bench, and gave unwonted solemnity to the unholy 
tribunal. Before it many were cited to answer for 
their alleged heretical opinions ; some recanted and 
publicly abjured their errors ; others, amongst whom 
were the brother and sister of Patrick Hamilton, who 
had sacrificed his life for his opinions, fled from the 
country and took refuge in England ; but David Strai- 
ton, and Norman Gourlay a priest, appeared before the 
judges and boldly defended their faith. Straiten was 
a gentlemen of good family, brother to the baron of 
Laurieston. He had engaged in a quarrel with the 
Bishop of Moray on the subject of his tithes ; and 
in a fit of indignation, had commanded his servants, 
when challenged by the collectors, to throw every tenth 
fish they caught into the sea, bidding them seek their 
tax where he found the stock. From these violent 
courses he had softened down into a more quiet inquiry 
into the grounds of the right claimed by churchmen ; 

* Maitland, vol. ii. p. 809. 

1584. JAMES V. 207 

and frequenting much the company of Erskine of Dun, 
one of the earliest and most eminent of the reformers, 
became at length a sincere convert to their doctrines. 
It is related, that listening to the Scriptures, which 
was read to him by the Laird of Laurieston, he 
came upon that passage where our Saviour declares he 
will deny before his Father and the holy angels any 
one who hath denied him before men : upon which he 
was deeply moved, and falling down on his knees, im- 
plored God, that, although he had been a great sinner, 
he would never permit him, from the fear of any bodily 
torment to deny Him or his truth.* And the trial 
soon came and was most courageously encountered. 
Death, in one of its most terrible forms was before him; 
he was earnestly exhorted to escape by abjuring his 
belief ; but he steadily refused to purchase his pardon 
by retracting a single tenet, and encouraged his fellow 
sufferer Gourlay in the same resolution. Both were 
burnt on the 27th of August, 1534<.*f- It was during 
this persecution that some men, who afterwards became 
active instruments in the Reformation, but whose minds 
were then in a state of inquiry and transition, consulted 
their safety by flight. Of these the most noted were, 
Alexander Aless, a canon of St Andrew''s, who became 
the friend of Melancthon and Cranmer, and professor 
of divinity in the University of Leipsic ; and John 
Macbee, better known by his classical surname Mac- 
habseus, the favourite of Christiern king of Denmark, 
and one of the translators of the Danish Bible. J 

* MS. Calderwood, quoted in Pitcairn''s Criminal Trials, vol. i. p. 210*, 
211*. Spottiswood''s Church History, p. G6. 

f The place of execution was the Rood or Cross of Greenside, on the 
Calton-hill, Edinburgh. 

+ Gerdes' Hist. Evangelii Renovati, vol. iii. p. 417. M'Crie's Appendix 
to Life of Knox, vol. i. p. 357. M' Bee's true name, as shown by Dr M'Crie, 
on the authority of Gerdes and Vinding, was M' Alpine, a singular transfor- 


It was now one great object of Henry to induce his 
n3phew to imitate his example by shaking off the yoke 
of Rome, and establishing the Reformation in his do- 
minions. To this end he made an earnest proposal 
for a marriasje between James and his daii2:hter the 
Princess ^lary; he despatched successively Dr Barlow 
his chaplain, and Lord William Howard, into Scotland, 
with the suggestion that a conference should take place 
at York, between himself and the Scottish king;* and 
he endeavoured to open James''s eyes to the crimes and 
usurpations of the hierarchy of the church of Rome. 
But it was the frequent fault of the English monarch 
that he defeated many a wise purpose by the impetu- 
osity w'ith which he attempted to carry it forward; 
and, in this instance, the keenness of Barlow, and the 
haufrhtiness of Howard, were ill calculated to manaire 
so delicate a ne^rotiation. James actin": by the advice 
of his privy-council, who were mostly ecclesiastics, and 
are described by Barlow as " the Pope"'s pestilent crea- 
tures, and very limbs of the devil," refused to accept 
the treatise entitled " The Doctrine of a Christian 
Man," which had been sent him by his uncle. The 
conference, to which, through the influence of the 
queen-dowager, the king had at first consented, was 
indefinitely postponed ;■[- and the feelings of the sove- 
reifrn and his counsellors reirardino: the marriag-e with 
an English princess, were soon plainly expressed by 
the despatch of an embassy to France for the purpose 
of concluding a matrimonial alliance with that crown. 

The death of Clement the Seventh, which took place 

* It appears, from a copy of Henry's instructions to Lord William Howard, 
preserved in the State-paper Office, he not only proposes a conference at 
York, but suggests that James should afterwards accompany him to Calais, 
where they would meet the French king. 

*j- MS. Letter in State-paper Office. Queen Margaret to Henrj' the Eighth, 
dated 12th December, 15c!5. 

:i5o5. JAMES V. 209 

in the autumn of this year, was followed, as is well 
known, by the most decided measures upon the part 
of Henry the Eighth. The confirmation of his supre- 
macy as head of the church by the English parliament, 
the declared legality of the divorce, and the legitimacy 
of the children of Anne Boleyn, with the cruel impri- 
sonment and subsequent execution of Fisher and More, 
convinced the new pontiff Paul the Third, that he had 
for ever lost the English monarch. It only remained 
for him to adopt every method for the preservation 
of the spiritual allegiance of his remaining children. 
Amongst other missions he despatched his legate An- 
tonio Campeggio into Scotland, with instructions to 
use every effort for the confirmation of James in his 
attachment to the popedom, whilst he trusted that the 
marria2:e of the second son of Francis the First to the 
Pope's niece Catherine de Medici, would have the effect 
of enlistins: the whole interest of this monarch a^rainst 
the dissemination of the Lutheran opinions in his 
dominions. To James, Campeggio addressed an exposi- 
tion of the scandalous conduct of the Enoiish kins: in 
making his religious scruples, and his separation from 
the church of Rome, a cloak for the gratification of his 
lust and ambition ; he drew a flattering contrast between 
the tyranny and hypocrisy which had guided his con- 
duct, and the attachment of his youthful nephew of 
Scotland to the holy see, addressing him by that title 
of Defender of the Faith,* which had been unworthily 
bestowed upon its worst enemy ; and he laid at his 
feet a cap and sword which had been consecrated by 
the Pope upon the anniversary of the Nativity. We 
are to measure the effects of such gifts by the feelings 

* It appears, by a letter in the State-paper OflBce, that Henry remonstrated 
against this title being given to James. 

VOL. V. n 


of the times, and there can be little doubt that their 
influence was considerable ; but a permission from his 
holiness to levy an additional contribution upon his 
clergy, was, in the present distressed state of the royal 
linances, not the least efficacious of his arguments. 

In the meantime the Scottish ambassadors in France 
liad concluded a marriage between their sovereign and 
!Marie de Bourbon, daughter of the Duke of Vendosme; 
whilst Henry, jealous of the late papal embassy, and 
aware that such a union must confirm the attachment 
of his nephew to the Roman see, encouraged the dis- 
contents amongst the Scottish nobility, promoted the 
intrio'ues of the Doufrlases for their restoration to their 
native country, and even succeeded in corrupting the 
fidelity of James"'s ambassador. Sir Adam Otterburn, 
who was afterwards imprisoned for a secret negotiation, 
with the partisans of Angus.* 

A parliament w^as held this summer (June eighth, 
1535) in which, amid much that is uninteresting to 
the historian, there are found some provisions worthy 
of attention. It was made imperative on the Border 
barons and gentlemen, to restore something like secu- 
rity to their disturbed districts, by rebuilding the 
towers and peels wdiich had been razed during the 
late wars ; weapon-schawings, or armed musters, were 
enforced ; and the importation of arms, harness, and 
warlike ammunition was encouraged. The act passed 
in a late parliament against the importation of the 

* In the State-paper Office is a Letter from Otterburn to Cromwell, dated 
18th of October, (probably of the year L5o5,) in which he regi-ets that he 
was not able, from illness, to pay more attention to the English ambassadors; 
and states, that although they could not agree touching the authority of the 
Pope, he would use every effort to preserve the amity between the two 
kingdoms. The practices of Otterburn, and his secret correspondence with 
the English, had been of long duration. He seems to have been one of those 
busy intriguers who, in the minority of James, made a gain of giving secret 
information to England. 

1535. JAMES V. 211 

works of " the great heretic, Luther," with his disciples 
or followers, was repeated ; and the discussion of his 
opinions, except with the object of proving their false- 
hood, was sternly prohibited, whilst all persons having 
any such works in their possession were commanded 
to deliver them up to their Ordinary within forty days, 
under the penalty of confiscation and imprisonment. 
It is evident that the late cruel exhibitions had only 
fostered the principles which they were meant to era- 
dicate. One other act relating to the burghs, in that 
dark age the little nurseries of industry and freedom, is 
striking, and must have had important consequences. 
It appears that a practice had crept in of electing the 
feudal barons in the neighbourhood to the offices in 
the magistracy of the burgh; and the effects, as might 
have been anticipated, were highly injurious. Instead 
of industrious citizens occupied in their respective 
trades, and adding by their success to the wealth, the 
tranquillity, and the general civilisation of the country, 
the provost, and aldermen or bailies, were idle, fac- 
tious, and tyrannical ; domineering over the industrious 
burgesses, and consuming their substance. To remedy 
this, it was provided that no man hereafter should be 
chosen to fill any office in the magistracy of the burgh, 
but such as were themselves honest and substantial 
burgesses; a wise enactment, which, if carried strictly 
into execution, must have been attended with the best 

The continued war between Francis and the emperor, 
made it expedient for the former monarch to keep on 
good terms with Henry ; and so effectually was the 
English interest exerted, both at the court of France 
and of Scotland, in creatine^ obstacles to the kino-'s 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. S49. 


marriage, that James secretly determined to leave his 
dominions in disguise, and overrule every objection in 
a personal interview with his intended fatlier-in-law : 
a romantic and somewhat imprudent resolution, in 
which, liowever, it is not improbable that he may have 
been encouraged by some of his confidential advisers 
amongst the clergy. The vessel in which he embarked 
with his slender retinue encountered a severe gale; and 
the monarch, wlio had fallen asleep from fatigue, found 
liimself, on awakening, once more close to the coasts of 
Scotland ; a result which some of our historians have 
ascribed to the jealousy of his companion Sir James 
Hamilton ; who, during the slumber of his master, 
seized the helm, and put about the ship. It is well 
known that the Hamiltons, from their hopes of suc- 
cession to the crown, were opposed to the marriage ; 
yet it may be questioned whether they would thus 
publicly expose their ambition. 

But the king was not to be so easily deterred from 
his design ; and his project of a voyage in disguise 
having failed, he determined to execute his purpose 
with suitable deliberation and masfnificence. A re- 
gency was appointed, which consisted of Beaton the 
archbishop of St Andrew's, Dunbar archbishop of 
Glasgow the chancellor, the earls of Eglinton, Mon- 
trose, and Huntley, with the Lord Maxwell ; and the 
king, having first paid his devotions at the shrine 
dedicated to our Lady of Loretto near Musselburgh, 
and off'ered his prayers for a happy voyage, sailed from 
Leitli with a squadron of seven vessels, accompanied by 
a splendid suite of his spiritual and temporal nobility. 
A fair wind brought them on the tenth day to Dieppe; 
and Francis, whose hopes were at this moment highly 
elated by his successes against the emperor, immediate- 

1,536. JAMES V. 213 

ly invited the royal visiter to Paris, and despatched 
the dauphin to conduct him thither. James's first 
desire, however, was to see his affianced bride ; and, 
repairing in disguise to the palace of the Duke de 
Vendosme, he was recognised as he mingled with the 
gay crowds that peopled its halls, by his likeness to a 
miniature portrait which he had sent her from Scotland. 
Marie de Bourbon is said to have been deeply capti- 
vated by the noble mien and gallant accomplishments 
of her intended husband ; but the impression was not 
mutual : and whether from the ambition of a higher 
alliance, or the fickleness of youthful afi'ection, James 
transferred his love from the Lady of Vendosme, to the 
Princess Magdalen, the only daughter of Francis, a 
beautiful girl of sixteen, but over whose features con- 
sumption had already thrown a melancholy langour, 
which was in vain pointed out to the king by the 
warning voice of his counsellors. It is said by the 
French historians, that the princess had fallen in love 
wdth the Scottish monarch at first sight; and although 
her father earnestly and afiectionately dissuaded the 
match, on account of her extreme delicacy of constitu- 
tion. James would hear of no delav, and on new-year's 
day the marriage was celebrated with much pomp in 
the church of Notre-Dame. The Kings of France and 
Navarre, and many illustrious foreigners surrounded 
the altar ; and Rome, as if to confirm and flatter its 
youthful champion, lent a peculiar solemnity to the 
ceremony by the presence of seven cardinals. Feasts, 
masques, tournaments, and all the accompaniments of 
feudal joy and magnificence succeeded; nor was it till 
the spring that the king thought of his departure with 
his youthful queen. 
An application had been made by Francis to Henry, 


that the royal couple should be allowed to pass through 
England, but it was refused. The secret reasons of 
this ungracious proceeding, which appear in a minute 
of the privy-council, were tlic discontent felt by the 
English monarch at the refusal of his request for the 
pardon of Angus, and a desire to avoid the expense of 
receiving his royal nephew with the honours due to his 
rank. Compelled to return by sea, James embarked 
at Dieppe, and arrived with his ^^outhful bride at Leith 
on the nineteenth of May. On descending from the 
ship, ^Magdalen knelt upon the beach, and taking up 
some portion of the sand, kissed it with deep emotion, 
whilst she implored a blessing upon her new country, 
and her beloved husband : an affecting incident, when 
viewed in connexion with her rapid and early fate. 
Meanwhile nothing could exceed the joy of the people 
at the return of their prince ; and the graceful and 
elegant festivals of France were succeeded by the ruder, 
but not less cordial, pageants of his own kingdom. 

James had remained in Paris for nearly nine months : 
an interval of no little importance when we consider 
the great changes which were so suddenly to succeed 
his arrival in his dominions. The causes of these 
events which have hitherto escaped the notice of our 
historians, are well worthy of investigation. Of these 
the first seems to be the remarkable influence which 
Francis acquired over the mind of his son-in-law ; an 
influence which, notwithstanding the peace then nomi- 
nally existing between Henry and the French monarch, 
was unquestionably employed in exciting him against 
England. The progress of the reformed opinions in 
France;, the violence and selfishness of Henry, and the 
dictatorial tone which he was accustomed to infuse 
into his negotiations, although for the time it did not 

1537. JAMES V. 215 

produce an actual broach between the two monarchs, 
coukl not fail to alienate so high-minded a prince as 
Francis. The Pope, whose existence seemed to hang 
on. the result, intermitted no effort to terminate the 
disputes between the French king and the emperor, 
projecting a coalition against Henry as the common 
enemy of Christendom. He had so far succeeded in 
1537, as to accomplish a truce concluded at Nice be- 
tween these two great potentates, which was extended 
in the following year to a pacification of ten years. 
From this time the cordiality between Francis and 
Henry was completely at an end, whilst the Pope did 
not despair to bring about a combination which should 
make the royal innovator tremble for his boasted supre- 
macy, and even for his throne. It was with this object 
that James was flattered by every argument which 
could have w^eight in a young and ardent mind, to 
induce him to unite himself cordially in the league. 
On the other hand the conduct of Henry during the 
absence of the Scottish king was little calculated to 
allay the feelings of irritation and resentment which 
already existed between them. Sir Ralph Sadler, a 
minister of great ability, had been sent into Scotland, 
to complete the system of secret influence and intelli- 
gence introduced and long acted on by Lord Dacre. 
He was instructed to gain an influence over the nobility, 
to attach to his interest the queen-mother, and to sound 
the inclinations of the people on the subject of peace 
or war — an adoption of the reformed opinions, or a 
maintenance of the ancient religion. The Douglases 
were still maintained with high favour and generous 
allowances in England ; their power, although nomi- 
nally extinct, was still far from being destroyed ; their 
spies penetnted into every quarter, followed the king 


to France, and gave information of his most private 
motions;* their feudal covenants and bands of manrent 
still existed and bound many of the most potent nobi- 
lity to their interest, whilst the vigour of the king's 
government, and lii.s preference of the clergy to the 
temporal lords, disgusted these proud chiefs, and dis- 
posed them to hope for a recovery of their influence 
from any change which might take place. 

All these circumstances were well known to the Scot- 
tish king, and a more prospective policy might perhaps 
have dictated a reconciliation with the Douolases as 
the likeliest means of accomplishing his great design 
for the maintenance of the Catholic religion, and the 
humbling the power of England : but the tyranny of 
this haughty house, and the injuries which they had 
accumulated upon him, were yet fresh in his memory. 
He had determined that so long as he lived, no Douglas 
should ever return to Scotland : he underrated, pro- 
bably, the power possessed by a feudal nobility ; and 
beino- naturallv endowed with uncommon vio-our and 
resolution of mind, determined to attempt the execu- 
tion of his plans, not only without their support, but 
in the face of their utmost endeavours against him. 
We may thus discern the state of parties at the return 
of James to his dominions. On the one hand is seen 
Henry the Eighth, the great foe to the supremacy of 
the see of Rome, supported in Scotland not only by 
the still formidable power and unceasing intrigues of 
the Douglases, but by a large proportion of the nobles, 
and the talents of his sister the queen-mother. On 
the other hand, we perceive the King of Scotland, 
backed by the united talent, zeal, and wealth of the 

* Letter of Penman to Sir G. Douglas. Calig. B. iii. 293. Paris, 29th 
October, 1536. 

1538. JAMES V. 217 

Catholic clergy, the loyalty of some of the most potent 
peers, the cordial co-operation of France, the approval 
of the emperor, the affection of the great body of his 
people, upon whom the doctrines of Luther had not as 
yet made any very general impression, and the cordial 
support of the papal see. The progress of events will 
strongly develop the operation and collision of these 
various parties and interests. We shall be enabled to 
observe the slow but uninterrupted progress towards 
the reception of the great principles of the Reformation, 
and, amid much individual error and suflering, to mark 
the sublime manner in which the wrath and the sin of 
man are compelled to work out the predetermined pur- 
poses of a most wise and holy God. 

To resume the current of events : the monarch had 
scarcely settled in his dominions, and entered upon 
the administration of the government, when his youth- 
ful and beautiful queen sunk under the disease which 
had so strono-lv indicated itself before her marrias^e ; 
and, to the deep sorrow of her husband and the wdiole 
nation, expired on the seventh of July. The mind of the 
sovereign although clouded for a season by the calamity, 
soon shook off the enervating influence of grief, and 
James demonstrated the firmness of purpose with 
which he had adopted his plans, in the decided step 
which he took within a few months after this sad event. 
David Beaton bishop of Mirepoix, and afterwards the 
celebrated cardinal, was sent on a matrimonial embassy 
to France, accompanied by Lord Maxwell and the Mas- 
ter of Glencairn, where, with the least possible delay, he 
concluded the espousals between Mary of Guise, the 
widow of the Duke of Longueville, and his royal master. 
Nor was the full year of grief allowed to elapse before 
the princess arrived, and the king celebrated his second 


marriage in tlie cathedral church at St Andrew"'s.* The 
ties which attached him to France were thus doubly 
strengthened, and the consequences of this union with 
the house of Guise may be long detected in those clouds 
of dark and complicated misfortune which were now 
slowly gathering around the country. 

In the interval between the death of IMasfdalen and 
the union with Mary of Guise, the life of the monarch 
had been twice menaced by secret conspiracy ; and 
there seems to be little doubt, that both plots are to 
be traced to the widely spreading intrigues of the 
house of Douglas ; nay, there is a strong presumption 
that they were directly connected with each other. 
The first plot, and that which seems to have attracted 
least notice, was headed by the Master of Forbes, a fierce 
and turbulent chief, distin2:uished, under the irovern- 
ment of Albany, for his murder of Seton of Meldrum, 
and his subserviency to the schemes of England. This 
person was tried, condemned, and executed on the 
same day ; but unfortunately, in the absence of all 
authentic records, it is difficult to detect the particulars 
of the conspiracy. Having married a sister of the Earl 
of Angus, he was naturally a partisan of the Douglases; 
and, upon their fall from power, and subsequent 
banishment from Scotland, he appears to have vigor- 
ously exerted himself in those scenes of private coalition 
and open violence by which their friends attempted to 
promote their interests and accelerate their return. 
For the same reason he had been a decided enemy of 

* Henry the Eighth, as it appears by the Ambassade de M, Chatillon, 
Lettres Dec. 10 and 11, had become, by the report of Mr Wallop, one of 
his agents, enamoured of the same lady, chiefly on account of her large and 
comely size. He demanded her of Francis, and took the refusal violently 
amiss, although it was stated to him that the contract of marriage between 
this princess and James the Fifth had been solemnly concluded. — Carte's 
History, vol. iii. p. 152. 

1538. JAMES V. 219 

Albany during liis government, and the refusal of the 
Scottish lords encamped at Wark to lead their vassals 
against England, was mainly ascribed to his conduct 
and counsel ; a proceeding which was, in the eye of 
law, an act of treason, as Albany was then regent by 
the appointment of the three Estates. There is no 
evidence that any notice was taken of this at the 
time, but as early as the king'*s journey to France, in 
June, 1536, Forbes had been accused by Huntley of a 
design to shoot the king as he passed through his 
burgh of Aberdeen, and of conspiring the destruction 
of a part of the army of Scotland, — charges upon which 
both himself and his father. Lord Forbes, were then 
imprisoned ; nor did the trial take place till upwards of 
fourteen months after. The meagre details of our early 
criminal records, unfortunately, do not permit us to 
ascertain the nature of the proofs against him. He 
was found guilty by a jury, against whom Calderwood 
has brought an unsupported assertion that they were 
corrupted by Huntley,* but, as far as can be discovered, 
the accusation seems unjust : no bias or partiality can 
be traced to any of the jurymen ; no previous animosity 
can be established against Huntley, but rather the 
contrary ;-)- and the leniency of James, in the speedy 
liberation of Lord Forbes, in admitting the brother of 
the criminal to an office in his household, and abstain- 
ing from the forfeiture of his estates, proved the absence 
of everything like vindictive feeling. All men re- 
joiced at the acquittal of the father, and some doubted 
whether the crime for which he suffered was brought 
home to the son, but none lamented the fate of one 
already stained by murder and spoliation of a very 

* Calderwood Hist, MS. quoted in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, p. 103. 
+ Pitcairn''s Collection of Criminal Trials, p. 183-187 inclusive. 


atrocious description.* Over tlic story of assassinat- 
ing the king, the obscurity is so deep, that all efforts 
to reach its truth, or even its circumstances, are 
baffled ; but of the refusal to invade England, and 
the endeavour to compass the destruction and dishon- 
our of the Scottish army, there can be little doubt 
that Forbes was guilty in common with many other 
peers. Nor is it to be forgotten, that Albany, on his 
return from this unfortunate expedition, accused the 
Scottish nobles, not only of retiring in the face of 
the enemy, but of entertaining a secret design of 
delivering him to the English. i* It is not improbable 
that the secret reason for the long delay of the trial, 
is to be found in the anxiety of the king to obtain 
from Albany, who was then in France, decisive evidence 
ao-ainst the criminal. 

The other conspiracy, of which the guilt was more 
certain, and in its character more dreadful, excited a 
deeper interest and sympath}^ from the sex and beauty 
of the accused. Janet Douglas, the sister of the 
banished Angus, had married Lord Glammis, and, 
after his death, took to her second husband, a gentle- 
man named Campbell of Skipnish. Her son. Lord 
Glammis, was in his sixteenth year, and she a youth- 
ful matron, in the maturity of her beauty, mingled 
little with the court since the calamity of her house. 
A w^eek had scarcely passed since James had paid the 
last rites to his beloved queen, and the mind of the 
monarch was still absorbed in the bitterness of recent 
grief, when, to the astonishment of all men, this noble 

* Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. i. pp. 183, 187. See Letter B, in Illus- 
trations, on the trial of Lady Glammis. 

+ Caligula, B. i. 281. Letter of Queen Margaret to Surrey, " Bot he 
thynketh na schame of it, for he makyth hys excuse that the lords wold 
not pass in Ingland with hym ; also that my lord of Aren, and my lord of 
Lenos, wyth other lordys, he sayth, that they wold haf seld hym in Ingland." 

1538. JAMES V. 221 

matron, only two days after the execution of the Master 
of Forbes, was publicly arraigned of conspiring the 
king'^s death by poison, pronounced guilty and con- 
demned to be burnt.* She suffered her dreadful fate 
with the hereditary courage of her house ; and the 
sympathy of the people, ever readily awakened, and 
unenlightened by any knowledge of the evidence 
brought against her, too hastily pronounced her inno- 
cent, ascribing her condemnation to James"'s inveterate 
hostility to the Douglases. Her son, Lord Glammis, 
a youth in his sixteenth year, was convicted, upon his 
own confession, that he knew and had concealed the 
conspiracy ; but the monarch commiserated his youth, 
and the sentence of death was changed into imprison- 
ment ; Archibald Campbell of Skipnish, her husband, 
having been shut up in the castle of Edinburgh, in 
attempting to escape, perished miserably by being 
dashed to pieces on the rocks ; John Lyon, an ac- 
complice, was tried and hanged ; whilst Makke, by 
whom the poison had been prepared, and from whom 
it was purchased, escaped with the loss of his ears, and 
banishment."!* It must be confessed, that the circum- 
stances of this remarkable tragedy are involved in much 
obscurity ; but an examination of the evidence which 
has been lately published, leaves upon the mind little 
doubt of her guilt. J 

* The Master of Forbes was tried, condemned and executed on the 14th 
of July ; Lady Glammis was tried, condemned, and executed on the 17th of 
the same month. — Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. i. pp. 184, 190. Lord 
Glammis was tried and found guilty on the 10th July. His confession was 
probably employed as evidence against his mother. 

+ Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. i. pp, 199, 202, 203. John Lyon •y/as 
found guilty, at the same time, of an attempt to poison the Earl of Rothes ; 
the families of Rothes and Glammis were connected. The mother of John, 
sixth Lord Glammis, (Lady Glammis's husband,) was Elizabeth Grey. On 
the death of her first husband, John, fourth Lord Glammis, she married 
Alexander, third Earl of Huntlev ; and, on his death, she married George 
earl of Rothes.— Douglas, vol. ii. pp. 429, 563. Vol. i. p. 646, 668. 

+ See, in the Illustrations, a note on the conspiracy of the Lady Glammis. 


Although James supported his clergy in their per- 
secution of the Protestant doctrines, which were now 
rapidly gaining ground in the country, it was not so 
much with the zeal of a bigot as with the views of a 
politician. That he was not indisposed to a moderate 
Reformation of the abuses in the Catholic church, is 
evident, from the liberality with which he permitted 
the exhibition of the dramatic satire of Lindsay, and 
the severity of his censures upon the excesses of some 
of the prelates ; but his determination to humble the 
power of the nobles, to destroy the secret influence of 
England, and to reign a free monarch over an inde- 
pendent kingdom, was, he thought, to be best accom- 
plished by the assistance of the great body of the clergy, 
whose talents, wealth, and influence formed the only 
eff'ectual counterpoise to the weight of the temporal 
peers. The impetuosity of the character of Henry, 
and the haughtiness with which he dictated his com- 
mands, alienated from him the mind of his nephew, 
and disposed him to listen with greater favour to the 
proposals of Francis, and the wishes of the house of 
Guise. The state of England also encouraged him to 
hope, that the king would be soon too much engrossed 
with his domestic afi'airs, to find leisure for a continu- 
ance of his intri2:ues with Scotland. The discontents 
amongst his Catholic subjects had become so deep and 
general, that within no very long period three insur- 
rections had broken out in different parts of the coun- 
try; various prophecies, songs, and libellous rhymes, 
which spoke openly of the accession of the Scottish 

That this unfortunate lady, by her secret practices >yith the Earl of Angus 
and the Douglases, had brought herself ■within the statute which made such 
intercourse treason, is certain ; but her participation in any conspiracy against 
the king, has been much questioned, as it appears to me, on insufficient 

1 538. JAMES V. 223 

monarch to the English throne, began to be circulated 
amongst the people ; and numerous parties of disaf- 
fected Catholics, intimidated by the violence of Henry, 
took refuge in the sister kingdom. James, indeed, in 
his intercourse with the English council, not only pro- 
fessed his contempt for such " fantastic prophecies," 
but ordered that all who possessed copies of them 
should instantly, under the penalty of death and con- 
fiscation, commit them to the flames ;* yet, so far as 
they indicated the unpopularity of the king, it may be 
conjectured that he regarded them with satisfaction. 
Another event, which happened about this time, was 
attended with important consequences. James Beaton 
archbishop of St Andrew''s, who had long exercised a 
commandino; influence over the affairs of the kino-dom, 
died in the autumn of the year 1539, and w^as succeeded 
in the primacy by his nephew, Cardinal Beaton, a man 
far superior in talent, and still more devotedly attached 
to the interests of the church from which he derived 
his exaltation. It was Beaton who had neirotiated the 
second marriage of the king with Mary of Guise ; and 
such was the high opinion which his royal master en- 
tertained of his abilities in the manas^ement of state 
affairs, that he appears soon to have selected him as his 
principal adviser in the accomplishment of those great 
schemes which now occupied his mind. 

Beaton"*s accession to the supreme ecclesiastical 
authority, was marked by a renewed persecution of 
the reformers. It was a remarkable circumstance, that 
however corrupt may have been the higher orders of 
the Roman Catholic church at this period in Scotland, 

* Caligula, B. i. 295. James in an original Letter to the Bishop of Lan- 
deth (Landaff), dated 5th of February, in the thirty-sixth year of his reign, 
informs him that he suspects such ballads are the composition either of 
Henry's own subjects, or of Scottish rebels residing in England. 


the great majority of converts to the principles of the 
Reformation were to be found amongst the orders of 
the inferior clergy. This was shown in the present 
persecution. Keillor, a black friar; Dean Thomas 
Forret, vicar of Dollar, and a canon regular of the 
monastery of StColm''s Inch; Simpson, a priest; John 
Beveridge, also a black friar; and Forrester, a notary 
in Stirling, were summoned to appear before a council 
held by Cardinal Beaton, and William Chisholme the 
Bishop of Dunblane. It gives us a low opinion of the 
purity of the ecclesiastical judges before whom these 
early disciples of the Reformation were called, when 
we find the bench filled by Beaton and Chisholme, the 
first notorious for his gallantry and licentiousness, the 
second commemorated by Keith as the father of three 
natural children, for whom he provided portions by 
alienating the patrimony of his bishopric* 

Friar Keillor had roused the indignation of the 
church by the composition of one of those plays, or 
dramatic " m^^steries," common in such times, in 
which, under the character of the chief priests and 
Pharisees who condemned our Saviour, he had satirized 
the prelates who persecuted his true disciples. Against 
Forret, who owed his conversion to the perusal of a 
volume of St Augustine, a more singular charge was 
preferred, if we may believe the ecclesiastical historian. 
He was accused of preaching to his parishioners, a 
duty then invariably abandoned to the orders of friars; 
and of exposing the mysteries of Scripture to the vul- 
gar in their own tongue. It was on this occasion that 
Crichton bishop of Dunkeld, a prelate more celebrated 
for his generous style of living and magnificent hospi- 
tality, than for any learned or theological endowments, 

* Keith's Catalogue, p. 105. 

1539. JAMES V. 225 

undertook to remonstrate with the vicar, observing, 
with much simplicity, that it was too much to preach 
every Sunday, as it might lead the people to think that 
the prelates ought to preach also : " Nevertheless," 
contmued he, " when thou findest any good epistle or 
gospel which sets forth the liberty of the Holy Church, 
thou mayst read it to thy flock." The vicar replied to 
this, that he had carefully read through both the Old 
and New Testament, and in its whole compass had not 
found one evil epistle or gospel ; but if his lordship 
would point them out, he would be sedulous in avoid- 
ing them. " Nay, brother Thomas, my joy, that I 
cannot do," said the bishop, smiling ; " for I am con- 
tented with my breviary and pontifical, and know- 
neither the Old or New Testament; and yet thou seest 
I have come on indifferently well : but take my advice, 
leave these fancies, else thou mayst repent when it is 
too late."* It was likewise objected to Forret, upon 
his trial, that he had taught his parishioners the Lord's 
Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Creed in the 
vulgar tongue ; that he had questioned the right of 
taking tithes, and had restored them to the poorer 
members of his flock. His defence, which he ground- 
ed on Scripture, wa,s received with insult ; his Bible 
plucked from his hand by Lauder, who denounced as 
heretical the conclusions he had drawn from it, and 
himself and his companions condemned to the stake. 
The sentence was executed on the Castle-hill of Edin- 
burgh, on the thirty-first February, 15S8-9."[* But 
such cruel exhibitions were not confined to the capital. 
In the same year, Kennedy, a youth of eighteen years 
of age, and Russel, a grey friar, were found guilty of 

■• MS. Calderw'ood, Pitcaim, vol. i. p. 212*. 
•f Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 23. 

VOL. V. 


heresy, and burnt at Glasgow; Arclibisliop Dunbar 
having, it is said, in vain, interceded with the cardinal 
to spare their lives. Kennedy is described by Knox 
as one who possessed a fine genius for Scottish poetry; 
and it is not improbable he ma}^ like Lindsay and 
Dunbar, have distinguished himself by some of those 
satirical effusions against the higher clergy, which it is 
well known were not the least efficient weapons in pre- 
paring the way for the Reformation. But the prospect 
of so cruel a death shook his resolution, and it was ex- 
pected he was about to recant, when the exhortations 
of Russel, a meek but courageous partisan of the new 
doctrines, produced a sudden change. Falling on his 
knees, he blessed the goodness and mercy of God, which 
had saved him from impending destruction, and break- 
ing out into an ecstacy of triumph, declared he now 
coveted death, and would readily endure the utmost 
tortures they could inflict. " IN'ow," said Russel, fix- 
ing his eyes on the prelates who presided ; " now is 
your hour, and the power of darkness ; ye now sit in 
judgment, whilst we stand before you falsely accused 
and most wrongfully condemned. But the day is 
coming when we shall have our innocence declared, and 
ye shall discover your blindness — meanwhile proceed, 
and fill up the measure of your iniquities."* 

The effect of these inhuman executions was highly 
favourable to the principles of the Reformation, a cir- 
cumstance to which the eyes of the clergy, and of the 
monarch who lent them his sanction, w^ere completely 
blinded ; and it is extraordinary they should not have 
perceived that they operated against them in another 
way by compelling many of the persecuted families to 
embrace the interests of the Douglases. 

* MS. Calderw-ood, Pitcaim's Criminal Trials, vol. i, p. 216. 

15S9. JAMES V. 227 

The continued and mutual inroads upon the Borders 
now called loudly for redress, and Henry, having de- 
spatched the Duke of Norfolk, his lieutenant in the 
north, to punish the malefactors, the Scottish king, in 
a letter addressed to that nobleman, not only expressed 
his satisfaction with this appointment, but his readi- 
ness to deliver into his hands all English subjects who 
had fled into Scotland.* The presence of the English 
earl in the disturbed districts was soon after followed 
by the mission of Sir Ralph Sadler to the Scottish 
court, an event accelerated by the intelligence which 
Henry had received of the coalition between Francis 
the First and the emperor, and by his anxiety to pre- 
vent his nephew from joining the confederacy against 
him. Of Sadler''s reception and negotiation we fortu- 
nately possess an authentic account, and it throws a 
clear light upon the state of parties in Scotland. 

His instructions directed him to discover, if possible, 
James"'s real intentions with regard to the league by 
the emperor and Francis against England ; to ascertain 
in what manner the monarch was aflected towards the 
reformed opinions, and by an exposure of the tyranny 
of the papal power, the scandalous lives of the majority 
of the clergy, and the enormous wealth which had been 
engrossed by the church, to awaken the royal mind to 
the necessity and the advantage of a suppression of the 
monasteries, and a rupture with the supreme pontiff". 
To accomplish this more eff'ectually, the ambassador 
carried with him certain letters of Cardinal Beaton, 
addressed to Rome, wiiich had accidentally fallen into 
Henry's hands, and the contents of which it was ex- 
pected would awaken the jealousy of his master, and 
lead to the disgrace of the cardinal ; whilst Sadlei 

* Original letter in the State-paper Office. 


was to renew the proposal for a personal conference 
between the two princes, and to hold out to his ambi- 
tion the hope of his succession to tlie crown of England, 
in the event of the death of Henrj''s infant and only 
son, Prince Edward.* 

On his arrival in Scotland, the ambassador was 
welcomed with cordiality, and although he failed in 
the main purpose of his mission, his reception indicated 
a desire upon the part of James to preserve the most 
amicable relations with England. This prince declared, 
and apparently with sincerity, that if Henry ""s conduct 
corresponded to his professions, nothing should induce 
him to join in any hostile coalition with Charles or 
Francis, but he steadily refused to imitate his example 
in throwinij off his allef]^iance to the head of the church, 
dissolving the monasteries, or abjuring the religion of 
his fathers. As to the letters of the cardinal, the king 
remarked that he had already seen them, and he smiled 
with polite contempt when Sadler attributed to Beaton 
a scheme for the usurping the government of his realm, 
and placing it in the hands of the Pope. He admitted, 
at the same time, the profligacy of some of his clergy, 
and declared with an oath that he would compel them 
to lead a life more suitable to their profession ; but he 
pronounced a merited eulogium on their superior know- 
ledge and talents, their loyalty to the government, and 
their readiness to assist him in his difficulties. When 
pressed upon the point of a conference, he dexterously 
waved the subject, and, without giving a refusal, de- 
clared his wish that his allv the Kins: of France 
should be present on the occasion, a condition upon 

* It gives us a mean opinion of the wisdom of the English monarch, to 
find Sadler instructed to remonstrate with James, upon his unkingly mode 
of increasing his revenue, by his keeping vast flocks of sheep, and busying 
himself in other agricultural pursuits. 

1540. JAMES V. 22.9 

which Sadler had received no instructions. On the 
whole the conference between James and the ambas- 
sador placed in a favourable light the prudence and 
good sense of the Scottish monarch, under circum- 
stances which required the exertion of these qualities 
in no common deirree.* 

He now meditated an important enterprise, and only 
awaited the confinement of the queen to carry it into 
effect. -[* The remoter portions of his kingdom, the 
northern counties, and the Western and Orkney islands 
had, as we have already seen, been grievously neglected 
during his minority; they had been torn by the con- 
tentions of hostile clans ; and their condition, owing to 
the incursions of the petty chiefs and pirate adventurers 
who infested these seas, was deplorable. This the 
monarch now resolved to redress, by a voyage conducted 
in person, and fitted out upon a scale which had not 
before been attempted by any of his predecessors. A 
fleet of twelve ships was assembled, amply furnished 
with artillery, provided for a lengthened voyage, and 
commanded by the most skilful mariners in his domin- 
ions. Of these, six ships were appropriated to the king, 
three were victuallers, and the remaining three carried 
separately the cardinal, the Earl of Huntley, and the 
Earl of Arran. J Beaton conducted a force of five hun- 
dred men from Fife and Angus ; Huntley and Arran 
brought with them a thousand, and this little army 
was strengthened by the royal suite, and many barons 
and gentlemen who swelled the train of their prince, or 

* Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. pp. 29, 30. 

"Y Caligula, B. iii. 219. "Albeit it is said the k}Tige of Scottis causes the 
schippys to be furnj'sched and in a redines, and after the queene be delivered he 
willgohymself." J. Thompson to SirThomas Wharton, Carlisle, May 4, 1540. 

X Ther be preparyt in all twelf shyppys, whereof thre as is aforesaid for 
the cardinall and the two erlys, and thre other shy pis for vj-talis only, and six 
for the kyngand hys trayne, * * the said ships ar all well ordanansyd." Edward 
Aglionby to Sir Thomas Wharton, Carlisle, May 4, 1540. Caligula, B. iii. 217. 


followed on this distant enterprise tlie banner of their 
chiefs. It was one laudable object of the king in his 
voyage, to complete an accurate nautical survey of the 
northern coasts and isles, for which purpose he carried 
with him Alexander Lindsay, a skilful pilot and hy- 
drographer, whose charts and observations remain to 
the present day.* But his principal design was to 
overawe the rebellious chiefs, to enforce obedience to 
the laws, and to reduce within the limits of order and 
good government a portion of his dominions, which, 
for the last thirty years, had repeatedly refused to ac- 
knowledge their dependence upon the Scottish crown. 
On the 22d of May, to the great joy of the monarch 
and his people, the queen presented them with a prince, 
and James, whose preparations were complete, hoisted 
the royal flag on board the admiral's ship, and favoured 
with a serene heaven and a favourable breeze, conducted 
his fleet along the populous coasts of Fife, Angus, and 
Buchan, till he doubled the promontory of Kennedar.-f- 
He next visited the wild shores of Caithness, and 
crossing the Pentland Firth was gratified on reaching 
the Orkneys by finding these islands in a state of 
greater improvement and civilisation than he had ven- 
tured to expect. Doubling cape Wrath the royal 
squadron steered for the Lewis, Harris, and the isles 
of North and South Uist; they next crossed over to 
Skye, made a descent upon Glenelg, Moidart and 
Ardnamurchan, circumnavigated Mull, visited Coll and 
Tiree, swept along the romantic coast of Argyle, and 
passing the promontory of Kentire, delayed awhile on 
the shores of Arran, and cast anchor beside the richer 
and more verdant fields of Bute. Throughout the whole 
progress, the voyage did not exhibit exclusively the 

* Harleian MSS. 399G. f Probably Kinnaird's Head is here meant. 

1540. JAMES V. 231 

stern aspect of a military expedition, but mingled the 
delight of the chase, of which James was passionately 
fond, with the graver cares and labours of the monarch 
and the legislator. The rude natives of these savage 
and distant regions flocked to the shore to gaze on the 
unusual apparition, as the fleet swept past their pro- 
montories ; and the mountain and island lords crowd- 
ed round the royal pavilion which was pitched upon 
the beach, to deprecate resentment and profiler their 
allegiance. The force which was aboard appears to 
have been amply sufficient to secure a prompt submis- 
sion upon the part of those fierce chieftains who had 
hitherto bid defiance to all regular government, and 
James, who dreaded lest the departure of the fleet 
should be a signal for a return to their former courses, 
insisted that many of them should accompany him to 
the capital, and remain there as hostages for the peace- 
able deportment of their followers.* Some of the most 
refractory were even thrown into irons and confined 
on board the ships, whilst others were treated with a 
kindness which soon substituted the ties of afiectionate 
allegiance for those of compulsion and terror.-f- On 
reachino; Dumbarton, the kino- considered his labours 
at an end, and giving orders for the fleet to proceed by 
their former course to Leith, travelled to court, only to 
become exposed to the renewed enmity of his nobles. 
Another conspiracy, the third within the last three 

* Lesley, p. 157. Maitland, vol. ii. p. 814. 

