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Full text of "Scotland"

3 1 






















OTlorttF's iotst flietotfte 





With Frontispiece 






Scotland. Vol. I. — i 


The Author was invited to undertake this general 
Sketch of Scottish History in connection with a similar 
abridgment of English History by Sir James Mackin- 
tosh, and a History of Ireland by Thomas Moore, Esquire. 
There are few literary persons who would not have been 
willing to incur much labor and risk of reputation for the 
privilege of publishing in such society. On the present 
occasion, the task, though perhaps still a rash one, was 
rendered more easy by the Author having so lately been 
employed on the volumes called Tales of a Grandfather, 
transferred from the History of Scotland, for the benefit 
of a young relation. Yet the object and tenor of these 
two works are extremely different. In the Tales taken 
from Scottish history, the author, throwing into the shade, 
or rather omitting all that could embarrass the under- 
standing or tire the attention of his juvenile reader, was 
desirous only to lay before him what was best adapted 
to interest his imagination, and, confining himself to 
facts, to postpone to a later period an investigation of 
the principles out of which those facts arose. 

It is hoped, on the contrary, that the present history 
may, in some degree, supply to the reader of more ad- 
vanced age truths with which he ought to be acquainted, 
not merely as relating to one small kingdom, but as form- 

(3) . 


ing a chapter in the general history of man. The object 
of the two works being so different, their contents, though 
drawn from the same sources, will be found so distinct 
from each other, that the young student, as his appetite 
for knowledge increases, may peruse with advantage this 
graver publication, after being familiar with that designed 
for an earlier age; and the adult, familiar with the gen- 
eral facts of Scottish history, as far as conveyed in these 
volumes, may yet find pleasure in reading those Tales 
which contain its more light and fanciful details. 

Abbotsford, i 
November 1, 1829. J" 



The Early History of Scotland — Caledonians, Picts, and Scots — 
Kenneth Macalpine 13 


Kenneth Macalpine: his Successors — Malcolm I. obtains possession 
of Cumberland: Successors of Malcolm — Kenneth III., and his 
Successors — Malcolm II 25 


Malcolm III., called Cean-mohr — Foreigners seek Refuge in Scot- 
land: kindly received by the King and by his Wife — The King's 
Affection for Margaret — Death of Malcolm and Margaret — 
Donald Bane — Duncan — Edgar — Alexander I. — David I. — Bat- 
tle of Northallerton — David's Death — His Beneficence to the 
Church — His Character as a Sovereign 33 


Malcolm IV. — William the Lion: his Captivity — Treaty of Falaise: 
Abrogated by Richard I. — Death and Character of William — 
Alexander II.: his Death 48 


Reign of Alexander III.: his Death — On the Race of Kings Succeed- 
ing to Kenneth Macalpine — Nature of their Government as dis- 
tinguished from that of the Celts — Grand Division of Scotland 
into Celtic and Gothic; and its Consequences 59 


Schemes of Edward I. — Death of the Maid of Norway — John Baliol: 
his War with England; and his Defeat at Dunbar, and De- 
thronement 74 




Interregnum — Causes of the National Misfortunes of Scotland — In- 
difference of the Norman Barons — Sir William Wallace — Battle 
of Stirling — Wallace chosen Governor of Scotland — Edward 
invades Scotland — Battle of Falkirk — Death of Wallace ... 83 


Bruce, Earl of Carrick — His early Life — His Claims to the Throne — 
His Plot with Comyn — Death of Comyn — Bruce assumes the 
Crown — Battle of Methven Park — Extremities to which Bruce 
is reduced — He flies to Rachrin — Fate of his Adherents ... 96 


Bruce returns to Scotland, lands in Arran, and passes from thence 
to Ayrshire — Success of his Adherent James Douglas — Capture 
and Execution of Bruce's Brothers, Thomas and Alexander — 
The English evacuate Ayrshire — Bruce's reputation increases — 
Edward I. marches against him, but dies in sight of Scotland — 
Edward II. 's vacillating Measures — Bruce in the North of Scot- 
land: defeats the Earl of Buchan, and ravages his Country — 
His further Successes— Defeat of the Lord of Lorn at Crua- 
chan-ben — Feeble and irresolute Conduct of Edward contrasted 
with the Firmness of Bruce and the Scottish Clergy and People 
— Inefficient Attempt of Edward to invade Scotland — Bruce 
ravages the English Borders: takes Perth — Roxburgh Castle 
surprised by Douglas, Edinburgh by Randolph, Linlithgow by 
Binnock — The Isle of Man subdued by Bruce — The Governor of 
Stirling agrees to surrender the Place if not relieved before 
Midsummer — Bruce is displeased with his Brother Edward for 
accepting these Terms, yet resolves to abide by them — King 
Edward makes formidable Preparations to relieve Stirling . . Ill 


Preparations of Robert Bruce for a decisive Engagement — Precau- 
tions adopted by him against the Superiority of the English in 
Cavalry: against their Archery: against their Superiority of 
Numbers — He summons his Army together — Description of the 
Field of Battle, and of the Scottish Order of Battle— The English 
Vanguard comes in Sight — Action between Clifford and the 
Earl of Moray — Chivalrous Conduct of Douglas — Bruce kills 
Sir Henry Bohun — Appearance of the English Army on the 
ensuing Morning — Circumstances preliminary to the Battle — 
The English begin the Attack — Their Archers are dispersed by 
Cavalry kept in Reserve for that Purpose — The English fall into 
disorder — Bruce attacks with the Reserve — The Camp Fol- 
lowers appear on the Field of Battle — The English fall into 
irretrievable Confusion, and fly — Great Slaughter — Death of 
the Earl of Gloucester — King Edward leaves the Field — Death 
of De Argentine — Flight of the King to Dunbar — Prisoners 


and Spoil — Scottish Loss — Scots unable to derive a Lesson in 
Strategy from the Battle of Bannockburn; but supported by 
the Remembrance of that great Success during the succeeding 
Extremities of their History 126 


Consequences of the Victory of Bannockburn — Depression of the 
Military Spirit of England — Ravages on the Border — Settlement 
of the Scottish Crown — Marriage of the Princess Marjory with 
the Steward of Scotland — Edward Bruce invades Ireland: his 
Success: is defeated and slain at the Battle of Dundalk — Battle 
of Linthaughlee: Douglas defeats Sir Edmund Caillou, and Sir 
Robert Neville — Invasion of Fife, and Gallantry of the Bishop 
of Dunkeld — Embassy from the Pope: the Cardinals who bear it 
are stripped upon the 'Borders: Bruce refuses to receive their 
Letters — Father Newton's Mission to Bruce, which totally fails 
— Berwick surprised by the Scots, and besieged bj T the English: 
relieved by Robert Bruce — Battle of Mitton — Truce of Two 
Years — Succession of the Crown further regulated — Assize of 
Arms — Disputes with the Pope — Letter of the Scottish Barons 
to John XXII. — Conspiracy of William de Soulis — Black Par- 
liament — Execution of David de Brechin 139 


Preparations of Edward to invade Scotland— Incursions of the Scots 
into Lancashire — The English enter Scotland — Robert Bruce 
lays waste the Country, and avoids Battle — The English are 
obliged to Retreat — Robert invades England in turn — Defeats 
the King of England at Biland Abbey — Treason and Execution 
of Sir Andrew Hartcla — Truce for Thirteen Years — Randolph's 
Negotiation with the Pope — Settlement of the Crown of Scot- 
land — Deposition of Edward II. — Robert determines to break 
the Truce under Charges of Infraction by England — Edward 
III. assembles his Army at York, with a formidable Body of 
Auxiliaries — Douglas and Randolph advance into Northumber- 
land at the Head of a light-armed Army — Edward marches as 
far as the Tyne without being able to find the Scots — A Reward 
published to whomsoever should bring Tidings of their Motions 
— It is claimed by Thomas of Rokeby — The Scots are found in 
an inaccessible Position, and they refuse Battle — The Scots shift 
their Encampment to Stanhope Park — Douglas attacks the 
English by Night— The Scots retreat, and the English Army is 
dismissed — The Scots suddenly again invade England — A Pacifi- 
cation takes place: its particular Articles — Hlness and Death of 
Bruce— Thoughts on his Life and Character — Effects produced 
on the Character of the Scots during his Reign 163 


Douglas sets out on his Pilgrimage with the Bruce's Heart: is killed 
in Spain — Randolph assumes the Regency — Claims of the dis- 


inherited English Barons: they resolve to invade Scotland, and 
are headed by Edward Baliol — Death of Randolph — Earl of Mar 
chosen Regent — Battle of Dupplin Moor — Earl of March re- 
treats from before Perth — Edward Baliol is chosen King, but 
instantly expelled— Sir Andrew Moray chosen Regent by the 
Royalists, but is made Prisoner — Siege of Berwick by the Eng- 
lish — Battle of Halidon Hill — Great Loss of the Scots — The 
Loyalists only hold four Castles in Scotland — Edward Baliol 
cedes to England the southern Parts of Scotland — Quarrel 
among the Anglo-Scottish Barons — Liberation of Sir Andrew 
Moray — Randolph, Earl of Moray, and the Stewart are Regents 
— The Loyalists are active and successful — Defence of Lochleven 
— Defeat of Guy, Earl of Namur, on the Borough Moor — Earl of 
Athol (David de Strathbogie) defeated and slain 186 


King David's Character — Invasion of England — Battle of Durham 
— The Border Counties are conquered — The Steward defends the 
Country beyond the Forth; and Douglas recovers Ettricke 
Forest and Teviotdale — A Truce with England — David II. rec- 
ognizes the Supremacy of Edward; but his Subjects refuse to 
do so — The Knight of Liddisdale seduced from his Allegiance: 
slain by his Godson, Lord Douglas — Treaty for the King's Ran- 
som is broken off by the Interference of France — Battle of 
Nesbit Moor — Attempt on Berwick, which is relieved by Ed- 
ward III. — He invades Scotland — The Burnt Candlemas— The 
English are compelled to Retreat — King David is released from 
Captivity— His petulant Temper — His repeated Visits to Eng- 
land, and the Influence acquired over him by Edward — He 
proposes that the Succession of Scotland should go to Edward's 
Son Lionel — The Scottish Parliament reject the Proposal — In- 
surrection of the Steward and other Nobles: it is subdued, and 
Tranquillity restored — New Scheme of Edward and David, 
which is laid aside as impracticable — David II. marries 
Catherine Logie, a beautiful Plebeian — Treaty of Peace inter- 
rupted by Difficulties about the King's Ransom, which are 
final]}' removed — Divorce between David and his Queen — Death 
of David II. — His Character— -State of Scotland during his 
Reign 213 


Accession of the House of Stewart: their Origin — Robert n. and 
his Family — Claim of the Earl of Douglas: it is abandoned — 
Defeat of the English near Melrose — Wasteful Incursions on the 
Border — John of Gaunt negotiates with Scotland: takes Ref- 
uge there against the English Rioters — France instigates the 
Scots to renew the War — Inroad by John of Gaunt— John de 
Vienne arrives with an Army of French Auxiliaries — They are 
dissatisfied with Scotland, and the Scots with them — They 
urge the Scots to fight a pitched Battle with the English — The 
Scots decline doing so, and explain their Motives — Invasion of 
Richard: it is paid back by the Scots — The French Auxiliaries 


leave Scotland — The Scots menace England with Invasion — 
The Battle of Otterbourne— Robert, Earl of Fife, Regent— Truce 
with England— Robert II. dies 237 


Accession of John, Earl of Carrick — His Name is changed to Robert 
III. — The State of his Family — Feuds — Burning of Elgin — In- 
road of the Highlanders, and Conflict of Glascune — Battle of 
Bourtree Church — Combat of the Clan Chattan and Clan Quhele 
— Prince David of Scotland: created Duke of Rothsay: exposed 
to the Misrepresentations of his Uncle, who becomes Duke of 
Albany — Marriage of Rothsay — Scandalous Management of 
Albany: breaks Faith with the Earl of March, who rebels — 
War with England — Invasion of Henry IV. — The English 
obliged to retire — Murder of the Duke of Rothsay — Scots de- 
feated at Homildon — Contest between Henry IV. and the 
Percies — Siege of Coklawis or Ormiston — Prince James sent 
to France, but taken by the English — Robert III.'s Death . . 247 


Regency of Robert, Duke of Albany — Earl of March returns to his 
Allegiance — A Heretic burned — Jedburgh Castle taken: Tax 
proposed for Expense of its Demolition: the Duke of Albany 
refuses to consent to it — Donald of the Isles claims the Earldom 
of Ross — He invades the Mainland — The Earl of Mar opposes 
him — Circumstances of the Earl's Life — Battle of the Harlaw: 
its Consequences — Intricate Negotiation between Albany and 
Henry IV. — Hostilities with England — Death of the Regent 
Albany 260 


Duke Murdach's Regency — His Character — A Pestilence in Britain 
— The Conduct of the Regent's Family — Treaty for the Libera- 
tion of James I. — He is restored to his Kingdom — Scottish 
Auxiliaries in France — Character of James I. — Execution of 
Duke Murdach and his Friends — Disorders in the Highlands 
repressed — League with France, and Contract of the Scottish 
Princess with the Dauphin — War with the Lord of the Isles, 
and his Submission — Acts of the Legislature — Donald Balloch 
— Treaty with England — Proceedings toward the Earl of March 
— War with England — Parliament of 1436— Conspiracy against 
James — He is Murdered — Fate of the Regicides 272 


Struggle between the Nobles and the Crown — Elevation of Crichton 
and Livingston to the Government — Their Dissensions — Crich- 
ton possesses himself of the King's Person; but by a Stratagem 


of the Queen he is conveyed to Stirling — Crichton is besieged in 
Edinburgh Castle; reconciles himself with Livingston; quarrels 
once more with him; and again obtains the Custody of the 
Ki ng's Person — A second Reconciliation — Power of the Douglas 
Family — Trial and Execution of the young Earl of Douglas and 
his Brother — Highland Feuds — Douglas gains the Ascendency 
in the King's Councils — Fall of the Livingstons — Feud of the 
Earl of Crawford and the Ogilvies— Death of the Queen- 
Dowager — War with England — Battle of Sark — Marriage of 
James — His Quarrel with Douglas: he puts him to Death with 
his own Hand — Great Civil War — The Douglas Family is de- 
stroj^ed — War with England — Siege of Roxburgh Castle, and 
Death of James II 295 


Roxburgh is taken — Administration during James's Minority — He 
assumes the Royal Authority, by Advice of the Boyds — The 
younger Boyd is created Earl of Arran, and married to the 
King's Sister — He negotiates a Marriage between the King and 
a Princess of Denmark, and obtains the Orkney and Zetland 
Islands in security of the Dowry: is disgraced, and dies in 
obscurity — Treaty of Marriage between the Prince of Scotland 
and a Daughter of England, and its Conditions: broken off by 
Edward IV. — Submission of the Lord of the Isles — Character of 
James III. — His favorite Pursuits — His Disposition to Favor- 
itism — Character of Albany and Mar, the King's Brothers — 
The King imprisons them on suspicion — Albany escapes — Mar 
is murdered — War with England — Conspiracy of Lauder — The 
King's Favorite seized and executed — Intrigues of Albany — He 
is received into his Brother's Favor; but is afterward again 
banished — Peace with England — The King gives way to his 
Taste for Music and Building — Conspiracy of the Southern 
Nobles — Battle of Sauchie Burn, and the King's Murder . . . 880 


Policy of the Victors after the Battle of Sauchie Burn — Trial of 
Lord Lindesay — He is defended by his Brother, and acquitted — 
Exploits of Sir Andrew Wood— Peaceful Disposition of Henry 
VII. — Prosperity of Scotland— Short War with England in 
behalf of Perkin Warbeck — Progress of the Scots in Learning 
and Literature — James IV. 's splendid Court — Marriage between 
him and Margaret of England — Peace between Scotland and 
England— Final Forfeiture of the Lordship of the Isles— Meas- 
ures to promote public Improvement — Naval Affairs — James 
builds the largest Ship in Europe — Affair of the Bartons — Mur- 
der of Sir Robert Kerr, and its Consequences — Intrigues of 
France to stir up James against England — Manifesto of James, 
and Henry's Answer— James assembles the Array of his King- 
dom — Omens of Misfortune— James invades England, but loses 
Time in Northumberland, and differs with his Council — Battle 
of Flodden, and Defeat and Death of James IV 848. 



Proclamation of the temporary Magistrates of Edinburgh— Mod- 
erate Conduct of the English — Convention of Estates — Duke of 
Albany proposed for Regent — Marriage of the Queen-Dowager 
with the Earl of Angus — He attempts to get the Regency in 
Right of his Wife; but Albany is preferred — His Character — 
Angus and the Queen-Mother fly to England — Albany is un- 
popular — Trial and Execution of Lord Home — Albany returns to 
France — Murder of the Sieur de la Bastie — Feuds between the 
Hamiltons and Douglases — Skirmish called Cleanse the Cause- 
way — Albany returns from France, and reassumes the Govern- 
ment: makes an inefficient Attempt to invade England, and 
again retires to France — Surrey takes Jedburgh — Albany returns 
for the third Time to Scotland: besieges Wark — Upon this Siege 
being shamefully raised, he returns, dismisses his Army, and 
leaves Scotland forever — Intrigues of Henry VIII. among the 
Scottish Nobility — Queen Margaret once more raised to Power 
— King James assumes the Government under her Guardian- 
ship — Her Aversion to her Husband Angus, and her imprudent 
Affection for Lord Methven — Angus returns and attains the 
supreme Power — Becomes tyrannical in his Administration — 
Battle of Melrose — Battle of Kirkliston — Supreme Sway of the 
Douglases — Escape of the King from Falkland — The Douglases 
'are banished the Royal Presence, and compelled to fly into Eng- 
land — Comparison between the Fall of the House of Angus and 
that of the elder Branch of the Douglas Family 874 


James V. chastises the Borders — Introduces Cultivation and good 
Order — Institutes the College of Justice — Short War with Eng- 
land — Friendship restored — James temporizes with Henry — 
Marries Magdalen of France — Her early Death — James weds 
Mary of Guise — Sentence of Lady Glamis — Burning of several 
Heretics— Sadler's Embassy — James's wise Government — His 
Faults — He is of a severe Temper, and addicted to Favoritism — 
His Expedition to the Scottish Isles — Character of Sir James 
Hamilton of Draphane, and his Execution — Death of the two 
infant Sons of James— Considered as Ominous — Severe Laws 
against Heresy — Critical Position of James on the approaching 
War between France and England — He offends Henry by dis- 
appointing him at the proposed Interview — War with England 
— Battle of Haddon Rig— The Scottish Nobles at Fala Muir re- 
fuse to advance with the King — Incursion on the West Border 
—Rout of Solway Moss— James V. dies of a Broken Heart . . 393 


Proposed Marriage between Mary of Scotland and Edward, Prince 
of Wales — The Earl of Arran Regent — An English Party formed 
— Henry VIII. 's Demands — Successful Intrigues of Cardinal 
Beaton — The Treaty with England broken — Incursions of the 


English — Battle of Ancram Moor — Martyrdom of Wisheart— 
Murder of Cardinal Beaton — Battle of Pinkie — Treaty of Mar- 
riage between Mary and the Dauphin of France — She is sent 
over into France — Arran is induced to resign the Government, 
and the Queen-Mother is declared Regent — Peace with England 
— The Queen-Regent's Partiality for France — Her Dissensions 
with the Scottish Nobles — Her Proposal for a standing Army is 
rejected — Progress of the Protestant Doctrines — Hamilton, 
Archbishop of St. Andrew's— Claim of Queen Mary to the 
Crown of England — Bold Answer of the Protestants to a Cita- 
tion of the Queen-Regent — Death of five Commissioners sent to 
France — The Queen-Regent resolves to subdue the Protestants, 
who take Arms— Treaties of Accommodation are repeatedly 
broken — The Reformers destroy the Monastic Buildings — The 
Treaty of Perth violated, and the Protestants take Arms — They 
advance to Edinburgh— The Queen-Regent fortifies Leith — The 
Lords of the Congregation promulgate a Resolution that she 
has forfeited her Office of Regent • • » • 40V 



The Early History of Scotland — Caledonians, Picts, and Scots — 

Kenneth Macalpine 

THE history of Scotland, though that of a country too 
poor and too thinly peopled to rank among the higher 
powers of Europe, has, nevertheless, attracted the 
attention of the world, even in preference to the chronicles 
of more powerful and opulent states. This may be justly 
ascribed to the extreme valor and firmness with which ia 
ancient times the inhabitants defended their independence 
against the most formidable odds, as well as to the rela- 
tion which its events bear to the history of England, of 
which kingdom, having been long the hereditary and in- 
veterate foe, North Britain is now become an integral and 
inseparable part by the treaty of union. 

Our limits oblige us to treat this interesting subject more 
concisely than we could wish ; and we are of course under 
the necessity of rejecting many details which engage the at- 
tention and fascinate the imagination. "We will endeavor, 
notwithstanding, to leave nothing untold which may be nec- 
essary to trace a clear idea of the general course of events. 

The history of every modern European nation must com- 
mence with the decay of the Roman empire. From the dis- 
solution of that immense leviathan almost innumerable states 
took their rise, as the decay of animal matter only changes 
the form, without diminishing the sum, of animal life. The 
ambition of that extraordinary people was to stretch the au- 
thority of Rome, whether under the republic or empire, over 
the whole world; and even while their own constitution 



struggled under the influence of a rapid decline, the rage 
with which they labored to reduce to their yoke those who 
yet remained unconquered of their unhappy neighbors was 
manifested on the most distant points of their enormous ter- 

Julius Caesar had commenced the conquest of Britain, 
whose insular situation, girdled by a tempestuous ocean, 
was no protection against Roman ambition. It was in the 
year B.C. 55 that the renowned conqueror made his descent; 
and the southern Britons were completely subjected to the 
yoke of Rome, and reduced to the condition of colonists, in 
the year of grace 80, by the victorious arms of Agricola. 

This intelligent chief discovered, what had been before 
suspected, that the fine country, the southern part of which 
he had thus conquered, was an island, whose northern ex- 
tremity, rough with mountains, woods, and inaccessible 
morasses, and peopled by tribes of barbarians who chiefly 
subsisted by the chase, was washed by the northern ocean. 
To hear of a free people in his neighborhood, and to take 
steps for their instant subjugation, was the principle on 
which every Roman general acted ; and it was powerfully 
felt by Julius Agricola, father-in-law of the historian Taci- 
tus, who at this time commanded in South Britain. But 
many a fair and fertile region, of much more considerable 
extent, had the victors of the world subdued with far more 
speed and less loss than this rugged portion of the north 
was to cost them. 

It was in the year 80 when Agricola set out from Man- 
chester, then called Mancunium ; and that and the next sea- 
son of 81 were spent in subduing the tribes of the southern 
parts of what is now termed Scotland, and in forcing such 
natives as resisted across the estuaries of the Forth and the 
Clyde, driving them, as it were, into another island. It was 
not till 83 that the invaders could venture across the Firth 
of Forth, and engage themselves among the marshes, lakes, 
and forests near Lochleven. Here Agricola, having divided 
his troops into three bodies, one of them, consisting of the 


ninth legion, was so suddenly attacked by the natives at a 
place called Loch Ore, that the Romans suffered much loss, 
and were only rescued by a forced march of Agricola to their 
support. In the summer of 84, Agricola passed northward, 
having now reached the country of the Caledonians, or Men 
of the Woods, a fierce nation, or rather a confederacy of 
clans, toward whose country all such southern tribes and 
individuals as preferred death to servitude had retired be- 
fore the progress of the invaders. The Caledonians and 
their allies, commanded by a chief whom the Romans called 
Galgacus, faced the invaders bravely, and fought them man- 
fully at a spot on the southern side of the Grampian hills, but 
antiquaries are not agreed upon the precise field of action. 
The Romans gained the battle, but with so much loss that 
Agricola was compelled to postpone further operations by 
land, and he retreated to make sure of the territories he had 
overrun. The fleet sailed round the north of Scotland, and 
Agricola's campaigns terminated with this voyage of dis- 
covery. There was no prosecution of the war against the 
Caledonians after the departure of Agricola in 85. Much 
was, however, done for securing at least the southern part 
of that general's conquests; and it was then, doubtless, that 
were planned and executed those numerous forts, those ex- 
tensive roads, those commanding stations, which astonish 
the antiquary to this day, when, reflecting how poor the 
country is even now, he considers how intense must have 
been the love of power, how excessive the national pride, 
which could induce the Romans to secure at an expense of 
so much labor these wild districts of mountain, moor, thicket, 
and marsh. 

Nor, after all, were these conquests secured. The Em- 
peror Adrian, in 120, was contented virtually to admit this 
fact, by constructing an external line of defence against the 
fierce Caledonians, in form of a strong wall, reaching across 
the island from the Tine to the Solway, far within the boun- 
dary of Agricola's conquest. It is at the same time to be sup- 
posed that the Romans of the second century retained in a 


great measure the military possession of the country beyond 
this first wall, as far, perhaps, as the Firths of Clyde and 
Forth; while, on the further side of these estuaries, it 
seems probable they did not exercise a regular or perma- 
nent authority. 

But in the reign of Antonine, another and more north- 
ern boundary wall was extended across the island, reaching 
from Carriden, close to Linlithgow on the Firth of Forth, to 
the Firth of Clyde. This ultimate bulwark served to protect 
the country betwixt the estuaries, while the regions beyond 
them were virtually resigned to their native and independent 
proprietors. Thus the Romans had two walls; the more 
northern, an exterior defence, assisted by military commu- 
nications and defences, to receive a first attack; and the 
more southern, an internal boundary, to retreat upon, if 

The existence of a double line of defence seems to argue 
that this powerful people did not hold any permanent 
possessions beyond the more northern boundary about the 
year 140, when the second and more advanced rampart 
was completed. No doubt, however, can be entertained, 
even if the fact were not proved by roads and military sta- 
tions, that the Romans restrained and overawed, if they 
could not absolutely subject, the considerable provinces 
overrun by Agricola in Fife and the western districts be- 
yond the wall of Antonine. Camelodunum, or Camelon, a 
large and strong town, was placed near Falkirk for the sup- 
port of the wall at its eastern extremity, and many Roman 
forts are found so disposed as to block up the passes from 
the Highlands. The existence and position of military roads 
and forts or camps also shows the care taken by the Romans 
to maintain the necessary communications at various points 
betwixt the two walls, so that the troops stationed to guard 
them might act with combined movements. 

Notwithstanding these martial precautions, the strength 
of the Roman empire failed to support her ambitious preten- 
sions to sovereignty; and, a.d. 170, the Romans, abandon- 


ing the more northern wall of Antonine, retired behind that 
erected under the auspices of the Emperor Adrian in 120. 
They doubtless retained possession of such forts and sta- 
tions, of which there were many, as served the purpose of 
outworks to protect the southern rampart. 

Under this enlargement of their territories, and awed by 
the Roman eagles, the Caledonians remained quiet till the 
beginning of the third century, when, in the year 207, open 
war again broke out betwixt them and the Romans. In 208 
the Emperor Severus undertook in person the final conquest 
of the Caledonians. It would be difficult to assign a reason 
why, in the uncertain state of the empire, a prince equally 
politic and cautious, raised by his talents from the command 
of the Pannonian army to the lofty rank of emperor, should, 
at the advanced age of threescore, commit his person and a 
powerful host, the flower of his forces, to the risks of a dis- 
tant contest with savage tribes, where victory, it might be 
thought, could achieve little honor, and defeat or failure 
must have been ruin to that reputation which constituted 
his recognized title to empire. Severus was, however, tor- 
tured in mind by the dissensions between his sons Geta and 
Caracalla, and hastened, with the precipitation of a soldier 
born and bred, to drown domestic vexation amid the din of 
war. A Scotsman may also argue that the subjugation of 
Caledonia was an object of no small difficulty and impor- 
tance, since in such circumstances so wise a prince would 
intrust to no delegate the honor which might be won in the 
struggle, or the command of the powerful force necessary 
to obtain it. 

The Roman emperor made his invasion of Caledonia at 
the head of a very numerous army. He cut down forests, 
made roads through marshes and over mountains, and en- 
deavored to secure the districts which he overran. But the 
Caledonians, while they shunned a general action, carried 
on, with the best policy of a country assailed by a superior 
force, a destructive warfare on the flanks and rear of the 
invading army; and the labors of the Romans, with the fa- 


tigues and privations to which they were exposed, wasted 
them so much that they are said by the historian Dion to 
have lost fifty thousand men, equal probably to more than 
half of their force. Severus, however, advanced as far as 
the Firth of Moray, and noticed a length of days and short- 
ness of nights unknown in the southern latitudes. In this 
Boreal region the emperor made a peace, illusory on the 
part of the barbarians, who surrendered some arms, and 
promised submission. Severus returned from his distant 
and destructive excursion, borne as usual in his litter at 
the head of his army, and sharing their hardships and pri- 
vations. He had no sooner reached York on his return, 
than he received information that the whole Caledonian 
tribes were again in arms. He issued orders for collecting 
his forces and invading the country anew, with the resolu- 
tion to spare neither sex nor age, but totally to extirpate the 
natives of these wild regions, whose minds seemed as tame- 
less as their climate or country. But death spared the em- 
peror the guilt of so atrocious a campaign. Severus expired, 
February, 211. His son restored to the Caledonians the ter- 
ritories which his father had overrun rather than subdued ; 
and the wall of Antonine, the more northern of the two ram- 
parts, was once again tacitly recognized as the boundary of 
the Roman province, and limit of the empire. 

From this time the war in Britain was on the part of the 
Romans merely defensive, while on that of the free Britons 
it became an incursive predatory course of hostilities, that 
was seldom intermitted. In this species of contest the colo- 
nized Britons, who had lost the art of fighting for themselves, 
were for some time defended by the swords of their conquer- 
ors. In 368, and again in 398, Roman succors were sent to 
Britain, and repressed successfully the fury of the barbarians. 
In 422 a legion was again sent to support the colonists ; but, 
tired of the task of protecting them, the Romans, in 446, 
ostentatiously restored the Southern Britons to freedom, and 
exhorting them henceforth to look to their own defence, evac- 
uated Britain forever. The boast that Scotland's more re- 


mote regions were never conquered by the Romans is not a 
vain one; for the army of Severus invaded Caledonia, with- 
out subduing it, and even his extreme career stopped on the 
southern side of the Moray Firth, and left the northern and 
western Highlands unassailed. 

In the fifth century there appear in North Britain two 
powerful and distinct tribes, who are not before named in 
history. These were the Picts and Scots. 

I. The name of the former people has caused much, but 
seemingly unnecessary, speculation. The Picts seem to have 
been that race of free Britons beyond the Roman wall who 
retained the habit of staining the body when going into bat- 
tle, and were called by the Romans and Roman colonists the 
Painted Men, a name which, at first applied to particular 
tribes, superseded at last the former national name of Cale- 
donians. These people inhabited the eastern shores of Scot- 
land, as far south as the Firth of Forth, and as far north as 
the island extended. Claudin proves that these natives act- 
ually followed the custom of painting their bodies, as implied 
by the expression nee falso nomine Pictos — "nor falsely 
termed the Picts." There can be little doubt that, though 
descendants of the ancient British Caledonians, and there- 
fore Celts by origin, the Picts were mingled with settlers 
from the north, of Gothic name, descent, and language. 
The erratic habits of the Scandinavians render this highly 

II. The Scots, on the other hand, were of Irish origin; 
for, to the great confusion of ancient history, the inhabitants 
of Ireland, those at least of the conquering and predominat- 
ing caste, were called Scots. A colony of these Irish Scots, 
distinguished by the name of Dalriads or Dalreudini, natives 
of Ulster, had early attempted a settlement on the coast of 
Argyleshire : they finally established themselves there under 
Fergus, the son of Eric, about the year 503, and, recruited 
by colonies from Ulster, continued to multiply and increase 
until they formed a nation which occupied the western side 
of Scotland, and came to border on a people with a name, 


and perhaps a descent, similar to their own. These were the 
Attacotti, a nation inhabiting the northern part of Lanark- 
shire and the district called Lennox, which seems ultimately 
to have melted away into the Scots. 

These two free nations of Picts and Scots, inhabiting, the 
former the eastern, the latter the western, shores of North 
Britain, appear to have resembled each other in manners 
and ferocity, and to have exercised the last quality without 
scruple on the Roman colonists. Both nations, like the 
Irish, converted their shaggy and matted hair into a spe- 
cies of natural head-dress, which served either for helmet 
or mask, as was deemed necessary. Their weapons were 
light javelins, swords of unwieldy length, and shields made 
of wickerwork or hides. Their houses were constructed of 
wattles, or in more dangerous times they burrowed under 
ground in long, narrow, tortuous excavations, which still 
exist, and the idea of which seems to have been suggested 
by a rabbit-warren. The Picts had some skill in construct- 
ing rude strongholds, surrounded by a rampart of loose 
stones. They had also some knowledge of agriculture. 
The Scots, who lived in a mountainous country, subsisted 
almost entirely on the produce of the chase, and that of 
their flocks and herds. Their worship might be termed 
that of demons, since the imaginary beings whom they 
adored were the personification of their own evil pursuits 
and passions. War was their sole pursuit, slaughter their 
chief delight; and it was no wonder they worshipped the 
imaginary god of battle with barbarous and inhuman rites. 

Even over these wild people, inhabiting a country as 
savage as themselves, the Sun of Righteousness arose with 
healing under his wings. Good men, on whom the name 
of saint (while not used in a superstitious sense) was justly 
bestowed, to whom life and the pleasures of this world were 
as nothing, so they could call souls to Christianity, under- 
took and succeeded in the perilous task of enlightening these 
savages. Religion, though it did not at first change the man- 
ners of nations waxed old in barbarism, failed not to intro- 


duce those institutions on which rest the dignity and happi- 
ness of social life. The law of marriage was established 
among them, and all the brutalizing evils of polygamy gave 
place to the consequences of a union which tends most di- 
rectly to separate the human from the brute species. The 
abolition of idolatrous ceremonies took away many bloody 
and brutalizing practices ; and the Gospel, like the grain of 
mustard-seed, grew and nourished in noiseless increase, in- 
sinuating into men's hearts the blessings inseparable from 
its influence. 

Such were the nations to which the Britons whom Rome 
had colonized were exposed by the retreat of those who were 
at once their masters and protectors, and these two fierce 
races inhabited the greater part of the country now called 

The retreat of the Romans left the British provincialists 
totally defenceless. Their parting exhortation to them to 
stand to their own defence, and their affectation of having, 
by abandoning the island, restored them to freedom, were as 
cruel as it would be to dismiss a domesticated bird or animal 
to shift for itself, after having been from its birth fed and 
supplied by the hand of man. The Scots and Picts rushed 
against the Roman bulwark, when no longer defended by 
Romans ; it was stormed from the land by the barbarians, 
or the barrier was surrounded by turning the extremities of 
it with naval expeditions. Persecuted in every quarter, and 
reduced to absolute despair, the provincial Britons called in 
the Saxons to their aid about two years after the Romans 
had left the island. 

The Saxons were of Gothic descent, and to courage equal 
to that of the North Briton tribes they added better arms and 
a formidable discipline. They drove back both Scots and 
Picts within their own limits, and even made considerable 
additions of territory at their expense. Ida, one of those 
northern worshippers of Odin who erected the kingdoms of 
the heptarchy, landed in 547, and founded that of North- 
umberland. Subduing or bringing under voluntary obedi- 


ence a part of the Picts who had formed settlements on the 
southern side of the Firth of Forth, this prince added for 
the time to an English sceptre the districts of lower Teviot- 
dale and Berwickshire, as well as all the three Lothians, 
excepting some part of the western county so named. 

Thus the country now called Scotland was divided be- 
tween five nations, which we shall recapitulate. 1. The 
Irish Scots held all the mountainous district, now called 
Argyleshire, as far as the mouth of the Clyde. 2. The 
country called Clydesdale, with Peebleshire, Selkirkshire, 
and the upper parts of Roxburghshire, bordered on the 
south by Cumberland, forming what was anciently entitled 
the kingdom of Strath-Clyde, was inhabited by the descend- 
ants of the British colonists, who were hence called Britons. 
3. Galloway, comprehending most part of Ayrshire, was in- 
habited by a mixed race, partly Scots settlers from Ireland 
of a different stock from that of the Dalriads or Irish Scots 
of Argyleshire, partly Picts who had acquired possessions 
among them. Hence the Galwegians are sometimes called 
the wild Scots of Galloway. 4. The most numerous people 
in Scotland, as thus subdivided, seem to have been the Picts. 
The successes of the Saxons had, indeed, driven them as a 
nation from Lothian, and their possession of Galwegia was, 
as just noticed, only partial. But they possessed Fife and 
Angus, Stirling, and Perthshire: more north of this they 
held all the northeastern counties, though in Moray, Caith- 
ness, and Sutherland, there were settlements of Scandina- 
vians in a state of independence. 5. Lastly, the Saxons of 
Northumberland had extended their kingdom to the Firth 
of Forth: so that Ida, a Saxon, occupied the March, Tev- 
iotdale as high as Melrose, and the three Lothians, which 
afterward became and are now accounted integral parts of 
Scotland. The Saxons retained possession of these five prov- 
inces under several kings, and especially under Edwin, who 
founded near the shores of the Forth the castle called from 
his name Edwinsburgh, now Edinburgh, the capital of the 
Scottish kingdom; this was posterior to 617. In 685 a check 


was given to the encroachment of the Saxons by the slaugh- 
ter and defeat of their king Egfrid at the battle of Drum- 
nechtan, probably Dunnichen ; and the district south of the 
Forth was repeatedly the scene of severe battles between 
the Picts and Northumbrians, the latter striving to hold, the 
former to regain, these fertile provinces. 

A much more important struggle than that between the 
Saxons and Picts was maintained between the latter nation 
and the Scoto-Irish inhabiting, as we have seen, the west- 
ern, as the Picts held the eastern side of the island. It was, 
indeed, evident that until these two large portions of North 
Britain should be united under one government, the security 
of the country against foreign invaders was not to be relied 
on. After many desperate battles, much effusion of blood, 
and a merciless devastation of both countries, some measures 
seem to have been taken for settling a lasting peace between 
these contending nations. Urgaria, sister of Ungus, king of 
Picts, was married to Aycha IV., king of Scots, and their son 
Alpine, succeeding his father as king of Scots, flourished 
from 833 to 836, in which last year he was slain, urging 
Borne contests in Galloway. The Pictish throne, thus thrown 
open for want of an heir male, was claimed by Kenneth, son 
and successor of Alpine, who, as descended of Urgaria, the 
sister of Ungus, urged his right of inheritance with an army. 
Wrad, the last of the Pictish monarchs, died at Forteviot, in 
842, fighting in defence of his capital and kingdom, and the 
Pictish people were subdued. Tradition and ancient history 
combine in representing Kenneth, when victorious, as extir- 
pating the whole race of Picts, which we must consider as 
an exaggeration. More modern authors, shocked at the im- 
probability of such an incident, have softened it down by 
supposing that, on the death of "Wrad, Kenneth occupied the 
Pictish throne by inheritance, as lawful heir in right of his 
grandmother Urgaria. But it is a great bar to this modified 
opinion, that from the time of Kenneth Macalpine's victory 
over Wrad, no more is spoken in Scottish history of the 
Pictish people or the Pictish crown ; while the king of Scots 


and his nation engross the whole space, which before the 
subjugation was occupied by both nations. In a word, so 
complete must have been the revolution, that the very lan- 
guage of the Picts is lost, and what dialect they spoke is a 
subject of doubt to antiquarians. It was probably Celtic, 
with a strong tinge of Gothic. 



Kenneth Macalpine: his Successors — Malcolm I. obtains possession 
of Cumberland: Successors of Malcolm — Kenneth III., and his 
Successors — Malcolm II. 

WHEN Kenneth Macalpine joined in his person the 
crowns both of the Picts and Scots, he became an 
adversary fit to meet and match with the warlike 
Saxons. The country united under his sway was then called 
for the first time Scotland, which name it has ever since re- 
tained. He strove fiercely to carry his banner of the Dalriads 
into Lothian, of which he perhaps vindicated the sovereignty, 
as the contested country had been part of the territory of the 
Picts till wrested from them by Ida. It is besides recorded 
of Kenneth Macalpine that he was a legislator ; which may 
be doubtless true, although the laws published as his are 

Kenneth might be justly termed the first king of Scot- 
land, being the first who possessed such a territory as had 
title to be termed a kingdom, since it would be absurd to 
bestow the term of sovereigns upon the Scoto-Irish chiefs of 
Argyleshire, in whose obscure genealogy historians must, 
however, trace the original roots of the royal line. 

Not to incur the charge of Uze majesty however, brought 
by Sir George Mackenzie, the king's advocate of the day, 
against Dr. Stillingfleet, for abridging the royal pedigree by 
some links, we will briefly record that by the best authorities 
twenty-eight of these Dalriadic kings or chiefs reigned suc- 
cessively in Argyleshire, where the old tower of Dunstaff- 
nage is said to have been their chief residence. Kenneth 
Macalpine was the twenty-ninth in descent from Fergus the 
son of Eric, the first of the race. 

The descendants of this fortunate prince pass us in gloomy 
'i'V Vol. I. 


and obscure pageantry, like those of Banquo on the theatre. 
In mentioning their names, we shall only take notice of such 
incidents in their several reigns as are necessary either to 
illustrate the future history of Scotland, or the manners of 
the period of which we treat. We shall thus avoid the dis- 
gusting task of recording obscure and ferocious contests, 
fought by leaders with unpronounceable names, from which 
the reader, to use the expression of Milton on a similar occa- 
sion, gains no more valuable information than if he were 
perusing the events of a war maintained between kites and 

In 859, Kenneth was succeeded by his brother Donald; 
for the mode of inheritance both in the Scottish and Pictish 
royal families was favorable to nepotical succession, and the 
brother of a deceased monarch was often called to the crown 
in preference to the son, in order, it may be supposed, to 
escape the inconvenience of frequent minorities. Of Donald 
there is nothing to be said, and of his nephew Constantine, 
son of Kenneth, very little. The latter died defending his 
territories against an invasion of the Danes, who were now 
the curse of the age; or, if tradition be believed, he was 
made prisoner while alive, and sacrificed in a cave on the 
seacoast in the parish of Crail, to the manes of the Danish 
leader, who had fallen in the fray. The successors of Con- 
stantine were Aodh, Eocha, and Grig, who reigned jointly; 
after them reigned a Donald, called the fourth ; and a third 
Constantine. Of the four first it is only necessary to say, 
that their reigns displayed the same scenes of blood and 
slaughter, with the same unsatisfactory result, which dis- 
gust us in the annals of the period. Constantine the Third 
is only remarkable for having confederated with the sea- 
king Anlaf to invade England, and shared the defeat which 
the Norsemen received from Athelstane, at the great battle 
of Brunnanburgh. Escaped from the slaughter of that 
bloody day, in which he lost a gallant son, Constantine 
retired into a cloister, and became a chief of Culdees, in 
the fortieth year of his reign, 952. 


Malcolm, the first of a name that is famous in Scottish 
annals, enlarged his territories by a valuable acquisition. 
We have not yet had occasion to mention that, opposite 
to the British kingdom of Strath-Clyde, there lay another 
kingdom of the same nation called Reged, also consisting 
of British tribes, and much renowned in the lays of their 

This separate state, consisting of Cumberland and West- 
moreland, made a stout resistance to the foreigners; nor 
were the Saxon princes of the period ever able thoroughly to 
subdue them. Edmund the Elder, of England, wasted this 
little kingdom by way of punishing its insubordination; he 
put out the eyes of the five sons of Dunmail, its last British 
king, and bestowed the territory on Malcolm, king of Scots, 
on condition that he should become his ally, and assist him 
by sea and land in defence of his kingdom. Thus by a 
singular anomaly, while England was in possession of the 
Lothians, at present an indubitable part of Scotland, the 
king of Scots possessed Cumberland and Westmoreland, 
now an undisputed part of the territories of England. 

Of the reigns of Indulf and Duff, princes who succeeded 
Malcolm, little is known. But the death of Culen, the third 
successor of Malcolm, proves the curious fact, that the Brit- 
ons of Strath-Clyde were still independent. The violation 
of a British maiden of royal birth gave occasion to a war 
between them and the Scots. The Britons were victorious, 
and Culen fell in the year 970. 

Kenneth III., son of Malcolm I., succeeded to the Scot- 
tish throne. He subjected to his sway the Britons of Strath- 
Clyde, and thus added materially to the strength of his king- 
dom. It appears, however, that Strath-Clyde was governed 
by separate though tributary princes for some time after it 
was joined to the realm of Scotland. In the reign of this 
prince the Danes entered the Firth of Tay with a large fleet. 
They were met by the Scottish king, and a decisive battle 
took place at Loncarty. The Danes fought with their accus- 
tomed fury, and compelled the two Scottish wings to retire 


behind the centre, which, commanded by Kenneth in person, 
stood firm, and decided the fate of the day. Monumental 
stones, barrows filled with the relics and arms of those who 
fell, attest the truth of this battle, remembered yet for 
the obstinacy with which it was fought, notwithstanding 
which some historians have affected incredulity on the 

Kenneth III. came to his end by female treachery. He 
had put to death the only son of Fenella, wife of the maor- 
mor or viceroy of Kincardineshire. Fenella, though the 
execution had been a deserved one, did not the less readily 
determine on revenging her son's death. She invited Ken- 
neth to lodge in her house near Fettercairn in the Mearns : 
here he was assassinated. The inhospitable murderess es- 
caped from her castle (of which the vestiges are still visi- 
ble) down a valley, still called Strath-Fenella, to a place 
in the parish of Fordun, where she was seized and put 
to death. 

The sons of two of Kenneth the Third's predecessors 
strove for the Scottish crown. One of these was Constan- 
tino IV., son of Culen, who assumed the title of king, but 
was defeated and slain in 995 by Kenneth IV., son of Duff, 
called the Grim. He was in turn dethroned and slain by 
Malcolm, son of Kenneth the Third, after eight years spent 
in broils and bloodshed. This was in 1003. 

The victor, Malcolm II., was an able prince and renowned 
leader. He had much trouble from invasions of the Danes. 
In 1010 they made a descent upon Moray, and the king of 
Scots met them in battle. The fury of the Northmen pre- 
vailed, and the Scots retreated to the vicinity of a chapel 
dedicated to Saint Moloch. Here Malcolm, in despair of 
earthly aid, threw himself from his horse, and made a vow 
to found a cathedral church to the same tutelar power (how- 
ever ambiguous the sound of his name) provided he should 
obtain the victory by his intercession. Rising from his 
knees, Malcolm fought with enthusiasm, slew the Danish 
king, and gained a complete victory. The church, dedicated 


to Saint Moloch, was built, and is still standing. Twenty- 
three feet is said to have been selected for the length of the 
chancel, that it might correspond with that of the king's 
gigantic spear, for so ran an article of his vow. Several 
Danish skulls, the relics of distinguished champions, were 
built up in the wall of the church of Mortlach. Sueno, the 
Danish monarch, renewed the attempt at invasion by de- 
taching a fleet and army under Camus, one of the most 
renowned of the vikingar, or kings of the ocean; but he was 
defeated and slain at Aberlemno, where a tall monumental 
stone, highly sculptured, still preserves remembrance of the 

Sueno, disheartened by so many defeats, seems to have 
entered into some convention with Malcolm II. for abstain- 
ing from future invasion, and abandoning a species of castle 
which he had established in Moray called the Burgh-head. 
It was highly to the honor both of prince and people, that 
these northern warriors, who successfully annoyed the sea- 
coasts of every other country in Europe, and had established 
a Danish dynasty on the throne of England, were taught by 
successive defeats to shun the fatal shores of Scotland. It 
was, probably, the renown attendant on the victories over 
the Danes, as well as a successful campaign against the 
Saxons, which gained to Malcolm a large and valuable 
accession to his territories. Eadulf-Cudel, earl of Northum- 
berland, in 1020 ceded to the Scottish king the rich district 
of Lothene or Lothian, including not only the whole of the 
three provinces now called so, but Berwickshire and the 
lower part of Teviotdale as high perhaps as Melrose upon 
the Tweed. The condition of this cession was lasting friend- 
ship, afterward apparently explained into homage, which 
the Scottish kings certainly paid for this district of Lothian 
as well as for other possessions in England, to the sovereigns 
of that country. 

Malcolm died peaceably in 1033, and was succeeded by 
"The gracious Duncan," the same who fell by the poniard 
of Macbeth. On reading these names, every reader must 


feel as if brought from darkness into the blaze of noonday j 
so familiar are we with the personages whom we last named, 
and so clearly and distinctly we recall the events in which 
they are interested, in comparison with any doubtful and 
misty views which we can form of the twilight times before 
and after that fortunate period. But we must not be blinded 
by our poetical enthusiasm, nor add more than due impor- 
tance to legends, because they have been woven into the 
most striking tale of ambition and remorse that ever struck 
awe into a human bosom. The genius of Shakespeare hav- 
ing found the tale of Macbeth in the Scottish chronicles 
of Holinshed, adorned it with a lustre similar to that with 
which a level beam of the sun often invests some fragment 
of glass, which, though shining at a distance with the lustre 
of a diamond, is by a near investigation discovered to be of 
no worth or estimation. 

Duncan, by his mother Beatrice a grandson of Malcolm 
II. j succeeded to the throne on his grandfather's death, in 
1033: he reigned only six years. Macbeth, his near rela- 
tion, also a grandchild of Malcolm II., though by the moth- 
er's side, was stirred up by ambition to contest the throne 
with the possessor. The lady of Macbeth also, whose real 
name was Graoch, had deadly injuries to avenge on the 
reigning prince. She was the granddaughter of Kenneth 
IV., killed in 1003, fighting against Malcolm II. ; and other 
causes for revenge animated the mind of her who has been 
since painted as the sternest of women. The old annalists 
add some instigations of a supernatural kind to the influ- 
ence of a vindictive woman over an ambitious husband. 
Three women, of more than human stature and beauty, 
appeared to Macbeth in a dream or vision, and hailed him 
successively by the titles of thane of Cromarty, thane of 
Moray, which the king afterward bestowed on him, and 
finally by that of king of Scots : this dream, it is said, in- 
spired him with the seductive hopes so well expressed in the 

Macbeth broke no law of hospitality in his attempt on 


Duncan's life. He attacked and slew the king at a place 
called Bothgowan, or the Smith's House, near Elgin, in 
1039, and not, as has been supposed, in his own castle of 
Inverness. The act was bloody, as was the complexion 
of the times; but, in very truth, the claim of Macbeth to 
the throne, according to the rule of Scottish succession, was 
better than that of Duncan. As a king, the tyrant so much 
exclaimed against was, in reality, a firm, just, and equitable 

Apprehensions of danger from a party which Malcolm, 
the eldest son of the slaughtered Duncan, had set on foot 
in Northumberland, and still maintained in Scotland, seem, 
in process of time, to have soured the temper of Macbeth, 
and rendered him formidable to his nobility. Against Mac- 
duff, in particular, the powerful maormor of Fife, he had 
uttered some threats which occasioned that chief to fly from 
the court of Scotland. Urged by this new counsellor, Si ward, 
the Danish earl of Northumberland, invaded Scotland in the 
year 1054, displaying his banner in behalf of the banished 
Malcolm. Macbeth engaged the foe in the neighborhood 
of his celebrated castle of Dunsinane. He was defeated, 
but escaped from the battle, and was slain at Lumphananan 
in 1056. 

Very slight observation will enable us to recollect how 
much this simple statement differs from that of the drama, 
though the plot of the latter is consistent enough with the 
inaccurate historians from whom Shakespeare drew his 
materials. It might be added, that early authorities show 
us no such persons as Banquo and his son Fleance, nor have 
we reason to think that the latter ever fled further from 
Macbeth than across the flat scene, according to the stage 
direction. Neither were Banquo nor his son ancestors of 
the house of Stuart. All these things are now known ; but 
the mind retains pertinaciously the impression made by the 
impositions of genius. While the works of Shakespeare are 
read, and the English language subsists, History may say 
what she will, but the general reader will only recollect 


Macbeth as a sacrilegious usurper, and Richard as a de- 
formed murderer. 

Macbeth left a son, named Luach, which is translated 
fatuuS) or the simple. After a few months' struggle, he 
was defeated and slain at Essie, in Strath-Bogie. 



Malcolm III., called Cean-raohr — Foreigners seek Refuge in Scot- 
land: kindly received by the King and by his Wife — The King's 
Affection for Margaret — Death of Malcolm and Margaret — 
Donald Bane — Duncan — Edgar — Alexander I. — David I. — Bat- 
tle of Northallerton — David's Death— His Beneficence to the 
Church— His Character as a Sovereign 


ALCOLM III., son of Duncan, called Cean-mokr, or 
Great-head, from the misproportioned size of that 
part of his body, ascended the Scottish throne in 
1056. He was a prince of valor and talent, and, having 
been bred in the school of adversity, had profited by the 
lessons taught in that stern seminary. His long residence 
in the north of England must necessarily have given him 
means of acquiring more information than if he had remained 
during his youth with his ignorant subjects. In his reign, 
too, a more steady light begins to dawn on Scottish history ; 
rather, however, from the English annals than from any 
that are proper to the kingdom itself. Malcolm had resided 
long in England ; he had probably visited the capital during 
the time of Edward the Confessor, to whom he had been 
indebted for relief and protection. His habits and attach- 
ments led him to keep up a correspondence with that coun- 
try; and, excepting the Scottish short and hasty incursion 
into Northumberland in 1061, nothing occurred during the 
Saxon dynasty in England which could infringe the good 
understanding between what may be called from this period 
the sister kingdoms. The death of Edward the Confessor 
somewhat shook this state of amity. Malcolm appears to 
have been more indifferent to the friendship of his successor, 
Harold, since, in 1066, he received into Scotland Tostigh, 


brother to the English king, then hatching a conspiracy, 
and projecting an invasion of Harold's territories. Tostigh 
united with the king of Norway, and both were slain next 
summer at the battle of Stamford Bridge. 

The conquest of England by the Normans sent other 
fugitives into Scotland, who emigrated in consequence of 
the general change of possession occasioned by so great a 
revolution. The most distinguished of these were Edgar 
Atheling of England, the heir of the Confessor's race, with 
his sister Margaret, one of the fairest and most accomplished 
maidens in England, and who, considering that her brother 
was weak both in mind and body, might be looked apon as 
the hope of the Saxon royal line, so dear to the English 
nation. Edgar Atheling was also accompanied in his flight 
by his mother and a younger sister. Malcolm espoused the 
princess Margaret, about 1067. 

Allied to the Saxon royal family by this match, the king 
of Scots engaged in a league against "William the Conqueror 
with some discontented lords in Northumberland, and with 
the Danes. The Danes, however, were repulsed, and the 
Northumbrian conspirators dispersed, before Malcolm took 
the field, in 1070. Exasperated by some retaliation on his 
own frontiers, he swept the bishopric of Durham and adja- 
cent parts with such severity, and drove away so great a 
number of captives, that for many years afterward English 
slaves were to be found in every hamlet and hut in Scot- 

The revenge of the Conqueror operated an effect similar 
to that of the wrath of Malcolm. To be avenged of the 
rebellious Northumbrians, William ravaged the country with 
a fury which laid utterly waste the fertile possessions between 
the Humber and Tees. So dolefully was the face of the coun- 
try changed, says William of Malmesbury, that a stranger 
would have wept over it, and an ancient inhabitant would 
not have recognized it. Many thousands of the lower orders, 
and also a considerable number both of Anglo-Saxons and 
Normans of condition, who had incurred the wrath of the 


Conqueror "William, so easy to awake, and so difficult to 
appease, retired into Scotland as the best place of refuge. 

Malcolm, sensible of the value of the Norman chivalry, 
received both them and the English with distinction, and 
conferred offices, honors, and estates upon them with no 
sparing hand. For example, he gave refuge to the Earl of 
March, who, by a corruption of his name and title (Comes 
Patricius), was called Gosspatrick, when he was banished 
from England. To this powerful baron Malcolm committed 
the castle of Dunbar, which might be called the second and 
inner gate of Scotland, supposing the strong town of Ber- 
wick to be the first. The example is only one out of many 
instances in which this Scottish monarch displayed his con- 
fidence in the Normans, and his desire to engage in his ser- 
vice distinguished persons of that redoubted nation, who, in 
that age, possessed the highest character for military skill 
and invincible valor. 

The course which Malcolm Cean-mohr pursued from po- 
litical prudence was forwarded by his royal consort from 
love to her native country, joined to the dictates of female 
sympathy with misfortune. She did all in her power, and 
influenced as far as possible the mind of her husband, to 
relieve the distresses of her Saxon countrymen, of high or 
low degree; assuaged their afflictions, and was zealous in 
protecting those who had been involved in the ruin which 
the battle of Hastings brought on the royal house of Edward 
the Confessor. The gentleness and mildness of temper proper 
to this amiable woman, probably also the experience of her 
prudence and good sense, had great weight with Malcolm, 
who, though preserving a portion of the ire and ferocity 
belonging to the king of a wild people, was far from being 
insensible to the suggestions of his amiable consort. He 
stooped his mind to hers on religious matters, adorned her 
favorite books of devotion with rich bindings, and was often 
seen to kiss and pay respect to the volumes which he was 
unable to read. He acted also as interpreter to Margaret, 
when she endeavored to enlighten the Scottish clergy upon 


the proper time of celebrating Easter; and though we can- 
not attach much consequence to the issue of this polemical 
controversy, which terminated, of course, in favor of the 
cause adopted by the fair pleader and the royal interpreter, 
yet it is a pleasing picture of conjugal affection laboring 
jointly for the instruction of a barbarous people; nor can 
we doubt that its influence was felt in more material cir- 
cumstances than the precise question at issue. 

After the death of "William the Conqueror, and the ac- 
cession of William Rufus, various subjects of quarrel and 
mutual incursions took place betwixt England and Scotland. 
The general cause of dispute related to the terms on which 
Malcolm was to possess Cumberland and Northumberland. 
These provinces, as already mentioned, had been ceded, the 
first by the Saxon king Edgar, the second by a Northum- 
brian earl, to the Scottish crown, under condition of close 
alliance and neighborly assistance. The introduction of 
feudal holdings substituted the homage and fealty of an 
inferior prince to a lord paramount, instead of the loose 
stipulation of friendship and occasional assistance. These 
feudal conditions could only apply to the provinces of Loth- 
ian, including Berwickshire and part of Teviotdale, to North- 
umberland, and to Cumberland. In the first of these prov- 
inces Malcolm, who, crossing the Firth of Forth, frequently 
resided there, had established a fixed and permanent author- 
ity. In the two English counties his tenure and his influ- 
ence on the affections of the subjects were much less decided. 
In 1080 William Rufus built the fortress of Newcastle, and 
in 1092 that of Carlisle, both necessarily tending to bridle 
and render insecure the possessions of the Scottish king in 
the two northern counties. The question of homage was 
fiercely agitated at this early period, as in subsequent gen- 
erations, and usually arranged upon general terms, or, ac- 
cording to the legal phrase, salvo jure cujuslibet. 

These heart-burnings were terminated by the death of 
Malcolm Cean-mohr. This enterprising prince made a hasty 
incursion into England, and besieged Alnwick with a tu- 


multuary army. The circumstance that a fortress so near 
the frontiers was not in his possession argues how imper- 
fect was his authority in Northumberland. While thus 
employed, he was surprised by Roger de Mowbray, a Nor- 
man baron, at the head of a considerable force, and an 
action ensued, on the 13th November, 1093, in which Mal- 
colm Cean-mohr fell, with his eldest son. Queen Margaret, 
much indisposed at the time, only lived to hear the event, 
and express her resignation to the will of God. She died on 
the 16th November, on receiving the fatal tidings. 

After her death, Margaret was received into the Romish 
calendar. A legend of a well-imagined miracle narrates that 
when it was proposed to remove the body of the new saint 
to a tomb of more distinction, it was found impossible to lift 
it until that of her husband had received the same honor, as 
if in her state of beatitude Margaret had been guided by the 
same feelings of conjugal deference and affection which had 
regulated this excellent woman's conduct while on earth. 

The character of Malcolm Cean-mohr himself stands high, 
if his situation and opportunities be considered. He was a 
man of undaunted courage and generosity. A nobleman of 
his court had engaged to assassinate him. The circumstance 
became known to the king, who, during the amusement of 
a hunting-match, drew the conspirator into a solitary glade 
of the forest, upbraided him with his traitorous intentions, 
and defied him to mortal and equal combat. The assassin, 
surprised at this act of generosity, threw himself at the king's 
feet, confessed his meditated crime, his present repentance, 
and vowed fidelity for the future. The king trusted him as 
before, and had no reason to repent of his manly conduct. 
This story seems to show that Malcolm, the protector and 
friend of the chivalrous Normans, had caught a portion of 
that spirit of knightly honor and high-souled generosity 
which they contributed so much to spread throughout 

A very improbable legend asserts that Malcolm formally 
introduced the feudal system into Scotland. It is circum- 


stantially alleged that he summoned all the Scottish nobil- 
ity to meet him at Scone, and that each bringing with him, 
as directed, a handful of earth from his lands, surrendered 
them by that symbol to the king, who granted charters of 
them anew to each proprietor, under the form of feudal in- 
vestiture. The Moot Hill of Scone, or place of justice, called 
Mo ns placiti, is said to be composed of these symbols of sur- 
render, and thence called omnis terra. This legend is totally 
incredible. But if Malcolm did not, as indeed he probably 
could not, change the laws of his whole kingdom, by alter- 
ing in every case the tenure on which property was held, 
there is no doubt that, by various grants in particular in- 
stances, he contributed to introduce into Scotland the cus- 
tom of feudal investitures. It was a system agreeable to 
the prince, to whom it attributed the flattering character of 
superior, paramount, or original proprietor of the lands of 
the whole kingdom. It was agreeable also to the Normans 
whom he attracted to his court. These attached security to 
a royal charter, and felt that they increased their personal 
consequence, by obtaining the power of granting lands which 
they could not occupy to sub-vassals, who should hold of 
them, under terms of service similar to those by which they 
themselves held their estates from the crown. The feudal 
system was also the established law of France and England, 
to which the Scottish monarch would naturally look for the 
means of improving the rude institutions of his native coun- 
try. Although, therefore, feudal law certainly was not in- 
troduced by Malcolm Cean-mohr, we may conclude that 
Scotland was in his time first prepared to receive it by de- 
tached instances, and the gradual operation of concurring 

Malcolm Cean-mohr at his death left a family under age, 
but was succeeded by his brother Donald Bane, a wild Scot, 
who, flying to the Hebrides on the death of their father 
Duncan, does not appear to have visited his brother Mal- 
colm at any period of his reign, or partaken in any of the 
novelties which he had introduced. He hurried to Scotland 


on his brother's decease, and, by the assistance of an army 
of western islanders, took possession of the crown, to the 
prejudice of his brother's children. This rough chieftain 
was welcomed by many of the northern Scots, who were 
jealous of the innovations of Malcolm and his preference 
of strangers. 

The first edict of Donald Bane was a sentence of banish- 
ment against all foreigners ; a brutal attempt to bring back 
all Scotland to the savage state of Argyle and the Hebrides. 
It is seldom, however, that civilization, having once made 
some progress, can be compelled to retrograde, unless when 
knowledge is united with corruption and effeminacy. Don- 
ald Bane had no permanent triumph. In 1094, Duncan, a 
base-born son of the late king, collected a numerous force 
of English and Normans, and, driving Donald Bane back 
among the Red-shanks, took possession of his throne; 
whether in his own right, or as regent for the lawful fam- 
ily of Malcolm, is uncertain. After having held the sceptre, 
proper or delegated, for a year, Edmund, his half-brother, 
the second of the legitimate children of Malcolm Cean-mohr 
(the first being a priest), procured the assassination of Dun- 
can, by an earl of the Mearns, and replaced Donald Bane on 
the throne, in consequence of a treaty, by which he became 
bound to share the kingdom with Edmund. 

Donald Bane, thus again enthroned, resumed his purpose 
of destroying what his brother Malcolm had accomplished 
for civilizing Scotland, and expelled anew the foreigners 
from his kingdom. This produced a fresh revolution. In 
1098, Edgar, the third son of Malcolm and of the amiable 
Margaret, being favored by "William Rufus, received succors 
from England, and making himself master of his uncle Don- 
ald Bane's person, imprisoned him, and put out his eyes. 
Edmund, who had been the author of this second usurpa- 
tion of Donald Bane, was imprisoned, and in token of peni- 
tence for the guilt he had incurred by his accession to the 
murder of Duncan, ordered the fetters which he had worn 
in his dungeon to be buried with him in his coffin. Not- 


withstanding his cruelty to his aged uncle, the character of 
Edgar seems to have been equitable and humane. He kept 
peace with England ; and the amity between the kingdoms 
was strengthened by Henry I., called Beauclerc, becoming 
the husband of Matilda, the sister of Edgar. Edgar died in 
1106, after an undisturbed reign of about nine years. 

Alexander I. succeeded as next brother of Edgar. His 
reign is chiefly remarkable for the determined struggle which 
he made in defence of the independence of the Church of Scot- 
land. This was maintained against the archbishops of Can- 
terbury and York, each of whom claimed a spiritual superi- 
ority over Scotland, and a right to consecrate the archbishop 
of St. Andrew's, the primate of that kingdom. Notwith- 
standing the hostile interference of the pope, Alexander, 
with considerable address, contrived to play off the contra- 
dictory pretensions of the two English archbishops against 
each other, and thus to evade complying with either. Of 
Alexander's personal character we can only judge from the 
epithet of the fierce, which referred probably to his own 
temper and manners, since assuredly his reign was peace- 
ful. He died 1124. 

Alexander was succeeded by David I., youngest son of 
Malcolm Cean-mohr, and a monarch of great talents. He 
was free from the ignorant barbarity of his countrymen, 
having been educated, during his youth, at the court of 
Henry I., the celebrated Beauclerc, his sister's husband. 
David had entered into the views of that wise monarch 
touching his succession, and had sworn to maintain the 
right of Henry's daughter, the Empress Matilda, the well- 
known Queen Maud of the English chroniclers, to the king- 
dom of England. Accordingly he asserted her title in 1135, 
and when, upon the death of Henry, Stephen, earl of Mor- 
tagne, usurped the throne of England, the Scottish king 
commenced war for the purpose of displacing him. But the 
forces of David I. were of a character unusually tumultuary, 
and afforded a curious specimen of the miscellaneous tribes 
which, long mixing without incorporating, at length formed 


the source from which the Scottish people of modern times 
derive their descent. ' ' That accursed army, ' ' says the monk- 
ish chronicler, so stigmatizing David's troops on account of 
their horrible excesses, "consisted of Normans, Germans, and 
English, of Cumbrian Britons, of Northumbrians, of men of 
Teviotdale and Lothian, of Picts, commonly called men of 
Galloway, and of Scots." Differing from each other in cus- 
toms, and in a certain measure in language, these various 
nations seem only to have agreed in the general use of the 
utmost license and cruelty, which the English historians 
candidly admit was restrained as much as possible by the 
regulations of their monarch. 

Stephen marched northward to repel David and his mis- 
cellaneous host ; but the war languished, and gave place to 
a succession of truces and hollow treaties, which were made 
and broken without much ceremony. The parties were, per- 
haps, more equally balanced than a Scottish and an English 
king had been either before or after. The want of discipline 
in David's army was compensated by the treachery subsist- 
ing in that of Stephen, which every now and then showed 
itself by the revolt of some of his barons. Stephen tried to 
obtain peace with Scotland by surrender of the open country 
in Northumberland and Cumberland, retaining, however, 
the castles and strong places, by means of which the ter- 
ritory which he now ceded could, in a more favorable mo- 
ment, be speedily recovered. David was awake to this pol- 
icy, and, well aware his single force was unequal to placing 
Matilda on the throne, he, with the usual policy of auxilia- 
ries, made it his object to gain what enlargement of territo- 
ries he could, either by conquest or cession, though the price 
should be his forsaking the cause in which he had taken 
up arms. For this purpose, he invaded Northumberland, in 
1138, at a time when Stephen was so hard pressed in the 
south that he was compelled to abandon the northern barons 
to their own defence. These brave men, however, despised 
submission to an invader; or, whatever deference some of 
them might be disposed to render to the king of Scots' per- 


sonal merits, the atrocities of the Galwegians and other 
barbarous tribes in David's army roused every hand in oppo- 
sition to such an army and its leader. Thurstan, archbishop 
of York, a prelate of equal prudence and spirit, summoned 
a convention of the English northern barons, and exhorted 
them to determined resistance. Age and boyhood were 
called to the combat. Roger de Mowbray, almost a child, 
was brought to the English host, and placed at the head of 
his numerous vassals. Walter l'Espec, an aged baron of 
great fame in war, was chosen general-in-chief . A standard 
was erected in the camp, being the mast of a ship fixed on a 
four-wheeled carriage, from which were displayed the ban- 
ners of Saint Peter of York, Saint John of Beverley, and 
Saint Wilfred of Rippon. On the top, and surrounded by 
these ensigns, was a casket or pyx, containing a consecrated 
host. The displaying of this standard served to give a sacred 
character to the war, and was the more appropriate, as the 
struggle was with the Galwegians, a barbarous people, as 
sacrilegious as they were bloodthirsty and inhuman. With 
this apparatus of religion mixed with war, the barons 
advanced to Northallerton. 

David had moved toward the same point, and not with- 
out gaining considerable success. William, the son of that 
Duncan, natural brother of David, who had expelled Donald 
Bane from the Scottish throne in 1094, was a distinguished 
leader in his uncle's army. He seems to have been a chief 
of military talent, and was employed by David in command- 
ing the Galwegians so often mentioned. On this occasion 
he led a large body of these wild men into Lancashire, and 
defeated a considerable English army at a place called 
Clitherow, near the sources of the Ribble. From thence 
William Mac Duncan conducted them to join King David 
at Northallerton, loaded as they were with spoil and elated 
with additional presumption. 

David, thus reinforced, moved forward with such celerity 
that he had wellnigh surprised the English army, who were 
encamped on Cuton Moor. Robert de Bruce, an aged Nor- 


man baron, familiar with the king, and holding, as many 
others did, lands in both kingdoms, was despatched from 
the English camp to negotiate with David, at least to gain 
time. This old warrior objected to the king the impolicy 
and unkindness of oppressing the English and Normans, 
whose arms had often supported the Scottish throne. He 
argued with him upon the unchivalrous and unchristian 
atrocities of his soldiers, and finally surrendering the land 
which he held of David, he renounced all homage to him, 
and declared himself his enemy. Bernard de Baliol, a York- 
shire baron in like circumstances, made a similar renuncia- 
tion and defiance. Bruce and the king wept as they parted. 
William, the son of Duncan, called Bruce a false traitor. 

Another characteristic scene took place in a council of 
war held in the Scottish camp on the same evening, to pre- 
pare for the battle of the next day. The king had deter- 
mined that the action should be begun by the archers and 
men-at-arms, who composed the regular strength of his 
army. But the Galwegians, presumptuous from their late 
success, were determined on leading the van, though it is 
not easy to guess by what alleged right they supported such 
a pretension. "Whence this confidence in these men cased 
in mail?" said a Celtic chief, Malise, earl of Stratherne: "I 
wear none ; yet will I advance further to-morrow than those 
who are sheathed in steel." Alan de Percy, a natural 
brother of the great baron of that name, and a follower of 
David, replied that Malise said more than he would dare 
to make good. David interfered to put an end to the dis- 
pute, and yielded, though unwillingly, to the claim of the 

On the fated morning of August 22, 1138, both armies 
drew up. The English were in one compact body, with 
their cavalry in the rear. The Scottish army formed three 
lines. In the first were the Galwegians, under their leaders, 
Ulgrick and Dovenald. The second line was commanded 
by David's son, Prince Henry, and consisted of the men- 
at-arms and the archers, with the men of Cumberland and 


Teviotdale, both of the ancient stock of Britons. The men 
of Lothian and the Hebrideans formed the third body ; and 
a reserve, consisting of selected English and Normans, with 
the Scots properly called so, and the Moray men, who were 
chiefly of Scandinavian descent, completed the order of 
battle. Here David himself took his station. 

The English in the meantime received the blessing of the 
aged Thurstan, conferred by his delegate the titular bishop 
of the Orkneys, and swore to each other to be victorious 
or die. The Galwegians rushed on with a hideous cry of 
Albanigh! Albanigh! 1 and staggered the phalanx of spear- 
men, on whom they threw themselves with incredible fury. 
The severe and unremitting discharge of the English archery 
was, however, unsupportable by naked men, and the Gal- 
wegians were about to leave the field, when Prince Henry 
came up with the Scots men-at-arms in full career, and dis- 
persed "like a spider's web" that part of the English army 
which was opposed to him. The Galwegians had begun to 
rally, and the battle was renewed with fury, when a report 
flew through both armies that David had fallen. It was in 
vain that the king flew helmetless through the ranks, im- 
ploring the soldiers to rally and stand by him. Order could 
not be restored, and he was at length forced from the field 
to secure his personal safety. The king availed himself of 
the humiliation of the Galwegians to introduce some human- 
ity into his army of barbarians, and to draw the reins of 
discipline more tight. 

It is obvious from this whole narrative that the battle of 
Cuton Moor, or Northallerton, was a well-disputed, and for 
some time a doubtful action ; and though its immediate con- 
sequences seem less important, the remote effects of the vic- 
tory decided much in favor of England. David, victorious 

1 By this they meant to announce themselves as descended from the 
ancient inhabitants of Scotland, called of old Albyn and Albania. 
When they were repulsed, the English called in scorn, Eyrych, Eyrych, 
"You are but Irish," which, indeed, must have been true of that part 
of the Galwegians called the wild Scots of Galloway, who are undoubt- 
edly Scotch Irish. 


at Cuton Moor, might have assured to himself and his pos- 
terity the north of England, as far as the Trent and Humber ; 
and what influential importance that must have given to a 
Scottish monarch in future wars can only be matter of con- 
jecture, or must rather have depended on the character and 
talents of David's successors. 

Even amid all the pride of victory, Stephen consented, in 
1139, for the sake of peace, to surrender to Prince Henry of 
Scotland the whole earldom of Northumberland, with the 
exception of the castles of Newcastle and Bamborough, by 
means of which the English monarch retained the means 
of recovering the whole province when time should serve. 
After this peace of Durham, as it was called, David appears 
to have gone to London, in 1141, to share the short-lived tri- 
umph of his niece Matilda. But this was the visit of a rela- 
tion and friend, and not that of an ally. The Scottish king 
found the royal lady ill-disposed to receive the lessons of 
calmness and moderation which his experience recom- 
mended, and returned to his own country in disgust, 
leaving his niece to her fortunes. 

In 1152 Scotland lost a treasure by the death of the in- 
estimable Prince Henry. He left by Ada, an English lady 
of quality, a family of three sons and as many daughters. 

In the subsequent year the venerable David followed his 
son. Having discharged all his duty as a man and a mon- 
arch, by settling his affairs as well as the early age of his 
grandchildren would permit, he was found dead in an atti- 
tude of devotion, 24th May, 1153. 

That extensive liberality to the Church which procured 
David's admission into the ample roll of Romish saints, 
made rather an unfavorable impression on his successors. 
"He kythed," said James the First, "a sair saint to the 
crowne." If indeed we contemplate with modern eyes the 
munificent foundations of Kelso, Melrose, Holyrood House, 
Jedburgh, Newbottle, Kinloss, Dryburgh, etc., we may be 
disposed to consider David's liberality to the Church as 
nearly allied to wasteful extravagance. But it is to be con- 


sidered that the monks were the only preservers of the little 
learning of the time ; that they were exclusively possessed of 
the knowledge of literature, the arts of staining glass, gar- 
dening, and mechanics ; that they taught religion to all, and 
some touch of useful learning to the children of the nobility. 
These things kept in view, it will not seem strange that a 
patriot king should desire to multiply the number of com- 
munities so much calculated to aid civilization. Let it be 
remembered, also, that the monks were agriculturists; that 
their vassals and bondmen were proverbially said to live 
well under the crosier; that though these ecclesiastics are 
generally alleged to have chosen the best of the land, its 
present superiority is often owing to their own better skill 
of cultivation. The convents, besides, afforded travellers 
the only means of refuge and support which were to be 
found in the country, and constituted the sole fund for the 
maintenance of the poor and infirm. Lastly, as the sacred 
territory gifted to the Church escaped on common occasions 
the ravages of war, there seems much reason for excusing a 
liberality which placed so much fertile land, with its produce, 
beyond the reach of military devastation. It was, perhaps, 
with this view that King David endowed so many convents 
upon the borders so peculiarly exposed to suffer by war. 

In other respects, the prudence and kingly virtues of 
David I. are unimpeachable. Buchanan, no favorer of 
royalty, has left his testimony, that the life of this monarch 
affords the perfect example of a good and patriot king. He 
was constant and active in the distribution of justice, was 
merciful and beneficent in peace, valiant and skilful in war. 
He wept over the horrors committed by his lawless armies, 
and endeavored to atone for what he could not prevent, by 
presents to the churches which suffered. Nay, so great was 
his remorse for the crimes they had committed under his 
rule, that it is said the king of Scotland entertained thoughts 
of going a pilgrimage to Palestine, and dedicating the re- 
mainder of his life to combating the Saracens. But he was 
withheld from his purpose by a more rational consideration 


of the duty he owed to his subjects. It is also recorded of 
David, that, loving pleasure like other men, he was always 
ready to postpone it to duty. If his hounds were drawn out, 
his courser mounted, and all prepared for the enjoyment of 
the chase, the voice of a poor man requiring justice at his 
hand was sufficient to postpone the amusement, though the 
king was passionately fond of it, until he had heard and 
answered the petition of the suppliant. 

In point of civilization, the character and habits of David 
were highly favorable to the advance of those schemes which 
his father Malcolm Cean-mohr had formed, with the assist- 
ance perhaps of his sainted queen. In choosing his residence, 
Malcolm had pitched upon Dunfermline, being the very 
verge of his kingdom, as far as it was properly Scottish. 
David, in imitation of his father, Malcolm Cean-mohr, 
pushed southward across the broad firth, and was, it would 
seem, the first Scottish king who sometimes resided at Edin- 
burgh, which, from its strong fortress and neighboring sea- 
port, was now become a place of consideration, and where 
he founded the abbey of Holy Rood, afterward the royal 
residence of the monarchs of Scotland. This choice of abode 
placed him in frequent contact with the only province of 
his kingdom in which English was constantly spoken, led 
to the frequent use of that language in his court, and to 
the increase of the civilization with which he had become 
acquainted during his education in England. 



Malcolm IV. — William the Lion: his Captivity — Treaty of Falaise: 
Abrogated by Richard I. — Death and Character of William — 
Alexander II.: his Death 


ALCOLM IV., at the age of twelve years, succeeded 
to his excellent grandfather, David I., 1163. Being 
a Celtic prince, succeeding to a people of whom the 
great proportion were Celts, he was inaugurated at Scone 
with the peculiar ceremonies belonging to the Scoto-Irish 
race. In compliance with their ancient customs, he was 
placed upon a fated stone, dedicated to this solemn use, and 
brought for that purpose from Ireland by Fergus, the son 
of Eric. An Iro-Scottish or Highland bard also stepped 
forward, and chanted to the people a Gaelic poem, contain- 
ing the catalogue of the young king's ancestors, from the 
reign of the same Fergus, founder of the dynasty.* The 
poem has been fortunately preserved, and must not be con- 
sidered in the light of one of Gibber's birthday odes. On 
the contrary, it was an exposition from the king to the 
people of the royal descent, in virtue of which he claimed 
their obedience, and bears a sufficiently accurate conformity 
with other meagre documents on the same subject, to enable 
modern antiquaries, by comparing the lists, to form a reg- 
ular catalogue of these barbarous kings or kinglets of the 
Dalriadic race. 

1 The Celtic bard was usually a genealogist or scannachie, and the 
display of his talents was often exhibited in the recital of versified pedi- 

frees. In a burlesque poem, called the Howlat, such a character is in- 
roduced in ridicule. It was written in the reign of James II., when all 
reverence for the bardic profession was lost, at least in the lowlands.— 
See the Bannatyne edition of this ancient poem. 


In Malcolm's reign the lords of the Hebridean islands, 
who were in a state of independence, scarcely acknowledg- 
ing even a nominal allegiance either to the crown of Scot- 
land or that of Norway, though claimed by both countries, 
began to give much annoyance to the western coasts of 
Scotland, to which their light-armed galleys or birlins, and 
their habits of piracy, gave great facilities. Somerled was 
at this time lord of the isles, and a frequent leader in such 
incursions. Peace was made with this turbulent chief in 
1153; but in 1164, ten years after, Somerled was again 
in arms, and fell, attempting a descent at Renfrew. 

Malcolm IV. 's transactions with Henry of England were 
of greater moment. Henry (second of the name) had sworn 
(in 1149) that if he ever gained the English crown he would 
put the Scottish king in possession of Carlisle, and of all the 
country lying between Tweed and Tyne ; but, when securely 
seated on the throne, instead of fulfilling his obligation, he 
endeavored to deprive Malcolm of such possessions in the 
northern counties as yet remained to him, forgetting his 
obligations to his great-uncle David, and his relationship 
to the young king his grandson. The youth and inexperi- 
ence of Malcolm seem on this occasion to have been circum- 
vented by the sagacity of Henry, who was besides, in point 
of power, greatly superior to the young Scots prince. In- 
deed, it would appear that the English sovereign had 
acquired a personal influence over his kinsman, of which 
his Scottish subjects had reason to be jealous. Malcolm 
yielded up to Henry all his possessions in Cumberland and 
Northumberland ; and when it is considered that his grand- 
father David had not been able to retain them with any 
secure hold, even when England was distracted with the 
civil wars of Stephen and Matilda, it must be owned that 
his descendant, opposed to Henry II. in his plenitude of 
undisputed power, had little chance to make his claim good. 
He also did homage for Lothian, to the great scandal of 
Scottish historians, who, conceiving his doing so affected 
the question of Scottish independence, are much disposed 
3 ^ Vol. I. 


to find the Lothian, for which the homage was rendered, 
in Leeds or some other place, different from the real Lothian, 
which they considered as an original part of Scotland. But 
this arises from their entertaining the erroneous opinion that 
Lothian bore, in Malcolm the Fourth's time, the same char- 
acter of an integral part of Scotland which it has long exhib- 
ited. Homage was done by the Scottish kings for Lothian, 
simply because it had been a part or moiety of Northumber- 
land, ceded by Eadulf-Cudel, a Saxon earl of Northum- 
berland, to Malcolm II., on condition of amity and support 
in war, for which, as feudal institutions gained ground, 
feudal homage was the natural substitute and emblem. 1 

Besides the cession of his Northumbrian possessions, Mal- 
colm seems to have attached himself to Henry II. personally, 
and to have cultivated a sort of intimacy which, when it 
exists between a powerful and a weaker prince, seldom fails 
to be dangerous to the independence of the latter. The 
Scottish king was knighted by Henry, in 1159, and attended 
and served in his campaigns in France, till he was recalled 
by the formal remonstrances of his subjects, who declared 
they would not permit English influence to predominate in 
their councils. In 1160, Malcolm's return and presence 
quelled a dissatisfaction which had wellnigh broken out 
into open mutiny. He was also successful in putting down 
insurrections in the detached and half-independent provinces 
of Galloway and Moray. Malcolm IV. died in 1165, at the 
early age of twenty-four years. Though brave in battle, he 
seems from his intercourse with Henry to have been flexible 
and yielding in council, to which, with some effeminacy of 
exterior and shyness of manners, must be attributed his 
historical epithet of Malcolm the Maiden. It could not be 
owing, as alleged by monkish writers, to his strict continence, 
since it is now certain that he had at least one natural son. 

William, brother of Malcolm IV., succeeded him, and 
was crowned in 1166. He instantly solicited from Henry 

1 See page 29. 


the restitution of Northumberland, and, disgusted with the 
English monarch when it was refused him, opened a negotia- 
tion with France, being the first authentic account of that 
intercourse between the countries which an idle legend im- 
putes to a league between Achay or Achaius, king of Scots, 
and the celebrated Charlemagne, and by which the latter 
monarch is idly said to have taken into his pay a body of 
Scottish mercenaries. 

The declared enemy of England, William took advantage 
of the family discords of Henry II. to lend that prince's son 
Richard assistance against his father. The Scottish king 
obtained from the insurgent prince a grant of the earldom 
of Northumberland as far as the Tyne. "Willing to merit 
this munificence on the part of Richard, WilHam in 1173 
invaded Northumberland without any marked success. In 
the subsequent year he renewed the attempt, which termi- 
nated most disastrously. The Scottish king had stationed 
himself before Alnwick, a fortress fatal to his family, and 
was watching the motions of the garrison, while his numer- 
ous and disorderly army plundered the country. Meantime 
a band of those northern barons of England, whose ancestors 
had gained the battle of the standard, had arrived at New- 
castle, and sallied out to scour the country. They made 
about four hundred horsemen, and had ridden out upon 
adventure, concealed by a heavy morning mist. A retreat 
was advised, as they became uncertain of their way; but 
Bernard de Baliol exclaimed, that should they all turn 
bridle, he alone would go on and preserve his honor. They 
advanced, accordingly, somewhat at random. The mist 
suddenly cleared away, and they discovered the battlements 
of Alnwick, and found themselves close to a body of about 
sixty horse, with whom William, the Scottish king, was 
patrolling the country. At first he took the English for a 
part of his own army, and when undeceived, said boldly, 
"Now shall we see who are good knights," and charged at 
the head of his handful of followers. He was unhorsed and 
made prisoner, with divers of his principal followers. The 


northern barons, afraid of a rescue from the numerous Scot- 
tish army, retreated with all speed to Newcastle, bearing with 
them their royal captive. William was presented to Henry 
at Northampton with his legs tied beneath the horse's belly; 
unworthy usage for a captive prince, the near relation of his 
victor. It should be remembered, however, that William's 
interference in the domestic quarrels of his family must have 
greatly incensed Henry against him, and that it was not a 
time when men were scrupulous in their mode of expressing 

We may reasonably suppose that, with such vindictive 
feelings toward his prisoner, Henry II. was not likely to 
part with him unless upon the most severe terms. And the 
loss of the king was so complete a derangement of the system 
of government, as it then existed in Scotland, that the Scot- 
tish nobility and clergy consented that, in order to obtain his 
freedom, William should become the liegeman of Henry, and 
do homage for Scotland and all his other territories. Before 
this disgraceful treaty, which was concluded at Falaise in 
Normandy, in December, 1174, the kings of England had not 
the semblance of a right to exact homage for a single inch 
of Scottish ground, Lothian alone excepted, which was ceded 
to Malcolm II., as has been repeatedly mentioned, by grant 
of the Northumbrian earl Eadulf . All the other component 
parts of what is now termed Scotland had come to the 
crown of that kingdom by right of conquest, without having 
been dependent on England in any point of view. The Pict- 
ish territories had been united to those of the Scots by the 
victories of Kenneth Macalpine. Moray had reverted to 
the Scottish crown by the success of Malcolm II. in repell- 
ing the Danes. Galloway had also been reduced to the 
Scottish sway without the aid or intervention of England ; 
and Strath-Clyde was subjected under like circumstances. 
A feudal dependence could only have been created by ces- 
sion of land which had originally been English, or by restor- 
ing that which had been conquered from Scotland. But 
England could have no title to homage for provinces which, 


having never possessed, England could not cede, and having 
never conquered, could not restore. 

Now, however, by the treaty of Falaise, the king of 
England was declared lord paramount of the whole king- 
dom of Scotland; a miserable example of that impatience 
which too often characterized the Scottish councils. 

An attempt was made at the same time to subject the 
Scottish Church to that of England, by a clause in the same 
treaty, declaring that the former should be bound to the 
latter in such subjection as had been due and paid of old 
time, and that the English Church should enjoy that suprem- 
acy which in justice she ought to possess. The Scottish 
churchmen explained this provision, which was formed with 
studied ambiguity, as leaving the whole question entire, 
since they alleged that no supremacy had been yielded in 
former times, and that none was justly due. But the civil 
article of submission was more carefully worded; and the 
principal castles in the realm, Eoxburgh, Berwick, Jed- 
burgh, Edinburgh, and Stirling, were put in Henry's hands, 
as pledges for the execution of the treaty of Falaise; while 
the king's brother, David, earl of Huntingdon, and many 
Scottish nobles, were surrendered as hostages to the same 
effect. Homage for broad Scotland was in fact rendered at 
York, according to the tenor of the treaty, and the king's 
personal freedom was then obtained. 

William had surrendered the independence of his kingdom 
in ill-advised eagerness to recover his personal freedom ; but 
he maintained with better spirit the franchises of the Church. 
In a disputed election (1181) for the archbishopric of St. An- 
drew's, he opposed with steadiness and constancy the induc- 
tion of John, called the Scot, who was patronized by the pope, 
Alexander III. The kingdom of Scotland was laid under an 
Interdict ; but "William remained unshaken ; and a new pope, 
willing to compromise the matter, gave way to the king's 
pleasure, and recalled the excommunication. In 1188, Pope 
Clement III. formally ratified the privileges of the Church of 
Scotland, as a daughter of, and immediately subject to, Rome, 


and declared that no sentence of excommunication should be 
pronounced there save by his holiness or his legate a latere, 
such legate being a Scottish subject, or one specially deputed 
out of the sacred college. These were the principal transac- 
tions of William's reign after his release till the death of 
Henry II. of England, omitting only some savage transac- 
tions in Galloway, which argued the total barbarity of the 

The frontier castles of Roxburgh and Berwick still re- 
mained in possession of the English at the death of Henry 
II. On the succession of his son, Richard Cceur de Lion, a 
remarkable treaty was entered into between the kings and 
nations, by which, after a personal interview with William, 
at Canterbury, Richard renounced all right of superiority or 
homage which had been extorted from William during his 
captivity, and re-established the borders of the two king- 
doms as they had been at the time of William's misfortune ; 
reserving to England such homage as Malcolm, the elder 
brother of William, had paid, or was bound to have ren- 
dered; and thus replacing Scotland fully in the situation of 
national independence resigned by the treaty of Falaise. All 
claims of homage due to England before that surrender were 
carefully reserved, and therefore William was still the king 
of England's vassal for Lothian, for the town of Berwick, 
and for whatever lands besides he possessed within the realm 
of England. The stipulated compensation to be paid by Scot- 
land for this ample restitution of her national freedom was 
ten thousand marks sterling, a sum equal to one hundred 
thousand pounds in the present day. 

The inducements leading Richard to renounce the ad- 
vantages which his father had acquired in the moment of 
William's misfortune were manifest: 1. The generous nat- 
ure of Richard probably remembered that the invasion of 
Northumberland and the battle of Alnwick took place in 
consequence of a treaty between William and himself; and 
he might think himself obliged in honor to relieve his ally 
of some part, at least, of the ill consequences which had fol- 


lowed hia ill-fated attempt to carry into effect their agree- 
ment. This was, indeed, an argument which monarchs of 
a selfish disposition would not have been willing to admit ; 
but it was calculated to affect the chivalrous and generous 
feelings of Cceur de Lion. 2. Richard being on the point 
of embarking for the Holy Land, a large sum of money was 
of more importance to him than the barren claim of homage, 
which, in effect, could never have a real or distinct value to 
an English monarch, unless when, at some favorable oppor- 
tunity, it could be connected with a claim to the property 
as well as the mere superiority of the kingdom of Scotland. 
3. It was of the highest consequence that the English king, 
bound on a distant expedition with the flower of his army, 
should leave a near-bordering and warlike neighbor rather 
in the condition of a grateful ally than of a sullen and dis- 
contented vassal, desirous to snatch the first opportunity of 
bursting his feudal fetters, by an exertion of violence similar 
to that which had imposed them. 

The money stipulated for the redemption of the national 
independence of Scotland was collected by an aid granted 
to the king by the nobles and the clergy; and there is rea- 
son to think that, in part at least, the burden descended on 
the inhabitants in the shape of a capitation tax. Two thou- 
sand marks remained due when Richard himself became a 
prisoner, and were paid by William in aid of the lion-hearted 
prince's ransom, if indeed, which seems equally probable, 
that sum was not a generous and gratuitous contribution 
on the part of the Scottish king toward the liberation of his 

Domestic dissensions in his distant provinces, all of them 
brought to a happy conclusion by his skill and activity, are 
the most marked historical events in William's after-reign. 
Some misunderstanding with King John of England occa- 
sioned the levying forces on both sides ; but by a treaty en- 
tered into between the princes, the causes of complaint were 
removed ; William agreeing to pay to John a sum of fifteen 
thousand marks for goodwill, it is said, and for certain favor- 


able conditions. William died at Stirling, 1214, aged seventy- 
two, after a long and active reign of forty-eight years. 

"William derived his cognomen of the Lion from his be- 
ing the first who adopted that animal as the armorial bear- 
ing of Scotland. From this emblem the chief of the Scottish 
heralds is called the Lion Mng-at-arms. Chivalry was fast 
gaining ground in Scotland at this time, as appears from the 
importance attached by William and his elder brother Mal- 
colm to the dignity of knighthood, and also from the roman- 
tic exclamation of William, when he joined the unequal con- 
flict at Alnwick, "Now shall we see the best knights." 

William the Lion was a legislator, and his laws are pre- 
served. He was a strict, almost a severe, administrator of 
justice; but the turn of the age and the temper of his sub- 
jects required that justice, which in a more refined period 
can and ought to make many distinctions in the classification 
of crimes, should in barbarous times seize her harvest with 
less selection. The blot of William's reign was his rashness 
at Alnwick, and the precipitation with which he bartered 
the independence of Scotland for his own liberty. But his 
dexterous negotiation with Richard I. enabled him to re- 
cover that false step, and to leave his kingdom in the same 
condition in which he found it. By his wife, Ermengarde 
de Beaumont, William had a son, Alexander, who succeeded 
to him. By illicit intrigues he left a numerous family. 

Alexander II. 's reign, though active, busy, and abound- 
ing in events, yet exhibits few incidents of that deeply influ- 
ential character which affect future ages. These events are 
rather to be considered in the gross than in particular detail, 
and we shall revert to them hereafter, only stating here gen- 
erally that Alexander's battles chiefly took place in endeavor- 
ing to give currency to the law in those parts of his kingdom 
which were still Celtic. 

Alexander had, in 1216, a temporary quarrel with John, 
which led to mutual depredations; but peace was restored, 
and, in 1221, he married the English princess Joan, who was 
secured in a jointure of one thousand pounds of landed rent. 


In 1222, the king was engaged in subduing a rebellion in 
Argyle ; and, in the same year, was obliged to visit Caith- 
ness, where the bishop had been burned in his house by con- 
nivance of the earl of the same county. In 1228 it was the 
district of Moray which was discontented and disturbed by 
the achievements of one Gillescop, who was put down and 
executed by the efforts of the Earl of Buchan, justiciary of 
Scotland. In 1231 Caithness witnessed a second tragedy 
similar to that of 1228, only the parts of the performers 
were altered. It was now the bishop or his retainers who 
murdered the Earl of Caithness and burned his castle. This 
called for and received fresh chastisement. 

In 1233 new tumults arose among the Celtic inhabitants 
of Scotland. Alan, lord of Galloway, died, leaving three 
daughters. The king was desirous of dividing the region 
among them as heirs portioners. The inhabitants with- 
stood, in arms, the partition of their country, being re- 
solved it should continue in the form of a single fief. The 
purpose of the king was to break the strength of this great 
principality, and create three chiefs who might be naturally 
expected to be more dependent on the crown than a single 
overgrown vassal had proved to be. Alexander led an army 
against the insurgents, defeated them, and effected the pro- 
posed division of the province. 

It is to be carefully noted that all these wars with his 
insurgent Celtic subjects, though maintained by the king in 
defence of the administration of justice and authority, tended 
not the less to alienate the districts in which they took place 
from the royal power and authority ; and the temporary sub- 
mission of their chiefs was always made with reluctance, and 
seldom with sincerity. 

In 1249 Alexander II. died in the remote island of Ker- 
rera, in the Hebrides, while engaged in an expedition for 
compelling the island chiefs to transfer to the Scottish king 
a homage which some of them had paid to Norway, as lord 
paramount of the isles. He was a wise and active monarch. 
He showed his integrity by the care and good faith with 


which he protected the frontiers of England, when confided 
to him, in 1241, by his contemporary, Henry III. Alexander 
II. left no children by his first wife, Princess Joan. His sec- 
ond was Mary de Couci, a daughter of that proud house who 
on their banners affected a motto disclaiming the rank of 
king. 1 By her he had Alexander III., who, at his father's 
death, was a child of eight years old. 

1 Je suis ni roi, ni prince aussi— 
Je suis le seigneur de Couci. 



Reign of Alexander III.: his Death — On the Race of Kings Succeed- 
ing to Kenneth Macalpine — Nature of their Government as dis- 
tinguished from that of the Celts — Grand Division of Scotland 
into Celtic and Gothic; and its Consequences 

EVEN before the death, of Alexander II. some dispute 
had taken place on the old theme of the homage, the 
usual subject of contention. Alexander refused to 
submit to pay it, unless Northumberland, for which it was 
rendered, should be restored to him. Henry III. compounded 
this demand by settling on the Scottish king lands in that 
county to the amount of one hundred pounds per annum. 
This, however, was a consideration unconnected with Scot- 
land ; and though an inadequate one, according to our ideas, 
yet perfectly saved the question of national independence, 
Henry thereby acquiescing in the principle insisted upon by 
the Scottish king and statesmen, that the acknowledgment 
of dependence was to be rendered for something held in Eng- 
land. Whether the estate for which fealty was due chanced 
to be of great or small value could not affect the question, 
since homage might be rendered for a hamlet or a manor, 
as well as for a county or kingdom. The only difference 
was, that the less the value of the fief, of the smaller im- 
portance were the feudal prestations, and the consequences 
of the feudal forfeiture were less worthy of attention. Henry 
was not yet satisfied; and the insinuations of Bisset, a Scot- 
tish exile, irritated him so much against the Scottish king 
that he determined on an invasion of his kingdom. He 
was met by Alexander, at the head of a gallant army near 
Ponteland, in Westmoreland, and a peace was agreed upon 
without any further discussion about the homage. 


It was clear, however, that the matter lay near to the 
heart of the English sovereign ; and no sooner was Alexander 
II. deceased, than Henry applied to the pope, praying him 
to interdict the solemn coronation of Alexander III. till he, 
as feudal superior of Scotland, should give consent. The 
Scottish nobility heard of this interference, and resolved to 
hasten the ceremony. Some difficulty occurred whether the 
crown could be placed on the head of one not yet dubbed 
knight, so essential was the rank of chivalry then considered 
even to the dignity of royalty. It was suggested by Comyn, 
earl of Monteith, that the bishop of Saint Andrew's should 
knight the king as well as crown him ; and the proposal was 
agreed to. The boy was made to take the coronation oaths 
in Latin and in Norman-French : this was a Gothic part of 
the ceremony. That the Scottish or Celtic forms might also 
be complied with, a Highland bard, dressed in a scarlet robe, 
venerable for his hoary beard and locks, knelt before the 
young king, while seated on the fated stone, and, as at the 
coronation of Malcolm IV., recited the royal genealogy in a 
set of names that must have sounded like an invocation of 
the fiends. 

The young king was, shortly after his coronation, married 
to the English princess Margaret, daughter of Henry III. 
In virtue of the interest thus obtained, Henry interested 
himself officiously in the affairs of Scotland, to the great 
offence of the natives. He succeeded in establishing a party 
within Scotland in his interests, which was strongly opposed 
by others of the Scottish regency; and various struggles 
took place, in which no conclusive superiority was obtained 
by either party. The young king of Scots showed, even 
while a boy, much judgment and steadiness of character. 
He repeatedly visited the court of his father-in-law as an 
honored friend and relative; but testified while there a 
steady and honorable determination to transact no affairs of 
state, by which the honor of his country or its interests could 
be compromised, alleging that he could not do so without 
the advice of his national council. Peace was thus pre- 


served, the independence of Scotland guarded from hazard, 
and all possibility of taking advantage of Alexander's youth 
and inexperience effectually averted. During one of these 
temporary residences in England, Queen Margaret became 
mother of a princess, who was named after her mother. It 
appears that some of these visits were made with a view 
to recover payment of Queen Margaret's stipulated dowry; 
and so poor was Henry's exchequer at the time (1263) that 
five hundred marks exhausted its contents ; and the king of 
England was fain to take more distant periods to pay the 
remainder of the sum, being one thousand marks, still due. 

Alexander III. was now a youth of twenty-two years 
old, fit and capable to head an army. It was well he was 
so, for a formidable invasion impended. This attack came 
from Haco, king of Norway. That warlike prince had col- 
lected a formidable fleet and army, with the determination 
of supporting his interest in the Hebridean islands, which 
had been gradually sinking under the efforts of the present 
king of Scotland, who pursued the policy of his father, in 
compelling those island lords to renounce their dependence 
on Norway, and hold their isles of the Scottish crown. The 
fleet of Haco was freighted with many thousands of those 
same northern warriors whose courage had been felt as 
irresistible on almost all the shores of Europe, and was 
accounted the most formidable armament that had ever 
sailed from Norway. 

In 1263, the king of Norse, with this powerful army, 
arrived in the bay of Largs, near the mouth of the Clyde, 
and attempted to effect a landing. The weather was tem- 
pestuous, and rendered their disembarkation partial, difficult, 
and dangerous. The Scottish forces were on foot and pre- 
pared. The Norwegians persisted in their attempt, and 
Alexander and his army made equal efforts to repulse 
them. The Norwegian historians have not denied that 
their host suffered much from the sword of the enemy, 
though they ascribe the total discomfiture of their under- 
taking to the rage of the elements. The number of de- 


fenders daily increased, and the efforts of the assailants 
diminished; and Haco, after a long and desperate perse- 
verance in attempts to land, at last withdrew from his en- 
terprise, and fled with his shattered navy through the strait 
between Skye and the mainland, which, since called Kyle 
Haken, still retains his name. Doubling the northern ex- 
tremity of Scotland, the king of Norway, after much loss 
and suffering, reached the islands of Orkney, which then 
belonged to him, and yielding to the effects of an exhausted 
constitution, acted upon by the mortified ambition and 
wounded pride of a soldier, died there within a few weeks 
after his fatal disaster at Largs. In consequence of this 
decisive action, a treaty was entered into, by which Nor- 
way ceded to Alexander III. all islands in the western sea 
of Scotland, and, indeed, all lying near to that country, 
excepting those of Orkney and Shetland, for which resigna- 
tion the Scottish king and his estates covenanted to pay four 
thousand marks in four several sums, and a quit-rent of one 
hundred marks forever. 

In 1281, the league was drawn still closer by the marriage 
of Eric, the young king of Norway, with Margaret, daughter 
of Alexander III., by the English princess of that name. 
They had one only child, named after her mother, and called 
in Scottish history the Maiden of Norway, whose untimely 
death forms, as we shall hereafter see, a most gloomy era in 
Scottish history. 

It is worth while to notice, that some dispute having oc- 
curred between Alexander and his clergy, the papal legate 
to England attempted to interfere, with the view of levying 
a contribution for the expense of his mission. But the king 
and the Scottish Church having very sagely terminated their 
dispute without any need of mediation, resolved, that, as the 
legate's commission extended to England only, he should 
not be permitted to enter the kingdom of Scotland or exer- 
cise authority there. In another instance, they showed the 
same firmness. Pope Clement the Fourth having required 
the Scottish ecclesiastics to pay to the king of England a 


tenth part of their benefices, to aid in the expense of an in- 
tended crusade, the Scottish Church held a general council, 
and resisted the demand. 

Scotland did not, however, escape the epidemic rage for 
crusades. A multitude of her bravest barons and knights 
went to Palestine, and perished there. 

Desolation of the worst kind began to gather round 
Alexander III. His wife was dead. His only surviving 
son also died; another had not survived childhood. He 
had no issue remaining except the Maid of Norway, his 
granddaughter, a child, residing in a distant kingdom. To 
provide against the evils of a disputed succession, for he was 
still a man in the flower of life, the Scottish monarch mar- 
ried Joleta, daughter of the count of Dreux. Shortly after 
the wedding, as he pressed homeward by a precipitous road 
along the seacoast, near to Kinghorn, in Fife, his horse fell 
from a cliff, and the rider was killed. 

The lamentation was universal; the consequences were 
anticipated as most disastrous. 

Old men and beldames 

Did prophesy about it dangerously. 

Thomas the Rhymer, a poet and supposed prophet, is 
said to have predicted the calamity, under the metaphor of 
a tempest the most dreadful that Scotland ever witnessed. 
Others recalled an evil omen which occurred during the 
festivities of Alexander's second marriage; a spectre, rep- 
resenting Death, had closed a gallant procession of masks, 
and being perhaps presented with too shocking an approach 
to a real skeleton, had introduced grief and terror into the 
mirth and pomp of the bridal revelry. This was now con- 
strued into an omen of the intense calamity which was soon 
to silence the public rejoicings. The common people vented 
their sorrows for an excellent prince in simple but affecting 
lines, deploring his virtues, and anticipating the consequences 
of his death. But neither poet nor seer, in their most rapt 
and gloomy moments, could anticipate half the extent of 


the calamity with which the death of Alexander was to be 
followed in the kingdom which he ruled. 

At this remarkable point in history, we pause to contrast 
the condition of Scotland as it stood in 843, when Kenneth 
Macalpine first formed the Picts and Scots into one people, 
and in the year 1286, when death deprived that people of 
their sovereign, Alexander III. 

At the earlier term we know that the manners of those 
descended from the Dalriads, Scoto-Irish, or pure Scots, 
properly so called, must have been, as they remained till a 
much later period, the same with those of the cognate tribes 
in Ireland, the land of their descent. Their constitution was 
purely patriarchal, the simplest and most primitive form of 
government. The blood of the original founder of the fam- 
ily was held to flow in the veins of his successive represen- 
tatives, and to perpetuate in each chief the right of supreme 
authority over the descendants of his own line, who formed 
his children and subjects, as he became by right of birth 
their sovereign ruler and lawgiver. A nation consisted of 
a union of several such tribes, having a single chief chosen 
over them for their general direction in war, and umpire of 
their disputes in peace. With the family and blood of this 
chief of chiefs, most of the inferior chieftains claimed a con- 
nection more or less remote. This supreme chiefdom, or 
right of sovereignty, was hereditary, in so far as the person 
possessing it was chosen from the blood royal of the king 
deceased ; but it was so far elective that any of his kinsmen 
might be chosen by the nation to succeed him ; and, as the 
office of sovereign could not be exercised by a child, the 
choice generally fell upon a full-grown man, the brother or 
nephew of the deceased, instead of his son or grandson. 

This uncertainty of succession, which prevailed in respect 
to the crown itself, while Celtic manners were predominant, 
proved a constant source of rebellion and bloodshed. The 
postponed heir, when he arose in years, was frequently de- 
sirous to attain his father's power; and many a murder was 
committed for the sake of rendering straight an oblique line 


of succession, -which such preference of an adult had thrown 
out of the direct course. A singular expedient was resorted 
to, to prevent or diminish such evils. A sort of king of the 
Romans, or Csesar, was chosen as the destined successor 
while the sovereign chief was yet alive. He was called the 
Tanist, and was inaugurated during the life of the reigning 
king, but with maimed rites, for he was permitted to place 
only one foot on the fated stone of election. The monarch 
had little authority in the different tribes of which the king- 
dom was composed, unless during the time of war. In war, 
however, the king possessed arbitrary power; and war, for- 
eign and domestic, was the ordinary condition of the people. 
This, as described by Malcolm, is the constitution of Persia 
at this day. 

Such was the government of the Scots when the Picts, 
losing their own name and existence, merged into that 
people. It does not appear that there existed any material 
difference between the Pictish form of government and that 
of their conquerors, nor did such distinction occur in any of 
the other nations which came to compose the Scottish king- 
dom, with the exception of the Lothians. Galloway was 
unquestionably under the dominion of patriarchal chiefs 
and clans, as we know from the patronymics current to 
this day, of which M'Dougal, M'Culloch, M'Kie, and other 
races certainly not derived from the Highlands, ascend to 
great antiquity. Strath-Clyde was probably under the same 
species of government ; at least, the clan system of the Celts 
prevailed in the south and eastern parts of the border district 
until the union of the crowns ; and as, had it been once dis- 
used, such a species of rule could not easily have been recon- 
structed, we are authorized to suppose that it had flourished 
there since the fall of the British kingdom. There occurs 
a further reason why it should have been so. The clan, or 
patriarchal, system of government was particularly calcu- 
lated for regulating a warlike and lawless country, as it 
provided for decision of disputes, and for the leading of the 
inhabitants to war, in the easiest and most simple manner 


possible. The clansmen submitted to the award of the chief 
in peace ; they followed his banner to battle ; they aided him 
with their advice in council, and the constitution of the tribe 
was complete. The nature of a frontier country exposed it 
in a peculiar degree to sudden danger, and therefore this 
compendious mode of government, established there by the 
Britons, was probably handed down to later times, from its 
being specially adapted to the exigencies of the situation. 
But though the usage of clanship probably prevailed there, 
we are not prepared to show that any of the clans inhabiting 
the border country carry back their antiquity into the Celtic 
or British period. Their names declare them of more 
modern date. 

Those various nations which we have enumerated had 
all a common Celtic descent; at least, it is yet unproved 
that the Picts were any other than the ancient Caledonians, 
who must of course have been Britons. Their manners were 
as simple as their form of government, exhibiting the vices 
and virtues of a barbarous state of society. They were 
brave, warlike, and formidable as light troops; but, armed 
with slender lances, unwieldy swords, and bucklers made 
of osiers or hides, they were ill qualified to sustain a length- 
ened conflict with the Norman warriors, who were regularly 
trained to battle, and entered it in close array and in com- 
plete armor. As other barbarians, the Celtic tribes were 
fickle and cruel at times, at other times capable of great 
kindness and generosity. Those who inhabited the moun- 
tains lived by their herds and flocks, and by the chase. The 
tribes who had any portion of arable ground cultivated it, 
under the direction of the chief, for the benefit of the com- 
munity. As every clan formed the epitome of a nation 
within itself, plundering from each other was a species of 
warfare to which no disgrace was attached ; and when the 
mountaineers sought their booty in the low country, their 
prey was richer, perhaps, and less stoutly defended, than 
when they attacked a kindred tribe of Highlanders. The 
lowlands were therefore chiefly harassed by their incursions. 


The Picts seem to have made some progress in agricul- 
ture, and to have known something of architecture and 
domestic arts, which are earliest improved in the more fer- 
tile countries. But neither Scots, Picts, Galwegians, nor 
Strath-Clyde Britons, seem to have possessed the knowledge 
of writing or use of the alphabet. Three or four different 
nations, each subdivided into an endless variety of indepen- 
dent clans, tribes, and families, were ill calculated to form 
an independent state so powerful as to maintain its ground 
among other nations, or defend its liberties against an am- 
bitious neighbor. But the fortunate acquisition of the fer- 
tile province of Lothian, including all the country between 
the Tweed and Forth, and the judicious measures of Mal- 
colm Cean-mohr and his successors, formed the means of 
giving consistency to that which was loose, and unity to that 
which was discordant, in the Scottish government. 

With some of that craft which induced the Scottish pro- 
prietors of the Middle Ages to erect their castles on the very 
verge of their own property, and opposite to the residences of 
their most powerful neighbors, Malcolm Cean-mohr fixed his 
royal residence originally at Dunfermline, and his successors 
removed it to Edinburgh. Berwick and Dunbar were forti- 
fied so as to offer successful opposition to an invading army ; 
and to cross the Tweed, which, in its lower course, is seldom 
fordable, leaving such strengths in their rear, would have 
been a hazardous attempt for an English invader, unless 
at the head of a very considerable army. The possession 
of Lothian, whose population was Saxon, intermingled with 
Danish, introduced to the king of Scotland and his court new 
wants, new wishes, new arts of policy, an intercourse with 
other countries to which they had formerly no access, and 
a new language to express all these new ideas. We have 
noticed what willing reception Malcolm, influenced by his 
queen, gave to the emigrant Saxons and Normans, and the 
envy excited in the ancient genuine Scots by the favor ex- 
tended to these strangers. All the successors of Malcolm 
(excepting the Hebridean savage Donald Bane) were addicted 


to the same policy, and purchased knowledge in the way in 
which it is most honorably obtained, by benefiting and 
rewarding those who are capable to impart it. Of the Nor- 
man barons, generally accounted the flower of Europe, Scot- 
land received from time to time such numerous accessions, 
that they may be said, with few exceptions, to form the 
ancestors of the Scottish nobility, and of many of the most 
distinguished families among the gentry; a fact so well 
known that it is useless to bring proof of it. These foreign- 
ers, and especially the Normans and Anglo-Normans, were 
superior to the native subjects of the Scottish kings, both in 
the arts of peace and war. They therefore naturally filled 
their court, and introduced into the country where they were 
strangers their own manners and their own laws, which in 
process of time extended themselves to the other races by 
which Scotland was inhabited. 

The benefits received from this influx of foreigners, and 
their influence, were doubtless a main step toward civilizing 
Scotland; yet the immediate effect of their introduction had 
a tendency to the disunion of the state. It created in these 
lofty strangers a race of men acting upon different prin- 
ciples, and regarding themselves as entirely a separate race 
from the Celtic tribes, possessing jarring interests and dis- 
cordant manners. The jealousy between these separate 
races was shown in the council of war previous to the battle 
of the standard, where Bruce, speaking of himself and his 
compeers, as being neither Scottish nor English, but Norman 
barons, upbraided David for bringing out against a chival- 
rous race which had rendered him such services the wild 
ferocity and uncertain faith of the Scottish tribes; while, 
on the other hand, Malise, earl of Stratherne, reproached 
the same monarch for trusting more to the mail and spear 
of Norman strangers than the undaunted courage of his 
native soldiers. 

This intermixture gave a miscellaneous, and, in so far, 
an incoherent appearance to the inhabitants of Scotland at 
this period. They seemed not so much to constitute one 


state as a confederacy of tribes of different origin. Thus 
the charters of King David and his successors are addressed 
to all his subjects, French and English, Scottish and Galwe- 
gian. The manners, the prejudices of so many mixed races, 
corrected or neutralized each other; and the moral blending 
together of nations led in time, like some chemical mixture, 
to fermentation and subsequent purity. This was forwarded 
with the best intentions, though perhaps over-hastily, and 
in so far injudiciously, by the efforts of the Scottish kings, 
who, from Malcolm Cean-mohr's time to that of Alexander 
III., appear to have been a race of as excellent monarchs as 
ever swayed sceptre over a rude people. They were prudent 
in their schemes, and fortunate in the execution; and the 
exceptions occasioned by the death of Malcolm III. and the 
captivity of "William can only be imputed to chivalrous rash- 
ness, the fault of the age. They were unwearied in their 
exercise of justice, which, in the more remote corners of 
Scotland, could only be done at the head of an army; and 
even where the task was devolved upon the sheriffs and 
vice-sheriffs of counties, the execution of it required frequent 
inspection by the king and his high justiciaries, who made 
circuits for that purpose. The rights of landed property 
began to be arranged in most of the lowland counties upon 
the feudal system then universal in Europe, and so far united 
Scotland with the general system of civilization. 

The language which was generally used in Scotland, 
came at length to be English, as the speech of Lothian, the 
most civilized province of the kingdom, and the readiest in 
which they could hold communication with their neighbors. 
It must have been introduced gradually, as is evident from 
the numerous Celtic words retained in old statutes and char- 
ters, and rendered general by its being the only language 
used in writing. 

"We know there was at least one poem composed in En- 
glish, by a Scottish author, which excited the attention of 
contemporaries. It is a metrical romance on the subject 
of Sir Tristrem, by Thomas of Erceldone, who composed it 


in such "quaint Ingush" as common minstrels could hardly 
understand or recite by heart. If we may judge of this 
work from the comparatively modern copy which remains, 
the style of the composition, brief, nervous, figurative, and 
concise almost to obscurity, resembles the Norse or Anglo- 
Saxon poetry more than that of the English minstrels, whose 
loose, prolix, and trivial mode of composition is called by 
Chaucer's Host of the Tabard, "drafty rhiming." The 
structure of the stanza in Sir Tristrem is also very peculiar, 
elliptical, and complicated, seeming to verify the high eulogy 
of a poet nearly contemporary, "that it is the best geste ever 
was or ever would be made, if minstrels could recite as the 
author had composed it." On the contrary, the elegiac 
ballad on Alexander III., already mentioned, differs only 
from modern English in the mode of spelling. 

Besides the general introduction of the English language, 
which spread itself gradually, doubtless, through the more 
civilized part of the lowlands, the Norman-French was also 
used at court, which, as we learn from the names of wit- 
nesses to royal charters, foundations, etc., was the resort of 
these foreign nobles. It was also adopted as the language 
of the coronation oath, which shows it was the speech of the 
nobles, while the version in Latin seems to have been made 
for the use of the clergy. The Norman-French also, as 
specially adapted to express feudal stipulations, was fre- 
quently applied to law proceedings. 

The political constitution of Scotland had not as yet 
arranged itself under any peculiar representative form. 
The king acted by the advice, and sometimes under the 
control, of a great feudal council, or cour pleniere, to which 
vassals in chief of the crown and a part of the clergy were 
summoned. But there was no representation of the third 
estate. There was, notwithstanding, the spirit of freedom 
in the government ; and though the institutions for its pres- 
ervation were not yet finished in that early age, the great 
council failed not to let their voice be heard when the sover- 
eign fell into political errors. We have already noticed that 


the liberties of the Church were defended with a spirit of 
independence hardly equalled in any other state of Europe 
at the time. 

The useful arts began to be cultivated. The nobles and 
gentry sheltered themselves in towers built in strong natural 
positions. Their skill in architecture, however, could not be 
extensive, since the construction of a handsome arch, even 
in Alexander the Third's time, could only be accounted for 
by magic ; ' and the few stately castellated edifices of an 
early date which remain in Scotland are to be ascribed to 
the English, during their brief occupation of that country. 

Scotland enjoyed, during this period, a more extensive 
trade than historians have been hitherto aware of. Money 
was current in the country, and the payment of considerable 
sums, as ten thousand marks to Richard I., and on other 
occasions, was accomplished without national distress. The 
Scottish military force was respectable, since, according to 
Matthew Paris, Alexander II. was enabled, in 1244, to face 
the power of England with a thousand horse, well armed 
and tolerably mounted, though not on Spanish or Italian 
horses, and nigh to one hundred thousand infantry, all 
determined to live or die with their sovereign. 

The household of the Scottish king was filled with the 
usual number of feudal officers, and there was an affecta- 
tion of splendor in the royal establishment, which even the 
humility of the sainted Queen Margaret did not discourage. 
She and her husband used at meals vessels of gold and sil- 
ver plate, or at least, says the candid Turgot, such as were 
lacquered over so as to have that appearance. Even in the 
early days of Alexander I. , that monarch (with a generosity 
similar to that of the lover who presented his bride with 
a case of razors, as what he himself most prized) munifi- 

1 It is to be seen in the ruins of the castle of the Marquis of Twee- 
dale's park at Yester. Fordun says, it was framed arte quadam magica, 
and was called Bo-hall, that is, Hobgoblin-hall. I presume the magic 
consisted in the art of casting an arch, as the vault, which still exists, 
has nothing else that is remarkable. 


cently bestowed on the church of Saint Andrew's an Arabian 
steed covered with rich caparisons, and a suit of armor 
ornamented with silver and precious stones, all which he 
brought to the high altar, and solemnly devoted to the 

Berwick enjoyed the privileges of a free port; and under 
Alexander III. the customs of that single Scottish port 
amounted to £2,197 8s., while those of all England only 
made up the sum of £8,411 19s. ll%d. An ancient historian 
terms that town a second Alexandria. 

Lastly, we may notice that the soil was chiefly culti- 
vated by bondmen; but the institution of royal boroughs 
had begun considerably to ameliorate the condition of the 
inferior orders. 

Such was the condition of Scotland at the end of the 
thirteenth century ; but \v e only recognize laws and institu- 
tions in those parts of the kingdom to which the king's im- 
mediate authority and the influence of the more modern 
system and manners extended. This was exclusive of the 
whole Highlands and isles, of Galloway, and Strath-Clyde, 
till these two last provinces were totally melted into the gen- 
eral mass of lowland or Scoto-Saxon civilization ; and prob- 
ably the northern provinces of Caithness and Moray were 
also beyond the limits of regular government. In other 
words, the improved system prevailed, in whole or in part, 
only where men, from comparative wealth and convenience 
of situation, had been taught to prefer the benefits of civil- 
ized government to the ferocious and individual freedom of 
a savage state. The mountaineers, as they did not value 
the protection of a more regular order of law, despised and 
hated its restraint. They continued to wear the dress, wield 
the arms, and observe the institutions or customs of their 
Celtic fathers. They acknowledged, indeed, generally speak- 
ing, the paramount superiority of the kings of Scotland ; but 
many of their high chiefs, such as Macdonell of the isles, 
Macdougal of Lorn, Roland of Galloway, and others, longed 
for independence, and frequently attempted to assert it. The 


king, on the other hand, could only exercise his authority in 
these remote districts directly by marching into them with 
his army, or indirectly by availing himself of their domestic 
quarrels, and instigating one chief to the destruction of an- 
other. In either case he might be the terror, but could 
never be esteemed the protector, of this primitive race of 
his subjects, the first, and for many years the only tribes 
over whom his fathers possessed any sway. And thus com- 
menced, and was handed down for many an age, the distinc- 
tion between the Celtic Scot and the Scoto-Saxon, the High- 
lander, in short, and Lowlander, which is still distinctly 
marked by the difference of language, and was in the last 
generation more strongly apparent by the distinction of 
manners, dress, and even laws. 

Such was the singular state of Scotland, divided between 
two separate races, one of which had attained a considerable 
degree of civilization, and the other remained still nearly in 
a state of nature, when the death of Alexander III. exposed 
the nation to the risk of annihilation as an independent people 
and kingdom. 

4 <% Vol. I. 



Schemes of Edward I. — Death of the Maid of Norway — John Baliol; 
his War with England; and his Defeat at Dunbar, and De- 

BY the untimely decease of Alexander III., in 1290, the 
Maid of Norway, his granddaughter, remained sole 
and undoubted heir to the throne. Edward I. of 
England, the near relation of the orphan queen, instantly 
formed the project of extending his regal sway over the 
northern part of Britain by a marriage between this royal 
heiress and his only son, Edward, prince of Wales. The 
barons of Scotland testified no dislike to this alliance, the 
most natural mode, perhaps, to effect a union between two 
kingdoms which nature had joined, though untoward events 
had separated them. The great nobles of that country were, 
we have seen, Normans as well as the English lords : many 
held land in both kingdoms ; and therefore the idea of an 
alliance with England was not at that time so unpopular as 
it afterward became, when long and bloody wars had ren- 
dered the nations irreconcilable enemies. The Scottish took, 
on the other hand, the most jealous precautions that all the 
rights and immunities of Scotland, as a separate kingdom, 
should be upheld and preserved; that Scottishmen born 
should not be called to answer in England for deeds done 
in their own country; that the national records should be 
suffered to remain within the realm; and that no aids of 
money or levies of troops should be demanded, unless in 
such cases as were warranted by former usage. These pre- 
liminaries were settled between King Edward and a conven- 
tion of the Scottish estates, held at Birgham, July, 1290. 
Edward promised all this, and swore to his promise ; but an 


urgent proposal that he should be put in possession of all the 
Scottish castles alarmed the estates of Scotland, as affording 
too much cause to doubt whether oath or promise would be 
much regarded. 

In the meantime Margaret, the young heiress of Scotland, 
died on her voyage to Scotland. A new scene now opened; 
for by this event the descendants of Alexander III., on whom 
the crown had been settled in 1284, were altogether extin- 
guished, and the kingdom lay open to the claim of every 
one, or any one, who could show a collateral connection, 
however remote, with the royal family of Scotland. 

Many pretensions to the throne were accordingly set up; 
but the chief were those of two great lords of Norman ex- 
traction, Robert Bruce and John Baliol. The former of 
these was lord of Galloway, the latter of Annandale in 
Scotland. Their rights of succession stood thus. 

"William the Lion had a brother David, created Earl of 
Huntingdon, who left three daughters: namely, first, Mar- 
garet, married to Alan, lord of Galloway ; second, Isabella, 
to Robert Bruce of Annandale ; third, Ada, to Henry Hast- 
ings. John Baliol claimed the kingdom as the son of Devor- 
goil, daughter of Margaret, the eldest daughter of David; 
Bruce, on the other hand, claimed, as the son of Isabella, the 
second daughter, pretending that he was thus nearer by one 
generation to Earl David, through whom both the compet- 
itors claimed their relationship. The question simply was, 
whether the right of succession which David of Huntingdon 
might have claimed while alive descended to his grandson 
Baliol, or was to be held as passing to Bruce, who, though 
the son of the younger sister, was one degree nearer to the 
person from whom he claimed, being only the grandson, 
while Baliol was the great-grandson of Earl David, their 
common ancestor. Modern lawyers would at once pro- 
nounce in BalioPs favor; but the precise nature of repre- 
sentation had not then been fixed in Scotland. 

Both barons resolved to support their plea with arms. 
Many other claims, more or less specious, were brought 


forward. The country of Scotland was divided and sub- 
divided into factions; and in the rage of approaching civil 
war, Edward I. saw the moment when that claim of para- 
mount superiority which had been so pertinaciously adhered 
to by the English monarchs, though as uniformly refuted 
by the Scottish, might be brought forward as the means 
of finally assuming the direct sway of the kingdom. He 
showed the extent of his ambitious and unjust purpose to 
his most trusty counsellors. "I will subdue Scotland to my 
authority," he said, "as I have subdued Wales." 

The English monarch, one of the ablest generals and the 
most subtle and unhesitating politicians of his own or any 
other time, assembled an army on the borders, and commu- 
nicated to the clergy and nobles of Scotland a peremptory 
demand, that, as lord paramount of the kingdom, he should 
be received and universally submitted to as sole arbiter in 
the competition for the crown. 

If immediate feuds and quarrels could have permitted 
the Scottish magnates to see more distant consequences, it 
is probable that with one voice they would have resisted 
this demand by an express denial of the right of supremacy, 
which, though a claim to it had been often both insidiously 
and covertly and more openly brought forward, had always 
been repelled and resisted by the Scottish kings, except after 
the treaty of Falaise, in 1174, when the supremacy was dis- 
tinctly surrendered, until 1189, when the right was renounced, 
on payment of a sum of money, by Richard I. But split into 
a thousand factions, while twelve competitors were strug- 
gling for the crown, even the best and most prudent of the 
Scots seem to have thought it better to submit to the award 
of one of the wisest and most powerful monarchs of Europe, 
although at some sacrifice of independence, which they might 
regard as temporary and almost nominal, than to expose the 
country at once to civil war and the arms of England. 

The Scottish barons might also remember how lately they 
had been disposed, by the treaty of marriage between the 
English prince of Wales and their sovereign Margaret, to 


place their kingdom under the protection of England, a step 
little dissimilar from that now proposed by the English mon- 
arch. The nobility of Scotland therefore admitted Edward's 
claim, and accepted his arbitration. Twelve competitors 
stepped forward to assert their claims ; and Edward, though 
he stated a right to the kingdom on his own part, as to a 
vacant fief which reverts to the sovereign, yet waived his 
claim with a species of affected moderation. Unquestion- 
ably his views were better served by dealing the cards, and 
sitting umpire of the game, than if he had mixed with the 
players. And there is little doubt that, far from desirous to 
insist on a claim which would have united all the competi- 
tors against him, he was sparing of no art which could em- 
broil the question, by multiplying the number of claimants, 
and exasperating them against each other. 

In 1292, the candidates, called upon to that effect, sol- 
emnly acknowledged Edward's right as lord paramount of 
Scotland, and submitted their claims to his decision. We 
shall endeavor to explain hereafter why these Norman nobles 
were not unwilling to consent to a submission which, as chil- 
dren of the soil, they would probably have spurned at. The 
strengths and fortresses of the kingdom were put into the 
king of England's power, to enable him to support, it was 
pretended, the award he should pronounce. After these 
operations had lasted several months, to accustom the Scots 
to the view of English governors and garrisons in their cas- 
tles, and to disable them from resisting a foreign force, by 
the continued disunion which must have increased and be- 
come the more embittered the longer the debate was in 
dependence, Edward I. preferred John Baliol to the Scot- 
tish crown, to be held of him and his successors, and sur- 
rendered to him the Scottish castles of which he held 
possession, being twenty in number. 

Edward's conduct had hitherto been sufficiently selfish, 
but, perhaps, not beyond what many prudent persons would 
permit themselves to consider as just. His pretence to the 
supremacy, however ill-founded, was no invention of his 


own, but handed down to him as a right which his ances- 
tors had claimed from a very distant period ; and as a time 
had now arrived when the Scottish were prevailed upon to 
admit it on their side, most sovereigns would have thought 
it an opportunity not to be sacrificed to the barren consid- 
erations of abstract justice. 

But it was soon evident that the admission of the su- 
premacy was only a part of Edward's object, and that he 
was determined so to use his right over Baliol as might force 
either him or Scotland into rebellion, and give the lord para- 
mount a pretence to seize the revolted fief into his own hand. 
In order to accomplish this, the king of England encouraged 
vexatious lawsuits against Baliol, for compelling his frequent 
and humiliating appearance as a suitor in the English courts 
of law. A private citizen of Berwick having appealed from 
a judgment of the commissioners of justice in Scotland, of 
which that town was then accounted part, Baliol, on this 
occasion, remonstrated against the appeal being entertained, 
reminding Edward that, by the conditions sworn to at Birg- 
ham, it was strictly covenanted that no Scottish subject should 
be called in an English court, for acts done in Scotland. Ed- 
ward replied, with haughty indifference and effrontery, that 
such a promise was made to suit the convenience of the time, 
and that no such engagements could prevent his calling into 
his courts the Scottish king himself, if he should see cause. 
His vassal, he said, should not be his conscience-keeper, to 
enjoin him penance for broken faith; nor would he, for any 
promise he had made to the Scots while treating of his son's 
marriage with Margaret, refrain from distributing the jus- 
tice which every subject had a right to require at his hands. 
Baliol could only make peace with his imperious master, by 
yielding up, in 1293, all stipulations and promises concerning 
the freedom and immunities of Scotland, and admitting them 
to be discharged and annulled. 

Soon after this, Duncan, the earl of Fife, being a minor, 
Macduff, his grand-uncle, made a temporary seizure of some 
part of the earldom. Macduff being summoned to answer 


this offence before the Scottish estates, was condemned by 
Baliol to a slight imprisonment. Released from his confine- 
ment, Macduff summoned Baliol to appear before Edward, 
and Edward directed that the Scottish king should answer 
by appearance in person before him. He came, but refused 
to plead. The Parliament of England decreed that Baliol 
was liable to Macduff in damages, and, for his contumacy in 
refusing to plead before his lord paramount, declared that 
three principal towns in Scotland, with their castles, should 
be taken into the custody of Edward until the king of Scots 
should make satisfaction. Severe and offensive regulations 
were laid down concerning the Scottish king's regular at- 
tendance in future on the courts of his suzerain in England. 
In a word, Baliol was made sensible that though he might 
be suffered for a time to wear sceptre and crown, it was but 
so long as he should consider himself a mere tool in the 
hands of a haughty and arbitrary superior, who was deter- 
mined to fling him aside on the first opportunity, and to put 
every species of slight and dishonor on his right of delegated 
majesty, till he should become impatient of enduring it. 
The Scottish king therefore determined to extricate himself 
from so degrading a position, and to free himself and his 
country from the thraldom of a foreign usurper. 

The time seemed apt to the purpose, for discord had 
arisen between the realms of France and England, concern- 
ing some feudal rights in which Edward had shown himself 
as intractable and disobedient a vassal to Philip of France, 
as he was a severe and domineering superior to Baliol. 

Catching this favorable opportunity, Baliol formed, in 
1295, a secret treaty of alliance with France, and stood upon 
his defence. The Scottish nobles joined him in the purpose 
of resistance, but declined to place Baliol at the head of the 
preparations which they made for national defence: and 
having no confidence either in his wisdom or steadiness, 
they detained him in a kind of honorable captivity in a dis- 
tant castle, placing their levies under the command of leaders 
whose patriotism was considered less doubtful. 


In 1296, Edward put himself at the head of four thou- 
sand horse and thirty thousand infantry, the finest soldiers 
in Europe, and proceeded toward Northumberland. An- 
thony Beck, the military bishop of Durham, joined the royal 
host with a large body of troops. They besieged the town 
of Berwick, and took it by storm, though gallantly defended. 
Upward of seventeen thousand of the defenceless inha tants 
were slain in the massacre which followed, and the town 
(a very wealthy one) was entirely plundered. A body of 
thirty Flemish merchants held a strong building in the town, 
called the B-edhall, by the tenure of defending it against the 
English: they did so to the last, and honorably perished 
amid the ruins of the edifice. 

Bruce the Competitor, the Earl of March, and other Scot- 
tish nobles of the south, joined with King Edward, instead 
of opposing him. The first of these vainly flattered himself 
that the dethronement of Baliol might be succeeded by his 
own nomination to the crown, when it should be declared 
vacant by his rival's forfeiture; and Edward seemed to 
encourage these hopes. While the English king was still 
at Berwick, the Abbot of Aberbrothock appeared before him 
with a letter from Baliol, in answer to Edward's summons 
to him to appear in person, renouncing his vassalage, and 
expressing defiance. "The foolish traitor!" said the king, 
"what frenzy has seized him? But since he will not come 
to us, we will go to him." 

Edward's march northward was stopped by the strong 
castle of Dunbar, which was held out against him by the 
Countess of March, who had joined the lords that declared 
for the cause of independence, although the earl, her hus- 
band, was serving in the English army : so much were the 
Scots divided on this momentous occasion. While Edward 
pressed the siege of this important place, the inner gate, as 
it might be termed, of Scotland, a large force appeared on 
the descent of the ridge of the Lammermoor hills, above the 
town. It was the Scottish army moving to the relief of 
Dunbar, and on the appearance of their banners the defend- 


ers raised a shout of exultation and defiance. But when 
Warrenne, earl of Surrey, Edward's general, advanced 
toward the Scottish army, the Scots, with a rashness which 
often ruined their affairs before and afterward, poured down 
from the advantageous post which they occupied, and in- 
curred by their temerity a dreadful defeat, which laid the 
whole country open to the invader. 

Bruce, after the victory of Dunbar, conceived his turn of 
triumph was approaching, and hinted to Edward his hope 
of being preferred to the throne which Baliol had forfeited. 
"Have we no other business," said Edward, looking at him 
askance, "than to conquer kingdoms for you?" Bruce re- 
tired, and meddled no more with public affairs, in which his 
grandson, at a later period, took a part so distinguished. 

After the battle of Dunbar, scarce a spark of resistance 
to Edward seemed to enlighten the general despair. The 
English army continued an unresisted march as far north- 
ward as Aberdeen and Elgin. Baliol, brought before his 
victor, in the castle of Brechin, was literally stripped of 
his royal robes, confessed his feudal transgression in rebel- 
ling against his lord paramount, and made a formal sur- 
render of his kingdom to the victor. 

The king of England held a parliament at Berwick, in 
1296, where he received the willing and emulous submission 
of Scottishmen of the higher ranks, lords, knights, and 
squires. Edward received them all graciously, and took 
measures for assuring his conquest. He created John War- 
renne, earl of Surrey, guardian of Scotland. Hugh Cres- 
singham, an ambitious churchman, was made treasurer, 
and William Ormesby justiciary of the kingdom. He placed 
English governors and garrisons in the Scottish castles, and 
returned to England, having achieved an easy and appar- 
ently a permanent conquest. 

This was not all. Edward resolved so to improve his 
conquest as to eradicate all evidence of national independ- 
ence. He carried off or mutilated such records as might 
awaken the recollection that Scotland had ever been free. 


The cartulary of Scone, the place where, since the conquest 
of Kenneth Macalpine, the Scottish kings had been crowned, 
was carefully ransacked for the purpose of destroying what- 
ever might be found at variance with the king of England's 
pretensions. The Scottish historians have, perhaps, magni- 
fied the extent of this rapine; but that Edward was desirous 
to remove everything which could remind the Scots of their 
original independence is proved by his carrying to London, 
not only the crown and sceptre surrendered by Baliol, but 
even the sacred stone on which the Scottish monarchs were 
placed when they received the royal inauguration. He pre- 
sented these trophies to the Cathedral of Westminster. 

This fatal stone, as already mentioned, was said to have 
been brought from Ireland by Fergus, the son of Eric, who 
led the Dalriads to the shores of Argyleshire. Its virtues 
are preserved in the celebrated leonine verse : 

Ni fallat fatum, Scoti, quocunque locatum 
Invenient lapidem, regnare tenentur ibidem. 

Which may be rendered thus : 

Unless the fates are faithless found, 

And prophets' voice be vain, 
Where'er this monument is found, 

The Scottish race shall reign. 

There were Scots who hailed the accomplishment of this 
prophecy at the accession of James VI. to the crown of Eng- 
land, and exulted, that, in removing this palladium, the 
policy of Edward resembled that which brought the Trojan 
horse in triumph within their walls, and which occasioned 
the destruction of their royal family. The stone is still pre- 
served, and forms the support of King Edward the Confes- 
sor's chair, which the sovereign occupies at his coronation, 
and, independent of the divination so long in being accom- 
plished, is in itself a very curious remnant of extreme 



Interregnum — Causes of the National Misfortunes of Scotland — In- 
difference of the Norman Barons — Sir William Wallace — Battle 
of Stirling — Wallace chosen Governor of Scotland — Edward 
invades Scotland — Battle of Falkirk — Death of Wallace 

THE unanimous subjection of a proud and brave nation 
to a foreign conqueror is too surprising to be dismissed 
without remark, especially since it was so general 
that most of the noble and ancient families of Scotland are 
reduced to the necessity of tracing their ancestors' names 
in the fifty-six sheets of parchment which constitute the 
degrading roll of submission to Edward I. It must be 
generally allowed that men of property, who have much 
to lose, are more likely to submit to tyranny and invasion 
than the poor peasant, who has but his knife and his mantle, 
and whose whole wealth is his individual share in the free- 
dom and independence of the nation. But this will scarce 
account for the marks of vacillation and apostasy too visible 
in the Scottish nobility of this period, in these days of chiv- 
alry, when men piqued themselves on holding life in mean 
regard compared to the slightest and most punctilious point 
of honor. The following circumstances here suggest them- 
selves in explanation of the remarkable fact. 

The nobility of Scotland during the civil wars had, by 
the unvarying policy of Malcolm Cean-mohr and his succes- 
sors, come to consist almost entirely of a race foreign to the 
country, who were not bound to it or to the people by those 
kindred ties which connect the native with the soil he inhab- 
its, as the same which has been for ages perhaps the abode 
of his fathers. Two or three generations had not converted 
Normans into Scots; and, whatever allegiance the emigrated 


strangers might yield to the monarchs who bestowed on 
them their fiefs, it must have been different from the senti- 
ments of filial attachment with which men regard the land 
of their birth and that of their ancestors, and the princes by 
whose fathers their own had been led to battle, and with 
whom they had shared conquest and defeat. 

In fact, the Normans were neither by birth nor manners 
rendered accessible to the emotions which constitute patriot- 
ism. Their ancestors were those Scandinavians who left 
without reluctance their native north in search of better 
settlements, and spread their sails to the winds, like the 
voluntary exile of modern times, little caring to what shores 
they were wafted, so that they were not driven back to their 
own. The education of the Normans of the thirteenth cent- 
ury had not inculcated that love of a natal soil, which they 
could not learn from their roving fathers of the preceding 
ages. They were, above all nations, devoted to chivalry, 
and its doctrines and habits were unfavorable to local attach- 
ment. The ideal perfection of the knight-errant was to 
wander from land to land in quest of adventures, to win 
renown, to gain earldoms, kingdoms, nay, empires, by the 
sword, and to sit down a settler on his acquisitions, without 
looking back to the land which gave him life. This indiffer- 
ence to his native country was taught the aspirant to the 
honors of chivalry, by early separation of the ties which 
bind youth to their parents and families. The progress of 
his military education separated him when a boy from his 
parents' house, and sending him to learn the institutions 
of chivalry in the court of some foreign prince or lord, early 
destroyed those social ties which bind a man to his family 
and birthplace. When dubbed knight, the gallant bachelor 
found a home in every tourney or battlefield, and a settle- 
ment in whatever kingdom of the world valor was best 
rewarded. The true knight-errant was, therefore, a cos- 
mopolite — a citizen of the world : every soil was his country, 
and he was indifferent to feelings and prejudices which pro- 
mote in others patriotic attachment to a particular country. 


The feudal system also, though the assertion may at first 
sight appear strange, had, until fiefs were rendered heredi- 
tary, circumstances unfavorable to loyalty and patriotism. 
A vassal might, and often did, hold fiefs in more realms 
than one; a division of allegiance tending to prevent the 
sense of duty or loyal attachment running strongly in any 
of their single channels. Nay, he might, and many did, 
possess fiefs depending on the separate kings of France, 
England, and Scotland; and thus being, to a certain ex- 
tent, the subject of all these princes, he could hardly look 
on any of them with peculiar attachment, unless it were 
created by personal respect or preference. "When war broke 
out between any of the princes whom he depended upon, the 
feudatory debated with himself to which standard he should 
adhere, and shook himself clear of his allegiance to the other 
militant power by resigning the fief. The possibility of thus 
changing country and masters, this habit of serving a prince 
only so long as the vassal held fief under him, led to loose 
and irregular conceptions on the subject of loyalty, and 
gave the feudatory more the appearance of a mercenary 
who serves for pay than of a patriot fighting in defence of 
his country. This consequence may be drawn from the fre- 
quent compliances and change of parties visible in the Scot- 
tish barons, and narrated without much censure by the 
historians. Lastly, the reader may observe that the great 
feudatories, who seemed to consider themselves as left to 
choose to which monarch they should attach themselves, 
were less regardful of the rights of England and Scotland, 
or of foreigners and native princes, than of the personal tal- 
ents and condition of the two kings. In attaching them- 
selves to Edward instead of Baliol, the high vassals con- 
nected themselves with valor instead of timidity, wealth 
instead of poverty, and conquest instead of defeat. Such 
indifference to the considerations arising from patriotism 
and such individual attention to their own interest being 
the characteristic of the Scoto-Norman nobles, it is no 
wonder that many of them took but a lukewarm share in 


the defence of their country, and that some of them were 
guilty of shameful versatility during the quickly-changing 
scenes which we are about to narrate. It was different 
with the Scottish nation at large. 

Exasperated by the contumely thrown on the country, 
by the aggressions of » the English garrisons, and the extor- 
tions of Cressingham the treasurer, a general hatred of the 
English yoke was manifested through a people, who, being 
in a semi-barbarous state, were willing enough to exchange 
a disgraceful submission for an honorable though desperate 
warfare. The Scots assembled in troops and companies, and 
betaking themselves to the woods, mountains, and morasses, 
in which their fathers had defended themselves against the 
Romans, prepared for a general insurrection against the En- 
glish power. 

If the Scoto-Norman nobles had lightly transferred their 
allegiance to Edward, it was otherwise with the middle and 
lower proprietors, who, sprung of the native race of Scotland, 
mingling in the condition of the people, and participating in 
their feeling, burned with zeal to avenge themselves on the 
English, who were in usurped possession of their national 
fortresses. As soon as Edward with his army had crossed 
the frontiers, they broke out into a number of petty insur- 
rections, unconnected indeed, but sufficiently numerous to 
indicate a disposition for hostilities, which wanted but a 
leader to render it general. They found one in Sir William 

This champion of his country was of Anglo-Norman 
descent, but not so distinguished by birth and fortune as 
to enjoy high rank, great wealth, or participate in that 
chilling indifference to the public honor and interest which 
these advantages were apt to create in their possessor. He 
was born in Renfrewshire, a district of the ancient kingdom 
of Strath-Clyde, and his nurse may have soothed him with 
tales and songs of the Welsh bards, as there is room to sup- 
pose that the British language was still lingering in remote 
corners of the country, where it had been once universal. 


At any rate, "Wallace was bred up free from the .egotistic 
and selfish principles which are but too natural to the air 
of a court, and peculiarly unfavorable to the character of a 
patriot. Popular Scottish tradition, which delights to dwell 
upon the beloved champion of the people, describes "William 
"Wallace as of dignified stature, unequalled strength and 
dexterity, and so brave that only on one occasion, and then 
under the influence of a supernatural power, is he allowed 
by tradition to have experienced the sensation of fear. 

"Wallace is believed to have been proclaimed an outlaw 
for the slaughter of an Englishman in a casual fray. He 
retreated to the woods, collected round him a band of men 
as desperate as himself, and obtained several successes in 
skirmishes with the English. Joined by Sir "William Doug- 
las, in 1297, who had been taken at the siege of Berwick, 
but had been discharged upon ransom, the insurgents com- 
pelled Edward to send an army against them, under the Earl 
of Surrey, the victor of Dunbar. Several of the nobility, 
moved by Douglas's example, had joined "Wallace's stand- 
ard; but overawed at the approach of the English army, 
and displeased to act under a man, like "Wallace, of com- 
paratively obscure birth, they capitulated with Sir Henry 
Percy, the nephew of Surrey, and, in one word, changed 
sides. "Wallace kept the field at the head of a considerable 
army, partly consisting of his own experienced followers, 
partly of the smaller barons or crown tenants, and partly of 
vassals even of the apostate lords, and volunteers of every 
condition. By the exertion of much conduct and resolution, 
"Wallace had made himself master of the country beyond 
Forth, and taken several castles, when he was summoned to 
Stirling to oppose Surrey, the English governor of Scotland. 
Wallace encamped on the northern side of the river, leaving 
Stirling bridge apparently open to the English, but resolv- 
ing, as it was long and narrow, to attack them while in the 
act of crossing. The Earl of Surrey led fifty thousand in- 
fantry, and a thousand men-at-arms. Part of his soldiers, 
however, were the Scottish barons who had formerly joined 


"Wallace's standard, and who, notwithstanding their return 
to that of Surrey, were scarcely to be trusted to. 

The English treasurer, Cressingham, murmured at the 
expense attending the war, and to bring it to a crisis, pro- 
posed to commence an attack the next morning by crossing 
the river. Surrey, an experienced warrior, hesitated to en- 
gage his troops in the defile of a wooden bridge, where scarce 
two horsemen could ride abreast ; but, urged by the impru- 
dent vehemence of Cressingham, he advanced, contrary to 
common sense, as well as to his own judgment. The van- 
guard of the English was attacked before they could get 
into order; the bridge was broken down, and thousands 
perished in the river and by the sword. Cressingham was 
slain, and Surrey fled to Berwick on the spur, to recount to 
Edward that Scotland was lost at Stirling in as short a time 
as it had been won at Dunbar. In a brief period after this 
victory, almost all the fortresses of the kingdom surrendered 
to "Wallace. 

Increasing his forces, Wallace, that he might gratify 
them with plunder, led them across the English border, and 
sweeping it lengthwise from Newcastle to the gates of Car- 
lisle, left nothing behind him but blood and ashes. The 
nature of "Wallace was fierce, but not inaccessible to pity 
or remorse. As his unruly soldiers pillaged the church of 
Hexham, he took the canons under his immediate protec- 
tion. "Abide with me," he said, "holy men; for my people 
are evil-doers, and I may not correct them." 

When he returned from this successful foray, an assembly 
of the states was held at the Forest church in Selkirkshire, 
where Wallace was chosen guardian of the kingdom of Scot- 
land. The meeting was attended by Lennox, Sir "William 
Douglas, and some few men of rank: others were absent 
from fear of King Edward, or from jealousy of an inferior 
person, like Wallace, raised to so high a station. 

Conscious of the interest which he had deservedly main- 
tained in the breast of the universal people of Scotland, 
"Wallace pursued his judicious plans of enforcing general 


levies through the kingdom, and bringing them tinder dis- 
cipline. It was full time, for Edward was moving against 

The English monarch was absent in Flanders when these 
events took place, and what was still more inconvenient, be- 
fore he could gain supplies from his Parliament to suppress 
the Scottish revolt, Edward found himself obliged to confirm 
Magna Charta, the charter of the forest, and other stipula- 
tions in favor of the people; the English being prudently 
though somewhat selfishly disposed to secure their own free- 
dom before they would lend their swords to destroy that of 
their neighbors. 

Complying with these demands, Edward, on his return 
from the Low Countries, found himself at the head of a gal- 
lant muster of all the English chivalry, forming by far the 
most superb army that had ever entered Scotland. Wallace 
acted with great sagacity, and, according to a plan which 
often before and after proved successful in Scottish warfare, 
laid waste the intermediate country between Stirling and the 
frontiers, and withdrew toward the centre of the kingdom 
to receive the English attack, when their army should be 
exhausted by privation. 

Edward pressed on, with characteristic hardihood and 
resolution. Tower and town fell before him: but his ad- 
vance was not without such inconvenience and danger as 
a less determined monarch would have esteemed a good 
apology for retreat. His army suffered from want of pro- 
visions, which were at length supplied in small quantities 
by some of his ships. As the English king lay at Kirkliston, 
in West Lothian, a tumult broke out between the Welsh and 
English in his army, which, after costing some blood, was 
quelled with difficulty. While Edward hesitated whether 
to advance or retreat, he learned, through the treachery of 
two apostate Scottish nobles (the Earls of Dunbar and Angus) 
that Wallace, with the Scottish army, had approached so 
near as Falkirk. This advance was doubtless made with 
the purpose of annoying the expected retreat of the English. 


Edward, thus apprised that the Scots were in his vicinity, 
determined to compel them to action. He broke up his 
camp, and, advancing with caution, slept the next night in 
the fields along with the soldiers. But the casualties of the 
campaign were not yet exhausted. His war-horse, which 
was picketed beside him, like that of an ordinary man-at- 
arms, struck the king with his foot, and hurt him in the 
side. A tumult arose in the camp; but Edward, regardless 
of pain, appeased it by mounting his horse, riding through 
the cantonments, and showing the soldiers that he was in 

Next morning, July 22, 1298, the armies met. The Scot- 
tish infantry were drawn up on a moor, with a morass in 
front. They were divided into four phalanxes or dense 
masses, with lances lowered obliquely over each other, and 
seeming, says an English historian, like a castle walled 
with steel. These spearmen were the flower of the army, 
in whom Wallace chiefly confided. He commanded them 
in person, and used the brief exhortation, "I have brought 
you to the ring; dance as you best can." 

The Scottish archers, under the command of Sir John 
Stewart, brother of the steward of Scotland, were drawn up 
in the intervals between the masses of infantry. They were 
chiefly brought from the wooded district of Selkirk. We 
hear of no Highland bowmen among them. The cavalry, 
which only amounted to one thousand men-at-arms, held 
the rear. 

The English cavalry began the action. The marshal of 
England led half of the men-at-arms straight upon the Scot- 
tish front, but in doing so involved them in the morass. The 
bishop of Durham, who commanded the other division of 
the English cavalry, was wheeling round the morass on the 
east, and perceiving this misfortune, because disposed to 
wait for support. "To mass, bishop!" said Ralph Basset 
of Drayton, and charged with the whole body. The Scottish 
men-at-arms went off without couching their lances ; but the 
infantry stood their ground firmly. In the turmoil that fol- 


lowed, Sir John Stewart fell from his horse, and was slain 
among the archers of Ettricke, who died in defending or 
avenging him. The close bodies of Scottish spearmen, now 
exposed without means of defence or retaliation, were shaken 
by the constant showers of arrows ; and the English men-at- 
arms finally charging them desperately while they were in 
disorder, broke and dispersed these formidable masses. The 
Scots were then completely routed, and it was only the neigh- 
boring woods which saved a remnant from the sword. The 
body of Stewart was found among those of his faithful arch- 
ers, who were distinguished by their stature and fair com- 
plexions from all others with which the field was loaded. 
Macduff and Sir John the Grahame, "the hardy wight 
and wise," still fondly remembered as the bosom friend 
of Sir "William "Wallace, were slain in the same disastrous 

Popular report states this battle to have been lost by 
treachery; and the communication between the Earls of 
Dunbar and Angus and King Edward, as well as the dis- 
graceful flight of the Scottish cavalry without a single blow, 
corroborates the suspicion. But the great superiority of the 
English in archery may account for the loss of this as of 
many another battle on the part of the Scots. The bowmen 
of Ettricke forest were faithful ; but they could only be few. 
So nearly had "Wallace's scheme for the campaign been suc- 
cessful that Edward, even after having gained this great 
battle, returned to England, and deferred reaping the har- 
vest of his conquest till the following season. If he had not 
been able to bring the Scottish army to action, his retreat 
must have been made with discredit and loss, and Scotland 
must have been left in the power of the patriots. 

The slaughter and disgrace of the battle of Falkirk might 
have been repaired in other respects; but it cost the Scottish 
kingdom an irredeemable loss in the public services of "Wal- 
lace. He resigned the guardianship of the kingdom, unable 
to discharge its duties, amid the calumnies with which fac- 
tion and envy aggravated his defeat. The bishop of St. 


Andrew's, Bruce, earl of Carrick, and Sir John Comyn, 
were chosen guardians of Scotland, which they administered 
in the name of Baliol. In the meantime, that unfortunate 
prince was, in compassion or scorn, delivered up to the pope 
by Edward, and a receipt was gravely taken for his person 
from the nuncio then in France. This led to the entrance 
of a new competitor for the Scottish kingdom. 

The pontiff of Rome had been long endeavoring to estab- 
lish a claim, as if he had been lord of the manor of all Chris- 
tendom, to whatsoever should be therein found, to which a 
distinct and specific right of property could not be ascer- 
tained. His claim to the custody of the dethroned king 
being readily admitted, Boniface VIII. was encouraged to 
publish a bull, claiming Scotland as a dependency on the 
see of Rome, because the country had been converted to 
Christianity by the relics of St. Andrew, although how 
the premises authorized the conclusion it is difficult to dis- 
cover. The pope in the same document took the claim of 
Edward to the Scottish crown under his own discussion, and 
authoritatively commanded Edward I. to send proctors to 
Rome, to plead his cause before his holiness. This magis- 
terial requisition was presented by the archbishop of Canter- 
bury to the king, in the presence of the council and court, 
the prelate at the same time warning the sovereign to yield 
unreserved obedience, since Jerusalem would not fail to pro- 
tect her citizens, and Mount Zion her worshippers. "Neither 
for Zion nor Jerusalem," said Edward, in towering wrath, 
"will I depart from my just rights, while there is breath in 
my nostrils." Accordingly he caused the pope's bull to be 
laid before the Parliament of England, who unanimously 
resolved, "that in temporals the king of England was inde- 
pendent of Rome, and that they would not permit his sover- 
eignty to be questioned." Their declaration concludes with 
these remarkable words: "We neither do, will, nor can per- 
mit our sovereign to do anything to the detriment of the 
constitution which we are both sworn to, and are deter- 
mined to maintain." A spirited assertion of national right, 


had it not been in so bad a cause as that of Edward's claim 
of usurpation over Scotland. 

Meantime the war languished during this strange discus- 
sion, from which the pope was soon obliged to retreat. There 
was an inefficient campaign in 1299 and 1300. In 1301 there 
was a truce, in which Scotland as well as France was 
included. After the expiry of this breathing space, Ed- 
ward I., in the spring of 1302, sent an army into Scotland 
of twenty thousand men, under Sir John Seward, a re- 
nowned general. He marched toward Edinburgh in three 
divisions, leaving large intervals between each. While in 
this careless order, Seward's vanguard found themselves 
suddenly within reach of a small but chosen body of troops, 
amounting to eight thousand men, commanded by Sir John 
Comyn, the guardian, and a gallant Scotch knight, Sir Simon 
Fraser. Seward was defeated ; but the battle was scarce over 
when his second division came up. The Scots, flushed with 
victory, re-established their ranks, and having cruelly put to 
death their prisoners, attacked and defeated the second body 
also. The third division came up in the same manner. Again 
it became necessary to kill the captives, and to prepare for a 
third encounter. The Scottish leaders did so without hesita- 
tion, and their followers having thrown themselves furiously 
on the enemy, discomfited that division likewise, and gained, 
as their historians boast, three battles in one day. 

But the period seemed to be approaching in which neither 
courage nor exertion could longer avail the unfortunate peo- 
ple of Scotland. A peace with France, in which Philip the 
Fair totally omitted all stipulations in favor of his allies, left 
the kingdom to its own inadequate means of resistance, while 
Edward directed his whole force against it. The castle of 
Brechin, under the gallant Sir Thomas Maule, made an ob- 
stinate resistance. In 1303 he was mortally wounded, and 
died in an exclamation of rage against the soldiers, who 
asked if they might not then surrender the castle. Edward 
wintered at Dunfermline, and began the next campaign with 
the siege of Stirling, the only fortress in the kingdom that 


still held out. But the courage of the guardians altogether 
gave way ; they set the example of submission, and such of 
them as had been most obstinate in what the English king 
called rebellion were punished by various degrees of fine and 
banishment. "With respect to Sir William "Wallace, it was 
agreed that he might have the choice of surrendering him- 
self unconditionally to the king's pleasure, provided he 
thought proper to do so; a stipulation which, as it signi- 
fied nothing in favor of the person for whom it was ap- 
parently conceived, must be imputed as a pretext on the 
part of the Scottish nobles to save themselves from the dis- 
grace of having left "Wallace altogether unthought of. Some 
attempts were made to ascertain what sort of accommoda- 
tion Edward was likely to enter into with the bravest and 
most constant of his enemies ; but the demands of "Wallace 
were large, and the generosity of Edward very small. The 
English king broke off the treaty, and put a price of three 
hundred marks on the head of the patriot. 

Meantime Stirling Castle continued to be defended by a 
slender garrison, and, deprived of all hopes of relief, con- 
tinued to make a desperate defence, under its brave gov- 
ernor, Sir "William Olifaunt, until famine and despair com- 
pelled him to an unconditional surrender, when the king 
imposed the harshest terms on this handful of brave men. 

But what Edward prized more than the surrender of the 
last fortress which resisted his arms in Scotland was the cap- 
tivity of her last patriot. He had found in a Scottish noble- 
man, Sir John Monteith, a person willing to become his agent 
in searching for "Wallace among the wilds where he was 
driven to find refuge. "Wallace was finally betrayed to the 
English by his unworthy and apostate countryman, who ob- 
tained an opportunity of seizing him at Robroyston, near 
Glasgow, by the treachery of a servant. Sir William Wal- 
lace was instantly transferred to London, where he was 
brought to trial in Westminster Hall, with as much appa- 
ratus of infamy as the ingenuity of his enemies could devise. 
He was crowned with a garland of oak, to intimate that he 


had been king of outlaws. The arraignment charged him 
with high treason, in respect that he had stormed and taken 
towns and castles, and shed much blood. "Traitor," said 
Wallace, "was I never." The rest of the charges he con- 
fessed, and proceeded to justify them. He was condemned, 
and executed by decapitation. His head was placed on a 
pinnacle on London Bridge, and his quarters were distrib- 
uted over the kingdom. 

Thus died, in 1305, this courageous patriot, leaving a re- 
membrance which will be immortal in the hearts of his coun- 
trymen. This steady champion of independence having been 
removed, and a bloody example held out to all who should 
venture to tread in his footsteps, Edward proceeded to form 
a species of constitution for the country, which, at the cost 
of so much labor, policy, and bloodshed, he had at length, 
as he conceived, united forever with the English crown. 
Ten commissioners chosen for Scotland and twenty for 
England composed a set of regulations for the adminis- 
tration of justice, and enactments were agreed upon, by 
which the feudal law, which had been long introduced into 
Scotland, was strengthened and extended, while the remains 
of the ancient municipal customs of the original Celtic tribes, 
or the consuetudinary laws of the Scots and Bretts (the Scoto- 
Irish and British races) were finally abrogated. This was 
for the purpose of promoting a uniformity of laws through 
the islands. Sheriffs and other officers were appointed for the 
administration of justice. There were provisions also made 
for a general revision of the ancient laws and statutes of 

But while Edward was endeavoring to reap the fruit of 
so many years of craft and violence, a crisis was approach- 
ing in which his whole labors were eventually destroyed. 



Bruce, Earl of Carrick — His early Life — His Claims to the Throne— 
His Plot with Comyn — Death of Comyn — Bruce assumes the 
Crown — Battle of Methven Park — Extremities to which Bruce 
is reduced — He flies to Rachrin— Fate of his Adherents 

ROBERT BRUCE, earl of Carrick, was the grandson 
of that nobleman who was competitor for the crown 
of Scotland when John Baliol was preferred to the 
short-lived honor of wearing it. Since the time that he met 
a rude repulse from Edward, after the battle of Dunbar, am- 
bition seems to have been mortified within the candidate. 
He retired to his English estates, and lived there in such 
security as the times admitted. His son did not take much 
concern in public affairs; but the grandson early evinced a 
desire of distinction, which showed itself in active bursts of 
sudden enterprise, which were directed in a manner so incon- 
sistent, and taken up and abandoned with so much apparent 
levity, as to afford little prospect of his possessing the strength 
of character and vigor of determination which he afterward 
exhibited under such a variety of adventures, disastrous or 

Robert Bruce was put in possession of the earldom of 
Carrick by the resignation of his father in 1293. About this 
time Baliol, king of Scotland, declared war against England ; 
but none of the Bruce family joined him on that occasion. 
They continued to regard their own chief the elder Bruce's 
title to the crown as more just than that of Baliol. The 
eldest Bruce, indeed, as we have just noticed, nourished 
hopes that Edward would have preferred him to the crown 
on the deposition of his rival ; but checked by the scornful 


answer of the monarch, that he had other business than con- 
quering kingdoms for him, he retired to his great Yorkshire 
possessions, yielding his Scottish estates to the charge of his 
grandson, who showed at this early period, when a youth of 
two or three-and-twenty, a bold, bustling, and ambitious, 
but versatile disposition of mind. He had a natural spirit 
of ill-will against the great family of Comyn, because John 
Comyn of Badenoch had married Marjory, the sister of John 
Baliol. So that when BalioPs title was ended by his resig- 
nation, and the foreign residence and youth of his son placed 
him out of the question, John, called the Red Comyn, the 
son of John Comyn of Badenoch and Marjory Baliol, had, 
through his mother, the same title to the throne as that 
which had been preferred on the part of John Baliol : and 
the Comyns' claim, as BalioPs, in the last generation, then 
stood in direct opposition to that on which the Bruces rested 
as descendants from Isabella, second daughter of David, earl 
of Huntingdon. 

But, besides the emulation which divided these two great 
families touching the succession of the crown, there had pri- 
vate injuries passed between them of a nature which, in that 
haughty age, were accounted deserving of persevering and 
inveterate vengeance. The lords who joined John Baliol in 
his revolt from Edward had issued a hasty order, confiscat- 
ing the rich property of Annandale, because Bruce had not 
obeyed their summons. His domains were granted by John 
Baliol to Comyn, earl of Buchan, and Bruce's castle of Loch- 
maben was occupied by him accordingly. From these united 
reasons, it is probable that Robert never forgave a family 
whose claim had not only come between his grandfather and 
a crown, but who had also showed a purpose of stripping 
him of his paternal estate, and dared to establish one of 
their number as lord of his castle. The chief part of his 
resentment was directed against the Comyns, who took ad- 
vantage by the act of confiscation, for Baliol was regarded 
only as the tool ; and this must be considered as adding to 
the feudal hatred between the powerful houses of Bruce 
5 ^ Vol. I. 


and Comyn, which afterward led to such important conse- 

The two representatives of these two great factions of 
Bruce and Comyn, therefore, stood in regular opposition to 
each other, each having a claim to the throne, which both 
probably only wanted an opportunity of urging. The nec- 
essary consequence was that suspicion and hatred divided 
the heads of the two rival houses, and rendered it almost 
impossible for them to concur in any joint effort for their 
country's liberty, because, when that freedom should be 
achieved, they could not expect to agree which of them 
should be placed at the head of affairs. During the insur- 
rection of Wallace, the younger Bruce acted with more than 
usual versatility. Being summoned by the bishop of Car- 
lisle to come to a council held by that prelate, who had 
charge of the peace of the north, he made appearance ac- 
cordingly, took every oath that could be suggested in 
attestation of his faith to the king of England, showed 
his zeal by plundering the lands of William of Douglas, 
the associate of Wallace, carried that baron's wife and 
family away prisoners ; and having done all this to evince 
his faith to Edward, he united himself to Wallace and his 
associates. Once more Bruce saw reason to repent the part 
he had taken, made haste anew to submit to the king of 
England, again swore fealty to that monarch, and gave his 
infant daughter as a hostage for keeping his faith in future. 
As, however, he did not join the English army, Edward de- 
termined to regard him as a cold-spirited neutral, and took 
into English possession his castle of Lochmaben. This created 
a new revolution in Bruce's sentiments, and he permitted 
himself to be joined in the Scottish commission of regency, 
of which his rival, John the Red Comyn, was a distinguished 
member, having commanded, as we observed, at the memo- 
rable battle of Roslin. It does not appear that Bruce was 
disposed to act with vigor in the same cause that was espoused 
and defended by his feudal enemy ; and his exertions against 
the cause of Edward were so cold that, upon the pacification 


between Edward and the Scots, and the death of his father 
in 1304, Bruce was permitted to take possession of his pa- 
ternal estates, while Comyn, as the greater delinquent in 
English eyes, was subjected to a severe fine. Bruce also 
was consulted on the measures by which Edward proposed 
to achieve the pacification of Scotland, while Comyn was 
excluded from the favor and the councils of the English 
monarch. It is probable that Edward, from the uncertain 
tenor of Bruce's conduct, was disposed to rely upon him as 
the person of the two rivals who might be the most easily 
guided and influenced, since hitherto his conduct had been 
ruled according to the immediate pressure of his own inter- 
est ; and the zeal which, at times, he had discovered for the 
freedom of Scotland, had uniformly cooled, when the effects 
of success in his country's cause went to exalt the house of 
Comyn, and render that of Bruce subordinate. Thus reck- 
oned Edward, conceiving that self-interest was the unfailing 
key to regulate Bruce's motions, and allowing nothing for 
those strong impulses, which often change the whole human 
character, and give a new and nobler direction to one who 
has till then only appeared influenced by the passions and 
versatility of early youth. 

In 1304, Bruce enjoyed the favor and confidence of King 
Edward, and was one of those in whom that sagacious mon- 
arch chiefly trusted for securing Scotland to his footstool for- 
ever. Such, however, was far from being the intention of 
the young Earl of Carrick. Though we can but obscurely 
trace what his purpose really was, this much is certain — a 
great object now presented itself, which formerly was not 
open to Bruce's ambition. In the insurrection of "Wallace, 
and the subsequent stand made after the battle of Falkirk 
by the commissioners of regency, the name of John Baliol 
had always been used as the head and sovereign of Scotland, 
in whose right its natives were in arms, and for whom they 
defended their country against the English. It was prob- 
ably tho high influence of the Comyns, his near connections, 
which kept the claims of Baliol so long in the public eye. 


But, in his disgraceful renunciation, followed by a long ab- 
sence from Scotland, after renouncing every exertion to de- 
fend his kingdom, the king, Toom-tabard (Empty Coat), as 
he was termed by the people, lost all respect and allegiance 
among his subjects, nor seems there to have been any who 
turned to him with any sentiment of loyalty, or even inter- 
est. The crown of Scotland was therefore open to any dar- 
ing claimant who might be disposed to brave the fury of the 
English usurper ; and such a candidate might have rested, 
with some degree of certainty, upon the general feeling of 
the Scottish nation, and upon that disaffection which, like a 
strong ground-swell, agitated both the middle classes and 
populace throughout the country, who were disposed, from 
the spirit of independence with which they were animated, 
to follow almost any banner which might be displayed against 
England, the weight of whose yoke became the more severe 
the closer it was riveted on their necks. 

In this conjuncture Bruce entered into a secret treaty 
with "William de Lambyrton, the primate of Scotland, bind- 
ing themselves to stand by each other against all mortals, 
the terms of which (the king of England not being excepted) 
plainly inferred some desperate enterprise. It was thought 
necessary to discover this league to John Comyn; or, per- 
haps, he had been led to suspect it, and such a communica- 
tion had become unavoidable on the part of the conspirators. 
Comyn was given to understand that the purpose of the 
league was the destruction of the English supremacy in 
Scotland. The question was natural, "And what king do 
you intend to propose?" To this Bruce, in a personal con- 
ference with John Comyn, is said to have pointed out to him 
that their claims to the throne might be considered as equal : 
"therefore," said Bruce, "do you support my title to be king 
of Scots, and I will surrender my patrimonial estates to you ; 
or give over to me your family possessions, and I will sup- 
port your claim to the throne. ' ' Comyn, it is said by the 
Scottish historians, ostensibly embraced the alternative of 
taking Bruce 's large property, and asserting his claim to 


royalty. But in secret he resolved to avail himself of this 
discovery to betray the intrigues of his rival to Edward. 

Robert Bruce had returned to London, and was in attend- 
ance on the English court, when a private token from the 
Earl of Gloucester, his kinsman, made him aware that his 
safety and liberty were in danger. — It is said the Earl 
of Gloucester sent Bruce a piece of money and a pair of 
spurs. Men's wits are sharpened by danger, and slighter 
intimations have been sufficient in such circumstances to put 
them on their guard, and induce them to take measures for 
their safety when peril hovered over them. — He left London 
instantly, and hastened to Scotland. It is said that near the 
Solway Sands, Bruce and his attendants met an emissary 
of Comyn, who was despatched, they found, for the English 
court. They killed the messenger without hesitation, and 
from the contents of his packet learned the extent of Comyn's 
treachery. In five days Bruce reached his castle of Loch- 

It was in the month of February, 1305-6; and the En- 
glish justiciaries appointed by Edward's late regulations for 
preservation of the peace of the country of Scotland were 
holding their assizes at Dumfries for that purpose. Bruce, 
not yet prepared for an open breach with England, was 
under the necessity of rendering attendance on this high 
court as a crown vassal, and came to the county-town for 
that purpose. He here found Comyn, whom the same duty 
had brought to Dumfries. Bruce invited his rival to a pri- 
vate interview, which was held in the church of the Friars 
Minorite ; a precaution — an unavailing one as it proved — for 
the safety of both parties, and the peaceful character of the 
meeting. They met by themselves, the slender retinue 
of each baron remaining apart, and without the church. 
Between two such haughty rivals a quarrel was sure to 
arise, whether out of old feud or recent injury. The Scots 
historians say that at their private interview Bruce upbraided 
Comyn with his treacherous communication to Edward : the 
English, more improbably, state that he then, for the first time, 


imparted to Comyn his plan of insurrection against England, 
which Comyn rejected with scorn, and that this gave occa- 
sion to what followed. "Without pretending to detail what 
no one save the survivor could have truly described, it is 
certain that a violent altercation took place, in which Comyn 
gave Bruce the lie, and Bruce in reply stabbed Comyn with 
his dagger. Confounded at the rashness of his own action, 
in a place so sacred, Bruce hastened out of the sanctuary. 
There stood without two of his friends and adherents, Kirk- 
patrick of Closeburne, and Lindsay, a younger son of Lind- 
say of Crawford. They saw Bruce's bloody weapon and 
disordered demeanor, and inquired eagerly the cause. "I 
doubt," said Bruce, "I have slain the Red Comyn." "Do 
you trust that to doubt?" said Kirkpatrick; "I make sure"; 
so saying, he rushed into the church, and despatched the 
wounded man. Sir Robert Comyn, the uncle of John, inter- 
fered to save his kinsman, but was slain along with him. 
The English justiciaries, hearing this tumult, barricaded 
themselves in the hall where they administered justice. 
Bruce, however, compelled them to surrender, by putting 
fire to their place of retreat, and thereafter dismissed them 
in safety. 

This rash act of anger and impatience broke off all chance 
which might still have remained to Bruce of accommodating 
matters with Edward, who now knew his schemes of insur- 
rection, and must have regarded Comyn as a victim of his 
fidelity to the English government. On the other hand, the 
circumstances attending the slaughter were marked with 
sacrilege and breach of a solemn sanctuary, so as to render 
the act of homicide detestable in the eyes of all, save those 
who from a strong feeling of common interest might be in- 
clined to make common cause with the perpetrator. This 
interest could only exist among the Scottish patriots, who 
might see in Bruce the vindicator of his country's liberty 
and his own right to the crown ; claims so sacred as to justify 
in their eyes his enforcing them against the treacherous con- 
fidant who had betrayed the secret to the foreign usurper, 


even with the dagger's point, and at the foot of the altar. 
Bruce was, therefore, in a position as critical as if he had 
stood midway up a dizzy precipice, where the path was cut 
away behind him. The crown of Scotland hung within a 
possibility of his reaching it; and though the effort was 
necessarily attended with a great risk of failure, yet an 
attempt to retreat in any other direction must have been 
followed by inevitable destruction. Sensible of the perils 
of the choice, Bruce, therefore, resolved to claim the throne, 
with the unalterable resolution either to free his country 
or perish in the attempt. 

He retired from Dumfries into the adjoining wilds of 
Nithsdale, and resided in obscurity in the hut of a poor man, 
near the remarkable hill called the Dun of Tynron. Mean- 
time he sent messengers abroad in every direction, to collect 
his friends and followers through his extensive estates, and 
to warn such nobles as he knew to be favorable to Scottish 
independence. But their numbers were but few, and they 
were ill prepared for a hasty summons. His own family 
supplied him with four bold brethren, all men of hardihood 
and skill in arms. His nephew, afterward the celebrated 
Thomas Randolph, and his brother-in-law, Christopher Sea- 
ton, also followed the cause of their relation. Of churchmen, 
the primate of Scotland, the bishop of Glasgow, and the 
abbot of Scone, joined in the undertaking, together with the 
Earls of Lennox and of Athol, and some fourteen barons, 
with whose assistance Bruce was daring enough to defy the 
whole strength of England. He went from Dumfriesshire 
to Glasgow, where he determined to take the decisive meas- 
ure of celebrating his coronation at Scone. On his road 
thither, Bruce was joined by a warrior, who continued till 
his death the best and most disinterested of his friends and 
adherents. This was the young Sir James of Douglas, son 
of William of Douglas, the heroic companion of Wallace, 
and, like his father, devoted to the independence of 

On the 27th of March, 1306, the ceremony of crowning 


Bruce was performed at Scone with as much state as the 
means of the united barons would permit. Edward had 
carried off the royal crown of Scotland : a slight coronet of 
gold was hastily made to supply its place. The Earls of Fife 
had, since the days of Malcolm Cean-mohr, uniformly pos- 
sessed and exercised the right of placing the crown on the 
king's head at his coronation, in memory of the high services 
rendered by their ancestor, Macduff, to that monarch. On 
this occasion the Earl of Fife did not attend ; but the right 
was, contrary to his inclination, exercised by his sister, Isa- 
bella, the countess of Buchan, who absconded from her 
husband, in order that the blood of Macduff might render 
the service due to the heir of Malcolm Cean-mohr. For this 
she was afterward strangely and cruelly punished by Ed- 
ward I. 

Although the figure which Robert Bruce had hitherto 
made in public life was of a fickle and apparently selfish 
description, yet his character for chivalrous accomplishments 
stood high, and when he took the field many of "Wallace's 
old followers began to join him. 

Meantime Edward directed Aymer de Valence, earl of 
Pembroke, under the title of guardian of Scotland, to pro- 
ceed to put down the rebellion in that kingdom. He was 
accompanied by Lord Clifford and Henry Percy. The king 
himself was then ill, and scarce able to mount on horseback ; 
nevertheless he celebrated, with feudal solemnities, the day 
on which he conferred the dignity of knighthood upon the 
Prince of Wales and three hundred young gentlemen, the 
heirs of the first families in England. In the course of a 
high festival, celebrated on this occasion, two swans, richly 
adorned with gold network, were placed on the table, and 
the king made a vow (according to the singular custom of 
the age) to God and to the swans, that he would forthwith 
set out for Scotland to punish the treachery of his Scottish 
rebels, as it pleased him to call Bruce and his followers, and 
avenge the death of Sir John Comyn. He then adjured 
his son, that, should he die in the expedition, his bones 


should be preserved, and borne at the head of the army, 
till the kingdom of Scotland was entirely subdued. 

Meanwhile Bruce, against whom these vindictive prep- 
arations were directed, was engaged in strengthening his 
party without any considerable success. His enterprise was 
regarded as desperate, even by his own wife (according to 
the English authorities), who, while he boasted to her of the 
sovereign rank he had obtained, said to him, "You are, in- 
deed, a summer king; but you will scarce be a winter one." 
He appears to have sought an encounter with the Earl of 
Pembroke, who, with an army of English, had thrown him- 
self into the fortified town of Perth. Bruce arrived before 
the town with a host inferior to that of the English earl by 
fifteen hundred men-at-arms. Nevertheless he sent Pem- 
broke a challenge to come forth and fight. The English- 
man replied, he would meet him on the morrow. Bruce re- 
tired to the neighboring wood of Methven, where he took up 
his quarters for the night, expecting no battle until next 
day. But Pembroke's purpose was different from what he 
expressed. He caused his men instantly to take arms, though 
the day was far spent, and, sallying from the town of Perth, 
assaulted with fury the Scots, who were in their cantonments 
and taken at unawares. They fought boldly and Bruce him- 
self was thrice unhorsed. At one moment he was prisoner 
in the hands of Sir Philip de Mowbray, who shouted aloud 
that he had taken the new king. Christopher Seaton struck 
Mowbray to the earth, and rescued his brother-in-law. About 
four hundred of the Scots kept together, and effected their 
escape to the wilds of Athol. Several prisoners were made, 
and some pardoned or admitted to ransom ; but those of dis- 
tinction were pitilessly hanged, drawn, and quartered. Young 
Randolph, Bruce's nephew, submitted to the king of England, 
and was admitted to favor. 

Bruce, seeing his party almost totally dissipated by the 
defeat at Methven, was obliged to support himself and the 
few who remained with him, among whom were his own 
wife, and many other ladies, by the toils of the chase, in 


which it was remarked that the zeal and address of Douglas 
distinguished him above others of Brace's band, by the 
contributions which he brought to the relief of the ladies. 
From Athol the noble fugitives retreated into Aberdeenshire, 
and from thence they approached the borders of Argyleshire. 
Hitherto they had been safe from enemies in the fastnesses 
of a desolate and thinly-peopled country, and the produce of 
the chase had been sufficient to sustain their wants. But 
they were now compelled to approach a hostile country, 
where battle was to be expected. Winter was approaching, 
and threatened not only to diminish their supplies of suste- 
nance, but was likely, by the rigor of the weather, to render 
it impossible for their females any longer to accompany 
them. For himself, the fugitive king seems to have shaped 
his course under the guidance of Sir Neil Campbell, of Loch- 
Awe (ancestor of the great house of Argyle), who had under- 
taken to procure the king some refuge among the islands, or 
on the adjacent mainland of Cantire. 

Hitherto Bruce and his companions in wandering appear 
to have experienced neither favor nor opposition from the in- 
habitants of the districts through which they rambled ; but 
most part of the shire of Argyle, which they now approached, 
was under the command of a powerful chief called Macdou- 
gal, or John of Lorn. This prince had married an aunt of 
the slaughtered John Comyn, and desired nothing with more 
ardor than an opportunity to revenge the death of his ally 
upon the homicide. Accordingly, when Bruce attempted to 
penetrate into Argyleshire at the head of his company, he 
was opposed by John of Lorn, who encountered him at a 
place called Dairy (i.e., the king's field), near the head of 
Strathfillan. The Highlandmen being on foot, and armed 
with long pole-axes, called Lochaber-axes, attacked the little 
band of Bruce where the knights had no room to manage 
their horses, and did them much injury. Bruce, compelled 
to turn back, placed himself in the rear of his followers, and 
protected their retreat with the utmost gallantry. Three 
Highlanders, a father and two sons, assaulted him at once; 


but Bruce, completely armed, and excellent at the use of his 
weapon, rid himself of them by despatching them one after 
another. "Look at him," said John of Lorn, in unwilling 
admiration; "he guards his men from us, as Gaul, the son 
of Morni, protected his host from the fury of Fingal. ' ' —The 
comparison was taken from some of the ancient Gaelic poems 
composed by, or imputed to, the Celtic bard, Ossian. But 
the reader will not find the incident in the English work of 

Driven back from the road by which he had purposed to 
approach the western isles, where he had some hopes of find- 
ing shelter, Bruce labored under great and increasing diffi- 
culties, the first effect of which was to compel him to sepa- 
rate the ladies from his company. His younger brother, 
Nigel Bruce, was sent to conduct the queen and her attend- 
ants back to Aberdeenshire, where his brother was still 
master of a strong castle, called Kildrummie, which might 
serve them for some time as a place of refuge. We shall 
afterward give some account of their evil fortune. 

As Bruce and his band had in their retreat before Mac- 
dougal fallen down considerably to the southward of Dairy, 
where they had sustained their late defeat, Loch Lomond 
was now interposed between them and the province of Can- 
tire and the western coast. A little boat, capable of carry- 
ing only three men at once, was the only means to be found 
for the purpose of passing over two hundred persons. To 
divert his attendants during this tiresome ferry, the Bruce 
amused them with reading the adventures of Ferambras, a 
fabulous hero of a metrical romance; a legend in which 
they might find encouragement to patience under difficulties 
scarcely more romantic than those which they themselves 
were subjected to. 

On the banks of Loch Lomond, Bruce met with the Earl 
of Lennox, who, wandering there for protection, discovered 
the king was in his neighborhood, by hearing a bugle sounded 
with an art which he knew to be peculiar to his master. They 
met, embraced, and wept. By the guidance and assistance 


of Lennox, Bruce reached the province of Cantire, then sub- 
ject to Angus, called Lord of the Isles. Here the king met 
with Sir Neil Campbell, who had gone before him to propiti- 
ate this powerful Highland prince, whose favor was the more 
easily obtained that he was unfriendly to John Macdougal of 
Lorn, the personal enemy of Robert Bruce. This Angus was 
also the descendant of the renowned Somerled, and head of 
the sept of the Macdonalds, the most powerful scion of those 
original Scots who colonized Argyleshire under Fergus, the 
son of Eric, and who, seated in Cantire, Islay, and the other 
western islands, had, since the death of Alexander III., 
nearly shaken off subordination to the crown of Scotland, 
and paid as little respect to the English claim upon their 

Though Bruce was received by the Lord of the Isles with 
kindness and hospitality, he was probably sensible that his 
residence on or near the mainland of Scotland might draw 
down on his protector the vengeance of Edward, against 
whom the insular prince could not have offered an effectual 
defence. He therefore resolved to bury himself in the re- 
mote island of Rachrin, on the coast of Ireland, a rude and 
half -desolate islet, but inhabited by the clan of Macdonalds, 
and subject to their friendly lord. By this retreat, he effected 
his purpose of secluding himself from the jealous researches 
made after him by the adherents of the English monarch, 
and the feudal hatred of John of Lorn. Here Bruce con- 
tinued to lurk in concealment during the winter of 1306. 

In the meantime his friends and adherents in Scotland 
suffered all the miseries which the rage of an exasperated 
and victorious sovereign could inflict. His wife and his 
daughter were taken forcibly from the sanctuary of St. 
Duthac, at Tain, and consigned to the severities of separate 
English prisons, where they remained for eight years. The 
Countess of Buchan, who had placed the crown on the 
Bruce's head, was immured in a place of confinement con- 
structed expressly for her reception on the towers of the 
castle of Berwick, where the sight of her prison might make 


her the subject of wonder or scorn to all that passed. The 
bishop of St. Andrew's, the bishop of Glasgow, and the ab- 
bot of Scone, taken in arms, were imprisoned by Edward, 
who applied to the pope for their degradation, in which, 
however, he did not succeed. Nigel Bruce, a gallant and 
beautiful as well as highly accomplished youth, held out in 
his brother's castle of Kildrummie till a traitoi in the garri- 
son set fire to the principal magazine, when surrender became 
inevitable. He was tried, condemned, and executed. Chris- 
topher Seaton, who so gallantly rescued the Bruce at the bat- 
tle of Methven, shared with his brother-in-law the same mel- 
ancholy fate. The vengeance of Edward did not spare his 
own blood. The Earl of Athol had some relationship with 
the royal family of England ; but the circumstance having 
been pleaded in favor of the earl, Edward only gave so much 
weight to it as to assign him the distinction of a gallows fifty 
feet high. 

Simon Fraser, one of the commanders at the victory of 
Koslin (the other being the unfortunate John Comyn), still 
disdained to surrender, and continued in arms, till, being 
defeated at a place called Kirkincliffe, near Stirling, he was 
finally made prisoner, exposed to the people of London loaded 
with fetters, crowned with a garland in mockery, and exe- 
cuted with all the studied cruelty of the treason law. The 
citizens were taught to believe that demons, with iron hooks, 
were seen ramping on the gibbets, among the dismembered 
limbs of these unfortunate men, as they were exposed upon 
the bridge of London. The inference was that the fiends 
were in like manner employed in tormenting the souls of 
men, whose crimes, so far as we know them, were summed 
up in their endeavors to defend their country from a foreign 

To add to the disastrous deaths of his friends and associ- 
ates, the fate of Bruce personally seemed utterly destitute. 
He was forfeited by the English government as a man guilty 
of murder and sacrilege, and his large estates, extending 
from Galloway to the Solway Firth, were bestowed on dif- 


ferent English nobles, of which Sir Henry Percy and Lord 
Robert Clifford had the greatest share. A formal sentence 
of excommunication was at the same time pronounced against 
him by the papal legate, with all the terrific pomp with which 
Rome knows how to volley her thunders. 