+ The names of the chiefs seized by James in this expedition may he inter- 
esting to some of my readers. In Sutherland, Donald Mackay of Strathnaver ; 
in the Lewis, Roderick ISIacleod and his principal kinsmen ; in the west of 
Skye, Alexander Macleod of Dun vegan, or of Harris ; in the north of Skj-e at 
Trouterness, John Moydertach captain of clan Ranald, Alexander of Crlen- 
garrie, and others who were chieftains of " MacConeyllis kin," by which we 
must understand relatives of the late Donald Gruamach of Sleat, who was 
understood to have the hereditary claim to the lordship of the isles ; in Kin- 
ta,il, John Mackenzie chief of that clan ; Kentire and Knapdale, Hector Mac- 
lean of Dowart and James Macconnel of Isla. 


years, was discovered, and its author, Sir James Hamil- 
ton, arrested and brought to trial on a charge of treason* 
This baron, who has been already mentioned as notorious 
for his cruelty in an age not fastidious in this respect, 
was the illegitimate son of the Earl of Arran, and had 
acquired over the early youth of the king an influence, 
from which his more advanced judgment recoiled. 
Such, however, was his power and wealth, that it was 
dangerous to attempt anything against him, and as he 
was a zealous and bigoted supporter of the ancient re- 
ligion, he could reckon on the friendship of the clergy. 
His temper was passionate in the extreme, and during 
the king's minority had often hurried him into excesses, 
which, under a government where the law was not a 
dead letter, might have cost him his head ; but he had 
hitherto escaped, and latterly had even experienced the 
king's favour. Such was the state of things, when the 
monarch, who had left the capital to pass over to Fife, 
was hurriedly accosted by a stranger, who demanded a 
speedy and secret audience, as the business on which 
he had been sent was of immediate moment, and 
touched the kinj^'s life. James listened to the storv, 
and taking a ring from his finger, sent it by the in- 
former to Learmont master of the household, and 
Kirkaldy the treasurer, commanding them to inves- 
tigate the matter and act according to their judgment 
of its truth and importance.* He then pursued his 
journey, and soon after received intelligence that 
Hamilton was arrested. It was found that his accuser 
was James Hamilton of Kincavil, sherifi" of Linlithgow, 
and brother to the early reformer Patrick Hamilton, 
in whose miserable death Sir James had taken an active 
part. The crime of which he was arraigned was of old 
standing, though now revealed for the first time. It 

* Drummond, 1 1 0. Maitland, 825. 

154:0. JAMES V. 233 

was asserted that Hamilton, along with Archibald 
Douglas of Kilspindy, Robert Leslie, and James Dou- 
glas of Parkhead, had in the year 1528, conspired to 
slay the king, having communicated their project to 
the Earl of Ano-us and his brother Sir Georsre Doufrlas, 
who encouraged the atrocious design.* Some authors 
have asserted that the intention of Hamilton was to 
murder James by breaking into the royal bed-chamber, -|- 
but in the want of all contemporary record of the trial, 
it is only known that he was found guilty and instantly 
executed. His innocence he is said to have affirmed to 
the last, J but no one lamented the death of a tyrannical 
baron, whose hands were stained by much innocent and 
unavenged blood; and the fate of the brave and vir- 
tuous Lennox who had been murdered by him after 
giving up his sword, was still fresh in the recollection 
of the people. 

After the execution, the monarch is represented by 
some of our historians as having become a stranger to 
his former pleasures, and a victim to the most gloomy 
suspicions; his court, the retreat of elegant enjoyment, 
was for a while transformed into the solitary residence 
of an anchorite or a misanthropist, and awakening to 
the conviction that he was hated by his nobility, many 
of whom had retired to their castles alarmed at the 
fate of Hamilton, he be<2;an to fear that he had eno-ao-ed 
in a strusraie to which he mio;ht fall a victim. For a 
while the thought preyed upon his peace, and disturbed 
his imagination. His sleep became disturbed by fright- 
ful visions ; at one time he would leap out of his bed, 
and, calling for lights, command his attendants to take 
away the frightful spectacle wdiich stood at his pillow, 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 423, 

+ Anderson, MS. History, in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, p. 229, 

X Lesley, p. 158. 


and assumed the form of his Justiciar fvho cursed the 
hour he had entered his service ; at another his cham- 
berlain was awakened by groans in the royal apartment, 
and entering, found the king sitting up in bed, trans- 
fixed with terror, and declarinir tliat ho had been visited 
by the bastard of Arran, who brandished a naked sword, 
and threatened to lop oft' both his arms, affirming that 
he would return, after a short season, and be more fully 
revenged.* These stories, whether we believe or reject 
them, were undoubtedly so far founded in truth, that 
the king became deeply engrossed and agitated by the 
difficulties of his situation, and it is no unusual thing 
to find the visions of the night borrowing their gloomy 
and fantastic pictures from the business of the day ; 
but James's mind, however paralyzed for the moment, 
was composed of too strong materials to be shaken by 
such ideal terrors, and as it recovered its strength he 
soon resumed his wonted activity. 

A parliament wdiich assembled in the month of 
December, and a second meeting of the three Estates 
convoked in the succeeding March, deliberated upon 
some subjects of great importance. To preserve the 
peace with England, to support the church, now hourly 
becoming more alarmed by the acknowledged progress 
of the reformed opinions, to strengthen the authority 
of the crown, and humble the power of the nobles were 
at this moment the leading features of the policy adopted 
by the Scottish monarch : and easy as it is to detect 
his errors when we look back at the past, illuminated 
by the light of nearly three centuries of increasing 
knowledge, it would scarcely be just to condemn that 
conduct which sought to maintain the independence of 
the kingdom, and the religion of his fathers against 

* Drummond, 111. 

] 540. JAMES V. 2S5 

what lie esteemed the attacks of heresy and revolution. 
AVhen in France, in 1537, James had published at 
Rouen a revocation of all the grants of lands, which 
during his minority had been alienated from the crown, 
and he now followed this up by a measure, upon the 
strict justice of which the want of contemporary evidence 
precludes us from deciding. This was an act of an- 
nexation to the crown of all the isles north and south 
of the two Kentires, commonly called the Hebrides. 
That these districts had been the scenes of constant 
treason and open defiance of the laws, must be acknow- 
ledged, and at this moment James retained in various 
prisons many of their chiefs whose lives had been par- 
doned on their surrender of their persons during his 
late expedition to his insular dominions. But whether 
it was just or prudent to adopt so violent a measure 
as to annex the whole of the isles to the crown as for- 
feited lands may be doubted. To these also were added 
the Orkney and Shetland isles, the seat of the rebellion 
of the Earl of Caithness, with the Lordships of Douglas, 
Bonkill, Preston, Tantallon, Crawford-Lindsay, Craw- 
ford-John, Bothwell, Jedburgh forest, and the superi- 
ority of the county or earldom of Angus. But this 
was not all; Glammis with its dependencies, Liddes- 
dale, the property of Bothwell, who was attached to 
the Douglases, and Evandale the estate of Sir James 
Hamilton, increased the growing power of the crown, 
and even the best disposed among the nobility trembled 
for themselves when they observed the unrelenting 
rigour of the monarch and the rapid process of the law. 
Having thus strengthened his hands by this large ac- 
cession of influence, James attempted to conciliate the 
uneasy feelings of the aristocracy by a general act of 
amnesty for all crimes and treasons committed up to 


the day of its publication ; but unfortunately its healing 
effects were defeated by the clause which excepted the 
banished Earl of Angus, his brother Sir George Dou- 
glas, and the whole body of their adherents. Nor was 
the sternness of re^al legislation confined to the hated 
Douglases. The Catholic clergy, whose councils were 
gradually gaining influence in the bosom of the monarch, 
procured the passing of many severe statutes against 
heresy. To argue against the supreme authority, or 
to question the spiritual infallibility of the Pope, was 
made a capital offence; no person even suspected of 
entertaining heretical opinions was to be admitted to 
any office in the government, whilst those who had fled 
from judicial examination were to be held as confessed, 
and sentence passed against them. All private meetings 
or conventicles, where religious subjects were debated, 
were declared illegal, rewards were promised to those 
who revealed where they were held ; and such was the 
jealousy with which the church provided against the 
contamination of its ancient doctrines, that no Catholic 
was to be permitted to converse with any one who had 
at any time embraced heretical opinions, although he 
had repented of his apostacy and received absolution 
for his errors. It is more pleasing to notice that in 
the same parliament, the strongest exhortations were 
given to churchmen, both of high and low degree, to 
reform their lives and conversation, whilst the contempt 
with which the services of reli2:ion had been latelv 
regarded was traced directly to the dishonesty and 
misrule of the clergy, proceeding from their ignorance 
in divine and human learning and the licentiousness 
of their manners. For the more general dissemination 
of the knowledge of the laws amongst the inferior judges 
and the great body of the people, the acts of parliament 

1540. JAMES V. 237 

were ordered to be printed from an authentic copy at- 
tested by the sign-manual of the clerk register ; and 
an act passed at the same time against the casting 
down of the images of the saints, informs us that the 
spirit of demolition, which afterwards gathered such 
strength, had already directed itself with an unhappy 
narrowness of mind against the sacred edifices of the 

Other enactments in a wiser spirit provided for the 
more universal and impartial administration of justice 
by the sheriffs and temporal judges throughout the 
realm. The abilities of deputies or inferior judges, 
the education and election of notaries, and the ratifica- 
tion of the late institution of the College of Justice, 
form the subjects of some important changes ; various 
minute re2:ulations were introduced concernino- the 
domestic manufactures and foreign commerce of the 
country, and to defend the kingdom against any sudden 
project for its invasion (a measure which the violent 
temper of Henry rendered by no means improbable) 
the strictest orders were given for the observance of 
the stated military musters, and the arming of all 
classes of the community. It was declared that the 
army of Scotland should fight on foot, that the yeomen 
who brought horses with them should only use them 
for carria2:es or bao:2:ao:e wao:2:ons, and that none should 
be permitted to be mounted in the host except earls, 
barons, and great landed proprietors. Such leaders 
were directed to be armed in white harness, light or 
heavy according to their pleasure, and with the weapons 
becoming their rank ; whilst all persons whose fortune 
was below a hundred pounds of yearly rent, were to 
have a jack, or a halkrick,"!- or brigantine, and gloves of 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 370. + A Corslet. 


plate, with pesane and gorget ; no weapons being ad- 
mitted by the muster officer, except spears, pikes of six 
ells length, Leith axes, halberds, hand-bows and arrows, 
cross-bows, culverins, and two-handed swords. 

Such in 1540 were the arms of the Scottish host;* 
and these cares for the increase of the military strenij-th 
of his dominions were succeeded on the part of the 
king by more decided demonstrations. A proclamation 
was read in the capital, and forwarded to every part 
of the country, by which all persons between sixteen 
and sixty years of age, were commanded to be ready 
on a warning of twenty-four hours to join the royal 
banner, armed at all points ; and a train of sixteen 
great, and sixty lesser cannon was ordered to be fitted 
out, to take the field within twenty days after Easter. 
It may be doubted, however, whether such symptoms 
of impending hostility were not rather preventive than 
preparatory of war. The individual feelings of the 
sovereign at this moment appear to have been in favour 
of a reform in the church, a measure almost synony- 
mous with a peace with England; he not only permitted, 
but encouraged and sanctioned by his presence, the 
celebrated play of Lindsay, which, under the name of 
a satire on the three Estates, embodied a bitter attack 
upon the Catholic clergy ; he remonstrated with the 
prelates on the scandalous lives of some of their body; 
and if we may give full credit to the representations of 
the Duke of Norfolk, -f who repeated the information 
of an eye-witness, he began to look with a covetous 
longing upon the immense revenues, and meditated, 
at least so the clergy dreaded, the appropriation of a 
portion of the possessions of the church. Yet the same 

* Acts of Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 3G2. 

t Norfolk to Lord Privy Seal, 2<ith March, 1543. Caligula, B. vii, 2»28. 

1541. JAMES V. 239 

authority pronounces him a decided enemy to the power 
and interference of England in the internal administra- 
tion of his kingdom ; and the queen, whose influence 
over her husband was increased at this time by the 
birth of another prince, was a devoted adherent of 
Rome. To counteract the disposition of the sovereign 
towards the Reformation, the areat reliance of Beaton 
and the prelates was in the prospect of a war with 
England; for the attainment of this object no industry 
and no intrigues w^re omitted, no sacrifice considered 
too dear ; and it unfortunately happened, that the 
violence of Henry the Eighth, with the unrelenting- 
enmity of the Scottish monarch against the Douglases, 
and that large portion of the nobility connected with 
them by alliance or by interest, presented them with 
materials of mutual proA^ocation, of which they well 
knew how to avail themselves. 

In the midst of these transactions the queen-mother 
was taken ill at INIethven, the castle of her husband, 
and died after a varied and turbulent life, durino- the 
latter years of which she had lost all influence in the 
affairs of the kingdom. Great violence of temper, a 
devotedness to her pleasures, and a disregard of public 
opinion, were qualities in w^hicli she strongly resem- 
bled her brother, Henry the Eighth; and after the 
attempt to accomplish a divorce from Methven, her 
third husband, w^hich for the sake of decency was 
quashed by her son, she appears to have been neglected 
by all parties. Her talents, had they not been enslaved 
to her caprice and passion, were of a high order, as is 
amply proved by that large and curious collection of 
her original letters preserved in our national archives ; * 
but the influence she exerted during the minority of 

* In the State-paper Office and the British Museum. 


licr son was mlscliievous, and her individual character 
such as could not loner command either affection or 
respect. She was interred with much solemnity and 
magnificence in the church of the Carthusians, at 
Perth, in the tomb of its founder, James the First. 

The decease of the queen Avas followed by an event 
which plunged the court and the people into sincere 
grief. Arthur duke of Albany, the infant prince 
whose birth had lately given such joy to his royal 
parents, was suddenly cut off at Stirling by some in- 
fantine disease; and scarcely had he ceased to breathe, 
when Prince James, the eldest born, and heir to the 
throne, was attacked with a similar malady, which 
defied all human skill, and hurried him within a brief 
j)eriod to share the grave of his brother.* It was a 
blow which fell heavily upon the affections of the mon- 
arch; and, in a political point of view, its consequences 
were equally distressing; it shook the security of a 
sovereign, who was at variance with his nobility, and 
whose throne needed, on that account, the support 
communicated by the certainty of succession ; but 
James never permitted his cares and duties to be long 
interrupted by an excessive indulgence in sorrow, and 
he wisely sought for alleviation in an attention to those 
peaceful arts, which were intimately connected with the 
welfare of his kingdom. From France and Flanders, 
from Spain and Holland, he invited the most skilful 
artisans, in those various branches of manufacture and 
industry, wherein they excelled his subjects, inducing 
them by pensions to settle in the country ; he improved 
the small native breed of the Scottish horses by im- 
portations from Denmark and Sweden ;•[- and anxious 

* Pinkerton, ii. 371. 

+ Epistoke Regum Scotonim, vol. ii. p. 3G : — " Catapliractos aliquot e 
regno tuo desideramus.'" 

1541. JAMES V. 241 

for the encouragement of useful learning, he visited the 
University of Aberdeen in company with his queen 
and his court, listened to the classic declamations of 
the students, and enjoyed the dramatic entertainments 
which were recited, during a residence of fifteen days, 
in this infant seat of the Scottish Muses. On his 
return, a mission of Campbell of Lundy to the Nether- 
lands, for the redress of some grievances connected with 
the fisheries, and an embassy of Beaton, and Panter 
the secretary of the king, to Rome, evinced that the 
royal mind had recovered its wonted strength and 
activity. The avowed object of the cardinal w^as to 
procure his nomination as papal legate within the 
dominions of his master; but there can be little doubt, 
that his secret instructions, which unfortunately have 
not been preserved, embraced a more important design. 
The extirpation of heresy from Scotland, and the re- 
establishment of the Catholic faith in the dominions 
of Henry the Eighth, by a coalition between Francis, 
James, the emperor, and the papal see, formed, it is 
probable, the main purpose of Beaton's visit. Events, 
however, were now in progress, which counteracted his 
best-laid schemes ; and the rupture which soon after 
took place between Francis and the emperor, for the 
present dissolved the meditated confederacy. 

It was this moment which the Eno-lish monarch 
selected for a second embassy of Sadler to the court 
of his nephew ; and, had Henry's instructions to his 
ambassador been less violent, a favourable impression 
might have been made ; but James, who never forgot his 
station as an independent prince, was not to be threat- 
ened into a compliance with a line of policy, which, if 
suggested in a tone of conciliation, his judgment might 
perhaps have approved ; and if the English ambassador 

VOL. V. Q 


besought liini not to " be as bruto as a stockc,"" or to 
suffer the practices of juggling prelates to lead him by 
the nose, and impose a yoke upon his shoulders, the 
spirit of the prince must have been roused by the 
insolence of such language to a deeper resentment than 
he had yet felt against his uncle.* Yet, although 
inimical to the purposes of the embassy, the request 
of Henry, that James should meet him in a conference 
to be held on the Borders, was received with a less 
niad'ked opposition ; and before the departure of Sadler, 
the monarch appears to have given a reluctant assent 
to the interview. ■)- It, however, most inopportunely 
happened, that at this time the English borderers, not 
only with the approval, but under the guidance of the 
wardens, renewed, with every circumstance of cruelty 
and havoc, their invasions of the Scottish territory ; 
and the kinsr, diso-usted with such contradiccion and 
duplicity, presented a remonstrance, in which he not 
only demanded redress, but declined the promised in- 
terview till it should be obtained. J Meanwhile, Henry 
proceeded to York, in the autumn of the year 1541, 
and for six days held his court in that city, in hourly 
expectation of the arrival of his nephew ; but he looked 
for him in vain, and in deep indignation retraced his 
steps to his capital. To act on the resentment of the 
moment, and to permit the impatience of personal 
revenge to dictate the course of his policy, was the 
frequent failing of this monarch ; and there can be 
no doubt, that from the instant he found himself 

* Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 374, Caligula, B. i. 57. 

+ Copy of Articles delivered by the Bishops of Aberdeen and Orkney, 
December, 1.54], promising that James would meet Henry at York on 15th 
January next. State-paper Office. 

J Paper in State-paper Office, December, 1541. Articles delivered by 
the King of Scots to the Bishops of Orkney and Aberdeen, and Mr Thomas 
Bellenden, relative to the depredations by the English borderers. 

1542. JAMES V. 243 

disappointed of the intended interview at York, war 
with Scotland was resolved on. Instructions were 
despatched to Sir Robert Bow^s, to levy soldiers and 
put the east and middle marches in a state of defence; 
an array was ordered to be raised for immediate service 
in the north ; the fortifications of Berwick were in- 
spected; and the monarch, having determined to revive 
the idle and exploded claim of superiority, issued his 
commands to the Archbishop of York, requesting him 
to make a search into the most ancient records and 
muniments within his diocese, so as to ascertain his 
title to the kingdom of Scotland.* 

Some circumstances, however, for a short season 
delayed, although they could not prevent, an open 
rupture. James, from a deference to the opinion of 
his ecclesiastical councillors, had disappointed Henry of 
the intended interview at York ; but he despatched an 
ambassador, who was commissioned to express his regret 
on the occasion, in terms of respect, and conciliation ; 
whilst Beaton's devices beins: somewhat thwarted by 
the renewal of the quarrel between Francis and the 
emperor, this ambitious minister required an interval 
to examine his ground, and alter his mode of attack. 
An event, however, which occurred about this time, 
was improved by the cardinal and the clergy, to bring 
about the desired war. The kino- had lons^ maintained 
an intercourse in Ireland, not only with his Scottish 
subjects, who possessed a considerable portion of the 
island, but with many of the principal chiefs, in whose 
eyes the English monarch was a heretic and a tyrant. 
Hitherto, Henry ''s predecessors and himself had been 
contented to call themselves lords of that country ; 

* State-paper Office. Letter from Privy Council of England, April 28th 
1542, and Bir Thomas Wriotheslej to Sir Kobert Bowes, July 28th, 1542. 


but, in a parliament of tliis year, lie had assumed the 
more august style of Kiufj of Ireland* — a proceedin;^ 
so ill-received by its native chiefs, that they sent a 
deputation to the Scottish court, inviting its monarch 
to accept their homage, and making a proffer of the 
crown, which had already, in ancient times, although 
for a brief period, been placed upon the head of a Scottish 
prince. •[* It is not probable, that the offer was ever 
viewed by James in a serious light ; yet, the assump- 
tion of the title of Defender of the Faith, with which 
the Pope had condescended to flatter him, the gracious 
reception given to the Irish chiefs, and the warlike 
preparations which could not be concealed, excited the 
jealousy, and increased the resentment of the English 
king to so high a pitch, that it was evident war could 
not be long averted. 

Under such circumstances, nothins^ seemed wantin^j 
but a slight spark to ignite the mass which had been 
accumulating for many years ; and this was soon 
furnished by the restless borderers. Upon whose 
side hostilities began seems uncertain ; the Scottish 
monarch in one of his letters, insisted, that before his 
subjects retaliated, they had been provoked by two 
English invasions ; whilst the manifesto of Henry 
broadly imputed the first aggression to his nephew. 
Mutual incursions were probably succeeded by a mu- 
tual wish to throw the odium of an infraction of the 
peace upon each other ; and, at the moment when Sir 
James Learmont had proceeded with a message of re- 
gret and conciliation to the English court, Sir James 
Bowes, captain of Norliam, and warden of the east 
marches, broke across the Border ; and, with a body 
of three thousand horse, penetrated into Teviotdale. 

* Lesley, p. 160. f Maitland, vol. ii. 826. 

1542. JAMES V. 245 

He was accompanied by the banished Earl of Angus, 
Sir George Douglas, and a large body of their retainers; 
but the Earl of Huntley encountered him with a strong 
force at Hadden-Rig, and, with the assistance of Lord 
Home, who joined the host with four hundred lancers, 
obtained a complete victory. Six hundred prisoners 
of note fell into the hands of the enemy, amongst w^hom 
were the lord warden himself, and his brother. Angus 
was nearly taken, but slew his assailant with his dag- 
ger, and saved himself by flight.* 

Open and determined war appeared now inevitable; 
and Henry, having sent orders to the Duke of Norfolk 
to levy a force of forty thousand men, this able leader, 
who had obtained from his master the name of the 
Scourge of the Scots, proceeded by rapid marches to- 
wards York. Along with him, each leading their 
respective divisions, came the Earls of Southampton, 
Shrewsbury, Derby, Cumberland, Rutland, and Hert- 
ford, with Angus, and some of his Scottish adherents: 
but on their march, they were arrested by a deputation 
of commissioners, instructed by James to make a final 
effort for averting a war. Whether the Scottish king 
was sincere in this, or merely used it as an expedient 
to gain time, does not appear ; but, as the season was 
far advanced, even a short delay was important; and, 
in all probability, he had become convinced of the fatal 
effects which the dissatisfaction of his nobility with his 
late measures might produce upon the issue of the cam- 
paign. He accordingly prevailed on Norfolk to halt 
at York, and amused him for a considerable period with 
proposals for a truce, and a personal interview, which 
had long been the great object of the English king. 

It was now, however, too late ; the conferences 

* Maitland, vol. ii. p. 831. Lesley, p. 162. 


conducted to no satisfactory conclusion ; and ITcnry, 
issuing imperative orders to his lieutenant to advance 
into Scotland, published at the same moment a mani- 
festo, in which he stated his reasons for ensrauinir iu 
Avar : his nephew, he affirmed, supported some of his 
chief rebels within his dominions ; his subjects had 
invaded England when a treaty of peace was in the 
course of negotiation ; he was refused the possession 
of some districts, to which he affirmed he had estab- 
lished an unquestionable title ; and James had lastly 
disappointed him of the promised interview at York. 
These trifling causes of quarrel were followed up by a 
revival of the claim of superiority over Scotland, and 
a tedious enumeration of the false and exploded grounds 
upon which it was maintained. 

The winter had now commenced ; yet Norfolk, aware 
of the impetuosity of his master's temper, penetrated 
into Scotland; and finding no resistance, gave many 
of the irrano-es and villasres on the banks of the Tweed 
to the flames ; whilst James, becoming more aware of 
the secret indisposition of his nobles to a contest with 
England, once more despatched Learmont and the 
Bishop of Orkney to request a conference, and carry 
proposals of peace.* All negotiation, however, was in 
vain ; and commanding a force under Huntley, Home, 
and Seton, to watch the operations of Norfolk, the 
Scottish kin<r himself assembled his main armv, con- 
sisting of thirty thousand men, on the Borough-Muir, 
near Edinbul-gh.-f- But, though strong in numbers 
and equipment, this great feudal array was weakened 
bv various causes. It was led by those nobles who had 
ren:arded the late conduct of the kin": with sentiments 
of disapproval, and even of indignation. Many of them 

* Lesley, p. 16L + Herbert, in Kennet, vol. ii. p. 232. 

1542. JAMES V. 247 

favoured the doctrines of the Reformation; some from 
a conscientious conviction of their truth, others from 
an envious eye to those possessions of the church, 
which, under the dissolution of the English relisrious 
houses they had seen hecome the prey of their brethren 
in England; many dreaded the severity of the new 
laws of treason, and trembled for their estates, when 
they considered they might be thus rendered responsi- 
ble for the misdeeds of their deceased predecessors ; 
others were tied by bands of manrent to the interests 
of the Douglases ; and a few, who were loyal to the 
king, were yet anxious to adopt every honourable 
means of averting; a war, from which thev contended 
nothing could be expected, even should they be victori- 
ous, but an increase of those difficulties which per- 
plexed the councils of the government. It appears also 
to have been a rule amongst these feudal barons, which, 
if not strictly a part of the military law, had been 
establisl^ed by custom, that they were not bound to 
act offensively within the territories of a foreign state, 
although their feudal tenure compelled them, under 
the penalty of forfeiture, to obey the royal command 
in repelling an enemy who had crossed the Borders, 
and encamped within the kingdom. 

Such were the sentiments of the Scottish nobles 
when James lay with his army on Fala Muir, a plain 
near the western termination of the Lammermuir hills ; 
and intelligence was suddenly brought to the host, that 
Norfolk, compelled l)y the approach of winter and the 
failure of his supplies, had recrossed the Border, and 
was in full retreat. It was now the end of November; 
and such was the scarcity of provisions produced by 
the recent devastation of the English, that having 
consumed the allowances which they brought alonj^ 


with them, the Scottish army began to be severely 
distressed.* Yet the opportunity for retaliation ap- 
peared too favourable to be lost, and the monarch 
eagerly proposed an invasion of England, when he was 
met with a haui::htv and unanimous refusal. The crisis 
recalls to our minds the circumstances in which James 
the Third was placed at Lauder Bridge ; and it is even 
insinuated by some of our historians, that the nobles, 
who had been long secretly dissatisfied with the con- 
duct of the king, meditated a repetition of the ferocious 
scenes which then occurred ; but they had to do with 
a more determined opponent, and contented themselves 
by a steady refusal, alleging as their reason, the ad- 
vanced period of the year, and the impossibility of 
supporting so large a force. Yet this was enough to 
arouse to the highest pitch the indignation of the king; 
he alternately threatened and remonstrated ; he im- 
plored them, as they valued their honour as knights, 
or esteemed their allegiance as subjects, to accompany 
him against the enemy; he upbraided them as cowards 
and poltroons, who permitted Norfolk to burn their 
villages, and plunder their granges under their eyes, 
without darino^ to retaliate. But all was in vain : the 
leaders were immoveable ; the feudal feeling of loyalty 
to their prince, and revenge against their enemies, 
seemed to be extino-uished by a determination to seize 
the opportunity to show their own strength, and use 
it for the redress of their grievances ; and the king, 
overwhelmed with disappointment and chagrin, dis- 
banded the army and returned to his capital. *[- 

Yet, although thus abandoned by a great majority 
of his nobles, the monarch was not without some sup- 

* Letter from the Duke of Norfolk to the PriNy Council, dated 3d Nov, 
1542. State-paper Office, B. C, 
t John Car to My Lord of Norfolk, 1st Nov. 1542, State-paper Office. 

1542. JAMES V. 249 

porters amongst them ; the opulent body of the clergy 
were unanimous in his favour, and a few peers making 
an effort to recall their brethren to their duty, resolved 
to muster the army for a second time. Under what it 
was hoped would be more favourable auspices. For 
this purpose, Lord Maxwell offered his services, and a 
force of ten thousand men having been assembled with 
great expedition and secrecy, it was determined to 
break into Enoiand bv the western marches ; whilst 
the monarch, with the sanguine and energetic temper 
by which he was distinguished, shook off" the anguish 
which preyed on his mind, and eagerly awaited at 
Caerlaverock, the result of the invasion. He had 
given secret orders, that his favourite, Oliver Sinclair, 
should take the command of the little army, so soon 
as it reached the Esk ; and scarcely had the soldiers en- 
camped on English ground, when a halt was ordered; 
and this minion of the king, as he is termed in a con- 
temporary document, was raised on a platform, sup- 
ported on the shoulders of the troops, whilst the royal 
commission appointing him generalissimo was read 
aloud by a herald. The intelligence was received 
with murmurs of disapprobation : many of the ancient 
nobility declared they could not serve without degra- 
dation under such a leader; their clansmen and re- 
tainers adopted their feelings ; and whilst Maxwell, 
and a few of the most lo3^al peers, attempted to over- 
come their antipathy, the whole army became agitated 
with the discussion, presenting the spectacle of a dis- 
orderly mob tossed by conflicting sentiments and ready 
to fall to pieces on the slightest alarm. It was at this 
crisis that Dacre and Musorave, two Eno'lish leaders, 
advanced to reconnoitre, at the head of three hundred 
horse ; and approaching the Scottish camp, became 


sensible of its situation : nor did tliey delay a moment 
to seize the opportunity, but charged at full speed with 
levelled lances, and in a compact body. In the panic 
of the moment, they were believed to be the advance 
of a larger force ; and such was the effect of the sur- 
prise, that the rout was instantaneous and decisive. 
Ten thousand Scottish troops tied at the siglit of three 
hundred English cavalry, with scarce a momentary 
resistance; and a thousand prisoners fell into the 
hands of the enemy, amongst whom were the Earls of 
Cassillis andGlencairn, the Lords Somerville, Maxwell. 
Gray, Oliphant, and Fleming, the blasters of Erskine 
and Rothes, and Home of Ay ton.* 

The intelligence of this second calamity fell like a 
thunderbolt upon the king ; he had awaited at Caer- 
laverock, in the most eager expectation, the first intel- 
ligence from the army ; he trusted, that the success 
of the invasion would wipe away, in some degree, the 
dishonour of the retreat from Fala ; and he anticipated, 
with sanguine hope and resolution the renewal of the 
war, and a restoration of the feelino:s of cordialitv and 
attachment between himself and his barons. In an 
instant every prospect of this kind was blasted ; and 
in the first agony of the moment, he embraced an idea 
which overthrew the balance of his mind, and plunged 
him into despair: he became convinced, that his nobi- 
lity had entered into a conspiracy to betray him to 
England, to sacrifice their own honour, and the inde- 
pendence of the kingdom, to the determination to gra- 
tify their revenge against the crown, and their personal 
hatred to himself. -f" At Fala, they had disgraced him 
by an open contempt of his command ; at Solway, 

* Hall, p. 856. Maitland, vol. ii. p. 833. Lodge's Illustrations, vol. i, p. 
44-54, inclusive. 2d edit, 
f Lesley, p. 10'5. 

154:2. JAMES V. 251 

they had followed up the blow by an act which exposed 
themselves, their sovereign, and the Scottish name, to 
ridicule and contempt. James had often borne mis- 
fortune ; but his mind was too proud and impatient to 
endure dishonour, or to digest the anguish of reiterated 
disappointment ; and, although in the vigour of his 
strength and the flower of his age, with a constitution 
unimpaired and almost unvisited by disease, he sunk 
under this calamity, and seems truly to have died of 
a broken heart. From the moment the intelligence 
reached him, he shut himself up in his palace at Falk- 
land, and relapsed into a state of the deepest gloom and 
despondency ; he would sit for hours without speaking 
a word, brooding over his disgrace ; or would awake 
from his lethargy, only to strike his hand on his heart, 
and make a convulsive efibrt, as if he w^ould tear from 
his breast the load of despair which oppressed it. 
Exhausted by the violence of the exertion, he would 
then drop his arms by his side, and sink into a state 
of hopeless and silent melancholy. This could not 
last : it was soon discovered that a slow fever preyed 
upon his frame ; and having its seat in the misery of 
a wounded spirit, no remedy could be effectual. When 
in this state, intelligence was brought him, that his 
queen had given birth to a daughter.* At another time 
it would have been happy news ; but now, it seemed 
to the poor monarch, the last drop of bitterness which 
was reserved for him. Both his sons were dead. Had 
this child been a boy, a ray of hope, he seemed to feel, 
mio'ht vet have visited his heart ; he received the mes- 
senger and was informed of the event without -welcome, 
or almost recognition ; but wandering back in his 
thoughts to the time, when the daughter of Bruce 

* Mary queen of Scots -was born at Linlithgow on the 7th Dec. 1542. 

252 HISTORY OF Scotland. 1542. 

brought to his ancestor the dowry of the kingdom, ob- 
served, with melancholy emphasis, " It came with a 
lass, and it will pass with a lass.""* A few of his most 
favoured friends and councillors stood round his couch ; 
the monarch stretched out his hand for them to kiss ; 
and reixardius: them for some moments with a look of 
great sweetness and placidity, turned himself upon 
the pillow and expired."]* He died (13th December, 
15 42. J) in the thirty-first year of his age, and the 
twenty-ninth of his reign ; leaving an only daughter, 
Mary, an infant of six days old, who succeeded to 
the crown ; and amongst other natural children, a son 
James, afterwards the famous Regent Moray. There 
were some striking points of similarity between the 
character and destiny of this prince, and his great 
ancestor, James the First. To the long captivity of 
the one, we find a parallel in the protracted minority 
of the other ; whilst, in both, we may discover, that 
vigour, talent, and energetic resolution to support the 
prerogative against the attacks of their nobility, to 
which we can trace the assassination of the first, and 
the premature death of the fifth James. Both were 
accomplished princes, and exhibited in a rude and bar- 
barous age, a remarkable example of literary and poeti- 
cal talent ; whilst they excelled in all those athletic 
and military exercises, which were then considered the 
only proper objects of aristocratic ambition. 

* A lass ; a girl, or young maiden. 

+ Lesley, pp. 165, 10'6. Drummond, p. 114. Maitland, vol ii. p. o34, 
Lindsay, pp. 176, 177. 
X Keith, p. 22. 

1542. MARY. 253 




England. \ France. I Gainany. I Spain. i Popes. 
Henry VIII. I Francis I. I Charles V. I Charles V. | Paul III. 

The total rout of the Scottish army at the Solway 
Moss, and the death of James the Fifth within a fort- 
night after that event, produced the most important 
changes in the policy of both kingdoms. To Henry 
the Eighth, and that powerful faction of the Douglases, 
which, even in banishment, had continued to exert, by 
its secret friends, a decided influence in Scottish affairs, 
the death of the king was a subject of fervent congra- 
tulation. The English monarch immediately embraced, 
with the enthusiasm belonging to his character, the 
design of marrying his son, the Prince of AVales, to 
the infant Mary, hoping by this means to unite the 
two kingdoms, which had so long been the enemies of 
each other, into one powerful monarchy in the persons 
of their descendants. The Earl of Angus, and the 
Douglases, after a banishment of fifteen years, joyfully 
contemplated the prospect of a return to their native 
country; they had become subjects of the English 
monarch, had largely shared his bounty and protection ; 
and Henry determined to put their gratitude to the 


test by claimiiijx their assistance in fonvardins: his 
great scheme of procuring the Princess Mary for his 
son, and incorporating the kingdom of Scotland into 
the English monarchy; but, in the prosecution of this 
design, the king employed other agents. On their first 
arrival in London the Scottish prisoners, "svlio were 
taken at the Solway ^loss, found themselves treated 
with great severity; they were paraded through the 
streets of the metropolis, conducted to the Tower, and 
watched with much jealousy; but, as soon as the in- 
telli^'ence arrived of the death of their master the kins:, 
an immediate and favourable chan2:e in their condition 
took place. Their high rank and influence in Scot- 
land convinced Henry, that they might be useful, and 
even necessary agents to him in the accomplishment of 
his designs ; the rigour of their confinement was ac- 
cordingly relaxed ; and they now experienced not only 
kindness, but were entertained with hopes of a speedy 
return to their country, on condition that they for- 
warded the desio'ns of the En^-lish kins:. Sir George 
Douglas, the brother of Ano;us, who had shared his 
long banishment, and was much in the confidence of 
Henry, appears to have been intrusted with the prin- 
cipal share in negotiating the marriage. His talents 
for the management of political afiairs were superior 
to those of his brother the earl, over whose mind he 
possessed great influence ; and if we may believe the ex- 
pressions which he employed in his correspondence with 
Henry, he appears to have forgotten his allegiance to 
his natural prince in the humility of his homage, and 
the warmth of his devotion to the English monarch.* 

* Original letter of Sir G. Douglas, in State-paper Office, dated January 
10, 1542-3, to Lord Lisle the English warden: — "j'ff it pleases God that I 
continewe witlie lyff and helthe, I shall do my soverand lord and maister gud 
servyce be the helpe of God ; andyff I dey, I shall depart his trewe servand." 

1542. MARY. 255 

The project of a marriage between young Edward 
and the Scottish queen was in itself so plausible, and, 
if concluded upon an equitable basis and with a just 
attention to the mutual rights and independence of 
each country, appeared so likely to be attended with 
the happiest results, that it required little argument to 
recommend it to the Scottish prisoners, even had they 
not seen in it the only road by which they were to escape 
from their captivity; but whilst all can understand 
their readiness to promote a matrimonial alliance, and 
a perpetual union between the two kingdoms, had 
Henry confined his views to such a general design, the 
conduct pursued by that monarch, and the conditions 
which he oflfered were such as no man of independent 
and patriotic feelings could, without ignominy, have 
embraced. He insisted, that they should acknowledge 
him as lord superior of the kingdom of Scotland, that 
the prisoners should exert their influence to procure 
for him the government of the kingdom, and the im- 
mediate resignation of all its fortresses into liis hands ; 
that they should use their utmost efforts to have the 
infant queen delivered into his power, to be kept in 
England ;* and, in the event of such demands being 
refused by the parliament of Scotland, he stipulated 
that their whole feudal strength was to be employed 
in co-operating with his army, and completing the 
conquest of the country. Nor did the English mon- 
arch content himself with the bare promise of his pri- 
soners to fulfil his wishes : the affair was transacted 
with much rigour and solemnity. A bond or obliga- 
tion was drawn up, which engrossed these stipulations. 
To this they were required to subscribe their names, 
and confirm it by their oath ; they wqre to leave their 

* Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. pp. 69, 74, 75, 81. 


eldest sons, or nearest relatives, in their place as pledges 
for their fidelity ; should they fail in accomplishing 
the wishes of the king, they were to return to their 
prisons in England, on his so requiring it ; or, if lie 
judged it more profitable for the accomplishment of 
his design, they were to remain in Scotland and assist 
him in the war.* The bond, in short, contained 
terms which virtually annihilated the existence of 
Scotland as a separate kingdom ; and sad as is the fate 
of the captive, I am not prepared to admit that the 
Scottish prisoners were placed in a situation which 
called for hesitation. They were called upon to choose 
whether they were to preserve unsullied their indivi- 
dual honour, and maintain their national independence, 
by remaining in prison, and braving a captivity which 
the cruelty of Henry might render perpetual ; or 
whether they were to return dishonoured to their 
country, bound by the most solemn obli^i^ation to em- 
ploy their strength in reducing it to the condition of 
a province of England. Under such circumstances the 
citizen of a free country ought to have felt that he had 
only one resolution to adopt ; and it is with sorrow it 
must be declared, this resolution was not the one era- 
braced by the Scottish nobles. Unable to endure the 
thoughts of remaining in England, the Earls of Glen- 
cairn and Cassillis, with the Lords Maxwell, Somer- 
ville, and Oliphant, agreed to the conditions upon 
which Henry permitted them to revisit their country; 
subscribed the bond, by which, to use the words of the 
governor Arran, they were tied in fetters to England; 
confirmed it with their oath ; and having left hostages 
in the hands of that monarch, prepared to set out on 
their return. "f On their arrival, they cautiously ab- 

* Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 97. t Maitland, vol. ii. p. 838. 

1542. MARY 257 

stained from revealing the full extent of their obliga- 
tion, and spoke in general terms upon the advantages 
to be derived from the marriage with England. At 
the same time it is not to be forgotten, injustice to the 
Scottish aristocracy, that whilst its leading members 
did not scruple to sign this unworthy agreement, the 
majority of the prisoners taken at the Solway remained 
in captivity in England. It cannot, however, be 
affirmed, with certainty, that to them Henry had pre- 
sented the same temptation which overcame the virtue 
of their more wealthy and influential brethren. I have 
been thus minute in describing the transaction which 
took place between the English monarch and his 
prisoners, because it was afterwards attended with 
important consequences, and has not been noticed by 
any former historian with either the care or the full 
reprobation which it deserves. 

Whilst such was the policy adopted by Henry, the 
sudden death of James the Fifth gave rise to a very 
opposite course of events in Scotland ; it left that 
country once more exposed to all the evils of a mino- 
rity, and divided by two great parties : Of these, the 
first, and that which had hitherto been the strongest, 
was the body of the Catholic clergy, at the head of 
which stood the cardinal Beaton, a man possessed cer- 
tainly of high talents, and far superior in habits of 
business, acquaintance with human character, and the 
energetic pursuit of his purposes, to his opponents, — 
but profligate in his private conduct, insatiable in his 
love of power, and attached to the Roman Catholic 
faith with a devotedness which, without any breach 
of charity, we may pronounce as much the ofispring 
of ambition, as the result of conviction. Of this fac- 
tion the guiding principles were a determined opposi- 

VOL. V. R 

253 HISTORY OF Scotland. 1542. 

tion to the progress of the E.eformntion, and a devotion 
to the papal see, — friendship with France, hostiHty to 
England ; and a resolution, which all must applaud, 
of preserving the ancient independence of their coun- 
try. To them the late king, more from political 
motives than anything like personal bigotry, had lent 
the important strength of the royal favour and coun- 

In the ranks of the opposite faction were found a 
considerable portion of the nobility, of whom many of 
the leadins: chiefs favoured the doctrines of the Refer- 
mation, w^hilst all had viewed with alarm the late severe 
measures of the king. They were led by the Earl of 
Arran: a man of an amiable disposition, but indolent 
in his habits, and unhappily of that undecided temper 
which unfitted him to act with energy and success in 
times of so much confusion and difficulty. His bias 
to the reformed opinions was well known, and his royal 
rank, as nearest in succession to the crown, compelled 
him to assume an authority from which his natural 
character was inclined to shrink. It was to this party, 
whose weight was now to be increased by the accession 
of An<yus and the Douo-lases, that Henry looked for 
his principal supporters ; and considering the promises 
which he had received from the prisoners taken at the 
Solway ^loss, he entertained little doubt of carrying 
his project in the Scottish parliament. 