Thus closed the year 1306 upon Scotland. The king, lurk- 
ing in an obscure isle beyond the verge of his dominions, an 
outlawed man, deprived at once of all civil and religious 
rights, and expelled from the privileges of a Christian, in 
as far as Rome had power to effect it ; the heads and limbs 
of his best and bravest adherents, men like Seaton and 
Fraser, who had upheld the cause of their country through 
every species of peril, blackening in the sun on the walls of 
their own native cities, or garnishing those of their vindic- 
tive enemy. But in these, as in similar cases, Heaven fre- 
quently sends assistance when man seems without hope, as 
the darkest hour of the night is often that which precedes 
the dawning. 



Bruce returns to Scotland, lands in Arran, and passes from thence 
to Ayrshire — Success of his Adherent James Douglas — Capture 
and Execution of Bruce's Brothers, Thomas and Alexander — 
The English evacuate Ayrshire — Bruce's reputation increases — 
Edward I. marches against him, but dies in sight of Scotland — 
Edward H.'s vacillating Measures — Bruce in the North of Scot- 
land: defeats the Earl of Buchan, and ravages his Country — 
His further Successes— Defeat of the Lord of Lorn at Crua- 
chan-ben — Feeble and irresolute Conduct of Edward contrasted 
with the Firmness of Bruce and the Scottish Clergy and People 
— Inefficient Attempt of Edward to invade Scotland — Bruce 
ravages the English Borders: takes Perth — Roxburgh Castle 
surprised by Douglas, Edinburgh by Randolph, Linlithgow by 
Binnock— The Isle of Man subdued by Bruce — The Governor of 
Stirling agrees to surrender the Place if not relieved before 
Midsummer— Bruce is displeased with his Brother Edward for 
accepting these Terms, yet resolves to abide by them — King 
Edward makes formidable Preparations to relieve Stirling 

WITH the return of spring, hope and the spirit of 
enterprise again inspired the dauntless heart 
of Robert Bruce. He made a descent on the 
isle of Arran, with the view of passing from thence to 
the Scottish mainland. A faithful vassal in his earldom 
of Carrick engaged to watch when a landing could be 
made with some probability of success, and intimate the 
opportunity to Bruce. The signal agreed upon was a fire 
to be lighted by the vassal on the cape or headland beneath 
Turnberry Castle, upon seeing which, it was resolved Bruce 
should embark with his men. The light, long watched for, 
at length appeared ; but it had not been kindled by Bruce's 
confidant. The king sailed to the mainland without hesita- 
tion, and was astonished to find his emissary watching on 


the beach, to tell him the fire was accidental, the English 
were reinforced, the people dispirited, and there was noth- 
ing to be attempted with a prospect of success. Robert 
Bruce hesitated ; but his brother Edward, a man of courage 
which reached to temerity, protested that he would not go 
again to sea, but being thus arrived in his native country, 
would take the good or evil destiny which Heaven might 
send him. Robert himself was easily persuaded to adopt 
the same bold counsel ; and a sudden attack upon a part of 
the English, who were quartered in the town, gave them 
victory and a rich booty, as Percy, who lay in the castle, 
did not venture to sally to the relief of his men. 

This advantage was followed by others. It seemed as if 
fortune had exhausted her spite on the dauntless adventurer, 
or that Heaven regarded him as having paid an ample pen- 
ance for the slaughter of Comyn. 

Bruce was joined by friends and followers, and the En- 
glish were compelled to keep their garrisons ; until Sir Henry 
Percy, instead of making head against the invader, deemed 
it necessary to evacuate Turnberry Castle, and retreat to 
England. James Douglas penetrated into his own country 
in disguise, and collecting some of his ancient followers, 
surprised the English garrison placed by Lord Clifford in 
Douglas Castle, and putting the garrison to the sword, min. 
gled the mangled bodies with a large stock of provisions 
which the English had amassed, and set fire to the castle. 
The country people to this day call this exploit the Douglas's 

The efforts of Bruce were not uniformly successful. Two 
of his brothers, Thomas and Alexander, had landed in Gallo- 
way, but were defeated and made prisoners by Roland Mac- 
dougal, a chief of that country who was devoted to England. 
He sent the unfortunate brothers to Edward, who executed 
them both, and became thus accountable to Bruce for the 
death of three of his brethren. This accident rendered the 
king's condition more precarious than it had been, and en- 
couraged the Gallovidians to make many attempts against 


his person, in some of which they made use of bloodhounds. 
At one time he escaped so narrowly that his banner was 
taken, and, as it happened, by his own nephew, Thomas 
Randolph, then employed in the ranks of the English. 
"When pressed upon on this and similar occasions, it was 
the custom of Bruce to elude the efforts of the enemy by 
dispersing his followers, who, each shifting for himself, 
knew where to meet again at some place of rendezvous, 
and often surprised and put to the sword some part of the 
enemy which were lying in full assurance of safety. 

At length, after repeated actions and a long series of 
marching and counter-marching, Pembroke was forced to 
abandon Ayrshire to the Bruce, as Percy had done before 
him. Douglas on his part was successful in Lanarkshire, 
and the numerous patriots resumed the courage which they 
had possessed under "Wallace. A battle was fought at Lou- 
doun Hill, in consequence of an express appointment, be- 
tween Bruce and his old enemy, the Earl of Pembroke, who 
was returning to the west with considerable reinforcements, 
the 10th of May, 1307, in which the Scottish king completely 
avenged the defeat at Methven. Pembroke fled to Ayr, in 
which place of refuge the Earl of Gloucester was also forced 
to seek safety. By these and similar skirmishes, in which 
his perfect knowledge of the principles of partisan warfare 
enabled him to take every advantage afforded by the excel- 
lence of his intelligence arising from the goodwill of the 
country, or by circumstances of ground, weather, weapons, 
and the like, the Scottish king gradually accustomed his 
men to repose so much confidence in his skill and wisdom 
that his orders for battle were regarded as a call to assured 
victory. He himself, James Douglas, and others among his 
followers, displayed at the same time all that personal and 
chivalrous valor, which the manners of the age demanded 
of a leader, and which often restored a battle when well- 
nigh lost. It was to these latter qualities also, as well as 
to precaution and sagacity, that Bruce was indebted for his 
escape from several treacherous attempts to take away his 


life, by the friends of the slaughtered Corny n, or the ad- 
herents of the king of England. Several of such assassins 
were slain by Robert with his own hand; and a general 
opinion, long suppressed by the former course of adverse 
events, began to be entertained through Scotland, that 
Heaven, in the hour of utmost need, had raised up in the 
heir of the Scottish throne a prince destined by Providence 
to deliver his country, and that no weapon forged against 
him should prosper. 

The gradual and increasing reputation of Bruce, the re- 
nown of his exploits, the talents which his conduct proved 
him to possess, reached the ears of Edward the First more 
and more frequently, and stung the aged sovereign with the 
most acute sense of wounded pride and mortified ambition. 
In fulfilment of his romantic vow to Heaven and the swans, 
Edward had advanced as far as Carlisle, to open his pro- 
posed campaign against the Scots, but had been detained 
there during the whole winter by the wasting effects of a 
dysentery. As the season of action approached, and the 
rumors of Bruce's success increased, the king persuaded 
himself that resentment would restore him the strength 
which age and disease had impaired. It was, indeed, a 
mortifying condition in which he found himself. For the 
space of nineteen or twenty years the conquest of Scotland 
had been the darling object of his thoughts and plans. It 
had cost him the utmost exertion of his bold and crafty fac- 
ulties — blood had been shed without measure — wealth lav- 
ished without grudging, to accomplish this darling plan; 
and now, when disease had abated his strength and energies, 
he was doomed to see from his sick bed the hills of Scotland, 
while he knew that they were still free. As if endeavoring 
to restore by a strong effort of the mind the failing strength 
of his body, he declared himself recovered, hung up in the 
cathedral the horse-litter in which he had hitherto travelled, 
but which he conceived he should need no longer, and, 
mounting his war-horse, proceeded northward. It was too 
forced an effort to be continued long. Edward only reached 


the village of Burgh on the Sands, and expired there on the 
7th July, 1307. On his deathbed, his thoughts were entirely 
on the Scottish affairs : he made his son swear that he would 
prosecute the war without truce or breathing-space ; he re- 
peated the strange injunction, that his flesh being boiled 
from his bones, the latter should be transported at the head 
of the army with which he was about to invade Scotland, 
and never be restored to the tomb till that obstinate nation 
was entirely subdued. By way of corollary to this singular 
precept, the dying king bequeathed his heart to be sent to 
the Holy Land, in whose defence he had once fought. 

Edward II., the feeble yet headstrong successor of the 
most sagacious and resolute of English princes, neglected 
the extraordinary direction of the dying monarch respecting 
the disposal of his body, which he caused to be interred at 
"Westminster (by which means the bones of Edward I. prob- 
ably escaped falling into Scottish custody) ; and naming first 
the Earl of Pembroke, and afterward John de Bretagne, 
earl of Richmond, in his room, to be guardian of Scotland, 
he himself found it more agreeable to hasten back to share 
the pleasures of London with Gaveston and his other min- 
ions, than to undertake the difficult and laborious task of 
subduing Bruce and his hardy associates. 

The English guardian, however, did his duty, and soon 
assembled a force so superior to that of Bruce that the king 
thought it necessary to shift the war into the northern parts 
of Scotland, where the enemy could not be so suddenly rein- 
forced. He left the indefatigable James of Douglas to carry 
on the war in the wooded and mountainous district of 
Ettricke forest. 

In Aberdeenshire King Robert was joined by Sir Alexan- 
der and Sir Simon Fraser, sons of the gallant hero of Roslin. 
But he was opposed by Comyn, earl of Buchan, who to 
party hatred added an eager desire to revenge the death 
of his kinsman slain by Bruce. The time seemed favorable 
for his purpose, for Bruce was at this time afflicted with a 
lingering and wasting distemper, which impaired his health 


and threatened his life. In this condition, he thought it wise 
to retreat before the Earl of Buchan, who at length pressed 
so closely on his rear as to beat up their quarters in the town 
of Old Meldrum, and cause some loss. "These folks will 
work a cure on me," said Bruce, starting from the litter 
which he had been of late compelled to use; and rushing 
into battle, though obliged to be supported in his saddle, 
he was so actively seconded by his troops that he totally 
defeated the Earl of Buchan ; and in reward for the perti- 
nacity with which that lord had pursued him, he ravaged 
his country so severely that the herrying of Buchan was 
the subject of lamentation for a hundred years afterward, 
and traces of the devastation may be even yet seen. 

After this action Sir David de Brechin, the Bruce's 
nephew, who had formerly taken part with the Earl of 
Buchan, is said to have joined his uncle; yet in 1312, 
nearly three years afterward, we find him again employed 
by Edward; so sudden were changes of party in these un- 
settled times, even among men who held a high character 
for faith and honor. In the "Rotulee Scotias," as quoted 
by Mr. Tytler, Edward employs David de Brechin as joint 
warden with Montfichet. The citizens of Aberdeen also 
declared in Bruce's favor, and adding acts to professions, 
stormed and took the castle, and expelled the English gar- 
rison. The citadel of Forfar was also takeo, and both fort- 
resses were demolished by order of Bruce ; a course of policy 
which he always observed, because, as the English were 
more skilful in the attack and defence of fortified places, the 
existence of such afforded them facilities both in gaining 
and securing their possessions in Scotland which could not 
have existed if the country had been open and not com- 
manded by citadels or castles. 

While victory thus attended his own banners in the north 
of Scotland, King Robert despatched parties of his followers, 
under his best leaders, to spread the insurrection into other 
districts, and by diverting the attention of the English in- 
vaders, prevent them from assembling a large force and fin- 


ishing the war by a single blow, as at Dunbar and Falkirk. 
Edward Bruce fought and won several actions against the 
English in Galloway, as well as against the natives of that 
barbarous country, who had always taken part against the 
Bruce's interest. He gained these successes through exer- 
tion of a reckless courage which defied all the usual calcula- 
tions of prudence. At length, after a severe defeat given to 
the native chiefs and their southern allies on the banks of the 
Dee, June 29, 1308, Edward expelled the English entirely 
from Galloway, and brought that rude province into sub- 
mission to his brother. 

Douglas again retook and dismantled his own fortress of 
Douglas, upon which he had now made three attacks, two 
of which were completely successful. He then proceeded to 
scour the hills of Tweedale and the forest of Ettricke. In 
reconnoitring the country on the small river of Lyne, the 
Douglas approached a house, in which a spy whom he sent 
forward heard men talking loudly, one of whom used the 
"devil's name" as an oath or adjuration. Conjecturing they 
must be soldiers who dared make familiar use of so formid- 
able a phrase, Douglas caused his attendants to beset the 
house, and made prisoners therein Thomas Randolph, the 
king's nephew, and Alexander Stewart of Bonkill, both of 
whom, since the battle of Methven, had adhered to the En- 
glish interest. They were well treated, and sent to the king, 
who gently rebuked Randolph for breach of allegiance. "It 
is you," said the haughty young warrior, "who degrade 
your own cause by trusting to ambuscades instead of facing 
the English in the field." "That may happen in due time," 
replied Bruce: "in the meantime, it is fitting that you be 
taught your duty by restraint." Thomas Randolph was 
sent accordingly to prison, where he did not long remain. 
He was reconciled to his uncle, whom he ever after served 
with the utmost fidelity: indeed, Douglas only, among the 
followers of the Bruce, was held to equal him in military 

Bruce's successes now enabled him to chastise the Lord 


of Lorn, by whom, after his defeat at Methven, he had been 
so severely persecuted. He marched toward Argyleshire, 
and arrived at Dalmally. Here he learned that John of 
Lorn and his Highlanders had stationed themselves in a 
formidable pass, where the great mountain of Cruachan-Ben 
sinks down upon the margin of Loch- A we, so that the road 
passes among precipices on the left hand and the deep lake 
on the other. But Bruce understood as well as any modern 
tacitician how such difficulties were to be overcome. While 
he himself engaged the attention of the mountaineers by 
threatening an assault in front, he despatched Douglas, with 
a party of light troops, to march round the mountain, and 
turn the pass, thus attacking the defenders in front, flank, 
and rear at once. They were routed with great slaughter. 
The lords of Lorn, father and son, escaped by sea. Their 
castle of Dunstaffnage was taken, and their country pillaged, 
August, 1308. 

Thus did Robert Bruce, with steady and patient resolu- 
tion, win province after province from the English, encour- 
aging and rewarding his friends, overawing and chastising 
his enemies, and rendering his authority more respected day 
by day. The profound wisdom and resolute purpose of Ed- 
ward I. would have been required to sustain, against Bruce's 
talents, the conquests he had made ; but the weak and fickle 
character of his son was all that England had to oppose to 

The measures to which Edward resorted were imperfect, 
feeble, hastily assumed, and laid aside without apparent rea- 
son. At one time he put his faith in William de Lambyrton, 
the archbishop of Saint Andrew's, whom his father had cast 
into prison. This prelate being liberated and pensioned by 
the second Edward, volunteered his services to promulgate 
the bull of excommunication against Robert Bruce: but 
if the bull had made but slight impression on the Scots dur- 
ing the king's adversity, it met with still less regard whon 
the splendor of repeated success disposed his countrymen in 
general to blot from their remembrance the deed of violence 


with which so brilliant a career had commenced. The death 
of John Comyn was but like a morning cloud which is for- 
gotten in the blaze of a summer noon. 

The king of France, who had deserted the Scots in their 
utmost need, now began to be once more an intercessor in 
their behalf ; and the English king consented to offer a truce 
to Bruce and his adherents ; but the Scots, on their part, re- 
quired payment of a sum of money before they would grant 
one. Edward's measures showed a predominance of weak- 
ness and uncertainty. Commissions to six different gover- 
nors were granted and recalled before any of those appointed 
had time to act upon them. General musters of forces were 
ordered, which the haughty barons of England obeyed or 
neglected at their pleasure. All showed the marks of a 
feeble and vacillating government, unwilling to resign the 
kingdom of Scotland, yet incapable of adopting the active 
and steady measures by which alone it could have been 

All public measures in Scotland, on the other hand, were 
marked by the steadiness of conscious superiority which they 
borrowed from the character of their sovereign. The estates 
of the kingdom solemnly declared the award of Edward 
adjudging the crown of Scotland to John Baliol was an 
injustice to the grandfather of Bruce. They recognized the 
deceased lord of Annandale as the true heir of the crown, 
owned his grandson as their king, and denounced the doom 
of treason against all who should dispute his right to the 
crown. The clergy of the kingdom issued a spiritual charge 
to their various flocks, acknowledging Bruce as their sover- 
eign, in spite of the thunders of excommunication which had 
been launched against him. 

At length, in 1310, Edward, roused into action, assem- 
bled a large army at Berwick, and entered Scotland, but too 
late in the year for any effective purpose. Bruce was con- 
tented with eluding the efforts of the invaders to bring on 
a general battle, cutting off their provisions, harassing their 
marches, and augmenting the distress and danger of an 


Invading army in a country at once hostile and desolate; 
and by this policy the patience of Edward and the supplies 
of his army were altogether exhausted. A second, a third, 
a fourth expedition was attempted with equally indifferent 
success. What mischief the Scots might sustain by these 
irruptions was fearfully compensated by the retaliation of 
King Robert, who ravaged the English frontiers with piti- 
less severity. The extreme sufferings of Bruce himself, of 
his family and his country, called loudly for retaliation, which 
was thus rendered excusable, if not meritorious. The Scots 
obtained money as well as other plunder on these occasions ; 
for, after abiding fifteen days in England, the northern prov- 
inces found it necessary to purchase their retreat. 

King Robert left the borders to present himself before 
Perth, which was well fortified, and held out by an English 
garrison. In one place the moat was so shallow that it 
might be waded. On that point Bruce made a daring 
attack. Having previously thrown the garrison off their 
guard by a pretended retreat, he appeared suddenly before 
the town at the head of a chosen storming party. He him- 
self led the way, completely armed, bearing a scaling-ladder 
in his hand, waded through the moat where the water 
reached to his chin, and was the second man who mounted 
the wall. A French knight, who was with the Scottish 
army, at the sight of this daring action, exclaimed, "Oh, 
heaven ! what shall we say of the delicacy of our French 
lords, when we see so gallant a king hazard his person to 
win such a paltry hamlet?* ' So saying he flung himself into 
the water, and was one of the first to surmount the wall. 
The place was speedily taken. 

The confidential friends to whom Bruce intrusted the 
command of separate detachments in various parts of Scot- 
land, among whom were men of high military talent, en- 
deavored to outdo each other in following the example 
of their heroic sovereign. Douglas and Randolph partic- 
ularly distinguished themselves in this patriotic rivalry. 
The strong and large castle of Roxburgh was secured by 


its position, its fortifications, and the number of the gar- 
rison, from any siege which the Scots could have formed. 
But on the eve of Shrove Tuesday (March 6, 1312-13), when, 
the garrison were full of jollity and indulging in drunken 
wassail, Douglas and his followers approached the castle, 
creeping on hands and feet, and having dark cloaks flung 
over their armor. They seemed to the English soldiers a 
strayed herd of some neighboring peasant's cattle, which 
had been suffered to escape during the festivity of the even- 
ing. They therefore saw these objects arrive on the verge 
of the moat and descend into it without wonder or alarm, 
nor did they discover their error till the shout of Douglas! 
Douglas ! announced that the wall was scaled and the castle 

As if to match this gallant action, Thomas Randolph 
possessed himself of the yet stronger castle of Edinburgh. 
This also was by surprise. A soldier in Randolph's army, 
named William Frank, who had lived in the castle in his 
youth, had then learned to make his way down the precipice 
on which the fortress is built, by clambering over at a place 
where the wall was very low. He had used this perilous 
passage for carrying on an intrigue with a woman who 
resided in the city, and as he had often left the fortress and 
returned to it in safety, he offered himself as a guide to scale 
it at that point. Randolph placed himself and thirty chosen 
soldiers under the guidance of this man. As they ascended 
under the cover of night, they heard the counter-guards 
making their rounds, and challenging the sentinels as usual 
in a well-guarded post. The Scots were at this moment 
screened by a rock from the sentinels and from the counter- 
watch. Yet one man of the patrol at that awful moment 
called out, "I see you," and threw down a stone. But this 
was only a trick for the purpose of alarming his companions, 
not that he had taken any real alarm, though he had so 
nearly discovered what was going forward. The watchmen 
moved on, and the Scots, with as much silence as possible, 
renewed their toilsome and dangerous ascent. They reached 
6 <% Vol. I. 


the foot of the wall where it was twelve feet high, and sur- 
mounted it by a ladder of ropes. The guide Frank mounted 
first, then came Sir Andrew Gray, and next Randolph him- 
self. The English sentinels now took the alarm in good 
earnest; but the boldness of the action was the cause of its 
success ; and though the garrison resisted bravely, yet, being 
unaware of the very small force opposed to them, the castle 
was at length taken. This was the 14th March, 1312-13. 

It was not princes and warriors alone who were roused 
to action on this glorious occasion. The exploit of a hardy 
peasant, Binnock or Binning by name, is as remarkable as 
the surprise of Roxburgh or Edinburgh. This brave man 
lived in the neighborhood of Linlithgow, where the English 
had constructed a strong fort. Accustomed to supply the 
garrison with forage, Binnock concealed eight armed Scots 
in his wain, which was apparently loaded with hay. He 
employed a strong-bodied bondman to drive the wagon, 
and he himself walked beside it, as if to see his commodity 
delivered. When the cart was in the gateway beneath the 
portcullis, Binnock, with a sudden blow of an axe which 
he held in his hand, severed the harness which secured the 
horses to the wain. Finding themselves relieved from the 
draught, the horses sprang forward. Binnock shouted a 
signal-word, and at the same time struck down the porter 
with his axe. The armed men started from their conceal- 
ment among the hay. The English attempted to drop the 
portcullis or shut the gate; but the loaded wain prevented 
alike the fall of the one and the closing of the other. A 
party of armed Scots, who lay in ambush waiting the event, 
rushed in at the shout of their companions, and the castle 
was theirs. 

The Bruce 's success was not limited to the mainland of 
Scotland ; he pursued the Macdougal of Galloway, to whom 
he owed the captivity and subsequent death of his two broth- 
ers, into the Isle of Man, where he defeated him totally, 
stormed his castle of Rushin, and subjected his island to 
the Scottish domination. 


When Bruce returned to the mainland of ITorth Britain 
from this expedition, he had the pleasure to find that the 
energy of his brother Edward had pursued the great work 
of expelling the English invaders with uninterrupted suc- 
cess. He had taken the town and castle of Rutherglen and 
of Dundee ; the last of which had during the previous year 
resisted the Scottish arms, in consequence, partly, of a breach 
of compact, which we shall presently notice. 

But these good news were checkered by others of a more 
doubtful quality. After his success at Rutherglen and Dun- 
dee, Sir Edward Bruce laid siege to Stirling, the only consid- 
erable fortress in Scotland which still remained in the hands 
of the English. The governor, Sir Philip de Mowbray, de- 
fended himself with great valor, but at length, becoming 
straitened for provisions, entered into a treaty, by which 
he agreed to surrender the fortress if not relieved before 
the feast of St. John the Baptist, in the ensuing midsum- 
mer. Bruce was greatly displeased with the precipitation 
of his brother Edward in entering into such a capitulation 
without waiting his consent. It engaged him necessarily 
in the same risk which had so often proved fatal to the 
Scots; namely, that of perilling the fate of the kingdom 
upon a general battle, in which the numbers, discipline, 
and superior appointments of the English must insure them 
an advantage, which experience had shown they were far 
from possessing over their northern neighbors when they 
encountered in small bodies. The king upbraided his 
brother with the temerity of his conduct; but Edward, 
with the reckless courage which characterized him, de- 
fended his agreement on the usage of chivalry, and rather 
seemed to triumph in having brought the protracted con- 
flict between the kingdoms to the issue of a fair field. 

If Robert Bruce had finally determined to avoid the con- 
flict, he had a fair excuse to do so. In the preceding year 
(1313), as we have already hinted, William de Montfichet, 
the English governor of Dundee, had entered into terms 
similar to the treaty of Stirling, to surrender the place un- 


less relieved at a certain stipulated time. But he had broken 
his agreement, and resumed his defence, under the express 
injunction of Edward his sovereign. So that if Bruce had 
refused to sanction his brother's agreement with Mowbray, 
he might have fairly pleaded the example of Edward his 
antagonist. But King Robert saw that this mode of elud- 
ing the treaty could not be acted upon without depressing 
the spirits of his followers, and diminishing their confidence, 
while it must have lost him the services of the hasty but 
dauntless Edward, of which his cooler courage knew how 
to make the most important use. Besides, his own temper, 
though tamed by experience, was naturally hardy and bold, 
and little disposed him to avoid the arbitrament of battle 
when his character as a soldier and a true knight recom- 
mended his accepting it. To all this must be added that 
the prescient eye of Bruce saw and anticipated circumstances 
which, if made of due avail, might deprive the English of 
the advantage of numbers, discipline, and appointments, in 
all of which they might be expected to possess a superiority. 
He prepared, then, with the calm prudence of an accom- 
plished and intelligent general, for the mortal and decisive 
conflict, the challenge to which his brother Edward had ac- 
cepted with the wild enthusiasm of a knight-errant. 

Meantime Sir Philip de Mowbray, governor of Stirling, 
availed himself of the truce which the treaty had procured 
for the garrison under his command, to hasten in person to 
London, and state to Edward and his council that almost 
the last remnant of Edward I. 's conquests in Scotland must 
be irretrievably lost, unless Stirling was relieved. The king 
and his barons, through the misconduct of the former, were 
at the time upon very indifferent terms. But this news was 
of a nature to arouse the spirit of both. The king could not 
without dishonor decline the enterprise; the barons could 
not withhold their assistance, without being guilty of trea- 
son both to their sovereign and to the honor of their coun- 
try. The time allowed by the treaty, including several 
months, was sufficient for collecting the whole gigantic 


force of England, and the disposition both of the king 
and his nobility was earnest in employing it to the best 

The preparations of England for this decisive enterprise 
were upon such a scale as to stagger the belief of modern 
historians, yet their extent is proved by the records which 
are still extant. Ninety-three great tenants of the crown 
brought forth their entire feudal service of cavalry, to the 
number of forty thousand, three thousand of whom were 
completely sheathed in steel, both horses and riders. The 
levies In the counties of England and Wales extended to 
twenty-seven thousand infantry. A great force was drawn 
from Ireland, both under English barons, settlers in that 
country, and under twenty-six Irish chiefs, who were or- 
dered to collect their vassals and join the army. The whole 
array was summoned to meet at Berwick on the 11th day 
of June (1314), the period being prolonged to the last limits 
Sir Philip Mowbray's engagement would permit, in order to 
give time to collect the vast quantity of provisions, forage, 
and everything else required for the movement and support 
of a host, which was indisputably the most numerous that 
an English monarch ever led against Scotland, amounting 
in all to upward of one hundred thousand men. 

Bruce, who was well informed respecting these formidable 
preparations, exhausted the resources of his powerful military 
genius in devising and preparing the means of opposing them. 



Preparations of Robert Bruce for a decisive Engagement — Precau- 
tions adopted by him against the Superiority of the English in 
Cavalry: against their Archery: against their Superiority of 
Numbers — He summons his Array together — Description of the 
Field of Battle, and of the Scottish Order of Battle— The English 
Vanguard comes in Sight— Action between Clifford and the 
Earl of Moray — Chivalrous Conduct of Douglas — Bruce kills 
Sir Henry Bohun — Appearance of the English Army on the 
ensuing Morning — Circumstances preliminary to the Battle — 
The English begin the Attack — Their Archers are dispersed by 
Cavalry kept in Reserve for that Purpose — The English fall into 
disorder — Bruce attacks with the Reserve — The Camp Fol- 
lowers appear on the Field of Battle — The English fall into 
irreti'ievable Confusion, and fly — Great Slaughter — Death of 
the Earl of Gloucester — King Edward leaves the Field — Death 
of De Argentine — Flight of the King to Dunbar — Prisoners 
and Spoil — Scottish Loss — Scots unable to derive a Lesson in 
Strategy from the Battle of Bannockburn; but supported by 
the Remembrance of that great Success during the succeeding 
Extremities of their History 

THE crisis of this long and inveterate war seemed ap- 
proaching. From the spring of 1306 to that of 1314, 
the fortunes of Bruce seem to have been so much on 
the ascendant that none of the slight reverses with which his 
career was checkered could be considered as seriously inter- 
rupting it. He was now acknowledged as king through the 
greater part of Scotland, although far from possessing the 
decisive authority attached to the chief magistrate of a set- 
tled government. Zeal, goodwill, love for his person, and 
reverence for his talents, made up to him among his coun- 
trymen what was wanting in established and acknowledged 
right ; so that it was with the certainty of receiving the gen- 
eral national support that he prepared for the approaching 


conflict. Bruce had chiefly to provide against three disad- 
vantages, being the same which oppressed Wallace at the 
battle of Falkirk, and of which the first two at least contin- 
ued to be severely felt by the Scottish in every general action 
with the English, while they remained separate nations. 

The first was the Scottish king's great deficiency in cav- 
alry, which, more especially the men-at-arms, who were 
arrayed in complete steel, was accounted by far the most 
formidable part, or rather the only efficient part of a feudal 
army. On this point Bruce held an opinion more proper 
to our age than to his. He had, perhaps, seen the battle of 
Falkirk, where the resistance of the Scottish masses of in- 
fantry had been so formidable as welinigh to foil the English 
cavalry, and he knew the particulars of that of Courtray, 
where the French men-at-arms were defeated by the Flem- 
ish pikemen. His own experience of the battle of Loudoun 
Hill went to support the opinion, though accounted singular 
at the time, that a body of steady infantry, armed with 
spears and other long weapons, and judiciously posted, 
would, if they could be brought to stand firm and keep 
their ranks, certainly beat off a superior body of horse — a 
maxim uncontroverted in modern warfare. 

Bruce's second difficulty lay in the inferiority of his arch- 
ers, whose formidable shafts constituted the artillery of the 
day. The bow was never a favorite weapon with the Scottish, 
and their archery were generally drawn from the Highlands, 
undisciplined, and rudely armed with a short bow, very 
loosely strung : this, being drawn to the breast in using it, 
discharged a clumsy arrow with a heavy head of forked 
iron, which was shot feebly, and with little effect. These 
ill-trained and ill-armed archers were all whom the Scottish 
had to oppose to the celebrated yeomen of England, who 
were from childhood trained to the exercise of the bow. 
This warlike implement, of a size suited to his age, was put 
into every child's hand when five years old, and afterward 
gradually increased in size with the increasing strength of 
him who was to use it, until the full-grown youth could 


manage a bow of six feet long, and by drawing the arrow 
to his ear, gain purchase enough to discharge shafts of a 
cloth-yard long. For the great inequality of numbers and 
skill between the Scottish Highlanders and English bowmen, 
Bruce hoped also to find a remedy by his proposed array of 

The third disadvantage at which this decisive contest 
must be fought on the part of Scotland, was the disparity of 
numbers, which was very great. The commands of Bruce, 
through such parts of Scotland as confessed his sovereignty, 
drew together indeed a considerable force, the more easily 
collected, as Stirling was a central situation. But the more 
distant districts had, during the tumult of civil war, become 
almost independent, and it is not probable that the Bruce's 
mandates had much effect on the remoter northern prov- 
inces. On the other hand, in the country to the south, and 
especially to the southeast of the borders, many great lords 
and barons continued to profess the English interest. Of 
these, the great Earl of March was most distinguished. We 
may conclude from these reasons, that the Scottish historians 
are right in arriving at the conclusion that Robert's utmost 
exertions on this trying occasion could not collect together 
more than about thirty thousand fighting men, though, as 
was usual with a Scottish army, there were followers of the 
camp amounting to ten thousand more, to whom, although 
usually a useless encumbrance, or rather a nuisance to a well- 
ordered army, fortune assigned on this occasion a singular 
influence on the fortune of the day. Bruce, thus inferior 
in numbers, endeavored, like an able general, to compensate 
the disadvantage by so choosing his ground as to compel the 
enemy to narrow their front of attack, and prevent them 
from availing themselves of their numerous forces, by ex- 
tending them in order to turn his flanks. 

With such resolutions, Robert Bruce summoned the array 
of his kingdom to rendezvous in the Tor Wood, about four 
miles from Stirling, and by degrees prepared the field of bat- 
tle which he had selected for the contest. It was a space of 


ground then called the New Park, perhaps reserved for the 
chase, since Stirling was frequently a royal residence. This 
ground was partly open, partly encumbered with trees, in 
groups or separate. It was occupied by the Scottish line of 
battle, extending from south to north, and fronting to the 
east. In this position Bruce's left flank and rear might 
have been exposed to a sally from the Castle of Stirling; 
but Mowbray the governor's faith was beyond suspicion, 
and'the king was not in apprehension that he would violate 
the tenor of the treaty, by which he was bound to remain in 
passive expectation of his fate. The direct approach to the 
Scottish front was protected in a great measure by a morass 
called the Newmiln Bog. A brook, called Bannockburn, 
running to the eastward between rocky and precipitous 
banks, effectually covered the Scottish right wing, which 
rested upon it, and was totally inaccessible. Their left flank 
was apparently bare, but was, in fact, formidably protected 
in front by a peculiar kind of field-works. As the ground in 
that part of the field was adapted for the manoeuvres of cav- 
alry, Bruce caused many rows of pits, three feet deep, to be 
dug' in it, so close together as to suggest the appearance of 
a honeycomb, with its ranges of cells. In these pits sharp 
stakes were strongly pitched, and the apertures covered with 
sod so carefully as that the condition of the ground might 
escape observation. Calthrops, or spikes contrived to lame 
the horses, were also scattered in different directions. 

Having led his troops into the field of combat, on the 
tidings of the English approach, the 23d of June, 1314, the 
king of Scotland commanded his soldiers to arm themselves, 
and making proclamation that those who were not prepared 
to conquer or die with their sovereign were at liberty to de- 
part, he was answered by a cheerful and general expression 
of their determination to take their fate with him. The 
king proceeded to draw up the army in the following order. 
Three oblong columns or masses of infantry, armed with 
lances, arranged on the same front, with intervals between 
them, formed his first line. Of these Edward Bruce had 


the guidance of the right wing, James Douglas and "Walter, 
the steward of Scotland, of the left, and Thomas Randolph 
of the central division. These three commanders had their 
orders to permit no English troops to pass their front, in 
order to gain Stirling. The second line, forming one column 
or mass, consisted of the men of the isles, under Bruce's 
faithful friend and ally, the insular Prince Angus, his own 
men of Carrick, and those of Argyle and Cantire. With 
these the king posted himself, in order to carry support and 
assistance wherever it might be required. With himself also 
he kept in the rear a select body of horse, the greater part of 
whom he designed for executiog a particular service. The 
followers of the camp were dismissed with the baggage, to 
station themselves behind an eminence to the rear of the 
Scottish army, still called the Gillies' (that is, the servants') 

These arrangements were hardly completed by the Scot- 
tish monarch, when it was announced that the tremendous 
army of Edward was approaching, having marched from 
Falkirk early that morning. On approaching Stirling, the 
English king detached Sir Robert Clifford with eight hun- 
dred horse, directing him to avoid the front of the Scottish 
army, and, fetching a circuit round them, turn their left 
flank, and throw himself into Stirling. The English knight 
made a circuit eastward, where some low ground concealed 
his manoeuvres, when the eagle eye of Bruce detected a line 
of dust, with glancing of spears and flashing of armor, tak- 
ing northward, in the direction of Stirling. He pointed this 
out to Randolph. "They have passed where you kept 
ward," said he. "Ah, Randolph, there is a rose fallen 
from your chaplet!" 

The Earl of Moray was wounded by the reproach, and 
with such force as he had around him, which amounted to a 
few scores of spearmen on foot, he advanced against Clifford 
to redeem his error. ' The English knight, interrupted in his 
purpose of gaining Stirling, wheeled his large body of cavalry 
upon Randolph, and charged him at full speed. The Earl of 


Moray threw his men into a circle to receive the charge, the 
front kneeling on the ground, the second stooping, the third 
standing upright, and all of them presenting their spears like 
a wall against the headlong force of the advancing cavaliers. 
The combat appeared so unequal to those who viewed it 
from a distance, that they considered Randolph as lost, and 
Douglas requested the king's assistance to fetch him off. 
"It may not be," said the Bruce; "Randolph must pay the 
penalty of his indiscretion. I will not disorder my line of 
battle for him." — "Ah, noble king," said Douglas, "my 
heart cannot suffer me to see Randolph perish for lack of 
aid"; and with a permission half extorted from the king, 
half assumed by himself, Douglas marched to his defence ; 
but upon approaching the scene of conflict, the little body of 
Randolph was seen emerging like a rock in the waves, from 
which the English cavalry were retreating on every side 
with broken ranks, like a repelled tide. "Hold and halt!" 
said the Douglas to his followers; "we are come too late to 
aid them; let us not lessen the victory they have won, by 
affecting to claim a share in it." When it is remembered 
that Douglas and Randolph were rivals for fame, this is one 
of the bright touches which illuminate and adorn the history 
of those ages of which blood and devastation are the pre- 
dominant character. 

Another preliminary event took place the same evening. 
Bruce himself, mounted upon a small horse or pony, was 
attentively marshalling the ranks of his vanguard. He car- 
ried a battle-axe in his hand, and was distinguished to friend 
and enemy by a golden coronet which he wore on his helmet. 
A part of the English vanguard made its appearance at this 
time ; and a knight among them, Sir Henry de Bohun, con- 
ceiving he saw an opportunity of gaining himself much 
honor, and ending the Scottish war at a single blow, couched 
his lance, spurred his powerful war-horse, and rode against 
the king at full career, with the expectation of bearing him to 
the earth by the superior strength of his charger and length 
of his weapon. The king, aware of his purpose, stood as if 


expecting the shock; but the instant before it took place, 
he suddenly moved his little palfrey to the left, avoided the 
unequal encounter, and striking the English knight with his 
battle-axe as he passed him in his career, he dashed helmet 
and head to pieces, and laid Sir Henry Bohun at his feet a 
dead man. The animation which this event afforded to the 
Scots was equalled by the dismay which it struck into their 
enemies. The English vanguard retired from the field with 
ominous feelings for the event of the battle, which Edward 
had resolved to put off till the morrow, in consideration, 
perhaps, of the discouraging effects of Bohun's death and 
Clifford's defeat. The Scottish nobles remonstrated with 
Robert on the hazard in which he placed his person. The 
king looked at his weapon, and only replied, "I have broke 
my good battle-axe." He would not justify what he was 
conscious was an imprudence, but knew, doubtless, like 
other great men, that there are moments in which the rules 
of ordinary prudence must be transgressed by a general, in 
order to give an impulse of enthusiasm to his followers. 

On the morning of Saint Barnaby, called the Bright, 
being the 24th of June, 1314, Edward advanced in full 
form to the attack of the Scots, whom he found in their 
position of the preceding evening. The vanguard of the 
English, consisting of the archers and billmen, or lancers, 
comprehending almost all the infantry of the army, advanced 
under the command of the Earls of Gloucester and Hereford, 
who also had a fine body of men-atrarms to support their 
column. All the remainder of the English troops, consisting 
of nine battles or separate divisions, were so straitened by 
the narrowness of the ground, that, to the eye of the Scots, 
they seemed to form one very large body, gleaming with 
flashes of armor, and dark with the number of banners 
which floated over them. Edward himself commanded this 
tremendous array, and in order to guard his person was at- 
tended by four hundred chosen men-at-arms. Immediately 
around the king waited Sir Aymer de Valence, that Earl of 
Pembroke who defeated Bruce at Methven Wood, but was 


now to see a very different day, Sir Giles de Argentine, a 
knight of Saint John of Jerusalem, who was accounted, for 
his deeds in Palestine and elsewhere, one of the best knights 
that lived, and Sir Ingram Umfraville, an Aglicized Scot- 
tishman, also famed for his skill in arms. 

As the Scottish saw the immense display of their enemies 
rolling toward them like a surging ocean, they were called 
on to join in an appeal to Heaven against the strength of 
human foes. Maurice, the abbot of Inchaffray, bareheaded 
and barefooted, walked along the Scottish line, and con- 
ferred his benediction on the soldiers, who knelt to receive 
it, and to worship the power in whose name it was bestowed. 

During this time the king of England was questioning 
Umfraville about the purpose of his opponents. "Will they," 
said Edward, "abide battle?" — "They assuredly will," re- 
plied Umfraville; "and to engage them with advantage, 
your highness were best order a seeming retreat, and draw 
them out of their strong ground." Edward rejected this 
counsel, and observing the Scottish soldiers kneel down, 
joyfully exclaimed, "They crave mercy." — "It is from 
Heaven, not from your highness," answered Umfraville: 
"on that field they will win or die." The king then com- 
manded the charge to be sounded and the attack to take 

The Earls of Gloucester and Hereford charged the Scots 
left wing, under Edward Bruce, with their men-at-arms; 
but some rivalry between these two great lords induced 
them to hurry to the charge with more of emulation than 
of discretion, and arriving at the shock disordered and out 
of breath, they were unable to force the deep ranks of the 
spearmen. Many horses were thrown down, and their mas- 
ters left at the mercy of the enemy. The other three di- 
visions of the Scottish army attacked the mass of the En- 
glish infantry, who resisted courageously. The English 
archers, as at the battle of Falkirk, now began to show 
their formidable skill, at the expense of the Scottish spear- 
men ; but for this Bruce was prepared. He commanded Sir 


Robert Keith, the marshal of Scotland, with those four hun- 
dred men-at-arms whom he had kept in reserve for the pur- 
pose, to make a circuit and charge the English bowmen in 
the flank. This was done with a celerity and precision which 
dispersed the whole archery, who having neither stakes nor 
other barrier to keep off the horse, nor long weapons to repel 
them, were cut down at pleasure, and almost without re- 

The battle continued to rage, but with disadvantage to 
the English. The Scottish archers had now an opportunity 
of galling their infantry without opposition; and it would 
appear that King Edward could find no means of bringing 
any part of his numerous centre or rearguard to the support 
of those in front, who were engaged at disadvantage. The 
cause seems to have been that, his army consisting in a great 
measure of horse, a space of ground was wanted for the 
squadrons to act in divisions and with due order ; and though 
there are cases in which masses of infantry may possess a 
kind of order, even when in a manner heaped together, this 
can never be the case with cavalry, the efficacy of whose 
movements must always depend on each horse having room 
for free exertion. 

Bruce, seeing the confusion thicken, now placed himself 
at the head of the reserve, and addressing Angus of the Isles 
in the words, "My hope is constant in thee," rushed into the 
engagement, followed by all the troops he had hitherto kept 
in reserve. The effect of such an effort, reserved for a favor- 
able moment, failed not to be decisive. Those of the English 
who had been staggered were now constrained to retreat; 
those who were already in retreat took to actual flight. At 
this critical moment, the camp-followers of the Scottish 
army, seized with curiosity to see how the day went, or 
perhaps desirous to have a share of the plunder, suddenly 
showed themselves on the ridge of the Gillies' Hill, in the 
rear of the Scottish line of battle; and as they displayed 
cloths and horse-coverings upon poles for ensigns, they bore 
in the eyes of the English the terrors of an army with ban- 


ners. The belief that they beheld the rise of an ambuscade, 
or the arrival of a new army of Scots, gave the last impulse 
of terror ; and all fled now, even those who had before re- 
sisted. The slaughter was immense; the deep ravine of 
Bannockburn, to the south of the field of battle, lying in 
the direction taken by most of the fugitives, was almost 
choked and bridged over with the slain, the difficulty of the 
ground retarding the fugitive horsemen till the lancers were 
upon them. Others, and in great numbers, rushed into the 
river Forth, in the blindness of terror, and perished there. 
No less than twenty-seven barons fell in the field : the Earl 
of Gloucester was at the head of the fatal list. Young, 
brave, and high-born, when he saw the day was lost, he 
rode headlong on the Scottish spears, and was slain. Sir 
Robert Clifford, renowned in the Scottish wars, was also 
killed. Two hundred knights and seven hundred esquires 
of high birth and blood graced the list of slaughter with the 
noblest names of England ; and thirty thousand of the com- 
mon file filled up the fatal roll. 

Edward, among whose weaknesses we cannot number 
cowardice, was reluctantly forced from the bloody field by 
the Earl of Pembroke. The noble Sir Giles de Argentine 
considered it as his duty to attend the king until he saw him 
in personal safety, then observing that "it was not his own 
wont to fly, ' ' turned back, rushed again into the battle, cried 
his war-cry, galloped boldly against the victorious Scots, and 
was slain, according to his wish, with his face to the enemy. 
Edward must have been bewildered in the confusion of the 
field, for instead of directing his course southerly to Linlith- 
gow, from which he came, he rode northward to Stirling, 
and demanded admittance. Philip de Mowbray, the gov- 
ernor, remonstrated against this rash step, reminding the 
unfortunate prince that he was obliged by his treaty to 
surrender the castle next day, as not having been relieved 
according to the conditions. 

Edward was therefore obliged to take the southern road, 
and he must have made a considerable circuit to avoid the 


Scottish army. He was, however, discovered on his retreat, 
and pursued by Douglas with sixty horse, who were all that 
could be mustered for the service. A circumstance happened 
in the chase which illustrates what we have formerly said of 
the light and easy manner in which a Scottish baron's alle- 
giance at this period hung upon him. In crossing the Tor 
Wood, Douglas met with Sir Laurence Abernethy, who with 
a small body of horsemen was hastening to join King Ed- 
ward and his army. But learning from Douglas that the 
English army was destroyed and dispersed, and the king a 
fugitive, Sir Laurence Abernethy was easily persuaded to 
unite his forces with those of Douglas, and ride in pursuit 
of the prince to aid and defend whom he had that morning 
buckled on his sword and mounted his horse. The king, by 
a rapid and continued flight through a country in which his 
misfortunes must have changed many friends into enemies, 
at length gained the castle of Dunbar, where he was hos- 
pitably received by the Earl of March. From Dunbar Ed- 
ward escaped almost alone to Berwick in a fishing skiff, 
having left behind him the finest army a king of England 
ever commanded. 

The quantity of spoil gained by the victors at the battle 
of Bannockburn was inestimable, and the ransoms paid by 
the prisoners largely added to the mass of treasure. Five 
near relations to the Bruce, namely, his wife, her sister 
Christian, his daughter Marjory, the bishop of Glasgow 
(Wishart), and the young Earl of Mar, the king's nephew, 
were exchanged against the Earl of Hereford, high constable 
of England. 

The Scottish loss was very small. Sir William Vipont 
and Sir Walter Ross were the only persons of consideration 
slain. Sir Edward Bruce is said to have been so much at- 
tached to the last of these knights as to have expressed his 
wish that the battle had remained unfought so Ross had 
not died. 

As a lesson of tactics, the Scots might derive from this 
great action principles on which they might have gained 


many other victories. Robert Bruce had shown them that 
he could rid the phalanx of Scottish spearmen of the fatal 
annoyance of the English archery, and that, secured against 
their close and continued volleys of arrows, the infantry 
could experience little danger from the furious charge of the 
men-at-arms. Yet in no battle, save that of Bannockburn, 
do we observe the very obvious movement of dispersing the 
bowmen by means of light horse ever thought of, or at least 
adopted ; although it is obvious that the same charge which 
drove the English archers from the field might have enabled 
the bowmen of Scotland to come into the action, with un- 
equal powers, perhaps, but with an effect which might have 
been formidable when unopposed. 

But if, in a strategical point of view, the field of Ban- 
nockburn was lost on the Scottish nation, they derived from 
it a lesson of pertinacity in national defence which they never 
afterward forgot during the course of their remaining a sepa- 
rate people. They had seen, before the battle of Bannock- 
burn, the light of national freedom reduced to the last spark, 
their patriots slain, their laws reversed, their monuments 
plundered and destroyed, their prince an excommunicated 
outlaw, who could not find in the wilderness of his country 
a cave dark and inaccessible enough to shelter his head ; all 
this they had seen in 1306: and so completely had ten years 
of resistance changed the scene that the same prince rode 
over a field of victory a triumphant sovereign, the first 
nobles of the English enemies lying dead at his feet or sur- 
rendering themselves for ransom. It seems likely that it 
was from the recollection of that extraordinary change of 
fortune that the Scots drew the great lesson never to despair 
of the freedom of their country, but to continue resistance to 
invaders, even when it seemed most desperate. 

Dark times succeeded these brilliant days, and none more 
gloomy than those during the reign of the conqueror's son. 
But though there might be fear or doubt, there could not be 
a thought of despair when Scotsmen saw hanging like hal- 
lowed relics above their domestic hearths the swords with 


which their fathers served the Bruce at the field of Bannock- 
burn. 1 And the Scots may have the pride to recollect, and 
other nations to learn from their history, that to a brave peo- 
ple one victory will do more to sustain the honorable spirit of 
independence than twenty defeats can effect to suppress it. 

1 Such weapons were actually in existence. The proprietors of the 
small estate of Deuchar, in the county of Fife, had a broadsword, 
transmitted from father to son, bearing this proud inscription: — 

"At Bannokburn I served the Bruce, 
Of whilk the Inglis had na russ." 

See Dr. Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary, vol. ii., voce Russ. 



Consequences of the Victory of Bannockburn — Depression of the 
Military Spirit of England — Ravages on the Border — Settlement 
of the Scottish Crown — Marriage of the Princess Marjory with 
the Steward of Scotland — Edward Bruce invades Ireland: his 
Success: is defeated and slain at the Battle of Dundalk — Battle 
of Linthaughlee; Douglas defeats Sir Edmund Caillou, and Sir 
Robert Neville — Invasion of Fife, and Gallantry of the Bishop 
of Dunkeld — Embassy from the Pope: the Cardinals who bear it 
are stripped upon the 'Borders: Bruce refuses to receive their 
Letters — Father Newton's Mission to Bruce, which totally fails 
— Berwick surprised by the Scots, and besieged by the English: 
relieved by Robert Bruce — Battle of Mitton— Truce of Two 
Years — Succession of the Crown further regulated — Assize of 
Arms — Disputes with the Pope — Letter of the Scottish Barons 
to John XXII. — Conspiracy of William de Soulis— Black Par- 
liament — Execution of David de Brechin 

THE victory of Bannockburn was followed by a series 
of consequences which serve to show how entirely 
the energies of a kingdom, its wisdom, its skill, its 
bravery, and its success, depend upon the manner in which 
its government is administered and its resources directed. 
The indolence with which Edward II. had managed the 
affairs of England, his neglect of the Scottish war, while, 
supported almost in spite of every species of superiority by 
the talents of Bruce and those whom his genius had sum- 
moned to arms — this original error, followed by the great 
and decisive failure which the English king had experienced 
in his final attempt to crush the enemy after he had become 
too strong for his efforts, produced an effect on the public 
mind through England, which, did we not find it recorded 
by her own historians, we could hardly reconcile to the tri- 
umphs of the same people in the past reign of Edward I., and 


the subsequent one of Edward III. "A hundred English," 
says Walsingham, "would not be ashamed to fly from three 
or four private Scottish soldiers, so much had they lost their 
national courage." 

Thrice within twelve months Scottish armies, commanded 
by James Douglas and Edward Bruce, broke into the En- 
glish frontiers, and ravaged them with fire and sword, exe- 
cuting great cruelties on the unfortunate inhabitants, forcing 
the few who could so escape to take shelter under the fortifi- 
cations of Berwick, Newcastle, or Carlisle, all strong towns, 
carefully fortified, and numerously garrisoned. 

Meantime commissioners on both sides had met with a 
proposal for peace; but the Scots, on the one hand, were 
elated with success, and, on the other, the national spirit 
of the English would not agree to the conditions which they 
proposed, and the negotiation was therefore broken off. The 
war continued with mutual animosity, though much more 
effectually carried on by the Scots, who wasted the northern 
frontiers with unceasing ravages, which were hardly encoun- 
tered or repaid either by resistance or retaliation. In the 
meantime a famine spread its ravages through both coun- 
tries, and added its terrors to those of the sword, which, by 
scaring away the peasants and destroying the agricultural 
produce, had done much to create this new scourge. 

In 1315 the estates or parliament of Scotland, bethinking 
themselves of the evils sustained by the nation at the death of 
Alexander III. , through the uncertainty of the succession to 
the crown, entered into an act of settlement, by which Ed- 
ward, the king's brother, we may suppose upon the ancient 
principles of the Scottish nation, was called to the throne in 
case of Robert's decease without heirs male; and Edward or 
his issue failing, the succession was assured to King Robert's 
only child, Marjory, and her descendants. The princess 
was immediately married to "Walter, the high-steward of 
Scotland, and the heir of that auspicious marriage having 
succeeded in a subsequent generation to the throne of Scot- 
land, their descendants now sit upon that of Britain. 


It is probable that Robert's acquaintance with his brother 
Edward's martial character and experience in war inclined 
him to give his assent that he and his issue should occupy 
the throne, rather than expose the unsettled state to the gov- 
ernment of a female, by devolving it upon his own daughter. 
But there is also reason to believe that the monarch was sus- 
picious that the fiery valor and irregular ambition of Edward 
would lead him to dispute the right of his daughter; and 
King Robert was willing to spare Scotland the risk of a dis- 
puted claim to the throne, found by experience to be the in- 
let of so many evils, even at the sacrifice of postponing the 
right of his own daughter. If this be the ground of the ar- 
rangement, it is an additional instance of the paternal regard 
which the great Bruce bore to the nation whose monarchy 
he had restored, and whose independence he had asserted. 

But Edward Bruce 's ambition was too impatient to wait 
till the succession to the Scottish crown should become open 
to him by the death of his brother, when an opportunity 
seemed to offer itself which offered a prospect of instantly 
gaining a kingdom by the sword. This occurred when a 
party of Irish chiefs, discontented with the rule of the En- 
glish invaders, sent an invitation to Edward Bruce to come 
over with a force adequate to expel the English from Ire- 
land, and assume the sceptre of that fair island. By con- 
sent of King Robert, who was pleased to make a diversion 
against England upon a vulnerable point, and not, perhaps, 
sorry to be rid of a restless spirit, which became impatient 
in the lack of employment, Edward invaded Ireland at the 
head of a force of six thousand Scots. He fought many bat- 
tles, and gained them all. He became master of the prov 
ince of Ulster, and was solemnly crowned king of Ireland ; 
but found himself amid his successes obliged to entreat the 
assistance of King Robert with fresh supplies ; for the im- 
petuous Edward, who never spared his own person, was 
equally reckless of exposing his followers ; and his successes 
were misfortunes, in so far as they wasted the brave men 
with whose lives they were purchased. 


Robert Bruce led supplies to his brother's assistance, with 
an army which enabled him to overrun Ireland, but without 
gaining any permanent advantage. He threatened Dublin, 
and penetrated as far as Limerick in the west, but was com- 
pelled, by scarcity of provisions, to retire again into Ulster, 
in the spring of 1317. He shortly after returned to Scot- 
land, leaving a part of his troops with Edward, though prob- 
ably convinced that his brother was engaged in a desperate 
and fruitless enterprise, where he could not rely on the faith 
of his Irish subjects, as he termed them, or the steadiness of 
their troops, while Scotland was too much exhausted to sup- 
ply him with new armies of auxiliaries. 

After his brother's departure, Edward's career of ambi- 
tion was closed at the battle of Dundalk, where, October 5, 
1318, fortune at length failed a warrior who had tried her 
patience by so many hazards. On that fatal day he encoun- 
tered, against the advice of his officers, an Anglo-Irish army 
ten times more numerous than his own. A strong cham- 
pion among the English, named John Maupas, singling out 
the person of Edward, slew him, and received death at his 
hands : their bodies were found stretched upon each other 
in the field of battle. The victors ungenerously mutilated 
the body of him before whom most of them had repeatedly 
fled. A general officer of the Scots, called John Thomson, 
led back the remnant of the Scottish force to their own coun- 
try. And thus ended the Scottish invasion of Ireland, with 
the loss of many brave soldiers, whom their country after- 
ward severely missed in her hour of need. 

Meanwhile, in 1315, some important events had taken 
place in Scotland while these Irish campaigns were in prog- 
ress. The king, whose attention was much devoted to nau- 
tical matters, had threatened the English coast with a dis- 
embarkation at several points. He had also destroyed what 
authority his ancient and mortal foe, John of Lorn, still re- 
tained in the Hebrides, made him prisoner, and consigned 
him to the castle of Loch Leven, where he died in captivity. 
New efforts to disturb the English frontiers revived the evils 


of those unhappy countries. In 1316, Robert, at the head 
of a considerable army, penetrated into Yorkshire, and de- 
stroyed the country as far as Richmond, which only escaped 
the flames by paying a ransom. But an assault upon Ber- 
wick, and an attempt to storm Carlisle, were both success- 
fully resisted by the English garrisons. 

During the time that Robert Bruce was in Ireland with 
his brother, the English on their side made several attempts 
on the borders. But though the king was absent, Douglas 
and Stewart defended the frontiers with the most successful 

A remarkable action was fought near a manor called 
Linthaughlee, about two miles above Jedburgh. James 
Douglas was lying at this place, which is on the banks of 
the Jed, and then surrounded by the forest land called Jed 
"Wood, which stretches away toward the English border 
Here he heard that the Earl of Arundel, having in his com 
pany Sir Thomas de Richmond, earl of Brittany, with an 
English force of ten thousand men, was advancing from 
Northumberland to take him by surprise. Douglas (as had 
been said of one of his ancestors) was never found asleep 
by his enemies, being as vigilant as he was sagacious and 
brave. He immediately resolved to be beforehand with the 
invaders. Having selected a strait passage in the line of 
march of the English earls, he caused the copse-wood on 
each side to be wrought into a sort of empalement or stock- 
ade, forming a defile, through which the road must pass, 
and greatly adding to its natural difficulties. He placed his 
archers in ambush near this place ; and when the English 
had engaged themselves in the narrow pathway, he poured 
on them a volley of arrows, and charged them with the ut- 
most fury. As the English could not form themselves into 
order, either for advance or for retreat, they were thrown 
into confusion, and compelled to fly. It was the peculiarity 
of Douglas to unite the personal courage and adventurous 
spirit of a knight-errant with the calm skill and deliberation 
of an accomplished leader. He threw himself headlong into 


the melee, singled out the Earl of Brittany, and, grappling 
with him, stabbed him to the heart with his dagger. Douglas 
carried off a fur hat which the unfortunate earl wore above 
his helmet, as a trophy of his valor and success. The House 
of Douglas still wreathe the escutcheon of their family with 
the representation of an empalement or barrier of young 
trees, in memory of the stratagem successfully employed 
by the good Lord James at Linthaughlee. 

Edmund de Caillou, a French knight, lay about the same 
time (1317), in the garrison of Berwick, being created gover- 
nor of that town. "With the enterprise of his countrymen, he 
boasted he would drive a prey from Scotland. Accordingly 
he sallied forth with a band of Gascons like himself ; but as 
they were returning with a great spoil they were intercepted 
by Douglas, and Caillou lost his booty and life. Sir Robert 
Neville was also in Berwick. He upbraided such of the 
Gascons as escaped from the field with cowardice; and as 
the crestfallen Frenchmen pleaded the irresistible prowes3 
of Douglas, Neville proudly expressed a wish to see the 
Scottish chieftain's banner displayed, averring he would 
himself give battle wherever he beheld it. This vaunt 
reached the ears of Douglas, and shortly after the for- 
midable banner was seen in the neighborhood of Berwick, 
where the smoke of blazing hamlets marked its presence. 
Robert Neville collected his forces, and sallied out to make 
good, like a true knight, the words that he had spoken. 
Douglas no sooner saw him issue from the town, than he 
went straight to the encounter. Neville and his men fought 
bravely, and the English champion met Douglas hand to 
hand. But the skill, strength, and fortune of the Scottish 
hero were predominant. Neville fell by the sword of Doug- 
las, and his men were defeated. 

Another military incident shows that the spirit of the 
king, which called forth and animated the talents of Doug- 
las, could awaken a congenial desire of honor even in men 
whose profession removed them from arms or battle. An 
attempt of Edward II. to retaliate the aggressions of the 


Scots, was made by sending a fleet into the Firth of Forth, 
and disembarking a considerable body of troops at Dunie- 
brissle on the Fife coast. The sheriff collected about five 
hundred Scottish horse, who went to reconnoitre the invad- 
ers ; but, thinking themselves unequal to the task of resist- 
ing, they retreated precipitately. They were met, as they 
were riding off in disorder, by William Sinclair, bishop of 
Dunkeld, a man hardy of heart and tall of person, who 
resided near the coast. "Out upon you for false knights, 
whose spurs should be stricken from your heels!" said the 
prelate to the fugitive sheriff and his followers ; then catch- 
ing a spear from the soldier next him, "Who loves Scot- 
land," he said, "let him follow me!" The daring bishop 
then led a desperate charge against the English, who had 
not completed their disembarkation, and were driven back 
to their ships with loss. When Bruce heard of the prel- 
ate's gallantry, he declared Sinclair should hereafter be his 
bishop, and by the name of the king's bishop he was long 

Our history has so long conducted us through an unvary- 
ing recital of scenes of war and battle, that we feel a relief 
in being called to consider some intrigues of a more peaceful 
character, which place the sagacity of Robert Bruce in as 
remarkable a point of view as his bravery. The king of 
England, suffering by the continuation of a war which dis- 
tressed him on all points, yet unwilling to purchase peace by 
the sacrifices which the Scots demanded, fell on the scheme 
of procuring a truce without loss of dignity by the interven- 
tion of the pope. John XXII., then supreme pontiff, was 
induced, by the English influence, assuming, it is said, the 
interesting complexion of gold, to issue a bull, commanding 
a two years' peace between England and Scotland. Two 
cardinals were intrusted with this document, with orders to 
pass to the nations which it concerned, and there make it 
known. These dignitaries of the Church had also letters, 
both sealed and patent, addressed to both kings. And pri- 
vately they were invested with powers of fulminating a 
7 <% Vol. L 


sentence of excommunication against the king of Scots, his 
brother Edward, and any others of their adherents whom 
they might think fit. The cardinals, arrived in England, 
despatched two nuncios to Scotland, the bishop of Corbeil 
and a priest called Aumori, to deliver the pope's letters to 
the Scottish king. For comfort and dignity in their jour- 
ney, these two reverend nuncios set out northward, in the 
train of Lewis de Beaumont, bishop-elect of Durham, who 
was passing to his diocese to receive consecration. But 
within a stage of Durham the whole party was surprised 
by a number of banditti, commanded by two robber knights, 
called Middieton and Selby, who, from being soldiers, had 
become chiefs of outlaws. Undeterred by the sacred char- 
acter of the churchmen, they rifled them to the last farthing, 
and dismissing the nuncios on their journey to Scotland, car- 
ried away the bishop-elect, whom they detained a captive, 
till they extorted a ransom so large that the plate and jewels 
of the cathedral were necessarily sold to defray it. 

Disheartened by so severe a welcome to the scene of 
hostilities, the nuncios at length came before Bruce, and 
presented the pope's letters. Those which were open he 
commanded to be read, and listened to the contents with 
much respect. But, ere opening the sealed epistles, he ob- 
served that they were addressed not to the king, but to 
Lord Robert Bruce, governor in Scotland. "These," he 
said, "I will not receive nor open. I have subjects of my 
own name, and some of them may have a share in the gov- 
ernment. For such the holy father's letters may be designed, 
but they cannot be intended for me, who am sovereign of 
Scotland." The nuncios endeavored to apologize, by alleg- 
ing it was not the custom of the Church to prejudice the 
right of either party during the dependency of a contro- 
versy, by any word or expression. "It is I, not Edward," 
said Bruce, "who am prejudiced by the conduct of the holy 
Church. My spiritual mother does me wrong in refusing to 
give me the name of king, under which I am obeyed by my 
people ; and but that I reverence our mother Church, I should 


answer you differently." The nuncios had no alternative 
but to retire and report their answer to the cardinals. These 
dignitaries resolved, at all risks, to execute the pope's com- 
mission, by publishing the bulls and instruments. But not 
caring to trust their reverend persons across the border, they 
confided to Adam Newton, father guardian of the Friars 
Minorite of Berwick, the momentous and somewhat perilous 
task of communicating to Robert Bruce what they had no 
reason to think would be agreeable tidings. 

Father Newton acted as a man of due caution. He did 
not intrust himself or the documents within Scottish ground 
until he had obtained an especial safe-conduct. The bulls 
and papal instruments were then produced to Bruce and his 
council ; but finding the title of king was withheld from him, 
Robert refused to listen to or open them, and returned them 
to the bearer with the utmost contempt. The father guar- 
dian next attempted to proclaim the papal truce for two 
years. But the military hearers received the intimation 
with such marks of anger and contempt that Newton be- 
gan to fear they would not confine the expressions of their 
displeasure to words or gestures. He prayed earnestly that 
he might either have license to pass forward into Scotland 
for the purpose of holding conference with some of the Scot- 
tish prelates, or at least that he might have safe-conduct for 
his return to Berwick. Both requests were refused, and the 
unlucky father guardian was commanded to be gone at his 
own proper peril. The reader will anticipate the conse- 
quences. The friar on his return fell into the hands of 
four outlaws, who stripped him of his papers and de- 
spatches, tore, it is said, the pope's bull, doubtless to pre- 
vent that copy at least from being made use of, and sent 
him back to Berwick unhurt, indeed, but sorely frightened. 
It is diverting enough to find that the guardian surmised 
that, by some means or other, the documents he was in- 
trusted with had fallen into the hands of the Lord Robert 
Bruce and his accomplices. It was thus that with a mix- 
ture of firmness and dexterity Bruce eluded a power which 


it would not have been politic to oppose directly, and baffled 
the attempts of this servile pontiff to embarrass him by 
spiritual opposition. 

When Father Adam Newton delivered his message, or 
rather proffered to deliver it, to Robert Bruce, the Scottish 
king was lying with a body of troops in the wood of Old 
Cambus, where he was secretly maturing an important en- 
terprise. Of all Edward I.'s northern conquests, Berwick 
alone remained with his unfortunate son. Its importance 
as a commercial depot was great ; as a garrison and frontier 
town, greater still, since it gave whichever kingdom pos- 
sessed it the means of invading the other at pleasure. For 
this reason Edward I. had secured and garrisoned the town 
and castle with great care; and Edward II., careless of his 
father's precepts and policy in many respects, had adhered 
to his example in watching the security of Berwick with a 
jealous eye. A governor was placed in the town, who exer- 
cised such rigorous discipline as gave offence to the citizens 
of Berwick. A burgess named Spalding, of Scottish extrac- 
tion probably, if we may judge by his name, and certainly 
married to a Scottish woman, was so much offended at some 
hard usage which he had received from the English gov- 
ernor, that he resolved, in revenge, to betray the place to 
Robert Bruce. For this purpose he communicated his plan 
to the Earl of March, who had abandoned the English inter- 
est and become a good Scotsman. His correspondent carried 
the proposal to the king. "You did well to let me know 
this," said the Bruce, with a shrewdness which shows his 
acquaintance with the nature of mankind and the character 
of his generals; "Douglas and Randolph are emulous of 
glory, and if you had intrusted one of them with the secret, 
the other would have thought himself neglected ; but I will 
employ the abilities of both." Accordingly he commanded 
his two celebrated generals to undertake the enterprise. By 
agreement with Spalding they came beneath the walls of 
the town on a night when he was going the rounds, and 
received his assistance in the escalade. Some of their men, 


when they had entered the town, broke their ranks to plun- 
der, and afforded the governor of the castle the opportunity 
of a desperate sally, which very nearly cost the assailants 
dear. But Douglas, Randolph, and a young knight, called 
Sir William Keith of Galston, drove back the English, after 
some hard fighting, into the precincts of the castle, which 
soon after surrendered when the king appeared in person 
before it. Bruce, delighted with this acquisition, placed the 
town and castle in charge of his brave son-in-law, Walter, 
the high-steward of Scotland. He caused the place to be 
fully victualled for a year; five hundred gentlemen, friends 
and relations of the steward, having volunteered their ser- 
vices to augment the garrison. 

Having thus made sure of his important acquisition, 
Bruce anew resumed his destructive incursions into the 
northern provinces of England, burned Northallerton, Bor- 
oughbridge, and SMpton in Craven, forced Rippon to ran- 
som itself for a thousand marks, and returned from this 
work of ravage uninterrupted and unopposed, his soldiers 
driving their prisoners before them "like flocks of sheep.'' 
Such passages, quoted from English history, recall to the 
reader the invasion of the Picts and Scots upon the unwar- 
like South Britons. But the ascendency asserted by the 
Scots over the English during this reign did not rest so 
much on any superiority of courage on the part of the for- 
mer, though doubtless repeated victory had given them 
confidence, and depressed for the time the martial spirit of 
the enemy : it was to the conduct of the leaders, and to the 
persevering unity of plan which they pursued, that the Scot- 
tish successes may be justly attributed. The feuds among 
the nobility of England ran high, and the public quarrels 
between the king and his barons distracted the movements 
of the government and the military defence of the kingdom. 
The six northern counties had been so long and so dreadfully 
harassed, that they lost all habit of self-defence, and were 
willing to compound, by payment of ransom and tribute, 
with the Scots, rather than await the reluctant and feeble 


support of their countrymen. Many of them, as the allegi- 
ance of borderers usually hung light on them, chose rather 
to join the enemy in preying on more southern provinces, 
than to defend their own; and the whole country was in 
that state of total discontent, division, and misrule, that it 
was found impossible to combine the national forces for one 
common object. 

Omitting for the present some civil affairs of considerable 
importance, that we may trace the events of the war, we 
have now to mention that Edward II., stung with resent- 
ment at the loss of Berwick, determined on a desperate effort 
to regain that important town. Having made a temporary 
agreement with his discontented barons, at the head of 
whom was his relation, Thomas, earl of Lancaster, the 
English king was able to assemble a powerful army, with 
which he invested the place, 24th July, 1319. 

As the walls of Berwick were so low that a man standing 
beneath might strike with a lance a defender on the battle- 
ments, a general attack was resolved upon on all sides. At 
the same time an English vessel entered the mouth of the 
river, which was filled with soldiers, intended to board the 
battlements from its yards and rigging. But as the ship 
approached the walls with its yards manned for the proposed 
attempt, she grounded on a shoal, and was presently set on 
fire by the Scots. The land attack, after having been sup- 
ported with courage and resisted with obstinacy for several 
hours, was found equally void of success. The besiegers 
then retired to their trenches, having lost many men. Next 
day, a tremendous engine was brought forward, called a 
sow, being a large shed composed of very strong timbers, 
and having a roof sloping like the back of the animal from 
which it took its name. Like the Roman testudo, the 
sow, or movable covert, was designed to protect a body of 
miners beneath its shelter, while, running the end of the 
engine close to the wall, they employed themselves in un- 
dermining the defences of the place. The Scots had reposed 
their safety in the skill of a mercenary soldier, famed for his 


science as an engineer. This person, by name John Crab, 
and a Fleming by birth, had erected a huge catapult, or 
machine for discharging stones, with which he proposed to 
destroy the English sow. The event of the siege was like 
to depend on his skill, for the number of the besiegers was 
so great as to keep the defenders engaged on every point at 
once, so that if a part of the walls were undermined by favor 
of the sow it would have been difficult to collect soldiers to 
man the breach. The huge engine moved slowly toward 
the walls ; one stone, and then a second, was hurled against 
it in vain, and amid the shouts of both parties the massive 
shed was approaching the bulwark. Crab had now calcu- 
lated his distance and the power of his machine, and the 
third stone, a huge mass of rock, fell on the middle of the 
sow, and broke down its formidable timbers. "The English 
sow has farrowed!" shouted the exulting Scots, when they 
saw the soldiers and miners who had lain within the machine 
running headlong to save themselves by gaining the trenches. 
The Scots, by hurling lighted combustibles, of which they 
had a quantity prepared, consumed the materials of the En- 
glish engine. The steward, who, with a hundred men of 
reserve, was going from post to post distributing succors, 
had disposed of all his attendants except one, when he sud- 
denly received the alarming intelligence that the English 
were in the act of forcing the gate called St. Mary's. The 
gallant knight, worthy to be what fate designed him, the 
father of a race of monarchs, rushed to the spot, threw open 
the half-burned gate, and making a sudden sally, beat the 
enemy off from that as well as the other points of attack. 

Bruce, although the garrison of Berwick had as yet made 
a successful defence, became anxious for the consequences of 

being continued, and resolved to make an attempt to re- 
lieve his son-in-law. To attack the besiegers was the most 
obvious mode; but in this case the attempt must have proved 
a precarious and hazardous operation, as the English were 
defended in their position before Berwick by strong intrench- 
ments, were brave, besides, and numerous; and it was against 


Bruce's system of tactics to hazard a general action where it 
could be avoided, unless recommended by circumstances of 
advantage which could not exist in the present case. 

But he resolved to accomplish the relief of Berwick, by 
making such a powerful diversion as should induce Edward 
to raise the siege. With this view, fifteen thousand men, 
under Douglas and Randolph, entered England on the west 
marshes, and turning eastward, made a hasty march toward 
York, for the purpose of surprising the person of the queen 
of England, who then resided near that city. Isabella re- 
ceived notice of their purpose, and fled hastily southward. 
It may be observed in passing that her husband was little 
indebted to those who supplied her with the tidings which 
enabled her to make her escape. 

The Scots proceeded, as usual, to ravage the country. 
The archbishop of York, in the absence of a more profes- 
sional leader, assumed arms, and assembled a large but 
motley army, consisting partly of country people, ecclesias- 
tics, and others, having little skill or spirit save that which 
despair might inspire. The Scots encountered them with 
the advantage which leaders of high courage and experience 
possess over those who are inexperienced in war, and veteran 
troops over a miscellaneous and disorderly levy. The con- 
flict took place near Mitton, on the river Swale, 20th Sep- 
tember, 1319. By the simple stratagem of firing some 
stacks of hay, the Scots raised a dense smoke, under cover 
of which a division of the army turned unperceived around 
the flank of the archbishop's host, and got into their rear. 
The irregular ranks of the English were thus attacked in 
front and rear at once, and instantly routed with great 
slaughter. Three hundred of the clerical order fell in the 
action, or were slain in the rout, while many of the fugitives 
were driven into the Swale. In the savage pleasantry of the 
times, this battle, in which so many clergymen fell, was 
called the white battle, and the Chapter of Mitton. 

The tidings of this disaster speedily obliged Edward to 
raise the siege of Berwick, and march to the south in hope 


to intercept the Scots on their return from Yorkshire. In- 
deed, the northern barons, with the Earl of Lancaster at 
their head, knowing their estates were exposed to a victori- 
ous and active enemy, left Edward no alternative, but drew 
off with their vassals without waiting his leave. It was not 
the business of Randolph and Douglas to abide an encounter 
with the royal array of England, at the head of an army of 
light troops. They eluded the enemy by retreating to their 
own country through the west marshes, loaded with prison- 
ers and spoil. They had plundered in this incursion eighty- 
four towns and villages. About the close of the same year, 
Douglas renewed the ravage in Cumberland and Westmore- 
land, and again returned with a great prey of captives and 
cattle, destroying at the same time the harvest which had 
been gathered into the farmyards. It was said that the 
name of this indefatigable and successful chief had become 
so formidable that women used, in the northern counties, 
to still their froward children by threatening them with the 
Black Douglas. 

These sinister events led to a truce between the two coun- 
tries for the space of two years, to which Bruce, who had 
much to do for the internal regulation of his kingdom, will- 
ingly consented. The determination of the royal succession, 
the uncertainty of which had caused so much evil, and the 
accomplishment of a reconciliation with the pope, were the 
principal civil objects to be obtained. The former, indeed, 
with some other important matters, had already been in 
part accomplished ; but the death of Edward Bruce rendered 
some alterations necessary. 

In 1318 a parliament was convoked at Scone, whose first 
act was an engagement for solemn allegiance to the king, 
and for aiding him against all mortals who should menace 
the liberties of Scotland, or impeach his royal rights, how 
eminent soever might be the power, authority, and dignity 
of the opponent ; peculiar expressions by which the pope was 
indicated. Whatever native of Scotland should fail in his 
allegiance was denounced a traitor, without remission. Ed- 


ward Bruce being dead without heirs of his body, and Mar- 
jory, at that time the Bruce's only child, being also deceased, 
the infant prince Robert, son of the late princess and her hus- 
band the steward of Scotland, and grandson of Robert, was 
proclaimed heir, in default of male issue of the king's body. 
The regency of the kingdom was settled on Thomas Ran- 
dolph, earl of Moray, and failing him, upon James, Lord 
Douglas. Rules were laid down for the succession to the 
kingdom, the import of which bears that the male heir near- 
est to the king in the direct line of descent should succeed, 
and failing him, the nearest female in the direct line; and 
failing the whole direct line, the nearest male heir in the 
collateral line, respect being always held to the right of 
blood by which King Robert himself had succeeded to the 
crown. — Mr. Kerr, in a respectable history of Robert Bruce, 
remarks that these provisions were in some supposed cases 
of difficult interpretation. It seems that they were inten- 
tionally left ambiguous, since to have adopted distinctly the 
modern rules of succession would have thrown a slur on the 
title by which the king's grandfather, Robert the Competi- 
tor, claimed the throne, and the king himself held it. 

An assize of arms was next enacted. Every man being 
liable to serve in defence of his country, all Scottish natives 
were required to provide themselves with weapons according 
to their rank and means. Every man worth ten pounds a 
year of land was enjoined to have in readiness a buff jacket 
and head-piece of steel ; those whose income was less might 
substitute iron for the back and breast-piece, and the knap- 
scap or helmet. All these were to have gloves of plate and 
a sword and spear. Each man who possessed a cow was to 
be equipped with a bow and sheaf of arrows, or a spear. No 
provisions are made for horsemen. The royal tenants in 
chief, doubtless, came forth as men-at-arms; but the policy 
of Robert Bruce rested the chief defence of Scotland on its 
excellent infantry. Prudent and humane rules were laid 
down for providing for the armed array, when passing to 
and from the king's host, directed to the end of rendering 


them as little burdensome as possible to the country which 
they traversed in arms= At the same time they were to be 
supplied with provisions on tender of payment. The supply- 
ing warlike weapons or armor to England was strictly pro- 
hibited, under pain of death. 

The rights and independence of the Scottish Church were 
dauntlessly asserted, in resentment, probably, of the pope's 
unfriendly aspect toward Bruce. Ecclesiastics were prohib- 
ited from remitting money to Rome. Native Scotsmen re- 
siding in a foreign country were not permitted to draw their 
revenues from Scotland. Such were the patriotic measures 
adopted by the parliament of Scotland held at Scone in 1318. 

The haughty pontiff, John XXII., had been highly of- 
fended with the manner in which the Bruce had neglected 
his injunctions for a truce, and refused to receive the letters 
which his holiness had addressed to him. In 1318 he en- 
joined the two cardinals to publish the bulls of excommuni- 
cation against Bruce and his adherents. The reasons alleged 
were that the Scottish governor, as he affected to term him, 
had taken Berwick during the papal truce ; that he had re- 
fused to receive the nuncios of the legates; and certain secret 
reasons were hinted at, which his holiness for the present 
kept private. Perhaps the most powerful of these were pen- 
sions granted by Edward to the pope's brother and nephews, 
and some other influential cardinals, who enjoyed the pon- 
tiff's favor and confidence. Neither the Church nor people 
of Scotland paid any attention to these bulls, though pub- 
lished by the legates in all solemnity. The flame of national 
freedom and independence burned too clear and strong to be 
disturbed by the breath of Rome. 

Edward in vain attempted to prevail on other princes and 
countries to partake with him and the pope in the common 
cry which they endeavored to raise against Robert Bruce 
and his kingdom. He applied to the Count of Flanders and 
other princes and states of the Netherlands, praying them to 
break off all commercial intercourse with the Scots as a re 
bellious and excommunicated people. But the Dutch, who 


prospered by countenancing a free trade with all men, coolly 
and peremptorily rejected the proposal. 

The pope continued obstinate in his displeasure, and as 
it broke forth anew just after the retreat of King Edward 
and the truce he had made with Scotland (1319), there is 
reason to believe that the holy father resumed his severe 
measures in compliance with the desires of the English king, 
who endeavored thus to maintain a spiritual war against 
Bruce after having laid down his temporal weapons. In- 
deed, it will afterward appear that Robert alleged tho mach- 
inations of Edward II. at Rome as an apology for his own 
breach of the truce. These intrigues were, however, success- 
ful; the pope once more renewed the thunders of his excom- 
munication against Bruce and his adherents, in a bull of 
great length ; and the inefficacy that had hitherto attended 
these efforts of his spleen had offended the pope so highly 
that the prelates of York and London were ordered to repeat 
the ceremony, with bell, book, and candle, every Sunday and 
festival day through the year. 

The parliament of Scotland now took it upon them to 
reply to the pope in vindication of themselves and their 
sovereign. At Aberbrothock or Arbroath, on the 6th of 
April, 1320, eight earls and thirty-one barons of Scotland, 
together with the great officers of the crown, and others, in 
the name of the whole«community of Scotland, placed their 
names and seals to a spirited manifesto or memorial, in 
which strong*sense and a manly spirit of freedom are mixed 
with arguments«suited to the ignorance of the age. 

This celebrated document commences with an enumera- 
tion of proofs of the supposed antiquity of the Scottish na- 
tion, detailingtits descent from Scota, daughter of Pharaoh, 
king of Egypt, its conversion to the Christian faith by Saint 
Andrew the Apostle, with the long barbarous roll of baptized 
and unbaptized names, which, false and true, rilled up the 
line of the royal family. Having astounded, as they doubt- 
less conceived, the pontiff with the nation's claim to an- 
tiquity, of which the Scots have been at all times more than 


sufficiently tenacious, they proceeded in a noble tone of inde- 
pendence. The unjust interference of Edward I. with the 
affairs of a free people, and the calamities which his am- 
bition had brought upon Scotland, were forcibly described, 
and the subjection to which his oppression had reduced the 
country was painted as a second Egyptian bondage, out of 
which their present sovereign had conducted them victori- 
ously by his valor and prudence, like a second Joshua or 
Maccabeus, The crown they declared was Bruce's by right 
of blood, by the merit which deserved it, and the free con- 
sent of the people who bestowed it. But yet they added in 
express terms, that not even to this beloved and honored 
monarch would they continue their allegiance, should he 
show an inclination to subject his crown or his people to 
homage or dependence on England, but that they would 
in that case do their best to resist and expel him from the 
throne; "for," say the words of the letter, "while a hun- 
dred Scots are left to resist, they will fight for the liberty 
that is dearer to them than life." They required that the 
pope, making no distinction of persons, like that Heaven*of 
which he was the vicegerent, would exhort the king of Eng- 
land to remain content with his fair dominions, which had 
formerly been thought large enough to supply seven king- 
doms, and cease from tormenting and oppressing a poor peo- 
ple, his neighbors, whose only desire was to live free and 
unoppressed in the remote region where fate had assigned 
them their habitation. They reminded the pope of his duty 
to preserve a general pacification throughout Christendom, 
that all nations might join in a crusade for the recovery of 
Palestine, in which they and their king were eager to en- 
gage, but for the impediment of the English war. They 
concluded by solemnly declaring, that if his holiness should, 
after this explanation, favor the English in their schemes for 
the oppression of Scotland, at his charge must lie all the loss 
of mortal life and immortal happiness which might be for- 
feited in a war of the most exterminating character. Lastly, 
the Seottifth prelates and barons declared their spiritual 


obedience to the pope, and committed the defence of their 
cause to the God of Truth, in the firm hope that he would 
endow them with strength to defend their right, and con- 
found the devices of their enemies. 

The popish excommunication being thus set at naught 
and defied by the voice of the people of Scotland, and the 
nobles proving themselves resolute in asserting the right of 
their monarch and the justice of their cause, the pontiff 
showed himself more accessible to the Scottish ambassa- 
dors, who were sent to confer with him; and as the king 
of France also offered his mediation, his holiness began to 
make more equitable proposals for peace between England 
and Scotland. It is probable, however, that the sovereigns 
principally concerned were each of them desirous to await 
the issue of certain dark and mysterious intrigues, which 
Edward and Robert respectively knew to have existence in 
the court of the enemy. 

And, first, for the internal discontents of Scotland. Not- 
withstanding the great popularity of Bruce, asris evinced by 
the letter of the barons which we have just analyzed, there 
had been so many feuds, separate interests, and quarrels pre- 
vious to his accession, and his destruction of the power of the 
Anglicized barons had given so much offence, that we can- 
not be surprised that there should be some throughout the 
nation who nourished sentiments toward their king very 
different from those of love and veneration, which prevailed 
in the community at large. These sentiments of envy and 
ill-will led to a conspiracy, in which David de Brechin, the 
king's nephew, with five other knights and three esquires, 
men of rank and influence, were secretly combined to a 
highly treasonable purpose. They had agreed, it would 
seem, to put the king to death, and place on the throne 
William de Soulis, hereditary butler of Scotland. This am- 
bitious knight's grandfather, Nicolas de Soulis, had been a 
competitor for the crown as grandson of Marjory, daughter 
of Alexander II., and wife of Alan Dureward; an undenia- 
ble claim, had his ancestress been legitimate. Sir "William 


had himself been lately employed as a conservator of the 
truce upon the borders, and it is probable he had been then 
tampered with by the agents of Edward, and disposed to enter 
into this flagitious, and it would seem hopeless conspiracy. 

The Countess of Strathern, to whom the guilty secret 
was intrusted, betrayed it through fear or remorse. The 
conspirators were seized and brought to trial before Parlia- 
ment. Sir William de Soulis and the Countess of Strathern 
were condemned to perpetual imprisonment. Sir David de 
Brechin, Sir William Malherbe, Sir John Logie, and an 
esquire, named Richard Brown, were condemned to death, 
which they accordingly suffered. Four others of the prin- 
cipal conspirators were tried for their lives, and acquitted. 
Though the acquittal of these persons, and the clemency 
extended to the principal conspirator, afford every reason 
to believe that the trials were equitably if not favorably 
conducted, yet so little were men accustomed to consider 
the meditation of a mere change of government or inno- 
vation in the state as anything worthy of death, that the 
punishment seems to have been generally regarded as sc ■ 
vere, and the common people gave the name of the Black 
Parliament to that by whose decrees so much noble blood 
had been spilled. The age, however accustomed to slaugh- 
ter in the field, was less familiar with capital punishments 
which followed on the execution of the laws. 

David de Brechin's fate excited much public sympathy. 
He was young, brave, connected with the blood royal, and 
had distinguished himself by his feats against the infidels in 
the Holy Land. These accomplishments were to the noble 
sufferer in those days a general charm which interested the 
populace in his favor, and blinded them to a sense of his 
crime, as the goodly person of the "proper young man" 
who suffers for a meaner cause fascinates a modern group 
of spectators. But, excepting the bewitching attributes of 
high birth, youth, and valor, there is little to interest readers 
of the present day in the deserved fate of David de Brechin. 
He had been early attached to the English cause, and had 


assisted Comyn, earl of Buchan, in his close and vindictive 
pursuit of Robert the Bruce through Aberdeenshire, in 1308. 
If, indeed, he joined his uncle after the battle of Old Mel- 
drum, as is alleged by Barbour, he must have again aposta- 
tized, for in 1312 David de Brechin held an English pension, 
and was governor of Dundee in Edward's service. He was 
a prisoner of war in Scotland in 1315; and though he proba- 
bly afterward submitted to his uncle's allegiance, yet in none 
of those heroic exploits which render illustrious the warfare 
of the subsequent years does the name of David de Brechin 
appear. It is probable that his uncle did not trust him; 
which may explain, but cannot excuse, his entering into an 
enterprise against the life of a near relative, the restorer 
of his country's freedom. So it befell, however, that this 
young man's death was much lamented. Sir Ingram de 
Umfraville gave upon the occasion an example of what we 
have above stated concerning the light manner in which the 
chivalry of the period exchanged their allegiance and coun- 
try from one land and sovereign to another. "I will not 
remain in a land," said Sir Ingram, "in which so noble a 
knight is put to a shameful and pitiful death for such a slight 
cause." He left Scotland accordingly, and transferred his 
services and loyalty to England, having previously asked 
and obtained leave of Robert Bruce to dispose of his Scottish 
estates, which was generously granted to him. It is difficult 
to conceive how far Sir Ingram de Umfraville conceived the 
immunities of a noble knight to extend. This was the fourth 
time he himself had changed sides. He had borne arms 
under Wallace, and under the subsequent Scottish regency; 
he had become English, and was one of the knights ap- 
pointed to keep King Edward's rein at the battle of Ban- 
nockburn. That victory reconverted Sir Ingram to the 
Scottish allegiance, which he finally renounced out of pity 
and tenderness for the fate of Sir David de Brechin, and, 
perhaps, some lurking anxiety concerning what might be 
ultimately reserved for himself when traitors were reoeiving 
payment at the hands of the executioner. 


As the conspiracy of Sir William de Soulis and his ac- 
complices was probably known to Edward of England, so 
there can be no doubt that Robert Bruce was participant 
of that which Thomas, earl of Lancaster, was carrying on 
against the former monarch in 1321. To this, perhaps, it was 
owing that commissioners appointed by both nations broke 
up their convention without being able to settle the grounds 
on which the truce should be exchanged for a lasting peace. 
Edward endeavored on this occasion once more to animate 
the resentment of the pope against Scotland; but whether 
the pontiff was moved by the high-spirited manifesto of the 
Scottish barons, or whether he deemed it inexpedient to 
bring his spiritual artillery into contempt by using it when 
it produced no effect, it is certain that he adopted a more 
impartial tone in the controversy, and more conciliatory 
toward the weaker kingdom. 

The history of England must now be referred to. The 
chief vice in Edward's feeble government was a disposition 
to favoritism, with the sovereign's indolence, love of pleas- 
ure, and negligence of public business. The first troubles 
of his reign had been occasioned by his excessive partiality 
for a knight of Gascony named Piers Gaveston. The power 
of this minion being destroyed, and he himself put to death, 
by a league of the nobility headed by Thomas, earl of Lan- 
caster, for some time the king seemed disposed to live in 
harmony with his subjects. Edward's ill stars, however, 
led him to find another Gaveston in Hugh Despenser, who 
engrossed, like the Gascon, and like him misused, the good 
graces of his facile master. Sensible that he was as much de- 
tested by the nobility as ever Gaveston had been, Despenser 
contrived to whet the king's vengeance against the nobles 
by whom that favorite had been put to death, and especially 
against Lancaster. The earl, on the other hand, knowing 
that he stood in danger from the deadly hatred of his sover- 
eign, was led into the unjustifiable step of caballing with 
strangers and enemies against his native prince, and con- 
trary to his sworn allegiance. 


A treaty offensive and defensive was entered into between 
the earl and the Scottish nobles, Randolph and Douglas, stip- 
ulating that the Scots, on the one part, should invade Eng- 
land, to facilitate the operations of the Earl of Lancaster; 
and, on the other part, that the English, in return for this 
brotherly support, should use their interest to obtain an 
equitable peace between England and Scotland. If there 
were, as seems probable, other stipulations, they remained 

The Earl of Lancaster convoked his friends, and rose in 
insurrection ; but his measures had not been combined with 
those of the Scots. There appears to have been, as is fre- 
quently the case, mutual jealousy between the native con- 
spirators and the foreign auxiliaries. Disconcerted by 
hearing that the king was 'on the march toward them, the 
insurgents threw themselves into the town of Pontefract, 
1323. As the Earl of Lancaster endeavored to make his way 
from thence to his castle of Dunstanborough in the north, 
he was attacked by Sir Andrew Hartcla, warden of the 
western marches, and Sir Simon Ward, sheriff of York- 
shire. The Earl of Lancaster was tried and beheaded, and 
afterward worshipped as a saint, though he had died in an 
act of high treason. 

This gleam of success on his arms, which had been sorely 
tarnished, seems to have filled Edward, who was of a san- 
guine and buoyant temperament, with dreams of conquest 
over all his enemies. As a king never stands more securely 
than on the ruins of a discovered and suppressed conspiracy, 
he wrote to the pope to give himself no further solicitude to 
procure a truce or peace with the Scots, since he had deter- 
mined to bring them to reason by force. 



Preparations of Edward to invade Scotland— Incursions of the Scots 
into Lancashire— The English enter Scotland— Robert Bruce 
lays waste the Country, and avoids Battle— The English are 
obliged to Retreat— Robert invades England in turn— Defeats 
the King of England at Biland Abbey— Treason and Execution 
of Sir Andrew Hartcla— Truce for Thirteen Years— Randolph's 
Negotiation with the Pope— Settlement of the Crown of Scot- 
land — Deposition of Edward II.— Robert determines to break 
the Truce under Charges of Infraction by England— Edward 
HI. assembles his Army at York, with a formidable Body of 
Auxiliaries— Douglas and Randolph advance into Northumber- 
land at the Head of a light-armed Army— Edward marches as 
far as the Tyne without being able to find the Scots— A Reward 
published to whomsoever should bring Tidings of their Motions 
—It is claimed by Thomas of Rokeby— The Scots are found in 
an inaccessible Position, and they refuse Battle — The Scots shift 
their Encampment to Stanhope Park — Douglas attacks the 
English by Night — The Scots retreat, and the English Army is 
dismissed — The Scots suddenly again invade England — A Pacifi- 
cation takes place: its particular Articles — Illness and Death of 
Bruce — Thoughts on his Life and Character — Effects produced 
on the Character of the Scots during his Reign 

KING EDWARD made extensive preparations for a 
campaign on a great scale: he sent for soldiers, 
arms, and provisions, to Aquitaine and the other 
French provinces belonging to England, and obtained the 
consent of parliament for a large levy of forces, upon the 
scale of one man from each village and hamlet in England, 
with a proportional number from market towns and cities. 
Subsidies were also granted to a large extent, for defray- 
ing the expenses of the expedition. But while Edward 
was making preparations, the Scots were already in action. 


Randolph broke into the west marches with those troops to 
whom the road was become familiar ; and hardly had they 
returned, when the king himself, at the head of one large 
body, advanced through the western marches, into Lanca- 
shire, wasting the country on every side; while Douglas and 
Randolph, who entered the borders more to the east, joined 
him with a second division. They marched through the 
vale of Furness, laying everything waste in their passage, 
and piling their wagons with the English valuables. They 
returned into Scotland upon the 24th July, after having 
spent twenty-four days in this destructive raid. 

It was August, 1322, before King Edward moved north- 
ward, with a gallant army fit to have disputed a second field 
of Bannockburn. But Bruce not being now under an en- 
gagement to meet the English in a pitched battle, the rep- 
utation of his arms could suffer no dishonor by declining 
such a risk ; and his sound views of military policy recom- 
mended his evading battle. He carefully laid the whole 
borders waste as far as the Firth of Forth, removing 
the' inhabitants to the mountains, with all their effects 
of any value. 

When the English army entered, they found a land of des- 
olation, which famine seemed to guard. The king advanced 
to Edinburgh unopposed. On their march the soldiers only 
found one lame bull. "Is he all that you have got?" said 
the Earl Warrenne to the soldiers who brought in this soli- 
tary article of plunder. "By my faith, I never saw dearer 

At Edinburgh they learned that Bruce had assembled 
his forces at Culross, where he lay watching the motions 
of the invaders. The English had expected their ships in 
the Firth, and waited for them three days. The vessels 
were detained by contrary winds, the soldiers suffered by 
famine, and Edward was obliged to retreat without having 
seen an enemy. They returned by the convents of Dry- 
burgh and Melrose, where they slew such monks as were 
too infirm to escape, violated the sanctuaries, and plundered 


the consecrated plate. 1 This argues a degree of license 
which, in an army, seldom fails to bring its own punish- 
ment. When the English soldiers, after much want and 
privation, regained their own land of plenty, they indulged 
in it so intemperately that sixteen thousand died of inflam- 
mation of the bowels, and others had their constitutions 
broken for life. 

Robert Bruce hastened to retaliate the invasion which 
he had not judged it prudent to meet and repel. He pushed 
across the Tweed at the head of his army, and made an at- 
tempt upon Norham Castle, in which he failed. He learned, 
however, that the king of England was reposing and collect- 
ing forces at Biland Abbey, near Malton ; and as the Scots, 
although they fought on foot, generally used in their jour- 
neys small horses of uncommon strength and hardihood, 
Robert, by a forced march, suddenly and unexpectedly 
placed himself in front of the English army. But they 
were admirably drawn up on the ridge of a hill, accessible 
only by a single, narrow and difficult ascent. Bruce com- 
manded Douglas to storm the English position. As he ad- 
vanced to the attack, he was joined by Randolph, who with 
four squires volunteered to fight under his command. Sir 
Thomas Ughtred and Sir Ralph Cobham, who were sta- 
tioned in advance of the English army to defend the pass, 
made a violent and bloody opposition. But Bruce, as at 
the battle of Cruachan-Ben, turned the English position by 
means of a body of Highlanders accustomed to mountain 
warfare, who climbed the ridge at a distance from the scene 
of action, and attacked the flank and rear of the English 
position. King Edward with the utmost difficulty escaped 
to Bridlington, leaving behind him his equipage, baggage, 
and treasure. John of Bretagne, earl of Richmond, and 
Henry de Sully, grand butler of France, were made prison- 

• The effect of these ravages was repaired by the restoration of the 
abbey church of Melrose, the beautiful ruins of which still show the 
finest specimens of Gothic architecture. 


ers. It seems the earl had, upon some late occasion, spoken 
discourteously of Bruce, who made a distinction between him 
and the other French captives, ordering Richmond into close 
custody, and recognizing in the others honorable knights, who 
sought adventures and battles from no ill-will to him, but 
merely for augmentation of their names in chivalry. The 
steward of Scotland, at the head of five hundred Scottish 
men-at-arms, pursued the routed army to the walls of York, 
and, knight-like (as the phrase then was), abode there till 
evening, to see if any would issue to fight. The Scots then 
raised an immense booty in the country, and once more with- 
drew to their own land loaded with spoil. 

The fidelity of Andrew de Hartcla, who had rendered 
King Edward the important service of putting down the in- 
surrection of the Earl of Lancaster, had procured him the 
rank of Earl of Carlisle, and many other royal favors. The 
recollection of these benefits did not, it would seem, prevent 
his entering into a conspiracy against the prince by whom 
they were conferred, of nearly the same nature with that of 
Lancaster, in suppressing which he himself bore the princi- 
pal part. This second plot was detected, and the Earl of 
Carlisle brought to trial. He was charged with having en- 
tered into a treasonable engagement with the Scottish king, 
undertaking to guarantee him in the possession of Scotland. 
In requital, Bruce was to render Hartcla and his associates 
some aid in accomplishing certain purposes in England, be- 
ing the destruction doubtless of the power of the Despenser. 
The Earl of Carlisle was degraded from his honors of nobil- 
ity and chivalry, and died the death of a traitor at Carlisle, 
March 2, 1322. 

The sense of the difficulties with which he was surrounded, 
and this new example of the spirit of defection among those 
in whom he trusted, at length induced Edward to become 
seriously desirous of a long truce, preparatory to a solid 
peace with Scotland. Henry de Sully, the French knight 
made prisoner at Biland Abbey, acted as mediator, and a 
truce was agreed upon at a place called Thorpe. The rati- 


fication, dated at Berwick, 7th June, 1323, was made by 
Bruce in the express and avowed character of king of Scot- 
land, and was so accepted by the English monarch. .The 
truce was concluded to endure for thirteen years. 

Bruce had now leisure to direct his thoughts toward 
achieving peace with Rome ; for his being in the state of 
excommunication, though a circumstance little regarded in 
his own dominions, must have operated greatly to his dis- 
advantage in his intercourse with other states and kingdoms 
of Europe. The king despatched to Rome his nephew, the 
celebrated Randolph, earl of Moray, who conducted the ne- 
gotiation with such tact and dexterity that he induced the 
pope to address a bull to his royal relation under the long- 
withheld title of king of Scotland. The delicacy of the dis- 
cussion was so great that we are surprised to find a northern 
warrior, who scarce had breathed any air save that of the 
battlefield, capable of encountering and attaining the advan- 
tage over the subtle Italian priest in his own art of diplo- 
macy. But the qualities which form a military character 
of the highest order are the same with those of the consum- 
mate politician. Shrewdness to arrange plans of attack, 
prudence to foresee and obviate those of his antagonist, 
perfect composure and acuteness in discerning and seizing 
every opportunity of advantage, hold an equal share in 
the composition of both. The king of England was ex- 
tremely displeased with the pope, and intrigued so much 
at Rome to resume his influence, and use it to the prejudice 
of Robert, that his private machinations there were after- 
ward alleged by the Scots as the cause of their breaking the 
long truce which had been concluded between the countries. 
Randolph's talents for negotiation were also displayed in 
effecting a league between Scotland and France, which the 
circumstances of the times seemed strongly to recommend, 
and which was entered into accordingly. This French alli- 
ance was productive of events very prejudicial to Scotland 
in after ages, often involving the country in war with Eng- 
land, when the interests of the nation would have strongly 


mmended neutrality. But these evil consequences were 
not so strongly apparent as the immediate advantage of 
securing the assistance and support of a wealthy and pow- 
erful nation, who were, like themselves, the natural enemies 
of England. The alliance with France, the consequences of 
which penetrate deep«into future Scottish history, was of an 
offensive and defensive character. But its effects and obliga- 
tions on the part of Scotland were declared to be suspended 
till the truce of Berwick should be ended. 

Scotland had now, what was a novelty to her stormy his- 
tory, a continuance of some years of peace. Several changes 
took place in the royal family. The first and happiest was 
the birth of a son to Bruce, who afterward succeeded his 
father by the title of David II. The joy of this event was 
allayed by the death of the king's son-in-law, the valiant 
Stewart. His wife, the Princess Marjory, had died soon 
after the birth of her son in 1326. The Stewart's behavior 
at Bannockburn when almost a boy, at the siege of Berwick, 
where he defended the place againt the whole force of Eng- 
land, at Biland Abbey, and on other occasions, had raised 
his fame high among the Scottish champions of that heroio 

In consequence of these changes in the family of the king, 
a parliament was held at Cambuskenneth, in July, 1326, in 
which it is worthy of observation that the representatives of 
the royal boroughs for the first time were admitted ; a sure 
sign of the reviving prosperity of the country, which has 
always kept pace with, or rather led to, the increasing im- 
portance of the towns. 

In this parliament the estates took their oath of fealty to 
the infant David, son of Robert Bruce, and failing him or 
his heirs, to Robert Stewart, son of "Walter Stewart, so lately 
lost and lamented, and Marjory, also deceased, the daughter 
of Robert by his first queen. The same parliament granted 
to the Bruce a tenth of the rents of all the lands of the king- 
dom of Scotland, to be levied agreeably to the valuation or 
extent, as it is termed, of Alexander ILL 


In the year 1327 a revolution took place in the govern- 
ment of England, which had a strong effect on the relations 
between that kingdom and Scotland. The remains of the 
Earl of Lancaster's party in the state had now arranged 
themselves under the ambitious Queen Isabella and her 
minion Mortimer, and accomplished the overthrow of Ed- 
ward II. 's power, which the same faction had in vain at- 
tempted under Lancaster and Hartcla. The unfortunate 
king, more weak than wilful, then executed a compulsory 
resignation in favor of his son Edward III., and, thus de- 
throned, was imprisoned, and finally most cruelly murdered. 

It is probable that Robert Bruce was determined to take 
advantage of the confusion occasioned by this convulsion in 
England to infringe the truce and renew the war, with the 
purpose of compelling an advantageous peace. For this 
he wanted not sufficiently fair pretexts, though it may be 
doubted whether he would have made use of them had not 
the opportunity for renewing the war, with a kingdom gov- 
erned by a boy and divided by factions, seemed so particu- 
larly inviting. His ostensible motives, however, were, that, 
although an article of the treaty at Thorpe, confirmed at 
Berwick, provided that the spiritual excommunication pro- 
nounced against Bruce should be suspended till the termina- 
tion of the truce, yet Edward, by underhand measures at 
the court of Rome, had endeavored to prejudice the cause 
of the Scottish king with the pontiff, and obstruct, if pos- 
sible, the important object of his reconciliation with Rome. 
It was also alleged on the part of Scotland that the English 
cruisers had infringed the truce by interrupting the com- 
merce between Flanders and Scotland, and particularly by 
the capture of various merchant vessels, for which no in- 
demnity could be obtained. 

The truth seems to be that Robert, having these causes 
or pretences for breaking off the truce, was desirous to avail 
himself of the opportunity afforded by the internal disturb- 
ances of England to bring matters to a final issue, and either 
to resume the war at a period which promised advantage, or 
8 -% Vol. I. 


obtain a distinct recognition of the independence of Scotland, 
and an acknowledgment of his own title to the crown. Frois- 
sart and other historians have intimated that the Scottish king 
desired also to avail himself of the opportunity to obtain in 
permanent sovereignty some part of the northern provinces 
of England. It is highly probable such a claim was stated 
and founded upon the possession of these counties by the 
Scottish kings in David I. 's time and before it. But it was 
probably mentioned in the usual policy of negotiators, who 
state their demands high that there may be room for con- 
cession. The serious prosecution of such a design neither 
accords with the Bruce 's policy nor with his actual conduct. 
He well knew that Northumberland and Cumberland, over 
which Scotland had once a claim, were now become a part 
of England, and attached to that country by all the ties of 
national predilection, and that although a right to them 
might be conceded in an hour of distress, it would only 
create a perpetual cause of war for their recovery, when 
England should regain its superiority. Accordingly, in all 
his inroads, Bruce treated the border districts as part of 
England, to be plundered by his flying armies, while he 
never took measures either to conciliate the inhabitants or 
secure and garrison any places of strength for the appro- 
priation of the country. The line drawn between the Tweed 
and Solway afforded to Scotland a strong frontier, which 
any advance to the southward must have rendered a weak 
and unprotected one. Accordingly, when triumphant in the 
war which he undertook, the sagacious Robert did not make 
any proposal for enlarging the territory of Scotland, while 
he took every means for insuring her independence. 

Negotiations for continuing the truce, or converting it 
into a final peace, which seems the point aimed at by Bruce, 
were finally broken off between the two kingdoms ; and Ed- 
ward III., already, though in early youth, animated by the 
martial spirit which no king of England possessed more 
strongly, appointed his forces to meet at Newcastle before 
the 29th of May, 1327, alleging that the king of Scotland 


had convoked his army to assemble at that day upon the 
borders, in breach of the truce concluded at Thorpe. The 
rendezvous took place, however, at York, where- a noble 
army convened under command of the young king, the fut- 
ure hero of Crecy, to which magnificent host had been 
added, at the expense of a large subsidy five hundred men- 
at-arms from Hainault, who were then reckoned the best 
soldiers in Europe. With the archers and light horse at- 
tendant on each man-at-arms, the number of these auxili- 
aries must be calculated as amounting to three thousand 
men. But, as it proved, their heavy horses and heavy 
armor rendered them ill qualified to act in the swampy, 
wild, and mountainous country where the seat of war was 
destined to lie. An accidental quarrel also took place at 
York between these knightly strangers and the English 
archers. Much blood was shed on both sides, and a dis- 
cord created between the foreigners and natives of Edward's 
army, which seems to have caused embarrassment during the 
whole expedition. 

In the meantime the Scottish forces, to the number of two 
or three thousand men-at-arms, well mounted and equipped 
for a day of battle, and a large body of their light cavalry, 
amounting to more than ten thousand, with many followers, 
who marched on horseback, but fought on foot, invaded the 
western border, according to their custom,. and penetrating 
through the wild frontier of Cumberland, came down upon 
Weardale, in the bishopric of Durham, marking their course 
with more than their usual ferocity of devastation. These 
forces, superior to all known in Europe for irregular war- 
fare, were conducted by the wisdom, experience, and enter- 
prising courage of the famed Randolph and the good lord 
James Douglas, guided, doubtless, by the anxious instruc- 
tions of the Bruce, who, though only fifty-three years of 
age, was affected by a disease of the blood, then termed the 
leprosy, which prevented his leading his armies in person. 

The king of England, on the other hand, at the head of 
a princely army of sixty thousand, men, including five hun- 


dred belted knights, animated by the presence of the queen- 
mother and fifty ladies of the highest rank, who witnessed 
their departure, set out from York, in 1327, with the deter- 
mination of chastising the invaders and destroyers of his 
country. The high spirit of the youthful monarch was ani- 
mated, besides, by a defiance which Bruce despatched to 
him by a herald, stating his determination to work his pleas- 
ure with fire and sword on the English frontiers. 

The English army advanced in the most perfect order, 
and reached Northumberland, where the first intelligence 
they received of the enemy was by the smoke and flame of 
the villages suffering under presence of the invaders, tokens 
which arose conspicuous all around on the verge of the hori- 
zon. The English marched on these "melancholy beacons," 
but without reaching the authors of the mischief. During 
the space of three days, the light-armed and active Scots 
made their presence manifest by these marks of ravage, 
within five miles of the English army, but were not other- 
wise to be seen or brought to combat. After a vain and 
fatiguing pursuit which lasted three days, the English, in 
despair of overtaking their light-footed enemy, at length re- 
turned to the banks of the Tyne, determined to await the 
Scots on that river, and intercept their return to Scotland. 
This resolution seems to have been adopted in the vain 
imagination that the Scots, intimately acquainted with the 
whole of an extensive waste frontier, would choose in leav- 
ing England to use precisely the same road by which they 
had entered it. The halt on the banks of the Tyne proved 
as detrimental and embarrassing to the English, and espe- 
cially to the auxiliaries, as the advance and pursuit had 
been. Provisions grew scarce, forage still scarcer; the rain 
poured down in torrents; the river became swollen: they 
had only wet wood to burn, and such bread to eat as they 
had carried for several days together at the croup of their 
saddles, wetted and soiled by the rain and the sweat of the 
horses. They were midway between Newcastle and Car- 
lisle, and too distant to receive assistance from either town. 


After enduring these hardships for eight days, the soldiers 
became so mutinous that it was resolved upon, as the lesser 
evil, again to put them in movement, and march in quest of 
the Scottish army. 

The march was therefore resumed in a southern direction, 
still with the hope to meet the enemy on their return, and 
land to the amount of a hundred pounds a year, with the 
honor of knighthood, was proclaimed through the host as 
the reward of any one who should bring certain notice where 
the Scottish army could be found ; an unparalleled circum- 
stance in war, considering that a king in his own country, 
and at the head of his own royal army, found such a meas- 
ure necessary to procure information of the position of a 
host of twenty-five thousand men, who must have been 
within a half circle of twenty miles drawn round the En- 
glish army. Many knights and squires set off in quest of 
information that might merit to secure the reward. Such 
of the English host as had been transferred to the north 
bank of the Tyne recrossed the river with difficulty and loss. 

On the 31st of July, Thomas de Rokeby, a Yorkshire 
gentleman, returned to claim the promised reward. His 
acquaintance with the Scottish position was complete: he 
had been made prisoner, and brought before the Scottish 
leaders. He told them of the reward which had been prom- 
ised, and the purpose of his approaching their encampment. 
On this statement Douglas and Randolph dismissed him 
without ransom, telling him to inform the English king they 
knew as little of his motions as he did of theirs (an assertion 
which may very well be doubted), but would be glad to meet 
him in their present position, which was within six or seven 
miles of his own army. The English arrayed themselves for 
battle, and advanced under the guidance of Rokeby, now Sir 
Thomas, but were mortified to find their enemies drawn up 
on the crest of a steep hill, at the foot of which ran the river 
Wear, through a rocky channel, so that an attack upon de- 
termined men and veteran soldiers, in such a position, must 
be attended with destruction to the assailants. 


Tbo king sent a herald to defy the Scots to a fair field 
of fight, according to the practice of chivalry: he offered 
either to withdraw his own troops from the northern bank, 
and permit the Scottish army to come over and form in array 
of battle; or, if the enemy preferred to retire from the south- 
ern bank, and allow the English to cross the river unmo- 
lested, he declared his willingness to make the attack. But 
Douglas and Randolph knew too well their own inferiority 
in numbers and appointments, and the great advantage of 
their present situation, to embrace either alternative. They 
returned for answer, that they had entered England without 
the consent of the king and his barons; that they would 
abide in the realm as long as they pleased: "if the king dis- 
likes our presence," said they, "let him pass the river, and 
do his best to chastise us." Thus the two armies continued 
facing each other; the Scots on the south bank of the Wear, 
the English on the north ; the former subsisting on the herds 
of cattle which they drove in from the country on all hands, 
the latter living poorly on such provisions as they brought 
with them : the former spending their night round immense 
fires, maintained in the greater profusion for the pleasure 
of wasting the English wood, and lodging in huts and lodges 
made of boughs ; the English, who were on the depopulated 
and wasted side of the river, sleeping many of them in the 
open air, with their saddles for pillows, and holding their 
horses in their hands. They were annoyed by the Scottish 
bordermen winding their horns all night, and making a noise 
as if, says Froissart, "all the devils of hell had been there." 
Having thus faced each other for two or three days, the 
English, at dawn of the third or fourth morning, perceived 
the Scots' position was deserted and empty. They had 
decamped with much silence and celerity, and were soon 
found to have occupied a new position on the "Wear, resem- 
bling the former in its general description, but even stronger, 
and masked by a wood, being part of an enclosed chase, called 
Stanhope Deer Park, the property of the bishop of Durham. 
Here the two hostile armies confronted each other as for- 


merly; the English declining to attack on account of the 
strength of the Scottish position, the Scots refusing battle 
with an army superior to their own. 

While they had little to do save to remark each other's 
equipment, the Scots saw among the English two novelties 
in the practice of war, which, though attended with very 
different consequences, are recorded by contemporaries with 
equal wonder. The one was a mode of adjusting the crest 
upon the helmet, called timbering; the other was the use 
of a new kind of artillery, then called engynes, or, by abbre- 
viation, gynes, or cracks of war, from which we have derived 
the modern term guns. The effect produced by firearms in 
their rude state could not have been formidable, nor could 
it have been augured that the invention would cause a gen- 
eral change in the art of war, since it is merely noticed as a 
novelty, along with a new and fantastic mode of ornament- 
ing the helmet. 

But the English did not remain long in the neighborhood 
of the Douglas in undisturbed slumbers. On the second 
night after their arrival in this new position, that enterpris- 
ing leader left the Scottish camp with a select body of men- 
at-arms, crossed the Wear at a distance from the English 
encampment, and entered it, saying, as he passed the sleepy 
sentinels, in the manner and with the national exclamation 
of an English officer making the rounds: "Ha! Saint 
George 1 have we no ward here?" He reached the king's 
tent without discovery, cut asunder the ropes, and cried his 
war-cry of "Douglas! Douglas!" The young king only 
escaped death or captivity by the fidelity of his chaplain and 
others of his household, who fell in his defence. Disap- 
pointed in his attempt on the king's person, which was his 
main object, Douglas cut his way through the English host, 
who were now gathering fast, broke from their encamp- 
ment, and returned safe to the Scottish camp with fresh 
laurels in his helmet. 

On the second night after this camisado, the English 
received intimation from a Scottish captive that all the army 


were commanded to hold themselves in readiness to march 
that evening, and to follow the banner of Douglas. The 
English conceived this to be a preparation for a repetition 
of the nocturnal attack, and lay on their arms all the night. 
But Douglas was too wise to trust to a renewal of the same 
stratagem. In the morning it was ascertained that the 
Scots, having left great fires burning in their camp, had 
marched off about midnight by a road which they had cut 
through a morass in their rear, supposed to be impassable. 

The camp of the Scots, now deserted, furnished a curious 
spectacle to the English and the strangers. Four hundred 
beeves lay slaughtered for the use of their army. Three 
hundred caldrons, formed extemporaneously out of raw 
hides, were filled with the beef which the same skins had 
covered while the creatures were alive: hundreds of old 
brogues, made out of the same materials, lay about the 
tents. Five English prisoners were found bound to trees, 
three of whom had their legs broken, although whether in 
some previous action, or by a gratuitous piece of cruelty 
after they were made prisoners, does not appear. The hardy 
warriors of Douglas and Randolph lived exactly as drovers 
and other Scots of the lower order do at the present day, 
when bound on long journeys. A bag of oatmeal hung at 
the croup of the saddle, which also bore a plate of iron, 
called a girdle, on which the said oatmeal was baked into 
cakes as occasion offered: animal food was furnished by 
their plunder in an enemy's country — in their own they 
subsisted well enough without. Salt, liquor of any kind, 
save water, as well as any variety of food, they entirely 
dispensed with. 

Wanting so little, and carrying with them the means of 
satisfying themselves, it was easy to see why these light 
marauders remained concealed from the heavy-armed En- 
glish, distressed alike by their numerous wants, and the 
apparatus they bore along to supply them, until it was their 
pleasure to become visible in "Weardale, where they remained 
no longer than suited their own inclination. It soon ap- 


peared that Douglas and Randolph, having taken a circui- 
tous course till they had turned the flank, were already- 
advanced on their way homeward, to meet another Scottish 
army, which had crossed the frontier to extricate them, if it 
should be necessary. 

The English retreated to Durham, dejected and distressed, 
especially the knights and men-at-arms of Hainault, many 
of whom, instead of the praise and plunder they hoped to 
acquire, had lost their valuable horses and property. They 
were dismissed, however, with thanks and reward; and 
it is said these troops, notwithstanding their total ineffi- 
ciency, had cost the kingdom of England a sum equal to 
320,000Z. sterling of modern money. 

King Edward III. next convoked a parliament at York, 
in which there appeared a tendency on the part of England 
to concede the main points on which proposals for peace 
had hitherto failed, by acknowledging the independence of 
Scotland, and the legitimate sovereignty of Bruce. These 
dispositions to reconciliation were much quickened by the 
sudden apparition of King Robert himself on the eastern 
frontier, where he besieged the castles of Norham and Aln- 
wick, while a large division of his army burned and destroyed 
the open country, and the king himself rode about hunting 
from one park to another, as if on a pleasure party. The 
parliament at York, although the besieged castles made 
a gallant defence, agreed upon a truce, which it was now 
determined should be the introduction to a lasting peace. 
As a necessary preliminary, the English statesmen resolved 
formally to execute a resignation of all claims of dominion 
and superiority which had been assumed over the kingdom 
of Scotland, and agreed that all muniments or public instru- 
ments asserting or tending to support such a claim should 
be delivered up. This agreement was subscribed by the 
king on the 4th of March, 1328. Peace was afterward con- 
cluded at Edinburgh the 17th of March, 1328, and ratified 
at a parliament held at Northampton, the 4th of May, 1328. 
It was confirmed by a match agreed upon between the Prin- 


cess Joanna, sister to Edward III., and David, son of Robert 
I., though both were as yet infants. Articles of strict amity- 
were settled between the nations, without prejudice to the 
effect of the alliance between Scotland and France. Bruce 
renounced the privilege of assisting rebels of England, should 
such arise in Ireland, and Edward the power of encouraging 
those of the isles who might rise against Scotland. It was 
stipulated that all the charters and documents carried from 
Scotland by Edward I. should be restored, and the king of 
England was pledged to give his aid in the court of Rome 
toward the recall of the excommunication awarded against 
King Robert. Lastly, Scotland was to pay a sum of twenty 
thousand pounds, in consideration of these favorable terms. 
The borders were to be maintained in strict order on both 
sides, and the fatal coronation-stone was to be restored to 
Scotland. There was another separate obligation on the 
Scottish side, which led to most serious consequences in 
the subsequent reign. The seventh article of the peace of 
Northampton provided that certain English barons, Thomas, 
Lord Wake of Lidel, Henry de Beaumont, earl of Buchan, 
and Henry de Percy, should be restored to the lands and 
heritages in Scotland, whereof they had been deprived dur- 
ing the war by the king of Scots seizing them into his own 
hand. The execution of this article was deferred by the 
Scottish king, who was not, it may be conceived, very will- 
ing again to introduce English nobles as landholders into 
Scotland. The English mob, on their part, resisted the 
removal of the fatal stone from "Westminster, where it had 
been deposited; a pertinacity which "superstitious eld" 
believed was its own punishment, since, with slow but sure 
attraction, the mystic influence of the magnetic palladium 
drew the Scottish Solomon, James VI., to the sovereignty 
in the kingdom where it was deposited. The deed called 
Ragman's Roll, being the list of the barons and men of note 
who subscribed the submission to Edward I. in 1296, was, 
however, delivered up to the Scots; and a more important 
pledge, the English princess Joanna, then only seven years 


old, was placed in the custody of Bruce, to be united at a 
fitting- age to her boy-bridegroom, David, who was himself 
two years younger. 

The treaty of peace made at Northampton has been 
termed dishonorable to England, by her historians. But 
stipulations that are just and necessary in themselves can- 
not infer dishonor, however disadvantageous they may be. 
The treaty of Northampton was just, because the English 
had no title to the superiority of Scotland ; and it was neces- 
sary, because Edward III. had no force to oppose the Scot- 
tish army, but was compelled to lie within the fortifications 
of York, and see the invaders destroy the country nearly to 
the banks of the Humber. What is alike demanded by jus- 
tice and policy it may be mortifying but cannot be dishonor- 
able to concede ; and before passing so heavy a censure on 
the Northampton parliament, these learned writers ought 
to have considered whether England possessed any right 
over Scotland; and, secondly, whether that which they 
claimed was an adequate motive for continuing an unsuc- 
cessful war. 

Bruce seemed only to wait for the final deliverance of his 
country, to close his heroic career. He had retired, prob- 
ably, for the purpose of enjoying a milder climate, to his 
castle of Cardross, on the Firth of Clyde, near Dumbarton. 
Here he lived in princely retirement, and, entertaining the 
nobles with rude hospitality, relieved by liberal doles of food 
the distresses of the poor. Nautical affairs seem to have 
engaged his attention very much, and he built vessels, with 
which he often went on the adjacent firth. He practiced 
falconry, being unequal to sustain the fatigue of hunting. 
We may add, for everything is interesting where Robert 
Bruce is the subject, that he kept a lion, and a fool named 
Patrick, as regular parts of his establishment. Meantime 
his disease (a species of leprosy, as we have already said, 
which had origin in the hardships and privations which he 
had sustained for so many years) gained ground upon his 
remaining strength. 


When he found his end drew nigh, that great king sum- 
moned his barons and peers around him, and affectionately 
nvommended his son to their care, then singling out the 
good Lord James of Douglas, fondly entreated of him, as 
his old friend and companion in arms, to cause the heart to 
be taken from his body after death, conjuring him to take 
the charge of transporting it to Palestine in redemption of 
the vow which he had made to go in person thither, when 
he was disentangled from the cares brought on him by the 
English wars. "Now the hour is come," he said, "I cannot 
avail myself of the opportunity, but must send my heart 
thither in place of my body ; and a better knight than you, 
my dear and tried friend and comrade, to execute such a 
commission, the world holds not," All who were present 
wept bitterly around the bed, while the king, with almost 
his dying words, bequeathed this melancholy task to his 
best-beloved follower and champion. On the 7th of June, 
1329, died Robert Bruce, at the almost premature age of 
fifty-five. He was buried at Dunfermline, where his tomb 
was opened in our time, and his relics again interred amid 
all the feelings of awe and admiration which such a sight 
tended naturally to inspire. 

Remarkable in many things, there was this almost pecul- 
iar to Robert Bruce, that his life was divided into three dis- 
tinct parts, which could scarcely be considered as belonging 
to the same individual. His youth was thoughtless, hasty, 
and fickle, and from the moment he began to appear in pub- 
lic life until the slaughter of the Red Comyn, and his final 
assumption of the crown, he appeared to have entertained 
no certain purpose beyond that of shifting with the shifting 
tide, like the other barons around him, ready, like them, to 
enter into hasty plans for the liberation of Scotland from 
the English yoke ; but equally prompt to submit to the over- 
whelming power of Edward. Again, in a short but very 
active period of his life, he displayed the utmost steadiness, 
firmness, and constancy, sustaining, with unabated patienoe 
and determination, the loss of battles, the death of friends, 


the disappointment of hopes, and an uninterrupted series of 
disasters, which scarce a ray of hope appeared to brighten. 
This term of suffering extended from the field of Methven 
Wood till his return to Scotland from the island of Rachrin, 
after which time his career, whenever he was himself per- 
sonally engaged, was almost uniformly successful, even till 
he obtained the object of his wishes — the secure possession 
of an independent throne. 

When these things are considered, we shall find reason 
to conclude that the misfortunes of the second or suffering 
period of Bruce's life had taught him lessons of constancy, 
of prudence, and of moderation, which were unknown to his 
early years, and tamed the hot and impetuous fire which his 
temper, like that of his brother Edward, naturally possessed. 
He never permitted the injuries of Edward I. (although 
three brothers had been cruelly executed by that monarch's 
orders) to provoke him to measures of retaliation; and his 
generous conduct to the prisoners at Bannockburn, as well 
as elsewhere, reflected equal honor on his sagacity and hu- 
manity. His manly spirit of chivalry was best evinced by a 
circumstance which happened in Ireland, where, when pur- 
sued by a superior force of English, he halted and offered 
battle at disadvantage, rather than abandon a poor washer- 
woman, who had been taken with the pains of labor, to the 
cruelty of the native Irish. 

Robert Bruce's personal accomplishments in war stood 
so high, that he was universally esteemed one of the three 
best knights of Europe during that martial age, and gave 
many proofs of personal prowess. His achievements seem 
amply to vindicate this high estimation, since the three 
Highlanders slain in the retreat from Dairy, and Sir Henry 
de Bohun killed by his hand in front of the English army, 
evince the valorous knight, as the plans of his campaigns 
exhibit the prudent and sagacious leader. The Bruce's 
skill in the military art was of the highest order; and in 
his testament, as it is called, he bequeathed a legacy to 
his countrymen, which, had they known how to avail 


themselves of it, would have saved them the loss of many 
a bloody day. 

These verses are thus given by Mr. Tytler. I have, for 
the sake of rendering them intelligible, adopted the plan of 
modern spelling, retaining the ancient language. The orig- 
inal verses are in Latin leonines. 

"On foot should be all Scottish weire, 1 
By hill and moss themselves to bear: 
Let wood for walls be — bow and spear 
And battle-axe their fighting gear: 
That enemies do them no drear, 2 
In strait place cause keep all store, 
And burn the plain land them before; 
Then shall they pass away in haste, 
When that they nothing find but waste; 
With wiles and wakening of the night, 
And mickle noises made on height; 
Then shall they turn with great affray, 
As they were chased with sword away. 
This is the council and intent 
Of good King Robert's testament." 

If, however, his precepts could not save the Scottish 
nation from military losses, his example taught them to 
support the consequences with unshaken constancy. It is, 
indeed, to the example of this prince, and to the events of 
a reign so dear to Scotland, that we can distinctly trace that 
animated love of country which has been ever since so strong 
a characteristic of North Britons that it has been sometimes 
supposed to limit their affections and services so exclusively 
within the limits of their countrymen as to render that par- 
tiality a reproach which, liberally exercised, is subject for 
praise. In the day of Alexander III. and his predecessors, 
the various tribes whom these kings commanded were 
divided from each other by language and manners : it was 
only by residing within the same common country that 
they were forced into some sort of connection: but after 
Bauce's death we find little more mention of Scots, Gal- 
wegians, Picts, Saxons, or Strath-Clyde Britons. They had 
all, with the exception of the Highlanders, merged into the 

1 War. s Harm. 


single denomination of Scots, and spoke generally the Anglo- 
Scottish language. This great change had been produced by 
the melting down of all petty distinctions and domestic dif- 
ferences in the crucible of necessity. In the wars with Eng- 
land all districts of the country had been equally oppressed, 
and almost all had been equally distinguished in combat- 
ing and repelling the common enemy. There was scarce a 
district of Scotland that had not seen the Brace's banner 
displayed, and had not sent forth brave men to support it ; 
and so extensive were the king's wanderings, so numerous 
his travels, so strongly were felt the calls on which men 
were summoned from all quarters to support him, that petty 
distinctions were abolished ; £:nd the state, which, consisting 
of a variety of half-independent tribes, resembled an ill- 
constructed fagot, was now consolidated into one strong and. 
inseparable stem, and deserved the name of a kingdom. 

It is true that the great distinction between the Saxon 
and Gaelic races in dress, speech, and manner, still sepa- 
rated the Highlander from his lowland neighbor; but even 
this leading line of separation was considerably softened and 
broken in upon, during the civil wars and the reign of Rob- 
ert Bruce. The power of the Macdougals, who had before 
Bruce's accession acted as independent chiefs, making peace 
and war at their pleasure, was broken both in Galloway and 
Argyleshire. The powerful Campbell, of Norman descent, 
but possessed of large Highland possessions by marriage 
with the heiress of a Celtic chief called Dermid O'Duine, 
obtained great part of their Argyleshire possessions, and 
being allied to the royal family, did much to secure the 
people of that country from relapsing into the barbarous 
independence of their ancestors. There were other great 
lowland barons settled in the Celtic regions, of whom it 
may be briefly remarked, that, like the Anglo- Norman 
barons who settled in Ireland beyond the margin of the 
Pale, 1 they speedily assumed the Celtic manners, assumed 

1 These are said in an act of parliament to have become ipsis Hibemis 
Hibemiores, more Irish in their habits than the Irish themselves. 


the authority of mountain-chiefs, so nattering to human 
pride, and, to conclude, adopted the titles and genealogies, 
however far-fetched, or even if actually forged, by which 
bards and seannachies connected their ancestry with the 
names of ancient Celtic heroes, whose descendants were 
entitled to honor and obedience. Yet still the Campbells 
and other great lowland or Norman families who were set- 
tled in the Highlands did not dream of pursuing the wild 
conduct, or aiming at the absolute independence affected by 
the Macdougals and other native princes among the Gael. 
The former owned the king's authority, and procured from 
the sovereign delegated powers under which they strength- 
ened themselves, and governed, or, as it happened, oppressed, 
their neighbors. Thus the Highlands, though still a most 
disorderly part of Scotland, acknowledged in a great degree 
the authority of the king, which they had formerly disputed 
and contemned. 

But the principal consolidating effect of this long strug- 
gle lay in the union which it had a tendency to accomplish 
between the higher and inferior orders. The barons and 
knights had, as we have before remarked, lost in a great 
measure the habit of considering themselves as members of 
any particular kingdom, or subjects of any particular king, 
longer than while they held fiefs within his jurisdiction. By 
relinquishing their fiefs they conceived they were entitled to 
choose their own master; and the right which any monarch 
possessed to claim their duty in respect of the place of their 
birth did not, in their opinion, infer any irrefragable tie of 
allegiance. "When they joined the king's standard at the 
head of their vassals, they accounted themselves the Norman 
leaders of a race of foreigners, whose descent they despised, 
and whom, compared to themselves, they accounted barba- 
rians. These loose relations between the nobles and their 
followers were altered and drawn more tight when the effect 
of long-continued war, repeated defeats, undaunted renewal 
of efforts, and final attainment of success, bound such lead- 
ers as Douglas, Randolph, and Stewart to their warriors, 


and their warriors to them. The faithful brotherhood which 

mutual dangers and mutual conquests created between the 

leader and the followers on the one hand, between the king 

and the barons on the other — the consciousness of a mutual 

object, which overcame all other considerations, and caused 

them to look upon themselves as men united in one common 

interest — taught them at the same time the universal duty 

of all ranks to their common country, and the sentiment so 

spiritedly expressed by the venerable biographer of Bruce 

himself : 

"Ah, freedom is a noble thing-; 
Freedom makes men to have liking. 
To man all solace Freedom gives: 
He lives at ease who freely lives; 
And he that aye has lived free, 
May not well know the misery, 
The wrath, the hate, the spite, and all 
That's compass'd in the name of thrall." ' 

1 These spirited lines are somewhat modernized. 



Douglas sets out on his Pilgrimage with the Bruce's Heart: is killed 
in Spain— Randolph assumes the Regency— Claims of the dis- 
inherited English Barons: they resolve to invade Scotland, and 
are headed by Edward Baliol— Death of Randolph — Earl of Mar 
chosen Regent — Battle of Dupplin Moor— Earl of March re- 
treats from before Perth — Edward Baliol is chosen King, but 
instantly expelled— Sir Andrew Moray chosen Regent by the 
Royalists, but is made Prisoner — Siege of Berwick by the Eng- 
lish—Battle of Halidon Hill — Great Loss of the Scots— The 
Loyalists only hold four Castles in Scotland — Edward Baliol 
cedes to England the southern Parts of Scotland — Quarrel 
among the Anglo-Scottish Barons — Liberation of Sir Andrew 
Moray — Randolph, Earl of Moray, and the Stewart are Regents 
— The Loyalists are active and successful — Defence of Lochleven 
— Defeat of Guy, Earl of Namur, on the Borough Moor — Earl of 
Athol (David de Strathbogie) defeated and slain 

THE parliamentary settlement at Cambuskenneth had 
nominated Randolph as regent of the kingdom; a 
choice which could not have been amended: but 
after-circumstances occasioned it to be much regretted that, 
by devolving on Douglas the perilous and distant expedition 
to Palestine, Bruce's bequest should have deprived the coun- 
try of the services of the only noble who could have replaced 
those of the Earl of Moray in case of death or indisposition. 
And attention is so much riveted on this most unhappy cir- 
cumstance, for such it certainly proved, that authors have 
endeavored to reconcile it to the sagacity of Robert Bruce, 
by imputing it to a refinement of policy on his part. They 
suppose that, fearing jealousy and emulation between Doug- 
las and Randolph, when he himself was no longer on the 
scene, he found an honorable pretext to remove Douglas 
from Scotland, that Randolph, his nephew, might exercise 


undisputed authority. The recollection of the field of Stir- 
ling, where Douglas reined up his horse, lest he should seem 
to share Randolph's victory over Clifford; that, too, of 
Biland Abbey, where Randolph joined Douglas with only 
four squires, and served under him as a volunteer, seem 
to give assurance that these brave men were incapable of 
any emulation dangerous to their country or prejudicial to 
their loyalty; and it will be probabty thought that Bruce 
nourished no such apprehensions, but, lying an excommu- 
nicated man upon his deathbed, was induced to propitiate 
Heaven by some act of devotion of unusual solemnity; a 
course so consistent with the religious doctrines universally 
received at the time that it requires no further explanation. 
The issue of the expedition was nevertheless most disas- 
trous to Scotland. The good Lord James, having the pre- 
cious heart under his charge, set out for Palestine with a 
gallant retinue, and observing great state. He landed at 
Seville in his voyage, and learning that King Alphonso was 
at war with the Moors, his zeal to encounter the infidels in- 
duced him to offer his services. They were honorably and 
thankfully accepted ; but having involved himself too far in 
pursuit of the retreating enemy, Douglas was surrounded by 
numbers of the infidels when there were not ten of his own 
suite left around his person; yet he might have retreated in 
safety had he not charged, with the intention of rescuing Sir 
William Sinclair, whom he saw borne down by a multitude. 
But the good knight failed in his generous purpose, and was 
slain by the superior number of the Moors. Scotland never 
lost a better worthy, at a period when his services were more 
needed. He united the romantic accomplishments of a 
knight of chivalry with the more solid talents of a great 
military leader. The relics of his train brought back the 
heart of the Bruce with the body of his faithful follower to 
their native country. The heart of the king was deposited 
in Melrose Abbey, and the corpse of Douglas was laid in the 
tomb of his ancestors, in the church of the same name. The 
good Lord James of Douglas left no legitimate issue ; but a 


natural son of his, distinguished by the title of the Knight 
of Liddisdale, makes an important figure in the following 
pages, having inherited his father's military talents and 
courage, but unfortunately without possessing his pure and 
high-spirited sentiments of chivalrous loyalty. 

We have dwelt at considerable length on the reign of 
Robert Bruce, so interesting from its strange variety of inci- 
dent, and the important effects which it produced upon the 
kingdom of Scotland, which was in the course of the war 
so much agitated in all its provinces, that, as we before 
observed, all the slighter distinctions of the lowland in- 
habitants, so well defined in the earlier times, were broken 
down, dissolved, and merged in the grand national divis- 
ion of Britons into Scot and Englishman. 

Randolph assumed the government of Scotland with the 
cautious wisdom which might have been expected from his 
experience. He was conscious that Edward III., though 
prudently observing the treaty of Northampton, felt its ar- 
ticles as a shameful dereliction of Edward I.'s claims, and 
that the people of England regarded it as a dishonorable 
composition, patched up by Queen Isabella and her usurp- 
ing favorite, Mortimer, without regard to national honor, 
in order to get rid of the encumbrance of the Scottish war. 
Randolph also knew that the families of Comyns, still numer- 
ous and powerful in Scotland, had not forgotten the death 
of one kinsman at Dumfries, and the defeat of another, the 
Earl of Buchan, at Old Meldrum, with the general diminu- 
tion of their family consequence. The young king's corona- 
tion was, however, solemnized at Scone (1331), with that of 
his youthful consort, Queen Joanna, and every precaution was 
used to render the government secure and stable. The pre- 
cautions were necessary, for a tempest was impending. 

"We have stated that an article in the treaty of Northamp- 
ton stipulated that the Lords Beaumont and Wake of Liddel, 
with Sir Henry Percy, should be restored to their estates in 
Scotland, which had been declared forfeited by Robert Bruce. 
Of the three, Percy alone had been restored. It certainly 


appears that Robert Bruce had protracted the execution of 
this part of the treaty of Northampton with a degree of de- 
lay, for which it was easy to assign reasons in policy, though 
it might have been difficult to support them in equity. Lord 
Wake claimed the valley of Liddel, which formed the readi- 
est gate into the Scottish west borders. Beaumont, a rich 
and powerful baron, claimed the earldom of Buchan, a re- 
mote district, where he might have supported himself in a 
species of independence, and caused much trouble to the 
Scottish government. Both were foreigners and English- 
men, and there was certainly risk in introducing them into 
the bosom of the kingdom. But this, though a reason for 
not having consented to the article, afforded no ground for 
departing from it. Mortimer's administration, who did not 
favor Beaumont, showed no desire to press his claim on 
Robert Bruce. But after Mortimer's fall, in 1330, the res- 
toration of Beaumont and "Wake was positively demanded 
by the young king. The Scottish regent had by this time 
acquired information that the English lords in question, and 
others, had engaged in a conspiracy to invade Scotland and 
dethrone, if possible, his youthful ward ; a hostile enterprise 
which authorized Randolph to refuse the restitution demanded 
at such a conjuncture. 

To understand the nature of this undertaking, the reader 
must be informed (and here a remarkable name in Scottish 
history again occurs) that John de Baliol, for a short time the 
vassal king of Scotland, died in obscurity at his hereditary 
castle in Normandy, shortly after the decisive battle of Ban- 
nockburn, leaving a son, Edward. With the hope of intim- 
idating Bruce, Edward II. sent to Normandy for this young 
man, who then displayed a bold and adventurous character ; 
and the younger Baliol accordingly appeared at the English 
court in 1324, and again in 1327, where, as the person among 
the disinherited who in his father's deposition had suffered the 
greatest forfeiture of all, though not at the hand of King 
Robert, he naturally took a lead in the undertaking of Wake, 
Beaumont, and the other lords and knights, who, like them, 


(1. >sired restoration of Scottish estates, though they could not, 
like them, plead the advantage of the express clause in the 
treaty of Northampton. These high-spirited and adventur- 
ous barons, assembling a small force of three hundred horse 
and a few foot-soldiers, determined with such slender means 
to attempt the subjugation of a kingdom which had of late 
repeatedly defied the whole strength of England. 

Edward III. temporized. Under pretence of strictly ob- 
serving the truce between the kingdoms, he prohibited the 
disinherited barons entering Scotland by the land frontier, 
but connived at their embarking at the obscure seaport of 
Ravenshire, near the mouth of the Humber, and sailing 
from thence in quest of the adventures which fortune should 
send them. 

Although the attempt seemed a desperate one, the regent 
Randolph took even more than necessary pains to prepare 
for it. But the best means of resistance lay in his own high 
talents and long experience, and of the advantages of these 
his country was deprived in an evil hour. He died at Mus- 
selburgh, in 1332, when leading the Scottish army north- 
ward, to provide against the threatened descent of Baliol 
and his followers. A demise so critical was generally 
ascribed to poison; and a fugitive monk was pointed out 
as the alleged perpetrator of the deed. 

It seemed as if the sound governance, military talent, 
and even common defence of the Scottish people, had died 
with Robert Bruce, Douglas, and Randolph. The veteran 
soldiers, indeed, survived, but without their leaders, and as 
useless as a blade deprived of its hilt : and the nobility, who 
had universally submitted to the talents of Randolph, now 
broke out into factious emulation. After much jealous 
cabal, Donald, earl of Mar, a man of very ordinary talent, 
although nephew to Robert Bruce, was elevated to the re- 
gency. This took place at Perth; and the ill-omened elec- 
tion was scarce made, when the Scots nobles learned that 
Baliol and the disinherited barons had entered the Firth of 
Forth on July 31, disembarked at Kinghorn, defeated the 


Earl of Fife, and, marching across the country, were en- 
camped near Forteviot, with the river Earne in their front. 
Their host had been joined by many adherents, but did not 
in all amount to more than three thousand men. With an 
army more than ten times as numerous, the Earl of Mar en- 
camped upon Dupplin Moor, on the opposite or right bank 
of the river; while a second army, composed of southern 
barons, led by the Earl of March, was arrived within eight 
miles of the enemy's left flank. A more desperate situation 
could scarce be conceived than that of Baliol, and he relieved 
himself by a resolution which seemed to be as desperate. A 
stake planted by a secret adherent of the disinherited lords 
in a ford of the Earne indicated a secure place of crossing. 
The English army passed the river at midnight, on August 
12, and in profound silence, and surprised the camp of their 
numerous enemies, who were taken at unawares, dizzy with 
sleep and wassail ; for they had passed a night of intemper- 
ance, and totally neglected posting sentinels. The English 
made a most piteous carnage among their unresisting ene- 
mies. The young Earl of Moray showed the spirit of his 
father, and collecting his followers, at the head of a daunt- 
less but small body, drove back the enemy. But the inca- 
pacity of the Earl of Mar, who in the doubtful light of the 
dawning bore down in a confused mass without rule or order, 
overwhelmed instead of supporting Randolph and his little 
body of brave adherents. Opposition ended, the rout be- 
came totally irretrievable, and the swords of the enemy were 
blunted with slaughter. The loss of the Scottish army, 
much of which was occasioned by their being trodden down 
and stifled in their own disordered ranks, was about thirteen 
thousand men, being more than four times the entire amount 
of the army of Baliol. 

After the battle of Dupplin, the invaders took possession 
of Perth without opposition. The fortifications of the place 
having been destroyed by Bruce, according to his usual pol- 
icy, it was hastily protected with some palisades by its new 
masters. They were busied in this task when the southern 


army, led by the Earl of March, as before mentioned, was 
sen approaching the place. The English apprehended an 
instant, and, probably, an effectual assault. But when 
Beaumont saw the advancing banners halt on the high 
ground in the vicinity of the town, "Have no fear of these 
men," said the English lord; "we have friends among 
them." This was shortly after made apparent by the re- 
treat of the Earl of March, acting, it was supposed, in con- 
cert with the invader. An unsuccessful attempt was made 
on the fleet of the disinherited, which had coasted Fife, and 
was lying in the Tay, by Crab, the Flemish engineer who 
defended Berwick in the former reign. He succeeded in 
taking a fine vessel, called the Beaumont's cogue, but was 
defeated in his attempt on the others, and obliged to fly to 

The Earl of March led back and dispersed his army, and 
afterward showed his real sentiments by acceding once more 
to the English interest. It was not, however, till the Scots 
lost the battle of Halidon Hill that this powerful earl and 
other barons on the eastern marches of Scotland, who had 
late and unwillingly exchanged their allegiance to England 
for that to the Brace, were, now that the constraint imposed 
by his authority was removed, desirous of returning to their 
dependence on the English crown, which they found, prob- 
ably, more nominal than that exacted by their closer neigh- 
bors, the Scottish monarchs. 

The foreign invasion having thus succeeded, though made 
on a scale wonderfully in contrast with the extent of the 
means prepared, the domestic conspiracy was made mani- 
fest. The family of Comyn in all its branches, all who re- 
sented the proceedings against David de Brechin and the 
other conspirators condemned by the Black Parliament; all 
who had suffered injury, or what they termed such, in the 
disturbed and violent times, when so much evil was inflicted 
and suffered on both sides; all, finally, who nourished ambi- 
tious projects of rising under the new government, or had 
incurred neglect during the old one, joined in conducting 


Edward Baliol to Scone, where he was crowned king in their 
presence, when (grief and shame to tell !) Sinclair, prelate of 
Dunkeld, whom the Bruce, on account of his gallantry, termed 
his own bishop, officiated at the ceremony of crowning a 
usurper, to the prejudice of his heroic patron's son. 

However marvellous or mortifying this revolution cer- 
tainly was, it was of a nature far more temporary than that 
which was effected by Edward I. after the battle of Fal- 
kirk. Then all seemed hopeless; and if some patriots still 
resisted, it was more in desperation than hope of success. 
Then, though there was a desire to destroy the English 
yoke, yet there was no agreement or common purpose as 
to the monarch or mode of government to be substituted. 
Now there was no room for hesitation. The sound part of 
the kingdom, which was by far the larger portion, was fixed 
in the unanimous and steady resolution to replace upon the 
throne the race of the deliverer of Scotland. And the faith 
of those who adopted this generous resolution, although not 
uniformly unchangeable, was yet, as already mentioned, 
constancy itself, contrasted with the vacillations of former 

Edward Baliol, in temporary possession of the Scottish 
crown, speedily showed his unworthiness to wear it. He 
hastened to the border, to which Edward III. was now ad- 
vancing, with an army, to claim the lion's share among the 
disinherited barons, to whom he had afforded private counte- 
nance in their undertaking, and whose ultimate success was 
finally to depend upon his aid. Unwarned by his father's 
evil fortune, Edward Baliol renewed in all form the subju- 
gation of the kingdom of Scotland, took on himself the 
feudal fetters which even his father had found it too de- 
grading to endure ; and became bound, under an enormous 
penalty, to serve King Edward in his wars, he himself with 
two hundred, and his successors with one hundred men-at- 
arms, and to extend and strengthen the English frontiers by 
the cession of Berwick, and lands to the annual amount of 
two thousand pounds. 

9^ Vol. L 


Having made this mean bargain with the king of Eng- 
land, and thereby, as he thought, secured himself the power- 
ful assistance of that nation, Baliol was lying carelessly en- 
camped at Annan, when he was surprised by a body of 
royalist horse, which had assembled at Moffat, and among 
whose leaders we find a young Randolph, second son of the 
regent, and brother to him who fell at Dupplin, an Archi- 
bald Douglas, brother to the good Lord James, a Simon 
Fraser, and others, whose names remind us of the wars of 
King Robert. Henry Baliol, brother of the intrusive king, 
was slain fighting bravely in his defence ; many others of 
his followers were killed or made prisoners, and Edward 
himself was fain to escape to the English borders almost 
naked. Thus was Edward Baliol an exile and a fugitive, 
having scarcely possessed his usurped crown for three 

Meantime the royalists had found a trustworthy leader 
in Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell. In his youth he had 
been the companion of Wallace, and afterward the faithful 
follower of Bruce, who acknowledged his attachment by 
preferring him to the hand of his sister Christina, a widow, 
by the death of the heroic Christopher Seaton. Sir Andrew 
Moray was a soldier of the Bruce's school, calm, sagacious, 
and dauntlessly brave. His first measure of importance was 
to remove the persons of the young king and queen to France, 
where the faith of Philip was engaged for their safety and 
honorable maintenance. His next undertaking was less fort- 
unate. He made an attempt to take by surprise the castle 
of Roxburgh, into which Baliol had then thrown himself, and 
imprudently engaged his own person in the dangerous enter- 
prise. Seeing a valiant esquire in his service, named Ralph 
Golding, endangered during the assault by a superior num- 
ber of English, Sir Andrew pressed forward to his rescue, 
and was made prisoner, to the infinite prejudice of the royal 
cause ; his place being poorly supplied by Archibald Douglas, 
although a brave soldier, and brother to the good Lord James. 
It was a great additional misfortune that, a short time after, 


in a severe battle which was fought on the borders, the knight 
of Liddisdale (Sir "William Douglas, natural son of the good 
Lord James) was defeated in a considerable action, and made 
prisoner. He was treated with great rigor, and detained 
captive for two years. Thus was Scotland deprived, in 
her hour of utmost need, of two more of her choicest 

Edward III. now prepared to assist his vassal Baliol, 
and, assembling a large army, May, 1333, came before Ber- 
wick, the securing of which place the Scots deemed justly 
an object of primary consequence, since Baliol had consented 
to surrender it to England. The Earl of March, whose 
apostasy was not yet suspected, was governor of the Castle 
of Berwick, and Sir Alexander Seaton of the town. They 
defended the place strenuously, and burned a large vessel 
with which the English assaulted the walls from the sea. 
But the garrison were reduced to such distress that they 
were compelled, according to the custom of the time, to 
agree to surrender, if not relieved by a certain day, and 
hostages were delivered to that effect, the son of Seaton, 
the governor, being one. Before the time appointed, the 
numerous army of Scotland appeared in sight of Berwick, 
and succeeded in throwing some knights and soldiers into 
the place. One of the former, Sir William Keith, assumed 
the command of the town. 

But the caution of the English, who kept within their 
trenches and refused a general action, prevented the relief 
from accomplishing the raising of the siege. In order to 
effect this object, Douglas, imitating the policy of the Bruce 
in the like circumstances, entered Northumberland, and 
committed ravages, threatening to attack the castle of 
Bamborough, where the young English queen, Philippa, 
was at that time residing. But the strength of Bamborough 
defied a siege, and the regent presently received tidings from 
Berwick, announcing that, the place being reduced to ex- 
tremity, King Edward had summoned the garrison to sur- 
render, upon the treaty formerly entered into. They refused, 


alleging that they had received relief and reinforcements. 
The English king insisted that the succors thrown in not 
being sufficiently effectual to raise the siege, they were bound 
to yield up the place, just as much as if they had not been 
relieved at all; and he summoned them to absolute sur- 
render, on the pain of putting to death the hostages. The 
Scotch historians say, that Edward actually did put young 
Seaton to death, within such short distance that his father 
might see the execution from the walls. But there is some 
obscurity resting on this cruel anecdote. Certain it is, that 
the citizens of Berwick, anxious for the fate of their own 
children, who were also among the number of hostages, 
became desirous to surrender, and refused any longer to 
defend the place. A second negotiation was entered into, 
whereby it was agreed that Berwick should be uncondition- 
al l} r surrendered, unless the Scots could succeed in reinforc- 
ing the town with two hundred men-at-arms, or defeating 
the English in a pitched battle under its walls. 

Forgetting or disregarding the earnest admonition of 
King Robert, the regent Douglas resolved, on June 19, to 
commit the fate of the country to the risk of a decisive con- 
flict. On crossing the Tweed and approaching Berwick 
on the northern side, the Scottish regent became aware of 
the army of England drawn up in four great battalions, 
with numerous bodies of archers to flank them. The ground 
which they occupied was the crest of an eminence called 
Halidon Hill. The Scots stationed themselves on the op- 
posite ridge of high ground : the bottom which divided the 
hills was a morass. On the morning of the 20th, the Scots, 
with inconsiderate impetuosity, advanced to the onset. By 
doing so they exposed their whole army, while descending 
the hill and crossing the morass, to the constant and formid- 
able discharge of the English archers, against whom they 
had no similar force to oppose. The inevitable consequence 
was, that they lost their ranks, and became embarrassed 
in the morass, where many were slain. But the nobles, who 
fought on foot in complete armor at the head of their follow- 


ers, made a desperate effort to lead a great part of the army 
through the bog, and ascended the opposite hill. They came 
to close battle with the English, who, calm and in perfect 
order, were not long in repulsing an attack made by disor- 
dered ranks and breathless soldiers. The Scottish, after find- 
ing their efforts vain, endeavored to retreat. In the mean- 
time, the pages and camp followers, who held the horses 
of the combatants, seeing the battle lost, began to fly, and 
carry off the horses along with them, without respect to the 
safety of their masters ; so that the carnage in this bloody 
battle was very great, and numbers of the gentry and no- 
bility fell. 

The venerable Earl of Lennox, the faithful companion 
of Robert Bruce, the Earls of Ross, Carrick, Sutherland, 
Monteith, and Athol, were all slain, together with knights 
and barons to a countless number, and all with a trifling 
loss on the part of the English. The regent, Douglas him- 
self, wounded and made prisoner, died soon after he was 
taken. Berwick surrendered in consequence of this decis- 
ive action, and the Earl of March, governor of the castle, 
returned openly to the English interest, and was admitted 
to Edward's favor and confidence. 

The Scots had suffered a loss in this action which was 
deemed by the English totally irrecoverable. "The Scottish 
wars are ended," said the public voice, "since no one of 
that nation remains having interest enough to raise an army, 
or skill sufficient to command one." 

Through all Scotland, so lately the undisputed dominion 
of the Bruce, only four castles and a strong tower which did 
not reach to the importance of such a title, remained in pos- 
session of the royalists who adhered to his unfortunate son. 
These were, the impregnable fortresses of Dunbarton, which 
was secured by Malcolm Fleming ; Lochleven, on an island 
in the lake of that name, defended by Alan de Vipont; 
Urquhart in Inverness, commanded b3 T Thomas Lander; 
and Kildrummie, by Christina, the sister of King Robert 
Bruce, successively the widow of the Earl of Mar and of 


Christopher Seaton, and now the wife of the imprisoned Sir 
Andrew Moray. The fifth stronghold was at Lochdown, in 
Carrick, which John Thomson, a man of obscure birth and 
dauntless valor, the same apparently who led back from 
Inland the shattered remainder of Edward Bruce's army, 
held out for his rightful sovereign. 

Amid this scene of apparent submission, Edward Baliol 
held a mock parliament at Edinburgh for the gratification 
of his ally, the king of England. The obligation of homage 
and feudal service to the king of England was undertaken 
by Edward Baliol in the fullest extent ; the town of Berwick 
was given up; and as King Edward was desirous to hold 
a large portion of Scotland under his immediate and direct 
authorit} 7 -, Baliol, by a solemn instrument, made an absolute 
surrender to England of the frontier provinces of Berwick- 
shire, Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire, Peebleshire, and Dum- 
friesshire, together with Lothian itself, in all its three divis- 
ions ; thus yielding up the whole land between the northern 
and southern Roman rampart, and restricting Scotland to 
the possessions beyond the estuaries of Forth and Clyde, 
inhabited of old by the free Caledonians. For the remnants 
of the kingdom, thus mutilated and dismembered, Baliol 
paid homage. At the same parliament, Baliol, by ample 
cessions and distributions of territory, gratified the dis- 
inherited lords, to whose valor he owed his extraordinary 

A quarrel arose among these proud barons which had 
important consequences. The brother of Alexander de Mow- 
bray died leaving daughters, but no male issue. Baliol pre- 
ferred the brother of the deceased to his fiefs, as the heir 
male. Henry de Beaumont and David Hastings de Strath- 
bogie, earls of Buchan and Athol, espoused the cause of the 
female heirs; and as Baliol would not listen to them, they 
left the court in that state of irritation which is easily ex- 
cited between such powerful subjects and a king of their 
own making. Alarmed at their defection, Baliol altered his 
decision, dismissed Alexander de Mowbray's claim, and 


thereby made him his mortal enemy, while he obtained 
only a dubious reconciliation with his opponents. 

About this time Sir Andrew Moray of Both well, made 
prisoner, as we have seen, at Roxburgh, escaped or was 
liberated from prison ; and his appearance in Scotland, with 
the discord among the English barons, was a signal for a 
general insurrection of the royalists. Moray was joined 
by the discontented Mowbray. Richard Talbot, marching 
southward, was attacked and defeated by William Keith 
of Galston, who had distinguished himself at the siege of 
Berwick. Sir Andrew Moray, with his new ally, Mowbray, 
besieged the powerful Henry de Beaumont in his fortress 
of Dundearg in Buchan, and by cutting off the supplies of 
water compelled him to surrender, and put him to a great 
ransom. The impulse became general through jBcotland. 
The Brandanes or men of Bute arose against the English 
captain, slew him, and sent his head to their master, the 
steward of Scotland. In Annandale and in Ayrshire, where 
Bruce had his family estates, the royalists gathered on every 
side. The steward had distinguished himself by his bravery 
and generosity of disposition. By universal approbation of 
the royalists, this gallant and amiable young man was asso- 
ciated in the regency. The young Earl of Moray, son of 
the heroic Randolph, was returned from France, whither 
he had fled after the battle of Halidon Hill, and pushed David 
Hastings of Strathbogie so hard, that he not only compelled 
him to surrender, but found means to induce him to join the 
conqueror. Baliol, having seen the defeat of Talbot, the cap- 
tivity of Beaumont, and the defection of the three most 
powerful of the disinherited, lost courage, and fled into 
England, thereby showing plainly how slight was his reli- 
ance on any support save such as came from that kingdom, 
and how steadily the great bulk of the Scottish nation were 
attached to the legitimate heir of Bruce. 

In November, 1334, Edward III. advanced into Scotland 
for the double purpose of sustaining his vassal, and of secur- 
ing those southern parts of Scotland which were ceded to 


him in property and full dominion. He met no opposition, 
for the Scots brought no army to the field; but he was 

tiled by want, and the stormy weather incident to the 
season; and so little was Edward's reputation raised by this 
incursion, that the Earl of March, a nobleman uniformly 
guided by his own interest, chose that very crisis to renounce 
the allegiance of England. This time-serving baron prob- 
ably foresaw the danger of his own power, since it was not 
likely that Edward would permit him to hold influence in a 
country which he was desirous in future of annexing to Eng- 
land, although he had little cared how loose the earl's 
uncontrolled allegiance sat on him while he was a vassal of 

Alan de Vipont, a Scottish royalist, who defended Loch- 
leven Castle against the English, is said about this time to 
have been^)ressed hard by a John de Stirling, a Scottishman 
apparently, but commanding an army for Baliol : the gar- 
rison was straitened by a fort in the churchyard at Kinross ; 
and it is alleged by an embankment drawn across the source 
of the river Leven, where it issues from the lake, the pur- 
pose of which was, to lay under water the island and castle, 
and thereby to make surrender inevitable. But Vipont took 
the opportunity of a cloudy night to send a boat unperceived 
down the lake, and cut through the embankment. The 
accumulated waters broke down in a furious inundation, 
which swept away the mound, and along with it the enemies 
who were quartered there for its defence. There are cer- 
tainly some vestiges, at the exit of the Leven from the lake, 
which seem to confirm this singular tradition. Some his- 
torians only mention the destruction of the English fort by 
a sally from the garrison, without speaking of the embank- 
ment or inundation. 

The chiefs of the loyal Scots now assembled a parliament 
at Dairsie, in Fife, April, 1335, in order to settle upon a 
combined plan of operations for the liberation of the country. 
But their counsels came to no useful or steady result, chiefly 
owiDg to the presumption of David de Strathbogie, earl of 


Athol, who assumed a species of superiority which the Scot- 
tish nobles could not endure. The parliament broke up in 
great disorder. It may be that this discord was attended 
with some consequences indirectly advantageous to Scot- 
land. As the parliament could not agree upon raising a 
large army, they could not commit the imprudence of risking 
a general action. 

In the summer succeeding, on July 1, 1335, Edward 
again invaded Scotland on the east marches; while Baliol, 
with a body of Welsh troops and foreigners, entered on the 
west. They laid waste the country with fire and sword with 
emulous severity. The Scots kept King Robert's testament 
in recollection; and lurking among the woods and valleys, 
they fell by surprise upon such English as separated them- 
selves from the main body, or straggled from the march in 
their thirst for plunder. 

In the end of July, a large body of Flemish men-at-arms 
landed at Berwick, in the capacity of auxiliaries to England. 
These strangers, commanded by Guy, count of Namur, con- 
ceiving the country entirely undefended, advanced fearlessly 
to Edinburgh, at that time an open town, the castle having 
been demolished. Count Guy had scarce arrived there, 
when an army of Scottish royalists, commanded by the 
Earls of Moray and March and Sir Alexander Ramsay, at- 
tacked him. The battle took place on the Borough Moor, 
and was fiercely disputed for some time ; till the Knight of 
Liddisdale, who had escaped or been released from his En- 
glish captivity, swept down from the Pentland Hills, and 
turned the scale of battle. The Flemings retired into the 
city, and fought their way as they retreated up to the hill 
where the castle lay in ruins. A close encounter took place 
during the whole way, and tradition long pointed out the 
spot at the foot of the Bow, where David de Annand, a 
Scottish knight of superhuman strength, struck down with 
his battle-axe one of these mailed foreigners, killing horse 
and man, and shattering a huge flagstone in the pavement, 
by a single blow. The Flemings erected a breastwork or 


fortification on the Castle Hill by killing their horses, and 
making a barricade of the carcasses. This, however, could 
be but a temporary resource, and they were speedily obliged 
to capitulate. The Scots treated their valiant prisoners with 
much courtesy, releasing them on their parole not to fight 
against David, and sending an escort to see the foreigners 
safe into England. Unhappily, the regent Earl of Moray 
went himself with the party, and on his return toward 
Lothian, after dismissing the Flemings, was attacked by 
William de Pressen, commander of the English garrison 
of Jedburgh Castle, his followers routed, and himself made 
prisoner, and thrown into Bamborough Castle. Thus the 
services of the worthy successor of Randolph were, for a 
time, lost to his country. The English continued their rav- 
ages, and with such success that men were reduced to use 
that sort of lip-homage which the heart refuses. "If you 
asked a grown-up person," says an old historian, "who was 
his king, he dared to make no other answer save by naming 
Edward Baliol ; while the undissembling frankness of child- 
hood answered the same question with the name of David 
Bruce. ' ' 

Scotland being in this low condition, and Edward having 
exercised such means of subduing the spirit of insurrection 
as could be brought against a disposition which showed 
itself everywhere, but was tangible nowhere, the English 
king began to think of returning to his own kingdom. But 
previously he received the submission of the versatile Earl 
of Athol, restored to that powerful nobleman his large En- 
glish estates, and named him regent or governor of Scotland 
under Baliol. The steward, over whom this David de 
Strathbogie seems to have possessed but too much influ- 
ence, was also induced, contrary to his interests, as nearly 
concerned in the succession, to acknowledge Baliol as his 
sovereign. After fortifying Perth, and rebuilding the cas- 
tles of Edinburgh and Stirling, Edward III. returned to his 
own dominions. 

The irresistible pressure of immediate superiority of force 


being once more removed, the spirit of determined resistance 
began again to manifest itself. The Scottish loyalists once 
more chose for their head Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell, 
the friend of "Wallace, the brother-in-law of Bruce. Athol, 
eager to give himself consequence in the eyes of Edward 
and obliterate the recollection of his prior tergiversations, 
had determined to besiege the castle of Kildrummie in 
Aberdeenshire, the residence of Christina, the sister of Rob- 
ert Bruce, and wife of Sir Andrew Moray. Moray, joined 
by the Earl of March and the Knight of Liddisdale, flew 
to the relief of the place. They assembled about fifteen 
hundred followers, partly men of Lothian and Berwickshire, 
partly from the territory of Kildrummie. They came sud- 
denly on the Earl of Athol, then lying in the forest of Kil- 
blain, whose troops, suddenly and fiercely attacked in a 
species of pass, gave way on all sides. The Earl of Athol 
was steady in personal courage, though fickle in political 
attachment : he looked round with scorn on his fugitive fol- 
lowers, and striking his hand on a huge rock which lay near 
him, said, "Thou and I will this day fly together." Five 
knights of his household abode, fought, and fell with him, 
refusing all quarter. The death of the Earl of Athol was 
considered by the loyalists as a most favorable event, as his 
power, and latterly his inclination also, made him a sworn 
persecutor of their party. 

Edward himself advanced to avenge the death of a pow- 
erful, if not a steady, partisan. He led into Scotland a 
numerous army, which wasted the country as far north as 
Inverness. But though he was an enemy skilful to omit 
no advantage which accident, the situation of ground, or 
the circumstances of weather afford, yet, in the far-sighted 
prudence of the experienced Sir Andrew Moray, Edward III. 
found a complete match for his youthful ardor, and was no 
more able to bring his sagacious opponent to action than he 
had been to engage Douglas and Randolph in the Northum- 
brian campaign of 1327. The following instance of Moray's 
skill, courage, and discipline, may give some idea of the com- 


posure with which he baffled the ardent valor of the hero of 

"When at Perth, Edward was informed that the Scottish 
regent was lying with his forces in the forest of Stronkaltire 
(probably a portion of the famous wood of Birnam), near the 
foot of the Grampians, and on the verge of the Highlands. 
The most skilful dispositions were made by the king to sur- 
round the enemy, and the English had already moved sev- 
eral divisions on different parts of the forest with a view to 
prevent their escape. Sir Andrew Moray was hearing mass 
in a chapel in the forest, when the Scottish scouts came to 
tell him of the approach of the enemy. He caused them 
to be silent till the divine service was finished. Mass being 
ended, his breathless messengers informed him that the En- 
glish were at hand. "Beit so," said Moray; "no need of 
hurry." He then armed himself deliberately, and caused 
his war-horse to be brought him. When in the act of mount- 
ing, he perceived a girth had failed. With the utmost de- 
liberation the veteran warrior called for a certain coffer, out 
of which he took a hide of leather, and having cut from it a 
strap proper for the purpose, sitting down on the bank, he 
composedly mended the girth with his own hands, although, 
to the great anxiety of all around him, news came in on all 
hands of the close approach of the enemy from different 
points ; and old warriors, who were present, confessed to the 
historian, Winton, prior of Lochleven, that in their life they 
had never passed such anxious moments as during the mend- 
ing of that saddle-girth. But Moray knew his time and his 
business, and when he mounted and placed himself at the 
head of his men, whom his own composure had taught to 
have the most undoubting reliance on him, he drew them up 
in a close column, and while the English sought an opportu- 
nity of attack, he led his band leisurely from their presence, 
and vanished in safety through a defile which he had kept 
open in his rear. 

Edward III. penetrated as far as the rich province of 
Moray, carrying devastation wherever he came. But he 


had then done the utmost which was in his power, and 
was compelled to retreat by the consequences to his own 
army of the very desolation which they themselves had 
made. He repaired the castles held by English garrisons 
through the kingdom, and marched back to England, leav- 
ing Scotland apparently quiet. But no sooner were the 
weight and presence of the English host withdrawn, than 
all the Scottish patriots were again in arms in every quarter 
of the country, assaulting and storming, or surprising by 
stratagem, the garrisons that had been left to overawe them, 
and proving that they were worthy to have been subjects of 
the Bruce, by the intelligence with which they executed his 
precepts. The regent distinguished himself in this war as 
much by his alertness in seizing opportunities of advantage, 
as he had done when opposed to Edward by the prudence 
which affords none to the enemy. 

In the meantime war broke out between France and Eng- 
land. On the 7th of October, 1337, King Edward publicly 
asserted his claim to the throne of that kingdom ; yet, with 
this new and more dazzling object in his view, he did not 
turn his eyes from the conquest of Scotland. The Earls of 
Salisbury, Arundel, and Norfolk, were intrusted with the 
command of the northern army, and the former laid siege 
to the strong castle of Dunbar, defended, in the absence of 
the Earl of March, by his wife, the daughter of the heroic 
Thomas Randolph, earl of Moray, and animated by a por- 
tion of his courage. This lady, whom the common people 
used to call Black Agnes of Dunbar, was one of those, by 
whose encouragement, according to a phrase of Froissart, a 
man may become of double strength in the hour of danger. 
She daily made the round of the walls in sight of besiegers 
and besieged, and caused the maidens of her train to wipe 
the battlements with their handkerchiefs, when the stones 
from the engines struck them, as if in scorn of the English 
artillery. At one time, by engaging him in a pretended plot 
to receive surrender of the castle from a traitorous party 
within, she had wellnigh made the Earl of Salisbury her 


prisoner. On another occasion, an arrow shot by an archer 

of her train struck to the heart an English knight, in spite 

of his being completely armed. "There goes one of my . 

lady's tiring- pins," said Montague, earl of Salisbury: "the 

countess's love-shafts pierce to the heart." At another 

time, the English advancing to the walls the machine 

called a sow (mentioned in the account of the siege of 

Berwick, p. 150), Agnes called out to the English lord in 

a sort of rhyme, 

"Beware, Montagow, 
For farrow shall thy sow." l 

A huge rock, prepared for the occasion, was projected 
against the sow, and dashed the engine to pieces. The 
English genera], having exhausted the invention of his en- 
gineers to no purpose, resolved to convert the siege into a 
blockade, and reduce Dunbar by famine. As he had a con- 
siderable fleet, he might have succeeded in his purpose ; but 
the good knight, Sir Alexander Ramsay of Dalwolsey, con- 
trived, by means of a light vessel and a dark night, to throw 
into the castle a supply of provisions and soldiers. This was 
announced to the besiegers by a sally; and they were so 
much disheartened as to raise the siege, which had lasted 
five months, and retire from before Dunbar with little 

Similar advantages were gained by the patriots all 
through Scotland. The state, indeed, sustained a heavy 
loss in the death of Sir Andrew Moray, the regent, who, 
after all his battles and dangers, expired in peace at his 
castle of Avoch, in Ross. Brother-in-law of the Bruce, and 
one of the last of his leaders, he evinced till his dying day 
the spirit of valor, sagacity, and patriotism, which merited 
that distinguished alliance. He is censured for the desolat- 
ing and wasteful warfare which he carried on ; but it must 

1 The poetry may be original, but not the jest, the latter having 
been used on a similar occasion at the siege of Berwick, in 1319, when 
it was defended by the steward of Scotland against the English. 


be remembered, that to burn the open country before the 
enemy was a principal maxim in Bruce's dreadful lessons 
of defensive war. 

The steward of Scotland, freed from the baneful influence 
which the Anglicized Earl of Athol had exercised over him, 
was now chosen sole regent, and showed himself worthy of 
the trust. He commenced the siege of Perth, assisted by 
five ships of war and some men-at-arms, which were sent 
from France. The regent was assisted in pressing this siege 
by the abilities of William Bullock, an ecclesiastic who loved 
the battlefield or the political scenes of the cabinet better 
than mass or matins. Edward Baliol, who knew Bullock's 
abilities, had raised him to be his chancellor of Scotland and 
made him governor of a strong castle in Cupar. But when 
Edward's presence with an army failed to establish Baliol 's 
power in Scotland, this military churchman became saga- 
cious of an approaching change, stubborn fidelity being by 
no means the virtue of the day. His talents were employed 
by the regent in pressing on the siege of Stirling, which was 
boldly defended. He showed the hardihood of his character 
during a total eclipse of the sun, which took place in the 
midst of his operations. While all others, both in the be- 
sieging army and garrison, were sinking under their super- 
stitious fears, Bullock took advantage of the darkness to 
wheel his military engines so close to the wall that when 
the sunshine returned the besieged found themselves under 
the necessity of surrendering. The steward was equally 
successful in reducing Stirling and other English posts to 
the north of the Forth, and bringing the whole country 
to the peace of King David. 

Other Scottish leaders distinguished themselves in differ- 
ent provinces. Sir William Douglas, the Knight of Liddis- 
dale, was active in the south of Scotland. He totally ex- 
pelled the English from Teviotdale, reduced the strong castle 
of Hermitage, defeated Roland de Vaux, and having engaged 
Sir Laurence Abernethy, an Anglicized Scotsman, three times 
in one day, finally overcame him in a fourth encounter, made 


him prisoner, and dispersed his followers. A still more im- 
portant acquisition on the Scottish part was that of Edin- 
burgh Castle, which Edward III. had fortified when in 
Scotland during his last campaign. The Knight of Lid- 
disdale engaged a sturdy mariner, called John Currie, to 
receive into his bark a number of proved soldiers. John 
Currie, assuming the character of an English shipmaster, 
entered the castle with a number of men disguised in mar- 
iners' caps and habits, and bearing barrels and hampers 
supposed to contain wine and provisions : these they threw 
down in the gateway, so as to prevent the gates being shut, 
and, drawing their swords, rushed on the sentinels, and be- 
ing seconded by the Knight of Liddisdale and some chosen 
men w T ho lay in ambush near the entrance, they overpowered 
the English garrison and expelled them from the castle. 

Sir Alexander Ramsay of Dalwolsey, the same who gal- 
lantly relieved the castle of Dunbar, yielded to none of the 
champions whom we have named in devotion to the cause 
of his country. As his own estates and influence lay in 
Lothian and near Edinburgh, he was wont, even when the 
English were in possession of the capital, to reside with a 
strong band of soldiers among the crags, glens, and caverns 
of the romantic vicinity of Roslin. From thence he sallied 
forth to annoy the English, on whom, according to the 
phrase of the times, he did great vassalage. He often rode 
into Northumberland, committed destructive forays, and 
returned safe to his impregnable retreat. His fame for 
chivalry was so high that no Scottish youth of that neigh- 
borhood was held worthy of esteem unless he had proved 
his gallantry by riding for some time in Ramsay's band. 

By the achievements of these brave men the English force 
was so much weakened throughout Scotland, and the govern- 
ment of the legal monarch so completely restored, that it was 
thought advisable that King David and his consort should 
return from France to their own kingdom. They landed at 
the small port of Inverbervie in Kincardineshire in the month 
of May, 1341. 


In the same spring Sir Alexander Ramsay of Dalwolsey 
added to his long list of services the important acquisition of 
the castle of Roxburgh, which, according to the desperate 
fashion of the times, he took by escalade. 

Unhappily, the mode which the young and inexperienced 
king took to reward this gallant action proved fatal to the 
brave knight by whom it was achieved. David conferred 
on Ramsay the sheriffdom of Roxburgh as a fitting distinc- 
tion to one who had taken the principal fortress of the county. 
The Knight of Liddisdale, who had large possessions in Rox- 
burghshire, and pretensions by his services to the sheriffdom, 
was deeply offended by the preference given to Ramsay. 
From being Sir Alexander's friend and companion in arms, 
he became his mortal enemy, and nothing less than his death 
would appease the rancor of his hatred. He came upon Sir 
Alexander Ramsay, accompanied with an armed force, while 
he was exercising justice at Hawick, dispersed his few attend- 
ants, wounded him while on the bench of justice, threw him 
on a horse, and through many a wild bog and mountain path 
carried him to his solitary and desolate castle of the Hermit- 
age, where he cast him into the dungeon of that lonely and 
darksome fortress. The noble captive was left with his rank- 
ling wounds to struggle with thirst and hunger, supporting 
for some time a miserable existence by means of grain which 
fell from a granary above, until death relieved him from 

The most disgraceful part of this hideous story remains 
to be told. David, whose favor, imprudently evinced, had 
caused the murder of the noble Ramsay, saw himself obliged, 
by the weakness of his government and the pressure of the 
disorderly times, not only to pardon the inhuman assassin, 
but to grace him with the keeping of the castle of Roxburgh, 
which the valor of his murdered victim had won from the 
enemy, and the sheriffdom of the county, which was ren- 
dered vacant by his murder. It is scarce possible to give a 
more deplorable instance of those wretched times, in which 
the great stood above all law, human and divine, and in- 


dulged their furious passions not only with impunity but 
with an enlarged scope to their ambition. Neither was the 
act of cruelty attended with any blot upon his fame, since 
the Knight of Liddisdale, who, before Ramsay's murder, 
had been distinguished by the splendid title of the Flower 
of Chivalry, continued to retain it after that atrocious trans- 

A fate similar to that of Ramsay was sustained by a 
victim less deserving of pity. Bullock, the fighting eccle- 
siastic, who had deserted the standards of England for those 
of Scotland, and had taken so great a share in the reduction 
of Perth, was suddenly, by the royal order, seized on by Sir 
David Berkeley, thrown into the castle of Lochendorb in Mo- 
rayshire, and there, like Ramsay, starved to death. A Scot- 
tish historian makes this melancholy remark on his fate: 
"It is an ancient saying that neither the powerful, nor the 
valiant, nor the wise, long flourish in Scotland since envy 
obtaineth the mastery of them all. ' ' 

In the meanwhile the war of the contending nations dis- 
turbed the frontiers with mutual incursions, which added 
much to public misery, though they did little toward the 
decision of the war; and casting our eyes back on the 
consequences of continued hostilities of the most desolat- 
ing nature, we see effects so frightful as if God and man 
had alike determined upon the total destruction of the 

Between the desultory ravages of the English and those 
exercised upon system by the Scottish leaders, all the regular 
practice of agriculture was interrupted year after year, and 
the produce in a great measure destroyed. A great famine 
was the consequence ; the land that once bore crops was left 
uncultivated, waste, and overgrown with briers and thickets, 
while wolves and wild deer approached, contrary to their 
nature, the dwellings of man. The starving sufferers were 
compelled to feed on substances most abhorrent to human 
appetite; and one wretch, called Christian Cleik, with his 
wife, subsisted on the flesh of children whom they caught 


in traps and devoured. These wretched cannibals were de- 
tected, condemned, and burned to death. 

Famine, and the wretched shifts by which men strove to 
avoid its rage, brought on disease, their natural consequence. 
A pestilence swept the land, and destroyed many of the en- 
feebled inhabitants, while others emigrated to France and 
Flanders, forsaking a country on which it seemed to have 
pleased Heaven to empty the bitterest vials of its wrath. 
And the termination of these misfortunes was far distant. 



King David's Character — Invasion of England — Battle of Durham 
— The Border Counties are conquered — The Steward defends the 
Country beyond the Forth; and Douglas recovers Ettricke 
Forest and Teviotdale — A Truce with England — David II. rec- 
ognizes the Supremacy of Edward; but his Subjects refuse to 
do so — The Knight of Liddisdale seduced from his Allegiance: 
slain by his Godson, Lord Douglas — Treaty for the King's Ran- 
som is broken off by the Interference of France — Battle of 
Nesbit Moor— Attempt on Berwick, which is relieved by Ed- 
ward III. — He invades Scotland — The Burnt Candlemas— The 
English are compelled to Retreat — King David is released from 
Captivity — His petulant Temper — His repeated Visits to Eng- 
land, and the Influence acquired over him by Edward — He 
proposes that the Succession of Scotland should go to Edward's 
Son Lionel — The Scottish Parliament reject the Proposal — In- 
surrection of the Steward and other Nobles: it is subdued, and 
Tranquillity restored — New Scheme of Edward and David, 
which is laid aside as impracticable — David II. marries 
Catherine Logie, a beautiful Plebeian — Treaty of Peace inter- 
rupted by Difficulties about the King's Ransom, which are 
finally removed — Divorce between David and his Queen — Death 
of David II. — His Character — State of Scotland during his 

DAVID II. was, as might be expected from the son 
of Robert Bruce, dauntlessly intrepid. He pos- 
sessed a goodly person (a strong recommendation 
to the common people), and skill in martial exercises. But 
his education at the court of France had given him an un- 
controllable love of pleasure ; and such a propensity, while 
it resolves itself into the principle of intense selfishness, forms 
the very reverse of the public-spirited and disinterested char- 
acter of a patriot king. He was young also, being only about 


eighteen when he landed at Inverbervie, and totally inexpe- 
rienced. Such was the situation and disposition of the juve- 
nile king of a country at once assailed by foreign war with 
an enemy of superior force, by civil faction and discord in 
its most frightful shape, by raging pestilence and wasting 
famine. It was only the additional curse of a weak and 
imprudent prince that could have added fresh gall to so 
much bitterness. 

The ablest and most trustworthy counsellor whom David 
could have consulted was unquestionably the steward, who 
had held the regency till he resigned it on the king's arrival. 
But, failing heirs of David's body, of which none as yet ex- 
isted, the steward was heir of the throne, and princes seldom 
love or greatly trust their successors when not of their own 
immediate family. 

As Edward was absent in France, the time had seemed 
favorable for an attack upon the frontiers. Several attempts 
were made without decisive success on either side, which led 
to a truce of two years, ending on Martinmas, 1346. This 
cessation of arms was made between England and France, 
and Scotland was included. David and his subjects, how- 
ever, became weary of the truce, which was broken off by 
a fierce incursion of the Knight of Liddisdale into England. 
In 1344, David prepared for an invasion upon a much larger 
scale, and summoned the whole array of Scotland, whether 
Highland or Lowland, to assemble at Perth. They came in 
great numbers, and Reginald or Ranald of the Isles, in par- 
ticular, appeared with a strong body of his followers. Un- 
happily there was a deadly feud between this island lord and 
the powerful Earl of Ross. By the machinations of the lat- 
ter chief, Reginald was murdered by a faithless harper, while 
in the monastery of Elcho, near Perth. The assassin, with 
his numerous followers, retired from the king's host for fear 
of punishment. The men of the isles, disgusted with the 
loss of their lord, and apprehensive of evil consequences, 
broke up, and, deserting the royal standard, retired home 
in disorder, leaving the king's army much diminished in 


numbers. David, however, determined to proceed on his 

He entered England from the western frontier. A fortress 
called the Moat of Liddell was held out stoutly by Walter 
Selby, the accomplice of the famous Middleton in the spolia- 
tion of the two cardinals and bishop-elect of Durham, and 
various other acts of robbery. At present he seems to have 
been engaged in the lawful defence of England, his native 
country ; and we are, therefore, startled when we learn that 
the fortress being stormed, the governor was by King David 
ordered to be beheaded ; for what crime against that prince 
is not apparent. 

Moving eastward to Hexham, David's army marked its 
progress by the usual course of ferocious devastation, the 
more censured in that age, because the patrimony of St. 
Cuthbert experienced no favor or protection. The great 
northern barons of England, Percy and Neville, Musgrave, 
Scrope, and Hastings, assembled their forces in numbers 
sufficient to show that, though the conqueror of Crecy with 
his victorious army was absent in France, there were En- 
glishmen enough left at home to protect the frontiers of his 
kingdom from violation. The archbishops of Canterbury 
and York, the prelates of Durham, Carlisle, and Lincoln, 
sent their retainers, and attended the rendezvous in person 
to add religious enthusiasm to the patriotic zeal of the 
barons. Ten thousand soldiers, who were to have been 
sent over to Calais to reinforce Edward III.'s army, were 
countermanded in this exigency, and added to the northern 

Upon hearing of this formidable assembly of forces, the 
Knight of Liddisdale advised the Scottish king to retreat, 
and avoid a pitched battle. But the other barons, conceiv- 
ing they saw a rich scene of plunder before them, would not 
listen to this counsel, which they imputed to the selfishness 
of Douglas, who, having enriched himself by English spoils, 
was now desirous, they thought, to abridge the opportunity 
of others to obtain their share. King David advanced to the 


park called Beaurepaire, near Durham (by corruption Bear 
Park), and took up his quarters there, although the ground 
was so intersected by enclosures as to render it difficult to 
draw up the troops in order, and impossible for the divisions 
duly to support each other. 

The Knight of Liddisdale had advanced, on the morning 
of the 17th October, 1346, with four hundred men-at-arms, 
to collect forage and provisions, when, at Ferry on the Hill, 
he unexpectedly found himself in presence of the whole En- 
glish army, then on their march from Bishop Auckland, 
where they had assembled, toward Sunderland. His forces 
being totally inadequate to make a stand, the Scottish com- 
mander endeavored, but unsuccessfully, to retreat. He was 
attacked, charged, routed, and suffered great loss. He and 
the remains of his division had but time to gallop into the 
Scottish camp and give the alarm, when the enemy were 
upon them. 

The Scottish army was hastily drawn up in three divis- 
ions, as well as the broken and subdivided nature of the 
ground permitted. The right was commanded by the Earl 
of Moray ; the centre by the king in person ; the left by the 
Knight of Liddisdale, the steward of Scotland, and the Earl 
of Dunbar. This arrangement was hardly accomplished ere 
the English archers, to the number of ten thousand, came 
within sight. An experienced commander, Sir John de 
Graham, foreseeing the fatal consequences which were 
to ensue, entreated the king to permit him to charge the 
archers with a body of cavalry. "Give me," he said, "but 
one hundred horse; I will be answerable for riding them 
down, and dispersing them." "But, to speak truth," says 
the old historian Fordun, "de Graham could not obtain 
a single horseman." The reason might be, that the loss at 
Ferry Hill, that same morning, had fallen chiefly on the 
Scottish men-at-arms, and that they had been thus rendered 
to a great degree unserviceable ; but it is more generally at- 
tributed to the caprice and wilfulness of the young king. 
Graham attempted with his own followers to make the 


desired manoeuvre ; but being far too few to make the neces- 
sary impression on the archers, they were beaten off, and 
himself escaped with difficulty. The unerring shower of 
arrows then commenced, and flew without intermission 
against the Scots as thick as hail, and they were at the 
same time charged by the men-at-arms and billmen. The 
numerous enclosures cramped and interrupted their system 
of defence, and at length the right wing, under the Earl of 
Moray, began to fly. The English cavalry broke down 
on them, and completed the rout. They were thrown into 
complete disorder and then flight, which afforded the English 
an opportunity to attack the division of the king at once upon 
the left flank, now uncovered, and on the front. Amid re- 
peated charges, and the most dispiriting slaughter by the 
continuous discharge of the English arrows, David showed 
that he had the courage though not the talents of his father. 
He was twice severely wounded with arrows, but continued 
to encourage to the last the few of his peers and officers 
who were still fighting around him. At length, in a close 
melee, a Northumberland knight, named Copland, grappled 
with David, and made him prisoner, but not before the king 
had struck out two of Copland's front teeth with his gauntlet. 
On the fall of the royal banner, the steward and the Earl 
of March, who had not as yet sustained much loss, despair- 
ing of being able to aid the king or restore the battle, with- 
drew from the field in tolerable order, and carried their 
division and such as rallied under their standards back into 
Scotland. David II., it has been thought, considered this 
retreat as resembling a desertion, the more suspicious, as 
the next heir to the crown was at its head. The captive 
king was conveyed to London, and afterward, in solemn 
procession, to the Tower, attended by a guard of twenty 
thousand men, and all the city companies in complete pag- 
eantry. There were made prisoners with David Bruce the 
Earls of Fife, Monteith, and Wigton, as also the Knight 
of Liddisdale, who apparently had put himself into that 
predicament by his advancing to support the king, since 


he might otherwise have retreated with the steward and 
the Earl of March, whose command he shared. About fifty 
barons had the same fate. 