With regard to the great body of the people, of which 
we must remember that the middle and commercial 
classes alone possessed any influence in the govern- 
ment, they appear to have been animated at this time 
by somewhat discordant feelings. Many favoured the 
principles of the Reformation ; and so far as these were 
concerned, gave a negative support to Henry by their 

1542. MARY. 259 

hostility to the cardinal and his party; but their sense 
of national independence, and their jealousy of Eng- 
land as the ancient enemy of their country, was a deep- 
seated feeling, which was ready to erect itself into active 
opposition on the slightest assumption of superiority 
bv the rival kinodom. The conviction of this ouoht 
to have put Henry on his guard ; but it was the fre- 
quent misfortune of this monarch, to lose his highest 
advantages by the arrogance and violence with which 
he pursued them. 

Immediately after the death of the king, the cardinal 
produced a paper which he declared to be the will of the 
late monarch. It is asserted by most of our historians, 
and the story was confirmed by the positive testimony 
of the Earl of Arran,* that this was a forged instru- 
ment procured by guiding the king''s hand upon the 
paper when he was in his last extremity, and utterly 
insensible to its contents. It is certain that it ap- 
pointed Beaton guardian to the infant queen, and chief 
governor of the realm, with the assistance of a council 
composed of the Earls of Argyle, Huntley, and Moray, 
all of whom were devoted to his service ; and without 
giving his opponents time or opportunity to examine 
its provisions, or ascertain its authenticity, the cardi- 
nal had himself proclaimed regent, and hastened to 
assume the active management of the state. But his 
power, though great, was not sufficient to support him 
for above a few days in so bold a usurpation : the no- 
bility assembled, and Arran, rousing himself from his 
constitutional indolence, claimed the office of regent, 
insisting that by law it belonged to him as next heir 
to the crown ;-f the pretended will he described as a 

* Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 138. 

+ Knox, History, p. '65. Letter, State-paper Office, January 10, 1542-3. 


forged document, to which no faith was to be attached, 
and, notwithstanding the utmost efforts of the cardinal, 
his claim was universally admitted. He was chosen 
governor, and solemnly installed in his office on the 
twenty-second of December, 1542. Arrangements 
were then made for the maintenance of the household 
of the young queen, and her mother the queen-dowager, 
whilst it was determined that the Earl of Ansrus. and 
the Douo'lases, who had been doomed to so Ions: a 
banishment in England, should be restored to their 
possessions, and admitted to that share in the govern- 
ment which belono;ed to their hisrh rank. A remark- 
able circumstance increased the power and popularity 
of Arran, and the dread with which the country re- 
garded the cardinal. Upon the king"'s person at the 
time of his death was found a secret scroll, containing 
the names of above three hundred and sixty of the no- 
bility and gentry who were suspected of entertaining 
heretical opinions, and whose estates on this ground 
were recommended to be confiscated for the support of 
the king.* This private list, it was affirmed, had been 
furnished by Beaton, immediately after the refusal of 
the army to invade England, and although James re- 
jected on a former occasion, all such proposals, as a base 
project of the clergy to sow dissensions between him- 
self and his nobles, it was suspected that his resolution 
had, after the rout of the Solway, given way to the 
entreaties of the cardinal. At the head of these names 
stood Arran; and it may easily be believed, that with 

Sir George Douglas to Lord Lisle, informing him he had received a safe 
conduct from the Earl of Arran, calling himself governor, and proposed 
setting out that night for Edinhurgh. Also Letter, State-paper Ofhce, from 
the Earls of Cassillis and Glencairn, with the Lords Fleming and Maxwell, 
to Henry the Eighth, dated 19th of January, 1542-3, Carlisle. On the 20th 
of January they are to set out for Scotland. 
* Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 94, 

1542. MARY. 261 

those of the common people who favoured the Refor- 
mation, and the nobles who were enemies to the church 
of Rome, such a discovery produced a community of 
interests and an inveteracy of feehng which added no 
little strength to the party of the governor. 

Although defeated in his first attempt to seize on 
the supreme power, Beaton was not discouraged. He 
despatched messengers to France, representing to the 
house of Guise the crisis to which affairs had arrived 
in Scotland, the extreme danger attending a union 
between the Prince of Wales and their infant queen, 
the peril which threatened the church, and the necessity 
of an immediate supply of money, arms, and soldiers, 
to enable him to maintain the struggle against his op- 
ponents:* he worked upon the fears of those whom 
he knew to be sincere lovers of their country, by assur- 
ino; them that the marriao'e which was now talked of 
so lightly, was nothing less than a project for the 
entire destruction of Scotland as an independent king- 
dom ; and he procured the support of the middle and 
commercial classes by reminding them of the unpro- 
voked seizure of their merchantmen by Henry, during 
a time of peace ; declaiming against the injustice which 
prompted that prince still to detain their vessels and 
enrich himself with their cargoes. All these means 
were not without effect ; and it began to be suspected 
that, notwithstanding his first repulse, the simplicity 
and indolence of Arran would not long be able to hold 
its ground against the energy of so talented and daring 
an enemy as the cardinal. 

Such appears to have been the state of parties when 
the Scottish prisoners, the Earls of Cassillis and Glen- 
cairn, with the Lords Fleming, Maxwell, SomerviUe, 

* Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 138. 


and Oliphant, took their departure from London. 
They were preceded in their journey by Animus and Sir 
George Douglas, who left the English court ten days 
before them, and posted down to Edinburgh for the 
purpose of conducting the first and most delicate part 
of the negotiation regarding the marriage. On their 
arrival a council was held by the governor, in which 
the projected matrimonial alliance between the king- 
doms was discussed in a general manner, and received 
with that favourable consideration with which at first 
sight all were disposed to regard it. It is here neces- 
sary to keep in mind that Sir George Douglas, who 
was the main agent of the English monarch in this 
negotiation, had three great objects in view, all of 
which he seems to have pursued with a prudence and 
diplomatic craft which prove him to have been no 
mean adept in the management of state intrigue. The 
reversal of his own and his brother"'s treason, and 
their restoration to their estates, was to be his first 
step ; the procuring the consent of the Scottish parlia- 
ment to the marriage, the second ; and the last and 
most important of all, the obtaining the delivery to 
Henry of the person of the infant queen, the surrender 
of the fortresses of the kingdom, and the consent of 
the three Estates to have the country placed under 
the government of England. It is certain, from the 
authentic correspondence which yet remains, that Dou- 
glas and some of the Scottish prisoners had promised 
the Enolish kins: their utmost endeavours to attain 
all these objects, the last of which amounted to an act 
of treason ; but they were compelled to proceed with 
great wariness. They knew well that the first men- 
tion of such ignominious conditions would rouse the 
country and the parliament to a determined opposi- 

1542-3. MARY. 263 

tion,* and that all who would have welcomed upon fair 
terms the prospect of a matrimonal union between the 
kins^doms, would yet have scorned to purchase it at 
the price of their independence. It became necessary, 
therefore, to feel their way and commence with caution, 
so that, at the council which w^as held immediately 
after their return to Edinburgh, no whisper of such 
ultimate designs was suffered to escape them. 

All their efforts, however, could not prevent the car- 
dinal from becoming acquainted w^ith their intrigues, 
and the use which he made of this knowledo:e in 
strengthening his party convinced them that, if so 
active an enemy were left at large, they could hardly 
hope for success ; a secret resolution was, therefore, 
formed, and executed with that daring promptitude 
which so often leads to success. Beaton, w4iose cor- 
respondence with France was construed into treason, 
was suddenly arrested [twentieth January, 1542-3], 
and, before he had time to summon his friends, or 
protest against such injustice, hurried to the castle of 
Blackness, and committed to the custody of Lord 
Seton.-[- Having thus boldly begun, proclamation was 
made, that every man, under pain of treason, should 
resist the landing of any army from France ; a suspi- 
cion having arisen, that a fleet which had been seen 

* See the Letter in the State-paper Office. Lord Lisle to the Duke of 
Suffolk, dated Berwick, 2d of February, 1542-3. " I asked him whether 
he had begun to practice with his frindes, touchyng the king's majesty's pur- 
pose. He said it was not tjTne yet, for altho he and his broder had manye 
frindes, he durst not move the matter as yet to none of them ; for if he 
shuld, he is sure they wolde starte from them, everie man." 

■f Keith, p. 27. Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 26. Sadler's State Papers, vol. 
i. pp. 137, 138. MS. letter in State-paper OfBce, Sir Thomas Wharton to 
the Duke of Suffolk, February 2, 1542-3 : " My said servant sheweth the 
ordre of the takyng of the cardinal, much after the form as I have •wryttyn. 
He saith he hard the proclamation made after the same at the cross in Edin- 
burgh, by the governor and the noblemen with him, that his takyng was for 
certain treasons agaynst the realm, and not for any takyng away the funds 
of the churche." 


off Holy Island was a squadron led by the Duke of 
Guise, for the invasion of Scotland. It soon appeared, 
however, to be some Scottish ships of war, with nine- 
teen English prizes, which they afterwards brought 
safely into harbour. A parliament was appointed to 
be held on the twelfth of March for the discussion of 
the proposed alliance with England, and the condem- 
nation of the cardinal; whilst it was proposed that 
Henry should immediately grant an abstinence of war, 
and a safe conduct to the Scottish ambassadors, who 
were to conclude a perpetual peace between the two 

The seizure of the cardinal, however, was attended 
w^ith effects which his opponents had not anticipated. 
The public services of religion were suspended ; the 
priests refused to administer the sacraments of baptism 
and burial ; the churches were closed : a universal 
gloom overspread the countenances of the people ; and 
the country presented the melancholy appearance of a 
land excommunicated for some awful crime. The days, 
indeed, were past, when the full terrors of such a state 
of spiritual proscription could be felt, yet the Catholic 
party were still strong in Scotland ; they loudly ex- 
claimed against their opponents for so daring an act 
of sacrilege and injustice; and the people began, in 
some degree, to identify the cause of Beaton with the 
independence of the country, exclaiming against the 
Douglases and the Scottish prisoners as the pensioners 
of England.* It was suspected, that more was con- 
cealed under the proposed marriage and alliance with 

* Letter, State-paper Office, Sir Thomas "Wharton to the Duke of Suffolk, 
Carlisle, February 2, 1542-3. See also an important letter. Lord Lisle to 
the Duke of Suffolk, dated February 1, 1542-3, at Berwick : — "And con- 
sideryng this busynes that is uppon the takying of the cardinall, whiche, at 
this present, is at such a staye, that they can cause no priest within Scotland 
to saye masse syn3 the cardinall was taken, neyder to cxysten or burye." 

1543. MARY. 265 

England than the friends of Henry dared as yet avow ; 
cabals were formed amongst the nobles ; and the Ej^rls 
of Huntley, Bothwell, and Moray, offering themselves 
as surety for the appearance of the cardinal to answer 
the charges against him, imperiously demanded that 
he should be set at liberty. The refusal of this request 
by the governor and the Douglases convinced their 
opponents that their suspicions were not without 
foundation; Argyle, one of the ablest and most power- 
ful amongst the barons, retired to his own country, 
with the object of mustering his strength, and provid- 
ing for the storm which he saw approaching ; whilst 
the mutual jealousies and animosities amongst those 
left behind gathered strength so rapidly, that it seemed 
probable they must lead to some alarming civil com- 

This fatal result was likely to be hastened by the 
conduct of the English kino;-. Incensed to the utmost 
degree against the cardinal, whom the Pope had recent- 
ly appointed Legate a latere in Scotland, he insisted on 
his being delivered into his hands to be imprisoned in 
England. -f He pressed the Earl of Angus and his 
Scottish prisoners to fulfil their promises regarding the 
surrender of the fortresses, and was highly dissatisfied 
when he found his orders not likely to be obeyed. In 
an interview between Sir George Douglas, and Lord 
Lisle the English warden, which took place at Ber- 

* Letter, ut supra. Sir Thomas Wharton to the Duke of Suffolk. State- 
paper Office. 

'\ Letter, State-paper Office, Lord Lisle to Duke of Suffolk, February 2, 
1542-3. " I asked hym whether his broder and he wold deliver the cardy- 

nal to the king's majesty — if his highness to have hym. Whereat he 

(Sir George Douglas) studied a lyttel, and said that if they shulde do soo, 
they (should be) mistraisted as of England's partie, but that he suld be as 
Burely kept as if he were in England, for neyther governor nor any oder in 
Scotland shall have hym out of their handes." The letter having suffered 
much by damp is difficult to decipher. 


wick,* the Scottish baron endeavoured to convince him 
of the imprudence of thus attempting to precipitate so 
delicate an affair. He assured him that if the king 
were content to proceed with caution, he had little 
doubt of accomplishing his utmost wishes, but that at 
present the delivery of the cardinal, or the slightest 
attempt to seize the fortresses, would lead to certain 
failure. In the meantime he promised that Beaton, 
against whose talent and intrigue they could never be 
too much on their guard, should be as safely kept with 
them as he could be in England ; and as the report still 
continued that the Duke of Guise was about to visit 
Scotland,*!* he agreed, at the suggestion of Lord Lisle, 
to alter their first resolution, which had been to grant 
this prince an interview, and to adopt the safer plan 
of interdictinof him or his attendants from landinsf in 
any of the harbours of the kingdom. Convinced, or 
at least assuming the appearance of being satisfied by 
such representations, Henry consented to the prolon- 
gation of the abstinence of war till the month of June, J 
and awaited, with as much patience as he could com- 
mand, the meeting of the Scottish parliament. In the 
meantime he sent orders to Sir Ralph Sadler to repair 
instantly as his ambassador to Edinburgh, and he de- 
termined to keep a jealous watch on the proceedings of 
France, as it was now confidently asserted that the 
Duke of Guise and the Earl of Lennox had fitted out 

* Letter, State-paper OflBce, Lord Lisle to the Duke of Suffolk quoted 
above, February 2, 1542-3. 

f Letter, State-paper Office, the Duke of Suffolk and council of the north 
to the privy-council, advising them of the appearance of a large fleet off Holy 
Island, supposed to be the Duke de Guise's squadron, dated at Newcastle, 
3d February, 1542-3. 

ij: Original agreement of abstinence of war, signed by James earl of Arran 
as governor of Scotland (State-paper Office) dated February 20, ] 542-3, in 
the name of Mary queen of Scotland ; also, copy Agreement for Cessation 
of Hostilities on the part of Henry the Eighth. 

154.3. MARY. 267 

an expedition against Scotland in some of the ports of 
Normandy .* 

Shortly before the meeting of parliament, an attempt 
was made by the Catholic party to counteract the in- 
trigues of the English faction, which had now gained 
a complete command over the governor. The Earls of 
Huntley, Moray, Bothwell, and Argyle, supported by 
a powerful body of the barons and landed gentry, and 
a numerous concourse of bishops and abbots, assembled 
at Perth, avowing their determination to resist the 
measures of the governor and the Douglases. They 
despatched Reid the bishop of Orkney, a prelate of 
primitive simplicity and integrity, with certain pro- 
posals to their opponents. Of these, the first insisted 
that the cardinal should be set at liberty, and that the 
Xew Testament should not be read in the vulgar tongue 
by the people ; they demanded, at the same time, that 
the Scottish ambassadors who had been named by 
Henry should not be intrusted with the negotiation 
of the marria^re, but others chosen in their stead, and 
they asserted their right to be consulted by the gover- 
nor in all aftairs of importance. It was not to be ex- 
pected that Arran or his haughty councillors should 
for a moment listen to such a message. It was received 
with a scornful and positive refusal ; and scarce had 
its authors time to recover from their disappointment, 
when they saw a herald-at-arms enter their assembly, 
who, in the name of the governor, and under the pain 
of treason, charged them to disperse their convocation 
and return to their duty and allegiance. Nor did they 
dare to disobey the summons. The penalties of treason 

* Privy-council of England to the Duke of Suffolk, March 13, 1542-3. 
State-paper OtEce. Kaxl of Arran to the Duke of Suffolk, March 8, 1542-3. 
State-paper Office. 


to which they knew their rivals in power would not be 
loath to subject them, were of too serious a kind to be 
despised, and after a brief deliberation, they determined 
to adopt the safest course. On the day previous to the 
meeting of the three Estates, the Earl of Huntley 
sent in his adherence to the governor, and under an 
assurance of safety repaired to the capital to give his 
presence in the parliament ; his example was followed 
by all the clergy assembled at Perth, as well as by the 
Earls of Moray and Bothwell ; whilst Argyle, prevented 
by sickness from repairing to the parliament in person, 
sent his procuratory and his two uncles to plead his 
apology. They had evidently miscalculated their 
strength, and observing the number and the vigour of 
their opponents, deemed it prudent not to push matters 
to extremity, trusting by their influence in the great 
council of the nation, to neutralize the obsequious 
spirit of the English faction, and if they consented to 
the marriage, to fetter it at least with such conditions 
as should ensure the independence of their country; 
nor were they disappointed in their endeavours.* 

* These important particulars of the meeting held at Perth by the rival 
lords previous to the parliament are new to Scottish history. They are col- 
lected from an original letter preserved in the State-paper OtKce, dated March 
16, 1542-3, addressed by the Earl of Angus and his brother Sir George 
Douglas to Lord Lisle. It will be published in its entire state in the volume 
of Scottish correspondence during the reign of Henry the Eighth, which is 
about to be printed by Government ; in the meantime a short extract may 
not be uninteresting to the reader: — "The Parliament began the 12th of 
March, and the ouke before, thare convenit in the toune of Perth th' Erles 
of Huntley, Ergj'le, Murray, and Boithwell, with ane gret noumer of 
bishoppis and abbotis, baronis, and knightis, and so the forsaidis lordis sent 
the Bischop of Orkney, and Sir John Campbell of Caldour, knycht, uncle 
to the Erie of Ergyle, with certane artiklis to my lord governour and coun- 
sale being with him. Ane of the principale artiklis was to put the cardiual 
to liberte, and ane other was that the New Testament shuld not go abroide. 
The third article was that the governour shuld be usit and counsalit be thame 
in all th' aflFaires. The forde was that the ambassiatouris that ar contenit 
in the saulfconduct come fro the kingis majeste, that thai walde not be con- 
tentit that thai shuld pas in England, but walde have others of thare chesing. 
My lord governour, with avise of us and of his counsale, maid thame ane 
final answer. That he wuld grant them no such imreasonable desires ; and 

1543. MARY. 269 

On the twelfth of March, the parliament assembled, 
and its proceedings were marked by a firmness and pru- 
dence, which was little agreeable to the impetuous 
desires of the English king. After the important preli- 
minaries had been gone through of confirming the choice 
of Arran as governor of the realm and tutor to the young 
queen, on the ground of his being next in succession to 
the crown, the Archbishop of Glasgow, then chancellor, 
brought forward the proposals of Henry regarding the 
treaty of peace, and marriage of his son the Prince of 
Wales with their infant sovereign ; whilst he exhibited 
the instructions which were to be delivered to their am- 
bassadors, who, it was agreed, should immediately 
proceed to England for the negotiation of this alliance. 
These, however, were widely different from what Henry 
had expected. The parliament refused to deliver the 
queen till she had attained the full age of ten years ; 

incontinent after the departure of the said bishop and knycht we sent one 
heralde of armes unto the saidis lordis at Perth, chargeing thame under the 
payne of trayson to cum and serue the governour, for the welth of the realme, 
according to their dewty and allegiance. Thir forsaid lordis pretendit to 
have made one partie if thai had bene able, and my lord governour and we 
agane preparit ourselves with all the gentilmen and ser\"yngmen that langit 
unto us to ane gud no^vmer^ and ane weel favorit cumpany purposing to 
proceed in our parliament in despjrte of all thame wald say the contrarie. 
And than the saidis lordis seeing this, that thai mycht not mak thare partye 
gud, th' Erie of Huntlie sent unto the governour and to us saying that he 
wald com, and do his dewtie to the governour, and mouche the rather for 
our cause, considering the proximite of blude that was betwix us. And so 
be our advise the governour was contentit to give him assurance to com and 
serve him in the said parlement, and so the said erle came in on Sunday, 
the 11th Marche ; and on Monday the 12th of the same the erle of Murray 
sent and desyrit he mycht cum and serve the governour, and we acceptit him 
in lyk maner ; and upon Twysday th' erle Boithwell sent to us ane letter 
and desyrit us that he mycht cum and serve the governour in this present 
parliament, and we movit the same to the governour, and he being contentit 
thairwith the said Erie Boithwell com in on Weddynsday, the 14th of this 
month. And all the clergy boith bischoppis and abbotis com into the said 
parliament upon Sounday, the 11th hereof, and all the greater men of Scot- 
land, convenet to the said parliament boith spirituale and temporall, except 
the Erie of Ergyle allauerly, who is sore sick, and sent his procurator witt 
his two uncles to mak his excuse the 15th of Marche. * * * It has bene 
the moist substanciall parliament that ever was sene in Scotland in ony 
mannis rememberance, and best furnist with all the three estatis." 


they declined to surrender any of the fortresses of the 
kinodom: and the whole deliberations were conducted 
with a jealous attention to the preservation of the 
liberties of Scotland as a separate and independent 
kinodom. That realm was to retain its name, its 
laws, its ancient courts, officers, and immunities. It 
was stipulated that, even after the marriage was con- 
cluded, whether there was issue or not, the kingdom 
of Scotland should continue to be governed by a native 
ruler; and the proviso was subjoined, that in the event 
of the failure of the heirs of such marriage, the nearest 
lawful successor should immediately succeed to the 
crown, without question or difficulty.* Under such 
restrictions the proposal of a matrimonial alliance was 
welcomed as likely to produce the most favourable 
effects on the mutual prosperity of both kingdoms; 
and Balnaves the secretary. Sir James Learmont the 
treasurer, with Sir William Hamilton of Sanquhar, 
were chosen as ambassadors to the court of England. 
The parliament then proceeded to reverse the attain- 
der of Angus and the Douglases, restoring them to 
their estates and their honours; they selected the Earls 
Marshal and Montrose, with the Lords Erskine, Ruth- 
ven, Lindsay, Livingston, and Seton, to be keepers of 
the queen's person ; they appointed the governor a 
council, which was far too numerous to be efficient ; 
and they determined that, for the present, the young 
queen should hold her court, under the eye of her 
mother the queen-dowager, at the palace of Linlithgow. 
Parliament was then prorogued to the seventeenth of 
March, whilst the committee, known by the name of 
the Lords of the Articles, continued their sittings for 
the introduction of such statutes as were esteemed 

* Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pj). 411, 412, 413. 

1543. MARY. * 271 

beneficial to the general interests of the kingdom. 
Amongst these one provision stands pre-eminent for 
its important effects in spreading the light of truth, 
and accelerating the progress of the Reformation. 
Lord ^laxwell when a prisoner in England, had be- 
come a convert to its doctrines, and proposed that all 
might have liberty to read the Bible in an approved 
Scots or English translation, provided none disputed 
on the controverted opinions. Against this the Arch- 
bishop of Glasgow solemnly protested for himself and 
the ecclesiastical estate in parliament till the matter 
should be debated in a provincial council ; but the pro- 
position obtained the consent of the Lords of the 
Articles, and was publicly ratified by the governor. 
Arran, indeed, was at this time esteemed, to use the 
words of Knox, one of the most fervent Protestants 
in Europe. He entertained in his service two cele- 
brated preachers. Friar Williams and John Rough, 
who inveighed with much severity against the corrup- 
tions of the Romish church ; and under his protection 
the Holy Scriptures began to be studied very generally 
throughout the country. 

Sadler, the English ambassador, now arrived in 
Edinburgh, and with great diplomatic ability earnestly 
laboured to obtain more favourable terms. No effort 
was left untried to shake the resolution and corrupt 
the integrity of the governor : his fears were attempted 
to be roused bv threats of war; his ambition was 
worked on by the promise of a marriage between his 
son and the Princess Elizabeth of England ; but, al- 
though indolent and timid as a politician, Arran 
possessed a high sense of honour, and no persuasions 
could induce him to depart from the resolution of the 
three Estates. Nor was Sadler more successful with 

272 HISTORY OF Scotland. 1543. 

others to whom he applied. In a letter to the king, 
written a short time after the prorogation of the par- 
liament, he lamented that his utmost endeavours were 
insufficient to brino; them to consent to the wishes of 
his master. They would rather, he assured Henry, 
suffer any extremity than come to the obedience and 
subjection of England, being determined to have their 
realm free and to retain their ancient laws and customs ; 
yet he acknowledged that the nobles and the whole 
temporality desired the marriage, and were anxious to 
remain at peace, whilst he expressed an opinion that 
this event would be followed by a renunciation of their 
alliance with France, and might possibly, in the pro- 
gress of time, induce them to fall to the obedience and 
devotion of England. In the same despatch, however, 
the enmity of the churchmen to the marriage and 
union with England is represented as deep and uni- 

The haughty temper of the English monarch was 
irritated by the opposition to his favourite scheme, and 
the measures which he adopted were violent and im- 
politic. He upbraided Angus, Glencairn, and the rest 
of his prisoners with a breach of their promises ; he 
assured them that he had no intention to recede from 
even the smallest portion of his demands, and that, if 
necessary, he W'Ould by force compel the Scots to de- 
liver to him their infant queen, in which case they must 
prepare themselves either to return to their imprison- 
ment in England, or assist him, according to their 
solemn agreement, in the conquest of the country ; but 

* Sir R. Sadler to one of the council of the north, dated 27th March, 
1543. — State-paper Office. " In myn opinion they had lever suffre ex- 
tremytee than com to the obediens and subjection of England — they wool 
have their own realm free and live within themselves after their own lawes 
and custumes." 

154.'5. MARY. 273 

an event which soon after occurred, convinced him that 
it was easier to form than to realize such intentions. 
Beaton, who since his imprisonment had not ceased to 
keep up a communication with his party, contrived 
suddenly, and somewhat mysteriously, to recover his 
liberty. He had been delivered by Arran into the 
custody of Lord Seton, a near relative of the Hamil- 
tohs, but a nobleman distinguished for his hereditary 
loyalty and his attachment to the Catholic faith. This 
peer, if we may believe the asseverations of the governor, 
under pretence of inducing Beaton to deliver up his 
castle of St Andrew''s, permitted the cardinal to remove 
from Blackness to this fortress. Thither he was ac- 
companied by Seton, but with so small a force that the 
prelate, instead of a captive remained master in his own 
palace; and as no attempt was made to punish or even 
to examine his keeper, it is difficult to resist the infer- 
ence that Arran was secretly not displeased at his 
escape.* Hamilton abbot of Paisley, the natural 
brother of the governor, and an ecclesiastic of con- 
siderable political ability, had returned from France a 
short time previous to the enlargement of Beaton,-|- 
and was probably concerned in the plot which led to 
his liberation. It is at least certain that he soon exer- 
cised a considerable influence over the vacillating mind 
of the governor, and the cardinal endeavoured through 
his means to promote a coalition between their parties. 
He declared himself anxious, by every lawful means, 
to support the government, repelled with indignation 
the assertion that he had entered into any treasonable 
correspondence with France, and declared himself ready 
at any time to surrender his person for the trial of lis 

* Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 1 37. 
+ Ibid. vol. i. p. 117. 

VOL. V, 


innocency .* He even despatched his chaplain to Sadler 
the Enghish ambassador, with the objoct of removing 
from the mind of his master the King of England, the 
violent prejudices which had been conceived against 
him. None, he affirmed, was more ready than himself 
to acknowledge the beneficial efi'ects which must result 
from a union between the two kingdoms ; to accomplish 
which he would serve the English monarch as sincerely 
as any of his supporters, with this only difference, that 
he would fulfil his duty to the country of which he was 
a subject, and anxiously provide for the preservation 
of its freedom and independence. *[- It is difficult to 
estimate the exact proportion of sincerity which entered 
into these professions, but the last condition was di- 
rectly opposed to the imperious projects of Henry, who 
imagined the time had arrived when Scotland was 
for ever to be incorporated with the English monarchy. 
He rejected them accordingly with ill-advised precipi- 
tation; and both parties became aware that, unless some 
unforeseen changes took place, all hope of an amicable 
issue was at an end. 

In the meantime the Scottish ambassadors arrived 
at the English court, and on being admitted to their 
audience, explained to the monarch the conditions upon 
which the parliament were ready to give their consent 
to a marriage. J Henry declared himself deeply dis- 
satisfied ; he first insisted on the immediate delivery 
of the infant queen, but afterwards relaxed so far in 
his requisitions as to consent she should remain in her 
own kingdom, till she had completed the age of two 
years ; he talked idly of his right, as lord superior to 

* Sadler, vol. i. p. 131. 
+ Sadler's State Papers, pp. 131, 133. 

t They set off from Edinburgh on the 23d of March, 1 542-3. Sadler, 
vol. i. p. 90. 

1543. MARY. 275 

the realm of Scotland,* and in virtue of this, contended 
that the o^overnment of that kino-dom ouo^ht to be re- 
signed into his hands without question or delay. Such 
demands the Scottish ambassadors resisted with firm- 
ness, and in a subsequent meeting with the English 
commissioners to confer upon the marriage, they did 
not conceal their opinion that the first notice of such 
terms would render any treaty between the two coun- 
tries completely impracticable. Nor were they deceived 
in their expectations : the extraordinary demands of 
Henry were received in Scotland with a universal burst 
of indignation ; and the anticipations of the Douglases 
and their faction, who had in vain besought him to 
unveil his designs more cautiously, were completely 
fulfilled. Even the o-overnor, who was described bv 
Sir George Douglas to Sadler as a very gentle creature, 
resented, with becoming spirit, the indignity with which 
he had been treated; and Beaton gained from the vio- 
lence and indiscretion of his adversary a strength and 
popularity which some months before he had in vain 
attempted to acquire by his own efi"orts. 

The cardinal was not slow in availins; himself of this 
advantage. Some time previous to this the Earl of 
Lennox had returned to Scotland by the advice of the 
cardinal, and with the concurrence of Francis the First, 
in whose Italian wars he had received his education.-f- 
The object of Beaton was to render Arran subservient 
to his designs, by raising a rival to him in the Earl of 
Lennox. The near relationship between this young 
noble and the royal family, and a report which was 

* It is to be regretted that there should be a revival of this question in 
the present day ; but to those who feel any interest in the controversy, I 
•would recommend the able " Vindication of the Independance of Scotland," 
by i\Ir Allen. The meeting between Henry and the Scottish commissioners 
probably took place some time about the 10th or I'Jth of April. 

i" Lesley, p. 173. Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 27. 


circulated at this time that the late kin^:, in the event 
of his dying without children, had selected him as his 
successor in the throne, excited the jealousy and ap- 
preliensions of the governor. Beaton, on the other 
hand, did not scruple to encourage the ambition of 
Lennox by holding out the hope of a marriage with 
the queen-dowager; and it was even hinted by the 
clergy, that in consequence of some informality in the 
divorce between the father of Arran and his second 
wife, the governor, who was the issue of a third mar- 
riage, had no legitimate title either to his paternal 
property, or to the high office which he held. Could 
this have been made out, Lennox was unquestionably 
not only the next heir to these immense estates, but 
possessed on the same grounds, a preferable claim to the 
regency ; and it is easy to understand how all these con- 
currinor circumstances must have shaken the resolution 
of Arran, and rendered Lennox a formidable instrument 
in the hands of so artful a politician as the cardinal.* 
These, however, were far from the only means which 
he employed. He had early opened a negotiation with 
France ; and Francis the First, aware of the import- 
ance of preserving his amicable relations with Scotland, 
etnpowered Lennox to promise assistance, both in arms 
and money, to the party opposed to Henry. He took 
every opportunity of enlisting upon his side the affec- 
tions and the prejudices of the middle and the lower 
classes of the people ; promulgating, through the med- 
ium of the clergy, the insolent demands of the English 
monarch, and exciting their resentment against those 
persons amongst the nobility, whom he justly repre- 
sented as having sold to Henry their services against 
their native country. 

* Maitland, vol. ii. p. 842. 

1543. MARY. 277 

TIi^ consequences of all this were soon apparent, and 
appeared to promise the cardinal a speedy triumph over 
his enemies. Arran the governor, in whose vacillating 
character there was a strong love of popularity, became 
alienated from the English party; he declared openly 
that he would sooner abide the extremity of war than 
consent to the demands of Henry; and, equally irre- 
solute in his religion as in his politics, dismissed Friar 
Williams and John Rough his two Protestant chap- 
lains, whom, till then, he had retained in his family.* 
The people, also, were now so universally opposed to 
the renunciation of the amity with France, that 
Glencairn and Cassillis did not hesitate to inform the 
English ambassador, they would sooner die than agree 
to this condition. Such, indeed, was the exacerbation 
of national feeling upon the subject, that Sadler could 
not venture abroad without being exposed to insult ; 
whilst the peers who were in the interest of Henry, 
complained to the ambassador, that their devotion to 
England rendered them the objects of universal hatred 
and contempt. -f- 

To counteract, if possible, this state of things, which 
seemed to threaten the total wreck of his favourite 
schemes, Henry was prevailed upon by Sir George 
Douglas, who privately visited him in England, to relax 
in the rigour of his demands. By his advice, the im- 
mediate delivery of the infant queen, the surrender of the 
fortresses, and the resignation of the government into 
the hands of the English sovereign, were abandoned 
as hopeless and extravagant conditions, the mention of 
which had already materially injured his cause ; and 
the artful envoy returned to Scotland with proposals 
for the conclusion of the peace and marriage upon a 

* Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 158. f Ibid. p. 165. 


more equitable basis.* He was instructed, algo, to 
flatter the vanity of the governor, by renewing, on the 
part of Henry, his former proposal of a marriage between 
the Princess Elizabeth and Arran''s eldest son ; and so 
successfully did he labour, that, in a convention of the 
nobility held in April, which, however, was principally 
composed of those peers and their adherents who were 
in the interest of England, it was resolved to despatch 
Sir George Douglas and the Earl of Glencairn, as 
assistants to the ambassadors already there, in the 
negotiation of the treaty of marriage and alliance, 
which had been so abruptly broken off by the violence 
and arrogance of Henry. 

In the meantime, the opposite party were not idle, 
and the talents of the cardinal were exerted airainst the 
faction of Henry with formidable success. Lennox, 
who, till this time, had wavered, went over to Beaton ; 
and, being admitted to an audience by the governor, 
delivered a flattering message from the French king, 
containing expressions of the warmest friendship, pro- 
mising immediate assistance in troops and money, 
should England attempt an invasion, and declaring 
his resolution to preserve the ancient league between 
the two kingdoms, as the firmest basis of their mutual 
prosperity.-]- This proposal Arran, for the present, 
evaded by a general answer ; but the cardinal, the 
queen-dowager, and their friends, did not lose the 
opportunity. They entered into a negotiation with 
France, in which it was agreed that a force of two 

* In the State-paper Office are preserved two original documents, contain- 
ing the instructions given to Sir George Douglas. One of them dated May 1, 
1543, is a short paper in the handwriting of Secretary Wriothesley. It is 
thus entitled : " The he th' articles which be thought so reasonable, that if 
the ambassadors of Scotland will not agree to them, then it shall be mete 
the king's majestie folowe out his purpose by force." 

f Sadler, vol. i. p. 1 (jo. 

1543. MARY. 279 

thousand men, under the command of Montgomerie 
Sieiir de Lorges, an officer of high military reputation, 
should be sent to Scotland ; they encouraged their 
friends and adherents, by the hopes of powerful sub- 
sidies, to assemble their forces, garrison their castles, 
and keep themselves in readiness for the impending 
struggle ; whilst Grimani, the papal legate, with the 
still formidable "weapons of ecclesiastical anathemas 
and processes of excommunication, was invited to ac- 
celerate his journey into Scotland. A convention of 
the clergy, at the same time, assembled at St Andrew's, 
in which the probability of a war with England was 
discussed, and a resolution carried to ascertain and 
levy, without delay, the sum required in such an exi- 
gency. The assembly was pervaded with the utmost 
unanimity and enthusiasm; the cause which they were 
called upon to support was represented as not only that 
of the church, but of their ancient freedom and na- 
tional independence; the hearts of the people, and the 
patriotic feelings of the great majority of the nobility, 
responded to the sentiments which were uttered ; and 
the clergy declared their readiness, not only to sacrifice 
their whole private fortunes, but to melt down the 
church plate, and, were it necessary, themselves fight 
in the quarrel.* 

In the midst of all this opposition, the diplomatic 
talents of Sir George Douglas were unremittingly ex- 
erted to overcome the complicated difficulties which 
stood in the way of a general conciliation ; and having 
returned from Enoland with the ultimate resolutions 
of Henry, they were agreed to by the governor and 
a majority of the nobility, in a convention held at 
Edinburo-h in the beoinnino- of June.+ Satisfied with 

* Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 204. + Ibid. pp. 212, 213. 


tliis approval, although the absence of the car linal, 
and many of the most influential peers, might have 
assured him that it would afterwards be questioned, he 
returned with expedition to England, and, along with 
the Earl of Glencairn and the Scottish ambassadors, 
Learmont, Hamilton, and Balnav^es, met the commis- 
sioners of the sister country at Greenwich, where 
the treaties of pacification and marriage were finally 
arranged on the first of Julv.* The terms were cer- 
tainly far more favourable than those which had been 
at first proposed by the English monarch. It was 
agreed that a marriage should take place between the 
Prince of Wales and Mary queen of Scots, as soon 
as that princess had reached majority, and that an 
inviolable peace should subsist between the kingdoms 
during the lives of these two royal persons, which was 
to continue for a year after the death of the first who 
should pay the debt of nature. Till she had completed 
her tenth year, the young Mary was to remain in 
Scotland under the care of the guardians appointed 
by the parliament; Henry being permitted to send 
thither an English nobleman, with his wife and atten- 
dants, to form part of the household of the princess. 
Within a month after she entered her eleventh year, the 
Estates of Scotland solemnly promised to deliver their 
princess at Berwick to the commissioners appointed 
to receive her ; and as hostages for the fulfilment of 
this condition, two earls and four barons were to be 
sent forthwith to England. It was carefully provided 
that, even if the queen should have issue by the prince, 
the kinodom of Scotland should retain its name, and 
be governed by its ancient laws. It had been earnestly 
desired that the treaty should include a positi^ e abro- 

* Rynier, Fcedera, vol. xiv. p. 78G-791. 

1543. MARY. 281 

gation of the long-established league between France 
and Scotland ; but instead of being " friends to friends, 
and enemies to enemies," the utmost that could be 
procured was the insertion of a clause, by which it 
was au'reed, that neither should afford assistance to 
any foreign aggressor, notwithstanding any former 
stipulation upon this subject. 

It is apparent that, in this treaty, Henry abandoned 
the most obnoxious part of his demands; and had the 
Eno'lish monarch, and the Scottish nobles who were 
in his interest, acted with good faith, little ground of 
objection to the proposed marriage and pacification 
could have been left to their opponents. But, whilst 
such were all the articles which openly appeared, a 
private transaction, or '-'•secret device^'''' as it is termed 
in the original papers which now, for the first time, 
reveal its existence, was entered into between Henry 
and his partisans. Maxwell, Glencairn, Angus, and the 
rest, which was at once of a very unjustifiable descrip- 
tion, and calculated to exasperate their adversaries in a 
high degree. An agreement appears to have been drawn 
up by the English commissioners, for the signature of 
the Scottish peers and barons taken at the Solway, by 
which they once more tied themselves to his service; 
and, forgetting their allegiance to their natural prince, 
promised, in the event of any commotion in Scotland, to 
adhere solely to the interest of the English monarch, 
''50 that he should attain all the things then pacted and 
covenanted, or, at the least, the dominion on this side 
the Firth."* In the same treaty the precise sums of 

* The proof of this transaction is to be found in a paper preserved in the 
State-pap<er Office, and dated July 1, 1.543, entitled, "Copy of the Secret 
Devise." It contains this passage : — " Fourthly, if ther happen any division 
or trouble to arise in Scotland, by practice of the cardinal, kyrkmen, France, 
or otherwise, I shall sticke and adhere only to the king's majesty's service, 
as Lis highness maye assuredly atteyne these things noe pacted ai icovenanted. 


ransom to be exacted from the Scottish prisoners taken 
at the Solway were fixed by the commissioners ; but, 
before they were permitted to avail themselves of this 
means for the recovery of their liberty, it appears to 
have been a condition, that they should sign this 
agreement which has been above described. In the 
meantime, the negotiations having been concluded, 
peace was soon afterwards proclaimed between the two 
countries, and the ambassadors returned to Edinburgh 
with the hope that the treaties would immediately be 
ratified by the governor and the parliament. 

To their mortification, however, they discovered that, 
in theinterval of their absence, Beaton, who had, in all 
probability, obtained information of this second com- 
bination of Henry and his Scottish prisoners against 
the independence of the country, had succeeded in 
consolidating a formidable opposition. The English 
monarch had at this moment resolved on a war with 
France ; and any delay in the proposed alliance wdth 
Scotland inflamed the haughty impatience of his tem- 
per. His resentment against the cardinal, with whose 
practices Sadler his ambassador did not fail to acquaint 
him, now rose to a high pitch, and he repeatedly urged 
the governor and his partisans to seize and imprison 
the prelate. Such, however, were the vigilance and 
ability of this ener2:etic ecclesiastic, that he not onlv 
escaped the snares, but for a while defeated the utmost 
efforts of his enemies; and many of the nobles, becom- 

or, at the least, the domynion on this side the Freythe." This explains an 
obscure passage in Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 237, " The said Earl of 
Angus hath subscribed the articles of the devise which your majesty sent unto 
me with your last letters, and the Lord Maxwell telleth me, that, as soon 
as he received the like articles from your majesty, by his son, he forthwith 
subscribed the same. The rest I have not yet spoken with because they be 
not here, but as soon as I can I shall not fail to accomplish that part accord- 
ing to your gracious commandment." 