There remained slain on the fatal field of Neville's Cross 
the Earls of Moray and Strathern, David de la Hay, the 
high constable of Scotland, Robert Keith the great marshal, 
the chamberlain, and the chancellor, with very many men 
of rank. Of the lower classes, at least fifteen thousand are 
computed to have fallen. 

The nation of Scotland was but beginning to draw its 
breath after its unparalleled sufferings during the civil war, 
when it was, to all appearance, totally prostrated by the 
blow to which David had imprudently exposed his realm. 
The whole border counties of Scotland surrendered them- 
selves without attempting an unavailing defence. The line 
of the frontiers was carried northward to the southern bor- 
ders of Lothian, and extended between Colbrand's Path and 
the Soltra Hills, and was afterward pushed still further 
north, for it finally ran between Carlops and Crosscryne. 

The king of England abused his victory by cruelty. He 
brought two of his noble captives, the Earl of Monteith, 
and Duncan, earl of Fife, to trial, for having turned to 
Bruce's party, after having been liegemen to Baliol, and, 
like a similar example of modern times, he transmitted to 
the judges with the commission for trying the prisoners a 
scroll of the doom previously fixed by himself and his privy- 
council. The decision of a court so well instructed in its 
duty was no matter of question. Both earls were convicted 
of high treason, and the Earl of Monteith suffered the hide- 
ous punishment annexed to that crime by the English law. 

Yet while thus severely punishing those who had been 
traitors, as it was called, to Baliol, Edward had no purpose 
of restoring to his ally any delegated power in Scotland. 
The ex-king had, since his repeated expulsion from his king- 
dom, lived upon appointments afforded him from England, 
and acted more as a lieutenant of the English marches than 
a prince having a right to the Scottish throne, nor did the 
10 >%, Vol. I. 


victory of Neville's Cross extend his authority. On the con- 
trary, the English barons Lucj 7 , Dacre, and Umfraville 
received a commission to accept the allegiance which it was 
supposed the humbled inhabitants of Scotland would be will- 
ing universally to transfer to King Edward in person. 

Upon this, however, as well as other occasions of immi- 
nent peril, the Scottish people, on the very brink of ruin as 
an independent nation, found a remedy in their own daunt- 
less courage. The nobility who had escaped from the field 
of Neville's Cross restored the steward of Scotland, heir of 
the crown, to the regency of the kingdom, in place of the 
imprisoned king. Yielding up the southern provinces, which 
he could not defend, the steward placed the country north 
of the Forth in as strong a posture as he could, and amid 
terror and disturbance maintained a show of government 
and good order. At this critical period William, Lord Doug- 
las, returned from France, where he had been bred to arms, 
and, with the active valor of his uncle, the good Lord James, 
expelled the English invaders from his own domains of 
Douglas Dale, and in process of time from Ettricke Forest 
and Teviotdale, provinces of which the warlike population 
had been long followers of this chivalrous family. 

The consequences of these successes would probably have 
been a furious invasion of Scotland, had it depended entirely 
upon the will of Edward III. But the consent of the En- 
glish barons was necessary, and they were little disposed 
to aid in a renewal of those expensive and destructive hos- 
tilities which had been so often and so fruitlessly waged 
against Scotland. The king of England, therefore, reluc- 
tantly consented to a truce with the steward, which he re- 
newed from time to time, as he began to conceive designs 
of at once filling his coffers with a large ransom for his royal 
prisoner, David, and to secure a right of succession to the 
Scottish throne by other means than open war. 

With this view, the royal captive was treated with more 
kindness than at first, and (to sharpen, perhaps, his appetite 
for restoration to freedom and to his kingdom) he was 


allowed to visit Scotland, on making oath and finding host- 
ages to return in a time limited. Impatient as his prede- 
cessor William the Lion, David seems to have been ready 
to submit his kingdom to the sovereignty of Edward, and 
yield up once more the question of supremacy, in order to 
obtain his personal freedom. He appears even to have 
taken some steps for that purpose. Two instruments re- 
main, by which David recognizes the title of Edward as lord 
paramount, and agrees to take the oath of homage. The 
purpose of his temporary liberation being partly to give him 
an opportunity of sounding the opinion and sentiments of his 
people on this important point, the English commissioners 
were empowered to protract his term of absence, if they 
should think the execution of a treaty on such a foundation 
could be advanced by it. But when the pulse of the Scottish 
nobles was sounded on this subject, they made a unanimous 
declaration, that though they would joyfully impoverish 
themselves to purchase with money the freedom of their 
sovereign, they would never agree to surrender, for that 
or any other object, the independence of their country. 
David was therefore obliged to return to his captivity. 

Mr. Tytler conjectures that it was as a subsidiary part 
of this agreement between the two kings that Edward III. 
entered into a sort of treaty with the Knight of Liddisdale, 
also a prisoner in England since the battle of Neville's Cross, 
by which the latter, assuming a treasonable independence, 
and renouncing, under a thin and affected disguise, the 
allegiance and duty which he owed to his own king and 
country, became bound to admit Englishmen to pass through 
his territories at all times, and for all purposes; engaged 
to keep on foot a body of men for the service of Edward; 
and, in short, transferred to the English king those military 
services which he owed to his native country. The consid- 
eration for this treacherous desertion was his liberation from 
prison, a grant by King Edward of the lands and lordship 
of Liddisdale and the castle of Hermitage, with some posses- 
sions in the mountains of Annandale. "We can hardly think 


that the whole of this treaty was known to David, although 
it is probable he was aware that the Knight of Liddisdale 
was disposed to favor an alliance with England. But, 
whether with or without the knowledge of his sovereign, 
too certain it is, to borrow the pathetic language of Lord 
Hailes, that, "thus in an evil hour did Sir William Douglas 
at once cancel the merit of former achievements, and, for 
the possession of a precarious inheritance, transmit his name 
to posterity in the roll of time-servers and traitors." 

The Knight of Liddisdale's schemes, indeed, were baffled 
almost as soon as formed. He had not long been in posses- 
sion of the freedom thus basely obtained, before he was 
waylaid and slain, while hunting in Ettricke Forest, 1 by his 
own kinsman and godson, William, lord of Douglas. The 
contemporary historians are at a loss whether to ascribe this 
act of violence on the part of Lord Douglas to domestic jeal- 
ousy or to revenge for the murder of Ramsay and that 
of Sir David Berkeley, assassinated by the command of the 
Knight of Liddisdale while he was yet captive in London, 
July 13, 1354. But, in our time, the knowledge having 
emerged of Liddisdale's traitorous engagement with Ed- 
ward, we can easily conceive that Lord Douglas may have 
taken his kinsman's life as that of a traitor to the kingdom, 
and a dangerous rival in his own family rights. 

Shortly after this incident, a treaty for the ransom of 
David was agreed upon by commissioners at Newcastle, for 
ninety thousand marks sterling, which sum was to be paid 
up by instalments of ten thousand marks yearly. All the 
nobility of the kingdom, and all the merchants, were to 
become bound for the regular payment of these large sums. 
The greater part of the Scottish nobles thought this an ex- 

1 The spot is called, in old histories, Galsewoodor Galseford. Tradi- 
tion fixes it at William's Cross, between Tweed and Yarrow, where a 
cross is said to have long existed in memory of the incident. Lindean 
Church, where the obsequies of the slaughtered Knight of Liddisdale 
were first performed, is exactly half-way between William's Cross and 
Melrose, where the body was finally interred. 


orbitant demand for the liberty of a prince of moderate 
talents, without heirs of his body, and attached to idle 
pleasures. While the estates were doubting whether or not 
the treaty should be ratified, the arrival of a brave French 
knight, De Garencieres, with a small but selected body of 
knights and esquires, and the large sum of forty thousand 
moutons of gold, to be distributed among the Scots nobles 
on condition of their breaking the truce and invading Eng- 
land, decided their resolution. They readily adopted, at 
whatever future risk, the course which was attended with 
receiving money, instead of that which involved their own 
paying it. Indeed, the Northumbrian borderers themselves 
made the first aggression, by invading and spoiling the 
lands of the Earl of March. The Douglas and the Earl 
of March determined on reprisals. 

The Scottish nobles conducted their inroad as men well 
acquainted with the stratagems of border warfare. A strong 
advance party of five hundred men was sent into Northum- 
berland under command of Sir "William Ramsay (son of the 
murdered Sir Alexander), while the two earls with the main 
body remained in ambush at a place called Nesbit, within 
the Scottish frontier. Ramsay speedily swept together a 
great spoil, and proceeded, according to his instructions, to 
drive them into Scotland, under the full view of the garrison 
of Norham. Fired at this insult, Sir Thomas Gray, gov- 
ernor of the castle, rushed out at the head of a select body 
of men-at-arms, and pursuing Ramsay, who retreated before 
him, fell into the ambuscade which had been laid for him, 
and, after a most chivalrous defence, was defeated and made 

Another, though momentary gleam of success, shone on 
the Scottish arms. The Earls of Angus and March, assisted 
by the French auxiliaries, made themselves masters of the 
important town of Berwick, but failed to obtain possession 
of the castle. At this important crisis, the French, who 
had done various feats of arms under Eugene de Garencieres, 
took their leave and returned home, disgusted with the ser- 


vice in Scotland. Their national valor induced them to face 
with readiness the dangers of the warfare ; but their manners 
and habits made them impatient of the rough fare and fierce 
manners of their allies. 

Edward III. no sooner heard of the defeat at Nesbit, and 
the surprise of Berwick, than he passed over from Calais, 
and appeared before the town with a great part of that vet- 
eran army which had been so often victorious in France, 
and large reinforcements, who emulated their valor. His 
whole army amounted to eighty thousand men. The Scots 
who had gained the town had had no time to store them- 
selves with provisions, or make other preparations for de- 
fence. They were not, besides, in possession of the castle, 
from which they were liable to be attacked, while the king 
of England should storm the walls. They capitulated, there- 
fore, for permission to evacuate the town, of which Edward 
obtained possession by the terror of his appearance alone. 

Berwick regained, it was now the object of Edward III. 
to march into Scotland, and to put a final end to the inter- 
ruptions which the Scottish wars so repeatedly offered to 
his operations in France. He determined, being now in 
possession of all means supposed adequate to the purpose, 
to make a final conquest of the kingdom, and forcibly unite 
it, as his grandfather had joined Wales, to the larger and 
richer portion of the island. 

But as, like that grandfather, Edward III. had not leis- 
ure to conquer kingdoms for other men, it was necessary for 
him to clear the way of the claims of Baliol, whom he had 
hitherto professed to regard as the legitimate king of Scot- 
land. This was easily arranged; for Edward Baliol was, 
in the hands of Edward III., a far more flexible tool than 
his father had proved in those of Edward I. Being a mere 
phantom, whom Edward could summon upon the scene and 
dismiss at pleasure, he was probably very easily molded to 
the purpose of the king of England, and of free consent and 
goodwill underwent the ceremony of degradation, to which 
his father, after failing in all attempts at resistance, had been 


compelled to submit, and which procured him the dishonor- 
able nickname of Toom-tabard, or Empty Jacket. Edward 
Baliol appeared before Edward attired in all the symbols of 
royalty, of which he formally divested himself, and laying 
his golden crown at the feet of the English king, ceded to 
him all right, title, and interest, which he had or might 
claim in the sovereignty of Scotland. The causes inducing 
him to this transference and surrender the cedent alleged to 
be, first, the advance of old age, and the want of heirs to 
succeed him; secondly, his high obligations to the English 
king, his especial affection for him, and the nearness of blood 
which existed between them; together with the ingratitude 
and rebellion of his Scottish relations and subjects, and in 
general his desire to promote the advantage of both nations. 
Such were the pretexts; but in reality Baliol possessed no 
interest whatever in Scotland ; he was a mere stipendiary 
and pensioner of England, and Edward was now desirous 
to be rid of him, and either to acquire the crown of Scotland 
to himself directly by virtue of BalioPs cession in his favor, 
or, if that project should fail, to achieve the same object by 
making some composition with the imprisoned David, whom 
he found not indisposed to agree to a settlement of the crown 
on a son of the king of England, in exchange for his own 
liberty. • In guerdon of his pliancy, Baliol, when retiring 
into private life, was to be endowed by Edward III. with 
a sum of five thousand marks, and a stipend or annuity of 
two thousand pounds sterling a year. With this splendid 
income Edward Baliol retired into privacy and obscurity, 
and is never again mentioned in history. The spirit of en- 
terprise which dictated the invasion of Scotland in 1332, and 
the adventurous attack upon the Scottish encampment at 
Dupplin Moor, shows itself in no other part of his conduct, 
which may lead us to think that an attempt so daring was 
no suggestion of his own mind, but breathed into it bj r the 
counsels of some master-spirit among his councillors. In 
battle he showed the bravery of a soldier ; but in other re- 
spects he never seems to have displayed talents whether for 


war or peace. He died childless in the year 1363; and thus 
ended in his person the line of Baliol, whose pretensions had 
cost Scotland so dear. 

The campaign which Edward designed should be decisive 
of the fate of Scotland now approached. The Scottish nobles, 
more wise in calamity than success, taught and convinced by 
experience of the danger of encountering the enemy in pitched 
battle and in the open field, resolved to practice the lessons 
of defensive war which had been bequeathed to them by 
their deliverer, King Robert. Time was, however, required 
to lay the country waste, to withdraw the inhabitants, and 
to take the other precautions necessary for this stern and 
desolating species of resistance. For this purpose Earl 
Douglas was sent to King Edward, to protract time as 
long as he could with offers of negotiation. He succeeded 
in obtaining a truce of ten days, during the greater part of 
which he remained in the English camp, and then left it, 
exulting in having obtained the necessary space for de- 
fensive preparations, of which his countrymen had made 
excellent use. 

Scotland was now somewhat in the same condition as 
when invaded in 1322, but thus far worse situated, that, 
as Edward III. was a heroic character a hundred times 
more formidable than his father, so the chiefs whom Scot- 
land had now to oppose against the victor, at whose name 
France trembled, were as far inferior in talents to the 
Bruce. They were imbued, however, with his sentiments, 
and were determined to act upon them; and thus being 
dead, King Robert might be said still to direct the Scottish 

Edward no sooner entered Scotland than he found his 
troops in want of every species of supply save what they bore 
along with them. The villages and farmyards were silent, 
and vacant alike of men, grain, and cattle. "Within the cir- 
cuit of an ordinary foraging party, no species of supply was 
to be found. If any ventured beyond the reach of speedy 
and instant support, they were overwhelmed by the Scots, 


who, lying in ambush in glens, morasses, and forests, pounced 
on them from all sides, and gave no quarter. Incensed at 
the difficulties and privations by which he was surrounded, 
and conscious that he had been overreached by Douglas in 
the previous negotiation, Edward vented his wrath in reck- 
less and indiscriminate destruction, burning every town and 
village which he approached, without sparing the edifices 
which were dedicated to Heaven and holy uses. The fine 
abbey church at Haddington, called the Lamp of Lothian, 
from the beauty of its architecture, was burned down, and 
the monastery, as well as the town itself, utterly destroyed. 
These ravages caused the period (February, 1356) to be long 
remembered by the title of the Burnt Candlemas. 

The vehemence of Edward's passion, and the furious man- 
ner in which he vented it, might soothe him with feelings of 
gratified vengeance, but could neither find provisions for his 
men nor forage for his army, and man and horse began to 
sink under privation approaching to famine. Edward had 
expected to meet his victualling ships, which had been de- 
spatched to Berwick; but no sail appeared on the shipless 
seas. After waiting ten days among the ruins of Hadding- 
ton, his difficulties increasing with every minute, Edward at 
length learned that a storm had dispersed his fleet, not one 
of which had been able to enter the Firth of Forth. Retreat 
was now inevitable: the sufferings of the English soldiers 
rendered it disorderly, and it was attended with proportional 
loss. The Scots, from mountains, dingles, forests, and path- 
less wildernesses, approached the English army on every 
side, watching it as the carrion crows and ravens wait on a 
tainted flock, to destroy such as fall down through weak- 
ness. To avoid returning through the wasted province of 
Berwickshire, Edward involved himself in the defiles of the 
upper part of Teviotdale and Ettricke Forest, where he suf- 
fered much loss from the harassing attacks of Douglas, and 
on one occasion very narrowly escaped being made prisoner. 

The failure of this great enterprise, the fifth in which the 
attempt of invasion had been foiled, seems to have induced 


Edward to resort to other means than those of open and 
avowed hostility for the establishment of his power in Scot- 
land, an object which he conceived to be still within his 
reach. The temper of his royal prisoner, David Bruce, was 
now, by his long confinement in England, become well known 
to him, and he doubted not that by some agreement with the 
selfish prince he might secure that interest in Scotland and 
its government of which the people were so jealous. A pre- 
liminary step to such an intrigue was the delivery of David 
from his long captivity, and the establishment of peace be- 
tween the nations. 

By the final agreement between the commissioners for 
each kingdom, October 3, 1857, David's ransom, augmented 
since the last treaty, was fixed at one hundred thousand 
marks, to be discharged by partial payments of ten thou- 
sand marks yearly. The nobles, churchmen, and burgesses 
of Scotland bound themselves to see the instalments regu- 
larly paid ; and three nobles of the highest rank, who might, 
however, be exchanged for others of the same degree from 
time to time, together with twenty young men of quality, 
the son of the steward being included, were surrendered to 
England as hostages. Thus was David restored to freedom, 
eleven years after having been made prisoner at the battle of 
Neville's Cross. The terms, on the whole, were rather more 
severe than those proposed three years before, when the treaty 
was broken off by the interest of France. 

The first thing, after his return, which marked the ten- 
dency of David's political feelings and attachments was his 
predilection for visits to England, and long residences there, 
which became so frequent as to excite a feeling among his 
subjects that they did but waste their substance in need- 
lessly ransoming a sovereign who preferred the land of his 
captivity to his own dominions. A trifling incident, also, 
occurred soon after his liberation, which manifested an arro- 
gant, vain, and unfeeling temper. As the people, eager to 
see their long-absent king, pressed into his presence with 
more affection than reverence, David snatched a mace from 


an attendant, and laying about him with his own royal 
hand, taught his liege subjects in future to put their loyal 
feelings under more ceremonial restraint. 

A species of intimacy, in which Edward trusted to find 
his advantage, was now encouraged between his dominions 
and Scotland. Licenses were given to traders, to pilgrims, 
natives of both countries, to youth of quality desirous of re- 
ceiving education at the English universities, to all, in short, 
who could allege a reasonable cause for visiting the English 
dominions. The Scottish nobles were welcomed when they 
visited the English court. This liberal line of conduct was 
no doubt designed to dazzle the eyes of the Scots with the 
superior wealth and splendor of their powerful neighbors; 
and to engage them in such friendly transactions and rela- 
tions as might smooth down the prejudices which had been 
the natural growth of so many years' war. All these were 
fair and laudable objects; but the king of England sought 
them with a sinister and selfish purpose. 

The weakness of David, who had shown himself willing, 
would his subjects have permitted him, to sacrifice to Ed- 
ward the independence of Scotland, by acknowledging him 
as lord paramount, had encouraged the king of England to 
propose that, in place of the steward of Scotland, the grand- 
son of Robert Bruce by his daughter Marjory, Lionel, duke 
of Clarence, the third son of Edward III. himself, should be 
called to succeed to the crown of Scotland. This project 
seems to have been kept closely concealed from the Scottish 
nation at large until the month of March, 1363, when David 
Bruce ventured to bring it himself before the estates of the 
Scottish parliament, convoked to meet at Scone. The king 
of Scotland had lately become a widower, by the death of 
Queen Joanna, during one of her visits to England. This 
makes it seem more extraordinary that he should desire the 
substitution of an English prince in the succession of the 
crown, since David might justly have apprehended that if, 
in the case of probable events, he himself might marry again 
and have children, the king of England would not have 


brooked to see the hope of his son's succession blighted, 
even by the birth of heirs of his own body. Undeterred by 
this motive, powerful as it might be thought, David Bruce 
proposed to the estates of Scotland, "that, in the event of 
his dying without heirs, they should settle the crown on one 
of the sons of the king of England. He particularly recom- 
mended the Duke Lionel of Clarence as a worthy object of 
their choice, hinted that this would insure a constant peace 
between the two nations of Britain, and become the means 
to induce the king of England to resign, formally and for- 
ever, all pretensions to the feudal supremacy which had been 
the cause of such fatal struggles." 

The estates of Scotland listened with sorrow and indigna- 
tion to such a proposition, coming as it did from the lips of 
their sovereign, the son of the heroic Robert Bruce. In- 
stantly and unanimously they replied, "that they would 
never permit an Englishman to rule over them; that, by 
solemn acts of settlement sworn to in parliament, the steward 
of Scotland was called to the crown in default of the present 
king or issue of his body; that he was a brave man, and 
worthy of the succession : from which, therefore, they re- 
fused to exclude him, by preferring the son of an alien 

King David received, doubtless, this blunt refusal, which 
necessarily inferred a severe personal reproach, with shame 
and mortification, but made no reply; and the parliament, 
passing to other matters, appointed commissioners to labor 
at the great work of converting the present precarious truce 
between England and Scotland into a steady and permanent 

But the proposal of altering the destination of the crown, 
although apparently passed from or withdrawn, remained 
tenaciously rooted in the minds of those whose interests had 
been assailed by it. The steward and his sons, with many 
of his kindred, the Earls of March, Douglas, and other 
southern barons, assumed arms, and entered into bonds or 
leagues to prevent, they said, the alteration of the order of 


succession as fixed in the days of Bruce. The king armed 
in his turn, not, as he alleged, to enforce an alteration of 
the succession, but to restore good order, and compel the 
associated lords to lay down their arms, in which he was 
successful. The steward and his associates submitted them- 
selves, awed by the unexpected spirit displayed by the king, 
and the numerous party which continued to adhere to him. 
Stewart himself, together with Douglas, March, and others 
associated in the league, were contented to renounce the ob- 
ligation in open parliament, convened at Inchmurdoch, May 
14, 1363. The steward, upon the same occasion, swore on 
the Gospels true liegedom and fealty to David, under the 
penalty of forfeiting not only his own life and lands, but 
his and his family's title of succession to the throne. In 
recompense of this prompt return to the duty of a subject, 
as well as to soothe the apprehensions for national independ- 
ence which the proposal of the king had excited, the right 
of succession to the throne, as solemnly established in th9 
steward and his sons, was fully recognized, and the Earl- 
dom of Carrick, once a title of Robert Bruce, was conferred 
on his eldest son, afterward Robert III. 

The imprudent David had hardly ratified the proceedings 
of the parliament of Scone, ere, forgetful of the danger he 
had lately incurred, he repaired to London, and renewed 
with Edward III. those intrigues which had for their ob- 
ject the alteration of the succession. A new plan was now 
drawn up for this purpose, at a conference held between the 
two kings and certain selected counsellors, November 23, 
1368. By this the king of England, Edward III., was him- 
self to be declared heir of King David, in case the former 
should die without issue male. Twenty-seven conditions 
followed, the object of most of which seems to have been 
to reconcile the Scottish people to the sway of an English 
monarch, by imparting to them a share in the advantages 
of English trade, by ratifying to North Britain its laws and 
independence as a separate kingdom, and, above all, by dis- 
charging the ransom, which continued a heavy burden upon 


Scotland, of which only a tenth part had been yet paid. 
The national pride was to be flattered by the restoration of 
the fatal stone of inauguration, on which it was proposed 
that the king of England himself should be crowned at 
Scone, after the Scottish manner. All claim of supremacy 
was to be renounced, and the independence of Scotland, in 
Church and State, was carefully provided for, together with 
an obligation on Edward, when he should succeed to the 
throne, binding him to use Scottish counsellors in all the 
national concerns of the kingdom, and to employ native 
Scottishmen in all offices of trust. But the same schedule 
of articles contains a clause for giving the English king 
the command of the Scottish national and feudal levies; a 
condition which alone must have had the consequence of 
placing the country at Edward's unlimited disposal. The 
minutes of this conference open with a provision of strict 
secrecy, and a declaration that what follows is not to be 
considered as anything finally resolved upon or determined, 
but merely as the heads of a plan to be hereafter examined 
more maturely, and adopted, altered, or altogether thrown 
aside at pleasure. By the last article the king of Scotland 
undertook to sound the inclinations of his people respecting 
this scheme, and report the result to the English king within 
fifteen days after Easter. It is probable that David, on his 
return to Scotland, found the scheme totally impracticable. 
A circumstance of personal imprudence now added to the 
difficulties by which King David was surrounded. In 1364, 
with a violence unbecoming his high rank and mature age, 
he fell in love with a beautiful young woman, called Cath- 
erine Logie, daughter of Sir John Logie, executed for acces- 
sion to that plot against Robert Bruce which was prosecuted 
and punished in the times of the Black Parliament. The 
young lady was eminently beautiful; and the king, finding 
he could not satisfy his passion otherwise, gave her his hand 
in marriage. This unequal alliance scandalized his haughty 
nobles, and seems to have caused an open rupture between 
David and his kinsman the steward, whose views to the 


crown were placed in danger of being disappointed, if the 
fair lady should bear a son to her royal husband. It was 
probably on account of some quarrel arising out of this sub- 
ject of discord that King David seems to have thrown the 
steward, with his son, the Lord of Badenoch, into prison, 
where both were long detained. 

The accomplishment of a general and enduring peace 
between the two kingdoms was now the occupation of com- 
missioners. The payment of the ransom of David was the 
principal obstacle. The first instalments had been discharged 
with tolerable regularity. For this effect the Scottish par- 
liament had made great sacrifices. The whole wool of the 
kingdom, apparently its most productive subject of export, 
was directed to be delivered up to the king at a low rate, 
and the surplus produced over prime cost in disposing of the 
commodity to the foreign merchants in Flanders was to be 
applied in discharge of the ransom. A property tax upon 
men of every degree was also imposed and levied. From 
these funds the sum of twenty thousand marks had been 
raised and paid to England. But since these payments the 
destined sources had fallen short. The Scots had applied to 
the pope, who having already granted to the king a tenth 
of the ecclesiastical benefices for the term of three years, 
refused to authorize any further tax upon the clergy. They 
solicited France, who, as her own king was unransomed and 
in captivity in England, had a fair apology for declining 
further assistance, unless under condition that the Scots 
would resume the war with England, in which case they 
promised a contribution of fifty thousand marks toward the 
ransom of King David. 

Scotland being thus straitened and without resources, the 
stipulated instalments of the ransom necessarily fell into 
arrear, and heavy penalties were, according to the terms of 
the treaty, incurred for default of payment. Edward acted 
the part of a lenient creditor. He was less intent on pay- 
ment of the ransom than to place the Scottish nation in so 
insolvent a condition that the estates might be glad, in one 


way or other, to compromise that debt by a sacrifice of their 
independence. He could not, indeed, use the readiest mode 
of compelling payment by summoning the Scottish monarch 
to return to captivity, without depriving himself of a tract- 
able and willing agent for forwarding his views in Scotland, 
and probably, at the same time, throwing that country into 
the control of the steward, the decided enemy of English 
influence. The penalties and arrears were now computed 
to amount to one hundred thousand pounds, to be paid by 
instalments of six thousand marks yearly. The truce was 
prolonged for about three years. These payments, though 
most severe on the nation of Scotland, seem to have been 
made good with regularity by means of the taxes which the 
Scottish parliament had imposed for defraying them: so 
that in 1369 the truce between the nations was continued 
for fourteen years, and the English conceded that the bal- 
ance of the ransom, amounting still to fifty-six thousand 
marks, should be cleared by annual payments of four thou- 
sand marks. In this manner the ransom of David was com- 
pletely discharged, and a receipt in full was granted by 
Richard II. in the seventh year of his reign. These heavy 
but necessary exactions were not made without internal 

The northern barons and Celtic chiefs were, for a short 
time, in open insurrection against payment of the imposts ; 
but were put down by the steadiness of the parliament, and 
one of those starts of activity into which the indolent but 
resolute spirit of David Bruce was sometimes awakened. 
He marched into the northwest against John of the Isles, 
and reducing that turbulent and powerful chief to subjec- 
tion, compelled him to submit to the tax imposed by par- 
liament, and exacted hostages from him for remaining in 

Family discord broke out in the royal family. Catherine 
Logie, the young and beautiful queen, was expensive, like 
persons who are suddenly removed from narrow to opulent 
circumstances. She was fond of changing place, of splendor 


in retinue, dress, and entertainment; perhaps, being young 
and beautiful, she also liked personal admiration. David's 
passion was satiated, and he was desirous to dissolve the 
unequal marriage which he had so imprudently formed. 
The bishops of Scotland pronounced a sentence of divorce, 
but upon what grounds we are left ignorant by historians. 
Catherine Logie appealed to the pope from the sentence of 
the Scottish Church, and went to Avignon to prosecute the 
cause by means of such wealth as she had amassed during 
her continuance in power, which is said to have been con- 
siderable. Her appeal was heard with favor by the pope; 
but she did not live to bring it to an issue, as she died 
abroad, in 1369. 

After the divorce of this lady by the Scottish prelates, the 
steward and his son were released from prison, and restored 
to the king's favor, which plainly showed by what influence 
they had incurred disgrace and captivity. 

Little more remains to be said of David II. He became 
affected with a mortal illness, and died in the castle of Edin- 
burg, at the early age of forty-seven, and in the forty-fifth 
year of his reign, February 22, 1370. He had courage, 
affability, and the external graces which become a prince. 
But his life was a uniform contrast to the patriotic devo- 
tion of his father. He exacted and received the most pain- 
ful sacrifices at the hands of his subjects, and never curbed 
himself in a single caprice, or denied himself a single in-^ 
diligence, in requital of their loyalty and affection. In the 
latter years of his life, he acted as the dishonorable tool of 
England, and was sufficiently willing to have exchanged, 
for paltry and personal advantages, the independence of 
Scotland, bought by his heroic father at the expense of so 
many sufferings, which terminated in ruined health and 
premature death. 

The reign of David II. was as melancholy a contrast to 
that of his father as that of Robert I. had been brilliant 
when contrasted with his predecessors. Yet we recognize 
in it a nearer approach to civil polity, and a more absolute 


commixture of the different tribes by which Scotland was 
peopled into one general nation, obedient to a single 

Even the chiefs of the Isles and Highlands were so much 
subdued as to own the allegiance of the Scottish king, [to 
hold seats in his parliaments, and resign, though reluctantly, 
much of that rude and tumultuous independence which they 
had formerly made their boast. The power of these for- 
midable chiefs was much reduced, not only by the actual 
restraint exercised over them by the sovereign and his lieu- 
tenants, often at the head of an armed force, but by the less 
justifiable policy which the sovereign is said to have exer- 
cised, of stirring up one chieftain against another, and thus 
humbling and diminishing the power of the whole. Still 
the separation of the Highlands from the Lowlands was 
that between two separate races; and though the king's 
sovereignty was acknowledged in both, the ordinary course 
of law was only current in the more civilized country, and 
we shall presently see that the lords of the Isles gave re- 
peated disturbances to the Scottish government. The na- 
tion, at the same time, became more like that with which 
we ourselves are acquainted. A few great families can in- 
deed trace their descent from the period of Robert Bruce; 
but a far greater number are first distinguished in the reign 
of his son, where the lists of the battle of Durham contain 
the names of the principal nobility and gentry in modern 
Scotland, and are the frequent resource of the genealogists. 
The spirit of commerce advanced in the time of David I. 
against all the disadvantages of foreign and domestic 

In the parliaments of 1368 and 1369 a practice was intro- 
duced, for the first time apparently, of empowering commit- 
tees of parliament to prepare and arrange, in previous and 
secret meetings, the affairs of delicacy and importance which 
were afterward to come before the body at large. As this 
led to investing a small cabal of the representatives with 
the exclusive power of garbling and selecting the subjects 


for parliamentary debate, it necessarily tended to limit the 
free discussion so essential to the constitution of that body, 
and finally assumed the form of that very obnoxious institu- 
tion called Lords of the Articles, who, claiming the prelimi- 
nary right of examining and rejecting at their pleasure such 
measures as were to be brought before parliament, became a 
severe restraint on national freedom. 

Amid the pestilence and famine, which made repeated 
ravages in Scotland during this unhappy reign, the Scottish 
national spirit never showed itself more energetically deter- 
mined on resisting the English domination to the last. Par- 
ticular chiefs and nobles were no doubt seduced from their 
allegiance, but there was no general or undisturbed pause of 
submission and apathy. The nation was strong in its very 
weakness ; for as the Scots became unequal to the task of 
assembling national armies, they were saved from the con- 
sequences of such general actions as Dunbar, Halidon, and 
Berwick, and obliged to limit themselves to the defensive 
species of war best suited to the character of the country, 
and that which its inhabitants were so well qualified to 

The want of talents in the sovereign, and the effects of 
his long imprisonment, were most severely felt in the inde- 
pendence which was affected by the Knight of Liddisdale, 
and other great leaders and nobles, who committed in their 
feudal strife such horrible crimes as the murder of Ramsay 
of Dalwolsey, Bullock, Berkeley, St. Michael, and others. 
The parliament were sensible of these grievous evils; but, 
despairing of their own power to repress them, it was rather 
in a tone of entreaty than command that they implored the 
great nobles to lay aside their private quarrels, and unite 
cordially in the defence of their common country. Many of 
the authors of such evils, who had enrolled themselves as 
members of the estates, joined in these patriotic remon- 
strances, and, when the parliament broke up, rode home 
each to his feudal tower and waste domains, to harass his 
neighbors with private war as before. The Scottish parlia- 


ment seems never to have failed in perceiving the evils which 
afflicted the state, or in making sound and sagacious regula- 
tions to repress them ; but unhappily the executive power sel- 
dom or never possessed the authority necessary to enforce 
the laws ; and thus the nation continued in the condition of 
a froward patient, who cannot be cured because there is no 
prevailing upon him to take the prescriptions ordered by the 



Accession of the House of Stewart: their Origin — Robert II. and 
his Family — Claim of the Earl of Douglas: it is abandoned — 
Defeat of the English near Melrose — Wasteful Incursions on the 
Border — John of Gaunt negotiates with Scotland: takes Ref- 
uge there against the English Rioters — France instigates the 
Scots to renew the War — Inroad by John of Gaunt — John de 
Vienne arrives with an Army of French Auxiliaries — They are 
dissatisfied with Scotland, and the Scots with them — They 
urge the Scots to fight a pitched Battle with the English — The 
Scots decline doing so, and explain their Motives — Invasion of 
Richard: it is paid back by the Scots — The French Auxiliaries 
leave Scotland — The Scots menace England with Invasion — 
The Battle of Otterbourne— Robert, Earl of Fife, Regent— Truce 
with England — Robert II. dies 

THE genealogy of the Stewart family, who now acceded 
to the throne of Scotland, has been the theme of many 
a fable. But their pedigree has by late antiquaries 
been distinctly traced to the great Anglo- Norman family of 
Fitz- Alan in England ; no unworthy descent, even for a race 
of monarchs. In David I.'s time, Walter Fitz- Alan held 
the high post of seneschal or steward of the king's house- 
hold ; and the dignity becoming hereditary in the family, 
what was originally a title was converted into a surname, 
and employed as such. Walter, the sixth high-steward, 
fought bravely at Bannockburn, defended Berwick with 
the most chivalrous courage, and was unanimously thought 
worthy of the hand of Marjory Bruce, the daughter of the 
liberator of Scotland ; and to their only child, the seventh 
lord high-steward, often mentioned during the last reign, 
the crown descended, on the extinction of the Bruce's mal® 
line in his only son David II. 


The successor to the crown had been twice married. By- 
Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan, his first wife, he had his son 
John, created earl of Carrick ; "Walter, earl of Fife ; Robert, 
earl of Monteith, afterward duke of Albany ; and Alexander, 
earl of Buchan. No less than six daughters, united in mar- 
riage with the most powerful families in Scotland, assured 
their support to the succession of the House of Stewart. The 
new king was, by a second marriage with Euphemia, daugh- 
ter of the Earl of Ross, the father of David, earl of Strath- 
ern, and "Walter, earl of Athol. Of four daughters by this 
second marriage, the eldest was married to James, earl of 
Douglas, and the other three also wedded into ancient and 
powerful families. 

The father of this numerous race was an elderly man, 
fifty-five years old, with an infirmity in his eyes, which ren- 
dered them as red as blood. He had been in his youth a 
bold and active soldier; but he was now past the years 
of martial exertion, and obliged to delegate to others the 
command of his army. He had the virtues of a pacific 
sovereign, being just, benign, clement, and sagacious. 

The Earl of Douglas threatened the tranquillity of the 
realm by a claim on the throne, which, however, was no 
sooner made than abandoned, upon his receiving the hand 
of the Princess Euphemia in marriage. Robert II. was, 
therefore, inaugurated at Scone, March 27, 1371, with the 
usual ceremony. As the Scots continued to pay the ransom 
of King David with tolerable regularity, no open war with 
England was entered into until 1378; when, after mutual 
injuries and inroads, it broke out with great fury, and skir- 
mishes and battles of a destructive rather than a decisive 
character took place. A small body of Scots made them- 
selves masters of the citadel of Berwick ; but, not being 
supported by a sufficient force, were surprised and put to 
the sword. In a fierce encounter near Melrose, the English, 
under the command of Musgrave, governor of Berwick, were 
defeated by the Earl of Douglas. The battle was decided by 
the personal exertions of Archibald Douglas, who, wielding 


with ease a sword which an ordinarj* man could hardly lift, 
broke the English ranks with the fury of his blows. The 
Scots appear to have had the better in this species of pred- 
atory hostility, their borderers being very numerous, and 
the best qualified in Europe for irregular war. Their rapine 
was now greater and greedier than usual; for even swine, 
which they used formerly to spare or neglect, did not now 
escape them: and there were instances of their driving off 
forty thousand head of booty in a successful inroad. They 
are said to have amused themselves by playing at football 
with the heads of the slain. This is, perhaps, an exagger- 
ation; but it is certain that their ferocity equalled their 
rapacity. They were led also by a Douglas, whose activity 
was indefatigable. He surprised the town of Penrith, in 
1380, during a fair that was held there. The Scots made a 
great booty, and gave the town to the flames. The English 
were also defeated in Annandale, where the borderers of 
Cumberland entered, for the purpose of retaliating these 

The miseries of this cruel species of hostility were en- 
hanced by a contagious disease which raged on the English 
frontiers, and which was imported into Scotland by the 
reckless borderers, whom even the pestilence itself could 
not deter from spoil. 

In the ensuing year John of Gaunt, the celebrated duke 
of Lancaster, marched to the border with a formidable force, 
and put a temporary close to these miseries by a truce for 
twelve months, which, when nearly expired, was renewed 
for the same period. A singular occurrence took place while 
this last treaty was negotiating. The insurrection of Wat 
Tyler broke out ; and the Duke of Lancaster, against whom, 
as a patron of the followers of Wickliffe, much of the popu- 
lar fury was directed, found it dangerous to return into Eng- 
land. Although the kingdoms could hardly be said to be at 
peace together, he did not hesitate to choose Scotland for his 
temporary place of refuge. Nor was this generous confi- 
dence ill requited. Edinburgh Castle was assigned to their 


princely guest and his retinue, that their security might he 
safely provided for, and they were allowed the exclusive 
possession of this important fortress. And when the civil 
commotion was ended, the duke returned to England in 

France behold with anxiety this cessation, brief as it 
was, of hostility between England and Scotland. Toward 
the latter she always acted as a civilized colony toward some 
tribe of barbarians in their neighborhood, whose passions 
they animate by promises or bribes, in order to have their 
assistance in war with a powerful neighbor. On the present 
occasion, as a diversion on the English frontiers was of the 
utmost consequence to their success at home, the French 
government instigated the Scots, by the distribution of a 
large sum of money, and the promise of assisting them with 
an auxiliary force of a thousand men-at-arms and their at- 
tendants, and a thousand suits of armor, to suffer the truce 
to elapse without renewal. The Scots listened to the temp- 
tation, and, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the old 
king, who was pacifically disposed, they resumed hostilities 
at the end of the truce. 

The Duke of Lancaster again visited the frontiers ; but it 
was for the purpose of punishment, not treaty. He marched 
as far as Edinburgh, plundering the country ; but generously 
spared the city, which had been so lately his place of refuge, 
and retreated, after he had shown both his power and his 
clemency. Robert II. again advised peace; but he could 
not prevail on the warlike nobles of Scotland to accept of 
its blessings. 

In 1385, France, according to her engagement, sent to 
Scotland a large sum of money, twelve hundred suits of 
armor complete, with all appurtenances, and a thousand 
men-at-arms, with their followers, which may be estimated 
at five thousand men in all, forming, according to Froissart's 
phrase, a complete garland of chivalry, and commanded by 
John de Vienne, admiral of France, one of the most distin- 
guished warriors of the day. 


The first articles of this importation were gladly received 
in Scotland, where ready palms were found to receive the 
gold, and limbs as prompt to bear the armor. But the aux- 
iliaries themselves had but a cold reception. Of this the 
French were themselves in part the cause. Accustomed to 
good fare and comfortable lodging, they were surprised at 
the wretched food and miserable accommodations with which 
habit and necessity had made the Scots familiar. At first 
they treated their hardships as a jest; but the continuation 
of such a rude mode of living wore out their good -humor; 
and their allies complained that when they had furnished 
these foreigners with the best which their means afforded, 
they were only requited with grumbling and murmurs. The 
petulance of the French national gallantry also gave great 
offence; for even their general was so inconsiderate as to 
make love to a near relation of the king, to the scandal and 
indignation of the Scots, who had no toleration for such 
unbecoming license. 

Neither were the French chivalry of that use to the 
Scottish cause which had been expected. The Scots, indeed, 
assembled an army, and marched into England, where they 
made considerable havoc ; but as the spoil was collected by 
what was called pricking or skirmishing, with which the 
borderers were better acquainted than the knights of France, 
it is probable that the former secured the greater part of the 
booty. John de Yienne and his companions might have 
done better service in sieges, and were employed for that 
purpose before Roxburgh, which had remained in the pos- 
session of the English since the battle of Durham. The 
scheme was, however, given up in consequence of an ex- 
travagant pretension set up by the strangers to garrison 
and hold the fortress when it should be taken. 

While the French and their allies were thus disputing, 
they received news that the king of England, Richard II., 
was advancing with a large army for the purpose of invad- 
ing Scotland. The French rejoiced, in expectation of a gen- 
eral action, in the event of which they anticipated a large 
11 <% ' Vol. I. 


share of glory and spoil. But the Scottish leaders informed 
them it was not their purpose to engage the English force in 
a pitched battle, alleging in excuse their inferiority in num- 
bers, but especially in the size of their horses and quality 
of their archers. "All that may be true," answered their 
allies; "but if you do not give the English battle, they will 
destroy your country." "Let them do their worst," said 
the Scots; "we hold them at defiance. Our gentry will re- 
move their families and household stuff; our cottagers and 
laborers will drive into the mountains and forests their herds 
and flocks, and transport thither their grain and forage, even 
to the very straw that covers their huts. We will surround 
them with a desert ; and while they shall never see an enemy, 
they shall not stir a flight-shot from their standards without 
being overpowered by an ambush. Let them come on at 
their pleasure, and when it comes to burning and spoiling, 
you shall see which has the worst of it." 

The event of the campaign proved as the Scots had antici- 
pated. The English army advanced into the Merse and 
Lothian, finding a country totally waste, where there was 
nothing to plunder, and little that could even be destroyed, 
excepting here and there a tower, whose massive walls defied 
all means of destruction then known, or a cluster of miser- 
able huts, which a few days' labor could easily repair, 
should they take the trouble to ruin them. Making a shift 
to maintain themselves by provisions from a fleet which 
attended their movements, the English army advanced to 
Edinburgh, when they were recalled by the news that the 
Scots had invaded Cumberland, and were retaliating with 
tenfold fury the work of destruction. And such was the 
superior wealth of England, even in its northern provinces, 
that, according to Froissart, the Scots obtained more plun- 
der ] in their raid, and did more damage to their enemies, 
than the English could have inflicted on Scotland had they 
burned as far as Aberdeen. Both armies retired to their 
own country, the Scots loaded with spoil, the English reduced 
by suffering, and the French execrating a species of warfare 


in which neither gold nor glory could be gathered. They 
now desired to leave a kingdom which they despised for its 
poverty and rudeness, while the natives upbraided them 
with their effeminate epicurism, and detested them for the 
arrogance of their pretensions to superior bravery, gallantry, 
and civilization. The Scots even refused to permit the de- 
parture of the Frenchmen until John de Vienne, their com- 
mander, agreed to remain as a hostage that the French gov- 
ernment should pay the expenses which they had incurred 
while in Scotland. 

Thus parted the French auxiliary force, in poverty, dis- 
appointment, and mortification, cursing the hour they had 
first seen a country so sterile as Scotland, or a people so 
barbarous as its natives. 

The war continued to rage ; and in 1388 the Scots thought 
they had a proper opportunity to retort upon the English the 
invasion of Richard II. A large army was assembled at 
Jedburgh for this purpose. The Earl of Fife, second son 
of the reigning monarch, was commander-in-chief ; but the 
hopes of the army rested upon James, earl of Douglas, a man 
as much redoubted as any who ever bore that formidable 
title. The assembled leaders, hearing that the Northum- 
brians were collecting a considerable force for an invasion 
of Scotland, resolved that their main body should not ad- 
vance into England, as had been originally intended, but 
that a select detachment under Douglas of three hundred 
men-at-arms, who, with their followers, made up from a 
thousand to fifteen hundred men, with two thousand chosen 
infantry, should invade England. 

By a swift and secret march, Douglas entered Northum- 
berland, crossed the Tyne, and threw himself on the bishopric 
of Durham, where he wasted and destroyed the country with 
fire and sword as far as the gates of York. In his return 
from an expedition which had been eminently successful, 
he passed as if in triumph before the gates of Newcastle. 
In this town lay the two sons of the Earl of Northumber- 
land, Sir Henry Percy, renowned by his nickname of Hot- 


spur, with his brother Sir Ralph. They did not tamely 
endure the presence of their hereditary enemy ; but although 
they had not sufficient forces to give Douglas battle, came 
forth to skirmish with the Scottish knights, who willingly 
met them, and broke many spears. A personal encounter 
took place between the Earl of Douglas himself and Sir 
Henry Percy, in which Hotspur's lance, bearing a tuft of 
silk at the extremity, embroidered with his arms, remained 
in the possession of the Scottish earl. "This trophy," said 
the Scot, "I will carry to Scotland, and place it on the high- 
est tower of my castle of Dalkeith." "That," said Percy, 
"shalt thou never do." "Then," replied Douglas, "thou 
must come this night and take it from before my tent." 
He then resumed his march up the river Tyne, and encamped 
at night, expecting that Percy would come to challenge his 
pennon. Hotspur was only withheld from doing so by the 
report that Douglas was retreating on the main army of 
Scotland, and that he might find him united with the Earl 
of March. But when, on the second day, he heard that 
the Scottish armies were yet far apart, and that Douglas 
moved slowly, as if inviting a pursuit, he hastily assembled 
about six hundred lances, who, with their squires and fol- 
lowers, and several thousand archers, made about eight 
or ten thousand men in all, and marched westward in pur- 
suit of Douglas. 

The Scottish earl had pitched his camp at Otterbourne, 
a hamlet in Reedsdale, and its lines extended east and west 
along the banks of the river. The English crossed the Reed, 
and attacked the right flank of the enemy's position, which 
they found rudely but strongly fortified, and well defended. 
Douglas, whose plan of battle had been previously adjusted, 
continued the defence of the barricade till he had led his 
men out of the camp, and drawn them up in a compact 
body, but with a changed front, for his line of battle now 
stretched north and south, while the river covered one flank, 
and hills and morasses protected the other. At the same 
time the vale of the Reed behind gave an avenue for retreat, 


should that prove necessary. This change of position in the 
commencement of the action argues that, besides his high 
character of chivalry, Douglas, as a general, possessed 
science beyond what we might esteem the tactics of his 
age. In the meantime the English were something disor- 
dered by pressing through the Scottish camp, and it had the 
effect in some degree of surprise, when, by the moon of a 
clear autumn night, they met their opponents within a little 
distance. The battle instantly joined with loud acclama- 
tions of Percy on the one side, and Douglas on the other. 
The conflict was such as might have been expected between 
two such champions and their followers. At length the 
numbers of the English began to prevail, when Douglas, 
as seems to have been the wont of the heroes of that family, 
made a desperate personal effort. He rushed on the foe, 
holding his battle-axe in both hands, and clearing his way 
by main force. His bannerman pressed on to keep up with 
his heroic master. At length, involved among the English, 
and far from his followers, Douglas, despite his armor of 
proof, received three mortal wounds. But the impulse 
given by his furious advance had animated the Scots and 
disheartened the English, nor did either army know the 
fate of the Scottish leader. Several Scottish knights, pur- 
suing their advantage, pressed up to the place where Doug- 
las was lying in the last agony. They inquired anxiously 
how he fared? "But indifferently," replied the earl: "life 
is ebbing fast. There is a prophecy in our house that a dead 
man shall win a field, and I think it will be this night accom- 
plished. I fall as my fathers did, who seldom have died in 
chambers or on a sick-bed. Conceal my death; raise my 
banner; cry my war-cry, and avenge my fall!" The Scot- 
tish leaders, their hearts swelling with sorrow and desire 
of revenge, made a new and desperate attack, and put to 
flight the English, who were already staggered. Both the 
Percies remained prisoners, and with them almost all the 
Englishmen of condition who fought in this celebrated ac- 
tion, which Froissart assures us was one of the most des- 


perate in his time, and fought with the most heroic bravery 
on both sides. 

The bishop of Durham arrived the day after the battle 
with seven thousand men ; but after two feints to attack the 
victor, he shunned to encounter the enemy by whom Hotspur 
had been beaten. The Scottish detachment rejoined their 
own main body in a procession which seemed rather that 
of mourners than of victors, so general was the grief for the 
loss of their leader. 

In 1 389, the king of Scotland being now unequal to the 
fatigues of state, from which he absented himself as much 
as he could, Robert, earl of Fife, was chosen as regent of the 
kingdom. He was the second son of the reigning monarch, 
but was preferred to the seat of government in the place of 
his elder brother, John, earl of Carrick, because the latter 
was infirm in his person, being lamed by the kick of a horse, 
and possessed no efficient activity of mind to amend the want 
of it in his person. 

The regent, after he had been invested with his office, 
showed considerable energy. The Earl of Nottingham, 
marshal of England, trusted with the wardenship of the 
east marches, had reproached the Percies for their defeat 
at Otterbourne, and boasted of what he would himself have 
done in similar circumstances. But when the regent Robert, 
at the head of an equal army, defied him to action, Notting- 
ham declined the combat with the unsoldier-like excuse, 
"that he was not commissioned to expose the king's liege 
subjects to danger." The Scots burned Tynemouth, and 
returned to their own country. 

In the summer of the same year, 1389, a truce of three 
years was formed between France and England, iu which 
Scotland was included as the ally of the former power. 
Shortly after this event, King Robert II. died at his castle 
of Dundonald in Ayrshire. He was at the advanced age 
of seventy-five, and had reigned nineteen years. 



Accession of John, Earl of Carrick — His Name is changed to Robert 
III. — The State of his Family — Feuds — Burning of Elgin — In- 
road of the Highlanders, and Conflict of Glascune — Battle of 
Bourtree Church — Combat of the Clan Chattan and Clan Quhele 
— Prince David of Scotland: created Duke of Rothsay: exposed 
to the Misrepresentations of his Uncle, who becomes Duke of 
Albany — Marriage of Rothsay — Scandalous Management of 
Albany: breaks Faith with the Earl of March, who rebels — 
War with England — Invasion of Henry IV. — The English 
obliged to retire — Murder of the Duke of Rothsay — Scots de- 
feated at Homildon — Contest between Henry TV. and the 
Percies — Siege of Coklawis or Ormiston — Prince James sent 
to France, but taken by the English — Robert III.'s Death 

THE character of John, earl of Carrick, eldest son and 
successor of Robert II., has been already noticed. 
He was lame in body and feeble in mind — well-mean- 
ing, pious, benevolent, and just; but totally disqualified, 
from want of personal activity and mental energy, to hold 
the reigns of government of a fierce and unmanageable 

The new king was invested with his sovereignty at Scone 
in the usual manner, excepting that, instead of his own 
name, John, he assumed the title of Robert III., to comply 
with a superstition of his people, who were impressed with 
a belief that the former name had distinguished monarchs 
of England, France, and Scotland, all of whom had been 
unfortunate. The Scots had also a partiality for the name 
of Robert, in affectionate and grateful remembrance of 
Robert Bruce. 

The new monarch had been wedded for nigh thirty-three 
years to Annabella Drummond, daughter of Sir John Drum- 


mond of Stobhall, a Scottish lady, whose wisdom and virtues 
corresponded with her ancient family and exalted station. 
By this union he had one son, Prince David, a youth of 
eighteen years old, whose calamitous history and untimely 
death was doomed to darken his father's reign. Five years 
after Robert III. had occupied the throne, the queen bore 
a second son, named James, his father's successor, and the 
first of that name, afterward so often repeated in the royal 
line, who swayed the Scottish sceptre. 

The new monarch's first attention was to confirm the 
truce with England, and renew the league with France; so 
that for eight years the kingdom was freed from the misery 
of external war, though the indolence of a feeble sovereign 
left it a prey to domestic feud and the lawless oppression 
of contending chiefs and nobles: of these we shall only 
notice one or two marked instances. 

In 1390, ere yet the monarch was crowned, the Earl of 
Buchan, Robert's own brother, in some personal quarrel 
with the bishop of Murray, assembled a tumultuary army 
of Highlanders, and burned the stately cathedral of Elgin, 
without incurring punishment, or even censure, from his 
feeble-minded sovereign, for an act which combined rebel- 
lion and sacrilege. 

Two years afterward, three chieftains of the Clan Don- 
nochy (in Lowland speech called Robertsons), instigated or 
commanded by Duncan Stuart, a natural son of the turbu- 
lent Earl of Buchan, came down to ravage the fertile coun- 
try of Angus. The Grays, Lindsays and Ogilvies marched 
against them with their followers. A skirmish was fiercely 
and wildly fought at Glascune in Stormont. An idea of the 
Highland ferocity may be conceived from one incident. Sir 
Patrick Lindsay, armed at all points, and well mounted, 
charged in full career a chief of the Catherans, and pinned 
him to the earth with his lance. But the savage mountain- 
eer, collecting his strength into a dying effort, thrust him- 
self on the lance, and swayed his two-handed sword with 
such force as to cut through Lindsay's steel boot, and nearly 


sever his limb. He was forced to retire from the field, on 
which the sheriff of Angus and his brother remained slain, 
with sixty of their followers. Sir Patrick Gray was also 
wounded; and the mountaineers, rather victorious than 
beaten, though they had lost many men, retreated to their 
fastnesses in safety. 

The feuds of the Lowland barons were not less distin- 
guished. Robert Keith, the head of that distinguished 
family, besieged, in Fyvie Castle, his own aunt, the wife 
of Lindsay of Crawford. Lindsay marched with five hun- 
dred men to her rescue. He encountered Keith at Bourtree 
Church, in the Garioch, and defeated him with the loss of 
fifty men. To use a scriptural expression, every one did 
what seemed right in his own eyes, as if there had been 
no king in Scotland. 

The mode by which the government endeavored to stanch 
these disorders, and indirectly to get rid of the perpetrators 
of outrages which they dared not punish by course of justice, 
was equally wild and savage. In 1396, a clan, or rather a 
confederation of clans, called the Clan Chattan, were at 
variance with another union of tribes, called the Clan Kay, 
or Clan Quhele. Their dispute, which the king's direct 
authority was unable to decide, was put to the arbitrament 
of a combat between thirty on each side, to be fought before 
the king, in the North Inch of Perth, a beautiful meadow 
by the side of the Tay. "When they mustered their forces, 
one of the Clan Chattan was found missing ; but so reckless 
were men then of life that a citizen of Perth undertook to 
supply his place for half a mark of silver. The combat was 
fought with infinite fury, until the Clan Quhele were cut off 
all but one man, who escaped by swimming the Tay. Several 
of the Clan Chattan survived, but all severely wounded. 

The weak-minded king seems to have carried on his gov- 
ernment, such as it was, by the assistance of his brother, the 
Earl of Fife, who had been regent in the latter years of his 
father's reign. But his heir-apparent, David, being a youth 
of good abilities, handsome person, young, active, and chiv- 


alrous, was too prominent and popular to be altogether laid 
out of view. He may be supposed indeed to have displayed 
some of the follies and levities of youth, which were mali- 
ciously insisted on by his uncle, who naturally looked on 
him with an evil eye; yet we find the prince employed as 
a commissioner, along with the Earl of Fife, in 1399, when 
they met on the borders with the Duke of Lancaster; and 
he was shortly afterward raised by his father, after a solemn 
council, to the title of Duke of Rothsay. At the same time, 
to maintain some equality, if not an ascendency, over his 
nephew, Prince David's ambitious uncle Robert contrived 
to be promoted from being Earl of Fife to Duke. of Albany. 
Under their new titles both the princes again negotiated on 
the English frontiers, but to little purpose; for though a 
foundation of a solid peace would have been acceptable to 
Richard II., who was then bent on his expedition to Ire- 
land, yet the revolution of 1399 was now at hand, which 
hurled that sovereign from his throne, and placed there in 
his stead Henry IV., thus commencing the long series of 
injuries and wars between York and Lancaster. 

Leaving foreign affairs for a short time, we can see that 
the young heir of the kingdom was for some time trusted by 
his father in affairs of magnitude. Nay, it is certain that 
he was at one time declared regent of the kingdom. But 
Rothsay's youth and precipitate ardor could not compete 
with the deep craft of Albany, who seems to have possessed 
the king's ear, by the habitual command which he exercised 
over him for so many years. It was easy for him to exag- 
gerate every excess of youth of which Rothsay might be 
guilty, and to stir up against the young prince the suspi- 
cions which often lodge in the bosom of an aged and in- 
capable sovereign against a young and active successor. 

It is reasonable to think that the affection of Queen An- 
nabella, who had and deserved the esteem of her husband, 
endeavored to sustain her son in the tacit struggle between 
him and Albany. It was by her advice that the marriage 
of the young prince was determined on, as the most probable 


means of putting an end to bis irregularities. The advice 
was excellent ; but Albany, getting the management of the 
affair into bis own bands, contrived to render it tbe means 
of injuring bis nepbew's bonor, and stirring up tbe nobihty 
to feud and faction against tbe prince and eacb otber. 

He publicly announced tbat tbe band of tbe Duke of 
Rotbsay sbould, like a commodity exposed to open auction, 
be assigned to tbe daughter of tbat peer of Scotland wbo 
might agree to pay the largest dowry with his bride. Even 
this base traffic on such a subject Albany contrived to ren- 
der yet more vile by the dishonest manner in which it was 
conducted. George, earl of March, proved the highest offerer 
on this extraordinary occasion, and having paid down a part 
of the proposed portion, bis daughter was affianced to the 
Duke of Rothsay. Tbe Earl of Douglas, envying the ag- 
grandizement which the House of March must have derived 
from such a union, interfered, and prevailed upon Albany, 
who was perhaps not unwilling to mix up the nuptials of his 
nephew with yet more disgraceful circumstances, to break 
off tbe treaty entered into with March, and substitute an 
alliance with the daughter of Douglas himself. No otber 
apology was offered to March for this breach of contract 
than that the marriage treaty had not been confirmed by 
the estates of the kingdom; and, to sum up tbe injustice 
with which he was treated, the government refused or de- 
layed to refund the sum of money which had been advanced 
by him, as part of his daughter's marriage-portion. As the 
power of tbe Earl of March lay on the frontiers of both 
kingdoms, the bonds of allegiance had never sat heavily on 
that great family, and a less injury than that which the 
present earl had received might have sufficed to urge him 
into rebellion. Accordingly, be instantly entered into a 
secret negotiation with Henry IV., and soon afterward took 
refuge in England. The acquisition of such a partisan was 
particularly welcome to the English sovereign at this period, 
as will appear from the following circumstances. 

Very nearly at tbe precise period (1399) when Henry IV. 


made himself master of the crown of England, the existing 
truce between Scotland and that country expired; and the 
Scottish borderers, instigated by their restless temper, made 
fierce incursions on the opposite frontier. They sustained, 
however, a sharp defeat at Fulhope-law, from Sir Robert 
Umfraville, in which many of their principal chiefs were 
taken. This did not prevent other enterprises, to which the 
condition of England, convulsed by the recent change of 
dynasty, offered but too many temptations. The Scottish 
borderers took and burned the castle of Wark, and com- 
mitted great inroads, to which the English frontiers, wasted 
by a raging pestilence, could scarce offer the usual resistance. 

This predatory warfare on the Scottish frontier was in- 
stigated by France, although she did not herself enter into 
hostilities with England, on account of the indisposition of 
the sovereign, Charles. At this period, therefore, the acces- 
sion of the Earl of March's assistance was an event of great 
consequence to England, and proportionally dangerous to 
Scotland. Henry IV. determined to chastise the Scottish 
depredators, and to revenge himself on the Duke of Albany, 
who, in some intercepted letters, had described him as a pre- 
eminent traitor. 

In 1400, Henry therefore summoned the whole military 
force of England to meet him at York, and published an 
arrogant manifesto, in which he vindicated the antiquated 
claim of supremacy, which had been so long in abeyance, 
and, assuming the tone of lord paramount, commanded the 
Scottish king, with his prelates and nobles, to meet him at 
Edinburgh and render homage. Of course no one attended 
upon that summons, excepting the new proselyte March, who 
met Henry at Newcastle, and was received to the English 
fealty. But if Henry's boast of subjecting Scotland was a 
bravado inconsistent with his usual wisdom, his warfare, 
on the contrary, was marked by a degree of forbearance 
and moderation too seldom the characteristic of an English 
invader. Penetrating as far as Edinburgh, he extended his 
especial protection to the canons of Holyrood, from whom 


his father, John of Gaunt, had experienced shelter, and in 
general spared religious houses. 

The castle of Edinburgh was gallantly held out by the 
Duke of Rothsay, aided by the skill and experience of his 
father-in-law, the Earl of Douglas. Albany commanded a 
large army, which, according to the ancient Scottish policy, 
hovered at some distance from the English host. The Scots 
had wisely resolved upon the defensive system of war which 
had so frequently saved Scotland. But they could not for- 
bear some of the bravado of the time. The Duke of Rothsay 
wrote to Henry that, to avoid the effusion of Christian blood, 
he was willing to rest the national quarrel upon the event of 
a combat of one, two, or three nobles on every side. Henry 
laughed at this sally of youthful vivacity, and, in answer, 
expressed his wonder how Rothsay should think of saving 
Christian blood at the expense of shedding that of the no- 
bility, who, it was to be hoped, were Christians as well as 
others. Albany also would have his gasconade. He sent 
a herald to Henry to say that, if he would stay in his posi- 
tion near Edinburgh for six days, he would do battle with 
him to the extremity. The English king gave his mantle 
and a chain of gold to the herald, in token that he joyfully 
accepted the challenge. But Albany had no purpose of 
keeping his word; and Henry found nothing was to be 
won by residing in a wasted country to beleaguer an im- 
pregnable rock. He raised the siege and retired into Eng- 
land, where the rebellion of Owen Glendower soon after 
broke out. A truce of twelve months and upward took 
place between the kingdoms. 

In this interval a shocking example, in Scotland, proved 
how ambition can induce men to overleap all boundaries pre- 
scribed by the laws of God and man. We have seen the 
Duke of Rothsay stoutly defending the castle of Edinburgh 
in 1400. But when the war was ended he seems to have 
fallen into the king his father's displeasure. The queen, 
who might have mediated between them, was dead. Archi- 
bald, earl of Douglas, was also deceased ; and, notwithstand- 


ing their connection by marriage, there was mortal enmity 
between the prince and a second Archibald, who succeeded 
to that earldom. Trail, bishop of St. Andrew's, a worthy 
prelate, who had often mediated in the disputes of the royal 
family, was also no more. The Duke of Rothsay was there- 
fore open to all the accusations, however exaggerated, with 
which Albany's creatures could fill his credulous ears. One 
Sir John de Ramorgny, who had been the prince's tutor, 
appears to have been the most active in traducing him to 
his father. This man, it is said, had even offered to the 
prince to assassinate Albany, and being repulsed by him 
with abhorrence, took this method to revenge himself. De- 
ceived by malicious reports of his son's wildness and indocil- 
ity, the simple old king was induced to grant a commission 
to Albany to arrest his son, and detain him for some time in 
captivity, to tame the stubborn spirit of profligacy by which 
he had been taught to believe him possessed. 

But the unnatural kinsman was determined on taking the 
life of his nephew, the heir of his too confiding brother. The 
Duke of Rothsay was trepanned into Fife, made prisoner, 
and conducted to Falkland Castle, where he was immured 
in a dungeon, and starved to death. Old historians affirm 
that the compassion of two females protracted his life and 
his miseries, one by supplying him from time to time with 
thin cakes of barley, another after the manner of the Roman 
charity. It is not likely that, where so stern a purpose was 
adopted, any access would be permitted to such means of 

The death of the prince was imputed to a dysentery. A 
simulated inquiry was made into the circumstances by a 
parliament, which was convened under the management of 
the authors of the murder. Albany and Douglas acknowl- 
edged having arrested the prince, vindicating themselves by 
the royal mandate for that act of violence, but imputed his 
death to disease. Yet they showed a consciousness of guilt, 
by taking out a pardon in terms as broad and comprehensive 
as might shroud them from any subsequent charge for the 


murder which they denied, as well as for the arrest which 
they avowed. 

The truce with England was now ended (1402), and 
Douglas hastened to drown in border warfare, which was 
his natural element, the recollection of his domestic crimes. 
But fortune seemed to have abandoned him, or Heaven re- 
fused to countenance the accomplice of an innocent prince's 
most inhuman murder. From this time, notwithstanding 
his valor and military skill, he lost so many of his followers 
in each action which he fought as to merit the name of 
Tyne-man; i.e., Lose-man. 

The men of the Merse, influenced by the exiled Earl of 
March, no longer showed their usual alacrity in making in- 
cursions on the border ; and the Earl of Douglas applied to 
the landholders of Lothian to discharge this military service. 
Their first raid was successful ; but in the second they were 
intercepted by the Earl of March and a large body both of 
English and his own personal followers, at a place called 
West Nesbit. Hepburn of Hales, the leader of the Scots, 
was slain ; many noble youths of Lothian were also killed 
or made prisoners. 

Douglas, incensed at this loss, requested and obtained a 
considerable force, under command of Albany's son, Mur- 
dach, earl of Fife, with the Earls of Angus, Murray, and 
Orkney. His own battalions augmented the force to ten 
thousand men, and spread plunder and devastation as far 
as the gates of Newcastle. But Sir Henry Percy (the cele- 
brated Hotspur), had assembled a numerous array, and to- 
gether with his father, the Earl of Northumberland, and 
their ally March, engaged the Scots at Homildon, a hill 
within a mile of Wooler, on which Douglas had posted his 
army. Hotspur was about to rush with his characteristic 
impetuosity on the Scottish ranks, when the Earl of March, 
laying hand on his bridle, advised him first to try the effects 
of the archery. The bowmen of England did their duty 
with their usual fatal certainty and celerity, and the Scottish 
army, drawn up on the acclivity, presented a fatal mark 


to their shafts. A brave knight, Sir John Swinton, like 
Graham at the battle of Durham, saw the disadvantage 
in which they were placed, and suggested a remedy, "Let 
us not stand here to be shot like a herd of deer," he ex- 
claimed; "but let us down on these English, engage them 
hand to hand, and live or die like men." Adam Gordon, 
a young border nobleman, whose family had been long at 
feud with that of Swinton, heard this bold exhortation, and 
throwing himself from his horse, renounced the deadly quar- 
rel, and asked knighthood of his late foe: "For of hand 
more noble," he exclaimed, "may I never take that honor." 
Swinton knighted him with the brief ceremony practiced in 
such urgent circumstances, and they rushed down the hill 
with their united vassals. But too weak in numbers to 
make the desired impression, they were both slain with all 
their followers. Douglas himself now showed an inclination 
to descend the hill ; but encountering a little precipice in the 
descent which had not been before perceived, the Scottish 
ranks became confused and broken, their disarray enabling 
the archers, who had fallen a little back, to continue their 
fatal volley, which now descended as upon an irregular 
mob. The rout became general. Very many Scots were 
slain. Douglas was made captive; five wounds and the 
loss of an eye showed he had done his duty as a soldier, 
though not as a general. Murdach, earl of Fife, son of the 
regent, Albany, with the Earls of Murray and Angus, and 
about twenty chiefs and men of eminence, became also 

Great was the joy of Hotspur over this victory, and 
great the pleasure of Henry IV. when the news reached 
him. Yet fate had so decreed that the victory of Homildon 
became the remote cause that the monarch's throne was 
endangered, and that Percy lost his life in a rebellious 

No law of chivalry was more certain than that which 
placed at the will of the victor the captive of his sword and 
spear, to ransom or hold him prisoner at pleasure; and so 


much was this rule established on the borders, that when an 
English or Scottish prisoner was taken, nothing was more 
common than for the captor to permit the vanquished to 
retire from the field of battle, having first promised to meet 
him upon a day fixed, and settle with him for ransom. Nor 
was the consent either of the king or general necessary to 
this kind of practice. Nevertheless, on this occasion, Henry 
wrote to the victorious Percies, commanding them not to 
admit the important prisoners made at Homildon to be 
ransomed or delivered without his special consent. On the 
other hand, he generously bestowed upon the earl and his 
son, Sir Henry Percy, the whole earldom of Douglas, with 
all the territories of that proud family. The father and son 
regarded the first proposition of the king as an injury ; and 
for the second, being the grant of a martial tract of country 
which was yet to be conquered, they deemed in their hearts 
they owed the king no gratitude. At the same time they 
received them both with seeming satisfaction, resolved to 
make the conquest of the earldom of Douglas the pretext 
of assembling forces which they were determined to employ 
very differently. 

Accordingly, in June, 1403, the Percies besieged a tower 
named Coklawis, or Ormiston, and agreed with the owner 
that he should surrender if not relieved by the regent of 
Scotland before Lambmas. Albany upon receiving this 
intelligence assembled his council, and asked their opinion 
whether the place should be relieved or no? All the coun- 
sellors, who knew the duke's poverty of spirit, conceived 
they were sure to meet his wishes when they recommended 
that the border turret should be abandoned to its fate, 
rather than a battle should be hazarded for its preserva- 
tion. The regent, well knowing the secret purpose of the 
Percies, whose forces were about to be directed against 
England, took the opportunity of swaggering a little. "By 
Heaven and Saint Fillan," said he, "I will keep the day 
of appointment before Coklawis, were there none to follow 
me thither but Peter de Kinbuck, who holds my horse yon- 


der." The council heard him with wonder and applause; 
and it was not until they reached Coklawis with a consider- 
able army, the Scottish nobles learned that what had given 
this temporary fit of courage to their regent was the cer- 
tainty that he could not meet Hotspur, of whose death and 
defeat at Shrewsbury they were soon after informed. The 
cowardice of the heart is perhaps better learned from a fan- 
faronade of this kind, than from an accidental failure of the 
nerves in a moment of danger. Some proposals made for 
peace only produced a feverish truce of brief duration. 

Meantime Prince James, the only surviving son of the 
poor infirm old king, being now (1405) in his eleventh year, 
required better education than Scotland could afford, and 
protection more efficient than that of his debilitated father. 
Robert III. could not but suspect the cause and circum- 
stances of his eldest son's death, and be conscious that the 
ambition which had prompted the removal of Rothsay would 
not be satisfied without the life of James also. The youthful 
prince was, therefore, committed to the care of Wardlaw, 
bishop of Saint Andrew's, and was by his advice sent to 
France, as the safest means of protecting him from his 
uncle's schemes of treachery or violence. He was embarked 
accordingly, Henry Sinclair, earl of Orkney, being appointed 
as his governor. A considerable number of Lothian gentle- 
men, with David Fleming of Cumbernauld, attended him to 
the ship. But on their return they were attacked, for what 
reason is unknown, by James Douglas of Balveny, uncle to 
the earl. A skirmish took place on Hermanston Moor, where 
Fleming and several of his companions fell. 

This bloody omen, at the commencement of Prince 
James's voyage, was followed by equally calamitous con- 
sequences. The vessel in which he was embarked had not 
gained Flamborough Head, when she was taken by an En- 
glish corsair. As the truce at the time actually subsisted, 
this capture of the prince was in every respect contrary to 
the law of nations. But knowing the importance of pos- 
sessing the royal hostage, Henry resolved to detain him 


at all events. "In fact," he said, "the Scots ought to 
have given me the education of this boy, for I am an ex- 
cellent French scholar." Apparently this new disaster was 
an incurable wound to the old king ; yet he survived, laden 
with years and infirmities, till 1406, just a twelvemonth 
after this last misfortune. His death made no change in 
public affairs, and was totally unfelt in the administration, 
which continued in the hands of Albany. 



Regency of Robert, Duke of Albany — Earl of March returns to his 
Allegiance — A Heretic burned — Jedburgh Castle taken: Tax 
proposed for Expense of its Demolition: the Duke of Albany 
refuses to consent to it — Donald of the Isles claims the Earldom 
of Ross — He invades the Mainland — The Earl of Mar opposes 
him — Circumstances of the Earl's Life — Battle of the Harlaw: 
its Consequences — Intricate Negotiation between Albany and 
Henry IV. — Hostilities with England — Death of the Regent 

THE talents of Robert, duke of Albany, as a statesman 
were not such as in any degree to counterbalance his 
crimes. Yet his rule was not unpopular. This was 
in a great measure effected by liberality, or rather by profu- 
sion, in which he indulged with less hesitation as his gifts 
were at the expense of the royal revenues and authority. 
The clergy, who were edified by his bounties to the Church, 
recorded his devotion in their chronicles. He connived at 
the excesses of power frequent among the nobility; solaced 
them with frequent and extravagant entertainments; and 
indulged all their most unreasonable wishes respecting lands 
and jurisdictions at the expense of the crown. An air of 
affability and familiarity, added to a noble presence and a 
splendid attendance, procured the shouts of the populace. 
Although timid, the regent was conscious of his own defect, 
and careful in concealing it. He was intelligent in public 
business; and when the interest of the country was identified 
with his own, he could pursue with expedition and eagerness 
the best paths for attaining it. 

When Robert III., therefore, died, the right of the Duke 
of Albany to the regency during the captivity of James was 
universally acknowledged. 


His government, after the death of his brother, Robert 
III. (1407), commenced with a show of prosperity. He re- 
newed the league offensive and defensive with the kingdom 
of France, and entered into negotiation with England. In 
the communings which ensued, he made no application for 
the liberation of his nephew, the present sovereign, nor was 
his name even mentioned in the transaction. But the Earl 
of Douglas, whose military services were valuable to the de- 
fence of the frontier, was restored to freedom, having been 
taken at the battle of Shrewsbury, where he had fought on 
the side of Sir Henry Percy with his usual distinguished 
valor, beating down the king of England with his own 
hand, but being in the course of the conflict himself made 
prisoner, according to his habitual bad luck. George, earl 
of March, had rendered Henry IV. effectual assistance dur- 
ing that insurrection, being the first who apprised that mon- 
arch of the conspiracy against him. But he was now weary 
of his exile, and, disappointed of his revenge, returned to his 
allegiance to Scotland, upon restoration of his estates. These 
were great points gained in reference to defence upon the 

In 1408, Albany had also an opportunity of gratifying 
the churchmen, by giving over to their vindictive prosecu- 
tion one Resby, a Lollard, or follower of Wickliffe. He was 
tried before Lawrence Lindores, as president of a council of 
the clergy; and being condemned for heresy, and chiefly for 
disowning the pope's authority, suffered at the stake in the 
town of Perth. 

The truce with England not having been renewed, hos- 
tilities were recommenced by an exploit of the warlike in- 
habitants of Teviotdale, who, vexed by the English garri- 
son which had retained the important castle of Jedburgh, 
stormed and took that strong fortress. It was resolved in 
parliament that it should be destroyed; but as the walls 
were extensive and very strongly built, and the use of gun- 
powder in mining was not yet understood, it was proposed 
that a tax of two pennies should be imposed on each hearth 


in Scotland to maintain the laborers employed in the task. 
The regent's love of popularity instantly displayed itself. 
He declared that in his administration no burden should be 
imposed on the poor, and caused the expense to be defrayed 
out of the royal revenue. The truce with England was 
afterward renewed. In the ratification of it, Albany styled 
himself regent by the grace of God, and used the phrase 
"our subjects of Scotland," not satisfied, it would seem, 
with delegated authority. 

In the meantime, a contest of the most serious nature 
arose between the Celtic and the Lowland or Saxon popula- 
tion of Scotland. 

The lords of the Isles, during the utter confusion which 
extended through Scotland during the regency, had found it 
easy to reassume that independence of which they had been 
deprived during the vigorous reign of Robert Bruce. They 
possessed a fleet, with which they harassed the mainland at 
pleasure; and Donald, who now held that insular lordship, 
ranked himself among the allies of England, and made peace 
and war as an independent sovereign. The regent had taken 
no steps to reduce this kinglet to obedience, and would prob- 
ably have shunned engaging in a task so arduous, had not 
Donald insisted upon pretensions to the earldom of Ross, 
occupying a great extent in the northwest of Scotland, in- 
cluding the large Isle of Skye, and lying adjacent to, and 
connected with, his own insular dominions. 

His claim stood thus : Euphemia, countess of Ross, had 
bestowed her hand upon Walter Lesley, who became in her 
right Earl of Ross. They had two children, Alexander, 
who succeeded his mother in the earldom, and a daughter, 
who was wedded to Donald of the Isles. Lesley being 
dead, his widow married Alexander, earl of Buchan, a 
brother of the regent ; but they had no issue. Alexander, 
earl of Ross, made a second connection with the royal 
family of Stewart, by marrying Isabel, the daughter of the 
Regent Albany, by whom he had one child, also named 
Euphemia. This lady had expressed her purpose of retir- 


ing into a convent ; and it was understood that she meant to 
resign the Earldom of Ross, which was her own undoubted 
right, in favor of her maternal uncle, Alexander, earl of 
Buchan, son of the regent by his second marriage. Such 
a resignation would have been destructive of Donald the 
Islander's title in right of his wife. 

Regarding Euphemia, retired into a cloister, as dead in 
law, the lord of the Isles determined to assert his right by 
arms. He led an army of ten thousand Hebrideans and 
Highlanders, headed by their chieftains, into Ross; suc- 
ceeded in seizing the castle of Dingwall ; and, not satisfied 
with this success, he continued his desolating march as far 
as the Garioch, threatening not only to plunder Aberdeen, 
but to ravage the low country of the Mearns and Angus as 
far as the margin of the Tay. 

The consequence of Donald's succeeding in his preten- 
sions must have been the loss to the regent of the earldom 
which he had destined to one of his own family, and most 
serious evils to the kingdom of Scotland, since it would have 
been a conquest by the savage over the civilized inhabitants, 
and must in the sequel have tended to the restoration of 
barbarism with all its evils. 

Alexander Stewart, earl of Mar, hastily assembled the 
chivalry of the Lowlands, to stop the desolating march of 
Donald and his army. This earl was himself an extraor- 
dinary person ; and his life was such a picture of those dis- 
orderly times that a slight sketch of it will better describe 
them than many pages of vague and general declamation. 
He was natural son to Alexander, earl of Buchan, second 
son of Robert II., the same turbulent chief who burned the 
Cathedral of Elgin ere yet his uncle Robert III. was crowned. 
Educated under such a sire, Alexander became himself the 
leader of a fierce band of Catherans, or Highland freebooters, 
and in that capacity aimed at raising himself by violence to 
rank and opulence. He proceeded thus : — Sir Malcolm Drum- 
mond of Stobhill, brother of Annabella, the queen of Robert 
III., had been surprised in his own castle by Highland ban- 


ditti, and died in their rude custody. Alexander Stewart 
was suspected of accession to this violence, and these sus- 
picions were strengthened when he suddenly appeared with 
a body of armed Catherans before the castle of Kildrummie, 
the residence of Isabel, the widow of the murdered Sir Mal- 
colm Drummond, countess of Mar in her own right. The 
castle was stormed, and the widowed countess, whether by 
persuasion or force, was induced to give her hand to Alex- 
ander Stewart, the leader of the band who took her mansion, 
and in all probability the author of her husband's imprison- 
ment and death. A few weeks after their marriage, he 
conceived the lady so reconciled to her lot that he ventured 
to repossess her in her castle, with the furniture, title-deeds, 
etc., and coming himself before the gates, humbly rendered 
her the keys, in token that the whole was at her disposal. 
The issue, which Stewart had probably been previously well 
assured of, was, that the lady received him kindly, and of 
her own free will, and the good favor which she bore to him, 
accepted of him as her husband, after which he took the title 
and assumed the power and possessions of the earldom of 
Mar in right of the Countess Isabel. 

Thus exalted above his trade of a robber, Stewart showed 
by his subsequent conduct that there was something noble 
in his mind corresponding with his elevation, which, though 
accomplished by such violent means, was not challenged 
during the feeble and corrupt regency of Albany. He dis- 
tinguished himself by the exercise of feats of chivalry, and 
engaged in many tournaments both in Scotland and Eng- 
land. At length his restless spirit carried him abroad in 
quest of fame. The Earl of Mar was distinguished and hon- 
ored for his wit, virtue, and bounty, at Paris, where he kept 
open house. Prom the court of Paris the earl passed to that 
of Burgundy. At this time the bishop of Liege, John of 
Bavaria, "a clerk without the external behavior of one," 
was in danger from a rebellion of his insurgent people, and 
the Duke of Burgundy was marching to his assistance. 
Finding himself in a situation where fame could be won, 


Mar, with a hundred Scottish lances, chiefly men of quality 
seeking renown and feats of battle, accompanied the duke's 
host. As the battle was about to join, the Earl of Mar, 
seeing two strong champions, armed with battle-axes, ad- 
vanced three spears' length before the army of Liege, com- 
manded his banner to halt, and calling to his squire, John 
of Ceres, to follow him, rushed on these two champions, 
who proved to be the leaders of the mutiny, Sir Henry Horn 
and his son, and slew them hand to hand. He did also great 
actions in the battle, and highly exalted his own name and 
the honor of his country. On his return to Scotland, the 
fire of his youth having now subsided, he became a firm sup- 
porter of good order, to which his early exploits had been so 
hostile, maintained some regular government of the northern 
counties, and was the leader to whom all men looked up as 
likely to arrest the course of the lord of the Isles. It was 
a singular chance, however, that brought against Donald, 
who might be called the king of the Gael, one whose youth 
had been distinguished as a leader of their plundering bands, 
and no less strange that the islander's claim to the earldom 
of Ross should be traversed by one whose title to that of Mar 
was so much more challengeable. 

The whole Lowland gentry of the Mearns and Aberdeen- 
shire rose in arms with the Earl of Mar. The town of 
Aberdeen sent out a gallant body of citizens under Sir Rob- 
ert Davidson, their provost; Ogilvy, the sheriff of Angus, 
brought up his own martial name and the principal gentle- 
men of that county. Yet, when both armies met at Harlaw, 
near the head of the Garioch, July 24, 1411, the army of 
Mar was considerably inferior to that of Donald of the Isles, 
under whose banner the love of arms and hope of plunder 
had assembled the M'Intoshes and other more northern clans. 
Being the flower of the respective races, the Gaelic and Saxon 
armies joined battle with the most inveterate rage and fury. 
About a thousand Highlanders fell, together with the two 
high chiefs of M'Intosh and M'Lean. Mar's loss did not 
exceed half the number, but comprehended many gentlemen, 
12 ^ Vol. I. 


as indeed his forces chiefly consisted of such. The provost 
of Aberdeen was killed, with so many citizens as to occasion 
a municipal regulation that the chief magistrate of that 
town, acting in that capacity, should go only a certain brief 
space from the precincts of the liberties. 

The battle of Harlaw might in some degree be considered 
as doubtful; but all the consequences of victory remained 
with the Lowlanders. The insular lord retreated after the 
action, unable to bring his discouraged troops to a second 
battle. The Regent Albany acted on the occasion with a 
spirit and promptitude which his government seldom evinced. 
He placed himself at the head of a new army, and occupied 
the disputed territory of Ross, where he took and garrisoned 
the castle of Dingwall. In the next summer, he assembled 
a fleet, threatened Donald of the Isles with an invasion of 
his territories, and compelled him to submit himself to the 
allegiance of Scotland, and give hostages for his obedience 
in future. The battle of Harlaw and its consequences were 
of the highest importance, since they might be said to decide 
the superiority of the more civilized regions of Scotland over 
those inhabited by the Celtic tribes, who remained almost 
as savage as their forefathers the Dalriads. The Highlands 
and Isles continued, indeed, to give frequent disturbance by 
their total want of subordination and perpetual incursions 
upon their neighbors; but they did not again venture to 
combine their forces for a simultaneous attack upon the 
Lowlands, with the hope of conquest and purpose of settle- 

Another mark of the advance of civilization was the 
erection of the University of Saint Andrew's, which was 
founded and endowed under the auspices of Henry "Ward- 
law, archbishop of Saint Andrew's, cardinal, and the pope's 
legate for Scotland, in 1411. 

In his intercourse with England the Regent Albany was 
very singularly situated. His most important negotiations 
with that power respected the fate of two prisoners — the one 
James, his nephew and prince, who had fallen, as already 


mentioned, into the hands of Henry IV. by a gross breach 
of the law of nations — the other being the regent's own son 
Murdach, earl of Fife, taken in the battle of Homildon. 
Respecting these captives the views of Albany were ex- 
tremely different. He was bound to make some show of 
a desire to have his sovereign James set at liberty, since 
not only the laws of common allegiance and family affection 
enjoined him to make an apparent exertion in his nephew's 
behalf, but the feudal constitutions, which imposed on the 
vassal the charge of ransoming his lord and superior when 
captive, rendered this in every point of view an inviolable 
obligation. At the same time his policy dictated to him to 
protract as long as possible the absence of the king of Scot- 
land, with whose return his own power as regent must neces- 
sarily terminate. For the liberation of his son Murdach, 
on the contrary, the regent naturally was induced to inter- 
fere with all the ardor and sincerity of paternal feeling. 
The nature of these negotiations, especially of the first, in 
which the Duke of Albany's professions and the tenor of his 
proposals must have borne an ostensible purport very differ- 
ent from his own wishes, naturally gave a degree of mystery 
and complexity to the proceedings of the regent and his 
intercourse with the court of England. The very manner 
in which James is described in these proceedings is ambig- 
uous, and does not convey or infer the quality of heir to the 
Scottish crown, the power of which was for the time exer- 
cised by Albany. He is termed "the son of our late lord 
King Robert," which is far from necessarily implying his 
title of heir of Scotland, since either a natural or a younger 
son of the late king might have been so termed. This stud- 
ied ambiguity seems to infer that Albany, whose ambition 
had dictated the murder of the Duke of Rothsay, was desir- 
ous to clear the way to the exclusive possession of the throne, 
which he only occupied at present as the delegate of another, 
whose rights, therefore, he was disposed to keep as much 
out of view as possible. Henry IV., whose own road to 
sovereignty had been by usurpation, was crafty enough 


to comprehend the feelings by which the Duke of Albany- 
was actuated, and took care to throw such obstructions in 
the way of James I.'s return to his dominions as might 
gratify the real wishes of the regent Duke of Albany without 
laying him under the necessity of speaking out too plainly 
his desire to protract his nephew's captivity. Another and 
a very curious subject of diplomatic discussion subsisted 
between Henry IV. and the regent of Scotland. 

There is a story told by Bower, or Bowmaker, the con- 
tinuator of Fordun's Chronicle, which has hitherto been 
treated as fabulous by the more modern historians. This 
story bears that Richard II., generally supposed to have 
been murdered at Pontefract Castle, either by the "fierce 
hand of Sir Piers of Exton," or by the slower and more 
cruel death of famine, did in reality make his escape by 
subtlety from his place of confinement ; that he fled in dis- 
guise to the Scottish isles, and was recognized in the domin- 
ions of the lord of the Isles by a certain fool or jester who 
had been familiar in the court of England, as being no other 
than the dethroned king of that kingdom. Bower proceeds 
to state that the person of Richard II. thus discovered was 
delivered up by the lord of the Isles to the Lord Montgomery, 
and by him presented to Robert III., by whom he was hon- 
orably and beseemingly maintained during all the years 
of that prince's life. After the death of Robert III., this 
Richard is stated to have been supported in magnificence, 
and even in royal state, by the Duke of Albany, to have 
at length died in the Castle of Stirling, and to have been 
interred in the church of the friars there, at the north angle 
of the altar. This singular legend is also attested by another 
contemporary historian, Winton, the prior of Lochleven. 
He tells the story with some slight differences, particularly 
that the fugitive and deposed monarch was recognized by 
an Irish lady, the wife of a brother of the lord of the Isles, 
that had seen him in Ireland— that being charged with being 
King Richard, he denied it — that he was placed in custody 
of the Lord of Montgomery, and afterward of the Lord of 


Cumbernauld — and, finally, that he was long under the care 
of the regent Duke of Albany. "But whether he was king 
or not, few," said the chronicler of Lochleven, "knew with 
certainty. The mysterious personage exhibited little devo- 
tion, would seldom incline to hear mass, and bore himself 
like one half wild or distracted." Serle also, yeoman of the 
robes to Richard, was executed, because, coming from Scot- 
land to England, he reported that Richard was alive in the 
latter country. This legend, of so much importance to the 
history of both North and South Britain, has been hitherto 
treated as fabulous. But the researches and industry of the 
latest historian of Scotland have curiously illustrated this 
point, and shown, from evidence collected in the original 
records, that this captive, called Richard II., actually lived 
many years in Scotland, and was supported at the public 
expense of that country. 

It is then now clear, that, to counterbalance the advan- 
tage which Henry IV. possessed over the regent of Scotland 
by having in his custody the person of James, and conse- 
quently the power of putting an end to the delegated govern- 
ment of Albany whenever he should think fit to set the young 
king at liberty; Albany, on his side, had in his keeping the 
person of Richard II., or of some one strongly resembling 
him, a prisoner whose captivity was not of less importance 
to the tranquillity of Henry IV. , who at no period possessed 
his usurped throne in such security as to view with indiffer- 
ence a real or pretended resuscitation of the deposed Richard. 

It would be too tedious, were it possible, for us to trace 
distinctly the complicated negotiations between the king and 
regent. Each conscious of possessing an advantage over the 
other, and at the same time feeling a corresponding encum- 
brance on his own part, endeavored, like a skilful wrestler, 
to take advantage of the hold which he possessed over his 
adversary, while at the same time he felt the risk of himself 
receiving the fall which he designed to give his opponent. 
These two crafty persons, standing in this singular relation 
to each other, and each conscious of defects in his own title, 


negotiated constantly, without being able to bring then- 
treaties either to a final close or an open rupture. 

The death of Henry IV. and the accession of Henry V. 
did not greatly alter the situation of the two countries, but 
were so far of advantage to Albany that he obtained the 
liberation of his son Murdach, earl of Fife, in exchange for 
the young Earl of Northumberland, the son of the celebrated 
Hotspur. This youth had been sent into Scotland by his 
grandfather for safety, when about to display his banner 
against Henry IV. of England. Whatever benefit the cap- 
tive monarch of Scotland might have gained by such a host- 
age as the young Percy being lodged in the hands of his 
subjects was lost to him by the regent accomplishing the 
exchange between the Earl of Northumberland and his 
own son. 

In 1417, while Henry V. was engaged in France, the 
Regent Albany, supposing that the greater part of the En- 
glish forces were over-seas, gathered a large force, and 
besieged at once both Roxburgh Castle and the town of 
Berwick. A much superior army of English advanced 
under the Dukes of Exeter and Bedford, and compelled 
the regent of Scotland to raise both the sieges, with much 
loss of reputation, as the Scots bestowed on his ill-advised 
enterprise the name of the Foul Raid, that is, the dishonor- 
able inroad. 

The war, which seemed for some time to languish, re- 
ceived some interest from a daring exploit of Halyburton of 
Fastcastle, who surprised the castle of Wark, situated upon 
the Tweed. Robert Ogle, however, recovered it for the En- 
glish, by taking Halyburton by surprise in his turn, when, 
scaling the castle, he put him and his followers to the sword. 

In a parliament in the year 1419 the Scottish estates 
agreed to send the Dauphin of France, now hard pressed 
by the victorious Henry, a considerable body of auxiliary 
troops, under the command of the regent's second son, 
John Stewart, earl of Buchan. The history of the ex- 
pedition belongs to the next chapter. 


This was the last act of Albany's administration whioh 
merits historical notice. After having governed Scotland 
as prime minister of Robert I. and Robert II., and as regent 
for James I., for fifty years, he died at the age of eighty 
and upward. The Duke of Albany as a statesman was an 
unprincipled politician, and, as a soldier, of suspected cour- 
age. As a ruler he had his merits. He was wise and pru- 
dent in his government, regular in the administration of 
justice, and merciful in the infliction of punishment. If 
Scotland made no great figure under his administration, 
he contrived to secure her against any considerable loss. 
His contemporaries have recorded with much admiration 
Albany's liberality to the Church, and his generosity to 
the nobles. The exercise of bounty in both instances was 
politically so essential to the existence of his government 
that we must hesitate in the present age to record his mu- 
nificence as virtue. Were it not for the cold-blooded and 
detestable murder of his nephew, the Duke of Rothsay, 
which stamps his character with atrocity, ambition and its 
temptations might, perhaps, be in some degree the apology, 
as it certainly was the cause, of the faults and defects of his 



Duke Murdach's Regency — His Character — A Pestilence in Britain 
— The Conduct of the Regent's Family — Treaty for the Libera- 
tion of James I. — He is restored to his Kingdom — Scottish 
Auxiliaries in France — Character of James I. — Execution of 
Duke Murdach and his Friends — Disorders in the Highlands 
repressed — League with France, and Contract of the Scottish 
Princess with the Dauphin — War with the Lord of the Isles, 
and his Submission — Acts of the Legislature — Donald Balloch 
— Treaty with England — Proceedings toward the Earl of March 
— War with England — Parliament of 1436 — Conspiracy against 
James — He is Murdered — Fate of the Regicides 


URDACH, earl of Fife, already repeatedly named in 
this history, succeeded to his father in his title as 
Duke of Albany, and his high office as regent of 
Scotland, but neither to his lofty ambition nor to the quali- 
ties of craft and cruelty which supported it. He is every- 
where described as a man of an easy and slothful character, 
who, far from having the boldness and prudence necessary 
to rule so fierce a people as the Scots, seems to have been 
unable to exert the authority necessary for the government 
of his own family. 

The evils which attended the feeble and remiss govern- 
ment of this second Duke of Albany were aggravated by a 
public misfortune, which no wisdom or energy could have 
prevented, but which, nevertheless, added to the unpopu- 
larity of the regent, it being the custom of the common 
people to censure their rulers as much for misfortunes aris- 
ing purely out of their bad fortune as for those which flow 
directly from their misconduct. A contagious disease, re- 
sembling a fever and dysentery, wasted the land universally, 


and cut off many victims. Among other distinguished per- 
sons who died of this disorder were the Earl of Orkney, 
Lord Douglas of Dalkeith, and George, earl of March, re- 
markable for the versatility with which he changed sides 
between England and Scotland, and not less for the good 
fortune which attended his banner, on whatever side it was 

Murdach, duke of Albany, such as we have described 
him, became in the space of five years weary of exercising 
an administration, which was popular with no man, over a 
disorderly country, wasted by pestilence and divided by the 
feuds of the nobility. He determined to rid himself of the 
responsibility of the regency, although he must have been 
internally conscious that such a power, though difficult and 
unsafe to wield, could not be resigned without much danger. 
It was, perhaps, a sense of the perils to which he might be 
exposed, if called by the king to account for many years 
of misrule, his father's as well as his own, which made him 
suspend his resolution till 1423, when his decision is said by 
tradition to have been precipitated by an act of insolent 
insubordination on the part of Walter, his eldest son. The 
regent Murdach had a falcon which he highly valued, and 
which his son Walter had often asked of him in vain. Exas- 
perated at repeated refusal, the insolent young man snatched 
the bird as it sat on his father's wrist, and killed it by twist- 
ing round its neck. Deeply hurt at this brutal act of disre- 
spect, Murdach dropped the ominous words, "Since you will 
render me no honor or obedience, I will bring home one who 
well knows how to make all of us obey him." From this 
time he threw into the long-protracted negotiation for the 
freedom of James a sincerity which speedily brought it to 
a conclusion. 

Henry V. being now dead, John, duke of Bedford, pro- 
tector of England, was defending with much skill and pru- 
dence the acquisitions which his brother's valor had made 
in France. Occupied with this task, he was willing to use a 
liberal policy toward Scotland ; to restore their lawful king, 


bo long unjustly detained; having formed, if possible, such 
an alliance between him and some English lady of rank as 
might maintain in the young monarch's mind the feelings 
of predilection toward England which were the natural con- 
sequence of a long residence in that country and familiarity 
with its laws and manners. He thus hoped at once to en- 
large James, to make a friend of him, and to secure England 
against further interference on the part of Scotland in the 
wars of France, where the army of auxiliaries, under the 
Earl of Buchan, had produced a marked effect upon the last 
campaigns. And here, before proceeding further, the reader 
must be made acquainted with the exploits and the fortunes 
of the body of Scotsmen sent to support the dauphin, in the 
extremity of his distress, against the English arms. 

The little army consisted of from five to seven thousand 
men, among whom were numbered many lords, knights, 
and barons, the flower of the Scottish chivalry, who gladly 
embraced an opportunity of acquiring fame in arms under a 
leader so distinguished as Buchan. The small number of the 
Scots made them willing to submit themselves to the rules 
of discipline ; and whenever that leading point could be at- 
tained, their natural courage has displayed itself to advan- 
tage. Their first exploit was at Bauge, a village in Anjou, 
where they lay along with a small body of Frenchmen. The 
Duke of Clarence, brother to Henry V. of England, had 
been detached to invade that province, and had just sat 
down to dinner when he learned that he was in the vicinity 
of the Scottish auxiliaries. "Upon them, gentlemen!" said 
the fiery prince, springing from table: "let the men-at-arms 
instantly mount and follow me." He made a rapid march 
to surprise the Scots; but the church of Bauge was garri- 
soned by some French, who made a gallant defence, giving 
the Scots time to get themselves into order on the opposite 
bank of the River Coesnon. Bent on taking them at advan- 
tage, Clarence, at the head of the men-at-arms, rode fiercely 
forward to possess himself of the bridge. On the other side, 
the Scottish knights galloped down to defend the pass. Sir 


William of Swinton distinguished the English prince by the 
coronet of gold and gems which he wore over his helmet; 
and meeting him in full course unhorsed and wounded him. 
As Clarence strove to regain his steed, the Earl of Buchan 
struck him down with a mace, and slew him. Many brave 
English knights were slain: the Earl of Kent, the Lords 
Grey and Ross, with fourteen hundred men-at-arms, were 
left on the field. The Earls of Huntingdon and Somerset 
were made prisoners. 

In reward of such distinguished service, the dauphin, 
now king of France by the title of Charles VII. , created 
Buchan high constable of France, and conferred upon 
Stewart of Darnley the lordship of Aubigny in France. 
Desirous of increasing the forces by which he had acquired 
so much fame and honor, the Earl of Buchan returned to 
Scotland to obtain recruits. He found that his father-in- 
law, the Earl of Douglas, with the license assumed by men 
of far less importance than himself during the feeble gov- 
ernment of the regency, was then engaged in a treaty with 
Henry V. of England, whom he was to serve with two 
hundred horse and as many infantry, for the stipend of 
two hundred pounds a year. The influence of Buchan 
disturbed this agreement; and Douglas, who seems to have 
conducted himself during the whole matter like an inde- 
pendent prince, instead of joining the English, accepted of 
the Duchy of Touraine, offered to him on the part of Charles 
VII. of France, and engaged to bring to his aid an auxiliary 
force of five thousand men. 

He came accordingly ; but the bad fortune which procured 
him the name of Tyne-man (Lose-man) continued to wait on 
his banners. The Scots sustained a severe defeat at Crevan. 
They had formed the blockade of that place ; but were sur- 
prised by the Earl of Salisbury, who raised the siege, by 
defeating them with a slaughter of nine hundred men. 

A battle yet more fatal to the Scots took place near the 
town of Verneuil, 17th August, 1424. It was a general 
action, risked by the king of France for the relief of Yvry, 


besieged by the English. The Duke of Bedford, who com- 
manded the English, and whom Douglas had called in de- 
rision John with the Leaden Sword, advanced to meet the 
enemy, and sent a herald to inform the Scottish earl he 
was coming to drink wine and revel with him. The Earl 
of Douglas returned for answer, he should be most welcome, 
and that he had come from Scotland to France on purpose 
to carouse in his company. Under these terms a challenge to 
combat was understood to be given and accepted. Douglas, 
desirous to draw up his forces on advantageous ground, pro- 
posed to halt, and to await the English attack on the spot 
where the herald found him. The Viscount of Narbonne, 
the French general, insisted on advancing: the Scots were 
compelled to follow their allies, and came into battle out of 
breath and out of order. The consequences were most ca- 
lamitous; Douglas and Buchan fell, and with them most of 
their countrymen of rank and quality, so that the auxiliary 
army of Scots might be considered as almost annihilated. 
The corps of Scots, long maintained as the French king's 
bodyguard, is said to have been originally composed of the 
relics of the field of Verneuil. And thus concluded the wars 
of the Scots in France, fortunate that the nation was cured, 
though by a most bitter remedy, of the fatal rage of sell- 
ing their swords and their blood as mercenaries in foreign 
service; a practice which drains a people of the best and 
bravest, who e ? Jight to reserve their courage for its defence, 
and converts them into common gladiators, whose purchased 
valor is without fame to themselves or advantage to their 
country. Individuals frequently continued to join the French 
standard, in quest of fame or preferment ; but, after the bat- 
tle of Verneuil, no considerable army or body of troops from 
Scotland was sent over to France. 

We return, after this digression, to consider the condition 
of Scotland, now more hopeful than it had been for a length 
of time, since she was about to exchange the rule of a sloth- 
ful, timid; and inefficient regent for that of a king in the 
flower of his age, and possessed of a natural disposition and 


cultivated talents equally capable to grace and to guard the 

The terms on which the treaty for the freedom of James 
I. was at last fixed were, on the whole, liberal rather than 
otherwise. The English demanded, and the Scots agreed 
to pay, forty thousand pounds sterling — not as ransom, as 
the use of that obnoxious phrase could not apply to the case 
of an innocent boy taken without defence in time of truce, 
but to defray what was delicately termed the expenses of 
Prince James's support and education. Six years were 
allowed for the discharge of the sum by half-yearly pay- 
ments. It was a part of the contract that the Scottish king 
should marry an English lady of rank ; and his choice fell 
upon Joanna, niece of Richard II. by the mother's side, and 
by her father, John, duke of Somerset, the granddaughter 
of the Duke of Lancaster, called John of Gaunt. To this 
young lady, so nearly connected with the English royal 
family, the Scottish captive had been attached for some 
time, and had celebrated her charms in poetry of no mean 
order, although defaced by the rudeness of the obsolete lan- 
guage. They were married in London; and a discharge for 
ten thousand pounds, the fourth part of the stipulated ran- 
som, was presented to the Scottish king, as the dowry or 
portion of his bride. The royal pair were then sent down 
to Scotland with all respect and dignity, and Murdach, the 
late regent, had the honor to induct his royal cousin into the 
throne of his forefathers. 

The natural talents of James I., both mental and cor- 
poreal, were of the highest quality; and if Henry IV. had 
taken an unjust and cruel advantage of the accident which 
threw the prince into his hands, by detaining him as a pris- 
oner, he had made the only possible amends, by causing the 
most sedulous attention to be paid to his education. In per- 
son, the king of Scotland was of low stature ; but so strongly 
and compactly built as to excel in the games of chivalry, and 
all the active accomplishments of the time. He was no less 
distinguished by mental gifts, highly cultivated by the best 


teachers that England could produce. He was, according 
to the learning of the day, an accomplished scholar, an ex- 
cellent poet, a musician of skill, intimately acquainted with 
the science as practiced in Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, 
which are described as being then the principal seats of 
national music, ' with a decided taste for the fine arts of archi- 
tecture, painting, and horticulture. Nothing, therefore, 
could be more favorable than his personal character. As 
a prince, his education in England had taught him political 
views which he could hardly have learned in his own rude 
and ignorant realm. His ardent thirst of knowledge made 
the acquisition of every species of art fit to be learned by 
persons of his condition not only tolerable, however laborious, 
but a source of actual pleasure. He found Scotland in the 
utmost disorder, and divided among a set of haughty barons, 
whom the wars of David II. 's reign, the feebleness of those 
of his two successors, and the culpable indulgence of two 
regencies, had rendered almost independent of the crown. 
To curb and subdue this stern aristocracy, and to secure 
general good order, by re-establishing the legitimate au- 
thority of the crown, was a difficult and most dangerous 
task; but James embarked and persevered in it with a 
courage which amounted almost to rashness. 

Among various laws for the equal administration of jus- 
tice, for obliging the nobility to ride with retinues no larger 
than they could maintain, for discontinuing the oppressive 
exaction of free quarters, and for requiring that the Scottish 
youth should be trained to archery, there were two measures 
adopted by James which were highly unpopular. The first 
was an inquiry into the extent of the crown lands under 
the last three monarchs. The object of this was to examine 
into the dilapidation made of the crown property, during the 
reigns of Robert II. and III., and the two regencies of the 

1 The Irish were said to excel in two instruments, the harp and the 
tabor; the Scottish in three, the harp, the tabor, and the chorus {i.e., 
the cor or horn); the Welsh also delighted in three kinds of music, that 
of the pipes, the harp, and the chorus or horn. 


House of Albany. But by these preparations to reassert 
the right of the king to the lands which had been alienated 
by weak monarchs and unfaithful viceroys, James excited 
among the people at large doubts and jealousies concerning 
the stability of property, which gave rise to general dissatis- 
faction. With these was combined the imposition of a large 
subsidy for raising the sum due to England by the late treaty, 
of which it is only necessary to say that it was a tax, and 
was therefore unpopular; and the more so, as it fell on a 
poor country. 

The records of this reign being almost entirely lost, we 
do not know by what means further than his own conscious- 
ness of talents, and the command over others which such 
consciousness necessarily inspires, the young king was able 
to enforce his authority in a kingdom where a large party 
were leagued together by mutual interest, to support the 
usurpations which had been made on the crown during the 
space of more than twenty years, in which time wrongful 
encroachment had attained by prescription the appearance 
of lawful right. We are only aware that James had not 
been on the throne a full year ere he began to visit on the 
House of Albany the wrongs he had sustained during his 
long imprisonment, protracted through their means, and 
the dilapidation and usurpation exercised by them, their 
favorites and allies, over the rights and possessions of the 

Walter, the son of Duke Murdach, whose brutal insolence 
to his father had suggested to the old man the idea of bring- 
ing home the lawful heir, or at least had decided him to 
adopt that measure so much fraught with hazard to his 
family, was laid under arrest shortly after the king's return. 
The Earl of Lennox, father-in-law to Duke Murdach, and 
Sir Robert Grahame, a man of peculiarly fierce and daring 
temper, were next made prisoners. But on the 12th March, 
1425, the king found himself, by whatever means, powerful 
enough to arrest, during the sitting of a parliament at Perth, 
Murdach, the late regent, his second son Alexander, ths 


Earls of Douglas, Angus, and March, with twenty other 
persons of the highest rank, among whom are the formidable 
names of Alexander Lyndsay of Glenesk, Hepburn of Hales, 
Hay of Yester, Walter Halyburton, Walter Ogilvy, Stewart 
of Rosyth, Alexander of Seton-Gordon, Ogilvy of Auchter- 
house, John the Red Stewart of Dundonald, David Murray 
of Gask, Hay of Errol, constable of Scotland, Scrimgeour, 
the constable of Dundee, Irving of Drum, Herbert Maxwell 
of Carlaverock, Herbert Herries of Terreagles, Gray of 
Foulis, Cunninghame of Kilmauris, Ramsay of Dalwolsey, 
Crichton of Crichton. 

In perusing this list of ancient and powerful names, we 
are alike surprised to see so many barons, whose estates 
and interests lay separated over various parts of Scotland, 
involved in the same general accusation, and at the courage 
of the sovereign, who dared to apply the rigor of law to such 
a number of his powerful subjects at the same time. The 
prisoners were probably selected as the principal allies of the 
Albany family, or perhaps as those who, having shared most 
deeply in the spoils distributed during the regencies, might 
be most tempted to defend its usurpations. The specific 
charge against the imprisoned barons was probably their 
having evaded compliance with the royal command to ex- 
hibit their titles to their lands. But, though so many were 
included, it was at the family of Albany only that vengeance 
was aimed. The blow was struck so suddenly that the only 
one of the devoted family who had time to take precaution 
for his safety, or offer resistance, was James Stewart, the 
youngest son of Duke Murdach. He made his escape to 
the west of Scotland, returned by a sudden incursion, burned 
Dumbarton, and slew the king's uncle, the Red Stewart of 
Dundonald; but, closely pressed by the king's command, 
was obliged to fly to Ireland. 

Murdach and his two sons, with their grandfather by 
the mother's side, the Earl of Lennox, were brought to trial 
under cognizance of an assize or jury of nobles, in which the 
allies and supporters of the king were mingled with the 


favorers and allies of the House of Albany in such a propor- 
tion as to give an appearance of impartiality to the trial, 
though the party of royalists was undoubtedly adequate to 
command the verdict, which, in Scotland, is decided by a 
majority of voices. 

The nature of the charge brought against these high- 
descended and late powerful persons is unknown. There 
could be no want of instances in which the usurpation of 
the prisoners had amounted to acts of high treason. The 
king himself was present at the trial, with the royal em- 
blems of dignity. The fatal verdict of guilty was pronounced 
against them all, and they were executed on the castle hill 
at Stirling, upon the little artificial mound called Hurley 
Hacket. From this elevated position, Duke Murdach might 
cast his last look upon the fertile and romantic territory of 
Monteith, which formed part of his family estate, and dis- 
tinguish in the distance the stately castle of Doune, which 
emulated the magnificence of palaces, and had been his 
own viceregal residence. Among the multitude who beheld 
this melancholy spectacle, a sense of the mutability of human 
affairs, and the interest naturally due to fallen greatness, 
drowned recollection of the noble criminals' faults in sym- 
pathy for their misfortunes. Duke Robert, the great offender 
of the House of Albany, had been summoned long before to a 
higher tribunal ; and the imbecility of Duke Murdach, who 
only inherited at most, and in fact renounced the usurpations 
of his father, attracted commiseration rather than abhor- 
rence. The goodly persons of his two sons drowned in the 
minds of the vulgar recollection of their vices and follies j 
and from the venerable appearance of the Earl of Lennox, 
a man in his eightieth year, he seemed too near the grave 
already to be precipitated into it by the hand of the execu- 
tioner. The purpose of the king seems, in fact, to have failed 
in a great measure. He meant to strike a wholesome terror; 
but the punishment of so many nobles, his own nearest rela- 
tions, excited in some bosoms hatred against the vindictive 
spirit by which it seemed to be dictated, and, in general, 


a sense that such a severe animadversion upon crimes long 
past savored too much of rigor to be true policy. These 
unfavorable feelings were exaggerated in the eyes of such 
as conceived that the monarch had the selfish prospect of 
repairing the royal revenue by the forfeiture of the estates 
of these wealthy criminals. 

Perhaps, like many reformers, this excellent prince, for 
such he must certainly be esteemed, fell into an error com- 
mon to those who, seeing acutely the extent of a rooted evil, 
attempt too hastily and too violently to remedy it by instant 
eradication. It is in the political world as in the human 
frame; dislocations which have been of long standing, and 
to which the neighboring parts of the system have accommo- 
dated themselves, cannot be brought back to their proper 
state without time, patience, and gentleness. It is true, the 
long course of license permitted by the loose government of 
the House of Albany had subjected many hundreds, nay, 
thousands of individuals to the penalties of the law; but it 
cannot escape notice that, while a few severe examples are 
in such a case necessary for the purpose of impressing a 
respect for justice, the extending capital punishments to 
a large circle disgusts the public mind, assumes the form 
of vengeance rather than legal severity, and procures for 
malefactors an interest in their fate capable of altogether 
destroying the great purpose of punishment, by causing men 
to hate instead of respecting its motives. If, as historians 
affirm, James I. actually adjudged to death, within the first 
two years of his reign, to the number of three thousand of 
his subjects, for offences committed during his imprisonment 
in England, he certainly merited that the reproof used by 
Mecaenas to Augustus — "surge tandem carnifex" — ought 
to have interrupted his judicial butchery. 

James I. might be more easily justified in teaching, even 
by strict examples of severity, the respect due to the royal 
person, the source of law and justice, which had fallen into 
contempt during the feeble regency of Duke Murdach, than 
in prosecution of acts of treason committed when there was 


no king in the land. "We have the following instance of his 
strictness on such occasions: A nobleman of high rank, and 
nearly related to the crown, forgot himself so far as to strike 
a youth within the king's hall. James commanded that the 
hand with which the offence had been given should on the 
instant be extended on the council-table, and the young man 
who had received the blow was ordered to stand by with the 
edge of a large knife applied to the wrist of the offender, 
ready to sever it upon a signal given. In this posture the 
culprit remained for more than an hour in agonizing expecta- 
tion of the blow being struck, while the queen and her ladies, 
the prelates, and the clergy, prostrated themselves on the 
floor, imploring mercy for the criminal. The king at length 
dispensed with the punishment, but banished the offender for 
some time from his court and presence. 

In 1427, besides repressing the general habits of violence 
and devastation in the Lowlands of Scotland, James had also 
to reduce to his obedience the Highland chiefs, who during 
the impunity of the last regency had thrown off all respect 
to the mandates of the crown, forgotten the terrors of the 
Harlaw, and might be considered as having returned to 
their pristine independence and barbarism. The king, with 
a view to remedy these evils, built or repaired the strong 
tower of Inverness, at which place he held a parliament. 
Alexander, the lord of the Isles, and his mother, the Count- 
ess of Ross, with almost all the Highland chiefs, many of 
whom could carry into the field at least two thousand men, 
attended upon this assembly. The king invited them sepa- 
rately to visit his castle, where he had nearly fifty of them 
placed in arrest at the same moment; James in the mean- 
while applauding his own dexterity in an extempore verse, 
of which the Latin only survives. 1 Two leaders of tribes, 

1 Ad turrim for tern ducamus caute cohortem; 
Per Christi sortem, meruerunt hi quia mortem. 

Which may be thus translated: 

To donjon tower let this rude troop be driven; 
For death they merit, by the cross of heaven. 


Alexander M'Reury de Garmoran and John M 'Arthur, as 
more powerful, or more insolent, or more guilty than the 
others, were beheaded for acts of robbery and oppression; 
and to render his justice impartial, James Campbell was 
hanged for the murder of John, a former lord of the Isles. 

In the midst of these examples of punishment, James was 
clement in his treatment of Alexander of the Isles, the suc- 
cessor of Donald, who was worsted at the Harlaw, and only 
remonstrating with him upon the necessity of his discontinu- 
ing his family habits of lawless turbulence, he dismissed him 
upon his promise to abstain from such in future. His mother 
was detained as a hostage for his faith. Alexander, how- 
ever, no sooner returned to his own territories than he raised 
his banner, and collected a host from the Isles and Highland 
mainland to the amount of ten thousand men, with which he 
invaded the continent, and burned the town of Inverness, 
where he had lately sustained the affront of an arrest. King 
James assembled an army and hastened northward, where 
his prompt arrival alarmed the invaders. Two powerful 
tribes, the Clan Chattan and - Clan Cameron, deserted the 
lord of the Isles, and ranged themselves under the royal 
banner. Weakened and dispirited, the Highland forces sus- 
tained a severe defeat, and the lord of the Isles humbled 
himself to ask peace and forgiveness. It was not, however, 
granted till he had performed a feudal penance for his breach 
of allegiance. On the eve of St. Augustine's festival, he ap- 
peared in full congregation, before the high altar of Holyrood 
Church, at Edinburgh, attired only in his shirt and drawers, 
and there upon his knees presented the hilt of his naked 
sword to the king, he himself holding it by the point. In 
this attitude of submission the island chief humbly con- 
fessed his offences, and deprecated their deserved punish- 
ment. The capital penalty, which he had deservedly in- 
curred, was exchanged for a long imprisonment in Tantallon 

The captivity of the lord of the Isles did not prevent 
further disturbance from these unruly people. — Choosing 


for chieftain Donald, called Ballach or the Freckled, the 
cousin -german of their imprisoned lord, who exercised his 
power during his captivity, the islanders again invaded 
Lochaber with an army of wild Catherans. Encountering 
the Earls of Mar and of Caithness, the Celtic chief totally 
defeated them with much slaughter. Donald therefore re- 
turned to the islands with victory. But the king making 
great preparations to revenge this invasion, the Highland 
chiefs who had been accessory to it became afraid of the 
royal power, to which the activity of James had given such 
additional respect, and not only submitted themselves to 
their sovereign, but offered him their services against Don- 
ald Ballach, whose overbearing insolence they alleged had 
been the cause of their error. Thus deserted by those who 
had been accessory to his crime, Donald Ballach was forced 
to fly to Ireland, where he was shortly after slain, to pro- 
pitiate the Scottish king, and his head sent to the court of 

James took other and less violent methods of confirming 
the right of the Scottish crown, by accommodating with the 
Norwegians, who had heavy claims for the long arrears of 
an annuity, stipulated to them in the treaty with Alexander 
III., as the consideration for ceding their right over the 
Hebrides, but which the continued misfortunes of Scotland 
had prevented from being regularly paid. 

In another material point James I. prosecuted his plan 
of lowering the power of the nobility, and rendering them 
more dependent on the crown ; and it is only by catching 
at such casual sources of information that we can form a 
fair estimate of the schemes which he had formed or the 
means by which he proposed to execute them. "We have 
repeatedly seen the powerful Earls of March, who lay on 
the eastern frontiers of Scotland, renounce and return to the 
allegiance of that country at their pleasure ; and render their 
castle of Dunbar at one time a rampart against the English, 
at another a place of refuge to the retreating monarchs of 
that kingdom. Whether the existing Earl of March had 


been recently engaged in any of those unlawful and treason- 
able practices which had distinguished his family in former 
generations, or whether he was only guilty of possessing the 
power to be dangerous, we cannot well discern ; but he was 
confined to the castle of Edinburgh as a prisoner, and his 
castle of Dunbar, being taken possession of by the king, was 
placed in the keeping of Adam Hepburn of Hales. The 
legal reasons assigned were, that the forfeiture of the earldom 
of March having been decreed, on account of the repeated 
treason of George, earl of March, the power of the regent 
Duke of Albany was insufficient to disjoin them from the 
crown, to which they had been united, and to confer them 
on the son of the traitor. It was not, however, the purpose 
of the king to act with rigor or injustice toward the present 
earl, even in depriving him of possessions which afforded 
him a power liable to be abused. He closed the transaction 
by instantly conferring on the late Earl of March the earl- 
dom of Buchan, which, by the death of the gallant high 
constable of France at the battle of Verneuil, already men- 
tioned, had reverted to the crown. By this policy James 
hoped to convert a powerful family, from fickle and uncer- 
tain borderers, into more faithful inland vassals. 

Almost all the proceedings of James I. were directed to 
the same general end — that of diminishing the power of the 
nobles, which occasioned the discords in the state, and the 
general oppression of the subjects, and proportionally aug- 
menting and extending the influence of the crown. This 
comprehended, indeed, the selfish purpose of elevating the 
king himself to a more absolute superiority in the state ; but 
as, in that stage of society, the royal authority was the best 
means by which the general peace and good order of the 
country at large could be preserved, James may be consid- 
ered as having pursued his favorite object with humane and 
patriotic views, directed more to the benefit of Scotland than 
his own aggrandizement. 

By an act of parliament prohibiting all bonds and leagues, 
by which the nobility used to bind themselves to take each 


other's part against the rest of the community, or against 
the crown itself, and declaring that associations which had 
been made for such dangerous and unlawful purposes were 
not binding, James endeavored to deprive these petty princes 
of the power of uniting themselves together against his au- 
thority. Great pains were also taken to assure the regular 
distribution of government by the royal courts of justice, 
with the assurance that if there were any "poor creature" 
who, for want of skill and money, could not have his cause 
properly stated, a skilful advocate should be engaged for 
him at the expense of the crown. 

Another law against leasing-making imposed the doom 
of death on the devisers of such falsehoods as were calcu- 
lated to render the king's government odious to the people. 
The punishment, however severe, was not, perhaps, ill suited 
to that time, when there was so little communication between 
different parts of the country, and one province knew so little 
of what was happening in another that a rumor of any un- 
popular measure or oppressive act on the part of the crown 
might put a part of the kingdom into open rebellion before 
it could be refuted or explained. In after-times, the statute, 
being applied even to confidential communications between 
man and man, became the source of gross and iniquitous 

In relation to foreign policy, James I. appears to have 
supported his place with dignity between the contending 
powers of France and England. Like his predecessors, he 
preferred the alliance of the former kingdom, as less tempted 
to abuse his confidence ; and his friendship was thought of 
such importance that Charles of France was induced to 
cement it by choosing the bride of his son the dauphin, 
afterward Louis XL, in the person of Margaret, eldest 
daughter of the king of Scotland. The bridal took place 
in 1436, eight years after the contract. The honor which 
attended this match was great; but the bride's happiness 
was far from being secured in proportion. Though amiable 
and accomplished, she was neglected and contemned by her 


husband, one of the most malignant men who ever lived. 
She was basely calumniated also and slandered by his un- 
worthy courtiers, and appears to have felt the imputed ig- 
nominy so sensitively that the acuteness of her feelings at 
length cost the princess her life. 

As the affairs of the English were declining in France, 
from the enthusiasm universally awakened by the appear- 
ance of the Maid of Orleans on the scene, an English am- 
bassador was sent to Scotland, in the person of Lord Scroope, 
with instructions to gain James, if possible, from his French 
alliance. England proposed terms which had not been lately 
named in negotiation between the countries. The offers were 
a sure and perpetual peace, with the restitution to Scotland 
of the castle of Roxburgh, the town of Berwick, together 
with Cumberland and Westmoreland, as far southward as 
Here Cross on Stanmoor. The Scottish historians say that 
the English were not sincere in these proposals. If they 
were, James could not have entertained them without a 
formal breach of his treaty with France. The clergy inter- 
fered to support this obstacle, with the important additional 
objection that the contract with France had obtained an irre- 
fragable, and in some degree sacred, character, by its hav- 
ing received the sanction of the pope, and therefore could 
not be infringed without a high crime. In the course of the 
scholastic discussion which arose on the question, what effect 
the approbation of the Roman pontiff conferred on a contract 
solemnly entered into between two independent monarchs, 
the disputants lost sight of the English propositions, the most 
honorable which Scotland had received from her proud neigh- 
bor since the arms of Bruce extorted from her the treaty of 
Northampton, and the negotiation fell to the ground. 

It may be easily conceived that the unwonted boldness 
with which James carried on his favorite measures — resum- 
ing grants made in favor of the most powerful nobles — alter- 
ing at his will the seat of their power, as in the case of the 
Earl of March — interfering with and controlling their juris- 
diction over their vassals — at times imprisoning the most 


powerful of them, as he did the Earl of Douglas, his own 
nephew — and substituting the authority of the crown for 
that of the vassals, by whose greatness it had been eclipsed 
— was regarded with very different feelings by two classes 
of his subjects. "With the great mass of the nation James 
was popular; for the people felt the protection arising from 
the power of the crown, which could seldom have any temp- 
tation to oppress those in middle life, and willingly took ref- 
uge under it to escape from the subordinate tyranny of the 
numerous barons, whose castles crowned every cliff, and for 
whose rapacity or violence no object was too inconsiderable. 
It was different with the nobility, who felt acutely that, as 
the king's importance arose in the national scale, their own 
was gradually sinking. They regarded the quantity of blood 
which had been shed by James's command less as a sacrifice 
to justice than as the means by which the sovereign indulged 
his rapacity after forfeitures, and what they alleged to be his 
vindictive hatred to the nobility. Many of the victims who 
had suffered the penalties of the law were related to honor- 
able houses ; and it was a point of honor, and almost of con- 
science, with their kindred, to watch for the opportunity to 
revenge their death. There was, therefore, a great party 
among the nobility who regarded James with fear and 
hatred, and who only wanted an opportunity to give deadly 
proof of the character of their feelings toward him. 

The approach of war gave these evil sentiments an oppor- 
tunity to display themselves. In 1435, Sir Robert Ogle, an 
English borderer of distinction, in breach of a truce which 
had continued uninterrupted since King James's accession 
to the Scottish throne, made an incursion on the borders, 
and did some mischief; but was encountered by the Earl 
of Angus near Piperden, defeated and made prisoner. In 
resentment of this violence, and of an attempt on the part 
of the English to intercept the Scottish Princess Margaret on 
her way to France, James declared war against England, 
1436. He besieged Roxburgh Castle with the whole array 
of his kingdom, which was said to amount to a tumultuary 
13 * Vol. I. 


mti] ti tude of nearly two hundred thousand men . After remain- 
ing fifteen days before Roxburgh, the king suddenly raised 
the siege and dismissed his array, upon surmise, as has been 
supposed, of treason in his host. That there were such prac- 
tices is highly probable ; and a Scottish encampment, filled 
with feudal levies, each man under the banner of the noble 
to whom he owed service, was no safe residence for a mon- 
arch who was on bad terms with his aristocracy. 

After dismissal of his army, James I. met his parliament 
at Edinburgh, and employed himself and them in making 
several regulations for commerce, and for the impartial ad- 
ministration of justice. In the meantime the period of this 
active and good prince's labors was speedily approaching. 

The chief author of his fate was Sir Robert Graham e, 
uncle to the Earl of Strathern. James, with his usual view 
of unfixing and gradually undermining the high power of 
the nobility, resumed the Earldom of Strathern, and obliged 
the young earl to accept of the Earldom of Monteith in lieu 
of it. This seems to have irritated the haughty spirit of the 
earl's uncle, Sir Robert, who was likewise exasperated by 
having sustained a personal arrest and imprisonment, along 
with other men of rank, on the king's return in 1425. En- 
tertaining these causes of personal dislike against his sover- 
eign, Grahame, in the parliament of 1429, undertook to rep- 
resent to the king the grievances of the nobility ; but, instead 
of doing so with respect and moderation, this fierce and 
haughty man worked himself into such extremity of pas- 
sion as to make offer to arrest the monarch in name of the 
estates of parliament. As no one dared to support him in 
an attempt so arrogant, Grahame was seized, and, finally, 
his possessions were declared forfeited, and he himself 
ordered into banishment. 

He retired to the recesses of the Highlands, vowing re- 
venge, and had the boldness to send forth from his lurking- 
place a written defiance, in which he renounced the king's 
allegiance, and declared himself his mortal enemy. On this 
new proof of audacity, a reward was offered to any one who 


should bring in the person of Sir Robert Grahame, dead or 
alive. On this a conspiracy took place, the event of which 
was terrible, although we can but ill trace the motives of 
some of the party. 

The ostensible head of the conspirators was the king's 
own uncle, Walter, earl of Athole, son of Robert III., by 
his second marriage. This ambitious old man was not pre- 
vented by his near alliance with the crown from plotting 
against his royal nephew's life, with the purpose of placing 
on the throne Sir Robert Stewart, his own grandson, who 
on his part, though favored by the king, and holding the 
confidential situation of chamberlain, did not hesitate to 
enter into so nefarious a conspiracy. The event proved 
that the conspirators had formed their plan for assassinat- 
ing their prince with too much accuracy. But the hopes 
upon which Athole and his grandson founded the subsequent 
part of their plot seem to have been vague and uncertain to 
an extravagant degree, inducing us to believe, that, like 
other heated and fiery spirits in similar situations, those 
engaged in the bloody design must have worked themselves 
into the belief that the feelings of hatred toward James 
which animated their own bosoms were also nourished by 
the greater part of the community; a species of self-delu- 
sion common among men who engage in such desperate 

The removal of the court to Perth, where James pro- 
posed to hold his Christmas, facilitated the conspirators' 
enterprise, by making a sudden descent from the Highlands 
a short expedition. About the 21st of February, 1437, the 
king, after having entertained his treacherous uncle of Athole 
at supper, was about to retire to rest in the Dominican mon- 
astery, which was the royal residence for the time, when it 
was suddenly entered by a body of three hundred men, 
whose admittance had been facilitated by Sir Robert 
Stewart, the faithless chamberlain. There is a tradition 
that a young lady in attendance on the queen, named 
Katherine Douglas, endeavored to supply the want of a 


bar to the door of the royal apartment by thrusting her 
own arm across the staples. This slender obstacle was soon 
overcome. So much time had, however, been gained, that 
the queen and her ladies had found means to let down the 
king into a vault beneath the apartment, from which he 
might have made his escape, had not an entrance from the 
sewer to the court of the monastery been built up by his own 
order a day or two before, because his balls, as he played at 
tennis, were lost by entering the vault. Still, notwithstand- 
ing this obstacle, the king might have escaped, for the assas- 
sins left the apartment without finding out his place of re- 
treat, and, having in their brutal fury wounded the queen, 
dispersed to seek for James in the other chambers. Unhap- 
pily, before either the conspirators had withdrawn from the 
palace, or assistance had arrived, the king endeavored, by 
the help of the ladies, to escape from the vault, and some 
of the villains returning, detected him in the attempt. Two 
brothers, named Hall, then descending into the vault, fell 
fiercely upon James with their daggers ; when, young, active, 
and fighting for his life, the king threw them down, and 
trod them under foot. But while he was struggling with 
the traitors, and cutting his hands in an attempt to wrench 
their daggers from them, the principal conspirator, Grahame, 
came to the assistance of his associates, and the king died by 
many wounds. Thus fell James I., a prince of distinguished 
talents and virtue, too deep in political speculation, perhaps, 
for the period in which he lived, too hasty and eager in 
carrying his meditated reformation into execution, and too 
rigorous in punishing crimes which were rather the fruit of 
tempting opportunity, and of the general license of a dis- 
orderly period, than the deliberate offspring of individual 

The alarm was given at last, and the attendants of the 
court and domestics began to gather to the palace, from 
which the assassins made their escape to the Highlands, 
not without loss. 

The Queen Joanna urged the pursuit of the murderers 


with a zeal becoming the widow of such a husband. She 

had enjoyed her husband's political confidence as well as 
his domestic affection. In the parliament of 1435 the king, 
impressed, perhaps, with a presentiment that his public- 
spirited measures might expose him to assassination, caused 
the members of the estates to give written assurances of 
their fidelity to the queen. Upon this trying occasion they 
redeemed their pledge, and a close and general pursuit after 
the murderers took place. In the space of a month they 
were all apprehended in their various lurking-places. 
Athole's grandson, Sir Robert Stewart, was executed at 
Edinburgh with refined tortures, in the midst of which he 
avowed his guilt. The aged earl admitted that his grandson 
had proposed such a conspiracy to him; but alleged that he 
did his utmost to dissuade him from engaging in it, and 
believed that the idea was laid aside. He was beheaded 
at Edinburgh, and his head, being surrounded with a crown 
of iron, was exposed to public view. The principal con- 
spirator, Sir Robert Grahame, whose mind had devised, and 
whose hand executed the bloody deed, boldly contended that 
he had a right to act as he had done. The king, he said, 
had inflicted on him a mortal injury ; and he, in return, had 
renounced his allegiance, and sent him a formal letter of 
defiance. Dreadful tortures were inflicted on the regicide, 
which served but to show how much extremity a hardy 
spirit is capable to endure. He told the court, that, though 
now executed as a traitor, he should be hereafter recollected 
as the man who had freed Scotland from a tyrant. But the 
evil spirit which had seduced him, and seemed to speak by 
his mouth, proved a false prophet: the immortality which 
his memory obtained was only conferred by a popular rhyme, 
to this effect : 

Robert Grahame, 

That kill'd our king, God give him shame. 

James I. had two sons ; but one dying in infancy, he left 
behind him only James II., who in his childhood succeeded 


to his father's throne. The late king had #ve daughters, 
who were married, four of them into noble families abroad, 
while the youngest was wedded to the Earl of Angus. 

Among the transactions of this reign, we ought not to 
omit to mention the fate of two heretics. The first was a 
WickliflBte, called John Resby, already mentioned as exe- 
cuted under the regency of Albany. James I. himself is 
culpable for having permitted the death of Paul Crawar, a 
foreigner, and a follower of John of Huss. He was tried 
by Lawrence of Lindores, the same bigoted inquisitor who 
sat in judgment on Resby, whose fate this second martyr 
shared, at Saint Andrew's, 1435. These instances prove 
that Scotland did not escape the ravages of intolerant su- 
perstition, though her history stands more free of such 
shocking cruelties than that of nations more important 
and more early civilized than herself. 



Struggle between the Nobles and the Crown — Elevation of Crichton 
and Livingston to the Government — Their Dissensions — Crich- 
ton possesses himself of the King's Person; but by a Stratagem 
of the Queen he is conveyed to Stirling — Crichton is besieged in 
Edinburgh Castle; reconciles himself with Livingston; quarrels 
once more with him; and again obtains the Custody of the 
King's Person — A second Reconciliation — Power of the Douglas 
Family — Trial and Execution of the young Earl of Douglas and 
his Brother — Highland Feuds — Douglas gains the Ascendency 
in the King's Councils — Fall of the Livingstons — Feud of the 
Earl of Crawford and the Ogilvies — Death of the Queen- 
Dowager — "War with England — Battle of Sark — Marriage of 
James — His Quarrel with Douglas: he puts him to Death with 
his own Hand — Great Civil War — The Douglas Family is de- 
stroyed — War with England — Siege of Roxburgh Castle, and 
Death of James II. 

IN the reign of James I. a struggle had commenced of a 
nature hitherto unknown to Scotland. The dissensions 
by which the kingdom had previously been disturbed 
or divided had either been caused by hostile invasion or the 
insurrection of ill-subdued and ill-governed provinces, the in- 
habitants of which, to resent supposed wrongs and indulge 
their love of war and plunder, disturbed the internal peace 
of the country. But in the reign of this monarch we for 
the first time recognize a distinct struggle for power be- 
tween the king on the one hand and the great nobility on 
the other; and from that time downward we can trace the 
progress of a constant and sometimes a bloody contest be- 
tween the monarch, who desired to increase his power, and 
the great aristocratic nobles, who were determined to retain 
that powerful influence in the state which they had secured 
by frequent wars, in which their arms were necessary, and 


their license could not be restrained, and by the long inter- 
vals of minority, when the regal power was peculiarly liable 
to invasion. The mass of the common people, termed in 
France the tiers etat, and in Britain the commons of the 
realm, had not yet arisen to that consequence in Scotland 
which the same order had attained in the commercial coun- 
tries of Flanders, France, and England. The towns were 
poor, and the merchants ruined by constant wars and the 
oppressions of the neighboring barons. What power they 
had, however, in the national councils they lent to the sup- 
port of the king's prerogative, which was a species of refuge 
to them from the subaltern oppression of a multitude of petty 
tyrants, who assumed the right because they possessed the 
power to tyrannize over them. 

The late monarch, James I., in consequence of his stand- 
ing in opposition to the aristocracy, was induced to select his 
officers, ministers, and counsellors, not from the haughty 
nobles who rivalled his power, but from the lower class of 
barons or private gentlemen. Among them, accordingly, 
James I. selected several individuals of talent, application, 
and knowledge of business, and employed their counsels and 
abilities in the service of the state, without regard to the dis- 
pleasure of the great nobles, who considered every office 
near the king's person as their own peculiar and patrimo- 
nial right, and who had in many instances converted such 
employments into subjects of hereditary transmission. 

Among the able men whom James I. called in this man- 
ner from comparative obscurity, the names of two statesmen 
appear, whom he had selected from the rank of the gentry, 
and raised to a high place in his councils. These were Sir 
"William Crichton the chancellor, and Sir Alexander Living- 
ston of Calender. Both were men of ancient family, though, 
descended probably of Saxon parentage, they did not number 
among the greater nobles, who claimed, generally speaking, 
their birth from the Norman blood. Both, and more espe- 
cially Crichton, had talents of a distinguished order, and 
were well qualified to serve the state. Unhappily, these 


two statesmen, upon whom either the will of the late king, 
or the ordinance of a parliament called at Edinburgh imme- 
diately after James's murder, devolved the power of a joint 
regency, were enemies to each other, probably from ancient 
rivalry ; and it was still more unfortunate that their talents 
were not united with corresponding virtues; for Livingston 
and Crichton appear to have been alike ambitious, cruel, and 
unscrupulous politicians. It is said by the Scots chroniclers 
that the parliament assigned to Crichton the chancellor the 
administration of the kingdom, and to Livingston the care 
of the person of the young king. 

It might have been supposed that the widowed queen 
Joanna had some title to be comprised in the commission of 
regency, and there are indications that such had been the 
purpose of her husband. But alone, an English stranger, 
and a woman, after prosecuting the murderers of her hus- 
band to the death, she seems to have withdrawn herself from 
public affairs ; and shortly afterward married a man of rank, 
Sir James Stewart, who was called the Black Knight of 
Lorn — a union which, placing herself under tutelage, dis- 
qualified her from the office of regent, whether in her sole 
person or as an associate of Crichton and Livingston. About 
the same time (1438), a nine years' truce with England put 
an end to the war which subsisted at the death of James I., 
and left the Scottish rulers at liberty to follow out without 
interruption their domestic dissensions. 

These were of a numerous and complicated nature. Crich- 
ton and Livingston, who had been preferred by the king's 
favor from a moderate station among the gentry to be rulers 
of the state, were sufficiently well disposed to prosecute the 
system under which they had themselves risen to power, 
providing they could have agreed upon the share of the 
administration which each of them was to hold. But they 
had a powerful opponent in the dreaded Earl of Douglas, a 
family whom we have often mentioned as supporting their 
native princes and defending the honor of their country, but 
whom we must now record as placing by their ambition both 


the one and the other in extreme danger. Crichton and 
Livingston were obliged to admit this mighty peer into the 
office of lieutenant-general of the kingdom. It does not 
appear that he was disposed to abuse his trust; but it is 
evident that Crichton and Livingston, particularly the 
former, regarded the power of Douglas with suspicion and 

This cause of alarm, common to them both, did not sup- 
press their mutual hatred to each other. A series of ma- 
noeuvres, disgraceful when the situation of the parties is con- 
sidered, and tending to destroy the government in which 
they held such a principal share, were played off between 
the chancellor and governor of Scotland, with the rapidity 
displayed by rival jugglers in the exercise of their legerde- 
main. A minute account of enterprises which historians 
have left in great obscurity may be here slightly excused; 
but the following facts are prominent. 

Sir "William Crichton had possession of the castle of Edin- 
burgh, in which strong fortress he detained the person of the 
infant king, although the governor Livingston had a just 
title to the custody of his royal pupil. The queen-dowager 
privately favored Livingston's cause: and as she was per- 
mitted to visit the castle at all times, she contrived to convey 
the child out of that fortress, by enclosing him in a coffer 
supposed to contain a part of her wardrobe. Setting sail 
from Leith, she removed the prince by water to Stirling, 
where Livingston lay in garrison, by whom she was gladly 
received. Assembling there such nobles and barons as ad- 
hered to him, Livingston proposed to besiege the castle of 
Edinburgh, and the queen offered from her own store-houses 
to supply the soldiers with food. The castle was beleaguered 
accordingly. Crichton, thus severely threatened, applied 
himself in his necessity to the Earl of Douglas, offering his 
constant friendship and assistance, on condition of the earl's 
standing his friend at this crisis. The earl scarce heard the 
message to an end, answering with a furious look and ges- 
ture, "It is but small harm, methinks, although such mis- 


chievous traitors as Crichton and Livingston move war 
against each other; and it would ill become any of the 
ancient race of nobles to interfere to prevent their utter 
wreck and destruction. As for myself, nothing is more 
pleasing than to hear of their discord; and I hope I shall 
live to see the mischief they deserve condignly overwhelm 

The siege by this time was laid around the castle of 
Edinburgh, when Crichton, having received this scornful 
answer from the Earl of Douglas, asked an interview with 
his enemy Livingston, to whom he communicated the earl's 
reply as indicating no less hostility to the governor than to 
himself, and proposed that they should forget their private 
enmity, and unite to protect themselves against Douglas as 
their common enemy. At the same time, upon an under- 
standing that he should receive honorable treatment, Crich- 
ton declared himself ready to yield up the castle to the 
governor. Livingston, after consulting his friends, accepted 
of Crichton's submission, confirmed him in his office of chan- 
cellor, and restored the castle of Edinburgh to his charge ; 
and a course of friendship and amity seems for a short in- 
terval to have taken place between the two rival statesmen. 
This state of concord did not long last ; for Crichton found 
means to obtain vengeance both of the queen and of his 
rival Livingston. Under pretence that Joanna favored the 
faction of the Douglases, Livingston had the audacity to 
arrest the widow of his sovereign, with her second husband, 
the Black Knight of Lorn, and detain them for some time 
in custody. In so far the governor avenged on the queen 
the offence given to his rival Crichton. But he was himself 
circumvented by this audacious statesman. Crichton came 
in darkness with a party of horse to the park of Stirling, 
where, waiting until the young king came from the castle 
at daybreak to hunt with a small attendance, he suddenly 
accosted him, and easily prevailed on him to repair to Edin- 

Upon this new injury, the hatred between Crichton and 


Livingston was about to revive with treble fury. The inter- 
ference, however, of the prelates of Aberdeen and Murray 
again accomplished a seeming reconciliation. The two con- 
tending statesmen met in St. Giles's Church, and once more 
renewed their politic purpose of uniting their efforts to oppose 
the power of the aristocracy, and particularly that of the 
House of Douglas. It required, indeed, all the influence of 
both, and more than their talents, though these were con- 
siderable, to counterbalance the formidable weight of such 
a tremendous opponent. But these unprincipled statesmen 
were abundantly disposed to support their want of power 
or sagacity by fraud and circumvention. 

At this time (1439) Archibald, the fifth earl of Douglas, 
died, and was succeeded by his son William, a boy of four- 
teen years old, upon whom descended the various estates 
and dignities of that powerful family. The duchy of Tou- 
raine and lordship of Longueville in France seemed to give 
him the consequence of a foreign prince. In Scotland he 
enjoyed the earldom of Douglas, the lordships of Galloway 
and Annandale, and a wide extent both of property and 
influence throughout all the southern frontier. Repeatedly 
intermarried with the royal family itself, this mighty house 
had also formed matrimonial alliances with many of the 
most distinguished Scottish families. By bonds of depend- 
ence, or man-rent, as they were called, almost all the princi- 
pal gentry who lay in the neighborhood of the wide domains 
of Douglas had become followers of the earl's banner; and 
his power, as far as it could be immediately and directly 
exercised, was equal to that of the king, his opulence per- 
haps superior. 

In 1440, Earl William, whose youth rendered him arro- 
gant, made an imprudent display of the power which he 
possessed. His ordinary attendance consisted of a thousand 
horse, and he is said to have held cours plenieres^ after the 
manner of parliaments, within his own jurisdictions, and 
to have dubbed knights with his own hand. The body of 
men who constantly attended on this young chief were many 


of them such as found their subsistence by bloodshed and 
pillage, who were always ready to interpose the name of their 
patron as a defence against punishment. The instances of 
oppression performed by the earl's followers, and the con- 
tempt and insult with which they rejected the attempts of 
the ordinary distributors of justice to bring them to punish- 
ment, were carefully noted down and laid to the charge 
of the young Douglas, whom Crichton was determined to 
make responsible for the mass of injuries which were com" 
mitted in his name and by his followers. Under pretext of 
cultivating an intimacy between the young king and the 
Earl of Douglas, whose years corresponded together, Earl 
William and his younger brother David were inveigled by 
the chancellor's flattery and fair speeches first to his castle 
of Crichton, near Edinburgh, and then to the metropolis 
itself, where the two noble guests were lodged in the castle. 
Here, while they expected to be regaled at the royal table, 
a black bull's head, the signal of death, as it is reputed to 
have been in Scotland, was suddenly placed before them. 1 
The astonished youths were dragged from the table by 
armed men, and subjected to a hasty trial. What crimes 
they were accused of is not known ; but the extent of their 
power and the lawloss character of their followers must have 
afforded enough of pretexts for condemnation, when the 
sentence rested with judges who were determined to make 
no allowance for the youth and inexperience of the accused 
parties, for the artifices by which they had been brought 
within the danger of the law, and for their being totally 
deprived of constitutional or legal defenders. The youthful 
earl and his brother were dragged from the mock judgment- 
seat to the castle yard, where, in spite of the entreaties and 
prayers of the young king, they were cruelly beheaded. 
Malcolm Fleming of Cumbernauld, a friend and adherent 
of their family, shared the fate of the unfortunate boys. 

1 This circumstance staggers the belief of modern historians. The 
bull's head, used as the sign of death, is repeatedly mentioned in High- 
land tradition, and the custom may have been Celtic. 


The whole might be well pronounced a murder committed 
with the sword of justice. 

Unquestionably Livingston and Crichton, the authors of 
this detestable treason, reckoned on its effects in depressing 
the House of Douglas, and producing general quiet and good 
order, the rather upon two accounts: the first was that a 
large part of the unentailed property, in particular the estates 
of Galloway, Wigton, Balveny, Ormond, and Annandale, 
were severed from the inheritance which was to descend on 
the new Earl of Douglas, and went to Margaret, the sister 
of the Earl William who was beheaded in the castle, who 
was thence commonly called the Fair Maiden of Galloway. 
Another encouragement to the crime was the indolent and 
pacific disposition of James, called the Gross, the uncle of 
the murdered earl. This corpulent dignitary, whose fat is 
said to have weighed four stone, seems accordingly to have 
taken no measures whatever for avenging the death of his 
relatives; on which account the historian of the Douglas 
family expresses his opinion that Earl James's obesity had 
invested him with a dulness of spirit inconsistent with the 
quick feeling of honor that should have stimulated him to 
a bold revenge. 

But the state took as little benefit from the division of 
the Douglas estates as from the peaceful temper of James 
the Gross. A marriage, hastily effected, between William, 
son and heir of James the Gross, and his cousin -german, 
Margaret the Fair Maid of Galloway, restored the whole 
of her immense possessions to the male heir of the House of 
Douglas: and James the Gross, being removed by death 
within two years after the murder at Edinburgh Castle, 
was succeeded by the same William, a youth in the flower 
of his age, of as ardent ambition as any of his towering 
house, and filled with hatred against Crichton and Living- 
ston for their share in his kinsmen's death. Thus did the 
power of Douglas revive in its most dangerous form, within 
two years after the tragic execution in the castle of Edin- 
burgh; and the political crime of Crichton and Livingston 


was, like many of the same dark complexion, committed in 

If we look at Scotland generally during this minority, 
it forms a dark and disgusting spectacle. Feudal animosi- 
ties were revived in all corners of the country ; and the bar- 
riers of the law having been in a great measure removed, 
the land was drenched with the blood of its inhabitants, shed 
by their countrymen and neighbors. In 1442 John Colqu- 
houn, lord of Luss, was cut off, with many of his followers, 
by a party of Highlanders. In the subsequent year, the 
sheriff of Perth, Sir William Ruthven, having arrested a 
Highland thief, and being in the act of leading him to execu- 
tion, a rescue was attempted by a body of Athole mountain- 
eers, headed by a chief named John Gorme, or Gormac. 1 
The assailants were, however, defeated, and their leaders 

In the midst of universal complaint, bloodshed, and con- 
fusion, the king was approaching his fourteenth year (1444). 
He was easily persuaded, or brought to persuade himself, 
that he could govern more effectively without the control 
of Crichton and Livingston, while the greater part of his 
subjects were at least satisfied that he could not rule worse 
than with the assistance of such unscrupulous counsellors. 
This produced a desire on the part both of the king and hi8 
subjects to dissolve the regency; and the Earl of Douglas, 
trusting to find his own advantage, and the means of prose- 
cuting his revenge against Crichton and Livingston, with 
more art than his house had usually manifested, resolved 
to make personal advances to gain the king's favor, and 
prosecute his course to power rather as an ally and minister 
of the throne than the avowed rival and antagonist of the 
royal family. 

There was an occasion shortly offered which afforded 
Douglas a graceful opportunity of approaching the king's 
person with offers of service and protestations of fidelity. Sir 

1 The Blue; so called, perhaps, from the color of his dress. 


Robert Semple, sheriff-depute to the Lord Erskine, was in the 
important charge of Dumbarton Castle, while the upper bailie 
of the same fort was intrusted to Patrick Galbraith, a vassal 
of the Earl of Douglas. For some unknown cause of sus- 
picion, Semple deprived Galbraith of his charge, and ordered 
him to begone from the castle. Galbraith seemed to obey ; 
but introducing a few men, under pretence of removing his 
furniture and household stuff, he suddenly attacked Sir Rob- 
ert Semple, and expelled, or, as other authorities say, slew 
him, and seized the whole fortress into his own possession. 

The Earl of Douglas assumed an appearance of great con- 
cern, as if Galbraith's dependence upon him might occasion 
this affair to be made a handle against him by his enemies. 
He therefore came to court, submitted himself to the king's 
will, placed his person in the royal power without reserve, 
and personated so well the expressions and behavior of a good 
subject, that James was delighted to find in the Earl of Doug- 
las, who had been represented as a formidable rival, a vassal 
so powerful at once and so humble. The king received him 
not into favor only, but into confidential trust and power, 
and with the assistance received from him easily succeeded 
in assuming the supreme authority into his own hands, and 
in displacing Livingston and Crichton, who had governed in 
James's name since his father's death. 

In modern times, the dismission of a ministry whose gov- 
ernment has lasted long and assumed an absolute character, 
is usually followed by inquiries and impeachments : in the 
more ancient days, the ministers were called to account for 
their power by the terrors of a civil war. But the late chan- 
cellor and governor were, as the age required, soldiers as 
well as statesmen. Livingston shut himself up in the castle 
of Stirling, and determined on resistance ; the chancellor also 
garrisoned his castles, and stood upon his defence. Douglas, 
armed with the royal authority, marched against the baronial 
castles of Crichton and of Barnton, both belonging to the late 
chancellor. These fortresses were held out against the Doug- 
las's banner for several days, but surrendered when that of 


the king was displayed before them. Douglas caused them 
to be dismantled. 

But the far more important castle of Edinburgh was 
stoutly defended by Sir William Crichton in person: nor 
did he refrain from offensive measures; for, in revenge of 
the mischief done by Douglas to his lands, he made sallies 
out of the castle with force sufficient to destroy the lands of 
Abercorn and Strabrock, belonging to the earl. He con- 
tinued to hold out the castle of Edinburgh for nine weeks, 
and at^ last surrendered it (1446) on the most advantageous 
terms. He was confirmed in his honors, titles and posses- 
sions; even his office of chancellor was restored to him. 
He seems to have formed an alliance with the Earl of Doug- 
las, and consented to take a share in his administration, sur- 
rendering at the same time to the earl's resentment Sir 
Alexander Livingston, the king's governor. 

This latter statesman was arrested, with many of his 
friends ; and though his own gray hairs were spared, their 
ransom was dearly purchased by the decapitation of his two 
sons and the destruction of his family. He himself was im- 
prisoned, and with his kinsmen, Dundas, Bruce, and others, 
subjected to ruinous fines and penalties. 

The Earl of Douglas now attained the high dignity of 
lieutenant-general of the kingdom, and having the universal 
management of state affairs, failed not to use his influence 
for the advancement of the over-swollen importance of his 
house. Three of his brothers were created peers. Archi- 
bald, by marrying with the heiress of the Earl of Moray, 
succeeded to that title and estate ; Hugh Douglas was made 
earl of Ormond ; and John, lord of Balveny. 

Meantime the public tranquillity went to wreck on all 
hands ; and one feud is distinguished by our historians from 
the rest, on account of the number and consequence of the 
parties engaged on both sides. The powerful Earl of Craw- 
ford, by countenance and aid of the Livingstons, and by as- 
sistance of the family of Ogilvy, made an inroad on the 
property of the bishopric of St. Andrew's, then held by 


James Kennedy, a near relation to the king. For this in- 
cursion, the bishop excommunicated the parties concerned 
on all the holidays of the year, with staff and mitre, book, 
bell, and candle. This, however, was but empty vengeance 
on men who made but slight account of his curses. In 1445, 
a more effectual amends ensued from a quarrel between the 
master of Crawford and Ogilvy of Inverquharity, the chief 
of that great name, about the bailiwick of Aberbrothock, 
which the abbot had taken from Crawford and bestowed 
upon Ogilvy. They assembled their forces on each side; 
and the parties having met near the gates of the town of 
Aberbrothock, were prepared to fight it out, headed by the 
master of Crawford on the one side and Inverquharity on 
the other. The Gordons, under the Earl of Huntley, arrived 
on the field of battle, took the part of the Ogilvies, and the 
battle was about to join. At this moment the Earl of Craw- 
ford rode forward between the two bodies, with the purpose 
of making terms. The master halted his forces at his father's 
command, and the earl was advancing toward the Ogilvies, 
when one of them, ignorant who he was, rode at him with 
his lance, threw him to the ground, and mortally wounded 
him. Both parties joined battle with mutual fury, and after 
a fierce conflict the Ogilvies were defeated, and their chief 
fell in the action, while his ally Huntley only escaped by 
flight. It gives an idea of the fury of this domestic feud, 
when we read that in this battle of Aberbrothock five hun- 
dred of the vanquished were slain on the field. The Earl of 
Crawford did not long survive this bloody field of private 
vengeance ; and his body lay for a considerable time above 
ground, on account of the sentence of excommunication. 

In the midst of this almost universal turmoil, we may 
notice the death of Joanna, the queen-mother, who hardly 
obtained permission to die in safety in the castle of Dunbar, 
that of Hales being stormed and taken for having afforded 
her temporary refuge. Her husband, the Black Knight of 
Lorn, having uttered some words reflecting on the admin- 
istration of the Earl of Douglas, saw himself compelled to 


ieave Scotland. His misfortunes continued to attend himj 
the bark in which he sailed for France was taken by a Flem- 
ish corsair, and he died shortly after, in a species of captivity. 

In the meantime, the Earl of Douglas, who possessed the 
warlike character of his ancestors, defended the country 
against its external enemies with better success than that 
with which he maintained domestic tranquillity. The bor- 
derers, partaking the spirit of the unsettled times, had broken 
through the truce by incursions on both sides; and the dis- 
cordant administrations of Henry VI. and James II., who 
strongly resembled each other in point of cabal and internal 
dissension, found that the two countries were at war, even 
without either government intending it. On the one side, 
Dumfries was burned by young Percy and Robert Ogle ; on 
the other, Lord Balveny, the youngest brother of Douglas, 
gave the town of Alnwick to the flames. 

To make a deeper impression on the hostile country, the 
Earl of Huntingdon and Lord Percy crossed the western 
marches with about fifteen thousand men. In 1448, they 
were met by Douglas at the head of a much inferior army, 
who either defeated or compelled them to retire. This foil 
only animated the English to a stronger effort. They as- 
sembled an army amounting to twenty thousand men. They 
crossed the river Sark at low water, and found themselves 
in front of the Scottish force, under command of Hugh, earl 
of Ormond, another brother of the Douglas family. Sir 
Thomas Wallace of Craigie, who seems to have been sec- 
ond in command of the Scottish army, behaved himself with 
distinguished bravery. He was mortally wounded in lead- 
ing the Scottish right wing to a close conflict with the left 
of the English, which was commanded by Magnus Redman, 
governor of Berwick, in whose military skill the English 
placed great confidence. The Scots, encouraged by their 
dying leader, pressed furiously forward: Magnus Redman 
was slain in the melee, and *he English gave way. The 
river Sark, now augmented by the returning tide, lay in 
the rear of the fugitive army : many were drowned in the 


attempt to cross it. The English army lost three thousand 
men; and the young Lord Percy and Sir John Pennington 
were made prisoners. 

The truce was shortly after (1449) again renewed by the 
English; and in the treaty on the occasion both parties dis- 
owned having been the cause of its being broken. About 
the same period, the interest of the Earl of Douglas at the 
Scottish court began to decline. It is easy to imagine vari- 
ous ways in which the actions of so overgrown a minister 
may have given offence to the king, who, being now about 
the age of eighteen, might perhaps be disposed to look upon 
the earl as a rival rather than a servant of the throne. Most 
kings prefer those favorites whose fortunes, however exor- 
bitant, are nevertheless the work of their own hands; and 
the Douglas's power and splendor rested on hereditary hon- 
ors and possessions which the king could neither give nor 
take away. The misrule of the kingdom also, and the nu- 
merous and bitter feuds into which it was divided, were uni- 
versally said to be fostered and encouraged under the earl's 
influence; and it was alleged that when the worst of felons 
was arrested for the worst of crimes he might completely 
secure himself by alleging that he had done the deed at the 
command of a Douglas, or in revenge of a Douglas's quarrel. 

Sir William Crichton also, who was so long and well ac- 
quainted with state affairs, began to recover the king's con- 
fidence; and his proved policy was employed in the honorable 
commission of renewing the old alliance with France, and 
seeking out upon the Continent a befitting match for the 
king. The election fell on Mary of Guelders, with whom 
Philip of Burgundy agreed to give sixty thousand crowns 
of gold as the portion of his kinswoman, who had been edu- 
cated at his court. The alliance with France was renewed, 
and one with Burgundy was entered into. The success of 
Sir "William Crichton in this negotiation, and the acceptable 
selection of his bride, raised the old statesman still higher in 
James's favor; and as he acquired the royal confidence, he 
had further opportunities of instilling into the sovereign's 


mind the rules of policy on which his father James I. had 
acted, with a view of raising the power of the crown, and 
depressing the feudal greatness of the nobility. These in- 
structions were necessarily unfavorable to Douglas. 

A parliament was held at Edinburgh (1450), providing 
for the restoration of the progresses of the justiciary courts, 
which had been interrupted, and denouncing the penalties 
of rebellion against all persons who should presume to make 
private war on the king's subjects, declaring that the whole 
force of the country should be led against them if necessary. 
Severe laws were made against spoilers and marauders; and 
regulations laid down that the nobility should travel with 
moderate trains, to avoid oppressing the country. Finally, 
a statute was passed imposing the pains of treason on any 
who should aid or supply with help or counsel those who 
were traitors to the king's person, or who should garrison 
houses in their defence, or aid such rebels in the assault of 
castles or other places where the king's person should hap- 
pen to be for the time. The tendency of these laws shows 
the predominant evils which had taken root during the king's 
minority, and the remedies by which, when come to man's 
estate, James II. proceeded to attempt a cure. 

The Earl of Douglas, finding his court favor upon the 
wane, began to withdraw himself from the king's, and, in 
despite of the laws which had been so lately enacted, to play 
the independent prince in his own country, which compre- 
hended all the borders and great part of the west of Scot- 
land. An instance of his mode of acting occurred in a feud 
between Richard Colville of Ochiltree and John Auchinleck 
of Auchinleck. The former, having received some injuries 
from Auchinleck, watched an opportunity, while his enemy 
was journeying to wait upon the Earl of Douglas, whose 
follower he was, and on the road waylaid and slew him. 
Douglas, considering this violence as a personal insult to 
himself, undertaken perhaps in scorn of his diminished 
power, instantly beset Colville's castle with a body of men, 
took it by force, and put the lord and his garrison to the 


sword (1449). This daring contempt of the public law, 
though colored over as the vengeance claimed by the mem- 
ory of a worthy follower, was justly regarded at court as a 
daring insult to the royal authority, and so much resented 
by James that the earl judged it prudent for a time to absent 
himself, not only from the court, but from the country. 

The Earl of Douglas, therefore, in 1450, undertook a pil- 
grimage to Rome, which he performed magnificently, with 
a retinue of six knights, fourteen gentlemen, and eighty at- 
tendants of inferior rank. He was received at Paris with 
the honor due to his high family, and the memory of his an- 
cestor who fell at Verneuil in the French service. Even at 
Rome the name of Douglas was respected, and the rude 
magnificence of the earl who bore it attracted attention and 

While Douglas was absent on his pilgrimage, his vassals 
continued to be disorderly and insubordinate as before. 
Symington, the earl's bailiff in Douglas Dale, was cited to 
answer for the conduct of such malefactors, but contuma- 
ciously refused to obey. Upon this, William Sinclair, earl 
of Orkney, then chancellor of Scotland, was sent to levy 
distress on the rents and goods of the Earl of Douglas, to 
satisfy those who complained of injury from his tenants. 
The chancellor's mission met with no success, for he was 
received only with resistance and insult. The king, in- 
censed at this contumacy offered to the highest law-officer 
in the realm, marched in person into the disobedient dis- 
tricts, ravaged Douglas's estates, and took possession of the 
castles of Lochmabane and Douglas, the last of which he 
razed to the ground. 

When the evil tidings reached Rome, they struck such 
alarm into the minds of Douglas's attendants that several 
relinquished their dependence on the earl and left him. He 
himself hastened homeward, and was so much affected by 
this instance of the king's energy and activity that he sub- 
mitted himself to the royal authority, and was graciously 


The services of the Earl of Douglas were used as one of 
the negotiators to adjust the continuation of the truce with 
England; but there is too much reason, from his visiting 
that country attended by his three brothers and the more 
distinguished followers of his house, that he even then medi- 
tated some intercourse of a secret and treasonable character. 
The English ministry, however, occupied by the internal 
commotions which soon after broke out in the dreadful civil 
war of York and Lancaster, received Douglas with distinc- 
tion, but did not choose to become accessory to his intrigues. 

Returning to his native country, the haughty earl at- 
tempted to clear his way to court favor by attacking and 
cutting off Sir "William Crichton, his old rival and enemy, as 
he travelled from his castle of Crichton toward Edinburgh. 
An ambuscade of the Douglas followers beset the road, and 
broke out on the now aged chancellor with shouts and cries. 
But, encouraged by the presence of his son, a valiant young 
man, the old statesman stood to his weapon, and, after kill- 
ing one and disabling another of the assailants, effected his 
retreat back to Crichton. The old man had borne the high- 
est offices of the state too long to endure this wrong unre- 
venged : he gathered a strong body of friends and adherents, 
and marched to Edinburgh with such secrecy and despatch 
that he had nearly surprised Douglas, who lay there with a 
small retinue ; and, despite his pride and power, the earl was 
compelled to fly from the metropolis in his turn. 

Both parties, stimulated by mutual injuries and insults, 
seemed now prepared to combat to extremity. The Earl 
of Douglas retired altogether from the court; and that he 
might strengthen his cause, which he represented as that 
of the aristocracy in general, he entered into a private cor- 
respondence with the Earls of Crawford and Ross, the most 
powerful and independent Scottish nobles, after Douglas 
himself, and possessing the same power in the centre and 
north of Scotland which the earl exercised on the frontiers. 
He also used his influence upon such men of consequence 
as lived in those countries over which he had authority, to 


compel them, though diametrically contrary to law, to exe- 
cute leagues and bonds, by which they engaged themselves 
to support each other, and to make common cause with the 
Douglas against all mortals besides. Those who declined to 
comply with Douglas's pleasure in this matter were sure, 
more or less directly, to feel the force of his vengeance, 
which a wide authority over the border countries, filled 
with strong clans of habitual marauders, enabled him to 
accomplish, without the earl himself appearing active in 
the matter. 

A remarkable instance of this occurred in the case of 
John Herries, a man of power in Nithsdale, who, having 
declined to engage as an ally and follower of the Douglas, 
in the manner required, beheld his lands plundered by a 
body of banditti from Douglas Dale. Having repeatedly 
applied to Douglas for satisfaction for this injury, Herries 
at length, consulting rather his spirit than his strength, 
endeavored to revenge the wrong by retaliation. But in 
an attempt to invade Annandale, he had the misfortune to 
be defeated and made prisoner by Douglas, who cast him 
into irons, and, despite the king's personal interposition in 
his behalf, by letter and message, caused him to be igno- 
miniously hanged. 

A case of even greater atrocity was that of the tutor op 
guardian of the young Laird of Bombie, called M'Lellan, 
who had, like the unfortunate Herries, declined to acknowl- 
edge the usurped authority of the Earl of Douglas, and be- 
came therefore obnoxious to his vengeance. This he was 
not long of feeling. In 1451, Douglas besieged the house 
or castle of the family, took the tutor of Bombie, as he was 
called, prisoner, and carried him to Douglas Castle, or, as 
others say, to that of the Thrieve in Galloway, and there 
threw him into close confinement. The unhappy prisoner 
was the nephew of Sir Patrick Gray, captain of the king's 
bodyguard, an institution which we hear of for the first time 
in this reign, but which the complexion of the times, and the 
cruel murder of James I., had rendered but too necessary. 


Anxious to avert the too probable fate of his relation, this 
officer, who was doubtless by his office especially familiar 
with the king, obtained from James II. letters to the Earl of 
Douglas, written in the most amicable tone of intercession, 
entreating rather than commanding that he would yield the 
captive in safety to Gray. The sudden appearance of the 
captain of the king's guard at his castle, joined with the rec- 
ollection of Sir Patrick's connection with the tutor of Bombie, 
apprised Douglas how the case stood. He avoided immedi- 
ately entering on business with Gray, until he had called for 
some refreshment ; and while he pressed him to partake of 
the cheer, which, with an affectation of hospitality, was 
presently set before him, he caused the prisoner to be pri- 
vately led out into the courtyard before the castle and there 
beheaded. Meanwhile, Sir Patrick Gray's meal being ended, 
the earl at last consented to open the king's letters, and 
seemed much gratified by their contents. "What the king 
requires of me," said he, ''shall be granted as fully as cir- 
cumstances admit." So saying, he led Sir Patrick to the 
place of execution, where the unfortunate tutor of Bombie's 
corpse still lay with a cloth spread over it. "Sir Patrick," 
said the earl, "you are come a little too late: yonder lies 
your sister's son; but he wants the head. You are at lib- 
erty to take his body, if you will." With a sad heart, Sir 
Patrick Gray replied, "My lord, since you have taken the 
head, you may dispose of the body at your pleasure." He 
then mounted his good horse, and, unable any longer to sup- 
press his burning sense of the insult and injury with which 
he had been treated, he sternly said, "My lord, if I live, you 
shall be rewarded according to your demerits for this day's 
work." ' The earl, incensed at these words, instantly called 
to horse; and though Sir Patrick Gray rode off upon the 
spur so soon as he had uttered the threat, he was chased 

1 This circumstance renders it most probable that the castle of Doug- 
las was the scene of this strange incident: that of the Thrieve being sit- 
uated on an island, Sir Patrick Gray could not have escaped from it on 

14 <» Vol. I. 


by the followers of the Douglas till near to Edinburgh, and 
would have been taken but for the excellence of his led 

It is probable that this piece of cruelty, accompanied with 
such a marked degree of contempt, not only to the laws but 
to the person of the king, filled up the cup of James's resent- 
ment against the Earl of Douglas. Still the extreme power 
which rendered this overgrown noble so presumptuous made 
it perilous for the king to enter into open war against him. 
It was therefore determined by Crichton and others, who 
shared in the king's more secret councils, that the king 
should affect an appearance of goodwill toward the earl, 
and invite him to court, with assurances that none of his 
past enormities should be inquired into, and that a recon- 
ciliation should be effected, on the footing of Douglas's 
forbearing such aggressions against the royal authority in 

By what allurements the king and his counsellors were 
able to lull to rest the suspicions which Douglas, conscious 
of his own demerits, must have entertained of James's feel- 
ings toward one by whom he had been publicly insulted, we 
have no means of knowing. It appears that religion, too 
often employed as the most efficient mask of sinister de- 
signs, was not spared on the occasion ; and that Sir William 
Crichton and Sir Patrick Gray had proposed to accompany 
Douglas and his brother James, with Lord Hamilton, his 
most powerful and faithful follower, upon a pilgrimage to 
Canterbury. Although a safe-conduct was granted by the 
English government for permitting this party of mingled 
royalists with Douglas and his followers to approach the 
shrine of Thomas a Becket, there was probably no intention 
that it should ever be made use of. The mutual pilgrimage 
was, in all likelihood, only proposed as one means of making 
evident the sincerity of Crichton and others, since the offer 
seemed to infer that these ministers of the king did not fear 
to accompany Douglas and his brother amid the various and 
doubtful incidents to which, in so long a journey, they must 


have been exposed. Neither was it uncommon for ancient 
enemies to testify the reality of a reconciliation by perform- 
ing acts of devotion in company. 

The various hopes and inducements which were held out 
to Douglas, whatever was their precise character, were such 
as, joined with a spirit which set him above personal doubt 
or fear, induced the earl to visit the court in Lent, 1452. It 
was then held in Stirling Castle. But Douglas was not so 
confident in the sincerity of his recent reconciliation with the 
court as to venture himself within the king's power without 
an assurance of safety. He was accordingly furnished with 
letters from the principal persons at court, promising to be 
his warrant against any treachery, and, according to some 
authors, was also furnished with an ample safe-conduct 
under the great seal. His security thus provided for, the 
earl repaired to Stirling with his five brethren and a large 
band of his followers. Upon Shrove Tuesday he was hon- 
ored with an invitation to sup with James in the castle, 
which he accepted without suspicion. Douglas was kindly 
received by the king, and the evening passed away in mirth 
and festivity. As they rose from the supper-table, about 
eight in the evening, the king led the earl apart into the 
recess of a deep window and began to expostulate with him 
on his late irregularities. No one was near them; but some 
of the privy-councillors and Sir Patrick Gray, with a few of 
the royal guards, were in the body of the apartment. At 
length in the course of his argument the king touched upon 
the bond or league in which Douglas had engaged with the 
Earls of Crawford and Ross, and earnestly urged him to re- 
nounce it as a confederacy inconsistent with his allegiance, 
dangerous to the state, and contrary to the express law of 
the realm. The earl haughtily replied that, his faith being 
once pledged to that bond as a solemn engagement, he could 
not with his honor renounce it, nor would he do so for the 
words of any living man. "By Heaven, then," said the 
Mng, his wrath being excited to the uttermost by the obsti- 
nate and disrespectful answer of the earl, "if you will not 


break the confederacy, this shall." So saying, he drew his 
dagger and plunged it in Douglas's body. Sir Patrick Gray 
came to the assistance of the king, and, not unmindful of his 
vow of revenge, beat Douglas down with his battle-axe, and 
all the courtiers present attested their approbation of the 
deed, by striking their knives and daggers into the too 
powerful subject, who lay now a corpse at the feet of his 

The character of James II. suffered a great stain by the 
death of Douglas, slain by his own hand while the royal 
guest, under sanction of the public faith. But circumstances 
acquit the king of the premeditated guilt of the action, and 
show it to have been the furious explosion of a sudden gust 
of passion, which, if pardonable in any person, may plead 
some excuse in the case of a prince braved to the face by 
his subject. Indeed, what end could the king or his coun- 
sellors propose to themselves by taking the earl's life, when 
in the very town of Stirling, at the moment of the deed, he 
had five surviving brothers, men of undaunted courage and 
resolution, the eldest of whom must have succeeded, as in 
fact he did, to the full power of the slaughtered earl? Such 
a crime, therefore, could only be the means of instantly pre- 
cipitating that dreadful struggle between the crown and the 
aristocracy which it was the interest of the court to delay till 
some more favorable opportunity, and which would certainly 
be most impoliticly commenced by an act carrying with it 
the disadvantage of exposing the king to a charge of perfidy 
or breach of faith. If, however, it is to be believed that the 
death of Douglas was a premeditated action, it is still cer- 
tain that the manner in which it was perpetrated must have 
arisen out of accident, since there occur so many obvious 
reasons why other agency than that of the king himself 
should have been employed for his removal, and in finding 
such there could have been no difficulty. 

But the reader may demand, what could be the purpose 
of James, if not to rid himself of his turbulent subject by 
death? If we are to substitute conjecture where certainty 


is not to be had, we may suggest the probability that the 
king had determined to arrest Douglas in case he was found 
intractable, and to detain him a hostage for the quiet de- 
meanor of his family, until his league with the northern 
earls was broken and the height of his dangerous power 
was in some degree diminished. There might be in this 
device some part of the policy, as well as the unscrupulous 
breach of faith, which characterized the politics of such a 
statesman as Crichton; and considering the vehement char- 
acter of James II. and the stubborn and presumptuous dis- 
position of the earl, it is easy to conceive how, in a personal 
interview between two such hot and passionate spirits, the 
intended purpose of arrest should have been changed for one 
of a more bloody and decisive character. 

The five brothers of the slaughtered earl, on hearing his 
fate, instantly assembled themselves, and, with the friends 
of their powerful family, recognized the eldest of their 
number as Earl of Douglas, being the last that was fated 
to wear that formidable title. The assembly vowed revenge 
for the blood of Earl William; but, instead of pressing an 
instant siege of Stirling Castle, ere it was supplied with pro- 
visions or means of defence, they agreed to meet there in 
arms on the 25th day of March. They assembled accord- 
ingly, bringing with them the safe-conduct granted to Earl 
William, which they dragged in scorn at the tail of a lean 
cart-horse ; and in further reprobation of the king's treach- 
ery, they proclaimed him and his advisers and accomplices 
in the death of Douglas false, perjured, and forsworn men, 
while four hundred horns blew out at once to attest the fact 
thus formally promulgated. They then burned the town of 
Stirling, but drew off their forces, as finding themselves still 
unable to attempt the siege of the castle, so that the king 
obtained some breathing-space to improve his affairs in a 
very dangerous crisis. 

Several of the nobility, seeing it absolutely necessary to 
take a part in the approaching contest, declared for the law- 
ful authority of the crown, feeling, probably, that the con- 


trol of a sovereign prince was more honorable certainly, and 
not likely to be so severe as that of the House of Douglas. 
Among those who held such opinions was an important chief 
of the House of Douglas itself, namely, the Earl of Angus, 
who, being nearly related to the king, preferred the royal 
service to that of the head of his own house. The Lord 
Douglas of Dalkeith also held out his castle, so named, 
against the fiercest attacks of the earl his namesake and 
kinsman. The king's most powerful adherent was, how- 
ever, Alexander Gordon, the first earl of Huntley, who 
arrayed under the royal standard a great part of the north- 
ern barons, and marched southward at their head toward 

The Earl of Crawford was, however, faithful to his bond 
of alliance, though Douglas, with whom it had been con- 
tracted, was no more. Being cited to justify himself against 
an accusation of treason, he refused to obey, and assembling 
a strong army of his friends in Fifeshire and Angusshire, he 
took post at Brechin, in order to intercept Huntley on his 
march toward Stirling. On the evening before the expected 
battle, Huntley, that his men might have more spirit in the 
encounter the next day, distributed many fair lands among 
the leaders of his army. Crawford followed a more nig- 
gardly policy. Collasse of Balnamoon, or Bonnymoon, who 
commanded a select division of axemen and billmen in the 
earl's army, feeling his own importance, requested of the 
earl, who was superior of his lands, that he would enter his 
son as vassal in the fief, which Crawford sternly refused 
to do. Collasse retired in discontent. The fight on the 
morrow, May 18, 1452, commenced with great fury, and 
the men of Angus attacked the northern troops so furiously 
as forced them to recoil, and placed the king's standard in 
danger. At this critical moment, John Collasse, whose 
duty it was to have sustained the assailants, led his division 
of billmen out of the line, and exposed the centre of Craw- 
ford's army without support, while the left wing engaged 
with the enemy. Huntley instantly availed himself of the 


opportunity to assault and break the troops who were thus 
laid open. The fortune of the field was thus changed, and 
the defeated Earl of Crawford retreated in great displeasure 
to his house at Finhaven. A gentleman of Huntley's army 
is said to have pursued the vanquished earl so closely, that 
he at last became completely involved in a crowd of^ the 
immediate attendants of Lord Crawford, and finding it 
necessary for his safety to pass for one of the number, he 
followed them in that character into the house of Finhaven, 
where he heard the earl say he would have been content to 
have purchased that day's victory, though it were at the 
penalty of seven years' residence in the infernal regions. 
The gentleman brought back these words to King James, 
with a silver cup, bearing the Earl of Crawford's arms, 
which he had subtracted from the sideboard in the confu- 
sion, to be a voucher of his strange adventure. 

The Earl of Huntley did not derive much immediate 
advantage from his victory. He was instantly recalled to 
the north, by the intelligence that the Earl of Murray, one 
of the brethren of the Earl of Douglas, had burned his castle 
of Strathbogie, and was ravaging his estates : so that Craw- 
ford remained in Angus as arbitrary as before, spoiling the 
lands and destroying the houses of such as had joined the 
king or Huntley against him. Despairing, however, of 
making an effectual resistance against the sovereign au- 
thority, this bold and fierce lord at length submitted him- 
self in the most humble manner to the king's mercy, and 
was received with some degree of favor. The king rode 
to visit him at the house of Finhaven, where he was duti- 
fully and respectfully entertained; and James is said to 
have thrown a flagstone from the battlements of the castle 
down into the ditch, that he might, without injury to the 
earl or his mansion, fulfil a vow which he had made in his 
anger, that he would make the highest stone of that house 
the lowest. 

Shortly afterward (1454) some species of peace or truce 
seems to have been patched up between the king ano>the 


Earl of Douglas, with little sincerity on either side, but from 
a feeling of unwillingness in both to carry to extremity a 
contest which must inevitably terminate in the destruction 
of the House of Douglas or that of Stewart, now exasperated 
by mutual wrongs, and placed in the most direct opposition 
to each other. But the pause of a few months again awak- 
ened the contending families to contention, which had never 
perhaps been actually suspended, but was now to be final 
and decisive. The forces of the parties stood thus matched: 

In the north the king's interest predominated, though 
not without a struggle; Huntley having been defeated by 
Murray, at a swampy spot called the Bog of Dunkintie. 
The consequence of these feuds to the community at large 
may be guessed by the fate of the town of Elgin. One part 
of the town was burned by the Earl of Murray as the prop- 
erty of citizens who favored the Gordon: Huntley having 
recovered the superiority in his turn, it is most likely the 
other half was consumed as houses belonging to adherents 
of Douglas. Meantime both Murray and Ormond felt in 
the long run unequal to defend themselves in the north 
against the families of distinction who joined the king's 
standard, and they both retreated to the Hebrides. 

The Earl of Douglas, after the temporary reconcilement 
with his sovereign, had retreated to England with several 
members of his family, and particularly with Margaret, 
called the Fair Maiden of Galloway, widow of the murdered 
Earl William, whose hand, notwithstanding their near rela- 
tionship, the present earl was desirous to secure, on account 
of the rich dowry that was attached to possessing it. The 
dispensation which was necessary to authorize a marriage 
so objectionable was applied for at Kome; but, through the 
interest, doubtless, of the Scottish king, it was refused. The 
earl endeavored to effect a union with her, even without 
leave of the Church; but the lady in disgust fled to the 
Scottish king, and accused Douglas of having pressed a 
union upon her, and even made a pretended celebration of 
nuptials, though without the license of the pope. 


For this and other causes Earl Douglas was, in 1454, 
summoned to appear before the king's privy-council, or per- 
haps before the parliament. He answered by a placard 
nailed secretly on the church doors and cross of Edinburgh, 
upbraiding the king with having murdered two chiefs of the 
family of Douglas, and bidding him defiance. James II. 
retaliated this contumacy by immediately raising a small 
army of Westland men and Highlanders, with which he rav- 
aged the territories of Douglas, and destroyed the crop. 
Next spring the spoiling of the country was renewed. 
Finally, the king, as a decisive blow, sent the Earls of 
Orkney and Angus, with a considerable army, to lay siege 
to Abercorn, a strong castle of the Douglas's, situated about 
ten miles from Edinburgh. The Earl of Douglas, on his 
part, had almost absolute authority upon the borders, and 
it cost him little more than the waving of his banner to col- 
lect an army of forty thousand men, who were rendered by 
their very birth and situation soldiers from the cradle. With 
this predominant force the Earl of Douglas advanced to raise 
the siege of Abercorn, and gage the fortunes of his princely 
house against those of a crowned king and the subjects who 
adhered to him. 

James himself is said to have shrunk from the contest 
when he looked on it more closely ; and there were moments 
of despondency, in which he spoke of abandoning Scotland. 
Sir "William Crichton, his subtle but apparently faithful min- 
ister, had died before these second tumults commenced ; but 
he had a wise and able counsellor in James Kennedy, arch- 
bishop of Saint Andrew's, to whose advice he listened on 
this occasion. This sagacious prelate reminded James that 
the camp of the Douglas, though containing a very large 
host, consisted of numerous chieftains who followed the 
insurgent earl not from attachment, but either out of awe 
for his power, or hopes that they might gain something in 
the conflict. Could the expectations and fears of such per- 
sons be withdrawn from Douglas and fixed on the king, there 
would be no difficulty in transferring their allegiance to the 


crown. "The foe," said the sagacious prelate, "are like a 
sheaf of arrows : while they remain bound together, it were 
vain to attempt to break them; but sever the tie which 
unites them together, and a child may shiver them one 
after another." 

Acting upon the counsel which he gave, the primate 
undertook to lop a main limb from the Douglas's enterprise, 
by a private communication with Hamilton, who commanded 
a chosen body of troops in Douglas's army. He had been 
the uniform and attached friend of Earl William of Douglas, 
murdered at Stirling, and was now that of Earl James. But 
he began to perceive that the latter had too little of the deci- 
sive character belonging to his house, to bring the present 
conflict to an honorable or advantageous issue. He listened, 
therefore, but did not close immediately with the proposal 
of the archbishop that he should embrace the royal party, 
and he hesitated between the sense of what was most for his 
own interest and personal advantage, and that which friend- 
ship and honor required of him. 

The king now advanced with his host, and Douglas drew 
out his forces to meet him. The king's heralds, advancing, 
charged the rebels to disperse, under the pains of treason ; 
and though Douglas returned a scornful answer, he saw the 
royal proclamation had such influence on his army that he 
was induced to suspend the impending action till next day, 
and lead his troops back into his intrenchments. Douglas 
had no sooner entered his pavilion than Hamilton requested 
to speak with him, and demanded positive information 
whether it was the earl's purpose to fight or^zno, declaring 
it was high time they should know his mind, since, while 
the royal army was every day increasing, theirs was thinned 
by constant desertion. "If you are tired," answered Doug- 
las, without further explanation of his intention, "you are 
welcome to be gone." Hamilton took the earl at his word, 
and that very night passed over to the royal camp from that 
of Douglas with the chosen troops which he commanded, 
being three hundred horse and as many infantry. The 


example was contagious, for the character of Hamilton for 
prudence and sagacity stood very high. All the chiefs con- 
sidered his change of sides as an example tending to show 
them the only possible mode of escaping from ruin, and 
contended which should be the first to act upon it. The 
army of the insurgents dissolved like a snow-wreath in a 
sudden thaw, and on the fateful morning succeeding that 
in which the Earl Douglas led out a host of nearly forty thou- 
sand men, his empty camp scarce contained a hundred sol- 
diers save his own household troops. 

The secession of Hamilton to the royal cause was deserv- 
edly regarded as excellent service. He was, for appearance' 
sake, put in ward for a while at Roslin, under the charge 
of the Earl of Orkney. But the king's favor was shown 
to him by large grants of forfeited estates, and by the title 
of Lord of Parliament, which raised first to nobility the great 
ducal House of Hamilton. 

The Earl of Douglas broke up his camp and withdrew 
with his diminished squadrons to take refuge in the wildest 
districts of the border, where they lurked as exiles and fugi- 
tives in the countries which they had lately commanded with 
sovereign power. The castle of Abercorn, despairing of re- 
lief, soon surrendered, and of the defenders some principal 
persons were put to death for holding out the place against 
the king. James II. proceeded to march his army through 
the west and south of Scotland, where his powerful oppo- 
nents had lately been proprietors of the soil, and leaders, if 
not tyrants, of the people, and with slight resistance reduced 
all the strong places of the Douglases to his own authority. 
Douglas Castle itself, that of Strathaven, and that of the 
Thrieve, were in this manner taken and demolished. 

About the same time, and while the king was making his 
triumphal progress, Douglas himself fled into England with 
a very few attendants. His three brothers, Moray, Ormond, 
and Balveny, remained on the borders at the head of the re- 
mains of the followers of their family, and maintained them 
by military license. This, and the hope of benefiting by thei*" 


forfeitures, aroused against them the clan of Scott, already, 
under their chief, Buccleuch, rising into formidable distinc- 
tion in the west and middle marches. The Beattiesons, a 
numerous and bold people, with other borderers, united un- 
der the leading of Scott. All these clans had been lately 
numbered among the vassals of Douglas, and had owned his 
authority; but the failure before Abercorn had emboldened 
them to throw off the yoke, and bid defiance to the banners 
under which they had at no distant period ranked them- 
selves. A conflict took place at Arkinholm, near Langholm, 
May 1, 1455, where the bands of Douglas were totally de- 
feated by these border clans. The Earl of Moray was slain; 
the Earl of Ormond taken prisoner, condemned, and exe- 
cuted; and of the brethren of Douglas the Lord Balveny 
alone escaped into England. 