1543. MARY. 283 

ins; aware of the plots which were in agitation for the 
subjugation of Scotland, eagerly joined his party, and 
prepared by arms to assert their freedom. With this 
object the cardinal and the Earl of Huntley concen- 
trated their forces in the north, Argyle and Lennox 
in the west, whilst Bothwell, Home, and the Laird 
of Buccleugh, mustered their feudal array upon the 
Borders.* They declared that they were compelled 
to adopt these measures for the protection of the faith 
and holy church, and the defence of the independence 
of the realm, which had been sold to Henry by Arran, 
whom they stigmatized as a heretic and an Engiish- 
man.-[* So far as it concerned the preservation of what 
they believed the only true faith, their opposition was 
defeated ; whilst the great cause of the Reformation, 
gaining ground by slow degrees, was destined to be 
ultimately triumphant. But it is not to be denied 
that their accusations regarding the sacrifice of the 
liberty of the country by its weak governor, were 
founded in justice. We know from the high authority 
of Sadler the Eno-lish ambassador, that Arran boasted 
of his English descent ; that he eagerly received the 
money sent him by Henry, and professed his anxiety 
for the accomplishment of all his desires. Nor was 
this all : he entertained, though he did not accept, a 
proposal of the English monarch to make him King 
of Scotland beyond the Firth ; and he proposed that, 
in the event of the cardinal becoming too powerful for 
him, an army should be sent to invade the country, with 
which he and his friends might effectually co-operate, 
alleging that, by this means, although forsaken by their 
countrymen, he doubted not that the whole realm might 
be forcibly reduced under the subjection of England, ij: 

* Sadler, vol. i. p. 2c^6. f Ibid. pp. 233, 234. + Ibid. pp. 216, 253, 256. 


It is not matter of surprise, therefore, that Beaton, 
as soon as he became aware of this disposition, of the 
urgent desire of Henry for the seizure of his person, 
and of the still more dansjerous intrio^ues of the Scot- 
tish prisoners for the subjugation of the realm, should 
have exerted every effort to defeat their intentions. 

So bitter and indignant indeed were his feelings, 
that, if we may believe an extraordinary story which 
is found in a letter of the Duke of Suffolk to Sir R. 
Sadler, the cardinal had challenged Sir Ralph Eure 
warden of the marches, to a personal combat, on some 
ground of quarrel which does not appear. The chal- 
lenge was communicated to Henry, who, considering 
it in a serious light, intimated his wishes that Eure 
should fight w^itli Beaton in Edinburgh. The whole 
matter evinces the credulity of the English ambassador 
and his royal master, for we cannot believe that the 
prelate could have contemplated so disgraceful an ad- 
venture ; and the conjecture of Suffolk, that it originated 
in the insolence of a moss-trooper, whom he characterizes 
as one of the strongest Border-thieves m Scotland, is 
probably not far from the truth.* 

During these transactions the young queen remained 
in the palace of Linlithgow, under the nominal charge 
of the queen-dowager, but so strictly guarded by the 
governor and the Hamiltons, that her residence w^as 
little else than an honourable imprisonment. To obtain 

* Letter in State-paper Office, Duke of Suffolk and the Bishop of Durham 
to Sir Kalph Sadler, July 15, 1543: — " For we cannot thinke the cardinal 
volde be so madde as to provoke and challenge any man that vrolde fighte 
w ith him in the quarrell, or that he intends to tight, onelesse he shall thinke 
himselfetobefarre the stronger partie, and yet then we thinke he wolde stands 
alouff and look on rather than to come himselfe among knocks. We thinke 
rather this bragge is made by Clement Crosier, himselfe being one of the 
strongest thieves in Scotland, to stirre besynes and to lett the good peax, 
than that the cardinall was so madde to bydde him meddle in any such 
matter." Also letter in State-paper Office, July '20, 154;>, Duke of Suffolk 
ana tne Privy-council to Lord Parr, touching the challenge. 

1543. MARY. 285 

possession of her person was now the first object of tlie 
cardiuaFs party ; and, whether by the connivance of 
her immediate guardians, or from some relaxation in the 
vigilance of Arran, they at last succeeded. Marching 
from Stirling at the head of a force of ten thousand 
men, Lennox, Huntley, and Argyle proceeded towards 
the capital, and were joined at Leith by Bothwell, with 
the Kers and the Scotts, forming a combined army, 
which Arran and the Douglases did not find themselves 
able to resist. After an ineffectual attempt to temporise, 
which was defeated by the energy of his opponents, the 
governor consented to surrender his royal charge ; and 
the infant queen, with the queen-dowager, who secretly 
rejoiced at the change, were conducted by Lennox in 
triumph to Stirling.* 

To Beaton this w^as an important accession of strength ; 
and having so far succeeded in weakening his adversaries, 
he laboured to detach the governor from England, by 
holding out the prospect of a marriage between his son 
and the young Mary. Arran however resisted, or 
suspected the splendid bribe ; and, in a convention of 
the nobles which was held on the twenty-fifth of August, 
in the abbey church of Holyrood, the treaties with 
England w^ere ratified with solemn pomp, the governor 
swearing to their observance at the altar. •[* To this 
transaction, however, the cardinal and the powerful 
nobles with whom he acted were no parties. Not long 
before, they had remonstrated in strong terms against 
the mode of government pursued by Arran ; they com- 

* Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p, 28. A valuable volume lately 
printed by the Bannatyne Club, from which the erroneous chronology of our 
general historians of this period maj' be sometimes corrected. It contains 
the best account of this transaction, the delivery of the queen, upon which 
Buchanan, Lesley, Maitland, and other historians, are obscure and ;oatra- 

t Sadler, vol. i. p. 270, August 25, 1343. 


plained that, in the weightiest affairs of the realm, he 
was guided by the advice of a particular faction, ex- 
cluding from liis councils many of the highest nobles ; 
and they warned him that, as long as this course was 
adopted, they would not consider themselves bound by 
their partial deliberations.* They insisted that the 
ratification of the treaties had been carried by private 
means, unauthorized by the authority of parliament, 
contrary to the opinion of a majority of the nobles, and 
to the wishes of the great body of the people ; nor did 
they omit any method by which they might render 
Arran suspected and unpopular. 

These devices began soon to produce the desired 
effect ; and this was accelerated by one of those rash 
measures into which Henry was so frequently hurried 
by the impetuosity of his temper. Soon after the pro- 
clamation of peace, the Scottish merchants, who then 
carried on a lucrative foreign commerce, had despatched 
a fleet of merchantmen, wdiich sought shelter from a 
storm in an English port. Here they deemed them- 
selves secure ; but, to their astonishment, they were 
detained, and, under the pretext that they were carrying 
provisions into France, their cargoes were confiscated ; 
a proceeding which so highly irritated the populace of 
Edinburgh, that they surrounded the house of the 
English ambassador, and threatened his life, in case 
their ships were not restored. -f* 

This last act of injustice and spoliation was attri- 
buted to the governor, who was known to be in the 
interest of Henry; and he began to feel that his sub- 

* Sadler, vol. i. p. 2.51. 

+ In the State-paper OfBce is a draft of a letter, dated 9th of September 
1543, from the English king, in the handwriting of W'riothesley secretary of 
state, threatening the magistrates of Edinburgh, to whom it is addressed, 
with punishment, if they maltreated his ambassador in consequence of the 
seizure of the ships. 

.1543 MARY. 287 

serviency had made him odious to all respectable classes 
in the community, and to dread, when it was almost 
too late, that he had engaged in a desperate enterprise. 
His friends, Angus, Cassillis, and Glencairn, with other 
barons attached to England, proposed to assemble their 
forces, and prepare for immediate war; the time, they 
basely declared, was come, when Henry must send a 
main army into Scotland, with which they might co- 
operate in his conquest of the realm ; * and such was 
the exasperation of the two factions, that, in the opinion 
of the English ambassador, a hostile collision was im- 
possible to be avoided. It was averted, however, by a 
revolution as sudden as it was extraordinary. On the 
twenty-eighth of August, the governor, in an interview 
with Sir Ralph Sadler, expressed an entire devotedness 
to Henry, declaring that no prince alive should have 
his heart and service, but the English monarch. On 
the third of September, before a week had elapsed, he 
met the cardinal at Callander House, the seat of lord 
Livingston ; all causes of animosity were removed ; 
and a complete reconciliation with the prelate took 
place. Beaton, who, a few days before had declined 
any conference, alleging that his life was in danger, 
rode amicably with him to Stirling, and soon acquired 
so complete a command over his pliant character, that 
he publicly abjured his religion in the Franciscan con- 
vent of that city, received absolution for his having 
wandered from the Catholic faith,"!- renounced the trea- 
ties with England, and delivered his eldest son to the 
cardinal as a pledge of his sincerity. Such was the 

* As this expression, " tlie conquest of the realm," coming from Scottish 
nohles, against their country, may seem unnaturally strong, it is right to 
ohserve, that the words are not the author's hut their o-\vn, as reported by 
the English ambassadors. — Sadler, vol. i. pp. 257, 281. 

+ MS. Letter in the Hamilton Papers, Lord William Parr to the Duke of 
Suffolk, September 13, 1543, quoted in Chalmers' Life of Mary, vol. ii. p. 404. 


conclusion of tliis remarkable coalition : its causes are 
of more difficult discovery ; but are probably to be 
traced to the secret influence of the Abbot of Paisley, 
bastard brother of Arran, and a zealous adherent of 
the cardinal, who had lately arrived from France. This 
able ecclesiastic is said to have secretly persuaded the 
governor, that, by his friendship with England, and 
his renunciation of the papal supremacy, he was under- 
mining his own title to the government and to his 
paternal estates, which rested on a divorce, dependent 
for its validity on the maintenance of the authority of 
the Holy See. Arran, at no time distinguished by 
much penetration or resolution, took the alarm, and, 
believing it his only security, consented to a union 
with Beaton, whom he never afterw^ards deserted.* 

Encouraged by this success, the cardinal and the 
governor earnestly laboured to bring over to their party 
the Earl of Angus and his associates. They entreated 
them to attend the approaching coronation of the young 
queen ; to assist, by their presence and experience, in 
the parliament, and thus to restore unity to the com- 
monwealth; but this proud and selfish potentate and 
his confederates only replied by sullenly retiring to 
Douglas castle, where they assembled their forces, and 
drew up a bond or covenant, by w^hich they agreed to 
employ their utmost united strength in fulfilling their 
engagements to the English king.-|- This paper, as an 
evidence of their sincerity, they intrusted to Lord 
Somerville, who agreed to deliver it to Henr}^ and to 
concert measures for the extirpation of their enemies. 
In the meantime, the ceremony of the coronation took 
place at Stirling ; a nev/ council was appointed ; the 
governor took an oath, that he would administer the 

* Sadler, vol. i. pp. 282, 283. f Ibid. p. 288. 

1543. MARY. 289 

affairs of the kingdom b}^ their advice ; and it was re- 
solved that a convention should be shortly held at 
Edinburgh, in which all disputes with England, rela- 
tive to the non-performance of the treaties, might be 
calmly discussed, and, if possible, equitably adjusted. 

From the temper, however, in which Henry received 
the intelligence of this great change in Scotland, little 
calmness on his side could be expected. In a paroxysm 
of indignation he despatched a herald into that coun- 
try, denouncing war if the treaties were not imme- 
diately fulfilled.* He addressed a letter to the 
magistrates of Edinburgh, threatening them with 
severe retribution, should they permit the populace to 
offer violence to his ambassador ; he commanded his 
warden Sir Thomas Wharton, to liberate the chiefs 
of the Armstrongs, who were then his prisoners, on 
condition of their directing the fury of their Border 
war as^ainst the estates of those Scottish lords who 
opposed him ; and he determined on the invasion of 
Scotland with an overwhelming force, as soon as he 
could muster his power, and make arrangements for 
its subsistence.*!- 

In the late transactions the Earl of Lennox had 
acted a conspicuous part, and his high birth and power- 
ful connexions were of essential service to the cardinal ; 
but, having gained the governor Beaton, with less than 
his usual foresight, began to look coldly on him ; and 
Lennox, whose conduct was solely regulated by consi- 
derations of interest, deserted the cause which he had 
hitherto supported, and threw himself into the arms 
of England. J This defection was attended with seri- 

* Credence of the English herald sent into Scotland. State-paper Office, 
September, 1543. 

+ Duke of Suffolk to Lord Parr. Damton, September 10, 1543 ; and 
sama to same, September 11, 1543. State-paper Office. 

t Sadler, vol. i. p. 299. 

VOL. V. T 


ous results. To Lennox liad hitherto been committed 
the negotiations with France, and, in consequence of 
liis advice, a French ambassador, the Sieur de laBrosse, 
was despatched to Scotland, accompanied by a small 
fleet, bearing military stores, fifty pieces of artillery, 
and ten thousand crowns,* to be distributed amongst 
the friends of the cardinal. Ignorant of the sudden 
change in the politics of the Scottish earl, the squadron 
anchored off Dumbarton, the town and fortress of which 
were entirely in his power; and Lennox, hurrying 
thither with Glencairn, one of the ablest and least 
scrupulous partisans of Henry, received the gold, se- 
cured it in the c?.stle, and left the ambassador to find 
out his mistake when it was irremediable. 

But, although mortified by this untoward event, the 
arrival of the French fleet brought fresh hope and re- 
newed strength to the cardinal and the queen-dowager. 
Along with La Brosse came a papal legate, Grimani, 
patriarch of Aquileia, commissioned to take cognizance 
of the heretical opinions which had infected the Scot- 
tish church, and to confirm the governor in his adher-. 
ence to the Catholic religion. He remained durins; 
the winter in Scotland, entertained by the court and 
the nobles with much hospitality and barbaric pomp ; 
and in the spring he returned to the continent, bearing 
with him a favourable impression of this remote king- 
dom. Another object of the patriarch w^as, to advise 
the renewal of the league with France ; nor could any 
measure be more agreeable to the body of the people. 
They were aware of the determination of Henry to in- 
vade and attempt the conquest of the country ; they 
were incensed to the highest degree by the detention 
of thsir ships ; the rekindling of the war upon the 

* Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 28. 

1543. MARY. 291 

Borders had recalled all their martial propensities ; 
and Sadler, soon after the arrival of the French fleet, 
informed his royal master, that such had been the effect 
of the promises and pensions of the ambassador, who 
had been received with great distinction at court, that 
the whole realm was entirely in the French interest. 
According to the representations of this able minister, 
the people of Scotland could not conceal from them- 
selves that France required nothing but friendship, and 
had always assisted them at their utmost need, in their 
efforts to maintain the honour and liberty of the coun- 
try; whilst England sought to bring them into sub- 
jection, and asserted a superiority, which, he added, 
from their heart they so universally detested and ab- 
horred, that unless by open force, it was vain to look 
for their consent.* 

To this last fatal appeal matters appeared to be nov*^ 
rapidly approaching. Henry, irritated by the defeat 
of his favourite schemes, rose in his unreasonable de- 
mands in proportion to the opposition he experienced. 
Denouncing vengeance against the devoted country, 
he informed Angus and his faction, that the time was 
passed when he was willing to accept the treaties, and 
that nothing now would satisfy him but the possession 
of the person of the young queen, the seizure of his arch- 
enemy the cardinal, the removal of the governor, and 
the delivery into his hands of the principal fortresses 
of the kingdom. His wisest councillors, however, dis- 
suaded him from immediate invasion ; to the cardinal 
and the governor, some time was also required for the 
assembling of their forces ; and thus an interval of 
brief and insincere negotiation preceded the breaking 
out of hostilities. 

* Sadler, vol. i. p. 326. October 30, 1543. 


It was at this time that Sadler the ambassador was 
instructed to propose to the Scottish merchants, whosi 
ships had been unjustly detained, the restitution of 
their property, under the condition that they would 
assist the English monarch in the execution of his pro- 
jects against the independence of their country. These 
brave and honest men, however, spurned at the pro- 
posal, with which they declared themselves greatly 
offended ; affirming, that they would not only lose 
their goods and ships without farther suit or petition, 
but would willingly forfeit their lives, rather than agree 
to a condition which would make them traitors to their 
native land: a memorable contrast to the late conduct 
of the nobility, and a proof that the spirit of national 
independence, which, in Scotland, had long been a 
stranger to many of the proudest in the aristocracy, 
still resided in healthy vigour in the untainted bosoms 
of the commons.* 

Where such principles animated the body of the 
people, it was no easy matter for Henry to succeed ; 
and the exasperation of the nation was increased by 
the seizure of the Lords Somerville and Maxwell, the 
principal agents of Angus in conducting his intrigues 
with England. Upon the person of Somerville was 
found the bond signed at Douglas, along with letters 
which disclosed the plans of the party; and as it was 
evident they were ready to assist Henry in the entire 
subjugation of the country, their opponents abandoned 
all measures of conciliation, and resolved to proceed 
with the utmost severity against the Douglases and 
their party. Maxwell and Somerville were imprisoned ; 
the governor and the cardinal determined to assemble 
a parliament early in December ; and, as the inter- 

* Sadler, vol. i. p. 324. 

1543. MARY. 293 

cepted packet contained ample evidence of treason, it 
was agreed that its first business should be the im- 
peachment and forfeiture of Angus and his adherents. 
Alarmed at such a design, these barons assembled 
their forces, with the idea that they would be strong 
enouo'h to brino' about a revolution before the meetino; 
of the Estates ; but in this they were disappointed. 
TJie governor, acting by the advice of Beaton, at once 
resolved on war, seized Dalkeith and Pinkie, two of 
the chief houses of the Douglases, and sent a herald 
to Tantallon, where Sadler had taken refuge, com- 
mandins: Ang-us to dismiss from his castle one whom 
thev could no lono-er reo'ard as the ambassador of En^]:- 
land, considering his false practices with the nobility 
in this time of war.* 

Meanwhile the parliament assembled, to which the 
full attendance of the three Estates, the presence of the 
papal legate, and the grave and weighty subjects to be 
debated, gave unusual solemnity. The first step taken 
by the cardinal convinced all that the day of weak and 
vacillating councils was past. A summons of treason 
was prepared against the Earl of Angus, and those of 
his party who had signed the bond in Douglas castle; 
and the treaties of peace and marriage lately concluded 
with Henry the Eighth, were declared at an end, in 
consequence of the unjust conduct of the English mon- 
arch in seizing the Scottish ships,"[" and refusing to 
ratify the peace, although it had been confirmed by 
the oath and seal of the re2:ent of the kino-dom. The 
French ambassadors, de la Brosse and Mesnaige, were 
then introduced, and delivered the message of their 

* Letter, Earl of Arran to Earl of Angus, November 17, 1543. State- 
paper Office. Proclamation of Arran as governor, State-j^aper Office, Nov. 
20, 1543. 

"t Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 30. 


royal master : they represented Francis as anxious for 
the renewal of the alliance hetween the two countries, 
and declared he had empowered them to tender his 
immediate assistance in the defence of the liberty of 
the realm and its youthful queen, against the unwar- 
ranted designs ofEno'land. This offer was cnthusias- 
tically accepted ; the cardinal and a select council were 
directed to revise and renew the treaties which had so 
long united the realms of France and Scotland ; Secre- 
tary Panter, and Campbell of Lundy, proceeded on 
a mission to the French court ; and a kinsman of the 
regent was despatched to solicit the assistance of Den- 
mark. Envoys at the same time were sent to the court 
of the emperor and the Duke of Bavaria, conveying 
the intelligence of the war with England, and request- 
ing them, on this ground, to abstain from all further 
molestation of the Scottish commerce. Hamilton abbot 
of Paisley, whose exertions had been of essential ser- 
vice to the government, Avas rewarded by the office of 
treasurer, from which Sir William Kirkaldy of Grange, 
a keen supporter of England, was ejected ; whilst the 
cardinal was promoted to the dignity of chancellor, in 
the room of Dunbar archbishop of Glasgow.* 

During the period that Arran the governor professed 
the reformed opinions, and maintained in his family 
the two friars, Williams and Rough, many who had 
before embraced their doctrines in secret were encour- 
aa'ed to declare openly their animosity to the Churcli 
of Rome, and the necessity of a thorough reformation; 
the study of the Holy Scriptures had been authorized 
by the parliament ; books which treated of true as dis- 
tinguished from corrupt religion were imported from 
England, and, although little relished by the nobility, 

* Maitland, vol. ii. p. 854. 

1543. MARY. 295 

as we learn from Sadler, were, in all probability, bighly 
welcome to the middle and lower classes of the people. 
Bv such methods the seeds of reformation were very 
generally disseminated throughout the country. Six- 
teen years had now elapsed since the cruel burning of 
Hamilton ; but the courage with which Russel and 
Kennedy had defended their principles at the stake, 
was still fresh in the recollection of the people ; and 
although inimical to the designs of Glencairn, Somer- 
ville, ^laxwell, and the Protestant lords, for the sub- 
jection of the country under the dominion of England, 
they were disposed to listen with a favourable ear to 
their denunciations of the corruptions of the church. 

Arran, however, in renouncing the ties which had 
bound him to Henry, had, as we have seen, at the 
same time abjured his former convictions, and being 
again received into the bosom of the church, was in- 
duced by Beaton to renew the persecution of the re- 
formers. In the parliament which annulled the treaties 
with England, an act was passed, declaring that com- 
plaints were daily made to the governor against the 
heretics, who began more and more to multiply in the 
realm, disseminating opinions contrary to the true 
faith ; and all prelates were enjoined to make inquisi- 
tion witliin their dioceses for such persons, and to pro- 
ceed against them according to the laws of holy church. 
The expectation, however, of an immediate invasion by 
England protracted, for a short season, the execution of 
this cruel decree ; and the dissensions which followed 
between the governor and the Douglases, the leaders of 
the English or Protestant party, gave a breathing time 
to the sincere disciples of the Reformation. 

Into any minute detail of those intrigues which 
occupied the interval between the meeting of parlia- 


merit and the commencement of the war, it would be 
tedious to enter. The picture which they present of 
the meanness and dishonesty of the English part}^ who 
liave reaped in the pages of some of our historians so 
high a meed of praise, as the advocates of the Protes- 
tant doctrines, is very striking. To escape the sentence 
of forfeiture to which their repeated treasons had ex- 
posed them, the Earls of Lennox, Angus, Cassillis, and 
Glencairn, who had lately bound themselves by a writ- 
ten covenant to the service of the King of England, 
did not hesitate to transmit to Arran a similar bond 
or agreement, conceived in equally solemn terms, by 
which they stipulated for " themselves and all others 
their complices and partakers, to remain true, faithful, 
and obedient servants to their sovereign lady and her 
authority, to assist the lord governor for defence of the 
realm against their old enemies of England, to support 
the liberties of holy church, and to maintain the true 
Christian faith.""* To this treaty with the governor, 
An<Tus irave in his adherence on the thirteenth of 
January, and to their faithful performance of its con- 
ditions, his ])rother, Sir George Douglas, and Glen- 
cairn'*s eldest son, the Master of Kilmaurs, surrendered 
themselves as pledges ; yet two months did not expire 
before we find Angus once more addressing a letter to 
Henry, assuring him of his inviolable fidelity, whilst, 
at the same time, the nobles, who had so lately bound 
themselves to Arran and the cardinal, despatched a 
messenger to court, with an earnest request that the 
English monarch would accelerate his preparations for 
tlie invasion of the country, transmitting minute in- 

* Agreements (January 13 and 14, 1543-4) entered into by the Earls of 
Cassillis, Angus, Lennox, and Glencairn, with the Earl of Arran, governor 
of Scotland. MS. copy, State-paper Office. 

1543-4. MARY. 297 

structions regarding the conduct of the enterprise.* A 
main army, they advised, should proceed by land ; a 
strong fleet, with an additional force on board, was to 
be despatched by sea ; whilst it would be of service, it 
was observed, to send ten or twelve ships to the west 
sea, to produce a diversion in the Earl of Argyle'*s 
country, — an advice in which we may probably detect 
the selfish policy of Glencairn, his rival, and personal 
enemy. A stratagem of the same kind had already 
been attended with success, when, at the suggestion of 
the same baron, the highland chiefs shut up in the 
castles of Edinburgh and Dunbar were let loose by the 
governor Arran, under the condition that they would 
direct their fury against the country of Argyle.*[* 
Henry, with much earnestness, was urged to attempt 
this before the expected aid could arrive from France ; 
and we shall soon perceive that, on some points, their 
instructions were faithfully followed. J 

In the meantime, all things succeeding to his wishes 
in the civil affairs of the government, Beaton found 
leisure to make an ecclesiastical progress to Perth, 
where the reformed opinions were openly professed by 
some of the citizens, and, on his arrival, he commenced 
his proceedings with a ferocity of persecution, which 

* Letter, Angus to Henry, 5tli of March, 1543-4, State-paper Office. Also 
Earl of Hertford to the kinsr, March 8, 1548-4, State-paper Office. 

f Sadler, vol. i. pp. 267-275. Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. 
p. 450. 

Ij: The ahove particulars, which are new to this obscure portion of our 
history, are derived from authentic letters preserved in the State-paper 
Office. In one of these, from the Earl of Hertford to the king, dated March 
8, 1543-4, is this passage: " The cheif cause of his [the messenger spoken of 
in the text] repayr nowe to your majesty is, to accelerate your royal army 
and power into Scotland, which all your majesties friends there do specially 
desire." The letter proceeds to state, that those noblemen, who were the 
king's friends, directed Henry " to send a majoie armey by land, and a con- 
venyant armey by sea, to repayre to Leith, and bring victuals for the land 
armey, and to send ten or twelve ships into the west sey to do some annoy- 
ance to the Erie of Argj-le." Also Letter, March 5, 1543-4, Erie of Angus 
to Henry the Eighth, State-paper Office. 


ultimately defeated its object. Four men, Lamb, 
Anderson, llanald, and Hunter, were convicted of 
heresy, on the information of Spence, a friar. The 
crime of Lamb was his interrupting this ecclesiastic 
during a sermon, and his denying, that prayer to 
tlie saints was a necessary means of salvation ; his 
three associates were accused of treatino- with ianomi- 
nious ridicule an imasje of St Francis, and of breakins: 
their fast during Lent. A poor woman, also, the 
wife of one of these sufferers, was dragged before the 
inquisitorial tribunal on a charge, that, during her 
labour, she had refused to pray to the virgin, declaring 
she would direct her prayers to God alone, in the name 
of Christ ; and, notwithstanding the utmost interces- 
sion made to spare their lives, all suffered death. The 
men were hanged ; and much impression was made on 
the people by the last words of Lamb, who, in strong 
lan^-uao'e warned them ao:ainst the abominations of 
popery, and its voluptuous supporters, — a denunciation 
to which the well-known profligacy of the cardinal gave 
no little force ; yet the chief sympathy was excited by 
the fate of the unfortunate woman. She entreated, as 
a last request, to be allowed to die with her husband ; 
but this was denied, and, according to a savage dis- 
tinction in the executions of these times, she was con- 
demned to be drowned. " It matters not, dear partner," 
said she, " we have lived together many happy days, 
but this ought to be the most joyful of them all, when 
we are about to have joy for ever ; therefore I will not 
bid you good night, for ere the night shall close we 
shall be united in the kingdom of heaven." She then 
gave the little infant, who still hung upon her breast, 
to the attendants, held out her hands to be bound by 
the executioners, saw without any change of counte- 

1544. MARY. 299 

nance her feet secured in the same manner, and was 
cast into a deep pool of water, where her suS'erings 
were ended in a moment. Such atrocious and short- 
sighted cruelty only strengthened the convictions which 
they were intended to extinguish.* 

Henry was now busy with the organization of his 
projected invasion. It was the advice of the Earl of 
Hertford that the array should first make themselves 
masters of Leith, and, fortifying that sea-port, proceed 
to ravage the country and burn the capital, whilst the 
fleet kept possession of the Forth, and co-operated in 
the destruction of the coast and shipping; but, fortu- 
nately for the Scots, a more rapid, though less fatal, 
mode of operations was chosen by the privy council. 

In the interval of preparation, the monarch, whose 
passions were now excited to the utmost pitch against 
the cardinal, to whom he justly ascribed the total failure 
of his schemes, lent himself to a conspiracy, the object 
of which was the apprehension or assassination of his 
powerful enemy. The history of this plot presents an 
extraordinary picture of the times, and demands more 
than common attention. On the seventeenth of April, 
Crichton laird of Brunston, who, since the coalition 
between Beaton and the governor, had been employed by 
Sadler the ambassador as a spy upon their movements, 
despatched to the Earl of Hertford, then at Newcastle, a 
Scottish gentleman named Wishart, who communicated 
to Hertford the particulars of the intended plot. He 
stated that Kirkaldy the laird of Grange, the Master 
of Rothes, eldest son to the earl of that name, and 
John Chart eris, were willing to apprehend or slay the 
cardinal, if assured of proper support from England. 
Wishart, who brought this ofier, was instantly de- 

* Spottiswood's History, p. 75, 


spatched by post to the English court, and, in a personal 
interview with the king, informed him of the services 
which Kirkaldy and Rothes were ready to perform. 
Henry received the letters of Brunston, and listened 
to the report of his messenger with much satisfaction, 
approved of the plot, and, in the event of its being 
successful, promised the conspirators his royal protec- 
tion, should they be constrained to take refuge in his 
dominions.* But Beaton had either received secret 
information of the project for his destruction, or the 
design was, for the present, interrupted by some unfore- 
seen occurrence. Succeeding events, however, demon- 
strated that it was delayed only, not abandoned, and 
that the same unscrupulous agents who now intrigued 
with the English monarch were at last induced by 
Henry to accomplish their atrocious purpose. 

It was now the end of April, and having concentrated 
his naval and military power, the English king at last 
let loose his vengeance on the devoted country. On 
the first of May, a fleet of two hundred sail, under 
the command of Lord Lisle high-admiral of England, 
appeared in the Firth, and the citizens, after anxiously 
gazing for a short time at the unusual spectacle, on a 
nearer inspection found their worst fears realized, by 
discovering the royal flag of England streaming from 
the mast head of the admiral. For such a surprisal 
it seems extraordinary that the governor was unpre- 
pared, although Henry's intentions must have been 
well known. A very inferior force might have suc- 
cessfully attacked the English in their disembarkation, 
but the opportunity was lost ; four days were allowed 

* Letter, Grig. Earl of Hertford and Council of the North to the king — 
in possession of his Grace the Duke of Hamilton: the original draft, with 
many corrections, is in the State-paper Office. See Illustrations, Remarks 
on the Assassination of Cardinal Beaton. 

1544. MARY. 301 

Hertford, who landed his army and his artillery at his 
leisure; and it was not till he was advancing from 
Granton craig to Leith, that Arran and the cardinal, at 
the head of a force hastily levied, and consisting chiefly 
of their personal adherents, threw themselves between 
the enemy and this place as if they meant to dispute 
the passage. They w^re immediately repulsed, how- 
ever, by the superior force of Hertford, and Leith was 
given up to the plunder of the army without a struggle. 
Although deserted by the governor, the inhabitants of 
Edinburgh flew to arms, and, mustering under the 
command of Otterburn of Reidhall, the provost of the 
city, barricaded the gates, and determined to defend 
themselves. Otterburn, however, w^as first despatched 
to the English camp, and, in an interview with Hert- 
ford, remonstrated against such unlooked-for hostilities, 
and proposed an amicable adjustment of all difi'erences. 
It was answered by the English earl that he came as 
a soldier not an ambassador; that his commission com- 
manded him to ravage the country with fire and sword ; 
nor could he withdraw his army under any other con- 
dition than the delivery of the young queen into the 
hands of his master. Such a message was received 
with much indignation by the citizens. They declared 
they would rather submit to the last extremities than 
purchase safety by so ignominious a course, and pre- 
pared to sustain the onset of the enemy, when they 
were deserted by their chief magistrate, who either 
dreaded so unequal a contest, or had been brought 
over to the English party.* Upon this they retreated 
into the city, chose a new provost, completed their 

* Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 31. Otterburn had been long a secret tamperer 
with England in the minority of James the Fifth, and during the reign of 
that monarch. 


temporary ramparts, and for a while not only sustamed 
the assault of Hertford, but ultimately compelled him 
to retire to Leith for the purpose of bringing up his 
battering ordnance. But a contest so unequal could 
not last. Arran, Huntley, Argyle, and the cardinal, 
had retreated to Linlithgow; and to have attempted 
to defend the gates against the heavy ordnance, without 
hopes of assistance, would have been folly. During 
the night, therefore, the citizens, removing with them 
all their transportable wealth, silently abandoned the 
town; but Hamilton of Stenhouse resolutely defended 
the castle; and Hertford, after an unavailing attempt 
to construct a battery, which was dismounted by the 
superior fire of the garrison, was compelled to raise the 
siege, and content himself by giving the city to the 
flames. Its conflagration lasted for three days ; and 
the English army, having been reinforced by four thou- 
sand Border horse under Lord Eure, employed them- 
selves in ravaging and plundering the adjacent country 
with an unsparing cruelty, which they knew would be 
acceptable to their master the king, and which was 
not soon forgotten by the inhabitants. 

It was now the fifteenth of May, and the governor 
havino- assembled an army, and liberated the Earl of 
Angus and his brother George Douglas, in the hope 
that all party difterences might be forgotten* in a 
determination to repel the common enemy, was rapidly 
advancing to give them battle, when Lord Lisle, setting 
fire to Leith, reimbarked a portion of the army, and 
instantly set sail, leaving the remainder of the host to 
return by land under Hertford. Before weighing 

* So innate was Georee Douglas's disposition to intrigue, that soon after 
his liberation, he had a private interview in Leith with the Earl of Hertford, 
and save him advice concerning the conduct of the expedition. Acts of the 
Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 451, 

1544. MARY. 503 

anchor, the English admiral seized two large Scottish 
ships, the Salamander and the Unicorn, and destroyed 
by fire all the smaller craft which lay in the harbour ; 
nor did he omit to plunder of its maritime wealth every 
creek or harbour, which lay within reach, as he sailed 
along the coast. The land army was equally remorse- 
less in its retreat. Seton, Haddington, Dunbar, and 
Renton, were successively given to the flames ; and thus 
ended an expedition as cruel as it was impolitic, which 
only increased in the Scots the virulence of the national 
antipathy, and rendered more distant any prospect of 
a cordial union between the two kino-doms. 

Henry, as it is well observed by Lord Herbert, had 
done too much for a suitor, and too little for a conqueror. 
In the violence of his resentment, he had given orders 
that no protection should be afforded to the estates even 
of his Scottish friends, and the lands of the Dous^lases 
were wasted as mercilessly as those of their enemies. 
The effects of this short-sighted policy were soon seen 
in the splitting of that Anglo-Scottish party, which 
had so long supported the interests of the English mon- 
arch. Angus, George Douglas, and their numerous 
and powerful adherents, joined the cardinal, and the 
only friends left to England were the Earls of Lennox 
and Glencairn ; the first, a small acquisition, a man 
of weak, selfish, and versatile character; but the other, 
one of the ablest and most powerful barons in Scotland, 
whose son, the Master of Kilmaurs, from his spirit and 
military experience, was well fitted to execute the plans 
which the judgment of the father had matured. Such, 
indeed, was the great power and influence of Glencairn 
in the west of Scotland, that, in the event of a former 
invasion contemplated by Henry in 1543, he undertook 
to convey his army from Carlisle to Glasgow, without 


stroke or cliallen2:c;* aud so faitliful liad lie remained 
to these principles, that only a few days after the 
retreat of Hertford, wo find him engaged in a negotia- 
tion which, considerinii: the cruel rava2:es then inflicted 
by the English army, reflects little credit on his love 
of country. On the seventeenth of May, at Carlisle, an 
agreement was concluded between Glencairn, Lennox, 
and Henry the Eighth, by which that monarch con- 
sented to settle an ample pension on the former, and 
his son the Master of Kilmaurs, whilst to Lennox a 
more splendid reward was promised in the government 
of Scotland, and the hand of Lady Margaret Douglas, 
his niece. Upon their side, the Scottish barons ac- 
knowledged Henry as Protector of the realm of Scotland, 
— a title which, considering his late invasion, almost 
sounds ironical ; and they engaged to use their utmost 
eflbrts to become masters of the person of the young 
queen, and dehver her into his hands, along with the 
principal fortresses in the country. Lennox agreed to 
the surrender of Dumbarton, with the isle and castle 
of Bute. In conclusion, both earls stipulated that 
they would serve the English monarch against France, 
and all nations and persons, for such wages as his other 
subjects, no reservation being added of their allegiance 
to their natural prince, which, by the treaty, they 
virtually renounced. -[• In this base agreement, one 
redeeming article was included, by which Glencairn 
and Lennox undertook to cause the word of God to 
be truly taught in their territories ; the Bible is de- 
scribed by them as the only foundation from which all 
truth and honour proceedeth ; but it appears not to 
have sujicested itself to these Scottish barons, that the 

* Sadler, vol. i. p. 156. 

t Ryraer, Foedera, vol. xv. p. 23-26, inclusive ; and p. 29-32. 

i54k MARY. S05 

seizure of their lawful sovereign, and the betrayal of 
the liberty of their country, were scarcely reconcileable 
with the sacred standard to which they appealed. 

From Carlisle, where he had concluded the negotia- 
tion, Glencairn hurried to his own country to assemble 
his vassals, whilst Lennox collected his strength at 
Dumbarton ; but, as if to punish their desertion of 
their country, everything went against them. Arran, 
whose measures, now directed by the cardinal, were 
marked by unusual promptitude, lost not a moment 
in marching; a2:ainst them at the head of a thousand 
men, and advancino; to Glas2:ow, was boldlv confronted 
by Glencairn, with five hundred spearmen on a wide 
common beside the city. The parties engaged under 
feeling's of unusual obstinacv, and in the battle the un- 
relenting features of civil strife appeared with all their 
native ferocity ; but Glencairn was at last defeated 
with great slaughter, his second son being slain, with 
many others of his party, while the rest were dispersed 
or made prisoners.* The governor immediately oc- 
cupied the city, which he gave up to plunder, the chief 
magistrate havins: sided with his adversary. Glencairn 
fled almost alone to Dumbarton, and Lennox, having 
delivered the castle into his hands, instantly took ship 
for Eno'land, where he was soon after united to the 
Lady Margaret Douglas. His favourable reception 
at the English court, and his unnatural conduct to 
his country, were fatal to his illustrious brother the Lord 
Aubigny, in France, whom Francis the First, suspect- 
ing his fidelity, apparently on no good grounds, deprived 
of his high offices, and threw into prison. 

Henry's aff"airs in Scotland, so far as they depended 
on the faction which had hitherto supported him, 

* Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 32. 
VOL. V. U 


appeared at this crisis to be desperate ; and a general 
council being summoned to meet at Stirling, on the 
tliird of June,* it was attended by the whole body of the 
nobility, with the exception of Lennox and Glencairn. 
A favourable opportunity was now afforded for the 
union of all parties in support of the independence of 
the realm. The insincerity of Henry ""s professions 
was demonstrated by the cruel ravages with which his 
late invasion had been accompanied ; a feeling of deep 
indignation had arisen in the breasts of many of his 
former adherents; and all classes recoiled from a union 
which they were called upon to celebrate amid the 
flames of their capital, and the murder of its citizens. 
But it was the misfortune of the Scottish aristocracy, 
that when immediate danger was past, it was perpetu- 
ally disunited by the spirit of selfishness and ambition. 
Of the nobles, a large majority had become disgusted 
with the weakness and vacillation of the government 
of Arran ; and they now proposed that the regency 
should be conferred on the queen-mother, from whose 
energy they anticipated a happier result, and more 
determined measures against England. -f" It is probable 
that the Earl of Angus and his brother were chiefly 
implicated in this new movement, which is unknown 
to our general historians, and involved in much obscu- 
rity. It is certain, however, that a coalition took place 
between the Catholic and Protestant parties ; that, in 

* Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 32. 

+ Agreement of the principal Scots nobility to support the authority of the 
queen-mother as Regent of Scotland, against the Earl of Arran, declared by 
this instrument to be deprivedof his office, dated June (no day) 1544. State- 
paper Office — (see also Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. o3.) The agree- 
ment is not an original paper, but an authentic copy ; transmitted, probably, 
by some of the spies in Henry's interest at the Scottish couit. It is signed 
by the Earls of Angus, Bothwell, Montrose, Lord Sinclair, Robert Maxwell, 
Larl of Huntley, Cassillis, Marshal, Lord Somerville, George Douglas, Earl 
of Moray, Argyle, Errol, Lords Erskine, St John, ^Malcolm lord chamber- 
lain, Hew lord Lovat, and Sir John Campbell of Cawdor, knight. 

1544. MARY. 307 

a convention, they declared the governor deprived of 
his authority, proclaimed the queen- dowager regent in 
his stead, appointed a new privy council, and conferred 
upon the Earl of Angus the office of lieutenant-general 
of the kingdom. 

This state of things could not long continue, and 
only brought increasing troubles to the country, which 
continued to be distracted by intestine dissensions, and 
foreign war. Arran, still supported by the cardinal 
and a small party of the nobility, persevered in exercis- 
ing his authority as governor, and the queen-dowager 
began to dread that all her endeavours would prove 
insufficient to keep her partisans together. In the 
Highlands and Isles, the presence of Huntley and 
Argyle was required to repress a rebellion of the clans, 
encouraged, in all probability, by the intrigues of 
England, which frequently adopted this policy to 
weaken her enemy. The disturbance was speedily 
repressed, yet not without much bloodshed being mixed 
up with those private feuds which prevailed in these 
savage districts. In a ferocious contest at Inverlochy, 
between the Erasers, led by the Lord Lovat and his 
son, with a more numerous body of the Macdonalds, 
the combatants, stripping to their shirts on account of 
the extreme heat of the weather, fought rather for ex- 
termination than victorv ; two survivors beino; left on 
one side, and four on the other.* During these san- 
guinary contests in the remote Highlands, an equally 
disgraceful spectacle was exhibited at Perth, where a 
claim for the office of Provost was decided by arms, 
between Lord Ruthven on the one side, supported by 
a numerous train of his vassals, and Lord Gray, with 
Norman Leslt^y master of Kotlies, and Charteris of 

* Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. ^4. 


Kinfauns, on tlic other. During: his late ecclesiastical 
progress to Perth, the cardinal, who suspected Ruth- 
ven of leaning to the reformed opinions, had deprived 
him of his oflice of provost, and directed the citizens 
to elect Charteris : a crafty device, as was believed, to 
sow dissension between his rivals in power, it being 
notorious that the Lords Gray and Ruthven, with the 
Earl of Rothes and his adherents, had been hitherto 
unanimous in their opposition to Beaton. Nor was 
he unsuccessful : Ruthven, supported by the townsmen 
and merchants, in those days trained to arms, resented 
the affront, and held his place by force, whilst Char- 
teris, reinforced by Gray, Glammis, and Norman Lesley, 
broke into the town ; and both parties meeting on the 
narrow bridge over the Tay, fought with sanguinary 
obstinacy till the victory declared for Ruthven ; sixty 
of his opponents being left dead on the pavement, and 
the rest compelled to fly from the city.* 

It was now time for the Earl of Lennox to perform 
his enirafrements to Henry; and, having: sailed from 
Bristol with a squadron of ten ships and a small force 
of hagbutteers, archers, and pikemen, he arrived on 
the coast of Scotland, attacked and plundered the isle 
of Arran, and, sailing to Bute, occupied the island, and 
its castle of Rothesay, with little difficulty. These ac- 
quisitions, according to agreement, were delivered to 
Sir Rise Mansell and Richard Broke, who accompanied 
the expedition, and took formal possession of them in 
behalf of the King of England.-f* He next directed 
his course to Dumbarton castle, a fortress, of which, 

* Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 34. 

•j" Instructions to Sir Rise Mansell, and Richard Broke. State-paper 
Office, August, lo44. In the same repository is a Letter from Lennox to 
the Privy Council, dated West Chester, 8th ot August, 1544. He was then 
going by land to Beaumaris, to join his ship, which had sailed the day be- 
iore, and intended to proceed with all diligence ou his expedition. 

1544. MARY. S09 

as the key of the west of Scotland, Henry had long, 
but in vain, sought the possession. It was the pro- 
perty of Lennox, and being commanded by Stirling 
of Glorat, one of his retainers, to whom he had in- 
trusted it on his departure for England, he did not 
doubt for a moment that it would be surrendered. In 
this, however, he was disappointed : Stirling received 
and recognised him as his master, but the brave baron 
did not forget his higher allegiance to his sovereign. 
The first mention of his giving up the castle to Henry 
was received with a burst of generous indignation ; the 
garrison taking the alarm, rose in arms ; and Lennox, 
with his English friends, becoming alarmed for their 
safety, were glad to make a precipitate retreat to their 

In the meantime the Earl of Argyle, with a consi- 
derable force, had occupied Dunoon, a strong castle 
situated on the narrow strait between Argyle and 
Renfrew, whilst George Douglas, with four thousand 
men had entered Dumbarton. The squadron there- 
fore deemed it prudent to fall down the Clyde ; and 
being fired on in passing Dunoon, Lennox, in the 
chivalrous spirit of the times, accepted the defiance, 
and, landing under cover of a fire from his own ships, 
attacked the highlanders, whom he dispersed with 
considerable slau2:hter. He next invaded Kentire, 
plundered the adjacent coasts of Kyle and Carrick, and 
returning to Bristol, despatched Sir Peter Mewtas to 
inform King Henry, then at Boulogne, of the termi- 
nation of an expedition which had failed in its principal 
purpose — the seizure of Dumbarton ; and only rendered 
more distant the prospect of peace between the coun- 
tries.* Much indignation was expressed by Lennox 

* We know from the Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 35, that Len- 
nox arrived at Dumbarton on the 10th of August. 


and the English ministers, against the Earl of Glen- 
cairn, and his son the Master of Kihnaurs, whose 
services had been so lately purchased, and so soon 
withdrawn. Wriothesley the chancellor, inveighed 
against " the old fox and his cub,"*' who had imposed 
on the simplicity of Lennox ; and although both the 
father and son had written to excuse their proceedings, 
their falsehood was apparent, and their apology little 

During the continuance of this expedition, Sir Ralph 
Eure, Sir Brian Layton, and Sir Richard Bowes, 
ravas'ed the Scottish Borders with merciless barbarity, 
and organizing a system of rapine and devastation 
against those districts where the Scots were most de- 
fenceless, reduced the country almost to a desert. + It 
could scarcely indeed be otherwise, considering the 
perseverance of the Border inroads, and the distracted 
state of public affairs produced by the continued dis- 
sensions between the parties of the governor and the 
queen-dowager. Men neither knew whom to obey, 
nor where to look for protection. In the beginning of 
November, the regent held a parliament in which 
Angus and his brother were charged with treason, and 
all the heavy feudal penalties of banishment and for- 
feiture threatened to be enforced against them. On 
the thirteenth of the same month, the three Estates 
assembled at Stirling in obedience to the summons of 

* State Papers of Henry the Eighth, published by Government, p. 769. 

+ Of these inroads, a brief contemporary abstract has been preserved in 
Haynes"'s State Papers, (p. 43-55 inclusive,) a bloody ledger, as it has been 
rightly denominated, which, with all the formality of a business account, 
contains the successive inroads, burnings, and spoliations from July till 
November. By this it appears, that of towns, by which we must understand 
small villages, towers, farm offices, parish churches, and fortilied dwelling- 
houses, were burnt, 1 92 ; and that the plunder amounted, in cattle, to 
lOjijJi'J ; in sheep, to 12,492 ; in nags, geldings, and foals, to 1496 ; whilst 
the small number of those slain or made prisoners, evinces the little resis- 
tance encountered, and the defenceless state of the countiy. 

1544. MARY. 311 

the queen, who at the same time issued a proclamation 
discharging all classes of the people from their allegi- 
ance to the pretended regent.* In this state of things 
the talents of the cardinal were again employed in 
ne2:otiatin2: an a^'reement between the rival factions, 
which, although insincere, had a brief success. Peace 
seemed to be restored, and Arran, eager to avenge the 
late outra2:es, advanced at the head of seven thousand 
men to the Borders, and laid siege to Coldingbam, then 
held by the enemy. But scarce had they planted 
their artillery, when their proceedings became again 
weakened by suspicion and treason. It was discovered 
that the Douglases continued their correspondence with 
Eno-land : the inferior leaders dreadino- the result, 
began to disperse in disorder ; the governor became 
alarmed for his personal safety, and two thousand 
English defeated and chased off the field a Scottish 
army more than triple their number. In this dis- 
graceful rout, Angus, who had the conduct of the van- 
guard with Glencairn, Oassillis, Lord Somerville, and 
the sheriff of Ayr, opposed no resistance to the enemy; 
whilst Bothwell, who brought up the rear, in vain at- 
tempted to rally, and was at last compelled to join in 
the flight. f 

The failure of this last expedition was wholly to be 
ascribed to the intrigues of the Douglases, who, with 
their associates, Glencairn and Cassillis, were now play- 
ing a desperate game. A sentence of treason hung 
over their heads in Scotland ; in England, Henry 

* Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 36 ; — corroborated in its dates by 
the Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 445, 446, 447. It is 
worthy of notice, that these rival parliaments which are new to Scottish 
history are aloi.e mentioned in the Uiurnal of Occurrents. 

+ The cannon, however, were carried off, as is asserted, by the exertions 
of the Douglases. Their general conduct in the expedition renders the fact 
extremely doubtful. 


regarded their conduct with so much suspicion, tliat in 
the late expedition of Hertford, no protection had been 
oranted to their estates and vassals. They were now, 
therefore, in a position as precarious as it was discredit- 
able; likely to lose the confidence of both governments; 
exposed to the chance of banislnnent from their own 
countrv, and to be cut off from a retreat into Eno;land. 
Under these circumstances they adopted that middle 
course which is not uncommon to men Ions: eno-aijedin 
political intrigue ; and, more studious for the posses- 
sion of power, than the preservation of character, 
they determined to break wholly with neither party. 
George Douglas, brother of Angus, a man of great 
ability, and little scrupulous as to means, continued 
his correspondence with the English king, and betrayed 
to him the secrets of the government. Angus, on the 
other hand, deceived Arran and the queen- dowager into 
the belief that they had completely repented of their 
former tergiversation, and convinced of the injustice of 
Henry ""s demands, were prepared cordially to co-operate 
in the defence of the country.* 

By this pretended coalition, they gained an impor- 
tant end. In a parliament held at Edinburgh in the 
beginning of December, which was attended by the 
whole body of the nobility, the earl and his brother 
Sir George being personally present, were absolved 
from the charge of treason, and declared innocent of 
the crimes which had been alleged against them. 
Glencairn, Cassillis, and Sir Hugh Campbell sheriff of 

* Our general historians, Buchanan, Lesley, and Maitland, not aware of 
the double part acted by the Douglases, have represented this coalition as 
sincere. Not so, however, the Diurnal of Occuneiits, p. o\\, which gives the 
only accurate account of the siege of Coldingham, and the dispersion of the 
army. As to Buchanan, his narrative on this part of our history is so 
comj)lete]y at variance with the truth, that it is little else than a classical 

154! k MARY. SI.*i 

Ayr, obtained at the same time a remission for all 
treasons committed bv them, in return for the cfood 
service done, or to be done to the realm, although it 
does not clearly appear what services could be meant.* 
An attempt was made to raise, by a land tax, a sum 
of money for the support of a thousand horsemen, to 
be placed for the defence of the Borders under the Earl 
of Angus, which completely failed. The barons of 
Lothian declined either to pay the money or to serve 
under a leader whose honesty they doubted ; and so 
universal was the suspicion of the treachery of the 
Douglases, that when the regent repaired to Lauder, 
and issued his command for the immediate muster of 
the whole force of the realm, the country, throughout 
its various districts, refused to rise in arms. The com- 
mons dreaded a repetition of the flight from Colding- 
ham, and the barons adopted the expedient of entering 
into covenants with each other for their mutual defence 
against the continued inroads of the English. -[- 

Of all this, the effects were deplorable. During the 
contest for the regency, the Border barons, whose duty 
it was to defend these districts, remained inactive ; 
many Border clans, at all times somewhat precarious 
in their allegiance, entered into the service of England, 
and assumed the red cross, as a bad^re of their deser- 
tion ; others were compelled to purchase protection ; 
whilst the Eno-lish wardens insulted over the countrv, 
and became so confident in their superiority, that they 
contemplated its entire conquest even to the Forth, as 
a matter of no difficult attainment. 

With these proud hopes. Sir Ralph Euro, and Sir 
Brian Layton, repaired to court ; and in an interview 
with the king, explained to him a scheme for this 

* Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 36. i" Ib'.d. p. 37. 


purpose, which, as a means of punisliiiig tlie alleged 
perfidy of the Scots, met with his entire approval. As 
a reward for the uninterrupted success with which their 
various inroads had been attended, Eure obtained, it 
is said, a royal grant of all the country he should con- 
quer in the JNIcrse, Teviotdale, and Lauderdale, districts 
of which a great part formed the hereditary property 
of the Earls of Douglas. The insolence of so premature 
an appropriation of his paternal estates, incensed Angus 
far more than the indignity offered to his country; and 
he is said to have sworn a great oath, that if Ralph 
Eure dared to act upon the grant, he would write his 
sasine or instrument of possession on his skin wit! 
sharp pens and bloody ink. The English baron, how- 
ever, was not of a temper to be deterred by threats, 
and soon after repaired to the Borders with a force of 
five thousand men: consistino; of foreicrn mercenaries, 
English archers, and a body of six hundred Border 
Scots, who wore the red cross above their armour. 
With these they had recommenced their inroads, in 
which they even exceeded their former barbarity; they 
burnt the Tower of Broomhouse, and in it its lady, a 
noble and a2:ed matron, with her whole familv. Thev 
penetrated to Melrose, which they left completely 
spoiled and in ruins; not sparing its venerable abbey, 
the burial place of the Earls of Douglas, whose tombs 
they ransacked and defaced with wanton sacrilege. 

Deeply enraged at this new insult, Angus collected 
his vassals, and, joining the governor, advanced to 
Melrose ; but they were surprised by a sudden attack 
of the English, and driven from their position with 
considerable slaughter. The cause of this new disaster 
is ascribed by an ancient chronicle, apparently a con- 
temporary document, to the secret information furnish ed 

1544. MARY. 315 

to the enemy by George Douglas ; and it is certain, 
that he was then in communication both with Sir Ralph 
Euro and his royal master ; but the sincerity of his 
brother tlie earl upon this occasion is not to be doubted ; 
he acted in the true spirit of a feudal baron. The love 
of revenge, the desire to retaliate the insult offered to 
his house, burned inextinguishably strong in a bosom, 
which, for many years, had been a stranger to the love 
of his country; and Douglas, true only to himself, ap- 
peared for the moment to be true to Scotland. With these 
bitter feelings he saw the English once more plunder 
Melrose, and commence their retreat to Jedburah; 
whilst he and Arran, with a far inferior force, could 
only hang upon their rear and watch their motions. 

On reaching the Teviot, Eure, confident in his supe- 
riorstrength, which was more than five to one, encamped 
on a level moor or common above the villafre of An cram : 
whilst the Scots fell back to a neighbouring eminence, 
and hesitated whether, with so great a disparity, they 
should risk a battle. At this moment they were joined 
by Norman Lesley master of Rothes, at the head of 
twelve hundred lances ; and soon after, AValter Scott 
the veteran Laird of Buccleugh, came up at full speed, 
with the news that his followers were within an hour"'s 
march.* It was resolved, with these reinforcements, 
to give battle to the enemy, who, during all this time, 
eagerly watched their motions ; but, by the advice of 
Buccleuoh Arran abandoned the heioht which he oc- 
cupied, and drew up in a level plain behind it, named 
Peniel Heugh, where they were entirely concealed from 
the English; they then dismounted, and sent the horses 
with the camp boys to an eminence beyond the plain. 
These dispositions were intended to betray the English 

* Maitland, vol. ii. p. 8GI. 


into the idea that thiC Scottish army was in flight; and 
they succeeded. Rendered careless and confident by 
their long career of success, and anticipating a repeti- 
tion of the combat at Coldingham, Sir Brian Layton, 
and Sir Robert Bowes, pushed on with the advance ; 
whilst Sir Ralph Eure followed at full speed with the 
main battle, consisting of a thousand spears, with an 
equal number of archers and hagbutteers on each wing. 
The rapidity of their movement necessarily threw their 
ranks into some disorder ; the horses were blown by 
their gallop up the hill ; the infantry were breathless 
from ea^-erness to arrive on the same around with 
their companions; and in this state, having surmounted 
the eminence, they discovered, to their astonishment, 
instead of an enemy in flight, the compact serried pha- 
lanx of the Scots within a short distance of their own 
army. At this moment, a heron, disturbed by the 
troops, sprung from the adjacent marsh, and soared 
away over the heads of the combatants. " Oh !" said 
Angus, "that I had here my white goss-hawk: we 
should then all ' yoke"** at once." To have halted, 
with the hope of restoring order to their ranks would 
have been fatal; and Eure, relying on his superiority, 
charged bravely and without delay. But the advantage 
of infantry over cavalry, of which the main body of the 
English was composed, never more strikingly evinced 
itself. The Scottish spears, an ell longer than the Eng- 
lish, repulsed the van under Layton and Bowes, and 
pushed it back in confusion on the main battle, which, 
in its turn, was thrown upon the rearward. All was 
soon in confusion; and no efforts of their gallant leaders 
could prevent an entire rout. The setting sun shone 
full in the faces of the English ; and their euemv had 

* To yoke — to set to — buckling closely together. 

1544. MARY. 317 

also the advantas^e of the wind, which blew the smoke 
of the harquebusses upon the columns of their adver- 
saries and blinded them. On the first symptoms of 
flight, the six hundred Scottish borderers, who were in 
the service of Henry, throwing away their red crosses, 
joined their countrymen, and with the merciless spirit 
common to renegades, made a pitiless slaughter of 
their former friends. The neighbouring peasantry, 
who, from terror of the English, had not en2:a2,ed 
in the battle, rose upon the flying enemy ; and such 
was the deep desire of vengeance produced by the late 
ravages, that even the women took part in the pursuit, 
and callina* out to their husbands and relatives to 
" remember Broomhouse," encoura2:ed them in the 
work of retribution. On the Enirlish side the loss was 
great, eight hundred being slain, and a thousand made 
prisoners ; but that which afl'orded most satisfaction 
to the enemy was the discovery, amon2:st the dead 
bodies, of Eure and Layton, the leaders who, for the 
last six months, had signalized themselves by such 
unexampled and cruel ravages. Amongst the captives 
were many knights and gentlemen; and the governor, 
having first seized the camp equipage which was left 
in Melrose, advanced to Coldino-ham, which the enemv 
evacuated; he thenmarchedto Jedburgh, and recovered 
from the English, not only the town, but the greater 
part of the Borders, which they had lately considered 
a conquered territory, making proclamation that all 
who had been compelled to accept assurance from Eno-- 
land, and assume the red cross, should, on returning to 
their alles^iance, have a full indemnity. 

On receiving news of this defeat, Henry expressed 
deep indignation against Angus, whom he accused of 
ingratitude, and threatened with the extremity of his 


resentment. Doufilas"'s answer was characteristic ; — 
"■ What," said he, " is our brotlier-in-law offended, 
because, like a good Scotsman, I have avenged upon 
Ralph Eure the defaced tombs of my ancestors? they 
were better men than he, and I ought to have done no 
less ; and will he take my life for that? Little knows 
King Henry the skirts of Kernetablc ; I can keep 
mvself there a^^ainst all his Enolish host."* 

By this success, confidence was restored to the people, 
whose hearts had sunk under the unresisted ravao-es 
of the English ; whilst new strength was given to the 
party of the governor and the cardinal. It happened 
also, that, at this moment, they confidently expected 
the support of their continental allies. Francis the 
First, irritated by the late invasion of Henry, and 
the loss of Boulogne, was resolved to exert his utmost 
efforts against England; he had detached the emperor 
from his alliance with that country, and now made 
preparations for its invasion by a powerful fleet; whilst 
he determined to send an auxiliary force into Scotland 
to make a diversion in that quarter. 

Of such resolutions, early advice was sent from 
France to Arran ; and the English monarch, having 
become acquainted with these hostile intentions by a 
secret despatch from George Douglas, began seriously 
to dread the consequences of raising so many enemies 
asfainst him, and to be convinced that his conduct 
towards Scotland had been inconsistent and impolitic. 
He was assured by Douglas, that so far from gaining 
his object, or promoting the treaties of peace and mar- 

* Godscroft's ITistorj' of the House and Race of Douglas, vol. ii. p. 123. 
As a biographer, Hume of Godscrolt not unfrequently gives us characteristic 
traits, which I borrow from his pages when they bear the marks of truth. 
As an authentic historian, no one who has compared his rambling eulogistic 
etory with contemporary documents, will venture to ^uote Lim. 

1545. MARY. 319 

riage, the rigorous measures which some reported ho 
intended to use, would drive the people to despair.* 
These remonstrances produced some effect, Henry pre- 
vailed on himself to try conciliation ; and intrusted 
the Earl of Cassillis, one of his Solway prisoners, who 
had been long attached to the interests of England, with 
the management of the negotiation. This nobleman 
repaired to the English court, February twenty-eighth, 
1545; and having received his instructions, returned, 
after a short absence to Scotland. To prevail upon 
the Earls of Glencairn, Marshal, and the Douglases, 
who professed never to have left the allegiance to the 
English king, to renew their active efforts in his service, 
was no difficult task ; and the Earl of Angus, as a proof 
of his sincerity, resigned his office of lieutenant under 
Arran ; but the governor, and the cardinal, were more 
difficult to manage. Huntle}'', Argyle, and the queen- 
dowager, were absent ; it was necessary they should 
be first consulted ; and a convention of the nobility 
w^as appointed to be held on the fifteenth of April, 
for the purpose of deliberating on Henry ""s offers, and 
giving his envoy a final answer. In the meantime, 
the wardens were commanded to abstain from all hos- 
tilities ; whilst, by the advice of Cassillis, the English 
monarch prepared his force for the invasion of the 
country, should matters not proceed according to his 
expectation. An army of thirty thousand men, under 
the command of the Earl of Hertford, was directed to 
be levied on the Borders; and Sir Ralph Sadler, whose 
acquaintance with Scotland had well fitted him for the 

* Original Letter, Sir George Douglas to tlie king, from Lauder, February 
25, 1544-5. Douglas asks Henry's pardon if he had ofiended him, states his 
great losses by the last invasion of the English army, and assures him, that 
the rigorous measures, -which it was reported he intended to use towards 
Scotland, would be the means of driving the people to desperation. State- 
paper Ottice. 


office, was appointed trcasurcr-at-war, and political 

On the seventeenth of April, the convention was 
held at Edinburgh; Cassillis presented himself as the 
envoy of Henry, and acquainted the nobles, that if 
they consented to the treaties of peace and marriage, 
he was empowered to assure them that the king would 
forget wliat had passed ; and forbear to avenge the in- 
juries which he had received."!* It was the infirmity 
of this prince, that even in his efforts at conciliation, he 
assumed a tone of pride and superiority wliicli defeated 
his object. The injuries which he had received were 
little, in comparison with those which he had recently 
inflicted, and his power of avenging them was at best 
problematical. The influence too of the party of the 
governor and the cardinal, was every day increasing ; 
certain intelli2:ence of the embarkation of the auxiliaries 
had been received from France : from Denmark thev 
expected a fleet of merchantmen, laden with provisions ; 
a friendly negotiation had been opened with the em- 
peror ; and new importance had been conferred on 
Beaton by his receiving from Rome the dignity of 
Legate a latere in Scotland. | All these circumstances 
gave confidence to the political friends of the cardinal ; 
whilst Henry's late invasion, and subsequent inroads, 
had created distrust and aversion, even in many of 
his former supporters. The consequence of this was 
natural, — almost inevitable ; the negotiation of Cas- 
sillis entirely failed ; the influence of Beaton carried 

* Diurnal of Occiirrents in Scotland, p. 38. 

t Letter from the Privy Council to the Earl of Cassillis, in answer to his 
letter in cipher of 'lH April, — communicating the king's directions, April 
10, 1.545. State-paper Office. 

X Letter, Lord-lieutenant and Council of the North to the King, May 1, 
154,5^ — stating that a Hull vessel had captured a Dutch ship lad', n with pro- 
visions for the Scots ; and that, in one of the chests was found a commission 
from the Pope, appointing Beaton legate a latere in Scotland. 

1545. MARY. 321 

everything before it in the convention ; the treaties of 
peace and marriage were declared at an end ; and it was 
resolved cordially to embrace the assistance of France.* 
The earl instantly informed Henry of the complete 
defeat of his negotiation ; and, in the letter which 
conveyed the intelligence, advised the immediate in- 
vasion of Scotland with a strong force. 

Mortified to be thus repulsed, Henry ""s animosity 
asrainst Beaton became more vehement than before. 
To his energy and political talent he justly ascribed 
his defeat ; and whilst he urged his preparations for 
war, he encouraired the Earl of Cassillis in oro;anizincr 
a conspiracy for his assassination. The plot is entirely 
unknown, either to our Scottish or English historians; 
and now, after the lapse of nearly three centuries, has 
been discovered in the secret correspondence of the 
State-paper Ofiice. It appears that Cassillis had ad- 
dressed a letter to Sadler, in which he made an offer 
•' for the killing of the cardinal, if his majesty would 
have it done, and promise, when it was done, a reward.**"* 
Sadler showed the letter to the Earl of Hertford and 
the Council of the North, and by them it was trans- 
mitted to the king.-[- Cassillis's associates, to whom 
he had communicated his purpose, were the Earls of 
Angus, Glencairn, Marshal, and Sir George Douglas ; 
and these persons requested that Forster, an English 
prisoner of some note, who could visit Scotland with- 

* Letter in cipher, with the original decipher, Cassillis to Henry the 
Eighth, April 20, 1545. State-paper Office. 

i' Privy- council to the Earl of Hertford, dated Green"wich, May 30, 1545, 
— relative to the proposition of the Earl of Cassillis, for the assassination of 
Cardinal Beaton. MS. State-paper Office. Also, letter from the Council of 
the North to the King's Majesty, May "^1, 1545. MS. State-paper Office. 
By the letter of 30th May, quoted above, it appears that the first resolution 
of the associated earls was to send a conhdential envoy to meet and commu- 
nicate with Sir Ralph Sadler at Alnwick. As to this purpose, however, 
they changed their mind, probably from the fear of incurring suspicion, and 
requested that Forster should be sent. 

VOL. V. X 


out suspicion, should be sent to EJinburgli to commu- 
nicate witli them on the desi<::n for cuttin^• off Beaton. 
Hertford accordingly consulted the privy-council upon 
his Majesty''s wishes in this affair, requiring to be in- 
formed whether Cassillis"'s plan for the assassination of 
his powerful enemy was agreeable to the king, and 
whether Forster should be despatched into Scotland. 
Henry, conveying his wishes through the privy-council, 
replied, that he desired Forster to set off immediately; 
to the other part of the query, touching the assassina- 
tion of the cardinal, the answer of the privy-council 
was in these words : — " His majesty hath willed us to 
signify unto your lordship, that his highness reputing 
the fact not meet to be set forward expressly by his 
majesty, will not seem to have to do in it, and yet not 
misliking the offer, thinketh good, that Mr Sadler, to 
whom that letter was addressed, should write to the 
earl of the receipt of his letter containing such an offer, 
which he thinketh not convenient to be communicated 
to the king's majesty. Marry, to write to him what 
he thinketh of the matter ; he shall say, that if he 
were in the Earl of Cassillis's place, and were as able 
to do his majesty good service there, as he knoweth 
him to be, and thinketh a right good will in him to do 
it, he would surely do what he could for the execution 
of it, believing verily to do thereby not only an accept- 
able service to the king''s majesty, but, also a special 
benefit to the realm of Scotland, and would trust verily 
the king's majesty would consider his service in the 
same ; as you doubt not of his accustomed goodness to 
those which serve him, but he would do the same to 
him."'* In this reply there was some address ; Henry 

* Lords of the Privy-council to Hertford, May 30, 15-45. State-paper 

1 rA5. MARY. 323 

preserved, as he imagined, his regal dignity ; and whilst 
he affected ignorance of the atrocious design, encour- 
aged its execution, and shifted the whole responsibility 
upon his obsequious agents. On both points, the king's 
commands were obeyed ; Sadler wrote to Cassillis, in 
the indirect manner which had been pointed out ; and 
Forster, in compliance with the wishes of the conspira- 
tors, was sent into Scotland, and had an interview with 
Angus, Cassillis, and Sir George Douglas; the sub- 
stance of which he has given in an interesting report 
which is still preserved.* It is evident, from this 
paper, that both Angus and Cassillis were deterred from 
committino- themselves on such delicate oround as the 
proposed murder of the cardinal, by the cautious nature 
of Sadler''s letter to Cassillis, who, in obedience to the 
royal orders, had recommended the assassination of the 
prelate, as if from himself; and had affirmed, though 
falsely, that he had not communicated the project to 
the king. These two earls, therefore, said not a word 
to the envoy on the subject ; although Cassillis, on his 
departure intrusted him with a letter in cipher for 
Sadler. Sir George Douglas, however, w^as less timor- 
ous, and sent by Forster a message to the Earl of 
Hertford in very explicit terms : — " He willed me/' 
says the envoy, " to tell my lord-lieutenant, that if 
the king would have the cardinal dead ; if his grace 
would promise a good reward for the doing thereof, so 
that the reward were known what it should be. the 
country being lawless as it is, he thinketh that that 
adventure would be proved ; for he saith, the common 
saying is, the cardinal is the only occasion of the war. 

* The Discourse of Thomas Forster, gentleman, being sent into Scotland 
by my Lord-lieutenant, to speak to the Earls of Cassillis, Glencairn, Angus, 
Marshal, and George Douglas, being returned "with the same to Da'nton, 
the 4th July, 1545. MS. State-paper Office. 


ami is smally beloved in Scotland ; and then, if he 
were dead, by that means how that reward should be 
paid." Such was the simple proposal of Sir George 
Douglas, for the removal of his arch-enemy ; but, al- 
though the English king had no objection to give the 
utmost secret encouragement to the conspiracy, he 
hesitated to offer such an outrage to the common feel- 
ings of Christendom, as to set a price upon the head 
of the cardinal, and to offer a reward and indemnity to 
those who should slay him. For the moment, there- 
fore, the scheme seemed to be abandoned by the earls, 
but it was only to be afterwards resumed by Brunston.* 

* In the light which it throws upon the intrigues of the Douglases and 
the state of parties in Scotland, the report of Forster is a paper of great his- 
torical value. It will be published in its entire state in the forthcoming 
volume of the State Papers ; but an analysis of it, with a few brief extracts, 
may be interesting to the reader. It thus opens : — " The said Thomas For- 
ster sayth, that according to my Lord-lieutenant's commandment, he enter- 
ed Scotland at Wark, and so passed to his taker's house in Scotland, as tho 
he had repayred for his entree to save his lande, and declaring to his taker 
that he had occasion to speke with George Douglas, his taker was contented, 
according to the custome there, that he shuld go at his pleasure ; whereupon 
he came to Dalkeith to George Douglas, and showed him th' occasion of his 
hither corayng to speak to him and th' Erll aforesaid, with message from my 
Lord-lieutenant and Master Sadleyr, who willed him to go to Douglas, 
where he would cause th' Erlls of Cassillis and Anguisse to mete hym, for 
he said he could not get them to Dalkeith without gret suspition. And 
hereupon, he sayth, that going towards Douglas he met th' Erll of Anguisse 
at Dumfries, where, as he was hunting, he gave him welcome, saying he 
would give him hawkes and dogges, and caused him to pass the time with 
him that night ; and on the morrowe brought hym with him to Douglas, and 
that afternoon sent for th' Erll of Cassillis, who, ryding all night, came 
thither the next day yerly in the mornyng, whereupon he and th' Erll of 
Anguisse went into a chamber together, and called the said Forster unto them, 
who then declared the occasion of his comyng, by whom he was sent, and 
the full of his instructions. As to the first article, they answered that they 
were glad he was come, and was welcome to them." To the second article, 
they say they indeed wanted Forster to come ; and in reply to the question, 
how Henry's godly purpose for the peace and marriage may best be furthered, 
Cassillis answers that he is still the same true man to Henry as he was at 
his parting with his majesty. Angus equally promised his cordial assistance, 
and declared he would either rjo to the field or statj at home, as Henry judged 
it best, and would maintain, in the face of all Scotland, that the peace and 
the marriage were for the good of the realme of Scotland. Forster then 
desired them to state to him such matters as they had intended to com- 
municate by the gentleman that should have met Mr Sadler at Alnwick ; 
upon which they brielly answered, that " the effect of that matter was none 

1545. MARY. 825 

In the midst of these machinations for the removal 
of his enemies, and preparations for open war, impor- 
tant events had taken place in Scotland. Early in May 
a French fleet, having on board a body of three thou- 
sand infantry, and five hundred horse under the com- 
mand of the Sieur Lorges de Montgomerie, arrived off 
the west coast ; but recollecting the device lately prac- 
tised on their countrymen by the Earl of Lennox, this 
experienced officer was cautious of committing himself 
by landing, till informed of the exact state of the 

other than they had already declared ;" but Cassillis added, " that such other 
matters as should be at the convencion lie ivoidd write it in ci/pTier, and send 
it to Mr Sadleyr," and so departed from them ; and returning again to Dal- 
keith unto George Douglas, he said he declared to the said George all his con- 
ference with the foresaid Erls, requiring him to show him his opinion therein. 
Douglas promises to do so after the convention. Forster goes on to state, 
that Douglas went then to the convention, where he tarried seven days. On 
the return of Douglas from this convention, Forster asked the news, and 
what he would do for the king's Majesty's advancement and godly affairs? 
Douglas answers, " that he will stand to it in all his power," the rather that 
he himself was one of them that " procured and promised the same, and that 
ther was never an honest man in Scotland that would be against that pro- 
mise, for it was the doinge of all the nobles of Scotland, and the Governor's 
part was therein as deep as the rest of them." — Another thing agreed on at 
the convention was, that " they would raise an army against the xxviiith of 
July, and to have them upon Roslin Moor, three miles from Dalkeith, with 
a month's victuall, and so passing to invade England; by which tyme he 
saith the said Lorges Montgomerie hath undertaken on the French king's 
behalf, that th' army out of France by sea shall be ready to ayde them at 
their handes, or els at that time should invade in some other place of Eng- 
land. The said George Douglas told him also, that if my Lord-lieutenant 
thought mete th' army of Scotland were stayed, that then it should be well 
done to send some ships with diligence with three or four thousand men to 
ayde the gentlemen of the Isles, which would stay at home th' Erlls of 
Huntley and Argyle, and by that meanes he thinks it would stop the rest of 
th' army from coming forward ; and if it is not so, then to prepare a great 
power of England to come to the Borders against that time, which must 
come very strongly, for all the Lords and power of Scotland, as he sayth, 
will be wholly there, as they have promised : and by reason of th' encour- 
agement of the Frenchmen and the fair largesses, that the French king hath 
promised them by Lorges Montgomerie, they are fully bent to fight as he 
sayth. But he saith, tho' that he must needs be also there with them, he 
will do them no good, but will do all that he caij to stop them ; and sayth, 
that if they may be stopped since they have made so gret braggis and avant 
to Lorges Montgomerie, it wold, as he thinketh, put away all the Commons' 
hearts from them."* 

* "Tiie old spelling is not uniformly followed in the copy of this note. 


country. Bein^: assured, however, tliat the French 
politics were still predominant, they disembarked at 
Dumbarton, and were received with much distinction; 
nor did the enthusiasm diminish when it was found 
they had brought a considerable sum of money for the 
emergencies of the war, a body-guard of a hundred 
archers to wait on the governor''s person, and the in- 
siofnia of the Order of St Michael for Ano'us.* This 
favourable news the cardinal did not fail immediately 
to disseminate among his partisans; and a convention 
of the nobility being soon after held at Stirling, it was 
resolved, that the league with France should be main- 
tained, and hostilities immediately commenced against 
England ; but, with a great portion of the nobility 
these declarations were insincere. At this very mo- 
ment Cassillis v/as organizing his conspiracy for cutting 
off the cardinal ; whilst his associates, Angus, Glen- 
cairn, and Sir George Douglas, had assured Forster, the 
English envoy, of their entire devotedness to his master. 
When the governor, therefore, assembled the Scottish 
host, on the ninth of August, it was strong in appa- 
rent numbers, but weakened by treason and suspicion. 
From a force of thirty thousand men, wdth the veteran 
infantry of France, and a fine body of cavalry, includ- 
ing eighty barbed horse, something important was ex- 
pected ; and the people, whose feelings were strongly 
excited against England, looked with eager anxiety to 
the result ; but they were miserably disappointed. 
The vanguard of the army was commanded by Angus ; 
under him were the lords in the English interest, with 
the minor barons who followed them ; and their indis- 
position to hostilities completely shackled the eflforts 

* Intelligence by the Lord Wharton'sespiels, sent to the Earl of Hertford, 
June 11, 1545. State-paper Office. 

1545. MARY. 327 

of the remainder of the army. England was indeed 
invaded, but the operations were feeble and disunited : 
Hertford had made excellent dispositions for the de- 
fence of the Borders by his foreign mercenaries ; the 
Spanish and Italian troops repelled the Scots with 
great gallantry ; the preparations of many months led 
only to the sack of a few obscure villages, and the cap- 
ture of some Border strengths ; and, after two days, 
the army of Scotland returned, to use the words of an 
ancient and authentic chronicle, — " through the deceit 
of Georo-e Dous^las and the vano^uard."* 

It was on the thirteenth of August that this disas- 
trous retreat took place, and, three days after, the 
Scottish lords in the interest of England addressed 
from Melrose a letter to Henry, in which they claimed 
credit for the total failure of the invasion, and advised 
the immediate advance of the Earl of Hertford, with 
an overwhelming force into the heart of the country, 
so well provided as to remain there for a lengthened 
period. They recommended him at the same time to 
march during the present harvest, and to publish a 
proclamation, declaring that he came not to hurt the 
realm or any subject in it who would assist in promot- 
ing the peace and marriage between the two countries. 
The letter is a remarkable one, and affords a melan- 
choly proof of the true character of the men, who, by 
our historians, are imagined to have, at that moment, 
entirely deserted the service of England."|* 

* Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 40. 

f State-paper OtKce, Letter, Hertford, Bishop of Durham, and Sir R. 
Sadler to the king, enclosing the letter from the Scottish earls, August 2.5, 
1545. The passage explaining the cause of the failure of the last invasion is 
curious, and completely corroborates the statement of the Diurnal of Occur- 
rents quoted in the text, vrhich statement is not to be found in any of our 
Scottish historians. " Further as to this last journey of ours, it was advised 
by the queen, cardinal, and this French captain Lorges Montgomerie. 
Huntly fortified this armye at his power ; notwithstanding, all that they 


The Earl of Hertford was sufficiently eager to obey 
these instructions, although to support a main army 
for any long period, and to follow the course pointed 
out by the Anglo-Scottish faction, required greater 
resources than Henry could command, and was not 
agreeable to the impetuous spirit of the monarch. 
Preparations had been already made for the intended 
invasion, not only by land, but for a naval descent on 
the west coast. Negotiations were opened, through 
the Earl of Lennox, with Donald lord of the Isles and 
Earl of Ross ; and this petty prince, with eighteen of 
his barons, disclaiming, in proud language, all alle- 
giance to Scotland, of which realm he described himself 
and his progenitors as the " auld enemies," entered 
willinirlv into the service of the Enirlish monarch, and 
bound themselves to assist Lennox with a force of eight 
thousand men.* Henry, who had been instructed by 
Glencairn and Douglas in the important policy of 

devised was stopped by us that are the king's friends." If the reader will 
take the trouble to turn to Maitland, vol. ii. pp. 8(11, 862 ; or Lesley, pp. 
456, 457 ; or Ridpath's Border History, p. BB'I; or Buchanan, book xv. c. 
28, he will discover how much the history of this important period has been 
mistaken and perverted. It was, perhaps, the discrepancy between the 
Diurnal of Occurrents and these writers which misled its editor into the 
idea that its first portion was composed from tradition and other imper- 
fect sources. Yet it is the Diurnal which is right, whilst they are in the 

* Original Commission, 28th July, 1545, apud Ellencarne, from Donald 
lord of the Isles, and the Barons and Council of the Isles, to Rory Macalister 
bishop elect of the Isles, and Patrick Maclane, to enter into a treaty with 
Matthew earl of Lennox, The document (State-paper OHice) is a diplomatic 
curiosity ; not one of the highland chieftains, eighteen in number, being able 
to write his name. To the celtic antiquary and genealogist, whose feet do 
not usually rest on such certain ground, it may be interesting to give the 
names. They are, Hector INlaclane lord of Doward ; JolmeMacallister capitane 
of Clanrana'ld ; Rorye Macleod of Lewis ; Alexander Macleod of Dumbeg- 
gane ; Murdoch Maclane of Lochl)uy ; Angus Maconnill, brudir germane 
to James Maconnill ; Alane Maclane of Turloske, brudcr germane to the 
Lord Maclane ; Archibald Maconnill capitane of Clan Houston ; Alexander 
Mackeyn of Ardnamurcbane ; Jhone Maclane of Coll ; Gilliganan Macncill 
of Barray ; Ewin Macinnon of Straguhordill ; Jhone I\Iacquorre of UJway ; 
Thom Maclane of Ardgour ; Alexander Ranaldsoun of Glengarrie ; Angus 
Ranaldsoun of Knwdort ; Donald Maclane of Keugarrloch. 

1545. MARY. 829 

keeping Argyle and Huntley in their own country by 
a diversion in the Isles, warmly welcomed the offers 
of the ocean prince, appointed him an annual pension, 
and encouraged him to assemble his forces. On the 
eighteenth of August, only a few days after the retreat 
of the governor, the Lord of the Isles passed over to 
Knockfergus in Ireland, with a fleet of a hundred and 
eighty galleys, and having on board a force of four 
thousand men. Thev are described in the oris^inal 
despatch, from the Irish Privy-council giving Henry 
notice of their arrival, as *' very tall men, clothed for 
the most part in habergeons of mail, armed with long- 
swords and long bows, but with few guns."* To co- 
operate with the islesmen, Henry commanded the Earl 
of Ormond to raise a body of two thousand kerns and 
galloglasses, and appointed the Earl of Lennox to the 
chief command in the expedition ; but at this moment 
Hertford, now ready to invade Scotland, requested the 
presence of the Scottish earl in his camp, and the 
western invasion was postponed till the termination of 
the campaign. -f- 

On the fifth of September, the English commander 
assembled his army, and, having previously sent word 
to Oassillis, Glencairn, and the two Douglases, that 
he expected they would join him with their vassals, 
he advanced to Alnwick, from which, rapidly pushina* 
throuo'h Northumberland, he crossed the Border and 
encamped before Kelso. The town, which was an open 
one, he occupied with ease ; but the abbey held out, and 
the Spanish mercenaries who assaulted it were repulsed 

* Letter, Irish Correspondence, State-paper Office, Privy-council to the 
King, August 12 and 13, 1545. 

+ August 23, 1545, Privy-council to Earl of Hertford ; and August 27, 
1 545, Earl of Hertford and his Council to Secretary Paget. State-paper 


by the garrison, composed partly of monks. Hertford, 
however, brought up his ordnance, and a breach being 
effected, the church was carried, the steeple stormed, 
and its defenders put to the sword. In the meantime 
his friends, the Scottish earls, evaded his proposal of 
joining the army, and informed him by a secret mes- 
senger who brought a letter in cipher, that they could 
not without danger assemble their forces till acquainted 
more minutely with his plans.* No line of conduct 
could have been adopted more discreditable to them- 
selves or more unhappy in its consequences to the 
people. Had they been bold and consistent in their 
adherence to England, their extensive estates would 
have been exempted from plunder, and the peasantry 
would have escaped through the desertion of their 
lords; but their present conduct, whilst it brought all 
the evils, shared in none of the advantages of treachery, 
and only provoked Hertford to a more cruel and san- 
guinary retaliation. The lands of the potent house 
of Douglas lay principally in the districts now invaded. 
Melrose and Dryburgh were successively given to the 
flames ; the villages, castles, and farm granges of the 
adjacent country razed and plundered; and the miser- 
able inhabitants suffered the utmost extremities of war, 
of which it would be painful to recapitulate the common 
tale of havoc and desolation ; Jedburgh was burnt, and 
fourteen villages in the neighbourhood. Hertford, in 
a despatch to Henry, exultingly informed him it was 
the opinion of the Border gentlemen, so much damage 
had not been done in Scotland by fire for the last hun- 
dred years. Nay, so excessive was the cruelty, that 

* Original in cipher, State-paper Office, with the deciphered copy in the 
handwriting of Sir R. Sadler, then with the army, September 9, 1545, at 
Irvine. From the Earls of Angus, Cassillis, and S. r George Douglas, to 

1545. MARY. SSI 

it shocked even the English borderers ; and as they 
evinced a disposition to be lenient, an advanced guard 
of a hundred Irish was appointed to burn and spoil 
the villages in a more complete manner.* 

Durino- these diso-ustins: scenes the Scots were in- 
active. The experience of the last invasion had con- 
vinced the governor and the cardinal that Angus and 
his associates were more likely to betray than defend 
the country. Huntley and Argyle, dreading the medi- 
tated attack of Lennox and the Lord of the Isles on 
the west coast, were detained in their own country, 
and after one abortive attempt to promote union, and 
resume hostilities, Arran appears to have abandoned 
the task in despair. Ten thousand men who were with 
difficulty assembled, entered England near Norham, 
burnt a single village, and through the counsel of the 
Earl of Angus, on the first appearance of resistance, 
dispersed, and returned home."f* 

The army of Hertford began now to suffer want in 
a country which they had reduced to a desert; and it 
was thought expedient to retreat. After reconnoitring 
Hume castle, which was found too strong to be carried 
by assault, the English commander swept in desolating 
progress through the Merse, burnt the towns and 
villages, razed the forts and peels, and, returning to 
Horton on the twenty-third of September, dismissed 
his forces — ^placing his Italian and Spanish mercenaries 
in garrisons on the Borders.]: It appears from an 
original document, that during this inroad, which only 
lasted fifteen days, the destruction was dreadful, and 

* Letter, Earl of Hertford and his Council to the King, Warkworth, 
September 18, State-paper Office. 

+ Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 40, corroborated by Orig. .letter of Hertford 
and his Council, Sept. 18, 1545, State-paper Office. 

+ Earl of Hertford and Council to the King, Horton, Sept. 23, 1545, State- 
paper Office. 


sufficiently accounts for the deep and exasperated 
feelings of the Scottish people. The English burnt 
seven monasteries and relic^ious houses, sixteen castles 
and towns, five market towns, two hundred and forty- 
three villages, thirteen mills, and three hospitals.* 
Such were the arguments by which Henry endea- 
voured to persuade his neighbours, that he was soli- 
citous for a peaceful matrimonial union between the 
two countries. During the invasion a characteristic 
trait of the English monarch occurred. Some French 
soldiers in the service of the Scots deserted to Hertford, 
and the earl requested the king"'s advice whether they 
were to be received or trusted. His majesty, through 
his privy-council, replied that it w^as scarcely good 
policy to give credit to any men of that nation with 
whom he had mortal w^ar, unless they would evince 
their sincerity by some previous exploit. He recom- 
mended Hertford, therefore, if any greater number of 
Frenchmen offered themselves, to " advise them first 
to some notable damage or displeasure to the enemy f 
and he particularised the " trapping or killing the 
cardinal, Lorges, the governor, or some other man 
of estimation, whereby it can appear that they bear 
hearty good will to serve, which thing" continues the 
king, " if they shall have done, your lordship may pro- 
mise them not only to accept the service, but also to 
give them such reward as they shall have good cause 
to be therewith right well contented.""*|* 

After the retreat of Hertford, the governor held a 
parliament at Stirling, in which the Earl of Lennox and 
his brother the Bishop of Caithness were declared guilty 

* Statement of fortresses, to^vns, &c., burnt and destroyed during the ex- 
pedition, State-paper Office. 

+ Original Draft, in Secretary Petre's handwriting, Privy-council to Earl 
of Hertford, September D, 1 545, State-paper Otiice. 

1545. MARY. 8S3 

of treason. The last meeting of the three Estates had 
not been numerous, this was crowded by the nobles, and 
it was sarcastically said they came for land,* expecting 
a share in the division of the large estates of Lennox 
now forfeited to the crown. Argyle, whose services 
had been conspicuous, amid the desertion of the country 
by other noble houses, was rewarded with the largest 
share, whilst Huntley, another firm adherent of the 
government, received for his brother the bishoprick of 
Caithness, and a portion of the property of Lennox for 
himself. •[* It was determined, at the same parliament, 
that a force of a thousand men should be maintained 
for the defence of the marches, to be placed under the 
command of the bravest and most experienced Border 
barons ; and a tax of sixteen thousand pounds was 
directed to be levied on the three Estates for their sup- 
port, whilst an additional body of a thousand men was 
raised at the expense of France. J The cardinal, it was 
reported, meant to pass over to France with Lorges 
the French commander, with the purpose of subsidising 
a much larger force for the continuance of the war, 
whilst he laboured to induce the queen-mother, with 
the young queen, to reside in his castle of St Andrew's ; 
gaining the governor Arran to his views upon this 
point by tempting him with the splendid prize already 
offered to his ambition, the marriage of the young queen 
to his eldest son. 

This intelligence was communicated to Henry bv a 
letter in cipher from his active and unscrupulous cor- 
respondent the Laird of Brunston, (in a letter sent 

* Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 40. 

f Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 458, 459. Diurnal of 
Occurrents, p. 41. Keith's Catalogue, p. 128. 

X Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 41. The tax was to be raised conform to the 
Auld Taxations. * * Ilk pund land of auld extent eight shillings. Acts of 
Parliament, vol. ii. p. AGO. 


fromOrmiston House, sixth October;) and in the same 
despatch he alluded darkly to his hopes that the in- 
tended journey of the cardinal to France would be cut 
short, assuring his royal employer that at no time 
were there more gentlemen desirous of doino-him 2:ood 
service than at that moment.* He intimated, in a 
subsequent letter to Lord Hertford, his wish to have 
a private meeting with some one of the lords of the 
Privy-council; entreated that it might be kept secret, 
as a discovery miii'ht cost him both life and heritaire; 
informed him that all his friends were j'eady whenever 
it pleased the king to command them ; but stated, that 
his majesty must be plain with them what he would 
have them to do, and explicit as to what they were to 
trust to on his part. In a letter of the same date from 
Brunston to the king, he requested a private interview 
with Sir R. Sadler at Berwick, reiterated his injunction 
of secrecy, as his communications might affect his life, 
and promised to communicate such things as should 
be greatly to the advancing of his majesty"'s affairs. "t* 
It seems probable from these expressions that the plot 
for the assassination of the cardinal had been resumed, 
and as Brunston directed the king to send his answer 
to Coldino'ham, then beloncjinf]: to Sir Georo^e Douglas, 
we may presume that Angus, Cassillis, and the Scottish 
earls were acquainted with these proceedings. Unfor- 
tunately at this moment those invaluable documents, 
the letters in the State-paper Office, break ofFabruptl}^ 
perhaps we may add suspiciously : there is a hiatus 
from October to March twenty-seventh, an interval of 

* Letter in cipher, Laird of Brunston to the king's majesty, enclosed in 
a letter from the Earl of Hertford to Secretary Paget, October 20, 1 545, 
State-paper Office. See extract in the Illustrations to this volume, p. 380-7. 

+ Letter in cipher, with contemporary decipher, Brunston to the king, 
Calder, October 20, 1545, State-paper Office. See extract in the Illustra- 
tions, p. 388. 

1545. MARY. 835 

five months; and we are compelled to trace the ravelled 
history of this obscure but interesting period with 
such inferior guidance as is attainable elsewhere. 

The intelligence lately received, that Beaton medi- 
tated a journey to France, and that the nobles had 
consented to the marriage of the young queen to the 
son of the governor, stimulated the English monarch 
to fresli exertions. Caerlaverock, Lochmaben, and 
Thrave, three castles of first rate strength and impor- 
tance, were the property of his prisoner Lord jNIaxwell. 
To get possession of these, and garrison them as rally- 
ing points for his adherents, and to carry into execution 
the invasion of the west of Scotland by Lennox and 
the Lord of the Isles, were the two projects which 
en2:a2:ed Henrv"*s attention. Lord Maxwell, like his 
other brethren, had been at first kindly treated by the 
king on the condition of furthering his projects ; but 
his conduct was suspicious and vacillating ; he possessed 
not the greatness of mind to remain in durance and 
continue faithful to his country, whilst he hesitated to 
devote himself exclusively to England. Threatened 
with being remanded to the Tower as a punishment 
for his repeated deceit, he was reduced to despair, 
offered to serve under Hertford with a red cross on his 
armour to show that he was a true Englishman, and 
at last purchased his return to Scotland at the price of 
the delivery of Caerlaverock.* But misfortune pur- 
sued him : early in November the governor and the 
cardinal attacked and stormed this fortress, whilst 
Lochmaben and Thrave, held by his sons, experienced 
a similar fate; and Maxwell himself, being taken with 
his English confederates, was imprisoned in Dumfries. 

* Earl of Hertford, Bishop of Durham, and Sir R. Sadler to Secretary 
Paget, July 29, 1545, State-paper Office. Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 41. 


For this disappointment Henry comforted himself 
with the hopes of success in the projected expedition 
against the west of Scotland. Tliis prince, however, 
was either too precipitate or too dilatory. 

Donald lord of the Isles, who in August had passed 
over to Ireland with a potent fleet, in vain expected 
the arrival of Lennox, then absent with the English 
army in Scotland; and after a sojourn of some months 
returned to find an obscure grave in his own dominions. 
He bequeathed, however, his affection to the English 
king, and the more substantial hope of inheriting his 
pension, to his successor in the sovereignty of the Isles, 
James Macconnell lord of Dunyveg; and Lennox 
having received information from Glencairn that the 
time was favourable for the recovery of the castle of 
Dumbarton, passed rapidly over to Ireland, opened a 
communication with the new Lord of the Isles, de- 
spatched his brother to practice on the fidelity of the 
constable, and taking the command of a body of two 
thousand men which had been levied by the Earl of 
Ormond, sailed from Dublin on the seventeenth of 
November, with a formidable squadron.* Such an 
armament, according to the opinion expressed by the 
Irish Privy-council, had not left Ireland for the last 
two hundred years. "I* 

Yet, so great was the activity of Arran and the 
cardinal, that all these high hopes and preparations 
were destined to prove abortive. It appears that the 
arrival of Lennox's brother the Bishop of Caithness, 
and the admission of this prelate into the castle, had 

* " The 1 7th this present month of November, the Earl of Lennox, together 
with th' Erie of Ormond, toke their journey out of your porte of Dublin, 
accompanied with 2,000 men." Letter, Privy-cQuncil of Ireland to the king, 
19th November, 1545, Siate-paper Office. 

+ Orig. Letter, Irish Privy-council to the King, 19th November, 1545, 
State-paper OfiSce. 

1545. MARY. So7 

alarmed them. Stirling of Glorat the constable, re- 
ceived Caithness with distinction ; yet, as he had already 
refused to deliver the fortress to Lennox, he now de- 
clared that he would hold it out against all till his 
mistress the queen was of age to demand it for herself. 
It was closely besieged by Arran, Huntley, and Argyle; 
but having defied their utmost efforts, the cardinal and 
Huntley, who knew that the resolution of Scottish barons 
in that age was sooner moved by interest than by force, 
began to tamper with the ex-bishop and the constable, 
and succeeded in corrupting them. Caithness, bribed 
by the promise of his restoration to the see he had lost, 
proved false to his brother; and Stirling, for a high 
reward, was induced to deliver the fortress, in that age 
deemed impregnable, into the hands of the governor.* 
Henry ""s last hope was thus destroyed, and the arma- 
ment of Lennox and Ormond, probably informed on 
their passage of the disastrous result, does not appear 
to have even attempted a descent. Whether it retraced 
its course to Dublin, or, as on a former occasion, steered 
for Bristol, is not easily discoverable. It is, indeed, a 
curious illustration of the imperfection and carelessness 
of our general historians both English and Scottish, 
that in neither the one nor the other do w^e find the 
slightest notice of a maritime expedition, which, by the 
letters of the Privy-council, seems in its outfit to have 
exhausted the exchequer and military resources of 

In his first invasion of Scotland, Lennox had lost 
the pow^erful assistance of the Islesmen by his delay ; in 
this last expedition he was deprived of it by precipita- 
tion. Had he waited for the arrival in Ireland of his 
envoy Colquhoun, whom he had sent to the Isles, he 

* Lesley, Hist. p. 457. 
VOL. V. Y 


might have met with better success. James Maccon- 
nell, now Lord of the Isles, inherited all the animosity 
of his predecessor against Scotland ; and, as soon as the 
unsettled state of his remote dominions permitted, 
opened a negotiation with the English monarch, and 
entered warmly into his views. He proposed to Henry 
that Lennox should be sent with an army to the Isle 
of Sanda beside Kentire, where he promised to join 
him with the whole strength of his kinsmen and allies; 
with Alane Maclane of Gigha, his cousin, the Clanran- 
ald, Clancameron, Clankayn, and his own surname or 
clan both north and south.* To these offers of this 
potent insular prince, the reply of Henry does not 
appear. They did not reach him, indeed, till the 
fifteenth February, 1545-6, and before he had time to 
open a negotiation it is probable that the attention of 
the monarch was en2:rossed bv the extraordinary events 
which took place in Scotland. 

To explain these, it will be necessary to look back 
for a few moments to the progress of the reformed 
opinions in that country. Notwithstanding the utmost 
exertions of the cardinal, and the check which they 
had received from the apostacy of the governor, the 
doctrines of the Reformation had continued, since the 
last cruel executions at Perth, to make a very perceptible 
progress. By many of those nobles, whom we have 
found in secret communication with England, they 
were openly professed ; the Earls of Cassillis, Glen- 
cairn, and Marshal ; the Lords Maxwell and Somer- 
ville; Crichton laird of Brunston, with whose intrigues 
vve are familiar; Cockburn of Ormiston, Sandilands 
of Calder, Douglas of Lang-Niddry, and many other 

* Pri\'}--council of Ireland to the Privy-council of England, IGth February, 
i546, with the Lord of the Isles' letter enclosed. State-paper Office. 

J 545. MARY. 339 

barons and gentlemen declared their conviction of their 
truth, condenined with just indignation the zeal which 
had kindled the flames of persecution in the country, 
and found an argument for the matrimonial alliance 
with England, in the support it must give to those who 
earnestly desired to see a purer faith and a more primi- 
tive worship established in Scotland. This forms the 
best ground for their apology in their intrigues with 
Henry, and their designs for the subjection of the 
country to England; although it is not to be concealed, 
that in their secret correspondence with the English 
monarch, the establishment of true relioion is rarelv 
alluded to as a motive of action. 

In those early days of the Reformed Church its 
sincere converts had arisen, with few exceptions, amongst 
the religious orders themselves, or from the middle and 
lower classes of the people, men not wholly illiterate, 
as they have been unjustly represented, but who were 
led to the study of the Scriptures by their love of the 
truth; and over whose motives no suspicion of selfish- 
ness or of interest can be thrown. When such persons 
were dra2:2:ed before the ecclesiastical tribunals, and 
refused to purchase their lives at the price of a recan- 
tation, the spectacle exhibited by their death compelled 
even the most indifferent spectator to some inquiry ; 
and these inquiries led, in many cases, to conviction and 
conversion. Neither, during the whole of the period 
of which we now speak, were men exposed to such 
severities of persecution : Arran himself, the governor 
of the kingdom, was at one time a convert ; and so long 
as he continued the profession of the reformed opinions, 
the Scriptures, under the authority of parliament, 
were openly read, the new doctrines preached by Rough 
and Williams within his household, and the books of 


tlio most eminent reformers allowed to bo imported into 
tlie country. His return, however, to the Roman 
Catholic church, produced a melancholy chani^e ; and 
the influence acquired over his mind by Hamilton the 
abbot of Paisley, had the worst effects upon the infant 
Reformation. His preachers, as we have seen, were 
dismissed; the professors of the new opinions discoun- 
tenanced and persecuted ; the cardinal and his party 
artfully represented all innovators-in religion as enemies 
to their country — an argument, to which the conduct 
of the Earls of Cassillis, Glencairn, and the Douglases, 
gave much force; it was deemed impossible that a man 
should be at the same time a friend to the independence 
of Scotland, and a friend to the independence of the 
liuman mind ; the spirit of inquiry which had begun 
was suddenly put down, and the people were compelled 
once more to submit themselves to those blind guides, 
who were often remarkable for little else than their 
ignorance and licentiousness. The Catholic church 
in Scotland had, indeed, in former times, been distin- 
guished by some men who combined profound learn- 
ing with a primitive simplicity of faith ; even in 
this age it could boast of its scholars and poets.; but 
at the period of which we now speak, its character for 
sanctity of manners, ecclesiastical learning, or zeal for 
the instruction of the people in the word of life, did not 
rank high ; and the example of its head and ruler, 
Beaton, a prelate stained by open profligacy, and re- 
markable for nothing but his abilities as a statesman 
and politician, was fitted to produce the worst effects 
upon the great body of the inferior clergy. 

Such was the state of things when, in July, 1543, 
George Wishart, commonly known by the name of the 
Martyr, returned to Scotland, in the company of 

1545. MARY. 341 

those commissioners, whom we have seen despatched 
for the negotiation of the marriage treaty with Eng- 
land.* Of his early history little is known with cer- 
tainty : it is probable, that he was the son of James 
Wishart of Pittarro, justice-clerk to James the Fifth; 
and as he was patronised in youth l)y John Erskine of 
Dun, well known as one of the earliest enemies of the 
Roman Catholic church, to him he may have owed his 
instructions in the principles of the Reformation. 
Erskine was provost of Montrose ; and here Wishart 
first became known as master of a school, w^here he 
evinced his zeal and learning, by an attempt to instruct 
his pUpils in Greek, as the original language of the New 
Testament. This exposed him to persecution ; he fled 
to England, preached at Bristol against the offering of 
praj^ers to the Virgin ; and being condemned for that 
alleged heresy, openly recanted his opinions, and burnt 
his fao-ofot in the church of St Nicholas in that citv. 
This happened in 1538 ; his history, during the three 
following years, is little known ; but we again find him 
in England, and at Cambridge, in 1543. There his 
character was marked by a devotion slightly tinged 
with ascetism, but deep and sincere; by his ample 
charities to the poor, his meekness to his brethren and 
pupils, and the universality of his learning. On the 
other hand, to such as despised his instructions, there 
was about him a zeal and severity of reproof, which 
irritated the wicked, and sometimes even exposed his 
life to danger. Such, at least, is the description given 
of him by an afi*ectionate pupil, who had spent a year 

* This date of his arrival is important, as it marks the commencement of 
his preaching, and has heen mistaken by Knox, and all our ecclesiastical 
historians. All are agreed that Wishart arrived with the commissioners, 
and they certainly arrived in the interval between the 1 6th and the 31st of 
July, 1543. This may he seen by comparing Sadler, vol. i. p. 235, withpp 
242, 243-245. 

;U2 HISTORY of Scotland. 1545. 

under his tuition ; and it is confirmed by Knox, his 
early disciple. 

It may easily be imagined, that the appearance at 
this time of such a man in Scotland was calculated to 
produce important effects. On liis return, his chief 
supporters were the Earls of Cassillis and Glencairn, 
the Earl Marshal, Sir George Douglas, and the Lairds 
of Brunston, Ormiston, and Calder. Protected by 
their presence and influence, he preached in the towns 
of Montrose, Dundee, Perth, and Ayr, inveighing 
against the errors of popery, and the profligacy of the 
churchmen, with a severity and eloquence which made 
frequent converts, and led in some cases to acts of po- 
pular violence. At Dundee, the houses of the Black 
and Gray Friars were destroyed;* similar attacks 
were attempted, but suppressed in the capital ; and, 
when a regard for the preservation of peace and order 
induced the civil authorities to interfere, Wishart did 
not hesitate to threaten them with those denunciations 
of coming vengeance, by some writers pronounced pro- 
phetic ; but for which there is no evidence that their 
author claimed this distinction. He enjoyed, it is to 
be remembered, the confidential intimacy, nay, we have 
reason to believe, that his councils influenced the con- 
duct of Cassillis, Glencairn, Brunston, and the party 
which were now the advisers of Henry's intended hos- 
tilities: a circumstance which will perfectly account 
for the obscure warnings of the preacher without en- 
dowing him with inspiration. "f* 

* Hamilton Papers quoted by Chalmers, Life of Mary, vol. ii. p. 403. 

+ It was a little belorc the 4th. of fc'eptemher, 1543, that the riots took 
place at Dundee ; and, though Knox does not give the date, ve may presume, 
with a near approach to certainty, that it was at this time Wishart was 
interdicted from preaching in that city. Now, a week only before this, 
Cassillis, Glencairn, Angus, and Maxwell, with all their adherents, were 
mustering their forces for a great efibrt, and had advised Henry the Eighth 

1545. MARY. 343 

From the time of his arrival in the summer, 1543, 
for more than two years Wishart appears to have re- 
mained in Scotland, protected by the barons who were 
then in the interest of Henry, and who favoured the 
doctrines of the Reformation. Of his personal history 
during this period, little is known. He continued his 
denunciations of the Koman Catholic superstitions, 
and inveighed with so much eloquence against the 
corrupt lives of the churchmen, that, incurring the 
extreme odium of Beaton, he is said to have twice 
escaped the plots which this unscrupulous prelate had 
laid for his life.* It was during this interval, as we 
have already seen, that Henry the Eighth encouraged 
the conspiracy of Brunston, Cassillis, Glencairn, and 
others, to assassinate his enemy the cardinal : of the 
existence of the plots against his life, Beaton was, to 
a certain degree, aware; and, looking with suspicion on 
Wishart, not only as a disseminator of forbidden doc- 
trines, but the friend of his most mortal enemies, he ear- 
nestly laboured to apprehend him. Of all this the re- 
former was so well advised from the spies of the English 
party, that he repeatedly alluded to his approaching fate. 
Yet, for a considerable time, he escaped every effort 
made against him — nor was this surprising: when 
he preached, it was surrounded by mail-clad barons, 
and their armed retainers : since the time his life had 
been attempted, a two-handed sword w^as carried before 
him by some tried follower, and he himself, though 

to send a main army into Scotland, Sadler, vol. i. p. 278-280 ; -whilst the 
Laird of Brunston, Wishart 's great friend and protector, was to he sent on 
a mission to that monarch from the governor. The preacher thus lived in 
the intimacy of those who knew that a visitation of tire and sword was al- 
ready determined on Scotland ; and he naturally, perhaps justifiably, availed 
himself of that knowledge to make a salutary impression on his hearers. 

* It ought to he stated, that, in support of this assertion, we have no evi- 
dence from original or contemporary letters. 


generally meek and humble, showed occasional out- 
breakings of a courage and fire, which marked the 
education of a feudal aire. 


At length his anticipations were accomplished. 
Beinjr at Dundee, he received a messasfe from the Earl 
of Cassillis and the irentlemen of Kvle and Cunninir- 
ham, requesting him to meet them in Edinburgh, where 
thev intended to make interest that he should have a 
public disputation with the bishops. Wishart, obey- 
ing the summons, travelled to the capital, but his 
friends not having met him as they promised, he kept 
himself concealed for some days. He could not, how- 
ever, restrain his desire to address the people ; and 
being protected by the barons of Lothian, many of 
whom had then embraced the reformed opinions, he 
preached publicly at Leith, and afterwards at Inveresk, 
where Sir George Douglas declared his approbation of 
the doctrine, and his resolution to defend the person of 
the teacher. It was at this time, also, that John Knox, 
already in middle life, became deepl}^ affected by his in- 
structions, and eagerly attached himself to his society.* 

During these transactions, the governor and the 
cardinal arrived in Edinburgh ; and Wishart's friends, 
Crichton of Brunston, and Cockburn of Ormiston. 
considering his residence at Leith unsafe, removed him 
to West Lothian, where he remained concealed, in ex- 
pectation of the arrival of Cassillis. •(* It is possible 
that the reformer was ignorant of the true character 
of Brunston, — a dark and busy intriguer, who. for 
more than two years, had been organizing a conspiracy 
for the assassination of the cardinal. But if Wishart 
knew nothing of this, Beaton, as we have seen, was 

* Knox's History, p. 52. 

+ Spottiswood's History, pp. 76, 77, 78. M'Crie's Life of Knox, vol. i. p. 

1545. MARY. 845 

aware of the escapes he had made, and the snares still 
preparing against him ; and when he heard that the 
preacher was in the neighbourhood, living under the 
protection of Brunston, waiting for the arrival of Cas- 
sillis, who had also offered to assassinate him, and 
about to hold a meetins; with his enemies at Edinbur^'h, 
we are not to be surprised that he determined on his 
instant apprehension. That the reformer was aware 
of his dano-er is certain, for he alluded to it : Cassillis 
had failed to meet him ; the power of his enemies was 
increasing ; his congregations began to fall away, yet 
he resolved, amid all discouragements, once more to 
address the people, and, in his last and most remark- 
able sermon, delivered at Haddington, alluded to the 
miseries about to fall upon the country. He then took 
a solemn farewell of his audience, and set out for the 
house of Ormiston, accompanied by Brunston, Sandi- 
lands of Calder, and Cockburn of Ormiston. At this 
moment Knox pressed to his side, and eagerly desired 
to accompany him, offering to bear the two-handed 
sword, as he was wont ; but Wishart affectionately 
dismissed him. " Nay," said he, " return to your 
pupils : one is sufficient for a sacrifice." At Ormiston 
that night he appeared unusually cheerful, addressed 
the friends assembled round him after supper, taking 
for his subject the death of God's children, and, after 
having sung a psalm, retired to rest. At midnight the 
house was surrounded by a party of soldiers ; a loud 
voice from without, which was immediately recognised 
as that of the Earl of Bothwell, summoned its inmates 
to surrender ; and Wishart, awakening with the clang 
of arms in the court, at once apprehended the cause, 
and resolved to submit.* Resistance, indeed, would 

* Knox's History, pp. 53, 54. 


have been hopeless : the cardimil, by whom Bothwell 
had been sent, was within a mile, at the head of five 
hundred men; and Wishart, after an assurance that his 
life and person should be safe, surrendered himself to his 
captors. He was instantly carried to Elphinston, where 
Beaton lay, who, finding that one victim only was taken, 
sent with the utmost expedition to seize his companions. 
In the confusion, Brunston escaped to the neighbouring 
woods, whilst Cockburn and Sandilands were appre- 
hended, and shut up in the castle of Edinburgh. 
Meanwhile, Bothwell carried his prisoner to Hailes, 
his own residence, and, for some time, appeared re- 
solved to keep his promise : but, at last, the incessant 
importunity of Beaton, and the expectation of a high 
reward, got the better of his resolution, and the mean 
and mercenary baron delivered his victim into the 
hands of the cardinal.* 

Having secured him, Beaton was not of a temper to 
hesitate in his measures, or adopt a middle course. He 
summoned a council of the bishops and dignified clergy 
to meet at St Andrew\s ; requested the governor to 
nominate a judge whose presence might give a civil 
sanction to their proceedings ; and, being refused by 
the timidity or humanity of Arran, determined to 
proceed on his own authority."]" The alleged heretic was 
immediately arraigned before the spiritual tribunal, 
and defended his opinions meekly but firmly, and with 
a profound knowledge of Scripture. He appealed to 
the word of God as the sole rule by which he was 
guided in the doctrines he had taught the people ; as 
he was ready to admit all its precepts, so was he bound, 
he declared, to refuse and deny everything which it 

* Spottiswood's Histon', p. 79. 

f Lesley, p. 191. Knox's History, p. 55-56. 

1546. MARY. 347 

condemned, whilst he deemed of little consequence such 
pjints as it left m obscurity. He maintained his right 
to preach, notwithstanding his excommunication by 
the church, and contended that any man, with fervent 
faith, and a sufficient knowledge of Scripture, might 
be a teacher of the word of life. He declared the in- 
sufficiency of outward ceremonies to salvation when 
the heart was unaffected, derided auricular confession, 
and admitted only such sacraments as were recorded 
in Scripture. Of fasting he warmly approved ; up- 
held the Loi'd's Supper as a divine and comfortable 
institution ; maintained the necessity of our fully 
understanding the vows taken for us in our baptism ; 
condemned the invocation of saints, and the doctrine 
of purgatory as unscriptural ; and asserted his belief, 
that, immediately after death, the soul would pass into 
a state of immortal life and unfading: felicity. Whilst 
he defended his own creed, supporting it by a constant 
reference to Scripture, he did not hesitate to stigma- 
tize the doctrine of his opponents in unmeasured terms; 
pronouncing it "pestilential, blasphemous, and abomin- 
able, not proceeding from the inspiration of God, but 
the suo-crestions of the devil." The result of all this 
was easy to be anticipated ; Wishart was found guilty 
of heresy, and sentenced to be burned. The trial took 
place at St Andrew's ; and no time was lost in carry- 
ing the sentence into effect.* 

On the twenty-eighth of March, he was led from the 
prison, with a rope about his neck, and a large chain 
round his middle, to the place of execution, in front of 
the castle, which was the archiepiscopal palace of the 
cardinal. Here a scaffold had been raised, with a high 
Btake firmly fixed in the midst of it. Around it were 

* Knox's History, pp. h^^^^ inclusive. 



piled bundles of dry faggots; beside them stood an iron 
grate containing the lire, and near it the solitary figure 
of the executioner. Nor did it escape the observation 
of the dense and melancholy crowd which had assem- 
bled, that the guns of the fortress were brought to bear 
directly on the platform, whilst the gunners stood with 
their matches beside them ; — a jealous precaution, sug- 
gested, perhaps, by the attempt of Duncan to deliver 
the reformer Hamilton, and which rendered all idea of 
rescue in this case perfectly hopeless. On arriving at 
the place, Wishart beheld these horrid preparations, 
which brought before him the agony he was to suffer, 
with an unmoved countenance ; mounted the scaffold 
firmly, and addressed a short speech to the people, in 
which he exhorted them not to be offended at the word 
of God, by the sight of the torments which it seemed to 
have brought upon its preacher, but to love it, and 
suffer patiently for it any persecution which the sin of 
unbelievinjx men mi2:ht suggest.* He declared that. 
he freely forgave all his enemies, not excepting the 
judges who had unjustly condemned him. The exe- 
cutioner came up to him at this moment, fell on his 
knees, and beo'^-ed his foroiveness with much earnest- 
ness, as he was not guilty of his death : " Most will- 
ingly do I tender it," said Wishart, and kissed him — 
*' Now be of good courage, my heart, and do thine 
office ; thou hast received a token that I forgive thee."" 
He then knelt down and prayed audibly: — '' O thou 
Saviour of the world, have mercy on me ; Father of 
Heaven, into thy hands I commit my spirit."'"' Having 
thrice repeated these words, he arose from his knees, 
and declared, without any perceptible emotion, that he 
was ready. The hooks were then fixed in the iron 

* Knox, p. 64. Spottiswood, p. 82. 

1546. MARY. 849 

chain which was girt round his loins ; and being raised 
on the iribbet, and the fa!]:i2:ots kindled, he was first 
strangled by the rope, which was pulled tightly round 
his neck, and then consumed to ashes.* 

It was impossible for the people to behold unmoved 
so cruel an execution. It was remembered also, that 
the governor had refused his concurrence, — that the 
sanction of the civil authority had been withheld; 
and the fate of Wishart was pronounced unjust and 
illegal. That many of his opinions were such as the 
Church deemed heretical could not be denied; but 
men had now begun to appeal to the word of God, as 
the test of the truth; and to be subjected to such in- 
human torments for the declaration of precepts believed 
to be founded on the Bible, was esteemed monstrous. 
The courage, meekness, and patience with which the 
reformer had borne his sufferings, produced a deep 
effect, and the invariable results of persecution were 
soon discernible in a spirit of increasing investigation. 
a revulsion from the tyranny of power, and a steady 
progress in the new opinions. 

But amid lamentations for their favourite preacher, 
deeper feelings were mingled ; whispers of revenge began 
to circulate amongst the people ; hints w^ere thrown 
out that God would not Ions: suffer such crueltv to 2:0 
unpunished; and, in those days of ignorance, when a 
stern fanaticism was mingled in the same minds with 
the darkness and cruelty of a feudal age, an opinion 
began to be entertained, that the example of the Old 
Testament heroes, in cutting off a determined persecu- 
tor, was not unworthy of imitation. Such sentiments 
were not lost upon those men, who, under the influence 
of far baser motives, had, as we have seen, already 

* Knox's History, p. 68-G9. Spottiswood's History, pp. 81, 82. 


organized a conspiracy for the assassination of the 
cardinal. Cassillis, Glencairn, Sir George Douglas, 
Cricliton of Brunston, with the Laird of Grange and 
the Master of Rothes, had heen prevented by various 
causes from accomplishing their purpose; the difficulty 
of binding Henry the Eighth to a direct promise of 
reward, and the discernment of Beaton, who, although 
he could not wholly discover, detected the working of 
some dark purpose against his life, had interrupted and 
balked the authors of the plot ; and they hailed the 
feelings excited by the fate of Wishart, as a new means 
placed in their hands for the accelerating the catas- 
trophe which they so ardently desired. 

With the people Beaton had formerly been popular, 
as the determined enemy of England ; but they now 
openly inveighed against his cruelty. John Lesley, 
brother of the Earl of Rothes, did not hesitate to de- 
clare, in public, that he would have blood for blood ; 
and his nephew Norman Lesley, with Kirkaldy of 
Grange, had entered into a close correspondence with 
England.* With these, others of inferior name, but 
of higher honesty, were associated ; and it cannot be 
doubted, that some men, w-ho, before the death of 
Wishart, would have spurned at any proposal of an 
association with persons whose motives were so mer- 
cenary, were induced, after that event, to applaud, and 
even to join in their attempt. Of all these circumstances, 
Brunston and his friends were not slow to avail them- 
selves: nor are we to forget, that if their minds had 
been already made up on the necessity of ridding them- 
selves of the cardinal, the desire of avenging the fate 
of their friend must have whetted their slumbering 
purpose to new activity. 

* Knox's History, p. 70. Spottiswood's History, p. 82, 

1546. MARY. 351 

It is probable that Beaton, naturally presumptuous, 
disregarded any open threats, as the ebullition of im- 
potent resentment ; the voice of his flatterers amongst 
the clergy declared, that his salutary severity had 
saved the Church ; he was strong in the alliance of 
France; the schemes of the English faction had latterly 
been unsuccessful ; and it is said, that, adopting a prac- 
tice common in that ao'e, he had streno-thened himself 
by procuring bonds of manrent from Norman Lesley, 
and many of the most powerful nobles. Soon after 
the death of Wishart, he took a progress into Angus, 
and was present at the marriage of one of his natural 
daughters, Maro'aret Bethune, to David Lindsavmaster 
of Crawford, which was celebrated with great magnifi- 
cence at Finhaven castle, the prelate bestowing upon 
the bride a dowry little inferior to that of a princess.* 

AVhen absent on this festive occasion, intelligence 
was brought, that Henry the Eighth was urging 
forward his preparations for a new invasion ; and he 
hurried to Fife, with the object of fortifying his castle 
of St Andrew's, which he dreaded might be made a 
principal point of attack, and of procuring the barons 
whose estates wx re contiguous to the coast, to strengthen 
it against the enemy. In the last invasion, the country, 
without a blow, had been abandoned to indiscriminate 
devastation ; and having resolved to prevent a repetition 
of such disgrace, he summoned a meeting of the neigh- 
bouring: jrentrv to consult on the best means for the 
defence of the kingdom. 

In the midst of these exertions, he seems to have 
forirotten the secret enemies by whom he was surrounded, 
whilst they continued more warily than before to hold 
correspondence with England. In his last letters, the 

* Knox's History, p. 70. 


Laird of Brunston, whose mortal enmity to Beaton 
has been amply shown, complained to Lord Wharton, 
that the King of England was neither sufficiently 
definite in his commands, nor explicit in his promises 
of reward ; but he expressed, at the same time, the 
readiness of his friends to serve the king, liis wish to 
have a meetinor with Lord Wharton in the most secret 
manner, as a discovery might cost him both life and 
heritage, and his fervent expectation, that although 
Beaton now intended a voyasje to France it would be 
cut short.* There seems, however, reason to believe, 
that, although the designs for the assassination of the 
prelate had been long maturing, and were thus gradually 
gathering round him, a private quarrel between him 
and Norman Lesley, precipitated their accomplishment. 
This young baron, known by the name of the Master 
of Rothes, had resigned to Beaton, on the promise of 
a valuable equivalent, the estate of Easter Wemyss in 
Fife.-f* In the meeting at St Andrew's, he claimed 
the stipulated reward, and receiving what he deemed 
an equivocal reply, remonstrated with freedom ; warm 
words followed : the cardinal complained of insulted 
dignity; and Norman, answering with scorn, departed 
in deep wrath. Repairing to his uncle, John Lesley, he 
complained of the injury he had sustained, and both 
were of opinion, that after what had passed delay would 
be dangerous. Messages were accordingly sent to the 
Laird of Grange, and others whose readiness to join 
in the attempt had, we may presume, been already 

* At this moment (20th October, 1545) our best guides, the State Papers, 
unfortunately fail us, and the rest of the history of Beaton's death is to be 
gathered from less authentic sources. That these friends of Brunston, so 
willing to obey the commands of Henry, were the same men who had formerly 
offered, through Brunston, to slay the cardinal, there seems little reason to 

t Spottiswood's History, p. 82. 

1546. MARY. 353 

ascertained ; and it was determined, that the murder 
should be committed without delay. 

On the evening of the twenty-eighth of May, Norman 
Lesley came, with only five followers, to St Andrew's, 
and rode, without exciting suspicion, to his usual inn. 
William Kirkaldy of Grange was there already ; and 
they were soon joined by John Lesley, who took the 
precaution of entering the town after nightfall, as his 
appearance, from his known enmity to Beaton, might 
have raised alarm. Next morning, at daybreak, the 
conspirators assembled in small detached knots, in the 
vicinity of the castle ; and the porter having lowered 
the drawbridge to admit the masons employed in the 
new works, Norman Lesley and three men with him 
passed the gates, and inquired if the cardinal was yet 
awake ? This was done without suspicion ; and as 
they were occupied in conversation, James Melville, 
Kirkaldy of Grange, and their followers, entered un- 
noticed: but, on perceiving John Lesley, who followed, 
the porter instantly suspected treason; and springing 
to the drawbridge, had unloosed its iron fastening, 
when the conspirator Lesley anticipated his purpose 
by leaping across the gap. To despatch him with their 
daggers, cast the body into the fosse, and seize the keys 
of the castle, employed but a few minutes ; and all was 
done with such silence as well as rapidit}'-, that no 
alarm had been given. With equal quietness the 
workmen who laboured on the ramparts were led to 
the gate and dismissed; Kirkaldy, who was acquainted 
with the castle, then took his station at a private pos- 
tern, through which alone any escape could be made ; 
and the rest of the conspirators going successively to 
the apartments of the different gentlemen who formed 
the prelate's household, awoke them, and threatening 

VOL. V. Z 


instant death, if they spoke, led them, one by one, to 
the outer wicket, and dismissed them unhurt. In this 
manner a hundred workmen and fifty household ser- 
vants were disposed of by a handful of men, who, 
closing the gates, and dropping the portcullis, were 
complete masters of the castle.* Meanwhile Beaton, 
the unfortunate victim, against whom all this hazard 
had been encountered, was still asleep; but awakening 
and hearing an unusual bustle, he threw on a night- 
gown, and drawing up the window of his bedchamber, 
inquired what it meant. Being answered that Norman 
L.esley had taken the castle, he rushed to the private 
postern ; but, seeing it already guarded, returned 
speedily to his apartment, seized his sword, and, with 
the assistance of his page, barricaded the door on the 
inside with his heaviest furniture. John Lesley now 
coming up, demanded admittance. "Who are youT"* 
said the cardinal. "My name,*" he replied, "is Les- 
ley." " Is it Norman?" asked the unhappy man, 
remembering probably the bond of manrent ; "I must 
have Norman ; he is my friend." " Nay, I am not 
Norman," answered the ruffian, " but John, and with 
me ye must be contented ;" upon which he called for 
fire, and was about to apply it to the door, when it was 
unlocked from within. The conspirators now rushed 
in ; and Lesley and Carmichael throwing themselves 
furiously upon their victim, who earnestly implored 
mercy, stabbed him repeatedly. But Melville, a milder 
fanatic, who professed to murder, not from passion, but 
religious duty, reproved their violence : " This judg- 
ment of God," said he, " ought to be executed with 
gravity, although in secret ;" and presenting the point 

* Knox's History, p. 71-72. Letter, James Lindsay to Lord Wharton. 
— State-paper Office. — See Illustrations to this vol. pp. 390. 391. — Remarks 
on the Murder of Beaton. 

1546. MARY. 355 

of his sword to the bleeding prelate, he called on him 
to repent of his wicked courses, and especially of the 
death of the holy Wishart, to avenge whose innocent 
blood they were now sent by God. "Remember," said 
he, '• that the mortal stroke I am now about to deal, 
is not the mercenary blow of a hired assassin, but the 
just vengeance which hath fallen on an obstinate and 
cruel enemy of Christ and the Holy Gospel." On his 
saying this, he repeatedly passed his sword through 
the body of his unresisting victim, who sunk down 
from the chair to which he had retreated, and instantly 

The alarm had now risen in the town ; the common 
bell was rung ; and the citizens, with their provost, 
running in confused crowds to the side of the fosse, 
demanded admittance, crying out, that they must in- 
stantly speak with my lord cardinal. They were an- 
swered from the battlements that it would be better 
for them to disperse, as he whom they called for could 
not come to them, and would not trouble the world any 
longer. This, however, only irritated them the more, 
and being urgent that they would speak with him, 
Norman Lesley reproved them as unreasonable fools, 
who desired an audience of a dead man ; and dragging 
the body to the spot, hung it by a sheet over the wall, 
naked, ghastly, and bleeding from its recent wounds. 
" There," said he, " there is your god ; and now that 
ye are satisfied, get you home to your houses," a com- 
mand which the people instantly obeyed.-f* 

Thus perished Cardinal David Beaton, the most 
powerful opponent of the reformed religion in Scotland, 
by an act which some authors, even in the present 

* Knox's History, p. 71-72. Lesley, p. 191. 
f Spottiswood's History, p. 83. 


(lay, liave scrupled to call murder. To these writers 
the secret and loiig-continucd correspondence of the 
conspirators with England was unknown : a circum- 
stance, perhaps, to be regretted, as it would have spared 
some idle and angry reasoning. By its disclosure we 
have been enabled to trace the secret history of these 
iniquitous times, and it may now be pronounced, with- 
out fear of contradiction, that the assassination of 
Beaton was no sudden event, arising simply out of 
indianation for the fate of Wishart; but an act of Ions: 
projected murder, encouraged, if not originated, by the 
English monarch ; and, so far as the principal conspi- 
rators were concerned, committed from private and 
mercenary considerations. 



Letter A. 

Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland* 

Authenticity of the First Part of this Worh. 

The frequent references in the text to the first part of this work, 
as an original and valuable authority, renders it necessary to explain 
the reasons which have led the author to form a different opinion of 
its authenticity from that given by its learned editor. In the Prefa- 
tory Notice to the volume, there is this sentence, " to those who are 
at all acquainted with the minute details of Scottish history in the 
sixteenth century, a very slight perusal of the work will suggest, that 
in its different parts it is of very unequal value. From the era of the 
battle of Flodden, and the death of King James the Fourth, in the 
year 1513, at which it commences, doAvn to the termination of the 
government of the Earl of Arran in 1553, its details, comparatively 
meagre and occasionally inaccurate, are obviously not recorded by a 
contemporary chronicler, but must have been derived from tradition 
and other imperfect sources. Yet, even in this first and least valu- 
able portion of the work, will be found many minute facts and notices 
that would be vainly looked for in the ordinary histories of the reign 
of King James the Fifth, and the first ten years of the reign of Queen 
Mary."f In pronouncing this first portion of the Diurnal of Occur- 
rents the work, not of a contemporary chronicler, but of some subse- 

* rublished by the Bannatyne Club. + Preface, p. t. 


queut writer, deriving his materials from tradition, and other imper- 
fect sources, the editor appears to me to have fallen into an error, 
which could scarcely have been avoided by one who compared the 
Diurnal of Occurrents with our earlier historians, Lesley and Buchan- 
an, or even with the later volumes of Maitland. It not only is con- 
tradicted by them in some important particulars, but it contains 
events, and these not minute, but grave and material facts, which 
are not to be found in either of these authors. These events, how- 
ever, can be proved to have occurred by evidence, of which the authen- 
ticity is unimpeachable; and it is the discovery of their perfect truth 
which has induced me to consider the greater portion of the first part 
of the Chronicle, entitled the " Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland," 
as the work of a contemporary, who wrote from his own knowledge, 
and not a compilation from traditionary sources. I say the gi-eater 
portion, because such a character belongs not to the whole of the 
first part; and it seems probable that this valuable original matter 
has fallen into the hands of some later and ignorant compiler, who, 
preserving the purer ore, has in some places mixed it up with erro- 
neous additions of his own. 