The history of this, the last of the original branch of the 
Douglas family, may as well be terminated here. Having 
during his prosperity maintained a close intercourse with the 
House of Tork, who were then in power, Douglas was hos- 
pitably received in England. In the year 1483, he, with the 
Duke of Albany, then a banished noble like himself, made 
an incursion into Scotland, having vowed they would make 
their offer on the high altar of Lochmaben upon St. Mag- 
dalen's Day. The west border men rose to repel the incur- 
sion. The exiles were defeated, and the Earl of Douglas 
struck from his horse. Surrounded by enemies, and seeing 
on the field a son of Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, once his own 
follower, the earl surrendered himself to him in preference 
to others, that, as an old friend, he might profit by the re- 
ward of one hundred pound land ' set upon his head. Kirk- 
patrick wept to see the extremity to which his old master was 
reduced, and offered to set him at liberty and fly with him 
into England. But Douglas, weary of exile, was resigned 
to his fate. "When the aged prisoner came before the king, 
James III. commanded him to be put into the cloister at 

1 A one hundred pound land is a Scottish phrase. 


Lindores. The earl only replied, "He that may no better 
must be a monk." He assumed the tonsure accordingly, 
and died about 1488. 

Thus, after an obscure conflict with those who had been 
so lately its dependents, fell, and forever, the formidable 
power of the House of Douglas, which had so lately meas- 
ured itself against that of monarchy. It can only be com- 
pared to the gourd of the prophet, which, spreading with 
such miraculous luxuriance, was withered in a single night, 
The indecision and imbecility of Earl James, who did not 
chance to possess the qualities of military skill and political 
wisdom which had seemed till his time almost hereditary in 
this great family, appear to have been the immediate cause 
of their destruction. But there was moral justice in the les- 
son that a house raised to power by the inappreciable services 
and inflexible loyalty of the good Lord James and his suc- 
cessors should fall by the irregular ambition and treasonable 
practices of its later chiefs. 

In a parliament called at Edinburgh some care was taken 
that lavish grants of the domains of the crown should not be- 
come again the cause of bringing the kingdom into dangor; 
"forasmuch," says the statute, "as the poverty of the crown 
is often the cause of the poverty of the realm. " It was there- 
fore declared that certain castles and domains should be in- 
alienably annexed to the crown. It was further provided 
that the important office of warden of the marches, which 
comprehended so much power, and the command of so many 
warlike clans, should not be hereditary; that, in like man- 
ner, regalities, or jurisdictions possessing regal power, should 
not in future be bestowed upon subjects without the consent 
of the estates. These enactments were judiciously calculated 
to prevent the raising up in any other family the same power 
of disturbing the domestic tranquillity which the Douglases 
had so unhappily attained. 

Yet, though the policy of retaining these forfeitures in 
the crown was distinctly seen, it could not in prudence be 
invariably acted upon. The king had no other means of 


rewarding the services of the loyal chiefs who had stood by 
the crown in the last struggle than by grants out of the 
estates of the traitors; and the lands of the Douglas family, 
large as they were, were inadequate to satisfy the numerous 
expectants. The chief of these was the Earl of Angus, a 
large and flourishing branch of the Douglas, sprung from 
a second son of the earl of the principal family. The pres- 
ent Angus, as already mentioned, had been a loyalist during 
his kinsman's usurpation, which, from the difference of the 
family complexion, led to a popular saying that the Red 
Douglas had put down the Black. The Earl of Angus was 
rewarded with a grant of Douglas Castle with its valley and 
domains, of Tantallon Castle, and other large portions of the 
ancient estates of the Douglas family; an imprudent profu- 
sion, it must be allowed, since it served to raise this younger 
branch to a height not much less formidable to the crown 
than that which the original Douglases had attained. Gor- 
don, in the north, was not forgotten ; and the southern chief- 
tains, profiting largely by the forfeiture of the Douglases, 
easily obtained gifts of considerable possessions, which no 
one but they themselves could have occupied with safety. 
In a word, if the king distinctly saw the policy of enriching 
the crown, which the statutes of his reign imply, it is as cer- 
tain he found it impossible to follow the maxim rigidly with- 
out restricting the necessary bounty to his adherents. It 
was no time to lose men's hearts for lack of liberality; for 
the ashes of the civil hostility were still glowing in the re- 
moter districts of Scotland, and a national war with England 
was impending. 

A chief, termed John, lord of the Isles, had succeeded to 
Alexander, whose submission to James I. has been already 
noticed. He still took on him the title of Earl of Ross, and 
had, as usual, taken care to avail himself of the disturbances 
of the mainland by entering into a league with the Earl of 
Douglas. This negotiation had been concluded by one of 
the earl's brethren, who had bestowed on the insular chief 
and his Celtic followers much good wine, with silken cloths 


and silver, for which they received in exchange mantles or 
Highland plaids. In consequence of councils adopted on this 
occasion, John of the Isles ravaged InverMp with a fleet of 
twenty-score of galleys, and five or six thousand men. He 
made a great booty, and slew some able-bodied men, with 
several women and children. On this occasion also he plun- 
dered Bute, Arran, and the small isles called Cumrays, that 
lie in the mouth of the Clyde. In March, 1451, we find this 
turbulent chief once more in action. He took the important 
castles of Inverness, Urquhart, and Ruthven in Badenoch, 
garrisoned the former, and destroyed the latter fortresses. 
This violence he committed at the instance of his father-in- 
law, James Livingston, alleging that the king had promised 
him a large lordship with the daughter of the said James 
Livingston, but had not kept his word. It appears that 
having performed these feats John retired, and afterward 
submitted himself on condition of pardon. 

A war with England was the next object of interest dur- 
ing the active reign of James II. In 1459 he invaded Eng- 
land with six thousand men, burned and plundered the 
country for twenty miles inland, and destroyed eighteen 
towers and fortalices. The Scottish army remained on En- 
glish ground six days, without battle being offered, and 
returned home without loss, and with worship and honor. 
On James's retreat, the Duke of York, and Earl Salisbury, 
with other English nobles, led to the border a body of about 
four or five thousand men ; but having differed in opinion of 
the plan of the campaign, they quarrelled among themselves, 
and retired with disgrace. The cause of these internal dis- 
cords in the English camp probably arose out of the dissen- 
sions concerning the red and white roses, which were now 
engrossing the nation. The truce with England was pro- 
longed for nine years. James, however, seems to have 
deemed the period favorable for recovering such Scottish 
possessions as were still held by the English; accordingly, 
we find him breaking through the truce. 

It was with this view that the king collected a numerous 


army, and laid siege to Roxburgh, in 1460, which had now 
been in possession of the English since the captivity of David 
II., and, as a military post, was of the greatest importance, 
being very strongly situated between the Tweed and Teviot, 
and not far from their confluence, in the most fertile part of 
the Scottish frontier. John, the lord of the Isles, appeared 
in the royal camp, to atone for former errors and treason- 
able actions by zeal on the present occasion. He led a select 
body of Highlanders and Islesmen armed with shirts of mail, 
two-handed swords, bows, and battle-axes, with which he 
offered to take the vanguard of the army should it be neces- 
sary to enter England, and to march a mile before the main 
body, so as to encounter the first brunt of the onset. Inva- 
sion, however, made no part of James's purpose on this oc- 
casion. He was desirous to recover possession of Roxburgh, 
and not being apprehensive of relief from England, resolved 
to proceed in the siege according to formal rule. He be- 
leaguered the castle on every side, and battered it from the 
north of the Tweed, his cannon being placed in the Duke of 
Roxburgh's park of Fleurs. James was proud of his train 
of cannon, and of the skill of a French engineer, who could 
level them so truly as to hit within a fathom of the place 
he aimed at, which, in those days, was held extraordinary 
practice. The siege had not continued many days when the 
arrival of the Earl of Huntley, to whose valor and fidelity 
the king had been so much indebted, with a gallant body of 
forces from the north, increased the king's hopes of succeed- 
ing in his enterprise. He received his noble and faithful ad- 
herent with the greatest marks of respect and regard, and 
conducted him to see his batteries. 

Unhappily, standing in the vicinity of a gun which was 
about to be discharged, the rude mass, composed of ribs of 
iron, bound together by hoops of the same metal, burst 
asunder, and a fragment striking the king on the thigh, 
broke it asunder, and killed him on the spot. The Earl of 
Angus was severely wounded on the same occasion. 

Thus fell James II. of Scotland, in the twenty -ninth year 


of his age, and the twenty-fourth of his reign. His person 
was strong and well put together, and he was reckoned ex- 
cellent at all exercises. His face would have been hand- 
some, had it not been partly disfigured by a red spot, which 
procured him from his subjects the name of James with the 
Fiery Face. Of the natural violence of his temper he had 
given an unfortunate proof, by suffering himself to be sur- 
prised into a violation of faith toward Douglas. His sub- 
jects seem, however, to have considered this as the act of 
momentary passion; and James's clemency to Crawford, 
who, in the words of the chronicler, had been "right dan- 
gerous to the king," after that earl was entirely in his 
power, as well as the small number of persons who suffered 
for rebellions which shook the very throne, made his temper 
appear merciful, compared to that of his father, James I. 
He possessed the gift of being able to choose wise counsel- 
lors, and had the sense to follow their advice when chosen. 
In the display which James II. was called on to make of 
his military talents, he showed both courage and conduct. 
His death was an inexpressible loss to his country, which 
was again plunged into the miseries of a long minority. 

James II. left three sons : James, his successor ; Alexan- 
der, duke of Albany; and John, who was created earl of 
Mar; with two daughters, Mary and Margaret, of whom 
we shall have occasion to say more hereafter. 



Roxburgh is taken — Administration during James's Minority — He 
assumes the Royal Authority, by Advice of the Boyds — The 
younger Boyd is created Earl of Arran, and married to the 
King's Sister — He negotiates a Marriage between the King and 
a Princess of Denmark, and obtains the Orkney and Zetland 
Islands in security of the Dowry: is disgraced, and dies in 
obscurity — Treaty of Marriage between the Prince of Scotland 
and a Daughter of England, and its Conditions: broken off by 
Edward IV. — Submission of the Lord of the Isles — Character of 
James III. — His favorite Pursuits — His Disposition to Favor- 
itism — Character of Albany and Mar, the King's Brothers — 
The King imprisons them on suspicion — Albany escapes — Mar 
is murdered — War with England — Conspiracy of Lauder — The 
King's Favorite seized and executed — Intrigues of Albany — He 
is received into his Brother's Favor; but is afterward again 
banished — Peace with England — The King gives way to his 
Taste for Music and Building — Conspiracy of the Southern 
Nobles — Battle of Sauchie Burn, and the King's Murder 

THE sudden death of James II. struck such a damp 
into the Scottish nobles that they were about to 
abandon the siege of Roxburgh, and break up their 
camp, when the courage of Mary of Guelders, the widowed 
queen, reanimated their spirits. She arrived in the camp 
almost immediately after the king's death, and throwing 
herself and her son, their infant sovereign, upon the faith 
of the Scottish lords, conjured them never to remove the 
siege from this ill-fated castle till they had laid it in ruins. 
The nobles caught fire at her exhortations. They crowned 
their king at the neighboring abbey of Kelso, with such 
ceremonies of homage and royalty as the time admitted, 
and, pressing the siege with double vigor, compelled the 
English garrison to surrender on terms. The castle of Rox- 


burgh they levelled to the ground, agreeably to the policy 
recommended by Robert Bruce. The vestiges of its walls 
still show the extent and consequence of which it had for- 
merly boasted. 

The queen-regent naturally retained a considerable influ- 
ence in the government, and seems to have acted for some 
time as regent, with the assistance of a council of state. 
Her conduct, however, which was not personally respecta- 
ble, considerably diminished her influence before her death, 
which took place when she was in the full vigor of life. 
Kennedy, archbishop of St. Andrew's, the wise and loyal 
friend of his father, became the personal guardian of the 
infant king. The rapid changes of fortune occurring in 
the wars of York and Lancaster saved Scotland during this 
minority from the dangers arising from her ambitious neigh- 
bors. The meek usurper, Henry VI., was received with 
hospitality in Scotland during his exile after the battle of 
Towton, 1461 ; and Berwick, an important acquisition, was 
delivered up by his authority to the Scots, and duly garri- 
soned. The assistance rendered by Scotland to the dethroned 
king occasioned a brief war with England, urged with little 
zeal on either side, and which soon terminated by a truce, 
which in 1463 was extended to the unusually long period of 
fifty-four years. 

The death of the queen-mother and of Archbishop Ken- 
nedy now opened to the king, who was in his fourteenth 
year, the dangerous privilege of acting for himself. Sub- 
ject all his life to the weakness of adopting favorites, to 
whom he intrusted the charge of public affairs, when the 
nation had a right to expect they should be administered by 
himself personally, James surrendered himself to his imme- 
diate partialities. Robert, Lord Boyd, and his two sons, 
were at this time high in James's confidence; and the royal 
favor filled them with such presumption that they removed 
the person of the king from those to whom his custody had 
been committed by the estates of the kingdom, and brought 
him to Edinburgh, under pretence of setting him at liberty. 


A new parliament was convoked, in which Lord Boyd was 
formally pardoned for his late audacious enterprise ; and, to 
add to the authority of the family, the Princess Margaret, 
eldest daughter of James II., and sister to the king, was 
given in marriage to Sir Thomas Boyd, who was at the 
same time created Earl of Arran. 

An important acquisition to the Scottish dominions was 
effected in this reign (1467), feeble as it was. The Orkney 
Islands had as yet remained part of the Norwegian domin- 
ions, having been seized by that people in the ninth century. 
A large sum of money was due from Scotland to Denmark, 
being the arrears of the annual, as it was called, of Norway. 
This was the annuity of one hundred marks, due to Norway 
as the consideration for the cession of the Hebrides, or "West- 
ern Isles, settled by the treaty of 1264, entered into after 
Haco's defeat at the battle of Largs. James I. had obtained 
some settlement respecting this annuity; but it had been 
again permitted to fall into arrear, and the amount of the 
debt had become uncertain. 

Under the influence of Charles VII. of France, there had 
been negotiations between Denmark and Scotland for the 
final arrangement of these claims, which were renewed in 
1468. Boyd, the young Earl of Arran, seems to have man- 
aged this treaty with considerable dexterity. It was finally 
agreed that James III. should wed a daughter of the Prin- 
cess of Denmark, whom her father proposed to endow with 
a portion of sixty thousand florins, of which ten thousand 
only were to be paid in ready money, and for security of the 
remainder the islands of Orkney were to be assigned in pledge. 
In addition to this, Denmark renounced all claim to the ar- 
rears of the annuity payable on account of the cession of the 
Hebrides, which seem to have been given up as an old, pre- 
scribed, and somewhat desperate claim. "When the term for 
payment of the ten thousand florins arrived, Christian of 
Denmark found himself so short of money that he could only 
produce the fifth part of the sum, and for the rest an assign- 
ment of security over the archipelago of Zetland was offered 


and gladly accepted. Thus Scotland acquired a right of 
mortgage to the whole of these islands, constituting the an- 
cient Thule, so important to her in every point of view, and 
which, as we shall hereafter see, the crown of Denmark was 
never able to redeem. 

While the Earl of Arran was negotiating this national 
treaty, his influence with the king was undermined by those 
courtiers who envied his sudden elevation, and the prefer- 
ence which James had displayed toward him and his fam- 
ily. "When the earl arrived in the Firth of Forth with the 
fleet which escorted the Danish princess to the shores where 
she was to reign, Arran 's wife, the Princess Margaret, came 
on board to acquaint him that if he landed his life would be 
in danger. They fled together, therefore ; and the new Earl 
of Arran returned to Denmark, to seek refuge from the in- 
dignation of his fickle prince, for whom he had so lately 
achieved, in the same kingdom, such important negotia- 
tions. In the meantime the total ruin of his friends at home 
took place, almost without opposition, and the power of the 
House of Boyd was destroyed as speedily as it arose. It is 
vain to inquire why a weak prince should be as changeable 
as he was violent in his partialities. Sentence of high trea- 
son was passed upon the Boyds for their aggression in 1466, 
though fully pardoned by a subsequent parliament. Sir 
Alexander Boyd suffered death ; the Lord Boyd escaped to 
England, where he died in poverty. The Earl of Arran, 
who appears by his personal qualities to have "merited the 
confidence which the king had so suddenly withdrawn, seems 
to have received but a cold welcome in Denmark. The Prin- 
cess Margaret was separated from him and sent back to Scot- 
land, on the demand, it may be presumed, of her royal 
brother ; and her unfortunate husband, after wandering as 
an exile from one country to another, died, it is said, in 
Flanders. His death, or a divorce between him and the 
Princess Margaret, obtained by the influence of James, gave 
an opportunity for forming a second marriage between the 
king's sister and the Lord Hamilton, the heir of a family 


which had been rising in influence and importance ever since 
the first lord of the name so opportunely embraced the cause 
of the king, in the grand struggle of James II. with the 
House of Douglas. The princess had a family by both mar- 
riages; but Boyd's son and daughter died without heirs; 
while her son by Hamilton survived, so that in Queen Mary's 
time their descendant stood first in succession to the crown. 

In the parliament of 1469, held after the fall of the Boyds, 
we see the good sense of the people of Scotland displayed in 
an act declaring that every homicide who flees to sanctuary 
shall be taken forth and put to the judgment of an assize; 
"for to such manslayers of forethought felony," said the 
statute, ' 'the law will not grant the immunity of the Church. " 

The sceptre of France was now swayed by Louis XI., one 
of the most wise of princes and most worthless of men, of 
whom it can be hardly said, whether he were more supersti- 
tious or sagacious, more prudent and liberal, or more perfidi- 
ous and cruel. He was aware of the importance of the Scot- 
tish league to the safety of France, as affording a ready means 
of annoyance against England. Edward IV. of England 
became, on the other hand, sensible that it was better to ac- 
quire, if possible, the goodwill of his northern neighbors by 
friendly means, and thus secure his frontier at home, while 
he undertook the invasion of France, which he meditated, 
than, with the haughty policy of his predecessors, to renew 
the attempt of subjugating Scotland by force. By a treaty 
entered into in 1474, it was agreed that, in order to promote 
the mutual happiness, honor, and interest of this noble isl- 
and, called Great Britain, a contract of marriage should be 
executed between the Prince of Scotland and Cecilia, daugh- 
ter of the king of England, the former being only two, the 
latter four, years old. A portion of twenty thousand marks 
sterling was to be paid by annual instalments of two thou- 
sand marks, to commence with the date of the contract. If 
the prince or princess named in the contract should die, it 
was agreed that another of the royal family to which the 
deceased party might belong should fill up his or her place 


in the contract. If such marriage did not take place, Scot- 
land became bound to repay the sum of money advanced in 
manner aforesaid, under the deduction of two thousand five 
hundred marks, which Edward agreed to abandon as a con- 
sideration paid for the friendship of Scotland at a critical 
period. By the same treaty, the long truce of fifty-five 
years was affirmed and secured. 

It appears from this remarkable treaty that the policy of 
Louis XI., who maintained his power in Europe more by in- 
fluence and subsidies than by the direct exercise of positive 
violence and force, was becoming general through Europe, 
and had been adopted by England. 

The payment of the Princess Cecilia's portion so long be- 
fore the possibility of an effectual marriage taking place, 
afforded an honorable pretext for England to give and Scot- 
land to receive by instalments a certain large sum of money 
or subsidy, by which annual gratification she was to be in- 
duced to maintain amity with her wealthier neighbor. Ed- 
ward IV. was, however, too impetuous and too necessitous 
to continue long this expensive, though secure course of 
policy. Three years' instalments of the proposed portion 
were paid with regularity; but Edward in the course of 
1478 conceived he stood so well with France as might enable 
him to dispense with the expensive friendship of Scotland. 

In the same year in which the treaty of marriage with 
England was fixed upon, the counsellors of James III. re- 
solved to proceed to check the power of John, lord of the 
Isles, and titular earl of Ross, whose insubordination again 
had merited chastisement. After a show of resistance the 
island lord submitted himself, and by an act of parliament 
was finally deprived of the earldom of Ross, which was an- 
nexed inalienably to the crown, with liberty to the kings to 
convey it as an appanage to their younger sons, but to no 
meaner subject. The humbled lord of the Isles was also 
deprived of the regions of Knapdale and Cantire, which he 
had possessed on the continent, and dismissed under promise 
to be a submissive subject in future. 


James III. had now, 1478, attained his twenty-first year, 
under circumstances of success which had attended no Scot- 
tish monarch since Robert Bruce. Hisjringdom was strength- 
ened by the expulsion of the English from Roxburgh Castle 
and the town of Berwick, as well as by the acquisition of the 
Orkney and Zetland Islands, the natural dependencies of Scot- 
land. The country was relieved of the charge of the Norway 
annual, a burden it was incapable of discharging; and the 
increasing consequence of the nation was manifested by the 
contending offers of France and England for her favor and 
friendship. All these advantages indicate that James had, 
at this period of his reign, able ministers, by whom his coun- 
cils were directed. The chief of these probably was the 
chancellor, Andrew Stewart, Lord Evandale, whose impor- 
tance was now so great that, in virtue of his office, he took 
rank next to the princes of the blood royal. He was a natu- 
ral son of Sir James Stewart, son of Murdach, duke of 

In the meantime the unfortunate James began to disclose 
evil qualities and habits which his youth had hitherto con- 
cealed from observation. He had a dislike to the active 
sports of hunting and the games of chivalry, mounted on 
horseback rarely, and rode ill. A consciousness of these 
deficiencies, in what were the most approved accomplish- 
ments of the age, and a certain shyness which attends a 
timorous temper, rendered the king alike unfit and unwill- 
ing to mingle in the pleasures of his nobility, or to show him- 
self to his subjects in the romantic pageants which were the 
delight of the age. James's amusements were of a char- 
acter in which neither his peers nor people could share s and 
though to a certain extent they were innocent and even hon- 
orable, they were yet such as, pushed to excess, must have 
necessarily interfered with the regular discharge of his royal 
duties. He was attached to what are now called the fine 
arts of architecture and music ; and in studying these used 
the instructions of Rogers, an English musician, Cochrane, 
a mason or architect, and Torphichen, a dancing-master. 


Another of his domestic minions was Hommil, a tailor, not 
the least important in the conclave, if we may judge from 
the variety and extent of the royal wardrobe, of which a 
voluminous catalogue is preserved. 

Spending his time with such persons, who, whatever their 
merit might be in their own several professions, could not be 
fitting company for a prince, James necessarily lost the taste 
for society of a different description, whose rank imposed on 
him a certain degree of restraint ; and with the habit of en- 
gaging in good society easily, he left unpracticed the man- 
ners which ought to distinguish the prince when mixing 
with the nobility of his realm. Thus thrown back upon 
his low-born associates, it was scarcely possible that James 
should not have used the counsels of men totally ignorant in 
political affairs, upon matters far above their sphere ; or that 
they, with the presumption common to upstarts, should not 
readily interpose their advice on such subjects. The nation, 
therefore, with disgust and displeasure, saw the king disuse 
the society of the Scottish nobles, and abstain from their 
counsel, to lavish favors upon, and be guided by the advice 
of, a few whom the age termed base mechanics. 

In this situation, the public eye was fixed upon James's 
younger brothers, Alexander, duke of Albany, and John, 
earl of Mar. These princes were remarkable for the royal 
qualities which the king did not possess. Being naturally 
drawn into comparison with their brother, and extolled 
above him by the public voice, James seems to have be- 
come jealous of them, even on account of their possessing 
the virtues or endowments which he himself was conscious 
of wanting. It is too consonant with the practice of courts 
to suppose that Mar and Albany were not quiescent under 
this dishonorable suspicion and jealousy. It is probable 
that they intrigued with the other discontented nobles ; with 
what purpose, or to what extent, cannot now be ascertained. 
Mar was accused of having inquired of pretended witches 
concerning the term of the king's life; a suspicious subject 
of inquiry, considering it was made by so near a relation; 
15 <%, Vol. I. 


and the progress of Albany's life shows him capable of 
unscrupulous ambition. 

The king, on his part, resorted to diviners and sooth- 
sayers to know his own future fate; and the answer (prob- 
ably dictated by the favorite Cochrane) was, that he should 
fall by the means of his nearest of kin. The unhappy mon- 
arch, with a self-contradiction, one of the many implied in 
superstition, imagined that his brothers were the relations 
indicated by the oracle ; and also imagined that his knowl- 
edge of their intentions might enable him to alter the sup- 
posed doom of fate. 

In 1478, Albany and Mar were suddenly arrested, as the 
king's suspicions grew darker and more dangerous; and 
while the duke was confined in the castle of Edinburgh, 
Mar was committed to that of Craigmillar. Conscious, 
probably, that the king possessed matter which might afford 
a pretext to take his life, Albany resolved on his escape. 
He communicated his scheme to a faithful attendant, by 
whose assistance he intoxicated, or, as some accounts say, 
murdered the captain of the guard, and then attempted to 
descend from the battlements of the castle by a rope. His 
attendant made the essay first ; but the rope being too short, 
he fell, and broke his thigh-bone. The duke, warned by 
this accident, lengthened the rope with the sheets from his 
bed, and made the perilous descent in safety. He trans- 
ported his faithful attendant on his back to a place of se- 
curity, then was received on board a vessel which lay in 
the roads of Leith, and set sail for France, where he met 
a hospitable reception, and was maintained by the bounty 
of Louis XI. 

In 1479, enraged at the escape of the elder of his cap- 
tives, it would seem that James was determined to make 
secure of Mar, who remained. There occur no records to 
show that the unfortunate prince was subjected to any pub- 
lic trial; nor can it be known, save by conjecture, how far 
James III. was accessory to the perpetration of his murder, 
which was said to be executed by bleeding the prisoner to 


death in a bath. Several persons were at the same time 
condemned and executed for acts of witchcraft, charged as 
having been practiced, at Mar's instance, against the life of 
the king. 

About this time war broke out between the two sister 
countries of Britain, after an interval of peace of unusual 
duration. The blame may have originally laid with Eng- 
land, who had violated the articles of the last treaty, in dis- 
continuing the stipulated payment of the Princess Cecilia's 
portion ; but the incursions of the Scots gave the first signal 
for actual hostilities. "Wise regulations were laid down by 
the Scottish parliament for garrisoning, with hired soldiers, 
Berwick, the Hermitage Castle, and other fortresses on the 
border, the expense to be defrayed from the public revenue. 
If Edward IV., who is discourteously termed the reifar or 
robber, should invade Scotland, it was appointed that the 
king should take the field, and that the whole nobles and 
commons should live or die with him. 

Edward IV. on his part, desirous to obtain an advantage 
similar to that which had been gained by Edward I. and 
Edward III., by means of the Baliols' claim to the Scottish 
throne, made proposals to the banished Duke of Albany that 
he should set himself up as a competitor for his brother's 
throne. Whatever had been the specious virtue of Albany, 
it was of a kind easily seduced by temptation; and, like 
Baliol in similar circumstances, he hastened from France 
over to England, agreed to become king of Scotland under 
the patronage of Edward, consented to resign the long-dis- 
puted question of the independence of his country, promised 
the abandonment of Berwick and other places on the border, 
and undertook to restore to his estate the banished Earl of 
Douglas, who was to be a party in the projected invasion. 
Under this agreement, which was, however, kept strictly 
secret, the celebrated Duke of Gloucester, afterward King 
Richard III., was detached to the Scottish wars at the head 
of a considerable army, and Albany accompanied him. 

The Scottish king had in the meantime assembled his 


army, and set forward against the enemy. But there ex- 
isted a spirit of disaffection among his nobility, which led to 
an unexpected explosion. Cochrane, the mason, the most 
able, or at least the most bold of the king's plebeian fa- 
vorites, had made so much money by accepting of bribes 
and selling his interest in the king's favor, that he was 
able to purchase from his master James, who added ava- 
rice to the other vices of a grovelling and degraded spirit, 
the earldom of Mar. It is an additional shade of meanness 
in James's character, that, when satisfied with the amount 
of the consideration to be paid, he never hesitated at con- 
ferring upon a low-born upstart the lordship which had be- 
longed to his late murdered brother. Cochrane proceeded 
in his career. The insatiable extortioner amassed money 
by indirect means of every kind; and one mode which par- 
ticularly affected the poor was the debasement of the coin 
of the realm, by mixing the silver with so much copper as 
entirely to destroy its value. This adulterated coin was 
called the Cochrane-plack, and was so favorite a specula- 
tion of his, that, having been told it would be one day 
called in, he answered scornfully, "Yes, on the day I am 
hanged"; an unwitting prophecy, which was punctually 

The rank and state affected by the new Earl of Mar only 
more deeply incensed the nobility, who considered their order 
as disgraced by the introduction of such a person. A band 
of three hundred men constantly attended the favorite armed 
with battle-axes, and displaying his livery of white with 
black fillets. He himself used to appear in a riding- suit of 
black velvet, his horn mounted with gold, and hung around 
his neck by a chain of the same metal. In this manner he 
joined the Scottish host. The army had advanced from the 
capital as far as Lauder, when the nobility, beginning to 
feel sensible of their power in a camp consisting chiefly of 
their own soldiers and feudal followers, resolved that they 
would meet together, and consult what measures were to 
be taken for the reform of the abuses of the commonwealth, 


having already in vain represented their grievances to the 

The armed conclave was held in Lauder Church, where, 
in the course of their deliberations, Lord Gray reminded 
them of the fable in which the mice are said to have laid a 
project for preventing the future ravages of the cat by tying 
a bell around her neck, which might make them aware of 
her approach. "An excellent proposal," said the orator, 
"but which fell unexpectedly to the ground, because none of 
the mice had courage enough to fasten the bell on the cat's 
neck." "I will bell the cat!" exclaimed Douglas, earl of 
Angus; from which he was ever afterward called by the 
homely appellation of Archibald Bell-the-Cat. It was agreed 
that the king's favorite should be seized and put to death, 
and the king himself should be placed under some gentle 
restraint, until he should give satisfactory assurance of a 
change of measures. 

Just as this was determined on, Cochrane came to the 
council, and demanded admission. He was suffered to enter 
with some of his attendants, but was received with the scorn 
and indignation which were the natural preface of actual 
violence. Douglas of Lochleven, who kept the door, snatched 
from him the hunting-horn that hung round his neck. ' ' Thou 
hast hunted mischief," he said, "over long." Angus seized 
the chain which held the bugle, saying, "A halter would 
suit him better." "Is it jest or earnest, my lords?" said 
the astonished favorite, surprised at his reception. "It is 
sorrowful earnest," they answered, "and that thou shalt 
presently feel." One or two, deemed the most grave of the 
nobles, undertook to acquaint the king with their purpose; 
while the others, seizing the minions who were the objects 
of their violence, caused them to be hanged over the bridge 
of Lauder. Cochrane, when brought to the place of execu- 
tion, showed how much a paltry love of show made part of 
his character. He made it his suit to be hanged in a silken 
cord, and offered to supply it from his own pavilion. This 
idle request only taught his stern auditors how to wound his 


feelings more deeply, "Thou shalt die," they said, "like a 
mean slave as thou art' ' ; and applied to the purpose of his 
execution a halter of horsehair, as the most degrading means 
of death which they could invent. This execution was done 
with excessive applause on the part of the army. All the 
favorites of the weak prince perished, except a youth called 
Ramsay of Balmain, who clung close to the king's person; 
James begged his life with so much earnestness that the 
peers relented, and granted their sovereign's boon. 

The consequences of this enterprise are very puzzling to 
the historian. The Scottish nobility seem to have retired 
with the determination not to oppose the English host in 
arms, expecting, probably, that they would be able to settle 
some accommodation by means of the Duke of Albany. 
They were as yet ignorant of the disgraceful treaty which 
he had made with England, and hoped to have the advan- 
tage of his talents as a regent to direct the weak councils 
of his brother James. In the meantime they subjected the 
king to a mitigated imprisonment in Edinburgh Castle. 

It would seem that Albany, perceiving the Scottish nobles 
totally indisposed to admit his claim to the kingdom, was 
willing enough to accept the proposal of becoming lieutenant- 
general. That he might do so with the better grace, Albany 
and the Duke of Gloucester interceded with the Scottish lords 
for the liberation of the king. The nobles addressed the Duke 
of Albany with much respect, and agreed to grant whatever 
he desired, acknowledging him to be, after James's children, 
the nearest of blood to the royal family. "But for that per- 
son who accompanies you," they continued, in allusion to 
the English prince, "we know nothing of him whatever, or 
by what right he presumes to talk to us upon our national 
affairs, and will pay no deference to his wishes, seeing he is 
entitled to none." 

The English, however, gained one important advantage 
upon this occasion. The town of Berwick, which had been 
delivered up to the Scots by Henry VI., and possessed by 
them for nearly twenty years, was now taken by the troops 


of Richard of Gloucester, and the castle being also yielded, 
this strong fortress and valuable seaport never afterward 
returned to the dominion of Scotland. In other respects the 
English sought no national advantage by the pacification. 

James was in this manner restored to his liberty, and, 
either from fickleness of temper or profound dissimulation, 
appeared for a time to be so much attached to Albany, that 
he could not be separated from him for a moment. The 
concord of the royal brethren showed itself by some dem- 
onstrations which would seem strange at the present day. 
They rode together, on one occasion, mounted on the same 
horse, from the castle of Edinburgh, along the principal 
street, down to the Abbey of Holyrood, to the great joy and 
delectation of all good subjects. Every night, also, the king 
and Albany partook the same bed. 

But this fraternal concord, which must have had, from 
the beginning, its source in a degree of affectation, did not 
long continue; and, in 1483, the predominant disposition 
of each prince disconcerted their union. The ambition of 
Albany would have alarmed the fears of a less timorous 
or suspicious man than James. It appears too plainly that 
the duke resumed his treasonable practices with the court 
of England, and it would seem that his intrigues were dis- 
covered, and that the greater part of the Scottish nobles, 
incensed at his perfidy, joined in expelling him from the 
government. In 1484 doom of forfeiture was pronounced 
against Albany, and he fled to England, having first, as 
the last act of treachery in his power, delivered up his castle 
of Dunbar to an English garrison, and thus, in so far as in 
him lay, exposed the frontiers of which he was the warden. 
The next year witnessed the battle of Lochmaben, the event 
of a foray undertaken by Douglas and Albany into Annan- 
dale, in which Douglas was made prisoner, and Albany 
obliged to fly for his life. 1 

Richard III. had now (1485) begun his brief and precari- 
ous reign. A short negotiation speedily arranged a truce 

1 See page 334. 


with Scotland, which might have had some endurance if the 
monarchs who made it had remained steady on their thrones. 
But James, when he felt himself uncontrolled in his sover- 
eignty, used it, as his inclinations determined him, in found- 
ing expensive establishments for the cultivation of music, 
and in the erection of chapels and palaces in a peculiar spe- 
cies of architecture, in which the Gothic style was mingled 
with an imitation of the Grecian orders. To meet the ex- 
pense of these buildings and foundations, and to gratify his 
natural love of amassing treasure, James watched and 
availed himself of every opportunity by which he could 
collect money ; nor did he hesitate to appropriate to these 
favorite purposes funds which the haughty nobles were dis- 
posed to consider as perquisites of their own. A particular 
instance of this nature hurried on James's catastrophe. 

In order to maintain the expenses of a double choir in the 
royal chapel of Stirling, the king ventured to apply to that 
purpose the revenues of the priory of Coldingham. The two 
powerful families of Home and Hepburn had long accounted 
this wealthy abbey their own property, insomuch that they 
expected that the king would not have violated or interfered 
with a family compact, by which they had agreed that the 
prior of Coldingham should be alternately chosen from their 
respective names. The king's appropriation of the revenues 
which they had considered as destined to the advantage of 
their friends and clansmen, disposed these haughty chiefs 
to seek revenge as men who were suffering oppression. 
The spirit of discontent spread fast among the southern 
barons, much influenced by the Earl of Angus, a nobleman 
both hated and feared by the king, who could not be sup- 
posed to have forgotten the manner in which he had acquired 
his popular epithet of Bell-the-Cat. In the vain hope of con- 
trolling his discontented nobles, the king showed his fears 
more than his wisdom by prohibiting them to appear at 
court in arms, with the exception of Ramsay, whose life had 
been spared upon his entreaty at the execution of Lauder 
Bridge. James had made this young man captain of his 


guard, and created him a peer, by the name of Lord Both- 
well, under which title the new favorite had succeeded, if not 
to the whole power, at least to much of the unpopularity 
of Cochrane, whose fate he had so nearly shared. 

A league was now formed against James, which was 
daily increased by fresh adherents till it ended in a rebellion 
which could be compared to no similar insurrection in Scot- 
tish history, save that of the Douglas in the preceding reign. 

The fate of James III. was not yet determined, notwith- 
standing this powerful combination. He had on his side the 
northern barons, and was at least as powerful as his father 
had been at the siege of Abercorn. But he had not his 
father's courage, nor the sage counsels of Bishop Kennedy. 
His wife, Margaret of Denmark, who, there is reason to 
think, had been a wise adviser as well as a most excellent 
spouse, died at a critical period for her husband (1487). 
Thus destitute of wise counsel, the king was advised (prob- 
ably by Ramsay) to arrest suddenly the nobles concerned in 
the conspiracy. Unfortunately for the issue of this scheme, 
the king was unwise enough to admit Angus to knowledge 
of his intentions. The earl instantly betrayed them to the 
malcontents, who, instead of attending the king's summons 
to court, withdrew to the southward, and raised their ban- 
ners in open insurrection. James, unnerved by his fears, 
repaired to the more northern regions, in which the strength 
of his adherents lay, and by the assistance of Athole, Craw- 
ford, Lindesay of the Byres, Ruthven, and other powerful 
chiefs of the east and north, assembled a considerable army. 
The insurgent lords advanced to the southern shores of the 

During some indecisive skirmishes, and equally indecisive 
negotiations, the associated nobles contrived to get into their 
hands the king's eldest son, by the treachery of Shaw of 
Sauchie, his governor. This gave a color to their enterprise 
which was of itself almost decisive of success. They erected 
the royal standard of Scotland in opposition to its monarch, 
and boldly proclaimed that they were in arms in behalf of 


the youthful prince, whose unnatural father intended to put 
him to death, and to sell the country to the English. These 
were exaggerated calumnies; but it may be observed that 
the populace are more easily imposed upon by falsehoods 
suited to the grossness of their intellects than by such argu- 
ments as are consonant to reason. The king stood so low in 
public estimation, on account of his love of money and his 
disposition to favoritism, that nothing could be invented 
respecting him so base that it would not find credence among 
his subjects. 

The king retired upon Stirling ; but the faithless Shaw, 
who had betrayed the prince to the rebel lords, completed 
his treachery by refusing James access to the castle of that 
town. In a species of despair, the king turned southward, 
like a stag brought to bay, with the purpose of meeting his 
enemies in conflict. The battle took place not far from 
Falkirk, where "Wallace was defeated, and yet nearer to the 
memorable field of Bannockburn, where Bruce triumphed. 
At the first encounter, the archers of the king's army had 
some advantage. But the Annandale men, whose spears 
were of unusual length, charged, according to their custom, 
with loud yells, and bore down the left wing of the king's 
forces. James, who was already dispirited from seeing his 
own banner and his own son brought in arms against him, 
and who remembered the prophecy of the witch, that he 
should fall by his nearest of kin, on hearing the cries of the 
bordermen, lost courage entirely, and turned his horse for 
flight. As he fled at a gallop through the hamlet of Mill- 
town, his charger, a fiery animal, presented to him on that 
very morning by Lindesay of the Byres, took fright at the 
sight of a woman engaged in drawing water at a well, and 
threw to the ground his timid and inexpert rider. The king 
was borne into the mill, where he was so incautious as to 
proclaim his name and quality. The consequence was that 
some of the rebels who followed the chase entered the hut 
and stabbed him to the heart. The persons of the murderers 
were never known, nor was the king's body ever found. 


Thus fell a king, of whom, but for the dark suspicions 
attending the death of his brother, the Earl of Mar, it might 
be said that he was weak and unfortunate, rather than crim- 
inal. But the follies of monarchs are no less fatal to them- 
selves and their subjects than their actual crimes and vices. 
The love James bore to the fine arts might have been not 
only pardonable but honorable; but his making merchandise 
of the justice which he owed to his subjects, in order to raise 
palaces, and maintain musical foundations, was a guilty 
indulgence. There is reason to suppose that he regulated 
his policy upon that of Louis XI. , with whom his character 
had some points of resemblance. They were both avaricious ; 
both disposed to manage their affairs by personal favorites 
of a low order; both distrustful of the aristocracy of their 
respective kingdoms. But James had the misfortune to 
resemble Louis only in the weaker points of his character. 
He had neither the crafty policy, the acute foresight, nor 
the personal courage of his model ; nor are we entitled to 
say that, except in one dark action, his rule was stained 
with the uncompromising cruelty of his contemporary. He 
left three sons, of whom the eldest, James IV., succeeded 
to the throne, under the odious recollection, for which he 
appears to have entertained the most constant remorse, that 
he had been the instrument of the defeat and death of his 



Policy of the Victors after the Battle of Sauchie Burn — Trial of 
Lord Lindesay — He is defended by his Brother, and acquitted — 
Exploits of Sir Andrew Wood — Peaceful Disposition of Henry 
VII. — Prosperity of Scotland — Short War with England in 
behalf of Perkin Warbeck — Progress of the Scots in Learning 
and Literature — James IV. 's splendid Court — Marriage between 
him and Margaret of England — Peace between Scotland and 
England — Final Forfeiture of the Lordship of the Isles — Meas- 
ures to promote public Improvement — Naval Affairs — James 
builds the lai'gest Ship in Europe — Affair of the Bartons — Mur- 
der of Sir Robert Kerr, and its Consequences — Intrigues of 
France to stir up James against England — Manifesto of James, 
and Henry's Answer— James assembles the Array of his King- 
dom — Omens of Misfortune — James invades England, but loses 
Time in Northumberland, and differs with his Council — Battle 
of Flodden, and Defeat and Death of James IV. 

AFTER the battle of Sauchie Burn, a pause ensued till 
the actual fate of the king should be known ; for, as 
we have said, his body had been carried off by those 
who slew him, and it was never known where he was buried. 
The insurgent barons at length became aware of the extent 
of their success. They easily suppressed an assembly of 
troops made by the Earl of Lennox, who had put himself 
in arms to revenge the king's death. The Lord Home, who 
had been a prime leader of the insurrection against James 
III., was raised to the office of lord high chamberlain for 
life, and created warden of the east marches. Angus was 
also gratified with offices of trust and consideration. Both 
these great peers seem to have been so far men of wisdom 
and moderation, as to lend their willing aid to drown the 
recollections of the civil war, and establish a fair and equi- 
table government, correcting the errors which had crept in 


during the late reign, but without disturbing the party of 
the deceased king, for the side which they had taken dur- 
ing the civil war. 

This moderation, however, was not adopted until the fail- 
ure of an attempt on the part of the prevailing faction to gain 
some advantage by means of obtaining fines and forfeitures 
from such of the lords as had been most active in the cause 
of James 111= , which they charged as an act of treason 
against his son. ' Lord Lindesay of the Byres was the first 
person called upon before the parliament to answer for a 
crime of a description so anomalous. He was a stout old 
soldier, bred in the wars of France, and knew no better 
answer to make to the indictment than by offering to fight 
with his accusers, venturing his own person against any two 
of them. The lord chancellor apologized to the king for the 
veteran's rudeness, the natural consequence of a military 
education, and advised Lord Lindesay to submit himself 
to the king's pleasure, who he ventured to say would be 
gracious to him. There stood near the Lord Lindesay his 
younger brother Patrick, who understanding it was the wily 
meaning of the chancellor to obtain a submission on the part 
of his brother, that he might impose some mulct or penalty 
upon him, trod upon the Lord Lindesay 's foot, as an intima- 
tion to him not to plead guilty, or "come," as it was called, 
"into the king's will." The hint was totally lost on Lord 
Lindesay, who was on bad terms with his brother, and hap- 
pened besides to have a corn on his toe, which made him 
resent the treading on his foot as an injury as well as an 
insult, for which he fiercely rebuked his brother. But, 
without regard to his unreasonable anger, master Patrick 
knelt down, and prayed to be heard as counsel for his 
brother and the house of his forefathers. This could not 

1 So says the historian, Lindsay of Pitscottie, expressly; but perhaps 
the charge may have been an accession to the subsequent attempt of 
Lennox to revenge King James the Third's fate, which certainly might 
be, with more decency and plausibility, converted into an accusation of 
treason against the young king. 


decently be refused; and the pleader, in an exordium of 
some eloquence, implored those whom he addressed, that, 
as victors in the civil contest, they would be pleased to recol- 
lect that they were still liable to the vicissitudes of human 
affairs, and might themselves hereafter stand at that very 
bar, and implore the protection of the laws against such 
triumphant enemies as might happen to be in power for the 
time. He therefore conjured them to administer the laws 
impartially, as they would desire to enjoy their protection 
if they should need it in their own case. The chancellor 
assured Lindesay that his pleading should be fairly heard 
and decided upon. The advocate proceeded to object to the 
presence in court of the young king, in whose name the suit 
was brought, and to his retaining a seat in the judicature, 
in a case where he was one of the parties concerned. The 
parliament yielded to his reasoning on the subject, and the 
young king, to his no small displeasure, was obliged to retire 
from the assembly. The counsel next stated that the term 
of the charge, which ought to run on the summons, had been 
suffered to elapse, and that the citation bore no continuation 
of days. This was an objection in point of form which the 
parliament also thought it necessary to sustain: so Lord 
Lindesay was dismissed from the bar. He was so much 
astonished at his escape, for it may be believed he compre- 
hended nothing of the nature of the defence, that he swore, 
in a rupture of gratitude, that he would reward his brother's 
fine pyot words (i.e., magpie talk) with the lands of Kirk- 
fother. The king, on the contrary, displeased with what 
he construed into a personal insult, said he would send the 
advocate where he should not see his feet for twelve months, 
and accomplished his threat by casting him into the dungeon 
of the Rothesay of Bute. Under what pretext Mr. Patrick 
Lindesay was subjected to this captivity we cannot hope 
to discover; but, if considered as an exertion of the king's 
absolute power, it is wonderfully inconsistent with the free- 
dom of debate displayed before the parliament, and the 
laudable impartiality with which the case was decided. 


Being foiled in this leading case of Lord Lindesay, the 
other prosecutions against the barons of the late king's fac- 
tion were suffered to drop, and the lords of the king's coun- 
cil, with more liberal policy, seemed rather disposed to oblit- 
erate the recollection of the civil war than to keep it alive by 
trials and prosecutions. 

The Scottish historians of this period record with triumph 
the valiant exploits of Sir Andrew Wood of Largo, a Scottish 
seaman, who attacked and defeated, with two vessels only, 
an English flotilla of five in number, who were interrupting 
the Scottish trade and plundering their merchant vessels. 
Henry VII. , it is said, affecting to treat Wood's conduct as 
an act of piracy, offered a large reward for the capture of 
him. One Stephen Bull, a gallant English seaman, under- 
took the task with three good ships ; but, after a long and 
desperate action, had the misfortune to be himself taken, 
and carried into Dundee. The prisoners were restored by 
James IV., with a courteous message to Henry VII., now on 
the throne of England, assuring him that the Scots could 
fight by sea as well as land. 

The deeply-politic views of Henry VII. were uniformly 
founded on a peaceful basis; and having re-established in 
all points the truce with Scotland, he endeavored, by a union 
of the royal families, to convert that state of temporary tran- 
quillity into a secure and lasting peace. This he proposed 
to effect by a union between his daughter and the young 
Scottish king. Nor was he disgusted when he found that 
the prejudices of the Scots made them pause upon accepting 
his offer, fearful oven of the most advantageous proposals 
when they came from the old enemies of Scotland. 

Meantime years glided away in ease and tranquillity. 
The Scottish nobility displayed an unusual degree of con- 
cord among themselves; and James at once gratified his 
own taste and theirs by maintaining a court splendid be- 
yond the means of Scotland, had not the royal coffers still 
contained a portion of the hoards of James III., now neither 
wasted in idle refinements of music and architecture, nor re- 


served to slumber in inactivity ; but employed in expenses 
which served to connect the king with his nobles and with 
his people, by procuring pleasures which they could all en- 
joy. Unhappily, James IV., with a love of justice and affec- 
tion for his people which he intimated by his whole adminis- 
tration, had also an admiration of chivalry, which he carried 
to romantic excess. Nothing delighted him so much as jousts 
and tournaments, and trials of skill at all military weapons; 
and he sought personal adventures by traversing the country 
in disguise, and throwing himself into situations which have 
been recorded in the songs and traditions of the time. 

It was probably by an appeal to this romantic cast in 
James's disposition that the Scottish king was prevailed on 
to take up the cause of Perkin Warbeck, the pretended Duke 
of York, in 1496. He received this adventurer at the court 
of Scotland; he permitted him to wed a near relation to the 
crown, the daughter of the Earl of Huntley ; acknowledged 
Perkin's claim to the kingdom of England as authentic ; and 
supported him with an army, at the head of which he him- 
self marched into Northumberland, expecting a general in- 
surrection in favor of his ally. The expectations of James 
were entirely disappointed : no one joined with Perkin. The 
Scottish king gave a loose to his disappointment, and laid 
waste the country. Perkin affected compassion for the sub- 
jects whose allegiance he claimed, and interceded in their 
behalf. "You are too merciful," answered James with a 
sneer, "to interest yourself for a people who are so tardy in 
acknowledging you for their sovereign." These words in- 
timated that James felt himself engaged in a losing adven- 
ture, which he soon afterward terminated by a truce with 

In the previous negotiation, September 30, 1498, James 
firmly refused to deliver up Perkin "Warbeck to Henry ; but 
he dismissed him from his kingdom, to pursue elsewhere that 
series of adventures which ended with his life on the gallows 
at Tyburn. His unfortunate widow was honorably supported 
by Henry VII., and long distinguished at the English court 


by the title of the "White Rose, from her husband's claim to 
be the representative of the House of York. 

The unceasing disturbances on the border every now and 
then seemed to threaten the duration of the tranquillity be- 
tween the kingdoms, had not the impetuous and mettled 
temper of the Scottish king been matched with the calm, 
sagacious, and wary disposition of Henry, who suffered no 
quarrel arising out of mere punctilio to interfere with the 
plan which his wisdom conceived, and seemed as little dis- 
posed to take offence at James as an animal of great size 
and strength which endures with patience the petulances of 
one of the same species inferior in these qualities. 

Meantime Scotland began to derive advantages from the 
duration of peace. A university, the second in the kingdom, 
that of St. Andrew's being the first, had been erected at 
Glasgow in 1453, under the pious care of Turnbull, bishop 
of that see. A third seat of learning was now, in 1500, 
founded by Elphinstone, bishop of Aberdeen. Nor were the 
labors of these learned seminaries in vain : learning began 
to be understood, cultivated, and patronized. Douglas, 
bishop of Dunkeld, made an excellent translation of Vir- 
gil's "JEnid"; and Dunbar, the Scottish Chaucer, appeared 
at court, with a power both of heroic and humorous poetry 
no way unworthy the bard of "Woodstock. James IV., him- 
self a poet, loved and encouraged the Muses ; and from what 
remains of the strains of the day it is obvious he permitted 
the satirists to take considerable freedoms with his own foibles 
rather than their vein should be interrupted or their spirit 
checked by any severity of restriction. In a prince like 
James IV. such a license shows an honest consciousness that 
his merits were sufficient to redeem his reputation, and that 
he could with safety soar above and neglect the petty artil- 
lery of the satirists. 

The king had his father's taste for architecture, though 
not in its excess. He improved the palaces of Stirling and 
Falkland. Young and unmarried, he engaged too much in 
licentious pleasures. But his regard for the Church was not 


diminished ; and, after the fashion of the time, it was testi- 
fied by the foundation of monasteries and other ecclesiastical 
establishments. James never lost a deep sense of remorse 
for the share which he had been caused to take in his father's 
defeat. He wore, by way of penance, an iron belt round his 
body, to which he added a certain weight every year which 
he lived. He also yearly dedicated part of Lent to strict 
retreat into some monastery, where rigid prayer, fasting, 
and acts of penance, were unsparingly employed to expiate 
the crime which afflicted the king's conscience. These dark 
intervals must have made a singular contrast with the busy 
course of James's ordinary life, which was spent in the ac- 
tive discharge of the administration of justice, and other 
kingly duties; while each interval of leisure was employed 
in the princely pleasures of the chase, the ball-room, and 
the tilt-yard. To keep pace with other sovereigns, who 
affected forming orders of knighthood, in which they them- 
selves should preside, like Arthur at his Round Table, or 
Charlemagne among his Paladins, James established the 
Order of St. Andrew, assuming the badge of the thistle, 
which since that time has been the national emblem of 

James IV., being now about thirty years of age, began 
perhaps to desire a more domestic life than he had hitherto 
led; the rather that the English princess Margaret, who, 
when the treaty was first proposed, had been a mere child, 
was now rising to the years of womanhood. In 1503, an im- 
portant treaty was concluded, the effects of which reached 
deep into futurity, and did justice to the wisdom of Henry 
VII., by whom it had been so long urged with such patience 
and perseverance. Thirty thousand angel-nobles were to be 
paid as the queen of Scotland's dowry, and a jointure of two 
thousand pounds sterling was to be secured to her in case 
of her surviving James. This marriage treaty was accom- 
panied by a peace between England and Scotland, the first 
which had existed since that of Northampton in 1332. The 
articles were equitable, without advantage on either side, 


unless in one instance, by which Scotland renounced in fut- 
ure her right to the town of Berwick. 

In consequence of these important arrangements, the En- 
glish princess Margaret was conveyed to Scotland with befit- 
ting splendor, in 1504. James came flying to meet her at 
the abbey of Newbattle with bridegroom haste, which a 
spectator compares to the speed of a falcon darting on his 
prey. The marriage was celebrated with great magnifi- 
cence, and with all the dignity of chivalry. The Highland 
and border chiefs took the opportunity of challenging and 
fighting to extremity ; the death of such turbulent subjects 
being little regretted by the king or the statesmen, the lat- 
ter of whom probably looked on the contest with an eye of 
policy rather than of romantic admiration. 

Important national regulations succeeded these festivities. 
The total suppression of the dignity of the lord of the Isles 
was a remarkable, and, considering the arrogance and in- 
subordination of these petty kings, a very important inci- 
dent. John, lord of the Isles, having been deprived of the 
earldom of Ross, and his continental dominions of Knap- 
dale and Cantire, in 1476, had submitted to restrictions of 
his power, and promised amendment of his conduct. In 
1480, this intractable prince again renewed his secret nego- 
tiations with England. He had been summoned to make 
answer for these intrigues before the Scottish parliament; 
but the divisions of James III.'s reign had prevented the 
matter from being insisted on. In James IV.'s vigorous 
reign, forfeiture was denounced against this insular prince, 
whose lordship of the Isles became thus an appanage of the 
crown. Measures were now taken to extend to these distant 
and disorderly regions the advantage of an equal distribution 
of justice. This was, however, only sowing seeds of civiliza- 
tion, which it required three centuries and a half, and a va- 
riety of contingencies, to bring to maturity. The destruc- 
tion of this great family, formerly the natural leaders of 
misdoers, and the refuge of the lawless and ungovernable 
of every description, was a main step attained to the king- 


doms; and the disorders of the Highlands and the Isles were 
afterward neither so universal, so frequent, nor so perilous. 

Other statutes of this period show that the Scottish legis- 
lators possessed wisdom superior to their age, and evinced 
a disposition to accelerate the improvement of the country 
by legislative enactment. A just statute corrected the abuse 
of naming one inferior species of crime in the pardons or re- 
missions which were too often granted for the purpose of 
afterward using the same remission to cover an offence of 
deeper dye. Another declared no pardon should be granted 
to deliberate murderers. Another provided for the punish- 
ment of faithless notaries. There is a series of regulations 
for the improvement of rural economy, which imposes a 
heavier mulct than before on the destroyers of wood, "the 
forests of Scotland being (it is alleged) utterly destroyed." 
For the same reason, every heritor is directed to plant at 
least an acre of wood, to form parks and enclosures, con- 
struct fish-ponds, stock rabbit-warrens and dove-cots, and 
plant orchards. One statute especially testifies the inclina- 
tion of these wise legislators to cultivate the arts of peace, 
since it permits the king, and, by a supplemental provision, 
all other landholders, to let in feu any portion of land which 
he might please. The vassal, in this species of tenure, was 
exempted altogether from military service, and held subject 
to the payment of a quit-rent in money or produce in lieu of 
other prestations. The churchmen availed themselves of this 
important privilege, to the great increase of the value of their 
lands, and the general cultivation of the country. Lastly, 
the riches which might be derived from the Scottish fisheries 
did not escape the prescient eye of these statesmen, and they 
made regulations which showed them sensible of their value; 
though from want of boats, nets, and, above all, of money, 
little could be done to realize their patriotic wishes. 

James IV. has been already mentioned as a patron of the 
Scottish navy, which, under Andrew Wood and the two Bar- 
tons, showed much alacrity and energy both on the coasts of 
Holland, of the Baltic, of Portugal, and elsewhere. It would 


seem that in these times the rules of war were not so well un- 
derstood by sea as by land ; since the vessels, even of friendly 
powers, often met and fought on the ocean, for the same rea- 
son, doubtless, which makes an Arab declare that there is no 
friend in the desert, or a buccaneer that there is no peace 
under the line. In several of these skirmishes the Scottish 
mariners defended bravely the honor of their flag ; and one 
of them accelerated the fatal war in which James ended his 

It was his love for nautical affairs which led King James 
into the mistaken ambition of desiring to possess the largest 
ship then in the world. The Great Michael, for such was 
her name, exhausted all the oak-forests of Fife (that of Falk- 
land excepted), and "cumbered all Scotland" before she 
could be got to sea. A cannon-ball, discharged against her 
by the king's order, could not penetrate her sides, which 
were ten feet in thickness. She was twelve-score feet in 
length, and thirty-six in wideness. The crew of this im- 
mense galleon amounted to no less than three hundred mari- 
ners to manage her on the sea, and a thousand soldiers to 
combat on board of her. It is easy to see that if the expense 
employed on the construction of this unwieldy wooden fort- 
ress had been bestowed upon the equipment of eight such 
vessels as were commanded by Sir Andrew "Wood, Scotland 
would have risen to that rank among maritime powers which 
she was entitled to claim from the advantages of a seacoast 
full of creeks, roadsteads and harbors. But the construction 
of this huge vessel plainly shows that James erred in the 
mode by which he endeavored to attain his object. 

The purpose of the king was to raise the character of the 
Scottish marine force; and, as above observed, it was in a 
great measure his attention to naval affairs which led that 
prince to a fatal breach with England, the more easily 
effected that the sceptre of that country was no longer 
swayed by the cautious Henry VII., but by his son Henry 
VIII. , whose temper was as fiery and haughty as that of 
the Scottish monarch himself. 


A Portuguese squadron having made prize of a Scottish 
vessel belonging to John Barton, letters of reprisal were 
granted by James to Barton's sons. The exploits of the 
Bartons in revenge of their father's wrongs had extended 
not merely to Portuguese vessels, but to English ships bound 
for Portugal, and several such vessels had been taken and 
plundered by them. In retaliation for such unjustifiable 
depredations, the sons of the Earl of Surrey, Lord Thomas 
and Sir Edmund Howard, were despatched by Henry VI I. 
with two ships to bring the pirate into an English port. Sir 
Andrew Barton, the elder brother, boldly encountered the 
two young noblemen, and maintained a desperate combat, 
encouraging his men with his whistle till his death induced 
them to surrender. 

Another quarrel between the sister countries, in 1511, 
rested on the following grounds: — Some English borderers 
murdered Sir Robert Kerr, warden of the middle marches 
of Scotland. One of the assassins, named Lilburn, with 
Heron of Ford, the brother of another commonly called the 
Bastard Heron, was delivered up to the Scottish king by 
order of Henry VII. ; but immediately upon the death of 
that wise prince the other accomplices of the murder began 
to show themselves publicly on the border. Andrew Kerr, 
the son of the slain Sir Robert, employed two of his own 
followers, named Tait, to obtain the revenge which he had 
in vain sought from the justice of England. They suc- 
ceeded in their mission, and brought back with them into 
Scotland tho head of Starked, one of the slayers of Sir Rob- 
ert. Kerr caused it to be exposed at the cross of Edinburgh, 
But the Bastard' Heron still lived and was suffered to go at 
liberty, and on that and other accounts James IV. nourished 
a deep resentment against his brother-in-law of England. 

His discontent was at the height when an envoy from 
France arrived at Edinburgh, who availed himself of the 
power attained by largesses in the Scottish court, and prom- 
ises and flattery over the romantic spirit of the king himself, 
to engage James in an alliance 'offensive and defensive with 


France, the ultimate consequence of which was sure to be 
a war with England. Yet the rupture was for some time 
suspended; for Henry, whose purpose it was to invade 
France, was averse to leave his country exposed to an in- 
cursion from Scotland ; and James hesitated on the threshold 
of a rash undertaking. Female interference at length deter- 
mined the fate of the chivalrous James. The queen of 
France wrote a letter, in which, terming the king of Scot- 
land her knight, she besought his assistance on her behalf 
in the manner and tone of a distressed princess of romance 
imploring the succor of some valiant paladin. A ring from 
the queen's finger was the pledge of faith by which she con- 
jured James to risk but one day's march into England for 
her sake. At the same time, a more solid present of four- 
teen thousand crowns contributed something to remove the 
want of funds which otherwise might possibly have inter- 
fered with the projected expedition. 

James's first step to gratify the queen of France was to 
despatch a naval force to that kingdom, from which the 
greater part of the fleet never returned, the consequences 
of the battle of Flodden having deprived the government 
of Scotland of the energy which ought to have been exerted 
for their preservation, so that the vessels rotted neglected in 
French harbors, or were sold at a low price to the French 

James, however, meditated a more direct mode of assist- 
ing his ally and chastising Henry, whom he was now dis- 
posed to consider as an enemy rather than a brother-in-law. 
The Scottish monarch sent a herald to France, with a mani- 
festo to be delivered to the English king, then preparing to 
lay siege to Terouenne. In this species of defiance were 
recapitulated the capture of Barton, the murder of Kerr, 
the detention of a legacy bequeathed by Henry VII. to his 
daughter Margaret, with other grievances; and it concluded 
with summoning the king of England instantly to desist 
from the invasion of France on pain of seeing Scotland take 
arms in the cause of that kingdom. The English king, 


highly offended hoth at the matter of this remonstrance and 
the terms in which it was couched, returned an answer, in 
which he upbraided James with perfidy, and even perjury, 
in having broken the perpetual peace which at his nuptials 
he had sworn to observe toward England ; he treated with 
scorn Scotland's pretence of interfering in his quarrel with 
France, and concluded with retorting defiance. 

In the meanwhile the war was already commenced. Lord 
Home, who held the dignity of high chamberlain of Scotland, 
entered England with a considerable force, burned several 
villages, and collected much prey. It was not, however, 
his destiny to carry his booty safe into Scotland. In march- 
ing heedlessly through the extensive flat north of Wooler, 
called Millfield Plain, the Scottish commander fell into an 
ambush of archers who lay concealed among the long broom, 
and was surprised, defeated, and put to flight, leaving his 
brother and many of his followers prisoners in the hands 
of the enemy. 

James, stung to the heart with the loss which he had 
sustained, and the dishonor which Home's defeat had cast 
upon his arms, made preparations for war on an extensive 
scale. He summoned the whole array of his kingdom to 
meet him at Edinburgh in arms, each man bringing with 
him provisions for the space of forty days. This was the 
utmost strength he could assemble, and the longest period 
for supporting the war which he could make provision for. 
The king was obeyed, for his rule was highly popular; but 
it was with regret on the part of those who could think or 
reason upon the subject of the war, by all of whom it was 
considered as impolitic, if not unjust. 

Omens, also, are said to have occurred calculated to im- 
press the superstitious public with fearful anticipations of 
the fate of the campaign. Voices as of a herald were heard 
at night at the market-cross of Edinburgh, where citations 
are usually made, summoning the king and his nobles by 
name to appear within sixty days at the bar of Pluto. In 
the church of Linlithgow also, while King James was per- 


forming his devotions, a man in a singularly-shaped eastern 
dress, assuming the character of the Apostle John, solemnly 
warned the king that if he persevered in his purposed expedi- 
tion it would terminate in his ruin. The warning was deliv- 
ered in a slow and unabashed voice and manner, and con- 
cluded with a warning menace against the king's indulgence 
in libertine amours. "While all were astonished at the bold- 
ness of the messenger, he escaped from among them, so that 
he could not be apprehended. It is probable that this pag- 
eant, which seemed calculated to have effect on the super- 
stitious temperament of James IV. , was devised by some of 
the nobility who were hostile to the invasion of England. 
But the king proved, unhappily, inaccessible to fantastic 
omens, as well as to the dictates of reason and policy. 

August 22, 1513, James entered England with as gallant 
an army as ever was led by a Scottish monarch ; and the 
castle of Norham, with that of Wark, and the border towers 
of Etal and Ford, were successively taken. In the latter 
fortalice James made captive a lady, the wife of Heron of 
Ford, lord of the manor, who acquired so much influence 
over the amorous monarch as to detain him from the prose- 
cution of his enterprise, while his army dwindled away, 
owing to the impatience of inaction in some, and the want 
of provisions experienced by all. The army was diminished 
to thirty thousand men, when James was aroused from his 
amorous dalliance by the approach of the Earl of Surrey 
at the head of a large force to defend the English frontiers. 
A herald brought a defiance to the monarch, in which the 
English lord stated that he was come to vindicate the death 
of Barton, and challenged the king of Scotland to combat. 
James's insane spirit of chivalry induced him to accept this 
romantic proposal, in spite of the remonstrances of his best 
counsellors, and, among others, of the old Earl of Angus, 
called Bell-the-Cat. "If you are afraid, Angus," said the 
king coldly in reply to his arguments, "you may go home." 
Angus would not abide in the camp after such an affront : 
he departed with tears of anger and sorrow, leaving his two 
16 <%, Vol. I. 


sons and his followers with charge to stand by the king to 
the last. 

It was on the 6th of September that James, removing 
from the western side of the river Till, took up his camp on 
the hill of Flodden, which closes in the northern extremity 
of Millfield Plain. In this advantageous ground he had the 
choice to fight or maintain the defensive at his pleasure. 
Surrey observed the advantages of the king's position, which, 
being very steep on the southern side, where the eminence 
sinks abruptly on the plain, was, in that quarter, inaccessible 
to an attack. Thus situated, the English commander, find- 
ing that provisions were scarce, and the country around 
wasted, determined by a decisive movement to lead his army 
round the flank of the Scottish king's position, and place 
himself on the north side of Flodden Hill ; thus interposing 
the English army between King James and his own country. 
This march was not made without much risk, since during 
the circuit round the hill it necessarily exposed the flank of 
the Earl of Surrey's army to destructive attacks, had the 
Scottish king chosen to take the advantage which it afforded 
him. But James, more distinguished for chivalry in the 
lists than conduct in the field, suffered the English quietly 
to march round the extremity of his position, and remained 
inactive, until he saw Lord Surrey pass the river Till by a 
narrow bridge and a bad ford. Surrey, having crossed the 
river, continued his march eastward for a little way, then, 
forming his army in order of battle, with his front to the 
south, advanced toward the Scottish camp by a declivity 
much more gentle than that which ascends from the plain 
toward the southern ridge of the hill. The king then took 
his determination to fight, and put his army in order for 
that purpose. Each host was divided into four large bodies, 
and each had a reserve in the rear of the centre. 

Of James's army the Earls of Huntley and Home led the 
extreme left wing, chiefly consisting of borderers. Next to 
them, on their right, were the Earls of Crawford and Mon- 
trose, whose followers were Highlanders. The king himself 


commanded the third or central division. The fourth divis- 
ion, or right wing, was led by the Earls of Lennox and 
Argyle. All these bodies were separated by intervals, but 
kept the same front. The Earl of Bothwell commanded the 
reserve, which was posted behind the king's division: this 
force consisted of his own followers, and those of other 
chiefs in Lothian. 

The English were nearly in the same order. Opposed 
to Huntley and Home were the two noble brothers, Sir Ed- 
mund Howard and High Admiral Sir Thomas. The centre 
was led by Surrey in person, and the reserve by Lord Dacres. 
Sir Edward Stanley commanded the left wing. 

The fight began on the Scottish left wing, with an omen 
of good fortune which it did not long retain. Home, en- 
countering the admiral with great fury, beat him to the 
ground, and had wellnigh dispersed his division, had it not 
been supported by Lord Dacres with the reserve of English 
cavalry. Their support was so timely and effectual that 
the Scots were kept at bay. The Highlanders, under Craw- 
ford and Montrose, rushed down the hill with disorderly 
haste, and were easily routed by the two Howards. Both 
the Scottish earls fell. During these conflicts the king's 
division engaged furiously with that of the Earl of Surrey, 
and, although overwhelmed with showers of arrows, the 
Scots made a most valiant defence. The Earl of Bothwell, 
with the reserve, bravely supported them, and the combat 
became very sanguinary. In the meanwhile Sir Edward 
Stanley, with the men of Cheshire and Derbyshire, forming 
the English right wing, totally dispersed their immediate 
opponents, the division under Lennox and Argyle. Both 
these earls fell, and Stanley, pressing onward over the ground 
they occupied, and wheeling to his own left, placed his divis- 
ion in the rear of King James's broken ranks; and by an 
attack in that direction seconded the efforts of Surrey, who 
was engaged with the Scottish army in front. But these 
broken and bleeding battalions consisted of the pride and 
flower of the Scottish gentry, who, throwing themselves 


into a circle so as to resist on all points, defended themselves 
with honorable desperation. No one thought of abandoning 
the king, who, with useless valor, fought and struggled amid 
the foremost in the conflict. Night at least separated the 
combatants ; and the Scottish, like a wounded warrior, whom 
his courage sustains so long as the conflict lasts, but who 
faints with loss of blood when it is ended, became sensible 
of the extent of their loss, and melted in noiseless retreat 
from the field of battle in which the king and his nobles had 

There lay slain on the fatal field of Flodden twelve Scot- 
tish earls, thirteen lords, and five eldest sons of peers — fifty 
chiefs, knights, and men of eminence, and about ten thou- 
sand common men. Scotland had sustained defeats in which 
the loss had been numerically greater, but never one in 
which the number of the nobles slain bore such a propor- 
tion to those of the inferior rank. The cause was partly the 
unusual obstinacy of the long defence, partly that when the 
common people began, as already mentioned, to desert their 
standards, the nobility and gentry were deterred by shame 
and a sense of honor from following their example, 

The Scots historians long contested the fact that James 
IV. fell in the field of Flodden; and denied that the body 
which the English exhibited as the corpse of that unhappy 
king was in reality that of their sovereign. Some supposed 
that, having escaped from the slaughter, James had gone to 
the Holy Land as a pilgrim, to appease the resentment of 
Heaven, which he conceived had sent his last misfortune in 
•vengeance for his accession to his father's death. But there 
is no doubt, in the present day, that the body of James was 
found and carried to Berwick by the Lord Dacres, to whom 
the king must have been personally well known. It was 
afterward interred in the monastery of Sheen or Richmond. 
The corpse was pierced with two arrows, and had received 
the mortal wound from a bill or battle-axe. This amiable 
but Ul-fated monarch left two lawful children, James, his 
successor, and Alexander, a posthumous infant, who did not 


live two years. James IV. was the only Scottish king that 
fell in battle with the English since the defeat and death of 
Malcolm III. near Alnwick. He fell in his forty-first year, 
after he had reigned twenty-six years. 

This may be no improper time to take a rapid view of 
the two countries as they stood contrasted with each other, 
in their civil and military systems, in customs and in man- 
ners. "We must be understood to speak only of the lowland 
countries of Scotland; for the Highlands were as different 
from the Saxon part of their countrymen as they were in 
the beginning of the eighteenth century. 

War was almost constantly the state in which the sister 
kingdoms stood in relation to each other; so much so, that 
the two portions of the same island most fitted by their rela- 
tive position to be governed by the same laws and rules 
might be considered as looking upon each other in the light 
of natural enemies. In such a contest, it would be idle to 
inquire whether either nation possessed over the other any 
superiority in strength of person or bravery of disposition; 
advantages which nature distributes with impartiality 
among the children of the same soil. Different degrees of 
discipline, different species of arms, different habits of exer- 
cise, may be distinctly traced as the foundation of advan- 
tages occasionally observable either in the victories of the 
English over the Scots, or in those obtained by the inhabi- 
tants of the northern parts of the island over their southern 

The superiority of the English arose from two principal 
circumstances; first, the better discipline and conduct of 
their armies, which at an early period manoeuvred with con- 
siderable art and address, for which we shall presently show 
some reason ; and, secondly, on their unrivalled skill in the 
use of the long bow, the most formidable weapon of the age, 
which neither Scot, Frenchman, Fleming, nor Spaniard, 
oould use with the same effect as the yeomen of England. 
These men possessed a degree of independence and wealth 


altogether unknown to the same class of society m other 
kingdoms of Europe. They placed their pride in having 
the most excellent and best-constructed bows and shafts, 
to the formation of which great attention and nicety were 
necessary; and they had attained the art of handling and 
using them with the greatest possible effect. Their wealth 
enabled them to procure weapons of the first order, and their 
mode of education brought the use of them to the highest 
pitch of perfection. Bishop Latimer says of himself that, 
like other children, he was trained to shoot first with a small 
bow suitable to his age, and afterward with one fitted to his 
increasing strength; and that consequently he acquired a 
degree of skill which far surpassed that of those who never 
handled a bow till they came to be young men. Neither 
was the shape of the weapon less fitted for its purpose. The 
bow was of considerable length and power, and the arrow, 
constructed with a small head of sharp steel, was formed so 
as to fly a great distance and with much force. On the 
contrary, the Highlanders were the most numerous, if not 
the only archers in Scotland. These mountaineers carried a 
weak bow, short and imperfectly strung, which discharged 
a heavy arrow with a clumsy barb, three or four times the 
weight of an English shaft. To these advantages on the 
part of the English must be added the dexterity with which 
archery was practiced by their yeomen, who always drew 
the bowstring to the right ear, while the bowmen of other 
nations pulled it only to the breast, and thus discharged a 
shorter shaft from a much less formidable bow. The supe 
riority of the English in archery cannot be better expressed 
than by the Scottish proverb, that each southern archer bore 
at his belt the lives of twenty-four Scots, such being the 
number of arrows with which he was usually supplied. 

In the possession of much greater wealth, the English 
had another advantage over their neighbors scarcely less 
effectual than that of their archery. This enabled them 
at pleasure to summon into the field considerable bodies of 
mercenaries, either horse or foot, whose trade was arms, 


and who maintained themselves by selling their services to 
those who could best afford to pay for them. It was natu- 
ral that such bands, who were constantly in active service, 
should be much better acquainted with the art of war and 
the discipline of the times than the natives of Scotland, who 
only occasionally adopted the profession of arms. What 
was even of greater importance was the habit of obedience 
in military matters which these men had learned to practice, 
and which (provided always they were regularly paid) ren- 
dered them prompt and obedient to orders, and amenable 
to discipline. The English armies were, especially after 
Henry VII. 's time, augmented by bands from Flanders, 
Spain, Italy, and the most warlike countries then in the 
world, led by commanders whom long experience had made 
completely acquainted with the art of war, which was their 
only profession, as the camp was their only home. Their 
discipline was an example to the native troops of England, 
and showed them the advantage to be derived from implicit 
obedience during the campaign and on the field of battle. 
All these troops were placed under the command of a gen- 
eral of approved abilities, who received his orders from the 
king and council, presenting thus the absolute authority 
which is requisite to direct the movements of an army. 

Besides this peculiar advantage of hiring regular troops, 
the wealth of England enabled her chivalry to come to the 
field in full panoply, mounted on horses fit for service, and 
composed of men-at-arms certainly not inferior to any which 
Europe could boast. She had also at command money, stores, 
provisions, ammunition, artillery, and all that is necessary to 
enable an army to take and to keep the field. 

The Scottish armies, on the other hand, were composed 
of the ordinary inhabitants of the country, who, unless they 
chanced to have a few French men-at-arms, were destitute 
of any force approaching to regular soldiers. Their own 
men-at-arms were few and ill-appointed; and though they 
had in their armies numerous troops of hardy horses, they 
were too light for the actual battle. They always fought 


on foot, a circumstance which exposed their broad masses of 
spearmen still more to devastation by the English archers, 
who could remain at a distance and pour on them their fatal 
shot without encountering the brunt of their pikes. Their 
hosts were, indeed, nominally under command of one gen- 
eral; but wanted all that united force and energy acquired 
by a large body acting with a common purpose and under 
the authority of a single individual. On the contrary, they 
rather consisted of a number of little armies under separate 
chiefs, unknown to or perhaps at variance with each other, 
and acknowledging no common head save the king, who 
was not always fit to command in person, and to whom 
implicit obedience was not always rendered. 

These great advantages of superior address in the mis- 
siles of the period, and in superior wealth for the formation 
and support of armies, were particularly observable in gen- 
eral battles upon a large scale; which the Scots, in their 
impatience and poverty of means to keep the field, hazarded 
far more frequently than was politic, and received a succes- 
sion of dreadful and sanguinary defeats, so numerous and 
apparently decisive that the reader may be surprised how 
they could escape the total subjugation which seemed so 
often impending. But Scotland, to balance these disadvan- 
tages, was superior in some circumstances highly favorable 
to the nation, when her armies could withhold themselves 
from general actions. 

When the nations met with moderate numbers on each 
side, the dissensions so frequent in a Scottish camp did not 
exist, and the armed natives of some particular district 
/ought with unanimity under a Stewart or a Douglas, 
whoje command was acknowledged by all in the field. 
Such was the case at Otterbourne and many fields of com- 
bat, where neither host exceeded a few thousand men, and 
still more frequently where the numbers were much smaller. 
The Scottish inferiority in archery was on many occasions 
balanced by the advantage which their national weapon, the 
Scottish spear, gave them over the English bill, with which 


that nation maintained the combat, when they joined battle 
hand to hand. The strength and solidity of the Scottish 
phalanx of spearmen, either for attack or resistance, is on 
many occasions commemorated. If it be considered that a 
thrusting weapon is far more formidable than one calculated 
for striking, and that where troops use the former they must 
close and serry their ranks, while, to have room to employ 
the latter, they must keep loose order, it is not assuming 
any superior strength or courage in the Scots to say that 
in small skirmishes and battles of a secondary class they 
asserted a considerable advantage over the English. 

But, besides the mode of fighting hand to hand, it must 
be remembered that the Scots were natives of a severe cli- 
mate and poor soil, brought up to endure rigor of weather, 
and accustomed to scantiness of food, while at the same 
time they waged their wars chiefly in their own country, a 
mountainous and barren region, with whose recesses they 
were familiar; and it will not be surprising that, endowed 
with a peculiar obstinacy of temper, they should have suc- 
ceeded, against all other disadvantages, in maintaining such 
an equality with their powerful neighbors as enabled them 
repeatedly, by a series of skirmishes, ambuscades, and con- 
stant attacks on the invaders, to regain what the nation lost 
in great general actions. 

In government and constitution the English and Scottish 
kingdoms had originally the strongest resemblance to each 
other, both being founded upon the feudal system, at this 
time universally adopted in Europe. Indeed, before the 
reign of Henry VII. there was little difference between 
them. But the wars of York and Lancaster had swept off 
such numbers of the English nobility, and left those who 
remained so shorn of their power, that that politic prince 
had no difficulty in executing his deep-laid purpose of de- 
priving the aristocracy of their influence in the state, and 
wising the crown to that height of power which it displayed 
under the House of Tudor. This scheme, to which the intro- 
duction of mercenary troops instead of feudal levies greatly 


contributed, was slowly and silently operating to increase 
the power of the crown and diminish that of the peers; 
and the boroughs and commons of England, whom the king 
favored, as a weight in his own scale, were yet more im- 
perceptibly gaining consequence in the constitution. But in 
Scotland the crown was possessed of very little power, and 
the king could scarce be considered as more than the first 
baron of the kingdom, subject to be restrained, imprisoned, 
dethroned, and slain, at the pleasure of a turbulent aristoc- 
racy. It is true that, when the Scottish monarch possessed 
the love and affection of his peers, he was generally allowed 
considerable weight in the national councils ; but the extent 
of his power usually rested on the degree of personal estima- 
tion in which he was held. James III. was repeatedly im- 
prisoned, and finally deposed and murdered, by the same 
class of nobles (in some instances the very same individuals) 
who loved, honored, and obeyed his more popular son with 
such devotion that they followed him against their own bet- 
ter judgment to the fatal field of Flodden, in which with 
the flower of his kingdom he lost his life. The quiet and 
prosperity of the nation rested far too much on the personal 
character of the prince to be capable of much stability. 

The difference between the condition of the lower orders 
in the two kingdoms was such as might be expected from the 
comparative point of civilization to which each had attained. 
In England, the merchants were possessed of great capital ; 
the principal citizens were skilful and thriving; the ordinary 
ones substantial and easy, living under the protection of equal 
laws. The yeomen and farmers, in a great measure loosened 
from the dominion of their lords by the law against feudal 
retainers, and other laws in favor of personal freedom, were 
possessed of opulence, and employed themselves in improv- 
ing the agriculture of the country, instead of following their 
lords to battle. In Scotland, this was all diametrically re- 
versed. The towns, though encouraged by favorable laws, 
were languishing through the decay of commerce, for which 
the Scottish merchants had neither stock nor capital. Their 


subjects of export were only hides, wool, and similar raw 
materials which the country afforded; and, as almost every 
necessary or convenience of life was imported from Flanders 
ready made, the balance of trade preponderated against the 
poorer country. Nor was improvement to be expected where 
neither skill nor labor was in demand, even had there been 
money to purchase them. The country was scarcely in a 
better condition than the towns. "War being the co: tant 
state of the nation, the pursuits of agriculture were un^ oid- 
ably postponed to the practice of arms. The farmers, who 
were in absolute dependence on the landholders, rode up and 
down the country in armor, attending upon their lords, while 
the labors of the farm were left to old men, women, and chil- 
dren. Bondmen were also employed in these domestic du- 
ties, unworthy, it was thought, of free hands. Yet the very 
rudeness of their character prevented the tenants from being 
oppressed beyond a certain limit. If a farmer took a lease 
over the head of another, at a rent which his poorer neigh- 
bor could not afford, the dispossessed agriculturist would kill 
his successor, to be revenged of his avaricious landlord. Nu- 
merous laws were made for repressing these evils, but in vain ; 
the judges seldom had power, and often wanted will, to en- 
force them. The Scottish parliament saw the disease, and 
prescribed the remedy ; but the difficulty lay in enforcing it. 

In literature the Scots made a more equal competition with 
their neighbors than in other particulars. They used the 
same language with the English, though time had introduced 
a broader pronunciation. ' 

The Scottish parliament were so much impressed with the 
necessity of education that in 1494 they passed a remarkable 
edict, by which each baron and substantial freeholder was 
enjoined, under the penalty of twenty pounds, to send his 
eldest son to the grammar-school at six, or, at the utmost, 

1 Gawain Douglas professes to write his language broad and plain, 
"keeping no southren but his own language," and makes an apology for 
using some words after the English pronunciation, which he would 
willingly have written purely and exclusively Scottish. 


nine years of age. Having been competently grounded in 
Latin, the pupils were directed to study three years in the 
schools of philosophy and law, to qualify themselves for oc- 
cupying the situation of sheriffs, justices of the peace, and 
other judges in ordinary. 

That this singular statute had considerable influence we 
cannot doubt ; yet the historian Mair or Major still continued 
to upbraid the nobility of his time with gross neglect of their 
children's education. But though a majority may have con- 
temned literature and its pursuits, in comparison with the 
sports of the field or the exercises of war, there were so 
many who availed themselves of the opportunities of educa- 
tion as to leave a splendid proof of their proficiency. Dun- 
bar, the Chaucer of Scotland, has, in his Lament for the 
Death of the Makers, enumerated eighteen poets of eminence 
in their time, who flourished from the earlier half of the fif- 
teenth century down to the reign of James V. Many of 
their poems which have been preserved attest the skill and 
taste of the authors ; but the genius of Dunbar and Gawain 
Douglas alone is sufficient to illuminate whole centuries of 
ignorance. In Latin composition, the names of Bishop 
Elphinstone, John Major, or Mair, Patrick Paulner, secre- 
tary to James IV., and Hector Boece, or Boetius, an excel- 
lent scholar, though a most inaccurate and mendacious 
historian, attest the progress of Scottish literature. 

The recent discovery of the lost classics had again awak- 
ened the light of learning in countries which had been long 
darkened with the shades of ignorance, and that light had 
penetrated into both parts of Britain. But deeper and more 
important speculations were rapidly expanding themselves. 
The art of printing, now in full action, had spread the knowl- 
edge of the Scriptures among thousands who had not been 
allowed to hear of them otherwise than as sophisticated by 
human inventions. The Church of Rome found herself in 
a situation where she was encumbered even by her own forti- 
fications. Having once definitively avowed the doctrine that 
her decrees were infallible, it became impossible for her, with- 


out inconsistency, to sacrifice to the advancing knowledge of 
the period opinions, rites, or practices adopted during ages 
of ignorance, or to make any compromise with the spirit of 
inquiry. Thus the clergy were driven upon the difficult task 
of smothering it by authority and violence. 

Both England and Scotland received in secret the doc- 
trines of the reformers, and in both they triumphed still 
further over the ancient religion. But the circumstances, 
manner, and modification in which the Protestant faith was 
introduced and received in the two kingdoms were so differ- 
ent, as seemed at first rather to separate them from each 
other than to bring nearer the natural and advantageous 
measure of their union. Heaven, in its own good time, 
had reserved this consummation as the happy point to which, 
the nations were at length to be conducted by a series of 
transactions which promised a very different event. 



Proclamation of the temporary Magistrates of Edinburgh — Mod- 
erate Conduct of the English — Convention of Estates — Duke of 
Albany proposed for Regent — Marriage of the Queen-Dowager 
with the Earl of Angus — He attempts to get the Regency in 
Right of his Wife; but Albany is preferred — His Character — 
Angus and the Queen Mother fly to England — Albany is un- 
popular — Trial and Execution of Lord Home — Albany returns to 
France — Murder of the Sieur de la Bastie — Feuds between the 
Hamiltons and Douglases — Skirmish called Cleanse the Cause- 
way — Albany returns from France, and reassumes the Govern- 
ment: makes an inefficient Attempt to invade England, and 
again retires to France — Surrey takes Jedburgh — Albany returns 
for the third Time to Scotland: besieges Wark — Upon this Siege 
being shamefully raised, he returns, dismisses his Army, and 
leaves Scotland forever — Intrigues of Henry VIII. among the 
Scottish Nobility — Queen Margaret once more raised to Power 
— King James assumes the Government under her Guardian- 
ship — Her Aversion to her Husband Angus, and her imprudent 
Affection for Lord Methven — Angus returns and attains the 
supreme Power — Becomes tyrannical in his Administration — 
Battle of Melrose — Battle of Kirkliston — Supreme Sway of the 
Douglases — Escape of the King from Falkland — The Douglases 
are banished the Royal Presence, and compelled to fly into Eng- 
land — Comparison between the Fall of the House of Angus and 
that of the elder Branch of the Douglas Family 

THE alarm which followed upon the melancholy event 
of the field of Flodden through the whole kingdom 
of Scotland was universal and appalling; hut, fort- 
unately, those who had to direct the energies of the state 
under circumstances so adverse were composed of a metal 
competent to the task. The commissioners who exercised 
the power of the magistracy of Edinburgh, for the lord pro- 
vost and magistrates in person had accompanied the king to 
the fatal field, set a distinguished example of resolution. A 


proclamation is extant, in which, speaking of the misfortune 
of the king and his host as a rumor of which there was yet 
no certainty, they appointed the females of respectability to 
pass to church, those of the lower rank to forbear clamoring 
and shrieking in the streets, and all men capable of bearing 
arms to take their weapons, and be ready, on the first tolling 
of the great bell of the city, to attend upon the magistrates, 
and contribute to the defence of the town. It is the language 
of Rome when Hannibal was at the gates. 

The victorious English were, therefore, expected to ap- 
pear shortly before the walls of the metropolis ; but Surrey's 
army had been summoned together for defending their own 
frontier, not for the invasion of Scotland. The crown vas- 
sals did not remain in the field after their term of service 
had been rendered : and though the victory was gained, yet 
a loss of at least four thousand men had thinned the ranks 
of the conquerors. The absence of Henry VIII. prevented 
any vindictive measures, which he was likely enough to have 
taken, on finding the kingdom of his late brother by the 
recent defeat exposed to receive its doom at the hand of a 

A general council of the Scottish nobles was convoked at 
Perth (October, 1513), to concert what national measures 
ought to be adopted for the government of the kingdom at 
this exigency. The number of the nobles who gave attend- 
ance was few, and the empty seats and shortened roll gave 
melancholy evidence of the extent of the late loss. The 
queen was readily admitted to the regency, a compliment 
which might be intended to conciliate her brother Henry. 
It had not, however, that effect. Letters arrived from 
France, by which the king of England strictly commanded 
and fiercely urged that the success at Flodden should be fol- 
lowed up by repeated inroads upon the Scottish frontiers, 
where a desolating though indecisive war was maintained 

Driven to despair by the severity of Henry, the Scottish 
council began to look toward France, and to turn their eyes 


to a prince of the blood royal, now resident there, and next 
heir to the crown of Scotland, had James IV. died childless. 
This was John, duke of Albany, son of that Alexander, duke 
of Albany, who was brother to James III., and who, having 
been declared a traitor for attaching himself to England, had 
ended his days in France. To this Duke John a strong party 
in Scotland proposed to assign the regency, which they wished 
no longer to intrust with a female and an Englishwoman, 
sister to a monarch who used his success so unsparingly. 
"Whatever efforts might have been made to support Mar- 
garet in the office to which the king's will had admitted her, 
they became unavailing by her marrying the Earl of Angus 
as soon as she had recovered from her confinement, in which 
she bore a posthumous child to James IV. A marriage so 
soon after the death of her royal husband was prejudicial to 
her reputation, and, as it placed her personally under the 
control of a subject, rendered her incapable of holding and 
exercising the sovereign power of regent. 

In some respects, indeed, her choice could not be amended. 
Earl Archibald of Angus was grandson and successor to him 
whom we have so often distinguished by the name of Bell- 
the-Cat. His father and uncle had fallen at Flodden; his 
aged grandfather had carried his sorrows for Scotland, and 
for his own loss of two gallant sons, into the shade of relig- 
ious retirement. This young man, therefore, was at the 
head of the second branch of the House of Douglas, which 
had risen to a degree of power destined once more to make 
their sovereign tremble. Angus was also all that could win 
a lady's eye ; he was splendid in attire, retinue, and house- 
keeping; handsome, brave, and active. But he had the 
faults of his family, being ambitious and desirous of power; 
and he had those of his youth, being headlong and impetu- 
ous in his passions, wild and unrestrained in his conduct. 
He did not pay the queen, who was some years older than 
himself, that deference which Margaret might have expected 
from decorum if not from affection, and at best was a negli- 
gent and faithless husband. His ambition aspired to main- 


tain his wife's claims to the regency, although forfeited, as 
already said, by her second marriage. 

But the preferable claim of Albany was maintained by 
the Scottish nobility, who asserted the right of the next in 
succession to rule the kingdom during the minority of the 
monarch. Albany had, indeed, an elder brother; but as a 
divorce after his birth had passed between his parents, for 
being related within the forbidden degrees, he was regarded 
as illegitimate. The right of this prince to the chief govern- 
ment was in an especial manner supported by the Earl of 
Arran, head of the House of Hamilton, and connected with 
the royal family by his mother, Mary Stuart, the eldest 
daughter of King James II., who, when widow of the fallen 
favorite, Thomas Boyd, earl of Arran, had married the first 
Lord Hamilton. The title of her first husband was conferred 
upon her son by the second, who thus became the first earl 
of Arran of the name of Hamilton. This powerful noble- 
man, waiving some pretensions which he himself might have 
made to the regency, added great weight to that party which 
pleaded the rights of Albany. In 1515, the Duke of Albany 
came over to Scotland, accordingly, and was installed as re- 
gent. In the same year the lingering war with England 
was put an end to by the inclusion of Scotland in the 
peace which had been agreed upon between Prance and 
that country. 

The Regent Albany, bred in the court of Francis I., and 
a personal favorite of that monarch, was more of a courtier 
than a soldier or a statesman ; and the winning qualities 
of vivacity and grace of manners which had gained him 
favor and applause while in France were lost on the rude 
nobility of Scotland. He possessed the pride of high birth, 
and the command of considerable wealth, for his wife had 
been heiress of the county of Auvergne; but his talents 
were of a mean order, and he was alike insolent and pusil- 

Albany was not long in showing that he was about to 
direct the power of regent, now that he had obtained the 


office, against Angus and his wife, by whom his ascent to 
the dignity had been opposed. He obtained an order from 
the parliament that the royal children should be delivered 
up to him. Margaret, after a vain resistance, was compelled 
to place the infant king and his short-lived brother Alexander 
under the suspicious care of an aspiring kinsman ; and her 
husband Angus hastened to the border, to consult with Lord 
Home upon some means of withstanding the oppressive se- 
verity of the regent's government. Albany, however, was 
powerful enough to disconcert all their measures, even though 
Arran, deserting the regent's party, was so mutable as to 
make common cause with Home. The queen- mother, far 
advanced in her pregnancy, was driven into England, where 
she was delivered of a female infant, in the miserable turret 
of a Northumbrian baron, from which she afterward took 
refuge in her brother's court. The circumstance, however, 
of having been born in England was of considerable advan- 
tage to the Lady Margaret Douglas in calculating her prox- 
imity to the English crown. 

Meantime the regent became unpopular. The younger 
of the two Scottish princes died in his custody, not without 
foul suspicion of neglect or poison. The nation sympathized 
with the distresses and danger of the royal family ; the dis- 
satisfaction at Albany's government became universal; and 
the king's person was taken from his custody, and placed in 
the hands of certain select peers, to whose loyalty he might 
be safely intrusted. The regent found his power restricted 
and his situation unpleasant, and entertained thoughts of 
withdrawing from the rude kingdom which he had under- 
taken to govern. He seems to have suspended his purpose 
only till he made the experiment, whether by one grand ex- 
ertion of authority he might not reduce to obedience those 
troublesome peers by whom his government had been re- 
peatedly disturbed. This blow descended on the Lord Home, 
who, being the favorite of the late king, and the close ally of 
Angus, had maintained in the eastern marches a resistance 
to the regent's authority, and a constant communication with 


England. In 1516, being imprudent enough to trust his per- 
son and that of his brother within reach of the regent's au- 
thority, Lord Home was seized, tried, and executed. But 
this exertion of power had no effect, save that of exciting, 
as we shall hereafter see, the vindictive rage of the friends 
of the deceased victim of justice or of vengeance. In the 
year in which Home was beheaded, Albany obtained or ex- 
torted the permission of the estates to pay a visit to France. 
At the same time, although the duke's name was retained 
as regent, the real power was lodged in a council, in which 
Angus, having now returned to Scotland, held a seat. His 
wife, Queen Margaret, was received back with all due honor, 
and there seemed reason to think that something like a steady 
government was at length formed. 

The contrary, however, was soon visible. Anthony 
d'Arcy, Seigneur de la Bastie, a French knight of great 
courage and fame, had been left by the regent in the impor- 
tant situation of warden of the eastern marches, and had 
taken up the duties of the office with a strict hand. But 
Home of "Wedderburn, a powerful chief of the name, could 
not brook that an office usually held by the head of his house 
should be lodged in the hands of a foreigner dependent on 
the regent, by whom Lord Home had been put to death. 
Eager for revenge, the border chieftain waylaid the new 
warden with an ambuscade of armed men. Seeing himself 
beset, the unfortunate d'Arcy endeavored to gain the castle 
of Dunbar; but having run his horse into a morass near 
Dunse, he was overtaken and slain (1517). Home knitted 
the head to his saddle-bow by the long locks which had 
been so much admired in courtly assemblies, and placed 
it on the ramparts of Home Castle, as a pledge of the 
vengeance exacted for the death of the late lord of that 

The peace of the kingdom was also disturbed by a con- 
stant dissension between the parties of Hamilton and Doug- 
las, in other words, between the Earls of Angus and Arran. 
They used arms against each other without hesitation. At 


length, January, 1520, a parliament being called at Edin- 
burgh, the Earl of Angus appeared with four hundred of his 
followers, armed with spears. The Hamiltons, not less eager 
and similarly prepared for strife, repaired to the capital in 
equal or superior numbers. They assembled in the house 
of the chancellor Beaton, the ambitious archbishop of Glas- 
gow, who was bound to the faction of Arran by that noble- 
man having married the prelate's niece. Gawain Douglas, 
bishop of Dunkeld, a son of Earl Bell-the-Cat, and the cele- 
brated translator of Virgil, labored to prevent the factions 
from coming to blows. He applied to Beaton himself, as 
official conservator of the laws and peace of the realm. Bea- 
ton, laying his hand upon his heart, protested upon his con- 
science he could not help the affray which was about to take 
place. "Ha! my lord," said the advocate for peace, who 
heard a shirt of mail rattle under the bishop's rochet, "me- 
thinks your conscience clatters." The bishop of Dunkeld 
then had recourse to Sir Patrick Hamilton, brother to the 
Earl of Arran, who willingly attempted to exhort his kins- 
men to the preservation of peace, until he was rudely up- 
braided with reluctance to fight by Sir James Hamilton, 
natural son to his brother, and a man of a fierce and san- 
guinary disposition. "False bastard!" said Sir Patrick, in 
wrath, "I will fight to-day where thou darest not be seen." 
There were now no more thoughts of peace, and the 
Hamiltons, with their western friends and allies, rushed in 
fury up the lanes which led from the Cowgate, where the 
bishop's palace was situated, intending to take possession 
of the High Street. But the Douglases had been before- 
hand with them, and already occupied the principal street, 
with the advantage of attacking their enemies as they issued 
in disorder from the narrow closes or lanes. Such of Angus's 
followers also as had not lances were furnished with them 
by the favor of the citizens of Edinburgh, who handed them 
over their windows. These long weapons gave the Doug- 
lases great advantage over their enemies, and rendered it 
easy to bear them down, as they struggled breathless and 


disordered out of the heads of the lanes. Nor was this 
Angus's only piece of fortune : Home of Wedderburn, also 
a great adherent of the Douglases, arrived while the battle 
was yet raging, and, bursting his way through the Nether- 
bow Gate at the head of his formidable borderers, appeared 
in the street in a decisive moment. The Hamiltons were 
driven out of the city, leaving upward of seventy men dead, 
one of whom was Sir Patrick Hamilton, the advocate for 
peace. The Earl of Arran and his natural son were so far 
endangered, that, meeting a collier's horse, they were fain 
to throw off its burden, and, both mounting the same miser- 
able animal, they escaped through a ford in the loch which 
then defended the northern side of the city. 

The consequences of this skirmish, which, according to 
the humor of the age, was long remembered by the name 
of Cleanse the Causeway, raised Angus for a little time 
to the head of affairs. But, unable to reacquire the lost 
affection of his wife, the queen-dowager, the latter, in her 
aversion to her husband and resentment of his infidelities 
and neglects, joined in soliciting the return of Albany, an 
event which took place December 3, 1521. Angus and his 
party, alarmed at his arrival, and remembering the fate 
of Lord Home and his brother, made a precipitate retreat 
from Edinburgh, and took refuge in England. A new 
change of administration followed with little advantage 
to the unfortunate and ill-governed nation. Placing him- 
self at the head of a party which might be called the French 
interest in Scotland, Albany, ignorant of and indifferent to 
the real interests of his country, endeavored so to rule the 
kingdom as might best serve the purposes of France, her 
powerful ally. 

The flimsy species of peace with England, which had 
hitherto been maintained by ill-observed truces, did not 
prevent the most murderous and desolating ravages between 
the borderers on both sides. Albany appeared on the west- 
ern frontier at the head of an army of eighty thousand men ; 
but, cowardly in war as he was presuming in peace, having 


had a single interview with Lord Dacres, he consented to 
sheathe his sword, and omitted the opportunity of doing 
some considerable service, which was the rather to have 
been expected, as the king of England had no army on foot 
to encounter that of Scotland. 

The regent, feeling himself a second time the object of 
general dislike and contempt, again escaped from the tumultu- 
ous scene, and retired to France, leaving a council of regency 
to sustain as well as they might the war which his rashness 
had awakened, and to collect as they best could the materials 
of defence which he had dissipated and thrown away. In 
the spring of 1523, Henry VIII. sent the Earl of Surrey to 
the borders with a considerable army, to repay the threat- 
ened invasion of Albany. This enterprising general resolved 
to sweep the Scottish frontiers, and desolate them so effect- 
ually as to render them totally uninhabitable for nine miles 
beyond the border of England. 

With this purpose he advanced upon Jedburgh, in spite 
of the opposition of about fifteen hundred borderers, who 
skirmished so boldly with Surrey's vanguard that he terms 
them the boldest and most ardent men-at-arms whose feats 
he ever witnessed, adding that, if forty thousand such sol- 
diers could be assembled, it would be hard to withstand 
them. Driving this handful of Scots before him, Surrey 
reached Jedburgh, which was taken by storm, after a gal- 
lant defence. The fine abbey was also carried by assault, 
after it had been valiantly held out till late in the evening. 
The ruins still exhibit marks of the injuries which were then 
inflicted. This town, then rich and spacious, was set on fire 
by the English soldiery. But the victors were thrown into 
much confusion through the wilfulness of Lord Dacres, who 
commanded the cavalry. This nobleman did not choose to 
bring his horsemen within the fortified camp, which Surrey 
had appointed for his quarters. The consequence was that 
in the evening the horse-quarter was surprised, and most 
of the horses cut loose from their picketing. The animals, 
finding themselves at liberty, ran furiously past the fortified 


camp of Surrey, whose soldiers manned their defences, and, 
unable to discern the true cause of the alarm, shot both 
with bows and guns against the Scottish assailants as they 
thought. Many horses were carried off by the Scottish 
women, who fearlessly seized them in the scuffle. So many 
steeds were slain or taken that about a thousand English 
cavaliers were seen to walk afoot the next day. 

"While the two countries were thus engaged in fierce con- 
tention, both Scots and English were astonished to hear of 
Albany's return, with a small French army, in number 
between four and five thousand men, and a quantity of 
arms and treasure. With this new display of wealth and 
auxiliaries the regent endeavored to engage the Scottish 
nobles in a common effort against England, and he suc- 
ceeded in obtaining a promise of firm support from the par- 
liament. Including his French auxiliaries, Albany assem- 
bled a force estimated at sixty thousand. With this large 
army he formed the siege of Wark Castle, in 1523. The 
assailants took the outer circuit of the castle, and attacked 
the keep; but the Earl of Surrey advancing from Barmoor 
Wood, the Duke of Albany shamefully raised the siege, and 
retreated at the head of his well-appointed and numerous 
army, which he soon after dismissed. He retired to Edin- 
burgh, and having dissipated the treasures which he brought 
with him, and shown to a demonstration his unfitness to 
command an army, he made his final retreat to France, 
loaded with the curses and reproaches of the nation from 
which he derived his ancestry. 

After the flight of Albany the English interest once more 
began to predominate in the Scottish councils; for Henry 
VIII. had again adopted his father's policy, and instead of 
endeavoring to conquer Scotland, and render it a part of his 
dominions by dint of arms, was contented to aim at main- 
taining such an influence in the councils of that country as 
a wealthy and powerful nation may always find means 
of acquiring in the government of one that is poorer and 
weaker than herself. The present revolution seemed the 


more favorable to the interest of England, since it raised 
Margaret once more to an efficient power in the Scottish 
governmentc She came from Stirling to Edinburgh, and 
announced that her son, James V., now a boy of twelve 
years old, was determined to take the sovereign power into 
his own hands. A great many of the Scottish peers, upon 
hearing this information, associated themselves for protec- 
tion of the young king's government, and for declaring the 
termination of Albany's regency. It was clear, notwith- 
standing, as the independent government of a boy of twelve 
years old could be only nominal, that James's councils must 
be guided and directed by some familiar advice, and nothing 
could be more natural than that he should find that coun- 
sellor in an affectionate mother. 

The English king and his minister Wolsey at this crisis 
anxiously desired that Margaret would consent to a recon- 
ciliation with her husband Angus, in whose attachment to 
the interests of England they had great confidence, and 
whose masculine judgment they supposed to be necessary 
in aiding the queen- dowager to support the weight of gov- 
ernment. But the passions of Margaret had some of the 
fickleness and all the impetuosity of her brother's. 

She retained a deep resentment and even detestation 
against her husband, and gave her brother plainly to under- 
stand that any attempt to intrude Angus on her society, 
or even the granting him licenses to return from England, 
would forfeit Henry's share of the interest which the last 
revolution had given her in the affairs of Scotland. The 
truth was that Margaret with an unmatronly levity had 
become enamored of a young gentleman named Henry 
Stuart, second son of Andrew, lord Evandale, and already 
entertained hopes of ridding herself of Angus by a divorce, 
and then conferring her hand upon this younger favorite. 
In the meantime she raised the favored youth to the dignity 
of Lord Treasurer of Scotland. By such light conduct Mar- 
garet alienated the affections of the nobles, while she in- 
creased their discontent by excluding them from her coun- 


cils, and listening only to the advice of her lover, and other 
inexperienced young men. 

Blaming the conduct of his sister, and expecting a more 
firm support from the government of Angus, whose misfort- 
unes might be supposed to have taught him wisdom, Henry 
now countenanced the return of the earl, in hopes that he 
might still be able to effect some reconciliation, ostensible 
at least, between him and the queen. This was found totally 
impossible; and Angus, having determined to destroy his 
wife's power if he could not share it, attempted to supplant 
her authority, first by an escalade of the town of Edinburgh, 
in which he was assisted by Scott of Buccleuch, aud other 
border chiefs, and afterward by a union with the wily and 
able Archbishop Beaton, with whom he effected a reconcil- 
iation, and formed a party, the object of which was to free 
the young king from the tutelage of his mother. The strug- 
gle ended in the youthful monarch's being committed to the 
charge of a council of lords, the queen being allowed to pre- 
side at their sittings, a power which consisted in appearance 
rather than reality. 

This revolution was completed, when the king, having 
arrived at the age of fourteen years, made choice of Angus, 
who had, by the most sedulous attention, obtained great 
influence over his mind, for administering the royal au- 
thority. But this state of things by degrees terminated 
in the absolute ascendency of Angus. As some atonement 
to the imprudent queen for having thus expelled her from 
all share of power, he ceased to oppose the divorce which 
Margaret so anxiously desired, and no sooner was it obtained 
than the royal matron hastened to wed her youthful lover, 
Henry Stuart, who was afterward created Lord Methven. 

When Angus had attained the supreme power, which had 
been so long the object of his ambition, the use which he 
made of it was not corresponding to the sagacity he had dis- 
played in the acquisition. He gave far greater attention 
to supporting and providing for his own friends and follow- 
ers than to ruling the kingdom at large with justice and 
17 ^ Vol. I. 


equity; and his relations and clansmen felt so much their 
own license and impunity that it was currently said that, 
whatever complaints were brought respecting actions of 
theft, rapine, and slaughter, it was useless and dangerous 
to insist on them, if a Douglas or the dependent of a Douglas 
were one of the parties inculpated. And although the Earl 
of Angus and the lords of his faction made progresses 
through the country under pretence of administering jus- 
tice, and putting down oppressors and murderers, "yet," 
says honest Pitscottie, "there were no greater homicides 
and felons to be found than those who rode in their own 
company ." 

The government of Angus, being that of a predominant 
family and faction, was not only universally complained of 
as unjust and oppressive by the country in which it was ex- 
ercised, but became odious to the king also, in whose name 
and authority it was carried on. Angus, as we have already 
said, had at first conciliated the goodwill of the youthful 
king, by making himself the channel through which James 
received all the presents which Henry VIII. used occasion- 
ally to send to his nephew, and by carefully studying his 
taste, in order to anticipate and comply with his inclina- 
tions ; but when the earl became established in his author- 
ity, he began to exercise it without regard to the wishes of 
the young monarch, and often in direct contradiction to 
them. In this Angus was guided by the councils of his 
brother Sir George, a man of a fiery and haughty temper, 
who preferred governing by fear and constraint rather than 
by fair means and flattery. 

This order of things could not exist long without the king 
making some effort to free himself from a yoke which was 
at once galling and degrading; but such was the state of 
Scotland at that period, that the king's person was regarded 
as the symbol of the royal power; and while Angus could 
retain possession of James himself, he cared little whether 
or not he possessed the royal affections. The young king, 
however, determined in secret to escape from him at what- 


ever risk, end entered into more than one plot for accom- 
plishing his freedom. 

The first of these attempts exploded at Melrose on the 
25th of July, 1526. Angus had brought the king thither 
with the purpose of quelling some recent disturbances on 
the frontier ; but on leaving the town, and approaching the 
bridge in his return, he was encountered by Sir Walter Scott 
of Buccleuch, at the head of a thousand horse. His purpose 
being demanded, the chieftain replied that he came like other 
border men to show his followers to the king, and to invite 
him to his house. He added, that he knew the king's mind 
as well as Angus. A smart action immediately took place, 
in which the Scotts were defeated with the loss of eighty 
men; but many were also killed on the opposite side, in 
particular Sir Andrew Ker of Cessford, whose slaughter 
made a long and deadly feud between these two powerful 

It was generally suspected that the enterprise of Buccleuch 
had been instigated by Lennox, who, now retiring from the 
court, entered into a league with Chancellor Beaton, whom 
the predominance of Angus had nearly reduced to insignifi- 
cance as a member of the administration, and to whom, of 
course, the power of the Douglases was obnoxious. The 
queen-mother seems also to have entered into the views of 
the party. Lennox, who was universally esteemed and 
beloved, raised a considerable army, and advanced toward 
Edinburgh from the westward. It is probable that Lennox 
was in hope of obtaining the support of the Earl of Arran 
on this occasion; he was Lennox's uncle, and the ancient 
rival of Angus. But their strife had been appeased since 
the battle of Cleanse the Causeway, and Arran drew out 
his forces in support of Angus, and not in opposition to 
him. He marched toward Lennox at the head of a body 
of men equal to that of the insurgents. The armies met: 
Lennox and his host arrived in the neighborhood of Kirk- 
liston, and Angus rushed out from Edinburgh to support 
Arran. Sir George Douglas followed, bringing with him 


the young king in person, and the citizens of Edinburgh. 
Observing the king's great unwillingness to proceed, as the 
noise of the artillery on both sides now apprised them that 
the conflict was hotly maintained, "I read your majesty's 
thoughts," said the stern Douglas; "but do not deceive 
yourself. If your enemies had hold of you on one side, 
and we on the other, we would tear you asunder, rather 
than quit our hold": — rash words, which the king never 

On reaching the field of battle, they found the victory 
was with Angus. Lennox, after having been taken, was 
slain by Sir James Hamilton the Bastard, whose sanguinary 
temper has been already mentioned. Arran was mourning 
beside the dead body of his nephew, over which he had laid 
his scarlet cloak. "The best," he said, "the wisest, the 
bravest man in Scotland lies here slain." 

The insurrection against Angus's government being thus 
a second time quelled, the chancellor, after lurking for some 
time among the hills in the disguise of a shepherd, was com- 
pelled to purchase peace by a copious distribution of ready 
money, and surrender of ecclesiastical benefices in favor of 
the prevailing party. The young king obtained by his inter- 
cession some favor for his mother; and the authority of 
Angus became more despotic, and was stronger than ever. 
This ambitious earl shortly after took upon himself the office 
of chancellor, and surrounded the king even more closely 
than before with his clients and dependents, whom James 
felt now tempted to regard as his jailers rather than his 
servants. Wherever he turned, his eye lighted on the dark 
complexion and vigilant eye of a Douglas. Douglas of 
Parkhead commanded a guard of one hundred men, rather 
to control the king's motions than to defend his person. His 
minister Angus never stirred from his presence, or if he did, 
he left him under the yet more stern custody of his brother, 
Sir George Douglas. 

The young monarch was compelled to dissemble and 
appear satisfied with his situation, in order to disarm the 


vigilance of those by whom he was thus closely watched. 
This device succeeded so well that the Douglases, conceiv- 
ing the king to be altogether occupied with sylvan sports 
and amusements, lost a part of the jealousy with which 
they regarded his motions. 

In the beginning of July, the king being at Falkland, 
his whole attention apparently engrossed by the sport of 
hunting, Angus took the opportunity to look after some of 
his private affairs in Lothian. George Douglas also left 
Falkland to settle the terms of some beneficial leases which 
he was to obtain from the bishop of Saint Andrew's. Archi- 
bald Douglas, the uncle of the Earl of Angus, left the court 
for Dundee, to pursue, it was said, an intrigue with a para- 
mour ; so that the custody of the king's person was confided 
to Douglas of Parkhead, with his bodyguard of a hundred 
gentlemen. The king saw the opportunity favorable for his 
escape. He appointed a particularly solemn hunting match 
for the next morning, and repeatedly commanded his guard 
to be in attendance at an early hour. But he had no sooner 
retired to rest than he assumed the dress of a yeoman, and 
getting to the stables unperceived, mounted with two attend- 
ants, whom he had taken into his confidence, and galloped 
to Stirling. The governor of the strong castle, which com- 
mands that town, received the prince with great joy, and 
assured him of his personal fidelity. But James's apprehen- 
sions of the Douglases were still so great, that, fatigued as 
he was with his long and midnight ride, he would not go to 
sleep until the keys of the castle were laid beneath his pillow, 
to insure that no one might enter without his knowledge or 

The Douglases early on the morrow perceived the flight 
of their royal captive, and anticipated the downfall of the 
power which they had so long enjoyed. They agreed, how- 
ever, to ride in a body to Stirling, and put a bold face upon 
the matter. But when the king heard of their approach, he 
caused a solemn proclamation to be made, commanding that 
neither the Earl of Angus nor any of his kindred should ap- 


proach within six miles of the king's person under the pain 
of high treason. 

A parliament was thereafter assembled, in which Angus 
and his whole friends and dependents were summoned to 
answer for various abuses of the royal authority, and for 
keeping the king's person nearly two years under restraint. 
To defend themselves was impossible — to appear was to en- 
counter ruin; the Earl of Angus and his followers, there- 
fore, retreated into England, being secure of the mediation 
of Henry VIII. with his incensed nephew. Unfortunately, 
the earl did not deign to take this necessary step without 
offering some semblance of defending himself by arms. He 
garrisoned his castle of Tantallon, and taking the field with 
a gallant body of cavalry, seemed disposed to bid defiance to 
his youthful king, 1528. James hastened to lay siege to the 
castle ; but it defied his forces. He was obliged to retreat 
from before it with dishonor; and Angus, attacking the 
rear of the royal army, added to the disgrace by killing one 
David Falconer, a favorite officer of James. It was in vain 
that the Earl of Angus showed much moderation, and for- 
bore to seize on the royal train of artillery which were in 
his power. James remembered with deep resentment the 
wrongs which he had received, and felt no gratitude for 
those which his disobedient subject had refrained from in- 
flicting. He swore in his anger that no Douglas should, 
while he lived and reigned, find favor or countenance in 
Scotland. It was pity that James V. should have in this 
manner bound himself up from exercising his prerogative of 
pardon; for, says one old historian, no friend of the Doug- 
lases, "I cannot find that the Earl of Angus, or any of that 
kindred, failed to the king in any part, since, although they 
were covetous, greedy, and oppressive of their neighbors, yet 
were they ever true, kind, and serviceable to the king in all 
his affairs, and ofttimes offered their persons to jeopardy for 
his sake." 

The Earl of Angus, seeing the king so decidedly deter- 
mined against him, ceased his unavailing resistance, and 


retired with his brother and kinsman. Henry VIII. used 
much intercession in the earl's favor; but it was not until 
the death of James that the Douglases were restored to 
their native country of Scotland. 

In the elevation of the House of Angus to eminent power, 
and in its fall, there was something which resembled the rise 
and declension of the original House of Douglas in the reign 
of James II. But the second course of events were far in- 
ferior in consequence to those of the earlier revolution. The 
power which the Earl of Angus possessed flowed from his 
wielding the king's authority and acting in the royal name. 
He was, it is true, an overgrown minister, who controlled 
the person and thwarted the inclinations of his sovereign; 
but still the power which he abused was that of a minister 
only, as appeared from the almost unresisted fall of the 
family as soon as they were deprived of the custody of the 
king's person. The last Earl of Douglas, on the contrary, 
had bid the king defiance in open rebellion; assembled an 
army as large as that of James II. ; and there was no 
guessing to which side victory might have inclined, had 
the earl given the monarch battle as a rival for his throne. 

The natural inference is, that since, with every advan- 
tage of a minority and a divided cabinet, with as much 
ambition and more talents than Douglas, Angus had neither 
been able to found his power so deeply or to raise it so high, 
the precautions taken by James II. for repealing grants of 
crown-lands, for prohibiting or limiting the erection of hered- 
itary jurisdictions, and otherwise restricting the powers of 
the nobility, had taken a certain though slow effect, and 
that James V. possessed a degree of authority unknown to 
the Scottish princes before these restrictions undermined the 
power of the aristocracy. 

The slaughter of Flodden, where twelve earls, thirteen 
lords, and the eldest sons of five noble families lay on the 
field, tended much to reduce the numbers of the Scottish 
aristocracy, and increase the power of the crown, to which 
many of their honors and estates reverted. 


It is owing to the influence of these joint causes that 
James V. assumed a degree of self-agency, which, in the 
opinion of the Scottish nobles, the monarch was hardly en- 
titled to; that, unlike his father James IV., he did not seem 
to court their regard or employ their service, but sought his 
companions among the gentry, and his counsellors among 
the clergy, without, for a length of time, experiencing any 
inconvenience from the discontent of those who claimed by 
birth the right to share his sports and participate in the 
exercise of his power. 



James V. chastises the Borders — Introduces Cultivation and good 
Order — Institutes the College of Justice — Short War with Eng- 
land — Friendship restored — James temporizes with Henry — 
Marries Magdalen of France — Her early Death — James weds 
Mary of Guise — Sentence of Lady Glamis — Burning of several 
Heretics — Sadler's Embassy — James's wise Government — His 
Faults — He is of a severe Temper, and addicted to Favoritism — 
His Expedition to the Scottish Isles — Character of Sir James 
Hamilton of Draphane, and his Execution — Death of the two 
infant Sons of James — Considered as Ominous — Severe Laws 
against Heresy — Critical Position of James on the approaching 
War between France and England — He offends Henry by dis- 
appointing him at the proposed Interview — War with England 
— Battle of Haddon Rig — The Scottish Nobles at Fala Muir re- 
fuse to advance with the King — Incursion on the West Border 
— Rout of Sol way Moss — James V. dies of a Broken Heart 

JAMES V. having, as mentioned in the last chapter, 
obtained the unlimited exercise of the royal author- 
ity, became desirous of reducing to order the formi- 
dable border men, who, under the Earl of Angus, had been 
permitted to indulge themselves uncontrolled in all kinds of 
violence. The king swept through the frontiers with a fly- 
ing army, reducing the castles, and seizing upon the persons 
of those haughty chieftains, many of whom had no concep- 
tion that the irregularities of which they and their people 
had been guilty were of a character to deserve the capital 
punishment of death, which was unsparingly executed upon 
them. John Armstrong of Gilnockie, Adam Scott of Tushie- 
law, called the King of the Border, and Piers Cockburn of 
Henderland, were among the border chiefs who perished on 
this memorable occasion. Having thus succeeded in quell- 
ing the authors of foreign strife and domestic disorder so 
effectually as to make "the bush of rushes keep the cow," 


James V. proceeded to occupy the crown lands, in the coun- 
tries which had been so lately disturbed, with flocks and 
herds, the produce of which formed a large addition to his 
royal revenue on the borders. 

After this signal infliction of punishment, it is boasted 
by a contemporary historian that the king had thirty thou- 
sand sheep pasturing in Ettricke Forest, and that his herds- 
man gave him as good an account of the produce, although 
in that disorderly district, as if they had gone within the 
bounds of Fife. Scotland seems to have enjoyed several 
years of such tranquillity as seldom occurs in the history of 
that distracted country. James, resenting the recollections 
of his sufferings under the tutelage of Angus, did not greatly 
use the services of his nobles, being disgusted with their ig- 
norance and arrogance. He employed the talents of the 
clergy more freely; and they thus attained an influence 
over his mind which deterred him from joining the party 
of the reformers, to which he had originally shown some 

In the year 1531, James V. gave to his country of Scot- 
land the institution of the supreme court of council and ses- 
sion, which was framed in imitation of the parliament of 
Paris. Hitherto justice had been administered by standing 
committees of parliament, by whom the duty was irregu- 
larly and sometimes negligently discharged. These were 
now to give place to a court of professional persons, chosen 
with reference to their capacity for the high office, and hav- 
ing no occupation which might divert them from the ad- 
ministration of justice. The court possessed the supreme 
power of decision in all civil cases, and subsists to this day 
under the various alterations and improvements which the 
experience of three centuries has suggested. The number 
of the judges of the new court of session was fifteen, one 
half of them being laymen, and the others clergymen. The 
churchmen were taxed to defray the expense of the new 

In 1533, a short and unimportant war broke out with 


England. It was signalized only by mutual inroads on the 
frontiers, and ended by a peace between the royal uncle and 
nephew ; after which James received from Henry the Order 
of the Garter. At this period Henry VIII., from motives 
well known in history, had renounced the papal sway, and 
became particularly anxious to induce his nephew to take a 
similar step. It is even said that, to purchase his compli- 
ance, Henry would have been contented that James should 
become the husband of his eldest daughter Mary, with other 
high advantages. He was pressing by his letters and mes- 
sengers to have a personal interview appointed with his 
nephew, over whom he no doubt hoped to exercise that su- 
periority which the powerful possesses over the compara- 
tively weak sovereign, the rich over the poor, the aged over 
the young, and, as Henry doubtless supposed, the wise over 
the less strong-minded. But James, though desirous to be 
on good terms with his uncle, could not resolve upon imitat- 
ing him in his scheme of throwing off the dominion of the 
Church of Rome. He had, indeed, listened with a smile to 
those lighter pieces of satire which reflected upon the per- 
sonal character of the priests ; a subject on which the Catho- 
lic Church has never manifested great irritability. But he 
was not prepared to resign any part of those doctrines which 
had been interwoven with his earliest ideas. The clergy, 
who were so useful to him in the course of his administra- 
tion, had undoubtedly considerable influence in deterring 
him from following the courses of Henry. James also, 
though far from being wealthy, was so frugal as not to 
require for the support of his revenue the desperate measure 
of confiscating the church property. Finally, he felt that 
by joining with Henry in a step which all the princes of 
Europe held as impious and heretical, he must break off his 
friendly connection with France and every other power, to 
place himself wholly in the hands of the most haughty and 
imperious monarch then living. He procrastinated, there- 
fore, and evaded the proposal for a meeting, well knowing 
that if such an appointment did not produce all the effects 


which Henry desired and expected, it must necessarily de- 
stroy his amicable relations with England. These ties James 
desired to preserve in their present state, but did not wish to 
draw them closer. 

The same reasons prevented the king from prosecuting 
the proposed match with the Princess Mary. Meantime hiF 
people anxiously desired that he should marry. Years rolled 
on, and James, the last of his line, was still single. His sub- 
jects were the more anxious on this point, as he often hazarded 
his person in private and nocturnal adventures, which he un- 
dertook sometimes to further the purposes of justice, and on 
other occasions from the love of enterprise and intrigue. A 
blow in a midnight brawl might have again reduced Scot- 
land to the miserable condition of a people with whom the 
succession to the crown is disputed. 

At length a treaty of marriage was concluded between 
the king of Scotland and Marie de Bourbon, a daughter of 
the Duke of Vendome, in 1536. James undertook a journey 
to France to fetch home his betrothed bride. But when he 
arrived in that kingdom he was dissatisfied with the choice 
of his ambassador, and Magdalen, the princess of France, 
was substituted for Marie de Bourbon. They were married 
in great splendor on the 1st of January, and embarked in 
the beginning of May for the port of Leith, in Scotland,, 
where they were received with great rejoicings, which with- 
in forty days were to be turned into the signs of mourning, 
July 7, 1537. Magdalen, the young queen of Scotland, car- 
ried in her constitution the seeds of a hectic fever, which, 
within that brief space, removed her from her new kingdom 
and royal bridegroom. Her vacant place on the throne was 
soon afterward filled by Mary of Guise, the most celebrated 
queen of Scotland, excepting her daughter Mary Stewart, 
still more famed for beauty and misfortune. This lady bore 
to her husband two healthy male children, both of whom died 
within a few days of each other during James's lifetime. 
Mary, the third offspring of the marriage, beheld the light 
for the first time at the period of her father's death, 1541. 


Throughout the whole of this reign the banished Doug- 
lases, from their place of exile in England, intrigued among 
the Scottish nobility, who saw with displeasure that the king 
preferred the assistance of the churchmen to theirs in the 
management of his political affairs. During the life of 
James Beaton, archbishop of Glasgow, the king used his 
approved talents in the administration ; and at his death in 
1539 he had called to his councils his nephew David Beaton, 
afterward cardinal and primate of Scotland. He was sup- 
posed to have been peculiarly connected with the following 
judicial proceedings : the son of Lord Forbes was accused 
of treason by the Earl of Huntley, tried by the court of 
justiciary, and suffered death. In like manner Jane Doug- 
las, the sister of Angus, widow of the late Lord Glamis, 
mother of the youth who bore the title at the time, and wife 
of Archibald Campbell of Kepneith, was, with her present 
husband, her son, and certain accomplices, accused of and 
tried for an attempt to hasten the king's death by the imag- 
inary crime of witchcraft. For this offence Lady Glamis 
suffered death at the stake, on the castle hill of Edinburgh. 
She was much pitied on account of her noble birth, her dis- 
tinguished grace and beauty, and the courage with which 
she endured her cruel punishment. The Scottish historians 
throw reflections upon James for giving vent to his resent- 
ment against the Douglases in the punishment of this lady: 
but her crimes appear to have been fully proved ; and al- 
though the idea of taking away the life of others by acts of 
sorcery be now exploded, yet it is well known that in the 
Dark Ages the effect of the unhallowed rites was often ac- 
celerated by the administration of poison ; not to mention 
that those who engaged in such a conspiracy were morally, 
though not actually, guilty of the crime of murder. The 
punishment of Lady Glamis by fire was cruel, doubtless; 
but the cruelty was that of the age, not of the sovereign. 
Her husband Campbell was killed by a fall in attempting 
an escape from the castle of Edinburgh in which he was a 


The same horrible mode of punishment undergone by 
Lady G-lamia was, during James's reign, unsparingly ap- 
plied to the restraint of heresy. In the year 1528 a young 
man of good birth, named Patrick Hamilton, the first person 
who introduced the doctrines of Luther's reformation into 
Scotland, sealed them by his violent death, which took place 
at St. Andrew's. The king, being then under the tutelage 
of the Douglases, cannot be charged with this act of cruelty ; 
but the execution of seven persons, in the year 1539, attested 
his assent to these bloody and impolitic inflictions. It is, 
however, certain that, in permitting the established laws of 
the realm to have their course, James by no means appeared 
satisfied either with the frequent repetition of such exhibi- 
tions, or with the conduct of the churchmen themselves. 
He evinced in several particulars a bias favorable to the 
reformed doctrines; and his uncle Henry VIII. , confiding 
in these hopeful indications, continued to entertain consid- 
erable hopes of drawing over his nephew to follow his own 

Sir Ralph Sadler, a statesman of great talent, and no 
stranger to Scotland, was despatched with a present of some 
horses and the delicate task of prevailing on James to dis- 
miss such of his ministers as were Catholic priests, especially 
Cardinal David Beaton, archbishop of St. Andrew's, and of 
exhorting him at the same time to seize on the property of 
the Church, and to reform the morals of the churchmen by 
severe correction. The old proposal of a personal conference 
was again renewed. King James answered with mildness 
to the urgency of his uncle. He declared he would reform 
the abuses of the Church, but that he could not justly or 
conscientiously make these a pretext for seizing on its prop- 
erty, especially since the churchmen were willing to supply 
him with such sums of money as he from time to time re- 
quired. The candor of Sadler owned to his master thkt the 
king of Scotland was obliged to make use of the clergy in 
the public service, owing to the ignorance and incapacity 
of his nobility. 


During all these transactions the personal character of 
James V. appears in a favorable light. He did not indeed 
escape the charge of severity usually brought against princes 
who endeavor to restore the current of justice to its proper 
channel after it has been for some time interrupted. But 
his reign was distinguished by acts of personal intrepidity 
on the part of the sovereign, as well as by an economical 
and sage management of the revenues of the kingdom. 
James encouraged fisheries, wrought mines, cultivated 
waste lands, and understood and protected commerce. 
The palaces which he built are in a beautiful though 
singular style of architecture; and the productions of his 
mint, particularly that called the bonnet-piece, because it 
bears James's head surmounted by the national cap, is the 
most elegant specimen of gold coinage which the age affords. 
The sculptor of the die was probably some foreign medallist 
whom James had induced to settle in Scotland, and who died 
young. Had so excellent an artist lived for any considerable 
period he must have distinguished himself. 

James, in proportion to his means, was liberal to foreign 
mechanics, by whose aid he hoped to encourage the arts 
among his ignorant people. The court of Scotland was gay, 
and filled with persons of accomplishment. Himself a poet, 
the king gave all liberal indulgence to the Muses, and does 
not seem to have resented the shafts of satire which were 
sometimes aimed against the royal gallantries or the royal 

With many virtues, James V. displayed few faults, but 
these were of a fatal character. "We cannot reckon among 
them his unwillingness to receive a form of faith unknown 
to his fathers; but his rejection of the Reformation may be 
safely accounted among his misfortunes. The license which 
he gave to the vindictive persecution of the Protestants seems 
to have originated in that personal severity of temper already 
noticed. His inexorable hatred of the Douglases partakes of 
the same character. No recollection of early familiarity, no 
degree of personal merit, would induce him to extend any 


favor to an individual of that detested name. His dislike 
to or contempt for his nobility led to his admitting favorites 
into his society, on whom his countenance was too exclusively 
conferred. Among these minions, the most distinguished was 
Oliver Sinclair, a youth of noble descent, but to whom the 
king too indiscriminately extended the favor which he with- 
held from men of eminent rank. 

In the year 1540 James V. undertook an expedition truly 
worthy of a patriotic sovereign, making, with a strong fleet 
and a sufficient body of troops, a circumnavigation of his 
whole realm of Scotland, acquainting himself with the vari- 
ous islands, harbors, capes, currents, and tides. In the 
Hebrides he took hostages from the most turbulent chiefs 
for the quiet behavior of their clans, which bore in general 
the same denominations which they have at this day, as 
M' Donalds, M'Leods, M' Leans, M'Kenzies, and others. In 
this expedition the king showed to the most remote part 
of his dominions the presence of their sovereign in a position 
both willing and able to support the dignity of the crown 
and the due administration of justice, striking a salutary 
terror into those heads of clans who were unwilling to ac- 
knowledge a higher authority than their own. James sailed 
from Leith on this praiseworthy expedition about the 22d 
May, and landed at Dumbarton in the course of July, 1540, 
after a voyage which, in that early state of navigation, was 
not without its dangers. 

We have repeatedly mentioned Sir James Hamilton as a 
man of determined courage, but of a blood-thirsty and re- 
morseless disposition. He was a base-born son of the Earl 
of Arran, the same whose violence precipitated the skirmish 
called Cleanse the Causeway, and who slew the Earl of Len- 
nox in cold blood after the battle, near Kirkliston, between 
Angus and his father. This man, usually called the Bastard 
of Arran, and sometimes Lord Evandale, at one time stood 
high in the favor of James V., and obtained the estates of 
Draphane, Finnart, and others. He owed this distinction 
partly perhaps to his well-known character for determined 


courage, partly to a taste for architecture by which he was 
distinguished. The king seems to have used his talents in 
the rebuilding and ornamenting the palaces of Linlithgow, 
Stirling, and Falkland, in each of which may be remarked 
an elegant and highly ornamented style of architecture, 
being a mixture of the Gothic and Classical styles, like that 
which predominated in England in Elizabeth's reign. But 
having lost the king's favor when he advanced in years, Sir 
James Hamilton was accused of having entered into a con- 
spiracy for restoring the Douglases (though his own heredi- 
tary enemies) by means of a plot on the king's life. For 
this he was convicted, and suffered death at Edinburgh, 
August 26, 1546. His accuser was a brother of Patrick 
Hamilton, the protomartyr. It is said Sir James Hamilton 
had been a violent persecutor of the Protestant faith. 

In 1541 James met with a great and poignant family 
affliction. The two male infants, borne to him by his wife 
Mary of Guise, were both cut off by sudden illness within 
a few days of each other. The Protestants recorded this 
as a judgment against the king for permitting the perse- 
cution of their faith, and their writers record an ominous 
dream of the king, in which the spectre of Sir James Ham- 
ilton appeared to James in the visions of the night, and 
striking off his two arms while he upbraided him with his 
cruelty, announced that he would speedily return and take 
his head. The superstition of Mary of Guise, a devoted 
daughter of the Church of Rome, took a different direction; 
and the king might perhaps agree with her and the priests 
in concluding that their family calamity arose from the 
vengeance of Heaven expressed against him for his slowness 
in extirpating heresy. At least, from the tenor of his meas- 
ures at this time, such seems to have been his own interpre- 
tation of this severe visitation. 

The statute-book at this period contains various severe 
denunciations against heresy. To argue against the pope's 
authority is declared punishable with death, and all discus- 
sion on the subject of religion is as far as possible prohibited. 


Suspected heretics are declared incapable of exercising any 
office; nay, such as may even have abjured their errors of 
faith are still to remain excluded from conversation with 
Catholics. Fugitives for their religious opinions are held 
as condemned; all correspondence with them is prohibited, 
and rewards are offered for their discovery. These severe 
penal enactments sufficiently show the sense of Cardinal 
Beaton, their author, that the Protestant opinions were pene- 
trating deeply into Scotland, and could in his opinion only 
be eradicated by the most active measures. But in propor- 
tion as the severity increased, the prohibited doctrines seemed 
to gain ground ; and the Scottish clergymen saw no remedy 
except in the dangerous expedient of engaging James V. in 
a war with England, the monarch of which kingdom had led 
the way in the great northern schism of the Church. 

The situation of James V. now became extremely critical. 
Whatever might be the king's own moderation, there seemed 
almost an impossibility of his remaining neutral while France 
and England were hastening to a rupture; and there were 
weighty reasons for dreading the consequences, whichever 
party he might embrace. If he became the close and in- 
separable ally of his uncle, he must comply with that impet- 
uous prince in all his humors, alter the religious constitution 
of his country after the example of England, confiscate the 
possessions of the Church, to the prejudice of his own ideas 
of religion and justice, and discharge Beaton and other 
counsellors by whose experienced talents he had hitherto 
conducted his administration. He felt also that these sacri- 
fices, which must necessarily cost him the esteem and the 
alliance both of France and of Germany, would be made for 
the chance of securing the doubtful friendship of an uncle 
who, amid all his professions of friendship, had constantly 
maintained within his kingdom the exiled family of Douglas, 
whom James not only peculiarly hated, but whom, from 
their extensive connections in Scotland, he had some reason 
to dread. 

On the other hand, to refuse Henry's proffers of friend- 


ship must expose the kingdom of Scotland to a misfortune 
similar to that of his father at Flodden; or, if he escaped 
such an overwhelming calamity, must give him still to fear 
the consequences of a war for which the disaffection of his 
nobles rendered him, notwithstanding all his own efforts to 
the contrary, very much unprepared. In its course it was 
likely to be the occasion of forming, under the patronage 
of the English monarch, a strong faction of malcontents 
in Scotland, partly united by the new views of religion 
which had been so generally adopted, and partly by alli- 
ance or intimacy on the part of some Scottish nobles, with 
Angus and the banished Douglases. 

The king was warmly urged by a new embassy from 
Henry VIII. to come to a decisive conclusion on these diffi- 
cult points, when, worn out by importunity, he gave a doubt- 
ful promise, that, if the affairs of his kingdom permitted, he 
would meet his uncle at York for the purpose of arranging 
an amicable settlement, Henry, who thought highly of his 
own arts of eloquence and persuasion, and who appears to 
have founded extravagant hopes on the influence which 
he might expect to gain by this personal interview, repaired 
to York, and remained there for six days, expecting the 
arrival of King James. The king of Scotland, however, 
aware that to meet Henry without being prepared to con- 
cede to him everything which he desired would only pre- 
cipitate a rupture, excused himself for not attending upon 
the conference; and Henry returned to London, personally 
offended with James, and eagerly desirous of revenge. The 
chastisement of the king of Scotland became now as favorite 
an object with Henry as the conversion of James to his own 
opinions on religion and politics had previously been. 

At length, in 1542, after a variety of petty incursions, 
the war broke out openly, and Sir Robert Bowes, with the 
banished Douglases, entered Scotland at the head of three 
thousand cavalry. They were encountered near Haddon Rig 
by the Earl of Huntley, to whom James had intrusted the 
defence of the border. The English were defeated, and left 


their general and many inferior leaders prisoners in th6 
hands of their enemies. Angus himself would have shared 
the same fate, but he rid himself of the knight who laid 
hands on him by employing his dagger. 

James was highly encouraged by this fortunate com- 
mencement of the campaign, and made a donation of the 
lands of Hirsel to Sir Andrew Ker of Littledean, who 
brought him the first news of the victory. But he was 
now doomed to find that he had made shipwreck of his 
popularity in lending his countenance to the severities 
against the heretics, as they were termed, and in exclud- 
ing from his favor the nobility of the kingdom. The pres- 
ence of an English army under the Duke of Norfolk, which, 
entering the Scottish frontier, had burned the towns of 
Kelso and Eoxburgh and nearly twenty villages, compelled 
him to summon an army to repel the invasion. 

The Scottish king, therefore, assembled thirty thousand 
men, under their various feudal leaders, upon the Borough 
Moor, and marched from thence against the enemy. But 
as the Scottish army halted at Fala Muir, they received 
information that the English had retired to Berwick, and 
dismissed the greater part of their forces. 

The Scottish nobles, on receiving this intelligence, united 
in declaring that the occasion of their service in arms was 
ended, signified their intention to attend the host no longer, 
and prepared to depart with their respective followers. The 
king was deeply grieved and irritated by this unexpected 
resolution. Henry had insulted him by the threat that he 
had still the same rod in keeping which had chastised his 
father. By that rod the Duke of Norfolk was intimated, 
who, while yet Earl of Surrey, commanded at Flodden, 
where James IV. fell. His son and successor highly re- 
sented this reference to his father's misfortunes; and now, 
when the duke was within a few miles' distance of him, and 
he himself at the head of an army numerous enough to sec- 
ond his desire of revenge, it was with peculiar pain that he 
saw himself deserted by his nobility, when he most desired 


their cordial support. There was, however, no remedy: in 
a Scottish feudal camp the aristocracy were omnipotent, the 
king's power merely nominal ; and to have urged the dispute 
to an open rupture would only have incurred the risk of 
reviving the scene of Lauder Bridge in James III.'s time. 
For the leaders began to whisper to each other that rather 
than indulge the king's humor for an impolitic war, they 
would hang up the evil counsellors who had suggested the 
idea to him. Rewarding, therefore, with heraldic honors 
John Scott of Thirlestane, 1 the only baron in that large 
host who offered to follow his banner, James dismissed his 
refractory army, when it was about to dismiss itself, and 
returned so deeply moved with shame and indignation that 
he not only lost his spirits, but his health was obviously 

The royal counsellors endeavored to find a remedy for 
James's wounded feelings by appointing another attempt 
to be made against England on the western border, the suc- 
cess of which might, they hoped, obliterate the recollection 
of the mutiny at Fala. The Lord Maxwell was appointed 
to command ten thousand men; but though Maxwell was 
himself a counsellor and favorite of the king, the} 7 were 
injudiciously .composed of the followers of Cassilis, Glen- 
cairn, and other "Westland nobles, among whom the Refor- 
mation had made considerable progress, and who were pro- 
portionably disgusted with the war, which they regarded as 
undertaken at the instigation and to serve the interest of the 
papal clergy. This may in part account for the extraordinary 
scene which followed. 

In 1542 Maxwell's army had assembled, and advanced 
as far as the western border, when it was drawn up in order, 
and Oliver Sinclair was raised on a buckler for the purpose 
of reading the commission intrusting Lord Maxwell with the 
command of the army. The ill-timed introduction of this 

1 He added the royal tressure to his arms, and assigned for his crest 
a bundle of spears with the motto "Ready, aye ready." Lord Napier is 
the representative of this family. 


unpopular minion in a situation and duty so ostensible occa- 
sioned a belief that the commission which he read was in 
his own favor; and as this rumor gained ground a general 
confusion prevailed, and many, who did not choose to fight 
under the command of so unpopular a general, began to 
leave their ranks and return homeward, Dacres and Mus- 
grave, two chiefs of the English borderers, who had come 
to watch the motions of the Scottish army, were witnesses 
of the strange and apparently causeless scene of confusion 
which it exhibited. Without knowing the cause, they took 
advantage of the effect, and charged with a degree of cour- 
age and determination which changed the confusion of the 
enemy into flight, and in many cases into surrender; for a 
great number of the chiefs and nobles chose rather to become 
the prisoners of the English leaders than to escape to their 
own country and meet the displeasure of their offended mon- 
arch. The whole Scottish force dispersed without stroke of 
sword, and the victors made many prisoners- 

King James had advanced to the border, that he might 
earlier receive intelligence from the army. But when he 
learned the news of a rout so dishonorable as that of Solway 9 
the honor of his kingdom and the reputation of his arms 
were, he thought, utterly and irredeemably lost, and his 
proud spirit refused to survive the humiliation. He re- 
moved from the border to Edinburgh, and from thence 
to Falkland, his deep melancholy still increasing and mix- 
ing itself with the secret springs of life. At length his 
powers of digestion totally failed. It was in this discon- 
solate condition that a messenger, who came to acquaint 
James V. that his queen, then at Linlithgow, was delivered 
of a daughter, found him to whom he brought the news. 
6 'Is it so?" said the expiring monarch, reflecting on the 
alliance which had placed the Stewart family on the throne ; 
"then God's will be done. It came with a lass, and will go 
with a lass." With these words, presaging the extinction 
of his house, he made a signal of adieu to his followers and 
courtiers, and expired, December 14, 1542. 



Proposed Marriage between Mary of Scotland and Edward, Prince 
of Wales — The Earl of Arran Regent — An English Part} 7 formed 
— Henry VIII. 's Demands — Successful Intrigues of Cardinal 
Beaton — The Treaty with England broken — Incursions of the 
English — Battle of Ancram Moor — Martyrdom of Wisheart — 
Murder of Cardinal Beaton — Battle of Pinkie — Treaty of Mar- 
riage between Mary and the Dauphin of France — She is sent 
over into France — Arran is induced to resign the Government, 
and the Queen-Mother is declared Regent — Peace with England 
— The Queen-Regent's Partiality for France — Her Dissensions 
with the Scottish Nobles — Her Proposal for a standing Army is 
rejected — Progress of the Protestant Doctrines — Hamilton, 
Archbishop of St. Andrew's — Claim of Queen Mary to the 
Crown of England — Bold Answer of the Protestants to a Cita- 
tion of the Queen-Regent — Death of five Commissioners sent to 
France — The Queen-Regent resolves to subdue the Protestants, 
who take Arms — Treaties of Accommodation are repeatedly 
broken — The Reformers destroy the Monastic Buildings — The 
Treaty of Perth violated, and the Protestants take Arms — They 
advance to Edinburgh — The Queen-Regent fortifies Leith — The 
Lords of the Congregation promulgate a Resolution that she 
has forfeited her Office of Regent 

THUS was Scotland, by the death of an accomplished 
king, having only attained his thirty-first year, re- 
duced once more to one of those long minorities 
which are the bane of her history, and which, in the pres- 
ent case, brought even more than the usual amount of 

The Scots, involved in a national war which had no na- 
tional object, were, upon the decease of James V. , willingly 
disposed to address Henry in a pacific tone, in which they 
reminded him that they now spoke in behalf of their infant 


queen, his own near relation, who could have wronged no 
one, since she did not as yet know good from evil. 

Henry VIII. is said to have evinced some kind feelings 
toward the memory of his unfortunate nephew : he shed a 
tear over James's fate, and imputed his errors to evil coun- 
sellors. Monarchs, however, have little leisure to indulge 
in sentimental sorrows. The king of England soon lost the 
recollection of his nephew's faults and merits in considering 
how the events which had happened could be rendered avail- 
able to the increase of his own territories and authority. The 
road to the conquest of Scotland might, to a sanguine prince, 
appear to lie open; but it had been repeatedly attempted from 
the time of Severus downward, and had never been found 
practicable. The impetuous temper of Henry VIII. waSj 
therefore, forced to stoop to the plan adopted by Edward L, 
ere the death of the Maid of Norway compelled his ambition 
to wear a sterner and more undisguised shape. A matri- 
monial alliance between the young heiress of Scotland and 
his son, afterward Edward VI., promised the English mon- 
arch all the advantages of conquest without either risk or 
odium. "With this purpose he kept his eyes bent earnestly 
on the affairs of Scotland, to seize, as fast as they' should 
occur, all means of furthering so desirable an object. 

The government of the kingdom was claimed by the late 
Prime Minister, Cardinal Beaton, in virtue of a testament of 
the deceased king, which, however, was universally regarded 
as a forgery perpetrated by tha't ambitious churchman. He 
had, as before mentioned, succeeded his uncle, the turbulent 
archbishop of Glasgow, in James's councils, and was es- 
teemed the author of most of the deceased king's unpopular 
measures, especially those in persecution of heresy. The 
nobles, who had no mind to perpetuate the power under 
which they had long groaned, unanimously rejected the 
claim, and preferred that of the Earl of Arran, representa- 
tive of the House of Hamilton, and next heir to the Scottish 
crown, who was recognized accordingly as regent. Beaton 
was made prisoner by order of the regent, and detained in 


a species of honorable captivity, to prevent his embroiling 
the new government by the intrigues of which he was mas- 
ter ; and thus the Earl of Arran was placed at the head of 

To this nobleman Henry addressed himself, March 15, 
1542, for the purpose of accomplishing the matrimonial treaty 
which he had so much at heart. He did not neglect the ob- 
vious precaution of securing an interest and a party in the 
Scottish parliament. "With this view the English ministers 
were directed to cultivate the intimacy of the various Scot- 
tish nobles and persons of rank who had been so strangely 
made prisoners at the rout of Solway Moss. Among these 
were the Earls of Cassilis and Glencairn, the Lords Max- 
well, Somerville, Oliphant, and Gray. These nobles were 
dismissed free and without ransom by Henry VIII., upon 
their engaging to promote the views of that monarch by as- 
sisting in bringing about the desired alliance. Besides these, 
the English king had powerful auxiliaries in the banished 
Earl of Angus, and his brother Sir George, who returned to 
their native country, without waiting for a recall, as soon as 
the death of James "V. was made public. Their forfeiture 
being instantly reversed in parliament, it became manifest 
that the displeasure of the king rather than the dread of the 
law had rendered them so long exiles. To these Douglases, 
indebted to him for protection and the means of support dur- 
ing an exile of fourteen years, the king of England commu- 
nicated his purposes more fully than to the prisoners made 
at Solway, and by the means of both endeavored to form in 
the parliament of Scotland an English party, which might 
serve his interests more effectually than they could be ad- 
vanced by force of arms. To this faction in the state was 
to be added the numerous men of influence who, being con- 
verts to the Protestant faith, were attached, on that account, 
to England, and held in abhorrence the power of France. 
But the temper of Henry was too impetuous to wait for the 
advantages which, with a little temper and patience, would 
certainly have arisen out of his own position toward Scot- 
18 *% Vol. I. 


land, and the exertions of a numerous and powerful party, 
which was disposed to act unanimously in his behalf. 

The king of England manifested the most eager and im- 
petuous desire that the person of the infant queen should be 
delivered into his custody; and though it was represented 
to him that his proposal would certainly awaken the ancient 
jealousy which had so long subsisted between the kingdoms, 
it was with difficulty that he at last consented she should be 
suffered to remain in Scotland till she attained the age of ten 
years complete. Henry wasted so much time in these pre- 
liminary discussions that he lost the favorable moment in 
which the estates of Scotland were disposed to enter into 
terms with him concerning the marriage, and gave time for 
a politic adversary to recover the power of counteracting the 
whole project. 

The adversary in question was Cardinal Beaton, who, as 
leader of the Roman Catholic party, and both in office and 
in talents head of the churchmen, was the devoted friend 
of France, and the no less determined enemy of England. 
"While this intriguing priest was a prisoner of the regent, 
and while the rout at Solway and the death of James had 
overawed the minds of those nobles disposed to concur with 
him, Henry would have found little difficulty in accomplish- 
ing the matrimonial treaty which he meditated. But the 
moment the artful cardinal was free (having been liberated 
by the Lord Seton), his influence began to appear. By 
lavishing money, which his numerous Church preferments 
furnished in great store, by awakening all the ancient preju- 
dices against England, and by dwelling on the imprudent 
tenacity with which Henry had clung to the rejected articles 
of the treaty, he contrived to unite a large and powerful body 
of the nobles, comprehending Argyle, Huntley, and Both- 
well, in opposition to the English alliance. A great number 
of the barons, chiefly from jealousy of the national independ- 
ence, joined the same party; and the regent himself, after 
showing a vacillation of temper which in a less serious mat- 
ter would have been ludicrous, threw himself at last into the 


arms of the cardinal, and, within eight days after he had 
ratified the marriage treaty, renounced the friendship of 
Henry and declared himself for the French interest. This 
change in Arran's politics was attended with a correspond- 
ing alteration in his religion, for he had hitherto pretended 
great respect for the doctrines of the Reformation, and now 
he consented to every measure proposed by the cardinal for 
its suppression. 

Henry was not to be trifled with in this manner with im- 
punity. Resentment at what he termed the Scottish breach 
of faith prompted him to a vindictive invasion by sea and 
land : a strong army, under the Earl of Hertford, was em- 
barked in a numerous fleet. He took the Scots by surprise, 
landed in the Firth, plundered Edinburgh and the adjacent 
country, and thus destroyed for a time the English influence 
with the^Scottish nobles. A series of destructive inroads on 
the frontier only added to the unpopularity of Henry with 
the people of Scotland. 

Even Angus, the guest, pensioner, and brother-in-law of 
Henry by his marriage with the widowed queen of James 
IV., renounced the English monarch's friendship during the 
course of these ravages, and was distinguished by the share 
he took in an action by which they were in some degree re- 
venged. The circumstances were these : 

The ravages of the English during the campaign of 1 554 
were systematically conducted by Sir Ralph Ewers and Sir 
Brian Latoun, soldiers of great skill and activity, and ward- 
ens on the English marches. They cast down or burned a 
hundred and ninety-two towns, towers, bastle- houses, and 
parish churches, slew nearly a thousand Scots, and made 
upward of ten thousand captives. Ten thousand horned 
cattle, with twelve hundred horses, were but a part of the 
spoil made within three or four months. Many of the Scot- 
tish inhabitants of the western border, and the men of Lid- 
disdale in particular, assumed from necessity a semblance 
of allegiance to England, and aided the invaders in these 
forays on Scotland. 


To gratify the wardens for these achievements, the king 
of England conferred upon them in fief the two border 
counties of the Merse and Teviotdale, 1545. Sir Ralph, 
now Lord Ewers, and Sir Brian Latoun advanced to take 
saisin, as they said, of their new lordship, at the head of 
three thousand hired soldiers, paid by Henry, and two thou- 
sand borderers, the half of whom were Scots under English 
assurance. "I will write them an instrument of investiture 
with sharp pens and bloody ink," said the Earl of Angus, 
much of whose private estate was included in this liberal 
grant on the part of his royal brother-in-law. Accordingly, 
he urged the regent to pass hastily to the borders with such 
men as he had immediately around him, and put a stop to 
the dilapidation and dismemberment of the kingdom. 

A small body of three hundred men was assembled, un- 
equal, from their inferior number, to do more than observe 
the enemy, who moved forward with their full force from 
Jedburgh to Melrose, where they spoiled the splendid con- 
vent, in which lay the bones of many a heroic Douglas. The 
Scots were joined in the night by the Leslies and Lindesays, 
and other gentlemen from the western part of Fife; and ap- 
parently the English learned that the regent's forces were 
increasing, since they retreated toward Jedburgh at the 
break of day. The Scots followed, manoeuvring to gain 
the flank of the enemy. They were joined, near the village 
of Maxton, by Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch with his follow- 
ers, by whose knowledge of the ground and experience in 
irregular warfare the regent was counselled to simulate a 
retreat. The English halted, formed, and rushed hastily 
to pursue, so that, encountering the enemy unawares, and 
at disadvantage, they were totally defeated. The two lead- 
ers fell, and very manj 7 of their followers, for the victors 
showed little mercy ; and the Liddisdale men, who had come 
with the English as friends, flung away the red crosses which 
they had brought to the battle, and made a pitiless slaughter 
among the troops whom they had joined as auxiliaries. Many 
prisoners were taken, on whom heavy ransoms were levied, 


particularly on an alderman of London, named Read, whom 
Henry VIII. had obliged to serve in person in the wars, be- 
cause he refused to pay his share of a benevolence imposed 
on the city, it appearing that though the king of England 
could not invade a citizen's property, he had despotic power 
sufficient to impress his person. 

King Henry was greatly enraged at the loss of this action, 
and uttered threats against Angus, whom he accused of in- 
gratitude. The Scottish earl little regarded his displeasure. 
"Is our brother," he said, "angry that I have avenged on 
Ralph Ewers the injury done to the tombs of my ancestors? 
They were better men than he, and I could in honor do no 
less. And will he take my life for that? Little knows King 
Henry the heights of Cairntable. 1 I can keep myself safe 
there against all the power of England." 

Thus all the nobility of Scotland, even those most nearly 
connected with Henry, and who had been most indebted to 
his favor, were, by his impetuous and harsh mode of wooing, 
rendered averse to the match which he had set his heart upon, 
and which in itself they approved, and had been so lately will- 
ing to further by every means in their power. Nor was his 
loss of partisans in that country compensated even by the 
accident which removed from his path Cardinal Beaton, by 
whom it had been chiefly interrupted. 

This statesman had not reached the summit of affairs 
without making many private enemies, as well as acquiring 
the hatred of those who considered him as the prime oppo- 
nent of the Protestant Church, and author of the death of 
those revered characters who had suffered for heresy. A 
recent instance of this kind, perpetrated under Beaton's 
own eye, was marked with unusual atrocity. A Protestant 
preacher, named George Wisheart, born of a good family, 
and respected for eloquence, learning, and for a gentleness 
and sweetness of disposition which made him universally 
esteemed, had distinguished himself much by preaching the 
reformed doctrines. Even the regent declined to proceed 

1 Cairntable, a mountain in Douglas Dale. 


against him, or to commission lay judges to sit upon his 
trial. The cardinal, however, having treacherously got his 
person into his hands, proceeded to arraign the prisoner of 
heresy before an ecclesiastical court, by whom he was tried, 
found guilty, and condemned to the stake. Beaton himself 
sat in state to behold the execution of the sentence from 
the walls of the castle of St. Andrew's, before which it 
took place. 

When Wisheart came forth to die, and beheld the author 
of his misfortunes reposing in pomp upon the battlements to 
witness his torments, he said to those around, either from a 
conviction that the country would not long abide the cardi- 
nal's violence, or from that spirit of prescience said some- 
times to inspire the words of those who are standing between 
time and eternity, "See yonder proud man: I tell you that 
in a brief space ye shall see him flung out on yonder ram- 
parts with infamy and scorn equal to the pomp and dignity 
with which he now occupies it." The martyr died with the 
utmost patience and bravery, and it is probable his words 
did not fall to the ground. 

Meantime the cardinal, conscious of the danger in which 
he stood in a country where men's swords did not wait the 
sanction of legal sentence to exact vengeance for real or sup- 
posed injuries, usually dwelt in the castle of St. Andrew's, 
which stood on a peninsula overhanging the sea, and was 
strongly fortified. There were workmen employed to repair 
and strengthen the defences of the place at the very time 
that a desperate and irritated enemy contrived the death 
of the bishop within its precincts. Norman Lesley, called 
Master of Rothes, nourished deep resentment against the 
cardinal for some private cause ; and associating with him 
about fifteen men, who shared his sentiments for sundry 
reasons, they surprised the castle at the break of day, ex- 
pelled the garrison, and murdered the object of their enmity 
with many circumstances of cruelty. Execrable as the action 
was in conclusion and execution, they were able to assemble 
about one hundred and fif ty men to defend the deed they had 


done, and defied all the forces which the regent could bring 
against them, until the French king sent to his assistance a 
body of auxiliaries, to whose superior skill the conspirators 
were compelled to surrender themselves, under promise of 
safety for their lives. 

Even the death of Beaton, though his most inveterate 
political adversary, did not benefit the cause of Henry. The 
cardinal's place, both as primate and as counsellor of the re- 
gent, was supplied by a natural brother of the Earl of Arran, 
John Hamilton, abbot of Paisley, who, from possessing a 
superior firmness of mind, exercised much influence over 
his brother, and was as devoted a friend to France and the 
Catholic cause as the murdered cardinal had been during 
his lifetime. 

So stood the English interests in Scotland, which had 
been ruined by the impetuous rudeness of Henry VIII., 
when that monarch was summoned to answer for his stew- 
ardship before an awful tribunal. It seemed, however, as 
if his spirit continued to animate his late council board. In 
emulative prosecution of the war between England and Scot- 
land, the Duke of Somerset, protector of England, entered 
the eastern marches at the head of an army of seventy thou- 
sand men, many of whom were mercenary bands from Spain 
and Italy, experienced in war, and peculiarly formidable 
when their skill, experience, and discipline were opposed to 
an enemy so irregular as the Scottish forces. The regent, 
however, assembled an army almost doubling in numbers 
that of the invaders, and assuming a defensive situation 
on the north side of the Esk above Musselburgh, placed the 
lord protector of England in considerable danger, since he 
could not advance without fighting at disadvantage, could 
not keep his ground for want of provisions, and must have 
experienced great difficulty in attempting a retreat. Pru- 
dence and delay would probably have placed the victory in 
the hands of the Scots. But the military testament of Rob- 
ert Bruce was once more forgotten, and the Scots, with 
national impetuosity, abandoned the vantage ground, to 


fight for the victory which time and patience would have 
given them without risk. 

The English army occupied the crest of a sloping hill, on 
the southern side of the Esk, above Pinkie ; that of Scotland, 
arranged in three large bodies, chiefly consisting of spear- 
men, having crossed the river, began slowly to ascend the 
acclivity. The English cavalry charged with fury on the 
foremost mass of spearmen; but were received so firmly by 
the Scottish phalanx that they were beaten off with consid- 
erable loss. It is said that this commencement of the battle 
appeared so ominous to Somerset that he called for guides, 
and was about to order a retreat. His secret rival, and, as 
he afterward proved, his mortal enemy, Dudley, earl of 
"Warwick, entertained better hopes, and directly commenced 
a flank fire with the cannon of the army and the arquebuses 
of the foreign mercenaries on the thick body of spearmen. 
Angus, by whom the Scottish vanguard was commanded, 
endeavored to change his position to avoid the cannonade. 
About the same time some Highlanders of the second divis- 
ion had broken their order, to hasten to the spoil, so that 
their irregular appearance, with the retrograde movement 
of Angus, communicated a panic to the rest of the Scottish 
army, who thought they were routed. At this decisive 
moment the Earl of Warwick, who had rallied the English 
cavalry, brought them again to the charge, and introduced 
among the disordered forces of the Scots that terror which 
he had failed in producing upon these masses while they 
maintained their ranks. The numerous army of the Scots 
fled in total and irremediable confusion. Thus ended the 
battle of Pinkie, without either a long or bloody conflict. 
But the English horsemen, incensed at the check which they 
received in their first onset, pursued the chase almost to the 
gates of Edinburgh with unusual severity ; and as many of 
the fugitives were drowned in the Esk, which was swelled 
with the tide, the loss of the Scots in the battle and flight 
amounted to ten thousand men. The whole space between 
the field of battle and the capital was strewed with dead 


bodies, and with the weapons which the fugitives had 
thrown away in their flight. 

Yet this great battle was followed by no corresponding 
effects; for the Duke of Somerset, having garrisoned and 
fortified the town of Haddington, and received the com- 
pulsory submission of some of the border chiefs, withdrew 
to England with his victorious army. On the other hand, 
the loss of the battle, as it threw the Scottish nation into 
despair, compelled them in a manner to seek the assistance 
of France. An assembly of nobles met at Stirling, when it 
was agreed that the efficient support of their ancient ally 
should be purchased by offering the hand of their young 
queen in marriage to the Dauphin of France. They con- 
sented voluntarily to place her person in the hands of Henry 
II., the father of her bridegroom, on condition that he would 
furnish the Scottish nation with immediate and powerful as- 
sistance to recover Haddington and such other places as the 
English had garrisoned, and to defend the rest of the king- 
dom in case of a repetition of the invasions. The liberal 
terms thus freely offered to France were the more surpris- 
ing, as the estates of Scotland had recently shown insur- 
mountable reluctance to place similar confidence in Henry 
VIII. But from the prejudices created by a thousand years 
of war, the Scottish and the English nations were inspired 
with a jealousy of each other which did not exist in either 
country against other foreigners. 

Henry II. of France caught at so favorable an opportu- 
nity of acquiring a new kingdom for his son. Six thousand 
veteran troops, under Monsieur d'Esse, were instantly de- 
spatched to Scotland, and it was in the camp which they 
formed before Haddington that the articles of the royal 
marriage were finally adjusted. The queen-regent used the 
utmost of her art and address, and no woman of her time 
possessed more, in order to gain over the opinions of such 
as could be influenced, and intimidate those who could not 
be so won. The regent, Earl of Arran, was induced to con- 
sent by a grant from Henry II. to accept the French title 


of Duke of Chatelherault, with a considerable pension from 
the same country. The opposition of meaner persons was 
silenced by very intelligible threats of violence from men 
that were extremely likely to keep their word; the fear of 
the French arms, among which they held their councils, 
imposed silence on others; and the person of the infant 
Queen Mary, suitably attended, was sent over to France 
by the same fleet which had escorted d'Esse and his troops 
to Scotland. 1 And thus, ere Mary knew what the word 
meant, she was bestowed in marriage upon a sickly and 
silly boy, a lot which might be said to begin her calamities. 
The queen-dowager having perfected this great match in 
favor of the king of France, her kinsman, became naturally 
desirous of obtaining the interim administration of Scotland 
until her daughter should attain the years of discretion. 
For this purpose she dealt with the indolent and indecisive 
Earl of Arran for a cession of the regency. An augmented 
pension from France, high honors to himself and his friends, 
were liberally promised, together with a public acknowledg- 
ment of his right as next heir to the Scottish throne. On the 
contrary, the threat of a minute inquiry into his legitimacy, 
which was not beyond question, a severe investigation of his 
management while regent, the ill-will of the queen and her 
party in the state, were arguments which shook his resolu- 
tion. He acquiesced in the terms proposed; and though 
afterward he retracted, upon the upbraidings of his brother 
the primate, who irreverently exclaimed against the mean- 
ness that would resign the government when nothing stood 
between him and the crown but the life of a puling girl, he 
finally made the sacrifice required of him, and aware, per- 
haps, of his own unpopularity, resigned to the superior 
firmness of Mary of Guise the regency of Scotland. 

1 Knox, the stern apostle of Protestantism, says that "some were 
corrupted with buds (bribes), some [deceived with flattering promises, 
and some for fear were compelled to consent, for the French soldiers 
were officers of arms in that parliament. The Lord of Buccleuch, a 
bloody man, with many G— d's wounds, said that they that did not 
assent should do worse." — History of the Reformation, 1644. 


In this capacity the queen-mother showed vigor and de- 
termination. With the assistance of d'Esse's French troops, 
she retook Haddington from the English, and drove out 
other petty garrisons which they had established after the 
battle of Pinkie. This warfare, though the actions were 
on a small scale, was uncommonly sanguinary. Many of 
the English officers had committed insolencies and atrocities 
during their hour of success which the Scots could not for- 
give ; and not only did the latter themselves refuse quarter 
to the English, but there were instances of their purchasing 
English prisoners from the French, merely, like Indian sav- 
ages, to have the pleasure of putting them to death. To 
such a height of animosity had mutual ravages and con- 
stant injuries heated the national resentment of two coun- 
tries, which, save for an imaginary line of boundary, were 
in fact the same people. 

The victory of Pinkie thus had no more effectual conse- 
quences in favor of England than those which had followed 
former defeats of the Scottish armies, and it furnished an 
additional proof, that while it was easy to inflict deep inju- 
ries upon Scotland, it seemed difficult or impossible abso- 
lutely to subdue the country. After so much expenditure 
of blood and treasure, the Scots were included in a peace 
between France and England, which, amid civil discord 
and party faction, the Duke of Warwick, now at the head 
of English affairs, was glad to accede to. 

The queen-regent of Scotland, in her new acquisition of 
power, had one great disadvantage. She was a French- 
woman ; and while she was in truth desirous of serving her 
country and sovereign, she found it very difficult to con- 
vince the people of Scotland that she was not willing to 
sacrifice the interests of the country which she ruled to th.it 
of which she was the native. The auxiliary army of d'Esse 
did not leave Scotland without a renewal of the hostile dis- 
position which had on former occasions arisen between the 
French troops and the Scots, to whose assistance they had 
been sent. The rudeness, poverty, and haughty iguorance 


of the Scots took offence at the airs of superiority assumed 
by the brave and polished, but arrogant and petulant French. 
This had been the case in John de Vienne's time. But a 
large part of the Scottish nation had now additional reasons 
for disliking the auxiliary forces of d'Esse: they hated them 
not only as foreigners, but as papists. A brawl, arising out 
of a contention between a gunsmith of Edinburgh and a 
French soldier, about a culverin, ended in an open riot, to 
which both parties were previously well disposed. The Scots 
and French fought in the streets of Edinburgh, in which 
skirmish the lord provost of the town and the governor of 
the castle were both slain. Peace was restored with the 
utmost difficulty; but their having been guilty of such an 
insult in the capital of their ally added greatly to the grow- 
ing unpopularity of the auxiliaries. 

Although these ominous occurrences ought to have put 
the queen-regent on her guard against appearing to act by 
the advice of foreigners, and although the example of the 
Duke of Albany and the fate of the Sieur de la Bastie might 
have made her aware of the antipathy of the Scots to the 
rule of strangers, she did not hesitate to confer on French- 
men situations of trust and dignity in the Scottish state, and 
to use their advice in her councils. These new statesmen, 
better acquainted with the constitution and politics of France 
than those of Scotland, advised the queen to find means of 
supporting her government, by laying upon the landed pro- 
prietors taxes sufficient to maintain a standing army, and 
placing garrisons in the principal fortresses of the kingdom, 
of which, either by hereditary right or by grants from the 
crown, the nobility were the guardians. This proposal of 
the queen, made according to the advice of her French ad- 
visers, was in the highest degree unpalatable. The poverty 
of the nation was alarmed at the prospect of a land tax, and 
its pride at the supposition that the defence of the country 
could be better secured by intrusting it to mercenaries rather 
than to the children of the soil. As an experiment, the 
queen-regent requested the Earl of Angus's consent to put 


a French garrison into his castle of Tantallon. On hearing 
this proposal, the earl answered in words intended to apply 
to the queen, but directed to a hawk which sat on his fist, 
and which he was feeding at the time, "The devil is in the 
greedy kite; she will never be satisfied." But more directly 
and pointedly pressed on the subject, he said, "Tantallon 
is at your majesty's command as regent of the kingdom; 
but, by Saint Bride of Douglas, I must remain castellan of 
the fortress for your behoof, and I will keep it better for you 
than any foreigners whom you could place there." 

When the plan of raising mercenary troops was proposed 
in parliament, about three hundred of the lesser barons came 
before the queen in a body, and asserted that they were as 
able to defend their country as their fathers had been, and 
that they would not permit the sacred task, which was the 
most honorable part of their birthright, to be transferred 
to mercenaries and strangers. The queen-regent, therefore, 
saw herself compelled to abandon her proposal. 

The defeat of this scheme, which involved the embryo 
purpose of a standing army, was not more mortifying than 
the failure of another, by which Mary of Guise, out of a 
natural affection to her nation, hoped to serve the interests 
of France, now engaged in war with Spain and England, 
by embroiling Scotland in the quarrel. But although she 
contrived without much trouble to effect a breach of the 
peace between two countries which were equally jealous and 
irritable, yet the Scottish nation, taught by experience, 
entered into the contest as a defensive war only; neither 
could the urgency of le Crocq, who commanded the French 
troops, nor the entreaties of the queen-regent, prevail on 
them to set a foot on English ground. 

Meanwhile, in 1558, the marriage of the young queen 
of Scots was solemnly celebrated, and that union between 
France and Scotland achieved, so far as depended upon the 
execution of the marriage treaty. But by this time the sub- 
ject of religion had become so interesting as to have greater 
weight in the scale of national policy than at any former period. 


Thirty years had elapsed since the martyrdom of Patrick 
Hamilton for heresy; and during that period the Protestant 
doctrines, obvious as they were to the most ordinary capaci- 
ties, had risen into that estimation which sense and firmness 
will always ultimately attain over craft and hypocrisy. They 
were promulgated by many daring preachers, who, with rude 
but ready eloquence, averred the truths which they were 
ready to seal with their blood. Among these, the most 
eminent was John Knox, a man of a fearless heart and a 
fluent eloquence ; violent, indeed, and sometimes coarse, but 
the better fitted to obtain influence in a coarse and turbulent 
age — capable at once of reasoning with the wiser nobility, 
and inspiring with his own spirit and zeal the fierce populace. 
Toleration, and that species of candor which makes allow- 
ance for the prejudices of birth or situation, were unknown 
to his uncompromising mind; and this deficiency made him 
tho more fit to play the distinguished part to which he was 
called. It was not alone the recluse and the solitary student 
that listened to these theological discussions. Men of the 
world, and those engaged in the affairs of life, lent an atten- 
tive ear to arguments against the doctrines of Rome, and 
declamations exposing their ambition, pride, and sensuality. 
The burgher and the peasant were encouraged to appeal to 
the Word of God itself from those who called themselves his 
ministers, and each was taught to assume the right of judg- 
ing for himself in matters of conscience, and at the same 
time encouraged to resist the rapacity with which church 
dues were exacted in the course of life, and even in the hour 
of death. The impoverished noble learned to consider that 
the right of the Church to one-half at least of the whole land 
of Scotland was a usurpation over the lay proprietor; and 
the prospect of a new road to heaven was not the less pleas- 
ing that it promised, if trod courageously, to lie through 
paths of profit upon earth. The older generation had lis- 
tened but slowly and unwillingly to a creed which shocked 
the feelings of awe and reverence for the practices of wor- 
ship in which they had been educated; but the younger, 


■who had risen into life while the discussions were common 
and familiar topics, embraced the reformed doctrines with 
equal zeal and avidity. 

Since the death of Cardinal Beaton, there had been no 
attempt to turn the force of the existing laws against the 
growth of heresy. Hamilton, the archbishop of Saint An- 
drew's, though said to lead a life too irregular for a church- 
man, was more gentle and moderate than his predecessor, 
Beaton; and the queen-mother was too prudent, and too 
well acquainted with the state of Scotland and the temper 
of the people, to engage of her own accord in a struggle 
with so powerful a sect as the reformers, who now assumed 
the name of the Congregation. But when her daughter 
became queen of France, the celebrated Duke of Guise and 
the Cardinal of Lorraine urged upon their sister the regent 
the absolute duty and necessity of rooting out the Scottish 
heresy. For this they had more reasons than mere zeal for 
the Catholic religion, though theirs was of the warmest 

Mary of England was now dead; and the land, which 
had relapsed into popery at her accession, had again adopted 
the Protestant faith under her sister Elizabeth. The Cath- 
olics were not disposed to consider this great princess as a 
legitimate sovereign, but rather as the adulterous daughter 
of Henry VIII. by Anne Boleyne, his concubine, for whose 
sake he had broken the bonds of matrimony with Queen 
Catherine, and cast away the filial obedience due to the see 
of Rome. Failing Elizabeth, Mary, queen of Scotland, was 
heir of England in right of her grandmother Margaret, the 
sister of Henry VIII. In the eyes of all true Catholics, she 
had not only a contingent, but an immediate claim to suc- 
ceed her namesake in the government. This title offered 
the most splendid visions to the two brothers of the House 
of Guise, who aimed at nothing less than subjecting Eng- 
land itself to the sway of their niece by means of the En- 
glish Catholics, a numerous and powerful body. But this 
could only be accomplished by gaining for the Scottish queen 


the credit of a faithful nursing-mother of the Church, in de- 
stroying that branch of the great northern heresy which had 
raised its head in the kingdom of Scotland. She could not, 
with consistency, claim the character of a sound Catholic, 
a person likely to re-establish Catholicism in England, while 
the exercise of the reformed religion was publicly permitted 
in the realm which was properly her own. 

Mary's mother, the queen-regent, was, therefore, against 
her better judgment, urged to pick a quarrel with the re- 
formers in Scotland, and she involved herself by the attempt 
in a train of consequences which poisoned all the future 
tranquillity of her regency and her life. The pretext was 
taken from some insults offered by the Protestants to the 
images of the Catholic faith, and particularly to Saint Giles, 
patron of the metropolis, whose eSigy was first thrown into 
the North Loch, and then burned. To chastise this insolence, 
various among the most noted popular preachers were sum- 
moned to appear before the queen-regent and the bishops, 
and to undergo their trial as authors of the sedition. The 
preachers resolved to attend ; and, that they might do so with 
safety, they availed themselves of a custom in Scotland (a 
right barbarous one), by which a person accused was wont 
to appear at the bar with as many friends as were willing 
to stand by him and defend his cause. The time was propi- 
tious; for a band of western gentlemen, zealous Protestants, 
were returning homeward from military services on the 
border, and willingly appeared in arms for the protection 
of their pastors. They were in vain charged by proclama- 
tion to depart from the city. On the contrary, they assem- 
bled themselves, and with little reverence forced themselves 
into the queen's presence, then sitting in council with the 

Chalmers of Gadgirth, a bold and zealous man, spoke 
in the name of the rest — "Madam, we know that this proc- 
lamation is a device of the bishops and of that bastard 
(the primate of Saint Andrew's) that stands beside you. 
We avow to God that ere we yield we will make a day of it. 


These idle drones oppress us and our tenants, and now they 
seek the lives of our ministers, and our own. Shall we suffer 
this any longer? No, madam, it shall not be." As he con- 
cluded, every man put on his steel bonnet. The queen-regent 
was compelled to have recourse to fair words and entreaties, 
for little less was to be apprehended than the present mas- 
sacre of the Roman Catholic churchmen. But by the queen's 
discharging the proclamation, and using gentle and kind 
words to Gadgirth and his companions, the danger was 
averted for the present. 

The Scottish Protestants saw their advantage and were 
encouraged to further boldness. They made a popular 
tumult by attacking a procession of churchmen which pa- 
raded through the streets of the city. The images, which 
the insurgents termed Dagon and Bel, were dashed to pieces 
in contempt and derision; as for the churchmen, we may 
take John Knox's word, "that there was a sudden affray 
among them; for down goeth the crosses, off goeth the 
surplices, round caps, and cornets with the crowns: the 
grayfriars gaped, the blackfriars blew, the priests panted 
and fled, and happy was he who first got to the house, for 
such a sudden fray came never among the generation of 
antichrist within the realm before." This was the wild 
proceeding of a rabble; but an association and bond was 
immediately afterward entered into by the principal persons 
of the congregation, to defend their ministers, and assert the 
rights of hearing and preaching the Gospel. This avowal 
of faith, with an express determination to renounce the 
Catholic doctrines as delusions of Satan, was subscribed by 
many men of power and influence. The same leading Prot- 
estants, now called the "Lords of the Congregation," were 
also repeated petitioners to the queen-regent for some express 
legal protection; but, averse to place the new faith on so 
permanent a footing, she was liberal in promising such 
countenance from her own authority as should render a 
formal toleration unnecessary. An application to the con- 
vocation of popish clergy for some relaxation of the laws 


against heresy was, as might have been expected, refused 
by the churchmen with contempt. 

A circumstance happened at this time which tended 
greatly to increase the suspicion with which the Scots re- 
garded the House of Guise. Eight distinguished members 
had been sent from the Scottish parliament to witness the 
marriage ceremony between the dauphin of France and the 
young queen of Scotland. Four of these, by a singular 
coincidence, happened to die about the same time. The 
suspicious credulity of the age immediately imputed their 
death to poison, given, as was supposed, to facilitate the 
execution of some plan formed by the French statesmen 
against the independence of Scotland. As there existed no 
motive for such a crime, and no proof that it had taken 
place, and as the bishop of Orkney, a friend of the queen- 
regent, was one of the persons who died, the suspicion ap- 
pears on the whole to have been unjust, and to have had 
no other foundation than the popular desire to assign ex- 
traordinary causes for uncommon events. But it was in 
the meantime highly calculated to place the queen-regent 
in a disadvantageous point of view to a great part of the 
subjects of Scotland. 

Mary of Guise's government continued to be still further 
embarrassed by the zeal with which her brothers of Lorraine 
continued to press in the most urgent manner the adoption 
of violent measures against the Protestants. In compliance 
with instructions from France, the queen, forgetful of the 
violent scene with Chalmers of Gadgirth, again summoned 
the Protestant preachers to appear before a court of justice 
to be held at Stirling on the 10th May, 1559. Again the 
zeal of the congregation convoked a species of insurrec- 
tionary army to protect their ministers, which assembled 
at Perth, then animated by the preachings of John Knox. 
The queen-regent foresaw the danger which impended, and 
a second time appeared to retreat from her purpose, and 
engaged to put a stop to the prosecution of the ministers. 

Through the whole eventful scene the subtlety of the 


queen -dowager made it manifest that she adopted and acted 
upon the fatal maxim of the Church of Rome, that no faith 
was to be kept with heretics. The Protestants had no sooner 
dispersed their levies than the queen caused the actions 
against their preachers to be anew insisted on; and upon 
the non-appearance of the parties cited, sentence of outlawry 
was pronounced against them. 

The Protestants were incensed by this duplicity of the 
queen; and after a vehement discourse by John Knox 
against the idolatry of the popish worship, and a casual 
brawl which followed between an impudent priest and a 
petulant boy, the minds of the auditors were so much in- 
flamed that they destroyed, first the church in which the 
sermon had been preached, and then the other churches and 
monasteries of Perth, breaking to fragments the ornaments 
and images, and pillaging the supplies of provisions which 
the monks had provided in great quantity. 

The queen in the meantime had drawn together her 
French soldiery, and, still more deeply irritated by the late 
proceedings of the multitude, prepared to march upon Stir- 
ling, and from thenoe to Perth, before the lords of the con- 
gregation could assemble their vassals. But she had to deal 
with prudent and active men, who were not willing a second 
time to be cheated into terms which might be kept or broken 
at the regent's pleasure. They assembled their forces so 
speedily that they could with confidence face Mary of Guise 
and her army, though above seven thousand strong. Still 
the principal Protestant nobles thought it best to come to an 
agreement with the queen-regent, rather than hurry the 
nation into a civil war. They agreed to admit Marj T of 
Guise into Perth, on condition that her French troops should 
not approach within three miles of the city; that no one 
should be prosecuted on account of the recent disturbances; 
and that all matters in debate between the government and 
the lords of the congregation should be left to the consider- 
ation of parliament. No sooner, however, had this treaty 
been adjusted than the queen broke its conditions, by dis- 


placing the magistrates of Perth, and garrisoning the town 
with six hundred men. She endeavored to palliate this 
breach of faith by alleging that these troops did not con- 
sist of native Frenchmen, but of Scotsmen under French 
pay. Far from receiving this evasion as a good argument, 
the Earl of Argyle and Lord James Stewart retired to Saint 
Andrew's, and were there met by the Earl of Monteith, the 
Laird of Tulliebardine, and other professors of their relig- 
ion. Although in an archi episcopal see, and threatened by 
the primate, that, if he ventured to ascend his pulpit, he 
should be saluted with a shower of musket-balls, John Knox 
boldly preached before the congregation, and animated their 
resolution of defending their freedom of conscience. As it 
appeared plain that the violation of the treaty of Perth 
would once more put the lords of the congregation in arms, 
the queen on her part endeavored to seize an advantage by 
superior alacrity. She was again disappointed, although 
she early put her troops, now amounting to about three 
thousand men in the pay of France, into motion against 
Saint Andrew's, whither the principal reformers had re- 

The lords of the congregation boldly determined to meet 
the queen-mother in the field ; and though they set out from 
St. Andrew's with only one hundred horse, yet ere they had 
marched ten miles they were joined by such numbers as 
enabled them to remonstrate with the queen, rather than 
to petition for indemnity. Mary of Guise again resorted to 
the duplicity with which she was but too familiar. She 
obtained a pacification, but it was only on the condition that 
she should transport her French soldiery to the southern 
side of the Firth ; and she agreed to send commissioners to 
St. Andrew's to settle on conditions of peace. The French- 
men were accordingly withdrawn for the time; but, with 
her usual insincerity, the queen altogether neglected to send 
the commissioners, or take any steps for the establishment 
of a solid composition. 

The consequences were, that the congregation resumed 


arms a third time, and forcibly occupied Perth. From 
thence they advanced in triumph to the capital, the peo- 
ple, particularly the citizens of the burghs which they oc- 
cupied, eagerly seconding them in the work of reformation ; 
especially in the destruction of monasteries and the defacing 
the churches, by destroying what they considered the pecul- 
iar objects of Roman Catholic worship. The queen gave 
way to the torrent, and retreated to Dunbar, to await till 
want of money and of provisions should oblige the lords of 
the congregation to disperse their forces. 

This period was not long in arriving. The troops of 
these barons consisted entirely of their vassals, serving at 
their own expense. When the provisions they brought with 
them to the camp (which never at the utmost exceeded food 
for the space of forty days) were expended, they had no 
means of keeping the field, and considered the campaign 
as ended. The burghers had their callings to pursue, and, 
however zealous for religion, were under the necessity of re- 
turning to their own residences when days and weeks began 
to elapse. These causes so soon diminished the army of the 
congregation, that the queen-regent, advancing with her 
compact body of mercenary troops, might have taken Edin- 
burgh by storm, had it not been for a third treaty, patched 
up indeed, and acceptable to neither party, but which each 
was willing to receive for a time, rather than precipitate 
the final struggle. The articles of convention were, that 
the lords of the congregation should evacuate Edinburgh, to 
which the queen-regent should return, but that she should 
not introduce a French garrison there. The Protestants 
agreed to abstain from future violation of religious houses; 
while the queen consented to authorize the free exercise of 
the Protestant religion all over the kingdom, and to allow 
that in Edinburgh no other should be openly professed. 
These terms were reluctantly assented to on both sides. 
The Protestants were desirous that the French troops, the 
principal support of the queen-regent's power, should be 
removed out of the kingdom; while Mary of Guise, on the 


other hand, was secretly determined to augment their num- 
ber, and place them in a commanding position. 

She was the rather determined on following the violent 
policy suggested by the brothers of Guise, because the death 
of Henry II. and the accession of Francis and Mary to the 
throne had rendered the queen's uncles all-powerful at the 
court of France. 

A thousand additional soldiers having arrived from 
France, the queen-regent, in conformity with the policy 
which she had adopted, employed them in fortifying as 
a place of arms the seaport of Leith. The lords of the 
congregation remonstrated against this measure; but their 
interference was not attended to. On the contrary, the 
queen-regent, influenced by the dangerous counsel of her 
brothers, the princes of Lorraine, shut herself up in the 
newly-fortified town, and haughtily disputed the right of 
the nobility to challenge her prerogative to establish her 
residence where she would, and to secure it by military 
defences when she thought proper. 

The civil rights of the Scottish nation, as well as their 
religious liberties, were now involved in the debate; and 
the lords of the congregation were joined by the Duke of 
Chatelherault, and other noblemen who continued Catholics. 
Both parties, having convoked an assembly as numerous and 
powerful as a Scottish parliament, united in the decisive step 
of passing an act by which, under deep professions of duty 
to the king and queen, they solemnly deprived the queen- 
regent of her office, as having been exercised inconsistently 
with the liberties, and contrary to the laws, of the kingdom. 

Among the nobles who thus lifted the banner of defiance 
against the highest established authority of the kingdom, 
the chief was Lord James Stewart, called at this time the 
prior of St. Andrew's, a natural son of King James V., and 
a brother, consequently, of the reigning queen. If it had so 
chanced that this eminent person had possessed a legitimate 
title to the crown of Scotland, it would probably have been 
worn by him with much splendor. As it was, he was thrown 


into circumstances in which, as we shall see, high ambition, 
encouraged by tempting opportunity, proved too strong for 
the ties of gratitude and family affection, and ultimately 
brought a man of great talents and many virtues to an 
early and a bloody grave. His strong mind had early re- 
ceived with conviction the reformed doctrines, and he was 
distinguished among the Protestant lords by his zeal, sagac- 
ity, and courage; so that though the Earl of Arran (Duke 
of Chatelherault, and formerly regent), had again returned 
to the side of the lords of the congregation, and was compli- 
mented with the title of chief of their league, yet the general 
confidence of the party was reposed in the wisdom, courage, 
and integrity of the prior of St. Andrew's. Argyle, Glen- 
cairn, and others, the associates of this distinguished person, 
were, like himself, men of courage and sagacity, and full of 
that species of enthusiasm which is inspired by an enlarged 
sphere of thought and action, and by the sense of having 
thrown off the fetters of ecclesiastical bondage. 




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