To support these conclusions, let me give some proofs; the years 
1543, 1544, occurring in the Regency of Arran, form an obscure era 
in our history; and did we possess no other guides than the common 
historians, Lesley, Buchanan, or Maitland, we should be left in a 
maze of confusion and contradiction. The revolutions in state affairs 
are so sudden and so frequent during this period; the changes in the 
i)olitics and the conduct of the different factions so rapid and so ap- 
parently contradictory; that without some more authentic assistants, 
the task of unravelling or explaining them would be hopeless. It is 
upon this period that the original correspondence in the State-paper 
OfSce throws a flood of clear and useful light, introducing us to the 
actors in these changes, not through any second-hand or suspected 
sources, but by supplying us with their original letters to Henry the 
Eighth, and his ministers. Now, to come from this observation to 
the work entitled the Diurnal of Occurrents. When it is found that 
it, and it only, contains various facts, demonstrated by these original 
letters to be true, and which sometimes are not mentioned, some- 
times are positively contradicted by our general historians ; such a 
circumstance must create a strong presumption in favour of its value 
and authenticity; that a work, which stands this severe test, should 
have been, not a contemporary, but a later production, compiled from 
tradition, and imperfect sources, seems to me nearly impossible. 

To take an example from the period already mentioned. In the 
year 1544, in the Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 33, we find this passage : — 


— " Upon the thrid day of Junii, thare was ane general counsall 
haldin at Stirling, quhairat was all the nobelles of Scotland, excep- 
tand the Erie of Lennox and Glencairn ; quhair the governor was 
dischargit of his auctorite ; and maid proclamation through the realm, 
that nane obeyit him as governor ; and als thair thei chesit thrie erlis, 
thrie lords, thrie bishops, thrie abbotes to be the secreit counsale ; 
quhilk lastet not lang, for everie lord ded for his awin particular pro- 
fit, and tuk na heid of the commonweill ; but tholet the Inglismen, 
and theivis to overrin this realm." In the same chronicle, p. 34, is 
this sentence, — " Upon the last day of Julii, thare was ane Parliament 
sould have been halden in Edinburgh ; and the governor, with his 
complices furneist the town, and held it, becaus he gat word the 
queenis grace drowarie was cummit out of Striveling to the Parlia- 
ment ; becaus thai yet being in hir company was full of dissait, sho 
past to Stirling with meikle ordinance and swa the Parliament was 
stayit." Again, in the same chronicle, p. 36, we find this passage, — 
" Upon the 5th day, (1544,) the governor held ane parliament in 
Edinburgh. — Upon the 12th of November, the queen's grace dro wrier 
[dowager] held ane parliament in Striveling, and thereafter the par- 
ties suld have met, and stayet in hope of aggreance, and the cardinal 
raid betwix them, quha come to Edinburgh and tuke the governor to 
Stirling with him, quhair gude aggreance was made to be bund to 
hir grace, and twentee four Lordis counsall." It will be at once per- 
ceived, that these passages embody the history of an important re- 
volution, which, for nearly six months changed the whole face of 
affairs in Scotland. In May 1544, Arran was the unchallenged gover- 
nor of the kingdom ; in June, the queen-dowager arose against him, 
was joined by the whole body of the peers excepting Lennox and 
Glencairn, held a general council at Stirling, in which he was dis- 
charged from his office, made proclamation through the realm, that 
none should obey him, and appointed a new secret council for the 
management of the affairs of the state. In July, as is shown by the 
second extract, an attempt was made by Arran, who still claimed the 
name and authority of governor to hold a parliament in Edinburgh ; 
but the queen-dowager advanced with great force to the city ; the 
governor fortified it against her ; she retreated to Stirling, and the 
parliament was delayed. Three months after this, in the beginning 
of November, Arran, the governor, assembled a parliament at Edin- 
burgh ; the queen issued writs for a rival parliament, to be held on 
the 12th of the same month at Stirling; and the cardinal dreading 
the effects of this miserable disunion, acted as a peace-maker between 
the two parties, and at length brought them to an agreement. 

Now, of these very important events, no notice whatever was to be 


found in our general historians ; nay, the tenor of their narratives 
seemed to contradict them ; the question, therefore, at once came to 
the credibility of the Diurnal of Occurrents. In this dilemma I was 
delighted (the reader, who knows the satisfaction of resting, in re- 
searches of this nature, upon an authentic document, will pardon the 
warmth of the expression) to meet with the following paper in the 
State-paper Office, which, it will be seen, completely corroborated the 
assertion of the Diurnal as to the deprivation of the governor. It is 
dated June 1544, and entitled "Copy. — Agreement of the principal 
Scots nobility, to support the authority of the queen-mother as regent 
of Scotland against the Earl of Arran, declared by this instrument 
to be deprived of his office." This valuable paper in its entire state, 
will be given in the forthcoming volume of State Papers relative 
to Scotland, published by government. In the meantime, the follow- 
ing extract will be sufficient for my purpose. After stating the fact 
of a convention having been held at Stirling on the 3d of June ; it pro- 
ceeds thus to describe their deliberations and proceedings. " After 
long and mature consultacion had, in the said matiers, by the space 
of iii. or iv. dales contynuall, fynally [they] fand that oou great part 
why inobedience hath ben within this realme, sithins the king's grace's, 
and that other inconveniences which have happened, was, and is in my 
lord governor, and his counsaile, that was chosen to have ben with 
him for the time : and for remedye herof in times commyng, and that 
perfit obedience male be to our soverain ladle's aucthorite, [that] unite, 
concorde,and amitee male be hadd among all our soverain ladie's lieges, 
and speciallie among the great men; and that they maie convent at 
all times to give their counsaile in all matiers concernyng the queue's 
grace our soverain ladye, and her realme ; and that justice maie be 
doon and executed among the lieges therof; and that resistance 
maie be made to our ennymies : They all, without variaunce, con- 
sulted and deliberated, that the queue's grace, our soverain ladye's 
mother, shulde be egall with him therintill ; and that oon gi-eat coun- 
saile, adjoyned with my lord governor in the using of th' aucthoritie 
of governement in all times comyng, shulde be chosen, of xvi. persones 
— xii. of them the greatest erles and temporal lords of the realme, 
and iv. spiritual men, as in the deliveraunce mad therupon the vi.th 
daie of the saide monith of Junii, is at more length conteyned. The 
whiche deliveraunce and counsaile was shewen and declared to my 
lorde Governor, before the queue's grace and the whole lords, the 
saide vi.th daie of Junii. And the lords who devised the same, praied 
my lord governor that he wold consent therto, both for his owne 
weale and for the weale of our soverain ladye the quene, and of the 
whole realme, for divers causes and respects particularly appointed 


and declared ; and specially, because the quene's grace our soverain 
ladle's mother is a noble ladye of highe linage and bludde, of great 
wisedome, and haile of lief, having the king of Ffrance, and the 
greattest nobles of that realme, and others about hyr, tendre kyns- 
men and friends, who will be the more readye to supporte the realme 
for defense of the same if hyr grace be well favoured and honored 
by the nobles therof, and holden in honor and dignitie; and also, 
because the whole nobles have theire special confidence in hyr grace, 
and doo think them sure to convene in any place where hyr grace is 
present. My lord Governor tuke to be advised while the morue at 
even, viz. the vii.th daie of the saide monith, and then to give the 
answer. Attour, that same daie incontinent the saide deliveraunce 
and consultacion was shewen to the remanent of the lords, both pre- 
lates, erles, lords, barons, and other noble men of the realme person- 
allie present, who being all singularlie asked of theire opinion, 
declared, ilk man for himselfe, that the saide deliveraunce and con- 
sultacion was good and for the common weale of this realme : and 
therfore affirmed the same. The which vii.th daie being bepast, and 
noon answer made nor sent by my lorde Governor on the premises, 
and aftre diverse messages sent to him of the lords of Counsaile, 
and nothing reaported again but vayne delaies : The lords of Coun- 
saile, upon the ix.th daie of the saide moneth, directed furth our sove- 
rain ladle's (letres) to require my saide lorde Governor to compare 
in the said Graye firers place of Strlvellng, where the said convenclon 
is holden, upon the x.th dale of the said moneth, to accept and consent 
to the saide ordlnaunce and articles, and to concurre with the 
quene's grace in th' administration of the governement with th' ad- 
vise and counsaile of the lords; with certification, that if he faileth it, 
the lords wolde determyn him to be suspended from th' adminlstra- 
clon of his offices, and wolde provide ho we the same shulde be 
used in time to coom while further remeadie weare founde therto, as 
in the saide letres directed theruponmore fully is conteyned. At the 
which x.th daie of Junii the lords convented in the fratre of the said 
graie fireers, and there consulted upon the matlers concerning the 
commonwealefande,and away ted upon the comingof my lord governor, 
and upon his answer, for a x houres before noon while xil howers was 
stryken. And he neither compared by himself, nor sent his answer 
to accept and consent to the said ordinaunces and statutes there. 
Than the lords gave theire decrete, decerning my lord Governor to be 
suspended, and suspending him from th'' administration of his offices, 
while further remeadye weare funde therfor. And because of the 
urgent necesslte of the realme, and Invading of the same by our old 
ennymies of England, and for the furthe setting of our soverain 


ladie's diicthorite, and perfit obedience to be had therto, unitie con- 
cord to be had among all them of this realme both great and smale 
without th' administration of the governement weare put in soom 
persones hands most convenient therfor, the saide lords, without vari- 
aunce,have thought noo other persone more convenient therto nor the 
queue's grace our soverain ladie's mother, for the good and urgent 
causes before expressed. And therfore have chosen hyr grace to use 
and minister in the saide office of governement, with th' advise of the 
lords of counsaile conforme to the acts and ordinaunces made ther- 
upon of before, while further remedye be made herto. And hyr 
grace hath accept the same in and upon hyr to be used with th' 
advise of the saide lords as said is. And bicause hir grace can not 
doo the same without she be starklie mainteyned and defended 
therintyll. Therefore we archbishopps, bishopps, erles, lords, barons, 
abbotts, and others noble men whose names herafter subscribed, doo 
bynd and oblige us, and promitt by the faithes in our bodies, and 
have gyven our aithes herupon, that we shall maintein and defende 
the queue's grace our soverain ladie's mother in the using and 
administracion of th' office of governement and th' aucthorite in 
all things. And we shall gyve unto hyr our best counsaile in all 
things. And shall resist with our bodies and friends and our hole 
substance to all them that will impugue or comen in the contrarie 
therof undre the payne of perjurie and infamye. And also ilk oon 
of us shall tak afalde part with others, without excus or fenzeing in 
this matier and defense therof. Undre the paine aforsaide. 

" Gawen of Glasgow. 
Patrick Morvinen. 
Willm of Dumblane. 
Ro. Orchaden : Epis. 
T. Commendator of Driburt, 
De. de Cuper, V. de Culros. 
Archbald Erie of Anguss. 
Erie Bothwile. 
Willm Erie of Montross. 
Willm Lord Sanchar. 
Robart Maxwell. 
George Erie of Huntlie. 
G. Erie of Caslis. 
Erie of Merschell. 
John Erie of Mentieth. 
Hew lord Somerwell. 
George Duglass. 


Erie of Murray. 

Archd Erie of Argile. 

George Erie of Erroll. 

John lord Erskin. 

Willin lord of Sauct John. 

Malcum lorde chalmerlaue. 

Hew lord Lovett. 

Schir John Campbell of Cawder, Kgt.* 
This extract settles the point as to correctness of the Diurnal in 
its narrative of the revolution of the 3d of June. Next came the 
question regarding the rival parliaments, the meeting of the three 
Estates at Edinburgh, by summons of the governor, on the 5th of No- 
vember, and the meeting of the parliament at Stirling, by summons 
of the queen-regent, on the 12th of the same month: upon this point 
the correspondence in the State-paper Office was silent; but fortu- 
nately the evidence of the Acts of the Scottish parliament establishes 
the accuracy of the facts stated in the Diurnal of Occurrents. In 
the second volume of the Acts, p. 445, we find that the governor 
Arran held a parliament at Edinburgh on the 6th of November; and 
one of the acts then passed by the three Estates is thus entitled, — 
" Deliverance annulling ane Proclamation be the Queen's Moder, and 
certain Lordis, of ane pretendit parliament, and of certane other pre- 
tendit actis." In turning to the act we find the whole narrative of 
the Diurnal thus fully corroborated. It states, that " the queen 
mother (I use the modern spelling) to our sovereign lady, with a part 
of lords and others our sovereign lady's lieges, ill-advised, has caused 
proclaim a pretended parliament to be held at the burgh of Stirling, 
the 12th day of November, instant, with continuation of days, with- 
out any sufficient authority;" after this preamble, the decision of the 
three Estates is thus given, — " the whole three Estates of parlia- 
ment, with the votes of many others, nobles, barons, and gentlemen, 
being present, has declared, and declares the said pretended parlia- 
ment to be held at Stirling, as said is, and the pretended summons 
raised against my lord Governor, in their manner, to have been and 
to be, from the beginning, of none avail, force, nor efiect. And such 
like all pretended acts maid at Stirling regarding the suspending of 
my lord Governor from the administration of his said office, and dis- 
charging him of his auctority in their manner." The evidence con- 
tained in this statute so clearly proves the accuracy of the Diurnal 
of Occurrents, that upon this point any other remark would be super- 

* In the State-paper Office ; now published for the first time. 


A second proof of the authenticity of the same work is to be found 
in the accuracy of the account there given of the intrigues of the 
Douglases and their treasonable correspondence with England, at a 
time "when our general historians know nothing of any such matters, 
Here the Diurnal of Occurrents maintains its character for truth, 
when examined by the severest of all tests, the original correspon- 
dence of the principal actors in the events. Of this I shall give a 
striking example. In the Diurnal, pp. 39, 40, is an account of that 
abortive invasion of the governor, (August 10, 1545,) in which he 
broke into England with an army of thirty thousand men, and again 
on the third day thereafter, the 13th of August, was compelled to 
return home. Now, on this occasion, the Diurnal ascribes the failure 
of the expedition, and the retreat and dispersion of the army, to the 
deceit and treachery of George Douglas and his party.* The disper- 
sion of the Scottish army is thus mentioned, p. 39 : — " Upon the nynt 
[ninth] day of August, the governor with his company made their 
musters on Fawnrig Mure to the number of 30,000 men by [besides] 
the Frenchmen whilk [which] were 3000. And the same day at 
even they passed in England, and burnt Cornwall and Tilmouth, 
Edderslie, Brankston, with sendrie othere towns thereabouts, and 
there did no other thing to their lak and dishonour." " Upon the 
tenth day of August, the said Scottis was pairted [divided] in three 
battles [battalia], in the vanguard the Earl of Angus, Marshall, 
Errol, Glencairn, and Cassillis, Lords Gray, Glammes, and Yester; in 
the rereward Erles Huntly, Bothwell, Lords Ruthven, Drummond, 
Borthwick, Fleming, Home ; in the middle ward the Governor, with 
the body of the realme and Frenchmen, with twa wings, the ane 
[one] Lord Seton, the Laird of Bass, and many other gentlemen, the 
other the Laird of Buccleugh, with all Liddesdale and Teviotdale; 
and on this order they raid [rode] in England, and burnt Tweesdale, 
Grendonrig, the great tower, Newbigging, and Dudie, with the towers 
thereof; and there was on the Pethrig of Englishmen 6000 [had] the 
Scots followed with speed, they had vanquished all the said English- 
men. Upon the 13th day of August, the Scottish men come hame, 

* The retreat from Coldingham is ascribed to the same cause, " On the 
morne [morrow] the Scots without any skaith [harm] fled misorderlie. 
The Inglishmen persevand this, twa thousand of thame foUowit the chase 
to Cockburne quha durst not bide [stay] a strike. Of this host the Erie 
Angus had the wangaird [vanguard], there was with him the Erles of Cas- 
sillis, Glencairne, the Lords Somerville, Yester, the sheriff of A}t quha 
[who] did but feebly; in the rear was the Earl of Bothwell quha baid 
[abided] stiffly quhill [until] he might no more. George Douglas bad the 
wyte [blame] hereof, for he said the Englishmen were ten thousand men, 
lyin within the said town : the invention [artifice] was saissit on chance by 
the Erie of Bothwell. 


through the deceit of George Dcuglas, and the vanguard, who would 
not pass again through his tyisting." 

Such is the history of this remarkable invasion given in the Diur- 
nal, and to this narrative the same observation may be applied which 
was already made regarding the revolution in 1544, namely, that 
such an explanation of the cause of its failure is new to Scottish his- 
tory and to be found in the Diurnal alone. We find no mention of 
any such thing in Lesley, Maitland, or Buchanan. How, then, are 
we to discover the truth upon this subject? Simply by going to the 
letters of the actors themselves, which describe these events, and are 
fortunately accessible. In the State-paper Office we find an original 
despatch from the Earl of Hertford, and the Council of the north to 
Henry the Eighth, in which, after detailing the plan of his proposed 
invasion, he encloses a letter in cipher which he had received from 
George Douglas and the Earls of Angus, Cassillis, and Marshal. It 
may be well to give Hertford's description of the mode in which this 
letter was conveyed to him, as it contains a curious illustration of 
the extreme caution with which this secret correspondence between 
Henry the Eighth and the Douglases was carried on. " After this 
device of the said proclamation, one Thomas Forster, who was of late, 
by your majestie's commandment, at the desire of the Earls of Angus 
and Cassillis, George Douglas and others, sent to them into Scotland, 
came hither to me the said earl, and showed me a letter sent to him 
from one Sym Penango, servant to George Douglas, of such effect as 
four majesty may perceive by the same letter here inclosed; upon the 
sight whereof I willed the said Thomas Forster to go and speke with 
the said Penango according to his desire, with whom he hath been at 
the place appoynted between them, where he received of the said Pe- 
nango a letter in cipher, sent him from George Douglas, which we have 
deciphered, and send both the cipher and the decipher to your majesty 
herewith." * The letter here described not only establishes the fact of 
the general treasonable correspondence between Henry and the Earls 
of Angus, Cassillis, Marshal, George Douglas, and others, which is 
mentioned in the " Diurnal," but contains this remarkable passage 
relative to the expedition of Arran into England, on the 9th of August, 
and his return home on the 1 3th of the same month, which, in the 
same work, is ascribed to the deceit of George Douglas and the van- 
guard. " Further, as to this last journey of ours, it was advised by 
the queen, cardinal, and this French Capitaine Lorges Montgomery. 
Huntly fortified this army at his power. Notwithstanding, at short, 
all that they devised was stopped by us that are the king's friends. 

* Grig, State-paper Office ; not before published. 

368 HISTORY OF Scotland. 

Tlieir whole intent was to have besieged the king's houses, unto the 
time tliey had gotten bargain, but all uas itopt, whereof they stood 
nothing content"* Now, looking to the passage above in the Diurnal, 
we find it there asserted that the expedition was ruined " thro the 
deceit of George Douglas and the vanguard." We know, from the 
same work, that in the vanguard were the Earls of Angus, Cassillis, 
and Marshal, with others. The journey or invasion took place on 
the 10th of August, the retreat on the 13th, and here on the 25th of 
the same month, we have a letter from George Douglas, and the Earls 
of Angus, Cassillis, and Marshal, in which they declare to the Earl 
of Hertford, that the whole expedition was stopped by them, and 
claim credit for it with the English king. This coincidence offers a 
fine example of the corroboration of an ancient chronicle by the ori- 
ginal correspondence of the times ; and the learned editor of the 
Diurnal will readily allow, that a work thus corroborated could not 
have been compiled from traditional and imperfect sources, but must 
have been the production, not only of a contemporary writer, but of 
one minutely and accurately informed in the history of the times. It 
is for this reason I have quoted it as an original authority, and 
have preferred any information it communicates to the vague, loose," 
and imaginary details of the general historians of this period. Other 
instances might be given of the accuracy of the first part of the Diurnal 
when checked by the correspondence of the times, but my limits will 
not permit me. That there are occasional errors in the narrative is 
not to be disputed; but they may be chiefly traced, I think, to the 
ignorance or carelessness of the transcribers of the manuscript. 

Letter B, page 221. 

Conspiracy of Lady Glammis. 

That a noble matron, in the prime of life, and of great beauty, 
should be tried, condemned, and burnt, for an attempt to compass the 
king's death by poison, and should also have the crime of witchcraft 
imputed to her by most of our historians, is an appalling event. lu 
the absence of direct proof, Mr Pitcairn, in his notes upon the trial 
of Lady Glammis, has adopted the story told by Buchanan, book xiv. 
c. 54, and repeated by all following writers, with the exception of 
Pinkerton ; he pronounces her innocent of the crimes laid to her 
charge, and a victim of James's implacable hatred to the house of 
Douglas. The examination of the curious evidence which he has 

* Original, State-paper Office ; not before published. 


published has led me to form a different opinion. As to her being 
justly found guilty of treason, in assisting the Earl of Angus and 
George Douglas, in their attempts to " invade " the king's person, 
and re-establish their authority in Scotland, there seems to be no 
question. It was natural she should support her brothers ; and had 
her offences been confined to this, although the act was undoubtedly 
treason, it is probable the sentence of death would have been ex- 
changed for banishment or imprisonment. But a little investigation 
will convince us, I think, that the king was not so unjust and 
implacable as has been imagined, nor the lady the injured and inno- 
cent woman she has been represented. Let us look a little into her 

She married, probably about the year 1521, John, sixth Lord 
Glammis. He died on the 8th of August, 1528, in his thirty-seventh 
year; and, about four months after his death, (Dec. 1, 1528,) Lady 
Glammis was summoned, with Patrick Hume of Blacater, Hugh Ken- 
nedy of Girvanmains, and Patrick Charteris, to answer before parlia- 
ment for having given assistance to the Earl of Angus in convocating 
the king's lieges for the invasion of his majesty's person.* These 
men were all bold and active partisans of the Douglases. On Sep- 
tember 20, 1529, we find that Lady Glammis and Patrick Charteris 
of Cuthelgurdy, a person who, in the interval, had been indicted to 
stand his trial for fire-raising and cow-lifting ;i^ obtained a letter of 
license to pass to parts beyond sea, on their pilgrimage, and other 
lawful business.^ Whether Patrick and the lady had gone upon 
their pilgrimage, does not appear, but she did not interrupt her poli- 
tical intrigues, and seems to have been again not only summoned, but 
found guilty of treason; for, on July 1, 1531, we find that Gavin 
Hamilton got a gift from the crown of the escheat of all the goods 
heritable and moveable, of Janet lady Glammis, which had been for- 
feited on account of her intercommuning with our sovereign lord's 
rebels, or for any other crimes.§ 

At this time she appears to have fled from justice, and we lose 
sight of her for some time ; but, on 31st January, 1532, a far darker 
crime than caballing with rebels, or associating with fire-raisers, was 
laid to her charge. She was summoned to stand her trial at the 
Justice Ayre of Forfar, for the poisoning her husband Lord Glammis. 
The crimes of poisoning and witchcraft were then very commonly asso- 
ciated, as may be seen from many interesting trials in Mr Pitcairn's 
Collections. The great dealers in poisons were witches, and the po- 

* Pitcairn, vol. i. p. 188. + Ibid. vol. i. p. 141. 

Z Ibid. vol. i. p. 244. § Ibid. vol. i. p. 24G. 

VOL. V. 2 A 


tency of their drugs was thought to be increased by the chairas and 
incantations with which they were concocted : hence probably the 
malafavia against Lady Glammis, as a witch or sorceress. But how- 
ever this may be, it is certain that, on February 2, and February 26, 
1532, Lord Ruthven, Lord Oliphant, with the Lairds of Ardoch, 
Moucrieff, Tullibardine, and a great many other barons, to the num- 
ber of twenty-eight, were fined for not appearing to pass upon the 
Lady Glammis' jury :* and the imperfect and mutilated state of the 
criminal records of this period, unfortunately, leaves us in the dark 
as to the future proceedings upon this trial. The probability seems 
to be, that she was either acquitted, or the charge dropt from want 
of evidence. If innocent, she was certainly most unfortunate ; for, 
on the 17th of July, 1537, she was, for the fourth time, brought to 
trial, found guilty of having been art and part in the conspiring the 
death of the king by poison, and also for her having treasonably as- 
sisted Archibald earl of Angus and George Douglas his brother, 
who were traitors and rebels. For this crime she was condemned 
to be burned at the stake, the common mode of death, as Mr Pit- 
cairn informs us, for all females of rank in cases of treason and mur- 
der, and from which he plausibly conjectures, that the vulgar opinion 
of her having been burnt for a witch may have partly arisen. Her 
son Lord Glammis, then only sixteen years old, her husband Archi- 
bald Campbell, a priest, and a barber named John Lyon, were tried 
along with her. The witnesses, as was usual in this cruel age, being 
examined under the rack, or pynebauJcis, Lord Glammis, on his own 
confession, was found guilty of concealing the conspiracy, and im- 
prisoned till the death of James the Fifth, when he was restored to 
his estates and honours, upon the ground, that, in the fear of his life, 
and having the rack before his eyes, he had made a false confession.^ 
The long extracts given by Mr Pitcairn, from the histories of Scott, 
(not Sir Walter Scott,) Lesley, Hume of Godscroft,and the Genealogy of 
the house of Drummond, seem to me scarcely worthy of the place he 
has assigned them,J and cannot be quoted as authentic evidence. 
Scott's story is a mere repetition of Buchanan's, with some ludicrous 
additions of his own — as, where he tells us, Archibald Campbell, the 
husband of Lady Glammis, commanded the third regiment in the 
king's army. Lesley falls into blunders which Mr Pitcairn has de- 
tected ; Sir James Balfour repeats them ; and as for David Hume of 
Godscroft, none acquainted with his history Avill trust him, when he 
stands unsupported by other evidence. The only authentic, and, as 

* Pitcairn's Trials, vol. i. p. 158. t Ibid. vol. '. p. 327. 

J Ibid. vol. i. p. 244. 


I believe, contemporary account of the trials of the Master of Forbes 
and Lady Glammis, is to be found in the following passage from 
the Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 22. " In this menetyme, the Master 
of Forbes was accusit of tressone by the Laird of Lenturk, and 
was put in ward in the castell of Edinburgh. In the said moneth 
of Julii, the Lady Glammis, sister to Archibald earl of Angus, 
was accusit for tressonne ; her husband, Archibald Campbell of 
Skepnische ; her son, the Lord Glammis, of sixteen yeares of age ; 
ane harbour John Lyon, and ane priest, all accusit in the tol- 
booth of Edinburgh. The said lady was condamnit to be brynt 
quhell deid: scho deet; and her husband, sone, and the rest, ordanyt 
to remain in prisone in the castell of Edinburgh forsaid.* — Upon the 
1 3th day of July, the Master of Forbes was convicted for tressonne, 
and drawin, hangit, and heidit." 

That there is any ground on which we may conclude, that unprin- 
cipled witnesses were brought forward to give false testimony, upon 
which the jury were compelled to convict her, I cannot admit ; still 
less do I perceive the proceedings to have been characterized by any 
savage traces of unmanly revenge upon the part of the king. On the 
other hand, it appears clear, that at tliis time the Douglases, whose 
last hope of restoration had been destroyed, began to embrace despe- 
rate designs. " The letters of Penman, their secret agent," says 
Pinkerton (vol. ii. p. 350,) " to Sir George Douglas, his employer, 
betray a malice, and designs the most horrid." " The king is crazed, 
and ill spoken of by his people." " He has beggared all Scotland." 
" All are weary of him."' — " James shall do the commandment of the 
Douglases, God willing " — " All hate him and say he must go down " 
— " His glass will soon run out." These diabolical expressions against 
a prince in the vigour of early life, what can they insinuate but poison 
or the dagger ? Could they be addressed to a person who did not seal 
them with approbation ? And could a more fit or secret agent than 
a sister be employed to promote the interests of her family at any 
risk?" If the reader will turn to Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, p. 190, 
and read the names of the jurymen who gave the verdict against her, 
he will scarcely admit the idea of her being innocent; and it is worthy 
of notice, that instead of having the least appearance of its being a 
packed jury, some of the leading men amongst them were friends and 

* We may infer, I think, from the omission of any notice of the horrid fate 
of the husband of Lady Glammis, who, some time after his imprisonment, 
was dashed to pieces on the rocks in attempting to escape from the castle of 
Edinburgh, that the Diurnal was written at the very time of his trial. It is 
hardly possible, if it had been a subsequent compilation, that this circum- 
stance, which appears in all our historians, would have been omitted. That 
the author was a Roman Catholic appears from a passage in p. 19. 


near connexions of the Douglases. Jolin earl of Athole, one of the 
jury, married Janet, a sister of that Master of Forbes who suffered 
for treason at the same time as Lady Glammis, and who was a sup- 
porter of the Douglases. — (Douglas' Peerage, p. 141, vol. i.) Robert 
lord Maxwell, another of the jury, it is well known, was intimately 
connected with the Douglases. He married a daughter of Douglas 
of Drumlanrig, (Douglas, vol. ii. p. 317,) and his daughter, Margaret 
Maxwell, was afterwards married to Archibald earl of Angus, brother 
to Lady Glammis. William master of Glencairn, a third juryman, 
was also nearly related to the Douglases, and constantly of their party. 
His mother was j\Iarjory, a daughter of Archibald, fifth Earl of Angus, 
a sister of Gawin Douglas, the celebrated translator of Virgil, and a 
grand-aunt of the Earl of Angus, and of Lady Glammis. Gilbert 
earl of Cassillis, another of the jurymen, and the pupil of Buchanan, 
was also a firm partisan of the Douglases. Are we to believe that 
tliese men violated their oaths, and found guilty, upon false evidence, 
an innocent and noble lady, in whose favour they must have felt a 
strong bias ? 

Piukerton, whilst he defends James on good grounds, too rashly 
pronounces the cases of the Master of Forbes and of Lady Glammis 
to have had no connexion with each other. There is, I think, a strong 
presumption to the contrary. The similarity in the charges against 
them, the circumstance that both were apprehended, tried, and exe- 
cuted within two days of each other — the Master of Forbes on Saturday 
the 14th of July, and Lady Glammis on Tuesday the 17th ; and the 
fact that the object of both appears to have been to procure the re- 
storation of the Douglases by compassing the death of the king, are 
striking circumstances, and look as if both plots had been coined in 
the same mint. The revealer of the conspiracy of Forbes was, as we 
learn from the extract from the Diurnal of Occurrents, the Laird of 
Lenturk ; and this gentleman, we find from Pitcairn, vol. i. p. 200, 
was Thomas Strachan. His son John Strachan, was accused as being 
a participator in the Master of Forbes's treason, and it is worthy of 
notice, that David Strachan, probably of the same family, was one of 
those apprehended at the same time that Lord Glammis the son, and 
Home of Wedderburn the brother-in-law of Lady Glammis, were 
imprisoned.* David Strachan, whose piteous petition for liberation 
has been given by Pitcairn, p. 206, vol. i., is nowhere mentioned as 
having been concerned in the treason of the Lord Forbes. The pre- 
sumption seems to be, that he was imprisoned for his participation in 
Lady Glammis's plot, and this seems in some degree to connect the 

* Sir Thomas Clififord's Letter, quoted by Pitcairn, vol. i. p. 198. 


two conspiracies. But all this is conjectural.* It was not till the 
22 J of August, about five weeks after Lady Glammis had suffered, that 
John Lyon, her accomplice, was tried and found guilty of imagining 
and conspiring the king's death by poison ; and of using the same 
poison for the destruction of the Earl of Rothes ; whilst on the same 
day, Alexander Makke, who had sold the poison, knowing from Lyon 
for what purpose it was bought, was also tried and convicted. Lyon 
was beheaded : and Makke, had his ears cut off and was banished by 
a singular sentence from all parts of Scots land, except the county of 
Aberdeen. f Mr Pitcairn has drawn an inference for the innocence 
of Lady Glammis, from the fact that a number of Lords and inferior 
barons suffered themselves to be fined rather than act as jurymen 
against her. This, however, one of his most noted cases shows to be 
no proof. The ^Master of Forbes confessed on the scaffold that he was 
guilty of the murder of Seton of Meldrum; yet when tried on the 27th 
of August, 1530, Gordon of Achindown, Lyon of Colmelegy, and fifteen 
other barons and landed gentlemen, were fined for not appearing to 
pass on his assize. A refusal of this kind was in fact a proof of the 
power, not of the innocence, of the party accused. In concluding this 
note, I may mention that Lord Glammis had made himself obnoxious 
to the Douglases, and may t-herefore have incurred the resentment 
of his high-spirited and determined consort, by refusing to join them 
with his vassals on the noted occasion, when they proceeded against 
the Border thieves, taking the young king along with them — (Pitcairn, 
vol. i. p. 136.) It was on this occasion that Scott of Buccleugh un- 
successfully attempted to rescue his sovereign from the captivity in 
which he was held. 

Letter C, p. 65. 

Battle of Flodclen. 

It is difficult, from the conflicting accounts of historians, to arrive 
at the numbers of each army in the battle of Flodden ; and even more 
difficult to estimate the loss on both sides. That nearly a hundred 
thousand souls mustered on the Borough-muir is extremely probable ; 
but it is to be recollected, that of these a great many were wagon- 
ers, sutlers, servants, and camp-followers ; that the presence of the 

* Pitcairn, vol. i. p. 2n2*--:03*, 

+ John Strachan and Donald Mackay, were accomplices with the Master 
of Forbes, in the murder of Seton of Meldrum. Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, 
vol. i. p. 1.50-175. Alexander Makke (Makay) and David Strachan were 
accomplices with Lady Glammis in her attempt to poison the king. 


king and the whole body of the nobles inferred the attendance of more 
than the usual number of servants ; and that, owing to the delay in 
active operations, and the scarcity of provisions, the army was dimi- 
nished by desertion previous to the battle. When this is considered, 
the estimate of thirty-five or forty thousand men — the latter number 
is that of Dr Lingard — is probably pretty near the truth. On the side 
of the English, it is certain from the English contemporary account 
of the battle, that Surrey's army was, at the lowest computation, 
twenty-six thousand strong ; and it is by no means improbable that 
this was rather a low estimate.* The battle began between four and 
five in the afternoon of the 5th of September, and continued, accord- 
ing to an+ authentic contemporary chronicle, " within night," that is 
some time after nightfall ; all accounts agreeing that the combatants 
were only separated by darkness. It is a mistake in Lingard, there- 
fore, to tell us it was decided in something more than an hour. From 
half-past four on the 5th of September, till after nightfall, will give a 
continuance to the combat of at least three hours. As to the loss 
sustained, the common estimate of ten thousand Scots is probably 
under the truth. After giving the names of the nobles and chiefs who 
were slain, the ancient chronicle already quoted observes, that over 
and above the said persons, eleven or twelve thousand of the Scots 
who were slain were viewed by my Lord Dacre,+ and on the inscrip- 
tion on Surrey's monument at Thetford, the number is seventeen 
thousand. § But whilst this last, which may be considered an eulogis- 
tic estimate, is yet perhaps not very far from the truth, it is evident 
that there is an endeavour on the part of the English historians to 
conceal their own loss, when they state it at fifteen hundred men. 
Holinshed, who gives this, admits that the " victory was dearly bought 
on the side of the English," and when it is considered that it was a 
fair stand up fight, which lasted with the utmost obstinacy for three 
hours — that no pursuit took place till next day — and that no quarter 
was given on either side, the assertion that only fifteen hundred Eng- 
lish were slain, cannot be believed. In noticing the very few Scottish 
prisoners taken, the ancient English account of the battle observes. 
" many other Scottish prisoners could and might have been taken, but 

■* The rare contemporary tract reprinted by my friend Mr Pitcairn, and 
entitled, " Batayie of Floddon-felde, called Brainston Moore," thuf com- 
mences : — " The maner of th' advauncyng of my lord of Surrey, treoourier 
and marshall of Englande, and levetenente generall of the north, parties of 
the same, with xxvi M. towards the kynge of Scotts and his armye, veweJ 
and nombred to an hundreds tbousande men at the leest.'' 

t Ibid. p. 12. 

X Batayie of Brainston Moore, p. 1 1 . 

§ Ridpath's Border History, p. 491. 


they were so vengeable and cruel in their fighting, that when English- 
men had the better of them, they would not save them, though it were 
that diverse Scottes offered great sumes of money for their lives."* 
Lord Thomas Howard, indeed, in his message to the king, had de- 
clared, that as he expected no quarter himself, he would give none : 
and this fierce resolution of the English admiral was probably ren- 
dered more intense in its operation by the silence of the Scottish king, 
who replied Avith courtesy to the cartel of Surrey, but did not conde- 
scend to send Howard an answer. With the exception of the high- 
landers and islesmen, the Scots preserved good discipline. Their 
army, when first seen by Howard, was drawn up in five divisions : 
some in the form of squares, others in that of wedges, and they de- 
scended the hill on foot in good order,after the manner of the Germans, 
in perfect silence.'h Every man for the most part, was armed with a 
keen and sharp spear, five yards in length, and a target which he held 
before him. When their spears failed, they fought with great sharp 
swords, making little or no noise. The old account of the battle ex- 
pressly states that few were slain by arrows, as the rain had damaged 
the Euglish bows, but that most fell by the bills of the Englishmen : 
and yet the armorial device given as an augmentation to his arms to 
Surrey in commemoration of his victory — a demi-lion gules, transfixed 
with an arrow — seems to contradict this ; whilst the impatience of the 
highlanders, under Huntley and Lennox, has always been ascribed t^ 
the deadly discharge of the English bowmen. The English artillery 
were well served, and did considerable execution ; whilst the Scot- 
tish guns, injudiciously placed, and ill-directed, fired over the heads 
of the enemy ; a blunder probably to be ascribed to the obstinacy of 
the king, who would not suffer them to play upon the English columns 
when they were passing the river. James thus lost the great advan- 
tage which might have been derived from the acknowledged excel- 
lence in the make and calibre of the Scottish ordnance. 

As the battle of Flodden is of much importance in tracing the mili- 
tary history of the country, I may notice an inaccuracy of Hume, 
which to the general student might seem of little importance, but to 
the military reader it will not appear so. This historian informs us^I 
that Surrey, finding that the river Till prevented his attack, made a 

* Batayle of Brainston Moore, p. 12. 

+ Original Gazette of the Battle of Flodden, MS. in herald's ofBce, printed 
by Pinkerton. — Appendix to 2d vol. No. X. — La battaile dud : Roy D'Es- 
cosse estoit divisee en cinq: battailles, Et chacun battaille loing I'un de 
Tautre environ un trait d'arc * * partie d'Eulx Estorent en quadrans, et 
autres en maniere de pointe. 

:^ Hume's History, p. 292. 


feint by marching to Berwick, as if he meant to enter Scotland ; up- 
on which James descended from his encampment, having fired his 
huts. " On this Surrey," says he, " took advantage of the smoke, 
and passed the river with his army, rendering a battle inevitable, for 
which both sides prepared with tranquillity and order." This, any 
one who will study the battle as it is given in this history, from con- 
temporary records, will discover to be a misapprehension of the fact. 




The assassination of Cardinal Beaton is an event which has been 
viewed under very different aspects by different parties. The exul- 
tation and unseasonable pleasantry with which Knox relates the 
murder are partly to be ascribed to the savage times in which he 
was bred, and to the natural temper of this singular man, which was 
strongly tinctured with a love of the humorous. That he considered 
the deed as not only justifiable but almost praiseworthy, is evident 
from the whole tone of his narrative. This mode of writing naturally 
roused to the highest pitch the indignation of the Roman Catholic 
party ; it was received with equal reprobation by the more moderate 
Protestants ; whilst the covenanters, driven by the harsh persecution 
of the government to acts similar in their manner of perpetration, 
although dictated by higher and less selfish motives, eagerly defend- 
ed a proceeding, which seemed to justify their own. The consequence 
of this has been, that much vituperation and inconclusive argument 
were elicited, nor have these angry indications completely subsided 
in the present day. Such feelings are particularly unpropitious to 
the investigation of historical truth; and setting them aside entirely, 
I proceed more fully than was permitted me in the text, to investi- 
gate this subject and to present my readers with some extracts from 
those original papers and letters which throw new light upon it, and 
have hitherto remained unknown. 

Dr Mackenzie, in his Lives of Scottish Writers (vol.iii. p. 23\ early 
observed that the assassination of Beaton had been planned in Eng- 
land, and to corroborate his opinion published from a document, which 
he affirmed he had seen in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates, 


an extract from the letter of the Earl of Hertford, dated 17th April, 
1544, and quoted in my text. When Keith published his history (in 
1734) this letter could not be found, and, although he gives it from 
Mackenzie's work, he declines pronouncing any opinion, aware of that 
author's great inaccuracy. When Robertson, in 1759, published his 
History of Scotland, he considered the subject so obscure that he 
satisfied himself with expressing a suspicion that there existed a cor- 
respondence between the murderers of Cardinal Beaton and Henry 
the Eighth ; and many years after, when Dr Cook gave to the world 
his History of the Reformation, he got rid of the difficulties attending 
the question in too summary a manner, by doubting whether such a 
letter was ever written, or such a person as Wishart, mentioned as 
the agent of the conspiracy, ever came to the Earl of Hertford, or was 
sent by him to Henry the Eighth. " The letter," says he, " is entitled 
to no credit. It was not found by one of our most accurate inquirers 
into points of history, where the writer who quotes it asserts it may 
be seen ; and what is completely decisive, it was said to have been 
written two years before the cardinal's death, and could, therefore, 
have no relation to a conspiracy, which it is apparent was not in ex- 
istence, till within a very short time of its being carried into execu- 
tion." In a short historical disquisition appended to an early work, 
(Life of Sir Thomas Craig, published in 1823,) I pointed out the errors 
contained in this passage and established the authenticity of the let- 
ter quoted by Mackenzie, by referring to a direct answer to it which 
occurred in the collection of original letters and papers published by 
Haynes, vol. i. p. 34. The fact of the existence of a conspiracy for 
the assassination of Beaton which was fostered in England, and car- 
ried on by Brunston and Wishart was thus fixed beyond question. 
To crown the whole, it turned out, that after an interval of many years 
Dr Robertson had discovered in the MS. collection of the Duke of 
Hamilton, and had published in the latest edition of his history, the 
original of the letter quoted by Mackenzie. Thus far had the truth 
been ascertained, when I was last year permitted by Lord Melbourne 
to have a full examination of the Scottish correspondence in the 
State-paper Office, an event which, at the risk of exciting a smile in 
some of my readers, I must consider as one of the most pleasurable 
in my literary life. This examination is at present only in progress, 
but the documents I have there found have already enabled me to 
trace my way through some of the most obscure portions of our na- 
tional history ; and one of these relates to the English conspiracies 
for the assassination of Cardinal Beaton. I proceed now to point out 
the singular letters which illustrate the progress of the conspiracy. 
It may first, however, be proper to remark that Henry's antipathy 


to Beaton was early excited, and soon assumed a violent form. On 
hearing that the cardinal had procured his removal from Lord Seton'a 
house, where he was kept in custody, to St Andrew's, the king (not 
aware that the crafty prelate had by this step completely recovered 
his liberty) proposed to Sir George Douglas, through Sadler his am- 
bassador, that he should be brought to England and there kept in 
sure custody. This was on the 30th March, 1543. (Sadler's State 
Papers, vol. i. pp. 104, 106.) A similar proposal for the apprehension 
of the cardinal was made on the 21st June, 1543, (Sadler, vol. i. p. 
221,) which was reiterated in strong terms to Arran the governor by 
the English monarch on the 4th of August, (Sadler vol. i. p. 249 ;) and 
it appears that Beaton had received warning of these hostile inten- 
tions, for, on the 28th of August, 1543, he refused to leave his castle 
of St Andrew's for the purpose of meeting with Arran the governor, 
alleging that he was afraid of his life. (Sadler, vol. i. p. 278.) On 
the 5th of October, the lords of Henry's party expressed an earnest 
wish that the cardinal were in the king's majesty's hands so that he 
might never more trouble the realm of Scotland. (Sadler, vol. i.p.312.) 
This rooted enmity to the cardinal, in the mind of Henry, was well 
known to Crichton, the Laird of Brunston, a man in whose character 
we recognise the ferocity and familiarity with blood which marks 
the feudal times in which he lived, the cunning and duplicity which 
is the growth of a more civilized era, and this united to a fanatical 
spirit which perhaps deceived him into the belief that he was a sincere 
friend of truth. Busy, unscrupulous, and active, this pliant intriguer 
insinuated himself into the confidence of all parties, and seems to have 
been willing at various times to desert all, till the money of England 
fixed him by the powerful chain of self-interest in the service of Henry 
the Eighth. We first meet with him as a familiar and confidential 
servant of Cardinal Beaton, intrusted with secret letters from that 
dignitary to Rome (10th December, 1539. Sadler, vol. i. p. 25,) which 
were intercepted by Henry the Eighth. He next attached himself to 
Arran the governor, who thought him worthy to be trusted in diplo- 
matic missions to France and England, (Sadler, vol. i. pp. 186, 280 ;) 
and it would seem that on the 28th of August, 1543, Sadler had not 
much intimacy with him, as he denominates him " a gentleman called 
the Laird of Brunston." In a few months, however, Brunston had 
deserted Arran, and so completely gained the confidence both of 
Sadler and his royal master, that we find him furnishing secret intel- 
ligence to the ambassador, and honoured by a letter from the king. 
(Sadler, vol. i. pp. 332, 338, 339, 342.) On the 16th of November, 
1543, Brunston thus writes in a letter to Sadler * * "I pray your 
lordship that I may bs excused to the king's majesty, and to thank 


his highness on my behalf of his gentle letter, which it hath pleased 
his highness to send to me, the contents whereof I shall not fail to 
fulfill, so far as God will give me grace." Sadler, vol. i. p. 342. 

Nearly five months after this, on the 17th of April, 1544, the Laird 
of Brunston engaged in that secret correspondence with Henry the 
Eighth, in which, on certain conditions, he offered to procure the 
assassination of Beaton.* As the purport of both letters has been 

* His grace the Duke of Hamilton, many years ago, politely permitted 
me to copy the original of the letter from the Earl of Hertford, which is in 
his possession. — " Please it your highness to understand, that this daye 
arryved here with me the Erll of Hertford, a Scotishman called Wyshert, 
and brought me a letter from the Larde of Brunstone, which I sende your 
highness herewith ; and, according to his request, have taken order for the 
repayre of the said Wysshertto your majestie by poste, bothe for the delyvire 
of suche letters as he hathe to your majestie from the said Brunstone, and 
also for the declaracion of his credence, which, as I can perceyve by him, 
consisteth in two poyntes ; one is that the Larde of Graunge, late thresaurer 
of Scotlande, the mr of Rothes, th' Erl of Rothis eldest son, and John Char- 
ters, wolde attempt eyther t' apprehend or slee the cardynall at some tyme 
when he shall passe thoroughe the Fyf laude, as he doth sundrye times to 
Sanct Andrewes ; and in case they can soapprehende hym, Avill delyver him 
unto your majestie, which attemptat, he saythe, they wolde enterpryse if 
tliey knew your majestie's pleasure therein, and what supportacion and 
mayntenance your majestie wolde minister unto them efter th' execution of 
the same, in case they suld be persewed afterwards be any of their enemyes ; 
the other is, that in cace your maj, wolde grant unto them a convenient 
enterteynement for to kepe 15 or 16 men in wages for a moneth or two, they, 
joyning with the power of th' Erl Marshall, the said Erl of Rothes, the 
Larde of Calder, and others of the Lords Greys' friends, will tak upon them 
at such tyme as your maj. armey sail be in Scotlande, to destroy the abbev 
and town of Arbroyth, being the cardynal's and all th' other bishops and 
abbots houses and countreys on that syde the water thei-^aboute, and appre- 
hend all those whiche they save be the principall impugnators of the amyte 
between England and Scotland, for the whiche they suld have a good oppor- 
tunytie, as they saye, when the power of the said bishops and abbote shall 
resort toward Edinburgh to resist your maj estye's armye. And for th' exe- 
cution of these thinges,the said Wyshert saith that the sayde Erll Marshall 
and others above named, will capitulate with your majestie in wrytino- under 
their handes and scales afore they shall desyre any suplye of money at your 
majes. handes. This is the effect of his credence with other sundrie adver- 
tisements of the great contencion and division that is at this present within 
the realme of Scotlande, which we doubt not he Avill declare unto vour ma- 
jestie at good length. 

" Also, I ,the said Erll of Hertford, have receyved this daye, certain letters 
from the Lorde Wharton, and Sir Robert Bowes, with the copies of suche 
letters as were wryten by the Erll of Gleucairne's sone, and Bishop the Erl 
of Lennox's secretary, to be sent into Scotland to the same erlles, which 
copies the said Lord Wharton and Bowes atteyned to such meynes as sail ap- 
pear unto your majestie by the said letters, whiche, with the said copies, 
we send also to your highnes here inclosed ; together with certain other 

letters, whiche arryved here also this day from the Lord , conteyning 

certain exploytes done in Scotlande. 

" Fynally— the Lorde Wm. Howard being at Tynemont, sent a letter to 


fully stated in the text, I shall not recapitulate it, but merely observe 
that, in the plot devised by Brunston, and proposed to be executed 
by Kirkaldy of Grange and the Master of Rothes, the conspirators 
do not appear to have acted from religious, or I should rather say 
fanatical, motives. No allusion to such is to be found in the corre- 
spondence. Their vievrs seem to have been purely selfish and mer- 
cenary. The " feat," however, against the cardinal, for some cause 
not easily discoverable, was not at this time carried into execution, 
and the conspiracy slept for nearly a year, when it was again revived 
by the Earl of Cassillis, the pupil of Buchanan, the convert of Cran- 
mer,* and a nobleman who, in their ignorance of his true character, 
has been highly lauded by some of our historians. This baron, who 
proved himself one of Henry's most active instruments, was employed 
by this monarch in April, 1545, in a negotiation regarding the mar- 
riage and the peace, of which an account has been given in the text. 
Previous to this diplomatic mission, he repaired to the English court 
from Scotland, and having received his instructions from Henry in 
person, returned to manage the business in the Scottish parliament. 
In the State-paper Office there is an original letter, dated April 2, 
1545, entirely in cipher, with a contemporary deciphered copy, from 
the Earl of Cassillis to the king, in which he states that he had a 
conference with the governor and the cardinal on the subject of his 
mission, but they would come to no conclusion till the arrival of the 
queen and the Earls of Argyle and Huntley ; and adds that a con- 
vention had been summoned for the 15th to determine on his ofiers. 
On the 20th of April, Cassillis again addressed a letter in cipher to 
the king, in which he informed him of the total failure of his negoti- 
ation, the triumph of the party of the cardinal and the governor, and 
the rejection of peace with England. On the 18th of May, 1545, Sir 
R. Sadler, and the Council of the North, wrote to the king, transmit- 
ting a letter in cipher, which the Earl of Cassillis had addressed to 
Sadler. That the reader may understand the purport of Sadler's letter, 
I give an extract from it. — " Please your royal Majesty to receive 
herewith, such letters as we have received from the Lord Wharton, 

me, the said Erll of Hertford, whereby it appeareth that certain of the shippis 
victuallers are arrivid, and some of theym report that yesterday morning 
they sawe my Lord Admyrall, west of the Heete on see horde Hull, makyng 
hitherwarde, so that the wind contynuing as it is, they will be at Teynemouth 
this night or to-morrawe with the grace of God, who preserve your royall 
majestie in your most pr}'nceley estat, most felycitously to endure unto your 
highnes. — Newcastel, the xvii of April. 

" Your Majestie's humble subjects, and most hounden servants, 

" E. Hertford, Cuth. Durcsme. 

" Robert Landaffe, Kaf JSadleyr.'" 

* Douglas' Peerage, vol. i. pp. 3oO, 331. 


■with others in cipher addressed unto us with the same from the Ear] 

of Cassillis ; whereof one of them is a letter to the same Erie from 
the Erie Marshall, as your Majesty shall perceyve, which we have 
deciphered, and sende herewith unto your Majesty, both the cipher, 
and the same deciphered accordingly. And when it may appear unto 
your highuessby the said Earle of Cassillis' lettres, amongst other things, 
that he intendeth to procure one to be sent to me, Sir Rafe Sadleyr, 
as sone as is possible, for him to speke with th' Erie of Anguisse and 
George Douglas, for such purposes as your highness has appoynted 
with the saide Earl of Cassillis. I, the said Sir Rafe Sadleyr, shall 
not faile, as soon as I shall heare of the comyng of such a one as they 
will sende, to repayre to Alnewyke, there to commune with him ac- 
cording to such instructions as I lately received from the lords of his 
majesty's council in that behalf, and touching such matter as the said 
Erie of Cassillis now hath written of to your Highness, wherein he 
seemeth desirous to know your Majesty's pleasure by me, I shall be 
ready to say and do as it shall please your Highness to command me 
in that part or anie other, according to my most bounden dutie." The 
rest of this letter is unimportant. From the above extract it is, how- 
ever, evident that the king had communicated certain purposes to 
Cassillis ; that Cassillis, having first consulted with the Earl of Angus 
and Sir George Douglas, was to send a secret messenger to Alnw^ick, 
to commune with Sir Ralph Sadler touching such purposes ; that Sir 
Ralph had already received from the Privy-council instructions regard- 
ing this intended communication ; that Cassillis had moreover written 
to the king upon another private matter, in which he wished to know 
the royal pleasure through Sir Ralph, and that this statesman only 
waited to hear his majesty's opinion, that he might communicate it 
to the Scottish earl. The importance of this minute analysis will 
immediately appear. 

It is unfortunate that the letter in cipher from the Earl of Cassillis to 
the king, mentioned in t'he above despatch, is not to be found in the 
State-paper Office ; but on the 21st of May, 1545, there is a letter 
from the Council of the North to the king, informing his majesty that 
the Scottish barons, Angus, Cassillis, Glencairn, Marshal, and Sir 
George Douglas, had declined, as they at first intended, sending an 
agent to Alnwick, to confer with Sir Ralph Sadler ; and thought it 
better that a confidential messenger should be sent iuto Scotland to 
deliberate with them. This letter from the Council of the North to 
the king, is autograph of Sir Ralph Sadler. It contains this passage — 
" And whereas I, the said Sir Rafe, was advertised from the lords of 
your jnajestie's council, that your highness' pleasure was I should 
repayre to Alnwi :k, to meet there with a gentleman that should be 


ecut from the Erles of Anguisse, Cassillis, Glencairn, Marsliall, and 
George Douglas and others, for such purposes as I was also tlien 
advertised from my said lords of his majestie's council, for the whiche 
joruey I have been in a readiness, according to your most gracious 
pleasure ; it shall now appear to your highness, by the said Erie of 
Cassillis' lettres, that they have chaunged that purpose, and would 
have me send a gentlemen to them with such instructions, and in such 
sorte, as your majestie shall perceive by the said Erie of Cassillis' 
lettres." This letter from the Earl of Cassillis to Sir Ralph Sadler, 
alluded to above as having been transmitted to the king, is not to be 
found in the State-paper Office, but its purport clearly appears from 
a letter of the English Privy-council, dated May 30, 1545. The im- 
portance of this document induces me to give an extract. It shows, 
I think, that although they contain no direct mention of it, the former 
letters of the 18th and 21st of May, related to the designs against 
Beaton's life, and it reveals for the first time a plot that has remained 
hidden for nearly three centuries. The despatch is in the hand-writing 
of ]Mr Secretary Paget, except the last sentence, which is autograph 
of Wriothesley, then chancellor. It is addressed to the Earl of Hert- 
ford. " After our most harty commendations unto your good lordship, 
it may like the same to understand that the king's majesty, having 
of late seen certain lettres sent from th' Erie of Cassillis unto Mr 
Saddleyr, the same containing an offer for the kylling of the cardinal 
if his inajesty wold hate it done, and wold promise, when it were done, 
a reicard; the other excusing the change of their purpose for sending 
of one from them, to meet with IVIr Saddleyr upon the Borders, and 
requiring John Forster (who, they say, being prisonir, may come well 
without suspition) should be sent to commune with them, and to as 
well signify unto them the king's majestie's pleasure towards them, 
as to hear again what they would do for their parts : To the first point 
his majestie hath willed us to signify unto your lordschip, that his 
highness, reputing the fact not mete to he set foricard expressly by his 
majesty, will not seem to hate to do in it; and yet, not mislikiiuj the offer, 
thinketh good that Mr Saddleyr, toAvhom that letter was addressed, 
should write to th' Erie of the receipt of his letter, conteyning such 
an offer which he thinketh not convenient to be communicated to the 
king's majesty ; marry, to write to him what he thinketh of the matter, 
he shall say, that if he were in th' Erie of Cassillis' place, and were 
as able to do his majesty good service there as he knoweth him to 
be, and thinketh a right good will in him to do it, he would surely do 
what he could for th' execution of it, believing verily to do thereby 
not only an acceptable service to the king's majesty, but also a special 
benefit to the realrae of Scotland, and would trust verily the king's 


majesty would consider his service in the same ; as you doubt not of 
accustomed goodness to them which serve him, but he would do the 
same to him."* The remaining portion of this letter, which is an 
original, and signed by seven privy-councillors, relates to the sending 
Forster into Scotland, and to other matters, not important to be noticed. 
To go on unravelling these dark designs, it next appears, by a 
letter from the Council of the North to the king, dated June 3, 1545, 
that Forster had been sent for, to be despatched forthwith into Scot- 
land, and, upon his arrival, Sadler informs his majesty, " that he will 
write to the Earl of Cassillis, according to the directions contained in 
the last letterfrom the Privy-council." Hitherto the conspiracy of tlie 
Earl of Cassillis for the assassination of Beaton does not seem to be 
connected in any way with the former plot of Brunston, Wishart, 
Kirkaldy of Grange, and Norman Lesley ; but the above letter con- 
tains a sentence from which a strong presumption arises, that the 
conspiracy of Cassillis was merely a revival of that of Brunston. "Also, 
here arrived presentlie a lettre in cipher from the Laird of Brunstone, 
which we have caused to be deciphered herewith to your majesty." 
Here the despatch of the Privy-council, which was sent, concludes 
with the usual prayer for the royal health ; but in the scroll of that 
despatch, which is autograph of Sir Ralph Sadler, after the words 
"your majestie," the following sentence succeeds: "And this day 
Sir Thomas Holcroft showed us a cipher, which was devised betwix 
him and the said Brunston, when Brunston departed last from the 
court, upon the perusing of which cipher Ave fynd it to be the very 
same that is betwix your majesty and th' Erie of Cassillis, as youi 
majestie shall perceive upon the sight of it which we send here in- 
closed, so that it appeareth to us that both the Erie of Cassillis and 
Brunston" — here this additional sentence, which is scored through, 
breaks off abruptly ; but it is evident, I think, the Privy-council in- 
tended to observe, that it appeared to them that Brunston and Cassillis 
were in close communication with each other upon the point touching 
the murder of the cardinal, and, when we weigh all the circumstances, 
it is difficult to resist the same conclusion. Brunston formerly had sub- 
mitted to Henry a plot for the assassination of Beaton ; Brunston was 
an intimate friend and supporter of the party with whom Cassillis 
acted ; Brunston had lately been at court, and had arranged a cipher 
for a secret correspondence with Sir Thomas Holcroft : at the mo- 
ment when Cassillis again proposes to Henry the assassination of the 
prelate, a letter in cipher is sent from Brunston to the Council of the 
North, and instantly transmitted to the king ; and lastly, Brunston and 

* Grig. State-paper OffiQe, ujver before published. 



Cassillis are found using the same cipher. Every circumstance shows 
a unity of schemes, and an intimacy of communication, from which 
we may infer, I think, that the second conspiracy of Cassillis was 
merely a revival or continuation of the first by Brunston. The king, 
however, as we have seen, did not choose to give direct encouragement 
to the proposal of Cassillis, That noble person was informed by Sadler 
that he had iwt communicated his design to the monarch, (which was 
untrue ;) and Cassillis, although willing to commit murder upon a 
written order from the king, did not choose to peril himself in any 
such business upon the bare recommendation of Sir Ralph Sadler. He 
did not even venture to reply to Sadler's letter upon this delicate 
point ; and, in the succeeding interview which took place between 
him and Forster the English agent, at Douglas, in June, he appears 
carefully to have avoided any allusion to the subject. The proposal 
of Sir George Douglas to this envoy, that Henry " if he would have 
the cardinal dead should promise a good reward for the doing thereof," 
has been noticed in the body of this history, but Forster (July 4, 1545) 
returned without having had any communication with Cassillis upon 
the subject. 

The Laird of Brunston, however, was resolved that the proposal for 
removing their great enemy should not so easily drop ; and on the 12th 
of July wc find, by the following extract from a letter of the Council of 
the North to the Privy-council, that this busy intriguer had renewed 
to the king and to his council the atrocious proposal : — " After our 
most hartie commendations, yesterday arrived here lettres in cypher 
to the king's majesty from the Larde of Brunston, and also to me. 
Sir Rafe Sadleyr, which we have deciphered and sende herewith, both 
the cipher and the same deciphered, unto you, which we praye you to 
declare and showe unto the king's majestic. And forasmuch as the 
said Brunston doth partly in his said letters [touch] the matter which 
concerneth the kylling of the cardinal, because, as we perceyve by 
such letters, as I, th' Erll of Hertford, have received from the 
Lordes, you, and others of the counsaill, his majestic will not seeme to 
have to do in that matter, but referreth the same to the handeliug of 
me. Sir Rafe Sadleyr: I, therefore, have taken occasion upon the said 
Brunston's letters to write my mind to him in that matter, in such 
sorte as you shall perceyve by the copie of my lettre to the said Brun- 
ston, which you shall receyve herewith."* 

Sadler goes on to state, that he had written before this upon the 
same matter of the killing of the cardinal to the Earl of Cassillis, but 

* Oiig., State-paper Office, never before published. Since this note was 
written tlie letter has been printed in the Collection of State Papers published 
by Government, vol. v. part iv. p. 470# 


since then had received no answer. The rest of his letter is of little 
interest ; but the enclosure, entitled the " Copie of Sir Rafe Sadleyr's 
Lettres to the Larde of Brunston," which is wholly in Sir Ralph's 
own hand, is too important and curious to be omitted. It commences 
thus, " After my right hartie commendations, I have received your 
lettres by Robert Lyster, this bearar, with also your lettres addressed 
to the king's majestic, which shall be depesched hens to his highness 
with such spede as appertayneth. In one parte of your said lettres, 
I note chieflie, that certayn gentlemen, being your friends, have offred 
for a small soume of money, to take hym oute of the waye, that hath 
been the hole impediment and lett to all good purposes there, so that 
they might be sure to have the king's majestic their good lorde ; and 
that his majestic woolde rewarde them for the same. Of this I judge 
that you mean the cardinal!, whome I knowe to be so much blynded 
to his own affection to France, that, to please the same he seeth not, 
but utterlie contempnyth all thinges tending to the weale, and benefite 
of his owne countrey ; and, iudede, hitherto, he hath been the onelie 
cause and worker of all your myschief ; and will, if he continewe, be 
undoubtedlie the utter ruyne and confusion of the same. Wherefore 
I am of your opinion, and as you wryte thinke it to be acceptable service 
to God to take him oute of the waye, whiche, in suche sorte dothe not 
onelie as much as in him is to obscure the glorie of God, but also to 
confound the commonweale of his owne countrey. And albeit, the 
king's majestic, whose gracious nature and goodnes I knowe, wool not, 
J am sure, have to do ne meddle with this matier touching your said 
cardynall, for soundrie considerations; yet, if you could so worke the 
matier with these gentlemen your freends, which have made that offer, 
that it maye take effect, you shall undoubtedly doo therein good ser- 
vice, both to God and his majestic, and a singular benefit to your 
countrey. Wherefore, lyke as if I were in your place, it shulde be the 
first thing I woolde earnestlie attempt, thinking therby for the respect 
aforesaide chieflie to please God, and to do good to my countrey." 
Sadler goes on to state, that if Brunston and his friends put the matter 
in execution, he knows so well the king's goodness and liberality, that 
they may assure themselves of a reward; and he adds this remarkable 
sentence, " And if the execution of this matier doo rest onelie uppon 
the rewarde of the king's majestic to such as shall be the executors 
of the same, I pray you advertyse me what rewarde they do requyre, 
and if it be not unreasonable, because I have been in your countrey, 
for the Christen zeal that I have to the commonweale of the same, I 
will undertake it shall be payed immediatlie upon the act executed, 
though I doo myselfe beare the charge of the same, whiche I woolde 
thinke well imployed. * * * * Thus I write to you mine owne 
VOL. V. 2 B 


phantasie and mynde in this matier, as one that woolde be glad to 
give you such advise, as wherby you shulde doo that service to God, 
the kinge's majestie, and your owne natyve couutrey, as might also 
be to your owne profett, and good fame."* 

The Laird of Brunston, however, and the friends with whom he 
acted, although willing for a small reward to slay the cardinal, proved 
as cautious and crafty as the Earl of Cassillis, and did not choose to 
undertake the murder without a direct communication with the king's 
majesty ; they had determined to have the royal warrant and writ 
for their reward and their security ; and on hearing that Sadler had 
not imparted their offer to the king, but only encouraged them out 
of his Christian zeal, and of his own phantasie, they, for the present 
dropt their atrocious project. This letter of Sadler's was dated 4th 
of July, 1545 ; and for nearly three months, we can trace nothing of 
the plot against the cardinal. How the interval was occupied, is shown 
in this history. The invasion of Hertford, and the many miserable 
scenes which it brought in its train, gave ample employment to all 
parties in Scotland. Beaton, however, was still able to thwart the 
schemes of Henry; and that monarch evinced the continuance of his 
mortal enmity against the prelate, by recommending the Earl of 
Hertford to advise the French deserters to show their desire to be 
of service, by trapping or killing the cardinal, Lorges, or the governor. 
This was on the 9th of September, 1545, and, on the sixth of October, 
about a month after, we find pretty strong evidence, that the plot for 
the assassination of Beaton had been resumed by Brunston: — at this 
time, the following letter in cipher was sent by that busy intriguer to 
Henry the Eighth. 

"My deuty usit to your most excellent majeste ; it will plese zour 
highnes, yat at yis last convention the Earl of Lennox is forfaltit, his 
brother the bischoip, and the Larde of Tulibam, continewit to the 
nixt meeting betuyx yis and Chrismes. As to other gret actis ya 
haif none. Yai haif providit one thowsand horsmen to ly on the 
Bordouris, five hundreth of the Mers, and other five hundreth of 
Tevidail such as hes no other thing to leif by. 

" Morovir, yt wil lyk zour majeste, yat I am suirly advertesed by 
one yat knowith yt, wich ys one suir frend of myn, yat the cardinal 
passis to France with the French king's leutenant, who, as I beleif 
taryis for nothing but for his shippis, the which are sent for alrady. 
The said cardinal entendis (yf his devising tak effect) to bring us gret 
support in the foir yere ; but I hoip to God hisjornay shall he shortit 
to his displeseur. He ys laborand to haif the yong queen to remane 

* Original, State-paper Office, never before published. Since printed in 
the State Papers published by government, vol. v. part iv. p. 470. 


in his castel of Sanctandros, and causis the governor to beleif yat yt 
is for his eflfect to keip hir to his sone ; and the queen-mother makis 
hir angrye withal, but I belief she dissembles. Thair is no other 
thingis for the present worthye your majeste's knowledge ; and as 
otheris occurris, your majeste shal be advertest wyth such diligence 
as I may; alwayis assuring your highnes yat yair wes netir mo gentil 
men desyrous to serte your majeste to the avansing of your majestes 
godlye entent, nor yair is now," This letter is dated " at Ormistouu 
yis saxt day of October," be him yat is desirous to do your highnes 
service at the uttermost of his power — Bronstoun." * 

After this letter, dated the 6th of October, there is no further cor- 
respondence between Brunston and the English government, till the 
20th of the same month. We then, however, find the following letter, 
addressed by that person to the Earl of Hertford. " This present 
shall be to let your lordship wit, that sins the writting of my last 
letres, I talked at length with Sir George Douglas, who hath shewed 
me aunswer to the last letre that I send to your L. * that the hole 
lords hath agreed to the marriage of the young queue to the governor's 
Sonne with their seales and hand writtis,' and that he as yet hath 
stopped the Earl of Anguisse, with the rest of his friends, notwith- 
standing the diligent pursuit of the governor and his friends ; which 
they seke both with great and fayer promises, and other wayes, 
threteninges of the hole authoritye to cum in their contrary, which 
may not be resisted by them; nevertheless, I am suir that Sir George 
Douglas will staye th' Erie of Anguisse and all others his freindes, 
unto such time as he maye knowe the king's majestie's pleasur ; and 
if the king's majestie will mak them snch support that they may mak 
their party good in the contrary of the governour and authoritye, to 
the avauncing of the king's majestie's affayres, they will * * themselves 
and their frieudes, and weir all their lyves or everything promised to 
the king's majestie be not kept ; and in lik manner I shall cause all 
the gentlemen that your L. knoweth, my friends, to be readye as it 
shall please the king's majesty to command them * * to assist to 
such as ar moost to the avauncing of his majestie's affaires, as they 
have at all tymes been hitherto, hut his majestie must be plain with 
them, both what his majesty would have them to do, and in like manner 
what they shall lippenf to of his majesty, which matier, with maney 

* Original, State-paper Office, not before published. The Earl of Hertford 
in his letter ti ansmits the cipher as from the Laird of Ormiston : on decipher- 
ing, it appears to be from Brunston. This letter was deciphered by Mr 
Robert Lemon of the State-paper Office, a gentleman to whose skill in the 
knowledge of ancient manuscripts I have been often indebted. 

't' Lippen to ; trust to. 


other matiers, I would gladly your L. knewe for the avauncing of his 
majestie's affayres which wer tool ong to writ. Wherefore I have writ- 
ten, as your L. may see, to the king's majesty desyring to speke with one 
of his majestie's counsaill, but in special with yr L. for the declaring 
of such things as I think gretely to the avauncyng of his majestie's 
affaires, at the castle of Berwyk, wher, be suche daye as shall be ap- 
poynted me, God willing, I shall meet your L, iti secret manner, gering 
me advertisement tlire or four before the tyme of meeting, which I 
pray your L. in the most secret manner, for it standeth me beth in life 
and heretage if it he knoicen ; at the whiche meeting I shall bring Sir 
G. Douglas' mind, with the rest of my friends, remitting all other things 
uuto the tyme I have knowledge from your lordshipp, which I would 
were the soonest it was possible, as your L. loveth the welfare of the 
king's maj. affayres. This twenty of Octr. at Calder."* 

The remainder of the letter is unimportant, but from its contents, 
and judging by the following extract from Brunston's letter to the king, 
we may presume that the business in which he and the gentlemen, his 
friends, offered their services to Henry, was of the most treasonable 

" My duty used to your most princelie maj., it may pleis yr maj. 
that consyderiug the present estait of my cuntrey, and knowing the 
minds of one great part of the baronnis and noblemen thereof, the 
desyer to do your M. semce in all that lyeth in my power, as I am 
raoch bounden, and so moch the more that your majeste intendeth 
nothing but the wealth and benefit of my cuntrey, and that your ma- 
jesty shall know I have not forgotten the gret liberalitye and gen- 
tlenes that both I and divers of the gentlemen, my ft-iends, tlirough me, 
hath found with yr M., (who shall all be any as I am one redy to serve 
yr M. at our powers,) moveth me for the declaracion of such things 
as I think gretly to th' avauncing of your majesties affayres, to be 
■desyrous to speke with one of your majesties counsayl, and rather with 
Mr Sadleyr, nor with any other, becaus he is both neir to these parts, 
and best knoweth my cuntrey ; who if it pleis your !M. to sende to the 
castel of Berwyck, becaus it is unable to me to cum furth within the 
cuntrey unknowin, and at sueh day as shal be appoynted me, I shall 
(God willing) not fayle to mete him at the said town or castle, ichich 
I would were as secret as were possible, for if it were cum to knowledge, 
it is the losing to me both of life and heritage; albeit I never knew one 
that lost for the servyng of yr majestie, which, as knoweth God, I am 
willing to do, being suir your majesty will both acknowledge me and 
others my friends, such as I have had grit relief of in the serv^-ng of 

* Original, State-paper OfBce, not before published. 


your majestie with the nombre of yr majestie's servands and friends. 
All such things as I both knowe and may leme with the mynds of 
such as I tak to be yr majestie's friends, I shall show at length to Mr 
Sadleyr, at such tyme as it shall pleas yr majy. that I meet him. 
Ther is non other thing for the present worthy your majestie's know- 
ledge. Pray the eternal God to have your M. in his most blessed 
keeping. At Calder, this twenty of Octr. by your majestie's as- 
sured humble servitor," " BRorMSiox." 
" Hast the aunswer of these agayn to Coldingham." * 

These last letters from the Laird of Brunston to Hertford and the 
king must be considered in connexion with what has already been 
proved against him. We have found him offering, on 17th April, 
1544, through "W'ishart, and by the assistance of his friends Kirkaldy 
of Grange and the Master of Rothes, to apprehend or slay the cardi- 
nal. We find him, on the 2d April, 1545, connected in the most 
intimate manner with the Earl of Cassillis at the moment this noble- 
man renewed in his own person the proposal for the assassination of 
the cardinal. We find him again, on the 12th July, 1545, sending a 
letter in cipher to the king, in which he renews the offer that certain 
gentlemen, his friends, were willing for a small sum of money to take 
the cardinal out of the way ; and now, when in these letters we find 
liim, on October 6, darkly alluding to his hopes that the cardinal's 
meditated journey to France will be cut short to his displeasure, and 
on the 26th of the same month, arranging a secret interview with 
Sadler at Berwick, which, were it discovered, might affect his life, and 
at the same moment declaring that the gentlemen, his friends, were ready 
to obey his majesty's commands — but that the king must be plain with 
them, as to what he wishes them to do, and also how far they are to 
depend on his majesty's support ; it is difficult, I think, to resist the 
conclusion, that this last correspondence, as weU as the former, re- 
garded a fourth offer for the assassination of the prelate, and that the 
anxiety of Brunston and the gentlemen, his friends, to know Henry's 
wishes, and what support they were to expect from him, arose out of 
the indirect and crafty manner in which this monarch, whilst he 
covertly encouraged the plot, insisted on making Sadler the ostensible 
agent in the nefarious transaction. At this critical moment, when 
Brunston, in his letter of the 20th of October, presses the king to be 
plain, the letters in the State-paper Office relative to the intrigue? of 
this busy baron suddenly break off. Between the 20th of October 
and the 31st, 1545, occur a few unimportant letters, and from that 

* Original, State-paper Office, not before published. 


(late to 27th March, 1546, a period of nearly five months, there is a 
tantalising hiatus. If I may be allowed a conjecture, I would account 
for it in this way : Henry the Eighth was, as we see, very anxious not 
to appear directly in the matter, but the conspirators, Brunston's 
friends, would not act unless he dealt plainly with them ; they would 
not take the indirect encouragement to commit the murder which 
Sadler gave as coming solely from himself; they wished to have the 
king's hand and writ to plead in their defence, and produce as their 
warrant for protection and remuneration, after the deed was perpe- 
trated. I imagine the king was driven to give this, but the corre- 
spondence for this reason was destroyed ; hence this hiatus at this 
most critical moment. There are no letters to be found from March 
27 to May 29, which throw the slightest light upon the conspiracy 
against Beaton, and on the morning of that last-mentioned day the 
unfortunate man was murdered ; the principal assassins being Kirkaldy 
of Grange, and Norman Lesley the Master of Rothes — the very men 
who two years before had offered, through the medium of Brunston, 
to apprehend or slay him as he passed through Fife. One thing to 
be regretted in the disappearance of all letters relative to the murder 
after the 20th of October is the want of evidence to show any recent 
communication between Brunston and the assassins of the cardinal ; 
but the inference I think is scarcely to be resisted, that this daring 
and unscrupulous intriguer was as intimately implicated in the last as 
in the first conspiracy. 

At the moment of their committing the murder. Grange, Lesley, 
and others of the principal conspirators, were in the receipt of pensions 
from Henry the Eighth, and were described by that monarch as his 
friends and supporters ;* and it is not unimportant to observe that," 
soon after the assassination, the Laird of Brunston was indicted on a 
charge of treason, although the process against him was afterwards 

I shall conclude these historical remarks with the following inter- 
esting extract from the letter of a Scottish spy of Lord Wharton's, 
named James Lindsay, sending to that nobleman the first intelligence 
of the murder. It is one of three letters, all on the same subject, sent 
by Lord Wharton to the Privy-council of England. 

" Syr, to advertise zou, this satterday betwix v hours and vi in the 
mornyng the cardynal is slane in the castle of St. Andrewe's, be 
Normond Leslie, in yis maner : At the cumyng in of ye masonis and 
warkmen in ye place to the wark, Normond Leslie and thre wyth 
him enteret, and after hym James Melwin and thre men with him, 

* Chalmers's Life of Mary, vol. iii. p. 340, 


and fenzit themselves to have spokin with the cardinal; and after yame 
came the zoung laird of Grange, and viii men with hym all in geir, 
quhilk the porter stoppit to lat in quhill ane of them strak him with 
ane knyiff and kest him in the hous. Incontynent they shot furth all 
the warkmen and closet the zet, syne sought the chalmer and shot 
furth all ye howsald men as thai gat thame mastrit. Ye cardinale 
herand ye dyn in his chalmer come furth, was passand to the blocke- 
hous head to heir quhat it was ; Normond Leslie and his cumpanye 
met him in the torn pyk [off] and slew him ; and after ya have de- 
possest the place of all therein till, excep ye governor's sone, his priest 
and servand, and ye cardinal's chalmer child, ye common bell of ye 
toun rang, ye provest and town gadert to ye uoumer of thre or fou"r 
hundreth men, and come to ye castell, quhill Normond Leslie and his 
cumpanye come to ye wall heid and sperit quhat they desyrit to se, 
ane deid man. Incontynent ya brot ye cardinal deid to the wall heid 
in ane payr of shetis, and hang hym our ye wall be the tane arm and 
the tane fute, so bad ye pepill se yer thar God. This Johne of Douglas 
of Edinburt, Hew Douglas, Ayr, shaw me, and master Johne Douglas, 
quhilk was in Sanct Andrews and saw ye sam wyt yar ene. * * 
" Wryten this Satterday at midnyt, zour servand, 

" James Lyndsay." * 


Since this volume passed through the press, I have seen, by the 
politeness of Mr James Chalmers, a Catalogue of the Hamilton Papers 
which belonged to his late uncle, the learned and indefatigable author 
of Caledonia. These papers are in the possession of his Grace the 
Duke of Hamilton. The catalogue is a voluminous one, and contains 
occasional extracts from the letters and documents which it describes. 
Of these the most valuable relate to the regency of the Earl of Arran 
and the minority of Mary ; and it was gratifying to find that they 
not only confirmed, but greatly strengthened the views which I have 

* Original, State- paper Office, not before published. 


given of that important period. Thus, with regard to the scheme of 
Henry for the entire subjection of Scotland under his dominion, and 
the mercenary manner in which the Scottish prisoners entered into 
his views, we have ample information in the following description of 
the contents of volume iv. of the Hamilton Papers. 

Volume iv. commences with December, 1542, and ends with January 
and February, 1542-3. It contains, amongst other occurrences, 
Henry's instructions to Sir Richard Southwell for conferring with the 
Earls of Bothwell and Angus, and also with the Scots prisoners, in 
order to engage them in his designs of subduing Scotland to himself, 
by possessing him of the government for the present, assuring the 
succession to him in case of the young queen's death, and granting 
him the tutelage of her person in the meantime, with the capital for- 
tresses, and places of strength which he sought to have delivered into 
his power, together with the cardinal and another, i. e. the Lord 
Regent, whom he looked on as his most dangerous opponents. In a 
minute addressed to Lord Viscount Lisle, January, 8, 1542-3, Henry 
writes, " We have already given you advertisement how we have dis- 
missed from hence the noblemen and others of Scotland our prisoners, 
and what the same have promised unto us." In what manner these 
promises were made appears from this extract from the catalogue. 
Henry's articles with the Earl of Angus, then an exile in England 
for promoting the enterprise — his open articles, as he calls them, — 
subscribed by the Scottish prisoners and Earl Bothwell, and his secret 
articles, subscribed by ten of these prisoners, the fittest as he thought, 
to be trusted ; namely, the Earls of Cassillis and Glencairn; the Lords 
Maxwell, Fleming, Somerville, and Gray ; and by Robert Erskine, 
Oliver Sinclair, the Laird of Kerse, and John Ross of Craigy. Again, 
in Henry's instructions to Sir Ralph Sadler, in vol. v. of the Hamil- 
ton Papers, the English monarch states that Sir George Douglas had 
undertaken not only by promise, but by oaih and bond to perform 
greater services than any of the rest. The treasonable extent of the 
engagements of the Earl of Angus and Sir George Douglas to Henry 
appear from a minute of the king to the Duke of Suffolk, dated No- 
vember 12, 1543, in which that nobleman is directed to expostulate 
with Sir George Douglas regarding a fresh demand for money from 
England. " They have not stiked," says the English monarch, " to 
take upon them to set the crown of Scotland upon our head. Where 
has now become all their force and courage * * what meant they to 
take upon so great maistry and to be able to perform in deed so little?" 
Under the date of December, 1543, we find a minute of a letter from 
the Duke of Suffolk to Henry's pensioners in Scotland with an account 
of the sums of money which had been distributed to them, viz : — ■ 



To the Earl of Angus, 200 £ 

of Glencairn, 200 marks 

of Cassillis, 200 marks 

To the Master of Maxwell, 100 £ 

To the Sheriff of Air, 100 £ 

To the Laird of Drumlanryk, 100 £ 

To the Earl of Marshall, John Charters, the Lord Gray's 

friends in the North, 300 marks 

To Sir George Douglas and his friends in Lothian and 

Merse, . . . • • • • • 200 £ 
In the midst of so much venality and desertion on the part of the 
Scottish barons, it is pleasing to find an exception in the Earl qf 
Argyle, who resisted more splendid offers than were made to any of 
the rest. This is shown by a minute of the Privy-council of England 
to the Duke of Suffolk, preserved amongst the Hamilton Papers, by 
which it appears that the Laird of Drumlanrig, and the Sheriff of 
Ayr (Campbell of Loudon,) had laboured to promote king Henry's de- 
signs, at some charge to themselves ; and that, in satisfaction of that 
charge, they had received for the present five hundred crowns each, 
with the promise of a pension when the good fruits of their service 
should deserve it, particularly when they should accomplish the treaty 
which they had begun with the Earl of Argyle, to make him a convert 
to Henry. To induce his compliance, they were to make him a pro- 
mise of one thousand crowns in hand, and a yearly pension of one 
thousand more ; but if he would not comply, they were to " threaten 
him with the wild Irish, whom Henry was to hound, and to ruin both 
him and his country." It is shown in this history, that Argyle re- 
sisted the overtures of Henry, and that the wild Irish and men of the 
Isles were accordingly " hounded " upon him. 

Cruelty and Impolicy of Henry the Eighth towards Scotland. 

The savage temper of Henry the Eighth nowhere more strongly 
appears than in the directions which, on the 10th of April, 1543-4, 
he transmitted through a despatch of the Privy-council to the Earl of 
Hertford. After observing that the grand attempt on Scotland was 
delayed for a season, they command him, in the meantime, to make 
an inroad into Scotland, " there to put all to fire and sword, to burn 
Edinburgh town, and to raze and deface it, when you have sacked it, 
and gotten what you can out of it, as that it may remain for ever a 
perpetual memory of the vengeance of God lighted upon it, for their 


falsehood and disloyalty. Do ^vhat you can," continue they, " out of 
hand, and, without long tarrying, to beat down and overthrow the 
castle, sack Holyrood-house, and as many towns and villages about 
Edinburgh as ye conveniently can ; sack Leith, and bum and subvert 
it, and all the rest, putting) man, woman, and child, to fire and sword, 
without exception, when any resistance shall be made against you ; 
and this done, pass over to the Fife land, and extend like extremities 
and destructions in all to^vns and villages whereunto ye may reach 
conveniently, not forgetting, amongst all the rest, so to spoil and turn 
upside down the cardinal's town of St Andrew's, as the upper stone 
may he the nether, and not one stick standby another, ftparm*; no crea- 
ture alite within the same, specially such as either in friendship or 
blood be allied to the cardinal." " This journey," the despatch goes 
on to state, " shall succeed most to his majesty's honour."* 

* From the MS. Catalogue of the Hamilton Papers, pp. 44, 45.